Boxing Insider Notebook: Flores, Haney, USA Boxing, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of October 29th to November 5th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Photo Credit: Hosanna Rulli/iRULL FOTOS
Miguel Flores Training Camp Quotes
Super featherweight contender Miguel “El Michoacan” Flores will complete his winding road to his first world title opportunity when he takes on three-division champion Leo “El Terremoto” Santa Cruz for the WBA Super Featherweight Title Saturday, November 23 in the FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Flores (24-2, 12 KOs) will look for a career-defining victory in the co-main event leading up to Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder defending his WBC title in a rematch against once-beaten Cuban slugger Luis “King Kong” Ortiz in the headlining attraction of action beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by BombZquad Promotions, TGB Promotions and Mayweather Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased at www.mgmgrand.com or www.axs.com.
The 27-year-old was born in Mexico and grew up in Houston, Texas, where he has been training for his showdown against Santa Cruz. Flores was originally scheduled to face Santa Cruz in February for the featherweight title but was forced to withdraw because of an ankle injury.
With a dominant stoppage victory over Luis May in June, the injury is behind Flores as he prepares to challenge a fellow Mexican-American warrior in Santa Cruz on pay-per-view from Las Vegas. Here is what Flores had to say about training camp, Santa Cruz and more:
On his recent training camp with coach Aaron Navarro:
“I’ve been with coach Aaron Navarro my entire career, even as an amateur, and together we’ve grown really tight. Edward Jackson, my strength and conditioning coach, and Bobby Benton my co-trainer and cutman, have been with us for a very long time as well. Together we took my training to the next level for this fight. Everyone will see the progress we’ve made during this camp when I step in the ring.”
On his matchup with Leo Santa Cruz:
“Leo Santa Cruz is an incredible fighter and he’s been fighting at the championship level for many years now. It will be my job to match him punch for punch, and that’s what we’ve been working on. We’ve made a couple of small changes to my style, but nothing major. Everyone will see what those changes are on fight night. People our doubting me, but it’s fueling my fire and I’m determined to prove everyone wrong.”
On fighting for his first world title:
“Fighting for a world title is something I’ve been striving for my whole career. This is a dream come true for me. I’ve worked extremely hard to get here and I’m not going to let the big moment affect me. My time has finally come and I’m going to leave everything I have in the ring. I’m going to shock the world.”
On fighting in Las Vegas on FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View for the first time:
“I’ve been a professional fighter for over ten years and never gotten to experience what it’s like to fight in Las Vegas, the boxing capital of the world. So, to say I’m excited is an understatement. On top of that, I’ll be fighting on this FOX Sports platform, the new home for professional boxing. My fists will be flying and everyone watching is in for a big surprise. Like I said, I’m going to shock the world.”
Devin Haney Faces Santiago in Maiden World Title Defense
Devin Haney will face Alfredo Santiago in the first defense of his WBC World Lightweight title at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles on Saturday November 9, live on DAZN in the US, Sky Sports in the UK and distributed globally on FITE.
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Haney (23-0 15 KOs) was elevated to full champion at the recent WBC Convention in Cancun, Mexico, following his dominant performance against Zaur Abdullaev in New York in September where he overpowered the unbeaten Russian over four blistering rounds to force Abdullaev to retire, and land ‘The Dream’ the interim belt at 135lbs.
Now Haney makes the short trip from his Las Vegas home to Los Angeles where he faces Santiago (12-0 4 KOs) in his maiden defence, the unbeaten Dominican talent, who turns 25 the day after the fight, will be on looking to derail Haney’s reign as champion at the first hurdle.
“I’m happy we got this deal done,” said Haney. “I’m not just a WBC World Champion that’s holding somebody else’s belt. I’m the sole champion, and I will defend the Lightweight World title on November 9. I’ve been working hard and I’m extremely focused. This will be the perfect gift to myself for my 21st birthday.
“All the fans at STAPLES Center and the millions watching on DAZN, are going to witness another dominant performance. I’m going to continue to show the world that I’m the best in my division.
“Alfredo Santiago is my next opponent; he’s undefeated, he’s hungry, and he’s coming to win. I take every fight very serious and this fight is no different. Tune in next Saturday and you’ll see that the hype is real.”
“First and foremost, I would like to thank Matchroom Boxing and Fresh Productions for this opportunity,” said Santiago. “This is the moment that I’ve been dreaming of since I was a kid, and the one I’ve been waiting for since I became a boxer. I am physically and mentally ready, and I am going to show who the best 135lber in the world is.
“Mr. Haney is a formidable fighter who chose the wrong opponent. He cannot beat me. I belong to ‘The Terror Squadron’, the best boxing team in the world. This is my time.”
“I am delighted to see Devin defend his World title on November 9,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “We’re going to have a huge crowd of new fight fans at the arena and tuning in all around the world to watch KSI and Logan Paul, and Devin is the perfect fighter to showcase what boxing is all about to a potential crop of new fight fans – he’s young, exciting, confident and relatable – the perfect mix.
“Alfredo Santiago is a hungry young fighter himself and this is a golden opportunity for him to halt Devin’s charge to superstardom – but I believe that ‘The Dream’ will shine and being his reign as World champion in style.”
Haney’s clash with Santiago is part of a huge night of action in Los Angeles as YouTube sensations KSI and Logan Paul clash in a rematch of their controversial draw – this time as professional fighters.
Billy Joe Saunders (28-0 13 KOs) makes his American debut and defends his WBO World Super-Middleweight title against unbeaten Argentine Marcelo Coceres (28-0-1 15 KOs), and he is joined on the card by a quartet of Eddie Hearn’s talented rising US stars in Nikita Ababiy (7-0 6 KOs), Diego Pacheco (6-0 5 KOs), Reshat Mati (4-0 ) and Alexis Espino (4-0 3 KOs).
USA Boxing Alumni Association Announces Hall of Fame Class of 2019
Olympic gold-medalists “Big” George Foreman, Mark Breland and “Smokin'” Joe Frazier head the Class of 2019 into the USA Boxing Alumni Association Hall of Fame, Friday night, December 13, at Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
The HOF reception is being held in conjunction with the 2020 Olympic Trials and 2019 National Championships. Dec. 7-15, at Lake Charles Civic Center. The finals Olympic Trials will be held Sunday, Dec. 15, at the Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Hall of Fame broadcaster Al Bernstein from Showtime Sports will serve as the event’s emcee for the third year in a row.
USA Boxing Alumni Association’s third class also includes decorated coaches Al Mitchell and Ray Rodgers.
Sen. John McCain will be posthumously presented a special Lifetime Achievement Award. A fearless boxer for three years at the U.S. Naval Academy, Sen. McCain managed his battalion’s boxing team to the brigade championship.
Sen. McCain was the architect of the ground-breaking Muhammad Ali Act, pushed for the pardoning of Jack Johnson, and worked with the Cleveland Clinic on the forefront of brain trauma studies leading to more safety measures for boxers.
“My father had a passion for boxing,” his daughter Megan McCain said. “He loved it for the thrill of achievement, the nobility of struggle, and the dignity of men bloodied but unbowed. His love for boxing and his love for America had a lot in common. That’s why he worked tirelessly to protect and elevate the sport – making it an arena of integrity for fans and fighters alike.
“That’s also why I am honored to join the USA Boxing Alumni Association Hall of Fame to accept their Lifetime Achievement Award on his behalf.”
Foreman (pro: 76-5, 68 KOs, amateur: 22-4) was also a three-time World Heavyweight Champion as a pro, in addition to famously winning a gold medal at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico, as well as at the National AAU Championships. A resident of Houston, Texas, his victims included Frazier (twice), Ken Norton, Dwight Muhammad Qawi and Michael Moorer.
Considered one of the greatest amateur boxers of all-time, Breland (pro: 35-3-1, 25 KOs), amateur: 110-1) was a gold medalist at the 1984 Olympic Games in Las Angeles and 1982 World Championships. The Brooklyn native was a two-time World Welterweight Champion as a pro. His most notable victories were versus Steve Little, Rafael Pineda and Lloyd Honeyghan.
The late Frazier (pro: 32-4-1, 27 KOs, amateur: 38-2), representing Philadelphia, captured a gold medal at the 1964 Olympics in Japan and he was a three-time World Heavyweight Champion as a professional. Frazier’s hit list included Muhammad Ali, Jimmy Ellis (twice), Bob Foster and Oscar Bonavena (twice).
Mitchell has been in boxing for more than 60 years, first as a boxer, but he’s much better known as a world-class boxing coach. He has been the boxing coach at N. Michigan University for decades, in addition to being head coach of the 1996 U.S. Olympic Team, and technical advisor for the 2004 and 2012 U.S. Olympic squads. He was selected as the 1994 USA Boxing Coach of the Year and among the 800-plus national amateur champions he has worked with are Mike Tyson, Floyd Mayweather and Vernon Forrest. He currently trains 2016 U.S. Olympian and world title contender Mikaela Mayer, who will be in attendance supporting her coach.
A legend in Arkansas boxing, Rodgers has been an outstanding coach and extraordinary cut-man, who has been in the corner of world champions such as Wayne McCullough, Jermain Taylor, Iran Barkley and Tommy Morrison. Ray’s decades of service through coaching and mentorship for the youth of Arkansas have established him as a role model and inspiration for amateur boxing coaches everywhere.
“This year’s USA Boxing Alumni Hall of Fame class, as well as Senator McCain, represent the very best of Olympic style boxing, both in and out of the ring,”commented Chris Cugliari, USA Boxing Alumni Association Executive Director. “Their decades worth of service representing themselves inspire us to give back and support current and future generations of champions. The USA Boxing Alumni Association looks forward to an exciting and memorable evening as we honor these champions of our sport.”
Confirmed special guests include 1988 Olympic gold medalist Andrew Maynard, three-time National AAU Coach of the Year (1972-76-77) Joe Clough, 1984 Olympic gold medalist Frank Tate and his brother Thomas, 1972 Olympian Tim Dement, 2002 National Golden Gloves champion Jaidon Codringtion, 1980 Olympic Qualifier Jackie Beard, 1981 Junior Olympics Glen Modicue, four-time National champion Eric Kelly, 1988 Eastern Olympic Qualifier champion John Scully, Obie Beard, Mark Lanton and the Stephens brothers – Donald, Anthony and Jerry.
Alex Flores Looking Ahead to November 7th Return Headlining Roy Jones Jr. Boxing on UFC Fight Pass
California heavyweight and former World Boxing Council (WBC) World Youth champion, Alex “The Great” Flores, will be looking ahead, not in the past, when he enters the ring November 7 against Mario “Chabelo” Heredia, headlining the latest instalment of RJJ Boxing on UFC FIGHT PASS®. to
Flores vs. Heredia, promoted by Roy Jones Jr. (RJJ) Boxing Promotions, be streamed live and exclusively on UFC FIGHT PASS, the world’s leading digital subscription service for combat sports from Casino Del Sol’s outdoor AVA Amphitheater in Tucson, Arizona at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT.
In his last fight this past December, the 29-year-old Flores (17-2-1, 15 KOs) lost a controversial fight to former world champion Joseph Parker in New Zealand, in which Parker struck Flores numerous times below the belt, leading to a knockout.
“I feel good,” Flores said during a break from training camp. “I’m focused and ready to step back in the ring. I’m over my last fight. The past is the past, I can’t go back in time. I’m more than ready and excited to step back in the ring November 7th.
“My main focus is to win and get momentum going again. I always work hard for every fight. The only thing I switched up was buy an iron groin protector (he joked).”
Flores’s opponent in the 10-round main event is former WBC FECOMBOX champion Heredia (16-7-1, 13 KOs), of Mexico, who only two fights ago upset former WBC heavyweight world champion and Nigerian Olympian Samuel Peter by split decision.
“Heredia is a cool, humble guy but also a very tough opponent,” knockout artist Flores added. “We were supposed to fight years ago, but it never happened. I’m preparing to beat him come November 7th and anticipating a victory with my hands raised in the air.”
Undefeated Mexican welterweight Santiago “Somer” Dominguez (19-0, 15 KOs) battles tough Uzbekistan-native Ravshan Hudaynmazarov, who was the 2007 World Military Games champion, for the vacant World Boxing Council (WBC) United States Silver welterweight title in the eight-round, co-featured event.
Undefeated California super middleweight Juan Jose “Just Business” Barajas (10-0, 7 KOs) makes his long awaited RJJ Boxing debut versus Phoenix boxer Fidel Hernandez (20-7-01, 11 KOs) in an eight-rounder.
The UFC FIGHT PASS opener pits undefeated California super middleweight Juan Jose “Nazzy” Dominguez (11-1-1, 10 KOs) in his RJJ Boxing debut against Fidel Hernandez (20-7-1, 11 KOs), of Phoenix, in an eight-round bout.
Dominguez’ younger brother, welterweight Marcos “Nazzy” Dominguez (11-1-1, 10 KOs), will open the UFC FIGHT PASS live-steam versus unbeaten Tucson welterweight Christopher Gonzalez (5-0-1, 1KO) in yet another eight-round match.
Also fighting on the undercard in four-round bouts are Tucson flyweight Briana “Amenaza” Sanchez (2-0, 2 KOs) vs. Albuquerque, New Mexico’s pro-debuting Amanda Borg, and Arizona super flyweight Edriech Rosa (3-0, 3 KOs) vs. TBA.