Boxing Insider Notebook: Canelo, Golovkin, Mayweather, McGregor, Morrison, Crawford, and more..
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of August 22nd to August 29th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Photo Credit: Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions
Canelo vs. Golovkin Undercard Set
The undercard for the upcoming September 16th showdown between Lineal Middleweight World Champion Canelo Alvarez (49-1-1) and WBC/WBA/IBF/IBO Middleweight World Champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (37-0) has been set.
In the co-main event, Joseph “JoJo” Diaz, Jr. (24-0, 13 KOs) of South El Monte, Calif. will take an important step towards a world title opportunity when he takes on Jorge “Pilon” Lara (29-0-2, 21 KOs) of Guadalajara, Mexico in a 12-round WBC Featherweight title eliminator.
“The Canelo vs. Golovkin undercard will feature some of boxing’s best contenders and rising stars the fans will be in for a treat and won’t want to miss the action,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. “From Jojo Diaz to Randy Caballero, Diego De La Hoya, Vergil Ortiz, and Marlen Esparza, Golden Boy Promotions has stacked the undercard with some of the toughest fighters in the sport today that are determined to put on great fights for the fans.”
“It’s a dream come true to be fighting in the co-main event of the Canelo vs. Golovkin card,” said Joseph Diaz, Jr. “I finally get the opportunity to fight for a title eliminator! I’ve been waiting my whole life to become a world champion. On September 16, I’m going to give it everything I got, for all my fans out there.”
“I haven’t seen too much of [Joseph] Diaz, but I know that he’s a tough opponent,” said Jorge Lara. “I also know that he participated in the 2012 Olympic Games in London. More than anything else, I know that we have to give a great fight, and I hope that he throws punches and brawls.”
Also on the Pay-Per-View telecast will be a battle between two undefeated contenders in the Golden Boy stable. Former IBF World Bantamweight Champion Randy “El Matador” Caballero (24-0, 14 KOs) will face WBC Youth World Super Bantamweight Champion Diego De La Hoya (19-0, 9 KOs) in a 10-round super bantamweight battle for Caballero’s NABF Super Bantamweight title.
“I am so happy and grateful for the opportunity that Golden Boy Promotions has given me,” said Randy Caballero. “I promise to all my friends, family and fans that I will put on a great performance come September 16.”
“I’m very motivated and excited for another great opportunity on the biggest boxing event in some time,” said Diego De La Hoya. “Fights like this one versus Caballero are what bring out the best in me, and I guarantee I will give it my all to put on a great show for the fans. I’d like to thank Golden Boy Promotions, my manager, and Team DDLH for the continued support! See you September 16!”
Opening the Pay-Per-View telecast, lightweight contenders Ryan “Blue Chip” Martin (19-0, 11 KOs), and Francisco Rojo (20-2, 13 KOs) of Mexico City, Mexico will battle it out for Ryan’s WBC Continental Americas and the vacant WBA Intercontinental lightweight titles.
“I realize there are a lot of big fights that can be made right now in the lightweight division,” said Ryan Martin. “There are lot of projections and talks for me to be a part of some of those bigger fights. But, right now I have to get past Rojo. Preparations are going good, and I will be as sharp as ever on that night. My team is amazing, and my trainers are pushing me really hard.”
“It is an honor to be fighting on the same Mexican Independence Day weekend card as the great Canelo Alvarez,” said Francisco Rojo. “It’s going to be a great night for Mexico when we both leave the ring with all the belts wrapped around us.”
“Ryan Martin is one of the fastest-rising stars of the lightweight division,” said Tom Loeffler, promoter of Gennady “GGG” Golovkin. “This battle between two hungry top-10 contenders is a great addition to the card and an exciting way to open the pay-per-view telecast.”
The non-televised undercard is stacked with action-packed bouts featuring Golden Boy Promotions’ strongest contenders and prospects.
Jesus Rojas (25-1-2, 18 KOs) of Caguas, Puerto Rico and Claudio Marrero (22-1, 16 KOs) of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic will clash in a 12-round fight for the vacant WBA Featherweight Title. Vergil Ortiz (6-0, 6 KOs) of Dallas, Texas will take on Cesar Valenzuela (7-1, 2 KOs) of Phoenix, Ariz. in a scheduled six-round super lightweight fight. Marlen Esparza, the 2012 Olympic Bronze Medalist will take on Tania Cosme (5-6-1, 1 KO) of Denver, Colorado. Serhii Bohachuk (4-0, 4 KOs) of Los Angeles will fight in a scheduled four-round welterweight fight against an opponent that will be named shortly in the evening’s first bout.
Canelo vs. Golovkin is a 12-round fight for the middleweight championship of the world presented by Golden Boy Promotions and GGG Promotions and sponsored by Tecate “BORN BOLD”; Hennessy, Never Stop, Never Settle; O’Reilly Auto Parts. Better Parts, Better Prices…everyday!; Fred Loya Insurance; Interjet; Thor: Ragnarok; Fathom Events; Tsesnabank; and Capital Holdings. The event will take place Saturday, Sept. 16 at T-Mobile Arena and will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at a special time of 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT.
Mayweather vs. McGregor to Premier on Showtime This Saturday; Immediately Followed by ALL ACCESS: Mayweather vs. McGregor Epilogue
The unprecedented Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor blockbuster, the final fight of Mayweather’s illustrious career, will premiere on SHOWTIME this Saturday, Sept. 2 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. The showdown between the future Hall of Famer and the UFC superstar originally aired live on SHOWTIME PPV® on Saturday, August 26 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Saturday’s SHOWTIME premiere of the main event will include the singing of the national anthems of the United States and Ireland by Grammy® nominated and multi-platinum artist Demi Lovato and Irish recording sensation Imelda May.
The SHOWTIME presentation of the exciting fight will be immediately followed by the premiere of ALL ACCESS: Mayweather vs. McGregor Epilogue. The network’s’ distinctive Epilogue reveals the drama of fight night from a unique perspective and introduces viewers to the rarely seen aftermath of world championship prizefighting. ALL ACCESS: Mayweather vs. McGregor Epilogue goes behind the scenes into the locker rooms, corners and inner circles as McGregor aimed to shock the world in his boxing debut and Mayweather exited the ring for the final time.
ESPN Unification Bout Between Terence Crawford and Julius Indongo was the Second Most Watched Fight on Cable in 2017
ESPN’s English and Spanish-language live telecast of the Saturday, August 19, “Unification” fight between Terence Crawford and Julius Indongo was seen by an average live audience of 1.3 million viewers across ESPN and ESPN Deportes combined during the main event, making it the second-most watched fight on cable this year.
Crawford, (32-0, 23 KOs) the 2014 Fighter of the Year, risked his WBO, World Boxing Council (WBC) and Ring magazine world titles against undefeated International Boxing Federation (IBF) and World Boxing Association (WBA) world champion Julius Indongo (22-1, 11 KOs). Crawford, after knocking Indongo out in the third round, became the first undisputed junior welterweight champion of the world to hold all 4 four major titles.
Crawford vs Indongo main event averaged 1.2 million viewers on ESPN, making it the second-largest audience for boxing on cable in 2017 (behind ESPN’s Pacquiao/Horn main event which delivered 3.7 million viewers on ESPN).
ESPN Films 30 for 30 to Premier Tommy Morrison Documentary
ESPN Films will premiere a documentary on the ESPN App and on-demand for the first time with the next installment of the award-winning 30 for 30 series, “Tommy.” The film about the late WBO heavyweight champion Tommy Morrison will be available exclusively for streaming and on-demand audiences starting Wednesday, September 13. It will then make its broadcast premiere on Wednesday, September 27, at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
Co-directed by Gentry Kirby and Erin Leyden, “Tommy” examines Morrison’s remarkable rise to the spotlight, followed by a stunning, confounding, and ultimately tragic fall. He was one of the best heavyweights of his time; a handsome, charming, yet unsettled young star. Born into a troubled family in America’s heartland, Morrison’s initial emergence as a fighter was bolstered by a starring role in “Rocky V.” A few years later he beat George Foreman for the WBO heavyweight title, and seemed primed for more stardom, even in the face of blown opportunities and upset losses. But everything changed in early 1996 when he tested positive for HIV, abruptly forcing him into retirement at age 27. From there, Morrison’s life spiraled further and further downward, plagued by drug problems, jail time, and an eventual denial that he had the virus at all.
“Although testing positive for HIV was a big part of Tommy’s life, we did not set out for this to be an HIV story,” said co-director Gentry Kirby. “’Tommy’ is more of a personal, intimate look into how a person’s upbringing can affect their ability to handle everything that life throws at them.”
Adds co-director Erin Leyden: “One of the things I found so compelling about Tommy was the sense that he always wanted to do the right thing, yet so many of the challenges he faced were self-inflicted due to the decisions he made.”
Through interviews with Morrison’s promoter, manager, trainers and family, among others, the film explores the one-time heavyweight champion’s unlikely rise and sudden fall. There have been other boxers and other sports stars whose stories ended sadly, but rarely is the loss of potential as poignant as the case of Tommy Morrison.
International Boxing Association (IBA) Relaunched Worldwide by New Sports Group
The International Boxing Association (IBA) has been relaunched worldwide by a sports group headed by the new IBA president, J.C. Courreges.
In 1991, two-time Major League Baseball all-star pitcher and Cy Young Award winner Dean Chance founded the IBA, guiding the international sanctioning body until his death in 2015.
“The IBA will carry on in the spirit and memory of former IBA president and founder, the late Dean Chance,” Courreges said. “Our mission continues to be providing professional boxers, male and female, at all stages of their respective careers, the opportunity to fight for an internationally recognized World or Regional title.”
Courreges has an extensive, invaluable background in boxing as a promoter and manger. He promoted Hall-of-Famer Roberto Duran, as well as former world champions Trevor Berbick, John Mugabi, Frankie Randall, John David Jackson, Tom Johnson and 1984 Olympic gold medalist Steve McCrory, among the more notables. J.C. also managed world champions Henry Akinwande,
Byron Mitchell, Christophe Tiozzoe, Aaron Davis, Victor Cordova and current WBC cruiserweight world champion and IBA titlist, Mairis Briedis.
“IBA President J.C. Courreges is no stranger to the world of big-time professional boxing,” IBA Vice President Jean Philippe Lustyk noted. “He managed several top-level fighters to significant World Championships. J.C. also promoted several events involving World Champion Roberto ‘Hands of Stone’ Duran. Needless-to-say, IBA President J.C. Courreges’ experience in the world of combat sports is second to none.”
The long, prestigious list of IBA world champions during the past quarter-century includes Hall-of-Famers Oscar de la Hoya, George Foreman, Roberto Duran and Arturo Gatti, as well as stars such as Roy Jones, Jr., Bernard Hopkins, Shane Mosely, James Toney, Mikkel Kessler, Eric Morales, Diego Corrales, Jose Luis Castillo, Glen Johnson and Antonio Tarver.
BIBA Afghanistan License Boxers Dad Rahimi, Zafar Azizi, and Waisuddin Ghawsi
Back in July the British & Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA) and the Afghanistan All Martial Arts Federation (AAMAF) announced that they have joined forces to create the new professional boxing sanctioning organization BIBA Afghanistan to develop boxing in the region as well as sanction events throughout the Country.
Virtually immediately the news broke local Amateur boxers began discussions with BIBA Afghanistan’s Secretary General Shukrullah Fazili. The first of these boxers, Zafar Azizi and Waisuddin Ghawsi have now made the transition from Amateur to Professional status under the BIBA Afghanistan banner.
In addition to the two Amateur boxers, one fight pro Allah Dad Rahimi has also received his BIBA Afghanistan license.
On announcing the news of the first boxers to receive their licenses, BIBA Afghanistan Secretary General Shukrullah Fazili said.
“It is a proud day for BIBA Afghanistan, to license our first boxers.
Allah Dad Rahimi, Zafar Azizi and Waisuddin Ghawsi are very good boxers and we look forward to them boxing, in Afghanistan and Internationally, soon.
The interest from boxers is overwhelming and we already have further applications for BIBA Afghanistan licenses being processed.”