By Keith Idec
Boxing fans won’t have to choose between competing premium-cable broadcasts September 9 after all.
Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) president and chief executive officer Dan Beckerman told the Los Angeles Times for a story posted to its website Thursday that the company brokered a deal among promoters to move the Leo Santa Cruz-Abner Mares rematch to October 7 at Staples Center in Los Angeles. The target date for the Santa Cruz-Mares rematch was September 9 at Staples Center, the same night the Srisaket Sor Rungvisai-Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez rematch is set to take place at StubHub Center in nearby Carson, California.
HBO will broadcast the tripleheader featuring the Sor Rungvisai-Gonzalez rematch. Showtime will televise the Santa Cruz-Mares rematch.
“For the good of the sport and for the benefit of boxing fans, whether they’re viewing it at home or in person at the venue, I approached both promoters [Tom Loeffler and Richard Schaefer] and worked it out with them to coordinate these two great events,” Beckerman told the Los Angeles Times. “I’m thankful to the promoters and their broadcast partners for this solution, which is the best outcome for all, most importantly the fans who won’t have to choose between these two outstanding fight cards.”
Thailand’s Sor Rungvisai (43-4-1, 39 KOs) upset Nicaragua’s Gonzalez (46-1, 38 KOs) by majority decision in their 12-round fight for Gonzalez’s WBC world super flyweight title March 18 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Before Sor Rungvisai beat him, the 30-year-old Gonzalez was commonly considered the best boxer, pound-for-pound, in the sport.
HBO’s tripleheader will include two additional super flyweight fights.
The co-featured fight will mark the HBO debut of Japan’s Naoya Inoue (13-0, 11 KOs), who’ll defend his WBO 115-pound championship against Cleveland’s Antonio Nieves (17-1-2, 9 KOs). The opener of the telecast with match Carlos Cuadras (36-1-1, 27 KOs) against fellow Mexican Juan Francisco Estrada (35-2, 25 KOs) in a 12-round, non-title fight.
The Santa Cruz-Mares rematch became more marketable after the Southern California rivals won their respective featherweight title fights in December and January.
Mares (30-2-1, 15 KOs) defeated Argentina’s Jesus Cuellar (28-2, 21 KOs) by split decision to win a version of the WBA’s featherweight title December 10 at USC’s Galen Center in Los Angeles. Santa Cruz (33-1-1, 18 KOs) avenged a majority decision defeat to Northern Ireland’s Carl Frampton (23-1, 14 KOs) by winning a majority decision in their 12-round rematch January 28 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Santa Cruz, the WBA’s super world featherweight champion, also overcame Mares by majority decision in their 12-round fight in August 2015 at Staples Center.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.