Haney and Hunter Win Decisively
By: Oliver McManus
You’d imagine young Devin Haney has been watching compilations of Deontay Wilder in the last week as the 20 year old produced a highlight reel knockout, reminiscent of the Bronze Bomber, to stop Antonio Moran in the seventh round last night.
Floyd Mayweather’s protege was in his first fight under the DAZN banner and looked eager to make a statement as soon as the first bell rung. In previous contests there was an air of predictability to Haney with him happy to pick off rounds by doing the same thing, effectively, and keeping the contest permanently out of his opponent’s grasp: this fight was a punch perfect display of brutality.
You could probably make a case for Moran starting off the livelier of fighters with the Mexcian looking to box on the front foot but an overhand right from Haney foreshadowed what was to be Moran’s downfall. Haney’s challenger was anything but a ‘typical Mexican’ and appeared a little subdued in his attempts to provide pressure of his own – nothing like the gusto of South America that we know and love.
The champion, defending his WBC International and WBO Inter-Continental belt, was always on top of proceedings be it through a jab that continually peppered the midriff of Moran or as a result of his crisp footwork that took him out of range of his opponent’s swinging limbs. The jab always seemed to be hiding something. It was never a throwaway shot intended to see him through on the scorecards but always with spiteful intentions to set up a fight-finishing attack.
Haney provided good variety to his shots, as well, as he dropped Moran to the floor with a perfectly timed body shot that sapped any remaining will away from the Mexican. For the rest of the fifth round you could feel blood in the water and Haney went after it with a swift salvo of uppercuts interspersed with slamming hooks back to the body. A quieter sixth followed but the seventh round showed why Haney opted to sit on the backburner with a creepily calculated finish to the fight duly following.
An innocent one-two backed Moran up onto the ropes and Haney needed just two shots to finish it from there; a wicked body punch to draw his adversary’s guard down and provide the opening for as clean an overhand right you’ve ever seen from a man born outside of Alabama. Sheer strength akin to Deontay Wilder mixed with the precision and timing of someone like Darcey Bussell – balletic brutality from Devin Haney as he moves to 22-0.
Michael Hunter continued his sudden surge up the heavyweight rankings with an underrated stoppage of Fabio Maldonado. His Brazilian opponent looked as dreich and dour as he has done in any previous step-up with the former UFC fighter holding his guard nervously around the upper chest. Hunter was quick to settle into a rhythm and was teeing off on the face of Maldonado instantly; particularly pleasing was the straight left hand that Hunter would send bolting upwards, colliding smack on the nose of Maldonado time after time, having planted his front foot firmly in the canvas.
The contest never looked like it would last the scheduled ten rounds with Maldonado wobbled easily by the power of Hunter – a lovely one-two straight down the gulley marked the start of the finish as the Brazilian stumbled towards the ropes. Heavy artillery followed as The Bounty Hunter chased his loot with wild swinging shots. His disheveled opponent cut an apathetic look and the referee called a halt to the contest in the second round. Stating the obvious but you can tell Hunter used to be a cruiserweight, the way he dances around the ring with such flight of fancy, but he’s got the heavyweight power to cause serious issues.
It was an even shorter night of work for Filip Hrgovic who required less than a round to dispose of Gregory Corbin. The face of Croatian boxing looked to be searching from the off and he lept in with his jab at every possible opportunity, trying to close the distance in sudden bursts. Corbin, himself, was opting for a similar strategy but he had the odd tendency to dip his about six inches lower when looking to land speculative overhand rights. Hrgovic capitalised on that routine with a succinct step backwards followed a sharp, digging right hand to the cheek of Corbin that saw the American sprawled on the his back. There isn’t really much you can learn from that sort of fight except to say the tactical awareness of Hrgovic was spot on and the execution to back that up was scintillating.
The headline grabber has to be Devin Haney, however, with a performance that, really, showed us exactly why he is so highly touted. A contender for knockout of the year, to boot, and The Dream finds himself firmly on track for achieving just that. We might have to rename the ‘Wilder Windmill’ whilst if Haney can help it – ‘Haney’s Hammer” has an awfully nice ring to it…
Herring, Pedraza Emerge Victorious On Top Rank ESPN Card
By: Sean Crose
Saturday night’s Top Rank ESPN card from Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee, Florida began with the 25-2 Jose Pedraza facing off against the 40-2-1 Antonio Lozada in a scheduled 10 round lightweight affair. The opening round was close, with both men landing clean, but Pedraza landed the more impressive blows. Lozada pressured Pedraza in the second, as he had the first, but Pedraza’s ring generalship and accurate punching told the story of the round. Pedraza began to really put his punches together in the third. As the fight carried on, Pedraza began showing effective defense, even presenting shades of Floyd Mayweather’s famous shoulder roll/counter punch style. It was clear by the midpoint of the fight that Pedraza was simply the more skilled boxer of the two.
Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank
Round seven saw Pedraza moving forward against the aggressive Lozada, though Pedraza’s performance was marred by a low blow. By the first minute of the eighth, Pedraza was unloading on his man. Lozada survived, but Pedraza continued to land with frightening accuracy and consistency. By the end of the round, Lozada looked to truly be impacted by Pedraza’s sharp body punching. In between rounds, the game fighter looked completely defeated. Yet he raced out to meet Pedraza at the top of the ninth, regardless. No matter – Pedraza put Lozada down in the final minute of the round. Lozada got up, but Pedraza unloaded on his man against the ropes. Lozada’s father and trainer wisely stepped in to stop the bout.
It was time for the main event. The 25-1-1Masayuki Ito stepped into the ring to defend his WBO junior lightweight title against the 19-2 former Marine and Olympian Jamel Herring. The scheduled twelve round bout started with both fighters doing well, but with Herring edging the first round. Effective aggression and clean punching gave the defending champion the second. Herring’s jab told the story of the third. Herring engaged in a boxing masterclass in the fourth. By the fifth it was clear that Ito simply couldn’t find his rhythm. Herring ended the round with an impressive series of shots. In the sixth, Ito started landing clean. Ito continued to do better in the seventh, but Herring became largely capable of telegraphing his opponent’s shots.
The eighth round was a brawl, a brawl that Ito arguably got the better of. The ninth was close, though Herring ended up boxing effectively. Herring continued to box smartly in the tenth. Ito went down in the 11th, though it was ruled a slip. Ito was aggressive enough throughout the round to have possibly taken it. The final round was close, and could possibly have gone either way. When the scorecards were read, there was a new champion – Jamel Herring.
Devin Haney vs. Antonio Moran Fight Preview
By: Oliver McManus
Bluechip lightweight prospect Devin Haney will look to record his 22nd professional win this weekend when he takes on Antonio Moran (24-3) over ten rounds in defense of his WBC International title. The fight tops Matchroom Boxing USA’s card at MGM National Harbor in Maryland that features Jessica McCaskill vs Anahi Esther Sanchez (WBC and WBA world title fight), Michael Hunter vs Fabio Maldonado (WBA International) and Filip Hrgovic vs Gregory Corbin (WBC International) in support.
Haney tops the bill for his first career fight in Maryland and his first bout since linking up with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom. The talented 20 year old has been making waves Stateside for a while now thanks to the maturity he’s shown in spite of his youth: debuting when he was just 17. In the four following years he has notched up 21 victories, 13 inside the distance, and really made a statement last May with a victory over Mason Menard.
Showcasing his full arsenal of tricks, the youngster immediately hit his stride with his rear right leg keeping Haney on top from distance – circumnavigating the ring in compass-like fashion which he complimented with a flash jab to the midriff and occasional switch-hitting. This was, arguably, the first occasion in which Haney was able to produce a peerless performance in which everything seemed to flow with him previously being quite predictable once hitting any sort of rhythm.
Moran will be hoping that habits of old creep back into the technique of Haney in order for the Mexican to impose a gameplan of his own. The 26 year old goes into the contest having fallen short on three previous occasions – twice in contentious circumstances back in Mexico – and will best be remembered for a gritty contest with Jose Pedraza last June. A perennial Latino champion with varying governing bodies, this is an opportunity for Moran to push past those regional fizzy belts and gain a meaningful scalp to his CV.
The Mexico City resident leads with a pawing jab from a sturdily straight posture and takes a while to warm up into contests but has found success when loosening up and letting the left hand throw wildly towards the body. Despite rattling seventeen victories by way of knockout, I’d say Moran is not your typical ‘Mexican’ fighter in terms of throwing the kitchen sink into a contest with constant aggression with his knockout power countered, really, with a methodical start to proceedings.
Victory is firmly expected for his Californian adversary but we’ve seen from recent fights that you can never rule out a Mexican fighter – it should be a rite of passage for any prospect to face a Mexican through the developmental phase of their career. Haney could be in a real learning fight, he could be dictating traffic from the off and cruise to victory but it’ll certainly be a good measure of how the young man can adapt to those in front of him. Predictability won’t wash come Saturday night.
Jessica McCaskill (6-2) and Anahi Esther Sanchez (19-3) provide the world title action on the Maryland bill with the two fighters seeking to unify their super lightweight belts. McCaskill enters the contest having claimed the WBC version in October with a routine points victory over Erica Anabella Farias whilst Sanchez is the WBA ruler after knocking out Diana Ayala inside a round last April.
Despite her inactivity Sanchez edges this contest, going in, thanks to her wealth of experience that has seen her win or challenge for world titles in three different weight divisions. The South American hits hard and is one of those fighters that is routinely getting the business done within the shorter two-minute rounds. A rough fighter who loves ‘getting involved’ – she can fall into a rhythm of clinching after landing a flurry of punches – Sanchez rolls with her shots and lands with consistent pressure. McCaskill, seven years the older fighter, is not a big underdog by any stretch of the imagination and has developed plenty since her debut in August 2015. She’s been blighted by a lack of regular action but has looked comfortable in her career to date. A real trope of her style is that she leads with her head when throwing her jab, not in a dangerous manner but, dropping it a good six inches which in turn takes her eye off the target.
Michael Hunter (16-1) and Filip Hrgovic (7-0) are the bruising heavyweights looking to add the knockout gloss to the card. Hunter looks to continue his momentum from the back end of 2018 – a year in which he knocked out Iago Kiladze, Martin Bakole and Alexander Ustinov – by defending his WBA International strap against Fabio Maldonado. The explosive 30 year old established himself as a surprise heavyweight contender and victory over Maldonado should be routine; the main question is whether Hunter can get rid of the former UFC fighter before the ten rounds are up. Maldonado (26-2) has proven himself to be incredulously negative in his two previous ‘step-ups’ with a reluctance to engage so it could be a long old night as far as Hunter is concerned.
Hrgovic faces an equally drab and dour competitor in the former of Gregory Corbin (15-1): the Dallas fighter being best known for repeatedly punching ‘King’ Charles Martin in the crown jewels. Hrgovic has strolled his way to an unbeaten seven fight career, even dropping the notably durable Kevin Johnson in his last fight. The 26 year old has been signed to a co-promotional agreement with Matchroom and Team Sauerland that guarantees him exposure on both sides of the Atlantic and he’s already proving to be one of the star-signings from the 2016 Olympians. Between the heavyweight contests this is most likely to end prematurely; Hrgovic knockout or Corbin disqualification, that’s still up for debate.
Fury vs. Whyte Likely for 2019
By: Shane Willoughby
Everyone is desperately waiting to see Tyson Fury defend his self-proclaimed lineal championship against the fierce, 57 ranked contender Tom Schwarz.
Whilst the result of the fight is clear, one thing that isn’t so conclusive is what’s next for The Gypsy King?
After Fury walks his way to an easy points decision – winning every round. Who’s next to try and dethrone him of his never present, elusive and infamous title?
It is highly unlikely we see Fury vs Joshua this year with AJ most likely having to fight his WBO mandatory. And with Bob Arum saying he doesn’t want to make Fury vs Wilder until 2020, the former heavyweight champion might be running out of significant fights.
After Schwarz, Fury might have run out of meaningful opponents. With that said, he could always bring back Bermaine Sterverne or Chris Arreola as the fans won’t mind paying for those fights.
Saying that both Stervene and Arreola are ranked in the top 40 so that might be too big of a jump for the self-proclaimed lineal champion.
All jokes aside there is one opponent who is more than credible and possibly gives Fury some limelight.
Dillian Whyte vs Tyson Fury is possible for the end of 2019 as both fighters are in dire need of big fights and mainstream attention.
Whilst the body-snatcher has a credible opponent of his own in Oscar Rivas who he faces in July, its not quite the opponent that will propel him to the levels he needs to reach.
The fight between Whyte and Fury didn’t seem likely when WBC chairman Mauricio Sauliman first mentioned it; with both men appearing to turn it down for their own respected reasons.
Since then both British fighters have come out and expressed their want for the bout.
When you factor in the idea that they are both looking for decent opponents, the decision to make that fight is a no brainer. Not to mention the fact that this will be a massive fight in the UK.
However, it’s not like Fury is getting crumbs to fight these bums anyway.
Earlier this year Dillian Whyte looked to be heading to ESPN, following his countrymen Fury. With Whyte still a free agent this fight doesn’t appear to be a hard one to make as the ever-present promotion politics is absent.
Both the Gypsy King and the body snatcher must deal with their respected opponents first, but the fight between the two is more than possible. Especially, if the WBC order it as a final eliminator.
And Fury doesn’t have a track record for pulling out of fights, he has only done it to Alexander Ustinov, Vladimir Klitschko and Deontay Wilder.
Keith Thurman in Pursuit of Legends and Legendary Status
By: Kirk Jackson
The man known as “One Time” finally has his time across boxing’s biggest stage on FOX Sports Pay-Per-View. The date July 20th, 2019 is finally etched in stone, as former unified welterweight champion and current WBA (Super) welterweight champion Keith Thurman (29-0, 22 KO’s), takes on eight-division and current WBA (Regular) welterweight champion, Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KO’s).
For a large portion of his unblemished career, the Clearwater city-native chased the big fish. He famously chastised Floyd Mayweather (50-0, 27 KO’s) for years, although while managing to conveniently circumvent a looming, menacing, encounter with a shark in the form of current IBF welterweight champion, Errol Spence (25-0, 21 KO’s).
However, en route to unifying the WBA and WBC welterweight titles, Thurman conquered former multi-division world champion Robert Guerrero (35-6-1, 20 KO’s), along with a series of other former world titlists. Thurman culminated his quest, defeating current WBC welterweight champion Shawn Porter (30-2-1, 17 KO’s) and former two-division champion Danny Garcia (35-2, 21 KO’s), capturing the WBC welterweight title in a unification bout.
A series of nagging injuries, along with a string of personal events subsequently followed, keeping Keith on the shelf for approximately 22 months. After a successful return bout and bouncing back from nearly a two-year absence, Thurman finally reeled in the catch of a lifetime in the form of Pacquiao.
The question beckons, now that he finally has this once in a lifetime opportunity, can “One-Time” still live up to his moniker under the bright lights of Showtime? Its been a long-time since he delivered on his promise of “KO’s for life.”
Not everyone is Deontay Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KO’s); armed with a right hand possessing the power of Thor’s hammer. And knockouts are not necessary, as of course this is the “Sweet Science.”
But when the fighter professes his love of knock-outs, with several quotes referencing such,
knock-outs should be delivered.
The last time Thurman stopped an opponent was Dec 14, 2013 – stopping gritty Jesús Soto Karass on the undercard of Adrien Broner vs. Marcos Maidana.
In spite of the recent uphill battle, in his comeback bout after two years of inactivity against Josesito López, Thurman is still in a good position to end his KO-less streak against an aging fighter.
“I’m extremely excited for this opportunity to get a fight that I’ve wanted for a long time,” said Thurman at the Los Angeles Press Conference for Pacquiao-Thurman.
“The right circumstances have aligned for it to happen now and I’m grateful for that. Me and my team are looking forward to it. It’s going to be an honor to be in the ring with Manny Pacquiao. It’s going to be fun to go back to MGM Grand in my first pay-per-view with FOX Sports. I believe that Ben Getty would be very proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish. He said I’d be able to dominate the welterweight division and be a multi-million-dollar fighter and a star in the sport.”
Thurman also eluded to weaknesses and deficiencies in Pacquiao’s style during the press conference.
“Manny Pacquiao is beatable. He’s been beaten before in his career. He’s a fan favorite and a legend. For me his boxing tactics are predictable. He fights in spurts and you have to take advantage of that. You have to be respectful of his power. But I believe my movement, athleticism and ring knowledge will be able to present him something he’s not seen in all his years of boxing.”
Thurman is in an interesting timeframe for boxing and for his weight class at welterweight. Regarded as one of boxing’s deepest divisions, match-ups of historic proportions remain a foreseeable possibility.
The champion from Clearwater, FL has the opportunity to align his stars with some of the greats of yesteryear and even with those of recent memory. Although the bulk of “One-Time’s” career is embedded in the pages of history, there are still many chapters left to unwind; meaning much is left to be determined and he has the opportunity to construct his legend.
Thurman believes his time is now and that with Pacquiao and Mayweather gone from the sport, it’ll leave him, Errol Spence, Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter as the main guys in the 147-pound division.
The narrative of the eventual fight and the story is the already cemented legacy of Pacquiao, with Thurman chasing his footsteps. Although the focus is on one another, each fighter frequently mentioned in the past, and even still to this day, another legendary fighting potentially fighting into the equation.
“It’s really important to have a (rematch) with Floyd (Mayweather),” Pacquiao told FOX Sports’ Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe during a recent edition of Skip and Shannon: Undisputed on FS1. “Some fans still doubt who won the fight.”
“I still believe I deserved to win. But like I said, I respect the judges. It’s why we want the rematch though; people have a lot of question marks in their minds.”
Not certain many people doubt who truly won the fight between Pacquiao and Mayweather, nor is there much demand to the see the bout, as both fighters are in their 40s.
But as history indicates, whenever there’s a fight with Mayweather involved, typically it generates a lot of money for all parties involved.
Regarding Thurman, in speaking with Sporting News, he mentioned, “There were moments where I kind of knew Floyd (Mayweather) was not looking at me as an opponent toward the end of his career. One of those moments was when I became the WBA (Regular) champion and he became the [WBA] (Super) champion because the (Super) champion is not required to fight mandatories, so I could not force Floyd Mayweather in any position to step in the ring with me.”
“I just don’t think I was on Floyd’s to-do list and then I had a few minor setbacks – not the same as the elbow surgery, but some shoulder problems at that time,” Thurman added.
While referencing Pacquiao and Mayweather, it’s interesting analyzing and comparing Thurman’s career, to the two main legendary figures he is in pursuit of. It’s always fun to compare resumes and speculate right?
Keith Thurman: World Titles, World Title Fights and other feats
• WBA Welterweight (Interim/Regular) Title (July 27, 2013 – January 28, 2015; 5 defenses).
• WBA Welterweight (Super) Title (February 7, 2017 – present; 3 defenses).
• WBC Welterweight Title (March 4, 2017 – April 24, 2018; 0 defenses).
o Vacated WBC Welterweight Title in 2018.
(7-0, 3 KO’s) against world champions.
(5-0, 1 KO’s) in world title fights.
Notable opponents: Carlos Quintana, Julio Diaz, Luis Collazo, Shawn Porter, Robert Guerrero and Danny Garcia.
• Defeated 4 undefeated opponents with ten or more bouts.
• The Ring Magazine Prospect of the Year (2012).
• Winner of 2 World Titles.
Manny Pacquiao: World Titles, World Title Fights and other feats
• WBC World Flyweight Title (December 1998-September 1999; 1 defense).
• IBF World Super Bantamweight Title (June 2001-2003; 4 defenses).
• WBC World Super Featherweight Title (March 2008-July 2008; 0 defenses).
• WBC World Lightweight Title (June 2008-February 2009; 0 defenses).
• WBO (3) World Welterweight Title (November 2009-June 2012; 3 defenses, April 2014-May 2015; 1 defense, November 2016-present; 0 defenses).
• WBC World Super Welterweight Title (November 2010-February 2011; 0 defenses).
• WBA World Welterweight (Regular) Title (July 2018-present; 1 defense).
Ring Magazine Title
• World Featherweight Title (November 2003-March 2005; 2 defenses).
• World Junior Lightweight Title (March 2008-July 2008; 0 defenses).
• World Junior Welterweight Title (May 2009-July 2010; 0 defenses).
• World Flyweight Title (December 1998-September 1999).
• World Featherweight Title (November 2003-March 2005).
• World Junior Lightweight Title (March 2008-July 2008).
• World Junior Welterweight Title (May 2009-July 2010).
• World Welterweight Title (April 2016).
• Has a record of 18-4-2 (9 KO’s) in world title fights.
• Has a record of 24-6-2 (11 KO’s) against former, current, and future world champions.
• Has a record of 5-1 (4 KO’s)* against International Boxing Hall of Fame inductees.
** As of 2019.
Notable opponents: Juan Manuel Marquez (4), Erik Morales (3), Marco Antonio Barrera (2), Chatchai Singwangcha, Ricky Hatton, Oscar De La Hoya, Shane Mosley, Miguel Cotto, Timothy Bradley (3), Floyd Mayweather, Chris Algieri and Joshua Clottey.
• Only boxer with 5 Lineal Titles.
• Only boxer with world titles spanning across 8 divisions.
• Winner of 9 World Titles.
Floyd Mayweather: World Titles, World Title Fights and other feats
• WBC Super Featherweight Title (1998-2002; 8 defenses).
• WBC Lightweight Title (2002-2004; 3 defenses).
• WBC Super Lightweight Title (2005; 0 defenses).
• IBF Welterweight Title (2006; 0 defenses)
• WBC (2) Welterweight Title (2006-2008; 1 defense, 2011-2015; 5 defenses).
• WBC Super Welterweight Title (2), (2007; 0 defenses, 2013-2015; 1 defense).
• WBA Super Welterweight (Super) Title (2012-2016; 1 defense).
• WBA Welterweight (Super) Title (2014-2016; 3 defenses).
• WBO Welterweight Title (2015; 0 defenses)
• Unified Junior Middleweight Title (2013-2015; WBA, WBC).
• Unified Welterweight Title (2), (2014-2015; WBC, WBA, 2015; WBC, WBA, WBO).
• Simultaneously held WBC Welterweight Title and WBC Junior Middleweight Title (2007).
o Vacated WBC Junior Middleweight Title in 2007.
o Vacated WBC Welterweight Title in 2008.
• Simultaneously held WBC Welterweight Title and WBA Junior Middleweight Title (2012-2015).
• Simultaneously held WBC Welterweight Title and Unified Junior Middleweight Title (WBA, WBC) (2013-2015).
• Simultaneously held Unified Welterweight Title (WBC, WBA) and Unified Junior Middleweight Title (WBA, WBC) (2014-2015).
• Simultaneously held Unified Welterweight Title (WBC, WBA, WBO) and Unified Junior Middleweight Title (WBA, WBC) (2015).
o Stripped of WBO Welterweight Title in 2015.
o Vacated WBC Welterweight Title and WBC Junior Middleweight Title in 2015.
o Vacated WBA Welterweight Title and WBA Junior Middleweight Title in 2016.
The Ring Magazine Title
• World Lightweight Title (2002-2004).
• World Welterweight Title (2), (2006-2008, 2013-2015).
• World Junior Middleweight Title (2013-2015).
• World Junior Lightweight Title (1998-2002).
• World Lightweight Title (2002-2004).
• World Welterweight Title (2), (2006-2008, 2010-2015).
• World Junior Middleweight Title (2013-2015).
• (26-0, 10 KO’s) in world title fights.
• (23-0, 9 KO’s) in lineal title fights.
• (24-0, 7 KO’s) against world champions.
• Has a record of (13-0, 3 KO’s) against former or current lineal titlists.
• Has a record of (2-0, 1 KO’s)* against International Boxing Hall of Fame inductees.
** As of 2019.
Notable opponents: Genaro Hernandez, Zab Judah, Jesus Chavez, Angel Manfredy, Miguel Cotto, Oscar De La Hoya, Shane Mosley, Victor Ortiz, Ricky Hatton, Manny Pacquiao, Robert Guerrero, Arturo Gatti, Shamba Mitchell, DeMarcus Corley, Diego Corrales, Jose Luis Castillo (2), Marcos Maidana (2), Carlos Baldomir, Andre Berto and Canelo Alvarez.
• Fourth boxer to win a world title in at least five weight divisions (Thomas Hearns, Sugar Ray Leonard, Oscar De La Hoya).
• Second boxer to win a lineal title in at least four weight divisions (Manny Pacquiao).
• Holds the record for most world titles held simultaneously 5 (WBC, WBA, WBO Welterweight Titles and WBA, WBC Super Welterweight Titles).
• Olympic Bronze Medalist*
• Winner of 11 World Titles.
While comparing Thurman to Pacquiao and Mayweather by the numbers, it looks skewed heavily in favor of the legends. Albeit minor, there are discrepancies with some of the numbers.
For example, Thurman’s title defenses of his WBA (Regular) Welterweight Title are not tallied as official title defenses – at least according to Boxrec. However, that very same title (the world title Pacquiao currently covets) is listed as an official title defense against Adrien Broner across the very same site.
Another question is how the Lineal and The Ring titles are tallied. The Ring title, differing from the four sanctioning bodies (WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO) awarded world title belts since 1922 and have their own championship policy. Again, minor details perhaps not truly important when grading fighters and their respective careers at the end of the day.
Nonetheless, it’s a tall mountain to climb for Thurman, if he truly intends to walk the same footprints traveled by his pugilistic predecessors.
“Manny Pacquiao fought Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao fought Oscar De La Hoya, Manny Pacquiao fought ‘Sugar’ Shane Mosley, so sharing the ring with Manny Pacquiao is like sharing the ring with all of these legends of the past.”
— Sporting News Fights (@sn_fights) May 21, 2019
It’s more than just sharing the ring with a legend. The truly great fighters, want to supplant the other great fighter rivaling them across the corner, each and every fight. Many don’t want to shine amongst the other great stars, they want to shine brighter; shine the brightest.
Come July, spectators will see which star illuminates brightest. The verdict is already out on Pacquiao, but the world will see how great Thurman truly is and if he can catch and surpass the legends he is chasing.
Katie Taylor On Delfine Persoon: “May The Best Girl Win”
By: Sean Crose
Heavyweight kingpin Anthony Joshua won’t be the only fighter of note stepping in between the ropes at Madison Square Garden on June 1st. Although the British multi-titlist will be making his American debut that night against the entertaining Andy Ruiz, another acclaimed titlist will be fighting on the card, as well. For Ireland’s Katie Taylor will be facing Delfine Persoon for the undisputed women’s lightweight championship of the world. The 13-0 Taylor currently holds the WBO, IBF, and WBA titles, while Persoon has held the WBC belt for over five years. Their match is scheduled for ten rounds.
“It’s great,” says Taylor, “to have the opportunity to have the chance to become the undisputed champion…every day in camp has been 100% focused on the task at hand so I won’t sit back and think about it until I’ve actually achieved it as that’s what I am like.” Taylor is also excited to return to Madison Square Garden, where she last fought in December. “The chance to fight for the four World titles and the Ring Magazine belt at the Mecca of boxing, MSG,” says Taylor, “I don’t think you could write a better script, it’s an absolute dream. Persoon is recognized as one of the best in the world pound-for-pound and has been the WBC champ now for over five years so it’s the best against the best. This is huge for women’s boxing.”
In Persoon, Taylor is facing a 43-1 champion with one of the most impressive records in the sport. “I think it’s going to be a really hard fight,” Taylor claims. “I’ve watched clips of her and she’s very tall and awkward, she punches non-stop for the ten rounds and I think it’s going to be a very physical fight. It’s a huge challenge but the one that I’ve wanted. She’ll bring the best out of me as I have the utmost respect for her and we’re going to lay it all on the line and may the best girl win. The famous green belt and the Ring Magazine belts being on the line is just amazing.”
This will be Taylor’s fifth fight in a single year – an oddity in today’s fight boxing world, where top fighters rarely step into the ring more than once or twice. As for Persoon, it will be the Belgian titlist’s fourth fight – again, an oddity in today’s fight game.
Former UFC Champion Michael Bisping Takes Issue with Malignaggi’s Sense of Style
By: Jesse Donathan
According to a May 25, 2019 bloodyelbow.com article titled, “Michael Bisping: ‘Tw-t’ Paulie Malignaggi ‘deserves to die’ for wearing fedora to BKFC press conference,” author Harry Davies writes that former UFC middleweight champion Michael “The Count” Bisping took issue with of all things, Paulie Malignaggi’s sense of style. According to Davies, “Speaking earlier this week on his ‘Believe You Me’ podcast, the worst part about the press conference for Bisping was Malignaggi’s fedora hat.”
“Any mother (expletive) that shows up wearing a hat like that deserves to die. It’s as simple as that,” writes bloodyelbow.com, quoting Bisping’s off-the-cuff remarks. According to “The Count,” Paulie Malignaggi, “… looks like a villain out of the Dick Tracy movie.”
Davies would go on to write of Bisping’s estimation of the image Malignaggi conjured up on camera that, “He might as well have had a pinstripe suit on, that big stupid gangster hat. Oh my god, it did not look good.”
Agree with Bisping or not, I will always have a great deal of respect for the former champion because he paid the price to be a prize fighter. According to a December 11, 2018 “JRE Clips” YouTube video titled, “Michael Bisping on His Eye Injury | Joe Rogan,” Bisping told the longtime MMA personality that he has a corrective lens in his right eye. “It’s a prosthetic,” Bisping told Rogan. Though interestingly enough, according to the former UFC great he does have a tiny amount of vision through his corrective lens despite it being a prosthetic.
“The injury, as Bisping explained it, is nothing new,” writes MMAFighting.com’s Shaun Al-Shatti in his September 30, 2013 article titled, “Michael Bisping ‘devastated’ by detached retina that nearly derailed his career.” According to Al-Shatti, “Back in May, doctors discovered that, astonishingly, Bisping competed in consecutive fights against Vitor Belfort and Alan Belcher with a detached retina in his right eye.”
“Bisping, who won the title against Luke Rockhold in June 2016 and defended it once against Dan Henderson in November 2016,” announced his retirement last year according to a March 28, 2018 bloodyelbow.com article titled, “Michael Bisping announces retirement from MMA after issues with other eye.” Author Nick Baldwin would go on to write that, “Bisping holds the record for most UFC wins (20) and most UFC fights (29),” including a win over UFC legend Anderson Silva.
Whether you agree with Bisping or not, Malignaggi showing up looking like a gangster from the early 20th century managed to garner a rebuke from “The Count” himself. Malignaggi set out to do exactly what he ultimately did, which is capture the headlines in the leadup to his bout with former UFC fighter Artem Lobov and that is exactly what he has done. Mission accomplished.
And interestingly enough, MMA itself has a rich history of fighters using theatrical entrances and interesting attire, particularly in Japan, which managed to help fighters get over into underground cult hero status among many fans of the era. So, it is not as if MMA is above taking a page out of Hollywood’s book either.
While Malignaggi, a two-time world champion professional boxer has a long way to go to reach cult hero status, it certainly doesn’t hurt to create an image for yourself and look the part of a ruthless assassin in the leadup to your fight.
Malignaggi is doing his part to sell the bout, managing to capture the public’s imagination for not only the things he does, but also the things he says and even the clothes he wears. This is the fight promotion game, as astonishing as it may be, this is exactly what it takes to get the fight out in front of the publics eyes and ultimately increase interest among perspective ticket buyers.
“Things at the press conference started to spiral out of control when Malignaggi hit Lobov over the head with a microphone,” writes bloodyelbow.com. According to author Nick Baldwin, Malignaggi later, “threatened to break Lobov’s teeth and urinate in his mouth.”
As BoxingInsider.com previously reported, Malignaggi justified his remarks and behavior by taking issue with the mixed martial art community and in particular sentiments from those he felt were disrespectful to the sweet science. And in amongst the sea of ridiculous, borderline insane behavior and remarks from Malignaggi were some small cornels of truth.
“See, in Malignaggi’s mind, there’s an ongoing dispute between the worlds of MMA and boxing, and the core issue is a disagreement over which sport is more dangerous,” writes MMAJunkie.com’s Ben Fowlkes in his May 21, 2019 article titled, “What are Paulie Malignaggi and Artem Lobov really selling, and are we seriously going to buy it?”
Author Ben Fowlkes would go on to write that, ““At the end of the day, no matter what happens to you guys, (tapping) assures you you’re gonna see that guy next week,” Malignaggi said at Monday’s press conference.” With Malignaggi ultimately pointing to the string of ruined lives and dead bodies in boxings wake as proof no such guarantees exist in the sweet science.
According to Malignaggi, “In boxing, you don’t have those assurances, so there’s a respect level even to the trash talk that we have, and it’s being surpassed now, it’s being overcome with this garbage that we have from this other community.” Meaning the mixed martial arts community.
According to MMAJunkie.com, the way Malignaggi sees it, “For me, I think the way you solve it, seeing one of their own in a coma, seeing one of their own in a (expletive) coffin.”
Given Malignaggi’s recent behavior and remarks condemning the MMA community, its little wonder he is getting some attention from former UFC champions like Michael Bisping who are looking for anything they can to knock the brazen professional boxer on. Fighters like Bisping didn’t escape a career in mixed martial arts without serious injury themselves; though it helps to remember that while they are two different sports this is still the hurt business no matter which rule set you’re fighting under.
Trout vs. Gausha: Previewing PBC on FS1’s Super Welterweight Showcase
By: Robert Contreras
On Saturday, May 25, Al Haymon’s brainchild PBC is back on FOX sports 1 from the Beau Rivage Resort Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi where four of the country’s super welterweight standouts fight to prove themselves better than the rest of the field.
Headlining the show is former world champion Austin Trout, of New Mexico, as he meets U.S. Olympian Terrell Gausha, from Ohio. In chief support, Chordale “The Gift” Booker looks to extend his undefeated record against divisional gatekeeper Wale “Lucky Boy” Omotoso.
Light heavyweight hopeful Ahmed Elbiali will be playing the role of curtain jerker, kicking off the FS1 broadcast at 8 p.m. ET.
Here’s a closer look at the two 154-pound matchups bolstering the card.
Austin Trout (31-5, 17 KO) vs. Terrell Gausha (21-1, 10 KO)
The 10-round main event will be Trout’s first fight since he settled for a majority-decision loss in June 2018 to Jermell Charlo. Over the championship distance, he kept up with the defending champion, going tit for tat, but two knockdowns assured Charlo the upperhands on the scorecards. It was his second loss to the fighting family.
In all, the 33-year-old southpaw from New Mexico may only be 1-3 over his previous four fights but he has remained near the top of the weight for years. His crowning achievement came in 2012 when he became the No. 1 boxer in the class (with no major promoter, to boot) by decisioning Miguel Cotto. But the following year back-to-back losses threatened to put an end to his days as a title contender. After taking apart Cotto, he was outboxed by Canelo Alvarez and Erislandy Lara.
Still, Trout carried on (even when sanctioning body malfeasance forced him into legal battles) acquiring three world title opportunities in as many fights going back to 2016. Rated Top 10 in the world by the WBC—whose title picture will become clear when the dust settles between Tony Harrison and aforementioned Charlo at the end of June—the pride and joy of New Mexico could secure yet another crack at the belt with a win over Gausha.
Gausha, a 31-year-old former title challenger himself, did not have to wait long to acquire some real sponsorship. After all, Haymon signed him straight out of the 2012 Olympic Games. Then without beating anybody worth their weight in salt, Gausha was pushed into a championship fight in 2017 against Lara. The American’s performance would not earn him any new fans. He was clearly a step behind the Cuban over the entire 12 rounds and hardly initiated much offense.
It would be another 14 months before Gausha was back in the ring. He finally returned last December to blast veteran Joey Hernandez inside of one round. The knockout was enough to regain a Top 15 rating by the WBA. And it is the kind of firepower necessary to carve out a place in the Top 10 and, more importantly, to win back favor with fight fans.
Gausha’s reputation may have preceded him in the eyes of the PBC. But a better picture of who he is as a fighter materialized in the minds of fans after being repeatedly floored by nondescript opponents—hitting the deck against the unheralded Luis Hernandez and William Waters—and walking away with a lucky decision over Steven Martinez, who swarmed the Olympian for the entirety of the scheduled 10 rounds.
If Trout is a shining example of determination, Gausha, with all the sterling promotional backing a boxer could hope for, is as underwhelming as former prospects can be. He is welcomed to prove everybody wrong on Saturday.
Chordale Booker (14-0, 7 KO) vs. Wale Omotoso (27-3, 21 KO)
Booker, 28, fights out of Connecticut, running up an undefeated pro record since turning professional in 2016. He is a fundamentally sound southpaw, operating behind a good jab. But his ring generalship can similarly be just as stiff: not one for upper-body movement and seemingly only capable of fighting in straight lines, moving forwards and backwards.
Four months ago, his modus operandi was enough to do the trick against the middling Juan De Angel, winning a wide decision and nearly securing the stoppage. Booker never let up over the full eight rounds, following De Angel around, stuffing straight punches into his man and adjusting in the latter rounds to send the Columbian puncher to the canvas with body blows.
Now graduating to the ten-round distance, he has a longtime spoiler to deal with.
Omotoso, 34, has seen it all nearly in his 13 years as a professional and brings the kind of power in his fists to test his younger counterpart. Once the welterweight division’s boogeyman the Nigerian-born California transplant is dangerous, holding more knockouts to his name than Booker has fights. It was an unlucky split-decision loss to Jamal James, after overpowering James, that convinced Omotoso to test his luck at 154 pounds.
Last competing in 2017, when he outfought Freddy Hernandez, it also marked his divisional debut. True to form, Omotoso turned up the ante at the end of the rounds to steal the cards. But he also once again showed a susceptibility to a cultured jab.
That’s what Booker’s game revolves around, boxing’s most important punch. Now to see if he can stand up to his man’s fast-twitch clubbing ability.
NABA Super Lightweight Crown At Stake In Judah-Seldin Match
By: Sean Crose
When Zab Judah returns to the ring to face Cletus Seldin on June 7th, its going to be for more than just bragging rights. For the 44-9 Judah, and the 23-1 Seldin will be facing off in a scheduled twelve rounder for the NABA Super Lightweight title. Brooklyn’s Judah, 42, has had a career that has spawned well over twenty years. During that time he has held a junior welterweight title, as well as the undisputed, and lineal, welterweight championship of the world. Judah has also faced a who’s who of premiere fighters, such as Kostya Tszyu, Floyd Mayweather, Danny Garcia, Miguel Cotto, Paulie Malignaggi, Amir Khan, and Lucas Matthysse.
After a three year absence from the ring, Judah returned to action in January of 2017. Now the fighter known as “Super” is looking to make his mark at the Turning Stone Casino against Seldin during the nearby International Boxing Hall of Fame’s Induction weekend. Seldin himself would certainly like to get a big name on his resume. Known as the “Hebrew Hammer,” Judah’s fellow New Yorker is a come forward fighter with an entertaining, and exciting, style. After racking up a 21-0 record, Selding suffered his first and only loss late in 2017, when he dropped a decision to Yves Ulysse. Since that time, colorful athlete has gone on to win two straight, both by knockout.
A win can put either man back closer to the spotlight. Having faced many of the sport’s biggest names, Judah is familiar with being center stage. Although he hasn’t attained the level of attention Judah has, Seldin has been seen on ESPN’s and HBO’s (now defunct) boxing programming. Yet Judah-Seldin isn’t the only notable fight on the card. Star Promotions, which is behind the June 7th event, states it “is also pleased to announce that the co-feature bout, between undefeated Frenchman, DAVID PAPOT (22-0 3KO’s), currently rated #8 by the WBA and veteran JAMES “BUDDY” McGIRT JR. (27-3-1 14KO’s), will be for the vacant WBA Intercontinental and WBO International Middleweight Titles.” McGirt, who is the son of famed boxer-turned-trainer James Buddy McGirt, will be fighting on the same weekend his father will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in nearby Canastota.
“On the biggest weekend in boxing,” Star Promotions claims, “with many Hall of Famer’s in attendance #JudahSeldin is bound to set off fireworks at Turning Stone on June 7th.”
ESPN Boxing Preview: Ito vs. Herring, Pedraza vs. Lozada
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night the Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee, Florida will be the host site of Top Rank Promotions latest boxing card to be televised on ESPN. Masayuki Ito will defend his WBO Junior lightweight title against Jamel Herring, a former US Olympic team member.
The co-feature of the night will also be a lightweight bout with possible future title implications. Former champion Jose Pedraza will face Antonio Lozada in the co-main event.
The undercard will feature several prospects such as Adam Lopez, Jean Carlos Rivera, Jeyvier Cintron, Koki Eto, Steve Nelson, and Yomar Alamo.
The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the evening.
Jose Pedraza (25-2) vs. Antonio Lozada (40-2-1); Lightweight Division
Jose Pedraza’s two losses came against two of the best fighters in the lightweight division, Vasily Lomachenko by decision and a TKO loss to Gervonta Davis.
Lozada’s two losses came against fighters not as well known as Lomachenko and Davis. He lost to Roberto Ortiz and Ramiro Alcaraz, though he avenged the Alcaraz loss in a rematch.
Pedraza is thirty years old and one year older than Lozada. Pedraza will be giving up two inches in height to Lozada, and will be giving up an edge in power. Pedraza has only stopped twelve of his opponent and his last five wins were by decision. Lozada however has stopped thirty four of his opponents.
Both boxers have been relatively active recently. Pedraza fought four times in 2018 and only once in 2017. Lozada fought three times in 2018 and twice in 2017.
Pedraza has a clear edge in amateur experience as he competed in the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Pedraza has beatedn the likes of Raymundo Beltran, Antonio Moran, Stephen Smith, Edner Cherry, Andrey Klimov, Michael Farenas, and Tevin Farmer.
Lozada’s biggest win to date was an upset TKO victory of the then undefeated Felix Verdejo. He has no other notable wins.
Lozada’s win over Verdejo has given him some notoriety and allowed him to land this fight, but he will be facing a far more experienced and skilled opponent on Saturday. Lozada has the power to pull off an upset victory but on paper it appears unlikely.
But outside of those two boxers Pedraza is one of the best fighters in the lightweight division.
Masayuki Ito (25-1-1) vs. Jamel Herring (19-2); WBO Junior Lightweight Title
Ito is a bit of an unknown in the Unite States, out of 27 fights he has only fought once outside of Japan, and that was when he won the WBO Junior Lightweight Title.
Ito is only 28 years old, five years younger than Herring. However, he will be giving up about an inch and a half in height but will have a half an inch advantage in reach. Both boxers have been fairly active, with both of them fighting three times in 2018 and twice in 2017.
Neither boxer is known for their power. Ito has stopped thirteen of his opponents while Herring has stopped ten of his opponents. However, Ito has stopped four of his past five opponents.
Herring does have an edge in amateur experience, as he competed for the United States in the 2012 Olympic Games.
Ito has defeated the likes of Evgeny Chuprakov, Christopher Diaz, Lorenzo Villanueva, and Takuya Watanabe. His lone loss was to Rikki Naito.
Herring has defeated the likes of John Vincent Moralde, Art Hovhannisyan, and Luis Eduardo Florez. His losses were to Ladarius Miller and Denis Shafikov.
This should be a good fight, but Ito’s technical expertise should overwhelm the two loss Herring.
Both Pacquiao And Thurman Exude Confidence At NYC Press Conference
By: Sean Crose
“I’ve never been scared of a challenge,” Manny Pacquiao said during a New York press conference on Tuesday to promote his July 20th WBA welterweight title bout against Keith Thurman. “I’m so excited for this fight against an undefeated champion. He’s the kind of fighter that you can’t underestimate. His record and success gives me more motivation to work hard.”
Pacquiao, the aging great, is now in his forties – in many ways a remnant from a bygone era. Thurman, on the other hand, is in his prime, poised to be a pay per view star (the Pacquiao-Thurman match will be aired live on Pay Per View from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas). Yet Pacquiao made it clear that he doesn’t intend to be on the receiving end of a passing of the torch ceremony.
“I will make sure that I’m 100 percent and ready for this fight,” the 61-7-2 ring legend claimed. “We’ll find out what happens on July 20, but it’s going to be exciting. I like being the underdog for this fight because that gives me more focus in training.” Pacquiao also made it clear that he’s taking the fight with Thurman with the utmost seriousness.
“I’ve been careless and over confident in some fights,” he admitted, “but this time around it’s different. Keith Thurman is a good fighter and we’re going to make sure the fans are happy on July 20.”
As for the 29-0 Thurman, the enigmatic fighter exuded both confidence and respect. “Pacquiao wants a challenge and I’m very grateful to be sharing a ring with a legend,” he said. “If you understand boxing history, you know that times change. I believe boxing is in a new era. Come July 20, Pacquiao will disappear. He’ll always be remembered in the sport, but I’m doing to Manny Pacquiao, what he did to Oscar De La Hoya.”
The Florida native indicated that he intends to be the man to take Pacquiao out of the fight game. “”I’m excited to be the guy who shows Manny Pacquiao where the exit is,” said Thurman. “He’s a legend who’s done great things. But I’ve never lost to a fighter who’s lost seven times. I have no intention of losing this fight and I don’t see him winning in any shape or form.”
“Speed, power and overall ring IQ will be the difference,” Thurman continued. “I’m one of the smartest fighters in the sport. I always find a way to win. I know Pacquiao comes in shape, but he’s going to fall short of that finish line.”
Pacquiao, of course, would beg to differ.
“I chose Keith Thurman because he’s undefeated and I want to prove that at age 40 I can still beat a great fighter like Keith,” he said. “”My time is not yet over. My journey is continuing. I’m going to prove that and more on July 20 against Keith Thurman.”
Deontay Wilder is “The Real One”
By: Max Padrid
I read an article recently that beautifully articulated an idea I had never been able to put into writing. Hamilton Nolan over at Deadspin described the common testosterone-laden, male boxing fan so accurately that I felt the need to expand. Nolan claims that men who have no experience boxing will accessorize the sport the same way men with little means will buy clothing and jewelry they can’t afford. It’s about façade. It’s about creating an image that represents what you wish you were. Without a full digression, this is the essence of the social media age. Basically, dudes who don’t have the stones to get in a ring and fight will attend these matches and broadcast their attendance to feel like they are a part of the fight itself. It’s a very strange dynamic that doesn’t make a lot of sense but is almost impossible to argue with.
So what’s that got to do with Deontay Wilder? In short: everything. It’s important that I preface this by saying I am a huge Deontay Wilder fan. I enjoy both his talent and his antics but, most importantly, I genuinely admire his authenticity and “this is me” attitude. Fighting, whether it be boxing for sport or an unfortunate street encounter, has a tendency to expose people’s true character and ability to operate under incredible duress. It’s tough to create a more vulnerable scenario than one where someone is under attack. Most people cower and run, which is how humans are conditioned to react, while a select few choose to stand and fight. Nonetheless, all people who agree to fight professionally somehow fall into the latter category. However, getting back to the man of the hour, what makes the Bronze Bomber so magnetic is that under the most vulnerable and stressful environment, his personality doesn’t waiver. The loud, brash, charismatic 6’7 man from Alabama is exactly the same in the ring as he is during his press tours when he threatens to literally punch his fist through his opponents head.
Floyd Mayweather was one of the first professional sports figures to flaunt excess. He certainly wasn’t the first professional athlete to be exceedingly wealthy, but he used his wealth to create buzz and augment pay-per-view sales, a tactic that had never really been done before. Mohammad Ali was loud and boisterous and clever, but Floyd, as detestable a human being as he is, made it cool to have so much extra wealth that he could shamelessly waste it on camera. However, what’s interesting about Floyd is that as obnoxious as he was for the cameras and no matter how loud and outrageous he was leading up the fights, the person that showed up and performed in the ring was about as calculated, thoughtful, and at times humble, as any fighter in recent history. My point is, salesman Floyd and Fighter Floyd were two fundamentally different human beings and, unfortunately, he shepherded in the Adrien Broner generation of fighters who aren’t able to tell the difference. Everyone now wants to wear head-to-toe Gucci and own 37 cars before they’ve made their first million dollars and, oh by the way, winning fights seems to fall down the priority line. As talented as Floyd was, his fights really were never as exciting as the lead up and his personality in the ring was never really that interesting.
So here we are with Deontay Wilder. The man whose power and skills are so dangerous that it’s possible his opponent might die at any moment. He is outrageous and loud and creative. You can hear “BOMMMMB SQUAAAAADDDD!!!” from different zip codes after hearing him talk about punching people through their actual skulls. But what I, and so many others, love about the Bomber, is that that’s exactly who he is when he gets in the ring. He doesn’t put up a façade to sell tickets. There’s only one version of this guy and it’s truly an exciting one. He came from what the politically correct population will refer to as “humble beginnings” and you get the sense as a fan that he’s never really changed. I’m sure he has a nicer house and a few nicer cars, but Wilder isn’t on camera selling that as a reason why you should watch him. He’s not obnoxious to the point where you pay to tune in just to see him possibly lose. There’s uniqueness to him in the sport of boxing that has continued to draw people like me in over the years as he has ascended to the apex of the apex division.
In an era where teenagers with makeup tutorials cultivate followings of millions of kids who want to paint their faces to create a better Instagram photo, naturally, it’s tough not to root for a guy who is unabashedly himself under all circumstances. I was rooting for Deontay Wilder to win on Saturday against Dominick Brazeale and to do so in spectacular fashion. Not just because I like watching him fight and I wish him continued success, but because I am so entertained by who he is outside the ring and I know exactly what I’m getting inside of it. Fortunately, I got what I wished for.
Malignaggi Threatens to put former UFC Fighter in Coma at Bare Knuckle FC Press Conference
By: Jesse Donathan
Holy Moly, Paulie! Did you really say that? According to a May 21, 2019 MMAFighting.com article titled, “Morning Report: Paulie Malignaggi attacks ‘piece of (expletive)’ MMA community, explains why he wants to put Artem Lobov in ‘a (expletive) coma’,” author Jed Meshew writes that former two time professional boxing champion Paulie Malignaggi told former UFC fighter and Conor McGregor confidant Artem Lobov that he was going to, “take my (expletive) out and (expletive) on you,” after he had defeated the game Russian fighter.
Malignaggi, the former Conor McGregor sparring partner who famously took issue with the selective video clips released to the public of his sparring sessions with McGregor by the Irishmen’s camp in the lead up to McGregor’s mega payday fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. reportedly spit on Lobov, threatening to put the Russian in a coma according to reports.
Author Jed Meshew would go on to write that according to the former champion, “Lobov and the mixed martial arts community have really disrespected my sport in a lot of ways; boxing, saying that we fight with pads on and it’s not a real fighting sport and what not, but we have all the deaths,” Malignaggi told FightHype.com.”
“We have more of the deaths by a long shot,” said Malignaggi. “We have more of the permanent damage by a long shot. This is not to diminish the danger of mixed martial arts or any other combat sport, but there is a reason why boxing has more deaths and more traumatic brain injuries in one night, because we are the most dangerous combat sport,” writes Meshew.
And I am not sure Malignaggi is going to find too many people willing to disagree with him, at least not anyone who knows what they’re talking about. According to mixed martial arts referee “Big” John McCarthy and Sean Wheelock on episode two of their December 09, 2015 podcast “Let’s Get it On!” the veteran mixed martial arts referee expressed a similar opinion to Malignaggi on the comparison’s between the two combat sports.
“MMA is more violent, but I will tell you that boxing is more damaging,” said McCarthy. “Overall, if you look at the sport boxing is incredibly damaging, because we really only have two targets that we attack. And 90% of the fighters go after the head 90% of the time. And so, we have just concussive blows to our head happening over and over and over and over again.”
In McCarthy’s estimation, “Our brain is the most important element that we have and so, if you’re going to say what’s the most damaging between all the sports, it would be boxing.”
According to MMAFighting.com, “At the end of the day, you can just [tap] and it’s over,” says Malignaggi of mixed martial arts. “In boxing, if you sit on your stool, you’ll never live it down the rest of your career.” Highlighting just a few differences between the two sports that may not always get airtime, but which are spot-on true, nonetheless.
Malignaggi has likely spent too much time on mixed martial arts message boards, which while moderated, are still thankfully the wild west of fan-based opinion. Though according to some conspiracy theorists, those same message boards are weaponized by various entities to include fighters and promotions alike to social engineer ideas and trains of thought.
In other words, Malignaggi might be surprised to find out who is in fact on the other end of some of the comments he has taken issue with. Usually just teenagers and young adults, there is a dark underbelly to the online world where a war of words instead of fisticuffs is waged by those with very partisan motives.
While Malignaggi is most certainly positioning for a potential fight and lucrative payday with Conor McGregor, a fight I would be very much in favor of seeing, it helps to understand this is the promotion game no matter how classless, yet real it may all seem. I’m sure Malignaggi’s mother didn’t raise him to talk this way, though it has certainly managed to capture the headlines however uncomfortable and unfortunate they may be.
Current WBC Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder recently made waves when he threatened to beat opponent Dominic Breazeale to death in the ring. Seemingly in an attempt of one-upmanship, Malignaggi is riding the coat tails of Wilder’s success in an effort to be equally as outrageous and headline turning.
Unfortunately, the only place to go from here is down as the Springer like atmosphere continues to capture the public’s imagination and interest. As the saying goes in the world of promotion, there is no such thing as bad publicity. Just promising to have a good, clean fight isn’t going to keep the lights on. The public wants to see that the athletes have bad intentions and the fighters feed off the publicity this kind of behavior generates as a result. Its business as usual in the fight promotion game, only I wouldn’t mind seeing a little bit more tact and class.
Manny Pacquiao and Keith Thurman Ready to Prove Their Dominance
By: Hans Themistode
Keith Thurman (29-0, 22 KOs) and Manny Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KOs) kicked off their media tour press conference at the Gotham Hall in New York City. The contest is slated to take place on Saturday July 20th, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Thurman, who ended a 22 month lay off when he took on Josesito Lopez on January 26th at the Barclay Center, is looking to add a big name to always impressive resume. To be frank, Thurman didn’t look as sharp as he normally does in his contest against Lopez. It was clear that the long layoff had took a toll on him. Coming into this contest against Pacquiao, many have questioned which version of Thurman we are going to see come fight night. Thurman reassured everyone that he will be back to his normal self come fight night.
“I came off that 22 month layoff against Lopez and there was definitely some rust but I was able to knock it off in that fight. For my fight against Pacquiao you will be see a much better Keith Thurman. I am still an elite level boxer.”
It has been four years since Manny Pacquiao has entered a contest as the betting underdog. His 2015 fight against Floyd Mayweather. The eight division world champion is keen to this stat and admitted that it has lit a fire inside of him. One that he hasn’t felt in quite some time.
“I am very motivated. I haven’t felt this way since the Oscar De La Hoya fight. I am very motivated.” Said Pacquiao.
At age 30, Thurman will enjoy a 10 year age advantage over his foe come fight night. Not only does the undefeated Thurman believe that he will defeat Pacquiao but he also believes that it will be in devastating fashion.
“He’s a great fighter, there’s no doubt about that, he has done a lot in the sport of boxing but he’s too small. After I give him this beating he won’t want to fight anymore. If I was all of you guys I would tune in because this is going to be his last fight.”
Could this be a passing of the guard? Or will Pacquiao prove that he still has plenty left in the tank? As both men faced off one last time before a packed house in New York City, it became clear that this fight is actually taking place. Both men talked a good game, but come July 20th they will get the opportunity to stake their claim as the best in the world.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Andrade, Haney, Smith, Fielding, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of May 14th to May 21st; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Smith to Defend WBA, WBC, and Ring Magazine Belts Against Hassan N’Dam
Callum Smith will defend his WBA World ‘Super’, WBC Diamond and Ring Magazine Super-Middleweight belts against Hassan N’Dam on the blockbuster Anthony Joshua OBE vs. Andy Ruiz Jr. World title bill at Madison Square Garden in New York on June 1, live on DAZN in the US and Sky Sports Box Office in the UK.
‘Mundo’ (25-0, 18 KOs) captured the WBA World title and was crowned World Boxing Super Series champion following a stunning seventh round knockout victory over British rival George Groves in Saudi Arabia last September – a win that also saw the Liverpudlian claim the vacant Ring Championship. Smith puts those titles on the line for the first time against former Middleweight World ruler N’Dam in his second appearance as a professional in the US.
N’Dam (37-3, 21 KOs) has operated at World level since landing the WBA Interim Middleweight World title against Avtandil Khurtsidze in 2010. He defended that title twice before losing on points to Peter Quillin with the WBO Middleweight crown at stake. A landslide win over Curtis Steven qualified the Frenchman for a shot at the IBF title in 2015 – an explosive contest with David Lemieux followed with the Canadian coming out on top on the score cards.
In 2017 N’Dam took on London 2012 Olympic gold medallist Ryota Murata for the vacant WBA regular World title, which he won via a split decision. The pair rematched five months later, again on Japanese soil, where N’Dam was forced into retirement in the seventh round. He most recently defeated four-time World title challenger Martin Murray by a 12 round majority decision in December.
“I’ve had a good camp and I’m looking forward to walking to the ring as a World Champion for the first time in my career,” said Smith. “I worked so hard to get where I am and now the task is to keep hold of my titles and target those big fights. To have my first defence at Madison Square Garden is going to be special and it’s another box ticked for me personally. People call it the Mecca of Boxing and I’ve always seen it as a venue that I’d love to fight at one day. The minute that there was a chance of it happening I pushed to make sure that I could be part of this show.
“N’Dam is a good fighter and he’s a former World Champion. He’s only lost to three top fighters and he’s got some great wins on his record. I had him over in England to help me prepare for George Groves so we know each other well. He’s a good mover, has good footwork and can move around the ring pretty well. Experience is on his side and he’s an awkward guy to face. Saying that, he’s definitely a fighter that I should beat and get rid of if I’m on my game.
“I believe that I’m improving all of the time – I’ve even improved since winning the World title. I believe that I’m the best Super-Middleweight in the World. There’s a few fighters in my division who probably disagree with that and rightly so. If I am the best on the planet then I should be able to get rid of Hassan N’Dam and look good doing it.”
“I am confident I will create a big surprise in New York,” said N’Dam. “It is a true privilege for me to be given the chance to fight at Madison Square Garden for the first time in my life. At this stage of my career this is a beautiful opportunity for me to be able to change division and fight for both the WBA World and WBC Diamond titles.
“I am so pleased and proud for this opportunity to be offered to me and I would like to add that even though the challenge is a big one, this does not affect my focus and my determination. Callum Smith is an excellent boxer with many qualities. As he is tall he can impose his own boxing style on most of his opponents. I have much respect for him both as a boxer and a person. I believe it will be a very tactical fight.
“Being able to say that once in my life I have fought at MSG will be a great pride. Besides, I have the experience of boxing on big shows as I have participated in many and in front of thousands of people. I have always defended my titles abroad and I am used to pressure and know how to handle it.”
“This is a huge platform and one that Callum fully deserves,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “He has established himself as the number one 168 pounder in the World and will prove it at the Mecca of boxing on June 1. N’Dam always brings the action and I believe this will be a high level fight with plenty of fire. The mega fights await Callum and he can’t afford to slip up here, I know him and Joe Gallagher have prepared diligently for this challenge and he will be sending out a statement live on Sky Sports Box Office and DAZN.”
Rocky Fielding’s Homecoming on July 12th
Former world champion Rocky Fielding will make his return to action on the #MTKFightNight in Liverpool on July 12.
Fielding, who is back for the first time since losing his WBA world super-middleweight crown to Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez at Madison Square Garden back in December, will feature live on ESPN+ and iFL TV.
As he prepares to head back for the familiar turf of the Eventim Olympia, ‘Rocky from Stocky’ is brimming with anticipation.
Fielding said: “I’m absolutely buzzing to be back. There’s no place like home and the Olympia is really where my career started – I won Prizefighter there and then the English and British titles there too.
“I’ve been very impressed with the #MTKFightNight series. They’ve been on virtually every weekend and they look great. It’s important to keep getting these up-and-coming fighters exposure.
“It’s great to be back fighting in front of my home fans. I look at the top names in the division and I believe I’m still up there.
“I’m looking forward to training alongside my good mate Martin Murray for this one. The last time we were on a bill together, we both won titles so it’ll be special for us both.”
Already confirmed for the card is an IBF European title clash between Jazza Dickens and Nathaniel May.
Further news of fights and fighters on the card will be forthcoming in due course.
AIBA Remains Confident After Meeting with IOC Inquiry Committee
An eight-person strong delegation, led by Interim President Dr. Mohamed Moustahsane met today with the IOC ad-hoc inquiry committee.
During the meeting, a number of areas were discussed including AIBA’s significant progress in regards to finance, governance and refereeing and judging. AIBA provided the committee with insights into its complete transformation of the organisation, explaining the improvements made and assessment tools put in place that will ensure the continued positive work that has been done to rebuild all areas of the organisation. In addition, the AIBA team further responded to the last outstanding points raised by the committee.
Dr. Mohamed Moustahsane, AIBA President said: “We had a very productive meeting with the IOC inquiry committee today and we remain confident that Mr. Lalovic and his team will be able to positively report back to the IOC Executive Board in a few days’ time. We have done everything in our power to work with the IOC and all of our Olympic Partners, and we remain optimistic about the future of Olympic Boxing and AIBA’s ability safeguard this great sport.”
Devin Haney Media Workout Quotes
Highly touted undefeated lightweight contender, Devin “The Dream” Haney (21-0, 13 KOs), who is scheduled to face Antonio Moran (24-3, 17 KOs) at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland on May 25, held a media workout yesterday at City Boxing Gym in Las Vegas.
The 10-round main event will air live on DAZN in the US and Sky Sports in the UK as Haney is set to make his Matchroom Boxing USA debut. Tickets priced $40, $80, $150 and $250 (plus fees) are on sale now at ticketmaster.com.
Here is what Haney and his father and trainer Bill Haney had to say:
On his recent training camp:
“This has been a really good training camp. We started camp in the Bay Area training with Victor Conte and sparring Amir Khan. I was able to get some elite work with not only him but Mike Dallas as well. So, I started off strong in the beginning of camp, and when I moved camp back to Las Vegas, I was sharp. I just wrapped up my final sparring session before we leave for Maryland. I’ve put the work in, and my body feels great. “I’m ready to go.”
On facing Antonio Moran:
“Moran is a very tall fighter who brings a lot experience to the ring. I know he’ll be at his very best. He’s had two months to prepare for me. I’m prepared as well for anything that he’s going to bring to on fight night. The fans watching are in for a treat.”
On making his Matchroom Boxing USA and DAZN main event debut:
“I can’t wait to showcase my talent on DAZN and show my partners at Matchroom they made the right choice. I will prove I’m an elite fighter and I can rise to the competition. Making my DAZN main event debut in the DMV area is very special, I get the chance to fight in front of some great fight fans. I’m going to put on a great show. I have no doubt in my mind that I’m elevating the sport of boxing with Matchroom and DAZN by my side. We are changing the game. May 25th the world will bear witness.
BILL HANEY, Devin’s Father and Trainer
On his relationship with his son Devin Haney:
“Me and Devin have always had a great relationship. We respect each other and understand where the other is coming from. We have a plan and we are on the same page. He’s had a great camp and fans can expect to see a fighter that’s ready for a World Title.
On the recent signing with Matchroom Boxing USA:
“Signing a Co-promotional agreement with Matchroom Boxing has been a blessing. Eddie Hearn is someone I have a lot of respect for. All the sacrifices DHP made as a team paid off when we inked this deal. Now it’s time to show the world who the next superstar in boxing is. Together with Matchroom and DAZN no one will stop us.”
On how his son matches up with Antonio Moran:
“This is not an easy fight stylistically because Moran is so tall, I believe he is listed at 6’0. That’s a little freaky for a lightweight. Needless to say this is the type of fight he needs. We want to show the world that Devin can make adjustments with any fighter out there. Antonio Moran has faced some very good fighters, but the world will see Devin is on a different level.
Tickets on Sale for Andrade vs. Sulecki
Tickets for the homecoming WBO World Middleweight title defense of Demetrius Andrade are on presale NOW as he puts his belt on the line against Maciej Sulecki at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island on Saturday June 29, live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK.
Andrade (27-0 17 KOs) makes the second defense of his crown in his first ever fight in his Providence backyard, with the two-weight World king landing the belt in Boston with an emphatic points win over Walter Kautondokwa in October and then stopping Artur Akavov in the final round of their January clash in New York.
The former WBO Junior-Middleweight ruler holds a powerful position in the star-studded 160lbs division as one of two World champions after Canelo Alvarez defeated Daniel Jacobs to add his IBF crown to the WBA and WBC belts he owns – meaning ‘Boo Boo’ is hunting an undisputed fight with the Mexican superstar.
Sulecki (28-1 11 KOs) will want to gatecrash those plans and the all-action Pole promises to deliver a war on June 29. The 30 year old challenger comes into the bout on the back of a thrilling clash with Gabriel Rosado in March, pocketing the WBO International belt after flooring the hometown favorite in the second and eighth rounds but then hitting the deck twice himself in the ninth.
The pair will come face-to-face at a press conference at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center next Wednesday and fans can get their hands on tickets NOW – with tickets starting at just $28 (including fees).
Fans can visit: https://www1.ticketmaster.com/matchroom-boxing-usa/event/010056AAED7788D1 and enter the code MBUSA to access presale tickets.
Tickets go on general sale at 10am on Wednesday May 22.