Dan Rafael: Javier Fortuna
The three are Dominican junior lightweight contender Javier Fortuna (25-0-1, 18 KOs), Dominican junior featherweight prospect Jonathan Guzman (16-0, 16 KOs) and junior featherweight Oscar Escandon (23-1, 16 KOs) of Colombia.
Guzman is the only fighter with a bout scheduled. He will fight in Belfast, Northern Ireland on Sept. 6 when Spain’s Kiko Martinez, whom Lewkowicz promotes, will defend his junior featherweight title in a rematch with Carl Frampton of Belfast.
“I’m very delighted that my boys signed with Al Haymon,” Lewkowicz said. “We have always had a nice relationship. We’ve talked many times. I believe this is the best thing.”
Haymon’s vast stable continues to grow. He has at least 75 fighters under contract and some estimate his stable in excess of 100 fighters -- including, of course, Floyd Mayweather Jr.
On the main network, the boxing day begins at 4 p.m. ET with same-day taped coverage of Nonito Donaire's challenge of Simpiwe Vetyeka for his featherweight belt at the Venetian Macao in Macau, China. Then, at approximately 4:45 p.m. ET, the scene will shift live to Wembley Stadium in London, where an expected crowd of 80,000 will be on hand for the rematch between super middleweight titlist Carl Froch and George Groves.
In the main event, speedy southpaw and junior lightweight contender Javier Fortuna (24-0-1, 18 KOs) of the Dominican Republic, who was stripped of his interim featherweight belt for missing weight in August, will meet Juan Antonio Rodriguez (26-4, 23 KOs) in a 10-rounder.
"I am very happy to be on HBO Latino and have a chance to redeem myself on national TV, especially in my second home of Las Vegas, where I will bring pride to my beloved Dominican Republic," Fortuna said.
Rodriguez's last fight was an eight-round decision against Yenifel Vicente and Fortuna said he plans to avenge the loss for his countryman. No chance, said Rodriguez.
"This is the type of opportunity I have been waiting for," Rodriguez said. "People in Mexico know how good I am, but after I beat Javier Fortuna on May 31 on HBO Latino, the entire world will see how good I am."
In the 10-round co-feature, junior featherweight Luis Rosa (16-0, 7 KOs) squares off against Luis "Orlandito" Del Valle (18-1, 13 KOs) in what should be an action fight.
"I couldn't be happier about this opportunity," Puerto Rico's Rosa said. "This is my chance to show that I am not only one of the best fighters in the 122-pound division but also for me to pick up my first [regional] title belt and to make a major jump up the world ratings. I respect Orlandito as a fighter, but this is my time to shine and there is no one who will stand in the way of that."
Del Valle's only loss was by decision to former titleholder Vic Darchinyan in 2012, but it knocked his stock down.
"A while back, it used to be all fun and hype for me, but not anymore," Del Valle said. "May 31 is just another date and another fight for me to prove to the world the type of fighter I am. I am all business now, and come May 31, Rosa is going to find that out very quickly."
In an untelevised middleweight bout, former junior middleweight titlist Sergio Mora (25-3-2, 8 KOs) will face Samuel Rogers (14-1, 8 KOs).
"Javier Fortuna has been flirting with stardom for a couple of years now, and an impressive showing on May 31 further cements that," DiBella said. "The co-feature is one of the absolute best matchups that you can possibly make at that weight. We are happy to be able to bring boxing back to The New Tropicana Las Vegas."
After Burns-Vazquez was postponed until April 20, still in London, Schaefer said he was in touch with Burns promoter Frank Warren about instead doing the Broner fight, which the sides had already tried to negotiate in February.
According to Schaefer, Warren said he was interested but that Burns' manager, Alex Morrison, wasn't. Schaefer said that was "unfortunate, because Ricky is going to lose to Vasquez for a fraction of the money he can make fighting Broner."
Schaefer wouldn't put a number on how much he offered for Burns but said, "I offered Frank a lot of money for Burns to come over. It's a very big number. I said to Frank, 'Why don't you come over here [to the U.S.]? At least Ricky is going to make double or triple what he can make in this fight with Vazquez.' Frank said, 'I'm on board, but the manager doesn't want to fight Broner.' He said there's nothing he can do."
With no Burns fight for Broner, Schaefer said there's a possibility the lightweight titlist will jump up two weight classes to challenge welterweight titlist Paulie Malignaggi on June 22 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. (Malignaggi's hometown).
"Paulie told me he is interested, and HBO likes the fight," Schaefer said. "People will like that fight. Paulie did tell me he would take it. He's not sure Broner would take it. I put it to [Broner manager] Al Haymon to talk to Adrien. I think it would be a very interesting fight."
I like Broner-Burns, but Malignaggi-Broner? Count me in.
• Yuriorkis Gamboa, who won a vacant interim junior lightweight title with a less-than-impressive decision against Michael Farenas on Dec. 8, has no fight lined up yet, but there have been talks about a spring return, likely at lightweight. Gamboa, who is with promoter/rapper 50 Cent (Curtis Jackson), is looking for an opponent. From what I'm told, HBO is interested in his next fight and former titlist Antonio DeMarco came up as a possible opponent. DeMarco lost his title by eighth-round knockout to Broner in April. Although HBO owes DeMarco a fight based on the deal from the Broner bout, DeMarco promoter Gary Shaw told me they are not interested in Gamboa.
• Here's a late but nice addition to this weekend's television boxing lineup: Top Rank announced that the flyweight title eliminator between former junior flyweight titleholders Edgar Sosa (47-7, 28 KOs) of Mexico City and Ulises "Archie" Solis (35-2-3, 22 KOs) will headline "Solo Boxeo Tecate" (UniMas, 11 ET/PT) on Saturday night in Guadalajara, Solis' hometown. They will be meeting for the third time. Solis won both of their previous fights, a six-round decision in 2001 and a majority decision in a Mexican junior flyweight title fight in 2003.
• Javier Fortuna (21-0, 15 KOs) of the Dominican Republic, who won a vacant interim featherweight belt by outpointing Patrick Hyland on Dec. 8 on the Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez IV undercard, will make his first defense against Mexico's Miguel Zamudio (25-1-1, 13 KOs) on April 13. The fight will headline ESPN2's "Friday Night Fights" at a location to be determined.
• There was a purse bid held Tuesday at the IBF offices in New Jersey for Juan Carlos Sanchez (15-1-1, 8 KOs) of Mexico and Argentina's Roberto Sosa (24-0, 14 KOs). However, according to IBF championships chairman Lindsey Tucker, nobody showed up to bid on the fight. Tucker said he has rescheduled the bid for March 19. If nobody shows up a second time, Sanchez will be stripped of his title.
• HBO's new boxing series "Cornered" debuts Tuesday night (10:15 ET/PT). The 15-minute debut, which focuses on famed ring announcer Michael Buffer, is a behind-the-scenes series that will follow boxing personalities who aren't fighters themselves. HBO is calling the show a "companion series" to its popular "2 Days," which follows a fighter in the 48 hours leading up to his fight.
LAS VEGAS – The contracts have been submitted to the Nevada State Athletic Commission so the purses are official for the Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez IV card on Saturday night (HBO PPV, 9 ET, $59.95) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Pacquiao’s contract figure is $8,595,000, but that does not tell the full story. It was supposed to be $10 million, according to Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, but it goes down as less because Top Rank is being paid back money that it has advanced Pacquiao. But regardless of what the commission contract says, Arum told me that Pacquiao’s guarantee -- the minimum he will earn -– is $26 million. He has chance to earn much more depending on how well the pay-per-view sales are.
Marquez’s bout contract with the commission is for $3 million, but Arum said that he is guaranteed at least $6 million. Like Pacquiao, he will earn more on the upside if the pay-per-view hits certain figures.
On the undercard, Yuriorkis Gamboa is due to earn $50,000. It seems like a very low figure but it could be because he owes new promoter Curtis Jackson (aka rapper 50 Cent) money for buying out his contract from Top Rank earlier this year. So the promoter could be getting a larger chunk of the overall money being paid for the fight since Jackson laid out seven figures to buy Gamboa’s contract out. Michael Farenas, his opponent for their vacant interim junior lightweight title bout, is due to earn $70,000.
Lightweight titlist Miguel Vazquez gets $175,000 while challenger Mercito Gesta gets $50,000. Patrick Hyland will earn $75,000 while Javier Fortuna will get $60,000 for their vacant interim featherweight title bout.
Lightweight Jose Ramirez, the 2012 U.S. Olympian, will earn $4,000 for his scheduled four-round pro debut while opponent Corey Siegwarth will make $2,500.
We all know that Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez will meet for the fourth time on Dec. 8 (HBO PPV) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. But what else will you get if you decide to shell out the $50 or $60 to buy the pay-per-view? Here is what you can expect the undercard to look like, according to Top Rank, although the bouts are not finalized yet:
• Former featherweight titlist Yuriorkis Gamboa (21-0, 16 KOs), who left Top Rank when rapper 50 Cent, an aspiring promoter, bought out his contract for seven figures earlier this year, will be on the card under a deal struck between 50 and Top Rank. If the fight is finalized, Gamboa -- idle since September 2011 after pulling out of a fight earlier this year with Brandon Rios and because of the snit with Top Rank that led to the sale of his contract -- would face Mexico's Miguel Beltran Jr. (27-2, 17 KOs) for a vacant interim junior lightweight belt. Beltran is coming off a split decision loss to Roman “Rocky” Martinez for a vacant title in an all-action slugfest on the Sergio Martinez-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. undercard on Sept. 15.
• Lightweight titleholder Miguel Vazquez (32-3, 13 KOs) of Mexico, who retained his belt with a split decision win against mandatory challenger Marvin Quintero last Saturday night in the opening bout of an HBO tripleheader, is being lined up to face the Philippines’ Mercito Gesta (26-0-1, 14 KOs) in a fight that has been in the works since before Vazquez even faced Quintero.
• Dynamic featherweight prospect Javier Fortuna (20-0, 15 KOs) of the Dominican Republic likely will face upstate New York-based Ireland native Patrick Hyland (27-0, 12 KOs) for a vacant interim featherweight belt.
Fortuna (19-0, 14 KOs) is coming off a sensational first-round knockout of previously undefeated Yuandale Evans on April 27 on FNF. The 35-year-old Cruz (39-13-3, 23 KOs) has seen better days and is 0-2-2 in his past four fights. Still, he is Fortuna's most experienced opponent so far.