PBC on Fox PPV Results: Benavidez Stops Love, Spence Cruises Past Garcia
By: William Holmes
AT&T Stadium, the home site of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, was the host site of tonight’s PPV offering by Fox Sports and Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions.
This was the first ever boxing pay per view offering by Fox.
The first fight of the pay per view was between Chris Arreola (37-5-1) and Jean Pierre Augustin (17-0-1) in the heavyweight division.
Augustin was seven years younger than Arreola and has never suffered a defeat as a professional, but he has never faced someone on the level of Arreola before.
Arreola started the fight off by coming forward behind his jab, but Augustin was able to land his jabs from the outside and touch Arreola often, but his power didn’t bother Arreola.
Arreola had blood coming from his nose in the second round, but he didn’t appear to be bothered by it. Arreola connected with a stiff jab in the third round that staggered Augustin, and he was backing away and looked wobbly. Arreola followed it with a combination that sent Augustin to the mat and down for a count of nine, but the referee allowed it to continue.
Arreola immediately jumped on the still wobbly Augustin and forced the referee to stop the bout.
Arreola wins by TKO at 2:03 of the third round.
The next bout of the night was between Luis Nery (28-0) and McJoe Arroyo (18-2) in the bantamweight division.
Nery is a talented boxer and is making his US debut. Both boxers were southpaws and Nery was able to keep his distance and land outland his opponent early on.
Nery scored a knockdown in the second round with a short left uppercut, but Arroyo was able to survive the round.
Nery scored another knockdown in the third round after a quick combination that sent Arroyo to the mat. Arroyo had a small laceration by his nose as the third round came to an end.
Nery did not look like he was concerned about the power of Arroyo at all and landed a three punch combination in the fourth round that sent Arroyo down again. Arroyo got back to his feet, but was sent to the mat again in the fourth round after another combination and he got to his feet as the round came to an end.
His corner didn’t wait long to stop the fight in the fifth round, as Nery wins by TKO at 0:10 of the fifth round.
A walkout bout between Lindolfo Delgado (8-0) and James Roach (5-1) in the super lightweight division was shown due to the quick stoppage of the prior two fights.
Delgado looked to be in superior shape, and he has stopped all eight of his opponents that he faced so far.
This bout did not last long. Delgado blasted Roach for nearly the entire round and sent him down for the ten count after a vicious combination that ended with a body shot
Delgado remains undefeated with a knockout at 2:59 of the first round.
The next bout of the night was between David Benavidez (20-0) and J’Leon Love (24-2-1) in the Super Middleweight Division.
Benavidez looked to be a lot taller than Love, and was able to avoid the jabs and body attacks of Love early on. Benavidez was able to land some heavy combinations on Love when his back was against the back of the ropes, and he had Love stumbling back to his corner at the end of the first.
Benavidez continued to pound J’Leon Love when his back was against the ropes in the second round Benavidez landed two hard straight right hands to the chin of J’Leon Love, who covered up and offered nothing in return to stop the onslaught.
The referee jumped in to stop the fight at 1:14 of the second round to give Benavidez the TKO victory.
The main event of the evening was between Errol Spence Jr. (24-0) and Mikey Garcia (39-0) for the IBF Welterweight Title.
The announced attendance for this fight was 47,525.
Spence was active with his jab in the opening round and Garcia was showing good head movement. Spence’s straight left was landing in the first and second rounds, but Garcia kept it close in the second.
Spence’s reach was a major factor in the second round as his jab kept Garcia at bay. Garcia was unable to solve the reach of Spence and took some heavy shots in the third and fourth rounds, as he landed some heavy power shots.
Garcia came out strong in the beginning of the fifth round, but Spence quickly turned the momentum back in his favor with a crisp jab followed by power left hands. By the sixth round Spence looked like he was running away with the fight and was walking Garcia down and in total control.
Spence continued to touch Garcia at will in the seventh and eight rounds and Garcia had no answer for the offense of Spence. Garcia was able to land a few counter shots, but they had little to no effect on Spence.
Spence looked like he was close to stopping the fight in the ninth round as he pounded Garcia from corner to corner, but Garcia was able to stay on his feet and grit his way through the round.
Garcia was warned by his brother/trainer Robert Garcia that he was going to stop the fight before the start of the tenth round if he didn’t’ show him a little more than what he saw in the ninth round. Garcia was able to land some punches, but still got pummeled by Spence through most of the round and didn’t really threaten his opponent.
Garcia needed a knockout in the final two rounds in order to win the bout, but in the eleventh round it appeared it was Spence who was going for the stoppage as he brutalized both the body and head of Garcia.
Even though Spence was comfortably ahead in the final round, his corner told him to go for the stoppage and he did, but Garcia was able to survive the fight.
Errol Spence wins by a wide decision with scores of 120-107, 120-108, and 120-108.
Afterwards, Spence called out Manny Pacquiao for a fight and Pacquiao appeared to willingly accept it.
BREAKING: David Lemieux (Dehydration) Hospitalized, Tureano Johnson Clash Pulled From Canelo-Fielding MSG Show
By Jake Donovan
David Lemieux was hoping for a statement-making performance this weekend that would propel him into a lucrative middleweight championship fight.
Instead, the former titlist will end his 2018 campaign the same way it began—with yet another fight canceled due to an inability to healthily make the 160-pound limit.
Reports from New York City have revealed that Lemieux (40-4, 34KOs) was hospitalized Friday morning to treat dehydration ahead of his planned 12-round showdown versus Tureano Johnson. The bout was due to serve as the chief support for Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez’s debut at Madison Square Garden versus secondary super middleweight titlist Rocky Fielding but is a medical scratch due to Lemieux once again struggling to make weight.
Sports Illustrated senior writer Chris Mannix was the first to report the development.
Wins by Lemieux and Alvarez on Saturday would have likely put the two on a collision course for a showdown next May. Plans have always called for Alvarez—win or lose this weekend—to drop back down to middleweight, where he reigns as World champion.
While a showdown with Lemieux has remained strictly a rumor during fight week, it is now out of the question after the Montreal native—who turns 30 later this month—has once again struggled to squeeze into a 160-pound frame.
Lemieux began 2018 by having to forfeit 20% of his fight purse after missing weight for an eventual 12-round win over Karim Achour this past May in Quebec City. The former middleweight titlist also saw a planned 2016 hometown showcase versus James de la Rosa get scrapped after not even coming close to making the contracted weight limit.
Both of the aforementioned occurrences came after suffering title fight losses. Lemieux briefly held a middleweight strap before suffering an 8th round knockout at the lethal hands of Gennady Golovkin in their Oct. ’15 title unification clash. He went on to win four straight before being badly outboxed by then-unbeaten titlist Billy Joe Saunders this time last year.
Two wins have followed, including a 1st round knockout over Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan this past September, on the undercard of Alvarez’ championship win over Golovkin in Las Vegas. Lemieux came in right at the middleweight limit for his highlight-reel knockout of O’Sullivan, putting an exclamation point on their bitter pre-fight buildup.
The win and his ability to make weight without issue was enough to create speculation that he was very much back on the short list of potential opponents to face Alvarez in 2019, with both promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and fighting on sports streaming platform DAZN, who will present this weekend’s show and all events featuring Alvarez and/or Golden Boy moving forward.
Regardless of Saturday’s outcome, Alvarez is already penciled in for a May 4 ring return at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. An opponent has yet to be named, but at this point can no longer justifiably include Lemieux as a viable option.
Meanwhile, the cancellation of this middleweight scrap leaves Johnson (20-2, 14KOs) without a fight. The 2008 Bahamas Olympian has been out of the ring since a 12th round stoppage loss to Sergiy Derevyanchenko in their title eliminator last August.
With Lemieux-Johnson pulled from the bill, a 130-pound clash between defending titlist Tevin Farmer and fringe contender Francisco Fonseca has been elevated to chief support. Also on the show, Ireland’s Katie Taylor—a two-time Olympian who captured a gold medal in 2012—defends her lightweight titles versus Finland’s Eva Walhstrom, an unbeaten 130-pound titlist who moves up in weight.
David Lemieux-Tureano Johnson: “Don’t Blink”
By: Sean Crose
After destroying the flamboyant and outspoken Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan this past September, the 40-4 David Lemieux will continue his quest to regain a middleweight title claim when he faces the 20-2 Tureano Johnson at Madison Square Garden this Saturday. The 12 round bout will be on the undercard of the Canelo Alvarez-Rocky Fielding match, which will be aired live on the DAZN streaming service. Lemieux, the former IBF world middleweight titleholder, will be taking part in his third and final bout of 2018, after losing a one sided decision to Billy Joe Saunders in December of 2017 for the WBO world middleweight belt.
At the moment, Lemiuex has his sights set on boxing’s biggest star, Canelo Alvarez. Both fighters are under the banner of Golden Boy Promotions, and both are fighting on DAZN. A come forward, exciting fighter, Lemieux can end a bout in shockingly violent fashion…but has come up short in his two biggest matches. Aside from the Saunders loss, Gennady Golovkin beat the Canadian up in one sided fashion back in 2015. Lemieux however, claims to have gown as a result of the challenges he’s faced. “Over the years,” he said during a Thursday press conference, “I’ve learned a lot and matured a lot.”
Lemieux’s promoter, Golden Boy honcho Oscar De La Hoya, had impressive things to say about the former champion. “When talking about David Lemieux,” the hall of fame boxer told the media, “two words come to mind: Don’t Blink.”
Although Lemieux may be looking forward to facing Canelo in the future, Johnson is no one’s easy out. Indeed, Johnson has his own career goals set out for him, with Canelo undoubtedly being high on his list. Although he was stopped in 2017 by Sergiy Derevyanchenko, Johnson exuded a highly positive attitude at Thursday’s press conference. “What’s the matter with you guys,” he joked to those gathered, “you haven’t had your breakfast or something?” It was clear the man was ready to face Lemieux this weekend. “I am definitely going to bring it,” he said, adding that “it’s going to be an exciting one.”
While the Lemieux-Johnson battle isn’t the main attraction this weekend, it’s certainly being portrayed as a potentially thrilling affair. It also may offer a peek into the future, as opponents will be needed for Canelo now that he’s signed a highly lucrative contract with DAZN. The winner may well face the man in the near future…provided, of course, that Canelo bests Fielding in Saturday’s main event.
David Lemieux To Appear on Alvarez-Fielding Dec. 15 MSG Show
By Jake Donovan
David Lemieux has been linked for at least two years as a potential future opponent for reigning World middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez. The pairing makes sense since they both fight under Golden Boy Promotions and compete in the middleweight division.
For the fourth time in that span, they will now also share the same fight card.
Whether or not Lemieux eventually lands a long-craved shot—and lucrative payday—at the biggest draw in North America remains to be seen. For now, the former middleweight titlist gets to remain active while on the hunt, as he will return to the ring on December 15 at Madison Square Garden in New York City in news first reported by TVA Sports in Canada.
Photo Credit: David Lemieux Twitter Account
His bout—the third of 2018 and likely versus fellow Golden Boy middleweight Tureano Johnson (20-2, 10KOs)—will serve as the chief support to Alvarez’ challenge of secondary super middleweight titlist Rocky Fielding in the main event. Both bouts will come as part of what is shaping up to be a loaded show to air live on sports streaming service DAZN-USA.
Lemieux’s manager, Camille Estephan confirmed to BoxingInsider.com his placement—along with another client, rising super lightweight contender Yves Ulysse Jr.—on the MSG show, although stopping well short of mentioning their opponents. Both slots are expected to be announced in a press conference due to take place later next week in Montreal.
Johnson—who represented his native Bahamas in the 2008 Beijing Olympics—has not fought since Aug. ’17, suffering a 12th round stoppage to then-unbeaten contender Sergiy Derevyanchenko in their title eliminator. While his name comes as a surprise for a fight of this caliber given his inactivity, Lemieux’s involvement on the show was fully expected.
From the moment it was officially announced that Alvarez would make his NYC debut, it was strongly suggested that Canada’s Lemieux (40-4, 34KOs) would grace the undercard.
Both appeared on the same September 15 show at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Alvarez outpointed Gennady Golovkin in their rematch to reestablish his spot atop the middleweight division. More than an hour in real time separated Alvarez’ ring walk and Lemieux’s place in the evening’s final preliminary bout, needing less than a round to blow out his contentious rival Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan.
Lemieux’s other two appearances on Alvarez undercards also came at T-Mobile Arena, scoring a 10-round decision over Marcos Reyes last May (Alvarez outpointed Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in the main event) and knocking out Glen Tapia in four rounds exactly 52 weeks prior (Alvarez knocked out Amir Khan in six rounds).
The win over Tapia was his first fight as an ex-titlist, having ended his reign in an 8th round knockout loss to Golovkin in Oct. ’15. That bout represented his lone other appearance at Madison Square Garden, having fought in New York just one other time when he stopped Gabriel Rosado in the 10th round of their Dec. ’14 battle at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY.
Overall, Lemieux—who will turn 30 one week after the December 15 show—is 6-1 in his post-title reign. The lone loss came at the hands of Billy Joe Saunders in their title fight last December in Laval, Canada. That bout aired live on HBO, as did a March ’17 knockout win over Curtis Stevens, with his fights versus Golovkin, Reyes, Tapia and O’Sullivan all taking place on HBO PPV.
His forthcoming return to New York City will mark his debut on DAZN-USA, which launched in the United States in September. The streaming service made considerable headlines in October when announcing a record-breaking contract with Alvarez and long-term agreement for Golden Boy Promotions to showcase its entire stable on the platform.
The alignment puts Lemieux in perhaps the most favorable position of his career—including his brief title reign.
Lemieux is just 1-2 overall in title fights, the victory coming in a 12-round decision win over Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam in their June ’15 vacant title fight. His regin was short-lived, conceding the belt to Golovkin just four months later and then coming up miserably short versus then-titlist Saunders one year ago.
Still, his alliance with Golden Boy Promotions and DAZN opens the doors for plenty of future opportunities.
Alvarez and recently crowned middleweight titlist Demetrius Andrade (promoted by Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing USA outlet) both fight under the DAZN banner, which is soon expected to welcome another new 160-pound beltholder in Daniel Jacobs. RingTV.com senior writer Mike Coppinger reported earlier this week that Golovkin’s promoter, Tom Loeffler is in advanced talks with the platform to bring aboard the middleweight superstar.
Visions of trekking toward the top of the middleweight division begin with the outcome of his December 15 date in New York City.
Lemieux’s addition beefs up a card that is already taking shape on paper. The balance of the undercard remains largely rumor-based and sans opponents, but so far suggested to ply their trade in chief support are 130-pound titlist Tevin Farmer and 2012 Olympic Gold medalist and reigning lightweight champ Katie Taylor, both of whom appeared on the same October 20 show in Boston and emerged victorious in separate one-sided contests.
In the main event, both Mexico’s Alvarez (50-1-2, 34KOs) and England’s Fielding (27-1, 15KOs) fight in New York City for the first time in their respective careers.
Alvarez fights north of the 160-pound limit for just the second time in his career. The lone other occasion was his shutout of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in their May ’17 catchweight clash.
Fielding attempts the first defense of a secondary title he wrested from Tyron Zeuge in an upset 5th round knockout win this past July in Germany. The feat marked the sixth straight win for the 31-year old following his lone loss, a Nov. ’15 1st round knockout loss to Callum Smith who recently won the World Boxing Super Series super middleweight tournament.
The forthcoming defense versus Alvarez also marks Fielding’s U.S. debut and just second consecutive—and overall—pro fight outside of jolly old England.
Canelo and Golovkin: What’s Next for Both
By: Oliver McManus
With the benefit of 72 hours to sleep on things, it’s time to address what’s next for Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin after their ferocious rematch at the T-Mobile Arena and, whilst some of these options are a little more realistic than others, we can be dreamers, so here are my top picks (trilogy aside!) –
This one seems a little adventurous to begin with but there are two fights that makes me stand up with interest, with regards to Canelo, and they both involve fellow Mexicans in what would make the perfect Cinco de Mayo bouts for 2019 – whilst it’s likely that Alvarez would look to fight in December first, these fights could brew nicely into the early months of next year.
First up is Jaime Munguia and given the size of the WBO 147lb champion, it’s equally likely that this bout could be taken at middle as it is welterweight and we’ve seen Munguia really start to stamp his authority over the course of 2018 with the youngster playing the role of underdog in his title challenge against Sadam Ali and, marginally, in his first defence against Liam Smith.
The sheer size and explosivity of Munguia means the fight with Canelo would guarantee action – akin to the last two with Golovkin – and of course there’s that added all-Mexican spice.
Looking into the super middleweight and you find another WBO champion in Gilberto Ramirez who has failed to really find any momentum over the last couple of years despite defending the title on four occasions and Zurdo has made no bones about his desire to land a big fight.
We know Canelo looks BIG when out of the ring – I’m not even going to go near the whole clenbuterol situation – and even at the catchweight of 164 for his bout with Julio Cesar Chavez he looked comfortable. I mean, admittedly, not a great performance but it wasn’t because of the extra weight.
More of a tactician than Munguia and, indeed, Golovkin, Ramirez would represent a different type of opponent for Alvarez with the opportunity to show a different set of skills than the, relatively, brawling nature over the last few months and Canelo, certainly, is an elite level boxer not just fighter. (If that makes sense).
Munguia and Ramirez, starting to sound like a fajita, but I want to see ANOTHER all Mexican encounter involving Canelo because you just cannot beat those atmospheres and the two champs either side of middleweight appear to be the frontrunners in that respective category.
Saunders vs Golovkin
A fight that has been mooted for a long, long time and it seems that now could be the most realistic timing for the super-fight to take place and on the assumption that the WBO champion can navigate his way past Demetrius Andrade on October 20th , this would provide the opportunity for GGG to bounce straight back into the world title scene.
For Saunders it provides him with the chance to carry on with the momentum he picked up in Canada last December with a, let’s not beat around the bush, masterclass performance against David Lemieux and, whilst his antics outside of the ring have been less than respectable, in the boxing world a victory over Golovkin would cement his credibility as one of the best.
An awkward southpaw who dictates the tempo of the bout from the centre of the ring, Saunders poses a distinctly different threat to that of Canelo but is equally capable of getting dirty on the inside and involved in a firefight as he is executing a technical, counter-punching gameplan.
Golovkin doesn’t need warm up bouts following his first ever career loss, he’s an elite fighter, certainly a Top 15 pound for pound and, with only a few fights left in him, it seems logical to target the fight with Saunders because it’s one we know he is mightily confident in winning and if he were to be able to reclaim the single belt that has alluded him his whole career then, surely, we could be looking at the best middleweight ever?
Saunders vs Golovkin make sense, it’s been in the works for a long time and it’s a bout that both men are confident of winning so let’s get it on!
Canelo vs Lemieux
We’ll keep this section short and snappy because I think we’re all aware that David Lemieux, especially after the pasting he got via Billy Joe Saunders, is in a different league, technically, to the world champions but following a devastating knockout over Spike O’Sullivan he finds himself back in the fold for a world title.
The one that can’t be argued with is the power of the Canadian who, when given a chance, is able to unfurl bombs in the direction of whichever Tom, Dick or Harry is standing in front of him. Having said that, he is equally susceptible to stinking out a stadium when he fails to turn up for a fight and that happens alarmingly often for him to be taken seriously as a contender.
It’s very hot and cold with David Lemieux but even when he’s on top of his game it’s nothing that would really send Canelo back to Mexico quivering in his boots looking for some more of that steak – the threat of Lemieux is easily nullified by Canelo taking the fight to the Canadian, boxing at a high tempo for the duration of the fight with a strong lead jab.
Canelo vs O’Sullivan was being lined up for December and, thusly, it makes sense that O’Sullivan’s conqueror is also in the frame.
The truth of the matter though, like it or not, is that this would only serve as a stay busy fight until a big clash in May.
Retirement for GGG?
What is left for Gennady Gennadyevich Golovkin to achieve in the sport of boxing? With seemingly little possibility of moving a weight class, the former unified middleweight champion has literally been there, done that and seen it all.
20 successful defences of his belt, five as unified champion, the 36 year old possess a record matched only by the great Bernard Hopkins and, looking through the eras, you’d be hard pressed to suggest he wouldn’t have found success across them all.
A World Amateur champion and Olympic silver medallist, to boot, Golovkin has a career, both amateur and professional, to be immensely proud of and in the eyes of many an onlooker he has got nothing left to prove.
On many scorecards he should have won that first fight with Canelo, the second was a stormer and there can be no loss of legitimacy for losing what was, let’s be honest, a fight that could have gon either way; you get the feeling that Golovkin and Canelo could go toe to toe 60 times and it would never get boring, 20 would be a win for Golovkin, 20 for Canelo and the other 20 a draw… it’s just that sort of a fight!
But for the love of the sport and the pride he gets from fighting, there is nothing left to achieve for Triple G so, if you ask me, hang those gloves up, kick back and just enjoy life Gennady!
Of course the fight we all want to see, well most of us anyway, is ANOTHER rematch between the two protagonists of the middleweight division and why shouldn’t we want that? 24 rounds of simply stunning action during which neither fighter could comprehensively claim to be the better man, throw in some controversy, a bit of bad blood, and we have got ourselves not just a fight but an EVENT.
The first two fights were must-see entertainment that captured the imagination of the boxing community and there’s very little reason to believe a third would be anything but the same – the only question’s that really need answering are where, when and how much is it going to cost us?
Preliminary talks are being held between the parties, allegedly, so hopefully we’ll be able to see the trilogy contest sooner rather than later because there’s some unfinished business to take care of and it’s a fight that I, certainly, will never get bored of.
Having said that, what if Golovkin wins the third fight? Does that mean we’ll have to have a fourth?!
HBO PPV Preview: Canelo Alvarez vs Gennady Golovkin Rematch, Plus Full Undercard
By: William Holmes
Canelo Alvarez vs Gennady Golovkin PPV
HBO PPV: $84.95
T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas
Start time: 8PM ET/ 5PM PT
TV Undercard: Jaime Munguia vs Brandon “Bad Boy” Cook
David Lemieux vs Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan
Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez vs Moises “Moi” Fuentes
On Saturday, September 15th the long awaited rematch between Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez will finally occur for Golovkin’s WBA and WBC Middleweight Titles.
They were originally to fight on May 5th, but a positive test for clenbuterol scuttled those plans. Canelo claimed the trace levels detected were due to contaminated meat, which was met with some skepticism by Golovkin and his team.
Jaime Mungui and Brandon Cook will meet in the co-main event of the night for Munguia’s WBO Junior Middleweight World Title. David Lemieux and Gary O’Sullivan will also meet in a middleweight bout with possible future title implications.
Other boxers such as Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez, Moises Fuentes, Vergil Ortiz Jr., Alexis Rocha, and Brian Ceballo will also be featured on the undercard.
The following is a preview of the three top fights for Saturday’s HBO PPV offering.
David Lemieux (39-4) vs. Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan (28-2); Middleweights
David Lemieux is only twenty nine years old, and will be five years older than Gary O’Sullivan come fight night, but in ring years he’s significantly older. He’s been in some tough fights with some tough competition and already has thirteen more professional fights than O’Sullivan.
They’re about the same size, O’Sullivan will have a slight ½ inch height advantage. They both have decent power. Lemieux has stopped thirty three of his opponents while O’Sullivan has stopped twenty. However, Lemieux only has one stoppage victory in his past five fights while O’Sullivan has five victories in a row by stoppage.
They also have both been stopped. Lemieux has two stoppage losses while O’Sullivan has one stoppage loss on his record.
They both have been fairly active. He fought once in 2018, three times in 2017, and twice in 2016. O’Sullivan fought once in 2018, four times in 2017, and once in 2016.
Lemieux does have an edge in amateur experience. He won the Canadian National Junior Championships in 2006 while O’Sullivan does not have any notable amateur accomplishments.
Lemieux’s losses were to Billy Joe Saunders, Gennady Golovkin, and earlier in his career to Joachim Alcine and Marco Antonio Rubion. He has beaten the likes of Elvin Ayala, Hector Camacho Jr., Fernando Guerrero, Gabriel Rosado, Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam, Glen Tapia, Curtis Stevens, and Karim Achour.
O’Sullivan’s losses were to Billy Joe Saunders and Chris Eubank Jr. He has defeated the likes of Berlin Abreu, Antoine Douglas, Nick Quigley, Melvin Bentancourt, and Matthew Hall.
If this fight happened three years ago Lemieux would be considered the favorite. But he looked slow and old in his loss to Billy Joe Saunders and he is starting to show signs of ring wear. O’Sullivan on the other hand, has been riding a good win streak and looked sensational against a solid young prospect in Antoine Douglas.
This writer has to pick O’Sullivan in a minor upset.
Jaime Munguia (30-0) vs. Brandon Cook (20-1); WBO Junior Middleweight Title
Jaime Munguia is one of Golden Boy Promotions’ best young fighters and at the age of twenty one is already a legitimate world champion.
He has exceptional power. He has twenty five stoppage wins and has stopped six of his past seven opponents. He’s also eleven years younger than his opponent Brandon Cook, who only has thirteen stoppage wins, and already has one stoppage loss.
Munguia has been incredibly active. He already fought four times in 2018 and fought seven times in 2017. Cook has also been active and fought once in 2018 and three times in 2017.
Munguia has the better amateur pedigree. He was a Gold Medalist in the Mexican National Championships and turned pro at the age of 16.
Cook’s lone loss was to Kanat Islam by TKO in 2017. He doesn’t have any big victories of note, he has defeated the likes of Miguel Suarez, Steven Butler, and Hector Santana.
Munguia has defeated the likes of Liam Smith, Sadam Ali, Jose Paz, Paul Valenzuela Jr., and Johnny Navarrete.
On paper, it’s hard to find anything that Bradon Cook does better than Jaime Munguia. It’s likely we will see that in the ring too.
Gennady Golovkin (38-0-1) vs. Canelo Alvarez (49-1-2); WBA/WBC Middleweight Title
Gennady Golovkin has to be considered one of, if not the best middleweight boxers in the 21st century. However, he doesn’t have that big signature win over an exceptional opponent on his resume.
Many thought he did enough to beat Canelo last year, but Canelo came on strong in the later rounds and was able to make the fight a draw.
Both boxers have good power. Golovkin has stopped thirty four of his opponents, though his power seems to be slipping recently. Canelo also has thirty four stoppage wins. Neither boxer has ever been stopped in their career.
Canelo will have a slight ½ inch reach advantage, but will also be giving up about two inches in height. Canelo will be eight years younger than Golovkin on Saturday, and Golovkin may be showing some signs of rust in his armor with his advancing age.
Golovkin has the better amateur career of the two. He was a silver medalist in the 2004 Summer Olympics. Canelo turned professional at a young age, but did win the 2005 Junior Mexican National Championships.
Golovkin has beaten the likes of Vanes Martirosyan, Daniel Jacobs, Kell Brook, Dominic Wade, David Lemieux, Willie Monroe Jr., Marco Antonio Rubio, Daniel Geale, Curtis Stevens, Matthew Macklin, and Gabriel Rosado. He has fought twice a year in 2018, 2017 and 2016.
Canelo has beaten the likes of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Liam Smith, Amir Khan, Miguel Cotto, James Kirkland, Erislandy Lara, Alfredo Angulo, Austin Trout, Josesito Lopez, Shane Mosley, and Kermit Cintron. His lone loss was the Floyd Mayweather Jr., and he had a draw very early in his career to a Jorge Juarez.
Both boxers seem motivated and have a genuine dislike of each other since Canelo’s positive steroid test in the spring. In their last fight they appeared to be very respectful towards each other, almost too much.
Golovkin’s age is a big concern and his best days are likely behind him. Canelo also appeared to have figured out Golovkin by the end of the fight and was coming on strong. The fight fans in attendance will also likely be in favor of Canelo over Golovkin.
The intangibles favor Canelo,but it’s hard to pick against a man that has never lost and looked absolutely dominating at times.
This is basically an even fight, but this writer has to give the slightest of edges to Golovkin, only because it appeared that Golovkin should have received the decision last time.
Lemieux, O’Sullivan Trade Barbs On Conference Call
by: Sean Crose
“Lemieux is back!” middleweight David Lemieux said on a Wednesday conference call.”
“You’ll be on your back,” clipped Gary ‘Spike’ “O’Sullivan, his opponent on the September 15th Canelo-GGG undercard at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
It was that kind of conference call. Both men are exciting fighters, and both men arguably need to win on the 15th if they’re to be taken seriously as middleweight contenders. I asked each fighter if he was focused on the future or on the task at hand. The answers said a lot about each man’s mindset. While Lemieux expressed confidence, O’Sullivan moved in and made matters personal.
“Nothing personal for Mr. Lemieux” he said, “but I think this is going to be a big night for me…I have my mind on the bigger picture.” That big picture, of course, involves the winner of the Canelo-GGG rematch. When asked which man he preferred to fight in the future, O’Sullivan looked to be an equal opportunity opponent. “I have no preference,” he claimed. “They’re both great fighters.” Lemieux, on the other hand, was more discerning. “I want to fight Canelo first,” he claimed, “then I want revenge against GGG.”
Although both men are known to be entertaining in the ring, Wednesday’s call signified a difference in personalities. Where Lemieux clearly preferred to focus on himself and on his own career development, O’Sullivan engaged in the age old tactic of trying to get in his opponent’s head.
“He got destroyed,” O’ Sullivan said, referring to one of Lemieux’s defeats. “He’s going to get destroyed.” The man also pointed out that: “I’ve never been on the canvas in my career…he’s been down several times.” O’Sullivan furthermore stated that “Lemieux’s going to be easier than (Antoine) Douglas.” Tough words, but Lemieux had some choice words of his own.
“Whenever the opposition got tough,” he said of O’Sullivan’s two defeats, “he lost.” When O’Sullivan quipped that he had never been on the mat in his career, Lemieux quickly responded that “there’s a first time for everything.”
“Don’t worry,” he said to his opponent at one point, “I’m going to beat your ass…keep training hard in the gym, you’re going to need it.” O’Sullivan claimed that Lemieux is “there to be hit.” He also added that “I hit hard.”
“The talk is done” said Lemieux at one point. “”Let’s just walk the walk.” The winner may indeed get a crack at the winner of the main event on the 15th. It’s possible the winner may also get a second chance against Billy Joe Saunders, the titlist whose defeated both men,at some point. Although some consider neither Lemieux or O’Sullivan as great fighters, their bout is being viewed as potentially thrilling showdown between two talented, game fighters.
Media Conf Call Transcript: David Lemieux vs Spike O’Sullivan
ERIC GOMEZ: This fight will be part of the televised Pay-Per-View, as you know, for Canelo-Golovkin II and we are very excited about this fight. The former IBF middleweight championship Lemieux out of Montreal, he’s going to be fighting against the Irish Warrior, Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan, tremendous record, 28-2, 20 knockouts, from Cork, Ireland. This special fight will be live at the T-Mobile Arena on September 15, part of the undercard on the HBO Pay-Per-View where the main event will be Canelo-Golovkin.
This epic event will be produced by HBO beginning at 8:00 PM ET, 5:00 PT. We are excited to bring you both of these fighters, so you guys can ask them questions and you can talk about their fight.
As many of you know, they have gone back and forth a little bit on social media. Also, on the card, not on the call today, is the Mexican rising star Jamie Munguia defending his title against Brandon Cook, and Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez will also be fighting against Moises “Moi” Fuentes on the card.
You can still purchase tickets at the T-Mobile Arena. You can go online at WWW.T-Mobile Arena.com or WWW.AXS.COM or 1-888-9AXSTIX. Closed-circuit tickets are available, and you can buy them at the MGM or at the Mandalay Bay, the Mirage or the Luxor. Those are moving pretty well, as well.
Before we introduce you to the fighters and have them say a few words, I do want to thank our amazing supporting sponsors: The event is sponsored by Tecate, “THE OFFICIAL BEER OF BOXING,” Hennessy, “Never Stop, Never Settle,” O’Reilly Auto Parts, Fred Loya Insurance, Interjet, Venom, and Fathom Events.
Now, I want to first introduce you to Gary “Spike” Sullivan and I’ll have him say a few words.
Can you tell us about your training, how it’s going, and looking forward to this fight?
GARY SULLIVAN: I can’t wait. I’m really excited for this fight. My first time fighting in Vegas. Excited about the whole event and my training is going really good. Got some really good sparring partners. Saunders recommended some sparring partners that he used in preparation for Lemieux, so I’ve been using those guys and feeling really good.
That’s great. Thank you very much, Gary.
Now, the former champion, David Lemieux, if you can make some opening comments, as well, please.
DAVID LEMIEUX: It’s been a long time I’ve been waiting for a big fight like this. I’m extremely ready and I’m extremely excited. I expect — that I haven’t seen in a while. I’m very prepared for this fight. It’s been a long time I’ve had a preparation like this. It’s going to be devastating.
ERIC GOMEZ: That’s great. That’s great. Thank you.
Q. A question for both Mr. Lemieux and Mr. O’Sullivan. Some see this as a make-or-break fight for both of you. Do either of you see it that way or do you simply see this as a fight that you just need to focus on exclusively and not worry about the bigger picture?
DAVID LEMIEUX: This fight is about getting back on top, so I’m preparing myself for that.
GARY SULLIVAN: Firstly, nothing personal against Mr. Lemieux. I think it’s going to be a good night for me and I’m not really concerned about Lemieux. I’m looking at the bigger picture. I’m looking at Golovkin-Canelo, ringside to watch after I beat Lemieux, and I can’t wait for those guys.
Q. I spoke to Billy Joe Saunders, a common opponent of both of you guys, and he says that he has no doubt that Spike O’Sullivan is going to win. What do you say to that?
DAVID LEMIEUX: That’s because he didn’t fight Lemieux in top shape. I’m going to be in top shape against spike. So, Saunders, I wasn’t at my top, but I will be against Sullivan.
Q. Does that mean anything to you, that a common opponent is picking you in the fight?
GARY SULLIVAN: I think he’s correct. He went no Lemieux’s backyard and beat Lemieux convincingly in Quebec, whereas I went to London and walked into his own backyard and gave him a much better fight than Lemieux did, and I’m now a much better fighter than I was then. I’m going to be the one that’s going to win the fight.
Q. I know this match right now — maybe the winner for fighting Canelo or Golovkin, what is it going to take for these guys?
ERIC GOMEZ: Obviously both fighters are top middleweights. They are definitely in the Top-10, probably five, in the middleweight division.
So the winner is going to be in a very good position to fight any of the champions, whether it’s the winner of Canelo-Golovkin or any of the other champions. You know, both guys, this is to get to the next level and to get to that championship stage. This can very well be an eliminator to become one of the top contenders for any of the champions.
Q. I know O’Sullivan is having a great moment right now, was in the mix for Golovkin and for Canelo in December, so he needs to prove that he deserves this spot, and David Lemieux — he has the experience, the best opposition right now because this fight — to win this fight.
ERIC GOMEZ: I guess, David, you can answer first. How do you feel about being in this big position on this under card, and do you feel you’ll be ready if you win the fight to fight the winner of Canelo-Golovkin?
DAVID LEMIEUX: Definitely, I’ve been waiting for an opportunity like this for a while now to get back on top and I’m very confident that I’m going to not just beat O’Sullivan but look amazing against him. I’m extremely confident and I can’t wait for fight night. Give the fans what they want to see.
ERIC GOMEZ: Same question for you, Gary.
GARY SULLIVAN: What is the question?
ERIC GOMEZ: The question was how do you feel being in this big spotlight, and if you win the fight, do you think that you would be in position to fight the winner? Do you think that qualifies you to fight the winner of Canelo-Golovkin?
GARY SULLIVAN: Who is going to get the start on September 15 — I’m ready for Golovkin or Canelo, would be fantastic display given what I just.
Q. My first question is for David. Obviously this fight is the most totally different style in terms of the matchup that you had with Saunders, but I wonder, I know that there’s been a lot of conversation that the winner of this fight could go on and challenge the winner of the main event. With a loss to Saunders that was totally one-sided, you did score a victory in your last fight in May against a journeyman opponent and you also had a fight that was cancelled — why do you think a fine over Gary O’Sullivan should put you into a title fight?
DAVID LEMIEUX: Well, you know, going back to the last few years, I’ve been working against a lot of injuries that has not been fixed and it’s been put in the past. I’m in tremendous shape and feeling great. I can use both my hands. I can use everything. I can use all my tools.
So I think Lemieux is back and about to demonstrate what I can do against O’Sullivan on the 15th. I think a lot of people are going to be surprised what I bring to the table, and it’s going to be an exciting fight. I’m not the guy I was against Saunders.
Q. When you look at a David Lemieux resumÃ©, you see several solid fights on there, several fights you won and several you lost. When you look at Spike’s record, he has a great record, also, but not necessarily the level of opposition that you have. When you look at his record, what do you see?
THE MODERATOR: I see whatever the opposition — that he lost and also quit when the opposition was really intense against Eubank. So there’s some flaws in his abilities that I’m going to take into consideration and on fight night, I’m going to execute and I’m going to use that against him.
Q. When you look at Lemieux’s resumÃ©, he’s been a world champion and he’s fought some of the best fighters including GGG, some other guys. What makes you think that you’re in position to take him out in this fight and move on to your goals of fighting for a world title?
GARY SULLIVAN: Well, you refer to my defeat against Eubank, I got an injury — I think — since I came up that I was going to fight him, I didn’t know a great deal about him. I watched him with Billy Joe Saunders, Toribio. He got up there, got knocked down easily.
He talks about knocking me down and putting me out cold and all that. I’ve never even been on the canvas my entire career and he’s been down numerous times. He’s been beaten by several different opponents of several different stylistics fights, like Toribio — all different styles of fighter have beaten him. I think it’s going to be a really good night for me. I’m going to shine. It’s going to be nice beating a former world champion, as well. Looks good on paper.
Q. Do you look at this match up with David as an opportunity to have sort of your coming-out party? You’ve had televised fights in America, you fought Douglas on television. This is the first real big-name opponent that you’ll be in with. Is this the Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan Coming Out Party?
GARY SULLIVAN: Yeah, I would agree with that. I think the night in Quebec was a great fight there, and Douglas — beating Lemieux — I think Lemieux is going to be an easier fight for me than Douglas, no doubt about that.
Q. If you were to win the fight, do you have a preference of the champion that you would want to fight, either GGG or Canelo, one of those two guys?
GARY SULLIVAN: I have no preference. Both great fighters and I’d like to fight either one of them.
Q. David, that same question. If you win this fight against Gary on the 15th, do you have a preference of who you would like to fight for the title? Would you like a rematch with GGG or could you like to fight Canelo? Which is the guy you fight?
DAVID LEMIEUX: I’m going to fight Canelo first and then I’m going to get my revenge versus GGG — after Gary O’Sullivan.
Q. David mentioned earlier in the call that he’s not the same fighter that he was when he fought Saunders. He said he was injured in training camp in that fight. What do you make of what he has said was the reason why he lost to Billy Joe Saunders?
GARY SULLIVAN: I think it’s just an excuse. You look at David, distant look like a guy that trains like I do, doesn’t train like he’s an athlete — gets tired in a lot of his fights. Doesn’t look like a guy that trains as hard as I do. I don’t think he’s going to win this fight.
Q. What did you think that night? Did you think it was going to be as convincing of a win for Billy? Did you think he would beat David in that way?
GARY SULLIVAN: No, I didn’t. I had a good feeling he would beat him but I didn’t think he would beat him as convincingly, Lemieux being a former wormed champion and that. I thought he was a better fighter.
Prior to that I thought he was better than that. I didn’t know a great deal about him and the more I look into him, all the fights, I’ve watched a lot of his fight, and I’m not surprised Billy Joe could beat him like that. I didn’t think it was going to be as easy as that, as it was for Saunders.
Q. Without giving away any of your game plan, what have you noticed when you’ve studied David Lemieux?
GARY SULLIVAN: I think he’s a one-trick pony. He does the same thing over and over again in all his fights, all the fights I’ve watched. He’s just does the same thing over and over and over again. So, you know what’s going to be coming.
Q. You mentioned a few minutes ago that you think the fight will be even easier for you than the Douglas fight was. Why do you feel that way?
GARY SULLIVAN: He’s more similar in size to me. He’s there to be hit and I hit hard and I’m accurate. So I think I’m going to be able to land on him with more frequency than I was on Douglas, with footwork and speed and longer irons — a tougher task against Douglas than it will be against Lemieux.
Q. Spike, I wanted to ask you about the fact that you mentioned that you’re using sparring partners like Billy Joe Saunders used when he prepared for Lemieux. Billy Joe obviously really dislikes David Lemieux a ton. Curious if he went out of his way to offer you some advice on this fight or if you reached out to him?
GARY SULLIVAN: I think Lemieux — making up excuses and coming out with that crap. I think that kind of pissed off Billy Joe — I think Lemieux pissed him off and so he wanted to diss me and getting the sparring partners to replicate Lemieux — (indiscernible. )
Q. After the Billy Joe fight, you said that you weren’t 100 percent and dealing with some injury stuff but you say for this fight you’re on your game and you’re in shape. If this fight doesn’t work out for you, what do you think that says about — I’m wondering if this fight doesn’t go your way, do you reconsider if this is something that is boxing — at this level, really what David Lemieux is capable of?
DAVID LEMIEUX: This fight is definitely going to go my way. You guys watch and see, and I’m going to make spike eat all his words. To say any excuses against Billy Joe or whatever — I’m not giving uses. I’m giving facts. But now let’s see what happens on September 15. The fight is done and let’s just walk the walks and see what’s up.
Q. This obviously is meant to be a really action-packed fight and you guys both come forward. Are you looking to steal the show from — obviously it’s the biggest fight of the year in the main event but are you looking to turn some heads just with this being an action-packed fight?
GARY SULLIVAN: There’s no doubt about that, I’m going to steal the show in spectacular fashion and I’m going to absolutely obliterate Lemieux.
David, you know, it’s nothing personal. I wish you good health with your family after the fight, man. It’s nothing personal. You’re just on my road and I got to get you out of my road to get to the bigger fight. As I say, I wish you health in the future man and I wish you a happy time with your family. I’m sorry but you’re in my way and I’m just going to have to beat you.
DAVID LEMIEUX: Won’t worry, I’m going to beat your ass. It’s not going to be no walk in the park. Don’t think it’s going to be an easy fight. I’m not coming here to lose. I’m going to come here to destroy you. You’ll see. You’ll see September 15th. Keep training hard at the gym. You’re going to need it. You’re going to need every round, you’re going to need it, trust me.
GARY SULLIVAN: Maybe I’ll bring my dogs leash to bring you for a walk then on the night.
DAVID LEMIEUX: Keep talking, you’re going to see.
Q. How do you see the main event playing out?
DAVID LEMIEUX: I think Golovkin has the edge. It’s going to be an interesting fight. Golovkin is a great fighter. Canelo is a great fighter. I thought it was very — I thought it was Golovkin’s fight in the first one, so we’ll see how they train. I think if Canelo really wants to fight, he’s got the talent to do it but I think Golovkin is not an easy fighter to beat.
GARY SULLIVAN: It’s going to be hard to call. The first fight was a very good fight and I expect this one to be a very good fight. I’m not sure who is going to win it but it’s going to be interesting to watch, though.
Q. Spike, you said that you improved a lot — you were impressive against Douglas. How specifically do you think you’ve improved?
GARY SULLIVAN: Specifically, I’m more dedicated. I’m a proper athlete these days. I’m very dedicated to my training, which I wasn’t always throughout my career. The past, I suppose two years, I’ve been very dedicated to being a proper athlete.
I think the old Spike, there’s no comparison. I see that in my weight. I make weight really easy now. I look different. My body shape is different to before and you know, it’s easier when I come to training camp now. I’m just working on my technique and boxing skills, rather than what David does, losing weight in camp. I used to do that one time, as well, myself, and it’s not so good. It’s more like Weight Watchers than training camp for a fight. That’s the difference in me right now.
Q. How much do you believe in momentum and confidence, coming off the big win over Douglas, the same day you lost to Saunders, how much will that play into the fight? How much do you beat in momentum?
GARY SULLIVAN: I believe obviously the momentum is with me. I’m a pressure fighter. I believe David’s time has come and gone. He’s had his time in the past and he’s had a few heavy losses. He’s got a number of beatings and so I think the ball is certainly in my court.
Q. David, you talked a lot about the injury against Saunders. Just how bad was your shoulder, and did you have to have surgery?
DAVID LEMIEUX: It was pretty bad. Surgery was something I looked into, but I didn’t want to be off for a full year so I tried to avoid it as much as I could and leading up to the Saunders fight, I said it’s going to be okay, it’s going to be okay, but you know, obviously it wasn’t.
So we tried different things, and finally, we tried different things and something worked and it’s been good ever since. We’re sticking with that plan and it’s been going great, so we don’t need the surgery right now. I keep training, and everything is solid. I have my left hand back, so I’m back to 100 percent and not 50 percent.
Q. What exactly was the injury?
DAVID LEMIEUX: It was a tear in the labrum.
Q. You’ve been in this position before where you’re coming off the GGG loss and you were fighting a fellow puncher in Curtis Stevens, you and got the big knock out. Do you think you can replicate that against spike?
DAVID LEMIEUX: I think Spike resembles a Curtis Stevens style, but I think he’s less of a boxer than Steven was. Maybe a little more of a puncher, Steven — I didn’t see much of his punches. Maybe he’s a bit harder of a puncher.
But I’m not really worried. I’m the hardest puncher in the ring on September 15, so I’m very confident in my abilities and everything I’m going to bring. I’m going to be in great shape. I’m concerned about absolutely nothing. All the skeptics, you know, that say, oh, is Lemieux going to come back. Well, I’m going to show you all on September 15: Lemieux is going to come back and Lemieux is going to do a lot of damage in the middleweight division.
And the weight issue is no longer an issue.
Q. The weight issue, how have you cleaned that up?
DAVID LEMIEUX: The weight issue, it’s been cleaned up. I changed a lot of things. As I fighter, I think all fighters know that it’s easy to mess up with the weight, but changed a lot. Changes have been made. I’m stronger than ever and my body is going to be much different, so you guys will see on September 15.
Q. Where do you see yourselves in the fight? Do you see yourselves as the favorite or as the underdog?
GARY SULLIVAN: I see myself as the favorite. Easily the favorite. I have to be the favorite.
DAVID LEMIEUX: I’m the favorite. There’s been — I’m the favorite in the fight. Everybody knows that, and there’s been some surveys done on the Internet and all of them point out to me. I think I know what to expect.
Lemieux is back.
GARY SULLIVAN: You’ll be on your back.
DAVID LEMIEUX: You’re going to see who is going to be on whose back.
Q. Like to say hello to David and Spike. My first question goes to Spike. There’s a lot of young fighters in this Irish boxing scene right now. Is there a young fighter that in particular is keeping an eye on and do you expect a large Irish crowd come September 15?
GARY SULLIVAN: Yeah, there’s a great core. Sean O’Kern (ph) he’s a really good fighter. I think he’s about 15-0. He’s trained at my gym in Ireland. A good fighter moved through the ranks. I think he’s the one to watch out for mostly in my opinion.
I think the Irish love Vegas. There will certainly be a good few Irish at the fight.
Q. It seems like coming off a loss, you only get stronger mentally. You have a great knockout over Curtis Stevens, a few big wins. Seems like you almost have something to prove mentally going into this fight. Is that how you feel just coming off a loss that you have something to prove to show the people that you are an elite level fighter and you’ve just caught a bad break in the Golovkin and Saunders fights?
DAVID LEMIEUX: Yeah, well, actually I have a lot to prove. The last two years haven’t been in my favor but things have changed. I’m ready to be back on top, so I’m ready to give the best of what I got, and I’m ready and I’m more ready than ever to do it against a guy like Spike O’Sullivan. Let’s give the fans a great show.
ERIC GOMEZ: Thank you very much.
Canelo vs. GGG 2 is a 12-round fight for the middleweight championship of the world presented by Golden Boy Promotions and GGG Promotions. Munguia vs. Cook is a 12-round battle for the WBO Junior Middleweight World Title presented by Golden Boy Promotions and Zanfer Promotions. Lemieux vs. O’Sullivan is a 12-round middleweight clash presented by Golden Boy Promotions and Eye of The Tiger Management in association with Murphy’s Boxing. Gonzalez vs. Fuentes is a 10-round super flyweight fight presented by Golden Boy Promotions and GGG Promotions in association with Teiken Promotions and Zanfer Promotions. The event is sponsored by Tecate, “THE OFFICIAL BEER OF BOXING,” Hennessy, “Never Stop, Never Settle,” O’Reilly Auto Parts, Fred Loya Insurance, Interjet, Venom, and Fathom Events. The event will take place Saturday, Sept. 15 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at a special time of 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT.
Bellew Defeats Haye Again, Butler and Ryder Win
By: Ste Rowen
At London’s O2 Arena, Tony ‘Bomber’ Bellew once again overcame an early onslaught to defeat David Haye, even more decisively as their first meeting.
From the first bell the ‘Hayemaker’ looked to control the centre of the ring, constantly forcing Bellew back without efficiently cutting off the ring. Much like their 1st bout, Haye’s punching, though more constant, was very wayward. Every time David made a fairly substantial attack, Bellew literally shrugged it off, and prepared himself to counter the next attack. Towards the end of the 2nd round Tony threw his hands up as if to say, ‘Is that all you got?’
It seemed it might be.
Through 3, Bellew looked to control the centre ground. The ‘Bomber’ aimed to fire first in the round and as Haye prowled forward, Bellew countered with the jab and overhand right. Haye seemed to be throwing punches for the sake of it, without any real intent. Yet again, Bellew seemed so far out of reach of the ‘Hayemaker’ and with 20 seconds left of the 3rd, the ‘Bomber’ launched an assault, and a left-right hit the sweet spot to drop the Bermondsey native.
Haye had barely enough time to recover before Bellew was on him again, and the Liverpudlian took full advantage as he dropped the ‘Hayemaker’ yet again with a right hook into the corner of the ring. The bell rang for the end of the 3rd before what might’ve been a 9-minute finisher by Tony Bellew. Haye came out battling in the 4th round, but Bellew continued to look like the superior boxer. The David Haye of old was long gone by now, if not sooner.
With Bellew on the offensive at the end of the 4th round, heading into the 5th, the fight seemed poised. Then with 1:10 left on the clock, Bellew fired off a right-left that brutally dropped Haye yet again, and this time, it signalled the end. Haye rose, but looked shaky, and like any true boxer, Bellew went in for the kill. With less than 60 seconds on the clock, the ‘Bomber’ began to tee off on Haye and the referee had seen enough. Howard Foster stepped in, and called an end to Bellew vs Haye 2, with Tony Bellew emerging the victor once again.
Speaking post-fight, Bellew wasn’t completely clear on who he wanted next,
‘Me and Dillian (Whyte) have had words over the years. Dillian is a good fighter. It’s a hard fight, but it’s a fight for nothing…I’m a walking super series, every fight I’m in is the Super Series.’
‘Usyk, Gassiev, Andre Ward? You name them, I keep beating them. Just give me someone.’
On the undercard…
John Ryder vs Jamie Cox
After stopping Jamie Cox in the 2nd round, John Ryder has laid claimed to being THE super middleweight of Great Britain, despite the Lonsdale belt laying vacant.
Both southpaws came out swinging but both seemed to recognise the task ahead within a couple of minutes of the 1st round. The fight looked even as it headed into the 2nd until, with 2:23 on the clock, Ryder landed, what seemed to be, a routine right hand to the temple of Cox, dropping the former world title challenger, and, as the crowd waited for Cox to rise, the referee counted Ryder’s foe out. Cox tried to rise on number 10 of the 10-count, but that’s always a sure sign of a defeated man; and that’s just how Ian John Lewis saw it, as he waved off the bout.
So now with the likes of, David Brophy, Zach Parker, or even a rematch with Rocky Fielding waiting, John Ryder knows, the next fight is imperative to his progression.
Paul Butler vs Emmanuel Rodriguez
Emmanuel Rodriguez is the new IBF bantamweight champion of the world after a competitive, but ultimately clear 12 round decision victory over former holder of the same belt, Paul Butler.
After Paul Butler weighed in 3lbs over the bantamweight limit, and refused to attempt a 2nd weigh-in, the IBF bantamweight world championship was only on the line for Puerto Rican, Emmanuel Rodriguez, and it seemed ‘Manny’ was taking his anger of Butler’s disregard for the 118-limit, out on him in the 1st round. Rodriguez punished Butler for 3 minutes, knocking down the Liverpudlian twice. The ‘Baby Faced Assassin’ survived through to the 4th, attempting to rally and regain the rounds lost at the start of the fight.
From the 5th though, Rodriguez played both predator and prey, luring Butler in, only to fire off point scoring counters. As the rounds grew on, Rodriguez played with Butler, knowing the IBF belt was within his grasp. The final scorecards came back as, 118-108, 120-106, 120-106.
As comprehensive as those scorecards were though, Rodriguez will know, in a division with such champions as Ryan Burnett, Zolani Tete, and most likely, soon to be WBA ‘Regular’ champ, Naoya Inoue, there should be no easy fights going forward.
Lenroy Thomas vs Joe Joyce
Joe Joyce became the new commonwealth heavyweight champion in just his 4th pro bout with a 2nd round stoppage of Lenroy ‘TNT’ Thomas.
Joyce took the fight to Thomas immediately and though the work wasn’t as precise as the former Olympian would have hoped, it seemed to be having the desired effect, as Lenroy struggled through the 1st round. Right at the end of the first 3 minutes, Joyce dropped his Jamaican foe with a heavy left-hand body shot.
Saved by the bell, ‘TNT’ entered the 2nd round knowing he was in for a rough night. The 2nd followed the 1st as the sheer accumulation of punches from Joyce put the Commonwealth champ down once again. Thomas rose once more, but he was throwing absolutely nothing back by now and it seemed just a matter of time before the ‘Juggernaut’ finished the job.
With less than 30 seconds on the clock of the 2nd, Joyce put Lenroy down with another brutal left hook to the head, and that was that, as the bout was waved off, and Joe Joyce took another massive step towards the biggest honours.
Now, 4-0 (4KOs) and commonwealth heavyweight champion, Joyce was ready to talk up his ambitions post-fight,
‘I wanted to land, and hopefully gave everyone watching a good show…I knew he’d be a tricky opponent…I viewed my range and got to him.’
‘The world’s my oyster…I’d like to challenge for the British title.’
Joshua Buatsi vs Stephane Cuevas
Joshua Buatsi continued his steady rise in the pro ranks with a 5th round stoppage of 8-1-3, Stephane Cuevas.
The Ghanaian born light heavyweight, teed off on Cuevas all night, and in the 5th round began to rifle power shots off the head of his French opponent until the referee stepped in and ended the fight. There’s still the obvious signs of an elite amateur, fighting for points rather than for the knockout, but with the quality of output Buatsi displays, that’s hardly a criticism.
Post-fight, Eddie Hearn, Buatsi’s promoter, laid out future plans,
‘On to 10 rounds next…He’ll box on our September show in New York…He’s down to earth, he’s working hard, and the only thing that can stop him, is Joshua Buatsi himself.’
Martin Ward vs James Tennyson
With the Commonwealth and European super featherweight titles on the line, anticipation was high heading into this England vs. Northern Ireland matchup, and it was the green and white army that took it, as James Tennyson stopped Martin Ward in the 5th round of a pulsating fight.
Ward was wearing the yellow and blue of Ukraine, and in the early rounds, the Essex native was displaying the kind of defensive movement Lomachenko would be happy with, but it wasn’t just his defence that was impressive as, at the end of the 2nd round, ‘Wardy’ landed a beautiful left hook to the body that dropped Tennyson. The Irishman rose before the count and came out all guns blazing for the third.
After a blistering, all action 3rd and 4th, Tennyson returned the favour for the 2nd round 10-8, with a knockdown of his own. The Irishman wasted no time in taking advantage of a dazed Ward, dropping his opponent again, forcing the referee to call time on the bout.
Heading into the fight as the underdog, James ‘The Assassin’ Tennyson is now the new, Commonwealth and EBU European super featherweight champion.
Luke Campbell vs Troy James
Luke Campbell returned to the ring for the first time since his competitive split decision loss to WBA world champion, Jorge Linares, with a dominant stoppage in the 5th round of a scheduled 6-round bout against ‘Terrifying’ Troy James.
In complete control from the first bell, Campbell, now 18-2 (14KOs) will be grateful for the rounds considering the length of time he’s been out of the ring (8 months). Speaking after the fight, Campbell had Yvan Mendy, the only other man to have beaten ‘Cool Hand’, firmly in sight for his future 2018 plans.
Bellew vs. Haye Undercard Preview
By: Ste Rowen
With domestic dust ups, commonwealth honours and a world title fight, Bellew vs Haye isn’t the only intriguing bout taking place in London on Saturday.
Photo Credit: Sky Sports Boxing Twitter Account
Paul Butler v Emmanuel Rodriguez
First up is a bout for the vacant IBF world bantamweight title, recently dropped by Ryan Burnett. Paul Butler, 26-1 (14KOs) takes on Puerto Rican, Emmanuel Rodriguez in an attempt to reclaim the belt he previously held in 2014 when he beat Stuart Hall via split decision. Eight months after that fight, Butler had vacated the bantamweight title to fight for the super flyweight version of the IBF. That night, the ‘Baby Faced Assassin’ had his first taste of defeat when he was dominated, and ultimately stopped by South African, and currently WBA ‘Super’ bantamweight champion, Zolani Tete. Butler has rebuilt well since then, with a nine-straight win streak including a unanimous decision victory in a rematch with Stuart Hall, and although he heads into Saturday’s fight as the underdog, speaking to Sky Sports, Paul’s not falling for the hype surrounding Rodriguez,
‘When you watch him, you think he’s a special kid, but go through the rounds, watch his mistakes, there’s loads we’ve picked up on. He goes to his left pretty much every time, he’ll take a step to his right and then he’ll come straight back to his left.’
‘We’ve both got pretty similar styles, we both love a left hook to the body, we both love going head to the body…I know I’ve trained hard and I’m physically well, I’m sparring well. I believe under Joe (Gallagher) I can get in there with anyone and win.’
Emmanuel Rodriguez, 17-0 (12KOs) is yet to go the 12-round distance. The furthest ‘Manny’ has gone is 10 rounds, when he came up against Albert Guevara in 2016, earning a clear victory across all three scorecards. This will also be the first time Rodriguez fights outside of North America, with previous matchups taking place in Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and the US. Though on the surface Butler is showing no signs of concern for the momentum ‘Manny’ has gathered, there’s certainly attributes that will worry him. The Puerto Rican may have been taken the distance by Guevara, but he was teeing off variations of the left hand all night, and he’s not limited to his left. His precision of the right-cross has setup the finish against previous opponents.
Zolani Tete’s record going into the Butler fight wasn’t much to look at, and we saw what happened there. Speaking earlier this week, Rodriguez was eager for fight night to come around,
‘It has been a long road to this fight, but I am ready to win my first world championship. Paul Butler is a good fighter, but nothing can stop me…It doesn’t matter that we’re in his backyard, I’ve done everything right getting ready for this and I look forward to bringing the belt back to my beloved country of Puerto Rico.’
Lenroy Thomas v Joe Joyce
The sole heavyweight bout to grace Saturday’s card sees Commonwealth champion, Lenroy Thomas take on 2016 silver medallist, Joe Joyce.
Thomas, 22-4-1 (11KOs) was last seen in his ill-fated rematch with David Allen in March. That night, the two boxers clashed heads in the first round, cutting Allen enough for the fight to be called a technical draw. The Jamaican is yet to defend his commonwealth title since beating Allen in their first fight last year, fighting just once – discounting the Allen rematch – in an 8-round decision victory over 12-2, Ed Fountain, on the Wilder vs Stiverne 2 undercard.
Much like his fellow 2016 Olympians Filip Hrgovic and Tony Yoka, Joyce, 3-0 (3KOs) is being fast tracked through the rankings with previous bouts including a debut stoppage win over 12-3-1 at the time, Ian Lewison and more recently, a 38 second KO of big talking, big framed, but little fight, Donnie Palmer.
John Ryder v Jamie Cox
John Ryder will take on fellow southpaw Jamie Cox in a domestic showdown that’s sure to get the crowd going before the main event.
Ryder’s last outing was his explosive 5th round knockout of Patrick Nielsen on the undercard of Jamie Cox vs George Groves in October, and the Londoner wasn’t too concerned about having to wait so long for this next fight,
‘There was talk of other fights we were looking at, but they didn’t come off, that’s boxing. It was about picking the right fight, rather than going in there against anyone…I think our styles are geared up for a good fight, it’ll be a real treat for the fans.’
Jamie Cox’s Matchroom career hasn’t exactly set alight since making the switch from Frank Warren’s, Queensberry Promotions back in early 2017. Aside from the stoppage defeat to Groves, Cox has fought four times; 16 rounds against very limited opposition, but he recognises the step up in opponent he’ll be taking this weekend,
‘I’m expecting the best John Ryder. I’m looking forward to mixing it with him…He’s ranked across a couple of the governing bodies and it’s my goal to become a world champion. Beating John will open more doors…He likes to come forward and have a go and I’m always up for the fight.’
With Rocky Fielding vacating the British title, a win for either of these two, puts them firmly in place for the next shot at the Lonsdale belt.
Martin Ward v James Tennyson
With the Commonwealth, EBU and WBA ‘International’ super featherweight titles up for grabs, there’s a lot to play for when Martin Ward and James Tennyson enter the ring.
Ward, 19-0-2 (9KOs) has world honours in his sight heading into Saturday,
‘I’ve gone the traditional route and I’m glad I’ve done that…I want to progress to the world stage now. I’ve won everything there is to win and when I beat James, I want to start working towards world level.’
Tennyson, 21-2 (17KOs) who puts the WBA ‘International’ belt on the line, heads into the bout as the underdog but, speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, ‘The Assassin’ believes his time is now,
‘Within the last year I have won an Irish title and the WBA ‘International’ title and won three 50/50 fights by stoppage…Now I’m going onto the biggest stage, and I can’t wait…Ward is quick and sharp and it won’t be easy, but we have our game plan and I’m ready for 12 hard rounds.’
Tony Bellew vs. David Haye Preview
By: Ste Rowen
By the time Tony Bellew and David Haye share the ring for a second time, 427 days will have passed since their first meeting. The encounter that many viewed as a mismatch, turned into one of the upsets of the year as Liverpudlian, Bellew, dropped an injured Haye en route to an 11th round stoppage that saw Haye through the ropes, as well as his corner throwing in the towel. Few had predicted a Tony Bellew win, though many caveated their prediction with, ‘as long as Haye’s body holds up.’
Photo Credit: Eddie Hearn Twitter Account
It didn’t. Haye was dominant in the opening rounds, but Bellew’s perhaps, underrated defensive abilities were on show as, even before the injury occurred, Tony was making David miss a number of wide, heavy shots.
In the 6th round Haye’s Achilles tendon ruptured, and his game plan switched in a heartbeat from a ‘search & destroy’ mission, to survival at all costs. Bellew took to the centre of the ring and began to dominate until the penultimate round when, eventually he landed a left hook, which was enough to fire Haye through the ropes and signal the end of a crazy turn of events in London.
The former unified cruiserweight champion did live to fight another day, this Saturday to be exact, even if the fight has had to be postponed from its original December date, but there’s not the same confidence that was there before the last bout. No statements such as, ‘I’ve never had a fight where I really wanted to cave someone’s skull in like this.’
No, this time the Hayemaker, 28-3 (26KOs) is taking a more sombre approach to his words ahead of Saturday night. Speaking at Monday’s press conference with a very much, pro Tony Bellew crowd in Liverpool, Haye said,
‘Last time round I was a bit angry, this time round not so much. I didn’t believe Tony Bellew had what it took to beat me. On my worst night I was terribly wrong. He raised his game way more than any of his prior fights and I expect exactly the same thing again on Saturday night.’
‘I’m gonna do what I tried to do last time and failed miserably; and you guys are, unfortunately gonna see the end of Tony Bellew. My speed, timing is back. It’s all back.’
His opponent however was rightfully lapping it up in his hometown press conference.
‘I’m gonna do exactly what I done in the first fight. You’re going to miss and you’re going to miss by miles…On Saturday mate, it comes to an end. For the first time in your whole career, you are actually fighting for your career.’
‘David isn’t back to win world titles, David’s back to rob the bank and he’s trying to do it with as little risk as possible…The mistake he made is he picked this fat, little, scouse, cruiser with a mouth to try and make that against, ‘cos he thought it would be an easy fight.’
‘Saturday night guys, it’s time to go to war and your career my son, ends in a beat.’
Saturday night’s venue will once again be London’s O2 arena, but this time round, it feels a lot harder to assess and predict what eventually goes down when the first bell sounds. If he’s smart Haye’s tactics will reflect his more thoughtful approach to the rematch so far. Last time round it was clear he wanted the knockout, and he wanted it early. There was no doubt, as confirmed by Haye himself, that the Bermondsey native, massively underestimated Bellew’s resilience to take a punch, as well as avoid the pressure the former WBA heavyweight champion would put the ‘Bomber’ under early on in the bout.
By Saturday it will be just under 2 years since Bellew’s greatest night, when he knocked out Ilunga Makabu at Goodison Park, to win the WBC cruiserweight title. Since then, though only fighting twice, he’s kept the hype train rolling, and wants to keep steaming down the track after this weekend’s bout, eyeing up future battles with Tyson Fury, or a supposedly retired, Andre Ward.
For Haye though, his greatest night, depending on what you view as more significant, was either over 10 years ago when he KO’d Jean Marc Mormeck to win the WBA & WBC cruiserweight belts, or his 2009 victory for the WBA heavyweight belt, defeating man mountain, Nikolay Valuev. In fact, it’s been almost 6 years since his last significant victory, when he made lightwork of Dereck Chisora in 5 rounds.
The famous saying goes, ‘Speed kills’. Well in boxing, so does inactivity. By normal standards, Tony Bellew, 29-2-1 (19KOs) is an inactive boxer, when you compare him to Haye though, he’s virtually Sugar Ray Robinson fighting once a month.
This time round, rather than thought’s of ‘I wonder if Haye’s body will hold up.’, there feels like an inevitability of, ‘When will it fail?’. When it comes to Tony Bellew though, fight fans have just come to expect the unexpected.
Can Joseph Parker Surpass David Tua?
By: Ste Rowen
When you’re a promising, heavyweight boxer from New Zealand with Samoan heritage, you’re bound to be compared to David Tua. When you’re a heavyweight boxer from New Zealand, Samoan heritage and trained by Kevin Barry, the comparisons double. When you’re a heavyweight boxer from New Zealand, Samoan heritage, trained by Kevin Barry, and the WBO heavyweight champion of the world, it’d be almost sacrilege to not mention the ‘Tuaman’.
This coming Saturday, Joseph Parker, 24-0 (18KOs) headlines a heavyweight unification clash at Cardiff’s, 74500 capacity stadium, two fights removed from his unanimous decision win over Andy Ruiz for the vacant WBO belt.
It’s a height his fellow countryman, and New Zealand’s favourite boxing son, David Tua never reached. Always the bridesmaid and never the bride, David is remembered as one of the best heavyweights, never to win a championship belt.
Despite this, the question still remains over how Parker stands up when compared to the ‘Tuaman’.
In Tua’s one world title fight, he was soundly beaten by ‘THE’ man at the time, Lennox Lewis, but under the tutelage of Kevin Barry, David’s standing in boxing folklore is backed up by his victories over the men who would become champion and of course, a legendary chin.
As an amateur, Tua Campaigned at heavyweight (91kg) and achieved a very accomplished career which included winning a bronze medal in the 1991 World Championships and then bronze again in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
Parker was just as much an accomplished ‘Youth’ Olympian. Campaigning at super heavyweight (+91kg), he won silver in the 2010 Youth Olympics and a bronze in the Youth World Championships of the same year, but the step up to the adult tournament proved too much as he failed to qualify for the 2012 Olympics in London, which sealed his decision to turn pro in the same year.
Parker’s most impressive professional performance to date came in a 12-round slugger with Carlos Takam, Anthony Joshua’s most recent opponent. Throwing 534 punches, landing 102/261 power shots, Joe came through his first big test a better fighter than he entered. It was also the first-time fans were able to see his chin really tested against a higher calibre of opposition.
I was lucky enough to be in Auckland to see Parker fight five months later at the 3000 strong Vodafone Events Centre. That night he came up against the limited, but well-respected Alexander Dimitrenko. 20-0 (17KOs) at the time, Parker lived up to the ever-growing hype. There was an efficient nastiness to him as he didn’t rush in unnecessarily, found range well behind a composed jab, and fired off deft right hands that seemed to shake his opposition every time they landed. It all combined for three knockdowns in the first two rounds, and an unusual 3rd round body shot finish, when the Russian already looked downed.
It was the last KO Parker scored. In his three performances since, the New Zealander has gone 36 rounds, great experience you might say, but the quality of performance hasn’t matched up with the Parker we saw clash with Takam or Dimitrenko.
To win the WBO strap (his next fight after Dimitrenko) Parker took on the surprisingly quick hitting Mexican-American, Andy Ruiz. Also unbeaten, at 29-0 (19KOs) Ruiz had built up a solid record against relatively poor opposition but trained by Abel Sanchez and entering the ring with very little expectation, the ‘Destroyer’ made a bright start and the expectation on Parker’s shoulders suddenly seemed to weigh him down.
The New Zealander won a very contentious hometown decision, lacked power in his punching but more worryingly, the accuracy that had been so evident in his previous 20 bouts. Those types of performances can occur, but after failing to impress in 12 rounds against regular sparring partner and late stand-in, Razvan Cojanu and then most recently another contentious decision victory and lacklustre display to move to 24-0, this time over Hughie Fury in Manchester, we seem to be left with more questions than answers about what Joseph Parker is capable of.
At 24-0, Tua hadn’t fought for a recognised belt yet but he had laid waste to a future world champion in John Ruiz. He also left the crowd wanting more, scoring 20 KO’s in that time, fifteen of those coming within the first two rounds. And even in defeat further on his career against Ike Ibeabuchi and Lewis, Tua threw 755 and 413 punches respectively. He was a man who always came to win, and who the people wanted to watch.
For the upcoming clash with Joshua, Parker would do well to take notes from the Tua textbook. His chin has shown durability in past bouts, but there’s nothing wrong with incorporating head movement, especially when you’re coming up against someone as heavy handed as AJ. Tua’s bob and weave technique, plus nearly constant throwing gave the likes of Hasim Rahman and Chris Byrd fits, and static fighters like Oleg Maskaev were punished when they couldn’t land the jab. Tua took out Michael Moorer and John Ruiz early through sheer ferociousness and serious cojones to come out firing from the first bell.
‘Static’ is something that’s been labelled at Joshua a few times and if you’re not afraid to put it on the WBA & IBF champion, we’ve seen already that he’s not invincible, even if he is unbeaten.
Ultimately, when comparing the two New Zealanders, the fact may be that in this era, unless Parker achieves complete supremacy; from being a contender, to unifying the division, he may just be judged as a heavyweight in a lesser generation, especially when compared to the late 90’s/early 2000’s.
Sometimes the phrase ‘you can only beat what’s in front of you’ is legit, the problem for the WBO champion is that arguments can be made for him losing 2 of his last 3 fights, and he’s about to step in with a fighter widely regarded as ‘THE’ man of the current heavyweight division.
Defeat this weekend wouldn’t be the end of the world for Joe, it never held Tua back, but the performance on Saturday night could be just as important as the result for Parker’s future at the top of heavyweight boxing.
PBC on Showtime Preview: Garcia vs. Rios, Benavidez vs. Gavril, Ugas vs. Robinson
By: B.A. Cass
On Saturday, February 17, Premier Boxing Champions brings us a tripleheader that includes an IBF eliminator fight and the title shot for WBC Super Middleweight belt. The SHOWTIME coverage is set to begin at 10 PM EST.
The main event will be between the matched Danny Garcia and Brian Rios. The co-main event will the rematch between David Benavidez and Ronald Gavril. And the first televised fight will be between Yordenis Ugas and Ray Robinson.
Photo Credit: Stephanie Trapp/Showtime
Yordenis Ugas (20-3) vs. Ray Robinson (24-2); Welterweight
After losing to Shawn Porter in 2010, Robinson has stacked up 13 consecutive wins. The talent he has faced has not been exceptional. Nevertheless, he will step into the ring on Saturday night feeling supremely confident. “I’m an old-school fighter,” he said on Wednesday at the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. “I love fighting guys that look good on paper and nobody knows who’s going to win and it’s up to his camp and my camp. I haven’t been this excited for a fight in a long time.” Robinson expects Ugas to give him hell, and he expects to give him hell back.
The Cuban-born Ugas, who fights out of Miami, rose to some prominence after winning bronze at the 2008 Olympics. As a professional, he has suffered three losses. “I know what’s at stake,” he said on Wednesday. “It is the biggest fight of my career.”
This is about as even as boxing fights get. Robinson is 32; Ugas is 31. And neither fighter can claim a significant height or reach advantage.
However, the prize for winning is essentially an opportunity to meet defeat: this is an IBF 147-pound eliminator, and the victor will face Errol Spence Jr.
David Benavidez (19-0) vs. Ronald Gavril (18-2); Super Middleweight
When Benavidez defeated Gavril last September by split decision, he won the WBC Super Middleweight title and became the youngest ever world champion in the super middleweight division. “Winning the title changed my confidence but it changed my work too,” he said on Wednesday at the press conference for the fight. “Now I know everybody is gunning for my title and I don’t want to let it go. All the work and sacrifice it took for me to get this – I’m not going to let it go.”
One of only two men who has gone the distance with Benavidez, the older Gavril (he’s got ten years on Benavidez) surprised a lot of fight fans last time around. It was a close fight. Gavril got rocked in the eleventh round but came back the twelfth round with a blow that knocked Benavidez on his ass. As a late replacement, Gavril had only four weeks to prepare for his first fight with Benavidez. He had a full ten-week training camp this time around. If he wins, he’ll be able to bring WBC belt back to his home country of Romania. “I’m not looking for a knockout,” he said on Wednesday. “I’m looking to win every round.”
Benavidez doesn’t intend to give up his championship belt. “I don’t think Gavril can do any better than he did in the last fight. He’s a one trick pony and he doesn’t have many tricks left. He’s getting old.”
The WBC did not mandate this fight, which means Benavidez took it willingly. There can be only one reason for that: he wants to put all doubts about his supremacy to rest. “I’m thinking it will be a knockout around Round 5,” he said. “It’s going to be a combination of the body and chin.”
Danny Garcia (33-1) vs. Brandon Rios (34-3-1); Welterweight
Garcia is still talking about Keith Thurman, who delivered Garcia his only professional loss. “I don’t blame Keith Thurman for not wanting to fight me again,” he said at the press conference Wednesday. “I wouldn’t want to fight me two times in a row.” Garcia hasn’t fought since losing to Garcia, which means when he steps into the ring he’ll be coming off an 11-month hiatus. He has an opportunity to impress, and he doesn’t intend to lose.
After being by dominated by Timothy Bradley Jr. in 2015, Rios retired from the sport. However, he came back 19 months later to defeat Aaron Herrera. Rios took a lot of shots before he finally KO’d Herrera. If he’s smart, Garcia will look to exploit this vulnerability.
Although Garcia is the clear favorite, Rios isn’t coming for just a paycheck. He a pressure fighter and knows how to make necessary adjustments. He’s ready to fight, and he’s excited to face Garcia. “One thing I like is he doesn’t move or run,” Rios said of Garcia. “He likes to bang it out, and that suits my style better. But if he does run, we’ll be ready for that too.”
Follow B.A. Cass on Twitter @WiththePunch
HBO World Championship Boxing Preview: Saunders vs. Lemieux, Seldin vs. Ulysses, Douglas vs. O’Sullivan
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night the Place Bell in Laval, Quebec, Canada will be the host site for an HBO Triple Header to take place on HBO World Championship Boxing.
The opening bout will be between Cletus “Hebrew Hammer” Seldin and Yves Ulysse, Jr. in the junior welterweight division. The second bout of the night will be between Antoine Douglas and Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan in the middleweight division. The main event of the night will be between Billy Joe Saunders and David Lemieux for the WBO Middleweight title.
Photo Credit: Vincent Ethier/Eye of the Tiger Management
This fight card will help lend some clarity to the middleweight division behind the two current kingpins of the middleweights, Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin. This card will also feature Cletus Seldin, a popular Jewish fighter that HBO seems keen on featuring in the future.
The following is a preview of all three bouts.
Cletus Seldin (21-0) vs. Yves Ulysse, Jr. (14-1); Junior Welterweights
The opening bout of the night is between the Hebrew Hammer Cletus Seldin and Yves Ulysse.
Seldin is a compact power puncher who has seventeen stoppage victories on his record. He’s thirty one years old and needs to make a serious run now if he ever wants to fight for a legitimate world title.
He’ll be about the same height as Ulysse as both are 5’7”. Seldin is also the more powerful puncher of the two. Ulysse only has nine stoppage victories to his credit. However, Ulysse is two years younger than his opponent.
Both boxers have been fairly active the past two years. Ulysse fought four times in 2017 and once in 2016, while Seldin has fought twice in 2017 and twice in 2016.
Neither boxer had a notable amateur career, but Seldin appears to have had more success than Ulysse. Seldin was a Long Island Amateur Champion and lost in the finals of the New York State Golden Gloves.
Seldin has defeated the likes of Robert Ortiz, Renald Garrido, Jesus Selig, Orlando Vazquez, and Bayan Jargal.
Ulysse has defeated the likes of Ricky Sismundo and Zachary Ochoa. His lone loss was in his last fight to Steve Claggett.
Seldin fights a style that leaves him open to counters but puts on an exciting fight for his fans. Ulysse has a good record, but is the underdog going into the fight.
However, Ulysse was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and will have the support of the fans in attendance.
Antoine Douglas (22-1-1) vs. Gary O’Sullivan (26-2); WBO Inter-Continental Middleweight Title
Antoine Douglas is a good middleweight prospect who’s rise to the top was briefly derailed when he faced and lost to Avtandil Khurtsidze. He has since won three fights in a row and looks to reclaim his spot as a can’t miss prospect.
Douglas is still young and is in the middle of his prime at twenty five years old. O’Sullivan is getting near the end of his prime and is currently thirty three years old.
O’Sullivan and Douglas have similar knockout power. Douglas has stopped sixteen of his opponents and has one stoppage loss. O’Sullivan has stopped eighteen of his opponents and also has one stoppage loss.
Both boxers fought once in 2016 and three times in 2017.
Douglas has defeated the likes of Juan De Angel, Istvan Szili, and Thomas Lamanna. His lone loss was to Avtandil Khurtsidze and he drew with Micahel Soro.
O’Sullivan has defeated the likes of Nick Quigley, Melvin Betancourt, Milton Nunez, and Matthew Hall. The two times he faced good opposition, Chris Eubank Jr. and Billy Joe Saunders, he lost.
Douglas has quick hands and is willing to throw combinations and take risky exchanges. But his opponent is a veteran with knockout power.
This fight should be a tense and close fight, but it’s a fight that Douglas should be considered a close favorite.
Billy Joe Saunders (25-0) vs. David Lemieux (38-3): WBO Middleweight World Title
The main event of the evening is between Billy Joe Saunders and David Lemieux for the WBO Middleweight Title. The winner of this bout may set himself up for a future fight with either Gennady Golovkin or Canelo Alvarez.
Both boxers are twenty eight years old and are in the midst of their prime. Saunders will have a slight inch and a half height advantage on Lemieux, but Lemieux has thirty three stoppage victories to his credit while Saunders only has twelve stoppage victories.
This will be Saunders first fight outside of the United Kingdom, but he doesn’t seem bothered by it. He recently stated, “I’m used to fight outside the UK, I’m a traveler of the world. I don’t care if there’s a million people. It’s just me and him in that ring, end of the story. As for the rest, I don’t care.”
Saunders does have a better amateur resume than Lemieux. He is a former Commonwealth Champion and competed in the 2008 Summer Olympics. Lemieux was the Canadian Junior National Champion in 2006.
However, Lemieux does seem confident in his power and his ability to hurt Saunders with his power. He stated, “I’ve never said that I doubted his chin. Regardless he will hit the floor. And whether I win by knock out or go 12 rounds, it’s no matter. But I will drop him and I will hurt him”
Saunders has defeated the likes of Willie Monroe Jr., Artur Akavov, Andy Lee, Chris Eubank Jr., Gary O’Sullivan, Matthew Hall, and Jarrod Fletcher.
Saunders though has not been very active the past two years. He only fought once in 2017 and once in 2016.
It should be noted that his win against Andy Lee was a majority decision and his win against Eubank was a split decision.
Lemieux has defeated the likes of Curtis Stevens, Glen Tapia, Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam, Gabriel Rosado, Fernando Guerrero, Hector Camacho Jr., and Elvin Ayala. His losses were to Marco Antonio Rubio, Joachim Alcine, and Gennady Golovkin.
The biggest intangible of this fight is the fact it takes place in Quebec, Canada and Lemieux is Canadian. The fans will be backing Lemieux in this fight and that kind of support has been known to influence the judges.
Saunders two biggest victories were close decisions in the United Kingdom. It’s unlikely he’ll get a close decision in Canada.
As long as Lemieux can keep up his energy and pressure for all twelve rounds it’s a fight that he can and should win.
Benavidez Outpoints Gravil For WBC Strap
By: Sean Crose
Twenty year old David Benavidez aimed to make history Friday evening in Las Vegas as he battled to become the youngest fighter to ever attain a super middleweight championship. The talented, exceedingly hard hitting Phoenix native was putting his 18-0 record on the line against 18-1 Floyd Mayweather protege Ronald Gavril. The bout was the main event of a Showtime Special Edition boxing broadcast and was aired live from the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.
Photo Credit: Showtime Sports
Before the Benavidez-Gavril bout, however, two other fights aired live. First, a pair of super middleweights faced off in a ten rounder. Up and comer Caleb Plant, 15-0, started off crisp against Andrew Hernandez, 19-6-1, employing his jab and effectively closing the distance. Plant kept up the momentum throughout the early portion of the bout, yet remained patient so as not to get caught unawares by his opponent.
By the middle rounds it had become clear that Hernandez, brave and game as he was, simply wasn’t as sharp and strong as his foe. Still, the Phoenix native was game. Bleeding from a cut and determined to show he could last, Hernandez did indeed make it to the final bell. The decision, however, went to Plant. While he certainly didn’t look bad, Plant didn’t particularly impress, especially when one considered the fact that Hernandez took the fight on short notice.
Next up, J’Leon Love, 23-1, fought Abie Han, 26-3, in another 10 round super middleweight affair. The early portion of the bout proved to be entertaining. Love’s shots and high guard were proficient enough, but Han’s off-beat style seemed to give Love some trouble, as did some of Han’s shots. To his credit, Love remained patient as the fight carried into the middle rounds. Han was very effective in his own right, though, making for a relatively fan friendly affair.
Then, in the eighth, a serious accidental headbutt impacted Love and sent Han to the ground in serious physical pain. So serious was the clash that ringside physicians had to attend to Han before a decision was read. Sure enough, the poor man – although conscious – had to be wheeled out on a stretcher. Needless to say, the judges ruled it a draw, though one judge had the score insanely biased in Love’s favor.
It was then time for the main event. With the WBC world title at stake, Benavidez and Vegas fighter (by way of Romania) Gavril had twelve rounds before them to prove who was the better man. The first round saw Benavidez trying to land clean while Gavril attempted to work the body. Gravil was excellent in the third – at least until the end, when Benavidez came on strong and started going powerfully to the body himself. The fourth was almost too close to call. Gravil regularly went to the body, but Benavidez had powerful moments.
By the time the middle rounds arrived, the fight had fallen into a pattern: Benevidez would throw the faster, flashier shots while Gravil kept his sights on Benavidez’ torso. It now seemed to be a question of whether or not Gravil’s body blows would eventually pay off. The sixth was largely a Gravil round. Was Benavidez taking a round off – or tiring?
As the fight rolled into the later rounds, Benavidez did indeed seem tired. “You took his best shot,” said Gravil’s trainer, former great Eddie Mustafa Mohammad, “he ain’t got nothing left.” And there was truth to be found in that statement, for Benavidez’ power seemed to have left him, at least to some degree. Yet the man found enough strength to hurt Gravil at the end of the tenth. There was no doubt, however, that Benavidez was taking a lot of punishment himself.
Still, Benavidez came back strong – very strong – in the eleventh. Sure enough, it looked like Gravil might actually hit the mat. The man survived, though. He even got some strong shots in of his own. The round, however, clearly belonged to the rejuvenated Benavidez. The twelfth and last round opened with Benavidez landing strong. Gravil managed to hold on, though. Then, stunningly enough, Benavidez went down from a Gravil shot. The fighter got up and survived the round, but it was some kind of fight.
When all was said and done, Benavidez walked away with the split decision win…and the WBC title belt.