Editor's Note: BoxingScene was advised that the planned doubleheader will go forward on July 7th - which indicates that Amir Khan will likely move his return to July 14th.
By Rick Reeno
The planned doubleheader, featuring Nonito Donaire and Brandon Rios, is basically complete, according to Top Rank's CEO Bob Arum. The only sticking point is the date.
In the main event, Donaire (28-1, 18KOs) will stake his WBO super bantamweight title in a unification with IBF beltholder Jeffrey Mathebula (26-3-2, 14KOs) of South Africa. In the co-feature, undefeated former lightweight champion Brandon Rios (30-0-1, 22KOs) will face Mauricio Herrera (18-2, 7KOs) in a junior welterweight contest.
In Mathebula, Donaire will face an opponent who is actually taller than him in the 5'10 Mathebula. Donaire, standing at around 5'7, was usually the bigger man in every one of his past ring appearances.
Rios will face Herrera, who in his last fight gave Mike Alvarado all that he could handle. Arum admits the Rios-Herrera encounter will be a measuring stick for a potential future showdown between Rios and Alvarado.
HBO will televise both fights.
Although the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas was placed on hold, Arum tells BoxingScene the card will definitely take place at the Home Depot Center in Los Angeles, California - on either July 7th or June 30th.
"The fact that it's at Home Depot is pretty good, because Rios has drawn well at Home Depot. And they have a huge Philippine population in that area. We should do really well at the gate," Arum said to BoxingScene.com.
The stamped date of Donaire/Rios depends on the finalization of Amir Khan's scheduled return - which is likely taking place on July 7th at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California and also being televised by HBO - but it may move to July 14th since the date is now open with Juan Manuel Marquez moving his own return to July 21 or July 28.
"It's definitely going to be held at Home Depot, either on June 30th or July 7th. It depends if Khan's fight goes to July 14th, which is now available and then we'll go July 7th at Home Depot. If Khan's fight stays on July 7th, then we'll go June 30th at Home Depot. The only thing that's up in the air is that. The card is set," Arum said.