Boxing Insider Notebook: Canelo, Prograis, Bivol, Pascal, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of October 9th to October 16th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Photo Credit: Tom Hogan-HoganPhotos/Golden Boy Promotions
Canelo Alvarez Receives WBC Middleweight Title in Mexico City
Canelo Alvarez (50-1-2, 34 KOs) received his WBC Middleweight World Title today at Museo Soumaya in Mexico City in recognition of his spectacular victory against Gennady “GGG” Golovkin in September. Canelo also received the Cinturon Chiapaneco and the Cinturon Huichol at this momentous event as he prepares to return to the ring. The 28-year-old WBC, WBA, Lineal and Ring Magazine Middleweight World Champion will take on WBA Super Middleweight World Champion Rocky Fielding (27-1, 15 KOs) in a special 12-round super middleweight attraction on Saturday, Dec. 15 at Madison Square Garden.
Below is what today’s participants had to say at the belt presentation:
CANELO ALVAREZ, WBC, WBA, Lineal and Ring Magazine Middleweight World Champion:
“I want to thank everyone for their support during the good times and the bad. It was a tough year for me. I would never do anything to blemish my career, but I’m grateful to all those who were there with me. I’m going to represent the WBC from here on. They’ve been my family since the beginning. It’s a great responsibility to be a Mexican world champion. But I take that responsibility because I know I’m a determined and disciplined fighter. I honor every fighter who has fought at Madison Square Garden, but I’m going to make my own story. This is another chapter in my legacy.
JOSE “CHEPO” REYNOSO, Manager and Trainer of Canelo Alvarez:
“The past 13 years of Canelo Alvarez’s career has not been easy. It has been difficult. But when you have a lot of determination like he does, it makes the hard road that much easier. We completed the promise of making him a world champion because he completed his part of working hard. I thank everyone here and the sport of boxing.”
EDDY REYNOSO, Head Trainer and Manager of Canelo Alvarez:
“I’m grateful and thankful for all that Canelo Alvarez has achieved. I thank Mauricio Sulaiman and the WBC for their help. They’ve supported us all along the way. We’re proud of what he has accomplished, and we know there is more to come.”
ERIC GOMEZ, President of Golden Boy Promotions:
“We’ve worked with Canelo Alvarez since he was a very young prospect. He was hungry and determined to be great. To see him achieve that greatness is a wonderful thing to see. I congratulate him on this exciting day for him.”
MAURICIO SULAIMAN, President of the WBC:
“Canelo shut a lot of mouths in his last fight. He quieted a lot of critics who said he did not come forward. But in his last fight he showed with his fists and his aggression that he is the better fighter. Canelo is always first to raise the Mexican flag after a victory and yell Viva Mexico! I am so proud he is representing the WBC once again.”
Canelo vs. Fielding is a 12-round fight for the WBA Super Middleweight World Title presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Matchroom Boxing. The event is sponsored by Tecate, “THE OFFICIAL BEER OF BOXING,” and Hennessy “Never Stop. Never Settle.” The event will take place Saturday, December 15 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York.
Prograis Makes Brief Stop Home Before Upcoming Fight
Since the Crescent City last saw native son Regis “Rougarou” Prograis in the ring in July, it’s been a whirlwind for the rising star of boxing’s super lightweight division.
Prograis has been to Russia, Brazil and then in training for nearly six weeks in both Los Angeles and Houston as he counts down to an Oct. 27 matchup with Englishman Terry Flanagan at UNO Lakefront Arena.
“I started training camp two weeks earlier,” Prograis said Wednesday in a visit with local media. “I had to go to Russia on Tuesday (after his last fight). When I came back, I went back to Houston and bought a house. I barely stayed in my house for a couple of days, then I went to Brazil for a month … I was training MMA and jiu jitsu. I was back in Houston for a week, then off to (Los Angeles) for training camp.”
The longer camp allowed Prograis and trainer Bobby Benton to change the focus initially.
“As we start camp, we usually start with strength and conditioning,” Benton said. “Instead, we worked his feet. His feet are so much better, his balance is better. It’s made a difference.”
Prograis was wearing a reminder of how difficult training for the fight has been, showing a mark below his left eye as a result of a “little pop” in training Tuesday.
“My training camps are really, really hard,” Prograis said. “My body is sore.”
It’s the second consecutive fight at Lakefront Arena for Prograis, who dispatched Juan Jose Velasco in an eighth-round TKO in the headline event of New Orleans’ first championship fight card in nearly two decades.
“My whole goal is to turn it into a franchise,” Prograis said. “We got the Saints, the Pelicans, and hopefully now we’ll have Regis Prograis.”
A win against Flanagan could mean a return to New Orleans for his next bout.
Prograis, who is 22-0 in his career with 19 knockouts, is not only the No. 1 seed in the super lightweight bracket for the Ali Trophy, but ranked No. 1 in the 140-pound division by ESPN. As the top seed, he had a choice of opponents and picked Flanagan (33-1, 13 KOs).
“I’m in it to fight the best people,” Prograis said. “Terry Flanagan is tough, he’s scrappy, he’s going to come to right and he has a lot of experience. I wanted to fight the hardest fight first.”
If his first fight in his hometown taught Prograis anything, it was to watch what he eats right before the fight. What will he do differently this time? “Don’t eat po-boys and gumbo before I fight,” he said. “Otherwise, everything went smoothly. I experienced (nervousness) already, so that’s done. This time, it’s going to be back being fun to me again.”
If Prograis can win the Ali Trophy – the final would likely happen around June 2019 – he has in his sight a matchup with fellow unbeaten Jose Ramirez (23-0). Prograis attended Ramirez’s fight last month in Fresno, California.
Prograis and his team were headed back to Houston late Wednesday to resume training before returning to New Orleans in the days leading up to the fight.
The Prograis-Flanagan co-headliner is another Ali Trophy super-lightweight quarterfinal between Ivan Baranchyk and Anthony Yigit for the IBF world championship.
The undercard is expected to begin at 6 p.m., with the two main events at about 9. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster and the Lakefront Arena box office.
Dmitry Bivol to Defend WBA Title Against Jean Pascal in Atlantic City
Dmitry Bivol will defend his WBA Light Heavyweight World Title against former Olympian and former WBC, IBO, and Ring Magazine champion Jean Pascal on Saturday, November 24, 2018 as boxing returns to Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City.
The event will be promoted by Main Events and World of Boxing, Bivol’s promoter, in association with Jean Pascal Promotions. The bout will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Bivol, age 27, of St. Petersburg Russia, risks his perfect record of 14 wins with no losses and 11 knockouts against the time-tested Pascal, who turns 36 on October 28, has 33 wins, 20 by knockout, against five losses and a draw.
Bivol is coming off a dominating 12-round decision victory over crafty Isaac Chilemba of Malawi on August 4. Pascal is fresh from an eighth round TKO over former UFC champion Steve Bosse at Place Bell in Laval, Quebec on July 20.
After storming through the amateur ranks, Bivol has quickly moved himself into position to take over the highly competitive light heavyweight division by facing top names and defeating them, one after the other. Bivol is open about his ambitious goals to fight all of the best opponents in the division, and to deliver entertaining fights in front of large audiences.
Bivol’s ultimate goal to unify the light heavyweight division: “It’s very important for me. It’s every boxer’s dream to be the champion, the unified champion. It’s a big step to dream about. Like (unified cruiserweight champion) Oleksandr Usyk.”
Although he has a humble nature, Bivol is sure about his abilities. “Not too long ago, Pascal fought for three world titles and I watched on TV. Now he wants to take my title away, and I am very happy to accept this challenge and look forward to my next title defense on HBO.”
Vadim Kornilov, Bivol’s manager, added, “We are looking forward to another great performance by Dmitry Bivol on November 24th. Jean Pascal is a name everyone has heard, and we look forward to a competitive fight with this great champion.”
Andrei Ryabinski of World of Boxing, Bivol’s promoter, said, “We are glad to be putting together another fight for Dmitry Bivol together with HBO, Main Events and the Hard Rock. Look forward to a great fight between Dmitry Bivol and Jean Pascal!”
“This is the most important fight of my life and I could not be more motivated,” said Pascal. “I’m making boxing history on November 24th. I’m known as a champion who never turned down any challenges, but I want to be two-time champion and I want to be immortalized in the Hall of Fame when my career is over. To fully cement my status as a hall of famer, I must win this fight and I will win this fight.
“Bivol is a very good fighter and a difficult challenge, but greatness has never been achieved without overcoming difficult challenges. My Canadian fans should be very excited because all of the light heavyweight belts will be in our house for Christmas this year,” promised Pascal.
Manager Greg Leon is equally confident. “In my opinion Bivol is the best light heavyweight champion in the world, so this is an extremely difficult challenge for us. However, Jean is fighting for the hall of fame, history and legacy. That coupled with the intangibles he possesses that cannot be taught make him the most dangerous fighter Bivol has ever faced by far.
“November 24th will provide Bivol with a couple of new experiences; he’ll be fighting in his first major main event and he’ll be suffering his first loss as a professional,” said Leon.
Main Events CEO Kathy Duva said, “Main Events could not be more excited to return to Atlantic City for our second card at the Hard Rock’s Etess Arena. Our first card there on August 4 was a sellout, and we expect to build on that momentum by bringing Dmitry back to be in the main event on November 24.”
“Following up on the success of last August’s fight between Alvarez and Kovalev, this will just be another step forward in Atlantic City’s return to professional boxing,” says Bernie Dillon, Vice President of Entertainment for Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City, “I’m thrilled that Hard Rock can be a big part of that.”
Ruben Villa Shines on Front of Hometown Fans on Saturday Night
Featherweight Ruben Villa (14-0, 5 KOs) returned to his hometown for the second time in his career and delivered a thrilling, one-sided performance against the game Miguel Carrizoza (10-4, 2 KOs) Saturday night from a sold-out Storm House in Salinas, Calif.
Villa, 21, used terrific footwork to find the angles against Carrizoza in route to a sweep of the scorecards in the 8-round main event. Throughout the fight, Villa hammered Carrizoza with a stiff jab, followed by a thundering left hand. It was an outstanding display of accuracy for the southpaw in his fifth fight of the year.
“I felt great tonight,” said Villa, who is promoted by Banner Promotions and Thompson Boxing. “Everything was clicking. The guy was tough. I landed a lot of good shots and he came coming back. I’m very happy with my performance. I put on a great show for my hometown fans.”
To watch a replay of Villa’s dominant performance, please click here
Villa, who has been as active as possible since joining the professional ranks in 2016, looked as comfortable as he ever has.
“I’m gaining more and more confidence with each win,” Villa said. “I like where I’m at right now.”
HBO Boxing Preview: Bivol vs. Chilemba, Kovalev vs. Alvarez
By: William Holmes
Atlantic City has seen a surge in the past year in the number of boxing events held in the local casinos, and with Sports Betting now legal in New Jersey, it appears that the surge will continue.
On Saturday night Main Events Promotions will promote a solid fight card at the Etess Arena at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City. Two light heavyweight world title bouts will be featured on that card, the main event of Sergey Kovalev vs. Sleider Alvarez and the co-main event between Dmitry Bivol and Isaac Chilemba for Bivol’s title.
The undercard will feature several prospects and local fighters, including Karl Dargan, Vaughn Alexander, Denis Douglin, Frank Galarza, and Bakhram Murtazaliev.
The following is a preview of the two televised fights.
Dmitry Bivol (13-0) vs. Isaac Chilemba (25-5-2); WBA Light Heavyweight Title
The opening bout of the night will be a light heavyweight title fight between Dmitry Bivol and Isaac Chilemba.
Bivol is a Russian boxer with a deep amateur background. He was Russian National Gold Medalist as well as a World Cadet Championship gold medalist. Chilemba does not have the amateur credentials of Bivol.
Chilemba will have a slight one inch height advantage over Bivol. However, Bivol is the harder puncher of the two. Chilemba only has ten stoppage victories on his resume while Bivol has stopped elevent of his opponents, only two went the distance.
Inactivity should be of some concern to Chilemba. He only fought once in 2018, zero times in 2017, and twice in 2016. Chilemba has also gone 1-3 in his past four fights.
Bivol has been more active than Chilemba. He fought once in 2018 and four times in 2017. By his eleventh professional fight Bivol was already a world champion.
Chilemba has some big losses on his resume. He has losses to Oleksandr Gvozdyk, Sergey Kovalev, Eleider Alvarez, and Tony Bellew. His notable wins include Blake Caparello, Vasily Lepikhin, Denis Grachev, and Edison Miranda.
Bivol has been fairly dominant in his career. He has beaten the likes of Sullivan Barrera, Trent Broadhurst, Cedric Agnew, and Samuel Clarkson.
Bivol appears to be following Sergey Kovalev’s career path and has beaten some opponents that previously faced Kovalev. Chilemba will likely be no different.
Sergey Kovalev (32-2-1) vs. Eleider Alvarez (23-0); WBO Light Heavyweight Title
Sergey Kovalev was long considered one of the top boxers in the light heavyweight division, but back to back losses to Andre Ward has faded his shine a little bit. But he’s still a very dangerous boxer and one of the top guys in the light heavyweight division.
However, he’s facing one of the biggest tests of his professional career in Eleider Alvarez.
Both Kovalev and Alvarez has extensive amateur backgrounds. Kovalev is a former Gold Medalist in the Russian National Championships and Alvarez represented Columbia in the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Both boxers are slightly past their athletic primes. Kovalev is 35 years old and Alvarez is 34 years old. Kovalev will have a two inch height advantage and about a three inch reach advantage on Alvarez.
Both boxers have been fairly active in recent years. Kovalev fought once in 2018 and twice in 2017. Alvarez fought twice in 2017 and 2016 but has yet to fight in 2018.
Kovalev’s only losses were to Andre Ward, an all time great. He has defeated the likes of Igor Mikhalkin, Vyacheslav Shabranskyy, Isaac Chilemba, Jean Pascal, Nadjib Mohammedi, Bernard Hopkins, Blake Caparello, Nathan Cleverly, and Gabriel Campillo
Alvarez has defeated the likes of Jean Pascal, Lucian Bute, Isaac Chilemba, Robert Berridge, and Alexander Johnson.
This writer feels this bout will be very close and competitive. Alvarez has been on a hot streak recently with some impressive wins, but has never fought someone on the level of Kovalev.
If Kovalev can use his reach and height advantage well he should win this bout, but an upset wouldn’t be surprising.
Kovalev and Bivol to Defend Separate Belts on HBO card Saturday Night
By Eric Lunger
Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (31-2-1, 27 KOs) returns Saturday night to the Madison Square Garden Theatre against fellow Russian Igor Mikhalkin (21-1, 9 KOs) in a twelve-round light heavyweight WBO world championship bout. Kovalev is coming off a second-round TKO of Vyacheslav Shabranskyy in November of last year, Ifalso If also MSG, where he won the WBO belt that had been vacated by Kovalev’s nemesis, the now-retired Andre Ward.
Photo Credit: Main Events Twitter Account
Kovalev looks to reclaim his light heavyweight titles, which he lost to Ward in November of 2016. Ward nipped a close 12 round decision, winning by one round on all three judges’ cards. In the rematch, Kovalev was stopped in a controversial fashion, having taken what some saw as a series of low blows. Kovalev emerged onto the world-wide boxing scene in 2013 when he stopped England’s Nathan Cleverly in the fourth round, picking up the WBO belt for the first time. He then reeled off three stoppage wins and then a 12-round decision over Bernard Hopkins in November of 2014. Having now claimed the IBF and WBA belts, “Krusher” made four successful defenses until running into Ward. Still ranked number one by Ring Magazine, Kovalev, now at age 34, looks to continue his journey back to the undisputed top of the division on Saturday night.
After the two losses to Ward, Kovalev switch trainers to Abror Tursunpulatov, submitting to a much higher level of direction: “I don’t think about what I should do, what I need to do, how many minutes or rounds,” Kovalev told Main Events, “everything is under his plan and his control. I like it, and right now I don’t spend my energy to think about training camp. Everything is under the control of Abror.” And like the veteran he is, Kovalev understands the challenge of fighting a contender like Mikhalkin: “he is very motivated. He comes here [to a Championship bout], and he is very dangerous because it is a great opportunity for his future boxing career … and I should be ready for everything he can bring against me.”
Igor Mikhalkin will be making his first appearance fighting in the US. At age 32, the 6-foot-one southpaw holds the IBO World light heavyweight belt, having outpointed Doudou Ngumbu of France in twelve-round clash in December of last year. With only one KO in his last eight outings, Mikhalkin will have to outbox Kovalev. A slugfest would favor the man they call the “Krusher.” Mikhalkin’s most notable win was over then-undefeated Thomas Oosthuizen (27-0-2) in May of 2017 in Hamburg, Germany, Mikhalkin’s adopted home town.
Mikhalkin knows a bit about Kovalev, however, as they were teammates in their amateur days two decades ago. Mikhalkin says, “What I remember of Sergey from those day, he was always working and training really hard, and doing his job as a boxer. Since then, I’ve seen every one of his fights and I respect him for what he has done.” The Irkutsk-born Mikhalkin knows what an enormous opportunity this is: “I’m not as well known, but I get to fight a very popular opponent, a very dangerous opponent with lots of fans. It would change everything in my life.”
The co-Main event features a fascinating clash between two other world-level light heavyweights, albeit from very different boxing traditions: WBA Champion Dmitry Bivol (12-0, 10 KOs) of Kyrgyzstan versus Sullivan Barrera (21-1, 14 KOs) of Miami, FL, by way of Cuba. Bivol, 27, is riding a four-fight knock out streak. He won the WBA belt by defeating Trent Broadhurst (20-2, 12 KOs) of Australia via a first-round knockout. Bivol made a splash last June on the Ward vs. Kovalev II undercard, where he punished a tough Cedric Agnew, stopping the Chicago fighter in the fourth.
Bivol is thankful to be fighting at MSG on the same card as the vaunted Kovalev: “it’s a pleasure to fight on a card where there’s going to be two world champions from Russia, fighting on the same night… I think the fans should be very glad, the Russian fans and all the fans who like both of us, will come and see both of us fight.” The Kyrgyzstan native realizes that Barrera is a real step up in opposition, but he is excited to step in the ring with the Cuban: “I want to fight with the best guys. Barrera accepted our challenge. I’m glad he did.”
Sullivan Barrera, like other former Cuban amateur standouts, started his professional career somewhat late. But he has been busy over the last two years. After losing to Andre Ward in March of 2016 by twelve-round unanimous decision, Barrera reeled off four victories. He earned stoppage wins over Vyacheslav Shabranskyy (2016) and prospect Paul Parker (2017). Barrera then finished a three-fight 2017 with decision wins over Joe Smith, Jr., in July, and Felix Valera in November, the latter on the Kovalev vs. Shabranskyy undercard. Saturday night is Barrera’s first title shot, and the Cuban knows that Bivol will be a difficult opponent: “Bivol is a good fighter and it is known that he has speed but we have a plan to adjust to the speed and take it away. We are going to impose ourselves and use our abilities. It would be a dream come true to win the title.”
The action will be broadcast live this Saturday night at 10:00 PM ET/PT on H
HBO Boxing After Dark Results: Dmitry Bivol Stops Broadhurst in One
By: Ken Hissner
WBA World light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol, 13-0 (11), of Russia, successfully defended his WBA title stopping IBF No. 6 & WBO No. 10 Trent Broadhurst, 20-2 (12), of Australia, at 2:55 of the first round at the Casino de Monte Salle, Medicin, Monte Carlo. HBO After Dark and Sky Television covered the event.
Photo Credit: HBO Boxing Twitter Account
No. 1 contender Sullivan Barrera will be mandatory challenger for Bivol within 90 days.
In the first round Bivol is the aggressor and Broadhurst countering mostly with his jab and an occasional right. Bivol used his shoulder knocking Broadhurst down but the referee called it a knockdown.
Broadhurst countered with a left hook to the chin of Bivol who fired a right hand in return. Broadhurst missed a pair of right hands while Bivol led with a right to the chin and down went Broadhurst just prior to the bell. Only mark was a little blood from the nose of Broadhurst. The referee immediately waived it off.
HBO Boxing After Dark Preview: Bivol vs. Broadhurst, McDonnell vs. Solis
By: Thomas Nicholls
Light-Heavyweight star Dmitry Bivol and the rematch between Jamie McDonnell and Liborio Solis for the WBA World Bantamweight title top the Monte-Carlo Boxing Bonanza – a night of World Championship Boxing in the prestigious Salle Médecin of the Casino de Monte-Carlo on this Saturday live on HBO.
Bivol can showcase his fearsome power when he defends his WBA light-heavyweight belt against Australian Trent Broadhurst after Badou Jack vacated the belt instead of a mandatory title defence against the big-hitting Russian.
Bivol is an exciting 26-year old who will be looking to add another KO to his impressive record. The Russian’s reputation continues to grow and he picked up the crown in just his seventh pro fight. He has already wowed crowds in his homeland and the US and now Bivol will be out to impress in his first fight in front of the Sky Sports cameras.
Jamie McDonnell, back from injury, will be aiming to defend his WBA title for the sixth time in a rematch with Liborio Solis, with Dereck Chisora and Scott Quigg also featuring in must-win bouts.
The Doncaster man retained his WBA bantamweight title with a closely-fought points win over Solis last November and they meet again at the Salle Médecin of the Casino de Monte Carlo on November 4.
Controversial Heavyweight star Dereck Chisora is aiming to become a two-time European champion when he challenges Agit Kabayel for the belt. Chisora landed the title in September 2013 after stopping Edmund Gerber and surrendered it to Tyson Fury, also challenging Kubrat Pulev for the strap in May 2016, and ‘Del Boy’ is looking to take the crown from Kabayel who defends for the first time after winning the strap in February.
Quigg will resume his pursuit of the featherweight world championship as he battles Ukrainian Oleg Yefimovych in a WBA title eliminator, with the Bury man targeting his second win under new trainer Freddie Roach.
“We are delighted to be back in Monaco for an incredible evening of world championship boxing live on Sky Sports in the UK and HBO across America,” said promoter Eddie Hearn.
“I’m excited to watch Dmitry Bivol, one of the most exciting young fighters in world boxing, and of course to see the world title rematch of Jamie McDonnell versus Liborio Solis after their last close encounter.”
HBO PPV Preview: Rigondeaux vs. Flores, Bivol vs. Agnew, Ward vs. Kovalev
HBO PPV Preview: Rigondeaux vs. Flores, Bivol vs. Agnew, Ward vs. Kovalev
By: William Holmes
HBO Sports will present four fights on Pay Per View on Saturday night which will feature a main event rematch between the two top boxers in the light heavyweight division, Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward.
Their first bout was a close and entertaining affair that saw Ward scratch out a decision victory after being knocked down early in the bout. Ward and Kovalev genuinely dislike each other and this bout should be as entertaining as the first one.
Main Events and Roc Nation will be co-promoting this event which will take place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The following is a preview of three of the planned televised bouts.
Dmitry Bivol (10-0) vs. Cedric Agnew (29-2); Light Heavyweights
Prospect Dmitry Bivol is a two time Russian National Gold Medalist as an amateur at two different weights and has never tasted defeated. He lives in Russia but was born in Kyrgyzstan and has never tasted defeated.
Bivol will be four years younger than Agnew, who just turned thirty. They are both six feet tall. Agnew was a runner up in the National Golden Gloves as an amateur.
Both boxers have decent power, but Bivol appears to be the harder puncher. He has eight stoppage wins in only ten fights, while Agnew has fifteen stoppage wins and one stoppage loss.
Bivol has been very active and already fought twice in 2017 and three times in 2016. He has defeated the likes of Samuel Clarkson, Robert Berridge, and Felix Valera. Bivol has never faced someone with a losing record, which is rare for prospects as they are usually brought up slowly.
Agnew’s biggest wins have come against boxers past their primes. He has defeated the likes of Yusaf Mack, Otis Griffin, and Daniel Judah. His two losses were to Sergey Kovalev and a man that Bivol has defeated, Samuel Clarkson.
Agnew is a decent boxer with a good looking record, but he’s been fairly inactive since his loss to Kovalev. He only fought once in 2017 and did not fight at all in 2016. This is a bout that Bivol should win quite easily.
Guillermo Rigondeaux (17-0) vs. Moises Flores (25-0); WBA Junior Featherweight Title
Guillermo Rigondeaux is one of boxing’s best talents and unfortunately, one of boxing’s most avoided fighters.
He’s a two time Olympic Gold Medalist and a two time Gold Medalist in the world amateur championships. He’s slick, quick, and has some incredible defense on top of pin point accuracy. But, his style is considered boring by the average fan and he struggles to bring in a large fan base.
He’s facing his mandatory challenger for his WBA Junior Featherweight title, but it doesn’t appear Flores will be a real challenge to him.
Flores does have an edge in the physicals. He’s six years younger than Rigondeaux and will have a five inch height advantage and about a one inch reach advantage. He’s also been more active than Rigondeaux, but not by much. Flores fought once in 2016 and twice in 2015. Rigondeaux fought once in 2016 and once in 2015.
Flores also doesn’t have the amateur pedigree of Rigondeaux and hasn’t faced good opposition.
Rigondeaux has defeated the likes of James Dickens, Drian Francisco, Joseph Agbeko, Nonito Doniare, Roberto Marroquin, Teon Kennedy, and Rico Ramos. He has eleven stoppage wins on his record but has been unable to entice any of the other world champions to face him in the ring.
Flores has spent most of his career fighting in Mexico against sub-par opposition. He has seventeen stoppage victories, but only two of his past five fights resulted in a TKO or KO victory. His notable wins have come against Oscar Escandon and Mario Macias.
Rigondeaux needs an entertaining victory badly if he wants to stay relevant and land a date on HBO or Showtime. Hopefully he takes some risks to go for the stoppage on Saturday, but there’s little to no doubt that will emerge victorious.
Andre Ward (31-0) vs. Sergey Kovalev (30-1-1); WBO, WBA, and IBF Light Heavyweight Titles
Their first bout was close, very close, and many boxing aficionados thought Kovalev did enough to win the decision. However, the judges disagreed and scored the bout 114-113 on all three cards for Andre Ward.
Luckily for fight fans they get to witness a rare rematch between two of a division’s best on Saturday night, between two boxers who genuinely dislike each other.
Both boxers are nearing the end of their prime. Ward is thirty three years old and Kovalev is thirty four. They are both six feet tall and Kovalev will have a slight one and a half reach advantage on Ward.
Ward is known for his slick, defensive boxing and his accurate counter punching. Kovalev is known for his devastating power. Ward only has fourteen stoppages in his career while Kovalev has twenty six of his opponents.
However, Kovalev’s last two opponents made it all twelve rounds and he was not able to stop the aged Bernard Hopkins. Kovalev’s power appears to be waning.
Ward had a considerable amount of success as an amateur and was able to win the Gold Medal in the 2004 Summer Olympics. Kovalev won a gold medal in the Russian Amateur Championships, but did not experience the type of success Ward experienced as an amateur.
Ward has defeated the likes of Alexander Brand, Sullivan Barrera, Edwin Rodriguez, Chad Dawson, Carl Froch, Arthur Abraham, Sakio Bika, Allan Green, Mikkel Kessler, Edison Miranda, and of course Sergey Kovalev.
Kovalev has defeated the likes of Isaac Chilemba, Jean Pascal, Bernard Hopkins, Blake Caparello, Ismayl Sillah, Nathan Cleverly, and Gabriel Campillo.
Ward is a slick, intelligent boxer who’s able to adjust his style mid match to defeat his opponent. Kovalev’s power caught him off guard in their first fight, but he was able to adjust and win a majority of the rounds in the second half of the fight. Kovalev’s power appears to be escaping him and he looked frustrated in the later rounds against Ward.
Even though their first bout was very close, a rematch favors Ward and this writer expects him to win by a more comfortable margin.
Dmitry Bivol Interview: “If I see the opportunity to end the fight I will go for it”
Dmitry Bivol Interview: “If I see the opportunity to end the fight I will go for it”
By: Matthew N. Becher
Dmitry Bivol is a highly touted young prospect from St. Petersburg, Russia. He sports an undefeated record of 10 wins with 8 coming by way of the knockout. Bivol is only 26 years old, and is already the WBA #1 contender in the light heavyweight division. On June 17th he will fight on the HBO pay per view undercard against his toughest challenger yet, the crafty veteran Cedric Agnew. We spoke with Dmitry as he was putting the last touches on his training camp.
Boxing Insider: How is training camp going?
Dmitry Bivol: The training camp has gone very well. Tomorrow we will have the final sparring and today we had a good run. Yeah, everything is good and we are just waiting for the fight.
Boxing Insider: What is your game plan for a veteran like Agnew?
Dmitry Bivol: I think I don’t have to waste too much energy in the beginning, because he tends to be very defensive. I think I should keep the distance and I should find the openings in his defense to react to. I think those are the three things I should focus on.
Boxing Insider: Is it more important for you to make this fight last longer and get some rounds under your belt, or to look for a quick stoppage?
Dmitry Bivol: I think the knockout is always a good result, but I am ready to go the distance, to go all the rounds, I am prepared for that. To be honest, if I see the opportunity to end the fight I will go for it. But we will have to see during the fight. I am ready to go all the rounds, but I am also ready to end the fight.
Boxing Insider: What are your goals for the rest of 2017?
Dmitry Bivol: I don’t like to look too much ahead, I tend to focus on what is right in front of me. I’m just looking at this fight that is happening on June 17th. As far as plans go, we’ll see after this fight, the only thing I can say is I will look to fight once or maybe twice more by the end of the year.
Boxing Insider: How are you feeling fighting on such a big pay per view event in such a big venue?
Dmitry Bivol: I’m very happy to be fighting on this card, it is very big. I am happy to be fighting on the network and in that arena. I’m very motivated and it is a great achievement of my team, because it’s my 11th fight and it’s such a big magnitude, such a big event, so I’m happy.
Boxing Insider: Since you are fighting on the Ward v. Kovalev card, who do you think is going to win?
Dmitry Bivol: It is a very tough questions. I am sure I will be rooting for Kovalev. We know each other and have mutual friends and he is Russian, so I will be rooting for him. But I do have to say that I think this time the fight will play out a lot different, and Kovalev will have a lot more challenges. It will be a very interesting fight.