- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Junior welterweight contenders Adrien Broner and Lucas Matthysse will both return to the ring on the same card, just not against each other.
Broner, a former three-division titleholder, will headline the show on Sept. 6 (Showtime) at the U.S. Bank Arena in his hometown of Cincinnati against Emanuel Taylor in a scheduled 12-round bout, Golden Boy Promotions said on Thursday. Matthysse will appear in the 10-round co-feature against Roberto Ortiz.
Former two-time welterweight titlist Andre Berto, coming off a 14-month layoff because of right shoulder surgery, also will make his return on the card against an opponent to be determined.
"Adrien Broner is a top-level talent who always elevates his game on the biggest stages, and there is never a bigger stage than in front of your hometown fans," Golden Boy Promotions president Oscar De La Hoya said. "But with speed, power and a golden opportunity, Emmanuel Taylor is a tough test. This is a life-changing fight for him, which makes him particularly dangerous."
Broner and Matthysse, who could eventually fight each other, are both working their way back from losses in 2013.
Nicknamed "The Problem," Broner (28-1, 22 KOs), who turned 25 on Monday, lost his welterweight belt to Marcos Maidana in December and then moved down to junior welterweight, where he returned on May 3 on the Floyd Mayweather-Maidana undercard to easily outpoint Carlos Molina over 10 rounds. This will be Broner's second bout since the loss as he hunts for a shot at 140-pound world title. He has already won titles at junior lightweight, lightweight and welterweight.
"It's always good to fight at home. It is overdue and I will never disappoint my Cincinnati fans. I'll make sure to put on a good show for them," said Broner, who last fought at home in July 2012, also at the U.S. Bank Arena, when he failed to make weight for a junior lightweight title defense and knocked out Vicente Escobedo in a nontitle match. "Taylor is a young, talented fighter, but he's not ready to solve this 'Problem' yet."
In January, Taylor (18-2, 12 KOs), 23, of Edgewood, Maryland, lost a unanimous 10-round decision to Chris Algieri, who went on to defeat Ruslan Provodnikov to win a junior welterweight world title in June. Taylor bounced back on July 18 to outpoint Karim Mayfield in a 10-rounder on ESPN2'S "Friday Night Fights."
"This is the biggest fight of my career, and I won't let it get away from me," Taylor said. "All of those hours in the gym were for a moment like this, and I can't wait to show the world what I can do in the ring."
Matthysse (35-3, 33 KOs), 31, a hard-punching slugger from Argentina, was the favorite when he challenged 140-pound world champion Danny Garcia in September on the Mayweather-Canelo Alvarez undercard in Las Vegas and lost a close unanimous decision as Garcia scored an 11th-round knockdown. Matthysse rebounded on April 26 to score an 11th-round knockout of John Molina in a rousing fight of the year contender.
"The title is my only goal, and to get there, I have to beat Ortiz," Matthysse said. "I've heard that he's a tough fighter, but I'm not worried about him. I just have to make sure I'm ready."
Ortiz (31-0-1, 24 KOs), 28, of Mexico, will be facing the most accomplished opponent of his seven-year career but said he is ready to step up to fight an elite opponent.
"I respect Lucas Matthysse and know how dangerous he is, but this is my time to make a statement, and I will on Sept. 6," Ortiz said. "I see holes in his game and I think I'm the better all-around fighter. The world will see that very soon."
Added De La Hoya, "In the co-main event, one of the hardest punchers in the game, Lucas Matthysse, will also have to dig deep to win when he fights Roberto Ortiz. The winner of this fight should be right in line for a title shot in 2015."
Berto (28-3, 22 KOs), who is from Winter Haven, Florida, will be fighting one day before his 31st birthday and trying to shake off a two-fight losing streak. He has lost three of his last four.
The slump began when he lost his welterweight belt to Victor Ortiz by unanimous decision in an action-packed 2011 fight of the year candidate before bouncing back to win another world title by stopping Jan Zaveck in the fifth round later in 2011.
But then Berto was then idle for 14 months because he tested positive for a steroid before a rematch with Ortiz. When he returned in November 2012, Berto lost a decision to Robert Guerrero in an interim title bout in which Berto took a lot of punishment. In July 2013, Berto faced Jesus Soto Karass, badly injuring his shoulder early in the bout and getting upset via 12th-round knockout. Surgery and the lengthy layoff followed.
"It's been a long time and I can't wait to get back in the ring on Sept. 6," Berto said. "I feel stronger and better than ever, and I'm ready to make another run at the title. But first I have business to take care of in Cincinnati, and I'll be looking for the knockout."