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Lem’s latest: Mitchell-Arreola card moved to Sept. 7

Fighters Network

Golden Boy Promotions announced that the Showtime Special Edition doubleheader, matching two-division titlewinner Rafael Marquez against Efrain Esquivias in a featherweight bout, and heavyweight standouts Seth Mitchell and Chris Arreola, will be moved from Sept. 6 to Sept. 7.

The venue still is going to be Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, Calif.

Coming off last month’s unanimous decision over Johnathon Banks that avenged a second-round stoppage loss last November, Mitchell (26-1-1, 19 knockouts) will face Arreola (35-3, 30 KOs), who had surgery in May to repair a broken nose suffered during his unanimous-decision loss to Bermane Stiverne in April.

A 38-year-old two-divison champ, Marquez (41-8, 37 KOS) is planning to end what would be an 11-month ring absence against Esquivias (16-2-1, 9 KOs).

Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer told that the move was made as a result of rival promoter Top Rank’s forced postponement of a super middleweight clash between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Brian Vera that was scheduled for Sept. 7 on HBO, only to be shelved as a result of a small cut over Chavez’s right eye that was suffered during sparring.

“As I have said before, I don’t like to go head-to-head [with HBO] whether we have the stronger card or we don’t have the stronger card. When it’s possible, I try to find a way not to have conflict, although sometimes it’s not possible,” said Schaefer.

“When I heard Chavez was not going to fight on Sept. 7, I contacted the people at Fantasy Springs and checked with them and they were happy and the venue was available. For them, from a customer point of view, they have more people on a Saturday night then they do on a Friday night, so they were fine with the change.”


Top Rank’s stars are aligned, literally, over the months of Octover and November with WBO welterweight titleholder Tim Bradley’s defense against Juan Manuel Marquez on Oct. 12, junior welterweight Mike Alvarado putting his WBO title on the line opposite Ruslan Provodnikov on Oct. 19, and 147-pounders Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios facing each other on Nov. 24 in Macau (Nov. 23 in the western hemisphere).

But Top Rank President, Carl Moretti, dismisses the notion of a tournament, even as he acknowledges the potential for a six-man, mix-and-match scenario.

“I wouldn’t look at it as a tournament,” said Moretti. “We don’t do tournaments. We don’t believe in tournaments.”


Bradley-Marquez will happen on HBO Pay Per View from Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. Alvarado-Provodnikov is on HBO from the 1st Bank Center in Broomfield, Colo., a suburb of Denver, near Alvardo’s hometown of Thornton. Pacquiao and Rios will fight on HBO Pay Per View.

Alvarado (34-1, 23 knockouts) is coming off a unanimous-decision win over Rios (31-1-1, 23 KOs) that earned him the WBO’s 140-pound belt and avenged his seventh-round stoppage loss in October of last year. Provodnkikov (22-2, 15 KOs) scored a 12th-round knockdown in March against Bradley (30-0, 12 KOs) in a unanimous decision victory for Badley in defense of the title he won from Pacquiao by disputed split-decision in June.

Marquez (55-6-2, 40 KOs) is coming off a sixth-round stoppage victory over Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 KOs).

“It’s six guys that are all basically in the same weight class in very meaningful fights where it just opens up a bunch of possibilities for 2014,” said Moretti of the boxers, all six of whom are promoted by Top Rank. “But to project who is going to go where and against who and at what weight is something that you can’t think about right now.”


Although Top Rank CEO Bob Arum informed earlier that negotiations were ongoing for a Nov. 9 junior lightweight bout between RING featherweight champion Mikey Garcia (32-0, 27 KOs) and WBO beltholder Roman “Rocky” Martinez (30-1-1, 20 KOs), Moretti said the company is “not married to Nov. 9.”

The month of November had also been mentioned by Arum as the return for ex-beltholder Nonito Donaire (31-2, 20 KOs) , most recently, perhaps on the same card as Garcia-Martinez.

But Moretti characterized that situation as “up in the air right now.”

“I’m shooting to make fights, not shooting for dates. If I can’t make the fight, then I have to make something else,”


said Moretti. “It’s accurate, but there are other dates that HBO has offered us to go with it, so I’m not married to Nov. 9 at all.”

Donaire was dethroned by unanimous decision in April as RING junior featherweight champion and WBO beltholder in his last fight by Guillermo Rigondeaux, who also holds the WBA title.

Moretti believes that Donaire will return as a featherweight, but called doubtful a match against promotional stablemate and IBF 126-pound titleholder Evgeny Gradovich (16-0, 8 KOs), at least for now.

“Not this year. There has been no talk about Gradovich and Donaire,” said Moretti of two fighters who are mutually trained by Robert Garcia. “It does look like Donaire will be fighting at 126, because I don’t see him fighting at 122.”


Schaefer moved the first defense by IBF light heavyweight titleholder Bernard Hopkins against mandatory challenger Karo Murat to Oct. 26 rather than Oct. 19, at least, in part, so that the Showtime event would not conflict with Alvarado-Provodnikov.

Schaefer also has plans for a Nov. 9 pay per view event, a subject on which Moretti said he had “no thoughts or comments.”

Schaefer, on the other hand, had plenty to say about a potential conflict with Top Rank.

“I really don’t care anymore what Top Rank is doing. I feel sorry for them. They are a bunch of miserable people. They know that they are a sinking ship,” said Schaefer.

“The old man [Arum] is trying to hold on desperately. I am working on great fights, great promotions and some other groundbreaking things, all of which are moving the sport of boxing forward.”

Photo by Naoki Fukuda

Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank

Photo by Naoki Fukuda

Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]