Sergio Thompson learned Sunday of his opportunity to face Ricardo Alvarez on the undercard of the Canelo Alvarez-Alfredo Angulo undercard on Saturday at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas as the potential replacement for injured WBC lightweight beltholder Omar Figueroa Jr.
On Monday, it was confirmed that Thompson (28-3, 26 knockouts) would be stepping in for Figueroa (22-0-1, 17 KOs), who cited a re-injured left hand on Friday as his reason for pulling out of the bout with Alvarez (23-2-3, 14 KOs).
Just after arriving in Las Vegas on Thursday, Thompson was informed that his 135-pound clash with Alvarez may replace the IBF 154-pound titlebout between beltholder Carlos Molina and Jermall Charlo on Showtime Pay Per View if the jailed Molina is not released from the Clark County Detention Center in time for Friday's weigh-in.
"Things happen for a reason," said Thompson, a 30-year-old former junior lightweight title challenger, in an interview with RingTV.com. "If it happens, then I'm ready to step in and to be part of the pay per view."
Originally not to be televised, Alvarez-Thompson will be included along with a lightweight bout between two-division titleholder Jorge Linares and Nihito Arakawa, as well as WBC 122-pound beltholder Leo Santa Cruz's defense against Cristian Mijares.
Thompson never has been stopped, falling by majority decision to Azael Gonzalez in November 2009, split-decision to Alisher Rahimov in September 2010 and by unanimous decision to THE RING's No. 4-ranked 130 pounder Takashi Miura during a failed bid to earn the Japanese slugger's WBC junior lightweight belt last August.
The loss to Miura ended a 13-fight winning streak that had included 12 knockouts for Thompson, who stopped Linares in the second round in March 2012. Thompson bounced back from the loss to Miura with a first-round stoppage of Cesar Chavez in December.
Ricardo Alvarez was last in the ring in December for a unanimous decision over Rod Skalka.
Thompson spoke to RingTV.com during his first interview since arriving in Las Vegas.
Translated by Golden Boy publicist Marylyn Aceves
Sergio Thompson on where he was when he heard that he would replace Figueroa:
"I had already started training and I had been training because I had already had a fight scheduled in Mexico for March 28. But they told me about this opportunity on Sunday, and then, on Monday, they confirmed it. So, I'm ready to go."
On the prospect of being on Showtime Pay Per View:
"It's something that makes me extra-motivated, and I'm going to take advantage if I get the opportunity to be on pay per view. I'm physically and mentally prepared for this opportunity.
"Things happen for a reason, and if it happens, then I'm ready to step in and to be part of the pay per view."
On his perceptions of Alvarez:
"I've seen some videos on Alvarez from his past fights, and what I recognize is that I've fought fighters who are way tougher than he is, and who are tougher than the guys that he has fought.
"I fought Jorge Linares, who I thought was really tough, and I was able to knock him out in two rounds."
On fighting at lightweight:
"I'm fighting him at 135 pounds, and I've done that four times. At this weight, I feel very strong. I feel stronger, in fact. I fought Linares at this weight. I've sparred with welterweights and I don't really feel it that much when I get hit by them.
On how the fight will go:
"With this fight against Alvarez, my opponent is just like me. He is a really tough puncher, and it's going to come down to who makes the least amount of mistakes.
"The way that the fight is going to go is that whichever fighter makes the mistake first, like, getting caught dropping his hands, then whoever that fighter is — me or him — who lands the solid punch, that's going to be the difference.
"Because we both have good punching power, so it's going to be one of those fights where we both have to be on our game. But this fight is not going to go 12 rounds.
"I'm not going to make a prediction on a particular round that I will choose, but when I connect on my punches, and I'm able to hurt him, that's when I'm going to be victorious."