Canelo Alvarez will be defending his undisputed 168-pound championship and fighting to keep his place among the top fighters when he faces Jermell Charlo on pay-per-view Saturday in Las Vegas.
CANELO ALVAREZ (59-2-2, 39 KOs)
VS. JERMELL CHARLO (35-1-1, 19 KOs)
Date: Saturday, Sept. 30
Time: 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT (main event later in show)
Where: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas
Division: Super middleweight (168 pounds)
At stake: Alvarez’s IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO titles
Odds: Alvarez 3½-1 favorite (average of multiple outlets)
Pound-for-pound: Alvarez No. 7, Charlo No. 8
Also on the card: Jesus Ramos Jr. vs. Erickson Lubin, junior middleweights; Yordenis Ugas vs. Mario Barrios, welterweights; Elijah Garcia vs. Armando Resendiz, middleweights; Frank Sanchez vs. Scott Alexander, heavyweights
Prediction: Alvarez KO 10
Background: Alvarez is fighting to remain at the pinnacle of the sport. The former top pound-for-pounder has looked vulnerable in his last three fights, a loss to 175-pound king Dmitry Bivol in May of last year and uninspiring decisions over Gennadiy Golovkin last September and John Ryder this past May. Many believe the 33-year-old Mexican star is in decline after 18 years as a professional. He says injuries – including one to his left wrist that required surgery – played a role in his sub-par performances and he promises to look better against Charlo now that he’s healthy. He’s 6-0 (3 KOs) in 168-pound title fights. Charlo, the undisputed 154-pound champion, is moving up two divisions for the fight. The 33-year-old from Houston has failed to win twice, a decision against Tony Harrison and draw with Brian Castano. He avenged both disappointments in one-sided rematches, stopping both rivals. The second Castano fight – his most recent outing – took place in May of last year, meaning Charlo will have been out of the ring for more than 17 months. He would become a top figure in the sport with an upset victory.
JAI OPETAIA (22-0, 17 KOs)
VS. JORDAN THOMPSON (15-0, 12 KOs)
Date: Saturday, Sept. 30
Time: 2 p.m. ET / 11 a.m. PT (main event later in show)
Where: OVO Arena Wembley, London
Division: Cruiserweight (200 pounds)
At stake: No major titles
Odds: Opetaia 4-1 favorite (average of multiple outlets)
Also on the card: Ellie Scotney vs. Laura Soledad Griffa, junior featherweights (for Scotney’s IBF title); Cheavon Clarke vs. Vasil Ducar, cruiserweights; Rhiannon Dixon vs. Katherina Thanderz, lightweights
Prediction: Opetaia KO 9
Background: Opetaia, a 28-year-old southpaw from Sydney, stunned the boxing world and arrived on the international scene with a convincing decision over veteran 200-pound beltholder Mairis Briedis in July of last year in Australia, his most recent fight. Briedis had lost only to Oleksandr Usyk. Opetaia hasn’t fought outside of Australia since 2017. He competed for his native country in the 2012 London Olympics, losing in the first round. Thompson is a 30-year-old boxer-puncher from London who will be fighting for a major title for the first time. He has stopped seven of his last eight opponents, including Luke Watkins in six rounds on April 22. However, this is a step up in opposition for him.