By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of November 18th to November 25th, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
HBO to Broadcast Replay of Pacquiao vs. Algieri
HBO will present a replay of Manny Pacquiao vs. Chris Algieri on Saturday, November 29th at 10:00 p.m. (ET/PT) on HBO. The telecast will be available in HDTV and the HBO Sports broadcast team called the action inside the ring.
Immediately after the replay, the lightweight world title fight between Terence Crawford and Ray Beltran will be televised live from Crawford’s hometown of Omaha, NE.
Fractured Thumb May be a Silver Lining for Antonio Tarver
A fractured thumb that forced the cancellation of his scheduled September 29th fight with veteran Johnathon Banks (29-2-1, 19 KOs) may prove to have had a silver lining for 5-time world light heavyweight champion and 1996 U.S. Olympian Antonio “Magic Man” Tarver (30-6, 21 KOs).
The determined and still dangerous southpaw, who turned 46 this past Friday, squares-off Dec. 11 against Banks in a 10-round heavyweight fight, on a Goossen Promotions card, airing live on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes from Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, California.
Tarver suffered a fractured thumb to his left hand, closer to the wrist, leaving him in a cast for five weeks, followed by two additional weeks wearing a brace for precautionary reasons as he trained. His extended training camp is the aforementioned silver lining.
“What was important is I trained through it, never leaving the gym, even though I was training one-handed,” Tarver noted.
“I focused on my mind and body. We were locked into the original date but sometimes there’s a silver lining when something like that happens. We made it into a positive by training right through. Hopefully, everybody will see the energy, power and conditioning in the fight when I am victorious over Banks.
“I’ve had long layoffs the last five years with only five fights. It’s been frustrating. I’m hoping to get busy after this fight, as I get closer to the opportunity to end my career on the highest note, when I’m crowned heavyweight champion of the world.”
While Tarver was toiling in Brazilian Rocky Fight Club in Miami, under the guidance of his head trainer Orlando Cuellar, Banks was busy training world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko for his devastating knockout win over Kubrat Pulev last weekend in Germany.
Banks, of course, was also training as he prepared Klitschko.
“Anytime you’re training Klitschko has to help Banks,” Tarver noted.
“He has the best of both worlds training the heavyweight champion of the world. I’m sure Klitschko shared strategy with him. I’m expecting to fight the best Johnathon Banks. Klitschko wants him to be successful, so I’m sure he let Banks share his training camp and his on-site trainers for conditioning. Training Klitschko can only help Banks.”
Jean Pascal’s Next Fight Announced
Jean Bédard, the president of InterBox, announced that the NABF Light Heavyweight Champion, Jean Pascal (29-2-1, 17 KOs), will combat Argentina’s Roberto Bolonti (35-3, 24 KOs), instead of Donovan George (25-4-2, 22 KOs) next December 6, at the Bell Centre.
This decision was taken after careful consideration following long negotiations with Donovan’s team. Boxing fans will also be thrilled by the undercard, which features locals Shiller Hyppolite (13-1-0, 9 KOs), Steven Butler (8- 0-0, 7 K-.O) and Ulysse Jr (4-0-0, 3 KOs), among others.
Early on in the re-negotiations, InterBox inquired about Bolonti’s interest in going up against Pascal, so Bolonti’s team has been ready from the beginning – only awaiting a positive response from InterBox. The Argentinian, who has been training hard for the last two months, is motivated and looking forward to taking on the considerable challenge.
“There comes a time when negotiations have to stop and you’ve got to move forward. Pascal versus Bolonti was a scenario we’d already considered, and we think it’s the right one. Plus, it’s important for Jean Pascal to fight so he can direct his career,” Bédard explained.
“This time, I was lucky to have a good, long-term training camp for combat outside Argentina,” Bolanti said. “It would have been a shame not to have the opportunity to fight. Although his style is different than Bute’s, Pascal is just as big a challenge for me.”
Bryant Jennings Next in Line to Face Stiverne or Wilder
Gary Shaw Productions and Antonio Leonard Promotions’ undefeated heavyweight contender, Bryant “By-By” Jennings (19-0, 10 KOs) is waiting patiently as he is next in line to face the winner of Bermane Stiverne (24-1, 21 KOs) vs. Deontay Wilder (32-0, 32 KOs).
Stiverne, who is the current WBC champion, will battle Wilder at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on January 17, 2015. Jennings, who’s next in line, passed on a HBO date in November as he wanted to wait for the opportunity to fight for the prestigious WBC championship.
“I could have fought this month but my mind is set on fighting for the WBC world title,” said Jennings, “I worked my way to the top of the WBC rankings and now it’s time for me to make my mark in history. Stiverne or Wilder…I don’t care who it is, I’ll be ready to fight either one of them. My promoters, Gary Shaw, Antonio Leonard and I, are all on the same page. We want that WBC title!”
In his last two fights, both eliminations bouts, Jennings defeated former undefeated contenders, Mike Perez (20-1-1, 12 KOs) and Artur Szpilka (17-1, 12 KOs) to position himself as the mandatory challenger to fight for the WBC crown.
While Stiverne and Wilder are getting ready for battle, Jennings is training everyday with dreams of becoming the heavyweight champion of the world.
“I’m grinding every day like machine,” Jennings continued. “I’m constantly visualizing myself with my hands raised in the air with the WBC strap around my waist. I’m hungry man! I know I can do this.”
Golden Boy Promotions Offer Black Friday Deal for Lemieux vs. Rosado
As a special treat for boxing fans, Golden Boy Promotions is offering the deal of the holiday season with a full night of exciting fights on Saturday, Dec. 6 at Barclays Center with reasonably priced tickets starting at $15 dollars.
In addition, Golden Boy Promotions will also offer a special Black Friday deal with two tickets for the price of one. This includes all tickets between $25 and $80. Black Friday tickets will be available at 12 a.m. ET on Friday, Nov. 28 with the deal open until 12 a.m. ET on Saturday, Nov. 29.
Golden Boy Promotions has also offered a special ticket discount for fans of rising-star and Brooklyn native Zachary “Zungry” Ochoa. By using the promo code “OCHOA” when purchasing at ticketmaster.com, fans will receive a $25 discounted ticket to sit in Ochoa’s cheering section and receive a visit from Ochoa after his fight.
The December 6 card is headlined by the NABF Middleweight Champion David Lemieux (32-2, 30 KOs) of Montreal, taking on the Philadelphia-warrior “King” Gabriel Rosado (21-8, 13 KOs) in a 12-round battle.
Mickey Rourke to Box in Moscow
Mikey Rourke is a former professional boxer and now a famous actor, but he will go back to his roots in the sport of boxing on November 28th when he takes on the much younger Elliot Seymour.
Rourke will be fighting on the undercard of Provodnikov vs. Castillo in Moscow, Russia. Rourke stated about this fight, “Boxing is a serious part of my life. It taught me respect and determination, patience and concentration. I always dreamed of fighting a match in Russia.”
More information about his fight can be found at http://en.itar-tass.com/sports/760609
Cecil McCalla Wins by KO
Greg Cohen Promotions’ Cecil McCalla (20-0) fought Francisco Javier Reza on Friday night at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware. McCalla came out firing hard punches and scored two knockdowns on Reza. After the second knockdown the referee waved off the fight at the 0:47 mark.
“That is exactly what a future star like Cecil McCalla is supposed to do with his opponents,” said Cohen. “Although I am surprised by how quickly he was able to get Reza out of there.”
For 29-year-old McCalla, the victory over Reza was his fourth fight of 2014, after sitting out most of 2013.
“Cecil is sharper than ever and ready to make his assault on the division’s best. He’s constantly in the gym with his trainer Lee Beard and the combination of his diligent work and staying quite active showed in his performance tonight.”
Tony Bellew to Star in Sylvester Stallone Rocky Spin Off
Tony Bellew just recently edged out his rival Nathan Cleverly via split decision this weekend and it has just been announced that he has plans to move onto Hollywood and star in an upcoming Sylvester Stallone movie called Creed.
It is supposed to be a movie about Apollo Creed’s grandson Adonis, and Sylvester Stallone will reprise his role as Rocky Balboa and will serve as a trainer to Creed.
Bellew is set to play an opponent by the name or Pretty Ricky Porter. More information on his role can be found here.
49-Year-Old “Bronco” Billy Wright Wins by Knockout
The #18 ranked WBC heavyweight contender, “Bronco” Billy Wright (46-4) continued his run of consecutive knockouts in Bolivia on Saturday.
He scored a first-round knockout against Juan Carlos Flores-Choque (14-4) and extended his KO streak to 13. He turns 50 years old on December 10, 2015 and looks to extend his winning streak to 17 fights in a row.
Bronco Billy currently holds the Latin America, Fecarbox, and the USNBC Silver Titles, all sanctioned by the WBC.
“If I’m able to lock down an opponent, I’ll be fighting again on December 6th, said Wright.
“I’m looking to close out the year with another knockout. That will make it five fights in 2014, all wins coming by way of knockout. I’ll turn 50 on December 10th. Going into 2015, I’m confident my WBC ranking will move up.
“I’m willing to fight any of the top contenders to get me closer to my dream of becoming heavyweight champion. The only problem is none of these guys are willing to fight me. That can all change in 2015. I’m looking to make history.”
Amir Khan vs. Devon Alexander Card To Feature Four Televised Fights
The upcoming Khan vs. Alexander card to be broadcast from the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Showtime has grown to a quadruple-header. Added to the previously announced telecast will be a 10-round featherweight bout featuring former three-division world champion Abner Mares (27-1-1, 14 KOs) against Mexico’s Jose Ramirez (24-3-2, 15 KOs), and opening the live portion of the event at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT will be a 12-round IBF Title Elimination bout between unbeaten Jermall Charlo (19-0, 15 KOs) and Italy’s Lenny Bottai (22-2, 9 KOs).