When Top Rank and HBO initially made a deal for the network to televise the welterweight title elimination bout between Juan Manuel Marquez and Mike Alvarado on May 17 from the refurbished Forum in Inglewood, Calif., it was planned as a one-fight telecast. The winner will be the mandatory challenger for Manny Pacquiao and his likely autumn opponent.
However, the network has changed its mind, for whatever reason, and will also televise an opening bout, the 12-round junior welterweight title eliminator between Ukraine’s Viktor Postol (25-0, 10 KOs), 30, and Selcuk Aydin of Turkey. The winner will become the mandatory challenger for 140-pound champion Danny Garcia.
Although Top Rank does not promote either fighter, Vadim Kornilov, who works with Postol, has a good relationship with Top Rank, including managing one of its top prospects, light heavyweight Egor Mekhontsev, a 2012 Olympic gold medalist from Russia.
“We were asked if we would put the fight on our show and we said fine,” Top Rank promoter Bob Arum told ESPN.com. “We told HBO, ‘Hey, it’s on the show anyway, why wouldn’t you televise it?’ And they agreed. HBO was only going to show the one fight and then this fell in our lap and they agreed to show it. Why they didn’t make a fight with us for the card at the start, I have no idea.”
HBO confirmed to ESPN.com that it would televise the bout but did not offer a reason for its sudden change of heart about adding a second fight to the broadcast.
Postol's most notable victory came in March 2013, a unanimous decision against contender Hank Lundy. Aydin (26-2, 19 KOs), 30, has had previous American television exposure, losing twice in a row on Showtime via decision in welterweight fights against Robert Guerrero (for an interim title in July 2012) and Jesus Soto Karass (in January 2013). Aydin has won three fights in a row since.
The May 17 undercard, although not part of the HBO broadcast, is also scheduled to include junior lightweight contender Diego Magdaleno (25-1, 10 KOs) against Oscar Bravo (21-3, 9 KOs).