Boxing Insider Notebook: Cotto, Mayweather, Pacquiao, Canelo, Ward, Kovalev, and more…
Boxing Insider Notebook: Cotto, Mayweather, Pacquiao, Canelo, Ward, Kovalev, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of May 16th to May 23rd, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Miguel Cotto to Face Yoshihiro Kamegai on August 26th
Miguel Cotto (40-5, 33 KOs), the only four-division world champion in the rich boxing history of Puerto Rico, will return to the ring on Saturday, August 26 to take on the always-exciting Yoshihiro “El Maestrito” Kamegai (27-3-2, 24 KOs) in a 12-round match for the vacant WBO Junior Middleweight World Championship from the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. Cotto will attempt to secure a sixth world championship in four weight classes as he makes his 23rd appearance on HBO.
Cotto, a surefire, first-ballot Hall-of-Famer, has held world titles in the super lightweight, welterweight, junior middleweight and middleweight divisions and has fought and defeated a who’s who of elite fighters over the last 15 years including Kelson Pinto, Demarcus “Chop Chop” Corley, Ricardo “Mochuelo” Torres, Paulie “Magic Man” Malignaggi, Zab “Super” Judah, Sugar Shane Mosley, Antonio “El Tornado de Tijuana” Margarito, Ricardo “El Matador” Mayorga and Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez.
“I’m very excited to be back and showcase a high level fight for the fans,” Cotto said. “Kamegai is a great, tough fighter, but I will be ready for him and to capture the world title. I can’t wait to start training for this fight and get back in the ring on August 26.”
Kamegai is known as one of the highest-action fighters in the sport having engaged in a fight of the year candidate against Jesus “Renuente” Soto Karass in 2016 and taking champions and contenders including Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero, Alfonso Gomez and Johan “El Terrible” Perez into deep water.
“I fully understand who I am going to be in the ring against, but Cotto’s record and history won’t matter once we are toe-to-toe,” Kamegai said. “I am looking forward to giving fans the kind of aggressive fight that they have seen from me before and having my arm raised in victory.
“Miguel Cotto is a legend who is still fighting for title belts more than a dozen years after first being crowned a world champion. It’s remarkable,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. “But I’ve seen Kamegai in action many times, and the guy doesn’t ever take a step back. Miguel will have his hands full on August 26.”
“August 26 will mark the return of Miguel Cotto pursuing his sixth world title,” said Hector Soto, Vice President of Miguel Cotto Promotions. “Cotto vs. Kamegai will be another epic battle that promises fireworks in the ring between Puerto Rico and Japan. Miguel Cotto is back on the big stage of boxing, fighting in Los Angeles on HBO. Nobody can miss it.”
Floyd Mayweather Invites Anthony Joshua to Las Vegas to Train
Floyd Mayweather Jr. recently spoke to Fight Hype and invited Anthony Joshua to come to the Mayweather Boxing Club and train with him in Las Vegas. Mayweather met with Joshua in London on Sunday and praised him for his victory over Wladimir Klitschko.
Mayweather stated, “You have to respect AJ. He showed that he had heart but we have to bring hum up to the Mayweather Boxing Club as we want to tighten that defense up until it’s real, real sharp and real, real slick.”
Maayweather, who was in London for his Gervonta Davis’ fight, continued by stating , “I’m not trying to move his trainers out the way but there’s things we want to tweak. You saw what we did to Tank [Gervonta Davis]…nobody knew who this kid even wa. But we brought him up and now he’s world champion.”
View Mayweather’s comments at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxavXE7Gs6Y
Manny Pacquiao’s Coach is Wary of Jeff Horn’s Punching Power
Manny Pacquiao is set to face Australia’s Jeff Horn on July 2nd at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia.
Many people consider this to be an easy fight for pacquiao, but Hall of Fame Trainer Freddie Roach recently told ABC-SBN that he has some concerns and isn’t underestimating Horn’s power.
He stated, “This guy can punch. He’s knocked out his last few opponents.” He continued, “He’s dangerous with the right, he has a real good right hook, and that’s something Manny’s been hit with before. We’re fixing all that now and it won’t be a concern by fight time.”
Read more at http://sports.abs-cbn.com/boxing/news/2017/05/23/manny-pacquiao-s-coach-wary-jeff-horn-s-punching-power-26396
Canelo Cements Status as Top Draw in Boxing As Pay Per View Numbers from May 6th Fight Set to Eclipse Seven Figures
The Canelo Alvarez vs. Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. fight on Cinco De Mayo weekend will generate more than one million buys on HBO Pay-Per-View, locking in Canelo’s status as the brightest light in boxing, Golden Boy Promotions announced today.
“Everything I do is for the fans, and I want to express my gratitude for everyone who watches my fights and shows their support,” Canelo said. “My fans are the greatest in the world and this year in September on Mexican Independence weekend, everyone can look forward to another incredible performance.”
Some facts about Canelo’s PPV performance:
•Canelo will be the youngest A-side fighter in history to generate a seven-figure pay-per-view audience;
•This will be the largest Pay-Per-View audience to watch in a boxing match in two years;
•Canelo will be the first A-side fighter in 15 years not named De La Hoya, Mayweather or Pacquiao, to draw a million buys.
“These numbers solidify Canelo as the undisputed biggest name in the sport of boxing-simple as that,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. “At 26 years old, there is no limit to Canelo’s star power as he continues to cross over to mainstream audiences. Canelo only wants to take on the best and the biggest, and we’re confident he will continue to shatter records as boxing’s new pay-per-view king.
24/7 Ward-Kovalev II Premieres June 2nd on HBO
In advance of the highly anticipated light heavyweight championship rematch between world-class prizefighters Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev, HBO Sports will air “24/7 Ward/Kovalev 2,” an exhilarating 30-minute special examining the upcoming encounter. The intriguing pay-per-view event featuring the two pound-for-pound aces takes place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.
The “24/7 Ward/Kovalev 2” special will premiere Friday, June 2 at 11:30 p.m. (ET/PT). The special will look back at their first fight and will preview the hotly anticipated rematch between two accomplished and tenacious ring warriors who first met last November under the red-hot Las Vegas spotlight. Ward, who has not lost a fight since his teen-age years, scored a razor-thin decision over Kovalev and collected all the title belts that the Russian knockout specialist had accumulated. The special will provide all-new content including portraits of both fighters’ path to this impactful showdown. Each has set up training camp on the west coast; Ward in his hometown of Oakland, CA and Kovalev farther south in both Big Bear and Oxnard, CA.
The 30-minute special narrated by Liev Schreiber and produced by HBO’s Emmy-Award-winning “24/7” production team will also be available on HBO On Demand®, HBO GO®, HBO NOW and affiliate portals as well as at www.hbo.com/boxingandvarious other new media platforms that distribute the show.
Thomas Hearns Visits Claressa Shields in Training at Berston Field House in Flint
Two-time Olympic Gold Medalist and Women’s NABF Middleweight Champion, Claressa “T-Rex” Shields had a very special visitor at her gym yesterday, none other than all-time Michigan great Thomas “Hitman” Hearns.
Hearns, from Detroit, is the 1980 and 1984 The Ring Magazine “Fighter of the Year” and the first boxer in history to win world titles in five weight divisions: welterweight, light middleweight, middleweight, super middleweight and light heavyweight.
22-year-old Shields (2-0, 1 KO) of Flint, is currently preparing for her eight-round main event against Mery Rancier (7-8-3, 5 KOs) of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic for the WBC Silver Super Middleweight Championship at Salita Promotions’ “Detroit Brawl” on Friday, June 16, 2017 at the Masonic Temple in Detroit.
“I came out to see her because I want her to do well. I think it’s wonderful that a female fighter is the best from Michigan right now,” said Hearns. “The world is all about change and this is change for the better. I feel good about it. The champions from the past from Michigan are passing the torch to the next great fighter from here and that’s Claressa. The fans in Michigan should come out and help support her because she is the future.”
Shields said she was humbled to have such an all-time great supporting her.
“To have Tommy Hearns come out to my gym means a lot to me, I feel like I’m moving my career in the right direction and getting the right attention. I’m not just some girl putting on some gloves. It means a lot to be the latest big-name fighter to come from Michigan. I’m glad Tommy Hearns chose to come here and it does feel like a passing of the torch. He is very supportive and it feels great to be respected by such a great world champion.”
Shields says her training is going extremely well for her third professional and second championship fight.
“Training so far has been going really good. We’re 29 days out of the fight and I’m in the best shape of my life. I trained hard for my six-rounder and that only went four rounds and I feel like I’m still in shape from that. Now I’m getting ready for eight rounds and I feel great. I’m fighting at 168 pounds and I’m at 168 right now. I haven’t been having weight problems and I’m eating right and running every day.”
Shields promoter, Dmitriy Salita, says Hearns indicated he was very impressed with Shields’ gym work.
“Claressa is the next boxing superstar from the state of Michigan,” he said. “It’s a very special passing of the torch from such a living legend who lives in Detroit as Tommy Hearns. Mr. Hearns, who is a Detroit boxing icon and a great ambassador of the sport, was very impressed with Claressa’s skills and training regimen.”
Salita says he sees Shields’ potential for superstardom and her ability to revive the energy in Michigan boxing.
“Detroit is Americas Greatest Comeback city. We are going to see a revival of world-class boxing, ushered in by a young lady from Flint who despite growing up in very difficult circumstances, is a two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, the most accomplished boxer every to come out of the USA boxing program. This is only her third pro bout, and she is fighting for the WBC Silver title on June 16. We are witnessing something very special here and it’s very ironic that it’s all taking place close to Detroit, which is fighting back for its own recognition again as one of Americas Greatest cities.”
Sampson Lewkowicz Congratulates David Benavidez for Sensational KO of Porky Medina
Promoter Sampson Lewkowicz wishes to congratulate his fighter, David “El Bandera Roja” Benavidez of Phoenix, Arizona, for his sensational eighth-round knockout over Mexico’s Rogelio “Porky” Medina on Saturday night at the Laredo Energy Arena in Laredo, Texas.
With the star-making victory, Benavidez (18-0, 17 KOs) becomes a mandatory challenger for the WBC Super Middleweight Championship. And, depending on when it happens, a win in that fight could make 20-year-old Benavidez the youngest super middleweight world champion in boxing history.
“We were hopeful David would win the fight,” said Lewkowicz, “but I am amazed at how he won. He was incredible. Have you ever seen a knockout like that? An eight-punch combination that almost put Medina out of the ring? David is the best super middleweight in the world. No one can take his punches.”
Lewkowicz, who is often credited for spotting the early talent in champions Manny Pacquiao and Sergio Martinez, has been predicting stardom for Benavidez since early in his career. He now says the sky is the limit for his young charge.
“David’s first fight with me was in November 2015. I said after that fight he was something special and he will be champion by the end of 2017. Medina is a very good fighter. He gave (IBF Super Middleweight Champion) James DeGale a very tough fight not long ago. And David beat him up to the head and body. He works very hard to be who he is and deserves everything he gets.”
Lewkowicz says Benavidez will take a short time off to rest and then get back in the gym to begin training for his championship challenge.
“It doesn’t make a difference who he fights for the title. David will roll over everybody he fights. He is the new boss at 168 lbs. I am very happy to be his promoter and my congratulations also go to his father, Jose, who does a great job getting him ready for his fights.”
Showtime World Championship Boxing Results: James DeGale Grinds Out Tough Decision Victory, Jack and Bute Draw
Showtime World Championship Boxing Results: Badou Jack and James DeGale Grind Out Tough Decision Victories
By: William Holmes
Mayweather Promotions in association with Interbox Promotions televised two world championship fights in the super middleweight division on Showtime live from the DC Armory in Washington D.C.
The undercard featured some high level prospects such as Chris Pearson in the middleweight division and Sharif Bogere in the super lightweight division, and both were successful in their undercard bouts.
The winners of the two televised bouts will likely face each other in a super middleweight unification bout in the near future.
Surprisingly, there was a lot of empty seats in the DC Armory despite the fact two legitimate world titles were on the line.
The first televised fight was between James DeGale (22-1) and Rogelio Medina (36-6) for the IBF Super Middleweight Championship.
DeGale, a former Olympic gold medalist, showed his boxing technique was superior in the first round by sticking and moving well and connecting with quick combinations while easily staying out of the range of Medina. DeGale’s defense was also on point early on as his head movement made him a difficult target for Medina.
The second round was close, but DeGale’s punches were slipping in between the high guard of Medina and he was landing more combinations than Medina. Medina, to his credit, continued to press forward and was able to land some punches on DeGale when his back was against the ropes in the third round, but the combinations of DeGale appeared to hurt Medina.
DeGale looked extremely confident in the fourth round and was able to land punches from awkward angles, including lead uppercuts and over the top left hands. Medina started off strong in the fifth round and was able to dig in some hard body shots when DeGale was trapped near the ropes, but DeGale ended the round strong with some heavy lead right uppercuts to the chin of Medina.
Medina had a strong sixth round and tagged DeGale with more head shots than previous rounds, but DeGale had the best combination of the round. Medina’s pressure continued in the seventh round and DeGale’s jabs weren’t acting as much of a deterrent. DeGale however, still had the higher connect percentage.
The eighth round was a close round and Medina’s pressure may have won him the round as he had DeGale stuck by the ropes taking some punishment. DeGale was able to end the round with a hard flurry.
DeGale dominated the ninth round and played it safe in the tenth round as Medina was never able to mount an effective offensive combination or hurt his opponent.
DeGale simply needed to stay on his feet In the championship rounds to win the fight, and he did so despite the fact Medina never stopped coming forward and tried his best to go for the knockout.
James DeGale was able to retain his title with a decision victory with scores of 115-113, 117-111, and 117-111.
DeGale was in a tougher match than expected, and afterwards stated, “The boxing skills are too good. If I’m being honest, he’s a very strong fighter, but skills pay the bills. I watched this guy years ago and this guy didn’t have the engine like that. He’s gotten better and stronger in the last year and a half.”
The main event of the night was between Badou Jack (20-1-1) and Lucian Bute (32-3) for the WBC Super Middleweight Championship.
Even though the DC Armory had a large number of empty seats there was a large contingent of vocal Lucian Bute fans in attendance.
Both boxers spent most of the opening round trying to feel each other out, but Bute was the more active fighter and was pressing the fight. The action didnt’ pick up in the second round with each boxer landing an occasional straight cross, but neither boxer committed to throwing combinations.
The crowd was starting to get restless at the start of the third round, and Jack was able to quiet them with a straight right to the chin after two crosses to the body. Bute was able to answer with a hard left hook, but he appeared to have a small cut near his eye from the earlier exchange with Jack. Bute ended strong with a crowd pleasing straight left.
Jack focused his attacks to the body of Bute in the fourth round, but Bute was able to land several clean straight left hands that pleased his fans in attendance. However, Jack dominated the fifth round as his connect rate increased and he momentarily stunned Bute with a hard overhand right.
Jack’s momentum continued in the sixth round as he was able to land some hard body shots. Bute was able to connect with a few combinations, but they lacked the power and pop of Badou Jack. The seventh round featured several good exchanges from both men, but Jack appeared to land the cleaner and harder punches.
Jack looked like he was wearing Bute down in the eighth round, but Bute was able to pick up his activity in the ninth round and may have stolen it on the judges’ scorecards. Bute scored with some of his best punches of the night in the tenth round, including a few head snapping uppercuts.
Bute appeared to have hurt Jack in the eleventh round with a good combination in the middle of the ring and Jack looked like he was starting to fade. Bute went for the knockout in the final round to win the fight and he kept up the pressure on a visibly tired and worn down Jack, but he lacked the power to send Jack to the mat.
It was a close bout that many felt Jack felt had won, but the judges scored the bout 117-111 Jack, 114-114, and 114-114 for a majority draw.
Undercard Quick Results:
Moshea Aleem (4-0-1) fought Martez Jackson (2-0-2) to a draw in the junior middleweight division with scores of 38-38 on all three cards.
Keegan Grove (1-0) defeated Antoney Napunyi (10-16) by decision in the lightweight division with scores of 40-36 on all three scorecards.
Latondria Jones (3-0) wins by TKO at 0:18 in the first round over Kamika Slade (0-1) in the junior middleweight division.
Carlos Gongora (7-0) defeated Zacharia Kelley (5-13) by TKO at 1:50 of the second round in the light heavyweight division.
Sharif Bogere (28-1) defeated Samuel Amoako (17-10) by in the super lightweight division with scores of 100-90 on all three scorecards.
Chris Pearson (17-1) defeated Joshua Okine (22-6) in the middleweight division by decision with scores of 98-92 on all three scorecards.
Showtime World Championship Boxing Preview: Jack vs. Bute, Degale vs. Medina
Showtime World Championship Boxing Preview: Jack vs. Bute, Degale vs. Medina
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night the DC Armory in Washington, D.C. will showcase two super middleweight world title fights live on Showtime.
Mayweather Promotions, Interbox Promotions, and Matchroom Boxing have teamed up to create an eliminator style tournament to unify the WBC and IBF Super Middleweight belts. One title fight will be between Badou Jack and Lucian Bute for Jack’s WBC Super Middleweight title and the other title bout will be between James DeGale and Rogelio Medina for DeGale’s IBF Super Middleweight belt.
The winners of both of these bouts will likely face each other in the near future. The following is a preview of both the televised bouts on Showtime.
Badou Jack (20-1-1) vs. Lucian Bute (32-3); WBC Super Middleweight Title
Badou Jack is one of the stars of Mayweather Promotions and currently holds the WBC Super Middleweight title. Lucian Bute is a former IBF Super Middleweight Champion and was considered one of the top super middleweights in the world for a significant period of time. When Showtime held their Super Six Tournament that Andre Ward won, many thought Bute should have been included and was overlooked.
However, Bute is now thirty six years old and has gone 2-3 in his past five fights. He’s four years older than Jack, and will have a slight half an inch height advantage and will be giving up one inch in reach.
Bute, a southpaw, has been relatively inactive the past three years. He fought twice in 2015 and once in 2014, and he did not fight at all in 2013. In comparison Jack has been extremely active. He fought twice in 2015, three times in 2014, and six times in 2013.
Both boxers had successful amateur careers. Bute was a Bronze medalist in the 1999 World Championships and Jack competed in the 2008 Summer Olympics for Gambia.
Bute’s losses have come against James DeGale, Jean Pascal, and Carl Froch; all good losses against tough opponents. His biggest victories include Denis Grachev, Glen Johnson, Jean Paul Mendy, Edison Miranda, and Librado Andrade.
Jack’s lone loss was an upset loss to Derek Edwards in February of 2014. He has bounced back nicely since that loss and has defeated the likes of George Groves and Anthony Dirrell in two close bouts, as well as Rogelio Medina, Marco Antonio Periban, and Farah Ennis.
If this bout took place five years ago it would have been a difficult bout to pick. But Bute hasn’t looked good inside the ring since his knockout loss to Carl Froch and Badou Jack’s stock has been rising. This will likely be Bute’s last chance at a legitimate world title, and it’s unlikely he’ll be successful.
James DeGale (22-1) vs. Rogelio Medina (36-6); IBF Super Middleweight Title
This bout, by far, is the bigger mismatch of the two world title fights.
James DeGale is three years older than his opponent and they have similar measurable such as height and reach, but is a significantly better technical boxer.
Medina, however, is the bigger puncher of the two as he has thirty wins by stoppage while DeGale only has fourteen stoppage victories.
DeGale, a southpaw, won the Gold Medal in the 2008 Summer Olympics while Medina has no major international amateur accomplishments.
Medina has gone 4-1 in his past five fights, but three of his losses were by KO and one of those wins came against an opponent with a record of 0-21. Medina only major win came against J’Leon Love in 2014, which was considered a shocking upset. His losses have been to Jonathan Gonzalez, Badou Jack, Marcos Reyes, Jose Uzcategui, and Gilberto Ramirez. Medina also lost to Yori Boy Campos, who was way past his prime at the time with 113 professional bouts to his credit when he defeated Medina.
DeGale’s lone loss was the fellow countrymen George Groves by a close decision. He has since won twelve fights in a row and has defeated the likes of Lucian Bute, Andre Dirrell, Marco Antonio Periban, Brandon Gonzales, Dyah Davis, and Paul Smith.
Medina has the power to score a shocking upset victory like he did against Love, but it’s unlikely a boxer with a Gold Medal amateur pedigree will take unnecessary risks to give Medina a shot at an upset.
This is a bout DeGale should win easily, and likely set up a future bout with Badou Jack in the near future.