By Keith Idec
Devon Alexander and Victor Ortiz will have an opportunity to draw a sizeable television audience for their upcoming welterweight fight.
According to a Tweet by ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael on Sunday, FOX will air Alexander-Ortiz on February 17 from the Don Haskins Center in El Paso, Texas. The card headlined by Alexander-Ortiz will be broadcast on free TV on the same night Showtime will televise a doubleheader featuring another welterweight bout between Danny Garcia and Brandon Rios.
The FOX card is expected to go off the air before Showtime’s telecast begins at 9 p.m. ET from Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. Both cards are Premier Boxing Champions events and thus won’t compete for viewership.
Alexander and Ortiz are former welterweight champions that need to win February 17 if getting back in title contention is to remain realistic.
St. Louis’ Alexander (27-4, 14 KOs) returned to the ring November 21 for his first fight in two years.
The southpaw dropped and out-boxed Nicaragua’s Walter Castillo (26-5-1, 19 KOs) to win a 10-round, unanimous decision in St. Petersburg, Florida. The onetime IBF 147-pound champion revealed prior to boxing Castillo that his two-year hiatus was largely attributable to battling an opioid addiction.
Before beating Castillo, Alexander, 30, had lost back-to-back unanimous decisions to Aaron Martinez and Amir Khan.
In his most recent action, the 30-year-old Ortiz (32-6-2, 25 KOs) knocked out Mexico’s Saul Corral (27-10, 18 KOs) in the fourth round July 30 in Bakersfield, California. Ortiz, a former WBC welterweight champ from Ventura, California, halted a 15-month layoff when he encountered Corral.
In addition to the main event that’ll pit Garcia (33-1, 19 KOs) against Rios (34-3-1, 25 KOs), Showtime will broadcast an intriguing rematch to open up its February 17 doubleheader. It’ll feature WBC super middleweight champion David Benavidez (19-0, 17 KOs) against Ronald Gavril (18-2, 14 KOs), who lost their action-packed first fight by split decision September 8 in Las Vegas.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.