Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2009 | midnight
Who: Floyd Mayweather Jr. (39-0, 25 KOs) vs. Juan Manuel Marquez (50-4-1, 37 KOs), 12 scheduled rounds
When: Sept. 19
Where: MGM Grand Garden Arena
Weight limit: Top secret, so far
Tickets: $150 to $1,000, mgmgrand.com
TV: HBO pay-per-view
- Oddly, marquee fight’s catch weight still unknown (7-24-2009)
- Mayweather badmouths MMA, Pacquiao's promoter (7-21-2009)
- 'Money' talks Manny (7-14-2009)
- Records suggest Mayweather Jr. owes IRS (7-2-2009)
- Mayweather fight rescheduled for Sept. 19 (6-26-2009)
- Mayweather Jr. with injured cartilage, can't train (6-15-2009)
- Mayweather Jr. fight postponed (6-14-2009)
Chris John’s rematch with Rocky Juarez for the WBA featherweight title will highlight a loaded undercard at Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s comeback fight against Juan Manuel Marquez on Sept. 19.
Former welterweight champion Zab Judah also will meet Antonio Diaz in a 144-pound fight at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas, and lightweight Australian brawler Michael Katsidis will take on former U.S. Olympian Vicente Escobedo.
Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer credited Mayweather for the impressive slate of fights, saying the former pound-for-pound champion made the financial concessions necessary to stack the HBO pay-per-view card. Schaefer also claimed Golden Boy isn’t trying to compete with UFC 103, which will be held the same night in Dallas.
“This is what boxing has to go back to,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Golden Boy’s owner. “We’ve come to the conclusion not only to give you a great main event, but to give you, from top to bottom, fights that you really will enjoy.”
That hasn’t always been the case in recent years in boxing, with the undercard’s quality usually dropping in inverse proportion to the main event’s importance. In particular, Golden Boy has been accused of scheduling lackluster undercards before main-event bouts for stars De La Hoya or Sugar Shane Mosley.
Schaefer insists the company is planning for bigger fight nights from now on.
“You live and learn, and that’s true for all boxing promoters,” Schaefer said. “It took many years to have this kind of card, this kind of event again. … Nothing against the UFC. I’m sure they’re going to put on a great event. I think this card clearly shows where our focus is.”
John (42-0-2, 22 KOs), who has spent nearly his entire career fighting in his native Indonesia, fought Juarez to a draw in February before backing out of the first rematch date this summer with an illness. He’s training in Big Bear, Calif., and hoping to increase his American profile with just his second stateside fight.
Juarez (28-4-1, 20 KOs) is 0-3-1 in four major title fights, but the Houston native gained confidence from his first effort against John.
“I know this is probably my last opportunity, and I’m training very hard,” said Juarez, who lost a one-sided decision to Marquez in November 2007. “I’m not getting any younger, (but) I know I can beat Chris John. I thought I came out with the victory (last time), but I kind of slacked off in the mid rounds, where I knew if I hadn’t, I would be champion right now.”
Judah (37-6, 25 KOs), who has losses to Mayweather and Joshua Clottey on his recent resume, hasn’t fought since last November, but the Brooklyn native still is a crowd-pleaser with sharp athletic skills. He will face Diaz (46-5-1, 29 KOs), a former welterweight title contender in his fifth fight back from a layoff of nearly three years.
“I feel good. I feel healthy,” said Diaz, who lost title fights to Antonio Margarito and Mosley. “My reflexes are still there.”
Escobedo (21-1, 13 KOs), one of Golden Boy’s top prospects from the Sacramento area, is taking a step up in competition. Katsidis (25-2, 21 KOs), known for a reckless fighting style and elaborate pre-fight costuming, has won two straight since losing back-to-back thrillers against Joel Casamayor and Juan Diaz last year.