An IBF bantamweight title bout between beltholder Leo Santa Cruz and veteran contender Eric Morel could be part of the planned Showtime-televised, quadrupleheader headlined by WBC junior middleweight titleholder Saul “Canelo” Alvarez versus Josesito Lopez at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Sept. 15.
Although a deal “is not done” to match the volume-punching, Mexican-born Santa Cruz (20-0-1, 11 knockouts), of Lincoln Heights, Calif., and the crafty, Puerto Rican-born Morel (46-3, 23 KOs), of Madison, Wis., Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer confirmed that the fight is in the works.
Santa Cruz-Morel is also the agenda for approval at Friday’s meeting of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, whose executive director is Keith Kizer.
In June, Santa Cruz vanquished South Africa’s Vusi Malinga (20-4-1, 12 KOs) by unanimous decision to earn the IBF belt that had been vacated by Abner Mares (24-0-1, 13 KOs).
Mares, meanwhile, had risen into junior featherweight ranks, where he vanquished Morel by unanimous decision in April for that division’s WBC’s which had previously been owned by Toshiaki Nishioka.
The win over Malinga ended a streak of nine consecutive knockout victories for Santa Cruz, who turned 24 on Aug. 10. Morel, who turns 37 in October, had won 11 straight fights, five of them by stoppage, before falling to Mares.
In the main event on Sept. 15, Alvarez (40-0-1, 29 KOs) will face Lopez (30-4, 18 KOs), who is coming off a ninth-round knockout of Victor Ortiz in June.
The Alvarez-Lopez card will also match sledge hammer-fisted Marcos Maidana (31-3, 28 KOs) against welterweight rival Jesus Soto Karass (26-7-3, 17 KOs), as well as WBC featherweight beltholder Jhonny Gonzalez (52-7, 45 KOs) pursuing his 13th straight win and his 12th knockout during that run in his fifth defense against former 122-pound titleholder Daniel Ponce de Leon (43-4, 35 KOs).
EL TERRIBLE II IVAN MORALES FIGHTS LUIS MALDONADO ON SEPT. 8
Southpaw junior bantamweight Ivan Morales, the e 20-year-old younger brother of four-division titlewinner Erik “El Terrible” Morales and left-handed former junior lightweight Diego Morales, will put his unbeaten mark on the line opposite Luis “Titi” Maldonado in the 10-round main event of TeleFutura’s “Sólo Boxeo Tecate” at Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, Calif., on Sept. 8.
Morales (17-0, 12 knockouts) recently signed a promotional agreement with Golden Boy Promotions, whose president, Oscar De La Hoya, said, “I have no doubt that Ivan will eventually be a world champion in multiple divisions.”
Nicknamed “Terrible II,” and, “Nino Maravilla,” Ivan Morales has scored knockouts in his past six victories, including a first-round stoppage over Edgar Martinez in his native, Tijuana, Mex., in April. Ivan Morales went 7-0 with five knockouts in 2011.
The 34-year-old Maldonado (36-9-1, 27 KOs) has losst seven of his past eight fights, including his last two straight. Among them are stoppage losses to Nonito Donaire, Fernando Montiel and Morel in the eighth, third anad fourth rounds, respectively.
Also on the card is Los Angeles junior featherweight Julian Ramirez (3-0, 2 KOs), who will face Indianapolis-based southpaw Dewayne Wisdom (2-5, 1 KO).
ACTOR NICK CANNON TO SERVE AS RING ANNOUNCER FOR ANDRE WARD-CHAD DAWSON
Actor Nick Cannon, host of America’s Got Talent, will be the official ring announcer for the Sept. 8 clash of RING champions between light heavyweight titleholder Chad Dawson (31-1, 17 KOs) and super middleweight beltholder Andre Ward (25-0, 13 KOs), whose WBA and WBC crowns will be on the line from the Oracle Arena in Ward’s hometown of Oakland, Calif., on Sept. 8.
“It’s going to be an unforgettable event,” said Cannon. “As a huge fight fan and follower of the sport, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to be the ring announcer and introduce these two incredible fighters to the fans at Oracle Arena and everyone watching live at home on HBO.”
On the Ward-Dawson undercards, WBC lightweight beltholder Antonio DeMarco (27-2-1, 20 KOs) will make his third defense against John Molina (24-1, 19 KOs). Before DeMarco-Molina, HBO will televise a tape-delayed fight between WBC heavyweight titleholder Vitali Klitschko (44-2, 40 KOs) against unbeaten Manuel Charr (21-0, 11 KOs) from Olympisky Sport Hall in Moscow.
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com