By Keith Idec
Two former welterweight champions on the comeback trail will try to use each other to move closer toward a title shot.
BoxingScene.com has learned that Devon Alexander and Victor Ortiz are likely to meet in a welterweight bout February 17. The site for their fight hasn’t been finalized, but the Alexander-Ortiz bout is expected to be televised by FS1 before Showtime’s broadcast begins later that night from Las Vegas.
The Showtime doubleheader will feature former WBC welterweight champion Danny Garcia (33-1, 19 KOs) and Brandon Rios (34-3-1, 25 KOs) in a 12-round main event.
That two-bout broadcast, which will air from Mandalay Bay Events Center, also will include a rematch between WBC super middleweight champion David Benavidez (19-0, 17 KOs) and Ronald Gavril (18-2, 14 KOs). Benavidez beat Gavril by split decision in their entertaining 12-rounder September 8 in Las Vegas.
Alexander and Ortiz, meanwhile, are both coming off victories earlier this year that halted lengthy layoffs.
St. Louis’ Alexander (27-4, 14 KOs) halted a two-year hiatus on November 21, when he dropped and out-boxed Nicaragua’s Walter Castillo (26-5-1, 19 KOs) on his way to a 10-round, unanimous-decision victory in St. Petersburg, Florida. The former IBF 147-pound champion disclosed before facing Castillo that he had been battling an opioid addiction that sidetracked his career.
Alexander, a 30-year-old southpaw, had lost back-to-back unanimous decisions to Aaron Martinez and Amir Khan before he defeated Castillo.
The enigmatic Ortiz (32-6-2, 25 KOs) most recently knocked out Mexico’s Saul Corral (27-10, 18 KOs) in the fourth round July 30 in Bakersfield, California. The 30-year-old Ortiz, of Ventura, California, ended a 15-month layoff when he beat Corral.
The former WBC welterweight champion’s previous fight came in April 2016, when Andre Berto knocked him out in the fourth round of their rematch.
FightHype.com was the first to report an Alexander-Ortiz was being discussed.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.