The rare occurrence of staging two major boxing matches on the same night in the same city happened because of the ongoing friction/rivalry between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.'s promoter, Top Rank, and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez’s promoter, Golden Boy. Here are the events that set up the showdown:
Week of Feb. 6: Top Rank Chairman Bob Arum says company President Todd duBoef emailed satellite and cable providers of his intention to produce a Chavez fight against an undetermined opponent on Sept. 15, Mexican Independence Day weekend. Arum said he told the World Boxing Council in early spring he intended to have Chavez fight “emeritus champion” Sergio Martinez.
Late March: Golden Boy Chief Executive Richard Schaefer says he struck an oral deal with MGM Grand in Las Vegas to have Alvarez fight at the property Sept. 15, as long as he wins his May 5 bout.
May 5: After world super-welterweight champion Alvarez’s impressive victory over Shane Mosley at MGM Grand, Schaefer announces Alvarez will headline his first pay-per-view fight there Sept. 15.
May 23: Schaefer announces Alvarez’s opponent will be former world welterweight champion Paul Williams.
May 27: Williams is paralyzed from the waist down after a motorcycle crash in Atlanta.
May 31: Golden Boy announces James Kirkland as Lopez’s new opponent, but Kirkland soon withdraws, saying he’s uncomfortable with the purse and fighting so soon after shoulder surgery.
June 12: Golden Boy announces Alvarez will fight former world welterweight champion Victor Ortiz if Ortiz defeats Riverside’s Josesito Lopez at Staples Center June 23.
June 16: Chavez convincingly defeats southpaw Andy Lee by seventh-round technical knockout in El Paso, assuring Top Rank matchmakers and trainer Freddie Roach that he’s ready for Martinez. Top Rank announces Chavez will fight Martinez at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas Sept. 15 on HBO pay-per-view.
June 23: Ortiz leads on all scorecards, but Lopez breaks Ortiz’s jaw in the ninth round, and Ortiz quits before the 10th round begins. After the bout, most parties lament that recent 140-pound fighter Lopez is too small to step up and fight Alvarez at 154 pounds.
July 11: Schaefer announces Lopez, earning a career-high purse of $212,000, will fight Alvarez, changing the bout to a non-pay-per-view bout televised by premium cable network Showtime.