As has been expected for several weeks, Chattanooga native Ryan "Blue Chip" Martin is on the undercard for the much-anticipated middleweight championship boxing match Sept. 16 between Gennady "GGG" Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez in Las Vegas.
The card was finalized Monday for the same T-Mobile Arena where Floyd Mayweather defeated Conor McGregor this past Saturday night, and 19-0 lightweight Martin will open the HBO Pay-Per-View lineup against Francisco Rojo (20-2) of Mexico City. Their bout will be a title fight, too, for Martin's WBC Continental Americas belt and the vacant WBA Intercontinental lightweight championship.
"I realize there are a lot of big fights that can be made right now in the lightweight division," Martin said in a BoxingScene.com story. "There are a lot of projections and talks for me to be a part of some of those bigger fights. But right now I have to get past Rojo.
"Preparations are going good, and I will be as sharp as ever on that night. My team is amazing, and my trainers are pushing me really hard."
Martin has become accustomed to training at Golovkin's camp in California, and GGG promoter Tom Loeffler said the 2011 Central High School graduate "is one of the fastest-rising stars of the lightweight division. This battle between two hungry top-10 contenders is a great addition to the card and an exciting way to open the pay-per-view telecast."
Rojo talked about the big-picture aspect of the Sept. 16 event.
"It is an honor to be fighting on the same Mexican Independence Day weekend as the great Canelo Alvarez," said Rojo, who has 13 knockouts in his 20 professional wins. "It's going to be a great night for Mexico when we both leave the ring with all the belts wrapped around us."
Martin has 11 knockouts.
Canelo (49-1-1, 34 KOs) is the Ring Magazine middleweight world champion. Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs) owns the WBC, WBA, IBF and IBO titles.
The "co-main event" has Joseph "JoJo" Diaz Jr. (24-0, 13 KOs) of California against Jorge "Pilon" Lara (29-0-2, 21 KOs) of Guadalajara, Mexico, in a 12-round WBC featherweight "eliminator" fight. Also on the undercard is a super bantamweight title challenge by Diego De La Hoya (19-0, 9 KOs) against NABF champ Randy "El Matador" Caballero (24-0, 14 KOs). De La Hoya is the WBC youth world super bantam champ.
"The Canelo-versus-Golovkin undercard will feature some of boxing's best contenders and rising stars," Golden Boy Promotions CEO Oscar De La Hoya said in the BoxingScene.com story. "The fans will be in for a treat and won't want to miss the action."
The elder De La Hoya was talking about the nontelevised part of the undercard as well. That includes four fights.
Contact Ron Bush at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6291.