PBC on Fox Preview: Leo Santa Cruz vs. Rivera, Figueroa vs. Molina
By: Hans Themistode
After fighting just once in 2018 WBA Featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz (35-1-1, 19 KOs) will be looking to have a much more active year. It’ll start this Saturday night when he take on Rafael Rivera (26-2-2, 17 KOs) at the Microsoft Theater in California.
A win for Santa Cruz will be the fourth defense of his title and undoubtedly bring him the big fights that he always wants to be apart of. That win won’t exactly come easy no matter what the critics say.
Rafael Rivera is getting the opportunity of a life time as he is replacing the injured Miguel Flores who suffered an ankle injury. Rivera will be looking to create a major upset. Time and time again we have seen champions over look their opponents and suffer the price for it in the ring. It is no secret that Santa Cruz is on the verge of a unification fight with current WBC champion Gary Russell Jr. A loss Saturday night puts an end to that dream.
It will be an uphill climb for Rivera from the very beginning as the champion will have the edge in just about every category imaginable. That however does not mean he has no path to victory. This will be Rivera’s first crack at a world title. If recent history tells us anything then it will show us that there has been plenty of recent massive upsets to be wary of.
The story seems to be telling us that Leo Santa Cruz will have an easy time in their on Saturday night but often times in boxing the story never quite goes as planned.
While Leo Santa Cruz and Rafael Rivera battle it out for gold both Omar Figueroa Jr (27-0-1, 19 KOs) and John Molina Jr (30-7, 24 KOs) will be looking to reinsert themselves in the title hunt at the Welterweight division.
Both men have been hit with the inactivity bug as they have not competed since 2017. This is a clash of two men with similar fighting styles as they both enjoy coming forward and look for the knockout at all times.
At age 36 and coming off the longest layoff of his career Molina Jr needs a big performance to place himself back in the thick of things as a true contender. For Figueroa Jr he has looked impressive in his career thus far. Unfortunately he has lost plenty of years because of a lack of activity. This will be the second time in his career that he will have not fought for over a year and a half. At age 29 he is still in his prime and has plenty of time to fulfill the promising potential that he has continued to flash.
A loss for either man will be difficult to bounce back from. A win however can place one of these fighters back on track to a world title shot.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Ward, Kovalev, Atlantic City, Carl Frampton, Leo Santa Cruz, Bute, and more…
Boxing Insider Notebook: Ward, Kovalev, Atlantic City, Carl Frampton, Leo Santa Cruz, Bute, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of November 22nd to November 29th, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Kovalev vs. Ward Does 160,000 PPV Buys
Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev PPV numbers have been reported by RingTV as coming in at 160,000 PPV buys. These numbers aren’t really surprising, and the Pacquiao vs. Vargas bout almost doubled the number of buys at approximately 300,000.
The financial incentive might not be there for Andre Ward to pursue a rematch with Sergey Kovalev based on these low numbers.
Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame Announces their 2017 Class
The Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame (ACBHOF) today announced the first 24 members into its class of 2017. This epic event will take place at The Claridge, a Radisson Hotel located at Park Place & Boardwalk in Atlantic City, New Jersey on Memorial Day Weekend; May 26, 27 and 28, 2017.
The Claridge Hotel serves as the signature Corporate Sponsor for this knockout weekend and will host an exciting itinerary for guests that will include: a red carpet meet and greet, invitation only rooftop cocktail reception, and an Ultimate Fight Fan Experience Expo (an interactive boxing and entertainment experience with exhibits, merchandise and memorabilia from top fighters and brands available for purchase and photo opportunities and autograph sessions) that is open to the general public.
“This is an excellent class of inductees each-and-every one of these individuals are well deserved and have done remarkable things to help Atlantic City be recognized as a top boxing destination,” said Ray McCline
President and Founder of the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame. Inductees to Atlantic City Hall of Fame (ACBHOF) are named in six categories and selected by ACBHOF’s esteemed committee.
Fighter inductees are Mike Tyson, Arturo Gatti, Levander Johnson, Mike Rossman, Matthew Saad Muhammad, Dwight Muhammad Quai, Micheal Spinks, and Larry Holmes. Trainer and cutman inductees are Lou Duva, Mike Hall Sr., and Bill Johnson. Promoter, manager, advisor, matchmaker, and ring announcer inductees are Don King, Frank Gelb, Don Elbaum, and Russell Peltz. Commission judges, doctors, and referees inductees are Larry Hazzard Sr., Steve Smoger, and Dr. Frank Dougett. Media indcutees are Bert Sugar, Dave Bontempo, and Jack Obermayer. Special coordinator inductees are Ken Cordon, Bob Lee, and Dennis Gomes.
“This is the vein that carries the life blood of boxing which pumps into the hearts of millions around the world,” said Rodrick Green Vice President Strategy and Business Development for ACBHOF. “We have our fingers on the pulse of this vein and that energy will be uncapped during the First Annual Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame Weekend!”
“Having been a part of boxing in Atlantic City throughout my broadcasting career as well as being in the corner with my brother George; the idea to preserve Atlantic City’s boxing legacy is long overdue,” stated Roy Foreman Senior Vice President of ACBHOF. “The Hall of Fame will play a key role in bringing the sport back to prominence in a city that is known as one of the original meccas for the sport of boxing.”
Over the next several months leading up to the ACBHOF 2017 Induction Weekend, updates on room packages, a detailed schedule of events and expected celebrity appearances at the event will be posted on the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame and the Claridge Hotel websites.
All interested sponsors, exhibitors, and vendors looking be involved in the induction or to reserve a booth at it are encouraged to contact the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame (ACBHOF):
Tele: 1+ (609) 318 -3188 (USA)
P.O. Box 7221 Atlantic City, New Jersey 08401
Email: [email protected] or [email protected]
Carl Frampton & Leo Santa Cruz to Host Open to the Public Los Angeles Press Conference in Advance of Featherweight World Championship Rematch
Featherweight world champion Carl Frampton and former three-division world champion Leo Santa Cruz will host an open to the public press conference in Los Angeles to discuss their highly anticipated rematch taking place Saturday, January 28 from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas and live on SHOWTIME.
Also in attendance in advance of their world title showdown are 135-pound world champion Dejan Zlaticanin and former two-division world champion Mikey Garcia, who will clash in the opener of a SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING doubleheader beginning at 10 p.m./7 p.m. PT.
The press conference will take place on December 1st at 1:00 P.M. at the Los Angeles Central Public Library.
Top Bantamweight Antonio Nieves Scorches Hungary’s Szilveszter Ajtai and Sets Sights on Showdown with WBA Champ Warren
Last Saturday (November 26), Cleveland, Ohio-based bantamweight Antonio “Carita” Nieves stayed busy and kept himself in line for a cross-state showdown with Cincinnati-based WBA Bantamweight Champion Rau’shee Warren by stopping Hungary’s Szilveszter Ajtai with a single body shot.
Fighting at the Firebird Athletic Center in Bedford, Ohio, WBO #5-rated Nieves (17-0-2, 9 KOs) planted a single left hook to the Hungarian’s body at :46 seconds of round two to earn his 17th professional victory. Watch the video of the knockout HERE.
The impressive victory keeps alive Nieves’ dream of facing cross-state rival Warren in an all-Ohio bantamweight championship fight.
“The goal has always been to become a world champion,” said Nieves, post-fight. “I’d love to fight for the WBO championship and bring that belt back to the United States. The dream fight would be a unification fight with
Rau’shee Warren. I would love an all American, all Ohio match up with a great fighter like Rau’shee. We fought once in the amateurs back in 2011 when I had about four hours’ notice. He won that fight by decision in Cincinnati. While we have always respected him, the next time we meet, there will be a different result and a different winner.”
Nieves’ promoter, Dmitry Salita of Salita Promotions, says he’s happy with his fighter’s performance.
“Antonio did what he’s supposed to do as one of the world’s best 118-lb fighters,” said Salita. “That body shot he landed was one that few fighters could withstand. He’s in perfect shape and ready for his world title shot, which we are working to secure for him in the near future. I’m not sure I want Rau’shee Warren’s people to watch the video though. They may not give us the fight we really want.”
Settlement Reached Between Lucian Bute & District of Columbia Athletic Commission
A settlement has been reached between Lucian Bute and the District of Columbia Athletic Commission, several months after an initial anti-doping test result was announcement regarding traces of Ostarin found in Bute’s urine samples this past May.
Following the World Boxing Council (WBC) super middleweight world title bout between defending champion Badou Jack and challenger Bute, which ended in a draw, a positive test result was announced to the general surprise of Bute.
Since then, however, in-depth analyses has demonstrated beyond all doubt that this result was due to contamination of nutritional supplements, prescribed by Bute’s conditioning trainer and created by a laboratory in California.
All this information has been favorably received by the authorities of the Athletic Commission of the District of Columbia.
As a result of communications between the parties involved, an agreement was reached:
Lucian Bute voluntarily agrees to contribute $50,000 (USD), within a period not exceeding 90 days, to the WBC Clean Boxing Program (CBP).
Lucian Bute also agrees that his boxer license from the Athletic Commission of the District of Columbia be suspended for a period of six months, dating back to May 6, 2016.
The athletic commission therefore agrees to reject the disputed case immediately with the compromise reached between the parties and does not in any way consider that this compromise constitutes an admission on the part of Lucian Bute of the alleged facts or circumstances.
Lucian Bute intends to pay his voluntary contribution to the WBC CBP without delay and as the six-month suspension period of his boxing license from the District of Columbia ended November 6, he may now box at the place and time of his choice right now. The case is now permanently closed.
“I am extremely happy that everything is now over,” former IBF world champion Bute said. “I would like to thank my family and my spouse, Helena, all members of my team, Christian Ganescu, the Grant brothers, Groupe Yvon Michel, my manager, Al Haymon, my lawyer, Howard Jacob, and my friends, fans and supporters who were many to support me and to encourage and trust me during these dark and painful hours of my life. I would also like to thank the members of the Athletic Committee of the District of Columbia and its Chairman, Mr. Adam Weers, for listening and understanding, as well as WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman for giving me the benefit of the doubt and keeping me in the rankings of the best super middleweight challengers,”
In spite of this difficult period, Bute has continued training and he is more determined than ever to take the road back to regaining his world title. Bute is ready to face anyone who will stand between him and his goals.
“I am surrounded by the best team to guide me, ” Bute concluded. “I have, more than ever, the enthusiasm and will to fight. I have a lot of years ahead of me and I cannot wait to get back into the ring in early 2017.”
Media Training Day Quotes: Floyd Mayweather, Leonard Ellerbe
FLOYD MAYWEATHER, 11-Time World Champion
“My training camp is basically running the same way. I think it has been smoother than others. I feel very comfortable and happy with my performances. They push me hard at camp. They know what I need.
“The timing for this fight is right. This fight is about legacy, fans and family. I surround myself with all of the right people.
“I can’t say that this matchup is about hype. This is real life. This is two future Hall of Famers in a mega-fight.
“I’ve done record breaking numbers before and it looks like we’re going to do it again.
“Everything in life is about timing. I have no regrets that this fight didn’t take place five years ago. I didn’t think it was that big then, but it continued to get bigger and bigger. Not just in boxing, but outside of the sport. Pacquiao has continued to grow outside of the sport. We didn’t need to rush anything.
“This is going to be an exciting fight. Our styles are totally different. He is very, very reckless. Every move I make is calculated. I’m always 5-10 steps ahead of my opponent.
“We’ll see what happens when the fight starts. But when all is said and done I’m going to be the winner.
“Pacquiao is strong and solid but I don’t know if he can make adjustments like I can. I feel tremendous.
“This was a difficult fight to make happen, but we made it happen. This fight is one of the biggest ever in boxing.
“I’m still going strong. The last time I looked, I was 47 and 0.
“Anyone can get hit with a great shot, but I can make more adjustments and Manny can’t.
“I don’t think Pacquiao expected me to look as strong or big when we faced off (at the L.A. press conference).
“I walk around at 150-152 pounds to weigh 147 pounds. Other boxers weigh around 160-170 before coming down.
“I’ve got one more fight on my contract. I couldn’t be happier with SHOWTIME and CBS.
“Las Vegas is the boxing capital. During a Floyd Mayweather fight weekend, you can shop, party, stay out late and do anything you want. The city of Las Vegas has everything.
“There were offers to fight other places, but MGM Grand is my home.
“Anything I’ve asked of MGM Grand, they’ve done for me in a heartbeat. They’re all about making entertainers and athletes happy.”
LEO SANTA CRUZ, WBC Super Bantamweight World Champion
“I’m very grateful for the opportunity to fight on such an unbelievably huge card. I really want to thank Floyd Mayweather.
“Any boxer would like to be on this card where millions of people are watching. I’m happy to represent Mexico on this night and on this fight card.
“I look at it as a key opportunity for me to make an even bigger name for myself, which is my goal because one day I want to become a superstar like Floyd. That’s why I train really hard all of the time.
“There are no little fights for me. I consider every fighter dangerous. You lose when you think a fighter is not on your level and then he comes in hungrier than you. That will never happen to me.
“I don’t know who I’m fighting yet, but I’m sparring different guys with different styles.
“There’s always a lot at risk for me. People keep talking about all of these big fights, but if I don’t win now, there will be no big fights in the future.
“I know who I want to fight, but I don’t pick my opponents; I leave it up to my team. They make those kinds of decisions. My job is to fight and win.
“I have to stay concentrated. I have to maintain focus and concentration. I can’t get ahead of myself. I give 100 percent in training and in the ring. I always want to put on a great fight for the fans.”
LEONARD ELLERBE, CEO of Mayweather Promotions
“Boxing is at an all time high at the moment. There are a lot of great things going on. Between this fight and getting boxing back on network television, it’s all great for the sport.
“This fight will not only elevate the sport in general, but it will bring in the casual fan to the sport and that’s a great thing.
“The impact that Floyd Mayweather has had on this sport is immeasurable. People won’t be able to appreciate that until he retires. He’s done so much for this sport. He’s given fighters a platform to say to other promoters that they deserve the lion’s share of the money. He’s brought more sponsorships to the sport.
“Floyd Mayweather is the highest paid athlete in all of sports and he happens to be a boxer.
“I think the demand thus far only indicates how big this event is. This is a fight that’s been talked about for five years now and everyone is going to get exactly what they’ve been asking for.
“Manny Pacquiao is a great fighter. He’s been in a number of great fights and he’s had a terrific career thus far. These are the two best fighters of this generation and come May 2 there will be one man standing and it will be Floyd Mayweather.
“There’s no doubt it’s going to be a great fight. I’m really excited. I can see firsthand the day-to-day preparation that Floyd puts in and he’s working just as hard as ever. The fans are going to get a great fight that night.
“I don’t know what Manny Pacquiao has to do on May 2, but I know what Floyd Mayweather has to do. He has to do what he normally does and go in there and execute his game plan and I really expect Floyd to knock him out.”
FLOYD MAYWEATHER SR., Mayweather’s Trainer & Father
“Floyd is as well rounded a fighter as there has ever been, but he’s really still here because of his defense.
“Other guys fight with their head and their mind and come up short. It’s his great defense that has kept him on top for so long.
“I want you all to see it. It’s so plain and simple what he’s going to do. Even Ray Charles could see it.
“I honestly never thought that this was going to happen. So many people were trying to say Floyd was scared. Lets see on May 2 who is scared.
“I can’t tell you why or how, but here’s an update, Floyd is going to kick his a** and knock Pacquiao out.
“I didn’t watch one tape on Pacquiao. There is no reason to study him. He’s not at this level.
“Floyd is the best, I must confess. Nothing is going to stop Floyd Mayweather.
“Pacquiao’s trainer Coach Roach (Freddie Roach) is lying to you. Trying to trick you all. Floyd’s not getting knocked down in the gym. Floyd is the one knocking people down. Roach blows smoke with no hope.”