'Revenge: The Rematches', it may not be—but the supporting cast to the highly anticipated rematch between Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin certainly stands tall among any other Pay-Per-View undercard in recent memory.
A second title fight, a potential Fight of the Year candidate and the long-awaited return of a former pound-for-pound king comprise of the PPV-televised undercard for the September 15 bill, which takes place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Golden Boy Promotions and HBO—the latter whom will produce and distribute the event through its PPV arm—formally announced the full undercard on Monday.
“This historic rematch between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin can only be supported by an equally great undercard,” said Oscar De La Hoya, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions in a statement through his company's press office. “That’s why some of the best champions and contenders from all over the world will be featured on this event of international proportions, while some of our brightest prospects will have the opportunity of a lifetime on this undercard so they can one day headline events of this magnitude.”
Topping the preliminary portion of the show, unbeaten Mexican slugger Jaime Munguia will make the second defense of his super welterweight title as he faces Canada's Brandon Cook (20-1, 13KOs).
“It can’t get any bigger for boxing than a Pay-Per-View fight in Las Vegas on Mexican Independence Day," observes Fernando Beltran of Zanfer Promotions, who proudly represents Munguia. "That’s where Jaime Munguia is fighting and that’s where he deserves to fight. He always shows his best on the biggest stages and during biggest moments, so be ready for a spectacular performance from Munguia”
The premium slot will serve as what will already be the fifth fight of 2018 for Munguia (30-0, 25KOs), whose career has ironically taken a turn for the better since being rejected as a late replacement opponent to face Gennady Golovkin on May 5, the original date of his rematch with Alvarez before a steroid scandal slammed the brakes on those plans.
It was decided by the Nevada State Athletic Commission that Munguia—a career-long 154-pound boxer—was too obscure a challenger, not to mention he would be moving up in weight. Golovkin was forced to take his act a littler further west to California, where he slaughtered hopelessly overmatched Vanes Martirosyan in two rounds. Meanwhile, Munguia—who turns just 22 years of age this upcoming October—landed a crack at defending 154-pound titlist Sadam Ali, tearing through the Brooklynite in four brutally one-sided rounds on May 12 to win his first major title.
The highly active 6'0" knockout artist didn't allow his newfound title status to change his rate of activity. Already three fights banked by the time he was done with Ali, Munguia made his first title defense just two months later, soundly outpointing former titlist Liam Smith this past July in Las Vegas.
Within four months of his coronation now comes his second title defense versus Cook, and with the opportunity to ply his trade in front of the biggest audience of his young career.
“I’m very motivated to be in such an important card,” said Munguia. “It will be the most important boxing event of the year. For me it is an honor to be on this card supporting Canelo Alvarez, who is also Mexican, on a date that is so special for Mexico, for me and for all of the people. We will do our best to please the public. I promise to not disappoint.”
On the other side of the equation, Cook looks to upset the apple cart in his first major title fight. The 32-year old from Ontario, Canada has won two straight since his lone loss—a 9th round stoppage at the lethal hands of Kanat Islam last July in his opponent's native Kazakhstan. The bout also represented his only fight outside of his native Canada, and once again steps way up in class for this opportunity—one he plans to rise to the occasion.
“It’s always been a dream for me to fight for a world title," notes Cook. "To be on the biggest fight card of the year with two of my favorite fighters is a dream come true. Jaime Munguia is an exciting, young, up-and-coming fighter. He has great punching power in both hands.
"I’m going to do everything possible to bring that world title back home to Canada. I can’t thank Golden Boy Promotions enough for giving me this opportunity. I have a great team behind me and we will be ready September 15. I’m coming to fight.”
In separate non-title affairs, David Lemieux and Gary 'Spike' O'Sullivan lock horns in a 10-round battle that threatens to steal the show on the excitement front, while former pound-for-pound king Roman 'Chocolatito' Gonzalez returns following a 2017 campaign to forget as he faces Moises Fuentes.
Lemieux (39-4, 33KOs) has won five of his past six starts since his brief middleweight title reign ended at the hands of Golovkin in Oct. '15. Even beyond the lopsided loss to Billy Joe Saunders last December has come the Montreal brawler's infamous struggles at the scales, missing weight twice in the past two years including the cancellation of a planned March '16 comeback bout versus James de la Rosa. His most recent ring appearance saw the former titlist register well beyond the contracted limit in an eventual points win over Karim Achour this past March.
Naturally, there exists major concern as to whether or not he can properly compete at middleweight. The still-optimistic 29-year old banger is more focused on what's left to do.
"I’m looking forward to fighting ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan next," stated Lemieux. "I have some unfinished business at 160. We’re going to take one fight at a time. Spike is an action fighter, like me. He’s a tough cookie and comes to fight. This is a fight for the fans. Come September 15, I want to steal the show.”
O'Sullivan (28-2, 20KOs) has won six straight since a 7th round loss to Chris Eubank Jr. in Dec. '15. Most notable among the lot was his eye-raising 7th round knockout of Antoine Douglas last December in his HBO debut. The performance came on the undercard of Lemieux's loss to Saunders, who handed O'Sullivan his first defeat in a July '13 unanimous decision.
Still, the charismatic hipster from Cork, Ireland knew to raise his game while sharing a card with Lemieux, well aware that the two middleweights could one day meet in the ring.
"This fight is just another step towards fulfilling my ambition of becoming a world champion and providing a good life for my family," promises O'Sullivan. "David Lemieux is just an object in my way that I fully intend smashing through! Then, I want Canelo or GGG—either one, it doesn't matter! I'm going to war!”
Opening the telecast, Gonzalez (46-2, 38 KOs) of Managua, Nicaragua will make what he hopes to be a triumphant return against Mexican veteran Moises “Moi” Fuentes (25-5-1, 14 KOs) in a 10-round super flyweight battle.
Gonzalez said, "I want to thank God for giving me the opportunity to be back in the ring. This will be my second fight in Las Vegas, and I look forward to fighting on this great show. I have been training hard in California and will give a good show for the fans. I respect Moises Fuentes, and he will be a strong challenge for me. I want to thank Mr. Honda of Teiken Promotions, along with GGG Promotions for making this possible for me to be on the biggest show in boxing. I look forward to seeing all of my fans again and promise a good performance in the ring."
Fuentes said, “This will be a difficult fight because of Gonzalez’s style of fighting. But it won’t be impossible. In boxing, nothing is written. I still have what it takes to do it—a good record and a lot of potential. I’m confident I will win this fight and Gonzalez will be a big trampoline for me to join the highest levels of boxing.”