Author Archives: Staff

DAZN Ushering in a New Era with Joshua vs. Povektin


By: Oliver McManus

A landmark moment for the broadcasting of boxing – if you believe the press releases, that is – Anthony Joshua vs Alexander Povetkin will be broadcast over in the States on the DAZN platform ahead of their extended, $1billion commitment (over eight years) to the airing of Matchroom USA shows.

In many ways the nature in which we consume our content is ever evolving so let’s talk about that quickly before we move onto the big heavyweight contest taking place at the weekend –


Photo Credit: DAZN Twitter Account

With boxing becoming increasingly popular both sides of the Atlantic, broadcasters are all looking to cash in on the action whilst the boom is still hot – as of late we’ve seen MTK Global sign a 12 date deal with BoxNation in the UK, Frank Warren has transitioned over to BT Sport and, in America, there have been renewed deals for PBC and Top Rank on ESPN as well as the new boys in DAZN.

All of this means that the shows we are getting tend, and I say tend because they’re not always, to be better than the quality of card we would have seen, say, five years ago with everyone involved acutely aware that, hey, if they’re product isn’t good enough then there are viable alternatives.

But it’s not just your traditional TV stations that are starting to emerge as big players in the world of boxing broadcasting – we already know about DAZN and their huge plans in America but look at ESPN+ which costs $4.99 a month, airs exclusive undercard coverage and, indeed, full fight nights from Top Rank.

It’s clear then that there is a desire to move away from the traditional and start capturing new audiences, a younger audience that, yes, consumes content on the go and doesn’t always want to sit in front of a television set, they want to watch it when they’re on a train, at a café, all sorts of things and we are seeing companies adapt to the habits of modern society.

Streaming is fast becoming an increasingly popular way of accessing live boxing and I’m not just talking about when you don’t fancy £19.95 for a pay per view; IFL TV and Boxing Social are the leaders of this particular game in Great Britian with the two platform, both on YouTube, having started off with a devotion to interview but quickly finding their feet by showing some of the best shows around the country from the likes of MTK and Carl Greaves.

And platforms like this are providing opportunity for the fighters, not just fans, to get added exposure and, potentially, extra ticket sales because gone are the days where the likes of Sam “Bullet” Bowen’s British title fight against Maxi Hughes would go unwitnessed except for those on the night – it allows larger numbers to view the sport for the first time, for free, it even helps if you’re the opponent because now you can get your hand on the footage.

DAZN promises to be an, almost, wraparound service with full fight week coverage because there can be no scheduling clashes – this is a platform where you can choose which stream – and we’ve seen Matchroom already make strides in this area with three new shows, STREAMED, in the run-up to a fight (hosted by Chris Lloyd and Darren Barker).

You’ll notice how often I’ve said the word stream because I cannot emphasise enough how key this market is to the future of boxing.

Ultimately we can take two things for the way boxing is going – a) more, better content and b) lighter wallets. But, hey, it’s a price to pay!

Let’s talk the big fight then – Anthony Joshua vs Alexander Povetkin – in a bout for the unified WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO Heavyweight Championship of the World that sees AJ looking to go 22 unbeaten.

Povetkin was showcased to the British fans, on the undercard of Joshua’s victory over Joseph Parker, when he beat and bloodied David Price over five rounds and that performance showed us that, whilst Povetkin is still crisp and powerful with his punch, he is there for the taking.

Price rocked Povetkin, sending him collapsing into the ropes, and there can be no doubt that Joshua is of a far superior technical quality to Price – Anthony’s shot selection, timing, footwork, hand placement, it’s all in a league above – so there should be no valid reason why Joshua can’t go through the gears and stop the Russian.

Of course if he attempts to get embroiled in a real fire fight then that’s where we could see some issues because nothing makes Povetkin perform like pressure, like feeling on the cusp of defeat, he’ll just come back and punch you even harder.

And when you get punched by Povetkin, you know you’ve just been hit with something real.

Having said that you would still back the heavyweight kingpin to be able to withstand the best that his challenger has to offer ahead of a, hopefully, super fight in April next year.

A new era begins with DAZN but, if you ask me, that heavyweight crown will still be on the shoulders of Anthony Joshua come Sunday morning.

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Mayweather Looks to Fight In Tokyo Before Pacquiao Rematch


by: Sean Crose

One of the great problems about writing about the sport of boxing is that it’s hard to discern truth from rumor much of the time. This is particularly true when it comes to popular fighters – and there is no better known fighter than Floyd Mayweather. Make no mistake about it, Mayweather can make headlines better than anyone else. He can also lead fans and journalists alike to scratch their heads as fast as a new news cycle changes. For instance, is he really planning on fighting Manny Pacquiao, as he claimed last weekend? Is he even to be considered an active fighter at this point, or one coming out of retirement yet again? Perhaps the term semi-retired will suffice. No matter. The truth is that Mayweather makes news, and – like it or not – when news about the best paid athlete in world arises, reporters have to write about it.

That’s why it’s up to the reader to decide whether or not TMZs recent report – that Mayweather will be engaging in a fight later this year in Japan sans Pacquiao – is true. “It looks like Floyd is adjusting course a bit ,” TMZ claims, “’cause sources close to TBE tell us he’s actually eyeing 2 comeback fights … starting with a massive boxing event in Tokyo.” TMZ then goes on to claim that they’re “told Floyd hasn’t yet picked an opponent — and he ain’t just lookin’ at boxers — he’s also checking out kickboxers and MMA fighters.” Mayweather sweepstakes indeed. Apparently Conor McGregor, Floyd’s most notorious (pardon the pun) opponent this side of Pacquiao, hasn’t been mentioned as a possible foil this time around. Mayweather might be an enigmatic figure, but it’s clear the man loves two things – being in the spotlight and making money. A splashy bout with a name, though likely unthreatening opponent, followed by a Pacquiao rematch would certainly give the man much of what he loves.

According to TMZ, Mayweather hasn’t chosen a date for this latest reported endeavor, but New Years Eve – a huge boxing day in Japan – is likely. One could easily see the time being scheduled so that the fight would occur the evening before New Years Eve, American time. Floyd knows how to maximize earning potential, after all. Boxing Insider will keep readers abreast of any developments concerning this story.

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So You Won’t Watch Mayweather vs. Pacquiao Again? You Should


By: William Holmes

The reports are becoming clearer and clearer, the rematch between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. looks like it’s going to happen.

As to when that fight is going to happen we aren’t sure. TMZ recently reported that Mayweather is planning on a tune up fight in Tokyo before coming back to fight Pacquiao again. Mayweather also posted a video where he indicated that before he fights Pacquiao he will be back in Tokyo for a huge boxing event.

Regardless, the response on social media to this possible rematch, even from many boxing pundits and reporters, was almost immediately negative. Dan Rafael wrote a column on this rematch entitled “The Fight Nobody Asked For.” Kevin Iole seems equally pessimistic, when he wrote the following in his column about the proposed fight , “The hype will be incredible if it happens again, though the action certainly doesn’t figure to be anything close.”

The belief that the fight will be a dud has already spread to boxing fans on social media, with some fans indicating they’ll watch them fight again, but many promising to not waste another dollar on it.

But many who now claim they won’t watch the rematch aren’t telling the truth.

The buzz behind a possible rematch began to hit social media the day before the Golovkin and Canelo rematch; when Mayweather and Pacquiao “ran” into each other in Japan and verbally agreed to fight each other in December. The talks of the rematch trended on social media and news outlets around the world began to pick it up and report on it.

Will the rematch be as boring as their first fight? There are reasons to believe it won’t be.

One of the biggest stories to come out of their first fight was Manny Pacquiao undergoing arthroscopic surgery to repair his injured right shoulder immediately after his loss. Pacquiao’s seemingly reluctance to throw right hooks and jab was evident from the third round on. Some believe Pacquiao’s shoulder wasn’t really injured, but his surgeon seemed pretty convincing when talking about the surgery that it was a legitimate injury. Pacquiao had asked for an anti-inflammatory shot on his shoulder on the night of the fight, but the Nevada athletic commission denied it.

Pacquaio has also has had his fair share of rematches, and many of them turned out to be successful fights for him. Can he continue that trend with Mayweather?

Consider the following: Pacquiao fought Erik Morales in March of 2005 and lost the decision. He went on to face Morales two more times, in 2006, and was able to stop him both times. He fought Marco Antonio Barrera twice and was able to beat him both times. He fought Marquez four times. He drew with Marquez the first time, beat him by a close decision twice, and was knocked out his last fight with Marquez. He fought Timothy Bradley three times. Lost the decision the first time and bounced back to beat Bradley two more times.

Pacquiao has a history of rematches, and he usually does better the second time facing an opponent.

Lack of activity may also be of some concern for Mayweather. He did not fight at all in 2016. His one fight in 2017 was against Conor McGregor, an MMA champion with no boxing experience. In reality, Mayweather hasn’t stepped in the ring against a legitimate boxer in three years.

Pacquiao’s activity isn’t that of a young boxer, but since facing Mayweather he has stepped into the ring against several notable opponents. He defeated Timothy Bradley and Jessie Vargas. He lost a close decision to Jeff Horn in a match that nearly everyone feels he should have won. He also had his first stoppage victory in years against Lucas Matthysse in his last bout.

Three years without facing a legitimate boxing opponent and choosing to step in the ring against an all time great like Pacquiao is a fact that most are over looking.

Finally, one of the biggest differences in their rematch is Freddie Roach, or the lack of Freddie Roach. Roach’s hall of fame credentials as a trainer aren’t in question, but his ability to effectively train his fighters while Parkinson’s Disease ravages his body is a fair question. Mentally, Roach can probably still hang with the best trainers in the world. But it’s not a certainty that he can keep up physically when working with his fighters or doing pad work.

Pacquiao chose his long time friend, Buboy Fernandez, as his trainer when he faced Matthysse. He also got his first stoppage in nine years with Buboy, and not Roach, in his corner.

Can Manny beat Floyd? It’s still going to be a very difficult task. Mayweather size advantage will still be there, and getting past Mayweather’s five inch reach advantage will be very difficult for Pacquiao; especially when Mayweather is as fast, if not faster, than him.

Manny’s best bet at victory would be to throw caution to the wind and fight like he has nothing to lose. He will have to go on the attack and be willing to take Mayweather’s best punches in order to land just one. He cannot win by being passive.

He will have to fight with the same hunger and desire as he had when he was a young kid that was trying to fight his way out of poverty in order to have any chance of victory.

He was able to watch Saturday’s thriller between Canelo and Golovkin. At the end of the bout he wrote on twitter:

If Pacquiao can show that he’s willing to go toe to toe for twelve rounds with Mayweather, it will be a fight worth watching.

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Jon Fernandez & O’Shaquie Foster On ShoBox on Friday


By: Ken Hissner

Spain’s Jon “Jonfer” Fernandez, 16-0 (14), won the WBC Silver title a year ago and this Friday makes his first defense against O’Shaquie “Ice Water” Foster, 13-2 (8), of Houston, TEX, on Showtime.

Since Fernandez has not defended in a year and is ranked No. 9 in the WBC while Foster is not ranked. The fight will take place at the Firelake Arena in Shawnee, OK.

Fernandez has scored stoppages in 3 rounds in his last two fights scheduled for 8 rounds since winning the title a year ago. He has stopped Nicaragua’s Henry Maldonado, 20-6, in June and Panama’s Juan “Lil General” Huertas, 14-1-1 in April. He previously has wins over Juan “Pachito” Reyes, 14-3-3, Ismael Garcia, 7-0, Ernesto Garcia III, 7-1 and Mikael “Misha” Mkrtchyan, 16-1, all by stoppages.

In the co-feature is Super Featherweight Irvin Gonzalez, 10-0 (9), of Worcester, MASS, is taking on Ecuador’s Carlos Ramos, 9-0 (6), of Spain in a scheduled 8. The only time Gonzalez has gone the distance is in his lone 8 rounder. Ramos is a southpaw and will be making his US debut.

Lightweight Wesley Ferrer, 12-0-1 (7), of Brooklyn, NY, coming off a draw last December is taking on Philadelphia’s Steven Ortiz, 8-0 (3), who last fought in January of this year. The draw was Ferrer’s first 8 rounder. He had a very good amateur background.

For Ortiz who defeated Joshua Davis, 11-2, in 2 rounds in his first 8 rounder this is a bout between two top prospects scheduled for 8 rounds.

Super Featherweight James “Crunch Time” Wilkins, 5-0 (5), of Staten Island, NY, taking on Misael Lopez, 8-0 (4), of Denver, CO, scheduled for 8 rounds for the vacant American Boxing Federation Continental Americas Super Featherweight Title.

Wilkins is jumping from all 4’s to an 8 winning twice in June. Lopez has a pair of 8’s on his record and last fought in February scoring a decision win.

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Bellew to Face Usyk in Cruiserweight Showdown


By: Michael Kane

The big fights keep on coming for UK boxing fans.

Tony Bellew has moved back down to cruiserweight and will face undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk, all of Usyk’s belts will be up for grab, the WBO, WBC, IBF as well as the Ring magazine belt.

The fight is to take place at Manchester Arena on November 10th.

Bellew, who was the WBC cruiserweight champion, is looking to end his career off in some style, with reports this is to be his last fight. The 35 year old moved up to heavyweight to face David Haye twice and stopped Haye for the second time in March this year.

Bellew told BBC Radio 5 Live, “He’ll see someone that will never give in, ever. He is one of the most feared men in boxing. This is the ultimate test for me.”

He added: “I’m taking this with my eyes wide open, I know I’m facing the best cruiserweight in the world, the best since Evander Holyfield in my opinion, an amazing fighter who can do everything and I’m happy to go in there against him and once again prove the whole world wrong. He’s a monster they all say I can’t beat but it’s not my first time at the rodeo. I’ve heard it all before. Let’s just see if he can answer all the questions I’ve had to answer throughout my career.

“Can he get off the floor? Can he come back from a nasty cut? Can he fight through bad injuries? Can he come from behind on the scorecards? Can he provide a one-punch knockout when it’s needed? All these questions I’ve answered on umpteen occasions.

“What I can promise is I will not be in awe of this man. I will not allow him to rattle five-, six-, seven-punch combinations. He will see someone that will never give in, ever. I’ve fought people far quicker, far more powerful. What I haven’t fought is someone who puts all the things together as good as he does. He can’t show me something I haven’t seen before.

“The world says I can’t beat him, can I outbox him? Probably not. Can I chin him? Absolutely. I’m the quickest cruiserweight he has ever fought and when I hit him he’s going to know I am the hardest cruiserweight he has ever fought.

“There ain’t a man I’ve ever shared a ring with who hasn’t felt the same thing ‘how in God’s name has that skinny fat freak just hit me so hard’. And he’s going to feel the same.”

Usyk, 31, become the first man to hold all four cruiserweight titles after winning them as part of World Boxing Super Series, Usyk entered the competition with the WBO then added the rest by beating Mairis Breidis in the semi final for the WBC and then added the IBF and WBA crowns by beating Murat Gassiev in the final.

Usyk, said to Sky Sports, “ I’ve been preparing for this fight for a long time and i’m delighted that we’ve got the venue and the date finalised. I cannot wait to fight in the UK.”

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Logic Says Pacquiao Wants This Mayweather Fight Again


By: Rich Mancuso

This is no longer a rumor as reliable sources on Tuesday afternoon were able to confirm that Floyd Mayweather Jr. will meet Manny Pacquiao in the ring again as soon as early or mid December. And if that date is not workable then the rematch would take place early next year.

Though numerous sources at Top Rank, who reportedly still have promotional rights with Pacquiao, are not commenting, sources say that Mayweather and Pacquiao meeting last week was more than talk and reality about staging a second fight.

Details as to where, telecast rights, and the financial aspect to all of this are also far from discussion as more talks with the respective Pacquiao and Mayweather camps are planned in the coming weeks. Mayweather, with his promotion would be a major player here and the other principles involved would be more complicated.

When asked about the status of Manny Pacquiao and his business with Top Rank, a source at the promotion would only say, “As far as we know Manny Pacquiao is still under contract.” Though there are reports still circulating that the eight-division champion is done with Top Rank and with other options.

Pacquiao, reportedly has not signed a promotional deal with Matchroom Boxing and DAZN the global live and on-demand sports streaming service. Matchroom and DAZN is quickly becoming a major competitor to Top Rank and their ESPN deal and to the PBC and their television deals with Showtime and Fox.

A source at Matchroom Boxing could not be reached for comment. So for the moment it’s wait and see, and it is known that Bob Arum is not enthused about being involved in a possible second Mayweather-Pacquiao fight.

As for the demand to see a rematch, the boxing fans are skeptical after the outcome of their first and anticipated fight in May of 2015 that generated

As one boxing fan said, and what seems to be a majority of the opinion, “If they are fighting again the only reason I would watch it would be to see if Mayweather can get his 50th win against a professional boxer and not against a guy who had boxing shoes on for the first time.”

The reference, and of course to Mayweather getting a record 50th win against UFC star Conor McGregor last August, a fight that rivaled the record income generated from that first Mayweather-Pacquiao fight and became a reality show with shouting, obscenities, and needed minimal hype.
Which leads to questions and to why this fight could happen again, and real soon between two of the biggest draws the sport has seen the last decade.

Those in the Manny Pacquiao camp are not questioning the rationale. With one or perhaps a few more fights before retiring, the 39-year old and future Hall of Famer stopped Lucas Matthysse for the WBA welterweight belt and regained a piece of that title.

Forget about the bitter and controversial defeats to Timothy Bradley and Jeff Horn, two blemishes on a career that Manny Pacquiao would have wanted to end differently. In his mind, and those close to Manny Pacquiao say, redemption and another fight with Mayweather is what keeps him going.

Other than that, there is not much more Manny Pacquiao can achieve with his latest WBA title added to his resume. Floyd Mayweather, on the other hand, it’s all about the money and the spotlight and again it is a matter of specifics as to how much and who will have television rights.

The public on the other hand? That is the prevailing question about this second fight. Will they buy into it, and different from the first time those intrigued and not into boxing, well they will probably opt to skip this one.

Regardless, count on another meeting and soon because Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao, a bit older are still wise when it comes to making a dollar.

Comment: Ring [email protected] [email protected] Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso

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Canelo and Golovkin: What’s Next for Both


By: Oliver McManus

With the benefit of 72 hours to sleep on things, it’s time to address what’s next for Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin after their ferocious rematch at the T-Mobile Arena and, whilst some of these options are a little more realistic than others, we can be dreamers, so here are my top picks (trilogy aside!) –

Mexican fiesta?

This one seems a little adventurous to begin with but there are two fights that makes me stand up with interest, with regards to Canelo, and they both involve fellow Mexicans in what would make the perfect Cinco de Mayo bouts for 2019 – whilst it’s likely that Alvarez would look to fight in December first, these fights could brew nicely into the early months of next year.

First up is Jaime Munguia and given the size of the WBO 147lb champion, it’s equally likely that this bout could be taken at middle as it is welterweight and we’ve seen Munguia really start to stamp his authority over the course of 2018 with the youngster playing the role of underdog in his title challenge against Sadam Ali and, marginally, in his first defence against Liam Smith.

The sheer size and explosivity of Munguia means the fight with Canelo would guarantee action – akin to the last two with Golovkin – and of course there’s that added all-Mexican spice.

Looking into the super middleweight and you find another WBO champion in Gilberto Ramirez who has failed to really find any momentum over the last couple of years despite defending the title on four occasions and Zurdo has made no bones about his desire to land a big fight.

We know Canelo looks BIG when out of the ring – I’m not even going to go near the whole clenbuterol situation – and even at the catchweight of 164 for his bout with Julio Cesar Chavez he looked comfortable. I mean, admittedly, not a great performance but it wasn’t because of the extra weight.

More of a tactician than Munguia and, indeed, Golovkin, Ramirez would represent a different type of opponent for Alvarez with the opportunity to show a different set of skills than the, relatively, brawling nature over the last few months and Canelo, certainly, is an elite level boxer not just fighter. (If that makes sense).

Munguia and Ramirez, starting to sound like a fajita, but I want to see ANOTHER all Mexican encounter involving Canelo because you just cannot beat those atmospheres and the two champs either side of middleweight appear to be the frontrunners in that respective category.

Saunders vs Golovkin

A fight that has been mooted for a long, long time and it seems that now could be the most realistic timing for the super-fight to take place and on the assumption that the WBO champion can navigate his way past Demetrius Andrade on October 20th , this would provide the opportunity for GGG to bounce straight back into the world title scene.

For Saunders it provides him with the chance to carry on with the momentum he picked up in Canada last December with a, let’s not beat around the bush, masterclass performance against David Lemieux and, whilst his antics outside of the ring have been less than respectable, in the boxing world a victory over Golovkin would cement his credibility as one of the best.

An awkward southpaw who dictates the tempo of the bout from the centre of the ring, Saunders poses a distinctly different threat to that of Canelo but is equally capable of getting dirty on the inside and involved in a firefight as he is executing a technical, counter-punching gameplan.

Golovkin doesn’t need warm up bouts following his first ever career loss, he’s an elite fighter, certainly a Top 15 pound for pound and, with only a few fights left in him, it seems logical to target the fight with Saunders because it’s one we know he is mightily confident in winning and if he were to be able to reclaim the single belt that has alluded him his whole career then, surely, we could be looking at the best middleweight ever?

Saunders vs Golovkin make sense, it’s been in the works for a long time and it’s a bout that both men are confident of winning so let’s get it on!

Canelo vs Lemieux

We’ll keep this section short and snappy because I think we’re all aware that David Lemieux, especially after the pasting he got via Billy Joe Saunders, is in a different league, technically, to the world champions but following a devastating knockout over Spike O’Sullivan he finds himself back in the fold for a world title.

The one that can’t be argued with is the power of the Canadian who, when given a chance, is able to unfurl bombs in the direction of whichever Tom, Dick or Harry is standing in front of him. Having said that, he is equally susceptible to stinking out a stadium when he fails to turn up for a fight and that happens alarmingly often for him to be taken seriously as a contender.

It’s very hot and cold with David Lemieux but even when he’s on top of his game it’s nothing that would really send Canelo back to Mexico quivering in his boots looking for some more of that steak – the threat of Lemieux is easily nullified by Canelo taking the fight to the Canadian, boxing at a high tempo for the duration of the fight with a strong lead jab.

Canelo vs O’Sullivan was being lined up for December and, thusly, it makes sense that O’Sullivan’s conqueror is also in the frame.

The truth of the matter though, like it or not, is that this would only serve as a stay busy fight until a big clash in May.

Retirement for GGG?

What is left for Gennady Gennadyevich Golovkin to achieve in the sport of boxing? With seemingly little possibility of moving a weight class, the former unified middleweight champion has literally been there, done that and seen it all.

20 successful defences of his belt, five as unified champion, the 36 year old possess a record matched only by the great Bernard Hopkins and, looking through the eras, you’d be hard pressed to suggest he wouldn’t have found success across them all.

A World Amateur champion and Olympic silver medallist, to boot, Golovkin has a career, both amateur and professional, to be immensely proud of and in the eyes of many an onlooker he has got nothing left to prove.

On many scorecards he should have won that first fight with Canelo, the second was a stormer and there can be no loss of legitimacy for losing what was, let’s be honest, a fight that could have gon either way; you get the feeling that Golovkin and Canelo could go toe to toe 60 times and it would never get boring, 20 would be a win for Golovkin, 20 for Canelo and the other 20 a draw… it’s just that sort of a fight!

But for the love of the sport and the pride he gets from fighting, there is nothing left to achieve for Triple G so, if you ask me, hang those gloves up, kick back and just enjoy life Gennady!

Of course the fight we all want to see, well most of us anyway, is ANOTHER rematch between the two protagonists of the middleweight division and why shouldn’t we want that? 24 rounds of simply stunning action during which neither fighter could comprehensively claim to be the better man, throw in some controversy, a bit of bad blood, and we have got ourselves not just a fight but an EVENT.

The first two fights were must-see entertainment that captured the imagination of the boxing community and there’s very little reason to believe a third would be anything but the same – the only question’s that really need answering are where, when and how much is it going to cost us?

Preliminary talks are being held between the parties, allegedly, so hopefully we’ll be able to see the trilogy contest sooner rather than later because there’s some unfinished business to take care of and it’s a fight that I, certainly, will never get bored of.

Having said that, what if Golovkin wins the third fight? Does that mean we’ll have to have a fourth?!

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Boxing Insider Notebook: Mayweather, Pacquiao, Lara, Oscar De La Hoya, GGG, Canelo, and more…


Compiled By: William Holmes

The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of September 11th to September 18th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.


Photo Credit: Stephanie Trapp/Showtime

Open Letter to Fight Fans From Oscar De La Hoya

Dear Fight Fans,

On the night of Saturday, September 15, fans were set to be treated to what sports should be all about: the two best athletes in a sport squaring off against each other with the winner earning the title of the best in the business. This kind of an event – where an individual can be called the best in any sport – is truly rare.

Not only did the fight itself deliver all that was promised, against all kinds of pressure, Canelo Alvarez gave the performance of his lifetime to secure the unified middleweight championship of the world.

•Unfairly criticized for not fighting “Mexican” enough in the first fight, he kept Gennady Golovkin on his heels all night, taking the action to the “boogeyman of boxing,” walking him down and controlling the pace.

•Repeatedly ravaged for two positive drug tests that showed minor traces of clenbuterol – a common occurrence in Mexico due to the contamination of beef across the country – Canelo submitted to more than 20 drug tests in the lead up to the fight and passed them all with flying colors.

•Saddled with a judge’s card of a year ago that he had nothing to do with; the pressure of millions of fans watching; and what many were describing as a must-win to stay relevant, Canelo delivered a near-flawless fight.

And yet…

It wouldn’t be boxing if thousands of keyboard warriors weren’t talking (or tweeting) complete nonsense in the hours and days after Canelo began to cement his legacy as an all-time great fighter.

Many have told me to ignore the haters; that I’ll never win. But, while I know I won’t convince many of them, allowing them to even partly soil what was a certain Fight of the Year; a mega-event seen by millions of people; and a virtuoso performance by boxing’s marquis fighter would do a disservice to the sport I love.

So allow me to respond to a few of the more absurd comments:

Golden Boy paid the judges to fix the fight.

Though I don’t think this deserves response, here are the facts: The three judges were chosen by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Given the result of the first fight, NSAC was under a lot of scrutiny to come up with the fairest group of judges possible. For the first time I know of, Golden Boy Promotions and Team GGG were even allowed to approve a pool of judges. They saw what everyone else did; a close, competitive fight and scored it exactly that way.

Golovkin landed more punches and therefore should have won the fight.

If landed punches were the difference between winning or losing a boxing match, we would have an incredibly different and less interesting sport. Clean punching, ring generalship, effective aggressiveness and defense are what the judges are looking for in determining the winner of a round. I’m obviously a promoter, but in the four areas that actually count in judging, I can’t find one where GGG was the victor.

Tom Loeffler’s statement that he doesn’t know if Golvokin can win a decision in Las Vegas.

Perhaps Tom is just looking to make GGG feel better, but regardless this is maybe the most disappointing comment, because it comes from someone who knows the sport. Of course, GGG can win a decision in Las Vegas. But 22,000 people aren’t going to crowd into the T-Mobile Arena to watch Golovkin fight and blast out the likes of Dominic Wade, Willie Monroe, Jr., or Vanes Martirosyan. He is going to need to fight a higher level of competition – and then fight better than that opponent – to earn a victory in the mecca of boxing.

Boxing is a wonderful sport that is coming back thanks to streaming technology and growing international interest. But, it is a sport that also faces competition, not only from the outside in the form of other, more-widely watched leagues, but from inside where the fractured nature of boxing has made it tougher and tougher for the best to face the best.

Just look at celebrity row to see how special Saturday night was. There, another best-in-sport athlete, Lebron James, joined by Will Smith, Mark Wahlberg and a huge group of other A-list celebrities to witness something special.

While everyone is entitled to his or her opinion (especially in boxing), let’s take a moment to appreciate what Canelo and GGG gave us on Saturday night and work towards doing it more often for the sake of the sport we all love so much.

Erislandy Lara Wants Canelo or GGG Next

Former WBA super welterweight world champion Erislandy “The American Dream” Lara (25-3-2, 14 KOs), felt inspired by the state of boxing after watching last Saturday night’s main event between Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (50-1-2, 34 KOs) and Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (38-1-1, 34 KOs) in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin fought an amazing fight, it was a true classic.” said Lara. “I want to congratulate both of them for putting together such a tremendous effort to bring the spotlight back on boxing. It would be a great honor to fight either fighter, and I would love to challenge myself against them.”

Erislandy Lara has been training in Houston, Texas for his next fight with trainer Ronnie Shields, as he is working hard in the gym, getting ready for his next fight date.

“I am ready to make a statement and to challenge either fighter at middleweight, whether it is Gennady Golovkin or Canelo Alvarez in a rematch…I am ready!”
Mayweather-Pacquiao Rematch Props

After news broke that Floyd Mayweather Jr. is planning come out of retirement and return to the ring for a fight with Manny Pacquiao, BetDSI immediately posted a line on the rematch.

The online sportsbook also posted odds on the probability of the fight happening in 2018, as well as how many pay-per-view buys it will generate if it does occur.

Will Mayweather-Pacquiao II take place before Dec. 31, 2018?

Yes -150
No +120

Total PPV buys (in millions) for Mayweather-Pacquiao II (fight must occur by Dec. 31, 2018 for action)

Over 4.3 (-115)
Under 4.3 (-115)

While Vegas set the odds at Mayweather -220, Pacquiao +180, the sharper, offshore market sees Mayweather as a slightly bigger favorite.

Moneyline (fight must occur by Dec. 31, 2018 for action)
Floyd Mayweather -265
Manny Pacquiao +215

Total Rounds (fight must occur by Dec. 31, 2018 for action)
11.5 (-300)
11.5 (+200)
Berchelt and Roman Set for El Paso Rumble

WBC super featherweight world champion Miguel ‘El Alacrán” Berchelt and Miguel “Mickey” Roman went face-to-face on the arena floor of the Don Haskins Center, site of their Nov. 3 showdown that will, once and for all, settle this simmering grudge match.

Berchelt (34-1, 30 KOs), from, Cancun, Mexico, is the 26-year-old champion looking to make his fourth successful title defense. Roman (60-12, 47 KOs), from Juarez, Mexico, is a 32-year-old who will be making his third attempt at a world title.

Roman and Berchelt met the media on Monday in El Paso, the middle stop of a three-city press swing that, if anything, has stoked the rivalry between the two. Here is what they had to say 47 days away from one of the year’s most anticipated fights.

Miguel Berchelt

“I am very happy to be here. It’s my second time on ESPN. I am training very hard in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico. When there are two Mexicans in the ring, the show is guaranteed to be great. This won’t be the exception.”

“In boxing, trash talk is normal. At the end of the day, we are fighters. It is going to be a great fight. The people will leave the arena happy because they are going to see a great fight. They are going to see a great champion in Miguel Berchelt.”

“Roman and I have wanted this fight for a very, very long time. He asked for this opportunity, and I am happy to give it to him. This is going to be a great fight, but I know it will end with my hands raised. I am young and hungry. It doesn’t matter that we’re fighting in his backyard. El Paso and Juarez are going to be my towns when it’s over.”

Miguel Roman

“I would like you to know I’m very happy. I feel great fighting for this belt against Miguel Berchelt. This is something that we’ve been waiting for. Now, it’s happening. I live near the border, and fighting here is like I’m fighting in my house. The people from El Paso, Juarez, and Las Cruces {New Mexico} always support me. On Nov. 3, my people are going to come and support me.”

“I’m fighting a great champion in Miguel Berchelt. He’s very strong and I respect him a lot. I gotta do what I gotta do. I gotta do my job. My experience, strength, and hunger to win this title will take me to victory.”

“He’s talking all of this stuff, that he’s going to take my head off and things like that. El Paso is my town. If he thinks he’s going to come in here and be talking like that, he’s got another thing coming.”

Berchelt-Roman and a soon-to-be announced co-feature will stream live in the United States beginning at 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPN+ — the new multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer & International segment in conjunction with ESPN. The entire undercard will stream live on ESPN+ beginning at 6 p.m. ET.

Park Theater Showdown:Ryota Murata –Rob Brant Tickets On Sale Today

Japanese superstar Ryota Murata is taking his talents halfway around the world.

Tickets for Murata’s WBA middleweight world title defense against Rob “Bravo” Brant on Saturday, Oct. 20 at the Park Theater at Park MGM go on sale TODAY at 10 a.m. PST. The event is promoted by Top Rank, in association with Teiken Promotions and Greg Cohen Promotions.

Tickets are priced at $204, $104, $54 and $29, not including taxes and handling fees, and can be purchased at all Ticketmaster outlets or online at Ticketmaster.com. Tickets also can be purchased through the MGM Resorts International Call Center at 877-795-2564.

Murata-Brant will stream live in the United States beginning at 7:30 p.m. PST on ESPN+ — the new multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer & International segment in conjunction with ESPN.

This is the second defense of the WBA title for Murata (14-1, 11 KOs), who won the belt with a dominating seventh-round TKO over Hassan N’Dam in October 2017. Five months earlier, N’Dam handed Murata his only professional loss via a highly controversial split decision. Murata left no doubt in the rematch and defended the title in April in Yokohama, Japan, knocking out Emanuele Blandamura in the eighth round.

A 2012 Olympic gold medalist, Murata is a sports icon in Japan, as the Blandamura fight drew a peak rating of 17 million viewers on Japanese TV. Brant (23-1, 16 KOs), from St. Paul, Minn., is undefeated when fighting as a middleweight and is the WBA No. 2-ranked middleweight in the world.

HBO Replay of Canelo-GGG 2

HBO Sports presents WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING: CANELO ALVAREZ VS. GENNADY GOLOVKIN 2, the exclusive replay of their highly anticipated rematch, SATURDAY, SEPT. 22 at 10:05 p.m. (ET/PT). The HBO Sports team, which was ringside at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas for the live HBO Pay-Per-View® presentation on Cinco de Mayo, called all the action, which will be available in HDTV, closed-captioned for the hearing-impaired and presented in Spanish on HBO Latino.

The fight will also be available on HBO NOW, HBO GO, HBO On Demand and partners’ streaming platforms.

In the sport’s top prizefight of the year, middleweight champ Gennady “GGG” Golovkin put his title belts and undefeated record on the line once again against his arch-rival, superstar Canelo Alvarez, who despite his youth (27) has emerged as a box office powerhouse and one of the sport’s elite fighters. Their 12-round fight at 160-pounds took place under the bright spotlight of the T-Mobile Arena.

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Anthony Joshua Prepared To Face Alexander Povetkin – And His Critics – This Saturday


By: Sean Crose

The last time the world saw Anthony Joshua in the ring, the Englishman cruised to victory over New Zealand’s Joseph Parker. Throngs of people had gathered live and in person to watch the reputed best big man in boxing ply his trade that March evening in Wales. They were not disappointed. Although he didn’t score a knockout, Joshua let the tens upon tens of thousands gathered in Cardiff know that he was numero uno in boxing’s most historically esteemed division. It was most certainly a shining moment for the undefeated (now 21- 0) champion. Since that time not all that long ago, however, things have changed.

There’s a perception throughout much of the fight world that Joshua and his promoter Eddie Hearn have been, if not outright avoiding, then dragging their heels regarding a major unification bout with American knockout artist (and WBC champ) Deontay Wilder. Although many, if not most, feel a battle between the two men is inevitable, some of the shine of Joshua’s heretofore sterling reputation has clearly waned. The fact that Wilder appears ready, eager and willing to get it on with former undefeated heavyweight king Tyson Fury only serves to make team Joshua look more suspect. Eagerness on the parts of the two most highly regarded heavyweights not named Joshua to face off simply puts Joshua’s seeming standoffishness to face Wilder in stark relief.

Still, Joshua is certainly not taking on a cherry picked opponent when he faces Russia’s 34-1 Alexander Povetkin this Saturday night at London’s Wembley Stadium. Povetkin, whose only loss came to a younger Wladimir Klitschko than the one who almost bested Joshua in a classic not so long ago, is considered one of the top operators in the heavyweight division. He’s been popped for PED use several times, but Eddie Hearn has told the media Povetkin has been thoroughly tested in the lead up to this weekend’s bout. Povetkin last fought on the same Cardiff card Joshua did, smashing the well-known David Price in the fifth round of a title eliminator. In short, Povetkin is Joshua’s mandatory, not some tuneup opponent.

Now within days of the fight, Joshua makes it clear he knows the bloom is somewhat off the rose of his reputation – at least for the moment. “I can’t please everyone anymore,” the IBF, WBO, and WBA champ, ever the level head, told the BBC, “so I get that and so it’s my game now.” Joshua is widely regarded to have proved himself a true top level champion after getting up off the mat in his war with Klitschko in 2017. He doesn’t appear willing to let the shots of naysayers lay him out now. “Either I get stronger from it,” he said of his criticism, “or I get drained by it.” Say what one will about the 28-year-old, he’s not known to drain easily.

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Josh Warrington to Defend Title Against Carl Frampton in Manchester


By: Michael Kane

In what will be a busy end to 2018 in terms of British boxing, another world title fight has been announced.

Josh Warrington is to defend his IBF world featherweight title against Northern Ireland’s Carl Frampton at the Manchester Arena on 22nd December.

The match up comes as no surprise given Warrington was ringside for Frampton’s last fight against Luke Jackson in Belfast in August, he then entered the ring and both fughtrrd said how much they wanted the fight, so an easy fight to be made considering both are promoted by Frank Warren.

This is without doubt Warrington’s toughest test yet, as he faces a former two weight world champion in Frampton. Frampton held the featherweight and super bantamweight straps.

Warrington won the IBF featherweight title when he defeated the then champion Lee Selby in May. Winning by split decision (113-115, 116-112, 115-113) to send his home support at former English football giants Leeds United’s Elland Road Stadium.

“The Frampton fight really appeals to me and it will be another big scalp for me.” Said the IBF featherweight champion in a press release issued by promoter Frank Warren.

I went over to Windsor Park to watch Carl fight a few weeks ago, I wouldn’t have gone over there if I wasn’t interested in the fight. There was easier routes I could have taken like having a voluntary. Frampton and Selby in the same year would be a massive achievement.

“It’s about keeping the momentum going and I just believe I can beat Carl. I am just as confident in beating Carl as I was beating Lee (Selby). These are fights that the British public want to see, I’m a world champion and when you are world champion you want to fight the best and Carl is a name who is up there.

Frampton’s last fight was no where near as close as he put in a masterful display against Australian Luke Jackson by TKO in the 9th round having dominated from the start, in a bout that was also held at a football stadium, Windsor Park in Belfast.

It’s clear Frampton has faced a higher level of opponent, Leo Santa Cruz twice, Nonito Donaire and Scott Quigg however Warrington has shown he can be a dangerous fighter after his display against Lee Selby.

“Me and Warrington have big fan bases that make a lot of noise, so I think first and foremost the atmosphere is going to be fantastic and possibly a bit hostile as well.” Said Frampton.

“I’ve done a lot more in my career than I thought I would have when I turned professional. I’m very proud of my career but I believe I still have more to give and want to keep going as long as I can. I will add my fourth world title and go on and unify again.”

“You’re going to see two hungry guys in their prime, Warrington has just won this world title and isn’t going to give it up easily. I know what it’s like to be a world champion and I want that feeling back again, I think there is going to be fireworks in this fight.”

Both men will have large support in the Manchester Arena, with Frampton’s green and white army ready to travel all over and Leeds only an hour away from Manchester, the atmosphere should be electric in what may be the best UK domestic fight of the year.

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Chocolatito, the Sandanistas and Human Rights Violations in Nicaragua


By: Ben Sutherland

To many casual fans, the return of Nicaragua’s Roman Gonzalez probably went largely unnoticed. Just one of several high-profile fights on a stacked Canelo v GGG undercard, many American, Mexican and British fans likely skimmed over the super flyweight bout between Gonzalez – known to his fans as Chocolatito, and former world champion, Moses Fuentes. As with many of the undercard bouts on Saturday night, the fight was a one-sided affair with Chocolatito dominating the early rounds and ultimately stopping Fuentes in the 5th.

What the vast majority of non-Nicaraguan fans likely missed altogether was the colours Chocolatito was wearing on his shorts; black and red, a seemingly minor detail in such a high-profile fight.

However, the political significance of this clothing choice cannot be overstated.

In the early Spring of this year, Nicaragua’s president, Daniel Ortega, took steps toward attempting to establish a familial dynasty dictatorship in his country. Simply put, this was a political move which took power away from the Nicaraguan population and distributed it back into the hands of the political elite. Students, outraged by illegality, injustice and implications of such a move, took to the streets in non-violent protest.

What began as non-violent expressions of displeasure quickly turned sour as a government-hired paramilitary force, known as the Sandanistas, was sent to suppress the protests. Civil war erupted in Nicaragua. Angry students clashed with paramilitary forces in the streets in a guerrilla warfare style conflict.

Ortega’s government quickly shutdown all the universities in the country. Medical students were kidnapped so they couldn’t assist with wounded students and hospitals were forbidden to aide these same students under the threat of terrorism charges. In August, the international group which monitored human rights in Nicaragua was forced to leave.

Thousands of students, unwittingly turned into freedom fighters overnight, have now been kidnapped, tortured and killed. Many others have fled to neighbouring countries and further afield in pursuit of safety. Everyday, new horrific stories emerge of torture and cold-blooded killing. A group of students, seeking protection in a church, found themselves barricaded inside and burnt alive by paramilitary forces. Another student, captured by the paramilitary, had his testicles crushed in clamps as he refused to give up information.

Death tolls are only approximate with Ortega’s government monitoring press releases and statistics in both Nicaraguan and Central American media, but the removal of human rights groups and news leaks are both indicative of the severity of the situation.

There is not much room for debate here. Students are being murdered in the huge numbers and the Nicaraguan state is ruling with fear and an iron fist. Regardless of what you may think of Ortega’s ideas, the manner in which he his carrying out his politics is ruthless, barbaric and something which modern day society should have left behind a long time ago.

The colours of Ortega’s Sandanista movement? Black and red. The same colours that Chocolatito chose to wear on Saturday night. This was far from a coincidence, paid off by the government who are desperately trying to save their international reputation, Chocolatito walked to the ring draped in his black and red attire.

In doing so, Chocolatito actively and knowingly, supported and benefited from a tyrannical government which, as I write this article, continues to intimidate, murder and imprison its own people. Perhaps, it was out of fear, perhaps it was greed, but either way, it was a conscious choice to perpetuate the violence in Nicaragua.

At its core, what is international sport really about? Competition, inspiration and above all, showcasing the very best of a country and the world. Sport has long been a vehicle for political change and expression: Tommie Smith and John Carlos’ Black Power salute at the 1968 Olympics, the clash of communism and capitalism that played out over the international sporting stage during the 1980’s or more recently, Russians and Georgians sharing the top spot of the podium in protest against the conflict of their two countries.

Chocolatito had an opportunity, in front of the world’s sporting media, to speak out and do something, but he chose not to. Not only did he choose not to, he chose to support the abuse and human rights violations in his own country.

Contrast this against his fellow Nicaraguan boxer, Cristofer Rosales. Rosales is the WBC flyweight champion of the world and most recently fought on last month’s Frampton v Jackson undercard in Ireland. Rosales was also approached by the government and offered incentives to wear the red and black of the Sandanistas. Rosales refused. He handed back all the gear that the Nicaraguan government had ever given him and alongside his team, walked into the ring wearing black armbands in solidarity with the Nicaraguan students.

Is this entirely Chocolatito’s fault? Who knows, but would I get excited about his comeback and him up as the type of role model sport and boxing needs? No. No I would not.

Finally, I would urge anyone who reads this to go and research recent events in Nicaragua. Perhaps mainstream consumers of media are too desensitised and distracted to care, but you shouldn’t be.

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Enzo Calzaghe Passes Away


By: Michael Kane

Enzo Calzaghe, the father and trainer of former undefeated world champion Joe Calzaghe has sadly passed away it has been announced.

Calzaghe senior was a larger than life character who helped shape his son to a 46 fight winning career.

Sardinian born, Calzaghe, trained other Welsh fighters, Enzo Maccarinelli and Gavin Rees and helped son Joe, win WBO, WBC and WBA super middleweight titles.

In a statement released by the family, they said, “The family are devastated to have to announce the death of our beloved Enzo.

“Joe and all of the Calzaghe family would like to thank the public for their get well wishes and kind thoughts. Especially for the outpouring of support from within the boxing community.

“Enzo led an incredible life both inside and outside of the boxing gym and his loss is a devastating one for the entire Calzaghe family.

“We please ask that people respect our privacy at this difficult time.”

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Mayweather-Pacquiao Rematch May Be Officially Announced As Soon As This Week


By: Sean Crose

“We will finalize the fight this week, either Mayweather or somebody else, where and when, what date.” So says boxing legend Manny Pacquiao. In a turn of events that has taken the fight world completely off guard, it looks as if Pacquiao may indeed get his long hoped for rematch against Floyd Mayweather, who bested Pacquiao by a ho-hum unanimous decision back in 2015. The long awaited initial (and so far only) match between the two men was widely regarded as an enormous financial success, but a disappointment for fans, as the defensive minded Mayweather wisely played it safe throughout the bout.

Things got controversial after the much hyped match, however. Word reached the public that Pacquiao had sustained a shoulder injury before the bout. Then, in a development mysteriously under-reported by the mainstream media, reports emerged that Mayweather had taken an IV injection after the weigh in for the fight with the blessing of USADA, whose job it was to let people know that things were essentially on the up and up. The whole affair left a bad taste in most people’s mouths. What’s more, no one was clamoring for a rematch. Last Saturday, however, the world learned a rematch might indeed happen.

“I’m coming back,” Mayweather posted on Instagram, “to fight Manny Pacquiao this year. Another 9 figure pay day on the way.” The announcement was posted alongside a video of the two men at a Japanese night club. The fact that Pacquiao has largely, if not entirely, broken ties with longtime promoter Bob Arum means that a rematch will have an easier chance of being made that the original match did. Unlike the first bout, this one probably wouldn’t be delayed by managerial and promotional squabbling, as the Filipino icon is now essentially free to come and go without being troubled by previous burdens. In short, a rematch might be easy to make.

And, if reports from reliable sources are to be believed, negotiations are pretty much going well and the two men will announce an early December rematch this week (according to Ring Magazine’s Mike Coppinger, December 1’st and December 8 are targets). The decision of the two aging greats to face off yet again makes sense. Although people didn’t demand a rematch, enough time has passed, and each fighter has deteriorated enough, for things to look interesting. The fight might not be anywhere close to the first as far as earning potential is concerned, but it will undoubtedly be a huge affair.

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Sugar Ray Leonard, Brian Kenny, Kay Adams, and Chris Mannix Join DAZN Broadcast Team


DAZN, the live and on-demand sports streaming platform, today announced its boxing broadcast team. The legendary Sugar Ray Leonard and Brian Kenny will call the action, Kay Adams and Chris Mannix will host each fight night, and LZ Granderson will report from ringside.

They will work their inaugural event as a unit when world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua defends his WBA, WBO and IBF belts against Alexander Povetkin on Sept. 22 from Wembley Stadium in the U.K. Beginning in October, the team will broadcast all Matchroom USA fights on DAZN including the previously announced Vargas vs. Dulorme on Oct. 6 and Saunders vs. Andrade on Oct. 20.

“What DAZN is doing is very exciting for both boxing and sports media,” said Leonard. “With all of the boxing dates DAZN already has on the calendar, they are going to have me quite busy – and that’s a great thing for fight fans because it means that good fighters are staying active and taking on meaningful challenges.”

Leonard will provide ringside analysis for the fights, drawing on his Hall-of-Fame career as a six-time world champion, Olympic gold medalist and a legendary sports icon of the 20th century. As a fighter, Leonard’s skill and speed were matched only by his guts and heart. In a golden era of boxing, he took on – and prevailed against – many all-time greats. Out of the ring, Leonard has enjoyed a long broadcasting career working with ABC, NBC, FOX, ESPN and HBO.

Kenny will serve as the blow-by-blow announcer. Winner of seven Sports Emmy Awards, he has spent more than three decades in boxing, covering the sport for ESPN, Showtime and FOX. Prior to his current anchor role with MLB Network, Kenny spent 14 years at ESPN, anchoring SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight and Friday Night Fights. On Friday Night Fights, he hosted the biggest names in boxing from Joe Frazier to Rubin “Hurricane” Carter to Floyd Mayweather. Kenny is a recipient of the BWAA Sam Taub Award for excellence in boxing broadcasting.

Leonard and Kenny last worked together in 2017 when they called the international broadcast of the Mayweather vs. McGregor super fight and have appeared together on screen across multiple networks over the past decade-plus.

Adams and Mannix will host each broadcast. Adams is best known for hosting Good Morning Football on NFL Network and DirecTV’s Fantasy Zone. Mannix is an award-winning boxing writer for Yahoo Sports and has worked as a ringside reporter for NBC, Showtime and EPIX. He currently hosts the popular Yahoo Sports Boxing Podcast and has also covered the NBA for multiple outlets over the past 15 years.

LZ Granderson will handle ringside reporting duties for DAZN. The award-winning journalist has covered everything from the NBA and tennis for ESPN to national politics for ABC. In addition to his work in television, Granderson can be heard each weekday on “Mornings with Keyshawn, LZ and Travis” on ESPNLA 710, is a senior writer for The Undefeated, and writes for CNN. He also co-hosts livestream coverage of world premieres for Marvel Studios and was a co-host of the popular ESPN TV show SportsNation.

“We’re committed to bringing our subscribers not just top-notch boxing and MMA – but also top-notch production,” said Joseph Markowski, DAZN SVP, North America. “With this broadcast team, viewers will be in good hands and we look forward to introducing a series of innovations to our fight night experience in the coming months.”

Early action at each Matchroom USA fight night will be called by broadcast veteran Todd Grisham and former world champion Sergio Mora. Additionally, Akin “Ak” Reyes and Barak Bess, known for their boxing shows on Sirius XM Radio and ThisIs50.com, will interview some of the biggest names in the sport throughout fight week.

Fans can sign up for DAZN for only $9.99 per month – following a one-month free trial – by registering at DAZN.com or by downloading the DAZN app on a wide range of connected devices, including smart TVs, PCs, smartphones, tablets and game consoles. For more information, fans can follow DAZN’s U.S. social channels: @DAZNUSA on Facebook, @DAZN_USA for Twitter, and DAZN_USA for Instagram.

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Boxing Insider Interview with Martin Bakole and Billy Nelson: A Contender from the Congo


By: Oliver McManus

Martin Bakole and Billy Nelson aren’t, on paper, two names that you’d associate with one another but, forget paper, because the relationship that they have brings out the best in each other and it really is as simple as that with Nelson relishing the prospect of guiding his Congolese heavyweight to the very top.

Billy rang me on Monday, about 10 minutes after he and Martin touched down at the hotel in Sheffield – where they’ve been sparring Anthony Joshua – and Bakole started off by telling me about growing up in Congo, how his father used to be a boxer and that he and his brother, Ilunga Makabu, would bounce off each other trying to be the best.

There were relatively few details at this point with Bakole struggling to understand my thick Southern accent so for the duration of the interview I had to rely on Billy, kindly, relaying the questions back in his unmistakable Scottish voice.

Talking of Scotland and his relationship with Billy, the fighter told me, “Yes, I’m getting used to it (the rain), I am a vegetarian, not only in Scotland but everywhere…

… it doesn’t matter where the meat comes from Ollie, he won’t eat it, there’s actually an African shop nearby where he gets his stuff from but I do try to get him trying the Scottish stuff…

…but the relationship with Billy is a very good one, I trust him, it’s great, it’s lovely, lovely, I always listen to what he tells me and he knows what he’s doing. My career has moved on since I’ve met him, I’m getting better, I’m having bigger fights. He gets me good sparring and I’m happy”.

Billy echoed those sentiments and I asked him just how good Martin was in comparison to his former charges, “Martin is by far the best fighter I have ever trained, he is technically fantastic, naturally gifted which makes my job a bit easier but the most important part for me is just tweaking some of the areas, fight management and guiding him through, he really is a fast learner”.

11 and 0 as a professional boxer, having made his debut back in 2014, there was a refreshing honesty from Martin when it came to that first fight – against Cecil Smith, also making his debut, at Emperors Palace in South Africa – “It was scary, harder than I thought it would be, in the amateurs there are head guards and I wasn’t used to it”.

Any fears that he initially had have been long put to bed with the Airdrie resident first fighting in the United Kingdom in August 2016 and having seven fights since, his last two fights have been against DL Jones and Ali Baghouz which, whilst not the highest level of operators, Martin dispatched with quicker than Daniel Dubois and Tony Yoka, respectively, and yet there is a comparative lack of attention being shone on Bakole.

Nelson was tactful on this, insisting it was just a case of biding their time, “It’s a fair point, they are British heavyweights but I can assure you that Martin Bakole’s time will come and Daniel Dubois will not fight Martin Bakole, not in a month of Sundays, Martin is just far too good right now. As good a fighter as Daniel is, Ollie, Martin is far superior so we don’t worry about getting the hype around us, Martin does the talking in the ring”

Fighting DL Jones back in June saw Bakole drop the challenger on two occasions on his way to a 62 second knockout, including the count, but it was by far the test that the IBO Continental champion was hoping for with a, unnamed, former European challenger withdrawing from the bout –

“I was beginning to worry that we wouldn’t get an opponent, at least DL Jones stepped up to the plate but look at the difference between Martin’s first fight with me – against (Dominic) Akinlade – and a few months previously Akinlade had gone 10 rounds with Nathan Gorman who is well thought of, we’ve sparred him, but Martin destroyed Akinlade in one round. DL Jones went three rounds with Dubois, Martin Bakole broke his nose and fractured his eye socket in 62 seconds. But the thing is, if you look at the Top 12 in Britain, I’d say at least eight of them will say ‘no, thank you’.”

Martin interjected at this point, “I think that was my best fight, or the guy I fought before, it’s a difficult name to say (Ali Baghouz), but DL Jones was a good fight, I got a very good knockout and it made me happy”.

Finding opponents is an area Martin doesn’t have to worry about, with the Congolese giant saying, “I don’t mind who I fight, I will not pick, I just want to fight” but it is something that causes Nelson nightmares, “we’ve offered Dave Allen the fight two or three times but he won’t take it, he was a bit derogatory to Martin but we made up and sparred two rounds and that’s really concreted that he won’t fight Martin, after that. The thing is that Martin has been round the country to spar, he sparred Tyson Fury a few years ago, Dillian Whyte called off sparring the night before, everyone knows what Martin has done in sparring and I got a coach telling me “play the game”. I told him “we don’t play games”, we’re here to spar Anthony Joshua for the next week but Martin doesn’t seem him as a sparring partner, they both need quality sparring and you’d pay good, good money to watch the spars”.

Attention swiftly turned to Martin’s next fight, on October 13th, against Michael Hunter – former Oleksandr Usyk challenger – and Bakole seemed to relax in prospect of this fight, taking a deep breath before telling me, “I am ready to show to the world who I am, that I will be a future world champion and I’m not going to be scared, I’m going to show people how good I am with a big fight, I will stop people saying “Who is Martin Bakole?. I will make a statement, whenever I knock him out, it will be a statement.”

That confidence was expanded on when he opened up about sparring with Anthony Joshua, “it gives me good confidence, no-one else wants to spar me but Anthony Joshua and his coach know that I am the best so when I spar him it is very good sparring, high level and it keeps me focussed. Helps my intelligent and he always texts me after sparring saying thank you and it gives me confidence going into my fights”.

A much mooted fight was that of Joe Joyce, who claimed Bakole needed to bring more to the table, “Martin is fighting Michael Hunter, who knocked out Joe’s last opponent, Kiladze, so it’s hypocritical of him to say that, I think we’ll go down different routes now but we would fight him in a heartbeat.”

Despite hailing from the Congo, Bakole will be eligible for a British Boxing Board of Control License from next year, allowing him to fight for domestic and European titles, and I asked him if that was a fight (Agit Kabayel) that interested him, “I think I am better than that level, I am higher than that”.

It was pleasing to hear the quiet character showing such confidence and Billy was happy with the progress made under him, “the guys just don’t want to fight him but he’s knocked Akinlade, Baghouz, DL Jones out in one round and the only guy to go the distance under me was Sokolowski, no excuses that day because we travelled from Scotland to London at about 6.30 in the morning – I had three in title fights the night before but Martin didn’t want to go down with anyone else – and he gave that guy a hell of a beating, broke his nose, the worst broken nose I’ve ever seen and Sokolowski is one tough guy”.

This was another one of those rare occasion where Martin came in with a declaration of his own, “I will fight anyone, I will beat anybody, it doesn’t worry me who they are, I will not say this one or that one but whoever wants to fight me, I will be thankful but I will beat them. I would like to be out 4, 5 time next year.”

I asked him what he thought of fighting on TV and in his new home country of Scotland, “It is nice to be on TV, people watching me live and it makes me feel nice, thank you to them for watching and for Cyclone Promotions. I love fighting in Scotland. I like the people here, they make me feel loved and happy”.

The last word, fittingly, should go to Bakole who had a very simple, emphatic answer for me when I was cheeky enough to ask if anyone could beat him – “NO”.

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