Author Archives: Staff

Post Taylor-Serrano, what’s next for women’s boxing?

Posted on 06/06/2022

By Stephanie Kent

Why WBC’s Jill Diamond is “cautiously optimistic” about the future of female fighting

Sports Illustrated has April 30th’s match between Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano down for fight of the year, but is that enough to fix the systemic problems in women’s boxing? Jill Diamond, the International Secretary of the World Boxing Council, isn’t convinced that one great fight can be the game changing moment the sport needs. 

Diamond, a recent NY State Boxing Hall of Fame inductee, fell into the boxing (and then, in love with boxing) through her late husband. While working out at Kingsway Boxing Gym in New York City in 2005, she got to know many of the female fighters training there and noticed some problems that still plague the sport today: namely, that women boxers train and fight as hard as their male counterparts, but earn just a fraction of the compensation and recognition for their work. “Women are passionate about what they do because they aren’t really in it for the money,” she says.

Jill emailed the World Boxing Council with her observations, and received a response from their president, José Sulaimán. 

At the time, Jill says, women’s boxing was far from thriving. There were women fighters (women have boxed dating back to the early eighteenth century in London), but there were hardly any women who were household names. And no wonder – in the early aughts, a female world champion could only earn an upwards of $3,000. 

“Women’s boxing was around before it was sanctioned,” says Diamond. “But they weren’t taken seriously. Promoters weren’t interested. In Mexico, boxing is boxing. In the United States, we struggled to give the women a platform. I met a bunch of women, but had never heard of anyone besides Christy Martin,” says Diamond. “They weren’t on TV. No promoters. They don’t make the same money, they don’t get the same attention.” 

José Sulaimán shared Jill’s concern and she says after her email, he agreed: “For him, talent – not gender – is what’s important.”

The WBC extended an invitation to Jill to attend their annual convention that year, where they commited to support women in boxing. They launched the Women’s Championship Committee, which hosted international conventions to help women network, set up awards programs and rankings lists, helped them improve their skills around the business of boxing. 

Over her years of work with the WBC and the Women’s Championship Committee, Diamond has seen the full spectrum of the sport. “There have been wonderful women’s fights that have fallen off the radar, with athletes who are so talented but just had bad timing.”

In recent years, women’s boxing has grown.  The inclusion of women’s boxing in the Olympics has been internationally impactful in terms of driving interest to the sport; equally as important, the games have grown the talent pool significantly, launching the careers of popular professional fighters like Mikaela Mayer and Claressa Shields in the United States. Streaming services like ESPN+ and DAZN are promoting the hell out of women’s fights, like last month’s showdown between Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano as the first ever women’s fight to headline Madison Square Garden.

Despite the historic fight, Diamond says, “They proved it could be done, proved they’re worthy . But we’ve seen great fights that don’t get momentum.  I’m hopeful but not yet convinced. Taylor and Serrano have proven that it can be done, but there are still fewer opportunities to break out from. If you don’t have the exposure, you won’t have the opportunity to make a living. Amanda Serrano is full time. The thing Katie and Amanda have in common is that they are married to boxing. They have virtually no life out of the sport. Not everyone can do that. It’s the system, not the women.”

Still, Taylor-Serrano might offer some keys to success for the next big fight between women boxers. In looking back at that night at Madison Square Garden, Diamond recognizes some needle-movers for future fights.

The storied venue was certainly a key element, but more importantly, Taylor-Serrano offered a fight where fight fans really didn’t know who would win. The era of Christy Martin or Laila Ali plowing through unworthy opponents is over and for women’s boxing to thrive, promoters will need to create competitive match ups. Better promotion and marketing is sorely needed, too. WBC, DAZN, Matchroom, and Jake Paul’s Most Valuable Promotions gave a master class in spreading the word about Taylor-Serano.

Also important, Diamond says, is getting more women, more often, on the undercards of big fights. “People aren’t talking enough about how Franchon’s was a damn good fight too. Do they need great fights or can they be really good compelling fights? Not every fight is the best of all time. I would like to see every card have at least two out of those eight fights as women. Let it not be the exception. Still,” she says, “it’s up to fans to show promoters that they can take those risks. If we can prove there’s a fanbase, there will be more women’s fights.”

“I do feel hopeful. History was made, momentum has been created… It’s fresh now, what’s the next moment? Will it trickle down?”

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Ring Masters Championships Set for Thursday, June 16th at Hulu Theater at MSG

Posted on 05/26/2022

NEW YORK, NY – May 27, 2022 – USA Boxing Metro officially announced today the finals of the qualifying tournament for the National Golden Gloves, “Ring Masters Championships” will take place at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden on Thursday, June 16.

Following 14 exciting events comprising USA Boxing Metro’s “Road to the Garden” tournament, the New York Metro area’s best amateur Open/Novice Senior Class boxers will advance to the finals at the ‘Mecca of Boxing’, Madison Square Garden, in the “Ring Masters Championships” on Thursday, June 16 starting at 6:00 PM. Shows were featured at some great venues like: Sony Hall, Bay Ridge Catholic Academy, Gleason’s Gym, Church Street Boxing, and Hudson Valley Sports Dome., in front of sold out crowds.

An action-packed card of up to twenty-four bouts will take place in the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, with the winners and runners-up receiving uniquely designed Ring Masters Championships rings and also the Elite Open punching their tickets to the National Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions in Tulsa, OK in August.

Tickets range from $25.00 – $110 and are now available at the Madison Square Garden box office, via msg.com and ticketmaster.com, and by calling Ticketmaster at 866-858-0008.

“We are excited to bring back our Premiere Tournament to the “Mecca of Boxing,” MSG, and New York with a history of featuring action packed boxing cards and future superstars welcoming crowds of spectators from all walks of life,” said Metro’s President Ray Cuadrado. “The comeback our sport and organization has made from Covid-19 is truly remarkable and demonstrates the life changing value we provide to our communities and partners.”

The “Road to the Garden” highlighted the talents of New York’s best young amateur boxers and Olympic hopefuls in venues around the New York City area, upstate and Long Island, including competitors 8 years old and up. Open Class competitors (aged 19 to 40) are eligible to qualify for the 2022 National Golden Gloves Tournament. Additionally, Boxers aged 8 to 40+ are eligible to compete for local bragging rights – making this USA Boxing Metro’s largest tournament.

USA BOXING, METROPOLITAN ASSOCIATION, INC. (Metro) is the Local Boxing Committee (LBC) comprising New York City, Long Island, and up to and including Duchess, Sullivan, and Ulster Counties. Metro is overseen by USA BOXING, INC., the national governing body for Olympic-style amateur boxing. USA Boxing is overseen by the United States Olympic Committee and the International Boxing Association (AIBA), which sets its rules. The national office of USA Boxing is located in Colorado Springs, CO. and comprises 56 LBCs across the United States.

For further information, contact:

For USA Boxing, Metro:

Ray Cuadrado: [email protected] Sonya Lamonakis: [email protected]

Madison Square Garden:

Larry Torres: [email protected] / (212) 631-5178

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Bob Arum Comments on Kinahan, Top Rank, Probellum and MTK

Posted on 04/15/2022

By Michael Kane

Top Rank boss, Bob Arum, confirmed that he paid alleged Irish gangland leader Daniel Kinahan $4 million for each of Tyson Fury’s four fights from 2019 through to 2021.

The money was paid to Dubai based Hoopoe Sports Agent, as consulting fees owed to Kinahan, Arum has said. The four bouts were the two Deontay Wilder fights, Tom Schwarz and Otto Wallin fights.

Arum’s confirmation comes as U.S authorities placed Kinahan on a wanted list with a $5 million reward. At a press conference last Tuesday in Dublin, U.S officials placed Kinahan, his father and brother, as well as other known associates under sanctions, including freezing any U.S Bank accounts and credit cards. Hoopoe Sports Agent was one of the sanctioned companies.

Asked how he came to be involved with Kinahan, Arum told Yahoo Sports, “Kinahan called me and we had a long conversation. He has kids and he said he wanted to get out of that other stuff. He said to me, ‘Bob, I’ve done some bad things in my life. I admit that. But I’m not involved with that any more. I’m just trying to clean up my life and be a legitimate business man.’ I wasn’t involved in any of the things he might have done before and he was telling me he wasn’t doing anything.”

Arum and Top Rank have started to disassociate with Kinahan over the last year.

“There came a time that we discovered that he might still have been involved in some nefarious activities,” Arum said. “That was enough for us.”

Ahead of the Tyson Fury v Dillian Whyte fight on April 23rd, Arum has no fears of any U.S authorities raiding the event.

“We are complying with all government laws and regulations, as we always do,” Arum said. “But I don’t expect anything [like a seizure] to occur because Kinahan has had no involvement in this event whatsoever.”

Kinahan helped form MTK Global in 2012 which is a promotional company that has Tyson Fury, among many other boxing stars, as clients. Arum said that Top Rank would no longer offer accreditation to MTK and Probellum (another boxing promoter which started life as MTK’s MMA arm).

Both MTK and Probellum have stated in press releases that Kinahan has no involvement in both companies and Probellum also stated that they are a rival promotional company to Top Rank and have never worked alongside them.

MTK said in their statement:

MTK Global will comply fully with the sanctions made by the US government against Daniel Kinahan.

MTK parted ways with Mr Kinahan in February 2017. He has had no interest in the business since then, and will have no future involvement with us.

MTK operates ethically, transparently and lawfully. We will cooperate fully with all authorities and assist with any ongoing investigations.

“MTK Global will take every measure to ensure the company, and those who deal with it are fully compliant with the US sanctions announced this week and take this matter extremely seriously,” added Bob Yalen, CEO of MTK Global.

Probellum statement read as:

Probellum takes the sanctions made by the US Treasury extremely seriously and the business and its employees will be fully compliant with them.

We have retained counsel in the US to ensure that we fully comply with all rules, regulations and requirements related to this matter, including not working with any individual or company that has been placed under US sanctions.

This includes Daniel Kinahan and we can confirm that we will not have any business relationship or communication with him whatsoever.

Bob Arum’s comments implying that Top Rank has ceased a business relationship with Probellum are baseless.

Top Rank is a competitor and since Probellum’s inception, Top Rank has never worked directly with us. Any suggestions that Daniel Kinahan is a shareholder or owner of Probellum are false and defamatory.

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Spence vs. Ugas: Does the PPV Help Errol’s ‘Brand’ Proposition?

Posted on 04/14/2022

By Charles Jay

I’m thinking that if there is going to be an American superstar in boxing, Errol Spence Jr. has about as good a chance as anyone. Perhaps the ultimate confirmation would take place if an when he fights Terence Crawford, who holds himself up as another candidate.

He’s got credentials, to be sure – he’s an Olympian, he’s undefeated, he’s got a lot of talent and he has fought the kind of opponents that merit consideration.

On Saturday night he’ll be fighting against Yordenis Ugas in a title unification fight in the welterweight division. It’s slated for Showtime Pay Per View, priced at $74.99.

That’s quite a bit of money. Some people complain that anything good that takes place in boxing is offered only through the Pay Per View (PPV) platform. And then of course you have those who object to certain events being “Pay Per View fights” at all.

So just what qualifies something as a credible “Pay Per View fight”?

The truth is, anything can be a PPV fight. There’s a website out there, in fact, that specializes in offering a wide variety of fights that you can pay for.

As for the idea of financial viability, well, it’s all relative.  A fight  could have 100,000 buys and be a nice success, while another can have a million buys and be a failure. It’s largely dependent on how much in the way of expenses has to be overcome.

For example, what are the guarantees that have to go to each main event fighter? In this instance, at least according to a couple of sources, Spence is guaranteed $1.5 million and can participate in the back end up to $5 million, while Ugas gets $1 million guaranteed up to $2.5 million. These figures may not be completely accurate, but based on those, it doesn’t appear there is a lot of risk of huge financial disaster on the part of Premier Boxing Champions (PBC), the promoters of the event.

It’s been reported that Spence made $1.22 million to fight Kell Brook and $2 million for a bout with Shaun Porter, if that offers some perspective. Against Danny Garcia, I have read that he pocketed $8 million, based on 250,000 PPV buys, and that seems somewhat out of proportion to me.

Reports were that he was scheduled to make a guaranteed $7 million for a fight with Manny Pacquiao that had to be shelved because of an eye injury to Spence (which allowed Ugas to step in and benefit).

It would have been nice if for him to have been able to fight Pacquiao, but now the fight that would seem to represent the “pot of gold” would come against Crawford, whose promotional situation is a bit muddled right now.

It’s probably Spence’s best shot at a big score; after all, this is an encounter that might, when the time comes, crown the #1 pound-for-pound guy (it’s a “mythical” thing, so anyone can make a reasonable claim), but is there a championship-level attraction in that matchup?

That’s a question that brings out the cynics, because the answer is…..not yet.

And we say “yet” because there is still an opportunity. It is patently obvious that to Al Haymon and the PBC, this fight is not an end for Spence but rather a means to an end. If Crawford has a lot of magnetism, it hasn’t necessarily been substantiated with whopping PPV numbers. So it would make sense that Spence could be the guy bringing more “sizzle” to the proceedings.

But it won’t be easy. I’m sure that the Spence-Ugas PPV can succeed as an endeavor to a certain degree. But I would have suggested something that might be considered somewhat bold in this day and age.

Put the fight on free, over-the-air broadcast television.

In the present situation, that would mean the FOX Network.

Any promoter who has a special interest in promoting a fighter has to consider themselves in the process of “brand-building.” There is a “product” and you have to sell it. When it comes to someone like Spence, and their aspirations for him, this is very important.

And let’s take a moment to be honest with each other. This is a boxing website, so it stands to reason that you’re going to be following the game more than the average Joe. You are, if you will, living in a boxing bubble, where your perception is that these fighters are bigger than they really are.

So it may come as an unpleasant surprise that there are not many pro fighters who are household names. You’ve got Canelo and as much as it hurts, Jake Paul. There are maybe a couple of others, including the heavyweight of the moment, which is currently Tyson Fury.

The people who have been buying the likes of Spence and Crawford on PPV are more ardent boxing fans than normal. But if you want to hit a grand slam at the nationwide box office, as it were, there is no way to do that unless you pull in the casual fan; the curiosity seekers, the people who may not be boxing fans at all, but are attracted to the magnitude of the event.

So you have to establish the magnitude.

And having said that, wouldn’t it make sense, if you were someone with a special interest in promoting Errol Spence as far as he can go, to put him in front of as many eyeballs as possible, so as to increase his brand equity?

I’d think that would be something to carefully consider.

And from the standpoint, I don’t know that Spence advances himself too much, regardless of what happens against Ugas, because they have chosen the method of delivery with the smallest audience.

If they are able to draw 200,000 PPV buys, that probably means they’d have about double the viewership (as multiple people can obviously watch these things), so let’s be liberal about it and give them an audience of 500,000. The ratings for boxing on FOX have been all over the place, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable at all to expect that, with a nice push, they could get 2.5 million viewers or more across all their platforms.

So they could get five times as many eyeballs. At least.

Some of you may not realize or remember this, but there has never been a method of “pre-selling” a fighter to the public quite as powerful as broadcast television. Sure, some of that come before the cable explosion, but there is still a bigger viewership, because over-the-air TV gets into every home.

It is true that a free FOX broadcast would take the “back end” situation off the table. But are they going to meet the required thresholds anyway? I don’t see any reason why both fighters couldn’t get their guarantees for a network telecast with a lot of viewers.

And if you are a promoter making an investment now that can pay off much bigger later – that is, if you think Spence-Crawford is a “mega-fight” – even making it a loss leader is the kind of thing you would have to give a lot of thought to.

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Amateur Boxing last chance to survive in Olympic Competition

Posted on 04/02/2022

As if things were bad enough before the Catastrophic invasion of Russia into Ukraine happened, now Amateur boxing is facing its worst crisis in the it’s history after being adopted as an Olympic sport back in 1904.

AIBA became the official boxing entity recognized by the IOC many decades ago, in the 1940´s, with the responsibility to organize the affiliation of national boxing federations around the world to produce elimination processes to secure the boxers to participate at the Olympic Games and to administer such competitions.

Amateur boxing has always been of extreme importance. Olympic champions went on to become professional champions and heroes of the world, some of the greatest champions in history found their beginnings in the Olympic Games glory, some of them are : Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Joe Frazier, Sugar Ray Leonard and Oscar Delahoya, just to name a few.

AIBA suffered dramatic changes which led to scandals inside and outside the ring. Countless cases of bad officiating associated with corruption, changes in rules which hurt the integrity of the sport and health of the fighters and entering into actions which created a clear conflict of interests brought AIBA to a crisis which led to the removal of their President Ching-Kuo Wu after the executive committee determined he could not continue as President.

Gafur Rakhimov, from Uzbekistan was elected President in 2017. A man with intentions of bringing back to basics the operations of AIBA to the roots of amateur boxing and one who had the support of the executive committee. 

Rakhimov faced opposition from the IOC due to the scandals created by Wu´s administration as well as from legal attacks against his character, which today have been internationally cleared . However, when the IOC demanded him to step down as President in order to continue recognition of the federation, Rahimov chose to support boxing and AIBA and decided to voluntarily leave the position of President.

After an interim President, current President Umar Kremlev, from Russia, was elected in 2020. He has faced extreme complications as the IOC continued their demands for AIBA to prove changes in the administration goals and procedures , to prove solid governance with good practices. The IOC under Kremlev has not been able to do so and in fact IOC expelled AIBA as an affiliate to the IOC and had to appoint a committee to run the boxing activity for Tokio 2021.

AIBA just changed their name to IBA and still do not have recognition of IOC.

Russia invasion has also created a huge problem to IBA on several counts:

– Umar Kremlev, president of IBA, is from Russia and international sports authorities are banning sports, athletes, teams and executives, so Kremlev could face such consequences.

– IOC, even before the war, expressed its concern about AIBA, now IBA, about the sole sponsorship from Russia as Russian Oil company GazProm is the sole financial supporter for IBA. 

– The Russian Boxing Federation, which Kremlev presided over before becoming president of AIBA, publicly supports the war and invasion of Ukraine . This is a major scandal in the world , specifically in the world of boxing.

It is well know that IBA executive committee is concerned about the status of boxing with regards to the IOC, as well as internally . Boxing has been suspended from Los Angeles Olympics 2028 and will only participate in a case by case evaluation, technically Olympic boxing dies after Paris 2024.

With all these happening, Amateur Boxing is facing its last opportunity to survive. If Umar Kremlev was to follow Gafur Rakhimov’s unselfish action to save their beloved organization , Kremlev should resign as President of IBA and give boxing an opportunity to regain Olympic status from the IOC under a new leadership.

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Press Conf Quotes: Jake Paul and Tyron Woodley

Posted on 07/14/2021

Jake “The Problem Child” Paul and former UFC champion Tyron “The Chosen One” Woodley went face-to-face during a press conference in Los Angeles on Tuesday as they previewed their professional boxing showdown that will headline a SHOWTIME PPV on Sunday, August 29 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, Ohio.

JAKE PAUL

“I saw fear in his eyes. I saw a man who accepted a fight for a paycheck. He doesn’t really have any fight left in him. He’s been defeated multiple times now and he will be sent into retirement by a Disney/YouTube/professional boxer in myself.

“You’ve never been in a fight like this. You know the whole MMA community is counting on you to knock me out. You’ve never been in a fight of this scale. What happens when you lose to Jake Paul? You’re going to be the laughingstock of the internet.

“This is my toughest fight by far and that’s exactly what I want. I want to increase the skill level of my opposition and challenge myself. He was a legitimate knockout artist. But on August 29, in my hometown, you will see a boxing clinic. He’s not going more than three rounds.

“I think the secret is out of the bag. I’m sparring some of the best fighters in the world. When I knock out Tyron, people are going to say that I’m the ‘Real Deal’ like Amanda Serrano. I’m going to take Tyron into deep waters and drown him.

“This is my make or break fight. The MMA community is counting on Tyron. They want to see me fall, but he’s not going to be able to get the job done.

“People know what they get when they tune in to a Jake Paul event. That’s why I’m the most impactful 3-0 fighter in history. I’m knocking this guy out. That’s what people want to see.

“I haven’t been hit in three fights. That’s a fact. I just want to add some experience to my belt. I want to fight Canelo Alvarez in three years. I want to be a world champion. Tyron is the perfect person to maybe get me to the third round.”

TYRON WOODLEY

“Everything you’ve scripted and wrote down for right now, you’re shaking while saying it. This is a fight. This isn’t for play. This is for real.

“Look at my resume. Look at all the up and coming fighters who they gassed up and what happened to them. None of them landed a punch. So many people come up to me on a daily basis and say you have to knock this guy out.

“It was a good opportunity working out with Floyd Mayweather. He showed me some of the things it takes to be a world class boxer. In MMA sometimes we waste energy and use movement without purpose. Everything I do and everything I throw is going to hurt him. My feints are going to hurt him. It’s going to make his body shake.

“I’m from the ‘Show Me’ state and you have to show me. I’ve been on the big stage. I was the fight of the night at the biggest UFC fight at MSG in history. This is nothing new to me.

“You just talk about money and talk about clout. Because when we talk about fighting, you shouldn’t even be in the same sentence as me.

“He’s talking about Disney because it’s an excuse for when I wax him in the ring. This is going to look like a fight. I’m not just going to go out there and swing two punches. I’m training like I’m fighting Mike Tyson. 

“I didn’t get into this for a quick payday. This is my entry into boxing for sure. It’s a steppingstone. When I look at him, I see a kid who has nothing to lose. I’m not going to act like he doesn’t have power, but everyone I’ve faced who had power, made me train even harder.”

AMANDA SERRANO

“I want to thank Yamileth for taking the fight. She’s a real Mexican champion. Not too many people want to fight me. It’s going to be a great fight. It’s never a boring night when it’s Puerto Rico vs. Mexico. It’s guaranteed to be a night of fireworks.

“I’m the best fighter that I can be and it’s an honor to be anywhere in the top three as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. To my team and to my country, I’m number one.

“August 29 is going to be nothing but fireworks. I always bring a great show and look great doing it. I think Paul and Woodley are going to have competition for best fight of the night.

“I wasn’t surprised the other featherweight champions didn’t want to fight me. We’ve been going after them for a while now. My goal is still to become undisputed and I hope we get those fights soon.”

YAMILETH MERCADO

“I’m very excited for this fight and thankful for this opportunity. I’m a new generation of fighter and I’m very blessed to be in this fight with Amanda. I wanted to compete at featherweight. I feel strong and I’m ready for this.

“I started my career in this weight class before going down, so I’m very happy to be back at this weight. I have no concerns about it.

“This is going to be a war. It’s going to be a fun night. We’re going to leave it all in the ring and the ladies are going to be stealing the show.”

STEPHEN ESPINOZA, President, Sports and Event Programming, Showtime Networks Inc.

“For over 35 years, SHOWTIME has been the network for high-quality, big-time combat sports events. From the most promising young prospects to boxing’s most accomplished champions, to quite literally the biggest pay-per-views in sports history, to the highest quality, most exciting MMA, we bring it all to you. Our current schedule is great proof of that. This Saturday, Jermell Charlo goes to make history by becoming the first undisputed four-belt champion in the super welterweight division against a very tough Brian Castaño. Next week, the 20th anniversary of ShoBox, the only series in boxing that identifies and develops young champions year after year. July 31, right here in LA at The Forum, BELLATOR’s biggest fight ever in Patricio Pitbull vs. AJ McKee for the Featherweight World Grand Prix Championship and the one-million-dollar bonus. That’s all in just the next three weeks.

“In just three fights, Jake Paul has become the talk of boxing and of combat sports. People ask me repeatedly, why did we become involved in this? The reality is, what Jake has done in his first three fights is unprecedented in combat sports. Nobody has generated this kind of attention in three fights. The commitment that Jake has made is that he respects the sport.  He takes it seriously and he is committed to fighting tougher opponents with each fight. And you see that. He is progressing with each fight and I promise you that will continue to happen going forward.

“We know exactly what to expect from Tyron Woodley. A Strikeforce fighter who appeared nine times on SHOWTIME. He’s a UFC Champion. Fourteen of his 19 wins were by TKO or submission. He is an elite combat sports athlete. This is an intriguing matchup. A true 50-50. If anybody tells you they know how this fight is going to go, they’re lying. This is the epitome of a 50-50 fight.

“We are going to surround the main event with high quality boxing matches. SHOWTIME is proud of its history in women’s combat sports, both boxing and MMA. We’ve had Amanda Serrano on SHOWTIME before and we’re proud to welcome her back to the network. She is without question one of the best pound-for-pound female fighters on the planet and possibly the best. She has her work cut out for her with Yamileth Mercado, a champion in her own right. She brings her own belt into this, and it’s another installment of the classic Puerto Rico vs. Mexico rivalry.

“This is not a novelty. This is not an exhibition. This is real boxing. This is a competitive sporting event and it is something that you should not miss.”

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Please Get Off Jake Paul’s Back – He Could Be Doing You a Favor

Posted on 07/13/2021

By Charles Jay 

Today’s message for all of the online boxing experts, fighters and “super-fans” out there:

Please get off Jake Paul‘s back. In fact, thank him for the favor he’s in the process of doing for you. 

ATLANTA, GEORGIA – APRIL 17: Jake Paul celebrates after defeating Ben Askren in their cruiserweight bout during Triller Fight Club at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on April 17, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images for Triller)

One of the nice things about being on a platform like Facebook, and having a lot of boxing “friends” there, is that it gives you a pretty good idea of what people in the business – and on the outskirts of the business – are thinking.

And a lot of these diehards are showing some “hate” for the Jake Paul money machine. 

But you know, in doing so, they’re showing a fundamental misinterpretation about the way this industry really works; in fact, a misunderstanding of the way it has ALWAYS worked.

For example, you will read about how there are guys who have devoted themselves to the sport and trained for years, maybe even fighting some “real” opponents. That makes them the real fighters. And because of that, those guys “deserve” to be making the money and not Jake Paul.

Well, not to be insensitive about it, but who cares?

No one. No one cares how many hours someone has invested at the gym. No one cares how dedicated anyone is. They really don’t. 

What matters is – and I guess I’m speaking to the fighters from this point – do you put asses in seats? Who wants to see you? Anybody? 

You see, this is professional boxing. Once you decided you wanted to take money from what you do, it became much less a sport and much more a business. And you have to think a little but more like a businessman.

If your attitude is that you do the fighting and the promoter does the promoting, and that’s all there is to it (e.g., “It’s not my job, man”), then you are conceding that someone else is going to be in control of your career. And that will, in turn, put you at the mercy of other people. 

Ultimately, fighters are independent contractors. They are marketable commodities, as impersonal as that may sound. They are, when it really comes down to it, in business for themselves. Therefore, self-promotion is highly RECOMMENDED. Often, you’ll get out of it what you put into it. 

Generally, the more people know about you, the more people are going to care about you. And the more they care about you, the more they are going to want to see you. 

That’s pretty simple logic, isn’t it?

And I don’t have to tell you that there are more outlets to connect directly with the public than ever before. 

When you’ve got enough people who know about you and have an interest in your career, you start to build leverage. And that gets us back around to Jake Paul.

With 20.5 million subscribers alone on YouTube, Jake Paul has leverage. 

In other words, he’s got exactly what you’d like to have, and what you can really capitalize from. So what’s the problem? 

And you notice what he’s doing with all that leverage, don’t you? If you really stop and think about it, he is doing all fighters and many promoters (generally of the “mid-level” variety) a potentially tremendous service.

Networks, not so much.

But that’s okay, because he is demonstrating that it’s possible, if one sees fit, to bypass the customary “gatekeepers” of boxing as it is presented in a pay-per-view format (or even otherwise) and proceed directly to the public, if you bring enough – and here is the word again, leverage – to the table. 

In his particular case, he began his trek through an association with the social media site Triller. As time progresses, undoubtedly other platforms, using performers or promoters who can bring their following with them, will get into the act. Some already have, to a certain degree. 

Now Jake has parlayed the Triller experience into a deal with Showtime, which will presumably take things to another level. It is a virtual guarantee that his arrangement with them is very favorable. 

Why? Because he’s got leverage. 

Oh, and because of his social media presence, his coverage in the mainstream press also increases – GREATLY. It’s like a snowball gathering strength downhill.

Whether it was intentional or not, Jake Paul is contributing to something that has the potential to change the game in boxing. 

If you’re a fighter, look upon his success as a model; a blueprint, if you will. That doesn’t mean you should feel like you’re failing if you don’t get 10 or 20 million followers on social media. You don’t have to operate on the same scale; this is YOUR following you’ll be developing. make it fit your own situation. The fundamentals are essentially the same. 

And remember that anything you can do to give yourself more bargaining power is a step forward. 

Jake Paul is slated for another fight – this one on Showtime – against Tyron Woodley for August 29. And so it is about that time that we will hear the boo birds come out again in criticism of the caliber of his opponents. 

That is a subject we’re going to explore soon enough.

This kid is worth more than one story. 

Whether you guys like it or not. 

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Press Conf Quotes: Manny Pacquiao and Errol Spence

Posted on 07/12/2021

Eight-division world champion and Philippine Senator Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao went face to face with unified WBC and IBF Welterweight World Champion Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. at press conference in Los Angeles Sunday as they previewed their blockbuster championship showdown that headlines a FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View Saturday, August 21 from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

The pay-per-view will begin at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT as Spence will look to earn a legacy-defining victory, while Pacquiao seeks one more monumental win to add to his first ballot Hall of Fame resume.

Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions, MP Promotions and Man Down Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased through t-mobilearena.com and axs.com.

Here is what the press conference participants had to say Sunday:

MANNY PACQUIAO

“There were a lot of opportunities for me to pick an easier fight than this. But I picked Errol Spence Jr. because I want a real fight and a great fight for the fans. I’m a fighter and boxing is my passion.

“Errol Spence Jr. is aggressive, young and undefeated. He’s dedicated to his career. This is definitely not an easy opponent. This is the kind of opponent you can never underestimate.

“It’s been a long time since I fought a southpaw opponent. We had to change some of our strategy compared to previous fights and we’ll throw some different combinations.

“I don’t think Errol needs advice from Floyd Mayweather. I believe that Errol is a better fighter than Mayweather. Errol can teach Floyd how to fight toe-to-toe.

“I don’t want to be overconfident, because Errol is too good of an opponent. His determination and passion for the sport is always there. When I say I’m going to do something, it’s real and from the heart, it’s not to impress anybody.

“I had started training in the last week of May in the Philippines. So when I got here to Los Angeles, I was just continuing what I was doing. It’s good for me to have the rest that I’ve had the last two years. I’ve been boxing since I was 12 years old until now. When I went back to training, I was still hungry and dedicated.

“I won’t predict another first round knockdown like I had against Thurman. I’m focusing my mind, body and spirit on winning the fight. That’s the only goal.

“This is one of the biggest challenges in my career. I can’t say it’s the biggest, because I’ve been fighting the best fighters in the world for years. But he’s right up there with anyone I’ve faced.

“I’ve been boxing for more than 25 careers as a pro. I think that I’ve seen every kind of style that’s out there.

“This is a one of a kind and prodigious fight. There’s going to be a lot of action in the ring. I’m so thankful for everyone who supports me and I’m happy to be in this position again fighting one of the best fighters in the world.”

ERROL SPENCE JR.

“This is a great opportunity. Coming off of my accident I went right to fighting Danny Garcia and now Pacquiao. A lot of people were in the Pacquiao sweepstakes. When I got the call about this fight, I agreed right away and didn’t give it a second thought.

“There aren’t that many southpaws in boxing, so you don’t usually spar that many. We’ve got a lot of guys in camp now who can fight that left-handed style. Obviously I can’t find someone who fights exactly like Manny, but you can find guys who can mimic the tempo and pace. So that’s who we’ve been working with.

“You can see that Manny is still an explosive fighter with great speed. We’ve been putting together a game plan and we’ve been working on implementing it. Come August 21, you’ll see it in the ring.

“Manny can lull you to sleep giving you compliments. But once the bell rings, he’s going to jump all over you.

“My chin since the accident has been tested in sparring and in the Danny Garcia fight. I imagine Manny is going to try to come in and test it as well.

“Just because he’s 42-years-old I don’t think it’s going to hurt him in training. He’s not blowing up in weight between fights and he’s not distracted. That’s why he’s been the same Manny Pacquiao for decades. I’m looking forward to the same Pacquiao who fought Keith Thurman and before that.

“Manny has a lot of tendencies, of course you’re going to see some things over the span of his whole career. When it’s time to buckle down, you know he’s the guy who’s going to fight. It can be a pro or a con, but he’s going to make it a fan-friendly fight.

“I don’t see myself ever getting knocked out. I just don’t see it. We’re going to be mindful that he has power. He knocked down Thurman and hurt him with a body shot. We’ll keep that in mind. But I’m not thinking about if he can knock me out.

“I have the ability to finish Pacquiao. For me though, I’m focused on winning the fight. If you rush and go for the knockout, you either look sloppy or something goes wrong. I have to fight my fight and at my pace. If the knockout comes, I’ll go for it.

“This is going to be a great fight. Pacquiao is going to bring it like he always does, but I’m definitely going to come through with the victory.”

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Press Release: Jake Paul to take on Tyron Woodley Aug 29 in Cleveland

Posted on 07/12/2021

LOS ANGELES (July 12, 2021) – Global superstar and professional boxer Jake “The Problem Child” Paul will take on the toughest test of his burgeoning boxing career when he squares off against former UFC champion Tyron “The Chosen One” Woodley in the main event of a professional boxing event on Sunday, August 29 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, Ohio, live on SHOWTIME PPV.

After dominating the first three opponents of his professional boxing career, Paul continues to step-up the caliber of his competition against Woodley, a decorated mixed martial arts champion and striking specialist who held the UFC title from 2016 to 2019. On Sunday, August 29, Paul will look to thrill his legions of fans and silence his critics in front of his hometown Cleveland crowd in the eight-round cruiserweight main event, which will be contested at a 190-pound catchweight.

Paul and Woodley will go face-to-face at a press conference in Los Angeles on Tuesday to preview their highly anticipated showdown. The press conference will stream live on the SHOWTIME Sports YouTube channel and Jake Paul’s YouTube channel.

The special Sunday night event is produced and presented by Most Valuable Promotions and SHOWTIME PPV. The pay-per-view telecast, which begins live at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT is produced and distributed by SHOWTIME PPV. It will feature an undercard complete with high-stakes, professional boxing showdowns including Puerto Rican star and WBC/WBO Featherweight World Champion Amanda “The Real Deal” Serrano defending her titles against super bantamweight world champion Yamileth Mercado.

Barstool Sportsbook is The Official Sports Betting Partner for the event, in a unique, fully integrated partnership.

Tickets for the live event will be available for purchase on Friday, July 22, at RocketMortgageFieldHouse.com.

The 24-year-old Paul (3-0, 3 KOs) is a world-renowned content creator. He began his professional boxing journey in January 2020 and has proven to be an influential participant in the sport’s landscape with his outsized personality and quickly developing skill set. The Cleveland-native is fighting out of Puerto Rico under the eye of former pro boxing contender B.J. Flores, who has been training Jake from his first professional fight. After knocking out YouTube star AnEsonGib and former NBA star Nate Robinson in his first two outings, Paul made quick work of former MMA champion Ben Askren in April with a first-round knockout. With the win over Askren, Paul notched his first victory over a seasoned professional fighter and now takes on an even bigger challenge in Woodley.

“I grew up going to Cavs, Browns and Indians games on the weekends, dreaming as a little kid of one day being in a position to put on a show for my hometown like they did,” said Paul. “On August 29, that dream comes true. My biggest challenge to date, in front of the city that made me, on pay per view for the world to see me knockout a UFC champion. I’m also thrilled to have Amanda Serrano on this card. She stands out as the most prolific KO artist in women’s boxing. What a night this is going to be!”

Fighting out of St. Louis, Missouri, Woodley (19-7-1 MMA record) has a storied career in combat sports. He became UFC champion in July 2016, defeating Robbie Lawler in the first round, and went on to defend his title successfully four times. Before competing in the UFC, Woodley fought in the Strikeforce MMA promotion on SHOWTIME and compiled an 8-1 record from 2009 through 2012. Widely considered one of the most dangerous punchers in UFC history, Woodley earned 14 of his 19 wins by way of TKO or submission.

“I’m a grown ass man,” said Woodley. “I don’t play games with kids. They brought me in to take the trash out. You’re welcome!”

Serrano is the most decorated fighter in women’s boxing history with a professional record of 40-1-1 with 30 knockouts. She was born in Puerto Rico and raised in Brooklyn, New York, where she trains alongside her sister, former featherweight champion Cindy Serrano. The 32-year-old has won titles in every division between 115 and 140 pounds, earning belts in those two divisions just four months apart with fights in September 2018 and January 2019. Serrano won her WBC and WBO featherweight world championship belts in a high-profile showdown against Heather Hardy in 2019 and most recently she defended her titles with a knockout win over three-division world champion Daniela Bermudez in March. 

Chihuaha, Mexico’s Mercado (18-2, 5 KOs) has held the super bantamweight title since November 2019 and will look to become a two-division champion on August 29 when she challenges Serrano. The 23-year-old won the title via unanimous decision over Fatuma Zarika, avenging a previous defeat to Zarika in Mercado’s first attempt at the championship. Mercado rides a six-fight winning streak into this showdown, including victories over Julissa Guzman and previously unbeaten Angelica Rascon in 2021.

This is the first live sporting event co-produced by Jake Paul’s Most Valuable Promotions. Jake Paul and Nakisa Bidarian will be Executive Producers of the event.

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The Pros and Cons of Internet Personalities Cashing in on the Boxing Hype Train

Posted on 06/04/2021

By Matt Gerovac

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve seen the hype. Internet personalities are taking the boxing world by storm, making millions of dollars on a sport where it typically takes fighters years of sweat equity to make the same type of money, if they’re lucky. Boxing traditionalists are nauseated by the relative instant success, while others have a more forward-thinking attitude. As an amateur fighter and trainer myself, I have mixed feelings about it. So, I think the best way to process all the information on my social media feeds is to simply list the pros and cons of this phenomenon and leave the judgement to the judgemental. 

PROS 

  1. It’s bringing new fans to the sport of boxing. I’ve noticed that a lot of new people are getting interested in boxing, coming to the gym, learning about boxing, and talking about it more. This is all great news for the sport that I love. 
  2. It shows that there are levels to this game. Even to the untrained eye of the casual boxing fan, it should be obvious that these internet personalities are low-level fighters. Many of them are not terrible, but they’re certainly not world class. If casual fans take the time to watch the real boxers on the undercards, they’ll notice a difference in the technique, cardio, and ring generalship. Even if a fraction of those same casuals stay interested in real boxing and improve their knowledge, it’s a win for the sport. 
  3. To true fans and fighters, it reiterates the importance of good matchmaking. These internet personalities have teams of people – trainers, advisors, coaches, and real fighters that don’t want to put them in real danger. It’s about maximizing the reward while taking minimal risks. This happens in real boxing as well (yes, I said it. REAL BOXING). The promoters want to bring their fighters up slowly, pad their records, and put them in a position where they can win belts and make as much money as possible while taking as little damage as possible. This may never be more evident than in the matches these internet personalities have found themselves in. 

CONS

  1. Real fight fans are getting tired of hearing about it. True fans of boxing, those that know a bit about the fight game or are in the business themselves, are getting fed up with the circus. Granted, there is a bit of hype involved with any fight. Even the fighters themselves have been known to trump up their disdain for their opponents to help “sell a fight.” But the internet personalities are masters of hype. They, somehow, created hype out of nothing, so making a fight interesting is relatively easy. The result is an incredibly hyperbolic lead-up to a fight that usually ends up being a foregone conclusion. 
  2. It takes away from the legitimacy of an already suspect industry. The fight game has a history of shady business dealings, so this is certainly not helping its reputation. It’s not called “The Hurt Business” because of the obvious. With feuding promoters, the alphabet soup of belts, and allegations of PED’s to name a few of the recurring issues in professional boxing, the last thing this sport needs is more uncertainty. 
  3. By buying these fights on pay per view, we’re padding the pockets of people that haven’t taken the real steps to earn it. Even if these internet personalities are putting in the work now, it’s a fraction of the time and sweat equity it typically takes for a young fighter to build their name and make a real career out of prize fighting. If we continue to buy these fights, we’re a part of the problem. 
  4. Why pay big money to watch a predictable fight? As I mentioned before, matchmakers know what they’re doing. But just as much as I’d love to see Errol Spence fight Terrence Crawford, I couldn’t care less about who these internet personalities set up to fall down as they continue to get richer.

The bottom line is these internet personalities are certainly bringing more fans to the sport of boxing. But at what cost? I think it’s important that the real fight fans, coaches, and fighters have patience with the tourists of our sport. If you know something about boxing, take the time to explain it to those that don’t. If I’m not training myself or someone else, I love jumping in on conversations about boxing and dropping a little knowledge without coming off as a know-it-all. As a trainer, I’ve been cashing in myself on the sport’s recent upswing in popularity, so I can’t rightfully complain.

I also want to make sure I mention the fact that I did not once utter any of these internet personalities’ names in this article. My feed is already slammed with all this junk and I think we, the fighters, trainers, and true fight fans, should post and repost information about the fighters grinding it out on the heavy bags right next to us, rather than these relative tourists bankrolling on the general public’s lack of real boxing knowledge.

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Six Team USA Boxers Punch Ticket to Olympic Games Tokyo 2020

Posted on 05/12/2021

 The Boxing Task Force (BTF) announced today the 49 quota places, originally to be awarded at the Road to Tokyo Americas Qualifier, that were awarded to boxers to compete in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 this summer. The quota places included six Team USA boxers, which was based off the BTF Rankings.

“These six boxers have been staples within our program and have established themselves amongst the world’s best by their performances during the past quad,” stated USA Boxing High Performance Director Matt Johnson. “Now it is time for them to perform at the world’s biggest stage in Tokyo.”

Representing Team USA at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, pending United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee approval, will be Rashida Ellis (Lynn, Mass.) Virginia Fuchs (Houston, Texas), Naomi Graham (Fayetteville, N.C.), Delante Johnson (Cleveland, Ohio), Oshae Jones (Toledo, Ohio) and Richard Torrez Jr. (Tulare, Calif.). All six boxers will be competing in their first Olympic Games.

2019 Elite Women’s World Championships bronze medalist Ellis will compete in the women’s lightweight (132 lbs./60 kg) division. Ellis won bronze at the 2019 Pan American Games to add to her BTF rankings to solidify her position in Tokyo as the second highest ranked America’s boxer and 12th overall in her weight class. Ellis will be looking to win Team USA’s first women’s lightweight Olympic medal.

“Qualifying for the Olympics has been one of my deepest dreams,” mentioned Ellis. “I never doubt my ability. I have stopped being afraid of what could go wrong and start being excited about what could go right. So, I embrace my mistakes and learn from them, as my mistakes have helped me improve and reach the Olympics. I don’t do easy; I make things happen. The hard work and dedication with effort and determination, I can succeed.”
Fuchs will represent Team USA in the flyweight division (112 lbs./51 kg). The 33-year-old will be looking to earn USA Boxing its second medal in the women’s flyweight division since the introduction of the event in London 2012. Fuchs brings an impressive resume to the ring, including a bronze medal at the 2018 Elite Women’s World Championships and silver medal from the 2019 Pan American Games, which places her as the second highest America’s flyweight boxer and 16th overall in the BTF rankings.

“I have been waiting for this moment for a very long time. I am so excited I can finally call myself an Olympian,” stated Fuchs. “With all this world has been through and having to postpone the Olympics a whole year, I am proud to say I am one of the participants in what will be known as the most recognized Olympics in history. I am ready to represent my country in the most respected way and bring home the gold!”

2019 Pan American Games Graham is the highest seeded America’s female middleweight (165 lbs./75 kg) boxer in the BTF rankings, where she currently sits eighth overall. Graham earned points from her Pan American Games title, as well as her third-place finish at the 2018 Elite Women’s World Championships and top five finish at the 2019 edition. Graham, who will become USA Boxing’s first active female military member to compete in an Olympic Games, will be in contention to grab Team USA’s third straight Olympic gold medal in the women’s middleweight division.

“It feels unreal that I am going to the Olympics,” Graham stated when talking about earning her place to Tokyo. “I continue to surprise myself by finding my own limits, and then having the courage to blow past them.”
Jones will step into the ring in one of the two newly added women’s weight classes, the welterweight (152 lbs./69 kg) division. Jones, who made history in 2019 with her gold medal performance at the Pan American Games, will look to continue making history by becoming the first Olympic gold medalists in her weight division. The 23-year-old added valuable points to her rankings with her top five placement at the 2019 Elite Women’s World Championships to finish as the top America’s boxer and seventh in the overall BTF rankings for the welterweight division to punch her ticket to the Olympics.

“I may only take up one spot, but my one spot represents so much,” shared Jones. “I’m beyond grateful for the chance to represent women, African Americans, my small city of Toledo, but most importantly, my country.”
The second Ohioan to represent Team USA, Johnson, extends the streak of Cleveland-native boxing Olympians to four, following in the footsteps of Charles Conwell (2016), Terrell Gausha (2012) and Raynell Williams (2008). The welterweight (152 lbs./69 kg), who first caught the attention of the boxing world with his gold medal performance at the 2016 Youth World Championships, earned his ranking points through his bronze medal finish at the 2019 Pan American Games and top 16 placement at the 2019 Elite World Championships. Johnson was the third highest seeded America’s boxer and 19th overall.

“My struggles are my stripes, and I wear them on my back, so that the people around me can see that even when you’re living in a jungle, you can still chase your dreams,” stated Johnson. “I am not only doing this for my city, but for my two coaches, Dante Benjamin Sr. and Clint Martin, whom I lost during my journey to these Games.”

Torrez, the highest ranked super heavyweight (201+ lbs./91+ kg) boxer from the Americas and 11th overall, earned his place through his third-place performance at the 2019 Pan American Games and top five standing at that year’s Elite Men’s World Championships. Torrez, a former Youth World Championships bronze medalist, will be the first American boxer to compete in this weight class since 2012.

“Everyone is happy they’re going to the Olympics, it’s everyone’s dream, but I need to be there,” said Torrez. “The fire that was instilled in me before I could even walk, that drives me to be the best, the fire that has been in my family for generations, has overflowed. It has set ablaze all my second options, and it has made ashes of any other possibility besides that of success.”

Team USA will be guided by USA Boxing National Head Coach Billy Walshduring these Olympic Games.

“It is fantastic news for our six boxers who have worked endlessly for the past five years to become an Olympian, “ Walsh shared. “We now focus on the next stage of the process, to become an Olympic Champion.”
The boxing competition will begin on Saturday, July 24th (JST). Continue to check usaboxing.org and USA Boxing’s social media platforms to stay updated on more information regarding the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
All team nominations are subject to USOPC approval.

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Legendary Boxer and Former World Heavyweight Champion Leon Spinks Dies

Posted on 02/06/2021

Former World Heavyweight Champion Leon Spinks, Jr. lost his five-year battle with prostate and other cancers, at the age of 67 on Friday, Feb. 5 at 8:15 p.m. At the time of his passing his wife Brenda Glur Spinks was by his side. Due to COVID restrictions, only a few close friends and other family were present. 

Leon fought his battle with numerous illnesses resiliently, never losing his trademark smile. Showing true Spinks determination, he never threw in the towel. 

Leon will be remembered as a beloved husband, father and brother. Leon served our country in the United States Marine Corps, who he proudly represented when he won a Gold Medal in the Montreal Olympics in 1976. But Leon truly cemented his place in history on February 15, 1978, in Las Vegas, Nevada, when he shocked the world by beating Muhammed Ali, to become the undisputed World Heavyweight Boxing champion Leon entered that fight with only seven prior professional fights, weighing only 197 pounds and being outweighed by over 25 pounds. Leon fought 72 professional fights, winning 46 of them.

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The Perfect Opportunity: Keith Thurman vs. Kell Brook?

Posted on 09/08/2020

By: Kirk Jackson

Exiting the scorching months of the summer and entering the fall, the recent talk of significant welterweight match-ups in the making, features the combination of talents ranging from current WBO welterweight champion Terence “Bud” Crawford (36-0, 27 KO’s), former unified WBC and WBA welterweight champion Keith “One Time” Thurman (29-1, 22 KO’s) and former IBF welterweight champion, Kell Brook (39-2, 27 KO’s), also known as “Special K” or simply “The Special One.”

As of last Friday, there are talks or at least the beginning stages of negotiation between Crawford and Brook. Reportedly, an offer of 1.5 million was offered to Team Brook, for a fight against Crawford to take place at some point later in year.

Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn recently revealed he’s aligning Brook to face the three-division champion Crawford.

“I had a couple of conversations with Bob Arum and Top Rank VP of operations, Carl Moretti yesterday. And I feel that’s a big fight for UK TV, so we’re trying to help out and get that over the line,” Hearn told IFL TV.

“I would love to see Kell get that fight. I think Top Rank had a conversation with Keith Thurman and obviously they wanted too much money. It’s difficult at the moment. Crawford wants a lot of money and Kell wants a lot of money. He deserves it. We’re trying to make that fight happen to assist Top Rank in getting the numbers together.”

But preceding this negotiation, were talks of Crawford potentially facing Thurman. Prior to that, there were discussions of Thurman facing Brook.

“Thurman’s people got in touch with me, but they’re out to lunch,” Top Rank promoter Bob Arum told BoxingScene.com. “They have such crazy expectations that just don’t exist anymore. Their money demands are crazy. They said they were free agents, which I’m sure they are. But again, who’s gonna pay what they’re looking for?”

However, Arum didn’t disclose the dollar amount Thurman’s representative requested, nor identify who contacted him on Thurman’s behalf. Thurman in recent interviews talked about potentially facing Crawford in the near future, but never mentioned a price tag.

Thurman is likely to return and headline a FOX broadcast later this year in December, albeit his opponent has yet to be determined.

Crawford for his part, spoke on the potential fight with Thurman in a recent interview.

“You don’t know what you want to do,” said Crawford. “Because if a contract was sent to Keith Thurman, he would find a way out. So, stop playing with my name. You’re a guy who just cries wolf.”

Thurman’s retort however, conveys the opposite of what Arum and Crawford insinuate about Thurman regarding a potential showdown between the pair.

“Right now, I want [Terence] Crawford more now, man,” Thurman stated. “He got under my skin. Errol [Spence]? That’s a timeline issue. I know how the game works. We got the same manager. That’s a timeline issue. This Crawford dude? Send a contract, bro. Tell ESPN to send some zeroes my way. They know an appropriate number. I sign on the dotted line.”

“Don’t act like I run from you. You never got respect in the game anyway at 147. You ain’t pushed the buttons at 147. You ain’t touched Shawn Porter. You ain’t touched Thurman. You ain’t touched [Danny] Garcia. You ain’t touched Spence. I’m gonna run out of fingers! I can name all my opponents you ain’t touched. I’m gonna run out of fingers, boy! Stop it, just stop it!”

Question is, why can’t Arum and company negotiate a price tag with Thurman, if the demand is that high? Negotiate with Team Thurman, like the negotiations that took place with Team Amir Khan last year.

Unless of course, a fight against Thurman is not what Arum and company truly want. Arum and Crawford for that matter, have their sights set on current WBA champion Manny Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KO’s). But with representation on behalf of Pacquiao mentioning he’ll be on the shelf for the duration of 2020, “Bud” has to set his sights elsewhere.

However within this current welterweight mix-up, exists a pairing that makes perfect sense for each participant. 

Focusing on that pairing; featuring Thurman versus Brook, makes the most sense for both fighters.

For Brook, his last three opponents since losing his IBF welterweight title to Errol Spence Jr. in May 2017, are Sergey Rabchenko, Michael Zerafa in March and December of 2018 respectively, along with Mark DeLuca in February of this year.

Nice string of comeback fights to work out the ring rust, to build confidence and tread towards the path back to the top again.

Brook is searching for that signature fight and payday before calling it quits on a pretty solid career. As mentioned in his interview with IFL TV, he wants either Thurman or Crawford and the former unified WBA and WBC champion provide Brook with what he is seeking.

Expanding on the signature fight, and more importantly the signature win aspect, Brook’s biggest fights to date were against Shawn Porter, Gennady Golovkin and Errol Spence. After securing victory in a close fight against Porter to win his world title, Brook suffered technical knockout defeats against Golovkin (In a bid for middleweight world titles) and Spence (Losing his IBF world title).

Brook has staked claim in wanting more. He wants to be known for something greater and if that’s the case, he will chase another signature win against another high-level opponent.

“Making 147 (lbs.) is something Terence [Crawford] and all these American fighters seem to love to ask me to do when it’s put on their toes: ‘Would you fight Kell Brook?’ Tell Kell Brook to make weight,’” Brook said. “It’s fine though. It shows me they respect my ability and take some sort of comfort from convincing themselves it might not happen.”

“I boxed in February. I’ve been ticking over during lockdown and I’m back in the boxing gym training. By the fall time, I’ll be more than ready, I will make the weight. Then I’ll make the wait worthwhile!”

Concentrating on Thurman, who commands strong standing and a high measure of star power amongst his contemporaries. For Thurman, suffering defeat in a closely contested championship bout against a future Hall of Famer doesn’t lower his stock. Especially considering he was exhilarating in defeat.

Any fight featuring Thurman will be on network television like FOX and will be a headliner event. Meaning, there will be a ton of promotion, high viewership and great revenue earning opportunities. If Brook is to secure a bout with Thurman and emerge victorious, that places him in great position for an even bigger fight.

It’s important to state, a hypothetical victory for Brook over Thurman would also be his biggest win to date. Due to certain variables, the fight against Thurman may be Brook’s best chance for a win against high-level and highly acclaimed opposition.

One of those variables, is Thurman’s history of injuries. Dating back to July of 2015, Thurman has only competed five times. But like “One Time,” “The Special One” has his history of unfortunate injuries.

According to his own testimony, Thurman was injured in most of his recent fights. The mental aspect of recovery and rehabilitation is a battle in itself, a battle Brook shares.

“It’s hard for someone to show me an opportunity and watch me say no,” said Thurman. “I could maybe take a tune-up. But I like great fights and significant challenges. Whoever, I fight, I know there’s going to be a following. I want to make it worth my while. Those training camps are not easy. I want my opponent to be worthy of all the pain and suffering that is involved in the whole event for it to be really worthwhile.”

What would be the incentive for Thurman to fight Brook?

Brook is a name, a former champion and a fighter with a following. Brook has the support of the United Kingdom. They have interesting styles, contrasting styles but share many traits in common. It can be argued both are entering the back-end of their professional careers and plotting for pivotal standing in a loaded division at welterweight.

Based on the quote from Thurman, Brook represents what he is seeking. They both bring great intangibles to the table and can mutually benefit from facing one another.

Fans and critics alike question if Thurman still has it and wonder if he can return to the same form that he had when capturing the WBC and WBA welterweight titles? What better way to begin his comeback trail than against a fighter in a similar position?  

Another facet to consider, a common link the two share is Errol Spence. Many observers believe Thurman visibly ducked Spence for several years, while Brook was the first active champion at the time, to provide Spence an opportunity for the world title, as Spence worked his way up to mandatory challenger. Thurman in fact told Spence to acquire a world title or two first, before he would grant that opportunity.

In recent months, Thurman claimed desires of wanting to fight Spence, while Brook has maintained his yearning for a rematch ever since losing to the Texan back in 2017. If Thurman faces and defeats Brook, that may place him in position for Spence, as they’ll then share another common opponent. For Brook of course, if he were to win the hypothetical, keeps him in the sweepstakes for a rematch.

An added benefit for “One Time” by facing Brook, is he keeps other unfavorable options on the back burner.

Thurman is a highly sought out target and may find himself fighting off a bevy of would be challengers. The aforementioned Spence was always a name pursing a clash against Thurman, Porter is seeking the rematch and Garcia stated he would like a rematch at some point as well. The Clearwater native may not be ready for those bouts when he returns in December.

There is also a crop of young talent, itching at the opportunity to get a crack at Thurman. Jaron Ennis (25-0, 23 KO’s), who fights September 19 and Vergil Ortiz (16-0 16 KO’s), fresh off his victory last month over veteran Samuel Vargas.

While Thurman would be favored in any of those match-ups, or even in other bouts against Yordenis Ugas, Egidijus Kavaliauskas, Jessie Vargas, Sergey Lipnets, Ray Robinson, etc., the risk may not warrant the potential reward. Especially if the end goal is to get the rematch against Pacquiao, or the eventual fight against Spence. Adrien Broner and Mikey Garcia would be exceptions to that rule.

For Thurman, especially if he secures the December date, not only prolongs talks of  bouts against any of the aforementioned fighters, but a win and spectacular victory at that (Hopefully injury-free) over Brook leaves him with an opportunity for a larger scale fight against some of the bigger names once the welterweight schedule clears up.

Much is at stake for Thurman and Brook, but each fighter has the opportunity to make the best of this proposed scenario and this is a great opportunity for both parties.

Will it still be KO’s for life and are chocolate brownies on the menu?

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Three Takeaways: Why Top Rank is Missing an Opportunity with Clay Collard

Posted on 08/26/2020

By: Jonah Dylan

Massive knockouts, overmatched challengers and surprising upsets: this weekend might have been all over the place, but it had a lot of high-level boxing. Matchroom had its fight camp finale, plus there were important cards from ESPN+ and Fox. The biggest fight of the weekend was Alexander Povetkin’scome from behind demolition of Dillian Whyte, but we’ll start with one of boxing’s hottest names in Clay Collard.

Photo Credit: Clay Collard Twitter Account

1. Clay Collard is a treasure because he’s unique. Top Rank doesn’t seem interested in treating him that way.

Ok, hear me out. I love Clay Collard as much as the next guy. The former UFC fighter came out of nowhere in 2020, somehow racking up a 5-0 record that casually has him near the top of the Fighter of the Year running. He’s clearly willing to fight anyone, anywhere, anytime, and that’s the reason boxing fans are so excited by him.

But here’s the problem: Collard rose to this level of notoriety because of how his career started. Collard was essentially taking a break from MMA and knew his quickest path to big boxing fights was to fight undefeated prospects who would be garnering significant attention by fans and promoters. His first five opponents had a combined one loss and he went 1-1-3 against them. He seemed destined to be a professional opponent.

Then he started winning. He won five of his next six fights, all against legit prospects. He ended up on a Top Rank card in June and shocked then-undefeated prospect David Kaminsky by split decision. It was the first time most boxing fans had seen Collard fight, and they started to connect with his story and fighting style.

That brings me to the problem. After his win over Kaminsky, Top Rank got a hold of Collard and clearly saw what he brought to the table by himself. Instead of matching him with more prospects, they decided to treat him like the prospect, matching him very easy for his next two fights.

I get why this is the usual roadmap for prospects. You want to match them easy, then slowly build their level of competition as they learn and develop their skills. It makes sense and it has a track record of working for fighters across the world. But Collard isn’t just another prospect. He’s the prospect-killer, and he brings something to the table that most other fighters don’t.

So stop giving him easy fights! Rob Brant fought on Saturday’s Top Rank card and has no clear opponent at 160 pounds. Why can’t he fight Collard? How about Collard against Edgar Berlanga? And those are just a few Top Rank names. Literally any prospect at middleweight? Throw him in with Collard and see what happens.

Collard developed his reputation by only taking tough fights and consistently earning upset wins. Let’s allow him to keep doing it.

2. Katie Taylor-Delfine Persoon 100 would probably look pretty similar to Taylor-Persoon 2

The war between Taylor and Persoon went pretty much exactly as expected. Persoon did what she does, which is march forward and throw shots without really paying attention to if they’re landing cleanly. Taylor used her boxing ability to land cleaner punches and try to move away from Persoon, but she got drawn into the war on more than one occasion. It was a brutal fight, and Taylor’s win was certainly fair.

It could’ve gone either way, just like their first fight. Their next fight would probably go the same way. And to be honest, I’m more interested in Taylor-Persoon 3 than a lot of the fights that might be out there for her.

Taylor could fight Jessica McCaskill in what would be a significant fight and one that McCaskill has definitely earned. But Taylor already beat McCaskill in a lopsided contest and I’m not sure the rematch would go much differently. There’s some chatter about a superfight with Claressa Shields at 147 pounds, but I’ll believe that when I see it.

The fight to make is Katie Taylor-Amanda Serrano. It was supposed to happen in May, then August, then it fell apart because of promotional issues between Eddie Hearn and Lou DiBella that seem to be pretty significant. While it didn’t work out last time, now is the time to try one more time. It’s the biggest fight in women’s boxing and while Taylor would be the favorite, Serrano is more than capable of beating her.

3. Ok, so maybe we doubted Alexander Povetkin a little too much

In retrospect, Povektin had been pretty consistent over the last few years. He had his moments against Anthony Joshua, then dominated Hughie Fury and put up a really solid performance in a draw with Michael Hunter. He had every opportunity to compete with Dillian Whyte, and, well, that’s exactly what he did.

Povetkin was getting beat down before he uprooted everything with a nasty uppercut that left Whyte out cold. Whyte had a rematch clause and seems likely to exercise it, so we’ll see them back in the ring sometime in the near future.

The next fight will be very dangerous for Whyte. If he wins, he can get back on track the way Anthony Joshua did after his knockout loss to Andy Ruiz. Whyte has the benefit of being able to say he was clearly winning the fight before Povetkin landed the uppercut, and there’s no reason he can’t outbox or even knock out Povetkin in the rematch.

For Povetkin, even at 40, a second win against Whyte will set him up for yet another massive payday. His name recognition will shoot up after this win, especially with the highlight video in hand to help sell any fight he takes down the road. It’s clear, as it’s always been, that anything can happen in the heavyweight division. 

Follow me on Twitter @TheJonahDylan

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Chicago’s Jessica McCaskill is the New Face in Women’s Boxing

Posted on 08/21/2020

By: Rich Lopez

This past weekend in boxing, there was a passing of the torch. The highlight of this weekend was in the women’s welterweight division. Jessica “CasKILLA” McCaskill (9-2, 3 KO’s) of Chicago, defeated Cecilia “First Lady” Braekhus (36-1, 9 KO’s) of Norway.

It has been a long journey for McCaskill since the beginning of her career up until now. McCaskill, is a two-time Golden Gloves winner. She made big waves in boxing in her first title shot in 2017. In her seventh professional bout, she challenged the undefeated Katie Taylor over in London. McCaskill came up short in the fight and lost a unanimous decision, but gave the undefeated Taylor all she could handle. Due to her effort, McCaskill was given another opportunity at a title shot in her hometown of Chicago in 2018. McCaskill moved up to the super lightweight division and challenged Argentina’s Erica Anabella Farias for the WBC title. McCaskill made the most of this opportunity and won a ten round unanimous decision to win the world title. McCaskill had a phenomenal 2019. She added the WBA title in a unification bout by defeating Anahi Sanchez. Then she defeated Erica Anabella Farias in a rematch to end the year.

McCaskill is true fighter and has overcame all obstacles. She was once homeless in her childhood and she got through that. In suffering an early defeat in her career, she was able to become a world ranked fighter. After her loss to Katie Taylor, she became a world champion. Now, she is a two weight world champion. Her opponent this past Saturday was considered the best female fighter in the game today. Cecilia Braekhus had been a world champion for an astonishing eleven years and the undisputed welterweight champion for six years.  

Despite being a 5 to 1 underdog, McCaskill solved the puzzle and defeated Braekhus. McCaskill along with her trainer Rick Ramos had a good game plan and they executed the plan. Throughout ten rounds, it was a tough competitive fight from start to finish. Both fighters had their moments in the fight. At the end, the scores were 95-95, 97-93, and 97-94 in favor of McCaskill by majority decision. There was some complaints of the scoring but it was not a robbery. If some fans thought Braekhus won the fight, it would have been a close one. No matter how you felt about the scoring, McCaskill fought her fight. McCaskill was the aggressor and the busier of the two fighters. Even when the two fighters clinched, McCaskill would punch in the inside and work her way out. She took advantage to rough Braekhus up. Braekhus was forced to slug it out with McCaskill and she was not able to keep her distance from the outside as usual. The judges ended up favoring the busy work rate of McCaskill. At the end, both fighters embraced each other and are true class acts.

It has been quite some time since we had a world champion from Chicago, but McCaskill has filled that void now. Not only did she become the Undisputed Welterweight Champion but she is now considered one the best female fighters pound for pound.

Simply put, the win was one of the best accomplishments in women’s boxing. Jessica McCaskill is the new face in women’s boxing.

What’s next for McCaskill?

A rematch between McCaskill and Braekhus could happen or maybe a rematch with Katie Taylor. For now, she can enjoy the moment of being the Undisputed Welterweight Champion. We look forward to her next fight on her incredible journey.

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