By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of February 16th to February 23rd, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Politics May Force Postponement of Pacquiao-Bradley
Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley are scheduled to face each other for the third time on April 9th, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Afterwards, Pacquiao will be running for a seat in the Senate of the Philippines. However, if Pacquiao’s political rivals have any say, he won’t be able to fight before running for a senate seat.
Former Rep. Walden Bello is a candidate in the May 9th elections and he has petitioned the Commission on Elections to stop the Las Vegas match because it would give Pacquiao massive publicity. Bello alleges that the fight would violate a law giving candidates equal access to media publicity. He has asked to have the fight postponed until after the elections.
Keith Thurman Injured, Title Fight Against Porter Postponed
Keith Thurman sustained an injury when he was in a car accident that has forced his March 12th welterweight title defense against Shawn Porter to be postponed. Thurman’s doctors do not consider his injury to be serious and he is expected to be cleared to resume training in a few weeks. The fight against Porter was scheduled to be on prime time on CBS, but the fight and network broadcast will not be rescheduled for a later date.
DiBella Entertainment and Showtime are currently evaluating the option of continuing with the remainder of the fight card on Showtime on March 12th instead of CBS.
“While it’s unfortunate that we must temporarily postpone this marquee matchup, a main event of the magnitude of Thurman vs. Porter requires both fighters be healthy and at their best,” said DiBella. “Keith is anxious to resume training as soon he is able and both he and Shawn are looking forward to a new fight date.”
Terence Crawford and Felix Verdejo to Make Their 2016 Debuts in Title Defenses at the Garden
Undefeated superstars Terence “Bud” Crawford and Felix “El Diamante” Verdejo will make their 2016 debuts in title defenses on Saturday, February 27th at the “Mecca of Boxing”, the Theater at Madison Square Garden.
Crawford, the two-division world champion and 2014 Fighter of the Year will be defending his WBO Junior welterweight world championship belt against Top-10 contender “Hammerin” Hank Lundy. Verdejo, the boxing gem of Puerto Rico, will be risking his WBO Lightweight Titel crown and his march to a world title shot when he faces undefeated Brazilian buzz saw William “Baby Face” Silva. Both bouts will be televised live on HBO beginning at 10:00 p.m.
The doors will open at 5:30 P.M. on Saturday, February 27th and the first fight is scheduled to begin at 6:30 P.M.
Errol Spence Jr. to Meet Former World Champion Chris Algieri on PBC on NBC
Rising star and 2012 U.S. Olympian Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. (19-0, 16 KOs) will take on former world champion Chris Algieri (21-2, 8 KOs) in a 10-round welterweight showdown headlining an exciting night of matchups on Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) on NBC in primetime on Saturday, April 16 from Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
The NBC coverage begins at 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT and will see unbeaten world champion Krzysztof Glowacki (25-0, 16 KOs) of Poland squaring-off against former two-time cruiserweight world champion Steve “U.S.S.” Cunningham (28-7, 13 KOs) plus 2012 U.S. Olympian and unbeaten light heavyweight “Sir” Marcus Browne (17-0, 13 KOs) of Staten Island takes on undefeated Radivoje “Hot Rod” Kalajdzic (21-0, 14 KOs) in a 10-round battle.
PBC on NBC kicks off 2016 with the consensus Prospect of the Year, Spence, Jr. taking a serious step up in competition by going in against popular Long Island-native and former world champion Algieri.
Plus, the first world title defense of Poland’s Glowacki, fresh of a Fight of the Year upset over Marco Huck, against former U.S. Naval officer and former cruiserweight champion Cunningham in a battle that is sure to thrill those watching on NBC and at Barclays Center. For the light heavyweight rising star Browne, this represents a step up in platform and competition as he is featured in a primetime telecast for the first time and will no doubt look for an emphatic victory in his record 11th appearance at Barclays Center.
“I’m excited to be back again, fighting on NBC. This is a huge opportunity for me, to be this young and early in my career and headlining a primetime event, just the exposure alone,” said Spence. “Of course, I’m happy to be fighting in Brooklyn at Barclays Center. New York City is known for putting on great fights, and this is going to be a big event with a big-name fighter. Chris Algieri has been in the ring with Amir Khan, Manny Pacquiao and Ruslan Provodnikov and he’s a former world champ. This is a big fight for me and a step up, but I plan to rise to the occasion. I’m going to handle him like I’ve handled all of my past opponents.”
“I am so excited to come back to the US for a major fight,” said Glowacki. “I respect Steve Cunningham as a sportsman and as a man. He is a world class fighter and I know that he will be well prepared against me. I would like to thank my Polish promoters, my coaches, Al Haymon, Leon Margules of Warriors Boxing, and DiBella Entertainment. They gave me the opportunity to face Marco Huck for the world title last year and I knocked him out, doing what I promised. Come April 16, I will once again honor my promise and defeat Cunningham in spectacular fashion. Polish and American fans, be prepared for the return of Glowacki!”
“I’m ready to take this step up on my career. We are both putting our ‘0’s on the line and do what I’ve been taught to do,” said Browne. “This is the perfect time for this opportunity in my career and there is no better place than to do it at Barclays Center. To be able to win and make a statement on primetime TV from Barclays Center where it all really started for me will be a turning point and I can’t wait.”
“I am ready and excited to showcase my skills and power come April 16,” said Kalajdzic. “I am happy to be part of such a huge card and to have the opportunity to fight on NBC and show the world I am one of the best 175 pounders in boxing.”
Jesse Hart Has an Incredible Experience with Community Outreach
Holidays come and go and often we forget to do something special for our loved ones. Not Jesse Hart!
The undefeated super middleweight boxer made a point to honor both of his late grandmothers on Valentine’s Day. Hart, who boxes on March 18th at the 2300 Arena in South Philadelphia, spent his holiday with residents of a local nursing home. Then he visited with area youth later in the week.
St. Ignatius Nursing & Rehab Center is located on Haverford Ave. in West Philadelphia. Part of their mission statement reads: “We serve our communities by providing quality care and integrating our essential core values of Dignity of All Persons, Excellence, Community, Stewardship and Concern for the Poor.”
Residents appeared happy and at home at St. Ignatius on Feb. 14. With a beautiful solarium that overlooks the courtyard, residents enjoyed a perfect view of the gorgeous landscaping. They told stories of watching the rain and snow and of wonderful barbecues held when the weather was better.
Hart brought dozens of roses for the residents and spoke with many of them.
Getting the opportunity to meet a 104-year-old female resident was a highlight of the day. When learning that Hart was a professional boxer, she quickly asked if he was ready to get beaten up (by her). This spunky elderly lady was just one of many that left an impact on Hart, who was caught singing some Barry White tunes and dancing with another resident.
The experience was impactful. Often we see community outreach with children or animals, yet not often with the elderly. Hart, who has a huge heart himself, made sure that this holiday was special for people we tend to forget.
The St. Ignatius staff welcomed Hart and asked him to return after his championship fight March 18 against Dashon Johnson, of Escondido, CA. The residents are looking forward to having him return.
Continuing with his community outreach, Hart visited the Glen Mills Schools, located in Delaware County, to speak with students about staying on the right path.
Coming from North Philadelphia, Hart knows what it is like on the streets. Although he has made the right choices in life to get him where he is today, many of those he grew up with have not been as fortunate.
“I think you just need to find your talent and really push it,” Hart said. “There’s no chosen ones man. Maximize your talent.”
At the end of Hart’s motivational speech to the students he stayed around to sign autographs, talk one-on-one, and take photos. You could see the smiles and wide-eyed youth listening to his every word.
After such a great week within the community, Hart is looking forward to continuing the outreach throughout and beyond this camp.
Robert Guerrero to be Inducted into California Boxing Hall of Fame 2016 Class
The “California Boxing Hall of Fame” is happy to announce that multiple division world champion, Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero, will be one of its 2016 inductees. The ceremony will take place at the Sportsmen’s Lodge Event Center in Studio City, CA on October 22, 2016.
“The Ghost” who once fought at super-bantamweight (122 lbs) successfully moved up several weight classes to compete at welterweight, winning multiple world titles along the way, becoming one of boxing’s most notable warriors. Still active today, Guerrero has plenty of fight left in him and wants nothing more than to get the fans more great fights. He is thrilled to be part of the 2016 class of inductees.
“To be inducted into the California Boxing Hall of Fame is a great honor,” said Robert Guerrero. “I have to thank my family and team for getting me to where I’m at today. I couldn’t have done it without them. As fighters, we put our lives on the line every time we step into the ring, and we do it for the love of the sport. The fans are the ones who benefit from our sacrifices and that’s what it’s all about. I love boxing and I want to let the fans know that I’m always going to give it my all every time I fight. To be part of the 2016 inductees is unbelievable.”
Top Rank Promotions Releases Five Boxers
ESPN reported that Top Rank Promotions has released five fights from their stable. These fighters include lightweights Diego Magdaleno (28-2), Ivan Najera (16-2), Gamalier Rodriguez (25-4-3), featherweight Chris Avalos (26-4) and Vic Pasillas (11-0) in the junior featherweight division.
Magdaleno, Avalos, Rodriguez, and Najera have all lost fights recently.
Felix Sturm Wins Fifth Title
Felix Sturm (40-5-3) defeated Fedor Chudinov (14-1) to win the WBA Super Middleweight Title. This bout took place on Saturday in Oberhausen, Germany.
Sturm won on the scorecards with scores of 114-114, 115-113, and 115-113. Sturm won his fifth world title with the victory on Saturday, and becomes the first German boxer to do so.