By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of December 17th to December 24th covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Cotto Leaning Towards Martinez
Miguel Cotto is in an envious position, he has representatives both Sergio Martinez and Canelo Alvarez’s camps offering him large amounts of money to fight. However, it appears the Miguel Cotto has been leaning towards taking a fight with Sergio Martinez for his middleweight title at Madison Square Garden in June of this year.
If Cotto is able to land this fight he will be chasing a title in a fourth weight class. More information can be found at http://espn.go.com/blog/new-york/boxing/post/_/id/5538/martinez-vs-cotto-at-the-garden-maybe.
Inaugural Box Fan Expo to Take Place Next September in Las Vegas
Every year, one of the biggest boxing weekends of the year is Mexican Independence Day. In 2014, that weekend has just got bigger, better and more fan accessible with the announcement of the FIRST-EVER BOX FAN EXPO.
Box Fan Expo will take place on Saturday, September 13th, 2014 at the Las Vegas Convention Center and will run from 10am to 6pm.
Box Fan Expo is the ultimate fan experience that was created to promote the entire boxing industry and to allow fans to celebrate and join their favorite boxers and boxing celebrities. The event will feature boxing legends, today’s superstars, Hall of Famers, future prospects and the stars of today all under one roof.
The event will also feature major promoters, ring card girls, sanctioning organizations as well as trainers, referees, commentators and announcers. Anyone that directly or indirectly represents the sport of boxing will have a chance to showcase themselves to the boxing fans and whole industry. Also in attendance will be exhibitors, sponsors, television broadcasters and media.
Box Fan Expo will also feature different activities such as meet and greets, autograph sessions, photo ops and you can weigh in and face off with your favorite fighters.
Throughout the next ten months, there will be weekly updates on the many stars that have already committed their appearance at the Box Fan Expo.
50 Cent’s Big Apple Boxing Results
Resorts World Casino NYC, promoter/rapper Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson’s SMS Promotions closed its 2013 season in grand style with the presentation of “Big Apple Boxing,” in which five of six fights ended in knockouts.
In the main event, Amir “Young Master” Imam (12-0, 11 KOs) knocked out Mexican invader Sergio “Sirenito” Perez (28-16, 19 KOs) only 52-seconds into the opening round to capture the vacant North American Boxing Federation (NABF) junior welterweight title. Perez had been stopped only twice in 43 previous professional fights.
Hot lightweight prospect Joel Diaz, Jr. improved to 14-0 (12 KOs), putting Tony “Sugar Boy” Walker (5-4-1, 3 KOs) to sleep at 2:27 of the first round in the co-feature.
Three fighters promoted by 50 Cent registered impressive victories. Puerto Rican welterweight Emmanuel “Pirata” DeJesus (9-0, 6 KOs) cruised to a win by fourth-round technical knockout over Antonio Chaves-Fernandez. Lightweight Ryan “Blue-Chip” Martin (2-0, 2 KOs), a 12-time national amateur champion, lived up to his nickname by destroying Eric Jamal Goodall (1-3) with a first-round knockout at the 1:22 mark.Welterweight Donte Strayhorn (4-1) notched his first knockout as a pro, dropping Sam Moura en route to a fourth-round technical knockout.
Connecticut bantamweight Nate “The Great One” Green (5-0) overcame a first-round knockdown to upset Thomas “KO” Snow (16-2, 10 KOs). Green came back to deck Snow in the fourth and sixth rounds to win a unanimous six-round decision by identical scores of 57-54.
Nordic Fight Night Postponed to February 1st
The Nordic Fight Night in Frederikshavn has been postponed by two weeks due to an eye injury sustained by WBA, WBC & WBO Female Welterweight Champion Cecilia Braekhus (23-0, 7 KOs). The pound-for-pound number one will now face Myriam Lamare (22-3, 10 KOs) at the Arena Nord on February 1.
“When it comes down to a fighter´s health, we cannot take any risks,” said promoter Nisse Sauerland. “The doctors have ordered Cecilia to sit out practice for ten days, which made it impossible for her to be in top shape on January 18. At the highest level, losing two weeks in the middle of your preparation is a nightmare. Against a world-class opponent like Lamare, Cecilia needs to be at 100 percent, not 90, 80 or 70. We want to apologise to the fans who have already bought tickets and hope that they will be able to join us on the new date. All fights will remain the same.”
Said Braekhus: “I am very sorry about the postponement but there is nothing I could do about it. I was gutted when I picked up the injury in sparring. I´ve been forced to postpone fights before, like against Anne Sophie Mathis due to my tonsillitis. Believe me, it is the worst feeling in the world. You feel like you let down your fans. So I was very disappointed at first but I am relieved that the postponement is for only two weeks and that my team has been able to set the new date quickly. I hope that all my fans will still come over to Frederikshavn and support me. Lamare is a very tough opponent, I couldn´t fight her without a proper preparation. My fitness and my hard training have always given me an edge over my opponents. I´ll now take a little break and then return to practice to get in shape for Lamare.”
The WBO Kids Drug Free Program Invites the Boxing Community of Puerto Rico to Give Back
On December 18, the WBO Kids Drug Free Program invited the Kronk Gym Foundation and the boxing community of Puerto Rico to help Sister Mildred Vazquez in the donation for youngsters with more than 400, bicycles, toys and t-shirts to the youngsters.
“It’s a big job, and what we do, does make a difference for these kids to move forward in life”. said Francisco “Paco” Valcarcel, WBO President
The WBO’s Kids Drug Free Program and the annual event held at Centro Sor Isolina in Ponce, aim to provide youth in Ponce with alternatives to the streets and drugs. For more than 15 years, the WBO Kids Drug Free Program has worked with Ponce and other communities globally to help youngsters through donations, service and motivational appearances involving some of boxing’s biggest stars including Wladamir Klitschko, Juan Manuel Marquez, Miguel Cotto, Wilfredo Vasquez, Jr. and the late Emanuel Steward amongst other notables.
“To see the youngsters eyes light up with a smile covering such sweet faces when their name was called to pick up their bicycle, and they were so proud to wear their Kronk Gym Foundation shirt, was more than I could ever ask for this holiday season”. -said Anita Ruiz, longtime Steward companion, business aid and Kronk Gym Foundation executive director.
The Kronk Gym Foundation’s is a nonprofit organization committed to making a difference in the well-being of youth through character-building, education and recreation. Since 1969, the Kronk Gym has provided a recreational outlet for youngsters.
Many of the youth in this program become world champions, but even more become world champion citizens.The goal is to carry on Emanuel Steward’s Legacy and provide recreational facilities, in addition to mentoring, for the overall development of youth and the community.
The WBO provided the toys and bicycles, the Kronk Gym Foundation provided the shirts in a partnership that is going to continue stateside as the WBO and the Kronk Gym Foundation work together to provide new equipment for the boxing gym. The Kronk Gym Foundation’s new facility will be located in Detroit.
At this year’s event, the boxing community of Puerto Rico came out to volunteer their time Alex “El Nene” Sanchez, Alfredo “Salsero” Escalera, Angel “Cholo” Espada, contenders Jayson “The Star” Velez, Abner “Pin ” Cotto, prospects Felix “Diamante” Verdejo, Alberto Machado, Rey “Maestro” Ojeda and amateur fighters Mercedes Alicea, Celiel Castillo, Nelson Santana and Ernesto Alicea, Former WBO Champion Samuel Serranos, WBO officials including WBO referees, Gino Rodriguez & Luis Perez, WBO Judges Nelson Vasquez & Carlos Cologne, WBO president, Francisco “Paco” Valcarcel, WBO Secretary, Jose Izquierdo and many others.
Anontio Orozco Takes on Miguel Angel Huerta on Golden Boy Live!
FOX Sports 1 and FOX Deportes’ Golden Boy Live! series returns to Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, Calif. on Friday, Jan. 24 to kick-off 2014 with a hard-hitting main event featuring San Diego’s undefeated Antonio “Relentless” Orozco as he puts his undefeated record on the line against fellow power-puncher Miguel Angel “El Anestesista” Huerta of Ecatepec de Morelos, Mexico in a 10-round junior welterweight fight. Also featured on the night of boxing will be a 10-round IBF Super Welterweight Final Elimination bout between former World Champion Cornelius “K9” Bundrage and Miami’s Joey “Twinkle Fingers” Hernandez.
Rapidly becoming one of the most intimidating fighters in the junior welterweight division, Antonio “Relentless” Orozco (18-0, 14 KO’s) stopped his last six opponents by way of knockout, including veterans Ivan Hernandez and Jose Reynoso and fellow prospect Danny Escobar. On Jan. 24, the 26-year-old from San Diego returns for his third appearance at Fantasy Springs when he faces a rugged veteran in Huerta.
Hard-hitting southpaw “El Anestesista” (27-11-1, 18 KO’s) has tested several top-notch fighters over the years, with big wins over Daniel Alicea, Efren Hinojosa and Darling Jimenez proving that when the bell rings, the Mexico City product is always ready for battle. The always-tough Huerta is looking forward to upsetting Orozco.
Eager to prove his boxing life begins at 40, Detroit’s former World Champion Cornelius “K9” Bundrage (32-5, 19 KO’s) is eager to defeat Joey Hernandez on Jan. 24 and put himself back in line for a shot at becoming a world champion again. The former IBF 154-pound world champion from 2010, when he knocked out Cory Spinks, to 2013 when he lost a controversial majority decision to Ishe Smith, Bundrage plans on letting his heavy hands go and adding another knockout to his record.
Miami southpaw Joey “Twinkle Fingers” Hernandez (23-1-1, 13 KO’s) has long been one of South Florida’s best-kept secrets. The winner of eight straight bouts, five by knockout, and owner of the USBO and the WBC USNBC titles at 154 pounds, Hernandez is on the brink of a shot at a world title. The 29-year-old is back in action after a victory over James Winchester in November of last year and ready to take on Bundrage of Jan. 24.
Walsh and Sykes Collide for Vacant British Title
Commonwealth Super-Featherweight king Liam Walsh gets the opportunity to add the British title to his collection in his first fight of 2014.
Cromer star Walsh will clash with rival Gary Sykes for the Vacant British title and also puts his Commonwealth belt on the line on the big Copper Box Arena show on Saturday 15th February, live and exclusive on BoxNation (Sky Ch. 437/Virgin Ch. 546).
Undefeated Walsh, 27, won both his fights this year, coming through a tough battle against former two-time world champion Scott Harrison in April, when he step up to lightweight to win the WBO European belt, then inflicting the first loss to unbeaten rival Joe Murray’s record to win the WBO International Super-Featherweight title.
While Sykes, 29, who holds the English Super-Featherweight title, beat Femi Fehintola on points over eight rounds on Saturday night in Leeds to prepare for his showdown with Walsh. Dewsbury’s Sykes will be out to reclaim the British title that he won in March 2010 against Andy Morris, making defences against Kevin O’Hara and Carl Johanneson, before losing it to Gary Buckland in September 2011.
Walsh is delighted to fight for the British title before he moves on towards a potential European title challenge and onto the world scene later next year.
He said, “The British title is the one that all fighters want so I’m happy that the opportunity has finally arrived. Skye’s is a good fighter, he’s held the title before so he’s not getting greedy and winning it again! I respect him, he’s a tough fighter and I’m preparing for a hard fight, but I’ve got big ambitions in my career and I’ve got to beat Sykes to go on and achieve them.”
Sykes countered by saying, “Since I lost the British it’s been my mission to get it back, I said I didn’t care who held it or who I had to go through to get, I just wanted it in my hands again. Walsh is a fantastic fighter, I really respect him, but there’s got to be a winner and a loser in this fight and like I said I want my belt back. This is going to be a great fight for the fans and I’ll lay everything on the line on the night to become a two-time British Champion.”
Greg Cohen Promotions Off to a Big Start in 2014
New York-based promoter Greg Cohen of Greg Cohen Promotions has a very busy schedule set up for the start of 2014, with several high-profile events he is either promoting or co-promoting and featuring many of his premier fighters.
On Friday, January 10, Greg Cohen Promotions, DiBella Entertainment, Brian Halquist Productions, and GH3 Promotions will present “Battle at the Boat 94”, in the I-5 Showroom of the Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma, Washington, and televised live, worldwide, by ESPN Friday Night Fights.
In the 10-round super featherweight main event, IBF #8-ranked Afghani-Canadian Arash Usmanee (20-1-1, 10 KOs) will face Mexican KO artist Juan Antonio “El Mozo” Rodriguez (25-4, 23 KOs). In the televised co-feature, Zahir “Z-Man” Raheem (34-3, 21 KOs) will continue his comeback against TBA. And in a special attraction, former top cruiserweight contender Lateef “Power” Kayode (19-0, 15 KOs) will make his second appearance as a heavyweight.
And then, on January 17, at the Cook Convention Center in Memphis, Tennessee, DiBella Entertainment, in association with GH3 Promotions, Greg Cohen Promotions and Prize Fight Boxing, will present an exciting quadrupleheader for the premiere of the 2014 ShoBox: The New Generation season with live on SHOWTIME® (10 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast).
In the 10-round main event, GCP’s once-beaten Tony “Lightning” Luis (17-1, 7 KO’s) will face Ukrainian lightweight Ivan “The Terrible” Redkach (15-0, 13 KO’s). In the televised co-features, unbeaten junior middleweights John Thompson (14-0, 5 KO’s) and Frank Galarza (11-0-2, 7 KO’s) collide in an eight-round matchup and fast-rising and highly regarded up-and-coming prospect Antoine Douglas (11-0, 7 KO’s) squares off against Marquis Davis (8-0-2, 5 KO’s) in an eight-round middleweight showdown. Opening the telecast will be hard-hitting Maurice Hooker (12-0-1, 9 KOs) against an opponent TBA in an eight-round junior welterweight matchup.
On January 31, in West Orange, New Jersey and live on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights, Greg Cohen Promotions, DiBella Entertainment, and GH3 Promotions will present “Super BrawlTM”, featuring Elvir “The Kosovo Kid” Muriqi (40-5, 24 KOs) taking on former world light heavyweight champion Zsolt Erdei (33-1, 18 KOs) in a 10-round light heavyweight bout. On the same card, Jorge Diaz (17-2) will take on undefeated Luis Rosa (15-0) in a ten-round super bantamweight bout. On the undercard, undefeated lightweight prospect Mikey Faragon (18-0, 8 KOs) will make his much-anticipated return to the ring against an opponent TBA, after recovering from major foot surgery.
And finally, on February 1, Cohen’s fighter, WBA #3 Jarrod Fletcher (17-1, 10 KO’s), will face WBA #1 Martin Murray (26-1-1, 11 KO’s) for the vacant WBA 160 lb. title as the co- feature of Golovkin’s title defense against Osumanu Adama at the Salle des Etoiles, in Monte Carlo, Monaco.
“Our fighters have been blessed with big opportunities and we’ve been working very hard to bring them to fruition,” said Cohen. “I’d like to thank ESPN, Showtime and all my co-promoters for helping make it all happen. I look forward to a big year for GCP and its fighters and we’re off to a terrific start!”
Mares vs. Gonzalez II Announced for February 15, 2014
Golden Boy Promotions will present a rematch of one of 2013’s biggest upsets when Jhonny Gonzalez defends his WBC Featherweight World Championship against former Three -Time & Three-Division World Champion Abner Mares, on Saturday, Feb.15 from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, Calif. live on SHOWTIME® (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT).
In their first bout on Aug. 24, 2013, at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., hard-hitting Gonzalez shocked the world with a first round knockout of Mares taking his title and his unbeaten record from him. On Feb. 15, Mares gets his shot at redemption.
“Abner Mares gave me my shot and now I’m giving him his,” said Gonzalez. “I respect what he’s done in the ring and the heart he shows every time he fights, but I worked too hard for this to give it up now. I will keep my title on February 15.”
“I’d like to thank Jhonny Gonzalez for this opportunity. It will be an honor to fight him a second time,” said Mares. “August 24 was his night and I take nothing away from him, but February 15 will be my night and I’m going to get my title back.”
“This fight says a lot about both Jhonny Gonzalez and Abner Mares,” said Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. “Jhonny wants to leave no doubt about his first win and Abner wanted to get another shot at him immediately. These are two great warriors and I can’t wait to see them fight again.”
“After the most unexpected upset of 2013, Jhonny Gonzalez and Abner Mares will meet again in one of the most highly anticipated matchups of the first quarter,” said Stephen Espinoza, Executive Vice President and General Manager, SHOWTIME Sports. “Any time you put two Mexican warriors like Abner and Jhonny in the ring together, you can expect an action-packed fight. This is the type of fight that our SHOWTIME viewers have come to expect, and February 15 will undoubtedly deliver.”
“We are very excited to host such an incredible fight here on February 15th with our partners at Golden Boy Promotions,” Lee Zeidman, STAPLES Center, Sr. Vice President and General Manager. “Southern California boxing fans will definitely not want to miss this rematch of Jhonny Gonzalez and Abner Mares, it is sure to be a memorable night at STAPLES Center.”
Pacquiao Earns a Victory in Court
Three weeks removed from his decisive victory over Brandon Rios in Macau, Manny Pacquiao earned an even more decisive win in a federal courthouse.
On December 18, the United States Court of Appeal for the Fifth Circuit, one of the highest and most influential courts in the country, affirmed the dismissal of a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Pacquiao filed by a startup Texas promotional company named Imperial ED Promotions. Imperial ED filed the lawsuit in November 2010, claiming that Pacquiao failed to appear at a promotional event in September 2010. Imperial ED didn’t tell the court that they failed to pay the Filipino star the full appearance fee that had been negotiated.
In July 2012, Pacquiao’s counsel, led by David Marroso a partner at O’Melveny & Myers LLP, questioned whether Imperial ED was the right party to bring the claim since the appearance contract had been signed by a different person. Imperial ED responded with a highly suspicious document that supposedly transferred ownership of the contract. Marroso and his team questioned the document and were granted the right to question Imperial ED’s principals under oath and to have one of the world’s foremost ink dating experts examine the document. After reviewing the evidence, federal judge Ricardo Hinojosa agreed with Pacquiao, found that the document had been falsely backdated, and threw out the case. On Wednesday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the decision, putting an end to the three-year legal saga.
“As Manny’s popularity increased, he has become a target,” observed Marroso. “People file meritless lawsuits against Manny hoping cash in on his success.” Pacquiao hopes the Court’s decision will cause future plaintiffs to pause before filing frivolous lawsuits and trying to cheat the system, according to Marroso. Pacquiao advisor Michael Koncz added that “Manny took a stand in this case and vowed to fight until his name was cleared.”