The lengthy wait endured by Alberto Puello and Rances Barthelemy has been awarded with a considerable upgrade.
The pair of junior welterweights will collide July 24 on the undercard of the third fight between lineal/WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury (30-0-1, 21KOs) and former titlist Deontay Wilder (42-1-1, 41KOs) at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The bout was confirmed by PBC representatives after appearing on the Nevada State Athletic Commission monthly agenda hearing, with the referee and judges to be selected during the session this Wednesday.
The bout takes place nearly 11 months after its previously scheduled date last September 6, to have appeared on a PBC on Fox telecast from a crowdless Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Those plans were scrapped after Puello was unable to secure a travel visa in time to make the trip from his native Dominican Republic. The September 6 PBC on Fox show moved forward, with Yordenis Ugas outpointing Abel Ramos to win a version of the WBA welterweight title.
Puello (18-0, 10KOs) was supposed to make the first defense of his WBA interim junior welterweight title on the card. That moment instead came in a sixth-round knockout of Argentina’s Cristian Rafael Coria last December 17 in Santo Domingo. The 26-year-old southpaw is now based out of Las Vegas and set to make his U.S. debut.
Barthelemy (28-1-1, 14KOs) was hoping for the fight with Puello to proceed as planned last September, as part of his penance for the awful taste left behind from his previous contest.
The former two-division titlist from Cuba—now also based out of Vegas—served as one half of an unwatchable 12-round draw with Robert Easter in their April 2019 lightweight battle. The vacant title fight was considered by the majority of observers to be one of the worst televised bouts in recent boxing history, with such criticism accepted by Barthelemy and Easter who both publicly vowed to do much better in their next respective fights.
“In debt with the public, I know,” Barthelemy claimed at the time. “September 6, I’m paying dues.”
That date came and went without such an opportunity. His stay-busy fight in place of a straightaway shot at Puello didn’t help matters any, as he outboxed Philippines’ All Rivera over ten rounds in a largely forgettable fight this past January on Fox from Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall in Los Angeles.
Televised coverage for Puello-Barthelemy has yet to be finalized as this goes to publish. The evening’s main event between Fury and Wilder tops an all-heavyweight four-fight Pay-Per-View telecast jointly presented by ESPN+ and Fox Sports. The two entities also joined forces for Fury-Wilder II last February, with select undercard bouts offered simultaneously on ESPN2 and FS1.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox