By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of September 1st to September 8th, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you may have missed.
Here is what the fighters and executives had to say Wednesday:
“We’ve been here so many times. I know talking doesn’t win fights. I know trainers don’t win fights. It comes down to the two competitors. I’m always prepared, physically and mentally. We have a remarkable game plan.
“I want to thank everyone that has covered this event and my career over 19 years. Whether it was a good story or a bad story, you guys wrote about me and kept me relevant. That’s how I was able to do record breaking numbers.
“Training camp was unbelievable, like always. I was asked if I’d be able to get in top condition after the Pacquaio fight and I absolutely did. No matter who I chose, the critics would have something to say.
“I know what it takes for a fight at this magnitude. No matter what anyone says, it comes down to the two competitors and I know what I can do. One thing I can do, I can fight.
“When we talk about landing the highest percentage, I’m that guy. When we talk about doing the highest gate or PPV, I’m that guy.
“I can’t say I’m going out 49-0 because you can’t overlook anyone.
“Every fight played a major key. It’s not just the intelligence; it’s the sharp mind, the good chin, the tremendous heart. I never overlooked an opponent. I trained for every fighter the same way, by pushing myself. I believe in my skills and I believe in my talent. I’ve been in there with the best, and the results are always the same.
“You have fighters that may be faster than me, there are fighters that may hit harder than me, you have fighters who are very athletic, but you don’t have a fighter who can make adjustments like me. You don’t have fighters that can be on my level mentally.
“It’s never personal for me, it’s always business. Everyone fights for what they fight for. My thing is this; I keep my eyes on the prize. I don’t focus on things outside the ring. I focus on the guy in front of me.
“You get to where you get to by staying focused. My dream was to be the best. No matter what happens Saturday, when it comes to boxing, I’m the best at this.
“Some guys wanted to rush me, well what’s plan B? Pacquiao could set traps for other fighters, but he couldn’t set traps for Floyd Mayweather. You need a plan A, a plan B and a plan C. I’ve never beaten a fighter with my plan A.
“Berto you’ve had a hell of a career. You’re a tough fighter and competitor. It’s obvious you’ve done something right. My thing is, just put guys in front of me, and we’ll rate him after they face me.
“To be in the sport of boxing and make upwards of $800 million, my team has done their job. I’ve never focused on things on the outside. I’ve never put anything before boxing. At 4:30 in the morning when my opponent is sleeping, I’m working. I don’t want to leave anything in this sport.
“No fighter in history has been in bigger fights than me. No fighter in history has beat more champions than I’ve beat. But it’s not over yet. I’m going to push myself. I can go to places where no fighter can go mentally.
“The sport of boxing needs this. Berto is a tough, young, hungry fighter and that’s what we need to bring the best out of us. I’m going to come forward and be Floyd Mayweather. Trainers and fighters try to find ways to throw fighters off, but I know what to do when it’s all said and done.
“I want my legacy to be of a remarkable fighter inside the ring and a great businessman outside of it.
“We’re going for the knockout. I’m pretty sure he’s going for the knockout. It’s going to be something special.”
“It’s funny, when it comes to the media and critics. They’re not in that gym working and knowing the feeling of being a fighter. They don’t know the miles we run and the sacrifices that we have to make to become a world champion or come up to this level of fight.
“This camp has been intense. It has definitely taken me up to levels that I’ve never achieved. We’ve left no stone unturned, I’ve busted my ass for the last couple months.
“Anybody that steps in the ring, I have to respect. When it’s time to fight, I’m coming for my respect. Saturday night is going to be a good one I promise you.
“I’ve given my whole life to this sport. I’ve come in and I’ve entertained the people. That’s what I do. That’s why I came into this game. I’ve been counted out from day one coming from where I come from.
“I’m just coming for my respect. I’m coming for everything that I deserve.
“At the end of the day, I have to be able to take my game to a whole other level. Sometimes you need that opponent to get you to that point, and Floyd is the one.
“He has a great IQ, but one shot can change it all.
“You can be smart, you can be fast, but this is boxing.
“Floyd is sharp of course, but I have certain tools that I believe will make it a real difficult Saturday night. We’re going for the knockout. You definitely don’t want to miss it.
“This is huge for Haiti. The country of Haiti is just elated right now and Saturday night they will definitely be in the building. Saturday night will be historical for the country. This is the first time that an individual has been on this level to represent the country.
FLOYD MAYWEATHER SR., Mayweather’s Father & Trainer
“I see a real fight on Saturday. Don’t get me wrong because I don’t know what’s going on but I really think Floyd is coming to fight.
“I know Berto’s coming to fight. One thing I’ve seen from Berto is that he has no defense – and he’s messing with a defensive whiz.
“I definitely think Floyd will trap him somewhere along the way.
“Floyd respects Berto and is not overlooking him, but he might just stop him, it’s very possible.”
VIRGIL HUNTER, Berto’s Trainer
“There are some things that a lot of people don’t understand. When you have two guys who were born in situations where they try to prove who the king of the school is, you get some real fights.
“I think about Joe Frazier in the “Thrilla in Manila”, when people thought he was done, but he fought over his head. Does Andre Berto have that capability? Yes, of course he does. We see it all the time in sports. There are nights when it just happens. Andre Berto is going to take it over his head and that’s what he intends to do and what he has to do.
“We can’t match his IQ, but there are other elements that make a successful fight. There is something brewing in the air. I’ve been around a long time and I know when something is personal. You better tell your people to tune-in for this fight. Trust me; it’s going to be a rumble.
“I’ve seen Floyd’s Plan B. I’ve seen him go to war. I’ve seen him rumble with guys bigger than him. I’m not going to be swayed by his skill. This fight is going to be fought from way deep down.”
LEONARD ELLERBE, CEO of Mayweather Promotions
“We are thrilled that this fight night will be filled with high stakes matchups all night. We have a tremendous fight card. Of course, the main event has the highest stakes of them all as Andre Berto will be taking on the undefeated Floyd Mayweather.”
STEPHEN ESPINOZA, Executive Vice President and General Manager, SHOWTIME Sports
“Six fights in 30 months. Floyd, they said you wouldn’t do it, they said you couldn’t do it and once again you proved them wrong. The first five fights yielded nearly 10 million PPV buys, $750 million in PPV receipts and it’s all led here to fight number six, fight number 49.
“19 years undefeated, 17 consecutive years as world champion, 16 consecutive opponents who are former or current champions. On Saturday night none of that matters. Andre Berto isn’t fighting a legacy or a record book or history, he’s fighting a man, and men can lose.
“The conventional wisdom is that Floyd is going to win this fight, but conventional wisdom said that the first Maidana fight would be easy for Floyd. It said Canelo would be Floyd’s toughest challenger and it said Pacquiao could beat Mayweather. It didn’t account for Hasim Rahman or Buster Douglas and it certainly won’t account for Andre Berto’s heart or desire to rewrite boxing history on Saturday night.
“Like you, I don’t know what will happen on Saturday night. I do know that Berto is more athletic than any fighter Floyd has fought recently. One thing I do know, it’s not going to be boring. When you have fighters like our entire PPV card has, it’s a night not to be missed.”
RICHARD STURM, President of Entertainment & Sports for MGM Resorts International
“We’re thrilled to be a part of this championship fight between Mayweather and Berto that will kick off a sensational fall lineup of entertainment at MGM. We all look forward to history as Floyd looks to end his career at 49-0 and equal the record of Rocky Marciano that has stood since September 1955.
“We are pleased to welcome back Andre Berto. Berto will take on one of the sport’s greatest champions and there is no doubt he will be prepared for the challenge.”
BOB BENNETT, President of the Nevada State Athletic Comission
“There is no doubt that any commission in the world would be elated to have this fight, just like we are. We’re very appreciative of Floyd Mayweather for having this show in our backyard. The NSAC actually commissioned Floyd’s first fight 19 years ago and to date we have regulated 25 out of 49 of Floyd’s fights come this Saturday night when he tries to tie Rocky Marciano’s record.
“It’s been our honor and privilege to regulate these fights. Our officials spend a lot of time in training and we’re ready to go to work come Saturday night.”
Eddie Chambers Returns to the Ring on September 18th
On Friday night, September 18th, 2015, heavyweight boxer “Fast” Eddie Chambers (42-4) will return to the ring against Galen Brown (41-31) in an eight round fight at the Claridge Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The main event of the evening will be between Travis Kauffman and Epifanio Mendoza and the card will be promoted by King’s Promotions.
Eddie Chambers stated,” The heavyweight division is hot as it has been in awhile. The Klitschko’s era is coming to a close, with Vitali going into politics, and Wlad beginning to talk about retirement. That leaves a number of young, talented heavyweights, and overlooked veterans, such as myself, to fight for the top spots in the heavyweight division. There are going to be some great fights in the next few years as the new breed of heavyweights move into position.
Chambers also talked about his upcoming fight with Galen Brown and stated,” Galen has a lot of fights and he’s an experienced professional. Guys with that many rounds under his belt can make a fight difficult, because they understand how to survive in the ring. There’s a reason he’s had a long career. I’m not going to take him lightly or any fighter for that matter. I’m going to prepare for him the same way I’d prepare for a championship level fight. His fighting style is tricky, and the way he throws punches is rather unconventional, but I’m aware of it, and I’ll be prepared for whatever he brings that night.”
Lamont Peterson Set to Take on Felix Diaz Jr.
Former world champion Lamont Peterson (33-3-1) will return to the ring near his Washington D.C. home as he takes on 2008 Olympic Gold medalist from the Dominican Republic Felix Diaz Jr. (17-0) in a welterweight bout on Saturday, October 17th at the EagleBank Arena at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.
The co-main event of the card will be between Andre Dirrell (24-2) and Blake Caparello (21-1-1) in a ten round super middleweight bout.
“I’m very excited to be back in the ring, especially close to home in Virginia and fighting on NBC,” said Peterson. “I’m happy just to be doing what I love to do. I’ve been in the gym and I’ve stayed ready so I’m prepared to give the fans the kind of show they deserve.”
“I am very thankful for this opportunity and I know that Lamont Peterson will be my toughest battle so far,” said Diaz. “I am confident that at the end of the fight, I will have my hand raised. No disrespect to Lamont, but he has had his opportunity, now it is my time to show the world who Felix Diaz is. I can assure you that the fans will not be disappointed on October 17.”
This card will be televised on PBC on NBC beginning at 4 p.m. ET.
Unbeaten Julian Williams Takes on Luciano Cuello on PBC on Fox Sports 1 on September 22nd
Philadelphia’s unbeaten rising star Julian Williams (20-0-1) will fight near his hometown when he takes on Luciano Cuello (35-5) in a ten round super welterweight bout at the Sands Bethlehem Event Center in Bethlehem, PA on Tuesday, September 22nd as the main event of Toe to Toe Tuesdays on Fox Sports 1.
The telecast will begin at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT with unbeaten super bantamweight Moises Flores (23-0) and Argentine knockout artist Luis Emanuel Cusolito (21-1) in a 12 round bout.
“I am very pleased with this opportunity and I plan on pulling off the upset,” said Cuello.” “Williams is very talented but has never been in deep waters with someone like me. I will be too much for him.”
“This is going to be a great card and I am excited to be part of the PBC series,” said Marshall Kauffman of King’s Promotions. “I have admired Julian Williams since his amateur days and have always wanted to work with him. Cuello is a real tough guy and has shown to give the top contenders great fights. I am extremely pleased and excited about the whole card and I expect Flors vs. Cusolito to be an explosive bout.”
Sosa-Pazos Match Headline October 2nd Card
Hard-hitting junior lightweight contender Jason Sosa, of Camden, NJ, will take on Jorge Pazos, of uamuchil, Mexico, in a scheduled eight-round main event on Friday evening, October 2nd, at the First Annual Puerto Rican Boxing Classic at the 2300 Arena in South Philadelphia.
Sosa, 27, is fresh off his first-round knockout over former world title challenger Jerry Belmontes, of Corpus Chrsti, Texas on August 16th in Puerto Rico.
The Ocotober 2nd card will make Sosa’s third appearance at the 2300 Arena in South Philadelphia. Sosa’s record is 17-1-3 and he is ranked No. 13 in the world by the IBF. His opponent has a record of 14-8-1.
This fight will be a part of a seven bout card and is the first annual Puerto Rican Boxing Classic to be held in South Philadelphia. It is promoted by Peltz Boxing, Joe Hand Promotions, and BAM Boxing.
Top Rank Joins SECA in Launch of New Chinese Boxing League
Chinese sports marketing/management company SECA has started a new Chinese professional boxing venture with Las Vegas based boxing promotional company Top Rank. The new professional boxing league, League of Fists, will officially launch on September 4th.
“League of Fists is aiming to build a league that consists of high level boxing matches in order to provide Chinese boxers and boxing fans not only a sophisticated league system but also developing their boxing experience, as well as helping Chinese boxers compete on the international stage.” said Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum, CEO of Top Rank. For the past three years, Arum has been promoting world championship boxing events featuring Chinese boxers ZOU Shiming and YANG Lianhui. He has made a huge contribution to the development of professional boxing in China. These efforts have set a solid foundation in building up professional boxing in mainland China.
Both Top Rank and SECA acknowledge that there are many world class boxers in China. However, Chinese professional boxing lacks a systematic, scheduled, professional platform to allow more and more boxers to grow. As a result, the League of Fists was developed.
The league organizers, Top Rank and SECA, are planning to host two seasons of boxing matches, the first season kicks off on September 4th in the Shanghai Mercedes Benz Arena; the second season is scheduled to begin between March and August in 2016. Every season will be comprised of 23 rounds with 224 matches. There will be 46 rounds and 448 matches annually. Every new season will have 80 boxers participating in eight different weight classes with 10 boxers in every weight level. There will be two rounds during each week of the season, with 20 matches overall in four different weight divisions. The matches will take place on select weekends Friday and Saturday throughout the season.
League of Fists has employed world-class production teams. The promotion operations will replicate every production detail of a Las Vegas event. No detail in staging, lighting, sound and fan experience will be overlooked. The cost of the first season of League is expected to exceed RMB10million.
Additionally, League of Fists has forged a partnership with Shanghai Five-Star Sports, Tencent Sports and CCTV5, enabling full live coverage on TV, online streaming and mobile devices. It will also work with every major traditional media and social media to put on a multi-dimensional promotion to attract a wider fanbase.
League of Fists will include Fists Fight and Fists of Power to form a complete series of matches with the name of the match being registered as trade mark. Boxers will compete with each other in groups (Fists Fight) producing a Final Four with the boxers in each weight division. They will then be in the crossover elimination matches (Fist of Power) to award a champion at each weight level. The champions will be awarded the WBO Greater China Champion by the World Boxing Organization, and they will have the chance to move on to fights in Macau and the USA. The 80 boxers’ results in each round will be calculated and then entered into the points and ranking system of WBO.
Yelieqiati, who paticipates in the first season of League of Fists, expressed that he felt extremely lucky to be one of the boxers selected to participate in the League of Fists. He always wants a prominent stage to show his talents and he wishes to be the champion on the platform of League of Fists.