Cinco de Mayo comes one month early with the Manny Pacquiao – Timothy Bradley welterweight championship pay-per-view undercard, which will feature four Hispanic contenders in three title fights. Co-promoted by Sauerland Event and Zapari Boxing Promotions, World Boxing Organization (WBO) super middleweight champion “King” ARTHUR ABRAHAM of Berlin, Germany, will defend his world title against undefeated WBO No. 1 super middleweight contender with the matinee idol looks and mandatory challenger GILBERTO “Zurdo” RAMIREZ of Mazatlan, Mexico, in the co-main event.
The undercard will also feature undefeated No. 1 WBO featherweight contender ÓSCAR VALDEZ of Nogales, Mexico, defending his NABO featherweight title against former International Boxing Federation (IBF) featherweight champion EVGENY GRADOVICH. The pay-per-view telecast will open with JOSE RAMÍREZ of Avenal, Calif., risking his undefeated record and World Boxing Council (WBC) Continental Americas super lightweight title against seasoned veteran MANNY PEREZ of Denver, CO.
These six warriors boast a combined record of 158-16-2 (96 KOs) — a winning percentage of 90% — with a victory by knockout ratio of 61%.
Promoted by Top Rank®, in association with MP Promotions, the Pacquiao vs. Bradley championship event will take place on Saturday, April 9, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. It will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View® beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET / 6:00 p.m. PT.
Remaining Tickets to Pacquiao vs. Bradley are priced at $1,204, $804, $604, $404, $254 and $154, not including applicable service fees. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000. Tickets will also be available for purchase at mgmgrand.com or ticketmaster.com.
“Fighting in Las Vegas on the biggest stage of them all is a dream come true for me, and sharing the spotlight with Manny Pacquiao, a true legend of the ring, makes this opportunity even sweeter,” said Abraham.
“I have all the motivation I need including the challenge of a young, hungry fighter in Gilberto Ramirez. I respect Ramirez and see him as one of the toughest challenges in my career, but I will not be denied a victory in my U.S. breakout fight, and believe my experience will prove too much for him. I promise to deliver a great fight for the American fans, and with another successful defense of my title I will pave the way for a great pay-per-view event and leave the fans screaming for more!”
“I am very happy to finally get my first opportunity to fight for a world title,” said Gilberto Ramirez. “I have worked very hard to get to this point and will work even harder to win the world championship on April 9. I am going up against a great champion and that is why I will prepare myself like I never have before for a fight.”
“I am happy to fight on April 9, I have a difficult opponent on that night, but the plan is to get a win and get myself closer to that world title shot that I hunger for,” said Valdez.
“This is going to be an exciting great battle,” said Gradovich. “Óscar Valdez is a very good fighter, and I look forward to getting into the ring against him on such a big card with Manny Pacquiao against Tim Bradley in the main event on April 9.”
“I’m excited and honored and feel blessed for this opportunity for myself and my team on one of boxing’s biggest stages,” said Jose Ramírez. “I will be ready for the fans worldwide, and I want to thank to my manager Rick Mirigian for getting it done.”
“I am very excited for this opportunity from Top Rank. It’s a dream come true to be able to showcase my abilities on such a main stage,” said Perez. “I promise boxing fans I will be 100% ready for the matchup with Jose. I’m ready to show the world who I am.”
“On April 9 we will be presenting three of the top fighters in the world today engaging in significant bouts. All three are of Mexican origin and represent the future of the sport of boxing.
“Jose Ramírez, a star from the Central Valley in California, will box in his first 10-round bout. He is immensely popular in the Central Valley area and is a tremendous attraction at the gate.
“Óscar Valdez, a two-time Mexican Olympian, is considered to be one of the finest fighters in the world. He is in a crossroads fight against former world champion Evgeny Gradovich, which will be a true test.
“Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez, the No. 1 super middleweight contender in the world, will fight against long-time champion Arthur Abraham. Gilberto is on a quest to become the first Mexican to win a world championship in this weight division.
“These three fights are all action, complementing the Pacquiao vs. Bradley main event which should also be a tremendous battle,” said Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank.
Abraham (44-4, 29 KOs), of Berlin, Germany, is a three-time, two-division world champion. He captured the vacant IBF middleweight world title in 2005 knocking out Kingsley Ikeke in the fifth round. He successfully defended the title 11 times during his four-year reign, which included victories over top-rated contenders Shannan Taylor, Kofi Jantuah, Edison Miranda and former world champion Raul Marquez.
Abraham vacated the title in 2009 to move up to the super middleweight division. He dethroned Robert Stieglitz in 2012 via a 12-round unanimous decision to claim the WBO super middleweight title and ending Stieglitz’s three-year reign. After losing the title in his second defense, a 2013 rematch to Stieglitz, Abraham reclaimed the title in 2014, again winning a 12-round unanimous decision over Stieglitz. Abraham has successfully defended the title five times, including a sixth-round TKO of Stieglitz last year.
Ramirez (33-0, 24 KOs), a two-fisted super middleweight wrecking machine who hails from Mazatlan, Mexico, is the top world-rated contender in the WBO and the World Boxing Association (WBA) and is world-rated No. 2 by the WBC. A sensational young contender, Ramirez, 24, has won four of his last seven bouts by knockout. 2014 featured career-best performances which included an NABF and NABO title victory over Giovanni Lorenzo via fifth-round stoppage, a WBO International title knockout victory over Junior Talipeau and a successful defense of his NABF and WBO International titles, stopping Fulgencio Zuniga in the eighth round.
Last year he successfully defended his titles via unanimous decisions over once-beaten Maxim Vlasov, division gatekeeper Derek Edwards, who boasts a KO victory over world champion Badou Jack, and once-beaten Gevorg Khatchikian, who had scored knockouts in five of his last six victories.
Valdez (19-0, 16 KOs), who represented Mexico in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, was the first Mexican fighter to qualify for two Olympic games and is considered one of the bright lights of the featherweight division and a top prospect in boxing. On the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao – Timothy Bradley welterweight world championship rematch in 2014, Valdez captured the NABF super featherweight junior title, knocking out Adrian Perez in the fourth round. Valdez successfully defended that title twice in 2014, knocking out Noel Echevarria and Alberto Gonzalez in the sixth and seventh rounds, respectively.
From Nogales, Sonora, Mexico Valdez, at age 25, Valdez returns to the ring looking to build on the sterling year he had in 2015 where he won all four of his fights — three by knockout. On April 11, he fashioned a third-round blasting of Jose Ramirez in Laredo, Texas. Valdez followed that with his live HBO debut, winning a dominant 10-round unanimous decision over one-time world title challenger Ruben Tamayo on June 27 in Carson, Calif. He ended the year with knockout victories of top-10 contender and one-time world title challenger Chris Avalos and Ernes Sanchez on September 11 and December 12, respectively. The four fighters boasted a combined record of 91-19-5. He is currently the WBO’s No. 1 world-rated featherweight contender.
Gradovich (21-1-1, 9 KOs), a native of Igrim, Russia, fights out of Oxnard, Calif., under the tutelage Robert Garcia, the Boxing Writers Association of America 2012 Trainer of the Year. Known as “El Ruso Mexicano” (The Mexican Russian) for his fan-friendly all-offensive style of fighting, Gradovich captured the IBF featherweight title when he dethroned defending champion Billy Dib in 2013 via a split decision. The exciting fight was televised by ESPN2, which garnered Gradovich legions of new fans. He successfully defended his title four times during his two-year reign, including a ninth-round stoppage of Dib in their rematch, before losing his title last May to Lee Selby via an eighth-round technical decision due to an accidental clash of heads that produced a
deep and bloody gash over Gradovich’s right eye which forced an early stoppage of the fight. The scorecards to that point were in favor of the challenger who became the new world champion. Gradovich has bounced back since that disappointing loss, winning 10-round decisions over Aldimar Santos and Jesus Galicia.
Ramírez (16-0, 12 KOs), from Avenal, Calif. is trained by Hall of Famer Freddie Roach and will prepare for this fight as a sparring partner for Pacquiao. Eight of his last 10 fights have ended with knockout victories. His social activism on behalf of the Central Valley farmers’ water rights has made him an icon in that area where he regularly sells out their largest venues as a fight card headliner. In his last fight, in December, he captured the vacant WBC Continental Americas super lightweight title, winning a unanimous decision over battle-tested Johnny Garcia. A member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic team and an 11-time National Amateur Champion, Ramírez surpassed multi-division world champions Oscar De La Hoya, Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Shane Mosley to become USA Boxing’s all-time lightweight record holder.
Perez (25-11-1, 6 KOs), from Denver, CO., is a former NABA super lightweight and WBC Continental Americas featherweight champion. He makes his 2016 debut having won five of his last six fights, including all three of his 2015 fights. Two of his 2015 victories were by knockout, including a sixth-round stoppage of former world champion DeMarcus Corley.
For fight updates go to www.toprank.com, www.hbo.com/boxing or www.mgmgrand.com on Facebook at facebook.com/trboxing, facebook.com/trboxeo or facebook.com/hboboxing, and on Twitter at twitter.com/trboxing, twitter.com/trboxeo, or twitter.com/hboboxing. Use the Hashtag #PacBradley to join the conversation on Twitter.