Jorge Linares to Fight Javier Fortuna in August

Jorge Linaresis heading back to the ring this summer…

The 34-year-old Venezuelan professional boxer and three-time world champion will fight Javier Fortuna (35-2-1, 24 KOs) on August 28 at the Fantasy Springs Resort and Casinoin Indio, California.

Jorge Linares

After Linares (47-5, 29 KOs) dispatched Carlos Morales in four rounds on February 14, a showdown with the undefeated Ryan Garcia was heavily rumored for the summer. That fight never materialized, and Linares and his representatives shifted their focus to another fight.

“We wanted that fight [with Garcia], Jorge wanted that fight more than anybody,” said Jose de la Cruz, who manages Linares. “I guess their camp is not being reasonable with Golden Boy.”

In regard to the potential July 4 fight, Garcia representative Lupe Valencia said, “What they offered Ryan was not acceptable. We can’t just accept it if we know it’s not reasonable.”

Eric Gomez, the president of Golden Boy Promotions, told ESPN, “Fortuna was willing to fight pretty much anybody, he was available. So we made the offer to Linares, and he took it right away.”

Gomez said there is a chance that this bout could be contested for the WBC interim lightweight title.

“It was a no-brainer,” said de la Cruz. “I think it’s the right time for Jorge to fight for a world title, and to stay active, number one. He’ll be 35 by the time he fights. How many fights does he have left? We all want to know.”

Linares, who is ESPN’s No. 6 lightweight, has had a memorable career, filled with substantial victories and mind-boggling defeats. 

He’s captured world titles at 126, 130 and 135, but never had a long title run with any of those belts. Linares has victories over the likes of Oscar LariosKevin MitchellAnthony Crolla and Luke Campbell, and gave Vasiliy Lomachenko his toughest test to date as a professional. 

But Linares has also been knocked out in all five of his losses, the latest of which was when he was stopped in the first round by Pablo Cesar Cano in an ill-fated experiment at 140 at the beginning of 2019.

The 31-year-old Fortuna, who is ESPN’s No. 8 lightweight, once held the WBA 130-pound title and had a strong showing as he knocked out a faded Jesus Cuellar in two rounds last November. 

Fortuna, a southpaw from the Dominican Republic presents a formidable challenge for Linares with his above-average power. Should Linares overcome the challenge of Fortuna, he’ll be in line for even bigger fights.

“There’s [DevinHaney,” said De La Cruz, mentioning the current WBC lightweight titleholder as one option. ”If Golden Boy can make the Ryan Garcia fight, if the virus doesn’t affect us late in the year, everything goes well, we want a championship fight or a big fight at the Staples Center. That’s what Golden Boy wants.”

The August 28 Golden Boy card is scheduled to be the promotion’s second of the summer, following a July 24 show headlined by Vergil Ortiz and Samuel Vargas.

Vergil Ortiz Officially Set to Fight Samuel Vargas in Golden Boy’s First Post-Coronavirus Fight Card

Vergil Ortiz is officially ready to rumble…

As previously expected, the 22-year-old highly regarded Mexican American welterweight will face veteran Samuel Vargas on July 24 in Golden Boy‘s first fight card since the coronavirus pandemic put a halt to boxing events across the world in mid-March.

Vergil Ortiz Jr.

The card will take place at the Fantasy Springs Casino Resortin Indio, California.

“We’re just excited, happy to be back with our fighters,” said Eric Gomez, president of Golden Boy Promotions

“Especially a guy like Vergil who was scheduled to fight before the shutdown. He was 10 days out from fighting, so I’m just happy he gets to fight again, and we’re back at it.”

For the time being, Golden Boy’s cards in California will be held without an audience.

Ortiz (15-0, 15 KOs) is considered one of boxing’s best young fighters. The Grand Prairie, Texas native has stopped everyone he has faced thus far as a professional. In 2019, Ortiz stopped Mauricio Herrera in three rounds, and then Antonio Orozco in six.

Ortiz and Vargas were originally scheduled to clash on March 28 at The Forumin Inglewood, California, before that card was canceled.

“I’m very thankful and excited to be headlining the first Golden Boy event after the quarantine,” said Ortiz, who has been training with Robert Garcia in Riverside for the past few weeks. “I’m happy that it’s still with the same opponent, so basically we’re picking up where we left off. It’s going to be a tough fight, and it’ll be a great way to kick off the year for me.”

Ortiz is facing a seasoned veteran in Vargas (31-5-2, 14 KOs), who has faced Amir KhanLuis CollazoDanny Garcia and Errol Spence over the course of his career.

“I think that everything happens for a reason,” said Vargas, who has been in Las Vegas in recent weeks, preparing for this bout. “I think this time off benefited me. I’m ready to upset the world. I believe I can come out with the win. The world is a weird place right now. The show will be different. There will be no fans, but I have no doubt I’m going to win.”

As Golden Boy officials began to put this card together, they found a rather limited pool of options to draw from, in terms of selecting boxers.

“There’s a lot of guys that just weren’t ready,” Gomez said. “They hadn’t been to the gym because [gyms] were closed, they didn’t train, do road work, sparring or anything. Now it’s a little better, but we’re not in the clear yet.”

The co-feature scheduled for July 24 is a 10-round lightweight contest between Hector Tanajara (19-0, 5 KOs) and Mercito Gesta (32-3-3, 17 KOs). Other fights include an eight-round middleweight bout between Shane Mosley Jr. (15-3, 9 KOs) and Jeremy Ramos (11-8, 2 KOs), a women’s junior flyweight fight between Seniesa Estrada (18-0, 7 KOs) and Jacky Calvo(12-5-2, 1 KO), and a clash between prospects Hector Valdez and Evan Sanchez.

There’s no indication when spectators will be allowed back into any sporting events, and from Golden Boy’s perspective, the hope at this point is just to try to get the first few cards off the ground smoothly.

“It’s hard to say. It’s scary. You’ve seen the numbers, they’ve been rising again,” Gomez said. “There have been surges in Florida, here in California. I don’t know what the governor is going to decide. I just hope we don’t get shut down again.”

Vergil Ortiz to Headline Golden Boy Promotions’ Return to Boxing in July

Vergil Ortiz is the Golden Boy of the moment…

The 22-year-old Mexican American boxer and undefeated welterweight will be the headliner when Golden Boy Promotions returns to boxing in July.

Vergil Ortiz Jr.

The original plan for Golden Boy was for the highly marketable and telegenic Ryan Garcia to take part in the main event on the Fourth of July. But the two sides weren’t able to come to a financial agreement. Oscar De La Hoya, the founder of Golden Boy, tweeted about the situation on Monday.

Eric Gomez, the president of GBP, confirmed to ESPN that Ortiz (15-0, 15 KOs), whom many consider the company’s best prospect, would be in the main event of Golden Boy’s first card of the summer. This show will most likely take place at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California, and will be streamed on DAZN

Ortiz was originally scheduled to face Samuel Vargas on March 28 in Los Angeles, before that card was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. It’s expected this fight will be rescheduled for late July.

Canelo Alvarez Open to Fighting Without a Live Audience for Next Bout

Canelo Alvarez is willing to fight with or without an audience…

While no opponent or date has been finalized, Golden Boy Promotions president Eric Gomez says the 29-year-old Mexican boxer doesn’t mind fighting without a live audience in his next post-COVID 19 outing.

Canelo Alvarez

Alvarez, who holds titles at 160 and 168 pounds, is one of the biggest draws in the sport. But regulations related to the coronaviruspandemicwill prevent events from having audiences as fights begin to resume.

“Yes, for the time being, Canelo is open to fighting in September with no fans,” Gomez said Wednesday on “The 3 Knockdown Rule” podcast. “We’re actually discussing all the details now. But he’s open to it.”

As for who Alvarez’s opponent will be and when a fight will take place, Gomez said nothing has been finalized. 

Alvarez was expected to face WBO super middleweight belt-holder Billy Joe Saunders on May 2 in Las Vegas, but that fight didn’t happen because of the pandemic.

For now, the economics of the business have been greatly altered. With no fans and no tickets sold, the numbers involved in overall revenue have shrunk. For a franchise fighter like Alvarez, who signed a ballyhooed, 10-fight, $365 million contract with DAZN in 2018, ticket sales are vital to the bottom line. 

For example, Alvarez’s rematch against Gennadiy Golovkin sold 16,732 tickets at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, netting more than $23.4 million.

The reality is there is currently less money available to everyone involved in the sport.

“It’s going to be tricky. There are certain fighters that are going to accept it. They understand it,” said Gomez, whose company hopes to resume operations on July 4. “There are other fighters that are going to reject it.”

Canelo Alvarez to Challenge Rocky Fielding in an Attempt to Win a Second World Title

Canelo Alvarez is aiming to win another belt…

The 28-year-old Mexican boxer, still celebrating his majority decision victory over Gennady Golovkin to win the unified middleweight world title in their September 15 rematch, will be back in the ring before the end of the year and in a new weight division trying to win another belt.

Canelo Alvarez

Alvarez will move up to the super middleweight division and challenge Rocky Fielding for his secondary world title on December 15 in his first fight at famed Madison Square Garden in New York.

“I’m very excited to announce my next fight. Next December 15th at the New York MSG,” Alvarez wrote on social media. “Taking a big challenge. I will fight for the world title at 168 pounds versus Rocky Fielding, the current WBA champion!”

Alvarez and his team were planning for a possible December 15 fight even before the fight with Golovkin as long as Alvarez came out of the fight healthy.

Although Alvarez (50-1-2, 34 Kos) suffered a nasty cut over his left eye against Golovkin, Golden Boy Promotions president Eric Gomez told ESPN that Alvarez had been told by his doctor that he would be fine to fight in December and would soon be permitted to return to training.

So while Alvarez plans to fight again this year, it is unclear whether he will do the fight with his longtime broadcast partner HBO, which has had him under contract since 2015. A Golden Boy spokesman told ESPN that no decision on a broadcaster has been made yet. HBO announced last week it was giving up its boxing franchise after 45 years of covering the sport.

Esparza Launches Pro Career with Multi-Year Golden Boy Promotions Deal

Marlen Esparza is heading to the big leagues…

The 27-year-old Latina boxer, won the bronze medal in the women’s flyweight division at the 2012 London Games, has decided to go pro, signing a multi-year promotional deal with Golden Boy Promotions on Wednesday.

Marlen Esparza

Esparza, one of the world’s top female amateur boxers will make her professional debut in early 2017, Golden Boy president Eric Gomez said.

“I recently told my fans that I was going pro, and I am happy to announce that it will be the world’s best promotional company — Golden Boy Promotions,” Esparza said. “I am excited to get back into the ring as soon as possible and start climbing the ladder towards winning a professional world title.”

Esparza is the first female fighter signed by Golden Boy, which plans to become much more involved in women’s boxing.

“We really want to jump into women’s boxing,” Gomez said. “We feel she is someone who can revolutionize women’s boxing in the U.S. and bring awareness and excitement. Women’s boxing has been very successful around the world but we’re a little behind in the U.S. She is a smart young woman and she can fight.”

Esparza, who had around 200 amateur fights and lost about 12, won 12 consecutive U.S. national amateur championships and the flyweight gold medal at the 2014 world amateur championships.

She said she wants a world title as a professional and is very confident she will achieve her goal.

“This is a profession and a career for me but could I win a world title tomorrow? I could,” she told ESPN. “I could win it tomorrow but I want to do things correctly and fight my way to the top and do things the way they are supposed to be done, move my way up. I want to earn what I get. What I see myself doing is winning a world title when the time is right and when my team says it’s OK.

“I’m kind of for the first time feeling I’ve arrived. I’ve done so many things, but this (signing with Golden Boy) is something I feel I deserve. I am so ready for this. I’m not scared, I’m ready.”

She said she plans to get back into training right away and will go to England to train over the holidays with her good friend Nicola Adams, who won flyweight Olympic gold medals for Great Britain in 2012 and 2016.

Beyond her ring success, Esparza will come into the pro ranks already having established herself commercially. She has an endorsement deal with CoverGirl cosmetics and has appeared in Spanish-language television ads for Coca-Cola and McDonald’s, among others.

“Before she ever steps foot into the ring as a professional, Marlen Esparza has already established herself as a rising star,” Golden Boy CEO Oscar De La Hoya said. “At Golden Boy Promotions, we pride ourselves on developing fighters and transforming them into the best of the best. We look forward to doing the same with Marlen.”