The televised undercard for the Saturday, Nov. 21 showdown between Miguel Cotto and Canelo Alvarez has been announced. The Cotto vs. Canelo undercard is topped by Takashi Miura (29-2-2, 22 KOs) of Tokyo, Japan, defending his Super Featherweight title for the fifth time against Mexico City, Mexico’s unbeaten Francisco Vargas (22-0-1, 16 KOs).
Hailing from the same city as headliner Miguel Cotto, undefeated Jayson Velez (23-0-1, 16 KOs) of Caguas, Puerto Rico, will face Santa Ana, California’s Ronny Rios (24-1, 10 KOs) in a highly anticipated 10-round featherweight bout.
“Bringing sports fans an event featuring what is likely to be the 2015 Fight of the Year in Cotto vs. Canelo is great, but adding a highly entertaining undercard makes it greater,” said David Itskowitch, COO Boxing of Roc Nation Sports. “The announcement of these two televised undercard fights brings additional excitement and value for fans watching the event live in Las Vegas or at home on HBO Pay-Per-View.”
“On November 21, the best fighters in boxing will gather for one epic night in Las Vegas,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. “Audiences will not only see the two biggest stars battle, Miguel Cotto and Canelo Alvarez, but every fighter featured on the card brings the highest caliber of talent propelling the sport further into a new golden age of boxing.”
“I believe Velez vs. Rios is a great match for both fighters,” said Hector Soto, Vice President of Miguel Cotto Promotions. “The winner will be a step away from a title shot and it adds more drama to the Puerto Rico vs. Mexico rivalry. In Ronny Rios we have a tough fighter and Jayson Velez is a warrior that brings action into the ring.”
“Francisco Vargas has proved himself to be a tough competitor,” said Miura. “But, I have repeatedly fought to keep my WBC title and on November 21, I will show American fans once again why I am a champion.”
“To add the WBC title to my NABF and WBO Intercontinental titles would be the ultimate victory and a great ending to 2015,” said Vargas. “I am training hard and ready to bring a fight to the ring at Mandalay Bay. Takashi Miura better be ready because I am coming for him on November 21.”
“I have been working to make a name for myself and show fans that I am a true undefeated champion,” said Velez. “This fight against Ronny Rios represents an important next step in my career and I am hungry for the win. To fight on the same card as Miguel Cotto and to represent Puerto Rico in Las Vegas in what is sure to be one of this year’s biggest nights in boxing is surreal.”
“I was dealt the first loss of my career not long ago, but that has only made me more focused and driven,” said Rios. “I have already sought redemption and am now ready to continue on my path to a world title. Jayson Velez may prove to be a tough opponent, but I will be ready for him. Come November 21, Velez will know what a first career loss will feel like.”
Southpaw power-puncher Takashi Miura is a force at super featherweight who is excited to make his United States debut on the Cotto vs. Canelo undercard. Unbeaten since 2011, the 31-year-old from Tokyo has scored several notable wins in that timeframe, stopping Gamaliel Diaz to take the WBC title, turning back Sergio “Yeyo” Thompson and defeating former world champion Billy “The Kid” Dib in defense of his belt. On November 21, he will expect a similar result when he faces Vargas.
A member of the 2008 Mexican Olympic team, Francisco “El Bandido” Vargas turned professional in 2010 and is now one win away from a coveted world championship. The NABF and WBO Intercontinental champion at 130 pounds, the 30-year-old Mexico City native has blasted through his last three opponents, halting former World Champion Juan Manuel “Juanma” Lopez, Genaro “Duro” Camargo and “Wild” Will Tomlinson to earn his shot at Miura in a fight boxing fans can’t wait to see.
Hailing from the same city in Puerto Rico as headliner Miguel Cotto, 27-year-old Caguas native Jayson “La Maravilla” Velez has compiled a collection of titles in his professional career, including the WBC USNBC, WBO Latino and WBC Silver belts. He nearly took his first world title in November 2014 before a controversial draw verdict was rendered in his IBF Featherweight World Championship fight with Evgeny Gradovich. Determined to get another world title shot, Velez needs a win against Rios to get there.
Santa Ana, California’s Ronny Rios was sailing to the top of the division before an upset loss to the number one contender for the WBC Featherweight title Robinson “Robin Hood” Castellanos in October of 2014, but with a comeback win over Sergio “El Frio” Frias and the determination and heart of a champion, the talented 25-year-old has his sights set on glory once more. With a victory over Velez, he will be back on the road to a world title fight once more.