While Saturday's Showtime pay-per-view main event between undisputed super middleweight championwill grab the headlines this weekend, boxing fans are in for something of a treat with an unusually strong PPV undercard featuring a trio of compelling fights.
It is an unfortunate truth that boxing undercards in the current era are rarely packed with interesting fights. And, to be frank, the majority of undercards for Alvarez bouts have been especially bad when it comes to featuring fights with any meaning or intrigue.
That will not be the case Saturday in Las Vegas when Alvarez defends his four world championships at 168 pounds in the first battle of current undisputed male champions in boxing's four-belt era. The undercard features an interesting crossroads fight, a battle for an interim world title and a rising prospect against a dangerous opponent.
Let's take a look at each fight on the undercard and what to keep an eye on.
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Jesus Ramos Jr. vs. Erickson Lubin -- Junior middleweight
It seems as though Lubin as been hovering around the top 10 forever, but he is just 27 years old. There is plenty of time left for Lubin to put together a string of wins and get another shot at a world title or two. This is especially true in the junior middleweight division, where Charlo's move up to challenge Alvarez could mean multiple belts becoming vacant in the very near future. We already know that the moment Charlo is announced as WBO champion during pre-fight introductions, he will be stripped of the title and interim champion Tim Tszyu will be elevated to world titleholder. That leaves three other belts that could hit the market soon and Lubin is certainly a player in the discussion if he manages to outwork Ramos.
Lubin showed plenty of promise early in his career but may have taken his first big step up a bit too soon when he was obliterated in the first round against Charlo for the WBC title in 2017. He and his team regrouped, lowered the level of competition and worked their way back up the rankings, picking up a WBC trinket before a ninth-round TKO loss in one of 2022's best fights of the year with Sebastian Fundora. The punishment Lubin took while still firing back should have dismissed any worries from the Charlo fight that Lubin has a weak chin.
Ramos is a very similar fighter to Lubin and is taking this step up right around the same point in age and experience where Lubin took on Charlo. At 22, Ramos is young enough that he doesn't need to take on a challenge like Lubin but he's skilled and he and his team believe they can make a big statement in this fight, a fight they're taking after Ramos was forced to bail on a fight with Sergio Garcia due to an injury.
Ramos showed how good he can be in his most recent outing, a one-sided drubbing of Joey Spencer on the undercard of Caleb Plant vs. David Benavidez. He's big, strong and does a lot of the "little things" right. But, as Lubin has said in the lead-up to the clash, "Ramos is a real solid fighter. I watched his last fight and I thought he looked good. But I'm not Joey Spencer. I'm one of those top guys in the division. I'm the cream of the crop and I'm here to prove myself. I want the toughest test every time out."
Yordenis Ugas vs. Mario Barrios -- WBC interim welterweight title
Ugas is a former welterweight champion, having beaten -- and effectively retired -- the legendary Manny Pacquiao for the WBA belt in 2021. He is the kind of fighter that hardcore boxing fans can get behind because he hasn't taken an easy path or been gifted anything. Early career losses came and Ugas continued to fight and grind to get opportunities he earned. In 2019, on the strength of an eight-fight winning streak, Ugas got a shot at Shawn Porter for the WBC title and lost a split decision many thought he'd done enough to win. Rather than fading away, Ugas ripped through four wins, capped with the victory over Pacquiao to become a world champion.
Ugas was dominated by Errol Spence Jr. in his follow up -- which is also his most recent fight -- losing the title and the unification opportunity. But now he has another chance on a big stage to show his resiliency and position himself in a division very similar to junior middleweight. Terence Crawford is the undisputed welterweight champion after turning in an all-time impressive showing against Spence, but seems as though he's ready to leave the division, putting several belts out there to be grabbed and an interim champion would all but certainly be elevated to world title status.
Barrios is not a great fighter but he is a good one and he has proven he can hang a bit with some of the sport's elite. In June 2021, Barrios went to war with Gervonta "Tank" Davis and was ultimately stopped for his first career loss. Despite losing, Barrios gained respect for a good showing on a big stage. He lost his next fight, moving to the welterweight division and dropping a decision to Keith Thurman.
It's possible that Barrios has simply peaked. But there are many fighters who have made a nice living by being a step below elite and Barrios is the kind of fighter you don't hate to see listed on any card. He's also just 28, and with a win over Ugas, is right there as a potential world champion.
Elijah Garcia vs. Jose Resendiz -- Middleweight
At just 20-years-old with a record of 15-0 with 12 knockouts, Garcia is a legitimate prospect. Premier Boxing Champions seem high on him and with good reason. Middleweight is a division that is desperately in need of some new players and thus far in his career, Garcia has shown the goods. PBC has also been making sure to feature Garcia on big cards to build his profile, which they're doing here again.
Resendiz had an unexpected stumble in 2021, losing to tricky journeyman Marcos Hernandez. These things happen to good fighters sometimes and Resendiz has bounced back well. In his most recent outing, Resendiz battered Jarrett Hurd for an upset victory that also established that he could still develop into a player at middleweight.
This is just flat-out good matchmaking between young fighters and is not at all a soft touch for Garcia. Whoever gets the win in this bout will be in the mix at 160 pounds.