“VICIOUS” Victor Ortiz and Devon Alexander “The Great” headline a show topped by two USA vs. Mexico battles as the former welterweight champions meet in the 12-round main event of Premier Boxing Champions on FOX and FOX Deportes Saturday, Feb. 17 from Don Haskins Center on the UTEP campus in El Paso, Texas with televised coverage starting at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
In the co-main event unbeaten contender Caleb “Sweethands” Plant will battle Rogelio “Porky” Medina in a 12-round 168-pound world title eliminator.
Also on the card, Tony Harrison (25-2, 20 KOs) takes on Jorge Cota (27-2, 24 KOs) in a super welterweight showdown and Karlos Balderas, a 2016 U.S. Olympian, will appear in a lightweight special attraction.
“This is a classic crossroads match in the truest sense. Both Devon Alexander and Victor Ortiz are battle-tested in one of the toughest, deepest divisions in boxing,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “Alexander has overcome some serious health issues and is looking to regain the welterweight championship. Ortiz, also a former champion, has always come to fight and doesn’t back down from anyone. It promises to be an entertaining match for the fans in attendance at Don Haskins Center and those who tune in on FOX and FOX Deportes.”
Ortiz (32-6-2, 25 KOs), a former 147-pound champion, has split time between boxing and acting throughout his recent career and brings a certain flare every time he steps into the ring. The 30-year-old native of Garden City, Kansas who now lives in Ventura, California, has faced some of the top names in the 147-pound division during his career. Ortiz won the welterweight title with unanimous decision victory over Andre Berto on April 16, 2011. Five months later he lost the title to Floyd Mayweather, Jr. by knockout. Ortiz, 30, suffered a knockout loss to Andre Berto in 2016 on FOX and bounced back with a knockout victory over Saul Corral in his last fight on July 30 on FS1.
“I’m ready to give all I have to defeat Devon Alexander and get my crown back,” said Ortiz. “My priority is to make a strong comeback and putting myself in a position to have my straps once again. I demonstrated what I was made of and did what I said I was going to do in my last fight. I’m facing a great fighter in Devon Alexander and someone I’ve known since we were kids. I don’t hate him, but I will not be his friend on fight night and he won’t be mine. I’m ready to prove everyone wrong starting on Feb. 17.”
Alexander (27-4, 14 KOs) emerged on the scene with a unanimous decision victory over Randall Bailey for the welterweight title in 2012. He defended the title once before losing it to Shawn Porter in 2013. Since then, the 30-year-old Alexander of St. Louis, Missouri has been on a mission to regain the title. After losing to Amir Khan and Aaron Martinez, Alexander suffered another setback when he sought treatment for an addiction to painkillers. Fully healthy for the first time in three years, Alexander returned to the ring with a unanimous decision victory over Walter Castillo on FS1 on Nov. 21.
“I’m excited to get back in there against a fighter like Victor Ortiz,” said Alexander. “We’ve known each other a long time but never fought in the amateurs, so this should be interesting. My speed, quickness and smarts will win me this fight. Victor checks out sometimes when he can’t hit you, so my skills will be the difference. I’m ready for any challenge that’s brought my way. When I’m 100 percent, nobody can beat me.”
Plant (16-0, 10 KOs) won eight of his first nine fights by knockout, demonstrating power in both hands to go along with his boxing abilities. The 25-year-old climbed into the top ten of the 168-pound rankings with his last victory – a unanimous decision over Andrew Hernandez in Las Vegas on Sept. 8. Medina represents a major step up for Plant and will give him an indication of just where the Ashland, Tennessee native stands in the division as he looks to become a mandatory challenger for the IBF title.
The 29-year-old Medina (38-8, 32 KOs) has squared off against some of the toughest boxers in the division, including current champion David Benavidez and former champions James DeGale and Badou Jack. Fighting out of Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico lost by knockout to Benavidez on May 20, and bounced back with a knockout victory over Daniel Eduardo Yocupicio on Sept. 1.