The December 28th PBC on Showtime card led by Gervonta Davis vs. Yuriorkis Gamboa is now a tripleheader. Before Jean Pascal defends his title against Badou Jack, former super middleweight champion Jose Uzcategui faces veteran Lionell Thompson in the broadcast’s opening bout.
Uzcategui (29-3, 24 KO) had been linked to the prior week’s Tony Harrison-Jermell Charlo II card.
Though he’s still just 28, “Bolivita’s” career is in a strange place. He bounced back from his DQ loss to Andre Dirrell and subsequent sucker-punch from Dirrell cornerman Leon Lawson with a career-best performance in the rematch, forcing Dirrell’s corner to halt things after the eighth. Then came a flat performance against Ezequiel Maderna, followed by an even more underwhelming title bout with Caleb Plant that saw the notoriously feather-fisted “Sweet Hands” floor Uzcategui twice en route to a wide decision victory.
A first-round knockout of 10-9-1 Roberto Valdez wasn’t enough to dispel the worries, but he’s confident he can put on a show.
“Everyone will see the real ‘Bolivita’ on Dec. 28 in Atlanta,” Uzcategui said. “I’m very excited for this fight announcement and I’m thankful to everyone involved in making this happen. I’m going to be 100 percent ready for anything that my opponent brings and show the best version of myself. I’m ready to finish this year on a high and positive note with a win against Thompson.”
Thompson (21-5, 12 KO) has spent the majority of his career at light heavyweight, losing to most of the notable figures he’s faced but reaching the final bell against all but a 2012 Sergey Kovalev. Now 34, “Lonnie B” won his super middleweight debut against journeyman Scott Sigmon in September and intends to campaign there from here on.
“This is a huge opportunity for me and I’m thankful my team got me this fight,” Thompson said. “Some people told me I’m too small for light heavyweight, so I made the decision to come down to 168. The only real fight I see is to make weight the right way.
”They say he’s a big puncher, but I can punch too. I’ve hung in there with the best of the best again and again. It’s the guys who come to fight that really bring the best out of me, so if he comes to fight, this will be a great fight for the fans.”
The undercard includes the likes of Anthony Peterson, Malik Hawkins, and Ahmed Elbiali.