By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of December 8th to December 15th, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Floyd Mayweather Goes on $1 Million Shopping Spree
TMZ Sports has reported that Floyd Mayweather Jr. went on an astounding $1 million shopping spree at the Dubai Mall. TMZ posted footage which shows crowds gather all over the mall just to look at Mayweather while he shops. He was also sporting a $1.1 million Hublot diamond watch while shopping.
The footage can be viewed at http://www.tmz.com/2015/12/15/floyd-mayweather-shopping-in-dubai/
Heavyweight world champion Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder and bruising Polish challenger Artur Szpilkatook time out of their intense training schedules to exchange some words on a media conference call Wednesday before they meet in the ring on Saturday, January 16 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn and live on SHOWTIME (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).
“I’m always in shape. I’m always in the ring because I’m in love with this sport.
“There’s so much rich history in Brooklyn. Barclays Center still needs a face. Why not me? I have friends and family in New York. That’s the mission that I’m on.
“Don’t get too overwhelmed by the opportunity, Szpilka. You still have to do something with it.
“Once I knock Szpilka out, I want all the Polish fans to come on the “Bronze Bomber” train as I bring the heavyweight division back to the top.
“I’m the guy who has everything it takes to be heavyweight champion of the world. It’s not just about being great inside the ring, it’s about being able to do great things outside of the ring. Not everyone has that. I love to be out there with the people.
“I don’t care who it is. It doesn’t matter who is in the ring with me. I love a fighter who’s not scared because it gives me the motive to knock him out. I don’t play around because I mean business.
“I’m looking for a grand show. It’s going to be a great performance to kick off 2016. This is going to be a huge year for me. I’m knocking Szpilka out and I’m sending a message to everyone who stands in my way.”
“I hope that you hear loud and clear, I can win this fight. My mind is ready, my body is ready. You’re done January 16.
“I have everything that a good boxer needs. I’m very confident and I know that this is my time. I have respect for him, but he’s never fought somebody like me. Everybody he fought but Bermane Stiverne was a bum.
“Only three people have actually tried to fight him. Everybody else had already lost before they got into the ring.
“I wanted this fight. This is my time. The heavyweight titles are wide open. There’s new blood for boxing.
“There is a big difference between me now and two years ago. I trust in my corner. You will all see a new Artur Szpilka on January 16.”
Andy Lee Primed for Saunders World Title Defense
Andy Lee (34 W- 2L 1 D, 24KOs), WBO Middleweight Champion, is a fighter primed and ready to defend his world title against Billy Joe Saunders (22W, 12 KOs), the #1 WBO mandatory and undefeated challenger.
The world title bout takes place this Saturday evening (December 19) at the Manchester Arena, Manchester, England in a boxing Christmas extravaganza that will be televised live by both BoxNation in the UK / Ireland and by Showtime cable network in the United States.
The domestic dust-up has all the ingredients to captivate boxing fans with two genuine world class fighters entering the ring to put on a show and perform to the best of their ability at the highest level of the sport.
The tall and rangy 6’2’’ Andy Lee is in the final stages of his preparations for his world title defence and is looking in great condition and extremely sharp in sparring.
The Irishman is in the best shape of his life and relishes the opportunity to box in the same city as his favourite football team, Manchester United and he has visited the Old Trafford Stadium on numerous occasions.
Lee’s trainer, Adam Booth commented ‘We have prepared for the best of Billy Joe Saunders; he had a successful amateur career and is undefeated as a pro. However, Andy is a big middleweight and comes into the ring with vast experience as an amateur and professional.’
‘Andy has the skill set to beat Billy Joe; he can box on the outside, fight at close quarters and has the power to take a fighter out with either hand.’
With the fight only days away Irish fans are makings plans to travel for the fight to support their boxing hero in what will be the last major boxing event of the year in the UK.
All is at stake in the fight, the WBO title belt is on the line and the opportunity of lucrative fights in the US against fighters such as Canelo Alvarez, Gennedy Golovkin and Danny Jacobs in 2016.
For now Lee is not looking past the business at hand and knows he has a job to do on Saturday night. The former Detroit Kronk fighter commented ‘Preparations for the fight could not have been any better; I ’m at my best and physically and mentally prepared for this fight.’
‘The fans are going to be in for a treat; I am in a good frame of mind, I am the Champion, I have the title and the pressure is all on Billy Joe to try and take it off me and that’s not going to happen.’
‘The talk and predictions about the fight will end when the first bell rings, I am primed for battle and have all the tools in my arsenal to win the fight and I intend to use them on Saturday night. My total focus is on winning and nothing else.’
It is 10 years to the day (December 15, 2005) that Andy Lee signed a management agreement to turn professional with legendary boxing trainer and manager Emanuel Steward.
Jennings vs. Ortiz to Feature Full Card of Excitement
A full night of action awaits fans on Saturday, December 19 as heavyweight world title contender Bryant “Bye-Bye” Jennings (19-1, 10 KOs) and undefeated Cuban star Luis “The Real King Kong” Ortiz (23-0, 20 KOs) battle for the WBA interim Heavyweight World Title on HBO Boxing After Dark staring at 10:15 p.m. ET/PT presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Gray Shaw Productions. The undercard of the event will also see three stellar undercard bouts one featuring the return of Cuban superstar Yuriorkis Gamboa (24-1, 17 KOs), as he squares off against Hylon Williams Jr. (16-1-1, 3 KOs) in a 10-round lightweight bout at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York on HBO Latino Boxing at 12:15 a.m. ET/PT (tape delay) presented in association with SMS Promotions.
Featured in off-TV bouts will be unbeaten super middleweight D’Mitrius Ballard (10-0, 7 KOs) taking on Brazilian seasoned fighter Fabiano “Pit Bull” Pena (11-3-1, 8 KOs) in a 6 to 8 – round brawl and an all-Puerto Rico 10-round clash between Manati’s Jorge “Destroyer” Melendez (28-5-1, 26 KOs) and Bayamon’s Steven Martinez (15-2, 12 KOs).
Nicholas “Axe Man” Waters (26-0, 21 KOs) battles Jason “El Canito” Sosa (18-1-3, 14 KOs) in a 10-round junior lightweight matchup as the co-main feature of the HBO Boxing After Dark portion of the televised undercard presented by Top Rank. In the HBO Latino® Boxing portion of the televised night, Cuban light heavyweight contender Yunieski Gonzalez (16-1, 12 KOs) fighting out of Miami, Florida will face the undefeated power-puncher, Vyacheslav “Lion Heart – Chigonsky” Shabranskyy (14-0, 12 KOs) of Los Angeles in a 10-round light heavyweight main event presented in association by Star Boxing. Plus, former world title contender, “King” Gabriel Rosado (21-9, 13 KOs) of Philadelphia makes his highly anticipated return to the ring against former IBF Welterweight World Champion Joshua “Grand Master” Clottey (39-4, 22 KOs) of Accra, Ghana, in a 10-round junior middleweight co-main event. The HBO Latino Boxing event will start at 12:15 a.m. ET/PT (tape delay) or immediately following the HBO Boxing After Dark telecast.
HBO’s Boxing’s Best of 2015 Set for End of December
It’s a holiday treat for HBO Boxing fans. Over four consecutive nights in late December, the HBO service will present nine of the year’s standout fights, spotlighting some of the biggest names in the sport in riveting performances. Featured are signature wins by Canelo Alvarez, Gennady Golovkin, Sergey Kovalev, Terence Crawford, Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez and Timothy Bradley Jr.
Starting Sunday, Dec. 27, HBO will replay nine major league showdowns from this year sprinkled over four consecutive nights. All the fights will also be available on HBO ON DEMAND® as well as the HBO NOW and HBO GO® services.
The “Boxing’s Best” lineup airs at 11:00 p.m. each night and includes:
Sunday, December 27 Sergey Kovalev vs. Jean Pascal I
Terence Crawford vs. Dierry Jean
Canelo Alvarez vs. James Kirkland
Monday, December 28 Lucas Matthysse vs. Ruslan Provodnikov
Timothy Bradley Jr. vs. Brandon Rios
Tuesday, December 29 Gennady Golovkin vs. David Lemieux
Takashi Miura vs. Francisco Vargas
Wednesday, December 30 Miguel Cotto vs. Canelo Alvarez
Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez vs. Brian Viloria
Staged Reading of The Michigan Assassin to be Held in New York
Ridley Creek Productions will present a staged reading of “The Michigan Assassin” for free on various dates in December. The Michigan Assassin is a play about the life and times of one of the greatest middleweight boxers of all time: Stanley Ketchel.
There is no admission fee. Performance dates will be held on December 18th and 19th at 7:00PM, and on December 20th at 3:00 PM. The readings will be held at the John DeSotelle Studio at 300 West 43rd Street 3rd Floor, New York, NY.
RSVP to reserve a seat at [email protected]