- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Jorge Arce, who is considered one of boxing's most consistently exciting fighters, and a pair of world title bouts will be featured on the undercard of Manny Pacquiao's welterweight title defense against junior welterweight titleholder Timothy Bradley Jr. on June 9 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Top Rank announced Thursday.
In the HBO PPV co-feature, Mexico's Arce (60-6-2, 46 KOs), a reigning bantamweight titlist who has won world or interim titles in five weight classes, will face Jesus Rojas (18-1-1, 13 KOs) of Puerto Rico in a scheduled 10-round nontitle bout at junior featherweight.
"With Arce, it's always entertaining no matter who he fights," Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti said. "Rojas is trained by Evangelista Cotto (the uncle of junior middleweight titlist Miguel Cotto) and he is extremely motivated going up to fight a guy like Arce, who is can't-miss TV. The other two fights are for world titles in divisions that are interesting in boxing and should lead to bigger and better things for the winner."
Prior to Arce-Rojas, Philadelphia contender Mike Jones (26-0, 19 KOs) will face big-punching former junior welterweight titlist Randall Bailey (42-7, 36 KOs) of Miami for a vacant welterweight belt, in a mandatory fight that is long overdue.
In the opening pay-per-view bout, junior featherweight titlist Guillermo Rigondeaux (9-0, 7 KOs), the two-time Cuban Olympic gold medalist, will make his first title defense against Philadelphia's Teon Kennedy (17-1-2, 7 KOs), who is 0-1-1 in his last two bouts. Rigondeaux won his belt Jan. 20 by knocking out Rico Ramos in the sixth round.
"The fight card on June 9 will be a treat for all boxing fans," Top Rank chief Bob Arum said. "These will be great high-action fights as will be our main event with world champions Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley."
In addition to the live bouts, Moretti told ESPN.com that the telecast will also include highlights of the pro debut of 22-year-old standout amateur Jesse Hart of Philadelphia. Hart, who will face an opponent to be determined in a middleweight fight, signed recently with Top Rank. He is the son of Eugene "Cyclone" Hart, a top middleweight contender during the 1970s.
"We hope Jesse can continue the rich tradition of Philadelphia middleweights and we'll start it right here with this fight," Moretti said. "We're hoping he can ascend to the level of so many of the other top Philly fighters, like his dad, and be in a position like Mike Jones is in on this card, which is to be in a world title fight."
Jorge Arce, who is considered one of boxing's most consistently exciting fighters, and a pair of world title bouts will be featured on the undercard of Manny Pacquiao's welterweight title defense against junior welterweight titleholder Timothy Bradley Jr.