If Juan Manuel Marquez, shown training in Mexico City, can get past Ukrainian… (Mario Guzman / European…)
If all goes as planned Saturday night, Juan Manuel Marquez, the veteran technician, and Brandon Rios, the young aggressor, will clear their final hurdles to a July 14 junior-welterweight showdown at Cowboys Stadium outside Dallas.
"That's what I'd like to do," fight promoter Bob Arum said Friday. "We have to discuss terms with both, they both have to win, nothing is finalized, but it'd be a great fight.
"Brandon Rios is a tremendous warrior. Marquez is a masterful boxer."
Saturday night at 6 p.m. on pay-per-view television, Rios (29-0-1, 22 knockouts) will fight Richard Abril (17-2-1, 8 KOs) at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas while Marquez (53-6-1, 39 KOs) will fight Ukrainian Sergey Fedchenko (30-1, 13 KOs) in Mexico City.
Oxnard's Rios, who lost his lightweight world title when he couldn't make weight at Madison Square Garden before a December victory, is seeking the vacant World Boxing Assn. lightweight belt against Abril.
One of Abril's losses is to Breidis Prescott, who once knocked out Amir Khan.
Arum's company, Top Rank, has announced it will give a $50,000 bonus to the winner.
Abril is a replacement opponent for unbeaten Cuban world featherweight champion Yuriorkis Gamboa, who had agreed to fight Rios for a purse in excess of $1 million, but then backed out before a publicity tour in Miami and Los Angeles.
A Gamboa representative told The Times this week in Las Vegas that Gamboa expects to fight again soon despite being slapped with a breach-of-contract lawsuit by Top Rank.
In Mexico City, a large crowd is expected for Marquez, who last fought and lost a close decision to Manny Pacquiao in November in a bout some believed he won.
Marquez still wants a fourth date with Pacquiao, but he could claim the junior-welterweight crown Saturday, then meet Rios in what would likely be a qualifier to a late-fall date against Pacquiao.
Angels blow six-run lead in loss to Twins
Next stop for Jerome Williams: Yankee Stadium
Angels' Mark Trumbo is trying to prove doubters wrong — again
Brandon Rios, Juan Manuel Marquez on collision course