The preliminary card for the Canelo Álvarez-Caleb Plant fight unfolded in Las Vegas at a three-quarters-empty MGM Grand Garden Arena, which seats more than 17,000 people for boxing events.
Eventually, the building will fill up. Organizers said that only 300 tickets remained unsold as of Saturday afternoon, and they expected a sellout by the time the main card started.
The early undercard bouts weren’t televised or streamed online, so the few spectators in attendance were the only real-time witnesses to Rances Barthelemy’s two-round T.K.O. win over the Argentine journeyman Gustavo Vittori.
Joselito Velazquez, who trains in San Diego with Álvarez, won his super flyweight bout with Gilberto Mendoza via unanimous decision. All three judges scored it 80-72.
Jose Gomez of Huntington Park, Calif., entered his bout against Jose Meza as a heavy favorite among bettors, as well as among spectators, a few dozen of whom sported T-shirts emblazoned with Gomez’s nickname, El Gallo. But Meza, who is from Durango, Mexico, rebounded from a first-round knockdown to win a close unanimous decision.
In the final preliminary fight, super flyweights Fernando Diaz of Riverside, Calif., and Jan Salvatierra of Los Cabos, Mexico, competed evenly for four rounds. In the fifth, during a furious exchange, both fighters threw left hooks. Salvatierra’s missed, and Diaz’s landed. Salvatierra hit the canvas, stood, and then fell again. Fight over. Diaz wins. He is now 10-1-1 with three knockouts.
The main card was scheduled to start at 9 p.m. Eastern.