Other HBO playdates: Aug. 3 (8:00 a.m.) and 5 (1:00 a.m.)
HBO2 playdates: Aug. 3 (3:30 p.m.) and 4 (11:00 p.m.)
Presented from Las Vegas, the main event of the evening marks the 2014 debut of fan-favorite Brandon Rios (31-2-1, 22 KOs) of Oxnard, Cal. The former 135-pound champ has participated in a handful of classic throwback brawls in his young career and is determined to rebound after tough losses to Mike Alvarado and Manny Pacquiao last year. His foe in the ten-round welterweight fight is Diego Chaves (23-1, 19 KOs) of Buenos Aires, making his Las Vegas debut in just his second fight outside Argentina.
The middle bout is a 12-round world title fight at 175 pounds, as Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (24-0-1, 22 KOs) defends his light heavyweight crown against Australian Blake Caparello (19-0-1, 6 KOs) in Atlantic City. Surging to the top of the 175-pound division, the undefeated slugger is making his fourth appearance on HBO in a year’s time, after delivering spectacular knockouts in his three previous bouts on the network. A hot television attraction, Kovalev, who now calls Ft. Lauderdale home, will face a formidable challenger in the undefeated Caparello.
The evening’s opening bout comes from Las Vegas, with undefeated hometown darling Jessie Vargas (24-0, 9 KOs) facing Anton Novikov (29-0, 10 KOs) of Kopeysk, Russia, in a super lightweight contest scheduled for 12 rounds. Vargas has displayed a willingness to meet any competitor, and will encounter a crafty southpaw in Novikov, his third undefeated opponent in his last four fights.
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The executive producer of HBO BOXING AFTER DARK is Rick Bernstein; producers, Dave Harmon and Jon Crystal; director, Jonathan Evans.
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