Philippines, 29 Feb 2024
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Pacquiao-Broner undercard announced

Jack (L) and Browne.

On Monday as Filipino ring great Manny Pacquiao celebrated his 40th birthday, his promoter announced the three fights that will serve as the televised undercard for his World Boxing Association welterweight title defense against Adrien Broner on Jan. 19 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

A vacant interim world title showdown between two-division titlist Badou Jack and unbeaten contender Marcus Browne will co-feature of the Showtime PPV card.

Also included in the card is a vacant bantamweight world title bout between former titlist Rau'shee Warren and Nordine Oubaali and interim featherweight titlist Jhack Tepora staking his belt versus a former junior featherweight owner Hugo Ruiz.

"Both Jhack Tepora and Hugo Ruiz are looking to make a name for themselves in the stacked featherweight division, while Rau'shee Warren and Nordine Oubaali are in the prime of their careers and battling for the WBC title," Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe said.

"Badou Jack has made an exemplary statement for his career inside and outside of the ring and is focused on further strengthening his r?sum?, while Marcus Browne is looking to showcase his talent on boxing's biggest stage," Ellerbe added as reported by ESPN senior writer Dan Raphael.

Jack (22-1-3, 13 KOs), 35, of Las Vegas, has won world titles at super middleweight and light heavyweight and is coming off a hard-fought draw with then-light heavyweight world champion Adonis Stevenson on May 19.

"I'm looking forward to getting back onto another big stage to perform for my fans across the globe and prove I am one of the best fighters in the world," Jack said. "I plan to show off my skills with a dominating performance on Jan. 19. I always want to fight the best, and he's the best that's available right now. I'm always 100 percent ready, and I'm going into this fight stronger, faster and with more experience than ever before."

Browne (22-0, 16 KOs), 22, a southpaw from Staten Island, New York, and a 2012 U.S. Olympian, is getting his first shot at a belt against by far the most notable opponent of his career.

"This is really an honor and a privilege to have an opportunity to showcase my talents on a big-time, pay-per-view card featuring Manny Pacquiao and Adrien Broner," Browne said. "Badou Jack is a championship-caliber fighter and one of the toughest guys you can fight in the light heavyweight division. I'm ready for the step up in competition and focused on being a household name in the sport sooner rather than later."

Oubaali (14-0, 11 KOs), 32, a two-time Olympian from France, and former world titlist Warren (16-2, 4 KOs), 31, of Cincinnati, the only three-time U.S. Olympic boxer, will meet in a rematch of their amateur fight. Oubaali defeated fellow southpaw Warren 19-18 in an opening-round bout at the 2012 London Games.

"This fight means everything for me, and it's about to be the biggest moment of my career," Warren said. "Not only am I fighting for the WBC belt, but it's on pay-per-view. When I first won the title, it was like winning the gold medal at the Olympics. After I lost the title, it made me much hungrier, and I want to get it back even more. I fought this guy in the Olympics, so I'm fighting for revenge. This isn't the Olympics. This is 12 rounds, and I don't think he's fought anybody like me. I have no choice but to put it all on the line on Jan. 19.''

Oubaali has knocked out his past five opponents but is stepping up in the level of his opposition against Warren.

"Many people are waiting for this fight because it's the second time we meet," Oubaali said. "I beat Rau'shee Warren at the 2012 London Games in a great battle. In the meantime, Rau'shee captured a world championship and lost it. Right now, I'm the WBC No. 1-ranked bantamweight fighter in the world. It will be a great fight in Las Vegas, and I intend to beat Rau'shee again to become the new WBC world champion."

Tepora (22-0, 17 KOs), 25, a southpaw from the Philippines, claimed an interim featherweight belt by ninth-round knockout of Edivaldo Ortega on July 15 on the Pacquiao-Lucas Matthysse undercard in Kuala Lumpur, and will be defending it for the first time.

"It has always been a dream to fight in the United States," Tepora said. "I never dreamed that my first fight in the U.S. would be on a card with Senator Manny Pacquiao versus Adrien Broner. I look forward to a tremendous fight and defending my title versus former world champion Hugo Ruiz. As you all know the best rivalry in boxing is Filipino versus Mexican. It's going to be a great fight."

Ruiz (38-4, 33 KOs), 30, of Mexico, won a junior featherweight world title by first-round knockout of Julio Ceja in February 2016 but lost the belt in his first defense by ninth-round knockout to Hozumi Hasegawa in Japan later that year. Ruiz didn't fight at all in 2017 but has won two fights in a row and will be moving up to featherweight to challenge Tepora.

"I expect it to be a good fight because Tepora is undefeated and a good Filipino champion," Ruiz said. "But I'm ready. I don't think he can handle my power. I'm going to knock him out. I want to do my best to win the title. I've been watching videos of him, and I've been training hard. I'm really focused on how to beat him. I'm still young, but I've got the experience to handle him in this fight."

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Eddie Alinea.

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