The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is ready to get back into the boxing business.
The Strip property, which opened in 2010 and had hosted cards for the past three years, will use The Chelsea, a new 40,000-square-foot entertainment venue, for an Aug. 2 Top Rank card featuring former world champion Brandon Rios in the main event.
Also, Jessie Vargas of Las Vegas, the World Boxing Association junior welterweight champion, will make his first title defense, and undefeated Las Vegas super bantamweight Jessie Magdaleno will fight on the HBO-televised card.
The hotel plans to stay busy in the fight game.
“I’m a boxing fan, and I think there’s this magical thing about Las Vegas and boxing,” The Cosmopolitan CEO John Unwin said. “I know The Chelsea is going to be a great venue for boxing. We’re going to have about 3,000 seats, and it’s multilevel. The view is going to be great wherever you sit.”
Tickets, priced from $50 to $200, go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday at all Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster.com and The Cosmopolitan’s concierge desk.
The card will have strong local appeal. Vargas (24-0, nine knockouts) will defend the belt he won April 12 at the MGM Grand Garden, facing Russia’s Anton Novikov (29-0, 10 KOs) in the 12-round co-feature.
Rios (31-2-1, 23 KOs), a former world lightweight and junior welterweight champion, will meet Diego Chaves (23-1, 19 KOs) of Buenos Aires in the 10-round main event at 147 pounds.
Magdaleno (18-0, 14 KOs), who was forced off a card in California in May because of tonsillitis, will meet Carlos Rodriguez in an eight-round bout. Magdaleno’s last fight was Feb. 15 in Hawaiian Gardens, Calif., when he stopped Robert Castaneda in the fifth round.
Unwin said working with Top Rank and HBO is a big step in The Cosmopolitan’s return to boxing.
“We loved working with ESPN and doing the ‘Friday Night Fights,’ ” he said. “But in restarting our relationship with boxing, we were looking for partners who can do big fights, and we’re excited about having Top Rank and HBO working with us.”
Unwin said fans who had been to The Cosmopolitan for boxing before in a ballroom will have an even better experience in The Chelsea, which opened in December.
“I know a lot of fans came early and had dinner and stayed late and gambled,” he said. “I think they’re going to enjoy the new Chelsea and all it has to offer. We’ll have more bars, so you can get a drink easier than before. The view of the ring is going to be great.”
Unwin said he hopes to make boxing a regular staple.
“I’m cautiously confident and optimistic that this event will give traction to us doing more boxing events on a regular basis as well as other sports, such as mixed martial arts, tennis and basketball,” he said. “I think we can appeal to a broader audience with what we have to offer boxing fans.”
Contact reporter Steve Carp at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.