Boxing Insider Notebook: Mayweather, McGregor, Fonfara, Stevenson, Pulev, Barrios and more…
Boxing Insider Notebook: Mayweather, McGregor, Fonfara, Stevenson, Pulev, Barrios and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of April 17th to April 24th, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Dana White Tells Colin Cowherd that McGregor vs. Mayweather is Getting Closer
UFC President Dana White joined The Herd with Colin Cowherd today, April 19, to update everyone on a potential Floyd Mayweather / Conor McGregor fight and said it’s getting really close. Below is a highlight from the interview, as well as a link to the video:
Cowherd: “Has one side agreed to it, or are they both in flux?”
White: “I think we get the McGregor side done in the next couple of days, and then I go lock myself in a room for a couple days with Team Mayweather and see what we can come out with.”
Cowherd: “Is it all about money at this point?”
White: “It’s all about money. Absolutely. Yeah, definitely.”
Cowherd: “What is your projection on total purse for this – all said and done?”
White: “It depends on how much the fight sells. If the fight sells as well as I think it can, Floyd makes a little north of $100 (million) and Conor makes $75 (million).”
Cowherd: “Mayweather is bothered by the split, because he feels what – he should get how much of it?”
White: “He feels he’s the A side and he should get more of it. We haven’t really got into that negotiation yet. I wanted to get McGregor locked in first because McGregor is under contract with me. At the end of the day, does this fight make a ton of sense for me? It really doesn’t, but you know, Conor wants this thing really bad, and I’ve said it many times, this kid has stepped up and saved some big fights for me, man. So I’m in, I’ll figure it out.”
Credit to “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” and Foxsportsreadio.com
Andrzej Fonfara to Face Adonis Stevenson in Championship Rematch
WBC Light Heavyweight World Champion Adonis “Superman” Stevenson will take-on hard-hitting Polish contender Andrzej Fonfara in a rematch of their 2014 slugfest on Saturday, June 3 in the main event of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING, presented by Premier Boxing Champions, live on SHOWTIME from the Bell Centre in Montreal.
Televised coverage will also include a matchup of top light heavyweights as WBC number-one contender Eleider Alvarez (22-0, 11 KOs) faces former world champion Jean Pascal (31-4-1, 18 KOs) with both men looking to get a shot at the winner of the main event next.
Stevenson (28-1, 23 KOs) and Fonfara (29-4, 17 KOs) battled at Bell Centre on May 24, 2014 as Stevenson was able to survive a knockdown late in the fight to win a decision and defend his belt for the third time. Both men threw huge shots all the way until the final bell and will look to pick up where they left off on June 3.
“I’m very excited for this rematch with Fonfara, but it is going to be a short night for him because they don’t pay me for overtime,” said Stevenson. “I’m very happy to be back in the ring for my first fight of 2017. I can’t wait to fight in front of my hometown fans at the Bell Centre. The first time I fought Fonfara was at the Bell Centre in 2014 and now we’re back doing it for a second time. I will put on a great, exciting show for the fans in my hometown, and for the fans on SHOWTIME.”
“I feel good that I’m back here after three years,” said Fonfara. “I’m ready for revenge. I’m a different fighter physically and mentally. I’ve shown in a couple of fights that I’m a better fighter. It’s a great opportunity to get the rematch and be a world champion. The last fight against Chad Dawson gave me experience because it was very technical. But really all the fights since then – Julio Chavez, Jr., Nathan Cleverly and even Joe Smith – have helped me prepare for Stevenson again. I changed my team, got a new coach and a trainer, which makes me physically and mentally where I need to be for this fight. I don’t have a problem fighting in Montreal. I love Montreal. It’s a beautiful city with beautiful people. It will be a great night of boxing and I’m sure that I will be victorious on the night of June 3.”
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Group Yvon Michel (GYM) in association with Warriors Boxing, are priced from $80 to $350, and are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased at the Bell Centre box office, on www.evenko.ca, at GYM (514) 383-0666) or at Champion Boxing Club (514) 376-0980.
“This is one of the best shows in Quebec in a long time,” said Yvon Michel, President of GYM. “It’s the kind of event that will inject some adrenaline into boxing in Quebec. We have two fights that could be main events anywhere in the world and on any network. Adonis will defend his title for the eighth time. To be a world champion for four years is exceptional. Fonfara has a style that can give Adonis some problems.’
“In the co-main event we have a former world champion in Pascal who still believes he can be world champion. He will have a tough assignment with Alvarez, a fighter who just proved he belongs with the best in the world with his win over Lucian Bute. If he beats Pascal he will have beaten two of the best stars that Canada has ever produced in back-to-back fights. He will prove to be a threat to anyone in the future.”
“We’re really looking forward to taking on Stevenson at the Bell Centre in Montreal on SHOWTIME,” said Leon Margules, President of Warriors Boxing, Fonfara’s promoter. “Andrzej was just 26-years-old when they fought last time and it was a big step up for him. We believe he’s now ready to win because he has gained a significant amount of experience in matches with Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr., Nathan Cleverly and Chad Dawson. We’re thrilled to be given the opportunity to fight Stevenson for the world title for a second time.”
Stevenson won the world light heavyweight title in June of 2013 in Montreal, via a sensational 76-second, first-round knockout over the then-undisputed king of the division Chad Dawson. The impressive victory earned Stevenson “Knockout of the Year” and “Fighter of the Year” accolades. From there, Stevenson went on to record stoppage victories over Tavoris Cloud and Tony Bellew in addition to the decision over Fonfara. Born in Haiti, but fighting out of Quebec, Stevenson defended his title twice in 2015 before making the seventh defense of his belt in an exciting firefight with Thomas Williams Jr. that ended with a fourth-round knockout for the reigning champion.
The lineal 175-pound champion trains out of the late Emanuel Steward’s Kronk Gym with his head trainer Sugar Hill.
Now training in Oakland with Virgil Hunter, Fonfara enters this bout coming off of a 10th-round stoppage victory over former world champion Chad Dawson in March at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The fighter out of Warsaw, Poland bounced back from his defeat to Stevenson with a TKO victory over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and a decision over Nathan Cleverly in a 2015 Fight of the Year contender. The 29-year-old won his first 13 fights after moving up to light heavyweight in 2010 including wins over Gabriel Campillo, Glen Johnson and Tommy Karpency.
A 2008 Colombian Olympian fighting out of Montreal, Alvarez worked his way into the mandatory position for the WBC title with victories over Isidro Ranoni Prieto and Isaac Chilemba in 2015. He followed those up with wins over Robert Berridge and Norbert Dabrowski before his most recent matchup that saw him deliver a sensation fifth round knockout over former world champion Lucian Bute.
Originally from Haiti, Pascal and his family moved to Canada when he was a child and began boxing at the age of 13. He would eventually become one of the most accomplished fighters from Montreal. Pascal became a world champion in 2009 when he defeated previously unbeaten Adrian Diaconu. He would go on to defend the title three times, including a victory over Chad Dawson. After losing his title to Bernard Hopkins, Pascal has picked up victories over Lucian Bute, Yuniesky Gonzalez and most recently Ricardo Ramallo in addition to two challenges of former unified world champion Sergey Kovalev.
Fite TV to Stream Pulev vs. Johnson
FITE TV will stream the April 28th heavyweight clash between a pair of past world title contenders, Kubrat “The Cobra” Pulev and Kevin “Kingpin” Johnson, live on pay per view, starting at 2 p.m. ET /11 a.m. PT, from Arena Armeec in Sofia, Bulgaria. Encore presentations will also be available to watch.
FITE TV is a Combat Sports Network that features boxing, MMA and wrestling programming. FITE gives viewers the choice to watch the program on line at www.FITE.tv, on their mobile device or on their WiFi connected television using the FITE app. The FITE app can be downloaded for free at Google Play or the iTunes app stores.
“Final Countdown: Pulev vs. Johnson”, promoted by Sauerland Promotions, is available to watch on the FITE app and website for a suggested retail price of $19.99.
Boxing fans may watch the entire card, headlined by the Pulev-Johnson 12-round World Boxing Association (WBA) heavyweight title fight, simply by downloading the FITE app and then cast the fight to the big screen by using the instant stream-to-TV function. The FITE app works with any Wi-Fi connected television around the world, iOS and Android devices, as well as streaming devices such as Roku, Chromecast and more. Fans may also watch the fights live on the FITE website at www.fite.tv from any computer.
“Pulev versus Johnson is another fine boxing event that FITE is now making available to our North American fan base,” FITE COO Michael Weber said. “FITE continues to grow by leaps and bounds and we are very proud of the growth of world class boxing events to complement our current line-up of MMA and wrestling events.”
The 6′ 4 ½ Pulev, fighting at home in Sofia, Bulgaria, captured the vacant WBA Inter-Continental heavyweight title in his last fight this past December, in which former world champion Samuel Peters (36-5) retired after the third round.
Last May, Pulev won a 12-round split decision over Dereck Chisora (25-5) to capture the European heavyweight championship. The 35-year-old Pulev has won four in a row since he suffered the only loss of his professional career, by way of a fifth-round knockout in 2014, to then-International Boxing Federation (IBF) heavyweight world champion Wladimir Klitschko (62-3).
Pulev was a celebrated amateur boxer who represented Bulgaria at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China. Currently rated No. 9 in the world by the WBA, Pulev can position himself for another world title shot with an impressive victory over Johnson, the battle-tested veteran fighting out of Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA.
“My number one goal is to fight for the World title and on April 28,” Pulev commented, “I will take another step towards achieving this goal. I’m already training hard to prove I am worthy to fight again for the heavyweight crown.
“Johnson is a tough opponent. You must only look at his resume to tell this will be a real challenge. He has shared the ring with many World class fighters like Vitali Klitschko and Anthony Joshua. I know I will need to be at my best to beat him, but with the help of my coach Ulli Wegner and the support of the Bulgarian people, I’m confident my hand will be raised, and we will be able to celebrate another great night for Bulgarian boxing and another step towards me fulfilling my dream of becoming the Heavyweight Champion of the World.’
Johnson, 37, has served as a dangerous “gatekeeper” in the heavyweight division during his 14-year professional career. He’s fought reigning World Boxing Council (WBC) heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua – the only fighter to stop Johnson – former unified world heavyweight titlist Tyson Fury, former world title challenger Manuel Charr and current European champion Christian Hammer.
Johnson’s most notable wins have been against world title challengers Bruce Seldon (TKO5), Alex Leapai (TKO9) and Albert Sosnowski (SDEC3 in Prizefighter Tournament).
In 2009, Johnson lost his lone world title fight by unanimous decision to undefeated WBC champion Vitali Klitschko, extending him the full 12-rounds.
Additional PPV fights are scheduled on FITE TV on a weekly basis.
Beibut Shumenov Injured, Bout with Dorticos Cancelled
Cruiserweight world champion Beibut Shumenov (17-2, 11 KOs) suffered an eye injury in training on Wednesday and will not be able to defend his title against Yunier Dorticos (21-0, 20 KOs) in the main event of a special Saturday night edition of Premier Boxing Champions on FS1 and FOX Deportes, April 29 from Sam’s Town Live in Las Vegas.
Shumenov-Dorticos has been postponed until Shumenov has completely healed from his injury. It will be rescheduled as soon as Shumenov is healthy enough to return to training. There is no timetable yet on when he is expected to return from the injury.
WBA Interim Featherweight Champion Carlos Zambrano (26-0, KOs) defending his title against once-beaten contender Claudio Marrero (21-1, 15 KOs) has been elevated to the main event.
Televised coverage will begin at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT and will feature undefeated Jeison Rosario (12-0, 9 KOs) taking on once-beaten Nathaniel Gallimore (17-1-1, 14 KOs) in a 10-round middleweight attraction.
“It is disappointing that Shumenov suffered an eye injury in training. Unfortunately, that’s the nature of boxing,” said Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions. “We were looking forward to seeing him defend his cruiserweight world title against Dorticos. I hope he makes a full recovery and we can reschedule the match.
“Now, we’re looking forward to Carlos Zambrano making his Mayweather Promotions debut in a scintillating match against a very tough challenger in Claudio Marrero on FS1 and FOX Deportes.”
An unbeaten fighter from Lima, Peru, Zambrano turned pro in 2008 and fought nine of his first 12 bouts in the U.S. He won a South American regional title in 2012 and began moving up the featherweight rankings with a knockout victory over Devis Perez in 2014. He picked up his interim title with a unanimous decision victory over Daniel Ramirez in 2015 and defended the belt successfully against Jose Sanmartin later that year.
A former title challenger who lost a narrow decision to Jesus Cuellar in 2013, Marrero has won seven-straight bouts since then. Most recently, the 28-year-old knocked down Luis Hinojosa four times before stopping him in the fourth round in August 2016. A native of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Marrero was an accomplished amateur who will be fighting in Las Vegas for the second time in his pro career.
An unbeaten fighter out of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Rosario will make his U.S. debut when he enters the ring on May 16. A pro since 2013, the 22-year-old scored knockouts in his first three starts and won a Domincan welterweight title with a second round stoppage of Jose Vidal Soto in 2014. Rosario’s last three starts have seen him score TKO victories over Euro Gonzalez plus previously unbeaten fighters Carlos Jairo Cruz and Rafael Lorenzo.
Originally from Kingston, Jamaica and fighting out of Evanston, Illinois, Gallimore enters this fight having won his last four bouts, all by knockout. The 28-year-old has fought professionally since 2014 and was unbeaten in his first 14 outings before losing a narrow split-decision last June. He began his 2017 with a third round stoppage of Angel Hernandez in early April.
Mario Barrios Training Camp Quotes
Undefeated rising contender Mario Barrios has wrapped up training camp and is set for a main event showdown against Nicaragua’s Nelson Lara that headlines Premier Boxing Champions TOE-TO-TOE TUESDAYS on FS1 and BOXEO DE CAMPEONES on FOX Deportes Tuesday, April 25 from the Fitz Tunica Casino & Hotel in Tunica, Mississippi.
Televised coverage begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and features a 10-round matchup of exciting welterweights as once-beaten Oscar Molina (13-1-1, 10 KOs) takes on Georgia’s Levan Ghvamichava (17-3-1, 13 KOs) in a 10-round showdown.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions, start at $20 and are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased through the Fitz Gift Shop or Ticketmaster at www.Ticketmaster.com or by calling 1-800-745-3000.
Here is what Barrios had to say from training camp:
On fighting in his first main event on FS1:
“Fighting in the main event on FS1, on national television, is going to be an incredible blessing. I know it’ll be a tremendous boost to my career. I want to set the pace from the opening bell, and give the fans a night to remember. These are the type of fights I’ve always dreamed of.”
On his recent training camp with Virgil Hunter in the Bay Area:
“Training with Virgil Hunter has been great. This will be my third fight with him as the lead in my corner. We are working tremendously well as a team and I’m happy where my career is at. We got a lot of good sparring in, with a lot of different looks. I feel my punches are sharp and my timing is on point. I’m going to shine in this fight.”
On his matchup with Nelson Lara…
“I really don’t know much about Nelson Lara, except for the fact that he’s coming off a couple of wins. I’m sure his confidence is high, so I’m expecting a tough fight. Also, I know he’s fought at lightweight or super-lightweight for most of his career, so he’s got more experience fighting at this weight. One thing for sure is…I’ll be ready for anything he brings to the ring.”
On moving up two weight classes…
“It’s hard to believe, but I started off my career at super-bantamweight while standing six feet plus. It was getting to make those smaller weights. I was killing myself to make super featherweight, so my team and I felt it was best to skip lightweight, and move to super-lightweight. It’s a big jump, but I feel real strong at this weight. This is where I want to make my run toward a world title, at super lightweight. You’ll see a stronger Mario Barrios.”
On fighting in Mississippi…
“I actually fought out here early in my career but at a different venue. The fans are great and they get loud. A lively crowd is always fun to fight in front of. I plan on giving the Mississippi fans a great night of boxing.”