By Jake Donovan
Bob Arum knew before the night began that in Emanuel Navarrete, he had a hot commodity in the 122-pound sweepstakes.
The manner in which Saturday’s ESPN-televised main event ended made the Hall of Fame promoter realize he also had a solution to a major Las Vegas card badly in need of support.
Navarrete punched his way into a Mexican Independence Day-themed showcase following his three-round wipeout of previously unbeaten Francisco de Vaca. Their bout aired live from Banc of California Stadium on USC campus in Los Angeles, Calif.
Among the first into the ring was Arum, who passed along the good news to Navarrete and his team.
“That was sensational, now stay ready,” Arum told Navarrete (28-1, 24KOs) following the second defense of his super bantamweight title on Saturday. “We’re going to bring you right back on Sept. 14 in Las Vegas.”
The show will be headlined by unbeaten former lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, who faces undefeated Swedish southpaw Otto Wallin live on ESPN+. Elements of the undercard have come to surface, including a Mexico versus Puerto Rico rivalry pairing between former two-division titlist Jose Pedraza and former title challenger Jose Zepeda.
None of the options really push the card towards enticing the targeted Mexican fan base, particularly a main event between two heavyweights from Europe.
Navarrete’s early night at the office goes a long way towards solving that problem. It also keeps him active.
“Mr. Arum promised me that we can come back on the September 14 card that is headlined by Tyson Fury,” Navarrete noted to ESPN’s Crystina Poncher after Saturday’s win, his 23rd straight since suffering his lone loss in his 6th pro fight. “I would love to come back and fight on that card and in front of all of the Mexican fans.”
There’s nothing more his handlers would love than for that vision to become a reality.
“He is Mexican. He’s proud to be Mexican,” noted Arum after the bout of Navarrete, who is co-promoted by Top Rank and Zanfer Promotions. “September 14 is Mexican Independence weekend and the best fighter in Mexico will be there to defend his title.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox