Showtime Boxing Preview: Ortiz vs. Cojanu, Garcia vs. Easter
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Showtime will broadcast three bouts live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. This fight card will be presented by Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions.
The main event of the night will be between Mikey Garcia and Robert Easter Jr. in a WBC/IBF Lightweight Title Unification Bout. The co-main event of the night will feature the return of heavyweight contender Luis Ortiz as he takes on Razvan Cojanu.
Other boxers on the undercard include Mario Barrios, Jose Roman, Roberto Marroquin, and other prized prospects. The Barrios vs. Roman fight looks likely to be broadcast on Showtime in addition to the Easter-Garcia and Ortiz-Cojanu bout.
The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the evening.
Photo Credit: Premier Boxing Champions Twitter Account
Luis Ortiz (28-1) vs. Razvan Cojanu (16-3); Heavyweights
Luis “King Kong” Ortiz fought a hard battle against Deontay Wilder in his last match but eventually succumbed to Wilder’s power.
He returns on Saturday against Razvan Coajnu, a three loss Romanian heavyweight that should be viewed as a comeback opponent that stands little chance of winning.
Cojanu will have a rather large five and a half inch height advantage, but will still be giving up about three inches in reach. Ortiz is eight years older than Cojanu.
Ortiz has a strong edge in amateur experience. Cojanu has no notable amateur accomplishments while Ortiz was a multi time National Champion in boxing mad Cuba as an amateur.
Ortiz’s age and recent inactivity could be a factor. He only fought once in 2018 and once in 2017 and is pushing 40. Cojanu fought once in 2017 and three times in 2016, but it should be noted that two of his past three wins were against opponents with losing records.
Ortiz has beaten the likes of Malik Scott, Tony Thompson, Bryant Jennings, and Monte Barrett. His lone loss was to Deontay Wilder.
Cojanu doesn’t have any big wins on his resume, but his best wins have come against Zhiyu Wu, Ed Fountain, and Manuel Alberto Pucheta. His losses were to Alvaro Morales, Joseph Parker, and Donovan Dennis.
This fight will likely not be competitive. Ortiz should stop Cojanu within the first six rounds.
Mikey Garcia (38-0) vs. Robert Easter Jr. (21-0); WBC/IBF Lightweight Titles
Mikey Garcia is considered by many to be one of boxing’s best pound for pound fighters. He’s held world titles in four different weight classes spanning from featherweight to the junior welterweight divisions.
Garcia is facing a fellow undefeated fighter in Robert Easter Jr. Garcia is only thirty so he’s still in his athletic prime, but Easter is three years his younger and will have a large four inch height advantage and an even larger seven inch reach advantage.
Garcia does have an edge in power. He has thirty stoppage victories on his resume while Garcia only has fourteen. Garcia has stopped two of his past five opponents while Easter has stopped one of his past five opponents.
Easter had a close win against Javier Fortuna in his last bout. He has also defeated the likes of Denis Shafikov, Luis Cruz, Richard Commey, and Argenis Mendez.
Garcia has enver tasted defeat and has beaten the likes of Sergey Lipinets, Adrien Broner, Dejan Zlaticanin, Juan Carlos Brugos, Roman Martinez, Juan Manuel Lopez, and Orlando Salido.
Garcia did have an extended break from boxing from January of 2014 to July of 2016 while he was working out promotional issues, but has been fairly active since then.
Both boxers enjoyed moderate success as amateurs in the national scene. Garcia was a Bronze Medalist in the National Golden Gloves while Easter was a US Olympic Team Alternate.
Technically, Garcia is one of the best in the sport. The height and reach of Easter should give Garcia problems early on, but Easter doesn’t have enough power for Garcia to worried about trying to force his way on the inside.
The opening few rounds should be close, but Garcia should be settled and win a comfortable decision victory when the final bell rings.
Vergil Ortiz KO’s Former Champ Juan Carlos Salgado on ESPN2 Saturday
By: Ken Hissner
Golden Boy Promotions featured 20 year-old hot unbeaten knockout artist Vergil Ortiz, Jr. against former world champion Juan Carlos Salgado at the Belasco Theater, in L.A., CA, Saturday night over ESPN2.
In the Main Event Super lightweight Vergil Ortiz, Jr., 10-0 (10), of Dallas, Texas, knocked out the former IBF & WBA Super Featherweight champion Juan Carlos Salgado, 27-9-1 (16), of Mexico City, MEX, at 1:52 of the third round of a scheduled 10.
Photo Credit: Golden Boy Boxing Twitter Page
In the first round Ortiz rocked Salgado with a left hook to the head. Halfway through the round Ortiz landed a left hook to the solar plexus of Salgado. In the second round Salgado drove Ortiz back several steps landing four unanswered punches. Ortiz was warned for pushing Salgado to the canvas on the back of his neck. Ortiz landed a right hand to the chin driving Salgado to the ropes.
In the third round Ortiz landed half a dozen unanswered punches driving Salgado into the ropes. Both fighters exchanged right hands. Ortiz landed a left hook to the liver and down went Salgado causing referee Raul Caiz to wave it off.
“I do not want to get ahead of myself but I am looking to become a champion,” said Ortiz. At ringside, trainer Joel Diaz, Sr., proclaimed how great of a prospect Ortiz is whom he helped train.
In the co-feature Super Featherweight Hector “El Finito” Tanajara, Jr., 14-0 (5), of San Antonio, TX, defeated Roger “The Kid” Gutierrez, 19-2-1 (16), of Maracaibo, VZ, over 8 rounds.
In the first round coming off his first loss Gutierrez is pressing Tanajara looking for a quick stoppage. Gutierrez was warned for hitting behind the head by referee Wayne Hedgpeth. Tanajara came back landing a left hook south of the border and receiving a warning. In the second round it was much closer with Tanajara giving as much as taking.
In the third round the highly regarded Tanajara started getting more offensive landing a double left hook to the body and head of Gutierrez. Tanajara rocked Gutierrez with a lead right hand to the head with less than a minute left in the round. In the fourth round both fighters exchanged right hands to the head.
Tanajara drove Gutierrez into the corner of the ring with a right hand to the chin.
In the fifth round Gutierrez landed a straight right to the chin of Tanajara. Gutierrez got a warning about using his head in clinches from the referee.
Tanajara worked his way back into the fight the past several rounds. In the sixth round once again Gutierrez looked to the ref for help and got hit with a right hand from Tanajara to the head. The fight seems about even at this point.
In the seventh round Gutierrez is getting spun around and holds Tanajara twice receiving warnings. Tanajara landed a left hook and when he tried it a second time he missed and ended up on the canvas. In the eighth and final round the clinching continued with the fight on the line one would think both would be looking to win the round not wrestle. Gutierrez landed several punches before taking a right to the head from Tanajara. Tanajara landed a right to the head of Gutierrez causing a cut over the left eye. I counted 8 clinches in this the final round.
Scores were 80-72, 79-73 and 78-74. This writer had it 77-75.
Super Welterweight Ferdinand Kerobyan, 9-0 (5), of Armenia now in Glendale, CA, stopped Edgar Ivan “El Profe” Garcia, 7-17-1 (2), of Sonora, MEX, at 2:48 of the 2nd round of a scheduled 6 rounds.
In the first round the taller Kerobyan gave a punishing beating to the body for the entire round. In round 2 Garcia got in a couple of punches but Kerobyan took over with more of a body beating until Garcia finally fell to a knee forcing referee Raul Caiz to wave it off. “I want to return to 147,” said Kerobyan. He had a big amateur career in Europe.
Vergil Ortiz: “My Ultimate Goal Is To Be Remembered”
By: Sean Crose
“I have like four or five guitars,” super lightweight Vergil Ortiz tells me. “I got into music when I played Guitar Hero.” It’s not often that a contemporary fighter – perhaps with the exception of woodwind practitioner Keith Thurman – is known for a love of instruments. An interesting thing about Ortiz, however, is that he’s quite open to talking about an area of interest outside of the ring. “I like to play guitar or piano,” he explains. It was being exposed to the piano, in fact, that led to Ortiz discovering an interesting truth about himself. “I realized I kind of have an ear for music.”
Ortiz sees music as an outlet, a chance to be himself, after six full days of training a week. After four to six miles of daily roadwork and other grueling weekly routines (“Every other day we spar”) Ortiz appreciates his spare time. “I like to play my guitar or piano,” he says. Still, the 9-0 Texan knows that his primary focus has to be his ring career. When I ask if he has a wife, girlfriend or children, Ortiz makes it clear that there will be time for such fulfillment in the future. “I’m just focused on boxing right now,” he tells me. “That’ll all come later.”
A native of Grand Prairie, “a pretty big small town” outside of Dallas, the undefeated Ortiz is developing the reputation for having Texas sized power. None of the 20 year old’s fights have gone the distance. All of Ortiz’ opponents, without exception, have succumbed to the fury of the man’s gloved fits. Not that Ortiz is always looking to call it an early night each and every time. “They just come when they come,” he says of the KOs. “If I could go the distance, that would be great.” In order for such a thing to happen, however, Ortiz will have to find the opponent who can withstand his power.
“My dad took me to the gym after school,” Ortiz says of his start in boxing. “They put me in to spar with no training.” The older Ortiz was himself a boxer, though “he never went pro.” The younger Ortiz, who has “two brothers and three sisters,” is carrying the family legacy into the professional ranks, however. And yes, boxing is still a family affair. “My dad’s been my coach, “says Ortiz. Legacy is an important thing to the fighter. “My ultimate goal is to be remembered in boxing,” he claims.
Asked who throughout history he’d have liked to fight, Ortiz gives the honors to the late Arturo Gatti. “For me he was the toughest of the tough,” he says. Other fighters the man admires are Sergio Martinez, the late Salvador Sanchez, and the Golden Boy himself, Oscar De la Hoya. One Vasyl Lomachenko also earns a great deal of the man’s respect. “There’s a reason why he’s undefeated,” Ortiz says of the Ukrainian, stating that right now, the man called Loma “is the best fighter” out there. Like Lomachenko, Ortiz started as an amateur standout.
“It was good,” he says of his apprentice years. “I won seven national titles…most of my losses came when I was little.” It was during one particular tournament that Ortiz caught the eye of a company owned by one of his favorite fighters, Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy. In truth, the promotional outfit was also interested in another fighter, but when the two rising stars faced off, it was Ortiz who emerged victorious. “I knocked that guy out in about thirty seconds,” he says. Since signing with the famed company, Ortiz has found himself in places like Vegas and even AT&T Stadium, near his home.
“It was pretty cool,” he says of that particular experience, adding that friends and family were on hand live at the stadium to see him knock out Ernesto Hernandez. In fact, Ortiz is finding himself becoming a known commodity. “I get it a lot,” he says of public recognition, “especially in my hometown.” Good things happen when one has strong backing. “I fought on ESPN five times already,” he claims. As for the immediate future, the burgeoning KO artist plans on being back in the ring soon.
Should he continue on his current path, Ortiz may well be able to add quite a bit more to that guitar collection of his.
What We Learned from Deontay Wilder
By: Niki Ross
Social media and sports news outlets are crammed full of coverage from last nights heavyweight showdown between Deontay Wilder and Luis Ortiz. The peculiar thing is, not many of the reports seem to be consistent. Opinions are divided between those who feel that Wilder has now vindicated himself as a champion of quality and substance, and those who feel that it exposed him as being grossly overrated.
Like most arguments however, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. What have we learned from that 10 round stoppage of Luis Ortiz? Wilder has limited ability. That much is true and it has be marginally concealed by fighting poor quality opposition. This is no fault of his own, the heavyweight division is bereft of talent. These days its a rare thing to even find a heavyweight in good physical condition never mind demonstrating skill and power like Tyson or Frazier at their peak.
That said, Wilder has still managed to look limited even when he’s putting guys to sleep early. Against Ortiz he was living and breathing for the moment he could land his right hand. His jab was snappy, but he didn’t seem to know how to do anything other than throw the right hand after it. For most of the ten rounds, he seemed out of his comfort zone and credit to Ortiz, he took Wilder to places that nobody had taken him before.
Despite his limited ability, Deontay Wilder has a wrecking ball of a right hand. Luis Ortiz is surely not an easy man to seat, but every time that right hand was slung at him it had an immediate impact. However Wilder’s punches are so telegraphed and often so wide that a decent fighter, or even one of similar age and condition, should be able to hang their washing on them. It is difficult to gauge where Wilder is since we have very few men worthy of being in the top ten never mind owning a belt.
Everything that was worth knowing about Wilder was found out in the last thirty five seconds of round number seven. Ortiz gave us an enthralling volley of crunching blows. It was boxing at its best, the underdog on the verge of pulling off the upset in the most electrifying way possible. In these fights where the men at the top go toe to toe, taking the judges out of the equation is the hallmark of superiority. It was nothing short of astonishing that Deontay Wilder did not touch the canvas. Had there been another ten seconds left of the round the referee would have intervened or Wilder would have been hurt. Badly.
What we learned about Deontay Wilder is that when it comes to heart, conditioning and punch resistance, he will never be questioned again. He overcame the worst type of odds in that round to come back and snatch victory from straight from the jaws of catastrophe. The picture that we’re left with now that the dust has settled is, Wilder vs Joshua is the only fight that matters. And its a straight up 50/50.
Joshua is the better boxer and he passed his acid test in stopping former champion Vladimir Klitschko. But Klitschko was no spring chicken. At 32 years of age, Wilder is in excellent condition and he has very little milage on the clock with only one professional fighting going the distance in the one sided scolding of Bermane Stiverne. Wilder isn’t shy to throw either and with the power he packs in his right hand he will be a hard nights work for anyone.
With Joshua being more rounded and more convincing in his wins, he has more weapons than Wilder has. He’s more noticeably composed when going for the finish, his punches are shorter and more compact and he uses more variety. He too packs heavy artillery in both hands. But he’s not hard to find and an ageing Klitschko gave Eddie Hearn the fright of his life when he sent Joshua for a quick lie down.
Its a fight that will no doubt have miles upon miles of text written about it between now and the first bell sounding. But unfortunately for fight fans that could be some way off. This doesn’t seem to be an easy fight to make with both fighters blaming each other for making early negotiations difficult. All eyes will now be on Joshua come March 31st as he has the stubborn Joseph Parker to deal with before committing to anything else. Boxing is a fickle sport, with the curious outcome from Saturday night, a pressure will now descend on Cardiff come fight night. Anything less than a convincing stoppage from Joshua might just make Deontay Wilder’s victory that little bit more significant.
Looking at the Wilder vs. Ortiz and Parker vs. Joshua Fight
By: Ken Hissner
This past weekend Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder, 40-0 (39), came within seconds of losing his WBC Heavyweight title to previously unbeaten Luis Ortiz, 28-1 (24), of Miami, FL, trying to be the first Cuban to win the heavyweight title.
Even though judges for that event Glenn Feldman, Kevin Morgan and Carlos Ortiz had Wilder ahead after nine rounds 85-84 they were probably the only ones at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, NY, or viewing it over Showtime that did. This writer had it 86-84 Ortiz.
Feldman had Wilder winning two of the first three rounds. Morgan and Ortiz had Wilder winning the second round. This writer and Showtime’s judge Steve Farhood gave the first four rounds to Ortiz. All judges gave Ortiz a 10-8 round when he had Wilder out on his feet in the seventh round. I don’t question that though I had it 10-9.
Fortunately for Wilder referee David Fields didn’t stop the fight in the seventh round with about a minute or more left when he was out on his feet and holding Ortiz. As far as I know it’s the first time Wilder has fought any contender in the top four of the WBC rankings even though it was his seventh defense. If you count the only opponent to go the distance with him in Bermane “B.WARE” Stiverne he had been inactive for two years and should not have even been in the rankings.
Dillian “The Body Snatcher” Whyte, a Jamaican out of the UK is 22-1 (16), and ranked No. 1 by the WBC. His only loss was two years ago getting stopped by Anthony Joshua in seven rounds. He is scheduled to fight No. 13 ranked and 38 year-old Australian Lucas “Big Daddy” Browne, 25-0 (22), on March 24th in the UK.
On March 31st, on Showtime, in Cardiff, Wales, Anthony “A.J.” Joshua, 20-0 (20), of the UK will put his IBF and WBA titles on the line in the UK against WBO champion Joe Parker, 24-0 (18), of NZ living in Las Vegas, NV. The winner and Wilder will be looking to meet one another before the year is out.
It’s a 50-50 chance they will fight someone else in an attempt to build the gate for the four titles to be on the line. Russian Olympic Gold Medalist Alexander “Russian Vityaz” Povetkin, 33-1 (23) is the No. 1 contender in both the WBO and the WBA. Like Ortiz he failed a drug test but could be a future opponent for one of the title holders.
Kubrat “The Cobra” Pulev, 25-1 (13), of Bulgaria, is the No. 2 IBF contender with No. 1 vacant. Back in 2014 he was stopped by Wladimir Klitschko for the IBF title in the fifth round. 44 year-old Fres “Big O” Oquendo, 37-8 (24), of Chicago, IL, hasn’t fought in almost four years and is ranked No. 2 in the WBA and is meeting Syrian Manuel “Diamond Boy” Charr, from Lebanon fighting out of Germany who holds the WBA World title May 4th in Chicago. This gives you an idea how the rankings are “fixed”, I mean figured.
Joshua looked very bad in stopping late sub Carlos Takam, of Cameroon living in France in the tenth round in his last defense so now others have been mentioned meeting Joshua. The champions rarely fight two top contenders in back to back fights so you never know with Joshua-Parker and Wilder coming off big fights if they will be looking for something easier instead of meeting each other.
It does look like by the end of 2018 there will be one heavyweight champion holding all four organization titles. You have to go back to Evander “Real Deal” Holyfield to remember someone holding three titles when he lost to Lennox Lewis in 1999. So let’s hope Showtime and the organizations can put the two champions against one another.
Showtime World Championship Boxing Results: Wilder Stops Ortiz in Thriller, Uzcategui Defeats Dirrell
By: Ken Hissner
DiBella Entertainment and TGB Promotions promoted a pair of world title bouts at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY, over Showtime Saturday night.
Tonight’s attendance at Barclays Center was 14,069.
This is the second highest attendance number for boxing at Barclays Center (after Thurman vs. Garcia)
WBC Heavyweight Champion Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder, 40-0 (39), of Tuscaloosa, AL, came from behind to stop the No. 3 Contender southpaw Luis “King Kong” Ortiz, 28-1 (24), of Cuba and Miami, FL, at 2:05 of the tenth round to retain his WBC title.
Photo Credit: Showtime Boxing Twitter Account
In the first round Ortiz uses his jab well keeping Wilder from throwing punches. Ortiz landed combinations keeping Wilder off balance. Wilder finally threw a right that landed but got countered by an Ortiz left to the chin. In the second round Wilder continues to back up and hesitate to throw the right. Ortiz slipped per referee David Fields. Wilder went in after him but caught to a countering left to the chin. Ortiz backed Wilder into a corner and landed a lead left to the chin.
In the third round Ortiz continued to come forth and seems to intimidate Wilder. It took almost two minutes for Wilder to land a right hand. Ortiz with right hand low keeps the left high to avoid a Wilder right. In the fourth round Ortiz kept landing more. At the halfway point of the round Ortiz lands a lead left rocking Wilder.
In the fifth round the fans continue to let Wilder know he’s not doing enough. The defense of Ortiz seemed to bother Wilder from throwing his right. Wilder seems concerned about the countering power of Ortiz. Wilder drops Ortiz with a right hand just prior to the bell. In the sixth round Wilder finally lands a right to the chin of Ortiz. Wilder rocks Ortiz as Wilder starts landing his right to the head of Ortiz. Halfway through the round Wilder lands a left hook to the body of Ortiz.
In the seventh round Wilder rocked Ortiz who came back having Wilder out on his feet with a left and a right hook having Wilder barely making it to the end of the round. In the eighth round Ortiz keeps coming forward rocking a back pedaling Wilder. Wilder measured with his left but fails to throw the left fearing a counter from Ortiz. Ortiz keeps coming forward out landing Wilder.
In the ninth round Wilder is more aggressive but landing a right gets countered by an Ortiz left to the chin. Ortiz seemed to be tiring. Wilder rocks Ortiz with a right to the chin with seconds to go but got hurt with an Ortiz counter. In the tenth round Wilder is using his jab well. Both landed at the same time. Ortiz went down but referee David Fields called it a slip. Wilder went after Ortiz who looked exhausted and dropped Ortiz with a right hand and left hook. Ortiz barely beat the count but referee Fields left him go and Wilder went on the attack dropping Ortiz with a right hand uppercut ending the fight. What an ending by Wilder.
Interim IBF World Super Middleweight Champion southpaw Andre “The Resurrected” Dirrell, 26-3 (16), of Flint, MI, took a beating in losing to the No. 3 Contender Jose “Bolivita” Uzcategui, 27-2 (23), of VZ and Tijuana, MEX, who wins the interim IBF World Super Middleweight title, at 0:02 of the ninth round.
In the first round Uzcategui started the action with a counter right to the chin of Dirrell. Dirrell landed a hard left to the chin of Uzcategui knocking him off balance. Uzcategui landed a 3-punch combination starting with a right to the head, left hook to the body and another right to the head. In the second round Uzcategui started with a 3-punch combination. Uzcategui landed another lead right to the chin of Dirrell and followed with a flurry of punches before Dirrell landed a return punch. Dirrell landed a lead left to the chin of Uzcategui. Dirrell continues to try to hold off Uzcategui with his jab but it doesn’t keep from getting hit with a lead right.
In the third round the same pattern continued until Dirrell finally blocked an Uzcategui lead right. When Dirrell finds himself against the ropes he is asking for trouble. A body shot at the bell dropped Dirrell but referee Ricky Gonzalez didn’t know what to do so he called nothing. In the fourth round Uzcategui landed four punches to the head as Dirrell stood in front of him. Uzcategui landed a right to the chin of Dirrell and followed with a left to the chin of Dirrell. Dirrell counters with a triple jab but still gets caught with an Uzcategui right hand.
In the fifth round Uzcategui picks up where he left off with one right after another to the chin of a wide open Dirrell. With half a minute left in the round Dirrell lands his hardest punch a left to the chin of Uzcategui. Uzcategui took over the last half minute. In the sixth round Uzcategui picked up where he left off with rights pounding on Dirrell’s chin. It’s been an easy night for referee Gonzalez with few clinches. Dirrell rocks Uzcategui with a left to the chin. Dirrell ends the round with the same punch to the chin.
In the seventh round Dirrell is back on his bike. Both boxers exchange punches with Uzcategui holding the edge. Dirrell started showing swelling around his right eye. Just prior to the bell Dirrell avoided a right and countered with a left hurting Uzcategui. In the eighth round Dirrell takes plenty of leather from Uzcategui and lands a left uppercut to the chin. Dirrell switches to orthodox landing more power punches than southpaw but goes back to southpaw. Uzcategui landed several hard punches causing plenty of swelling on the face of Dirrell. Dirrell’s corner threatens to stop the fight and they do.
Dirrell was beaten from ring post to ring post for the entire 8 rounds. He had no confidence and quit in the corner. It was a wise decision on his part.
“I was a little surprise when the fight was stopped and I know I predicted it would be stopped in three rounds. It was clear in the first fight that I would be even better in the second fight, “said Uzcategui.
“It was a great fight. I had to earn this win. I knew Ortiz would be a great opponent with the skill set that he has. I wanted to prove to myself and to the world that I am the best.
“This is a fight I took with great risk so that I could prove to the world that I’m the best. We each put on a great performance and I think the fans were happy they were here. I always give the fans in Brooklyn a great fight.
“I wanted to burn him out. When you get a southpaw you know it’s going to take a little time. I didn’t want to rush in. I tried to set him up and it took a little longer than I wanted, but a true champion knows how to adjust.”
“It was a great fight and I performed well. I thought I was up on the scorecard going in to the (tenth) round, but it’s heavyweight boxing and you never know what’s going to happen.
“I almost had him and I think I would’ve if there were a few more seconds in the round.
“I thought I was going to get a rhythm earlier. I thought I was winning the fight. This is heavyweight boxing and he caught me with a great shot. He’s a great champion.
“Wilder was definitely saved by the bell. I thought I had him out on his feet. But you have to give him credit, he weathered the storm.
“I just want to get back in the ring, hopefully earn a rematch and fight for one of the other titles.”
Showtime World Championship Boxing Preview: Wilder vs. Ortiz, Dirrell vs. Uzcategui
By: Bryant Romero
This Saturday is a busy night of boxing all over the globe, but in Brooklyn there is a very anticipated heavyweight title fight taking place at the Barclays Center when Deontay Wilder takes on his most dangerous opponent to date in Cuban top contender Luis Ortiz (28-0, 24 KOs) in what should be an explosive heavyweight matchup. Wilder (39-0, 38 KOs) will be looking to make the seventh consecutive defense of WBC heavyweight strap, while also looking to silent some of the doubters who have criticized the Bronze Bomber for being a protected champion who hand-picks his opponents. Ortiz will be looking to make history as becoming the first Cuban heavyweight world champion in boxing history if he could defeat Wilder and lift his WBC strap.
Wilder has been very outspoken about wanting to prove he’s the best and now will get the chance to make a statement to the heavyweight division with a devastating performance over the dangerous Cuban. Ortiz almost lost this opportunity after testing positive for a banned substance that canceled the original date of this fight 4 months prior. He would eventually be cleared by the WBC because of an existing medical condition he had and with Wilder once again agreeing to fight him, the Cuban vows to make history in the heavyweight division by knocking out Deontay Wilder in Brooklyn.
Promoter Lou Dibella admits that if it were up to him, this fight would not be taking place, but the Bronze Bomber perhaps feeling the pressure from the naysayers and the continuing rise of unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, Wilder feels it’s a big risk worth taking as a statement win over Ortiz will further put pressure on Joshua to unify with the WBC champion. A lot is on the line for the 32-year-old Wilder as a lost would be devastating at this point, especially with a gigantic payday still out there with Anthony Joshua. Joshua’s team however, is showing no indication that a Wilder unification will be next.
On the undercard, is a necessary rematch between Andre Dirrell(26-2, 16 KOs) vs Jose Uzcategui (26-2, 22 KOs) for an Interim IBF super middleweight title. The first fight ended in a controversial DQ win for Andre Dirrell after appearing to get knockdown by Uzcategui at the sound of the bell. Referee Bill Clancy however, ruled that Uzcategui intentionally fouled him by hitting him after the bell, therefore disqualifying him. Uzcategui would protest the result after getting assaulted in the ring by Dirrell’s Uncle and trainer.
The original result of the fight would stand, but the IBF would grant an immediate rematch that will hopefully provide some clarity in this super middleweight grudge match.
Luis “King Kong” Ortiz is Ready to Prove the World Wrong
by B.A. Cass
“I’m not like those other guys [Wilder’s] fought,” Luiz Ortiz said recently. “I’m a real fighter—tough and with a lot of experience. I’ve been fighting since I was ten years old.”
As a member of the Cuban National Team, Ortiz stacked up 343 amateur wins and only had 19 losses. In 2009, he fled Cuba for Mexico and soon found his way to America where he made his professional debut at age 30. Although two of his fights were ruled no contest, Ortiz has never lost a professional fight. He has KO’d 24 out of the 28 fighters he has faced.
And yet, when he enters the ring at Barclays Center on Saturday to face Deontay Wilder, Ortiz will be the underdog. This is a new situation for Ortiz. In all his previous bouts, he has been the favorite to win. Although not particularly fast on his feet, Ortiz is a better technical boxer than Wilder, who throws windmill punches that leave him wide open, a vulnerability that none of Wilder’s opponents have been able to exploit. Perhaps that’s because Wilder fights with the intensity of a man running into a burning house to save his family from death.
Of course, we also must acknowledge that Wilder has not faced top talent. As Ortiz’s trainer, German Caicedo, told me in September, “Deontay Wilder’s got 35 nobodies.”
Ortiz and Wilder were set to fight this past November. However, Ortiz failed to inform VADA of his prescription blood pressure medicine, medicine that is banned by VADA due to its potential use as a flushing agent for PEDs. “The dose they found in my system was too low to mask anything at all,” Ortiz said. “If I would have known this prescription drug was not allowed, I would have told my trainer and my doctor.”
The WBC later cleared Ortiz. However, he was replaced in November by Bermane Stiverne, who had had previously lost to Wilder and is the only opponent of Wilder’s to have gone the distance with him. Their rematch was a colossal joke: Wilder scored a dramatic first-round KO that was reminiscent of Ali’s performance against Liston in their rematch. As one astute observer mentioned to me, the fight couldn’t have gone better for Wilder if it his promotional team had planned it.
Wilder won’t have such an easy time with Ortiz. “He’s talking too much. He’s going to have to back that up in the ring,” Ortiz said. “He says he’s going to kill ‘King Kong.’ He’s going to knock me out. I want to watch him try.”
“He doesn’t intimidate me,” Ortiz continued. “His trash talk makes me laugh. It’s just a lot of noise. I’m hungry. I’m doing this for my family. He better take me seriously because he’s going to find himself on the canvas before he knows it. I’m going to show the world who ‘King Kong’ is.”
Confident as he may be, “King Kong” is trying not to make too much of the fight. “The key is always to avoid thinking that it’s win or die because that can put you off center.”
Ortiz, who turns 39 next month, does not have age on his side. However, he may have something else working in his favor: his family.
“They go to every fight,” Ortiz said. “That was my promise to them when I had to leave them behind in Cuba to come to the United States. They will come with me wherever I go. If I gas out, I look at them, and they keep me going.”
If Ortiz defeats Wilder, his victory will upset the plans of Lou DiBella and Eddie Hearn, who stand to make a great deal of money from the much-anticipated matchup of Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua.
If he does win, Ortiz will finally be able to call himself Heavyweight Champion of the World.
But even if his does win, his reign as champ may be short-lived. As Caicedo said to me August, “He’s not going to be the celebrated champion. He’s going to be the champion who’s holding the belt for whoever else promoters want to make a champion. Even if he becomes world champion, they’re not giving him the tune-up bouts. When and if he beats one of these world champions, his next fight is going to with someone that they want to crown a champion. Because they don’t see the money behind a Cuban. There’s no fan base.”
Follow B.A. Cass on Twitter @WiththePunch
Wilder-Ortiz Square Off In Conference Call
By: Sean Crose
“I just had a scrumptious meal with some sweet tea,” WBC heavyweight titlist Deontay Wilder said during a recent conference call to promote his March 3’d battle with the undefeated Luis Ortiz. “I’m feeling good. I’m fixing to get ready to go spar and get this past week over and March 3 I’m coming to whip Luis Ortiz’ ass but I’m excited for this fight. I am so excited for this fight.” Wilder, the 39-0 knockout artist (only one fight, against Bermane Stiverne, went the distance) employed his outspoken personality, not only to sell the fight, but to sell himself as the top heavyweight in the world, as well.
“I am the best heavyweight champion, period,” he said, “and I’m willing to prove that not only to Luis Ortiz but to the world.” It’s clear that Wilder wants to separate himself from the current crop of contemporary fighters who are known as being of the safety first, low-risk/high reward variety. “I want people to get it in their mind that I could have ran from this fight,” the Alabama native claimed. “I could have chosen any opponent that I wanted to to fight on March the 3, especially when all the other stuff went about, I could have easily gone somewhere else but no, I’m adamant about what I say, I’m confident about what I’m going to do and I’m ready to prove it to the world. So I got the perfect opponent, it’s the perfect time, it’s the perfect place.”
Wilder and Ortiz, who will face off in New York City’s Barclay’s Center in the famed borough of Brooklyn, were supposed to be meet earlier, but Ortiz was popped for doping and the fight was stopped. Ortiz, who was nailed for doping previously, was cleared in this particular case, however, and so the fight was made once again. “He never been in there with a guy that won’t back down, won’t budge,” Wilder said of his opponent. “I can’t wait. I hope he’s sleeping good, too. I hope you’re getting all your minerals, your protein and you’re taking your medicine faithfully because March the 3rd it’s going to be a real fight. I’d like to welcome you to the real sport of boxing.”
The 28-0 Ortiz, however, had his own things to say. “Everybody that talks as much as Deontay loses,” he stated. “Brandon Rios just the other day was talking and talking and talking and talking against Danny Garcia and look what happened. None of this talk bothers me. He can talk all he wants. Deontay is trying to convince himself.” Ortiz was also clearly willing to be done with the doping matter. “It’s going to be a hell of a fight and somebody’s going to hit the canvas, he said. “While he (Wilder) keeps hyping himself and hyping himself and trying to believe in himself, it’s going to be a bad night for him. He’s talking about PEDs. I’ve taken seven tests in a month and a week, seven blood and urine tests for VADA and the New York Commission.”
One thing fans can most certainly expect on March 3d is for both men to enter the ring exuding supreme confidence. “There is nothing that man’s going to do to touch me where he’s going to hurt me,” said Wilder. “I’m going to walk through all that. I’m telling you. That’s nothing. I’ve seen his style many, many, many times. I’ve fought it coming-up in the amateurs. I’ve got a lot of Cuban friends. I know their style. Trust me. And I can’t wait. That’s why I do my talking. I talk my talk so I can walk my walk.”
“You’re in for a hell of a problem March 3,” Ortiz stated to his foe during the call.
PBC on Fox Results: Alexander and Ortiz fight to a Draw.
by Eric Lunger
Tonight, on PBC on Fox, the talented but enigmatic Victor Ortiz (32-6-2, 25 KOs) took on former world champion Devon Alexander (27-4, 14 KOs) in a twelve-round welterweight clash. No belt was on the line, but both fighters knew what was at stake: the winner would have a meaningful claim in the deep welterweight division, while the loser very well might mark the end of his career.
In a close, professional first round, both men boxed from range, and Alexander just nipped the round, landing one clean shot. Ortiz was looking to land a lead hook in the second round, feinting his way in. Alexander’s hand speed was noticeable, however, and Ortiz suffered a cut on his forehead. It was another extremely close round. Alexander looked the better fighter in the third round, showing world-class accuracy and speed.
In the fourth, Alexander continued to land precise shots, with Ortiz’s left eye noticeably swelling. The pattern continued in the middle rounds, with Ortiz trying to feint his way in, but Alexander timing him with precise, short shots. Ortiz did get inside at the end of the fifth, but could not do any significant damage. In the seventh, Ortiz bulled his way in, and there was a lot of leather exchanged at close range. The eighth was an exciting round, two professionals exhibiting a high level of skill and courage. It might have been Ortiz’s best round, but Alexander seemed none daunted.
The ninth was full of action, but Alexander’s footwork allowed him to dictate the range (most of the time), and thus Ortiz could not make it an inside brawl. In the eleventh, Ortiz was looking to land some wide hooks, while Alexander remained sharp and accurate. In the final frame, Ortiz fought with urgency but he seemed unable to summon enough energy after a tough and exhausting effort. For a fighter who has taken a lot of criticism regarding his heart, Ortiz fought like a lion.
The scorecards came a stunner. Inexplicably, a majority draw with two cards 114-114, and one card 115-113 for Ortiz.
In the co-feature, undefeated prospect Caleb “Sweet Hands” Plant (16-0, 10 KOs) took on rugged and experienced Rogelio “Porky” Medina (38-8, 32 KOs) in a twelve-round world title eliminator at 168 pounds. Sold as America vs. Mexico, the storyline was more interesting as undefeated prospect against tested and tough veteran. Medina failed to make weight, however, and appeared in the ring with a brace on his left knee.
Plant showed a strong left jab in the first round, taking no risks. In the second, Plant dropped his left hand, and allowed Medina to come forward and dictate the action. Plant spent a significant portion of the round back-peddling, earning a Bronx cheer from the crowd. But in the third round, Plant appeared looser and more confident, bouncing on the balls of his feet and landing some clean counters. Medina had no answers and began to take real punishment.
Medina had some success in the fourth, but Plant landed more jabs and used his footwork to frustrate the Mexican veteran. In the middle rounds, Medina could not negate Plant’s advantage in reach and Plant’s jab. Plant was winning rounds jabbing and countering, but he never seemed like he wanted to get Medina out of there.
In the late rounds, Plant remained in control, always boxing, always safe. Medina showed a ton of heart and desire, but could not make inroads against Plant’s defensive footwork. Going twelve rounds for the first time in his career, Caleb Plant earned the decision 120-108, 119-109, 117-111, running his record to a perfect 17-0.
In earlier action, US Olympian Carlos Balderas (3-0, 3 KOs) showcased his elite-level skills, outpointing Jorge Rojas (4-2-1, 2 KOs) in a four-round lightweight bout. Prior to the televised bouts, Detroit’s Tony Harrison (25-2, 20 KOs) stopped George Sosa (15-12, 15 KOs) in the fifth round, for Harrison’s second win since losing to Jarrett “Swift” Hurd in February of 2017.
PBC on Fox Preview: Devon Alexander vs. Victor Ortiz
By: Eric Lunger
Former welterweight world champions Victor Ortiz and Devon Alexander look to climb back into the top echelons of the division, as they face off on Saturday night in a twelve-round welterweight bout, live on Fox at 8:00 p.m. ET.
Photo Credit: Alen Mena/PBC
Ortiz (32-6-2, 25 KOs) held the WBC title in 2011, losing it to Floyd Mayweather on a bizarre knock out, after Ortiz had inexplicably head-butted Mayweather and was still attempting to apologize. Ortiz, 31, has been erratic since then, winning three and losing three over a five-year span, but he is coming off a fourth-round knockout of Saul Corral in July of last year. A southpaw with a fluid and entertaining style, Ortiz is a pressure fighter who can leave himself open to being countered.
“I’m ready to give all I have to get my crown back,” Ortiz said via PBC press release. “My priority is to make a strong comeback and put myself in position to have my straps once more. I’m facing a great fighter in Devon Alexander and someone I have known since we were kids. I don’t hate him, but I won’t be his friend on fight night.”
Alexander, also 31, won the IBF welterweight title in November 2012, but lost it a year later, in his second defense of the belt, to Shawn Porter. Alexander held the IBF and WBC super lightweight titles in 2010-2011. The St. Louis native is a southpaw as well, and he brings to the ring a well-rounded style with solid defense and potent offense. Alexander has a strong jab and a dangerous straight left, but he can also bang the body with the left hook.
After battling some on-and-off health issues over the last three years, Alexander is eager to get back on track. Coming off a UD victory over Walter Castillo in November, a big win Saturday night could jump start his career. “I’m excited to get back in there against a fighter like Victor Ortiz,” Alexander told PBC. “My speed, quickness, and smarts will win me this fight. Victor checks out sometimes when he can’t hit you, so my skills will be the difference.”
With fights against Amir Khan, Marcos Maidana, and Timothy Bradley on his resume, Alexander is no stranger to the big stage. Both he and Ortiz have a lot of hard-earned experience between them; both of them are very talented. The fight should come down to which fighter can impose his game plan on the other.
In the co-main event, undefeated prospect Caleb “Sweet Hands” Plant (16-0, 10 KOs) will take on tough veteran Rogelio Medina (38-8, 32 KOs) in a twelve-round world title eliminator at 168 pounds. At super welterweight, Detroit’s Tony Harrison (25-2, 20 KOs) will face off against Jorge Cota (27-2, 24 KOs) of Mexico in a ten rounder. Harrison, a real technician of the sport, was stopped by Jarrett Hurd in February of last year in an IBF title fight. In addition, 2016 US Olympian Carlos Balderas will appear in a lightweight special attraction.
Victor Ortiz: On the Comeback Trail against Devon Alexander
By: Eric Lunger
Premier Boxing Champions have recently announced that Victor “Vicious” Ortiz, former WBC welterweight world champion, will continue his comeback in a twelve-round bout against Devon Alexander, set for February 17 in El Paso, Texas. Alexander (27-4, 14 KOs) is also a former world champion, having held the IBF belt in 2013 before losing it to Shawn Porter.
Ortiz (32-6-2, 25 KOs) has always struck me as an enigmatic fighter: a man who both revels in and fears the violence unleashed by his boxing skills. Ortiz came to boxing from a rough childhood, a thing not unique in this sport by any means, but Ortiz’s journey was especially marked by hardship and adversity. Nonetheless, he found boxing, and Roberto Garcia found him, and Ortiz climbed to the heights of the sport, eventually taking on Marcos Maidana for the interim WBA junior welterweight title in June of 2009.
In that wild and memorable bout, both fighters were on the canvas multiple times, but Ortiz, having suffered a cut in the fifth and knocked down in the sixth, lost by TKO when the ring-side physician would not allow him to continue. Some felt Ortiz had quit in the fight, and Ortiz took a lot of criticism in the media for the way the fight ended. But the fight, in my view, was really over at the end of the fifth, when Ortiz took two thunderous shots from Maidana and was, essentially, out on his stool.
In 2011, Ortiz defended his WBC strap against Floyd Mayweather. After failing to land any effective shots on the elusive Mayweather, Ortiz bizarrely, but with savage intent, head-butted his opponent in the fourth round. Bewildered and baffled by what he had done, Ortiz kept trying to apologize and make amends. As he did so, he apparently did not see the referee’s gesture to continue boxing, and Mayweather unceremoniously knocked him out.
Ortiz’s ambivalent approach to this brutal sport was on display again in the second Berto fight in April of 2016. Ortiz looked good early, and scored a punishing knock down in the second round. But if you watch the fight closely, Ortiz kept trying to touch gloves at the end of the rounds, as if to assure Berto that his animosity was not personal. It’s as though “Vicious” Victor wants to mollify his boxing with a touch of kindness.
Ortiz presents an odd combination: a boxer with elite hand speed, coordination, and power, and yet he also possesses a temperament that seems to both embrace and abhor the violence inherent in the sport. Maybe boxing is a simple sport pursued by complicated people.
I’ve always enjoyed watching Victor Ortiz. His style is entertaining and, at times, elegant in its fluidity and logic. A man who had to grow up while still a child, a man whom life has kicked around pretty hard, and a man who found stunning success and bitter failure in boxing, this man is returning to the ring on February 17th. I don’t buy notions of redemption in sport. Redemption is bigger than athletics, and we will never really understand what demons Victor Ortiz had to face down outside the ring. Walk a mile in another man’s shoes before you understand him – it’s a good rule to try to live by. Which Victor Ortiz will we see on February 17? The consummate southpaw with punching power in both hands, or the reluctant combatant? Or maybe both.
HBO World Championship Boxing Preview: Seldin vs. Ortiz, Miller vs. Wach, Jacobs vs. Arias
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Eddie Hearn’s latest acquisition, Daniel Jacobs, will be on display on HBO. He will be facing Luis Arias in the main event of the evening. Two other bouts are also planned to be broadcast, a heavyweight fight between Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller and Mariusz Wach in the heavyweight division and a junior welterweight bout between Cletus Seldin and Roberto Ortiz.
The NYCB Live, Home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York will be the host site for Saturday’s boxing card.
Photo Credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing
The following is a preview of Saturday’s HBO card.
Cletus Seldin (25-0) vs. Roberto Ortiz (35-1-2); Junior Welterweights
The opening bout of the night will be between Cletus “The Hebrew Hammer” Seldin and Roberto Ortiz in the junior welterweight division.
Seldin is a local fighter with a large, supportive fan base. He’s fought in New York for most of his career with a large majority of his fights taking place at the Paramount Theatre. He’s undefeated, but he is currently thirty one years old and his window of opportunity for a legitimate world title fight is getting smaller.
His opponent Roberto Ortiz is the same age and has fought mainly in Mexico. He fought one time in the United States and was stopped by Lucas Matthysse. Ortiz will have a slight two and a half inch height and reach advantage.
Neither Seldin or Ortiz has a notable amateur background in boxing. However, Seldin does have experience in wrestling and judo. He also was a finalist in the New York Golden Gloves tournament.
Both boxers have decent power. Seldin has sixteen stoppage wins on his resume while Ortiz has twenty six. Seldin has never tasted defeated while Ortiz was stopped in his one fight against a big name opponent.
Neither boxer has any big name victories. Seldin’s best wins were against Jesus Selig, Johnny Garcia, and Bayan Jargal. Ortiz’s best wins were against Reyes Sanchez and John Aparicio.
This is an excellent test for Seldin and it will be the toughest of his career. Ortiz has a good record, but lost the only fight in which he faced a good opponent. Seldin should be able to win a close victory, but we’ll definitely have a better idea if he’s a legitimate contender on Saturday night.
Jarrell Miller (19-0) vs. Mariusz Wach (33-2); Heavyweights
Jarrell Miller is an intriguing heavyweight prospect in that he has experienced some surprising success in another combat sport, that being kickboxing.
He was able to defeat UFC veteran Pat Barry in a kickboxing match and went 19-0 in Muay Thai before going to kick boxing. He found some success in kickboxing’s prestige league, K1, and lost to UFC veteran Mirko Cro Cop twice by decision.
He has been very successful since switching to boxing. He’s undefeated and has seventeen stoppage wins, including eight stoppage victories in a row. He fought once in 2017 and three times in 2016.
Miller does have some amateur boxing experience. He made it to the finals of the New York Golden Gloves and lost to Tor Hammer on points. His opponent, Mariusz Wach, also had a successful amateur career and was a Polish National Champion and an Olympic alternate.
Miller will have an eight year age advantage on Wach, who is currently thirty seven years old. Wach will have a height advantage of about three and a half inches and a reach advantage of four inches.
In addition to being tested as a kickboxer, Miller also has defeated some notable heavyweights. His notable wins include Gerald Washington, Fred Kassi, and Donovan Dennis.
Wach’s biggest wins have come against Tye Fields, Kevin McBride, and Jason Gavern. His losses were to Alexander Povetkin and Wladimir Klitschko.
Wach’s age and relative inactivity is a concern. He fought only once in 2017 and once in 2016, against less than impressive opposition.
There’s been a lot of talk recently about a potential heavyweight fight between Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua, but an impressive win by Miller could result in him getting a title shot before Wilder and Joshua meet inside the ring.
Daniel Jacobs (32-2) vs. Luis Arias (18-0); Middleweights
Daniel Jacobs earned the title of “Miracle Man” after defeating a diagnosis of bone cancer in 2011. He was previously signed to Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) but has recently decided to sign with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Sport.
Jacobs had a very successful amateur career. He was a Junior Olympics National Champion, a Police Athletic League (PAL) National Champion, and a National Golden Gloves Champion. His opponent, Luis Arias, also had a very successful amateur career. He was a US National Champion at middleweight in 2008 and 2010 and was also a Gold Medal PAL winner.
Arias is twenty seven years old and three years younger than Jacobs. Jacobs will have a very sleight half an inch reach advantage over Arias.
Jacobs has a large edge in power over Arias. Jacobs has stopped twenty nine of his opponents and nine of his past ten fights were TKO victories. Arias only has nine stoppage victories, but three of his past four fights were TKO victories.
Jacobs has the better professional resume of the two boxers. He has defeated the likes of Ishe Smith, Jarrod Fletcher, Caleb Truax, Sergio Mora, and Peter Quillin. His losses were a close decision loss to Gennady Golovkin and a shocking knockout loss to Dmitry Pirog.
Arias has defeated the likes of Arif Magomedov, Scott Sigmon, and Jorge Silva.
Arias does have an edge in activity. He already fought twice in 2017 and fought three times in 2016. Jacobs has only fought once in 2016 and once in 2017.
This should actually be a tougher fight for Jacobs than most expect. Arias has the amateur background to match Jacobs and he has never tasted defeat. He’s also been in the ring more often than Jacobs and won’t have to worry about ring rust.
However, Jacobs was very impressive in his defeat to Gennady Golovkin and is filled with confidence. Arias has never felt the power of a boxer like Jacobs and has never been in the ring as a professional with someone of Jacobs’ caliber.
This is Daniel Jacobs’ fight to lose, but Arias has enough talent to make it closer than expected.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Andrade, Lara, Matchroom, Conte, Ortiz, and more….
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of September 26th to October 3rd; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Photo Credit: Edward Jackson/Team Lara and Team Gausha/Premier Boxing Champions
Victor Conte Gives Opinion on Luis Ortiz Positive Test
Sports scientist, Victor Conte, reveals in detail, why he believes undefeated heavyweight contender, Luis Ortiz (27-0, 23 KOs), is innocent in regards to his recent positive drug test. An expert in the field of scientific nutrition, Conte feels, Ortiz was negligent in declaring his blood pressure medicine, but also believes there is no evidence of intent to cheat. Conte’s position is that the WBC heavyweight championship fight between, Deontay Wilder (38-0, 37 KOs) and Luis Ortiz, scheduled for November 4th on Showtime, should move forward without delay.
“Unless you have strong evidence of intent to cheat, then you don’t have a case,” said a stern Victor Conte. “Let the fight go on. Don’t deprive the fans…and the WBC, I hope your listening.”
Matchroom Boxing Secures Services of Event Marketing and Communications
Matchroom Boxing USA announced on Monday it has secured the services of Ed Keenan’s Event Marketing & Communications, a media relations company, as Matchroom launches its promotional arm in the US and promotes its first event, the HBO televised return of former middleweight world titleholder Daniel Jacobs on November 11.
“I am delighted to welcome Ed Keenan and Event Marketing Communications to the Matchroom Boxing USA team for our launch in the US and our first show on November 11,” said Eddie Hearn, Managing Director of Matchroom Sport. “Ed has unrivaled experience and a great reputation in the sport for delivering first-class media and PR services and we look forward to forging a strong relationship.”
Ed Keenan’s career in boxing began with the heavyweight showdown between Evander Holyfield and George Foreman, the first fight under the TVKO banner (now HBO PPV). He has since worked on many of the biggest fights in boxing over the years, including the biggest pay-per-view events in the sport: Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao, Julio Cesar Chavez vs. Oscar De La Hoya, Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin, Canelo vs. Miguel Cotto, De La Hoya vs. Pacquiao, Roy Jones Jr. vs. John Ruiz, Jones Jr. vs. Antonio Tarver I, II & III, Felix Trinidad vs. Bernard Hopkins, Lennox Lewis vs. Mike Tyson, Holyfield vs. Lewis I & II, Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez III & IV, Andre Ward vs. Sergey Kovalev I & II, Riddick Bowe vs. Holyfield II & III, De La Hoya vs. Fernado Vargas, and on one of the best trilogies in boxing history, Artuto Gatti vs. Micky Ward.
Ed has also worked with fighters such as Lewis, Jones Jr., Trinidad, Gatti, Vargas, Cotto and “Prince” Naseem Hamed for most of their professional world title bouts.
Erislandy Lara vs. Terrell Gausha Training Camp Notes
WBA Super Welterweight World Champion Erislandy “The American Dream” Lara will defend his belt for the fifth time, and the first against an unbeaten opponent, when he battles 2012 U.S. Olympian Terrell Gausha in the headlining fight of a SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING tripleheader on Saturday, October 14 from Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING®.
Coverage on SHOWTIME begins live at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT and features hard-hitting unbeaten champion Jermell “Iron Man” Charlo taking on top contender Erickson “Hammer” Lubin and “Swift” Jarrett Hurd making his first title defense against tough former world champion Austin “No Doubt” Trout.
Here is what the fighters had to say from their respective training camps:
(24-2-2, 14 KOs) From Guantanamo, Cuba & Training with Ronnie Shields in Houston
Q. How has training camp gone? Has it been affected by the Hurricanes and what is your message for the people effected in your training home in Houston and home in Miami?
“Training camp is going smooth as always. A lot of hard work has been put into the camp. As far as the Hurricanes, it flooded bad in the areas close to our gym, but we were only gone for a couple of days. The roads to the gym were flooded, so we couldn’t go to the gym on those days. I just want to say I’m praying for all those affected by the hurricanes in both Houston and Miami.”
Q. What do you know about Gausha and what kind of problems does he present? What do you have to be prepared to do to get the win?
“Gausha is a very good fighter. I know he was an Olympian and is currently undefeated as a professional. There’s nothing he does that I haven’t already seen. So, I’m just going to stick to my game plan and listen to my corner. If I stay composed I will be able to put on the performance I’m looking for.”
Q. What does it mean to you to be on a card with all of these 154-pound champions and top contenders? How important is it to make a statement to the rest of the division?
“It’s a great honor, especially since I’m in the main event. It shows I’m the top fighter in the division. Getting the win by all means necessary will be my statement. If I get the knockout, it will be icing on the cake as the say here in the U.S.”
Q. What do you think is the significance of you being the longest-reigning 154-pound champion? If you’re able to win on October 14 what fights in the division do you want to make in the future?
“It means a lot. I have a goal to break the record, held by Gianfranco Ross, for most title defenses at 11. But I’ll always be ready to fight anyone they put in front of me. I want big challenges so I would love to fight with GGG or Canelo, and I would also jump at the chance to unify against Cotto or Hurd.”
(20-0, 9 KOs) From Cleveland, Ohio & Training with Manny Robles in Norwalk, California
Q. How has training camp gone so far? Who have you been sparring with and what have they been able to do to prepare you for Lara? Have you tried anything new this training camp?
“Training has been great. We’ve been at it for 10 weeks. I’ve been sparring with good partners, even though I can’t pronounce most of their names. We brought in a bronze medalist from the 2012 Olympics, Chris Pearson and a great Nigerian fighter as well. They’re defensively skilled and as close as we could find to Lara’s style. He’s hard to mimic, but they’re close. We’re not really doing anything new, just working more rounds. I’ve done lots of 12-rounders in sparring, but we’ll save the rest of our secrets for fight night.”
Q. What does it mean to you to fight for a world title for the first time? Is there extra motivation from seeing other 2012 Olympians who’ve picked up titles?
“It’s a blessing and a dream come true. I’ve been working on this since I first laced up the gloves. Not everyone gets this shot and I plan on taking full advantage. Those guys from the 2012 Olympics are my brothers. We talked about things like this back at the Olympics. Then they went out and showed me it’s possible. I want to be the next one to pick up a title to fulfill my promise too.”
Q. What kind of problems does Lara present in the ring? How do you prepare for his skill set and what he does well in the ring?
“I’ve been watching Lara for a while. I know he’s a mover. Guys like that are slick and he’s a good counter-puncher. He’s a crafty veteran and has fought a lot of top guys. But I have a lot of experience myself. I’m undefeated and it’s my time.”
Q. What does it mean to you to be part of a tripleheader with the top talent in the division? How important is it to take advantage of this opportunity and put on the best performance possible?
“Being involved in this lets me know where I’m at. Not just anybody got on this card. We earned our way here and this night will open up other big fights in the division. There’s no pressure for me, though. I put in all the hard work at the gym. On fight night, I just let things flow.”
Demetrius Andrade to Battle Alantez Fox
Undefeated two-time junior middleweight world champion, Demetrius “Boo Boo” Andrade makes his return to HBO® when he takes on undefeated Alantez Fox in a 12 round middleweight bout that will take place on Saturday, October 21st from Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York.
The bout will be the live co-feature of an HBO Boxing After Dark tripleheader card that will feature Jazreel Corrales defending the WBA World Super Featherweight Title against undefeated Alberto Machado and Ryan Burnett taking on Zhanat Zhakiyanov (tape delay) in a Bantamweight Unification Bout. The HBO telecast will begin at 10:05 p.m. ET/PT.
The Corrales vs. Machado bout is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions.
The Andrade – Fox bout is promoted by Banner Promotions, Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing and A-Team Promotions, in association with DiBella Entertainment.
Andrade of Providence, Rhode Island was a 2008 United Sates Olympian, and the 2007 World Amateur Champion. His success has continued in the professional ranks, as he has a perfect professional resume with a record of 24-0 with 16 knockouts.
Andrade, 29 years-old captured the WBO World Junior Middleweight crown with a 12-round split decision over fellow Olympian and previously undefeated Vanes Martirosyan on November 9, 2013. Andrade defended the title with a sensational 7th round stoppage of mandatory challenger Brian Rose.
On March 11, 2017, Andrade became a two-time world champion when he won the WBA World Junior Middleweight Championship with a 12-round split decision over reigning champion Jack Culcay in Ludwigshafen, Germany.
Fox of Forestville, Maryland has a undefeated mark of 23-0-1 with 11 knockouts.
The 25 year-old Fox stands 6’4″, and he has used that height to score impressive victories over Kenneth McNeil, Ronald Montes, Paul Valenzuela Jr., and previously undefeated Patrick Day.
“First of all I need to thank HBO, and especially Peter Nelson for giving me this tremendous opportunity. Thanks to him, I get a chance to not only have a great fight on October 21st, but I also get to show my fans on prime time that I’m the best fighter in the junior middleweight and now the Middleweight division, “said Andrade. “I can’t wait for the chance to fight more often and against the very best and thanks to HBO I finally have that chance! And I’m looking forward to giving my fans a great performance and I’m going to show them how much I appreciate their support by giving them a great show!”
“The Olympics were ten years ago. He is not the same fighter. I don’t see anything that he will do that can put a loss on my record. I am going on HBO to put on a boxing exhibition,” said Fox.
“I am very happy for Demetrius to be back in the ring on HBO. There are a lot of compelling fights that could take place on HBO for Demetrius’ future career,” said Artie Pelullo, President of Banner Promotions.
“We are very pleased to have Demetrius back in the ring on HBO,” said Joe DeGuardia, President of Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing. “I have always felt that Demetrius is one of the best fighters in the world, and I feel he has a very bright future.”
“Alantez Fox is a tall, rangy, powerful, and undefeated middleweight contender,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. “Boo Boo Andrade is a great fighter, but we believe that Fox is up to the challenge.”
Luis Ortiz in the Emergency Room
by B.A. Cass
Luis Ortiz made a visit on Friday night to the Baptist Hospital of Miami—not as a patient, though. He was there, along with his management team, to get documentation. According to his trainer, German Caicedo, Ortiz had been previously admitted to the emergency room for high blood pressure on two separate occasions.
Photo Credit: Hogan Photos
“He was put into the ICU because it [his blood pressure] was entirely too high,” Caicedo says. “His blood pressure was two hundred over something.”
VADA shows up unannounced. “In our scenario,” explains Caicedo, “we were at the track running. They called and said, ‘We’re at the gym.’ We raced over there. Luis peed. Then we were asked to fill out the paperwork.”
According to Caicedo, Luis Ortiz didn’t fill out any of the VADA paperwork: “I’m not saying he can’t read and write, but education is not his strong point. So, we filled it out for him. And we filled out everything. And when asked what he was taking, we put ten, twelve different things. But we were thinking fitness-wise, performance wise. If anything, we’re guilty of not filling something out properly. And VADA didn’t ask, because it’s not their job to help fighters pass.”
Still, Caicedo and Ortiz know that ignorance is no excuse.
“We’re not stupid people over here,” Caicedo says, responding to the suggestion that Ortiz may have been cheating the system. “We knew we were being watched like we’re under a microscope. If we were going to cheat, wouldn’t we put the blood pressure medication that we knew we were taking as a diuretic to mask—wouldn’t the first thing we do is put it on the form?”
Caicedo makes a very good point. Why would Ortiz and his team risk shocking VADA and the WBC? It would have caused much less of a scandal if they had simply reported it.
If it turns out to be true that Ortiz’s doctors prescribed him this life-saving medication and that he had to visit the ER twice because of high blood pressure, then it’s going to come down to the DiBella and the WBC vs. the American Medical Association. Is that a fight those organizations really want to have? If a licensed medical doctor prescribed a certain medicine to Ortiz, who are they to say it’s not right?
And if the WBC calls off the Ortiz-Wilder fight, then they must strip Luis Nery of his bantamweight title. After all, the 118-pounder tested positive for zilpaterol before his August fight Yamanaka. Does the WBC think it’s okay for fighters to inject substances used to increase the size of cattle, yet think it’s wrong for fighters to use medication prescribed for high blood medication? There can’t be different standards for different fighters. That wouldn’t be right.
What does Deontay Wilder have to lose in taking this fight?
If Wilder wins handily, he can claim it was an easy fight because Ortiz is a bum. If he struggles and still scores a victory, he can claim it was only hard because Ortiz has been doping. And if Wilder loses, well, he can again say it’s because Ortiz has been doping. There’s no way Wilder can’t spin the result of the fight into a victory.
Unless of course, Wilder loses and loses big.
Wilder keeps saying he’s the most feared man in boxing, but he found a way to out of fighting Dillian Whyte. And let’s be honest, Chris Arreola, Artur Szpilka, Bermane Stiverne, Gerald Washington—these are hardly Hall of Fame contenders. Wilder hasn’t faced a serious threat in years. Caicedo puts it more bluntly: “He’s nothing but a coward. Him and DiBella.”
“Wilder already said he’d walk away from the fight,” Caicedo says. “That in no way shape or form is someone who wants to fight. Come on, man. If Wilder tested positive for everything in the book, Ortiz would still fight him. He wouldn’t think twice.”
Wilder he has a choice: face another easy opponent or take on Luis Ortiz on November 4th. Which one seems less cowardly to you?
Follow B.A. Cass on Twitter @WithThePunch