Denis Shafikov has come up short each time he has boxed for a lightweight world title, losing decisions to Miguel Vazquez in 2014, Rances Barthelemy in 2015 and Robert Easter Jr. on June 30.
So Shafikov has decided to move down in weight to junior lightweight and will take on Rene Alvarado in a 10-round bout that has been added to the card headlined by the vacant interim junior lightweight bout between Orlando Salido and Miguel "Mickey" Roman on Dec. 9 (HBO, 10:20 p.m. ET/PT) at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
Following the HBO telecast, Shafikov-Alvarado, as well as a fight between 21-year-old Mexican junior middleweight prospect Jaime Munguia (25-0, 21 KOs) and an opponent to be determined, will be televised via tape delay on HBO Latino beginning at approximately 1:05 a.m. ET/PT.
"Adding this highly competitive [Shafikov-Alvarado] fight to our already announced tripleheader provides excellent value for boxing fans attending this event," promoter Tom Loeffler said. "With every promotion providing the most quality fights possible is a key for the most fan-friendly events, and these four announced fights is a validation of our efforts."
Shafikov (38-3-1, 20 KOs), a 32-year-old southpaw from Russia, is coming off the loss to Easter and afterward decided to move down in weight from 135 pounds to 130 pounds. It's a move that pleased trainer Abel Sanchez, who also trains unified middleweight world champion Gennady Golovkin.
"Rene Alvarado rocked Yuriorkis Gamboa, and with the style of Denis Shafikov this could very well be the best fight of the night," Sanchez said.
Alvarado (27-8, 19 KOs), 28, of Nicaragua, has won three fights in a row since a 10-round decision loss to former unified featherweight world titleholder Gamboa in March.
Salido (44-13-4, 31 KOs), 37, of Mexico, a former featherweight and junior lightweight world titleholder, will face countryman Roman (57-12, 44 KOs), 32, in the main event for the interim belt made available because titleholder Miguel Berchelt is nursing a hand injury and will be sidelined for a few months.
The HBO telecast also will feature two other bouts: Philadelphia's Tevin Farmer (25-4-1, 5 KOs), 27, against Kenichi Ogawa (22-1, 17 KOs), 29, of Japan, for a vacant junior lightweight world title, and former junior lightweight titlist Francisco Vargas (23-1-2, 17 KOs), 32, of Mexico, taking on former two-time title challenger Stephen Smith (25-3, 15 KOs), 32, of England, in a 12-round fight.