With four title belts at stake, 2019 will start with the World Boxing Association highlighting the presentation of Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao and Keith Thurman defending their respective titles, both on US soil.
This January 19th at the MGM Grand’s Arena Garden the legendary “Pacman” (60-7-2, 39 KOs) returns to action to defend for the first time the regular WBA Welterweight Championship he conquered just last year with a knockout over Argentinian Lucas Matthysse in Malaysia.
Pacquiao, who is now 40 years old, will be Adrien Broner (33-3-1,24 knockouts), who is also a champion in multiple weight divisions and presented with the opportunity of a lifetime to achieve the greatness he has always sought. “The Problem”, still only 29 years old, must fight a perfect fight to join the not-too-long list of Manny’s conquerors and recover the welterweight WBA belt that he has already held back in 2013.
On the back of the card, the also Filipino Jhack Tepora (22-0, 17 knockouts) will defend for the first time the interim featherweight title that won last July against Edivaldo Ortega. His rival will be the experienced Mexican naive Hugo Ruiz (38-4, 33 KOs), a former world champion in the bantam and super bantamweight divisions who is seeking his third title in Las Vegas.
On the 26th of January there will be two more title defenses, with one highlighting the return of American Keith Thurman to defend the WBA Super World Welterweight Championship against the Californian native Josesito Lopez at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs) has not fought since March of 2017, so it will be a remarkable opportunity to prove his physical and mental state against Lopez (36-7, 19 KOs), who has won his last three bouts and aspires to achieve the best victory of his professional career.
On that same day in Houston, Texas, the Puerto Rican native Jesus Rojas (26-2-2, 19 KOs) will defend his WBA world featherweight title against the Chinese native Can Xu (15-2, 2 KOs), in a relaunch of Rojas’ career after having fallen in his most recent bout against Joseph Diaz in a battle in which the WBA title was not at stake.