IBF junior middleweight titleholder Ishe Smith will make the first defense of his belt against top-10 contender Carlos Molina, and welterweight Ashley Theophane will meet Pablo Cesar Cano on the undercard of the Showtime Pay Per View main event on Sept. 14 between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Canelo Alvarez, Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer said on Thursday.
A recent signee with Mayweather Promotions, Theophane (33-5-1, 10 knockouts) has won two straight since falling by unanimous decision to Darren Hamilton in May of last year. His resume also includes a loss by split decision to Garcia in February of 2010, and a majority decision victory over Delvin Rodriguez from July of 2010.
Cano (26-3-1, 20 KOs) always comes to fight but has lost his past two by close decisions to Paulie Malignaggi and Shane Mosley, with his other loss being a 10th-round stoppage against Erik Morales for the vacant WBC title in 2011.
“The opening bout on the card will be another toe-to-toe fight which will certainly entertain the fight fans, and I think that it’s a 50-50 fight between Pablo Cesar Cano against Ashley Theophane,” said Schaefer.
“It’s a fight which I don’t know who is going to win. Eric Gomez, our matchmaker, is telling me that this is going to be one of those slug fests and a fight that you just can’t miss. I think that’s the proper way to open up the telecast.”
Smith (25-5, 11 KOs) became the first Las Vegas native to win a major world title when he outpointed Cornelius Bundrage in February, while Molina (21-5-2, 6 KOs) earned a unanimous decision over former titleholder Cory Spinks in the same month.
“Ishe Smith against Carlos Molina is now confirmed for that card,” said Schaefer. “So it will be three world championship fights between Smith and Molina, Garcia and Matthysse, and Mayweather and Alvarez on that night.”
In the main event, of course, Mayweather, THE RING welterweight champ, will face the magazine’s junior middleweight champion Alvarez, who also owns the WBC’s 154-pound title.
SHAWN PORTER-JULIO DIAZ REMATCH ON SEPT. 12 BEFORE MAYWEATHER-ALVAREZ
Former two-time lightweight beltholder Julio Diaz (40-8-1, 29 KOs) will get a rematch of December’s draw with Shawn Porter (21-0-1, 14 KOs) on Sept. 12, likely at the MGM Grand and televised on Fox Sports 2, Schaefer said.
“Solid fights. Fights which, stylistically, are extremely entertaining,” said Schaefer. “The headliner is going to be a rematch of one of the best fights that I saw last year, and that was Shawn Porter against Julio Diaz.”
In other bouts, light heavyweight Badou Jack will face Marco Antonio Periban, who is coming off a majority decision loss to Sakio Bika in June, and junior middleweight Hugo Centeno will face Julian Williams.
“The semi-main is going to be Marco Antonio Periban, who was in a thrilling fight with Sakio Bika, and he’s going to come back to fight Badou Jack, who is with Team Mayweather,” said Schaefer.
“We’re going to have Hugo Centeno, who is with Golden Boy. Two undefeated guys fighting each other in another toe-to-toe battle. So, certainly a great way to kick off the fight week activities for the big showdown on Sept. 14.”
PETER QUILLIN PICKS DANIEL GEALE OVER DARREN BARKER
Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin, the WBO middleweight titleholder, is picking Australian counterpart Daniel Geale to successfully defend his IBF belt for the fifth time against Darren Barker on Aug. 17.
“Well, I think it’s going to be action-packed,” said Quillin. “But I think Geale, with his style, will win with a unanimous decision.”
Geale is coming off his eighth straight victory during a run that includes two knockouts, having last been in the ring for January’s unanimous decision over countryman and three-time titleholder Anthony Mundine in a rematch of Mundine’s split-decision victory in May of 2009.
Geale won his current belt with a split decision over Germany’s Sebastian Sylvester in May of 2011, then added the WBA strap after a split decision over Germany’s Felix Sturm in September 2012.
Geale was stripped of the WBA’s title for defending against Mundine rather than Gennady Golovkin, who now wears the organization’s belt.
Barker has scored consecutive fourth-round knockouts over his past two opponents following an 11th-round stoppage loss to Sergio Martinez in October of 2011.
“I have to go with the guy with the momentum, which is Daniel Geale,” said Quillin. “I think they write him off all the time. But I personally like him, and hopefully, I can get the winner either way.”
MARYLAND’S UNBEATEN SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHT DOMINIC WADE SIGNS WITH AL HAYMON
Super middleweight Dominic Wade (12-0, 9 KOs), of Largo, Md., signed with advisor advisor Al Haymon on Aug. 5, and could make an appearance in September, his manager, Corey Coleman, informed RingTV.com on Thursday.
Wade joins recent signees Edwin Rodriguez, a super middleweight, as well as an impressive list of Haymon fighters such as Mayweather, Matthysse, Garcia, Quillin, Adrien Broner, Devon Alexander, Deontay Wilder, Andre Berto, Gary Russell Jr., Erislandy Lara, Austin Trout, Seth Mitchell, Chris Arreola and Fernando Guerrero.
Photos by Naoki Fukuda