Featherweight titlist Vasyl Lomachenko's expected defense against Gamalier Rodriguez has been officially added to the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao pay-per-view undercard on May 2 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
The fight has been slated to be on the card and both fighters have been training, but it did not become official until Top Rank and Lomachenko worked out the terms of an extension to his promotional contract, which is now done, Top Rank chairman Bob Arum told ESPN.com.
Lomachenko, 27, was a two-time Olympic gold medalist (2008 and 2012) for Ukraine and considered by many to be the finest amateur boxer in history.
"I'm his biggest fan and I was from the beginning," Arum said of Lomachenko. "I thought this guy was amazing and it's an honor to promote him. I want the fans on May 2 to see a typical Lomachenko display of all of his talents, his smarts, his body punching. He's an extraordinary talent and this is a good platform to exhibit that talent before the biggest possible audience."
He turned pro in October 2013 and fought for a featherweight world title in his second professional fight, but lost a split decision to former titlist Orlando Salido, who did not make weight and was stripped of the belt the day before their bout.
In his third pro fight, Lomachenko schooled 2008 U.S. Olympian Gary Russell Jr. to win the vacant belt. Lomachenko (3-1, 1 KO) made his first defense on Nov. 23 in Macau, China, on the Pacquiao-Chris Algieri undercard, dropping Thailand's Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo and cruising to a shutout decision despite injuring his hand early in the fight.
Lomachenko's second defense will come against the 28-year-old Rodriguez (25-2-3, 17 KOs), who has won 17 fights in a row since a first-round technical draw caused by an accidental head-butt in 2010.
Giving Lomachenko a coveted spot on the biggest boxing card in many years reminded Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti of how a future star -- Pacquiao -- was positioned on the undercard of the Lennox Lewis-Mike Tyson pay-per-view card in 2002. Lewis-Tyson was a hugely anticipated heavyweight championship fight and became the highest grossing fight in history at the time.
"I remember when we did Lewis-Tyson and an ultra-talented lighter weight southpaw was featured on that mega card. It was Manny," said Moretti, who at the time worked for Main Events, Lewis' promoter. "This has the same type of feeling and we believe it will launch Lomachenko's status, both in and out of the ring.
"Gammy is a very talented, hardworking boxer-puncher, who accepted this challenge without any hesitation. Puerto Rico will be fully behind him in this fight."