Friday, March 24, 2023  |



Sergio Martinez-Miguel Cotto undercard announced


Middleweight Andy Lee will face John Jackson; junior middleweight Jorge Melendez will challenge ex-beltholder Yuri Freeman and featherweight ex-beltholders Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. and Marvin Sonsona will clash on the undercard of the June 7 HBO Pay-Per-View main event between RING/WBC middleweight champion Sergio Martinez and three-division titleholder Miguel Cotto at New York's Madison Square Garden.

The card was announced by Miguel Cotto Promotions, DiBella Entertainment and Sampson Boxing on Monday.

"I am thrilled to have Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. and Jorge Melendez in big fights on my pay-per-view undercard," said Cotto, who is 38-4 with 31 knockouts. "They are two very talented fighters from my stable and I wanted to open opportunities of massive exposure and good fights to further their careers. The fans will love it."

Vazquez Jr. and Sonsona will fight in a rematch of Vazquez's fourth-round knockout victory from February 2010. A southpaw from General Santos City, Philippines, Sonsona (18-1-1, 15 knockouts) has won four straight fights including three by knockout since falling to Vazquez (23-3-1, 19 KOs). Vazquez has gone 5-3 with four stoppage wins since their last meeting.

The son of former two-division titleholder Julian Jackson, John Jackson is 18-1 with 15 knockouts and is promoted by Sampson Lewkowicz.

"I am so happy to bring to the historic Cotto-Martínez undercard two of my best prospects in very competitive and dangerous fights," said Lewkowicz. "The son of the legendary Julian 'The Hawk' Jackson, John 'Dah Rock' Jackson of the U.S. Virgin Islands, and 'Marvelous' Marvin Sonsona, the second youngest world champion to come from the Philippines. Don't miss these great fights."

A southpaw, Lee, (32-2, 22 KOs) will be after his fifth straight win, having last suffered defeat by seventh-round knockout to Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in June 2012. Lee is coming off an eighth-round majority decision over Frank Horta in April.

"At 154, Andy Lee is going to be more dangerous than ever. John Jackson is a very tough and talented fighter, coming from a great family pedigree," said Lou DiBella, Lee's promoter.

"That being said, I think that Andy Lee is going to shine in this fight and show the world that he is a true force in the junior middleweight division. I expect myself and Sampson to be enjoying a great victory together with Sergio in the main event but I am very confident that [Lewkowicz] will be licking his wounds after Andy defeats Jackson."

A 33-year-old resident of Brooklyn, the former junior middleweight titlist Foreman (32-2, 9 KOs) has won four consecutive fights since falling by consecutive stoppage losses in the ninth and sixth rounds to Cotto and Pawel Wolak in June 2010 and March 2011, respectively. The loss to Cotto dethroned Foreman, who returns to the banner Top Rank Promotions, as WBA titleholder after Foreman had dethroned Puerto Rico’s Daniel Santos in November 2009 for the belt.

In doing so, Foreman (whose first name in English translation is "George") became the first Israeli to win a world boxing title, not to mention the first soon-to-be Rabbi to do so. In January 2013, Foreman ended a nearly two-year absence with a unanimous decision victory over Brandon Baue. Foreman was last in the ring for November's first-round knockout of Jovany Javier Gomez.

The hard-hitting Melendez (28-3, 26 KOs), 25, will be after his third straight victory since losing a unanimous decision to Nick Brinson last June and is coming off a unanimous decision over Richard Gutierrez in March.

"Yuri is currently on a four-fight win streak and he is looking to show that he is still one of the elite 154-pound fighters in the world," said DiBella. "This is an opportunity to not only fight in his hometown but also on the biggest stage possible, and prove to the world that he is once again ready for a world title opportunity."