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Friday, August 9, 2013
Porter-Diaz II tops tripleheader

By Dan Rafael

Whenever there’s a huge fight in Las Vegas, you can count on a smaller card to serve as something of an appetizer earlier in the week.

That will be the case again during the week of the Floyd Mayweather-Canelo Alvarez card. The mega fight takes place Sept. 14 (Showtime PPV) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, but with so many boxing fans expected to inundate the city, Golden Boy chief executive Richard Schaefer told ESPN.com that there will also be a televised tripleheader on Sept. 12 (Fox Sports 2), which will take place in the convention area at the MGM Grand.

The main event is a good one: welterweights Shawn Porter (21-0-1, 14 KOs) and Julio Diaz (40-8-1, 29 KOs), a two-time lightweight titleholder, in a rematch of their spirited draw in December 2012.

“Their first fight was terrific and I’m looking forward to the rematch,” Schaefer said. “I’ve wanted to see the rematch since we did the first fight.”

Porter was the heavily favored rising prospect when they first met and it was a shocker to see Diaz so competitive. Many thought Diaz did enough to deserve the victory.

Porter has won his only fight since, a dominant decision against Phil Lo Greco in May. Diaz lost his only fight since, but gave Amir Khan all kinds of trouble in a decision defeat in England in April.

The other two fights on the card also look promising: super middleweight Marco Antonio Periban (20-1, 13 KOs) against prospect Badou Jack (15-0, 10 KOs) and undefeated junior middleweight prospects Hugo Centeno Jr. (19-0, 10 KOs) and Julian Williams (13-0-1, 7 KOs) squaring off. Periban, easily the toughest opponent so far for Jack, lost a decision in a fight with Sakio Bika for a vacant world title on June 22 but it was a tremendous battle. Jack is a former Olympian and Mayweather, his promoter, thinks very highly of him.

“Having a card like this, with three very interesting fights, a couple of days before the big one will give all the fight fans in town another good night of boxing action,” Schaefer said.