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Golden Boy Promotions and Mayweather Promotions on Thursday finalized the undercard for the biggest fight card of the year.
In addition to pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. squaring off with Saul "Canelo" Alvarez in a much-anticipated junior middleweight unification fight and unified junior welterweight titlist Danny Garcia taking on interim titleholder Lucas Matthysse in another fight that boxing fans have demanded, two other bouts were added to round out the pay-per-view card on Sept. 14 (Showtime PPV) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Junior middleweight titlist Ishe Smith, the first native Las Vegan to win a world title, will make his first defense, a mandatory, against Carlos Molina, and welterweights Pablo Cesar Cano of Mexico and Ashley Theophane of England will meet in the scheduled 10-round pay-per-view opener.
"With Mayweather and Canelo and Garcia-Matthysse we already know this is a huge show, but now we've added another world title fight with Ishe Smith and Carlos Molina and the opening fight between Cano and Theophane," Golden Boy chief executive Richard Schaefer said. "(Golden Boy matchmaker) Eric (Gomez) told me he believes the Cano-Theophane fight is going to be a barnburner. That's what we wanted. We wanted to put on another great fight, not just a showcase fight. It's not a mismatch or a showcase for either guy. I have no idea who's going to win, and Eric says it's going to be a tough, tough fight."
Smith (25-5, 11 KOs) and Molina (21-5-2, 6 KOs), a Mexico native living in Chicago, were supposed to fight July 19, but it was postponed when Smith suffered a cut over his right eye during a late June sparring session. Since Mayweather promotes Smith and his company was entitled to one of the televised undercard bouts, it made sense to fill the spot with Smith-Molina, which was already made.
"We are very excited to be on the biggest show of the year and one of the biggest shows in the history of boxing," said Warriors Boxing promoter Leon Margules, who promotes Molina. "Getting that kind of exposure is great. Not only do we get to win a world title, but we get to do it on a huge show. Carlos trains 12 months a year and he lives in the gym, so he is always ready to go. When the fight was postponed, he just kept working. He will be ready for Ishe."
Cano (26-3-1, 20 KOs) has lost two fights in a row but is known for usually being in action-packed bouts. In October, he lost a controversial split decision challenging then-welterweight titlist Paulie Malignaggi -- whom he knocked down in the 11th round -- in Malignaggi's hometown of New York. Cano returned May 18 and lost a unanimous decision in a highly competitive slugfest with former three-division champion Shane Mosley in Cancun, Mexico.
Theophane (33-5-1, 10 KOs), who will be fighting for the first time since his recent signing with Mayweather Promotions, lost the British junior welterweight title via unanimous decision to Darren Hamilton in May 2012, but he has won both of his fights since. In 2010, Theophane moved up to the welterweight division and outpointed former two-division title challenger Delvin Rodriguez in one of his biggest victories, but he also lost a split decision to Garcia in a junior welterweight fight earlier in 2010.