Tag Archives: Haymon

Boxing Insider Interview with Bob Arum on Pacquiao, Lomachenko, ESPN, Haymon, and more…


By: Bryant Romero

Boxing Insider was able to catch up and talk boxing with the “Bobfather” Bob Arum CEO of Top Rank to discuss numerous topics surrounding the boxing world. In this sit down interview, Arum gives his thoughts on the disappointing Heavyweight unification bout between Joshua vs Parker, Pacquiao’s contract status with Top Rank, how he plans to do business with Al Haymon fighters, he also gives more details about the new ESPN plus app and so much more.


Photo Credit: Bob Arum Twitter Account

BR: I wanted to get your thoughts on the heavyweight unification matchup between Joshua and Parker were you surprised it wasn’t as explosive?

Bob Arum: “Well yea, I thought it would be a lot more explosive the fight. They both fought an extremely cautious fight and when that happens, the bigger guy has an advantage. Particularly a guy who is getting his jabs in like Joshua was more frequently than Parker. The downside it wasn’t a very exciting fight.”

BR: When it comes to Joshua’s performance, did that change your opinion of what will happen between a potential Joshua/Wilder fight?

BA: “No it has nothing to do with it. That’s sorta silly, I think Joshua is the better schooled fighter than Wilder. Wilder has a lot of flaws as a boxer, on other hand in the heavyweight division Wilder has more one punch power than any of the other heavyweights. So that makes it an intriguing match, but Joshua is a much better boxer than Wilder.”

BR: I wanted to talk about Manny Pacquiao’s next fight Bob, it’s been finalized for July 14th in Malaysia. What was the difference between this fight getting finalized? In the past Pacquiao tried to make fights outside of the United States.

BA: “Well, I guess the people that Pacquiao was dealing with and he dealt with them directly, put up the money and previously the people talked the money but never put it up. It’s as simple as that.”

BR: So they were able to show the money?

BA: “Yea apparently, they put up some initial deposits, which convinced everybody and because of the size of the deposits, that they were sincere and that the fight would go through.”

BR: Michael Koncz, Pacquiao’s advisor he made some statements to the press recently that he didn’t want to comment on Pacquiao’s status with Top Rank. Would you be able to provide some comments on Pacquiao’s status with Top Rank?

BA: “Well we have a very very good relationship with Manny. We can talk contracts from today till tomorrow but that seems like its controversial. There isn’t (controversy) for example in this fight. We’re not putting up the money, Manny got the money himself from Malaysia. Our role is to distribute the television, particularly in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and we’re happy with that.

“If Manny was looking to break his contract with us, he would’ve broken it by not having us being involved I assume. And now he’s talking if he wins this fight, fighting Lomachenko who is our fighter and we will be happy to promote a Pacquiao/Lomachenko fight if that occured because that would be huge.”

BR: If Pacquiao defeats Matthysse Bob,would a Pacquiao/Lomachenko fight take place in the United States?

BA: “That’s up to Manny. Obviously for me having it in the United States is preferable because that’s where the PPV market is and that’s where were most comfortable. But there is a substantial tax that a foreigner has to pay in the U.S. withholding and Manny may not be amenable to doing that in which case he’ll look to hold the fight outside the country. If we or he find people who put up the money for the site.”

BR: Bob you’re going to be traveling to Japan tomorrow to watch your fighter Murata. If he wins is there any real possibility of him fighting GGG at the Tokyo Dome this year?

BA: “I don’t know. The plan is if he wins to bring him this summer to Las Vegas to defend his title in Las Vegas and then we can certainly have that discussion with Loeffler and Golovkin. Right now is very difficult to discuss anything with them because the question is will there be a September fight between Golovkin and Canelo? And that’s something they can’t answer and we can’t answer until Nevada holds the hearing.”

BR: In your opinion does that fight (Canelo/GGG 2) get rescheduled?

BA: “I have no idea, I have no idea what the commision is going to do. They have a provision that the penalty is a minimum of 1 year, but they could cut it in half on various circumstances. If it’s a year, obviously the fight can’t happen, if they agree to cut it in half so it’s 6 months the fight can happen. Again I don’t know what the commision is going to do and even if the commission finds that the suspension is over in 6 months, maybe Golovkin doesn’t want anything to do with Alvarez.”

BR: Bob I wanted to get your comments about this. You recently revealed to the press not too long ago that Al Haymon fighters are practically free agents and promoters can approach them. Where are you in that situation? Are you close to signing any high-profile Haymon Fighters?

BA: “Your talking signing, we’re talking about using them on a fight by fight basis. Maybe we will sign them. We have an obligation to ESPN to put the best fights on the network and now on the ESPN Plus and to make the best fights. We have to go to other promoters to get their talent and place them with guys under contract with us. Certainly we will use Al’s fighters just the way we use Oscar’s fighters.

“We made Lomachenko/Linares and it was a provision of service agreement with Golden Boy for Linares. But we don’t have any contractual rights to Linares going forward and that’s fine. In other words, because if a fighter is fighting for Haymon, doesn’t mean if he makes a deal with us to fight one of our fighters or somebody else on our ESPN broadcast that they have to sign with us for the rest of their lives or even an additional fight.”

BR: Let’s talk a little bit about Horn/Crawford it has been rescheduled. I’m really looking forward to this fight Bob what do your matchmakers tell you about this fight? Do they tell you that Horn can beat Crawford?

BA: “No, they think that Crawford is probably either the best or one of the two best fighters in the world, even though he’s going up in weight. They’re anxious to see how he’s going to do against a much bigger guy because Horn is really a super-welterweight. He’s a big big welterweight and that’ll be interesting and he’s gutty rough guy. But as far as my Top Rank matchmakers are concerned, everybody at Top Rank, our position, our belief is that Crawford is unbeatable.”

BR: Could you give me some of your thoughts about Horn’s team comments? They don’t believe Crawford suffered an injury and they’re frustrated that the date couldn’t be changed.

BA: “Fighters who are training or are getting ready to train, when a fight is postponed because of an injury to the other guy, always feel that they’re being taken advantage of and say ‘I’m feeling great, I’m in good shape why is not this fight not happening?’ And they then take that and accuse the opponent of shaming an injury. Well I’ll tell you that it’s absolutely ridiculous, at least in Crawford’s case. We know exactly when it happened, that he was sparring and how it happened.

“At first I sent him to our orthopedic guy in Los Angeles and then he went out to Omaha to be treated by his orthopedic doctor and we know that in fact there was an injury. I give Crawford credit saying look ‘I’m not going to fight anybody with an injury to my hand. Not fair to me, and not fair to the public and I need some more time and then the hand will come around which it did. And that’s why the fight was postponed it’s as simple as that. I mean they (Horn’s team) can speculate all they want. I know what the facts are.”

BR: Lets talk a little bit about Lomachenko/Linares, how are tickets going for that event?

BA: “They’re sensational we’re opening up this weekend the balcony in Madison Square Garden and we’re looking to fill the place with at least over 15,000 people there. Tickets are going unbelievable and our gate will be well in excess of $2 million and it might exceed $2.5 million.”

BR: Can Lomachenko NoMasChenko Linares?

BA: “That remains to be seen. Linares I’ve always watched him because Mr. Honda my friend from Japan of Teiken Promotions has been the guy to develop Linares and co-promoted him with Golden Boy. So I’ve known Linares for years and I’ve always admired his ability, he’s a terrific fighter, he’s very experienced, and he’s much bigger than Loma, so it will be a real test.

“That being said, I also don’t believe there is anybody on the face of the earth 135 pounds or less that can beat Lomachenko. So we will see.”

BR: What’s next for Jose Ramirez?

BA: “Jose Ramirez is going to fight in July. The guy Prograis has the right to fight him in July. Both fighters may opt to take interim fights before they move on. That’s being discussed now and we’ll see how that comes out. If Prograis’s people say no they want to go right to the title fight, we’re happy to do that, so that’ll become clear sometime next week.”

BR: I wanted to talk a little bit about your light heavyweight Oleksandr “The Nail” Gvozdyk he’s in line to fight Stevenson Vs Jack winner what’s the better matchup for the nail?

BA: “Well I think Stevenson is the better matchup, Badou Jack is a slick guy, he’s come up to light heavyweight. He doesn’t hit nearly as hard as Stevenson, but he’s much more maneuverable and I think he creates bigger problems for Gvozdyk than Stevenson. I think Stevenson now particularly at his age is more stationary and Gvozdyk takes a terrific punch and I look for him to win that fight quite handily. Badou Jack is a tougher fight but I also like my guy.”

BR: Who wins Stevenson vs Jack?

BA: “The one thing I don’t know, you don’t know, and none of us know is what happens when Stevenson hits Badou Jack on the chin? Can he take what is a powerful punch, much more powerful than any punch he’s (Jack) probably taken with anybody else, so we’ll have to see. It’s a good fight, it’s an interesting fight, it’s very competitive.”

BR: Can you talk a little bit about the ESPN Plus app it’s about to drop on April 12th how did this come about?

BA: “Well ESPN and Disney believe that the future of delivering product whether it’s entertainment on Disney’s part or sports from ESPN that the future is direct to consumer. And they’ve been working on this package for a number of years, they’ve invested billions of dollars in the technical aspects of it. So we are very fortunate to have been selected to supply the boxing for this package which I think really represents the future.”

BR: With this new app in place will fights still be aired, televised on the regular ESPN channel?

BA: “The way it’s setup is approximately half will go on linear (ESPN) as we call it and the other half will go on ESPN Plus.”

BR: Is there anything else you like to add Bob?

BA: “It’s very exciting times and I would say as that press release said if a fight airs on regular ESPN, it will be shown on the delay basis every fight on ESPN Plus. If you don’t catch it live on ESPN and you have your subscription to ESPN plus, you will be able to watch the fight on a delay basis.”

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Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor: A Boxing Match or a Circus?


Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor: A Boxing Match or a Circus?
By: Kirk Jackson

Much to the chagrin of Golden Boy Promter Oscar De La Hoya, it appears the fantasy match-up featuring retired boxing legend Floyd Mayweather and current UFC superstar Conor McGregor is going to happen…

August 26 is the suggested date for the proposed bout; although it may be a smokescreen for another Mayweather Promotions fight.

Even if the event is to take place at a later date, the fight appears well to be on its way.

Man, much respect to Floyd Senior still getting a few rounds in at the gym. I hope I can still train at that age. Respect.

A post shared by Conor McGregor Official (@thenotoriousmma) on

 

Something BIG is coming #BP

A post shared by Conor McGregor Official (@thenotoriousmma) on

 

Both Mayweather and McGregor have huge followings, are viewed as brash-talking, villainous entertainers and are the marquee stars of their respective sports.

It’s easily argued McGregor followed the Mayweather path to success and will now capitalize earning his largest pay day to date fighting the “Money” man himself, Floyd Mayweather.

Over the last year or so, each fighter strategically provided commentary and perspective on this proposed clash of pugilistic wits;injecting their insults and feverishly attempting to lure casual fans into forking over cash to witness this monstrosity of a mismatch.

As fighters, Mayweather and McGregor possess enormous egos. It’s even amusing, listening to Mayweather suggest McGregor actually stands a chance in the boxing ring with him.

“Only time McGregor has been defeated was when he was on the ground,” Mayweather said during the interview on Sirius XM.

“When he was standing up, he always was victorious. He’s [McGregor] a power puncher. He’s a tough competitor. I’m a tough competitor, and we have to go out there and give the world and the fans what they want to see: Excitement.”

Excitement as in the build-up to the fight… absolutely.Excitement as of action inside the ring… ehh probably not.

Mayweather and McGregor realize the amount of money they can make based on the perceptions of what can actually happen, even though in reality, this looks like a lopsided mismatch.

As terrible as this match-up sounds on paper and will evidently translate to a poor aesthetic viewing once it manifests, the fighters and organizers of this spectacle are simply capitalizing on demand and perception.

Mayweather hit the nail on the head regarding this contest. “The fans want this fight. The fans have been asking for this fight,” Mayweather said.

“It’s all about entertainment. He’s [McGregor] very entertaining. He’s very outspoken like myself. So let’s give the fans what they want to see.”

A fight featuring Mayweather and McGregor stands to potentially earn half a billion dollars; factoring in all of the marketing opportunities.

This is a cash grab, a circus. This is a mere exhibition, a mere con, if we want to be mean.

As viewers, even though this is a terrible match-up, we will undoubtedly watch. This will be like watching a slow, yet entertaining car-wreck.

Leaving out the seriousness and fan boy-ism of this event may work wonders for the soul and may help ease our eyes as we witness the disaster.

This is depicted as a tragedy because this event features a retired, 40-year-old boxing genius against an inexperienced, mixed martial arts world champion, inside the boxing ring.

McGregor struggled in sparring sessions against welterweight challenger Chris Van Heerden, how can we possibly imagine McGregor having some degree of success against a 12-time, five division and undefeated world champion? Unless Mayweather decides to throw the fight…

Frustration for this match-up is understandable, but the same frustration should be echoed if Manny Pacquiao is fighting Jeff Horn for the WBO welterweight championship.

The same frustration should be expressed when lopsided mismatches take place in the UFC; Anderson Silva vs. Daniel Cormier (I know it was a substitution but still) or other countless mismatches headed by Dana White and company.

The market can dictate what we, the spectator (fan, media) wants to see. Should we boycott Mayweather vs. McGregor as De La Hoya suggests?

Oscar would have an argument if his interests were genuine. It wasn’t too long ago, he suggested a meeting of the red heads (Conor vs. Canelo[Alvarez]).

“Imagine, Conor McGregor and Golden Boy coming together,” said De La Hoya about McGregor.

“But the only fight I’d love to see and the one that makes the most sense, that would be the most exciting, that would be a guaranteed knockout is against Canelo Alvarez.”

The momentum and potential cash grab behind Mayweather and McGregor may be too large to overcome in regards to boycotting. Not to suggest boycotting is the move here.

Everyone involved is entitled to earn their money how they see fit, just as we have the right to bypass the spectacle by not watching.

But when the circus is in town, usually a crowd follows.

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Showtime World Championship Results: Adonis Stevenson Blitzes Past Fonfara, Alvarez Defeats Pascal


Showtime World Championship Results: Adonis Stevenson Blitzes Past Fonfara, Alvarez Defeats Pascal
By: William Holmes

Reigning WBC Light Heavyweight Champion Jean Pascal fought again in the familiar confines of the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada as he defended his title against an opponent he had difficulty with before, Polish light heavyweight Andrzej Fonfara.IMG_3896

The opening bout of the evening was between former lineal light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal (31-4-1) and the undefeated prospect Eleider Alvarez (22-0). Despite Pascal’s recent losses, he still remains a popular boxer in Canada.

Alvarez, the taller fighter, took the center of the ring in the opening round and was sharp with his jab and the more aggressive boxer early. Pascal rallied late in the first round with some good shots to the body and may have stolen that round.

Alvarez’s straight right hand forced Pascal to clinch in the second round and was able to land some hard uppercuts. His aggressiveness continued into the third round which featured a fierce exchange between both boxers as the round ended.

Pascal was warned for punching after the break in the fourth round as Alvarez’s sharp jab was forcing Pascal to hold on often. Alvarez’s jab continued to be effective in the fifth, sixth, and seventh rounds and were noticeable effecting Jean Pascal.

Pascal was able to land some good flurries in the eighth round including two right hooks to the temple and a double left hook. But Alvarez retook control in the ninth round and landed two head snapping right uppercuts that had Pascal hurt.

Pascal may have stolen the tenth and eleventh rounds with late flurries near the end of the rounds, but in the final round Alvarez looked like the fresher fighter and was able to close out the bout strong.

The final scores were 114-114, 117-111 and 116-112 for Eleider Alvarez.

The main event of the night was between WBC Light Heavyweight Champion Adonis Stevenson (28-1) and Andrzej Fonfara (29-4).

Fonfara started off aggressively and was coming at Stevenson with his jab, but his momentum was short lived. Stevenson landed his straight left and followed it up with a clubbing straight left that sent Fonfara down to the mat. Fonfara was able to get back to his feet, but Stevenson swarmed on Fonfara and landed several hard straight left hands that had Fonfara hurt. Stevenson was unloading on Fonfara by the corner as the opening round came to an end.

Stevenson landed several hard straight left hands to open up the second round and he had Fonfara backing up and not throwing many punches back towards Stevenson’s way. Virgil Hunter then stepped on the apron to stop the fight before his boxer would take any additional damage.

Adonis Stevenson destroys Andrzej Fonfara by TKO at 0:28 of the second round.

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Showtime World Championship Boxing Preview: Adonis Stevenson vs. Andrzej Fonfara, Jean Pascal vs. Eleider Alvarez


Showtime World Championship Boxing Preview: Adonis Stevenson vs. Andrzej Fonfara, Jean Pascal vs. Eleider Alvarez
By: William Holmes

On Saturday night at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada Adonis Stevenson will take on Andrzej Fonfara for Adonis Stevenson’s WBC Light Heavyweight
Title in the main event of World Championship Boxing on Showtime.

Former world champion Jean Pascal will be the lead fight of the undercard as he takes on undefeated contender Eleider Alvarez.

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Two other light heavyweight stalwarts, Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward, will meet in a few weeks on HBO Pay Per View. It seems logical that the winner of Saturday’s Stevenson and Fonfara bout will likely face the winner of the pay per view bout between Kovalev and Ward, at least it should happen for boxing fans worldwide.

The following is a preview of Saturday’s card.


Jean Pascal (31-4-1) vs. Eleider Alvarez (22-0); Light Heavyweight

Eleider Alvarez is an intriguing prospect with a successful amateur background that includes competing in the 2008 Summer Olympics. Pascal is an ex-champion that has faced some legends in the sport. He also had a successful amateur background and won the Canadian Amateur Championships seven times and competed in the 2004 Summer Olympics.

Alvarez will have about an inch and a half height advantage as well as a three and a half inch reach advantage. They’re both nearing the end of their primes, with Pascal being thirty four years old and Alvarez being thirty three years old.

Pascal has defeated the likes of Ricardo Ramallo, Yunieski Gonzalez, Lucian Bute, George Blades, Chad Dawson, and Adrian Diaconu. His losses have come to Carl Froch, Bernard Hopkins, and Sergey Kovalev twice.

Alvarez opened up a lot of eyes with his knockout in his last bout against Lucian Bute. He has also defeated the likes of Robert Berridge, Isaac Chilemba, Ryno Liebenberg, and Edison Miranda. Alvarez has never tasted defeated.

Both boxers have average power, Pascal has stopped eighteen of his opponents while Alvarez has stopped eleven of his opponents.

Alvarez is an intriguing prospect, he’s undefeated with a deep amateur background but older than the age most people would consider someone to be a prospect. But his career trajectory is on the upswing, while Pascal’s appears to be on the downswing. For that reason this writer has to give the edge to Alvarez.

Adonis Stevenson (28-1) vs. Andrzej Fonfara (29-4); WBC Light Heavyweight Title

This bout is a rematch of their bout in May of 2014 that saw Stevenson win a close and tightly contested decision.

Since that bout Stevenson has gone on a tear, including winning three of his past four fights by stoppage. Fonfara was knocked out viciously and quickly by Joe Smith Jr., but was able to bounce back from that by defeating former world champion Chad Dawson.

Both boxers had moderate success as an amateur. Stevenson won the Canadian National Championship in 2005 and 2006. Fonfara competed regularly on the European circuit. Neither boxer competed in the Olympics.

Stevenson has considerable power and has stopped twenty three of his opponents. Fonfara has seventeen stoppage victories. Both boxers have at times been stopped. Stevenson was stopped by Darnell Boone while Fonfara was stopped twice.

Stevenson has defeated the likes of Thomas Williams Jr., Tommy Karpency, Sakio Bika, Dmitry Sukhotskiy, Andrzej Fonfara, Tony Bellew, Tavoris Cloud, Chad Dawson, and Donovan George. Fonfara has defeated the likes of Chad Dawson, Nathan Cleverly, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Gabriel Campillo, Tommy Karpency and Glen Johnson.

Stevenson started late as a professional but is currently thirty nine years old. Fonfara is ten years younger at the age of twenty nine. Stevenson will be giving up a three and a half inch height advantage. They have the same reach.

Their first bout was close, but Fonfara is coming off a knockout loss. If this bout goes the distance Fonfara has a chance at winning as stamina favors him. But this writer believes Stevenson will walk away the victor and hopefully chase after the winner of Ward and Kovalev.

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Mikey Garcia Prepares To Enter Boxing’s Elite Realm


Mikey Garcia Prepares To Enter Boxing’s Elite Realm
By: Sean Crose

Now that Adrien Broner and Mikey Garcia are set to fight at 140 lbs this summer, expect a whole ton of talk about whether or not Broner will rise to the occasion. I’ve no doubt I’ll be engaging in such talk myself. Broner is, if nothing else, a fascinating study: A tough, talented, colorful guy who essentially keeps stepping in it. Garcia, however, is fascinating in his own right. Of course, Garcia – unlike Broner – isn’t made of TMZ material. The guy’s a pro who goes about his life and business accordingly. In short, he’s Broner’s opposite.

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The truth is that people prefer Broner to Garcia, whether they want to admit it or not, because Broner makes what they used to call “good copy.” In short, he’s showy. Garcia, talented though he is, is only showy if by showy you mean productive, hard working and well thought out in one’s opinions – in other words, the sorts of things the general public seems to get bored with. No matter. Garcia is on the verge of entering boxing’s elite realm – a strange place that requires more than talent and impressive wins. And he’ll enter that realm if he beats Broner convincingly. The Californian has a high end skill set, coupled with explosive power. All he needs is a win against a big name opponent.

And now that opponent has been lined up to face him.

Broner is no joke, though, no matter how it seems that he himself has tried to be over the years. He’s a formidable foe who, for whatever reason, has plateaued in his ring ability. That ring ability, however, is impressive. Broner is fast, he can hit, and he’s tough. Really tough. The man can, as Timex once claimed, take a licking and keep on ticking. Garcia’s never met anyone like him. Should Broner be at his best when he enters the ring this July, Garcia will have quite the mountain to climb if he wants to emerge victorious.

After spending years out of the sport, though, Garcia is clearly confident and ready for the challenge. Due to contractual problems, the man went over two years without a single fight. Since returning last July, however, Garcia has completely destroyed the competition, knocking out Elio Rojas in five and then demolishing Dejan Zlaticanin in frightening fashion within three. Yet Broner is clearly the biggest name the man has faced. And, as all fight fans know, big names lead to other big names, if, of course, you win.

That’s always as very big if.

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Why Mayweather-McGregor Will (In All Likelihood) Be A Dud


Why Mayweather-McGregor Will (In All Likelihood) Be A Dud
By: Sean Crose

So, you’re a person who loves “big events.” You know, things like the Super Bowl and presidential debates. You’re not really into things like football and politics, but you still really dig the excitement of “the big moment.” Chances are you’re someone who would be interested in seeing Floyd Mayweather
fight Conor McGregor in a boxing match.

Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao

After all, that’s as big an event as society can come up with at the moment, and, again, you’re into such things. Truth be told, there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s millions like you out there and you have nothing to be ashamed of, even when smart asses like myself come along and tell you why you’re interest is misguided. After all, each of us likes “big things” we know little about at one time or another. It’s why I watch the Kentucky Derby. My grandfather knew his stuff when it came to horse racing. Me, not so much. But I watch anyway. So if and when Mayweather-McGregor is made, I honestly hope you enjoy yourself.

There’s some things I think you should know first, though, primarily the fact that the bout will most likely be a dud. Unless you love all things Floyd Mayweather, or just want to see Conor McGregor become, as he himself likes to say, a punching bag with eyes, or simply enjoy seeing people be overwhelmed by physical force, then this fight will, in all likelihood, be a disappointment. Why? Well, there’s a variety of reasons, which I’ll break down for you. Don’t worry, I’m not about to engage in a pretentious diatribe, I’m just going to point some things out as a humble boxing writer with some experience under his belt.

First, and this is extremely important, BOXING IS NOT FIGHTING. Boxing is a sport. Sure, it used to be fighting once upon a time. Back in the 1800s, boxers were allowed to wrestle and toss each other around without gloves. In a sense, bare knuckle boxing, as it’s known, was a strange hybrid between modern boxing and modern MMA. Then, however, a Scottish nobleman called the Marquess of Queensberry came up with a set of rules. Fighters had to wear gloves. Also, things like wrestling and tossing your opponent around were no longer permitted. Boxing, in short, became a sport which focused on an exact skill set rather than on the utilization of various tools. And it remains so to this day.

MMA, on the other hand, is more like “real” fighting – though it, too, thankfully has its rules – because it allows assorted tools to be used in a contest. Punches can be weapons, but so can kicks and numerous other martial arts maneuvers. Boxing, though, just sticks to the punches. And boxers, like Liam Neeson in Taken, possess a very specific set of skills, skills which can make life hell for the likes of Conor McGregor. Sure, McGregor is known as a striker, but this time he’ll fight a guy who only strikes, who doesn’t have to worry about takedowns and kicks – like McGregor himself has throughout his career – whose been able to keep his mind entirely focused on one specific aspect of fighting for over two decades – and who has done it better than anyone.

Here’s an interesting story – back in 1892, the heavyweight champion of the world, John L Sullivan defended his title against Jim Corbett. Sullivan was a “real” fighter, a man who knew fighting to be a combination of punching and grappling. His opponent, Corbett, knew only boxing. He was considerably smaller than Sullivan and had never been in a “real” fight in his entire life. Easy boxing match to pick, right? It was if you had picked Corbett. He danced away from the tough guy for round after round, deftly popping Sullivan in the face in the process. Finally, Sullivan fell to the mat, thoroughly defeated. Corbett, the man who wasn’t a “real” fighter, the man who had only used his fists, had beaten the hell out of his opponent.

The truth is that tough guys rarely dominate in boxing. Yeah, the Tysons and Dempseys are popular – and with good reason – but it’s the guys who can be tough AND skilled who tend to REALLY rise above the crop, men like Ali and Leonard, Robinson, Pep and Roy Jones Junior. McGregor seems to be able to hit like a tough guy, but can he move about the ring – not the octagon, the ring – effectively, can he employ angles and head movements the way, say, Manny Pacquiao does? He better hope he can do those things better, because – let’s face it – Mayweather beat Pacquiao handily. Yeah, I hear some saying, but this is McGregor, the master of mind games! He beats his opponents with his verbal taunts before he even faces them! Tell that to Nate Diaz, who made McGregor tap out back in 2016. Also, Mayweather brings mind games of his own. Never mind Mayweather’s own tendency to taunt his opponents, he generally gives himself all the advantages before he even steps in the ring. I’m talking referee, location, the works. Has McGregor found the kind of boxing gloves he wants to wear? He better hope Floyd doesn’t make him switch to another pair just before the fight. Floyd does things like that.

Lastly, let’s focus on the small matters that can lead to a figurative death from a thousand cuts. Accuracy rules the day in boxing. Conor can hit Floyd ten times in a row, but if Floyd lands just two or three shots that happen to be more effective than Conor’s, the judges may well ignore Conor’s blows and reward Floyd for his single punches. It’s not the punches that count, after all – it’s their quality. And Floyd, lack of power aside, punches better than anyone. He’s also harder to hit than anyone. Oh, and if the fight goes the distance, McGregor will be fighting eleven full minutes longer than his longest MMA battle.

That’s over two full MMA rounds. By the way, Floyd likes to go the distance. Oh, and excitement isn’t really his thing, either, so he probably won’t be big on engaging McGregor in a blow for blow battle.

Perhaps McGregor will defy the odds and pull it off. Perhaps he’ll do what no one else has and land clean enough to really rattle his man. Perhaps he’ll manage to get in Floyd’s head enough to make Mayweather throw decades’ worth of professional and amateur experience out the window. Perhaps, on a more sinister note, Vegas will decide it wants more revenue from suburban whites and, in the end, give McGregor an undeserved decision win. All those things are entirely possible, after all.

They’re unlikely, though…and that’s something people should consider before hopping aboard this particular “big event” train.

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Mikey Garcia vs. Vasyl Lomachenko: Who You Got?


Mikey Garcia vs. Vasyl Lomachenko: Who You Got?
By: Francisco Martinez

This past Saturday’s masterful performance by Hi-Tech Vasyl Lomachenko satisfied the boxing world as a whole and left us wanting more. Left us thinking who is Lomachenko? Some go as far as to say he’s The Matrix and his self proclaimed Hi-Tech skills or as he would say in other words, Lomachenko Style. A style confusing not just his rivals but the masses who have witnessed it and leaving expert perplexed as to who this phenom is comparable with and who out there can compete with the Hi-Tech inside the ring.

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Quickly after his fight veteran boxing expert and long time HBO commentator Max Kellerman quickly asked him about 135lbs WBC champion Mikey Garcia who’s just 5lbs above his division of 130lbs making it a possible fight and one that’s at high demand. Lomachenko simply replied “I’m gonna go back home get some rest and then after that we’ll start negotiation with all the champions at 130lbs and if we can’t get anybody we can move to 135lbs and we’re gonna do damage out there to” as for a Mikey Garcia fight he says “I want to see that fight to. If this is the fight that I can make history with I want to make this fight right away”

One of the biggest fights to make this year but if it’s possible is another thing. Robert Garcia, trainer and brother of Mikey Garcia assures the people this fight will happen and doesn’t think past history with Top Rank promotions and Mikey Garcia will get in the way of making this highly anticipated fight but Mikey Garcia does warn and remind Vasyl Lomachenko that he is a “boss” and that he isn’t. He answers to his “boss” Bob Arum

“We can talk as much as we want but like I said in the end he has to talk to Bob Arum who’s his boss and talk to me. I already told everybody else I’m my own boss I can talk to Bob, bosses talk to each other. He can say all he wants but he’s got to talk to his boss first” Mikey Garcia now his own boss after a nasty 2 year court battle with Top Rank promotions and president, owner Bob Arum. Mikey proud of standing up for his rights as a athletes and let’s it known every time he gets a chance and in this case even pulls rank on 2 division champ Vasyl Lomachenko.

As heated and entertaining this fight is getting Mikey Garcia & Vasyl Lomachenko both do seem very interested in this match up as does Robert Garcia but warns Lomachenko that he should grow into 135lbs before stepping into the ring with Mikey as he feels Mikey will be “too big, too strong” for him right now at the moment “Me personally Lomachenko is my favorite fighter. Yeah he could challenge Mikey, Mikey could be challenging Pacquiao, Thurman and it doesn’t mean it’s gonna happen. So when it does happen Mikey is too big and too strings for Lomachenko, you know and Lomachenko is my favorite fighter but I think Mikey is too big and strong for him. I can’t say rounds but I think Mikey is gonna hurt Lomachenko when they fight cause I do think they’ll fight”

A fight that Mikey Garcia’s father hopes will take place in 2 more fights for Mikey being that he wants that 2 year layoff completely dusted off of any ring rust that’s if any ring rust Mikey has which has not been seen in his 2 past fights since the layoff even producing what many think is the knockout of the year with Dejan Zlaticanin who many thought was the best 135lbs at that time. Mikey disposed of him in 3 rounds leaving him unconscious for a few minutes.

Mikey Garcia holds all the cards at this point of his career by being his own “boss” and having options from Vasyl Lomachenko to Terry Flanagan and Jorge Linares all possible fights along with other names like IBF champion Robert Easter Jr. who called out Mikey after his last outing. Mikey being in control of his career promises all his fans and supporters along with his biggest critics as well that the best is yet to come. Assuring this half of his career will be the better part.

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Thurman Made a Statement, but What Now for the Champ?


Thurman Made a Statement, but What Now for the Champ?
By Harry Hogg

Keith Thurman (28-0)claimed a split decision victory over Danny Garcia (33-1) in New York on Saturday night to unify the WBA (super) and WBC welterweight titles. The victoryin front a record crowd at the Barclays center consolidates Thurman’s position as the number one fighter in the 147lbs division.

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Thurman’s display was well worth the victory, his incredible movement and eye catching punch power was there for all to see. In the end he was far too classy fora pretty ordinary Garcia, who seemed to lack any real ideas as to how to deal with Thurman.

Thurman’s performance was not without its flaws however. Seemingly cruising towards victory, Thurman faded late on giving Garcia the last few rounds. In the end this almost cost Thurman on the cards. He was in control for the majority of the fight and should have claimed the win unanimously. But his reluctance to engage late on and tendency to play safe almost backfired on the unbeaten American.

Never the less there is no denying he was the better fighter and deserved to be the first unifiedwelterweight champion since Floyd Mayweather in 2015. He was smart and picked his shots well, combined with some impressive footwork and movement, he was difficult to pin down for a largely inactive Garcia. The Philadelphiaman was resilient and kept coming forward, but very rarely troubledThurman.

What is next?

Thurman is now the number 1 fighter at 147, and is the man to beat. And while Garcia expressed his desire for a rematch, it is difficult to see this one happening again. The fight started well enough but never really kicked into gear, with Garcia leaving himself far too much to do in the later rounds.

But the American will surely be keeping a close eye on events in London in May, when Kell Brook defends his IBF belt against the dangerous Errol Spence Jr.The prospect of a second unification fight in a year would prove tempting for Thurman should he face the winner.

Or he could turn to the WBO champion in Filipino Legend Manny Pacquiao, whose April 23rd bout against Amir Khan is still without a venue.

Before any thoughts of another unification however, Lamont Peterson is likely to be announced as the next mandatory challenger for Thurman. Peterson, who picked up the WBA (regular) belt recently by beating David Avanesyan, would prove a tricky test for the new unified king.

The possibility of Thurman moving up to 154 would not be out of the question either. The champ looked bigger and stronger in comparison to Garcia on Saturday, and it would seem like he would have little trouble making the 154 limit. If he chooses to do so, a huge fight against Saúl Canelo Álvarez or Erislandy Laracould present itself.

Whatever Thurman decides do, he has put himself in a position of power and there are endless options open to him. He is the number one in the division and the route to welterweight supremacy will go through him.

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Garcia v. Thurman: Was it truly a “Super-Fight”?


Garcia v. Thurman: Was it truly a “Super-Fight”?
By: Matthew N. Becher

​Now that the dust has settled and the fight has been fought, we can look back and ask if this weekend’s fight between Danny Garcia and Keith Thurman deserved to be called a “Super Fight”. Thurman came away with his undefeated record still intact and left with both the WBA welterweight title (his going in) and the WBC title (Garcia’s). It was a relatively easy fight to score, but left us with little to remember, but could it still be considered a “super fight” with other aspects considered?

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Photo Credit: Ed Diller/DiBella Entertainment

​First it definitely had the pre-fight night parameters to be considered in the spectrum of the all-time big name fights. You had two fighters (Garcia and Thurman) who are both in their prime age, both are undefeated and both have championship titles (Garcia in two weight classes). The stage was set for a big fight, the biggest two names in the same ring that Premier Boxing Champions have put together so far in their history. It was being compared to that of Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns, who fought in September of 1981, 36 years ago. They were both also undefeated at the time and both fighting for the WBC/WBA welterweight titles. That is a fight which people still replay and talk about. That is a fight that echoes the lines of the great trainer Angelo Dundee, who repeatedly yelled at Leonard in the corner “you’re blowing it son”, as a tired Ray Leonard fought his way back to end up knocking out Hearns in a round that no longer even exists in today’s boxing world. So, yes, in the pre-fight promotion and stats, it was a “super-fight”.

​Second. The ambiance of the venue and the fans was the biggest that the Barclays Center has ever seen. Every fighter, outside of Mayweather and Pacquiao were in attendance. From Bud Crawford to Amir Khan to Andre Ward to Lennox Lewis to every PBC fighter was ringside. Celebrities were all around, heck the Golden State Warriors basketball team (who were in town to play the NY Knicks the next night) were sitting in section 124 to catch the fight. It was packed. The overall attendance was 16,533, which is the record for a boxing match at the Brooklyn Arena, and it broke the previous record by over 2,000 people. The atmosphere was incredible. People were excited, people were showing up, people were talking boxing. So yes, in the overall setting of the fight, it had all the feelings that you were at a “super-fight”.

​Next came the financials of the fight.

Tickets were all sold out. Numbers haven’t been announced as of writing this, but the live gate must have been close to $1.2-1.5 million which would also be a records for that arena. Each fighter made $2 million apiece and the overnight network numbers were a 2.2, which meant a lot of people were home watching the fight on primetime on CBS. This is a big deal for boxing as a whole, a way to get fans back to tuning in to the sport. This checks out as a “super-fight”.

​Then finally, the fight itself. Two undefeated champs. Two guys that were groomed, not only as boxers growing up to become world champions, but by their same promoter to shine on this stage. They didn’t do what they needed to do, for the sport. Thurman won, and you cannot take that away from him. He fought smart but timid. He did what he needed to do to win. Garcia found some kind of rhythm towards the end of the fight, but it was already too late for him. Neither man fought to entertain though, they fought to just get enough to win. It was relatively boring. Booing sporadically took place during the middle of the fight. And for that reason, it will never be remembered, it will not be re-watched, after a couple weeks it will probably not be talked about. That is why it was not a “super-fight”. They had all the boxes checked, except the one that really counted.

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Lamont Peterson Interview: “I just love to fight, and regardless of who I’m fighting, I want to be at the top level”


Lamont Peterson Interview: “I just love to fight, and regardless of who I’m fighting, I want to be at the top level”
By: Matthew N. Becher

​Lamont Peterson is a former IBF and WBA Jr. Welterweight World Champion. He has been in the ring with the likes of Tim Bradley Jr., Victor Ortiz, Amir Khan, and Danny Garcia. Peterson has recently moved up to the Welterweight division and just recently on February 18th, won the WBA regular world title by outpointing David Avanesyan. This win puts Peterson in a very good position for a big fight this year, especially after this weekend’s unification between Danny Garcia and Keith Thurman. We were able to speak with the champ a little about moving up in weight, his future in the sport and the possibility of him fighting his longtime friend Adrien Broner.

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Photo Credit: Stephanie Trapp/Showtime

Boxing Insider: You lost in 2015, in a very controversial decision against Danny Garcia. Since then you have moved up in weight and have fought a couple guys who are not as big of names as you were fighting. What has changed in that time?

Lamont Peterson: Nothing really, that’s just the business of boxing. Things just turned out that way. I don’t think it was any particular reason. I had opportunities to fight in bigger fights, but things just didn’t always work out.

Boxing Insider: So was it more of a promotional problem?

Lamont Peterson: Unfortunately with certain situations, just sometimes it’s just the way it is. It could be a problem with the promotion side or training or anything. Management, sometimes doesn’t work out. Sometimes certain guys just choose to fight other guys.

Boxing Insider: How is the higher weight working? How do you feel fighting at the higher weight?

Lamont Peterson: I like fighting at the higher weight. That extra seven pounds helps because of energy, strength and I can focus more throughout the training camp, without having to put extra time into making weight.

Boxing Insider: Does the endurance keep up at 147?

Lamont Peterson: Oh yeah, I feel like my endurance is actually better. Especially trying to get down to 140, I was experiencing body cramps.

Boxing Insider: You said recently that you would never fight Adrien Broner. You two are very close friends, but you are not related by blood and it’s a fight that fans may really want to see, since you both moved up to 147. Could it ever change, and you two may fight?

Lamont Peterson: What I said was, it is highly unlikely, is basically what I’m saying. Boxing is a business and if it makes sense, other than my brother (Anthony), damn right I’ll fight him. At the same time, I just don’t see it happening.

Boxing Insider: You’ve been with Premier Boxing Champions and Al Haymon since its beginning. What are your thoughts of its impact to the boxing world so far?

Lamont Peterson: I think it’s doing a good job at the things that PBC was setting out for. I think it is still heading in the right direction, I don’t think it’s over. It is definitely bringing more boxing fans and an audience from people that normally wouldn’t be watching boxing. I think it’s doing a great job and will probably do a better job in the future. I’m just happy to be a part of it and anything I can do to improve it, I will try.

Boxing Insider: You’ve won a world championship. You are 33 years old. What are your future goals right now?

Lamont Peterson: Just to compete at the highest level. Not too worried about fighting for titles, but just fighting the best competition at the Welterweight division. I’ll be happy with that. I’m not going to be a name chaser. I just love to fight, and regardless of who I’m fighting, I want to be at the top level. I’ll be happy with that. I see myself fighting for about six more fights and I’ll be done and happy with my career.

Boxing Insider: A lot of PBC fighters will be at the Garcia v. Thurman match this Saturday. Will you be in attendance and would you like the winner of that fight?

Lamont Peterson: Of course I would like the winner of that fight. The winner leaves undefeated and a lot of people will say they are the top guy at welterweight. I would definitely like a crack at that title, being the top guy at welterweight.

Boxing Insider: And finally, who do you have winning the fight between Garcia and Thurman?

Lamont Peterson: It’s still a hard pick. I go back and forth. I can see both guys winning. If they stick to their own game plans. Whoever is better prepared that night, mentally and physically will win the fight. I do see it as a 50/50 fight.

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Wilder Displays Ferocious Power, But the Rest of the Division Won’t Fear Him


Wilder displays ferocious power, but the rest of the division won’t fear him
By: Harry Hogg

Deontay Wilder (38-0, 37KO) retained his WBC heavyweight title last Saturday night with a brutal 5th round KO over Gerald Washington in his hometown of Birmingham. But the unbeaten American’s lacklustre performance has left plenty to talk about. Wilder looked sluggish for large parts of the fight until he found the opening in the fifth. Was it just signs of ring rust? After all the American had just come back from a 244 day layoff. Or are we beginning to see frailties in the ‘Bronze Bomber’?

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Photo Credit: Ryan Hafey/Premier Boxing Champions

First of all, Wilder deserves credit, he got the job done, and in spectacular style when the knockout did eventually come. This after the champ looked rusty and largely pedestrian like for the first 4 rounds, although he was ahead on one judge’s scorecard. But the opening came in the 5th and when it did he capitalised with devastating effect. But once again questions have been asked about Wilder, and accusations that his style and approach to fights has drastically become more negative, were ever more apparent on Saturday.

In his last four bouts previous to Saturday, Wilder has been taken past the 7th round before eventually despatching his opponents. In doing so the American has approached fights a lot more cautiously, waiting for the perfect opening before striking the killing blow. In contrast, before the world title win against Stiverne, Wilder had never been past the 4th.

Perhaps the fearsome American has woken up to the fact that against world class opposition, his wild and juggernaut style approach that has made him so feared, would leave him open to big shots against the likes of Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury, Joseph Parker etc.

Instead, a more patient approach, all be it less exciting allows him to gradually wear down fighters. Keeping a tight guard and his opponent at range until he finds the gap he needs to produce his devastating finisher. Or maybe he is starting to show limitations.

Never the less there is one constant reoccurring theme, he gets the job done. But his performances will always be compared to that of his British rival Anthony Joshua. And perhaps this is the root of the criticism aimed at Wilder. Joshua has looked nothing short of stunning in all 18 of his career bouts, all be it against lesser opposition.

The glaring difference is that the Brit does not just provide the devastating finish, he dominates his opponents. Not only has Joshua never lost a fight, it is difficult to recall him ever losing a round. He is not just a monstrous puncher, he is an exceptional boxer with sizzling hand speed for a heavyweight. Combine that with excellent movement and shot selection he is, without a doubt, a more complete fighter than his American rival.

When the two inevitably meet, how will Wilder be able to cope with Joshua forcing him back and putting him under immense pressure? It’s difficult to see Wilder out-boxing the IBF champion. In the meantime, Joshua faces his biggest test in April against former heavyweight king Wladimir Klitschko. Wilder no doubt will be watching with interest and should Joshua come through that test, the long-awaited clash with the ‘Bronze Bomber’ may well be set for later on in the year.

As for the present, Saturday’s performance would not have struck fear into the other heavyweight contenders.

Nevertheless they would have been reminded of the freighting power that Deontay Wilder has in abundance.

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PBC on Fox Preview: Tony Harrison vs. Jarrett Hurd, Deontay Wilder vs. Gerald Washington


PBC on Fox Preview: Tony Harrison vs. Jarrett Hurd, Deontay Wilder vs. Gerald Washington
By: William Holmes

On Saturday night WBC Heavyweight World Champion Deontay Wilder will return to his home state at the Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama to defend his title against top rated and unbeaten heavyweight contender Gerald Washington live on the Fox network.

The co-main event of the night will be between Jarrett Hurd and Tony Harrison for the IBF Junior Middleweight Title. Fox Sports 1 will also feature some of the undercard bouts, which include a heavyweight fight between Dominic Breazeale and Izuagbe Ugonoh as well as rising prospect Caleb Plant.

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The following is a preview of the two title fights set to be televised on Saturday night.

Tony Harrison (24-1) vs. Jarrett Hurd (19-0); IBF Junior Middleweight Title

The first world title fight to be televised will be a very competitive one and is a tough bout to pick.

Harrison and Hurd have very similar physical characteristics. Surprisingly, both boxers are 6’1” tall and both fighters have a reach of 76 ½”. Both boxers are also the same age and are in the midst of their athletic prime at twenty six years old.

Harrison, a Detroit, Michigan native, has a slight edge in amateur experience and success and comes from a boxing family. Both his Father Ali Salaam and Grandfather Henry Hank competed professionally with moderate to good success as a boxer. Harrison was also previously trained by the late, great, Emmanuel Steward.

Both boxers have also been very active in the past two years. Harrison fought two times in 2016 and four times in 2015. Hurd fought three times in 2015 and twice in 2016.

Hurd has never tasted defeat. He has defeated the likes of Ionut Dan Ion, Oscar Molina, Frank Galarza, and Jeff Lentz. He has won his past five fights by knockout.

Harrison has defeated the likes of Siarhei Rabchanka, Fernando Guerrero, Antwone Smith, Tyrone Brunson, Bronco McKart, and Grady Brewer. His lone loss was to Willie Nelson.

This is a tough bout to pick, but when Harrison fought someone at the level of Jarret Hurd he came up short. Hurd’s power is at least equal to that of Willie Nelson, and Harrison’s confidence may not be where it’s needed to defeat someone like Jarrett Hurd since his knockout loss.

This writer has to give Jarrett Hurd a slight edge over Tony Harrison.

Deontay Wilder (37-0) vs. Gerald Washington (18-0-1); WBC Heavyweight Title

Deontay Wilder was originally scheduled to fight Andrzej Wawrzyk, and received heavy criticism for his choice of opponents, but that bout was cancelled due to Wawrzyk failing a pre-fight drug test.

Gerald Washington was chosen as a replacement opponent despite the fact other well known heavyweights such as Louis Ortiz offered to fight Wilder as a replacement.

Wilder is three years younger than his opponent and will have a one inch height advantage and a one inch reach advantage. Wilder also has a much deeper amateur background. Wilder won the bronze medal in the 2008 Summer Olympics for the United States. Washington has no amateur accomplishments to speak of. However, Washington does have an athletic background as he played tight end and defense end for the University of Southern California and played on the practice squad for the Seattle Seahawks and the Buffalo Bills.

Washington started boxing late and made his pro debut at the age of thirty. He has stopped twelve of his opponents. Wilder has stopped thirty six of his opponents and the only man to last all twelve rounds with him was former world title holder Bermane Stiverne. Wilder has stopped four of his past five opponents while Washington has only stopped two of his past five opponents.

Both boxers have been fairly active recently. Washington fought twice in 2016 and in 2015. Wilder fought three times in 2015 and twice in 2016.

Wilder clearly has the better professional resume. He has beaten the likes of Chris Arreola, Artur Szpilka, Johan Suhaupas, Eric Molina, Bermane Stiverne, Malik Scott, and Siarhei Liakhovich. Washington has defeated the likes of Ray Austin and Eddie Chambers and had a controversial draw with Amir Mansour.

Washington is a tremendous athlete, but he is not on the level of World Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder. Wilder is fighting in front of his hometown fans and will likely put on another exciting stoppage victory for them to enjoy.

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Izuagbe Ugonoh set to Make his Mark Against Dominic Breazeale: A Conversation with Trainer Kevin Barry


Izuagbe Ugonoh set to Make his Mark against Dominic Breazeale: A Conversation with Trainer Kevin Barry
By: Eric Lunger

Live on FOX this Saturday night in Birmingham, Alabama, charismatic American heavyweight Deontay Wilder will make his fifth defense of the WBC championship belt against unbeaten Gerald Washington.The PBC card is stacked from top to bottom, but I am excited about the heavyweight clash between Dominic Breazeale (17-1, 15 KOss) and Izuagbe Ugonoh (17-0, 14 KOs). Even for a global sport like boxing, Izu, as he is known, has made a fascinating journey to reach this moment at the Legacy Arena. His parents emigrated from Nigeria to Poland, where Izu was born. After graduating from Jędrzej Śniadecki University School of Physical Education in Gdansk, Izu embarked on a successful kickboxing career, making the transition to boxing in 2010.

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Ugonoh caught the eye of veteran trainer Kevin Barry in 2013, while sparring in Las Vegas withheavyweight prospect Joseph Parker of New Zealand. Parker captured his first world title in December of last year, and Barry hopes to bring Ugonoh along the same path. Boxinginsider.com caught up withKevinon Thursday, and hespoke about his relationship with this remarkable athletewho is about to lace up the gloves for the biggest fight of his career.

Barry met Ugonoh fortuitously, as he was searching for sparring partners for Joseph Parker: “In my early days with Parker, we were traveling around various gyms in Las Vegas sparring anyone we could possibly get some ring time with, and I heard that Izu was training with Kenny Adams. I rang Kenny and went over there, Joe and Izu sparred six rounds, and it was probably some of the best work we had in Vegas. We came away with the thought: we’ve got to get more of this;this kid can really fight!”

It didn’t take long for Barry to connect with the Polish-born fighter: “that went on for about six sparring sessions, and during that time we built up a bit of a rapport with him. As it worked out, both Joe and Izu were helping Bermane [Stiverne] prepare for Chris Arreola, and we became even closer friends. Things weren’t really working out for Izu; I think he had moved around about five different trainers, I believe that he just wasn’t happy. He came to me and asked, ‘would I be interested in working with him?’ It was my second year with Joe Parker, and Joe was living in my house. I didn’t want anything to interfere with the chemistry that we had going, so I sat down with Joe and I sat down with Izu. In the end, in October of 2014, I took Izu to New Zealand, and fought him down there. Then in November of 2014, I moved him into my house with my family and Joe.”

Barry brought Ugonoh along carefully: “we had five fights down there [in New Zealand] in 2014, and then five fights in 2015.” Ugonoh’s pace slowed down last year with two bouts, a fourth round TKO of Ricardo Ramirez and a second round stoppage most recently of Gregory Tony.

Barry is pleased with Izu’s progress: “he has waited very patiently for this opportunity. The last two years, he’s been fighting well within himself, he’s been learning his craft, becoming a better, more well-rounded fighter in all aspects of the game. This is our first fight with Al Haymon’s PBC, and it’s a big fight.”

The matchup is an exciting one for fans. Barry sees the fight this way: “it’s a great matchup of skill and size. Really, they sort of mirror each other: Izu is 30, Breazeale is 31; Izu is 17-0, Breazeale is 17-1. Both have 81 inch reaches, both have about 8 KO’s in the first three rounds.”

Barry concedes that Breazeale has a better resume: “Breazeale has fought better names, sure, Anthony Joshua, Amir Monsour, Fred Kassi.” But Barry sees his fighter as ready to compete at that level. “Look,” Barry said, “Izu would knock out out Monsour and Kassi.I tell everybody, I think Izu is the sleeper of the heavyweight division. On Saturday night, live on FOX and around the world, everyone will know who Izu is.”

Barry feels that Ugonoh is ready for the big stage: “He is a very talented fighter, a very intelligent fighter. He’s got explosive power and very heavy hands. Look, the big question mark is: hey, this is a big step up in class from where he’s been fighting. But this is a fight, when it was first addressed to Izu, he jumped at it with open arms, saying, ‘this is the fight I’ve been waiting for.’”

Barry and his fighter know that the stakes are high: “Izuknows that the spoils definitely go to the winner in this fight: a great performance will see with Izu or Breazeale go on a short list for a fight for the world title.”

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Bounce TV Gets A Surprise(And Huge) Ratings Win With It’s PBC Broadcast


Bounce TV Gets A Surprise(And Huge) Ratings Win With It’s PBC Broadcast
By: Sean Crose

Boxing fans and analysts can be a mean bunch. They can be a great bunch, sure, but they can be mean as hell at times. Indeed, some Twitter cranks I know might well openly admit their less than pleasant take on all things boxing. Here’s the thing, though – the nastiness can be grating as much as it can be (let’s face it) genuinely funny. Case in point: Bounce TV, a little-known cable network, has been running Premiere Boxing Champions fights for some time now. And it’s practically been laughed out of Dodge by the fight world’s know it alls.

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The fights were crap. The broadcast team was crap. The production values were crap. There was nothing redeeming at all about such a joke of an operation and fight fans were essentially better off checking out bowling instead. So essentially went the word around the sewing circle. Then came last weekend. I wrote about Bounce TVs PBC card that Friday, and it was a doozy. Rising star Robert Easter did his thing, of course, but it was the two lead up fights before Easter’s appearance that made for truly thrilling television. The middleweight throwdown between Terrell Gausha and Luis Hernandez was most impressive. Same with Rau’shee Warren’s upset defeat at the gloves of Shanat Zhakiyaof in a bantamweight title scrap.

What’s, more the audience in Toledo, Ohio was alive and kicking, something fight fans don’t see much of outside of Europe these days. Oh, and the broadcast team, which included Austin Trout, was very likeable and not the least bit grating (unlike some broadcast teams can be at times). Little wonder, then, that Friday’s card did good ratings. What IS a surprise, however, is that the card actually did far better than good ratings. It did great ratings. Over a million pairs of eyeballs tuned into little known Bounce last weekend. That’s big news.

And good news, as well. Not just for Bounce and Al Haymon, the man behind Premiere Boxing Champions, but for the sport of boxing in general. When people in the seven figure range are going down the channel guide to watch some boxing, it’s always a good thing. Perhaps the most important element of last weekend’s success, however, was the fact that the fights were high quality. People talk when there’s exciting matches on television. They tell the internet, and all who read their words, what’s happening. And then people tune in. That’s something this sport’s powers that be seem to have forgotten.

Those of us who are of a certain age remember a time when, late on a winter Saturday afternoon, great boxing could be seen in less than glitzy locations, with live wire crowds and a genuine sense of excitement permeating throughout the broadcast. Last Friday’s Bounce card reminded me of those forgotten times. Which is why the joke is most certainly NOT on Bounce TV right now. Good boxing brings in good numbers. Sometimes that simple message happens to be delivered in unexpected ways.

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Leo Santa Cruz: Is 3rd Time a Charm?


Leo Santa Cruz: Is 3rd Time a Charm?
By: Francisco Martinez

Coming off a masterful performance that surprised most, Leo Santa Cruz channels his focus into a good deed. Using his superstar status to round up the masses in a charity event for a great cause. A humble beginning to Leo Santa Cruz life a beginning he hasn’t forgotten. Having grown up with no car and using the bus as means for transportation and at times a bicycle. Leo Santa Cruz has not forgotten where he comes from even with now being the owner of a 300k Lamborghini that he bout straight from Floyd Mayweather Jr. himself. The always humble Santa Cruz gives as much to his fans when outside the ring to when he’s inside the ring.

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Holding a charity event that rounded up hundreds of his fans to give them the opportunity to own a piece of history as he raffled away his fight gear from the night he avanged his sole defeat by the hands of Carl Frampton “Whatever I can do to give back to all the people who helped me out and also the kids with cancer. It’s really hard to pay the bills so whatever I can do is my pleasure and I’ll do it with my heart” acts of kindness that those who know Leo Santa Cruz will say it’s not something he hasn’t done before.

Contributions from the raffling would be donated to the W.B.C. Cares program & Padres Contra El Cancer. Both programs aim to aid the fight against cancer by offering emotional and financial support. A cause Leo Santa Cruz aids with his full effort and ability to give back as he proved it by donating his ring attire for the benefit of both organizations and children around the world who have fallen ill. Visit WorldBoxingCares.com & IamHope.org for more information.

As for the boxing side of things for Leo Santa Cruz the 126lbs class is one of the most stacked divisions in boxing today. Apart from Leo Santa Cruz and his 2x rival Carl Frampton veteran Abner Mares & Lee Selby along with Oscar Valdez, Gary Russel Jr. all wait in the wings to possibly face Santa Cruz next. Who’s the biggest draw out of the division. The King Of L.A. a name earned back in 2015 when he soundly defeated Abner Mares in front of 13k fans at the Staples Center. A 3rd fight between Leo Santa Cruz & Carl Frampton would be the most lucrative in the division however it’s not certain if that fight is possibly next with the terms of the venue in the 3rd fight seeming to be a sticking point for both camps. As Carl Frampton stated right after the 2nd fight with Leo Santa Cruz

“Let’s do it again…I hope Leo is a man of his word. He said if there was a 3rd time he’d come to Belfast” However in boxing things don’t work like that. There’s a negotiation process and the venue is just one hurdle to making a fight of this magnitude possible. Leo Santa Cruz won’t confirm that a 3rd fight is being negotiated as we speak unlike Carl Frampton and his team are claiming “Like I said I’m a man of my word. If it was up to me I’d go fight him over there right now, already but I have to talk to my team, my manager cause I just can’t say I’m gonna go. Who’s gonna make the fight? I can’t just make that decision but if it was up to me and my manager asked me if I wanted to go fight over there I would say yes. It’s up to my promoter and team” he goes on to say

“I would like to fight him right away but Frampton wants to fight in Ireland so if the fight is not made over there I don’t know if he’s gonna want to fight me over here so if he fights somebody else, I’ll fight somebody else. Maybe unify against Lee Selby. A rematch against Abner Mares. There’s Oscar Valdez, Gary Russell, whoever. I’m willing to fight whoever. I want to fight the best and give the fans a great fight”

Leo Santa Cruz is more than willing to travel across the pond but his team is not so sure if that’s a good idea. One of the key members in Leo’s team is head trainer and father Don Jose Santa Cruz. Who’s say has a lot of influence over Leo. Don Jose had this to say about the potential of his son facing Carl Frampton for a 3rd time in Belfast, Northern Ireland “No, he can forget about another fight. He can come here and we’ll fight but we won’t go over there. They took the fight away (from us) in New York so if we go over there with more of a reason they’ll take it again. He can come over here and we’ll do it but over there, no”

Don Jose Santa Cruz admits Abner Mares deserves another crack at his son if the 3rd fight isn’t possible with Carl Frampton “There’s Mares. Mares deserves an opportunity” he also adds his thoughts on how he feels a potential rematch would play out with Abner Mares “To be honest I don’t know. They have somewhat of the same style. If Mares fights clean they can make a good fight but if he’s dirty like the first 3 rounds (like the 1st fight) it’s going to be a ugly fight but I’ll prepare him (Leo) so that he isn’t able to grab, hug him”

Leo Santa Cruz added this to the talk of an Abner Mares rematch “He did look like a different Mares but like I proved already I can change my tactics. Once I get up there I can see what style to fight him with and I’ll make it easier for me. I don’t think the fight will play out differently. I’ll still come out victorious. If he boxes me I’ll do different tactics. We’re gonna go with the perfect game plan to beat him. We’ll work on different styles. If he boxes, we can fight like that. If he brawls, we can fight like that. Whatever he comes with we’re gonna have an answer”

Just 2 weeks removed from his masterful performance over Carl Frampton, Leo Santa Cruz makes it known all top 126 pounders are options and from the sounds of it the trilogy with Carl Frampton will have to take place somewhere in the U.S. as Leo’s father made it clear they won’t risk having another fight taken away from them. Hopefully both teams, Frampton & Santa Cruz can come to terms in making this trilogy happen as it would go down in history as one of the greatest 3 fight series in boxing.

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