Mexican Independence Day weekend will come alive in one-of-a-kind fashion on Saturday, September 15 when “Knockout Kings” featuring undefeated Mexican sensation Canelo Alvarez taking on boxing’s breakout star and upset-minded Josesito Lopez for Canelo’s World Boxing Council (WBC) Super Welterweight World Championship, takes place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, live on SHOWTIME. Fans can expect fireworks all night long with the unparalleled quadruple-header, which also features WBC Featherweight World Champion Jhonny Gonzalez defending his title against former World Champion Daniel Ponce De Leon.
“We know the exceptional talent we have in Mexican superstar Canelo, and certainly Josesito Lopez deserves the opportunity to face him after his stunning upset victory over Victor Ortiz on June 23,” said Oscar de la Hoya, President of Golden Boy Promotions. “It is going to be another prideful Mexican Independence Day weekend for Mexican and Mexican-American fans having their most celebrated fighter, Canelo, fighting that night along with Jhonny Gonzalez and Daniel Ponce De Leon, who are going to deliver their own electrifying championship battle.”
“It is a great pleasure for Golden Boy Promotions to be working with MGM Resorts International and SHOWTIME Sports on this exciting night of boxing,” said Richard Schaefer, CEO, Golden Boy Promotions. “To be able to showcase top-caliber boxing talent in Canelo, Josesito Lopez, Jhonny Gonzalez and Ponce De Leon on the same show packs a lot of power and pride into a tremendous evening for attendees and viewers watching at home. It’s also a special gift for Mexican and Mexican American fans who have supported the sport for so long to have Canelo appear once again on Mexican Independence Day weekend. If there is anyone who deserves a shot at Canelo, it’s Josesito because he showed that heart and will can determine the outcome of any fight. I’ve never seen a fighter show that.”
“SHOWTIME has fully committed to promoting this tremendous night of boxing as if it were a pay-per-view, but instead is offering this quadruple-header to all boxing fans across the country,” continued Schaefer. “We are very pleased that CBS will also be committed to promoting this event on various platforms.”
“We are excited to be able to offer SHOWTIME subscribers a chance to see boxing’s newest star, Canelo Alvarez, in what promises to be a dramatic fight,” said Stephen Espinoza, Executive Vice President and General Manager, SHOWTIME Sports. “Canelo’s talent and charisma has re-energized boxing and drawn legions of casual fans to the sport. Josesito Lopez may not be as well-known as Canelo, but he has already shown that it would be a mistake for any opponent to overlook Josesito Lopez. Many counted him out in his last fight against Victor Ortiz, but he stunned the SHOWTIME audience and boxing fans worldwide with his gutsy performance and earned his shot at Canelo. This match-up, and this entire card as a whole, promises to be non-stop action and we are proud to deliver explosive fights to our viewers.”
Richard Sturm, president of sports and entertainment for MGM Resorts International, said, “We look forward to celebrating Mexican Independence Day weekend with one of the most exciting events of the summer. There is no doubt that Golden Boy Promotions will deliver a fight that has a major impact on boxing fans worldwide.”
Already a phenom in his home country of Mexico, Canelo turned professional at the age of 15 and has amassed a record of 40-0-1, with 29 knockouts. Since 2008, he has knocked out 14 of 18 opponents and is coming off of a dominant unanimous decision win over future Hall of Famer and former Three-Division World Champion Sugar Shane Mosley in May. Now, the 21-year-old considered to be one of boxing’s fastest-rising stars will make his SHOWTIME debut on Mexico’s biggest holiday weekend of the year, Mexican Independence Day weekend. Canelo will look to continue his meteoric rise to international superstardom as he follows in the footsteps of De La Hoya, his childhood idol and current promoter.
“I am happy to be fighting Josesito Lopez on Mexican Independence Day weekend and to give all of our fans a tremendous battle,” said Canelo. “I was ringside for his fight against Victor Ortiz and saw the talent he possesses. It will be very competitive, but nothing can take away my desire to be the best in the sport. I am also excited to be fighting for the Mexican people and Mexican American fans on Mexican Independence Day weekend. I look forward to showing so many people who will be watching me across the United States that I love being a champion. I want them to think of me as one of the greatest fighters ever.”
In June, Lopez emerged from relative obscurity and scored the biggest win of his career over the heavily favored Ortiz in the main event of a SHOWTIME Championship Boxing. Lopez shocked the boxing world by stopping Ortiz, one of today’s most popular and talented fighters. Lopez (30-4, 18 KO’s) of Riverside, Calif., has the opportunity to recreate his “Rocky moment” on Sept. 15, when he challenges for his first world title against a man that many believe to be boxing’s next superstar.
“I am so happy to have the chance to continue my career fighting another great champion in Canelo Alvarez especially on such a big weekend like Mexican Independence Day,” said Lopez. “I know they put me in the ring with Victor Ortiz to have me beat and now they are doing the same thing with Canelo. I was a big underdog with Ortiz and now I’m a bigger underdog with Canelo, but I’m up for the challenge.”
Also featured on the SHOWTIME telecast will be reigning Mexico City’s Jhonny Gonzalez (52-7, 45 KO’s) who once ruled the bantamweight division with his iron fists, winning two world titles and defeating the likes of Fernando Montiel, Irene Pacheco and recently inducted Hall of Famer Mark “Too Sharp” Johnson. Reinventing himself at featherweight, where he has gone 12-0 with 11 knockouts, he won the WBC 126-pound title by stopping Hozumi Hasegawa in the fourth round in April 2011. Four title defenses, including an April 2012 decision over Elio Rojas, have followed, and on September 15, the 30-year old will seek a fifth successful defense against De Leon.
“This is a fight I have been wanting for a long time and now to have the opportunity to do it for my Mexican people is so great,” said Gonzalez. “That is a big weekend for everyone and I am going to show the world why I am still the best in the division.”
Power puncher Daniel Ponce De Leon (43-4, 35 KO’s) has long been one of boxing’s most dependable warriors. Former WBO Junior Featherweight World Champion De Leon defended his crown six times during his 2005-08 reign. After losing the title to Juan Manuel Lopez in 2008, he began the next chapter of his career, winning nine of his next 11 fights following that defeat. In 2012, wins over Omar Estrella (KO6) and Eduardo Lazcano (W10) at featherweight have put him in line for a shot at 126-pound gold, but to get it, he will have to beat countryman Gonzalez on the 15th of September.
“Gonzalez is a very good fighter, but I have the experience and ability to beat him and take his title from him,” said De Leon. “The Mexican fans will all be watching and there is going to be tremendous pressure on all of us to win our bouts and look great doing it. I will become the new champion that night and my career will move up to a new level.”
SHOWTIME Sports will also produce a new edition of its ALL ACESS sports documentary series. ALL ACCESS: Canelo vs. Lopez will premiere on SHOWTIME, with multiple replays on additional SHOWTIME and CBS platforms. The exhibition schedule will be announced shortly.
“Knockout Kings,” a tremendous evening of pure Mexican power and pride, is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and Canelo Promotions in association with Goossen Tutor Promotions and Thompson Boxing Promotions and sponsored by Corona, DeWalt Tools and AT&T. The quadruple-header will take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. and will be televised live on SHOWTIME. Additional co-featured fights will be announced soon.
Tickets priced at $400, $300, $150, $50 and $25, not including applicable service charges and taxes, go on sale Saturday, July 14 at Noon PT. Ticket sales are limited to ten (10) per person. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000. Tickets also are available for purchase at www.mgmgrand.com or www.ticketmaster.com.