Answer: They are two quality prospects well-worthy of this opportunity.
Jayson Velez (19-0, 14 KO) is a 24-year-old Puerto Rican featherweight who was initially slated to fight IBF featherweight champion Billy Dib (35-1, 21 KO), formerly managed by Floyd Mayweather and currently managed by 50 Cent. However, perhaps as a result of the Mayweather vs Fiddy drama, Showtime rejected Velez vs Dib. Showtime, however, insisted they turned down Dib vs Velez due to the champion's history of unaesthetically-pleasing bouts.
So tonight, Velez will face Mexico's Salvador Sanchez II instead in a scheduled 10-rounder.
Is Sanchez's name familiar? It should be.
Salvador Sanchez II (30-4-3, 18 KOs) is the nephew of the great Salvador Sanchez, a Hall of Famer and former featherweight champion who fought from 1975-82. Many regard him as the greatest Mexican fighter ever and many of his contemporaries as well as boxing writers believe that, had it not been for his premature death, Sanchez could have gone on to become the greatest Featherweight boxer of all time.
The 27 year old nephew of the legend has won 11 in a row and will honor to his uncle by wearing the trunks, shoes and robe from his final fight in July 1982 against fellow Hall of Famer Azumah Nelson at Madison Square Garden.
Skill-wise, it's fair to say Julio Cesar Chavez Jr is a lot closer to his legendary father than Salvador Sanchez II is to his iconic uncle thus far. However, Sanchez has a crowd-pleasing style and knows a win over Velez would place him in the top 10 in the featherweight division. Moreover, Sanchez II is fighting for his uncle tonight... Expect him to leave everything in the ring.
Sanchez may be the B-Side fighter tonight but he's on a long winning streak, has nearly twice as many pro bouts as Velez and is fighting for more than just a "W." Don't be surprised if Velez vs Sanchez II is the 'fight of the night.'
Also on the Cotto vs Trout undercard will be the 2009 ESPN.com Prospect of the Year, Danny Jacobs (23-1, 20 KOs). He will face Chris Fitzpatrick in a scheduled 10-rounder that will launch tonight's triple header. The bout will be contested between 160 and 168 lbs.
Jacobs recorded 137 wins and 7 losses as an amateur and made his professional boxing debut on the undercard of Floyd Mayweather vs. Ricky Hatton, which took place on December 8, 2007.
Does Jacobs' name sound familiar? If so, you may have heard his story.
Danny Jacobs, left, battles Michael Walker in May 2009; Jacons will be showcased in the first of two aired fights on the Cotto vs Trout undercard
In May of 2011, he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma; a life threatening form of bone cancer. After having to fight for his life (literally) and being told his career was over, the determined and courageous Jacobs made a successful return to professional boxing with a first round knockout victory over Josh Luteran on October 20th on the Danny Garcia-Erik Morales II undercard.
Tonight's bout will be the 25 year old Jabobs' second in 19 months.
Chris Fitzpatrick (15-2, 6 KOs), also 25, has faced very limited, or at least unheralded, opposition and has come up short in 2 of his last 3 bouts.
Is arguable whether Fitzpatrick deserves the opportunity to fight on the Cotto vs Trout undercard but perhaps he'll prove some of us wrong.
This bout appears to be a bit of a mis-match as Jacobs should be able to win easily. Skills-wise, these fighters aren't on the same level. However, its not yet known where Jacobs stands at the moment. He's been relatively inactive due to his life-threatening illness and may or may not be as good as his 23-2, 20 KOs record.
Can Fitzpatrick, a club fighter, seize this precious opportunity and propel himself into boxing prominence?
The Cotto vs Trout undercard will start at 9pm EST (2 AM London).
Cotto vs Trout Undercard Results:
JACOBS TKO 6 FITZPATRICK
Middleweight Danny Jacobs (24-1, 21 KOs) pummelled Chris Fitzpatrick (15-3, 6 KOs) in Round 5, forcing the latter to not come out for round six. However, Fitizpatrick made a good account of himself, winning 2 of the first 4 rounds (at least on our card)
Round 1: Jacobs 10-9
Round 2: Even
Round 3: Jacobs 10-9
Round 4: Fitzpatrick 10-9
Round 5: Jacobs pummels Fitzpatrick; The latter makes it out of the round but quits on his stool
VELEZ TKO 3 SANCHEZ II
Jayson Velez (20-0, 15 KOs) destroyed Salvador Sanchez II (30-5-3, 18 KOs) tonight, landing at-will. Velez floored Sanchez II once in round 2 and again in round 3. The bout was stopped referee Harvey Dock moments at :38 of round three. Next up for Velez is a clash with WBC champion Daniel Ponce de Leon.
Round 1: Velez 10-9
Round 2: Velez dominates; 10-8
Round 3: Fight over