The Miguel Cotto-Canelo Alvarez card lost one pound-for-pound fighter but gained another as a replacement.
Guillermo Rigondeaux, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, was added to the highly anticipated pay-per-view card that will be headlined by Cotto and Alvarez for the WBC middleweight title on Nov. 21 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.
Rigondeaux (15-0, 10 KOs) will meet fringe contender Drian Francisco (28-3-1, 22 KOs) in a bout added to the card after former super middleweight champion Andre Ward pulled out because of a knee injury.
Rigondeaux, 35, a former WBA-WBO super bantamweight champion, hasn’t fought since stopping Hisashi Amagasi on New Year’s Eve in Japan.
There is finally light at the end of the tunnel for the slick Cuban after a tumultuous month that saw him stripped of his titles due to inactivity.
“This is a great platform to take my career to the next level, and to showcase my talents on the big stage,” Rigondeaux said. “While I've been sidelined for the past year, I am grateful for the opportunity to deliver a show to all the boxing fans that have supported me throughout this journey, and I look forward to delivering my best come fight night.”
Francisco was pulled from a fight that had been scheduled for Friday in the Philippines when the offer came through to face Rigondeaux. In his last fight, Francisco scored a first-round knockout over Jilo Merlin, but is taking a huge step up in competition.
“I’m elated to be able to fight in Las Vegas once more and against a great champion like Rigo,” Francisco said. “I want to make a statement and steal the show. I was prepared to fight this month and when the call came, I didn’t think twice about it."