Mexico celebrated its independence from Spain on the historic date of September 16, 1810 and over the years this day has grown to become a special day of celebration, especially in the world of sports and entertainment. This year, the boxing world will celebrate Mexico’s Independence Day when reigning Ring Magazine World Lightweight Champion Joel “El Cepillo” Casamayor meets former two-division world champion Juan Manuel Marquez Saturday, Sept. 13 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in a 12-round championship bout.
In professional boxing, this day or the celebrated weekend has always been home to the largest boxing events. Some of the most memorable Mexican Independence Day fights include Sept. 18, 1998 when “Golden Boy” Oscar de la Hoya faced the Mexican icon, Julio Caesar Chavez, Sept. 18, 1999 when the “Golden Boy” faced Puerto Rico’s Felix “Tito” Trinidad, and Sept. 14, 2002 when De La Hoya faced Fernando “Ferocious” Vargas.
Tickets priced at $300, $200, $125 and $75 are now on sale and may be purchased at any MGM Grand box office outlet and all Las Vegas Ticketmaster locations (select Smith’s Food and Drug Centers, and Macy’s West at the Fashion Show Mall). Ticket sales are limited to eight (8) per person. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (702) 474-4000. Tickets also are available for purchase at www.mgmgrand.com or www.ticketmaster.com.
Casamayor vs. Marquez, for Casamayor’s Ring Magazine World Lightweight Championship, will headline a night of world-class professional boxing presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Romanza Boxing and sponsored by Cerveza Tecate and Cazadores Tequila. The world title bout will be produced and distributed live on HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at 9 p.m. EST/6 p.m. PST.
“I’m very excited for this great fight and I’m happy that Golden Boy gave me this opportunity,” said Casamayor. “It is going to be a war between two legends but one of us will be finished after this and I know I’m going to retire Juan Manuel Marquez on September 13.”
Marquez commented, “This is the most important fight of my life because I’m putting my career on the line to go up in weight to fight Joel. He is the best at 135 and a very dangerous fighter. It’s a huge fight for me and I’m very excited to fight in front of all of my loyal fans in Las Vegas on Mexican Independence Day weekend.”
De La Hoya, president of Golden Boy Promotions, said, “This match-up continues the great tradition in boxing to hold a championship bout on Mexican Independence Day weekend. When Joel Casamayor, a legendary Cuban fighter and an Olympic Gold Medalist, meets a very dangerous two-division future hall of famer in Juan Manuel Marquez, the fans will get their money’s worth of skill, heart and action. This fight is an exciting way to kick off the Fall boxing season and there is no doubt that this will be one of the best fights of 2008 as both fighters are looking to win after coming off dramatic battles.”
The greatest Cuban fighter of the last 30 years, 1992 Olympic Gold Medalist and current Ring Magazine Lightweight World Champion Casamayor (36-3-1, 22 KOs) has unquestionably stamped himself as a future Hall of Famer with world titles in two weight classes, along with a resume that many experts believe should contain no losses. Owner of wins over Nate Campbell, Diego Corrales (twice) and Roberto Garcia, Casamayor’s only defeats have come via highly disputed decisions against Acelino Freitas, Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo, fights most believe “El Cepillo” deserved to win. In his last fight in March though, Casamayor refused to leave things in the hands of the judges and knocked out the previously unbeaten Australian warrior Michael Katsidis in the 10th round.
A wizard of the ring who mixes technical prowess with a warrior’s heart and a willingness to go to war, Marquez (48-4-1, 35 KOs) already has secured his legacy as one of the greatest Mexican fighters of all-time. However, he is not satisfied – thus his pursuit of a world title in a third weight class. A former Featherweight and Super Featherweight World Champion, Marquez has fought the best of this era including Manny Pacquiao (twice), Marco Antonio Barrera, Rocky Juarez and Manuel Medina. With his only loss in the last two years being a controversial split decision at the hands of Pacquiao in their classic rematch in March, it is clear that like a fine wine, the 34-year-old Marquez is getting better with age.
Richard Sturm, president of Sports and Entertainment for MGM MIRAGE, said, “The fans in the Grand Garden Arena will be treated to a sensational event. We look forward to celebrating Mexican Independence Day weekend with Golden Boy Promotions and HBO Pay-Per-View.”
HBO PPV’s Mark Taffet stated, “Casamayor vs. Marquez is a marquee match-up in a division that continues to turn out one great fight after another. It’s the kind of ‘best vs. best’ battle that boxing fans love.”
The Casamayor vs. Marquez pay-per-view telecast, beginning at 9 p.m. EST/6 p.m. PST, will be produced and distributed by HBO Pay-Per-View and will be available to 71 million pay-per-view homes. The telecast will be available in HD-TV for those viewers who can receive HD. HBO Pay-Per-View is the leading supplier of event programming to the pay-per-view industry. For Casamayor vs. Marquez fight week updates, log on to www.hbo.com.
An undercard will be announced in the near future. For more information visit www.goldenboypromotions.com.
For room packages and availability and event ticket information about the MGM Grand, call (800) 929-1111 or (702) 891-7777 or log onto the World Wide Web at www.mgmgrand.com.