By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of March 8th to March 15th , covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Manny Pacquiao and Freddie Roach Arrive in Los Angeles to Begin Phase Two of Training
Fighter of the Decade MANNY “Pacman” PACQUIAOand his Hall of Fame Trainer World-Famous FREDDIE ROACH will soon break camp in General Santos City in the Philippines and head to the U.S. On Monday, at Roach’s Hollywood-based Wild Card Boxing Club, they will begin phase two of training for their sole mission — demolishing two-division world champion TIMOTHY “Desert Storm” BRADLEY JR. Pacquiao (57-6-2, 38 KOs) and Bradley (33-1-1, 13 KOs) are 29 days away from their date with destiny — their 12-round welterweight battle for pound for pound supremacy.
Team Pacquiao landed at Los Angeles International Airport’s Tom Bradley International Terminal Saturday, March 12,
“We had a strong camp in the Philippines and Manny, as usual, is way ahead of schedule in his conditioning, and very motivated,” said Roach. “The real business begins for us on Monday at Wild Card. We have great sparring waiting for Manny. I know that ESPN announcer [Teddy Atlas] who is coaching Bradley is a good story teller and likes acting. Let’s see how well they do when we go off script and hit them with a dose of reality TV. Playing ‘fireman’ isn’t going to protect them from the nuclear assault Manny will be launching.”
This fight will also mark the first time Roach and Atlashave ever faced each other from opposite corners — an amazing fact considering they have a combined 70 years of training experience between them and scores of world champions to their credit. Think their isn’t a little competition between them? Take a look at this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=un4lLzHnLUE&feature=youtu.be
Porter vs. Thurman Re-Scheduled for June 25th
The much anticipated fight between Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter has been rescheduled for June 25th in the first prime-time fight on CBS in decades.
A venue and starting time for the fight are still to be determined.
“The way that I punch, it’s very difficult for any man to take 12 rounds of those kinds of punches,” Keith Thurman (26-0), said. “If I’m landing five nice power punches a round, at the end of 10 rounds, that’s 50 power punches you had to endure from Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman. Ask any many who’s stepped in that ring, and it’s not something you want to eat all day.”
Shawn Porter (26-1-1) stated, “I’ve never wanted a fight this bad before. When you talk about prizefighting, you talk about the elite, this is it right here. “ He continued, “My dad always taught me that I have to separate myself from other fighters, other people, other athletes. And what better way to separate myself than to beat Keith Thurman and really establish myself as the top professional boxer at 147 pounds.”
The co main event of that evening will be between Abner Mares (29-2-1) and Jesus Cuellar (28-1).
Upcoming PBC Fights, Charles Martin, Gary Russell Jr., Badou Jack
The PBC just recently announced several major upcoming fights in the near future.
On April 9th Charles Martin (23-0) will be defending his heavyweight title against Anthony Joshua (15-0) at the O2 Arena in London England. Lee Selby (22-1) will also defend his title against Philadelphia native Eric Hunter (21-3).
Gary Russell Jr. (26-1) will defend his title a week later against Patrick Hyland (31-1) from the Fox Theater at Foxwoods Resort Casino. Jose Pedraza (21-0) will face Stephen Smith (23-1) on the undercard of that bout.
On April 30th Badou Jack (21-1) will face Lucian Bute (32-3) in the second defense of Jack’s title. James DeGale (22-1) will also be defending his title that night against Rogerlio Medina (36-6).
Deontay Wilder Expected to Face Povetkin in Russia
The PBC website has indicated that Deontay Wilder is expected to defend his title against Alexander Povetkin in Russia. Povetkin’s promotional team recently won a purse bid for this bout and it appears they will be making the fight in Russia.
The expected time of the fight will likely be in May in the Moscow area. The PBC recently released a few quotes from Deontay Wilder in relation to his upcoming title bout.
“If we got to go to Russia, let’s go. I’m prepared to fight anywhere. It’s not going to matter to me at all,” Wilder said. “But they’re going to a whole lot of trouble for nothing. I’m on a mission to be the undisputed champion. I don’t care who he is or where I have to go. I’m a different kind of fighter; I’m a different breed. Going to Russia don’t intimidate me.”
It’s a fight that Wilder sees playing out to his natural advantages, namely height and power. Those two ingredients proved to be a winning recipe when Vladimir Klitschko handed Povtekin (30-1, 22 KOs) the lone loss of his career.
In that one, Klitschko had Povetkin down four times, including a three-knockdown seventh, en route to a comfortable decision.
“He couldn’t do anything with Klitschko, and Klitschko is way slower than me,” Wilder said. “Just imagine a guy who is way faster with much more athleticism. If you can’t handle him, what are you going to do with me?”
Undercard Fighters Announced for Ward vs. Barrera
Six non-televised bouts will serve as support when two time world champion Andre Ward (28-0) faced undefeated and number one rated IBF Light Heavyweight contender Sullivan Barrera (17-0) in a twelve round IBF number one position and mandatory position eliminator at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California.
The opening bout of the night will be between Jayson Velez and Joseph Diaz Jr. in a ten round NABF Featherweight title bout. Other boxers that are scheduled to appear in the undercard include Maurice Hooker, Daniel Franco, Rudy Puga Jr., Junior Younan, 2008 Olympic Super Heavyweight Silver Medalist Zhang Zhilei, and Aaron Coley.
Roc Nation Sports will also bring several notable entertainers to the bout, including notable event emcee, SiriusXM/Shade 45 morning show host of Saw in the morning executive producer and talent for VH1 and MTV and Oakland-native Sway Calloway, who will serve as the event’s host, and hit master DJ Franzen, resident DJ at Las Vegas’ Hot 97.5 and Drais Nightclub. Sway and Franzen will entertain together throughout the night to keep the fans entertained between bouts at Oracle Arena
Ruslan Provodnikov vs. John Molina Jr. to Headline Showtime Championship Boxing on June 11th
Former WBO Junior Welterweight World Champion Ruslan Provodnikov “The Siberian Rocky,” returns to the ring on Saturday, June 11 to headline on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING as he takes on former world title challenger John Molina Jr. in a 12-round super lightweight from bout from Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, N.Y. The clash will be televised live on SHOWTIME (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) and it will be available in Spanish via secondary audio programming.
The fight is promoted by Banner Promotions and tickets for the event will go on sale at a later date.
“I have been waiting for a long time to get back in the ring and to give my fans another fight. The opportunity has finally come and I appreciate that SHOWTIME is looking at me as a future star on their network, and I will not let them down,” said Provodnikov.
“I’m very thankful to SHOWTIME and TGB Promotions for this opportunity and promise the fans a great fight. I’m very familiar with Ruslan and have long believed that our styles would make for an outstanding war on June 11,” Molina said. “Fighting on the Hall of Fame weekend means a great deal to me having been a long-time fan of Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, who is being inducted this year. It would be an honor to fight in front of him and the rest of the inductees.”
“We are very excited to have Ruslan making his SHOWTIME debut on June 11 at Turning Stone Resort Casino during the International Boxing Hall of Fame weekend. This will be another great event, as Ruslan is always in fan-friendly and TV-friendly fights,” said Banner Promotions President Arthur Pelullo.
“Ruslan participated in the Fight of the Year in 2013, Molina was part of the 2014 Fight of the Year, and Provodnikov-Matthysse was a 2015 Fight of the Year nominee. Put all that together, and we expect another Fight of the Year candidate on June 11. As the viewership numbers show across the board, Ruslan is one of the top stars in boxing. He doesn’t know how to make a bad fight.
“On behalf of everybody, I especially want to thank Stephen Espinoza of SHOWTIME for all of his help and work to bring Ruslan to SHOWTIME. This has been a work in progress, and his tireless efforts and patience in getting this deal done have been greatly appreciated. He has shown a real commitment to Ruslan and Banner Promotions, and this is just the beginning of our relationship in making the best and biggest fights possible for Ruslan.”
Jim Lampley’s “The Fight Game” Returns on March 16th
THE FIGHT GAME WITH JIM LAMPLEY returns with the season premiere of year five WEDNESDAY, MARCH 16 (11:00-11:30 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO®. Hosted by the four-time Sports Emmy® winner, who has hosted HBO Boxing since joining the network in 1988, the show is a provocative, engaging and informative experience that delves into intriguing storylines, newsmakers and issues that are top-of-mind in boxing.
Other HBO playdates: March 21 (1:40 p.m., 5:15 a.m.), 22 (11:00 p.m.), 24 (4:30 p.m.), 26 (1:30 a.m.), 27 (11:45 a.m.) and 30 (9:50 a.m., 6:00 p.m.), and April 2 (1:10 p.m.) and 7 (10:05 p.m.)
HBO2 playdates: March 17 (8:00 p.m.), 23 (2:00 p.m., 12:45 a.m.) and 28 (10:05 a.m., 10:00 p.m.), and April 1 (5:30 p.m., 2:15 a.m.), 3 (3:20 p.m.) and 9 (11:15 a.m.)
The show will also be available on HBO NOW, HBO GO® and HBO On Demand®.
On this edition of THE FIGHT GAME, Lampley looks at the current state of the very fluid heavyweight division; Max Kellerman and Bernard Hopkins join Lampley to discuss the latest boxing headlines and issues; an all-new THE FIGHT GAME pound-for-pound compilation; and veteran journalist Melissa Stark, the program’s new correspondent, travels to northern New Jersey to profile the women of Main Events, the boxing promotional company comprised almost entirely of females led by CEO Kathy Duva.