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Tijuana's Jaime Munguia to defend his belt in Golovkin-Alvarez co-main event

The sudden rise of Tijuana’s light-middleweight world champion Jaime Munguia moves him to the co-main event of the Gennady Golovkin-Canelo Alvarez rematch Sept. 15 in Las Vegas.

Golden Boy Promotions’ Oscar De La Hoya confirmed Monday to the Los Angeles Times that the HBO pay-per-view card will be led by Munguia’s second World Boxing Organization title defense. He will face Canada’s top-five-ranked Brandon Cook (20-1, 13 knockouts).

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The 21-year-old Munguia (30-0, 25 KOs) won the belt by knocking out Sadam Ali in May and successfully defended it last month by unanimous decision over savvy former champion Liam Smith of England.

“We want to keep creating stars, and the exact way to do it is by exposing young fighters on cards like this one,” De La Hoya said. “ Cook is an action, in-your-face, rugged fighter – the real deal.”

The card will also feature former middleweight champion David Lemieux of Canada in a likely slugfest against Ireland’s hard-hitting Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan, with former four-division champion Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez returning to the ring.

“Lemieux-O’Sullivan is a can’t-miss for fight of the year and it could even steal the show,” De La Hoya said in reference to Lemieux’s desperation after getting out-boxed by WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders earlier this year and O’Sullivan’s push to be considered by the Sept. 15 main-event winner.

“That’s obviously the idea … David Lemieux has to win and look impressive. ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan is getting closer to the opportunity.”

De La Hoya said he’s in the midst of a multi-fight U.S. promotional deal with Munguia, who’s promoted chiefly by Mexico’s Fernando Beltran.

“We’re very confident with the work we’re doing with Munguia and the way we’re building him; we have no doubt in our minds we’ll be working for many years to come with Beltran for Munguia,” De La Hoya said. “You’ve seen his last two fights under Golden Boy, and the fans love him because he comes to fight and has that will and power.

“The reason we have Munguia, Lemieux-O’Sullivan and ‘Chocolatito’ is that they’re not only recognizable names, they’re names who people know will bring entertainment – fighters who fight. And that’s what this card is all about. It’s about leaving no doubt and not leaving it up to the judges.”

In meeting Mexico’s Moises Fuentes (25-5-1, 14 KOs), Gonzalez (46-2, 38 KOs) will fight for the first time since his stunning knockout loss in September 2017 against Thailand’s World Boxing Council super-flyweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai.

Gonzalez was knocked briefly unconscious and required hospitalization following the bout.

“We all know ‘Chocolatito’ is an amazing fighter, very skilled, action-packed,” De La Hoya said.

“I’d be surprised if any of the fights on the pay-per-view telecast go the distance.”

This will mark the fifth time since 2015 that Gonzalez has fought under a main event starring Golovkin (38-0-1, 34 KOs).

Golovkin promoter Tom Loeffler was considering placing Gonzalez’s return on the Sept. 8 “SuperFly 3” card at the Forum, but instead opted for more exposure on the Golovkin-Alvarez card, which is expected to outsell the $27-million live gate and 1.3 million pay-per-view buys it generated when the pair fought to a draw in September 2017.

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