LeBron James To Helm Boxing Documentary Series “40 Days”
By: Sean Crose
“I love boxing,” basketball great LeBron James tweeted on Wednesday, “but I REALLY love the stories of the fighters and the build up to each! @UNITERRUPTED x @DAZN_USA will be giving you those stories. Yes Sir!!!!!!”
Thus James, who has been one of the best in the NBA for over fifteen years, announced he will be behind a documentary boxing series called “40 Days,” the first installment of which will focus on the leadup to the highly anticipated Canelo Alvarez-Daniel Jacobs middleweight title bout set to go down May 4th in Vegas. Uninterrupted – a company owned by James and Maverick Carter – will produce the series for the DAZN streaming service.
Photo Credit: Lebron James Twitter Account
“We are pleased to announce that @UNINTERUPRUPTED is set to produce a new docu-series titled “40 DAYS” in lead up to #CaneloJacobs,” DAZNUSA tweeted.
The first episode of “40 Days” is set to air April 23d, while a second episode will air on April 30th. Aside from DAZN, the April 23d episode will be aired on UNINTERRUPTED’s own channels, along with Univision, NBC Sports Network, the northeast’s MSG channel, and other local outlets. Carter claims the series will be designed for a “new audience of global boxing fans that want to see another side to these athletes that has yet to be shown.”
The documentaries are going to be in the tradition of other behind the scenes shows, such as HBOs 24/7, while at the same time presenting their own unique take on the genre. “These documentaries,” says Carter, “will shine a light on the three-dimensional aspect of who these athletes are outside of the ring and empower them to tell their own stories as they prepare for some of the biggest moments in their boxing careers.”
DAZN honcho John Skipper claims James and Maverick “have a unique vantage point that allows them to understand both Canelo’s pursuit to be one of the greatest of all time and Jacobs’ dogged determination to reach the pinnacle of his sport.” There’s no doubt both Canelo and Jacobs have stories worthy of documentaries. Canelo rose from the hardscrabble streets of Mexico to the top of the sporting world while Jacob’s successful, but near life threatening, battle against cancer has been well documented.
According to the Las Angeles Times, “Forty Days” may move on to focus on Anthony’s Joshua’s June 1st heavyweight title defense after the Canelo-Jacobs episodes are done.
HBO World Championship Boxing Results: Beltran Flattens Maicelo, Crawford Dazzles in Impressive Performance
HBO World Championship Boxing Results: Beltran Flattens Maicelo,
By: William Holmes
The ultra-talented and underappreciated Terence Crawford headlined tonight’s HBO World Championship Boxing Card live from Madison Square Garden in New York City as he took on former Olympic Gold Medalist Felix Diaz.
The untelevised undercard featured some of Top Rank’s best prospects, including gold medalist Fazliddin Gaibnazarov and the man many consider to be the best prospect from the US Olympic Boxing team of 2016, Shakur Stevenson.
There were no notable upsets on the undercard.
Unfortunately for Top Rank, Terence Crawford’s ability to draw in New York City appears to be questionable, as the top section of Madison Square Garden was empty and there were numerous empty seats in the lower section of the arena.
The first bout on the televised card was between Jonathan Maicelo (25-2) and Ray Beltran (32-7-1) for the NABF, NABO, WBA International, and in an IBF World Title Elimination Bout in the lightweight division.
Maicelo, surprisingly, had a large number of fans in attendance and they were very vocal during the ring entrance and announcements.
Both boxers fought out of an orthodox stance and Beltran was clearly the bigger fighter. Beltran pressed forward in the opening round while the crowd loudly chanted “Peru, Peru!” for their boxer Jonathan Maicelo. Maicelo was able to score a surprise knockdown on Beltran from a combination to the body and an accidental head-butt in the first. The clash of heads opened up a cut over the left eye of Maicelo and the left eye of Beltran. Beltran was able to hurt Maicelo with a left hook at the end of the round.
Beltran pressed forward to start the second round and opened up with an early left hook. Maicelo was able to respond with a solid four punch combination followed by a hard shot to the body. Maicelo looked energized and landed another combination on Beltran by the ropes. However, beltran later responded with a vicious left hook that sent the back of Maicelo’s head crashing hard on the mat.
Maicelo was out cold and the referee immediately stopped the bout. Ray Beltran wins by a vicious knockout at 1:25 of the second round.
The main event of the night was between Olympic Gold Medalist Felix Diaz (19-1) and Terence Crawford (30-0) for the WBO and WBC Super Lightweight World Titles.
Crawford, who had a noticeable height advantage, was active with his jab early on and chose to come out in a southpaw stance against the Diaz, who is a natural southpaw. Diaz was short with most of his punches and reached for his left hook while Crawford was active with his jab.
Diaz was able to land a good left hook early in the second round and later fell to the mat with a pushdown afterwards. Crawford was sharp with his jab for most of the second round and landed a sharp double uppercut combination in the middle of the round. Diaz was able to land a hard right hook near the end of the second that caught Crawford off guard.
Crawford hard a commanding third round and opened it up with a crisp counter left uppercut on a charging Diaz. Crawford’s accuracy with his jab continued in the third round and he was able to land several hard two punch combinations on Diaz.
Diaz was warned for a low blow in the fourth round, but more concerning for him was that Crawford’s accuracy showed no signs of letting up while Diaz’s face was beginning to show signs of swelling from Crawfrod’s accurate assaults.
Crawford dominated the fifth round which was punctuated by a left cross right jab combination and a hard left uppercut.
Crawford toyed with Diaz in the sixth round and seemingly touched Diaz with his gloves whenever he wanted to. Diaz was able to land some good punches in the seventh round and they had several good exchanges, but Crawford appeared to get the better of Diaz.
There was some trash talk between both boxers in the eighth and ninth rounds, but Crawford was landing combinations at will and the intensity of his punches showed no signs of slowing down. He had Diaz momentarily stunned in the ninth round with a hard left cross to the temple of Diaz.
Ringside doctors took a hard look at the eyes of Diaz before the start of the tenth round but decided to let him continue. Crawford took no pity on the plight of Diaz and battered him from ring post to ring post in the tenth round and toyed with him, again.
Diaz walked back to his corner at the end of the tenth round looking like a defeated man and his corner wisely decided to call of the fight.
Terence Crawford wins by TKO at the end of the tenth round in an impressive and dominant performance.
Undercard Quick Results:
Steve Nelson (7-0) defeated Gilberto Rubio (7-5) by TKO at 0:36 of the second round in the light heavyweight division.
Henry Lebron (2-0) defeated Johnny Estrada (0-2) by TKO at 0:52 of the second round in the super featherweight division.
Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (2-0) defeated Agustine Mauras (6-3-3) by decision with scores of 80-72 on all three scorecards in the super lightweight division.
Konstantin Ponomarev (32-0) defeated Edward Paredes (37-7-1) by decision with scores of 78-74 on all three scorecards in the super welterweight division.
Teofimo Lopez III (5-0) defeated Ronald Rivas (5-6-2) by knockout at 2:21 of the second round in the lightweight division.
Tong Hui Li (9-1) defeated Daniel Calzada (14-17-3) by decision in the super welterweight division with scores of 60-54 on all three scorecards.
Shakur Stevenson (2-0) defeated Carlos Suarez (6-4-2) in the featherweight division wins by TKO at 2:35 of the first round.
Boxing’s Endorsement Problem
Boxing’s Endorsement Problem
By: Brandon Bernica
Last Saturday, the sport of boxing presented its latest offering to the mainstream public – a fight between Manny Pacquiao and Jessie Vargas. The macro diagnosis of the event is that Pacquiao won a convincing decision absent of much fanfare, with fans still reeling from last year’s Mayweather-Pacquiao debacle.
But one thing you probably missed as Manny walked into the ring was the signature Nike swoosh missing from his trunks. After his inflammatory remarks regarding the LGBT community earlier this year, Pacquiao lost his Nike sponsorship, a deal he’s had for years. Instead, Manny’s trunks were adorned with lesser-known entities such as Motolite and Café Puro.
If you hadn’t guessed by now, boxing has an endorsement problem. If the world’s most popular active fighter can’t even garner a decent sponsorship, where does that leave the rest of boxing’s roster?
Look at every other league in the world. When you watch any soccer game, every player is outfitted with kits swamped with high-profile advertisements. Flip the television to a stream of commercials and you’re bound to see LeBron James raving about Samsung’s newest phone. Even boxing’s combat sports competitor, the UFC, attracts top-tier companies to their brand.
The real issue, though, isn’t the lack of sponsorship revenue waiting to be capitalized on by boxing big-wigs. Boxing’s decimated past largely owes its genesis to an abundance of money in the industry. No, the real omen is that no one seems to trust boxing, its model, its characters, or its viability as a major player in the realm of sports.
It’s a scathing referendum. Endorsements offer visibility to sports. They legitimize the segments of culture they support out of a sea of endless choices for entertainment. Let’s say someone who loves Coca-Cola has never observed any sports in his or her life. If they suddenly turn on a football game and see a Coca-Cola promotion play in the middle of the telecast, he or she might give that sport a chance because he or she can draw ties between an interest of theirs and this foreign game. It’s fallacy, but it works.
In a much less overt way, boxing faces the same dynamic. The sport constantly looks to expand its audience outside of its niche. Yet the absence of endorsements eliminates any cross-cultural publicity that could normalize boxing’s mistakenly jaded reputation to the masses. Boxing doesn’t benefit from discount deals and promotions that incentivize newer viewers to tune into big fights, other than the occasional Tecaté rebate on a pay-per-view. And even though Gennady Golovkin and Andre Ward have filmed spots for companies like Air Jordan and Apple, they are exceptions, as most fighters struggle to find any air-time at all, even on local television plugs. And having no fighters in front of the camera equates to less people aware of who they are.
An even more significant group of potential consumers boxing always aims to rope in are the former fans – those who once loved the sport but are now disillusioned by its politics and recklessness. In this respect, brands are incredibly helpful. Big-name companies have a lot to lose when they throw their name behind anything, let alone an entire industry like boxing, so their stamp of approval is highly valued. If, for instance, Taco Bell sponsors a big name fight, places all of its weight behind this event, and then the event ends with minimal action and a miserable decision, consumers will negatively connote that brand with negativity (stemming from the event). And quite honestly, boxing doesn’t offer a plethora of opportunities for companies to promote. Factoring in the constant possibility of awful judging with the unfiltered nature of post-fight interviews contrives a set of circumstances that results in poor exposure for endorsing brands.
If boxing wants to be treated like a professional entity, it needs to start acting like one. Committing to a sport-wide set of standards can entice companies to take the risk involved in sponsoring fights. Boxing owes its fighters a fair opportunity to chase external sources of revenue (such as endorsements) considering how volatile a career making money in the sport is. Bottom line: legitimacy starts from the inside-out, and if boxing wants to reach more homes, it needs to ensure the product it’s selling is clean, first.
Boxing in Sands Casino in Bethlehem and Sugar House Casino in Philly This Week!
Boxing in Sands Casino in Bethlehem and Sugar House Casino in Philly This Week!
By: Ken Hissner
Sands Casino in Bethlehem, PA, continues to be busy thanks to Kings Promotions while Hard Hitting Promotions is the first running in the Sugar House Casino in South Philly.
The Sands event will be over Fox Sports 1 on Tuesday with a line-up of young talent with a total record of 60-6 versus some good record opposition. Headlining is Super Middleweight Caleb “Sweet Hands” Plant, 13-0 (10), from Nashville, TN, against Dominican Juan “La Amenaza” DeAngel, 18-4-1 (17), over 10 rounds. Caleb is a top prospect who has fought in PA on three occasions including twice at the Sands.
There will be four 8 round bouts with Cruiserweight Earl Newman, 9-0 (7), of Brooklyn, NY, and Leo Hall, 8-1 (7), of Detroit, MI, Middleweight Dominican Junior Castillo, 10-1 (9), meets Khurshid Abdullaev, 7-1-1 (3), of Kyrgyzstan now out of Oxnard, CA. Light heavyweight Ecuador’s Carlos Gongora, 5-0 (4), out of Brooklyn, NY, takes on Ronald Mixon, 7-0 (6), out of L.A. Kyron “Shut It Down” Davis, 10-1 (4), of Wilmington, DE, with a TBA opponent. Four other bouts will open the nine bout show.
At the Sugar House Casino they will feature 19 year-old sensation Super Lightweight Milton “El Santo” Santiago, 14-0 (3), of Philly, against Dominican Ken Alvarez, 7-4-2 (3), out of PR, over 8 rounds. This is a 10 bout card with three 6 round bouts featuring Ricky Lopez, 16-4 (6), of Colorado Springs, David “One-Two” Murray 4-1 (3), of Wilmington, DE, and National GG champion Christian Carto, 2-0 (2), of Philly, John Joe Nevin, 7-0 (4), Two-time Olympian from IRE, a Silver Medalist in 2012 Olympics, Lebron “Popeye” Lebron, 5-0 (2), of San Juan, PR, Ring Announcing-boxer Alex Barbosa, 5-2-1 (1) , and debuting Angel Pizarro, both out of Philly. Making their debut will be Philly’s Laurie Shiavo against Mary O’Leary of Springfield, MASS. Philly Heavyweight Pedro Martinez, 7-9 (3), of Philly will also appear. There will be a press conference Wednesday 5:30pm at the Labor Union Hall Local 57, on 500-506 N. Sixth Street, in South Philly.