Draw the Battle Lines: America vs. UK in the Super Middleweight Division
By: Ste Rowen
Ever since the inception of the super-middleweight division, American and British boxers have dominated it’s rankings and outstanding bouts. From Sugar Ray Leonard to Andre Ward, Joe Calzaghe to Callum Smith, super-middle has been one of the great divisions for boxers on either side of the Atlantic, and although we never got James Toney vs. Benn or Chris Eubank the final year of the teens, the 10’s, the tenties? Whatever the proper name for this decade is, it could be about to signal the biggest conflict between the US and Great Britain since the 1700’s.
After the roaring success of the World Boxing Super Series which concluded last September, there was a worry that the division might hit a lull in excitement. Worry no more. Where 2018 was the year of the cruiserweights, or more specifically, the year of Usyk, 2019 is set to be the year of the 168lbers.
Caleb Plant was the first to make his mark on the division this year when, thirteen days into 2019, the Tennessee-native dominated IBF champion, Jose Uzcategui, dropping him twice en route to a comfortable twelve-round decision. He joined titlists Callum Smith (WBC & Ring) as well as then WBO champ, Gilberto Ramirez.
Despite conflicting reports it appears Ramirez has vacated and is making the move up to light-heavyweight which has opened the door for another Brit to enter the title scene. At the time of writing, Billy Joe Saunders will fight Shefat Isufi in April for the WBO 168lb belt.
If Saunders wins, as is expected he will enter the super-middle scene just after his past adversary, Chris Eubank Jr pulled off a career-best performance to defeat former world title holder, James DeGale.
Last Saturday, Eubank dominated DeGale across twelve rounds. It was very reminiscent of Plant’s performance vs. Uzcategui. Chris dropped DeGale twice en route to a unanimous decision win, which turned out to be a little too close on the official scorecards – Howard Foster, it’s time to call it a day – But despite the cards, the IBO champion’s performance and general fighting style and intrigue means nobody will forget him when talking about the biggest fights that can be made in the division.
A couple of hours after Eubank pulled off the slight upset over British rival, DeGale, brother of a former DeGale opponent, Anthony Dirrell was announcing himself back into view with a split – and slightly controversial – decision win over Avni Yildrim.
The curious career of Dirrell continues. His only pro-defeat has come at the hands of Badou Jack back in 2015, and despite proving himself to be just above fringe level multiple times, including a 1st round KO of former champion, Caleb Truax; inactivity has seriously hampered the Michigan boxer. But with the top 10 looking as it currently does, it’s gonna be difficult to find a fight that won’t define the top super-middleweight’s careers.
So let’s assume that Ramirez has moved up to light-heavy and Billy Joe Saunders will fight and win the vacated WBO – sorry Shefat. I’ll publicly apologize if you beat Saunders in April – then the 168lb scene is set to draw it’s battle-lines in a dysfunctional US vs. UK way.
On one side of the Atlantic: Caleb Plant, the unbeaten IBF champion; alongside Anthony Dirrell, WBC titlist with just one defeat on his record and almost forgotten.
On the other we have: Callum Smith, WBA and Ring king, arguably the only man who has a legitimate claim to being #1 in the division; Then Chris Eubank Jr, holder of the minor IBO belt but more importantly the victor over DeGale; and Billy Joe Saunders, the unproven entity at 168 but it feels safe to assume he’ll fit in nicely considering his style of technical boxing.
But don’t forget the US wildcard: former WBC champion, David Benavidez lurking in the background, itching to gain back his title and claim supremacy. David at just 22-years old lost his belt outside the ring and based on the evidence of his past performances, a switched-on Benavidez is a world class fighter.
In the 90’s the division was on the verge of a Roy Jones Jr/Toney/Benn/Eubank round robin that never occurred. When you look at the world champions and challengers right now, it will be just as much of a disappointment in two years if we’re not talking about the Smith/Plant/Eubank/Dirrell/Saunders/Benavidez wars of 2019.
Somebody give Kalle Sauerland a call for a WBSS Super-Middleweight 2 ASAP.
What’s Next for Former Middle Champ Gennady “GGG” Golovkin?
By: Ken Hissner
Going into 2017 Gennady “GGG” Golovkin was considered one of the best P4P boxers in the world if not the best. He had scored 21 straight stoppages and was 36-0 (33) when he defended against Danny “Miracle Man” Jacobs 33-1 (29) in March of 2017.
Jacobs refused to come to the day of the fight weigh-in. Golovkin had gained ten pounds that day coming in at 170 lbs. Rumors were Jacobs was between 180-185 lbs. when he entered the ring that night. Another surprise was he fought the fight southpaw.
Though a close fight, Golovkin got the decision by scores of 114-113 and 115-112 twice. The WBC was in no hurry to order a rematch that Jacobs could have asked for but didn’t push for it.
The WBO and WBC World Super Welterweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, then 48-1-1, who had rarely weighed over 155 lbs. during his entire career was being groomed for a shot at 160 lbs. His promoter Oscar de La Hoya decided he should fight Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr., 50-2-1, at super middleweight with both fighters coming in at 164 lbs. Alvarez won every one of the twelve rounds on all three score cards and Chavez hasn’t fought since.
It was decided by Alvarez’s promoter to take on WBC, WBA and IBF world champion Golovkin in Las Vegas which was a “second home” for Alvarez who fought there in seven of his previous nine fights only losing to Floyd “Money” Mayweather. It had been a year to the day since Alvarez defended his two titles defeating Liam Smith by knockout while receiving a fractured right thumb and received a cut.
The fight with Golovkin didn’t make a lot of sense except financially for the state of Nevada, the promoter (Golden Boy) and both fighters. Alvarez may have been ahead after five rounds winning three of them. Suddenly when the sixth round started Alvarez had enough of trading punches with the hard hitting Golovkin and ran the next seven rounds. If Golovkin had run like Alvarez they would have called him “chicken” but Alvarez seemed to get a free pass.
At the end of the bout the scores were announced as 118-110 by one judge Adalaide Byrd. Had she actually watched the fight? Afterwards there was a rumor she would be under temporary suspension but it never happened. Byrd was a Nevada resident and a “house” judge. Another judge Dave Moretti scored it 115-113 for Golovkin. Close but still it was a fair decision going to the obvious winner. Then the third judge Don Trella came up with a 114-114 score giving Alvarez a “gift draw” with the WBC ordering a rematch between Alvarez and Golovkin that would make Nevada and Golden Boy richer. The fight with Jacobs was closer for Golovkin than the Alvarez match but no one ordered a rematch after that one. This writer had it 116-112 for Golovkin and being generous to Alvarez in their first match.
Then it was found that Alvarez was using a banned substance and yet he stayed in the rankings. How in the world was he then taken off suspension and given a title fight? It took a year before the rematch came about with Alvarez inactive and Golovkin having one match knocking out forty fight veteran and former Olympian Vanes Martirosyan in two rounds being the only time he was stopped and hasn’t fought since.
So, in September the rematch between Golovkin and Alvarez happened. Golovkin was satisfied boxing Alvarez almost at will landing his jab. His trainer told Golovkin to go and take it to him but Golovkin didn’t follow his instructions. Then came the decision with Moretti back as one of the judges along with well-regarded Steve Weisfeld calling it for Alvarez 115-113. Glen Feldman the other judge had it 114-114. The IBO didn’t recognize the fight since Alvarez wouldn’t pay their fee. This writer had it 115-113 for Golovkin.
To avoid a rubber match Alvarez moved up to take on ordinary WBA World Super Middle champ Rocky Fielding with a built-up 27-1 record stopping him in three rounds. Afterwards Alvarez said he had no intentions to stay at super middleweight. He even fought this one at MSG where he wouldn’t fight Golovkin figuring he wouldn’t have the protection that the Nevada commission and the WBC would give him.
The WBC goes out of their way not insisting on a third Alvarez-Golovkin fight but tells Golovkin to fight interim champ Jermall Charlo. Since when does an organization tell a non-champion who to fight? If Alvarez isn’t fighting Golovkin then why didn’t the WBC tell Alvarez, not Golovkin to fight Charlo? The WBA dropped Golovkin to No. 2 behind David Lemieux whom Golovkin has stopped in eight rounds in one of his title defenses. Lemieux had even lost in a title challenge for the WBO title since being stopped by Golovkin.
This is more than a conspiracy against Golovkin with the Nevada Commission, Golden Boy and the WBC behind it. So where does Golovkin go from here? Rumors have him signing with the DAZN as did Alvarez recently. A title fight with new WBO World champion Demetrius Andrade who claims to want to fight Golovkin in the past would make more sense. Even a rematch with Jacobs who now has the IBF title would make sense. The IBF had the nerve to rank Golovkin No. 10.
It seems the WBC, WBA and IBF all have it out for Golovkin while the WBO had never ranked him. Maybe Golovkin should drop to 154 lbs. or go up to 168 lbs. where in the past he said he could fight. Fighting for the vacant WBC title or the WBA super middle title that Alvarez said he won’t defend. There are many options for Golovkin but it seems if he doesn’t knock out his opponent he can’t win a decision.
One thing for sure Golovkin should never fight in Las Vegas again where he cannot get a fair decision.
Alvarez to Unify Super Middleweight Division in 2019?
By: Daniel Smith
Alvarez, to unify Super Middleweight division 2019?
Last night at the Garden, Canelo Alvarez was razor sharp, formidable and devastatingly accurate as he peppered Rocky Fielding with a torrent pounding and punishing body shots to force the stoppage within three rounds of boxing.
Photo Credit: DAZN Twitter Account
Fielding struggled to ignite the engine, let alone move out of first gear as Canelo smothered, suffocated and obliterated the Liverpudlian’s offence and game-plan by deploying his brutal artillery throughout the rounds.
Meticulously targeting and thudding away at Fielding’s long, skinny flank; dishing-out lightning-bolt shots to the liver, one after the other, relentlessly zapping the former WBA champion into submission without even breaking a sweat. Incidently, whether it’s Tyson Fury or Anthony Joshua, a sickening shot to the liver ultimately instructs the body to take a knee, no matter how big, bulky or solidly conformed you are – so no discredit to Rocky in that regard.
Although it was the Mexican who stepped up a weight-class; it certainly seemed as though Rocky Fielding was the one who’d brought a knife to gun fight, as every attack and combination he fired-out seemed fruitless.
So what’s next for the cinnamon-haired, super middleweight smasher? After skillfully bulldozing through the division’s WBA champion with such ease and cool; could Canelo continue on his 168lb division ascent and lay down the gauntlet for a clash with the WBA and WBSS champion, Callum Smith? A fight with Smith would be a an electrifying clash, an enticing prospect with another belt to add his collection, but ultimately, it would be a gruelling night’s work for the now, three weight-class champion.
There may be other fish to fry in the division such as WBO Gilberto Ramirez, IBF Jose Uzcategui and WBC David Benavidez. Or, alternatively, he could have a third dance with GGG which I’m sure would rake-in the fans and financial spoils.
Who knows? But one thing’s certain – 2019 will be explosive.
DAZN Boxing Preview: Canelo vs. Rocky, Farmer vs. Fonseca
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Golden Boy Promotions top promotional star, Canelo Alvarez, will make his debut in New York City and on the DAZN Streaming Network when he faces off against Rocky Fielding for Fielding’s WBA Super Middleweight title.
This bout will take place at the famed Madison Square Garden and features a rather stacked undercard. The co-main event of the night was originally supposed to be between David Lemieux and Tureano Johnson, but Lemieux had to withdraw due to dehydration issues and the bout between Tevin Farmer and Francisco Fonseca will take it’s place.
Other notable undercard fights include a welterweight bout between Sadam Ali and Mauricio Herrera, an IBF/WBA Women’s Lightweight Title bout between Katie Taylor and Eva Wahlstrom, and two bouts featuring high rated prospects Ryan Garcia and Lamont Roach Jr.
DAZN has gone all in with their partnership with Golden Boy Promotions and Canelo Alvarez, and this is the first of an eleven fight contract that they have with Canelo.
The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the night.
Tevin Farmer (27-4) vs. Francisco Fonseca (22-1-1); IBF Junior Lightweight Title
Tevin Farmer is one of those feel good stories in the sport of boxing. He wasn’t a heralded amateur and started his career with a 2-2 record, but he has shown significant improvement since his professional debut and was able to win the IBF Super Featherweight Title.
Farmer only had sixteen amateur fights so he had to learn quickly on the job. He’s not known for his power, he has only stopped six of his opponents and was stopped twice in his career. He lost by TKO in his very first professional fight and was later stopped by Jose Pedraza.
His opponent, Francisco Fonseca, has stopped sixteen of his opponents and was only stopped one time in his career, a knockout loss to Gervonta Davis. Fonseca will have a slight inch and a half height advantage and a two and a half inch reach advantage.
Fonseca has fought mainly in Panama and Costa Rica against suspect opposition. He lost his only fight outside of Central America. His biggest win to date was against a 13-3 Daniel Miranda. He’s been fairly active and fought once in 2018 and four times in 2017.
Farmer fought twice in 2018 and twice in 2017. He’s shown significant improvement since his debut, especially defensively, and has beaten the likes of James Tennyson, Billy Dib, Arturo Santos Reyes, Ivan Redkach, and Angel Luna.
This is a bout that Farmer should win by decision. Farmer is angling for a future fight with Gervonta Davis and he’ll need an impressive performance to get the boxing community talking about a potential fight with Davis.
Rocky Fielding (27-1) vs. Canelo Alvarez (50-1-2); WBA Super Middleweight Title
Canelo Alvarez is arguably boxing’s biggest, active star. He’ll be chasing history on Saturday night as he looks to win a title in his third weight class, and become the ninth Mexican boxer to do so.
Canelo is in the midst of his prime at 28 years old and is three years younger than his opponent. However, Canelo is the smaller man and will be giving up height, reach, and size to Fielding.
Canelo turned pro at the age of fifteen, so Fielding has more amateur experience than Canelo as he experienced some success as an amateur on the English circuit.
Canelo also has significantly more power in his punches than Fielding. He has stopped 34 of his opponents while Fielding has only stopped fifteen. Fielding also has a TKO loss on his record when he was stopped by Callum Smith. Canelo’s lone loss was to Floyd Mayweather Jr. five years ago and he has never been stopped.
Both fighters have been fairly active. Canelo fought twice in 2017 and once in 2018 while Fielding fought twice in 2018 and in 2017.
Canelo has a long list of accomplished opponents that he has beaten. He has defeated the likes of Gennady Golovkin, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Liam Smith, Amir Khan, Miguel Cotto, James Kirkland, Erislandy Lara, Alfredo Angulo, Austin Trout, Shane Mosley, and Carlos Baldomir.
Fielding’s biggest wins were against Tyron Zeuge for the WBA Super Middleweight title, David Brophy, John Ryder, and Brian Vera. This will only be his second fought outside of the United Kingdom and his first fight in the United States.
It’s likely Fielding’s size advantage will give Canelo some problems early on, but Canelo’s skill is levels above Fielding and he should win quite comfortably in his New York City debut.
Was Calzaghe the Greatest Super Middleweight?
By: Ken Hissner
After compiling a 110-10 amateur record Joe “Pride of Wales/Italian Dragon” Calzaghe turned professional in November of 1993 and won his first 9 fights by knockout. In his 17th fight he defeated Mark “Del” Delaney, 21-0, by TKO 5 in his first BBBofC British title defense he won in Oct 1995 stopped Stephen Wilson, 11-1.
In June of 1997 Calzaghe stopped Luciano “Toto Dodo” Torres, 45-2, of Brazil, to earn a title fight in his next fight with Chris “Simply the Best” Eubank, 45-2-2, for the vacant WBO World Super Middleweight Title. He had Eubank down in the first round and went onto win a lopsided 12 round decision.
Photo Credit: Joe Calzaghe Twitter Account
In Calzaghe’s third defense he won a split decision over Robin “Grim Reaper” Reid, 26-1-1. In August of 2000 he stopped Omar Sheika, 20-1, of the US. In his following fight he stopped Richie Woodhall, 26-2.
In Calzaghe’s next fight in April of 2001 he scored a first round stoppage of Germany’s Mario Veit, 30-0, having him down twice. In April of 2002 he defeated former IBF Champion Charles “Hatchet” Brewer, 27-8, of the US in his tenth defense.
In June of 2003 Calzaghe stopped former WBA Champion Byron “Slamma from Bamma” Mitchell, 25-2-1, coming off the floor for the first time in the second round. He got up and floored Mitchell in the same round. In his next fight he stopped Armenian Mgr “Matador” Mkrtchyan, 18-1, of Russia. Next he defeated Kabary “Egyptian Magician” Salem, 23-3, coming off the floor in the fourth round. He had Salem down in the twelfth.
In May of 2005 Calzaghe went to Germany in a rematch with Germany’s Mario Veit, 45-1, stopping him in the sixth round for his sixteenth defense. Next he won every round on two of the judge’s cards defeating Kenya’s Evans “African Warrior” Ashira, 24-1, of Denmark. In March of 2006 he added the IBF World Title defeating Jeff “Left Hook” Lacy, 21-0, having Lacy down in the twelfth round.
In October Calzaghe defeated Cameroon’s Sakio “The Scorpian” Bika, 20-1-2, out of Australia, who would win the WBC title in 2013. In April of 2007 in his twentieth defense he stopped Peter Manfredo, Jr. 26-3, of the US. In July he added the WBA Title defeating southpaw Mikkel “Viking Warrior” Kessler, 39-0, of Denmark. This would be his twenty-first and last defense.
In April of 2008 Calzaghe went to America for the first time in an overweight bout coming off the floor in the first round winning by split decision over former WBO, WBA, WBC and IBF Middleweight Champion Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins, 48-4-1, in Las Vegas, NV. Hopkins was far from finished as he went onto win the WBA, WBC and IBF Light Heavyweight titles.
In Calzaghe’s final fight he defeated former IBF Middle, Super Middle, WBC, WBA and IBF Light Heavyweight champion who also won the WBA Heavyweight Title Roy Jones, Jr., 52-4, coming off the canvas in the first round to do it. All three judges had it 118-109. The bout was held in the Madison Square Garden, in New York. On February 5th, 2009 Calzaghe announced his retirement with a 46-0 record with 32 knockouts.
Calzaghe was trained by his father Enzo and promoted and managed by Frank Warren. “I’ve had more broken bones than I can remember. My hands are crippled. They ache every single day from all the breaks. I have a really bad back too. I’m on pain killers a lot and I’m going to have bad arthritis when I’m older. I was happy to retire. I retired at the top. Yes, it was hard to fill the adrenaline rush for a while and that pisses you off but it’s nice to just be normal. Now I’m a dad and live the quiet life. I never wanted to be a celebrity. It was all about the boxing,” said Calzaghe.
In 2014 Calzaghe was inducted into the IBHOF in New York along with Felix “Tito” Alvarez and Oscar “Golden Boy” De La Hoya who both lost to Hopkins who Calzaghe beat. I did an article stating “Calzaghe should not be in the shadows having beaten the man (Hopkins) who beat both Trinidad and De La Hoya. My editor at the time informed me Calzaghe’s father Enzo loved the article.
Calzaghe’s was 46-0 with 32 knockouts and had 21 title defenses. He held the WBO, WBC, WBA and IBF Titles. Was he the best Super Middleweight in the history of boxing? The record speaks for itself!
Golovkin Could Move Up to Super Middleweight to Face Champ Callum Smith
By: Michael Kane
Could Gennady Golovkin (38-1-1, 34 KOs) be following Canelo Alvarez to the super middleweight division?
According to Matchroom Promotions supremo Eddie Hearn that is a possibility.
Canelo (50-1-2, 34 KOs) faces WBA Regular champ Rocky Fielding (27-1,15 KOs) in New York on Dec 15th, in a debut fight at the 168 lbs division. Hearn has said talks have started about GGG taking on WBA Super champion Callum Smith (25-0, 18 KOs), potentially at the home of Liverpool FC, Anfield, next year.
If Smith doesn’t face GGG then there is talk of him moving to light heavyweight for a shot against one of the champions from that division.
“I’ve spoken to Tom Loeffler [‘GGG’s promoter] about it before,” Hearn told Sky Sports, “not since the press conference last week though
“That’s my No 1 choice for Callum Smith.
“I think it’s a fight that fills Anfield. It’s a great profile fight, it’s a great fight, full stop.
“Also, for Golovkin it gives him a chance to move up, do what ‘Canelo’ is doing, fight for the ‘Super’ title, and also for the ‘Ring’ magazine title at 168lbs.”
GGG may fancy a move up to super middleweight having competed at middleweight for so long and could set up another blockbuster with Canelo in the process, this time at super middleweight.
“If he [Golovkin] is even close to the mark in terms of weight at middleweight, it might be a good option,” Hearn continued.
“But whether he wants to take that risk before a possible third Canelo fight, I don’t know.”
The Middleweight Division’s Best Possible Fight: Canelo vs. Charlo
By: William Holmes
The middleweight division has a rich history of classic fights. Hagler-Hearns, Hagler-Leonard, Hearns-Leonard, Duran-Leonard, Hopkins-Trinidad, Robinson-Fuller, Graziano-Zale, Robinson-LaMotta, the list goes on and on.
The middleweight division is one of the deepest and most intriguing divisions in boxing today. Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez just put on two great, grueling, competitive fights. Daniel Jacobs has been on a tear and was giving Golovkin all that he could handle in their close fight. Billy Joe Saunders is undefeated and dominated hard hitting contender David Lemieux. Jermall Charlo is a young undefeated fighter with dynamite in both hands. Rob Brant just put himself in the middleweight map with a surprisingly easy win over former Olympian Ryota Murata.
There are many match-ups that could be made that would get fight fans excited. Unfortunately, promotional and network alliances will make some of those fights difficult to make, but there’s one fight that has the potential to be a pay per view blockbuster.
Photo Credit: Hogan Photos
That would be a fight between undefeated middleweight champion Jermall Charlo and undefeated middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez.
They both fight in New York City in December and will get undoubtedly get a lot of east coast press. Canelo will be making his super middleweight debut when he takes on Rocky Fielding at Madison Square Garden on December 15th. Jermall Charlo will defend his title at the Barclays Center the next weekend against former title challenger Willie Monroe Jr.
But an eventual fight between Charlo and Alvarez will be difficult to make.
Canelo’s fight will be taking place on streaming pioneer DAZN and Charlo’s bout will be televised on Fox. Canelo is aligned with Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions while Charlo is aligned with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions.
These two promotional companies don’t have the best history of working together.
But in boxing, money has a way of bringing sworn enemies together to make the fight that fans want. And there’s money that could be made here.
Even better, for fight fans, it should be a highly entertaining fight.
Canelo and Charlo are known for the concussive punching power. Canelo has thirty four stoppages on his resume with a knockout ratio of 64%. Charlo has twenty one stoppages on his resume, but has had less fights and a higher knockout ratio. He has stopped an eye opening 78% of his opponents.
They’ve both faced a defeated a good number of high level opponents. Canelo has defeated the likes of Gennady Golovkin, Liam Smith, Julio Cesar Chavez, Amir Khan, Miguel Cotto, Erislandy Lara, Alfredo Angulo, Austin Trout, and Shane Mosley.
His lone loss was to Floyd Mayweather Jr., when Mayweather was still in the midst of his athletic prime and Canelo was not even two months past his 23rd birthday.
While Charlo has not faced the number of high quality opponents that Canelo has, he has never experienced anything other than a victory inside the ring as a professional. His string of no losses/no draws include victories over boxers such as Hugo Centeno Jr., Julian Williams, Austin Trout, Wilky Campfort, and Cornelius Bundrage.
It’s a fight that can sell. Both fighters are young power punchers with strong personalities. Canelo has a very loyal Mexican fan base and name recognition. The Charlo brothers are two entertaining personalities with a brash bravado that reminds you of Floyd Mayweather.
The story line to sell the fight is evident.
But this is a fight that would have to be on DAZN. Canelo signed an exclusive agreement with DAZN and will no longer be doing pay per view fights. Charlo might be able to put on a pay per view show or two, and even though the middleweight division is stacked with talent, he doesn’t have a dancing partner available to put on a highly successful pay per view.
There’s nobody outside of Canelo that can draw in a pay per view bout for Charlo. Gennady Golovkin’s biggest pay per view outside of Canelo was Daniel Jacobs, and that’s estimated at only 170,000 buys.
His drawing power also probably took a hit with his recent loss to Canelo Alvarez. The other known boxers in the middleweight division are either signed to DAZN, or don’t have the drawing power to make a pay per view venture worthwhile.
Canelo vs. Charlo is the most entertaining fight the middleweight division can offer. The question is, will Charlo take the risk to fight him on DAZN? Or will he continue to fight lesser known fighters for less profitable options on Fox and Showtime?
Time will tell.
In the Middle with this Division
By: Rich Mancuso
Canelo Alvarez holds the WBC Middleweight title and last week became the richest athlete in sports with Matchroom Boxing and DAZN. Saturday evening two championships in the division changed hands and now the middleweights are the talk of boxing.
Saturday evening at Madison Square Garden, Daniel Jacobs gets his opportunity on HBO with the iBF title middleweight title up for grabs. Jacobs (34-2, 29 KO’s) opposes Sergly Derevyanchenko, 12-0, the undefeated pro formerly of Feodosia Crimea, Ukraine who has more of an amateur background.
Welcome again to the middleweight division. Daniel Jacobs sits in the middle of this, a division that suddenly is compared to the elite fighters at 147. That weight class has dominated and is highly contested.
Similar to the complexion and change of televised boxing, so goes the middleweight title that has been highlighted with Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin. And according to Eddie Hearn, promoter of Matchroom Boxing, the middleweight division has the top fighters.
“The middleweight division is class,” Hearn said on a conference call Monday afternoon. Hearn now has rights to Canelo Alvarez and said the winner of Jacobs-Derevyanchenko could fight Alvarez in May.
So the process, and as difficult as it can be, is to unify the middleweight titles. And with the different promoters, titles, and networks unifying the titles can be difficult. However, Hearn has the capability to get that accomplished and every fighter in the division will be aiming at getting that opportunity to challenge Canelo Alvarez.
“I think its a great time to be a middleweight in the division,” Jacobs said on the conference call. “A great time for the middleweight championship.”
Though Daniel Jacobs “The Miracle Man” knows this is the proper time, he sits in the middle. Alvarez is also aiming for the super middleweight title at Madison Square Garden in December but still holds the number one spot.
Rob Brant dethroned Ryota Murata on the WBA side and former 154lb world champion Demetrius Andrade defeated Walter Kautondokwa and claimed the vacant WBO middleweight title on Saturday night. Yes, in a matter of a few hours the complexion of this division changed.
And this is all good for boxing. As always, there has to be unity and Daniel Jacobs with a victory at the Garden Saturday night would no longer be sitting in the middle.
Eddie Hearn could be the promoter that gets the unity accomplished. Again, he has been at the forefront of changing the complexion of the sport with DAZN and signing big name fighters.
“You are going to see a lot of these big unification fights,’ he said. “Another champion in Andrade. Think with now the championship spreading out, three champions, the winner Saturday night is in prime position to fight Canelo.”
Assuming Jacobs gets the win, anything is possible. The middleweights have become as good as the always talked about welterweights.
“Being in one of the hottest divisions I’m looking to take advantage,” Jacobs said “Time to get a middleweight belt and campaign for some of these bigger and better fights. I don’t believe in sharing belts. I want unification ”
He added: This is a good time. The fans are the one who will benefit the most.”Jacobs has the advantage Saturday night and is the favorite. His opponent is undefeated in 12 professional fights
but is also motivated for something bigger, a piece of this middleweight title.
“This is a respected belt,” he said. More so, this is how Daniel Jacobs gets out of the middle of this pile and once again becomes a dominant middleweight.
And all you have to do is listen to co-promoter Lou DiBella. His perspective of where this division will stand after the Jacobs fight does speak volumes. That elite division of welterweight champions and contenders is in good company.
“Boxing is a business,” said DiBella. “When you get past the heavyweights we’ll see big middleweight fight after big middleweight fight.”
Canelo Alvarez Awarded Ring Magazine’s Middleweight & P4P Belts
By: Jeandra Lebeauf
At a special ceremony in Los Angeles on Thursday, unified middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez received the Middleweight World Title and the Pound-For-Pound Championship Belts.
In an eventful week, capped off by the announcement of a massive $365 million dollar signing with the sports streaming site DAZN, and the announcement of a December 15th fight date to challenge Rocky Fielding for the super middleweight title, Canelo thanked God, his team and Ring Magazine.
Photo Credit: Hogan Photos
“I want to thank God, my team and my family. I want to thank Golden Boy as well. Having a belt like this is a responsibility, and this is a responsibility that I plan to undertake.
I never imagined that my success would reach this magnitude. This just shows that with discipline, hard work and love for the sport, one can achieve anything. A lot has changed in one year. It’s a big change. I’m going to defend this title with honor. See you all on December 15.”
Following Canelo’s acceptance of the middleweight and pound-4-pound belts, Ring also recognized Canelo’s trainer, Eddie Reynoso, with a special trainer’s version of the belt named in honor of Efren Torres, a former Ring title holder and descendant of Reynoso’s wife.
Thank you very much to Ring Magazine and the family of my wife. One time, in a photo, we saw that he won the Ring title and it’s not [the belt] with the family of my wife. So I asked Ramiro to ask the people at Ring Magazine if he won the title and it was true, against [Chartchai] Chionoi one of the greatest fights.
So they gave it to me in the name of me and my wife’s family so I am really grateful.
The event concluded with the unveiling of Ring Magazine’s soon to be released latest issue featuring Canelo wearing the Ring Magazine title.
Canelo, who currently holds the WBC, WBA and lineal middleweight world titles will move up to 168 pounds to challenge Rocky Fielding for the WBA super middleweight title in a 12-round main event on Saturday, December 15 at Madison Square Garden and streamed Live on DAZN.
Demetrius Andrade Looks to Grab His Slice of the Middleweight Title Pie
By: Sean Crose
“I take every fight very seriously,” says 25-0 middleweight contender Demetrius Andrade. “I have since day one.” Andrade’s fight this weekend, against the undefeated knockout artist Walter Kautondokwa at the TD Center in Boston for the WBO middleweight title, caps off a journey filled with down periods and frustration. Since having teamed up with promoter Eddie Hearn, however, Andrade is happy with how things are working out. “My situation,” he says, “is great right now…had I not made the move with Eddie, I would have been fighting in England, having tune-ups or waiting around still.”
Photo Credit: DAZN Twitter Account
After fighting only three times in a three year period, Andrade won two fights in 2018 against notable opponents Jack Culcay and Alantez Fox, and is now preparing for his shot at the head of what he says might become boxing’s latest “glamour division,” the middleweight realm. “I think Middleweight can be the new glamour division in boxing,” he says. “We have big names at 160lbs and if you look at 154lbs, those guys are going to grow and they’ll have to come up – look at Jarrett Hurd, he’s a big dude. The division is hot and it’s going to get hotter.”
With names like Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin sitting atop the middleweight heap, Andrade, who has always been highly regarded, will be breathing rarefied air should be get a belt of his own this weekend. “If everyone involved with the elite does their jobs,” the outspoken Rhode Islander claims, “we can make these big fights. The window is starting to close on those fights though, people get old, people move on, and people look to run around and fight lesser guys like the Charlos do.”
“I want to fight the best,” he adds, “only and often.” Andrade was supposed to face the highly regarded Billy Joe Saunders on Saturday. Unfortunately, Saunders was popped for having a banned substance in his system and was subsequently out of the picture. In stepped Kautondokwa, a largely unknown fighter with a terrific record of 16 knockouts in 17 fights. “When you are fighting lower level opponents,” says Andrade, “you can afford to get in there four or five times a year, but at the level I want to operate at, you can’t do that.” Here is a man who clearly wants to place himself at the top of the mountain.
“I’m going to take it one step at a time, do my job against Walter, come home with the belt and we will look to get out early in 2019,” says Andrade. “I know Eddie and DAZN want to keep me active and that’s great, and if it’s going to be the rest of the elite guys, then let’s go.” DAZN, the online streaming service, will be airing the fight live this weekend. In fact, it will be airing the entire card starting at 4:30 PM eastern standard time on Saturday.
The Battle for Super Middleweight Supremacy: George Groves vs. Chris Eubank Jr.
By: Niki Ross
Last week saw the Matchroom card “British Beef” take place at the London O2 Arena, the main event pitted Olympian Lawrence Okolie against the skilled prospect Issac Chamberlain.
This was promoted as a grudge match between two hungry prospects at the start of their career looking to chalk up the first significant win over a local rival. Unfortunately, despite one of the fighters being nicknamed “Sauce”, the main event of British Beef turned out to be pretty tough to swallow.
All eyes will now be turning to Feb 17th. This fight should be close and action is nothing short of certain. Both fighters look to secure a place in the final of the World Boxing Super Series tournament against Callum Smith and both fighters have had wars in sparring previously. History and bad blood makes this an intriguing fixture.
Chris Eubank Jr is pencilled as the bookmaker’s favourite. His recent wins have been a display of eye watering hand speed and versatile punch selection. He is comfortable lashing in five and six punch combinations which often pass in the blink of an eye. As with most young athletes these days he has also taken to YouTube to help raise his stock with footage of sparring and tearing apart punch bags. Regularly putting the hurt on unwitting sparring partners in a grandiose display of poor sportsman which smells like it has Eubank Snr’s influence all over it.
To the casual fan, Eubank Jr will be an attractive fighter to invest time and money in. Loosely following the Mayweather blueprint, he likes to showboat and entertain with gym clips and cute training montages. Take a look at his boxing record however and you’ll see that its built on soft ground. He’s yet to face an elite level fighter. On his day Billy Joe Saunders is world class and that’s where Eubank Jr came unstuck previously. Since that loss he has failed to up the standard of competition to a level where he really tests himself and learns the crucial lessons about swimming in deep waters. Of his 20 KO’s only one has been a straight knockout, the rest were all TKO’s. Chris Eubank Jr, for all his gusto, lacks knockout power.
George Groves has previously walked the walk and he’s consistently fought tougher opposition. A new partnership with trainer Shane McGuigan has sparked a renaissance in George Groves winning a world title in the process. Unlike Eubank Jr, Groves has punching power which can stop a man dead. Carl Froch went down for the second time in his colourful career when Groves delivered a solid right hand, the Cobra was not a man who was easily hurt.
The physical attributes of both fighters will probably be where this fight is won or lost. Eubank Jr is not a big 168lb’er and his lack of knockout power highlights this. If he maintains a high punch output he should see out a victory, a stoppage is possible, George Groves is not a hard man to hit. Groves on the other hand is the natural super middleweight, he has power, he hits hard. He’s seen off a number of quality opponents and the experience will give him an extra advantage in this fight. If he can withstand Eubank Jr’s ferocious onslaughts his power and experience could prevail in the later rounds. Eubank has a very slim torso, some early body work could take the wind out of his sails if Groves can find his way in.
This is a good match up which will answer more questions than it creates. If Eubank Jr scores an impressive victory he has to be taken serious as a top contender at super middleweight. If Groves picks up the win it cements his status in the divison as a dangerous title holder. His CV is rich with credible opponents and career defining fights. He seldom made it easy for himself, his victories have not always been convincing but he’s come through them and in the process learned more about himself and the sport than his opponent. It is refreshing that with this tournament, boxing has produced such an organic means of crowning the best fighter in a division. For these two fighters however, this fight already brings the gravity of a final, in terms of significance, this fight is the one which neither fighter can afford to lose.
HBO World Championship Boxing Results: Cotto Closes Career with Loss to Ali, Vargas Defeats Negrete
By: William Holmes
A champion in four divisions and a lock for the boxing hall of fame, the legendary Miguel Cotto fought the last fight of his career in the building that helped make him famous, Madison Square Garden.
Surprisingly, despite campaigning in the middleweight division, Miguel Cotto weighted in at 151.6lbs while Sadam Ali, who has fought in the welterweight division and is bumping up a weight class to face Cotto, weighed in at 153lbs. Many, including this writer, expected Cotto to weigh in at a heavier weight than Ali
Photo Credit: HBO Boxing Twitter
The opening bout of the night was between Rey Vargas (30-0) and Oscar Negrete (17-0) for the WBC Junior Featherweight Title.
Vargas, the taller fighter, was able to use his height to his advantage in the opening round and landed a high volume of punches to the body and head of Negrete. He was able to get a full extension on his shots in the second round and had Negrete taking some hard shots.
Vargas connected with three straight uppercuts followed by a right hook in the opening seconds of the third round. At one point in the third Negrete stepped on the foot of Vargas and knocked him over, but the referee correctly ruled it a push. Vargas’ sharp shots continued into the fourth round and fifth rounds but Negrete, to his credit, never stopped coming forward.
Negrete snuck in a few good shots of his own, especially when he was in tight, but Vargas’ combinations were numerous.
Negrete took some heavy body shots by Vargas in the sixth round, but did land his best punch of the night, a left hook, in the ninth round.
The eighth round was also tight as Negrete surprisingly landed some combinations, and Vargas had a cuts over both of his eyes. The referee checked it in the eighth and before the ninth rounds but let Vargas continue.
Negrete was out matched and out gunned, but continued to press the pace in the final rounds but took a barrage of punches in the process.
Vargas’ cut over his left eye looked pretty bad, but he was never in danger of being hurt.
The judges scored it 119-109, 119-109, and 120-108 for Rey Vargas.
Miguel Cotto (41-5) and Sadam Ali (25-1) met in the main event of the night for the WBO Junior Middleweight Title.
Cotto walked out to no walk out music so that he could hear the crowd.
The crowd loudly chanted for Cotto in the opening round, but Ali established he had the superior hand speed early on and connected with some surprising punches. Cotto was able to land his patented left hook to the body, but Ali looked like he was landing at a higher connect rate.
Cotto was badly hurt in the second round from a right cross by Ali. Cotto’s legs were wobbly, but Ali did not press the action to try and finish the fight. Ali slipped in the second round, but he definitely had Cotto hurt.
Ali’s length gave Cotto trouble in the third round but Cotto was pressing the action. Cotto was hurt once again in the fourth round by Ali, but was able to recover and come forward behind his jab.
Cotto’s attack to the body appeared to be effective in the fifth and sixth rounds, especially when he had Ali backed into a corner. Ali’s right eye began to swell in the seventh round but he was landing good shots to the head of Cotto.
Cotto had Ali backed into the ropes several times in the eighth and did his best work there, but Ali retook control in the ninth round as Cotto looked like he was tiring.
Ali landed a vicious left hook on Cotto in the tenth round that had Cotto on wobbly legs again and his mouth wide open. Cotto was on full retreat in the tenth and appeared to be close to going down.
Ali came out aggressively in the eleventh round and looked like he was going for the knockout. His corner had previously urged him to be more aggressive. Cotto survived and circled away from the attacking Ali.
Cotto came out aggressive in the final round but looked tired and slow. Ali was the fresher fighter and closed out the fight well.
The final scores were 115-113, 116-112, 115-113 for Sadam Ali.
In the post fight interview Cotto confirmed it was his last fight, and revealed he hurt his left bicep in the seventh round.
Cotto stated, “Feeling good. Feeling good with the performance. Something happened to my left bicep, seventh round. I don’t want to make excuses, Sadam won the fight. It is my last fight. I am good, and I want to be happy in my home with my family.
“Thank you for all the fans, I am proud to call MSG my second home. I had the opportunity to provide the best for my family because of the sport.”
I worked hard for it.” Said Sadam Ali. “I took advantage of this fight, and I made sure to make it count. I want to Thank God, and also thank team Cotto, They could have taken an easier fight if they wanted too. ”
“I had him hurt here or there in the first couple of rounds. I knew I had to do something, or he would have dug in. By the 11th, I thought the fight was close. Whatever GBP has next, I’ll take it. Good things happen to good people. I have been training since I was 8 years old, and I am glad I got this win at MSG, in my hometown.”
Oscar De La Hoya: Canelo-GGG Will Be “Bombs Away Right From The Start”
By: Sean Crose
Iconic boxer turned heavyweight promoter Oscar De La Hoya predicted on ESPNs First Take that this weekend’s Canelo Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin superbout will be “bombs away right from the start.” He then went on to compare Saturday’s match to the legendary 1985 middleweight battle between Marvelous Marvin Hagler and Thomas “The Hitman” Hearns. It’s been rightfully said that particular classic (this author’s personal all-time favorite sporting event, much less boxing match) will be hard to match, and indeed such an assertion seems to be true. Yet there appears to be more to De La Hoya’s words than just standard promotional hype.
Photo Credit: Tom Hogan/Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions
Make no mistake about it, Canelo-GGG is the single biggest fight in combat sports. Last month’s Mayweather-McGregor shindig may well have been the hottest pop culture event of 2017, but Canelo-GGG is most certainly the year’s most significant fight. What’s more, the style of each combatant means there’s a real potential for fireworks. Both these guys can turn off the lights. Sure enough, between the two combatants – who will meet at the T-Mobile arena in Las Vegas on Saturday night – there have been a total of at least fifteen knockouts in the past five years alone. And now they’re going to face each other.
In truth, De La Hoya has taken heat from fans and the media for not making Canelo-GGG sooner. The common argument went that, since Canelo was De La Hoya’s star fighter, a fight with the feared Golovkin could potentially damage De La Hoya’s cash cow. With the fight now just days away, however, and the mainstream media reporting on the match regularly during the final leadup, such criticism has largely evaporated. And, after openly bashing the Mayweather-McGregor fight for what some fight watchers felt like was forever, De La Hoya has once again returned his focus to this weekend’s big event.
Naturally, the promoter, who himself was the biggest name in boxing during his prime, picked his man, Canelo to win. Being a good promoter, however, De La Hoya also predicted “nine or ten rounds of hell.” That may not end up being the case, as both Canelo and Golovkin know how to play chess as well as they know how to fire howitzers, but again, the potential for fireworks is definitely there and De La Hoya wouldn’t be doing his job if he didn’t hype that potentiality to the media and fans.
Canelo, De La Hoya Talk About “Real Fight” Against Golovkin This September
By: Sean Crose
Canelo Alvarez’ camp took part in a media conference call on Tuesday to promote the upcoming battle for middleweight supremacy between the Mexican superstar and Gennady Golovkin this September. Naturally, that other big fight – if you want to call it a fight – was brought up. You know, the boxing match for people who don’t like boxing? A journalist asked Canelo if he would be willing to take on Conor McGregor should McGregor somehow defeat Floyd Mayweather when they meet later this month. Canelo’s answer was priceless.
“If that miracle was to happen,” he said through a translator, “then it’s a different conversation…but I doubt it (a McGregor victory) very much.” In a summer of wanton immaturity, it was nice for a top fighter to talk like an intelligent adult. Of course Canelo would be open to fighting McGregor should the Irishman prove to be a special case by legitimately besting Mayweather. Yet, like most most true observers whose maturity has risen beyond that of a fifteen year old, Canelo has a hard time seeing that happening. Mayweather-McGregor is a novelty boxing match. Canelo-GGG is what promoter Oscar De La Hoya said on the call was “a real fight,” a “serious fight,” a “serious event.” The difference, frankly, should be noted as often as possible.
“We’re concentrating on our own fight,” De La Hoya claimed, adding that “we sold out in ten days.” It’s true. While tickets for Mayweather-McGregor are having difficulty moving, tickets for Canelo-Golovkin, which will be going down in the same T-Mobile arena Mayweather-McGregor is, promptly sold out in just over a week. It was clear during the call, however, that Canelo believed his focus had best stay on Golovkin, his formidable adversary this coming fall. “It’s going to be a difficult fight,” he stated. “It’s going to be a very hard fight.”
Canelo insisted he’s no longer the young man who Mayweather easily bested in their 2013 megabout. “I’ve definitely learned a lot (since that time),” Canelo said. “I’m more of a mature fighter now.” Even De La Hoya made it clear that Mayweather was too much, too soon for the Canelo of four years past. “Yes,” the legendary fighter/promoter stated, “he did take that fight too soon.” Still, De La Hoya added that Canelo is man on the rise. “I strongly feel he’s only getting better,” De La Hoya said. As for Canelo himself, the man exuded certainty. Referring to Mayweather, he claimed: “I think the only reason he beat me was because of the experience.”
Now, though, Canelo has enormous experience under his belt when it comes to performing under the bright lights of a major fight in Vegas. Not that he feels that alone will give him the upper hand against the feared Golovkin. “Having more fights in Las Vegas is not an advantage,” he said plainly. And least someone is levelheaded out there at the moment.
2-Time Olympic Gold Medalist Claressa Shields Wins World Titles
By: Ken Hissner
At the MGM Grand in Detroit, MI, Friday night Salita Promotions, MGM Grand and ShoBox headlined with 2-Time Olympic Gold Medalist Claressa Shields winning both the WBC World Female and IBF Female Super middleweight titles!
Photo Credit: Showtime Boxing
In the Main Event the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Gold Medalist Claressa “T-Rex” Shields, 4-0 (2), of Flint, MI, stopped the WBC World Female Super Middleweight champion Nikki Adler, 16-1 (9), of Augusburg, Bayem, Germany taking her title and the vacant IBF title at 1:34 of the fifth round of a lopsided fight.
In the opening round Shields landed the first punch a left uppercut to the chin of Adler. Halfway through the round a Shields right hand to the chin buckled the knees of Adler. A miss from a right hand by Adler was countered by a right to the chin from Shields. Already there were marks on the face of Adler. It was a big round for Shields. In the second round Shields went head hunting pounding the head of Adler who had no answer for this. A left hook from Shields to the head of Adler drove her into the ropes and could have been called a knockdown from referee Michael Griffin. It could have been a 10-8 round for Shields. That is how lopsided it was in favor of Shields. In the third round Shields came out on the attack once again as Adler stayed in the pocket with hands held high. Shields got through the defense of Adler with a pair of rights to the head making Adler hold on. As the bell sounded Shields was all over Adler.
In the fourth round Shields finally went to the body with lead rights followed by left hooks to the head of Adler who seems overwhelmed. A right hand lead miss by Adler was countered by a right from Shields to the head of Adler. Shields landed three body shots just prior to the bell. In the fifth round a 3-punch combination from Shields to the head of Adler had her stunned. With a minute left Shields started showboating with hands to her side. A left hook from Shields rocked Adler and Shields followed up with a combination to the head of Adler forcing referee Griffin to step in and stop the mismatch.
“Oh man that was crazy. It’s clear I am happy and blessed having trained for a hard fight and not a war. (Asked to compare this win to her Olympic Gold Medals) I’m more happier now than winning in the Olympics here among my friends,” said Shields. Also in the ring was WBO and WBC World Female middleweight champion Christina Hammer, 21-0 (9), born in KAZ now living in Germany with both talking about a meeting in 2018.
In the co-feature making his US debut southpaw Super bantamweight Vladimir Tikhonov, 16-1 (9), of St. Petersburg, Russia, lost for the first time in his career to southpaw Jesse Angel “The One” Hernandez, 9-1 (7), of Ft. Worth, TX, at 2:25 of the fifth round.
In the opening round Hernandez switched from southpaw to orthodox and back to southpaw as he pressured southpaw Tikhonov who boxed well in a close round. In the second round Tikhonov was landing more punches but Hernandez the stronger punches. Hernandez landed lead rights to the chin of Tikhonov on several occasions out of the orthodox style. It was a good round for Hernandez. In the third round Hernandez made Tikhonov mix it up by pressuring him. Halfway through the round Hernandez landed a right to the chin that knocked Tikhonov off balance as he was going backwards. Tikhonov came in and clashed heads with Hernandez and pushed him back. Hernandez ended the round with a right hand on the side of Tikhonov’s head knocking him halfway through the ropes as the bell sounded.
In the fourth round Tikhonov landed a hard right hook to the head of Hernandez but Hernandez came back strong rocking Tikhonov with combinations. Tikhonov pushed Hernandez off when he was inside.
In the fifth round Tikhonov butted Hernandez purposely and brought a warning from referee Ansel Stewart. Hernandez came back with much pressure driving Tikonov back again and again. When a left hook from Hernandez knocked the head of Stewart back referee Stewart waved it off to prevent Tikonov from suffering anymore punishment.