Rising Puerto Rican lightweight sensation Felix Verdejo, the 2014 ESPN.com prospect of the year tabbed by many as a future star, will face fellow undefeated fighter William Silva on Feb. 27 at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York, Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti told ESPN.com on Wednesday.
The scheduled 10-round bout will serve as the HBO-televised co-feature on the card headlined by junior welterweight titlist Terence Crawford (27-0, 19 KOs), the former lightweight champion and 2014 ESPN.com fighter of the year from Omaha, Nebraska, making his second defense against Philadelphia's "Hammerin'" Hank Lundy (26-5-1, 13 KOs).
Crawford-Lundy was agreed to several days ago, but Moretti said he is finalizing the paperwork with Lundy promoter Jimmy Burchfield and Top Rank is also completing the contracts with Crawford.
A news conference to announce both fights is scheduled to take place on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden.
The 22-year-old Verdejo (19-0, 14 KOs), who likely will sell the bulk of the tickets to the card given his overwhelming popularity in New York's large Puerto Rican community, is coming off an impressive second-round destruction of Josenilson Dos Santos, Silva's Brazilian countryman, on Dec.11 at the Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan.
The fight was Verdejo's first following a six-month layoff and surgery to remove bone spurs from his injured left hand, which he hurt during a one-sided rout of then-undefeated Ivan Najera in June, in an HBO-televised main event at the Theater.
Verdejo came through the fight with Dos Santos healthy but he did not have to use his left hand much in the quick knockout victory. Moretti said the hand has been fine and "there are no worries" about it as he heads into the fight with Silva.
Silva (23-0, 14 KOs), 30, fought on the undercard of Verdejo-Dos Santos and knocked out Bayan Jargal in the third round. After the fight, Moretti said Silva told him he was anxious to fight Verdejo.
"He's big, he's strong, he's undefeated and when he fought on Felix's undercard in Puerto Rico, after he knocked out Jargal he said, 'I can't wait to fight Verdejo,'" Moretti said.
They had talked about making the fight in 2016 at some point "but now it just happens to be their first fight of the year," Moretti said. "I don't think he is in any way in awe of fighting Verdejo. I don't think he's intimidated one iota. He doesn't care that he will be fighting him in front of a Puerto Rican crowd.
"But if Felix Verdejo is the type of fighter we think he can be we expect him to be victorious. That said I haven't come across an opponent as confident as Silva. He's a legit guy."
Silva will be fighting in the United States for the fourth time.