Javier Martinez Signs Multiyear Contract with Top Rank

Javier Martinez is turning pro…

The 24-year-old Latino fighter, USA Boxing‘s top-rated boxer at 165 pounds, has signed a multiyear contract with Top Rank.

Javier Martinez

The Milwaukee native will make his professional debut on June 30 in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Conference Center.

Martinez won the 2020 U.S. Olympic trials, but he was only selected as an alternate for the team. When that decision was made, Martinez decided to turn professional.

“I knew it would be hard for me to qualify for the Olympics, so when I found out they chose someone else, it made no sense for me to stay,” Martinez said. “I got this opportunity from Top Rank, so why not? I have a great promotional company and manager behind me.”

“I’ve just been beating everyone in the country the past three, four years, so the time was right to make my next move,” he added.

“With Javier’s amateur credentials, fan-friendly style and Top Rank’s amazing track record at developing amateurs into champions, this is a win-win for everyone,” said Tim VanNewhouse, Martinez’s manager. “I look forward to a big future for Javier, and I’m eager for everyone to see his pro debut on ESPN June 30.”

VanNewhouse scouted Martinez extensively before signing him to a management contract after the Olympic trials back in December.

“When you’re watching the amateurs, when you’re looking at the kids, you want to figure out who’s really trying to hurt somebody from the opening bell,” he said. “Javier’s looking to hurt you.”

Martinez, who is trained by Javier Capetillo, captured his first of five national titles at age 13 and won a USA Elite National Championship in 2018.

VanNewhouse says he will be competing as a middleweight as begins his professional journey.

“I do this for my family. I do it for my kid,” said Martinez, a father to a 7-year-old son. “I want to represent Milwaukee and my parents, who came to this country with nothing and built a life for my brothers and me.”

Oscar Valdez to Fight Jayson Velez in Las Vegas Next Month

Oscar Valdez is ready to rumble…

The 29-year-old Mexican boxer and former WBO featherweight champion will face veteran Jayson Velez on July 21 at the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas.

Oscar Valdez

The bout will take place at 130 pounds, according to Frank Espinoza, Valdez’s manager.

“The fight is done, we’re excited about it, Oscar is very happy to be back doing what he loves,” Espinoza told ESPN. 

Top Rank officials confirmed that the fight has been finalized, while the rest of the card is still being formulated.

A victory by Valdez could lead to a showdown with WBC junior lightweight champion Miguel Berchelt. Valdez is No. 1 in the WBC’s 130-pound rankings.

Valdez (27-0, 21 KOs) recently moved up to junior lightweight after making six defenses of his featherweight title between 2016 and 2019. Last November, he had a rocky debut at 130 pounds when he was knocked down early by late replacement Adam Lopez. He rallied to score a seventh-round TKO.

In Velez (29-6-1, 21 KOs), Valdez is facing a seasoned veteran who has been in the ring with a plethora of recognizable names including Ryan Garcia, Ronnie RiosJoseph Diaz and Rene Alvarado

In his most recent outing on February 8, Velez had a very strong showing against Jaime Arboleda but lost on a razor thin split decision in Allentown, Pennsylvania. 

In the 36 professional outings, Velez has never been knocked out.

It’s a pivotal fight for Valdez, who is still looking to find his groove under trainer Eddy Reynoso, while fine-tuning his skills for the formidable Berchelt.

“That’s the fight we want next, that’s the one Oscar is aiming for,” Espinoza said. “We’re hoping that by the fall there can be crowds at fights, because we know how much fans are anticipating it.”

Jose Ramirez’s Bout Against Viktor Postol Could Finally Happen This Summer

The third time could be the charm for Jose Ramirez

The bout between the 27-year-old Mexican American boxer and WBC and IBF junior welterweight champion and mandatory challenger Viktor Postol, twice postponed this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, is now expected to take place this summer, according to Top Rank promoter.

Jose Ramirez,

The fight is expected to take place in the first or second week of August, according to Top Rank, but the date would be contingent on Postol getting into the United States from his native Ukraine, where he’s currently training.

Vadim Kornilov, Postol’s manager, said he’s been trying to expedite Postol’s journey to the U.S.

“We have a reserved ticket for him on Monday. We’ve just been a little bit delayed because of the protests,” Kornilov said, referring to the protests that have been taking place across the U.S. in the aftermath of George Floyd‘s death. “We wanted to see that quiet down before we bring him here to the States. It looks like he’s good to enter with no issues.”

Postol (31-2, 12 KOs) once held the WBC 140-pound title. He typically trains under Freddie Roach in Los Angeles, but all gyms in the city are currently closed.

“We definitely have to wait for restrictions to be taken off as far as the quarantine of the gym and Freddie returning, but in my opinion, that should happen pretty soon,” Kornilov said. “Until then, the plan is for Viktor to just start training at a private gym we can find locally and get back into shape, and then wait for the restrictions to be taken off.”

While Top Rank’s June and July schedule in the States will take place exclusively at the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas, Ramirez’s manager, Rick Mirigian, who has helped market and promote Ramirez into one of the biggest regional draws in the sport in Fresno, California, is hoping to bring this fight to California’s Central Valley.

”I’m preparing options for Top Rank for California, a casino and an arena,” Mirigian said. “I’m going to prepare those options for them to consider.”

Mirigian has had numerous meetings with venues as well as discussions with Andy Foster, the executive officer of the California State Athletic Commission, in the hopes of staging cards with a limited number of spectators. The Save Mart Center in Fresno is Mirigian’s priority, but he declined to disclose what casino he’s also pursued.

“That is the goal — to have some sort of a California audience with the bare minimum. A small ‘studio’ show, which could be Ramirez’s family, some key sponsors, etc. Keep it small,” said Mirigian, who also reiterated that these events would still have social distancing regulations and mandatory masks in the venue.

Ramirez will be relieved just to get back into action and satisfy this fight against his mandatory challenger. If the fight takes place in August, Ramirez will have been out of the ring for more than a year. 

His most recent bout came against Maurice Hooker on July 27, 2019. Since then, he has had his sights set on a fight against Josh Taylor, who has the other two major belts at junior welterweight.

Emanuel Navarrete Stops Jeo Tupas Santisima to Retain 122-Pound Title

Emanuel Navarreteis keeping his title…

The 25-year-old Mexican boxer and junior featherweight world titlist turned in a workmanlike effort in a one-sided 11th-round knockout victory against Jeo Tupas Santisima to retain his 122-pound title on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Emanuel Navarrete

“As I said during the build-up to the fight, I was coming for another knockout victory, and I got it,” Navarrete said through an interpreter. “It took me a little more time than expected. I hurt him a couple of times during the fight, but I got to give it to him; he is a real Filipino warrior. He took a lot of punches and didn’t go down. 

“I hurt my right thumb trying to knock him out, but I knew I was close to stopping him, so I had to keep going.”

Navarrete was making the fifth defense of his junior featherweight belt — all in the past nine months, making him the most active current titlist in boxing.

“This is my fifth successful defense of the world title. Now I want a unification fight,” Navarrete said. “I’ll look at my options, but if I don’t get it soon, I’ll probably move to 126 pounds to challenge the champions at featherweight.”

Navarrete (31-1, 27 KOs), who had the longer reach, established his jab early to keep Santisima off balance while mixing in body shots and left hooks. He pressed forward, throwing combinations while Santisima covered up or threw one punch at a time.

Navarrete had a big fifth round as he landed right-left combinations almost at will. and he had Santisima trapped on the ropes for a large chunk of the round. Navarrete remained in total control with Santisima largely in survival mode during the latter stages of the fight.

Navarrete let his punches fly in the 10th round and appeared to have Santisima (19-3, 16 KOs), 23, of the Philippines, in trouble, but he could not put Santisima away. In the 11th round, Navarrete once again pounded on Santisima, and referee Russell Mora eventually stepped in to stop the fight at 2 minutes, 20 seconds — just as Santisima’s corner was throwing in the towel.

“Navarrete is a great champion, and I gave it my all to bring a world title back to the Philippines. I came up short, but I can hold my head high,” Santisima said.

Miguel to Perform for the First-Time at the Latin Grammys

Miguel is preparing for Latin music’s biggest night…

The 34-year-old Mexican American R&B singer, songwriter, who released the Spanish EP Te Lo Dije earlier this year, is set to perform at this year’s Latin Grammys, according to The Latin Recording Academy.

Miguel

Miguel is part ofthe final wave of performers and presenters joining the star-studded 2019 Latin Grammys lineup.

In addition to Miguel, who performed “Remember Me” with Natalia Lafourcade on the soundtrack to Disney’s Dia de los Muertos-themed animated film Coco, new additions to the performers roster include Alicia KeysFarrukoOzunaResidenteBeto CuevasCalibre 50Leonel GarcíaFito PáezMilly QuezadaTony SuccarCarlos Rivera, and Prince Royce.

Plus, Ángela AguilarEduardo “Visitante” Cabra,Sofia CarsonEmilio EstefanMon LaferteWilliam LevyRudy Mancuso,,Luis Gerardo MéndezMichael Peña, and Dayanara Torres join as presenters. 

Nominees CamiloDe La GhettoPaula FernandesKany GarcíaChristian Nodal and Tommy Torres were previously announced as presenters.

Coined as “the biggest night in Latin Music,” the awards show will kick off with a never-before-seen tribute honoring the 20th Anniversary of the Latin Grammys. A group of 20 artists, who’ll perform together for the first time, will interpret multiple iconic songs spanning various genres of Latin music while commemorating the past 20 years of excellence.

The final roster of performers join already confirmed artists Aitana, Anitta, Pedro CapóJulio Reyes CopelloDarellDimelo FlowFonsecaLuis FonsiGreeicyIntocableNellaReikRosalía, and Alejandro Sanz, who’s this year’s top nominee. 

The awards show will also include performances by Pepe Aguilar and Los Angeles AzulesPaula ArenasBad BunnyAlessia CaraDraco Rosa, Ximena SariñanaSech, Sebastián YatraNatalia Jiménez, Olga Tañón and Juanes, who as the 2019 Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year will perform a medley of his biggest hits.

VicenteAlejandro, and Alex Fernandezwill also take the stage, becoming the first time all three generations of the Fernandez family will perform at the show. They’ll be joined by Mariachi Sol de Mexico

The 20th annual Latin Grammys, which will be co-hosted by Ricky Martin and actresses Roselyn Sánchez and Paz Vega, will air live Nov. 14 from the MGM Grand Garden Arenain Las Vegas via Univision.

Alejandro Fernandez to Perform with Son & Father for the First Time Together at Latin Grammys

Alejandro Fernandezis preparing for a family affair…

The Latin Recording Academy has announced the first group of performers for the 20th Annual Latin Grammy Awards , including all three generations of the Fernandez family.

Alejandro Fernandez,

For the first time, the 48-year-old Mexican singer, his son Alex Fernández and his father Vicente Fernández will perform together. No word yet on what the Fernandez men will sing, but Mariachi Sol de México will accompany them on stage.

Current nominees Paula ArenasBad BunnyAlessia CaraDraco RosaXimena SariñanaSech and Sebastián Yatra are also confirmed to perform, plus Natalia Jiménez and Olga Tañón

As customary, the 2019 Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year (Juanes) is set to perform a medley with his best songs.

Last week, the Latin Recording Academy confirmed that Ricky Martin will host alongside Roselyn Sánchez and Paz Vega

The annual ceremony will broadcast live on Univision on November 14 from 8:00–11:00 pm ET/PT (7:00 pm Central) from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

Leo Santa Cruz to Vie for a Belt in a Fourth Weight Division Against Miguel Flores

Leo Santa Cruz is looking for a fourth world title…

Premier Boxing Champions has announced that the 31-year-old Mexican professional boxer and featherweight world titlist will go for a belt in a fourth weight division when he moves up to junior lightweight to face Miguel Flores for a vacant 130-pound title.

Leo Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz (36-1-1, 19 KOs), who has won world titles at bantamweight, junior featherweight and featherweight, will leave behind the featherweight division having had two title reigns and having made three defenses in his current reign, but not having had the major fight he could have had: a title unification bout against fellow PBCfighter Gary Russell Jr.

“When I first started boxing my dream was to be a world champion, and I’ve been fortunate to win three different world championships in three different divisions,” Santa Cruz said. “I couldn’t imagine winning championships in four divisions. It’s something I never really dreamed of, and I’m very happy about this opportunity.

“I know Flores is another tough Mexican boxer like me. He always comes forward, so it’s going to be a fun fight for the fans. I’m really looking forward to fighting again in Las Vegas at MGM Grand.”

Santa Cruz was supposed to defend his featherweight belt against Flores (24-2, 12 KOs), 27, of Houston, on February 16 in Los Angeles, but Flores suffered an ankle injury and withdrew, and Santa Cruz instead outpointed Rafael Rivera in a one-sided fight.

Flores has won two fights in a row, both in the junior lightweight division.

“I’m extremely excited to be getting this opportunity once again to fight Leo Santa Cruz and win a world title,” Flores said. “This is a dream come true for me, and I’m going to take advantage of the situation.

“This moment in my life is something I’ve envisioned since I was a kid. On November 23, you will see the best version of myself as I plan to be in the best shape of my life, with the goal of becoming a world champion, and what better way to do it than in Las Vegas at MGM Grand. Leo and I are going to put on a great show, that you can guarantee.”

Luis “King Kong” Ortiz to Fight Deontay Wilder in a Highly Anticipated Rematch

Luis “King Kong” Ortizis ready for a rematch…

The 40-year-old Cuban professional boxer and heavyweight world titlist Deontay Wilder have made their long-expected rematch official, formally announcing that they’ll face off again on November 23 at the MGM Grand Garden Arenain Las Vegas.

Luis "King Kong" Ortiz

The Premier Boxing Championsfight will headline a Foxpay-per-view card. 

For Wilder (41-0-1, 40 Kos), who will be making his 10th title defense, retaining his belt is the final hurdle to a much-anticipated rematch with lineal champion Tyson Fury, whom he fought to a disputed draw in December at Staples Center.

If Wilder comes through against Ortiz, Wilder-Fury II is slated to take place on February 22 in a joint ESPN/Fox pay-per-view event in Las Vegas.

On paper, at least, Ortiz looms as a far greater risk to Wilder than Wallin was supposed to be to Fury.

“When I fought Ortiz, not only did he have the pedigree, but also he had the classification of being the boogeyman of the division,” Wilder said. “I agree with those who say that Luis Ortiz was my toughest fight to date. No one wanted to fight him and they still don’t. In the rematch there’s more confidence and more motivation to do what I have to do. I’ve already seen the style before. It’s going to make it more fun. I can’t wait to see how he tries to handle me when I’m at my best.”

Wilder said he was very ill going into their first fight yet still was able to prevail.

Although Wilder and Fury were close to finalizing an immediate rematch after their draw, Fury instead signed with Top Rankto have his fights on ESPN platforms. 

Eventually, however, Top Rank and Premier Boxing Champions, which handles Wilder, worked out a two-fight deal for the rematch and a third fight.

However, Wilder and Fury would each take two interim bouts first. Wilder blew away mandatory challenger Dominic Breazealein the first round May 18, Fury did the same to Tom Schwarzin the second round June 15, and then Fury escaped from Wallin two weeks ago. Now Wilder-Fury II hangs in the balance on the outcome of Wilder-Ortiz II. Ortiz aims to ruin those plans.

“I have to give Deontay Wilder a lot of credit for taking this fight because it shows he has the heart of a true champion,” Ortiz said. “He is not at all scared to take a dangerous fight, because let’s be honest, this is the most dangerous fight for him. In my opinion, he’s the best heavyweight in the world until someone beats him, a nd that’s exactly what I’m going to do on November 23. ‘King Kong’ is coming to Las Vegas!”

Wilder first faced Ortizin March 2018 in what turned out to be a dramatic fight-of-the-year contender after a slow start over the first four rounds. Wilder knocked Ortiz down in the fifth round, then nearly got stopped during an Ortiz onslaught of punches in the seventh round before rallying for a punishing 10th-round knockout victory.

Ortiz (31-1, 26 KOs), a power-punching southpaw from Cuba fighting out of Miami, who has twice failed tests for performance-enhancing drugs, has won three fights in a row since the loss to Wilder, including on the Wilder-Fury undercard.

Alejandro Sanz Tops List of Latin Grammy Nominees with Eight Nods

Alejandro Sanz is this year’s Latin Grammys darling…

The 50-year-old Spanish singer/songwriter is the top-nominated artist for the 20th annual Latin Grammy Awards

Alejandro Sanz

Sanz, a 17-time Latin Grammy winner, is up for eight awards this year, including Album of the Year and Best Contemporary Pop Vocal Album, for #ElDisco

Additionally, two of Sanz’s tracks — “No Tengo Nada” and “Mi Persona Favorita” (featuring Camila Cabello, a three-time nominee this year) — are competing against each other in the Song of the Year and Record of the Yearcategories.

Sanz’s compatriot Rosalía is nominated for five awards.

The 26-year-old Spanish singer’s groundbreaking flamenco set El Mal Querer will go head to head against Sanz, her advocate (Rosalía sang at Sanz’s Person of the Year tribute in 2017) in the Album of the Year and Best Contemporary Pop Vocal Albumcategories. 

Rosalía also has three separate singles, only one of them from her album, competing in different categories: “Aute Couture,” is up for Record of the Year; “Con Altura” with J Balvin, and featuring El Guincho, is up for Best Urban Song; and “Pienso en tu Mirá” (from El Mal Querer) is up for Best Pop SongEl Mal Querer is up for Best Engineered Albumand Best Recording Package. El Guincho, Rosalía’s co producer, is also up for five awards.

This year’s nominations skewed more pop and alternative, with urban totally absent from the main categories (minus Rosalía’s genre-bending fare). It almost felt like a rebuke against a global trend that has seen Latin urban music in all its forms gather record-breaking views on YouTube, streams on Spotify and Apple and positions on the Billboardcharts.

Instead, artists like Bad Bunny (with two nominations), Ozuna and Daddy Yankee(with only one each), were found only in the urban categories. 

The most nods in the urban/reggaeton realm went to newcomer Sech, with three, including his multi-artist “Otro Trago,” which competes in the Best Urban Songcategory against Ozuna(“Baila Baila”), ChocQuibtown’s  “Pa Olvidarte”; Rosalía and J Balvin’s “Con Altura”; and De La Ghetto’s “Caliente” featuring J Balvin. 

Following Rosalía, veterans Juan Luis GuerraFonseca and Andrés Calamaro are up for four awards each, as is percussionist and bandleader Tony Succar. All have nominations in the main categories, with Fonseca, Calamaro and Succar all vying for Album of the Year. Meanwhile, Guerra’s “Kitipún,” a slow bachata with jazz undertones, is up for Song and Record of the Year. 

In video of the year, the representation came in the form of social commentary from Brazil (via Criolo’s “Boca du Lobo,” a harrowing look at Brazil’s societal crisis) and Spain (with rapper Nach’s “Los Zurdos Vienen Antes”). 

This year’s Best New Artist nominees include Argentine trap star Paulo Londra; Colombian rising star Greeicy; and Nella, a Venezuelan jazz singer from Berklee College of Music

Nominations to the Latin Grammys were selected from approximately 15,500 submissions across 50 categories, of recordings released during the eligibility period (June 1, 2018 through May 31, 2019).

The Latin Grammys will air live on November 14 from Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arenain Las Vegas on Univision

Here’s a partial list of nominees. (For a full list, visit http://Latingrammy.com.)

Record Of The Year:
“Parecen Viernes” — Marc Anthony
“Verdades Afiladas” — Andrés Calamaro
“Ahí Ahí” — Vicente García
“Kitipun” — Juan Luis Guerra 4.40
“Querer Mejor” — Juanes Featuring Alessia Cara
“La Plata” — Juanes Featuring Lalo Ebratt
“Aute Couture” — Rosalía
“Mi Persona Favorita” — Alejandro Sanz & Camila Cabello
“No Tengo Nada” — Alejandro Sanz
“Cobarde” — Ximena Sariñana

Song Of The Year:
“Calma” — Pedro Capó, Gabriel Edgar González Pérez & George Noriega, songwriters (Pedro Capó)
“Desconstrução” — Tiago Iorc, songwriter (Tiago Iorc)
“El País” — Rubén Blades, songwriter (Rubén Blades)
“Kitipun” — Juan Luis Guerra, songwriter (Juan Luis Guerra 4.40)
“Mi Persona Favorita” — Camila Cabello & Alejandro Sanz, songwriters (Alejandro Sanz & Camila Cabello)
“No Tengo Nada” — Alejandro Sanz, songwriter (Alejandro Sanz)
“Quédate” — Kany García & Tommy Torres, songwriters (Kany García & Tommy Torres)
“Querer Mejor” — Rafael Arcaute, Alessia Cara, Camilo Echeverry, Juanes, Mauricio Montaner, Ricardo Montaner & Tainy, songwriters (Juanes Featuring Alessia Cara)
“Un Año” — Mauricio Rengifo, Andrés Torres & Sebastián Yatra, songwriters (Sebastián Yatra Featuring Reik)
“Ven” — Fonseca, songwriter (Fonseca)

Best Pop Song:
“Bailar” — Leonel García, songwriter (Leonel García)
“Buena Para Nada” — Paula Arenas, Luigi Castillo & Santiago Castillo, songwriters (Paula Arenas)
“Mi Persona Favorita” — Camila Cabello & Alejandro Sanz, songwriters (Alejandro Sanz & Camila Cabello)
“Pienso En Tu Mirá” — Antón Álvarez Alfaro, El Guincho & Rosalía, songwriters (Rosalía)
“Ven” — Fonseca, songwriter (Fonseca)

Best Urban Fusion/Performance:
“Tenemos Que Hablar” — Bad Bunny
“Calma (Remix)” — Pedro Capó & Farruko
“Pa’ Olvidarte (Remix)” — ChocQuibtown, Zion & Lennox, Farruko Featuring Manuel Turizo
“Con Calma” — Daddy Yankee Featuring Snow
“Otro Trago” — Sech Featuring Darell

Best Urban Music Album:
Kisses— Anitta
X 100Pre — Bad Bunny
Mi Movimiento— De La Ghetto
19 — Feid
Sueños — Sech

Best Urban Song:
“Baila Baila Baila” — Ozuna & Vicente Saavedra, songwriters (Ozuna)
“Caliente” — J Balvin, René Cano, De La Ghetto & Alejandro Ramirez, songwriters (De La Ghetto Featuring J Balvin)
“Con Altura” — J Balvin, Mariachi Budda, Frank Dukes, El Guincho, Alejandro Ramirez & Rosalía, songwriters (Rosalía & J Balvin Featuring El Guincho)
“Otro Trago” — Kevyn Mauricio Cruz, Kevin Mauricio Jimenez Londoño, Bryan Lezcano Chaverra, Josh Mendez, Sech & Jorge Valdes, songwriters (Sech Featuring Darell)
“Pa’ Olvidarte” — René Cano, ChocQuibtown, Kevyn Cruz Moreno, Juan Diego Medina Vélez, Andrés David Restrepo, Mateo Tejada Giraldo, Andrés Uribe Marín, Juan Vargas & Doumbia Yohann, songwriters (ChocQuibTown)

Best Alternative Music Album:
Latinoamericana— Alex Anwandter
Discutible —Babasónicos
Bach — Bandalos Chinos
Prender Un Fuego— Marilina Bertoldi
Norma— Mon Laferte

Best Traditional Tropical Album:
Andrés Cepeda Big Band(En Vivo)— Andrés Cepeda
Vereda Tropical— Olga Cerpa y Mestisay
Lo Nuestro— Yelsy Heredia
A Journey Through CubanMusic— Aymée Nuviola
La Llave Del Son— Septeto Acarey

Best Singer-Songwriter Album:
Acústica— Albita
Contra El Viento— Kany García
Amor Presente— Leonel García
Algo Ritmos— Kevin Johansen
Intuición— Gian Marco

Best Ranchero/Mariachi Album:
Mi Persona Preferida— El Bebeto
Sigue La Dinastía… — Alex Fernández
Más Romántico Que Nunca— Vicente Fernández
Indestructible— Flor De Toloache
Ahora — Christian Nodal

Best Norteño Album:
Por Más —Bronco
Las Canciones De La Abuela— Buyuchek
Mitad Y Mitad— Calibre 50
Percepción — Intocable
Amo — La Maquinaria Norteña

Best Long Form Music Video:
“Anatomía De Un Éxodo” — Mastodonte
“Piazzolla, Los Años Del Tiburón” — Astor Piazzolla
“Hotel De Los Encuentros” — Draco Rosa
“Lo Que Fui Es Lo Que Soy” — Alejandro Sanz
“Déjame Quererte” — Carlos Vives

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.