- Dan Rafael, Boxing
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There will be boxing all over the various HBO networks on a busy May 31.
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.
Then there will be more boxing at midnight ET on HBO2 from the New Tropicana Las Vegas, where promoters Sampson Lewkowicz and Lou DiBella are putting on a show that was part of their deal for making the fight between middleweight champ Sergio Martinez and Miguel Cotto. The card includes a Spanish-language simulcast on HBO Latino, which is where the card was going to air exclusively until the HBO2 English-language telecast was recently added to the mix.
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."
There will be boxing all over the various HBO networks on a busy May 31.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.