Top Rank and HBO appear to have finalized a deal for an exciting doubleheader with a potentially explosive main event on November 10 from the Wynn in Las Vegas, with Orlando Salido facing Mikey Garcia in the headline bout for Salido's WBO featherweight title. An announcement is expected this week.
The co-feature fight will be a WBC junior middleweight eliminator -- for realsies this time! -- between undefeated Vanes Martirosyan and top Cuban Erislandy Lara.
Showtime will also be running that night, with what is shaping up to be a fantastic card of their own, led by Abner Mares vs Anselmo Moreno for Mares' WBC super bantamweight title. Chris Arreola and Alfredo Angulo have also been confirmed for that card.
Salido (39-11-2, 27 KO) and Garcia (29-0, 25 KO) actually set this fight up with a Showtime doubleheader earlier this year, before Top Rank was all but kicked off that network and/or chose to stop running Showtime cards, whichever story you think is best for your particularly boxing political affiliation.
On March 10 in Puerto Rico, Salido knocked out Juan Manuel Lopez in a great rematch, and Garcia walked over Bernabe Concepcion in the co-feature, which wasn't quite as impressive as Salido's win, but that wasn't really Garcia's fault, either.
If you missed it, or need a refresher, here are the SHO Sports highlights from the event, which make Garcia-Concepcion look a lot more interesting than it was:
Salido vs Garcia is an excellent fight that almost can't disappoint, I would say, and the co-feature is interesting, too. Top Rank won the purse bid, and Golden Boy has so much interest in promoting Lara that they just shrugged and went about their day. Lara (17-1-1, 11 KO) and Martirosyan (32-0, 20 KO) are both on the cusp of getting a title shot here, or at least that's the idea.
Whether or not Canelo Alvarez, who holds the WBC 154-pound title, will fight the winner is up for serious debate. Martirosyan would pretty much have to get Top Rank's blessing to go and fight a Golden Boy guy again without Top Rank as the promoter of the fight -- and Canelo is a different sort of league in terms of GBP caring about who or when he fights, compared to Lara -- while Lara might actually just not be someone Golden Boy wants to risk Canelo with. When Lara's on his game, he can be really special, and has the skills to be competitive with anyone at the weight.
All in all, I still don't much care for the head-to-head combat between the networks, but after last Saturday's success, I'll concede that it can make for an overall exciting night. This won't be on that level -- it's just not a big enough deal and there's no THE FIGHT! like Chavez Jr-Martinez -- but fans still have to choose what to watch live on TV, and that's never fun, really. Just as a side note, we've already made plans to cover both shows on BLH, so we'll have the same sort of rapid fire crazy ass fight night posting as last weekend on November 10.