Tag Archives: contender

Brandon Adams Walks Away As The Top “Contender”


By: Sean Crose

“The Contender” Season Five on Epix concluded on Friday night at the Forum in Inglewood, California. Things started off with a scheduled 8 round middleweight affair between 17-2 Michael Moore and 17-2 Eric Walker. The first round was close, but Walker’s wide stance looked as if it might become problematic. The second round saw Moore seeming unwilling to pull the trigger, his hesitation giving Walker the round. Walker went on to showcase some strong body work in the third.

“I’m really concerned,” said ringside commentator Andre Ward in the fourth, “that Michael Moore has accepted defeat right now.” Ward was right to voice his concern, for Moore’s performance had become listless. Moore landed hard and effectively in the 6th. Walker, however, came on strong at the end of the round. The bell sounded with the two men firing bombs. The truth, though, was that Moore never employed an effective enough attack to earn the victory. Therefore, the UD win ultimately went to Walker after eight.

It was time for the main event. Shane Mosley Jr., the 13-2 son of a legend, faced off in a scheduled ten round middleweight bout against the 13-2 Brandon Adams. The first round was rather cautious and uneventful. Adams landed a sharp left in the second that changed the tempo. Adams continued to control the tempo in the third. By the fourth it was clear that Mosley simply wasn’t being aggressive enough. Adams, on the other hand, was starting to aggressively apply pressure.

The fifth and sixth made it obvious that Adams was the more dominant of the two fighters. In fact, by the halfway point of the sixth, Mosley began to get in trouble as a result of Adam’s blows. At the bell to end the round, Mosley seemed to be in serious danger of being stopped, or – worse yet – getting hurt. In the seventh, Adams was landing hard, accurately, and effectively on Mosley’s head. “I don’t think Mosley wants any more,” said Ward after the round had ended. The look on Mosley’s face said Ward was correct.

To his credit, Mosley tried to get back into the fight in the eighth, but it looked to be too little, too late.

Barring a knockout, it appeared as if Mosley was on the road to losing. Mosley tried to assert himself again in the ninth, but he was simply outgunned. Adams continued to land solidly on his man in the 10th and final round. Needless to say, Adams walked out with a well deserved win, “The Contender” title, a ranking in the top ten, and a cool two hundred fifty thousand dollars.

More Headlines

$250K and a Shortcut to World Title Belt Awaits Winner of Epix Series The Contender


By: Vishare Mooney

Southern California middleweight fighters Shane “Sugarman” Mosley, Jr. (13 – 2) and Brandon “The Cannon” Adams (20 – 2) will face off tonight in a ten round bout at the L.A. Forum in what looks to be an exciting live finale for the Epix series The Contender. The top prize is significant for any fighter: $250,000 and a top ten WBA ranking. The latter effectively gives the winning Contender a shortcut to a world title belt. Current rankings for Mosley Jr. and Adams are 149 and Inactive respectively (Adams had been on a three year hiatus until the show). The co-main event will feature brawler Michael “The Silverback” Moore (17-2) and Contender fan favorite, Louisiana fighter Eric “The Babyface Assassin” Walker (17-2).

Though each fighter was portrayed in the unscripted twelve episode series, as an underdog in their own way, the two finalists may actually have been the most overlooked in terms of their boxing skills. Mosley, Jr. in particular seemed to have the reputation of riding on his father’s name. He was called out by Devaun Lee and Moore, among other fighters, who wanted a win against a Mosley Jr. under their belt. Mosley, Jr. seemed to hold his own and never took the drama bait that often occurred in the house and in reality tv. His demeanor was all business.

At an interview with Boxinginsider, Mosley Jr. spoke of his time at the Contender house. “I try to be true to myself and you know, I want to win so you can’t be involved with the crazy nonsense that’s going on in the house. Of course, you have to adapt a little and be involved in some of the stuff but for the most part you try to find your own space so that you can shine.”

Mosley Jr. soundly bested Devaun Lee in his first tournament fight with two knockdowns in a somewhat sloppy brawl. In his second win against Danny Valdivia, Mosley, Jr. showed impressive jabs and footwork. And in the close semifinal bout with Michael Moore, he impressed the judges with effective aggressive punches which rocked his opponent.

The legendary boxing coach Freddie Roach, who will be in Adams corner tonight, said of Mosley Jr. at yesterday’s press conference, “I’ve seen Shane fight before and I don’t think I’ve ever seen him fight better than he did in the tournament. I think he did raise (his) level.” Mosley, Jr. prior to the show, was training at Roach’s Wild Card gym. “He fought better than I’ve ever seen him before,” said Roach.

And while Mosley, Jr. has been fighting to create his own “Sugarman” legacy and emerge from his father’s shadow, Brandon Adams, has been steadily working, training to emerge from obscurity. As can be the fate of many fighters, Adams had signed with a promoter that produced no fights for him – hence the forced hiatus from boxing until The Contender came calling to give him that opportunity. “This is boxing, anything can happen. I train for the “happen” to happen for me.” Adams and Mosley, Jr. were part of the same gym, Maywood Boxing, years ago and Adams has actually sparred with Shane and his dad.

Adams, in the three years not having a bout, has never stopped training or sparring. “I was sparring, training. I was training as if I always had a fight coming up.” He was more prepared than anyone realized. At The Contender, Adams quickly caught the attention and stole wins from the other contestants. Famed coach Nazim Richardson, who is Shane’s coach for the finals, gave props to Adams, “The names that he faced, were the names that everybody said were going to win.” In particular, Adams had a dramatic win over Eric “Babyface Assassin” Walker, the favorite to win the competition. Adams said of Mosley Jr. and tonight’s fight: “He’s grown, he’s a tremendous fighter, he made it to the finals, I’ve grown, I’ve made it to the finals. It’s bittersweet, but we both wanna win.”

As for fight predictions, Freddie Roach calls it even. “This is not an easy fight in the finals. This is a give and take fight. We’ve got two great fighters going against each other. To me, it’s a 50-50 fight.”

More Headlines

Boxing Insider Notebook: Algieri, Shields, De La Hoya, The Contender, and more…


Compiled By: William Holmes

The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of October 31st to November 7th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.

Algieri Return Nearly Sold Out

There has been an overwhelming response to the return of boxing sensation and former WBO Junior Lightweight World Champion, CHRIS ALGIERI to the Paramount on NOVEMBER 30TH as he headlines “Rockin’ Fights” 33. Ticket demand to see the Huntington native has been tremendous. All of the top-priced tickets and all of the Sky Bar seats have already been sold out.

Only limited tickets remain. We are contacting you, because you are one of Star Boxing’s most loyal fans and ardent supporters and we greatly appreciate your patronage. We do not want you to be shut out from this top-tier event. If you want the opportunity to see this stellar night of boxing action please be sure to purchase your tickets today as there are only a handful of seats left.

Chris Algieri returns to The Paramount for the first time since 2014, when he defeated highly touted prospect Emmanuel Taylor by a unanimous decision. Algieri has dominated at his home venue, having fought eight times at The Paramount and having defeated the likes of world title challenger, Mike Arnaoutis, and then, highly regarded prospect, Jose Peralta. On November 30th, Algieri intends to pay homage to his strong hometown fanbase, earn his ninth consecutive victory at The Paramount, and make it a memorable homecoming. Be there to see the return of Chris Algieri, by purchasing your tickets HERE.

INFO:

Algieri, who was developed at the famed Star Boxing venue, The Paramount, moved to the big stage and had a career defining, real life “Rocky” story unfold on HBO on June 14th, 2014 at the Barclay’s Center, in Brooklyn, against heavily favored and feared Ruslan Provodnikov (then 23-2 16 KO’s) for the WBO World Championship. After peeling himself off the canvas two times in the opening round, Algieri put on the fight of his life. With one eye virtually closed, the gutsy Algieri fought the rest of the fight in brilliant fashion dominating the defending champion Provodnikov to become the new WBO Super Lightweight World Champion*.

The win catapulted the local sensation to international fame. Algieri was awarded a mega-multi-million dollar fight with boxing legend and superstar, Manny Pacquaio. The Pacquiao-Algieri bout took place around the world in Macao, China and was telecast on HBO/Pay Per View. Subsequently, Algieri continued to take the most challenging bouts taking on world class fighters such as Errol Spence Jr and Amir Khan, after the Pacquiao fight.

Algieri decided a couple of months ago that he was ready to make a comeback and re-signed a promotional agreement with his long-time promoter Joe DeGuardia and Star Boxing. The two agreed it was time to return to the roots of Algieri’s career and give back to the loyal Long Island fans. Therefore, on November 30th, after a two-year layoff, Chris Algieri returns home to the place where it all began, The Paramount. Algieri will headline “Rockin’ Fights” 33 as he begins another march towards a World Championship fight.

The Contender Champion to Earn Top 10 WBA Ranking

Premium cable network EPIX®, an MGM company and their popular boxing series The Contender join forces with World Boxing Association (WBA) ahead of the final live bout on Friday, November 9th from the Forum in Los Angeles. For the first time since its inception, WBA will designate the winner of the current season to be automatically ranked in the top ten, creating a shortened path for the winner to participate in a title shot to win the WBA belt. The partnership aims to create more opportunities for young boxers around the world.

Over the years, eleven Contender fighters competed in world championships after appearing on the show, with five title winners including: Sergio Mora (WBC Super Welterweight Champion), Cornelius K-9 Bundrage (2-Time IBF Super Welterweight Champion), Ishe Smith (IBF Super Welterweight Champion), Sakio Bika (WBC and IBO Super Middleweight Champion), and Sam Soliman (IBF Middleweight Champion and WBF World Middleweight Champion).

“EPIX has been honored to showcase the passion, sacrifice and hard work of the boxing talent featured in this season of The Contender,” said Michael Wright, President, EPIX. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to be working with the WBA to give more deserved recognition to these incredible athletes.”

“Through the enduring success of the show, The Contender has produced several boxing champions and we thank the WBA for acknowledging the quality of these fighters and providing further opportunities that will enhance their professional boxing careers,” said Eric Van Wagenen, Executive Producer of The Contender.

“We are thrilled to work with EPIX and The Contender, a great tournament with strong talent, to create a path to success for the show’s champion by automatically ensuring their top 10 ranking, and ensuring strong competition for boxers globally,” said Gilberto Mendoza, President of World Boxing Association.

The WBA is an international boxing organization that sanctions official matches and awards the WBA world championship title at the professional level. Founded in the United States in 1921 by thirteen state representatives as the National Boxing Association, in 1962, it changed its name in recognition of boxing’s growing popularity worldwide and began to gain other nations as members. Gilberto Mendoza from Venezuela was the President of the WBA since 1982 until his death in 2015, after which Gilberto Jesús Mendoza took over as president.

Diego De la Hoya to Make Homecoming Defense of Super Bantamweight Titles Against Edixon Perez

NABF and NABO Super Bantamweight Champion Diego De La Hoya (21-0, 10 KOs) will look to shine before a hometown crowd as he defends his titles against Edixon Perez (16-2, 11 KOs) in a 10-round main event at Plaza De Toros Calafia in Mexicali, Mexico. De La Hoya will fight for the first time as a professional in his native country of Mexico in a bout that will be televised live on TV Azteca at a delayed time of 8:30 p.m. PT.

De La Hoya is an undefeated contender who has built a stellar resume since turning professional in 2013. The 24-year-old scored his most significant victory when he defeated former IBF Bantamweight World Champion Randy “El Matador” Caballero on the HBO-televised undercard of Canelo vs. Golovkin in Sept. 2017. De La Hoya followed this win by defeating Jose “Sugar” Salgado via seventh-round technical knockout in June of this year. De La Hoya is on the verge of a world title shot but will risk that opportunity against Perez.

“I’m delighted to return to my hometown and defend my titles,” said Diego De La Hoya. “I’ve developed my career in the United States, but I’m happy to fight for the first time as a professional in Mexico. There’s no better way than to come back as a headliner and on a great platform such as TV Azteca.”

Perez is a 26-year-old native of El Tigrito, Venezuela who is coming off six straight victories, four of them by stoppage. Perez will look to follow in the footsteps of fighters such as the late Edwin “El Inca” Valero and Jorge “El Niño de Oro” Linares, boxers with Venezuelan blood who scored impressive wins against tough Mexican fighters.

“It is a privilege to fight in Mexico against a renowned boxer like Diego De La Hoya,” said Edixon Perez. “I’m going to my opponent’s backyard, but I am not going out without a fight. Local fans will find out who is Edixon Perez on the day of the fight.”

In the co-main event, Seniesa “SuperBad” Estrada (14-0, 4 KOs) of East Los Angeles, Calif. will fight for the vacant WBC Silver Light Flyweight Title in a 10-round fight against Debora Rengifo (10-5-1, 5 KOs) of Rio Chico, Venezuela.

The undercard of this event will feature five competitive fights with local prospects along with a series of amateur bouts to begin the night.

Jesus Riegos (5-0, 3 KOs) and Cristian Pimentel (6-2, 2 KOs) will meet in a four-round super bantamweight fight in a battle between Mexicali, Mexico natives.

Israel Ramirez (3-0, 3 KOs) of Mexicali, Mexico will face Wilivaldo Garcia (2-3) of Tijuana, Mexico in a four-round 118-pound clash,

Jose Dorantes (15-0, 9 KOs) of Tijuana, Mexico and Alexandro Zarate (6-6, 4 KOs) of Navojoa, Mexico will clash in a featherweight fight scheduled for six rounds.

Miguel Espinoza (3-3, 1 KO) will participate in a four-round lightweight fight against fellow Mexicali, Mexico native Alejandro Leon in what will be the latter’s professional debut.

Rafael Flores (1-0) of Mexicali, Mexico will face Luis Lomeli (0-1) of Mexicali, Mexico in a four-round 135-pound battle.

De La Hoya vs. Perez is a 10-round fight for the NABF and NABO Super Bantamweight Titles presented by Golden Boy Promotions. The event is sponsored by Tecate,”THE OFFICIAL BEER OF BOXING.” The fights will take place Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018 at Plaza de Toros Calafia in Mexicali, Mexico. The action will be televised live on TV Azteca beginning at 8:30 p.m. PT.

Banner Promotions Signs Former Olympian Naim Terbunja

Banner Promotions is proud to announce the signing of former Olympian and current super middleweight Naim Terbunja.

Terbunja of Linkoping, Sweden by way of Pristina, Kosovo, represented Sweden in the 2008 Olympics. He currently holds a professional record of 10-2-1 with one knockout.

The 34 year-old Terbunja began boxing at the age of 14, as he was a young soccer player looking to get stronger. Terbunja took up boxing, and fell in love with the sport.

That sparked an amateur career that saw him go 200-36. Terbunja fought all over the world for the Swedish National team, and then to the 2008 Olympics where he lost to Matt Korobov in the round of 36.

Terbunja moved to Long Island and spent part of his amateur career in the United States and captured the National Golden Gloves title in 2009 by defeating Luis Arias in the finals.

Terbunja turned professional on April 27, 2012 with a unanimous decision over Vladimir Spasojevic in Sweden. Terbunja has fought six times in Sweden and twice in Kosovo.

Terbunja has a 1st round stoppage over previously undefeated Joel De La Paz (7-0) on July 23, 2016.

Terbunja is coming off a disputed draw with regarded Lanell Bellows on May 11th in Las Vegas.

“I am happy to sign with Banner Promotions,” said Terbunja. “If I have a good team around me, I believe that I can fight for a world title. Banner Promotions can help me where I need to go.”

“Naim has a blue chip pedigree. He was an Olympian, and the bout he lost was close. He has had one bad fight at super middleweight. I believe he has the ability to be in position to fight for a world championship. He has an awkward style, and a good chin. He now has a good opportunity with Banner Promotions to realize his potential,” said Terbunja’s manager, Pat Zagarino.

“We happy to have signed Naim. He was an Olympian, and we think he can become a player in the super middleweight division. We look forward to getting him in the ring before the end of the year, and we will get him in prime position in 2019,” said Banner Promotions President Artie Pelullo.

Training Camp Complete: A Confident and On-Weight Claressa Shields Ready for Hannah Rankin on DAZN on November 17th

Women’s superstar and two-division world champion Claressa Shields is in Florida with trainer John David Jackson, finishing up preparations for her showdown with Glasgow, Scotland’s Hannahh Rankin on Saturday, November 17, at the Kansas Star Arena and Casino in Mulvane, Kansas.

Shields (6-0, 2 KOs) will defend her IBF and WBA World Middleweight Championships, and be looking to add the vacant WBC title, against Rankin (5-2, 1 KO) in the 10-round co-featured bout to Salita Promotions stablemate Jarrell Miller’s heavyweight showdown against Romania’s Bogdan Dinu.

Both fights, along with former world champion Brandon Rios taking on Canelo’s brother, Ramon Alvarez, in a super welterweight 10-rounder and former two-time world middleweight title challenger Gabriel Rosado going against once-beaten contender Luis Arias, will be broadcast live on DAZN.

23-year-old Shields, a former two-time Olympic Gold Medallist, has reignited interest in women’s boxing and become a ratings favorite for her nationally televised championship exploits. A proud native of Flint, Michigan, Shields mixes her brash pronouncements of greatness with a genuine and continued effort to inspire female athletes and render aid to members of her home community.

Shields was originally scheduled to face WBC and WBO World Middleweight Champion Christina Hammer on November 17, but the bout was postponed after Hammer withdrew due to medical reasons.

Did the change of opponents from Hammer to Rankin affect your training?

I don’t train for my opponents, I just push to get the best out of me, physically and mentally. If I’m the best ‘me,’ I don’t have to worry about who the opponent is. The change of opponents didn’t bother me at all; the worst thing about this camp for me was just all the date changes – constantly having to get my mind focused on the pace and timing of training depending on the fight date. I can’t wait to get in the ring!

You’ve fought at super middleweight 168 and recently at middleweight 160 pounds. How is your training, diet and any other efforts different to make 160?

Training is always hard and I’m constantly learning. I’ve had a completely different diet this camp – a real change and a positive one for me. I’ve teamed up with Perfecting Athletes for my daily meals, and I feel great. I’ve always tried to eat healthy but these folks are pros and are more educated in that field than myself. I have this magic drink that makes my stomach smile – I love it! It’s watermelon mixed with a green vegetable. I’m not going to tell you what vegetable it is, but I’ve been drinking it everyday, and I feel GREAT.

Your viewership numbers have been very strong. Why do you think people are drawn to you?

I believe that people are drawn to how real and honest I am, both in and out of the ring. I say what I mean and mean what I say. I’m hard but I have a soft side also. And I think people are drawn to how I fight — not only do I talk a good game but I fight my a– off too! I give 1000% every time – I want to change the game and bring a whole new generation of fans to women’s boxing and boxing overall.

What do you know about your opponent Hannah Rankin?

I know that my opponent Rankin is very tough and determined to be a world champion. I like her drive, I like her heart. I know that she has been in the ring as a sparring partner for many champions, one being Christina Hammer. So Rankin has seen some good fighters. But one thing is for sure – she has never seen a fighter like me. And since Hammer couldn’t fight because of her medical condition, in many ways the next best thing is to fight and beat her sparring partner and let Rankin tell Hammer what she’s in for when she returns!

What needs to be done to solve the Flint water crisis?

To solve the flint Water crisis, I think that people should continue to give water and also keep it in the news that there is a city in America where, unbelievably, US citizens don’t have clean water. And hopefully the president or our governor do something to fix all the pipes.

What’s the secret to becoming the best of the best in any sport?

I believe the secret starts with believing in yourself, being dedicated, working hard and just always striving to be better. I feel I’m my biggest critic when I train and box. It’s hard to watch film of my fights because even though I’m doing 97 things right I just can’t stand to see the 3 things I’m doing wrong. I’m a person who strives to pull out my full potential. It takes guts to be great. Nothing will stand in the way of achieving my goals, which includes being the GWOAT and creating equality for all women fighters when it comes to the money, opportunities and coverage the men get.

More Headlines

Final Fight Of “The Contender” To Be Live On EPIX From Los Angeles November 9


On Friday, November 9 at 10pm ET/7pm PT, premium pay television network EPIX® will air the finale of The Contender live from the “Fabulous” Forum in Los Angeles. In the two-hour special episode, the final fight will showcase the end of a long journey for two fighters, one of whom will be crowned the new 160-pound middleweight champion of The Contender and awarded a $250,000 prize during the live finale.

Tickets will be available for purchase to the general public at ticketmaster.com beginning Friday, October 12 at 12pm PT.

The two finalists will be revealed in the series’ last pre-taped episode, airing Friday, November 2 @ 9pm.

The 12-episode boxing competition series premiered Aug. 24, 2018 at 9 pm ET/PT and is hosted by undefeated boxing champion Andre “Son of God” Ward. The Contender is the first-of-its-kind documentary series on EPIX®, with the fights in each episode airing unedited and in their entirety throughout the season.

“Boxing goes hand-in-hand with premium television, and there’s no better way to experience the sport than by watching the drama unfold in real-time,” said Michael Wright, President, EPIX. “The Forum in Los Angeles has been home to some of boxing’s most preeminent fights. This opportunity gives the contenders the platform they deserve, and fight fans an adrenaline-filled, live experience they weren’t expecting.”

“There is nothing like live television when it comes to a boxing match and to have The Contender LIVE from the Forum is the perfect ending for this series.” said Burnett, Chairman of Worldwide Television Group, MGM.

The series highlights 16 fighters, divided into two teams that live and train together under the guidance of legendary boxing coach Freddie Roach and renowned Philadelphia trainer Naazim Richardson. Each week sees the fighters pushing their skills, strength and endurance as they prepare for their weekly elimination fights and the hopes of living out their boxing dreams.

The original Contender series ran for four seasons (2005-2009) and launched multiple fighters into contention for world titles, including title winners Sergio Mora, Cornelius Bundrage, Sakio Bika, and Sam Soliman.

More Headlines

The Contender Preview: A Look at the Competitors


By: Jeandra Lebeauf

The fifth season of television’s boxing tournament/reality series The Contender premieres Friday night on EPIX with an updated look, new trainers and a new host.

Hosted by former super middleweight and light heavyweight champion Andre Ward, the Contender examines the lives of 16 boxing hopefuls competing for the chance to win a six-figure purse and the title of ultimate Contender. Divided into two teams of 8, the fighters will live together in close quarters while being guided by world-renowned trainers Bro. Naazim Richardson (trainer of former champions Bernard Hopkins, Sugar Shane Mosley)and Freddy Roach (trainer of Manny Pacquiao, Miguel Cotto)with Ward stopping in from time to time to impart wisdom.

This season, the participants will compete at the middleweight limit of 160 pounds, the weight class led by WBC/WBA/IBF champion Gennady Golovkin (fighting Canelo Alvarez September 15 in Las Vegas) and WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders (fighting Demetrius Andrade October 20 in Boston). While a Contender win doesn’t guarantee a title shot once the outcome is determined, it could prove to be decent sized bargaining chip to entice other fighters into the ring.

Here’s a look at who will be competing this season via TV Insider:

Ievgen “The Ukranian Lion” Khytrov, Age: 29, Rank: 20, Hometown: Brooklyn, N.Y.-

A Ukrainian immigrant, Olympian, Ievgen Khytrov recently relocated to America to pursue his dream of becoming a world champion and to create a better life for his family. A dedicated, quiet, religious man. He’s also the one to beat.

Eric “Babyface Assassin” Walker, Age: 34, Rank: 68, Hometown: Plaquemine, La. –

Incarcerated at 15 years old and spent 14 years behind bars for robbery and attempted murder, Eric “Babyface Assassin” Walker learned to box while in prison. He is now fighting for a second chance at life, living proof that it’s never too late to live out your dreams.

John “Apollo Kid” Thompson, Age: 29, Rank: 70, Hometown: Newark, N.J. –

After losing his mother to AIDS at six years old, this married performing artist, painter and fighter, John “Apollo Kid” Thompson is here to prove to the world that he can’t be boxed into a single category despite holding impressive titles including the 2015 WBA-NABA Super Welterweight, WBO Inter-Continental Super Welterweight and Boxcino Tournaments.

Malcolm “The Punisher” McAllister, Age: 27, Rank: 172, Hometown: Long Beach, Calif. –

Always at the center of schoolyard fights growing up, Malcolm “The Punisher” McAllister now channels his energy into helping others rebuild outside of foreclosure and his young, growing family. In boxing has built an impressive KO record and the 2014 Golden Gloves title on his journey to take the title of The Contender.

Brandon “The Cannon” Adams, Age: 28, Rank: Inactive, Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif. –

A bold fighter in the ring, Brandon “The Cannon” Adams knows firsthand what it means to push through adversity and step up to care for his family when there’s no one else around to. Coming from a poverty stricken neighborhood, this larger than life father of two marks his return to boxing after a three year hiatus, initiated by a loss to fellow competitor, John Thompson.

Quatavious “Cash” Cash, Age: 26, Rank: 161, Hometown: Las Vegas, Nev. –

This Atlanta native is the current record-holder for fastest KO in Georgia, a four0time Golden Gloves state champ and Bronze medalist. Quatavious Cash is fighting for his late mother and for the chance to prove that a life of fighting street gangs can be channeled for good.

Shane “Sugarman” Mosley, Jr., Age: 27, Rank: 149, Hometown: Santa Monica, Calif.-

The lone single contender, son of legendary Hall of Fame boxer “Sugar” Shane Mosley, Shane “Sugarman” Mosley Jr. is fighting to step out of his father’s shadow and carve out his own legacy.

Daniel “El Chapulin” Valdivia, Age: 25, Rank: 116, Hometown: Tulare, Calif. –

A natural salesman and real estate agent by day, nicknamed “El Chapulin” (“Grasshopper”) for his boundless energy, Mexican immigrant Daniel Valdivia was born to step into the ring. With several titles including the NABF Super Welterweight Champion as an underdog, he’s chasing fame to prove giving up college for boxing was the right move.

Michael “The Silverback” Moore, Age: 31, Rank: 252, Hometown:Cleveland, Oh. –

Reformed from a hard life on the streets, fraught with drugs, death and family suicide, Michael Moore is a natural hustler and leader. Married with two kids, Moore is constantly moving from state to state with his family in tow in pursuit of the boxing dream.

Gerald “G5” Sherrell, Age: 24, Rank: 216, Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pa. –

A fan of the original Contender series growing up, Gerald “G5” Sherrell is an undefeated and explosive fighter with a level of unrivaled and self-proclaimed swagger.

Hailing from the projects, this multiple time Golden Gloves, Silver Gloves and Junior Olympic competitor, this local zoo security guard by day, and young father by night, is looking to bring boxing glory back to his hometown of Pittsburgh.

Morgan “Big Chief” Fitch, Age: 34, Rank: 154, Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pa. –

Injury-plagued throughout his career, the Native American hailing from Southern Louisiana is a married father of three. Knowing that he’s old for the sport, Morgan “Big Chief” Fitch has one last shot at making his boxing dreams come true.

Marcos “Mad Man” Hernandez, Age: 24, Rank: 104, Hometown: Fresno, Calif. –

Having been bullied from a young age after an accident left him with burns on 30 percent of his body, Marcos “Mad Man” Hernandez is fighting for his young autistic son, in hopes that he won’t be bullied the same way he was. With Junior Olympics, 2012 Blue and Gold titles and “Mexican-go-forward” style fighting he may be overlooked and underestimated.

Tyrone “Young Gun” Brunson, Age: 33, Rank: 39, Hometown: Philadelphia, PA –

At a time when he needed to sell drugs to support himself at the age of 13, a stepfather’s ultimatum: be grounded or go to the boxing gym was his saving grace. Now a humble father of two, and sitting with one of the best rankings in the competition, his 24 KO’s send a signal that he will not fight silently but his cocky attitude has beat him more than just once.

Lamar “Omega” Russ, Age: 31, Rank: 115, Hometown: Wilmington, N.C. –

One of four kids raised by a single mom and the first person in his family to graduate college, Lamar “Omega” Russ takes pride in being the underdog, and beneath the loud exterior is a boxer that needs to prove he can put his money where his mouth is.

HBO, ESPN and a first round KO on Showtime do all the talking.

John “The Rock” Jackson, Age: 29, Rank: 63, Hometown: St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin
Islands –

A divorced father of two, this slick and agile boxer, Virgin Islander John “The Rock” Jackson started fighting at 12 years old, following in his world champion father Julian Jackson’s footsteps at the Pan American Games and 2008 Olympics. He comes from wealth but cares for the underprivileged and dreams of making his island proud bringing visibility to those struck by recent natural disasters.

Devaun “Unique” Lee, Age: 30, Rank: 82, Hometown: Jamaica Queens, N.Y.

When one of his friends was shot and killed at 16, Devaun “Unique” Lee knew he needed a way out from the mean streets of Queens. Boxing keeps him straight. So do long hours fueling airplanes and caring for his five year old daughter. The real love of his life. Fatherhood and the sport are the motivation to take his NY State Middleweight championship to the next level.

Previous winners of The Contender include: Sergio Mora (ex-WBC super welterweight champion), Grady Brewer, Sakio Bika (ex-WBC super middleweight champion), and Troy Ross.

The Contender Airs on EPIX at 9/8c.

More Headlines

Real Time Full Length Bouts, Film Like Quality and Training Camp: “The Contender” a Treat for Boxing Fans


By Vishare Mooney

There is no other sport that produces more profound imagery than boxing. Something about boxing that makes it immune from the staged scenes and story arcs forced upon athletes by reality tv show producers. A fight in a ring is its own unpredictable melodrama. Anything can happen: an upset, a beatdown, a comeuppance. The producers of the revamped “The Contender”, airing tonight on EPIX, understand this well. And in the 12 episodes of the competitive documentary series which feature 16 welterweight fighters in a tournament setting, all the fights will be shown, in full length, with no interruptions. Some episodes will even feature two full length fights. These gorgeously shot bouts are worth tuning into.

The Contender is hosted by the revered boxing champ Andre “Son of God” Ward and fighters coached by the legendary Freddie Roach and acclaimed Philly trainer Naziim Richardson. The show was filmed in an enclosed facility in South Central Los Angeles where all the athletes were housed and all the training and the fights were held. Boxing fans will appreciate the details of the training scenes. The coaches on both sides remind the fighters ad nauseam to “remember the jab! Jab! Jab!” And as the coaches instruct, the fighters take stock of other fighters habits in the ring. They note for future reference who has a high guard or weak chin and legs.

Ward spars with the contenders and one can clearly see as he sports a black eye from a recent sparring session that the guy is into it and he may be more than slightly tempted to make his own comeback.

There is a touching scene where Naziim Richardson, former trainer to Shane Mosely, takes Shane Mosely. Jr. aside on the first day and warns him. “Just by you being a Mosely makes you a target..they all gonna underestimate you. You dig down and give them something different than they weren’t expecting. You whoop their ass.” It’s a storyline worth following.

Freddie Roach, points to Eric “Babyface Assassin” Walker, a fighter from Louisiana, who having spent 14 years in prison, learned to box there. Roach says Walker reminds him of Manny Pacquiao. A look at Walker’s interview reel as he discusses his childhood, he sounds more like Tyson. The media were given only two episodes to preview and it’s already clear Walker is the most exciting fighter in this group.

The show is not without faults. There are still the staged events like family gatherings, that feel awkward. Some of the story lines feel forced. During the fights, the camera cuts to audience expressions that should really be on split screen. All tolerable. The best parts of The Contender, the boxers, trainers and fights, are still the there, even better.

More Headlines

Andre Ward Talks Hosting “Contender” Redux


By: Sean Crose

From 2005-2009, “The Contender” showed television viewers the struggles and triumphs of struggling boxers determined to crack through to the big time. With heavyweight star power like Sugar Ray Leonard and Sylvester Stallone, The Contender would offer viewers highlights of the contestant’s plights along with highlights of the contestant’s ring battles with one another. Now, The Contender is coming back. On August 24th, EPIX will run a new, revived Contender, which will feature 16 new contestants and the talents of host and mentor Andre Ward.

“It excited me for various reasons,” Ward said of The Contender’s comeback during a Tuesday conference call. Upon learning the show would be revived the recently retired great sprang into action. “I immediately called my lawyer,” Ward stated, referring to his plan to get in on The Contender’s return. For Ward, there’s more to the show than simple production values and ratings. “It’s about human interest stories,” he said. “It talks about human beings…you can relate to a human interest story.”

I asked Ward if he felt his personality, which is far from the showy personas many fighters like to showcase, made him a natural fit for a show which focuses primarily on people’s struggles, issues and dreams. “I genuinely love the sport,” he said. “I care about the fighters because I was a fighter.” The show’s executive producer, Eric Van Wagenen, had nothing put praise for The Contender’s new host, claiming that after “about a fifteen minute conversation with Andre, I felt the franchise was in safe hands.” A fight fan, Wagenen was impressed with what he saw in Ward outside of the ring.

“I gained a new respect for him,” he said of the new host, “how smart he is, how much he cares for the young fighters.” Ward, whose last fight was a second win over light heavyweight terror Sergey Kovalev in June of 2017, had not made specific plans for the future after his retirement. “At the time of my retirement, I didn’t know about Creed 2,” Ward stated, in reference to the upcoming film he’ll be acting in (he was in the first Creed film). According to Ward, it was important “to be a guy who left (the ring) on time.” It looks to have been a wise choice.“Sometimes,” he added, “you’ve got to take the leap of faith before these other opportunities come on board.”

Van Wagenen, a close associate of original (and current) creator Mark Burnett, promises a Contender that will be in tune with the times. “I was involved with The Contender in its original form,” he said, adding that, with better production values, the new Contender has “all the things that make a show successful now.” One of those things will be a social media presence, and also full footage from the fights, rather than just highlights.

Ward was asked if working on the show made him want to make a comeback to the ring. “Yeah,” he said, “but as soon as I got hit (in sparing)…that desire just disappears.”

More Headlines

Epix Sets Premier Date for The Contender, Reveals 16 Fighters Vying for Championship Belt


Premium pay television network EPIX® has announced the 16 fighters who will be facing off with one another for the championship belt on the revival of boxing franchise series The Contender this fall. The highly anticipated 12-episode season, from MGM Television and Paramount Television, will premiere on EPIX on Aug. 24, 2018 at 10 PM ET/PT.

Hosted by undefeated boxing champion Andre “Son of God” Ward, the first-of-its-kind competitive documentary series for the network will feature 16 fighters pushing their limits in grueling elimination-style fights and testing their grit and determination to achieve their boxing dreams. The fighters will be overseen by legendary boxing coach Freddie Roach, and renowned Philadelphia trainer Naazim Richardson.

“The Contender takes unscripted TV to its grittiest. It has incredible professional fighters and real professional fights. The edge of your seat drama and true stories sets a tone that our audiences will be expecting and I love it,” said Mark Burnett, President of MGM Television.

“With this new iteration of The Contender, the focus is on the gritty, personal stories of the fighters battling for boxing glory,” said Michael Wright, President, EPIX. “It was important for us to find individuals who not only displayed the boxing chops and resilience in the ring, but who also showed a depth of heart and humor outside of it. Our 16 fighters are vivacious, tough, funny, sensitive, driven and inspiring, and we are excited for our fans to get to know their stories and root for them inside the ring and out.”

The 16 Contenders come from a wide variety of professional boxing backgrounds and stations in life, bringing their unique stories, personalities, strengths and motivations to the series.

Each fighter will be vying to be declared the new 160-pound middleweight champion of The Contender and take home the winner’s six-figure purse — a prize, which, for all the fighters, represents a better life for their families and loved ones who have been there with them through all the ups and downs of their journeys.

The 16 fighters on The Contender this season are:

◦Ievgen “The Ukranian Lion” Khytrov, Age: 29, Rank: 20, Hometown: Brooklyn, N.Y.- A Ukrainian immigrant, Olympian, Ievgen Khytrov recently relocated to America to pursue his dream of becoming a world champion and to create a better life for his family. A dedicated, quiet, religious man. He’s also the one to beat.

◦Eric “Babyface Assassin” Walker, Age: 34, Rank: 68, Hometown: Plaquemine, La. – Incarcerated at 15 years old and spent 14 years behind bars for robbery and attempted murder, Eric “Babyface Assassin” Walker learned to box while in prison. He is now fighting for a second chance at life, living proof that it’s never too late to live out your dreams.

◦John “Apollo Kid” Thompson, Age: 29, Rank: 70, Hometown: Newark, N.J. – After losing his mother to AIDS at six years old, this married performing artist, painter and fighter, John “Apollo Kid” Thompson is here to prove to the world that he can’t be boxed into a single category despite holding impressive titles including the 2015 WBA-NABA Super Welterweight, WBO Inter-Continental Super Welterweight and Boxcino Tournaments.

◦Malcolm “The Punisher” McAllister, Age: 27, Rank: 172, Hometown: Long Beach, Calif. – Always at the center of schoolyard fights growing up, Malcolm “The Punisher” McAllister now channels his energy into helping others rebuild outside of foreclosure and his young, growing family. In boxing has built an impressive KO record and the 2014 Golden Gloves title on his journey to take the title of The Contender.

◦Brandon “The Cannon” Adams, Age: 28, Rank: Inactive, Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif. – A bold fighter in the ring, Brandon “The Cannon” Adams knows firsthand what it means to push through adversity and step up to care for his family when there’s no one else around to. Coming from a poverty stricken neighborhood, this larger than life father of two marks his return to boxing after a three year hiatus, initiated by a loss to fellow competitor, John Thompson.

◦Quatavious “Cash” Cash, Age: 26, Rank: 161, Hometown: Las Vegas, Nev. – This Atlanta native is the current record-holder for fastest KO in Georgia, a four0time Golden Gloves state champ and Bronze medalist. Quatavious Cash is fighting for his late mother and for the chance to prove that a life of fighting street gangs can be channeled for good.

◦Shane “Sugarman” Mosley, Jr., Age: 27, Rank: 149, Hometown: Santa Monica, Calif. – The lone single contender, son of legendary Hall of Fame boxer “Sugar” Shane Mosley, Shane “Sugarman” Mosley Jr. is fighting to step out of his father’s shadow and carve out his own legacy.

◦Daniel “El Chapulin” Valdivia, Age: 25, Rank: 116, Hometown: Tulare, Calif. – A natural salesman and real estate agent by day, nicknamed “El Chapulin” (“Grasshopper”) for his boundless energy, Mexican immigrant Daniel Valdivia was born to step into the ring. With several titles including the NABF Super Welterweight Champion as an underdog, he’s chasing fame to prove giving up college for boxing was the right move.

◦Michael “The Silverback” Moore, Age: 31, Rank: 252, Hometown:Cleveland, Oh. – Reformed from a hard life on the streets, fraught with drugs, death and family suicide, Michael Moore is a natural hustler and leader. Married with two kids, Moore is constantly moving from state to state with his family in tow in pursuit of the boxing dream.

◦Gerald “G5” Sherrell, Age: 24, Rank: 216, Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pa. – A fan of the original Contender series growing up, Gerald “G5” Sherrell is an undefeated and explosive fighter with a level of unrivaled and self-proclaimed swagger. Hailing from the projects, this multiple time Golden Gloves, Silver Gloves and Junior Olympic competitor, this local zoo security guard by day, and young father by night, is looking to bring boxing glory back to his hometown of Pittsburgh.

◦Morgan “Big Chief” Fitch, Age: 34, Rank: 154, Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pa. – Injury-plagued throughout his career, the Native American hailing from Southern Louisiana is a married father of three. Knowing that he’s old for the sport, Morgan “Big Chief” Fitch has one last shot at making his boxing dreams come true.

◦Marcos “Mad Man” Hernandez, Age: 24, Rank: 104, Hometown: Fresno, Calif. – Having been bullied from a young age after an accident left him with burns on 30 percent of his body, Marcos “Mad Man” Hernandez is fighting for his young autistic son, in hopes that he won’t be bullied the same way he was. With Junior Olympics, 2012 Blue and Gold titles and “Mexican-go-forward” style fighting he may be overlooked and underestimated.

◦Tyrone “Young Gun” Brunson, Age: 33, Rank: 39, Hometown: Philadelphia, PA – At a time when he needed to sell drugs to support himself at the age of 13, a stepfather’s ultimatum: be grounded or go to the boxing gym was his saving grace. Now a humble father of two, and sitting with one of the best rankings in the competition, his 24 KO’s send a signal that he will not fight silently but his cocky attitude has beat him more than just once.

◦Lamar “Omega” Russ, Age: 31, Rank: 115, Hometown: Wilmington, N.C. – One of four kids raised by a single mom and the first person in his family to graduate college, Lamar “Omega” Russ takes pride in being the underdog, and beneath the loud exterior is a boxer that needs to prove he can put his money where his mouth is. HBO, ESPN and a first round KO on Showtime do all the talking.

◦John “The Rock” Jackson, Age: 29, Rank: 63, Hometown: St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands – A divorced father of two, this slick and agile boxer, Virgin Islander John “The Rock” Jackson started fighting at 12 years old, following in his world champion father Julian Jackson’s footsteps at the Pan American Games and 2008 Olympics. He comes from wealth but cares for the underprivileged and dreams of making his island proud bringing visibility to those struck by recent natural disasters.

◦Devaun “Unique” Lee, Age: 30, Rank: 82, Hometown: Jamaica Queens, N.Y.

When one of his friends was shot and killed at 16, Devaun “Unique” Lee knew he needed a way out from the mean streets of Queens. Boxing keeps him straight. So do long hours fueling airplanes and caring for his five year old daughter. The real love of his life. Fatherhood and the sport are the motivation to take his NY State Middleweight championship to the next level.

The original Contender series ran for four seasons (2005-2009) and launched multiple fighters into contention for world titles, including title winners Sergio Mora, Cornelius Bundrage, Sakio Bika, and Sam Soliman.

Eric Van Wagenen serves as executive producer and showrunner of the revived franchise alongside Mark Burnett. The format is owned by MGM Television and Paramount Television.

EPIX is available nationwide through cable, satellite, telco and streaming TV providers including Charter Spectrum, Cox, Verizon FiOS, AT&T U-verse, Dish Network, Sling, PlayStation Vue and, as of June 13, Comcast.

More Headlines

Andre Ward, Freddie Roach, and Naazim Richardson Join The Contender


Premium pay television network EPIX®, an MGM company, has announced that undefeated boxing champion Andre “Son of God” Ward will host the new version of the seminal The Contender boxing franchise. Legendary boxing trainers Freddie Roach and Naazim Richardson join as trainers in the iconic series that has launched multiple boxers into contention for world titles.

The all-new 12-episode season of the boxing competition series, the first of its kind to air on EPIX is produced by Mark Burnett and his longtime executive producer Eric Van Wagenen. MGM Television has joined forces with Paramount Television to produce, and filming will begin this Spring 2018 in Los Angeles.

As host, Ward brings his undefeated record and undisputed boxing expertise to The Contender. Throughout his incredible 13-year undefeated career, he’s held multiple world titles in two weight classes including, unified WBA (Super), WBC, Ring magazine, and lineal super middleweight titles between 2009 and 2015 as well as the unified WBA (Undisputed), IBF, WBO, and Ring’s light heavyweight titles between 2016 and 2017. Ward also won the gold medal in the light heavyweight division in the 2004 Summer Olympics.

Said Ward, “I have faced the unique challenges of professional boxing firsthand and know the focus required to succeed at the highest level. Hosting a show that has enabled so many talented fighters reach their dreams is an honor and I look forward to giving the fans unique insight into the life of a fighter and leading the audience through the thrills of this competition.”

“It is so important for The Contender to have the best and most trusted boxing experts which is why we reached out to Andre, Freddy and Naazim,” said Burnett. “They are the very best and can help create an experience almost never seen before. Eric and I are really excited to exceed the fans’ expectations. We love The Contender and we love boxing.”

Esteemed coaches Roach and Richardson will each oversee a team of eight fighters, pushing their fighting skills, strength and endurance to the limit in preparation for elimination competitions. The coaches will also act as the fighters’ mentor, helping them to navigate their everyday life as the competitors live and train together and fight each other in the ring. Each fighter will be vying to become the ultimate Contender and take the winner’s six-figure purse.

Roach is widely regarded as one of the most successful boxing trainers of all time. His roster includes the eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao, five-time and four-division World Champion Miguel Cotto, former WBC Middleweight Champion Julio César Chávez, Jr., defensive master and three-time world champion James Toney, former UFC Middleweight and three-time Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre, as well as top prospects Jose Benavidez, Peter Quillin, and Vanes Martirosyan, among many others.

One of the most respected trainers from the boxing hotbed of Philadelphia, Naazim Richardson has helped shape the careers of some of the biggest names in the sport over the past 30 years. From Bernard Hopkins to “Sugar” Shane Mosley, as well as others like Travis Kauffman, and prospect Khalib ‘Bigfoot’ Whitmore, Richardson’s work and his spirit continue to be part of boxing lore. The father and trainer of boxing twin brothers Rock Allen and Tiger Allen Richardson, Naazim is also known for discovering plaster hidden in Antonio Margarito’s wraps before the January 24, 2009 fight between Margarito and Mosley.

Eric Van Wagenen serves as executive producer and showrunner alongside Burnett. The format is owned by MGM Television and Paramount Television.

EPIX is available nationwide through cable, satellite, telco and streaming TV providers including Charter Spectrum, Cox, Verizon FiOS, AT&T U-verse, Dish Network, Sling, PlayStation Vue and, later this year, Comcast.

More Headlines

The Contender Returns


By: Oliver McManus

THE CONTENDER returns to our television screens later this year after being picked up by the premium cable and satellite network Epix – the iconic show has been off air for nine years since its original run between 2005 and 2009 but with the fresh backing of the Epix network and a renewed passion for the format from Mark Burnett, President of MGM Television and Digital, this fan-favourite is sure to pick up where it left off.

When announcing the relaunch of The Contender, Burnett declared “Boxing belongs on premium pay television and there is no better home for The Contender than EPIX” , before announcing his vision to “tell stories of the fighters, the families and their difficult journeys in the emotionally compelling Contender style, so that viewers get to vicariously ‘walk a mile’ in the boxers shoes”.

The series will showcase 16 fighters, in two TUF-style teams, trained by world class boxing coaches as they live together, sleep together, train together over the course of the season in the bid to be crowned the Ultimate Contender, taking a home a six-figure purse, in an elimination competition designed to test them both in the ring and out of it.
Although no official weight class has been announced for the revival, it is understood that the show will focus on the middleweight division – where Gennady Golovkin, Billy Joe Saunders and Ryota Murata currently rule the roost.

For the boxers involved there is no better platform to launch their career into the big time than via The Contender, a proven format that has seen 11 of its competitors go on to fight for world titles with Sergio “The Latin Snake” Mora being the most notable to come through the challenging 15-week process. Having reached 180 million cumulative viewers over its first four seasons, according to Nielsen Media Research, the format is a marketable hit with audiences both domestic and international – but in a bid to enhance viewership it is understood the Epix will air each week’s elimination fight in its entirety as opposed to the heavily edited versions that drew criticism from many boxing fans previously.

The first winner of the franchise, Mora challenged for the WBC World Super Welterweight title against Vernon Forest in 2008 – winning a Unanimous Decision – before a failed defence against the same opponent, a split decision draw against Shane Mosley and two challenges for Daniel Jacobs WBA Middleweight title in 2015 and 2016.

Marking a welcome return of boxing on Epix this will be the network’s first venture into boxing since Vitali Klitschko vs Odlanier Solis back in 2011 and compliments their current sporting portfolio that features the Bellator Fighting Championship as their lead programming.

Hold on to your seats because THE CONTENDER is back and it’s bigger and better than ever before.

More Headlines

Out of the Slums of Haiti Evens Pierre is the No. 1 WBA Contender


By: Ken Hissner

Sun City is one of the world’s poorest, crime and disease ridden places in the world. It’s a sprawling shanty town on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Hope seems to have no place in this wretched, forbidden area of the Earth. Out of this comes Evens Pierre who has worked his way up to the No. 1 contender for the title WBA champion Jorge Linares now holds at lightweight.

Pierre is 29-1 (19), at 33 years of age. He goes by the nickname “The Sun City Kid”. He is promoted by Jacques Deschamps a businessman of French extraction who has put time and money into the career of Pierre because Pierre is a role model. His hope is to have Pierre fight Linares for the title.

Pierre goes to Evangelical groups to speak against drugs and crime. He buys food that he sends to Sun City. He plans to open a boxing school. If Deschamps is able to have Pierre fight in Haiti, it will be a momentous event probably held at the national soccer stadium that can probably hold 20,000 people. The poor people in Haiti have very little to cheer about and having Pierre fight for a world title would make that unlucky country proud. “Even if I make a lot of money I will never leave Sun City,” said Pierre.

Pierre holds the WBA Fedelatin Lightweight title that he won stopping Nicaraguan Rene Gonzalez, 31-6-1, back in November of 2014 for the second time. In his lone fight in May of 2015 he defended that title defeating Jesus Cruz Biblano, 15-9, of Mexico, by an 11 round decision. In 2016 he defended that title twice. In April he defeated Tomas Mendez, 21-6, of the Dominican Republic and in November in his biggest win he defeated former WBA & IBF champion Juan Carlos Salgado, 26-6-1, of Mexico. In March of 2017 he stopped Alfonso Perez, 12-8, of Venezuela, in 8 rounds in a non-title bout. In his most recent fight in October he defended the title and knocked out Jesus Laguna, 21-10-2, of Mexico in five rounds.

Pierre’s first twenty-four fights were in Panama up until the Gonzalez fight at the Caribe Convention Center in Petionville, Port-au-Prince, where his last six fights have taken place.

Linares, 43-3 (27) is from Venezuela but resides in Japan and has defended his WBA title he won in September of 2016 twice. He lost in his first attempt in 2011 for the WBC title but won that vacant title in 2014 in his last appearance in Japan. He defended it twice and gave it up to win the WBA title. Three of his title fight have been in the UK, one in Venezuela and the last at the Forum in Inglewood, CA, defeating the now No. 3 contender Luke Campbell of the UK. Linares held the same title that Pierre now holds when he fought for the world title.

Pierre’s only loss was in his thirteenth fight losing to Rosano Lawrence, 12-9-1, of Panama, in April of 2010, due to the fact the referee penalized him three points. He reversed that loss three fights later stopping Lawrence in six rounds. He is on a seventeen fight win streak since his only loss. He won the WBA Fedelatin title back in July of 2010 just prior to the re-match with Lawrence defeating Augusto Pinilla, 14-3-1.

Pierre is not only a No. 1 contender but an example how someone from one of the poorest countries in the world can make something out of himself and be a role model on top of it. With his promoter Deschamps backing him he should be fighting for the WBA world title in 2018. The only question is “where?”

More Headlines