Junior middleweight world titlist Jaime Munguia knows the importance to Mexican fighters of boxing on the second weekend of September, which is Mexican Independence Day weekend and one of the biggest boxing dates of the year.
With middleweight world champion and Mexican star Canelo Alvarez electing to move to a date late in the fall while he and Golden Boy Promotions and broadcast partner DAZN figure out who he will face, Munguia has landed the coveted slot.
Munguia will defend his 154-pound title for the fifth time when he faces Patrick Allotey on Sept. 14 (DAZN) at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California, Golden Boy Promotions announced on Saturday.
The card will also see the return of lightweight Ryan Garcia, the 2017 ESPN prospect of the year, who will face Avery Sparrow in the 10-round co-feature.
"We're excited to be able to continue this tradition that we know many fans anticipate," Golden Boy Promotions CEO Oscar De La Hoya said of scheduling the card on the Mexican Independence Day weekend. "Jaime Munguia is an undefeated world champion who has become one of Mexico's biggest boxing stars. Meanwhile, Patrick Allotey has an impressive skill set with years of experience under his belt. The styles are guaranteed to make a war."
Munguia (33-0, 26 KOs), 22, won the title by one-sided fourth-round knockout of Sadam Ali in May 2018 and has made four defenses, most recently a heavily disputed majority decision over Dennis Hogan on April 13 in Monterrey, Mexico.
"I feel very happy for the opportunity of headlining a card on Sept. 14," Munguia said. "That's the best date for boxing in the entire year. It's a great date for Mexico because that's when we celebrate Mexican Independence Day. I'm proud and honored to be representing Mexico in the festivals for my country. I'll give my best and I'll try to deliver a great fight for all the people and for those who will see us."
Golden Boy and DAZN were hoping for a fight between Munguia and former two-division world titlist Jessie Vargas (29-2-2, 11 KOs), 30, of Las Vegas, who moved up to junior middleweight in April and knocked out Humberto Soto in the sixth round.
Vargas was hoping for a title shot against Munguia in a fight he campaigned for and the sides were close to a deal. However, Mungia and Vargas could not agree on the weight. Vargas wanted to challenge for the title at 154 pounds and Munguia wanted to fight him in a nontitle bout at 156 pounds. But for Alottey, Munguia agreed to make the division limit and defend his title.
"I was hoping to fight for the title in September but that will be postponed for the moment," Vargas wrote on social media.
Allotey (40-3, 30 KOs), 28, of Ghana, who will be fighting in the United States for the second time, has won six fights in a row since a unanimous decision loss to Kanat Islam in Islam's home country of Kazakhstan in October 2016.
"I respect Munguia. He is a great fighter," Allotey said. "But I'm an African warrior, so you know I'll be coming to cause a big surprise."
Garcia (18-0, 15 KOs), of Victorville, California, who turned 21 on Thursday, last fought on March 30, when he crushed Jose Lopez in two rounds. He and Golden Boy have been at odds since because Garcia, a big draw, has been upset that he made only $50,000 for that fight on a card for which Golden Boy received a nearly seven-figure license fee from DAZN. Garcia hired a lawyer and he and Golden Boy appear to be back on the same page as the fight with Sparrow goes forward.
"Sparrow is basically an undefeated fighter with a good amateur background," Garcia said. "People in boxing that know boxing will know this isn't an easy fight. It will not be overlooked."
Sparrow (10-1, 3 KOs), 25, of Philadelphia, also fought Lopez, winning a competitive 10-round decision against him in November 2017. Sparrow is coming off his biggest win, a majority 10-round decision against Philadelphia rival and former world title challenger Hank Lundy on March 15.
"It's a difficult fight for Sparrow," said Russell Peltz, Sparrow's International Boxing Hall of Fame promoter. "Once again he has to move up in weight from 130 to 135. None of the 130-pounders want to fight him. However, I am not a big believer that weight difference will determine the outcome. The outcome will be determined by who is the better fighter so long as the judges are fair, and I am sure they will be. Garcia has a prettier record, but Sparrow can more than handle himself."
In another bout, junior welterweight brawler Pablo Cesar Cano (32-7-1, 22 KOs), 32, of Mexico, will defend his regional title in a 12-round fight against Michael Perez (25-3-2, 11 KOs), 29, of Newark, New Jersey. Cano is coming off the biggest win of his career, a stunning first-round upset knockout of former three-division world titlist Jorge Linares, whom he knocked down three times, on Jan. 18 in New York. Perez will look to bounce back from an eighth-round knockout loss to Abdiel Ramirez in December.
Also on the card, Filipino lightweight Romero Duno (20-1, 15 KOs), 23, who fights out of Los Angeles, will defend his regional title in a 10-round fight against an opponent to be determined; Azat "Crazy A" Hovhannisyan (17-3, 14 KOs), 30, an Armenia native based in Los Angeles, will face an opponent to be determined in a 10-round junior featherweight fight; and Los Angeles lightweight Alejandro Reyes will make his professional debut in a four-round match against Jorge Padron (3-4, 3 KOs), 32, of Mexico.