Jorge Arce is the highest-paid fighter on the Pacquiao vs Bradley undercard this Saturday night. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Saturday night's HBO pay-per-view undercard hasn't built much buzz yet, but there are two world title fights (whatever that means to you these days) and the return of the always-entertaining* Jorge Arce. And hell, usually when we get excited for an undercard, it's a dud. Maybe low expectations are for the best.
We'll have full previews of each fight tomorrow morning, as well as a preview for Pacquiao vs Bradley, but right now let's take a look at what these guys will be making on Saturday night, per the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
Arce (60-6-2, 46 KO) will make about three times more than any of the other undercard fighters, with a purse of $300,000 for his fight against Jesus Rojas (18-1-1, 13 KO). Arce, 32, is a reliable undercard attraction because you can pretty much always count on him to provide action, and he's got a real fanbase that has been organically cultivated over the years. Generally, when someone sees Arce fight, they become a fan.
Rojas will make $25,000 for the fight, but more than that, the 25-year-old Puerto Rican is getting a shot to make himself famous. Let's not lie and pretend he's here to be competitive, though. This is a guy who lost to Jose Angel Beranza (a decent fighter), and last time out drew with Jose Luis Araiza (undersized at 122 lbs and just not very good, but ballsy). He's here to lose and showcase Arce, simple as that. That's the plan.
Mike Jones (26-0, 19 KO) will meet Randall Bailey (42-7, 36 KO) for the vacant IBF welterweight title in another featured undercard bout. Jones, 29, will make $105,000, a shade over Bailey's $100,000 purse for the bout. Bailey, 37, is known for his massive right hand, which can knock anyone in the division out, guaranteed, if he can manage to land it clean.
The third featured bout on the undercard will pit WBA super bantamweight titlist Guillermo Rigondeaux (9-0, 7 KO) against Teon Kennedy (17-1-2, 7 KO). The 31-year-old Rigondeaux, a Cuban amateur legend, really only has the belt and his Top Rank connections working for him. He's a lethal mix of really good and often really dull, and making that worse is the fact that he can't draw flies. Kennedy, 25, is 0-1-1 in his last two, but is getting the title shot anyway, because why not? Rigondeaux will make $103,000, compared to Kennedy's $70,000.
Overall, this is a really inexpensive undercard for a major PPV, but more balanced in some ways than others.
In November, for the Pacquiao vs Marquez card, the six undercard fighters on TV made a combined $1,292,500, most of which was Tim Bradley making $1,025,000 for his fight with Joel Casamayor. This time, the combined payroll for the televised undercard is just $703,000, but it's more evenly distributed.
The Mayweather-Cotto undercard on May 5 was more expensive than either, thanks to the Canelo Alvarez ($1.2M) vs Shane Mosley ($650K) fight, which was heavily promoted as a reason to buy the card, unlike any fight here or any fight on the Manny-Marquez III show. In total, the Mayweather-Cotto televised undercard cost $2,093,000.
* Julio Ler fights disqualified from consideration.