Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of January 30th to February 6th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Photo Credit: Dave Mandel/Showtime
Gervonta Davis vs. Hugo Ruiz Fight Week Workout Quotes
WBA Super Featherweight World Champion Gervonta Davis and former world champion Hugo Ruiz were on-hand at Churchill Boxing Club in Santa Monica Wednesday as they near their showdown that headlines SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® Saturday, February 9 from Dignity Health Sports Park, formerly StubHub Center, in Carson, California.
Wednesday’s workout also featured fighters who will enter the ring live on SHOWTIME in televised undercard attractions. Undefeated super lightweight Mario Barrios will be facing Mexico’s Richard Zamora, while former world champion Javier Fortuna steps in against lightweight contender Sharif Bogere in the opening bout of the tripleheader beginning at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.
Here is what the fighters had to say Wednesday in Santa Monica as they prepare for their Saturday night attractions:
“I was just watching Hugo Ruiz as I came in here. All I know is that he is fast, he has some speed. It looked like he has some power and good timing. I actually think that this is not a walk in the park, like people think. The fact that this is a late change doesn’t concern me because once I get in there, I’ll be able to make adjustments. I’m ready.
“It’s great to make it to this level. To have people under me like ‘Truck’ [Lorenzo Simpson], it feels amazing to inspire them to go further in life. It makes me want to push harder so that I can become the best that I can be.
“I come from a city with a lot of violence and things like that, but my mind was always focused on what I wanted to be in life. I traveled when I was super young, so my mindset was never like a typical eight-year-old. I won my first nationals when I was 10 years old. I’ve seen the world and I’ve seen the bigger picture. At that time, coming up in the gym, there were guys that I was looking up to that were getting killed in the streets. There were days in the gym where we would get a call that guys we trained with had been killed. I knew that it’s either boxing or things wouldn’t turn out too good. I knew I had to stay in the gym and stay focused.
“Camp is going great. I feel ready for Saturday night. I’m disappointed that I’m not facing Abner Mares but it doesn’t change too much. I heard that he hurt his elbow at first, I didn’t know that it was his eye. Once I heard it was his eye, I took it more seriously.
“I wanted to fight Abner. We could probably have done it back home but I gave him the chance to fight in LA. I am the champion, so I’m willing to give him another shot.”
“I feel great. I just came off of training for my last fight but I just feel like I’m continuing that training. I think it’s going to serve as great preparation for this next fight. It’s only going to be a benefit for me.
“I think this is going to be an explosive fight. We’re both known for our knockouts and this is a fight that can end at any moment. It’s going to be by a knockout.
“Out of my 39 wins, 33 of them are knockouts so I can say with confidence that I can knock out Gervonta Davis. No fighter is invincible and that’s a really possible outcome on Saturday.
“Gervonta Davis is a great fighter. I’ve watched him fight and I know that he’s a very strong fighter with a lot in his arsenal. There’s a reason why he’s a world champion right now but we know what we’re looking for. We have the hunger and the ambition to be triumphant. We have everything we need to beat Gervonta.
“I took the fight on short notice and I just fought, but I am ready. I trained very hard for my last fight and I still feel more than ready to go. I’m very excited to have this world championship opportunity and I am going to take advantage of it and show the world what I can do.
“I had a fight in November where I was training for a lefty. I then had another fight in January where I was preparing for a lefty. They changed my opponent last minute but I was still ready to go. I’ve been preparing for a lefty for five months and I think that’s a huge advantage for me.
“The reason I have so many knockouts is because I like to surprise my opponents and I really think I have something that I can surprise Gervonta with. Come Saturday, we will see how many ways I can surprise him.
“Gervonta is a fighter just like I am. We both are going in there with all the will to win and come Saturday I think we are going to give the people the show that they really want to see. I am ready to put on a spectacular show.”
WBO Orders Donnie Nietes vs. Aston Palicte II
The World Boxing Organization (WBO) has ordered negotiations to begin for a rematch between reigning WBO Junior Bantamweight World Champion Donnie “Ahas” Nietes and No. 1-ranked, mandatory challenger “Mighty” Aston Palicte.
The WBO contacted the promoters for Nietes and Palicte, respectively, ALA Promotions and Roy Jones Jr. (RJJ) Boxing Promotions, informing them that they have 15 days to reach an agreement regarding Nietes vs. Palicte II. If an agreement isn’t reached by the Feb. 19th deadline, the WBO will order a purse bid. The minimal bid is $100,000, but either promoter may request a purse bid procedure at any time during the negotiation process.
Nietes and Palicte fought to a controversial 12-round draw last September for the then vacant WBO junior bantamweight world title.
Erickson Lubin Training Camp Quotes
Super welterweight contender Erickson Lubin will enter the ring under the guidance of coach Kevin Cunningham for the first time when he steps into the ring this Saturday against former world champion Ishe Smith as part of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING COUNTDOWN from Dignity Health Sports Park, formerly StubHub Center, in Carson, California and presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
The digital presentation will stream on the SHOWTIME Sports YouTube channel and SHOWTIME Boxing Facebook page beginning at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT, and will also feature a showdown between super lightweights Juan Heraldez and Eddie Ramirez, all leading up to that evening’s SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING event. The three-fight SHOWTIME telecast begins live at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT headlined by super featherweight world champion Gervonta Davis defending his title against former world champion Hugo Ruiz.
Lubin will fight for the second time since losing his first world title challenge to Jermell Charlo in 2017, and for the first time with his new coach. The Orlando-native began training camp in West Palm Beach, but has been training in Las Vegas for the last month since the team moved west to finish the training camp for Adrien Broner’s fight against Manny Pacquiao.
Here is what Lubin had to say about Saturday’s fight and more:
On his matchup against Ishe Smith:
“Ishe Smith has been in the ring with the best of them and he’s never been stopped. He knows how to fight and I’m expecting him to be at this best. I will have to dictate the pace right from the opening bell. My goal is to be the first person to take him out, but if it goes the distance, I’m okay with that as well. I’m going to win this fight and win it impressively.”
On training with new coach Kevin Cunningham:
“Kevin is a no-nonsense type of guy. He’s going to tell you the truth if you like it or not. If I’m doing something wrong in his eyes, he’s going to speak on it right away. He’ll do the same if I’m doing something right, so I like his style of training and I’m learning more each day we are together. This will be our first fight together and I’m excited to get back in the ring. We have a nice game plan in place that we will execute on fight night.”
On training in Las Vegas for the first time in his career:
“Training in Las Vegas is no joke, because we are training in higher elevation than what I’m used to in Florida. Getting away from the distractions at home has been relaxing. I’ve been getting great sparring and my timing is right on point. Las Vegas is definitely the place to be for high level sparring and training.”
On fighting in Southern California for the second time in his career:
“I really like fighting on the west coast. The fans are great, and the weather is beautiful. I know we’ll be fighting outdoors so I’m looking forward to that. Everyone knows this venue has hosted some really good fights. I’m looking to steal the show on Saturday night.”
“Hats off to the WBO for being so aggressive to attempt to make this fight happen,” RJJ Boxing Promotions CEO/Co-Founder Keith Veltre. We are looking forward to making this deal happen but, if the deal can’t be made, we are ready for a purse bid.:
The WBO ordered No. 1 ranked Nietes to fight No. 3 rated Kazuito Ioka, on New Year’s Eve in China, for the vacant WBO junior bantamweight crown, in addition to No. 2 Palicte vs. unbeaten No. 4 Jose Martinez last Thursday night in Alpine, California, to determine Nietes’ mandatory challenger.
Nietes (42-1-5, 23 KOs) won by way of a 12-round split decision to capture his fourth world title in four different weight classes, while Palicte (25-2-1, 21 KOs) knocked out Martinez in the second round to set-up another All-Filipino showdown.
Palicte vs. Martinez headlined a show that was the first under a new agreement between Palicte’s promoter, RJJ Boxing, and UFC FIGHT PASS® to live stream up to 72 professional boxing events during the next three years.
Alberto Machado and Andrew Cancio Workout Quotes
WBA Super Featherweight World Champion Alberto “Explosivo” Machado (21-0, 17 KOs) of San Juan, Puerto Rico and 130-pound contender
Andrew “El Chango” Cancio (19-4-2, 14 KOs) of Blythe, Calif. hosted a media workout today at Westside Boxing Club in Los Angeles ahead of their 12-round battle. The event will take place on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019 at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, Calif. and will be streamed live on DAZN – which is just $9.99 per month after a one-month free trial.
Four fighters from the undercard also participated in the workout. Joseph “JoJo” Diaz Jr. (27-1, 14 KOs) of South El Monte, Calif. will return in a 10-round super featherweight battle against Charles Huerta (20-5, 12 KOs) of Paramount, Calif. Genaro “El Conde” Gamez (8-0, 5 KOs) will battle against Ivan “Striker” Delgado (13-1-2, 6 KOs) in an eight-round lightweight battle between a current Golden Boy prospect and an ex-Golden Boy fighter.
Below is what today’s participants had to say at the workout:
ALBERTO MACHADO, WBA Super Featherweight World Champion:
“Being a father is one of the most important things that has happened to me. Now I dedicate my time off to being a father, to being a family man. I’m boxing full time, but it’s an extra motivation because I want to provide the best for baby. That is one of the reasons I’m in Los Angeles working hard for six weeks in camp without my family. I’m ready to defend my title.”
“I hope to fight four times this year and make four defenses. I am very excited for all that has been happening in my career. Thank you to Golden Boy Promotions and Miguel Cotto Promotions. I’m very happy for all the opportunities.”
“I am big for this division. I’m tall. I have power, and I have speed. Cancio is a great warrior. I’m ready to defend my title. It’s another challenge in my career and I’m happy for this opportunity. Training camp has gone well. Freddie Roach is a great trainer and a great person. He has more time for me now, and I’m getting a lot of experience from him every day. I feel and see the difference in my fights and my sparring. Everyone who saw my last fight saw that I did better. I will continue that momentum in this fight.”
“DAZN is the new platform for boxing. DAZN has a lot of fighters now. Boxing is going through a great time right now. If my promoter gives me the opportunity to unify the titles–it would be a dream come true. I’m waiting for that opportunity this year on DAZN. I may even close the year in the lightweight division as well.”
ANDREW CANCIO, Super Featherweight Contender:
“It’s very surreal to be fighting for a world title. I thought my career was done. I took a tough loss in my first pay-per-view fight [against Joseph Diaz in 2016], and that wasn’t good at all. I told my best friend I was going to retire. It took 17 months for me to get back in the ring. I missed the sport. I also had a lot to prove. But I knew that I could be here. I knew that I could fight for a world title. I finally got things in order. I won some fights that people thought I would lose, but here I am. I’m looking to do the same thing February 9.”
“Life changed me. I got hit with some things that I had never seen coming. I guess it humbled me and changed me as a person. I became a different person. I didn’t take things for granted anymore. I had to come back and do things right this time around.”
“I feel great now. I feel like I’m a different fighter than the one who fought JoJo Diaz. This is a big deal. This is for a world title. It’s not my first time being on the big stage, but it’s the first time I’m the main event on the big stage. But I feel prepared for this. It’s my time.”
“For this fight we will have to work on the inside. If we let him get his range, he will get more leverage. He will get more powerful. They say he’s a big 130-pounder, but I’ve won all my best fights at 130. When I fought Jerry Belmontes, it was at 130 and I won clearly. When I fought Aidar Sharibayev, it was at 130. When I beat Rocky Juarez, it was at 130. I’m glad that this opportunity at 130. This division will benefit us.”
“I always bring action to a fight. The fans can expect me to be in good shape, mentally and physically. I will be ready to go all 12 rounds. But he’s a hard-hitter, and so am I. So, I don’t think this fight will go to the scorecards. Whether it’s me or him going down, we will collide. The fight fans will win that night no matter who walks away with the victory.”
Christian Carto, Darmani Rock Headline Raging Babe’s Feb. 8th Philly Special on Facebook FightNight Live
Having eclipsed the four-million views mark to close out the 2018 calendar year, FIGHTNIGHT LIVE Powered by Everlast opens the first quarter of 2019 with an outstanding six-card lineup featuring six different promotions and spanning five cities, beginning on Friday, Feb. 8 in South Philadelphia.
The free and interactive Facebook series rings its opening bell next Friday at 2300 Arena in South Philly by showcasing an exceptional, standing-room-only card put together by Raging Babe. Partnering with forward-thinking promoter Michelle Rosado on next week’s “Philly Special” featuring several undefeated prospects – including bantamweight Christian Carto (17-0, 11 KOs) and heavyweight Darmani Rock (13-0, 8 KOs) – FIGHTNIGHT LIVE is sure to get its 2019 schedule off to a hot start.
“We’re excited to partner with FIGHTNIGHT LIVE for our debut Philly event,” said Rosado. “The fights on the card and the fighters themselves have captured the attention of fight fans all over, even outside of the Philadelphia area, so we’re thrilled to give people the opportunity to see the fights live.”
Carto meets veteran southpaw Victor Ruiz (22-10, 15 KOs) in the main event, as the 22-year-old prospect looks to continue to make his case as a contender.Rock will fight in the card’s co-feature, while undefeated Marcel Rivers (6-0, 4 KOs) of North Philadelphia meets Derrick Whitley (4-0-1) of Springfield, Mass. in a special welterweight attraction. Amateur heavyweight standout Sonny Conto of South Philadelphia – a recent signee of monolithic promotion Top Rank – will also be featured in his pro debut as part of a seven-bout card.
“We couldn’t be happier to begin our New Year at 2300 Arena with the outstanding lineup that Raging Babe has assembled for the Feb. 8 ‘Philly Special,'” said Mark Fratto, Principal and Director of Business Development, Linacre Media. “We’ve been able to showcase nearly 500 up-and-comers on our platform, and Christian Carto is special prospect who we’re really pleased to feature on Facebook. Darmani Rock always brings the thunder, and watch out for the pro debut of Top Rank signee Sonny Conto as well.”
Now in its second season, FIGHTNIGHT LIVE Powered by Everlast is the fan-friendly Facebook platform that – among other aspects – prides itself on the real-time conversations held between fight commentators and the viewing audience. FIGHTNIGHT LIVE has showcased more than 450 fighters and 15 promotions during 26 live event broadcasts from 18 different cities since May 2017, and in doing so, the interactive platform has generated the loyal interest of fight fans from across the United States and around the globe, including significant audiences in Mexico, the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe, and even fans in South America, Asia and Australia.
•Since May 2017, the numbers on the 26-show FIGHTNIGHT LIVE series showed promise and potential for the new platform with an average of 166,508 views per event and more than 4.3 million total views for the franchise. Since Sept. 2018,Season II shows have averaged almost 323,000 views.
•The Sept. 2018 “Kings Boxing Tuesday Night Fights” (594,447) from the Sands in Bethlehem, the Dec. 2018 “Queens and Kings of Queens Card” (379,758) in New York, the Nov. 2018 “Hard Hitting Showtime Collaboration” (372,662), the Dec. 2018 “Roy Jones Jr. Texas Throwdown” (318,886), the Oct. 2018 “Hard Hitting Philly Special” (297,545), the Oct. 2018 hour-long Bareknuckle “Freeview” (292,253), the Nov. 2018 “Titans In The Capital” (256,871), the Sept. 2017 “Real Deal Promotions: Empire State” from Resorts World Casino (225,000), and the August 2017 CES “Super Saturday” from Foxwoods (203,000) all logged 200,000 or more views, and collectively the 26-show series has seen a total of more than 4,329,206 views across all devices.
•In addition to the raw viewership numbers, the fully-interactive, fan-friendly productions have seen more than 377,000 collective live post engagements (more than 14,500 per show), including more than 293,000 “likes” or “loves,” more than 46,000 comments and almost 16,000 shares.
•The Sept. 2018 “Kings Boxing Tuesday Night Fights” from the Sands in Bethlehem set a new bar with 594,447 views and the Sept. 2017 DiBella-CES doubleheader carried the series to three-quarters-of-a-million views in just over four months. The Sept. 2017 DiBella card saw more than 40,000 viewer interactions including almost 39,000 “likes” or “loves” and the March 17, 2018, Murphy’s “St. Patrick’s Day Clash” set a new high-water mark for shares with 2,182.
•The FIGHTNIGHT LIVE page on Facebook has more than 86,000 fans and more than 92,000 followers.
Created and produced by Linacre Media out of New York City, the FIGHTNIGHT LIVE series features professional announcers, multiple camera angles, television graphics, replays and behind-the-scenes access and interviews. The streamed shows are available globally wherever Facebook is available. The initiative not only enables fans from around the world to tune in, but also gives up-and-coming fighters a global platform to showcase their abilities, gives promoters an accessible “broadcast” solution and gives sponsors the ability to reach a mass audience via branded content.
FIGHTNIGHT LIVE Winter and Spring 2019 dates will be officially announced in the coming weeks.
FIGHTNIGHT LIVE is available online at: https://www.facebook.com/FaceFIGHTNIGHTLIVE/