DAZN Kicks Off Stacked Fall Lineup of Boxing and MMA with Heavyweight Title Fight: Anthony Joshua vs. Alexander Povetkin
DAZN, the world’s largest dedicated live and on- demand sports streaming service, today announced the details of its expansion into the U.S. This follows parent company Perform Group’s $1 billion joint venture with Matchroom Boxing, one of the world’s leading boxing promoters, and a nine- figure multiyear global distribution agreement with Bellator MMA, a leading global combat sports franchise owned by Viacom. The first-ever fight night will be headlined by heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua OBE and Alexander “The Russian Warrior” Povetkin as the two battle for Joshua’s WBA, IBF and WBO titles on Sept. 22 live from Wembley Stadium in London.
Scott Coker, Bellator President and CEO, announced today the invited participants and some of the matchups for its stacked Welterweight Grand Prix. The tournament begins with Douglas Lima taking on Andrey Koreshkov as part of the star-studded “Bellator: Mousasi vs. MacDonald” event on Sept. 29 from the SAP Center in San Jose. Additional fights in the tournament include Jon Fitch vs. Neiman Gracie and Ed Ruth vs. Yaro Umasov. The 10-fighter tournament will play out over the next year exclusively on DAZN.
Additionally, Eddie Hearn, Matchroom Boxing Managing Director, announced plans for a stacked Oct. 6 card at Wintrust Arena in Chicago featuring new signings and former world titleholders Jessie Vargas and Demetrius Andrade as well as world-rated heavyweight Jarrell Miller, in separate bouts. The card will also include IBF light heavyweight titlist Artur Beterbiev vs. Callum Johnson and WBO, IBF women’s lightweight champion Katie Taylor vs. Cindy Serrano. At today’s event, Hearn announced the signings of WBO super lightweight titlist Maurice Hooker, WBA super bantamweight titlist Daniel Roman and several promising American amateurs to Matchroom U.S.A.
Going live in the U.S. on Sept. 10, the Over-the-Top (OTT) sports streaming service made by fans, for fans, will be reshaping the way fans experience the sports they love by making the viewing experience simpler, more affordable and more accessible to all – starting with fight sports. The global streaming platform with millions of subscribers will provide viewers with unlimited access to premium sports content anytime, anywhere for a single subscription price of $9.99 per month following a one-month free trial. All matches streamed on the service will be available both live and on-demand, on a wide range of connected devices, including smart TVs, PCs, smartphones, tablets and game consoles.
“We launched DAZN to disrupt the status quo and change the way the world sees sports,” said James Rushton, DAZN CEO. “When you get DAZN, you’ll get all the fights; we won’t stash our best matchups for PPV, linear TV or a higher-tier package. And you’re going to get the entire card live, no matter the time zone and without constraints for one affordable price.”
As the first global pure sports OTT platform, DAZN will be embarking on its September launch with a stacked line up of 70+ fights – more than one fight night a week on average – through partnerships with Matchroom Boxing U.S.A., Bellator MMA and the World Boxing Super Series. Fans will also enjoy access to a robust content portfolio ranging from new shows premiering on the service, behind-the-scenes features leading up to big events and real-time news stories about the upcoming matchups, making it a must-have for fight fans in the U.S.
“DAZN is Perform Group’s most ambitious undertaking to date and we have big plans as a global streaming leader,” said John Skipper, Perform Group Executive Chairman. “In the last two years we’ve expanded into seven countries across three continents attracting millions of subscribers and creating long-term global partnerships with the best in the industry to bring our fans what they want at an affordable price.”
Fight fans who take advantage of DAZN’s one-month free trial just ahead of Sept. 22 will be treated to the following fight nights already scheduled:
• Sept. 22 – Anthony Joshua vs. Alexander Povetkin
• Sept. 29 – Bellator: Gegard Mousasi vs. Rory MacDonald
• Oct. 6 – Card featuring Jessie Vargas, Demetrius Andrade
• Oct. 12 – Bellator: Matt Mitrione vs. Ryan Bader***
*** Simulcast with Paramount Network
For more information on the fight cards, visit www.matchroomboxing.com and
Additionally, fight fans will feel right at home as International Boxing Hall of Fame fight announcer and the “voice of champions” Michael Buffer will be partnering with DAZN and Matchroom to bring his iconic “Let’s Get Ready to Rumble” call to all fight nights as part of the joint venture.
Fight sports is just the first chapter in DAZN’s multisport plans for the U.S. The platform, which first launched in Europe and Asia two years ago, has developed long-term relationships with rights holders around the world, including the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, EPL and UEFA among others. The sports streaming service has ambitious plans to expand the portfolio as more rights become available and make DAZN the true sports fan’s home, offering sports content from all over the world that’s viewable anytime, anywhere at one affordable rate. DAZN is already available as a multisport service in markets including Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Japan, Canada and most recently Italy. Fans can pre-register for the subscription service on www.DAZN.com, as well as receive news about the platform and the sports and games it will show. They can also follow DAZN’s U.S. social channels @DAZNUSA on Facebook and @DAZN_USA for Instagram and Twitter.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Klitschko, Berto, Alexander, Diaz, Monaghan, Ortiz, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of July 4th to July 11th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Klitschko Backs Police to Protect Animals from Abuse in Kyiv, Ukraine
For the first time ever, police in Kyiv are receiving training on how to fight crimes against animals and the alarming connections between the abuse of children, vulnerable adults and animals.
Animal-loving Vitali Klitschko (Mayor of Kyiv and former Professional Boxer) gives the project his full support, and states:
“Mistreating animals is cowardly and cruel, and I find it abhorrent that it goes on in our city. I am proud that so many Kyiv Police Officers are participating in this pioneering training programme and hope animal abuse cases will no longer be overlooked as a low-priority. Thank you to the British animal welfare NGOs for providing this vital training.”
Increasing research and clinical evidence suggests people who abuse animals may also abuse vulnerable people. It is understood that children who witness abuse within the home, either towards animals or people, are more likely to become violent themselves later in life.
Knowledge about these links will go a long way to help police protect victims, both animal and human.
The training also includes what constitutes evidence at animal abuse crime scenes, and how to use Ukrainian animal protection legislation to prosecute cases.
The training programme mirrors that being applied in other western countries.
Kyiv Police are aiming for more than 2000 officers to receive the training.
The first phase of the training programme took place in March where senior members of the Kyiv Police department attended a full day’s workshop. That same week, local animal welfare NGOs and the Kyiv Municipality received training on how to work with police and provide usable evidence that will assist with prosecutions.
Head of Kyiv Patrol Police Public Relations Department, Sergiy Bezpalchuk, says: “The training was very helpful, clearly demonstrating how to investigate cases of animal abuse. It was also useful to learn about the link between animal cruelty and abuse towards people. I’d like to thank the organisers and trainers, and look forward to further cooperation to train more officers in the future.”
The intention of the training programme is to assist with building a collaborative framework within which animal welfare groups, police, prosecutors and the municipality may address animal cruelty together, reducing victims of animal crime and bringing suspected offenders to justice.
The training is being delivered by UK animal welfare charity, Naturewatch Foundation, in collaboration with Mark Randell, a retired senior Police Officer and Animal NGO Director from the UK.
For over twenty-five years, Naturewatch Foundation has run projects in Ukraine to protect animals from abuse and suffering.
Naturewatch Foundation Campaign Director, Jennie Rudd, says: “By taking the initiative to tackle animal abuse and recognise the link between violence towards vulnerable people and animals, Kyiv police are developing a culture of compassion towards all living beings that future generations will benefit from.
“International organisations responsible for promoting the link between animal and human violence in Europe and America are impressed that Kyiv Police are taking on board this training as part of their development, and look forward to seeing how the programme develops.”
Jesus Rojas to Defend WBA Featherweight Title Against Joseph Diaz on Golden Boy Fight Night on Facebook Watch
Golden Boy Promotions’ partnership with Facebook will kick off with a bang as Jesus Rojas (16-1-2, 19 KOs) defends his WBA Featherweight World Title against Joseph Diaz, Jr. (26-1, 14 KOs) in the main event of the inaugural edition of Golden Boy Fight Night at the Avalon Theater in Hollywood. The action will be streamed live on Saturday, August 11 beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. PT. Fans can catch all the fights by clicking here.
Rojas is a 31-year-old puncher who is coming off a seventh-round knockout against former interim WBA Featherweight World Champion Claudio Marrero. During his time off, Rojas was elevated to world champion status, and he’ll be making the first defense of this title against Diaz, Jr. The native of Caguas, Puerto Rico is an experienced champion as he has taken on the likes of former world champion Jorge “El Travieso”Arce and featherweight contenders Jorge “El Pilón” Lara and Abraham “Chamaco” Lopez.
“I’m ready to come back after almost a year off,” said Jesus Rojas. “I’ll defend my title for the first time on a very important Golden Boy card which will start a new association with Facebook. Diaz Jr. is tough, intelligent and fast, but I have the power and the experience to score a spectacular win against him. We’ll see you all this August 11 in Hollywood.”
Diaz Jr. is a 25-year-old southpaw who represented the U.S. at the 2012 Olympic games in London. Immediately after, Diaz Jr. signed with Golden Boy Promotions and began a stellar career that has earned him a spot at the pinnacle of the featherweight division. Diaz Jr.’s first title opportunity was against Gary Russell Jr. in May of this year. Though he did not win, Diaz Jr.’s impressive efforts earned him an immediate title shot but this time against Rojas.
“I’ve always said that I’m going to be a world champion.,” said Joseph Diaz Jr. “I learned from my last fight, and now I know the adjustments I need to make in order to have a world title around my waist. I’m going to make a big statement in the 126-pound division. It’s also an honor to be the main event of the first-ever Golden Boy show with Facebook. It shows the faith my promoter has in me to be a leading name in the new era of boxing.”
In the co-main event, Ferdinand “Lucky Boy” Kerobyan (9-0, 5 KOs) of North Hollywood, Calif. will battle across a scheduled six-rounds of welterweight action. Aaron “Silencer” McKenna (4-0, 3 KOs) of Monaghan, Ireland will participate in a four-round welterweight fight.
Opponents for these two fighters will be announced shortly.
Luis Ortiz to Take on Razvan Cojanu in Co-Feature Bout of Garcia vs. Easter
Cuban heavyweight slugger Luis “The Real King Kong” Ortiz returns to action to face former world title challenger Razvan Cojanu in a 10-round bout on Saturday, July 28 live on SHOWTIME from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
The three-fight SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT) will open with unbeaten super lightweight contender Mario “El Azteca” Barrios takingon hard-hitting Jose Roman in a 10-round showdown. The event is headlined by lightweight world championship title unification bout between WBC Lightweight World Champion Mikey Garcia and IBF Lightweight World Champion Robert Easter Jr.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Ringstar Sports and TGB Promotions, begin at $50, plus applicable fees, and are on sale now. To purchase tickets, visit AXS.com.
After having heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder nearly out on his feet in their March classic, Ortiz (28-1, 24 KOs) eventually succumbed to the power of the unbeaten champion. Now, Ortiz looks to get back to world title contention on July 28. Originally, from Camaguey, Cuba, now residing in Miami, Fla., Ortiz will fight in Los Angeles for the first time as a professional. Ortiz quickly became one of the most avoided men in boxing with victories over Bryant Jennings, Tony Thompson and Malik Scott on his way to the memorable showdown with Wilder.
“I’m looking to make a statement on July 28 and get back to challenge for the heavyweight championship of the world,” said Ortiz. “I’m excited to be back in the ring. I am thankful to have this opportunity. To all the fans in Los Angeles, don’t miss this great card at STAPLES Center. ‘The Real King Kong’ is coming to LA!”
A native of Romania and fighting out of Burbank, Calif., Cojanu (16-3, 9 KOs) challenged then WBO heavyweight world champion Joseph Parker for the title in May 2017. Cojanu took the New Zealand champion the distance but lost via unanimous decision in the champion’s home country. Standing over six-foot-seven, Cojanu scored three straight knockout victories in 2016 to earn the title shot and will return to the ring for his first fight in the U.S. since January 2016.
“I’m proud and confident to know that I will be stepping into the ring against a worthy opponent on July 28,” said Cojanu. “Luis Ortiz is a world-class fighter with a lot of experience, which will give me the opportunity to show my skills to all the fans at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles and watching on SHOWTIME.”
The 23-year-old Barrios (21-0, 13 KOs) has been impressive since moving up to 140 pounds last March. He’s scored stoppage victories over Yardley Cruz, Jose Luis Rodriguez, Naim Nelson and most recently a second-round destruction of Eudy Bernardo. The five-foot-ten Barrios of San Antonio had previously campaigned at 130 pounds before making the move to the higher weight class that has helped unlock his power.
“I fought on SHOWTIME EXTREME but making my debut on SHOWTIME has always been a dream of mine since I was a kid,” said Barrios. “Now, the time has come to show why I’m here. I’m ready to keep showing why I’m going to become a star and one of the sport’s next great fighters. Come July 28, everyone should tune-in for a great night of fights. It’s ‘Azteca’ time.”
Fighting out of Garden Grove, Calif., Roman (24-2-1, 16 KOs) scored knockouts in nine of his first 11 pro fights and has won 10 of his last 11 leading up to July 28. The 30-year-old most recently dropped a decision to Wilberth Lopez last September after a run of defeating veteran fighters and will look to put himself back on the path to a world title with a victory over Barrios at STAPLES Center.
“I’m very excited to have this great opportunity,” said Roman. “Barrios has been on a roll, but I have the experience to take him out. Both of us bring pressure and I know he’s going to be hungry to keep his record perfect. I’m more motivated than I’ve ever been for this fight. I can’t wait to put on a show in my backyard for all the great fans in Southern California.”
Barrera vs. Monaghan Set for August 18th
Former WBC International Light Heavyweight world champion Sullivan Barrera (21-2, 14 KOs) returns to the ring to regain his standing as one of the world’s top Light Heavyweights. Barrera faces top five Light Heavyweight Contender “Irish” Seanie Monaghan (29-1, 17 KOs) in the 10-round main event at the Sands Bethlehem Casino and Event Center in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania on Saturday, August 18, 2018. The event is promoted by Main Events and World of Boxing and will be streamed live via Facebook Watch as part of the Golden Boy Fight Night series. Fans can catch all the fights by clickinghere.
Tickets go on sale to the general public on Friday, July 13.
Barrera vs. Monaghan is the second live card of the recently announced Facebook series, a collaboration between Golden Boy Promotions, Facebook and Main Events, offered to fans around the world via live online streaming.
Barrera, 36, a native of Cuba who defected to the United States after fighting for the Cuban National Team, now lives and trains in Miami, Florida. He makes his return to the ring after taking WBA Light Heavyweight Champion Dmitry Bivol deep into the 12th round of their title fight in November 2017 before being stopped, by far the most difficult opponent of Bivol’s professional career. The WBC ranks Barrera fourth in the competitive Light Heavyweight division.
Monaghan, also 36, is a Long Island, New York native with proud Irish roots. He began his professional boxing career at the late age of 28 but quickly made up for lost time. After his first and only loss as a professional in 30 fights to Marcus Browne in July 2017, Monaghan started his comeback quest with a win in November 2017, and intends to make up for lost time against Barrera.
“Thank you to my team, my coach Derik Santos, my promoter Main Events, my manager Luis Molina, and thanks to Seanie Monaghan for taking this fight,” said Barrera. “As always, I’m willing to face the top guys in my division. This is another tough fighter. I look forward to August 18 and I’ll give the fans a great show. They will see me start to climb my way back up to facing the very best light heavyweights in the world.”
Barrera’s trainer, Derik Santos, said training is already underway for the fight. “We are working, and are dedicated as usual. Thank you to manager Luis Molina and our promoter Main Events. Sullivan has gone into tough fights over the years, and has consistently shown himself to be one of the toughest light heavyweight contenders in the division.”
Despite the pressure on them, Barrera and Santos maintain the same confidence and positive attitude that led Barrera to the top. “Train well and overcome, has been the directive since day one,” declared Santos. “Our expectations are the same today.”
Barrera is no stranger to Seanie Monaghan, and he’s looking forward to the match-up. “This fight is do or die for both of us. I’ve been going back and forth with Barrera on Twitter for a couple of years now. This will finally be our chance to settle it in the ring, no more talking,” said Monaghan.
Monaghan recently lost his father, and has plans to bring the late Davy Monaghan’s ashes back to his hometown of Navan in Ireland someday while wearing a title belt around his waist. His fight with Barrera is as much for his father as it is for himself.
In the ultra-competitive Light Heavyweight division, the talent pool is deep, and virtually every fighter ranked among the Top 15 contenders is a threat to the current titleholders. Main Events’ CEO and Barrera’s promoter, Kathy Duva, selected this high-stakes fight as a perfect fit for the first Main Events-promoted card in the Golden Boy Fight Night series. “We have delivered the best in boxing entertainment to the fans for 40 years,” said Duva. “What better way to start our next 40 years in business by expanding access to our fan-friendly fights around the world with online streaming technology.”
Duva promised: “Technology has changed a lot in this world, but one thing will never change about Main Events: our determination to make the best matches and feature amazing athletes in the ring. I know Sullivan Barrera and Seanie Monaghan will give everything they’ve got for their legacy, and for the fans.”
Andre Berto and Devon Alexander Set to Square Off on August 4th
Former 147-pound world champions Andre Berto (31-5, 24 KOs)and Devon Alexander (27-4-1, 14 KOs)will battle in a 12-round showdown that headlines a stacked night of Premier Boxing Champions on FOX and FOX Deportes live in prime time on Saturday, August 4 from NYCB LIVE, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The telecast begins at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT with former world champion Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin (33-1-1, 23 KOs)facing 168-pound contender J’Leon Love (24-1-1, 13 KOs) in a 10-round bout. Also in action will be former amateur standout and fast-rising unbeaten prospect Joey Spencer (3-0, 3 KOs) in a super welterweight match.
The exciting night of fights begins with a special edition of PBC on FS2 & FOX Deportes at 5:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. PT with unbeaten light heavyweight contender Marcus Browne (21-0, 16 KOs) taking on once-beaten Lenin Castillo (18-1-1, 13 KOs) in a 10-round match. The FS2 & FOX Deportes telecast will begin with a welterweight showdown between former world champion Luis Collazo (37-7, 20 KOs) against Bryant Perrella (15-1, 13 KOs).
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions and DiBella Entertainment, go on sale Friday, July 6 at 10 a.m. Tickets can be purchased online by visiting www.ticketmaster.com, www.nycblive.com, or by calling 1-800-745-3000. Tickets are also available at the Ticketmaster Box Office at NYCB LIVE beginning Saturday, July 7 at noon. Group discounts are available by calling 516-231-4848.
“This is an outstanding card from top to bottom with matches that figure prominently in the 147-pound, 168-pound and 175-pound divisions,” said Tom Brown of TGB Promotions. “Berto and Alexander are two former champions who are fighting to get back into the crowded welterweight title picture. The Peter Quillin and J’Leon Love winner factors heavily in the super middleweight championship mix. It’s compelling action for the fans at Nassau Coliseum and the ones tuned in to FOX in prime time.”
“I’m happy to bring another action-packed event back to NYCB Live on Long Island,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. “Headlining the FOX and FOX Deportes telecast, former world champions Andre Berto and Devon Alexander meet in a high-stakes crossroads battle with the winner emerging one step closer to another shot at the welterweight crown. Former middleweight champion Peter Quillin continues his comeback facing the talented J’Leon Love and Staten Island’s unbeaten light heavyweight contender Marcus Browne also appears on the card. Long Island boxing fans will want to arrive early for a tremendous undercard, with local talent as well.”
An exciting and accomplished fighter from Florida, Berto returns to the ring after dropping a contest last April to Shawn Porter. Berto represented Haiti in the 2004 Olympics and picked up his biggest recent triumph on FOX in April 2016 as Berto scored a fourth-round knockout of former champion Victor Ortiz in their high-octane rematch.
Berto previously challenged retired legend Floyd Mayweather in September 2015 and has engaged in numerous Fight of the Year-worthy bouts, including a 2012 war with Robert Guerrero and his first fight with Ortiz. He has twice held a welterweight title, first the WBC belt, which he successfully defended five times between 2008 and 2011, plus the IBF crown he picked up in 2011 with a victory over Jan Zaveck.
“This is a great fight that has been a long time coming,” said Berto. “We share some common opponents, but we have different styles of fighting and styles make fights. I’ve had a lot of success with southpaws. I’m looking forward to seeing him in front of me and capitalizing on what I’m working on now.”
Alexander returned to the spotlight in February after only fighting once since 2015 while he sought treatment for an addiction to painkillers. He looked sharp in his first big fight in years, displaying similar speed and skills that had made him a two-weight champion before being given a controversial draw against former champion Victor Ortiz on FOX, in a fight most thought Alexander had won.
The 31-year-old emerged onto the scene with a unanimous decision victory over Randall Bailey to add the welterweight crown to the 140-pound title he had won three years prior. Originally from St. Louis, but now training in Florida with longtime coach Kevin Cunningham, Alexander has defeated the likes of Marcos Maidana, Lucas Matthysse and Jesus Soto Karass throughout his accomplished career.
“I’m very excited about this fight. Berto and I have history going back to the amateurs,” Alexander said. “I know him very well, but we’ve never fought. I have to show that I’m still one of the best in a stacked division. This is all business for me, because at this point in my career, I’m approaching every fight as if it’s my last. This is prime time for me.
“My mentality is that Berto is still the killer that he was 10 years ago. So I’m looking at him like he’s lost nothing. I’ve got one mission, and that’s to beat Berto. I’ll be technically sound and 100 percent focused on accomplishing that task.”
A Brooklyn-resident who has made the borough home for his whole career, Quillin returned to the ring last September when he defeated Dashon Johnson by unanimous decision. The former middleweight champion made three title defenses after winning his title from Hassan N’Dam in Brooklyn and his only loss came at the hands of former champion Daniel Jacobs.
“I’m excited to be back at home in New York in front of my fans and people I love so dearly,” Quillin said. “I’m coming back more polished and more seasoned and a man of God. I’ve definitely always been a guy who steps out and does what people think I can’t do. I know J’Leon is looking to make a splash. He needs a name on his resume. I have to do everything in my power to make sure that doesn’t happen. Either he’s going to have to learn a hard lesson or give me a hard lesson.”
The 30-year-old Love enters this fight unbeaten in his last seven contests after most recently defeating Jaime Barboza in May. The Michigan-native who now trains and lives in Las Vegas had previously defeated a slew of contenders and will look to move closer to a world title shot with a victory over Quillin on August 4.
“I think this is a really good matchup,” said Love. “Peter Quillin is a very talented fighter and a former world champion who is always in great shape. He’s someone you have to train very hard for and that you definitely cannot take lightly. I’m just grateful for the opportunity to fight a spectacular fighter like him. We’ll put on a great fight.”
Browne has put together three-straight impressive knockout victories to continue his rapid rise up the highly competitive 175-pound division. The 27-year-old southpaw has sandwiched knockouts of Thomas Williams, Jr. last February and Francy Ntetu this January around a second-round destruction of then unbeaten Seanie Monaghan in the inaugural boxing event at Nassau Coliseum on a FOX primetime telecast last July. The 2012 U.S. Olympian will look to put himself in position for a world title fight with a convincing win on August 4.
“I feel good about fighting close to home in New York,” said Browne. “Lenin Castillo is definitely a good, hungry, up-and-coming fighter who has one loss to Joseph Williams. I’m not overlooking him, but right now I’m trying to keep my top position in order to vie for a title, so I have to destroy him.”
The 29-year-old Castillo fights out of his native Dominican Republic and enters this bout with three straight victories by stoppage. Castillo’s recent wins followed his first professional loss, a majority decision defeat to unbeaten Joseph Williams last February. Castillo has fought professionally since 2010 and was unbeaten in his first 12 fights. The only other blemish on his pro resume was a majority draw in Brooklyn against then unbeaten Travis Peterkin in 2015.
“Marcus Browne is a boxer I’ve been following a long time because we were both Olympians,” said Castillo. “This is a good style matchup that I think will make a fun fight for the fans. We’re looking for the victory. Both of us know that a win here can take us to a world title shot and I’m not planning on wasting my opportunity.”
Collazo is a former world champion hailing from Brooklyn who has fought top welterweights from Berto and Shane Mosley to Keith Thurman and Ricky Hatton. His most recent fight saw him score a sensational knockout victory over Sammy Vasquez in February 2017. He returns to the ring after recovering from injuries sustained during training and will face Perrella of Fort Myers, FL. The 29-year-old defeated Alex Martin in his home state in December via a unanimous decision in his last outing.
PBC on Fox Results: Alexander and Ortiz fight to a Draw.
by Eric Lunger
Tonight, on PBC on Fox, the talented but enigmatic Victor Ortiz (32-6-2, 25 KOs) took on former world champion Devon Alexander (27-4, 14 KOs) in a twelve-round welterweight clash. No belt was on the line, but both fighters knew what was at stake: the winner would have a meaningful claim in the deep welterweight division, while the loser very well might mark the end of his career.
In a close, professional first round, both men boxed from range, and Alexander just nipped the round, landing one clean shot. Ortiz was looking to land a lead hook in the second round, feinting his way in. Alexander’s hand speed was noticeable, however, and Ortiz suffered a cut on his forehead. It was another extremely close round. Alexander looked the better fighter in the third round, showing world-class accuracy and speed.
In the fourth, Alexander continued to land precise shots, with Ortiz’s left eye noticeably swelling. The pattern continued in the middle rounds, with Ortiz trying to feint his way in, but Alexander timing him with precise, short shots. Ortiz did get inside at the end of the fifth, but could not do any significant damage. In the seventh, Ortiz bulled his way in, and there was a lot of leather exchanged at close range. The eighth was an exciting round, two professionals exhibiting a high level of skill and courage. It might have been Ortiz’s best round, but Alexander seemed none daunted.
The ninth was full of action, but Alexander’s footwork allowed him to dictate the range (most of the time), and thus Ortiz could not make it an inside brawl. In the eleventh, Ortiz was looking to land some wide hooks, while Alexander remained sharp and accurate. In the final frame, Ortiz fought with urgency but he seemed unable to summon enough energy after a tough and exhausting effort. For a fighter who has taken a lot of criticism regarding his heart, Ortiz fought like a lion.
The scorecards came a stunner. Inexplicably, a majority draw with two cards 114-114, and one card 115-113 for Ortiz.
In the co-feature, undefeated prospect Caleb “Sweet Hands” Plant (16-0, 10 KOs) took on rugged and experienced Rogelio “Porky” Medina (38-8, 32 KOs) in a twelve-round world title eliminator at 168 pounds. Sold as America vs. Mexico, the storyline was more interesting as undefeated prospect against tested and tough veteran. Medina failed to make weight, however, and appeared in the ring with a brace on his left knee.
Plant showed a strong left jab in the first round, taking no risks. In the second, Plant dropped his left hand, and allowed Medina to come forward and dictate the action. Plant spent a significant portion of the round back-peddling, earning a Bronx cheer from the crowd. But in the third round, Plant appeared looser and more confident, bouncing on the balls of his feet and landing some clean counters. Medina had no answers and began to take real punishment.
Medina had some success in the fourth, but Plant landed more jabs and used his footwork to frustrate the Mexican veteran. In the middle rounds, Medina could not negate Plant’s advantage in reach and Plant’s jab. Plant was winning rounds jabbing and countering, but he never seemed like he wanted to get Medina out of there.
In the late rounds, Plant remained in control, always boxing, always safe. Medina showed a ton of heart and desire, but could not make inroads against Plant’s defensive footwork. Going twelve rounds for the first time in his career, Caleb Plant earned the decision 120-108, 119-109, 117-111, running his record to a perfect 17-0.
In earlier action, US Olympian Carlos Balderas (3-0, 3 KOs) showcased his elite-level skills, outpointing Jorge Rojas (4-2-1, 2 KOs) in a four-round lightweight bout. Prior to the televised bouts, Detroit’s Tony Harrison (25-2, 20 KOs) stopped George Sosa (15-12, 15 KOs) in the fifth round, for Harrison’s second win since losing to Jarrett “Swift” Hurd in February of 2017.
PBC on Fox Preview: Devon Alexander vs. Victor Ortiz
By: Eric Lunger
Former welterweight world champions Victor Ortiz and Devon Alexander look to climb back into the top echelons of the division, as they face off on Saturday night in a twelve-round welterweight bout, live on Fox at 8:00 p.m. ET.
Photo Credit: Alen Mena/PBC
Ortiz (32-6-2, 25 KOs) held the WBC title in 2011, losing it to Floyd Mayweather on a bizarre knock out, after Ortiz had inexplicably head-butted Mayweather and was still attempting to apologize. Ortiz, 31, has been erratic since then, winning three and losing three over a five-year span, but he is coming off a fourth-round knockout of Saul Corral in July of last year. A southpaw with a fluid and entertaining style, Ortiz is a pressure fighter who can leave himself open to being countered.
“I’m ready to give all I have to get my crown back,” Ortiz said via PBC press release. “My priority is to make a strong comeback and put myself in position to have my straps once more. I’m facing a great fighter in Devon Alexander and someone I have known since we were kids. I don’t hate him, but I won’t be his friend on fight night.”
Alexander, also 31, won the IBF welterweight title in November 2012, but lost it a year later, in his second defense of the belt, to Shawn Porter. Alexander held the IBF and WBC super lightweight titles in 2010-2011. The St. Louis native is a southpaw as well, and he brings to the ring a well-rounded style with solid defense and potent offense. Alexander has a strong jab and a dangerous straight left, but he can also bang the body with the left hook.
After battling some on-and-off health issues over the last three years, Alexander is eager to get back on track. Coming off a UD victory over Walter Castillo in November, a big win Saturday night could jump start his career. “I’m excited to get back in there against a fighter like Victor Ortiz,” Alexander told PBC. “My speed, quickness, and smarts will win me this fight. Victor checks out sometimes when he can’t hit you, so my skills will be the difference.”
With fights against Amir Khan, Marcos Maidana, and Timothy Bradley on his resume, Alexander is no stranger to the big stage. Both he and Ortiz have a lot of hard-earned experience between them; both of them are very talented. The fight should come down to which fighter can impose his game plan on the other.
In the co-main event, undefeated prospect Caleb “Sweet Hands” Plant (16-0, 10 KOs) will take on tough veteran Rogelio Medina (38-8, 32 KOs) in a twelve-round world title eliminator at 168 pounds. At super welterweight, Detroit’s Tony Harrison (25-2, 20 KOs) will face off against Jorge Cota (27-2, 24 KOs) of Mexico in a ten rounder. Harrison, a real technician of the sport, was stopped by Jarrett Hurd in February of last year in an IBF title fight. In addition, 2016 US Olympian Carlos Balderas will appear in a lightweight special attraction.
Victor Ortiz: On the Comeback Trail against Devon Alexander
By: Eric Lunger
Premier Boxing Champions have recently announced that Victor “Vicious” Ortiz, former WBC welterweight world champion, will continue his comeback in a twelve-round bout against Devon Alexander, set for February 17 in El Paso, Texas. Alexander (27-4, 14 KOs) is also a former world champion, having held the IBF belt in 2013 before losing it to Shawn Porter.
Ortiz (32-6-2, 25 KOs) has always struck me as an enigmatic fighter: a man who both revels in and fears the violence unleashed by his boxing skills. Ortiz came to boxing from a rough childhood, a thing not unique in this sport by any means, but Ortiz’s journey was especially marked by hardship and adversity. Nonetheless, he found boxing, and Roberto Garcia found him, and Ortiz climbed to the heights of the sport, eventually taking on Marcos Maidana for the interim WBA junior welterweight title in June of 2009.
In that wild and memorable bout, both fighters were on the canvas multiple times, but Ortiz, having suffered a cut in the fifth and knocked down in the sixth, lost by TKO when the ring-side physician would not allow him to continue. Some felt Ortiz had quit in the fight, and Ortiz took a lot of criticism in the media for the way the fight ended. But the fight, in my view, was really over at the end of the fifth, when Ortiz took two thunderous shots from Maidana and was, essentially, out on his stool.
In 2011, Ortiz defended his WBC strap against Floyd Mayweather. After failing to land any effective shots on the elusive Mayweather, Ortiz bizarrely, but with savage intent, head-butted his opponent in the fourth round. Bewildered and baffled by what he had done, Ortiz kept trying to apologize and make amends. As he did so, he apparently did not see the referee’s gesture to continue boxing, and Mayweather unceremoniously knocked him out.
Ortiz’s ambivalent approach to this brutal sport was on display again in the second Berto fight in April of 2016. Ortiz looked good early, and scored a punishing knock down in the second round. But if you watch the fight closely, Ortiz kept trying to touch gloves at the end of the rounds, as if to assure Berto that his animosity was not personal. It’s as though “Vicious” Victor wants to mollify his boxing with a touch of kindness.
Ortiz presents an odd combination: a boxer with elite hand speed, coordination, and power, and yet he also possesses a temperament that seems to both embrace and abhor the violence inherent in the sport. Maybe boxing is a simple sport pursued by complicated people.
I’ve always enjoyed watching Victor Ortiz. His style is entertaining and, at times, elegant in its fluidity and logic. A man who had to grow up while still a child, a man whom life has kicked around pretty hard, and a man who found stunning success and bitter failure in boxing, this man is returning to the ring on February 17th. I don’t buy notions of redemption in sport. Redemption is bigger than athletics, and we will never really understand what demons Victor Ortiz had to face down outside the ring. Walk a mile in another man’s shoes before you understand him – it’s a good rule to try to live by. Which Victor Ortiz will we see on February 17? The consummate southpaw with punching power in both hands, or the reluctant combatant? Or maybe both.
PBC on FS1 Recap: Impressive Return for Devon Alexander
by B.A. Cass
After taking twenty-five months off and going through rehab for opioid addiction, the former two-division champion Devon Alexander dominated Walter Castillo over ten rounds, proving that he deserves to fight the best talent in his division.
Photo Credit: Douglas DeFelice / Premier Boxing Champions
The first round was slow but somehow still exciting. That’s because it was highly entertaining to watch the skilled and intelligent Devon Alexander expertly control the pace. Both fighters employed the jab. But it was Alexander who was waiting for Castillo, appraising him. Towards the end of the round, Alexander caught Castillo with a sharp left. It got Castillo’s attention.
During the second round, Alexander remained patient, sharp, and calculated. He was able to slip and back away from most of Castillo’s punches. And then Alexander landed a brutal combination—jab, uppercut, right—knocking Castillo flat on his ass.
Castillo tried to get back control during the third round, but all he managed to do was get his opponent in a clinch. The referee had to remind Castillo not to hold down Alexander’s head.
Frustrated, Castillo started the fourth round by apparently trying to give his opponent a noogie. He also hit Alexander in the face with his elbow. The referee caught this and informed Castillo that, if he did it again, he would deduct two points. Seconds later, the referee had to remind Castillo to avoid low blows. The round ended with the two fighters engaging at close distance in the center of the ring.
Castillo was busy during the fifth round, but he was not controlling the action. He caught Alexander with a straight left, which snapped Alexander’s head back. There was an accidental headbutt, and Castillo made a theatrical display of being hurt. It’s always a bad sign when a boxer starts looking for the referee’s help. “You got a bump, no cut,” the referee told Castillo, and the fight continued.
By the sixth round, the only hope Castillo had was to make the fight into a brawl. But Alexander found his distance, and Castillo started swinging—swinging wildly ad missing. Alexander’s confidence was on supreme display. He dropped his hands, hoping the aggressive and frustrated Castillo would make a wrong move.
In between the sixth and seventh rounds, Keith Thurman, who was seated in the front row, noted how great it was to see Devon Alexander back in action. “Calm and confident” is how he described Alexander’s performance.
As the seventh round commenced, Alexander began to dance around the ring. He was clearly the superior fighter. He threw punches at different angles, stifling the less dynamic Castillo.
It was during the eighth round that Castillo’s frustration reached its peak. He got Alexander into a headlock and then punched the top of his head. And then in the ninth round, Castillo used his elbow once again.
But none of these dirty tricks worked. Alexander reigned supreme during the tenth and final round, landing solid shots to the body and hardly looking fatigued.
Devon Alexander put on a beautiful performance and won by unanimous decision.
As for the fight between Miguel Cruz and David Grayton—the referee certainly had his hands full with these two boxers.
Early in the fight, Cruz nearly knocked down Grayton, but Grayton tackled Cruz, and both went down. By doing so, he avoided being given a count. Grayton continually employed his most powerful shot—the “accidental” headbutt. As a result, by the fifth round, there was a substantial cut about Cruz’s right eye and his left eye was visibly swollen.
It was a dynamic fight. One moment, the fighters were engaging in a battle of jabs and in the next they got were tangled up, both unleashing vicious body shots and uppercuts. The referee had to repeatedly—almost exhaustively—stop them from clinching and wrestling.
During the sixth round, Cruz scored a knockdown by way of a jab and by putting a bit of downward pressure on a doubled-over Grayton’s head.
But Grayton endured. In fact, he didn’t even seem fazed. He came back from the knockdown and forced Cruz to fight at close range, landing a beautiful jab to the face.
Grayton began the seventh round looking focused and immediately landed a series of fast combinations. They two fighters slugged it out on the ropes. If you had just tuned in, you would have never known that Grayton had just been knocked down. Grayton looked eager, pleased to be fighting. Cruz seemed to be tiring.
There was a bit more wrestling in the eighth round. Grayton focused on the body. Once again, he headbutted Cruz, causing a cut to open up above the right eye. Blood streamed down the right side of his face.
Grayton came on strong in the night round, landing a sharp 1-2 to the face. But Cruz countered with a strong straight right hand. Cruz ended the round strong, landing a big right.
During the first thirty seconds of the tenth round, Cruz seemed to be wasting time. He was noticeably tired. He forced Grayton into a clinch and then stood there, his arms limp as he used his body weight to push Grayton against the ropes. Cruz later slipped because of a foot tangle. But he emerged feeling strong, and the two engaged in a battle of jabs before slugging it out until the sound of the bell.
It was a close, well-matched fight, but even so, it was no surprise that Cruz won. Even though he looked worse for the wear, the damaged he sustained was mostly due to Grayton’s consistent use of the headbutt. Still, it was an entertaining fight. Grayton lost, but he wasn’t truly defeated. I’ll be interested to see both boxers fight again.
Follow B.A. Cass on Twitter @WiththePunch
PCB on FS1 Preview: Devon Alexander vs. Walter Castillo; Miguel Cruz vs. David Grayton
by B.A. Cass
Tomorrow, Tuesday, Nov 21, Premier Boxing Champions brings us another Toe-to -Toe Tuesday on FS1. The fights will take place at The Coliseum in St. Petersburg, Florida. The TV coverage is set to begin at 8 PM EST.
The main event will be between the evenly matched Devon Alexander and Walter Castillo. The co-main event will be between Miguel Cruz and David Grayton.
Miguel Cruz (16-0) vs. David Grayton (15-1-1); Welterweight
In his most recent fight, the twenty-seven-year-old Cruz dropped his opponent, Alex Martin, multiple times. The first of these knockdowns came by way of a sharp left. Cruz and Martin had fought previously. Cruz won their first fight by split decision. His second victory over Martin was more decisive; he did not KO Martin, but at least won by unanimous decision.
As for Grayton, he last fought seven months ago against Kermit Cintron. Grayton failed to defeat a much older Cintron. It could be argued that Grayton was on his way to winning before the referee called off the fight due to a headbutt in the fifth round. After all, Gray had already dropped Cintron in that round. However, this knockdown came only after only after a severe shot to the back of the head.
Cruz employs an effective power jab and knows how to land powerful hooks to the body. Grayton will have to be fast on his feet if he hopes to avoid the fate of Alex Martin.
Expect at least one major headbutt from the southpaw Grayton, who is seems to employ the “accidental” headbutt almost as often as he employs his jab.
Devon Alexander (26-4) vs. Walter Castillo (26-4-1); Welterweight
When Alexander and Castillo step into the ring to face each other tomorrow night, it will be the first time either man has fought for over a year and a half.
Alexander, the former two-division champion, was once thought of one of the up-and-coming boxers of his generation. His first career loss came when he faced William Bradley Jr., but rebounded from that defeat to score a unanimous decision win over Marcos Maidana. However, he soon lost his IBF title to Shawn Porter. The Porter fight was close, but Alexander has not been able to regain his career momentum. He fought Amir Khan, and though he was undamaged during that fight, Alexander was unable to contend with his opponent’s speed.
Alexander’s last fight was against Aaron Martinez. Going into the fight, he was thought to have a decent shot at winning, but he lost because he fought on Martinez’s terms. Instead of boxing, he decided to brawl with Martinez. Alexander rarely employed the jab and Martinez repeatedly went to the body, tiring out Alexander, before landing well-timed jabs and rights to the face in later rounds.
Castillo is coming off a loss at the hands of Sergey Lipinets. In the third round against Lipinets, Castillo seemed to have Lipinets in trouble. Landing fast combinations, he cornered Lipinets against the ropes. But Lipinets remained unfazed and undamaged. Lipinets, clearly the stronger man, scored a seventh round TKO win.
Castillo is a year younger than Alexander, which gives him, at least in theory, a slight advantage. But he’s moving up seven pounds to fight Alexander, and it remains to be seen if he can be as powerful and effective in a higher weight class.
The odds for this fight, to my mind, are fifty-fifty. Only the winner will have a chance to get their career back on track. They both know that and will fight accordingly.
Follow B.A. Cass on Twitter @WiththePunch
Vaughn Alexander Ready to Make his Mark at Mohegan Sun this Thursday
By: Eric Lunger
This coming Thursday night, October 5, the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, CT, will host a night of live boxing in its popular Rising Stars Boxing Series. Headlining the Main Events show is a ten-round middleweight clash between hard-hitting Vaughn “the Animal” Alexander (10-0, 7 KO’s) and seasoned professional Elvin Ayala (29-9-1, 13 KOs).
Photo Credit: David Spagnolo/Main Events
Vaughn took a moment earlier today to speak to Boxinsider.com in an exclusive interview. Ebullient but thoughtful, the St. Louis native was confident as he looked forward to Thursday.
Boxinginsider: Your last five fights have all been at middleweight – is that a natural weight for you? Is making weight an issue for you?
I don’t have trouble making weight. Yeah, I mean I can move pretty easily between 160 and 168. I am ready to fight in either division, I am a professional and I am ready.
BI: How would you characterize your style? Pressure fighter? Counter puncher? front foot, back foot?
Well, I try to use all those styles, depending who I am fighting. I like to have all those tools in my arsenal, and use them depending on who my opponent is.
BI: Vaughn – you’re fighting this coming Thursday at the Mohegan Sun Casino (Rising Stars Boxing Series) against Elvin Ayala – who is from Connecticut. But you have fought twice at Mohegan Sun. Who is the home fighter? Does it matter to you or are you just focusing on being your best?
You know, where I am now, that doesn’t matter to me: I am there to fight and I am focused on what I am doing. At this point in my career, that stuff just doesn’t matter.
BI: You went the full ten rounds in your fight against Andres Rey in April of 2017 – did you learn anything about yourself in that experience? About your conditioning?
I really wanted to go the distance in that fight, and find out what kind of shape I was in. I do a lot of work on my conditioning, and it was important to find out where I was. I felt really good at that distance, over those ten rounds.
BI: Your last fight was a TKO win over Fabiano Pena on the Ward vs. Kovalev undercard in Vegas. What was that like? Fighting on a big stage?
I’m used to that kind of atmosphere; I’ve fought at Mandalay Bay several times. I knew what I needed to do. I knew I could get him [Pena] out of there. I was working to the body, putting in rounds that would pay off later.
BI: Vaughn, how much do you game-plan for a given opponent? Or do you just focus on where you are and what you want to achieve?
I really focus on my game, what I’m doing about 90%, and only 10% on what my opponent might do. I work on what I can control. We do look at film, but I really focus on working on my game.
BI: Can you comment on your relationship with your brother, Devon? Will be he in your corner on Thursday?
We talk almost every day, but he is in camp in Florida and I am working on my fight in my camp here. We are close, but we are focused on what we are doing right know, you know?
BI: What drives you? What motivates you to go to the gym and live the tough life of a professional boxer?
First, I have to say God, because he has brought me to where I am today after being in some real difficulty. And also, you have to motivate yourself in this game, in this hurt business, you know what I mean? If you need someone telling you what to do, when to work out, and so on – man, you are in the wrong business.
BI: Thanks for speaking with me, Vaughn.
The action unfolds this Thursday night at Mohegan Sun Arena. As Kathy Duva, Main Events CEO said in a recent press release, “the winner will be right in the mix at middleweight, so this crossroads bout is meaningful to the division, as well as a local attraction.” Tickets start at $40.00 and are on sale now at ticketmaster.com and at the Mohegan Sun box office.
Vaughn Alexander Interview: “My overall plan is to be the best middleweight in the world”
Vaughn Alexander Interview: “My overall plan is to be the best middleweight in the world”
By: Matthew N. Becher
Vaughn Alexander is a 9-0 prospect from St. Louis Missouri who will be fighting on the undercard of the June 17th, HBO pay per view between Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward. Alexander’s story is a bit different, since he is 31 years old and still a prospect. He was an up and comer on the rise in 2005 when he was sent to prison for armed robbery, 11 years later he is back to where he left off. The brother of 3x world champion Devon Alexander, we spoke with Vaughn about his past, his upcoming fight and what his future in boxing has in store.
Boxing Insider: So could you tell us a little about your background and coming back from an 11 year hiatus to the sport?
Vaughn Alexander: I’ve been fighting since I was 8 years old. I was one of the top amateurs in the world. I turned pro in 2004, I was signed to Don King promotions. I had 5 fights. I was 5-0 before I went to prison. I went to prison in 2005. In the 11 years that I was in prison I learned a lot, mentally, spiritually and I kept myself right physically.
Boxing Insider: How do you stay in fighting shape while incarcerated?
Vaughn Alexander: I ran a lot. Of course they didn’t have any of the things the outside world have, since they stopped boxing in prison a long time ago. I just did any and all things to keep my body strong. I ate right, I didn’t eat any junk or things that keep your body down. I just basically did everything I could, in the 11 years I was in prison.
Boxing Insider: Is it hard mentally to start over as a prospect again, being that you are now 31?
Vaughn Alexander: No. I feel that everybody goes through things. It’s just that I had to go to prison. That was just something in my life that I had to go to. Everybody makes mistakes, but they don’t all have to go to prison. I had to go to prison to become the man I am today. I have lots of patience that I didn’t have before. I have a lot of knowledge that I acquired in those eleven years. I always had a good work ethic, but I feel that I gained a proper work ethic dealing with myself. If it is dealing with people or dealing with my training, or anything I had to deal with, I’m 100% better to deal with because of the man I am today.
Boxing Insider: Your brother became a world champ while you were away. Has he given you any words of advice or wisdom in your comeback?
Vaughn Alexander: No, not really. I mean, you can’t give advice to someone that was doing what he was doing at the same time. It’s just that he became a world champion while I was in prison. The fact of it is, I am so proud of my brother for that. I’m proud of him in that sense, but me and Devan are two different people. I just go by the things I learned from my own mistakes. It’s just some things you have to learn on your own. You can accept peoples advice, but if people haven’t gone through the things you’ve went through. Me and Devan didn’t really talk a lot when I was in prison. That was my time to get myself together.
Boxing Insider: What advantages will you have over Fabiano Pena, who is younger and has more ring experience?
Vaughn Alexander: No one in the middleweight division has more experience than me. I feel that I was gone for 11 years, but I gained so much knowledge. I feel that these guys in 11 years were getting beat on, I wasn’t. I was eating right, working out while they were getting beat on. I’m fresh and I’m just ready to put myself in a position to fight one of these top guys. I’m not looking over this guy, trust me, every fighter has a punchers chance. And the likelihood of this guy beating me is slim to none, because I trained so hard and I’m coming in June 17th to get this guy out of there.
Boxing Insider: What are your overall plans in boxing, now that you are back?
Vaughn Alexander: My overall plan is to be the best middleweight in the world. I don’t just want to be one of the best. You got these people that are politically correct saying they want to be “one of the best”, nah, I’m trying to be the best middleweight in the world. That is my goal and that is what I’m trying to accomplish. I’m taking steps right now, with Main Events behind me to accomplish that.
Vaughn Alexander Makes The Most Of His Second Chance
Vaughn Alexander Makes The Most Of His Second Chance
By: Sean Crose
Middleweight Vaughn Alexander, like all of us, has made his share of mistakes. By serving over half a decade in prison, the sibling of former champion Devon Alexander cost himself a lot of prime years in the boxing ring. Now out of the department of corrections’ custody and back in society for a good chunk of time, however, the once heralded Alexander has found himself with a real opportunity to get back into the spotlight. For this Saturday at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut, the 7-0 Alexander will be facing the 14-3-9 Andres Calixto Rey in a bout which will be broadcast live on HBO Latino.
Truth be told, Alexander, who has fought and won on two occasions since being released from prison, wasn’t supposed to find himself on television this weekend. With the scheduled co-main event on the HBO Latino card falling through, however, the thirty-one year old Saint Louis native was placed in a great position to showcase his second chance at ring glory. “I started this a long time ago and had some mishaps years ago,” Alexander said during a Thursday press conference. “I put the work in to display my talents and get to this place.”
Fans will now get a chance to see if those talents will enable Alexander to get the next level. A victory over Rey, who is riding a winning streak of several fights in a row, may do wonders for Alexander’s career, if it’s achieved in impressive fashion. Promoter Kathy Duva made it clear she feels Alexander has what it takes to connect with audiences. “When he fought on the last Rising Stars card,” she claimed, “no one knew who he was. I have never seen a fighter connect with the crowd so quickly.” Rising Stars is, fittingly enough, the title of a series of fight cards Duva’s Main Events Promotions is running with Mohegan Sun.
For his part, Alexander appears eager to live up to the series’ title. “This will be Vaughn’s first 10-round professional fight,” Duva said. “It was originally scheduled for eight rounds but when we needed to move the fight to television, Vaughn didn’t think twice about the additional rounds.” Having once been a welterweight, Alexander has made it clear he wants to battle his way to the top of the lucrative middleweight division.
“I am just one step closer to taking over this middleweight division,” he stated. “I am ready to fight whoever, wherever.”
Povetkin Hits a New Low in Moscow; In L.A., Hopkins Couldn’t Stay Away
Povetkin Hits a New Low in Moscow; In L.A., Hopkins Couldn’t Stay Away
By: Eric Lunger
It was a weekend of regret, as two bouts on different continents made a mockery of professional boxing. Karl Marx once observed that history repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce. In Russia, Alexander Povetkin, by failing PED screening for a second time in less than a year, made a farce of whatever governing body sanctioned his heavyweight bout. And at the Forum in Los Angeles, veteran Bernard Hopkins was literally knocked out of the ring for the second time is his career, in what was supposed to be some sort of triumphant farewell/ retirement fight.
The Povetkin debacle was hard to fathom from the moment stories broke that he had failed another drug test. Seven months ago Povetkin was caught with meldonium in his veins, a now well-known PED employed systematically, it seems, by Russian athletes. There is something particularly vile about drug cheating in boxing: its one thing if the Russian bobsled team gets a faster start, and quite another thing when a heavyweight boxer has an unfair advantage. Boxing is dangerous enough as it is. Bermane Stiverne, Povetkin’s opponent, had worked very hard to position himself back in line for a WBC title shot, having lost a tough twelve rounder to Deontay Wilder in January of 2015. It also takes guts to enter the lion’s den by traveling to Moscow to face Povetkin in front of a home crowd, so imagine Bermane’s frustration and disgust when he awoke, on fight day no less, to the news that the WBC had withdrawn its sanction for the bout, which, by the way, is the only ray of light in this dark hole.
It appears that the WBC did the right thing immediately by withdrawing their sanction for the bout. Povetkin was on a voluntary random testing regime, a result of his previous violation under the WBC, which is trying to implement a rigorous anti-doping regime by partnering with VADA, the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association. Bizarrely, Povetkin was immediately provided with a replacement opponent, Johann Duhaupas of France, though no one knows why he was in Russia and available. It takes no giant leap of imagination to suppose that World of Boxing, the Russian promotion company that represents Povetkin, was holding Duhaupas in reserve for just such an eventuality. And to end the whole sordid story, Povetkin knocked out Duhaupas in the sixth round, with a vicious and presumably steroid enhanced left hook. Congratulations to a drug cheat.
The Hopkins vs. Smith fight was farce of a different nature, less malevolent but just sad. Sad to see a legend of the ring end his career on such an unnecessarily low note. After being dismantled and slightly embarrassed by Sergey Kovalev in November of 2014, Hopkins just couldn’t stay away. He had something to prove to himself, I suppose, because I can’t imagine anyone in the entire boxing world would have begrudged him his retirement at that point. So Saturday night, after needlessly disrespecting Joe Smith, Jr. at the prefight press conference, we were treated to the ridiculous executioner show, the silly hoods and fake axes, etc. I guess I’m just not a fan of the elaborate ring walk and masks and costumes. And the fight itself was hardly a fight, rather a boxing exhibition – and a bad one at that. Hopkins’s footwork was slow and ponderous, and the head butt in round two looked to me to be intentional, a dirty and unbecoming foul that was depressing to see from such a great champion. I don’t want to bash Hopkins, and I think I can understand how hard it must be for a proud, professional athlete to finally give up a sport that has defined his identity for so long, but when Smith bludgeoned him through the ropes and out of the ring, it felt as though boxing itself had ejected Hopkins from the sport. Only a man as competitive as Bernard Hopkins would argue that Smith pushed him through the ropes. But then, only a man as competitive as Bernard Hopkins would be prize fighting at age 51.
There were several good fights this weekend, and congratulations to Oleksandr Usyk, Joseph Diaz, Jr., and Sullivan Barrera, all of whom put on excellent shows and won technically fine bouts. But shame on Povetkin, and a sad farewell to Hopkins.
HBO World Championship Boxing Results: Andre Ward Picks Apart Alexander Brand, Kovalev Next
HBO World Championship Boxing Results: Andre Ward Picks Apart Alexander Brand, Kovalev Next
By: William Holmes
The Oracle Arena in Oakland, California was once again the host site for Andre “Son Of God” Ward’s (29-0) return to the ring in a light heavyweight matchup against the Colombian Alexander Brand (25-1).
Ward has had most of his success in the super middleweight division, but a big money showdown with light heavyweight kingpin Sergey Kovalev awaits him if he is able to walk away victorious.
Many fans, including the HBO announcers, viewed this bout as little more than a tune up bout. Sergei Kovalev was in attendance.
Andre Ward, a lefty who fights out of an orthodox stance, focused on his jab in the opening round and was trying to find his range. Brand was short with almost of his shots, and that reapeated in the first three stanzas.
Ward was able to land his lead left hooks in the second round, and attacked to the body more in the third round. Brand was able to land an uppercut and a jab in the third, which may have been the first punches he landed in the fight.
Ward was able to pick up the pace in the fourth round and had Brand backing up with a consistent stream of jabs to the body. Ward was able to crack Brandi n his jaw with a lead left hook as Brand was moving backwards, and followed it up with a jab cross combo to the head.
Ward’s accuracy improved in the fifth round as he get the crowd’s approval several times with sharp crosses to the head of Brand. Ward even switched to a southpaw stance, and he looked like he was going for the knockout.
Ward stayed in a southpaw stance in the sixth round, and ripped several hard combinations to the body and head on Brand at will. The show continued into the seventh round as Ward switched seamlessly from orthodox stance to a southpaw stance and picked the overmatched Brand apart.
Brand’s eye was cut in the seventh round and showed signs of swelling in the eighth. Ward’s lead left hook from the orthodox stance was thrown with violence in the eighth, and the force behind his right crosses were more noticeable than before.
Brand was just trying to survive in the ninth round, and slipped badly in the middle of the ring in an attempt to counter Ward.
Brand’s corner told him before the tenth to try and just survive the rounds, and he followed their advice and took hardly any risks. Ward, however, continued to go for the stoppage and was able to catch Brand with several hard right crosses.
Ward went for the knockout, and Brand tried to avoid the knockout, in the final two rounds. Brand, at the very least, was successful in his goal of surviving.
Andre Ward wins the shutout decision with scores of 120-108 on all three scorecards.
HBO World Championship Boxing Preview: Andre Ward vs. Alexander Brand
HBO World Championship Boxing Preview: Andre Ward vs. Alexander Brand
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Andre Ward will return to the ring to face Alexander Brand in what most boxing analysts feel is a tune up bout.
Andre Ward will be fighting at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California for the third time in his career and for the fourth time in his past five fights. The Oracle Arena is a friendly venue for Andre Ward, who grew up in the area, and a hostile environment for his opponents.
Several promising boxers will appear on the undercard, including Maruice Hooker, Darmani Rock, and Raquel Miller. However, HBO will likely only televise the light heavyweight matchup between Andre Ward and Alexander Brand.
The following is a preview of the main event for HBO World Championshp Boxing on Saturday, August 6, 2016.
Andre Ward (29-0) vs. Alexander Brand (25-1); Light Heavyweight
Andre Ward did not fight from November 2013 to June 2015 due to a contract dispute with Goosen Tutor Promotions. However, he was able to resolve that dispute and sign with Jay Z’s Roc Nation Sports.
Ward is already scheduled to fight Sergey Kovalev on November 19th in Las Vegas on a major bout that will be televised on HBO PPV. Andre Ward and his team know that the Kovalev bout is a big money bout, and decided to face Alexander Bout in low risk-stay busy fight.
Andre Ward will be about a half an inch taller than Brand but will be giving up a half an inch in reach. Ward is also seven years younger than Brand, who is thirty nine years old.
Ward’s amateur success is well noted, for he was an Olympic Gold Medalist for the United States in 2004 in the light heavyweight division and is a two time US National Champion. Brand had some success on the regional circuits as an amateur competing for Colombia, but never made it to the Olympics and came nowhere near the success of Andre Ward.
The one area that Brand may have an advantage over Ward is power. Brand has stopped nineteen of his opponents, while Ward has only stopped fifteen of his opponents while having three more fights. Ward has stopped two of his past five opponents.
Inactivity may be an Issue for Ward. He has only fought three times since September of 2012, three times in nearly four years. However, Brand has only been slightly more active than Ward has he fought twice in 2015 and once in 2014.
Brand has spent most of his career fighting in Colombia. He has fought three times in the United States, and his lone loss came in the United States to Badou Jack.
Andre Ward clearly has the better resume as a professional. He is the former WBC, WBA, Ring Magazine and lineal super middleweight champion. He also won the often overlooked Super Six World Boxing Classic that Showtime had a few years ago and won the BWAA Fighter of the Year in 2011.
Ward has beaten the likes of Sullivan Barrera, Paul Smith, Edwin Rodriguez, Chad Dawson, Carl Foch, Arthur Abraham, Sakio Bika, Allan Green, Mikkel Kessler, and Edison Miranda.
Brand has not defeated anyone of note, and his best wins have come against Medzhid Bektemirov, Bernard Donfack, and Jorge Rodriguez Olivera.
Andre Ward will have the toughest test of his career in November when he fights Sergey Kovalev. Saturday’s bout, however, should be one of the easiest fights he has had in the past five years.
Always On The Cusp: Shawn Porter
Always On The Cusp: Shawn Porter
By: Brandon Bernica
Shawn Porter sits on the brink of stardom. Coming into Saturday’s high-powered matchup with fellow rising star Keith Thurman, Porter is familiar with his own burgeoning prospects. Yet like many fallen stars in the boxing universe, prospects often diverge from how reality actually plays out.
See, a look into Shawn’s past, and you can earmark numerous instances where he appeared ready to break out. He held his own in sparring with the great Manny Pacquiao during the Pacman’s prime, casting hopes on his future potential. But it took longer than expected for his career to catch the break it needed. He finally won a world title against Devon Alexander in 2013. After obliterating Paulie Malignaggi in a menacing 4th round knockout, Porter’s career looked poised for greatness. Then, Kell Brook took Porter’s belt in an upset victory, forcing him to reassess his journey in the sport.
Most fighters would slump after losing their aura of invincibility, but Porter took it in stride. He went on to defeat Adrien Broner in the Battle for Ohio last June. Once again, Porter’s career projected highly. So what exactly was his reward for winning such a high-profile fight? A year lay-off. Porter can attribute that year’s worth of missed earnings to Al Haymon, who inexplicably ignored his rise in favor of Broner’s marketability. What was arguably the biggest win of his career turned into stifled momentum.
What is holding “Showtime” back? Is it fate’s cruel vendetta against him? Or were his losses that untimely and impactful? My guess is that it’s a little bit of both. While his defeats cost him an unscathed record, many fighters in the sport take greater hits with lesser resumes to fall back on. And his persona? Charming nice-guy, engaging, likable. Though the sport often favors the villains that can turn hatred into viewership, there isn’t any reason why a talented good-guy who’s well-spoken can’t fit into boxing’s diverse narrative.
One thing we know about Shawn, though: he relishes the doubts. You can see it in the way he fights with his head down, pushing the pressure like a man unwilling to accept mediocrity. Somehow, that lack of fulfillment drives him to find one more shot at glory. And that shot may stand in the form of Keith Thurman come Saturday night.
Keith finds himself in the same predicament as Shawn, grasping for the upper echelons. Perhaps the stature Thurman he carries, along with the respect earned from beating him are the hurdles needed for Porter’s breakout performance. After all, Batman didn’t earn his name destroying weak minions and guards; he fought bosses and won a legacy. Shawn will have to carefully push the pace against a dangerous puncher in Thurman if he wants to make the most of this opportunity. Much like Porter’s career, this fight is craving for someone to take charge and control the action. Maybe it’s finally time for Shawn to grow into both capacities.
Shawn Porter happens to be from Cleveland, Ohio. Cleveland sports struggle to garner the same respect Porter often does from fans. In the midst of a recent 52 year title drought, the city felt cursed, narrowly missing championships year after year. The truth is, sometimes fate IS cruel. But Sunday night, LeBron James gave a virtuoso performance, shelling out every inch of effort to break this status quo and lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to a victory. Maybe Porter is ready to trample the expectations as well. Maybe skill does eventually supersede misfortune. If desire is any prerequisite, there’s no doubting that he will follow in LeBron’s footsteps to glory soon.