“Inside PBC” Cancelled By Fox
By: Sean Crose
“FS1 is scaling back production on its boxing and WWE shoulder programming. “WWE Backstage will not longer be produced weekly. It is eliminating “Inside PBC.” Double digit job losses as a result. SBJ Media will have the full story tonight.”
These words, tweeted by John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal, should probably come as no surprise to boxing fans. It’s hard for sports shows and sports journalism to survive when there’s no sports – and the past several months have been a veritable sports free zone thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic. Aside from the primary and horrible news that many will be losing their jobs because of this development, the loss of a boxing related program is never a good thing for the sport.
This is especially true in the case of “Inside PBC,” which was a rarity in that it was not often criticized by fans. Boxing, like pretty much everything else these days, has a fractured following. People cheer on organizations as if they were teams. “Inside PBC,” however, was well presented and entertaining enough to avoid the scorn of many – even though it generally focused on boxing material that fell under the Premiere Boxing Champions promotional banner.
Premiering on December 15th, 2018, “Inside PBC” offered insight into the fighters and news around Premiere Boxing Champions. Perhaps realizing that the popularity of boxing in the 70s and 80s stemmed in large part from networks focusing on particular fighters and fights, those behind the show presented a fan friendly perspective designed to make and keep interest levels high.
“FOX Sports is thrilled to be expanding PBC boxing programming with this studio show,” Fox Sports Steve Becker claimed at the time. “We look to go inside the stories of the PBC boxers with in-depth interviews and feature profiles, as well as previews of upcoming fights and breakdowns of the most-recent, thrilling matchups.” With host Kate Abdow at the helm, name fighters like Shawn Porter and Abner Mares would offer their takes on the matters being presented each episode.
With a glossy set and segments one might find on a show dedicated to the NFL or NBA such as panel discussions, “Inside PBC” brought a degree of broadcast professionalism and seriousness some find lacking in the sport. In the end, however, the program, as well as WWEs “Backstage,” might not have been able survive a pandemic which has essentially put the world on hold. With boxing slowly returning to live broadcasting PBC itself is expected to resume showing fight cards with regularity in the near future. At the moment, no full schedule is present at the PBCs official web page.
Gary Russell Jr. Defends Featherweight Title Against ‘King Tug’ Nyambayar
By Robert Aaron Contreras
Gary Russell Jr. (30-1, 18 KO) does not move at the same speed as everybody else. Quick to strike but slow to sign, he finally has another worthy challenger, facing Tugstsogt Nyambayar (11-0, 9 KO) in defense of his WBC featherweight championship, headlining a PBC on Showtime billing on February 8 from the PPL Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
The fight comes a week after a scalp of Russell’s, that being JoJo Diaz, dethroned former titleholder Tevin Farmer by decision. His own points win over Diaz only looks better in hindsight. And without doubt the oft-criticized American could use the goodwill. Totaling four title defenses since lifting the WBC’s green belt, Russell has routinely maneuvered his way into easy touches and sparse ones at that, turning away Diaz two years ago already.
Fighting on Saturday will be his first since May 2019: par for the course, having fought once a year since 2014. That same year he was wildly outboxed by Vasyl Lomachenko. A year later, in 2015, Russell astonishingly lifted the strap from Jhonny Gonzalez, at the time featherweight’s most lethal hitter.
That was March 2015 when Russell ripped Gonzalez apart, earning a fourth-round TKO. His fists moving in blinding patterns, it was his masterwork. But the frustration surrounding Russell has little to do with him as a fighter instead Russell, the champion, who like his fists, operates at a different frequency, a timetable only he can decipher.
Five years on, Russell, 31, is preparing for just his fifth defense, making an art of inactivity and manipulating time: pushing the sanctioning body’s patience from the sidelines before slipping in a mandatory defense at the eleventh hour. Russell enjoys the throne, transfixed and immovable at the center of a raging continuum. Last May, he even seemed to go backwards in time in order to resurrect Kiko Martinez, presumably from the coffin he had been laying in since his past days as as super bantamweight contender.
Unsurprisingly, Martinez did not last five rounds with Russell. But against every boxer’s will, the clock keeps ticking. Father Time (and gravity, they are related after all) having recently forced out Leo Santa Cruz, Carl Frampton and Oscar Valdez to junior lightweight, Russell is by far the oldest beltholder at 126 pounds. Older than Shakur Stevenson by practically a decade. Of TBRB’s top-8 featherweights in the world, Russell is the only one over the age of 30. Helping round out the Top 10 is Oscar Escandon, 36, who lost three straight before a miraculous upset over Jhack Tepora propelled him into the rankings.
In 2018, Russell pulverized Escandon. It took the champion seven rounds to do it. And that was seven too many for most as the the fight was chided when it was announced. Escandon being only 3-2 in his previous five fights, it was deservedly labeled a squash match.
So what was the difference when a year later Nyambayar, commonly referred to as “King Tug,” did the same thing to Escandon? For starters, Nyambayar did it faster: ending his man’s night in three rounds. Knocking him out in fewer than his previous opponents was just what the former Olympian should aim for. Moreover, the 27-year-old California transplant was just nine bouts into his career, laying the foundation to a healthy career after a notable rise out of Mongolia.
King Tug’s two-handed sequence that left Escandon on his back was a tremendous follow-up to the flash knockdown he suffered just before that against Filipino veteran Harmonito Dela Torre. Nyambayar would otherwise have little trouble, winning a wide decision verdict over eight rounds. But nothing was more impressive than his most recent appearance.
In a WBC eliminator, Nyambayar met Claudio Marrero, who is no slouch of a puncher, and a well scienced southpaw. It was a sink or swim contest for Nyamabar, a hump every blue-chipper has to get over, but not one every blue-chipper welcomes after just 10 fights. He would handle Marrero, stunning him early and eating his opponent’s biggest shots to earn a unanimous decision victory and a date with Russell.
Rigondeaux highlights undercard
In chief support, Guillermo Rigondeaux will be trying his fragile hands at bantamweight. Unlike most aging fighters found ballooning up in age, the 39-year-old Rigo is moving down, from 122 pounds to 118.
Rigondeaux (19-1, 13 KO) will be welcomed to the category with a WBA title fight against Liborio Solis (30-5-1), who years ago briefly held a belt at 115 pounds. The contest will be Rigondeaux’s third performance under the handling of Al Haymon. Opting to sign an exclusive contract with the PBC after calling “no mas” opposite Lomachenko in 2017. The Cuban legend has since won two straight, each by knockout.
Solis 37, is no spring chicken. But his recent run fighting in Latin America, after a failed series of bouts with Jamie McDonnell, has paid off, winning five in a row, including three by KO. Rigondeaoux, despite pushing 40, is still leagues above that competition Solis saw, made up of part-timers and tomato cans.
In other bouts scheduled for the show, Russell’s brothers are also suiting up for action. Sharing the same first name, both Gary Antuanne and Gary Antonio are the undefeated, younger siblings to the featherweight champion. Antuanne, 23, competed in the 2016 Olympics and Antonio, 27, was a runner up in the national amateurs.
What’s Next For Jarrett Hurd?
By: Hans Themistode
It may not be the Jarrett Hurd that the fans wanted to see but his new found hit and don’t get hit style could lead him to a long career that is filled with more titles in the not so distant future.
When Jarrett Hurd announced his comeback fight would come against Francisco Santana, just months after picking up the first loss of his career, most fans were expecting a knockout. It was understandable, Hurd after all, never failed to disappoint. He either knocked his opponents out or put them down on the canvas en route to a fun fight for the fans.
During his contest against Santana, he delivered on the knock down in the 12th round but he failed to excite the fans for much of the contest. Hurd danced his way to a smooth victory over Santana. Other than a knock down in the final round, it was anything but exciting.
Hurd may not be the fan friendly fighter he once was but he could achieve a level of success that escaped him before. That’s saying a mouthful considering he was a unified champion just a few short months ago.
The Jr Middleweight division is all over the place at the moment but Hurd should have a long list of opponents waiting on him for his next ring outing.
You see what happens when you let fights marinate for far too long? It can over cook.
Jarrett Hurd and Jermell Charlo were once considered the two best in the division. A loss by both men has changed things a bit. Charlo (33-1, 17 KOs) ruined the much hyped up contest first with a decision loss to Tony Harrison. He did manage to redeem himself in the rematch and take back his WBC crown but a contest between the two has lost a lot of its luster. Still, it might not be what it could have been but a matchup between these two would be a great one.
The meal might not be as well done but the fans would still enjoy this contest. Even if it did marinate for a little too long.
Before Jeison Rosario (20-1-1, 14 KOs) pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the year in defeating Julian Williams via stoppage in the fifth round, the same man who took snatched the titles from Hurd in the first place, no one would have mentioned Rosario as a possible opponent for Hurd.
Well, the fact of the matter is that Rosario did in actuality pull off that upset and now he holds two belts in the division. Ironically enough, those are the same belts that Hurd held just last year. Rosario is a big puncher that comes forward with huge power. Sound familiar? That’s exactly how Hurd fights as well, or at least that’s how he used to fight. Fans should be hoping for this contest next.
Can we just put away the notion that Erickson Lubin (22-1, 16 KOs) isn’t elite? He lost one fight, albeit in devastating fashion against Jermell Charlo. He’s picked up four straight wins since then and it seems time to put him back in with the top dogs of the division.
The winner of this one would obviously be next in line to compete for a title against any of the current champions. Hurd has become a boxer but against a pure boxer in Lubin, he may need to revert back to his old come forward fighting style in this one.
What’s Next For Jermell Charlo?
By: Hans Themistode
When Jermell Charlo lost his WBC Jr Middleweight crown to Tony Harrison last year on the 22nd of December, it didn’t seem real. Most who saw the contest were in agreement that Charlo had done more than enough to bring home the victory.
Fast forward roughly one year later, and the two met up once again.
With all of the trash talking coming from the side of Tony Harrison, he turned many into believers. Before the two officially met in the ring, Charlo had one more thing to say to Harrison.
“Get the smelling salts ready.”
Boy was he not lying as he delivered three knockdowns on the night along with an 11th round stoppage.
The disdain that both men had for one another produced one of the best matches on the 2019 calendar. Now that it’s over, where does the now two time world champion go from here? Keep reading to find out.
Erickson Lubin Rematch
It almost seems hilarious for Charlo to grant a rematch to a man that he absolutely destroyed in the very first round when the two met up in 2017. Usually when you lose in the fashion in which Erickson Lubin did, you do whatever it takes to avoid facing off with that opponent anytime soon. Yet since the moment he picked up the first defeat of his career, Lubin has been calling for a rematch.
When he realized that his words couldn’t get him what he wanted, Lubin began running through his competition. Four straight wins later, including three stoppages, Lubin has now fought his way to a healthy spot.
Maybe the former ESPN prospect of the year was not ready when the two first squared off, but he certainly looks ready now.
Talk about a single win changing everything.
Patrick Teixeira was considered a fringe contender at best. He had the skills and the power but something seemed to be missing from his arsenal. Now that he is a world champion, he has seemingly put it all together.
The now WBO titlist looks like one of the best fighters in the division. His championship win over the never before beaten Carlos Adames was impressive. Now that he has vaulted up the rankings and is in possession of a world title, both Charlo and Teixeira should look to unify next.
It might be a bit difficult to put together due to them competing on different networks and for different promoters, but still, if they can somehow work out the political side of things, this matchup could be an explosive one.
Tony Harrison Part 3
Charlo may have gotten the recent win, but the scoreboard is still tied at one a piece.
Sometimes when a fighter loses to a particular opponent and immediately wins the rematch, the first contest is viewed as a bit flukey. Just check out what Lennox Lewis did to both Hasim Rahman and Oliver McCall or even more recently, what Anthony Joshua did to Andy Ruiz Jr.
Just because someone beats you the first time, it doesn’t mean it will happen again. In the case of Tony Harrison and Jermell Charlo, you can easily make the case that a third fight between them could go either way. The first two fights between them have been too good. We all need to see a third in 2020.
Castano Defeats Wale Omotoso Due To a Shoulder Injury; Fortuna Stops Cuellar
By Rich Lopez
It was an action packed night at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland. The event was part of Premier Boxing Champions and it was televised on Fox Sports 1. All four fights that were televised produced fireworks and none of the fights went to distance.
The main event was in the junior middleweight division. Brian Castano (15-0-1, 11 KO’s) of Argentina, defeated Wale Omotoso (28-4, 22 KO’s) of Nigeria, by a 5th round TKO. This was a result due to a shoulder injury sustained by Omotoso. However, Castano was very impressive last night and he overwhelmed Omotoso. Round one was a feel out round for both fighters. Castano was more in control of the round but using an effective jab to back up Omotoso for most of the round. The action picked up in round two and Castano was in charge. He continued to back up Omotoso with his sharp left jab. This time Castano was putting his combinations together well. He was starting to land his right hand and he was landing some good body shots as well. In round three, Castano continued the assault and hammered away at Omotoso. Castano was reeling off right hands and landing left hooks to the chin of Omotoso. The durable Omotoso was taking it and was fighting back, but he was also taking a lot of damage. In round four, Omotoso fought a little better as he was boxing and moving well, but it was not enough to win the round. As round five started, Omotoso seemed to hurt his left shoulder. Castano sensing that Omotoso was hurt, still kept the pressure on by landing hard right hands. At the end of the round, Omotoso could no longer continue the fight due his hurt shoulder. Castano was awarded a TKO victory at 3:00 of round number five. Wale Omotoso, who goes by the nickname “Lucky Boy,” was not so lucky in this fight. With the victory, we can see Castano against the other top junior middleweights of the division. In the post-fight interview, Castano said he is ready for anyone.
Photo Credit: Javier Fortuna Twitter Account
The co-feature was in the lightweight division. Javier Fortuna (34-2-1, 24 KO’s) of the Dominican Republic, was also impressive last night. He blasted out Jesus Andres Cuellar (29-3, 22 KO’s) of Argentina in two rounds in a slug fest. In the opening round, Cuellar wasted no time and charged at Fortuna. Both southpaw fighters exchanged punches and went toe to toe. Towards the end of the round, Fortuna with his back against the ropes, landed a right hook that sent Cuellar flying on his back. Cuellar got up and was seriously hurt but was able to finish the round. In round two, Cuellar who only knows how to come forward, tried to bully Fortuna again. Fortuna was quicker and beat Cuellar to the punch. Once again with Fortuna against the ropes, he landed a straight left hand followed by a right hook to drop Cuellar again. Cuellar did get up but he was in really bad shape. Fortuna went for the finish landing power shots which prompted the referee to stop the fight. Fortuna scored the TKO at 2:01 of the second round. With the victory, Fortuna remains a force in the lightweight division. For Cuellar, it might be best to try to go back down in weight as he has been unsuccessful in the lightweight divisions.
In a bout before the co-feature, we got to see undefeated David Morrell Jr. (1-0, 1 KO) of Cuba, face off with Quinton Rankin (15-6-2, 12 KO’s) of Charlotte, NC. The fight was in the light heavyweight division scheduled for eight rounds. This was a big test for the Cuban standout but he made the fight look easy. The 21 year old Morrell started off fast. In round one, Morrell landed a nice right hand to the body that dropped Rankin. Rankin got up and Morrell went back to work. In round two, Morrell landed a straight left hand that wobbled Rankin. Morell then came underneath with crushing left uppercut that dropped Rankin again. The referee immediately stopped the fight. Morrell scored his second knockout at 1:01 of the 2nd round. Morell is starting off fast in his professional career as he was an outstanding amateur fighter. We will continue to see his progress in upcoming fights.
In the opening bout of the PBC telecast, Ryan “Cowboy” Karl (17-2, 11 KO’s) of Milano, TX, faced off with Bergman Aguilar (15-5-1, 5 KO’s) of Costa Rica. The fight was scheduled for ten rounds in the welterweight division. In round one, Aguilar came after Karl and both fighters started trading punches. As Karl was backing up Aguilar, Aguilar caught Karl with right hand and dropped him. Karl got up and the fighters started to trade punches. In round two, Karl had a better round. He backed up Aguilar for most of the round hammering Aguilar to the body. You can tell the body shots were wearing out Aguilar. In round three, Karl dropped Aguilar with a low blow. As the action continued, Karl stayed busy working the body of Aguilar. Karl continued his attack in round four. At the end of round four, Aguilar looked more tired. Karl remained in control of the fight in round five and continued to back up Aguilar. At the end of round five, Aguilar could not continue the fight due to a broken left hand. It was relieved that perhaps he broke his left hand in the 1st round after landing a hard jab on Karl in the replay. Karl was awarded a TKO victory at 3:00 in round five. This was Karl’s 3rd straight knockout.
Joe Hands Promotions and PBC Begin Historic Commercial Deal
By: Hans Themistode
Engaging in a big fight is like no other. Whether it’s the UFC, WWE or in this case boxing, fans will always show a level of interest when it comes to combat sports.
With the help of Joe Hands Promotions, they will ensure that not only hardcore fans, but also casuals will get the opportunity to be informed on the biggest fights of the year.
Joe Hands Promotions has partnered up with Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) to distribute pay per view commercial fight content. This isn’t just a one time deal either. Both sides came to an agreement that will last for quite some time.
Nothing like this has ever been done in the sport of boxing and Joe Hands Promotions were ecstatic to be apart of such a monumental arrangement.
“This is a historic time for our company right now,” said Joe Hands Jr. “We just celebrated our 48th year in business and what better way to commemorate than with a deal that has never been done before.”
So what exactly does this deal mean for you? The consumer. Well, it means everything. For fans, they will now gain the opportunity to see pay per view events in not just their homes but in various sports bars across the world.
The promotion that will be given to some of the biggest boxing events of the year will now reach new heights.
“Usually we would do one offs and then move on to the next one, which would be roughly six months later. We were kind of an event to event promoter, but the people at PBC are doing such a terrific job of stockpiling great talented boxers that they are able to sustain and commit to doing a certain amount of fights every year. There stable of fighters and commitment to high quality pay per events made this partnership come to fruition and it just made sense.”
Taking one fight at a time is a common theme in the world pay per view promotions, but there is a down fall to it.
“Doing one fight at a time sometimes doesn’t allow every chain restaurant to get involved because they don’t have room in there budgets but when we can go to them early with a set number of fights than they jump on the opportunity. What a package deal does is it provides security, not just for us but for the PBC as well. We can now go to our chain restaurants early and tell them hey we have all of these fights coming up in the next few months, so now they get the opportunity to make a budget for it, as opposed to having a one off.”
Have you ever been to your local bar and wondered, why don’t they show more big time fights? They might offer one or two a year, but typically a boxing calendar has much more than that. Sometimes a sports bar just isn’t afforded the opportunity nor the proper budget to fit a specific fight into its schedule. Now, Joe Hands Promotions they can ensure that more sports bar are given the opportunity to show big time fights.
“We essentially want to sell the PBC fights as a subscription series, so that people know that there are a certain amount of fights coming every year. That makes their entertainment schedule in bars and restaurants much easier for them. They can commit knowing that there are a certain amount of fights coming. This is the first time we have been able to do that.”
The partnership between Joe Hands Promotions and PBC is something that they have been progressively working on.
“We promoted one particular fight for the PBC and it gave us both a chance to engage with one another. We have a very strong foundation of chain restaurants that support our events. When we did that first fight I think both sides were pleased with the results and from there, instead of doing a one off we both decided to go with a package deal.”
Promoting a pay per view event takes much more than simply putting together a few commercials and hoping that fans will see and automatically feed into them. Instead, it takes careful planning in order to make an event successful. Although boxing is the main topic because of the association with PBC, Joe Hands Promotions has years of experience with other combat sports and the results speak for themselves.
“We encourage the chain restaurants that we are associated with to promote these events in a specific way but offering them a helping hand in what has proven to be the most effective way. We emphasize the importance of putting it on their social media accounts and what to say as well. We also give them a timeline on what they should do in terms of ok, the fights are getting closer this is what we should do in order to get more awareness about this fight. But it isn’t just about us, we also get the fighters to shoot commercials promoting the fights which plays on a loop at every sports bar that is associated with us and it just gives people that constant reminder. It’s all about brand awareness. Seeing the PBC, WWE or UFC logo by millions of people that go into these establishments give fans a chance to always reminded of a big fight that is coming up.”
Although pay per view events are of the utmost importance, fights which take place that aren’t pay per view level are significant as well.
“When a fight is on Showtime network, we have a contract to sell the Showtime subscription series which is a boxing series. The pricing is different because those fights aren’t pay per view caliber but they are very good. Those subscriptions are critical because it allows customers to see that our chain restaurants show just about every event, not just big pay per view fights.”
It’s clear that Joe Hands Promotions has crossed their T’s and dotted their i’s in terms of covering all their bases. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. For years, they have provided some of the best promotional value that you will ever come across. In fact, it was Joe Hands Jr’s father, Joe Hands Senior, who ushered in a new way to watch championship level fighting decades ago.
“My dad is 83 and he is the chairman of our company. What he has done for the boxing business is incredible. When he started this business, back in the 1960s and early 70s when people wanted to watch a championship level boxing event, it was my dad who came up with the idea to start putting these fights on closed circuit television and movie theaters around the country. People would pay 20 bucks to come and see the fight at the theater because there was no pay per view television at the time. My dad was really the first pay per view guy in the theater. If it wasn’t for my dad starting that concept in the early years it would have never became what it is today.”
It’s clear why PBC has decided to have Joe Hands Promotions in their corner. The work that they have been able to do has always been top notch and will continue to be for the foreseeable future.
With combat sports being accessible at an even higher rate, there is one thing that fans can’t help but be frustrated with.
Finding a bar which shows these events can be a pain. Calling your local bar to simply find out if they will be airing your favorite contest on the night can be a long process as well. Luckily for you, Joe Hands Promotions has you covered in that regard as well.
“If you go to the Joe Hands Promotion website, we have a bar finder on there, you click in the city or the zip code of where you are and immediately locations will pop up to areas that are showing the fight.”
With tons of fights at the fingertips of fans all around the world, all that needs to be done now is to sit back, relax and enjoy the violence.
Marcus Browne Wants His Respect
By: Hans Themistode
The Light Heavyweight division is flooded with talent. Oleksandr Gvozdyk, Sergey Kovalev, Dmitry Bivol and Artur Beterbiev are all belt holders in the division. With the exception of Kovalev they are all undefeated as well.
Rising contenders such as Badou Jack, Eleider Alvarez and Gilberto Ramirez are also highly thought of within the division. The list of contenders and champions gets mighty long before we reach the name Marcus Browne.
The current WBA interim champion has an unsullied record at 23-0 and the personalty that should allow him to be easy to promote. He has managed to run through his competition with ease. That statement does however, come with a bit of caveat. Browne has spent the majority of his career facing mostly obscure opponents.
Browne has recently proven that he does belong with some of the elite of division. In 2017, it took him only two rounds to dispatch of the previously undefeated Sean Monaghan.
He has since followed that up with an impressive win over former two division champion Badou Jack. It was in that very fight where Browne knew he belonged.
“I always knew that I was a great fighter, but that fight allowed the world to see just how great I truly am,” said Browne. “It was a tough fight and Badou proved that he was a warrior that night so I tip my cap to him.”
Many believe that his contest against Jack was his coming out party. Still, even with the WBA interim title around his waist, Browne continues to get little credit for the sort of performance he put on that night. He will once again have another opportunity to prove his doubters wrong as he will take on multiple time champion Jean Pascal.
At age 36 and fresh off a defeat against WBA belt holder Dmitry Bivol, Browne is fully aware that Pascal is in a desperate situation.
“He needs this win. I know that he doesn’t want to have back to back losses at this stage in his career but that is exactly what is going to happen. He’s a great fighter and I respect everything that he has done in this sport but I’m not losing.”
Browne has said repeatedly that he is fully focused on just this fight. However, with pound for pound star Canelo Alvarez recently making headlines about his venture into Browne’s division, he made it clear that if he was given the chance he would welcome it with open arms.
“Canelo don’t want any problems with me. The only reason he keeps mentioning Kovalev is because he sees the chinks in his armor. I don’t think he wants any of the problems that I come with.”
With his fight now just a few days away, Browne is keeping his eyes on the prize.
“I would love to stop Pascal. Only Kovalev has been able to do it so of course I would love to get it done myself but I’m not focusing on that. As long as I get the victory, I’ll be happy. That’s the most important thing.”
Pacquaio vs. Thurman Round by Round Results: Pacquiao Wins Close Decision
By: William Holmes
The legend Manny Pacquaio took on Keith Thurman in the main event of tonight’s Pay Per View offering for the WBA Welterweight title.
The MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada was the venue for tonight’s fight, and was a star studded affair. Even Floyd Mayweather Jr. was in attendance for Pacquiao’s 15th fight at the MGM Grand.
Keith Thurman was the first man to enter the ring to a muted reaction from the crowd. Pacquiao entered second to a positive reaction from the crowd.
The national anthem of the Philippines was performed first by the First Word Choir. The national anthem of the United States was sung by Lorena Peril.
The following is a round by round recap of tonight’s main event.
Manny Pacquiao (61-7-2) vs. Keith Thurman (29-0); WBA Welterweight Title
The crowd was clearly pro Pacquiao during fighter introductions. Pacquiao comes rushing out towards Thurman. Thurman goes to the body early, Pacquiao answers with a body shot of his own. Thurman barely misses with a jab. Pacquiao is reaching a bit for his punches. Pacquiao lands a good two punch combination. Thurman answers with a three punch combination of his own. Thurman lands a clean straight right hand. Pacquiao flings out his straight left hand. Thurman lands a good counter left hook. Pacquiao lands a two punch combination. Thurman bounces his punches off the guard of Pacquiao. Thurman lands another good straight right hand. Thurman lands a left hook that knocks Pacquiao backwards, and Pacquiao answers and rushes forward and lands a two punch combination and sends Thurman down. Thurman gets up before the count of ten and the round ends.
Thurman looks recovered from the earlier knockdown. Thurman throws to the body of Pacquiao. Lots of feints early on. Pacquiao with a quick jab. Thurman lands a good straight right and they both exchange. Pacquiao lands a good straight left. Pacquiao pressing on Thurman. Pacquiao is on the attack. Thurman lands a good jab on Pacquiao. Thurman quickly switched to southpaw. Pacquiao with a good lead right hook. Pacquiao with a three punch combination that is partially blocked. Pacquiao lands a good straight left. Pacquiao with a hard three punch combination. Pacquiao waives Thurman forward. Pacquiao mixing up his combinations to the body and head.
10-9 Pacquiao, 20-17 Pacquiao
Thurman active with his jab early on. Thurman is pressing the action early. Pacquiao still looks fast on his feet despite his age. Pacquiao throws to the body of Thurman. Thurman has Pacquiao back against the ropes. Pacquiao with a quick straight left. Pacquiao flicks out two quick jabs. Pacquiao with a good lead right hook. Good body shot by Thurman. Pacquiao covers up by the ropes. Throws out two quick combinations. Pacquiao is inviting Thurman on the inside. Thurman has a two punch combo blocked but Thurman than goes to the body. Pacquiao lands a combination upstairs. The body shots of Thurman appear to be bothering Pacquiao.
10-9 Pacquiao, 30-26 Pacquiao
Thurman has Pacquiao backing up early and he attacks to the body. Pacquiao answers with two good body shots of his own. Thurman had Pacquiao by the ropes and lands some good shots to the body. Thurman lands another good hook to the body. Pacquiao lands two good hooks to the body of his own. Thurman lands to the body of Pacquiao again. Pacquiao comes forward and lands a two punch combo to the head. Pacquiao landing some good shots in the final minute of the round. Pacquiao looks like he is willing to exchange blows with Thurman. Thurman lands a hard left hook. Pacquiao with a good lead left cross. Good close round.
10-9 Thurman, 39-36 Pacquiao
Thurman lands two punches early on. Pacquiao looks a little tired. Pacquiao lands a lead right hook. Pacquiao keeps his jab in the face of Thurman. Thurman with some good body shots. Thurman lands two good right hooks on Pacquiao. Pacquiao with a good crisp jab on Thurman. Thurman lands another good straight right hand. Thurman with a good body head combination. Pacquiao lands two hooks to the body. Thurman’s nose is bleeding. Thurman lands a looping right hook followed by a jab. They exchange in the middle. Pacquiao lands some good combos in the middle of the ring. Thurman is bringing a lot of pressure on Pacquiao. Thurman flicks out several clean jabs. Pacquiao ending the round strong.
10-9 Pacquiao; 49-45 Pacquiao
Thurman pressing forward to start. Thurman lands some good body shots with some jabs. Thurman lands a good two punch combination. Thurman sticks another jab in the face of Pacquiao. Thurman gets tagged with a straight left. Pacquiao with three consecutive jabs. Thurman lands another jab. Good straight right by Thurman. Thurman is having a very good round. Thurman lands another good shot to the body. Pacquiao lead right hook shakes Thurman, but Thurman lands another good straight right. Thurman may have Pacquiao stunned a bit at the end of the round.
10-9 Thurman, 58-55 Pacquiao
Thurman comes out firing at the start of the round with combinations to the body and head. Thurman is keeping the pressure on Pacquiao. Pacquiao landed a good straight left hand. Thurman does well when he mixes up his combinations to the body. Thurman lands a good straight right hand. Thurman lands another good counter right. Pacquiao with a lead right hook followed by a jab. Thurman lands another good jab on Pacquiao. Pacquiao lands a straight left but Thurman answers with a good two punch combo. Thurman lands a hard left hook straight right hand. Thurman is light on his feet and circling away from Pacquiao. Thurman is having another very good round. Pacquiao lands a good right uppercut that momentarily slows Thurman. Pacquiao felt Thurman’s power in this round.
10-9 Thurman, 67-65 Pacquiao
Thurman looks confident and is pressing forward. Thurman misses with a two punch combo. Pacquiao lands a good straight left then moves out of the way. Pacquiao pressing the action now. Pacquiao lands two shots to the body on a retreating Thurman. Thurman lands to the body and Pacquiao answers upstairs. Thurman lands another jab on Pacquiao’s face. Pacquiao is slowing down. They have had some fierce exchanges so far. Pacquiao lands a good straight left by the ropes. Pacquiao landed a good left hook. Pacquiao is looking for his lead right hook. Thyurman lands a good short right upstairs. Thurman ended the round strong.
10-9 Thurman, 76-75 Pacquiao
This fight is turning in Thurman’s favor. Pacquiao showing good upper body movement early on. Thurman is keeping his jab in the face of Pacquiao. Thurman lands a straight right hand. Thurman’s body work may be paying off. Pacquiao looks tentative to throw. Thurman landed three straight jabs. The pace is favoring Thurman. Pacquiao lands a lead right hook. Pacquiao’s punches appear to have lost some zap. Thurman lands a right to the body of Pacquiao. Thurman lands a good combination on Pacquiao. Pacquiao looks like he is fading.
10-9 Thurman; 85-85
The announcers appear to think Pacquiao is ahead. Thurman comes out aggressive and lands several hard hooks. Thurman lands another combination upstairs. Thurman lands another good combination on Pacquiao. Pacquiao lands a combination that ended with a right hook. Pacquiao with a left to the body. Pacquiao with a good start to this round. Pacquiao lands a good hook to the body and Thurman appears to be hurt. Thurman is holding on. Looks like a body shot hurt Thurman. Pacquiao with another good combination. Thurman lands a good left hook right hook combination. This is a good round.
10-9 Pacquiao; 95-94 Pacquiao
This is a close fight. Thurman comes out aggressive on Pacquiao. Pacquiao looks a little fresher. Thurman lands a good straight right hand. Pacquiao with a good two punch combination to the body. Pacquiao with another good left hook to the body. Thurman is landing to the head of Pacquiao. Pacquiao lands a good jab. Thurman landed a vicious straight right hand on Pacquiao’s chin. Thurman landed a good lead left hook. Pacquiao lands a good short right hook. Thurman landed a good straight right hand, Pacquiao answers with a short combination.
10-9 Thurman, 104-104
Both corners implored their fighters they need to win this round. Thurman comes forward and lands some short shots. Thurman lands a straight right, Pacquiao answers with a check right hook. They both land at the same time. Pacquiao flicks out his jab. Pacquiao lands a left uppercut, followed by a two punch combination. Pacquiao lands a good straight left hand. Thurman had Pacquiao backing up against the ropes, and Pacquiao fights out of it. Thurman with a right uppercut to the body. Pacquiao landed a good jab to Thurman’s nose. Thurman with a good right hook. Thurman landed a good straight. Pacquiao lands a jab followed by a right cross.
Another very close round. 10-9 Pacquiao. 114-113 Pacquiao by Boxing Insider.
TThis was a great all action fight. The official scorecard was 114-113 Thurman, 115-112 Pacquiao, 115-112 Pacquiao.
Fox Sports PPV Preview: Pacquiao vs Thurman, Ugas vs. Figueroa Jr.
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada will be the host site of a Fox Sports Pay Per View Offering. Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions is the lead promoter on the fight card as the Filipino Legend Manny Pacquiao takes on current undefeated WBA Welterweight Champion Keith Thurman in the main event of the night.
The co-main event will be a WBC Welterweight Title Eliminator between Yordenis Ugas and Omar Figueroa Jr. Other televised fights on the pay per view telecast include a welterweight bout between Sergey Lipinets and John Molina Jr., as well as a bantamweight fight between Luis Nery and Juan Carlos Payano.
Fox will be televising some fights before the start of the televised pay per view. The main fight on the Fox portion of Saturday’s card is an IBF Super Middleweight Title Fight between Caleb Plan and Irish Mike Lee.
The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the evening.
Yordenis Ugas (23-4) vs. Omar Figueroa Jr. (28-0-1); Welterweights
This is an intriguing fight between two boxers who were once considered by many to be shoe in future champions, but have since lost a bit of their luster.
Yordenis Ugas was a bronze medalist in the 2008 Olympics for Cuba, but has suffered four losses since turning pro, many against fighters he should have beaten. Figueroa turned professional at the age of 18 and is currently undefeated, but hand injuries have hindered the progress of his career. He has only fought twice since 2016.
Ugas has eleven stoppages on his record while Figueroa has nineteen. Ugas is thirty three years old and is in the tail end of his athletic prime, Figueroa is twenty nine years old and is still in the middle of his athletic prime. Ugas will have a one and a half inch height advantage while Figueroa will have a four inch reach advantage.
Ugas has been quite active the past three years. He fought once in 2019, three times in 2018, and three times in 2017. Figueroa, as stated earlier, fought once in 2019, zero times in 2018, once in 2017 and zero times in 2016.
Ugas has a significant edge in amateur experience. He’s a former world champion as an amateur and won the bronze medal in the 2008 Olympics. Figueroa turned pro at the age of eighteen and does not have the amateur accolades of Figueroa.
Ugas has defeated the likes of Ray Robinson, Thomas Dulorme, Bryant Perrella, and Jamal James. His losses were to Shawn Porter, Amir Imam, Emanuel Robles, and Johnny Garcia.
Figueroa has defeated the likes of John Molina Jr., Robert Guerrero, Antonio DeMarco, Ricky Burns, Daniel Estrada, and Nihito Arakawa.
Ugas has four losses on his record, but has gone 9-1 in his last ten fights, including a very close decision loss to Shawn Porter.
Figueroa’s lack of activity will hurt him in the ring against a veteran that has been surging as of late. This will be a close fight, but this writer expects Ugas to pull away in the later rounds.
Manny Pacquiao (61-7-2) vs. Keith Thurman (29-0); WBA Welterweight Title
Manny Pacquiao looked sensational in his last fight against Adrien Broner, but he was fighting an opponent who is known to come up short in big fights and has recently seemed reluctant to let go of his hands.
Keith Thurman does not have that reputation. Thurman is ten years younger than Pacquiao and will have a two inch height and reach advantage. Pacquiao has thirty nine knockouts in his career for a percentage of 56%, but Thurman has twenty two knockouts in his career for a percentage of 73%.
Thurman also has an edge in amateur experience. He went 101-6 as an amateur and was a US National Bronze Medalist. As most already know, Pacquiao turned professional as a teenager.
Inactivity should be of some concern to Keith Thurman. He only fought once in 2019, zero times in 2018, and once in 2017 and once in 2016. Pacquiao fought once in 2019, once in 2018, and once in 2017 but this will be his second fight in 2019. It appears Pacquiao may try to fight three times in 2019.
Pacquiao’s list of defeated opponents is extremely impressive. He has defeated the likes of Adrien Broner, Lucas Matthysse, Jessie Vargas, Timothy Bradley Jr., Chris Algieri, Brandon Rios, Juan Manuel Marquez, Shane Mosley, Antonio Margarito, Joshua Clottey, Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton, Oscar De La Hoya, David Diaz, Marco Antonio Barrera, Jorge Solis, Erik Morales, Oscar Larios, and Lehlo Ledwaba.
Some of his losses were to Juan Manuel Marquez, Erik Morales, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Timothy Bradley Jr., and a disputed loss to Jeff Horn.
Keith Thurman has defeated the likes of Josesito Lopez, Danny Garcia, Shawn Porter, Luis Collazo, Robert Guerrero, Leonard Bundu, Julio Diaz, Jesus Soto Karass, Diego Chaves, Jan Zaveck, and Carlos Quintana.
However, Thurman looked a little rusty in his last fight against Josesito Lopez.
Pacquiao looks to be in incredible shape and he appears to be determined to prove he’s still a viable threat in the welterweight division. Keith Thurman could have used one more warm up fight before taking on Pacquiao, because Pacquiao doesn’t appear to have lost as much as some say he has.
Look for Pacquiao to win a close and possibly disputed decision. A fight with Errol Spence Jr. could be next.
Jamal James Defeats Antonio DeMarco and Packs his Bags for Las Vegas
By: Andrew Johnson
Jamal “Shango” James (26-1, 12 KOs) won a unanimous decision in his fourth consecutive fight at the Armory in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Saturday night. “Shango” faced a formidable opponent in former champion Antonio DeMarco (33-8-1, 24 KOs), but he proved to be the more active fighter and overwhelmed the more experienced DeMarco with consistent flurries in the center of the ring. The victory moves him into the conversation as a potential challenger to the winner of the Manny Pacquiao/Keith Thurman bout next Saturday night in Las Vegas.
James came out of the gates swinging and after the first round it looked like his youth, height and speed might be too much for DeMarco. In the second round, DeMarco showed that he had made the trip to Minneapolis to win the fight and not just cash a check. DeMarco cut off the ring and forced James against the ropes, neutralizing the taller fighter’s four-inch height advantage and faster hands. James absorbed the early punishment and did not panic after the early onslaught by the former champion.
“That’s just part of the game,” the hometown welterweight told the Boxing Insider after the fight. “This is boxing and sometime you’re going to get hit.”
DeMarco committed himself to punishing James’s ribs and landed dozens of right hands to the lean area around James’ left kidney. James adapted to DeMarco’s strategy by using his feet to escape from the corners and put DeMarco into vulnerable positions. Though James’ ribs began to glow with neon pink welts, he resisted the temptation to lower his guard and expose his chin. He absorbed the body blows and answered DeMarco’s single shots with rapid combinations.
“Being one of the taller fighters in the division, those guys have to put that pressure on me,” said James. “I have to use good footwork to keep those guys chasing me. When they chase me is when they make a mistake, and that is when I catch them.”
The PBC has invested heavily in James over the past two years, featuring him on four televised cards in a city that had been for years a boxing desert. The national exposure and his recent successes in front of hometown crowds have provided momentum in his campaign to challenge for a title at 147 lbs. As it was in the previous three fights, the atmosphere at The Armory was electric. The partisan crowd cheered every flurry thrown by James and winced at every slicing right hand DeMarco landed on James’ ribs.
“There ain’t no better place to fight but The Armory in Minnesota. I mean, you could tell, looking at it on TV across the nation,” said the elated title contender. “It’s beautiful in here, and the energy is beautiful. This is it, man, the new hub for boxing.”
Later this week, Jamal James will fly to Las Vegas to attend the Pacquiao/Thurman showdown. Though he clearly feeds off of the support of the crowd in Minneapolis, “Shango” hopes that his next fight will be in a different state, at a larger venue and for a championship belt.
Earlier in the night, Gerald “El Gallo Negro” Washington (20-3-1, 12 KOs) faced Robert “The Nordic Nightmare” Helenius (28-3, 17 KOs). Helenius looked like he walked straight from the set of the Game of Thrones as he entered the ring in a black hooded robe to the unsettling sounds of Scandinavian heavy metal. Helenius, who trains in Stockholm, Sweden, was successful early in his United States debut and was ahead on two of the three judges’ scorecards after seven rounds. But his quest to be the next Ingemar Johansson came to a violent conclusion in the 8th round when Washington landed an overhand right to the “Nordic Nightmare’s” chin.
Charlo vs. Adams and Lubin vs. Attou Fight Preview
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night the NRG Arena in Houston, Texas will be the host site for Jermall Charlo’s WBC Interim Middleweight Title Defense against Brandon Adams.
The fight card will be presented by Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions and will be televised live on Showtime.
The co-main event of the evening will be between Erickson Lubin and Zakaria Attou in a WBC Junior Middleweight Title eliminator.
The undercard will feature fighters such as Eduardo Ramirez, Claudio Marrero, Miguel Flores, Cesar Cantu, and Omar Juarez.
The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the evening.
Erickson Lubin (20-1) vs. Zakaria Attou (29-6-2); WBC Junior Middleweight Eliminator
Erickson Lubin is a young professional with a decorated amateur background from the United States. Lubin is a former US PAL Champion and a US National Golden Gloves Champion. Zakaria Attou is fourteen years his elder and has no notable amateur background.
That alone tells you this fight is likely a big mismatch.
Attou will have a slight one and a half inch height advantage over Lubin and has been a more active fighter. The one knock against Lubin is that for a twenty three year old boxer he hasn’t been very active. He only fought once in 2019, once in 2018, and twice in 2017. Attou fought once in 2019, twice in 2018, and three times in 2017.
Lubin also has a clear edge in power. Attou only has seven stoppage victories while Lubin has stopped fifteen of his opponents.
Attou is riding a seven fight win streak, but he has beaten no notable opponents. His most impressive victories have come against Stefano Castellucci, Orlando Fiordigiglio, and Emanuele Della Rosa. His losses were to the unheralded Roberto Santos, Frank Haroche, Ludovic Duval, Jonathan Bertonnier, Faycal Karkour, and Francois Riopedre.
Lubin has defeated the likes of Ishe Smith, Jorge Cota, Juan Cabrera, and Alexis Camacho. His lone loss was a KO loss to Jermell Charlo.
This is a fight that Lubin should win easily.
Jermall Charlo (28-0) vs. Brandon Adams (21-2); WBC Interim Middleweight Title
The main event will be a title fight between the undefeated Jermall Charlo and the winner of Season Five of the Contender, Brandon Adams.
Both boxers are still in their athletic prime at the age of twenty nine years old. Charlo will have a three inch height advantage and about a three and a half inch reach advantage over Adams.
Charlo does appear to have an edge in power as he has stopped twenty one of his opponents while Adams has only stopped thierteen of his opponents.
Charlo fought twice in 2018 and once in 2017. Adams fought four times in 2018, due to his participation in the Contender, but did not fight at all in 2017 or in 2016.
Charlo also has an edge in amateur experience. He had a record of 65-6 as an amateur while Adams only fought as an amateur for two years.
Charlo’s list of defeated opponents includes Matvey Korobov, Huge Centeno Jr., Jorge Sebastian Heiland, Julian Williams, Austin Trout, Wilky Campfort, and Cornelius Bundrage.
Adams has defeated the likes of Shane Mosley Jr., Eric Walker, Ievgen Khytrov, and Tyrone Brunson. His losses were to John Thompson and Willie Monroe Jr.
Adams is a live dog and his win on the Contender included several good prospects, but Charlo is a much more experienced fighter with a significant height and reach advantage over Adams.
Charlo might not stop Adams, but he should win the decision.
Charlo vs. Cota and Rigondeaux vs. Ceja Fight Preview
By: William Holmes
On Sunday night the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada will be the host site for Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions Fight card to be televised live on Fox.
The main event of the evening will between Jermell Charlo and Jorge Cota in the junior middleweight division. The co-main event of the evening will be between former world champion Guillermo Rigondeaux and Julio Ceja in a WBC Junior Featherweight Eliminator.
The undercard features fighters such as Joey Spencer, Alberto Mercado, Jesus Ramos, Leduan Barthelemy, and Ryan Karl.
The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the evening.
Guillermo Rigondeaux (18-1) vs. Julio Ceja (32-3); Junior Featherweight Division
Guillermo Rigondeaux was once considered a pound for pound great, but a loss to Vasily Lomachenko in 2017 affected his status on the pound for pound list.
At thirty eight years old he’s clearly past his prime, and is twelve years older than his opponent. However, Rigondeaux will have about a four and a half inch reach advantage but will be giving up an inch in height.
Rigondeaux has twelve stoppage wins on his resume while Ceja has twenty eight stoppage victories. Rigondeaux only loss was by stoppage to Vasily Lomachenko, Ceja has been stopped twice in his career.
Ceja is the younger brother of Luis Ceja but has no notable amateur experience. Rigondeaux is a two time Olympic Gold Medalist and is considered by many to be an all time amateur great.
Rigondeaux bounced back from his defeat to Lomachenko by defeating Giovanni Delgado quite easily. Other notable opponents include James Dickens, Drian Francisco, Joseph Agbeko, Nonito Doniare, Roberto Marroquin, and Teon Kennedy.
Ceja notable wins include Anselmo Moreno and Hugo Ruiz. His losses were to Jamie McDonnell, Hugo Ruiz, and a loss in his last fight to a 17-4 Franklin Manzanilla.
Even though Rigondeaux is getting older, he’s still a technical wizard, and should have no problems getting past Ceja.
Jermell Charlo (31-1) vs. Jorge Cota (28-3); Junior Middleweight Division
Jermell Charlo’s career hit an unexpected speed bump when he lost his last bout to Tony Harrison in a close upset.
However, many felt he did enough to win that fight and he’s still a top rated contender.
On Sunday he’ll be facing Jorge Cota, a contender that also lost his last bout, but it was against a relative unknown in Jeison Rosario.
Charlo is two years younger than his opponent, but both will be about the same height with about the same reach. Cota actually appears to have an edge in power as he has stopped twenty five of his opponents while Charlo has only stopped fiftee, but Cota’s resume is littered with low level opposition.
Charlo has beaten the likes of Austin Trout, Erickson Lubin, Charles Hatley, John Jackson, Vanes Martirosyan, Gabriel Rosado, and Harry Joe Yorgey. He has been fairy active and fought twice in 2018 and twice in 2017.
Cota’s notable wins include Yudel Jhonson and Euri Gonzalez. His other two losses were to Erickson Lubin and Marco Antonio Rubio. Cota fought once in 2019, once in 2018, and three times in 2017.
Charlo also has a clear edge in amateur experience as he was a bronze medalist in the Junior Olympics.
Cota has an impressive knockout ratio, but he has to defeat any top rated contenders and lost to fighters that many would expect Charlo to beat easily.
Charlo is expected to breeze through this fight.
PBC on FS1 Preview: Alexander vs. Redkach, Monroe vs. Centeno
By: Robert Contreras
Trading punches. Pushing and pulling for space. Boxers give and take as they try to administer their will onto their opponent.
As so, it is difficult to escape that old dichotomy between Boxer and Puncher. And the sport returns to it in the main event of PBC’s latest broadcast on FOX Sports 1, airing from San Jacinto, California, where both Alexander, the artful stylist, and Redkach, with a firecracker in his left hand, meet in a crossroads match.
In addition, middleweights Willie Monroe Jr. and Hugo Centeno Jr. will be fighting. And it is all on FS1, where the telecast is set to begin at 8 p.m. ET.
Devon Alexander (27-5-1, 14 KO) vs. Ivan Redkach (22-4-1, 17 KO)
Alexander is a former world champion, making his mark in the light welterweight division before moving up to 147 pounds. Since a loss to Shawn Porter, he is 2-4-1 but that has not been without terrible strokes of luck.
In August 2018, Alexander was forced to settle for a split-decision loss on national television after continually beating Andre Berto to the punch. To go along with another set of inauspicious scorecards, leading to a majority-draw with Victor Ortiz, Alexander technically has not won a fight in 18 months.
With a team fronted by the legendary Roy Jones Jr., the 32-year-old southpaw has rebounded from worse. After dropping the WBO championship to Tim Bradley, back in 2011, he rebounded with four consecutive wins over some of the sport’s most intimidating hitters: Randall Bailey, Marcos Maidana and Lucas Matthysse. Never one to turn down a challenge, he has also tangled with brawlers like Aaron Martinez and Jesus Soto Karass to more slippery movers like Amir Khan.
Redkach, 33, will too find out firsthand how rough the 147-pound waters can be after turning professional nearly a decade ago at the lightweight limit and last competing at 140 pounds. In preparation for his welterweight debut, the Ukrainian-born slugger brought in the help of Shane Mosley to add some wrinkles to his game at his training camp in Los Angeles.
Since being pelted down in 2017 by John Molina Jr., Redkach has picked up back-to-back victories over journeymen. Most recently, four months ago, he dribbled Tyrone Harris up and down the canvas, knocking his opponent down three times in the opening round, en route to a first-round knockout.
Redkach needs another destructive performance like that to pave a way to a title shot. And he needs to do it quickly as he pushes his mid-30s.
The top of the welterweight division is currently in a bit of a logjam. Porter is waiting in the wings for a winner to emerge between Keith Thurman and Manny Pacquiao. And Errol Spence and Terrence Crawford continue to play a game of chicken with one another—or at least their promoters do—which gives bit players like Alexander and Redkach enough time to make their case for a title fight.
That endeavor begins this weekend.
Willie Monroe Jr. (23-3, 6 KO) vs. Hugo Centeno Jr. (27-2, 14 KO)
From opposite corners of the country, New York’s own “El Mongoose” Monroe and Centeno, from Oxnard, California, square off over the 10-round distance in the middleweight division.
Monroe, 32, has a legendary name to represent—his uncle once gave Marvin Hagler a lacing. But despite natural, supreme athleticism, he often forgets where the gas pedal is. Returning from a failed bid for the WBO middleweight title against Billy Joe Saunders in an overall lackadaisical affair, Monroe decisioned the unheralded Carlos Galvan last March and followed up that victory by undressing Argentinian banger Javier Francisco Maciel over 10 rounds.
Fighting a real puncher, Monroe arguably did not give up a single round. But the Argentinian did not force the action on Monroe, allowing the American to get off when he felt like it. It was not the best showing from Maciel but his recent melee with Artem Chebotarec only made Monroe look that much better.
This weekend represent’s Monroe’s first time competing in the west coast since facing Gennady Golovkin. In order to prove he is not just a stepping stone for the division’s biggest names, he should start with outclassing Centeno.
Centeno, though, is a large challenge—incredibly long. In fact, there is not a world-ranked middleweight taller than him. His six feet, one inches is at equal footing with Maciej Sulecki and Demetrious Andrade.
Last time out, in February, the 28-year-old Centeno was cruising to a win against Oscar Cortes. He floored Cortes in the fourth round before a headbutt ended the show early. The California resident was still awarded a technical-decision, his first win since being blown away by Jermall Charlo for the WBC middleweight crown.
The odd circumstances were all too familiar for Centeno, who back in 2013 also saw his contest against Julian Williams stopped in the fourth period from a clash of heads. Of course, Williams was clearly too much for Centeno and the stoppage only saved him further distress. That is not to say Centeno cannot dish it out.
Nearly 30 wins to his name, the highlight of Centeno’s ledger is a crushing third-round knockout of previously undefeated Immanuwel Aleem, who had significantly raised his own stock after cracking open amateur world champion Levgen Khytrov. Centeno’s length proved formidable, repeatedly finding a home for his rangy lead left hook, setting the shot up with a body jab, and eventually stretching Aleem out cold.
That brutal finish was enough to catapult Centeno into the world stage. He was quickly brought back down to earth, losing by knockout to Charlo. It was his second KO loss after Sulecki also put a dent across his chin in 2016.
Monroe is not known for having the biggest punch. So if he can get by Centeno’s long arms, the fists could be flying back and forth all night.
PBC Results: Deontay Wilder Quickly and Violently Disposes of Breazeale
By: William Holmes
Al Haymons’s Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) was broadcast live tonight from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York and was televised live on the Showtime networks.
The main event of the night was a heavyweight showdown between current heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder and challenger Dominic Breazeale.
The opening bout of the night was between Juan Heraldez (16-0) and Argenis Mendez (25-5-2) in the super lightweight division.
Mendez had many fights in the lightweight division and Heraldez spent most of his career fighting at 140 or 147lbs.
Heraldez was a highly touted prospect, but Mendez was a cagey veteran who presented a good challenge for Heraldez and was able to keep the fight at a slower pace early on.
Heraldez had a strong fifth round and was able to crack Mendez with some heavy shots in the middle of the round, but Mendez had his moments and landed a straight right hand that had blood coming from the nose of Heraldez.
Mendez was the one who pressed forward in the seventh round, but Heraldez showed good movement while circling away and appeared to be the slightly more accurate puncher.
Heraldez did have Mendez briefly trapped by the corner in the eighth, but appeared hesitant to really let loose and go for the knockdown.
Mendez had his moments in the ninth round, but Heraldez looked like he did enough to slightly win the later rounds.
A lot of rounds could have been sored for either fighter, but the judges scored it 97-93 for Mendez, and 95-95 on the other two scorecards.
The fight was ruled a majority draw.
The next bout of the night was between Gary Russell Jr. a (29-1) and Kiko Martinez (39-8-2) for the WBC Featherweight Title.
Russell was able to move in and out with ease in the opening two rounds and appeared to be able to pop shot Martinez at will. Russell’s combinations caused a mouse to form under the left eye of Martinez in the second.
Martinez was able to land some body shots in the third round, but Russell’s superior hand speed won him a majority of their exchanges. Russell turned up the power in the fourth round and forced a cut over Martinez’s eye to begin to bleed badly.
Russell’s jab was focused on the cut of Martinez’s eye in the fifth round and made it open up to a dangerous sized gash. The referee asked the ring side doctor to take a look at it, and he advised the referee to stop the fight.
Gary Russell Jr. wins by TKO at 2:52 of the fifth round.
The main event of the evening was between Deontay Wilder (40-0-1) and Dominic Breazeale (20-1) for the WBC Heavyweight Title.
Breazeale and Wilder were listed at identical heights but Wilder looked like he had a few inches on Breazeale at the referee introduction. Wilder looked extremely confident and gave Breazeale a death stare, who looked a little timid.
Wilder had a sharp jab early on and was able to connect with a two punch combination in the opening minute. A right hand form Wilder knocked Breazeale back a few steps who appeared to be stunned, but Breazeale landed two hard overhand rights that briefly stopped Wilder’s momentum.
Both fighters were in a clinch and Breazeale landed a few short punches before the referee separated them. Wilder than landed a booming right hand that sent Breazeale crashing to the mat.
Breazeale began to attempt to get up around the count of eight, but he was unable to get to his feet before ten and he was still badly hurt.
Deontay Wilder wins with a stunning knockout at of the 2:17 first round.
Showtime Boxing Preview: Wilder vs. Breazeale, Russell vs. Martinez
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York will host a heavyweight title fight between Deontay Wilder and Dominic Breazeale for the WBC Heavyweight Title.
This bout will be put on by Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) and will be televised live on Showtime.
Garry Russell Jr. will also be appearing on the card and will take on Kiko Martinez for Russell’s WBC Featherweight Title.
Photo Credit: Premier Boxing Champions Twitter Account
The following is a preview of both title bouts.
Gary Russell Jr.(29-1) vs. Kiko Martinez (39-8-2); WBC Featherweight Title
Whenever the name of Gary Russell Jr. comes up a debate follows if he’s a legitimate pound for pound fighter or not.
He’s a boxer who’s only blemish on his record came at the hands Vasily Lomachenko, a fighter most will agree is a pound for pound great. However, he’s also a boxer that has only fought once a year since 2015 and frustrates fans for his inactivity.
Russell will be facing Kiko Martinez on Saturday, a 33 year old boxer with eight losses on his resume and five of those losses coming since 2013. Martinez has been very active, as he fought twice in 2018 and three times in 2017. Martinez will also have about a two inch reach advantage and a half inch height advantage over Russell.
However, Russell has a clear edge in his resume of defeated opponents and amateur background. He won several national tournaments as an amateur in the United States and represented the United States in the 2008 Summer Olympics. Martinez does not have the amateur pedigree of Russell.
Russell has defeated the likes of Joseph Diaz, Oscar Escandon, Patrick Hyland, Jhonny Gonzalez, and Christopher Martin. Martinez has defeated the likes of Marc Vidal, Hozumi Hasegawa, Jeffrey Mathebula, and Jhonatan Romero. He has losses to the likes of Carl Frampton (twice), Scott Quigg, Leo Santa Cruz, and Josh Warrington.
Even though Martinez has been more active than Russell, he doesn’t’ have the talent of Russell and has several losses and draws in recent years, including two losses by stoppage. This shouldn’t be a fight that Russell will have issues in.
Deontay Wilder (40-0-1) vs. Dominic Breazeale (20-1); WBC Heavyweight Title
This won’t be Dominic Breazeale’s first chance at a heavyweight title. When he last challenged for the heavyweight title he was stopped in the seventh round by Anthony Joshua.
On paper, it appears unlikely this fight will be much different.
Breazeale has power, as he has stopped eighteen of his opponents, but he also can be stopped, as he only made it to the seventh round when he faced Anthony Joshua. He’ll need a strong chin when he faces Wilder, who has stopped thirty nine of the forty opponents he has faced, and even knocked down Tyson Fury in their disputed draw.
Both boxers stand at 6’7” and Wilder will have a slight one and a half inch reach advantage. Wilder fought twice in 2018 and in 2017 while Breazeale only fought once in 2018 and twice in 2017.
Both boxers represented the United States in the Olympics. Wilder competed in the 2008 Olympics while Breazeale competed in the 2012 Olympics. Wilder however was able to medal while Breazeale did not.
Wilder has beaten the likes of Luis Ortiz, Bermane Stiverne, Gerald Washington, Chris Arreola, Artur Szpilka, Johann Duhaupas, Eric Molina, Malik Scott, and Siarhei Liakhovich.
Breazeale has beaten the likes of Carlos Negron, Eric Molina, Izuagbe Ugonoh, Amir Mansour, Fred Kassi, Yasmany Consuegra, and Victor Bisbal.
Wilder is looking for a big money fight but has remained steadfastly loyal to Al Haymon and Showtime. Dominic Breazeale stands in his way of that big money fight, but it’s an obstacle that Wilder should be able to overcome.