Lightweight Jamie Kavanagh (10-0-1, 5 KOs) will fight Paul Velarde (3-1-3) in a contest scheduled for eight rounds on the undercard of the Amir Khan/Danny Garcia fight at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas this Saturday night.
Kavanagh and his team had been training hard for another opponent who fell through at the last minute, and Velarde was drafted in as a late replacement.
"It's very frustrating you know, but I just have to keep going and keep focused," Kavanagh told The Boxing Fix podcast on Sunday night.
"I don't know if the guy is going to come forward or move or box or what. I just have to be ready for whatever turns up. We were looking for an undefeated guy from Philadelphia, a Puerto Rican kid, but we were waiting and waiting and I didn't know and I was training for him, and then they said no he wasn't going to take the fight. We moved onto this guy; he was like a back up," added the 22-year-old.
Velarde is a California native who has won three and drawn three of his last six fights. The caliber of opposition he has faced bears no real comparison to what awaits him this weekend, and he will go into the fight a huge underdog.
Kavanagh, known as “The Nuisance,” wrapped up contact work on Monday and tweeted this update on Monday night.
“Last sparring day is done. Now fine tuning & bringing the weight down 5 days till #FightNight #KhanGarcia. Ready for action!!!!!!!!!,” he tweeted.
Kavanagh will head into the fight looking to build on a strong performance in his last assignment against Jorge Ibarra on May 26 in Cancun, when he won by second round TKO. This weekend’s fight will be the Irishman’s first eight rounder, and he will use it to continue his education with trainer Freddie Roach.
“He (Kavanagh) still has a lot of amateur in him but we are slowly making those changes," said Roach in a recent interview with the Irish Voice.
The Dubliner and his team head to Las Vegas on Wednesday, July 11 to finish off preparations during fight week.
In other news, light middleweight Henry Coyle (17-2, 12 KOs) held a press conference at McHale Park in Castlebar, Co. Mayo, on Monday to announce that he would be fighting at the Royal Theatre in the town on August 17.
The Chicago-based fighter won the WBF light middleweight title last August when he defeated Elio Cotena at the same venue, and he will make his first defense of that belt against 34-year-old Marcelo Alejandro Rodriguez (60-19, 43 KOs) from Argentina.
"He's a big puncher and very experienced. He has been in there with some of the best in the world and he's had over twice as many knockouts as I've had fights, so I have to respect that,” said Coyle, 31, at the press conference.
“My dad and my trainer Sam Colonna will watch some of his past fights and come up with the game plan, and then it will be my job to implement it on the night."
Coyle was last in action on June 21 when he won a unanimous decision over journeyman Damon Antoine (9-38-2) at the Belvedere in Elk Grove, Illinois.
Coyle’s father, Gerry, is optimistic that the workout will be of huge benefit to him come fight night.
“Henry will have his hands full with Rodriguez because he's vastly experienced and has traveled the world to fight some of the very best around, but Henry got a good eight rounds under his belt in his last fight in Chicago last month and that will all stand to him as part of the preparations for next month,” Gerry said.
Finally, middleweight Matthew Macklin (28-4, 19 KOs) is training hard in Marbella, Spain, for his next assignment. The 30-year-old is likely to be back in action on September 15 on the undercard of the Sergio Martinez/ Julio Chavez Jr. fight in Las Vegas.
Macklin is in the process of opening a gym in Marbella, and he will do the majority of his training for this fight there. Trainer Buddy McGirt will head over to Spain shortly to work with his charge. No opponent has been confirmed, but one name being mentioned as a possible opponent is Canadian veteran Joachim Alcine. More from the Macklin camp in the coming weeks.