Canelo May Break With HBO After Rematch
By: Sean Crose
“It makes me wonder,” the LA Times on Wednesday quoted Oscar De La Hoya as saying, “if HBO even wants to be in boxing.” The Hall of Fame fighter turned top promoter was expressing a sentiment shared by many over the past several years. Is HBO really interested in the boxing business anymore? The recent activity (or lack thereof) of the pay cable network might suggest the answer is no, that it’s merely easing itself out a way relationship with fight fans slowly, rather than making a clean break. Either that or limiting boxing to such a degree that the few fight broadcasts the network decides to show might no longer warrant a subscription fee from fans.
Yet, with boxing broadcasts suddenly popping up all over television and the internet, breaking up with HBO might not be that hard for those fans to do. Bob Arum’s Top Rank Promotions, for instance, has moved on to ESPN from HBO and has brought down some nice ratings for itself, thanks very much. If HBOs seeming disinterest in boxing is hurting Top Rank or its fighters, there’s little indication of it. In fact, Top Rank just signed a lucrative contract extension with ESPN not that long ago.
All of this, of course, leads to the question of whether nor not HBO’s star boxing attraction, Canelo Alvarez, will remain with the network after his highly anticipated rematch with Gennady Golovkin this weekend, or if HBO is even all that keen on keeping Canelo aboard. After Saturday, Canelo’s current contract with the network will have expired. Win, lose, or draw, there obviously will be plenty of companies and/or outlets ready, eager, and willing to play host to the Mexican superstar, should the relationship with HBO end. “It’s going to be very interesting for us and Canelo to see what HBO can do to keep him,” De La Hoya said.
Along with ESPN, Showtime, Fox and other outlets broadcasting live boxing, streaming services are marking their mark on the fight game in a big way. ESPN+, British Promoter Eddie Hearn’s DAZN, and even Facebook are now involved in the fight game. Still, De La Hoya feels a sense of loyalty to the network that helped make him a legitimate superstar back in his ring heyday. “I’ve always given HBO the first and last opportunity,” he said, making it clear that he plans to continue to do so after Canelo’s contract runs out on Saturday.
Still, De La Hoya let it be known that he’s not in the business of wasting time. “I do want to fight him in December,” he said of Canelo. Speaking of which, there’s another party who will most likely want to fight again in the near future after Saturday’s superbout.
Gennady Golovkin’s contract with HBO is up this weekend, as well.
Is Ryan Garcia Ready to Rule?
By: Kirk Jackson
Rising star Ryan Garcia (16-0, 13 KO’s) improved his record last weekend earning a very tough ten-round majority decision victory against contender Carlos Morales (17-3-3, 6 KO’s) at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California.
The fight headlined Golden Boy Promotions’ latest offering of Golden Boy Fight Night on Facebook Watch.
The success of the event regarding viewership exemplifies “King Ry’s” rising stock and popularity as a fighter, while displaying the potential and traits necessary to becoming a transcendent star.
As far as the actual fight, Garcia struggled albeit in a winning effort.
The hand speed was there, showcasing the ability to fight from the outside, while clinching when necessary on the inside and Garcia again showed he can go the long distance of 10 rounds.
When Garcia places his punches together, he looks exceptional and also displayed his ability to counter-punch effectively.
However there are glaring holes defensively and often times Garcia looks stiff; often squaring up with his chin high in air, leaving himself open, often leaving his left hand down and creating greater opportunities for his opponent.
Garcia has not displayed the ability to fight effectively on the inside as evidenced by his excessive holding. As the headliner, he is fortunate to not be penalized for that at this stage of his development.
As he progresses and faces tougher opposition across grander stages, some of these advantages as the headliner may dissipate along with some of the advantages he has against lower level opposition.
Observers may notice the quick, flashy hand speed, be dazzled by his charm and way with words, but hand speed can’t mask every weakness.
Speed can be negated by effective timing and as former young phenom and youngest heavyweight champion of all-time famously said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”
The most important factor to becoming that star is the component of winning. The scorecards read as a majority decision, the overall experience served as a valuable lesson because Garcia added rounds against a tough, experienced opponent, but based on the past few appearances from Garcia, what is his ceiling?
Due to his growing popularity – maximizing the benefits of social media, overall star potential and penchant for headline grabbing quotables, Garcia’s will be psycho-analyzed from here on out.
And with this analysis and at times over-analysis comes additional pressure. Pressure can make or break a person; there’s an old saying mentioned by many an athlete, “Pressure busts pipes. But pressure can also make a diamond.”
Although Garcia wants the bigger names around his weight class – Gervonta Davis, Mikey Garcia and Devin Haney, Garcia like Haney, is still considered a rising prospect and rightfully so.
Just turning 20-years old last month, under the traditional sense, Garcia has ample time to develop.
But nothing about Garcia appears to follow the traditional trajectory of the development of a fighter. Garcia is still in the learning stage and his opponent selection will exemplify just as such.
The question is will his learning leash be lessened as he continues to build his profile. Detractors may grow in number and will want to see him tested.
As Garcia continues to build his buzz, more fighters will want to test him. All publicity, attention, whether it’s negative or positive is good publicity.
And speaking of drawing attention, two former fighters Garcia speaks highly of, emulates style/persona wise and wants to surpass from an overall career standpoint is that of his promoter Oscar De La Hoya and his promoter former in ring rival –turned promotional rival Floyd Mayweather.
While the aforementioned legends relied on their amateur accomplishments which included (Olympic medals), strong promotional push from Bob Arum and Top Rank Promotions, King Ry is more reliant on social media to emphasis his point and add to his profile.
March 22 Espn 10 rounds Main Event at fantasy springs casino Indio ca pic.twitter.com/O6eMcaaj4u
— Ryan Garcia (@Ryankingry) January 23, 2018
Times are different in this era and Garcia has huge footsteps to follow.
At age 21, De La Hoya and Mayweather became world champions. Mentioning Mike Tyson earlier, he was the heavyweight world champion at 20-years old.
By next year it’s possible Garcia can match the same feat of attaining a world title like the fighters he admires. He has the connections to make that dream a reality.
Based on the eye test however, Mayweather, De La Hoya and Tyson obviously look more polished at the respective marks in their careers.
Are the comparisons fair? Perhaps not, but when you talk big you’re going to be compared to the great ghosts of the past.
How does Garcia compare to his contemporaries? As talented as Garcia is, there is a fresh group of extraordinary young talent – some of which may cross paths with the man claiming to be king.
Devin Haney, Shakur Stevenson, Teofimo Lopez, Money Powell IV, Joey Spencer, Karlos Balderas, Ruben Villas are all young talented fighters with potential to win world titles.
Regarding Garcia’s ceiling, it’s cliché but the sky is the limit. The talent is there and the technical aspects can be worked on.
The mental aspect is the most important thing and Garcia appears to take ownership for his performances. If he can take the positives from his criticisms and constructively apply adjustments in the gym, he’ll continue to excel.
Question is will the uncrowned king claim his crown?
Golden Boy Boxing on Facebook Results: Macias Overwhelms Cabrera, Garcia Decisions Morales
By: William Holmes
Golden Boy Promotion seven fights on facebook live from the Fantasy Springs Resort and Casino in Indio, California. This is a newer venture for Golden Boy as promotional outfits worldwide are increasingly turning to streaming to deliver their product.
Ryan Garcia was able to sell out the Fantasty Springs Resort and Casino for the second time.
Several undercard fights were shown, but the main event of the evening was between Ryan Garcia and Carlos Morales in the lightweight division and the co-main event of the night was between Marvin Cabrera and Neeco Macias.
Marvin Cabrera (8-0) and Neeco Macias (16-0) met in the junior middleweight division. Both boxers are undefeated, but Cabrera has been the more active fighter the past two years and had former world champion Daniel Ponce DeLeon in his corner.
Macias had a good contingent of fans in attendance, and he made it known immediately why. They both came out swinging in the opening round but Macias took the best shots of Cabrera well and continued to come forward, while smiling. Macias didn’t appear to have a whole lot of power and was taking some good left hands from Cabrera, but he threw over twice the number of punches than Cabrera. Macias threw 147 punches in the opening round while Cabrera threw 72, and it was a sign of things to come.
Macias stayed in tight during the second round and didn’t appear to land many hard punches, but he applied an incredible amount of pressure and appeared to overwhelm Cabrera. He continued that output into the third round when he threw 196 punches and appeared to be visibly wilting Cabrera.
Macias opened up the fourth round with a looping left hand went right back to work. He was swarming Cabrera and was really snapping the head of his opponent.
Cabrera’s back was stuck next to the ropes and corner often in the fourth and fifth rounds and wasn’t really able to throw much in response to the aggression of Macias. Whenever Cabrera backed away in an attempt to escape and breathe Macias would quickly close the distance and pound away at the body and head.
Cabrera looked exhausted in the sixth round and took a hard left hand in the opening seconds of the sixth. Cabrera was stuck in the corner often and was getting beat from corner to corner.
Cabrera’s corner wisely stopped the fight before the start of the seventh round. Macias wins by knockout at 3:00 of the sixth round.
The main event of the night was between Ryan Garcia (15-0) and Carlos Morales (17-2-3) in the lightweight division.
Garcia held the NABF and NABO Super Featherweight Championships while Morales held the NABA Super Featherweight Championship.
Garcia is one of Golden Boy Promotions’ high ceiling prospects and is only twenty years old. Garcia looked like the bigger fighter and was able to establish himself as the boxer with the quicker hands early on. Garcia was able to land some good left hooks in the first two rounds and had a good jab working.
Garcia did trip and fall backwards in the second round but Morales was warned by the referee for pushing his opponent.
Garcia was shifty in the third round and was able to land his counter right hands. One of his punches opened up a cut on the bridge of the nose of Morales.
Morales was able to land some right hands to the body of Garcia in the fourth round, but Garcia appeared to land the better shots and even had Morales shaking his head no after landing a combination.
Garcia’s timing was on point in the fifth and sixth rounds and was able to touch Morales whenever he got into range. Both boxers were warned by the referee for wrestling during these rounds.
Morales’ corner think he hurt Garcia in the seventh round and even wobbled the legs of Garcia after landing a jab. Morales pressed the pace afterwards, but Garcia recovered quickly and lasted the round.
Morales continued to attempt apply the pressure in the eighth and ninth rounds but with the exception of a few body shots wasn’t able to hurt Garcia again. Garcia however appeared to be tiring and looked at the clock continuously.
Morales probably needed a knockout in the final round to win, but Garcia had caught his second wind by then and threw enough punches in the final round to win it.
The judges scored it 98-92, 95-95, 98-92 for Ryan Garcia by majority decision.
Golden Boy Boxing on Facebook Preview: Cabrera vs. Macias, Garcia vs. Morales
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Golden Boy Promotions will continue their partnership with Facebook Live to broadcast what appears to be seven fights live from Fantasy Springs Resort and Casino in Indio, California.
The undercard will feature fighters such as Sergey Lubkovich, George Rincon, Daniel Perales, Alex Rincon, Patrick Teixeira, and Nathaniel Gallimore.
The main event of the evening will be a lightweight fight between Ryan Garcia and Carlos Morales in the lightweight division. The co-main event of the night will be between Marvin Cabrera and NEeco Macias in the junior middleweight division.
Photo Credit: Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions
The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the night.
Marvin Cabrera (8-0) vs. Neeco Macias (16-0); Junior Middleweights
This is a rare bout between two southpaw boxers, so expect some awkwardness at first and tangled up feet.
Cabrera is a young prospect who has been fairly active recently. He fought twice in 2018 and four times in 2017 and started competing as a professional in 2016. He has moderate power and has stopped six of his opponents.
His opponent, Neeco Macias, is two years older than him and has twice the number of professional fights. But he has not been as active as Cabrera in the past two years. He only fought once in 2018 and once in 2017. He has stopped seven of his opponents, including stopping three of his past four opponents. However, his three past opponents had losing records.
Cabrera has the better amateur career of the two. Macias has no notable amateur accomplishments and Cabrera has competed in the Pan American Games as an amateur with moderate success.
Cabrera will have about three inches in height on Macias, but both boxers will have about the same reach.
Cabrera has defeated the likes of Wilfrido Buelvas, Hector Velazquez, and Esau Herrera. Macias’ record is filled with guys with sub .500 records, but he does have notable wins over Rolando Garza and Limberth Ponce.
Macias has a good record, but he hasn’t faced any significant opposition and his lack of activity the last two years is telling. Macias appears to have the power to stop Cabrera, but Cabrera’s amateur background should lead him to a decision victory.
Ryan Garcia (15-0) vs. Carlos Morales (17-2-3); Lightweights
Ryan Garcia holds the NABF and NABO Super Featherweight Championship while Carlos Morales holds the NABA Super Featherweight Championship.
Garcia however, is the prospect with a much higher ceiling and has the promotional muscle of Golden Boy Promotions supporting him.
Garcia is only twenty years old, but has already fought fifteen times and fought twice in 2018 and six times in 2017.
Morales is twenty eight years old and didn’t fight at all in 2018, but fought three times in 2017. Morales isn’t known for his power, he has only stopped six of his opponents.
Garcia will have a sleight one inch height advantage on Morales. They both have a 70” reach and box orthodox.
Garcia has been stepping up his competition recently. He has beaten the likes of Jayson Velez, Fernando Parra, and Cesar Valenzuela.
Morales has beaten the likes of Dardan Zenunaj, Cesar Valenzuela, Charles Huerta ,and Luis Franco. He has losses to Alberto Macahdo and Allan Benitez.
Morales has two losses on his record, but has never been stopped. He’s a good opponent for Garcia in that he should give him some good rounds and good work, but Garcia should be a large favorite on Saturday.
Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN Results: Vendetti Defeats Kamegai, Camnio Beats Zenunaj
By: Dylan Smith
Golden Boy Promotions put on a live event from the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California. ESPN televised their card and it featured two entertaining bouts, including a bloody main event.
The following is a recap of their event.
Photo Credit: Tom Hogan-Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions
The co-main Event of the evening.
A 10 round war! It was a brutal display of heavy shots and relentless pressure by both boxers. Japanese Yoshihiro Kamega stayed true to his form by constantly coming forward and not giving young Vendetti a moment to breath. Greg being the younger guy by 7 years, he held his composure and kept pushing back the Japanese Warrior.
From the first round Kamegai pushed Greg Vendetti backwards to the ropes were he let loose heavy hooks to the body and head.
The first time for The Villain to go past 8 rounds is a testament the Kamegai’s toughness. Yoshihiro gained Vendetti’s respect form the start of the fight as Greg kept a nice tight guard. Until the 7th round where he seemed to lower his guard and become more relaxed into the fight. Vendetti’s corner was pumping him up in between each round to keep him motivated which was a stronghold to aid his performance.
The Villain managed to swell up Kamegai’s left cheek from continued right hands beating him down. Although a lot of heavy shots were thrown and landed, neither man was put down in the fight and it lasted the whole 10 rounds.
In Kamegai’s last 5 fights he has landed 24.6 punches per round 39% of them being power punches. But allowing 26 punches 43.8% of them power punches to land from his opponent. This fight was a lot closer in terms of what landed however as Vendetti landed 37% of power punches and Kamegai landed 36% of his. The total punches thrown was 629 for Yoshihiro and 826 for the Villain Vendetti so he was the busier man. A lot of punches were thrown by each man, only 1% difference in what was actually landed, which is closer than the judges had it scored however.
Both judges had Greg Vendetti winning by a unanimous points decision, one by 98-92 and the other by 97-93. Vendetti did seem to land the better shots but it was a competitive fight as both fighters didn’t stop throwing the whole fight.
Greg ‘The Villain’ Vendetti is at the early stage of his career and will go on to advance to the next stage, performing very well tonight against a seasoned vet in Yoshihiro Kamegai. With it being an entertaining fight, as it was, both boxers can come again I’m sure.
The main even of the Evening
An action packed fight with an aggressive fighter being charged by a juggernaut. Andrew Cancio has been working his day job up until the last week of his fight. Having managed to put in the hours in the gym as well. The hungry fighter had a great opening and towards the end of the 1st round he seemed to hurt Dardan Zenunaj with a big right hand. Cancio threw double the amount of punches as Dardan and landed 48%. Round 1,2 and 3 Cancio continued to throw double the amount of Zenunaj.
El Chango looked strong and composed even in moments where Dardan put pressure on him. Andrew was landing clean crisp counter punches on the inside and outside. Zenunaj absorbing a lot of punches he was relentless in charging forward. Both men utilised the jab well, Andrew however seemed to find his range better and, in some rounds was landing double the amount of punches than Dardan.
The key in this fight was the uppercuts thrown by Cancio. He seemed to be able to land at will to the centre gap in the guard of Zenunaj. El Chango utilised good footwork, evading punches and fighting on the back foot. Zenunaj did land shots of his own however and kept on working throughout the fight.
With great conditioning and mind of a warrior Dardan kept pushing forward. He seemed to get stronger as the fight went on, even when hurt he shook his head to allude he wasn’t. He boxed well, cut off the ring and forced Andrew to work. His work rate wasn’t diminished through the rounds but seemed to improved. His pressure was consistent and although behind on points came out in the 8th with a bounce in his step. With only 2 rounds left he and his corner knew they needed to finish Cancio to win. Wanting to finish the fight he carried on showing his massive heart.
They went at it in the 9th with beautiful left hooks and straight rights from Cancio but Zenunaj kept coming forward. Andrew was spitting blood which covered the face of Dardan. In the 10th Zenunaj had a lot of success and man handled Andrew. As the crowd cheered ‘El Chango’ Andrew stayed in there, his nose bloodied he bit down on the gun shield and water out until the bell.
The two fighters embraced on the final bell and gave it their all. They had a lot of respect for each other and both put on a wonderful performance. The crowd gave them a standing ovation and although not a native of California, Zenunaj seemed to win over the home town crowd of the Monkey.
It lasted the duration of the 10 rounds and went to a points decision. All judges in favour of Andrew Cancio.
Punch stats were Cancio three 994 and landed 356 (36% pct landed) and for Zenunaj 1062 only 278 landed (26% pct landed).
Andrew Cancio has earnt a deserved win, his 19th victory. It makes you wonder What could he achieve if he dedicated his time solely on boxing?
Another great fight from 2 tough fighters who displayed pugilist skills and entertained the crowd who were on their feet.
Lamont Roach, Jr. Looks to Extend Unbeaten Streak Friday on ESPN
By: Ken Hissner
Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions is featuring Lamont Roach who not only intends on extending his unbeaten streak to eighteen but to pick up the vacant WBO International Super Featherweight title Friday on ESPN.
Roach, 16-0-1 (6), of Upper Marlboro, MD, is coming off a draw with Orlando Cruz, 25-6-1, in April in Puerto Rico. He will be taking on southpaw Deivi Julio “El Cabo” Bassa, 20-4 (12), of Monteira, Colombia, for the title in a 10 rounder.
Photo Credit: Lamont Roach Jr. Twitter Account
The event will be held at the Grand Oasis Arena, Quintana Roo, Cancun, Mexico. Roach had quite an amateur career with over 100 fights. In 2013 he was the National Golden Gloves and the U.S. National champion. He was a 5-time Ringside World Champion. He is trained by his father, Lamont, Sr. and is attending the University of Maryland, pursing a degree in Mechanical Engineering.
Bassa won his first seventeen fights with ten by knockout all in Colombia. Then a losing trip to Japan to Kenji Ogawa, 15-1, who in December fought for the IBF world title. In Bassa’s last fight he scored a knockout win in February in his country of Colombia.
Bassa’s biggest wins were over Franklin Varela, 21-9, in 2013 and Edison Valencia Diaz, 21-12, in 2015, both in Colombia. In 2017 against Neslan Machado, 11-0, it ended in a NC, in making his US debut in Miami, FL.
In the co-feature Junior Featherweight southpaw Alexis Bastar, 10-1-1 (8), of Qunitana Roo, Cancun, MEX, is coming off a win in April. He takes on Rigoberto Nava, 3-2-4 (0), of Mexico City, MEX, who has four draws in his last five fights. This is including a majority decision draw with Bastar in November of 2017.
2012 London Olympics Bronze Medalist and 2014 World Amateur Gold Medalist Flyweight Marlen Esparza, 5-0 (1), of Houston, TX, takes on Debora “La Pantera” Rengifo, 10-5-1 (5), of Caracas, VZ, a two-time world title challenger, over 8×2 rounds.
Middleweight Manuel “El Meno” Gallegos, 11-0 (10), of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, MEX, meets tba over 6 rounds. He is on a three fight knockout streak having last fought in March with all eleven of his fights being in Mexico.
Joet Gonzalez Wins Split Decision over Rafael “Big Bang” Rivera
By: Ken Hissner
Golden Boy Promotions over ESPN Friday night put on a boxing event at the Nova Theater in downtown L.A. showing two female matches prior to the main event with hometown favorite Joet Gonzalez and Mexico’s Rafael Rivera being quite unusual.
Featherweight Joet Gonzalez, 20-0 (11), of Glendora, CA, won a split decision over Rafael “Big Bang” Rivera, 25-2-2 (16), of Tijuana, Baja, CA, Mexico, for the vacant WBO NABO Featherweight Title.
In the first round both fighters were taking turns being the aggressor. Halfway through the round Rivera landed half a dozen punches before getting knocked back by a Gonzalez left hook to the chin. In the second round Rivera used a good left hook doubling it up on Gonzalez. Gonzalez, the taller of the two can’t hold off Rivera who came forth with combinations to body and head.
In the third round it was the first clinch caused by Gonzalez. Gonzalez tried to hold off Rivera with a jab but it wasn’t enough. Gonzalez seemed to have to take punches in bunches before fighting back. In the fourth round Gonzalez finally put more than a single punch at a time also using an occasional elbow. Rivera continued to throw more in return after Gonzalez lands several punches and moves back.
In the fifth round Gonzalez opened up with a 3-punch combination before Rivera came back with a combination. Whenever Rivera got hit to the head he immediately came back with a flurry. Gonzalez landed a combination and again moved away allowing Rivera to come back at him with a flurry. Gonzalez kept his hands up using a good defense but his face was showing the marks of the battle.
In the sixth round Rivera drove Gonzalez against the ropes with a flurry of punches. Halfway through the round it became a real fight. Gonzalez near the end of the round had Rivera holding on. In the seventh round the fans start chanting “Joet, Joet” urging Gonzalez to be more offensive. Rivera rarely threw a jab living up to his nick name “Bang Bang” throwing punches. Gonzalez was using his strength inside landing a good right uppercut to the chin until a Rivera left hook stopped him from using his strength.
In the eighth round Rivera landed a double left hook to the liver. Rivera came forward low but not throwing punches until he got hit by Gonzalez. In the ninth round Gonzalez continued to come forward with hands held high allowing Rivera to get to his body. Gonzalez comes forward but not throwing the jab much looking for the big punch. Rivera countered a jab from Gonzalez with a right to the chin. Halfway through the round with Rivera inside he would hold Gonzalez’s glove with his arm until seperated.
In the tenth and final round Gonzalez used his jab as Rivera tried using his but falling short. Halfway through the round both fighters opened up knowing the fight may be on the line. Both opened up the last thirty seconds right to the bell.
Judges scores were 96-94 Gonzalez, 96-94 Rivera and 97-93 for Gonzalez. This writer had it 96-94 Rivera.
Gonzalez said “I’m calling out all featherweights including Gary Russell. I thought I won the fight easily.” He better watch what he is asking for. “He never hurt me. I knew coming from Tijuana it would be hard getting the win. I thought I won,” said Rivera. In the amateurs the jab scores points but in the pro’s Rivera throwing twice as many punches should have meant a victory.
In the co-main event flyweight Siessa “Super Bad” Estrada, 14-0 (4), of East L.A. easily stopped Jhosep “La Chica de Oro” Vizcaino, 7-7- (3) of Quito, ECU, at 0:20 of round 3.
In the first round it was all Estrada who was taking a flurry of punches and countered with a left hook dropping Vizdaino. In the second round Estrada turned southpaw up until near the end of the round switching back to orthodox. The referee Zachary Young gave Vizcaino a warning to start fighting back.
In the third round Estrada landed many punches to the head before landing a left hook to the liver of Vizdaino who after a slight delay went to the canvas causing referee Young to stop the lopsided fight. To her credit Vizdaino came without a trainer as a substitute replacing the scheduled Christian Gonzalez-German Meraz co-feature.
Super middleweight Maricela “La Diva” Cornejo, 12-2 (5), of Los Angelos, CA, stopped Samantha Pill, 3-1 (0), of Fairmont, WV, at 0:41 of the third round in a scheduled 6.
In the first round Cornejo pressed Pill who used a counter jab for the most part. It wasn’t until near the end of the round that a solid punch was landed by Cornejo a right to the chin of Pill.
In the second round Pill drove Cornejo back several steps with a right to the chin. The action picked up when Pill decided to mix it up but took a beating before she started moving as she did in the first round. You can tell Pill was an MMA boxer with little boxing experience.
In the third round Cornejo continued dishing out a beating on Pill. Referee Jack Reis wisely stopped the onslaught early in the round seeing that Pill didn’t know how to cover up taking too much punishment.
ESPN+ Boxing Preview: Pacquiao vs. Matthysse
By: William Holmes
On Saturday Manny Pacquiao will be co-promoting his next fight with Golden Boy Promotions at Kuala Lumpur, Malyasia and will be fighting in the United States on ESPN+. Pacquiao’s long time promoter, Top Rank, is involved with the distribution of the fight in the United States but is not assuming their normal promoting duties for Pacquiao.
Not only is Pacquiao not using the full services of Top Rank Promotions, but he’s also entering this fight without the assistance of his long time hall of fame trainer, Freddie Roach.
Pacquiao has already stated that this will not be his last fight, but a loss here could seriously hamper his drawing power as a money fighter. He’s also facing a strong puncher with knockout power in the welterweight division.
Three other title fights are also on this card. Carlos Canizales will be defending his WBA “Regular” Junior Flyweight Title against Bin Lu. Moruti Mthalane and Muhammad Waseem will be fighting for the vacant IBF Flyweight Title. Also, Jhack Tepora will be facing Edivaldo Ortega for the vacant WBA Interim Featherweight Title.
The following is a preview of the main fight of the night between Lucas Matthysse and Manny Pacquiao for the WBA “Regular” Welterweight title.
Lucas Matthysse (39-4) vs. Manny Pacquiao (59-7-2); WBA “Regular” Welterweight Title
Manny Pacquiao has been featured on 23 PPV fights and for a long time was one of boxing’s most popular draws. However, he’s thirty nine years old and turns forty in December and this will be his second consecutive fight not on PPV.
His drawing power in the United States is waning, and he’s taking on a risky fight after his controversial, and outright terrible, decision loss to Jeff Horn.
Pacquiao is four years older than Matthysse and will be giving up an inch in height and two inches in reach. Pacquiao has 38 knockouts in his resume and Matthysse has 36, but Pacquiao hasn’t had a stoppage victory since he defeated Miguel Cotto in 2009.
Pacquiao only fought one time in 2017 and twice in 2016, but Matthysse has only fought once in 2018 and once in 2017. Both boxers haven’t been very active recently.
Matthysse power can be devastating. He has defeated the likes of Tewa Kiram, Emmanuel Taylor, Ruslan Providnikov, Roberto Ortiz, John Monlina Jr., Lamont Peterson, Mike Dallas Jr., and DeMarcus Corley. He has disputable losses to Zab Judah and Devon Alexander and clearer losses to Danny Garcia and Viktor Postol.
Pacquiao doesn’t fight with the same blind rage that he used to when he was younger, but he still possess good speed and movement. He has four losses in his past nine fights. Some of his more notable losses were to Floyd Mayweather Jr., Juan Manuel Marquez, Timothy Bradley Jr., and Erik Morales.
His wins include Jessie Vargas, Timothy Bradley Jr., Chris Algieri, Brandon Rios, Juan Manuel Marquez, Shane Mosley, Antonio Margarito, Joshua Clottey, Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton, Osca De La Hoya, Maco Antonio Barrera, and Erik Morales.
Father time is catching up with Pacquiao and he’s not taking on an easy opponent in a non-ppv fight. Luckily for Pacquiao Matthysse isn’t as big of a welterweight as Jeff Horn, but he still packs a lot of power in his punch.
Can Pacquiao still hang with the best in the welterweight division? A lot of boxing pundits are saying no. His fight with Matthysse should give us a more definitive answer to that question.
Facebook-Golden Boy Deal Could Be Big Step Forward for Boxing
By: Charles Jay
They aren’t the first organization to do it. And they certainly won’t be the last. But Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions intends to be the outfit that makes the greatest strides in developing the ability to capitalize on presenting professional boxing over the internet.
They have announced a partnership with Facebook in which they will present a series of live fight cards, free of charge, through Facebook Watch, the branded live streaming mechanism the mammoth social network has. It all begins on August 11 with a WBA featherweight title fight between Jesus Rojas and JoJo Diaz, taking place in Hollywood, CA. They will also go the next week from the Sands in Bethlehem, PA. And from there it will continue.
There has been a traditional business model for years in boxing, with slight variations. You sell tickets or try to get a casino to pay for the show, and then you see if you can make a deal to go on cable TV. If it’s sufficiently big enough, then pay-per-view (PPV) becomes a possibility. But you probably knew all that already.
Well, casino rights fees have dried up considerably from what they used to be. Television money isn’t spread around as much either, and with Al Haymon having taken a significant position through time buys instead of selling the product itself, you have to wonder how anxious some of these non-premium networks are going to be about giving up money in the future, outside of a couple of vendors.
We’ve seen some trips “out of the box” that might just stick. ESPN Plus is making some fights available through a paid app (also available through other platforms); DAZN is doing live streaming and has a deal in place with Eddie Hearn, the promoter of Anthony Joshua. In one conversation with me a while back, Top Rank’s Bob Arum envisioned that the Chinese, with a billion or so cell phones on hand, might pay a small fee for an attractive product (preferably including one of their countrymen) and that would add up to huge money. Twitter showed a championship fight a couple of years ago, through it was more of an experiment than anything else. There are services in operation right now that show boxing on a pay-per-view basis online, although I’m not sure what their numbers are. Certainly the direct-to-consumer model (“over the top,” as they say) is at some point going to be a major staple of what HBO or Showtime PPV does. It would appear inevitable.
Not everything is going to work. The point, though, is that different methods of distributing the programming are being explored.
And even though Facebook has done live events, like baseball games, what Golden Boy is doing represents the exploration of a legitimate frontier in this particular sport. It can be a winner. Like television, it offers the chance for the same outlet to market and exhibit boxing programming, provided of course they can cultivate an audience. But you see, over the social media channels, there is that built-in mechanism as well. And what is incorporated in this is the ability to get immediate fan feedback and interaction. So in a sense, a lot of this is self-contained. And obviously, the programs are adaptable to mobile devices, which is where the audience is going. Remember, people are moving away from cable, and toward other services. You have to get out front and go where the eyeballs are.
Golden Boy will not only have live fights, but also original programming in support of it; “shoulder” programming, if you will. You can bet that they will be promoting their pay-per-view telecasts as well, and this first fight comes just in time to push the Canelo-GGG fight on September 15. And in order to do this, they don’t have to get TV time cleared, or buy it, as Haymon has.
As part of the deal, Golden Boy is establishing a partnership-within-a-partnership, with Main Events (the New Jersey-based promoter) coming on board, and the CEO of that company, Kathy Duva, hit on something very important when she said, “For too long, promotional companies have been at odds over a limited number of television dates. We look now to a future with Facebook with unlimited opportunity, where promoters can work together to best serve the interests of the fighters and fans all over the world.”
Yes, in time things like this are going to flip the field.
Putting the product online in creative ways can be a great enabler for any number of promotional organizations. That’s because it is the most democratic distribution channel that has come along. Sure, not everybody is going to have a “partnership” with an entity such as Facebook, like Golden Boy has. But anyone has the capability to stream with Facebook Live, and then it just comes down to how many people can be driven to the “telecast.”
Years ago, when putting together a sponsorship proposal, we used to say that a cable channel, or combination of channels, got into X-million homes. Of course, that didn’t mean that X-million homes were going to tune in; it just meant the show had the capability to reach that many. Well, as long as you want to get theoretical about it, an online broadcast has the ability to reach almost every home on earth, or at least the vast majority, right?
That doesn’t mean there is a potential bonanza out there, naturally, but the doors can indeed be unlocked. The real opportunity for small and mid-level promoters probably doesn’t lie in online pay-per-view, truth be told, although I guess that if someone is going to produce a telecast anyway, it could fall into the category of “found money.” But this is more likely a play for enhanced sponsorship, using something similar to the over-the-air TV model (and the one Golden Boy is using), where the fights are free to viewers. If you can get a lot of targeted eyeballs to a piece of content, there should be a way to monetize that. It all depends how creative one wants to be.
Those who can somehow command a presence online, with regard to the actual presentation of the product, should be able to get a leg up on their competitors.
Remember, the technology isn’t going backward. And it’s going to allow even small, independent producers the chance to avail themselves of geo-tracking, instant viewer surveys and precise audience measurements, which provides plenty of ammunition, from the standpoint of data, to take to any sponsor. The challenge as we move forward is that whoever wants to hit big online will have to reach out and cultivate younger viewers, as MMA has done. And technology may be the mechanism through which to do it. Again, it comes down to who is creative about it.
I, for one, am rooting for this Golden Boy venture to succeed, not necessarily for what it will do for the company, but what it might do for an industry. And even in this business, where “schadenfreude” is often the order of the day, I think everyone else might do well to root for them too.
Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN Results: Rashidi Ellis Easily Defeats Alberto Mosquera
By: Ken Hissner
Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions went south of the border Friday at the Grand Oasis Arena, in Cancun, over ESPN.
In the Main Event “Speedy” Rashidi Ellis, 20-0 (13), of Lynn, MASS, won a lopsided decision over southpaw Alberto “Metralleta” Mosquera, 25-4-2 (16), of Panama City, PAN, over 10 rounds.
Photo Credit: Rashidi Ellis Facebook Account
In the first round Ellis was throwing and landing more punches as Mosquera was on the defense for the most part landing few punches. In the second round Mosquera comes out throwing punches with Ellis countering while backing up. It was a close round that could have gone either way. Mosquera did better but was it enough?
In the third round Ellis is countering well with lead rights to the chin of Mosquera. Mosquera continues to force the action but is catching as much as he has landed. Mosquera was warned twice for low blows by referee Florinto Lopez. In the fourth round in another close one Ellis countered well though not with the power of Mosquera who seemed to get out worked.
In the fifth round Ellis continues to show faster hands as Mosquera was walking into many punches. During the round the corner of Mosquera yells to “go to the body!” He replied “I’m trying but he won’t let me!” It was a big round for Ellis. In the sixth round Ellis landed an obvious low blow with referee Lopez warning him while giving Mosquera a minute rest. Ellis landed a flurry prior to the bell.
In the seventh round Mosquera continued to come forward throwing few punches getting countered well by Ellis. Mosquera has bleed from the mouth and suffered a small cut on his left cheek. In the eighth round Ellis dished out a beating to the exhausted Mosquera.
In the ninth round Ellis landed a very low blow and got a point deducted from referee Lopez. Ellis comes back again outworking Mosquera. In the tenth and final round a tired Mosquera wrestled Ellis to the canvas. Ellis came right back and easily out punched Mosquera the rest of the round.
The scores were 97-92, 98-91 twice while this writer had it 98-91.
In the co-feature super bantamweight Francisco “Panchito” Horta, 18-3-1 (10), of Cancun, Mexico, won an exciting decision over the former WBC Silver champion David “Zamorita” Reyes, 17-4-1 (6), of Sonora, MEX, over 8 rounds.
In the first round both fighters mixed it up well with neither having a solid edge in a “you pick em round!” In the second round Reyes continues to force the fight occasionally being caught by a Horta counter right uppercut to the chin. Horta landed a solid counter righ to the chin of the aggressive Reyes. Both were landing punches in bunches at the bell.
In the third round Reyes has out punched the local favorite Horta. Reyes keeps the pressure on Horta who counters well but not landing as much. In the fourth round while mixing it up Horta intentionally head butted Reyes and it cost Horta a point. At the end of the round Horta through a flurry of solid punches rocking Reyes.
In the fifth round Horta landed a solid right to the chin of Reyes stopping him in his tracks early in the round. Horta has decided to occasionally stand in and fight landed hard right hands to the chin of Reyes. A right counter right from Horta to the chin of Reyes had his knees buckled just prior to the bell. In the sixth round Horta started the round standing in slugging it out with Reyes rocking him with right hands to the chin. Then Horta started moving around the ring again. Reyes punches haven’t been as numerous in this round.
In the seventh round Reyes is back being the aggressor being countered by Horta. In the final minute of the round both were in a heated exchange. In the eighth and final round Reyes continues chasing Horta and lands an overhand right to the head of Horta. Horta comes back landing heavy punches to the head of Reyes. Reyes had his mouth open for the past two round breathing heavy but still game. Horta finished strong in a war of a last round.
Scores were 79-72, 78-73 and 80-72. This writer had it 79-72.
Featherweight Eduardo “Sugar” Nunez, 10-1 (10), of Sinaloa, MEX, was upset by Hiram Gallardo, 7-2-2 (1), of Chetumal, MEX, over 6 rounds.
In the first round Nunez comes out looking for his eleventh straight knockout. Gallardo continued to move around the ring landing an occasional lead right to the chin of Nunez. The first round was entertaining. In the second round the light hitting Gallardo has landed his share of right hands to the head of Nunez with little effect. At the end of the round Nunez landed four border line punches of which a few may have gone low.
In the third round the referee Lauro Sanchez took a point from Nunez for a low blow. A right to the body from Nunez staggered Gallardo who fought back as best he could. In the fourth round Nunez continues to work the body of Gallardo and is warned by the referee for a low blow. Gallardo lands a flurry of punches before Nunez fights back. The referee stops the action warning Nunez of yet another low blow without taking an earned point away from him. There was a third warning to Nunez from the referee for a low blow prior to the bell.
In the fifth round Nunez continues to land heavy punches to the body and head of Gallardo who has taken most of them well. Nunez countered Gallardo with a solid left hook to the chin. Gallardo came back with a right uppercut to the chin of Nunez. Gallardo continues to show plenty of heart mixing it up with the harder punching Nunez.
In the sixth and final round Nunez continues going to body and head trying for the knockout as Gallardo continues fighting back. Both were throwing punches at the bell to the delight of the crowd.
Scores were 57-56 twice and 58-55 for Gallardo as this writer had it 57-55 Nunez. For Gallardo it was his third win over an unbeaten opponent.
Rashidi “Speedy” Ellis Takes on Alberto “Metralleta” Mosquera on ESPN
by: Ken Hissner
Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions goes south of the border this Friday at the Grand Oasis Arena, in Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico, over ESPN. In the Main Event Rashidi “Speedy” Ellis, 19-0 (13), of Lynn, Massachusetts, takes on former WBA Fedelatin Super Lightweight champion Alberto “Metralleta” Mosquera, 25-3-2 (16), of Curundu, Panama, over 10 rounds.
Ellis has a brother Super Middleweight Ronald, who is 15-0-2 (10), whose last fight this writer covered in Philadelphia in March. In December of 2016 Rashidi had his biggest win to date knocking out Eddie Gomez, 19-1, in the first round for the IBF North American Welterweight title.
Super Bantamweight Francisco “Panchito” Horta, 17-3-1 (10), of Cancun, Mexico, takes on former WBC Youth Silver champion David “Zamorita” Reyes, 17-3-1 (6), of Sonora, Mexico, over 8 rounds.
Horta is 9-0-1 in his last 10 fights. Reyes biggest win to date is a split decision over Jonathan Sanchez Cantu, 18-2, in 2017.
Coming off a 10 round win in April for the WBO Latino Minimumweight title over Puerto Rico’s Janiel “Pototo” Rivera, 16-2-3, Mexican Carlos “Mexicanito” Licona, 12-0 (2), of Westminster, California, takes on Jose Eduardo “Motorcito” Ramirez Armenta, 10-3 (4), of Tlalchapa, Mexico, over 8 rounds. Armenta has won 3 of his last 4 fights.
Bantamweight southpaw Eric “Pitbull” Gamboa, 14-1 (9), of Cancun, Mexico, takes on Jose Luis “Gatito” Lopez Hernandez, 9-3-2 (6), of Guanajuato, Mexico, over 8 rounds. Gamboa has won his last 7 fights. In November 2017 Hernandez drew with Jorge Rivera Villegas, 7-0.
Featherweight Eduardo “El Sugar” Nunez, 10-0 (10), of Sinaloa, Mexico, seeks his 11th straight knockout taking on Hiram Gallardo, 6-2-2 (1), of Chetumal, Mexico, who is coming off a draw with Joaquin Cruz, 12-1, in March. This is for 6 rounds.
Super Lightweight Luis “Coyote” Salamanca, 12-1-1 (5), of Cancun, Mexico, takes on Jose Luis Aguilar, 8-3-1 (1), of Cancun, Mexico. Salamanca is 10-0-1 in his last eleven fights. Aguilar defeated Jesus “Jesse” Trevino, 13-2, in November of 2017. This is for 6 rounds.
Golden Boy on ESPN Results: Robles and Gesta Win
By: Ken Hissner
Oscar de La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions featured a Main Event between Filipino Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta and Mexican Robert “Tito” Manzanarez for the vacant WBO NABO Lightweight title at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, CA, Thursday over ESPN2.
Filipino southpaw Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta, 32-2-2 (17), out of Cebu, PH, won a majority decision over Robert “Tito” Manzanarez, 36-2 (29), out of Phoenix, AZ, for the vacant WBO NABO Lightweight title over 10 rounds.
Photo Credit: Tom Hogan-Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions
In the first two rounds the much shorter Gesta was the much busier of the two getting inside of the taller Manzanarez. In the third round Manzanarez was guilty of too much holding when Gesta got inside. In the fourth round Manzanarez landed several lead rights to the chin of Gesta and then Manzanarez grabbed Gesta forcing a clinch.
In the fifth round Gesta landed a left to the head of Manzanarez who leaned down and grabbed the leg of Gesta causing the referee to intervene. Gesta continued to land more than Manzanarea who couldn’t keep the shorter Gesta at a distance. Manzanarez was cut on the right eye brow at the finish of the round. In the sixth round Gesta gets inside of a good jab by Manzanarez but continues to hold too much with little warning from the referee.
In the seventh and eight rounds Manzanarez is countering well as Gesta comes in for the first minute. Then Manzanarez goes back to clinching whenever Gesta gets inside. Gesta gets in with the right hook and follows with the left before Manzanarez forces him into a clinch.
In the ninth round Gesta continues to chase Manzanarez landing an overhand left to the head of Manzanarez. In the corner of Gesta is trainer Freddy Roach. In the tenth and final round right away Manzanarez is holding. Referee Jerry Cantu has done little if anything about the continuous holding by Manzanarez. Though many of the rounds were close it seemed Gesta won the majority of them.
Gesta was coming off his second attempt at a world title fight in January while Manzanarez was riding a fifteen bout winning streak after suffering his only loss back in 2012.
Judges DeLuca and Russell scored it 96-94 and Young 95-95. This writer had it 97-93.
In the co-feature a pair of L.A., CA, unbeaten featherweights battled for the vacant NABF title. Mexican Edgar Valerio, 13-1 (8), was halted by Manny “Chato” Robles, III, 16-0 (8), at 2:31 of the 9th round of a scheduled 10 rounds to win the NABF title. Valerio was knocked down in the 3rd and 9th rounds.
In the first round Robles used a lead right to the chin of Valerio. Valerio used his left hook to the chin when he was able to land in a close round that Robles seemed to have an edge. In the second round Valerio was able to land more punches with a stiff jab and his left hook. Robles mostly used his jab throughout the round. This was the first fight Robles father was not in his corner in his amateur and professional career.
In the third round Valerio landed a right to the chin but was countered by Robles landing a left hook to the chin and down went Valerio. He beat the count and became the aggressor seemingly more embarrassed than hurt. In the fourth round Valerio continued to force the action. He was left hook happy but it was working for him. Only when Robles stopped to counter Valerio went on the defense. Valerio missed with a left hook but his elbow landed on the face of Robles who suffered a small cut outside his right eye.
A minute into the fifth round Robles landed a solid right to the chin of Valerio. Near the end of the round they clashed heads but neither were cut. Good round for Robles. In the sixth round it was Robles landing a right and getting countered by a Valerio left hook knocking Robles back a few steps off balance. Robles came right back after Valerio and continued to follow Valerio around the ring.
In the seventh round both fighters landed rights at the same time and it was Robles that was hurt. As Valerio went after Robles he walked into a right to the chin from Robles. In the eighth round Valerio on occasions turns southpaw for a few seconds. Robles was forcing the fight landing a lead right to the chin of Valerio. It was another close round.
In the ninth round Robles dropped Valerio with a right hand with his hand keeping him from only touching the canvas with his gloves in a crouch. He took the 8 count. As Robles came in he got hit with a left hook but swarmed all over Valerio who was defenseless until referee Hernandez called a halt. Valerio’s right eye was almost closed at the end.
Super Lightweight Luis Feliciano, 7-0 (4), out of Rancho Cucamonga, CA, knocked out Danny Montoya, 11-7 (8), out of Reynosa, MEX, at 0:50 of the fourth round in a scheduled 8 rounds. Welterweight Herbert Acevedo, 14-2 (6), out of Oxnard, CA, takes on David “Terminator” Thomas, 6-2-1 (2), of Orange, TX, over 6 rounds.
Golden Boy on ESPN Preview: Mercito Gesta vs. Robert Manzanarez
By: Ken Hissner
Oscar de La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions will be featuring what looks like a dynamite Main Event between Filipino southpaw Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta, 31-2-2 (17), out of San Diego, CA, and southpaw Robert “Tito” Manzanarez, 36-1 (29), out of Phoenix, AZ, for the vacant WBO NABO Lightweight title Thursday night on ESPN2 at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, CA.
Photo Credit: Mercito Gesta Twitter Account
Gesta is coming off his second attempt at a world title fight in January while Manzanarez is riding a fifteen bout winning streak after suffering his only loss back in 2012.
The co-feature will have a pair of L.A., CA, featherweights battling for the vacant NABF title. Mexican Edgar Valerio, 13-0 (8), will be taking on Manny “Chato” Robles, Jr., 15-0 (7), over 10 rounds. It will be the first 10 rounder for Robles.
There will be three other bouts on the card featuring Super Lightweight Luis Feliciano, 6-0 (3), out of Rancho Cucamonga, CA, taking on Danny Montoya, 11-6 (8), out of Reynosa, MEX, over 8 rounds. Montoya returning to the ring after a year absence.
Welterweight Herbert Acevedo, 14-2 (6), out of Oxnard, CA, takes on David “Terminator” Thomas, 6-2-1 (2), of Orange, TX, over 6 rounds.
Lightweight Daniel Perales, 10-12-1 (5), out of Monterrey, MEX, takes on Ricardo Alan Fernandez, 3-8-4 (0), of Chihuahua, MEX, over 6 rounds. Both are on losing streaks and need a win.
Diego De La Hoya Looks to Stay Unbeaten on Friday on ESPN2
By: Ken Hissner
Unbeaten No. 2 WBC Super Bantamweight Diego de La Hoya, 20-0 (9), of Baja CA, MEX, looks to stay unbeaten Friday on ESPN2 when he meets No. 15 Jose Salgado, 36-4-2 (29), of Quintana Roo, MEX, at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino, in Verona, NY, on IBHOF weekend. This is for the NABF Super Bantamweight and WBO NABO Super Bantamweight titles over 10 rounds.
Photo Credit: Diego De La Hoya Twitter Account
This is a Golden Boy Promotions – Oscar De La Hoya with the Oneida Indian Nation Athletic Commission overseeing the event.
Super Welterweight Travell “Black Magic” Mazion, 12-0 (11), of Austin, TX, takes on Daquan Arnett, 17-1 (9), of Winter Park, FL, over 8 rounds.
Middleweight Isaac Rodrigues, 24-2 (19), of Belem, Para, BRZ, looks to extend his seven fight win streak not losing since 2011 when he takes on Frankie “The Freight Train” Filippone, 25-7-1 (9), of Norfolk, VA, over 8 rounds.
Super Lightweight Kenneth “Bossman” Sims, Jr., 12-0 (4), of Chicago, IL, takes on TBA, over 6 rounds. Super Welterweight southpaw Alex Rincon, 3-0 (3), of Carollton, TX, takes on Engelberto “Guarura” Valenzuela, 11-13 (3), of Sonora, TX, over 4 rounds.
Cruiserweight Lawrence Gabriel, 2-1-1 (1), of Syracuse, NY, takes on Jimmy Levins, 0-2 (0), of Buffalo, NY, over 4 rounds. Welterweight Danielito “El Zorro” Zorrilla, 6-0 (5), Rio Piedras, PR, takes on Julio “El Cubano” Perez, 6-20-3 (4), of Tamaulipus, MEX, over
Vergil Ortiz: “My Ultimate Goal Is To Be Remembered”
By: Sean Crose
“I have like four or five guitars,” super lightweight Vergil Ortiz tells me. “I got into music when I played Guitar Hero.” It’s not often that a contemporary fighter – perhaps with the exception of woodwind practitioner Keith Thurman – is known for a love of instruments. An interesting thing about Ortiz, however, is that he’s quite open to talking about an area of interest outside of the ring. “I like to play guitar or piano,” he explains. It was being exposed to the piano, in fact, that led to Ortiz discovering an interesting truth about himself. “I realized I kind of have an ear for music.”
Ortiz sees music as an outlet, a chance to be himself, after six full days of training a week. After four to six miles of daily roadwork and other grueling weekly routines (“Every other day we spar”) Ortiz appreciates his spare time. “I like to play my guitar or piano,” he says. Still, the 9-0 Texan knows that his primary focus has to be his ring career. When I ask if he has a wife, girlfriend or children, Ortiz makes it clear that there will be time for such fulfillment in the future. “I’m just focused on boxing right now,” he tells me. “That’ll all come later.”
A native of Grand Prairie, “a pretty big small town” outside of Dallas, the undefeated Ortiz is developing the reputation for having Texas sized power. None of the 20 year old’s fights have gone the distance. All of Ortiz’ opponents, without exception, have succumbed to the fury of the man’s gloved fits. Not that Ortiz is always looking to call it an early night each and every time. “They just come when they come,” he says of the KOs. “If I could go the distance, that would be great.” In order for such a thing to happen, however, Ortiz will have to find the opponent who can withstand his power.
“My dad took me to the gym after school,” Ortiz says of his start in boxing. “They put me in to spar with no training.” The older Ortiz was himself a boxer, though “he never went pro.” The younger Ortiz, who has “two brothers and three sisters,” is carrying the family legacy into the professional ranks, however. And yes, boxing is still a family affair. “My dad’s been my coach, “says Ortiz. Legacy is an important thing to the fighter. “My ultimate goal is to be remembered in boxing,” he claims.
Asked who throughout history he’d have liked to fight, Ortiz gives the honors to the late Arturo Gatti. “For me he was the toughest of the tough,” he says. Other fighters the man admires are Sergio Martinez, the late Salvador Sanchez, and the Golden Boy himself, Oscar De la Hoya. One Vasyl Lomachenko also earns a great deal of the man’s respect. “There’s a reason why he’s undefeated,” Ortiz says of the Ukrainian, stating that right now, the man called Loma “is the best fighter” out there. Like Lomachenko, Ortiz started as an amateur standout.
“It was good,” he says of his apprentice years. “I won seven national titles…most of my losses came when I was little.” It was during one particular tournament that Ortiz caught the eye of a company owned by one of his favorite fighters, Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy. In truth, the promotional outfit was also interested in another fighter, but when the two rising stars faced off, it was Ortiz who emerged victorious. “I knocked that guy out in about thirty seconds,” he says. Since signing with the famed company, Ortiz has found himself in places like Vegas and even AT&T Stadium, near his home.
“It was pretty cool,” he says of that particular experience, adding that friends and family were on hand live at the stadium to see him knock out Ernesto Hernandez. In fact, Ortiz is finding himself becoming a known commodity. “I get it a lot,” he says of public recognition, “especially in my hometown.” Good things happen when one has strong backing. “I fought on ESPN five times already,” he claims. As for the immediate future, the burgeoning KO artist plans on being back in the ring soon.
Should he continue on his current path, Ortiz may well be able to add quite a bit more to that guitar collection of his.