Boxing Insider Notebook: Canelo, Chavez, Russell, Lemieux, Thurman, Lubin, and more..
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of February 28th to March 7th, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Photo Credit: Amanda Westcott/Showtime
Canelo vs. Chavez Tickets are Sold Out!
Living up to its billing as one of the biggest fights of 2017, the Cinco de Mayo weekend showdown set for Saturday, May 6 between two-division world champion Canelo Alvarez (48-1-1, 34KOs) and former WBC middleweight world champion Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. (50-2-1, 32 KOs) has sold out T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
The number of tickets sold, more than 20,000, is among the largest indoor sell-outs in the rich history of Las Vegas prizefights.
“Big fights sell, and as anyone can see from the fact that we sold out Las Vegas’ biggest boxing venue less than 10 days after tickets became available, Canelo-Chavez, Jr. is a huge fight,” said Golden Boy Promotions CEO and Chairman Oscar De La Hoya. “Now that T-Mobile Arena is full, we will soon announce venues for showing the fight on closed circuit for fans still planning to come to celebrate in Las Vegas, and fans can of course see the fight in the comfort of their own homes on HBO Pay-Per-View.”
Earlier this week, Golden Boy Promotions announced that Argentinian slugger Lucas “La Maquina” Matthysse (37-4, 34 KOs) will appear on the HBO Pay-Per-View in his first fight in more than a year and a half against Emmanuel “Tranzformer” Taylor (20-4, 14 KOs). The remainder of the Pay-Per-View slate and undercard will be announced shortly.
Canelo vs. Chávez, Jr. is a 12-round fight presented by Golden Boy Promotions and sponsored by Tecate, BORN BOLD, Adriana’s Insurance and Interjet. Matthysse vs. Taylor is a 10-round fight presented by Golden Boy promotions in association with Arano Boxing and Star Boxing. The event will take place on Saturday, May 6 at T-Mobile Arena and will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View® beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.
Gary Russell, Jr.-Oscar Escandon Featherweight Title Match Postponed After Escandon Suffers Injury in Training
The featherweight championship match between Gary Russell Jr. and Oscar Escandon, scheduled for Saturday, March 11 at the MGM National Harbor in Maryland, has been postponed after Escandon was injured in training, according to Escandon’s promoter Sampson Lewkowicz.
“Oscar suffered an injury to his back in training and he’ll be ready to go in April,” Lewkowicz said. “He’s very sorry for the delay in the fight, but these things happen in boxing. He’s really looking forward to facing Gary Russell, Jr., but he wants to be completely healthy when they do meet.”
Escandon, a 32-year-old Colombian with a record of 25-2 with 17 KOs, is the mandatory challenger for Russell’s featherweight championship. Jermell Charlo defending his 154-pound title against Charles Hatley will be the co-feature on the rescheduled card.
“It’s definitely irritating,” Russell said. “But injuries happen especially when you have somebody pushing their body to the limit for a fight that is potentially life changing. It’s disappointing. It might not work out for him because I have a little more time to get ready.”
“We’re working with the venue and the network to find the earliest date that we can reschedule the show,” said Tom Brown of TGB Promotions. “I feel terrible for the fighters who have been training so hard and now have to wait. Gary is really disappointed, but he understands that injuries are all a part of the sport. But Gary will be ready to go on the rescheduled date.”
David Lemieux Media Workout Quotes
Former IBF Middleweight World Champion David Lemieux (36-3, 32 KOs) hosted a media workout at Sherbatov MMA in Laval, Quebec, the same week he departs for Verona, NY for his upcoming showdown with Curtis “The Cerebral Assassin” Stevens (29-5, 21 KOs). The middleweight bout takes place Saturday, March 11 at Turning Stone Resort Casino televised live on HBO Boxing After Dark beginning at 11:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Lemieux was joined his trainer Marc Ramsay at today’s media workout and spoke onsite about his matchup with Stevens and his training leading up to the mega event for the middleweight titles. Below is what Lemieux and his team had to say at today’s workout:
DAVID LEMIEUX, Former IBF Middleweight World Champion:
”The last time that my opponent spoke so much and I so disliked him, I believe it was Delray Raines. I broke three of his ribs and his nose. It didn’t end up very well for him.
”I couldn’t be more prepared for a fight. I have one objective in mind: I want to take his head off. I am so motivated to put on a great performance on Saturday night. Stevens put a lot of oil in the fire with his disrespectful comments and he will pay for it.
”I had an exceptional camp and we have prepared for this fight very seriously. We are ready for the best Stevens there is, going 12 rounds if needed. I guarantee you that it will be a rough night for him. ”
MARC RAMSAY, Trainer to David Lemieux:
”It is important to go there and deliver a spectacular performance. This is a good challenge. In this fight, we have to execute well what we have prepared to do for the last eight weeks. ”
Tickets for this highly anticipated matchup are still available and priced at $30, $45, $55 and $75 for ringside seats plus applicable fees and are available at the Turning Stone Resort Box Office by calling 315-361-7469 or online at Ticketmaster(www.ticketmaster.com).
Lemieux vs. Stevens is a 12-round middleweight bout for the WBO Intercontinental, WBC Continental Americas and IBF North American Middleweight titles, presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Eye of the Tiger Management and Main Events, and sponsored by “Tecate, BORN BOLD.” The HBO Boxing After Dark® telecast begins at 11:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Quotes from Keith Thurman and Erickson Lubin After their Victories on Saturday
Keith Thurman is the unified welterweight world champion.
Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs) unified boxing’s glamour division with a split-decision victory over Danny Garcia (33-1, 19 KOs) on Saturday, defending his WBA belt and picking up Garcia’s WBC crown on boxing’s biggest stage in primetime on CBS from Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING™.
The event, which was produced by SHOWTIME Sports® for the CBS Television Network, marked the highest-attended boxing event in Barclays Center history with 16,533 fans witnessing just the 10th unification in division history.
The close affair, which was only the third time undefeated fighters unified the 147-pound division, was scored 116-112 Thurman, 115-113 Thurman and 115-113 Garcia.
The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING on CBS main event, which was presented by Premier Boxing Champions, was a tale of effective aggression and ring generalship. Thurman came out swinging and was the busier and more accurate fighter in nine of the 12 rounds. “One Time” Thurman was more tactical in the second half of the fight, utilizing lateral movement and working off his jab. Garcia picked up the pace and was more active in the final rounds, but it was too little too late for the previously undefeated Philadelphia native.
“I thought I out-boxed him.” said Thurman, who likely earned a spot on boxing’s mythical pound-for-pound list with the impressive victory. “I thought it was a clear victory, but Danny came to fight. I knew when it was split and I had that wide spread, I knew it had to go to me.
“I was not giving the fight away. I felt like we had a nice lead, we could cool down. I felt like we were controlling the three-minute intervals every round. My defense was effective – he wasn’t landing.”
A former unified champion at 140-pound, Garcia was aiming to be the first fighter in history to unify titles at 140 and 147 pounds.
“I came up short tonight,” said Garcia, who entered the bout with a 7-0 record in world title bouts. “I thought I was the aggressor. I thought I pushed the pace. But it didn’t go my way.
“I thought I won and I was pushing the fight. But it is what it is. I’ll come back strong like a true champion. I would love a rematch to get these titles.”
SHOWTIME Sports analyst and unofficial scorer Steve Farhood scored the fight 116-112 for Thurman.
Undefeated super welterweight Erickson Lubin (18-0, 13 KOs) knocked out Jorge Cota (23-2, 20 KOs) in a WBC 154-pound title eliminator, dropping the previously once-beaten Cota with a flush overhand left at 1:25 (TKO) of the fourth round.
Lubin now becomes the No. 2 challenger to WBC Welterweight World Championship Jermell Charlo, who is due a mandatory bout against No. 1 contender Charles Hatley.
The Orlando-native Lubin landed 47 percent of his power shots across four rounds of shutout boxing.
“I baited him with the jab. I knew he was going to come with the big shots early,” Lubin said to reporter Jim Gray. “I put a few tricks on him, I landed that overhand and it was night-night. I put my hands down to bait him in, I did a squat and then it was night-night. I was ready to follow-up with a right but he was already out.”
At just 21-years-old, Lubin now has an opportunity to become the youngest world champion in boxing today.
“That would mean a lot to me; that would mean a lot to Orlando, Florida,” Lubin said. “This is my second time knocking someone out in front of Ray Leonard. He’s one of my favorite fighters of all time. It’s an honor to do this on CBS.”
Reynoso to Face Valenzuela for WBC Silver Latino Super Bantamweight Championship on April 1st
On Saturday, April 1, at the Arena Jalisco in Guadalajara, México, promoters Eddie Reynoso of Clase y Talento, and Sampson Lewkowicz of Sampson Boxing will team up to present a night of world-class boxing, televised live on TyC Sports of Argentina.
As part of TyC’s ongoing 25th anniversary celebration of boxing shows, this exciting event will feature a 10-round battle for the WBC Silver Latino Super Bantamweight Championship between Buenos Aires, Argentina’s Roman Ruben Reynoso (19-1-2, 8 KOs) and Sonora, Mexico’s Christian “Molacho” Valenzuela (13-0-1, 8 KOs).
Reynoso has left his native Argentina just twice in his career, but on one of those occasions, fought to a split draw with well-regarded prospect Adam Lopez on ShoBox: The New Generation in July 2016. Like Reynoso, the undefeated Valenzuela has never left his home country, but has stayed busy with 14 fights in his three-year career.
In the chief supporting bout, Argentinean 2016 Summer Olympian Alberto Palmetta will go for his third consecutive victory as a professional against Mexico City’s Luis Montelongo (4-1).
26-year-old Palmetta, a junior middleweight, was one of the most heavily decorated amateurs in his country’s history, in addition to fighting in the 2016 Summer Olympics, he won numerous national and international distinctions including the bronze medal at the 2015 Pan American Games. He turned professional in November 2016.
In the televised opener, Novato, California via Uruguay’s Rudy Macedo (3-0, 3 KOs) will face also undefeated Leonel Rodriguez of Mexico in a four-round welterweight showdown. The power-punching Macedo was an amateur world champion, PAL champion and five-time Silver Gloves Champion. He is trained by Nonito Donaire Sr.
The event is sponsored by Tecate beer, “cervezas con carácter.”
“I am proud to be part of this event and to be helping TyC celebrate their anniversary,” said Sampson Lewkowicz. “They have done a tremendous service to boxing throughout their history. Thank you to my esteemed partner, Eddie Reynoso, as well. I’m looking forward to a great night of fights for the fans in Mexico, Argentina and around the world to enjoy.”
Five more exciting bouts are scheduled for the untelevised undercard.
March 10th Philly Fight Night Quotes
Kicking off the Philly Fight Night series Friday, March 10, at the 2300 Arena in South Philadelphia are 11 fights. Topping the show will be an old-fashioned, all-Philly rumble when lightweights Anthony Burgin and Avery Sparrow collide after an eight-week training camp for each. In the six-round semifinal, Philadelphia favorite Fred Jenkins Jr. meets Roque Zapata, of Culpeper, VA. The first fight will begin at 7:30 p.m., and tickets will be available at the door.
The four fighters and their trainers had this to say about training camp:
“Camp was great; I feel strong and focused. I am in amazing shape for March 10. It was a benefit for me being in Puerto Rico, not only because of the weather but also for the new things I learned and did there to bring my talent to another level mentally and physically. I pushed my body to limits I didn’t even know my body could go to. Now I am just ready for March 10.
“The feeling of fighting a main event in Philly is unbelievable. I am greatly appreciative to have this big opportunity, especially in my own city where all my friends and family can watch. It’s only the beginning for what’s in store for Anthony ‘Bad Boy’ Burgin.
“Every fight for me is an important fight. There is no added pressure just because I am headlining the card, but never have I been so focused for a fight like this and it scares me as crazy as that sounds. I can’t wait to step in the ring. I have been sparring with Michael Perez and a few other guys from Puerto Rico, just working on the game plan.”
TRAINER Raul Rivas:
“Anthony looks amazing; like he’s fighting for a world title. His conditioning and mindset is very focused.
“Camp has been the best ever, I feel the best I have felt in my whole career. We worked hard and smart. I have grown from my last fights, inside the ring and out. I got stronger physically and mentally. I feel it’s going to be hard to beat a guy like me when I’m this focused. I’ve been beating guys just off my talent and now that I’m in peak shape you’re going to see the best Avery ‘A Plus’ Sparrow. The fans and boxing supporters are going see that I’m a world-class fighter and one of boxing’s next superstars. I’ve been under the radar from the beginning of my career.
“It feels great to be fighting in the main event and it’s been a long time coming. I have a lot of fans all around but there’s no place like home. We are ‘war ready’ and we’re gonna put on a great show for the hometown fans who have been supporting me from the start. I want to give them a knockout because that’s what they deserve. We are not looking for a knockout; we’re just looking to put on a great show and get the win so I can put our city on the map again since Danny Garcia just lost the title. Someone needs to stand up for Philadelphia. I feel I’m the perfect candidate I have the look, skills, power, talent and the work ethic to put the city on my back. All in all it just my time and my city gets to witness the first step in greatness for Avery “A Plus” Sparrow.
“Training at home has been positive. I get to train alongside Bernard Hopkins, Jesse Hart and other top guys from Philadelphia who work hard and push me. They give me good advice and knowledge of the game. We also have the best fighters in the world here so I get the best sparring. By training in Philly, my team and I can’t go wrong. I’m at the point in my life and career where I’ve been through so much there’s nothing negative about anything in my life.
Just waking up in the morning is blessing to me. I could have trained anywhere and still been focused.
“I like Anthony; he’s a good guy, very humble and a good fighter. I just feel like he missed his window. He’s been stopped, he has two losses and he’s just not mean enough to beat a guy like me I’m ready to die in there and I don’t think he is.”
TRAINER Greg Hackett:
“Everyone knows what it is. They are coming to see Anthony Burgin get his head chopped off. This is not a fight; this is an execution. Avery Sparrow looks like a brand new Bugatti on the showroom floor. His ability to focus has been amazing. Anything I ask for, he gives it to me. He turned it up for this fight. Anthony Burgin is a prime duck, ready to be plucked!”
Fred Jenkins, Jr.:
“Camp has been awesome. I can’t wait for this fight. It is everything. It’s not just a fight, it’s do or die. I look at all my fights the same. I go about it as if it’s a fight, it’s boxing. Boxing is fighting. All that extra shit people do, that’s not me, it’s just this is life and death, it’s a fight and I’m gonna get in there and fight the best fight I ever fought. Throughout my life I have been training around world champs and contenders.
“I am not looking past this fight. I look past no one. I’m the son of a man who has been around for a long time and I know they know me. Every opponent is coming to fight and either knows or assumes they know who I am because of my dad. It means a lot to be fighting the semifinal, but you’re supposed to go into every fight the same. It’s not about thinking this fight is more important than that fight. The job is to go in there and win by any means necessary. The object is to win. My goal is to get in there and win every time.
“Zapata is just a fighter who comes to fight. He’s fighting Fred Jenkins Jr. this time and he’s in for a real fight. He has never fought anybody before. He’s fighting somebody now. If you want to know more, come see fight night what I am about. I saw him fight Isaiah Wise and it was a good fight. One thing I noticed was that he threw a lot of punches and Wise was still fighting. Wise was really hitting him but he (Zapata) was out-working Wise. I saw what Zapata can do but I’m a fighter and I’m just gonna get in there and fight until the end. I live for this; I get a kick out of it. I love it. I’m not the bragging and boasting type. I’m a quiet guy but when the heat is on I’m gonna fight.”
TRAINER Fred Jenkins, Sr.:
“Fred looks superb. Whatever Zapata brings to the table we are going to match it. After this fight we are looking to move into co-main event position.”
“I feel honored to be back fighting in Philadelphia. Knowing that my performance is what brought me back and that is what I plan to do, give the fans a fight! Of course, I want to get the win but it’s up to me to see if I can pull the trigger and perform at the absolute best.”
“Jenkins has a lot more boxing experience. It doesn’t bother me at all. All I know is that Jenkins is going to do what he always does best and I’m going to do what I do best. One of us will get the best of the other and on Friday night everyone will see who is better.”
“I am not worried about coming to his backyard or being the underdog. In my MMA days and in boxing I’ve been fighting in the other guy’s backyard a lot and I love it. I know I’ll get the best Fred Jenkins, Jr., that night and it’ll be fun. Being the underdog isn’t something I worry about. I’ve been the underdog in all of my fights. To me it means people are doubting my abilities and that’s fine. I’m used to it.”
TRAINER Eric Zamora:
“He is very focused and hungry for this fight. He’s put in the necessary work to have his hand raised on March 10. We have enhanced his strengths and worked on his weaknesses. Expect to see a Roque like never before.”