Robert Delgado – Los Angeles
The undercard for the Star Power event at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena on September 17, headlined by returning pay-per-view draw Floyd Mayweather Jr and WBC welterweight world titlist Victor Ortiz, could be given a major boost as increasing rumours suggest Jorge Barrios – Erik Morales‘ opponent for the vacant WBC super lightweight world championship – will be replaced with teak-tough Lucas Matthysse.
Barrios was not even the first choice for Morales’ September showdown as unheralded British prizefighter Anthony “Million Dollar” Crolla had been first draft.
However, since the status of the WBC championship at 140lbs was made available as erstwhile holder, Timothy Bradley, became the “champion in recess” due to inactivity, Morales (51-7-0, 35ko) and his representatives began lobbying for a shot at the vacant belt. Barrios (50-4-1, 35ko) was deemed a better fit for a title fight than Crolla.
Barrios’ ability to leave his home country, Argentina, has been jeopardised though as he is rumoured to have encountered difficulties with legal documents. A Vegas fight is therefore an improbability and another replacement for the main supporting fight on September 17 has been sought.
Golden Boy Promotions, the co-promoters of the show along with Mayweather Promotions, have been swift to add one fighter from their own stable to the card as Lucas Matthysse (28-2-0, 26ko), a battle-hardened Argentinean who has the ability to knock a plethora of highly-ranked super lightweights off their feet, will now square off against Morales in what is – on paper – a far more appealing match-up than the proposed contests against Barrios or Crolla.
Oscar de la Hoya, the founder of Golden Boy, confirmed on his official Twitter page: “Mayweather versus Ortiz, Canelo [Alvarez] versus Gomez, Morales versus Matthysse and opening up [is] Jesse Vargas. Great job to all of my Golden Boy staff.”
The WBC have already felt the wrath of a multitude of fight fans as there has been great sympathy for the situation Timothy Bradley finds himself in. Bradley unified his WBO title with Devon Alexander’s WBC strap early this year, but has effectively been relinquished of the honour due to inactivity.
Bradley’s former title will now be made available to the winner of a dust-up between Morales and Matthysse, both of whom are coming off the back of contentious losses.
Super lightweight prospect Vargas (16-0-0, 9ko), a product of the Mayweather Gym in Las Vegas, is slated to face Josesito Lopez (29-3-0. 17ko) for the curtain-opening fight. Vargas is already enjoying a breakout and phenom-like year having destroyed Vivian Harris and Walter Estrada in April and July respectively. Another impressive victory, on an action-packed Vegas card, would no doubt elevate his global standing and fandom further.
Saul Alvarez (37-0-1, 27ko), the WBC champion at super welterweight, makes a voluntary defence of his green belt against Alfonso Gomez (24-4-2, 12ko). The bout will be aired on HBO as part of the Star Power show but will take place at Los Angeles’ Staples Center.