The pay-per-view undercard for the September card headlined by Canelo Alvarez and Liam Smith is set, and to say it’s a disappointment would be putting things lightly.
One initial idea was for exciting Cuban heavyweight slugger Luis Ortiz to face Alexander Ustinov on the undercard. That fell through. Then there was an attempt made to match WBO middleweight titleholder Billy Joe Saunders with Gabriel Rosado. Saunders, who would have been guaranteed a December fight with Canelo if both won, decided to pass on the fight.
Now, the main undercard bout pits Rosado (23-9, 13 KO) against Willie Monroe Jr (20-2, 6 KO) in a matchup of middleweight also-rans, if we’re being perfectly honest. Neither is a bad fighter, mind you, but they are fringe contenders at best. Rosado has won two straight over Joshua Clottey and Antonio Gutierrez, following a four-fight losing streak from January 2013 to December 2014 against Gennady Golovkin, Peter Quillin, Jermell Charlo, and David Lemieux.
Monroe won his last fight on June 11, beating John Thompson, 13 months after also being trucked by Golovkin.
Featherweight prospect Joseph Diaz Jr (21-0, 12 KO) will also be in action, facing Andrew Cancio (17-3-2, 13 KO) in a 10-round bout. This is a good matchup, really, as Cancio is dangerous and Diaz is a legit prospect, but this could also have easily been an Estrella TV main event. The same goes for the pay-per-view opener, pitting Diego De La Hoya (15-0, 9 KO) against Luis Orlando Del Valle (22-2, 16 KO) in another 10-round bout.
The one positive here is that these are well-matched fights. There's not a real mismatch here. The prospects are facing decent opponents for where they are. Rosado-Monroe is not a fight with a clear favorite. That said, is any of this something you're really looking forward to seeing?
To put it another way, let's do this. Since it’s highly unlikely this undercard makes anyone more likely to buy this show than they already were, let’s pose another question: are you now less likely to drop $60-70 on this show?