By Jake Donovan
Former two-division champ Tim Bradley returns to the ring for the first time since his rematch loss to Manny Pacquiao in April, as he faces divisional gatekeeper Diego Chaves in a 12-round headliner Saturday evening at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Both fighters came well within the 147 lb. limit. The always chiseled Bradley tipped the scales at a trim and ready 145.8 lb. while Chaves (23-2, 19KOs) was a lean and mean 146.5 lb.
The bout airs live on HBO as part of a televised tripleheader (Saturday, 10:00PM ET).
A win is in need for each side of the main event. As Bradley enters coming off of the loss to Pacquiao, Chavez has dropped two of his last three starts. The Argentine brawler was disqualified in the 9th round of an ugly battle with Brandon Rios in this very same venue in August, 13 months after having suffered a 10th round stoppage versus Keith Thurman.
In the evening's chief support, Matt Korobov and Andy Lee collide for a vacant middleweight title. Both fighters easily made the 160 lb. middleweight limit—Korobov (24-0, 14KOs) tipped the scales at a shredded 159.4 lb., while Lee (33-2, 23KOs) was slightly lighter at 159.2 lb.
Korobov made his HBO debut in June, scoring a 10-round decision over Jose Uzcategui in Omaha, Nebraska. The bout wound up serving as a final eliminator for what was supposed to be a title crack at Peter Quillin.
Both sides stood to make a career high payday thanks to a massive bid of more than $1.9 million from Jay-Z's Roc Nation Sports, but Quillin was advised by Al Haymon to dump his title. That belt is now at stake in Saturday's televised co-feature.
Opening the show, Mauricio Herrera defends his version of the 140 lb. title for the first time as he takes on former amateur standout Jose Benavidez.
Herrera (21-4, 7KOs) came in at 139.5 lb., while Benavidez weighed 138.5 lb. for his first fight for a title and on HBO. The bout is the second pairing between fighters promoted by Golden Boy Promotions (Herrera) and Top Rank (Benavidez) since the well-publicized thawing of boxing's Cold War between the two. The first bout between companies since the reconciliation came in November, when Golden Boy's Sadam Ali scored a stunning knockout of Luis Carlos Abregu in Atlantic City.
Timothy Bradley (31-1, 12KOs), 145.8 lb. vs Diego Gabriel Chaves (23-2, 19KOs) - 12 rounds, welterweight
Matt Korobov (24-0, 14KOs), 159.4 lb. vs Andy Lee (33-2, 23KOs), 159.2 lb. - 12 rounds, middleweight
Mauricio Herrera (21-4, 7KOs), 139.5 lb. vs Jose Benavidez (21-0, 15KOs), 138.5 lb - 12 rounds, super lightweight
Mikael Zewski, 146.8 lb. (25-0, 20KOs) vs Jeremy Bryan (17-4, 7KOs), 143 lb. - 10 rounds, welterweight
Sean Monaghan (22-0, 14KOs), 175 lb. vs Daniel Regi (24-11, 12KOs), 173 lb. - 10 rounds, light heavyweight
Egidijus Kavaliauskas (8-0, 7KOs), 145.8 lb. vs Jaime Herrera (12-2, 7KOs), 147.4 lb. - 8 rounds, welterweight
Denis Shafikov (34-1-1, 19KOs), 136.4 lb. vs Miguel Angel Mendoza (21-4-2, 21KOs), 136.4 lb. - 8 rounds, lightweight
Jose Carlos Ramirez (12-0, 9KOs), 140.5 lb. vs Antonio Arellano (7-2-1, 3KOs) 140.5 lb - 6 rounds, super lightweight
Jantony Ortiz (3-0, 2KOs) vs. Sergio Lopez (2-2-1, 0KOs) - 6 rounds, super flyweight
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox