Three high-stakes matchups featuring former world champions, top contenders and rising future champions have been added to the highly anticipated SHOWTIME PPV event headlined by Canelo Álvarez and Caleb “Sweethands” Plant battling for the undisputed super middleweight championship on Saturday, November 6 in a Premier Boxing Champions event from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Two-time super middleweight world champion Anthony “The Dog” Dirrell will square off against exciting contender “Madman” Marcos Hernández in the 10-round co-main event, while unbeaten former super bantamweight world champion Rey Vargas returns to action against Mexico’s Leonardo Báez in a 10-round attraction. Kicking off the pay-per-view at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT, super lightweight contenders Elvis Rodríguez and Juan Pablo Romero will duel in a 10-round showdown.
Dirrell (33-2-2, 24 KOs), a two-time WBC 168-pound world champion, won the title for the first time with a unanimous decision over Sakio Bika in 2014. The native of Flint, Mich. dropped the title the next year to Badou Jack by majority decision, before putting together six straight victories to get back into position to fight for the championship again. He captured the title for a second time in 2019, winning a technical decision victory over Avni Yildirim. Most recently, Dirrell battled Kyrone Davis to a draw in February, in his first fight since a title fight defeat against David Benavidez in September 2019.
“I’m very ready for this fight,” said Dirrell. “I know Hernandez is a tough competitor and I’m sure he’ll have a lot of fans there since we’re fighting on the same card as Canelo. But I know I’m ready to fight on the big stage and on a card of this magnitude. I fought on the Errol Spence Jr. vs. Shawn Porter undercard and I think this fight night is going to have a similar feel. I’m just prepared to do whatever I have to do to get the victory. The fans should expect fireworks. I’m not shying away from the action and hopefully I can get the winner of Canelo vs. Plant if I perform well on November 6.”
Fighting out of Fresno, Calif., Hernández (15-4-2, 3 KOs) has faced excellent competition in his career, battling a litany of tough fellow rising contenders. The 28-year-old most recently scored an impressive unanimous decision victory over previously unbeaten Armando Resendiz in September. In addition to his recent triumph, Hernández has twice faced former unified super welterweight champion Jeison Rosario, fighting to a draw in their first meeting before losing the rematch. He has also taken down then-unbeaten fighters in Kevin Newman II and Thomas Hill.
“I’m having a great training camp for this fight coming off of my performance in early September,” said Hernández. “As always, the fans can expect me to bring an entertaining fight. I know that I’m up against a former world champion who’s accomplished a lot in his career. I’m just focusing on working hard every day to get the victory and everything that will come with it.”
The former WBC Super Bantamweight World Champion, Vargas (34-0, 22 KOs) will return from layoff due to injury when he enters the ring on November 6. The 30-year-old went on the road to the U.K. to capture his title in 2017, winning a decision over previously unbeaten Gavin McDonnell. A native of Mexico City, Vargas made five successful defenses of his title, defeating top contenders including Oscar Negrete, Ronny Rios and Azat Hovhannisyan. His last fight and fifth successful title defense came via a unanimous decision over former world champion Tomoki Kameda in July 2019.
“I’m very happy for my return to the ring and my debut with PBC,” said Vargas. “You are going to see a renewed Rey Vargas on November 6. My opponent is a good fighter with speed who throws a lot of combinations. It will be a tough fight, but I know I have what it takes to win. I couldn’t be happier to be on the big stage on Canelo’s undercard. I know that I have to shine on fight night, take advantage of this showcase, and deliver a great fight for the fans.”
The Baja California, Mexico native Báez (21-4, 12 KOs) enters this fight the winner of his last three outings, all coming by TKO. The 26-year-old put together the winning streak after defeats to the previously unbeaten Carlos Caraballo and former title challenger Jason Moloney. Báez, who has fought professionally since 2013, will fight in the U.S. for the fourth time on November 6. Amongst his stateside outings, Báez dominated former interim champion Moises Flores on his way to earning a unanimous decision in February 2020.
“I’m excited for this great challenge on November 6,” said Báez. “I’m planning on giving the fans a true Mexican war and leaving it all in the ring to get the victory. It’s an honor to fight on the Canelo undercard and I’m going to make the most of it. This is going to be a toe-to-toe war, and I’m going to show that he’s not able to stand up to my power and aggression.”
Rodríguez (11-1-1, 10 KOs) burst onto the scene with knockout victories in 10 of his first 11 fights. He capped off a five-win 2020 campaign with a knockout of Cameron Krael in October and a decision victory against Luis Alberto Veron four months later. Fighting out of his native Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Rodríguez most recently dropped a narrow majority decision against Kenneth Sims Jr. in May.
“I am very thankful to my team for getting me this tremendous opportunity opening up the pay-per-view for the biggest fight of the year,” said Rodríguez. “I have a tough opponent in front of me, but I’m in the best shape of my life. I’m ready to show everyone that I’m the real deal. My goal remains the same, and that’s to win a world title in 2022. First, I am just focused on November 6 and making sure I take advantage of the opportunity that a victory will produce on my road to the world title.”
Romero (14-0, 9 KOs) turned pro in 2017 after fighting for his native Mexico at the 2016 Olympic Games. The 31-year-old dispatched solid veterans Nestor Armas, Nestor Gonzalez and Ranses Payano in 2019, before earning a 10-round decision over Sergio Torres Alvarado in his only 2020 contest. Romero made it back-to-back 10-round unanimous decision triumphs in April of this year, as he won his U.S. debut by defeating Deiner Berrio. Throughout his extensive amateur career, Romero owns an impressive victory over unbeaten welterweight contender Gabriel Maestre.
“I’m very excited that my team was able to get me this great opportunity to fight on a Canelo show in Las Vegas,” said Romero. “I feel just as happy and excited to fight as I did for the Olympic games. I’m going to prove what I’m made of on November 6. No matter who my opponent is, I always train hard and prepare to do whatever I can to earn the victory.”
Mexican superstar and unified WBA/WBC/WBO Super Middleweight World Champion Canelo Álvarez(56-1-2, 38 KOs) and undefeated IBF Super Middleweight World Champion Caleb “Sweethands” Plant(21-0, 12 KOs) will battle to crown an undisputed 168-pound world champion on Saturday, November 6 live on pay-per-view from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
A four-division champion regarded by many as the top pound-for-pound fighter in boxing, Álvarez faces off against a supremely skilled, undefeated world champion in Plant, who’s made three defenses of the title he won in January 2019.
The winner will become the first undisputed super middleweight champion in the four-belt era.
The last time we saw Alvarez was back in May when he stopped Billy Joe Saunders to capture his WBO 168-pound title, while Plant is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Caleb Truax in January.
This is one of the biggest fights in 2021 and an opportunity for Alvarez to clean out the 168-pound division. If Plant wins, it would be a career-defining victory. We’ll see what happens on November 6 in Las Vegas.
Billy Joe Saunders says he has the boxing brain to dethrone pound-for-pound king Canelo Alvarez in their blockbuster Super-Middleweight unification battle on Saturday night (May 8), live worldwide on DAZN and distributed by TV Azteca in Mexico and Latin America.
Unbeaten Briton Saunders (30-0 18 KOs) puts his WBO strap on the line for the third time against the Mexican star and is aiming to add the WBC and WBA Super belts held by the Mexican sensation.
Saunders has been widely regarded as having the ring smarts to be the man to hand Canelo a first defeat in eight years and be the man to take the next step to being undisputed at 168 pounds, and the 31 year old says fighting Canelo on Cinco de Mayo weekend holds no fear.
“This fight is all about the brain,” said Saunders. “Not about power, muscle or skill, it’s the brain and the game plan, and being able to execute that game plan.
“I brush opinions off because I know what goes through my head and my mind, and what I have done in my career is through the will and want to win, and the day I lose that, I won’t put a pair of gloves on again.
“I can only control what I am in control of and that myself, not what is outside the ring. It’s going to be a great fight it’s one I’ve wanted for years and it’s finally landed. There’s a lot at stake for both of us. Would I like my fans there? Yes. Would I like UK media there? Yes. If the fight was moved to the Mexican border I wouldn’t care.
“I have my own way of approaching the fight and Canelo will have too, he’s done this nearly 60 times. I’ll get in there as the best that I can be and that’s all I can control.
“I’ve been the underdog before, I’ve been the away fighter before, it’s not a new position, but I’m just in with a better opponent this time.
“If I go in there and I win, I’m not going to run and say never again, I’ll fight him again, I’ll fight anyone, anywhere, it doesn’t bother me. It’s good for boxing sometimes when the underdogs come through, and I don’t just mean me here, because it puts the sport on a higher platform to be watched.
“I’m at the top of the tree where I’ve done it all as an amateur, I’ve had 30 fights, I’m unbeaten, won every title coming through, two-weight World champion – I can sit back at night and say I’m top of the pile fighting the pound-for-pound king.”
Alvarez and Saunders clash on a huge night of action in Texas with a stacked undercard in support of the mammoth main event, with Elwin Soto (18-1 12 KOs) defending his WBO World Light-Flyweight title against Katsunari Takayama (32-8 12 KOs).
Kieron Conway (16-1-1 3 KOs) defends his WBA Intercontinental Super-Welterweight title against Souleymane Cissokho (12-0 8 KOs), Eddy Reynoso trained Cuban Heavyweight Frank Sanchez (17-0 13 KOs) meets Nagy Aguilera (21-10 14 KOs), Mexican-American talent Marc Castro (2-0 2 KOs) fights on his third Canelo undercard, Castro’s old amateur foe Keyshawn Davis (2-0 2 KOs) faces Jose Antonio Meza (6-4 1 KO) over six rounds and it’s a family affair on the night with Keyshawn’s brother Kelvin Davis (1-0 1 KO) fights for the second time in the paid ranks, with Mexican Welterweight Christian Alan Gomez Duran (19-2-1 17 KOs) celebrating Cinco De Mayo weekend over eight rounds against an opponent to be named soon.
Photo: Matchroom Boxing
Canelo Alvarez and Billy Joe Saunders will clash in front of over 60,000 fans in a World Super-Middleweight title unification blockbuster at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Saturday May 8, live worldwide on DAZN. Pre-sales for the blockbuster fight will start on Tuesday March 23 with general sale beginning on Friday March 26 at SeatGeek.com.
Mexican superstar Canelo puts his WBC, WBA Super and Ring Magazine titles on the line at the Home of the Dallas Cowboys on Cinco de Mayo weekend, as British favorite Saunders brings his WBO strap across the pond and looks to extend his unbeaten pro record against the pound-for-pound king in front of the biggest sporting crowd for over a year in the US.
“We are proud to host a boxing match of this magnitude as we welcome back Canelo Alvarez to AT&T Stadium to take on Billy Joe Saunders,” said Dallas Cowboys Owner, President and General Manager Jerry Jones. “AT&T Stadium was built to house the greatest sporting events on the planet, and we feel we have another incredible boxing event on the horizon with this matchup taking place in Arlington on May 8th.”
Saunders is the fourth Briton to face the Mexican star and the second to do so at AT&T Stadium, after Canelo defeated Liam Smith there in September 2016. May 8 will also be the fifth stadium show for Canelo in the Lone Star state having fought twice at the Alamodome in San Antonio and at Minute Maid Park, Home of the Houston Astros.
“It’s an absolute honor to bring this huge event to the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on May 8,” said Eddie Hearn, Managing Director of Matchroom Sport. “Last year Canelo missed out on his historic Cinco De Mayo fight, and to bring over 60,000 fans together at this iconic stadium this year is a dream come true.
“This fight is the biggest of 2021 so far with Canelo looking to unify the division once more against undefeated two-weight World champion Billy Joe Saunders. We want to thank Jerry Jones, the Dallas Cowboys and AT&T Stadium for their efforts to bring this global event to their stunning facility and we look forward to giving the fans a momentous occasion and a Cinco de Mayo celebration they will never forget.”
Tickets go on pre-sale on Tuesday March 23 from 10am CT, with tickets starting from just $40 (plus fees. Pre-sale ends at 10pm CT on Thursday March 25, and tickets then go on general sale at 10am CT on Friday March 26 at SeatGeek.com
Unified 168-pound champion Canelo Alvarez(55-1-2, 37 KOs) did what many expected him to do on Saturday night when he easily defeated WBC mandatory challenger Avni Yildirim by TKO in three rounds at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami.
Now, he’s looking to get more belts at 168 when he battles WBO 168-pound champion Billy Joe Saunders, in a unification bout on May 8(DAZN).
The fight was officially announced after Canelo’s victory over Yildirim.
Saunders (30-0 14 KOs) will be putting his WBO strap on the line for the third time. The last time we saw Saunders, he defeated Martin Murray by unanimous decision back in December.
According to Saunders, he has everything he needs to beat Canelo.
“Canelo, I’m ready to rock and roll,” said Saunders. “You have to dare to be great, and you aren’t going to be a great if you don’t beat the greats.
“I believe I am the only one with the footwork, know-how, skillset, mindset, and brain to unlock that door in Canelo.
“He’s the main man in the sport and the face of boxing. You have to give him respect; he hasn’t ducked anyone, he’s beaten good names, but nobody is unbeatable, and I believe I have got the tools to beat him if I use them properly and if the gamelan comes off that I believe works.”
Canelo’s sole focus is to get all the belts at 168, and defeating Saunders gets him one step closer to that goal.
“We want to unify the division; he’s a world champion, we want to go for it, and we need to go for it,” said Canelo. “He’s a very difficult fighter and has a championship, the WBO.
“People talk, but I’m a very mature fighter, and I know how to control myself. All I need to do is go into the ring, win and make history.
“It’s because it hasn’t been done; no one has done it in Latin America. In the world, only a few fighters have done it, the best. I want to make history and be one of the best in the world.”