Julio Cesar Martinez once again looks to make his way onto a show headlined by his superstar stablemate.
The all-action flyweight titlist from Mexico City is poised to make his third title defense, which will come in a rescheduled affair versus Puerto Rico’s McWilliams Arroyo. The bout will take place Feb. 27, live on DAZN from Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, BoxingScene.com has learned.
Headlining the show, Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez will make the first defense of his unified WBC/WBA super middleweight title reign versus WBC mandatory challenger Avni Yildirim (21-2, 12KOs). Alvarez (54-1-2, 36KOs) and Martinez (17-1, 13KOs) are both guided by Eddy Reynoso.
ESPN Deportes’ Salvador ‘Chava’ Rodriguez was the first to report the placement of Martinez-Arroyo on the bill.
The bout was first planned to take place last August 15th in Tulsa, Oklahoma atop the first U.S. based card for Matchroom Boxing since the pandemic. Martinez was forced to withdraw from the show due to illness, with the matchup never revisited until the new year.
Martinez claimed the WBC flyweight belt in a 9th round knockout of Cristofer Rosales in Dec. 2019. Two defenses have followed, one each before and after the pandemic. Martinez scored a 12-round decision over Wales’ previously unbeaten challenger Jay Harris in a terrific fight last February, just prior to the start of the ongoing global health crisis.
After recovering from illness which forced him off of the aforementioned Aug. 2020 show, Martinez resurfaced last October in a ruthless pummeling of countryman Moises Calleros—a late replacement for Maximino Flores in a DAZN-streamed title fight from Martinez’ Mexico City hometown.
Efforts to get Martinez and Alvarez on the same show were made in a planned Dec. 19th title defense versus former strawweight king and current Top 10 flyweight contender Francisco ‘‘Chihuas’ Rodriguez. The show in San Antonio went on without Martinez, who once again fell prey to a non-COVID related illness as he was forced to withdraw. Alvarez went to face and beat unbeaten Callum Smith of Liverpool, England to unify two titles in the evening’s main event.
The two are once again reunited for the Feb. 27th show.
Arroyo (20-4, 15KOs) is attempting his third bid at a flyweight title. The 2008 Olympian from Fajardo, Puerto Rico suffered a highly questionable 12-round decision defeat to Thailand’s Amnan Ruenroeng in their Sept. 2014 flyweight title fight. Seven months later, Arroyo dropped a competitive but clear 12-round decision to then-unbeaten flyweight titlist and pound-for-pound entrant Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez.
Following a September 2018 loss to Kazuto Ioka—who has since added a fourth divisional title to his collection—Arroyo has since won his last three starts, all in his native Puerto Rico. The 35-year old boxer has not fought since Dec. 2019, when he forced a stoppage of Juan Gabriel Medina after five one-sided rounds in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox