By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of May 5th to May 12th, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Tickets on Sale for HBO Card Featuring Walters and Verdejo
Nicholas “Axe Man” Walters and Felix “El Diamante” Verdejo will headline the Puerto Rican Day Parade Card at Madison Square Garden on June 13th. This card will be televised live on HBO.
Walters is the undefeated WBA Featherweight Champion and Felix Verdejo is the No. 3 world-rated lightweight contender. Walters will be facing the undefeated Miguel “The Scorpion” Marriaga of Colombia and Verdejo will defense his WBO Latino Lightweight title against Ivan “Bam Bam” Najera on HBO Boxing After Dark.
“Headlining at Madison Square Garden is every fighter’s dream but to do it on HBO is a tremendous honor,” said Walters. “I have unfinished business with Miguel Marriaga. He kept me out of the 2008 Olympics when he beat me in the Americas Olympic Qualifier and I am ready to pay him back. I am going to chop him with the axe.”
“I am very excited to be fighting in New York once again. The New York area fans have been great and always make me feel like I am home,” said Verdejo. “I know that the fight against Ivan Najera will not be easy. I will prepare myself to the maximum and sacrifice everything in the gym so that on fight night I will be at my best and bring the belt back to Puerto Rico. I am very thankful to Top Rank for giving me these types of opportunities.”
Tickets will be available online at www.ticketmaster.com
Canelo vs. Kirkland Delivers Top Performing Fight on HBO Since 2006
More than 31,000 fans gathered at Minute Maid Park to watch Canelo vs. Kirkland live on May 9th. Fight fans also tuned in droves to watch the fight on HBO as they averaged an average viewership of 2,146,000 for the live fight and peaked at 2,296,000 vieweres. This is the top-performing bout on HBO since Tarver vs. Hopkins delivered 2,460,000 viewers in 2006.
“With more than 31,000 people coming to Minute Maid Park and more than 2.1 million tuning in to watch on HBO, Canelo Alvarez is quickly making the leap from the biggest boxing star of the future to the biggest star of the present,” said Oscar De La Hoya, founder and president of Golden Boy Promotions. “Given his sizzling, fan-friendly performance in knocking out James Kirkland, attendance will only continue to soar. Boxing’s future is now.”
Miguel Cotto Promotions and Roc Nation Sports Announce Undercard Fighters for June 6th
Miguel Cotto (39-4) is scheduled to defend his WBC and Ring Magazine Middleweight World Titles against former two-time world champion Daniel Geale (31-3) in a 12 round main event on June 6th at the Barclays Center in Brookyln, NY.
Other rising boxing stars scheduled to fight on the card include Dustin Fleischer, Junior Younan Zhang Zhilei, Jose Lopez, Alberto Macahdo, and Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. Tickets will be available online at www.ticketmaster.com
Edwin Rodriguez vs. Craig Baker Part of PBC on NBC on May 23rd
Light heavyweights Edwin Rodriguez (26-1) and Craig Baker (16-0) will enter the ring on Saturday, May 23rd in Boston as part of a Memorial Day weekend edition of Premier Boxing Champions on NBC.
The main event of that card will be between Andre Dirrell (24-1) and James DeGale (20-1) in the super middleweight division and another featured undercard bout will pit Javier Fortuna (27-0-1) against Bryan Vazquez (34-1) in the junior lightweight division.
“I’m going to take advantage of this opportunity to be on this great card,” said Rodriguez. “I will show the world and all the top light heavyweights, especially Kovalev, Stevenson and Fonfara, that I am a force to be reckoned with by taking Craig Baker’s undefeated record in an entertaining fashion.”
“I’m well prepared to seize the opportunity that this fight presents,” said Baker. “A win on May 23 puts me closer to a world title fight and I’ve only dreamed of actually accomplishing something that big. I’ve seen Rodriguez in action before and he’s a good fighter, but I’m working to be in great condition so that I can put on a show for the fight fans in Boston. We’re having a great camp and making major accomplishments, things should be pretty interesting.”
Robert Guerrero to Face Aron Martinez on June 6th
Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero (32-3-1) will return to the ring on June 6th against Aron Martinez (19-3-1) on the PBC on NBC at the Stubhub Center in Carson, California.
Chris Arreola (36-4) and Aflredo Angulo (22-5) will compete in separate bouts and featherweight prospect Jesus Cuellar (26-1) will face Vic Darchinyan (40-7-1).
“I’m very happy to be making a quick return to the ring, especially on NBC.” said Guerrero. “It’s an honor to be fighting at StubHub Center once again as the main event. I’m going to bring it like always and give the fans an exciting fight. I can’t wait for the bell to ring!”
“I’m very thankful for the opportunity to fight Robert Guerrero on network television,” said Martinez. “Since my last fight, I’ve been in the gym working extremely hard. I want to shock the world and beat ‘The Ghost.’ Make no mistake about it, I’m coming to win.”
“I am so happy to be getting back in the ring so soon after my last fight [March 13],” said Arreola. “The opportunity to stay busy and fight at StubHub Center is great and I plan on showcasing my skills.”
Boyd Melson and Rafael Vazquez Win in Return to Broadway Boxing
On Friday night DiBella Entertainment staged it’s Broadway Boxing Series for the second time this year in front of a sold-out crowd at the Hilton Westchester in Rye Brook, NY.
Boyd “Rainmaker” Melson made his ring return against Mike Ruiz in the welterweight division. Melson outboxed Ruiz and won a unanimous decision with scores of 100-89, 99-90, and 98-91 and improved to 14-1-1.
Junior featherweight Rafael Vazquez earned his seventh victory in a row by outboxing Pedro Melo over eight rounds. He won on all three scorecards with scores of 80-70 and improved to 14-1.
Hollywood Fight Night Returns May 30th
On May 30th the ninth installment of the Hollywood Fight Night series will happen at the Florentine Gardens on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
The main event will be between Saul “El Dinamita” Rodriguez (16-0) and Antonio Capulin (14-0). Another top Rank prospect, Alex Saucedo (17-0), will also be making his California debut on the card while will appear on Solo Boxeo Tecate on Unimas. Saucedo had previously sparred with Manny Pacquiao and was recommended by Pacquiao to be signed by Top Rank when he was just 17 years old.
Other boxers scheduled to appear include Arnold Barboza Jr., Luis Sedano, Cem Kilic (3-0), and Vatch Martirosyan (4-0). Tickets can be purchased online at www.hollywoodfightnight.com
International Women’s Boxing Hall of Fame Ceremony Scheduled for July 11, 2015
On July 11, 2015 the sport of Women’s boxing will return to Ft. Lauderdale for the induction ceremony of the second class of the Women’s Boxing Hall of Fame. All inductees will be in attendance at the Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six to receive their plaudits.
The inductees will include Laila Ali, Laura Serrano, Ann Wolfe, Jeannine Garside, Diedre Gogarty, Terri Moss, Sparkle Lee, and Phyllis Kugler.
Tickets for the event can be found at http://iwbhf.com/tickets-IWBHF.htm
Erislandy Lara returns on Spike
Cuban boxing sensation Erislandy “The American Dream” Lara (20-2-2, 12 KOs)returns to the ring on Friday, June 12 to face veteran Delvin Rodriguez (28-7-4, 16 KOs) as Premier Boxing Champions heads back to Spike.
Additionally, Russian knockout artist Artur Beterbiev (8-0, 8 KOs) is set to square off against the ring-savvy Doudou Ngumbu (34-6, 13 KOs) of Haute-Garonne, France.