By: Hans Themistode
For unified super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez, he’s seemingly had two careers.
There is the pre-Floyd Mayweather fight version of himself and the current pound-for-pound star who stands before everyone today.
Although he was always considered a terrific fighter, Alvarez took his career to a whole other level after he suffered his one-sided loss against Mayweather in 2013. Just about everyone who’s watched both halves of his career has taken notice of his defensive improvements and new offensive firepower.
In the opinion of Demetrius Andrade however, he doesn’t quite see the humongous jump in his game that everyone discusses. The WBO middleweight titlist does admit that Alvarez has taken steps forward, but they are minuscule at best.
“He’s gotten a little better,” said Andrade during an interview with FightHype. “He’s gotten technically better with his feet work a little bit. He learned how to cut off the ring finally. He should have learned from that Floyd fight but he’s still like a walking forward type guy who learned how to use his head a little bit now. But he’s still just a stationary target for somebody like me.”
For Andrade, he loathes handing Alvarez any sort of compliment, mostly because he believes the Mexican native hears enough of them on a consistent basis. In fact, the two-division champion only says Alvarez has gotten better simply because he doesn’t know the right words to use to describe his marginal improvement.
“He’s gotten better but that’s it. I don’t know what word to use other than better. What’s under it? He’s gotten better in certain things. He got a little better like he’ll slip four or five jabs but I’ve been slipping four or five jabs all of my life.”
Currently, Alvarez is still enjoying his time off following his third-round win over Avni Yildirim this past Saturday night at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Florida. After forcing his man to quit at the end of the third round, Alvarez revealed that he would be taking on WBO titlist Billy Joe Saunders on May 8th.
In the mind of Andrade, Saunders essentially has no chance. Even with the 160-pound belt holder believing that Alvarez truly hasn’t improved that much since facing Mayweather nearly ten years ago, in Saunders, it won’t matter as it’ll be an easy night at the office.
“Billy Joe performances and efforts just die down eventually. They know that he can only do so much. There’s no power behind the sh*t, he’s sloppy with the sh*t. He doesn’t live and eat boxing the same way other people do, like you can tell from his outside living.”
By: Hans Themistode
Chris Algieri has heard most of the names. From WBC belt holder Jermall Charlo to former super middleweight champion David Benavidez. All of those names, and several others, are given a very good chance at beating Canelo Alvarez should they ever meet in the ring.
Not mentioned amongst those names, is unified welterweight titlist Errol Spence Jr. The 147 pounder has always been lauded for his skills. But truth be told, many have wondered how in the world the benign knockout artist even fights at his current weight.
Over the years, Spence Jr. has mentioned the possibility of moving up to the middleweight division in order to land a shot against Alvarez. While Spence Jr. is on virtually every pound-for-pound list, practically no one gives him much of a chance against the Mexican native.
Simply put, Spence Jr. is just too small.
In the opinion of Algieri though, he doesn’t exactly agree with those opinions. In his point of view, Spence Jr. actually has all of the ingredients to pull off the upset.
“He’s got a shot. A good one,” said Algieri during an interview with BoxingInsider.com. “Spence is fast, he’s also a lot more technical than people give him credit for. He also pressures nonstop. With Spence, he won’t be a big guy but he is more than big enough to make 160.”
Having shared the ring with him, Algieri knows exactly how good Spence Jr. actually is. In April of 2016, Algieri faced the Dallas native at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. While he boxed well early on, the pressure Algieri alluded to from Spence Jr. caught up to him as he was dropped in round four and hit the canvas two more times in the following round before the referee waved things off completely.
In the mind of Algieri, it isn’t just that Spence Jr. hits incredibly hard. It’s more so about the style in which he fights. For the past several years, Alvarez has faced much bigger fighters. From the likes of former light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev to former unified super middleweight champion Callum Smith who held a ridiculous seven-inch height and eight-inch reach advantage.
None of their physical attributes prevented Alvarez from picking them apart. But while most have sat back in awe at Alvarez for taking on those challenges, Algieri views things a bit differently.
“With the big guys, they throw shots then rest then throw shots then rest. That’s why Canelo likes fighting bigger guys. With Spence, he won’t be a big guy but he is more than big enough to make 160.”
Still, even with Algieri tipping his cap to Spence Jr., he’s still giving the slight edge to Alvarez.
“I would still favor Canelo but Spence has a really good shot at winning. He’s a terrific fighter.”
By: Hans Themistode
Mikey Garcia figured it would make more sense if he just kept his mouth shut.
For years the former four-division world champion would openly express his desire to face Manny Pacquiao and claimed that their showdown was just about ready to get over the finish line.
Time and time again however, Garcia was made to look like a fool as Pacquiao continually went in another direction. Now though, after staying mum on the subject, Garcia revealed that both his team and team Pacquiao, have been behind the scenes hammering out a deal. So far, everything has moved along smoothly.
Although Pacquiao hasn’t announced anything just yet, Garcia, unlike in years past, feels so confident then their contest will happen, that he has decided to let the cat out of the bag a bit early.
“It’s been in the works for a few years,” said Garcia during a recent self-recorded video. “In the last few weeks, we’ve been getting very close to finalizing this. I’m pretty excited. Hopefully, we can get the exact date within the next few days. Were trying to get everything done for May. So far, it seems like all the parties are on board so I’m excited.”
Pacquiao, 42, hasn’t been seen in the ring for almost two years. When he did make an appearance though, he was showing the younger fighters of the welterweight division a thing or two as he dropped and outboxed former unified champion, Keith Thurman.
Unlike most fighters who have made their peace with fighting inside of an empty arena amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs) appeared uninterested and instead, opted to stay on the sidelines.
But just because there were no fights on his schedule, that doesn’t mean he wasn’t firmly in the mix. Top names at 147 pounds such as WBO titlist Terence Crawford, unified champion Errol Spence Jr., and most recently, 135-pound contender Ryan Garcia, have all claimed that a showdown with Pacquiao was on their radar.
None of those aforementioned names however, could say with any confidence that they were on the brink of facing the long-time legend. That is, until now.
For Garcia (40-1, 30 KOs), he’s done all that he can to put distance between himself and the worst performance of his career. In March of 2019, Garcia moved up two weight divisions to challenge Spence Jr. in what many believed was career suicide.
Despite the warnings, Garcia claimed that he “saw something,” in Spence Jr. that would allow him to pick up the win. His assumptions, of course, were proven to be wrong as Spence Jr. dominated every single round against him.
Roughly one year later, Garcia returned to the ring against former two-division champion Jessie Vargas, dropping and mostly dominating him. He hasn’t boxed since then as he elected to sit out due to COVID-19.
Now, after kicking up his feet to watch the landscape, Garcia has stated on numerous occasions that he’s ready to drop the extra pounds he picked up during the pandemic and get back into fighting shape to return to the ring.
If anyone has been given the pleasure of looking around the household of Garcia, they’ll notice several world titles spanning across numerous weight classes.
Still, regardless of his high placement in the boxing world, Garcia knows that his career would go to a whole other level if he were able to officially stand across the ring from Pacquiao.
“Just to share the ring with a living legend like Manny does amazing things for my career. It’s a great fight, great for my career and for the fans. It’s very exciting for boxing in general to get this kind of fight.”
By: Hans Themistode
We all knew it was going to happen, we just didn’t know when. That is, until now.
Former unified heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr. will return to the ring on April 24th when he takes on fringe contender Chris Arreola.
No specific site has been revealed just yet, but their bout will be a Fox Sports Pay-Per-View.
It’s been a long time since anyone has seen Ruiz Jr. (33-2, 22 KOs) in the ring, one year and a half to be exact.
For a six-month stretch, Ruiz Jr. was on top of the world. His massive upset win over Anthony Joshua crowned him as the first heavyweight champion from Mexico. His enthusiasm for what he accomplished was taken a bit overboard as he spent most of his time partying like there was no tomorrow.
While it was fun at the moment, it caused him to slack in his preparation for their rematch six months later. During the night in question, Ruiz Jr. was thoroughly outboxed and his 15 minutes of fame were officially over.
His championship reign may have been truncated, but it was long enough for Ruiz Jr. to realize that he wanted a taste of it again. To help him in his efforts, he ended his relationship with former trainer Manny Robles and began working closely with Eddy Reynoso, trainer of pound-for-pound star, Canelo Alvarez.
By all accounts, their relationship seems to be going great as Reynoso revealed that Ruiz Jr. has lost 20 pounds since they began working with one another.
As for Arreola (38-6-1, 33 KOs), he’s spent a long amount of time on the sidelines as well. In his last ring appearance, the Los Angelos native almost pulled off an upset of his own against Adam Kownacki. Unfortunately for him however, he fell just short.
Following the loss, the now 39-year-old sat back and seriously considered retirement. Yet, with a chance to pick up a big win and an even bigger check against Ruiz Jr., this was an opportunity Arreola simply couldn’t say no to.
By: Hans Themistode
Fighting on the elite level has provided fighters with more time for leisurely fun.
Normally, when a fighter first jumps onto the scene, they can find themselves fighting anywhere from five to ten times per year. Once they’ve established themselves on the very good to elite level, the ring appearances are few and far between. On most occasions, fighters at the very top of their respective divisions enter the ring twice during a calendar year. Others, elect to fight just once.
In short, after fighting for most of their lives, boxers enjoy sitting back and enjoying the fruits of their labor.
For Canelo Alvarez, having just taken care of business against Avni Yildirim via third-round stoppage this past weekend, the unified super middleweight champion has already secured his next opponent in Billy Joe Saunders. The two are locked in to face off on May 8th, ten weeks from now.
While that may seem like a quick turnaround for most, Alvarez revealed that he never usually takes a lot of time off.
“I’m always training,” said Alvarez following his knockout over Yildirim at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Florida. “I’m active. Just one week off and come back to train and get ready for May 8th.”
According to Alvarez, his normal workload of fighting twice a year will be changed this time around. With the win over Yildirim already in his back pocket and with Saunders up next, Alvarez said he expects to likely fight two more times this year. Those dates would be in September and then in December to close out the year.
In Saunders, Alvarez faces one of the more trickier styles in the entire division. The WBO titlist has gained the respect of both the Mexican star and his trainer, Eddy Reynoso.
“Saunders is a very difficult opponent,” said Alvarez. “He brings a lot of different qualities to the ring but I am a fighter with a lot of experience and I’ll be ready come May 8th.”
The British native was last in the ring in early December doing what he does best, outboxing his opponents and making them look silly as they missed shot after shot. Martin Murray, his most recent foe, continued that trend as he managed to win only two rounds on one judge’s scorecards but was completely shutout on the remaining two scorecards.
Performances such as those, has led Saunders to a showdown with the consensus best fighter in the world in roughly two and a half months.
By: Hans Themistode
The moment Vasiliy Lomachenko fell from his pound-for-pound throne, the criticism has come in waves.
In what many believed would be another routine win, Lomachenko found Teofimo Lopez a much more complex puzzle to solve when the two battled it out with all of the lightweight marbles on the line in mid-October 2020.
Watching Lomachenko fall was a surprise to just about everyone. But even more of a shock is, outside of a handful of interviews, how he has virtually disappeared since the defeat. Amongst those wondering where Lomachenko has gone, is WBC lightweight champion, Devin Haney.
“Where the f*ck is Loma at?” Said Haney on his Twitter account.
Despite having close to 200,000 thousand followers on Twitter, Lomachenko seldom uses social media. This time around though, he took the time to address Haney on his own personal account.
“I’m here!” Said Lomachenko. “I’m waiting for you cowards to decide on a real fight and not on Twitter.”
For Haney, he’s heard the same thing over and over throughout the course of his short career. The talent is obvious but the names he’s fought up until this point have been underwhelming. The Las Vegas resident has called for matchups against Ryan Garcia, Gervonta Davis, Teofimo Lopez and of course, Vasiliy Lomachenko.
Yet, no matter how loud he screams for any of the big-name fighters to face him, they have all seemingly ignored him. With no marquee wins under his belt, Lomachenko is convinced that Haney is simply all bark but no bite.
“Waiting is your favorite action,” continued Lomachenko. “You still haven’t fought with anyone.”
Ironically enough, Haney was once the mandatory challenger to face Lomachenko when he held the WBC title. Although the 22-year-old planned on facing him, WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman had other ideas in mind as he stripped Lomachenko of his title and instead, gifted him with the Franchise tag, a new and still confusing term fans are trying to wrap their heads around.
With the WBC title now vacant, Haney, who was the interim belt holder, was then elevated to full champion. Since then, he’s gone on to defeat journeymen Alfredo Santiago and the long-faded former multiple division champion Yuriokis Gamboa.
He may won have every single round against both fighters but Lomachenko doesn’t appear to be impressed. In fact, fighters such as Lopez have said that Haney is nothing more than an email champion since his title reign began with an email notifying him that he had become a full belt holder.
Helping him in his efforts to shut up the doubters could be former multiple division champion Jorge Linares. Both camps are currently locked in negotiations for an April clash.
As for Lomachenko, he appears to have his eyes on Haney. Those plans however, could be forced to wait as promoter Bob Arum has already said that he plans on matching up Lomachenko with top contender Masayoshi Nakatani who is coming off an upset win over once highly touted prospect Felix Verdejo.
By: Hans Themistode
At one point, the blueprint to defeating unified super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez was clear as day.
Keep your distance, incorporate a lot of movement and pot shot him all night long. In short, the Mexican star could be thoroughly outboxed.
Floyd Mayweather was the first to give users the key to open the door to beating Alvarez in 2013. Despite the suspect scorecards, Mayweather won in lopsided fashion. Erislandy Lara attempted to use the same tactics when they fought one year later. But while Alvarez was given the nod, the vast majority of the boxing public believes that he was given a huge gift when the Judes ruled their bout in his favor.
With Alvarez announcing that he will be taking on WBO belt holder Billy Joe Saunders on May 8th, many are under the assumption that Alvarez could be in true danger of picking up the second loss of his career.
While the skills of Saunders did at one point open the door to defeating the Mexican star, at this stage, Alvarez has changed the locks.
“I’m way better. Way better,” said Alvarez following his win over Avni Yildirim.
Alvarez, 30, made things look entirely too easy at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Florida last night. Yildirim, his WBC mandatory challenger, was thoroughly beaten down over the course of three rounds. Although it was impressive, supporters of Saunders will point to the pure boxing style of Saunders as opposed to the plodding, come-forward style of Yildirim.
The British native is fresh off a one-sided unanimous decision victory over former title challenger Martin Murray in late December. Following the win, Saunders did what he always does, meaning, he dared Alvarez to step up and face him.
For years now, Saunders has insisted that the pound-for-pound star built his resume on the backs of great fighters who were no longer at their peak by the time Alvarez got his hands on them.
At 31, Saunders is smack dab in the middle of his prime. That, along with his tricky style, is the reason why he believes Alvarez was always hesitant to face him.
Those sentiments however, were always considered laughable to Alvarez. If Saunders, or anyone else for that matter, believes that he has the same weaknesses that he had as a young fighter, they must not have been watching his progression all of these years.
“I’m a more mature fighter, I’m more a complete fighter. I have much more experience. I’m in my best moment.”
By: Hans Themistode
No matter who you spoke to, they all said the same thing. That is, Avni Yildirim had no chance of defeating unified super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez. Not only was he given virtually no chance at winning but the mere thought of the pair sharing the ring with one another was thought to be ludicrous.
From the moment the opening bell rang, the thoughts of everyone was proven to be factual.
Alvarez wasted no time in pummeling his man in front of a socially distanced crowd at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Florida.
For some perplexing reason, Yildirim simply walked forward and absorbed the punishing blows of his man without throwing anything back in return.
With a clear round for Alvarez already in the bank, the pound for pound star turned things up a notch in round two, dropping his man with a clean one, two. While Yildirim managed to stumble back to his feet, he would take another pounding in round three.
Throughout the duration of the round, the referee watched closely as Yildirim was taking a hellacious beating. By the time Yildirim walked back to his corner, his coaches had already made up their mind and pulled their man from the contest before the start of round four.
With the win officially under his belt, Alvarez revealed what many of us already knew. That he was taking on WBO belt holder Billy Joe Saunders on May 8th.
Saunders was originally set to have a front row seat to watch Alvarez up close and personal, however, due to COVID-19 protocols and travel restrictions, the British native found it impossible to actually appear in Miami Florida in person.
The long time belt holder was always believed to be next for Alvarez, all that was needed was for the Mexican product to take care of business.
Now, with his next opponent set in stone, Alvarez will look to add a third world title to the three currently draped around his shoulders.
After getting dropped in the first round, Zhilei Zhang appeared to be on his way to an easy night at the office. Another series of knockdowns in the second and third seemingly confirmed it.
However, Forrest would hear none of it. The heavy underdog rallied in a huge way, including a final round which saw Zhang holding on for dear life. Forrest was rewarded for his efforts when the final bell rang as he given a majority decision draw.
Diego Pacheco (11-0, 8 KOs) found a rough, tough opponent in Rodolfo Gomez (14-5-1, 10 KOs) standing in front of his.
Unlike the vast majority of his opponents that crumbled underneath his power, Gomez Jr. proved to have an iron chin. But while he was difficult to knockdown, Pacheco outboxed his man over the course of eight rounds to cruise to a unanimous decision victory.
It didn’t take long for super featherweight prospect Marc Castro (2-0, 2 KOs) to walk right over his opponent John Moraga (1-3, 1 KO).
With a quick knockdown in the first round, Castro quickly followed that up with another in the second round, this time due to a body shot. While Moraga managed to make it to his feet, he was sent back down to the canvas. From there, the referee immediately waved off their contest.
It may have been been the second fight of his pro career but super lightweight prospect Aaron Aponte looked like a veteran in the ring.
His opponent in Harry Gigliotti, simply couldn’t figure out a way to land anything effective against his man. As a result, Aponte walked away with the unanimous decision victory.
Ashon Sykes (5-4, 1 KO) gave a stern test to the 21-year-old Alexis Espino (7-0, 5 KOs). Despite walking in as the overwhelming favorite, Sykes proved to be no pushover.
The 31-year-old journeymen found a bit of success early on. That however, didn’t last long as Espino quickly got into a grove. From there, the undefeated prospect thoroughly outworked his man before ultimately scoring the stoppage in the fifth round.
By: Hans Themistode
Chris Eubank Jr. just needs somebody to explain to him how in the world did Avni Yildirim hit the lottery. Somehow, after getting brutally knocked out in their contest in 2017, Yildirim has managed to score a showdown with the one fighter he has been craving to face the most in Canelo Alvarez.
The two are slated to face off in the main event slot at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Florida.
Although Yildirim had managed to win five fights in a row before losing his most recent contest against Anthony Dirrell in 2019, Eubank Jr. still doesn’t understand how the man he took care of relatively easily, scored the most lucrative ticket in all of boxing.
“Why is Canelo fighting a guy I knocked out in three rounds three years ago?” Said Eubank Jr. on his Twitter account.
Eubank Jr. has always expressed his desire in facing Alvarez. Still, even with the British native campaigning one weight class lower, he doesn’t mind facing the current unified super middleweight champion on his turf.
At the moment, Eubank holds the interim WBA middleweight title. Through his own admission, his eyes are locked and loaded on full belt holder Ryota Murata. But even though his immediate future doesn’t involve a clash with Alvarez, Eubank Jr. is confused as to how Yildirim is facing him to begin with.
With the vast majority of the boxing world under the impression that Alvarez is the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, Eubank Jr. believes that, considering what he was able to do to the Turkish product several years ago, that Alvarez should have little to no trouble one-upping him.
After all, if Alvarez is what many say he is, then Eubank Jr. is steadfast in his belief that Alvarez should be able to get the job done before fans get comfortable in their seats.
“I guess if he’s really the P4P (pound for pound) like people claim, he’ll stop him in the first round tonight. Let’s see.”
By: Hans Themistode
The back-to-back losses Joseph Parker picked up in 2018 are now a thing of the past as he scored a fairly easy win over fringe contender Junior Fa.
The all New Zealand showdown took place at the Spark Arena, in Auckland New Zealand.
With a potential loss pushing him all the way down the heavyweight ladder, Parker (28-2, 21 KOs) came out strong in the opening bell. The former WBO belt holder easily outboxed his man for the vast majority of the first three minutes. He managed to lose a bit of concentration during the waning seconds though as he was wobbled.
No ill effects were noticed in the following round as Parker went right back to work. He was tagging his man with lefts and rights and seldom had to worry about any return fire.
Although Fa was thoroughly outboxed, he managed to take the shots well. That is, until he was hit with an overhand right in the fourth. Parker couldn’t take complete advantage of the big shot as Fa began letting his hands go in an attempt to keep the former titlist away from him.
Realizing that there was no way he could outbox his opponent, Fa (19-1, 10 KOs) began turning things ugly. He worked the body and stayed on the inside. Parker did have his moments of success, but for the most part, Fa had him exactly where he wanted him.
Growing tired of the clinch work, Parker landed a big shot on Fa as he attempted to work his way inside. He appeared to be in a bit of trouble but not enough for Parker to finish him off.
Over the past few years, Parker has received criticism for what many believe is a lack of a killer instinct. The championship rounds proved to be much of the same as both he and Fa held and grabbed each other until the final bell rang.
In the end, while Fa fought hard, all three judges scoring the contest didn’t view him as the winner. The final scorecards were as followed: 115-113, 117-111 and 119-109 all in favor of Parker.
With his fourth win in a row, Parker could be headed towards a showdown against Dereck Chisora later on this year. The British native lost his most recent contest against Oleksandr Usyk but fought well. Both Parker and Chisora were originally scheduled to face off in 2019 but Parker fell ill and their contest fell by the wayside.
Now, with his fourth win in a row and both sides chirping back and forth over the past several months, promoter Eddie Hearn expressed a real interest in making their showdown a reality for a date to be revealed later this year.