Boxing Insider Notebook: Canelo, Top Rank, Mikaela Mayer, USA Boxing, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of July 31st to August 8th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Photo Credit: Tom Hogan-HoganPhotos/ Golden Boy Promotions
August 25: Mikaela Mayer Added to ESPN Telecast
Mikaela Mayer turned pro last year intent on helping shine the spotlight on female boxing. Mayer, a Los Angeles native and 2016 U.S. Olympian, will get that opportunity Aug. 25 at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona, when she takes on Edina Kiss in a six-round super featherweight bout, live on ESPN. Mayer vs. Kiss will be part of a special world championship event featuring Ray Beltran’s WBO lightweight title defense against Jose Pedraza and Isaac Dogboe’s WBO junior featherweight title defense against Hidenori Otake.
Beltran-Pedraza, Dogboe-Otake, and Mayer-Kiss 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 new multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer & International (DTCI) segment in conjunction with ESPN.
Tickets to this world championship event, priced at $125, $75, $50, and $25, not including applicable fees, are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased at the Gila River Arena Box Office, by phone at 800.745.3000, or online at gilariverarena.com.
“Fighting live on ESPN is a dream come true and something I have been looking forward to since I made the decision to leave the amateur ranks and turn pro with Top Rank,” Mayer said. “I gave up my dream of an Olympic gold medal to step onto a bigger stage and to help take women’s boxing to the next level. Now, after years of fighting out of the limelight, I get to showcase my skills on the greatest sports network in the world.”
Mayer (6-0, 3 KOs) has become one of the most recognizable figures in female boxing after making her pro debut in August 2017. Mayer, who currently lives and trains in Colorado Springs, Colorado, will be making her fourth ring appearance of 2018. Kiss (14-7, 8 KOs), a one-time world title challenger from Budapest, Hungary, represents Mayer’s stiffest professional test to date. Mayer last fought June 30 in Oklahoma City, where she used a steady jab to outpoint the previously undefeated Sheena Kaine over six rounds. Mayer also fought May 12 at Madison Square Garden on the Vasiliy Lomachenko-Jorge Linares undercard, shutting out the game Baby Nansen over six rounds. She started her 2018 campaign with a 35-second knockout against Maria Semertzoglou on March 10 at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.
Now, after a half-dozen pro bouts fighting on cards alongside some of the sport’s best fighters, Mayer is ready for her ESPN close-up.
The ESPN+ broadcast will feature 2016 Olympic gold medalist Robson Conceicao (8-0, 5 KOs) in an eight-round super featherweight bout against Edgar Cantu (7-4-2, 1 KO) and a pair of Phoenix natives, junior featherweight contender Carlos Castro (20-0, 9 KOs) and light heavyweight Trevor McCumby (23-0, 18 KOs). Castro will face Diuhl Olguin (13-10-3, 9 KOs), while McCumby will take on Jessie Nicklow (27-7-3, 9 KOs) in an eight-rounder.
USA Boxing Alumni Association Announces 2nd Class for Hall of Fame
The USA Boxing Alumni Association has announced its second class to be inducted into its Hall of Fame, December 7, at the Radisson Hotel (215 S. Temple St.) in Salk Lake City, Utah.
The reception is being held in conjunction with the 2018 USA Boxing Elite and Youth National Championships and Junior and Prep Open, Dec. 2-8, also held in Salt Lake City.
The Class of 2018 includes U.S. Olympic Team medalists and world (professional) champions Roy Jones, Jr., Andre Ward and Claressa Shields, as well as former USA Boxing National Director of Coaching Emanuel Steward and veteran USA Boxing official Tom Cleary. The latter two will be posthumously inducted.
This year’s inductees were selected amongst a group of 17 nominees by the hundreds of registered USA Boxing Alumni Association members during the months of June and July.
“USA Boxing Alumni Association is extremely excited to honor this year’s Hall of Fame class, as each inductee represents everything good that amateur boxing has to offer,” said Chris Cugliari, USA Boxing Alumni Association Executive Director. “Last year’s class contributed to a fantastic inaugural Hall of Fame reception and we’re looking forward to recognizing this year’s class with an even better event.”
Created to champion a lifelong, mutually beneficial relations between USA Boxing and its alumni, –boxers, officials, coaches and boxing fans — The Alumni Association connects generations of champions, inspiring and giving back to USA Boxing’s future boxing champions, in and out of the ring.
The charter class inducted last year included Muhammad Ali and Evander Holyfield, in addition to veteran coaches Roosevelt Sanders and Tom Coulter.
“Each inductee has given so much to Olympic-style amateur boxing and the alumni community wants to thank them, for doing so,” Cugliari added. “We look forward to seeing USA Boxing Alumni members come out in droves to support this year’s Hall of Fame class in December.”
The USA Boxing Alumni Association is open to anyone who has a love for boxing and would like to stay connected with amateur boxing. Members are granted access to a wide variety of special events host by the Alumni Association, including the USA Boxing Alumni Association Hall of Fame reception.
To join the Alumni Association, simply register at [email protected] for a $40.00 per year membership fee. New members will receive a T-shirt, keychain and e-wallet.
ESPN Signs Undefeated Two-Division World Champion Boxer and 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist Andre Ward to New Multi-Year Deal
Undefeated two-division world champion and 2004 Olympic gold medalist Andre Ward, has agreed to a new multiyear deal with ESPN, it was announced today. Under the agreement, Ward will serve as an on-site studio boxing analyst for ESPN.
“We are thrilled to have reached this agreement with Andre,” said Mark Gross, ESPN senior vice president, production and remote events. “Andre’s experience in the ring, wealth of knowledge and passion for boxing will further enrich our live boxing coverage and provide fans a unique perspective of the sport.”
Added Ward: “I’m excited to officially become a part of ESPN’s broadcast team. ESPN’s new boxing platform is an opportunity for today’s talent to be exposed to a wider audience and it pushes the sport forward. My desire is to be an asset to those watching all over the world by giving viewers an unbiased, educated opinion that is clear and concise.”
Ward, the former Ring Magazine number one Pound-For-Pound fighter and former Unified Light Heavyweight Champion of the World, will make his next onsite appearance at Atlantic City Ocean Resort Casino Saturday, August 18th, for ESPN’s telecast of Top Rank on ESPN headlined by heavyweight contender Bryant “B.Y.” Jennings (23-2, 13 KOs) facing off Alexander “Sascha” Dimitrenko (41-3, 26 KOs), airing at 10 p.m. on ESPN and ESPN Deportes. On August 25th, Ward will be onsite at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona for ESPN’s coverage of Top Rank on ESPN featuring Ray Beltrán defending the WBO lightweight title against former junior lightweight world champion, Jose “Sniper” Pedraza.
Canelo Alvarez Intensifies Training Camp In Preparation for Golovkin Rematch
Lineal Middleweight World Champion Canelo Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 KOs) has stepped up training camp in his second home of San Diego, Calif. as he prepares to face WBC, WBA, and IBO Middleweight World Champion
Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (38-0-1, 34 KOs) in the most anticipated bout of 2018. The event will take place Saturday, Sept. 15 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at a special time of 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT.
After a controversial split draw that left the boxing fans wanting even more – Canelo shared his revamped routine as he prepares for the historic rematch, which will take place on Mexican Independence Day Weekend.
Details for Canelo’s training are as follows:
Running every morning (except Sunday) at around 6:00 a.m.
Training in the gym from 2:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays (jumping rope, shadowboxing, hitting the bags, working on strategy, etc.).
Sparring sessions at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
Diet consists of chicken, fish, and select vegetables.
This week Canelo will complete his fourth week of training and third week of sparring.
Canelo’s camp still has five weeks’ worth of sparring left and he will complete 66 rounds of sparring this week.
This is what Canelo shared as he nears the halfway mark of his intense training camp in preparation for the fight of his career:
“The last fight gave us the blueprint for this rematch. We don’t necessarily have to change the strategy; we just have to add to what we did. We have to throw more punches in every round. We need to do that to remove any doubts about the victory. For that we will work on our conditioning. That’s what we needed a little more of in the first fight in order to be able to throw punches constantly in each round.
“We have been training very well. We’ve been working hard on the conditioning. That’s what we’ll need a lot of in the second fight. We’re focused. We’re focused on the style of Golovkin. We know that he’s not going to change. He’s going to go out to do the same thing he always does and come forward. He may want to change, but when things get tough, he’ll go back to the style he’s been using his whole life and which he has never changed.
“I’ve fought with very difficult fighters who are very difficult to land shots on and difficult to fight. I’ve fought with strong fighters as well. He’s a strong fighter. He’s a dangerous fighter. He is one of the toughest fighters I’ve faced. This is one of those fights we’re I’ll be the most prepared of my career.
“I’m automatically a faster fighter than he [Golovkin]. My reflexes are quicker than his, so I could see punches [in the first fight]. But he has a lot of experience. He landed some shots on me, but that’s due to his experience, and I could see punches as soon as he began to throw them. In the fifth round, I was hit with the kind of shot to knock someone out. It was between the ear and the neck, but I didn’t feel anything.
“I knew who Golovkin was from the beginning. He’s been at 160 pounds for pretty much his entire career. I’ve always said that when I move up to middleweight, I would fight the best. He’s supposed to be the best, and I felt very good in the first fight. His power is nothing out of this world.
“I don’t know why Golovkin’s corner or team have been aggressive in their talks. It may be because of the rivalry we have. I don’t know. I think they’ve gone too far. They’ve gone beyond just trying to sell the fight with their statements. I don’t like talking or instigating with the fighter or even trying to make a show to sell the fight. People know that when we get into the ring, we’re going to give a great fight, period.
“In some sense, he might have offended me. But I always consider who’s saying what. The truth is that Golovkin is my opponent, so I understand it. With Abel Sanchez, it doesn’t worry me at all. Because at the end of the day, what about him? At the end of the day, he’s not going to get in the ring with me.
“It got more personal this time around. The little respect that we had for each other was lost. I’m using this as motivation. Everything that he has said has made it personal. What they said about who I am as a person has made it personal. But I will use it intelligently to my benefit this Sept. 15.
“I dedicate this fight to everyone who has always supported me. To my family and my team, and to all the people who will watch the fight. It will be a great fight.”
ESPN and Top Rank Announce Historic Agreement
ESPN and Top Rank, the world’s premier boxing promotional company, today announced the most comprehensive, exclusive rights agreement in the history of boxing. This new seven-year deal runs from 2018 to 2025 and includes 54 events per year, as well as a full offering of exclusive shoulder programming, classic fights and studio content.
Top Rank on ESPN content will air on ESPN linear networks or stream on ESPN+ — the new multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer & International segment in conjunction with ESPN.
This new agreement is the result of the huge success of the first year of Top Rank on ESPN. It will allow for a comprehensive alliance between Top Rank and ESPN’s leading networks and platforms to showcase even more Top Rank content, including live events, additional original programming and library content.
Highlights from the first year of Top Rank on ESPN include:
1. Manny Pacquiao vs. Jeff Horn (July 1, 2017) – The “Battle of Brisbane” had an average viewership of 3.1 million viewers and a peak of 4.4 million viewers, making it the highest-rated boxing telecast on cable since 2006 and ESPN’s highest-rated boxing telecast since 1995. Horn defeated Pacquiao by unanimous decision in a thrilling match.
2. Vasiliy Lomachenko vs. Guillermo Rigondeaux (Dec. 9, 2017) – Second most-watched cable boxing telecast of 2017, averaging 1.85 million viewers. It was the first boxing match in history to feature two two-time Olympic gold medalists.
3. Terence Crawford vs. Jeff Horn (June 9, 2018) and Manny Pacquiao vs. Lucas Matthysse (July 14, 2018) – Pound-for-pound elite Crawford won the WBO welterweight title over Horn in an event that drove subscriptions and was streamed live and exclusively in the United States on ESPN+, ESPN’s new and innovative direct-to-consumer streaming service. The only eight-division champion in boxing history, Pacquiao headlined a second sensational fight on ESPN+, winning the WBA “regular” world welterweight title in a seventh-round TKO of Matthysse in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
4. Terence Crawford vs. Julius Indongo (Aug. 19, 2017) – Crawford unified all four 140-pound titles with a third-round TKO over Indongo, becoming the first undisputed champion in boxing (in any weight class) since 2005.
5. Vasiliy Lomachenko vs. Jorge Linares (May 12, 2018) – Thus far, it is the most-watched cable boxing broadcast of 2018. Lomachenko dethroned Linares to win the WBA lightweight title, becoming the fastest fighter to win world titles in three weight classes. Lomachenko accomplished that feat in 12 fights, breaking the previous record held by Jeff Fenech, who did it in 20 professional fights.
In the new deal, the 54 live events provide fans with a consistent boxing destination that showcases not only the finest of U.S. and international championship matchups, but also comprehensive coverage of up-and-coming prospects and contenders.
The exclusive live event breakdown per year is as follows:
– 18 events on ESPN
– 12 exclusive, prime time events on ESPN+
– 24 premium international events on ESPN+
– Undercard coverage of all 54 events on ESPN+
Subscribers to ESPN+ will also have access to a variety of new and existing boxing content throughout the year, including:
· The Boxing Beat with Dan Rafael (Tuesdays)
· In this Corner (twice monthly)
· Camp Life
· The unmatched, on-demand treasure chest of the greatest fights of all time, including hundreds of fights from the ESPN Big Fights Library and the Top Rank archive, including Ali vs. Frazier I-III, Ali vs. Foreman, Leonard vs. Duran I-III, Hagler vs. Hearns and Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, among many more
· Re-airs of all Top Rank on ESPN and Top Rank on ESPN PPV bouts
· Weigh-ins, post-fight interviews, and press conferences
Boxing news, information, and opinion will also appear across ESPN platforms and new programs will be developed and announced at a later date.
Jimmy Pitaro, ESPN President and Co-Chairman, Disney Media Networks, said: ESPN is thrilled with this new long-term agreement with Top Rank, which represents the most innovative and comprehensive relationship in the world of boxing today. By creating and distributing significantly more Top Rank events and boxing content, ESPN and Top Rank will jointly cultivate upcoming fighters and fights, creating the stars of tomorrow while providing fans with the sport’s best content in a more personalized manner.”
Todd duBoef, President of Top Rank, said: “This partnership will continue to bring the biggest events and best fighters from around the world to ESPN networks. Our collective ability to integrate live events, classic fights, studio shows, and behind-the-scenes features will raise the long-term profile of the sport of boxing and the athletes.”
Added Kevin Mayer, Chairman, Direct-to-Consumer and International, The Walt Disney Company, “This expanded relationship with Top Rank increases the ability of ESPN+ to serve boxing fans better than ever and allows us to continue to build more direct relationships with this incredibly passionate audience.”
Launched in April, ESPN+ is an integrated part of a completely redesigned ESPN App. Already the leading sports app, the new ESPN App is the premier all-in-one digital sports platform for fans and highlights the company’s culture of innovation. With a richer, increasingly more personalized experience, the new ESPN App curates all of ESPN’s incredible content into an experience unique to each fan’s individual tastes. ESPN+ is also available through ESPN.com.
The deal with ESPN was brokered by Creative Artists Agency (CAA) on behalf of its client, Top Rank.