USBA Middleweight Champion Luis "Cuba" Arias (17-0, 8 KOs) and prime contender Arif "The Predator" Magomedov (18-1, 11 KOs) will lead off the HBO Pay-Per-View lineup for Andre Ward vs. Sergey Kovalev 2: "The Rematch" on Saturday, June 17 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. The championship event, presented by Corona Extra, will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View® beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.
Arias will be defending his title and undefeated record against one of the division's top prospects. Magomedov has previously held the WBO's Inter-Continental, Youth and NABO middleweight titles with only a single career loss coming against Andrew Hernandez for the vacant WBC USNBC middleweight title. Both fighters are eager to make an impression during their Las Vegas debut.
"Finally my opportunity has come. The road to the big stage has been long but it's here and I'm ready. It's time to prove to the world that I am a threat to anyone in this division. I have been saying it for some time, my record shows it, but now I'll get the chance to prove it," said Arias. "I'm coming to make a statement on June 17! My opponent has been beat before and will be beat again. Thanks to Roc Nation Sports and my handlers for making this happen. A new star will be born."
"My goal is to be a world champion. I have been waiting for a fight like this. Arias is a tough opponent but I will be ready for him," said Magomedov. "I am so excited to work with my new trainer, Marco Contreras and to fight on HBO Pay-Per-View. Be ready for 'The Predator' on June 17."
"If the heat between the Ward-Kovalev rivalry hasn't been felt yet, then the cross promotional matchup of Roc Nation Sports' Luis Arias and Main Events' Arif Magomedov will certainly add fuel to the fire," said Roc Nation President & Chief of Branding and Strategy Michael R. Yormark. "We are excited to have USBA Middleweight Champion Luis Arias make his Las Vegas debut and open the HBO Pay-Per-View telecast with a title defense on June 17 against Arif Magomedov."