Ray Beltran-Roman Martinez tops Manny Pacquiao-Tim Bradley undercard
The pay-per-view undercard for Manny Pacquiao–Tim Bradley 2 is set.
A WBO lightweight eliminator between Raymundo Beltran and Roman “Rocky” Martinez highlights the undercard revealed by Top Rank CEO Bob Arum on Thursday.
Another matchup features Russian southpaw Khabib Allakhverdiev (19-0, 9 knockouts) in the second defense of his WBA 140-pound belt against Jessie Vargas (23-0, 9 KOs). Also, junior lightweight Bryan Vasquez (32-1, 17 KOs) will meet Jose Felix Jr. (26-0-1, 12 KOs).
"It's a card that has good, competitive, fun fights with good fighters, and for people who want to see more than just the main event, these are good, entertaining fights," Arum said. "There are going to be that 90 percent of the people who buy a show for the main event, but for the 10 percent that want to see a full boxing show, then you've got to please them. So this is a crowd-pleasing undercard for people who want to see more than just the main event."
The winner between Martinez and Beltran will be the mandatory challenger for the victor of a March 1 bout between Ricky Burns and unbeaten Terence Crawford.
Beltran (28-6-1, 17 KOs) was last in ring for a disputed draw with Burns in September that ended his three-fight winning streak.
"[Beltran] got screwed on the decision," said Arum. "So now, he has another fight on a big card that could probably be the best of the undercard fights. It's going to be a great fight with Martinez, and if he wins that, then we'll get him a title fight right away."
In his last fight in November, Martinez was dethroned as WBO 130-pound titleholder following an eighth-round knockout against Mikey Garcia. Prior to facing Garcia, Martinez (27-2-2, 16 KOs) won a split-decision victory in April over previously unbeaten Diego Magdaleno and had fougth to a split-draw with Juan Carlos Burgos in January to retain his title.
Allakhverdiev, 31, has won three of his past four bouts by knockout and is coming off an 11th-round stoppage of Souleymane M'baye in July. Meanwhile, Vargas is returning to the 140-pound division after having competed as a welterweight for his past few fights.
"[Top Rank matchmaker] Brad Goodman says that he's been watching Vargas, who works out in our gym, and that Vargas looks tremendous," said Arum. "So if he looks tremendous, and if he can bring that into the ring, I give him a helluva a shot to beat Khabib."
Since being knocked out in the WBA beltholder Takashi Uchiyama in December of 2012, Vazquez, 26, has won two of his past three fights by stoppage. Vazquez was last in the ring for a fifth-round technical decision over Rene Gonzalez in July.
Felix, 21, will be after his fourth straight knockout win and was last in the ring for a third-round knockout of Santos Benavides in November.
"My matchmakers tell me that it's a tremendous fight," said Arum, "They say that it's a good opportunity for both guys."