Boxing Insider Notebook: Mares, Davis, Haney, Pacquiao, Broner, Roy Jones Jr., and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of December 26th to January 2nd; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Photo Credit: Scott Hirano/Showtime
My Goal is to Knock Out Broner
Senator Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 KOs), boxer laureate and the sweet science’s only eight-division world champion, has a goal. That goal is to knock out his next opponent, Cincinnati’s Adrien “The Problem” Broner (33-3-1, 24 KOs), when they collide on Saturday, January 19, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Presented by Premier Boxing Champions, the Pacquiao vs. Broner WBA welterweight world championship event will be produced and distributed live by SHOWTIME PPV® beginning at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT.
“I am not making a prediction but my goal is to knock out Broner,” said Manny on Monday as he was wrapping his hands before starting a rigorous workout, which included 12 rounds of hitting the mitts with world-famous Freddie Roach, at Roach’s Wild Card Boxing Club. “I am looking for a knockout against Broner. I have to maximize the opportunity. I forgot how much fun winning a fight by knockout was until I stopped Lucas Matthyssee last summer to win the WBA welterweight title. It felt great to win that way and the fans loved it too, so why not try for it again? I have nothing personal against Adrien Broner. This fight is strictly business. He is fun. He makes me laugh. He knows how to sell himself and to sell a fight.”
It’s been strictly business tor Manny at Wild Card since beginning his U.S. training camp on Christmas Eve. No shutdowns or holidays have kept him away. After celebrating New Year’s Eve with a five-mile run up the hills to the Hollywood sign and 12-rounds of mitt work with Roach, Manny began 2019 the same way he ended 2018, only this time he sparred 12 rounds with three younger sparring partners in addition to a full session of bag work capped off with 1,000 situps.
“He runs like a deer,” said Justin Fortune, who oversees Manny’s strength and conditioning. “No one can keep up with him. That’s the secret to his success — his work ethic and his stamina. He has the strongest foundation of any fighter with whom I’ve worked. His legs and calves still generate more power and speed than younger fighters.”
“I am very pleased with the training camp Manny has had. His footwork, distance and angles are all coming together nicely,” said trainer Buboy Fernandez. “When he hits the mitts it sounds like an explosion. I have never felt such raw power.”
“I think experience has made Manny a better fighter,” added Roach. “He still trains harder than anyone. I like Broner as a fighter. I think he has excellent boxing skills. But Broner has never faced anyone like Manny. Broner will be mentally exhausted within four rounds and physically spent within six. It will be impossible for Broner to keep pace with the Manny Pacquiao of this training camp.”
Roy Jones Jr. Boxing Promotions Slams New Zealand Boxing Commission About Controversial Joseph Parker-Alexander Flores Fight
Roy Jones, Jr. Boxing CEO-Co-Founder Keith Veltre has slammed the Professional Boxing Commission New Zealand (PBCNZ) regarding the controversial Joseph Parker vs. Alexander “The Great” Flores heavyweight fight, held earlier this month, due to numerous obvious low blows, resulting in Flores being knocked out in the third round.
“As excited as we were for Flores to face-off against Parker,” Veltre said, “we are equally disappointed with Parker’s dirty antics. It was clear that the referee not only favored Parker, but he also lacked enough knowledge to be officiating in the ring. Cleary, though, the New Zealand commission is just as inexperienced with high-caliber fights like this. If it wants to continue pursuing larger fights, then I would suggest it makes sure there is an equal playing field in New Zealand for all foreign fighters.”
Upset-minded Flores (17-2-1, 15 KOs), fighting out of Rowland Heights, California, traveled to Parker’s home country to challenge the former World Boxing Organization (WBO) heavyweight world champion, in front of three Kiwi judges and a New Zealand referee, John Conway.
“Coming into this fight,” Flores said, “I was excited and prepared for the opportunity to fight Joseph Parker. My vision of how it would play out was nothing that I could have ever expected. I heard Joe speaking in pre-fight interviews about hitting me in the balls or using his elbows, but I really thought he was talking about his experience with Dillian Whyte, and I never expected him to use those tactics with me. I have never been a dirty fighter, so, in my training for this fight, getting hit in the groin area or getting his forearm in my face was not something that ever crossed my mind.
“After reading articles it is clear to me that this was premeditated. When the fight started, the referee clearly stated that we were at belt-line and anything below that would be considered low. I noticed early on that he was hitting me low and I tried to get the referee’s attention. I don’t remember the exact number, but it was consistent whenever we would get inside and exchange.”
In the third round, Parker (25-2, 19 KOs) unloaded a right-left combination, both clearly landing below the belt, lowering Flores’ hands and leaving him virtually defenseless for a crushing right that floored him. Flores beat the count, but he never recovered from the illegal blows, ending in a knockout moments later.
“I have never been hit in the groin like that and there was an evident welt in that area. After the referee warned him in the corner, it was already after I had been the beneficiary of several low blows. It can be a serious problem when you’re hit in that area because, mentally, you feel like you need to protect a larger area. After that warning, he went straight to the well and hit me hard to the groin. I dropped my hand to cover my groin area and he hit me hard, knocking me down with a shot that I never recovered from. Even after the blatant low blow that knocked me down, I was shocked that the ref did not see it. This should have amounted to a disqualification, or point deduction, and time for me to recover. “
Conway warned Parker at last three times prior to the critical low-blow combination that led to the end of the fight moments later. Conway told Parker to keep his punches higher early in the second round, halted the action near the end of the second when a Parker left was terribly low, again during the first minute of the third, and then again after the two low blows that led to the first knockdown.
At the very least, Conway should have halted the action after the first knockdown to give Flores, by rule, up to five-minutes to recover, in addition to penalizing Parker one point. If Flores couldn’t continue the fight, it should have been ruled a “no contest”. Conway told Stuff that Parker would have lost a point had there been a third time, but the fourth and fifth south-of-the-border punches were the one-two leading to the first knockdown.
The only statement more irrelevant than Parker calling the low blows “unintentional”, as if legal punches, was his trainer, Kevin Barry, declaring after the fight that, “He didn’t get knocked out by a body blow.” No, Flores was merely left defenseless and dangerously susceptible to the damaging punch that floored him, from which he never really recovered, that resulted in the knockout.
“I heard that some people were saying that the low blows were irrelevant, because that was not the shot that finished the fight, but that’s from people who’ve never been knocked down and tried to recover from a knockdown. I never recovered from the low-blow knockdown. Joe quickly jumped on me with the shots needed to finish the fight.
“Looking back, I could have never imagined that he would resort to these tactics to win the fight, and I believe this left a black mark on the sport of boxing. I was knocked out to end the fight in a way that could have resulted in serious injury due to clear referee negligence.”
Even the New Zealand media understood Parker won by fighting dirty:
New Zealand Herald: “Parker last night knocked out Flores in the third round at Christchurch’s Horncastle arena but it came after at least two blows against his Mexican-American opponent, who complained bitterly about the “dirty” tacti afterwards.
“Parker’s second low blows caused Flores to drop his hands and the south Aucklander connected with a right hand which flattened his opponent. Flores beat the count but was set upon straight away by Parker who scented blood…..”
Stuff: “Parker, the former WBO world heavyweight champion of the world, knocked Flores down in the third round with a right hand to the head that was set up on the back of two unquestionably low shots.”
News.com/au: “He (Parker) promised to bring an edge, a little mongrel if you like, and Joseph Parker certainly did that when knocking out Alexander Flores in the third round……
“There will inevitably be some controversy attached to their stoppage by Parker because it came soon after a low blow, the second of the short fight, and Flores had dropped his hands when Parker’s right hand knocked him to the canvas.
“…Apart from the two low blows, Parker occasionally held and hit Flores, which is illegal, as well as going in with elbows raised.”
“I heard Joseph admitted to the low blows and that should be enough to change this fight to a ‘no contest’,” Flores concluded. “His excuse that, ‘That’s up to the ref to see low blows and his job to fight’ is like saying it’s up to police to stop you from stealing. I have the support of a lot of wonderful people in New Zealand and I was met by people at the airport who apologized for how I was mistreated. The biggest problem with boxing is we need to develop a zero-tolerance policy regarding issues of this nature. It would be a good start by the New Zealand boxing commission to set a precedence by saying it us not going to tolerate cheating or deception.
“When I pressed Joe at the end of the fight, I said to him, ‘What’s up? You know you were hitting me low.’ He just mumbled and didn’t have an answer, but he did say he’d give me a rematch. No amount of money would ever make me a dirty fighter. Joe needs to look deeply and reflect about the importance of good character because, at the end of the day, that’s what matters the most.”
The 28-year-old Flores’ goal remains to become the first Mexican-American heavyweight champion of the world.
UFC Fight Pass and Roy Jones Jr. Boxing Promotions Reach Multi-Year Live Streaming Agreement
UFC® and Roy Jones Jr. (RJJ) Boxing Promotions have reached a new agreement to live stream up to 72 professional boxing events over the next three years on UFC FIGHT PASS®, the world’s leading digital subscription service for combat sports.
The inaugural event in the RJJ Boxing series on UFC FIGHT PASS will stream January 31, starting at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT, live from Viejas Casino & Resort in Alpine, California. WBO #2-rated world title challenger, “Mighty” Aston Palicte (24-2-1, 20 KOs), and unbeaten WBO #4 ranked Jose “Chiquiro” Martinez (20-0-2, 13 KOs) will headline in the 12-round World Boxing Organization Junior Bantamweight Title Eliminator.
Roy Jones Jr., a multi-time world champion and future boxing Hall of Famer, formed the Las Vegas-based promotional company RJJ Boxing Promotions three years ago with Las Vegas entrepreneur Keith Veltre and developed a growing stable of fighters in a short period of time.
“I’ve always been a big fan of Roy Jones Jr. and I’m excited to be in business with him,” said UFC President Dana White. “Everyone knows I’m looking to get into boxing, and I look forward to the future with Roy and using FIGHT PASS to live stream these exciting fights to our subscribers.”
“I was elated when my partner, Keith Veltre, told me he had started talking with UFC,” said Jones. “This is just the beginning of a long, lucrative partnership between these two brands.”
“I couldn’t be happier to bring together the biggest name in boxing, Roy Jones Jr., with UFC, the biggest name in combat sports,” said Veltre. “I love that UFC is allowing us to be creative, so expect to see prospects, tournaments, title fights, and more in this series.”
FIGHT PASS is a digital subscription service that is now available in more than 200 countries and territories. In 2019, FIGHT PASS will showcase more than 200 exclusive events featuring top promotions from around the world, providing fans with a front row seat to a broad spectrum of competitive fighting, including mixed martial arts, boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai, individual and team submission grappling, and more.
Fight fans can access FIGHT PASS on personal computers, iOS and Android mobile devices, Apple TV, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, Roku, Samsung Smart TVs, LG Smart TVs, and Sony TVs with Android TV.
Gervonta Davis vs. Abner Mares Press Conference Quotes
Two-time super featherweight champion Gervonta “Tank” Davis and three-division world champion Abner Mares went face-to-face for the first time Thursday at a press conference in Los Angeles as Davis defends his WBA title against Mares on Saturday, February 9 live on SHOWTIME® in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions from StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by Mayweather Promotions, TGB Promotions and Ringstar Sports, are on sale now and can be purchased at AXS.com.
The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING main event promises fireworks and high-stakes action as both men bring their fan-friendly styles to the ring. Here is what the press conference participants had to say Thursday from the Conga Room at L.A. Live:
“I believe that Abner Mares is a future Hall of Famer because he’s fought so many top-level guys. This is big for me because this is my first time being a main event in the U.S. and I just feel blessed to be here.
“In 2019, I want to make a big statement not only in the ring but by letting the boxing world know that I’m the next star. I’m aiming to headline a pay-per-view by 2020 if everything goes right. I have great fights lined up for next year, without looking past Abner.
“As soon as I got off the plane, I went straight to the gym and got some work in with some guys there. We’re not taking Abner lightly. I’m excited and blessed to be in this position. February 9, I’m confident it will be sold out and I’m confident that I will be that next boxing star.
“I’ve always known that you can’t underestimate anyone in the ring. You have to look at your opponent like they’re equal to you. I understand exactly what I have in front of me.
“I don’t know what Abner sees, but he was sure he wanted to take this fight so obviously he sees something. I have power, speed, movement and really a blend of everything. I believe that I’m a better fighter than him.
“It’s all about being focused in that ring and doing my job. I’m coming to get Abner Mares out of there.
“I wanted to fight Abner Mares out here in Southern California. Floyd Mayweather fought Arturo Gatti in his hometown and that’s basically what I’m doing here.”
“One day I just thought to myself that this fight against Gervonta Davis would be a great matchup and that I can win it. There are other big fights at featherweight that I could have gotten. I’m taking this fight because of the challenge that it brings. I’m all about that.
“I’m coming off of a great close fight against Leo Santa Cruz. I’m a winner every time I fight. I come to prove people wrong and perform. Not too many people do that these days.
“We’ll already have 50 percent of the fight won just by having a good corner, a good team and a great plan. The other 50 percent is up to the fighter to perform. One thing is having the game plan in your mind but it’s another thing to go out there and perform that game plan.
“We’re not just going into this fight blind. I’m not stupid. I’m taking this fight because I see something in this guy. It’s a tough fight, no doubt. All fights are tough. He’s in for a good fight. At the end of the day, you guys have to stop worrying about my weight and if I’m too small. You guys are going to get a great fight and that’s all that matters. Sit back, look pretty and enjoy the fight.
“You can’t compare Jesus Cuellar to Gervonta Davis. I know some people wanted to compare how I did against Cuellar and how Davis did against Cuellar, but he fought him two years after I did. It makes no sense. Gervonta Davis has a different style than Cuellar and it’s going to be a good fight. He’s an exciting fighter and he’s a boxer. He’s a boxer that trades punches so it makes for an exciting fight.
“People are going to recognize me as someone who took on everyone. People say this will be a new style for me, but I’ve seen them all. This is team ‘no fear’ and we’re going to make this happen.”
Devin Haney Media Day Quotes
Heralded undefeated lightweight contender Devin Haney worked out for the media Thursday at Mayweather Boxing Club in Las Vegas ahead of his ShoBox: The New Generation main-event bout Friday, Jan. 11 at 10 p.m. ET/PT live on SHOWTIME®.
The 20-year old Bay Area native and current Las Vegas resident Haney (20-0, 13 KOs), a seven-time national junior amateur champion, will headline on the popular up-and-coming prospect series ShoBox for the third time of his young career when he takes on fellow unbeaten Xolisani Ndongeni (25-0, 13 KOs) in a 10-round main event taking place at StageWorks of Louisiana in Shreveport.
In the ShoBox co-feature, featherweight prospect Ruben Villa (14-0, 5 KOs) will take on Ruben Cervera (10-0, 9 KOs) in an eight-round matchup. The telecast will open with young heavyweights Frank Sanchez Faure (10-0, 8 KOs) and Willie Jake Jr. (8-1-1, 2 KOs) squaring off in another eight-round bout.
Here is what Haney and his father and trainer Bill Haney had to say:
On his recent training camp:
“Training camp has been fantastic. I always start in Las Vegas for the first two weeks. I then went to the Bay Area to train at the SNAC facility with Victor Conte for four weeks. I did a lot of rounds of sparring with Mario Barrios among others at Virgil Hunter’s gym as well. Right now, I’m back in Las Vegas with my strength and conditioning coach Reggie. We are working hard, and I’ll be at my best when I step into the ring on Jan 11th.”
On facing South Africa’s undefeated Xolisani Ndongeni:
“I know fighters from Africa always come to fight. Xolisani Ndongeni is no different. He’s very experienced and undefeated. Ndongeni has gone 12 rounds many times in his career. These are the type of fights I need to win impressively. I’m always looking to improve. Beating the tough South African will get me one step closer to a world title shot.”
On making his third appearance on ShoBox:
“Fighting on SHOWTIME’s ShoBox series has been amazing for my career. This is my third appearance on the series. It feels great to have a home to showcase my talent. Ndongeni will bring out the best in me. I’m ready to graduate to SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING.”
On when he thinks he’ll be ready for a world title:
“I’ve climbed the rankings with good wins against Mason Menard and Juan Carlos Burgos. I’m rated in the top 10 in the WBA, WBC, and IBF. I’m focused on Ndongeni and January 11th is my time to shine.”
BILL HANEY, Devin’s Father and Trainer
On the progression of his son Devin Haney:
“Devin always impresses me with his work ethic and commitment to the game plan. Every day in the gym he is working on the little things that makes a fighter great. Devin has come a long way since his pro debut. Once he started fighting on SHOWTIME, he’s really stepped up his game. He’s a natural born fighter and one hell of a good entertainer.”
On picking his opponents:
“We always look to step him up in competition. This is a big fight for us and we know what we are up against. These are the type of fights that are going to take him to the next level.”
On the landscape of the lightweight division:
“The lightweight division is stacked and is one of the best in boxing. [Vasiliy] Lomachenko and [Mikey] Garcia are considered pound-for-pound top 10. The young guys coming up are very talented as well and to hold the lightweight title at this time you got to be a bad boy. Devin is marching up the rankings and hopefully by the end of the year, we’ll get our shot, but first we must handle business against Xolisani Ndongeni.”