Media Still Insists On Comparing McGregor To Ali
By: Sean Crose
One of the interesting things that got lost in the madness leading up to Conor McGregor’s MMA superfight with Khabib Nurmagomadedov last weekend was McGregor being compared to Muhammad Ali before the media. To his credit, McGregor squashed the talk. One might think that would have been that, especially since McGregor was all but wiped out in his subsequent fight with Nurmagomedov last Saturday.
One would have been wrong.
Mere days after the UFC’s biggest star essentially got steamrolled in the octagon, there are those in the media still banging the McGregor-Ali drum. The latest? Yahoo running a piece comparing the McGregor-Nurmagomedov rivalry to that of Ali and Frazier. Let’s be frank – the comparison is a stretch. Frazier barely bested Ali in the first of their three matches. The two subsequent Ali-Frazier bouts (which Ali won) were likewise brutal and razor thin.
McGregor has only met Nurmagomedov in the octagon once to date, and with the exception of a single round, the Irishman was dominated. You don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to deduce the obvious…McGregor got outclassed last weekend. He lost, just as he had lost numerous times before. Ali lost, too, but never in as one sided a manner as McGregor did against Nurmagomedov. It took an illness and 38 years for Ali to suffer the kind of one sided embarrassment to Larry Holmes that a 30 year old McGregor just suffered to his Russian foil.
A bit of hard truth….McGregor simply isn’t as good a mixed martial artist as Ali was a boxer. He just isn’t. And that simple fact should preclude any comparison between the two men right from the get go. McGregor may be better at mind games – though that’s arguable – but there might have been 10 other boxers in Ali’s time who were better than Ali at mind games. We’d never know who they were because they most likely wouldn’t have been as great as Ali when it came down to skill.
Despite what some say, talk isn’t cheap…at least not on all occasions. A great fighter, though, must consistently fight at least as good as he or she talks. And McGregor doesn’t do that. Not consistently he doesn’t. Not anymore. One doesn’t have to delve into social issues to see McGregor and Ali are like apples and oranges. One can simply keep the argument to the ring and to the octagon. It’s not bias to claim McGregor is no Ali. It’s just a relatively small act of honesty. The world of mixed martial arts may indeed produce the next Ali, and there will be nothing wrong with it if it does.
Just don’t expect it to be Conor McGregor.
Cassius Clay aka Muhammad Ali’s Final Loss in Olympic Trials in 1960
By: Ken Hissner
Ali in 1960 was the Golden Gloves National heavyweight champion and the AAU National light heavyweight runner-up. The last person to defeat him in the amateurs is a name few have ever heard of but this writer knew the name Staff Sgt. Percy Price.
Price served two tours in Viet-Nam. He entered the Marine’s in 1955 and retired in 1976. Price was from Salem, NJ, but retired and moved to Jacksonville, FL.
Price was a 3-time All Marine champion, two Interservice championships and one CISM championship. At the Olympic trials he defeated Hal Epsy to represent the USA in the 1960 Olympics at Rome in the heavyweight division. He won his first match knocking out Ronald Taylor of Australia in two rounds. In the quarter final he lost to Josef Nemic of CZ 4-1. Nemic appeared in three Olympics in 1956, 1960 winning a Bronze Medal and 1964.
In 1956 he was knocked out by USA’s Pete Rademacher in two rounds. The latter went on to win the Gold Medal in the Olympics and fought Floyd Patterson in his debut for the heavyweight title having the champion on the floor in the second round before being knocked down six times and for the last time in the sixth round.
Ali represented the USA in the light heavyweight division. Ali always had a problem with southpaws. He lost to Amos Johnson in the 1959 Pan Am Trials. He went onto get to the finals after defeating Yvon Becaus, of Belgium, RSC 2, Gennadi Schatkov, of USSR 5-0, Tony Madigan, of Australia, 5-0 and in the final Poland’s southpaw Zbigniew Pietrzykowski, 5-0.
If Ali would have represented the USA in the heavyweight division and he would have got to the semi-final he would have met another southpaw from Italy Franco de Piccoli who defeated the man Price lost to Nemec 4-1. Then he defeated Daan Bekker of South Africa for the Gold Medal.
As a professional de Piccoli won his first twenty-five fights, twenty by knockout before losing to American Wayne Bethea and then Jamaica’s Joe Bygraves by knockout in back to back losses. He would go onto win his next twelve fights before losing his last two bouts by knockout to American Everett Copeland, 3-7-3 and Peter Weiland, 8-2 in his final fight.
In closing out his career he was 37-4 (29) at age 28. Some of the boxers he defeated were Billy Daniels, 19-6-1, who gave Ali fits as a pro. Also, Americans Herb Siler, 20-9, who Ali defeated earlier, Floyd Joyner, 23-9-3, Howard King, 42-26-8, Tony Hughes, 26-2, Buddy Turman, 35-9-1 and German Uli Ritter, 21-9-6, breaking a bone in his left hand.
Ali’s amateur record was mentioned with six different totals like 100-5, 118-5, 127-5, 134-7, 137-7 and 99-8. He was a six-time Kentucky Golden Gloves champion.
More Boxing History
HBO Boxing Results: Munguia Defeats Ali
By: Oliver McManus
In the dust of Linares-Lomachenko over on ESPN there were two more world title tilts live on HBO, from the Turning Stone Resort & Casino, Verona, New York, in a card lacking the hype of legacy but delivering buckets of credibility and tasty match-ups.
Sadam Ali vs Jaime Munguia was the headlining bout with Ali’s WBO Super Welterweight title at stake – Munguia, 28-0, arrived in New York the vast underdog having taken up the challenge on less than two weeks’ notice, following Liam ‘Beefy’ Smith’s withdrawal, and Ali, 26-1, was on a quest to prove his victory over Miguel Cotto last year was not a mere fluke.
Photo Credit: HBO Boxing Twitter Account
The fight started off with Ali visibly looking the smaller, more diminutive figure – his opponent a natural middleweight – and whilst Ali looked to be the more mobile of the two fighters and put his sprightly figure to good use, it was Munguia who started off the brighter with a clipping left hand dropping the champion in the first round… twice.
The Mexican challenger seemed in complete domination, easing his way into his rhythm and never completely stepping up the gas, round two came and he simply reverted back to his jab that saw him have so much success in the first – the key, beforehand, was to work on the counter-attack but Munguia simply did not give Ali a chance to impose his gameplan, twice more would Cotto’s conqueror crumple to the canvas.
That was before the bell to signal the end of round two even went and when it sounded again to start round three, the story was much the same – sheer domination from the unexpected challenger who was putting to short shrift the naysayers, seizing his chance opportunity at the title – a near knockdown in the third put beyond doubt whether this would go the distance with the crowd warming to Munguia.
A third of the way into the fight and at the fourth round came the climatic ending, another knockdown from a supreme, confident Munguia left Ali out of his depth and reeling – in visible pain, this wasn’t a fluke victory by Munguia, this was an utter demolition job, a bank robbery almost, and there could be no questioning the skill and shot selection from the brave 21 year old… AND NEW WBO SUPER WELTERWEIGHT CHAMPION OF THE WORLD.
Rey Vargas, expecting a “wild war” went into his fifth world title fight against a game, gritty, Azat Hovhannisyan, following two comfortable points victory in the back-end of 2017 to retain his WBC Super Bantamweight title against Oscar Negrete and Ronny Rios, respectively.
Hovhannisyan, nicknamed crazy, was also coming off the back of a win over Ronny Rios – a sixth round knockout – in March of this year and was confident of continuing his momentum all the world to grabbing that prestigious world title belt.
And he started off looking the fresher, more prepared of the fighters, going to the centre of the ring in the opening round in a bid so shock Vargas into submission but it failed to rattle the Mexican who instead opted to trade some bruising shots with his Armenian counterpart.
Startled but little else, Vargas hit back with some big shots of his own but came off visibly worse when a cut above his left eye started to open up… superficial damage, that’s all.
The brawl-like contest continued much into the first third of this fight and it seemed evident that Azat was aware the only way he was going to win this fight was by pushing Vargas into the unknown, the uncomfortable.
But whilst Vargas was, arguably, mentally uncomfortable, he was physically serene and targeted the body of Hovhannisyan – everyone’s weak point – sending huge combinations into the guts of the Armenian before letting a flurry unravel towards the latter stage of the third round.
Aware that this was have success, Vargas continued this onslaught of an assault to the Armenian’s body and started to utilise his left hook a bit more – really opening up Azat – but the challenger responded in the sixth with, a last, do or die effort, swinging wildly in an attempt to connect with a final bomb.
The fatigue showed going into the final half with Vargas’ attempted-toppler slowing demonstrably and suffering from the affects of the body shot – another cut was opened up, this time above Vargas right eye – and whilst there were periods of success for the challenger they were all too brief and all to rare.
A brawl, an ugly but spectacular brawl, Vargas dealt with it comfortably enough to earn the win on all three scorecards, 112-116, 111-117, 110-118.
HBO Boxing Preview: Ali vs. Munguia, Hovhannisyan vs. Vargas
By: Oliver McManus
Live on HBO this coming weekend there’s a mammoth world title double-header from the Turning Stone Resort & Casino, Verona, New York promoted by Oscar de la Hoya, on behalf of Golden Boy Promotions,featuring Sadam Ali – Jaime Munguia and Rey Vargas – Azat Hovhannisyan.
Photo Credit: Golden Boy Twitter Account
Topping the bill is the WBO Super Welterweight world championship clash between Sadam Ali, 26-1, and Jaime Munguia, 28-0. Munguia is a name fresh on the mind having been hotly linked as a replacement opponent for Gennady Golovkin in the wake of Canelo’s failed drugs test – the Nevada State Athletic Commission would go on to refuse to sanction the proposed bout – but the 21 year old Mexican has his crack at world title glory on at the weekend.
A crack that’s arose purely as a result of yet another withdrawal – this time to the mandatory challenger and, former WBO Super Welterweight champion, Liam Smith who was forced to pull out in thanks to an allergic reaction; the hope is that they’ll reschedule the fight for August with Frank Warren keen to bring it to the United Kingdom.
Mugnuia will be in his third fight of 2018 having secured two third round knockouts against Jose Carlos Paz and Johnny Navarrette already with the latter being enough to secure the WBC Latino title. Over the past twelve months Munguia has worked on his footwork and hand-speed enabling him to perform to the more archetypal explosivity expected of a Mexican boxer.
In particular he packs a wincing left upper-cut which he floats around with sublime accuracy and split-second timing, leaning his whole body into the shot, as he did with specific effect against Alvaro Robles in 2016 before having sense-of-mind to pounce when Robles had beaten the count and send in a flurry towards the body to finish the fight.
Sadam Ali will always be known as the man who stole the show for Miguel Cotto’s farewell party thanks to his narrow (116-112, 115-113, 115-113) unanimous decision victory over the Puerto Rican in December of last year.
Determined to prove that victory was through his own hard-work and skill as opposed to the combination of luck and a past-it Cotto, Ali will be in no mood to take his time when the bell sounds for round one.
From his 26 victories he’s hailed 14 KO’s and whilst many of those have been against lesser opponents, he’ll be looking to take the fight to Munguia right from the off with his in-your-face fight style enough to put off the most virtuous of fighters.
Whether it’s fair or not there will likely be no praise for Ali regardless of the manner in which he wins for he is expected to a job on his challenger, comfortably so, after all this IS a man who’s never gone 12 rounds before, never even been scheduled for the full 12 but then again, we’ve had this sort of match-up before – I’m thinking James DeGale vs Caleb Truax I, no-one gave Truax a chance but then he went and shocked the world.
Nearly did it twice.
Rey Vargas vs Azat Hovhannisyan for the WBC Super Bantamweight title completes this HBO World Title double-header as Vargas looks to make the third successful defence of the belt he first claimed in February 2017 thanks to an MD win over Gavin McDonnell.
Aged 27 but looking closer to 47, it’s predictable that Vargas carries with him a mature head with plenty of wisdom – both in the ring and out of it – but the Mexican possess an underrated knockout power brought to the fore when countering an opponent’s lazy jab. It really is a work of art.
That being said you’ll never see the 31 fight veteran searching for a stoppage, he’d much rather outbox his opponent, keeping a high tempo, being clever with his shots to do damage in terms of fatigue and mental fortitude but never relentless.
That victory over Gavin McDonnell was arguably Vargas’ finest fight, boxing to punch perfection against a game, gutsy Gavin who threw everything, including the kitchen sink, at him.
Hovhannisyan represents one of the easier voluntary defences that Vargas could have made, ranked number nine by the WBC and having two losses in the early stages of his career to nothing opponents represents enough chinks in the armour of this, otherwise, untested boxer for Vargas and his team to be willing to take the chance.
Nonetheless the Armenian will be coming to fight in a manner similar to McDonnell, seeking to throw bombs from the very beginning in a bid to take Vargas into the unknown – forget a phone box fight, this could be a postage stamp fight if Crazy gets his way.
You suspect the champion will use all of his experience and tactical awareness to nullify the threat of Hovhannisyan but Azat will be seeking to galvanise the momentum he gained by knocking out Ronny Rios in the 6th round in March – the very same Ronny Rios who, last August, took Vargas all the way to points.
It’s a case then of the tactician vs the magician and it’s never a magic trick without fire… BRING IT ON.
Sadam Ali: “I Just Have To Fight Smart”
By: Sean Crose
“I view every fight as dangerous,” says WBO world super welterweight champion Sadam Ali, 26-1, who will be facing the undefeated Jamie Munguia, 28-0, this Saturday night at the Turning Stone casino in New York state. Although Munguia isn’t a marquee name like Miguel Cotto, the man Ali stunned late last year in a world class upset, Ali makes it clear he isn’t taking his opponent lightly. “It is late notice,” he says, “but I still get to watch. I still get to see who I’m fighting.” Late notice indeed. Ali was originally supposed to fight notable Liverpool native, Liam Smith. Unfortunately for all parties involved, Smith had to pull out of the fight due to a skin condition.
Muniga was able to step up, however. “It’s a little different,” says Ali, “but I’m prepared, regardless.” Ali made it clear that religious considerations were involved in the situation. “ I’ve also got Ramadan coming soon,” he says, “so we really couldn’t wait (two days after the fight, when Ramadan begins).” So, what does Ali have to say about his opponent this Saturday? “This guy has some power shots, great body shots,” he claims, “but I feel that we’re both dangerous.” Things may not have gone exactly as planned, but Ali appears at ease. “He’s a different type of fighter,” he notes of Munguia. “He has power. The height threw me off a little bit. It’s a big change.”
Still, the man comes across as being unperturbed. “I’m ready,” he says. “Late notice, but it’s still two guys in there fighting, so I’m not worried at all.” He may not be worried about Munguia, but the super welterweight division is booming right now, with names like Charlo, Lubin, and Lara dotting the landscape. People are wondering what Ali thinks of possible opposition (provided, of course, he gets past the formidable Munguia). “I think there’s a lot of great guys at that weight. I think some of them talk a little too much,” he says.
Some have reportedly been slow to give Ali credit since his victory over Cotto, claiming Cotto was old or that Ali simply isn’t as good as others in his weight realm. Ali, however, is untroubled (his team is another story). “They can underestimate,” he says, “they can talk.” The thoughts of others clearly don’t cause internal damage in Ali’s case. “When I get in there, it comes down to me and God,” he adds. “I just have to fight smart.”
The Ali-Munguia fight will be aired live on HBO.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Ali, King, Smith, O’Connor, Boxing Hall of Fame, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of March 14th to March 21st; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Sadam Ali to Face Liam Smith on HBO
Sadam “World Kid” Ali (26-1, 14 KOs) will defend his WBO Junior Middleweight World Championship against hard-hitting former world champion and No.1 contender Liam “Beefy” Smith (26-1-1, 14 KOs) in a 12-round main event at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, N.Y. The event takes place Saturday, May 12 and will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Ali, a 2008 U.S. Olympian, has always displayed the skills of a future world champion. The 29-year-old pride of Brooklyn, N.Y. held multiple regional titles and scored important wins against the likes of Francisco “Chia” Santana, Luis Carlos “El Potro” Abregu and former interim WBA World Super Lightweight Champion Johan “El Terrible” Perez. Though suffering a setback in a welterweight title fight against Jessie Vargas, Ali silenced his doubters by moving up to 154 pounds to defeat future Hall of Famer Miguel Cotto in Dec. 2017. The newly-crowned WBO Junior Middleweight Champion will face a tough challenge in Smith, a former holder of the same 154-pound title.
“It felt great to accomplish my dream of becoming world champion,” said Sadam Ali. “I’m excited to defend my title and to demonstrate that it is not up for grabs. Liam Smith is a great fighter and I’m sure he’ll be ready, but so will I.”
Smith, the first of an impressive stable of brothers to win a world title, is a 29-year-old native of Liverpool, England. After scoring 20 impressive victories as a professional, Smith defeated John “Apollo Kidd” Thompson via seventh-round technical knockout to capture the WBO 154-pound title that Ali currently holds. Smith then faced Canelo Alvarez in front of over 50,000 fans at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Smith lost the title in an impressive show of heart and determination, and after three consecutive victories, he is ready to regain the title that was once his.
“I’m very happy that we’ve got this fight,” said Liam Smith. “I’m looking forward to pitting myself against a good fighter in Sadam Ali, a former Olympian and now world champion who is coming off the back of a good win against Miguel Cotto. I’m confident going into this fight. I know I’m naturally the bigger man, and that will come into play, especially in the type of fight that I think it will be.”
“Sadam Ali climbed onto the world championship stage with one of the biggest upsets in boxing history when he snatched the WBO Junior Middleweight World Title from Four-Division, Six Time World Champion, and Future Hall of Famer Miguel Cotto at Madison Square Garden,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. “Being in the ring with a hungry fighter with a world championship belt on his resume like Liam Smith will be nothing new to Ali. Sadam will prove yet again he’s someone to watch out for in the division.”
“This is Liam’s chance to reclaim his world title,” said Frank Warren. “He’s come through two hard fights against Liam Williams to earn his shot, and he’s done what he set out to do. When he lost his belt against Canelo Alvarez, Liam said he would be a world champion again, and on May 12 he will deliver on that promise.”
Ali vs. Smith is a 12-round fight for the WBO Junior Middleweight Championship presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Frank Warren. The event is sponsored by Tecate, “THE OFFICIAL BEER OF BOXING” and Casa Mexico Tequila. The fight will take place Saturday, May 12, 2018 at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York and will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Host of the May 12 event, Turning Stone Resort Casino is a Forbes Four-Star Award-winning destination resort, which continues to distinguish itself as a premier venue for fight-of-the-year level boxing. The May event will mark Turning Stone’s 25th nationally-televised boxing event, cementing the resort as a leading destination for nationally-televised combat sports. Turning Stone features world-class amenities including four hotels, more than 20 signature restaurants and dining options, two spas, an all-new 125,000 square foot Las Vegas style gaming floor, a cabaret-style Showroom, a 5,000-seat arena, five golf courses, several bars, cocktail lounges and nightlife venues with live entertainment every weekend.
Tickets for this highly anticipated matchup go on sale Tuesday, March 20 at 10:00 am ET and are available from $95 and $75 for ringside seats and all others priced at $55 and $45, plus any applicable fees. Tickets can be purchased at the Turning Stone Resort Box Office in person or by calling 315-361-7469 or online at Ticketmaster (www.ticketmaster.com).
Don King Brings Isaac Ekpo and Rafael Mensah to America to Train for Upcoming World Title Fights
World Boxing Association (WBA) Mandatory challenger Isaac Ekpo (32-3, 25 KOs) from Abuja, Nigeria, and Rafael “Sweet Pea” Mensah (31-0, 23 KOs) from Accra Ghana both recently arrived to the U.S. with a new manager, new direction and first full training camps with trainer Stacy McKinley, to prepare for their upcoming world title fights.
Ekpo arrived in Germany Sunday for a world title rematch against WBA Super Middleweight Champion Tyron Zeuge. Their first bout, almost a year ago to the day on March 25, 2017, ended in controversial fashion and a loss for Ekpo.
Mensah has been in serious negotiations to challenge WBA Super Featherweight Champion Alberto Machado (19-0, 16 KOs).
Both Ekpo and Mensah arrived in the U.S. having made little to no money while fighting in Africa. Both fighters have a new manager. Stacy McKinley is training both for the first time.
“My old manager and promoter in Ghana, Anthony Karmah, (of Landmark Boxing), did good by taking me to where I am but he cheated me and is cheating all the boxers.” Explained Ekpo, also a 2004 Olympian. “He never paid me for the fights. He told me the fights, all of my fights, were for building my career. He prefers to have the money all to himself and the boxers are suffering, which is very bad. I was the mandatory challenger to (WBO Super Middleweight Champion Robert) Stieglitz in 2013. I was No. 7. We fought 12-rounds and was paid only $12K – for a world title fight! I argued with him but it didn’t matter. After the fight I went back to Africa, and signed with Don King. When I came to America in December, Don King told me to put the past behind and move forward. My coach is there beside me taking good care of me. He and Don King don’t treat me like a boxer they treat me like I am their blood.”
“In Ghana I was the champion, but no, I didn’t get any money,” said Mensah, who as an amateur was the Captain of the Ghana National Team. “The promoter there signed me and I don’t get money. Why? Somebody chopped my money. Every time I fight he told me he was building my record for me. I don’t know why. I fought thirty-one fights, big fights. I won the African title twice and the African Boxing Union title. I fight in front of huge crowds in Ghana – it is like the Las Vegas of Africa, it is the Mecca. Ike Quartey, Joshua Clottey, Azumah Nelson, Agbeko – they all fought there.”
Ekpo went further: “I would fight under Don King Productions and Don would send the money to my manager and I would never see the money – my manger keeps saying, still, he is building my record and I never see the money. When I fought Zeuge my manager got the money from Don King but he took two months to pay me – he said Don King never paid him. My manger was trying to destroy the man’s (Don King’s) name and it’s not like that. When my wife passed, I was looking for some money to help my family and Don King sent my former manager $10,000 to give to me. I only received $2000 of it – my manager kept the rest.” Ekpo lived on his marginal soldier’s salary. “When I came to train in America in December, Don King told me to put the past behind and move forward. My coach is there beside me taking good care of me. He and Don King don’t treat me like a boxer they treat me like I am their blood. Don King gave me money and I shared it and said this money is going to change a lot of things in my life.”
Mensah on his arrival to the U.S.: “I was in Ghana and I was told I got this opportunity to fight Machado and I may not get this opportunity again so I said OK, I will come to the America to see Don King for the first time. I signed with Don King three years ago with my old manager and never net him. My old manager would not let me meet Don King. My contract with my old manager was up in November and my new manager told me to come to the US to get better training – he convinced me to move here. I came to US a month ago and Don King said, “Rafael, now that you are here, how can I help you?” I said ‘yes, I will take this title to give to you. Don’t worry about that.’ I am here in the USA training and it will not be a problem. I am the man, I am Sweet Pea.”
Ekpo wants this message sent across to Zeuge regarding the rematch – “Train hard because I am coming. My name is ‘Grenade’ and when I explode no living thing will be left near me – everything will fall, and he is going to fall. I promise him and by the grace of God he is going to fall.”
In the first Zeuge-Ekpo fight, in front of a Zeuge hometown crowd at MBS Arena in Pottsdam, Germany, Zeuge (21-0-1, 11 KOs) from Berlin, was cut in round three from an Ekpo left hook.. “I gave him a left hook and it caught him but they changed it to a head-butt. It wasn’t a head-butt like they called it. It was a left hook. I watch the fight every day,” said Ekpo. The decision would go to the judges’ scorecards, whom all had Zeuge ahead at the time (48-47, 49-47, 49-46). “In round 5 he was very tired, but he survived the round. When the round was over he called the doctor to stop the fight. When they stopped the fight my coach and I were celebrating, but next the referee said ‘no, it is a technical decision.’ Why technical decision? The guy said he can’t fight. I’m not tired. I didn’t give up. If he stopped the fight that means I am the winner because I never give up but the champion said he is not going to fight anymore.”
Ekpo had gone into the fight with extreme adversity, having lost his wife (a 32-year-old Nigerian National soccer star) during childbirth on March 9, just two weeks before the fight. “After my wife delivered she started bleeding and from there she passed away,” explained Ekpo. “She left the baby behind. I gave her the mommy’s name and she is living right now with her grandmother. ” Ekpo trained only one week with his new trainer and five weeks total for the fight. Ekpo thought long and hard before deciding to go through with the fight. “I needed the money to take care of my family. Coach Stacy McKinley said to me ‘you’re good, you can beat this kid.’ I fought Zeuge with pains in my heart.”
“This time my hands are my referee and my judges. I am going to fight Tyron Zeuge as if he is the one that killed my wife,” said Ekpo. “Last time I took all of his best punches. Now I am stronger and I’m going to hit him hard – harder than before, like a sledgehammer. This time I am going to knock him out in his hometown, right in front of his people. He is not going 12-rounds with me. I promised my wife before she died that I would bring the title back to my baby. I love her so much. Every time I think about her I shed tears.”
Machado on his immediate future: “My next fight will be against Machado. I know Machado and I know I can beat Machado. There is no doubt that Mensah can beat him. When I saw Machado I said ‘yes, I can beat you.’ You are not somebody that can beat me. You cannot beat Rafael Mensah. I will come and maybe not knock you out but I will beat you in boxing. I will teach you boxing very well. If I don’t knock you out I will teach you a boxing lesson.”
“I came to America and signed with a new manager and he exposed everything,” explained Ekpo, who moved to the United States on December 27. “When I first learned what had happened, I wanted to go back to Africa and fight him but Don King said no. He knows he can’t even call me any more and he’s scared. Everything is exposed. The last time I was at his office and he hid then ran out the back door. Don King gave me money and immediately I told my new manager to send it to my family and he said ‘why are you crying?’ The amount of money Don King gave me will change a lot of things and that makes me happy. Now I’m going to give him the title. That’s the thing I’m going to use to pay him back.”
“Now I am ranked #2 in the WBA and now I am waiting for Machado,” said Machado. “I came here to train and listen to my new manager. I left my 4-month old child and my wife to come to America because of Machado. When I arrived Don King said, ‘Rafael, now that you are here, how can I help you?’ I said ‘yes, I will take this title to give to you. Don’t worry about that. I am now focused about the business of being in the ring. I don’t see anybody coming to beat me. My new manager is here to help me. God has done everything for me and now I listen to Don King and my manager. So now everything will be all right for me in America.”
Nelson Aiyelabowo, current manager of both Ekpo and Mensah: “We are very grateful for how Don King has welcomed us. Isaac is having a great camp and we are ready to add to a stable of champions Don King has promoted over the past decades.”
MTK Global Opens MTK NewCastle as UK Presence Continues to Grow
MTK Global is pleased to confirm the opening of a new UK branch – MTK Newcastle in Gateshead.
With MTK Global’s UK bases in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Scotland already thriving, the proud fighting city of Newcastle has joined the party.
The north-east has produced several success stories in the ring, such as Glenn McCrory’s world cruiserweight title glory down the road in Stanley in 1989. World title challengers John Davison and Billy Hardy are also local stars of yesteryear.
With interest in boxing and MMA on the rise, MTK Newcastle will provide excellent facilities for the stars of tomorrow while remaining an invaluable recreational facility for the local community.
MTK Newcastle Gym Manager and coach, Brad Tarren, said: “It’s exciting news for fighters in the north-east of England as we look to create combat teams under the MTK banner.
“MTK Newcastle adds to the growing entity of the MTK Global brand and we are certainly excited for the future prospects this opportunity brings.
“The gym will also remain as a recreational facility welcome to all members of the public – regardless of their level or experience.”
MTK Global CEO Sandra Vaughan added: “We are so proud to have added a Newcastle headquarters. It’s a fantastic city with a rich history in combat sports.
“We look forward to Brad and his team nurturing the local talent. This move is further proof of MTK Global’s commitment to improving opportunities for fighters in as many areas as we can.”
Follow MTK Newcastle on Twitter @mtknewcastle
National Boxing Hall of Fame Gala 2018
The National Boxing Hall Of Fame will be holding its Annual GALA April 28th, 2018 from 11:00am – 3:00pm, at Quiet Cannon Event Center, 901 Via San Clemente, Montebello, CA. Tickets are $75 and available at www.nationalboxinghalloffame.com All 2018 Inductees are confirmed to attend event this year! Limited seating available and tickets MUST be paid in advance to attend.
The 2018 Inductees are:
◦Eddie Mustafa Muhammad
POSTHUMOUS (Family will attend)
RISING STAR AWARD
◦2016 U.S. Olympian Karlos Balderas
DON SULAIMAN LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
HOWIE STEINDLER AWARD
◦Danny “Little Red” Lopez
◦Ernie “Indian Red” Lopez
BOBBY CHACON GIFT OF LOVE AWARD
Boxing Fans, don’t miss this great Boxing event with legends of our sport and future stars, for more information please contact [email protected] .
Danny O’Connor Defends WBC Title Against Steve Claggett
After coming off a of a great KO win, earning the vacant WBC Silver Intercontinental Title against rising Queens prospect and previously undefeated, DANNY GONZALEZ, (then, 14-0 5KO’s) at STAR BOXING’S Slugfest at the Sun, at Mohegan Sun Arena, in November, DANNY O’CONNOR (now, 30-3, 11KO’s) put his title on the line at the against an extremely tough Canadian in STEVE CLAGGETT (now, 26-5-1, 17 KO’s).
Claggett came into last nights title bout, just off of a hard fought win against previously unbeaten, and fellow highly touted Canadian prospect, YVES ULYSSE JR. (then, 14-0 9KO’s).
O’Connor vs. Claggett was seen live on PPV, and was the main event bout of a great night of boxing on St. Patricks day, from the House of Blues Boston.
For the opening two rounds, O’Connor and Claggett maintained a fast, competitive pace, with give and take action by both fighters. However, in the third round, O’Connor began to find his rhythm, landing strong combinations while alluding the attempted offense of Claggett.
O’Connor continued to use his combinations to score, while keeping his foot on the outside of Claggett, dodging most attempts the Canadian threw. However, in the seventh round, Claggett threw a perfect counter right, that sent O’Connor to the canvas. O’Connor managed to shake off the knockdown, got his legs under him, and finished the final two rounds strong, earning a unanimous decision vicory, and successfully defending his WBC belt.
Promoter JOE DEGUARDIA had this to say about O’Connor’s strong outing, “Danny O’Connor showed true guts, putting his title on the line against a very tough fighter in Steve Claggett. Danny used his skill and more importantly, great resilience, getting up from a late round knockdown to defend his title. This was a very solid victory for Danny against a tough opponent, and we look forward to what is to come.”
O’Connor vs. Claggett was promoted by Murphy’s Boxing and Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing.
Today Would Have Been Muhammad Ali’s 76th Birthday
By: Ken Hissner
In 1960 a brash young boxer from Louisville, KY, came on the scene. Cassius Clay won the National AAU light heavyweight title defeating Roy Ector at 0:55 of the third and last round in Louisville.
In the Golden Gloves he won the Inter-city title April 7th defeating Joe Reynolds in Toledo, OH. He qualified for the Olympic Trials. He won the Eastern Regional defeating Henry Cooper by TKO2 at 2:49 in Louisville. In the Trials he would go onto defeat Fred Lewis by DEC and Allen Hudson by TKO 3 in San Francisco. In the finals he defeated Yvon Because TKO 2 at 1:50 in Rome. He had competed at heavyweight but lost to Percy Price of the Marine Corp out of Philadelphia so he was allowed to compete at light heavyweight.
In the Olympic Games in Rome Clay defeated Genadiy Schatkov, Australian’s Tony Madigan and for the Gold Medal he defeated 3-time European Champion Zbigniew Pietrzkowski of Poland. The world now was his as he would turn professional in October of 1960. There have been different records shown for him such as 134-7, 137-7, 99-8 and 61-6.
There have been reports Clay lost in 1955 to James Davis in the Novice GG tourney. In the same year he lost to John Hampton. In 1957 he lost to Donnie Hall by split decision. He lost to Terry Hodge by TKO1. He lost to Jimmy Ellis whom he would split with, in the amateurs.
In 1958 Clay was TKO by 2 Kent Green. At the Pan Am Games he lost to Amos Johnson in the semis. Percy Price was the last to defeat him in the Olympic Trials. That’s at least seven losses. Some reported he ended up 100-7.
He would turn professional in October of 1964 and win his first nineteen bouts earning him a Championship bout with Heavyweight Champion Sonny Liston. Clay would win the title when Liston couldn’t go on after six rounds. The fight was even with each boxer getting a vote and the other judge a draw. After this fight he announced he had joined the Islamic faith and would be called Muhammad Ali.
A rematch was scheduled just three months later with Ali delivering the “phantom punch” knocking out Liston at 2:12 of the first round. This fight has always been under scrutiny asking did Liston take “a dive?”
Ali would go onto win the title three times after losses. His final record was 56-5 with 37 knockout wins. He only lost once by stoppage. As a husband he lost three times before being married a fourth and last time.
Ali became quite a humanitarium. In 1990 he went to Iraq where their President Saddam Hussein allowed him to bring back fifteen American hostages. This in itself was remarkable.
So on January 17th of 2018 Ali would have celebrated his 76th birthday! Long live the memory of the “Greatest!”
Boxing Insider Notebook: Donaire, Frampton, Ali, Ortiz, Alexander, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of January 2nd to January 9th, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Frampton and Donaire to Clash in Belfast on April 21st
Carl Frampton believes his clash against Nonito Donaire on Saturday, April 21 will be one of the biggest fights to ever take place in Belfast and a make-or-break bout for both men.
MTK Global-backed two-weight world champion Frampton (24-1, 14KO) is set to take on Filipino four-weight world champion Donaire (38-4, 24KO) in a featherweight showdown at Belfast’s SSE Odyssey Arena.
Both former Fighters of the Year, the pair will meet in a blockbuster bout, live on BT Sport and BoxNation in the UK and Ireland on a Frank Warren-promoted bill.
Tickets ranging from £40 (tier) to £400 (inner-ring hospitality) will go on general sale this Thursday (January 11th) at 10am.
And MTK Global’s Frampton is looking forward to meeting elite opposition on home soil in his first bout of 2018.
“It’s a brilliant fight – a four-weight world champion against a two-weight world champion,” said Frampton. “Has a bigger ‘away’ fighter ever come to fight in Belfast before? I don’t think there’s been a bigger name than Nonito Donaire and he’s coming to fight a local guy in his hometown.
“But I think both of us are in the same situation – a slip-up here and one of us might never fight for a world title again. There’s a lot on the line for both guys.”
With a much-anticipated summer fight date at Belfast’s Windsor Park in the works for ‘The Jackal’, 30-year-old Frampton believes a win over the 42-fight Filipino veteran would be perfect preparation ahead of a world-title tilt.
The Irishman is coming off the back of a 10-round points win over Mexican Horacio Garcia last month in what was Frampton’s first outing since the loss of his WBA world featherweight crown to Leo Santa Cruz.
And ‘The Jackal’ is confident that victory over Donaire will tee up a bout against the winner of the forthcoming IBF title clash between 126lb rivals Lee Selby and Josh Warrington.
“In terms of the size of a fight, it’s not for a world title but the winner of this fight will no doubt get a world-title shot,” said Frampton.
“On the world stage, I think this is a bigger fight than Lee Selby against Josh Warrington, which is a world-title fight, so it’s huge,” continued the Belfast native, whose reign as unified WBA & IBF world super-bantamweight champion in 2016 coincided with Donaire’s second spell as the WBO 122lb title holder before both men later claimed world featherweight belts.
“He’s been at the top of four divisions, but he was in the same weight division as me for quite a while and he’s someone I’ve always kept an eye on,” said Frampton. “He’s someone I admire as well and I think he’s a great fighter, but I think this is the perfect fight to get me ready for a world-title fight in the summer.”
While Donaire has suffered three defeats since being named 2012 Fighter of the Year by The Ring, ESPN and the Boxing Writers’ Association of America –the same honours Frampton picked up for 2016 – the 35-year-old ‘Filipino Flash’ is eager to prove that he is still an elite force at 126lbs.
“This is exactly the type of fight I live for — going in against one of the best in the world in the lion’s den of his hometown of Belfast,” said Donaire. “I can’t wait for the first bell! I know I’ll have to be the best I can be on fight night. Make no mistake, I’m already training like never before.”
MTK Global Professional Development Coordinator Jamie Conlan believes the fight will be an ideal warm-up for Frampton ahead of a summer world-title date.
“Donaire is a great fighter and this will be a real test for Carl, but it’s one that MTK are confident he’ll pass and that he’ll do so in style. Fair play to Carl, he didn’t want a handy fight ahead of another world-title shot and we were keen to deliver that,” said Conlan.
“It’s going to be another huge night for Belfast and Irish boxing and we’ll have some of MTK’s best talent on the bill.”
Details of a press conference will be announced in the coming days.
Kamegai to Face Daquan Pauldo on Matthysse and Linares Card
Japanese slugger Yoshihiro “El Maestrito” Kamegai (27-4-2, 24 KOs) will return after his impressive first shot at a world title to take on Orlando, Florida’s Daquan “King” Pauldo (16-1, 9 KOs) in a 10-round super welterweight fight that will top off the non-televised undercard of Matthysse vs. Kiram and Linares vs. Gesta on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018 at the “Fabulous” Forum in Inglewood, Calif. The non-televised undercard action will be streamed live on RingTV.com beginning at 3:00 p.m. PT/ 6:00 p.m. ET.
As previously announced, Argentine knockout artist Lucas “La Maquina” Matthysse (38-4, 35 KOs) of Chubut, Argentina will take on the explosive undefeated Thai superstar Tewa Kiram (38-0, 28 KOs) in a 12-round battle for the vacant WBA Welterweight World Championship in the first co-main event. Jorge “El Nino De Oro” Linares (43-3, 27 KOs) will defend his WBA, WBC Diamond, and Ring Magazine Lightweight Titles against Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta (31-1-2, 17 KOs) in a 12-round bout in the second co-main event. This special double main event will be televised live on HBO Boxing After Dark beginning at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT.
Kamegai will return after his impressive outing against former six-time, four-division world champion Miguel Cotto, which was for the WBO Junior Middleweight World Title in an HBO-televised main event in August 2017 at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. Before that fight, Kamegai took part in two consecutive Fight of the Year candidates against Jesus “Renuente” Soto Karass in June and Sept. of 2016. Kamegai will look to earn another shot at a 154-pound title if successful against Pauldo.
Pauldo, a 25-year-old super welterweight contender who was formerly known as Daquan Arnett, has only suffered one loss in his impressive career, which was when he dropped down to 147 pounds to take on tough Golden Boy Promotions contender Eddie “Eboy” Gomez. After returning to 154 pounds, Pauldo has defeated five people in a row, including the experienced Jorge “Pantera” Silva in his last bout in July 2017. A win against Kamegai would give Pauldo a much-earned boost in the super welterweight rankings.
Marcelino “Nino” Lopez (33-21, 18 KOs) the native of Buenos Aires, Argentina and member of the exclusive training camp of Joel Diaz in Indio, Calif., will return in a 10-round super lightweight fight against an opponent that will be announce shortly. Lopez will return after defeating former interim WBA Super Lightweight Champion Pablo “El Demoledor” Cesar Cano via second-round technical knockout.
After seven spectacular wins in 2017, Armenian welterweight prospect Ferdinand Kerobyan (7-0, 4 KOs) will start the new year in a six-round welterweight fight against an opponent that will be announced soon. In his last fight, Kerobyan defeated Tavorus Teague in the ESPN3-streamed undercard of the Dec. 14 edition of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN.
In an exciting and rarely-seen battle between two undefeated prospects, Los Angeles native Tenochtitlan “T-Dog” Nava (7-0, 1 KO) will participate in an eight-round 126-pound clash against Las Vegas’ Francisco “El Alacran” Esparza (6-0-1, 2 KOs). Both fighters are known for their come-forward, all-action styles, and with so much on the line, the bout will surely produce fireworks.
Romero “Ruthless” Duno (15-1, 13 KOs) will fight for a second consecutive time at the “Fabulous” Forum in an eight-round lightweight battle against Sacramento, Calif.’s Yardley Armenta (21-9, 12 KOs). The Filipino prospect made his U.S. debut and introduced himself in exciting fashion via a devastating second-round knockout victory against the previously undefeated prospect Christian “Chimpa” Gonzalez. Since then, Duno has scored two more victories, which were against Jason Tinampay and Juan Pablo Sanchez respectively.
Undefeated prospect Javier Martinez (4-0, 3 KOs) of Dallas, Texas will kick off highly-anticipated night of action in a six-round featherweight fight against a soon-to-be-announced opponent.
HDNet Movies Pays Tribute to Muhammad Ali on his Birthday on Wednesday January 17th
Step into the ring with HDNET MOVIES, as the network celebrates the life and legacy of boxing superstar Muhammad Ali on what would have been his 76TH Birthday with a “Remembering Ali” double feature—a night of documentaries and biopics starring the legend himself on Wednesday, Jan. 17, beginning at 7:15pE.
The night kicks off with the star-studded 1977 biopic THE GREATEST, starring Ali as himself in his big screen debut. The film is based on his acclaimed autobiography of the same name, and recreates some of the most important moments of his life and career including his gold medal Olympic victory at 18 years old; his legendary match with Joe Frazier in the “Thrilla In Manila”; his conversion to Islam; and his three-and-a-half-year legal battle to win back the heavyweight title that was stripped from him when he refused to enter the army due to his religious beliefs. James Earl Jones, Robert Duvall, and Ben Johnson also star.
Then, stay tuned for the classic 1970 documentary A.K.A. CASSIUS CLAY at 9pE, which provides an intimate glimpse into the boxing icon’s career with rare archived footage featuring Ali associates such as Malcolm X, Angelo Dundee, and more, as well as clips from some of his most famous fights including an epic bout with Sonny Liston. The piece is headlined by a very special sit-down with Ali and his longtime trainer Cus D’Amato, who discuss Ali’s career and share a priceless back-and-forth that true Ali aficionados won’t want to miss.
For a complete schedule of films and times, visit www.hdnetmovies.com/schedules.
Victor Ortiz vs. Devon Alexander Set for February 17th
“Vicious” Victor Ortiz and Devon Alexander “The Great” headline a show topped by two USA vs. Mexico battles as the former welterweight champions meet in the 12-round main event of Premier Boxing Champions on FOX and FOX Deportes Saturday, Feb. 17 from Don Haskins Center on the UTEP campus in El Paso, Texas with televised coverage starting at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
In the co-main event unbeaten contender Caleb “Sweet Hands” Plant will battle Rogelio “Porky” Medina in a 12-round 168-pound world title eliminator.
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions, are priced at $200, $100, $60, $40, $25 and will go on sale Friday. Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster.
Also on the card, Tony Harrison (25-2, 20 KOs) takes on Jorge Cota (27-2, 24 KOs) in a super welterweight showdown and Karlos Balderas, a 2016 U.S. Olympian, will appear in a lightweight special attraction.
“This is a classic crossroads match in the truest sense. Both Devon Alexander and Victor Ortiz are battle-tested in one of the toughest, deepest divisions in boxing,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “Alexander has overcome some serious health issues and is looking to regain the welterweight championship. Ortiz, also a former champion, has always come to fight and doesn’t back down from anyone. It promises to be an entertaining match for the fans in attendance at Don Haskins Center and those who tune in on FOX and FOX Deportes.”
Ortiz (32-6-2, 25 KOs), a former 147-pound champion, has split time between boxing and acting throughout his recent career and brings a certain flare every time he steps into the ring. The 30-year-old native of Garden City, Kansas who now lives in Ventura, California, has faced some of the top names in the 147-pound division during his career. Ortiz won the welterweight title with unanimous decision victory over Andre Berto on April 16, 2011. Five months later he lost the title to Floyd Mayweather, Jr. by knockout. Ortiz, 30, suffered a knockout loss to Andre Berto in 2016 on FOX and bounced back with a knockout victory over Saul Corral in his last fight on July 30 on FS1.
“I’m ready to give all I have to defeat Devon Alexander and get my crown back,” said Ortiz. “My priority is to make a strong comeback and putting myself in a position to have my straps once again. I demonstrated what I was made of and did what I said I was going to do in my last fight. I’m facing a great fighter in Devon Alexander and someone I’ve known since we were kids. I don’t hate him, but I will not be his friend on fight night and he won’t be mine. I’m ready to prove everyone wrong starting on Feb. 17.”
Alexander (27-4, 14 KOs) emerged on the scene with a unanimous decision victory over Randall Bailey for the welterweight title in 2012. He defended the title once before losing it to Shawn Porter in 2013. Since then, the 30-year-old Alexander of St. Louis, Missouri has been on a mission to regain the title. After losing to Amir Khan and Aaron Martinez, Alexander suffered another setback when he sought treatment for an addiction to painkillers. Fully healthy for the first time in three years, Alexander returned to the ring with a unanimous decision victory over Walter Castillo on FS1 on Nov. 21.
“I’m excited to get back in there against a fighter like Victor Ortiz,” said Alexander. “We’ve known each other a long time but never fought in the amateurs, so this should be interesting. 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. I’m ready for any challenge that’s brought my way. When I’m 100 percent, nobody can beat me.”
Plant (16-0, 10 KOs) won eight of his first nine fights by knockout, demonstrating power in both hands to go along with his boxing abilities. The 25-year-old climbed into the top ten of the 168-pound rankings with his last victory – a unanimous decision over Andrew Hernandez in Las Vegas on Sept. 8. Medina represents a major step up for Plant and will give him an indication of just where the Ashland, Tennessee native stands in the division as he looks to become a mandatory challenger for the IBF title.
The 29-year-old Medina (38-8, 32 KOs) has squared off against some of the toughest boxers in the division, including current champion David Benavidez and former champions James DeGale and Badou Jack. Fighting out of Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico lost by knockout to Benavidez on May 20, and bounced back with a knockout victory over Daniel Eduardo Yocupicio on Sept. 1.
The FOX prime time broadcast will kick off a full night of boxing, leading into a doubleheader on SHOWTIME that features two-division world champion Danny Garcia versus Brandon Rios and 168-pound champion David Benavidez defending his title in a rematch against Ronald Gavril from Las Vegas.
Thomas LaManna Battles Gabriel Bracero for WBC Fecarbox Welterweight Title in Atlantic City
Thomas “Cornflake” LaManna will headline the inaugural Boardwalk Boxing series when he takes the battle-tested veteran Gabriel Bracero in a ten-round welterweight bout for the WBC Fecarbox welterweight title on Saturday, February 24th at The Showboat Hotel in Atlantic City.
The bout will be the main event of a huge night of boxing promoted by Rising Star Promotions
The new Boardwalk Boxing series, which was announced last week, promised high-quality matchups, while featuring the best local fighters.
LaManna, 26, of Millville, New Jersey has an impressive mark of 25-2 with nine knockouts.
The popular LaManna has led the revival of boxing in Atlantic City as his Rising Star Promotions has become the preeminent promoter in Atlantic City.
LaManna consistently has performed as a headliner in front of sell out crowds is eager to thrill fans, and potentially notch the biggest win of his career.
“This is a crossroads fight. He needs a win over me to stay relevant, and I need a win over him to be taken serious,” said LaManna. “Bracero has fought some top guys. His losses have been to world champions and Gold Medal winners. He has been around the block.”
“I want to start 2018 with a good test. I want to test myself. When I go through a hard camp, dieting and focusing, I want it to be worth it.”
“This should be a great atmosphere as he is a popular fighter like myself. A win over him will give me an opportunity as I will move up in the ratings. This is a make or break year, and a win will put me in there with other contenders.”
LaManna will celebrate his 7th year as a professional, as he has wins over Kendal Mena (20-3), as well as winning the WBC Silver Latino and WBC FECARBOX Welterweight titles with a ten-round unanimous decision over rugged George Sosa.
In his last bout, LaManna defended the WBC FECARBOX title with a ten-round unanimous decision over Samuel Amoako on November 28th in Atlantic City.
This will be LaManna’s 18th fight in Atlantic City.
Bracero of Brooklyn, New York has an impressive mark of 24-3 with five knockouts.
Bracero, who will be 38 on February 14th has faced and defeated some impressive foes over his 17 year-career.
Bracero win his first 18 bouts which were highlighted by wins over Winston Mathis (6-0), Danny O’Connor (14-0), Guillermo Valdes (12-3), Jermaine White (17-4), former world totle challenger Dmitry Salita (35-1-1), and a sensational 1st round stoppage over O’Connor (26-2) in the rematch.
Bracero is coming off a ten-round unanimous decision defeat to former two-division world champion Paulie Malignaggi on July 30, 2016 in Brooklyn, New York
“This will be a good fight. He is a tough kid. He is tall, and I will get into the best shape possible,” said Bracero.
“I am excited to finally be fighting in Atlantic City. I have family there, plus my fans from Brooklyn can drive there and spend a nice weekend. ”
“This fight is a true crossroads battle. He is looking to make his name off of me, and I am focusing on winning his WBC Fecarbox title. A win will get me back into the bigger fights.
Also announced is a terrific co-feature bout that will see Anthony “Juice” Young of Atlantic City battling Khiary Gray or Worcester, Massachusetts.
Young, 29, has a record of 18-2 with six knockouts.
The seven-year professional will be looking for his eighth consecutive victory. The Atlantic City favorite has a quality win over Jose Javier Claderon (4-1), and will be making his 12th start in his hometown.
Pitts has an impressive mark of 15-3 with eleven knockouts.
The 25 year-old New Englander won his first 13 bouts. The four-year professional is a former UBF International Super Welterweight champion, and in his last bout he won the Interim New England Super Welterweight title with an eight-round majority decision over Greg Jackson on December 7, 2017 in Lincoln, Rhode Island.
There will be an announcement about the full undercard shortly.
Tickets are available for $155, $80 and $55, and can be purchased online at www.risingboxingpromotions.com .
This event is sponsored by Acos Energy, Designer Wraps, Eat Clean Bro, Calvi Electric, and Alpha Academy.
Sugar Promotions New Blood Card in Mexico Set for February 2nd
Damien Vazquez’ Sugar Promotions, will promote its card titled “New Blood”, featuring Issac “Canelito” Avelar (13-0, 8 KOs), vs. Alejandro Frias (6-2-1, 3 KOs), fighting for the WBC FECOMBOX Featherweight title in a 10-round main-event. The bout will take place at the Palenque de la Feria in Aguascalientes, Mexico on February 2, 2018.
Issac “Canelito” Avelar, who is managed by Prince Ranch Boxing, is looking to make a statement in his hometown after having his last fight delayed due to a minor hand injury.
“I am ready to show my hometown fans why I will be fighting the best fighters in the world,” said Issac Avelar. “I was supposed to fight last December, but it was delayed, because of a small hand injury. I took that time to improve as a fighter and I am 100% healthy. Everyone will see the best version of Canelito on February 2nd”
“Canelito is a big star in Aguascalientes, Mexico where he was born and raised,” Oscar Vazquez, president of Sugar Promotions stated. “We are excited to put on a show with great local talent. Canelito is a homegrown hero from Aguascalientes, Mexico and it is exciting to promote such a massive event. Everyone in town will be here.”
“NEW BLOOD” also features undefeated bantamweight Damien “Sugar” Vazquez (12-0, 6 KOs) vs. TBA, unbeaten super-featherweight Edwing Davila (16-0, 9 KOs), vs. Octavio Guardado, Lightweight Donovan Estrella (10-0, 4 KOs) vs. Antonio Camacho, Mayran Reyes vs. Naomi Arellano, Christina Mora vs. TBA and light heavyweight Kye Brooks (1-0, 1 KO) vs. Ivan Sanchez. Damian Vasquez has his sights set on fighting McJoe Arroyo (17-2, 8 KOs) before the year is over.
“February 2nd is looking to be a great show and I’m thrilled to work with Sugar Promotions,” said Greg Hannely, CEO of Prince Ranch Boxing. “This will be one of the best cards ever put on in Aguascalientes, Mexico. All my fighters are coming to win and win impressively.”
“This is Your Life” Muhammad Ali
By: Ken Hissner
Back on December 25th in 1978 in the UK host Eamonn Andrews surprised Muhammad Ali at the New London Theatre when Ali showed up with Reg Guthridge a journalist and boxing ring commentator through a theatre door and was Ali surprised! Ali got a big applause from the audience and kept shaking his head like “is this for real?” Pertaining to Guthridge Ali said “he lied to me!”
The first guest was his third and then current wife Veronica from backstage said “he said he was afraid of me!” She said they met in Salt Lake City where he was training.
Singer Tom Jones appeared on film claiming Ali showed up at one of his performances back stage when they first met and said “I wonder if this is a bigger surprise then when Henry Cooper hit you with that left hook?” Than added “nice set up this time I can talk to you without being interrupted!” He added “you made a recording of Stand by Me. “I told you if you don’t take up singing I won’t take up boxing!”
Then Ali’s parents came out. His mother Odessa Ali nicknamed “Bird” due to her small nose. His mother said “when he was eighteen months old he was strong and was swinging his arms and knocked out one of my teeth and loosened another.” Then Ali’s brother Rahman Ali came out who was eighteen months younger and also was a boxer (14-3-1).
Then by film came his father’s sister and Ali’s Aunt Eva in her barber shop in Louisville giving former heavyweight champion Jimmy Ellis a haircut. “I change your diapers and all you could say was “GG” and later said it meant Golden Gloves,” said Aunt Eva. Then another film came on with Ellis racing by foot next to a school bus like Ali did growing up and ran up to a school where Ali attended and there was his third grade school teacher Mrs. Carter. “Muhammad came to the YMCA that I worked at after retiring from teaching with a check for $10,000.00 for underprivileged children,” said Mrs. Carter. Next thing you know Mrs. Carter and Ellis came out from back stage.
Andrews mentioned Ali’s bike being stolen when he was twelve and from back stage and there came the voice of Ali’s first amateur trainer Joe Martin along with Fred Stoner another trainer of Ali’s. Ali said “don’t tell me you have my bike?” Ali talked how he would secretly go from Martin’s gym to Stoner’s gym who was the better trainer. Ali said the reason pertaining to Stoner who was black was “he got the complexion and connection to get the protection.”
Then by film at a factory in Kentucky was Ali’s first amateur opponent Ron Oakie who lost a split decision to Ali. Then from back stage out came Oakie. Next out was Ali’s professional trainer Angelo Dundee who said “people would say he must have been difficult to train but he was the easiest boxer I ever had to train and we never had one argument.”
Next guest was from the 1960 Olympics in Italy that lost to Ali in the finals from Poland Ziggy Pietrzykowski. He was followed by Olympian Wilma Rudolph from the same Olympics where in track she won three Gold Medals and one Bronze Medal. They were in a parade together when they came to the states. As he hugged her when she came out (rumors back in 1960 it was Ali’s first love) Ali would look over at his wife as if to see was she jealous.
Ali commented “I feel like a little kid at Christmas getting a toy!” Next out was Drew Bundini Brown who made up the phrase “float like a butterfly and sting like a bee!” Ali commented “I never saw him so well dressed and sober!” Brown said “I worked with the great “Sugar” Ray Robinson for seven years and called Ali a phony when he said he could name the rounds when his opponent would fall.”
Then out came Ali’s personal photographer Howard Bingham to whom they were the best man at each other’s weddings. Then out came British champ Henry Cooper who dropped Ali when they met in the UK but lost the fight. Ali said of Cooper “you hit me so hard you jarred my kin folks in Africa!”
By film was actor Anthony Quinn who starred in the movie “Requiem for a Heavyweight” that Ali did a cameo in. Next out was Ali’s former three fight opponent “Smokin” Joe Frazier. After they hugged Ali sat down as Frazier started talking how he gave Ali a ride in his Cadillac to New York. “I couldn’t get a word in the whole trip,” said Frazier. Then it was former great world champion on film Joe “The Brown Bomber” Louis who was recuperating from a stroke.
Finally out with their nanny came Ali’s two young daughters that he hugged and kissed while holding both of them in his arms!
All in all in was a great show with plenty of laughs!
Muhammad Ali Beat Four Olympic Gold Medalists
Muhammad Ali Beat Four Olympic Gold Medalists
By: Ken Hissner
At a boxing event in Atlantic City recently top boxing judge Steve Weisfeld asked “who beat four Olympic Gold Medalists?” About 15 minutes later he told me who it was.
In the 1960 Olympic Boxing Trials Cassius Clay aka Muhammad Ali boxed in the heavyweight division and lost to Percy Price of the Marines. Ali was able to then drop down to Light Heavyweight and made the team and went onto win the Gold Medal in Rome, Italy.
Upon turning professional he converted to Islam and changed his name to Muhammad Ali. During his career he would go onto defeat four Olympic Gold Medalists starting with 1952 winner Floyd Patterson, 43-4. Ali entered the ring at 21-0. It was November 22nd in 1965. Ali was making his second title defense at the Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV. Ali was well ahead when the contest was stopped in the 12th of a 15 round fight. Referee Harry Krause was one of the voting judges in addition to being the referee. He had it 53-46 while Harold Buck had it 54-45 and Bill Stremmell 53-43.
On March 8th 1971 Ali in his third comeback fight took on the world champion who won Gold in 1964 “Smokin” Joe Frazier at Madison Square Garden in New York City. This writer had it 7-6-1 going into the 15th and final round when Frazier knocked Ali down to take the decision by scores of 8-6 in rounds from referee Arthur Mercante, 9-6 by Artie Aidala and 11-4 by Bill Recht.
On March 20th 1972 Ali and Patterson had a return match with Ali stopping him in the 7th round on cuts for the North American Boxing Federation title at Madison Square Garden. At the time of stoppage referee and judge Arthur Mercante had it 6-1, Jack Gordon 4-2 and Tony Castellano 3-3.
On January 28th of 1974 Ali had his second fight with Frazier, 30-1, for the NABF title at Madison Square Garden. Referee and judge Tony Perez had it 6-5, Tony Castellano 7-4 and Jack Gordon 8-4.
On October 30th of 1974 Ali would regain the world title for a record third time defeating then champion “Big” George Foreman, 40-0 stopping him in the 8th round in what was called “the Rumble in the Jungle” in Zaire, Africa. Scores at the time of stoppage were 4-2-1 by referee and judge Zack Clayton, 3-0-4 Norridine Adalla and 4-1-2 by James Taylor.
On October 1st 1975 Ali and Frazier, 32-2, would have their third fight called “the Thrilla in Manila” where Ali stopped Frazier at the end of the 14th round.
On February 15th 1978 Ali lost his world title to 1976 Olympic Gold Medalists Leon Spinks, 6-0-1, at the Hilton Hotel in Las Vegas, NV. Lou Tabat had it 145-140, Harold Buck 144-141 for Spinks and Art Lurie 143-142 for Ali.
On September 15th 1978 in their rematch Ali re-won the title at the Superdome in New Orleans, LA, before 63,350 in attendance. Lucien Lubert had it 10-4, Ernie Cojoe 10-4 and Herman Preis 11-4.
More Boxing History
The Two Questionable Wins of Muhammad Ali
By: Ken Hissner
Muhammad “I Am the Greatest” Ali was the most colorful athlete this writer has ever seen. In person he was one of the funniest person’s I have ever met. He should be in anyone’s top five greatest heavyweights (third in mine). He brought back fifteen American hostages in 1990 from Sadam Hussein’s Iraq. He was the first heavyweight champion to regain the title three times. He was 56-5-1 with 37 knockouts. He reversed three of those five losses in rematches. He defeated nine opponents who would be or were champions.
This writer could go on and on and on raving about Ali, but two fights that have always been under suspicion were his fight in February 1964 and especially in May of 1965. At the Miami Convention Center in February of 1964 he was a very lopsided underdog when he challenged the mean and hard hitting champion Sonny Liston, 35-1.
Ali was 19-0 and talking trash to Liston who most likely was controlled by the mob. Liston would retire at the end of the sixth round giving Ali his world title. There was a moment during the fight that Ali had some kind of ointment in his eyes and wanted to quite but his trainer Angelo Dundee made sure he went out in the next round.
There have been tales of say vaseline ointment that was either on Liston’s gloves or possibly on his should pulling Ali into a clinch. Ali had problem seeing and went out and ran around the ring until it cleared up.
Another story had it that the mob used a baseball bat whacking Liston’s upper left arm so he couldn’t use his powerful jab for long. Liston’s left eye was just about closed and he wasn’t landing any jabs prior to quitting in the corner. We can give Ali the possible win in this one.
The rematch in May of 1965 in Lewiston, MA, was a different story. This writer talked to Liston’s valet in “Smokin” Joe Frazier’s Philadelphia gym and was told “we pulled up to a traffic light just outside of the facility holding the fight (he was not driving but riding shotgun) when these two kids were pointing to the back seat laughing. When I turned around Liston was sweating so bad it was very noticeable even to the two kids. I knew the fix must be in. The money on both fights betting on Ali had to be big.
At 2:12 of the first round what his trainer Dundee called “the Phantom punch” was landed by Ali while pulling back hitting Liston on the jaw with a right hand and down Liston went. He was rolling all over the canvas while former heavyweight champion “Jersey” Joe Walcott who was the referee started and then stopped counting only to start counting again due to Ali standing over Liston telling him “get up you bum!” Ali not being a one punch knockout artist we all thought couldn’t have knocked out Liston with one punch.
Just six months after Liston’s last fight in June of 1970 defeating Chuck Wepner on cuts (57 stitches) he was found dead with needle marks in his arm obviously from an overdose. The thing was Liston had a fear of needles. Was he going to “tell all” about the Ali fights and the mob had to silence him?
The questions have gone on and on for over fifty years about that second fight Ali had with Liston. Few boxing people would tell you the fight was on the up and up. Liston had only be stopped in his previous fight with Ali for the first time in his career.
We may never know how both Ali and Liston fights came to an end but that’s boxing for you. Many people felt Ali was the greatest of all time. At least in the heavyweight division. How about you?
More Boxing History
Is it Sadam Ali’s Time?
By: Kirk Jackson
Sadam Ali 26-1 (14 KO’s) secured victory as the underdog co-staring in Miguel Cotto’s farewell fight, capturing his first world title and scoring redemption after suffering defeat to Jessie Vargas 27-2 (10 KO’s)in an attempt for the vacant WBO welterweight title a year prior.
While the spotlight and the event belonged to the retiring Puerto Rican legend, Ali reminded the world why he was a highly touted amateur and prospect – now new world champion.
“With the decision, when it came my way, which I was praying and hoping for, it’s just a blessing,” said Ali. “I’m grateful and I’m happy. I was a big fan of Cotto’s, still am. He’s a great fighter.”
“I don’t have anything bad to say about him. He’s good inside and outside of the ring. In the ring, he didn’t do anything dirty to me. I appreciate that, and to me he’s a good man and I have respect for him.”
Much like Muhammad, Sadam danced around the ring and stung Cotto quite a few times, noticeably hurting Cotto in the second, fourth and sixth round.
“I had him hurt here or there in the first couple of rounds,” said Ali, who connected with 139 of 647 punches (21%) compared to 163 of 536 (30%) for Cotto. “I knew I had to do something, or he would have dug in. By the 11th, I thought the fight was close.”
The key to victory for Ali was his footwork. Because he was able to move around the ring and constantly change distance, not allowing Cotto to strike in combination because he could never set his feet and locate the target, Ali negated Cotto’s offensive assault.
As the younger man it was imperative for Ali to showcase that to the judges and to make the older veteran work and more his feet in effort to wear him down.
Cotto is known for his amazing left jab and vaunted body assault. Although spectators witnessed flashes of vintage Cotto as he landed jabs here and there to temporarily stagger Ali’s momentum, it was the counter right hand that occasionally stunned Cotto and shifted the fight back into Ali’s hands.
As this was the swan song for Cotto, what’s next for Ali?
While he achieved his lifelong dream of winning a world title, there are plenty of wolves waiting at junior middleweight – one of the hottest divisions in the sport.
It’s also clear Cotto’s best years are behind him and there are noticeable flaws younger, elite fighters may exploit against Ali.
He deserves credit for victory, but one of the things another fighter may exploit is Ali’s tendency to drop his left hand.
He’s open for a right hand lead or counter and an opponent with the awareness and proper timing can capitalize.
In rounds 5, 6 and 7 Ali was not as elusive as Cotto cut the ring off and applied consistent pressure appearing to bother Ali.
Another noticeable observation is Ali is a solid counter-puncher and defensive fighter possessing quick feet and great lateral movement. However he struggles to mount consistent offense.
Sometimes Ali over-extends and reaches while trying to find the proper punching range and his offense opens up while utilizing his defense and countering off an opening. His greatest offensive weapon is his defense.
Defeating a legend however should provide a boost of confidence to Ali, along with the invaluable experience gained fighting a highly skilled veteran in the main event at Madison Square Garden.
Who will be the first guy in line to challenge for Ali’s title?
Vargas may be one of those younger fighters aiming to dethrone Ali and he specifically would love to replicate the same success if granted the opportunity.
“If he wants a rematch and it is something that he desires I am ready for it, anytime, any day, any place. Last time we fought on his side of town in Washington DC so it shows that I wasn’t intimidated at all from fighting Sadam Ali. I said I was going to knock him out before the fight and I did what I said I was going to,” said Vargas.
“If he wants the rematch we can do it anytime – today, tomorrow or whenever – and the result will be the exact same thing. He got knocked out once and probably the only difference is that he would get knocked out sooner.”
The other champions in the division; Erislandy Lara 25-2-2 (14 KO’s), Jermell Charlo 30-0 (15 KO’s) and Jarred Hurd 21-0 (15 KO’s) would likely be favored against Ali.
Other notable contenders include Julian Williams 24-1-1 (15 KO’s) and Tony Harrison 25-2 (20 KO’s).
While a mix of talented challengers and seasoned veterans consisting of Erickson Lubin 18-1 (13 KO’s), Charles Hatley 26-2-1 (18 KO’s), Austin Trout 30-4 (17 KO’s) and Ishe Smith 29-9 (12 KO’s) aim to rebound from respective recent defeats.
The no.1 contender for the WBO junior middleweight title is Liam Smith 26-1-1 (14 KO’s), so there’s a great chance we may witness a bout between he and Ali – a fight Ali should be favored.
A dark horse in the bid to face Ali for the WBO junior middleweight title is Kell Brook 36-2 (25 KO’s) and recently discussed moving up weight after spending his entire career at welterweight.
Brook intends to return to the ring this upcoming March against an opponent yet to be determined.
“I think I’ll have a meaningful fight, a comeback fight, a warm-up fight, and then we’ll be looking at jumping back on the high horse for a world title,” said Brook.
We may even see Brook and Smith fight in a battle of the Brits for the right to fight Ali.
Thank you to all the love and support i have been receiving. Last night i accomplished one of the biggest goals in my life. My time is now. #WorldChampion
— Sadam Ali (@realworldkidali) December 4, 2017
One has to wonder what Ali’s progression as world champion will be.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Pacquiao, Mayweather, McGregor, Ali, Klitschko, and more…
By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of November 28th to December 5th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Pacquiao Hopes to Promote Boxing in China
Manny Pacquiao is hoping to develop professional boxing in China by establishing a boxing academy there.
He recently signed an agreement with China’s Dancing Sports to help “attract, train and develop Chinese world class boxers and to regularly promote professional boxing matches all over China.” Pacquiao stated, “Yesterday, I met with President Xi and Prime Minister Li Keqiang, and I am glad that the high level relationship between China and the Philippines is going further. President Xi’s Belt and Road initiative is very important, it will help countries along exchanges and cooperation at all levels across borders,” Pacquiao said.
“It is not difficult to see that the signing of this comprehensive agreement is exactly the implementation of the two top leadership initiatives of China and an important action to promote cooperation between China and the Philippines,” the senator added.
Read more at: http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/sports/boxing/635350/pacquiao-aims-to-promote-boxing-in-china/story/#undefined.uxfs
Mayweather Says He Carried McGregor, Accuses De La Hoya of Drug Use Again
Floyd Mayweather recently vacationed in China and offered his thoughts on Oscar De La Hoya calling out Conor McGregor.
He stated, “Wasn’t Oscar De La Hoya the same one that was talking about me fighting Conor McGregor? And he was trying to protest and stop the fight?! Now he trying to fight Conor McGregor! Is he a hypocrite or is he back on coke again?
“Man, that boy still snorting them lines!
“Everybody tried to protest the Mayweather-McGregor fight, right? But I’ma tell ya’ll the truth — you know I carried McGregor. You know I made it look good for ya’ll.”
Ali & Holyfield to be Inducted this Friday into USA Boxing Alumni Hall of Fame Inaugural Class
The fledgling USA Boxing Alumni Association will host a gala reception this Friday night (Dec.) 8, highlighted by the induction of the inaugural class of the USA Boxing Alumni Hall of Fame, at the Courtyard by Marriott Downtown in Salk Lake City, Utah.
The reception is being held in conjunction with the 2017 USA Boxing Elite and Youth National Championships and Junior and Prep Open, Dec. 5-9, also held in Salt Lake City.
Created to champion a lifelong, mutually beneficial relations between USA Boxing and its alumni, –boxers, officials, coaches and boxing fans — The Alumni Association connects generations of champions, inspiring and giving back to USA Boxing’s future boxing champions, in and out of the ring.
“The Alumni Association will bring together former boxers, coaches and official who have reached all levels of success in amateur boxing, as well as people who have all over for Olympic-style boxing,” explained Mike McAtee, USA Boxing Executive Director. “This association will help expand our grassroots and create fight champions of USA Boxing and alumni members.”
“The Greatest” and “The Real Deal”, respectively, Muhammad Ali and Evander Holyfield, will be the first boxers inducted into the USA Boxing Alumni Association Hall of Fame, joining two others, veteran coaches Roosevelt Sanders and Tom Coulter, also being inducted as charter members.
The late Ali is the lone three-time lineal world heavyweight champion of all-time, who as an amateur (known then as Cassius Clay), captured a gold medal at the 1960 Olympics in Rome.
Holyfield was the first and remains the only undisputed cruiserweight and heavyweight world champion. At the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, Holyfield won a bronze medal as a light heavyweight, after a he suffered a questionable disqualification in his semifinals match. Earlier this year, Holyfield started his promotional company, The Real; Deal Boxing.
A 1993 USA Boxing Hall of Fame inductee, Roosevelt coached the U.S. Marines boxing team in 1975-1978 and 1988-2000. He also served as assistant coach on the USA Olympic boxing teams in 1984 and 1992.
Coulter has been a boxing coach for more than 62 years, continuing to conduct boxing clinics today around the glove. In addition to coaching the iconic 1988 USA Olympic boxing team, which captured eight individual medals, he was a consultant for the 1996 squad that won 14 meals. A national boxing champion at Syracuse University, Coulter also coaches the U.S. Army Boxing Team.
International Boxing Hall of Fame inductee Al Bernstein will serve as Master of ceremonies for Friday’s event. “USA Boxing makes a positive difference in the lives of thousands and thousands of young people ion a daily basis,” the voice of Showtime Boxing said,” and I am so honored to serve as emcee for the inaugural USA Boxing Alumni Association Hall of Fame Reception. This new arm of USA Boxing will be a terrific addition to an already great organization. I look forward to it.”.
Modern Boxers Vitali Klitschko, Erik Morales & WInky Wright Elected to International Boxing Hall of Fame
The International Boxing Hall of Fame and Museum announced today the members of the Class of 2018. Inductees include three Modern category boxers who all enter the Hall in their first year of eligibility; heavyweight champion “Dr. Ironfist” Vitali Klitschko, four-division world champion Erik “El Terrible” Morales and light middleweight champion Ronald “Winky” Wright. Non-participants and observers to be inducted include German promoter Klaus-Peter Kohl and broadcasters Steve Albert and Jim Gray.
“We’re extremely excited about the Class of 2018 and are very much looking forward to paying tribute to the new inductees in Canastota next June,” said Executive Director Edward Brophy.
The 2018 Hall of Fame Induction Weekend will be held June 7-10th in Canastota, NY. Many events in “Boxing’s Hometown” of Canastota throughout the four-day celebration, including a 5K Race / Fun Run, golf tournament, boxing autograph card show, VIP Cocktail Reception, Parade of Champions and the Official Induction Ceremony on the Hall of Fame Museum Grounds, are scheduled. The Hall of Fame Weekend evening events include Friday night’s Fight Night at Turning Stone and Saturday’s Banquet of Champions. Both events will take place at Turning Stone Resort Casino.
The Hall of Fame also released names of posthumous honorees: Sid Terris in the Old-Timer Category; and ring announcer Johnny Addie and promoter Lorraine Chargin in the Non Participant Category. Inductees were voted in by members of the Boxing Writers Association and a panel of international boxing historians. Biographies on the Class of 2018 can be found on www.ibhof.com
Luis Ortiz to Take on Daniel Martz on December 8th
Top-rated heavyweight title contender Luis “King Kong” Ortiz will take on Daniel “The Mountain” Martz in an added 10-round featured bout on a special Friday night edition of Premier Boxing Champions TOE-TO-TOE TUESDAYS on FS1 and BOXEO DE CAMPEONES on FOX Deportes at Hialeah Park in Miami, Florida on Dec. 8.
The main event of the card features Ahmed Elbiali taking on former world champion Jean Pascal in a 10-round light heavyweight bout. Televised coverage of the 2-1/2 hour show begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT with a battle between unbeaten featherweight prospects Stephen Fulton (11-0, 5 KOs) and Adam Lopez (8-0, 3 KOs) and also features welterweight prospects Bryant Perrella (14-1, 13 KOs) and Alex Martin (13-2, 5 KOs) in undercard action.
Ortiz is returning to the ring one week after the World Boxing Council lifted a sanction that it had imposed against the Cuban heavyweight contender in October. Ortiz was pulled from a match against world champion Deontay Wilder scheduled for Nov. 4, after Ortiz failed a Voluntary Anti-Doping Association drug test. Last week the WBC ruled that Ortiz had failed to disclose two medications that he was taking, which triggered his positive test. He was fined $25,000 for failing to make the disclosure, and re-instated into the organization’s rankings.
That cleared the way for Ortiz to return to the ring, and he will waste no time doing so with a match that he hopes will help propel him toward another world title shot in 2018.
“I’m just thankful to be back in the sport I love so much. I can’t wait to get some action and feel that ring and those gloves tight on my wrist,” Ortiz said. “I’d like to thank everyone, especially my loyal fans, who stood by me and supported me through this rough time. I don’t think it would have been possible without you guys. I’d like to thank the WBC and Mr. Sulaiman for being humane enough to take time for their investigation, and my entire team who never lost faith in me. But most of all I need to thank God because without him there wouldn’t be anything worth living for.”
The 38-year-old Ortiz (27-0, 23 KOs), of Camaguey, Cuba now resides in Miami, Fla., and will be fighting Martz in a 10-round bout in front of his adopted hometown crowd. The hard-hitting southpaw turned pro seven years ago after defecting from Cuba and has since been steadily climbing the heavyweight ladder. He cemented his standing in the division with victories over veteran contenders Bryant Jennings, Tony Thompson and Malik Scott and is currently ranked No. 3 by the WBC. Ortiz hasn’t fought in almost a year, having scored a technical knockout victory over David Allen at Manchester Arena in England on Dec. 10, 2016 in his last fight.
Ortiz-Martz replaces the Chad Dawson-Edwin Rodriguez light heavyweight bout on the card. The match was cancelled after Dawson suffered an injury in training camp.
The 27-year-old Martz (16-5-1, 13 KOs), a 6-foot-7 heavyweight from Clarksburg, West Virginia, has taken on world champion Joseph Parker and contender Bryant Jennings during his five-year professional career. He is coming off a second round technical knockout victory over Tim Washington on Nov. 17.
Professional boxing returned to The Strand Ballroom and Theatre in Providence last night, December 1 for the first time in 20 years and popular Providence featherweight Toka “T-Nice” Kahn Clary didn’t disappoint the large, raucous crowd.
Kahn-Clary (24-1, 16 KOs) turned in a dominant performance, winning by way of a seventh-round technical knockout, over previously undefeated Filipino slugger John Vincent Moralde (19-1, 10 KOs), the WBC Asian featherweight titlist, to capture the vacant World Boxing Council (WBC) USNBC featherweight championship.
“Real Deal Championship Boxing V”, presented by Hall of Famer Evander Holyfield’s The Real Deal Boxing, aired live on CBS Sports Network, the undercard was live-streamed on www.TheRealDealBoxing.com. Calling the action were Paulie Malignaggi, Steve Farhood and Barry Tompkins.
The 25-year-old Kahn-Clary, who won the North American Boxing Association (NABA) title in his last fight, used a stiff jab and solid defense to frustrate his opponent early in the fight, setting the pace to take a decisive scoring advantage.
Toka-Kahn came out firing in the fourth round, applying more pressure to take full command, and he never let up. Rapid fire punches by Toka-Kahn, thrown from all angles, repeatedly landed on his overmatched opponent. By the end of round seven it was clear that the end was near for Moralde and it came suddenly when Moralde couldn’t continue anymore.
“This was great tonight,” Holyfield commented about promoting his first show in Providence. “We want Toka to be our first world champion and this performance should put him in good position. It was very important to build his fanbase at home in Providence and we look forward to promoting here in the near future.”
“I’m not a one-punch fighter,” WBA No. 14-rated Toka explained. “I kept walking him down and hit him with some good body shots. I’m not going to call anybody out by name but I’m ready to fight anybody in my weight class.”
“This is such a good feeling. I came here but could have ended up anywhere. I’m truly blessed to be in Providence and have these great fans. I have a great team behind me. I want to fight the best to be the best, it’s the only way to make money and be recognized. I’m ready for anybody!”
The American debut of undefeated Italian cruiserweight Fabio “Stone Crusher” Turchi (13-0, 11 KOs) was a clinic in last night’s co-featured event against Demetrius Banks (9-4, 4 KOs), of Detroit. Turchi patiently applied constant pressure, methodically breaking down the game Banks and hurting his opponent with a flurry of punches in the third round. The end came when Banks failed to answer the bell for round five.
“I’m so happy,” Turchi remarked after the fight. “This was so emotional for me because it was the first time I fought in front of Evander. I’m happy with my performance but I think I could have done better”.
“I felt the heat from the Italian-American fans and I thank them for helping me sustain. I also want to thank The Real Deal Boxing. My next fight will be February 2 at home in Florence, for the European Union title.”
In the CBSSN televised opener, red-hot featherweight prospect made Irvin Gonzalez (8-0, 7 KOs) made the most of his national TV debut, switching freely from orthodox stance to southpaw and back throughout the fight, en route to a sensational third-round knockout of Colombian knockout artist Marlon Olea (13-2, 12 KOs). The lightning-quick Gonzalez, of Worcester, MA, consistently beat his opponent to the punch, and finished off Olea with a straight right to the body to keep his perfect pro record intact. Olea was fighting in the U.S. for the first time.
Lamont Peterson and Errol Spence Jr. Press Conference Quotes
Unbeaten welterweight world champion Errol Spence Jr. and former champion Lamont Peterson went face-to-face for the first time Wednesday at a press conference in Brooklyn to discuss their world title showdown headlining action on Saturday, January 20 live on SHOWTIME. The event is presented by Premier Boxing Champions from Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING®.
SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING coverage begins live at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and will feature undercard attractions that will be announced in the near future.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by DiBella Entertainment and TGB Promotions, are priced starting at $50, and are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased at ticketmaster.com, barclayscenter.com or by calling 800-745-3000. Tickets can also be purchased at the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center. Group discounts are available by calling 844-BKLYN-GP. The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast will also be available in Spanish via secondary audio programming (SAP).
Here is what the press conference participants had to say Wednesday:
ERROL SPENCE JR.
“You’re going to see the same Errol Spence that you’re used to. I can’t look ahead because I know how dangerous Lamont Peterson is. I’ve been in training camps with him and I know what he can do.
“I’ve seen too many fighters look down the road and get beat before they get to the big fight. I have to be 100 percent focused and hungry. I’m fully dedicated to this fight.
“Lamont can push me to even greater levels. I feel like he is a better fighter than Kell Brook and has even more heart than Kell Brook and he can bring out the best in me.
“I think it’s going to start out as a boxing match, but as we go on, it’s going to be a dog fight. We both have big hearts. I’ve never known Lamont to turn down any fight. Not a lot of people wanted to fight me. The big names shied away from me but Lamont stood up and said he’d fight me. This is going to be a hard fight.
“I used to watch Lamont and his brother Anthony Peterson before I ever met them. I like their styles, the way they throw body punches and the fundamentals that they learned from Barry Hunter.
“I think I can be known as the best pound-for-pound in the sport, but I have to take it one fight at a time. I want to be the undisputed welterweight champion. That should be everyone’s ultimate goal – to be the best fighter in the sport. But first I have a big test ahead of me January 20.
“This is the business of the sport. I was a young guy when Lamont was giving me advice. Now we’ve gotten to this point. It really shows his longevity in the sport and how I’ve reached the ranks of being a top pro fighter.
“Sparring with Lamont Peterson was really great work. It was a learning experience. I was an amateur so I was going at a fast pace and Lamont was being patient, blocking and countering and picking his shots. He was fighting at a pro pace and I didn’t really understand it until I got farther into my career.
“You’ve seen me and Lamont fight. We’re not in boring fights. We have fan-friendly styles and you’re going to get a really good fight. We have the mentality to really go after it and give it our all to get this win.
“I want the best in this division to all fight each other. It’s time for everyone else to stand up and proclaim that they want to be great. That’s how we get this division to the peak. I don’t feel like waiting to fight the best. I want to prove myself.”
“This is a world title fight and I’m thankful for that. I try not to make too much out of each fight. I just want to take it one fight at a time. I’ve done this for 13 years as a professional. All fights are the same. I’m going to go in there and take care of business.
“As a top fighter, you’re obligated to take what comes on the table. Regardless of who it is. It’s boxing. It’s a sport and we’re competitors. We want to go in there and compete to see who’s the best. We’re going to treat it like business like we always do.
“You already know when I fight, it’s a feeling out process to start, but in my head, I’m ready to go. It’s going to get rough in the trenches and we’ll see who wants it more.
“I knew six years ago when Errol was in my camp that we’d get to this point. I knew he would be a champion. For the most part, I’ve seen him improve and progress throughout the pro ranks and I believe he’s going to keep getting better.
“I don’t pay any attention to the outside noise. I respect everyone’s opinion. I just go out and train to do what I love to do. I do this because I love to box. I’m not here to get on a list. I truly love this sport.
“I can’t worry about people thinking that Errol is the next star in this sport. I believe that, but I can’t worry about it. It is up to me and my team to come up with the right type of strategy and execute it.
“I’m not too worried about figuring out his southpaw stance. I’ve been around long enough and encountered enough southpaws. I’m confident I’ll be able to handle it.
“The size may seem like an advantage for Errol, but it’s up to me and my team to figure out the best way to negate it. I know who I am. I’m a competitive person. Regardless of everything, I’m going to come to win.”
HBO World Championship Boxing Results: Cotto Closes Career with Loss to Ali, Vargas Defeats Negrete
By: William Holmes
A champion in four divisions and a lock for the boxing hall of fame, the legendary Miguel Cotto fought the last fight of his career in the building that helped make him famous, Madison Square Garden.
Surprisingly, despite campaigning in the middleweight division, Miguel Cotto weighted in at 151.6lbs while Sadam Ali, who has fought in the welterweight division and is bumping up a weight class to face Cotto, weighed in at 153lbs. Many, including this writer, expected Cotto to weigh in at a heavier weight than Ali
Photo Credit: HBO Boxing Twitter
The opening bout of the night was between Rey Vargas (30-0) and Oscar Negrete (17-0) for the WBC Junior Featherweight Title.
Vargas, the taller fighter, was able to use his height to his advantage in the opening round and landed a high volume of punches to the body and head of Negrete. He was able to get a full extension on his shots in the second round and had Negrete taking some hard shots.
Vargas connected with three straight uppercuts followed by a right hook in the opening seconds of the third round. At one point in the third Negrete stepped on the foot of Vargas and knocked him over, but the referee correctly ruled it a push. Vargas’ sharp shots continued into the fourth round and fifth rounds but Negrete, to his credit, never stopped coming forward.
Negrete snuck in a few good shots of his own, especially when he was in tight, but Vargas’ combinations were numerous.
Negrete took some heavy body shots by Vargas in the sixth round, but did land his best punch of the night, a left hook, in the ninth round.
The eighth round was also tight as Negrete surprisingly landed some combinations, and Vargas had a cuts over both of his eyes. The referee checked it in the eighth and before the ninth rounds but let Vargas continue.
Negrete was out matched and out gunned, but continued to press the pace in the final rounds but took a barrage of punches in the process.
Vargas’ cut over his left eye looked pretty bad, but he was never in danger of being hurt.
The judges scored it 119-109, 119-109, and 120-108 for Rey Vargas.
Miguel Cotto (41-5) and Sadam Ali (25-1) met in the main event of the night for the WBO Junior Middleweight Title.
Cotto walked out to no walk out music so that he could hear the crowd.
The crowd loudly chanted for Cotto in the opening round, but Ali established he had the superior hand speed early on and connected with some surprising punches. Cotto was able to land his patented left hook to the body, but Ali looked like he was landing at a higher connect rate.
Cotto was badly hurt in the second round from a right cross by Ali. Cotto’s legs were wobbly, but Ali did not press the action to try and finish the fight. Ali slipped in the second round, but he definitely had Cotto hurt.
Ali’s length gave Cotto trouble in the third round but Cotto was pressing the action. Cotto was hurt once again in the fourth round by Ali, but was able to recover and come forward behind his jab.
Cotto’s attack to the body appeared to be effective in the fifth and sixth rounds, especially when he had Ali backed into a corner. Ali’s right eye began to swell in the seventh round but he was landing good shots to the head of Cotto.
Cotto had Ali backed into the ropes several times in the eighth and did his best work there, but Ali retook control in the ninth round as Cotto looked like he was tiring.
Ali landed a vicious left hook on Cotto in the tenth round that had Cotto on wobbly legs again and his mouth wide open. Cotto was on full retreat in the tenth and appeared to be close to going down.
Ali came out aggressively in the eleventh round and looked like he was going for the knockout. His corner had previously urged him to be more aggressive. Cotto survived and circled away from the attacking Ali.
Cotto came out aggressive in the final round but looked tired and slow. Ali was the fresher fighter and closed out the fight well.
The final scores were 115-113, 116-112, 115-113 for Sadam Ali.
In the post fight interview Cotto confirmed it was his last fight, and revealed he hurt his left bicep in the seventh round.
Cotto stated, “Feeling good. Feeling good with the performance. Something happened to my left bicep, seventh round. I don’t want to make excuses, Sadam won the fight. It is my last fight. I am good, and I want to be happy in my home with my family.
“Thank you for all the fans, I am proud to call MSG my second home. I had the opportunity to provide the best for my family because of the sport.”
I worked hard for it.” Said Sadam Ali. “I took advantage of this fight, and I made sure to make it count. I want to Thank God, and also thank team Cotto, They could have taken an easier fight if they wanted too. ”
“I had him hurt here or there in the first couple of rounds. I knew I had to do something, or he would have dug in. By the 11th, I thought the fight was close. Whatever GBP has next, I’ll take it. Good things happen to good people. I have been training since I was 8 years old, and I am glad I got this win at MSG, in my hometown.”
HBO World Championship Boxing Preview: Miguel Cotto vs. Sadam Ali, Rey Vargas vs. Oscar Negrete
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Golden Boy Promotions will promote the last professional fight of Miguel Cotto’s illustrious career. He’ll be facing Sadam Ali at the famed Madison Square Garden on HBO’s World Championship Boxing telecast.
Photo Credit: Tom Hogan/Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions
A WBC Junior featherweight bout between Rey Vargas and Oscar Negrete will also be televised. Other undercard bouts include a WBO Junior Flyweight Title bout between Angel Acosta and Juan Alejo, a featherweight bout between Ronny Rios and Deivis Julio, and a junior welterweight bout between Zachary Ochoa and Erik Martinez.
Cotto, who was a world champion in four different weight classes, has insisted this will be his last fight. The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the night.
Rey Vargas (30-0) vs. Oscar Negrete (17-0); WBC Junior Featherweight Title
The opening bout of the night will be between Rey Vargas and Oscar Negrete for the WBC Junior Featherweight Title.
Both boxers had a successful amateur career. Negrete was a Gold Medalist at the 2010 South American Games in the Light Flyweight Division and Vargas was a 2009 Panamerican Gold Medalist.
Vargas, at the age of 27, is three years younger than Negrete. He will also have a two inch height advantage and a three inch reach advantage. Both boxers have been fairly active in the past two years. They both fought two times in 2017 and three times in 2016.
Vargas is the boxer with more power in his hands. He has stopped twenty two of his opponents and five of his last ten opponents did not make it to the final bell. Negrete only has seven stoppage wins and two of his past five fights were victories by KO/TKO.
Vargas has the better professional resume of the two and Negrete appears to be aware that this is the toughest test of his career.
He stated at a recent press conference, “”I’m so excited for this opportunity. This is everything that I have worked for so far in my career. Being undefeated doesn’t make him [Rey Vargas] invincible. I’m a forced to be reckoned with. People may underestimate me, but I know what I’ve done to make sure I walk away with the victory.”
Vargas has defeated the likes of Ronny Rios, Gavin McDonnell, Alexander Munoz, and Alexis kabore. Negrete has defeated the likes of Sergio Frias, Victor Ruiz, and Neftali Campos.
Vargas is the naturally bigger man with an edge in power. He has been generating some buzz recently and this should be a showcase fight for him. Negrete has the amateur background to make this fight interesting, but it’s a fight that Vargas should win.
Miguel Cotto (41-5) vs. Sadam Ali (25-1); WBO Junior Middleweight Title
The legendary Miguel Cotto has decided to end his career.
He stated at a recent media conference call, “Like Oscar and people have said, it’s my final fight, and I’m working hard for making the final fight really good for everybody. All we have to do is wait until the day of the fight. We are ready for the fight.”
Many boxers have been known to claim that they’re going to retire only to change their mind later on, however with Cotto he appears to be sincere in his desires to stop fighting.
Cotto, at thirty seven years old, will be eight years older than his opponent Sadam Ali. Ali will also have a two inch height advantage and a six inch reach advantage.
That advantages for Ali stop there. Cotto is actually the naturally bigger man and has competed as high as the middleweight division while Ali usually campaigns in the welterweight division. The step up in weight is something that is not lost on Ali. He stated, “Yeah, it’s a huge challenge, a big step up. The biggest opponent in my career, and I’m also moving up to another weight class. But I love the challenge, and I’m ready to do whatever I have to do”.
Cotto has thirty three stoppage victories in his resume and has stopped three of his past five opponents. Ali only has fourteen stoppage victories and has only stopped one of his past five opponents.
Ali has been more active than Cotto and fought twice in 2017 and twice in 2016. Cotto did not fight at all in 2016 and only fought once in 2017.
Both boxers had successful amateur backgrounds. Cotto represented Puerto Rico in the 2000 Summer Olympics and Ali represented the United States in the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Cotto clearly has the better resume as a professional. He has defeated the likes of Yoshihiro Kamegai, Daniel Geale, Sergio Martinez, Delvin Rodriguez, Antonio Margarito, Ricardo Mayorga, Joshua Clottey, Alfonso Gomez, Shane Mosley, Zab Judah, Paul Malignaggi, Carlos Quintana, and DeMarcus Corley. His losses were to Antonio Margarito, Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Austin Trout, and Canelo Alvarez.
Ali has defeated the likes of Johan Perez, Francisco Santana, and Luis Carlos Abregu. His lone loss was a TKO loss to Jessie Vargas.
Ali is a good boxer and surprisingly longer and taller, but Cotto’s depth of experience and size advantage will be too much for him.
Cotto seems confident going into this fight and has no regrets. He stated, “I enjoyed my whole career, and I can’t point at one fight, you know. I enjoyed my whole career. Every moment made me be the boxer I am right now, the person I am right now. I would have to say my whole career has been amazing for me”.
It’s a career boxing fans have thoroughly enjoyed. It’s a career that should end with a victory.