By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of March 1st to March 8th , covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
HBO Condemns Comments of Manny Pacquiao
While he was campaigning for a Senate seat Manny Pacquiao made a controversial statement that drew the ire of many when he stated that people in same-sex relationships are worse than animals. HBO has officially responded to that statement.
“Next month Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley Jr. are scheduled to meet in a pay-per-view bout. We have an obligation to both fighters and, therefore, will proceed to produce and distribute that event. However, we felt it important to leave no uncertainty about our position on Mr. Pacquiao’s recent comments toward the LGBTQ community. We consider them insensitive, offensive and deplorable. HBO has been a proud home to many LGBTQ stories and couldn’t approach this event without clearly voicing our opinion.”
Rigondeaux Unable to Obtain Visa, Bout with Dickens in Jeopardy
ESPN has reported that Guillermo Rigondeaux’s fight against James “Jaza” Dickens is in jeopardy because Rigondeaux has not obtained a visa.
Rigondeaux is currently in Russia, where he traveled to train, but has remained there because of the Visa issues. ESPN released the email from Kathy Duva to Frank Warren explaining the difficulty in getting a visa. It reads:
“As a fellow promoter, I know and respect that this is frustrating for you , and I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may be causing your March 12 event promotion,” Duva wrote to Warren. “Rigondeaux went to Russia to train for the Dickens fight, and has been attempting to get his UK visa expedited there as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, they have encountered obstacles the past week or so due to a Russian Holiday that prevented the process from getting done.
“Rigondeaux and his training team were at the embassy in Moscow again [Monday] trying to work on it, but unfortunately were unsuccessful. Please be assured that we will continue to work on this matter with all our efforts, and are hopeful that we can get this taken care of in time to get to Liverpool for the event. I will contact you on Tuesday to keep you updated on the status.”
Billy Joe Saunders Decides to Face Max Bursak After Turning Down Golovkin
Billy Joe Saunders turned down a chance to face Gennady Golovkin for a title unification fight and has announced that on April 30th he will face Max Bursak at the Copper Box Arena in London, England.
Saunders (23-0) will face Bursak (32-4-1) and make his first defense of his title. Bursak’s resume is less than impressive and many consider this to be an extremely easy title defense for Saunders.
Mario Barros to Make 2016 Debut on PBC on FS1
Undefeated super featherweight Mario Barrios (14-0) will make his 2016 debut on March 15th at the Robinson Rancheria Resort and Casino in Nice, California. He is scheduled to take on an opponent TBA on Premier Boxing Champions Toe to Toe Tuesdays on FS1 at 9:00 PM ET.
Barrios went 7-0 in 2015 and is looking to continue his march towards a world title.
“Right now the goal is to win a world title at 130 pounds,” said Mario Barrios. “I’m still young enough that making weight is not a problem at the moment. I believe with a few more fights, I’ll be ready to challenge any of the champions at super-featherweight. First and foremost I must focus on March 15th and bring home a victory.”
This fight marks the third bout in a row where Barrios will be fighting in front of a nationally televised audience. Mario is grateful for the opportunity to be fighting on FOX Sports once again.
“I love fighting on Toe-to-Toe Tuesdays on FOX Sports,” Barrios continued. “I’m very thankful that FOX is brining me back. I’m always looking to impress those that are watching with an electrifying performance. If I get my opponent hurt at any time during the fight, you know I’m going for the knockout.”
Browne Defeats Chagaev to Win one of the WBA’s Heavyweight Titles
Lucas Browne took on Ruslan Chagaev this weekend for Chagaev’s WBA Regular Heavyweight Title. Browne was knocked down in the sixth round, but was able to survive and make a strong comeback. Browne finished the fight in the tenth round when he connected with a right to the head and dropped the champion to the mat. Chagaev was able to get back to his feet but took several more hard right hands before the referee stopped the bout.
Lewkowicz Congratulates Oscar Escandon for Title-Winning Victory
Promoter Sampson Lewkowicz of Sampson Boxing wishes to congratulate his fighter, Oscar Escandon, for his title-winning victory on Saturday night in at the DC Armory in Washington, DC.
Escandon (25-2, 17 KOs), from Tolima, Colombia, stepped up a weight class and picked up the interim WBC World Featherweight Championship with a KO 7 over Mexico’s Robinson Castellanos. A powerful uppercut from Escandon ended matters at the 2:59 mark.
With the victory, Escandon became the second Sampson Boxing fighter to win a world championship in the last two
weeks. Mexico’s Hugo Ruiz won the WBC World Super Bantamweight title with a KO 1 over Julio Ceja.
“I did this for my country of Colombia,” said Escandon. “I am proud to be fighting for them and it was their support that helped carry me though this tough fight.”
“First of all, my warmest congratulations to Oscar Escandon and his team, Ruben Guerrero and family,” said Lewkowicz. “Oscar has made his entire country of Colombia proud by winning his second world championship for them.”
Escandon also held the WBA World Super Bantamweight Title in 2014.
“We will let Oscar enjoy his new belt for a little bit, but will soon go to work preparing him to meet the winner of the fight between full WBC Champion Gary Russell Jr. and Ireland’s Patrick Hyland on April 16. We would love for that fight to be in New York City, in front of the huge Colombian community.”
Jesus Soto Karass to Take on Yoshihiro Kamegai on April 15th
Golden Boy Promotions has announced that former WBC Continental Americas and NABF Welterweight Champion Jesus Soto Karass (28-10-3) will face Japanese boxer and former OPBF Welterweight Champion Yoshihiro “Maestrito” Kamegain (26-3-1) on April 15 in a 10 round super welterweight showdown.
“Every month, LA FIGHT CLUB features the best up-and-coming prospects on the planet, but on April 15, fans will be treated to something different — two veterans who leave everything in the ring every time they fight,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. “Though the fighters may be at different points in their careers than the prospects we usually feature, they always deliver high-action bouts with potential knockouts in every round – that’s what LA FIGHT CLUB is all about.”
Adamek-Molina Scheduled for US and Canadian PPV for April 2nd
The upcoming heavyweight showdown between former light heavyweight and cruiserweight world champion Tomasz “Goral” Adamek (50-4, 30 KOs) of Poland and Eric “Drummer Boy” Molina (24-3, 18 KOs) Raymondville, Texas in Kraków on Apr. 2 at the Kraków Arena for the IBF Intercontinental Heavyweight Title will be distributed in North America by Integrated Sports Media for live viewing at 2 pm ET/11 am PT on both cable and satellite pay-per-view.
In addition to the live pay-per-view telecast in Poland as part of Polsat’s Boxing Night series, US residents will be able to purchase the fight for pay-per-view on via iN Demand, DIRECTV, DISH Network, and Vubiquity in the United States, as well as Rogers TV and SaskTel in Canada, for a suggested retail price of only $29.95. Please contact your local cable or dish provider for more information. This event is presented by Polsat, Main Events and Don King Productions.
The pay-per-view telecast will also include several key undercard bouts: a 10-round cruiserweight fight between Mateusz Masternak vs. Eric Fields, a 10-round cruiserweight fight between Michael Cieslak vs. Francisco Palacios and additional bouts still to be determined.
Kathy Duva, CEO of Main Events, Adamek’s promoter said, “Every time Tomasz fights back home in Poland we get numerous requests from his American fans who wish to watch the fight here. We are so excited to be able to provide them with an opportunity to watch this exciting fight here in the US.”
MARCH 12 CANCELLED
LAS VEGAS – “Knockout Night at the D,” the boxing fight card to feature headliners Zab Judah vs. Josh Torres at the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center (DLVEC), has been cancelled for Saturday, March 12.
Derek Stevens, CEO of the D Las Vegas and DLVEC, said, “Last night, I received multiple calls from the Nevada Athletic Commission regarding eligibility concerns. After our discussions, it became apparent the fight card could not move forward. Although I’m disappointed with the situation, I appreciate the phone calls and look forward to working with the Nevada Athletic Commission on future boxing events at the DLVEC.”
Last year, DLVEC launched several successful boxing events, with Stevens leading the charge to bring outdoor boxing back to Las Vegas.
All ticket purchases will be reimbursed. Credit card transactions will be automatically refunded and cash refunds will be issued at their point of purchase.