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.”

Marlen Esparza to Fight Lucia Nunez in March

Marlen Esparzais ready to rumble…

The 30-year-old Mexican American boxer will box on Golden Boy Promotions’ “Thursday Night Fights” series (DAZN/RingTV.com, 10:00 pm ET) on March 19 at the Avalon in Hollywood, California.

Marlen Esparza

Esparza joins a card that includes Joet Gonzalezand Lamont Roach, all coming off decision losses in world title bouts.

Esparza (7-1, 1 KO), who was a 2012 U.S. Olympicbronze medalist, will face Lucia Nunez(7-10), 29, of Mexico, in a six-round, women’s junior bantamweight bout.

In Esparza’s last fight, on November 2 in Las Vegas on the Canelo AlvarezSergey Kovalevundercard, she lost a ninth-round technical decision because of a bad cut from an accidental head-butt against rival Seniesa Estradafor a vacant interim women’s flyweight title.

“I’m ready to get back in the ring,” Esparza said. “There were multiple factors that made this last fight a real learning experience, but this next round of professional boxing is just the beginning of much more. I’m looking forward to coming out with the new strategies that I’ve been learning and switching up my game a bit.”

Gonzalez (23-1, 14 KOs), 26, of Glendora, California, will square off with former world title challenger Chris Avalos (27-7, 20 KOs), 30, of Lancaster, California, in a 10-round featherweight fight.

Gonzalez will be fighting for the first time since he faced bitter rival Shakur Stevenson for a vacant featherweight world title on October 26 in Reno, Nevada, and lost a near-shutout decision.

“I can’t wait to step back into the ring,” Gonzalez said. “I fought for a world title, so I know what it’s like to be at that level. Now, I’ll be coming back with an even stronger desire to become a world champion. This March 19, I will not disappoint.”

Avalos has lost two fights in a row but has vast experience, including in losses in world title bouts to Carl Frampton and Leo Santa Cruz and to Oscar Valdezin a nontitle bout.

“We’re coming to win,” Avalos said. “We’re back on track. The old Chris Avalos is back. (Gonzalez) may think I’m a joke. You may think I’m washed up. But I’m coming to kick your ass. Keep your hands (up) or you will see what happens.”

Roach (19-1-1, 7 KOs), 24, of Washington, will face Neil John Tabanao(17-7, 11 KOs), 25, of the Philippines, in a 10-round junior lightweight bout in the co-feature.

Roach will be in the ring for the first time since he lost a competitive unanimous decision as the mandatory challenger for 130-pound world titlist Jamel Herringon November 9 in Fresno, California.

“I’ve been itching to get back in that square to show that I’m the best at 130,” Roach said. “My last fight was just a glimpse, but this year it’s all the way up with me.”

Tabanao is coming off three 10-round decision losses in a row, all against undefeated fighters.

“I’m looking forward to this fight against Lamont Roach Jr.,” Tabanao said. “I know that he’s coming off his first loss and that he wants to fight for a world title again. However, I more experience than he, and I know how to score an upset.”

Patrick Teixeira Wins Hard-Fought Bout Against Carlos Adames to Earn Vacant Interim World Title

Patrick Teixeirais officially a world titleholder…

Despite a bloodied face, the 28-year-old Brazilian professional boxer and junior middleweight won a hard-fought unanimous decision over Carlos Adames to win a vacant interim world title on Saturday night at The Chelseaat The Cosmopolitanof Las Vegas.

Patrick Teixeira

The judges scored the fight 116-111, 114-113 and 114-113 for Teixeira, who earned the winning margin on two scorecards on the strength of a knockdown in the final moments of the seventh round.

“It was tough with the cuts, but I was able to get through it because of my experience,” Teixeira said. “It was a little harder, but my corner did an excellent job on the cuts. I am very happy to bring a world title back to Brazil. I want to make boxing bigger in Brazil. Soccer is our biggest sport, and this is a great moment for boxing in my country.”

Patrick Teixeira

It was an action-packed battle that began as a boxing match as Teixeira, a southpaw, gave Adames trouble with his movement and jab in the early going. But the aggressive Adames got into the fight in the third round when he found a home for his body shots. He also landed stiff, straight right hands and looked like he would be able to overpower Teixeira.

The Robert Garcia-trained Adames (18-1, 14 KOs), 25, of the Dominican Republic, opened a cut under Teixeira’s swelling left eye in the fourth round and continued to force him back with heavy shots. He opened a cut under his right eye in the fifth round even though Teixeira rebounded in the round to land combinations that had Adames a little shaky.

The seventh round was a wild one. Adames was pounding Teixeira and landed three tremendous uppercuts that rocked his head back. It looked like he might stop Teixeira at any moment when the Golden Boy-promoted Teixeira (31-1, 22 KOs) suddenly rebounded to connect with multiple rights hooks and then a left hand to the chin that dropped Adames to his rear end along the ropes in the final seconds of the round. It was the first time Adames had been knocked down, and it ultimately cost him the fight.

They continued to battle on seemingly even terms, with Adames the heavier hitter but Teixeira’s movement and punches from unusual angles giving Adames problems.

“We are so proud of Patrick Teixeira,” Golden Boy CEO Oscar De La Hoyasaid. “It was a brutal and bloody war, but Teixeira really dug deep to earn himself the most important win of his career against a very dangerous fighter. We look forward to starting the new year with yet another champion in our stable.”

Teixeira won his fifth fight in a row since his only defeat, a second-round knockout to former world title challenger Curtis Stevensin May 2016.

The fight was initially slated to be a title eliminator for the right to become the mandatory challenger for 154-pound world titleholder Jaime Munguia, but on Tuesday, the WBO sanctioned the bout for its interim belt because Munguia announced his next fight would be at middleweight. Munguia likely will vacate the junior middleweight belt, and Teixeira is expected to be upgraded to the full titleholder during next week’s annual WBO convention in Tokyo.

Canelo Alvarez to Challenge Light Heavyweight World Titlist Sergey Kovalev in November

It’s a case of a little gain for the pain for Canelo Alvarez..

The 29-year-old Mexican professional boxer and middleweight world champion is set to climb two weight divisions to challenge light heavyweight world titlist Sergey Kovalev.

Canelo Alvarez

In a fight finalized on Friday, Alvarez and Kovalev will meet on November 2 (DAZN) at the MGM Grand Garden Arenain Las Vegas. 

Alvarez didn’t demand a catchweight in an attempt to drop Kovalev below the division limit of 175 pounds.

Golden Boy Promotionshad hoped to stage the fight at the larger T-Mobile Arena, but the NHL‘s Vegas Golden Knightshave a home game on November 2.

Kovalev is by far the biggest name in the light heavyweight division.

Alvarez, who pressed for the fight, will have the opportunity to win a world title in a fourth weight division after claiming belts at junior middleweight and middleweight and a secondary title at super middleweight.

If Alvarez wins, he would become only the fourth fighter in boxing history to win world titles at junior middleweight and light heavyweight. The other three — Sugar Ray LeonardThomas Hearnsand Mike McCallum— are in the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

“The second phase of my career is continuing just as we had planned, and that’s why we are continuing to make great fights to enter into the history books of boxing,” Alvarez said. “That’s also why I’ve decided to jump two weight classes against one of the most feared champions of recent years.

“Kovalev is a dangerous puncher, and he’s naturally the bigger man, but that’s the kind of challenges and risks that I like to face.”

Alvarez, boxing’s biggest star, has never fought at a weight heavier than 167¼ pounds, which is what he was for his third-round knockout win over Rocky Fieldingto win a secondary super middleweight belt in New York in December. Alvarez returned to the 160-pound middleweight division for his next fight in May, a unanimous decision to unify three belts against Daniel Jacobs.

The deal between Golden Boy, Alvarez’s promoter, and Main Events, which represents Kovalev, had been close for the past week. It got hung up, sources told ESPN, when Top Rank— which has rights to Kovalev stemming from a deal it made with Main Events to put his February rematch with Eleider “Storm” Alvarezon ESPN+— sought a low seven-figure fee to give up its involvement in the bout.

After days at a stalemate, Main Events agreed Wednesday to pay Top Rank what it was seeking. Once that contract was signed, Main Events signed the deal it had made with Golden Boy to finalize the November 2 fight. Part of the agreement gives DAZN rights to future Kovalev fights, at least one if he beats Alvarez — possibly a rematch — and two if he loses, before he would return to ESPN under his Top Rank agreement, according to a source.

Eduardo “Rocky” Hernandez Signs Co-Promotional Deal with Golden Boy Promotions

Eduardo “Rocky” Hernandezhas a new deal…

The 21-year-old Mexican junior lightweight boxer, one of Mexico’s most highly touted up-and-coming boxers, has signed a co-promotional agreement with Golden Boy Promotions, according to CEO Oscar De La Hoya.

Eduardo "Rocky" Hernandez

Hernandez, who is also co-promoted by Promociones del Pueblo, one of Mexico’s leading promoters, will make his United States debut in his first fight of the deal. 

He’ll face Ibrahim Class in a 10-round fight on March 30 on the undercard of the Ryan GarciaJose Lopez lightweight bout at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California.

De La Hoya and Oswaldo Kuchleof Promociones del Pueblo have worked together over the years, and they both hope the partnership will help launch Hernandez (27-0, 24 KOs), 21, to stardom.

“At Golden Boy, we are in the business of working with fighters from all over the world and making them into international stars,” De La Hoya said, listing an impressive roster of fighters that Golden Boy helped build into well-known names, including Deontay WilderAdrien BronerDaniel JacobsMarcos MaidanaAbner Maresand Jermell and Jermall Charlo.

“We’re doing it presently with the biggest star in the sport, Canelo Alvarez, along with world champions such as Jaime Munguia, Rey VargasXu CanAngel Acosta and Andrew Cancio; and we have the next generation of stars with Ryan Garcia, Vergil Ortiz, and Lamont Roach Jr.

“This company knows how to work with fighters from all kinds of backgrounds,” De La Hoya continued, “so we’re more than ready to join forces with Oswaldo Kuchle and Promociones del Pueblo to co-promote Rocky Hernandez as he begins to make big waves in the stacked 130-pound division.”

Hernandez turned pro at age 16 in February 2014.

“I’m very delighted to be presented to fans in the United States,” Hernandez said. “I am preparing very hard to give a great fight to the fans on March 30, and God willing, I will walk away with my hand raised. I have a tough opponent in front of me, but I am training very hard.”Class (22-5, 10 KOs), 28, of Tanzania, also will be fighting in the U.S. for the first time.

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.

Canelo Alvarez Edges Gennady Golovkin by Majority Decision to Capture the WBC and WBA Middleweight Titles

Saul Canelo” Alvarez is el campeon

The 29-year-old Mexican superstar boxer scored the signature win of his career in this weekend’s long-awaited rematch with Gennady Golovkin, capturing the WBC and WBA middleweight titles by a majority decision in a classic encounter that all but guarantees a third installment in May.

Canelo Alvarez

Two of the finest pure fighters of their generation treated the sellout crowd of 21,965 at the T-Mobile Arena to a contest of extreme physical and psychological intensity that managed even to surpass their electric first meeting last year, which ended in a widely derided split draw.

This one was just as close and not entirely beyond dispute, merely flecked by controversy rather than defined by it.

Ringside judges Dave Moretti and Steve Weisfeld scored it 115-113 to Álvarez, while Glenn Feldman had it 114-114.

Álvarez (50-1-2, 34 KOs), the popular red-haired boxer from Guadalajara, now adds Golovkin’s belts at 160lbs to the lineal middleweight title he earned by virtue of a 2015 win over Miguel Cotto.

“I showed my victory with facts,” Álvarez said afterward through an interpreter. “He was the one who was backing up. I feel satisfied because I gave a great fight. It was a clear victory.”

For Golovkin (38-1-1, 34 KOs), the razor-thin verdict marked his first defeat in 40 professional fights, the first at any level since the 2005 amateur world championships, and ended his division-record streak of 20 consecutive middleweight title defenses on level terms with Bernard Hopkins, who incidentally is a minor stakeholder in Golden Boy Promotions, which promotes Álvarez.