PBC on Showtime Preview: Davis vs. Cuellar, Charlo vs. Centeno, Broner vs. Vargas
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) will be putting on a stacked card on Showtime live from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Three fights are planned to be televised with a main event featuring the always entertaining Adrien Broner and former World Title Challenger Jessie Vargas. Jermall Charlo will also be fighting on the card for the vacant WBC Interim Middleweight Title. Gervonta Davis will also be taking on Jesus Cuellar for the WBA Junior Lightweight Title.
Photo Credit: Jose Pineiro/SHOWTIME
The undercard will feature boxers such as former Olympian Rau’shee Warren, two sport star Heather Hardy, as well as Dylan Price.
The following is a preview of the three televised bouts.
Gervonta Davis (19-0) vs. Jesus Cuellar(28-2); WBA Regular Junior Lightweight Title
The opening bout of the night will be between Gervonta Davis, one of The Money Team’s best fighters in their stable, and Jesus Cuellar, a top contender in the featherweight division moving up to the junior lightweight division.
Davis is known for his knockout power, only of his opponents was able to make it to the final bell and he’s currently riding a ten fight win streak. However, Cuellar also has some power in his hands and has twenty one stoppage victories, though most of them came at a lighter weight.
Davis has been fairly active and fought three times in 2017 and twice in 2016. He is also eight years younger than Cuellar and will only be giving up a half an inch in reach and height. Cuellar has been very in active and did not fight in 2017 and only fought once in 2016.
Cuellar competed for Argentina at the Pan American Games several times as an amateur and Davis was able to win a National Golden Gloves Title.
Davis has defeated the likes of Francisco Fonseca, Liam Walsh, Jose Pedraza, and Cristobal Cruz. Cuellar has beaten the likes of Jonathan Oquendo, Vic Darchinyan, Ruben Tamayo, Juan Manuel Lopez, and Rico Ramos. His losses were to Oscar Escandon and Abner Mares.
This will be a good test for Davis, as Cuellar is a solid fighter with good technique who has been in the ring with several high level boxers. Both boxers are southpaws so it will be interesting to see if Davis can adjust to facing a southpaw. But Davis is simply too young and too powerful for Cuellar and he should be able to overwhelm Cuellar by the middle rounds.
Jermall Charlo (26-0) vs. Hugo Centeno (26-1); WBC Interim Middleweight Title
Jermall Charlo and Huge Centeno looks like it could be the most competitive bout of the night. Both boxers are twenty sveen years old and both only fought once in 2017 and twice in 2016.
Charlo is the bigger puncher of the two, as he has twenty stoppage victories, including four of his past five fights. Centeno only has fourteen stoppage victories. His lone loss was also by stoppage.
Charlo will be giving up two inches in reach and about an inch and a half in height to Centeno.
Both boxers had relatively successful amateur careers, but Centeno has a slight edge in terms of success. Charlo has a reported record of 65-6 as an amateur, while Centeno was very successful in the Junior Olympics, National PAL Tournament, and other National Tournaments in the United States.
Charlo has the better resume of the two. He has defeated Jorge Sebastian Heilan, Julian Williams, Austin Trout, Wilky Campfort, and Cornelius Bundrage. Centeno has defeated the likes of James De La Rosa and Immanuwel Aleem. His lone loss was to Maciej Sulecki.
The longer this fight goes the better the chances are of Centeno pulling off an upset. However, the Charlo brothers have been very impressive in the ring recently and should be considered to be the favorite.
Adrien Broner (33-3) vs. Jessie Vargas (28-2); Welterweight Division
The main event of the evening will be between the always controversial Adrien Broner and the very sound Jessie Vargas.
Both boxers are 28 years old, but Vargas will have a large four inch height advantage and a two inch reach advantage. They both also only fought three times in the past two years, Broner fought twice in 2017 and once in 2016, while Vargas fought once in 2017 and twice in 2016.
Broner has the clear edge in power of the two. He has twenty four stoppage wins to his credit while Vargas only has ten. They both had successful amateur careers. Broner was a National Silver Gloves Champion and had an amateur record of 300-19. Vargas was a two time Mexican National Champion and a two time US Junior National Champion and had an amateur record of 120-20.
Broner resume looks much better at the lighter weights in comparison to the heavier weight classes. His wins were over the likes of Adrian Granados, Ashley Theophane, Khabib Allakhverdiev, John Molina Jr., Carlos Molina, Paul Malignaggi, Antonio DeMarco, and Daniel Ponce De Leon. He has losses to Mikey Garcia, Shawn Porter, and Marcos Maidana.
Vargas has defeated the likes of Sadam Ali, Antonio DeMarco, Khabib Allakhverdiev, Wale Omotoso, and Josesito Lopez. His losses were to Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley Jr.
Broner has been facing a lot of out of the ring issues recently and it may affect him on Saturday night. Vargas isn’t known for his power or an aggressive style that has been known to give Broner problems, but technically he’s sound and this writer has to give him a slight edge on Saturday night.
Mares Impresses, Charlo Destroys In Satisfying Showtime Card
Mares Impresses, Charlo Destroys In Satisfying Showtime Card
It was a battle of undefeateds Saturday night in California as Jernall Charlo – 24-0 – defended his IBF super welterweight title against Philadelphia tough guy Julian Williams – 22-0-1 – at the USC campus in Los Angeles. This was no mere tuneup. This was two top divisional fighters throwing down. It was, in short, the real thing. Both men were active and sharp in the first, with no one landing anything too significant. Things remained sharp in the second until – bang – Charlo dropped his man with a jab. Williams beat the count and the two men took to banging away for the next several seconds. Things settled down – but then Williams landed hard himself.
It was becoming an exciting affair.
Things got a bit quiet in the third – at least by the standards that had been set by the match so far. In the fourth, Williams started landing clean and hard with some consistency. It remained, however, a very close bout. Williams continued to land in the fifth, but an absolutely thunderous shot from Charlo put Williams down in highlight reel fashion. Williams managed to get up – but Charlo put him right back down again and that was the end of the fight.
Unfortunately, in an act of bad sportsmanship, Charlo refused to tap William’s offered glove after the fight. It was an off putting footnote to an impressive performance. Afterwards, however, the man publicly expressed remorse when being interviewed by Showtimes’ Jim Grey. “I apologize for me being a fighter and letting my emotions take over me,” he said.
The audience at USC appeared to be unforgiving, but that didn’t take away the fact the man apologized in public. What more could be expected of the guy?
It was then time for the main event. Thirty-one-year-old Abner Mares – 29-2-1 – was giving what might be a last grasp at glory by facing the menacing 28-1 Jesus Cuellar for Cuellar’s WBA featherweight title. The first round belonged to the veteran challenger, Mares, who controlled space and fired effectively. Cuellar started trying to rough his man up in the second and managed to find some success. Mares, however, wasn’t simply going to roll over.
Cuellar began asserting himself in the third, moving forward and landing hard. Mares landed straight and clean in the first minute of the fourth. Indeed, the experienced pro re-asserted himself and took the round. Mares went on to employ an impressive skill set throughout the fifth. Cuellar, however, kept the fight very close in the sixth, possibly taking the round with a clean shot in the final seconds. And indeed, things remained close and exciting throughout the seventh.
Yet Mares looked completely in control in the eighth. As the fight moved onto the later rounds it became clear that Mares controlled tempo and distance – but Cuellar landed the harder shots. Depending on one’s preference, it wasn’t hard seeing the rounds go to one man or another. Mares landed hard after the bell at the end of the ninth, of course, but illegal shots simply don’t count. Things remained incredibly close in the tenth – but then Cuellar tasted the canvas in the eleventh.
Cuellar got up, but it looked like Mares was going to stop him. Cuellar managed to survive the round and even remained competitive. Still, it was clear by that point that Mares had the edge. Mares played defense in the center of the ring in the twelfth and began raising his hands in victory before the round even ended. Here was a supremely confident man.
Ultimately, the judges went for Mares by split decision. Those who had possibly written Mares’ career off after his 2015 loss to Leo Santa Cruz had clearly done so too soon.
Showtime Championship Boxing Preview: Anthony Joshua vs. Eric Molina, Cuellar vs. Mares, Charlo vs. Williams
Showtime Championship Boxing Preview: Anthony Joshua vs. Eric Molina, Cuellar vs. Mares, Charlo vs. Williams
By: William Holmes
Showtime will be televising three world title fights on Saturday from two separate locations. The first bout they will be showing is an IBF Heavyweight Title Bout between Anthony Joshua and Eric Molina in Manchester, England. Coincidentally, HBO will also be showing a heavyweight title bout around the same time.
The other two bouts they will be showing is a WBA Featherweight Title bout between Jesus Cuellar and Abner Mares, as well as a very intriguing IBF Junior Middleweight Title bout between Jermall Charlo and Julian Williams.
Two of the three bouts should be very competitive and intriguing bouts, with only the heavyweight bout having a clear and hands down favorite.
The following is a preview of all three world title bouts.
Anthony Joshua (17-0) vs. Eric Molina (25-3); IBF Heavyweight Title
Of the three world title fights that Showtime is televising, this is by far, the biggest mismatch.
Eric Molina is thirty four years old and seven years older than his opponent. He will be giving up three inches in reach and two inches in height. He also has three knockout losses and will be facing an opponent that has defeated every single boxer he’s faced as a professional by stoppage.
Molina does have nineteen knockouts, but he was unable to stop nine of his opponents.
Anthony Joshua has been very active in the past two years. He has already fought twice in 2016 and fought five times in 2015. Molina fought once in 2016 and three times in 2015.
Joshua has the edge in amateur experience. He won the gold medal in the Super Heavyweight division in 2012. Joshua will also be fighting in front of a friendly crowd in Manchester, England.
The only reason Molina is fighting Joshua is because he scored a huge upset over the veteran Tomasz Adamek in his last fight in Adamek’s home country of Poland. However, his list of notable victories is short. His biggest wins have come against Adamek, DaVarryl Williamson, and Tony Grano. He has lost, by stoppage, to Deontay Wilder, Chris Arreola, and Ashanti Jordan.
Joshua has defeated the likes of Dominic Breazeale, Charles Martin, Dillian Whyte, Gary Cornish, and Kevin Johnson.
Every single victory that Joshua has earned has come by way of stoppage. Every single loss that Molina has suffered has come by way of stoppage.
The expectations are that those trends will continue.
Jesus Cuellar (28-1) vs. Abner Mares (29-2-1); WBA Featherweight Title
Abner Mares has had recent issues with his eyes and it has been questioned if he should ever fight again.
Mares is a good boxer, but he’s a former bantamweight world champion and is likely fighting in a higher weight class than he should be.
Mares will be giving up an inch and a half in height to Jesus Cuellar and will be giving up two inches in reach. Cuellar also has the edge in power. He has twenty one stoppage victories, all at a higher weight class than what Mares is used to competing in. Mares’ power hasn’t followed him as he’s gone up in weight classes but he still has fifteen stoppage victories.
Mares is two years older than Cuellar, but has been in the ring with some of the best bantamweights the sport of boxing has to offer. His losses were to Leo Santa Cruz and Jhonny Gonzlaez. He has defeated the likes of Daniel Ponce De Leon, Jonathan Oquendo, Anselmo Moreno, Eric Morel, Joseph Agbeko, and Vic Darchinyan.
Cuellar hasn’t fought the same level of competition that Mares has fought as a professional, but he still has an impressive resume. He has defeated Jonathan Oquendo, Vic Darchinyan, Ruben Tamayo, Juan Manuel Lopez, and Rico Ramos. His lone loss was in 2011 to Oscar Escandon.
The biggest question mark about Cuellar on Saturday will be ring rust. He had no fights in 2016 and will be in the ring with an experienced opponent.
Mares does have the edge in amateur experience. Cuellar experienced some success in regional tournaments as an amateur, but Mares represented Mexico in the 2004 Olympics.
Mares career appears to be on the downside of his career. He’s good enough to make the fight competitive and close with Cuellar, but Cuellar is the naturally bigger boxer and should be considered the favorite.
Jermall Charlo (24-0) vs. Julian Williams (22-0-1); IBF Junior Middleweight Title
If you talk to anyone involved in the Philadelphia boxing scene, they will tell you that Julian “J-Rock” Williams is one of Philadelphia’s best boxers and has the potential to be a world champion.
That reputation may have hurt Williams’ chances at securing a title shot as he has been avoided by many the past two years, but he’ll get his first chance at a world title against a very dangerous champion.
Jermall Charlo, one half of the Charlo twins, is the same age as Williams but will have a one inch height and a one inch reach advantage over Williams. He also has more knockout victories. He has stopped eighteen of the boxers he’s faced while Williams has only stopped fourteen.
They both had good amateur careers, but neither can claim any international amateur success.
Charlo has the more impressive professional resume. He has defeated the likes of Austin Trout, Wilky Campfort, Cornelius Bundrage, and Antwone Smith. Two of Charlo’s past four fights were stoppage victories.
Williams has had trouble attracting a top name opponent into the ring with him, but he has beaten fighters such as Marcello Matano, Luciano Leonel Cuello, Joey Hernandez, Freddy Hernandez, and Joachim Alcine. However, William’s power appears to be improving as he has stop four of his past five opponents.
Everything on paper appears to suggest that Charlo should be the favorite on Saturday, but Williams has been avoided for a reason, and this writer believes Williams will win the IBF Junior Middleweight Title on Saturday.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Cuellar, Mares, Lopez, Webster, Crawford, Beltran, and more…
Boxing Insider Notebook: Cuellar, Mares, Lopez, Webster, Crawford, Beltran, and more…
By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of November 29th to December 6th, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Cuellar, Mares, and Lopez Media Workout Quotes
Featherweight world champion Jesus Cuellar and former three-division world champion Abner Mares participated in a media workout in Los Angeles Tuesday in advance of their long awaited showdown taking place Saturday, December 10 from Galen Center in USC in Los Angeles and live on SHOWTIME.
Also in attendance Tuesday at City of Angels Boxing was former title challenger and local fan favorite Josesito Lopez, who competes in a welterweight bout on the undercard. The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast begins at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT and features junior middleweight world champion Jermall Charlo taking on top-rated challenger Julian Williams in a battle of undefeated rising stars in their prime.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Ringstar Sports and TGB Promotions, are on sale now and are priced at $35, $50, $75, $150 and $200. To purchase tickets go to www.galentix.com.
Here is what the participants had to say Tuesday:
“The fight is here and I’m ready to step in the ring. I have defended my title six times already and I want to be the best in the division. He’s one of the best and I’m willing to challenge him.
“This is an important fight that I’ve wanted for a long time. It’s an important fight for my career and to prove to everyone how good I am.
“Abner Mares is a high level fighter. I have to beat him to reach the next level of this sport. That’s what I’m preparing to do.
“You’re going to see everything I’ve learned on December 10. I love to train hard and I’ve improved greatly as a fighter. I’m going to put it all together in the ring.
“There’s no pressure for me coming into this fight. I know that I’m in his backyard but I have the people of Argentina behind me. This is going to be a really good fight.
“I’m ready to go to war. I know Abner is ready and he has a goal in his mind. I’m ready to do what I have to do in the ring.
“It’s been almost a year. We came here in January to fight Mares and now the time is almost here to accomplish our goal.
“I have to go out there and do my job. I’m going to show Abner a lot of different things. I have a lot more skills than people give me credit for. It will all be on display in the ring.
“I know that I’m going to be at 100 percent. I’m more confident now than I’ve ever been that I’m prepared for this fight and I’m going to win.
“Freddie Roach is getting the best out of me. He knows what I like to do and he knows how to correct my mistakes. He’s doing a really good job in training camp.
“I’m working to go 12 rounds and end the night with a victory for Argentina. I came here to achieve a great victory for my country.”
“I’m so happy and excited to be fighting in Los Angeles and in my backyard again. SHOWTIME is the reason I’m famous.
“On paper I thought that Cuellar is probably going to be toughest, strongest fighter I’ve been in with. I can’t say for sure because we haven’t fought yet. But I know that he is a strong, powerful champion who is coming in to keep his title.
“There’s always a reason behind something bad that happens. In this case, me not being able to fight twice (due to postponements), it just gave me the opportunity to get to know Robert even better. I’ve had a whole year leading up to this fight. You will see a difference in me. I’m very eager and excited to fight.
“It’s going to be a tremendous fight. I think Cuellar only has one style, and that’s to rely on his power punches. He’s a come forward type of fighter that seems to always be looking for the knockout. But I’ve been known to give a fight too and make for great fights.
“My plan is to make the fight as easy for myself as possible. I feel I have the tools to give him different looks that maybe he hasn’t seen before against a fighter of my talents. For me to win another world title would mean the world to me. It would be an early Christmas present for me, my family and my friends.
“Coach Robert Garcia brings the discipline and the demanding voice of a trainer. We have to do things his way and I like that. It’s bringing the best out of me. I’m really excited for this fight.
“Fighting in my hometown of LA, I feel like I have the home field advantage. I don’t feel any pressure at all. I feel like I’m in as good of shape as I can be and there will be no ring rust. I’ve actually had three training camps for this fight, after postponements in March and June.
“If you look at Cuellar he looks much naturally bigger. But we’re both going to weigh just about the same at the weigh-in. He has to make the same weight as I do. I felt a little bit of pressure before the Leo Santa Cruz fight, but none this time.
“Bringing in Robert Garcia has been a great thing for me. He’s brought a lot of experience and he’s one of the best coaches out there. I can’t wait to show the fans what I’ve learned from Robert.”
“I’ve been anxious to get in there but I’m ready now and excited to get back to doing what I love. I healed up from some injuries that I suffered. Now that I’m fully healed I have felt the power returning and it’s time to go.
“The most important thing is that I’m 100 percent ready mentally and physically. I’ll be right there in the ring on December 10.
“This is my first quiz in going back to school and working my way toward a world title. I’m back in the gym and putting everything together so that I can use it in the ring.
“I am going to be smart and work hard in the ring. I know I have to make the key adjustments during a fight that will make the difference when I meet the elite fighters.
“Just a few months ago when I sparred for the first time in a while, I realized I missed getting hit. Why? Because I love the chance to hit back. Even just having the Vaseline back on my face was something I missed. I’ve probably watched more boxing than I had in my entire life since I’ve been gone.”
“This absence has brought back the fire in me. There are several titles that are accessible to many guys in my division. I know I’m right there and I just need to take the right steps to get to that point.
“I have undivided attention in training camp with Robert Garcia and I’ve worked very hard to get myself ready. I feel like I’m still improving and getting better.
“I’m really excited to get back in the ring. I can hardly wait. There’s nothing I love more than performing for my fans. I’m going to do what I always do, which is make sure the fans see a great fight when I’m in the ring.”
Split-T Management Signs Antonio Vargas
Split-T Management is pleased to announce the signing of another member of the 2016 United States Olympic Team, Antonio Vargas to a managerial contract..
Vargas of Kissimmee, Florida was the Flyweight representative for the 2016 U.S. Team.
“I have known Split-T Management’s David McWater for several years. The people I know told me a lot of positive things about him. He showed me he was a good person and the man who can manage my career the way it should be,” said Vargas.
Said Split-T Management’s David McWater, “Antonio is just a special kid. Of course he has all the talent and physical tools, but he is so much more than that. He’s got incredible focus and determination. Not to mention, he is always very classy. I wanted to represent him since the first time that I saw him at the National Golden Gloves, and I know he will be a world champion.”
He was considered one of the best pound for pound fighters on the squad, and the most successful amateur of the team heading into the games. He was a U.S. Youth Open champion, U.S. National Elite champion, two-time National Golden Gloves champion and won the Gold Medal at the Pan American Games at the age of 18. Those accomplishments led him to be named the 2015 USA Boxing Male Athlete of the Year.
In the 2016 Olympics, Vargas lost to eventual Gold medal winner Shakhobibdin Zoirov of Uzbekistan.
Vargas will turn professional at either 115 or 118 pounds and his handlers believe that he will fight up to junior lightweight before his career is complete.
Vargas has a very exciting style, and he has taken traits from some of the best fighters in the world that he feels makes him a complete fighter.
“I would compare my style to Manny Pacquiao, Vasyl Lomachenko, and going back a bit, Orlando Canizales because all three had fast hands and feet with the ability to stop on a dime and unleash powerful shots to the head and body that can get you out of there.”
Vargas began boxing at age nine.
“I had ADHD, and was a very hyper kid that was always fighting and getting into trouble,” said Vargas. “One of my teachers actually told my parents to put me on medication. My father instead brought me to the boxing in gym in hopes it would help me burn a lot of energy and tire me out.”
“I told my teacher that I was on medication but it was actually boxing that helped calm me down so I could focus on my studies and stay out of trouble.”
As Vargas grew older, boxing became more of a future then just an activity.
“I won a lot of state tournaments, but when I won the US Youth Open Tournament at age 16, I realized I could make boxing my career. I was undefeated for 4 years, which I won several gold medals at the National Golden Gloves, U.S National Championships and Pan American Games.”
Vargas believes that all of his international experience will help him in the pros because he was exposed to the many different styles of boxing, and now he is extremely motivated due to his Olympic experience.
“The Olympics did not go as I wanted. I lost to the eventual gold medal winner. The loss made me real hungry and now I train harder than I ever did before because I want to be the best.”
“I plan on turning professional as either a junior bantamweight or bantamweight and win world championships in four different weight divisions. I am going to achieve greatness while glorifying Jesus Christ and to spread his word.
Derrick Webster to Return on Zab Judah Card
Fresh off a dominant TKO victory of Zoltan Sera last month in Philadelphia, Derrick “Take it to the Bank” Webster (21-1, 11 KOs) will make a return to the ring on Jan. 21st at the Sun National Bank Center in Trenton, N.J. Standing opposite him that night will be Thomas Awimbono (25-5-1, 21 KOs), with the IBO Super Middleweight Championship on the line.
“I am extremely excited because it has been a few years since the last time I fought in New Jersey,” the Glassboro native stated. “Just being able to fight back in New Jersey feels good. I really have to take my hat off to the amount of supporters who have already committed to coming out to this fight.”
With the IBO Super Middleweight Championship on the line, Webster says that the intensity surrounding this camp is already at an extreme level.
“My trainers and I have really kicked it into high gear,” he remarked. “(Head trainer) Denny Brown and (assistant) Robert Rossi are already pushing me to my limits. In order to be a champion, you have to train like a champion. I am so hungry for this right now, and all I can think about is the amount of sacrifices that I have made to get to this point. This shot here, I am taking it by the horns, and we are going to ride it all night long. This boy is going to have hell to pay. It might be a 10-round fight, but I really don’t know if it is going to make it the distance.”
A newly married man, Webster quickly put to rest any concerns regarding his mental focus in his last fight, where he knocked down Sera three times before a referee stoppage in the 5th round.
“With me getting married in September, so many people questioned whether or not I would be the same guy,” he said. “I found out about my last fight at the wedding. We were supposed to go on a month-long honeymoon, and I shut my honeymoon down to start preparing for the fight. If that’s not sacrifice and determination, I don’t know what is. I wanted to make a statement that in 2017 I am going to be a problem, period. I don’t want any .500 fighters or guys with bad records. I never wanted any fighters like that, but I just fought who they put in front of me. With this last guy, it had to start with him in terms of what I am trying to accomplish in 2017.”
The card on Jan. 21st is being promoted by Renee Aiken, someone who has been a consistent ally of Webster throughout his career.
“Going into the last fight, I had every intention of staying busy afterwards,” Webster confirmed. “Right after we took care of business with our last opponent, I immediately started looking for another card. I reached out to Renee Aiken about a spot on one of her future cards, and she helped us get this fight locked up. I just really wanted to stay busy after the last fight to keep the momentum going.”
Webster vs. Awimbono will be the co-feature bout on the Jan. 21st card, with former four-time world champion Zab Judah making his return to boxing in the main event.
“I met Zab Judah when I was in camp with Jean Pascal a few years ago,” Webster recollected. “Above all things, he is a great person. He is a four-time world champion, and that is such a huge accomplishment. I always said I was the main event, even when I have not been fighting in the main event. I always wanted to be the most exciting fighter on the card. But for me to get to share the stage with a guy of his stature, that means a whole lot to me. I’m a southpaw, he’s a southpaw. In my book, I’m calling this night the southpaw showdown. I am excited to see Zab once again, and I am going to bring him to the ring in unbelievable fashion. I am going to handle my business, and then I am going to sit back and watch Zab do his thing.”
Menard Ready for Beltran on Crawford vs. Molina Card
Rayne, Louisiana’s “Rock Hard Mighty” Mason Menard (32-1, 24 KOs) knows he’s in for a tough challenge when he makes the first defense of his WBO NABO Lightweight Championship against fellow top-10 contender Ray Beltran (31-7-1, 19 KOs) of Phoenix, Arizona, on Saturday, December 10, at CenturyLink Center Omaha in Omaha, Neb.
The 10-round Menard vs. Beltran lightweight showdown will serve as the middle bout of an HBO World Championship Boxing tripleheader (9:35 p.m. ET/PT) that will open with the same-day delay telecast of the Joseph Parker vs. Andy Ruiz, Jr. WBO heavyweight championship in New Zealand.
Promoted by Top Rank®, in association with TGB Promotions, the exciting event will be headlined by undefeated World Junior Welterweight Champion and top-rated pound-for-pound fighter TERENCE “Bud” CRAWFORD (29-0, 20 KOs), of Omaha, Neb., making the first defense of his unified World Boxing Organization (WBO) / World Boxing Council (WBC) /Ring magazine 140-pound world titles against one-time world title challenger and current No. 1 contender JOHN MOLINA JR. (29-6, 23 KOs), from Covina, Calif.
Remaining reserved seat tickets to the Crawford – Molina world championship event, priced at $27, $52, $77 and $127, can be purchased at the CenturyLink Center Omaha box office and all Ticketmaster outlets.
To charge-by-phone call (800) 745-3000. To order online, visit ticketmaster.com.
“I know Beltran has been around a long time and he’s fought at the top level many times. He is very tough and I know he will bring it,” said Menard.
The 28-year-old Menard punched his way into world contention this year with a pair of high-profile knockouts. In April of this year, he scored one for the highlight reels by starching formerly undefeated Eudy Bernardo with one punch in round three.
Then in August, he returned with another KO, this time against well-regarded Uzbekistani Bahodir Mamadjonov in the ninth round.
“2016 has been a great year for me,” he continued. “I’ve had two consecutive KO’s on national television and one is a candidate for ‘Knockout of the Year.’ I also won an award from the WBO in Puerto Rico. Now this fight has fallen into my lap and I will make the best of this opportunity.”
Another impressive victory for Menard would land him in world title contention… a fact not lost on the excited slugger. “Landing this fight is big for me and my career. A win here should put me in position to fight for a world title next. It should open doors me and make me a serious contender in the lightweight division.”
Menard is taking this tough challenge on relatively short notice, but says he’s in great shape and will be fully prepared for battle on December 10. “Yes, I am ready. I was already training to fight December 15. It’s now or never. I believe God has blessed me with this fight because I’ve been praying for a big one to get me to the next level.”
Boxing Insider Notebook: Ward, Pacquiao, Mares, Cuellar, Farmer, Joshua, and more…
Boxing Insider Notebook: Ward, Pacquiao, Mares, Cuellar, Farmer, Joshua, and more….
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of October 25th to November 1st, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Photo Credit: Squint Photo/Roc Nation Sports
Andre Ward Workout Quotes
“I feel that this fight with Kovalev is 50-50. That’s how I approach all of my big fights. I don’t go into the fight thinking, ‘I’ve got a clear-cut advantage here’ or ‘I’ve got to run through this guy.’ Personally, for me, I can’t roll like that. I’ve got to keep myself honest, stay on my grind, keep my head down and force myself to keep working. I truly believe Kovalev is everything they say he is, and I’m everything that I’ve shown over the years.
“There are always different game plans, nuances, different things you’re working on but I respect every fight that I fight. I don’t get caught up in the whole puncher thing, anybody can get you out of there if you get hit right. I don’t think I’d be sitting here in this position right now if I hadn’t had these highs and lows. We’ve got to find a way to get it done, and we’re going to find a way to get it done. I don’t care what he’s got in his gloves, who he’s knocked out or what he’s done. My job is to get my hand raised, and that’s what we’re focused on.
“I have days where I do some type of cardio in the morning – sprints, distant running – then go back to training camp to get some rest and eat. Then we come to the gym and spar and hit the heavy bag. It’s a monotonous process when you’re in training camp, and that’s pretty much every day. Of course we take days off to rest the body and be smart, but it’s really the same thing every day. As you get closer, you start to pull back a little bit so you don’t over train. That’s normally the week of the fight, so up until the Saturday before the fight, you’re full steam ahead. 100 miles an hour.
“Typically, Virgil and I will go through our process together. He watches a lot more film than I do. He’s up until 3:00 a.m. or 4:00 a.m. watching film. As I’ve gotten older, I watch less film. I don’t need to see 10 fights to see tendencies and certain things. I know what I need to see. I may go back and watch a round here and there, but I try and leave room for my instincts. I’m very instinctual. You’ve got to be able to think on the fly thinking on the highest level. I leave room for that. It’s not a checklist you go down. You can’t get into a ring thinking like that. I just believe that who I am and what I have is enough, and that’s what I’m standing on.
“Having young guys like Shakur Stevenson around, it starts to make me feel old because I used to be that guy at Roy Jones’s camp, Floyd Mayweather’s camp, hanging around Bernard Hopkins. You see yourself in them. It’s a little weird, because you’re like, ‘man, now I’m the OG.’ But it’s also a beautiful thing because we need more of that. We need champions and top contenders and just fighters in general to open up the door and allow the young guys on the way to be shown how it’s done.
“I’m honored for Claressa Shields to say that I am her idol. I admire her story, what she’s come from, and think that she’s amazing in the ring. She’s the real deal. I watch her, I pick up things from her. For her to have two Gold medals is amazing. For her to make her pro debut on this fight card is a beautiful, beautiful thing. I think it’s a perfect situation.
“It’s a beautiful thing to be fighting in Vegas. I’m excited. What better time than now in this stage in my career. I’m just excited to continue to prepare so I can do my part to give the fans their money’s worth, those that pay to be there and those paying to watch it. That’s what I’m focused on, and I’m extremely happy to be a part of it. T-Mobile is a new arena, and a new chapter, and to be a part of it is a beautiful thing.”
Manny Pacquiao Workout Quotes
Boxing’s only eight division world champion and the reigning Fighter of the Decade Senator MANNY “Pacman” PACQUIAO, held a media workout on Wednesday at Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, Calif.
Pacquiao (58-6-2, 38 KOs), from General Santos City, Philippines, is in the final week of training for his world championship collision with World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight world champion JESSIE VARGAS (27-1, 10 KOs), of Las Vegas. In just nine days they will go mano a mano and toe-to-toe in a high-stakes welterweight showdown. While Pacquiao will be looking to become a three-time WBO welterweight champion as well as the first senator to win a world title, Vargas will be resolute in enforcing a term limit on the future Hall of Famer’s boxing career.
Here is what Manny had to say:
“It took discipline to manage my time effectively … to balance my training camp and my Senatorial duties. I feel good. Every day I was able to get in all my training. I ran every morning and did my strength and conditioning with Justin Fortune. I worked with Freddie every evening at the gym after work. There were some days where I would have to come in later if my work in the Senate demanded I stay longer. Between the two “jobs,” I was averaging 14-hour workdays. Luckily the gym was very close to the Senate so I didn’t have to deal with traffic. I had no real free time to be with friends.
“I am now well-rested. I arrived in U.S. on Saturday evening and today I feel I have recovered from my jetlag. I sparred six rounds yesterday [Tuesday with Ray Beltran]. I will spar Thursday, Saturday and Monday before driving to Las Vegas.
“We have three different plans for Jessie Vargas. My first concern is for the fans; that the people who are going to watch the fight will be happy and satisfied. I want this to be a fight for fans to remember
“I am fighting for history. I was the first sitting congressman to win a world title. For this one, it is not enough to be the first sitting senator to fight for a world title, I want to be the first senator to become world champion. For me, that would be quite an accomplishment.
“I want to prove that I am still one of the best pound-for-pound fighters. I feel I still have a lot to prove. I am not done with boxing. I will continue to keep fighting as long as I love boxing and boxing still loves me. I do not feel old. I feel like I am still 27.
“I do not underestimate Jessie Vargas. He is a good strong champion. You cannot fight at this level and be successful by underestimating your opponent. Every opponent gets my full attention and respect. I respect Jessie and that is why I trained hard. This is the most important fight because it will determine the direction of my boxing career. I need to win convincingly.
“In boxing the fight is in the ring is for the enjoyment of the fans. In the Senate, the fight is for improving the quality of life of the Philippine citizens. Being a senator is inspiring work.
“I have spent more than 100 million [pesos] on building houses for the less fortunate [over 1,000 houses…Manny purchased the lots and built and gave away the homes and lots]
“Winning world titles in eight divisions is not that easy. I am so blessed to be a part of boxing history by winning them. That is not me boasting. I am just happy to be a part of the history of boxing.
“I enjoy politics because I do not have a hidden agenda. I serve honestly. That’s a good thing for me because I’m not ashamed to tell the truth. I’m not ashamed to rebuke someone if they are doing wrong. Government is for serving the people, not for serving oneself.”
Anthony Joshua to Defend Title Against Molina on December 10th
Anthony Joshua MBE is set to defend his IBF World Heavyweight title against Eric Molina at the Manchester Arena on December 10, live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and on Showtime in the U.S.
Joshua puts his crown on the line for the second time and fights his third American in a row having destroyed Charles Martin inside two rounds to rip the title from the St. Louis man in April at The O2 in London and then stopping Dominic Breazeale in the seventh round at the same venue in June, extending his unbeaten run in the paid ranks to 17 wins, all inside the distance.
Molina becomes the latest man to attempt to derail the Olympic Gold medal hero, the Texan is looking to get his hands on the top prize in his second World title tilt after challenging Deontay Wilder for the WBC crown in June 2015. The 34-year-old enters the bout full of confidence after travelling to Poland and knocking out Tomasz Adamek in the tenth round of their clash for the IBF Inter-Continental strap in April.
“I am pleased that everything is now set for December 10 and I can concentrate on getting the business done in the ring,” said Joshua. “There has been plenty of talk about who I may face but all I’m doing is concentrating on finishing Molina in style and putting on a great show.
“Every fight is dangerous in this division and this is no exception. I saw Molina have a great fight with Wilder and he is now coming off a strong KO win against Adamek in Poland.
“I’m expecting this to be the toughest fight of my career so far and I will be ready for an all-out war.”
“There is no Heavyweight in the world that has bounced back like I have,” said Molina. “That’s the man that Joshua faces on December 10 and that man is a very dangerous one.
“He’ll fight the toughest Molina that anybody has ever seen, just like Adamek fought the toughest Molina.
“I’m confident. These type of fights don’t shake me up, I’m a very strong mental fighter. I know exactly what I’ve got to do to prepare myself in the amount of time. I know exactly what I’ve got to do, mentally, physically, to go there and perform.
“When you walk out into the atmosphere, half the battle is the mental battle, and if you can stay in the moment mentally you have a shot in any fight.”
There’s a huge card in support of the main event as Dillian Whyte defends his British Heavyweight title against bitter London rival Dereck Chisora in an official eliminator for the WBC title. Whyte makes the second defence of his strap after seeing off fellow Brixton man Ian Lewison in Glasgow last month, while former World title challenger Chisora can get his hands on the Lord Lonsdale belt for the second time.
Scott Quigg returns to action after treatment on his broken jaw following his unification blockbuster with Carl Frampton, and the Bury star moves up to Featherweight as he looks to regain his status as a World champion.
Kal Yafai can become Birmingham’s first World champion but the unbeaten 27 year old faces a tough task to rip the WBA Super-Flyweight title against Luis Concepcion, the two-weight World champion that will enter the ring in his 11th World title outing.
Irish amateur sensation Katie Taylor boxes for the second time in the paid ranks after making her pro debut at The SSE Arena, Wembley on November 26, Heavyweight wrecking ball ‘King Kong’ Luis Ortiz fights in Europe for the second time after clashing with Malik Scott in Monte-Carlo on November 12 and Hosea Burton will defend his British Light-Heavyweight title against Frank Buglioni.
“The Heavyweight division has been turned on its head in the last few months and while many are standing still waiting, I’m delighted to get this huge card up and running in Manchester,” said promoter Eddie Hearn.
Tevon Farmer to Defend NABF Title on December 2nd
Junior lightweight Tevin Farmer, considered by many to be among the best in the world at 130 pounds, makes the first defense of his North American Boxing Federation (NABF) title when he faces Dardan Zenunaj on Friday evening, Dec. 2, at the 2300 Arena in South Philadelphia.
The Farmer-Zenunaj 10-rounder tops another Philly Fight Night eight-bout card which begins at 7pm.
Farmer, 26, of North Philadelphia, is unbeaten in his last 16 fights and looking to get a shot at a world title in 2017. He is ranked as high as No. 5 by the World Boxing Council (WBC) and he is fresh off an eight-round decision against Orlando Rizo, of Managua, Nicaragua, last month in the same ring.
Earlier this year, Farmer (left) captured the vacant NABF 130-pound title with a 10-round decision over Mexico’s Gamaliel Diaz. He followed that this summer with the biggest win of his six-year career when he thoroughly trounced Ivan Redkach, of Los Angeles, CA, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, registering a near shutout over 10 rounds.
“This is another fight to put me closer to a world title shot,” Farmer said. “A win should set me up for a title opportunity early in 2017. After December 2, I’m looking to face even bigger names. I don’t care who they put in front of me, but first I have to get past my opponent at the 2300 Arena.”
“Tevin Farmer has rebuilt himself into a legit world title contender and is on the verge of a major fight in 2017,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. “However, on December 2, he will have his hands full against the aggressive brawler Dardan Zenunaj in a bout that promises to deliver fireworks. I’m happy to be co-promoting this terrific bout with my old friend, Hall-of-Famer and promotional mentor J Russell Peltz.”
Zenunaj (right), 29, is originally from Albania. He turned pro in Belgium and now fights out of Oxnard, CA. A pro for five years, he has a 12-2 record (9 KOs) since turning pro in 2011. Zenunaj won the Belgian featherweight title in his seventh fight and two years ago he captured the World Boxing Association (WBA) International junior lightweight title when he knocked out Karim Chakim, of France, in nine rounds.
The seven-bout undercard includes a terrific pair of six-round fights.
Former cruiserweight world-title challenger Garrett Wilson, of South Philadelphia, goes against stylish Lamont Capers, of Hawley, PA, in one six-rounder. The other features a pair of rising Philadelphia lightweight prospects—Avery Sparrow and Steven Ortiz–in the kind of old-fashioned early career showdowns that made Philly a great fight town.
Also returning are junior middleweight Isaiah Wise, welterweight Hasan Young and the local debut of Russian flyweight Basyzbek Barartov.
Taras Shelestyuk Quotes Before ShoBox Main Event
What are your thoughts going into the fight?
“I’m very excited. It’s been six months since my last fight. It’s my first headline fight and hopefully not my last one.
“I’ve been putting in a lot of work in my training camp with my trainer Eric Brown, and with my physical conditioning coach. My opponent is a tough fighter. He’s had some good fights with guys like Mike Jones, Egidijus Kavaliauskas and a couple of other big guys. He likes to fight and I think it will be a good fight and a good matchup for our styles.”
You’re now a ranked fighter; are you happy with the pace of your progression?
“I’m happy with my progression but of course I want to fight bigger names in championship fights and all of that. I know it’s coming soon. I enjoy my way of training and developing my skills, but if you see your dream you do anything to reach it and don’t let anything get in your way.”
What do you think of the welterweight division?
“It’s a very good division because there are a lot of fighters, but some don’t want to fight each other (very often). There are some very good championship fights to be made and hopefully I will be one of them.”
Why did you chose to move to Southern California?
“Well, [laughs] mainly because if the great weather, but this is also a good area with a lot of good fighters and a lot of good trainers as well. When I first moved here my manager invited me out and showed me around and I got in the gym right away. I was training with Ruslan Provodnikov and got some sparring in with him before a fight that he had and next thing you know, two weeks later I had my pro debut and now three-and-a-half years later here I am.”
Is there pressure on you when you fight?
“I wouldn’t say I feel pressure because everyone around me is supporting me, they believe in me and I believe in them. My team believes in me and I trust them. I just want to do what I do in the ring, better. I want to do better for me, for my family and for my friends.”
Do you follow your Olympic teammates?
“I watch fights of the Ukrainian Olympic Team, and I enjoy when the other guys win. We support each other and we call each other. It is good for there to be more Ukraine fighters who are champions now. Next year, I hope to be one of them.”
How did it feel going 10 rounds for the first time?
“Last year in November I had my first 10-round fight on ShoBox, I fought with a strong guy and he gave me a very good fight. I went the 10 rounds and I felt like I could still go two more. I am ready for 10, for 12, it doesn’t matter. I feel much better, much more powerful. I have more speed than I had in my last fight, too.”
How did you end up training with Eric?
“I trained with Freddie Roach for about two and a half years when I met Eric at Wild Card West Gym. I started sparring with some of his guys there. After my fight with Rodriguez on ESPN in 2015 I asked Eric to train me and we started working. Now that I’ve fought two fights with him as my trainer, I feel my boxing skills are better, I feel more powerful and I enjoy training in his gym.
“All of the trainers help us and they give us advice. On the days I spar with Shane Mosley he stops and gives me some advice. I learn a lot from him, being the fighting legend that he is. I grew up watching him fight as a kid and respect what he’s able to teach me. Then the next time I try what he has taught me and it works.”
Boxing is in your blood; your dad and brother boxed. When you were younger, did you think you were going to become a fighter?
“No, but my father pushed me in a lot of sports. I did gymnastics, soccer for five years, and played chess. I fought as a kid but it was always friendly. I always enjoyed the training aspect. To train for soccer sometimes my father and I would run barefoot in the snow and I enjoyed it. So, as a kid, when I first stepped into the boxing gym, it was just so much fun.”
Your ShoBox fight falls on your father’s birthday; do you have a special present in mind for him?
“It makes me want to get the victory for him. On his day, he will be sitting and watching my fight so I want to get that victory for him, for my family and for the Ukraine.”
Mares vs. Cuellar Press Conference Quotes
“I’ve been wanting to fight Mares for about two years. It’s finally going to happen. This is what I want. I’m going to make a statement.
“I’m very happy that this fight is finally here. I can’t wait to get in the ring on December 10. I’m thankful for the opportunity. I know Mares is popular in Los Angeles, but I have a following as well and they will be there to support me.
“I’m training very hard and feeling physically strong. We never stopped training for this fight. Mares will come prepared for a war and I hope that’s what the fight is like. It’s going to prove who has the bigger heart.
“I’ve been training with Freddie Roach for about four months. It’s been a great partnership and he will make me even better than I’ve been. We’ve been practicing really hard. Freddie is handing me the tools to go to work. You will see all my experience come together on fight night.
“Mares is a great fighter. He’s been a champion for many years. He’s never faced an opponent like me. This will be his hardest challenge.
“I’m sure Mares will give it his all, just like I will. I’ve been dreaming about this fight for years. This will be a great battle, but I am prepared to take my belt back to Argentina.
“This is the most important fight of my career. I’m planning on knocking him out. I know that big things are going to come my way after I beat Mares.”
“This is going to be a smarter Abner Mares. I’ve been learning a lot with Robert Garcia. They gave us a year to train and learn together. He’s a knowledgeable coach. He’s not just a guy who works mitts. This is the real deal. He gets you better and I’m really happy with him.
“I want to thank Cuellar and his team for waiting for this fight to come to fruition. I really appreciate that as a person. It’s finally here.
“I was actually commentating the Stiverne vs. Arreola fight at Galen Center and it was a great atmosphere. The environment there is incredible and I was just imagining being up in the ring as the main event.
“I want the winner of the Frampton vs. Santa Cruz rematch. I want to continue to fight the best. I want to be known as a guy who fights the best.
“Being on the big stage like this has made me what I am. Being on the bantamweight tournament on SHOWTIME really started to show people what my style is like. To be back for another world opportunity, it means everything to me. I’m hoping to give them another exciting fight.
“I never talk down about a fighter. We all deserve our respect. We all have the same desire to strive to be the best. Cuellar is a beast. He hits hard. The record speaks for itself and that’s what has me so excited. This is the kind of fight I want to be in. It brings the best out of me.
“If I have to make it into a brawl, I will do that. I have the boxing abilities to be the smarter fighter and win by out boxing him. I learn from all of my fights, especially the losses. From the Santa Cruz fight I learned that I really need to listen to my corner. I let the crowd get to me and fought the wrong fight. I’m going to be ready for everything.
“This title coming home is going to be a nice Christmas present. It means the world to me. I’m going to add something to my trophy case.
“I’m a new man. I’m a grown man. I have two beautiful daughters. I like to learn something new every day. You will see a different Abner on December 10. This is going to end the year with the ‘Fight of the Year.'”
PBC on CBS Preview: Thurman vs. Porter, Hurd vs. Molina
PBC on CBS Preview: Thurman vs. Porter, Hurd vs. Molina
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions will put on one of their best cards on network television of the year as Keith Thurman defends his WBA Welterweight Title against Shawn Porter in the main event of the evening.
Abner Mares was originally scheduled to face Jesus Cuellar in the co-main event of the evening, but an injury to Abner Mares forced him to withdraw. Instead, fight fans will be get to see two prospects battle it out in the junior middleweight division when Jarret Hurd takes on Oscar Molina.
The Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York has been a boxing hotspot since the Barclays Center inception and it will be the host site for Saturday’s fight card.
Jarrett Hurd (17-0) vs. Oscar Molina (13-0-1); Junior Middleweights
Jarrett “Swift” Hurd first burst into the national spotlight when he scored an upset stoppage victory over Frank Galarza, and win over Molina could lead to a big fight in the junior middleweight division.
His opponent, Oscar Molina, will be the third straight undefeated opponent he has faced in a row and is also known for his power. Hurd has stopped eleven of his opponents and four of his past five fights failed to go the distance. Molina has ten stoppage wins, and three of his past five fights failed to go the distance.
Hurd is twenty five years old and Molina is twenty six, but Hurd will have a four inch height advantage and a six and a half inch reach advantage. They both have been very active the past two years. Hurd fought three times in 2015 and four times in 2014 while Molina fought twice in 2014 and four times in 2015.
Hurd has the better professional record so far. He has beaten the likes of Jeff Lentz, Frank Galarza, and Eric Mitchell. He’s also never been knocked down during his professional career. Molina has not beaten many names of note, but has defeated the likes of Adrien Torres and drew with Domonique Dolton.
The only noteworthy advantage Molina has over Hurd is that he fought in the 2012 Olympics for Mexico. However, Hurd is in the middle of an impressive winning streak and his height, reach, and power will be too much for Molina to handle over the course of ten rounds.
Keith Thurman (26-0) vs. Shawn Porter (26-1-1); WBA Welterweight Title
The main event of the evening is the best fight the PBC can put on in the welterweight division.
Keith Thurman, the current WBA Welterweight Champion, is considered by many to be the best boxer in the welterweight division now that Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. have retired. However, Shawn Porter recently beat Adrien Broner, the man many people felt would replace Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Porter is twenty nine years old and two years older than Thurman. Thurman will have a slight half an inch height advantage on Porter and Porter will have a slight half an inch reach advantage on Thurman.
They both fought twice in 2015 and in 2014. Thurman has the heavier hands, as he has stopped twenty two of his opponents while Porter has only stopped sixteen. However, as the level of competition that Thurman faces continues to get better his knockouts seems to be happening less often. Two of the past three opponents that Thurman has faced went the distance.
Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter both experienced success as an amateur. Porter was a US National Golden Gloves Champion and Thurman was an Olympic Trials Runner Up.
They both have an impressive resume as a professional. Thurman has defeated the likes of Luiz Collazo, Robert Guerrero, Leonard Bundu, Jesus Soto Karass, Diego Chavez, and Jan Zaveck. Porter has defeated Adrien Broner, Paul Malignaggi, Devon Alexander, Phil Lo Greco, and Alfonso Gomez. Porter’s lone loss was to Kell Brook.
This should be an excellent fight and could go either way. Thurman has to be considered the favorite based on his undefeated record and power. Porter is a physical and in your face type of boxer, but he can get sloppy at times and Thurman is the type of boxer that will eat up your mistakes.
Boxing Insider Interview With Jesus Cuellar
Boxing Insider Interview With Jesus Cuellar
By: Francisco Martinez
Plot thickens heading into Jesus Cuellar vs Abner Mares as not too long ago 2012 trainer of the year Robert Garcia was in Cuellar’s corner. Now, things have changed and along the way Robert Garcia has been extremely outspoken about the way things ended with Jesus Cuellar. BoxingInsider had the opportunity to ask Robert Garcia if things where personal and Robert stated “No, nothing personal. I have nothing against Team Cuellar. Donald is apart of it, Henry, I’ve known him since we where kids. It’s just business, you know, it just happened. It’s not like I went out looking for revenge or looking for Cuellar. Mares and his people are the ones that approached me. At that time I was free you know, not working with Cuellar anymore so I took advantage of it. First we where suppose to fight (Fernando) Montiel. It’s not like I went out looking for the fight against Cuellar. This just happened to be a good fight that Abner wanted. If I’m not mistaken Al Haymon asked him and he preferred that fight so he took it”
BoxingInsider managed to get in a few questions with Jesus Cuellar and get his side of the story and how he feels about facing his former trainer Robert Garcia in his upcoming bout versus Abner Mares for his WBA world featherweight title.
BoxingInsider: I’ve gotten the chance to ask Robert if he’s taking the fight with you personal being the way that you guys left things. How do you feel about this fight? Robert says it’s not personal but how are you taking this fight?
Jesus Cuellar: The same, it’s business. Me and Mares are both professionals and we’re going to demonstrate our best in the fight.
As Abner Mares took his turn on the podium to speak his mind he opened up by saying “I’m a level fighter and I’m going to show him there’s a deferences…” Mares went on to say “I’m working with Robert Garcia now and we’re taking this fight really serious. It’s a fight that we’re going to gain so much (from) and Robert to as he once worked with Jesus Cuellar. We’re just going to show, with me, as in example, it was a big mistake leaving him”
Jesus Cuellar took exception to those remarks and said “If I’m a lower level fighter than why are they throwing me in there with him? Why did he take the fight? (Laughs) He wants to be champion (I’m the champion)”
BoxingInsider: Is there any pressure there to have success being that Sergio Martinez is long retired. (Marcos) Maidana looks like he’s not coming back anytime soon. Is there any pressure to carry the torch for the Argentinian boxing scene?
Jesus Cuellar: No, no, for me there’s no pressure. I train in the gym with my team and the flag is always risen. In the ring or in the gym.
BoxingInsider: Just as he’s facing Abner Mares, (Leo) Santa Cruz is facing (Carl) Frampton. It’s kind of a tournament to see who’s the best 126lbs. How does he feel about that fight, Santa Cruz vs Frampton?
Jesus Cuellar: It’s a great fight and Leo (Santa Cruz) is a great fighter. He’s going to be victorious but I will show to each and everyone of them who’s the best fighter in the division.
BoxingInsider: Not looking past Mares but in the future if, Santa Cruz beats Frampton would you like a showdown with Santa Cruz to prove who’s the real WBA champion?
Jesus Cuellar: Yes but first we have our fights and if I get past Mares than yes, I would love a fight against Santa Cruz.
Jesus Cuellar vs Abner Mares is apart of the Keith Thurman vs Shawn Porter card a “hybrid” broadcast dubbed Showtime championship boxing on CBS. Basically brings Showtime programmed boxing to “free” television around the world. Feeding off the “free boxing 4 all” vision Premier Boxing Champions has brought to millions of fans all over the world since its inception.
With a win Jesus Cuellar looks to set up a mega showdown with Current WBA Super World featherweight champion in Leo Santa Cruz who he, himself has the heavy task of vanquishing Carl Frampton who’s making the move up in weight from 122lbs (Super Bantamweight) to 126lbs (Featherweight) in the process giving up his WBA & IBF 122lbs titles for the lucrative opportunity to face Santa Cruz.
As for Abner Mares, he’s aiming to become a 4 time world champion and avoiding what many critics feels could be his last opportunity to prove he’s still a “A level” fighter, his words, not ours. Abner Mares also used the same punchline when he fought Leo Santa Cruz at the Staples Center in front of 13k fans, stating, “Leo Santa Cruz is a fighter who has fought nothing but C-level fighters. Now he’s fighting an A-level fighter…” In his fight against Santa Cruz Mares didn’t stick to the game plan but feels with Robert Garcia in his corner things will play out much more different. If Abner Mares wants the opportunity to make things right with Santa Cruz he has to get past Cuellar, the “mini Marcos Maidana” according to Showtime executive vice president Stephen Espinoza.
So tune in this June 25th for an action packed card at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. make sure to use hashtags #PBCONCBS #CUELLARMARES on social media to follow all coverage on fight.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Mayweather vs. Pacquiao II, Jacobs, Holmes, Lara, Khan, Canelo, Ortiz, and more…
Boxing Insider Notebook: Mayweather vs. Pacquiao II, Jacobs, Holmes, Lara, Khan, Canelo, Ortiz, and more…
By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of April 12th to April 19th, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Bob Arum Tells TMZ Sports: Floyd vs. Manny Rematch More Likely Than Not
Bob Arum recently told TMZ Sports that a rematch with Floyd Mayweather is “more likely than not” but says that there are serious obstacles to overcome.
Arum stated, “It’s close to 50/50 but probably leaning more towards the fight happening than not.” Arum also stated, “If the match was available, I believe [Manny] would come back for that match.”
Arum also stated he knows Showtime has serious interest in Mayweather vs. Pacquiao II.
You can read more at http://www.tmz.com/2016/04/13/manny-pacquiao-floyd-mayweather-rematch/
Senator McCain to Join Larry Holmes, Daniel Jacobs, and MMA Fighters to Show Support of Professional Fighter Study for Brain health
Senator John McCain is set to join famous boxers and mma fighters such as Larry Holmes, Daniel Jacobs, and MMA fighters from Bellator MMA to show support of professional fighters study at Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Braind Health. This is to occur on Tuesday, April 26th at 12:15pm at the Armed Services Hearing Room at the US Senate in Washington D.C.
Dr. Charles Bernick, an associate medical director of Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, will also be in attendance.
Three Super Welterweight Title Fights to Take Stage May 21st; Lara, Martirosyan, Charlo, Trout, and Jackson
The 154-pound division will take center stage on Saturday, May 21 in a stacked triple-header featuring three world title fights in the same division. Five of the division’s top-six fighters* will square off live on SHOWTIME from The Chelsea, a one-of-a-kind 40,000-square-foot venue, inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
In the main event, Cuban sensation Erislandy “The American Dream” Lara will defend his WBA Super Welterweight World Championship against U.S. Olympian and top contender, Vanes “The Nightmare” Martirosyan, in a rematch of their 2012 bout that ended in a technical draw.
Brothers Jermall and Jermell Charlo will look to make history in co-featured bouts as the first twins to hold world titles in the same division. Unbeaten IBF Super Welterweight World Champion Jermall faces his toughest test to date when he makes the second defense of his belt against former world champion Austin “No Doubt” Trout. Jermell will take on exciting contender John Jackson in a bout for the vacant WBC Super Welterweight World Championship.
“Erislandy Lara and I have unfinished business from our first fight,” said Martirosyan. “I had him beat that night and I’ll beat him on May 21. My time is now and I know I will be the new champion of the world on May 21.”
The 25-year-old Charlos’ aim to make history against stiff opposition from a former champion in Trout, and the Olympian from the Virgin Islands in Jackson.
“This will be a history-making, record-breaking night for the Charlo twins,” said Jermall Charlo. “It means everything to us to be able to fight in two championship fights on the same card. This is everything we’ve ever dreamed of. This is going to be a great night of boxing and I’m preparing myself for war. Austin Trout is a seasoned vet. He’s fought world champions and has beaten future Hall of Famer Miguel Cotto. This is one of my biggest fights to date, but I’m preparing the same way I always do. I’m going to be on my ‘A’ game. I’m ready to make history.”
“I’m extremely excited and grateful for the opportunity to fight for the world title on May 21,” said Trout. “It’s a twice-in-a-lifetime chance for a second world title and I’m going to take full advantage of it. I’m working hard and have already been in training camp in D.C. and ready to take full advantage of the moment. I’ve sat at the champions’ table before and am ready to go back again and eat from it again. Destiny brought me here not to lose, but to win. I’m going to show up and show out and this world title.”
“This is a huge fight for me,” said Jermell Charlo. “It’s my first opportunity to fight for a title and my brother is on the same card defending his belt. There has never been identical twin brothers that are both world champions in the same weight class. We’re going to go out there and make history, and send a message to the whole division. I’m excited to get in the ring and I know John Jackson is too. This is an important time in my career and I will be well prepared. Let the best man win.”
“I’m very grateful for this opportunity to become a world champion,” said Jackson. “I’ve been training very hard for the last two months for this fight and come May 21 I will be victorious over Jermell Charlo and realize my lifelong dream of becoming a world champion, like my dad, the great Julian Jackson.”
BoxNation Holding a Canelo vs. Khan Las Vegas Trip Competition
One of the biggest fights of the year is scheduled to take place on May 7th live from Las Vegas, and BoxNation is partnering with icelolly.com to give a lucky winner a chance to attend Amir Khan’s big fight against Canelo Alvarez in Las Vegas. The contest will be for a four night stay to take in the big fight week to the famous strip.
The competition ends on Saturday, April 23rd at 9pm. More information on this competition can be found online at http://www.boxnation.com/promotions/win-a-trip-for-two-to-las-vegas-for-khan-v-canelo/
Mario Barrios Dominated in 2016 Debut
IBF #15 super-featherweight ranked contender, Mario Barrios, remained undefeated with a dominating unanimous decision victory over Edgar Gabejan (26-33-6, 9 KOs) a veteran of over 500 ronds, improving his record to (15-0, 8 KOs).
Barrios, who hails from San Antonio, TX, came out guns blazing, dropping Gabejan in round one. Towering over his opponent, Barrios, who stands over six feet tall, used his height and reach to perfection as he landed precise punches throughout the remainder of the fight. Gabejan made it to the final bell but was severely beaten up. Scorecards read 80-71 across the board, all in favor of Barrios.
This marks the first fight for Barrios in 2016. With the win, Barrios hope to get back in the ring as soon as possible. A world title fight by the end of the year is what Barrios has is mind set on.
“I’m happy with my performance tonight,” said Mario Barrios. “My opponent showed a lot of heart making it to the final bell. Going the full eight rounds was great experience for me. I feel I’m improving with each fight and I’m hoping by the end of the year I’ll be ready to challenge any of the champions in my division.”
Keith Thurman to Defend Welterweight Title Against Shawn Porter on June 25th
Keith “One Time” Thurman is scheduled to defend his welterweight championship against “Showtime” Shawn Porter at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on Saturday, June 25th.
This bout will be broadcast by Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) and will be a Showtime Championship Boxing broadcast on CBS. The broadcast will begin with a co-main event featherweight battle between Jesus Cuellar against former three division world champion Abner Mares.
Tickets, which start at $25, will be available online at www.ticketmaster.com
“Keith Thurman against Shawn Porter is one of the best matchups that can be made in the welterweight division right now,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. “Fans in attendance at Barclays Center and those watching on CBS will witness a passing of the torch as the hard-punching world titleholder Thurman and the highly skilled former champion Porter vie to prove who will be the next heir to the throne in the post-Mayweather era of the 147-pound division. The explosive co-main event between Jesus Cuellar and Abner Mares will give fans a fight to remember.”
Victor Ortiz Media Workout Quotes
Victor Ortiz is scheduled to face Andre Berto for a second time on Saturday, April 30th live on the Fox Network. This bout will take place at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. Ortiz recently held a media workout and below are a few select quotes from that workout.
On his first bout against Berto:
“I made a lot of mistakes that night but I did enough to get the victory. I always said if I ever got the rematch, I would end him and now I have the chance.
“Berto had an off night. I wasn’t at my best either, but I destroyed him regardless. This time we’ll both be at our best.
“Berto just talks and talks. When you have to hype yourself up just to think you have a chance, that’s on you. I don’t need to talk myself into thinking I’m going to win. I just know I’m going to win.
“We’ve both had some wars since our first fight, but if you can’t back it up, you should just stop.
“I had injuries heading into the last fight, but now you have two guys who are 100 percent. That is going to make for an even better fight this time around.”
On the rematch with Berto:
“Berto comes to fight. He comes for war and won’t give up ever, but that makes two of us.
“We have been through a lot in the last five years. He hates me. I have no hate in my heart, but I know it’s a sport. I’m not leaving that ring without a victory.
“Berto wants to hurt me just as bad as I want to hurt him. I’m ready to go again. This is going to be a Fight of the Year for sure.
“Anytime you have to convince yourself that you’re going to beat me. That you actually had a chance the first time, there’s a lot wrong with you.
“It’s a sport. It’s not personal. Two guys going back and forth. I want to rip his head off and he wants to rip my head off. Its nothing personal. We can go get a burger after the fight.
“He’s a heck of a fighter and a boxer and I am too. He’s had his fair share of wars. He’s had his fair share of injuries and I’ve had mine.
“I would hate someone that took my undefeated record. So maybe he hates me, but I don’t hate him. Whatever his mindset is, April 30 is right around the corner and I’m ready.”
On working with Coach Joseph “Hoss” Janik & David Rodela:
“Coach Hoss has always been there 100 percent. He has been in my corner about a decade and he knows the game better than a lot of the people I’ve worked with. Every fighter needs to find a ‘zen’ with their coach and I have that with Coach Hoss.
“I feel like this is the best fit for me. Hoss has been with me through it all, from being dropped, to the hospital and everything. He always says that this is just another way to make you stronger.
“I also have coach David Rodela in my corner. We were once upon a time rivals and now we are closest of friends. It is a true ‘Grudge Match’ right there. Now he just tortures me in training.
On his acting career:
“At this point I have one focus. For the next three or four years I am going to be 100 percent focused on boxing.
“I’ve had big celebrities and actors come up to me and say ‘you’re Victor Ortiz, can we take a picture?’ It’s mutual respect, but it’s also kind of crazy. I don’t overstep my boundaries.
“I don’t watch the movie I’ve been in. That is too much. Some people like to see themselves on the screen, I’m not one of those people.
On his positive attitude:
“I believe that if you’re a bad person, bad things happen. I’m a hard worker. I used to work construction and out in the fields. I never complained. Always smiled.
“I wake up in the morning with a smile on my face. People take some things too seriously. Of course there are haters out there, but I don’t pay attention to any of that. I’ve found that a good positive attitude goes a long way.
“It doesn’t matter what people say. What matters what I want, what I’m going to do. April 30 is going to be the rebirth of me.”
On what’s next after April 30:
“I’m ready to fight for a world title. Especially after this victory that’s coming. This is for personal satisfaction. Berto has been talking for five years and I’m ready to go.
“I took a different route, a different approach. Why? Because I wanted to try other things. Do I have to be here? No. I turned down two movies to be here. Boxing is my first and true love.
“I’m ready to conquer the 147 and 154 pound divisions and Andre Berto is standing in my way right now.”