By Jake Donovan
Showtime has formally announced plans for a trio of super welterweight title fights to air on May 21 with "[v]enue and ticket information... forthcoming." Erislandy Lara and Vanes Martirosyan meet in a 12-round title fight rematch - having previously fought to a draw in a Nov. '12 title eliminator - while twin brothers Jermall and Jermell Charlo face Austin Trout and John Jackson, respectively, for two other versions of the super middleweight title.
The show will, in fact, land at the Chelsea Ballroom at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, BoxingScene.com has recently learned. A hold for the date and location has been placed by Mayweather Promotions - who will co-promote the show with TGB Promotions - with approval likely to come at the next Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) monthly agenda hearing, which is due to take place Tuesday, April 19 at state headquarters in Las Vegas.
An announcement from the network and event handlers will likely come following final approval granted by the commission.
Original plans called for the tripleheader to take place in Houston, which made sense to the Charlos - born and raised in Space City - and Lara, who lives and trains in the area. However, the date took precedence over the location, with the card moving due to a lack of available venues on May 21 as Minute Maid Park, Toyota Center and NRG Arena are all booked with conflicting events.
While commission approval for a venue is often a formality, the only hesitating in default blessing of the proposal is the fact that there is another boxing event in Las Vegas on that night.
Roy Jones' promotional outfit (Roy Jones Jr. Boxing Promotions) will present the May installment of the "Knockout Night At The D" monthly series held at the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center. The series was due to launch on March 12, but was scratched at the 11th hour due to promoter Roy Englebrecht and headlining act, former two-division champ Zab Judah falsifying documents pertaining to the show. Both have since received temporary suspensions, with Jones' company now occupying the event space for the series premiere this Saturday (April 16) followed by the May 21 installment.
NSAC has approved dueling shows in the past, most famously with HBO PPV and Showtime going head to head during Mexico's Independence Day weekend in Sept. '12. HBO's side had Sergio Martinez in a middleweight title defense versus Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. at Thomas & Mack Center, while Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez made his Showtime debut with a 5th round knockout of Josesito Lopez at the MGM Grand. The networks also provided conflicting broadcasts mere minutes apart on Dec. 13, 2014. Showtime aired live from MGM Grand - headlined by Amir Khan's 12-round win over Devon Alexander - while HBO was less than a mile away along the Vegas strip as Timothy Bradley and Diego Chaves fought to a draw at The Cosmpolitan.
Bob Bennett, executive director of NSAC made a point to mention prior to voting to approve the Dec. '14 proposal of the difficulty in staffing both shows on Sept. '12, which actually came on the watch of former NSAC head Keith Kizer. The Dec. '14 show was eventually approved, as were a number of shows - traditional boxing and BKB (Big Knockout Boxing) due to take place in Las Vegas last March.
Similar concerns will likely be addressed prior to what should ultimately amount to approval granted for both shows to take place on May 21 in Las Vegas.
Lara (22-2-2, 13KOs) attempts the fifth defense of his version of the 154 lb. title he claimed in an off-the-canvas injury stoppage of Alfredo Angulo in June '13. His most notable win came in his first defense, soundly outpointing former champ Trout over 12 rounds in Dec. '13, while also suffering a hard-fought split decision defeat to Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez in their July '14 non-title fight. Trout (30-2, 17KOs) has since won four straight following back-to-back losses, with the setback to Lara coming on the heels of a 12-round defeat to Alvarez in their Apr. '13 unification bout.
Martirosyan (36-2-1, 21KOs) takes his second swing at a major title. Following his technical decision draw versus Lara, the 2004 U.S. Olympian went on to lose to Demetrius Andrade in their Nov. '13 vacant title fight. The 29-year old from Glendale, Calif. by way of Armenia has since won three of his last four, including a 10-round decision over Ishe Smith last September.
The lone defeat among that four-fight stretch came last March in a disputed decision defeat to Jermell Charlo (27-0, 12KOs), who makes his first attempt at a major title. The bout with Jackson (20-2, 15KOs) - who also makes his first title challenge - will be his second with trainer Derrick James, following a recent split from longtime chief second Ronnie Shields, who still trains Jermall and Lara.
Jermall Charlo (23-0, 18KOs) makes the second defense of his version of the super welterweight title. The "older" twin (by one minute) won the belt with a 3rd round knockout of Cornelius Bundrage last September, which was quickly followed by a 4th round stoppage of overmatched challenger Wilky Campfort last November, with both bouts having aired live on Saturday afternoon editions of Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) on NBC.
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox