The two sites for HBO’s April 18 split-site doubleheader are set.
A few days ago, Banner Promotions and Golden Boy locked in the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York, as the site for the much-anticipated junior welterweight fight between former titleholder Ruslan Provodnikov (27-3, 17 KOs) and Lucas Matthysse (36-3, 34 KOs), whom many expect to engage in an all-action fight of the year candidate.
And on Friday night, Top Rank locked in the site for the bout that will open the broadcast between 2014 fighter of the year Terence Crawford (25-0, 17 KOs), the lightweight champion from Omaha, Nebraska, who is moving up to junior welterweight to fight Puerto Rico’s Thomas Dulorme (22-1, 14 KOs) for a vacant 140-pound title. The site will be the University of Texas at Arlington’s College Park Center, the home arena for the school’s basketball team, Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti told ESPN.com.
Top Rank had a hard time finding an available arena for Crawford’s bout after it was postponed from March 21 at the Theater at Madison Square Garden. It had been looking at sites in Southern California, New York and Chicago but could not make any of them work.
But Moretti said Top Rank is happy to bring the event to Arlington.
“There have been a couple of ESPN cards there, and it’s a state-of-the-art arena. It holds about 6,000,” Moretti said. “We really didn’t want to go to a casino ballroom with the fighter of the year, so through availability, we are going to Arlington. Texas is an important place for us and our sponsor Tecate. Texas is a good place to do shows and when you bring the fighter of the year there it’s something special.”
Moretti said Top Rank decided against going to Omaha for Crawford’s third fight in a row.
“We really didn’t want to go Nebraska for this fight because we want to expand his popularity and marketability,” he said.
The winner of the fight is supposed to face former titleholder Chris Algieri (20-1, 8 KOs) in a mandatory defense, who got wiped out in his last fight on Nov. 22 as he was knocked down six times in a decision loss challenging welterweight titleholder Manny Pacquiao.