The undercards are taking shape for the two big shows coming up on April 9 and for the big show in Las Vegas on Cinco de Mayo weekend in May.
The Pacquiao-Bradley rubber match on April 9 will be girded by a very deep undercard. The addition of 17-year-old German super middleweight Leon Bauer to the Top Rank show increases the number of preliminary bouts to eight. The precocious Bauer (7-0, 6 KOs), whose opponent has yet to be determined, is a stablemate of Arthur Abraham who will be risking his WBO World super middleweight title against Mexico’s undefeated (33-0) Gilberto Ramirez.
An intriguing off-TV match finds Konstantin Ponomarev locking horns with Brad Solomon in a 10-round welterweight contest. Both are undefeated. The 23-year-old Ponomarev, whose first 15 fights were in his native Russia, is 29-0 (13). The 32-year-old Solomon, who took up boxing in prison, hails from Lafayette, Louisiana. He brings a record of 26-0 (9).
Another undefeated boxer, Oleksandr Gvozdyk (9-0, 7 KOs) takes a big jump up in class when he takes on Nadjib Mohammedi (37-4, 23 KOs) in a 10-round light heavyweight contest. Gvozdyk turned pro after winning a bronze medal for Ukraine in the 2012 Olympics. Mohammedi had won 13 straight prior to his last bout when he was stopped by rampaging Sergey Kovalev. The battle-tested Frenchman has been training in Big Bear, California under the same roof as Gennady Golovkin.
Pacquiao-Bradley III will be contested the same day as the big heavyweight showdown in London between IBF title-holder Charles Martin and British challenger Anthony Joshua. Thanks to the time difference, the bouts don’t overlap. In a sense, Martin-Joshua is the appetizer to PacMan-Bradley.
The latest addition to the Martin-Joshua card finds George Groves meeting David Brophy. Ranked #4 in the super middleweight division by the authoritative Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, Groves is 22-3 (17) with all three losses coming in world title fights. One of England’s most popular athletes, the Londoner drew 80,000 to Wembley Stadium for his second match with archrival Carl Froch. Brophy, a 25-year-old Scotsman, is undefeated (16-0-1), but looks to be sorely overmatched in a bout that is mere window dressing for an event that doesn’t need it. Brophy has fought only three fighters with winning records and has only one knockout to his credit.
The all-England super welterweight match between Matthew Macklin (34-6, 22 KOs) and Brian Rose (28-3-1, 8 KOs) stands in stark contrast. The bout, which opened “pick,” now finds Rose a slight favorite. Macklin has fought much tougher opponents, but he’s been in a few wars and Rose, two years younger at age 31, has less wear and tear. Another bout finds Lee Selby, a Welshman, defending his IBF World featherweight title against Philadelphia’s Eric Hunter. Selby (22-1, 8 KOs) is a solid favorite, but Hunter (21-3, 11 KOs) seemingly has the tools to give him a stiff battle.
The May 7 card at the new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas is still taking shape, but three 10-round bouts have been confirmed underneath Alavarez-Kahn. Former IBF World middleweight champion David Lemieux (34-3, 31 KOs) opposes New Jersey’s Glen Tapia (23-2, 15). Brazil’s undefeated Patrick Teixeira (26-0, 22) meets Brooklyn’s Curtis Stevens (27-5, 20) in another middleweight bout, and Frankie Gomez (20-0, 13) faces fellow Southern Californian Mauricio Herrera (22-5, 7). At age 24, the undefeated Gomez is 11 years younger than the rugged Herrera, but this welterweight contest yet has the earmarks of a lusty, competitive fight.