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Golden Boy stacks undercard for July 31 PPV

30
Jun

Acknowledging that most bouts on the televised undercard of recent pay-per-view events have been somewhere between mediocre and awful, Golden Boy Promotions president Oscar De La Hoya and CEO Richard Schaefer were proud to announce three quality bouts underneath the up-coming Juan Manuel Marquez-Juan Diaz rematch on a recent conference call with boxing media.

Marquez-Diaz II, which takes place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas on July 31, will be supported by three fights — a 12-round middleweight title bout between Daniel Jacobs (20-0, 17 KOs) and Dmitry Pirog (16-0, 13 KOs), a 10-round junior welterweight crossroads bout between Joel Casamayor (37-4-1, 22 KOs) and Robert Guerrero (26-1-1, 18 KOs), and a 10-round lightweight bout between Jorge Linares (28-1, 18 KOs) and Rocky Juarez (28-6-1, 20 KOs).

The four-bout card will be distributed live on HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.

“We promised to put together an undercard that was made up of fights that could stand alone as an HBO-televised fight. That was a commitment we made to fight fans,” said Schaefer, who was happy to point out that the six undercard fighters have a combined record of 153-12-3 (108), have won nine major titles between them, and include an Olympic gold medalist and an Olympic silver medalist.

“We’re used to getting the main event as the attraction and the undercard is sometimes left behind,” De La Hoya said, “but these fights are not mismatches. These are fights that can go either way. We don’t know who’s going to win these fights, so it’s a treat for the fans.”

The pay-per-view broadcast begins with the Linares-Juarez bout. Linares, a former two-division titleholder, is only one bout removed from a shocking first-round KO loss to Juan Carlos Salgado last October. Juarez, the 2000 Olympic silver medalist and a five-time title challenger, is coming off back-to-back losses to featherweight beltholder Chris John and Jason Litzau.

“Both fighters know they have to win or their career might be over,” De La Hoya said. “Linares has all the talent in the world. Before his loss he was viewed as the next star of boxing. Juarez is a young veteran who never gives up. We don’t know what’s going to happen. That’s why this fight is so special.”

The second bout of the broadcast is the junior welterweight bout between Guerrero, a former featherweight and junior lightweight beltholder, and Cuba’s 1992 Olympic gold medalist Casamayor, the former lightweight champ.

Guerrero is unbeaten in his last 12 bouts but his boxing career has stalled at times while he cares for his wife, who has bravely battled leukemia for the past four years.

“What makes me proud of Robert Guerrero is what he’s fighting for,” De La Hoya said. “He’s in a position to open the eyes of fight fans and boxing critics (to let them know) that he belongs in the 140-pound division, which is very hot right now. If he beats Casamayor he’ll be a player in the junior welterweight division.”

Casamayor has only fought once — a less-than-stellar eight-round decision over journeyman Jason Davis in a welterweight bout last November — since his 11th-round TKO loss to Marquez in September of 2008, but the ring savvy southpaw veteran is still viewed as a threat by many observers.

“Casamayor is 38 but he’s no pushover,” De La Hoya said. “He wants top prove that he still has another fight left in him.”

In a 12-round bout immediately before the main event, Jacobs, perhaps New York City’s finest prospect, will attempt to capture his first world title when he takes on fellow undefeated up-and-comer Pirog, of Russia, for a vacant 160-pound belt.

“Styles make fights and I think this matchup has Fight of the Year written all over it,” De La Hoya said. “Daniel is a boxer-puncher with incredible speed. I’ve studied (fight footage of) Dmitry and he has a come-forward style but he’s very smart.”

Both De La Hoya and Schaefer said the quality of the July 31 undercard will upheld in future supporting bouts to Golden Boy Promotions pay-per-view events.

“It’s key in not only keeping the existing fans we have but in attracting new fans,” De La Hoya said. “We didn’t care how much money we had to spend (on the July 31 card), we just wanted to put on good fights for this pay-per-view show.”

“I think this one is the best (undercards) we’ve ever done,” said Schaefer, who added that the company spent around $ 4 million on the entire card. “We don’t want this to be a stand alone event. We want to start a trend. We want this to be the norm, the first of many steps in the right direction.”

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