IBF Orders Golovkin-Derevyanchenko Middleweight Title Fight
By: Sean Crose
Gennady Golovkin is back in the middleweight title picture. Canelo Alvarez, who drew with Golovkin in highly controversial fashion in 2017, then bested Golovkin, again in controversial fashion, in 2018, had little interest in fighting the Kazakh warrior for a third time in three years, even though fans and the DAZN streaming service (which broadcasts both he and Golovkin’s fights) wanted to see the men face off again. Canelo, however, was stripped of the IBF belt he won from Daniel Jacobs earlier this year. Why? Because, after numerous extensions, he was unable to make a fight with mandatory contender Sergiy Derevyanchenko.
“Gennady has always been ready to fight him (Canelo), ready for that third fight,’’ Golovkin promoter Tom Loeffler is quoted by the LA Times as saying. “But if not, he can’t wait. He has to move on.’’ Needless to say, the IBF has now ordered a bout between Derevynachenko and Golovkin for its vacant title. Which means Golovkin stands a chance of winning another top middleweight belt without having to face Canelo for it. Derevyanchenko has already fought for the IBF strap once before, dropping a split decision to the talented Daniel Jacobs last autumn.
ESPN quotes directly from a letter given to attorneys for both Golovkin and Derevyanchenko from the IBF’s Carlos Ortiz Jr: “The IBF middleweight title was declared vacant on August 1, 2019. The IBF is therefore ordering that a bout take place between the two highest ranked contenders to fill this vacancy.” This is all good news for Golovkin, of course, as Canelo, temporarily at least, had iced him out of a large portion of the middleweight title pie (the exceptionally talented Demetrius Andrade holds the WBO belt). Still, the 37 year old will have to get past the 33 year old Derevyanchenko before he can begin celebrating.
The camps for both Golovkin and Derevyanchenko will have to come to an agreement by early September. ESPN reports that DAZN is reportedly planning to air the fight between the two men on the fifth of October. This would be Golovkin’s second fight on the streaming service, one which will be part of a deal between the fighter and the service reportedly worth around one hundred million dollars. Naturally, DAZN would rather run a big money fight between Golovkin and Canelo, but Canelo isn’t budging at this point. What’s more, Canelo appears to be at odds with his promoter, Golden Boy Promotions, over the events that led to him being stripped of the IBF belt.
Although Golovkin has never technically bested Canelo, most fans and analysts seem to agree he should have won the first of their two fights. Furthermore, many apparently believe the former king of the division won on both occasions. In short, Golovkin is a bit like Marvin Hagler and Jack Dempsey, two fighters who lost their most famous bouts in controversial fashion while maintaining their reputations and popularity.
Canelo’s next opponent has yet to be determined.
Canelo Stripped of IBF Title
By: Sean Crose
Canelo Alvarez has been stripped of his IBF world middleweight title. Furthermore, he is no longer going to be facing Sergiy Derevyanchenk as his next opponent, as was widely expected. Canelo was supposed to face Derevyanchenk as his mandatory, but a deal between the two camps was unable to be made. The IBF subsequently stripped boxing’s biggest star of one of his belts after having given numerous extensions for a deal to be reached. Although Canelo has been said to be one of the few boxers on earth to not need a belt, being stripped of a major title never makes for good PR.
Perfectly aware of this, Canelo’s promoter, Oscar De La Hoya, released an official comment on the matter. “We are extremely disappointed at the IBF for forcing the world’s best fighter to relinquish his world title,” he began. “We have been in serious negotiations with Sergiy Derevyanchenko’s promoter. We offered his team an unprecedented amount of money for a fighter of his limited stature and limited popularity, but the truth is that I’m now certain they never had any intention of making a deal. But instead they wanted to force us to relinquish Canelo’s belt.”
In other words, De La Hoya argues that Derevyanchenko’s camp is looking for a way to get a crack at the title other than having to face the highly skilled Canelo. “This is an insult to boxing,” De La Hoya continued, “and more importantly an insult to the boxing fans of the world.” The Golden Boy Promotions honcho then directly attacked the IBFs reputation. “This decision,” he said, “validates already existing concerns about the credibility of the IBF championship. Canelo inherited a mandatory challenger by defeating Daniel Jacobs, the man who beat Derevyanchenko, so to strip him of his title without giving him enough time to make the best fight possible is truly what is wrong with boxing.” De La Hoya’s statement then ended in what was essentially the strongest way imaginable: “I plan,” he said, “to aggressively consider all legal actions possible.”
Yet Lou DiBella, who reps Derevyanchenko, had a different take on the matter. “This is trash,” he tweeted in response to De La Hoya’s firery statement. “How dare the @IBFUSBAboxing not take bribes, not kneel to Oscar and Ginger, and actually have the NERVE to abide by their WRITTEN rules. Credibility? What dat, Oscar? Where’s yours?”
As things now stand, Canelo is still looking for an opponent for his next fight. He reportedly refuses outright to face arch foe Gennady Golovkin a third time (at least for the time being), although that might be the fight most fans would want to see. DAZN, the streaming service which pays Canelo an enormous sum of money, also wants a third Golovkin fight Canelo, however, is known for his stubbornness. There was talk on Thursday evening that Canelo may fight WBO middleweight titlist Demetrius Andrade next. That would prove to be a major fight between two top middleweights – should it be made. As for Derevyanchenko, it is said he is now in line to face an yet to be determined opponent for the IBF strap.
Josh Warrington vs. Kid Galahad Featherweight Title Fight Ordered By IBF
By: Jake Donovan
Any hopes for Josh Warrington to land in a featherweight title unification bout will have to wait at least one fight longer.
Barely two weeks removed from his thrilling points win over former two-division champ Carl Frampton, the unbeaten Brit has been issued his marching orders for his next title defense. It won’t be a unification bout with the likes of Oscar Valdez, Leo Santa Cruz or Gary Russell Jr., rather a clash with mandatory challenger Kid Galahad.
Word came down on Monday from the International Boxing Federation (IBF), whose featherweight title Warrington claimed in a 12-round win over Lee Selby last May.
“(Josh) Warrington has been ordered to next face (Kid) Galahad,” IBF spokesperson Jeanette Salazar confirmed to BoxingInsider.com.
The two sides will have 30 days to negotiate terms for such a bout, or else will be subjected to a February 6 purse bid hearing. At any time during such talks, either side can request an immediate purse bid in the event it’s clear that there isn’t any chance of reaching a deal.
There are several layers to peel back regarding such talks. Warrington is with Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions, while Galahad (birth name Abdul Barry Awad) fights under Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing banner.
Warrington (28-0, 6KOs) signed with Warren in 2017, shortly after parting ways with Hearn with whom he worked with for the prior three years. Warren has network deals with BT Sport in the United Kingdom as well as ESPN’s streaming platform—ESPN+—in the United States, while Hearn has for years worked with Sky Sports and the primary content provider for sports streaming service DAZN.
Both boxers were last seen fighting on the desired platforms of their respective promoters.
Warrington’s instant classic with Frampton topped a December 22 bill which streamed live on ESPN+ for stateside viewers, while playing to Pay-Per-View in the U.K. Warrington prevailed via unanimous decision in the first defense of the title he snatched from Selby, capping a breakout year for the Leeds boxer.
Galahad (26-0, 15KOs) earned his way to a title shot following a 12-round win over Toka Khan-Clary in their title eliminator this past October. The bout took place in Boston, marking Galahad’s stateside debut along with his first appearance on DAZN.
The unbeaten 28-year old has since resurfaced in a stay-busy bout, scoring an eight-round shutout of Brayan Malrena in his adopted hometown of Sheffield on December 8. The bout came in supporting capacity to Sheffield’s favorite son, former welterweight titlist Kell Brook whom outpointed Michael Zerefa atop the Sky Sports-aired/DAZN-streamed telecast.
While there have been past instances where a defending titlist can bypass a mandatory defense in favor of an approved unification bout, such a scenario will not apply to this contest. Warrington was already mandated to face Galahad by the time he stepped into the ring to face Frampton in a voluntary defense.
The aforementioned bout came with the blessing of the IBF on the condition that he would next defend versus Galahad. Neither boxer can take a fight in the interim.
Assuming neither party backs out, the contest will likely take place in early spring. Where it lands will, of course, depend entirely upon which side secures promotional rights.
As both sides come in armed with lucrative deals from platforms eager to secure as much content as possible, nothing short of a bidding war is expected.
IBF Orders Jose Uzcategui-Caleb Plant Super Middleweight Title Fight
By Jake Donovan
Jose Uzcategui has served nearly all of 2018 as a super middleweight titlist despite having yet to make a single defense.
The International Boxing Federation (IBF) is ready to change that status.
The New Jersey-based sanctioning body has ordered Uzcategui to make his first mandatory defense, naming unbeaten Caleb Plant as the leading contender to the throne. A 30-day free negotiation period has been ordered between the two camps, with a December 5 purse bid hearing set aside in the event they cannot come to terms.
Photo Credit: Premier Boxing Champions Twitter Account
Representatives for Uzcategui and Plant were notified by the IBF earlier in the month.
“(Uzcategui’s) mandatory defense is due on or before January 5, 2019,” the IBF reminded Uzcategui’s promoter, Fernando Beltran in an official letter—of which a copy was obtained by BoxingInsider.com—to representatives for both sides. “The leading available contender is Caleb Plant…represented by TGB Promotions.
“Negotiations should commence immediately and be concluded by December 5, 2018. In the event that you are unable to come to an amiable agreement with Plant, the IBF will call for a purse bid.”
Uzcategui (28-2, 23KOs) claimed the interim title in an 8th round stoppage of Andre Dirrell in their rematch this past March. The Mexico-based Venezuelan—who turns 28 later this year—was elevated to full titlist after James DeGale vacated the belt this past summer in lieu of a mandatory title defense.
The turn of events was sweet redemption for Uzcataegui, who was cheated out of the title in his first fight with Dirrell last May. He was winning the bout and on his way to a stoppage win when he was suddenly disqualified for an official ruling of hitting Dirrell after the bell to end the 8th round. The sequence prompted a brief riot, infamously sparked by Dirrell’s uncle and head trainer Leon Lawson who attempted to sucker punch Uzcategui in his corner.
Lawson fled from the scene and was a wanted fugitive before eventually surrendering to authorities on an outstanding warrant.
Despite realizing his dream of winning a major title, it’s been hurry up and wait for Uzcategui. A mandatory title defense was desired, but Plant (17-0, 10KOs) has been out for most of the year while recovering from a hand injury. The Tennessee product hasn’t fought since a 12-round win over Rogelio Medina this past February.
Meanwhile, Uzcategui’s only piece of ring action since becoming full titlist came in the form of a stay-busy non-title fight this past September. It was a well-served purpose, easily outboxing Argentina’s Ezequil Maderna over 10 rounds in their ESPN+ streamed main event.
Uzcategui is co-promoted by Top Rank, which provides him with a major network outlet in ESPN. However, he is represented by his main promoter, Zanfer Promotions in this current round of negotiations.
Plant is represented by TGB Promotions but technically a free agent. His only contracted affiliation is through manager Luis DeCubas and adviser Al Haymon, fighting under the latter’s Premier Boxing Champions’ umbrella, which has lucrative long-term deals with Showtime and Fox.
Given that, the eventual clash will undoubtedly benefit from major televised coverage.
Mikey Garcia Vacates IBF Lightweight Title; Richard Commey To Vie For Vacant Belt
By Jake Donovan
For the second time in as many fights, Mikey Garcia has elected to vacate an alphabet title in pursuit of bigger game.
The unbeaten lightweight titlist and pound-for-pound entrant has agreed to relinquish his International Boxing Federation (IBF) lightweight title in lieu of satisfying a mandatory title defense versus Richard Commey.
Photo Credit: Mikey Garcia Twitter Account
IBF spokesperson informed BoxingInsider.com that Garcia had formally notified the New Jersey-based sanctioning body of his decision, confirming a news story first reported by ESPN.com senior writer Dan Rafael.
The move comes ahead of a second ordered purse bid between Garcia and Commey due to defaulting on a previously reached verbal agreement.
Garcia (39-0, 30KOs) inherited the mandatory challenge following his points win over previously unbeaten Robert Easter Jr. in their unification bout this past July. Both boxers entered the contest with the understanding that the winner would be immediately ordered to next face Commey, with the IBF granting Easter Jr. such an exception in order to pursue the aforementioned title unification clash.
With Garcia scoring a landslide decision, he was on the hook to satisfy the overdue mandatory title defense which was ordered by the IBF on August 1. The first ordered purse bid was canceled after Richard Schaefer (representing Garcia) and Lou DiBella (Commey’s promoter) informed the IBF and various media outlets—including BoxingInsider.com—at the time that a verbal agreement had been reached.
However, Commey was the only party to send back a signed contract. When Garcia failed to do so within the 15-day period assigned by the IBF, the agreement was considered null and void with a new purse bid hearing scheduled for Tuesday.
By that point, speculation had run rampant that California’s Garcia—who has won titles in four weight divisions—would be moving up to welterweight in pursuit of a challenge versus unbeaten Texas native Errol Spence for his welterweight title. The matchup had been rumored for several weeks, but never evolving past casual conversation.
Because the mandatory was overdue, Garcia could not file for an exception which factored into his opting to vacate in lieu of being stripped for the title.
Commey (27-2, 24KOs) will now make his second attempt at a lightweight title, both coming in vacant title fights. His first bid ended just short, going tooth and nail with Easter Jr. in dropping a competitive decision in their Sept. ’16 shootout. The Ghana-bred boxer was similarly edged out in a title eliminator just three months later, losing a split decision to Denis Shafikov.
Three straight wins have followed, including 6th round knockout of previously unbeaten Alejandro Luna in their final eliminator this past March. The bout took place on the Showtime-televised undercard to Garcia’s 140-pound championship winning effort over Sergey Lipinets—interestingly with Garcia vacating the bout soon thereafter as he opted to return to the 135-pound division.
His drop back down in weight turned out to be for just one night, at least for now—a familiar pattern since his return the sport in 2016 following a 30-month forced hiatus.
All five of Garcia’s bouts in his second career have taken place between 135-140 pounds, although barely staying in the same place for very long. His 3rd round knockout of then-undefeated Dejan Zlaticanin to win a lightweight title in Jan. ’17 was followed by a pair of 140-pound bouts, scoring a points win over Adrien Broner last July and then Lipinets.
In his pursuit of Spence and a title in a fifth weight class, Garcia—who spent the first eight years of his career fighting at 126 and 130—would be making his welterweight debut. While he still holds a lightweight title, that reign could too be in jeopardy. Still awaiting the 30-year old is a mandatory title defense versus Luke Campbell, who earned his second title crack following a decision victory over Yvan Mendy in September to avenge his lone defeat.
Meanwhile, Commey will soon enter negotiations with the next leading available contender for the IBF lightweight title. The current next highest-rated lightweight is Russia’s Isa Chaniev (13-1, 6KOs), who has won three straight including a career-best decision win over former lightweight titlist Ismael Barroso this past May in Riga, Latvia.
Former IBF World Welterweight Champion Kermit Cintron Retires
By: Ken Hissner
Former IBF World Welterweight Champion Kermit “El Asesino” Cintron has announced his retirement per Marshall Kauffman of King’s Promotions out of Reading, PA.
At the age of 38 Cintron’s last fight didn’t end as well as he would have liked. On February 13th of 2018 he was matched against upcoming Houston prospect Marquis Taylor, 8-1, at the Bethlehem Sands Event Center in Bethlehem, PA, on a King’s Promotions show. Cintron due to an accidental head butt had a bad cut above right eye. The ring physician refused to allow the contest to continue.
It was not the first cut Cintron has received during his 39-6-3 and 1nc record with 30 knockouts. It was at least the sixth time he has had cuts over both eyes. He has been known as a hard puncher which his 30 knockouts in 39 wins shows.
Considering Cintron didn’t get into boxing until he was 19 after being a high school wrestler after moving to PA from Carolina, PR. He was 24-4 with 17 knockouts as an amateur.
Kauffman was his fist trainer. Then Kronk’s Manny Steward, Ronnie Shields and ending with Joe Pastore. Cintron won the vacant IBF World title on October 28th in 2006 stopping Mark “Poison” Suarez, 25-2, at the Convention Center in Palm Beach, FL, in the 6th round. Cintron stopped David Estrada, 18-2, in a title eliminator in the 10th round for the No. 2 spot. Suarez had won a title eliminator in his previous fight stopping James Webb, 18-0, in the first round for the No. 1 spot.
Cintron defended his title twice successfully. First against Argentina’s Walter “El Terrible” Matthysse, 26-1, scoring a second round knockout in Atlantic City, NJ, in July of 2007. In November he stopped Jesse “El Rayo” Feliciano, 15-5-3, in the 10th round being well ahead in the scoring at time of the stoppage. Afterwards Cintron went to the hospital with a possible fractured right hand or wrist.
In Cintron’s third defense he lost his title by a knockout to the same boxer he lost his first fight. Cintron had won his first 24 fights before losing to Antonio “El Tornado de Tijuana” Margarito in Las Vegas in the fifth round for the latter’s WBO World Welterweight title then lost his IBF title to Margarito.
Before the year was out Cintron bounced back winning a solid 12 round decision over the former IBF World Super Lightweight champion South Africa’s Lovemore Ndou, 46-10-1, fighting out of Australia. He would follow this bout up with future world champion Sergio Martinez, 44-1-1, for the interim WBC World Super Welterweight Title. The fight would end up in a majority draw. Martinez would later win both the WBO and WBC Middleweight titles. His only loss going into the Cintron fight was to no other than Margarito.
When there was no rematch with Martinez Cintron’s next fight was a WBC Light Middleweight Title eliminator where he defeated tough Mexican Alfredo “Perro” Angulo, 15-0, over 12 rounds. Cintron was snubbed even though he won this eliminator to fight for the title.
Two fights later Cintron took on Paul “Punisher” Williams, 38-1, in May of 2010, losing by TD in the fourth round due to a severe back pain. He would split in his next two fights and got a title fight against Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, 38-0-1, for his WBC World Super Welterweight Title getting stopped in the fifth round. You can’t say Cintron was afraid to take on anyone.
Cintron was inactive for 16 months before returning to action with a split decision draw with Adrian Granados, 11-2-1, in March of 2013. After defeating Jonathan Batista, 14-1, Cintron was able to return to nearby Ready for the first time in almost eleven years at the Sands in Bethlehem, PA. In a solid 10 round bout and probably the most in attendance this writer has seen at that site he defeated Bethlehem’s Ronald Cruz, 20-2.
After six straight wins Cintron in March of 2017 he ended up in a TD draw in the fifth round due to an accidental head butt against David “Day-Day” Grayton, 15-1, at the Reading Santander Arena. Cintron suffered a cut right eye.
In June in one of the most explosive fights at the 2300 Arena in South Philadelphia for the vacant USA PA State Super Welterweight Title Cintron had Philly’s Tyrone “Young Gun” Brunson, 24-6-2, with 22 ko’s, down twice in the fourth round. In the next round Cintron went into end it when the hard hitting Brunson caught him coming in dropping Cintron three times ending the “Philly War!”
That was Cintron’s next to last fight before meeting Taylor in his final career bout. Cintron was very popular in the Reading area being a former champion with a solid knockout punch. Forty of his forty-nine opponents had winning records.
Former well known box man from the Reading, PA, area Rich Ormsbee worked Cintron’s corner as his cut man in early and later fights. He had this to say:
The biggest mistake his training people made is letting him be a nice guy in the fight. He was one of the hardest punching welterweights in his era, but he was too kind to his opponents. Jeff Jowett (writer) was responsible for his nickname “killer” but that didn’t fit. There is a big difference between boxing and fighting, but someone has to show the boxer also how to fight, and Kermit was never taught that. Kermit could have been one of the greatest welterweights of all-time if he only had been meaner. Even in his sparring matches, it always seemed like he was worried that he would hurt someone. There is nothing wrong with being a nice guy, but not in the “fight”. Also, I have never heard Kermit utter a bad word about anyone. He was and still is a truly nice guy.
How Did the Four Organizations Get Started & What Have They Accomplished?
By: Ken Hissner
The WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO have taken 8 divisions to 17 and a top 10 contenders list to 15 but has it been good for boxing? Let’s see and find out what they have done.
The oldest is the World Boxing Association which in 1921 was founded as the National Boxing Association. In 1962 it became the WBA. It has bounced back and forth from 1975 in Panama to Venezuela in the 1990’s and early 2,000’s and back to Panama in 2007.
Gilberto Mendoza of Venezuela was President from 1982 until his death in 2016. His son Gilberto Jr. took over at that time. It’s been said they are the worst for honoring champions.
The World Boxing Council came about in February of 1963 when Mexican President Adolfo Lopez Mateos called a meeting and under 11 countries including the US, PR, ARG, UK, FR, MEX, PH, PAN, Chile, Peru, VZ & BRZ. Presidents included Luis Spota, Ramon G. Velazqez both of Mexico. Then Justinano V. Montano, Jr. of the Philippines with Jose Sulaiman of Mexico becoming President from 1975 until his death in 2014. Then his son Mauricio took over.
The started drug testing first. They have increased the champions from 8 to 43. They have Silver, Green, interim and many off shoot belt holders.
The International Boxing Federation (then USBA) was formed in the US with a strong contingence from South Korea. In December of 1983 Heavyweight champion Larry “The Easton Assassin” was complaining (what’s new with him?) about fighting these “young lions” so Bob Lee who had failed in an attempt to become the WBA President in 1982 formed the IBF. Holmes then could defend against such boxers as Scott Frank and Marvis Frazier whose father “Smokin” Joe Frazier put him in with Holmes though his son only had 10 fights. Holmes was 44-0 at the time with 17 defenses. Needless to say Marvis only lasted 2:57. After the mismatch Holmes declared “that’s for all the whippings your daddy gave me in the gym!” Lee already headed the United States Boxing Association out of New Jersey so making boxers like Holmes champion automatically would bring in financial gains for Lee.
The two paragraphs prior to this were from this writer. The following is right from the IBF in part which I am thankful for their contribution.
The idea to form the United States Boxing Association (USBA) materialized in September of 1976 when the organizers decided it was time to form a new organization based in the US and comprised of legitimate boxing commissioners from the United States and its territories. Twenty-four US Commissions came together in April of 1977 to consider the structure or the organization. The association’s first convention was held in December 1977 at which the constitution and by-laws were adopted and the USBA was well on its way to play a major role in US boxing.
In its early years the USBA served as a springboard for it boxers to the rankings of the World Boxing Association (WBA), one of the two international sanctioning bodies at the time. In April of 1983 the members of the USBA voted to expand the organization and create an international division during the annual convention in Atlantic City, NJ.
The move to branch out was led by Robert W. Lee, Sr., who subsequently was voted the entity’s founding president. He was working as deputy commissioner for the NJ State Athletic Control board. He had reached the position of second vice-president of the WBA and had run for the presidency in 1980 and lost. It was then that he began seeking support to expand the USBA internationally.
In 1984, a vote was passed to change the name of the organization to the name it currently operates under, the International Boxing Federation. The IBF began rating female boxers in June of 2010, and crowned its first female champion Daniella Smith, in November of the same year.
As the organization continued to grow and prosper on a global scale, its leaders convened once again to address the organization’s name. In January 2018, the sanctioning body announced it would conduct business as the IBF. The USBA title would still exist as a regional title under the umbrella of the IBF.
The last to join the organizations and is still sometimes left out is the World Boxing Organization (WBO) founded in 1988 in Puerto Rico as a non-profit after attending the WBA convention. Its first president was Ramon Pina Acevedo of the Dominican Republic. He would be followed by former world champion Jose Torres of PR. In 1996 he retired being replaced by the current President Francisco Varcacel a PR lawyer.
In 2004 the WBC started putting the WBO champions in their ratings while the IBF didn’t until 2007. One of their most recognized champions would be Joe Calzaghe from Wales who made 21 defenses in the Super Middleweight division retiring with a 46-0 record. He didn’t come to the US until his last 2 bouts defeating Bernard “the Executioner” Hopkins and Roy Jones, Jr.
The WBO’s first heavyweight champion to oppose the other organizations Mike Tyson was Italy’s Olympian Francisco Damiani. “Merciless” Ray Mercer took care of Damiani with one uppercut to the nose in 1991. In Mercer’s next fight after blasting out Tommy “The Duke” Morrison he vacated the title. Then got out boxed by a much older Holmes. In 1992 he tried to re-gain the title which was held by Wladimir Klitschko of the UKR getting stopped in 6 rounds.
The WBO was mainly recognizing European and Asian with the UK boxers to follow in the beginning before coming to the US with success. The WBO has now some 16 world champions.
More Boxing History
Terence Crawford Vacates IBF Title; Lipinets-Kondo Ordered To Fill Void
By Jake Donovan
With his win over Julius Indongo in their 140-pound unification clash two weeks ago, Terence Crawford became just the third boxer in history to simultaneously own all four titles in one weight division.
The unbeaten two-division world champion from Omaha, Neb. made history just 12 days later, though for all of the wrong reasons.
The International Boxing Federation (IBF) was notified by Crawford’s camp on August 31 that the reigning super lightweight king was relinquishing their portion of the crown. The vacancy now makes his four-belt reign the shortest ever, although he still remains in possession of the World Boxing Council (WBC), World Boxing Association (WBA) and World Boxing Organization (WBO) titles—though it remains to be seen for how long.
Whatever his decision, the IBF has already begun the process of taking the next step toward filling the super lightweight void.
“Jr. Welterweight Champion Terence Crawford officially vacated the IBF Title (on Thursday),” IBF spokesperson Jeanette Salazar confirmed in a statement released through the New Jersey-based sanctioning body’s press office. “The leading available contenders according to the current list of IBF Jr. Welterweight rankings are #1, Sergei Lipinets and #3, Akihiro Kondo. Both boxers have indicated in writing they are willing to participate in the fight for the vacant IBF Jr. Welterweight title.”
Lipinets (12-0, 10KOs) was the mandatory challenger waiting in the wings, although the unbeaten Kazakhstani boxer was forced to wait out two unification bouts. He sat by as Indongo was granted what was supposed to be a one-time exception to bypass his mandatory title defense in favor of a unification bout with Ricky Burns, whom he outpointed in April to add the WBA title to his collection.
The IBF ordered a showdown between Indongo and Lipinets soon thereafter, but negotiations were non-existent as they were compromised by a vocal interest from the Crawford camp in unifying all four titles. Indongo and his co-promoter Eddie Hearn attempted to file a medical exemption, claiming a hand injury suffered in the Burns fight, but lacked sufficient proof of injury causing delay in ordered talks with Lipinets
From public demand – and a violation of its own rules – the IBF granted a final exemption to allow Crawford-Indongo, on the condition that the winner next face Lipinets by no later than November. Crawford emphatically collected all the belts on the heels of a 3rd round body shot knockout of Indongo on August 19 in Lincoln, Nebraska, but his victory tour lasted all of two days before receiving notification to immediately negotiate terms for his mandatory title defense.
Lipinets, however, decided he’d waited long enough for a title shot and—through promoter Tom Brown’s TGB Promotions—informed the IBF that his team opted to bypass the 30-day negotiation period and immediately enter a purse bid hearing which was due to take place on August 31.
Crawford and promoter Top Rank initially entertained the idea of winning a purse bid and perhaps showcasing the fight on ESPN. Instead, the purse bid hearing was called off as Crawford informed the IBF that he no longer desired to represent the organization at that weight, with the possibility of vacating all of his 140-pound titles in exchange for an expected move up the scale to welterweight.
Now a three-belt titlist for the moment, Crawford’s stay as a fully unified world champion lasted a grand total of 12 days.
Bernard Hopkins managed to hold all four middleweight titles for the final 10 months of a historic reign that saw 20 title defenses of at least one belt over the span of 10 years and three months. He obtained his fourth and final belt with a Sept. ’04 knockout of Oscar de la Hoya, and–with a 12-round win over Howard Eastman—remains the only boxer in history to make a single defense of all four belts at one time.
His reign ended in controversy, dropping a highly questionable 12-round decision to then-unbeaten Jermain Taylor in July ’05. Taylor’s stay as a four-belt king lasted four months, also eventually vacating his IBF title though in favor of a rematch with Hopkins.
Meanwhile, a new set of negotiations are underway to crown the next IBF 140-pound titlist.
“The IBF has ordered Lipinets and Kondo to fight for the vacant title and their respective teams should start negotiating immediately,” Salazar stated. “They have until September 30, 2017, to come to an agreement.
“If an agreement isn’t reached by then, the IBF will order a purse bid.”
2-Time Olympic Gold Medalist Claressa Shields Wins World Titles
By: Ken Hissner
At the MGM Grand in Detroit, MI, Friday night Salita Promotions, MGM Grand and ShoBox headlined with 2-Time Olympic Gold Medalist Claressa Shields winning both the WBC World Female and IBF Female Super middleweight titles!
Photo Credit: Showtime Boxing
In the Main Event the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Gold Medalist Claressa “T-Rex” Shields, 4-0 (2), of Flint, MI, stopped the WBC World Female Super Middleweight champion Nikki Adler, 16-1 (9), of Augusburg, Bayem, Germany taking her title and the vacant IBF title at 1:34 of the fifth round of a lopsided fight.
In the opening round Shields landed the first punch a left uppercut to the chin of Adler. Halfway through the round a Shields right hand to the chin buckled the knees of Adler. A miss from a right hand by Adler was countered by a right to the chin from Shields. Already there were marks on the face of Adler. It was a big round for Shields. In the second round Shields went head hunting pounding the head of Adler who had no answer for this. A left hook from Shields to the head of Adler drove her into the ropes and could have been called a knockdown from referee Michael Griffin. It could have been a 10-8 round for Shields. That is how lopsided it was in favor of Shields. In the third round Shields came out on the attack once again as Adler stayed in the pocket with hands held high. Shields got through the defense of Adler with a pair of rights to the head making Adler hold on. As the bell sounded Shields was all over Adler.
In the fourth round Shields finally went to the body with lead rights followed by left hooks to the head of Adler who seems overwhelmed. A right hand lead miss by Adler was countered by a right from Shields to the head of Adler. Shields landed three body shots just prior to the bell. In the fifth round a 3-punch combination from Shields to the head of Adler had her stunned. With a minute left Shields started showboating with hands to her side. A left hook from Shields rocked Adler and Shields followed up with a combination to the head of Adler forcing referee Griffin to step in and stop the mismatch.
“Oh man that was crazy. It’s clear I am happy and blessed having trained for a hard fight and not a war. (Asked to compare this win to her Olympic Gold Medals) I’m more happier now than winning in the Olympics here among my friends,” said Shields. Also in the ring was WBO and WBC World Female middleweight champion Christina Hammer, 21-0 (9), born in KAZ now living in Germany with both talking about a meeting in 2018.
In the co-feature making his US debut southpaw Super bantamweight Vladimir Tikhonov, 16-1 (9), of St. Petersburg, Russia, lost for the first time in his career to southpaw Jesse Angel “The One” Hernandez, 9-1 (7), of Ft. Worth, TX, at 2:25 of the fifth round.
In the opening round Hernandez switched from southpaw to orthodox and back to southpaw as he pressured southpaw Tikhonov who boxed well in a close round. In the second round Tikhonov was landing more punches but Hernandez the stronger punches. Hernandez landed lead rights to the chin of Tikhonov on several occasions out of the orthodox style. It was a good round for Hernandez. In the third round Hernandez made Tikhonov mix it up by pressuring him. Halfway through the round Hernandez landed a right to the chin that knocked Tikhonov off balance as he was going backwards. Tikhonov came in and clashed heads with Hernandez and pushed him back. Hernandez ended the round with a right hand on the side of Tikhonov’s head knocking him halfway through the ropes as the bell sounded.
In the fourth round Tikhonov landed a hard right hook to the head of Hernandez but Hernandez came back strong rocking Tikhonov with combinations. Tikhonov pushed Hernandez off when he was inside.
In the fifth round Tikhonov butted Hernandez purposely and brought a warning from referee Ansel Stewart. Hernandez came back with much pressure driving Tikonov back again and again. When a left hook from Hernandez knocked the head of Stewart back referee Stewart waved it off to prevent Tikonov from suffering anymore punishment.
The World Boxing Super Series Begins
The World Boxing Super Series Begins
By: Matthew N. Becher
Over the past weekend, the newly created World Boxing Super Series held its very first draft, for its very first tournament. The premise of the new tournament is an open competition for any professional boxer that is ranked in the top 15 of the major sanctioning bodies systems.
In theory the best fighters would face off against one another, until the last man was standing, thus making him the #1 boxer in that weight class. Simple. That is the easy part, the hard part is getting the best fighters to all participate in such a tournament, with everyone having different promoters and so forth. Fortunately, it seems to have worked out for the initial Cruiserweight Tournament.
The seeding of the tournament went as follows. The top 4 fighters were ranked 1-4 by the WBSS, with the four belt holders getting the top rankings.
1: Oleksander Usyk (WBO)
2: Murat Gassiev (IBF)
3: Mairis Briedis (WBC)
4: Yunier Dorticos (WBA)
Then from 1-4, the fighter was allowed to pick or draft his opponent from a group of 4 boxers, for their first round fight. (An exception was made for Gassiev, who had a mandatory against Krzysztof Wlodarczyk. That fight was picked for him)
The first round of the tournament looks like this.
Oleksander Usyk (12-0 10KO) v. Marco Huck (40-4-1 27KO)
Murat Gassiev (24-0 17KO) v. Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (53-3-1 37KO)
Mairis Briedis (22-0 18KO) v. Mike Perez (22-2-1 14KO)
Yunier Dorticos (21-0 20KO) v. Dmitry Kudryashov (21-1 21KO)
Literally the best of the best in the Cruiserweight division will be competing against each other, until one is standing with all the belts, the inaugural Muhammad Ali Trophy and possibly a $1 million dollar bonus for advancing though semifinals and the championship round.
The tournament is slated to begin in early September and rap up by Mary of next year. The location of the fights have yet to be determined and will be placed in locations that match up well for each fight.
“To unify a division and spotlight a division that has clearly been underappreciated, even though the fights in the ring are always among the most exciting in the sport, irrespective of the division, that those four champions, if you look at the record – they are all undefeated. Most of their wins, the vast majority have come by knockout. So these are all big punchers, undefeated. I’m really excited,” said Richard Schaefer, the Chairman of the Americas for Comosa, who helped put this field together alongside fellow promoter Kalle Sauerland (the Chief Boxing Officer for Comosa).
This is a very exciting tournament for boxing and especially for the roll out of the new World Boxing Super Series. With formats like this, expect many division to start falling in line and possibly getting to see the best match up against the best in the near future.
HBO World Championship Boxing Preview: Raymundo Beltran vs. Jonathan Maicelo, Terence Crawford vs. Felix Diaz
HBO World Championship Boxing Preview: Raymundo Beltran vs. Jonathan Maicelo, Terence Crawford vs. Felix Diaz
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night the under appreciated Terence Crawford will defend his WBO and WBC titles against former Olympic Gold Medalist Felix Diaz. This bout will take place at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
The co-main event of the night will be between Raymundo Beltran and Jonathan Maicelo in an IBF Lightweight eliminator. American prospect Shakur Stevenson will also be featured on the undercard.
Top Rank will be the lead promoter on Saturday night and HBO will be televising the fights. The following is a preview of Saturday’s card.
Raymundo Beltran (32-7-1) vs. Jonathan Maicelo (25-2); IBF Lightweight Eliminator
The opening bout of the night will be between the rugged and entertaining Raymundo Beltran and contender Jonathan Maicelo.
Beltran is always a tough fight, but at thirty five years old his best days physically are likely behind him. He’s two years older than Maicelo and will be about one inch taller than him but will also be given up one inch in reach.
Beltran has the edge in power over Maicelo. He has twenty victories by stoppage and his last three wins have been by KO or TKO. Maicelo has twelve wins by stoppage but his last four fights were decision victories. Both boxers are able to be stopped, as Beltran has two stoppage losses and Maicelo has one.
Neither boxer has any notable international success as an amateur, though Maicelo did compete in several regional amateur tournaments in South America with a moderate amount of success.
Beltran’s last fight was a sensational knockout victory over Mason Menard. He has also defeated the likes of Arash Usmanee, Ji-Hoon Kim, Henry Lundy, and David Torres. His losses were to Terence Crawford, Luis Ramos Jr., Sharif Bogere, and Ammeth Diaz. He stopped Takahiro Ao in the second round, but that bout was overturned due to a positive test for steroids.
Maicelo has defeated the likes of Jose Felix Jr., Samual Amoako, and Art Hovannisyan. His losses were to Darleys Perez and Rustam Nugaev.
Beltran is that type of contender that will seemingly always be in the title hunt and has a pressure style that is difficult for some boxers to overcome. Maicelo has never defeated a high level opponent and doesn’t seem suited to handle the forward pressure that Beltran is known for.
This should be a good fight, but despite his age Beltran has enough gas in his tank to squeak out a decision victory.
Terence Crawford (30-0) vs. Felix Diaz (19-1); WBO/WBC Junior Welterweight Title
Terence “Bud” Crawford is considered to be a possible future opponent for Manny Pacquiao and is one of the top talents on the Top Rank roster.
He’s twenty nine years old and is in the middle of his athletic prime. His opponent, Felix Diaz, is thirty three years old. Crawford will also have a three inch height advantage and a three inch reach advantage.
Crawford has been fairly active the past two years. He has fought three times in 2016 and twice in 2015. Diaz fought twice in 2016 and twice in 2015.
Both boxers have strong amateur backgrounds. Crawford had success on the national level as an amateur and won the Police Athletic League Championship as well as the United States Pan American Games. Diaz won the gold medal in the 2008 Summer Olympics for the Dominican Republic.
Crawford has looked sensational throughout his career and nobody has come close to defeating him. He has defeated the likes of John Molina Jr., Viktor Postol, Henry Lundy, Dierry Jean, Thomas Dulorme, Raymundo Beltran, Yuriorkis Gamboa, Ricky Burns, and Andrey Klimov. Even though Crawford has fought many fights in his native Nebraska, he has shown a willingness to travel to fight as evident in his past fight with former champion Ricky Burns in Scotland.
Diaz is a technician but lacks power. He only has nine stoppage wins while Crawford has twenty one. The best opponents Diaz has defeated so far are Sammy Vasquez, Gabriel Bracero, Adrian Granados, and Emmanuel Lartei Lartey. His lone loss was a disputed loss to Lamont Peterson.
This writer thinks Diaz be one of the most difficult fights in Crawford’s career. He’s a technician and has a deep and successful amateur background. But Crawford has faced elite talent several times in his career and has defeated every opponent put in front of him. Diaz’s resume is void of any elite talent, and the one time he did face a legitimate title contender in Lamont Peterson he came up short.
Crawford should win the fight by decision.
WBA/IBF Heavyweight Title Fight Preview: Anthony Joshua vs. Wladimir Klitschko
WBA/IBF Heavyweight Title Fight Preview: Anthony Joshua vs. Wladimir Klitschko
By: William Holmes
On Saturday afternoon one of the biggest heavyweight bouts in recent memory will take place at the famous Wembley Stadium in London, England.
This is such a major event that Wembley Stadium is expecting a record setting crowd of 90,000 fans in attendance. It is so big that Showtime will air the fight live at 4:15 p.m. live while HBO will televise the replay at 11:00 p.m. on same day tape delay.
It’s rare to see two of the biggest broadcasters of boxing agreeing to televise the same fight.
Photo Credit: Esther Lin/Showtime
Both boxers appear to realize the magnitude of the vent at the most recent press conference. Joshua stated, “ Even though this is such a great event, I always try to strip it down to what it really is and just focus that it’s just me and this man coming to blows and the best man will win. I’m not only prepared physically but mentally as well for any battle.”
Klitschko recognizes that many count him out as an old faded champion and stated, “ Can you imagine my next opponent is going to fight a guy whose age is exactly the number of how long he has been in boxing- 27 years? Can you image that? It’s a pretty amazing task. Is it a degradation that I’m actually a challenger and underdog in this fight after 27 years in the sport? I don’t think so. I think it’s great”.
This is a huge bout, and will help determine if Anthony Joshua is the current kingpin of the heavyweight division and the reign of Klitschko is over, or if Klitschko’s time at the top is still ongoing.
The following is a preview of Saturday’s heavyweight title fight.
Anthony Joshua (18-0) vs. Wladimir Klitschko (64-4); WBA/IBF Heavyweight Title
This bout is between the next great big thing in the heavyweight division and a man who reigned over the heavyweight division from 2000-2015.
Both Joshua and Klitschko obtained the highest accolade one could achieve as an amateur boxer. Klitschko won the Gold Medal in the 1996 Summer Olympic Games for the Ukraine in the super heavyweight division and Joshua won the Gold Medal in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games for Great Britain in the super heavyweight division.
Both Joshua and Klitschko are very large heavyweights. Both stand at 6’6” and Joshua will have a slight one inch reach advantage, but both men have a reach of over 80”.
Klitschko’s age is his biggest liability. He’s forty one years old and is fourteen years older than Joshua. Joshua’s biggest liability is his relative lack of experience in big fights. He’s only fought eighteen times and has never faced an opponent the caliber of Klitschko.
Klitschko’s inactivity may also hurt him. He fought zero times in 2016, partially due to a calf injury, and only fought twice in 2015. Joshua on the other hand has been very active and fought five times in 2015 and three times in 2016.
Klitschko has been absolutely dominant the past decade and has defeated almost every big name in the heavyweight division in that time frame. He has defeated the likes of Bryant Jennings, Kubrat Pulev, Alexander Povetkin, Mariusz Wach, Tony Thompson, David Haye, Samuel Peter, Eddie Chambers, Ruslan Chagaev, Hasim Rahman, Sultan Ibragimov, Lamon Brewster, Calvin Brock, and Chris Byrd.
Joshua doesn’t have the extensive list of defeated contenders on his resume as Klitschko, but he has still defeated some very good opponents. He has defeated the likes of Eric Molina, Dominic Breazeale, Charles Martin, Dillian Whyte, Gary Cornish, and Kevin Johnson.
Joshua has the clear edge in power as he has stopped every single opponent he has faced as a professional. Klitschko has stopped fifty three of his opponents but has been stopped three times in his career.
Klitschko’s two biggest concerns appear to be fighting a tall boxer as was evident in his fight with Tyson Fury, and fighting a hard puncher as evident in his three knockout losses.
Joshua is just as tall as Klitschko and has plenty of power.
Don’t forget Joshua will be fighting in front of his countrymen.
All signs point to Anthony Joshua winning on Saturday and ushering in a new era of heavyweight boxing.
Kell Brook to Defend Title Against Errol Spence Jr.
Kell Brook to defend title against Errol Spence Jr.
By: Matthew N. Becher
While Manny Pacquiao was telling the world that he would no longer be fighting in Australia and was going to take his talents to Dubai, as well as letting twitter fans vote on the actual opponent for that fight, Kell Brook let it be known that he was ready to accept the challenge for his IBF welterweight title against the Undefeated Errol Spence Jr.
Negotiations for the Brook v. Spence Jr. fight have been going on for quite some time now. Spence became the number one contender almost six months ago, after defeating Leonard Bundu in Coney Island, NY. Unfortunately, the fight was pushed aside, since Brook decided to take on Gennady Golovkin for the Middleweight championship in England. This wasn’t just unfortunate for Spence, who would have to wait on his shot at the IBF title, but also unfortunate for Brook, who ended up getting his orbital bone broken in the 4th round, by the champion Golovkin.
After surgery to repair his broken face, Brook went in to negotiations with longtime rival, and fellow countryman, Amir Khan. The two should have fought already, but they still have not been able to come to an agreement on the monetary split. It seemed very close to final this time around, and again looked like Spence would be put on the back burner. Until Brook made an announcement on his Social Media page last night.
“All that work just to give it up? Never ducked a challenge in my life. Here to give the fans what they want. Errol Spence Jr. you are next”
To be honest, this is great news for the sport. With Danny Garcia and Keith Thurman fighting to unify the division on March 4th, the second best fight to be made in the weight class would be Spence v. Brook and just like that, it will also happen this year.
Brook should be commended for taking the challenge of a young undefeated Spence, right after coming back from facial surgery and right after fighting one of the top pound for pound fighters at a higher weight. This is definitely one that fight fans are not going to want to miss.
Showtime World Championship Boxing Preview: Jose Pedraza vs. Gervonta Davis, James DeGale vs. Badou Jack
Showtime World Championship Boxing Preview: Jose Pedraza vs. Gervonta Davis, James DeGale vs. Badou Jack
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York will host a WBC/IBF Super Middleweight Unification Title fight between Badou Jack and James DeGale to be televised live on the Showtime Cable Network.
This bout will help determine who the true number one boxer is in the super middleweight division since Andre Ward bumped up to the light heavyweight division.
Another bout scheduled for Saturday will be between Jose Pedraza and Floyd Mayweather Jr. promoted Gervonta Davis for Pedraza’s IBF Junior Lightweight Title. This bout should open up the Showtime broadcast.
The following is a preview of Saturday’s card.
Jose Pedraza (22-0) vs. Gervonta Davis (16-0); IBF Junior Lightweight Title
This is an intriguing matchup between two young upcoming stars in boxing with a bright future ahead of them. It’s also interesting because both boxers have had some much publicized issues with their management teams in the months coming into this fight. It’s been alleged that Pedraza wasn’t completely pleased with his lack of activity underneath the management of Al Haymon, and it’s also been alleged that there was some friction between Gervonta Davis and his promoter, Floyd Mayweather Jr.
However, those issues appear to have been resolved to allow this matchup to take place.
The most noticeable difference between the two boxers on Saturday will be the difference in size. Pedraza will have a two and a half inch height advantage over Davis and will also have about an inch and a half reach advantage. Pedraza is also five years older than Davis, and is experienced enough to deal with the southpaw style that troubles many boxers.
Pedraza does have an edge in amateur experience. Davis did well on the national level; he was a 2012 National Golden Gloves Champion, a three time National Silver Gloves Champion, and a two time PAL Champion. But, Pedraza competed on the international stage as an amateur and represented Puerto Rico in the 2008 Summer Olympics. Valuable international experience that Davis does not appear to have.
Davis has been the more active boxer between the two. He fought five times in 2015 and twice in 2016. Pedraza only fought twice in 2015 and once in 2016.
Davis is also the more powerful puncher/knockout artist. He has stopped fifteen of his opponents. He has defeated the likes of Marco Antonio Macias, Guillermo Avila, Luis Sanchez, and Cristobal Cruz.
Pedraza only has twelve stoppages on his resume. He has defeated the likes of Stephen Smith, Edner Cherry, Andrey Klimov, Michael Farenas, and Tevin Farmer.
This will be an entertaining bout between power and technique, and it should be a close one. But Pedraza has faced better opposition both as an amateur and a professional, and that experience alone gives him a slight edge going into their fight on Saturday.
Badou Jack (20-1-2) vs. James DeGale (23-1) WBC/IBF Super Middleweight Titles
This is one of the best bouts that could be made in the super middleweight division, and the winner should be considered by most to be the best super middleweight.
Both boxers are beginning to leave their prime ages as Jack is thirty three years old and DeGale is thirty years old. Neither boxer is known for their power, as Jack only has twelve stoppage victories and DeGale has fourteen stoppage victories.
Even though both boxers are at the top of their weight division, neither fighter has been very active. Jack fought once in 2016 and twice in 2015, and DeGale also fought once in 2016 and twice in 2015.
Both boxers have a deep amateur background. Jack represented Gambia in the 2008 Summer Olympics and DeGale represented Great Britain in the 2008 Summer Olympics. However, only DeGale medaled as he won the gold medal.
Jack has defeated the likes of Lucian Bute, George Groves, Anthony Dirrell, Rogelio Medina, Marco Antonio Periban, and Farah Ennis. His lone loss was an upset loss to Derek Edwards which he lost by TKO.
DeGale has defeated the likes of Rogelio Medina, Lucian Bute, Andre Dirrell, Marco Antonio Periban, Gevorg Khatchikian, and Dyah Davis. His lone loss was the George Groves.
Even though this is a good matchup, it will likely not be a fan pleasing fight as both boxers are technically skilled fighters that are not known for their power. DeGale has experienced more success as an amateur than Jack, and that indicates that he’s the better technical boxer.
DeGale should win by a close decision on Saturday night.
HBO World Championship Boxing Preview: Parker vs. Ruiz, Beltran vs. Menard, Terence Crawford vs. John Molina
HBO World Championship Boxing Preview: Parker vs. Ruiz, Beltran vs. Menard, Terence Crawford vs. John Molina
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night HBO and Top Rank Promotions will team up to televise three bouts from two different locations.
Terence Crawford will defend his WBO and WBC Junior Welterweight titles in the main event of the evening against John Molina live from Omaha, Nebraska. Additionally, lightweight contender Raymundo Beltran will compete against rising prospect Mason Menard as the co-main event of the Nebraska card.
It was also recently announced that Top Rank will promote Joseph Parker in the United States; and HBO has decided to show the WBO Heavyweight Title Bout between Parker and Ruiz on a same day tape delay from Auckland, New Zealand.
The following is a preview of all three televised bouts.
Joseph Parker (21-0) vs. Andy Ruiz (29-0); WBO Heavyweight Title
Joseph Parker will be fighting in his hometown of Auckland, New Zealand and will be the favorite coming into this bout.
He has already fought four times in 2016, and four of his past five fights have been by TKO/KO. He is twenty four years old and is three years younger than his opponent. He will also have a two inch height advantage and a two inch reach advantage on Ruiz. Ruiz has also been fairly active and has fought three times in 2016.
Joseph Parker has the heavier hands of the two boxers. He has stopped eighteen of his opponents, and four of his past five fights have ended by TKO/KO. Ruiz has stopped nineteen of his opponents, but only two of his past five opponents failed to go the distance.
They both have had moderate success as an amateur. Ruiz was a Mexican National Amateur Champion and Parker medaled in several international competitions as an amateur.
Parker has a slight edge in quality of opposition. He has defeated the likes of Alexander Dimitrenko, Carlos Takam, and Bowie Tupou. Ruiz has defeated the likes of an aged Ray Austin and Siarhei Liakhovich.
Ruiz is a good enough of a boxer to last all twelve rounds, but it will be extremely difficult for him to pull out a victory in Parker’s home country of New Zealand.
Raymundo Beltran (31-7-1) vs. Mason Menard (32-1); Lightweights
The opening bout of the night in Omaha, Nebraska will be between Ray Beltran and Mason Menard in the lightweight division.
Beltran is a former sparring partner of Manny Pacquiao and is a rugged, tough, durable opponent. He’s much better than his record suggests and is known for having excellent stamina.
However, Beltran is thirty five years old and will be seven years older than his opponent, Mason Menard. Beltran will have about a two inch height advantage and a one inch reach advantage.
Menard does have a slight edge in power. He has twenty four knockouts on his record while Beltran only has nineteen.
Menard became well known with some upset victories on national television, including wins over Bahodir Mamadjonov and Eudy Bernardo. But prior to those wins he faced mainly non-descript opponents and most of his bouts were in his home state of Louisiana.
Beltran has defeated the likes of Ivan Najera, Arash Usmanee, Ji-Hoon Kim, and Henry Lundy. He also has several losses, but most of them have come against good opposition. He has lost to the likes of Terence Crawford, Luis Ramos Jr., and Sharif Bogere.
Neither boxer was very active in the past two years. They both fought twice in 2016 and once in 2015. Neither boxer experienced a great deal of success on the international stage as an amateur.
Menard has surprised many with his two latest victories, but Beltran is a big step up in competition for him and isn’t past his prime yet. This should be a fight that Beltran wins through a hard fought decision.
Terence Crawford (29-0) vs. John Molina (29-6); WBO/WBC Junior Welterweight Titles
Terence Crawford is one of Top Rank Promotions’ biggest stars and has been a rumored opponent for Manny Pacquiao in the future.
Crawford regularly fights in Omaha and will have a nearly sold out venue cheering him on.
He’s twenty nine years old and is in the middle of his athletic prime. He’s four years younger than Molina, but will be giving up about two and a half inches in height as well as an inch in reach.
Crawford has been fairly active for a champion and fought twice in 2016 and twice in 2015. Molina has only fought once in 2016 and twice in 2015.
Crawford has twenty stoppage victories and three of his past five fights did not go the distance. Molina has twenty three stoppage wins, but has gone 3-3 in his past six fights.
Molina is always a dangerous fighter, and this was evident in his last upset victory over the hard hitting Provodnikov. He has also defeated the likes of Mickey Bey, Dannie Williams, and Henry Lundy. However, Molina also has an impressive list of opponents that he has lost to. These fighters include Antonio DeMarco, Andrey Klimov, Lucas Matthysse, Humberto Soto, and Adrien Broner.
Crawford has never been defeated and has been slowly increasing the level of competition that he faces in the ring. He has defeated the likes of Viktor Postol, Henry Lundy, Dierry Jean, Thomas Dulorme, Raymondo Beltran, Yuriorkis Gamboa, Ricky Burns, and Andre Klimov.
Crawford was also very successful as an amateur on the national level, and has even won a Police Athletic League Boxing Championship.
This is a fight that very few expect Crawford to lose. He’s a more technically skilled boxer than the last man that Molina beat and should be able to stop Molina.
Molina has been known for upsetting the apple cart from time to time, but Saturday is unlikely.