By Francisco Salazar
Welterweight contender Konstantin Ponomarev will fight former contender Ed Paredes Saturday night, Top Rank matchmaker Brad Goodman told BoxingScene.com.
The eight round bout will take place at Madison Square Garden in New York City, prior to the Terence Crawford-Felix Diaz world title bout.
Ponomarev (31-0, with 13 KOs) has not fought since November 26, when he won a one-sided eight round decision over Silverio Ortiz in Las Vegas.
There was talk of Ponomarev facing Errol Spence in an IBF world title elimination bout, but nothing materialized. Ponomarev went in another direction, while Spence fought and knocked out Leonard Bundu in the IBF eliminator, which earned him next Saturday's title shot with Kell Brook.
Ponomarev, who is trained by Abel Sanchez in Big Bear Lake, Calif., is ranked in the top 10 by three of the major sanctioning bodies, including fifth by the IBF.
Paredes (38-6-1, with 25 KOs) has won his last two bouts, both against mediocre opposition in his native Colombia.
Also on the Top Rank card, lightweight prospect Teofimo Lopez (4-0, with 4 KOs) will face Ronald Rivas (5-5-2, with 3 KOs) in a six round bout. Lopez, who represented Honduras in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, is managed by David McWater.
Both fights will be streamed live on Top Rank's website prior to the two-bout HBO broadcast.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper, RingTV.com, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing