Boxing Insider Notebook: Wallin, Bey, Atlantic City, Canelo, Kovalev, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of September 9th to September 16th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Dmitriy Salita Congratulates Boxing’s Newest Elite Heavyweight, Otto Wallin
Dmitriy Salita, promoter of the fighter everyone is talking about this morning, Otto Wallin, wishes to congratulate the giant Swede for his unveiling and ascension into elite-level status in heavyweight boxing.
Despite coming in as a 25-1 underdog against lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury on Saturday night at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, the fearless southpaw Wallin took the fight to Fury in a spirited challenge, cutting him twice and hurting him badly in the 12th and final round.
The previously unknown Wallin can no longer be ignored in the landscape of top heavies and promoter Salita, who repeatedly predicted an upset in the weeks leading up to the fight, says he’s extremely proud of the 28-year-old from Sundsvall, Sweden.
“Otto showed he is undoubtedly a top heavyweight,” said Salita. “He landed more punches on Fury than anyone ever has according to CompuBox. He was relentless and fearless. I am so proud of him and his incredible performance.”
Statistics don’t lie. Wallin’s 127 landed (total) punches were indeed the most ever tracked by a Fury opponent. By comparison, Deontay Wilder landed just 71 against Fury and Wladimir Klitschko only 52.
Through six rounds, as the doctor’s were checking Fury’s 40-plus stitch cut (caused by a clean punch) the punch stats were virtually even with Wallin landing with much better accuracy. The fight was capped by Wallin’s heart-stopping final round where he chased a staggered and exhausted Fury around the ring and landed 23 of 37 punches compared to Fury’s 10 of 42.
Though the final scores were 116-112, 117-111 and 118-110 for Fury, the world is now abuzz with Wallin’s “victory in defeat.”
“We knew what we had when we signed him and now the world knows,” continued Salita. “Otto had boxed less than one round in 16 months coming in and still did all that. It was a real-life Rocky moment and he deserves all the praise pouring in. The sky is now the limit for this unstoppable young man.”
Atlantic City Hall of Fame Announces the Launch of Its Legends Corner
The Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame (ACBHOF) is pleased to announce the launch of its Legends Corner on its Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame website. The ACBHOF and its exclusive apparel partner Fight Night Apparel has teamed up with a few Boxing Legends who’ve helped make Atlantic City a recognizable boxing destination.
“Merciless” Ray Mercer will be the first Atlantic City Boxing Legend to introduce his new fan gear to his many boxing fans around the world on ACBHOF Website. “I am honored to be the first to partner with the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame and I believe this collaboration will be a winning combination, especially for my fans,” said Ray Mercer.
Ray Mercer was a 2018 ACBHOF Inductee, the 1988 Olympic Gold Medal winner in the Heavyweight Division, as well WBO Heavyweight Champion. Stay tuned for more announcements about upcoming events and the unveiling of 2020 ACBHOF Induction Class.
The Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame continues to celebrate our 3rd Annual Induction Weekend which took place this past June, where we enshrined our 2019 Induction Class into the Atlantic City Hall of Fame.
The 2019 luminaries: Bernard Hopkins, Tim Witherspoon, Iran Barkley, Roberto Duran, Micky Ward, Kevin Watts, John Brown, Virgil Hill, Butch Lewis, English Bouie Fisher, Bobby Goodman, Ace Marotta, Jimmy Binns, Sr., Stan Hoffman, Nigel Collins, Henry Hascup, Tom Kaczmarek, Tony Orlando Jr., and Rhonda Utley-Herring.
We are pleased to recognize and thank our sponsors:
The Claridge Hotel, City of Atlantic City, FantaSea Resorts, Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall, Made Atlantic City Chocolate Bar, Adams Boxing, SparBar, WBC, IBF, and Fight Night Apparel.
Canelo Alvarez to Challenge Sergey Kovalev for WBO World Light Heavyweight World Title
Canelo Alvarez (51-1-2, 34 KOs), the face of boxing and the king of the middleweight division, will take on a new challenge as he moves into the 175-pound weight class in a 12-round bout against champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (34-3-1, 28 KOs) for the WBO Light Heavyweight World Title. The event will take place Saturday, Nov. 2 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas and will be streamed exclusively live on DAZN in all of its nine markets, including the United States, Canada, Brazil, Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Japan.
Tickets for Canelo vs. Kovalev are priced at $1,754, $1,254, $854, $654, $404 and $204, not including applicable service charges and taxes. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call 888-9-AXS-TIX (888-929-7849). Tickets also will be available for purchase at www.axs.com.
“We promised to make this fight happen, and now we are delivering it,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy. “Historic fights have been a hallmark of this company, and we are pleased to once again live up to the high expectations we’ve set for our fans. The best pound-for-pound fighter is also boxing’s biggest star. Few fighters in boxing’s history can claim to be both like Canelo Alvarez. Now, he’ll look to become a four-division world champion against one of the most dangerous fighters of recent years, and I’m certain that he will stop him. There’s no better home for this than on the DAZN platform or live at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.”
Canelo, the 29-year-old native of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, became the face of boxing by taking on some of the biggest names in the sport. At 154 pounds, Canelo captured several world titles and defeated the likes of Austin “No Doubt” Trout, Sugar Shane Mosley, Alfredo “El Perro” Angulo, Erislandy “The American Dream” Lara and Liam “Beefy” Smith.
At 160 pounds, Canelo defeated Gennady “GGG” Golovkin and Daniel “Miracle Man” Jacobs to establish himself as the king of the middleweight division. And, shortly after signing a groundbreaking partnership with global sports streaming giant DAZN, Canelo moved into the 168-pound division by stopping Rocky Fielding in three rounds to become the WBA Super Middleweight World Champion.
Canelo will now look to make history once again by becoming the second Mexican boxer to hold a world title in the light heavyweight division, a feat only done by Julio Cesar Gonzalez in 2003. The pound-for-pound king will at the same time join an elite group of four-division world champions from Mexico.
“The second phase of my career is continuing just as we had planned, and that’s why we are continuing to make great fights to enter into the history books of boxing,” said Canelo Alvarez. “That’s also why I’ve decided to jump two weight classes against one of the most feared champions of recent years. Kovalev is a dangerous puncher, and he’s naturally the bigger man, but that’s the kind of challenges and risks that I like to face.”
On November 2nd, Kovalev, 36, will participate in his 17thconsecutive world title bout and the most lucrative fight of his career against the biggest star in boxing. A Russian knockout artist and three-time light heavyweight world champion, “Krusher” is no stranger to fighting in hostile territory. He captured the WBO Light Heavyweight World Title in 2013 when he traveled to Wales and scored a stunning knockout of Nathan Cleverly. Kovalev traveled to Atlantic City to meet future Hall of Famer Bernard “The Alien” Hopkins near his Philadelphia home to unify the WBO, WBA and IBF titles with a lopsided unanimous decision victory in 2014.As unified champion, “Krusher” successfully defended his titles twice against current WBA Interim Light Heavyweight titleholder Jean Pascal in Pascal’s hometown of Montreal, scoring a stoppage victory both times.
Kovalev suffered two controversial losses to former Olympic Gold medalist Andre Ward (in 2016 and 2017) and a surprise upset to Eleider Alvarez last year, but quickly regained his WBO Light Heavyweight Title each time. In August, the road warrior finally got the chance to fight in his own hometown of Chelyabinsk, Russia, stopping undefeated mandatory challenger Anthony Yarde in a sold-out arena.
When asked about this fight, Kovalev said, “In order to be the best you have to beat the best. I have always tried to fight the toughest opponents in my division, but many have ducked me throughout my career. Canelo wanted to fight me; to step up to higher weight and challenge for my belt. I will be ready on November 2nd. Thank you, Main Events, Kathy Duva, Egis Klimas, DAZN and Canelo for making this fight happen.”
“Canelo is to be praised for asking to challenge Sergey Kovalev,” added Main Events’ CEO Kathy Duva. “Win or lose, he will make history and Sergey is extremely pleased to get the chance to test his mettle against another future Hall of Famer.” She continued, “Anyone who cares at all about the Sweet Science should circle November 2ndon their calendar. I have a feeling that this will be one for the ages.”
“Canelo vs. Kovalev is a fascinating matchup between champions that will highlight our entire season of premium fights on DAZN over the next several months,” said DAZN Group Executive Chairman John Skipper. “Simply stated, this is the best schedule in boxing history.”
Richard Sturm, President of Las Vegas Live Entertainment and Sports, said, “We look forward to hosting this tremendous matchup between Canelo and Kovalev at MGM Grand in November. These two great fighters always put on a fantastic show and we are confident they will, once again, provide boxing fans worldwide a thrilling fight when they return to Las Vegas.”
Canelo vs. Kovalev is a 12-round fight for the WBO Light Heavyweight World Title presented by Golden Boy, Main Events and Krusher Promotions. The event is sponsored by Tecate, “THE OFFICIAL BEER OF BOXING,” Hennessy “Never Stop. Never Settle” and Brand-New Grapefruit Crush, Knockout Flavor.The event will take place Saturday, Nov. 2 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas and will be streamed live exclusively on DAZN.
Mickey Bey Sets the Record on his Team and Future Plans
On Tuesday a press release was published that stated former lightweight champion Mickey Bey had signed with a new promoter and is looking to jump start his career after being very inactive the past few years.
Bey, who had a decorated amateur career, signed with Greg Cohen Promotions to go along with his managerial and advisory team.
In this Q&A session Bey sets the record straight on his team and his plans as he works his way back to a world title shot.
Question: A Press release recently circulated that stated that you signed a promotional agreement with Greg Cohen Promotions and recently signed an advisory deal with Andre Rozier’s Havoc Management and Advisory Inc. What can you tell us about your team?
Bey: Yes, it’s a great team with all good energy with people who want to see me win. I got a great team which includes Oscar Vazquez and Greg Hannley. I appreciate what they guys do. They collectively made sure I was going to finish my career with a bang and achieve more success and get back to the top.
Question: Will Rozier be training you or who are you going to be working with as far as your training team?
Bey: He will be a part of my camp and also I have been working with Stephen “Breadman” Edwards and Mark “Too Sharp” while I’ve been out of the ring. I have been learning more and staying sharp. Mark ed”Too Sharp” Johnson was just out here in Vegas training me and helped sharpen me up.
Question: Are you still working with Greg Hannley, and Prince Ranch Boxing?
Bey: Greg plays a huge role in my career and he cares about my well being so all the guys I mentioned are my backbone and will get me where I need to be.
Question: You have only fought twice in the past four years. At 36 years old are you looking to become very active in the near future to get yourself back in title position?
Bey: Yes absolutely and I’ll come back better than I was before. I’m preserved and I live clean all year around. I live like a fighter although I haven’t been fighting. I’ll return very freakish like a 25 year old. Besides, all the best athletes in the world in every sport are over 30 nowadays but I’m blessed. I feel youthful and I’m a lot smarter.
Question: You know what it is like to be a champion, having beaten Miguel Vazquez. How badly do you want to a champion now versus when you first became one?
Bey: Yes, but to be honest I fought with tendons out of place and bone spurs in my hand and got surgery after that fight and the fight sucked and I didn’t get to really enjoy it. Long story short, weird things start happening to me behind the scenes that I’ll later discuss on video in entirety. But I want some real fights and tough opponents. That’s what I enjoy.
Question: It is no secret that you weren’t on the best of terms at Mayweather Promotions and that is part of why you were out of the ring for so long. In hindsight do you wish you had done things differently or is there anything you wish you could change?
Bey: No. Honestly, I can say this, I made a couple small business decisions that weren’t the best before coming to them. I would change my thinking from now on but with them I straight took a backseat and never negotiated and never asked questions or anything and it came back to bite me very hard! It did start out great. I was forgiving when I asked for a release last year and I got it but I never in a million years thought certain people over there would sabotage big things I had on the table. It was devastating the things happening to me behind the scenes. I’m just glad I’m a strong and positive person. I held on to my dream and didn’t give up.
Question: You won your title at 135 but recently said that you may move down in weight which would be unusual because as fighters get older they usually move up in weight. Which weight class do you feel is the best for you at this particular time?
Bey: Most fighters shed 15-30 pounds or more I don’t but it really doesn’t matter to me. Most of my career I fought between 130-135 but an opportunity came up to fight Vazquez because nobody wanted to fight him at the time so I accepted and won and stayed there. My team sees my weight and asked since I’m not heavy would I take opportunities at either weight. I said of course I will. I’ll fight anybody in either weight class. I just want good fights. I don’t worry about weight. I’m ready for combat.
Question: When do you plan on fighting next?
Bey: I should have a announcement pretty soon
Question: Anything else you would like to discuss?
Bey: Once again I just want to thank God, Greg Hannley , Havoc Boxing, Oscar Vazquez and Greg Cohen for having my back and working relentlessly to get me back in the ring
Question: Anything you would like to say to the fans?
Bey: Please tune in when I fight. I’ll give it all I have and God bless.