Andy Ruiz Returning to Ring to Fight Luis Ortiz in September

Andy Ruiz is returning to the ring…

The 32-year-old Mexican American boxer, a former heavyweight champion, will fight Luis Ortiz on September 4 in Los Angeles, according to ESPN.

Andy RuizThe fight, which ESPN reported was signed in April, will be a PBC on Fox PPV event, sources said.

The fight will be Ruiz’s first in 15 months, and he’ll enter it with a new trainer for the second time in two fights. Ruiz is now training with Alfredo Osuna after he parted ways with Eddy Reynoso, sources said. Reynoso is best known as the trainer of boxing’s top star, Canelo Alvarez.

Ruiz (34-2, 22 KOs) became the first heavyweight champion of Mexican descent when he defeated Anthony Joshua via seventh-round TKO in June 2019, in a bout that was named ESPN‘s 2019 Upset of the Year. Six months later, Joshua regained his three heavyweight titles with a unanimous-decision victory over Ruiz in Saudi Arabia.

Ruiz admitted he was not in shape when he fought Joshua in the rematch. He weighed a career-high 283.5 pounds and was lethargic during the fight, in stark contrast to the first bout, when he weighed 268 and consistently beat Joshua to the punch with his lightning-quick hands.

The Southern Californian has fought just once since the rematch, a May 2021 decision win over Chris Arreola. Ruiz weighed 256 pounds for that bout but was surprisingly dropped in Round 2 and struggled at times during the first half before he took control.

Ruiz, ESPN’s No. 5 heavyweight, underwent surgery on his right knee in August and will now prepare for just his second fight since he lost his three titles to Joshua.

Ortiz, ESPN’s No. 8 heavyweight, has twice challenged for the WBC heavyweight title, and both times he was knocked out by Deontay Wilder. The 43-year-old was ahead on the scorecards in the November 2019 rematch when Wider scored the spectacular KO.

Since the setback, Ortiz (33-2, 28 KOs) has fought twice. The 43-year-old scored a first-round KO of journeyman Alexander Flores before he met Charles Martin on New Year’s Day 2022.

Ortiz was floored in the opening round and again in the fourth but rallied for a brutal stoppage in Round 6.

The winner of Ruiz-Ortiz will be in prime position for another heavyweight title shot next year. Tyson Fury holds one title, while Oleksandr Usyk and Joshua will meet in a rematch for three belts on August 20 in Saudi Arabia.

Daniel Roman to Fight Defending Unified 122-Pound Champion Stephen Fulton

Daniel Roman is hoping to take down a champion…

Stephen Fulton will defend his unified 122-pound championship against the 31-year-old Mexican American boxer in a PBC on Showtime main event on June 4, according to ESPN.

Daniel RomanRoman is former unified super bantamweight champion, having held the WBA (Unified), and IBF titles from 2019 to January 2020, and previously the WBA (Regular) title from 2017 to 2019.

Fulton and Roman are among the sport’s most reliable-action fighters, two volume-punchers who fight aggressively but with craft.

Fulton (20-0, 8 KOs) threw over 1,110 punches when he outpointed Angelo Leo in January 2021 to win his first title. The Philadelphia-native then added a second belt with a thrilling majority decision victory over Brandon Figueroa in November.

If Fulton, ESPN‘s No. 1-rated junior featherweight, can triumph over Roman, a matchup with Murodjon Akhmadaliev would crown an undisputed champion. But first, he needs to get past Roman.

Roman, ESPN‘s No. 5 122-pounder, has won two bouts since a split decision loss to Akhmadaliev in a January 2020 title fight.

The Los Angeles native made four successful defenses of his title before the defeat.

Brian Castano’s Undisputed Junior Middleweight Championship Fight Against Jermell Charlo Rescheduled for May

There’s a new date for Brian Castano’s next bout…

The rematch between the 32-year-old Argentine professional boxer and Jermell Charlo for the undisputed junior middleweight championship has been rescheduled for May 14 on Showtime, according to ESPN.

Brian Castaño,

The 154-pound bout for all four titles was set for March 19 in Los Angeles but was postponed after Castano (17-0-2, 12 KOs) sustained a minor right biceps tear.

The injury, sources said, occurred last month when Castano was accidently elbowed in the arm by junior middleweight Terrell Gausha.

Castano will resume sparring in approximately two weeks, his manager, Sebastian Contoursi, told ESPN.

Gausha was preparing for a fight with Tim Tszyu, the son of Hall of Famer Kostya Tszyu, on the undercard. The WBO called for Castano to defend his title against mandatory challenger Tszyu rather than face Charlo (34-1-1, 18 KOs) after the postponement, but PBC was able to appease the Australian and the Puerto Rico-based organization with an impromptu March 26 Showtime card in Minneapolis headlined by Tszyu-Gausha, sources said.

PBC also had to satisfy Main Events, which promotes Bakhram Murtazaliev, the mandatory challenger to Charlo’s IBF title. Murtazaliev will once again receive step-aside money to allow Charlo to compete in a more meaningful fight, sources said.

The WBO pushed for Charlo-Castano to take place no later than April 30, but the boxing schedule is stacked from April 16 through May 7; May 14 was the earliest viable date. The organization finally approved the title fight late Thursday evening.

The rematch was set to take place at Los Angeles’ Crypto.com Arena, but with multiple NBA teams and an NHL team that could potentially have playoff games, there’s no location finalized at this time.

When Charlo and Castano first met in July, they produced an exhilarating fight worthy of the undisputed championship. Castano appeared to deserve the decision but was forced to settle for a draw in a highly controversial verdict.

One judge scored the fight for Castano, 114-113, while another turned in a puzzling 117-111 scorecard for Charlo. A third judge scored it 114-114.

Charlo is 1-0 in rematches. The 31-year-old Texan’s only pro defeat came via disputed decision against Tony Harrison in 2018. One year later, Charlo exacted revenge with an 11th-round KO. The twin brother of middleweight champion Jermall Charlo, Jermell is ESPN’s No. 2 junior middleweight.

Castano, who is training in Southern California but resides in Argentine, won the title with a unanimous-decision victory over Patrick Teixeira in February 2021. ESPN’s No. 1 junior middleweight also drew with Erislandly Lara in one of the best fights of 2019.

Yordenis Ugas to Fight Errol Spence Jr in Welterweight Title Unification Fight

Yordenis Ugas is ready for a unification bout…

will receive his shot at Errol Spence Jr. after all.

Yordenis Ugas,The 35-year-old Cuban professional boxer and reigning WBA welterweight champion will fight Errol Spence Jr. for a welterweight title unification fight that will take place in March or April on pay-per-view at a location to be determined, according to ESPN.

Ugas (27-4, 12 KOs) had previously protested when the WBA mandated that he next defend his welterweight title against Eimantas Stanionis, but the latter boxer has agreed to step aside, WBA president Gilberto Mendoza told ESPN on Sunday, paving the way for Ugas to fight Spence.

Spence and Ugas, who are both aligned with Al Haymon‘s PBC, are in the process of finalizing a deal

Spence’s WBC and IBF titles will be on the line, while Ugas will put up his WBA belt at 147 pounds. The other division title, the WBO strap, is held by Terence Crawford.

“Thanks to the WBA for doing the right thing,” Ugas tweeted. “It is an award for my dedication, and for being a brave man in and out of the ring. I will be fighting one of the best [pound-for-pound]. I’m a warrior. First Cuban fighting [for] three belts [in] one night. Thanks [to] all the fans who asked for this fight.”

Spence (27-0, 21 KOs) was slated to fight Manny Pacquiao in August but withdrew after he suffered a detached retina in training. Ugas stepped in on 11 days’ notice and scored the upset of the future Hall of Famer, sending Pacquiao into retirement with a loss.

Ugas was in talks to fight Spence before Pacquiao accepted the assignment, and he hoped to reschedule the bout after the biggest win of his career (Spence was cleared to resume training on Nov. 1.) But the WBA planned to stick to its four-man box-off in an attempt to create only one champion at 147 pounds.

In one of those bouts, Butaev (14-0, 11 KOs) scored a ninth-round stoppage of Jamal James in October. Ugas and Stanionis (13-0, 9 KOs) were meant to fight each other in the other bout. Now, Butaev, a 28-year-old Russian, will meet Stanionis for the right to face the winner of Spence-Ugas after the WBA “agreed to modify the tournament from its original decision,” Mendoza said.

“Eimantas is looking forward to beating Butaev on the Spence vs. Ugas card and then fight the winner,” Schaefer said. “He is ready for anyone in the welterweight division.”

Stanionis, a 27-year-old Lithuanian, fought Luis Collazo in August, but the bout resulted in a no decision after a clash of heads resulted in a deep cut for Collazo.

Meanwhile, Spence, one of the biggest attractions in boxing, prepares for yet another comeback without a tuneup bout. The 31-year-old from DeSoto, Texas, was hospitalized with serious injuries in a single-car accident in October 2019.

He returned in December 2020 with a victory over Danny Garcia but hasn’t competed since.

Brian Castaño to Face Off Against Jermell Charlo Once Again in February

Brian Castaño is ready to prove he’s the best…

The 32-year-old Argentine professional boxer and Jermell Charlo will meet once again to determine the best junior middleweight in the world.

Brian Castaño,Castaño and Charlo have agreed to terms for a rematch on February 26, 2022, at Toyota Center in Houston that will crown an undisputed 154-pound champion, multiple sources have told ESPN.

All four belts were set to be unified in July, but the bout resulted in a draw. The rematch was threatened by sanctioning body obligations, but it’s expected both mandatory challengers — Tim Tszyu and Bakhram Murtazaliev — will step aside.

“I think … he will try to avoid [the rematch],” Castano, ESPN’s No. 1 junior middleweight, said after the first bout. “He will probably come up with something else. But in reality, it is me who is going to give him the rematch. If he doesn’t want it, OK. We move on to the next fight.”

Only Charlo (34-1-1, 18 KOs) didn’t try to elude the encore encounter. He swept the final three rounds on all three scorecards to pull out the draw, but even he acknowledged the 117-111 tally was “kind of a large range.”

“I do believe I won the fight; I don’t believe it was that close,” said Charlo, ESPN’s No. 2 junior middleweight. “I should be undisputed right now.”

Charlo will have his chance to enter that rarified air once again, and this time, the fight will land in his hometown. The 31-year-old avenged his only loss — a controversial decision vs. Tony Harrison — via 11th-round KO in 2019.

Against Castano, it was Charlo who was on the beneficial end of the controversy. He won the fight 114-113 on one card, with the same score in favor of Castano on the other.

The PBC fight was exhilarating from the opening bell, with Castano (17-0-2, 12 KOs) applying nonstop pressure and Charlo seeking counter-punching opportunities. Down on the scorecards and on the brink of losing his three titles, Charlo connected on a fight-altering counter left hook in Round 10, but the knockdown never materialized.

“He was like belligerent all over the ring; he could barely stand up,” said Jermell Charlo, the twin brother of middleweight champion Jermall Charlo. “I just couldn’t get him out of there. He’s tough as f—.”

Seven months later, Charlo will have another opportunity to prove he’s the best 154-pounder in the world. And so will Castano, who left San Antonio with a bitter taste in his mouth.

“I feel that they robbed me,” Castano said. “I’m not taking anything away from Charlo. He’s a big puncher. He caught me with some good punches at times, but I survived, and overall, I thought I won the fight.

“And needless to say, I want the rematch because he still has the three belts that I need and feel should be mine.”

Canelo Alvarez Defeats Caleb Plant to Become Undisputed Super Middleweight Champion

Canelo Alvarez has a new title…

For the first time in his career, the 31-year-old Mexican professional boxer can call himself an undisputed champion.

Canelo Alvarez

Alvarez, the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world and the sport’s biggest attraction, promised to punish Caleb Plant, and on Saturday he did just that with an 11th-round TKO victory at a sold-out MGM Grand Garden Arena to unify all four 168-pound titles.

A left hook followed by a brutal right uppercut sent both of Plant’s gloves to the canvas in the penultimate round. He never recovered. On unsteady legs, Plant (21-1, 12 KOs) attempted to escape danger, but Alvarez (57-1-2, 39 KOs) sensed the moment. He closed in with a barrage of shots that dropped Plant a second time as referee Russell Mora halted the bout at 1:05 of Round 11.

“It means so much to me, for the history of Mexico, to be an undisputed champion,” said Alvarez, who earned a guaranteed $40 million. “My respect to Caleb Plant. He’s a very difficult fighter with a lot of ability. I do respect the fighter.

“We’re men at the end. He wanted to continue. I said, ‘There’s no shame. We had a great fight today.'”

Plant, who earned a career-best $10 million, was transported to University Medical Center for observation, according to a PBC spokesperson. He was behind on all three scorecards at the time of the stoppage: 96-94, 98-92 and 97-93. ESPN scored it 98-92.

Alvarez broke Plant down with relentless pressure and a dedicated body attack, a strategy he has used time and again on his way to the top of the sport. The entire left side of Plant’s body was red early in the fight as Alvarez continued to dish out blows to the midsection. Plant used a strong jab and deft footwork to keep Alvarez at bay and make him miss, but he rarely made Alvarez pay.

According to CompuBox data, Alvarez landed 102 power punches to 59 from Plant.

Plant, a 29-year-old native of Nashville, Tennessee, is regarded for his defensive ability, not his power, and it showed. The punches never gained Alvarez’s respect, who swarmed, round after round, even as his elusive opponent glided around the ring.

The pressure mounted, and Alvarez didn’t stop coming. It was simply a matter of time. The elusive fourth belt would soon be his.

“He was making things a little difficult, but [trainer] Eddy [Reynoso] told me, ‘Let’s keep with the game plan in the last two rounds here,'” Alvarez said. “And in the end, I got him. That’s the way it had to finish. He was already hurt, and I went in for the kill.”

He also got what he has long searched for: undisputed status. Alvarez won two super middleweight titles with a December victory over Callum Smith and picked up a third when he shattered Billy Joe Saunders‘ orbital bone in May. After that victory, it was clear whom he wanted next: “I’m coming, my friend,” Alvarez warned Plant then.

And Alvarez never stopped coming once he lured Plant into the ring. The outcome was never in doubt, though Plant boxed well over the first few rounds. His use of feints, an educated jab and smooth footwork allowed him to stay off the ropes and, mostly, out of harm’s way. But Alvarez is known for being a methodical starter, and Plant has a reputation for slowing down late in fights.

The matchup was originally being eyed for September 18, but at the 11th hour, the deal fell apart. Alvarez then entered talks for a light heavyweight title challenge from Dmitry Bivol, but before a deal could be completed, Alvarez decided to delay his return until November so he could chase the fourth super middleweight title, which belonged to Plant.

When they finally faced off at a promotional event in September, chaos ensued. After Plant hurled insults at Alvarez, Alvarez responded with an open-handed left hand. Plant went after Alvarez too but emerged with a small cut under his right eye. Alvarez was left with deep personal disdain for Plant, who disrespected his beloved trainer, Reynoso, and called Alvarez a cheater.

The accusation was a reference to Alvarez’s positive test for the banned substance clenbuterol that postponed his May 2018 rematch with Gennadiy Golovkin and led to a six-month suspension. Alvarez blamed the adverse finding on tainted meat consumed in his native Guadalajara.

After Saturday’s fight, Alvarez, after four fights in 11 months, said he envisions a May return to allow his body time to properly recover. Canelo usually fights on Cinco De Mayo weekend.

Plant, ESPN’s No. 3 boxer at 168 pounds, is the first champion in Al Haymon‘s PBC stable to earn a crack at Alvarez, but he might not be the last. The deal between Canelo and PBC is for one fight, but there’s reason to believe Alvarez will continue to face off against Haymon’s boxers. David Benavidez, ESPN’s No. 2 super middleweight, is aligned with PBC, as is Jermall Charlo, the middleweight champion who plans to jump to the 168-pound division in the near future.

A third meeting with Golovkin, though, is the biggest fight of all. They clashed twice for the middleweight championship after Alvarez unified titles at 154 pounds. He also won a title at 175 pounds, where he could seek a bout with Artur Beterbiev.

It’s less clear where Plant is headed after his first career loss. He won the title with an upset decision victory over Jose Uzcategui in January 2019 and defended it three times against light opposition. The fight with Alvarez was a quantum leap in competition. He fared well early, but in the end, Alvarez was too much.

It’s a familiar story since Alvarez lost to Floyd Mayweather in 2013, and at this point, there doesn’t appear to be anyone on the horizon who can dethrone him.

Canelo Alvarez Nearing Deal to Fight Caleb Plant to Crown Undisputed Super Middleweight Champion

Canelo Alvarez is closing in on the biggest fight of his career…

The 31-year-old Mexican boxer is nearing a deal with Caleb Plant for a November fight that would crown an undisputed super middleweight champion, according to ESPN.

Canelo Alvarez

A fight between Alvarez and Plant was agreed to last month for September 18, sources said, and officials were simply awaiting signatures when the deal fell apart at the 11th hour.

After talks collapsed, Alvarez (56-1-2, 38 KOs) turned his attention to a 175-pound title fight with Dmitry Bivol. When that matchup couldn’t be finalized in time to stage the fight on Mexican Independence Day Weekend (Sept. 18), Canelo decided to delay his return until November.

Now boxing’s top star is deep in talks with PBC for a one-fight deal that would feature him on Fox PPV, sources said.

The prospect of a fight between Alvarez, ESPN‘s No. 1 pound-for-pound-boxer, and Plant, an undefeated 168-pound titleholder, was dead just two weeks ago. With Alvarez and PBC’s Al Haymon locked in a stalemate, Alvarez moved on to talks with Bivol. When the Mexican star decided to forgo Sept. 18 and instead fight in November, the possibility of Plant returned to the table.

It’s the fight Canelo wanted all along. After Alvarez stopped Billy Joe Saunders in Round 9 of their May fight, picking up his third 168-pound belt, he issued a message to Plant: “I’m coming, my friend.”

Becoming undisputed champion has long been Canelo’s goal, a feat he hasn’t accomplished despite a Hall of Fame résumé that includes titles in four weight classes. Alvarez was set to earn upward of $40 million guaranteed — a career best — in the proposed deal for Sept. 18.

Plant (21-0, 12 KOs) was slated to make $10 million-plus, also a career high. The original pact disintegrated, Plant told ESPN last month, over last-minute “ridiculous requests” from Team Alvarez.

“One that is absurd: If I get injured or sick, then he gets a late replacement for the same amount of guaranteed money, but if he gets sick or injured, then we gotta wait for him,” Plant, ESPN’s No. 3 super middleweight, said after the deal fell apart. “… His bark is bigger than his bite.

“We’ve been waiting for him to get done with his wedding, shooting his TV show, his golf tournament and now have tried to give him everything he wants and more to make this fight,” the Nashville native added. “I’m more than willing, able and ready to fight Canelo Alvarez on any date.”

Those issues could be ironed out now, it appears. This is the third consecutive year Alvarez won’t fight on the coveted September date, a holiday he starred on against bitter rival Gennadiy Golovkin in 2017 and ’18. Another drawn-out negotiation in 2019 forced Alvarez to instead fight in November, a KO victory over Sergey Kovalev.

If he can strike a deal with PBC, it will mark Alvarez’s return to pay-per-view, a platform he has headlined nine times since his fight with Shane Mosley in 2012. Those bouts included a megafight with Floyd Mayweather in 2013 and a pair of matchups with GGG.

Alvarez signed a landmark 11-fight, $365 million deal with DAZN after the GGG rematch, but following four fights, he sued his then-promoter, Golden Boy, along with the streaming platform. After the lawsuit was settled, Alvarez remained with DAZN for a December 2020 win over Callum Smith, then linked up with Matchroom‘s Eddie Hearn on a two-fight deal. The contract for that partnership expired after the Saunders win, opening the door for Alvarez to seek a one-fight deal with Haymon’s team and a chance at undisputed status.

Canelo and Plant were training to fight each other when talks came to an abrupt halt — Alvarez at his San Diego gym and Plant in Las Vegas. This time, the hard work in the gym might lead to what they both want: a showdown for super middleweight supremacy.

Guillermo Rigondeaux to Fight John Riel Casimero for 118-Pound Title

Guillermo Rigondeaux is heading back to the ring…

The 40-year-old Cuban boxer, a two-weight world champion, having held the WBA bantamweight title since 2020, and previously the unified WBA, WBO, and Ring magazine super-bantamweight titles between 2013 and 2017, will now fight John Riel Casimero for the 118-pound title.

Guillermo Rigondeaux

The fight is set for August 14, according to MP (Manny Pacquiao) Promotions president Sean Gibbons.

The bout, a Showtime main event, will be held at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.

The fight was announced in April. But after Casimero’s countryman, Nonito Donaire of the Philippines, regained a 118-pound title with a fourth-round knockout of Nordine Oubaali in May, Premier Boxing Champions worked quickly to make a deal for a title unification fight between Casimero and Donaire. Rigondeaux stepped aside to allow the bout to proceed.

It all spiraled out of control from there. Following the formal announcement of Donaire-Casimero, there was a disagreement over drug-testing protocol. Donaire, a longtime proponent of comprehensive testing through the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association, and Gibbons disagreed on when testing should commence.

The dispute boiled over into a personal exchange, with Casimero’s camp insulting Donaire’s team. Following the remarks, Donaire decided to withdraw from the fight on Tuesday.

Donaire made it clear that the bout is off because of those insults, not the drug-testing dispute, telling ESPN, “I represent boxing to the utmost with integrity.”

“I’m not making the fight happen because I’m here to stand on the problems,” he said.

TGB Promotions, which handles all PBC events, formally informed VADA on June 25 that both fighters would be tested. The following day, Casimero submitted his paperwork, including his whereabouts form so that he can be tested randomly.

Accepting the ultimate result — and with a Casimero-Rigondeaux bout back on the books to plan for — Gibbons apologized to Donaire’s team for his part in the controversy, admitting that “it got out of control.”

“We jump on the sword and say there were some things that shouldn’t have been said,” Gibbons added. “That’s boxing. We’re not in ballet; we’re in boxing.”

With the fight off, Donaire (41-6, 27 KOs) is left to find another big opportunity. A win over Casimero would have made him a unified champion at 118 pounds. The only bigger matchup available is a rematch with Naoya Inoue, ESPN’s No. 3 pound-for-pound fighter. When they met in November 2019, Inoue won a unanimous decision but suffered a broken orbital bone in ESPN’s fight of the year.

“[Donaire is] one of the most exciting fighters in the sport, he’s must-see TV, he’s a world champion and he’s a legend,” Donaire’s promoter, Richard Schaefer, told ESPN. “You put all of these things together, it will be a big event. We’ll see what we can get done.”

While Donaire, 38, seeks another opponent, Casimero, 32, once again prepares for Rigondeaux, a two-time Olympic gold medalist. Rigondeaux is a former champion at 122 pounds but is now campaigning at 118.

Rigondeaux (20-1, 13 KOs) scored a unanimous decision victory over Donaire in 2013. His lone professional defeat came to Vasiliy Lomachenko at 130 pounds in 2017.

“I think we’re fighting the tougher fight; we’re fighting the guy who beat Donaire,” Gibbons said. “He’s only had one bad fight in his life, and that was fighting a guy two divisions bigger than him, Vasiliy Lomachenko. Guillermo Rigondeaux … dude has a lot of life left in him.

“We’re taking on a very difficult challenge.”

Casimero (30-4, 21 KOs) won the title with a third-round TKO of Zolani Tete in 2019. Casimero’s only defense came in September, with another third-round stoppage, this time versus Duke Micah.

Casimero is rated No. 4 at bantamweight; Rigondeaux is No. 2.

Leo Santa Cruz to Defend WBA Junior Lightweight Title Against Gervonta Davis on Halloween

Leo Santa Cruz is ready for a Halloween rumble….

The title fight between the 32-year-old Mexican professional boxer and Gervonta “Tank” Davis, one of the biggest events of 2020, has been moved to October 31 at San Antonio’s Alamodome, the two junior lightweight fighters have announced.

Leo Santa Cruz

The bout, which will be broadcast on Showtime PPV, is tentatively scheduled to be the first American combat sports event to allow fans since COVID-19 became a pandemic. The number of fans who’ll be in attendance has not been announced.

Santa Cruz (37-1, 19 KOs), ranked eighth among junior lightweights, will be defending the primary WBA junior lightweight belt.

Davis (23-0, 22 KOs) is the No. 4 lightweight in ESPN‘s divisional rankings.

Santa Cruz is coming off a unanimous decision against Miguel Flores last November. Davis most recently fought in December, when he stopped veteran Yuriorkis Gamboa.

Davis, 25, needed two attempts to make the 135-pound weight limit for the Gamboa bout. The October 31 fight against Santa Cruz will be at the junior lightweight limit of 130 pounds.

Under current state guidelines, Texas allows 50% of a stadium’s capacity for sporting events. The indoor venue has a listed capacity of 32,000 for boxing events but seats 64,000 for football. Last weekend, the announced attendance for UTSA‘s football win over Middle Tennessee was 6,182.

Smaller cards around the country have hosted fans in attendance since the pandemic forced restrictions nationwide. But every major bout has been conducted in a closed environment with no paid spectators.

Premier Boxing Champions, which unofficially promotes Davis and Santa Cruz, held a Showtime PPV event last weekend at the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut featuring Jermall Charlo and Jermell Charlo. It was PBC‘s first major event since the COVID-19 shutdown.

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.”