- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Former featherweight titlist Miguel Angel "Mikey" Garcia, installed as a junior lightweight mandatory challenger, will go for his second world title when he meets titleholder Roman "Rocky" Martinez on Nov. 9, promoter Top Rank announced on Tuesday.
Although Garcia and Top Rank are still ironing out the financial details, Garcia is due to meet Martinez at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas, in the main event of a "Boxing After Dark" tripleheader on HBO. A news conference, which is open to the public, is scheduled for Wednesday at 1 p.m. CT at the arena.
"Mikey moving up in weight to challenge a solid veteran titleholder in Rocky Martinez should prove to be exciting for both the fans in attendance and watching on HBO," Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti said. "The Mexican-Puerto Rican rivalry continues in what should be a battle between a rising star (Mexican-American Garcia) and a champion (Puerto Rico's Martinez) who will do anything to keep his crown."
The 25-year-old Garcia (32-0, 27 KOs) won a vacant featherweight belt via dominant eighth-round technical decision against Orlando Salido in January. He dropped Salido four times before the bout was stopped and sent to the scorecards because Salido broke Garcia's nose with an accidental head butt in the eighth round. Garcia was unable to continue.
However, Garcia never defended the title. He was due to make a defense against former titlist Juan Manuel Lopez on June 15, but was two pounds over the 126-pound limit at the weigh-in and was stripped of his belt. The fight went on with only Lopez eligible to win the vacant title, but Garcia knocked him out in the fourth round of a one-sided fight.
Shortly after the bout, Garcia was named Martinez's mandatory challenger. Last week, a purse bid for the fight was canceled when Top Rank said it had come to terms with both fighters.
Martinez (27-1-2), 30, will be making his third title defense but as a heavy underdog. He won a vacant title via debatable split decision against Miguel Beltran Jr. last September. His first defense came in January against Juan Carlos Burgos on the Garcia-Salido undercard and was ruled a split draw, although most at ringside had Burgos clearly winning. Martinez returned for his second defense on April 6 and escaped with a split decision against Diego Magdaleno.
In the other two previously announced bouts on the card:
• 2012 fighter of the year Nonito Donaire (31-2, 20 KOs), coming off a decision loss to Guillermo Rigondeaux in an April 13 junior featherweight title unification fight, is moving up in weight to featherweight and will meet former two-division titleholder Vic Darchinyan (39-5-1, 28 KOs) in the co-feature. The fight is a rematch of Donaire's 2007 knockout victory to win a flyweight world title. Darchinyan is also moving up in weight.
• In the opener, 2008 U.S. Olympian Demetrius Andrade (19-0, 13 KOs) and 2004 U.S. Olympian Vanes Martirosyan (33-0-1, 21 KOs) meet for a vacant junior middleweight title.
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