With a month to go until the show, Premier Boxing Champions unveiled the undercard for the Errol Spence-Mikey Garcia pay-per-view card on Thursday, and it will feature three former world titleholders and a well-known former heavyweight contender.
Former super middleweight world titlist David Benavidez will face J'Leon Love in the 10-round co-feature of the card that will take place on March 16 (Fox PPV) at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Also on the pay-per-view, former bantamweight world titlist Luis Nery will face former junior bantamweight world titlist McJoe Arroyo in a 10-round fight and Chris Arreola, the faded former heavyweight world title challenger, will face Jean Pierre Augustin in a 10-round bout.
Benavidez (20-0, 17 KOs), 22, of Phoenix, will be fighting for the first time in a rocky 13 months that saw him get stripped of his world title and suspended for testing positive for cocaine in a random urine test conducted the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association as part of the WBC Clean Boxing Program on Aug. 27.
Benavidez also signed a promotional contract extension with Sampson Lewkowicz but then signed another promotional contract with Top Rank and took a $250,000 signing bonus in May in an attempt to walk out on his contract with Lewkowicz. Days later, Benavidez gave the money back to Top Rank, apologized and returned to Lewkowicz.
Love (24-2-1, 13 KOs), 31, of Las Vegas, will look to rebound from a lopsided decision loss to former middleweight titlist Peter Quillin in August.
Nery (28-0, 22 KOs), 24, of Mexico, who has won nine fights in a row by knockout, was stripped of his world title last March on the eve of his rematch with former titlist Shinsuke Yamanaka because he failed to make weight. He knocked out Yamanaka in the second round. He returned in October and has won both of his fights since.
But he will be taking on a far superior caliber of opponent on Arroyo than in his recent fights. Arroyo (18-2, 8 KOs), 33, a southpaw from Puerto Rico, won a vacant junior bantamweight title against Artur Villanueva in 2015 but then lost two fight in a row, dropping the belt to Jerwin Ancajas and also losing to former titlist Rau'shee Warren before rebounding for a win in June.
Arreola (37-5-1, 32 KOs), 37, of Riverside, California, has fought for a heavyweight world title three times but got knocked out each times, by Vitali Klitschko in 2009, by Bermane Stiverne in their 2014 rematch and by Deontay Wilder in 2016.
After a nearly 2½-year retirement, Arreola returned for a sixth-round knockout win over Maurenzo Smith on Dec. 1 on the Wilder-Tyson Fury card. Augustin (17-0-1, 12 KOs), 31, a Haiti native fighting out of Louisville, Kentucky, will fighting the first notable foe of his career.
Spence and Garcia will meet face to face at a news conference on Saturday at the Microsoft Theater at L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles. It will air live on Fox beginning at 4:30 p.m. ET, ahead of that night's PBC on Fox card at the venue featuring featherweight world titlist Leo Santa Cruz's defense against Rafael Rivera.
The main event features Spence's third welterweight world title defense against lightweight titlist Garcia, a four-division titleholder who is moving up two weight classes for the showdown. Garcia (39-0, 30 KOs), 31, of Moreno Valley, California, is facing the southpaw Spence (24-0, 21 KOs), 29, of DeSoto, Texas, in his home region and undaunted by his underdog status.
"In my career I've always sought to fight the best in boxing and this fight against Errol Spence Jr. is just that,'' said Garcia, who will be fighting for the first time since unifying two lightweight belts by clear decision against Robert Easter Jr. in July. "I want to be known as one of the all-time greats and what better way to do that than to win a welterweight title and become a five-division world champion. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Errol and what he's accomplished, but I fully expect to leave the ring at AT&T Stadium with the welterweight world title.
"This is a match that I've been looking forward to for a long time and I plan on giving the fans a performance they'll never forget."
With Spence the hometown draw and Garcia popular among Mexican-American boxing fans, organizers hope to draw a crowd of at least 40,000 to AT&T Stadium, the home of the Dallas Cowboys.
"We are proud to host a boxing match of this magnitude with Errol Spence Jr. and Mikey Garcia," said Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. "AT&T Stadium was built to house the greatest sporting events on the planet, and we feel we have another incredible boxing event on the horizon with this matchup in our building on March 16."
It will be the fourth boxing event at the facility, with Manny Pacquiao having fought there twice and Canelo Alvarez once. Spence's last fight, in June, came at the Ford Center at The Star, the Cowboys' training facility in Frisco, Texas, where he drilled mandatory challenger Carlos Ocampo in the first round. Now Spence is moving into the big stadium and excited about it.
"Fighting at AT&T Stadium in my hometown is a dream come true," Spence said. "If I beat Mikey Garcia the way I plan on beating him, I will be the guy in the sport. This is my year, and Mikey isn't going to stop me. I am training like this is the biggest fight of my life, and I want to put on a great show for the fans and win convincingly."