The rematch between Tony Harrison and Jermell Charlo was already known to be coming on Sunday, June 23, headlining a PBC on FOX card, and now we know that it will take place at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, and that Guillermo Rigondeaux will return against Julio Ceja in the co-feature.
Harrison (28-2, 21 KO) won a highly controversial decision over Charlo (31-1, 15 KO) on Dec. 22 in Brooklyn to win the WBC 154-pound title, and the rematch was pretty much expected right away. At the time, there had been talk of Charlo facing WBA/IBF titleholder Jarrett Hurd in a unification fight, but that fell apart when the decision was announced.
The 28-year-old Harrison, once a top prospect before a couple of losses to Willie Nelson and Hurd sort of derailed him, has a chance to prove it was no fluke of the judges, while Charlo, also 28, has a chance to get his belt back and go after Hurd again. It’s something Hurd said this week is still on his mind, unifying and picking up the WBC belt. Hurd defends his belts on May 11 against Julian Williams, also on FOX.
Rigondeaux (18-1, 12 KO) signed with PBC last fall, and had plans to return in December, which were held off until January. The 38-year-old Cuban southpaw once ruled the 122-pound division after his legendary amateur career, but found it hard to get big fights after he beat Nonito Donaire in a much-hyped HBO main event back in 2013.
With Top Rank all but abandoning ship on Rigondeaux over time, saying HBO didn’t want him on their airwaves, the veteran has hopped around since then, fighting in Macau and Japan and Wales in addition to his fights in the United States.
In Dec. 2017, Rigondeaux made the bold move to jump two weight classes and face fellow legendary amateur Vasiliy Lomachenko in an ESPN main event from New York. Lomachenko dominated Rigondeaux, who quit after six rounds.
Now back at 122, Rigondeaux faces Mexico’s Ceja (32-3, 28 KO) in a WBC eliminator. The winner would be in line for a shot at the title currently held by undefeated Rey Vargas, a Golden Boy fighter. Rigondeaux and Vargas are both not huge money fighters, so if Rigondeaux beats Ceja, that fight probably can be worked out. We do see promoters more willing to cross the lines for fights like that one.
That’s not to count out Ceja, a 26-year-old banger and former title challenger at 118 and interim titleholder at 122. Ceja lost his last fight, a RTD-4 to Franklin Manzanilla in May 2018. That was meant to be a stay-busy fight for Ceja, who was mandatory WBC challenger at the time, but Manzanilla bloodied Ceja badly, and the doctor recommended the stoppage after the fourth round with Ceja suffering from a broken nose.