Spence-Crawford And The Long Road To Nowhere
By Jake Donovan
The last time the top two welterweights in boxing happened to meet up in the same basketball arena and talk shop, it eventually resulted in the most lucrative event in the sport’s history.
Then again, Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao weren’t just the best two welterweights in the world but also the best pound-for-pound and were circling each other for more than five years by the time they happened to run into each other at a Jan. ’15 Miami Heat game.
A budding rivalry has only just begun between Errol Spence Jr. and Terence Crawford, both of whom are current unbeaten welterweight titlists. They’ve exchanged pleasantries (read: insults) through social media, and for real this past Friday at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, home to the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder.
It made for fun immediate reaction and a slew of clickbait headlines. Just don’t expect to lead to a head-on collision anytime soon—if ever at all.
The pair of elite boxers were on hand to take in Top Rank’s ESPN-televised show. Crawford is a regular ringside observer for his promoter’s events while not headlining his own shows.
Spence—who is advised by Al Haymon and fights under the Premier Boxing Champions banner on Showtime and now Fox prime—was in the house in support of fellow Dallas boxer Maurice Hooker, who defended his 140-pound title with a spectacular 7th round stoppage of Oklahoma City’s own Alex Saucedo.
While the aforementioned title fight was the main reason for the boxing world tuning in on Friday, it gave way to a much bigger sidebar, not unlike how Mayweather and Pacquiao meeting during halftime in South Beach is far more fondly recalled than the Heat eventually losing that night to the Milwaukee Bucks.
A major development worth noting from that Jan. ’15 entry was the fact that Mayweather and Pacquiao huddled up behind closed doors after the game, talking for more than an hour about the need for their long-awaited clash to finally become reality. In stark contrast, Friday’s run-in between Spence and Crawford ended with more of the same between the two— a lot of talk, but the realization that their careers will run in separate directions.
Spence practically admitted as such, not even bothering to bite his tongue in rattling off a potential 2019 campaign that won’t—or, frankly, doesn’t need to—include Crawford. The 2012 U.S. Olympian and reigning top welterweight is currently on course to face unbeaten four-division titlist Mikey Garcia next March at AT&T Stadium, home to the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys.
With a win, the rest of Spence’s 2019 campaign—as he suggested—would put him in the ring with two more of the top welterweights on the PBC side of the street.
PBC and Fox recently rolled out their 1st quarter schedule on the free-to-air network and its regional cable affiliate FS1. Just about every welterweight of note under Haymon’s advisory banner is scheduled to appear in the first four months of 2019. Aside from Spence—who along with Garcia will headline a Pay-Per-View event for the first time in their respective careers—comes four more welterweight bouts of significance.
Keith Thurman will fight for the first time since March ’17, as he faces Josesito Lopez in late January live on Fox in primetime. A similar setting will be provided for recently crowned two-time welterweight titlist Shawn Porter, who defends versus mandatory challenger Yordenis Ugas on March 9, as does an April meet between Danny Garcia—whose lone two career losses have come versus Thurman and Porter—and Adrian Granados, while Lamont Peterson and Sergey Lipinets collide in late February on FS1 with an interim title at stake.
Outside of that deal will come a January 19 superfight between Pacquiao—who earlier this fall joined the PBC family after more than a decade with Top Rank—and Adrien Broner live on Showtime PPV from Las Vegas.
The bouts being presented in such a cluster are undoubtedly designed to mix and match the winners—and possibly even several of the losing fighters—later in the year, perhaps as early as the beginning of the summer season. Spence suggested that should he and Porter win their next fights, a unification clash would immediately follow.
From there would come a pairing that would help advance Spence from rising superstar to industry leader, as he is already being groomed for a late 2019 run-in with Pacquiao, assuming the two can win out.
While the sport is available more than ever in U,S. markets thanks to lucrative deals with Showtime, Fox, ESPN and sports streaming service DAZN, the downside is that we’re getting a lot of fights but not necessarily THE biggest fights we’d like to see. The lone exception in the past couple of years came in the form of two sensational middleweight championship fights between Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin, yet even that pairing coming after nearly two years of talk.
Given that take, boxing fans are already clamoring for Spence and Crawford to meet sooner rather than later in lieu of history repeating itself. The sport doesn’t need another long-term Mayweather-Pacquiao soap opera, yet already has one at the heavyweight level with unbeaten titlists Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder continuing to come up with endless ways to say “No” rather than just one way to say “Yes.”
The ugly truth, however, is that Spence can afford to disappoint boxing fans by not fighting Crawford as long as Haymon can keep his word of matching his stud welterweight against the rest of PBC’s top players in the division, particularly a Pacquiao superfight.
Top Rank can’t make the same promises to its superstar. It could produce a negative public perception of Crawford despite his clearly wanting the fight far more than his counterpart.
Another reason for Crawford sitting ringside on Friday was to scout his next likely opponent. On the undercard, fellow unbeaten Top Rank-promoted welterweight Egidijus Kavaliauskas stopped Roberto Arriaza in three rounds to solidify his place as Crawford’s opponent. It’s a solid matchup on paper, but not one that even remotely moves the needle.
The same sad state applies for any other in-house welterweight Top Rank can summon for its top client, who just re-inked with the Las Vegas based promotional outfit earlier this fall. Crawford and his team agreeing to stick with Top Rank while fully aware that all of his top completion fights under the PBC banner is a fact that boxing fans won’t forget as long as he’s stuck settling for the Jeff Horns and Jose Benavidez’s of the world.
No matter how often he calls out Spence or any other top PBC welterweight, no matter how many in-person or social media run-ins take place, anything short of such a fight materializing will ultimately hurt the fighter who clearly wants it more.
This much wasn’t at all lost on Spence when he and Crawford decided to engage in banter that immediately made the rounds. He doesn’t care if he’s portrayed as the bad guy in any of this, when the truth is that a year from how he’ll boast the far healthier welterweight résumé no matter how he’s mixed and matched in house—and even without facing his biggest threat.
Mayweather made a very similar blueprint work in his favor, while Pacquiao would suffer two losses and eventually run out of available challenges worth arousing public interest. It’s possible that Crawford can run the tables for years, but testing the public’s—and his own—patience is not a long-term plan anyone is willing to once again embrace.
Joe Smith Jr. Ponders Next Move After Beterbiev Fallout
By Jake Donovan
Less than a month ago, Joe Smith Jr. was in the favorable position of being able to choose between two offered title shots.
Today, he’s left to await his next move—but remaining ready for the first chance to return to the ring.
Photo Credit: Joe Smith Junior Twitter Account
The Long Island-based light heavyweight contender is left without a major fight for the moment, after watching a planned December showdown with unbeaten titlist Artur Beterbiev put on the back burner. A penciled-in December 15 clash at Madison Square Garden in support to reigning World middleweight king Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez’s challenge of secondary super middleweight titlist Rocky Fielding was scrapped when Beterbiev decided upon returning to training camp that he was best served to sit out the rest of 2018.
Beterbiev (13-0, 13KOs) would’ve been making his second title defense in the span of just over two months, having recently turned away previously unbeaten Callum Johnson in four rounds this past October in Chicago. However, the Canada-based Russian traded knockdowns with his challenger, still feeling lingering effects in early stages of training after having previously agreed to terms for a title defense versus Smith Jr.
While the decision is understandable from a safety aspect, it still leaves a hole in the schedule of Smith Jr. (24-2, 20KOs) who remains in training but not entirely sure of when he will return to the ring.
“It’s disappointing, but Joe always remains positive and hard at work in the gym, ready for anything,” Phil Capobianco, Smith Jr.’s manager told BoxingInsider.com. “We’re exploring several opportunities to figure out what’s the best fit for Joe.”
One such possibility was remaining on the Alvarez-Fielding undercard, taking a stay-busy fight against a yet-to-be-determined opponent while surveying the entire light heavyweight landscape. Aside from Beterbiev, all of the division’s major titlists have bouts scheduled between now and early February.
Among the lot is Dmitry Bivol, who will put his title and unbeaten record on the line versus former lineal champion Jean Pascal. The same opportunity was once available for Smith Jr., who was in advanced talks for the HBO-televised title fight in Atlantic City, some three hours from his hometown in Eastern Long Island.
Instead, Smith Jr. and his team agreed to terms for a shot at Beterbiev. The move was coupled with promoter Joe DeGuardia entering a three-fight co-promotional pact with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing USA, who also co-promotes Beterbiev along with Yvon Michel and is the primary content provider for boxing on sports streaming platform DAZN USA.
Early whispers now have such a title fight taking place sometime in the 1st quarter of 2019, but doesn’t at all impact Smith Jr and DeGuardia’s aforementioned arrangement with Hearn. In fact, it leaves the door open to still fight in December, a desired route given he’s fought just once since a 10-round loss to Sullivan Barrera last July, scoring a 1st round knockout over Melvin Russell this past June in Uncasville, Connecticut.
The quick hit was just enough to shake off some rust, but nowhere the level of competition he’s enjoyed in recent years. Smith Jr. enjoyed a breakthrough campaign in 2016, scoring a massive upset in a 1st round knockout of Andrzej Fonfara live in primetime on NBC, then going on to send future Hall of Fame legend Bernard Hopkins into retirement with a 9th round knockout in their Dec. ’16 HBO headliner.
The hot streak opened up the possibility of challenging for a world title but settled on a crossroads bout with Barrera last July. Smith Jr. scored an early knockdown but suffered a broken jaw shortly thereafter, fighting through excruciating pain in dropping a decision.
Following his quick hit of Russell earlier this year, Smith Jr. and his team immediately began exploring title opportunities before landing on Beterbiev. The matchup still remains very much in play for the near future, but also leaves wiggle room for the 29-year old to consider a tune-up and then instead challenging the likes of Bivol, or the winners of the December 1 clash between lineal champ Adonis Stevenson and Oleksandr Gvozdyk or the title fight rematch between unbeaten titlist Eleider Alvarez and former champ Sergey Kovalev.
“We just want to make sure we’re not waiting around for Beterbiev and then he decides he doesn’t want the fight (at all),” suggest Capobianco. “If that’s the next big fight for Joe, we’ll be ready and willing. If not, there are a lot of big fights out there and we consider all of the (titleholders) in play.”
Crawford Won’t Get Spence Until……
By Rich Mancuso
The boxing fan deserve this fight as do Terence Crawford and Errol Spence Jr.. This is asking the improbable with these obstacles of duel promotions and televised streaming rights. However a fight of this magnitude to unify portions of the welterweight titles and determine the pound-for-pound best is bound to happen.
Because it’s boxing, and the promotional fight has picked up a bit, they have to come to an agreement. Or do they?
But for this to happen there also needs to be unity with the respective promoters and of course the personnel who would be involved with networks and rights to televise this potential mega fight.
Photo Credit: Terence Crawford Twitter Account
And with boxing, a fight like this can be done. Then again it becomes a waiting game of back-and-forth and someone giving in with a late punch in the final round. With Top Rank and the PBC, obviously the main principals to deliver this also falls into the lines of boxing politics.
Boxing politics has never stopped Bob Arum and Top Rank from delivering. When the back-and-forth of politics concludes the fight is delivered. It has to be done and will be because Terence Crawford and Errol Spence Jr. is as huge as Mayweather and Pacquiao was.
Perhaps this is bigger in magnitude because they are two champions, one with Top Rank and the other with the PBC, champions in the welterweight division. This elite division of welterweights that also generates the revenue and interest for boxing is shown in the ratings.
An this past Saturday, Terence Crawford, who could be the top pound-for-pound fighter in the business and Jose Benavidez Jr. established the highest rating boxing telecast on Broadcast and Cable television this year.
So now, it is time to deliver a fight that boxing needs. A fight that the boxing fan will demand. Delivering this fight, according to sources, and that back-and forth talk has commenced.
Moments after Crawford disposed Jose Benavidez Jr. in the final round Saturday night, his first defense of the WBO Welterweight title, Bob Arum was asked the questions. The fight boxing needs will have to wait but how long will it be?
Arum does have the leverage here because Crawford delivers the numbers for ESPN and the Hall of Fame promoter has the platform. Spence Jr. also has the numbers with Showtime and the PBC has that history of also delivering the numbers for the network seen in previous fights Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter opposing Danny Garcia for the Welterweight title.
In line with all of this, Tuesday Bob Arum made his pitch. Showtime, he said will soon be out of boxing just like HBO.
“So I’m predicting also that within the next year Showtime will be exiting from boxing because as great as they’ve been for boxing, they don’t belong,” he said. This was possibly the beginning of a bargaining point of view because Showtime is committed to continue their involvement with boxing, and the PBC continues to thrive with all the rumors to the contrary.
Arum is known to make some outrageous statements. This one, and only because he said Showtime is throwing more money into programming, does offer a line of truth. For the past few years it was HBO that lost the roster of fighters that put the network on top. But putting more of their budget into popular programs did boxing in for the network.
This is the Haves and Have Not of boxing. However, with Terence Crawford and Errol Spence Jr. in the picture, it is about having the best fight for the boxing fan. Showtime and the PBC are moving along and so is Bob Arum and his deal with ESPN.
Just a matter of time and the fight will happen. Arum, in the meantime will go back-and-forth but is looking at other opponents for his champion. Similar to Mayweather and Pacquiao and how long it took, at some point next year this fight will be a reality.
And because this is boxing, it only works this way.
Errol Spence Shadowing the Path of Marvin Hagler
By: Kirk Jackson
As Errol Spence 24-0 (21 KO’s) progresses further into his career, the more it resembles a similar path once traveled by the legendary middleweight champion Marvelous Marvin Hagler 62-3-2 (52 KO’s).
Are far as listing similarities and drawing comparisons, there are plenty.
Comparatively from a fight stylistic standpoint, both are southpaws (albeit Hagler converted and was known as a switch hitter; a fighter skilled to switch interchangeably between southpaw to orthodox stance).
Hagler and Spence operate offensively off their stiff right jab; Hagler displayed the ability to effortlessly switch stances as mentioned earlier, but like Hagler, Spence prefers to mount his attack utilizing highly lethal, effective jabs.
Both possess impressive, Adonis-like physiques and oddly enough, both traveled to The United Kingdom to capture their first championship title.
Hagler made minced-meat out of Alan Minter over the course of four vicious rounds, while Spence comprehensibly violated Kell Brook into submission over the course of eleven rounds. Spence was 27-years-old at the time while Hagler was a year younger aged 26 years-old.
Like Hagler, Spence aims to transcend into boxing super stardom by facing another highly coveted, pound-for-pound fighter moving up in weight.
For Hagler, his dancing partner thrusting him into the realm of super-stardom was Roberto Duran.
Duran, initially dominating the lightweight division with hands of stone, climbed through the welterweight division, eventually reaching the mantle at middleweight to battle Hagler for middleweight supremacy.
Hagler soundly defeated Duran in an entertaining, competitive affair, securing his spot as one of boxing best fighters and biggest attractions.
Hagler’s victory over Duran led to greener pastures, as his star shined brighter and he capitalized eventually securing fights against Tommy Hearns and Sugar Ray Leonard.
Mikey Garcia 39-0 (30 KO’s) is to Errol Spence as Duran was to Hagler.
And again, this is not a direct comparison of styles for each fighter, although we can draw similar comparisons for each fighter listed in this formula.
Whether it’s the traits of timing, mastery of range and distance, overall toughness and business-like demeanor, this is more of a comparison of situations and possible trajectory.
If not no. 1 on any given pound-for-pound list, Garcia is certainly in the discussion – just as Duran in his heyday.
Garcia has five world titles across four weight classes in seven championship fights. Like Duran, Garcia aims to move up in weight for greater challenges.
“There’s no one else that excites me enough, that motivates me and that can challenge me other than Errol Spence, and I’m willing to take that challenge, all the way up, because that’s the fight that will motivate me the most,” said Garcia at the post-fight press conference in his win over Robert Easter.
“I’m here to challenge myself. He is the best. He might feel that it’s an easy fight for him, that I’m too small, and that’s fine. Let’s get in the ring and let’s go to work.”
The emerging Spence recognizes too, facing Garcia could help build his brand among Hispanic boxing fans who strongly support Garcia.
“This definitely would help my fan base,” Spence said, “and help me grow as a superstar in the sport.”
It’s certainly a page borrowed from another boxing great and mentor figure to Spence, Floyd Mayweather. Mayweather offered his perspective regarding the potential match-up between Garcia and Spence to Fight Hype.
“You have to respect Mikey Garcia for wanting to test his skills against the best guys out there,” stated Mayweather.
“You can’t fault him [Garcia] for doing it, you can’t overlook Mikey Garcia in a fight with Errol Spence. Errol Spence can fight his ass off, it’s a good match-up. Spence he’s tough, he’s strong, he can bang.”
Aside from Garcia, Spence has other lucrative options on the horizon – his potential Tommy Hearns and Sugar Ray Leonard.
Spence can potentially face the winner of Danny Garcia 34-1 (20 KO’s) and Shawn Porter 28-2-1 (17 KO’s) as they finally meet in September. Amir Khan 32-4 (20 KO’s) is still a name in the welterweight division and of course there is the ever-elusive Keith Thurman 28-0 (22 KO’s).
The former unified WBC and WBA welterweight champion is still recovering from injury and aims to return at some point in 2018.
A meeting between Spence and Thurman may not take place until 2019 if at all, while another emerging combatant apparently usurped Thurman as far as desired match-ups amongst boxing fans.
The fighter Spence appears fated to face, also drawing comparisons to the legendary Marvelous Marvin Hagler for his switch hitter abilities, overall grit and menacing demeanor, is none other than Terence Crawford 33-0 (24 KO’s).
Crawford is a six-time world champion across three weight classes and like Spence, aims to unify the welterweight division as he did at junior welterweight last year.
Anticipation amongst fans, media and other fighter’s alike continues to build in hopes of witnessing these two prized pugilists meet up in what envisions to be a showdown of epic proportions.
Will Crawford rival Spence as Leonard rivaled Hagler back in the 1970’s and 1980’s?
While that particular plot is yet to be determined, it’ll be interesting watching how the path of Errol Spence continues to unfold.
“I wanna be considered as an all-time great,” says Spence, in reference to his goals as a professional fighter.
“I wanna be mentioned with the likes of ‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard, Ali and Ray Robinson, Floyd Mayweather. I wanna be mentioned along with those greats. And I know in order to do that, I have to fight the best fighters out there and keep getting titles. Hopefully, I can be undisputed welterweight champion.”
Like Hagler and other phenomenal fighters of yesteryear, Spence is treading along the same path previously molded before him.
Lamont Roach, Jr. Looks to Extend Unbeaten Streak Friday on ESPN
By: Ken Hissner
Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions is featuring Lamont Roach who not only intends on extending his unbeaten streak to eighteen but to pick up the vacant WBO International Super Featherweight title Friday on ESPN.
Roach, 16-0-1 (6), of Upper Marlboro, MD, is coming off a draw with Orlando Cruz, 25-6-1, in April in Puerto Rico. He will be taking on southpaw Deivi Julio “El Cabo” Bassa, 20-4 (12), of Monteira, Colombia, for the title in a 10 rounder.
Photo Credit: Lamont Roach Jr. Twitter Account
The event will be held at the Grand Oasis Arena, Quintana Roo, Cancun, Mexico. Roach had quite an amateur career with over 100 fights. In 2013 he was the National Golden Gloves and the U.S. National champion. He was a 5-time Ringside World Champion. He is trained by his father, Lamont, Sr. and is attending the University of Maryland, pursing a degree in Mechanical Engineering.
Bassa won his first seventeen fights with ten by knockout all in Colombia. Then a losing trip to Japan to Kenji Ogawa, 15-1, who in December fought for the IBF world title. In Bassa’s last fight he scored a knockout win in February in his country of Colombia.
Bassa’s biggest wins were over Franklin Varela, 21-9, in 2013 and Edison Valencia Diaz, 21-12, in 2015, both in Colombia. In 2017 against Neslan Machado, 11-0, it ended in a NC, in making his US debut in Miami, FL.
In the co-feature Junior Featherweight southpaw Alexis Bastar, 10-1-1 (8), of Qunitana Roo, Cancun, MEX, is coming off a win in April. He takes on Rigoberto Nava, 3-2-4 (0), of Mexico City, MEX, who has four draws in his last five fights. This is including a majority decision draw with Bastar in November of 2017.
2012 London Olympics Bronze Medalist and 2014 World Amateur Gold Medalist Flyweight Marlen Esparza, 5-0 (1), of Houston, TX, takes on Debora “La Pantera” Rengifo, 10-5-1 (5), of Caracas, VZ, a two-time world title challenger, over 8×2 rounds.
Middleweight Manuel “El Meno” Gallegos, 11-0 (10), of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, MEX, meets tba over 6 rounds. He is on a three fight knockout streak having last fought in March with all eleven of his fights being in Mexico.
Time for Chris Eubank Jr. to Face Reality
by B.A. Cass
There is a disparity in how Chris Eubank Jr. comports himself outside the ring and how he fights once he is in the ring. In a prefight interview, a cool and collected Eubank Jr. told one interviewer that Groves was “ready to be taken out, man. He doesn’t want to be here. I just sense weakness in him. . . . I was telling him you’re not ready. You’re in serious danger here.” However, on Saturday night at the Manchester Arena, Eubank Jr. proved that he was the one who is not ready. Swinging wildly and often missing, he looked worse than amateur. At least a good amateur has his fundamentals intact.
After listening to Eubank Jr.’s trash talking, it was embarrassing to watch him try to box. There were times when he wound up so hard with his left hook that when he missed Groves, his momentum spun him nearly 180 degrees. He left himself open and vulnerable on many occasions, and he seemed to have absolutely no strategy.
What is truly sad, though, is that Eubank Jr. refuses to see reality. Apparently, he trained himself for the Groves fight, which was the biggest fight of his career. The fact that he does not believe he needs to have a trainer should tell us all we need to know about Eubank Jr. He may have determination and guts, but he doesn’t take boxing seriously. He takes himself seriously—that much is clear—which is exactly why he’s such a joke. Aside from Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Eubank Jr. is boxing’s best-known daddy’s boy. As the son of the great former boxer, Eubank Jr. thinks that just being who he is enough to make him great. It doesn’t.
In his post-fight analysis, Prince Naseem Hamed said, “[Eubank Jr.] is not at this level and he is not such a good fighter that he is making himself out to be. He ain’t going to win unbelievable things. Let’s just talk reality, let’s bring it down to where it really is. Let’s talk the truth right now. Is this guy a world beater? No, he’s not. In three years or four years, he still won’t be.”
Achieving excellence in any sport requires not only discipline and skill but the ability to assess and compensate for deficiencies. Eubank Jr. has potential. Presently, however, he is unwilling to look at his flaws or to surround himself with people who will challenge him to improve. Unless Junior makes some drastic changes, Hamed’s assessment will certainly prove prophetic.
Follow B.A. Cass on Twitter @WiththePunch
WBSS Preview: George Groves vs. Chris Eubank Jr.
By: Ste Rowen
On Saturday night in Manchester, an all-British world title fight takes place when WBA super middleweight champion, George Groves 27-3 (20KOs), steps into the ring with IBO belt holder, Chris Eubank Jr 26-1 (20KOs) in the much-anticipated World Boxing Super Series semi-finals.
Both boxers made easy work of their quarterfinal opponents back in October.
At Wembley Arena, ‘Saint’ George Groves knocked out fellow Brit, Jamie Cox in the 4th round with a clinical body shot that kept Cox down for the count and served as Groves’ first defence of his WBA belt, which he won back in April after stopping Fedor Chudinov.
In the pre-fight documentary, still available on the WBSS YouTube channel, Groves said…
‘I don’t like to waste shots so anything I do throw, believe me you’re gonna get hit with it… There’s absolutely nothing there for me to worry about because there’s gaping, gaping holes in that style, in that approach.
He’s a blown-up middleweight who’s come into this tournament to try and build his profile… If he managed to beat me he’ll be the next coming but if he fails he’s gonna have the biggest fall from grace that we’ve had in this country for a long time.’
Away from home and in the heated atmosphere of Stuttgart, Eubank knocked out, walking punchbag Avni Yildrim in the 3rd round of his quarterfinal bout, with a devastating right hook that finished the Turk off, after already forcing his opponent into briefly taking a knee in the first round following an uppercut.
Speaking on his own and his opponent’s capabilities, Chris was in confident mood…
‘It’s more than possible to push through that pain barrier and get up, and I’m sure that he’ll try and use that against me and I’m sure I’ll be prepared for it… It won’t go the 12 rounds, somebody’s getting knocked out. This chin doesn’t have an off button, his does.
I don’t have any hate for the guy, he’s just a guy with a belt that I need to get passed to win the tournament. I keep my emotions out of boxing. It’s nothing personal, it’s just punishment.’
It’s a difficult fight to conclusively call. It could come down to how well Groves weathers the storm in the early rounds and whether his chin holds up as well as it did against Chudinov. Along with being able to slip and counter off the ropes, if Groves is able to fire off the selection of shots we’ve seen in his 6-fight win streak since losing to Badou Jack back in 2015, Eubank will need to do more to protect himself when those huge swinging hooks go amiss.
Eubank may not be pillow-fisted, but he’s lacking that one-punch KO power. Even in his previous bout, the IBO champion constantly landed cleanly throughout the 3 rounds. It’s difficult to envisage a scenario where a seasoned pro like George Groves, gives his semi-final foe so many opportunities to take him out.
The second semi-final takes place next week in Nuremberg as super middle & light heavyweight veteran, Jurgen Braehmer, 49-3 (35KOs) goes up against 23-0 (17KOs) Callum ‘Mundo’ Smith. The winners will progress to a final that’s expected to take place in early June at London’s O2 arena.
On the undercard, and as long as there’s no late injury to either of the main event fighters, WBSS super middleweight injury reserve, Zach Parker, 14-0 (10KOs) will take on 16-6-2 (10KOs), Adasat Rodriguez.
Two British title fights will also be on the undercard as Ryan Walsh takes on unbeaten, Isaac Lowe; and Tommy Langford is up against Jack Arnfield for the middleweight belt.
Both Walsh and Lowe have a mutual opponent on their records in Denis Ceylan who Lowe fought to a disputed draw, in March 2017; Walsh was beaten on a split decision to Ceylan five months earlier.
It’ll be the first time Tommy Langford, 19-1 (6KOs) defends his British title since 2016, after a 1-1 record in 2017. He was comprehensively knocked out by Avtandil Khurtsidze back in April and ended the year with a routine comeback points victory over 11-36-1 Miguel Aguilar. Jack Arnfield is currently on a six-fight win streak including wins over John Ryder, and former junior middleweight world title challenger, Brian Rose.
Chapter Closed Say’s Roy Jones, Jr. in Final Career Win
By: Ken Hissner
Back to where he started in his hometown of Pensacola, FL, at the Bay Center Roy Jones, Jr. ended his career in the one division he didn’t win a title which was cruiserweight.
Jones defeated a game Scott “Cujo” Sigmon easily winning 8 out of the 10 rounds Thursday night before his home crowd. The hand speed was still there as the 49 year-old Jones gave his fans something to cheer about.
Jones won world titles in the middleweight, super middleweight, light heavyweight and even the heavyweight division. He was a modern day throw back to the 50’s when boxers like “Sugar” Ray Robinson dominated his fights.
Jones ended up with a career record of 66-9 (47), for a total of some 75 fights from 1989 to 2018. That’s 29 years of boxing after he was robbed of a Gold Olympic Medal in South Korea in the 1988 Olympics. He came home with a Silver Medal.
Jones defeated such boxers as James “Lights Out” Toney, split with Bernard “The Executioner Hopkins”, won 2 of 3 from Antonio Tarver, Jorge Vaca, Jorge Castro, John “the Quiet Man” Ruiz, Thomas Tate, Vinnie Pazienza, Mike “The Body Snatcher” McCallum, split with Montell Griffin, Reggie Johnson, Otis Grant, Eric Harding, Julio Cesar Gonzalez, Glen Kelly, Clint Woods, Prince Badi Ajamu, Anthony Hanshaw, Felix “Tito” Trinidad, Jeff Lacy, and Bobby Gunn.
Sigmon, 30-11-1 (16), was a good opponent for Jones to show the skills he still has. He once held the WBC USNBC title. He is from Lynchburg, VA.
Jones talked about fighting MMA suspended fighter Anderson Silva. Jones who in the past had played in a semi-pro basketball league prior to games worked the corner prior to his fight Thursday of Ikram Kerwat who outpointed Angel Gladney on the undercard.
Jones has a promotional group called Square One Promotions having put on some 63 events since 2015.
Jones gave a lot to boxing and was appreciated by his many boxing fans all over the world including Russia where he got dual citizenship winning 2 of 4 fights there.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Roy Jones Jr., Khan, Bowe, Kovalev, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of January 30th to February 6th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Roy Jones Junior Quotes for his Last Fight
One of the greatest careers in ring history will come to close this Thursday night, when the legendary Roy Jones Junior competes in his final bout as a professional boxer bout as a professional boxer.
Widely considered one of the very best pound-for-pound fighters of all time Jones, 65-9 (47KOs), competes in cruiserweight (200lbs) bout vs Scott Sigmon, 30-11-1 (16KOs). The 10-rounder serves as the main event to a five fight Island Fights main card which features both boxing and mixed martial arts bouts.
The event will be live-streamed and available on video-on-demand basis exclusively on UFCFIGHTPASS, the UFC’s digital streaming service.
Joining combat sport play-by-play veteran TJ De Santis in the commentator booth will be Jeff Lacy. Known as “Left Hook” during his boxing career, Lacy represented the United States at the 2000 Olympics and went on to win the same IBF super-middleweight title Jones had annexed a decade earlier. Lacy also fought Jones in 2009 (the entire fight is available on UFC FIGHT PASS) and will bring a wealth of knowledge to the event.
ROY JONES JUNIOR FLASH QUOTES:
ON FIGHTING ON UFC FIGHT PASS
“This is the first live boxing on UFC FIGHT PASS. I love being the first to do something, so to be the first boxing event on UFC FIGHT PASS is cool. When I turned pro back in 1989, I said I wanted to bring new audiences boxing and that’s what I tried to do. By having my last night as a fighter on the
UFC’s (streaming service) I’m bringing new eyeballs to boxing and I’m throwing a spotlight on the boxing and MMA fighters who are on the event.
“I’m been a fan of the UFC for years. Me and (UFC President) Dana White have been friends for a long time, since before he even got started with the UFC. We’ve talked about FIGHT PASS showing a fight (of mine) and it has come about perfectly.”
ON HIS FINAL FIGHT
“It feels different. I’m emotional even thinking about how I’m going to feel on the day. I’m almost tearing up talking. I’m worried about how I am going to feel all day of the fight. I may be crying all day – but once I am in the ring I’ll have to put those tears away because there’s gonna be a guy in the other corner looking to beat me. Scott Sigmon won’t care about those tears. He cares about getting the win, that’s the reality.
“I turned professional in May 1989 in this same arena, but I’ve been doing this since 1979. In 39 years there’s not been a single day where I didn’t put on glove, skip, watch tape or spend time thinking about boxing.
“Boxing has been my life and it is my life. I’ve enjoyed every moment of it. So much of it is still fresh (in my mind), not one thing but so much jumps out when I look back… representing my country at the Olympics in 1988, becoming a world champion for the first time, becoming the No.1 pound-for-pound vs James Toney, winning the world heavyweight title… like it was all yesterday.”
ON GETTING OLDER
“I’m not sad to get older, we all get old. I had a great prime. I was good in my prime, y’know? I wasn’t surprised that I was getting old, and that my abilities were getting more limited. Everybody knows everybody gets old, but I think some guys really don’t think their body will get old.
“I accepted it. People told me to retire but I knew what I could do and I’ve never let anyone tell me what to do.
“There are things I wanted to accomplish that I knew were no longer within my reach. I love boxing, even out of my prime I love boxing like I did when I was champ. But you can’t go on forever no matter how much you love it. It’s time, I’m ready to say goodbye.”
After MTV Super Fight League Ropes in Fox Networks Group for an Asian Broadcasting Deal
FOX Sports Asia has entered into a brand new one-year exclusive multimedia and broadcastrights agreement for the second season of Super Fight League, the world’s first mixed martial arts tournament, promoted by British businessman and sports enthusiast Bill Dosanjh and British professional boxer Amir Khan on their television and digital platforms in Asia.
Promising reach in more than 500 million homes by broadcasting action pack content, the licensed territories include Brunei, Cambodia, China, East Timor, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam . Earlier this year, SFL came to one-year agreement on a broadcasting deal with MTV, Viacom 18 in India to broadcast all matches for season 2 (till 2019)
Having garnered over a whopping 100 million views in 5 years for 67 live televised events, Super Fight League is ranked as the third biggest Mixed Martial Arts brand in the world and second most watched sport in India after cricket apart from being the fastest growing combat sport.The franchise-based league that is being organized in association with the All-India Martial Arts Association (AIMMAA) will entail prize money of INR 4 crores as well as 96 players and 8 teams as listed below –
Bill Dosanjh, CEO & Founder of Super Fight League stated, “We are excited to be partnering with FOX Networks Group, the leading multi-platform entertainment group across the world. This association will further capitalize on our long term vision of taking SFL to different markets. In the next 3 years we would like to take SFL to the Asian markets where MMA is more popular than a sport like cricket and comes second after soccer. The opportunity to have our premier content available in over 500 million homes will immediately accelerate the growth of the SFL brand and the sport of MMA across the region. The emergence of young Indian mixed martial artists coupled with FOX’s marketing muscle and distribution, will allow us to expand our event output beyond India and into the rest of the world in the coming years.”
Brian Sullivan, President of FOX Networks Groupadded, “This new agreement allows us to continue adding value to our uniquely holistic entertainment experience, aiming to suit all our fans’ preferences. We are quite delighted to deliver first class MMA content through our channels and digital platforms. The passion of Asian fans for mixed martial arts makes this category key to our content offering, and we will contribute with our know-how to make the experience of living it in our portfolio unbeatable.”
Elaborating Asian athlete and two-time world champion Amir Khan states, “I think we’ll be considered mainstream just like the NFL and NBA now. To be on the Fox platform, we’re not second class anymore. This new agreement represents a great opportunity and will allow us to attract a new fanbase for the sport where MMA has a strongly established tradition as well as huge potential to gather and galvanize new fans.”
Formed in 2012 by British-Indian entrepreneur and philanthropist, Bill Dosanjh with an intent to give Indian mixed martial artists a platform to compete and hone their talent in their country of origin whilst bringing in talented fighters from different parts of the world, SFL is a revolutionary approach to combat and is the first MMA organization to feature female fighters. MTV SFL 2018 will promote gender equality through a fair and unique platform with women having the same influence on the team as men. The league entails a group ‘A’ and ‘B’, consisting of four teams each. Every team has six players—five male fighters and one female—and six back-ups, belonging to six different weight categories. The teams within the group compete with each other in 12 league-level matches.
The second season of the leading MMA league will be conducted at MTV SFL Arena, Famous Studios, Mahalaxmi, Mumbai from February 9, 2018 to March 17, 2018.
Riddick Bowe to be Special Guest for February 22nd Golden Boy Boxing Card
Former Undisputed Heavyweight World Champion Riddick “Big Daddy” Bowe will be the special VIP guest for the Feb. 22 edition of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, Calif. The highly anticipated headlining matchup will feature 126-pound contender Joseph “JoJo” Diaz, Jr. (25-0, 13 KOs) defending his NABF and NABO Featherweight Titles against former world champion Victor “Vikingo” Terrazas (38-4-2, 21 KOs) in a 10-round fight.
Doors to the Special Events Center open and first fight begins at 5:00 p.m. PT. ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes will transmit the fights beginning at 11:30 p.m. ET/8:30 p.m. PT, and streaming on ESPN3 starting at 10:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. PT.
A certified Hall of Famer, “Big Daddy” Bowe is known as the only Undisputed Heavyweight World Champion to have earned belts from all four main sanctioning bodies – WBC, WBA, IBF, and WBO. The controversial heavyweight faced some of the best fighters of his era, including Andrzej Golota, Evander “The Real Deal” Holyfield, Jorge Luis Gonzalez, Herbie “Dancing Destroyer” Hide, and Michael “Dynamite” Dokes. Bowe is also one of five former heavyweight champions to have never suffered a stoppage defeat in the span of more than 40 fights in his career. Bowe will be in attendance for this event to meet fans, sign autographs and take pictures inside the Fantasy Springs Special Events Center before the ESPN transmission begins. The meet-and-greet is open to the public with the purchase of a ticket to the event.
Tickets for the event start at $25 and are available at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino box office, by calling 1-800-827-2946, or by purchasing online at www.fantasyspringsresort.com.
Chief support to the main event battle will be knockout artist Vergil Ortiz, Jr. (8-0, 8 KOs), who will participate in the eight-round co-main event for the vacant Junior NABF Super Lightweight Title against the dangerous Jesus “Carambolas” Alvarez (15-3,11 KOs) of Sinaloa, Mexico. Ortiz, Jr. has never heard the final bell of a bout and will be putting his spotless record on the line as he takes a step up in competition and fights for his first regional title.
Lightweight knockout artist Christian “Chimpa” Gonzalez (18-1, 15 KOs) will make his highly anticipated ring return over a scheduled eight rounds of action and will kick off the ESPN3 coverage.Gonzalez will face Rey “Flash” Perez (21-9, 6 KOs), a Filipino fighter who now calls Los Angeles home and who was last seen giving Lamont Roach, Jr. trouble in the main event of the Nov. 30 edition of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN.
Manny “Chato” Robles III (14-0, 6 KOs), who is trained by his world-renowned father, Manny Robles, Jr., will participate in an eight-round featherweight affair. Power punching prospect Edgar “Kid Neza” Valerio (10-0, 7 KOs) of Ciudad Nezahualcoyotl by way of South Central, Los Angeles, Calif. will participate in an eight-round battle in the 126-pound division.
San Diego’s Genaro “El Conde” Gamez (6-0, 4 KOs) will participate in an eight-round lightweight fight, and Hector “El Finito” Tanajara, Jr. (11-0, 4 KOs) of San Antonio, Texas will open up the stacked card at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in a scheduled eight-round super featherweight fight.
Opponents for all these exciting prospects will be announced shortly.
AIBA Releases Progress Report on Governance
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board decided to maintain the financial suspension of AIBA and demanded a new report on AIBA governance by April 30th . This decision was made despite AIBA’s fulfilment of the IOC’s request to submit a Progress Report outlining all steps AIBA was asked to take and continues to take to improve its governance. To access the full AIBA Progress Report, please see the AIBA website.
This decision is extremely disappointing for AIBA as it hoped the IOC Executive Board would have understood that the processes necessary to implement even more measures require more time and that the positive steps already taken in recent times are evidence of AIBA’s strong efforts and willingness to reform.
Over the next six months AIBA will be in the process of a complete organisational review, which will lead to the ‘New Foundation Plan’ for AIBA. This plan and the recommendations produced will be discussed during the AIBA Executive Committee meeting in July and an update will be provided to the IOC in the requested April 30th report.
In the meantime, AIBA will continue its efforts to convince the IOC of its determination to not repeat any of the past mistakes and its commitment to a fresh, positive future centered on good governance and sound management.
Tickets on Sale for Kovalev vs. Mikhalkin
Tickets are on sale for the upcoming showdown between two-time Light Heavyweight World Champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (31-2-1, 27 KOs) versus Igor Mikhalkin (21-1, 9 KOs) and WBA Light Heavyweight World Champion Dmitry Bivol (12-0, 10 KOs) versus Sullivan Barrera (21-1, 14 KOs), which takes place on Saturday, March 3 at The Theater at Madison Square Garden. Tickets for this exciting event are priced from $50 to $300 and are available through ticketmaster.com and the Madison Square Garden box office.
Promoted by Main Events, Krusher Promotions and World of Boxing in association with EC Box Promotions, the event will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10:05 p.m. ET/PT.
About March 3: The Saturday, March 3 main event between Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev and Igor Mikhalkin is a 12-round match-up for the WBO Light Heavyweight World Title at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The co-main event features WBA Light Heavyweight World Champion Dmitry Bivol versus Sullivan Barrera in a 12-round title fight. The event is promoted by Main Events, Krusher Promotions and World of Boxing in association with EC Box Promotions and will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing®. Tickets range from $50 to $300 and will be available through TicketMaster.com, the Madison Square Garden Box office and the Main Events office by calling 973-200-7050 or emailing [email protected]
Will Roy Jones, Jr. Keep to His Word Thursday in His Last Fight?
By: Ken Hissner
How many boxers have “retired” only to unretired again? Will Roy Jones, Jr. be one of them? He boxes Thursday in his hometown of Pensacola, FL, against Scott Sigmon, 30-11-1 (16), from Lynchburg, VA.
Jones has been middleweight, super middleweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight champion. This fight he will fight at cruiserweight. He is also a promoter of fights with Square One Promotions.
Jones won his first 34 fights before knocking down Montell Griffin and hitting him while down losing on DQ. In his next fight he knocked out Griffin on the first round.
Like too many boxers he gave Bernard Hopkins a rematch and got beat. Hopkins gave him a good fight in their first match. Hopkins is also older than Roy by about a year.
Jones started boxing after a controversial loss in the 2008 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. He won his first 4 fights, 1 by KO and 3 by 5-0 decisions. He lost in the final to a South Korean 3-2. The decision was so bad he still won the Val Barker Award for the most outstanding boxer at the Olympics.
He turned professional the following year in his hometown of Pensacola where he plans to box and retire Thursday. Let’s hope he is a man of his word. His overall record until this match is 65-9 (47) and stopped 5 times. This will be his 75th fight and let’s hope his last. As a ringside commentator he is fine. Stay there Roy!
Jones has given many a good fighter their first loss such as James Toney 44-0-2, Glenn Thomas 24-0, Bryant Brannon 16-0, Montell Griffin 27-0, Eric Harding 19-0-1, Julio Cesar Gonzalez, 27-0, Glen Kelly 28-0-1, Anthony Hanshaw, 21-0-1, Pawel Glazewski 17-0 and Vyron Phillips 6-0 as an amateur making his debut.
Jones first title win was for the WBC Continental Americas Super Middleweight title in 1992 stopping Percy Harris, 15-3, at the Taj Mahal, in Atlantic City, NJ. In 1993 he won the vacant IBF Middleweight title defeating Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins, 22-1, at RFK Stadium, in Washington, DC. He defended it 7 times. In 1996 he won the interim light heavyweight title defeating Mike “The Body Snatcher” McCallum, 49-3-1, at the Ice Palace, in Tampa, FL. After losing to Griffin he came back in his next fight winning the WBC World Light Heavyweight title from Griffin, then 27-0, at the Foxwoods Resorts, in Mashantucket, CT.
In the next fight Jones knocked out former IBF & WBA Light Heavyweight champion Virgil Hill, 43-2, at the Coast Coliseum, in Biloxi, MS, in 1998. He defended it at that weight 11 times. Prior to the 11th time he won the WBA Heavyweight title defeating John Ruiz, 38-4-1, at the Thomas & Mack Center, in Las Vegas, NV, in 2003.
After Jones 12th defense over Antonio Tarver, 21-2, the roof fell in for him in back to back fights being knocked out by Glen Johnson, 40-9-2 and in a rematch with Tarver along with a decision to Tarver.
Jones would go onto win 3 fights in a row before Joe Calzaghe, 45-0, made his second straight US fight defeating Jones. It would be Calzaghe’s final fight of his career due to bad hands.
Two wins later would become 3 straight defeats starting with Danny Green in 1 round. Then losing a rematch with Hopkins and making a trip to Russia being knocked out by Denis Lebedev.
Jones would return to the US and in 2011win the UBO Inter Continental Cruiserweight title defeating Max Alexander, 14-5-2, at the Civic Center in Atlanta, GA.
In 2013 Jones would win the vacant World Boxing Union Cruiserweight title (German Version) in Russia, which is the same title he is fighting Sigmon for Thursday. He defended it 3 times after defeating Zine Eddine Benmakhlouf, 17-3-1. Jones would fight 4 times in Russia going 2-2 and becoming a dual citizen there.
In 2015 on his final bout in Russia he was knocked out by former WBO Cruiserweight champion Enzo Maccarinelli, 40-7, whose traine was Calzaghe’s father. He would go onto win his next 3 fights and that brings us to Sigmon. This writer attended his last fight in Wilmington, DE, defeating the King of Bare Knuckle Boxing Bobby Gunn before a packed Chase Center for the vacant World Boxing Foundation World Cruiserweight title in 2017.
But like too many boxers “never say never” if this will be the last farewell fight for Roy Jones, Jr.
Showtime World Championship Boxing Preview: Errol Spence Jr. vs. Lamont Peterson, Robert Easter Jr., vs. Javier Fortuna
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions will televise one of the first big fights of 2018 on the Showtime Network.
Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. will defend his IBF Welterweight Title against the entertaining and always tough Lamont Peterson in the main event of the night. The co-main event will be between Robert Easter Jr. and Javier Fortuna for the IBF Lightweight Title.
Photo Credit: Tom Casino/Showtime
Errol Spence has been calling out all the top welterweights and Lamont Peterson is one of the few to answer his call. A victory for either could lead to a welterweight unification fight with Keith Thurman.
The following is a preview of both televised world title bouts.
Robert Easter Jr. (20-0) vs. Javier Fortuna (33-1-1); IBF Lightweight Title
This bout was supposed to be for the IBF Lightweight Title, but Javier Fortuna came in at 136.8lbs during the weigh ins and had two hours to lose the two pounds for fight for the belt. It appeared unlikely that he will make it.
Easter is twenty six years old and two years younger than Fortuna. He will also have a very large five inch height advantage and a seven and a half inch reach advantage.
Both boxers had a successful amateur career, but Easter was able to become an Olympic alternate for the United States in the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Fortuna has the edge in power. He has stopped twenty three of his opponents while Robert Easter only stopped fourteen of his opponents. Easter has been fairly active and fought twice in 2017 and twice in 2016. Fortuna was able to fight twice in 2017 and three times in 2016.
Fortuna has spent most of his career fighting in the super featherweight division so size will be an issue for him. His lone loss was a shocking TKO loss to Jason Sosa in Beijing in June of 2016. He has defeated the likes of Omar Douglas, Marlyn Cabrera, Carlos Velasquez, Bryan Vasquez, Patrick Hyland, Yuandale Evans, and Abner Cotto.
Easter has never tasted defeat as a professional but won a close bout against Denis Shafikov in his last bout. He has defeated the likes of Luis Cruz, Richard Commey, Argenis Mendez, and Juan Solis.
The fact that Fortuna failed to make weight his first time on the scale is concerning, especially since he’s used to competing at a lighter weight class. Robert Easter’s size and reach advantage will be too much for Fortuna to overcome.
Errol Spence Jr. (22-0) vs. Lamont Peterson (35-3-1); IBF Welterweight Title
Errol “The Truth” Spence is one of the welterweight division’s biggest stars. Many consider him to be the next kingpin of the division post Pacquiao and Mayweather. His opponent, Lamont Peterson, is always in a good fight but this may be his last chance at a world title.
Spence is in the middle of his athletic prime at twenty seven and is six years older than Lamont Peterson. They have the same reach and Spence will have a slight one inch reach advantage on Peterson.
Spence has the edge in power and speed. He has stopped nineteen of his opponents, and is currently riding a nine fight stoppage streak. Peterson has only stopped seventeen of his opponents, and only one stoppage victory in his past five fights.
Peterson was a national golden gloves champion and experienced moderate success on the world stage as an amateur. Spence was also a national golden gloves champion, but he also was a member of the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Spence has looked sensational recently, but only competed once in 2017 and twice in 2016. He has defeated the likes of Kell Brook, Leonard Bundu, Chris Algieri, Chris Van Heerden, Phil Lo Greco, and Ronald Cruz.
Peterson has not been so active and fought once in 2017 and twice in 2015. He has defeated the likes of David Avanesyan, Felix Diaz, Dierry Jean, Kendall Holt, and Amir Khan. His losses were to Danny Garcia, Lucas Matthysse, and Timothy Bradley Jr.
Peterson’s biggest issue is his consistency. When he’s aggressive to the body he looks, at times, unstoppable. But as evident in his fight with Danny Garcia, he can be a slow starter and that often hurts him on the scorecards.
Peterson was impressed with Spence’s victory against Kell Brook. “”Errol even taking the Kell Brook fight was impressive to me. Most guys in his position take their time leading up to the first title shot, but he ended up fighting someone in his prime in his country. To will himself to that win was very impressive.”
Spence has looked untouchable and was very impressive in his fight against Kell Brook, in Kell Brook’s backyard.
Even Spence appears to know Peterson is a real challenge. He stated, “”I think it’s going to turn into a war. A lot of people have thought this would be an easy fight for me. But if you follow Lamont Peterson, you know this will be tough. He’s always in great shape and has a lot of skills. IT might be a dog fight and that’s what I wanted. He’s the guy who wanted to fight and I said of course. It’s going to be a rugged fight. Later on in the fights, he always gets rough and stands toe-to-toe.”
Even if Peterson is fighting at his best for all twelve rounds, it’s hard to imagine him beating Errol Spence.
How Good is Errol Spence, Jr.?
By Eric Lunger
Errol Spence, Jr. is a three-time amateur national champion. He was a 2012 Olympian reaching the quarter finals in the welterweight division. Turning professional seven years ago, he is undefeated in twenty-two fights and has scored nineteen KOs. He is ranked number eight in the world in Ring Magazine’s pound-for-pound list, and number two at welterweight.
Photo Credit: Premier Boxing Champions
These are impressive facts, but to gauge how good Errol Spence, Jr. is, we have to go back to May of last year, when he traveled to Sheffield, England, to face the experienced IBF welterweight champion, Kell Brook (36-1, 25 KOs). Spence took home the belt, stopping the British champion in the eleventh round, and showed a mature mastery of all areas of the sweet science.
Despite a thunderous home crowd and massive stage, Spence was calm and poised, relaxed even. His ring IQ is so high that he always seems to anticipate what his opponent is going to do. No movement wasted, everything under control – Errol looked at times like he was sparring in his home gym, not facing one of the best welterweights in a hostile stadium.
Here are some of his strengths. Spence has quick and precise footwork, which in turn means he can control the distance from which he fights and the style in which he fights. He is a southpaw with an excellent jab, and behind that jab is world-class hand speed and punching accuracy. Spence’s defense is also highly technical, utilizing a high guard from which he can counter punch effectively.
Spence is rightly known for being one of the best body punchers in the division, and it showed in the Brook fight. He was also able to switch styles at ease, sometimes fighting on his back foot and countering, sometimes walking Brook down, and sometimes getting inside and fighting in the phone booth. Spence also showed excellent conditioning and pacing in the Brook fight, hitting a new and higher gear in the ninth, tenth, and eleventh rounds, a gear that the Sheffield fighter could not match.
Of course, there is no such thing as a perfect fighter. Where is Spence vulnerable? Maybe against a more athletic puncher – like Thurman, or even Peterson – Spence’s technical skills could be nullified. Peterson might need to get inside, lean on Spence, muscle him, in order to get the younger man off his game. Brook had some success leaning on Spence, holding and wearing him out, and working the body. In short, turning the fight into a brawl rather than a boxing match might be one way (the only way?) to negate Spence’s skill level.
Spence has never been in real trouble and had to fight his way out. He has never been on the canvas as a professional. The flipside of Spence’s poise and calm in the ring is that he can get casual and too comfortable, as he did in the sixth round of the Brook fight, where Brook caught the American and put him in momentary difficulty.
Then there are the intangibles: focus, resilience, drive, mental preparation, late-round confidence. Nothing in Spence’s career so far has shown that he has anything less than the highest ability in all these categories. Errol Spence, Jr. is an elite-level boxer and a world champion. How good can he be? He will take another step toward that answer this Saturday night against Lamont Peterson, live on Showtime starting at 9:00 PM.
HBO World Championship Boxing Results: Cotto Closes Career with Loss to Ali, Vargas Defeats Negrete
By: William Holmes
A champion in four divisions and a lock for the boxing hall of fame, the legendary Miguel Cotto fought the last fight of his career in the building that helped make him famous, Madison Square Garden.
Surprisingly, despite campaigning in the middleweight division, Miguel Cotto weighted in at 151.6lbs while Sadam Ali, who has fought in the welterweight division and is bumping up a weight class to face Cotto, weighed in at 153lbs. Many, including this writer, expected Cotto to weigh in at a heavier weight than Ali
Photo Credit: HBO Boxing Twitter
The opening bout of the night was between Rey Vargas (30-0) and Oscar Negrete (17-0) for the WBC Junior Featherweight Title.
Vargas, the taller fighter, was able to use his height to his advantage in the opening round and landed a high volume of punches to the body and head of Negrete. He was able to get a full extension on his shots in the second round and had Negrete taking some hard shots.
Vargas connected with three straight uppercuts followed by a right hook in the opening seconds of the third round. At one point in the third Negrete stepped on the foot of Vargas and knocked him over, but the referee correctly ruled it a push. Vargas’ sharp shots continued into the fourth round and fifth rounds but Negrete, to his credit, never stopped coming forward.
Negrete snuck in a few good shots of his own, especially when he was in tight, but Vargas’ combinations were numerous.
Negrete took some heavy body shots by Vargas in the sixth round, but did land his best punch of the night, a left hook, in the ninth round.
The eighth round was also tight as Negrete surprisingly landed some combinations, and Vargas had a cuts over both of his eyes. The referee checked it in the eighth and before the ninth rounds but let Vargas continue.
Negrete was out matched and out gunned, but continued to press the pace in the final rounds but took a barrage of punches in the process.
Vargas’ cut over his left eye looked pretty bad, but he was never in danger of being hurt.
The judges scored it 119-109, 119-109, and 120-108 for Rey Vargas.
Miguel Cotto (41-5) and Sadam Ali (25-1) met in the main event of the night for the WBO Junior Middleweight Title.
Cotto walked out to no walk out music so that he could hear the crowd.
The crowd loudly chanted for Cotto in the opening round, but Ali established he had the superior hand speed early on and connected with some surprising punches. Cotto was able to land his patented left hook to the body, but Ali looked like he was landing at a higher connect rate.
Cotto was badly hurt in the second round from a right cross by Ali. Cotto’s legs were wobbly, but Ali did not press the action to try and finish the fight. Ali slipped in the second round, but he definitely had Cotto hurt.
Ali’s length gave Cotto trouble in the third round but Cotto was pressing the action. Cotto was hurt once again in the fourth round by Ali, but was able to recover and come forward behind his jab.
Cotto’s attack to the body appeared to be effective in the fifth and sixth rounds, especially when he had Ali backed into a corner. Ali’s right eye began to swell in the seventh round but he was landing good shots to the head of Cotto.
Cotto had Ali backed into the ropes several times in the eighth and did his best work there, but Ali retook control in the ninth round as Cotto looked like he was tiring.
Ali landed a vicious left hook on Cotto in the tenth round that had Cotto on wobbly legs again and his mouth wide open. Cotto was on full retreat in the tenth and appeared to be close to going down.
Ali came out aggressively in the eleventh round and looked like he was going for the knockout. His corner had previously urged him to be more aggressive. Cotto survived and circled away from the attacking Ali.
Cotto came out aggressive in the final round but looked tired and slow. Ali was the fresher fighter and closed out the fight well.
The final scores were 115-113, 116-112, 115-113 for Sadam Ali.
In the post fight interview Cotto confirmed it was his last fight, and revealed he hurt his left bicep in the seventh round.
Cotto stated, “Feeling good. Feeling good with the performance. Something happened to my left bicep, seventh round. I don’t want to make excuses, Sadam won the fight. It is my last fight. I am good, and I want to be happy in my home with my family.
“Thank you for all the fans, I am proud to call MSG my second home. I had the opportunity to provide the best for my family because of the sport.”
I worked hard for it.” Said Sadam Ali. “I took advantage of this fight, and I made sure to make it count. I want to Thank God, and also thank team Cotto, They could have taken an easier fight if they wanted too. ”
“I had him hurt here or there in the first couple of rounds. I knew I had to do something, or he would have dug in. By the 11th, I thought the fight was close. Whatever GBP has next, I’ll take it. Good things happen to good people. I have been training since I was 8 years old, and I am glad I got this win at MSG, in my hometown.”
The Progression of Chris Eubank Jr.
By: Jacob Tanswell
It was June 25th 2016, Chris Eubank Jr, was sat in a press conference alongside promoter Eddie Hearn and his father, fresh from inflicting a damaging defeat on British Middleweight Contender, Tom Doran. As usual, Eubank Snr acted his usual maverick self, giving the journalists plenty of material; yet, the son, was his quiet, steely self, contemplating his future. When that topic did come up, the press conference came alive: “If they want it, it’s ready to sign” Eddie Hearn claimed after being asked about a possible well documented fight with Gennady Golovkin; if possible, this lit an ever bigger spark in Senior’s mind. “I genuinely don’t see how my son can be beaten by Ward or Golovkin, who are considered two of the pound for pound best fighters in the world.”
After the press conference and that bold and brash statement, the media starting drawing their own conclusions as if the lucrative fight had already been made. However, days passed and there was still no confirmation of the event, which was set to be on “Sky Sports Box Office.” The situation kept dragging on, until Hearn himself, drew a line in the sand; he gave the Eubanks a deadline. If they had not signed by then, the fight was off. The deadline passed. Abstract demands such as choosing who the commentator would be caused the deal to become well and truly dead in the water. All fans were wondering why the fight had not been made; there was a common opinion amongst boxing fans that the Eubanks had ducked the ferocious middleweight puncher. On social media, they were ridiculed and attacked. This was only emphasised further when IBF welterweight champion, Kell Brook, stepped up two weight divisions and signed the exactly same deal they had rejected for a fight with “Triple G.” How can a welterweight be more willing to fight Golovkin than Eubank? Are they really the warriors which they constantly claim to be?
For months after, talks of any deals involving Junior had become dead. Many were left wondering whether his career would stall due to his dad constantly being in the background, dictating his career. Towards the end of 2016, ITV had announced they wanted to bring big time boxing back to the channel; with Eubank being at the forefront. This enabled Eubank to force his way back onto the scene and establish himself, rightly or wrongly, as a pay per view fighter. The channel’s excutives along with Eubank Senior carefully picked the opponent to start the ITV pay per view platform off.
In a space of a couple of months, Junior had two fights against Renold Quinlan, winning the IBO super middleweight belt and Arthur Abraham, who was a shadow of his former self, who was once considered a dangerous champion. Both had in common a front foot style, coming forward in straight lines. This played to Eubank’s strengths as along with quick combinations and his work rate, he was able to dominate and win convincingly. During this time, his profile, especially to the casuals, was increasing as he was getting exposure on a platform that was open to approximately 50 Million people; to the point where he is arguably the second most well known British fighter behind Anthony Joshua. In these fights, the Eubank’s had made the decision to step up and establish Junior as a genuine super middleweight and go after the champions such as Groves and Degale and earn themsleves a mega domestic showdown. Slowly, but surely, Junior was starting to show he was capable of fulfilling his potential and becoming a British World Champion, replicating his father.
Fast forward to present and Junior is now considered the betting favourite in the Super Middleweight Tournament after putting on the performance of the series so far with a brutal third round knockout over previously undefeated Turk, Avni Yildrim. Many were surprised they chose to join this new knockout format in the division, due to them being previously anxious to step up competition. However, now there is a renewed sense of belief that the Eubanks are coming back to dominate British boxing and them doubters are now starting to believe it.
After progressing to the semifinals of the tournament he will meet the previous favourite and WBA Champion, George Groves, which promises to be a huge domestic fight which could be at a stadium in the UK. It will be his 28th fight and this is of course, the biggest. In his father’s 28th fight, he inflicted a points win over another domestic opponent, coming in the form of Michael Watson. By then, he had already defended his version of a world title 8 times.
Although, Eubank Juniors progression has been more steady than his father, it has given him the necessary time to learn his craft away from the bright lights and attempt to establish himself as an all time British Great, emerging out of his father’s shadows. There is a real sense of momentum and is considered to be riding a crest of a wave as he is now favourite to win the tournament and win the “Muhammad Ali Trophy” as well as pocketing approximately an enormous sum of £50 Million Pounds. As well as this, it could set up other domestic fights such as Callum Smith and the IBF champion, James Degale, which could be a massive unification showdown. And who knows, maybe be ready to box an older Gennady Golovkin? Once criticized for his management of his son, is there an argument to praise him and understand the plan for his son was correct all along?
Comparing Rocky Marciano & Floyd Mayweather, Jr
By: Ken Hissner
Both Rocky “The Brockton Blockbuster” Marciano and Floyd “Money” Mayweather, Jr. retired after posting a 49-0 record. Mayweather would come back after a 23 month layoff to post his 50th win recently against amateur boxer and current MMA champion Conor McGregor 0-0.
Marciano was 42-0 before getting a world heavyweight title fight stopping “Jersey” Joe Walcott in the 13th round while behind on points. He defeated former world champions Joe “The Brown Bomber” Louis prior to winning the title. He also defeated former world champion Ezzard Charles twice after winning the title. He defended his title six times before retiring in 1956 mostly due to a reported disc problem and being away from his family too much.
Marciano had a limited amateur career of about 13 fights winning the NE Heavyweight title. He was inducted into the IBHOF in 1990 and the World Boxing HOF in 2010. His SD win over Roland LaStarza in 1950 was his only controversial win but in 1953 he stopped LaStarza in a title defense.
“I have always adhered to two principles. The first was to train hard and get in the best possible physical condition. The second is to forget about the other fellow until you face him in the ring and the bell sounds for the fight”. The end of his life came in an airplane crash in a corn field in IA in August of 1969 at the age of 45.
Marciano had his own TV show and did commercials something as far as this writer knows Mayweather hasn’t been asked to do. His arrogance may have something to do to it. Marciano was very well liked and never had a cocky attitude and reported he cried after defeating his boyhood hero Joe Louis.
Mayweather, Jr. won numerous amateur titles posting an 84-6 record. At the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, GA, he lost a controversial decision in the semi-finals receiving a Bronze medal. He would go onto win world titles starting with the WBC World Super featherweight, WBC Lightweight, Super lightweight, IBF Welterweight, and WBA/WBC Super welterweight titles. He won his first title in his eighteenth fight.
Mayweather’s only controversial win was in his first fight with Jose Luis Castillo in April of 2002. In his next fight in December he defeated Castillo. In May of 2014 he fought the style that Marcos Maidana had and this writer felt it was a draw. In their return match five months later he returned to his normal style and won. He would post 21 title defenses overall.
Upon retiring 13 months before coming back Mayweather seemed to finally do something out of respect to Marciano after equaling his record without going past it. The same may have gone for Welsh Italian Joe Calzaghe retiring at 46-0. Mayweather’s latest promotion for his most recent bout caused quite a stir which was probably more theatrical than on the up and up.
Rumors are Mayweather may be dealing with the IRS now. His ownership of 100 automobiles worth over 15 million dollars that sit in his Las Vegas garage never driven is a big investment. He pays cash and is known to deal with one dealer in particular. He recently put up for auction the highest price automobile in the world valued at approximately 4.6 million. He is known to fly out of the country to one of the richest islands in the world and spend a bundle on jewelry. One highlight is he has sponsored Golden Glove tournaments in his former home state of MI.
The comparison of Marciano to Mayweather is like night and day. Marciano’s career earnings were about $50 thousand which is what Mayweather probably uses for training expenses today. His overall assets are probably more like $600 million.