Arum Thinks Crawford-Pacquiao Could Happen
By: Sean Crose
If COVID-19 has done anything, it’s given people plenty of time to think. Those in the boxing business are no exception. It wasn’t all that long ago, for instance, that a fight between Manny Pacquiao and Terence Crawford seemed to be an impossibility. Pacquiao was too old. What’s more, he fought under the PBC banner while Crawford fought under Pacquiao’s old banner at Top Rank. How quickly things can change. In a recent interview with iFL, Top Rank honcho Bob Arum claimed that a welterweight title unifier between the two big name opponents is a “real possibility.” Such teases are often made in boxing, but during a time when the entire world appears to be on lock down, even the whiff of good news is apt to suffice.
Pacquiao, who is now 41 years old, remains one of the most popular fighters in the sport. He was long considered past his prime when he stunned a lot of people by besting the younger Keith Thurman last summer by split decision, a win which gave the Filipino icon the WBA welterweight crown. Crawford, on the other hand, is considered one of the best – if not the single best – fighter on the planet. The problem for Crawford is that he has no major opponents to fight at the moment. Most of the high level competition at welterweight, like Pacquiao, Errol Spence Jr, and others, are PBC fighters. In a world of intense boxing politics, promotional entities act as a Berlin wall.
Should Arum, Crawford’s promoter, and Al Haymon, Pacquiao’s adviser, sit down and make a deal, however, then WBO champion Crawford could face WBA champ Pacquiao for both men’s titles. Such a match would thrill the fan base, probably do big pay per view numbers, and add a big shot of excitement into the sport. For now, though, the world will have to wait. Arum also told iFL that the business of boxing will have to change in a post COVID-19 world. With less money around, Arum argued, salaries and pay per view costs will have to be adjusted.
Fans might take comfort in the fact that Arum and Haymon came together to make Wilder-Fury 2, a huge pay per view event which saw Fury emerge victorious against his arch rival. What’s more, a third battle between both supersized heavyweights is said to be on the way. “We worked seamlessly with his staff,” Arum said of Haymon. “They were good, smart guys and women, and they worked well with us. They were a real team.”
If such cooperation could work at heavyweight, perhaps it can work at welterweight, as well.
Bob Arum Hoping To Take Control Of Heavyweight Division With Pulev Upset
By: Sean Crose
Bob Arum has been in the fight game for a long time. Now in his eighties, the veteran promoter is still going strong. Perhaps one of the two or three top players in the game, Arum currently has the man widely considered the king of the heavyweight division under his tent. Tyson Fury, who is represented by Arum and Frank Warren, soundly defeated Deontay Wilder in their highly hyped WBC title rematch last month. Not only does Fury now hold the prestigious green WBC strap, he is now recognized as the lineal heavyweight champion of the world (the man who beat the man who beat the man) as well.
Still, another English heavyweight, one Anthony Joshua, holds the vast majority of major heavyweight titles. That may all change, however, should Kubrat Pulev, another Arum fighter, best Joshua when the two meet for Joshua’s belts on June 20th at Tottenham Hostpur Stadium in Joshua’s native Britain. While Joshua is clearly the favorite walking in, an upset win would mean Arum fighters hold the WBA, IBF and WBO belts, as well as the WBC and lineal titles. What’s more, it would be easy for Arum to make an inhouse fight between Pulev and Fury for the undisputed heavyweight championship.
However, there’s the matter of Pulev having to face Joshua in the ring. At 23-1, the 30 year old Joshua recently came back from a stunning defeat at the gloved hands of Andy Ruiz. After being shocked by last minute replacement Ruiz last June in New York, the Londoner returned to win a December rematch against his former conqueror in Saudi Arabia, successfully regaining his title belts in the process. Joshua fought brilliantly in the rematch, earning the victory by boxing rather than engaging. The man essentially added to his repertoire.
What this means is that the 38 year old Pulev will be facing a Joshua who has added a few wrinkles to his game. After the Ruiz loss last year, it’s hard to believe Joshua will take Pulev, a long time contender who has already fought for a title once, lightly. Add in the fact that a big money battle with Fury (or Wilder) is on the line, and safe to say clear Joshua will be entering the ring at his best. Still, some feel Pulev has a chance to shock the world – with good reason.
Pulev’s only loss came to Wladimir Klitschko back in 2014. Since that time, the Bulgarian fighter has gone on to win eight in the row, topping the likes of Derek Chisora, Samuel Peters, and Hughie Fury. Although not known for being a knockout artist, the 28-1 Pulev is a skilled vet who probably realizes this is probably his last chance at heavyweight glory. Arum has expressed nothing but confidence in his man in the leadup to the fight. Perhaps he’s had good reason to.
Bob Arum Reportedly Interested In Selling Top Rank
By: Sean Crose
If boxing is a young man’s game, someone forgot to tell Bob Arum. The super promoter has been a noted player in the sport for almost half a century and hasn’t shown a whole lot of interest in slowing down. In fact, the man is one of the major forces behind this weekend’s heavyweight title rematch between WBC champion Deontay Wilder and arch rival Tyson Fury. Yet, while the octogenarian has been known to raise eyebrows over the years with some of his statements, Arum definitely got people’s attention when he told Business Insider recently that he is thinking of selling his company, Top Rank Promotions.
“Anything is for sale,” he’s quoted as saying. Although Arum made it clear that a future sale isn’t a guarantee, Business Insider reports that: “Arum is seemingly courting a similar deal to the one which saw UFC sold to WME-IMG, now known as Endeavor, four years ago.” In other words, Top Rank’s top players would likely remain its top players should the company sell. “Dana White remains at the forefront of the UFC,” Business Insider adds, “while many people with key positions before the sale, continue to fulfill prominent roles for the company today.”
Top Rank would likely prove to be a gold mine for anyone who purchased it. Here, after all, is a company that boasts some of the biggest names in the business, like Fury, Terence Crawford, and Vasyl Lomachenko. It also, as Business Insider points out “has footage of a prime Muhammad Ali and other fight material which it leases.” Arum has apparently revealed that Endeavor, Liberty Global, and the DAZN streaming service have all expressed interest in purchasing Top Rank. A sale to any of these companies, particularly DAZN, might alter the contemporary boxing landscape.
Successful, brash, entertaining and cantankerous, Arum has been a fixture in boxing for as long as many – if not most – fight fans have been alive. A graduate of Harvard Law School, Arum worked for Robert Kennedy’s Justice Department before moving on to boxing. During the course of his long career, he’s worked with the likes of Muhammad Ali, Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler, Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, and seemingly countless others. Along with Al Haymon and De La Hoya, Arum remains one of the most powerful men in the sport, one with a long history of major fights and major talent on his resume.
Bob Arum: “Fury is Going to Knock Wilder Out Before The Eighth Round”
By: Hans Themistode
Everyone has a different way of processing information. There’s a reason why no two people are the same. It’s simply because everyone has a bit of a unique look at certain things in life.
Yet, if you asked several individuals who was going to win the 1990 contest between James “Buster” Douglas and then undefeated Heavyweight unified champion Mike Tyson, everyone would have given you the same answer.
Tyson, by brutal stoppage.
At that point in time, simply making it out of the first round against Tyson was a victory in itself. But pulling off the upset seemed virtually impossible. Well, as luck would have it, Douglas would go on to not just win that bout, but do so via knockout.
That contest may have taken place over 30 years ago, but it is still considered the biggest upset in sports history.
In his younger days, Mike Tyson was a man amongst boys and as he got older, a monster amongst men. At no point in time would anyone have picked against Tyson while he was still in his prime. The unbelievable run Tyson went out left many calling him “the baddest man on the planet.”
Fast forward 15 years since his last fight, and now another Heavyweight champion has taken his nickname and made it into his own. That would be none other than WBC titlist Deontay Wilder.
Through 43 career fights, Wilder has a near spotless record of 42 wins against zero defeats. 41 of those wins have within the distance. And course, one draw.
On February 22nd at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, Wilder will have his chance to make up for his small blemish in the draw column when he takes on Tyson Fury in their highly anticipated rematch.
As mentioned in the very beginning, just about everyone looks at things differently, and this rematch between Wilder and Fury is clear proof to that statement.
If 20 different people were posed with the question of who will win the rematch between Fury and Wilder, more than likely you will receive 20 different answers. But there does seem to be one prevailing thought process throughout it all.
If Wilder wins, it is going to be via stoppage. If Fury on the other hand, leaves with his hand raised, it will be because he out boxed Wilder and won a decision on the judges scorecards.
With Wilder’s ability for knocking out virtually all of his opponents and Fury showing otherworldly boxing skills in the ring, it makes sense to everyone.
Well, everyone but boxing promoter Bob Arum. He fully understands why that storyline has played out but he simply doesn’t agree with it.
“Fury is not like any other fighter,” said Arum during a recent press conference. “There is something magical about him. On February 22nd, I’m going to make a prediction because I’ve watched Tyson Fury train in my gym in Las Vegas and I think it’s not going to be a decision this time. I think Fury is going to knock Wilder out before the eighth round.”
Many would tend to disagree with the statement of Arum. If this contest simply becomes a fire fight, then there just isn’t many boxers in the history of the sport that brings more heat to a contest than Wilder.
“He has that one weapon and that is this massive right hand which to me looks like the hardest hitting right hand that I’ve seen. Certainly since George Foreman.”
At one point, Foreman was also considered the biggest puncher in all of boxing. His 1974 contest against Muhammad Ali shared many similarities to the contest that will take place this Saturday night as well.
Foreman in a sense, was Deontay Wilder. A strong, powerful puncher. While Ali on the other hand was nothing more than a boxer. Much like Wilder, Foreman’s path to victory would be via stoppage. And much like Fury, Ali needed to box, box, box and box some more.
Yet, it was Ali who smelled blood and ended the contest in the eighth round. The same round Arum just predicted Fury would get the job done in against Wilder.
Coincidence? Probably not.
During their first encounter, regardless of what has been said, Fury did rattle Wilder several times. This time around, Arum fully expects his man to go in for the kill.
“It’s not like the first fight when Wilder was in trouble a few times in that fight. Fury’s not gonna let him off the hook. He’s gonna go for the knockout and finish him off this time.”
Bob Arum and Al Haymon Aim For More Joint Fights in 2020 and Beyond
By: Hans Themistode
Boxing has been in a Cold War for years now. Promoters just refused to work with one another.
There were a few exceptions, depending on the magnitude of the fight, but more times than not, promoters working together just wasn’t going to happen.
Over the years however, most promoters have began playing nice with one another. Yet, the relationship between Al Haymon and the PBC and Bob Arum with his Top Rank stable were always at odds.
Fans have clamored for them to do business with one another. Not just on a small scale, but to make the sorts of fights that everyone has wanted to see.
Boxing fans got their wish when the two consensus best Heavyweights in the world, WBC champion Deontay Wilder and Lineal titlist Tyson Fury, met in the ring on December 1st, 2018. The matchup between the two, although it ended in a draw, wasn’t ground breaking simply because of what was at stake, but more so because both Al Haymon and Bob Arum came together to make the fight happen.
With the rematch set to take place in February of 2020, Arum fully expects his partnership with Haymon to stretch far beyond just this one contest.
“I can predict that with no uncertainty that Wilder-Fury 2 will be one of a number of fights Top Rank and PBC will be doing together, some on ESPN, some on FOX and others on PPV. I think that is absolutely the case,” said Arum. “Everything changes in boxing. Everything changes life. There is now peace among promoters.”
Look under the Christmas tree and unwrap your presents early boxing fans, we have seemingly ended the issues between arguably the two most important figures in the sport of boxing in terms of making fights.
Too many times have fans and media members alike heard the term “the other side of the street.” It’s a tiresome statement which essentially meant that fighters such as Top Rank fighter Terence Crawford and PBC fighter Errol Spence Jr had a significant roadblock lodged in their way in terms of making a contest happen.
Lets officially put that statement to bed as it appears that both sides of the street will merge into oncoming traffic to make the sort of fights that we all want to see.
“I have no problem working with PBC and I don’t think they have a problem working with us,” continued Arum. “People talk, but they don’t know what they’re talking about. It’s easy for others to say we don’t deal with each other. But that’s not the case. I speak to Al everyday now because of the promotion for Wilder and Fury … Al Haymon has a modus operandi to be in the shadows, and not talking to the press. That’s something he wants to do, and we can’t change that. If anything, I speak too much to press.”
This new found partnership between Haymon and Arum won’t end with just their respective stables. Arum has never had an issue dealing with other promoters and he will continue to look for the biggest fights possible no matter who is on the other side of the negotiating table.
“We deal with everybody, whether it’s Eddie Hearn with Matchroom Boxing and DAZN, or Oscar De La Hoya at Golden Boy. For the right arrangement, [rival promoters] all willing to deal with one another that’s the good news. You can’t keep kicking the dog when the dog is not responsible for anything, when actually, the dog is quite willing to cooperate with everybody. I don’t only speak for myself, but for all other promoters.”
Take the wrapping paper off this present given to us by Bob Arum and Al Haymon, and enjoy the gift of big time fights for the entirety of 2020 and most likely beyond it.
Bob Arum and Top Rank Plan to Help Media Members Cover Fights Overseas
By: Hans Themistode
Now more than ever, boxing is becoming a global sport. Fights have always taken place in various parts of the world, but it seems as though there will be a significant uptick in the amount of high profile fights that will take place away from U.S. soil.
Just this past weekend on December 7th, unified Heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua cruised to a unanimous decision victory over former belt holder Andy Ruiz Jr in a rematch that was highly anticipated. The contest may not have lived up to the hype, but it was easily the most hyped contest in boxing this year.
Normally fights of an enormous magnitude has taken place in Las Vegas, Nevada. This time around however, the contest was taken to Saudi Arabia. Once the announcement of the contest became official, the people of Saudi Arabia created one of the largest temporary arenas in the world. It was a gorgeous setting and one that no one will soon forget. Promoter Eddie Hearn, has gone on the record stating that Saudi Arabia could become the new home to big time boxing.
Although the event was a historic one, the coverage that was provided by the media was subpar to say the least. Getting employers to send out employees to cover these events can become not only a hassle, but also very expensive as well.
Promoter Bob Arum has been around the sport of boxing longer than just about everyone. He has noticed the difference in the way the U.S. treats its coverage of boxing. In comparison to our rivals overseas, there truly is no comparison.
“We have a situation where in the U.K. every newspaper has a full time boxing writer,” said Arum. “In the United States there’s not one newspaper that has that. So now, how do you get coverage for your fights? Well you go to social media and so forth. But if you want people to go to your fights then you have to be able to subsidize them. They have to pay something but you can charge them a smaller amount.”
Arum has never been known to talk without offering a solution. That statement holds true as he has prepared his own idea as to how media members from the U.S. can continue to provide the sport of boxing with as much coverage as it needs, no matter the location of the event.
Current unified Super Lightweight world champion Jose Ramirez has a February 1st, date against mandatory challenger Viktor Postol. The bout is scheduled to take place in China. Arum has the intentions of starting his master plan with this event in order to get U.S. media coverage to support the bout.
“In China we are going to offer a package to the media of 400 dollars per person. That is the way you get people to cover a fight. I’m saying that with my fights overseas, we are going to offer a reasonable amount so that any media who wants to go can go. We are going to do this in a transparent way.”
Arum wishes to avoid the same fate that befell Anthony Joshua vs Andy Ruiz Jr.
“They got no coverage at all practically because it’s so expensive. You simply charge a reasonably small amount so that everyone can afford to do it. That is the only solution that I have.”
Arum’s master plan to bring more coverage to boxing events that will take place outside of the U.S. is an intriguing one. If promoters and employers are willing to take him up on his offer, this could benefit the sport of boxing tremendously.
Bob Arum Expects Fury to Shine Against Wilder in Rematch
By: Hans Themistode
That loud thumping sound you heard this past weekend was that of Heavyweight contender Luis Ortiz (31-2, 26 KOs) hitting the deck after a massive right hand from Deontay Wilder.
The aforementioned Wilder (42-0-1, 41 KOs) successfully defended his WBC title for the tenth consecutive time with the knockout victory which took place in the seventh round at the MGM Grand Arena, in Las Vegas, Nevada. With the victory, Wilder has officially set up a rematch between himself and Lineal Champion Tyson Fury for February of 2020.
Whenever Fury is mentioned in the vicinity of Wilder, you will immediately hit a nerve with him. There are several reasons behind this.
For one, the amount of trash talk that occurred both during the lead up of their contest and after, has never sat well with Wilder. Beyond just their war of words, Wilder has protested that his 12th round knockdown of Fury should have resulted in the end of the contest. Replay has shown that Wilder could be right as referee Jack Weiss gave Fury what seemed to be a generous count.
Long time promoter Bob Arum who currently co promotes Fury believes that is far from the case.
“No it wasn’t a slow count,” said Arum. “Jack Reiss is one of the best referees in the world and certainly in America and certainly in California – the leading referee. No it wasn’t a slow count, it was the right kind of count. Every time there is an upset like that they call it a slow count. When Mike Tyson knocked Buster Douglas down, they called it a slow count. There wasn’t a slow count. There is always an excuse in boxing, because boxing lends itself to that.”
Before Wilder knocked Fury down in the 12th, he managed to do so in the 9th. Other then those two knockdowns however, Fury seemed to be outboxing Wilder effortlessly.
“Fury won that fight easy, easy. I wasn’t watching that fight in person. I was with Oleksandr Gvozdyz, who was in Quebec to win the light heavyweight title. Vasily Lomachenko and Oleksandr Usyk were there to support him. We all went to a room to watch the fight on television. At that point, nobody was expecting anything from Tyson Fury because he had been out of the ring for so long. We scored the fight and we had Fury winning at least eight rounds. Watch that fight, Fury won that fight easily.”
Fury of course, won the WBA, IBF, WBO, IBO and Lineal titles from long reigning champion Wladimir Klitschko back in 2015. Following his victory, Fury would go on to leave the sport of boxing for nearly three years due to several issues that were drug and depression related.
Fury would come back in 2018, where he would take on subpar competition in Sefer Safari and Francesco Pianeta. Many thought that Fury wasn’t quite ready to take on Wilder at that point in time, but he proved many wrong with his eye catching performance.
Now that Fury has continued to stay active in the ring which has included back-to-back wins over Tom Schwarz and Otto Wallin, Arum expects Fury to shine in the rematch with Wilder.
“Fury was 65% of what he will be in the next fight. Wilder was at 90%. There is one winner in the rematch and that’s Fury. Wilder has a puncher’s chance. He’s a devastating puncher, but Fury is not going to get caught like he did in the last fight.”
Is Bud Battling Bob?
By: Kirk Jackson
In the past, questions regarding the Nebraska-bred, three-division world champion, posed on many occasion, years ago and since went unanswered.
These very same questions, remain ever-present now, as the fighter affectionately known as “Bud” prepares for his first pay-per-view event of this year as he faces Amir Khan at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
These lingering, unrequited questions – where is the promotion and where is the love for Terence “Bud” Crawford?
The reigning pound-for-pound No.1 fighter continues to fight without the proper fanfare, promotion and appreciation an athlete recognized by many spectators and experts as the one of the best fighters this generation should not accustomed to.
Crawford (34-0, 25 KO’s), so far amassing six world titles across three weight divisions (135, 140, 147), while becoming the eighth fighter to become undisputed champion in his/her weight class, unifying all four of the titles at junior welterweight, stakes claim as the best fighter in the sport.
“I am the best boxer in the world – hands down. I can box at range or fight close up, whatever’s needed. I can box equally as well on the back foot or the front foot and I have very good sideways movement. I’m a southpaw who is just as comfortable when switching to orthodox,” Crawford told Daily Mail.
“I have hand speed as well as punching power and I am excellent defensively I’m an intelligent fighter who adapts to any opponent. I believe I am the complete boxer so, yes, I think I’m the No 1 pound-for-pound.”
While Crawford solidified himself as one of the greats of this current era, as a top dog amongst his contemporaries, the wealth of acknowledgement and adoration amongst the casual observer escapes him.
Crawford headlines a pay-per-view for the second time in his professional career and for the first time across ESPN pay-per-view.
Crawford is promoted by Top Rank Boxing. This promotional company is headed by lawyer/boxing promoter Bob Arum and this promotional company behind Crawford, has a multi-media deal with ESPN.
On August 26, 2017, ESPN officially announced a four-year arrangement to become the exclusive broadcaster of Top Rank bouts in the United States and Canada.
The fights are to be circulated through ESPN’s television and digital platforms (including Spanish-language ESPN Deportes), the ESPN+ subscription streaming service, and pay-per-view. ESPN broadcast 18 cards in the first year of the deal. Most recently as of August of last year, ESPN announced an extension of the agreement through 2025 – same year Crawford’s contract with Top Rank ends.
The question begs, is Top Rank and ESPN properly promoting the fight? Aside from a brief feature on ESPN’s First Take, the network hardly mentions the fight.
This past Monday, Top Rank finally released the countdown video and this past Thursday ESPN+ released a subscriber friendly breakdown show titled Ring Science, featuring ESPN analyst Andre Ward.
— Andre S.O.G. Ward (@andreward) April 18, 2019
On the opposite of the spectrum as an example, WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (40-0-1, 39 KO’s) made an appearance during this year’s NCAA Final Four across a featured segment, generating roughly 13.77 million viewers. Wilder of course is advised and promoted through different representation.
ESPN and its network affiliates has a deal with the National Basketball Association, broadcasting NBA games through the regular season and throughout the playoffs. The NBA playoffs are in full swing, why isn’t Crawford featured and exposed more towards the ESPN audiences?
Another example to analyze is while fighting under the Top Rank banner, Manny Pacquiao was promoted extensively by Arum. Albeit his name was conveniently attached to the biggest pay-per-view attraction in sport (Floyd Mayweather) and subsequently other pay-per-view attractions such as Miguel Cotto, Oscar De La Hoya and even preceding those names, guys such as Erik Morales, Juan Manuel Marquez and Marco Antonio Barrera.
The fact remains, Pacquiao was heavily promoted, celebrated and relished the benefits of his professional success and collective promotional efforts from Arum and others.
Crawford has yet to hit that mark, nor receive similar support. All is not lost however. The shining light, is the chance Crawford links up with a up-and-coming super-star at some point in the near future.
Coincidently, Crawford has a dancing partner, who happens to be another top welterweight and pound-for-pound contemporary. That fighter is IBF champion, Errol “The Truth” Spence (25-0, 19 KO’s).
“I want the fight. Let me just say that right now,” Crawford told TMZ Sports in reference to facing Spence. “Just to show the world I’m the best welterweight in the division.”
Crawford realizes a match against Spence will be considered his legacy fight.
“The Truth” is his Marvelous Marvin Hagler, his Sugar Ray Leonard, his Tommy Hearns. Ostensibly, Arum agrees and views Spence as the main opponent for Crawford’s legacy at the weight.
“They have one fighter, Errol Spence,” Arum said to The Los Angeles Times.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that Errol Spence wants the fight as much as Crawford wants it. So if Terence wins, I’ll call Al Haymon and work to sit down and make the fight. It’s not rocket science that this has to happen. We can sit down and make the fight in one day just like we did for Mayweather-Pacquiao. If a promoter blocks that fight, he ought to be ashamed.”
The legendary promoter echoed sentiments of the fighters, trainers, fans, anyone encompassed in the world of boxing and familiar with Spence and Crawford.
Crawford vs. Spence is the fight to make, but Khan should not be disrespected as an afterthought.
The old adage is true, fights are not won on paper and Khan is a former world champion. And if Crawford is to get past Khan, it’s not a guarantee Crawford vs. Spence happens.
It can be argued Arum kept the Mayweather-Pacquiao from occurring sooner, at its height (as far as physical primes for each respective fighter goes).
Heck, what kept the fight between Crawford and Pacquiao from happening? Crawford mentioned many times over the years his desire to fight Pacquiao – much to Freddie Roach’s chagrin.
For whichever reason, in spite of sharing the same promotional company for many years, the fight between Crawford and Pacquiao never materialized. Crawford was never presented his opportunity to attempt seizing the torch from one of boxing’s icons.
Due to the Nebraskan’s contract with Top Rank, he may never encounter an opportunity to take center stage.
This is not to suggest Crawford is not happy with his current deal and overall set-up with Top Rank. Upon resigning with Top Rank in collaboration with ESPN, Crawford voiced his pleasure with the deal.
“I am the best fighter in the world, hands down. ESPN is the biggest brand in sports, and Top Rank is the biggest promotional company in boxing,” Crawford said. “This was a no-brainer for me and my team. All of the super fights that the world wants to see will happen. Mark my words. Like I’ve said before, I want all of the champions in the welterweight division.”
The issue is the difficulty of fan-friendly fights, particularly in the welterweight division featuring Crawford and the elite fights of that class.
Nearly all of the other welterweight champions belong to manager Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions stable. The PBC recently entered a long-term deal to televise its fights on Showtime and Fox. Top Rank is with ESPN and typically fighters compete exclusively on their respective networks. Which means slim chances of securing Danny Garcia, Mikey Garcia, Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter, Errol Spence, Adrien Broner, Manny Pacquiao (again), etc.
The concern also revolves around the promotional aspect regarding the game’s top talent.
“Bud” is an affectionate term used to address Crawford. It’s been the case since his youth. But the term bud also holds significance to Crawford’s situation.
The definition of a bud, is a small swelling that is underdeveloped or not yet fully developed. Bud can also come in the form of plantation for example; a bud can refer to a tiny flower, not yet opened or reached maturity.
From an in-ring performance standpoint, “Bud” is at the pinnacle of his prowess. Regarding earning potential and recognition from an overall tycoon standpoint, former Top Rank fighters such as Oscar De La Hoya, Mayweather, Cotto and Pacquiao serve as examples impersonation.
But every situation varies for each fighter. Time will indicate how “Bud” blossums.
Crawford, Khan, Arum Discuss April 20th Showdown
By: Sean Crose
“I really believe,” said iconic promoter Bob Arum on a recent conference call, “that the fight will be a tremendous, interesting, competitive fight. That’s why we made it. That’s the truth.” Arum was speaking of the Terence Crawford-Amir Khan battle, which is set to go down on the 20th of this month at Madison Square Garden in New York. The bout will be for Crawford’s WBO Welterweight Title, and will be aired live on Pay Per View, courtesy ESPN. Unwittingly or not, Arum admitted that the fight is a tough sell, as Khan, 33-4, is not seen by many as being too much of a threat for the 34-0 Crawford.
“I’ve been around over 50 years in this sport,” said the promoter, “and I know what makes a good fight, and what’s a competitive fight, and I’m telling you that Amir Khan versus Terence Crawford is a hugely competitive fight. Styles make fights, and this is the first pay per view event that we are doing with ESPN and we value tremendously our relationship with ESPN.” Despite what some may think of his chances, the talented veteran Khan, like Arum, exuded confidence on the call.
“I know I can win this fight with my boxing skills,” the fast-fisted 32 year old Englishman said, “being smart, and I can go in there and cause a big upset. I know I have a lot against me, but this is where I like to be.” Acknowledging he’s heading into the fight a man with the odds seemingly stacked him, Khan conceded that he’s happy to play the part. “This is where I like to be,” said Khan, “because I am the underdog. I am at my best when people are looking over me.”
Although he’s the fighter favored to win, Crawford made it clear on the call that he’s not willing to underestimate his opponent. “This is a big fight,” he said. “Amir Khan never lost in the welterweight division. He knows what he is doing in the ring. He boxes really good. He is really crafty. He is a veteran. This is going to be a tough fight.” The soft spoken Nebraskan went so far as to explain how he’s preparing to face the skilled Khan in the ring.
“He is a big welterweight,” Crawford admitted.“He has a big name in the sport of boxing. Right now, I give him a shot at the title. He has done some great things in the welterweight division. He has never lost at the welterweight division. We look at all of those types of things.” Yet, like Khan, defending champ Crawford clearly exuded confidence on the call.
“Amir Khan might be fast,” he said, “and he might have good movement, but I am a great boxer myself and I am not the slowest fighter by any means. I believe in my skills and I don’t believe that it is my punching power that is going to lead me to victory. I believe it is my whole overall skills and mindset that will lead me to victory on April 20.”
Manny Pacquiao Reportedly Taking Top Rank To Court
By: Sean Crose
Manny Pacquiao and promoter Bob Arum were known as a highly successful team in the fight business for years. It was Arum who arranged the legendary fighter’s top matches, including the enormous payday Pacquiao earned from facing Floyd Mayweather back in 2015. Now, however, the relationship between the Filipino boxer and the octogenarian promoter looks to be close to beyond repair. For Pacquiao’s Instagram page had a message on Monday claiming that Arum’s Top Rank Promotions hadn’t paid Pacquiao for his victory of Lucas Matthysse last summer. The post, presumably penned by Pacquiao, also claimed that the matter was headed to court.
“ Congratulations and good luck to @TRboxing and @ESPN on your 7-year partnership agreement,” the post read. “I know both of you have been very busy finalizing the deal. However, I have not received the US rights payment for my July 15 fight against Lucas Matthysse that was broadcast on ESPN plus. Therefore, I am initiating legal proceedings against Top Rank and all other parties based on the non-payment and attempt to restrict my future rights. Thank you.” While it’s true the fruitful relationship between Pacquiao and Arum looked to many to be heading to it’s inevitable end for some time, posts like the one on Pacquiao’s Instagram page clearly took the fight world off guard.
Pacquiao, it must be noted, has been in a transition period for a while now. A Filipino senator, he only occasionally appears in the ring these days. He’s also widely considered to be past his prime as he pushes 40. Then there’s the matter of longtime trainer Freddie Roach, who Pacquiao refused to employ as trainer for the Matthysse fight. Reports claimed Roach not only heard about the break via the press, there has also been word that Pacquiao didn’t offer condolences to Roach after the passing of Roach’s mother. Relationships, perhaps personal as well as professional, seem to be evaporating in the twilight of Pacquiao’s career.
One thing the public might keep in mind is the fact that Pacquiao surrounds himself with an enormous entourage. At the moment, it’s not even clear if it was Pacquiao himself who left the message on Instagram or if he even supports its
content. While the fighter loves being the center of a crowd, the sometimes chaotic nature of Pacquiao’s public life can often make it difficult to discern fact from fiction.
Boxing Insider Interview with Bob Arum on Pacquiao, Lomachenko, ESPN, Haymon, and more…
By: Bryant Romero
Boxing Insider was able to catch up and talk boxing with the “Bobfather” Bob Arum CEO of Top Rank to discuss numerous topics surrounding the boxing world. In this sit down interview, Arum gives his thoughts on the disappointing Heavyweight unification bout between Joshua vs Parker, Pacquiao’s contract status with Top Rank, how he plans to do business with Al Haymon fighters, he also gives more details about the new ESPN plus app and so much more.
Photo Credit: Bob Arum Twitter Account
BR: I wanted to get your thoughts on the heavyweight unification matchup between Joshua and Parker were you surprised it wasn’t as explosive?
Bob Arum: “Well yea, I thought it would be a lot more explosive the fight. They both fought an extremely cautious fight and when that happens, the bigger guy has an advantage. Particularly a guy who is getting his jabs in like Joshua was more frequently than Parker. The downside it wasn’t a very exciting fight.”
BR: When it comes to Joshua’s performance, did that change your opinion of what will happen between a potential Joshua/Wilder fight?
BA: “No it has nothing to do with it. That’s sorta silly, I think Joshua is the better schooled fighter than Wilder. Wilder has a lot of flaws as a boxer, on other hand in the heavyweight division Wilder has more one punch power than any of the other heavyweights. So that makes it an intriguing match, but Joshua is a much better boxer than Wilder.”
BR: I wanted to talk about Manny Pacquiao’s next fight Bob, it’s been finalized for July 14th in Malaysia. What was the difference between this fight getting finalized? In the past Pacquiao tried to make fights outside of the United States.
BA: “Well, I guess the people that Pacquiao was dealing with and he dealt with them directly, put up the money and previously the people talked the money but never put it up. It’s as simple as that.”
BR: So they were able to show the money?
BA: “Yea apparently, they put up some initial deposits, which convinced everybody and because of the size of the deposits, that they were sincere and that the fight would go through.”
BR: Michael Koncz, Pacquiao’s advisor he made some statements to the press recently that he didn’t want to comment on Pacquiao’s status with Top Rank. Would you be able to provide some comments on Pacquiao’s status with Top Rank?
BA: “Well we have a very very good relationship with Manny. We can talk contracts from today till tomorrow but that seems like its controversial. There isn’t (controversy) for example in this fight. We’re not putting up the money, Manny got the money himself from Malaysia. Our role is to distribute the television, particularly in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and we’re happy with that.
“If Manny was looking to break his contract with us, he would’ve broken it by not having us being involved I assume. And now he’s talking if he wins this fight, fighting Lomachenko who is our fighter and we will be happy to promote a Pacquiao/Lomachenko fight if that occured because that would be huge.”
BR: If Pacquiao defeats Matthysse Bob,would a Pacquiao/Lomachenko fight take place in the United States?
BA: “That’s up to Manny. Obviously for me having it in the United States is preferable because that’s where the PPV market is and that’s where were most comfortable. But there is a substantial tax that a foreigner has to pay in the U.S. withholding and Manny may not be amenable to doing that in which case he’ll look to hold the fight outside the country. If we or he find people who put up the money for the site.”
BR: Bob you’re going to be traveling to Japan tomorrow to watch your fighter Murata. If he wins is there any real possibility of him fighting GGG at the Tokyo Dome this year?
BA: “I don’t know. The plan is if he wins to bring him this summer to Las Vegas to defend his title in Las Vegas and then we can certainly have that discussion with Loeffler and Golovkin. Right now is very difficult to discuss anything with them because the question is will there be a September fight between Golovkin and Canelo? And that’s something they can’t answer and we can’t answer until Nevada holds the hearing.”
BR: In your opinion does that fight (Canelo/GGG 2) get rescheduled?
BA: “I have no idea, I have no idea what the commision is going to do. They have a provision that the penalty is a minimum of 1 year, but they could cut it in half on various circumstances. If it’s a year, obviously the fight can’t happen, if they agree to cut it in half so it’s 6 months the fight can happen. Again I don’t know what the commision is going to do and even if the commission finds that the suspension is over in 6 months, maybe Golovkin doesn’t want anything to do with Alvarez.”
BR: Bob I wanted to get your comments about this. You recently revealed to the press not too long ago that Al Haymon fighters are practically free agents and promoters can approach them. Where are you in that situation? Are you close to signing any high-profile Haymon Fighters?
BA: “Your talking signing, we’re talking about using them on a fight by fight basis. Maybe we will sign them. We have an obligation to ESPN to put the best fights on the network and now on the ESPN Plus and to make the best fights. We have to go to other promoters to get their talent and place them with guys under contract with us. Certainly we will use Al’s fighters just the way we use Oscar’s fighters.
“We made Lomachenko/Linares and it was a provision of service agreement with Golden Boy for Linares. But we don’t have any contractual rights to Linares going forward and that’s fine. In other words, because if a fighter is fighting for Haymon, doesn’t mean if he makes a deal with us to fight one of our fighters or somebody else on our ESPN broadcast that they have to sign with us for the rest of their lives or even an additional fight.”
BR: Let’s talk a little bit about Horn/Crawford it has been rescheduled. I’m really looking forward to this fight Bob what do your matchmakers tell you about this fight? Do they tell you that Horn can beat Crawford?
BA: “No, they think that Crawford is probably either the best or one of the two best fighters in the world, even though he’s going up in weight. They’re anxious to see how he’s going to do against a much bigger guy because Horn is really a super-welterweight. He’s a big big welterweight and that’ll be interesting and he’s gutty rough guy. But as far as my Top Rank matchmakers are concerned, everybody at Top Rank, our position, our belief is that Crawford is unbeatable.”
BR: Could you give me some of your thoughts about Horn’s team comments? They don’t believe Crawford suffered an injury and they’re frustrated that the date couldn’t be changed.
BA: “Fighters who are training or are getting ready to train, when a fight is postponed because of an injury to the other guy, always feel that they’re being taken advantage of and say ‘I’m feeling great, I’m in good shape why is not this fight not happening?’ And they then take that and accuse the opponent of shaming an injury. Well I’ll tell you that it’s absolutely ridiculous, at least in Crawford’s case. We know exactly when it happened, that he was sparring and how it happened.
“At first I sent him to our orthopedic guy in Los Angeles and then he went out to Omaha to be treated by his orthopedic doctor and we know that in fact there was an injury. I give Crawford credit saying look ‘I’m not going to fight anybody with an injury to my hand. Not fair to me, and not fair to the public and I need some more time and then the hand will come around which it did. And that’s why the fight was postponed it’s as simple as that. I mean they (Horn’s team) can speculate all they want. I know what the facts are.”
BR: Lets talk a little bit about Lomachenko/Linares, how are tickets going for that event?
BA: “They’re sensational we’re opening up this weekend the balcony in Madison Square Garden and we’re looking to fill the place with at least over 15,000 people there. Tickets are going unbelievable and our gate will be well in excess of $2 million and it might exceed $2.5 million.”
BR: Can Lomachenko NoMasChenko Linares?
BA: “That remains to be seen. Linares I’ve always watched him because Mr. Honda my friend from Japan of Teiken Promotions has been the guy to develop Linares and co-promoted him with Golden Boy. So I’ve known Linares for years and I’ve always admired his ability, he’s a terrific fighter, he’s very experienced, and he’s much bigger than Loma, so it will be a real test.
“That being said, I also don’t believe there is anybody on the face of the earth 135 pounds or less that can beat Lomachenko. So we will see.”
BR: What’s next for Jose Ramirez?
BA: “Jose Ramirez is going to fight in July. The guy Prograis has the right to fight him in July. Both fighters may opt to take interim fights before they move on. That’s being discussed now and we’ll see how that comes out. If Prograis’s people say no they want to go right to the title fight, we’re happy to do that, so that’ll become clear sometime next week.”
BR: I wanted to talk a little bit about your light heavyweight Oleksandr “The Nail” Gvozdyk he’s in line to fight Stevenson Vs Jack winner what’s the better matchup for the nail?
BA: “Well I think Stevenson is the better matchup, Badou Jack is a slick guy, he’s come up to light heavyweight. He doesn’t hit nearly as hard as Stevenson, but he’s much more maneuverable and I think he creates bigger problems for Gvozdyk than Stevenson. I think Stevenson now particularly at his age is more stationary and Gvozdyk takes a terrific punch and I look for him to win that fight quite handily. Badou Jack is a tougher fight but I also like my guy.”
BR: Who wins Stevenson vs Jack?
BA: “The one thing I don’t know, you don’t know, and none of us know is what happens when Stevenson hits Badou Jack on the chin? Can he take what is a powerful punch, much more powerful than any punch he’s (Jack) probably taken with anybody else, so we’ll have to see. It’s a good fight, it’s an interesting fight, it’s very competitive.”
BR: Can you talk a little bit about the ESPN Plus app it’s about to drop on April 12th how did this come about?
BA: “Well ESPN and Disney believe that the future of delivering product whether it’s entertainment on Disney’s part or sports from ESPN that the future is direct to consumer. And they’ve been working on this package for a number of years, they’ve invested billions of dollars in the technical aspects of it. So we are very fortunate to have been selected to supply the boxing for this package which I think really represents the future.”
BR: With this new app in place will fights still be aired, televised on the regular ESPN channel?
BA: “The way it’s setup is approximately half will go on linear (ESPN) as we call it and the other half will go on ESPN Plus.”
BR: Is there anything else you like to add Bob?
BA: “It’s very exciting times and I would say as that press release said if a fight airs on regular ESPN, it will be shown on the delay basis every fight on ESPN Plus. If you don’t catch it live on ESPN and you have your subscription to ESPN plus, you will be able to watch the fight on a delay basis.”
Manny Pacquiao and Bob Arum Continue to be at Odds Over Prospective Opponents
By: Bryant Romero
Manny Pacquiao’s return to the ring sometime this year has been on been ongoing saga on whether the proposed bout with Argentina’s Lucas Matthysse (39-4, 36 KOs) will actually pull through for sometime this summer. Reports of strain relations between Pacquiao and Arum should come to no surprise as there were signs prior to Pacquaio’s fight with Jeff Horn in Australia. The Pacquiao camp caused a stir in recent weeks as they announced to boxing press that Pacquiao is currently a free agent and no longer contractually obligated to Top Rank.
“I reviewed the contract and I found out that Bob Arum has no more say even in the rematch, should there be any between Manny Pacquiao and Australian boxer Jeff Horn,” said Pacquiao’s lawyer Eldibrando Viernesto to the Philippine press.
Furthermore, the camp also announced a date that has since been rescheduled at a site in Malaysia with the hopes of sealing a deal with Matthysse through his promoter Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions. Pacquiao was reportedly insulted with the initial offer from Top Rank to perhaps be on a undercard to Horn-Crawford to fight Mike Alvarado. Manny rejected the offer and is now reportedly negotiating a fight through his own without the involvement of Top Rank.
Pacquiao and Arum have been down this road before and it’s obvious that Manny had very little interest in fighting Jeff Horn last summer in Brisbane as he tried to set up a fight with Amir Khan in the UAE instead. The fight fell through however, and Pacquaio was left to fight Horn as Arum didn’t seem to offer any other opponents.
There are doubts that the Pacquiao vs Matthysse fight will pull through to a now rescheduled date of July 8. Aquiles Zonio who is Pacquiao’s media relations officer has made allegations that promoter Bob Arum has in the past threatened to sue some of the financial backers for which resulted in the fights being scrapped. Accoring to Zonio, Arum is trying to sabotage the Pacquiao vs Matthysse fight in Malaysia by threatening a lawsuit to the Malaysian financial backers.
It’s going to be an interesting next couple of weeks on finding out whether Pacquiao is truly a free agent and whether Bob Arum can once again convince Manny to get back on board and fight an opponent of his choosing instead.
Bob Arum and Don King Renew Old Rivalry
By: Bryant Romero
Bob Arum and Don King will renew their old rivalry at the ‘Mecca of Boxing” this Saturday for Ramirez vs Imam world title fight.
It may well be the last time you will see Bob Arum and Don King co-promoting a boxing match that will feature Jose Ramirez (21-0, 16 KOs) a top rank promoted fighter taking on Amir Imam (21-1, 18 KOs) one of the few remaining Don King fighters for the vacant WBC super lightweight title at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden. Ramirez vs Imam is an historic bout as it marks the 2,000th world title fight for the WBC in its 55 year history.
King and Arum have long been promotional rivals and at one time were considered the most powerful men in boxing during the 1980’s and 1990’s. Over the years they have fought over fighters, over dates, and were only able to work together sometimes when it came to fight that could generate millions of dollars. Together they promoted Chavez vs De La Hoya, De La Hoya vs Trinidad, and their last co-promotion which was Cotto vs Mayorga in 2011 just to name a few.
King is now considered semi-retired, but at the age of 86 he still has the energy, is still very talkative, and still has the desire to find that one prize fighter that can take him back to the top, whether that means he will have to go by his old measures to secure that prize fighter that can help him strike gold. King once said the famous line “I came into the ring with the champion and I left with the champion.” Though King wasn’t talking about the same champion he came into the ring with. On more than one occasion has King tried to steal away fighters from Arum, even once whispering into De La Hoya’s ear following his close loss to Trinidad by saying, “If I was your promoter, you’d have won this fight.” If Ramirez defeats Imam this Saturday night it’s highly unlikely that King will be able to pry away Ramirez from Arum.
The old rivals reunited on Thursday afternoon in what was a classic final press conference as King and Arum constantly traded verbal jabs at each other and debated politics.
“We’re all immigrants,” Arum said. “And America’s strength is from the immigrant community and we have to find a way to integrate all of these people into what is a great country, the United States of America.”
“We gonna celebrate at Madison Square Garden,” King said. “It is the Mecca of Boxing. And it’s a fantastic thing to be here and be at war with Mr. Arum. Some of the things he said have some vitality to it, that the whole country is a country of immigrants.”
King has vowed that his fighter Imam will knockout Ramirez, while Arum has maintained that King is dreaming if he thinks that will happen. Whatever happens this Saturday night, it’s going to be one fun night of boxing as these two legendary promoters will go head to head for what may be the very last time.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Groves, Arum, Holyfield, Hernandez, Eubank, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of November 21st to November 28th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Holyfield and Arum Headline 2018 Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame Class
Evander Holyfield and Bob Arum headline the 2018 inductees into the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame.
The Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame (ACBHOF) has announced its 25 member 2018 Induction Class, which also includes President Donald J. Trump. This epic event will take place at The Claridge, a Radisson Hotel located at Park Place & Boardwalk in Atlantic City, New Jersey on June 1 – 3, 2018.
Atlantic City, New Jersey Mayor-Elect Frank M. Gilliam Jr. commented, “The future of boxing in Atlantic City is brighter than ever. Being the newly elected Mayor of the City of Atlantic City, New Jersey it gives me great honor to be a part of bringing the 2nd Annual Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame Induction Weekend back to our Great City. I believe boxing and Atlantic City has always been a natural fit and we see it returning to its glory days, and under my administration, we plan on welcoming it back wholeheartedly: Congratulations to the ACBHOF “2018” Inductees!”
The Claridge Hotel serves as the signature Corporate Sponsor for this knockout weekend, “The Claridge is proud to be in partnership with the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame and to continue to promote professional boxing’s exceptional history in Atlantic City,” says Cem Erenler, Vice President/ Operations & Business Development for TMJ Properties, the owner and developer of The Claridge. The iconic hotel, which is now part of the global Radisson brand first opened in 1930. “Hosting this signature event is in the best traditions of The Claridge, which for more than 80 years has been Atlantic City’s center for exciting events in sports and entertainment,” Mr. Erenler said.
Evander Holyfield stated: “I have many great memories fighting in Atlantic City, and I am honored to be inducted into its Hall of Fame.”
The 2nd Annual Induction Ceremony & Celebration Weekend will honor some of the world’s most prominent trailblazers from the sport of boxing: President Donald J. Trump, José Sulaimán, and Bob Arum are just a few names who will be enshrined with the 2018 induction class. Also expected to be in attendance; current and former boxing champions, and VIP Guests for a fun-filled weekend that’s highlighted by a black-tie evening, and the acclaimed, unforgettable Induction Ceremony.
“The Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame is here to stay! The epic success of our 2017 Inaugural Induction weekend was pivotal to our brand value in the boxing and business community,” said Rodrick Green Vice President and Business Strategist for ACBHOF. “We are excited about the economic and sports entertainment impact the ACBHOF will continue to have in Atlantic City. Thank you for your support and be reassured that at the 2018 Induction Celebration the bar will be raised even higher.
Over the next several weeks there will be updates on the schedule of events, room packages and expected VIP appearances on the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame and the Claridge Hotel websites and social media platforms.
“We’re excited about the ACBHOF 2018 Induction Class; I believe our nomination committee did an incredible job in selecting a diverse and richly deserving group of individuals. I’m extremely proud of this class because it contains three remarkable women: Diane Fischer-Cristiano, Jean Williams, and Marian Muhammad. The ACBHOF team along with our partners and sponsors are looking forward to June where we will pay homage to our 2018 inductees,” said Ray McCline ACBHOF President and Founder.
Tickets for Groves-Eubank Jr. Sold Out in Seven Minutes
It took seven minutes to sell out the Ali Trophy semi-final bout between WBA Super World Champion George Groves (27-3, 20 KOs) and IBO-Champ Chris Eubank Jr. (26-1,20 KOs) at the Manchester Arena on February 17, 2018.
Europe’s largest purpose-built indoor arena will be at capacity to witness what promises to be the biggest Super Middleweight night in years.
“This is a sensational start to the semi-finals of the World Boxing Super Series and the quest for the Muhammad Ali Trophy,” said Roberto Dalmiglio, Comosa’s CEO.
“I said before we went on sale that the fight between Groves and Eubank Jr. represents the boxing event fans cannot afford to miss, and I am happy to say that I was right.”
Said Kalle Sauerland, Comosa’s Chief Boxing Officer: “This is clearly the fight everyone wanted and I am sure this super-fight will capture not only a nation but a generation of fight fans.”
“The build-up is going to be huge and we can’t wait to go to Manchester for a sold out event between two spectacular rivals and world-class fighters.”
“We will work hard over the coming weeks to release extra tickets to meet the huge demand for this fight.”
The build-up to the all-British grudge match begins today when Groves and Eubank Jr. come face-to-face at a kickoff press conference at 2 pm in London.
ITV will be live streaming the press conference on ITV Box Office, YouTube and Facebook.
The Ali Trophy super middleweight semi-final between George Groves and Chris Eubank Jr. will be live on ITV Box Office on February 17.
Lucas Matthysse and Jorge Linares to Headline HBO Card at Los Angeles Forum
Two of the world’s most exciting fighters, Lucas “La Maquina” Matthysse (38-4, 35 KOs) and Jorge “El Nino De Oro” Linares (43-3, 27 KOs), will kick off the 2018 boxing year with a bang as they compete in separate world championship bouts on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018 at the “Fabulous” Forum in Inglewood, California. This special double main event will be televised live on HBO Boxing After Dark beginning at 10:20 p.m. ET/PT.
The first co-main event will see the 35-year-old Matthysse, an absolutely thunderous puncher out of Chubut, Argentina, facing undefeated Thai superstar Tewa Kiram (38-0. 28 KOs) in a 12-round battle for the vacant WBA Welterweight World Championship.
“I am honored to be able to fight for a world championship in just my second fight at welterweight,” said Matthysse, a former interim world champion at 140 pounds who has defeated the likes of former two-division champion Lamont “Havoc” Peterson, formerWBO Junior Welterweight Champion Ruslan “The Siberian Rocky” Provodnikov and former three-division titlist Humberto “La Zorrita” Soto. “I understand I am facing a younger, undefeated opponent, but I am confident that ‘The Machine’ will emerge victorious.”
Since turning pro at the age of 15, Kiram has torn through an astounding 38 opponents, with 28 of them never hearing the final bell. He won the interim PABA Welterweight Championship in just his sixth fight and defended it – and the full PABA Welterweight title – more than 30 times over seven years. This will mark his first fight outside of Thailand.
“I understand not many people know me in the U.S., but they are in for a big surprise on Jan. 27,” Kiram said. “I have never been defeated, and I am fully confident that I will return to Thailand with the WBA Welterweight World Championship around my waist.”
In the second co-main event, Linares, a 32-year-old Venezuelan considered one of the top fighters in the world, will make his second trip to the ‘Fabulous’ Forum in a row to defend his multiple lightweight world championships against the once-defeated Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta (31-1-2, 17 KOs).
“I have travelled all over the world to win and defend my titles, and I am looking forward to having my hand raised in victory once again in America,” said Linares, the three-division world champion who holds victories over world champions and contenders such as Anthony “Million Dollar” Crolla, Kevin “Mighty” Mitchell and Gamaliel “El Platano” Diaz. “I know that Gesta has speed and power, but he hasn’t been at this level before, and on Jan. 27, he’ll know what it’s like to face a world champion.”
Gesta, a 30-year-old from the Philippines, has not tasted defeat in six fights, beating quality opponents including Gilberto “El Flaco” Gonzalez and former contender Martin “El Brochas” Honorio. Gesta is getting his second shot at a world championship more than five years after dropping a unanimous decision to Miguel “Titere” Vazquez for the IBF World Lightweight Championship.
“I know firsthand how long it takes to get a shot at a world championship, and I will not allow this opportunity to pass me by,” Gesta said. “I understand Linares is a great fighter, but I know I have the skills, speed, power, and great coaching which will get my hand raised in victory.”
“What a way to kick of 2018 – with two of the top fighters in the sport taking on younger, hungry challengers,” said Oscar De La Hoya, CEO and Chairman of Golden Boy Promotions. “It’s not often you get two main events on one card, but that is what we will have on Jan. 27 at the “Fabulous” Forum. This card will help keep the momentum that boxing established in 2017.”
“This is a very important fight for Argentine boxing, for Lucas Matthysse and for Arano Box,” said Mario Arano of Arano Boxing. “Matthysse is ready to be a world champion, and we are more than sure that his win will make huge waves throughout the entirety of the Republic of Argentina and South America.”
“Thailand has never had a Welterweight World champion before,” said Taweesin Terry Laosuwanwat, Manager and Promoter of Kiram. “We are making history here, and Tewa [Kiram] will do anything to win this fight. Tewa has never lost before, and he will keep his undefeated record against Matthysse.”
The remainder of the undercard and the ticket information for this stacked event will be announced shortly.
Jose Lopez to Take on Avery Sparrow in New Co-Main Event on November 30th ESPN Show
Super featherweight contender José “Wonder Boy” López (18-1-1, 13 KOs) of Carolina, Puerto Rico will now take on Avery Sparrow (8-1, 3 KOs) in the new co-main event of the Nov. 30 edition of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN at the MGM National Harbor in Maryland. The event will also feature the headlining debut of Lamont Roach, Jr. (15-0, 6 KOs) as he defends his WBC Youth Super Featherweight Title against Rey “Flash” Pérez (21-8, 6 KOs) in the 10-round main event. ESPN3 (English) and ESPN Deportes (Spanish) will air the fights live at 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT. Undercard will stream on ESPN3 at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT. ESPN2 will air the fight at 11 p.m.ET/8 p.m. PT.
López, a 23-year-old contender who is coming off a four-fight win streak, has earned two regional titles since making his debut in Sept. 2011. In 2014, Lopez defeated veteran Leivi Brea to win the Interim WBC Fecarbox Super Bantamweight Title via first-round technical knockout. Two years later, López captured the WBO International Super Featherweight Title by defeating Edgar López Sasso via stunning second-round knockout. López was originally scheduled to fight against Miguel “Miguelito” González, but González was forced to pull out due to an injury suffered in his left arm when sparring.
Sparrow, who is also 23-years-old will took to take advantage of his first co-main event opportunity. The Philadelphian is coming off a four-fight win streak, defeating two undefeated prospects in his last two fights.
Fairfield, California’s Manuel “Tino” Ávila (22-1, 8 KOs) will take on Nick Otieno (31-12, 13 KOs) of Nairobi, Kenya in an eight-round featherweight fight. Ávila will return after his only defeat, which was in a tough battle against Joseph Diaz, Jr. on the Canelo vs. Chávez Jr. undercard in May of this year. The featherweight contender is looking to get back into the 126-pound mix before the year ends.
In the night’s swing bout, George Rincón (2-0) of Dallas, Texas will take on Jihad Wise (3-3, 1 KO) of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in a four-round 140-pound clash. Rincón’s brother, Alex Rincón, was originally scheduled to be in the swing bout, but the welterweight prospect who is currently signed to Golden Boy Promotions was forced to pull out and undergo surgery as he has been diagnosed with appendicitis.
Luther Smith (9-1, 8 KOs) of Alexandria, Virginia will open the night of boxing in a four-round bout in the cruiserweight division against an opponent that will be announced shortly.
Roach, Jr. vs. Pérez is a 10-round super featherweight fight for the WBC Youth Super Featherweight Title and is presented by Golden Boy Promotions. The event is sponsored by Tecate, “THE OFFICIAL BEER OF BOXING” and Hennessy “Never Stop, Never Settle.” ESPN3 (English) and ESPN Deportes (Spanish) will air the fights live from MGM National Harbor at 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT. ESPN2 will air the fight at 11 p.m. ET/ 8 p.m. PT.
Tickets for Roach, Jr. vs Pérez are on sale and are priced at $75 VIP, $75, $55 and $35, not including taxes or fees. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call the Ticketmaster Contact Center at (800) 745-3000. Tickets will also be available for purchase online at www.ticketmaster.com and www.goldenboytickets.com.
Nico Hernandez Injured, Fight Posptoned
Due to an injury suffered by 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Nico Hernandez last week at training camp, this Saturday night’s “KO Night Boxing: Gold & Glory” card, presented by KO Night Boxing LLC, has been postponed until February 10, at the same venue, Hartman Arena in Park City, Kansas.
The 21-year-old Hernandez was scheduled to headline the event in his hometown against Hungarian flyweight champion Jozsef “Little Red” Ajtai (19-9, 12 KOs) in the eight-round main event for the vacant International Boxing Association (IBA) Americas flyweight championship.
The promoter plans to keep the card intact, as much as possible, and he is hopeful that Ajtai is available to challenge Hernandez for the IBA Americas title.
“Injuries are an unfortunate part of boxing, but the good news is that Nico will be 100-percent ready to go February 10th,” promoter John Andersen said. “I know that Nico feels that he’s letting everybody down but, at the end of the day, all that really counts is his health. He’s a tough kid who has his entire pro career ahead of him.”
“Over the last six months, Nico has become like family to the Hartman Arena staff,” said Hartman Arena Executive Director, Ben Bolander. “We wish the best for him and hope for a speedy recovery, so we can see him back here in February fighting for the title.”
TIckets to the December 2nd event will still be honored at the February 10 event. If ticket holders, are unable to attend the new event date, full refunds will be offered at the point of purchase. Tickets will remain on sale for the February 10, 2018 event date.
ESPN Announces Major Deal With Top Rank
By: Sean Crose
Perhaps lost in all the mania surrounding the Floyd-Conor weekend was the huge news that ESPN has announced a major deal with Bob Arum’s Top Rank Promotions. Arum, one of boxing’s most prominent promoters (perhaps the single most prominent one) is now letting his stable of boxers fight exclusively in the domain of ESPN (which is part of the Disney universe).
According to Variety, ESPN “will have the exclusive ability to televise and stream live Top Rank fights in the U.S., as well as deliver pay-per-view events with the promoter’s matches.” Long story short, the network, which has been having troubles of its own recently, is getting into the rejuvenating sport of boxing in a significant way.
ESPN had already indicated its newfound interest in the sweet science this summer by showing Manny Pacquiao’s stunning – and controversial – loss to Jeff Horn to huge ratings. It then showcased rising stars Vasyl Lomachenko and Terence Crawford respectively. Now, according to the network’s boxing writer, Dan Rafael, “high-level cards are on the way, with 18 on tap for the first year of the deal.” This is nothing but good news for fight fans, as the home of Arum’s fighters until very recently was pay-cable outlet HBO.
The Arum-HBO relationship cooled, however, and now names like Pacquiao, Lomachenko, Crawford and others will be found on basic cable– at least more than they ever have been. Pay Per View cards will still be a part of life for fans, only now Top Rank pay per view cards will be brought to the public via ESPN. The deal is set to last four years. If the marriage of the two entities proves successful, however, it can be expected to last longer.
All of this is – of course – a considerable development for followers of the sweet science. Top names on basic television are never a bad thing. Yet fans will be disappointed if Arum goes the road boxing guru Al Haymon did when he had his name fighters appear in top fights on basic television sporadically, at best. Top fighters, at least the top fighters in Arum’s stable, will need to be matched strongly with at least some regularity in order for the ESPN partnership to prove successful. If the deal works out, however, boxing will effectively take a huge step back into the mainstream of American sports, a place it hasn’t been in a long time, save for the occasional superbout.