Boxing Insider Notebook: Garcia, Porter, Beltran, Pedraza, Taylor, Roach, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of July 17th to July 24th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Photo Credit: Miguel Rocha/Melissa Cervera/Luzairem Torres
Garcia and Porter Set to Battle for Vacant Welterweight Title
Welterweight stars and former 147-pound titleholders Danny “Swift” Garcia and “Showtime” Shawn Porter will square off for the vacant WBC Welterweight World Championship live on SHOWTIME Saturday, September 8 in a Premier Boxing Champions event from Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING™.
The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® main event (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) will pit two of the division’s biggest names against each other, as the former unified 140-pound champion and former WBC welterweight titleholder Garcia meets the hard-charging fan favorite and former welterweight champion Porter. The consensus top-5 ranked welterweights face off for the WBC belt vacated by Keith Thurman as he rehabs from an elbow surgery.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions and DiBella Entertainment, in association with DSG Promotions, start at $50 and go on sale Thursday, July 26 at 10 a.m. Tickets can be purchased at ticketmaster.com, barclayscenter.com, or by calling 800-745-3000. Tickets can also be purchased at the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center starting Friday, July 27 at noon. Group discounts are available by calling 844-BKLYN-GP.
“I’m excited and motivated to go in there and recapture what’s mine,” said Garcia. “The WBC title belongs to me. Come September 8, I’m going to prove that I’m the best fighter in the world. My loss is behind me and it’s given me a chip on my shoulder to run that extra mile and train even harder. I know that Shawn Porter is not on my level. I’m coming to fight him in the middle of the ring and I’m going to beat him at his game.”
“I’m going to force Danny Garcia to fight me, to be uncomfortable and to do things he’s not used to doing in a fight,” said Porter. “If Danny comes in being defensive and trying to hold, it may last a while. But if he comes and tries to trade with me and prove something to himself, then it will end fast. I think my style will give him problems and not allow him to pace himself. This is going to be an instant classic and I’m going to win and become champion once again.”
Garcia (34-1, 20 KOs) has fought and defeated many of the most formidable opponents at 140 and 147-pounds spanning two generations-Erik Morales, Zab Judah, Kendall Holt, Amir Khan, Lucas Matthysse, Paulie Malignaggi and Lamont Peterson among them. Five of his six opponents in the welterweight division were world champions and 11 of his last 15 opponents were world champions or former world champions.
Representing the fighting city of Philadelphia, Garcia has made Brooklyn another home base, drawing big crowds in six fights since the arena opened in 2012 including his triumphs over Morales, Judah, Peterson and Malignaggi and a narrow decision loss to Keith Thurman in a blockbuster world title unification that aired on CBS. The 30-year-old put himself into position to earn back his WBC belt with a highlight-reel knockout of Brandon Rios in a title eliminator February on SHOWTIME.
Porter (28-2-1, 17 KOs) owns victories over four-division champion Adrien Broner and two-division champion Paulie Malignaggi over a career that has seen him develop a reputation as one of the sport’s most reliable all-action attractions. He lost a narrow decision to unified welterweight champion Keith Thurman in a 2016 Fight of the Year candidate in Brooklyn but rebounded with two victories last year at Barclays Center. He scored a TKO victory against former welterweight champion Andre Berto in a welterweight title eliminator and followed it up with a 12-round decision over Adrian Granados.
The 30-year-old Porter, who was born in Akron, Ohio and now lives in Las Vegas, will fight at Barclays Center for the fifth time on September 8, including his title-winning performance against Devon Alexander that earned him the IBF title in 2013.
“Danny Garcia vs. Shawn Porter will be an action-packed, can’t-miss brawl,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. “This hugely important matchup is between two of the best welterweights in the world and pressure fighters with pleasing styles. Both Garcia and Porter have shined in memorable battles at Barclays Center and September 8 will be a tremendous night for boxing.”
“Danny Garcia against Shawn Porter in a welterweight title fight is a throwback to the era when you had Thomas Hearns battling Roberto Duran,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “Their styles are tailor-made to create action in the ring. Porter comes forward and throws punches in bunches and Garcia doesn’t back up for anyone. This one will be decided in the center of the ring like all the great welterweight championship matches.”
“In 2018 SHOWTIME has delivered the biggest and most meaningful matchups in boxing, and Garcia vs. Porter is no exception,” said Stephen Espinoza, President, Sports & Event Programming, Showtime Networks Inc. “This will be our sixth fight this year featuring consensus top-10 welterweights, an unrivaled offering of elite fighters in boxing’s glamour division. Danny and Shawn have fought a combined 20 times on SHOWTIME and, along the way, have earned reputations as fighters who never back down from a challenge. I know they are both eager to earn another world title and send a statement to the other champions in the welterweight division.”
“I am pleased to welcome both Danny and Shawn back to Barclays Center,” said Brett Yormark, CEO of BSE Global. “Both fighters have established a great following in Brooklyn, and September will be their biggest moment yet at Barclays Center. We are the number one venue for boxing, and are proud to host another world-class fight.”
Beltran-Pedraza and Dogboe-Otake Headline ESPN World Championship Doubleheader
Ray Beltran and Isaac “Royal Storm” Dogboe will head to the desert on Aug. 25 for their first title defenses.
In the main event at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona, Beltran, who resides in nearby Phoenix, will defend the WBO lightweight title against Jose “Sniper” Pedraza, a former junior lightweight world champion looking to bring another world title home to Puerto Rico. And, in the all-action co-feature, Dogboe will defend the WBO junior featherweight title against Hidenori Otake.
Beltran-Pedraza and Dogboe-Otake will air live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes at 10:30 p.m. ET, with undercard action streaming live beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET. on ESPN+ — the recently-launched multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer & International segment in conjunction with ESPN.
Tickets to this world championship doubleheader, priced at $125, $75, $50, and $25, not including applicable fees, go on sale Thursday, July 26 at 10 a.m PST. Tickets can be purchased at the Gila River Arena Box Office, by phone at 800.745.3000, or online at www.gilariverarena.com.
“I’m living the dream. It feels great to be a world champion. I am very motivated to defend my title, and it’s very special to me because I’m fighting in my adopted home,” Beltran said. “Pedraza is a very skillful fighter and is going to bring his best to take the belt from us, but I’m not just fighting for the belt, I’m also fighting to keep it in Phoenix and my birthplace of Los Mochis, Mexico. This belt represents my family’s future, and it’s going nowhere.”
“This is a great opportunity and a great challenge. Beltran is a veteran and is finally a world champion after trying for so long,” Pedraza said. “I think for that reason it’s going to be a great fight because he will not want to lose the title. I’m 100 percent prepared for war.”
“I’m making my first defense against Otake, a Japanese warrior. It’s going to be fireworks,” Dogboe said. “I’m not stepping back. We’re on a quest to make this division exciting and great again. We’re shaking up the division. Isaac ‘Royal Storm’ Dogboe, you all know I bring lightning and thunder!”
“I would like to express my appreciation to everyone who made this fight possible.
I am truly grateful for this opportunity,” Otake said. “In capturing the world title for my first time on Aug. 25, I’d like to show everyone that age does not matter. Since comments can reveal strategy, I can’t say anymore.”
Beltran (35-7-1, 21 KOs) is a story of perseverance who finally broke through as a world champion five month shy of his 36th birthday. In his last bout, an ESPN-televised contest against Paulus Moses on Feb. 16 in Reno, Nevada, Beltran dug deep to win the vacant WBO lightweight title by unanimous decision. The scores — 117-111, 117-111 and 116-112 — did not reflect the back-and-forth nature of the bout. Once Manny Pacquiao’s chief sparring partner, Beltran had three previous cracks at a world title, most notably a 2013 draw against Ricky Burns that most ringside observers felt should have been a clear Beltran victory. The following year, he lost a wide unanimous decision to pound-for-pound elite Terence Crawford, who had beaten Burns to win the WBO lightweight crown. Beltran, a Phoenix resident who is originally from Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico, will be fighting in his adopted home state for the first time since 2005.
Pedraza (24-1, 12 KOs), from Cidra, Puerto, is on a mission to become a two-weight world champion. A former IBF junior lightweight world champion who made two successful defenses of his title, he lost his belt via seventh-round TKO to Gervonta Davis in January 2017. Following a 14-month layoff, he moved up to the lightweight division and signed a promotional contract with Top Rank. Pedraza is 2-0 as a lightweight in 2018, winning an eight-round unanimous decision against Jose Luis Rodriguez on March 17 and a 10-round unanimous decision against Antonio Moran on June 9 as the co-feature to the Terence Crawford-Jeff Horn welterweight title bout in Las Vegas.
Dogboe (19-0, 13 KOs) established himself as one of boxing’s best young champions in 2018 with a pair of signature victories. He knocked out Cesar Juarez in the fifth round on Jan. 6 in his hometown of Accra, Ghana, to win the interim WBO junior featherweight title. On April 28 in Philadelphia, Dogboe won the title in dramatic fashion, surviving a first-round knockdown to stop Jessie Magdaleno in the 11th round in a Fight of the Year contender. A 2012 Olympian, Dogboe had a rapid rise through the pro ranks, winning the WBO Oriental and WBO Africa featherweight titles en route to junior featherweight title contention. Boxing is in the Dogboe lineage as his father/trainer, Paul Dogboe, once served as a boxing coach and a physical instructor in the British Army.
Otake (31-2-3, 14 KOs), from Tokyo, has been a professional for more than 12 years and is riding a nine-bout winning streak dating back to Nov. 22, 2014. On that day, he challenged Scott Quigg for the WBA super bantamweight title, dropping a unanimous decision. He won the vacant Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation (OPBF) title on March 17, 2017 with a unanimous decision against Jelbirt Gomera. Otake defended the OBPF title three times, most recently scoring a 10th-round TKO over Brian Lobetania in Tokyo on March 13.
Peter Taylor, Homeless and Jobless
The man who helped steer Ireland to its only Olympic gold medal in all sports this century is homeless and jobless, according to an interview in the Irish Independent.
Pete Taylor, father of 2012 Olympic champion and current IBF/WBA titlist Katie Taylor who defends her belts against Texas-born Kimberly Connor in London on Saturday, almost died in an attack at the Bray boxing club in Wicklow, Ireland last month.
A motive has yet to be established for the June 5 shooting in which Bobby Messett died after being shot in the head and Ian Britton sustained leg wounds.
Taylor was shot in the arm and the bullet exited through his chest.
He admitted that he thought he was dying. The gym has since been closed and the Gardai (Irish cops) are investigating the attack.
Taylor guided his daughter to 18 – 1 Olympic, 5 World, 5 European, 6 European Union and 1 European Games – gold medals in the Elite amateur ranks.
The Bray orthodox was ranked No. 1 in the World by AIBA for an unprecedented ten straight years between 2006 and 2016.
The father/daughter (boxing) relationship ended 2015 after Taylor’s marriage broke down. Taylor junior turned professional after a disappointing Rio 2016 for her and Irish boxing.
The so-called greatest Irish boxing team to compete at an Olympiad didn’t win any medals four years after claiming gold, silver and two bronze, courtesy of Taylor, John Joe Nevin, Michael Conlan and Paddy Barnes, at London 2012.
Taylor senior understands why people are apprehensive in his company.
“People are afraid,” he told Vincent Hogan of the Irish Independent. “You’re like a bad disease to everybody. But they’re afraid because of what they’re reading and the slant being put on it. And what nobody’s saying is I only got shot because I ran at the gunman. The guard will tell you.
“I was plugging in my phone for the music to start the training session. And that’s when I heard bang, bang, bang… I had my back to everything and my first thought was it’s one of my air compressors backfiring. That was the kind of noise it was making.
“I actually turned around half in irritation to tell one of the lads to turn off the air compressor. And that’s when I saw the gunman at the door, just shooting randomly. In that first split-second, I thought it was a joke then, suddenly, I saw the fear on everybody’s faces.
You can read the full interview on below link.
Lamont Roach Wins by 6th Round TKO Over Deivi Julio Bassa
Lamont Roach, Jr. (17-0-1, 7 KOs) of Washington, D.C. delivered a spectacular sixth-round technical knockout victory over Deivis Julio.
Bassa (20-5, 12 KOs) of Monteria, Colombia to capture the vacant WBO International Super Featherweight Championship in the scheduled 10-round main event of the July 20 edition of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN at the Oasis Arena in Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico. Roach Jr. showed a more aggressive side of himself, dropping Bassa with a right hand at the end of the third round and punishing him until Bassa’s corner called a halt to the fight at the end of the sixth round.
“My mentality was to make a statement and to show that I belong at the top super featherweight division,” said Lamont Roach Jr. “Anybody that’s in my way is in trouble. There were no difficulties in him being a southpaw because we were coming off fighting a lefty in Orlando Cruz and we were preparing for the rematch. We also got great sparring against left-handed fighters, including Mike Reed. The WBO Super Featherweight Title will be on the line next week, so I’ll be taking a close look at that fight to see who wins.”
In the co-main event, Juan Sanchez (24-6-1, 11 KOs) of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico scored an eight-round unanimous decision win against Florentino Perez (11-4-1, 7 KOs) of Monterrey, Mexico in a featherweight battle. Sanchez won with scores of 76-75, 77-74, and 78-73.
Alexis Bastar (11-1-1, 5 KOs) of Cancun, Mexico defeated Rigoberto Nava (3-3-4) of Mexico City, Mexico in first televised bout. Bastar won with three scores of 57-56.
Roach, Jr. vs. Bassa was a 10-round fight for the vacant WBO International Super Featherweight Title presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Cancun Boxing. The event is sponsored by Tecate, “THE OFFICIAL BEER OF BOXING” and Hennessy, “Never Stop, Never Settle.” The fights took place on Friday, July 20, 2018 at Oasis Arena in Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico.
Christopher Diaz Hopes to Become Puerto Rico’s Next World Champion
Undefeated Puerto Rican contender Christopher “Pitufo” Diaz exudes confidence just days away from his first world title opportunity. He is a student of Puerto Rico’s rich boxing lineage, and he will do whatever it takes to fulfill his dream of adding his name to the long list of world champions from the ‘Island of Enchantment.’
Diaz will fight Japanese veteran Masayuki Ito for the vacant World Boxing Organization (WBO) junior lightweight title on July 28 at the Kissimmee Civic Center.
“It’s time to show the world what I’m made of. Being able to fight for a world title is the dream of every boxer,” Diaz said. “I am prepared for my first chance to win a world title because I’ve been through many years of sacrifices, and I have waited all my life for this moment. Now the moment is here. I’m hungry and focused. On July 28, Puerto Rico will have a new world champion.”
Diaz (23-0, 15 KOs), from Barranquitas, Puerto Rico, is entering his first world title match riding a four-bout knockout streak. The WBO’s No. 1 junior lightweight contender, Diaz won the vacant NABO junior lightweight title last December with a third-round knockout of Bryant Cruz, knocking Cruz down five times en route to the stoppage. In his last bout, March 17 on the Jose Ramirez-Amir Imam undercard at The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, Diaz defeated Braulio Rodriguez via fourth-round TKO to earn the shot at the world title. For Diaz, this world title opportunity is a beacon of hope, as his home and most of his possessions were destroyed when Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico last year.
“I have a tough fight against Masayuki Ito, but I am very focused. I know I have all of Puerto Rico in my corner,” Diaz said. “Without the support of my people, none of this would be possible. Thank you for always supporting me and sending me positive vibes. On July 28, my mission will be to bring the world title to the island.”
Ito (23-1-1, 12 KOs), from Tokyo, is the WBO’s No. 2 junior lightweight contender. He has won seven consecutive bouts since the lone defeat of his career, a 10-round majority decision to then-undefeated Rikki Naito in February 2015. Ito, who has fought all of his professional bouts in Japan, has won four of his past five bouts via knockout, including a ninth-round stoppage of Lorenzo Villanueva in April of last year. In his last bout, on March 3 at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Ito stopped Vergil Puton in the ninth round.
Diaz-Ito will stream live and exclusively in the United States at 9:30 ET on ESPN+ — the recently-launched multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer & International segment in conjunction with ESPN. Undercard bouts will stream live on ESPN+ beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET. ESPN+ is available to all fans on the ESPN App and ESPN.com.