Several trends appear to be colliding this coming April 1st in Wisconsin. The rise of celebrity boxing, the increasingly regular migration of former UFC & MMA talents into the ring, and the increased market to see yesteryear’s stars take carnival-styled sideshow bouts.
In a recent appearance on the MMA Hour, Jorge Masvidal announced the continuation of his ventures as a fight promoter, with ‘Gamebred Boxing’ 4. The card—taking place on April 1st, at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, WI—is set to be headlined by a pro boxing match between former UFC champion Anthony Pettis and former undisputed light heavyweight boxing champion Roy Jones Jr.
Set for 8 rounds, the bout would mark the first pro contest for RJJ since announcing his retirement in 5 years ago in 2018. The 54-year-old ended his career on four straight victories, although he hadn’t faced world class competition since a loss to Denis Lebedev in 2011. ‘Superman’ briefly returned from retirement in 2020 for an exhibition bout against former heavyweight champion ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson, with that fight ending in a split draw.
Assuming this isn’t all some elaborate April Fools prank, the card will mark the boxing debut of Anthony Pettis, be it as a professional, amateur, or even exhibition pugilist. A former lightweight champion, Pettis ended his 11-year run with the UFC/WEC back in 2020—following welterweight wins over Donald Cerrone and Alex Morono. ‘Showtime’ announced his signing with the PFL shortly afterward, compiling a record of just 1-4 in two seasons with the tournament-based promotion.
February 6, 2023
Alongside Jones vs. Pettis, Gamebred Boxing 4 is expected to feature a rematch from a 2018 UFC featherweight bout between former champion Jose Aldo and Jeremy Stephens. Aldo exited the UFC in 2022, after announcing his retirement from MMA competition. News of a planned migration over to boxing followed shortly afterward. Stephens ended his long career in the Octagon on the back of a six-fight winless streak in 2021. He competed three times for the PFL in 2022, going 1-2 in his new promotional home. This bout will mark the ring debut of ‘Lil’ Heathen’. Aldo is expected to make his pro-boxing debut on February 10th against professional opponent Emmanuel Zambrano in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Other announced bouts for the card include former Strikeforce champion and world class BJJ grappler Jacare Souza taking on former UFC champion Vitor Belfort, former UFC fighters Pearl Gonzalez vs. Gina Mazany, as well as Paul Daley taking on former Bellator talent Anthony Taylor. Outside the 8-round main event all bouts are set for 6 rounds of professional boxing.
For fans worried about the potential weight discrepancy between the two men. Pettis clocks in just one inch shorter than Jones, and it looks like he’s already adjusting to fighting up a couple weight classes.
Former LW champ Anthony Pettis. pic.twitter.com/Z8TbOOlbjC— Zane Simon (@TheZaneSimon) February 6, 2023