Junior welterweight Arnold Barboza is an unbeaten up-and-comer looking to add the name of a former world titleholder to his résumé. Mike Alvarado is a former titleholder on the backside of his career, but still has hope of landing another shot.
It is with that backdrop that Barboza and Alvarado will meet in a 10-round fight that Top Rank has announced will be on the undercard of unified lightweight world champion and pound-for-pound king Vasiliy Lomachenko's title defense against former titlist Anthony Crolla on April 12 (ESPN+) at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Lomachenko-Crolla and a previously announced light heavyweight fight between super middleweight titlist Gilberto "Zurdo" Ramirez, who is moving up in weight, and Tommy Karpency are on the main card (11 p.m. ET), with Barboza-Alvarado the key fight on the rest of the undercard (8 p.m. ET). Barboza (20-0, 7 KOs), 27, of South El Monte, California, will be facing his first notable opponent in Alvarado (40-4, 28 KOs), 38, of Denver.
"I am excited for this opportunity. We know it's a dangerous fight and that Alvarado possesses power in both hands, but we are going to be ready for whatever he brings," Barboza said. "It's been a long time since I've fought at home, but I am ecstatic to fight here at Staples Center. It's a dream come true. We are also excited to fight a former world champion like Mike, and we know he is going to be at his best."
Alvarado, once one of boxing's most crowd-pleasing action fighters, paid the price for so many hard fights. He lost three fights in a row, hitting bottom when he was stopped by Brandon Rios in their 2015 rubber match. After that fight Alvarado, dealing with legal and substance-abuse issues, was idle for 13 months.
He has won six fights in a row since (five by knockout) but struggled at times against no-name opposition. This fight could be his last chance to earn a bigger fight.
"Fighting on this card is an honor, and come April 12, the world is in for an exciting show," Alvarado said. "I'm taking full advantage of this opportunity to bring me one step closer to securing my legacy as a champion."
Also on the card, welterweight prospect Alexander Besputin (12-0, 9 KOs), 27, an Oxnard, California-based Russian, will defend his regional belt in a 10-rounder against Alfredo Blanco (20-7, 11 KOs), 28, of Argentina, who has won four bouts in a row.
"I am ready to put the welterweight division on notice," Besputin said.
In another bout, Janibek Alimkhanuly (5-0, 2 KOs), a former amateur standout from Kazakhstan also fighting out of Oxnard, will face Mexico native Cristian Olivas (16-4, 13 KOs), 27, in a 10-rounder.
"I am training hard with Buddy McGirt, and I know that Olivas is a tough customer who will come forward and make for a great fight," Alimkhanuly said. "It is a dream come true to fight at Staples Center, and I want to give all of the great fans in Los Angeles a spectacular show."
Super middleweight Vijender Singh (10-0, 7 KOs), 33, the three-time Indian Olympian, will have his first fight since signing with Top Rank late last year. Singh, who claimed a bronze medal in the 2008 Olympics -- the first Indian to win a boxing medal -- will make his American debut against Calvin Metcalf (9-1-1, 2 KOs), 24, of Kansas City, Missouri, in an eight-rounder.
Italian heavyweight prospect Guido Vianello (2-0, 2 KOs), 24, a 2016 Olympian, will face Lawrence Gabriel (3-1-1, 2 KOs), 32, of Syracuse, New York, in a six-rounder.