Tag Archives: Holyfield

Boxing Insider Notebook: Ennis, Jones, Holyfield, Russell, Adames, and more…


Compiled By: William Holmes

The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of May 1st to May 8th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.

Gary Russell and His Brothers to Compete on Same Card on May 19th

The Russells of Capitol Heights, Maryland will team up again for an exciting night of boxing for their hometown fans. Three of the five boxing brothers, all trained by their father, Gary, Sr., will compete on the same card for the second time in their careers at MGM National Harbor in Maryland on Saturday, May 19.

The event is headlined by Gary Russell, Jr. defending his featherweight world title against mandatory challenger Joseph Diaz Jr. live on SHOWTIME (10 p.m. ET/PT). His brothers, super lightweight Gary Antuanne Russell and bantamweight Gary Antonio Russell will compete in separate non-televised bouts on the undercard.

Tickets for the event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions in association with Golden Boy Promotions, are on sale now and are available by visiting http://mgmnationalharbor.com/.

The 21-year-old Gary Antuanne (5-0, 5 KOs) will take on Wilmer Rodriguez (9-2, 7 KOs) in an eight round 140-pound match. Russell was a member of the U.S. boxing team at the 2016 Olympic games. He made his professional debut fighting on the same card as his other two brothers at MGM National Harbor last May 20 when he scored a TKO victory over Josh Ross. With his brothers and father working his corner at his last fight, he scored a stoppage victory over Andrew Rodgers in Brooklyn on April 21.

Gary Antonio (10-0, 8 KOs) will battle Esteban Aquino (12-4, 7 KOs) in an eight-round bantamweight match. Russell scored a knockout victory over Marco Antonio Mendoza Chico in his last fight on Nov. 21 and the card with his brothers last May 20, the 25-year-old Russell stopped Jovany Fuentes for a TKO victory.

In additional undercard action, Cobia Breedy (10-0, 4 KOs) will fight in an eight-round featherweight match and Immanuel Aleem (17-1-1, 10 KOs) steps into the ring for a 10-round middleweight match. Plus, Moshea Aleem (4-1-2, 2 KOs) battles Rayton Okwiri (2-0, 1 KO) in a six-round super welterweight match and Brandon Quarles (18-4-1, 9 KOs) clashes with Fred Jenkins, Jr. (10-5, 3 KOs) in an eight-round super welterweight bout.
Marine Takes on Royal Marines in UK Boxing Match

Marine Corporal Christian Valdes, of Silver Springs, MD, will be competing in a boxing match against the Royal Marines in London, England on May 8th at 2 p.m. eastern. You can watch his boxing match against the Royal Marines via webcast or on our satellite coordinates below.

Marines from the Marine Corps Boxing Team travelled to the United Kingdom to participate in a military-to-military training exchange culminating in a boxing competition against the Royal Marines May 8, 2018. The United States Marine Corps and Royal Marines will use the competition to celebrate their shared warfighting culture, values and military partnership. The U.S. Marine fighters have been handpicked from units in Southern California to represent the United States Marine Corps in the ring against the Royal Marines.

WHO: Corporal Christian Valdes
WHAT: Boxing Match between US Marines & Royal Marines
WHERE: London, England
WHEN: Tuesday, May 8th at 2 p.m. eastern
HOW: Via webcast and Satellite coordinates (below additional info)

Webcast Link to Boxing Matches : https://www.dvidshub.net/webcast/15204

Carlos Adames Ready for ESPN Spotlight

Carlos ‘Caballo Bronco’ Adames no longer wants to be the welterweight division’s best-kept secret. The undefeated 24-year-old from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, is seeking to make a statement on one of the biggest stages imaginable.

Adames (13-0, 11 KOs) will face Alejandro Barrera in a 10-round bout as the ESPN-televised co-feature to Jorge Linares’ WBA and Ring Magazine lightweight title defense against Vasiliy Lomachenko on Saturday at Madison Square Garden. Adames, who will be making his debut under the Top Rank banner, has not fought in the United States since his fourth pro bout back in 2015.

“I feel like I carry the responsibility of becoming the superstar that my country is waiting for,” Adames said. “I have the talent, dedication and confidence to become a superstar that represents the Dominican Republic. I’m going to give it all for my country.”

Adames, a go-for-broke puncher, turned pro in 2015 following a storied amateur career that saw him win gold medals at the Pan American Youth Championships and the Dominican Republic Youth National Championships, among other tournaments. Last July, he picked up the most impressive win of his pro career, shutting out former IBF junior middleweight champion Carlos Molina over 11 rounds. Adames gained invaluable experience when he sparred with pound-for-pound elite Terence Crawford roughly two years ago.

“I sparred some good rounds with Crawford, and I did very well against one of the best fighters in the world,” Adames said. “That gave me a lot of confidence, and it showed me that I could go very far as a fighter.”

Standing in his way is Barrera (27-4, 17 KOs), a veteran from Monterrey, Mexico, whose only stoppage defeat came to current IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. in 2015.

“I’m going to leave it all in the ring and put on a great show for the fans that will be present at Madison Square Garden and for the millions that will be watching live on ESPN,” Adames said. “I want to tell everyone to get their snacks and drinks ready because I am going for the knockout. Watch out. ‘Caballo Bronco’ is coming.’”

Linares vs. Lomachenko and Adames vs. Barrera will be televised live and exclusively at 8:00 p.m. ET on ESPN and ESPN Deportes, and undercard bouts will stream live on ESPN+, available through the ESPN App, beginning at 4:30 p.m. ET.

Roy Jones Jr. and Evander Holyfield to Attend Atlantic City Card at the Claridge

Two of the greatest fighters of all-time, former cruiserweight and heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield and former four division world champion Roy Jones, Jr. will be special guests as Mis Downing Promotions will officially kick off the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame 2nd Annual Induction Weekend on Friday, June 1st, with a great night of professional boxing at The Claridge: A Radisson Hotel.

The fight card on Friday June 1st in the Celebrity Theater at the Claridge Hotel will precede a great show that will take place the next evening Saturday June 2nd at Historic Boardwalk Hall {Adrian Phillips Theater} where Mis Downing Promotions will be working in associating with 4-Time Heavyweight Champ Evander “Real Deal” Holyfield and his promotional company Real Deal Sports & Entertainment.

“To have Evander and Roy attend my fight card will just add to a great night and weekend in Atlantic City. These are 2 of the legends of the sport, and knowing that they will be in attendance on June 1st, that will inspire all of the fighters even more,” Said Mis Downing, CEO of Mis Downing Promotions.

In the main event, super middleweight Derrick Webster (25-1, 13 KOs) of Glassboro, New Jersey will take part in a ten-round bout.
Jaron Ennis to Take On Mike Arnaoutis

On Friday, June 1st Rising Welterweight Contender, Jaron “Boots” Ennis (19-0 17ko) headlines Rising Star Promotions newly created series “Boardwalk Boxing” Round 2 taking on battle tested, former USBA, NABO Champion and World Title challenger “Mighty” Mike Arnaoutis (26-10-2 13ko) at the beautiful Showboat Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

“Boots” comes from a fighting family with his brothers Farah and Derek “Pooh” Ennis along with trainer/father Derek “Bozy” Ennis. Turning pro on April 30th of 2016, Ennis has been very active almost fighting 10 times a year. Ennis will be scheduled to box his first 10 round bout on the Boardwalk.

“This is going to be a great night of boxing, not only for us and the fighters, but for the City of Atlantic City and the State of New Jersey” Rising Star VP Thomas “Cornflake” LaManna says during a brief interview. “Atlantic City has a HUGE history of boxing and I think it’s great that a venue like The Showboat Hotel has gone the extra mile for us to be able to continue bringing Elite Level club show boxing to this reviving city”.

Mike Arnaoutis is no stranger to the big fights. The Pride of Athens Greece is the toughest test to date to the much younger Ennis. Arnaoutis has been in the ring with World Class opposition like Danny Garcia, Kendall Holt, Chris Algieri, Victor Ortiz, Demetrius Hopkins and Delvin Rodriguez to name a couple.

LaManna continued to quote “This is a test that Boots needs but to me, Jaron Ennis is hands down one of the best fighters not only in Philadelphia, but in the country. I see Boots’ story turning out to be like Terrance Crawford, he might be unknown to certain people and outlets outside of Philadelphia and/or the Tri-State area, but once he gets that breakout fight and TV appearance, he will become a superstar and I’m happy to be apart of that journey in any way, shape or form”.

The June 1st undercard is headlined by two NEW JERSEY STATE TITLE FIGHTS

Undefeated Chris “Sandman” Thomas (8-0-1) of Beachwood will be taking on Asbury Park’s Daryl “DreamKing” Bunting (3-3-1) for the NEW JERSEY STATE MIDDLEWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP.

Brick, New Jersey’s Dan Pasciolla (9-2-2) defends his State title against Vineland’s undefeated former Flordia, Marlins Center Fielder Quian Davis (4-0-2 2ko) for the NEW JERSEY STATE HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP.

Undercard will feature Rising Star Promotions own Donald “No Love” Smith and Nahir “Woo” Albright both of Philadelphia. Afghanistan War Veteran Ernesto “Tito” Perez, Yurik “DBSBC” Mamedov, Joel De La Paz, Michael Lee and Angel Pizarro.

Appearing in six-rounds bouts will be lightweight Christina Linardatou (9-1, 5 KOs) of Athens, Greece; super lightweight John Bauza (9-0, 5 KOs) of North Bergen, NJ; heavyweight Darmani Rock (11-0, 7 KOs) of Philadelphia, PA; featherweight Kevin Asmat (3-2, 2 KOs) of North Bergen, NJ.

Seeing action in four-round bouts will be pro debuting super welterweight Isaiah Hart of Atlantic City; featherweight James Wilkins (3-0, 3 KOs) of Brooklyn, NY; super featherweight Javier Oquendo (3-0, 1 KO) of Philadelphia and super lightweight Osnel Charles (12-18-1, 2 KOs) of Atlantic City.

Tickets are $150 for VIP Ringside; $120 for Stage seating; $85 for Premium Seating and $60 for General Admission

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Steve Ortiz & Jaron “Boots” Ennis Win at SugarHouse in Philly!


By: Ken Hissner

Former world Cruiserweight and Heavyweight champion Evander “The Real Deal” Holyfield’s THE REAL DEAL BOXING made their promotional debut in Philadelphia Friday night before a sold out crowd at the SugarHouse Casino in Philly!

It was a smashing success with all four Philly based boxers turning in wins. In the Main Event for the WBF North American Regional lightweight title Philly’s Steven Ortiz, 8-0 (3), stopped solid opponent Joshua “Dynamite” Davis, 11-3 (5), of D.C. at 2:21 of the second round in a scheduled eight.

In that round Ortiz landed a counter left hook to the chin of Davis dropping him. After referee Gary Rosato administered the 8 count Davis got up smiling like it was an accident. Well, the right hand that dropped Davis again was “no accident”. Determined not to being stopped Davis landed a right to the head of Ortiz putting him back a couple of steps. Ortiz came right back with a right to the head of Davis dropping him for the third and final time as referee Rosato waved it off. WBF President James Gibbs and VP Greg Hackett, Sr. presented the belt to the winner Steve Ortiz.

Asked if he was nervous being his first main event Ortiz said “I’m usually somewhat nervous but was cool with this fight. I didn’t get warmed up until the second round and he was a good opponent.”
“Steve turned in a good performance considering he hadn’t fought for over a year. He signed with Real Deal recently. Considering he was under house arrest it wasn’t easy at times getting him into the gym but when the fight came up he spent six days in the gym and should be about 10-0,” said trainer Raul Rivas.

In the co-feature co-promoted by Chris Middendorf’s Victory Promotions the best prospect in Philly since 1984 Gold Medalist Meldrick Taylor welterweight Jaron “Boots” Ennis, 18-0 (16) scored another victory with a technical stoppage at 2:14 of the fourth round over durable Mexican Gustvo “Vitamina” Garibay, 13-10-2 (5), in a scheduled six.

“I was just having fun out there,” said Ennis. It was another brilliant showing by the 20 year-old brilliant prospect Ennis who has won eighteen fights in twenty-one months behind Middendorf’s Victory Promotions. “He needed the rounds,” said father-trainer “Bozy” Ennis. He should know being the best trainer in Philly.

Manager Dave McWater who has a stable of some thirty-five fighters should be quite pleased having two of them post victories on the show. First in the opening bout welterweight Janelson “Figuero” Bocachica, 9-0 (6), of Detroit, MI, scored a second round knockdown after receiving a small cut under the right eyebrow from an accidental head butt (cut-man Joey Eye kept the cut in tact).

Bocahica would go onto score a clean knockout stopping his game Mexican opponent Victor Eddy Gaytan, 2-4 (1), at 0:13 of the fifth round with a right hand to the chin. Referee Rosato didn’t even have to count. “The cut was from a head butt. I set him up for that right hand,” said Bocachica.

In McWater’s most recent signee Philly’s National Golden Glove champion welterweight Poindexter “The Savage” Knight, 2-0 (2), made short work of Jordan “F4J” Morales, 2-4 (2), of Sunbury, PA, at 2:10 of the first round. Knight scored the first knockdown with a 3-punch combination with the left dropping Morales. He then came right back with a right hook scoring a second knockdown forcing referee Rosato to call a halt. “It was Savage Time,” said the happy Knight!

Super middleweight Brandon “Silver Back” Robinson, 9-1 (7), of Upper Darby, PA, scored a knockout at 1:50 of the first round over Juan Celin Zapata, 5-12-2 (3), of Honduras now living in the Bronx, NY. It was a perfect right at the beltline ending if for the exciting Robinson.

Rosato was the referee in this scheduled six.

Cruiserweight southpaw Kennedy “The Shadow” Katende, 3-0 (1), from Uganda living in the West Hampton’s, of New York scored a first round knockdown helping him win a solid six round decision over the taller Lyubomyr Pinchuk, 4-1 (3), from the Ukraine now out of Pittsburgh, PA. Judge Anthony Lundy had it 58-55 while judges Adam Friscia and Dave Braslow scored it 59-54 as did this writer. The fourth judge Gail Jasper never had a chance to score a bout since this was the only one to go the distance in the seven bout card.

Asked why Katende only fought orthodox in the third round after dominating the other five rounds he shrugged it off saying “I am from Uganda who I represented in the 2008 Olympics in China and moved to Sweden who I represented in the 2012 Olympics in Rio”. On the back of his trunks was “God Walks With Me” and that didn’t hurt him any. He suffered a small cut in the third round from an accidental head butt. Eric Dali was the referee.

In a scheduled six round middleweight bout 20 year-old Edgar “The Chosen One” Berlanga, 7-0 (7), kept his record perfect stopping Jaime Barboza, 19-14 (9), of San Jose, Costa Rica at 2:42 of the first round. He scored a first knockdown with a right to the chin and a second knockdown with a combination to the chin forcing referee Dali to wave it off.

In attendance was former World Heavyweight champion Larry “The Easton Assassin” Holmes, recent title challenger Tevin “The American Idol” Farmer who lost a disputed decision and should be getting a rematch, former world contender Kevin Howard, Lionel Byarm who was Holyfield’s first opponent and the popular former IBF Super welterweight champion Buster Drayton, all from Philly except Holmes.

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Real Deal Holyfield Promotions in Philly Friday at SugarHouse Casino


By: Ken Hissner

Former 2-division world champion & Olympic Gold Medalist Evander “Real Deal” Holyfield is bringing his REAL DEAL Showcase Series 1 to the SugarHouse Casino Events Center on Friday January 26th! First bout 7pm.

The weigh-in is scheduled for 5pm on Thursday January 25th. This is also at the SugarHouse Casino 1001 N. Delaware Avenue, Philadelphia. There are 10 bouts scheduled. Matchmakers Eric Bentley and Kevin O’Sullivan.

Philadelphia’s young lightweight prospect Steven Ortiz, 7-0 (2) will be making his main event debut against D.C.’s Joshua Davis, 11-2 (5), scheduled for 8 rounds.

Philadelphia’s most outstanding prospect Welterweight Jaron “Boots” Ennis, 17-0 (15), meets Mexico’s Gustavo “Vitaminas” Garlbay, 13-9-2 (5), Distrito Federal, MEX, over 6 rounds. Female Middleweight Kali “KO Mequinonoag” Reis, 13-6-1 (4), in a rematch with southpaw Sydney “Ginger the Ninja”, 4-5-1 (0), of Gretna, LA, over 6 rounds.

Super Middleweight Edgar Berlanga, 6-0 (6), of New York City, takes on Osbaldo Camacho Gonzales, 6-1 (4), of Tulsa, OK, over 6 rounds. Cruiserweight Lyubomyr Pinchuk, 4-0 (3), of Pittsburgh, PA, takes on Kennedy Katndem, 2-0 (1), of Uganda and NYC, over 6 rounds.

Super Middleweight Brandon Robinson, 8-1 (6), of Upper Darby, PA, takes on Juan Celin Zapata, 5-11-2 (3), of Honduras and The Bronx, NY, over 6 rounds.

Welterweight Janelson Bocachica, 8-0 (5), of Detroit and Super Featerweight Joshafat Ortiz, 2-0 (1), of PR-Reading, PA, will be in separate 6 round bouts.

Philadelphia’s Marcel Rivers, 3-0 (2), takes on Rafael De Jesus, 0-1 (0), of PR-Allentown, PA, over 4 rounds.

Philadelphia’s Poindexter Knight, 1-0 (0), takes on Jordan Morales, 2-3 (2), of PA.

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Boxing Insider Notebook: Groves, Arum, Holyfield, Hernandez, Eubank, and more…


Compiled By: William Holmes

The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of November 21st to November 28th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.

Holyfield and Arum Headline 2018 Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame Class

Evander Holyfield and Bob Arum headline the 2018 inductees into the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame.

The Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame (ACBHOF) has announced its 25 member 2018 Induction Class, which also includes President Donald J. Trump. This epic event will take place at The Claridge, a Radisson Hotel located at Park Place & Boardwalk in Atlantic City, New Jersey on June 1 – 3, 2018.

Atlantic City, New Jersey Mayor-Elect Frank M. Gilliam Jr. commented, “The future of boxing in Atlantic City is brighter than ever. Being the newly elected Mayor of the City of Atlantic City, New Jersey it gives me great honor to be a part of bringing the 2nd Annual Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame Induction Weekend back to our Great City. I believe boxing and Atlantic City has always been a natural fit and we see it returning to its glory days, and under my administration, we plan on welcoming it back wholeheartedly: Congratulations to the ACBHOF “2018” Inductees!”

The Claridge Hotel serves as the signature Corporate Sponsor for this knockout weekend, “The Claridge is proud to be in partnership with the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame and to continue to promote professional boxing’s exceptional history in Atlantic City,” says Cem Erenler, Vice President/ Operations & Business Development for TMJ Properties, the owner and developer of The Claridge. The iconic hotel, which is now part of the global Radisson brand first opened in 1930. “Hosting this signature event is in the best traditions of The Claridge, which for more than 80 years has been Atlantic City’s center for exciting events in sports and entertainment,” Mr. Erenler said.

Evander Holyfield stated: “I have many great memories fighting in Atlantic City, and I am honored to be inducted into its Hall of Fame.”

The 2nd Annual Induction Ceremony & Celebration Weekend will honor some of the world’s most prominent trailblazers from the sport of boxing: President Donald J. Trump, José Sulaimán, and Bob Arum are just a few names who will be enshrined with the 2018 induction class. Also expected to be in attendance; current and former boxing champions, and VIP Guests for a fun-filled weekend that’s highlighted by a black-tie evening, and the acclaimed, unforgettable Induction Ceremony.

“The Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame is here to stay! The epic success of our 2017 Inaugural Induction weekend was pivotal to our brand value in the boxing and business community,” said Rodrick Green Vice President and Business Strategist for ACBHOF. “We are excited about the economic and sports entertainment impact the ACBHOF will continue to have in Atlantic City. Thank you for your support and be reassured that at the 2018 Induction Celebration the bar will be raised even higher.

Over the next several weeks there will be updates on the schedule of events, room packages and expected VIP appearances on the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame and the Claridge Hotel websites and social media platforms.

“We’re excited about the ACBHOF 2018 Induction Class; I believe our nomination committee did an incredible job in selecting a diverse and richly deserving group of individuals. I’m extremely proud of this class because it contains three remarkable women: Diane Fischer-Cristiano, Jean Williams, and Marian Muhammad. The ACBHOF team along with our partners and sponsors are looking forward to June where we will pay homage to our 2018 inductees,” said Ray McCline ACBHOF President and Founder.

Tickets for Groves-Eubank Jr. Sold Out in Seven Minutes
It took seven minutes to sell out the Ali Trophy semi-final bout between WBA Super World Champion George Groves (27-3, 20 KOs) and IBO-Champ Chris Eubank Jr. (26-1,20 KOs) at the Manchester Arena on February 17, 2018.

Europe’s largest purpose-built indoor arena will be at capacity to witness what promises to be the biggest Super Middleweight night in years.

“This is a sensational start to the semi-finals of the World Boxing Super Series and the quest for the Muhammad Ali Trophy,” said Roberto Dalmiglio, Comosa’s CEO.

“I said before we went on sale that the fight between Groves and Eubank Jr. represents the boxing event fans cannot afford to miss, and I am happy to say that I was right.”

Said Kalle Sauerland, Comosa’s Chief Boxing Officer: “This is clearly the fight everyone wanted and I am sure this super-fight will capture not only a nation but a generation of fight fans.”

“The build-up is going to be huge and we can’t wait to go to Manchester for a sold out event between two spectacular rivals and world-class fighters.”

“We will work hard over the coming weeks to release extra tickets to meet the huge demand for this fight.”

The build-up to the all-British grudge match begins today when Groves and Eubank Jr. come face-to-face at a kickoff press conference at 2 pm in London.

ITV will be live streaming the press conference on ITV Box Office, YouTube and Facebook.

The Ali Trophy super middleweight semi-final between George Groves and Chris Eubank Jr. will be live on ITV Box Office on February 17.

Lucas Matthysse and Jorge Linares to Headline HBO Card at Los Angeles Forum

Two of the world’s most exciting fighters, Lucas “La Maquina” Matthysse (38-4, 35 KOs) and Jorge “El Nino De Oro” Linares (43-3, 27 KOs), will kick off the 2018 boxing year with a bang as they compete in separate world championship bouts on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018 at the “Fabulous” Forum in Inglewood, California. This special double main event will be televised live on HBO Boxing After Dark beginning at 10:20 p.m. ET/PT.

The first co-main event will see the 35-year-old Matthysse, an absolutely thunderous puncher out of Chubut, Argentina, facing undefeated Thai superstar Tewa Kiram (38-0. 28 KOs) in a 12-round battle for the vacant WBA Welterweight World Championship.

“I am honored to be able to fight for a world championship in just my second fight at welterweight,” said Matthysse, a former interim world champion at 140 pounds who has defeated the likes of former two-division champion Lamont “Havoc” Peterson, formerWBO Junior Welterweight Champion Ruslan “The Siberian Rocky” Provodnikov and former three-division titlist Humberto “La Zorrita” Soto. “I understand I am facing a younger, undefeated opponent, but I am confident that ‘The Machine’ will emerge victorious.”

Since turning pro at the age of 15, Kiram has torn through an astounding 38 opponents, with 28 of them never hearing the final bell. He won the interim PABA Welterweight Championship in just his sixth fight and defended it – and the full PABA Welterweight title – more than 30 times over seven years. This will mark his first fight outside of Thailand.

“I understand not many people know me in the U.S., but they are in for a big surprise on Jan. 27,” Kiram said. “I have never been defeated, and I am fully confident that I will return to Thailand with the WBA Welterweight World Championship around my waist.”

In the second co-main event, Linares, a 32-year-old Venezuelan considered one of the top fighters in the world, will make his second trip to the ‘Fabulous’ Forum in a row to defend his multiple lightweight world championships against the once-defeated Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta (31-1-2, 17 KOs).

“I have travelled all over the world to win and defend my titles, and I am looking forward to having my hand raised in victory once again in America,” said Linares, the three-division world champion who holds victories over world champions and contenders such as Anthony “Million Dollar” Crolla, Kevin “Mighty” Mitchell and Gamaliel “El Platano” Diaz. “I know that Gesta has speed and power, but he hasn’t been at this level before, and on Jan. 27, he’ll know what it’s like to face a world champion.”

Gesta, a 30-year-old from the Philippines, has not tasted defeat in six fights, beating quality opponents including Gilberto “El Flaco” Gonzalez and former contender Martin “El Brochas” Honorio. Gesta is getting his second shot at a world championship more than five years after dropping a unanimous decision to Miguel “Titere” Vazquez for the IBF World Lightweight Championship.

“I know firsthand how long it takes to get a shot at a world championship, and I will not allow this opportunity to pass me by,” Gesta said. “I understand Linares is a great fighter, but I know I have the skills, speed, power, and great coaching which will get my hand raised in victory.”

“What a way to kick of 2018 – with two of the top fighters in the sport taking on younger, hungry challengers,” said Oscar De La Hoya, CEO and Chairman of Golden Boy Promotions. “It’s not often you get two main events on one card, but that is what we will have on Jan. 27 at the “Fabulous” Forum. This card will help keep the momentum that boxing established in 2017.”

“This is a very important fight for Argentine boxing, for Lucas Matthysse and for Arano Box,” said Mario Arano of Arano Boxing. “Matthysse is ready to be a world champion, and we are more than sure that his win will make huge waves throughout the entirety of the Republic of Argentina and South America.”

“Thailand has never had a Welterweight World champion before,” said Taweesin Terry Laosuwanwat, Manager and Promoter of Kiram. “We are making history here, and Tewa [Kiram] will do anything to win this fight. Tewa has never lost before, and he will keep his undefeated record against Matthysse.”

The remainder of the undercard and the ticket information for this stacked event will be announced shortly.
Jose Lopez to Take on Avery Sparrow in New Co-Main Event on November 30th ESPN Show
Super featherweight contender José “Wonder Boy” López (18-1-1, 13 KOs) of Carolina, Puerto Rico will now take on Avery Sparrow (8-1, 3 KOs) in the new co-main event of the Nov. 30 edition of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN at the MGM National Harbor in Maryland. The event will also feature the headlining debut of Lamont Roach, Jr. (15-0, 6 KOs) as he defends his WBC Youth Super Featherweight Title against Rey “Flash” Pérez (21-8, 6 KOs) in the 10-round main event. ESPN3 (English) and ESPN Deportes (Spanish) will air the fights live at 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT. Undercard will stream on ESPN3 at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT. ESPN2 will air the fight at 11 p.m.ET/8 p.m. PT.

López, a 23-year-old contender who is coming off a four-fight win streak, has earned two regional titles since making his debut in Sept. 2011. In 2014, Lopez defeated veteran Leivi Brea to win the Interim WBC Fecarbox Super Bantamweight Title via first-round technical knockout. Two years later, López captured the WBO International Super Featherweight Title by defeating Edgar López Sasso via stunning second-round knockout. López was originally scheduled to fight against Miguel “Miguelito” González, but González was forced to pull out due to an injury suffered in his left arm when sparring.

Sparrow, who is also 23-years-old will took to take advantage of his first co-main event opportunity. The Philadelphian is coming off a four-fight win streak, defeating two undefeated prospects in his last two fights.

Fairfield, California’s Manuel “Tino” Ávila (22-1, 8 KOs) will take on Nick Otieno (31-12, 13 KOs) of Nairobi, Kenya in an eight-round featherweight fight. Ávila will return after his only defeat, which was in a tough battle against Joseph Diaz, Jr. on the Canelo vs. Chávez Jr. undercard in May of this year. The featherweight contender is looking to get back into the 126-pound mix before the year ends.

In the night’s swing bout, George Rincón (2-0) of Dallas, Texas will take on Jihad Wise (3-3, 1 KO) of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in a four-round 140-pound clash. Rincón’s brother, Alex Rincón, was originally scheduled to be in the swing bout, but the welterweight prospect who is currently signed to Golden Boy Promotions was forced to pull out and undergo surgery as he has been diagnosed with appendicitis.

Luther Smith (9-1, 8 KOs) of Alexandria, Virginia will open the night of boxing in a four-round bout in the cruiserweight division against an opponent that will be announced shortly.

Roach, Jr. vs. Pérez is a 10-round super featherweight fight for the WBC Youth Super Featherweight Title and is presented by Golden Boy Promotions. The event is sponsored by Tecate, “THE OFFICIAL BEER OF BOXING” and Hennessy “Never Stop, Never Settle.” ESPN3 (English) and ESPN Deportes (Spanish) will air the fights live from MGM National Harbor at 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT. ESPN2 will air the fight at 11 p.m. ET/ 8 p.m. PT.

Tickets for Roach, Jr. vs Pérez are on sale and are priced at $75 VIP, $75, $55 and $35, not including taxes or fees. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call the Ticketmaster Contact Center at (800) 745-3000. Tickets will also be available for purchase online at www.ticketmaster.com and www.goldenboytickets.com.

Nico Hernandez Injured, Fight Posptoned

Due to an injury suffered by 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Nico Hernandez last week at training camp, this Saturday night’s “KO Night Boxing: Gold & Glory” card, presented by KO Night Boxing LLC, has been postponed until February 10, at the same venue, Hartman Arena in Park City, Kansas.

The 21-year-old Hernandez was scheduled to headline the event in his hometown against Hungarian flyweight champion Jozsef “Little Red” Ajtai (19-9, 12 KOs) in the eight-round main event for the vacant International Boxing Association (IBA) Americas flyweight championship.

The promoter plans to keep the card intact, as much as possible, and he is hopeful that Ajtai is available to challenge Hernandez for the IBA Americas title.

“Injuries are an unfortunate part of boxing, but the good news is that Nico will be 100-percent ready to go February 10th,” promoter John Andersen said. “I know that Nico feels that he’s letting everybody down but, at the end of the day, all that really counts is his health. He’s a tough kid who has his entire pro career ahead of him.”

“Over the last six months, Nico has become like family to the Hartman Arena staff,” said Hartman Arena Executive Director, Ben Bolander. “We wish the best for him and hope for a speedy recovery, so we can see him back here in February fighting for the title.”

TIckets to the December 2nd event will still be honored at the February 10 event. If ticket holders, are unable to attend the new event date, full refunds will be offered at the point of purchase. Tickets will remain on sale for the February 10, 2018 event date.

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Some of the Pet Peeves Boxing Writers are Concerned About


By Ken Hissner

This writer has been writing for approximately 10 years. I sometimes say “the only thing more crooked than boxing is politics”. For example we see commissions that are not the most honest favoring certain people over others. By messing with managerial contracts favoring the managers and one sided hearings are a pair of examples what happens. One for instance in PA was holding a hearing for a boxer who was not allowed to have anyone but an attorney which he had. The manager came in with a non-attorney and was allowed an unlicensed backer to be allowed to listen in on an intercom. Obviously the boxer lost. The Boxing Director ruled in this case.

Pertaining to a referee I always remember Mills Lane when he did the rematch between Holyfield and Tyson. Lane knew Tyson had fouled Holyfield biting his ear and when over to the then Nevada commission head who more or less said “how would you stop a fight of this magnitude for this MINOR infraction?”

I believe that same commission head went to a much more violent sport like MMA after that. Mills returns and tells the fighters to continue and Tyson proceeds knowing he didn’t get penalized for what he did takes it one step or should I say 10 times further and bites off a piece of Holyfield’s ear knowing he is losing and will not be able to overcome Holyfield for victory. Mills had actually gone to the Tyson corner after the first infraction and they seemed to threaten him if he stopped the fight. Mills wasn’t a referee much longer after that fight.
Another example being Nevada who seem to have the most prestigious fights yet when referee Robert Byrd allowed Andre Ward to initiate 46 clinches against Sergey Kovalev and was never deducted “one point” just several warnings. That was in their first fight. All three judges had Ward ahead by a point so if just one point was deducted by Byrd for holding it would have been a draw and Kovalev would have retained his title. I had Kovalev ahead by 5 points based on 8-4 in rounds plus the knockdown. Go to www.youtube.com and see what I mean.

Byrd is without question the slowest referee to react of the Nevada referees. Was he being racist in his actions favoring the black fighter over the white fighter? Why Kovalev’s management or promoter allowed a black referee since Kovalev had the 3 titles and Ward none is beyond me. I suggested once to a manager who had the black fighter against a Spanish fighter to get a neutral person such as a white referee. The fight was great and close and the referee made no difference and their fighter won a decision.

It’s been my experience when I was a matchmaker for a short period of time a ring physician came over prior to the fight and told the referee who by the way now serves as a commissioner to stop the fight if the one fighter in particular “looks” like he is hurt. I told the ring physician “you can’t tell a referee that in advance”. The fight was stopped in the first round without that fighter being cut or knocked down. The promoter had to have a hearing based on too many stoppages on this promoter’s card. The top promoter who had just as many stoppages as this one was also suspended for 30 days.

The commissioner Jimmy Binns, Sr. held that meeting. I was told by the promoter Bob Connelly not to attend. I attended and sat at the table directly across from Binns. When I spoke up and informed Binns that the referee at the table Rudy Battles (now PA Boxing Commissioner) was told by Dr. Davidson to stop the fight if the boxer even looks hurt Binns said “what do you know about boxing?” I replied “maybe you would know something about boxing if you were to come to the weigh-in.” I had my matchmaker’s license revoked for that remark.

When Binns was replaced by Harold McCall he came to me during a boxing event and said “come into my office for I want to reinstate your matchmaker’s license”. I never did go in and never did matchmaking again. It is the hardest position of fights for the match-up may look good on paper but you never know how the fight is going to be.

Pennsylvania had a good secretary on the commission in Frank Walker. He worked behind the desk not running the shows. Now during Binns time he and Walker’s assistant were sent to work out of Harrisburg some 100 miles away instead of Philadelphia where the commission office was. Both Walker and his assistant suffered health problems and were replaced by Binns. Binns put Greg Sirb in charge as Boxing Secretary and he changed his title to Boxing Director. He runs all the events unless two are on the same night while the three commissioner’s sit there never correcting anything he does. When I let it be known in my report the entire press were told by a promoter you’ll never to sit at ringside again the promoter should have the right to where the press sits and not the Boxing Director.

This writer has found infractions on commission members and brought it to the attention of the state without any action being taken or even considered. It’s not what you know but who you know in this business too many times. I will continue to write what I see and not what the promoter or commissioner wants to see.

This writer has been banned from press row by two promoters because they “don‘t like what I write”. Guess what? That hasn’t stopped me from writing up their shows as I see them!” When Philadelphia had back to back shows with 14 bouts and 13 ended it knockouts in a bunch of mismatches this writer questioned it causing one of the promoters say “you should write what you see” while the other pulled my press credentials.

Recently in VA a rarity happened when Lamont White, 0-7, scored a knockout win over Roger Belch 8-0 at Norfolk on May 13th. Why the commission approved of the fight in the first place is strange but the way it turned out was even stranger.
Just thought I would “air out” some of the things writers can be faced with when they are “honest to a fault!”

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Ronda Rousey Returns After “Biggest Upset in Combat Sports History”? Not By a Long Way


Ronda Rousey Returns After “Biggest Upset in Combat Sports History”? Not By a Long Way
By: Matt O’Brien

Friday night sees the long-awaited comeback of“Rowdy” Ronda Rousey following her shocking defeat to Holly Holm last November, in a result infamously described by UFC commentator Joe Rogan as, “the biggest upset in combat sports history”. Prior to her defeat,Rousey had demolished a string of 12 opponentswith only one of them making it out of the first round – a devastating record by any standard, and there’s no doubt that Holm’s knockout was a truly enormous upset, with the challenger overcoming odds of up to 12-1 against her.

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That being said, it takes two people to make a fight, and the bookies’ published odds are not the only ingredient that goes into a big upset – the wider context of the underdog’s role is also vital. Ronda’s record was indeed formidable, but keen observers had noted that it could be a far more difficult task than anything she had faced before, with Holm being a former world-boxing champion and arguably the first bona fide world-class striker “Rowdy” had faced off against.

So while Rogan’s assertion that it was the “biggest upset of all time” might be right as far as UFC or even MMA history goes, once we include the sweet science the scale of Ronda’s defeat falls a few rungs down the list of “greatest ever upsets”. Here are five of my favourite shocks in boxing history that eclipse Holly Holm’s upset victory over Ronda Rousey:

1. James Douglas KO10 Mike Tyson, Undisputed World Heavyweight Championship, February 1990

This is the grand-daddy of upsets: not just the biggest upset in the history of boxing; not even the biggest upset in the history of combat sports. This one is arguably the biggest upset in the history of sports, period.

The reason for the scale of Douglas’ shock was twofold: firstly, “Iron” Mike was a destructive force the like of which had rarely, if ever, been witnessed before. Carrying an undefeated 37-fight record, all but four of Tyson’s victims had been knocked out, 17 of them in the first round. Tyson made a habit of making accomplished world-class boxers look like bunny rabbits caught in the headlights of a freight train. Secondly, Tyson’s awesome aura was set against Douglas’ far less-than-fearful persona. A competent yet unspectacular heavyweight, Douglas’ physique was rippled rather than ripped andhis style plodding rather than punishing.

Weeks before the contest though, Douglas’ mother had died, providing him with the kind of motivation and discipline he’d previously lacked. Meanwhile Tyson had fallen into the age-old trap of believing his own hype; his preparations consisted largely of hosting Japanese women in his hotel room and he was knocked down in sparring by Greg Page.

Even so, a listless Tyson was able to floor the challenger and almost pulled off a knockout victory in the eighth round. Douglas beat the count and continued to pummel the champion with a solid jab and powerful right hand. In the tenth, “Buster” unloaded a vicious combination punctuated by a huge right uppercut that sent Tyson sprawling. As he scrambled to put the gumshield back into his mouth, referee Octavio Meyran waved the finish and signaled the greatest upset in history, as the 42-1 outsider stunned the world.

*To his credit, Joe Rogan later admitted that this was actually a bigger upset than Rousey-Holm.

2. Evander Holyfield TKO11 Mike Tyson, WBA Heavyweight Championship, November 1996

It is a testament to Tyson’s fearsome aura and the magnetic grip he held on the public consciousness that six years after the Douglas defeat and following three years of incarceration, he was yet again considered invincible – despite Douglas’ evidence to the contrary. Tyson had demolished four challengers in just eight rounds since his release from prison, though he had yet to face anyone offeringmuch resistance. Frank Bruno looked scared stiff as he walked to the ring and Bruce Seldon put forward probably the meekest capitulation in the history of heavyweight championship boxing, surrendering in just 109 seconds. Evander Holyfield was a different proposition altogether, though few credited him with this distinction at the time.

Once again, the monumental scale of Holyfield’s upset was not just a measure of how highly Tyson was regarded – it also came from a foolish under-estimation of what “The Real Deal” had left to offer. A glut in recent performances in the ring, including a KO defeat to arch nemesis Riddick Bowe and a health scare regarding a heart condition had effectively erased memories of Holyfield’s fighting skills and warrior spirit.Many pundits argued that Holyfield was not just going to lose, but that he was in danger of being seriously injured.

The former champ opened as a 25-1 underdog, but his ironclad self-belief, granite chin and counter-punching strategy troubled “Iron” Mike from the outset. When Holyfield took Tyson’s vaunted power punches, retained his composure and kept firing back, it soon became evident that “the Baddest Man on the Planet” had no back-up plan. They say a picture tells a thousand words, but when Tyson was lifted off his feet by a left uppercut in the sixth round, far less than that were needed to describe the look on his face. Holyfield proceeded to administer a beat down until a dejected Tyson was finally rescued by referee Mitch Halpern in the eleventh round.

3. Hasim Rahman KO5 Lennox Lewis, WBC/IBF/Lineal World Heavyweight Championship, April 2001

Lennox Lewis had been knocked out before, but going into his fight with Hasim Rahman he was in the process of establishing himself as one of the most dominant heavyweight champions in history. He’d already made 12 defences over two reigns as WBC championand was making the fourth defence of the lineal and unified title he won against Evander Holyfield. He had also cut a swathe through potential heirs to the throne, blasting Michael Grant in two rounds and thoroughly outboxing dangerous New Zealander David Tua.

Unfortunately, Lewis had also spent time during preparation for his title defense schmoozing on the Hollywood film set of Ocean’s Eleven, while unheralded challenger Hasim “The Rock” Rahman grafted in the intense heat and high-altitude of a South African boxing gym.But while Rahman was a motivated and respectable contender, he’d done little in his career to indicate he posed a serious threat. Indeed, two years prior he had been brutally knocked out by Oleg Maskaev.

In the ring though, the difference in each man’s preparation showed, as a complacent Lewis blew heavily and struggled to assert himself. In the early rounds, there were warning signs that Rahman’s overhand right posed danger, but even so the end came suddenly and unexpectedly in the fifth round, as Lewis backed against the ropes and the 20-1 outsider unleashed a haymaker that landed flush on the jaw. The champion crumpled into a heap and minutes later was still in disbelief about what had occurred. To his credit, Lewis returned the favour when properly focused for the immediate rematch, knocking out Rahman in the fourth round to reclaim his title.

4. Muhammad Ali KO8 George Foreman, World Heavyweight Championship, October 1974

The 4-1 odds on Ali for this fight really don’t do justice to the monumental scale of the task he overcame on this momentous night. Foreman – much like Tyson years later – was considered to be an unstoppable force that had brutally manhandled some of the most dangerous heavyweights in the world. Joe Frazier, the undefeated heavyweight champion, conqueror of Muhammad Ali and one of the finest fighters the division had ever seen, was bounced around the ring like a rag doll and brutally stopped in two rounds.Ken Norton, a fighter who’d also taken Ali to the wire on two occasions (going 1-1 with The Greatest) was similarly dispatched by Foreman in less than 6 minutes.

In contrast, Ali was 10 years removed from his initial title-winning effort against Sonny Liston, had barely squeezed by Norton in their second fight, and looked sluggish in a dull rematch victory over Frazier.

A 32-year-old Ali offered his usual, charismatic, confident predictions before the bout, but few took him seriously, and even his own camp appeared to fear the worst. Norman Mailer described the atmosphere in Ali’s dressing room as, “like a corner in a hospital where relatives wait for word of the operation.” The dark mood failed to stop the irrepressible Ali, who boxed one of the most brilliant, bold fights ever witnessed to recapture the Heavyweight Championship and cement in his place in history with a truly unbelievable upset of epic proportions.

5. Ray Leonard W12 Marvin Hagler, WBC Middleweight Championship, April 1987

In 1982 “Sugar” Ray had retired following surgery to repair a detached retina, returning to the ring in 1984 in what should have been a routine victory over Kevin Howard, but announced his retirement again following the fight after suffering his first ever career-knockdown. Now, having only boxed once in five years, Leonard was moving up two weight classes from his favoured welterweight division to take on one of the greatest middleweight champions of all-time. It looked liked Mission Impossible on Viagra.

“Marvelous” Marvin Hagler hadn’t lost a boxing match since dropping a majority decision to Bobby Watts over a decade earlier, had won 13 consecutive middleweight title matches, and was ranked as the No.1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world by KOMagazine. It’s therefore a testament to Leonard’s star power that he opened only as a 4-1 underdog, and had even shortened these odds to 3-1 by the time of the fight. Among the “experts”, few gave the challenger a chance though, with 18 in a poll of 21 writers picking Hagler to prevail.

The eventual split decision in Sugar Ray’s favour is still bitterly disputed to this day. While there is a strong argument that Hagler did enough to win, there is no denying the success of Leonard’s psychological games, and the fact that he pulled one of the greatest examples of mind over matter in the history of boxing.

Honourable Mentions

The fights above comprise my personal favourite selection of huge boxing upsets greater than Holm’s defeat of Ronda Rousey, though there’s arguably a host of others than should make the cut. Here’s a brief selection of the best of the rest…

Randy Turpin W15 Ray Robinson, World Middleweight Championship, July 1951

Englishman Turpin probably caught the original “Sugar” Ray at the perfect time, as he came to the end of a busy European tour. Still, defeating arguably the greatest pound-for-pound fighter of all time was a stunning achievement.

Cassius Clay TKO7 Sonny Liston, World Heavyweight Championship, February 1964

On paper the 8-1 odds were even steeper than when the older version of Clay [Ali] defeated George Foreman, as the Greatest “Shook up the World” for the first time in his amazing career.

Frankie Randall W12 Julio Cesar Chavez, WBC Super Lightweight Championship, January 1994

Chavez was lucky to escape with a draw against Pernell Whitaker four months earlier, but was still officially undefeated after 90 fights, 27 of them for world titles, and he entered the fight as a massive 18-1 favourite.

Max Schmeling KO12 Joe Louis, June 1936

The young, undefeated “Brown Bomber” was widely perceived as unbeatable, but the German had studied his style and exploited his weaknesses to great effect. A more experienced Louis destroyed Schmeling in a single round in their famous rematch two years later.

Lloyd Honeyghan TKO6 Donald Curry, Undisputed Welterweight Championship, September 1986

Curry was considered one of the elite fighters in the sport and was being groomed for super-stardom, but he was struggling desperately to make the weight limit. Meanwhile Honeyghan paid short shrift to the champion’s undefeated record and bet $5,000 on himself at odds of 5-1, shocking the bookies and the boxing world in the process.

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Three Warriors get the Call to Boxing Hall of Fame


Three Warriors get the Call to Boxing Hall of Fame
By: Matthew N. Becher

​Yesterday afternoon it was announced that 3 fighters would be inducted into next year’s class of the Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, New York. It was a very fitting class, since the three boxers were all known for being true warriors to the sport. Evander Holyfield, Marco Antonio Barrera and Johnny Tapia would be fitting to lead any class alone, but together, they make up one of the most “Tough as Nails” groups that you could put together.

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​Marco Antonio Barrera (67-7 44KO): The “Baby Faced Assassin” is and forever will be one of the greatest fighters to come out of the country of Mexico. Barrera was a three division world champion winning his first title against Daniel Jimenez in 1995. He would rule the super bantamweight division for most of the next decade, which included his most famous fight, against Erik Morales in 2000 to unify the division. Barrera loss the first of three to Morales, which became one of the greatest trilogies in boxing history and would solidify him as one of boxing’s toughest. He was also the man to snatch away the “0” from Prince Naseem Hamed, a fight that stunned the world, but not the fans that follow the sport closely. The flashy Hamed fought once more after he took the beating from Barrera then retired. Barrera went on to beat fellow Hall of Famer Johnny Tapia in 2002 and was knocked out for the only time of his career against the great Manny Pacquiao. Barrera has come a long way from the 15 year old who turned pro in 1989 to one of the greatest Mexican fighters ever.

​Johnny Tapia (59-5-2 30KO): Nothing written can do justice to the life that “Mi Vida Loca”, Johnny Tapia’s story tells. Born into extreme Poverty in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1967. The most poignant of ways to describe Johnny’s life can be taken from a passage in his Autobiography, Mi Vida Loca: The Crazy Life of Johnny Tapia, Tapia wrote: “My name is Johnny Lee Tapia. I was born on Friday the 13th. A Friday in February of 1967. To this day I don’t know if that makes me lucky or unlucky. When I was eight I saw my mother murdered. I never knew my father. He was murdered before I was born. I was raised as a pit bull.

Raised to fight to the death. Four times I was declared dead. Four times they wanted to pull life support. And many more times I came close to dying. But I have lived and had it all. I have been wealthy and lost it all. I have been famous and infamous. Five times I was world champion. You tell me. Am I lucky or unlucky?”

​Tapia came from a struggle that no person should ever have to, and he used his fists as a way of expressing his anger and hate. He was never the most beautiful of fighter, but he was tougher than anyone you would ever want to face.

He was a fan favourite and multiple world champion. Unfortunately Tapia faced many out of the ring problems with drugs and criminal charges. Unfortunate to all, this Induction will be done posthumously as Johnny Tapia died in May of 2012 of Heart Failure, he was 45.

​Evander Holyfield (44-10-2 29KO): Many thought this day would never come, since Holyfield just wouldn’t stop fighting. Eventually he hung up the gloves in 2011 after Knocking out Brian Nielsen in Denmark. “The Real Deal” is one of the biggest names of his era. Holyfield was a member of the famed 1984 US Boxing team, where he won the Bronze medal (though he was unjustly disqualified in a controversial call). Holyfield then turned pro that same year and became the WBA World Cruiserweight champ in only his 12th fight, against Dwight Muhammad Qawi.

Holyfield would go on to become the Unified WBC/WBA/IBF Cruiserweight champ by 1988 before announcing he would move up to the Heavyweight division. Many thought that Holyfield, as good as he was, stood no shot against the bigger men, but he ran through the gauntlet of fighters and in two years became the Lineal, Undisputed Heavyweight champion in 1990 by knocking out James “Buster” Douglas. He would defend his titles against George Foreman, Bert Cooper, & Larry Holmes until engaging in one of his three thrilling fights against his rival Riddick Bowe. Bowe would win the first and third fights, but Holyfield took the second, leaving the only blemish on Bowes near perfect record. Holyfield was not finished there, as he then would go on to win the Heavyweight title against Mike Tyson in 1996 and defeat Tyson again in 1997, in a fight in which Tyson would bite part of Holyfield’s ear clean off.

Holyfield was a Heavyweight champion on four different occasions, Fighter of the year 3 times, ranked as the greatest Cruiserweight of all time and one of the top ten heavyweights ever. The man is a living legend and a true warrior of the sport.

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The Top Five Robberies of the Past 25 Years


THE TOP 5 ROBBERIES OF THE LAST 25 YEARS
By: John Freund

Here’s a news flash: Boxing isn’t fair. The best fighter, or the one who fights the best in the ring on a given night, doesn’t always win. In other sports, the scoring is obvious. Everyone knows when a basket is made or when a touchdown is scored. But in boxing, the scoring remains a mystery until after the final bell. And that often leads to controversy. Whether that controversy stems from poor judgment or corruption on the part of the judges, is up for debate. One thing is for certain though, there are plenty of asterisks alongside boxing wins and losses. Following, are five of the most egregious robberies of the last 25 years:

Note – this list factors in the commercial significance of each bout. So fights like Williams-Lara, and Rios-Abril, while clearly miscarriages of justice, are not weighted as highly given their lack of mainstream significance.

#5) De La Hoya vs. Trinidad – Sep 18, 1999

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Billed as ‘The Fight of the Millennium,’ the last of the so-called ‘Superfights’ of the 20th Century, it was a battle of unbeaten champions as reigning WBC megastar Oscar De La Hoya squared off against boxing’s other pound-for-pound king, IBF Champion, Felix ‘Tito’ Trinidad. This match would both unify the Welterweight titles, and prove who was the best fighter in the world.

Or so people thought…

“Outclassed is too big a word for what’s happening here, but it’s verging on that.”

When Jim Lampley spoke those words in Round 9, the so-called Superfight had thus far been nothing more than a chess match. And not even a competitive one at that – picture Bobby Fischer versus some hustler in Washington Square Park. Yup, it was that kind of lopsided.

De La Hoya frustrated Trinidad all night with his lateral movement and footwork, never getting caught up in the ropes and keeping his distance from the heavy-hitting Puerto Rican by effectively utilizing his jab.  De La Hoya – a fighter known for his jab and vicious left hook – continually stunned Trinidad with right cross after right cross. He seemed to be landing them at will.

I gave De La Hoya 8 of the first 9 rounds. Larry Merchant had it 6 to 2 with 1 even. Howard Lederman had it 6 to 3, which, in my opinion, is exceedingly generous. Regardless of the score, there is little debate about who won the early rounds. It’s rounds 10-12 that this fight is remembered for.

De La Hoya, on the advice of his corner, played defense in the final three rounds – which is a polite way to say that he ran the hell away from Trinidad and didn’t fight for 9 minutes straight.

Now, to be fair, De La Hoya’s entire strategy was to box – stick and move, stick and move – and he employed that strategy beautifully for 9 rounds. He didn’t let Tito cut off the ring, and he picked his opportunities to fight and throw combinations, landing at least 2 or 3 per round. Tito, on the other hand, barely threw a single combination in the first 9 rounds. That’s how effective De La Hoya’s game plan was.

Yes De La Hoya took off the last 3 rounds, and yes he lost all 3 (though the 10th was pretty close). But even still, there is no question who won the fight. As Jim Lampley said, he didn’t outclass Tito, but it was verging on that.

The judges, of course, saw it differently. They handed Tito the win, and that’s how the ‘Golden Boy’ came to record his first ‘L.’ Incidentally, this fight set the record for non-heavyweight PPV buys, with 1.4 million; a mark that would stand for 8 years until De La Hoya-Mayweather broke it.

There would be future controversial decisions in the Golden Boy’s career – one where he was robbed against Mosely, and another where he was gifted against Sturm. Regardless, this fight goes down as one of the biggest boxing robberies of all time, given the hype surrounding it, the status of the two stars inside the ring, and the fact that they never fought again – so we’ll never really know who was the best boxer in the world at the time.

#4) Chavez vs. Whitaker – Sep 10, 1993

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Before there was Mayweather-Pacquiao, before De La Hoya-Trinidad, there was Chavez-Whitaker.

Julio Cesar Chavez is a boxing legend, often considered the greatest Mexican boxer of all time, which is saying a lot. Coming into this fight, he had a jaw-dropping record of 87-0. Chavez was that rare combination of boxer and brawler, someone who could bob and weave and play defense on the outside, until he worked his way inside on you and broke your will. He was the best in-fighter in the game, and his chin was legendary; the first time Chavez ever hit the canvas was in his 91st pro fight.

Pernell Whitaker, meanwhile, was the best outside-fighter in the game. A slick southpaw with phenomenal footwork – he would dance, move, duck, hop, and sometimes even leap to places other boxers could only dream of reaching. Whitaker brought a 32-1 record into this fight, with his only loss being to Jose Luis Ramirez in what many consider to be a fight that Whitaker actually won. He was the Floyd Mayweather Jr. of his day, and Chavez-Whitaker was the ultimate ‘Bull vs. Matador’ matchup; it was brute force against blinding speed.

The first half of the fight was dead even. Whitaker established his game plan in Round 3, slipping and dipping, utilizing his speed and elusiveness, and finding just the right moments to throw wicked combinations. Chavez, who was the best in the business at cutting off the ring, was relegated to chasing the man they called ‘Sweet Pea’ around and around, just as Trinidad would chase De La Hoya six years later. Chavez did manage to force the action enough in the first 6 rounds to make it close on the cards, if not even.

But Round 7 was when Whitaker took over. He began to outclass Chavez, sticking and moving, capitalizing on his hand and foot speed. Whitaker even fought Chavez on the inside – and beat him there; something no one thought possible. There were moments when Whitaker double-jabbed Chavez, and somehow brought his right back in time to block a Chavez left hook. Thus was the blinding speed of Pernell Whitaker.

By Round 11 Chavez was exhausted. He was lunging and leaning, his punches lacking their usual sting. They fought the whole round on the inside, and Whitaker dominated without question. It was a masterful show of boxing prowess, and it earned Whitaker the right to be known as the first man to defeat Chavez in the ring.

But the fight was ruled a draw. Conspiracy theories abound, as Don King – Chavez’s promoter – was under federal indictment at the time for a litany of charges, including match-fixing. Dan Duva, Whitaker’s promoter, lodged a formal complaint with the Texas department of licensing and authorities after British judge Mickey Vann admitted to docking Whitaker a point for a low blow in the 6th Round. Referee Joe Cortez warned Whitaker for the blow, but did not instruct the judges to dock a point. To make things even more suspicious, the judges’ scorecards mysteriously disappeared the day after the fight…

If one were so inclined, one might argue that Don King rigged the match to keep Chavez’s revenue-generating, zero-loss streak alive for as long as possible. Of course that would imply that Don King were capable of such devious, underhanded, mafia-style tactics.

Regardless of what actually happened that night, one thing is certain: Sweet Pea won the fight, and was robbed of a victory.

#3) Castillo vs. Mayweather 1 – Apr 20, 2002

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I can already hear Mayweather fans cursing my name. Go on, I can take it. Do your worst in the ‘Comments’ section…

If you’re a Mayweather fan, it’s time to eat some humble pie. Your hero was beaten and beaten soundly, and on Hitler’s birthday no less! (No idea why that’s relevant, I just like to point out Hitler’s birthday whenever I see it anywhere…)

Mayweather, at age 25, with a record of 27-0, was years away from the iconoclastic figure nicknamed ‘Money’ for having generated more of it than any other boxer in history. This was ’02, and ‘Pretty Boy Floyd’ was moving up from Jr. Lightweight to Lightweight to face a Mexican bruiser named Jose Luis Castillo. Most experts predicted a Mayweather rout; just another rung on King Floyd’s ladder of greatness.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the coronation – someone forgot to tell Castillo that he was supposed to lose. The fiery Mexican crowded his elusive opponent, pinning Mayweather against the ropes and viciously attacking his rib cage. Remarkably, Mayweather stood and traded with Castillo instead of slipping away eel-like, as he normally does. Perhaps he wanted to prove he could go toe-to-toe with a heavy-handed lightweight. Whatever the reason, as Larry Merchant later said, Mayweather ‘fought the wrong fight.’

His loss was apparent, even to Mayweather, who could be seen hanging his head immediately after the final bell sounded, and staring down at the canvas in the run-up to the decision. This wasn’t the loud and proud Pretty Boy Floyd we’d all come to expect. This was a man who knew he was beaten.

Yet the judges decided otherwise. Two of the judges scored it 115-111, and Anek Hongtongkam (best name ever!) had it 116-111.

I personally had Castillo up 8 rounds to 4. Harold Lederman at ringside had a similar score. I can understand 7-5 Castillo, but anything beyond that is stretching it. And to say that Mayweather not only won this fight, but won it convincingly – as all three judges’ scorecards imply – is an outright travesty. Castillo out-muscled, out-maneuvered, and out-classed boxing’s soon-to-be brightest star.

A lot of people blame the decision on Bob Arum, who promoted both Mayweather and Castillo at the time. It’s clear what Arum’s motivation would have been to fix this fight – Pretty Boy Floyd was on the rise, and having that big goose egg in the ‘Loss’ column helped make him a household name.

And a household name he would become, as Mayweather went on to rack up 49 victories with no official defeats, and generate more money than any boxer in history. Would all that have changed if Castillo had gotten his just desserts? No one will ever know…

It’s impossible to say for certain if the fight was fixed, or if the judges were just in awe of Mayweather and scored him more generously than they should have. But don’t forget, this is boxing, where what goes on outside the ring is just as important – or sometimes even more important – than what goes on inside the ring. Perhaps Castillo himself put it best when he responded to the controversy by saying, “Well, I don’t want to say the wrong thing, but boxing is certainly filled with interests, let’s put it that way.”

#2) Holyfield vs. Valuev – Dec 20, 2008

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If you’ve never seen this fight, don’t bother. It’s easily the most boring championship match of all time. I’ll give you a quick rundown of the entire fight right here: Valuev stands in the center of the ring and does nothing, while Holyfield dances around him and does next to nothing. Picture that for 12 rounds.

The reason this is an all-time great robbery is because, at the end of the day, next to nothing is still more than nothing.

Holyfield won this fight 11-1. The only round that is even plausible to give to Valuev is the 12th, yet somehow, in some universe, the judges gave Valuev the win. I guess they decided that lumbering around for 33 out of 36 minutes and throwing 4 or 5 punches a round – never mind any combinations – is enough to retain a title. Yikes.

This is a big deal, considering Holyfield would have made history with this win, notching his fifth world title and becoming the oldest man ever to win the heavyweight crown at age 45 (besting ‘Big’ George Foreman by several months). But alas, it was not to be.

The one cool thing about this fight is that Valuev is a monster. And by that I mean he’s 7 feet tall and weighs over 300 lbs. Holyfield, at 6″3, 210, looks like a hobbit dancing around that Stone Giant thing in Lord of the Rings.

The reason this fight is #2 on the list is because the decision is so egregiously wrong. Other than the 12th, I defy you to find one round that Valuev won. I know this isn’t the most meaningful heavyweight bout of all time, but from now on, when someone mentions the fact that George Foreman is the oldest man ever to win the heavyweight title, you can bring up the asterisk that is Holyfield-Valuev.

#1) Pacquiao vs. Bradley 1 – Jun 9, 2012

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You knew it was coming. The grandaddy of all highway robberies. The most shameless star-making event in boxing history. The day that three judges decided Tim Bradley out-fought Manny Pacquaio.

A little context before we delve into this one: The fight took place in 2012, right around the time everyone was clamoring for a Pacquaio-Mayweather Superfight. We all know what happened there. Instead of Pacquaio-Mayweather, we got Pacquaio-Bradley.

Okay, fair enough. Bradley came into this fight undefeated, with impressive wins over Lamont Peterson and Joel Casamayor. He was ranked a top 10 pound-for-pound fighter, so after negotiations with Mayweather and for a Cotto rematch both fell through, why not give a guy a shot?

The fight went as everyone predicted. Manny just had too much speed, too much power, too much technical skill for Bradley to handle. Bradley fought Manny’s fight and PacMan picked him apart, landing his straight left all day long. As Max Kellerman declared in Round 5, Manny ‘Outclassed him.’

The fight itself brought zero surprises. It was the decision afterward that left everyone floored. In the narrowest of margins, the judges gave a mixed decision to Bradley.

It’s tough to find a single person who thinks the decision was justified. By my count, Manny won the fight 10 rounds to 2, and most of those were pretty decisive. The only rounds I gave to Bradley were the 10th and 12th. Now, I can see a 9-3 decision, and can even stomach an 8-4, but giving more than 4 rounds to Bradley…?

The judges unanimously gave Bradley the 7th round, even though Manny doubled him in punches landed! 2 of the 3 judges gave Bradley the 8th, even though Manny outpointed him 15-9 in that round. And there was no question who was throwing the harder leather. Jim Lampley and Emanuel Steward were commenting all night how much more power Manny had, and how Bradley simply couldn’t handle his trifecta of speed, skill, and punching power.

After the fight, Bradley was asked by Max Kellerman in the center of the ring if he thought he won. He said that he would ‘have to go back and watch the tape to see who won the fight.’ The crowd booed. Kellerman then asked Pacquiao if he thought he won the fight. Pac responded, “Absolutely, yes.” And the crowd went wild.

Now, if you’re going to claim that a fight is fixed, you should at least have a theory as to why it would be. There’s a pretty convincing one for this fight, and it starts and ends with Bob Arum.

Bob Arum promoted both fighters. Pacquiao was already a legend, and having had 3 losses, wasn’t protecting a goose egg the way Mayweather was throughout his career. So what’s one more loss going to do to his iconic reputation? Absolutely nothing.

Meanwhile, a win for Bradley makes him an instant star – which is exactly what happened. It also sparked a very lucrative Pacquaio-Bradley trilogy, of which Pacquiao convincingly won the last two fights (and wasn’t robbed by the judges).

And if you want to be uber-consipratorial about the whole thing (and who doesn’t!), you could say that, ‘isn’t it a coincidence that Bradley signed with Top Rank just before this fight, and fought a big match on the Pacquaio-Marquez 3 undercard, thus introducing him to a more mainstream audience?’ And… let’s just go the full nine here… ‘isn’t it strange that Bradley looks a heck of a lot like Floyd Mayweather Jr., whom fans wanted to fight Pacquaio, but the fight never materialized (up to this point)?’ Could Bob Arum be pulling his best Vince McMahon impression, giving us a substitute for Mayweather-Pacquiao – only one in which the drama was artificially manufactured instead of naturally ingrained?

Color me cynical, but I think all of the above is possible.

Whatever the case, things certainly didn’t go as planned for PacMan moving forward. He would fight Marquez for the fourth time later that year, and get famously knocked unconscious, then spend over a year recovering before returning to the ring. Boxing fans often point to the Bradley fight as the beginning of Manny’s downfall, if you can call the last 4 years a ‘downfall.’

Bradley, meanwhile, went on to fight and beat some top contenders, including an aging Juan Manuel Marquez, Jessie Vargas, and Brandon Rios.

Tim Bradley is by all accounts a very warm, likable guy, and it’s worth noting that he is not the one who robbed Pacquiao. It was the judges who robbed Pacquiao.

Or maybe it was Bob Arum…

Regardless, this fight is yet another reminder that boxing can be such a cruel mistress: she can seduce you, and just as quickly stab you in the back.

What are some of your all-time biggest boxing robberies? Leave a comment below…

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