Boxing Insider Notebook: Haney, Wilder, Golovkin, Barrios, Ortiz, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of April 23rd to April 30th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Devin “The Dream” Haney Signs with Matchroom Boxing USA
Matchroom Boxing USA and Eddie Hearn are delighted to announce the signing of Lightweight star Devin ‘The Dream’ Haney.
Haney (21-0 13 KOs) has raced to the top of the Lightweight rankings and is on the cusp of fighting for his first World title ahead of turning 21 in November.
‘The Dream’ has rattled off 21 wins since turning pro in Mexico in 2015 at 16 years of age following a stellar amateur career that saw him crowned junior amateur champion seven times and plunder 130 wins.
The Las Vegas-based talent now sits at number three in the WBC rankings where the Lightweight title is now vacant, five in the WBA, eight in the WBO and ten in the IBF – and Haney will look to make a big statement on his debut with Matchroom Boxing USA and DAZN when he takes on Antonio Moran (24-3 17 KOs) at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland on May 25.
“I’m excited about my multi-million dollar partnership with Matchroom Boxing. All this hard work is finally paying off. This is a huge chapter in my career. I have a co-promotional deal with Matchroom Boxing, Eddie Hearn is the perfect guy for me to go in business with.
“While Matchroom will provide the infrastructure, together we will select the best opponents to showcase my talents in the sexiest cities in the world. I’m the future of the sport, and without a doubt in my mind… I’m going to continue to set the boxing world on fire. Matchroom and DAZN now have another superstar… ME!”
“Antonio Moran is a tough fighter with a lot of experience. He has been in the ring with good opposition. He fought Jose Pedraza to a decision last year, so I know he comes to fight. I expect nothing less from him on May 25. I’ve been in the gym working hard. Everyone knows that I stay ready and May 25 can’t come soon enough. On fight night the world will see I’m ready for anyone.”
“Devin Haney is a superstar – no two ways about it,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “At just 20 years old he has already racked up 21 victories, untouched as a pro and has become one of the most talked about fighters in America.
“The big fights are right in front of him, he is ready for anyone and we look forward to a wonderful partnership together. DAZN has another exceptional talent on their platform and we look forward to his Matchroom and DAZN debut on the huge Usyk vs. Takam card May 25 at MGM National Harbor.”
Haney’s clash with Moran is part of a huge night of action in Maryland as Ukrainian pound-for-pound star Oleksandr Usyk moves up to Heavyweight after dominating the Cruiserweight division, and takes on former World title challenger Carlos Takam. In addition, rising Heavyweight Croatian talent Filip Hrgovic takes on Gregory Corbin in his US debut, and WBA World Super-Lightweight champion Jessica McCaskill looks to unify the division against WBA champion Anahi Sanchez.
Statement from Gennady Golovkin on Abel Sanchez
I would like to announce that I have made a major decision for myself and for my career. I want to build on what I have already achieved and continue to better myself. Therefore, I will not be training with Abel Sanchez. This was not an easy decision for me and it is not a reflection on Abel’s professional abilities. He is a great trainer, a loyal trainer, and a Hall of Fame trainer.
I will be announcing my new trainer at a later date. But today, I want to thank Abel for the lessons he taught me in boxing.
Vergil Ortiz Jr. vs. Mauricio Herrera to Now be the Co-Main Event for Canelo vs. Jacobs
Rising star Vergil Ortiz Jr. (12-0, 12 KOs) will have the opportunity of a lifetime as his scheduled 10-round welterweight battle against Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera (24-8, 7 KOs) will now be the co-main event of Canelo vs. Jacobs. As previously announced, the night will also feature the likes of Pablo Cesar “El Demoledor” Cano, Lamont Roach Jr., John “The Gorilla” Ryder, Sadam “World Kid” Ali and Joseph “JoJo” Diaz Jr. in separate bouts. The event will take place Saturday, May 4 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and will be streamed live exclusively on DAZN.
“This will be a big test for Vergil Ortiz Jr.,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy. “This young man has all that it takes to become a dominant world champion, so it’s only fitting that a prospect like him gets the opportunity to be the co-main event of a Canelo fight. At the same time, we know the kind of fighter Mauricio Herrera is. He has a lot of experience and has been in close fights with the best of his division, including what we all know was a win against Danny Garcia. If Ortiz Jr. can look spectacular against Herrera, then he will demonstrate what we already know: that he is the real deal.”
Since debuting as a professional in 2016, Ortiz Jr. has never heard the final bell of a fight, and he hopes to retain his 100% knockout ratio in the toughest fight of his career. The native of Dallas, Texas, who has his roots in Michoacan, Mexico, will return after defeating Jesus Valdez in January of this year. Ortiz Jr. will move up to welterweight for this fight only, and he plans to make a statement to the fighters of the 140-pound weight division, where the 21-year-old plans to return after this tough test.
“This is a great opportunity for fans all over the world to get to know me,” said Vergil Ortiz Jr. “Everyone will be watching this event, so I look forward to showing boxing fans what I’m made of. It’s very hard to look good against Mauricio Herrera. World champions have fought him and have looked bad. If I can look good and be the first to ever stop him, then I’ll be making a big statement.”
Herrera, a former interim WBA World Super Lightweight Champion, is a longtime veteran of the sport. The 38-year-old of Riverside, Calif. has faced a veritable who’s who of the welterweight and super lightweight division, including fights against Ruslan “The Siberian Rocky” Provodnikov, Mike “Mile High” Alvarado, Danny “Swift” Garcia, Johan “El Terrible” Perez, and Jose “Merciless” Benevidez Jr., among others. Herrera will bring a world of experience against the young prospect.
“Everyone knows the kind of experience that I bring to the table,” said Mauricio Herrera. “Whether it’s against world champions, contenders or prospects, I bring a tough fight to anyone. Vergil Ortiz might have bitten off more than he can chew for this fight, especially now since we are the co-main event. I’m happy for yet another opportunity, and we look forward to stealing the show.”
Pablo Cesar “El Demoledor” Cano (32-7-1, 22 KOs) will defend his WBC International Silver Super Lightweight Title against Michael “The Artist” Perez (25-3-2, 11 KOs) in a 10-round fight. Cano will return after his dominant knockout victory against former three-division world champion Jorge “El Niño de Oro” Linares.
Lamont Roach Jr. (18-0-1, 7 KOs) of Washington, D.C., will unify his WBO International Super Featherweight Title in a 10-round battle against NABO Super Featherweight Champion Jonathan Oquendo (30-5, 19 KOs) of Bayamon, Puerto Rico. The winner of this bout will earn the No. 1 spot for the WBO Super Featherweight World Title.
Joseph “JoJo” Diaz Jr. (28-1, 14 KOs) of South El Monte, Calif. will fight against Freddy Fonseca (26-1-1, 17 KOs) of Managua, Nicaragua in a 12-round battle for the vacant WBA Gold Super Featherweight Title. Diaz Jr. will return after a dominant victory against rugged warrior Charles Huerta.
Sadam “World Kid” Ali (27-2, 14 KOs) will return in a 10-round clash for the vacant USNBC Silver Welterweight Title against Anthony Young (20-2, 7 KOs) of Atlantic City, N.J.
London’s John “The Gorilla” Ryder (27-4, 15 KOs) will take on Bilal Akkawy (20-0-1, 16 KOs) of Sydney, Australia for the vacant interim WBA Super Middleweight World Title. Ryder was originally going to take on David Lemieux, though the fight was cancelled due to an injury Lemieux suffered in his right hand. Now, Ryder will now face a highly-ranked contender who is trained by Eddy Reynoso, the trainer of Canelo.
Alexis Espino (1-0, 1 KO) of Las Vegas, Nevada will participate in a four-round super middleweight fight against Billy Wager (1-0) of Great Falls, Montana.
Showtime Sports to Chronicle Wilder vs. Breazeale Heavyweight World Championship Fight with Award Winning Series All Access
SHOWTIME Sports will chronicle heavyweight world champion Deontay Wilder’s ninth defense of his WBC title against mandatory challenger Dominic Breazeale with a new installment of ALL ACCESS, premiering Friday, May 10 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME. The Emmy Award-winning series will peel back the curtain as two American heavyweights with a combined 90 percent knockout ratio prepare to square off Saturday, May 18 live on SHOWTIME from Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
ALL ACCESS immerses viewers into the lives and training camps of Wilder and Breazeale as they approach a grudge match that has been brewing for more than two years. Filming for the series is underway in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and the Bay Area as the two 6-foot-7 heavyweights prepare to settle the score with Wilder’s coveted WBC title on the line.
ALL ACCESS DAILY will accompany the acclaimed original series with digital installments released throughout fight week on the networks’ social media channels. ALL ACCESS DAILY: WILDER vs. BREAZEALE will deliver the franchise’s signature intimate access and storytelling in the final days before the heavyweight showdown. New installments of the digital series will be available each day beginning Wednesday, May 15 on the SHOWTIME Sports YouTube channel and SHOWTIME Boxing Facebook page. A digital installment of ALL ACCESS EPILOGUE will provide an inside look at the intensity of fight night and capture all the sights, sounds and drama of heavyweight prizefighting.
Self-Procalimed “Godfather” of Arizona Mixed Martial Arts Charged on Numerous Criminal Offenses Involving Unsactioned Events
On April 26, 2019, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office filed charges in justice court against Mr. Roland Sarria and Mr. Todd Whitmoyer for suspected involvement in unsanctioned combat sporting events in Maricopa County. Charges arose from an Arizona Department of Gaming (ADG) investigation into the activities of both defendants who reside in Maricopa County.
Each subject faces four, class 2 misdemeanors for failing to procure a license and failing to provide a physician for unsanctioned events that occurred on September 15, 2018, in Phoenix, and another event on September 29, 2018, in Glendale. Additional charges could be forthcoming. In Arizona, class 2 misdemeanors can carry a maximum fine of $750 and four months jail time, per violation. In some instances, courts may assess a maximum fine of $10,000, per violation.
The Arizona Boxing & Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Commission regulates and sanctions amateur and professional MMA, professional boxing and kickboxing, and tough man contests conducted statewide. Arizona’s requirements for sanctioned events are in place to protect the health and safety of participants and the public and include on-site medical and security professionals, match officials (referees, judges, inspectors, timekeepers, etc.), safety gear/equipment, licensed/bonded promoters (who provide health insurance for combatants), and specific combatant health tests/documentation. Any event not approved by an authorized sanctioning body is unsanctioned.
“It’s our duty to protect the integrity of these sports, the unarmed combatants and the public,” said ADG Director Ted Vogt. “We do this by ensuring that individuals engaged in unsanctioned unarmed combat events are held accountable in a court of law.”
“Unarmed combat sports are highly regulated competitions that require careful oversight to ensure the safety of the combatants and the spectating public, as well as a fair competition and impartial result,” said Francisco Meneses, Jr., Executive Director, Arizona Boxing & MMA Commission. “Unsanctioned events pose a physical danger to fighters and the public alike and compromise the integrity of combat sports.”
ADG takes tips about unsanctioned events involving unarmed combat sports events very seriously. If you have a tip, or just need information, please call (602) 364-1721.
All defendants are presumed innocent until convicted in a court of law.
Mario Barrios Training Camp Quotes
Unbeaten super lightweight contender Mario Barrios will return to action and look to further solidify his spot amongst the 140-pound elite when he takes on Argentina’s Juan Jose Velasco in a 10-round showdown as part of Premier Boxing Champions on FOX and FOX Deportes Saturday, May 11 from EagleBank Arena in Fairfax, Virginia.
The broadcast begins at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and is headlined by IBF and WBA 154-pound world champion Jarrett Hurd defending his titles again top contender Julian Williams.
Tickets for the event are on sale now and can be purchased through Ticketmaster (ticketmaster.com).
The 23-year-old made his 2019 debut in February, knocking out Richard Zamora in round four to bring his knockout streak to eight. Here is what Barrios (23-0, 15 KOs) had to say about his upcoming matchup, training camp with Virgil Hunter and more as he prepares to enter the ring May 11:
On his matchup with Juan Jose Velasco:
“Velasco is a tough fighter from Argentina who’s only loss is at the world class level against Regis Prograis. He will have to adjust to my style because I’m going to be dictating the action from the opening bell. My jab will be the key in this fight. I know I’ll have to let my hands go to be effective. This is going to be a tough fight, but I’m ready for the challenge.”
On his recent training camp:
“Training camp is going as planned. I’ve been in the Bay Area for the last six weeks working with Virgil Hunter and getting world class sparring with some of the best fighters in the world. Virgil has me perfecting my ability to fight with my length while using my jab efficiently. I’ve also been doing my strength training with Victor Conte and Remi Korchemny at the SNAC facility. I’m in amazing shape and will be at my best when I step in the ring against Velasco.”
On when he thinks he’ll be ready for a world title:
“I’m ready now, in my opinion, to fight any of the champions at super lightweight. I’m only 23, so there is plenty of time. I’ve never turned down a fight and when that time comes for me to get that title shot, I’ll be ready. I’m just talking it one fight at a time.”
On fighting on FOX:
“This is a major opportunity for the world to see me in action. The exposure on FOX is going to be unbelievable. My goal is to give the fans another knockout performance. Since I’ve moved up in weight, I’ve been knocking everyone out and my game is getting better with each fight. I feel I’m the next Mexican-American star in boxing who’s going to help keep this sport thriving.”