By Robert Hough

Light welterweights Terence Crawford and Julius Indongo are set to fight Saturday in an ultra-rare, four-belt unification bout. The match, in Lincoln, Nebraska, will be televised live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes at 10 p.m. ET and streamed live via the ESPN app.

Here’s what they had to say today:

Terence Crawford: “(Indongo) is at the end of his career. He doesn’t have a lot of choices. He can’t wait around for a long time…He has good legs. It seems like he can punch a bit. He doesn’t let his opponent get inside.”

Julius Indongo: “It’s something huge. It’s very big. It’s very meaningful…I am a humble guy but I don’t fear anybody. My focus, my game-plan, everything is in position…Although people never knew me, this is the right time to show the world.”

Top Rank President Todd duBoef: “This is a global sport. In America, we’re relatively isolated to a small pool of fighters. What Indongo did was, the door of opportunity opened and he stepped through it. This goes back to what makes boxing so special. People take advantage of those opportunities and a diamond in the rough is discovered.”

Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank


TODD duBOEF: I would like to welcome everybody to our inaugural U.S.-based promotion that will be live on ESPN, this Saturday, at 10 p.m. ET. There is no other way to start off than with Vasyl Lomachenko. The event in itself, coming from Los Angeles [LA Live’s Microsoft Theater], having Vasyl be the debut fighter, and obviously to be discussing when somebody is pound-for-pound the best, the accolades are there and he has delivered time in and time out in his very short career. 

But for me to talk about how great somebody is, I have only been in the business 25 years, but I always talk to our esteemed matchmaker Bruce Trampler, and I say, “Bruce how great is he?” Vasyl, he is one of the only fighters where Bruce will say, “He is something very special.” So he couldn’t be special without his father who is an incredible influence on him, and also his mental trainer, the psychologist who helps him prepare mentally. To be a perfect athlete and have the perfect training he has a great team.

EGIS KLIMAS: We are very excited to speak about our upcoming fight on ESPN. We are going to be available to a much bigger audience and everyone is going to be able to see who Vasyl Lomachenko is and how great he is at what he does and looking forward very, very much and to thank Top Rank for taking us to this level of his career.

You just fought in April and now you are right back in there again and could fight again a third time this year – is this what you like?

VASYL LOMACHENKO: This is exactly what I wanted, and exactly what I needed at this point because right now I am at the peak of my career – my best years – and I need to be more active as possible. I need to be in the ring as much as possible.

As the manager, can you give me your perspective about that?

EGIS KLIMAS: If the fighter is only going in the ring two times a year everyone forgets about him. My point is a champion should fight at least three times a year and if possible, four. It depends how quick you can get, and of course we all know this is a business too. The problems come from the networks and there are a lot of questions to get to that point but of course we are very happy to be able to fight three times a year.

What are the goals that Vasyl has beyond this fight – is it more belts, moving up to higher divisions, or fighting specific fighters?

VASYL LOMACHENKO: The biggest thing for me is I want to fight top, top fighters in the weight class that I am now fighting in. That is my biggest goal. Then maybe it is different weight classes. I want to be in the history book of boxing – I want my name to be mentioned when people talk about the history of boxing. Most important for me is to fight the best – where the fight means something – fans want it – people want to see it. I want to be on top of the list.

Is a fight against Marriaga one that delivers for him?

EGIS KLIMAS: Vasyl is a fighter. He is not choosing opponents and he is not trying to avoid anybody or, lets put it this way, afraid to step in the ring against anybody. He is a guy that is always asking “let’s train – come on over, come on over.” Top Rank can tell you we were thinking we were going to be fighting Orlando Salido and Salido dragged his feet and then Marriaga came about at the last minute – we had a few weeks before the bout. So beggars cannot be choosers.

TODD duBOEF: when you reach the frequency of bouts in a year – you can’t always have the biggest fight, so if we accelerate the frequency and he becomes more aware to everybody out there, you’re right, you may just have a real solid tough guy, like a Marriaga, in front of you, then all the sudden you get to a bigger fight that comes along and things like that happen then a title unification may come along like another solid top- five contender, so we can’t be so selective all the time. We would like to hit two paths – one is to get the best matches for Vasyl and Egis, and two is to keep the frequency going. We don’t want his career to stop because the right match isn’t there.

What do you see as the big matches you can make?

TODD duBOEF: Obviously you have a Salido rematch if Vasyl is still interested in that. And if Salido is real about that. Rigondeaux is yapping his mouth pretty good and that would be two of the most highly heralded amateurs. Vasyl has basically cleaned out the division and he will fight anybody so if he wants to go up in weight there are fighters at 135 that he can fight. I think there are tons of opportunities for him. We obviously want to work with them and with Egis on his move of the weight class. There was talk that he may jump to 135 for this fight but he is comfortable staying at 130 right now and we just pick and choose who we go through.

Do you see a fight with Mikey Garcia, who stated last week he does not want stay-busy fights and wants to fight the best?

TODD duBOEF: I would like to interject here. I am tired with people filing you guys with a bunch of (BS) and telling you ‘we want to fight the greatest fight with the best fighters out there – we are available.’ That is complete nonsense. Mikey Garcia turned down Yuriorkis Gamboa. He turned down Gamboa which would have made him something so don’t tell me he is striving to fight the best out there. He then came and says ‘oh, I want to fight Manny Pacquiao’ after a two-year layoff, ‘I want to fight Terence Crawford, I want to fight Vasyl Lomachenko.’ That’s great, we are here. His (bleeping) trainer shows up to say ‘hey we want to talk about it’ and he goes out and then makes the Broner fight. Stop the nonsense. Stop it. These guys yap (BS) to you guys like they are these pristine people. They don’t go out there and make matches. Vasyl has never dodged anybody. Crawford has never dodged anybody. Nobody goes out there to fight everybody out there. I hate these guys that say ‘oh, the reason is why they wanted the big fights out there’ then they wouldn’t fight Gamboa. It’s nonsense.

EGIS KLIMAS: Mikey Garcia, Mikey Garcia, after the fight he said clearly ‘whoever is willing to fight on Showtime, I will fight you. He is over there choosing the network. I think we are in a different grade. I would love to fight Mikey Garcia. It would give a big name to Vasyl, but..

TODD duBOEF: I don’t even think it’s a big name (laughing)

You don’t think it’s a big name after that victory?

TODD duBOEF: After what victory? I saw the fight, believe it or not. I didn’t think it was an incredible performance. He outpointed Broner. I didn’t think it was a scintillating fight. I thought he won the fight clearly. I wasn’t thinking ‘Oh my God, the masses are clamoring to see him. I am being honest with you. I think he had a nice fight. He fought well. Broner wasn’t throwing a lot of punches and Mikey did a good job, but a big name? A big name is Mikey Garcia now? I don’t see that.

In all of the fighters around that weight class, you’ve got to admit Garcia is a bigger name than Rigondeaux…

EGIS KLIMAS: You mean bigger in the fight? (laughing)

It’s a bigger fight…

TODD duBOEF: Listen, if Mikey Garcia is interested in the fight, have his guys call us. We are in. Any time. I mean the guy leaves us then says the three fighters I want to fight are Pacquiao, Crawford and Lomachenko. Why would you leave? You went on strike for two years. I hate to call it how it is guys.

Do you view Mikey Garcia as a guy you want to fight?

VASYL LOMACHENKO: His trainer Robert Garcia, Robert Garcia mentioned that Mikey is a fighter A-Class. I hadn’t seen anything during that bout that showed me he was a Class-A outstanding fighter. Yes, he won the fight. Yes, he did everything to win the fight, what he needed to be, but I haven’t seen anything outstanding and I haven’t seen him being a A-Class fighter.

TODD duBOEF: Heeey, the promoter and the fighter think alike! Can you believe this? (laughing)

Who is the one guy you want if you are going to have a big fight by the end of the year?

VASYL LOMACHENKO: At this point it really doesn’t matter what I want. I was asked that question before the Jason Sosa bout came off. I told them, before this bout, after the Sosa bout again I was asked by reporters who I want to fight. I said it really doesn’t matter who I want – it is more like who is available. I am preparing for one big name, one big fight, and the fight like Sosa and this upcoming fight on Saturday – it is just like my training session for ONE BIG FIGHT, then the one big fight is going to bring up and you have my promoter on the line, and you can ask them, what are they trying to bring me in the ring. I am a boxer. I am not a picker. Whoever is in front of me I am going to be fighting this guy.

Do you think the Salido fight is still a possibility?

TODD duBOEF: I think a little bit of the perspective is that we really wanted to launch the ESPN thing with Lomachenko preferably in a rematch with Salido. We were getting representation that he was going to take a tune-up fight in May and then Lomachenko, but they kind of dragged this out then saying he had a hurt hand, he couldn’t make the weight. Listen, our business model is a little different than what our business model has been in the past when we had to wait on fighters to make fights to stay active. So what we did, we said listen, Vasyl is a commercially incredible fighter that we want the public to see. He is not going to be held up by an opponent or a situation. We are going to make him available so that millions of people can watch him on ESPN and can see his story and can see his brilliance and that’s why we pivoted to Marriaga. If Salido comes back and says ‘I am ready for the fight and I’m sorry about all of this stuff, I am healthy now, let’s go’ then I talk to Vasyl and Egis and we are all in. We are here to make good matches and to give the public what they want.

Since he will be available to millions more viewers how much of a bigger star can he become?

TODD duBOEF: I don’t want to make a judgment just on the fight. We are talking about and we can all analyze the two hour or two and a half hour block on ESPN or if it’s on FOX or CBS, HBO or Showtime. I think what everybody should take note of is all of the commotion leading up to the fight on the ESPN platforms. That is the shoulder programming that is driving awareness to it and that is going to be invaluable. I think not only is it going to drive the audience to the fight but also it is going to make Vasyl noticeable to the general sports fan and that’s what we are looking for. So tune in to ESPN all week and you are going to be seeing tons of promos, snippets and interviews, the weigh-ins are live and everything in a 360 perspective and following our sport like they used to. It’s not just about fight night.

What is your perspective on fighting Salido?

VASYL LOMACHENKO: Yes, I would like to fight Salido but probably within a one-year period. If it is longer than that I am not going to be interested in fighting him because that bout wouldn’t mean anything. But in general I would like to get back in the ring with him to see how much better I can be in the second bout.

What do you think about Marriaga?

VASYL LOMACHENKO: I did see his bout against Oscar Valdez and what can I tell about him? He is strong and his conditioning is good. He has skills so I think about, what everybody else thinks is going to be easy, I don’t think it is going to be easy for me.

Did you see the Berchelt-Miura fight a couple weeks ago and would you like to fight him?

VASYL LOMACHENKO: Yes, I really would like to fight Miguel Berchelt [WBC super featherweight champion] to unify the titles and I would like to have one more belt into my collection.

What do you think you can do to increase your star power?

TODD duBOEF: Vasyl has nine fights. This guy has nine fights. You tell me somebody after nine fights, or ten fights. He has a very limited number of fights and his appeal right now is very high for the limited number of bouts he has had. We believe by flipping the switch and doing the fights on ESPN and exposing him to the masses I think his star power is going to grow when people see him, when they see him train, when they see how he fights. But right now, with his limited number of fights – most guys are righting four-rounders off television, so I think he is doing damn well.

In closing…

VASYL LOMACHENKO: Yes, ii would like thank everybody for your attention and I would like to thank everybody for putting my name in all of your stories and I will see you all on August 5th and you guys are going to see another great show.

Ray Beltran – how is the Green Card progress?

STEVE FEDER: Sure, we were going to file right after the Jonathan Maicello fight in May [one-punch second knockout victory] but once we heard that Top Rank had made the deal with ESPN – the more press we have collected the better – and we had a great response after the last fight, we decided to hold off the application until after this fight. So in two weeks, after this fight is over, we are going to file. All of the press coverage we get for this fight will go in with the application.

How do you feel about getting another title shot?

RAY BELTRAN: Well, you know I think after all of the hard work I got respect which is very hard to get and it is very exciting for me and my team and we all feel great about it.

After your last title fight loss, did you think it was over or you could build your self back up again?

RAY BELTRAN: No, I didn’t feel that. The way I felt with my abilities I would be able to make it back for another title shot and it was just a matter of time.

TODD duBOEF: Ray did what he had to do and was explosive in doing that when the opportunities came up. When he fought underneath Crawford – sensational one-punch knockouts – in Omaha and in New York – and you want to know what? That’s telegenic. People want to see that. He didn’t just sleepwalk through the performance. He went out and made a statement, and you get bonus for that, and we thought bringing Ray back right away, sending him once again to a larger audience, hoping that he will be better and have a terrific performance on Saturday.

How do you feel about being on ESPN and how that may help you in getting a Green Card?

RAY BELTRAN: I feel great and it makes me think about those days when the Friday Night Fights were on ESPN and a lot of people and friends are gong to be able to see my fight and they are going to be able to see who I am and I can’t wait to be on ESPN. I am so happy to be part of Top Rank and this new project and my promoter gives me all of these new opportunities.

Thoughts on Bryan Vasquez?

RAY BELTRAN: He is a very tough opponent. I know he is going to fight. We both have different goals. He’s got a big opportunity to fight me and I have a big challenge in front of me. My focus is on the title and also on the Green Card situation, which is my big motivation to win the fight. He is a good fighter and I want to impress the people and I just can’t wait to get in the ring but I am very confident by the way it is going in the gym and my mind is 100% right now.

What is it like getting in the ring knowing you are fighting for the Green Card?

RAY BELTRAN: Let me tell you how I look at it – when you have doubt you are not going to make it. I have no doubt and I have motivation. I believe it is going to go good. I really believe in myself and I believe in my team. I just can’t wait to be in the ring and I am so excited to get in the ring and put on a good show for the fans. It is my time and my moment and I can’t wait.

When did you begin the process of trying to obtain the Green Card?

STEVE FEDER: As soon as this fight is over, since it is on ESPN and we wanted to take advantage of the media coverage, and within two weeks after this fight, we are going to file. We have been collecting all of the letters of support then we will file and that is the first part of the process and they will look at it then and tell you what the application looks like before the final submission and if it needs tweaking they will let us know – we pay a little extra for that – and from that point on it is about a four to six-month process. It could come sooner but that is typical.

How have you been in the USA for so long and not have your Green Card just yet?

RAY BELTRAN: When I crossed the border I was illegal for nine years then I asked if I could apply for my Visa since I had been here for 12 years and I felt the weight was off my shoulders because I had my Visa. Before that it was a lot of risk for me because if I got pulled over and he’s not having a good day he could call immigration and I would be in big trouble.

STEVE FEDER: As it is now, once Ray stops fighting, he cannot get a work Visa and he cannot stay – he would be here illegally and we need to get this accomplished before it gets to that. He is hoping that he fights one more time this year then he gets a shot at the world title – he will be a US citizen. His P-1 visa allows him to fight in the U.S.

What if he loses? Does he need victory to stay here?

STEVE FEDER: At this point, because we want to get into the mandatory position with either Linares or Garcia or Flanagan, this is a crucial fight that we are up against right now. Once this fight is over with, we have to file. At that point, obviously he has no intentions of losing, so we don’t even put that in our mindset, so Ray would have proven enough that he is at that elite status and at that point we would feel OK. The reason we didn’t do it after New York was because we wanted to have more press coverage on our side, so we knew it was worth waiting for.

Do the big fights he has had not count for the status he needs?

STEVE FEDER: It counts, but it would be equivalent to an actor winning an Academy Award or an Olympian winning the Gold Medal. It takes so much that once you apply you do not want to get rejected. The idea that he was a top fighter, yes that helps. He fought Crawford and that was a unanimous decision and it was at the No. 2 position. He is in a better spot now than he ever has been.

When he fought Crawford he was the mandatory…

STEVE FEDER: Yes, but he has had four knockouts in a row going into Saturday’s fight and he has a good run. Right now, this was the best time to do it. Right now he has been sitting at this No. 2 spot and he keeps moving up the rankings – that’s what they want to see – to see him maintain it. Just being there in that position wouldn’t be enough – what he is doing now is better which is maintaining that position over a period of time. It’s about Ray’s body of work — his career. In essence it’s about continuity and sustained activity at an elite level — rather than one specific fight.

So a year at #2 is better than 3 months at #1


RAY BELTRAN: Thank you for taking the time to pay attention to the Ray Beltran life story. I hope that all of my fans are there for the fight and they tune in on ESPN and I want to thank ESPN and all of the people that are involved in this event and I can’t wait to put on a great show and to be back on ESPN as soon as possible again.

TODD duBOEF: If you can’t be at the fights we hope you tune in on Saturday and make a note to tune into ESPN all week to see the promos that they are going to be doing – see the bumpers and see the countdown clock, see the snippets and see the stuff they are going to be bringing you guys and the general fans creating awareness to the fight on Saturday.

BN-IX351_nyboxi_J_20150614151119Ivan ‘Bam Bam‘ Najera, left, is pinned against the ropes by Felix Verdejo. Verdejo won the bout by unanimous decision. PHOTO: MIKEY WILLIAMS FOR TOP RANK BOXING

By Jim Chairusmi –

Miguel Cotto has been entrenched as the most popular Puerto Rican boxer for the past decade. But he might have some competition for that title. Felix Verdejo is quickly emerging as the sport’s next big star.

At the Theater at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, Verdejo (18-0, 13 knockouts) outslugged Ivan Najera (16-1, 8 knockouts) to earn a 10-round unanimous decision. The 22-year-old from San Juan dominated the bout, knocking down the previously undefeated Najera in the fifth and seventh round.

“With right hands to the head, left hooks right down the middle, right uppercuts, overhand rights on the chin, left uppercuts up the middle, the kid showed a powerful arsenal,” HBO analyst Roy Jones Jr. said on the television broadcast of the bout. “He showed every kind of punch you could think of.”

About an hour after the bout, Verdejo answered questions from reporters in Spanish, with an English translator at his side. He expressed satisfaction “with the work we did.”

Over the past decade, Cotto had been a headliner for a Top Rank boxing card at the Garden on the eve of the Puerto Rican Day parade, including championship bouts in New York against Paulie Malignaggi, Zab Judah and Joshua Clottey. But with Cotto now signed with Roc Nation Sports, Top Rank is hopeful that Verdejo can fill the void.

“With skill, personality and ring management, he brings a new dimension to the sport,” Top Rank chief executive Bob Arum said.

On Saturday, Verdejo connected with 194 of 487 punches (40%), compared with 101 of 333 (30%) for Najera. But it was the power shots where Verdejo made the most impact, connecting on 138 of 271 (51%) of his power punches, compared with 90 of 232 (39%) for Najera. Two judges scored the bout a 100-88 shutout for Verdejo, while another judge had it 99-89.

“Verdejo’s charisma is outstanding and his ability in the ring is outstanding,” said Top Rank president Todd DuBoef. “You’re probably going to see in the next 12 months that he’ll make a run for the title.”

Verdejo has also drawn comparisons to another legendary fighter from Puerto Rico: Felix “Tito” Trinidad. “Verdejo is very reminiscent of Trinidad,” DuBoef said. “You don’t yet know on the power, but Verdejo has some incredible assets. You want to see him take each step and make sure he is developed correctly.”

Besides sharing the same first name, Verdejo is flattered by the comparison to Trinidad, who was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2014. “It’s an honor to be compared with a star like Tito, someone who gave so much happiness to my country,” he said.

The only thing that didn’t go Verdejo’s way this weekend: he aggravated a left-hand injury that he had initially suffered in December. Verdejo said his hand “was not 100 %” against Najera and that he would see a hand specialist in the coming days.

But before that, Verdejo brighten when he was asked after Saturday’s bout about being featured on a float in Sunday’s parade. “He understood that question,” his English translator said with a laugh as Verdejo nodded and flashed a smile.


letrero-de-la-pelea-verdejo                                          Félix Verdejo retuvo su cinturón latino de la Organización Mundial de Boxeo (OMB) ante Iván Nájera.

Credito fotos:  (

El boricua retuvo su cetro latino ligero de la OMB, aunque salió del encuentro con una lastimadura en su mano izquierda.

Por:  Carlos Gonzalez –

Nueva York. Félix “Diamante” Verdejo tuvo un dominante desempeño dentro del ring, pero no fue sin una consecuencia.

El campeón ligero Latino de la Organización Mundial de Boxeo (OMB) superó por decisión unánime al mexicano Iván “Bam Bam” Nájera en el combate semiestelar de la función que tuvo como escenario el Teatro del Madison Square Garden en lo que fue su primera presentación por HBO. Se informó que Verdejo completó al combate a pesar de que se lastimó la mano izquierda, posiblemente, en el primer asalto.

No es la primera vez que el púgil sufre un percance en un pleito. A principios del 2015, canceló su participación en una cartelera para recibir tratamiento, precisamente, en la mano izquierda. Sin embargo, Verdejo estuvo recuperado para cuando subió al ring el pasado abril.

Aun así, Verdejo completó una brillante demostración dentro del ring. Después de un inicio algo lento, el puertorriqueño apretó la acción desde el segundo episodio. Nájera hizo lo posible por acortar la distancia para así llegar al cuerpo de Verdejo. En ocasiones tuvo éxito, pero se defensa quedó expuesta.

En el cuarto, Nájera conectó mientras agarró a Verdejo. El referí le llama la atención y eso encendió el fuego dentro de Verdejo, quien lo lastima cada vez que puede. Parecía que el combate terminaría por nocaut técnico, pero la campana salva a Nájera. En el quinto, Verdejo conectó un upper cut de derecha que llevó a Nájera a la lona. Fue el primero de dos caídas a favor de Verdejo. La otra fue en el séptimo producto de un gancho de izquierda.

Al concluir los 10 asaltos, Verdejo fue favorecido por los tres jueces con anotaciones de 100-88, 100-88 y 99-89 para una decisión unánime.

Todd duBoef, presidente de la empresa promotora Top Rank, sostuvo que Verdejo será atendido por un especialista la próxima semana para evaluación.

“Sabíamos que (Verdejo) tenía un asunto con la mano que esperamos resolver pronto. Entiendo que hizo una gran pelea. Necesitaba una prueba como la que representó Nájera. Tenemos que ver cómo reacciona cuando tiene que levantarse del banquillo después de ocho asaltos”, reaccionó DuBoef después del combate.

Screen Shot 2015-06-16 at 4.39.23 PM

El campeón ligero Latino de la Organización Mundial de Boxeo (OMB) superó por decisión unánime al mexicano Iván “Bam Bam” Nájera en el combate semiestelar de la función que tuvo como escenario el Teatro del Madison Square Garden en lo que fue su primera presentación por HBO.


In a great traditional battle between Puerto Rico and Mexico, No. 1 Contender Orlando Cruz, in his first world title shot, will battle former two-time World Champion Orlando Salido for the World Boxing Organization (WBO) Featherweight Championship. The two fighters are on the call today from their training camps. Orlando Cruz is in Buffalo, NY and Orlando Salido in Mexico. In three weeks they will face each other in the ring. Also on the call is All Star Boxing’s Tuto Zabala, Jr., who is Cruz’ promoter and Todd duBoef, President of Top Rank, the promoter of the card.

For Cruz (20-2-1, 10 KOs), of San Juan, Puerto Rico, boxing’s first openly gay fighter and a member of Puerto Rico’s 2000 Olympic team, this will be his first world title shot. Salido (39-12-2, 27 KOs), of Ciudad Obregon, Sonora, México, will be looking to complete a hat trick in regaining the title he previously held for nearly two years They will be fighting for the vacant World Boxing Organization (WBO) featherweight title on the pay-per-view undercard of the Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley, Jr. vs. Juan Manuel “Dinamita” Márquez WBO welterweight championship fight on Saturday, October 12, at the Thomas & Mack Center, on the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. It will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View®, beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET / 6:00 p.m. PT.

TODD duBOEF: We are getting ready and the fighters are gearing up for an incredible show on October 12 in Las Vegas. We talk about the great rivalry between Puerto Rico and Mexico and this is going to be showcased on October 12 and between the two of them, Salido, a seasoned veteran who has been in with everyone in the featherweight division and Cruz, who has earned his title shot and is a profile in courage.

TUTO ZABALA: Thanks to Top Rank and to the WBO for giving us a shot. Orlando is preparing himself in Buffalo, NY with Juan Carlos De Leon and he’s going to have a media workout in Manhattan on Tuesday the 24th. When we signed Orlando Cruz he had lost two fights in a row with his former promoter and he was looking for help. We got him four fights on the Telemundo Network and the championship shot within two years. I am very proud of him and the job we have done for him and also embraced how he came out of the closet like he did last October. It has changed a lot and it is amazing the happiness that we have in our team. Finally he has the world title shot and everything is set for him. I now want to hand it over to the WBO Latino Champion from Puerto Rico, Orlando Cruz.

ORLANDO CRUZ: I am very happy. Thank you HBO for the opportunity and Top Rank and my promoter Tuto Zabala, my manger Juan De Leon. I am excited and I am ready for the fight.

ORLANDO SALIDO: It’s been great preparation and I am grateful for the opportunity that Top Rank has given me to win another world title. I know that Orlando Cruz is a very difficult fighter, he’s a great boxer, and I know that he has a lot of abilities. I have been getting real good sparring here because I know it is going to be a very difficult fight.

A lot of people thought you were done after your fight with Mikey and now you have another opportunity…

ORLANDO SALIDO: I know the fight with Mikey I wasn’t myself. It was a tough night. But that’s in the past and I know what I’m capable of doing. Right now I feel like I did before my fight with Juan Manuel Lopez and I think you’re going to see that same type of fight from me on October 12.

You’ve been waiting a long time for this opportunity – how have you been preparing for it?

ORLANDO CRUZ: It’s been a while. I have been working hard and I never said “no” to any opponent. I worked really hard to get to this point and my team has been really good. Everybody is healthy and I am very happy to get this opportunity. I have a lot of respect for Orlando Salido. I am not going in there thinking that it’s an easy fight. I know how hard he has worked to get to where he is. I know how hard I worked to get where I am. I think we are both really hungry and we both want to do a really great job. I want to take the title back to Puerto Rico for all my fans.

Salido, how is your eye?

ORLANDO SALIDO: I have had injuries in the past but I have not had one injury in the training camp. So all I have to think about is this fight against Orlando Cruz and winning that fight.

How do you feel about Cruz’ style compared to [Mikey] Garcia?

ORLANDO SALIDO: They are totally different fighters. Orlando is a boxer and he tries to move around the ring. My job is to put pressure on him. I will try to cut him off and I will be throwing so many punches I will hit him somewhere. Then I will go to the body to cut him down and eventually I will make him fight my fight.

Does you think your experience will be the difference?

ORLANDO SALIDO: Without a doubt I have been in there with some great champions. I won some and I lost some and I did gain great experience fighting them. I just feel for this fight it will be whoever is better prepared. We are both hungry. We both want it. It’s just a question of who is going to be the best that night and I think I will be.

Jim Lampley, who has a gay brother, called you a hero to him…

ORLANDO CRUZ: I am happy with the situation and I have a lot of support from all around the world. It is great news for me to know about Jim Lampley and his brother. I just want to thank all of the people that have supported me. I have been working hard for this, it is something that I have been waiting a long time for. I want to win this fight for Puerto Rico and for my community. I want to dedicate my fight to the LGBT and all of Puerto Rico because they are going to have a new champion.

Are you ready for a fight with Salido’s experience?

ORLANDO CRUZ: I am ready for the challenge to face Orlando Salido on October 12 even with all of his experience. He faced great champions like Juan Manuel Marquez, Gamboa and Juan Manuel Lopez. I worked very hard for this and am grateful for all of the support that I have, from Tuto, the WBO and Top Rank. Carlos DeLeon, the four-time world champion has been working in the gym with me giving me a lot of experience. People don’t understand how much experience you get while training in the gym. You get experience from working hard and doing what the coach tells me. I have been following what the coach tells me and on October 12 I will become champion for Puerto Rico and for all of my people.

What is the challenge in Salido’s style?

ORLANDO CRUZ: The pressure he will bring. The way he comes that is the way I will fight with Salido. I am not going to run. When I need to fight I am going to fight. When I need to box I am going to box. I am going to be the smartest guy in the ring. I am not taking anything away from Salido but on October 12 we are going to make history.

What do you think about Emille Griffith?

ORLANDO CRUZ: I want to dedicate this fight to Emille Griffith and his family. This fight will be for his community (LGBT) and all the fans of Orlando Cruz.

Mexico vs Puerto Rico rivalry…

ORLANDO CRUZ: The rivalry between Puerto Rico and Mexico, this will be another fight that will bring a lot of excitement in the ring between me and Saldio and I am so happy that it happened because it makes it bigger when I beat a Mexican to bring the belt to Puerto Rico once again.

ORLANDO SALIDO: This is a great rivalry between the two countries and I know when I get in the ring I have to give my best. I always give my best because it’s important to take that victory home. Mexico vs Puerto Rico is always special and a victory over a Puerto Rican is always special for the people of Mexico.

ORLANDO CRUZ: I never refused to fight anybody. Any person Tuto Zabala put in front of me I signed the contract. If they said ‘fight King Kong’ I would fight the person no matter if it was going to be at 126 pounds or above. I don’t care who I fight inside the ring because this is what I love to do – box.

What about Mikey Garcia rematch?

ORLANDO SALDIO: I would love to get a rematch with Mikey Garcia either at 126 or 130. I know I wasn’t myself. I don’t know what happened that night but I wasn’t feeling comfortable in the ring. I would love to fight him again and I feel I would do much better and it would be a much better fight.

Is this going to be the year of Orlando Cruz?

ORLANDO CRUZ: I am sure this is going to be my year. The end of 2013 and going into 2014 will be my time.

How as your life changed since you made the announcement?

ORLANDO CRUZ: My life has changed completely. I am now a different person. I am happy with the support that all of the people have given me and I just want to continue to work hard doing the things that I need to do to make history.

Salido, has Orlando Cruz ever been on your radar for a fight?

ORLANDO SALIDO: It looked to me like he was probably going to be an opponent for me. He has always been there in the top ten. As he was moving up I knew the possibility existed so I was keeping an eye on him.

What have you been thinking about since the loss to Garcia?

ORLANDO SALIDO: After that fight I had a long time to reflect on what happened. I had to take a look at my career to see if this was still what I wanted to do. I still want to do this because I still have a lot left and I think I can still do a lot of things in boxing. But on October 12 I have to show everyone that I am back and what I am capable of doing then go from there. I am not thinking about the future, I just want to show everyone that I am back.

You were supposed to have a fight in June that got canceled – how was that transition to this fight?

ORLANDO CRUZ: All of the work I was doing for June 28 I continued to do. I just changed it up a little because of the type of fighter that Salido is. All I had to do was make some adjustments and I am ready for October 12.

If you win, along with Miguel Cotto and Ivan Calderon, you’d be the only country to boast three world champions from the 2000 Olympic class….

ORLANDO CRUZ: It is going to be great when I become a champion on October 12. It is going to be a great honor for me to be part of the three, to be with Cotto and Calderon, when I become champion to be part of history in Puerto Rico.

Since your announcement, has media demand taken away from your training?

ORLANDO CRUZ: It has not. I have concentrated on the October 12 fight. I understand the press wants to know about my personal life but I have a team I just want to say thank you to all the Puerto Rican people and all of my friends and to not worry, I am going to be ready for the fight. I understand that all of those questions will come and I will answer the best I can but it will not take me away from the focus that I have for Orlando Salido.

After the tough fight in January many people thought you might retire. Did that enter your mind?

ORLANDO SALIDO: As far as I am concerned the opportunity came at the perfect time. I know what I am capable of doing and I know this is one of my last opportunities to win a championship so I worked very hard for this fight. I am going to be ready to win the fight.

You were knocked down a few times in your last fight – is that a worry for you?

ORLANDO SALIDO: You know, everybody in boxing, if you get hit, there are some strong punchers out there. The question is, what are you going to do? I am going to get up and try my hardest. It happens in boxing. You just have to get ready. You prepare yourself by training for each fight – do the best you can in the ring so you can do the best you can in the ring.

What do you think about Mikey [Garcia] going up to 130 especially because it seemed as though you were catching up to him in the later rounds?

ORLANDO SALIDO: I always thought he was a big guy for 126 and I think he will be even bigger and stronger at 130. I look at him like one of those guys that can go up and have no problem with it.

How do you feel about Salido beating fellow Puerto Rican fight, Juan Manuel Lopez, twice?

ORLANDO CRUZ: I have been working hard and am taking this fight more seriously than any other I have had. I know Salido is a strong fighter and I know every round he becomes stronger and stronger and I am preparing myself for that challenge on October 12.

Since your announcement in October, have the events you have been invited to taken away from your training?

ORLANDO CRUZ: I have been training hard and focusing on this fight for October 12 and nothing will take me away from that. Every day I work harder and harder. I want to thank the WBO President Paco Valcarcel and my promoter, Tuto Zabala, who work hard with me every day to keep me motivated so I will become champion on October 12.

Puerto Rico now only has one champion…

ORLANDO CRUZ: The Puerto Rican community has been supporting me and has respected my decision. Puerto Rico has one champion in Rocky Martinez and now they are going to have a second champion on October 12. Puerto Rico will soon have another champion in Danny Garcia.

There is another fighter on October 12, Lomanchenko who could be a next opponent for him…

ORLANDO CRUZ: The only one I am looking at right now is Mr. Salido. I am not looking at anyone else. When the time comes to look at my next fight, I will sit down with my promoter and my team to discuss. That will be great but my focus right now is on Salido.

What is your opinion on the landscape of Puerto Rico boxing. Mexicans have been successful as of late…

ORLANDO SALIDO: I think about what I have done against Puerto Rican fighters. I am 5-0 against them and looking to make it 6-0. I know how to fight them and my experience helps me to do that and I’ll be ready for anything that happens in the ring based on my experience on what I have done in the ring against them.

TODD du BOEF: It is great to hear this dialogue from these two great warriors as they get ready for the fight. Right now we are going to ramp up an incredible promotion with Timmy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez. A release will be going out this afternoon announcing the rest of the undercard. We will have Seanie Monaghan against Anthony Caputo Smith for the WBC Continental Americas title and the Olympian Lomanchenko fighting in his pro debut in a ten-rounder against top-10 contender Jose Luis Ramirez out of Mexico. There is a lot of interest in all of the competitive fights on the show and the response has been terrific. The main event between Bradley and Marquez is one of those sit-around-a-bar or table and no one can pick a winner. We know how competitive it is and how closely matched it is. In the next few weeks we will have numerous promotional activities. Also, tomorrow I will be in Los Angeles for the Cotto media day, so if you are in LA, show up.

ORLANDO SALIDO: I think you are going to see another great fight between two guys that really want it and leave everything they have in the ring. I want to wish Orlando Cruz luck and you cant’ beat Puerto Rico vs. Mexico in the ring.

TUTO ZABALA: Thank you everyone for joining the call and we are looking for a great fight. We have the greatest promotional team in the world, Top Rank. Two of the best featherweights in the world. You have Puerto Rico vs. Mexico. You have a great main event. I am very proud of Orlando Cruz and Puerto Rico will have a new champion on October 12.

ORLANDO CRUZ: I want to thank all of the press for joining us today. I want to thank All Star Boxing, Top Rank and the WBO. I wish all the luck to Orlando Salido and Puerto Rico will have a new champion on October 12.


DENVER, Colorado – El ídolo local “Mile High” Mike Alvarado expondrá su campeonato mundial de peso welter Jr. de la Organización Mundial de Boxeo (OMB) en casa cuando se enfrente al clasificado mundial numero uno Ruslan Provodnikov de Rusia, el sábado 19 de octubre en el 1STBANK Center de Broomfield, Colorado. – See more at:

DENVER, Colorado – El ídolo local “Mile High” Mike Alvarado expondrá su campeonato mundial de peso welter Jr. de la Organización Mundial de Boxeo (OMB) en casa cuando se enfrente al clasificado mundial numero uno Ruslan Provodnikov de Rusia, el sábado 19 de octubre en el 1STBANK Center de Broomfield, Colorado.

Esta será la primera pelea de campeonato mundial en Denver desde 15 de septiembre del 2000 cuando el ex campeón mundial Stevie Johnston empato mayoritariamente con el entonces monarca de peso ligero del Consejo mundial de boxeo (CMB) José Luis Castillo en el Pepsi Center de esta ciudad.

El duelo  Alvarado vs. Provodnikov será el duelo estelar de una función que HBO televisara en vivo en su programa “HBO World Championship Boxing” comenzando a las  9:45 p.m. Este/Pacifico.

Alvarado y Provodnikov llega a la cita después de haber escenificado en sus últimas actuaciones el pasado mes de marzo, peleas que son candidatas a las mejor del año y ambas fueron televisadas por HBO. Estos boxeadores tiene un record combinado de 56-3 con 38 nocauts y un porcentaje de victoria de 95% y un promedio de 68% de sus triunfos han llegado por la vía del cloroformo.

“Denver acaba de recibir el “Super tazón” del boxeo, estoy muy emocionado. Vamos a hacer un gran preparación y una estrategia bien definida para enfrentar a Ruslan Prodnikov, quien representa un reto diferente a Brandon Rios” dijo Alvarado.

“Estoy contento que Alvarado finalmente haya aceptado esta pelea. Sera una noche inolvidable para los aficionados. No voy a decepcionar a mi equipo o mis seguidores que saldrán muy satisfechos de este combate”, dijo Provodnikov.

“Estoy muy emocionado de ver esta pelea y contento con Bob Arum y Todd duBoef que pudieron cerrar su trato con Alvarado. Pienso que esta pelea es muy buena para el boxeo. Ruslan estuvo muy cercas de derrotar a Tim Bradley y pensamos que pueda ganar esta pelea, pero independiente del resultado todos estamos seguros que esta será una emociónate pelea”, dijo Art Pelullo, presidente de Banner Promotions.

“Mike Alvarado contra Ruslan Provodnikov es una pelea para los aficionados del boxeo que verán acción desde el primero hasta el último campanazo. Los presentes en la arena y los televidentes de HBO serán testigos a una inolvidable noche de boxeo y estamos muy agradecidos que estos guerreros haya aceptado este fuerte combate”, dijo Peter Nelson, Director de Programación de HIBO Sports.

Alvarado (34-1, 23 KOs) de Denver, Colorado quien había ganado 10 de 14 previos combates por nocaut antes derrotar a Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios por puntos el pasado 30 de marzo y conquistar el campeonato interino de la OMB de las 140 libras.

Con esa victoria Alvarado vengo su derrota ante Rios del pasado 13 de  Octubre del 2012 en Carson, California. La primera pelea fue considerad una de las mejores del año al igual que la segunda que suena como una de las mejores del 2013.

En el primer duelo Alvarado cayó en el séptimo asalto de una pelea que estaba ganado en una tarjeta y estaba empatada otras dos tras seis emocionantes rounds.

En la segunda pelea el pasado 30 de marzo en Las Vegas, Nevada, Alvarado derroto por decisión unánime a Ríos en una pelea sumamente fuerte para ambos peleadores, pero fue el ídolo de Denver quien saco la victoria al hacer uno ajustes en su boxeo que lo llevaron a la victoria de otra gran pelea entre estos dos guerreros.

Entre las víctimas por nocaut de Alvarado se encuentran Breidis Prescott, Ray Narh, Emmanuel Clottey y  Cesar Bazán.

En el 2012 Alvarado fue parte de dos peleas considerados la mejor del año. El 14 de abril en Las Vegas Alvarado se enfrasco en una guerra sin cuartel ante Mauricio Herrera (18-1, 7 KO’s) de Riverside, California, un clasificado mundial que tenía dos años sin perder, con una racha de cinco victorias, incluyendo un triunfo sobre el entonces invicto Ruslan Provodnikov (17-0) y luego vendría su increíble primer combate contra Ríos en Octubre.

Provodnikov (22-12, 15 KOs), quien es oriundo de Berezovo, Khanty-Mansi, Rusia en Siberia, es entrenado por el mundialmente reconocido Freddie Roach, miembro del Salón de la Fama en el Wild Card Boxing Club de Hollywood.

El ruso llega  a la cita tras su gran combate contra Tim Bradley el pasado 16 de marzo en Carson, California. Provodnikov subió de categoría para disputar la corona de peso welter de la OMB que está en manos de Bradley.

Prodvodnikov tiró golpes sin parar por 12 rounds, lastimo en varias ocasiones a Brandley, quien de igual manera contesto todas las arremetidas del ruso, quien al final de cuentas cayo por decisión dividida ante el norteamericano en para lo que para muchos ha sido la mejor pelea en lo que va del 2013.

Provodnikov de 29 años de edad se ha convertido en un peleador muy popular por sus emocionantes peleas y su entrega sobre el ring. Esta será su segunda oportunidad titular, pero esta vez será en su peso natural.

Provodnikov quien ha ayudado a Manny Pacquiao en varias de sus preparaciones cuenta con victorias sobre los ex campeones mundiales Javier Jáuregui y DeMarcus Corley. Ha ganado cinco de sus últimas seis peleas, cuatro de ellas por nocaut,  incluyendo triunfos sobre David Torres y Jose Reynoso, quienes tenían un record combinado de 37-5-3 cuando enfrentaron a Provodnikov.

La función es una promoción de Top Rank® en asociación con Banner Promotions y Tecate. Los boletos para la función saldrán a la venta este viernes 16 de agosto y tienen un precio de $200, $100, $50 y $25, más costo de servicio e impuestos.

Los boletos estarán disponibles en Internet en la pagina y en todas las localidades de TicketHorse outlets, incluyendo The Pepsi Center, The Paramount Theatre y Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.  Por telefono llamando TicketHorse al 866-461-6556 (8 a.m. de 8 p.m. hora local de Lunes a Sabado y de 9 a.m. a 5 p.m. los domingos) En Denver los interesados pueden llamar al 303-53HORSE.

DENVER, Colorado – El ídolo local “Mile High” Mike Alvarado expondrá su campeonato mundial de peso welter Jr. de la Organización Mundial de Boxeo (OMB) en casa cuando se enfrente al clasificado mundial numero uno Ruslan Provodnikov de Rusia, el sábado 19 de octubre en el 1STBANK Center de Broomfield, Colorado. – See more at:


By Chris Morris/Rocky Mountain Boxing /
Photos: Michael V. Ornelas –

‘Mile High’ Mike Alvarado welcomed Ruslan Provodnikov to Denver properly with a gift, an authentic Peyton Manning jersey. Provodnikov was thankful but was quick to add “You don’t know but the only number I like is #1″ in reference to the #18 on the Manning Jersey.

Fred Sternburg opened the press conference by thanking everyone for coming and thanking everyone involved. He then turned the floor over to Top Rank president Todd duBoef. DuBoef again thanked everyone before making a joke about Sternburg’s flight. Usually Sternburg has to travel to the press conferences but this one was right here in his hometown. He also joked about the fight negotiation saying that he and Alvarado were arm wrestling at one point. “I don’t know where it came from but he was challenging me and he obviously got more money out of me.”

DuBoef then spoke about the satisfaction of taking a fighter like Alvarado from his pro debut through his whole career and then having him defend his world title in his hometown, calling it ‘magical’, mentioning Miguel Cotto, Johnny Tapia and Danny Romero.

DuBoef went on to introduce ‘the birthday boy’ Peter Nelson, (who turned 32 today) director of programming at HBO Sports. Nelson praised both fighters for their previous performances including fight of the year candidates. “One thing that each of these fighters demonstrably shows each time they go out in the ring is that they are there to show more heart and guts and brawn than most other fighters in the sport ever do. So it’s a great privilege to find one fighter in the sport like this and it’s dumb luck to find two and we couldn’t be more ecstatic that we could actually put a fight like this together. For us it’s an honor to be able to get a fight like this together because we know it’s going to deliver for the fans. It also, for us, had an HBO attachment to it because we are going to be premiering that night as well, a ‘Legendary Nights’ documentary on the Arturo Gatti-Micky Ward trilogy. And while there will never be another Gatti-Ward we felt in large part that pairing that documentary and that programming with this fight is significant. Because we feel that while you’re never going to duplicate a fight like that we felt this fight captures the spirit, honors the spirit in which those two great warriors engaged each other in battle. So for us this was a homerun.”

Artie Pellulo from Banner Promotions added, “Since the moment the fight was mentioned on the internet, everybody knows what these guys are about. This (Alvarado) is a great young fighter and so is he (Provodnikov). They have no quit. They have no back up. It’s the most fan friendly fight in a long long time. And the loser will not lose. It’s a great opportunity for both of them. They are right now at the top of what they do. I met Ruslan in Russia and he said ‘Artie, I want to come to America and win world titles and I want to be a star. Because I need to have something for my family. I want to be what I am. I am a fighter’”.


Ruslan Provodnikov next took the podium and spoke through his manager and translator, Vadim Kornilov. “It’s not very often a boxer gets a second chance like this. I feel like lately I’ve been having a lot of luck in what I do. I feel like I am getting more and more on my feet. Whether that’s going to continue or it’s going to end, it’s all going to depend on this fight for me. I can confidently say that we’re both going to create a war and I’m pretty sure one of is probably going to remain laying in the ring after the fight. I will pray for both I and Mike, to make sure that we both have a great training camp and we’re both in the ring on October 19th feeling great and 100% ready. I wish him a lot of luck and I hope to see everyone on October 19th.”


Mike Alvarado’s longtime manager Henry Delgado gave praise to Top Rank for the handling and guiding of Alvarado’s career and gave them credit for much of his success. He also thanked Peter Nelson and HBO for “stepping up and taking Mike on as one of their fighters. ” He then spoke about the fight saying “I want to thank Ruslan for taking the fight. They both only know one way and that’s forward. And when you have two objects coming forward, I mean it’s going to be a crash and I’m going to see that on October the 19th. It feels good to be back home, where it all started.”

Alvarado was introduced to a huge round of applause. He started by saying, “I want to thank God for making this blessing come true. ” He then thanked Top Rank and HBO. “It’s gonna be a great show. It’s a dream come true. Having this fight in my hometown with a warrior like Provodnikov, it’s gonna be a huge blessing for me. Being able to entertain my city and bring it home to all the people who helped support me and are behind me 100%. I want to thank Provodnikov for taking this fight in my hometown. That’s a big thing for somebody to want to come into somebody else’s backyard against a warrior like myself and challenge for a world title. ”

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Alvarado then gave Provodnikov the gift of a Denver Broncos Peyton Manning jersery. “I don’t know if you have an NFL team that you like but you can be a Bronco fan.” To which Provodnikov quipped, “You don’t know but he would like you to know his favorite number is number 1.” This drew cheers and laughs from the fans and media on hand.

Tickets go on sale Friday being priced $200, $150 and $25. The fight will be held at the First Bank Center in Broomfield, Colorado on October 19th.

WBO Welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao has agreed to terms to defend his welterweight title against junior welterweight titlist Timothy Bradley Jr. on June 9 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Michael Koncz, Pacquiao’s adviser, told on Monday.

The Bradley side still needs to finalize its deal with promoter Top Rank.

“From our end, the fight is done,” Koncz said. “I just got off the phone with (Top Rank’s) Bob Arum and Manny, so we’re done. I don’t assume there will be a problem from the Bradley side. We came to terms with Top Rank on the fight and Manny has approved everything. This morning I had a number of conversations with Bob negotiating the June 9 fight and I relayed everything to Manny.”

Top Rank president Todd duBoef told that he is still working to finalize Bradley’s end of the deal.

“We are going to be having further conversations with Bradley and his management early this week and hopefully finalize the deal,” duBoef said. “But the truth is my (promotional) agreement with Bradley lays out certain parameters for a Pacquiao fight, so there is a framework already.”

The hopes for a long-anticipated Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight ended last week when, after the sides once again did not come to terms, Mayweather announced he would challenge junior middleweight titlist Miguel Cotto on May 5. Cotto had also been in the running to face Pacquiao in a rematch, but Pacquiao and Cotto could not agree on the weight for the fight. Pacquiao wanted the 147-pound welterweight limit, which Cotto said was too low for him, and he accepted a deal from Mayweather.

The other names in the running to face Pacquiao in the pay-per-view fight were junior welterweight titlist Lamont Peterson and Juan Manuel Marquez, who is 0-2-1 in three incredibly close and exciting fights with Pacquiao, including a majority decision loss to him in November.

Bradley would move up in weight to challenge Pacquiao for his title.

“We’ve been talking about this for over a month and we always had a Plan B in case Mayweather didn’t happen,” Koncz said. “Last time I went to the Philippines, I took Manny tapes of all of the opponents we were talking about and he watched them with his wife, Jinkee. Bradley was one of them, as everybody knows.”

There is a chance Marquez will fight Peterson next, with the winner of that bout getting a fall match against Pacquiao if a Mayweather fight still is not made.

Koncz flew to San Antonio last weekend to meet with Arum, who was there promoting Saturday night’s Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.-Marco Antonio Rubio middleweight title fight at the Alamodome, about the Bradley fight. Cameron Dunkin, Bradley’s co-manager, was also in San Antonio and met with Arum.

Bradley (28-0, 12 KOs), 28, of Palm Springs, Calif., does not have the kind of profile as the other opponents who were in the running, although he is widely considered one of the top 10 fighters in the world even though his most recent fights have not been hits.

Thirteen months ago, he won a sloppy, head butt-induced 10th-round technical decision in a heavily hyped junior welterweight unification fight against Devon Alexander. It did poorly at the gate and did not come close to the ratings expectations HBO had hoped it would achieve, despite spending millions on the fight and its marketing.

Then Bradley rejected a July fight he had called for with Amir Khan to further unify the 140-pound division, even though Khan, who brought far more economic muscle to the fight, offered him a 50-50 deal.

Bradley then split with co-promoters Gary Shaw and Ken Thompson and, despite litigation, signed with Top Rank, knowing a Pacquiao fight was possible.

Top Rank gave Bradley the high-profile co-feature slot on the Pacquiao-Marquez III pay-per-view card in November. Bradley stopped faded former lightweight champion Joel Casamayor in the eighth round of an uncompetitive, foul-filled fight.

But Bradley is in his prime, fast and experienced against good opponents, and he could give 33-year-old Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KOs) a competitive fight.

“Bradley is a young, undefeated fighter who deserves a chance,” Koncz said. “Manny is excited. Until we name an opponent, boxing is out of Manny’s mind. He’s busy working in (the Filipino) congress. But he gets interested in boxing again when he has an opponent and a fight. Now we know we have a date (and) an opponent and he’s excited.”

Koncz, who lives in Southern California, said he is flying to the Philippines on Tuesday night to meet with Pacquiao and go over logistics for the media tour for the fight.

Dan Rafael is a boxing writer for Follow him on Twitter @danrafaelespn.