HBO will have a split-site tripleheader on August 2 from Atlantic City and Las Vegas, with WBO light heavyweight titleholder Sergey Kovalev in action in AC, and welterweight action star Brandon Rios back in the ring in Vegas, with Jessie Vargas making the first defense of his 140-pound title in Las Vegas, as well.
The night's most intriguing fight on paper is Rios (31-2-1, 23 KO) against Argentina's Diego Chaves (23-1, 19 KO) in a matchup of bangers. Rios hasn't fought since his blowout November loss to Manny Pacquiao in Macau, while Chaves was last seen by most in July 2013, when he gave Keith Thurman a stern test on Showtime before being stopped in the 10th round. He did come back to win a tune-up in February in Buenos Aires.
Vargas (24-0, 9 KO) will defend his WBA junior welterweight title against unbeaten Anton Novikov (29-0, 10 KO) of Russia. Nicknamed "The Pick Hammer," which is awesome, Novikov has fought mostly at home, but does have a handful of wins in the States. Vargas won the belt on April 12 from Khabib Allakhverdiev on the Pacquiao-Bradley II undercard.
In Atlantic City, Kovalev (24-0-1, 22 KO) makes his second appearance on HBO this year, and will be facing Australia's Blake Capparello (19-0-1, 6 KO), a fringe contender with some talent, but an opponent who appears overmatched here. Capparello has back-to-back wins over American veterans Allan Green and Elvir Muriqi. Kovalev last fought on March 29, blowing out Cedric Agnew in his first HBO main event.