It’s boxing’s biggest week, an opportunity for the stars of entertainment and sports to descend on Las Vegas for “THE” fight of 2013, the championship showdown between unbeaten icons Floyd “Money” Mayweather and Canelo Alvarez.
However, before the world turns its eyes to the MGM Grand Garden Arena to watch these two warriors collide Saturday, Sept. 14, Mayweather Promotions and Golden Boy Promotions kick off festivities two days earlier, on Thursday, Sept. 12, with a special three-and-a-half hour, action-packed broadcast on FOX Sports 2 and FOX Deportes from MGM Grand Las Vegas’ Premier Ballroom.
It’s the rematch fight fans have demanded, as unbeaten Shawn “Showtime” Porter faces former World Champion Julio “The Kidd” Diaz in the 10-round welterweight bout as the main event of the tripleheader. The co-featured bout showcases Las Vegas up and comer Badou Jack as he takes on Mexico’s Marco Antonio Periban and in the opener boxing’s top prospects Julian “J-Rock” Williams faces Hugo “The Boss” Centeno Jr. in a 10-round junior middleweight clash.
“Two days before boxing’s biggest night, this is the kind of event that will get things started off in the right way,” said Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe. “There are three exciting and evenly matched fights on this card that will give fans another opportunity to enjoy an exciting night of boxing while they anticipate the outcome of who “The One” will be in Mayweather vs. Canelo.”
“This is the perfect way to kick off the festivities for Mayweather vs. Canelo and I know all boxing fans will love this card,” said Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions.
“Shawn Porter vs. Julio Diaz is a rematch the fighters and the fans demanded and as good as their first fight was, I think this one will be even better. In addition, we’ve got Marco Antonio Periban facing Badou Jack in an important super middleweight bout with title implications and there will definitely be fireworks between two of the sport’s top prospects, Hugo Centeno Jr. and Julian Williams.”
“Getting a full card of quality fights on FOX Sports 2 and FOX Deportes, tapping into the energy being created by the Mayweather vs. Canelo bout later in the week, is a strong offering,” said FOX Sports SVP Programming & Research Patrick Crakes. “We will continue to work with our partners at Golden Boy Promotions to put together packages for fight fans across the country.”
“When I was approached with this rematch, there was no question in my mind about taking it,” Porter said. “We had a great fight the first time, but this time around I want a knockout. I’m looking to make a statement on September 12 and I will.”
“I think I won the first fight and I’m not the only one who feels that way,” Diaz said. “But I give Porter credit for agreeing to this rematch so we can settle things. He’s a good fighter, but on September 12, I’m going to prove that I’m better.”
“Marco Antonio Periban is one of the top super middleweights in the world, and I respect him for his accomplishments,” said Jack. “This is the big fight I’ve wanted though, and I won’t let this opportunity pass me by because when I win, I’ll be one step closer to becoming a world champion.”
“I believe I should be the super middleweight champion right now, but this is boxing,” Periban said. “So to get back to a title fight, I have to make sure I leave no doubts in my fights.” “Badou Jack is a good fighter with a bright future, but he’s in my way and I have to remove him on September 12.”
“This is the kind of fight that boxing needs, two undefeated fighters putting it all on the line and having the confidence to back up their talent,” said Williams. “Centeno’s a tough guy and I know he’s going to bring it on September 12, but I have more tools than he does and more ways to win and he’s going to find that out once we’re in the ring.”
“I’m really excited about this fight and this event, because the world is going to be watching,” Centeno Jr. said. “We’re both unbeaten and rising up the ladder, and this fight will prove who’s going to keep going forward. I expect it to be me.”
On December 15, 2012, Akron, Ohio’s Shawn “Showtime” Porter (21-0-1, 14 KO’s) looked to add the name of former World Champion Julio Diaz (40-8-1, 29 KO’s) to his list of accomplishments, but the veteran from Coachella had other plans and the two went to battle for 10 exciting rounds before a draw verdict was rendered. Since then, the 25-year-old Porter scored a dominant win over previously unbeaten Phil LoGreco and the 33-year-old Diaz gave Amir Khan all he could handle before losing a close decision, setting up the rematch the fighters and the fans wanted.
Coachella’s Julio “The Kidd” Diaz (40-8-1, 29 KO’s) may have initially made his mark in the lightweight division, where he won the IBF World Championship twice and defeated fighters like Javier Jauregui, Jesus Chavez and Ricky Quiles, but it appears that at welterweight, Diaz is even more dangerous. After a yearlong layoff, Diaz is winner of two fights by knockout with the only blemishes coming in controversial bouts against Amir Khan and Shawn Porter. Now, he looks to avenge his draw with Porter by defeating his unbeaten foe on September 12.
A 2008 Olympian for Gambia, Swedish-born Las Vegas resident Badou “The Ripper” Jack (15-0, 10 KO’s) has become an international boxing sensation in recent years and the 29-year-old is just approaching his fighting prime. A pro since 2009, Jack scored a third round knockout over Michael Gbenga on the undercard of his promoter Floyd Mayweather’s fight against Robert Guerrero. After his July 19 victory against Farah Ennis, “The Ripper” is looking for another quick finish on September 12.
Mexico City’s Marco Antonio Periban (20-1, 13 KO’s) looks to bounce back from his controversial majority decision loss to Sakio Bika in their June battle for the vacant WBC Super Middleweight Title by taking on undefeated young warrior Jack in a 10-round clash at 168 pounds. The 28-year-old Periban is a crowd-pleasing battler who can do it all in the ring.
Opening the night of fights will be a rare meeting of undefeated top junior middleweight talents is another proud graduate of Philadelphia boxing’s School of Hard Knocks, 23-year-old Julian “J-Rock” Williams (13-0-1, 7 KO’s). Having already faced a stellar level of competition thus far in his career, Williams stepped up even more in June when he faced former World Champion Joachim Alcine, dropping him three times en route to a unanimous decision victory. On September 12, he meets fellow unbeaten Hugo Centeno Jr.
Oxnard, California’s Hugo Centeno Jr. (19-0, 10 KO’s) has spent time making his name known among 154-rising stars, with the 22-year-old scoring a near shutout of fellow prospect KeAndrae Leatherwood in March. Now Centeno Jr. has the opportunity to make his record 20-0 when he faces Julian Williams on September 12.