Junior lightweight titlist Rances Barthelemy's first defense will come against Fernando Saucedo on Oct. 4, Warriors Boxing promoter Leon Margules told ESPN.com on Wednesday.
Margules said the fight is signed and that it would likely air on Showtime from a site to be determined. Margules said there is a strong chance that it will take place at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut.
"I think Barthelemy is the best 130-pound fighter in the world and Saucedo is a good boxer, strong and very durable, so he should be a good test for my guy," Margules said. "Saucedo earned his ranking and it's a good test for Barthelemy in his first title defense."
The 28-year-old Barthelemy (20-0, 12 KOs), a Cuban defector living in Miami, won his title via unanimous decision from Argenis Mendez on July 10 in Miami. It was a rematch of the two-round no decision they fought in January, when Barthelemy knocked Mendez out in the second round but the result was eventually changed to a no decision and the title returned to Mendez after his camp protested the outcome because video replays showed that the knockout blow was clearly delivered after the bell had rang to end the round, which was an unintentional foul.
The 32-year-old Saucedo (52-5-3, 8 KOs), of Argentina, is riding a 14-fight winning streak since losing his only other world title fight, a lopsided decision to then-featherweight titlist Chris John in 2010 in John's native Indonesia. The other name fighter on Saucedo's resume is former two-division titleholder Acelino "Popo" Freitas, who dropped and outpointed Saucedo in a 10-rounder in 2004. Saucedo has never been knocked out in any of his five defeats.
"Saucedo is the most talented, available fighter willing to fight Barthelemy that is in the top 15 of the IBF rankings," Margules said. "And he is also the highest available guy, No. 3, so we are fighting him. And top 15 and he was the highest available guy, No. 3."
Margules said another factor in making the fight is that Saucedo is promoted by Sampson Lewkowicz, with whom Margules is close.
"We do a fare amount of business together and he is a friend," Margules said.