By: Bryant Romero
Ava “Lady of Boxing” Knight is making her long awaited return to boxing on July 21 in Memphis, Tennessee. The former world flyweight champion is hungry to get back in the in the ring after a more than a two year absence. Knight (14-2-4, 5 KOs) has rediscovered her love for the sport, wants to remain active, and to become a world champion again. Boxinginsider recently caught up with the ‘Lady of Boxing’ as she gave her thoughts on the current state of women’s boxing, how she accidentally got into the sport while growing up in Chico, California, and what has she been doing since her two year hiatus from boxing.
“I stared boxing at 13. It kind of was just an accident,” Ava told me. “My girlfriend was just like ‘let’s go to the gym and I’m like ‘okay.
“I had never seen a boxing match in my life, I had never fought. I wasn’t bullied, so it was just a new experience and I fell in love with it and I started taking classes.
“Nobody thought I was going to make it, so I came in and sparred my friend about a few months after we started and she knock me down and I couldn’t stop laughing. After that moment I just fell in love with it,” Ava said.
Ava is an 11 year veteran of the fight game and she’s definitely noticed that women’s boxing is becoming more acceptable compared to when she first turn pro back in 2007. Seeing the likes of Clarissa Shields and Cecilia Brækhus on headlining cards in the states gives her feelings of joy and motivates her to perhaps one day be on a big significant card herself in the future.
“It’s becoming more acceptable to men,” Ava said. “Now that we are seeing women fighting in MMA because I think before they didn’t want to see two women hitting each other.
“Well now people are now watching two women bash their heads in an octagon. Why can’t we box? Why can’t we be a little classier and have some rules? And hit each other with bigger gloves on.
“So I think now it’s just becoming a different attitude about it with younger people coming into the game. I feel like you can’t ignore it anymore, you can’t put these women who put their whole live into winning gold medals on the back burner anymore.
“Because girls like me who won world titles, nobody cares about us. But now with a whole Olympic sport it’s different,” Ava explained.
Ava couldn’t be happier with the progress women’s boxing has made over the past decade and insists there are no hard feelings towards the women in boxing that are receiving a lot of attention in the public.
“It makes me feel happy. There is no ounce of jealousy in me. I’ve been doing this for so long,” Ava told me. “I’ve been a professional for 11 years and there’s no part of me that wishes it was me.
“O f course I would love to start doing that, getting back in the ring and doing that again. But I’m so excited to see that women are doing it, women are making it, women are making money, they are headlining, they deserve it,” Ava said.
When it comes to Ava’s career, she is looking get active again, though she has had spurts of inactivity throughout her career. In the beginning of her pro career, it was very difficult finding opponents, which led to the inactivity and also sometimes not even being offered prize money to compete. However, when it comes to her recent hiatus she took an opportunity she couldn’t turn down, which actually helped regain her love for the sport.
“The last two years I had an amazing opportunity to travel the world and personally train Joe Jonas,” she said. “I got him ready for this huge photo shoot he had and it was amazing. I would never take that back to go win another title.
“Because everything that goes into boxing is legit, it’s a full time job and you’re taking that job home every day. That personally had to do with my last two years. I was excited to travel the world and doing something else and fall back in love with it now,” Ava said.
Ava moved to Las Vegas four years ago where she met Floyd Mayweather and is now a Mayweather promoted fighter and regularly trains at the Mayweather boxing club. Now that she’s looking to active in the ring again, she mentioned a few rivals in her division that she’s sees as significant fights in the future.
“In the future I would love to see the girls in my weight class step up their game a little more,” Ava told me. “Their kind of grooming their way up, but there a lot of girls in the flyweight division that are coming up.
“There’s Tyrieshia Douglas (13-1, 6 KOs) I think she’s amazing. Out of everybody in that weight class if they haven’t fought each other, they’d have a hard time with her.
“Seniesa Estrada (13-0, 3 KOs) is doing great, she’s just got signed to Golden Boy.
“They (Golden Boy) have Marlen Esparza (5-0, 1 KO) and we have a feud since the last six years talking shit to each other.
“There are a few other girls too and they’re all doing great. They’re all well groomed, amateur careers, they all went to tournaments and probably have close to 100 fights if not more.
“I didn’t have that, so I would love to get in the ring with these girls and show them that’s not what makes you,” Ava said.
By: Kirk Jackson
Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev 31-2-1 (27 KO’s) certainly looked confident after securing victory for the first time since July of 2016, recapturing the WBO light heavyweight championship in the process.
Scoring a 2nd round knock-out over Vyacheslav “Lion heart” Shabranskyy 19-2 (16 KO’s), Kovalev aims to conquer the light heavyweight terrain heading into 2018.
Photo Credit: David Spagnola/Main Events
“I did it and worked very hard to get to champion status. My brain, mentally, my conditioning, my body – I’m back. It’s my goal to be the best in this division. I am here, I love boxing,” said Kovalev in a post-fight interview.
Kovalev is scheduled to return back to the ring in March of 2018, against an opponent yet to be determined and with his biggest obstacle (Andre Ward retirement) no longer in the picture, is the path clear for the Russian “Krusher” to resume reign over the division?
HBO boxing analysts Jim Lampley and Max Kellerman suggest that is the case.
They actually suggested upon conclusion of the fight and during the post-fight interview with Kovalev, that we should forget about the two fights against Ward that previously took place – resulting in defeats for Kovalev.
It’s as though they want to paint a narrative where the viewer is supposed to forget about Kovalev losing and we are to wash that foul taste out of our mouths.
Well for one, reality does not work that way, what’s done is done and history cannot be erased.
However, Kovalev can use these previous experiences and set-backs and learn from those situations.
Redemption can be a wonderful story and adversity plays its part as the antagonist.
Over the course of the past year, Kovalev experienced his share of adversity losing to Ward twice, along with the dysfunction within his training camp including discord between head trainer John David Jackson.
The boxing ring serves as an absolute truth, because it reveals everything about whoever steps in the ring.
It reveals who trained, who properly prepared and poses the question to each combatant who wants it more? During the duration of a fight, the ring also exposes strengths and weaknesses for those who enter.
Defeat brings upon harsh reality as well.
When a fighter experiences defeat, many cases there’s an evaluation of the process; training regimen, coaching, outside distractions/activities, all the aspects of preparation leading up to the fight.
Kovalev’s promoter Kathy Duva, hardcore fans of the “Krusher,” along with Kovalev himself emphasized the notion he was robbed of a decision in the first encounter against Ward and was unfairly stopped against Ward in the rematch – due to poor officiating.
The perspective with each case is subjective, but the results in which is etched in history is a defeat on two occasions for Kovalev.
Something to consider as well, if Kovalev felt so strongly in his mind about the result of each fight with Ward, why undergo vast changes in training camp in preparation for the second fight against Ward and then again for his most recent fight against Shabranskyy?
Obviously he needed to switch things up, improve on his skill-set and changes had to occur. There was a glaring disconnect between trainer and fighter. With Jackson out, Kovalev is now being prepared by Abror Tursunpulatov.
Now that Kovalev is back in the winner’s circle after destroying Shabranskyy and equipped with a world title, questions still remain.
The fight against Shabranskyy was a small sample size and not a true telling tale to see if Kovalev gained improvements to his overall style.
We don’t know how good Shabranskyy is. Regarding high level opposition faced, Shabranskyy fought the likes of light heavyweight contender Sullivan Barrera and was soundly defeated.
For Kovalev, he looked good in there; he was loose, relaxed and displayed a few new wrinkles to his repertoire.
Known for his reliance on his left jab and straight right hand, Kovalev managed to sneak a few left hooks in there and also jabbed effectively to the body.
Kovalev also displayed weapons presented in previous bouts; laser sharp jabs and a blazing counter-right hand which sparked the end for Shabranskyy.
Perhaps the most important element to recovery for Kovalev was the mental aspect and regaining any lost confidence.
Losing to Ward shouldn’t fully damper what Kovalev has accomplished in his career; he was a top pound-for-pound fighter prior to the pair of defeats and can regain that status depending on how he performs moving forward.
Some of the questions regarding Kovalev is can he return to an elite level and for how long? Former foe Bernard Hopkins, believes Kovalev can fight effectively at a high level for a number of years.
“Although he (Kovalev) is certainly not the youngest guy, he is not an old man, he is still dangerous for a lot of opponents.”
“Sergey can box at the highest level for at least four more years and be at the top. Perhaps, it’s possible that he goes to cruiserweight? Who knows?”
Assuming Kovalev is back on an elite level, there’s the question of the fights against Ward and whether they should be viewed as an anomaly, or a true illustration and exposure of Kovalev’s weaknesses.
Can any other fighters in the division capitalize on the perceived weaknesses of Kovalev? The light heavyweight division is certainly loaded with talent.
Adonis Stevenson 29–1 (24 KO’s) is the WBC, Ring Magazine and Lineal champion, Dmitry Bivol 12-0 (10 KO’s) is the WBA champion and Artur Beterbiev 12-0 (12 KO’s) is the WBO champion.
The aforementioned Sullivan Barrera (21-1, 14 KO’s), who has his pick between facing Kovalev or Bivol next for a title, former super middleweight champion Badou Jack 22-1-2 (13 KO’s), Eleider Alvarez 23-0 (11 KO’s), Marcus Browne 20-0 (15 KO’s) and Oleksandr Gvozdyk 14-0 (12 KO’s) occupy the division as well.
The end of 2017 and entering 2018, there is new landscape at light heavyweight and a long list of challenges awaiting Kovalev. Challenges Kovalev aims to embrace.
“I’m a real fighter,” Kovalev said. “I’m not running from the real fighters. In the future, it will be very interesting fights because right now we are just belt-holders. We’ll find out from all of the champions who is the best.”
By: Kirk Jackson
“Don’t call it a comeback, I’ve been here for years,” famous lyrics recited from the Hip-Hop legend LL Cool J from his number-one single Mama Said Knock You Out can certainly apply to a recent scenario featuring the retired/semi-retired Floyd Mayweather.
In recent weeks, the eventual Hall of Famer posted videos to his social media sites featuring short snippets of training.
In the video, Mayweather is rigorously punching the heavy bag and participating in other boxing-fight related activities across other video footage. The question is why? What is his intent? Is he teasing for yet another comeback and if so, against who?
Notorious Mayweather criticizer and HBO boxing analyst Jim Lampley, suggests Mayweather intends to fight Conor McGregor one more time.
“Why else is he putting out videos of him working out?” Lampley said to a TMZ reporter. “He allowed Conor McGregor to ‘win’ three rounds. Why did the whole thing last 10 rounds, etc.? It’s all a setup.”
Lampley of course is referencing when the undefeated former boxing champion Mayweather defeated the current UFC lightweight champion McGregor via TKO in the 10th round Aug. 26 in Las Vegas.
“Why should he retire?” Lampley said. “He created a marvelous scam with this whole thing. He allowed Conor to quote ‘win’ three rounds, so the whole global MMA wish community could have something to latch onto.”
“I think there’s a decent chance, there’s enough suckers out there, Floyd could maybe make another $150 million.”
No matter how the fight played out at the very least, the event was a financial success. Although the official numbers have yet to release, UFC President Dana White has celebrated the fiscal achievements of the circus that was.
“The thing ended up doing 6.7 million pay-per-view buys globally,” said White on The Unnamed Podvideocast. “How about this, we broke the record in Australia, we broke the record in the U.K. at four in the morning. We broke the record in Spain, Canada and the United States.”
It’s estimated the fight generated around $670 million in PPV revenue alone, leaving Mayweather with the lion’s share of the profit, providing Mayweather with incentive to run this lap yet again as Lampley suggested.
For McGregor’s part, he probably wouldn’t mind getting another crack at Mayweather.
For one, he will not receive criticism for losing to Mayweather; even though he back-peddled from the smaller, older, frail, fighter most of the fight.
He’ll continue to make excuses and escape criticism.
Of course there’s also financial incentive. Why return to the Octagon for peanuts (comparatively to boxing) when you can earn when you can earn multiple millions more in the boxing ring against one of the highest all-time grossing athletes across any sport?
As for the fight itself, the proposed rematch between Mayweather and McGregor and the excitement factor for most boxing fans will more than likely be non-existent.
For viewers possessing a greater understanding of boxing semantics, many could see what Mayweather was doing and how the fight was going to turn out. Lampley even mentioned it.
Mayweather toyed with McGregor, intentionally conceded rounds to sell/carry the fight and there isn’t much McGregor could do in a rematch that could change the outcome.
For those latching on to hope a rematch will be different, keep this mind. McGregor is a talented fighter and is exceptional within his realm of fighting.
McGregor is a good athlete and with time and proper training, could potentially develop into a good boxer.
But boxing is not an art mastered over the course of a few months. Boxing takes years to master and Mayweather is one of the grandeurs of the sport.
The initial fight promotion was based on racial propaganda and viewed by many people invested in that drama; the rematch may potentially feature some of the viewers from the same crowd.
If Mayweather isn’t training for a McGregor rematch, who is he training for? Is it current middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin? Or former two-division champion Danny Garcia?
The interview was conducted roughly a year ago and the options mentioned may no longer hold much merit.
Garcia is rumored to face Brandon Rios towards the end of the year and if he emerges victorious who knows what is footing will be in the convoluted welterweight championship picture. Although a bout with Mayweather promptly trumps any other option.
There was a stipulation for Mayweather regarding a bout with Golovkin but due to Andre Ward’s recent retirement, combined with Golovkin performance against former Mayweather adversary Canelo Alvarez, there could be a slim opening for the fighter referred to as “Triple G.”
At the age of 35, Golovkin is slowly but surely transforming into a household name with his last bout reaching nearly one million Pay-per-view buys.
He’s undefeated, a long time champion and regarded by many as a feared knock-out artist; that’s enough of a storyline to sell a potential fight against Mayweather.
There’s also another fighter knocking on Mayweather’s door asking for a fight with the retired champion.
In any fight I’ve never been out boxed. Mayweather khan fight would be a game of chess. Speed movement and accuracy will cause him problems
— Amir Khan (@amirkingkhan) October 23, 2017
Although it’d be hard-pressed to find anyone outside of Amir Khan’s family who wants to see a bout between Khan and Mayweather.
At this point, it’s purely speculation whether Mayweather will return to the ring as a fighter in the
The question remains why post training footage unless there is a plan in motion?
Mayweather may keep us guessing until he’s ready to reveal his move; just as he does to opponents inside the boxing ring.
By Jake Donovan
Chief among the list of goals for Nonito Donaire’s ring return was quickly working his way towards another world title shot.
His first fight back takes a significant step forward in making that happen.
The former four division champion from Northern California by way of Philippines is locked in for a scheduled 12-round battle with Mexico’s Ruben Garcia Hernandez. The two will collide September 23 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas as the chief support to the highly anticipated World Boxing Super Series cruiserweight quarterfinal matchup between knockout artists Yunier Dorticos and Dmitry Kudryashov.
“I’m ready to return to the ring and show that I still have what it takes to be a world champion and face the best in this sport,” said Donaire (37-4, 24KOs), who fights for the first time since a questionable loss to Jesse Magdaleno last November. “I’m excited to give the great fight fans in San Antonio a great show, just like when I fought Wilfredo Vazquez at the Alamodome in 2012.”
Donaire sat out the first eight months of 2017 following a disappointing – and highly disputed points loss to Magdaleno in his last bout, a setback that saw his second tour as a super bantamweight titlist come to a close after just 11 months and one successful title defense.
The 34-year old boxer-puncher claimed titles at flyweight, bantamweight, super bantamweight and featherweight amidst a 30-fight win streak spanning more than 11 years, a run that also included Fighter of the Year honors in 2012. He let his promotional contract with Top Rank expire before resurfacing with Ringstar, with the promise of quickly making his way back to the title picture.
That wasn’t the only reason the California-based promotional outfit signed him, though.
“Nonito Doniare is a fantastic fighter, he’s one of those fighters who is never in a boring fight,” Richard Schaefer, chairman and CEO of Ringstar Promotions explained to BoxingInsider.com. “That is what really attracted me to signing him., but more importantly he is a super nice person and the same with his wife Rachel. It reminded me of Shane Mosley, whose biggest paydays came while we were both with Golden Boy Promotions.
“Funny enough, Rachel and Jin (Mosley, Shane’s ex-wife) are best friends. Nonito became a free agent, and spoke to Jin about where he should sign. Jin said, ’It’s easy, go to Richard.’ Jin and I have known each other for quite a while. I was honest with him in telling him what we needed to do to get hi back to the world championship level.”
First up is coming out on top in a scheduled 12-round bout that comes with the World Boxing Council Silver featherweight title at stake. To boxing purists, it’s just another trinket and an excuse for the alphabet organization to collect a sanctioning fee.
To Donaire it’s a chance to advance to the top of the queue for the WBC title held by Gary Russell Jr., or at least have him as an option among a loaded featherweight field that also includes the likes of Leo Santa Cruz, Abner Mares and Carl Frampton.
For his opponent, it’s the chance of a lifetime to not only land a title shot but also claim the scalp of one of the very best of this past generation of boxers.
“I am grateful for this opportunity and I can’t wait to get in the ring,” said Garcia Hernandez (22-2-1, 9KOs), who has won seven straight since a stoppage loss to former bantamweight titlist Randy Caballero last February. “I know that I am facing a great fighter and that has motivated me to train harder than ever before for this matchup.
“I’m planning on giving it my all and giving the fans a great fight. I hope Donaire comes to fight because I am coming to knock him out on September 23rd.”
Such a scenario would indeed upset the detailed plans Donaire and Ringstar have in place for the next year and possibly beyond.
“Nonito wants to compete at featherweight, not come back just to get in a few fights,” Schaefer outlined to BoxingInsider.com. “His last time at featherweight included a world title but how it ended never sat well with him (an Oct. ’14 knockout loss to Nicholas Walters).
“There are great matchups at this weight. Featherweight is a hot division, and he fits right in. Particularly when you look at Leo Santa Cruz, Carl Frampton, Abner Mares, Gary Russell – mix those up, and you have a Fight of the Year candidate no matter how they are paired.”
The fact that Schaefer has a terrific working relationship with each of the aforementioned boxers made it a no-brainer for Donaire to sign with him.
“I’m thankful to Ringstar Sports for helping me in this next chapter of my career and I know with them in my corner, I’ll be back to where I belong soon,” Donaire believes. After this fight, I’m coming for all of the featherweight champions and to prove I’m the best in the division.”
Tag Team: Cotto To Face Both Kamegai And Father Time On August 26th
By: Sean Crose
It’s been a while, but Miguel Cotto will finally be returning to the ring on August 26th. His opponent will be the exciting Yoshihiro Kamegai in a battle for the WBO world super welterweight title, which Cotto’s last opponent, Canelo Alvarez, vacated in order to easily defeat Julio Caesar Chavez Jr a few weeks back. The bout, which will be held at California’s StubHub Center, will be featured on regular HBO. The fact that the fight won’t be a pay per view event is a refreshing change for fans, since bouts which used to appear regularly on outlets like HBO now seem to cost those fans extra money.
The last time Cotto was in the ring was way back in November of 2015, when he faced Canelo in a major fight that proved to be a rare pay per view success during the time following the Mayweather-Pacquiao bomb earlier that same year. It was a close bout, but Canelo walked away with a decision win. Since that night, names like Tim Bradley, James Kirkland and Juan Manuel Marquez have been attached, in varying degrees, to Cotto’s. The only major event in Cotto’s stalled career, however, has been his break with promotional entity Roc Nation Sports, which had been representing the Puerto Rican star.
Now, though, the man is set to face Kamegai in a bout that some may be calling a dud, but that, in reality, could prove interesting. For, at thirty six years of age, Cotto will not only be coming off a long layoff, but will be running from Father Time, as well. His 40-5 record is impressive, but it’s hard to imagine the man’s best days being ahead of him. His last victory will have been over two years earlier, after all, and that will have been against Daniel Geale, a quality, but certainly not great, opponent.
Still, there are those who see the 27-3-2 Kamegai as something of a tuneup for Cotto before he moves on to bigger and better things, possibly in the fall. The 34 year old Tokyo resident, however, has a shot at glory here. He also has some impressive wins on his resume that are worth considering. Although he may not be the favorite, there may be too many questions in play at the moment to just write the veteran warrior off as a glorified sparring partner for Cotto.
Breaking: Tyson Fury Announces Ring Return
By: Sean Crose
“Breaking news” Tyson Fury tweeted today. “Return of the MAC, may 13th, working on an opponent more news to follow, @frankwarren_tv @btsport @boxnationtv.”
Yes, friends, Tyson Fury is planning on coming back to the sport of boxing after an extended hiatus for personal reasons. After stunning longtime heavyweight honcho Wladimir Klitschko for the heavyweight crown late in 2015, Fury went on a downward spiral where he succumbed to depression and substance abuse. Now Fury has made it clear that he feel he’s ready to come back, only this time he’s entering a fractured, and interesting, heavyweight scene that he himself more or less personally created by besting Klitschko.
“I’m taking on all bums,” Fury also tweeted. “Keep my belts warm guys as they belong to the king who ever got my belts I’m coming for you! Big or small.”
In a controversial time, Fury is almost indicative of the era in which he lives – loud, opinionated, psychologically tactful and frustrating. He’s also a vastly underrated fighter, something Klitschko himself can attest to. The question now, provided Fury is indeed returning, is whether or the man has successfully battled his demons in order to fight effectively.
ESPN, Golden Boy Announce Major Collaboration
By: Sean Crose
Those of us who have been moaning and groaning since the small scale, yet thoroughly terrific, Friday Night Fights has been yanked off the ESPN airwaves now have plenty to smile about. For Golden Boy Promotions has announced a major collaboration with the sports network, one which will bring close to twenty fight cards to the ESPNs channels this year alone. What’s more, Golden Boy has declared that the deal is of the “multi-year” variety, which means the programming will at least extend beyond 2017. For the record, the first card will air March 23d. The participants, however, have yet to be announced.
The ESPN branches which will be airing the fights are ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes, the network’s traditional boxing homes. Furthermore, ESPN and Golden Boy will be showing more than just fight cards.
Things such as a “Classic Fight Library,” half hour boxing-related interviews, an entire thirty minute program about boxing training, and podcasts are also on the roster. To be sure, it’s a full plate, and one which seemingly came out of the blue. After what was, in many ways, a miserable 2016, the New Year is looking much improved for fight fans. Let’s hope things keep moving forward.
Andy Lee Plots His Return
By: Sean Crose
Andy Lee, who was last seen losing his portion of the middleweight title last year, is now apparently rested and eager to return to the ring. This, friends, is good news. Why? Well, for starters, Lee is a good fighter. Sure he’s lost a few times (he’s 34-3-1), but he’s looked quite effective on more than one occasion – and against talented opposition, no less. Just ask Matt Korobov and Peter Quillin. It’s also worth keeping in mind that Lee can knock down a wall with his right hook. Yes, it’s a shot that can deliver, and that means Lee will always be an interesting fighter to watch.
There’s something else worth liking about Lee, however, and that’s the fact that he probably means it when he claims willingness face Gennady Golovkin once he shakes off the rust. To be sure, the man gives no indication that he’ll price himself out, or argue that things need to marinate, or hide behind a managerial entity that can protect him. Lee’s record shows that he’s willing to challenge himself, win, lose or draw. Therefore, no matter what else happens, one might actually be able to believe there’s a top middleweight out there ready to challenge GGG now that Lee’s returning to the ring.
To be sure, Lee could give quite a few fighters out there some real trouble. He lost a close one to Billy Joe Saunders. Who’s to say Lee wouldn’t win a rematch – if Saunders would actually have one? Also, who’s to say Lee wouldn’t give Daniel Jacobs a run? Or Canelo Alvarez, for that matter? Indeed, Lee might well be able to beat each of those men. Could he beat GGG himself? One never knows, though it’s hard to imagine Golovkin falling to the Irishman – though there’s always that right hook to keep in mind.
As it stands, Lee claims to be back in the gym. He reportedly wants a quality opponent for his first fight back, then wants to shoot for the upper echelon of the middleweight division. Needless to say, it will be good to have the man back. He may not be an all time great middleweight, but he’s a pretty damn good one and he’s proven to be willing to – wait for it – take risks. Lee also comes across as a pretty nice guy, which is a good thing to see in boxing, where personalities can sometimes be as nasty as knockout blows.
Brook’s Three-Man Shortlist for his Return
By: Jordan Seward
After Kell Brook’s audacious attempt to take Gennady Golovkin’s middleweight titles ended in a 5th round stoppage and a broken orbital bone, it’s no secret he’ll be out the ring for a while.
Yet, his next opponent is already being heavily speculated and has got people on the edge of their chairs, despite it realistically not taking place until next spring. On taking the fight with Golovkin, Brook’s future seemed destined at a higher weight – the middleweight division or the 154lbs division looked like strong possibilities.
While the future of the current IBF world welterweight champion is unclear, as he recovers from the injuries sustained against ‘GGG’, there’s been a host of big names in various different divisions and some, who, currently aren’t specified to a division being linked as Brook’s next opponent.
Typically, after suffering the kind of injuries Brook did, the next fight is somewhat of an ease you back in, a tune-up fight if you will, before progressing on to greener pastures. But this is Brook. A pure pugilist who showed no fear or hesitation in stepping up two weight divisions and getting in with a guy who’s knocking people out for fun.
In this case, a tune-up fight may not be what Eddie Hearn and Brook opt for, although Dominic Ingle (Brook’s trainer) may wish for one. There’s been a lot of speculation on Brook’s next opponent and let’s take a look at the three-man shortlist drawn up.
1. Amir Khan
Of course, it had to be. The Kell Brook-Amir Khan saga has gone on for well over a year now and we still aren’t any closer to finding out if these two will ever fight each other. It was supposed to be last summer at Wembley but it never materialised – as a keen onlooker I must admit it did seem it wasn’t for the lack of trying by the Brook camp. One minute the star Amir Khan returned and wanted the big names – your Mayweather’s, your Pacquiao’s of this world, not your Brook’s of this world. Khan back then was a big name in his own right but the reality of it was then and still is now, Brook is a world champion, Khan is not. Furthermore, this fight probably has more chance of happening now and that’s because Brook has made a name for himself off the back of a loss, which, ironically happens more than you’d think in boxing. Khan felt he didn’t need Brook back then because he was a bigger name, arguably, the roles have reversed now and Khan’s sudden rise in optimism for this fight could be seen as confirmation of that. It’s either fine fortune or immensely clever promotional tactics because now this fight is bigger than ever. The fight has been backed by Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, in recent weeks and he wants to see the fight take place at Wembley, which, if it did happen would be the first fight at the stadium since George Groves’ rematch against Carl Froch. The confusing part to this fight is the weight issue. Last time out for Khan he fought at a 155lb catch weight whereas Brook fought at the middleweight limit of 160lbs and both fighters’ future weight category is yet to be classified, but this shouldn’t prove too problematic.
There’s no doubt that this would make for an incredible fight but for now Khan is out for the remainder of the year after revealing he has fought with a broken hand for the past 13 years, and Brook is recovering from his eye surgery.
Hopefully we will see this happen one day and not allow the rivalry and potential of this fight to rot and stale like Mayweather and Pacquiao’s – so sometime next year please.
2. Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez
The highly rated Mexican and current WBO super-welterweight champion is a name being heavily linked with Brook. The forever ongoing speculation of a fight between Canelo and Golovkin seems to be more of a fantasy than a reality and maybe it’s time to resign to the fact this one may just not happen. Golovkin looks set to fight the WBA world middleweight champion Daniel Jacobs next. Which means the active Canelo will need an opponent too. Eddie Hearn has already confirmed that HBO are interested in a potential fight between Canelo and Brook for next May. With a clear desire and off the back of Golovkin’s post-fight chat the Brit is most likely to occupy in the 154lb division as opposed to hang around at middleweight, which is also the division Canelo seems comfortable at and unwilling to change. Canelo has already defeated two Brit’s this year and it’s becoming a bit of a regular theme so there’s every chance that when Brook return’s to the ring these two could well go to war, which I’m sure we’d all like to see. Canelo is aggressive and likes to come on to the front foot and fight on the inside while Brook boxes very well off the back foot as he displayed against Shawn Porter when he won the IBF world welterweight title in California two years ago. I think although Brook would technically be stepping down a weight, it’s still a higher weight than he’s used to and like Golovkin, Canelo punches with a force much mightier than your typical super-welterweight. Nevertheless, I would argue Brook has the skills to give Canelo a much tougher fight than Liam Smith did and going off that fight, HBO would be well within their rights to make this a PPV fight, which in all honesty I think it would be.
3. Miguel Cotto
The popular Puerto Rican may well make his highly anticipated return to the ring against Brook which would certainly be a main event fight. Cotto hasn’t fought since he lost his WBC world middleweight title by unanimous decision to Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez last November and now, at 35-years-old, I can’t help but wonder what he has left in the tank. The four weight world champion has had a glittering career but with a year of inactivity I would have to assume if this fight was to take place sometime next year, he’d probably fall short of his otherwise classy and usual standards.
Despite this, Cotto is still a huge name in boxing and Eddie Hearn has been very vocal and optimistic with this one. Hearn has made it no secret that Cotto is definitely part of his plans for Brook’s return to the ring next year.
Undoubtedly, Cotto is still capable of mixing it with the best but I would fancy Brook in this fight, presuming he fully recovers from the eye injury. Brook’s height and reach advantage, along with his speed, would allow him to use the boxing skills he has in his arsenal and take home a points decision. However, it’s Cotto, he is a classy fighter and with 33KO’s in 40 wins that Puerto Rican fire would well still be burning and if so that could be bad news for ‘The Special One’. That’s what makes this fight an interesting one, it could go either way for different reasons.
Eddie Hearn has repeatedly stated that Brook is not keen on vacating his IBF world title belt unless there’s big fights for him in other weight divisions. Even if, as surprising and unlikely as it may be, Brook does decide to stay in the welterweight division, his mandatory challenger Errol Spence Jr is also an interesting fight that has the potential to heat up. There’s so many options and big fights out there for the Sheffield fighter and I for one cannot wait for his return to the ring and watch how all of this unfolds.
Speculation Swirls With Announcement Of Manny Pacquiao Return
By: Sean Crose
“Don’t call it a comeback!” rapper LL Cool J hollered on his album “Momma Said Knock You Out.” The same statement could well apply to Manny Pacquiao now that he’s announced his “return” after what amounts to a couple of weeks’ worth of retirement. He simply hasn’t been away long enough to be retired. The guy only fights twice a year, for Pete’s sake, and his last bout was in the spring. Still, the Filipino Senator is once again the talk of the fight game with a return scheduled for this October.
Word was out that Manny might indeed face the colorful Adrien Broner. That may not have made for a top tier matchup, but it would have been interesting and would also have probably earned some serious pay per view coin. It may also have pleased fight guru Al Haymon to have what must be the biggest headache in his stable engage in a huge fight that would prove lucrative, win, lose or draw. Sadly, however, Pacquiao-Broner seems as if it’s simply not meant to be. For Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum claims that Broner simply asked for too much money (Broner is very much a contemporary fighter, after all).
Who else is out there for Pacquiao, though? Sure, there’s plenty of guys, but which ones are pay per view worthy? Jesse Vargas is being mentioned, but I can’t see that fight bringing in the numbers Pacquiao’s last fight with Tim Bradley…did and that bout was said to be a financial disappointment. Vargas simply isn’t a big enough name. Haymon fighters Shawn Porter, Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia would all prove interesting, but it’s worth wondering whether Haymon would want to send out his top welterweights to face a man who fights for another promoter and who might well beat them.
Terrence Crawford fights in the same camp as Pacquiao does, but he’s up against the extremely talented Viktor Postol this summer. Sure, Crawford may win the fight, but he may also lose. Indeed, Crawford-Postol is a very close matchup to call right now. Besides, if Crawford wins, he might need some more time to prepare for what would undoubtedly be the match of his life. As for Postol, well, he’s not really well known. Sure, he could fight Manny if he beats Crawford, but would a match pitting Pacquiao against the lanky European be something fans would clamor for?
The name of Floyd Mayweather will undoubtedly come up at some point, but I really don’t think fans would be crazy about that one. Many say a Manny-Floyd rematch would be huge if it did half the numbers of the first fight. Fine…but I wonder if it would actually do that much. Likewise, rematches with Miguel Cotto and Juan Manuel Marquez may also have a “been there, done that” feel to them. Who, then, will the Filipino icon end up facing this fall? You can be sure it will be someone.
You can also be sure you’ll have to pay to watch it.
Chavez Jr Reportedly Ready To Enter The Ring Again
By: Sean Crose
I know I’m alone in saying this, but I feel a bit sorry for Julio Caesar Chavez Jr. He just seems to me to be one of those young people who needs direction and a sense of purpose. Just because he’s rich doesn’t mean he’s happy. Rich people hurt too, of course. With that in mind, there’s no excuse for Junior’s behavior as a pro fighter. Whether it’s not taking training seriously, showing up to weigh ins overweight or just basically not putting in the kind of effort he should, the man has proven to be his own worst enemies in a lot of ways.
Still, I want to see the guy do well. Unless you’re talking a criminal, terrorist, dictator, war criminal, or some combination of those things I generally wish people happiness and success…so long as that success is earned. Junior is said to be back to focusing on boxing…let’s see if he earns himself some accolades this time around. I know, I know, we’ve been down this road before. I understand that. Sure enough, I can’t fault those fans who roll their collective eyes at the prospect of yet another chapter in the Junior saga. They’ve just seen this movie too many times.
Give this to junior, though – he knows the answer to the question: What’s in a name? For a whole lot of money and interest is in a name if it’s Chavez and you’re a boxer. Indeed, anyone else in the man’s position right now would be all but forgotten. Not Junior. It’s simply hard to argue the guy hasn’t coasted on his father’s coat tails – or at least been afforded lots of opportunities because of them. Yet it’s not like Junior’s intending to go up against any top names at the moment – so there’s that.
Indeed, the names of J’eon Love and Gabriel Rosado have been making the rounds as possible opponents for Junior. Name fighters to be sure, but not big names at this point in their respective careers. Upon consideration, a fight between Junior and either of those two opponents wouldn’t appear to be a waste of anyone’s time. At least not on paper. Junior is back with Freddie Roach, which may indicate the fighter is – wait for it – serious this time around. Let’s hope so. Age catches up with all of us, even those who don’t want to grow up. The clock is always ticking.