Rising welterweight star Errol Spence Jr. is on the verge of getting a world title shot.
In a rare Sunday bout, Spence meets veteran Leonard Bundu in an IBF title eliminator in Brooklyn, New York. The matchup will be televised on NBC at 2 p.m. after the men’s basketball Olympic gold medal game.
Spence (20-0, 17 knockouts), a 2012 U.S. Olympian, is expected to win, but the New Yorker wants to do it in dominant fashion. The 26-year-old Spence is a heavy minus-10,000 favorite, according to VegasInsider.com.
Bundu (33-1-2, 12 KOs) took Keith Thurman, who’s regarded as the best welterweight, to 12 rounds in a unanimous decision loss in 2014.
“A win is great, but I want to look impressive,” Spence said. “If I look impressive against Bundu or even stop Bundu, it would be a huge statement at the 147-pound division, doing something that Keith Thurman couldn’t do.”
With a win, Spence will be guaranteed a shot at Kell Brook’s IBF title. Brook moved up two divisions for his next fight against middleweight terror Gennady “GGG” Golovkin on Sept. 10.
The welterweight division is crowded with Spence, Brook, Thurman, Jessie Vargas, Shawn Porter, Timothy Bradley Jr., Danny Garcia and the return of Manny Pacquiao.
Bradley staying put
Five-time world champion Timothy Bradley Jr. has signed a contract to stay with Top Rank Boxing, according to Bob Arum, the CEO of the Las Vegas-based company.
“We’ve always had a close relationship with Tim for many years now and we think he’s part of our family and it was natural that we would do an extension with them,” Arum said.
Arum said he plans on meeting with networks soon to discuss Bradley’s next fight, possibly at the end of this year.
Golden Boy Promotions needed to go to Plan C to fill the co-main event of the Saul “Canelo” Alvarez-Liam Smith card at AT&T Stadium Sept. 17 on HBO pay per view.
Journeymen Gabriel Rosado and Willie Monroe Jr. will meet in a middleweight bout before Alvarez and Smith hit the stage.
Golden Boy Promotions tried having rising heavyweight Luis Ortiz against Alexander Ustinov on the card, but Ortiz reportedly priced himself out. Oscar De La Hoya’s team then turned its attention to WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders.
The Englishman Saunders reportedly turned down multiple bouts, which included Rosado and Monroe. Saunders and Alvarez could potentially meet for a December showdown.
Downtown boxing returns
The next card in the Knockout Night at the D series was revealed this week.
Emmanuel Robles, from San Diego, faces Canada’s Steve Claggett in a 10-round main event at the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center on Sept. 9.
The card at the outdoor venue will feature Las Vegans Max Ornelas, Randy Moreno, Jeremy Nichols and Marina Ramirez.
Going for gold
Shakur Stevenson will attempt to become the first American men’s boxer to capture a gold medal at the Olympics since Andre Ward in 2004.
Stevenson will battle Cuba’s Robeisy Ramirez Saturday at 10:15 a.m. in the bantamweight final. Unfortunately, the fight won’t be televised lived. The intriguing showdown can be found on www.nbcolympics.com.
Ramirez, 22, took gold in the flyweight division in the London Olympics four years ago.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. welcomed Stevenson to his Mayweather Promotions on Twitter this week. The 19-year-old Stevenson hasn’t confirmed Mayweather’s announcement.
Kovalev-Ward still on hold
Camps for Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward went quiet this week.
Main Events promoter Kathy Duva said last week contracts for the Kovalev-Ward fight on Nov. 19 are being reviewed by lawyers and could take days to finalize. The fight is still expected to take place at T-Mobile Arena.
Contact Gilbert Manzano at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0492. Follow on Twitter: @gmanzano24
Sept. 9: Knockout Night at the D, Downtown Las Vegas Events Center, 6:30 p.m., CBSSN
Sept. 16: Ishe Smith vs. Frank Galarza, The Cosmopolitan, 6 p.m., Bounce TV
Sept. 30: Knockout Night at the D, Downtown Las Vegas Events Center, 6:30 p.m., CBSSN
Nov. 5: Manny Pacquiao vs. Jessie Vargas, Thomas & Mack Center, TBD
Nov. 19: Andre Ward vs. Sergey Kovalev, T-Mobile Arena, 6 p.m., HBO PPV