SAN DIEGO, September 11, 2015 – With Floyd Mayweather as the star attraction of his own promotion company, he hasn’t felt a lot of pressure from his partners at Showtime/CBS to produce quality undercards. More profit for Money May if he doesn’t have to pay out big purses, hmm?
For his upcoming fight with Andre Berto, a fight without a fraction of the enthusiasm of Mayweather’s last bout with Manny Pacquiao, more effort went into the undercard.
The top fighter in the Mayweather stable, Badou Jack (19-1-1, 12 KOs), 31 and a native of Sweden, will defend his WBC super middleweight belt against George Groves (21-2, 16 KOs) of Great Britain. It will be Jack’s first defense of the belt since winning it from Anthony Dirrell in April.
Groves’ most notable fights were a pair of losses to Carl Froch. In their first fight in 2013, Groves knocked Froch down in the first round and was ahead on the cards when Froch won by a controversial TKO, a referee stoppage that seemed premature. The rematch in May 2014 filled Wembley Stadium with 80,000 crazed British fight fans, who saw Froch get a more definitive win with a terrific knockout victory in the eighth round. But Jack has been down too, to lesser opponent Derek Edwards in a first round KO in 2014.
Both men are ranked in the top 10 among super middleweights. Groves is the younger but in many ways the more experienced. Both want to make a good showing on this stage.
At the final news conference, Groves said, ““I’m confident of winning. I’m always confident of winning. The best way to describe this fight is that Badou Jack is a good fighter, but I’m a better fighter. I’m better than him at every phase of the game.”
Jack’s response: “Groves got famous for getting knocked out by Carl Froch. He’s a good fighter, but I’m very comfortable that I’m going to beat him … I’ve always been the underdog in my opinion. I like it. It motivates me. I’m going to prove my worth Saturday night.”
This fight will come down to whoever establishes control of the jab and the ring. Jack should go to Groves’ head with his trademark counter left hooks and use his height advantage, fighting tall. Groves has better footwork and should be able to control the ring. He will win by taking away Jack’s attack through body work. Groves is the harder puncher and one mistake could mean the end for Jack.
I expect Groves to win, and it would be fun to see Groves take on fellow Brit James DeGale, who has the IBF super middleweight title. Groves beat DeGale in a close decision in 2011. The pair could fill Wembley Stadium again.
The best Mexico vs. Puerto Rico matchup saluting Mexican Independence Day is a battle of banging junior lightweight veterans. Roman “Rocky” Martinez of Puerto Rico beat Mexico’s Orlando Salido earlier this year at home in San Juan. It was a slugfest and a Fight Of The Year candidate. There were two knockdowns by Martinez on the way to a decision victory.
A rematch was not rocket science, and this time it will be on more neutral turf in Las Vegas, although you can expect the house to be packed with Mexican fight fans cheering for Salido to take revenge in this co-feature.
There is nothing subtle here. Martinez (29-2-2, 17 KOs), 32, and Salido (42-13-2, 29 KOs), 34, say it’s going to be war once again and neither of them plans anything much different. They both relish the opportunity to represent their native countries in one of boxing’s all-time classic storylines.
Salido said on Thursday, “It’s going to be the best fight of the night. We’re going to exchange blows and pick up where we left off. I’m treating this like it is the biggest fight of my career and I can’t wait to demonstrate my skills one more time.” Gonzalez brushed it off: “Salido can say whatever he wants. I know him and I was able to knock him down in the first fight. I’m confident I can go finish him … I understand why this fight is happening. Who wouldn’t want to see us go at it again? But I thought I clearly won the first time, and I am confident I will win again on Saturday.”
These veterans know how to put on a show, and no matter when the end of the fight comes or who wins, both will have won the respect of the fans.
Also on the undercard is another pair of veteran junior lightweights representing Mexico and Puerto Rico, Jhonny Gonzalez (58-9, 49 KOs) vs. Jonathan Oquendo (25-4, 16 KOs) in a 10-round bout. Both are moving up from featherweight for this bout; both have recent wins after losses; Gonzales, 33, lost his featherweight title to Gary Russell Jr. Oquendo, 32, lost a decision at featherweight to Abner Mares, who lost two weeks ago to Leo Santa Cruz.
The complete PPV lineup for the Showtime telecast on Saturday, September 12, starting at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas:
- Floyd Mayweather Jr. (48-0, 26 KOs) vs. Andre Berto (30-3, 23 KOs), 12 rounds, for Mayweather’s unified welterweight title
- Roman “Rocky” Martinez (29-2-2, 17 KOs) vs. Orlando Salido (42-13-2, 29 KOs), 12 rounds, for Martinez’s junior lightweight title
- Badou Jack (19-1-1, 12 KOs) vs. George Groves (21-2, 16 KOs), 12 rounds, for Jack’s super middleweight title
- Jhonny Gonzalez (58-9, 49 KOs) vs. Jonathan Oquendo (25-4, 16 KOs), 10 rounds at junior lightweight, no title
- Fans will also see one fight on the “Countdown” program, starting at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. ET between Ishe Smith (27-7, 12 KOs) vs. Vanes Martirosyan (35-2-1, 21 KOs), 10 rounds for Smith’s IBF junior middleweight title.
- Communities Digital News will be ringside at the fight in Las Vegas, and we will provide round by round reports throughout the fight card including the main event. Join us Saturday night, and we won’t charge you a penny for the privilege.
Mayweather vs. Berto, “High Stakes,” airs on Showtime PPV Saturday, September 12, starting at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT with the undercard bouts.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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