LOS ANGELES (June 2, 2005) – It’s rare when every bout on a major a pay-per-view broadcast brings interest and excitement on its own, but the undercard of the highly-anticipated undisputed middleweight championship clash between Bernard Hopkins and Jermain Taylor does just that. The July 16th telecast will feature two world championship matches and the return of a former undisputed welterweight champion.
NeXt in Line - Hopkins vs. Taylor - will be televised by HBO Pay-Per-View live from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, beginning at 9pm ET / 6pm PT.
A night to remember just got more memorable.
* In a 12 round WBC super bantamweight championship bout, Oscar “Chololo” Larios and Wayne "The Pocket Rocket" McCullough will revisit their epic war from February of this year, a bout that is already an early Fight of the Year candidate for its nonstop action and the gritty performances by both warriors.
* Newly crowned WBO junior bantamweight champion Fernando "Cochulito’ Montiel" will put his title on the line against former flyweight world champion Eric "Little Hands of Steel" Morel in a 12-rounder that will recall the classic Mexico vs. Puerto Rico battles of the past.
* Former welterweight champion Vernon Forrest will return to the ring for the first time since being sidelined by a shoulder injury when he battles an opponent to be announced shortly in a 10 round junior middleweight bout.
All bouts are presented by Golden Boy Promotions. Hopkins-Taylor is presented in association with DiBella Entertainment.
Considered to be the premier 122 pound fighter in the world, WBC super bantamweight champion Oscar Larios, (55-3-1, 35 KOs), proudly bears the responsibility of being one of this generation’s top Mexican warriors. With eight title defenses already under his belt, “Chololo” has his sights set on unifying the title and cleaning out the super bantamweight division, but he will have a tough foe to vanquish in McCullough, who gave Larios one of the toughest fights of his career on February 10.
In that 12 round war, Larios and McCullough stood toe-to-toe for most of the bout as each tried to break the other’s resolve. It didn’t happen. And though Larios scored the decision victory, boxing fans have been clamoring for a rematch, eager to see these two 122-pounders do it again.
A native of Belfast, Ireland who now makes his home in Ireland, Wayne McCullough (27-5, 18 KOs) is a former WBC bantamweight champion who has faced down some of the hardest punchers in boxing (Erik Morales, Naseem Hamed, Scott Harrison) without batting an eye. An all-action fighter who has never been in a bad fight, McCullough is determined to set up a rubber match with Larios by beating him on July 16.
One of boxing’s most accomplished champions despite being only 26 years old, Fernando Montiel (30-1-1, 24 KOs) added a third world title to his trophy case on April 9 when he easily dismantled previously unbeaten Ivan Hernandez in seven rounds. In doing so, the talented Los Mochis native became a WBO 115 pound champion for the second time (Montiel had also won the WBO flyweight title), and he plans on a long reign at the top.
San Juan’s Eric Morel (35-2, 18 KOs) also had a very impressive run at the top of the flyweight division, reigning from 2000 to 2004. Now he has his sights set on a world championship at 115 pounds, and his “Little Hands of Steel” are firmly pointed in the direction of Fernando Montiel.
Opening up the pay-per-view portion of the show on July 16 will be former welterweight champion Vernon Forrest (35-2, 26 KOs), who will make his triumphant return to the ring for the first time in over two years. The pride of Georgia, who is known for his classy demeanor in and out of the ring, has been sidelined by injuries, but reports from his training camp suggest he has returned to the form that had him on top of the pound-for-pound lists after his back-to-back victories over Shane Mosley in 2002.
Tickets for NeXt in Line, priced at $75, $150, $250, $450, and $650, are available at the MGM Grand Garden Arena box office outlet. Tickets also are sold at all Las Vegas TicketMaster locations (Tower Records/WOW! Smith's Food and Drug Centers, Robinsons-May Stores and Ritmo Latino). Ticket sales are limited to eight per person. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call TicketMaster at (702) 474-4000. Tickets also will be available for purchase at www.mgmgrand.com or www.ticketmaster.com.
For room packages and availability, as well as event ticket information, call MGM Grand at (800) 929-1111 or (702) 891-7777.
The Hopkins vs. Taylor pay-per-view telecast, beginning at 9pm ET/6pm PT on July 16, will be distributed by HBO Pay-Per-View and will be available to over 50 million pay-per-view homes. HBO Pay-Per-View is the leading supplier of event programming to the pay-per-view industry. For more event information log onto www.HBOPPV.com
For more information on Golden Boy Promotions, please visit our website at www.goldenboypromotions.com.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV