Mike Jones Slated for Manny Pacquiao-Antonio Margarito Card
Rising Philadelphia welterweight (147 pounds) Mike Jones is a strong consideration for an undercard bout on Nov. 13 at Cowboys Stadium featuring a main event between Manny Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito, Jones' promoter and manager both confirmed to FanHouse on Thursday.
A 27-year-old who stands nearly 6-foot-1, Jones (22-0, 18 knockouts) is coming off of July's Showtime-televised, fifth-round knockout of 31-year-old Irving Garcia as the main event at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.
A number of opponents are being discussed for Jones, with the leading candidate being Mexican-born Jesus Soto Karass (24-4-3, 16 KOs) of Los Angeles, said Jones' promoter, Russell Peltz.
"This will mean a lot for Mike's career. Mike will get a chance to showcase his talents to the whole world. I mean, this is on HBO pay per view, and Mike has never been on pay per view. This is the right stage for him. This is perfect. This is just right. I'm happy about the whole situation and the moves that Russel Peltz is making and how he is handling Mike's career," said Jones' trainer, Vaughan Jackson.
"It's really big for Mike, because a lot of people don't know Mike, aren't aware of Mike, and haven't seen Mike," said Jackson. "And if they have heard about him, they've only just heard about him and not seen him. They haven't gotten a chance to see him in action. Now, Mike has got a chance to show to any doubters that may be out there that he belongs up there with the big guys."
Before facing Garcia, Jones had scored April's fifth-round knockout of 31-year-old Hector Munoz (18-3-1, 11 KOs), which was also fought at Boardwalk Hall on the undercard of an HBO-televised main event that featured Sergio Martinez dethroning WBC and WBO middleweight (160 pounds) champion Kelly Pavlik.
Pacquiao-Margarito could also feature the 28-year-old Pavlik (36-2, 32 KOs) returning against an opponent to be determined, according to Top Rank Promotions CEO Bob Arum. Pavik, of Youngstown, Ohio, would compete at a maximum weight of 164 pounds against a quality opponent.
"Jones is being considered for the card," said Peltz. "It's a big showcase event. I'm sure that every fighter in the country would like to be on this show. I'd say that it's 50-50 that he will be fighting Soto Karass."
Other possibilities are 25-year-old Ed Paredes (25-3-1, 16 KOs) of Hollywood, Calif., 31-year-old David Estrada (24-6, 15 KOs) of Miami, and 35-year-old Lanardo Tyner (24-3, 15 KOs) of Houston, said Peltz.
Considered to be among the next generation of young welterweights stars, Jones had been discussed as a potential opponent for 26-year-old WBC king Andre Berto (26-0, 20 KOs), among others, said Peltz.
"I asked Mike if he would rather Berto for the title or Soto Karass in Dallas, and he said that he would rather fight Berto," said Peltz. "HBO, I'm told, actually agreed to the fight, but I understood that Berto's people turned it down."
Berto has been ordered by the WBC to defend his title against Hamburg's Selcuk Aydin (20-0, 15 KOs), or potentially be stripped of his crown.
"We can't wait around for Berto. If I knew that it were written in stone that we could fight Berto in June, then I might take a different course," said Peltz. "But that's not written in stone. Nothing in boxing is written in stone."
Jones' manager, Doc Nowicki, called it "huge" that Jones could be a part of a card on which the 31-year-old Pacquiao (51-3-2, 38 KOs), the present WBO welterweight titlist, would be pursuing his eighth crown in as many different weight classes in facing the 32-year-old Margarito (38-6, 27 KOs) for the vacant WBC junior middleweight (154 pounds) belt.
"The biggest thing is that people all over the world will see Mike now. They will know who Mike Jones is. I think that it will be a terrific help for his exposure because Mike's mostly fought on the East Coast. Most people will be tuning in to see Manny Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito, which is going to be a terrific fight," said Nowicki.
"Top Rank is very hot on Mike Jones, and they also promote Karass. I think that they want Karass to fight Mike Jones. They don't have Mike Jones under (promotional contract) yet, but there's a good possibility that we might get tied in with Top Rank," said Nowicki. "I think that's why they had us on the Sergio Martinez-Kelly Pavlik card and made Mike the main event in Atlantic City after that. They've really been nice about putting us on these cards with a hand shake."
Peltz said that a fighter such as Karass represents the right progression for Jones.
"I think Karass would be the next step up for Mike. Karass is ranked in the top 15, he's fought a lot of tough guys," said Peltz. "Mike still needs seasoning, so Karass is the perfect fight. If Mike can't beat Karass, then he's not the fighter that we think that he is."