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Golovkin Reportedly Uneasy About Returning To Vegas For Canelo Rematch


By: Sean Crose

Gennady Golovkin is said to be a bit uneasy about returning to Las Vegas to fight Canelo Alvarez in a rematch of their September 16th throwdown. Golovkin promoter Tom Loeffler recently spoke with MMA Junkie and claimed “there are some things we’d want to address if the fight goes back to Vegas.” One of those things, presumably, is some of the judging that goes down in Las Vegas’ fights. Judge Adalaide Byrd gave boxing yet another black eye when she ruled in favor of Canelo over Golovkin by a score of 118-110 after their much hyped – and exciting – superbout several weeks ago.

While there was little doubt the battle between the two middleweights was extremely close and perhaps even difficult to score, few, if any, felt like either fighter deserved to win by so wide a margin as the one given by Byrd. The whole thing proved to be a tough pill for many fans to swallow, one made even tougher by boxing’s history of unfair judging. With a rematch between Golovkin and Canelo appearing inevitable, some are openly stating that it will be hard for Golovkin to ever get a fair ruling in Las Vegas, a town with a reputation for playing favorites.

The Nevada State Athletic Commission swears by its own honor of course, but analysts, fans, and it seems Golovkin himself are rightfully suspicious. Speaking of the judging that night, Loeffler stated that “it’s just unfortunate that people are talking about the scoring instead of the fight itself.” Known as an even keeled sort, the soft spoken Loeffler’s statements speak volumes. Although the man didn’t outright condemn the city of Vegas for the actions of one judge, he made it clear that his camp has legitimate concerns heading into a rematch with the extremely popular Canelo.

“We won’t rule out Vegas,” the promoter admitted, “but I know there was some hesitation from the GGG side.” Speaking of his fighter, Loeffler claimed “he’s never had that issue when he’s fought in California or New York or even in London,” a clear shot to the way business, at least the boxing business, is done in Vegas. Needless to say, the judging of the Canelo-Golovkin fight added to several months of criticism for the Nevada State Athletic Commission, one which has seen the body accused of putting money before fighter safety in its embrace of last summer’s Mayweather-McGregor novelty bout. Complaints over ethics and basic fairness, however, have yet to keep the community known as Sin City from hosting the biggest fights in the world

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“Pencilled in” – Joshua v Klitschko II set for Las Vegas


By: Thomas Nicholls

Anthony Joshua is set to fight Wladimir Klitschko at the T-Mobile Arena on November 11.

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Joshua stopped Klitschko in the eleventh round of their colossal battle at Wembley Stadium back in April. A fight that broke British records in grossing revenue and attendance and now they are set to do it all over again.

As the Joshua brand goes from strength to strength, his promoter and marketing mastermind, Eddie Hearn has been keen to showcase the star outside of the UK.

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Initially, it seemed they were taking the fight to the Far East, then there were whispers of a showdown in Nigeria, but now it seems the fight is set to take place in Boxing boulevard – Las Vegas.
Both Hearn and Joshua have been touring the US and theNevada city and the Matchroom boss reveals that he has held talks with representatives of MGM and the T-Mobile Arena as he looks to try and seal the rematch.

Speaking to Sky Sports News HQ, Hearn said: “I’ve been in Vegas with AJ, officially applying for my Nevada boxing license to promote there and that went well.

“I met with the MGM and met with the T-Mobile Arena, Vegas is the front runner and November 11 is the date that is pencilled in.

“It will probably take a couple of weeks to get everything over the line, but I believe Klitschko will take this fight and believe Vegas will be the one.
“AJ has been over there for about 10 days and has enjoyed himself and got to know the area a little bit.

“The amount of British fight fans that would travel there, it will be a momentous occasion and one that we will savour for a long time so fingers crossed it’s a party in Las Vegas on November 11.”

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Golovkin Ready to Show Who the Better Boxer Is


By: Francisco Martinez

September 16th Gennady Golovkin is set to meet Saul Canelo Alvarez in Las Vegas at the T-Mobile arena. A fight 2 years in the making. A fight announced right after Canelo’s shutout of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. a masterful performance not enjoyed to long by Canelo as his next opponent was brought to the ring there and then. To the surprise of many the fight we’ve all been asking for finally materialized. Canelo vs Golovkin is suppose to be the fight that proves what Canelo truly is capable of and the fight that proves is Golovkin the bogey man they make him out to be.

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With a combined record of 86 victories and 67 knockouts Canelo & Golovkin is almost a certain knockout ending. How do both fighters feel in regards to those expectations “It’s going to be a tough fight, a fight with a lot of action but I’ll make it clear as to who is the better man” expresses Canelo a conservative prediction as does Golovkin “I’m a professional athlete and for me it’s very interesting to see who’s better. Not special but who’s the better athlete, who’s the better boxer” states Golovkin.

If we look back into this fight and dig a little more we’ll find that Canelo & Golovkin have shared the ring before as both careers took off. In a sparring session that took place about 6 years ago or so at the Summit Boxing gym in Big Bear, California owned by Golovkin’s trainer, 2015 BWAA Trainer Of The Year, Abel Sanchez. The man responsible for Golovkin’s Mexican Style inside the ring. As for the sparring session a lot has circulated around the media and gym talk as to what actually happened but both fighters had this to say about their now legendary sparring session

“That happened about 6 years ago more or less. He has advanced, I have advanced. It can help a little bit but I won’t focus on it as we’ve both have totally advanced and sparring can’t influence a fight it’s way too different. It’ll be a good fight a fight the people have been wanting. It’ll be a good fight. We’ll be ready” says Canelo of the 6 year old sparring session. Gennady Golovkin had this to say about the past sparring session

“It was 6 years ago it’s a different time right now. It was sparring and it’s different. Sparring and fighting. It’s sparring not fighting” says Gennady Golovkin with a similar tone as Canelo to the past sparring between both. Canelo was just making his transition into 154lbs class and Golovkin was already a full fledged 160lbs fighter so the sparring can be taken with a grain of salt aside from what rumors might say took place within the sparring at the time.

About 21 days before Canelo & Gennady Golovkin are set to face each other another big fight will take place. The return of Floyd Mayweather in the same place and venue. A fight some critics think might affect Canelo & Golovkin’s revenue and possibly a strategic move by Mayweather. Arguably the best boxer ever, surely the best of our time and also known as one of the best business minds in boxing as well.

Golden Boy promotion’s Oscar De La Hoya is not concerned with Mayweather & McGregor taking place a couple of weeks prior to Canelo & Golovkin neither is K2 promotion’s Tom Loeffler “I figured they would make the fight I wasn’t sure when they would do it. It surprised us they would go before on August. You know August people are in still in vacation and you know that’s two big names that they have so they probably figured they can go when they wanted to and were gonna focus on our end to promote ours the best that we can and I’m sure that Floyd and Conor are gonna promote their event and I think that’s one of those fights that the build up would be more exciting than the fight itself but we’re gonna do the best we can on our end”

Floyd Mayweather gave his prediction to Canelo vs Golovkin late last year and he predicted Canelo would knockout Golovkin also went as far as to say he would beat Golovkin. Gennady had this to say about Mayweather’s recent comments “He talks too much. I think he’s not a promoter, he’s not Canelo’s promoter. I don’t know why? Ask him why?” Replied Golovkin to Mayweather’s comments.

Two mega fights that will take place withing a month of each other can only benefit boxing although some would disagree others would say it’s what boxing needs at this point in time in a year that has been one to remember boxing wise. This September 16th Supremacy in the middleweight division is what we’ll get once Canelo & Gennady Golovkin step into the ring in Las Vegas at the T-Mobile Arena live on HBO PPV.

So don’t miss it and follow the conversation and converage leading up to fight night via #CaneloGGG

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Press Release: Floyd Mayweather To Meet Conor McGregor In Unprecedented Boxing Event


Saturday, August 26 Live on SHOWTIME PPV®
From T-MOBILE ARENA in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS (July 11, 2017) – A worldwide audience will witness a one-of-a-kind sporting event when legendary boxer and pound-for-pound king Floyd “Money” Mayweather returns to the ring to battle all-time MMA great and UFC champion “The Notorious” Conor McGregor in a 12-round boxing match. The fight announcement on June 14 captured the world’s attention as fans across the globe anticipate the outcome of this once-in-a-lifetime showdown taking place Saturday, Aug. 26 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The event will be produced and distributed live by SHOWTIME PPV and promoted by Mayweather Promotions.

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A 12-time world champion in five weight classes, the 40-year-old Mayweather retired undefeated in September 2015 as one of the greatest to ever step in the ring, buoyed by box office success that saw him shatter nearly all of the revenue records in the sport’s history. Now, he returns to challenge the bold, powerful and popular McGregor, whose elite striking skills put him in the record books as the first athlete to hold two UFC titles simultaneously, all while soaring to the mantle of the sport’s No. 1 PPV attraction at only 28 years old.

Mayweather and McGregor will meet in a super welterweight contest (154-pound limit), serving as the first time champions from boxing and MMA will meet in a sanctioned boxing match.

“There was only one name that could bring me out of retirement and that’s Conor McGregor,” said Mayweather. “I’m excited to give the fans what they’ve all been asking for. I always want to do something different and groundbreaking and this fight with Conor is that perfect opportunity. He’s a young, skilled and powerful guy who I’m not going to take for granted. I expect to come out victorious, but anything can happen in the ring. This is a must-see event live or on pay-per-view on August 26. The whole world will be watching Mayweather vs. McGregor.”

“This is a historic fight and will be the greatest spectacle in combat sports history,” said McGregor. “I am about to change the entire approach to fighting as it stands today. On August 26 I will shock the world. Again.”

The SHOWTIME PPV on-air team will call the action on the telecast beginning live at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT. The telecast also will be available in Spanish using secondary audio programming (SAP).

Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions, said, “Floyd has been a trailblazer his whole career and this event proves that he is still the marquee name in the fight game. This is the kind of event that Floyd Mayweather and Mayweather Promotions are known for and we’re proud to bring this exciting night of action right to the fans. We know that Conor McGregor is a dangerous fighter who believes 100 percent that he is going to win this fight. I’m expecting to see as sharp a Floyd as always and I anticipate him doing what he always does, going in there and winning. You will not want to miss this once-in-a-generation showdown on August 26 in Las Vegas and live on SHOWTIME PPV.”

Stephen Espinoza, Executive Vice President and General Manager, SHOWTIME Sports, said, “We are proud to reunite with Floyd Mayweather, Mayweather Promotions and the MGM Grand to deliver this unprecedented global event. Never before, in the vast experience of SHOWTIME PPV which includes worldwide events featuring record-setting events with Mike Tyson, Julio Cesar Chavez and Floyd Mayweather, have we experienced a reaction like we have to Mayweather vs. McGregor. Both Floyd and Conor are trend-setting personalities who have transcended their respective sports. They carry unmatched reputations for spectacle and athleticism, and together they create a truly can’t-miss event.”

Dana White, President of UFC said, “My goal has always been to put on the greatest fights the world has ever seen, whether they take place inside an Octagon or a boxing ring. Floyd Mayweather is one of the best fighters of all-time but he has never faced someone like Conor McGregor. Throughout his UFC career, Conor has proven that he should never be underestimated and I believe this will be no different. On August 26th, we will see the biggest fight in history. The world will be watching to see if Conor can follow through on another promise and make history once more. No matter the outcome, this will be a historic night in sports and we are honored to give the fans what they have been asking for.”

Richard Sturm, president of entertainment and sports for MGM Resorts International, said, “It is an honor to have the opportunity to host the Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor fight at T-Mobile Arena, our industry’s leading venue for major sports and entertainment. Las Vegas is known for its summer heat but nothing will be hotter than this championship event on August 26.”

One of the most decorated fighters in the history of the sport, Mayweather, of Grand Rapids, Mich., and fighting out of Las Vegas, used his trademark speed, defensive prowess and ring generalship on his way to 24 triumphs over world champions during his illustrious career. Among those 24 victories are the biggest names in the sport, past and present, including Manny Pacquiao, Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto, Canelo Alvarez, Shane Mosley, Juan Manuel Marquez, Zab Judah and Arturo Gatti.

In addition to his in-ring accomplishments, Forbes, Fortune and Sports Illustrated have all named Mayweather the world’s highest paid athlete multiple times. His events amass record-breaking numbers; he has headlined four of the six highest-grossing pay-per-view events of all-time and holds the all-time record in gross pay-per-view receipts. His 2015 showdown with Pacquaio shattered the all-time pay-per-view television record with 4.6 million buys while the event grossed a staggering total of more than $600 million.

Mayweather, the only fighter to have headlined three events that each generated more than 2 million pay-per-view buys, has garnered numerous “Fighter of the Year” awards over his storied career, including five ESPY Awards and two Boxing Writers Association of America awards.

Representing his hometown of Dublin, Ireland, McGregor’s larger than life personality and devastating power have helped him become his sport’s No. 1 attraction. He became the first MMA fighter to crack Forbes highest-paid athlete list in 2016 and was even higher on the list in 2017.

He became the undisputed UFC featherweight world champion by delivering pinpoint left handed shots that quickly ended the nights of top fighters Jose Aldo and Chad Mendes. McGregor then moved up in weight for a pair of blockbuster matchups with Nate Diaz that saw him set a new mark for UFC pay-per-view buys when he defeated Diaz in the rematch last August.

After dispatching Diaz, McGregor set his sights on history as he headlined at Madison Square Garden against lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez. McGregor put on a striking clinic against Alvarez knocking him down five times before getting the second round knockout and adding the lightweight title to his featherweight world title, becoming the first UFC fighter to ever hold two belts concurrently.

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Canelo-GGG Sell Out T-Mobile Arena


Canelo-GGG Sell Out T-Mobile Arena
By: Sean Crose

In what should come as a surprise to absolutely no one, the much anticipated fight between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin has sold out the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Still, the fact that the host location sold out in what was essentially a matter of days is impressive. As Lance Pugmire of the LA Times states: “The sellout comes even before promoters have announced their co-main event and undercard, with lightweight champion Jorge Linares a possible participant.” Such details are telling. One could only imagine the size of the live crowd had the fight taken place at [email protected] Stadium near Dallas, as many had hoped it would.

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No matter. The September 16th twelve round middleweight bout between the 37-0 Kazakh and the 49-1-1 Mexican superstar is set to go down in the “Mecca of Boxing” and nothing can change that now. Vegas is where the money is, and Canelo-GGG has already proven itself to be a big money affair, with ticket prices ranging into the thousands and many willing to pay into the better half of one hundred dollars to watch the festivities live on pay per view. “The boxing public fully understands that this is the biggest fight in many years,” gushed Oscar De La Hoya, who clearly had reason to be happy.

What makes today’s news positive for die hard fight fans is it shows the September 16th event is not going to be overwhelmed entirely by the Mayweather-McGregor circus a few weeks earlier – though that might well be something Mayweather himself wishes would happen. While the circus may indeed take a lot of air out of the room, it’s not going to take all of it. In fact, right now it’s looking like there’s two major happenings on the horizon: The Most Interesting Fight In Boxing and the Pop Culture Event Of The Summer.

The Pop Culture extravaganza will come first, absorbing tons of mainstream media, fan boy and general societal attention before the Interesting Fight arrives. This may mean the Interesting Fight won’t get the attention and energy it might have had two possible narcissists not decided to perform a surreal duet in the public spotlight. Yet things are looking good for Canelo-GGG, regardless. Those who prefer good boxing to oversize personalities – and the numbers of such people are legion – are clearly looking forward to a top level event after the headache of August 26th subsides.

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Just How Big Will Canelo-GGG Be?


Just How Big Will Canelo-GGG Be?
By: Sean Crose

People were all kinds of excited when news was announced that Canelo Alvarez would finally be facing middleweight terror Gennady Golovkin in the ring. Not only was it THE fight serious boxing fans wanted to see, but the bout had the potential to cross the margins and make its way into the mainstream consciousness, where boxing rarely sees the light of day. There was a lot to look forward to that night in a Las Vegas ring, when Canelo, after easily beating Julio Caesar Chavez Jr, made it clear he and GGG would finally be getting it on. Boxing, much on the upswing in 2017, would have a bright shining object to show the world when middleweight supremacy was battled for in September.

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Unfortunately, another bright, shining object, nothing more than a trinket, really, seems to have taken all the mainstream potential Canelo-GGG may have promised. That particular object, which is honestly not worth mentioning, is said to be an affront to what is essentially the best bout in boxing. It may well be. But boxing fans shouldn’t care. For the truth is that Canelo and Golovkin were never going to break records when they met in Vegas. This was a one-to-two million buy pay per view event, at most. Enormous to be sure, but nowhere near groundbreaking.

So don’t get too upset. Sure, the circus has pushed Canelo-GGG back to the margins. Yet it’s a pretty well-known fact that Canelo has an enormous Mexican fan base behind him that’s VERY interested in his bout with Golovkin. Let’s also not forget about the serious fight fans who won’t be wasting money on a circus but, rather, will be gladly coughing up money for Canelo-GGG. Here’s something else worth considering – boxing, with our without the circus everyone is talking about – is in a VERY good place. Canelo got good PPV numbers for beating a guy few expected to win last time out. Anthony Joshua beat Wladimir Klitschko in front of close to one hundred thousand people in London. The Keith Thurman-Danny Garcia battle owned the night when it appears on network television. Things are going strong.

And as long as fights like Canelo-GGG are made, the sport will continue to prosper. A pop culture event can’t beat steady growth when it comes to the health of boxing. Circuses come and go. Great fights are timeless. Canelo-GGG will do excellent business in September. And if the fight is good, things will continue looking up for the sport.

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Andre Ward crushes Sergey Kovalev and shows he is King


Andre Ward crushes Sergey Kovalev and shows he is King
By: Kirk Jackson

Silencing the opinions of fans and critics amongst the media, Andre “SOG” Ward 32-0 (16 KO’s) defended his WBA, IBF and WBO light heavyweight titles defeating Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev 31-2-1 (26 KO’s) via eighth-round technical knockout in their highly anticipated rematch.

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Ward picked up where he left off in their first encounter; using lateral movement and angles to navigate inside the Kovalev’s dungeon of danger. Ward avoided the full brunt force of the hazardous, powerful 1-2 combinations (straight right hands, left jabs) of Kovalev while unleashing his own devastating attack.

As menacing as Kovalev’s punches can be, Ward proved again his will and fistic sophistication is even more demoralizing.
“I think it was plain to see that I broke him mentally and physically,” said Ward in a post-fight interview.

“I’m not a person that demands respect or none of that. You don’t have to respect me and I don’t demand anything, but at a certain point and time, you got to give a person their just do. I’m 13 years in and I’ve been doing it against the best.”
In crushing Kovalev from a physical standpoint, the emphasis of Ward’s attack was towards the body. A successful strategy utilized in their initial encounter.

After taking command during the first half of the first fight, Kovalev slowly succumbed to the constant pressure applied from Ward; squandering his lead and losing his titles in the process.

As the bigger man and the fighter thought of as the more threatening figure based off his destructive punching power, Kovalev looked worn for wear heading into the later rounds. The “Krusher” looked deflated after a hard fought highly competitive battle.

The same strategy proved successful the second time around.

“When I saw him react to the body shots that were borderline, I knew I had him,” Ward said. “Go back down there. Why get away from it?”

“Then I hurt him with a head shot and I just had to get the right shots in there to get it over with. That one’s probably borderline – he was hurt, I went right back there again, he wasn’t reacting, right back there again and the referee stopped it.”

And as with the first fight, the second fight also appears boiled in controversy. In which HBO, the network responsible for broadcasting the event contributed to regarding confusion the first time around.

Whether it’s the dubious scorecards from longtime HBO judge Harold Lederman, or the questionable calls of analysis from play-by-play commentator Jim Lampley, more times than not, the casual fan is misinformed regarding the content and story of the fight.

The controversy regarding the results of the rematch stems from the interpretation of what is perceived as effective body punches or illegal low blows.

Critics, most notably Kovalev’s promoter, Main Events CEO Kathy Duva, points to low blows from Ward as a reason Kovalev lost yet another fight to Bay Area boxer. HBO analyst and boxing legend Roy Jones Jr. suggests otherwise.

“We saw earlier that he [Kovalev] was complaining from a borderline body shot and anytime someone fakes that much from a borderline body shot it makes it hard for you not to go back down there if you a seasoned veteran,” said Jones.

“It was borderline but when your cup is above your navel, the ref usually tells you I’m not gonna call these shots low right below the belt, because your belt is above your navel.”

Bob Bennett is the executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission. The bout between Ward and Kovalev took place in Las Vegas, NV.

Bennett talked to the referee in charge of the fight, Tony Weeks. Bennett also expressed his confidence and belief that Weeks made the correct decision regarding the bout between Kovalev and Ward.

“I felt we had it right the first time. And I thought Tony did a great job this time,” Bennett said to USA Today.

“I’ve reviewed the fight this morning. I looked at those punches that were allegedly low, and even spoke to (HBO’s) Tom Hauser, who sent me a video, saying one of those punches was low but it was very hard to determine because Kovalev’s arm was by his waist, and the punch looks like it comes up underneath and hits on the belt line.”

Bennett continued, “It’s rather interesting at the end that when Ward hits him in the stomach at the end, he sat on the ropes. And the punch looked good. Weeks was in good position to see where those blows landed and they’re right on the belt line.”

“Are they close? Sure. But do they look good? Yeah. Did he have one or two low blows where Tony told him to keep them up? You could argue that he did. But at the same time you could argue that Kovalev put Ward in numerous headlocks and Tony had to reprimand both of them. I think the stoppage was good.”

Bennett’s assessment, along with Weeks’ assessment of where Ward’s punches landed regarding Kovalev’s belt line, reiterates the observation and analysis from HBO analyst Roy Jones Jr.

What we have from Duva and Team Kovalev is a litany of excuses. Ironic as the theme for this particular event is “No Excuses.”

“Excuses” correlates to the main reason Kovalev suffered defeat against Ward not only once, but twice.

This isn’t just the physical element at play. Yes this is a sport, this is boxing, the highest form of competition, one on one battle, where physicality matters. But there was a psychological war waging as well.

Kovalev’s foundation and mental makeup is constructed as a carefully crafted portrait of a cerebral, cold blooded killer. What was left out is the mountain of lies and excuses shadowing this illustration.

There are two types of people.
The first type makes excuses for their shortcomings and lacks accountability.

The second type recognizes and accepts their flaws and weaknesses, while making necessary adjustments to correct mistakes and progress forward.

Excuses can be regarded as a sign of mental weakness.

As great of a fighter Kovalev is, rising to the top of the sport bullying fighters and relying on intimidation; mainly predicated from his punching prowess, he lacks accountability regarding his deficiencies.

He mocked fighters, singled out and disrespected groups of people varying in sex and background en route to his rise of success.

Whether it’s suggesting to the two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Claressa Shields, that women should be at home making family life comfortable, or addressing Haitian-Canadian, light heavyweight rival Adonis Stevenson as a monkey, referring to Ismail Sillakh and African-American fighters as “negros,” along with other references aimed at “dark-skinned people,” is uncalled for.

Referring to Grover Young as a “thoroughbred nigga” further implies ignorance and immaturity.

Utilizing memes and videos, attributing idiotic stereotypes based on someone’s skin complexion and background is another red flag.

Former light heavyweight champion Beibut Shumenov of Kazakhstan, expressed his belief in Kovalev’s narrow-minded bigotry in an interview with Ring Magazine.

“I was shocked when I heard about his racist comments that he said in reference about African-Americans. There was no misinterpretation or lost in Russian-to-English translation of what he said,” Shumenov said.

“He will have to live with the derogatory words that he said in print and video. A lot of my team are African-Americans, and they are more than members of my team, they are family to me. They have my back and I have theirs, and I have zero respect for racist views of any kind.”

Do you notice a pattern here?

Whether its disrespectful remarks hurled towards peers, distasteful comments and tweets, or thoughtless posts across various social media outlets, character is often revealed through particular actions.

The “Krusher’s” character is on full display.

But what happens to the bully once he’s confronted? The bully usually folds. The case with Kovalev and Ward is a classic example. Ward stood up to Kovalev.

Regarding their fights, it’s why entering the jaws of death (fighting in range of Kovalev’s punching power) was imperative for the success of Ward.

It leaves a psychological effect; telling the bully I’m still here regardless of your tactics.

The “Krusher” openly and adamantly discussed his desire to end Ward’s career. Time and time again, his tag line for the rematch and this was directed at Ward, “I’m going to end your career motherfucker!!”

Perhaps it was just for promotion for their fight, although there appears to be genuine dislike between camps.

After suffering consecutive defeats and the last by TKO to Ward, it now appears Kovalev’s career is heading down the drain.

The question is who will fight Kovalev now? He is still a great fighter and arguably still one of the best fighters pound-for-pound.

But that’s the underlying issue; he’s still a great fighter, possessing terrorizing power, but lacks leverage or incentive to garner fights.

So which upcoming challenger is going to take the risk of fighting him? The question beckoning for that challenger is the financial compensation worth the risk of potentially losing?

It’s unlikely he and Ward will mix it up for a third time. The option of WBC and Lineal light heavyweight champion Stevenson appears improbable due to failed negotiations of the past.
As far as figuring Kovalev’s next step, these duties fall under the promoter and management team correct? The same promoter responsible for paying Kovalev.

Or not paying him, depending on the live gate and pay-per-view success of this past event.

Duva is clearly frustrated, displaying emotional discomfort during a trying time for her fighter who is short on options.

It’s also fitting the fighter and promoter in this instance is paired together.

Now this isn’t an obituary for Kovalev or his promoter Duva.

The 34-year-old former champion can work his way back to title contention, it’s just a matter of how he decides to do so and if he decided to remain in the light heavyweight division.

Regarding the winner of last weekend’s festivities, Ward proved yet again, he is the best fighter pound-for-pound.

Speaking to HBO after the fight Ward said, “Let me ask you the question, can I get on the pound-for-pound list now? At the top?”

Five time world champion, winner of the Super Six World Boxing Classic, unified champion at super middleweight and light heavyweight.

He overcomes every test and every adversity placed in front of him; whether it’s nagging injuries, criticism from fans and the media, or physical and psychological challenges of his opponents. No excuses, he rises to the occasion.

After conquering the super middleweight division, he moved up to a loaded light heavyweight division and just knocked out the biggest bully in boxing.

Enough said, crown him.

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HBO PPV Preview: Rigondeaux vs. Flores, Bivol vs. Agnew, Ward vs. Kovalev


HBO PPV Preview: Rigondeaux vs. Flores, Bivol vs. Agnew, Ward vs. Kovalev
By: William Holmes

HBO Sports will present four fights on Pay Per View on Saturday night which will feature a main event rematch between the two top boxers in the light heavyweight division, Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward.

Their first bout was a close and entertaining affair that saw Ward scratch out a decision victory after being knocked down early in the bout. Ward and Kovalev genuinely dislike each other and this bout should be as entertaining as the first one.

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Main Events and Roc Nation will be co-promoting this event which will take place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The following is a preview of three of the planned televised bouts.

Dmitry Bivol (10-0) vs. Cedric Agnew (29-2); Light Heavyweights

Prospect Dmitry Bivol is a two time Russian National Gold Medalist as an amateur at two different weights and has never tasted defeated. He lives in Russia but was born in Kyrgyzstan and has never tasted defeated.

Bivol will be four years younger than Agnew, who just turned thirty. They are both six feet tall. Agnew was a runner up in the National Golden Gloves as an amateur.

Both boxers have decent power, but Bivol appears to be the harder puncher. He has eight stoppage wins in only ten fights, while Agnew has fifteen stoppage wins and one stoppage loss.

Bivol has been very active and already fought twice in 2017 and three times in 2016. He has defeated the likes of Samuel Clarkson, Robert Berridge, and Felix Valera. Bivol has never faced someone with a losing record, which is rare for prospects as they are usually brought up slowly.

Agnew’s biggest wins have come against boxers past their primes. He has defeated the likes of Yusaf Mack, Otis Griffin, and Daniel Judah. His two losses were to Sergey Kovalev and a man that Bivol has defeated, Samuel Clarkson.

Agnew is a decent boxer with a good looking record, but he’s been fairly inactive since his loss to Kovalev. He only fought once in 2017 and did not fight at all in 2016. This is a bout that Bivol should win quite easily.

Guillermo Rigondeaux (17-0) vs. Moises Flores (25-0); WBA Junior Featherweight Title

Guillermo Rigondeaux is one of boxing’s best talents and unfortunately, one of boxing’s most avoided fighters.

He’s a two time Olympic Gold Medalist and a two time Gold Medalist in the world amateur championships. He’s slick, quick, and has some incredible defense on top of pin point accuracy. But, his style is considered boring by the average fan and he struggles to bring in a large fan base.

He’s facing his mandatory challenger for his WBA Junior Featherweight title, but it doesn’t appear Flores will be a real challenge to him.

Flores does have an edge in the physicals. He’s six years younger than Rigondeaux and will have a five inch height advantage and about a one inch reach advantage. He’s also been more active than Rigondeaux, but not by much. Flores fought once in 2016 and twice in 2015. Rigondeaux fought once in 2016 and once in 2015.

Flores also doesn’t have the amateur pedigree of Rigondeaux and hasn’t faced good opposition.

Rigondeaux has defeated the likes of James Dickens, Drian Francisco, Joseph Agbeko, Nonito Doniare, Roberto Marroquin, Teon Kennedy, and Rico Ramos. He has eleven stoppage wins on his record but has been unable to entice any of the other world champions to face him in the ring.

Flores has spent most of his career fighting in Mexico against sub-par opposition. He has seventeen stoppage victories, but only two of his past five fights resulted in a TKO or KO victory. His notable wins have come against Oscar Escandon and Mario Macias.

Rigondeaux needs an entertaining victory badly if he wants to stay relevant and land a date on HBO or Showtime. Hopefully he takes some risks to go for the stoppage on Saturday, but there’s little to no doubt that will emerge victorious.

Andre Ward (31-0) vs. Sergey Kovalev (30-1-1); WBO, WBA, and IBF Light Heavyweight Titles

Their first bout was close, very close, and many boxing aficionados thought Kovalev did enough to win the decision. However, the judges disagreed and scored the bout 114-113 on all three cards for Andre Ward.

Luckily for fight fans they get to witness a rare rematch between two of a division’s best on Saturday night, between two boxers who genuinely dislike each other.

Both boxers are nearing the end of their prime. Ward is thirty three years old and Kovalev is thirty four. They are both six feet tall and Kovalev will have a slight one and a half reach advantage on Ward.

Ward is known for his slick, defensive boxing and his accurate counter punching. Kovalev is known for his devastating power. Ward only has fourteen stoppages in his career while Kovalev has twenty six of his opponents.

However, Kovalev’s last two opponents made it all twelve rounds and he was not able to stop the aged Bernard Hopkins. Kovalev’s power appears to be waning.

Ward had a considerable amount of success as an amateur and was able to win the Gold Medal in the 2004 Summer Olympics. Kovalev won a gold medal in the Russian Amateur Championships, but did not experience the type of success Ward experienced as an amateur.

Ward has defeated the likes of Alexander Brand, Sullivan Barrera, Edwin Rodriguez, Chad Dawson, Carl Froch, Arthur Abraham, Sakio Bika, Allan Green, Mikkel Kessler, Edison Miranda, and of course Sergey Kovalev.

Kovalev has defeated the likes of Isaac Chilemba, Jean Pascal, Bernard Hopkins, Blake Caparello, Ismayl Sillah, Nathan Cleverly, and Gabriel Campillo.

Ward is a slick, intelligent boxer who’s able to adjust his style mid match to defeat his opponent. Kovalev’s power caught him off guard in their first fight, but he was able to adjust and win a majority of the rounds in the second half of the fight. Kovalev’s power appears to be escaping him and he looked frustrated in the later rounds against Ward.

Even though their first bout was very close, a rematch favors Ward and this writer expects him to win by a more comfortable margin.

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Sergey Kovalev Interview: “I Want to Destroy this Guy”


Sergey Kovalev Interview: “I Want to Destroy this Guy”
By: Matthew N. Becher

Sergey Kovalev will attempt to redeem his lone defeat against Andre Ward on June 17th, Live on HBO Pay per view. Kovalev has been very outspoken in the media about his disdain for Ward and that he felt ‘Cheated’ out of his titles the first time they fought. We were able to briefly speak with Sergey as he is entrenched in the middle of his training camp in California.

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Photo Credit: HBO BOxing

Boxing Insider: What was running through your mind when the judges read all 3 scorecards were for Ward?

Sergey Kovalev: When I hear him say ‘and the new…’ I could not believe what I was hearing.

Boxing Insider: What do you need to do different in this fight to make sure you win?

Sergey Kovalev: I was “over-trained’ for my first fight against Andre Ward. I did three work outs a day. I tried to do everything faster, more, and stronger. Instead of running five miles, I did eight miles. I did more than I usually do all the time. I over-trained.This time I do everything less, more smart.

Boxing Insider: The last time we spoke I asked “do you think you can actually knock Andre Ward out?”…you answered, “I don’t know”. Nowthat you have fought him, can you knock out Andre Ward?

Sergey Kovalev: This is boxing, anything can happen. Do I wish to knock him out? Sure. We will see on June 17 on HBO PPV

Boxing Insider: What are some things that impressed you with the way Ward fights?

Sergey Kovalev: (No answer)

Boxing Insider: Will you change anything in this training camp compared to the last?

Sergey Kovalev: My preparation right now is doing great, much better than last time because I took care of all the mistakes I did last two fights. Two last fights I was over-trained, for Chilemba and for Ward, and I fought similar. But this training camp I am doing everything very good. I am doing the same training, but less.

Boxing Insider: What are your true feelings about Andre Ward, is it hate, respect, etc.?

Sergey Kovalev: I do not like this guy. I want to destroy this guy as a boxer, as a champion. For me he is not a champion, he’s a fake champion.

Boxing Insider: If you do win this rematch, would you make Ward fight outside of his comfort zone?

Sergey Kovalev: Let’s see first what happens on June 17th. First of all I must get back my belts, we’ll see what will happen after this.

Boxing Insider: Since he missed your HBO Faceoff, Is there any message you’d like to send to Andre Ward right now?

Sergey Kovalev: He’s playing with me, but what’s broken you makes you only stronger right? I only care that I should beat him on June 17 and get back my belts.

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Canelo-GGG Will Go Down At T-Mobile Arena In Las Vegas


Canelo-GGG Will Go Down At T-Mobile Arena In Vegas
By: Sean Crose

Many people wanted the September 16th Canelo-Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin superfight to happen in Texas, at the AT&T arena, home of the famed Dallas Cowboys. Of course, fight fans had a right to want to see the fight there. AT&T is a location that might actually be able to fit a record setting crowd. And, after this past spring’s Anthony Joshua-Wladimir Klitscko war in front of 90,000 people in England, fans could only be expected to hope for the same kind of explosive atmosphere back here in the states. Canelo-GGG is the biggest legitimate fight in boxing, after all. What’s more, the sport has been on the uptick in a big way. Why not continue to ride the wave by letting the world see just how big boxing can be in America in 2017?

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Unfortunately, for those hoping for a thrilling Texas night, Oscar De La Hoya announced on ESPN today that Canelo-GGG will, in fact, be happening at the T Mobile Arena in Vegas. Once again, Sin City will host the sport’s biggest match. So much for reasonably priced tickets. So much for an event exclusively of and for the fans. Still, it would be unfair to bash De La Hoya or Golovkin promoter Tom Loeffler for this. Boxing, as we’re forever reminded, is a business, after all. As long as the big fights are being made, fans can only complain so much. None of that is to say that the [email protected] arena’s Jerry Jones didn’t work hard to make the fight go down in the same building where his Cowboy’s play. Ultimately, though, the allure of Vegas proved to be too strong.

“The city’s ability to attract high-rolling gamblers helped it bankroll the unrevealed site fee,” wrote the LA Times’ Lance Pugmire. What’s more, De La Hoya made it clear that Vegas is a party town and that there’s a lot more to a big fight than the big fight itself. Surprisingly enough, Vegas has, until now, not hosted Golovkin, perhaps the most feared individual in all of combat sports today, in a high level match. Canelo, on the other hand, can be seen as a Vegas regular, as he’s fought in major bouts in the city on numerous occasions – most famously against Floyd Mayweather in 2013.

Speaking of Mayweather, it’s been mentioned that perhaps Floyd’s interest in fighting MMA star Conor McGregor in a boxing match may have had some impact on the decided location for Canelo-GGG. De La Hoya and Loeffler, after all, wouldn’t want Floyd fighting in Vegas around the same time their own major event was going down.

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Canelo-GGG: Location, Location, Location


Canelo-GGG: Location, Location, Location
By: Sean Crose

Now that the biggest question in boxing, the one about if and when Canelo would face GGG, has been answered, fans and analysts are looking for a new mystery to be solved: Where will the fight be held? This may all seem somewhat ridiculous on the surface of things, but it’s not. They say real estate is essentially about location, location, location, and, although location may not be AS big a deal in boxing as it is in real estate, it certainly is important. The Rumble in the Jungle, The Thrilla in Manilla, Shelby Montana, the list of notable fight locations can be rather extensive.

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Remember that the first heavyweight champ, John L Sullivan, would actually fight on a barge, out of reach of authorities. One can only imagine what it must have been like trying to employ effective footwork.

The matter of location, however, has become particularly acute in recent weeks. Why? Because Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitshcko battled for heavyweight supremacy in front of a reported ninety thousand people in London last month. That’s more than the population of some cities. And with that many fans came that much intensity. The atmosphere at Wembley Stadium for Joshua-Klitschko was positively explosive. In fact, it helped accentuate the experience of viewing a terrific top level matchup. The bout, in all its aspects, was just the kind of thing boxing needed, and now fans would love to see the same intensity when GGG steps into the ring to face Canelo in September. Needless to say, a large scale venue for such an anticipated fight would make for terrific optics and atmosphere.

Yet there’s Vegas, always Vegas, in the running. Indeed, Sin City is still THE place for professional boxing. There’s a lot of money to be made in the desert, after all, generally more than there is anywhere else. It’s only logical to put the biggest money fights there. Still, those with vision will want to please fans with at least somewhat affordable seats and plenty of them. They will also recognize that fights placed against epic backdrops tend to draw lots of attention. It will be hard for even the most boxing-indifferent mainstream outlets to ignore Canelo-GGG should the fight go down in front of, say, a sold out [email protected] Stadium in Dallas.

Fans will undoubtedly know where this match is occurring soon enough. Here’s hoping it’s someplace as electric as London was a few short weekend’s ago.

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Canelo vs. Chavez Undercard Results: Diaz, Matthysse, and Lemieux Win Convincingly


Canelo vs. Chavez Undercard Results: Diaz, Matthysse, and Lemieux Win Convincingly
By: William Holmes

The T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas has quickly become the new hotspot to for big fights time pay per view fights and was the host site for tonight Golden Boy Promoter pay per view card headlined by Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Canelo Alvarez.

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The first bout of the under card was between Joseph Diaz Jr. (23-0) and Manuel Avila (22-0) in the featherweight division.

Avila pressed forward in the opening moments of the first round but was a little short with his punches while Diaz was sharp with his straight left right hook combination. Diaz’s jab controlled the distance in the first and second rounds.

Diaz stayed disciplined in the second and selectively slipped through his counters. Avila slipped at the end of the second round and looked slightly off balance.

Avila had a good third round with some good shots to the body, but Diaz ended strong with a straight left followed by a short left hook Avila forced his combinations in the fourth and fifth round and may have landed more punches, but Diaz landed the harder counters but wasn’t as active as Avila.

A cut above Avila’s left eye was bothering him in the sixth round and Diaz took advantage by pressing his attacks and landing hard straight left hands. The sixth was Diaz’s most dominant round of the night at this point of the fight.

Diaz’s seventh round was just as good as the sixth. His right hook to the head and body was especially on point, and the highlight of this round was a Diaz combination on Avila by the corner.

Diaz was in clear control in the eighth round and landed some good shots to the body of Avila. Diaz staggered Avila twice in the ninth round and nearly scored a knockdown.

Avila needed a knockout in the final round to win, but he didn’t come close to achieving it.

The final scores were 100-90, 99-91, and 99-91 for Joseph Diaz.

The next bout of the night was between Lucas Matthysse (37-4) and Emmanuel Taylor (20-4) in the welterweight division.

This was Matthysse’s first fight since his knockout loss to Postol, but he came out strong behind his double jab and landed good shots to the body and head. Matthysse landed a straight right at the end of the first round that hurt Taylor, but Taylor was able to survive the round.

Taylor was pensive of Matthysse’s power in the second round and was taking several hard combination. Matthysse had Taylor covering up by the ropes on more than one occasion in the second.

Taylor came out aggressively in the third round but head butted Matthysse early on and forced the referee to momentarily stop the bout. Taylor came right at Matthysse when the fight resumed, but was tagged with a straight right hand that send him down to the mat. He was able to get back up and shake off the punch, but the power of Matthysse was being felt.

Matthysse’s aggression carried him through the fifth and sixth rounds as Taylor’s power paled in comparison to Matthysse. Matthysse landed a a hard combination on Taylor by the ropes in the fifth round that busted the nose of Taylor and sent him crashing to the mat.

Taylor as able to get up before the count of ten, but he was still on wobbly legs and the referee stopped the bout.

Lucas Matthysse wins by KO at 2:21 of the fifth round.

The final bout on the undercard was between David Lemieux (37-3) and Marcos Reyes (35-4) in the super middleweight division.

Lemieux comes out showing good head movement, but Reyes was able to land his jab in the first thirty seconds in the bout. Lemieux connected good shots to the body and was chasing Reyes around the ring and invested in the body. Reyes was able to land some good jabs, but Lemieux was clearly the aggressor.

Lemieux was able to open up a cut over the eye of Reyes in the second round and forced Reyes to grab on nearly every time he landed a shot. Lemieux hard a dominating third round and was landing some heavy, heavy, power shots. Reye’s right eye was bleeding badly and his chin was tested often this round, but somehow he stayed on his feet the entire round.

Lemieux’s power display continued in the fourth round with a straight right hand that knocked out the mouthpiece of Reyes. However, Reyes was able to land some surprising right hands near the end of the round that may have stunned Lemieux.

Reyes is a little more active in the fifth round and lands some good punches on Lemieux and even outboxes Lemieux. Reyes chin tested often, but it somehow stays strong and he may have landed more punches than Lemieux in the fifth.

Lemieux appeared to be fighting more cautiously in the sixth round as his activity slowed down, Reyes however picked up his activity and threw a high volume of punches.

Lemieux was able to regain control in the seventh round with a vicious left hook that forced Reyes to hold on and slowed him down significantly. That control continued into the eighth round as Reyes badly needed a knockdown to turn the tide of the fight around.

Reyes fought valiantly and displayed great heart and a sturdy chin in the final two rounds, but he was not match a boxer with the pedigree of Lemieux.

David Lemieux wins by decision with scores of 99-90, 99-90, and 98-91.

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HBO PPV Boxing Preview: Canelo vs. Chavez, Lemieux vs. Reyes, Matthysse vs. Taylor


HBO PPV Boxing Preview: Canelo vs. Chavez, Lemieux vs. Reyes, Matthysse vs. Taylor
By: William Holmes

On Saturday night HBO will televised another Canelo Alvarez Pay Per View as he takes on fellow Mexican boxer Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

This bout will take place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada during Cinco De Mayo weekend. Hopefully, the winner of this bout, expected by many to be Canelo, will be next in line to take on the current middleweight kingpin Gennady Golovkin.

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Photo Credit: Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions

At least two bouts will be shown on the undercard, including Golden Boy mainstays David Lemieux and Lucas Matthysse. Super prospect Joseph Diaz will also likely be on the televised portion of the card.

The following is a preview of the three main fights.

Lucas Matthysse (37-4) vs. Emmanuel Taylor (20-4); Welterweights

The hard hitting Lucas Matthysse has long been a fan favorite, but has not competed since being knocked out by Viktor Postol in 2015.

Matthysse will be giving up one inch in height to Taylor but will have a significant four inch reach advantage. Age may be a factor for Matthysse as he is thirty four years old and eight years older than his opponent.

Inactivity will also be a factor for Matthysse; he fought zero times in 2016 and twice in 2015. Taylor fought twice in 2016 and once in 2015.

Matthysse was an amateur champion in Argentina but did not have a lot of success on the international circuit as an amateur. Taylor is a three time National PAL Champion and a five time junior golden gloves champion.

Matthysse has the more impressive list of defeated opponents. He has beaten the likes of Ruslan Provodnikov, Roberto Ortiz, John Molina Jr., Lamont Peterson, Mike Dallas Jr., AJose Olusegun, Humberto Soto, DeMarcus Corley, and Vivian Harris. He has closes losses to Zab Judah and Devon Alexander, and had more convincing losses to Danny Garcia and Viktor Postol.

Taylor has defeated the likes of Karim Mayfield, Victor Manuel Cayo, and Raymond Serrano. His losses were to Antonio Orozco, Adrien Broner, Chris Algieri, and Prenice Brewer.

Taylor has gone 3-3 in his last six fights and has difficulty beating opponents on the highest level. Matthysse has been inactive the past two years, but has faced and defeated opponents with a much better pedigree than Taylor.

Matthysse should win this bout and should possibly give Taylor his first knockout loss.

David Lemieux (37-3) vs. Marcos Reyes (35-4); Middleweights

Many consider Lemieux to be the third best middleweight behind Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez.

Unfortunately for fight fans, Lemieux has the easiest opponent on paper for the night.

Lemieux is one year younger than his opponent and will be giving up about four inches in height. Lemieux has thirty three stoppage victories on his record while Reyes only has twenty six. Both boxers have been stopped during their careers, as Lemieux has two stoppage defeats while Reyes has one.

Reyes has no notable amateur background and Lemieux is a three time Canadian National Amateur Champion.

Lemieux has defeated the likes of Curtis Stevens, Glen Tapia, Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam, Gabriel Rosado, Fernando Guerrero, Jose Miguel Torres, Hector Camacho Jr., and Elvin Ayala. He has losses to Marco Antonio Rubio, Joachim Alcine, and Gennady Golovkin.

Reyes only good win was to Rogelio Medina. His losses were to Elvin Ayala, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Abraham Han and Amilcar Edgardo Funes Melian.

Some fights are close calls and hard to pick. This isn’t one of them.

Lemieux will win.

Canelo Alvarez (48-1-1) vs. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (50-2-1); Super Middleweights

This is one of the biggest bouts to be made between two Mexican boxers. One is considered by many to be the heir apparent to the throne of Floyd Mayweather Jr. when he retires. The other is the son of a legend and very successful in his own right.

Canelo was a former Junior Mexican National Boxing Champion and turned pro at the age of fifteen. Chavez only had two amateur fights and no notable amateur accomplishments.

Chavez is thirty one and is starting to near the end of his physical prime. Canelo is only twenty six and has a lot of years left in boxing during his physical prime. Chavez will have a noticeable size advantage. He will be four inches taller than his opponent and will have about a two and a half inch reach advantage.

Both boxers have some power in their hands, but Canelo appears to have the advantage. Canelo has thirty four stoppages on his resume and has stopped three of his past four opponents. Chavez has thirty two stoppages on his record, but only one of his last five opponents failed to go the distance with him.

Canelo has a very impressive list of defeated boxers and has averaged two fights a year since 2012. He has defeated the likes of Liam Smith, Amir Khan, Miguel Cotto, James Kirkland, Erislandy Lara, Alfredo Angulo, Austin Trout, Josesito Lopez, Shane Mosley, and Kermit Cintron. His lone loss was to Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Chavez has defeated the likes of Marcos Reyes, Brian Vera, Andy Lee, Marco Antonio Rubio, Peter Manfredo Jr., Sebastian Zbik, and John Duddy. He has lost to Andrzej Fonfara and Sergio Martinez.

Chavez has claimed that he is rededicated to the sport and training hard for this fight. However, his inability to stay focused for fights during training has been long documented and it’s hard to suddenly say I’m going to be in shape for this fight when you haven’t taken your training seriously in the past.

Canelo is too good and too technical for someone like Chavez to suddenly commit to the sport of boxing wholeheartedly to defeat. Chavez will have his moments, but Canelo will emerge victorious.

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Breaking: Ward-Kovalev II Is On


Breaking: Ward-Kovalev II Is On
By: Sean Crose

“Wait for it…”

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These words came from a Tweet today from light heavyweight kingpin Andre Ward. Shortly thereafter, one was able to find some major observers of the boxing world taking to the internet to declare (via sources) that a Ward rematch with Sergey Kovalev was a done deal. What’s more, the date of the rematch was said to be June 17 at the T-Mobile Arena in Vegas. Naturally, it wasbeing stated that the fight will appear via pay per view (you didn’t expect it on CBS, did you?). If word around the campfire was to be believed, a press conference announcing the much anticipated battle will occur next week.

Then, later in the afternoon, Ward tweeted the following:

I’m going to keep it short & sweet, you got what you asked for, now you have to see me JUNE 17. This time leave the excuses at home. #EARNED

Long story short…Ward-Kovalev II is on.

Ward knocked Kovalev off his light heavyweight pedestal with a highly controversial decision late last fall. It was a good, close fight, no matter how you look at it and a rematch is most certainly in order. Still, there was fear in some circles that Ward was far less than interested in facing the Russian again anytime soon.

So much for that line of thinking.

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What we learned from Manny Pacquiao vs. Jessie Vargas


What we learned from Manny Pacquiao vs. Jessie Vargas
By: Kirk Jackson

As expected, Manny Pacquiao 59-6-2 (38 KO’s) soundly defeated former WBO Welterweight Champion Jessie Vargas 27-2 (10 KO’s), capturing the WBO title for a third time.

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The result was not a surprise. Pacquiao is still one of the best fighters in the world, proving this by defeating a top pound for pound fighter, Timothy Bradley 33-2-1 (13 KO’s) earlier this year. Although the results against Vargas were expected, we learned a few things in the process.

We learned the validity of Pacquiao’s star power is questionable.

The polarizing star that was Manny Pacquiao since simmered due to the sound defeat by the hands of retired rival, Floyd Mayweather 49-0 (26 KO’s).

Was Pacquiao’s popularity and commercial success is stemmed from his association with Mayweather’s name? Has his social stances and involvement in politics played a factor?

Whether the decline of popularity stems from the backlash of his derogatory comments about homosexuals, the myriad of excuses as a result of losing to Mayweather, or what some would consider lack luster performances against Mayweather and Bradley, it appears the star power is no longer there.

Pay-per-view numbers are down, attendance is down and the fans do not want to see these match-ups. Pacquiao-Bradley 3 was not on the wish list, nor was Pacquiao vs. Vargas.

Speaking of Pacquiao vs. Vargas, the event itself was lackluster; not too many casual fans even knew about the fight. HBO, the home network for Pacquiao dating back more than 10 years, wanted nothing to do with this fight and for good reason.

The bout was advertised as The Legend (Pacquiao) vs. The Champion (Vargas), speed (Pacquiao) vs. power (Vargas), the recently retired, future Hall of Famer returning one more time to take on the surging star, seeking to cement his placement and legacy among the boxing landscape.

We learned this was nothing more than another mismatch; a trend we’ve witnessed many times from Bob Arum when match-making for Pacquiao. Think Chris Algieri and Brandon Rios. Rios, Algieri, and Vargas are by no means bad fighters. They are clearly not on the same tier as Pacquiao.

With this recent match-up, clearly we have a case of false advertisement. Vargas and the term “power” do not necessarily belong in the same sentence; he boasted a whooping knockout rate of 35 percent entering his fight against Pacquiao.

Real power would be Pacquiao versus Keith Thurman 27-0 (22 KO’s), or Danny Garcia 32-0 (18 KO’s), or Shawn Porter 26-2-1 (16 KO’s) or even Errol Spence 21-0 (18 KO’s).

These matches mind you, are now an open possibility now that boxing lords Bob Arum and Al Haymon have seemingly established a temporary truce and they handle all of the fighters mentioned.

Against Vargas, Pacman held the advantages of speed, power, skill, experience; every variable imaginable. There was a longer layoff between fights for Vargas compared to Pacquiao, and Pacquiao is supposed to be the “retired” fighter.

The other potential match-ups for Pacquiao mentioned however, present a different story and a different series of problems compared to Vargas.

We learned The Senator from the Philippines is still a pretty good boxer and should not quit his day job.

No he is not the fighter he once was at age 28. But the hand speed is still there, the fluidity of feet, his movement is there, punching power is still present, along with his ability to overwhelm opponents with his experience and ring intelligence as opposed to relying on the punch output of his younger years.

Obviously as a fighter ages he physically declines to an extent, but he can make up for those minor deficiencies with his intelligence. Speaking of intelligence…

We learned Stephen A Smith should not do commentary for boxing events. Ever. As talented and intelligent as Mr. Smith is, boxing is not his strong suit.

He even had the audacity to argue back and forth with fellow play by play commentator, former world champion, Timothy Bradley.

Incorrectly addressing Guillermo Rigondeaux the “Ax Man,” a moniker reserved for Nicholas Walters, improper timing, inaccurate analysis of the fights generally speaking, Smith appeared out of place.
We learned Pacquiao never retired.

It’s difficult to imagine Pacquiao actually retired in April, only to return in November. That is about as believable as the mystical healing properties of the ocean healing Pacquiao’s shoulder injuries as he claimed last year.

There’s much to speculate about regarding why Pacquiao continues to fight. He is a senator and holding a seat in political office is a full-time job.

So why continue to fight? Especially when you’ve conquered the sport a few times over, winning multiple world titles across several weight classes.

What else is there to prove? Is Pacquiao seeking redemption? Or is he seeking redemption, along with an extravagant amount of money? Speaking of which…

We learned this was an audition for a rematch against Mayweather.

Why else was the “retired” Mayweather in attendance? Be hard pressed to believe he was there solely to support his former fighter Jessie Vargas.

It’s fair to suggest, Floyd “Money” Mayweather loves money and would capitalize on an opportunity to reel in a ton of it. Coincidentally, so does Pacquiao and Arum.

A rematch featuring Pacquiao and Mayweather would generate hundreds of millions. Much to the chagrin of another interested spectator in attendance of Pacquiao’s last fight, Terence Crawford 29-0 (20 KO’s), who would love a piece of the Pacquiao pie.

Crawford, the two division world champion, 2014 Boxing Writers Association of America Fighter of the year recipient, would love nothing more than to capitalize on an opportunity to fight Pacquiao.

Crawford’s trainer Brian McIntyre, wants the same and constantly expresses confidence his fighter will defeat Pacquiao if the two ever meet, which appears unlikely any time in the near future.

But as the days pass, manifest destiny becomes ever so clear.

Mayweather recently had a sparring session, came to watch Pacquiao fight, Pacquiao winked at Mayweather in route to comprehensively defeating his opponent who stood no real chance of winning; the stars are aligning ladies and gentlemen.

The shoulder injury and drama to follow their encounter in May of 2015, left the door open for a rematch. This is something all parties involved wanted. Because who can pass up all that money?

No matter how many the fans complain, people will pay to see Pacquiao vs. Mayweather. And it’s a decision that actually makes the most sense for Pacquiao.

The only thing he can lose is the match. Another potential loss against Mayweather will not negatively impact his legacy, while a win can only boost his legacy. A win against Mayweather trumps any significance a win from gathered against Spence, Thurman, Garcia or Porter.

We learned this is a serious discussion regarding the two. Money talks and more than likely, we can anticipate seeing Manny Pacquiao in the ring for the foreseeable future.

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