“Best of Britain” will be televised live from Wembley Arena in London beginning at 4:30 p.m. ET/1:30 p.m. PT as part of a free trial offer for boxing fans.
Vazquez (33-3, 13 knockouts) is coming off December’s unanimous decision over previously unbeaten prospect Mercito Gesta (26-1-1, 14 KOs), a victory that marked his fifth title defense and his 12th straight win.
A technical, mobile boxer, Vazquez, 26, entered the Gesta fight following a split-decision win over IBF mandatory challenger Marvin Quintero last September.
Vazquez has not suffered defeat while competing at 135 pounds, having fallen by decisions against unbeaten WBC junior middleweight titleholder Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and WBO welterweight beltholder Tim Bradley.
The 29-year-old Burns (35-2, 10 KOs) will be after his 21st consecutive win and his eighth stoppage during that run against Vazquez. The Scotsman is coming off a fourth-round stoppage of world-ranked Kevin Mitchell last September.
The Burns-Vazquez undercard will include a defense by WBO lightweight beltholder Nathan Cleverly (25-0, 12 KOs) against Robin Krasniqi (39-2, 15 KOs), a winner of 38 consecutive bouts, as well as bouts featuring super middleweight George Groves (16-0, 12 KOs), against Mouhamed Ali Ndiaye (22-1, 13 KOs), and heavyweight Dereck Chisora (15-4, 9 KOs).
FLOYD MAYWEATHER TOUTS ISHE SMITH AGAINST CORNELIUS BUNDRAGE
A native of Grand Rapids, Mich., Floyd Mayweather Jr. was at the MGM Grand in Detroit on Thursday, where his Mayweather Promotions was touting Saturday night’s Showtime-televised IBF junior middleweight title defense by Cornelius Bundrage (32-4, 19 KOs) against veteran Ishe Smith (24-5, 11 KOs) at the Masonic Temple Theater in Detroit.
Mayweather (43-0, 26 KOs) spoke publicly for the first time since the announcement of his exclusive multi-fight venture with Showtime and its parent company, CBS Corporation, in advance of the Showtime Pay Per View defense of his WBC welterweight belt against Robert Guerrero (31-1-1, 18 KOs) that will happen on May 4 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
“I’ve got love for the whole Midwest, and Detroit has embraced me with so much love. Detroit is a great city and the Midwest has produced nothing but a lot of legendary champions. It is great to be here in Detroit and Mayweather Promotions is happy to be here putting on this fight,” said Mayweather.
“It is going to be a great fight this Saturday night on Showtime. I am telling everyone right now, if they don’t have Showtime already, they have to go out and get it. You can’t miss Floyd Mayweather or Mayweather Promotions fighters who are fortunate to be fighting on this network. For the next 30 months I will give you excitement. You can believe that.”
As for Saturday night, Mayweather touted Smith, who has won three straight, two of them by knockout, since falling by unanimous decision to Fernando Guerrero.
“I need to thank Floyd for everything he’s done for me. I’ve had a lot of different promoters in my 13 years as a professional and no one has treated me the way he does,” said Smith. “I did communicate with him when he was incarcerated and I carry this letter that he wrote me whenever I fight. He said, ‘You are a champion.'”
Coming off June’s Showtime-televised seventh-round stoppage of Cory Spinks, whom he originally dethroned by fifth-round stoppage in August of 2010, Bundrage does not believe he will have any trouble with Smith.
“He’s a pillow puncher. He’s going down. The only person I fear is God. Him [Smith], I’ll put him down,” said Bundrage. “The thing is, 39-years-old for me is like 21 because I didn’t have an amateur career. I’m coming with everything. It’s going down. May the best man win.”
But Mayweather retorted.
“Ishe Smith is not a walk in the park for K9 Bundradge. Ishe Smith is not Cory Spinks and he [Bundrage] needs to understand that,” said Mayweather.
“K9 is world champion and I give him credit for being in this fight, but he is going in against a great fighter in Ishe Smith and I think Ishe and Mayweather Promotions will prevail Saturday night.”
NBC’S FIGHT NIGHT WILL FEATURE FOUR UNBEATENS ON SATURDAY
Undefeated heavyweights Vyacheslav “Czar” Glazkov (14-0, 10 KOs), of Lugansk, Ukraine, and Philadelphia’s Malik Scott (35-0, 12 KOs), will fight in the main event, and junior welterweights Chris Algieri (14-0, 7KOs), of New York, and Jose “Mangu” Peralta (10-1, 6 KOs), of Jersey City, N.J., will be in the co-feature of Saturday night’s NBC Sports Network Fight Night event from The Paramount in Huntington, New York.
SHOBOX FIGHTERS MAKE WEIGHTT FOR FRIDAY’S EVENT
Junior lightweight main event fighters Art “Lion Heart” Hovhannisyan (15-0-2, 8 KOs), of Glendale, Calif., and Alejandro “El Alacran” Perez (16-3-1, 11 KOs), of Salinas, Calif., each weighed in at 130 pounds for Friday night’s ShOwtime-televised clash on ShoBox.
For the middleweight co-feature, Tureano “Reno” Johnson (13-0, 10 KOs), who represented the Bahamas in the 2008 Olympic Games, and rival Willie Fortune (15-0, 7 KOs), of Detroit, weighed 159 and 157, respectively.
D’MITRIUS BALLARD, STEVE GEFFRARD TO MAKE DEBUTS ON BUNDRAGE-SMITH CARD
Golden Boy Promotions has signed former light heavyweight amateur stars D’Mitrius Ballard, of Temple Hills, Md., and Steve Geffrard, of Florida, to exclusive promotional agreements, and they will each make their debuts on Saturday night’s Bundrage-Smith card.
“This is an exciting time for Golden Boy Promotions and the sport of boxing,” said Oscar De La Hoya, president of Golden Boy Promotions. “We’ve had a great injection of new talent over the past few months and with the addition of D’Mitrius and Steve, I feel even more confident that the future of our sport is in great hands.”
Trained by Lamont Roach Jr., Ballard, 19, won five Ringside world championships, a 2012 National Golden Gloves crown, four National PAL titles, and was a member of the 2012 Olympic trial team.
“Golden Boy Promotions is the best promoter in the game today,” said Ballard, “and to be on the same roster as a lot of my friends from the amateurs is an added bonus. I’m ready to take the headgear off and get started. I can’t wait.”
An amateur Triple Crown winner in 2010 who earned the National Golden Gloves, USA Boxing National and National PAL titles, Geffrad, 22, just missed making the 2012 United States Olympic team. Geffrard now trains in Houston with Ronnie Shields.
“This is an honor for me to be working with Golden Boy Promotions,” said Geffrard, “and I promise that no one will be disappointed with my performances. Everything has happened so fast, but I’m taking it all in as I get ready for my pro debut on Saturday.”
HUGO CENTENO-KEANDRE LEATHERWOOD SLATED FOR MARCH 8
Junior middleweight prospects Hugo “The Boss” Centeno Jr. (17-0, 9 KOs), of Oxnard, Calif., and Keandre “Lightning” Leatherwood (12-1-1, 8 KOs), of Birmingham, Ala., will clash on March 8 on ShoBox at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, Calif., Goldeen Boy has announced.
The ShoBox: The New Generation telecast will air live beginning at 11 p.m. ET/PT, being delayed on the West Coast.
Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Photo by Tom Casino, Showtime
Photo by Craig Bennett, Showtime
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]