Boxing Insider Notebook: Molina, Pascal, Cotto, Lara, Povetkin, Kirkland, King, and more….
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of December 13th to December 20th, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Miguel Cotto vs. James Kirkland Showdown Set for February 25th
Roc Nation Sports and Miguel Cotto Promotions are pleased to announce that Five-Time World Champion Miguel Cotto (40-5, 33 KOs) will return to the ring on Saturday, February 25, 2017 when he takes on James “Mandingo Warrior” Kirkland (32-2, 28 KOs) at Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas. Coming off respective losses to Canelo Alvarez, both fighters will be seeking redemption in a 12-round junior middleweight showdown. The event will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View® beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.
Cotto and Kirkland will join Roc Nation Sports and the Dallas Cowboys organization on Monday, December 19, 2016 at 12:00 p.m. CT for a press conference at Ford Center at The Star to officially announce the fight. This will be the first event of its kind to be held at the state-of-the-art, 510,000 square foot indoor athletic facility shared by the Dallas Cowboys, the City of Frisco, and Frisco ISD’s high schools. Ford Center at The Star is also the home to the Dallas Cowboys Football World Corporate Headquarters.
Tickets priced at $304, $204, $154, $104, $79, $54 and $29 not including applicable service charges and taxes, go on sale Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. local time and will be available at all Ticketmaster locations, online at Ticketmaster.com, charge by phone at (800) 745-3000 and the AT&T Stadium box office.
“I’m excited to return to the ring and put on a great show. I can’t wait to start training camp and get ready for February 25,” said Five-Time World Champion Miguel Cotto. “Fighting inside the beautiful Ford Center, Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboy’s newest creation, and headlining the first ever boxing event there pumps me with a lot of enthusiasm and energy.”
“I’m very excited to get back into the ring against a legend like Miguel Cotto. I’m going to train like never before so I can show the world that the old James Kirkland is back,” said James Kirkland. “You know the fight will be exciting while it lasts. February 25 can’t come soon enough.”
“Miguel Cotto is back and ready to put on an exciting show against the always tough James Kirkland,” said Hector Soto, Vice President of Miguel Cotto Promotions. “We can’t wait to see Miguel back in the ring on February 25 on HBO Pay-Per-View.”
“On behalf of Roc Nation Sports, we are so thrilled about Miguel Cotto’s return to the ring and to bring the first public event to Ford Center at The Star,” said Michael Yormark, Roc Nation President & Chief of Branding and Strategy. “This will undoubtedly be a historic event with an exciting, all-action bout in store for the fans in Frisco and all of North Texas along with those watching from home on HBO Pay-Per-View.”
“We are excited to host an incredible matchup for the very first boxing match here at Ford Center at The Star,” said Jerry Jones, Dallas Cowboys Owner, President and General Manager. “This venue was designed with the idea of versatility in mind, and we expect a great crowd in Frisco, Texas to experience a world class fight between Miguel Cotto and James Kirkland.”
“Throughout his brilliant ring career, Miguel Cotto has never backed down from a challenge and on February 25 he takes on a dangerous knockout specialist in James Kirkland,” said Tony Walker, Vice President, HBO Pay-Per-View. “Fans watching live in Frisco and those tuning in on pay-per-view should not blink in what should be an all-action slugfest.”
Don King Responds to WBC and Povetkin-Stiverne Drug Tests
Top rated heavyweights Alexander Povetkin and Bermane Stiverne were scheduled to fight for the World Boxing Council (WBC) Interim Heavyweight title on Saturday night at the Ekaterinburg Expo Center in Ekaterinburg, Russia. However, the WBC withdrew it’s sanctioning of the bout due to a Povetkin failed drug test. The WBC informed both camps of their decision Friday evening and advised the Stiverne camp they should not go through with the fight. The WBC abides by “Safety First” protocol in their Clean Boxing Program.
Povetkin (31-1, 23 KOs) from Checkhov, Russia was going into the fight rated No. 1 by the WBC. No. 2 rated Stiverne (25-2-1, 21 KOs) was born and raised in Haiti, now residing in Las Vegas. They were to fight for the WBC Interim Heavyweight Title, the winner becoming mandatory challenger to current champion Deontay Wilder, who has been incapable of defending due to injury.
The WBC uses VADA (Voluntary Anti-Doping Association) to administer their drug testing. VADA uses random testing and athletes may be tested at any time. This is the second fight in which Povetkin has tested positive for a banned substance – this time Ostarine. Povetkin’s positive sampling was taken December 6 and the WBC and both fight camps were notified of the test results Friday night. Within a couple of hours of the notification, the WBC tweeted it was “Withdrawing its recognition of Povetkin vs Stiverne due to the positive result of Povetkin for Osterine,” and shortly thereafter wrote in its ruling “The WBC hereby withdraws its sanctioning of the bout for the heavyweight interim world championship and will conduct a thorough investigation of the circumstances of the case and will issue subsequent rulings as required.”
Statement from Stiverne’s promoter Don King: “To say that I am very saddened and extremely disappointed that Alexander Povetkin was caught again using banned substances would be an understatement. What is the WBC going to do about it will be the answer. Bermane Stiverne deserves better than that. Bermane should be declared the interim title holder. This is the second time Alexander Povetkin is in the drug abuse program and has embarrassed the WBC causing the WBC’s sanction of the fight as a world title fight being withdrawn. The firs time was the Deontay Wilder vs. Povetkin May 21 in Moscow.
“Even though it hurts Bermane economically, psychologically and especially psychologically, I want to congratulate the WBC’s Clean Boxing Program. WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman did himself and his organization, the WBC, proud by withdrawing their sanctioning of the fight.. Thank you WBC, thank you Mauricio Sulaiman, thank you for your honest, dynamic leadership.”
Ostarine is known to increase muscle mass and fat loss as well as increase stamina. Previously Povetkin was to face WBC titleholder Deontay Wilder on May 21, but tested positive for Meldonium a week prior to the fight. Meldonium is known to increase blood vessel size, increasing blood, hence, improving once again, stamina.
Erislandy Lara to Defend Title Against Yuri Foreman
Super welterweight world champion Erislandy “The American Dream” Lara (23-2-2, 13 KOs) will take on former world champion Yuri Foreman (34-2, 10 KOs) in a world title showdown that headlines Premier Boxing Champions on Spike on Friday, January 13 from Hialeah Park Racing and Casino in Miami.
Televised coverage begins at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT with former super middleweight world champion Anthony “The Dog” Dirrell (29-1-1, 23 KOs) battling Hungary’s Norbert Nemesapati (24-4, 17 KOs) in a 10-round bout.
“I’m very excited to be making my return to the ring in front of my Cuban fans in Miami on Spike on January 13,” said Lara. “Yuri Foreman is a former world champion who is dedicated to this sport and will be looking to win another world title. I expect nothing but the best from him. On fight night, I’m making another statement and going for the knockout! After this fight, it’s time to unify the division, then move up to win the middleweight titles. Everyone should tune-in because it’s going to be a great night of boxing.”
“I’m thrilled to be fighting for the world title,” said Foreman. “I’m really looking forward to showcasing my skills and talent and becoming a two-time world champion. At this stage of my career, it would be a tremendous accomplishment. Lara is very crafty and many elite fighters have had trouble dealing with his style, but I have studied him and am very confident that I will defeat him by presenting him with something he’s never seen before.”
The Cuban Lara will be making his fifth defense of his title as he heads to Miami to fight in front of the many Cuban boxing fans in the city. The consensus best fighter at 154-pounds, Lara will be challenged by an experienced Foreman, a former 154-pound champion in his own right, who has fully recovered from physical ailments that almost derailed his career. Now, Foreman looks to establish that he can still challenge at the elite level as he prepares to solve the crafty champion.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Warriors Boxing, are priced at $25, $35, $50, $75, $100 and $125, not including applicable fees, and are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased online at www.myticketforce.com by clicking HERE, by phone at (877) 840-0457 or at the Hialeah Park casino cage.
Barrerra Taunts Pascal, “Did My KO of Shabranskyy Scare You?”
Fresh off of his crushing 7th round knockout of the previously unbeaten Vyacheslav Shabranskyy, top rated light heavyweight contender Sullivan “Sully B” Barrera has his next victim in mind.
The former amateur standout from Cuba wants to avenge his countryman Yunieski Gonzalez’s defeat to Jean Pascal. Shabranskyy is the only other fighter to defeat his compatriot.
“I knocked out Shabranskyy to get revenge for my friend and I will knockout Pascal too. We can fight anywhere in the United States. Hell, I would go to his country of Haiti and fight him. I just want to get my hands on him,” Barrera stated.
Barrera has been chasing Pascal for two years but has had no luck getting the former champion in the ring. With Barrera’s main two targets – Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev – locked in for a year rematch in the first half of 2017, Barrera knows a fight between himself and Pascal would produce a worthy challenger for either one of them in the second half of next year.
“I want a rematch with Ward or a fight with Kovalev but I know they are fighting again so I can’t just sit around. Pascal needs to man up and fight me. If he beats me he can get a Ward fight. If I beat him I can get a Ward rematch or a Kovalev fight,” said Barrera.
“I can’t fight in Canada but I am willing to fight him anywhere else in the world. I will fight him in the backyard of his parent’s house in Haiti if he wants. Pascal, you need to stop running from me and give the fans the fight they want. Did my knockout of Shabranskyy scare you? Me and you toe to toe is guaranteed to end in a knockout! Congratulations on your win on Friday but now it is time for me and you to get in the ring!”
Adam Lopez Faces Danny Roman in Matchup of Top 10 Ranked Super Bantamweights in Main Event of ShoBox
Undefeated, WBA No. 3-ranked super bantamweight Adam Lopez (16-0-1, 8 KOs) will face the WBA’s No. 4-ranked Danny Roman (20-2-1, 7 KOs) in the 10-round main event of a ShoBox: The New Generation quadrupleheader on Friday, Jan. 20, live on SHOWTIME (10 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast) from Bally’s Atlantic City Hotel and Casino.
The first ShoBox telecast in 2017 features eight fighters with a combined record of 115 wins against just seven losses.
In the co-feature, undefeated super middleweight Ronald Ellis (13-0-1, 1 NC, 10 KOs) will face off with Christopher Brooker (11-2, 5 KOs) in an eight-round 168-pound matchup of ShoBox veterans.
In another eight-round featured bout, former national amateur champion Kenneth Sims Jr. (10-0, 3 KOs) and Dominican Olympian Wellington Romero (11-0-1, 5 KOs) will clash in an eight-round matchup of up-and-coming, unbeaten super lightweights making their ShoBox debuts in their toughest assignments to date.
In the opening bout of the telecast, undefeated bantamweight Stephon Young (15-0-3, 6 KOs) takes on Mexican veteran and two-time interim world title challenger Daniel Rosas (19-3-1, 11 KOs) in an eight-round bantamweight bout.
Tickets for the show, which is promoted by GH3 Promotions, Kings Promotions in association with Thompson Boxing (the main event) and Bally’s Atlantic City Hotel and Casino, are $125, $100 $75 & $50 and can be purchased at www.ticketmaster.com or calling 1-800-745-3000
Warriors Boxing Congratulates King Carlos Molina for Victory Saturday Night
Warriors Boxing sends congratulations out to Former IBF junior middleweight world champion “King” Carlos Molina for winning his sixth consecutive (and fifth this year) fight on Saturday night.
Fighting at the Gran Oasis Arena in Cancun, Mexico, Molina (28-6-2, 8 KOs) won a unanimous shutout (80-72 X3) decision over Diego “Demoledor” Cruz (17-4-1, 13 KOs). The 33-year-old Molina is currently rated #9 at welterweight by the WBC.
“I feel very comfortable at 147; this is my natural weight,” said Molina, post-fight. “I am at weight after working out and I feel faster in my fights. For this fight, I worked on utilizing my jab and being more effective with it. Over all I am happy about how things came together. I will continue to work hard to get back to a world title fight.”
Molina says he likes the hectic schedule he maintained this year, in fighting five times against respectable opposition.
“I want to stay busy. The activity I experienced this year was excellent and I want to continue being busy. I want bigger fights with anyone in the top 10 at 147. I want the fights that will lead to a second world title. I am a problem for anyone at 147 and in 2017, I want to be challenged with the best the division has to offer.”
“Carlos was one of the best in the world at 154,” said his promoter, Leon Margules of Warriors Boxing. “But at 147, he could very well be the best in the world. He is a true technician with a difficult style to solve for anyone. Now that he’s bigger and stronger than his opponents, he’s in very serious contention for a second world championship once again. He had a great year and I congratulate him.”