The 20th anniversary celebration of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING continues on Cinco de Mayo weekend with a world championship doubleheader Saturday, May 6, on SHOWTIME (9 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the west coast) at the DCU Center in Worcester, Mass.
In one of two world title fights promoted by Don King Productions, hard-hitting Alejandro “Terra” Garcia (25-1, 23 KOs) will make his first defense as WBA super welterweight champion when he faces enormously popular local favorite and former WBA welterweight titleholder Jose Antonio “El Gallo” Rivera (37-4-1, 24 KOs). In the co-feature, O'Neil “Supernova” Bell (26-1-1, 24 KOs) makes the first defense of his undisputed cruiserweight crown when he takes on undefeated Steve “USS” Cunningham (19-0, 10 KOs).
Garcia, of Tijuana, Mexico, was recently reinstated by the WBA as its 154-pound champion when Travis Simms refused to give him a rematch. The only defeat in Garcia's career came when he was dethroned by Simms on a controversial, fluke fifth-round knockout in December 2003. Garcia captured the WBA interim 154-pound crown with a ninth-round TKO over Rhoshii Wells on May 21, 2005. In his last start, Garcia retained the interim belt with a 12-round decision over Luca Messi on Aug. 13, 2005.
Rivera, of Worcester, by way of Philadelphia, is the WBA No. 3 super welterweight contender. He is stepping up a notch in weight and making his first start since losing his WBA 147-pound crown to Luis Collazo in a thrilling, give-and-take 12-round split decision on April 2, 2005, in Worcester. Rivera, who came up short by the scores 115-113 twice and 113-115, was supposed to challenge the then-WBO 154-pound kingpin Daniel Santos last September on SHOWTIME, but was forced to withdraw with an elbow injury that required surgery.
Bell, from Atlanta by way Montego Bay, Jamaica, became the cruiserweight division's first undisputed champion since Evander Holyfield in 1988 when he scored an exciting, upset 10th-round knockout over Jean-Marc Mormeck on Jan. 7, 2006, on SHOWTIME. Bell, who entered the ring as the IBF champion, was leading the WBC-WBA titleholder on two of the scorecards at the time of the stoppage. Bell is unbeaten in his last 26 starts (25-0-1, 23 KO’s) dating to April 1998.
Cunningham, of Philadelphia, is ranked No. 1 in the IBF, No. 2 in the WBC and WBO and No. 4 in the WBA. A talented boxer-puncher who was an All-Navy Military champion is trained by the legendary Richie Giachetti. Cunningham won a 10-round decision victory over Guillermo Jones, who owns an upset win over former world champion Wayne Braithwaite, and a 12-round decision over former IBF cruiser champ Kelvin Davis. In his most recent outing, Cunningham scored a fifth-round TKO over Lloyd Bryan on Jan. 7, 2006, in New York.