Boxing Insider Notebook: NBC Sports, Velez, Abraham, Austin Trout, Keith Thurman, and more


By: William Holmes

The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of February 11th to February 18th, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.

Romero and Gonzalez Victorious in Tijuana

Jonahan Romero (23-0) defeated Alejandro Lopez (24-3) in Tijuana, Mexico on Saturday night in Tijuana, Mexico. The fight was a close, action packed, and featured some dirty tactics on the part of both fighters. Romero was deducted a point in the 12th round but still managed to win the split decision victory with scores of 116-11, 115-112 for Romero and 115-112 for Lopez.

Alejandro Gonzalez Jr. (16-0-2) defeated Hanzel Martinez (19-1) on the undercard. Both fighters were undefeated at the time they met and were young prospects. Gonzalez knocked Martinez down in the second round and Martinez was able to beat the count but was still very wobbly. The referee waved off the fight at 0:41 of the second round.

New Installment NBC Sports Network Fight Night Future Stars

On Sunday February 17th a new series on NBC Sports Network entitled “Fight Night Future Stars” debuted. The one hour show will feature fights showing upcoming prospects at previous Fight Night events that were not previously shown on television. Sunday’s show featured an eight round super middleweight battle between Marcus Upshaw and Vladine Biosse. The show will continue to be broadcast throughout the year and will feature the performances of developing undercard fighters on the main Fight Night cards.

Velez Injures Ankle, Abril vs. Bogere Elevated to Main Event Status

The vacant WBA Lightweight World Championship between Richar Abril and Sharif “The Lion” Bogere has been elevated to the main event on Saturday March 2nd and will now be held at the Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The previously scheduled main event between WBC Featherweight World Champion Daniel Ponce De Leon and Jayson Velez has been removed from the fight card due to a right ankle fractured suffered by Velez and the venue was changed from Harlem’s Apollo Theater in New York City. Tickets can be purchased at www.ticketmaster.com

Omar Figueroa vs. Henry Aurad Set for March 2nd

Omar “Panterita” Figueroa (19-0-1) will be stepping into the ring for the first time in 2013 against Henry Aurad (14-6-1) in San Antonio, Texas on March 2nd. The bout will be fought in the junior welterweight division and will be televised on Fox Sports Networks, Fox Deportes, and Fuel TV. Undefeated prospect Jermall Charlo and 2012 US Olympian Errol Spence Jr. will also be on the card in separate televised bouts. Tickets can be purchased by calling Leija & Battah Promotions at 210-979-3302.

Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez Signs with Top Rank and Zanfer

Undefeated top five middleweight contender Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez (24-0) has signed with Top Rank and Zafner Promotions. Ramirez is from Mazatlan, Sinaoloa, Mexico and has captured the WBC Youth Middleweight title in 2010. He is also a former Mexican Junior National Champion and a three-time National Mexican National Amateur Champion in the Elite Division.

“This is a huge signing for Top Rank and Zanfer and words cannot express how excited we are to be promoting him,” said Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum. “The sky is the limit for Gilberto. I expect him to have a glorious reign as world champion.”

Austin Trout and Other Top 10 Contenders Give Opinions on Bundrage vs. Smith

Austin Trout, Alfredo Angulo, and Carlos Molina recently gave their opinions on the upcoming world title fight between Cornelius Bundrage and Ishe Smith.

Austin Trout:

“I think this is going to be a good ol’ fashioned brawl. Ishe has more technical skills than “K9,” but he still likes to bang it out. I really don’t know who to pick, but it will be a good fight between two guys who are both kind of inactive, up in age and evenly matched.

“I’ll respect the winner even more if he’s willing to unify the belts. If one guy has an edge, I think it’s probably Ishe more than “K9.” But good luck to whoever wins, and let’s unify.”

Alfredo Angulo:

“I’ll be watching because these are two important fighters in my weight class in a world title fight. One of them holds the IBF title, and the other might be the new titleholder. The outcome could affect my career, so it’s important for me to watch this fight.

“As for picking a winner, I don’t have a preference either way. Both are talented, yet have contrasting and distinct styles. One is more of a technical fighter, the other is a brawler, so it should make for a very interesting fight.”

Carlos Molina:

“I plan on attending the fight and look forward to watching. I’m the mandatory challenger in the IBF for whoever wins, so I’m hoping to be fighting the winner. Really, I just want my first world title shot. It’s what I’ve worked for my whole career.

“Still, this is a tough fight to predict. Smith is a good boxer and I expect he’ll be boxing more and using his defense. “K9″ is a slugger whose style is to be aggressive, go right after Smith and try to land something early. If Ishe is more aggressive, he can win a decision.”

Santos vs. Nader II Set for April 13th

The Multiversum Schwechat, Austria will host a Team Sauerland fight night on April 13th. The main event of the evening will be a highly anticipated rematch for the EU Middleweight Championship between Roberto Santos (18-6-3) and Marcos Nader (16-0-1). Santos, who won the vacant EU belt against Dominik Britsch, already fought Nader in November of 2012 to a draw.

“It was very close,” says the prodigy of coach Otto Ramin. “I did review the tapes a couple of times. I definitely believe that I won the fight.” Therefore the Austrian is more than excited to be awarded another crack at the title. “The stakes have been raised this time round. He knows what I bring to the table – I know what he brings to the table. Hence it won’t be any easier than during our first fight.”

Italian Challenger Confident of Rabchenko Upset

Italian light middleweight champion Adriano Nicchi (20-3-2) is aware that the boxing world sees him as an underdog in his upcoming European title challenge against Sergey Rabchenko in Monaco on March 30th. Rabchenko represents a serious step up in competition and will be the best opponent the Italian has faced. Nicchi hails from Arezzo, Italy and stated the following:

“The legendary Mario D’Agata and later on Efrem Calamati already put Arezzo on the map, but I believe in my heart I will be the third one from my hometown to raise the European laurels,” said the usually quiet Nicchi.

“I know Rabchenko and I don’t underestimate him, I know he is a champ. Still, I saw his last fight versus Cedric Vitu and I noticed some flaws in his game . . . no need to say I plan to take advantage of those flaws.”

Edwin “La Bomba” Rodriguez Set for Monte Carlo

Undefeated USBA super middleweight champion Edwin “La Bomba” Rodriguez (22-0) is following the path to Monte Carlo set more than 40 years ago by another Massachusetts boxer, “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler.

Rodriguez faces 2008 Argentina Olympian Ezequiel “El Olimpico” Maderna (19-0) in the opening round of the Monte Carlo Million Dollar Super 4 at the Casino de Monte-Carlo in Monaco. The other half of the tournmanet will feature Zsolt Erdei (33-0) and Denis Grachev (12-1-1).

Keith Thurman to Face Former World Champion Jan Zaveck

Undefeated welterweight prospect Keith Thurman is set to face former world champion Jan Zaveck on March 9th at the Barclayers Center in Brooklyn, NY. This bout is scheduled as the co-main event to Bernard Hopkins vs. Tarvoris Cloud World Championship fight.

“I’ve been patiently waiting for my time,” said Thurman. “That time is March 9 and I’m going to go through Zaveck and then get my title shot. This is my year, no question about it and I’m going to let the world know it.”

“I miss having a championship belt around my waist and this is the next step to getting it back,” said Zaveck, who held the IBF welterweight title for nearly two years from 2009 to 2011. “Thurman is a talented young fighter, but my experience will be my ticket to victory on March 9. Nobody can stop me on my way back to the world title.”

Arthur Abraham Motivated As Ever

It won´t be a walk in the park. When Arthur Abraham (36-3, 28 KOs) defends his WBO Super-Middleweight Title at the GETEC-Arena in Magdeburg, Germany on March 23, he enters the Lion´s Den. The man aiming to take King Arthur´s belt away is Robert Stieglitz (43-3, 24 KOs), who will more or less have home advantage. Abraham dethroned Stieglitz on August 25 at the o2 World in Berlin. “That fight was in my own backyard”, said Abraham. Now the pair will meet again in Stieglitz´s backyard.

The first showdown took place at today´s press conference in Magdeburg. “I didn’t lose the belt, I just borrowed it. I had a bad day back in August,” said the former champion. Of course the 31-year-old wants to use this rematch to win back the WBO Title. Abraham on the other hand displayed a very relaxed attitude but did promise the fans a real battle. “I am twice as motivated now that Robert wants to win back the title. All I will say is that this fight will turn out to be a war.” His prediction: “I will keep the belt.”

Jorge Maysonet Returns February 23rd

Puerto Rico’s undefeated lightweight sensation, Jorge “Machito” Maysonet, Jr. (10-0) returns in the ring on February 23rd, 2013 at the Cosme Beitia Salamo Coliseum in Catano, Puerto Rico. He’ll be facing Pedro Salcedo (3-5). Maysonet compiled an amateur record of 140-10.

Jose Ramirez Inks Nike Footwear and Apparel Deal

Top Rank has announced that former Olympian and future boxing superstar Jose Ramriez inked a deal that will have him wearing Nike footwear and apparel. Jose will wear branded Ramirez apparel, including robe, trunks, and training gear.

“Nike is a tier-one brand alignment for athletes and it speaks to Nike’s evaluation of Jose’s talents that he was signed to such a deal so early in his professional career,” said Lucia McKelvey, Top Rank’s executive vice president of new media and marketing. “Top Rank is proud to develop the world’s next generation of boxing stars, while making resources available, such as apparel deals, to accelerate their careers and marketing value.”

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