Golden Boy has announced the three bouts that will support the main event featuring Canelo Alvarez and Erislandy Lara on Saturday, July 12 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
In the co-main event, former three-division world champion Abner Mares returns to face Puerto Rico’s Jonathan Oquendo in a 10-round featherweight bout. In the SHOWTIME PPV opening bout, Johan Perez defends his interim WBA Junior Welterweight World Championship against Mauricio Herrera in s 12-round match up.
Rounding out the four-fight pay-per-view event, Puerto Rican star and former world champion Juan Manuel “JuanMa” Lopez battles Mexico’s Francisco “El Bandido” Vargas in a 10-round bout for the WBO International Super Featherweight Title.
“The Canelo vs. Lara card is shaping up to be an extraordinary one for fight fans around the world,” said Oscar De La Hoya, President of Golden Boy Promotions.
“When you get a Mexican fighter like Francisco Vargas and a Puerto Rican fighter like JuanMa Lopez together-the greatest nationalistic rivalry in all of boxing-there will be fireworks. Then you have Johan Perez and Mauricio Herrera, two skilled hungry fighters who know their way around the sweet science, making this a dream fight. And, lastly, we have the highly anticipated return of Abner Mares against hard-hitting Jonathan Oquendo. So get ready for another memorable night at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.”
“I’m in great shape, I have momentum on my side after beating Daniel Ponce De Leon, and I’m ready for Francisco Vargas,” said Lopez. “The MGM Grand was where I had one of my biggest wins against Rafael Marquez, and I’m looking forward to more success there on July 12.”
“JuanMa Lopez is a great fighter and 2 time world champion, and we’re going to give the fans a fight to remember,” said Vargas. “I feel like this is my time, and with a win over JuanMa, it will get me that much closer to a world title shot.”
“It’s been a long time, but I can’t wait to step into the ring and hear my name called again,” said Mares. “Jonathan Oquendo is a respectable fighter and I know he’s coming to win, but he is in the way of another world title, so I have to get him out of there.”
“Puerto Rico vs. Mexico always produces great fights, and this fight won’t be any different,” said Oquendo. “A win over Mares will do big things for my career, and I plan on leaving Vegas with the victory.”
“Every fighter dreams of fighting in Las Vegas, and on July 12, I get my chance,” said Perez. “Mauricio Herrera is a great test and tough Challenger to my title. I feel Herrera beat Garcia and because of that he is the best and I want to fight the best. We’re going to give the fans a great battle.”
“You have to respect Johan Perez for all he’s accomplished in such a short time, and I see him as a very dangerous fighter,” said Herrera. “But my only goal is to win the title, and to get there, I have to beat him on July 12.”
Beloved Puerto Rican power puncher Juan Manuel “JuanMa” Lopez (34-3, 31 KOs) is undergoing a career resurgence at 30-years-old. With wins in three of his last four bouts, all by knockout, he is soaring in the 130-pound rankings. In his most recent match on March 15, Caguas’ Lopez stopped Daniel Ponce De Leon in the second round of their rematch. Considering that his last Las Vegas bout was a stirring eighth-round stoppage of Rafael Marquez in 2010, Lopez is confident of victory on July 12.
A member of the 2008 Mexican Olympic team, 29-year-old Francisco “El Bandido” Vargas (19-0-1, 13 KOs) has made his way to the top of the 130-pound division. After a trio of important victories over Brandon Bennett, Jerry Belmontes and Abner Cotto, the Mexico City standout is ranked No. 2 in the WBO and ready for his shot at a world title. But first he has to handle this step up in class and defeat former world champion Juan Manuel Lopez.
A member of the 2004 Mexican Olympic team, 28-year-old Abner Mares (26-1-1, 14 KOs) of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, and fighting out of Downey, Calif., earned a spot on boxing’s pound-for-pound list in 2013 when he stopped Ponce De Leon in nine rounds to win his third divisional world title, the WBC Featherweight crown. In his last start on Aug. 24, on SHOWTIME, Mares was upset by Jhonny Gonzalez. But Mares, the previous owner of world championships at bantamweight and super bantamweight is anxious to return to the ring to begin his quest for another world championship.
One of Puerto Rico’s top contenders for world title honors, Jonathan “Polvo’ Oquendo (24-3, 16 KOs) is a hard-hitting pro who has won 10 of his last 12 bouts, seven by knockout. A victor over Jose Luis Araiza, Eden Sonsona, and Alejandro Montiel, the 30-year-old native of Bayamon is coming off a 12-round unanimous decision win over top prospect Guillermo Avila, setting the stage for his showdown with Mares.
A native of Caracas, Venezuela, 30-year-old Johan “El Terrible” Perez (19-1-1, 13 KOs) has returned to the top of the 140-pound division, bouncing back from the lone loss of his career against Pablo Cesar Cano in 2012 to win four straight bouts. In November of 2013, Perez regained the interim WBA World Junior Welterweight title by handing former champion Paul Spadafora his first career defeat. Perez has since successfully defended the crown once, stopping Fernando Monte de Oca in 10 rounds last May 10.
Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera (20-4, 7 KOs), of Riverside, Calif., has long been a favorite of hardcore boxing fans for his gritty determination and well-balanced attack in the ring. But this past March, the world got to witness just how talented the 33-year-old is, as he pushed junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia to the brink before losing a razor-thin majority decision. Eager to get back on top, Herrera gets his chance to do just that on July 12.