Rivals fight over date; NAC to let ’em have it

Here we go again.

Top Rank and Golden Boy tentatively plan to hold pay-per-view fight cards on the same night — Sept. 14 — and it appears the Nevada Athletic Commission will approve both of them.

According to the NAC, Golden Boy months ago reserved the MGM Grand Garden for a Sept. 14 card that would feature Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, though not necessarily to fight each other. Top Rank, however, also has requested Sept. 14 for a proposed fight between Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez at the Thomas & Mack Center.

“Ultimately it’s up to the commission to approve the dates, but my recommendation would be to approve both cards for Sept. 14,” NAC executive director Keith Kizer said.

Showtime PPV would televise the Mayweather fight, and Bradley-Marquez would air on HBO Pay Per View.

“Obviously, I don’t believe two fights should go head-to-head against each other,” Top Rank president Todd duBoef said. “But we think we have a terrific matchup that makes sense given it’s Mexican Independence weekend and is a good fit for Las Vegas. But let’s see what happens with Floyd first.”

A similar scenario played out last year on Sept. 15 when Alvarez defeated Josesito Lopez at the MGM Grand while Sergio Martinez beat Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. at the Thomas & Mack to win the WBC middleweight title. The cards generated a combined gate of $4.6 million with over 29,000 tickets sold.

But Mayweather wasn’t on either card, and his presence Sept. 14 would alter the situation to such a degree that duBoef said Top Rank would willingly give up the date. A lot depends on how Mayweather fares against Robert Guerrero on Saturday at the MGM Grand. If Mayweather were to get injured and not be available Sept. 14, Top Rank would move forward with Bradley-Marquez.

“Floyd’s such a big star, he can go any day,” duBoef said. “But he hasn’t fought four months apart since 1999. He could get cut. He could hurt his hand.

“Here’s what I know. We have a fight. We have a venue. Now we’re applying for a date. That’s all we’ve done.”

Kizer said he doesn’t see a problem with adequately staffing both events.

“We had a very good weekend (last year) with the competing cards,” he said. “Our resources were stretched, but we were able to cover both venues and any issues we may have had were very minor.”

■ ODDS UPDATE — Mayweather continues to be the betting favorite over Guerrero, but the odds are shrinking.

MGM Resorts sports books have Mayweather as a minus-700 favorite with Guerrero at plus-475. Mayweather opened at minus-900, and at some books he had been at minus-1100.

The fight has yet to sell out the MGM Grand Garden, though fewer than 1,000 tickets remained as of Friday.

■ DIRRELL AT COSMO — Nearly a year after a motorcycle accident, unbeaten super middleweight Anthony Dirrell returns to the ring Friday at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas in an eight-round bout against an opponent to be determined.

The fight will be on the undercard of the NABF super featherweight title matchup between Francisco Vargas and Jose Aguiniga. The 28-year-old Dirrell (24-0, 21 knockouts) broke his left leg and left arm May 11 in Flint, Mich., when the motorcycle he was riding was cut off and he crashed into a car.

Dirrell last fought on Dec. 2, 2011, when he stopped Renan St. Juste in the fourth round in Santa Ynez, Calif.

Friday’s card will be televised by Fox Sports Network and Fox Deportes beginning at 8 p.m. First bell is at 7.

Contact reporter Steve Carp at scarp@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.

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