Boxing Insider Notebook: Pacquiao, Khan, Ward, Kovalev, Ortiz, Garcia, Schaeffer, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of November 1st to November 8th, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Manny Pacquiao Donates World Title Belt to his Countrymen
The streak continues! No sooner had boxing superhero Senator MANNY “Pacman” PACQUIAO (59-6-2, 38 KOs) won the World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight world title for a third time — dethroning the younger and taller defending champion Jessie Vargas (27-2, 10 KOs) on Saturday in front of 16,321 fans at the Thomas & Mack Center — boxing’s only eight-division world champion jetted back to Manila in time to attend the first day of the Philippine Senate’s new session. Pacquiao has not missed one day of Senate activity since being sworn in, despite a grueling schedule that incorporated an intense training camp for his challenge of Vargas.
Upon entering the Senate chamber today, as a world champion, carrying his new world title belt, Senator Pacquiao was lauded by his colleagues. The Senate passed a resolution commending Pacquiao’s discipline to effectively serve the citizens of the Philippines while training for his world championship challenge in his ring return against Vargas, both on a fulltime basis.
Pacquiao, the first senator from any country to win a world title, then presented his new world championship belt to Senate President Koko Pimentel as a gift to the citizens of the Philippines.
“To manifest my heartfelt thanksgiving, I would like to donate my WBO welterweight belt to the Senate of the Philippines. The honor does not belong to me alone but to every Filipino,” said Pacquiao. “May it serve as an inspiration for everyone to pursue excellence and to continue fighting for our nation’s sovereignty.”
SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES RESOLUTION NO. 217
SENATE CONGRATULATES SENATOR PACMAN: Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III and the other senators congratulate their colleague Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao after the Senate approved Senate Resolution No. 217 commending Pacquaio for his recent victory over former World Boxing Organization (WBO) Welterweight Champion Jessie Vargas, during Tuesday’s session, November 08, 2016. Apart from Pimentel, Senators Sherwin “Win” Gatchalian, Leila de Lima, Risa Hontiveros, Grace Poe, Richard Gordon, Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto and Senate Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, along with Senators Loren Legarda, Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri, Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan II and Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan were also present to celebrate Pacquaio’s win.
Road to Kovalev vs. Ward Debuts November 12th
With a 43-year history of televising the biggest fights in pro boxing, HBO Sports takes an in-depth look at 2016’s most-anticipated matchup of undefeated fighters as they prepare for their light heavyweight unification title fight in ROAD TO KOVALEV/WARD. The special debuts SATURDAY, NOV. 12 at 12:30 a.m. ET/PT, immediately following the “HBO Boxing After Dark” replay that begins at 11:00 p.m.
Other HBO playdates: Nov. 13 (11:45 a.m., 4:00 a.m.), 14 (8:45 a.m., 2:30 p.m.), 16 (5:00 p.m., 12:30 a.m.), 17 (3:15 a.m.), 18 (6:45 p.m.) and 19 (5:15 p.m.)
HBO2 playdates: Nov. 15 (3:40 p.m., 11:35 p.m.), 17 (9:00 p.m.), 18 (1:00 a.m.) and 19 (10:50 a.m.)
The special will also be available on HBO NOW, HBO GO and HBO On Demand, and at hbo.com/boxing, as well as other new media platforms.
Russian-born Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (30-0-1, 26 KOs), 33, has taken over the light heavyweight division in meteoric fashion with an aggressive style and overwhelming knockout power. He certified his status as an elite fighter two years ago by dominating ring legend Bernard Hopkins. Now, after locking up three title belts, Kovalev is looking to take his superb career to the next level.
Hailing from Oakland, Cal., 32-year-old Andre “S.O.G.” Ward (30-0, 15 KOs) was a super middleweight champion before his recent move up to light heavyweight. Ward’s domination of the 168-pound division included wins over Chad Dawson, Carl Froch, Arthur Abraham, Allan Green and Mikkel Kessler. Undefeated since age 14, he is the last American male to win an Olympic gold medal (2004) in boxing. Ward boasts a wide assortment of skills that gives him an edge with many seasoned boxing observers.
The special visits the training camps of Kovalev and Ward as they prepare for their light heavyweight unification title showdown.
ROAD TO KOVALEV/WARD is narrated by Liev Schreiber.
“Kovalev vs. Ward” takes place Saturday, Nov. 19 at T-Mobile Arena in Los Vegas, NV and will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at 9:00 p.m. (ET)/6:00 p.m. (PT).
Ortiz vs. Scott Fight Week Quotes
Luis Ortiz (25-0, 22 KOs) Quotes:
“I always had faith in my manager and friend, Jay Jimenez, but I never expected this fast turn around and I’m so excited about the future. God has been great to me and my family – I’m ready.
“I’m going to be very busy over the next few months and looking forward to boxing in many countries as we continue my journey to the heavyweight World championship.
“I am a very experienced fighter. I have had the best boxing education with more than 350 fights under my belt. I believe I have the ability to adjust to any fighter and any style. That was evident in my fights with Jennings and Thompson.
“I am very proud of myself. I’m also very proud how I am bringing Cuba back into the minds of all boxing fans. Cuba is one of the most accomplished countries in terms of boxing. The style and speed and all the things we have, they are taught to us at a very young age. This is what makes us great boxers.
“I want to fight the very best and I want to be the heavyweight champion of the world. I’m willing to fight anyone, any champion, any place, any time. I’m ready for anyone: Joshua, Wilder, Klitschko. I know I can beat all of them.
“I feel I have been at my peak for many years now. I have simply been late [arriving] on the US heavyweight boxing scene. I have been fighting since I was in elementary school. Boxing is a very, very deep passion of mine.
“Now, it is a way to give my family a better future, and I tell you, no one will stand in my way of accomplishing this. In my eyes, I am the heavyweight champion of the world and if anyone, any other champion, is willing to challenge me, to face me, I can and will prove it.
“I do have a lot of respect for the heavyweight champions. They have accomplished a lot and have sacrificed a lot to be where they are. They do deserve recognition. I just want the chance to beat them and be [seen by all as] the next true heavyweight champion.
“I think Fury was able to shake up the heavyweight division and because of him, the division is now one of the most exciting divisions to watch! I just want to get the opportunity to face him, or Wilder, to prove I am a champion as well.”
Malik Scott (38-2-1, 13 KOs) Quotes:
“I don’t want people to get the wrong end of the stick – I picked to fight Luis Ortiz. People have crowned him as the next king of the heavyweight division, so that’s the kind of guy I want. If it wasn’t him, I wanted to fight David Haye or Anthony Joshua.
“Is he the most feared? Anyone will fight him but for the right amount of money. He’s a 6’ 4” Cuban southpaw – he’s got a hell of a pedigree, he can fight and he’s dangerous – but that makes me want to fight him. I gravitate to risks like this, because the rewards out there are huge.
“I went to Australia and beat Leapai, I came home to beat Thompson who had just beat Odlanier Solis, another guy that had been hyped. People said that Thompson would beat me, I gave him a clinic. Ortiz is dangerous, but a punch at heavyweight can change everything. He doesn’t know what it’s like to sit on the shelf and wait for a fight, get messed around by opponents. I am just as hungry as he is.
“I can only blame myself for lost opportunities. Inconsistency has cost me. Fans, managers and promoters have to trust your performances in this sport and I haven’t been consistent enough – but that has nothing to do with my ability.
“Leapai and Thompson are top ten guys and now I have Ortiz which is must-win for me. You cannot afford today to put two wins together then lose. People’s attention spans these days are so small. You have to keep winning and show people that you are a winner, that’s what I have to do.
“I have boxed a few southpaws but none of Ortiz’s quality. Luis is the best of all the southpaws but I don’t see perfection. I don’t look at the invincibility that the casual fans see and if I can take advantage of those holes in his game he’s going to taste his first loss.
“Everyone he’s beat has been on a plate for him, but against me, he’s going to have to work to get his shots off, I’m no dummy in the ring, I’m very intelligent, and I believe I will be victorious (Saturday).”
Ringstar Sports Comes Out “Signing” As U.S. Olympian Carlos Balderas & Brother Jose Balderas Agree to Join New Promotion Company
Ringstar Sports, the newly formed promotional company headed up by longtime boxing executive Richard Schaefer, made another big move last week when the company signed highly touted 2016 U.S. Olympian Carlos Balderas, along with his brother Jose, to promotional agreements. Ringstar will represent the two amateur standouts as they turn professional and guide their dreams as both fighters hope to secure lucrative futures for themselves and their family. The Balderas brothers, who signed their contracts in Ringstar’s LA-based offices last Tuesday, are the first fighters to join the company.
“Carlos Balderas was one of the most sought-after Olympians coming out of the 2016 Summer Games and I am so pleased that he, and his brother Jose, agreed to join Ringstar Sports,” said Richard Schaefer, Chairman and CEO of Ringstar Sports. “Carlos, Jose and their entire family are the type of people that we want to do business with at our company. I am going to do whatever it takes to make Carlos the face of boxing and his brother will be right there with him. Both of these young men are exceptional fighters with great skills and even better work ethics. Most importantly, they have a desire to be great and so does Ringstar. I am looking forward to getting started.”
“I’m really excited to start this partnership with Ringstar Sports and I’m looking forward to working with Richard for a long time,” said Carlos Balderas. “My brother and I chose Ringstar because we immediately felt comfortable with Richard. He was very honest with me from the beginning and I really believe he’s the best promoter in the sport. I’m ready to start my career and grow my fan base. I’m looking to do big things in this sport. It’s not just about a paycheck. I want to win world titles and build a legacy.”
“My brother and I are really comfortable with Richard and we believe he has the right vision for our careers,” said Jose Balderas. “Richard has a vision not just for himself and his company, but he has the vision that will lead to us becoming world champions. That’s what every boxer dreams of. I just can’t wait until fight time. I want to show everybody what we’re made of and the things that we can do. We’re going to leave it all in the ring and leave the fans entertained every time.”
“My whole family is very happy with this decision to join Richard and Ringstar Sports,” said Zenon Balderas, Carlos and Jose’s father. “Richard is a very smart man who is going to do amazing things for my sons. I know that my sons will be world champions, the question is, how many times? I believe that Richard has the mind to get us where we need to go.”
The Balderas brothers grew up in Santa Maria, California and are the sons of Mexican parents who immigrated to the United States. Under the care of their father and uncles, Emiliano and David, the boys were brought to a gym at a very young age to harness their energy into boxing. The brothers quickly took to the sport and combined with a strict regimen implemented by their father, began their impressive amateur careers.
Carlos was impressive in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, winning lightweight contests over fighters from Kazakhstan and Japan before a decision loss in the quarterfinals to the top seeded fighter from Cuba. He earned his spot in Rio after a stellar amateur career that saw him lose only nine times in 184 fights. His long list of accomplishments includes a Youth National Championship in 2014, four National PAL championships, a Junior National Golden Gloves championship in 2013, two Junior Olympic titles, two National Silver Gloves championships and three Adidas National tournament titles. In 2015, Balderas won four of five bouts in the World Series of Boxing, only losing due to a head butt from the top-ranked fighter from Azerbaijan in a fight in Azerbaijan that Balderas was winning. Balderas had just 10 days to recover from the injury before his next bout, but he gained medical clearance and knocked out Puerto Rico’s Javier Martinez in the second round. In October of that year, Balderas received the call from USA Boxing that he was the first American to qualify for the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
Jose is also a rising prospect in the sport as he made his name winning numerous tournaments in the Southern California amateur boxing circuit while racking up an impressive 80 victories in 88 fights. In addition, the bantamweight won a Junior Golden Gloves championship, two Adidas National tournaments, a National PAL title and two Junior Olympic tournaments. Jose also advanced to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Olympic trials. Although he is a year older, Jose waited until his brother’s Olympic journey had finished to turn pro so that the two could enter the professional ranks at the same time.
Now the Balderas brothers are focusing on developing their skills so that they can one day became world champions in the professional ranks. With Ringstar Sports in their corner, Carlos and Jose are on their way to reaching the peaks of their vast potential.
Local Talent Stacked on Danny Garcia vs. Vargas Undercard
An exciting night highlighting the best rising talent in the Philadelphia-area comes to Temple University’s Liacouras Center on Saturday, November 12 and will feature middleweight prospect Kyrone Davis (10-1, 4 KOs) facing once-beaten Carlos Gabriel Ozan (12-1, 4 KOs) and unbeaten super lightweight Milton Santiago (15-0, 3 KOs) against Argentina’s Claudio Rosendo Tapia (28-16-4, 13 KOs) in a pair of eight-round showdowns.
The event is headlined by undefeated welterweight world champion and Philadelphia-native Danny “Swift” Garcia taking on Colombia’s Samuel Vargas. Coverage of Premier Boxing Champions on Spike begins at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT and features undefeated rising star Jarrett Hurd battling former title challenger Jo Jo Dan plus former world champion Javier Fortuna taking on unbeaten Omar Douglas.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by DSG Promotions and King’s Promotions, are priced at $200, $100, $75, $50 and $35 and are on sale now. To purchase tickets visit LiacourasCenter.com/events or call 800-298-4200. Garcia is teaming up with Philabundance, the region’s largest hunger relief organization, to arrange a regional food drive and raise money throughout the promotion.
Additional action will feature a pair of unbeaten Philadelphia prospects as Thomas Velasquez squares-off against Miami’s Raul Chirino in a four-round super featherweight affair while Christian Carto faces Mexico’s Leonardo Reyes in four-rounds of bantamweight action.
Rounding out the night of fights is unbeaten super featherweight Titus Williams taking on once-beaten Philadelphia-native Antonio Dubose in a six-round showdown and unbeaten lightweight Jeffrey Torrestaking on Joseph Serrano in a four-round bout between Philadelphia prospects.
A two-time amateur National Champion fighting out of Wilmington, Delaware, Davis turned pro in 2014 after a stellar amateur career. The 21-year-old delivered wins in his first 10 starts before dropping a competitive contest to then unbeaten Junior Castillo in April. A two-time Pennsylvania Golden Gloves champion, Davis fights in Philadelphia for the first time as a pro when he takes on the 28-year-old Ozan from Mendoza, Argentina.
Unbeaten and fighting out of Philadelphia, Santiago looks for his third victory of 2016 when he enters the ring on November 12. A pro since 2014, the 20-year-old Santiago fights in his home city for the sixth time in his short career. Alvarez has won three eight-round bouts in a row and looks to be victorious again when he faces the experienced Tapia out of Mendoza, Argentina.
Amir Khan Says It Would be an Honor to Fight Manny Pacquiao
Amir Khan says it would be an ‘honour’ to fight Manny Pacquiao after the Filipino superstar said he would be open to the matchup.
Eight-weight champion Pacquiao was speaking ahead of his eagerly anticipated world title clash with Jessie Vargas this Saturday night, exclusively live on BoxNation.
And despite stating that Khan was a ‘friend’ he hinted a future clash would be something that he would be willing to make happen, prompting the Bolton boxer to state his readiness to do battle.
“Manny is great fighter and one of the best around,” Khan told BoxNation.
“It would be an honour to share the ring with him and would be a very entertaining fight for the fans. I know Manny well and he is a friend of mine but sometimes you have to put that to the side as boxers.
“It’s important for my hand to fully heal after my operation but it’s feeling good and I want to make the biggest fights possible as soon as it’s 100% – no matter who it’s against,” he said.
29-year-old Khan also believes that despite his losses to Floyd Mayweather and Juan Manuel Marquez, Pacquiao is still a very dangerous opponent to go in against.
“Manny is still one of the top welterweights in the world. He’s got great speed, power and creates good angles. I think our two styles mix well and would make for an edge-of-the-seat sort of fight,” said Khan.
“There are definitely some things I can take advantage of against him and I believe being the younger and more youthful fighter would help.
“We’re both all-action fighters and like to attack so it would be a really intriguing fight,” he said.
37-year-old Pacquiao has put his political responsibilities on hold as a senator in the Philippines as he looks to claim another world title this weekend against WBO champion Vargas.
Khan feels that Pacquiao will have too much for the American and is tipping his old stablemate to do the business at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas.
“I think Manny’s movement and style will be too much for Vargas to handle,” said Khan.
“He’s going to be too quick and elusive and I expect him to win on points. He seems very focused on this fight because he knows how important it is to win it.
“Beating Vargas and winning a world title will help set up more big fights and prove he still has a lot to give,” he said.
Taras “The Real Deal Shelestyuk, Xolisani Ndongeni,and Ruben Villa all remained undefeated this past Friday night at the Omega Events Center in Corona, California.
Shelestyuk (15-0, 9 KOs), the 2012 Olympic Games Bronze Medalist for Ukraine, was victorious by the scores of 96-93 twice and 95-94. Despite a gutsy, gritty performance, Herrera (15-4-1, 8 KOs), of Chicago, IL., had a 3-fight winning streak end. There were no knockdowns.
Southpaw Shelestyuk, who entered the ring ranked No. 9 in the WBO and No. 13 in the WBA, turned back a determined bid by Herrera to win, despite getting docked a point for excessive holding in the fifth round.
“It was a tough fight,” stated Shelestyuk. “He is a tough fighter; he is slow, but he worked well. In the first round, I did well but my legs went on me. I think it was because I did not sleep well.
“After five rounds, I started to find my rhythm. I started boxing him. I made some mistakes in there like pulling straight back. This fight will make me better. Like I said, he was tough but nothing special. When my legs went, I started to work inside. I beat him good in the last round and if there was 30 seconds more, I could have stopped him.
“I am looking forward to being more active in 2017. I will take two or three weeks off and be right back in the gym.”
“The Truth” hurts, and Herrera had more than his fair share of moments in a tight fight. Herrera, a professional since December 2009, figured to be a legitimate test for Shelestyuk, and he was. But Taras was more active, (landing 169 of 689 punches, compared to Herrera’s 130 of 460). Each fighter connected 28 percent of the time.
Herrera, who had defeated undefeated prospects in four of his previous nine fights, was not happy with the verdict. “It was a good fight. There is not much that I can say. I thought it was closer than the scores indicated. I had fun in there, and I give him credit. He was everything I expected. He is a smart fighter.”
“I would love to be a test dummy for all these young prospects. I thought it could have been a draw, but the people who saw it on TV can have their opinion.”
Shelestyuk is co-promoted by Banner Promotions and Thompson Boxing