Emilio Sanchez – Ready To Make His Move
By: Sean Crose
He was throwing punches, quick punches, in all varieties. Even when he was going backwards, he was landing the harder, more accurate shots. John Bustos tried to work the body, but his own punches were ineffective. By the end of the second round, it was clear that Emilio Sanchez, the 23 year old super bantamweight from Los Angeles, was the stronger, sharper fighter of the two. Bustos was game and extremely brave, but the fight wouldn’t see the final bell. The referee stopped things in the eighth and final round. Those who watched the ESPN card live as it aired that night in 2017 likely walked away thinking they had just seen a fighter worth watching in Sanchez.
Three years later, Golden Boy Promotions is ready for the now 18-1 Sanchez to make his move among the featherweight division’s bigger names. Xu Can, the WBA World Featherweight Champion, is a real possibility. “I just want to get in the ring as soon as possible,” Sanchez tells me over the phone. “I’m in shape. I just can’t wait to get back in.” With the likes of the Xu Can on the horizon, it’s hard to fault him for wanting to return to business ASAP. Unfortunately, however, COVID-19 has put the sport of boxing, as well as virtually the entire world, on hold.
“I do my roadwork in the morning,” Sanchez says of life under self quarantine, “come back at around ten or eleven. I have a bag at the house and (I) start hitting it.” Good enough to keep in shape, no doubt, but, like most everyone, the California native longs for a return to normality. “I’m missing the gym,” he says. Sadly, the gym, as well as Xu Can and all other fighters, will have to wait – at least for the time being. Not that it will dull Sanchez’ drive. “Right now,” he says, “I’m just focusing on the sport.”
Being something of a problem child as a youth, Sanchez found himself being introduced to boxing courtesy of his parents. “My parents put me in the boxing gym,” he says. “I fell in love with it.” Like countless other kids over time, Sanchez found a new direction to take once he discovered the sweet science. “I was kind of a troublemaker,” he tells me of his life before boxing. The sweet science, however, put an end to the wayward behavior. “It was the opposite of football,” he says. “I would want to go to the boxing gym.”
And now the man is on the cusp of creating a legacy in the sport he’s dedicated his life to. “This,” he says, “is what I do.”
Travell Mazion Is A Fighter Worth Keeping An Eye On
By: Sean Crose
You could tell right away the man meant business. The way he started firing off his left hand in a powerful jab immediately after the opening bell suggested the fight wouldn’t go the full scheduled 10 rounds. It didn’t even get past the first. A lightning quick flurry, punctuated by a missile to the liver, sent Fernando Castanada to the mat. Fighting through the pain, the game competitor got back to his feet. It was pointless to continue, however, and referee Rafael Ramos wisely stopped the fight. Travell Mazion, the man behind Castanda’s destruction that evening last January, had won for the 17th time in a row, this time at the famed Alamodome.
Now possessing a record of 17 wins, no defeats and 13 knockouts, Mazion is clearly a fighter on the rise. “If it comes, it comes,” says Mazion good naturedly of scoring a knockout. He’s friendly, Mazion, friendly and engaging to talk to. Combined with his burgeoning resume, it’s little wonder Golden Boy Promotions holds Mazion in high regard.
Just how promising is the 6’2 super welterweight? Promising enough for Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan to possibly be his next opponent. “That’s a big step up,” says Mazion. Indeed. To get to the likes of the popular Irish fighter in less than 20 fights is quite an accomplishment.
“Whatever they throw at me,” Mazion says, “I’m going to take.” Although he has a media friendly personality, Mazion isn’t into being aggressive outside the ring. “I’m not the kind of fighter,” says Mazion, “who’s going to talk crap and call you out.” Hey, the guy’s likeable. “I’m a people person,” he says. “I get along with anyone or anybody.” Not that he can’t lay out a highly trained professional boxer. A quick look at Mazion’s early career fight with Antonio Sanchez shows just how effectively and abruptly the guy can end a fight. One minute Sanchez is fighting well, the next, he’s out on the mat, his body moving about while his mind is unconscious, all courtesy of a Mazion left.
At the moment Mazion is, like everyone else, dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic. “I’m back in Arkansas,” he says. Like most who find themselves under self-imposed quarantine, Mazion is eager for life to get back to normal. “Until then,” he says, “its home gym.” Mazion is making it through this strange and dangerous period of time by “just staying active and in shape.” At just twenty-four years of age, he has time on his side.
Here is a rising fighter worth keeping an eye on.
Ryan Garcia Decimates Francisco Fonseca In Frightening Fashion
By: Sean Crose
The DAZN streaming service presented a live night of Golden Boy Boxing from the Honda Center in Anaheim, California Friday featuring rising lightweight star Ryan Garcia.
A power punching 19-0 fighter with a reported five million person Instagram following, Garcia was the man to watch walking in. Meanwhile the 25-2-2 Francisco Fonseca stood in the 21 year old Garcia’s way on the path to big time success. In fact, it was worth noting that Foncesca’s only losses came to top names Gervonta Davis and Tevin Farmer. It was not as if the up and coming Garcia was being handed a soft touch.
First, however, there were three fights for viewers to watch leading into the main event. The 13-0 showman Blair “The Flair” Cobbs started things off in a scheduled ten rounder against the 23-2 Samuel Kotey. Cobbs, sharp and fluid, dominated the first three rounds. The crowd may have gotten a bit restless due to Cobb’s ability to maintain distance, but the young fighter was putting on a sharp performance. Although Kotey tried to catch his man, Cobbs was able to keep his veteran foe at bay throughout the next five rounds. Cobbs lost a point for a low blow in the ninth, but performed well enough in the tenth and final chapter. Cobbs walked away with a SD win.
The next fight was a scheduled 10 round welterweight affair. Veteran Brad Solomon, 28-2, faced the 15-0 up and comer Alex Rocha. Although Rocha was viewed as the rising star, the beginning of the fight was surprisingly close. By the third it was clear Rocha was having a hard time getting to his man with any consistency. Things remained close through the halfway part of the bout. By the final rounds it looked as if it could be anyone’s fight. It was a story of punches and counter punches. Then, in the tenth round, Rocha sent his man to the canvas. Solomon got up and survived, but it seemed that Rocha had ultimately done enough to seal the deal. Rocha got quite a surprisingly wide UD win.
Former world lightweight titlist Jorge Linares was up next. At 34 years of age, the 46-5 fighter stepped into the ring to face the 19-4-4 Carlos Morales in a scheduled twelve round bout. Morales seemed to have edged the first, a round where Linares received an accidental cut. Things remained relatively close in the second. Then, in the third, Linares sent his man down to the mat. Morales got up and was able to survive the round. No matter. A thunderous shot put Morales down – and out – in the fourth. It was time for the main event.
The feature fight of the evening was a frightening affair. For, in the very first round, Garcia dropped his man. Then, after Fonseco got up, Garcia dropped him again in explosive fashion. The camera held on Fonseca, who lie there unconscious with his eyes open, as the referee stopped the match.
Jason Quigley Impresses and Stops Fernando Marin
By Rich Lopez
Golden Boy Promotions started off the New Year with a bang. They held their first Thursday night card of 2020 at The Hangarin Costa Mesa, California. The card was streamed on Facebook and on DAZN. Quick stoppages was the theme of the night which was headlined by Irish brawler Jason Quigley.
In the main event, Jason “El Animal” Quigley (18-1, 14 KO’s) of Ireland, scored a 3rd round stoppage over Fernando “El Cacho” Marin (16-5-3, 12 KO’s) of Mexico, in a ten round middleweight contest. This was Quigley’s second straight win since his defeat to Tureano Johnson last year. It was a quick start for Quigley in the 1st round. He started to land good combinations on Marin. Quigley then stunned Marin with a right hand which backed Marin against the ropes. Quigley landed hook shots to the head and body of Marin to finish the round. In round two, Quigley started to box and he let Marin come forward. Marin put the pressure but was ineffective. Quigleydecided to get busy again and he landed good combinations again. A hard right hand hurt Marin but the tough Mexican hung in there to finish the round. In round three, Marin started the round coming forward while it seemed Quigley was catching a breather. As Quigley was going back, he landed a hard right hand on the cheek bone of Marin. Marin dropped to the canvas slowly. The ref called the fight off as Marin showed no signs of getting up. The time of the stoppage was at 1:47.
Quigley, who is now trained by former world middleweight champion Andy Lee, called out Jaime Munguia in the post-fight interview. It will be too soon to fight Munguia at this stage but let’s see him climb up the ladder again. Quigley does bring excitement to the ring and we look forward to his next fight.
The co-feature was an eight round super welterweight attraction. Ferdinand “Lucky Boy” Kerobyan (14-1, 9 KO’s) of Armenia,scored a 2nd round stoppage over Azael “Turbo” Cosio (21-8-2, 18 KO’s) of Panama. Kerobyan’s only blemish came early last year when he lost to undefeated prospect Blair Cobbs. Since then Kerobyan finished 2019 with two stoppages and added another stoppage victory to start the year. In the first round, Kerobyan started the round well stalking Cosio. He landedstraight punches to the body and head of Cosio. A hard left jab from Kerobyan dropped Cosio. Cosio got up but Kerobyanmanaged to drop him gain with another stiff left jab. As Cosiogot up, he complained the knockdown was a slip. Kerobyancame out fast in round two, landing punches to the body and head. Cosio kept slipping in the ring and it seemed his shoes were causing him issues. Kerobyan continued his onslaught by landing hooks to the body and head of Cosio. A straight right cross from Kerobyan dropped Cosio which prompted the ref to stop the fight. The stoppage came at 2:07.
Kerobyan will continue to stay busy and will serve as a sparring partner for Jessie Vargas for his upcoming fight with Mikey Garcia. Soon after that, we should see Kerobyan back in action again.
The opening bout of the telecast was an eight round heavyweight fight. Mihai Nistor (2-0, 2 KO’s) of Romania,blasted out Jaime Solorio (12-4-2, 9 KO’s) of Mexico, in the 1stround. Nistor was an outstanding amateur with a 138-19 record and fought some of the best heavyweights in the amateur ranks. Nistor won his pro debut by stoppage last month and his secondfight did not last long. In the opening round, Nistor put the pressure on Solorio. Solorio was fighting way out of his weight class and it was apparent he was out of shape. Nistor landed a straight right hand that dropped Solorio immediately. Solorio got up and Nistor went for the finish. Nistor backed up Solorio in the corner and Solorio covered up. Nistor went to the body and then a right hook dropped Solorio for the second time after Solorio threw a wild right hand. Solorio fell to his knees and could not continue. The ref waved the fight and the stoppagecame at 2:24.
It was a quick night’s work for Nistor and we should expect him back very soon.
Fan Favorite Jaime Munguia to Start the Year Off Against Gary O’Sullivan in His Middleweight Debut
By: Rich Lopez
After a superb 2019 in boxing, we get back into it this weekend with tons of boxing action to begin the New Year. Boxing is back on DAZN this Saturday at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, with a stacked card presented by Golden Boy Promotions. The main event will feature Jaime Munguia who will be making his return to Texas. The co-feature will showcase WBC and WBO World Female Super Middleweight Champion Franchon Crews-Dezrun.
The main event will be a 12 rounder in the middleweight division between Jaime Munguia and Gary O’ Sullivan.
Jaime Munguia (34-0, 27 KO’s) of Mexico, is back and he will be making his middleweight debut. Munguia made his pro debut at the young age of 16 years old and worked his way to a top prospect within four years. Munguia was even named Prospect of the Year in 2017 by Ring Magazine. It was in 2018, where the young Mexican made a statement. Munguia was brought in as a late replacement to challenge Sadam Ali for the WBO World Super Welterweight Title after Liam Smith pulled out of the fight due to an illness. Munguia made the most of this opportunity and blasted out Ali in four rounds to become a world champion at only 21 years old. Most fans got their first glimpse of Munguia that night. He immediately became a fan favorite due to his aggressive style and his willingness to exchange punches. Munguia wasted no time and came back to fight in two months. Munguia was matched against the tough Liam Smith for his first defense of his title and he proved again he was a force to be reckoned with. Munguia defeated Smith by a 12 round unanimous decision in a good scrap. Munguia came back in two months again and stopped Brandon Cook in the 3rdround. Munguia also had another busy 2019, but there has been some criticism on him. Some observers have questioned if he is really that good? To start 2019, he had a slugfest against the undefeated Takeshi Inoue of Japan and it went all 12 roundswith Munguia winning a 12 round unanimous decision. The next fight would be a bad night for Munguia. He was once again forced to go all 12 rounds in another battle against Irishman Dennis Hogan. Munguia won a majority decision but some observers felt he lost that fight. Munguia ended the year by stopping the over matched Patrick Allotey. Even though Munguia went from top prospect to world champion, he has flaws. He lacks defense and is a one dimensional fighter but he is still very young. We will have to wait and see if he can improve his technique but one thing is for sure, he brings excitement and he likes to brawl. That is what brings fans to theseats.
Coming into Saturday, Munguia will be making his middleweight debut and now has Hall of Fame boxer Erik Morales as his trainer. Munguia is tall and should adapt to the new weight class but it remains to be seen how well he would doat this new weight. There is a lot of great competition in theweight class with names like Canelo Alvarez, DemetruisAndrade, Jermall Charlo, Gennady “GGG” Golovkin and SergiyDerevyanchenko. Munguia will need another statement for his debut and his challenger to welcome him is Gary O’ Sullivan.
Gary “Spike” O’ Sullivan (30-3, 21 KO’s) of Ireland, is the prefect opponent for Munguia. Sullivan will be heading into his eleven year as a professional. He started his career mainly fighting in Ireland and more recently has been fighting in the New York and Boston area. He has had his ups and downs in his career. He also made his way through the rankings as being a top prospect and eventually landing a WBA Middleweight Title Eliminator bout in 2015. However, he lost that fight by stoppage against Chris Eubank Jr. Since that loss, Sullivan climbed up the rankings again and earned another WBA Middleweight Title Eliminator bout against knockout artist David Lemieux in 2018. Once again, Sullivan was stopped in the fight and this time in the 1st round. There was still no quit in Sullivan and he has won two fights since the Lemieux fight. Now he will get another big fight against Munguia and he would need to make the most of it as this can be his last big shot. Sullivan also brings a crowd pleasing style and likes to come forward which should make the fight a barn burner as long as it lasts.
In the co-feature, WBC and WBO World Female Super Middleweight Champion Franchon Crews-Dezrun (6-1, 2 KO’s) of Baltimore, Maryland, will square off against Alejandra “El Tigre” Jimenez (12-0-1. 9 KO’s) of Mexico. Crews started her professional career in 2016 with a loss to Claressa Shields. Both women were making their professional debuts and Crews lost by a four round unanimous decision. Since then, Crews has gotten better. For Crews, 2018 was her coming out party when she defeated Maricela Cornejo by a 10 round majority decision for the vacant WBC title. To prove the win was no fluke, Crews defeated Cornejo in a rematch last year with a more decisive victory by 10 round unanimous decision. That victory earned her the WBO title. Crews would like a rematch with Shields but first would need to get by Jimenez. Jimenez, who is already a five year pro, started her career at heavyweight and was the former WBC World Female Heavyweight Champion. Jimenez has made a transformation and lost a lot weight. She is currently now campaigning at the super middleweight division at 168 lbs. There has been some bad blood between these ladies since last year and they will settle the score in the ring on Saturday.
Ryan Garcia Makes Peace With Golden Boy
By: Sean Crose
He’s brash, has a huge online following and is unquestionably talented. Yet lightweight up and comer Ryan Garcia had himself a tough few days last week. First, his opponent for a bout that was scheduled for last Saturday, Avery Sparrow, was arrested before the fight. Then, to make matters worse, Garcia claimed he didn’t hear about the cancellation until at least the point where he showed up for last Friday’s weigh in. Then things became truly intense when Garcia’s promoter, Golden Boy, let the world know that team Garcia wanted nothing to do with a potential replacement for Sparrow, Romero Duno.
Photo Credit: Golden Boy Boxing Twitter Account
The twenty-one year old undefeated Garcia was up in arms. Not only did he miss out on a chance to battle on the DAZN streaming service, he also missed a chance to fight in his native California, where fans were likely to come see him. To make matters worse, Golden Boy gave the impression that one of their top fighters was being kept away from one of its other rising fighters (like Garcia, Duno is a part of the Golden Boy stable). Things went from bad to worse when Garcia, of Victorville, took to social media, where he is hugely popular.
“My promoter acted in a very unprofessional manner (pattern at this point),” he argued, “saying things that were false about me. I’m a fighter and not afraid to fight anyone!!! My team tried tirelessly to negotiate a fair purse amount to save the show but my promoter has shown little interest in my career,” For a bit it looked as if the Garcia – Golden Boy partnership was about to come crashing down. Things, however, have a way of working themselves out.
“Just signed one of the most lucrative deals for a prospect in the History of the sport,” Garcia informed social media on Wednesday. “Thank you to my team and @OscarDeLaHoya @makeawar.” In what seemed the bat of an eye, Garcia went from bitter fighter back to rising, highly promoted star. What’s more, the young man claimed to have an impressive new contract to boot. Video footage of Garcia signing the deal along with Golden Boy Honcho Oscar De La Hoya accompanied the online announcement.
“Actions speak louder than words,” Garcia said to the media. “I’m here today to show everybody that I consider Golden Boy my family and that we’re going to be in this together as I fulfill my dreams.” He then acknowledged that his promoter has what it takes to elevate his career. “Just like I have all the capabilities to become a big star, Golden Boy has all the tools to get me there. But I just want to tell all of our fans: Enjoy the ride!”
To make things all the more fulfilling, Garcia claimed that he would indeed be fighting Duno as the co-main event of the Canelo Alvarez – Sergey Kovalev mega fight this November. The exact details of Garcia’s contract haven’t been made public.
Munguia Dominates Allotey In Hard Hitting Fashion
By: Sean Crose
Up and coming prospect Ryan Garcia was supposed to fight on Saturday’s DAZN card from California. Unfortunately for Garcia, his opponent – and fellow fighter on the rise – Avery Sparrow was arrested and was unable to make the fight. An opponent was said to be looked for, but no opponent was agreed to, and Garcia ended up bitterly disappointed, as he had to sit the weekend out. The co-main event of the evening subsequently went to a women’s contest for the WBC and vacant WBO titles.
Photo Credit: Golden Boy Boxing Twitter Account
Titlist Franchon Crews-Dezurn, 5-1, slipped in between the ropes to face the 13-3 Marcielo Cornejo. Crews-Dezurn was supposed to fight another opponent, but Alejandra Jiminez was unable to fight, and Cornejo got the call. Crews-Dezurn looked as if she might barrel through her opponent at first, but Cornejo showed that sharp, accurate punching could be effective against the defending champion. Still, Crews-Dezurn’s telling and steady agression ended up telling the tale throughout the majority of the bout. Cornejo was even wobbled in the 9th. The decision ended up going to Crews-Dezurn, the clear winner.
It was time for the main event. Jaime Munguia’s previous fight saw the WBO junior middleweight champion come close to losing his title belt to Denis Hogan. With something to prove, Munguia entered the ring on Saturday to face the largely unknown Patrick Allotey. The challenger moved and landed well throughout the first. The second round was much closer than the first had been. Allotey still fought well, but Munguia began to land to the body. Munguia went to work well in the third, and took his man down with a body shot. Allotey got to his feet, but the champion sent him to the mat again at the bell.
Getting up before the ten count, Allotey made it to the fourth round. Still, Munguia was able to land so hard that Allotey had to take a knee. Allotey’s corner then stopped the bout. Munguia was simply too big and strong for his fast, effective foe. With that in mind, Munguia will now move up to middleweight where the world will see if he’s able to keep punching so effectively in a bigger division. Having done what he was supposed to with Allotey, Munguia will now find himself fighting on the same streaming service as fellow middleweights Canelo Alvarez, Gennady Golovkin, and Demetrius Andrade. The future will most certainly be interesting for the game hard hitting Mexican fighter.
Rey Vargas Overcomes Tomoki Kameda’s Early Assault to Defend Super Bantamweight title
By Robert Aaron Contreras
On Saturday, super bantamweight champion Rey Vargas (34-0, 22 KO) fought off his toughest and most experienced title challenger to date, former beltholder Tomoki Kameda (36-3, 20 KO).
Three identical scores of 117-110 were met with boos from the crowd in Carson, California but Vargas overcame an early assault from his foe, adjusting in the middle stages to take advantage of his incredible size, and keep Kameda at bay to earn a justifiable unanimous decision.
“Kameda has a lot of experience but I fought an intelligent fight,” Vargas said in the ring. “The idea was to throw a lot of punches. I knew he was going to push forward but we made it a smart fight.”
PHOTO CREDIT: Tom Hogan – Hoganphotos/Golden Boy
The first two rounds appeared to belong to Kameda, 28, of Osaka, Japan. He continually befuddled the much taller Vargas, 28, with snapping overhand rights and calculated pressure—never darting in from the same angle twice, never giving the defending champion a standstill target to tee off on.
Flickering body punches set up lethal overhand rights from Kameda. And Vargas, punching in reverse, was unable to establish any early offense.
Vargas moved forward with purpose in the third period. But Kameda wrapped up his man to avoid being caught in a corner. The sizable champion relied on his range, navigating the outside of the ring, tossing out a long jab and smashing hooks into Kameda’s gloves. The Japanese banger remained effective with vicious, arcing blows focused upstairs.
The action grew chippy in fourth frame. Though over the next three rounds Vargas would outwork his challenger. Kameda was a bully up close but tried jabbing with the Mexican beltholder, which Vargas was going to win every single time.
Now picking Kameda apart, Vargas stepped in with elongated jabs, pausing to interchange right and left uppercuts. He had stole the momentum back and a telling moment in Round 7 demonstrated the fight’s unfolding narrative as Vargas pumped out two consecutive jabs, followed by a straight right hand (one-one-two) that skid off the left side of Kameda’s wincing face.
More prodding left hands from Vargas caught Kameda off guard, who would eat the shots while cocking back right hands.
In Round 8, there continued the undulating pattern between both men’s contrasting gameplans. Kameda, commending the center of the ring, walked the champion down, but in too much of an uncreative, straightforward manner that Vargas routinely deterred with long hooks. The Japanese brawler didn’t let off, dipping and gluing himself at times to Vargas’ chest, delivering very short punches to the midsection.
Slinging uppercuts from Vargas were more eye-catching and surely gained more attention from the ringside judges. Kameda found no success on the inside in the ninth and tenth stanzas. Even when he made it inside he opted to clamp up Vargas.
Urgency was at its peak by the penultimate round. With the end in sight, Kameda came barreling in. And Vargas’ offense disappeared, avoiding any exchanges. Kameda clinched up with his opponent and wasn’t shy about punching out of the break.
Early in Round 12, Kameda drove Vargas to the ropes, and as referee Jerry Cantu was between the two, he stuffed two punches into Vargas. The champion played up the punches, but on principle, Cantu deducted a point from Kameda.
The few minutes remaining were made up of Kameda chasing down a roaming Vargas, chippy shots reining down from all over, desperation punches—the creative pressure that stole the first segment of the fight, gone; as was all hope.
Kameda conceded the night to Vargas. “I recognize Vargas,” he said, refuting the jeering audience members. “I respect him as a champion—he won.”
The hefty output from Vargas amounted to nearly 800 punches, landing 173 of 793 total shots (22 percent) while Kameda landed 133 of 394 total punches (34 percent). The Mexican slugger threw over 400 jabs. Kameda, less than 100.
Now the five-time defending champion, Vargas seems to have turned his attention to unified titlist Danny Roman, who was in attendance.
“Danny, you are here,” Vargas said. “We need to unify titles. Why not? I want three titles. We’re ready. The people want the fight. When Mexicans fight another Mexican, it’s a war.”
Ronny Rios shocks Diego de la Hoya by sixth-round knockout
After continually falling short at the world level, Ronny Rios (31-3, 15 KO) pulled off the biggest win of his career, upending rising star Diego de la Hoya (21-1, 10 KO). It was blood and guts, two-way action through five rounds but early in the sixth period, a two-punch combination from Rios sent de la Hoya to a knee, and despite rising to his feet, the hotshot prospect let the referee know he had had enough.
It was nothing short of a feeling-out round in the opening three minutes. By the second round, Rios loosened up, briefly buckling DLH’s knees with a winging right hand. De la Hoya stuffed a couple of his own right hands into the chin of Rios and the action picked up in both directions.
Both men traded in the center of the ring—another classic SoCal melee seemed imminent. Each relying on their own brand of box-fighting: Rios firing short, chopping blows; de la Hoya’s right and left hands flaring here and there from a longer range.
Rios, 29, was eager to stay on top of his man to open the third stand. He immediately let his weight carry him onto a overhand right. Some left digs to the body complimented the assault. So the 24-year-old de la Hoya, now battling a bloody nose in addition to his rabid veteran opponent, began putting his hands together: various right and left hands always preceding a sharp right uppercut.
The younger combatant continued to have success, stepping into a long jab, and doubling up on lead right crosses. His combinations flowed effortlessly, but Rios went to work—not as pretty
But punches still careening in from every angle: right hooks followed by a sweeping left.
The violence seemed to simmer down in the fifth period. Early on here, de la Hoya refused to engage except on his own terms. Rios shot in and DLH easily sprang backwards, away from danger. Then he would blind his man upstairs with an elongated jab; once Rios lowered his hand and raised his gloves to catch it, a right uppercut from de la Hoya found its target through the older man’s gloves.
Rios wouldn’t be denied for long. Some left hooks bounced off of de la Hoya’s head. And the prospect was forced to bite down on his mouthpiece as he returned fire.
Both men walked out for the fateful sixth round composed. After a quick exchange, Rios coiled up his body to throw a left body hook, and then a slashing right uppercut that crashed into de la Hoya’s head. The upstart went down and after speaking with referee Rudy Barragan, his undefeated ledger was gone.
Rios has now won back-to-back bouts. Since 2014, his only two losses were a title fight and title eliminator. Five of his previous six wins are by knockout.
According to DAZN’s punch stats, Rios connected on 131 of 316 total punches (42 percent) and de la Hoya landed 112 of 336 total punches (33 percent). Rios also delivered 52 parent of his power punches, compared to DLH’s 45 percent.
Fight Preview: Cancio vs. Machado II, Acosta vs. Soto
By Robert Aaron Contreras
Often on boxing, a giant upset lends itself to an immediate rematch. And Friday’s return match between Andrew Cancio and Alberto Machado is no different, going down on DAZN from the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in California.
The broadcast will featured a championship doubleheader as Angel Acosta looks to extend his knockout streak. The preliminary action gets started at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Cancio and Machado should make their way to the ring at about 11 p.m. ET.
Andrew Cancio (20-4-2, 15 KO) vs. Alberto Machado (21-1, 17 KO)
In February, Machado rolled into California from Puerto Rico with gold around his waist and nearly -2000 betting favorite odds behind him. But three knockdowns in the fateful, fourth round from Cancio would make the native the new WBA super featherweight champion.
Cancio, never tabbed for a future champ, seemed destined to continually fall short against the blue-chip talent of the division. He lost to both JoJo Diaz and Ronny Rios on their ways to fighting or winning world titles. Alas, the California native officially signed with Golden Boy Promotions after upsetting the previously undefeated Aidar Sharibayev, who was billed as one of Kazakstan’s premier prospects.
Then Cancio outboxed Dardan Zenunaj. Or better yet fought off Zenunaj, who never stopped moving forward, culminating in a blistering tenth period. Still Cancio’s cleaner punching took nearly every round off his man, winning across the board.
After opening as an underdog (again) against Machado, Cancio is now sitting at -200. Machado now knows what dog odds feels like, currently as low as two-to-one. Machado has been undervalued before, namely by the World Boxing Association (WBA)—a sanctioning body already known for malfeasance and somehow continues to outdo themselves.
After ringing up an undefeated record, including nine consecutive first- or second-round knockouts, Machado faced Jezzrel Corrales for the WBA’s 130-pound “super” belt. Both men hit the deck before Machado sparked Corrales in Round 8 and this is where the snafu unfolds.
Corrales had earned the distinction (“super” champ, instead of regular) by beating longtime belt holder Takashi Uchiyama. But he missed weight opposite Machado, leaving the gold only available to Machado. But the powers that be went ahead and made Gervonta Davis their “super” champion before Machado could even get back into the ring for his first title defense.
Machado carried on and defended his ambiguous title twice. Last July, he decisioned Don King’s warrior Rafael Mensah. And followed that up with a first-round destruction of former Golden Gloves champion Yuandale Evans.
Before battling Cancio, anticipation was building for a unification between Machado and Davis. Then a few flinging left hands and right hands to the body from Cancio flipped the script. Now Cancio has a chance to secure those kind superfights for himself.
Angel Acosta (20-1, 20 KO) vs. Elwin Soto (14-1, 10 KO)
Still on the right side of 30, Acosta has his fourth title defense lined up this weekend as he takes on Soto, of Mexico.
Puerto Rico’s Acosta orchestrated another knockout in his previous fight, where made easy work of divisional immortal Ganigan Lopez. It was the defending champion’s first start on DAZN.
All Acosta had to do to find himself fighting on mainstream airwaves was record every one of his wins by knockout—every single one. In March, at Ganigan’s expense, he continued the endeavor, stopped the hardened contender in eight rounds after having before that been relegated to defending his crown on Facebook.
Acosta’s terrorizing left hook resembles a converted orthodox. In lieu of a real jab, he repeatedly rams the shot up and down the side of his victims, complimenting it here and there with curling right uppercuts and overhands. As he demonstrated in his tenth-round finish of Juan Alejo, Acosta is also adept at cutting off the ring.
He’s been defeated just once, losing to Kosei Tanaka but rattled the Japanese virtuoso in the latter stages. Acosta has since rebounded to lift the WBO belt amid four straight victories.
Soto, 22, has never faced a top-level opponent—just two men on his record had more than just 5 professional wins. In his second year as a pro, he suffered his lone loss, a four-round decision, to a novice by name of Danny Andujo. The Mexican-born challenger has yet to lose again, rattling off 12 consecutive wins—mostly by knockout, to his credit.
Naturally, Soto is heading into the weekend as a hefty underdog (+600). He is 2-0 in 2019 (including one victory over a winless palooka) and this unexpected opportunity will be his first time training for 12 championship rounds.
Canelo vs. Jacobs, Ortiz vs. Herrera Fight Previews
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions and Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Promotions will match their best welterweights against each other to unify the WBC, WBA, and IBF Middleweight Titles.
This bout will take place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The co-main event of the night will be between Vergil Ortiz Jr. and Mauricio Herrera in the welterweight division. Other undercard fights will feature boxers such as Pablo Cesar Cano, Michael Perez, Joseph Diaz Jr., Sadam Ali, Lamont Roach, and Jonathan Oquendo.
Photo Credit: Tom Hogan-Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions
The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the evening.
Vergil Ortiz Jr. (12-0) vs. Mauricio Herrera (24-8); Welterweight Division
Vergil Ortiz is a young up and coming prospect that has twelve wins on his record, as well as twelve stoppage victories. He’s only twenty one years old, and will be facing someone that is seventeen years his elder who only has seven stoppage victories.
Ortiz will have about a two and half inch height advantage over Herrera, but will be giving up about an inch and a half in reach. Ortiz has been very active and fought once in 2019, three times in 2018, and five times in 2017. Herrera has not been as active. He fought once in 2018 and twice in 2017.
Ortiz also has a significant edge in amateur experience. He’s a former National Silver and Golden Gloves Champion, while Herrera has no notable amateur achievements.
Ortiz hasn’t faced any top level competition yet, but has defeated the likes of Jesus A. Valdez Barrayan, Roberto Ortiz, Juan Carlos Salgado, and Jesus Alvarez Rodriguez.
Herrera has lost three of his past five fights. He has defeated the likes of Jesus Soto karass, Hector Velazquez, Henry Lundy, Johan Perez, Ji Hoon Kim, and Mike Dallas Jr. His eight losses, many of them recently, were to Sadam Ali, Pablo Cesar Cano, Frankie Gomez, Jose Benavidez Jr., Danny Garcia, Karim Mayfield, Mike Alvarado, and Mike Anchondo.
Herrera is a good test for Ortiz in that he has eight losses but was never stopped, while Ortiz has yet to go to the judge’s scorecards. If Ortiz is able to stop Herrera you’ll know his power is for real, but Herrera doesn’t appear to be a real threat to give Ortiz his first loss.
Canelo Alvarez (51-1-2) vs. Daniel Jacobs (35-2); WBC/WBA/IBF Middleweight Titles
Canelo Alvarez is only twenty eight years old, but already has fifty four fights to his resume and has been a champion in the light middleweight, middleweight, and super middleweight divisions.
His opponent, Daniel Jacobs, is thirty two years old and considered by many to be the best opponent that Canelo could face in the middleweight division.
Jacobs will have about a three and a half inch height advantage and about a two and a half inch reach advantage over Canelo. Canelo has the edge in youth, but both boxers are still in their athletic prime.
Canelo and Jacobs both fought twice in 2017 and 2018, which is pretty standard for most champions and top contenders in boxing. Both boxers have pretty decent power, with Canelo stopping thirty five of his opponents and Jacobs stopping twenty nine. However, Canelo only has two stoppage victories in his past five fights and Jacobs only has one stoppage victory in his past five fights.
Canelo turned professional at the age of fifteen so he doesn’t have the amateur accomplishments of Jacobs, but he was a former Junior Mexican National Championship Gold Medalist. Jacobs had a successful career in the amateur circuit in the United States. He’s a former Junior Olympics National Champion and a former Golden Gloves National Champion.
Canelo’s only loss in his career was to Floyd Mayweather Jr. He has beaten the likes of Rocky Fielding, Gennady Golovkin, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Liam Smith, Amir Khan, Miguel Cotto, James Kirkland, Erislandy lara, Alfredo Angulo, Austin Trout, Shane Mosley, Josesito Lopez, and Alfonso Gomez.
Jacobs losses were to Gennady Golvokin in a close decision and a stunning upset knockout loss to Dmitry Pirog. He has defeated the likes of Sergiy Derevyanchenko, Maciej Sulecki, Luis Arias, Sergio Mora, Peter Quillin, Caleb Truax, Jarrod Fletcher.
This should be a close and intriguing fight. Canelo, rightly, is the betting favorite and he has the more impressive list of victories. However, Jacobs does have a rather significant height and reach advantage on Canelo and he has spent most of his career fighting in the middleweight division. If Jacobs can stay on the outside and use his reach and footwork to his advantage he can pull out the victory.
But the judges have been kind to Canelo in the scorecards before, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if the same thing happens on Saturday.
Judging Concerns Hang Over Canelo-Jacobs Fight Week
By: Sean Crose
There is no doubt that Saul “Canelo” Alvarez is the biggest star in boxing. Even Anthony Joshua, enormously popular as he is in the Europe, has yet to attain the North American appeal that the red haired Mexican star has. Canelo’s popularity among Las Vegas judges, however, has caused many to raise eyebrows. After judge CJ Ross decided to go against her peers and score 2013’s Canelo-Floyd Mayweather battle for the then up and coming Canelo, the now pound for pound talent has stood accused of receiving favorable treatment.
Photo Credit: Tom Hogan-Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions
For CJ Ross wasn’t the only Vegas judge to rule questionably in Canelo’s favor. Cuban slickster Erislandy Lara was denied a victory over Canelo in Vegas after a razor thin twelve round bout. And then came Gennady Golovkin. The highly touted Canelo-GGG fight of 2017 ended in an outrageously controversial draw. Needless to say, most observes felt Canelo should have lost the fight on the scorecards. A 2018 rematch saw Canelo win a decision in a bout that, once again, many felt Golovkin had done enough to win.
Hence the fear that Daniel Jacobs, the 35-2 IBF middleweight champ, will have to knock the 51-1-2 Canelo out if he hopes to win their fight this Saturday night in Las Vegas at the T-Mobile Arena. Should the highly anticipated Canelo-Jacobs bout go the full scheduled 12 rounds this weekend, some fret Canelo will add Jacob’s title to his own WBA and WBC titles – whether he deserves to or not. This can be problematic, as Canelo is one of the highest paid athletes on earth. Should the public embrace the opinion that Canelo always wins, both Canelo’s and contemporary boxing’s reputations could take a real hit.
However, the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s Executive Director, Bob Bennett, has argued furiously that no corruption is to be found in his jurisdiction. Bringing up his own past, Bennett is quoted by Yahoo’s Kevin Iole as saying: “I indicted a boxing case for a fixed fight, and I traveled all over the country to interview fighters who took a dive to get money under the table and it was proven in a court of law.” Bennett went on to add that “fighters want to come here and fight because they know we will go above and beyond to do that. Any suggestion otherwise is bull s—t.”
Although the Commission’s honesty may be unimpeachable, it’s competence might remain a concern. For intensely controversial judge Adelaide Byrd was named as a potential official for the Canelo-Jacobs bout by the Commission in the lead up to this weekend’s fight.
Canelo vs. Jacobs: A Fight to Unify
By: Oliver McManus
Canelo Alvarez will look to add the IBF world title to his, already, unified collection from the WBA and WBC when he takes on Daniel Jacobs in Las Vegas, this Saturday. Jacobs brings that third strap to the table having won the vacant title in October, courtesy of a split-decision victory over Sergiy Derevyanchenko. Likewise with Crawford-Khan, this isn’t a preview or a breakdown but just some thoughts.
The 32 year old from Brownsville, New York, has been blowing hot and cold over the last two years with that Derevyanchenko fight being closer than necessary but, before that, registering a comfortable win over Maciej Sulecki. Alvarez, meanwhile, is looking to shake off any remaining critics with another emphatic victory – he’ll hope to replicate his three round breakdown of, an overmatched, Rocky Fielding.
Photo Credit: Tom Hogan-Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions
The fight itself is an interesting one with Alvarez understandably the betting favourite but Jacobs is far from mismatched. Fielding was dealt with in merciless fashion and looked to be out of his depth from the first punch – but that wasn’t unexpected and certainly not a slur on the Merseyside man. Jacobs, conversely, comes into this fight with a proven track record at world level. More frighteningly, he backs that up with the consistency of finding finishes on the big stage. Against Caleb Truax he looked, for all the world, to be cruising towards victory but still opted to push forward and secure a knockout with less than a minute to go; Peter Quillin was dealt with in less than a round and; Sergio Mora found himself hitting the canvas on seven occasions in a little over 25 minutes.
Canelo, aside, the Miracle Man was responsible for the providing the sternest challenge to Gennady Golovkin. In March 2017 he piled the pressure on the Kazakh, former, kingpin and but for a fourth round knockdown would have been on course to rip the unified belts away from their long-time holder. Now I enjoy watching Jacobs box for he’s rarely boring but I often forget he’s been a world champion, on and off, since 2014.
Now that is an issue because it doesn’t pay to be a forgotten world champion and, arguably, Jacobs is as best known for his loss against Golovkin as he is any of his world title wins – despite their abrupt finishes. I like the fact he jumped at the chance to fight Golovkin and is doing so against Canelo but it all feels at the wrong time. Momentum is a big thing in boxing and we saw that play a part, certainly I feel, in his contest with Triple G. Coming off the back of five top-drawer performances there was an aura around him but he approaches this Canelo contest with one average performance in his bag, I’d have liked to see him have a couple defences, loosen up and then go for the jugular.
All that being said I don’t imagine it would have made much difference, such is the irreproachable form of Alvarez in recent fights. The Mexican learned from that first contest with GGG and actively changed his game-plan for the second bout to give him a righteous win. Throughout his career we have seen the effortless power that he possesses with a particular menace for shots to the body. In doing so he doesn’t just beat his opponents through outright brutality but systematically breaks their resistance, mentally and physically, punch by punch.
Make what you will of the whole Clenbuterol case but that seems to be fading into the background, for now at least. I find it more remarkable, although probably not surprising, just how far in the pocket of Canelo the WBC are. I can’t remember a time where the president of a governing body has seemingly been toing the line of a fighter and not vice versa. Of course there are allegiances between fighters, promoters and governing bodies but it all seems rather weird in the context of Canelo and Mauricio Sulaiman. Like that “uncle” in the family who no-one is related to.
The 28 year old continues to push for his position at the top of the pound-for-pound list and it is hard to argue with him sitting pretty as number one. Of course a name like Lomachenko is a worthy challenger but when you consider the fact Alvarez turned professional at the age of 15 – without all that stellar amateur pedigree – and has remained, pretty much, at the top of the sport since 2011 then that’s where Canelo starts to edge ahead. For me, anyway.
An, expected, win against Daniel Jacobs would see Alvarez unify belts for the third time in his career. With Jaime Munguia seemingly set on moving up to middleweight, let’s get that Mexican feast on for September and do it in Mexico – do it at the Estadio Jalisco – and create one of the most insane fight experiences in recent memory. I’m allowed to look past Jacobs, though, I’m not fighting him but, for now, the task ahead is on May 4th.
Will the Miracle Man be left needing one or can he turn Saul’s celebrations sour? Tune in exclusively on DAZN to find out and catch the full fight card featuring John Ryder vs Bilal Akkawy as chief support.
Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN Results: Macias Loses to Karass in War
By: Ken Hissner
Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions put on a card at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California televised live on ESPN2. Neeco “Rooster” Macias lost for the first time to 37 year-old veteran Jesus Karass in his career ending fight setting a record over three thousand punches thrown!
In the Main Event previously unbeaten Super Welterweight southpaw Neeco “Rooster” Macias, 17-1 (10), of Lancaster, CA, suffered his first loss to veteran Mexican Jesus “Renuente” Soto Karass, 29-13-4 (18), out of N. Hollywood, CA, in the winners career ending fight over 10 rounds of non-stop action.
Photo Credit: Golden Boy Promotions Twitter Page
In the first round Macias ran across the ring landing like a buzzsaw pinning Karass in his own corner. Karass gets in one to three of punches from Macias. The 37 year-old Karass in the final fight of his career can’t get off the ropes. Karass was returning as many punches as Macias. Both fighters were landing uppercuts galore.
In the second round Macias picked up where he left off pinning Karass against the ropes. The face and head of Karass was already red. An accidental head butt caused a cut over the right eye of Macias. Referee Thomas Taylor halted the action to take a look at the cut. A right hook from the southpaw Macias rocked the veteran Karass. Karass slides across the ropes trying to get away from Macias but couldn’t get away from the attack from Macias.
In the third round once again Macias has Karass against the ropes. Both are mostly landing wicked body shots. This one could have been held in a phone booth. Karass landed a good right hand to the chin of Macias who has no defense. The slugged it out right up to the bell. In the fourth round the “human buzzsaw” Macias had Karass against the ropes in the latter’s corner. Karass backs Macias up several steps until Macias backs Karass back into the corner. The trunks of Karass are covered with blood from the cuts from Macias. Both are throwing leather at a non-stop pace.
In the fifth round it body work from both continued with Karass sliding along the ropes into a neutral corner as hundreds of punches being thrown by both fighters. In the sixth round Macias finally went to the head with a left hook. Macias got warned for hitting Karass behind the back from referee Taylor. Karass was out landing the younger Macias. Karass walked back to his corner slowly looking exhausted.
In the seventh round head’s clashing and punches flying. Karass is out punching the 10 year younger Macias off the ropes. Well over a thousand punches landed with Macias closing in on the two-thousand mark. In the eighth round Karass tried to push Macias back with little success. The punches from Karass started getting wider being out landed two to one. Right up to the bell they were throwing punches.
In the ninth round Macias continues to start the round rushing over backing Karass against the ropes. It’s Karass landing more than Macias in this round. Fortunately for Karass the ropes are covered with leather or his back would be raw. Karass is out landing the younger Macias two to one.
In the tenth and final round of the career of Karass it was the only round Macias couldn’t rush across the ring since both fighters had to touch gloves. Within seconds Karass was backed against the ropes and still out landing the younger Macias. Karass continues to land the harder punches. It was non-stop punching from both fighters with blood coming from the cut over the right eye of Macias. It was a record setting amount of punches thrown and landed by both fighters. What a fight! Over three thousand punches thrown!
Scores were 95-95, 97-93 and 96-94 for Karass. This writer had it 95-95.
“I want to thank God being able to be in the ring with Karass,” said Macias.
Unbeaten NABF Featherweight Champion Manny “Chato” Robles lll, 17-0 (8), out of L.A., CA, won a split decision over Jose “El Torito” Gonzalez, 23-7 (13), out of Guadalajara, MEX, over 10 rounds.
In the first round Gonzalez came out firing punches off the jab while Robles was slipping and blocking punches with hand’s held high. In the final minute Robles goes on the offense backing up Gonzalez. A right from Robles on the chin buckled the knees of Gonzalez. In the second round Gonzalez countered with left hooks to the head of Robles who had his hands high. Robles got in a left hook to the chin of Gonzalez. Gonzalez switched to southpaw for a matter of seconds before returning to orthodox. It was a close round.
In the third round Gonzalez landed a solid combination to the chin of Robles. Both boxers went to the body of one another. Robles is wearing down Gonzalez. In the fourth round Gonzalez held his own but fell behind losing every round. Switching back and forth has not confused Robles who keeps looking for the knockout.
In the fifth round Robles missed a right and got countered by a left hook from Gonzalez to the chin. Robles landed a 3-punch combination to the body of Gonzalez. Robles missed a pair of right’s. Gonzalez backed Robles against the ropes landing a solid left hook to the nose drawing blood from Robles.
In the sixth round Gonzalez with hands to his side coming forward landed a left hook to the head of Robles. Referee Ray Corona allowed Gonzalez to hold a straight arm in the face until Gonzalez landed a right on the chin of Robles. Gonzalez countered with a right to the chin of Robles. Robles came back hurting Gonzales with a flurry of punches with a right doubling Gonzalez over. Robles landed punches right up until the bell.
In the seventh round Robles came out looking angry while it was Gonzalez landing left hooks while Robles went back to hands held high blocking punches best he could missing countering chopping right’s. Robles countered a Gonzalez left hook with a right cross to the chin. Gonzalez landed a solid right to the chin of Robles. It was the best round so far.
In the eighth round Gonzalez landed a pair of left hooks but got countered by a Robles right to the chin. Gonzales was pushed to the ropes then landed a right cross to the chin of Robles. Gonzalez had Robles turning southpaw on the defense. In the ninth round Gonzalez continues landed the left hook that doesn’t seem to have much power on it but is landing counting as points. Gonzalez had a right blocked but landed a double left hook to the body of Robles.
In the tenth and final round Gonzalez went on the attack until he ran into a right from Robles. Gonzalez knew he needed a knockout to pull the fight out landed a solid left to the chin of Robles. Robles continued to miss a chopping right to the head of Gonzalez. Robles finally got warned for holding down the head of Gonzalez. Robles won but didn’t impress.
Scores were 96-94 Robles, 96-94 Gonzalez and 97-93 for Robles as did this writer score it.
In addition, unbeaten Super Middleweight D’mitrus “Big Meech” Ballard, 19-0 (12), out of Temple Hills, MD, easily defeated Alan “Amenaza” Campa, 17-4 (11), out of Sonora, MEX, by scores of 80-72, 79-73 and 78-74 over 8 rounds.
Macias, Sanchez and Robles lll on ESPN2 Thursday for Golden Boy Promotions
By: Ken Hissner
Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions will be featuring three 10 round bouts all qualified to be main events at the Fantasy Springs Casino, in Indio, CA, over ESPN2 Thursday night. All three California boxers are looking to enter the world rankings with victories.
The main event features unbeaten Super Welterweight southpaw Neeco “Rooster” Macias, 17-0 (10), of Lancaster, CA, in his toughest test yet against upset minded veteran Mexican Jesus “Renuente” Soto Karass, 28-13-4 (18), out of N. Hollywood, CA, in a 10 round bout.
Photo Credit: Golden Boy Promotions Twitter Account
In the co-feature Super Bantamweight Emilio Sanchez, 16-1 (8), out of N. Hollywood, CA, takes on veteran Enrique “Duende” Bernache, 24-11 (12), out of Guadalajara, MEX, in a 10 round bout.
Unbeaten Featherweight Manny “Chato” Robles lll, 16-0 (8), out of L.A., CA, takes on tough Jose “El Torito” Gonzalez, 23-6 (13), out of Guadalajara, MEX, in a 10 round bout.
In addition, unbeaten Super Middleweight D’mitrus “Big Meech” Ballard, 18-0 (12), out of Temple Hills, MD, taking on Alan “Amenaza” Campa, 17-3 (11), out of Sonora, MEX, winner of 4 of his last 5 fights, in an 8 round bout.
There will be additional bouts featuring top prospects unbeaten Aaron McKenna of Ireland out of L.A., Jordan White, 5-1, out of D.C. and unbeaten Elnur Abduraimov, out of Uzbekistan.
John Skipper Plans to Lead DAZN to the Top of Boxing
By: William Holmes
When DAZN first announced their plans to enter the US market, their plan was met with skepticism. Their service was built around combat sports, which often featured a loyal fan base but is considered by many to be a niche sport.
DAZN was able to secure a deal with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing to broadcast 32 events a year, with sixteen fight cards to take place in the United States and sixteen fight cards to take place in the United Kingdom.
DAZN also locked up deals with the World Boxing Super Series, Bellator, and Combate Americas to strengthen the quality and quantity of content on their service, but they were still missing a key piece to bolster their appeal to the American viewing public. In order to get that piece they had to rely on their biggest asset.
Enter John Skipper.
Photo Credit: John Skipper Twitter Account (@JohnSkipperDAZN)
John Skipper served as ESPN’s President for over six years and was instrumental in ESPN’s dominance in the sports market and established several important long term relationships. He resigned from ESPN in late 2017 in response to threats of blackmail and in order to address alleged substance abuse issues related to cocaine. But he re-emerged in May of this year he later re-emerged to serve as the Executive Chairman for the sports media company Perform Group, the group in control of the streaming subscription service DAZN.
When John Skipper worked for ESPN, one of the smaller deals that he was able to strike was with Golden Boy Promotions to air boxing on their network.
It was a smaller deal, but it allowed Skipper to establish a relationship with Golden Boy Promotions and gave him knowledge of the details of Golden Boy’s prior deal with ESPN.
This gave Skipper significant insight into the value of Canelo Alvarez. He had to leverage DAZN’s success in international markets, their financial backing, and his own experience in order to finalize a deal with Golden Boy Promotions while being able to insist on an exclusive deal.
A short meeting quickly tuned into an intense three day negotiating period that ended with a $365 Million dollar deal to stream Canelo’s next 11 fights as well as the rights to Golden Boy’s other fighters.
Canelo had interest from other outlets, including Showtime, Fox, and Turner sports; but it was Skipper who was able to close the deal.
DAZN’s deal with Golden Boy Promotions has tilted the balance of power in boxing in their favor.
Eddie Hearn immediately saw the great value that DAZN’s deal with Canelo brought.
He stated, “DAZN is embracing the era of streaming….delivering a great deal for fight fans, obviously with the Canelo deal. $84.99 for a fight is absolute madness. The Canelo move is a big move, where fight fans can now turn around at pay per view price points like $60, $80, and $100 and say no more.”
Eddie Hearn also recognizes what signing Canelo means for some of his fighters, like Demetrius Andrade and Billy Joe Saunders, and how DAZN is now the place for the middleweight division.
“They have to be with DAZN, some people thought that was arrogant, it’s just common sense. Our fighters fight on DAZN, and therefore you got to be on DAZN to fight, and really if you’re a middleweight you should be looking at our platform.”
Two of the biggest draws in boxing are arguably Canelo Alvarez and Anthony Joshua. They’re both signed to DAZN.
DAZN isn’t done making big splashes in the combat sports world.