Former welterweight world titleholders Devon Alexander and Victor Ortiz, both looking to keep their careers afloat after some tough times, will have to go through each other to do it.
Alexander and Ortiz, both southpaws, will square off in the main event of a Premier Boxing Champions card on Feb. 17 (Fox) at the Don Haskins Center in El Paso, Texas, a source involved with the event told ESPN on Sunday.
The card is expected to be formally announced on Tuesday, though Alexander confirmed the fight on his social media account later Sunday. “It’s on!!,” he wrote, adding a photo of a poster for the event.
Alexander (27-4, 14 KOs), 30, of St. Louis, also a former junior welterweight world titleholder, was once among boxing’s best fighters but he lost three of four fights between 2013 and 2015 and then did not fight at all during 2016 or most of 2017 while battling an addiction to painkillers.
Alexander returned for his first fight in 25 months on Nov. 21 and looked sharp against Walter Castillo, knocking him down, easily outboxing him and winning a clear 10-round unanimous decision.
Ortiz (32-6-2, 25 KOs), 30, of Ventura, California, who lost his welterweight title by memorable fourth-round knockout to Floyd Mayweather in 2011, has fought sporadically since. He has also dealt with injuries and pursued other interests, such as an acting career that has seen him land roles in various Hollywood films.
The loss to Mayweather was the first of three defeats in a row. Then Ortiz won two low-level fights before he got knocked out in the fourth round by Andre Berto in an April 2016 rematch; Ortiz had taken a world title from Berto in a 2011 fight of the year contender.
Since the rematch loss to Berto, Ortiz has fought just once in 15 months, knocking out journeyman Saul Corral in the fourth round on July 30.
The co-feature will pit super middleweight prospect Caleb Plant (16-0, 10 KOs), 25, an Ashland, Tennessee, native who recently relocated to live and train in Las Vegas, against former world title challenger Rogelio “Porky” Medina (38-8, 32 KOs), 29, of Mexico, in a world title eliminator for the No. 2 position in the rankings of one of the sanctioning bodies.
The Alexander-Ortiz card will take place in the early evening on Feb. 17 so that it will not conflict with Showtime’s PBC card beginning at 9 p.m. ET that day at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. That card is headlined by a welterweight fight between former welterweight world titlist Danny Garcia (33-1, 19 KOs) and former lightweight titleholder Brandon Rios (34-3-1, 25 KOs) and will also include a rematch between super middleweight world titleholder David Benavidez (19-0, 17 KOs) and Ronald Gavril (18-2, 14 KOs) in the co-feature.