Sammy “The Bull” Gravano Claims John Gotti Once Ordered A Hit On Don King
By: Sean Crose
It’s pretty much common knowledge that the mob and boxing had a long standing connection. And, although gangsters are no longer known todominate the fight game, names like Owney Madden and Frankie Carbo will alwaysstand out for having tarnished the sport’s reputation. Now another famousgangster, or former gangster, has come out with some rather revealing storiesand opinions regarding the sweet science and organized crime. Sammy “The Bull”Gravano was about as big a mobster as one could find. Connected to nineteenmurders, he stood as underboss of the powerful Gambino crime family up untilthe early 90s, when he decided to testify against his boss, notorious mobsterJohn Gotti.
Now in his 70s, Gravano is out of jail and going public in abig way. He recently was the subject of a terrific, if not disturbing,interview with Patrick Bet-David, where he talked aboutGotti actually putting a hit out on famed promoter Don King. As Gravano tellsit, he had a fighter who he wanted to have face Mike Tyson during Tyson’sprime. “He was a tough fighter,” Gravano says of the possible opponent inthe interview, “and he was a little bit over the hill.”
Someone Gravrano refers to as “a street guy” was sent toKing, who was promoting Tyson at the time, in order to generate interest. Tohis credit, the controversial King, who had done time in prison himself, didn’twant to get involved with the Gambinos. “I’m not doing any of that bullshit,”Gravano quotes King as saying. Taking the news of King’s refusal back to familyboss Gotti, Gravano was given a pat order. The “street guy” was “to go back,make another appointment (with King), and kill him.” Gravano expressedsurprise, but Gotti claimed the “street guy” should return to King and “hit himwith a proposal” that would essentially stand as an offer King couldn’t refuse.“If he says no,” Gravano quotes Gotti as saying, “take a gun out and shoot him.”
Fortunately for King and the world of boxing, the hit neverwent down. Gravano claimed the “street guy” got cold feet and disappeared. Leftwithout a hit man, Gravano had no interest in pursuing a matter he wasn’t crazyabout to begin with. “I’m definitely not going after him,” Gravano reflectswith a laugh, “because this is insane now. We’re hitting a guy because hedoesn’t want to do a deal? We’ll be hitting guys every other week.”
Yet Don King isn’t the only figure Gravano talks about inthe interview. “Teddy Atlas is an asshole,” the former hit man says toBet-David. Gravano, who liked to box, was once questioned by Atlas: “Are youafraid?” Gravano said no. “He took it,” Gravano goes on to say, “to a differentlevel, meaning that’s cowardice.” While admitting Atlas is “a tremendoustrainer,” Gravano also presents a personal challenge on camera.
“Teddy,” he says, “come down and put the fucking gloves onwith me, I’ll show you how scared I am of you. And you’re a fucking bitch.”
It ain’t Shakespeare – but it gets the point across.
Deontay Wilder is Still King
By: Hans Themistode
The Heavyweight division is unpredictable at this moment. Just a few short weeks ago, former unified Heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua was thought to be ahead of everyone else. It was an understandable thought process. He was after all, the owner of the IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO titles. On June 1st, 2019, everything changed as Joshua was knocked out in the seventh round against Andy Ruiz.
The aforementioned Ruiz looked like a world beater that night. He picked himself up off the deck to drop Joshua four times. In doing so, he became the first Heavyweight world champion from Mexico. Ruiz doesn’t hold a perfect record. His lone defeat came at the hands of former WBO champion Joseph Parker back in 2016. Where exactly does Parker stand in the midst of all of this commotion? It’s hard to tell. He is a former champion, however he was defeated by both Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte in back to back contests.
Who can forget about the colorful yet talented Tyson Fury? The undefeated Heavyweight is fresh off a dominant win over the relatively unknown Tom Schwarz. It took Fury only two rounds to dispatch of his man.
There is also a long list of contenders who have yet to taste gold, but seemingly have what it takes to reign atop the division including Dillian Whyte, Luis Ortiz and Jarrell Miller to name a few.
Although the division is mired in confusion, one thing is clear. WBC champion Deontay Wilder is still the king of the division. In his last ring appearance, the Alabama native, absolutely destroyed his mandatory challenger Dominic Breazeale to the tune of a devastating one punch knockout in the very first round.
Wilder is now expected to rematch Luis Ortiz in the fall. Should he come out successful, he is lined up to take on Tyson Fury in yet another highly anticipated rematch.
The criticism of Wilder is well documented. He isn’t a good boxer, just avoid his right hand and he can’t do anything else. How can someone with such little skill become a champion? Put all of it to rest. Wilder isn’t just the best Heavyweight currently, but he is one of the very best in history. Wilder currently holds the fourth most title defenses in the Heavyweight division’s rich history.
Tyson Fury, Andy Ruiz, Anthony Joshua are all great fighters and champions, but they are all fighting for second place. Deontay Wilder is still the king of this division.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Ali, King, Smith, O’Connor, Boxing Hall of Fame, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of March 14th to March 21st; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Sadam Ali to Face Liam Smith on HBO
Sadam “World Kid” Ali (26-1, 14 KOs) will defend his WBO Junior Middleweight World Championship against hard-hitting former world champion and No.1 contender Liam “Beefy” Smith (26-1-1, 14 KOs) in a 12-round main event at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, N.Y. The event takes place Saturday, May 12 and will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Ali, a 2008 U.S. Olympian, has always displayed the skills of a future world champion. The 29-year-old pride of Brooklyn, N.Y. held multiple regional titles and scored important wins against the likes of Francisco “Chia” Santana, Luis Carlos “El Potro” Abregu and former interim WBA World Super Lightweight Champion Johan “El Terrible” Perez. Though suffering a setback in a welterweight title fight against Jessie Vargas, Ali silenced his doubters by moving up to 154 pounds to defeat future Hall of Famer Miguel Cotto in Dec. 2017. The newly-crowned WBO Junior Middleweight Champion will face a tough challenge in Smith, a former holder of the same 154-pound title.
“It felt great to accomplish my dream of becoming world champion,” said Sadam Ali. “I’m excited to defend my title and to demonstrate that it is not up for grabs. Liam Smith is a great fighter and I’m sure he’ll be ready, but so will I.”
Smith, the first of an impressive stable of brothers to win a world title, is a 29-year-old native of Liverpool, England. After scoring 20 impressive victories as a professional, Smith defeated John “Apollo Kidd” Thompson via seventh-round technical knockout to capture the WBO 154-pound title that Ali currently holds. Smith then faced Canelo Alvarez in front of over 50,000 fans at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Smith lost the title in an impressive show of heart and determination, and after three consecutive victories, he is ready to regain the title that was once his.
“I’m very happy that we’ve got this fight,” said Liam Smith. “I’m looking forward to pitting myself against a good fighter in Sadam Ali, a former Olympian and now world champion who is coming off the back of a good win against Miguel Cotto. I’m confident going into this fight. I know I’m naturally the bigger man, and that will come into play, especially in the type of fight that I think it will be.”
“Sadam Ali climbed onto the world championship stage with one of the biggest upsets in boxing history when he snatched the WBO Junior Middleweight World Title from Four-Division, Six Time World Champion, and Future Hall of Famer Miguel Cotto at Madison Square Garden,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. “Being in the ring with a hungry fighter with a world championship belt on his resume like Liam Smith will be nothing new to Ali. Sadam will prove yet again he’s someone to watch out for in the division.”
“This is Liam’s chance to reclaim his world title,” said Frank Warren. “He’s come through two hard fights against Liam Williams to earn his shot, and he’s done what he set out to do. When he lost his belt against Canelo Alvarez, Liam said he would be a world champion again, and on May 12 he will deliver on that promise.”
Ali vs. Smith is a 12-round fight for the WBO Junior Middleweight Championship presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Frank Warren. The event is sponsored by Tecate, “THE OFFICIAL BEER OF BOXING” and Casa Mexico Tequila. The fight will take place Saturday, May 12, 2018 at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York and will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Host of the May 12 event, Turning Stone Resort Casino is a Forbes Four-Star Award-winning destination resort, which continues to distinguish itself as a premier venue for fight-of-the-year level boxing. The May event will mark Turning Stone’s 25th nationally-televised boxing event, cementing the resort as a leading destination for nationally-televised combat sports. Turning Stone features world-class amenities including four hotels, more than 20 signature restaurants and dining options, two spas, an all-new 125,000 square foot Las Vegas style gaming floor, a cabaret-style Showroom, a 5,000-seat arena, five golf courses, several bars, cocktail lounges and nightlife venues with live entertainment every weekend.
Tickets for this highly anticipated matchup go on sale Tuesday, March 20 at 10:00 am ET and are available from $95 and $75 for ringside seats and all others priced at $55 and $45, plus any applicable fees. Tickets can be purchased at the Turning Stone Resort Box Office in person or by calling 315-361-7469 or online at Ticketmaster (www.ticketmaster.com).
Don King Brings Isaac Ekpo and Rafael Mensah to America to Train for Upcoming World Title Fights
World Boxing Association (WBA) Mandatory challenger Isaac Ekpo (32-3, 25 KOs) from Abuja, Nigeria, and Rafael “Sweet Pea” Mensah (31-0, 23 KOs) from Accra Ghana both recently arrived to the U.S. with a new manager, new direction and first full training camps with trainer Stacy McKinley, to prepare for their upcoming world title fights.
Ekpo arrived in Germany Sunday for a world title rematch against WBA Super Middleweight Champion Tyron Zeuge. Their first bout, almost a year ago to the day on March 25, 2017, ended in controversial fashion and a loss for Ekpo.
Mensah has been in serious negotiations to challenge WBA Super Featherweight Champion Alberto Machado (19-0, 16 KOs).
Both Ekpo and Mensah arrived in the U.S. having made little to no money while fighting in Africa. Both fighters have a new manager. Stacy McKinley is training both for the first time.
“My old manager and promoter in Ghana, Anthony Karmah, (of Landmark Boxing), did good by taking me to where I am but he cheated me and is cheating all the boxers.” Explained Ekpo, also a 2004 Olympian. “He never paid me for the fights. He told me the fights, all of my fights, were for building my career. He prefers to have the money all to himself and the boxers are suffering, which is very bad. I was the mandatory challenger to (WBO Super Middleweight Champion Robert) Stieglitz in 2013. I was No. 7. We fought 12-rounds and was paid only $12K – for a world title fight! I argued with him but it didn’t matter. After the fight I went back to Africa, and signed with Don King. When I came to America in December, Don King told me to put the past behind and move forward. My coach is there beside me taking good care of me. He and Don King don’t treat me like a boxer they treat me like I am their blood.”
“In Ghana I was the champion, but no, I didn’t get any money,” said Mensah, who as an amateur was the Captain of the Ghana National Team. “The promoter there signed me and I don’t get money. Why? Somebody chopped my money. Every time I fight he told me he was building my record for me. I don’t know why. I fought thirty-one fights, big fights. I won the African title twice and the African Boxing Union title. I fight in front of huge crowds in Ghana – it is like the Las Vegas of Africa, it is the Mecca. Ike Quartey, Joshua Clottey, Azumah Nelson, Agbeko – they all fought there.”
Ekpo went further: “I would fight under Don King Productions and Don would send the money to my manager and I would never see the money – my manger keeps saying, still, he is building my record and I never see the money. When I fought Zeuge my manager got the money from Don King but he took two months to pay me – he said Don King never paid him. My manger was trying to destroy the man’s (Don King’s) name and it’s not like that. When my wife passed, I was looking for some money to help my family and Don King sent my former manager $10,000 to give to me. I only received $2000 of it – my manager kept the rest.” Ekpo lived on his marginal soldier’s salary. “When I came to train in America in December, Don King told me to put the past behind and move forward. My coach is there beside me taking good care of me. He and Don King don’t treat me like a boxer they treat me like I am their blood. Don King gave me money and I shared it and said this money is going to change a lot of things in my life.”
Mensah on his arrival to the U.S.: “I was in Ghana and I was told I got this opportunity to fight Machado and I may not get this opportunity again so I said OK, I will come to the America to see Don King for the first time. I signed with Don King three years ago with my old manager and never net him. My old manager would not let me meet Don King. My contract with my old manager was up in November and my new manager told me to come to the US to get better training – he convinced me to move here. I came to US a month ago and Don King said, “Rafael, now that you are here, how can I help you?” I said ‘yes, I will take this title to give to you. Don’t worry about that.’ I am here in the USA training and it will not be a problem. I am the man, I am Sweet Pea.”
Ekpo wants this message sent across to Zeuge regarding the rematch – “Train hard because I am coming. My name is ‘Grenade’ and when I explode no living thing will be left near me – everything will fall, and he is going to fall. I promise him and by the grace of God he is going to fall.”
In the first Zeuge-Ekpo fight, in front of a Zeuge hometown crowd at MBS Arena in Pottsdam, Germany, Zeuge (21-0-1, 11 KOs) from Berlin, was cut in round three from an Ekpo left hook.. “I gave him a left hook and it caught him but they changed it to a head-butt. It wasn’t a head-butt like they called it. It was a left hook. I watch the fight every day,” said Ekpo. The decision would go to the judges’ scorecards, whom all had Zeuge ahead at the time (48-47, 49-47, 49-46). “In round 5 he was very tired, but he survived the round. When the round was over he called the doctor to stop the fight. When they stopped the fight my coach and I were celebrating, but next the referee said ‘no, it is a technical decision.’ Why technical decision? The guy said he can’t fight. I’m not tired. I didn’t give up. If he stopped the fight that means I am the winner because I never give up but the champion said he is not going to fight anymore.”
Ekpo had gone into the fight with extreme adversity, having lost his wife (a 32-year-old Nigerian National soccer star) during childbirth on March 9, just two weeks before the fight. “After my wife delivered she started bleeding and from there she passed away,” explained Ekpo. “She left the baby behind. I gave her the mommy’s name and she is living right now with her grandmother. ” Ekpo trained only one week with his new trainer and five weeks total for the fight. Ekpo thought long and hard before deciding to go through with the fight. “I needed the money to take care of my family. Coach Stacy McKinley said to me ‘you’re good, you can beat this kid.’ I fought Zeuge with pains in my heart.”
“This time my hands are my referee and my judges. I am going to fight Tyron Zeuge as if he is the one that killed my wife,” said Ekpo. “Last time I took all of his best punches. Now I am stronger and I’m going to hit him hard – harder than before, like a sledgehammer. This time I am going to knock him out in his hometown, right in front of his people. He is not going 12-rounds with me. I promised my wife before she died that I would bring the title back to my baby. I love her so much. Every time I think about her I shed tears.”
Machado on his immediate future: “My next fight will be against Machado. I know Machado and I know I can beat Machado. There is no doubt that Mensah can beat him. When I saw Machado I said ‘yes, I can beat you.’ You are not somebody that can beat me. You cannot beat Rafael Mensah. I will come and maybe not knock you out but I will beat you in boxing. I will teach you boxing very well. If I don’t knock you out I will teach you a boxing lesson.”
“I came to America and signed with a new manager and he exposed everything,” explained Ekpo, who moved to the United States on December 27. “When I first learned what had happened, I wanted to go back to Africa and fight him but Don King said no. He knows he can’t even call me any more and he’s scared. Everything is exposed. The last time I was at his office and he hid then ran out the back door. Don King gave me money and immediately I told my new manager to send it to my family and he said ‘why are you crying?’ The amount of money Don King gave me will change a lot of things and that makes me happy. Now I’m going to give him the title. That’s the thing I’m going to use to pay him back.”
“Now I am ranked #2 in the WBA and now I am waiting for Machado,” said Machado. “I came here to train and listen to my new manager. I left my 4-month old child and my wife to come to America because of Machado. When I arrived Don King said, ‘Rafael, now that you are here, how can I help you?’ I said ‘yes, I will take this title to give to you. Don’t worry about that. I am now focused about the business of being in the ring. I don’t see anybody coming to beat me. My new manager is here to help me. God has done everything for me and now I listen to Don King and my manager. So now everything will be all right for me in America.”
Nelson Aiyelabowo, current manager of both Ekpo and Mensah: “We are very grateful for how Don King has welcomed us. Isaac is having a great camp and we are ready to add to a stable of champions Don King has promoted over the past decades.”
MTK Global Opens MTK NewCastle as UK Presence Continues to Grow
MTK Global is pleased to confirm the opening of a new UK branch – MTK Newcastle in Gateshead.
With MTK Global’s UK bases in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Scotland already thriving, the proud fighting city of Newcastle has joined the party.
The north-east has produced several success stories in the ring, such as Glenn McCrory’s world cruiserweight title glory down the road in Stanley in 1989. World title challengers John Davison and Billy Hardy are also local stars of yesteryear.
With interest in boxing and MMA on the rise, MTK Newcastle will provide excellent facilities for the stars of tomorrow while remaining an invaluable recreational facility for the local community.
MTK Newcastle Gym Manager and coach, Brad Tarren, said: “It’s exciting news for fighters in the north-east of England as we look to create combat teams under the MTK banner.
“MTK Newcastle adds to the growing entity of the MTK Global brand and we are certainly excited for the future prospects this opportunity brings.
“The gym will also remain as a recreational facility welcome to all members of the public – regardless of their level or experience.”
MTK Global CEO Sandra Vaughan added: “We are so proud to have added a Newcastle headquarters. It’s a fantastic city with a rich history in combat sports.
“We look forward to Brad and his team nurturing the local talent. This move is further proof of MTK Global’s commitment to improving opportunities for fighters in as many areas as we can.”
Follow MTK Newcastle on Twitter @mtknewcastle
National Boxing Hall of Fame Gala 2018
The National Boxing Hall Of Fame will be holding its Annual GALA April 28th, 2018 from 11:00am – 3:00pm, at Quiet Cannon Event Center, 901 Via San Clemente, Montebello, CA. Tickets are $75 and available at www.nationalboxinghalloffame.com All 2018 Inductees are confirmed to attend event this year! Limited seating available and tickets MUST be paid in advance to attend.
The 2018 Inductees are:
◦Eddie Mustafa Muhammad
POSTHUMOUS (Family will attend)
RISING STAR AWARD
◦2016 U.S. Olympian Karlos Balderas
DON SULAIMAN LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
HOWIE STEINDLER AWARD
◦Danny “Little Red” Lopez
◦Ernie “Indian Red” Lopez
BOBBY CHACON GIFT OF LOVE AWARD
Boxing Fans, don’t miss this great Boxing event with legends of our sport and future stars, for more information please contact [email protected] .
Danny O’Connor Defends WBC Title Against Steve Claggett
After coming off a of a great KO win, earning the vacant WBC Silver Intercontinental Title against rising Queens prospect and previously undefeated, DANNY GONZALEZ, (then, 14-0 5KO’s) at STAR BOXING’S Slugfest at the Sun, at Mohegan Sun Arena, in November, DANNY O’CONNOR (now, 30-3, 11KO’s) put his title on the line at the against an extremely tough Canadian in STEVE CLAGGETT (now, 26-5-1, 17 KO’s).
Claggett came into last nights title bout, just off of a hard fought win against previously unbeaten, and fellow highly touted Canadian prospect, YVES ULYSSE JR. (then, 14-0 9KO’s).
O’Connor vs. Claggett was seen live on PPV, and was the main event bout of a great night of boxing on St. Patricks day, from the House of Blues Boston.
For the opening two rounds, O’Connor and Claggett maintained a fast, competitive pace, with give and take action by both fighters. However, in the third round, O’Connor began to find his rhythm, landing strong combinations while alluding the attempted offense of Claggett.
O’Connor continued to use his combinations to score, while keeping his foot on the outside of Claggett, dodging most attempts the Canadian threw. However, in the seventh round, Claggett threw a perfect counter right, that sent O’Connor to the canvas. O’Connor managed to shake off the knockdown, got his legs under him, and finished the final two rounds strong, earning a unanimous decision vicory, and successfully defending his WBC belt.
Promoter JOE DEGUARDIA had this to say about O’Connor’s strong outing, “Danny O’Connor showed true guts, putting his title on the line against a very tough fighter in Steve Claggett. Danny used his skill and more importantly, great resilience, getting up from a late round knockdown to defend his title. This was a very solid victory for Danny against a tough opponent, and we look forward to what is to come.”
O’Connor vs. Claggett was promoted by Murphy’s Boxing and Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing.
Bob Arum and Don King Renew Old Rivalry
By: Bryant Romero
Bob Arum and Don King will renew their old rivalry at the ‘Mecca of Boxing” this Saturday for Ramirez vs Imam world title fight.
It may well be the last time you will see Bob Arum and Don King co-promoting a boxing match that will feature Jose Ramirez (21-0, 16 KOs) a top rank promoted fighter taking on Amir Imam (21-1, 18 KOs) one of the few remaining Don King fighters for the vacant WBC super lightweight title at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden. Ramirez vs Imam is an historic bout as it marks the 2,000th world title fight for the WBC in its 55 year history.
King and Arum have long been promotional rivals and at one time were considered the most powerful men in boxing during the 1980’s and 1990’s. Over the years they have fought over fighters, over dates, and were only able to work together sometimes when it came to fight that could generate millions of dollars. Together they promoted Chavez vs De La Hoya, De La Hoya vs Trinidad, and their last co-promotion which was Cotto vs Mayorga in 2011 just to name a few.
King is now considered semi-retired, but at the age of 86 he still has the energy, is still very talkative, and still has the desire to find that one prize fighter that can take him back to the top, whether that means he will have to go by his old measures to secure that prize fighter that can help him strike gold. King once said the famous line “I came into the ring with the champion and I left with the champion.” Though King wasn’t talking about the same champion he came into the ring with. On more than one occasion has King tried to steal away fighters from Arum, even once whispering into De La Hoya’s ear following his close loss to Trinidad by saying, “If I was your promoter, you’d have won this fight.” If Ramirez defeats Imam this Saturday night it’s highly unlikely that King will be able to pry away Ramirez from Arum.
The old rivals reunited on Thursday afternoon in what was a classic final press conference as King and Arum constantly traded verbal jabs at each other and debated politics.
“We’re all immigrants,” Arum said. “And America’s strength is from the immigrant community and we have to find a way to integrate all of these people into what is a great country, the United States of America.”
“We gonna celebrate at Madison Square Garden,” King said. “It is the Mecca of Boxing. And it’s a fantastic thing to be here and be at war with Mr. Arum. Some of the things he said have some vitality to it, that the whole country is a country of immigrants.”
King has vowed that his fighter Imam will knockout Ramirez, while Arum has maintained that King is dreaming if he thinks that will happen. Whatever happens this Saturday night, it’s going to be one fun night of boxing as these two legendary promoters will go head to head for what may be the very last time.
“Ill Fight Louis Ortiz” Says Amir “Hardcore” Mansour!
“I’ll Fight Louis Ortiz” Says Amir “Hardcore” Mansour!
By: Ken Hissner
This writer recently did an article calling 38 year old Louis “King Kong” Ortiz, 27-0 (23), the most feared heavyweight in the world. I had also said that at one time about 44 year old Amir “Hardcore” Mansour, 23-2-1 (16). If it were not for a bad cut on his tongue against Dominic Breazeale after beating him up for 5 rounds it would have been him fighting Anthony “AJ” Joshua in June of 2016.
Why isn’t Mansour in any of the alphabet organizations ratings? When I tell you the champions people make sure Mansour is not in their top 15 there isn’t any way they can fight him. There are 60 slots in the ratings and you tell me Mansour isn’t worthy of one of them? The WBC has him ranked at No. 21.
One thing Ortiz and Mansour have in common is they are both southpaws and rarely does an orthodox boxer want to fight a southpaw. When you look at the ratings it’s not what you have done but who bought their way into the ratings one way or another.
A perfect example is BJ Flores who has been 2-2 in his last 4 fights with 1-2 as a cruiserweight and only in his last fight did he fight heavyweight and beats Jeremy Bates 26-18-1 for the WBA NABA title and is put into the WBA ratings at No. 11. Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller beats Fred Kassi for the WBO NABO title in his last fight in August of 2016 and is ranked No. 3 WBO, No. 7 WBA and No. 9 IBF. Mansour had knocked out Kassi 2 years before that.
Look at Wilder who hasn’t defended against anyone in his top 4 contenders. He has defended against from last fight on against Washington, Arreola (who flunked drug test prior to this) and Szpilka. French champ Duhaupas and Eric Molina who has had title fights with Wilder and Joshua. I hate to use the term “black balled” but it looks like Mansour has been just that from the organizations ratings!
Whenever this writer has covered Mansour in DE or Atlantic City the fan’s start stirring and cheering from the time he enters the ring with those uncovered arms bulging out. He reminds one of a heavyweight Marvin Hagler with a bigger punch. He knows how to work a crowd before the fight even starts!
Mansour got shortchanged in his draw with Gerald Washington in October 2015 and Washington has 2 fights in 2016 and gets a title fight with Wilder in February of 2017. In January of 2016 Mansour wins all 5 rounds from Dominic Breazeale easily but suffered a cut tongue requiring some 30+ stitches. Just 5 months later it’s Breazeale getting an IBF title fight with Anthony Joshua. In January of 2013 Mansour beats Kelvin Price, 14-1, who had only lost to Wilder before being champ and Price hasn’t fought since Mansour stopped him.
KEN HISSNER: You are line fine wine for the older you get the better you seemed to get. Did you hear about Shannon Briggs failing a drug test which should put him from fighting in a WBA title bout against Fres Oquendo who hasn’t fought in 2 year’s. How would you like to fill in for him?
AMIR MANSOUR: I’d love to take Briggs place. I cannot believe Briggs failed this test but to say he did to make this fight aware to the public since it’s like who knows about it?
KEN HISSNER: Do you feel your two wins over Joey Dawejko and one time contender Travis Kauffman should at least put you back in the rankings?
AMIR MANSOUR: Of course. I won the WBC USNBC title which should have gotten me into the WBC rankings. I’ve held the USBA, WBC Continental Americas, World Boxing Federation and Foundation Intercontinental titles, IBF North American and the interim WBO NABO titles. I have held more junior titles than any American heavyweight out there except for maybe Wilder. I was supposed to fight Artur Szpilka (then 20-1), in December of 2015 with the winner fighting Wilder. Next thing we know Szpilka gets the fight in January of 2016 against Wilder.
KEN HISSNER: Do you think Luis Ortiz will be willing to fight you?
AMIR MANSOUR: I would hope so. Seems like none of the champions will fight him but I would.
KEN HISSNER: How were the ratings when you have fought on say FS1?
AMIR MANSOUR: Their ratings went through the roof. One fight I was the co-feature and had more hit’s than the main event did. Wilder would get many more views fighting me than he did Washington.
KEN HISSNER: I know Joe Hand is your manager and J Russell Peltz normally promotes your fights. How is your working with them?
AMIR MANSOUR: Joe is a great guy. Russell has tried getting us major fights but we get turned down time and again which isn’t his fought.
KEN HISSNER: I want to thank you for taking the time to answer the questions:
AMIR MANSOUR: Thanks Mr. Hissner.
Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame Celebration a Big Success!
Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame Celebration a Big Success!
By: Ken Hissner
Ray McCline’s idea of creating the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame was a big success over the weekend. Especially on Sunday night with 24 inductee’s before a large crowd at the Claridge Hotel in Atlantic City!
Master of Ceremonies was the New Jersey Hall of Fames President Henry Hascup who did an excellent job. There were some excellent acceptances starting with legendary matchmaker Don Elbaum’s stories. He has worked in over a thousand shows over the years. “This is incredible. My mentor J Russell Peltz is here and the man I got started Don King!” He went onto say how Jimmy Carter was running for president at the time and how King called him Jimmy and Carter called King “President!” In King’s hometown of Cleveland Carter won big taking not only the black vote but the Jewish vote. King took credit for both! He brought in then Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) for an exhibition to help a children’s hospital.
Hascup first brought up Mike Hall, Jr. whose father Mike was being inducted. He trained world champion Virgil Hill amongst others. This writer saw him earlier and said “it’s good to see you are still alive” not knowing I was talking to the deceased’s son. Another Atlantic City native Bill Johnson came forth whose brother Leavander was the IBF lightweight champion winning in Italy and passed away shortly after a battle in NV losing his title but going out like a warrior! “My brother loved the sport and the people involved with it,” said Johnson. Hascup said “Leavander gave his life for the sport!”
Althea Saunders sang the national anthem. She is still an active boxer from Atlantic City. As expected Larry “The Easton Assasin” didn’t show and “Iron” Mike Tyson didn’t either but was seen via video accepting his induction from AZ. Inductee Ken Condon known for his PPV work talked about being in Barbados when he left his wife upstairs to go downstairs in the hotel to watch Spinks-Holmes II. It caused an obvious argument he said.
Michael Spinks drew the most attention afterwards signing autographs, getting pictures taken by many fans of his and being interviewed. Press members included AC Press writer David Weinberg, John DiSanto of Philly Boxing History, Bernard Fernandez formerly with the Philadelphia News, Joe
Sangrito formerly of Ring Magazine, Frank Bartolini of the Rinaldi Brothers newspaper, Marc Abrams and his beautiful wife, with Abrams doing an excellent job with the PR work for the event. Keebler Media was taping the event and this writer representing Boxing Insider.
Representing his father Lou Duva was Dino Duva still an active manager saying “today would have been my father’s 95th birthday.” Duva put on the first world title bout in Atlantic City with Joey Giardello fighting Dick Tiger. “My father always said never forget your roots,” said Duva.
Accepting for the absent Holmes was one of “Smoking” Joe Frazier’s daughters Weatta.
An emotional wife and daughter of the head physician in Atlantic City was none other than Dr. Frank Doggett. “He graduated from Howard Universities Medical School in 1948 and was chief surgeon for the Atlantic Police and Fireman. He referred to the boxers as his boxers. If he was here he would simply say thank you.”
Nicoli the artist was on hand showing a portrait of Don King which went up for bid with no takers. One of the VP’s of the board who did the electing was Rodnick Green VP Strategy & Business Development for the ACBHOF who proclaimed how another well-known inductee Steve “Double S” Smoger who was inducted into the IBHOF in 2016 helped the kids at the AC PAL! Smoger known to be one of the best speakers in the business talked about how Elbaum ran weekly shows at the Tropicana Hotel & Casino for five years and how he worked many of them as a referee. He has received many awards and is one of the best of all time.
Fan and press favorite writer Jack “KO” Obermayer who passed away approximately a year ago was well represented by Freddy Blumstein one of the best timekeepers in the business who said “my wife curses the day I met KO because I am away from home so much.” Eric Bottjer one of the best well known matchmakers in the business called Obermayer his best friend. Obermayer’s daughter and his partner Darlene, who flew in from Wyoming, saying “he was the love of my life!”
Roy Foreman another VP who managed his brother George and who lives in the area and is now promoting shows in Houston, TX, was well received by the audience saying “without the boxers we wouldn’t be here!”
Mustafa Ameen spoke in behalf of inductee Matthew Saad Muhammad how the nuns found him on the Philadelphia’s Ben Franklin Parkway at the age of 4 left there by his brother at his mother’s request due to having too many kids. Saad’s adopted brother Joe Johnson was in attendance. Ameen talked how Saad put up a 10k award if anyone would come forward telling him who would know anything about his identity. As it turned out someone did and told him his real name was Antonio Loach. They appeared on Good Morning America and Saad was not too fond of being called Antonio. Ameem talked of Saad’s religion of being a Muslim. When Saad passed away there was a funeral at a mosque and then at the Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. Saad told me personally during an interview “I’m no longer a Muslim.”
Elbaum spoke how he got King into the business as the first black promoter and took him to New York introducing him to Madison Square Garden’s promoter and matchmaker. King said “they are all white!” Elbaum told him “don’t say that again for we are all Americans adding Kings famous known phrase Only In America!” Elbaum went onto say how Tropicana gave him a two year contract, living quarters and agreed to run every Tuesday night.
Current NJ Commissioner of boxing Larry Hazzard, Sr. did an excellent job speaking of how he spent 13 years in the amateurs working as a referee and becoming one of the tops in the world and becoming commissioner. After leaving office the current governor of NJ Chris Christy brought Hazzard back for his old job.
Smoger talked about starting out as a timekeeper from 1978 to 1982 and starting to ref in 1984 and becoming the referee in a world title fight just two years later. He said how he worked shows for Peltz, King, Frank Gelb and Duva. He gave a large amount of credit to Deputy Commissioner Bob Lee who couldn’t make the event. “He treated me like gold,” said Smoger. He also gave a lot of credit and would expect the next induction to be the then commissioner and former heavyweight champion “Jersey” Joe Walcott. He went onto say except for referee Pat Russell he was the longest serving referee in the country.
Former world light heavyweight champion Mike “The Jewish Bomber” Rossman accepted his award and walked off the stage without saying a word. He had his Local 30 Roofers jacket on and the roofers bought 40 tickets.
Dave Bontempo another inductee spoke well and how ESPN recruited him from AC and how the game has changed since the Atlantic City Press had him cover boxing. He went onto say how boxers like Bennie Serrano became well known fighting at the Tropicana for Elbaum. He added it was 20 years ago today he met his wife Suzie and being married for 32 years.
Peltz, a well-known matchmaker and promoter as well as being one of the few promoters doing his own matchmaking spoke as well as anyone at the podium. He ran shows while attending Temple University at the age of 22 in 1969 and brought in “Bad” Bennie Briscoe on his first show. He said “we didn’t need any med’s in those days only a boxer with a heartbeat or without.” How in 1970 he brought in IBHOF trainer George Benton to headline a show and paid him 1k while the show itself cost $800 to run prior to this. Benton’s manager insisted Benton’s return but Benton was not to be found at the gym he trained so Peltz got another headliner. When Benton showed up with his old yellow suitcase weeks before the event Peltz told him he was replaced because he wasn’t ever in the gym. Benton called his manager Gramby who got Peltz on the phone and said “isn’t your word good enough?”
Peltz remembered that and once brought in Gramby’s prize attraction heavyweight Tex Cobb to headline. He was to get 20k but got a bigger offer of 500k from MSG and Peltz reminded him of “isn’t your word any good?” Cobb fought for Peltz. Peltz said Cobb once said “I didn’t lose to Larry Holmes, I just lost the first 15 rounds.”
Gelb talked about how over 500 shows were run in AC from 1982-85 and how “Russell stole half of my stories.” Gelb’s sons were also in attendance. He said “when the NFL went on strike NBC decided to put on boxing in its place and how inductee Arturo Gatti sold out the Boardwalk Hall six consecutive times. Gatti’s beautiful daughter Sophia was there who was 3 when her father passed away. She spoke well of her father and how blessed she was to have him for a father.
King gave credit to Arthur Goldberg as “his boss who called King the light of the boardwalk starting him off at Bally’s.”
Chuck Zito formerly a Hell’s Angel’s biker accepted for Gatti. “He fought here 23 times and got Fighter of the Year from Ring Magazine 5 times. Bill Johnson talked about his brother winning his first 23 (including a draw) fights. “My oldest son’s wanted to box and the youngest was Leavander.
Former world heavyweight champion Bruce “Atlantic City Express” Seldon and Qawi were two who learned to box at the PAL.
Former light heavyweight and cruiserweight champion Dwight Muhammad Qawi said “someone saw my work on the streets of Camden and fought with their fists, no guns.” Spinks who defeated him along with being the first present light heavyweight champion to win the heavyweight title from Holmes thanked his Lord and Savior. The Lord worked through me and gave him all the honor and glory.
Hazzard had played the part in the Ali movie of Zack Clayton. He thanked McCline and Foreman and gave thanks to his wife Patricia along with their family. “She married me and the sport of boxing,” said Hazzard. “We had 3 fights in one day by USA Boxing, CBS all at different places like the Tropicana and the Boardwalk. Hazzard went on to say “it was better to stop a fight a little early than too late.”
Lindsay Tucker of the IBF spoke in accepting Lee’s award who was President of the first IBF with Tucker saying “Bob couldn’t make it tonight but was elated.”
King would be the final speaker giving one of his shortest speeches. “I started in Atlantic City in 1972 thanks to Elbaum. We had 8 world title bouts in Atlantic City promoted for and about the people. I started at the top with Ali,” said King. He said how current President Donald Trump helped him and what a great job he is doing now as President.
Current mayor Don Guardian spoke to close the event.
Quienes el Rey? Canelo Alvarez or Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.?
Quienes el Rey? Canelo Alvarez or Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.?
By: Kirk Jackson
Who is the King of Mexico?
Mexico, a nation historically grand with tremendous boxerspast and present – Juan Manuel Marquez, Ricardo Lopez, Erik Morales, Salvador Sanchez, Lupe Pintor, Daniel Zaragoza, Marco Antonio Barrera, Julio Cesar Chavez Sr., – the list goes on.
Many terms come to mind when describing the proto-typical Mexican fighter; powerful, gritty, technical and passionate.
To quote Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, “In Mexicao, we don’t fuck around!”
While Alvarez may not embody all of the generalizations and traits of the standard Mexican fighter, in this era with all eyes are on Alvarez, he is the torch bearer for Mexican boxing and one of the mainstream stars of boxing period.
As the A-side of any proposed match-up, Alvarez aims to establish himself as Mexico’s boxing king.
Julio Cesar Chavez Sr., who many perceive as Mexico’s grandest king, undoubtedly ruled the kingdom with iron fists and an iron chin to match during his reign in the 1980’s and 1990’s.
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., inherited some of his father’s physical attributes, but failed to follow his father’s footsteps as Mexico’s numerouno.
Escaping his father’s shadow is a difficult task and something Chavez Jr. struggled with his entire career in spite of success as a professional. The children of basketball icon Michael Jordan (Jeffrey and Marcus Jordan) can relate.
Alvarez now faces the son of the former king Chavez Jr.,in a highly anticipated, Mexican civil-war this weekend.
A match-up and rivalry years in the making, as both parties appear to have genuine dislike for one another and for what each party represents.
“I’ve always said that when you have two Mexican warriors, people will come out to show their support because they recognize that it’s going to be a great fight, it’s going to be a lot of action, it’s what the people want to see,” said Golden Boy Promoter Oscar De La Hoya.
“I am in this sport, as a promoter, to help the sport grow and these fights are pure emotion.”
Ironically, this match takes place during an Americanized holiday weekend Cinco de Mayo and on American soil.
However many questions underlie the main proposed inquiry; who is the king of Mexico – as Alvarez and Chavez are the two biggest names across the landscape.
Odds reflect on the surface, Alvarez is the betting favorite.For his part, Chavez Jr. prefers to be underestimated.
“They [Alvarez] do not want me to be at my best. They picked me because of my inactivity; I broke my hand, my disregard for training in the gym – but that’s good for me, because we’re going to try to give him a surprise,” Chavez Jr. said in an interview with Boxing Scene.
“I think they took the fight because of that, because they believe that I am not at 100% and that’s a benefit for me.”
Comparing credentials and accoladesAlvarez, is more accomplished as a fighter.
Alvarez is a four-time world champion, possesses a record of 10-1 (6 KO’s) in world title fights and a record of 11-1 (4 KO’s) against former or current world titlists.
Chavez Jr. is the former WBC middleweight champion, possesses a record of 4-1 (2 KO’s) in world title fights and a record of 3-1-1 (1 KO’s) against former world titlists.
While the consensus is Chavez Jr. is outgunned regarding hand speed, punching power, offensive punch versatility, counter-punching, defense, overall skills among other attributes, boxing matches are not won on paper and Chavez Jr. is capable of an upset.
“With the experience I have I’ve come to put on a good fight,” Chavez Jr. said to Sports Addiction.
“It will be hard, difficult. I have confidence that I can get past this commitment and have a good result, a good fight where I can knock him out, beat him like I said I would and I have prepared with that mentality.”
Chavez Jr. acquired the services of legendary trainer Ignacio “Nacho” Beristain, along with renownedboxing fitness coach Memo Heredia to assist with preparation for Alvarez.
Even with the services of Beristain and Heredia, defeating Alvarez will be a tall task for Chavez Jr.
“Nacho has the experience, he has the maturity to be able to help Chavez Jr. a lot – but even if you have the best coaches, they will not be able to help you if are not a disciplined fighter, “ says Beristain pupil Juan Manuel Marquez.
“Nacho is a disciplined coach and that injects you a lot of motivation.”
The fight between Alvarez and Chavez Jr. is a tale of two opposing stories and backgrounds. Most boxing fans recognize the name “Chavez” and realize the historic significance behind the name.
Chavez Jr. is the son of legendary Mexican pugilist Julio Cesar Chavez Sr.; an influential hero to fans and fighters alike.Chavez Jr. however, had the impossible task of walking in his father’s shoes; constantly dealing with comparisons and criticisms.
Chavez admittedly not only failed to live up to the bench mark of his father, but to the standards of a champion.
Failed drug tests, weight issues, lack of quality opposition, questionable decisions, etc., drew the ire from many observers; fans and boxing writers alike. Many wondered if Chavez Jr. was the classic example of nepotism gone wrong.
Alvarez descends from a fighting family, with older brothers competing in the professional ranks as well. The youngest of eight children Canelo, achieved the highest level of the profession, becoming world champion four-times over.
Alvarez turned professional at age 15, arguably had a more difficult rise towards the top and wants to remain there.
This fight has significant meaning for both parties. For Chavez, this is a fight for redemption, a fight that will help define his legacy. For Alvarez, this fight is important for his family and his legacy, as well as building towards the proposed match-up with unified middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin.
Golden Boy Promotion’s De La Hoya says we can expect a fight similar to that rivalry on Saturday night.
“Just like the old days, you feel the electricity in the air,” De La Hoya said in describing the significance of this fight.
De La Hoya continued, “There’s animosity toward each other, I can’t really explain it. There’s a lot of pride at stake. They have many years around each other, and you have to go back. Something happened. I don’t know if Canelo triggered it or Canelo triggered it, but they don’t like each other. They genuinely despise each other. In terms of action, I can see this fight unfolding like Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera.”
To quote hip-hop legend Nas, “There’s one life, one love, so there can only be one King!”
So who will it be? Alvarez or Chavez?
Boxing Insider Notebook: Molina, Pascal, Cotto, Lara, Povetkin, Kirkland, King, and more….
Boxing Insider Notebook: Molina, Pascal, Cotto, Lara, Povetkin, Kirkland, King, and more….
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of December 13th to December 20th, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Miguel Cotto vs. James Kirkland Showdown Set for February 25th
Roc Nation Sports and Miguel Cotto Promotions are pleased to announce that Five-Time World Champion Miguel Cotto (40-5, 33 KOs) will return to the ring on Saturday, February 25, 2017 when he takes on James “Mandingo Warrior” Kirkland (32-2, 28 KOs) at Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas. Coming off respective losses to Canelo Alvarez, both fighters will be seeking redemption in a 12-round junior middleweight showdown. The event will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View® beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.
Cotto and Kirkland will join Roc Nation Sports and the Dallas Cowboys organization on Monday, December 19, 2016 at 12:00 p.m. CT for a press conference at Ford Center at The Star to officially announce the fight. This will be the first event of its kind to be held at the state-of-the-art, 510,000 square foot indoor athletic facility shared by the Dallas Cowboys, the City of Frisco, and Frisco ISD’s high schools. Ford Center at The Star is also the home to the Dallas Cowboys Football World Corporate Headquarters.
Tickets priced at $304, $204, $154, $104, $79, $54 and $29 not including applicable service charges and taxes, go on sale Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. local time and will be available at all Ticketmaster locations, online at Ticketmaster.com, charge by phone at (800) 745-3000 and the AT&T Stadium box office.
“I’m excited to return to the ring and put on a great show. I can’t wait to start training camp and get ready for February 25,” said Five-Time World Champion Miguel Cotto. “Fighting inside the beautiful Ford Center, Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboy’s newest creation, and headlining the first ever boxing event there pumps me with a lot of enthusiasm and energy.”
“I’m very excited to get back into the ring against a legend like Miguel Cotto. I’m going to train like never before so I can show the world that the old James Kirkland is back,” said James Kirkland. “You know the fight will be exciting while it lasts. February 25 can’t come soon enough.”
“Miguel Cotto is back and ready to put on an exciting show against the always tough James Kirkland,” said Hector Soto, Vice President of Miguel Cotto Promotions. “We can’t wait to see Miguel back in the ring on February 25 on HBO Pay-Per-View.”
“On behalf of Roc Nation Sports, we are so thrilled about Miguel Cotto’s return to the ring and to bring the first public event to Ford Center at The Star,” said Michael Yormark, Roc Nation President & Chief of Branding and Strategy. “This will undoubtedly be a historic event with an exciting, all-action bout in store for the fans in Frisco and all of North Texas along with those watching from home on HBO Pay-Per-View.”
“We are excited to host an incredible matchup for the very first boxing match here at Ford Center at The Star,” said Jerry Jones, Dallas Cowboys Owner, President and General Manager. “This venue was designed with the idea of versatility in mind, and we expect a great crowd in Frisco, Texas to experience a world class fight between Miguel Cotto and James Kirkland.”
“Throughout his brilliant ring career, Miguel Cotto has never backed down from a challenge and on February 25 he takes on a dangerous knockout specialist in James Kirkland,” said Tony Walker, Vice President, HBO Pay-Per-View. “Fans watching live in Frisco and those tuning in on pay-per-view should not blink in what should be an all-action slugfest.”
Don King Responds to WBC and Povetkin-Stiverne Drug Tests
Top rated heavyweights Alexander Povetkin and Bermane Stiverne were scheduled to fight for the World Boxing Council (WBC) Interim Heavyweight title on Saturday night at the Ekaterinburg Expo Center in Ekaterinburg, Russia. However, the WBC withdrew it’s sanctioning of the bout due to a Povetkin failed drug test. The WBC informed both camps of their decision Friday evening and advised the Stiverne camp they should not go through with the fight. The WBC abides by “Safety First” protocol in their Clean Boxing Program.
Povetkin (31-1, 23 KOs) from Checkhov, Russia was going into the fight rated No. 1 by the WBC. No. 2 rated Stiverne (25-2-1, 21 KOs) was born and raised in Haiti, now residing in Las Vegas. They were to fight for the WBC Interim Heavyweight Title, the winner becoming mandatory challenger to current champion Deontay Wilder, who has been incapable of defending due to injury.
The WBC uses VADA (Voluntary Anti-Doping Association) to administer their drug testing. VADA uses random testing and athletes may be tested at any time. This is the second fight in which Povetkin has tested positive for a banned substance – this time Ostarine. Povetkin’s positive sampling was taken December 6 and the WBC and both fight camps were notified of the test results Friday night. Within a couple of hours of the notification, the WBC tweeted it was “Withdrawing its recognition of Povetkin vs Stiverne due to the positive result of Povetkin for Osterine,” and shortly thereafter wrote in its ruling “The WBC hereby withdraws its sanctioning of the bout for the heavyweight interim world championship and will conduct a thorough investigation of the circumstances of the case and will issue subsequent rulings as required.”
Statement from Stiverne’s promoter Don King: “To say that I am very saddened and extremely disappointed that Alexander Povetkin was caught again using banned substances would be an understatement. What is the WBC going to do about it will be the answer. Bermane Stiverne deserves better than that. Bermane should be declared the interim title holder. This is the second time Alexander Povetkin is in the drug abuse program and has embarrassed the WBC causing the WBC’s sanction of the fight as a world title fight being withdrawn. The firs time was the Deontay Wilder vs. Povetkin May 21 in Moscow.
“Even though it hurts Bermane economically, psychologically and especially psychologically, I want to congratulate the WBC’s Clean Boxing Program. WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman did himself and his organization, the WBC, proud by withdrawing their sanctioning of the fight.. Thank you WBC, thank you Mauricio Sulaiman, thank you for your honest, dynamic leadership.”
Ostarine is known to increase muscle mass and fat loss as well as increase stamina. Previously Povetkin was to face WBC titleholder Deontay Wilder on May 21, but tested positive for Meldonium a week prior to the fight. Meldonium is known to increase blood vessel size, increasing blood, hence, improving once again, stamina.
Erislandy Lara to Defend Title Against Yuri Foreman
Super welterweight world champion Erislandy “The American Dream” Lara (23-2-2, 13 KOs) will take on former world champion Yuri Foreman (34-2, 10 KOs) in a world title showdown that headlines Premier Boxing Champions on Spike on Friday, January 13 from Hialeah Park Racing and Casino in Miami.
Televised coverage begins at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT with former super middleweight world champion Anthony “The Dog” Dirrell (29-1-1, 23 KOs) battling Hungary’s Norbert Nemesapati (24-4, 17 KOs) in a 10-round bout.
“I’m very excited to be making my return to the ring in front of my Cuban fans in Miami on Spike on January 13,” said Lara. “Yuri Foreman is a former world champion who is dedicated to this sport and will be looking to win another world title. I expect nothing but the best from him. On fight night, I’m making another statement and going for the knockout! After this fight, it’s time to unify the division, then move up to win the middleweight titles. Everyone should tune-in because it’s going to be a great night of boxing.”
“I’m thrilled to be fighting for the world title,” said Foreman. “I’m really looking forward to showcasing my skills and talent and becoming a two-time world champion. At this stage of my career, it would be a tremendous accomplishment. Lara is very crafty and many elite fighters have had trouble dealing with his style, but I have studied him and am very confident that I will defeat him by presenting him with something he’s never seen before.”
The Cuban Lara will be making his fifth defense of his title as he heads to Miami to fight in front of the many Cuban boxing fans in the city. The consensus best fighter at 154-pounds, Lara will be challenged by an experienced Foreman, a former 154-pound champion in his own right, who has fully recovered from physical ailments that almost derailed his career. Now, Foreman looks to establish that he can still challenge at the elite level as he prepares to solve the crafty champion.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Warriors Boxing, are priced at $25, $35, $50, $75, $100 and $125, not including applicable fees, and are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased online at www.myticketforce.com by clicking HERE, by phone at (877) 840-0457 or at the Hialeah Park casino cage.
Barrerra Taunts Pascal, “Did My KO of Shabranskyy Scare You?”
Fresh off of his crushing 7th round knockout of the previously unbeaten Vyacheslav Shabranskyy, top rated light heavyweight contender Sullivan “Sully B” Barrera has his next victim in mind.
The former amateur standout from Cuba wants to avenge his countryman Yunieski Gonzalez’s defeat to Jean Pascal. Shabranskyy is the only other fighter to defeat his compatriot.
“I knocked out Shabranskyy to get revenge for my friend and I will knockout Pascal too. We can fight anywhere in the United States. Hell, I would go to his country of Haiti and fight him. I just want to get my hands on him,” Barrera stated.
Barrera has been chasing Pascal for two years but has had no luck getting the former champion in the ring. With Barrera’s main two targets – Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev – locked in for a year rematch in the first half of 2017, Barrera knows a fight between himself and Pascal would produce a worthy challenger for either one of them in the second half of next year.
“I want a rematch with Ward or a fight with Kovalev but I know they are fighting again so I can’t just sit around. Pascal needs to man up and fight me. If he beats me he can get a Ward fight. If I beat him I can get a Ward rematch or a Kovalev fight,” said Barrera.
“I can’t fight in Canada but I am willing to fight him anywhere else in the world. I will fight him in the backyard of his parent’s house in Haiti if he wants. Pascal, you need to stop running from me and give the fans the fight they want. Did my knockout of Shabranskyy scare you? Me and you toe to toe is guaranteed to end in a knockout! Congratulations on your win on Friday but now it is time for me and you to get in the ring!”
Adam Lopez Faces Danny Roman in Matchup of Top 10 Ranked Super Bantamweights in Main Event of ShoBox
Undefeated, WBA No. 3-ranked super bantamweight Adam Lopez (16-0-1, 8 KOs) will face the WBA’s No. 4-ranked Danny Roman (20-2-1, 7 KOs) in the 10-round main event of a ShoBox: The New Generation quadrupleheader on Friday, Jan. 20, live on SHOWTIME (10 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast) from Bally’s Atlantic City Hotel and Casino.
The first ShoBox telecast in 2017 features eight fighters with a combined record of 115 wins against just seven losses.
In the co-feature, undefeated super middleweight Ronald Ellis (13-0-1, 1 NC, 10 KOs) will face off with Christopher Brooker (11-2, 5 KOs) in an eight-round 168-pound matchup of ShoBox veterans.
In another eight-round featured bout, former national amateur champion Kenneth Sims Jr. (10-0, 3 KOs) and Dominican Olympian Wellington Romero (11-0-1, 5 KOs) will clash in an eight-round matchup of up-and-coming, unbeaten super lightweights making their ShoBox debuts in their toughest assignments to date.
In the opening bout of the telecast, undefeated bantamweight Stephon Young (15-0-3, 6 KOs) takes on Mexican veteran and two-time interim world title challenger Daniel Rosas (19-3-1, 11 KOs) in an eight-round bantamweight bout.
Tickets for the show, which is promoted by GH3 Promotions, Kings Promotions in association with Thompson Boxing (the main event) and Bally’s Atlantic City Hotel and Casino, are $125, $100 $75 & $50 and can be purchased at www.ticketmaster.com or calling 1-800-745-3000
Warriors Boxing Congratulates King Carlos Molina for Victory Saturday Night
Warriors Boxing sends congratulations out to Former IBF junior middleweight world champion “King” Carlos Molina for winning his sixth consecutive (and fifth this year) fight on Saturday night.
Fighting at the Gran Oasis Arena in Cancun, Mexico, Molina (28-6-2, 8 KOs) won a unanimous shutout (80-72 X3) decision over Diego “Demoledor” Cruz (17-4-1, 13 KOs). The 33-year-old Molina is currently rated #9 at welterweight by the WBC.
“I feel very comfortable at 147; this is my natural weight,” said Molina, post-fight. “I am at weight after working out and I feel faster in my fights. For this fight, I worked on utilizing my jab and being more effective with it. Over all I am happy about how things came together. I will continue to work hard to get back to a world title fight.”
Molina says he likes the hectic schedule he maintained this year, in fighting five times against respectable opposition.
“I want to stay busy. The activity I experienced this year was excellent and I want to continue being busy. I want bigger fights with anyone in the top 10 at 147. I want the fights that will lead to a second world title. I am a problem for anyone at 147 and in 2017, I want to be challenged with the best the division has to offer.”
“Carlos was one of the best in the world at 154,” said his promoter, Leon Margules of Warriors Boxing. “But at 147, he could very well be the best in the world. He is a true technician with a difficult style to solve for anyone. Now that he’s bigger and stronger than his opponents, he’s in very serious contention for a second world championship once again. He had a great year and I congratulate him.”
Gladys Rosa—A Conversation (Part I)
Gladys Rosa—A Conversation (Part I)
By Kent Wallace
I was seated at the “Office” (Legion Post 92) a shot in one hand a phone in the other— with Gladys Rosa on the other end of the line in New York City.
I was solo—the last time I saw Boom Boom she was sailing East on a Junk—but like Sonny and Cher said, The Beat Goes On…
Gladys Rosa is a renaissance woman—a gal who boldly climbed through the ropes of the male-dominated sport of boxing—her influence felt at the highest levels.
Gladys has worn many hats—publicist, interpreter, trouble-shooter, confidant and more…
Plus she’s served in these varies capacities for such seminal Champions as Muhammad Ali, Roberto Duran, Larry Holmes, Julio Caesar Chavez, Felix Trinidad and Mike Tyson (to name but a few).
Perhaps best known for her marketing and public relation skills—Gladys single handedly crafted the images of the aforementioned fighters to the Latin Market and conversely polished the voices and mien of Latin fighters for consumption in the USA—you might say, she was the mouth behind the mitts.
“With Caesar,” Gladys’ voice came through the electronic device with a passionate lilt, “I was involved in every aspect of his career. He never had an “official” manager and so while Don King did the promotion, I took Caesar under my wing in a managerial sense—grooming him for the world stage.
“In the case of Tito (Felix Trinidad), despite hailing from Puerto Rico he was not particularly well known there—the fact that my parents were born in the Commonwealth allowed us a more personal connection and level of trust. Tito became very comfortable with the blueprint I created for his career—needless to say it worked.”
Gladys was an expert at molding the public personas of fighters but this scribe wanted to know how it all began and she was quick to pounce with a breathtaking narrative…
“I was an advanced student in High School,” Gladys began. “Therefore I did not have to attend classes during my sophomore and junior years. Rather, I was allowed to earn credits by working as an intern.
“I was fortunate to land a spot with the City of New York under the tutelage of Melvyn Haywoode.
“So here I was, a self-confident 16-year-old, working with Mel, when I was asked to join my “boss” at a meeting regarding smoothing out the relationship between Don King (promoter for Muhammad Ali) and the Nation of Islam (Ali’s managers). The mission; to help King leverage his position with the Nation.
“I’ll never forget the meeting in King’s office on the top floor of Rockefeller Center—it was akin to Dorothy entering the palace of the Wizard in the classic film.
“There was a room full of people (all men) seated around a huge table—and while the scene was overwhelming I was not intimidated.
“I sat quietly listening to a string of community leaders prattle on with suspect solutions I found to be more
confrontational than conducive to bridge building—a grave lack of diplomacy.
“I guess the “Tell” was my facial expressions. You see, while I didn’t dare speak up, I couldn’t mask my contrarian scorn for the blather—and Don King took note!”
“Suddenly, he raised his hand, silencing the room and steering his gaze my way, ‘You don’t seem to agree with much that’s being said at this table Gladys. I’d like to hear your thoughts.’
“If silence can get even quieter it happened right then and there. And while I was out of my element, I nonetheless spoke my mind. I explained that all the ideas being put forth seemed aggressive and that in order to breach the impasse they needed to focus on resolving the clash rather than trying to strong-arm a path to reconciliation.
“Mr. King listened intently and when I was finished, he smiled and offered me a job—right there on the spot, ‘I’d like you to come and work for me,’ those were his exact words, and well, since I suspect I was on a roll, I replied, ‘I’ll work with you but not for you!’
“It’s not that I was trying to be imprudent or sassy, but I guess I was the kind of kid that stood her ground—on her own two feet—Puerto Rican pride.
“A gentle nudge from Mr. Haywoode brought me back to my senses…”
Gladys and I ended our conversation with the promise and commitment to speak again. And frankly, I can’t wait.
Gladys has had a long career in the fight game and especially with the colorful Don King. She has many a story to share and she assured me continued candor and frankness.
Stay tuned. Meanwhile, I’m heading back to the “Office” for a tightener…
Manny Pacquiao – The Lion In Winter
Manny Pacquiao – The Lion In Winter
By: Sean Crose
In reality, it truly does seem like a sitcom that’s gone on a season or two too long. Indeed, Manny Pacquiao’s jump from known boxer to household name occurred the better half of a decade ago. Since that time, the man has suffered three loses, become a political figure and has inched closer to forty. Truth be told, there will never be a fight as big as the one Pacquiao engaged in against Floyd Mayweather close to a year and a half ago – at least not during Pacquiao’s career. For the end is far closer than the beginning for the fighter known as Pac-Man – unless, of course, the Filipino icon engages in some Bernard Hopkins-style timelessness.
But perhaps that’s part of the plan. Oh, Pacquiao would never go out and say he wants to fight into his fifties – and perhaps he doesn’t – but it’s clear the man still has at least a good amount of the old fire in his belly, at least if recent training videos of the welterweight are any indication. Sure enough, Pacquiao is preparing for yet another battle, this time against the talented and hungry Jessie Vargas on November 5th in Las Vegas.
Pacquiao, of course, halfheartedly retired from the sport of boxing last spring after defeating Timothy Bradley – perhaps himself a future Hall of Famer – for the second (some would argue third) time in a row. That retirement, however, didn’t even last as long as the regular distance between one Pacquiao fight and the next. And so now he’s back – as if he’s ever left – throwing punches like pistons against pads held by longtime trainer Freddie Roach, looking as comfortable in the sport that’s brought him fame and fortune as he’s ever been. Yet time, as has been said countless times, waits for no one, and Pacquiao is no exception.
Indeed, great as he is, even the iconic Hopkins isn’t the fighter he once was. And, as people like to bring up, Pacquiao hasn’t knocked out an opponent in years (though that sort of thing tends to happen when one regularly faces top level opposition). Sooner or later, some young buck will likely come along to play Kovalev to the man’s Hopkins, or – worse yet – Marciano to his Louis. Such things tend to be inevitable if one wishes to continue competing at the top of one’s profession – provided that profession is boxing.
Yet here’s a sticky truth that many seem to overlook:
Pacquiao is still arguably the best welterweight in the world. He’s just bested Bradley and could conceivably best the likes of Danny Garcia, as well (we’ll see about Vargas, though Pacquiao has good reason to be favored). Sure, men like Keith Thurman, Errol Spence, Amir Khan and Kell Brook (should he return to welterweight) could pose a real challenge, but no one in his or her right mind would write PacMan off against those potential foes – at least not yet.
Until proven otherwise, this all-time great still may rule the roost at welterweight.
ALI-THE STORY THEY DARE NOT TELL YOU
Ali-The Story They Dare Not Tell You
By: Ben Underwood
On March 8, 1971, as 300 million people gathered to watch Ali’s first major fight since he was convicted in 1967 for bravely refusing to fight in the unjust Vietnam war, a group of heroic antiwar activists plotted their burglary of the FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania.
As the mainstream media praises Muhammad Ali for his boxing career and Parkinson’s while only glossing over his antiwar bravery, there are untold stories of how this amazing man changed the world.
One of these such contributions manifested through a terrible loss during Ali’s fight against the darling of the military industrial complex — Joe Frazier. Although Ali would take a knockdown and the first loss of his career, his fight provided cover for a heist that would expose the FBI’s secret spying, murder plots, and COINTELPRO that would change the world forever.
The noise from the fight would provide cover to the burglars as they broke into the office to expose the FBI’s heinous crimes. The group of eight activists would successfully expose the illegal spying operations of J. Edgar Hoover and how citizens across America were subject to the FBI’s black ops — including Martin Luther King, Jr.The group took every file in the office, and this cache would eventually lead to major congressional investigations and reform within the United States intelligence apparatus.
According to the Intercept:
‘The distraction of the fight helped the burglars, who called themselves the Citizens Committee to Investigate the FBI, walk away with more than 1,000 documents, including one that revealed the FBI’s secret COINTELPRO operations. These operations involved a panoply of dirty tricks that ranged from planting disinformation about antiwar activists, to planning the murder of a member of the Black Panthers, and sending innocent people to prison on the basis of false testimony by agents and informers.’
Also contained within those files was the entire life history of Muhammad Ali. The FBI had data on Ali dating back to elementary school.
‘There was some poetic justice in Ali providing cover for the burglary. As more and more secret FBI files became public as a result of the break-in, it was revealed that the FBI had kept tabs on Ali, beginning with its investigation of his Selective Service case. Some of his phone conversations were tapped, and FBI informers gained access to, of all things, his elementary school records in Louisville (teachers said little Cassius Clay, his original name, loved art). Informers also had diligently monitored and typed, word for word, what Ali said on his appearances on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.’
The eight activists who carried out the burglary of the century were never caught and they never broke their silence until over 40 years later in a book written by Betty L. Medsger, titled, The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover’s Secret FBI and for a and for a documentary titled, 1971, by Johanna Hamilton.
As the world mourns the loss of this great man, it is important we don’t let the media whitewash his antiwar efforts. The fights he endured in the ring were nothing compared to the ridicule and hate he faced from the pro-war establishment class. For taking a stand against killing innocent people, Ali suffered death threats and had his business shut down by the government.
The day after the fight, Ali, being the great man that he was, made the following statement playing down the loss of fight and highlighting the importance of everything else.
“All kinds of things set us back, but life goes on. You don’t shoot yourself. Soon this will be old news. People got lives to live, bills to pay, mouths to feed. Maybe a plane will go down with ninety people on it. Or a great man will be assassinated. That will be more important than Ali losing. I never wanted to lose, never thought I would, but the thing that matters is how you lose. I’m not crying. My friends should not cry.”