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Grudge Matches are Boxing Gold
By: Kevin Dyson
Boxing is not professional wrestling, we know that (I hope…).
That said, our sport has always had the ability to get us invested in fighters’ characters. While nothing like the preconceived scripts of the WWE, we do see parallels with wrestling’s faces and heels.
Personally speaking, I am a fan of the understated fighter, as epitomised by the likes of Anthony Crolla and Ricky Burns.
Both are likeable and have great backstories (Crolla fought back from a fractured skull and broken ankle after a burglary at his home while Burns continued to work at his local sports shop despite being world champion.)
However, it is obvious that they don’t have the star personalities that engage fans across the globe.
To truly grab people there has to be a hook. And this hook often comes in the form of antagonism – both real and perceived.
Yes, plenty of fighters admit hamming it up to boost interest in a fight. A perfect example is the grudge match between David Haye and Tony Bellew. In and of itself, the fight had no real purpose, with Bellew given little chance in his first fight as heavyweight.
Haye made some unsavoury comments ahead of their clashes, but later admitted: “I’ve never really had a problem with Tony Bellew. In the lead up to the fight you say what you need to say to sex the fight up, but I never really wished him any harm.”
While the facade of beef (don’t try that home decorating types..) is commonplace, it takes a genuine feud to take the sport to a new level.
Step up Miguel Cotto.
Cotto’s second fight against Antonio Margarito could have been seen as a simple pantomime of revenge. That is until you understood the context.
Margarito had battered the Puerto Rican icon in their first bout, three years earlier.
Matters only became murky when the Mexican was found to have cement in his wraps in his next fight against Sugar Shane Mosely. The tainted wraps had telltale signs that indicated he had used the same method, to significant effect, against Cotto.
Robbed of his unfair arsenal, Margarito was taken out by Mosely in nine.
Cotto clearly sought revenge following this revelation, but had to wait as Margarito continued to revel in his cartoon baddie role against a peak Manny Pacquiao in 2010.
Having mocked trainer Freddie Roach’s Parkinson’s Disease and the Filipino’s stature, he set himself up to become the target of a righteous and frankly astonishing beating which left him nursing a mangled orbital bone.
The contrast between the roguish Margarito and the ever cheery Pacman was stark and, for many, set the scene for one of the most satisfying results in years.
The 2011 fight between Cotto and Margarito would have a darker dynamic. Having nursed a bitterness for three and a half years, Cotto had an almost scary focus as he entered the ring, hell bent on gaining revenge that night.
Margarito, happy to continue in his villainous role, was overtly dismissive of Cotto – an attitude that would only strengthen Cotto’s already steely resolve.
The Mexican was outmanoeuvred by the Puerto Rican from off, with Cotto taking his opportunity to work away on the eye that had been so badly damaged by Manny.
For all the negatives about Margarito, there has never been any questioning his spirit or his chin. After nine rounds Margarito’s face was a mess. Despite the fighter’s protestations, there was no question that the fight could continue.
Usually there would be a bit of solidarity between two fighters, even if there had been animosity. Not so for Cotto, who raised his arm once and then stood stock still, staring almost blankly at his beaten foe.
If you have not seen this fight I implore you to do so right now (after reading the rest of this article, of course)
I cant see any rivalries which match the nature and intensity of that event. Then again that would probably be the case before it as well.
The closest is GGG v Canelo, a result of frustration at the scoring of their two fights, Canelo’s drug ban and the continued claims that the industry is hell bent on keeping the star power of Alvarez firmly in place, no matter what.
We do, of course, have some straightforward revenge missions to look forward to.
Anthony Joshua will be hoping to put on a show and snatch his belts back from shocktrooper Andy Ruiz Jr. Given their personalities, I cant see any major beef coming into play unless there is some ill advised answer to a loaded ‘he said, she said’ type of question from the press.
If the Andy Ruiz story is a fairytale, and it is a great story on so many levels, a Joshua win in the rematch would be a classic British tale of doggedness. While it was a shock to the system when he lost, there is a sense that regaining the belts could even take the Joshua story to new level by overcoming adversity.
On the flipside, this revenge mission is do or die for AJ. It is hard to see where he would go after another defeat such has been his rapid rise.
Obviously Fury Wilder II has its own story following the controversial scoring at their first meeting. We know that both of them like to wax lyrical, so an interesting build up is guaranteed. But will it be a genuine grudge match? That is a harder question to answer.
For all that dedicated fans are passionate about the purity of the fight game, we are not immune to the drama. Indeed, it may well affect us more than the casual fan, as we know more about what is at stake and how easily it can taken away.
Six great antagonists
1. Antonio Margarito – Pretty much all of the above. Margarito revelled in being the bad guy, but had the smarts and strength to carry him through to world titles. Top for being authentically antagonising.
2. Floyd Mayweather Jr – For me Floyd played on the loadsamoney shtick to make even more money. A fighter more easy to admire technically, than love, Floyd knew people would pay money just for the chance that someone may take him down a peg or two. But they didn’t.
3. Tyson Fury – The big man is less unpredictable than pre-Klitschko. Fury has made many statements that have been out of order, and accused of homophobia and misogyny. However, he has balanced it with endearing traits, from the sheer daftness of his Batman press conference ahead of his Klitschko win. He does seem more mellow now, apart from his headache inducing suits, but those who know him know he could turn at any point.
4. Prince Naseem Hamed – Time has helped my view of Naseem. As a youngster I hated his cockiness. Like Mayweather, he was able to live up to that cockiness with his once in a generation skills. Then, of course, he came a cropper. I can now look back and see just how great a fighter and showman he was.
5. Muhammed Ali – There is no doubt about Ali’s legendary status in boxing. But he was a flawed man whose intelligence, skills, poetic tendencies and charisma allowed him to get away with an awful lot, no more so than the insulting and belittling of the great Joe Frazier, calling him an Uncle Tom and a gorilla. He did, of course, show the principled side by refusing to go to Vietnam, a decision that wouldxx cost him his peak years.
6. As mentioned before, David Haye was a provocateur of the highest order. I was a big fan around the end of his successful stint as a cruiserweight. In hindsight a lot of the things he said as he ventured into the heavyweights was unpleasant, particularly the ridiculous t shirt of Haye holding the severed heads of Wlad and Vitali aloft. It was out of order, but many in the UK accepted it, in part due to his personal charisma and in part a willingness to support our man at a time when success in the glamour division was scarce. Subsequent battles with Dereck Chisora in Munich and Bellew just confirmed Hayes antagonistic streak.
And just to show there is more to the game than being mouthy, I present Adrian Broner.
The Mayweather prodigy has seems intent on amping up the less pleasant aspects of his mentor’s character. Sadly (for him, I personally love it when he is schooled) he has not shown the ability to match.
Yes, he is an elite fighter. But he has shown no modicum of respect to opponents, at least not up until Pacquiao.
His rough landing in the form of Marcos Maidana was just beautiful, particularly when his opponent gave him some of his own crude ‘dry humping’ treatment.
Three defeats down the line, there are times you think he has learned humility only to hear him once again open his mouth and spout inanities.
Golden Boy Boxing Results: Linares Stops Cotto
By: Michael Kane
Former three weight world champion, Jorge Linares, made his debut at super lightweight on Saturday 9/29 at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California.
It was also the first time we had seen Linares since his stoppage to Vasiliy Lomachenko in May.
Photo Credit: Golden Boy Boxing Twitter Account
Facing Linares was Abner Cotto, hoping to continue his five fight win streak.
Ultimately, there was no continuation for Cotto’s win streak as Linares made quick work of the night.
The first round was a feeling out round, with Linares just shading it.
The action stepped up a gear in round two. Both fighters started exchanging however Linares landed a big right hand that sent Cotto to the canvas. Cotto, although unsteady on his legs, made it to the bell.
The third round continued where the second left off. Linares sensing blood, he caught Cotto with a quick combination, which sent Cotto down for the second time. Cotto again made it up and again was unsteady on his legs.
Linares was now unleashing some big punches, Cotto made a mistake by looking to the referee suggesting a low blow, which Linares pounced on. Cotto was trying desperately to stay on his feet and tried to grab Linares, sending both fighters down.
Upon rising, Cotto could barely stand, thankfully the local Commisionners jumped up to the ring to have the fight stopped, saving Cotto from more damage.
Linares, the former featherweight, super featherweight and lightweight world champion, got off to the perfect start in his new division and with the prospect of some exciting fights on the horizon he will be hoping to add another title in a fourth weight class.
“I feel good, and I’m ready to fight the best at 140 pounds.” Said Linares via Golden Boy Promotions press release.
“I’ve been hearing Mikey Garcia’s name, and he’s been hearing my name. Maybe we can have that fight next year.
“I came in very well prepared to fight the best in the division. I would also drop back down to 135 pounds to fight Vasiliy Lomachenko, if we can make the rematch.
“At this point in my career, I want the big fights.”
“Thank you to Golden Boy for the opportunity.” Said Cotto.
“I came well prepared but he had a hard right hand we weren’t expecting. I’m going and I didn’t fight with just anyone. He’s a 3 division world champion. I will sit with my team and see what’s next.”
Jorge Linares Takes on Abner Cotto This Weekend
By: Michael Kane
Jorge Linares, the former three weight world champion is jack in the ring this weekend.
Linares will face Abner Cotto as he moves to the light welterweight division after suffering defeat in his last lightweight fight when he lost his WBA and The Ring Magazine Titles to Vasyl Lomanchenko by KO in the 8th round, back in May.
Photo Credit: Jorge Linares Twitter Account
Although Linares, 33, lost to the highly rated Lomanchenko, he had put in a good performance and managed to drop Lomanchenko for the first time in his career.
Linares moves up to a light welterweight division that is packed with young hungry contenders and will be looking to make a statement against Cotto.
Cotto (23-3), from Puerto Rico, is on a five fight winning streak. He defeated Samuel Santana in his last outing, winning by TKO in the 4th round, for the vacant WBC FECARBOX Super Lightweight Title.
Cotto is a member of the famous Cotto family that has produced a world champion (Miguel) and multiple amateur champions.
Cotto has struggled when he has faced a high level opponent which undoubtedly Linares is. His three losses have come against Javier Fortuna, suffering a 6th round KO, Francisco Vargas, losing a unanimous decision and Omar Figureroa Jr defeated by 1st round KO.
Cotto’s biggest win is probably against former world title challenger Jerry Belmomtes in 2014 when he won a split decision.
With a fair amount of the division tied up with the upcoming World Boxing Super Series, Linares might find the big fights limited. Jose Ramirez is one champion that is not taking part in the tournament and this could make a mouth watering fight in the coming months.
“I feel very excited for this opportunity that this sport offers me,” Cotto said in the press release for the fight.
“I’m immensely grateful to my team and my promoters for bringing my career back to the highest. This is a sport where I have fallen but with the support of my family, my people and the commitment of my team, I have returned with much more desire to achieve the goal I have always dreamed of since I was 10 years old, which is to challenge for a world title.
“My promoter has placed all its trust in me, and I will work tirelessly to achieve the goals set.”
Linares said, ” I am coming back hungrier, than ever to demonstrate that I am still one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world.
“I want those big fights and the world has not seen the best of me. With my new trainer and my team, we will demonstrate that I am more than capable in taking over this new super lightweight division, against a notable opponent in Abner Cotto. This September 29, fans will see a determined Jorge Linares!”
With a stacked division with a lot of young hungry boxers, time will tell if Linares has made the correct decision in moving to light welterweight however he should have too much in his locker for Cotto.
Miguel Cotto the King from Caguas
By: Kirk Jackson
Although technically from Providence, RI, Miguel Cotto represented the nation of Puerto Rico at the sport of boxing with pristine dignity and grace.
It just so happens another one of boxing’s greatest fighters joins the list of former pugilists entering the retirement home this year.
A star studded list, featuring the likes of Floyd Mayweather, Shane Mosley, Juan Manuel Marquez, Andre Ward, Wladmir Klitschko, Robert Guerrero, Timothy Bradley and now Miguel Cotto.
The first weekend of December marked the end of a great career for the boxing legend, as he bid farewell to the fans and treated spectators to one more exhilarating action-packed bout.
"Thank you fans for supporting me at every moment. I am so glad to call Madison Square Garden my home." — @RealMiguelCotto
Thank you, Miguel #Cotto #CottoAli #TheFinalOne #Legend pic.twitter.com/OICZO82RP8
— HBOboxing (@HBOboxing) December 3, 2017
Although his last appearance did not go as anticipated, losing a unanimous decision to Sadam Ali, the Puerto Rican star’s legacy still shines bright as he searches for other endeavors to occupy his time post boxing career.
When I think of Miguel Cotto and his contributions to the sport along with his style of boxing and persona, I envision a silent, cerebral, destructive assassin.
It’s interesting analyzing Cotto as a fighter because based off interviews and brief interactions, the general consensus is he quiet, serious and obviously dedicated towards his family and craft.
It’s suggested, Cotto’s stone-cold ring persona matched his artistic exploits on the canvas known as the squared circle.
Traits reflecting in the ring – whether it was his comprehensive, clinical beat-downs of eventual two-division world champion Paulie Malignaggi or another two-division champion from Brooklyn Zab Judah.
Or even the graphic, demoralizing thrashing like the one administered to Carlos Quintana.
One of the weapons of choice highlighted in the fight against Quintana was actually a staple in many of Cotto’s fights. His patented left hook to the body.
The gut-crushing, rib-cracking left hooks to the body; with the occasional shot to the groin (ask Zab Judah) was the bread and butter for Cotto throughout his career.
While as a fan it was aesthetically pleasing to watch, as an opponent it probably gave them nightmares and painful flashbacks.
But Cotto’s soul snatching left hooks were all set up by arguably his greatest physical tool; his left jab. As a natural southpaw, he converted to the orthodox stance, thus allowing his potent left jab to serve as a power jab.
Oscar De La Hoya and Andre Ward are converted orthodox fighters like Cotto, while Marvin Hagler and Manny Pacquiao are converted southpaws; go figure.
Not only is Cotto’s jab strong and precise, but his ability to place his jab on opponents at the right time and place is because of great instincts and timing.
Superior timing allows a fighter to be effective despite physical speed disadvantages when pitted against a quicker opponent.
The instinctive rhythm, the instinct itself is an equalizer against speed demons. This equalizer enabled Cotto to remain competitive against Mayweather when they fought in 2012. Cotto jab and innate level of timing assisted his efforts against Malignaggi, Judah and Shane Mosley as well.
Aside from Cotto’s technical prowess – highlighted by the aforementioned left hook to the body, potent jab and combination punching, his vulnerability as a fighter endeared him to fans.
Several times throughout the course of his career he was rocked, visibly stunned with birds chirpin, yet he managed to not only survive the onslaught but dished out his get-back in return.
Check his fights against Ricardo Torres, DeMarcus Corley, Joshua Clottey, Mosley, Judah and most recently against Ali if you want to view examples of determination and courage.
Along with being one of the icons of boxing along with Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao during the 2000’s and extending into the 2010’s, Cotto in particular carried Puerto Rico on his back. Much like another Hall of Famer, Felix “Tito” Trinidad.
Not easy foot steps to follow and while not possessing the same level of national admiration amongst the Puerto Rican population, Cotto still carried the country on his back with the departure of Trinidad and did so with class. He also represented well for the Nuyoricans; fighting in New York thirteen times.
“Thank you for supporting me at every opportunity,” Cotto told his fans. “I’m so glad to call Madison Square Garden my home.”
Cotto finishes with a record of 41-6 (33 KO’s) and is a six time world champion across four weight classes. He holds the distinction as the only Puerto Rican fighter with world titles across four weight divisions.
Cotto has a record of 19-5 (16 KO’s) in world title fights, along with a record of 16-5 (12 KO’s) against world titlists.
Cotto defeated the likes of Carlos Maussa, Lovemore N’dou, Randall Bailey, DeMarcus Corley, Ricardo Torres, Paul Malignaggi, Carlos Quintana, Zab Judah, Shane Mosley, Joshua Clottey, Yuri Foreman, Ricardo Mayorga, Antonio Margarito, Sergio Gabriel Martinez and Daniel Geale.
He suffered defeats against Antonio Margarito, Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Austin Trout, Saul Alvarez and Sadam Ali. (There could be an asterisk with some of the listed defeats).
Against Margarito, his opponent may have used illegal “Plaster of Paris,” hand wraps which harden when wet and turns into a hard brick-like substance.
Against Pacquiao, Cotto endured the turmoil of a tumultuous relationship with his trainer/uncle and was forced to engage Pacquiao at a catch-weight of 145 lbs. to even enter the fight with the distinction as a champion. Who know what mental and physical effects that had on the fight?
Those two encounters alone showcase the future Hall of Famer battling a cheater (Margarito) and combating preferential treatment from his own promoter at the time Bob Arum.
It should be noted Freddie Roach, Nacho Beristain, among other trainers believe Cotto prevailed over Alvarez.
“Cotto, from two years ago began to become a rare phenomenon, a Mexican boxing idol. Many people spoke very well of him, after he won the fight against Canelo Alvarez and [the judges] gave it to Canelo. He’s an idol in Mexican boxing, I’m going to miss him, as I miss all the great boxers, he’s an excellent boxer, with a very refined style,” Beristain said.
Win or loss, Cotto defined what the sport should be about and his contributions will not be forgotten. Enjoy retirement.
Peace to the King representing Caguas, Puerto Rico.
Miguel Cotto Built a Legacy of Tough Fights and Few Words
By: Eric Lunger
Miguel Cotto, a man of few words and larger-than-life deeds in the ring, retired from boxing this weekend. At age 37, Cotto dropped a unanimous decision to Saddam Ali in a tough and hard-hitting bout, bowing out on arguably the sport’s greatest stage, Madison Square Garden in New York City. Gracious in defeat, Cotto thanked his fans and summarized his boxing career with characteristic brevity: “thank you [to] all the fans. I am proud to call MSG my second home. I had the opportunity to provide the best for my family because of the sport.” In an age of unrelenting celebrity narcissism, Miguel Cotto spent 17 years in the hurt business for his family; the boxing glory was incidental.
Photo Credit: HBO Boxing Twitter
Turning pro in 2001, Miguel captured his first world title in 2004, the WBO World super lightweight belt. He then reeled off six successful defenses, the last against Paulie Malignaggi in 2006, a twelve-round unanimous win. Cotto then went up to 147, winning the vacant WBA World welterweight belt against then-undefeated Carlos Quintana in Atlantic City, in December of 2006.
After four successful defenses — including back-to-back wins over Zab Judah and Shane Mosley — Cotto relinquished the WBA belt in July 2008, suffering his first loss against Antonio Margarito (TKO 11th) in a bloody and controversial bout. But in February of 2009, Cotto bounced back, winning the WBO welterweight belt from Michael Jennings (at MSG). In his third defense, Cotto took on the great Manny Pacquiao, then at the height of his talent. Pacquiao won by TKO in the 12th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in an incredible, action-filled thriller.
Cotto then went up to super welterweight, winning the WBA title by stopping Yuri Foreman in nine rounds at Yankee Stadium in June 2010. After a successful defense against Ricardo Mayorga, Cotto faced Margarito for a second time, battering the Mexican fighter into a ninth-round retirement. After Margarito had been exposed with doctored hand-wraps against Shane Mosley, Cotto’s revenge victory was all the sweeter, and called into question the outcome of the first fight.
In May of 2012, Miguel faced undefeated Floyd Mayweather at the 154-pound limit, and lost a unanimous twelve round decision at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, in one of Mayweather’s most coldly efficient exhibitions of defense and counter punching. After a consecutive loss to Austin Trout, Cotto sought new challenges in the middleweight division, defeating Sergio Martinez for the WBC title in June of 2014. This set up a great crossroads battle with rising Mexican superstar Saul Canelo Alvarez, in Las Vegas in November of 2015. Alvarez took the twelve-round decision and the belt.
This time, it would be a nineteen-month layoff before Cotto returned to the ring, as he faced Yoshihiro Kamegai for the vacant WBO super welterweight belt in August of 2017. Kamegai put in a game effort, but Cotto gave his fans one of his finest performances to date. Not content, however, to retire on that note, Cotto decided to finish his career with one more fight, this time at MSG against a top opponent.
That Cotto choose a tough, competitive fight for his last bout, when by all rights he could have taken a victory lap, speaks volumes about who he is as an athlete and a person. As a fighter, he could duck and slip like a bantamweight, his right hand was held high to protect his chin, and he came forward like a dancing bulldog. With his left hook as his best punch, he could throw it as a lead, or from inside. Cotto fought hard, always gave the fans his best, and he took on all the big names of the sport. He summed up his approach to boxing in one of the final press conferences: “I have always dedicated myself fully and worked hard; now [I am] finishing my career on my own terms.” A four weight-class champion, Miguel Cotto leaves behind a legacy of great achievement as a boxer and genuine integrity as a person.
HBO World Championship Boxing Results: Cotto Closes Career with Loss to Ali, Vargas Defeats Negrete
By: William Holmes
A champion in four divisions and a lock for the boxing hall of fame, the legendary Miguel Cotto fought the last fight of his career in the building that helped make him famous, Madison Square Garden.
Surprisingly, despite campaigning in the middleweight division, Miguel Cotto weighted in at 151.6lbs while Sadam Ali, who has fought in the welterweight division and is bumping up a weight class to face Cotto, weighed in at 153lbs. Many, including this writer, expected Cotto to weigh in at a heavier weight than Ali
Photo Credit: HBO Boxing Twitter
The opening bout of the night was between Rey Vargas (30-0) and Oscar Negrete (17-0) for the WBC Junior Featherweight Title.
Vargas, the taller fighter, was able to use his height to his advantage in the opening round and landed a high volume of punches to the body and head of Negrete. He was able to get a full extension on his shots in the second round and had Negrete taking some hard shots.
Vargas connected with three straight uppercuts followed by a right hook in the opening seconds of the third round. At one point in the third Negrete stepped on the foot of Vargas and knocked him over, but the referee correctly ruled it a push. Vargas’ sharp shots continued into the fourth round and fifth rounds but Negrete, to his credit, never stopped coming forward.
Negrete snuck in a few good shots of his own, especially when he was in tight, but Vargas’ combinations were numerous.
Negrete took some heavy body shots by Vargas in the sixth round, but did land his best punch of the night, a left hook, in the ninth round.
The eighth round was also tight as Negrete surprisingly landed some combinations, and Vargas had a cuts over both of his eyes. The referee checked it in the eighth and before the ninth rounds but let Vargas continue.
Negrete was out matched and out gunned, but continued to press the pace in the final rounds but took a barrage of punches in the process.
Vargas’ cut over his left eye looked pretty bad, but he was never in danger of being hurt.
The judges scored it 119-109, 119-109, and 120-108 for Rey Vargas.
Miguel Cotto (41-5) and Sadam Ali (25-1) met in the main event of the night for the WBO Junior Middleweight Title.
Cotto walked out to no walk out music so that he could hear the crowd.
The crowd loudly chanted for Cotto in the opening round, but Ali established he had the superior hand speed early on and connected with some surprising punches. Cotto was able to land his patented left hook to the body, but Ali looked like he was landing at a higher connect rate.
Cotto was badly hurt in the second round from a right cross by Ali. Cotto’s legs were wobbly, but Ali did not press the action to try and finish the fight. Ali slipped in the second round, but he definitely had Cotto hurt.
Ali’s length gave Cotto trouble in the third round but Cotto was pressing the action. Cotto was hurt once again in the fourth round by Ali, but was able to recover and come forward behind his jab.
Cotto’s attack to the body appeared to be effective in the fifth and sixth rounds, especially when he had Ali backed into a corner. Ali’s right eye began to swell in the seventh round but he was landing good shots to the head of Cotto.
Cotto had Ali backed into the ropes several times in the eighth and did his best work there, but Ali retook control in the ninth round as Cotto looked like he was tiring.
Ali landed a vicious left hook on Cotto in the tenth round that had Cotto on wobbly legs again and his mouth wide open. Cotto was on full retreat in the tenth and appeared to be close to going down.
Ali came out aggressively in the eleventh round and looked like he was going for the knockout. His corner had previously urged him to be more aggressive. Cotto survived and circled away from the attacking Ali.
Cotto came out aggressive in the final round but looked tired and slow. Ali was the fresher fighter and closed out the fight well.
The final scores were 115-113, 116-112, 115-113 for Sadam Ali.
In the post fight interview Cotto confirmed it was his last fight, and revealed he hurt his left bicep in the seventh round.
Cotto stated, “Feeling good. Feeling good with the performance. Something happened to my left bicep, seventh round. I don’t want to make excuses, Sadam won the fight. It is my last fight. I am good, and I want to be happy in my home with my family.
“Thank you for all the fans, I am proud to call MSG my second home. I had the opportunity to provide the best for my family because of the sport.”
I worked hard for it.” Said Sadam Ali. “I took advantage of this fight, and I made sure to make it count. I want to Thank God, and also thank team Cotto, They could have taken an easier fight if they wanted too. ”
“I had him hurt here or there in the first couple of rounds. I knew I had to do something, or he would have dug in. By the 11th, I thought the fight was close. Whatever GBP has next, I’ll take it. Good things happen to good people. I have been training since I was 8 years old, and I am glad I got this win at MSG, in my hometown.”
HBO World Championship Boxing Preview: Miguel Cotto vs. Sadam Ali, Rey Vargas vs. Oscar Negrete
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Golden Boy Promotions will promote the last professional fight of Miguel Cotto’s illustrious career. He’ll be facing Sadam Ali at the famed Madison Square Garden on HBO’s World Championship Boxing telecast.
Photo Credit: Tom Hogan/Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions
A WBC Junior featherweight bout between Rey Vargas and Oscar Negrete will also be televised. Other undercard bouts include a WBO Junior Flyweight Title bout between Angel Acosta and Juan Alejo, a featherweight bout between Ronny Rios and Deivis Julio, and a junior welterweight bout between Zachary Ochoa and Erik Martinez.
Cotto, who was a world champion in four different weight classes, has insisted this will be his last fight. The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the night.
Rey Vargas (30-0) vs. Oscar Negrete (17-0); WBC Junior Featherweight Title
The opening bout of the night will be between Rey Vargas and Oscar Negrete for the WBC Junior Featherweight Title.
Both boxers had a successful amateur career. Negrete was a Gold Medalist at the 2010 South American Games in the Light Flyweight Division and Vargas was a 2009 Panamerican Gold Medalist.
Vargas, at the age of 27, is three years younger than Negrete. He will also have a two inch height advantage and a three inch reach advantage. Both boxers have been fairly active in the past two years. They both fought two times in 2017 and three times in 2016.
Vargas is the boxer with more power in his hands. He has stopped twenty two of his opponents and five of his last ten opponents did not make it to the final bell. Negrete only has seven stoppage wins and two of his past five fights were victories by KO/TKO.
Vargas has the better professional resume of the two and Negrete appears to be aware that this is the toughest test of his career.
He stated at a recent press conference, “”I’m so excited for this opportunity. This is everything that I have worked for so far in my career. Being undefeated doesn’t make him [Rey Vargas] invincible. I’m a forced to be reckoned with. People may underestimate me, but I know what I’ve done to make sure I walk away with the victory.”
Vargas has defeated the likes of Ronny Rios, Gavin McDonnell, Alexander Munoz, and Alexis kabore. Negrete has defeated the likes of Sergio Frias, Victor Ruiz, and Neftali Campos.
Vargas is the naturally bigger man with an edge in power. He has been generating some buzz recently and this should be a showcase fight for him. Negrete has the amateur background to make this fight interesting, but it’s a fight that Vargas should win.
Miguel Cotto (41-5) vs. Sadam Ali (25-1); WBO Junior Middleweight Title
The legendary Miguel Cotto has decided to end his career.
He stated at a recent media conference call, “Like Oscar and people have said, it’s my final fight, and I’m working hard for making the final fight really good for everybody. All we have to do is wait until the day of the fight. We are ready for the fight.”
Many boxers have been known to claim that they’re going to retire only to change their mind later on, however with Cotto he appears to be sincere in his desires to stop fighting.
Cotto, at thirty seven years old, will be eight years older than his opponent Sadam Ali. Ali will also have a two inch height advantage and a six inch reach advantage.
That advantages for Ali stop there. Cotto is actually the naturally bigger man and has competed as high as the middleweight division while Ali usually campaigns in the welterweight division. The step up in weight is something that is not lost on Ali. He stated, “Yeah, it’s a huge challenge, a big step up. The biggest opponent in my career, and I’m also moving up to another weight class. But I love the challenge, and I’m ready to do whatever I have to do”.
Cotto has thirty three stoppage victories in his resume and has stopped three of his past five opponents. Ali only has fourteen stoppage victories and has only stopped one of his past five opponents.
Ali has been more active than Cotto and fought twice in 2017 and twice in 2016. Cotto did not fight at all in 2016 and only fought once in 2017.
Both boxers had successful amateur backgrounds. Cotto represented Puerto Rico in the 2000 Summer Olympics and Ali represented the United States in the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Cotto clearly has the better resume as a professional. He has defeated the likes of Yoshihiro Kamegai, Daniel Geale, Sergio Martinez, Delvin Rodriguez, Antonio Margarito, Ricardo Mayorga, Joshua Clottey, Alfonso Gomez, Shane Mosley, Zab Judah, Paul Malignaggi, Carlos Quintana, and DeMarcus Corley. His losses were to Antonio Margarito, Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Austin Trout, and Canelo Alvarez.
Ali has defeated the likes of Johan Perez, Francisco Santana, and Luis Carlos Abregu. His lone loss was a TKO loss to Jessie Vargas.
Ali is a good boxer and surprisingly longer and taller, but Cotto’s depth of experience and size advantage will be too much for him.
Cotto seems confident going into this fight and has no regrets. He stated, “I enjoyed my whole career, and I can’t point at one fight, you know. I enjoyed my whole career. Every moment made me be the boxer I am right now, the person I am right now. I would have to say my whole career has been amazing for me”.
It’s a career boxing fans have thoroughly enjoyed. It’s a career that should end with a victory.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Cotto, Hernandez, De La Hoya, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of November 14th to November 21st; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Photo Credit: Tom Hogan/Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions
Miguel Cotto and Undercard Fighters Workout Quotes
Four-division world champion Miguel Cotto (41-5, 33 KOs) hosted a media workout today at the Wild Card Boxing Club in Los Angeles ahead of the final fight of the future Hall of Famer’s career, which will be against Sadam “World Kid” Ali (25-1, 14 KOs) for Cotto’s WBO World Junior Middleweight Championship. The action will take place at the World’s Most Famous Arena, Madison Square Garden, and will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Also participating in the workout was NABF Bantamweight Champion Oscar “El Jaguar” Negrete (17-0, 7 KOs), who will challenge Rey Vargas (30-0, 22 KOs) for the WBC World Super Bantamweight belt in the HBO-televised co-main event, along with Ronny Rios (28-2, 13 KOs) and Aaron “Silencer” McKenna who will also be on the card in separate bouts that will be streamed on RingTV.com.
Here is what today’s participants had to say at the workout:
MIGUEL COTTO, Four Division World Champion:
“Though it has been my last training camp, everything has gone well and been the same. The fact that it is my last fight has not changed anything. I have always dedicated myself fully and have worked hard, and that’s why I’m here now, finishing my career on my terms. I haven’t really felt nostalgia yet during the final days of my camp. I’m just grateful for what boxing has given me and for the life it has allowed me to give to my children.”
OSCAR “EL JAGUAR” NEGRETE, Current NABF Bantamweight Champion:
“I’m so excited for this opportunity. This is everything that I have worked for so far in my career. Being undefeated doesn’t make him [Rey Vargas] invincible. I’m a forced to be reckoned with. People may underestimate me, but I know what I’ve done to make sure I walk away with the victory.”
RONNY RIOS, Featherweight Contender:
“I learned a lot from my last fight. I feel like that’s prepared me a lot for this next one. From my last fight I learned that I need to throw more punches and be more aggressive. If I would have just thrown 20 more punches in every round, things would have looked a lot different. I’m prepared for [Deivis] Julio, and I’m ready for fight night. As soon as I got the call, I was ready. I always stay ready in between fights.”
AARON “SILENCER” MCKENNA, Welterweight Prospect:
“Today’s workout and meeting the LA press was fantastic! I had a tremendous training camp and have had some really strong sparring at Maywood Gym. Ever since I put on my first pair of gloves at the age of 6, all the hard training, tournaments, amateur fights have led to me fighting at Madison Square Garden Dec. 2. I’m a delighted to be making my pro-debut and look forward to putting on a great show for the fans!”
Cotto vs. Ali, a 12-round fight for the Cotto’s WBO World Junior Middleweight Championship, is presented by Golden Boy Promotions and Miguel Cotto Promotions.
Nico Hernandez Set to Face Jozsef Ajtai
Hernandez vs, Ajtai is the eight-round main event for the vacant International Boxing Association (IBA) Americas flyweight title fight, Saturday night, December 2, on the “KO Night Boxing: Gold & Glory” card, at Hartman Arena in Park City, Kansas.
“KO Night Boxing: Gold & Glory” is a presentation of KO Night Boxing LLC., in association with Hartman Arena, and sponsored in part by Twister City Harley-Davidson Metro PCS, Mort’s Cigar Bar and Jimmy’s Egg.
The action will be taped live for future airing on CBS Sports Network.
The 21-year-old Hernandez (3-0, 2 KOs), fighting out of Wichita, was a decorated amateur boxer who compiled a sterling 123-12 record, highlighted by his bronze-medal winning performance at the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil. Hernandez made his pro debut last March. All his fights have been at home, each has been in the main event, and on national television. His fight against Ajtai, however, will be his first title fight, coming in only his fourth pro bout.
Ajtai, who is one year and six days younger than Hernandez, made his professional debut 2 ½ years ago, and he’s already fought in five title fights.
Hernandez’ amateur pedigree versus Ajtai’s pro experience?
“I feel like I’m already at the level of a lot of top pro fighters,” Hernandez said. The only advantage he has is he’s used to fighting more rounds than I (this is Nico’s first scheduled 8-rounder), but I don’t plan on letting it go the distance anyways.
“I feel blessed to have this IBA title fight opportunity so early in my pro career. It honestly couldn’t come any faster. I do believe it will be special and open a tot of opportunities to fight bigger names once I win this fight. A win should open-up additional title fight opportunities, both overseas and, hopefully, back here at home to help us continue building Wichita into a fight town.”
Ajtai (19-9, 12 KOs) has already had 28 pro fights, including a full 10-round distance loss by decision last year at Madison Square Garden in New York City to two-time Olympic gold medalist Shiming Zou, the former World Boxing Organization (WBO) flyweight world champion. The Hungarian has fought at home in Hungary, as well as on the road in the United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, Ukraine and Slovakia. A trip to America’s heartland doesn’t faze him in the least.
“He will be at home, where everybody wants to fight, but this isn’t a problem for me,” Ajtai explained. “I know he is a good boxer, but I will try to be a bit better December 2nd. When my condition is good, as it is for this fight, nobody likes to fight me.
“This is a big opportunity for me. It’s always difficult to beat a good fighter but doing so is real success. Fighting Shiming Zou in only my fourth fight was very nice for me. I want that feeling again in this fight against Nico.”
Hernandez realizes that this fight could be his last at home for a while, due to the lack of quality American flyweights, and that most world-class fighters in his weight class are from Central America, Thailand and Japan.
“I don’t think I’ll have many more fights at home,” Hernandez admits. “I don’t think that will matter too much because I feel more pressure fighting at home than elsewhere. I will miss everyone cheering my name like they do at home. I think I’ll be traveling more to fight bigger names to work my way up the ladder until I’m at the top.
“I think the early rounds in this fight (vs. Ajtai) will be a chess match because, from what I’ve seen, he runs a lot. I feel that once I start landing my body shots, he’ll slowdown in the latter rounds. and, like I’ve said, I don’t plan on this fight going the distance.”
Ajtai, of course, isn’t traveling all the way to Kansas to visit Dorothy or the Wizard of Oz, he’s coming to win!
“Nico will not know where I will be in the ring,” Ajtai predicted. “When he looks to the left for me, I will go to the right; when he tries to find me on the right, I will be on the left. When he wants to rest, I will come forward punching; when he wants to punch, he won’t find me.
“I have a plan for this fight and I’m sure he does as well. But, in the ring, only one fighter’s plan can succeed. It’s going to be a good fight, but I can’t promise the public that Nico will be the winner.”
The full “Gold & Glory” card will be announced later this week. All fights and fighters are subject to change.
Diego De La Hoya to Face Jose Salgado on Golden Boy on ESPN
After giving a career-defining performance as the HBO Pay-Per-View televised opening bout on the Canelo vs. Golovkin undercard in September against former world champion Randy “El Matador” Caballero, recently crowned NABF and NABO Super Bantamweight Champion Diego De La Hoya (20-0, 9 KOs) will return to the ring on Dec. 14 as the main event for Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, Calif. De La Hoya will face battle-tested Jose “Sugar” Salgado (35-4-2, 28 KOs) of Quintana Roo, Mex. in a scheduled 10-round super bantamweight bout that is sure to be action-packed as both give their final fight performances of the year. Doors to the Special Events Center open at 4:30 p.m. PT, and the first non-televised bout starts at 4:45 p.m. PT. ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes will transmit the fights beginning at 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT, and the ESPN3 transmission will begin at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.
“I’d like to thank Golden Boy Promotions and my manager once again for keeping me busy with this final fight of 2017,” said Diego De La Hoya. “It’ll be my fifth fight this year and my team and I feel confident in my progression. I’m looking forward to closing the year off at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino and on ESPN. I anticipate 2018 to be even greater!”
“Since my last fight, I have been hoping for an opportunity like this one,” said Jose Salgado. “This fight motivates me. De La Hoya is a great challenge and I hope he is prepared to take me on. On December 14, I am going to give it my all to come out victorious for my fans and family.”
“Diego showed us with every fight this year that he continues to hone his craft and get better with every opponent,” said Chairman and CEO Oscar De La Hoya. “This will be a fun fight for the fans and a great way to close out what has been a phenomenal year for Diego.”
Leading the co-main event on Dec. 14, LA’s Carlos “The Solution” Morales (16-2-3, 6 KOs) will face Kosovo’s Dardan Zenunaj (14-3, 11 KOs) for a scheduled 10 rounds of action for the vacant NABA Super Featherweight title. Morales will have the opportunity to get back the belt he originally lost to Alberto “Explosivo” Machado in a tough unanimous decision this past August in Puerto Rico.
Hoping to make TV time as part of the ESPN coverage, Ferdinand Kerobyan (6-0, 3 KOs) will face a soon to be announced opponent in a four-round welterweight bout. Kerobyan is coming off a hot first-round knockout victory over Uriel Gonzalez in October.
Rounding out the stacked undercard, Southern California favorite Joet Gonzalez (17-0, 9 KOs) will take on the resilient Juan “Buffy” Montes (25-6-2, 15 KOs) in a 10-round featherweight bout.
Gonzalez is coming off a blazing fifth round knockout win over Deivi Bassa on the undercard of Cotto vs. Kamegai this past August.
San Antonio’s Joshua “El Profesor” Franco (12-0, 6 KOs) will participate in a scheduled eight-rounds of super flyweight fury, and East LA’s Jonathan “Thunder” Navarro (11-0, 6 KOs) will engage in eight rounds of super lightweight action. Opponents for these respective fights will be announced shortly. Opening up the action at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, Mexican Olympian Raul “El Cugar” Curiel (1-0) will take on Mexico City’s rugged Israel Villela (6-7, 2 KOs) in a welterweight bout scheduled for six-rounds.
Tickets for the event start at $25 and are now on sale at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino box office, by calling 1-800-827-2946, or by purchasing online at www.fantasyspringsresort.com.
Danny Gonzalez to Fight Danny O’Connor at Mohegan Sun
Star Boxing has added a second WBC Championship bout to its already stacked “Slugfest at the Sun” on November 25th at Mohegan Sun. Undefeated DANNY “EL GALLO” GONZALEZ (Woodhaven NY, 14-0 5KOs) will put his perfect record on the line against highly regarded DANNY “DANNY O” O’CONNOR (Framingham MA, 28-3 10KOs) in a 10-round bout for the vacant WBC International Silver Super Lightweight Title.
This interesting co-feature has been added to an expected ‘action-packed’ main event title bout between current WBC International and Continental Americas Cruiserweight champion CONSTANTIN BEJENARU (12-0 3KOs) vs #1 mandatory challenger, from South Africa, THABISO “THE ROCK” MCHUNU (18-3 11KOs).
Danny Gonzalez has been attracting the attention of fans in and out of the ring. Maintaining a very busy 2017, Gonzalez will look to cap off his year with a WBC title around his waist. In front of him stands no easy task.
O’Connor, an Irish-American amateur star, has enjoyed success in the pros as well, beating the likes of former WBC Continental Americas Champion Michael Clark and former WBC World title challenger Vivian Harris. He comes into Mohegan Sun boasting an impressive 28-3 pro record. O’Connor is coming off a two fight winning streak including a win over another previously undefeated prospect.
Gonzalez will look to muster the strength of his native Puerto Rico, utilizing his accurate punching, and quick combinations, to keep O’Connor guessing. In his last bout at Mohegan Sun, Gonzalez took down Samuel Amoako (then 21-14 17KOs) in decisive fashion, showing both power and speed, and hopes to continue his success and maintain is undefeated record.
When asked about fight, Danny Gonzalez stated: “I want to thank my promoter Joe DeGuardia, the WBC, and my management and team for this great opportunity. When you work as hard as I do victory is the only result. 90% grind 10% rest, I will not be denied. It’s Rooster time”.
Danny O’Connor said: “I am grateful to be back in the position to make a name for myself in boxing. That all starts by winning the WBC Silver belt November 25th against Danny Gonzalez. Under the guidance of my coach, Adam Quitt, I am fully prepared. I’m thankful for all the support from Ken Casey and Murphy’s Boxing. We are excited about our new relationship with Star Boxing and Joe DeGuardia and believe together we will accomplish big things in the sport of boxing to come.
Star Boxing CEO JOE DEGUARDIA had this to say about the co-feature title fight, “I am pleased and proud to add this exciting and meaningful fight to our show at Mohegan Sun on November 25. It says a lot for both fighters that they are willing to put so much on the line for the opportunity to capture the title and advance their careers. This fight will bring everything a boxing fan could want, action, skill, speed and significance. Be sure to get your tickets and come to Mohegan, this will be a great night of boxing.”
Boxing Insider Notebook: Cotto, Ali, Andrade, Burnett, Seldin, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of October 10th to October 17th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Miguel Cotto’s Last Fight to Take Place December 2nd Against Sadam Ali
December 2 will mark the end of an era in boxing as four-division and six-time world champion Miguel Cotto (41-5, 33 KOs) enters the ring for the final time to defend his WBO World Junior Middleweight Title in a 12-round battle against Sadam “World Kid” Ali (25-1, 14 KOs).
The action will take place at the World’s Most Famous Arena, Madison Square Garden, and will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT. Cotto will make his 24th appearance on the network and his 10th showcase at MSG.
Cotto, a surefire first-ballot Hall-of-Famer, has held world titles in the super lightweight, welterweight, junior middleweight and middleweight divisions. The native of Caguas, Puerto Rico has faced a who’s who of elite world champions including Demarcus “Chop Chop” Corley, Paulie “Magic Man” Malignaggi, Zab “Super” Judah, Sugar Shane Mosley, Antonio “El Tornado de Tijuana” Margarito, Ricardo “El Matador” Mayorga, Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez and current Lineal and Ring Magazine Middleweight Champion Canelo Alvarez.
In his last outing, Cotto defeated the tough and determined Yoshihiro “Maestrito” Kamegai to win the WBO World Junior Middleweight Title, which he will look to defend successfully before a packed crowd of his loyal New York supporters as he closes the book on his legendary career.
“I’m very excited to be back in the ring for my final fight at The Garden. I’ve worked really hard my entire career to be at this level,” Cotto said. “I am fully concentrated on getting together with Freddie Roach so we can work hard and have a great victory on December 2.”
Ali, a 2008 U.S. Olympian fighting out of Brooklyn who has held multiple regional titles, will get his second shot at a world championship after earning victories over top welterweight contenders including Francisco “Chia” Santana, Luis Carlos “El Potro” Abregu and most recently former interim WBA World Super Lightweight Champion Johan “El Terrible” Perez.
“I am thrilled to be given the opportunity to fight a legend in Madison Square Garden in front of all my fans and on HBO,” said Ali. “My time is now. God willing, I will leave the Garden with the championship belt.”
“What can you say about Miguel Cotto that hasn’t already been said during his two decades in boxing?,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. “He is a first-ballot hall of famer; a true legend in Puerto Rico, New York and beyond; and a true credit to the sport of boxing. Just like he [Cotto] was given a shot for his world championship, he is now doing the same for Sadam Ali. Who will come out on top? Tune in December 2 to find out.”
“It’s amazing having Miguel Cotto back at The Garden for one last time to finish a brilliant career,” said Hector Soto, Vice President of Cotto Promotions. “Memorable fights and a legacy were built in that building. December 2 will be remarkable for Miguel Cotto.”
NYPD’s Dimash Niyazov Added to Jacobs vs Arias Non-Televised Undercard at NYCB LIVE
Undefeated New York City police officer Dimash “Lightning” Niyazov (12-0, 5 KOs) born in Shymkent, Kazakhstan, now residing in Staten Island, NY, will fight in a six-round lightweight bout on the non-televised portion of the Jacobs vs. Arias fight card on Saturday, November 11 at NYCB LIVE, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
“I haven’t fought in NY in a long time,” (August 28, 2015 to be exact) said Dimash. “My most recent fights were out of state and last one overseas. I can’t wait to see all my fans at home. They all have been waiting for me to fight here. It’s time I bring the shine back home, to my friends and fans.
Dimash, as well as Jarrell Miller, is promoted by Dmitriy Salita’s Salita Promotions. The Ukrainian born Salita is a former world title challenger and resides in Brooklyn. Dimash became a member New York City’s finest three years ago and is based in Brooklyn.
“Dimash is a talented fighter who exemplifies the American dream, which he is living out right now in New York City,” said Salita. “He is an exciting, popular fighter that brings excitement to every one of his matches.”
Dimash was introduced to boxing at 4 years old in native Kazakhstan. At age 5 he began to dedicate his time to gymnastics until at 13, when his family moved to the USA, his father began to train him in boxing once again. “Ever since then I have been in the hurt business,” said Dimash with a smile.
As an amateur, Niyazov had 30 wins against only 3 losses. He won the NY Empire State Games and NY Metros. He also traveled with the Kazakhstan team to China prior to the Beijing Olympics. “I trained in Beijing for two months,” said Dimash about that incredible opportunity. “And that helped me win the NY Metros.”
Currently, Dimash trains in Brooklyn at the Fight Factory Gym with his father who is his main coach and Akmal Zakirov, his second coach. He trains a couple of hours every day. “I’m excited to fight on the Jacobs card,” said Dimash. “I’ve known Danny since I was a teen when we trained in Coney Island houses. He came a long way and I’m proud of him. He gave my countryman GGG (Gennady Golovkin) a tough fight.”
Brooklyn’s Daniel Jacobs (32-2, 29 KOs) will face undefeated Wisconsin-Based Luis Arias (18-0, 9 KOs) in a twelve-round middleweight clash on his Matchroom Boxing debut at NYCB LIVE, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York on Saturday, November 11. In the twelve-round co-feature, in a battle of top ten heavyweights, Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller takes on Mariusz Wach. Opening the telecast will besuper lightweight knockout artists Cletus “Hebrew Hammer” Seldin and Roberto “Massa” Ortiz in a 10-round bout The tripleheader will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK.
Ryan Burnett & Zhanat Zhakiyanov Quotes
Ryan Burnett has vowed to make Belfast proud as he puts his IBF World Bantamweight crown on the line against WBA Super champion Zhanat Zhakiyanov at the SSE Arena in Belfast on Saturday, October 21 on HBO.
Burnett makes history by fighting in the first unification clash to be held in Northern Ireland, and the unbeaten starlet is looking to build on a magic night in June where he ripped the IBF strap from Lee Haskins with a dominant performance over the Bristolian.
That was the 25 year old’s first fight in his hometown for three years and he received a rapturous welcome to the ring – and when his hand was raised his win was greeted with a roar of approval from the fans who welcomed a new hero for the famous fighting city.
Burnett has since been honoured with a mural in the city and now the unbeaten champion wants to pay back the great support he’s received with another big performance next weekend and make his city proud.
“My Mum called me up and told me that they were putting a mural up and I couldn’t believe it,” said Burnett. “It’s such an honour. The first time I drove past it I thought, I grew up here as a kid and now my face is on a wall, it’s made me so proud and it’s given me an extra push in training.
“It was touch and go in my first fight if it was going to take off because I had been away from Belfast for so long, but it did. This time the profile has risen so much and this is a massive fight, so this is my moment to really become a name here. I’m living in the moment and enjoying it, I’m not taking it too seriously and putting too much pressure on my shoulders, I’m just lapping it all up.
“When I was growing up there was a lot of trouble and violence. It was installed into me as a kid to be a fighter, to stand up for myself and fight back, my dad would tell me to keep going even when I was just four or five.
“It all depends on how people are brought up, how they are tuned to life. What they’ve had to face. I’ve faced tasks that other people haven’t had to face and that’s given me a hunger that a lot of people don’t have. I know I have got that dark side that I can turn to, it’s been in me my whole life.”
Zhanat Zhakiyanov believes he’s got the bigger heart in his clash unification clash with Ryan Burnett at the SSE Arena in Belfast on Saturday, October 21 on HBO.
Zhakiyanov climbed off the canvas twice in the opening round in Ohio against Rau’shee Warren in February, but pulled away from the champion to rip his title away via split decision.
The Kazakh enters hostile territory once again in Belfast as he looks to repeat that feat against Burnett, who defends his belt for the first time since claiming it from Lee Haskins in June with a dominant display.
The pair are familiar having sparred when Burnett was beginning his career, and while Zhakiyanov was impressed by Burnett’s win over Haskins, the 35 year old believes his experience and CV shows he’s going to be able to dig deeper and claim both titles next weekend.
“Ryan was a young pro at the time we sparred and has developed into a worthy champion,” said Zhakiyanov. “However, he needs to understand that I have also developed and travelled around the world fighting better opposition.
“I travelled to the U.S to beat Rau’shee Warren in his home town where I went down early and pulled myself off the canvas. I don’t know if Ryan has that experience and heart that I have.
“You have to congratulate Ryan on a good victory over an awkward opponent back in June to win the IBF title, but my style is different to Haskins.
“In comparison to my other opponents, Burnett ranks high but I don’t believe that that he’s the best that I have faced so far. I’d say Karim Guerfi and Rau’shee Warren are better.”
Undefeated Cletus “The Hebrew Hammer” Seldin to take on Roberto “Massa” Ortiz
Fists will fly on November 11 when super lightweight knockout artists Cletus “The Hebrew Hammer” Seldin (20-0, 16 KOs) and
Roberto “Massa” Ortiz (35-1-2, 26 KOs) square off in a 10-round bout from Long Island’s NYCB LIVE, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.
The Seldin vs. Ortiz battle will serve as the opening bout of an action-packed HBO card featuring Daniel “Miracle Man” Jacobs in the main event taking on Luis Arias in a 12-round middleweight showdown and rising heavyweight Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller squaring off with Mariusz Wach in the co-main.
Fighting out of Long Island, NY, Seldin is a former WBC International Silver Super Lightweight Champion who has plowed through the competition with devastating power resulting in 78 percent of his fights ending by knockout.
“I’m absolutely ecstatic to fight for the first time on HBO and represent Star Boxing at the Coliseum,” Seldin said “I see this as the second start to my career, this is a great opportunity and now that I have it there’s no turning back, I’m here to stay — bigger fights, bigger venues and on HBO. I just fought recently but as soon as they called about this fight I jumped at it. I’ll be more than ready for Roberto Ortiz on November 11.”
Ortiz, from Torreon, Mexico, has torn through 35 opponents including 10 defenses of the WBC Silver Super Lightweight Championship over three years. The sole blemish on his record came against former Interim WBC World Super Lightweight Champion Lucas “La Maquina” Matthysse.
“We are going to take advantage of every opportunity, and we are thankful to GBP, Star Boxing, and HBO who have supported us,” Ortiz said. “I am confident I will be able to prove that I am someone to mess with in this sport. We know we are going up against an undefeated fighter, who is powerful. Our mental game will have to be at 100%, and we will have to have the perfect strategy to be able to take him down and leave with the victory. I am hopeful that our styles will give a great fight, and give a performance that everyone can appreciate come fight night.”
“‘Massa’ Ortiz has built a real fan base throughout Mexico because of his action-packed style and power in both hands, and we’re excited to showcase him to a global audience on HBO,” said Golden Boy Promotions CEO and Chairman Oscar De La Hoya.
“Cletus has thrilled New York fight fans at The Paramount in Long Island for the last five years,” Joe DeGuardia of Star Boxing said. “He has sensational knockout power and Roberto Ortiz is also a real banger who comes to fight. We’re grateful to Peter Nelson and HBO for showcasing great matchups and future stars of the sport. We look forward to another exhilarating performance from Cletus.”
Seldin vs. Ortiz is presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Star Boxing. Jacobs vs. Arias and Miller vs. Wach are presented by Matchroom Boxing USA, in association with Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment, Salita Promotions and Roc Nation Sports. The event takes place Saturday, November 11 at NYCB LIVE, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum and will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT. BROOKLYN BOXING on Long Island is an extension of BSE’s BROOKLYN BOXING™ brand. For more information, visit brooklynboxingshop.com.
Demetrius Andrade Training Camp Quotes Ahead of October 21st HBO Fight
Undefeated two-time junior middleweight world champion, Demetrius “Boo Boo” Andrade chimed in on his upcoming 12 round middleweight bout with undefeated Alantez Fox when he makes his return to HBO® that will take place on Saturday, October 21st from Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York.
The bout will be the live co-feature of an HBO Boxing After Dark tripleheader card that will feature Jazreel Corrales defending the WBA World Super Featherweight Title against undefeated Alberto Machado and Ryan Burnett taking on Zhanat Zhakiyanov (tape delay) in a Bantamweight Unification Bout. The HBO telecast will begin at 10:05 p.m. ET/PT.
The Corrales vs. Machado bout is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions.
The Andrade – Fox bout is promoted by Banner Promotions, Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing and A-Team Promotions, in association with DiBella Entertainment.
Andrade has been training at the Big 6 Gym in his native Providence, and he is ready to make a statement on October 21st.
“Its me again! Camp is going well. I’m getting some quality tall guys for sparring and working on implementing my gameplan for the fight. I’m on schedule weight wise, and feeling good. We’re just about a week away. I’m excited to get back on HBO, and the fans are excited about the likelihood of future matchups with some of the other stars in the division. First things first, and that means I have to take care of business against Alantez Fox on October 21st,” said Andrade.
Tickets for this highly anticipated matchup are on sale now and available for $65 for ringside seats and others priced at $25, $30, $40 and $49, plus any applicable fees. Tickets can be purchased in person at the Turning Stone Resort Box Office, by calling 315-361-7469 or online at Ticketmaster (www.ticketmaster.com).
Could The Canelo-GGG Winner Actually Face Cotto In December?
By: Sean Crose
There’s little doubt that Miguel Cotto has had a Hall of Fame worthy career. Now that his life inside the ring is winding down, though, Cotto wants to go out with a bang. For the former lineal middleweight champ has made it clear he wants the winner of this Saturday’s Canelo Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin middleweight superfight. “I will have the last fight of my career in December,” ESPN quotes Cotto as saying, “and fighting the winner would be a good way to go out.”
This may strike some as a bit strange, since Cotto had previously made it clear that he never saw himself as a real middleweight – even when he was middleweight champion of the world.
Indeed, Canelo fought Cotto at a catchweight when they met in 2015 (in a fight Cotto lost by decision). Now that Canelo is fighting as a full middleweight this Saturday, however, it’s doubtful he’ll be willing to drop weight again for Cotto. What’s more, Cotto never seemed too keen on facing Golovkin when he wore the middleweight crown. Despite paying lip service to the possibility, team Cotto never did agree to face the feared Kazakh in the ring.
With that in mind, there’s little doubt that a fight featuring the 41-5 Cotto against either Canelo or Golovkin would be a notable event. Cotto’s fight with Canelo was certainly competitive and past glory alone would draw eyeballs to a bout with the fighter known as GGG. Still, at thirty-six years of age, Cotto is widely viewed as a fighter on the downslide.
Golovkin, at thirty-five, may be just a year younger, but the general consensus, should a fight between the two be made, would surely be that Golovkin hasn’t aged as Cotto has (provided, of course, that Golovkin looks sharp against Canelo this weekend).
For fans, the more appealing of the two options for Cotto might be Golovkin. A second Canelo fight would bring with it a sense of been there/done that, especially when one considers that the first fight, although entertaining, was far from a classic. Yet Golovkin, with his frightening knockout power, would make for an intriguing – or frightening – matchup. Even after a very sharp performance last month against the heroic Yoshihiro Kamegai, Cotto would no doubt enter the ring a heavy underdog. Would Cotto truly be willing to face Golovkin, however, or is he simply keeping his name in the media during fight week?
Furthermore, would a December fight with either man be a real possibility when one considers such things as recuperation and contract clauses?
Time may well provide the answers.
Cotto-Kamegai Ratings Impacted By Mayweather-McGregor
By Jake Donovan
The last time Miguel Cotto fought live on HBO’s flagship station in June ‘15, it turned out to be the 3rd highest-rated fight of the year.
Saturday’s ring return for Puerto Rico’s first-ever four division world champion merely produced the third highest-rated boxing telecast of the evening.
Cotto’s rousing 12-round win over Yoshihiro Kamegai attracted an audience of just 730,000 viewers on a very busy Saturday evening of boxing. The bout peaked at 805,000 viewers, with both numbers paling in comparison to Cotto’s last two live appearances on HBO—a 4th round knockout of Daniel Geale in June ’15, which averaged 1.589 million viewers for the third most-watched cable boxing match of the year; and a 3rd round stoppage of Delvin Rodriguez in Oct. ’13, drawing 1.555 million viewers in the most watched cable boxing telecast of 2013.
Unfortunately for the Puerto Rican superstar, commanding an audience for his first fight in 21 months—since a Nov. ’15 World middleweight championship title losing effort to Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez—as going to be a much tougher battle on the dial than in the ring.
All eyes were on the circus at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, with Floyd Mayweather making a celebrated ring-return of his own with a 10th round knockout of UFC superstar and boxing debutant Conor McGregor.
Pay-per-view sales won’t be released for another week or so (if at all), but figure to do no worse than 3 million buys, with some speculating it can even threaten the all-time mark of 4.6 million units sold set by Mayweather in his 12-round over Manny Pacquiao in May ’15.
Also easily edging Cotto in the ratings battle on the evening was a Mayweather-McGregor undercard lead-in show airing live on Fox. The featured bout of the evening—late replacement Yordenis Ugas outpointing fringe welterweight Thomas Dulorme—drew well north of 2.4 million viewers, also performing above average in the coveted 18-49 market compared to past Fox telecasts in that time slot.
It was mission accomplished on every level for Mayweather, whose timing of the event was deliberate with the intention of disrupting major business in place for Golden Boy Promotions.
In addition to going head-to-head with Cotto’s ring return on HBO, the PPV event also dominated the headlines and commanded the overwhelming majority of media attention. The latter meant very little focus on the year’s most anticipated matchup between Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin, which takes place in the very same venue in three weeks, topping a September 16 HBO PPV telecast.
While industry chatter surrounding Canelo-Golovkin has begun to pick up, the majority of boxing headlines are still being dedicated to what took place this past Saturday in Las Vegas. Whatever attention is—or isn’t—going toward September 16, even less has been paid to Cotto’s first pro appearance in California, an unfortunate scenario for a superstar who has spent his career carrying his boxing rich Puerto Rico island on his back for more than a decade.
Instead, he returns to one of his lowest-rated bouts among the 23 times he’s been prominently showcased on HBO’s airwaves.
Perhaps a grander stage will come of what Cotto insists will be the final bout of his incredible pro career, targeting December 2 as last call.
The co-feature saw Rey Vargas outpointing Ronny Rios over 12 rounds for the first defense of his super bantamweight title. The lead-in attraction drew an audience of 524,000 viewers on average; peaking at 687,000 viewers.
Both boxers appeared live on HBO for the first time in their respective careers.
All aforementioned data provided by Nielsen Media Research.
Jake Donovan is the latest to join the BoxingInsider.com family. Follow him on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox
Miguel Cotto Cruises to Landslide Decision Victory
By: Jake Donovan
The manner in which Miguel Cotto stormed out of the ring following his last ring appearance would leave one to believe that the Puerto Rican superstar would do anything possible to avoid once again leavings fate in the hands of the judges.
Photo Credit: Golden Boy Promotions
However, the 36-year old version of the Puerto Rican superstar coming off of a 21-month layoff will have to take a win any way he can get it. Tried as he might, Cotto was unable to put away a determined Yoshihiro Kamegai, instead settling for a landslide points win in their HBO headliner Saturday evening in front of a sold-out crowd of 7,689 at StubHub Center in Carson, California.
Scores were 120-108, 119-108 and 118-110 for Cotto, who returned for the first time since a World middleweight championship conceding defeat to Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in Nov. ’15.
That he was extended the distance by Japan’s Kamegai certainly wasn’t for a lack of trying. Cotto wisely rode out the early bullrush from his 34-year old challenger, who did his best to back up the former four-division world champion in the early rounds but only able to land the occasional big blow.
Cotto enjoyed a huge momentum swing in round three and never really looked back. Kamegai—himself coming off of a near-year long layoff following a knockout win over Jesus Soto Karass in their rematch last September—would have to settle for being valiant in defeat, just as he famously offered in his 12-round war with Robert Guerrero in 2014, the first performance to put him on the stateside boxing map.
On this night, he’d just become known as the boxer who stood opposite corner the night Cotto became a six-time champion and claim his second super welterweight title. Kamegai was barely standing by the end of a vicious round seven that saw Puerto Rico’s only ever male four-division World champion offer shades of his former self—but in the end would turn out to be the only glimpse that boxing fans would get.
The final five rounds or so saw the future Hall of Famer box from the outside, no longer gung-ho on delivering a knockout win. Instead, he seemed content with going the distance and settling for his first decision victory since a June ‘09 split nod over Joshua Clottey. He’d scored six knockout wins mixed in with four losses over that stretch, but in the end saw his hand raised in what he insists is the second-to-last fight of his incredible career.
“I tried to do my best, and I think I did that tonight,” said Cotto, who improved to 41-5 (33KOs) with the win, his first since a 4th round knockout of Daniel Geale last June. “I am happy with my performance. Kamegai is a tough fighter and opponent. It was during round five or six that I knew he was going to make it to the 12 rounds.”
In hindsight, it probably shouldn’t have been much of a surprise that Kamegai saw the final bell. He’d never been stopped in 33 pro bouts. His loss to Guerrero was the most completive of his career defeats, dropping lopsided decisions to Johan Perez, Alfonso Gomez and now Cotto.
“I felt so much frustration not being able to land any of my punches,” said Kamegai, now 27-4-2 (24KOs). “I could not catch him at all. I couldn’t catch him at all. He is such a talented legend, and I am so glad I got the opportunity to fight him.”
With the farewell tour now halfway through, the burning question remains: who will man the opposite corner for last call?
“I will fight once more in December,” Cotto once again insisted, but—as he’s done through 17 years as a pro—left it in the hands of those who guides his career to decide his next opponent. “I’ll let Freddie [Roach] tell you who I want.”
To that, we turn to the Hall of Fame trainer who’s manned his corner for the past four years.
”We want the winner of Canelo-GGG (Gennady Golovkin),” said Roach.
Of course, with that particular fight not set to take place for another three weeks, it’s highly unlikely the winner turns around to fight in less than three months time for a targeted December 2 date. Even less likely is the scenario of either dropping down a full weight class to accommodate Cotto, who’s made it clear even after wresting the World middleweight crown from Sergio Martinez three years ago that 154 is in fact his preferred weight class.
Still, whether one final shot at a second middleweight crown or whomever else simply accepts his offer, this December will in fact mark the last time we see the proud boxer ply his trade.
“Come December 31, I will retire,” Cotto once again promised afterward. “I’ve done it all. I’m 36 going on 37, and I think I’ve come to the end of my career.”
In the HBO-televised co-feature, unbeaten Rey Vargas made the first successful defense of his suer bantamweight title with a 12-round win over local favorite Ronny Rios (28-2, 13KOs).
Scores were 118-110 (twice) and 115-113 in favor of Mexico’s Vargas (27-0, 22KOs), who won his portion of the 122-pound crown with a majority decision over Gavin McDonnell this past February on the road in Hull, England.
Rios, who hails from Santa Ana, Calif., had won five straight heading into the first world title fight of his career.
Miguel Cotto Aims for his 6th World Title with Golden Boy Promotions Aid
Miguel Cotto Aims for his 6th World Title with Golden Boy Promotions Aid
By: Francisco Martinez
Puerto Rican legend and future hall of farmer Miguel Cotto is ready for his highly anticipated ring return. Early in the year he was set to face middleweight slugger James Kirkland in Dallas a fight put together by Roc Nation. Fast forward a couple of months the Kirkland fight fell trough as did his partnership with Roc Nation come to an end. Now August 26th at the StubHub Center Miguel Cotto returns under Golden Boy promotions with a multi-fight deal and the first being against action brawler Japanese Yoshihiro Kamegai for the WBO 154lbs title.
If successful Miguel Cotto would be making his 6th title reign in 4 division to add to his sure first ballot hall of fame career “It’s an honor for me to be back again and for the WBO championship is something extra” Cotto arguably the best Puerto Rican fighter we have seen to date. His career has been very important for boxing. Miguel Cotto has fought literally everyone that can be mentioned from the current cash cow in boxing, Saul Canelo Alvarez to Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao who at the time where the biggest names in boxing and PPV stars.
With a win this coming August 26th Miguel Cotto can get right back into the big fight stage as his new promoter Oscar De La Hoya states Canelo vs Cotto rematch is possible “It’s an option, why close doors on anybody. I think if you’re winning fights, you win world titles than you should be in the Canelo sweepstakes. We’re not saying no, we’re not saying yes. It’s just a matter of you performing in the ring and demonstrating it that you belong once again” clear indication that Miguel Cotto is an option for Canelo given he gets past Gennady Golovkin this coming September 16th.
Obviously Miguel Cotto will keep a close eye on Saul Alvarez vs Gennady Golovkin and being that he has faced Saul Alvarez before he shares his take on the mega bout that the whole world awaits “I think they’re really skilled guys. Really strong boxers and they have to find their key to beat each other in the fight” Cotto also has a reserved fate for December 2nd given he is successful on August 26th which will also be Cotto’s first fight in California, Los Angeles since he faced Arturo Rodriguez at the Staples Center back in 2001 for his 6th professional bout.
Miguel Cotto is used to fighting in New York or Las Vegas however Cotto seems like one of those guys who doesn’t give much thought as to where he fights or who he fights as he has always left it on the line win or lose “I’ll do my best in training camp and I know it’s going to be a great night of boxing at the StubHub. I going to do my best as always. He’s just another boxer he has two hands to hit like me and all that is talked about on the night of August 26th your going to see the way we handle our training camps”
As Miguel Cotto has always given his best and nothing less during all his fights it was unclear if he would step back into the ring and if so when as he come close to about a 2 year inactivity since his last fight which was against Saul Alvarez. Having stated early this year 2017 would be his final year as a fighter things quickly unraveled and now the extension of his great career will be guided by Golden Boy promotions most like into 2018 and possibly beyond. Miguel Cotto doesn’t shy away from critics or criticism and replies to those that might think he should retire instead of carrying on.
“I’m happy to be here, I’m healthy, I’m good here. People will see what Miguel Cotto has in boxing” as for the end of his promotional partnership with Roc Nation Cotto said this about the parting ways “we just decided to split our relationship because we understood that because we are going to be better with Roc Nation on their path and Miguel Cotto on his path. We understood that we couldn’t go further in our relationship and we just decided to move on”
August 26th at the StubHub Center in Carson, California on HBO for the WBO 154lbs Miguel Cotto steps back into the ring with the Japanese brawler Yoshihiro Kamegai who’s coming off a fight of the year candidate and plans to bring it to Miguel Cotto in what is the biggest opportunity of his career. Don’t miss this it. Follow the conversation via #CottoKamegai for complete coverage.
Tag Team: Cotto To Face Both Kamegai And Father Time On August 26th
Tag Team: Cotto To Face Both Kamegai And Father Time On August 26th
By: Sean Crose
It’s been a while, but Miguel Cotto will finally be returning to the ring on August 26th. His opponent will be the exciting Yoshihiro Kamegai in a battle for the WBO world super welterweight title, which Cotto’s last opponent, Canelo Alvarez, vacated in order to easily defeat Julio Caesar Chavez Jr a few weeks back. The bout, which will be held at California’s StubHub Center, will be featured on regular HBO. The fact that the fight won’t be a pay per view event is a refreshing change for fans, since bouts which used to appear regularly on outlets like HBO now seem to cost those fans extra money.
The last time Cotto was in the ring was way back in November of 2015, when he faced Canelo in a major fight that proved to be a rare pay per view success during the time following the Mayweather-Pacquiao bomb earlier that same year. It was a close bout, but Canelo walked away with a decision win. Since that night, names like Tim Bradley, James Kirkland and Juan Manuel Marquez have been attached, in varying degrees, to Cotto’s. The only major event in Cotto’s stalled career, however, has been his break with promotional entity Roc Nation Sports, which had been representing the Puerto Rican star.
Now, though, the man is set to face Kamegai in a bout that some may be calling a dud, but that, in reality, could prove interesting. For, at thirty six years of age, Cotto will not only be coming off a long layoff, but will be running from Father Time, as well. His 40-5 record is impressive, but it’s hard to imagine the man’s best days being ahead of him. His last victory will have been over two years earlier, after all, and that will have been against Daniel Geale, a quality, but certainly not great, opponent.
Still, there are those who see the 27-3-2 Kamegai as something of a tuneup for Cotto before he moves on to bigger and better things, possibly in the fall. The 34 year old Tokyo resident, however, has a shot at glory here. He also has some impressive wins on his resume that are worth considering. Although he may not be the favorite, there may be too many questions in play at the moment to just write the veteran warrior off as a glorified sparring partner for Cotto.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Cotto, Mayweather, Pacquiao, Canelo, Ward, Kovalev, and more…
Boxing Insider Notebook: Cotto, Mayweather, Pacquiao, Canelo, Ward, Kovalev, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of May 16th to May 23rd, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Miguel Cotto to Face Yoshihiro Kamegai on August 26th
Miguel Cotto (40-5, 33 KOs), the only four-division world champion in the rich boxing history of Puerto Rico, will return to the ring on Saturday, August 26 to take on the always-exciting Yoshihiro “El Maestrito” Kamegai (27-3-2, 24 KOs) in a 12-round match for the vacant WBO Junior Middleweight World Championship from the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. Cotto will attempt to secure a sixth world championship in four weight classes as he makes his 23rd appearance on HBO.
Cotto, a surefire, first-ballot Hall-of-Famer, has held world titles in the super lightweight, welterweight, junior middleweight and middleweight divisions and has fought and defeated a who’s who of elite fighters over the last 15 years including Kelson Pinto, Demarcus “Chop Chop” Corley, Ricardo “Mochuelo” Torres, Paulie “Magic Man” Malignaggi, Zab “Super” Judah, Sugar Shane Mosley, Antonio “El Tornado de Tijuana” Margarito, Ricardo “El Matador” Mayorga and Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez.
“I’m very excited to be back and showcase a high level fight for the fans,” Cotto said. “Kamegai is a great, tough fighter, but I will be ready for him and to capture the world title. I can’t wait to start training for this fight and get back in the ring on August 26.”
Kamegai is known as one of the highest-action fighters in the sport having engaged in a fight of the year candidate against Jesus “Renuente” Soto Karass in 2016 and taking champions and contenders including Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero, Alfonso Gomez and Johan “El Terrible” Perez into deep water.
“I fully understand who I am going to be in the ring against, but Cotto’s record and history won’t matter once we are toe-to-toe,” Kamegai said. “I am looking forward to giving fans the kind of aggressive fight that they have seen from me before and having my arm raised in victory.
“Miguel Cotto is a legend who is still fighting for title belts more than a dozen years after first being crowned a world champion. It’s remarkable,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. “But I’ve seen Kamegai in action many times, and the guy doesn’t ever take a step back. Miguel will have his hands full on August 26.”
“August 26 will mark the return of Miguel Cotto pursuing his sixth world title,” said Hector Soto, Vice President of Miguel Cotto Promotions. “Cotto vs. Kamegai will be another epic battle that promises fireworks in the ring between Puerto Rico and Japan. Miguel Cotto is back on the big stage of boxing, fighting in Los Angeles on HBO. Nobody can miss it.”
Floyd Mayweather Invites Anthony Joshua to Las Vegas to Train
Floyd Mayweather Jr. recently spoke to Fight Hype and invited Anthony Joshua to come to the Mayweather Boxing Club and train with him in Las Vegas. Mayweather met with Joshua in London on Sunday and praised him for his victory over Wladimir Klitschko.
Mayweather stated, “You have to respect AJ. He showed that he had heart but we have to bring hum up to the Mayweather Boxing Club as we want to tighten that defense up until it’s real, real sharp and real, real slick.”
Maayweather, who was in London for his Gervonta Davis’ fight, continued by stating , “I’m not trying to move his trainers out the way but there’s things we want to tweak. You saw what we did to Tank [Gervonta Davis]…nobody knew who this kid even wa. But we brought him up and now he’s world champion.”
View Mayweather’s comments at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxavXE7Gs6Y
Manny Pacquiao’s Coach is Wary of Jeff Horn’s Punching Power
Manny Pacquiao is set to face Australia’s Jeff Horn on July 2nd at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia.
Many people consider this to be an easy fight for pacquiao, but Hall of Fame Trainer Freddie Roach recently told ABC-SBN that he has some concerns and isn’t underestimating Horn’s power.
He stated, “This guy can punch. He’s knocked out his last few opponents.” He continued, “He’s dangerous with the right, he has a real good right hook, and that’s something Manny’s been hit with before. We’re fixing all that now and it won’t be a concern by fight time.”
Read more at http://sports.abs-cbn.com/boxing/news/2017/05/23/manny-pacquiao-s-coach-wary-jeff-horn-s-punching-power-26396
Canelo Cements Status as Top Draw in Boxing As Pay Per View Numbers from May 6th Fight Set to Eclipse Seven Figures
The Canelo Alvarez vs. Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. fight on Cinco De Mayo weekend will generate more than one million buys on HBO Pay-Per-View, locking in Canelo’s status as the brightest light in boxing, Golden Boy Promotions announced today.
“Everything I do is for the fans, and I want to express my gratitude for everyone who watches my fights and shows their support,” Canelo said. “My fans are the greatest in the world and this year in September on Mexican Independence weekend, everyone can look forward to another incredible performance.”
Some facts about Canelo’s PPV performance:
•Canelo will be the youngest A-side fighter in history to generate a seven-figure pay-per-view audience;
•This will be the largest Pay-Per-View audience to watch in a boxing match in two years;
•Canelo will be the first A-side fighter in 15 years not named De La Hoya, Mayweather or Pacquiao, to draw a million buys.
“These numbers solidify Canelo as the undisputed biggest name in the sport of boxing-simple as that,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. “At 26 years old, there is no limit to Canelo’s star power as he continues to cross over to mainstream audiences. Canelo only wants to take on the best and the biggest, and we’re confident he will continue to shatter records as boxing’s new pay-per-view king.
24/7 Ward-Kovalev II Premieres June 2nd on HBO
In advance of the highly anticipated light heavyweight championship rematch between world-class prizefighters Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev, HBO Sports will air “24/7 Ward/Kovalev 2,” an exhilarating 30-minute special examining the upcoming encounter. The intriguing pay-per-view event featuring the two pound-for-pound aces takes place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.
The “24/7 Ward/Kovalev 2” special will premiere Friday, June 2 at 11:30 p.m. (ET/PT). The special will look back at their first fight and will preview the hotly anticipated rematch between two accomplished and tenacious ring warriors who first met last November under the red-hot Las Vegas spotlight. Ward, who has not lost a fight since his teen-age years, scored a razor-thin decision over Kovalev and collected all the title belts that the Russian knockout specialist had accumulated. The special will provide all-new content including portraits of both fighters’ path to this impactful showdown. Each has set up training camp on the west coast; Ward in his hometown of Oakland, CA and Kovalev farther south in both Big Bear and Oxnard, CA.
The 30-minute special narrated by Liev Schreiber and produced by HBO’s Emmy-Award-winning “24/7” production team will also be available on HBO On Demand®, HBO GO®, HBO NOW and affiliate portals as well as at www.hbo.com/boxingandvarious other new media platforms that distribute the show.
Thomas Hearns Visits Claressa Shields in Training at Berston Field House in Flint
Two-time Olympic Gold Medalist and Women’s NABF Middleweight Champion, Claressa “T-Rex” Shields had a very special visitor at her gym yesterday, none other than all-time Michigan great Thomas “Hitman” Hearns.
Hearns, from Detroit, is the 1980 and 1984 The Ring Magazine “Fighter of the Year” and the first boxer in history to win world titles in five weight divisions: welterweight, light middleweight, middleweight, super middleweight and light heavyweight.
22-year-old Shields (2-0, 1 KO) of Flint, is currently preparing for her eight-round main event against Mery Rancier (7-8-3, 5 KOs) of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic for the WBC Silver Super Middleweight Championship at Salita Promotions’ “Detroit Brawl” on Friday, June 16, 2017 at the Masonic Temple in Detroit.
“I came out to see her because I want her to do well. I think it’s wonderful that a female fighter is the best from Michigan right now,” said Hearns. “The world is all about change and this is change for the better. I feel good about it. The champions from the past from Michigan are passing the torch to the next great fighter from here and that’s Claressa. The fans in Michigan should come out and help support her because she is the future.”
Shields said she was humbled to have such an all-time great supporting her.
“To have Tommy Hearns come out to my gym means a lot to me, I feel like I’m moving my career in the right direction and getting the right attention. I’m not just some girl putting on some gloves. It means a lot to be the latest big-name fighter to come from Michigan. I’m glad Tommy Hearns chose to come here and it does feel like a passing of the torch. He is very supportive and it feels great to be respected by such a great world champion.”
Shields says her training is going extremely well for her third professional and second championship fight.
“Training so far has been going really good. We’re 29 days out of the fight and I’m in the best shape of my life. I trained hard for my six-rounder and that only went four rounds and I feel like I’m still in shape from that. Now I’m getting ready for eight rounds and I feel great. I’m fighting at 168 pounds and I’m at 168 right now. I haven’t been having weight problems and I’m eating right and running every day.”
Shields promoter, Dmitriy Salita, says Hearns indicated he was very impressed with Shields’ gym work.
“Claressa is the next boxing superstar from the state of Michigan,” he said. “It’s a very special passing of the torch from such a living legend who lives in Detroit as Tommy Hearns. Mr. Hearns, who is a Detroit boxing icon and a great ambassador of the sport, was very impressed with Claressa’s skills and training regimen.”
Salita says he sees Shields’ potential for superstardom and her ability to revive the energy in Michigan boxing.
“Detroit is Americas Greatest Comeback city. We are going to see a revival of world-class boxing, ushered in by a young lady from Flint who despite growing up in very difficult circumstances, is a two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, the most accomplished boxer every to come out of the USA boxing program. This is only her third pro bout, and she is fighting for the WBC Silver title on June 16. We are witnessing something very special here and it’s very ironic that it’s all taking place close to Detroit, which is fighting back for its own recognition again as one of Americas Greatest cities.”
Sampson Lewkowicz Congratulates David Benavidez for Sensational KO of Porky Medina
Promoter Sampson Lewkowicz wishes to congratulate his fighter, David “El Bandera Roja” Benavidez of Phoenix, Arizona, for his sensational eighth-round knockout over Mexico’s Rogelio “Porky” Medina on Saturday night at the Laredo Energy Arena in Laredo, Texas.
With the star-making victory, Benavidez (18-0, 17 KOs) becomes a mandatory challenger for the WBC Super Middleweight Championship. And, depending on when it happens, a win in that fight could make 20-year-old Benavidez the youngest super middleweight world champion in boxing history.
“We were hopeful David would win the fight,” said Lewkowicz, “but I am amazed at how he won. He was incredible. Have you ever seen a knockout like that? An eight-punch combination that almost put Medina out of the ring? David is the best super middleweight in the world. No one can take his punches.”
Lewkowicz, who is often credited for spotting the early talent in champions Manny Pacquiao and Sergio Martinez, has been predicting stardom for Benavidez since early in his career. He now says the sky is the limit for his young charge.
“David’s first fight with me was in November 2015. I said after that fight he was something special and he will be champion by the end of 2017. Medina is a very good fighter. He gave (IBF Super Middleweight Champion) James DeGale a very tough fight not long ago. And David beat him up to the head and body. He works very hard to be who he is and deserves everything he gets.”
Lewkowicz says Benavidez will take a short time off to rest and then get back in the gym to begin training for his championship challenge.
“It doesn’t make a difference who he fights for the title. David will roll over everybody he fights. He is the new boss at 168 lbs. I am very happy to be his promoter and my congratulations also go to his father, Jose, who does a great job getting him ready for his fights.”