HBO Boxing After Dark Preview: Rungvisai vs. Estrada, Cuadras vs. Arroyo, Nietes vs. Reveco
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night, Superfly 2 will take place at the Forum in Inglewood, California and will feature several of the best super flyweight boxers in the division today.
The first Superfly card featured a stunning upset by Srisaket Sor Rungvisai over longtime pound for pound kingpin Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez and the super flyweight division features some of the best pound for pound boxers today.
Photo Credit: HBO Boxing Twitter Account
The undercard will feature a WBA Flyweight title fight between Brian Viloria and Artem Dalakian. The winner of that bout could be a future opponent for any of the main card fighters.
The following is a preview of all three televised fights.
Donnie Nietes (40-1-4) vs. Juan Carlos Reveco (39-3); IBF Flyweight Title
The opening bout of the night will be a title fight between Filipino Donnie Nietes and Argentinean Juan Carlos Reveco.
Nietes has been a world champion since 2008 and first held a title in the minimum weight division. The problem with Nietes is that he has fought mainly in the Philippines and has not faced significant opposition, despite the fact he has had a long title reign.
Nietes is already thirty five years old and his opponent is thirty four years old. Both boxers are considered by most to be near the end of their prime. Reveco is giving up about an inch in height and about two inches in reach to Nietes.
Nietes is not known for his power. He has stopped twenty two of his opponents, and he only has one stoppage victory in his past five fights. Reveco has nineteen stoppage victories, and zero stoppage victories in his past five fights.
Reveco has been to Japan to compete in world title fights, but mainly fights in Argentina. He has fought twice in 2017 and once in 2016. Nietes only fought once in 2017 and twice in 2016.
Nietes has been a world champion since 2008 and has defeated the likes of Edgar Sosa, Raul Garcia, Moises Fuentes, and Gilberto Medina. Most of his opponents would be relatively unknown to most American boxing fans.
Reveco’s resume is also lacking that big win to tout. He has defeated the likes of Felix Alvarado, Karim Guerfi, and Masayuki Kuroda. He held the WBA World Flyweight Title for about two years. His losses were to Kazuto Ioka twice and a loss early on in his career to Brahim Asloum.
Nietes does have some fanfare in the Philippines but at the age of thirty five it’s unlikely he’ll ever catch the same kind of popularity and fanfare of Filipino legend Manny Pacquiao. Nietes has the talent to pull off the victory on Saturday, but it’s likely his next fight will be against another competitor on Saturday’s card that will be highly favored over him.
Carlos Cuadras (36-2-1) vs. McWilliams Arroyo (16-3); Junior Bantamweights
This is the only bout of the night that is not an official title bout. But Carlos Cuadras is one of the best contenders in the super flyweight/junior bantamweight division.
Arroyo is thirty two and is three years older than Cuadras. They both are the same height, but Cuadras will have about a two inch reach advantage on Arroyo.
Both Cuadras and Arroyo had success in the amateur level, but only Arroyo represented his country in the Olympics. Arroyo represented Puerto Rico at the 2008 Olympics and won gold at the 2009 World Amateur Boxing Championships.
Cuadras fought twice in 2017 and twice in 2016. He has twenty seven knockouts on his resume but only has one stoppage win in his past five fights. Arroyo fought zero times in 2017, once in 2016, and once in 2015. He has three stoppage wins in his past five fights.
Arroyo’s inactivity is of concern. He has lost two of his past three fights. His losses so far in his career were to Roman Gonzalez and Amnat Ruenroeng. He also lost early on in his career to Takashi Okada. Arroyo does not have a lot of big victories on his resume. He defeated the likes of Ronald Ramos, Miguel Tamayo, and Foilan Saludar.
Cuadras has been very active and fought two very close decision losses to Juan Francisco Estrada and Roman Gonzalez. He has victories over David Carmona, Luis Concepcion, Wisaksil Wangek, and Victor Zaleta.
Wisaksil Wangek is also known as Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, the man who fights on Saturday’s main event and the man who recently beat Roman Gonzalez.
Arroyo’s inactivity and losses in recent fights are big negatives that are hard to ignore. Cuadras should be able to walk out the victor.
Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (44-4-1) vs. Juan Francisco Estrada (36-2); WBC Junior Bantamweight Title
Rungvisai became a well known name in the boxing community when he won a stunning majority decision over Roman Gonzalez in March of last year and then followed it up with a career defining knockout over Gonzalez in their rematch.
While his power and conditioning cannot be denied, he still has readily apparent weaknesses that technical boxers should be able to exploit.
Rungvisai, a southpaw, is four years older than Estrada. Rungvisai will also be giving up about an inch in height and about two and a half inches in reach.
Rungvisai fought twice in 2017 and five times in 2016. In activity will not be an issue for him. Three of the past five fighters he faced were making their professional debut at the time. Estrada fought twice in 2017 and once in 2016.
Rungvisai notable victories were his two over Roman Chocolatito Gonzalez. He had no other notable victories prior his fights with Chocolatito. Three of his losses were early on in his career to Akira Yaegashi, Yushin Yafuso, and Kenji Oba in Japan. His only other loss was to the co-main event participant Carlos Cuadras.
Estrada’s only losses were to Roman Gonzlaez in 2012 and to Juan Carlos Sanchez in 2011. He has defeated the likes of Brian Viloria, Milan Melindo, Giovani Segura, Hernan Marquez, and Anuar Salas.
Rungvisai was able to win HBO’s Fighter of the Year in 2017, but he’s facing another talented opponent on Saturday in which he’s expected to be the underdog.
Rungvisai has shown he can hang with some of the sport’s best, but he’ll need to be fighting at his best in order to pull off another upset on Saturday.
HBO Boxing After Dark Preview: Chocolatito vs. Rungvisai, Inoue vs. Nieves, Cuadras vs. Estrada
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night the super flyweight/junior bantamweight division will take center stage on HBO as three fights in the division, which includes two world title fights and a WBC junior bantamweight title eliminator will take place.
Photo Credit: USA Today
The Stub Hub Center in Carson, California will be the host site for Saturday’s HBO Boxing After Dark Card. This card is stacked in the super flyweight division. Additionally, former UFC fighter Nam Phan will compete on the undercard as well as former world title holder Brian Viloria.
The following is a preview of the three planned televised fights on Saturday night.
Carlos Cuadras (36-1-1) vs. Juan Francisco Estrada (35-2); WBC Junior Bantamweight Eliminator
The opening bout of the broadcast will be between Carlos Cuadras and Juan Francisco Estrada, two boxers in the junior bantamweight division that previously faced, and lost to Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez.
Both boxers stand at 5’4” and have a reach of 66”. Cuadras is twenty nine years old and two years older than Estrada. Both boxers have considerable power. Estrada has twenty five stoppage victories on his record while Cuadras has stopped twenty seven of his opponents. Estrada appears to have the edge in power in recent fights however, he has stopped three of his past four opponents while Cuadras only has two stoppage victories in the past five fights.
Cuadras appears to have the slight edge in amateur experience. Estrada claims an amateur record of 94-4, while Cuadras won a gold medal in the International Junior Olympics and won a gold medal in the Pan American Games in 2003.
Estrada only fought once in 2016 and once in 2017, but that can be partly explained by a surgery he had to his right hand. Cuadras fought once in 2017 and twice in 2016.
Cuadras has defeated the likes of David Carmona, Richie Mepranum, Luis Concepcion, and Wisaksil Wangek. Estrada has a slightly better resume as a professional and has defeated the likes of Hernan Marquez, Giovani Segura, Milan Melindo, and Brian Viloria.
This should be an entertaining bout and could go either way, but Estrada is considered by many to be the second best super bantamweight behind Chocolatito and they appear destined to rematch in the near future.
Naoya Inoue (13-0) vs. Antonio Nieves (17-1-2); WBO Junior Bantamweight Title
Naoya Inoue is a world titlist form Japan that is starting to generate a lot of buzz in the boxing community.
He’s a world champion at only twenty four years old and has spent his entire career fighting in Japan. He’ll be six years younger than Nieves on fight night and will also have about a half an inch height advantage. However, he is giving up about an inch in reach.
Inoue also appears to have the power advantage. In thirteen fights he already has evel stoppage victories, including three of his past four fights. Nieves only has nine stoppage wins in twenty professional fights and is coming off of a loss.
Both boxers experienced moderate success as an amateur. Inoue won the gold medal in the 2011 President’s Cup and Nieves was a silver medalist in the 2011 National Golden Gloves.
Inoue has faced good opposition ever since his professional debut. His list of notable wins include Kohei Hono, David Carmona, Omar Narvaez, and Adrian Hernandez. Nieves is coming off of a loss to Nikolai Potapov. His only notable wins were against Oscar Mojica and Stephon Young.
Many expect Inoue to wow the crowd on Saturday night with a dominating victory against Nieves. A win may set up a possible big money fight with Roman Gonzalez, provided Gonzalez also wins his bout on Saturday.
Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (43-4-1) vs. Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (46-1); WBC Junior Bantamweight Title
This bout is a rematch of their barn burner fight which saw Rungvisai pull off the stunning upset victory over Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez. Many fans in attendance, and many members of the media, thought Gonzalez did enough to win the fight despite the fact he was knocked down in the first round.
In fact, CompuBox stats showed that Gonzalez had outlanded Rungvisai in ten of the twelve rounds, but still wound up losing the fight.
Gonzalez and Rungvisai are both thirty years old and stand at 5’3”. Gonzalez will have a slight half and inch reach advantage on Rungvisai. Gonzalez has thirty eight stoppage wins on his record, but has only stopped one opponent in his past four fights. Rungvisai has thirty nine stoppage wins to his resume and has stopped nine of his past ten opponents.
However, Rungvisai lacks amateur experience and Gonzalez won the gold medal in the 2004 Central American Championships.
Gonzalez fought once in 2017 and twice in 2016. He has defeated the likes of Carlos Cuadras, Brian Viloria, Edgar Sosa, Akira Yaegashi, and Juan Francisco Estrada.
Rungvisai fought once in 2017 and five times in 2016. However, three of those fights in 2016 were against debuting fighters and most of his wins came against suspect competition. His biggest wins to date were against Jose Salgado and Roman Gonzalez. He has a loss to Carlos Cuadras on his resume, and his other three losses came within the first five fights of his career.
Many felt Gonzalez won their first encounter and many expect him to emerge victorious in their rematch. However, you can not discount the heart that Rungvisai showed in their first fight and he appears to be a boxer with legitimate power in his hands that can end the fight quickly.
This should be another entertaining scrap, but it’s a scrap that Gonzalez is expected to win in a way that will take it out of the hands of the judges.
Super Flyweight Super Card: 2017 Just Keeps on Giving
By: Matt O’Brien
“I think 2016 should go down as one of the worst years in boxing history, maybe the worst.” – Oscar De La Hoya, October 2016.
Photo Credit: HBO Sports
The Golden Boy’s sad assessment of the state of boxing almost a year ago may have been somewhat of an exaggeration, but it’s fair to say 2016 was not exactly a banner year for the sport. Still recovering from the stench of the Mayweather-Pacquiao mega-letdown in 2015 and facing the prospect of being usurped as the world’s No.1 combat sport by a surging UFC, boxing was certainly in need of a serious shot in the arm.
Many of the sport’s detractors, especially the less informed members of the mainstream media as well as some of the staunchest supporters of MMA, were prepared to go even further than De La Hoya and pronounce the imminent demise of the Sweet Science. Writing for the LA Times in September 2016, for example, reporter Dylan Hernandez confidently declared: “Boxing is dead”.
Well, if boxing is dying, it is one hell of a glorious death. 2017 has been an absolute treat, with a raft of superb cards around the world and several of the best and most meaningful fights across the divisions getting made.
January started with a bang as the world’s two best super middleweights, James DeGale and Badou Jack, fought to a draw in their attempted unification fight in New York. Keith Thurman then unified two welterweight belts in March, while April saw 90,000 fans pack out Wembley Stadium for one of the best heavyweight title fights in recent memory. Errol Spence travelled to the UK for another massive stadium showdown with Kell Brook in May, and in June Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev fought to determine pound-for-pound supremacy in a rematch for the WBO/WBA/IBF light-heavyweight championships. Then in August boxing crowned it’s first undisputed champion for 12 years, as Terrence Crawford captured all four major belts at 140lbs.
Of course, most recently the richest fight in history also happened to take place in a boxing ring and saw MMA’s biggest star easily dismantled over 10 rounds. The list of huge boxing fights in 2017 goes on and on, and this weekend the trend continues.
Boxing’s little men do not always receive the attention or the acclaim that fighters higher up the weight classes typically garner, but it’s hard to ignore this stacked super flyweight card. Three quality fights, two of which are for world titles and feature two of the most talented operators in the sport, while the third pitches two exciting former world champions against each other in a battle of top contenders. There is nothing not to like about this event.
Kicking things off, American viewers will be treated to their first look at Japanese sensation Naoya “The Monster” Inoue (13-0), as the WBO 115lbs champion makes the sixth defense of his title on his American debut, versus Antonio Nieves (17-1-2) of Cleveland, Ohio. The young phenom is already a two-weight world champion at just 24 years of age and his fluid, rangy technique and vicious body attack is one of the most pleasing styles to watch in the sport. Expect the Japanese prodigy to do the business and set up a return to American soil against one of the other winners on the main card.
The chief supporting bout is a terrific Mexican civil war between former WBC 115lbs champion Carlos Cuadras (36-1-1) and former WBA/WBO 112lbs champion, Juan Francisco Estrada (35-2). Since losing a closely contested points decision to Roman Gonzalez back in 2012, Estrada is on a nine-fight win streak, including impressive victories over former world champs such as Brian Viloria, Giovani Segura and Hernan Marquez. Meanwhile Cuadras is also on the comeback trail having lost his title to Gonzalez, being defeated over twelve rounds in the Nicaraguan’s 115lbs debut last year.
In what promises to be an exciting, high-skills match-up, the winner will command a spot as the top contender in the division. This one could go either way, but I’m going with the crisp combination punching of Estrada to see him through to a points victory in a tightly fought bout.
Finally, the main event on Saturday sees an immediate rematch of one of the most grueling fights and biggest upsets of the year so far, when the unheralded Thai Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (43-4-1) claimed a surprising majority decision over Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez in March. The Nicaraguan four-weight world champion went into that contest with a perfect 46-0 record and was widely regarded as the finest pound-for-pound fighter on the planet. Floored in the opening stanza by the naturally bigger challenger, Gonzalez responded well and took firm control of the contest over the middle rounds. The Thai fighter showed incredible guts and resilience to come back into the fight over the second half, though he seemed very fortunate to receive the judges’ verdict – if Gonzalez had won just a single extra point on one of the scorecards, he would have retained his title via majority draw.
In the first fight the two men threw an incredible combined total of 1,953 punches, and the return is likely to be just as bloody and fiercely contested. “Chocolatito” clearly owns the superior skillset of the two, but he is also fighting at a significant disadvantage in weight. The smaller frame and aggressive, counter punching style of Gonzalez also means that he will inevitably spend much of the fight “in the pocket”, with the extra natural strength of the Thai posing real danger. Although I expect the more accurate punching and better defence of the former champ to prevail, as I believe he deserved to last time, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Sor Rungvisai drag Gonzalez into another war of attrition and make it a close call on the official cards once again.
The fun does not end at the sound of the main event’s final bell, however. In fact, almost as exciting as the card itself are the potential follow-up fights that can be made in the wake of Saturday’s results.
Most obviously, assuming that both come through with a “W”, one of the best matches that could be made – not only in the super flyweight division but in the whole of boxing – would be a blockbuster clash between Japanese star Inoue and Nicaraguan legend Gonzalez. As well as crowning a unified and lineal champion at 115lbs, this would also springboard the winner towards the dizzy heights of boxing’s best practitioners, pound-for-pound. A match-up of this quality would easily surpass any to take place in boxing’s lower weight classes since Michael Carbajal and Humberto Gonzalez became the first little men to headline a PPV card back in 1993, in what turned out to be one of the fights of the decade. It is no exaggeration to say that a potential meeting between “The Monster” Inoue and “Chocolatito” Gonzalez could live up to similar expectations.
Estrada and Cuadras, both in the hunt for a rematch with Gonzalez, could equally provide exciting opposition for Inoue, should a superfight between the aforementioned pair be left to “marinate” a while longer, to use the promotional jargon. Assuming the two Mexicans deliver the kind of drama expected on Saturday, any combination of winner and loser of that fight vs. Gonzalez or Inoue would make for compelling viewing.
Of course, there is also the prospect of either Sor Rungvisai or Nieves – or both – pulling off the upset and throwing a great big spanner in the works. The Thai’s experience and gutsy style make him a tough assignment for anyone, and even coming off a decent losing performance versus Gonzalez he would still present an interesting challenge for Inoue, with a fight between the two South-East Asians no doubt doing great business in Japan. And while Nieves starts as a huge underdog, he comes in without the pressure of being expected to win on his shoulders. The Japanese fighter is boxing away from home for the first time, and while it’s hard to see him losing, Sor Rungvisai’s win over Gonzalez should remind us that no fight is a foregone conclusion.
In short, the possible combinations of intriguing matches emanating from this weekend’s fantastic card are numerous, and the fact that one of boxing’s lowest weight classes is gaining the kind of attention usually reserved for stars in the heavier divisions is a great sign that the sport overall is in very good health.
So, if you know anyone suggesting that boxing is “dying”, you might want to direct them over to HBO this Saturday night – they’ll see that the Sweet Science is alive and kicking. With so many other excellent fights already on the horizon, including the GGG-Canelo megabout and a plethora of mouth-watering match-ups in the World Boxing Super Series, boxing really is booming.
How Many Wars Does Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez Have Left In Him?
How Many Wars Does Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez Have Left In Him?
By: Sean Crose
Chocolatito looks to be returning. The WBC has ordered former junior bantamweight champ Roman Gonzalez to face Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, the man who beat him this past March, in a rematch for the title strap. Gonzalez-Sor Rungvisai was a fight of the year candidate that showed both men going for broke before a thrilled Madison Square Garden crowd. Many, if not most, felt that Gonzalez did enough to win the fight, but the judges gave the nod to the challenger. Up until that time, the Nicaraguan icon was regarded as the pound for pound best fighter in the world. Controversial or not, the decision loss to Sor Rungvisai dented Gonzalez’ reputation.
The WBC unquestionably made fans happy by ordering this rematch, though. Even if Gonzalez had pulled off the victory the first time, a rematch certainly wouldn’t be something to shake your head at. Yet it’s worth wondering at this point how many wars Gonzalez has left in him. The first bout with Rungvisai, who people inexplicably under-rated walking in, was nothing if not a grueling affair. Furthermore, Gonzalez’ previous bout, against the undefeated Carlos Cuadras, was no walk in the park, either. Boxing is a tough sport. After a point, it starts taking its toll.
Still, this has the potential to be the crowning moment in Gonzalez’ spectacular career. Being the first Nicaraguan to win major titles in four, that’s four, weight classes may have been a big deal – the great Alexis Arguello was unable to pull off such a feat, after all – but overcoming his only loss against a truly game opponent might act as the cherry on the sundae. Not that Rungvisai would have any intention of simply giving his belt back to the man he won it from. The Thai slugger is tough as nails, has an incredible heart and, yes, was able to drop Gonzalez the first time around.
Rungvisai was originally supposed to face Cuadras – the man he lost the junior bantamweight title to before winning it back by besting Gonzalez (who had won it himself by besting Cuadras). The WBC has also arranged, however, for Cuadras to face Juan Francisco Estrada, with the intention of the having the winner of that bout face the winner of Gonzalez-Rungvisai II. Give the WBC this – it has a plan for itself. And it’s one the fans, and certainly Gonzalez, can approve of.
GGG-Jacobs Undercard Results: Cuadras Victorious
GGG-Jacobs Undercard Results: Cuadras Victorious
By: Sean Crose
New York was home to one of the year’s top fight cards on Saturday as middleweight terror Gennady Golovkin threw down with the man who was widely regarded by many as his preeminent threat, Daniel Jacobs. There was also a fairly stacked undercard to behold, starting with former middleweight titlist Andy Lee, who returned from a lengthy layoff to face KeAndre Leatherwood. The southpaw Lee, 34-3-1, came out with a probing jab against Leatherwood, 19-3-1, in the first. It proved to be a tentative affair early on, with the still-arriving crowd starting to boo. Lee remained patient, however.
Things remained quiet throughout the second, as Lee tried to rid himself of ring rust and Leatherwood struggled with what seemed to be uncertainty. As the fight progressed, there looked to be an unwillingness on the part of Leatherwood to work the body, or to truly instigate any action. Perhaps it was due to the bright lights and a big name opponent, but he wasn’t challenging Lee a great deal. Halfway through the eight round affair, it became obvious that Lee might be willing to simply put in rounds.
Lee came alive in the 6th, however, landing clean and closing in effectively. Not an enormous amount of action came from it, though, and Lee essentially cruised to a unanimous decision win in a disciplined, if not exactly thrilling affair.
Next up was up and coming lighweight Ryan Martin, who put his undefeated, 17-0 record on the line against Bryant Cruz, 17-1-0 in a scheduled ten round match. Martin, who goes by the name of Blue Chip (get it?) looked sharp throughout the first four rounds, but Cruz was definitely game. By the fifth Martin was banging away, but Cruz – to his credit – showed he had a beard. That being said, there was little doubt Martin was the man in charge. And so the slow breakdown continued. Cruz was brave, but he couldn’t hold on forever. By the eighth, referee Harvey Dock stopped the bout.
It was time for Carlos Cuadras. The charming rogue of a super flyweight walked in the ring with a 35-1-1 record to face the 20-3-5 David Carmona. Cuadras was patient in the first and continued to dominate through the first three. Carmona had come to fight, though, which meant Cuadras had to box smart rather than whaling away. Things continued along at a fast pace throughout the next few rounds. By the seventh, though, it looked like Carmona might be coming on. And, to be sure, the following two rounds were competitive.
The last one was no blow out for either fighter, either. The judges gave Cuadras the nod – but he didn’t look like he did against Roman Gonzalez not all that long ago.
Already A Legend, Roman Gonzalez Still Wants To Challenge Himself
Already A Legend, Roman Gonzalez Still Wants To Challenge Himself
By: Sean Crose
“I have already accomplished a lot,” undefeated multi-division champion Roman Gonzalez said on a recent conference call. Without doubt, the Nicaraguan slugger known as Chocolatito has earned some well deserved accolades. Last November the man won a world title in his fourth weight class by grinding out a grueling win against Carlos Cuadras for the WBC world super flyweight title. His legacy assured, Gonzalez is turning his attention towards other matters. “Now,” he claimed on the call, “my goal is to hold onto my fourth world title in order to gain higher purses and more money.” Fighting at 115 pounds isn’t exactly easy for Gonzalez, however.
“Never did I think it was going to be easy campaigning in this division at 115,” Gonzalez said. “It takes time to get used to and I think that’s what is happening at the moment but I think I will be fine.” His battle against Cuadras certainly was no walk in the park. Defending champ Cuadras wasn’t in it to lose. Indeed, the undefeated Mexican made it clear that he saw Gonzalez was his ticket to the big time. And even though Cuadras lost the fight, he gained an enormous amount of respect from the fight world.
And now people, including, it seems, Gonzalez, are looking forward to a rematch. “As I look at a fight coming up against Carlos Cuadras again,” Gonzalez claimed, “I realize I have to train harder. Every opponent presents different challenges. I do believe that the second fight, the rematch, will be better.” First, however, Gonzalez has business to attend to in Madison Square Garden this Saturday. For, Gonzalez will be featured in the co main event of the Gennady Golovkin-Daniel Jacobs card. His opponent? The hard hitting former champ Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, the man who Cuadras won the super flyweight title from.
In other words, it’s not necessarily easy going for Chocolatito this weekend. Sor Rungvisai may not have faced a murderer’s row throughout his career, but he goes to the body like it’s no one’s business. What’s more, Sun Rungvisai, like Cuadras, undoubtedly sees a great future ahead of him should he beat the Nicaraguan legend. Then there’s the matter that Gonzalez’ last fight was an absolutely brutal affair. Such things can have an impact. Add all this to the fact that the man has already reached Olympian heights and it’s worth wondering if an upset might be in the air.
Still, this is Gonzalez fighting here, the fighter widely regarded as the best pound for pound boxer on earth. Whether that’s really true or not, Gonzalez is a force to be reckoned with. What’s more, he knows what it’s like to be on a big stage. “On any other show,” promoter Tom Loeffler said of Gonzalez-Sor Rungvisai, “it would clearly be the main event.”
Boxing Insider Notebook: Mayweather, Golovkin, Cuadras, Fonfara, Olympics, and more…
Boxing Insider Notebook: Mayweather, Golovkin, Cuadras, Fonfara, Olympics, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of January 24th to January 31st, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Olympian Richard Hitchins Signs with Mayweather Promotions
Richard Hitchins fought for Haiti at the 2016 Rio Olympics and has recently signed a deal with Mayweather Promotions.
Hitchins will make his debut on March 4th at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. He will compete in the junior welterweight division. He will be on the undercard of the Thurman vs. Garcia bout.
Carlos Cuadras vs. David Carmona Added to Golovkin vs. Jacobs HBO PPV Telecast
Former World Boxing Council (WBC) Super Flyweight Champion CARLOS “PRINCIPE” CUADRAS, (35-1-1, 27 KO’s) of Mexico City, Mexico returns to battle against cross-town rival and Former World Title Challenger DAVID “SEVERO” CARMONA, (20-3-5, 8 KO’s), also of Mexico City, Mexico, on Saturday, March 18 at The Mecca of Boxing, Madison Square Garden.
Cuadras vs. Carmona, scheduled for ten rounds, will be featured on the televised undercard of the World Middleweight Championship between Unified Middleweight World Champion GENNADY “GGG” GOLOVKIN, (36-0-0, 33 KO’s) and WBA Middleweight World Champion and Mandatory Challenger DANIEL “THE MIRACLE MAN” JACOBS, (32-1, 29 KO’s). The event will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.
“I wanted a rematch with Roman Gonzalez but right now my sole focus is on Carmona, we’ve known each other for many years and there is a true rivalry between us,” said Cuadras. “I’m looking forward to settling it in the ring at Madison Square Garden, the home of so many classic battles and in front of the great Mexican boxing fans in New York City and those watching on HBO Pay-Per-View.”
Said Carmona, “Carlos has accomplished a great deal in boxing, being a former world champion and undefeated for many years. However, my time is now and I look forward to being victorious on March 18.”
“We’re very excited to add this all-Mexican battle between Carlos Cuadras and David Carmona to an already outstanding boxing event,” said TOM LOEFFLER, Managing Director of K2 PROMOTIONS. “Cuadras is coming off one of the best fights of 2016 in his world title fight with “Chocolatito” last September on HBO and Carmona is looking to prove he’s worthy of another world title opportunity.”
“Carlos was one of the true breakout stars in boxing last year in his valiant performance against ‘Chocolatito’. We’ve gotten a tremendous response to our showcasing of the lighter weights at our events from boxing fans and the media and we’re very excited to have these two super flyweight battles on the televised undercard.”
“Adding this third bout to the March 18 event continues our commitment to boxing fans in the arena and those watching on HBO Pay-Per-View that we will provide maximum value at our events. Tickets for Madison Square Garden are selling fast and we look forward to another outstanding event on March 18.”
On September 10, 2016, then undefeated WBC Super Flyweight World Champion Cuadras and three-division world champion ROMAN “CHOCOLATITO” GONZALEZ waged war in a 2016 “Fight of the Year” candidate in front of a huge crowd at The Fabulous Forum and telecast on HBO.
After twelve epic rounds of world class action, the 28-year-old Cuadras lost a very close decision to Gonzalez in a battle that had the Mexican and Nicaraguan partisan crowds on their feet cheering throughout.
Carmona is returning to the ring following the toughest test of his seven-year professional career. On May 8, 2016, the 25-year-old Carmona traveled to Tokyo, Japan to challenge undefeated WBO Super Flyweight Champion NAOYA INOUE. Following twelve action packed rounds, Carmona came up short on the judges’ scorecards but validated his standing among the best in the division.
Sampson Lewkowicz Issues Challenge to World’s Top Super Middleweights on Behalf of Boxing Prodigy David Benavidez: Fight My Fighter
Promoter Sampson Lewkowicz is issuing a challenge to the world’s top super middleweights: Help his fighter, David “El Bandera Roja/Red Flag” Benavidez, become the youngest 168-lb champion in boxing history by fighting him.
“He is on a course to smash the old record,” said Lewkowicz of Benavidez, but I need a top-10 contender or a world champion to fight him. He’ll take on anyone in the world.”
Phoenix, Arizona’s Benavidez (17-0, 16 KOs), who did his usual steamroll over opponents last Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas (this time over Uzbekistan’s Shareli Mamajonov in less than two brutal rounds), is only 20 years old. The youngest super middleweight champion in history was Darin Van Horn, who was 22 years, 8 months and 11 days old when he beat Robert Hines by a 12-round unanimous decision for the IBF Junior Middleweight Championship on February 5, 1989.
“Promoters don’t want their fighters to fight him,” continued Lewkowicz. “He can’t move up the ratings or make boxing history if promoters are too worried about their investments to let their fighters face him. I need the promoters behind the top 10 contenders in the division to step up and see if their fighters can stop his rise. They can’t. But I need them to try.”
Benavidez is currently rated WBC #14, WBA #7, IBF #13.
“If you are reading this and you promote any super middleweight fighter who has a top-10 ranking or is world champion, call me. We will fight. We hear from opponents looking to get paid for getting knocked out, but never anyone with a top-10 rating. This is your challenge. Call me and let’s get it on. Help my fighter become part of boxing history.”
Fred Jenkins and Roque Zapata Have Statements to Make in March 10th Battle in Philly
Fred Jenkins, Jr., who has labored in anonymity for six years as a pro, and Roque Zapata, a virtual unknown who upset the apple cart two months ago in Philadelphia, collide March 10 at the 2300 Arena in a six-round junior middleweight fight with career implications for each man.
Topping the nine-bout card is an eight-round all-Philadelphia lightweight contest between Anthony Burgin and Avery Sparrow. First fight begins at 7.30 pm.
Jenkins, 30, turned pro in early in 2011. He has compiled a 10-3 record with 3 K0s. His biggest win came in 2014 when he knocked out Jeremy Trussell, of Baltimore, MD, in two rounds at the 2300 Arena. Trussell was 8-1-1 at the time.
In his last fight Oct. 14 in the same ring, Jenkins outpointed Ibrihim Shabazz, of Newark, NJ, over four rounds. He also has beaten James Robinson, of York, PA, and he lost to undefeated fighters: Jeff Lentz, of Lanoka Harbor, NJ, and Ismael Garcia, of Vineland, NJ. He has been stopped once.
“I had about 50 amateur fights,” said Jenkins (left), who is 5-foot-7. “The heaviest I ever was in the amateurs was 215 pounds, but there were times around 2008 or 2009 when I was not training that I went up to 275.”
When he turned pro in 2011, Jenkins was as heavy as 174.
“I was working back then and I didn’t have a lot of time to train,” Jenkins said. “I worked for a railroad company in King of Prussia (PA) and my job was to drive people to and from work. I also worked for a paratransit company, driving elderly people and disabled people. Sometimes I was in the gym and sometimes not. I was taking fights at heavier weights “
Jenkins was in the house Dec. 2 when Zapata out-pointed Isaiah Wise.
“Zapata throws a lot of punches and he simply tries to outwork you,” Jenkins said. “But when I start banging him in the body and going to his ribs, I don’t think he’ll be throwing that many punches afterward. He’s also smaller than I am (5-foot-6 compared to 5-foot-7) and that doesn’t happen too often with me. I’m coming to win and I’m going to do everything I can to get there.” Jenkins is managed and trained by his dad, Fred Jenkins, Sr., a member of the Pennsylvania Boxing Hall of Fame.
Zapata (right), 21, of Culpeper, VA, traveled to the 2300 Arena on Dec. 2 and upset previously unbeaten (3-0) Wise, of Philadelphia, in what could have been the most action-packed four rounds of 2016 locally.
A pro less than one year, Zapata squeezed all six fights (2-1-3 record) into 2016, fighting opponents with good records, mostly in their backyards. He has boxed once in Virginia, five times in Pennsylvania and he also upset then-unbeaten (5-0) Dan Karpency, of Adah, PA, over four rounds last April in Washington, PA.
Zapata’s only setback was via six-round decision to unbeaten (6-0) Amonte Eberhardt, also in Washington, PA.
“I came into Philly on December 2 as an outcast and that night all I wanted was the respect of the Philly fans,” Zapata said. “I knew I had to prove to myself and to the Philly fans that I belong there with the hometown guys. I’m going to bring it every time. I feel I have not got the respect of the Philly fans, so that being said, on March 10 I am going to fight Fred Jenkins and I’m gonna do my absolute best to show the fans that I’m not a bum looking for paycheck but that I was born to do this and be the best at it.
“My career progress I would say is good even though I have one loss and three draws. All my fights were tough. Amonte Eberhardt is the only guy who beat me and I took that fight on one day’s notice and I had to cut 13 pounds and I fought six hard rounds even though I was dehydrated. This is no excuse but I believe if I had an eight-week camp (it would have been different). I was robbed in those three draws. I have watched them over and over and I cannot believe how the judges scored the way they did but that’s what happens when you fight hometown guys sometimes, but life goes on.
“Returning to Philadelphia to fight on a great card with good upcoming prospects is amazing.”
Andrzej Fonfara Adds Pilates to Training Regimen
Light heavyweight contender, Andrzej Fonfara (28-, 16 KOs), has entered the world of Pilates as he plans to take his career to new heights. Born in Poland and training in Bay Area, CA, with coach Virgil Hunter, Fonfara believes his Pilates regimen will improve his boxing career on many different levels.
“I just started doing Pilates as part of my workout routine.” said former world title challenger Andrzej Fonfara. “I felt I needed to do something different in my boxing training and Pilates fit right in. The workouts are very challenging. My stamina and balance feels better. Overall I feel like a new fighter. I know I have what it takes to get back on top. My goal is to get back in the win column and continue my march toward a world championship.”
Right now, negotiations are being discussed for his next fight. Look for Fonfara to return to the ring in March, most likely against a top contender. Right now Fonfara is currently ranked WBC #8.
AIBA Special Investigation Committee Statement on 2016 Rio Olympics
The AIBA Special Investigation Committee (SIC), consisting of experts from its Refereeing and Judging (R&J), Technical and Rules, as well as Disciplinary Commissions, has concluded its investigation into the practices and procedures of officials during the Rio 2016 Olympic Boxing Tournament. The SIC’s recommendations for improvements to R&J structure for the Tokyo 2020 Cycle are already being put in place.
The investigation ordered by AIBA President Dr Ching-Kuo Wu after a small number of decisions at Rio 2016 came under scrutiny and serious allegations were made against AIBA officials, has been concluded. Starting in mid-September, the full investigation took place in two phases across four months, with over 50 interviews conducted during that time.
The key findings indicate that, due to a lack of proper procedural norms, a concentration of decision-making power and the assigning of roles assumed by former senior management that had a detrimental impact on in-competition best practice. Whilst the Special Investigation found no active interference in the results, AIBA moved quickly to identify those involved and took the necessary steps to ensure its officials will no longer become scapegoats for close decisions which are an inherent aspect of the sport.
“AIBA defends the integrity of its expert R&Js who operate in difficult, subjective circumstances, but we have shown that we are also not afraid of making difficult decisions for the good of boxing. An unwelcome axis of influence and sole decision-making had been created and used by former Senior Management that led to a lack of due process being carried out. We moved immediately to re-empower our commissions and use their expertise in order to decentralise the decision-making and re-establish our procedures.
Whilst there is no evidence that this had a direct influence on results in Rio, if best practice is not followed 100% of the time by our officials and R&Js, that is unacceptable. The SIC have conducted a thorough investigation and many of their recommendations, including the disbanding of the 5-star R&J structure and placing control of the FOP back in the hands of the Tournament Supervisor, have already been put into place. These actions will ensure even greater consistency and transparency in our officiating as we head into the new Olympic Cycle.” said AIBA President Dr Ching-Kuo Wu.
Potentially damaging influences removed
The report shows that the actions AIBA has taken since the Rio 2016 Olympic Boxing Tournament, and the organisation’s current positive steps, are justified. Following the removal of these mechanisms that threatened the integrity of the organisation, the SIC also found unprofessional relationships within AIBA had created an atmosphere of collusion between senior management and the Five-Star R&Js that undermined the organisation and had a negative impact on its operating efficiency.
Recommendations already being implemented
The overriding goal of the SIC investigation, to provide recommendations that will help create a reorganised structure for R&Js and ensure the correct safeguards are in place, have already been realised. The Five-star R&J system has been disbanded with the unanimous agreement of the R&J Commission. Improvements to the in-competition administration of officials have already been trialled and approved for AOB tournaments in 2017 after being successfully trial run at the Youth World Championships in St Petersburg in November 2016.
The R&J Draw Commission has been removed and an automated Swiss Timing system will assign officials to matches, with all five Judges’ scorecards now used to determine the winner of a bout. Changes to the Field of Play will now give R&Js the best possible environment in which to operate and be evaluated, while the Executive Director, or any AIBA staff member, will no longer have any role in the FOP. There is no evidence that the reallocation of medal rankings is required for Rio 2016, but AIBA will be researching the feasibility of processes for the appeal of decisions in the future.
Education and training
In order to move forward, and to prevent AIBA becoming a scapegoat for unpopular decisions in the future, a broad education programme will be undertaken involving boxers, coaches, officials and fans alike, to instil a greater understanding of scoring and give a strong reminder of the importance of sportsmanship, respect and fair play values. It is essential that the entire boxing community is more in tune with the parameters within which the R&Js work, in order to better understand their decisions. The subjectivity of scoring is part of what makes the sport unique, and the nature of the contest means that strong opinions are formed by teams and fans, but that should not impact negatively on the integrity of the officials.
Reintegration of Rio 2016 officials
AIBA reiterates that while the decision to stand down all 36 R&Js that were officiating at Rio 2016 was necessary until the SIC investigation had been concluded, as a preventive measure, it was in no way an indication of their wrongdoing. The reintegration process of those officials into the new-look R&J structure will now begin on a case by case basis, and an extensive series of courses and workshops is being implemented to grow and enhance the pool of first-class officials around the world.
AIBA has taken important steps for the sake of boxing and is determined to learn from the past in order to build positive, enduring legacies for the sport. AIBA Ethics Commission Chair has received the mandate to analyse recent issues and the general organisation of the Association, with the objective to propose operational and governance reforms to the President and the Executive Committee. The organisation stands more united than ever as witnessed in the last Extraordinary Congress held in Montreux, but will continue to tackle any incident of impropriety that dishonours it or the sport with the utmost severity, and repeats its commitment to ensuring the values of fair play and transparency are upheld at all times by the entire AIBA Family, its staff and stakeholders.
HBO World Championship Boxing Preview: Chocolatito vs. Cuadras, Golovkin vs. Brook
HBO World Championship Boxing Preview: Chocolatito vs. Cuadras, Golovkin vs. Brook
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night HBO will broadcast two world championship fights from two different venues. Pound for pound king Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez will be bumping up to the junior bantamweight division to chase after another world title when he faces off against Carlos Cuadras. If he is successful he will have won titles in four different weight classes. Earlier in the day knockout artist Gennady Golovkin will be defending his middleweight titles when he faces welterweight world champion Kell Brook.
The Gonzalez vs. Cuadras bout will take place at the Forum in Inglewood, California and the Golovkin vs. Brook bout will take place at the O2 Arena in London, England on Brook’s home turf. HBO will also be televising a rematch between Yoshihiro Kamegai and Jesus Soto-Karass in the junior middleweight division. Their previous fight was considered by many to be a fight of the year candidate.
The following is a preview of both world title fights.
Carlos Cuadras (35-0-1) vs. Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (45-0); WBC Junior Bantamweight Title
Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez is a three division world champion and considered by many to be the best pound for pound boxer in the world today. However, there are limits to how many weight classes an individual can be a champion in and he’s facing a legitimate junior bantamweight world champion.
Gonzalez will be giving up five inches in height and two inches in reach to Cuadras. Cuadras is also one year younger than Gonzalez, but both are in their physical primes.
They both have been fairly active in the past two years. Cuadras fought three times in 2014 and in 2015, and already fought once in 2016. Gonzalez fought four times in 2014, three times in 2015, and once so far in 2016.
They both had experienced success as an amateur. Cuadras is a Pan American gold medalist and a gold medalist in the International Junior Olympics. Chocolatito has an alleged record of 88-0 as an amateur, but does not have any notable international amateur tournament victories.
Chocolatito has beaten the likes of Yutaka Niida, Juan Francisco Estrada, Rocky Fuentes, Akiri Yaegashi, Edgar Sosa, Brian Viloria, and McWilliams Arroyo. Cuadras has defeated the likes of Marvin Mabait, Luis Concepcion, Dixon Flores, Koki Eto, and Richie Mepranum.
Gonzalez has more world title fight experience and has a record of 14-0 in world title fights. Cuadras has a record of 6-0 in world title fights.
Both boxers have considerable power. Cuadras has twenty seven stoppage victories, and three of his past five fights were by stoppage victory. Gonzalez has thirty eight stoppage victories.
It will be interesting to see how Gonzalez handles the length and reach of Cuadras. Gonzalez, who was a world champion in the minimumweight division, will likely be unable to jump additional weight classes if he’s victorious on Saturday and he has a very tough test ahead of him. This should be an entertaining and technical bout, but Gonzalez should be able to pull off the decision victory, but may have his chin tested in the process.
Gennady Golovkin (35-0) vs. Kell Brook (36-0); WBA/WBC/IBF Middleweight Titles
Don’t let the fact that Kell Brook is jumping up two weight classes to fight Gennady Golovkin fool you. Brook is a large welterweight and Golovkin is a smaller middleweight. In fact, Brook has been weighing in heavier than Golovkin in the weeks leading up to the fight.
One of the biggest question marks about Golovkin is his age. He’s thirty four years old and doesn’t have many years left in his prime. His opponent is four years younger than him. Golovkin, however, will have a slight one and a half inch height advantage and a one inch reach advantage.
Despite the fact he’s a major star in boxing, Golovkin has kept a fairly active schedule. He has fought once in 2016, three times in 2015, and three times in 2014. Brook has been having trouble finding a big fight in the welterweight division and fought twice in 2014 and in 2015, and once in 2016.
Golovkin’s power is well known and can be considered legendary. He has thirty two knockouts on his resume and is in the midst of an incredible streak that consists of twenty two wins by knockout in a row. Brook’s power can’t be overlooked, he has stopped twenty five opponents and has one four of his past five fights by stoppage.
Brook will be fighting in front of his home crowd at the O2 arena and that will be a big advantage for him. He has defeated the likes of Kevin Bizier, Frankie Gavin, Ionut Dan Ion, Shawn Porter, Vyacheslav Senchenko, Matthew Hatton, and Luis Galarza.
The last person to go the distance against Golovkin was Amar Amari in 2008. He has steamrolled every boxer he’s faced since then. He has defead the likes of Dominic Wade, David Lemieux, Willie Monroe Jr., Martin Murray, Marco Antonio Rubio, Daniel Geale, Curtis Stevens, Matthew Macklin, Nobuhiro Ishida, Gabriel Rosado, Kassim Ouma, and Grzegorz Proksa.
Golovkin has to be very careful to not overlook Kell Brook. Brook is a very good, technical boxer and is considered by many to be a top 10 pound for pound fighter. Golovkin’s power should be able to lead him to victory, but don’t be surprised if he knockout streak ends on Saturday night.
Fights You Should Get Hyped About: Gonzalez-Cuadras (Sept. 10th)
Fights You Should Get Hyped About: Gonzalez-Cuadras (Sept. 10th)
By: Sean Crose
Okay it’s no surprise that a lot of boxing fans are disappointed with the general state of the sport at the moment. With all due respect to the more patient among the fan and analyst base, there’s much for fans to be displeased with. Still, those pesky patient types are one hundred percent right to claim there’s still much to like about the sweet science – even here in good ‘ol 2016. Sure enough, there’s some fighters out there well worth watching. What’s more, these pugs are – wait for it – willing to challenge themselves. Let’s begin, then, with a new series here at Boxing Insider called “Fights You Should Get Hyped About.”
First and foremost, a bout that’s not getting a ton of attention, but that should be high on everyone’s list is the upcoming battle between the 35-0 -1Carlos Cuadras and the 45-0 pound for pound kingpin Gabriel Gonzalez. The fight, which will be for the WBC super flyweight championship, will be held September 10th at the Forum in Inglewood, California. It will also air live on HBO the same day Gennady Golovkin engages in a major bout against Kell Brook across the pond in England. While the Golovkin-Brook bout, which HBO will run that evening along with the Cuadras-Gonzalez card, is getting some well-deserved attention, the super flyweight title scrap deserves to generate a lot of heat, as well.
Why? Because Cuadras and Gonzalez are good. Really good. Most fight fans are familiar with Gonzalez, but Cuadras is a fighter who comes to do battle. He’s the standing champion with 27 knockouts on his resume and a healthy amount of confidence walking into the fight of his life. Needless to say, this is not some dude off the street who has been brought in to make Gonzalez look good. He’s a serious opponent who may not surprise a whole lot of people if he pulls off the upset in Inglewood.
Still, this is Gonzalez that Cuadras is facing, Chocolatito himself, perhaps the most highly regarded Nicaraguan fighter since the great Alexis Arguello. Cudras may fire shots like pistons – and that he most certainly does – but Gonzalez has immense speed to match his immense power with. He’s a hard man to pick against, to be sure. Mexico’s Cuadras, however, has never tasted defeat himself. And, as much as he respects Gonzalez, Cuadras will be bringing his own impressive skill set into the ring on the 10th.
A fight truly worth looking forward to.