Tag Archives: oscar

Oscar De La Hoya Heaps Praise on Ryan Garcia and Gives an Update on Canelo Alvarez


By: Hans Themistode

From the moment Oscar De La Hoya burst onto the boxing scene, he was an instant star. 

His 1992 Olympic gold medal and world titles in six different weight classes helped fuel a star studded career. De La Hoya hasn’t stepped into the boxing ring from a competitive standpoint in over a decade, but now as a promoter, he has helped put several boxers on the map. 

His biggest star, Canelo Alvarez is universally known as the face of boxing. His youngest, Lightweight contender Ryan Garcia is on the fast track to a great career himself.

Most of the older boxers who have retired from the sport have taken on the “get off my lawn” sort of approach to the boxers of today. 

If anyone understands just how difficult it is to build a star profile from scratch, it would be De La Hoya. With Garcia headlining the first card of his career on Valentine’s Day, February 14th at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California, De La Hoya is happy as can be to have someone so young and talented as Garcia. At just 21 years of age, De La Hoya can mold Garcia into one of the biggest names in the sport today. 

“There is so much talent out there these days that it sometimes does make it a little harder,” said De La Hoya when discussing the difficulties of building a star boxer today as opposed to the era he grew up in.  “But when you have a talent like Ryan Garcia, it makes it a little easier because he is doing the work, he’s fighting in the ring and proving himself. As a promoter, it makes my job a lot easier. Yeah we still have to organize the whole event and negotiate and the venue and all of that so it’s a lot of work but when you have a fighter like Ryan who gets it, it makes my job a lot easier.”

Garcia might be making the life of De La Hoya easier now, but it wasn’t always like that. Garcia came into the sport of boxing as a young 18 year old kid who believed he knew everything. The attitude and cockiness he showed both inside and outside of the ring may have brought him fans, but it was a constant headache for De La Hoya. Garcia isn’t exactly a vet at 21 years of age, but he has at the very least, matured.

“It’s experience. Every fight that you have, every training camp, every day that you sweat, blood and tears it helps. It’s just the experience. You gain that momentum and confidence where you feel like you can take on the whole world. Only fights can do that for you and taking on people who are better, stronger, faster and training more can do that for you. Ryan obviously hasn’t even reached his peak because he is so young but he is gaining that experience so that he could be the very best.” 

The experience and maturity coupled with of course his skill level, has led directly to Garcia headlining this February 14th, card. It’s a milestone event for the young prospect but it could come with a major issue. Once a fighter transitions from the undercard to the main event, they seldom ever want to go back to the role of an undercard fighter again. 

“We will have to see. Being under Canelo is always a good thing. But we’ll have to see because I believe that Ryan Garcia is going to be bigger than a lot of fighters that I promote. People love him. As long as he keeps performing the way he is performing then I think the sky’s the limit.”

Garcia might be a fighter on his way to stardom but the sports biggest star in Canelo Alvarez has his own fight date coming within the next few months.

“I have a pending trip to his hometown in Mexico very soon. That’s our little ritual, we go down there and stay there for a few days and talk for hours and hours to figure out the game plan. Hopefully within the next couple weeks we will have somebody nailed down in concrete.”

Finding an opponent for Alvarez is both easy and extremely difficult at the same time. The Mexican star currently campaigns at three different weight divisions. Those being Middleweight, Super Middleweight and Light Heavyweight. So while the options are long, it also means that everyone wants their shot at him. One name in particular that has emerged as a front runner is current WBO Super Middleweight titlist Billy Joe Saunders. If that’s the name your hoping will be announced, don’t hold your breath.

“No, not at all.”

With Billy Joe Saunders effectively out of the running for the Canelo fight, fans will just have to wait to find out who he’ll take on next.

More Headlines

Valdez Survives Knockdown to Win By a Debatable Stoppage


By: William Holmes

The Chelsea inside the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, Nevada was the host site of tonight’s Top Rank Boxing on ESPN+ card.

The undercard featured a thrilling WBC Interim Junior Middleweight Title Fight between Patrick Teixeira (31-1) and Carlos Adames (18-1), which resulted in a close unanimous decision victory for Teixeira. A seventh round knockdown secured the victory.

The main event was supposed to be between Andres Gutierrez and Oscar Valdez, but Gutierrez came in an absurd eleven pounds over the limit, and Adam Lopez stepped up on short notice to take on Valdez.

The co-main event of the night was a Super Featherweight bout between Tyler McCreary (16-0-1) and Carl Frampton (26-2).

McCreary he an obvious reach and height advantage on Frampton, who had trouble getting in close in the opening round, but started to apply effective pressure in the second.

Body shots by Frampton had McCreary backing up in the third and fourth rounds, and McCreary looked hurt by a left hook to the body in a back and forth fifth round.


Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account

Frampton’s body work paid off in the sixth round when a left hook to the liver sent McCreary down. McCreary was able to get back to his feet and weather off a the storm to survive the round.

McCreary came out aggressively in the seventh round and may have stolen it on the scorecards, but Frampton simply out box McCreary in the eighth round.

Frampton stepped on the gas pedal in the ninth round and landed a double left hook to the body on McCreary that sent him to the mat for a second time. McCreary was able to tie up for the remainder of the round.

McCreary clearly needed a knockout in the final round to win the fight, but was unable to do so.

Frampton won the bout with scores of 100-88 on all three scorecards.

The main event was between Adam Lopez (13-1) and Oscar Valdez (26-0) in the super featherweight division.

Lopez took the fight on very short notice, but showed no signs of being intimidated by Valdez and showed a good jab early on and kept Valdez at a safe distance.


Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account

Lopez landed a left hook in the second round that sent Valdez to the mat, but Valdez was able to get back to his feet and continue fighting on.

Valdez had a good third round that was punctuated with a solid check left hook near the end of the round. Valdez continued to grind out punishment in the fourth round, but Lopez looked like he retook control in the fifth and sixth rounds by keeping Valdez at the end of his jabs and crosses.

Valdez pressed the action in the seventh round, and hurt Lopez near the end of the round with combinations to the body and head. Lopez was taking some heavy shots when the referee inexplicably jumped in and stopped the fight.

It was a questionably quick stoppage, but Oscar Valdez wins by TKO at 2:53 of the seventh round.

More Headlines

De La Hoya Sued For Sexual Assault. Golden Boy Promotions Denies Allegations


By: Sean Crose

Golden Boy honcho and Hall of Fame fighter Oscar De La Hoya is being sued for “sexual harassment and battery,” according to TMZ. Per the report, an unidentified woman, who is a nurse by profession, says the boxing legend sexually assaulted and battered her during a booze-fueled 2017 hookup … and the allegations are graphic.” Claiming she met De La Hoya in 2016, the plaintiff has argued that she had an extramarital relationship with De La Hoya. The incident in question reportedly happened in November of 2017, after the former fighter known as “The Golden Boy” invited her to his new California home.

According to the plaintiff’s charge, which has been placed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, De La Hoya had booze, “along with a bag that appeared to be cocaine” at the home. Inviting the plaintiff into a bedroom, De La Hoya then asked permission to “experiment.” When the plaintiff proved to be unwilling (so the report goes), the fighter/promoter engaged in a violent sex act.

It’s unclear whether or not the plaintiff went to authorities regarding the matter. TMZ reports that “she also ‘sought treatment with a Doctor of Psychology and Certified Sex Therapist who diagnosed Plaintiff with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder arising from the sexual battery by De La Hoya.’” The plaintiff is represented by attorney Greg Kirakosian, and the damages sought are unspecified. The plaintiff has stated she has been suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms since the incident. She has chosen not to have her identity made public at this time.

On Tuesday, De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions released a statement, declaring De La Hoya’s innocence:

“A frivolous lawsuit,” Golden Boy claimed, “was filed recently alleging that Oscar De La Hoya sexually assaulted ‘Jane Doe,’ which is completely false. Oscar is a very successful businessman, running one of the country’s leading sports and entertainment companies – thus a prime target. It is worth noting that both recent lawsuits have been filed by the same attorney who is looking to make a name for himself. We vehemently deny these allegations and look forward to vigorously defending Oscar’s good name and reputation.”

De La Hoya is one of the most successful fighters and promoters in history. He held numerous titles throughout his ring career, was a pay per view crossover star, and is currently the promoter of boxing’s premiere attraction – Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. De La Hoya has, however, seen his share of trouble over the years. A previous rape allegation was settled out of court when he was in his 20s. De La Hoya has also been presented in embarrassing photos and has had well publicized battles with drugs and alcohol.

With all that in mind, the current allegation must obviously stand or fall on its own merit.

More Headlines

Ryan Garcia Makes Peace With Golden Boy


By: Sean Crose

He’s brash, has a huge online following and is unquestionably talented. Yet lightweight up and comer Ryan Garcia had himself a tough few days last week. First, his opponent for a bout that was scheduled for last Saturday, Avery Sparrow, was arrested before the fight. Then, to make matters worse, Garcia claimed he didn’t hear about the cancellation until at least the point where he showed up for last Friday’s weigh in. Then things became truly intense when Garcia’s promoter, Golden Boy, let the world know that team Garcia wanted nothing to do with a potential replacement for Sparrow, Romero Duno.


Photo Credit: Golden Boy Boxing Twitter Account

The twenty-one year old undefeated Garcia was up in arms. Not only did he miss out on a chance to battle on the DAZN streaming service, he also missed a chance to fight in his native California, where fans were likely to come see him. To make matters worse, Golden Boy gave the impression that one of their top fighters was being kept away from one of its other rising fighters (like Garcia, Duno is a part of the Golden Boy stable). Things went from bad to worse when Garcia, of Victorville, took to social media, where he is hugely popular.

“My promoter acted in a very unprofessional manner (pattern at this point),” he argued, “saying things that were false about me. I’m a fighter and not afraid to fight anyone!!! My team tried tirelessly to negotiate a fair purse amount to save the show but my promoter has shown little interest in my career,” For a bit it looked as if the Garcia – Golden Boy partnership was about to come crashing down. Things, however, have a way of working themselves out.

“Just signed one of the most lucrative deals for a prospect in the History of the sport,” Garcia informed social media on Wednesday. “Thank you to my team and @OscarDeLaHoya @makeawar.” In what seemed the bat of an eye, Garcia went from bitter fighter back to rising, highly promoted star. What’s more, the young man claimed to have an impressive new contract to boot. Video footage of Garcia signing the deal along with Golden Boy Honcho Oscar De La Hoya accompanied the online announcement.

“Actions speak louder than words,” Garcia said to the media. “I’m here today to show everybody that I consider Golden Boy my family and that we’re going to be in this together as I fulfill my dreams.” He then acknowledged that his promoter has what it takes to elevate his career. “Just like I have all the capabilities to become a big star, Golden Boy has all the tools to get me there. But I just want to tell all of our fans: Enjoy the ride!”

To make things all the more fulfilling, Garcia claimed that he would indeed be fighting Duno as the co-main event of the Canelo Alvarez – Sergey Kovalev mega fight this November. The exact details of Garcia’s contract haven’t been made public.

More Headlines

Oscar Valdez Delivers One-Sided Pummeling for 6th Successful Title Defense


By Robert Aaron Contreras

Top Rank was back on ESPN, pitting two sound technicians against unshakable opponents at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center in Reno, Nevada. In both affairs, the A-side pulled out a victory but nuanced as the fight game is, not every unanimous decision is made equally.

Oscar Valdez (26-0, 20 KO) def. Jason Sanchez (14-1, 7 KO) by unanimous decision

Featherweight champion Valdez retained his WBO belt over a hardened challenger in Sanchez, marking six consecutive title defenses. The Mexican-bred former Olympian floored Sanchez in the fifth round, and battered his face with left hooks and overhand rights into the final round.

Valdez, fighting for the second time under Eddy Reynoso, had to plug away at Sanchez for 12 full rounds. The young challenger dished it back, throwing almost twice as many punches, but landed at a drastically lower clip as Valdez bludgeoned and bloodied the right side of Valdez’s face, winning 118-109, 117-110 and 117-110 to lay the groundwork for a possible move to the junior lightweight division.

“I feel like I am improving with Eddy [Reynoso],” the Valdez told Bernardo Osuna in the ring post-fight. “I want to listen to my body, sometimes I feel like I get tired in there. I feel like it’s because of the weight loss. I am hoping for another fight at 126. But I’m not 100 percent… or go up to 130. We’ll talk about it as a team. I’m willing to fight anybody, to be honest—130 or 126, let’s do it.”

Valdez, 28, set the tone early in Round 1. He stayed tight behind his gloves as Sanchez hurled haymakers into him. The dance continued in the second period: Sanchez’s fists oscillating at an incredible pace, but Valdez, crouching and timing his man, curling right hands around Sanchez’s loose defense.

Sanchez, 24, kept up the output, never wavering. Overhand rights were connecting over the next two rounds. Some audible. But behind bolting jabs, Valdez would remind him who had the belt. Valdez was still being outworked but when he opened up for punches, Valdez was visibly shaken up.

Just seconds into Round 5, a left hook finally clipped Sanchez and put him on the seat of his trunks. When the action resumed, more counter left hooks crashed into the younger man.

Sanchez continued to give everything he had in the sixth period, his grunting coinciding with every punch he threw. By the seventh stanza overhand rights from Valdez had drawn blood from Sanchez’s nose. The challenger again dug deep and charged into Valdez, hoping to ruffle his composure.

Valdez though was back to slamming left hooks into his opponent’s face in the eighth round—blood now pouring over Sanchez’s mouth.

Amazingly, Sanchez wasn’t just still standing by the end of Round 9, but had shoved Valdez into the ropes. The Mexican champion seemed to take fleeting moments off as he calmly deflected his man’s wave of punches—more concerned with avoiding a dustup than finishing Sanchez for good.

In the tenth, Sanchez was sapped of energy. But not mettle. Over and over, Valdez teed off: jab, right hand, left hook—ever committed to his gameplan.

More overhand rights earned Valdez the penultimate round. The right side of Sanchez’s face was a mess, his only goal was staying upright until the final, forgiving bell. And the champion didn’t make that easy for him, prolonging the onslaught in the final round, perhaps most punishing of all.

Sanchez, surviving the sport at its highest level, would hear the scorecards, widely in favor of Valdez. The CompuBox numbers reflected as much.

Valdez landed 195 of 509 total punches (38 percent) and 113 of 262 power shots (43 percent) while Sanchez connected on 107 of 869 total punches (12 percent) and 91 of 500 power punches (18 percent).

Already two wins on the year, Valdez is well ahead of his pace last year, when he only competed once. And still on the right side of 30, a move to 130 pounds makes a lot of sense considering Top Rank represents two of the division’s champions, Miguel Berchelt and Jamel Herring.

Gabriel Flores Jr. (14-0, 6 KO) def. Salvador Briceno (15-4, 9 KO) by unanimous decision

Graduating to the eight-round distance, Flores Jr. bided his time outworking Briceno, who made his way from Mexico. The 19-year-old lightweight wunderkind was equipped with a sharp jab and a sweeping left hook, picking apart his opponent to the tune of an unanimous decision verdict.

“We’re happy,” Flores summed up his performance after the fight. “My jab was nice—I should’ve thrown it more. But there’s always something to do better.”

His offense was clean, and combination punching hardly missed its mark, but his relying on singular punching allowed Briceno to pick up a couple rounds on the scorecards through the middle stages.

After a timid start from both men in the opening round, Flores began beating Briceno to the punch, jabbing low and immediately following it upstairs. It was easy to recognize a speed advantage for the teenager and he took the first three minutes with more crisp jabs and lead left hooks.

In Round 2, Briceno took the center of the ring—he would hold it the rest of the way. Flores was happy to step in with double jabs and leaping left hooks. And the third round saw him parry body blows with one hand and simultaneously fire back straight punches with the other.

The third and fourth stanzas made it clear Flores had his mind on testing himself over the distance. He was patient, too patient, but landed at will. Briceno took advantage of the lack of urgency over the next two rounds, following his younger counterpart around. The visiting Mexican shoveled punches at Flores, hardly landing anything with upshot but showing off for the judges.

Flores relied on more singular punching over the final three rounds. He was far and away the stronger fighter and still had plenty of zip to his punches in Round 8, where Briceno followed him around as Flores sat on right and left hooks. An occasional three punch combo gave promise to the California prospect’s future.

In the last 50 seconds, Briceno with nothing to lose hurried his pace, closing the fight by spamming straight right hands, but Flores had a left hook for him anytime the Mexican leaned over.

When asked what his next step was, Flores was to the point: “Fight again. Over the next two, three months. I feel great. I hardly got touched.”

More Headlines

Valdez vs. Sanchez: Previewing Top Rank on ESPN’s Featherweight Championship Fight


By: Robert Aaron Contreras

On Saturday, June 8, Top Rank has a world championship fight on tap from Reno, Nevada, live on ESPN.

But before Oscar Valdez defends his featherweight strap against the fresh-faced Jason Sanchez, Gabriel Flores Jr., continues to piece together a reputation as one of the sport’s hottest prospects, still just a teenager. All the while, light heavyweight demolition man Michael Seals opens up the broadcast, beginning at 10 p.m. ET.

Oscar Valdez (25-0, 20 KO) vs. Jason Sanchez (14-0, 7 KO)

Saturday’s main event marks the sixth title defense of Valdez’s featherweight reign. And it could very well be his last. Not because his challenger stands much of a chance at dethroning him, but because the former two-time Olympian has made it clear after this weekend he is looking forward to bigger and better opponents, even a move to 130 pounds.

With the 28-year-old Valdez so eager to take on a quality name—namely Carl Frampton, as reported by ESPN—it is curious as to why Bob Arum is wasting his man’s time with such a routine defense of his crown.

Valdez may stand an inch shorter than Sanchez, but he is much longer in the tooth. Four months ago, the Mexican boxer-puncher knocked out Spain’s Carmine Tommasone in seven rounds, also aired on ESPN. The knockout represented the featherweight champion’s first fight since getting by British puncher Scott Quigg with a broken jaw. A seminal night, indeed, as it was also Valdez’s first time under the handle of trainer Eddy Reynoso.

Valdez dropped longtime coach Manny Robles from his corner in 2018, opting for Reynoso who is known for his work with Canelo Alvarez. Robles recently received high praise for his role in helping Andy Ruiz Jr. upset Anthony Joshua. But that jaw injury that kept him out nearly an entire calendar year was only the latest physical toll on Valdez.

First lifting the belt in 2016, Valdez turned away Hiroshige Osawa without any problems. But then he faced some scares against Miguel Marriaga and hit the deck opposite Genesis Servania. So Valdez must be in search of a more calculated approach as his 30th birthday looms near.

Sanchez, 24, was on the undercard that night Valdez tore apart Tommasone. There, on ESPN+, Sanchez stopped an opponent out of Mexico named Daniel Olea. In the second round of their contest, he pitched an overhand right over an extended left hand from Olea, that sent his opponent to the canvas. The victim was slow to get up and the referee waved it off.

Undefeated himself, Sanches trains out of Albuquerque, New Mexico, at the Sanchez Brothers Boxing Gym. Ahead of the biggest bout of his life, his team has enlisted the help of a more acclaimed camp. They flew out a handful of sparring parters from Robert Garcia’s Las Vegas expansion to give Sanchez some proper work.

With an early background in Taekwondo, Sanchez said he had over 100 amateur boxing matches while competing in a number of national tournaments, before turning professional in 2012. He finally entered a major sanctioning body’s rankings last year after decisioning the previously undefeated Jean Carlos Rivera—traveling to Puerto Rico to do it. Before that, Sanchez defeated German Meraz, a veteran with over 60 wins to his name with of course over 50 losses to go along with them.

Sanchez has never faced another live body, never actually training for the 12-round championship distance. This is actually a short-notice promotion for him after the WBO rejected Top Rank’s proposed opponent of Erick Ituarte, another young, unproven contender.

Gabriel Flores Jr. (13-0, 6 KO) vs. Salvador Briceno (15-3, 9 KO)

Just 19, a sweeping left hook from Flores Jr., that completely stretched out his last opponent, was enough to convince Top Rank brass to make sure the phenom out of Stockton, California was on a telecast in chief support of a beltholder like Valdez.

This weekend, Flores rolls into Reno already 2-0 on the year. In February, he beat Alejandro Rynn, nothing more than club fighter. But last month, he sparked Eduardo Perreira dos Reis in just three rounds to extend his undefeated ledger. Flores opened the bout with a flickering jab—almost a backhanded range finder from his hip. Perhaps not the most textbook jab from the shoulders, the shot still set up a left hook that rattled Reis in the first round. And then again for good in the third stanza, stepping in with another wicked left hook around the gloves.

Flores was actually signed by Top Rank before he even graduated high school—aged 16, in fact. So despite being a teenager, a national network fight has been a longtime coming. To celebrate the occasion, the promotional outfit set up Flores with what looks on paper like his stiffest test to date.

Briceno, 24, has a respectable record. He’s slightly taller than the house fighter and has won back-to-back contests (both third-round kayos). Saturday represents his stateside debut but not his first time on the road. In 2017, he left his home in Mexico to meet Mikhail Alexeex in Russia, where the two fought to the distance.

More Headlines

Oscar Valdez Ring Return Pushed Back, January 12 Tucson Show Cancelled


By Jake Donovan

Oscar Valdez’ long awaited ring return will now take place a little later—and a lot farther from home—than expected.

The unbeaten featherweight titlist was slated for a January 12 homecoming in Tucson, Arizona—as previously reported by BoxingInsider.com—but those plans along with the entire show have been scrapped altogether.

Valdez’ scheduled opponent, Spain’s Andoni Gago was unable to secure a travel visa in time to make the trip to the United States. An inability to secure an approved opponent within the Top 15 featherweight rankings for the World Boxing Organization (WBO)—whose title Valdez has held since July ’16—prompted the Top Rank brass to cancel the entire event.

The show would have launched the 2019 season of Top Rank Boxing on ESPN. That honor will now shift to the January 18 bill in Verona, New York, topped by heavyweight Bryant Jennings in a dangerous crossroads bout versus unbeaten Oscar Rivas, which will actually stream on ESPN+.

As for Valdez, he will still remain a part of the first show of 2019 on ESPN’s flagship network. His ring return is pushed back by three weeks, as he will land on the undercard of a February 2 show in Frisco, Texas. His bout will come in supporting capacity to the light heavyweight title fight rematch between Eleider Alvarez and Sergey Kovalev.

The show comes on Super Bowl weekend, which will leave Valdez (24-0, 19KOs) inactive for 46 weeks by the time he enters the ring for the 5th defense of his featherweight strap. The extended break largely stems from his recovering from a broken jaw suffered in a gutsy 12-round win over Scott Quigg this past March in Carson, California.

It also gave the unbeaten boxer—who turns 28 later this month—time to reassess his career and the direction in which he wishes to take it. Such self-evaluation led to his moving on from longtime trainer Manuel Robles as he is now training with Eddy Reynoso, best known for his work with reigning World middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez.

The shift in location will mark Valdez’ seventh career bout in Texas. His previous six appearances have all ended in knockout, his last coming in a 3rd round stoppage of journeyman Jose Ramirez in April ’15. He’s since been steadily rotated between Las Vegas, Southern California and Tucson, the latter representing his second childhood home, having split his youth between Arizona and Nogales, Mexico.

Valdez still has family and plenty of fans in Tucson, drawing a favorable turnout for his Sept. ’17 decision win over Genesis Servania. Early indications suggested an even greater reception awaiting his next trip home, but that adventure will have to come another day.

More Headlines

Oscar Valdez Return to Ring—And Tucson—In January 12 Headliner


By Jake Donovan

Everything about Oscar Valdez’s next ring appearance will feature a brand new look—even the part where he returns home to headline at a venue at which he’s previously fought.

Returning for the first time since recovering from a broken jaw sustained in a March win over Scott Quigg, the unbeaten featherweight titlist is slated to headline the January 12 edition of Top Rank Boxing on ESPN. Valdez will face Spain’s Andoni Gago in the main event at the Tucson (Ariz.) Convention Center, which also hosted his thrilling points win over Genesis Servania last September.

In attempting the 5th defense of his featherweight title, Valdez (24-0, 19KOs) will come in with a new perspective following his extended layoff. The night will mark his first time under the guise of Eddy Reynoso—the famed Mexican trainer best known for his work with reigning World middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez—after parting on amicable terms with previous trainer Manuel Robles.

The corner change was viewed as a necessity by Valdez and his team, as was the intention of returning to familiar scenery for his next bout.

“Oscar and his family have strong roots in Tucson,” notes promoter Michelle “Raging Babe” Rosado, who has been at the promotional forefront of increased regional interest in the sport and who will once again play an integral role with Valdez’ homecoming. “It’s where he first stepped into a gym, and Tucson boxing fans know and love him.”

Valdez is originally from Nogales, Mexico and represented his birth nation in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games, but also calls Tucson home, having lived in the area as a child and still boasting family in the area. His forthcoming defense versus Gago (20-3-3, 6KOs)—who fights for the first time both in the U.S. and for a major title—will mark his third in the city as a pro, all of which have taken place at the Convention Center.

The local fans were in full force for his last appearance, fending off a determined Servania to retain his featherweight title in their ESPN-televised headliner. More than 4,100 were in attendance thanks to a strong grassroots promotion, but the telecast produced mixed reviews due to preceding chaos from a lead-in Major League Baseball game running late and forcing earlier portions of the show to ESPNews and ESPN2.

The series has since grown, as has Valdez’ standing in the featherweight division. His bravery was on full display in March, agreeing to proceed with his fight versus Quigg despite the visiting Brit badly missing weight and enjoying a considerable size and strength advantage on fight night. Valdez had a tooth knocked out and suffered a broken jaw over the course of their 12-round war in Carson, Calif., but ultimately prevailed in their ESPN headliner which drew favorably in the ratings.

He returns 10 months later to a series which has gained considerable momentum since his last ring appearance, and to a Tucson hometown which has proven to support any quality product brought to the area.

As much has been evident in Rosado’s Guerra de Gallos series, with its July and November entries drawing fans in full force. The November 17 show—headlined by Valdez’ cousin Thomas Valdez in a gutsy win over Luis Coria—played to a near-capacity crowd.

“I don’t think people understand how much the people of Tucson love boxing,” Rosado explains. “It’s like a hidden gem, overshadowed by Phoenix and LA. The town has shown up over the past six months and it’s great to be able to continue that momentum and have Oscar defend his title at home for the second time.”

The brass at ESPN and Top Rank were thrilled with the turnout last September. This time around, surpassing the mark is the expectation. An added bonus would be to take a run at Tucson’s all-time boxing attendance mark of 6,422 established by Hall of Fame legend “Sugar” Ray Leonard back in 1979, the same year he would go on to win his first world title.

Regardless, the reception he will receive will be louder and prouder than ever before.

“This time around will be even bigger,” Rosado promises. “Boxing has grown in Tucson even in the past year with our Guerra De Gallos series. Oscar and his team will most definitely get a warm, loud welcome from boxing fans on January 12th. We can’t wait.”

More Headlines

Oscar “Jaguar” Negrete & Joshua “El Professor” Franco Battle Thursday on ESPN2


By: Ken Hissner

On Thursday night Golden Boy Promotions will put on a card from The Hangar, in Costa Mesa, CA, on ESPN2. Colombia’s Oscar “Jaguar” Negrete, 18-1 (7), living in Rosemead, CAL, will do battle with San Antonio’s Joshua “El Professor” Franco, 14-1 (7), over 10 rounds in the Bantamweight Main Event.

Negrete will be looking for his second victory of 2018 after stepping up in weight in December when he suffered his only loss by losing to WBC champion Mexico’s Rey Vargas, who was 32-0 at the time. He lost over 12 rounds by decision. He will be dropping back to bantamweight. The last twelve opponents Negrete has fought all had winning records. He’s made the bantamweight limit of 118 in eight of his nineteen fights.


Photo Credit: Golden Boy Promotions Twitter Account

Franco’s last eleven opponents had winning records and his only loss was out of the country in Puerto Rico losing to Argentina’s Lucas Emmanuel Fernandez Leone, 11-1-1, in March of 2018. He bounced back in June knocking out Mexico’s Isao Gonzalo “Kato” Carranza, 15-11, in five rounds. Prior to the one loss he defeated Carlos “Mighty” Maldonado, 11-1.

In the co-feature unbeaten Puerto Rico’s Welterweight Danielito “El Zorro” Zorrilla, 8-0 (7), of Rio Piedras, PR, faces unbeaten Dakota Linger, 10-0-2 (6), of Buckhannon, W.V., over 8 rounds.

Unbeaten Super Featherweight Jousce “Tito” Gonzalez, 8-0 (8), of Glendora, CA, looks to keep his knockout streak going taking on Ivan “Striker” Delgado, 12-1-1 (5), of L.A., CA, over 6 rounds.

Another unbeaten knockout artists is Super Bantamweight Carlos “Purin” Caraballo, 8-0 (8), of Ponce, PR, who meets Mexico’s Felipe “Panterita” Rivas, 17-21-4 (11), of El Paso, TX, over 6 rounds.

More Headlines

Boxing Insider Notebook: Mayweather, Pacquiao, Lara, Oscar De La Hoya, GGG, Canelo, and more…


Compiled By: William Holmes

The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of September 11th to September 18th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.


Photo Credit: Stephanie Trapp/Showtime

Open Letter to Fight Fans From Oscar De La Hoya

Dear Fight Fans,

On the night of Saturday, September 15, fans were set to be treated to what sports should be all about: the two best athletes in a sport squaring off against each other with the winner earning the title of the best in the business. This kind of an event – where an individual can be called the best in any sport – is truly rare.

Not only did the fight itself deliver all that was promised, against all kinds of pressure, Canelo Alvarez gave the performance of his lifetime to secure the unified middleweight championship of the world.

•Unfairly criticized for not fighting “Mexican” enough in the first fight, he kept Gennady Golovkin on his heels all night, taking the action to the “boogeyman of boxing,” walking him down and controlling the pace.

•Repeatedly ravaged for two positive drug tests that showed minor traces of clenbuterol – a common occurrence in Mexico due to the contamination of beef across the country – Canelo submitted to more than 20 drug tests in the lead up to the fight and passed them all with flying colors.

•Saddled with a judge’s card of a year ago that he had nothing to do with; the pressure of millions of fans watching; and what many were describing as a must-win to stay relevant, Canelo delivered a near-flawless fight.

And yet…

It wouldn’t be boxing if thousands of keyboard warriors weren’t talking (or tweeting) complete nonsense in the hours and days after Canelo began to cement his legacy as an all-time great fighter.

Many have told me to ignore the haters; that I’ll never win. But, while I know I won’t convince many of them, allowing them to even partly soil what was a certain Fight of the Year; a mega-event seen by millions of people; and a virtuoso performance by boxing’s marquis fighter would do a disservice to the sport I love.

So allow me to respond to a few of the more absurd comments:

Golden Boy paid the judges to fix the fight.

Though I don’t think this deserves response, here are the facts: The three judges were chosen by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Given the result of the first fight, NSAC was under a lot of scrutiny to come up with the fairest group of judges possible. For the first time I know of, Golden Boy Promotions and Team GGG were even allowed to approve a pool of judges. They saw what everyone else did; a close, competitive fight and scored it exactly that way.

Golovkin landed more punches and therefore should have won the fight.

If landed punches were the difference between winning or losing a boxing match, we would have an incredibly different and less interesting sport. Clean punching, ring generalship, effective aggressiveness and defense are what the judges are looking for in determining the winner of a round. I’m obviously a promoter, but in the four areas that actually count in judging, I can’t find one where GGG was the victor.

Tom Loeffler’s statement that he doesn’t know if Golvokin can win a decision in Las Vegas.

Perhaps Tom is just looking to make GGG feel better, but regardless this is maybe the most disappointing comment, because it comes from someone who knows the sport. Of course, GGG can win a decision in Las Vegas. But 22,000 people aren’t going to crowd into the T-Mobile Arena to watch Golovkin fight and blast out the likes of Dominic Wade, Willie Monroe, Jr., or Vanes Martirosyan. He is going to need to fight a higher level of competition – and then fight better than that opponent – to earn a victory in the mecca of boxing.

Boxing is a wonderful sport that is coming back thanks to streaming technology and growing international interest. But, it is a sport that also faces competition, not only from the outside in the form of other, more-widely watched leagues, but from inside where the fractured nature of boxing has made it tougher and tougher for the best to face the best.

Just look at celebrity row to see how special Saturday night was. There, another best-in-sport athlete, Lebron James, joined by Will Smith, Mark Wahlberg and a huge group of other A-list celebrities to witness something special.

While everyone is entitled to his or her opinion (especially in boxing), let’s take a moment to appreciate what Canelo and GGG gave us on Saturday night and work towards doing it more often for the sake of the sport we all love so much.

Erislandy Lara Wants Canelo or GGG Next

Former WBA super welterweight world champion Erislandy “The American Dream” Lara (25-3-2, 14 KOs), felt inspired by the state of boxing after watching last Saturday night’s main event between Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (50-1-2, 34 KOs) and Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (38-1-1, 34 KOs) in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin fought an amazing fight, it was a true classic.” said Lara. “I want to congratulate both of them for putting together such a tremendous effort to bring the spotlight back on boxing. It would be a great honor to fight either fighter, and I would love to challenge myself against them.”

Erislandy Lara has been training in Houston, Texas for his next fight with trainer Ronnie Shields, as he is working hard in the gym, getting ready for his next fight date.

“I am ready to make a statement and to challenge either fighter at middleweight, whether it is Gennady Golovkin or Canelo Alvarez in a rematch…I am ready!”
Mayweather-Pacquiao Rematch Props

After news broke that Floyd Mayweather Jr. is planning come out of retirement and return to the ring for a fight with Manny Pacquiao, BetDSI immediately posted a line on the rematch.

The online sportsbook also posted odds on the probability of the fight happening in 2018, as well as how many pay-per-view buys it will generate if it does occur.

Will Mayweather-Pacquiao II take place before Dec. 31, 2018?

Yes -150
No +120

Total PPV buys (in millions) for Mayweather-Pacquiao II (fight must occur by Dec. 31, 2018 for action)

Over 4.3 (-115)
Under 4.3 (-115)

While Vegas set the odds at Mayweather -220, Pacquiao +180, the sharper, offshore market sees Mayweather as a slightly bigger favorite.

Moneyline (fight must occur by Dec. 31, 2018 for action)
Floyd Mayweather -265
Manny Pacquiao +215

Total Rounds (fight must occur by Dec. 31, 2018 for action)
11.5 (-300)
11.5 (+200)
Berchelt and Roman Set for El Paso Rumble

WBC super featherweight world champion Miguel ‘El Alacrán” Berchelt and Miguel “Mickey” Roman went face-to-face on the arena floor of the Don Haskins Center, site of their Nov. 3 showdown that will, once and for all, settle this simmering grudge match.

Berchelt (34-1, 30 KOs), from, Cancun, Mexico, is the 26-year-old champion looking to make his fourth successful title defense. Roman (60-12, 47 KOs), from Juarez, Mexico, is a 32-year-old who will be making his third attempt at a world title.

Roman and Berchelt met the media on Monday in El Paso, the middle stop of a three-city press swing that, if anything, has stoked the rivalry between the two. Here is what they had to say 47 days away from one of the year’s most anticipated fights.

Miguel Berchelt

“I am very happy to be here. It’s my second time on ESPN. I am training very hard in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico. When there are two Mexicans in the ring, the show is guaranteed to be great. This won’t be the exception.”

“In boxing, trash talk is normal. At the end of the day, we are fighters. It is going to be a great fight. The people will leave the arena happy because they are going to see a great fight. They are going to see a great champion in Miguel Berchelt.”

“Roman and I have wanted this fight for a very, very long time. He asked for this opportunity, and I am happy to give it to him. This is going to be a great fight, but I know it will end with my hands raised. I am young and hungry. It doesn’t matter that we’re fighting in his backyard. El Paso and Juarez are going to be my towns when it’s over.”

Miguel Roman

“I would like you to know I’m very happy. I feel great fighting for this belt against Miguel Berchelt. This is something that we’ve been waiting for. Now, it’s happening. I live near the border, and fighting here is like I’m fighting in my house. The people from El Paso, Juarez, and Las Cruces {New Mexico} always support me. On Nov. 3, my people are going to come and support me.”

“I’m fighting a great champion in Miguel Berchelt. He’s very strong and I respect him a lot. I gotta do what I gotta do. I gotta do my job. My experience, strength, and hunger to win this title will take me to victory.”

“He’s talking all of this stuff, that he’s going to take my head off and things like that. El Paso is my town. If he thinks he’s going to come in here and be talking like that, he’s got another thing coming.”

Berchelt-Roman and a soon-to-be announced co-feature will stream live in the United States beginning at 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPN+ — the new multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer & International segment in conjunction with ESPN. The entire undercard will stream live on ESPN+ beginning at 6 p.m. ET.

Park Theater Showdown:Ryota Murata –Rob Brant Tickets On Sale Today

Japanese superstar Ryota Murata is taking his talents halfway around the world.

Tickets for Murata’s WBA middleweight world title defense against Rob “Bravo” Brant on Saturday, Oct. 20 at the Park Theater at Park MGM go on sale TODAY at 10 a.m. PST. The event is promoted by Top Rank, in association with Teiken Promotions and Greg Cohen Promotions.

Tickets are priced at $204, $104, $54 and $29, not including taxes and handling fees, and can be purchased at all Ticketmaster outlets or online at Ticketmaster.com. Tickets also can be purchased through the MGM Resorts International Call Center at 877-795-2564.

Murata-Brant will stream live in the United States beginning at 7:30 p.m. PST on ESPN+ — the new multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer & International segment in conjunction with ESPN.

This is the second defense of the WBA title for Murata (14-1, 11 KOs), who won the belt with a dominating seventh-round TKO over Hassan N’Dam in October 2017. Five months earlier, N’Dam handed Murata his only professional loss via a highly controversial split decision. Murata left no doubt in the rematch and defended the title in April in Yokohama, Japan, knocking out Emanuele Blandamura in the eighth round.

A 2012 Olympic gold medalist, Murata is a sports icon in Japan, as the Blandamura fight drew a peak rating of 17 million viewers on Japanese TV. Brant (23-1, 16 KOs), from St. Paul, Minn., is undefeated when fighting as a middleweight and is the WBA No. 2-ranked middleweight in the world.

HBO Replay of Canelo-GGG 2

HBO Sports presents WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING: CANELO ALVAREZ VS. GENNADY GOLOVKIN 2, the exclusive replay of their highly anticipated rematch, SATURDAY, SEPT. 22 at 10:05 p.m. (ET/PT). The HBO Sports team, which was ringside at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas for the live HBO Pay-Per-View® presentation on Cinco de Mayo, called all the action, which will be available in HDTV, closed-captioned for the hearing-impaired and presented in Spanish on HBO Latino.

The fight will also be available on HBO NOW, HBO GO, HBO On Demand and partners’ streaming platforms.

In the sport’s top prizefight of the year, middleweight champ Gennady “GGG” Golovkin put his title belts and undefeated record on the line once again against his arch-rival, superstar Canelo Alvarez, who despite his youth (27) has emerged as a box office powerhouse and one of the sport’s elite fighters. Their 12-round fight at 160-pounds took place under the bright spotlight of the T-Mobile Arena.

More Headlines

Oscar De La Hoya Quotes Ahead of Pacquiao-Matthysse


Oscar De La Hoya:

Lucas is a strong and determined fighter. Believe me that he is a very determined fighter. The mental aspect is the most important aspect of this fight. We know that Lucas Matthysse works very hard. They call him “La Maquina” for a reason. He is still training like never before. The fact that he always wanted this fight, a dream fight for him—believe me he will be in the best condition for this. He is very focused. This is an even fight. This is a dangerous but winnable fight. These two fighters love pleasing the fans. They are come-forward fighters. This fight will have a lot of action.

A lot of people think that Lucas Matthysse is just a knockout artist. But he’s an intelligent fighter too. He knows how to box and counterpunch. This fight is interesting in terms of styles. The people who really know boxing know that Matthysse can change his style and even confuse him. He may even be able to confuse him and land some counterpunches.


Photo Credit: Wendell Alinea/MP Promotions

Pacquiao has a very unique style. When I fought him, I thought he was going to get tired. He never got tired. So, I don’t know what Pacquiao we are going to see for this fight. I don’t know how distracted he may be. I do know that Matthysse is fully focused and determined. This is the fight of his life. It’s all going to depend on how Pacquiao reacts when the first bell rings. Will it be a distracted Pacquiao? Or a Pacquiao that everyone is used to seeing? That’s why the odds are 2-1. It is a great fight.

I was already a promoter when I fought him. So, I’ve always been very optimistic that I would still be working with Manny after so many years. I always felt that life comes around full circle and puts us together. The fact that Manny has his own promotional company and the fact that Golden Boy Promotions has been involved in so many of his fights made me optimistic that we would work together again. I’m still hoping that we promote more fights together. Once he’s retired, we can do a lot more together.

I noticed Pacquiao was special when part of the promotions of Pacquiao vs. Barrera. What I saw was his determination. His conditioning was incredible. His explosiveness was incredible. He had a great work ethic. He was very well prepared. I really don’t know how he is now. In boxing, you’re as good as your last fight. That’s what boxing is. That’s why this fight is important for Pacquiao to show that he is still the same Manny Pacquiao. You have to perform and show the people that you still have it. This is a sink or swim type of fight for both guys.

If I were Lucas, I would not get frustrated because Pacquiao can frustrate you. He can do that because he throws so many punches. Lucas has to be cool, calm and collected. He has to force the action. He has to show Manny that he is younger, stronger and fresher. If you don’t show that to Manny, he can walk all over you. That’s who he is. That’s why he’s so good.

Manny Pacquiao:

I am very proud of promoting stronger and diplomatic cultural ties with our Asian neighbors. I would like to thank our friends at Golden Boy Promotions, represented by our friend Oscar De La Hoya. I am ready. I have never predicted the outcome of any of my fights, but this training camp is special for many reasons. I am motivated. I am happy. I am hungry. I am excited to show the world a new Manny Pacquiao on July 15 (July 14 in the US) at the Axiata Arena here in Kuala Lumpur.”

Joel Diaz:

I’m grateful to be a part of this event. I want to thank Manny Pacquiao and his team. He is a great fighter and a legend. His team is great and professional. I want to thank Golden Boy for giving me the opportunity to work with a lot of elite fighters as is the case now with Lucas Matthysse.

More Headlines

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.

More Headlines

TopRank on ESPN Results: Valdez Defeats Quigg in a Bloody Battle


By Eric Lunger

​Tonight, at the StubHub Center in Carson, CA, Oscar Valdez (23-0, 19 KOs) took on British veteran Scott Quigg (34-1-2, 25 KOs) in what should have been a WBO featherweight championship bout.

Inexplicably, the normally meticulous Quigg failed to make weight by such a wide margin (more than two pounds) that California Commission rules barred him from last-minute weight loss efforts. As a result, the Bury, Lancashire native forfeited twenty percent of his purse (ten percent of which went to Valdez, in addition to an undisclosed sum agreed upon by the camps), and the belt was not at stake.


Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing

​Valdez boxed carefully in the opening frame, but clearly landed the better and heavier shots. It was Mexican style from the two-time Mexican Olympian in round two, landing hooks to the body and uppercuts to the head. Quigg answered with a few counters, but Valdez had the better of the action.

​In the third, Valdez continued to box and move, while Quigg came forward in half steps, leaving a target for Valdez to hit. Quigg, however, had some real success in the fourth, pushing his opponent back and landing some lead shots. Valdez answered with an eye-catching combination towards the end of the round.

​The fight exploded in the sixth, as Valdez opened a cut over Quigg’s left eye, and Quigg staggered Valdez with a sharp right hook to the chin. Quigg flurried in an attempt to finish the Mexican champion, but Valdez weathered the storm. In the seventh, Quigg appeared determined to barrel through everything Valdez could throw, and, at one point, he wrestled Valdez to the canvas. This was the round that the weight differential seemed to tell, as Valdez could not slow down the bullish onslaught from the Englishman despite landing repeated power shots. Valdez continued to bleed voluminously from his mouth.

​The seventh went more and more for Quigg who began to punish his foe. Quigg for his part seemed to have tasted Valdez’s power and found it negligible. The blood continued to pour from Valdez’s mouth in the eighth, and Quigg began to land clean shots on the Nogales fighter.

​In the ninth, Quigg absorbed several uppercuts but just walked right through them. The Bury native landed plenty of his own shots, but Valdez answered with a late-round flurry. Frankly, the fight had become a bloody battle at this point, and very difficult to score. The tenth began with some brutal shots from Valdez but Quigg answered right back. The canvas at this point was literally splattered with blood.

​The eleventh was brutal, as Valdez landed but his power couldn’t keep the heavier Quigg off him, and Quigg landed a nasty low blow. After a recovery period, Valdez blasted Quigg with a good shot but Quigg’s chin held up. The final frame saw some inspired footwork and boxing from the Mexican champion as he finished the bout bloodied but unbowed.

​The judges scored the bout unanimously for Valdez (117-111, 117-111, 118-110). It’s been said many times, but there is a reason for weight classes. This was a size mismatch tonight that Valdez was fortunate to weather.

​In the co-feature, undefeated prospects Andy Vences (20-0, 12 KOs) and Erick De Leon (17-0, 10 KOs) faced off in a ten-round bout for the WBC Continental Americas super featherweight title. This was the first ten-rounder for the southpaw De Leon, who was born in Mexico and now fights out of Detroit, MI. Vences, fighting out of San Jose, CA, knocked out his last two opponents, and was looking to make a statement on the ESPN national broadcast.

​Vences is an active fighter, with quick feet and a frenetic left jab. De Leon is fundamentally sound and patient. The opening round was extremely close, but De Leon started to show some confidence and fluid movement in the end of the second, as though he thought he had figured out the distance to Vences. The San Jose fighter had the best of the third, however, landing some stiff jabs and a few combinations as well.

​De Leon raised his activity level in the fourth, but Vences remained in control of the distance, and landed the more effective counters. The middle rounds continued in the same fashion, with De Leon unable to get inside Vences’ persistent jab and consequent distance control. This is not to say that De Leon was outclassed – he certainly was not, but Vences seemed to win these close rounds, in my view.

​In the seventh, De Leon found a new weapon, landing a lead right hook and putting Vences in some momentary difficulty. Then, after some exciting exchanges in the middle of the eighth, Vences switched to southpaw, setting new challenges for De Leon. The final two rounds, however, saw some desperation from the Detroit fighter, but he was unable to penetrate Vences’ formidable defense.

​After ten compelling and entertaining rounds, the judges scored the bout a majority draw (95-95, 95-95, 96-94 for De Leon). It is hard to see how two judges scored five rounds for De Leon, but there it is.

More Headlines

Oscar Valdez Defends WBO Featherweight Title Against Scott Quigg, Saturday on ESPN


By: Eric Lunger

​Mexican star Oscar Valdez will put his WBO featherweight strap on the line against seasoned professional Scott Quigg of the United Kingdom on Saturday night, live from the Stubhub Center in Los Angeles, and broadcast on ESPN and ESPN Deportes.

​Valdez (23-0, 19 KOs) has long been on the radar of Mexican boxing fans. He had a stellar amateur career, qualifying for the Mexican Olympic team at age 17 for the Bejiing Games then qualifying again and representing Mexico in London in 2012. Turning professional after London, Valdez was brought along carefully. His first title shot came in July of 2016, when he defeated Matias Rueda by second round knockout, picking up the vacant WBO featherweight belt.

​Since then, the Nogales native has made three successful defenses. First, he stopped Hiroshige Osawa in the seventh round, on the Pacquiao vs. Vargas undercard in November of 2016. In April of last year, Vargas went twelve rounds against tough and tested Miguel Marriaga of Columbia, with Vargas scoring a unanimous decision. In Spetember of last year, Vargas outpointed previously undefeated Filipino contender Genesis Servania. In an exciting bout, Vargas was dropped for the first time in his professional career, as Servania caught him in the fourth. But the Mexican champion rallied and made the latter rounds his own, nipping the unanimous decision.

​Vargas, now age 27, is a come-forward fighter with lots of power, making him an exciting fighter to watch. The Mexican champion knows what is at stake in taking on Quigg: “This will be my fourth defense, and I have learned a lot from my battles with Miguel Marriaga and Genesis Servania,” Valdez said via Top Rank press release, “Now I have an even more difficult fight against Scott Quigg. We are prepared… the belt stays with me in Mexico.”

​Quigg is a household name in England, where he campaigned at super bantamweight for many years, holding the WBA belt in that division from 2013 to 2016. The Bury, Lancashire native lost the belt in a much-anticipated showdown with Northern Ireland’s Carl Frampton (21-0, 14 KOs). The fight went the distance despite Quigg suffering a jaw fracture in the fourth round, and the split decision went Frampton’s way (116-112, 116-112, 113-115).

​Since then, Quigg has reeled off three wins, with his most recent victory coming against Oleg Yefimovych (29-3, 16 KOs) of Ukraine by way of sixth round TKO. Quigg is currently training with Freddy Roach, while Manny Robles, Jr., will be in Valdez’s corner on Saturday night.

​Quigg expects an active fight: “Oscar and I have sparred before, when we were both preparing for other fights,” Quigg told Top Rank, “if the fight is anything like the sparring, the fans are in for a real treat.” Quigg knows Valdez will have a partisan home crowd on his side: “I look forward to coming out and everyone booing me. They can boo me in, but they will definitely be cheering me out.”

More Headlines

The Cold War Between De La Hoya and Mayweather


by B.A. Cass

In August, Oscar De La Hoya took to Twitter to voice his thoughts on the Mayweather vs. McGregor fight.

As a man of principle, De La Hoya was disgusted. He felt Mayweather was degrading the sport of boxing. Many boxing fans agreed.

How is it then that this man of principle could turn around not three months later and challenge McGregor to a fight? De La Hoya should be called out for his hypocrisy.

De La Hoya has made some ridiculous assertions in the past two weeks, such as he the idea that he’s in the best shape of his life. He also claims that he’s “faster than ever, and stronger than ever” and that he has been “secretly training.” His comments have prompted some Twitter users to question whether De La Hoya has had a drug or alcohol relapse. His behavior seems very erratic.

It’s no coincidence that several days after De La Hoya challenged McGregor to a fight Mayweather released a training video.

This video prompted people to speculate whether Mayweather was contemplating a return to the ring. He later made an emphatic statement reiterating his commitment to retirement. So then why tease people by releasing such a video? I think it’s obvious why. He’s trying to upstage De La Hoya.

This isn’t the first time Mayweather has teased us with a video of him working out. He released a similar video on October 18.

Perhaps this is something he does about once a month as a way of getting out of his Vegas strip club and staying relevant in the boxing world. But here’s an interesting fact: Mayweather posted this video the day after the press conference for the Cotto vs. Ali fight, which De La Hoya’s company, Golden Boy Promotions, happens to be promoting. Coincidence? Not a chance.

Their feud goes back a long way.

In his prime, Oscar De La Hoya was one of the biggest draws in the sport. He was a recognizable name, and he was very handsome. His fights attracted thousands upon thousands of fans and made the people who promoted his fights lots of money. Floyd Mayweather at 135 pounds—then still “Pretty Boy Floyd and not yet “Money Mayweather”—was a brilliant and often dangerous fighter. When he jumped up to 150 to fight Oscar De La Hoya, Mayweather did so knowing that De La Hoya would be the naturally bigger man. But Mayweather needed that fight, needed it way more than De La Hoya. Just by putting himself in the ring with De La Hoya, Mayweather elevated himself in the boxing world and gained more attention than he had ever had before.

In the lead up to their fight, Mayweather pulled a lot of antics—antics which would make McGregor’s recent antics seem boyish and dull. Mayweather did everything he could to taunt and confuse De La Hoya, including showing up to a press conference with a chicken who he said was De La Hoya and who he called the “Golden Girl,” alluding to the fact that De La Hoya was caught wearing women’s clothes at a sex party.

Mayweather won the fight handily. Over the years, De La Hoya has made every attempt possible to minimize Floyd’s obvious talents.

The two met in the ring again in 2013, this time by proxy. The fight I’m referring to is Mayweather vs. “Canelo” Alvarez. By this time, of course, De La Hoya was retired and running Golden Boy Promotions full time. Canelo was, and still remains, Golden Boy Promotion’s biggest draw. If De La Hoya could not beat Mayweather himself, then perhaps the number one fighter in his stable could.

That didn’t happen. Mayweather schooled a very youthful looking Canelo.

Win number two for Mayweather.

Mayweather and De La Hoya have since exchanged barbs. The animosity between them is palpable, even if they have been able to work together to promote fights. I’d like to posit that even though Mayweather has gotten the best of the De La Hoya at least twice, he has never liked the idea that the De La Hoya was at one time the bigger star. Mayweather chose to craft himself into boxing’s leading villain and De La Hoya, even after his many scandals, remains more beloved among boxing fans. And I think it’s obvious that De La Hoya has never liked the fact that he was beaten by Mayweather twice—once in person, once by proxy. He can’t seem to let it go.

Mayweather can’t seem to let his grudge go either.

Mayweather, as we all know, is not just a boxing star but a powerful figure behind the scenes. Mayweather promotions certainly had a say in determining when the Mayweather vs. McGregor fight would take place. And they chose a date just three weeks before the already scheduled fight between Canelo and GGG, which was one of the most anticipated fights in boxing. How can we view the date that they selected as anything but an attempt to upstage De La Hoya and Golden Goy Promotions fight between Canelo and GGG?

What’s going on here is nothing more than a battle between two middle-age men who can’t refrain from acting like little boys. They’ve never liked each other, and now it seems they’ve engaged in a cold war of sorts, a passive feud that no one really cares to witness.

Follow B.A. Cass on Twitter @WiththePunch

More Columns