Freddie Roach Sizes Up Shakur Stevenson
By: Hans Themistode
Hall of fame trainer Freddie Roach understands what it means to be involved in a big fight. Come Saturday night at Madison Square Garden, Freddie Roach trained fighter, Christopher Diaz (24-1, 16 KOs) will have a stiff test ahead of him. Diaz will take on highly touted and currently undefeated olympic silver medalist Shakur Stevenson (10-0, 6 KOs). It’s a contest that came as a bit of a surprise to the public. With just ten under his belt many feel as though Stevenson’s fight against Diaz is coming much too soon in his career. Count Roach as one of those that feels Stevenson might be biting off a bit more than he can chew.
“He’s a good fighter but he’s still pretty young. Only time will tell if this fight is a bit too early for him but I think so.”
Diaz has just one lone blemish on his record, a 2018 loss against Masayuki Ito for the vacant WBO Super Featherweight title. It was a fight that saw Diaz perform extremely well but he ultimately came up short.
Seldom do you see a young prospect take on such a tough challenge so early in their career. Roach believes in the young prospect from Newark, but how exactly does he feel he stacks up in comparison to young fighters such as Devin Haney and Teofimo Lopez?
“I wouldn’t put him in that category but he is 10-0 so he is doing really well, but no I don’t place him in that same category as those other guys.”
The question begs to be asked. Was Roach serious, or is this just a bit of gamesmanship? Stevenson will have the opportunity to prove Roach wrong come fight night. During Stevenson’s portion of his media day workout, he was asked why he wanted this tough assignment.
“I’m just trying to be great.”
If Stevenson wants to be great then he will have his shot on Saturday night. Diaz is the sort of test that will tell us all whether or not Stevenson has what it takes to be the future star that many have pegged him to be.
Lamont Roach: “I Will Be One Of The Better Champions”
By: Sean Crose
“This week is definitely the last week of hard work,” rising superfeatherweight Lamont Roach tells me over the phone. We’re only ten days away from his fight against 15-1-1 Alberto Mercado at Madison Square Garden, but the 17-0-1 Roach seems easygoing and confident. The Mercado fight, which will appear as part of the Canelo Alvarez – Rocky Fielding DAZN card, is for the WBO International Super Featherweight Title. In other words, it’s another stepping stone on the Washington DC native’s rise to the top. “Training’s going good,” he says, adding that “it feels great” to be back at Madison Square Garden, one of the top places on earth for a boxer to build a reputation.
Photo Credit: Lamont Roach Twitter Account
Roach admits that the time may come where he may have to leave home base to train for his bouts. At the moment, however, he and his team are comfortable doing their prep work in familiar territory. “Training camp was home in D.C.,” he says. “We didn’t have too many distractions.” The more a fighter rises, however, the more his every move can be visible to the public at large…and Roach is already earning a solid fan base for himself. There’s “two private buses, fifty-five seaters,” filled with Roach fans heading to New York for the Mercado fight, after all. Plus, Roach adds there’s “a lot of family” that will be going to New York on their own to watch the battle.
Part of the appeal of Roach is his winning personality, though he admits that it hasn’t been difficult to charm the boxing public to date. “I haven’t gotten my feathers ruffled yet,” he admits. Such things, however, may eventually come with the territory occupied by a fighter on the way up. Golden Boy Promotions, which promotes Roach, is quite aware of the pitfalls of rising fame, yet obviously feels Roach is up to the challenge. “I appreciate everything that Golden Boy has done for me,” Roach says. “I reward them by working (hard).”
Mercado will be the second southpaw in a row that Roach has faced. Roach feels confident facing another lefty. “It’s becoming kind of natural,” he says of the ability to successfully engage with southpaws. “Whatever they throw in front of us, we’re ready.” Roach realizes that, should he win on the 15th, the road to bigger things will be wide open. “Right now,” says Roach, “we’re focused on the 15th.” Roach is aware, however, of exactly where he stands and where he wants to be. “We’re ranked number five by the WBO,” he says. The man is looking forward to a shot at a championship.
“I’ll be one of the better champions,” he says, adding that, unlike some, he’ll be sure to “be active,” after he reaches the top of his division.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Garcia, Porter, Beltran, Pedraza, Taylor, Roach, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of July 17th to July 24th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Photo Credit: Miguel Rocha/Melissa Cervera/Luzairem Torres
Garcia and Porter Set to Battle for Vacant Welterweight Title
Welterweight stars and former 147-pound titleholders Danny “Swift” Garcia and “Showtime” Shawn Porter will square off for the vacant WBC Welterweight World Championship live on SHOWTIME Saturday, September 8 in a Premier Boxing Champions event from Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING™.
The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® main event (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) will pit two of the division’s biggest names against each other, as the former unified 140-pound champion and former WBC welterweight titleholder Garcia meets the hard-charging fan favorite and former welterweight champion Porter. The consensus top-5 ranked welterweights face off for the WBC belt vacated by Keith Thurman as he rehabs from an elbow surgery.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions and DiBella Entertainment, in association with DSG Promotions, start at $50 and go on sale Thursday, July 26 at 10 a.m. Tickets can be purchased at ticketmaster.com, barclayscenter.com, or by calling 800-745-3000. Tickets can also be purchased at the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center starting Friday, July 27 at noon. Group discounts are available by calling 844-BKLYN-GP.
“I’m excited and motivated to go in there and recapture what’s mine,” said Garcia. “The WBC title belongs to me. Come September 8, I’m going to prove that I’m the best fighter in the world. My loss is behind me and it’s given me a chip on my shoulder to run that extra mile and train even harder. I know that Shawn Porter is not on my level. I’m coming to fight him in the middle of the ring and I’m going to beat him at his game.”
“I’m going to force Danny Garcia to fight me, to be uncomfortable and to do things he’s not used to doing in a fight,” said Porter. “If Danny comes in being defensive and trying to hold, it may last a while. But if he comes and tries to trade with me and prove something to himself, then it will end fast. I think my style will give him problems and not allow him to pace himself. This is going to be an instant classic and I’m going to win and become champion once again.”
Garcia (34-1, 20 KOs) has fought and defeated many of the most formidable opponents at 140 and 147-pounds spanning two generations-Erik Morales, Zab Judah, Kendall Holt, Amir Khan, Lucas Matthysse, Paulie Malignaggi and Lamont Peterson among them. Five of his six opponents in the welterweight division were world champions and 11 of his last 15 opponents were world champions or former world champions.
Representing the fighting city of Philadelphia, Garcia has made Brooklyn another home base, drawing big crowds in six fights since the arena opened in 2012 including his triumphs over Morales, Judah, Peterson and Malignaggi and a narrow decision loss to Keith Thurman in a blockbuster world title unification that aired on CBS. The 30-year-old put himself into position to earn back his WBC belt with a highlight-reel knockout of Brandon Rios in a title eliminator February on SHOWTIME.
Porter (28-2-1, 17 KOs) owns victories over four-division champion Adrien Broner and two-division champion Paulie Malignaggi over a career that has seen him develop a reputation as one of the sport’s most reliable all-action attractions. He lost a narrow decision to unified welterweight champion Keith Thurman in a 2016 Fight of the Year candidate in Brooklyn but rebounded with two victories last year at Barclays Center. He scored a TKO victory against former welterweight champion Andre Berto in a welterweight title eliminator and followed it up with a 12-round decision over Adrian Granados.
The 30-year-old Porter, who was born in Akron, Ohio and now lives in Las Vegas, will fight at Barclays Center for the fifth time on September 8, including his title-winning performance against Devon Alexander that earned him the IBF title in 2013.
“Danny Garcia vs. Shawn Porter will be an action-packed, can’t-miss brawl,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. “This hugely important matchup is between two of the best welterweights in the world and pressure fighters with pleasing styles. Both Garcia and Porter have shined in memorable battles at Barclays Center and September 8 will be a tremendous night for boxing.”
“Danny Garcia against Shawn Porter in a welterweight title fight is a throwback to the era when you had Thomas Hearns battling Roberto Duran,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “Their styles are tailor-made to create action in the ring. Porter comes forward and throws punches in bunches and Garcia doesn’t back up for anyone. This one will be decided in the center of the ring like all the great welterweight championship matches.”
“In 2018 SHOWTIME has delivered the biggest and most meaningful matchups in boxing, and Garcia vs. Porter is no exception,” said Stephen Espinoza, President, Sports & Event Programming, Showtime Networks Inc. “This will be our sixth fight this year featuring consensus top-10 welterweights, an unrivaled offering of elite fighters in boxing’s glamour division. Danny and Shawn have fought a combined 20 times on SHOWTIME and, along the way, have earned reputations as fighters who never back down from a challenge. I know they are both eager to earn another world title and send a statement to the other champions in the welterweight division.”
“I am pleased to welcome both Danny and Shawn back to Barclays Center,” said Brett Yormark, CEO of BSE Global. “Both fighters have established a great following in Brooklyn, and September will be their biggest moment yet at Barclays Center. We are the number one venue for boxing, and are proud to host another world-class fight.”
Beltran-Pedraza and Dogboe-Otake Headline ESPN World Championship Doubleheader
Ray Beltran and Isaac “Royal Storm” Dogboe will head to the desert on Aug. 25 for their first title defenses.
In the main event at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona, Beltran, who resides in nearby Phoenix, will defend the WBO lightweight title against Jose “Sniper” Pedraza, a former junior lightweight world champion looking to bring another world title home to Puerto Rico. And, in the all-action co-feature, Dogboe will defend the WBO junior featherweight title against Hidenori Otake.
Beltran-Pedraza and Dogboe-Otake will air live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes at 10:30 p.m. ET, with undercard action streaming live beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET. on ESPN+ — the recently-launched multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer & International segment in conjunction with ESPN.
Tickets to this world championship doubleheader, priced at $125, $75, $50, and $25, not including applicable fees, go on sale Thursday, July 26 at 10 a.m PST. Tickets can be purchased at the Gila River Arena Box Office, by phone at 800.745.3000, or online at www.gilariverarena.com.
“I’m living the dream. It feels great to be a world champion. I am very motivated to defend my title, and it’s very special to me because I’m fighting in my adopted home,” Beltran said. “Pedraza is a very skillful fighter and is going to bring his best to take the belt from us, but I’m not just fighting for the belt, I’m also fighting to keep it in Phoenix and my birthplace of Los Mochis, Mexico. This belt represents my family’s future, and it’s going nowhere.”
“This is a great opportunity and a great challenge. Beltran is a veteran and is finally a world champion after trying for so long,” Pedraza said. “I think for that reason it’s going to be a great fight because he will not want to lose the title. I’m 100 percent prepared for war.”
“I’m making my first defense against Otake, a Japanese warrior. It’s going to be fireworks,” Dogboe said. “I’m not stepping back. We’re on a quest to make this division exciting and great again. We’re shaking up the division. Isaac ‘Royal Storm’ Dogboe, you all know I bring lightning and thunder!”
“I would like to express my appreciation to everyone who made this fight possible.
I am truly grateful for this opportunity,” Otake said. “In capturing the world title for my first time on Aug. 25, I’d like to show everyone that age does not matter. Since comments can reveal strategy, I can’t say anymore.”
Beltran (35-7-1, 21 KOs) is a story of perseverance who finally broke through as a world champion five month shy of his 36th birthday. In his last bout, an ESPN-televised contest against Paulus Moses on Feb. 16 in Reno, Nevada, Beltran dug deep to win the vacant WBO lightweight title by unanimous decision. The scores — 117-111, 117-111 and 116-112 — did not reflect the back-and-forth nature of the bout. Once Manny Pacquiao’s chief sparring partner, Beltran had three previous cracks at a world title, most notably a 2013 draw against Ricky Burns that most ringside observers felt should have been a clear Beltran victory. The following year, he lost a wide unanimous decision to pound-for-pound elite Terence Crawford, who had beaten Burns to win the WBO lightweight crown. Beltran, a Phoenix resident who is originally from Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico, will be fighting in his adopted home state for the first time since 2005.
Pedraza (24-1, 12 KOs), from Cidra, Puerto, is on a mission to become a two-weight world champion. A former IBF junior lightweight world champion who made two successful defenses of his title, he lost his belt via seventh-round TKO to Gervonta Davis in January 2017. Following a 14-month layoff, he moved up to the lightweight division and signed a promotional contract with Top Rank. Pedraza is 2-0 as a lightweight in 2018, winning an eight-round unanimous decision against Jose Luis Rodriguez on March 17 and a 10-round unanimous decision against Antonio Moran on June 9 as the co-feature to the Terence Crawford-Jeff Horn welterweight title bout in Las Vegas.
Dogboe (19-0, 13 KOs) established himself as one of boxing’s best young champions in 2018 with a pair of signature victories. He knocked out Cesar Juarez in the fifth round on Jan. 6 in his hometown of Accra, Ghana, to win the interim WBO junior featherweight title. On April 28 in Philadelphia, Dogboe won the title in dramatic fashion, surviving a first-round knockdown to stop Jessie Magdaleno in the 11th round in a Fight of the Year contender. A 2012 Olympian, Dogboe had a rapid rise through the pro ranks, winning the WBO Oriental and WBO Africa featherweight titles en route to junior featherweight title contention. Boxing is in the Dogboe lineage as his father/trainer, Paul Dogboe, once served as a boxing coach and a physical instructor in the British Army.
Otake (31-2-3, 14 KOs), from Tokyo, has been a professional for more than 12 years and is riding a nine-bout winning streak dating back to Nov. 22, 2014. On that day, he challenged Scott Quigg for the WBA super bantamweight title, dropping a unanimous decision. He won the vacant Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation (OPBF) title on March 17, 2017 with a unanimous decision against Jelbirt Gomera. Otake defended the OBPF title three times, most recently scoring a 10th-round TKO over Brian Lobetania in Tokyo on March 13.
Peter Taylor, Homeless and Jobless
The man who helped steer Ireland to its only Olympic gold medal in all sports this century is homeless and jobless, according to an interview in the Irish Independent.
Pete Taylor, father of 2012 Olympic champion and current IBF/WBA titlist Katie Taylor who defends her belts against Texas-born Kimberly Connor in London on Saturday, almost died in an attack at the Bray boxing club in Wicklow, Ireland last month.
A motive has yet to be established for the June 5 shooting in which Bobby Messett died after being shot in the head and Ian Britton sustained leg wounds.
Taylor was shot in the arm and the bullet exited through his chest.
He admitted that he thought he was dying. The gym has since been closed and the Gardai (Irish cops) are investigating the attack.
Taylor guided his daughter to 18 – 1 Olympic, 5 World, 5 European, 6 European Union and 1 European Games – gold medals in the Elite amateur ranks.
The Bray orthodox was ranked No. 1 in the World by AIBA for an unprecedented ten straight years between 2006 and 2016.
The father/daughter (boxing) relationship ended 2015 after Taylor’s marriage broke down. Taylor junior turned professional after a disappointing Rio 2016 for her and Irish boxing.
The so-called greatest Irish boxing team to compete at an Olympiad didn’t win any medals four years after claiming gold, silver and two bronze, courtesy of Taylor, John Joe Nevin, Michael Conlan and Paddy Barnes, at London 2012.
Taylor senior understands why people are apprehensive in his company.
“People are afraid,” he told Vincent Hogan of the Irish Independent. “You’re like a bad disease to everybody. But they’re afraid because of what they’re reading and the slant being put on it. And what nobody’s saying is I only got shot because I ran at the gunman. The guard will tell you.
“I was plugging in my phone for the music to start the training session. And that’s when I heard bang, bang, bang… I had my back to everything and my first thought was it’s one of my air compressors backfiring. That was the kind of noise it was making.
“I actually turned around half in irritation to tell one of the lads to turn off the air compressor. And that’s when I saw the gunman at the door, just shooting randomly. In that first split-second, I thought it was a joke then, suddenly, I saw the fear on everybody’s faces.
You can read the full interview on below link.
Lamont Roach Wins by 6th Round TKO Over Deivi Julio Bassa
Lamont Roach, Jr. (17-0-1, 7 KOs) of Washington, D.C. delivered a spectacular sixth-round technical knockout victory over Deivis Julio.
Bassa (20-5, 12 KOs) of Monteria, Colombia to capture the vacant WBO International Super Featherweight Championship in the scheduled 10-round main event of the July 20 edition of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN at the Oasis Arena in Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico. Roach Jr. showed a more aggressive side of himself, dropping Bassa with a right hand at the end of the third round and punishing him until Bassa’s corner called a halt to the fight at the end of the sixth round.
“My mentality was to make a statement and to show that I belong at the top super featherweight division,” said Lamont Roach Jr. “Anybody that’s in my way is in trouble. There were no difficulties in him being a southpaw because we were coming off fighting a lefty in Orlando Cruz and we were preparing for the rematch. We also got great sparring against left-handed fighters, including Mike Reed. The WBO Super Featherweight Title will be on the line next week, so I’ll be taking a close look at that fight to see who wins.”
In the co-main event, Juan Sanchez (24-6-1, 11 KOs) of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico scored an eight-round unanimous decision win against Florentino Perez (11-4-1, 7 KOs) of Monterrey, Mexico in a featherweight battle. Sanchez won with scores of 76-75, 77-74, and 78-73.
Alexis Bastar (11-1-1, 5 KOs) of Cancun, Mexico defeated Rigoberto Nava (3-3-4) of Mexico City, Mexico in first televised bout. Bastar won with three scores of 57-56.
Roach, Jr. vs. Bassa was a 10-round fight for the vacant WBO International Super Featherweight Title presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Cancun Boxing. The event is sponsored by Tecate, “THE OFFICIAL BEER OF BOXING” and Hennessy, “Never Stop, Never Settle.” The fights took place on Friday, July 20, 2018 at Oasis Arena in Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico.
Christopher Diaz Hopes to Become Puerto Rico’s Next World Champion
Undefeated Puerto Rican contender Christopher “Pitufo” Diaz exudes confidence just days away from his first world title opportunity. He is a student of Puerto Rico’s rich boxing lineage, and he will do whatever it takes to fulfill his dream of adding his name to the long list of world champions from the ‘Island of Enchantment.’
Diaz will fight Japanese veteran Masayuki Ito for the vacant World Boxing Organization (WBO) junior lightweight title on July 28 at the Kissimmee Civic Center.
“It’s time to show the world what I’m made of. Being able to fight for a world title is the dream of every boxer,” Diaz said. “I am prepared for my first chance to win a world title because I’ve been through many years of sacrifices, and I have waited all my life for this moment. Now the moment is here. I’m hungry and focused. On July 28, Puerto Rico will have a new world champion.”
Diaz (23-0, 15 KOs), from Barranquitas, Puerto Rico, is entering his first world title match riding a four-bout knockout streak. The WBO’s No. 1 junior lightweight contender, Diaz won the vacant NABO junior lightweight title last December with a third-round knockout of Bryant Cruz, knocking Cruz down five times en route to the stoppage. In his last bout, March 17 on the Jose Ramirez-Amir Imam undercard at The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, Diaz defeated Braulio Rodriguez via fourth-round TKO to earn the shot at the world title. For Diaz, this world title opportunity is a beacon of hope, as his home and most of his possessions were destroyed when Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico last year.
“I have a tough fight against Masayuki Ito, but I am very focused. I know I have all of Puerto Rico in my corner,” Diaz said. “Without the support of my people, none of this would be possible. Thank you for always supporting me and sending me positive vibes. On July 28, my mission will be to bring the world title to the island.”
Ito (23-1-1, 12 KOs), from Tokyo, is the WBO’s No. 2 junior lightweight contender. He has won seven consecutive bouts since the lone defeat of his career, a 10-round majority decision to then-undefeated Rikki Naito in February 2015. Ito, who has fought all of his professional bouts in Japan, has won four of his past five bouts via knockout, including a ninth-round stoppage of Lorenzo Villanueva in April of last year. In his last bout, on March 3 at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Ito stopped Vergil Puton in the ninth round.
Diaz-Ito will stream live and exclusively in the United States at 9:30 ET on ESPN+ — the recently-launched multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer & International segment in conjunction with ESPN. Undercard bouts will stream live on ESPN+ beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET. ESPN+ is available to all fans on the ESPN App and ESPN.com.
Lamont Roach, Jr. Remains Undefeated in Cancun
By: Ken Hissner
Oscar de La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions on ESPN hosted Upper Marlboro, MD, WBC Youth Silver Super Featherweight champ Lamont Roach. Roach held on to his undefeated status and gained his second title the vacant WBO International title.
Super Featherweight Lamont Roach, Jr., 17-0-1 (7), from Washington, DC took on southpaw Deivi Julio “El Cabo” Bassa, 20-5 (12), of Monteira, COL, for the vacant WBO International Super Featherweight title. The bout was scheduled for 10 rounds.
Photo Credit: Miguel Rocha/Melissa Cervera/Luzairem Torres
In the opening round, it was all Roach. He used his jab to offset Bassa. As the ten second to go in the round sounded from the timekeeper Roach landed his best punch of the round a right to the chin of Bassa. In the second round, Roach continued boxing well but got hit by a left to the mid-section by Bassa. Roach came back with a right to the head of Bassa spinning him halfway around.
In the third round, Bassa landed a lead uppercut to the mid-section of Roach. A lead right followed by a glancing left to the head was followed by a right from Roach dropping Bassa. Roach jumped on Bassa who tried fighting back at the bell. In the fourth round, it was all Roach once again. At the end of the round, Roach had Bassa holding on at the bell. Bassa hardly landed a punch in the round.
In the fifth round, Roach continued pressing Bassa landing a big right to the head of Bassa. Roach has been looking for a knockout since the knockdown in the third round. Roach landed a hard right to the ribs of Bassa halfway through the round. Roach landed a left hook to the liver making Bassa’s legs wobble. In the sixth round, Bassa landed a low right giving Roach a little time to re-coup. Bassa slipped onto his butt and looked exhausted after getting up with seconds to go in the round. Bassa’s corner didn’t allow him to come out for the seventh. Roach won every round.
In a re-match Super Bantamweight southpaw Alexis Bastar, 11-1-1 (5), of Quintana Roo, Cancun, MEX, edged out Rigoberto Nava, 3-3-4 (0), of Mexico City, MEX, over 6 non-stop fighting rounds.
In the first round both boxers slugged it out non-stop inside from the opening bell with little to choose between the two of them. In the second round the slugfest continued. Bastar landed a right hook behind the head that stunned Nava. He was warned but the damage was already done.
In the third round Bastar landed a combination that rattled the head of Nava. Midway through the round Nava started going to the body of Bastar. It was a good round for Bastar. In the fourth round the referee took a point from Bastar who had been on the receiving end of low blows without warning.
In the fifth round Bastar took command obviously being upset from losing a point in the previous round. He had control until the final seconds of the round when Nava opened up. In the sixth and final round with the fight up for grabs both fighters gave it their all. Bastar rocked Nava with a left uppercut to the chin with a minute left in the round. There couldn’t have been a total of a dozen jabs in the entire fight. The referee was Jose Pacheco.
Scores were 57-56 by all three judges and this writer.
In the co-feature the former IBF Super Flyweight champion now a Featherweight southpaw Juan Carlos “Zurdito” Sanchez, Jr., 24-6-1 (11), of Sinaloa, MEX, defeated Florentino ”Violento” Perez, 11-4-1 (7), of Monterrey, MEX, over 8 rounds.
In the first round the more experienced and taller former champion Sanchez had his way pressing Perez. Perez hardly landed a punch. In the second round Hernandez rocked Sanchez with a counter right. Perez threw a right that wrapped around the head of Sanchez and a clash of heads Perez caused Sanchez to go down. The referee Florentino Lopez Cruz called it a knockdown. Both fighters exchanged uppercuts to the chin of one another just prior at the bell.
In the third round Sanchez came fighting back but not with taking several rights to the head. It was Sanchez taking the round at the end. In the fourth round Sanchez continued to have control with quite a bit of body shots from both fighters.
In the fifth round Sanchez continued working the body of Perez. Sanchez landed numerous right hooks to the head of Perez in the second half of the round. In the seventh round Sanchez continued to get the best of Perez but took several lead rights to the head. In the eighth and final round at the halfway point a right hook from Sanchez rocked the durable Perez. In the final minute, Perez had his mouth open gasping for air.
The scores were 76-75, 77-74 and 78-73 as did this writer.
Lamont Roach, Jr. Looks to Extend Unbeaten Streak Friday on ESPN
By: Ken Hissner
Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions is featuring Lamont Roach who not only intends on extending his unbeaten streak to eighteen but to pick up the vacant WBO International Super Featherweight title Friday on ESPN.
Roach, 16-0-1 (6), of Upper Marlboro, MD, is coming off a draw with Orlando Cruz, 25-6-1, in April in Puerto Rico. He will be taking on southpaw Deivi Julio “El Cabo” Bassa, 20-4 (12), of Monteira, Colombia, for the title in a 10 rounder.
Photo Credit: Lamont Roach Jr. Twitter Account
The event will be held at the Grand Oasis Arena, Quintana Roo, Cancun, Mexico. Roach had quite an amateur career with over 100 fights. In 2013 he was the National Golden Gloves and the U.S. National champion. He was a 5-time Ringside World Champion. He is trained by his father, Lamont, Sr. and is attending the University of Maryland, pursing a degree in Mechanical Engineering.
Bassa won his first seventeen fights with ten by knockout all in Colombia. Then a losing trip to Japan to Kenji Ogawa, 15-1, who in December fought for the IBF world title. In Bassa’s last fight he scored a knockout win in February in his country of Colombia.
Bassa’s biggest wins were over Franklin Varela, 21-9, in 2013 and Edison Valencia Diaz, 21-12, in 2015, both in Colombia. In 2017 against Neslan Machado, 11-0, it ended in a NC, in making his US debut in Miami, FL.
In the co-feature Junior Featherweight southpaw Alexis Bastar, 10-1-1 (8), of Qunitana Roo, Cancun, MEX, is coming off a win in April. He takes on Rigoberto Nava, 3-2-4 (0), of Mexico City, MEX, who has four draws in his last five fights. This is including a majority decision draw with Bastar in November of 2017.
2012 London Olympics Bronze Medalist and 2014 World Amateur Gold Medalist Flyweight Marlen Esparza, 5-0 (1), of Houston, TX, takes on Debora “La Pantera” Rengifo, 10-5-1 (5), of Caracas, VZ, a two-time world title challenger, over 8×2 rounds.
Middleweight Manuel “El Meno” Gallegos, 11-0 (10), of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, MEX, meets tba over 6 rounds. He is on a three fight knockout streak having last fought in March with all eleven of his fights being in Mexico.
Pacquiao Returns (Without Roach) To Face Matthysse
By: Sean Crose
They were the hottest team in all of boxing. The Filipino legend, and the former pro from working class Massachusetts. The ailing mentor and his explosive protege. Yes, Manny Pacquiao and Freddie Roach made for quite the duo for a very long period of time. Determined to make it in the sport of boxing, Pacquiao traveled across the Pacific Ocean to the United States, where Roach found an oversize diamond in the rough. The rest, as they say, is history. Countless titles. Countless wars. Explosive finishes. And money, tons and tons of money. Now, though, the relationship between the aging great, Pacquiao, and his longtime trainer, Roach, is over – at least temporarily.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Twitter Account
This weekend, those who are willing to pay money for the pleasure of ESPNs streaming service, ESPN+, will be able to watch Pacquiao face off against fellow aging fighter Lucas Matthysse of Argentina. As Yahoo’s Kevin Iole puts it, the bout will “likely will be seen by far fewer than 100,000 viewers in the U.S. ESPN has no places to release subscriber numbers for ESPN+, or viewership of any particular event.” The fight, which is going down in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, was supposed to be on pay per view, but money problems prevented that from happening. No doubt the ratings would be huge if Pacquiao and Matthysse battled on regular ESPN, but the days of such things may be over. After making a celebrated agreement to showcase boxing on regular cable, promoter Bob Arum and ESPN have apparently decided fans are going to pay to see the big names once again (the impressive, and it is impressive, ESPN+ only runs about five bucks a month – for now).
Times have indeed changed. This might be most clearly evident in the absence of Roach from this event. It will be strange not seeing the man in Pacquiao’s corner, offering advice to his prized fighter while refusing to let Parkinson’s disease keep him from plying his own trade. Rather than having Roach in his corner right now, Pacquiao has placed his long time sidekick, Buboy Frenandez, in the general’s slot. The results of this pairing may be interesting, for the truth is that reports of Pacquiao’s complete collapse as a top fighter might have been greatly exaggerated over the past few years. On top of that, Matthysse has been on a bit of a comeback as of late and is rightfully known as a warrior in the ring. Will Buboy deliver if things get searing? Or has Pacquiao more or less decided to be his own cornerman, a combination fighter/trainer, who only needs people to offer him water and cut treatment if need be?
What’s perhaps most jarring about all this is the fact that Pacquiao seems – on the surface of things – to have been rather cold to Roach, his ailing former mentor. Roach reportedly was never informed by Pacquiao of Pacquiao’s decision. It just happened. Word is Manny was unhappy with Roach, but no one really knows what the truth is. The one reality, it seems, is that professional courtesy was not involved with Pacquiao’s decision to move on sans Roach for the Matthysse fight. For what it’s worth, Pacquiao says he might employ Roach again. Pacquiao’s career has taken a strange turn, however, and it’s unclear how many fights he has left. He’s a senator in his homeland, and he’s not getting any younger.
As for Matthysse – he probably couldn’t have hoped for a better match. The man was high on the lists of many analysts until he got bested by Philly’s Danny Garcia in 2013. Then, several years later, he was beaten soundly by the skilled Ukrainian Viktor Postol. He took some time off, and has since returned with two wins, his last one being a knockout of undefeated Tewa Kiram in January. He’s an exciting fighter, Matthysse, one who may make things exciting when he faces Pacquiao, whose last bout was a highly controversial loss to hometown hero Jess Horn in Brisbane, Austrailia last summer.
Pacquiao (59-7-2) will be facing Matthysse (39-4-0) for Matthysse’s version of a WBA welterweight title when the opening bell rings on Saturday night. The ESPN+ broadcast begins at 9 PM Eastern Standard Time.
Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN Results:Lamont Roach, Jr. & Orlando Cruz Battle to A Draw
By: Ken Hissner
Oscar de Lay Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions with Miguel Cotto Promotions were at the Coliseo Jose Miguel Agrelot, San Juan, Puerto Rico, over ESPN2 Thursday night.
In the Main Event Super Featherweight Lamont Roach, Jr., 16-0-1 (6), of Upper Marlboro, MD, and southpaw Orlando “El Olimpico” Cruz, 25-6-2 (13), of San Juan, PR, ended in a 10 round draw.
Photo Credit: Hector Santos Guia
In the first round after a slow start Roach landed a pair of rights to the head of Cruz backing him up several steps. Cruz landed a lead left to the head of Roach. In the second round Cruz landed a left uppercut to the chin of a ducking Roach. Roach landed a lead right to the chin of Cruz. Cruz landed an overhand left to the head of Roach. Just prior to the end of the round Roach rocked Cruz with a lead right to the chin.
In the third round Cruz countered with a pair of left’s to the chin of Roach. Roach is being told by his trainer to throw more punches as he is outworked by Cruz. In the fourth round Roach landed a lead right to the mid-section of Cruz and got countered with a straight left from Cruz to the chin of Roach. Cruz landed a 3-punch combination to the body and head of Roach. Cruz caused a bloody nose on Roach.
In the fifth round Roach countered with a solid right to the chin of Cruz. Roach landed a right to the chin of Cruz but got countered by a Cruz left to the chin. Cruz landed a good right hook to the chin of the oncoming Roach. In the sixth round Cruz was out working Roach before getting hit with a counter right to the chin. Cruz landed a solid right hook to the chin of Roach. Roach landed a wicked right hand body shot to the mid-section of Cruz.
In the seventh round Cruz drove a pair of right uppercuts to the body of Roach. Cruz gets a cheer from the crowd after landing a jab followed by a left to the chin of Roach. Cruz landed a left to the chin of Roach. In the eighth round Roach landed a lead right to the chin of Cruz. Cruz came back landing three overhand lefts to the head of Roach.
In the ninth round Cruz landed a combination to the head of Roach. Roach landed a solid left hook followed by a right to the chin of Cruz buckling his knees and falling to the canvas as he backed up but the referee called it a slip. In the tenth and final round Roach lands a lead right to the chin of Cruz twice. Cruz comes back with a lead left to the chin of Roach. Roach missed with a lead right but landed with his left to the head of Cruz.
Scores were 97-93 Roach, 96-94 Cruz and 95-95 with this writer 96-94 Cruz.
In the co-feature Super Featherweight Jose “Wonder Boy” Lopez, 20-2-1 (14), of Carolina, PR, defeated Miguel Angel “Miguelito” Gonzalez, 22-4 (19), of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, MEX, over 10 rounds.
In the first round Gonzalez was cut over the left eye. He rushed in digging into the body of Lopez forcing him to the ropes. Left uppercuts to the body by Gonzalez had Lopez backed into the ropes as the round came to an end. In the second round Lopez was digging left hooks into the body of Gonzalez with one going low causing referee Robert Ramirez, Jr. to warn Lopez and again shortly there afterward. Gonzalez dug into the body but leaving himself open Lopez landed a straight right to the head of Gonzalez.
In the third round Gonzalez pushed Lopez against the ropes with a body attack. Lopez came back with a good left hook to the head of Gonzalez. Gonzalez came back with a left hook to the head of Lopez. Gonzalez lowers his head and digs to the body of Lopez. In the fourth round Gonzalez landed a flurry of body punches keeping Lopez on the defense with his back against the ropes. Both landed left hooks to the chin of one another.
In the fifth round Gonzalez dug into the body of Lopez who countered with a body flurry of his own. In the sixth round both boxers exchanged lead rights to the chin. Gonzalez drove Lopez into a neutral corner but got spun around with Lopez landing a flurry of punches. Backing up Lopez landed a solid left hook to the head of Gonzalez. Lopez ended the round the last ten seconds dancing away from Gonzalez.
In the seventh round Gonzalez backed Lopez into the ropes with a flurry of body punches ending with a solid left hook to the head of Lopez. Lopez countered well having his best round of the bout so far. In the eighth round Lopez turns to dirty tactics pushing Gonzalez with a straight arm into the ropes and laying on him but the referee warned Gonzalez for bending over. Lopez dances around the ring not looking to mix it up with the oncoming Gonzalez until the final seconds of the round landing a combination to the head.
In the ninth round Lopez continued to dance around the ring before stopping to counter with several punches to the head of Gonzalez throughout the round. In the tenth and final round Gonzalez missed with a wild right hand and got countered by a combination to the head from Lopez. Lopez continues to dance around the ring with Gonzalez asking him to fight. Gonzalez got Lopez into the ropes but got caught with a big right from Lopez on the chin near the end of the round. Lopez got away with too many fouls with warning from the ref.
The scores were 97-93, 98-91 and 99-91 for Lopez while this writer had it 95-95.
Middleweight 2012 Olympian Magdiel Cotto, 9-0 (7), of Comerio, PR, defeated Haitian Elie “Eli” Augustama, 6-8 (3), of Miami, FL, over 6.
In the first round Cotto landed a right cross to the chin of Augustama causing him to grab Cotto. The tall lanky Augustama dug a left hook to the body of Cotto. Cotto was the aggressor. In the second round Augustama dug a pair of right uppercuts to the mid-section of Cotto. Cotto landed a 3-Punch combination to the body and head of Augustama. Augustama stopped backing up and kept the fight in the middle of the ring landing jab’s and long rights to the body of Cotto who stayed in the counter punching mode.
In the third round Augustama continued to use his reach while back to moving around the ring. Cotto landed several overhand rights to the head of Augustama. Cotto pinned Augustama in a corner landing a flurry of unanswered punches. Augustama’s jab caused a cut under the left eye of Cotto. In the fourth round Augustama came out southpaw and pushing Cotto back with jabs. Cotto landed a left hook to the chin of Augustama causing him to go back several steps off balance. Augustama back to orthodox landed a left hook to the body of Cotto.
In the fifth round Augustama came out southpaw with Cotto driving him back to the ropes. A clash of head seemed to hurt Augustama more than Cotto. Back to orthodox Augustama got caught with a right hand to the head driving him into a neutral corner. Cotto walked right into a right to the head from Augustama while throwing a right of his own. In the sixth and final round Augustama lowered his head and dug into the body of Cotto. Cotto chased Augustama into a corner landing with several rights to the head of Augustama. Augustama ended the round countering with a flurry to the defensive minded Cotto.
Scores were 58-56 twice and 57-57 with this writer 57-57.
Manny Pacquiao Fires Freddie Roach
By: Sean Crose
Manny Pacquiao and Freddie Roach are no longer a team. The Filipino multi-division champ (59-7-2) has decided that Restituto “Buboy” Fernandez, along with Raides “Nonoy” Neri, will be his trainers leading up to his July 14th welterweight title fight with Lucas Matthysse (39-4). The news had been expected for some time. Still, Roach appeared somewhat dismayed that Pacquiao hadn’t told him in person that their longtime partnership was over. “I would be lying,” Roach said in a statement, “if I didn’t say I wasn’t hurt that he didn’t contact me personally about his decision, but the great times we enjoyed together far outweigh that.”
Roach has been in Pacquiao’s corner since the fighter made his United States debut back in 2001. During that time, they stayed together through over thirty fights, and the acquisition of numerous title belts. It was Roach who led Pacquiao into battle against Floyd Mayweather in the 2015 superfight that still holds the Pay Per View Record. Since that time, Pacqiuao’s career has been viewed as being on the downslide and word had gotten out recently that Pacquiao wanted to hand over the training duties to someone else. Pacquiao’s last fight with Roach was in early July of last year, when Pacquiao lost a highly controversial decision to Australia’s Jeff Horn.
Fernandez has been close to Pacquiao since the fighter’s debut and is a constant presence in Pacquiao’s entourage. Neri is also in Pacquiao’s inner circle and has been known to be Pacquiao’s cook while the fighter is in training. Among other things, Pacquiao was reportedly displeased that Roach was not firm enough with the referee during the Horn fight, which took place in Horn’s hometown of Brisbane, Australia. Pacquiao was cut numerous times during the bout and felt the cuts were due to Horn headbutting him illegally.
Roach has been credited with turning Pacquiao from a menacing but limited fighter into one of the greatest boxers of his generation. For his own part, the Las Angeles based trainer has not resorted to smearing his most famous and accomplished pupil. “Manny and I had a great run for fifteen years,” he stated, “longer than most marriages and certainly a rarity for boxing. I wouldn’t trade any of it.” Although displeased with the manner of his firing, Roach continued to wish Pacquiao well. “Inside the boxing ring and the political ring, I wish Manny nothing but the best,” he said.
Andre Ward, Freddie Roach, and Naazim Richardson Join The Contender
Premium pay television network EPIX®, an MGM company, has announced that undefeated boxing champion Andre “Son of God” Ward will host the new version of the seminal The Contender boxing franchise. Legendary boxing trainers Freddie Roach and Naazim Richardson join as trainers in the iconic series that has launched multiple boxers into contention for world titles.
The all-new 12-episode season of the boxing competition series, the first of its kind to air on EPIX is produced by Mark Burnett and his longtime executive producer Eric Van Wagenen. MGM Television has joined forces with Paramount Television to produce, and filming will begin this Spring 2018 in Los Angeles.
As host, Ward brings his undefeated record and undisputed boxing expertise to The Contender. Throughout his incredible 13-year undefeated career, he’s held multiple world titles in two weight classes including, unified WBA (Super), WBC, Ring magazine, and lineal super middleweight titles between 2009 and 2015 as well as the unified WBA (Undisputed), IBF, WBO, and Ring’s light heavyweight titles between 2016 and 2017. Ward also won the gold medal in the light heavyweight division in the 2004 Summer Olympics.
Said Ward, “I have faced the unique challenges of professional boxing firsthand and know the focus required to succeed at the highest level. Hosting a show that has enabled so many talented fighters reach their dreams is an honor and I look forward to giving the fans unique insight into the life of a fighter and leading the audience through the thrills of this competition.”
“It is so important for The Contender to have the best and most trusted boxing experts which is why we reached out to Andre, Freddy and Naazim,” said Burnett. “They are the very best and can help create an experience almost never seen before. Eric and I are really excited to exceed the fans’ expectations. We love The Contender and we love boxing.”
Esteemed coaches Roach and Richardson will each oversee a team of eight fighters, pushing their fighting skills, strength and endurance to the limit in preparation for elimination competitions. The coaches will also act as the fighters’ mentor, helping them to navigate their everyday life as the competitors live and train together and fight each other in the ring. Each fighter will be vying to become the ultimate Contender and take the winner’s six-figure purse.
Roach is widely regarded as one of the most successful boxing trainers of all time. His roster includes the eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao, five-time and four-division World Champion Miguel Cotto, former WBC Middleweight Champion Julio César Chávez, Jr., defensive master and three-time world champion James Toney, former UFC Middleweight and three-time Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre, as well as top prospects Jose Benavidez, Peter Quillin, and Vanes Martirosyan, among many others.
One of the most respected trainers from the boxing hotbed of Philadelphia, Naazim Richardson has helped shape the careers of some of the biggest names in the sport over the past 30 years. From Bernard Hopkins to “Sugar” Shane Mosley, as well as others like Travis Kauffman, and prospect Khalib ‘Bigfoot’ Whitmore, Richardson’s work and his spirit continue to be part of boxing lore. The father and trainer of boxing twin brothers Rock Allen and Tiger Allen Richardson, Naazim is also known for discovering plaster hidden in Antonio Margarito’s wraps before the January 24, 2009 fight between Margarito and Mosley.
Eric Van Wagenen serves as executive producer and showrunner alongside Burnett. The format is owned by MGM Television and Paramount Television.
EPIX is available nationwide through cable, satellite, telco and streaming TV providers including Charter Spectrum, Cox, Verizon FiOS, AT&T U-verse, Dish Network, Sling, PlayStation Vue and, later this year, Comcast.
Roach Talks Tough On Canelo, PEDs
Famed trainer Freddie Roach feels that if Canelo Alvarez willingly ingested performance enhancing drugs, then he, and anyone else who does the same, should face an “attempted murder charge.” As far as the veteran corner man is concerned, strong enough action hasn’t been taken in light of fighters willfully cheating. “I think, you know, they should be punished for it,” he told Boxing Insider. “I mean, because there should be stricter rules. If they had stricter rules that you could never fight again or maybe longer suspensions they’d think twice about it.” At the moment, Roach feels the punishments simply don’t fit the crime.
“The thing is,” he said, “they give them a little bit of a fine and a slap on the hand and that’s it. I mean the consequences are not enough to make them think about doing it and doing it.” Roach understands the reality of the current fight world, but that doesn’t mean he likes it. “I mean it is a part of our sport and is part of our life right now,” he said. “I hope to say that they both (Canelo and scheduled opponent Gennady Golovkin) come out okay. I want that fight to happen because it’s an exciting, exciting fight.” Perhaps surprisingly, Roach didn’t rule out the option that Canelo might well have accidentally consumed tainted beef, causing him to test positive for the banned substance Clenbuterol twice this past February, as Canelo’s team has claimed.
“I’m an arborist,” he said, “and I went to school in an agricultural high school.” Roach went on to explain that cattle are indeed injected with substances that will make them bigger. “The more they weigh, the more money you get for your cow,” he said. “It is a common practice…I know this can happen.” Roach went on to speak of other matters during the course of the interview, such as Terence Crawford and his WBO welterweight title matchup against Jeff Horn on July 9th in Las Vegas.
“Horn,” Roach says, “is a very physical fighter…I’d say a dirty fighter, but it is a fight.” Roach feels Pacquiao let Horn off the hook when the two men met in Horn’s hometown of Brisbane last summer (Horn ended up winning the bout via an extremely controversial decision). “I don’t think Horn’s really a dangerous fighter at all,” Roach admitted. “Pacquiao should have knocked him out along the way…he let that opportunity slip by.”
Roach doesn’t expect Crawford to make the same mistakes he felt Pacquiao did when Crawford steps into the ring to face the Aussie fighter. “He had a smart game plan for Pacquiao because Pacquaio is one of those guys who wants to fight fair,” Roach said of Horn. “I don’t think that will happen in this fight.”
As far as Roach is concerned, Crawford is “a bigger, stronger guy” than Pacquiao. “I think he knocks out Horn somehow along the way.” Roach is clearly impressed with Crawford’s skills, saying the former unified junior welterweight champion “has a lot of tools in his box. He can do a lot of different things.” Roach feels Crawford fights at such a level that he’s “the best pound for pound fighter in the world today…I like him a lot in this fight.” Roach spoke of a dream fight between Crawford and welterweight titlist Errol Spence. “They worry about MMA taking over boxing,” he said, “but the thing is, it will never take over if they have the best fight the best.”
Freddy Roach and Jeandra LeBeauf discuss former Manny Pacquiao foe Jeff Horn and what Terence Crawford will have to do to beat him.
Posted by BoxingInsider.com on Friday, 30 March 2018
In part 2 of Jeandra LeBeauf's chat with Freddy Roach, the hall-of-fame trainer explains why Canelo should be charged with attempted murder for testing postiive for a banned substance.
Posted by BoxingInsider.com on Friday, 30 March 2018
Lamont Roach, Jr., Dominates Perez in Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN
By: Eric Lunger
The MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, MD, was the venue for Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN this evening, and featured undefeated prospect Lamont Roach, Jr. (15-0, 6 KOs) in a ten-round super featherweight bout against Filipino Rey Perez (21-8, 6 KOs). Roach, 22, the hometown Maryland fighter with an extensive amateur background, brought a technical and polished style into the ring. Perez, a determined and veteran orthodox fighter, was making his debut in the United States.
Undefeated Super Featherweight prospect Lamont Roach, Jr. (Right) lands a right hand en route to a unanimous decision victory over Rey Perez (Left) on November 30, 2017 in Oxon Hill, Maryland.
PHOTO CREDIT: Tom Hogan – Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions
Round one was a professional feeling-out round with Roach landing the more effective jabs. In the second, Perez erupted with a body attack in the latter half of the round. While Roach caught a lot of the punches on his arms, Perez let Roach know he came to compete. In the third, the poised and patient Roach landed several good combinations, bringing the crowd to life. The fourth saw Roach’s hand speed and accuracy start to dictate the direction of the fight, and forcing Perez to keep his hands at home. In the middle rounds, Roach’s skill level began to really show, allowing him to catch Perez with consistent power shots. Game and none daunted, Perez continued to come forward but the punches were taking their toll.
The seventh round erupted with some fierce exchanges in the last thirty seconds, but the Filipino took the majority of the damage. In the late rounds, despite the pressure of fighting in front of his home fans, Roach remained poised and professional, fighting behind his jab and show a full kit of offensive tools. It was an impressive, elite level performance by Roach against a tough and gritty Perez. The judges scored it unanimously nine rounds to one for Roach.
In the co-main event, Jose “Wonder Boy” Lopez (19-1, 14 KOs) took on Avery Sparrow (8-1, 3 KOs) of Philadelphia in a ten-rounder at the super featherweight limit. Lopez, 23, is five-foot-nine, tall and rangy with good knockout power. Fighting out of an orthodox stance, Lopez is aggressive and prone to taking risks in the ring. Sparrow, also 23, was the less experienced fighter, and taking on Lopez presented a significant challenge.
Sparrow started fast, throwing a jab on differing planes and seeking to land a wide right around Lopez’s high guard. Lopez, for his part, remained patient and content to take the measure of his opponent. The Puerto Rican fighter was more active in the second, but Sparrow’s activity and awkward style forced Lopez to keep his hands home. Sparrow’s offense came to life in the fourth round, landing two straight rights and a good left hook. Lopez was still unable to time Sparrow or combat his dipping head movement.
Round six was Sparrow’s best, with his confidence and ring showmanship growing with each successful combination. His movement, his jab, his aggression, his shoulder roll defense – all were too much for Lopez, who could not find the necessary adjustments in the ring. Despite the deficit in experience, it was Sparrow who put on a clinic, and Lopez who looked confused and tentative. After a full ten rounds, the judges saw it 96-94, 96-94, 97-93 unanimously for the Philadelphia fighter, Avery Sparrow.
The undercard featured Manuel Avila (22-1, 8 KOs) taking on Diuhl Olguin (11-8-3, 9 KOs) of Mexico in an eight-round featherweight bout. Avila, fighting out of Vallejo, CA, was looking to bounce back after his first defeat last May at the hands of undefeated Joseph “Jo Jo” Diaz.
Avila fought a controlled and patient bout, while Olguin gave him plenty of challenges to figure out, mounting a decent body attack with the left hook and occasionally switching to the southpaw stance. Avila piled up rounds but certainly never dominated his opponent, even cruising a bit in the seventh. The fight went to the cards after eight: Avila took the unanimous decision 77-75, 78-74, 78-74.
Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN Preview: Roach vs. Perez, Lopez vs. Sparrow
By: Eric Lunger
On Thursday night, Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN presents two ten-round bouts featuring some of the brightest prospects in the super featherweight division. The broadcast will be live from the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, MD, on ESPN Deportes (8:00 p.m. ET), with a tape delay rebroadcast on ESPN 2 (11:00 p.m. ET).
Photo Credit: Golden Boy Promotions
Lamont Roach, Jr., (15-0, 6 KOs) is an undefeated prospect from Marlboro, Maryland, with an extensive amateur pedigree, including two National Junior Golden Gloves championships. Roach has been brought along carefully by his manager/father Lamont Roach, Sr., and Thursday will mark his third test at the ten-round distance. At 22 years old, the five-foot-seven orthodox boxer is a busy young man: he currently attends the University of Maryland, where he is pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering. Stylistically, Roach is a tight and controlled fighter, with an accurate and short lead left hook. Lamont will appeal to boxing purists who appreciate technical proficiency and attention to defensive fundamentals.
Ray Perez, 27, hails from Santa Rosa City in the Philippines. As his record (21-8, 6 KOs) indicates, he’s had a mixed career. He has been in the ring against some high-level opposition – notably a seventh round KO loss to Jesse Magdaleno in February of 2016 – but he has yet to achieve that signature win to propel his career forward. The five-foot-six orthodox fighter offers a fairly uncomplicated style, staying in the pocket and relying on his innate toughness to take a shot in order to land one. He is not to be underestimated, however. Perez can throw an effective uppercut if his opponent gets lazy and leans in. Can Perez bring more aggression than Roach’s technique can handle? Or will Roach’s skill level be too much for the Filipino?
Jose “Wonder Boy” Lopez (19-1, 14 KOs) vs. Avery Sparrow (8-1, 3 KOs) is also set for ten rounds at the super featherweight limit. Lopez, 23, is five-foot-nine, tall and rangy with good knockout power. The Puerto Rico native fights out of the orthodox stance with a come-forward aggressive style. His overhand right is very dangerous, but he can leave himself open while seeking to land it. Nonetheless, Lopez is as dynamic and exciting as they come.
Sparrow, 23, represents the great fighting tradition of Philadelphia, PA, and has been busy in 2017, as Thursday will mark his fourth tilt of the year. Sparrow can be overly aggressive to the detriment of his defense, and he will need to tighten up the wide, loopy hooks he tends to throw if he wants to be successful against Lopez. If styles make fights, Lopez vs. Sparrow promises to be wide open and full throttle.
The other notable bout of the evening features Manuel Avila (22-1, 8 KOs) taking on Nick Otieno (31-12, 13 KOs) of Kenya in an eight-round featherweight bout. Avila, fighting out of Vallejo, CA, is looking to bounce back after his first defeat last May at the hands of undefeated Joseph Diaz.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Golovkin, Canelo, De La Hoya, Pacquiao, Roach, Shumenov, and more…
Boxing Insider Notebook: Golovkin, Canelo, De La Hoya, Pacquiao, Roach, Shumenov, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of June 20th to June 27th covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Golovkin and Canelo Conclude International Press Tour with Hollywood Red Carpet Affair
Lineal and RING Magazine Middleweight World Champion Canelo Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 KOs) and WBC/IBO/IBF/WBA Middleweight World Champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs) today closed out their international press tour with a red carpet film premiere for “I am Boxing” at the AVALON Hollywood that included a Q&A panel hosted by Mario Lopez. Canelo vs. Golovkin are set to clash on Saturday, September 16 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View®.
Below is what the fighters and their promoters had to say on the press tour:
CANELO ALVAREZ, Lineal and RING Magazine Middleweight World Champion:
“This is going to be a very tough fight against Golovkin. There are fights that are difficult, and this is one of them. I’m going to prepare like I always do at 100 percent.
“I’m happy we are giving the fans the fight they wanted and demanded on September 16 as that is a great motivation to me. This is a very important fight to all of Mexican fans, and I am going to train as hard as I always do.”
GENNADY “GGG” GOLOVKIN, WBC/IBO/IBF/WBA Middleweight World Champion:
“This press tour has been going great, I’ve been waiting 20 years to be in a fight like this. Canelo is a different guy than anyone I have every faced. He is a huge fighter and a great champion. On September 16, we will both put on a great boxing show.”
OSCAR DE LA HOYA, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions:
“Canelo vs. Golovkin is the type of fight that deserves the spotlight and we are getting that. I am pleased to debut a film, ‘I Am Boxing’ highlighting the middleweight division leading up to this historic showdown with Canelo and Gennady, and I am very proud to have been an executive producer on the film.
“On September 16, Canelo vs. Golovkin will deliver and then some. This is a real middleweight fight between two fighters who have been boxing their entire lives and something the fans really called for, and I believe will end in a knockout.”
TOM LOEFFLER for GGG Promotions:
“There has been such a great response to this fight, and it doesn’t get any bigger than this with the two best middleweights fighting each other.
“These two superstars have a huge international fan base and when you put them both together-the event becomes much bigger. It was harder to make the deal secret than it was to keep it-everyone was taken by surprise and social media was really trending.
“When the training camp video comes out, the hype will keep building and building once everyone sees these fighters in their prime. Team Gennady feels very confident as does Canelo-both fighters wouldn’t take the fight if they thought they wouldn’t win.”
BERNARD HOPKINS, Future Hall of Famer and Golden Boy Promotions Business Partner:
“I expect fireworks in this fight come September 16, but I also look at the fans, and see that this is what they want. This is a fight worthy of a red carpet because they are two future champions-and I believe two future Hall of Famers.
“I feel that Canelo’s versatility will be very important come September, as will ‘GGG’s’ power and knockout ratio. Everyone should be aware, but not scared, as this fight has all the makings of a perfect recipe for a great fight.”
Manny Pacquiao and Freddie Roach Workout Quotes
Manny Pacquiao (59-6-2) and Freddie Roach recently held a media workout in Australia as they prepare to face title challenger Jeff Horn (16-0-1). They will fight on Saturday night live on ESPN in the United States.
Below are some quotes from the workout:
MANNY PACQUIAO: “We have a really good plan for this fight. We worked hard in training camp both in Manila and in General Santos City. I’m totally focused for this fight. I am not looking past this fight because at this point in my career, every fight is the most important. There are no tomorrows if I don’t win today.
“Jeff Horn is OK. I’ve watched video of his fights. He brings a lot of action into the ring.
“I know what he is feeling. I remember everything about my first world title fight.
“Being a senator and training for a fight is hard. It takes discipline and time management. Luckily, the Senate has been in recess for the past few weeks and I have been able to focus on training for my world title fight.
“A Senator’s job is to defend his people … to fight for their rights.
“I know Jeff Horn used to be a teacher. In the ring, I’m a teacher too.
“I am ready for Jeff to come out and be aggressive. If he does that it will be a great fight for the fans.
“The biggest crowd I ever fought in front of was at Cowboys Stadium against Joshua Clottey. I’m told this could be bigger [51,000+]. I am very excited for doing that, even though they may not be rooting for me. I am also very happy that ESPN will be televising it live.to the U.S. Now everyone can see it. It’s good for boxing.”
FREDDIE ROACH: “Manny is a performer. He loves people, loves a big audience. Brisbane has all that for this fight. He’ll be fighting in front of the biggest crowd of his career.
“Not everyone gets the opportunity to fight for a world title. It was always my dream but I never fought for one. It’s a big deal. Jeff Horn earned this opportunity. He is the WBO’s mandatory challenger.
“Manny gave me 110% in training camp. He always does. No one works harder in the gym. The difference in this camp from recent ones has been his aggression. He’s scored several knockdowns and I haven’t seen that in years. He has kept his foot on the pedal throughout, even when he’s had a sparring partner in trouble. After his ring work he is singing and dancing – not well – but that’s not the point. He is really hungry to make a statement in this fight against Horn. He’s even playing Shakira during his workouts again and he hasn’t done that in years.”
Two Time World Champion Beibut Shumenov Retires Due to Severe Eye Injury
Two-division World Boxing Association (WBA) World Champion Beibut Shumenov has relinquished his WBA cruiserweight world title, due to his career-ending eye injury, and he has announced his retirement from the ring.
“I have regrettably relinquished my WBA cruiserweight title and retired from boxing because of a traumatic eye injury suffered the week before my last scheduled fight,” Shumenov said from his Las Vegas home. “I’m extremely disappointed my boxing career has ended like this but, unfortunately, injuries are part of this sport and there’s nothing I can do about it. I still have blurred vision and I need to have an additional surgery next month to try to further repair so I don’t risk blindness in my (right) eye.
“I’d like to thank my family, my team throughout the years, friends and fans for their continued support all these years. I was proud to wear the WBA championship belt for many years as a two-division champion. I’m grateful to WBA President Gilberto Jesus Mendoza, his father, and all those in my WBA family. It was quite a ride and I look forward with great anticipation to the next chapter of my life with my son and future endeavors.”
Shumenov (17-2, 11 KOs), a 2004 Kazakhstan Olympian, was scheduled to face Interim WBA champion Yunier Dorticos (21-0, 20 KOs) in the April 29th main event of Premier Boxing Champions on FS1 and FOX Deportes, from Sam’s Town Live in Las Vegas.
During his last slated sparring sessions, Shumenov suffered an eye injury that required immediate surgery, forcing him to withdraw from his April 29 fight against Dorticos.
Earlier this month, the WBA received a letter from Shumenov’s eye surgeon, Dr. Kent L. Wellish, who wrote the following: “Mr. Beibut Shumenov has a serious ocular issue, a recurrent corneal erosion of his right eye, that with continued fighting, puts him at risk for permanently losing his eyesight.
“It is my medical opinion that he should permanently refrain from sparring, training and boxing due to the severity of damage to his eye and the high risk of further damage of vision impairment, including the possibility of permanent vision loss.”
The WBA accepted Shumenov’s relinquishment of his championship, noting that it expressed its gratitude and pride for his professional career with the WBA.
The last three years of Shumenov’s career was marred by inactivity, in which he fought only three times due to lack of managerial support, despite him training daily, in top shape and always being ready to fight. In fact, he sparred almost 400 rounds since his last fight (May 21, 2016) in anticipation of, first, a unification fight with Denis Lebedev and then for his fight versus Dorticos. Neither happened, however, as boxing politics enabled Lebedev to avoid fighting Shumenov, who defeated BJ Flores and then Junior Anthony Wright in back-to-back WBA elimination fights to be Lebedev’s mandatory challenger.
Even Shumenov’s mandatory fight against Dorticos was unnecessarily delayed because Dorticos’ promoter, Caribe Promotions, defaulted its right to promote the fight it had won by purse bid, followed by continuous and numerous date changes from February to March until finally landing on April 29.
The 33-year-old Shumenov retires as the first and only two-division world champion to date from Kazakhstan, as well as the record-holder for fewest fights needed to win the world light heavyweight championship, 10.
During his 9 1/2 -year pro career, Shumenov defeated four world champions – Gabriel Campillo, Byron Mitchell, William Joppy and Montell Griffin – as well as world title challengers Epifanio Mendoza, Vlacheslav Uzelkov, Danny Santiago, Enrique Ornelas, Tamas Kovacs, BJ Flores and Junior Wright.
Taras Shelestyuk Tests Unblemished Record on July 1st
Thompson Boxing Promotions heads to Northern California on Friday, July 1st to promote its first show in Sacramento starring unbeaten, Olympic bronze medalist Taras ‘The Real Deal” Shelestyuk (15-0, 9 KOs).
The highly ranked Shelestyuk (WBO No. 5) faces fellow welterweight Jesus Alvarez Rodriguez (15-2, 11 KOs) in the “Locked n’ Loaded” 8-round main event from Omega Products International, an outdoor venue.
Shelestyuk vs. Rodriguez and the entire 8-bout card will be streamed live on TB Presents: Locked n’ Loaded. Watch the action on ThompsonBoxing.com and Facebook Live beginning at 7:45 p.m. PST / 10:45 p.m. EST.
Tickets for “Locked n’ Loaded” are priced at $40, $60, & $100 and are available for purchase online at ThompsonBoxing.com, or by calling 714-935-0900.
Shelestyuk, 31, is coming off a unanimous decision win against Jaime Herrera in November. The fight, televised on SHOWTIME, had championship implications with Shelestyuk winning the WBO-NABO welterweight title.
The Ukrainian-born Shelestyuk, who now lives and trains in Los Angeles, had a decorated amateur career punctuated by winning a bronze medal in the 2012 London Olympics.
“I’m excited to fight in Sacramento,” said Shelestyuk, who is promoted by Thompson Boxing and Banner Promotions. “I’ve been in the gym all year and can’t wait to put on a show next week.”
In the co-feature, standout amateur Ruben Villa (5-0, 3 KOs) of Salinas, Calif. looks to stay undefeated against Gino De La Paz (2-1, 1 KO) in a fight set for 6-rounds.
Villa has all the tools to become the next world champion at featherweight. He cleaned up the amateur ranks with back-to-back National Golden Gloves championships prior to turning professional last year. He inked a promotional contract with Thompson Boxing and Banner Promotions last July and has been busy since then.
“I love being active,” said Villa, who is managed by Danny Zamora. “That was one of the main selling points in signing with Thompson Boxing and Banner Promotions. They assured me that I would be fighting frequently. I’m ready to get another win on my resume.”
“We are looking forward to a great night for Taras and Ruben,” said Artie Pelullo, President of Banner Promotions. “Taras is on the cusp of big fights, and with a win over a tough fighter like Rodriguez should prepare him for that. As for Ruben, he is coming along great, and on July 1st, he will yet again show why he is the one of the top prospects in Boxing.”
Diego De La Hoya to Defend Title Against Alan Luques
Undefeated fighter and steady rocket in the super bantamweight division, current WBC Youth World Super Bantamweight Champion Diego De La Hoya (18-0, 9 KOs) will travel to South America to defend his title against Argentinian Alan “El Lumbriz” Luques (21-6, 9 KOs) in a 10- round main event that will take place in Complejo La Pedrera in de Villa Mercedes, San Luis, Argentina. Doors open at the 7:00 p.m. ART, with televised bouts going live on DirecTV Sports in Argentina beginning at 8:00 p.m. ART.
Diego will be returning to the ring after a solid victory against Erik Ruiz before a sold-out crowd in Tucson, Arizona this past May in a slugfest that went the distance. Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions Oscar De La Hoya will make the journey of a thousand- plus- miles to watch his talented cousin defend his WBC Youth title ringside as the special VIP guest of the night. Also in attendance as a VIP will be WBA Inter-Continental and WBO International welterweight champion Lucas “La Maquina” Mattysse.
“I know it, and Diego knows it – every fighter wants to beat a De La Hoya,” said Oscar De La Hoya. “It takes hunger and passion for boxing that motivates him to travel across the world to demonstrate he just won’t be messed with. Diego will come home with a victory and new Argentinian fans who will be impressed by his Mexican speed and power.”
“I’m excited to be fighting in San Luis, Argentina,” said Diego De La Hoya. “The Argentinian fans have been very supportive of my career on social media and I can’t wait to put on a great show for them in person. Thank you Mr. Arano, GBP and my manager Joel De La Hoya for this opportunity and chance to make new fans.”
“It’s a great opportunity for me to fight with such a sky-rocketing figure like Diego de la Hoya and to top it all of my idol Oscar De La Hoya will be present in the stadium,” said Alan Luques. “I will prepare like never before to take advantage of the opportunity before me and I want to thank Golden Boy and Arano Box. I will give all of me.”
Round 2 with Chavez and Roach
Round 2 with Chavez and Roach
By: Brandon Bernica
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. caused a minor furor this past week when he (sort of) announced
he will be reuniting with former trainer Freddie Roach via Instagram photo. While rumors of this
move have circulated for years, Team Chavez has been reluctant to move back to the Wild Card
Gym, where their relationship with Roach soured after his fight with Sergio Martinez in 2012.
Since that time, his team tried out multiple high-profile replacements, such as Joe Goosen, Ricky
Funez, and Robert Garcia. Yet most hardcore fans ascertain that Chavez’s weight issues, lack of
discipline, and inconsistent training schedule anchor the real struggle hindering his performance. Recently, he is 3-2 with no memorable victories to cling to. Combined with his out-of-the-ring
shenanigans (failing a drug test for marijuana, turning down a career-high payday and a chance
to fight Gennady Golovkin, etc.) and you have a once highly-esteemed fighter turned daily
In this vein, I venture to ask a question most fans would dismiss immediately: could
Roach raise Jr.’s game to the level it was destined for a few years back?
Chavez may never reach that level again. But improvement? Not out of the question.
Evidence clearly points to Roach as being Chavez’s most successful cornerman. With Freddie, he
amassed solid victories against Andy Lee, Sebastian Zbik, and Marco Antonio Rubio. That
success was augmented by Roach’s offensive style of training fighters that clicked with Julio. At
his best, Chavez thrives in the trenches, dominating the intricacies of the inside game. He angles
potent body shots much like his legendary father, Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. Carrying solid power in
close quarters and a strong chin able to withstand the most forceful shots, Chavez naturally holds
a skillset most contenders would trade for any day. Roach understands this and can cater training
towards revealing these tools, whereas other trainers working with Jr. for the first time may need
a couple fights to fully comprehend his tendencies. After all, Roach has inspired career
turnarounds for the likes of fighters such as Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto.
But as much as there is to enjoy on the surface of Chavez, there remains a lot more to feel
apprehensive about regarding his past. A buzz word fans often use to tag Chavez Jr. with is
“entitled”. Granted, this partially results from his every move being compared to his father. Yet
the moniker still holds truthful in many respects. Chavez has been criticized for arbitrarily
moving weight limits before fights, often resulting in unfair advantages in size inside the ropes.
Missing weight expresses a lack of professionalism that, sadly, Chavez has exhibited in other
areas as well. Leading up to his biggest title fight versus Martinez, Chavez was documented as
unmotivated, waking up late and even failing to show up to gym sessions. That same fight,
Chavez was outclassed for 11 rounds, failing to handle Martinez’s superior movement and
distance fighting. Though he almost mounted a late-round comeback knockout, his Argentinian
counterpart braved his way to the end, winning a lopsided decision. That bitter ending to the
initial Roach-Chavez stint leaves lingering questions about the efficiency of this teamwork in big
fights, mainly whether Jr.’s defense is adequate enough to win rounds against top notch fighters.
Afterwards, Chavez struggled to maintain the consistency needed to reach elite status in
the sport by jumping from trainer to trainer to search for the solution to his performance. Nothing
worked as well as it did with Roach. Outside of the ring, he left his long-time promoter Bob
Arum who had spent years selling the public on Jr.’s potential and talent. He joined advisor Al Haymon in an effort to reinvent his own brand. That wasn’t the remedy either; he was knocked
out by Andrezj Fonfara, forced to build from the ground up once again. Missing from this series
of events? Commitment. Chavez’s search for the cure to his career has rarely ended at a look
inside himself. Blame gets shifted to others. Social media posts from his accounts implore fans to
believe he’s changed, rather than attempting to prove it to the one person who counts: himself.
Maybe a switch back to Roach is the remedy he’s longed for. If that solution involves
becoming the fighter his dad was, his search may end in vain. That doesn’t make his chances to
salvage his career into one he can be proud of any less likely. First, he must acknowledge why
he’s fallen and fight with the hunger he once had. If he ends up with Roach, he must stay the
course, through victory and defeat. No excuses, just hard work and focus. Everything else will
fall into place.
HBO Pay Per View Preview: Pacquiao vs. Bradley, Valdez vs. Gradovich, Abraham vs. Ramirez
HBO Pay Per View Preview: Pacquiao vs. Bradley, Valdez vs. Gradovich, Abraham vs. Ramirez
By: William Holmes
The MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada will be the host site for HBO’s next Pay Per View offering featuring Top Rank Promotions’ stars Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley Jr.
Saturday night might be the last time we ever see Manny Pacquiao inside the ring as he has previously stated his intentions to retire after this fight to focus on a career in politics, but he has recently waivered on that promise.
HBO usually televises at least two bouts before the main event of a pay per view, and one of the bouts is a super middleweight title fight between Arthur Abraham and Gilberto Ramirez.
The following is a preview of the three televised bouts for Saturday night.
Oscar Valdez (18-0) vs. Evgeny Gradovich (21-1); Featherweights
Oscar Valdez is a young twenty five year old prospect that competed in the Olympics for Mexico in 2008 and 2012. Gradovich is called by many the Mexican Russian and is known for his aggressive fighting style and is trained by Roberto Garcia.
Gardovich has a strong amateur background and was a member of the Russian Amateur Team, but he never competed in the Olympics like Valdez. He’s also four years older than Valdez but is still in his athletic prime.
Valdez has the heavier hands and has stopped sixteen of his opponents, including four of his past five fights. Gradovich is aggressive, but he’s not a powerful puncher. He only has nine stoppage victories and hasn’t had one in his past five bouts.
Gradovich will have about a two and a half inch height advantage as well as a one inch reach advantage. Both boxers fight out of an orthodox stance.
Valdez has been considerably more active than Gradovich in the past two years. He has fought a total of eight times in 2014 and 2015 while Gradovich fought four times.
Gradovich is a former IBF World Featherweight Champion and has defeated the likes of Alexander Miskirtchian, Billy Dib (twice), and Mauricio Javier Munoz. Valdez has not faced the level of competition of Gradovich but has defeated the likes of Chris Avalos and Ruben Tamayo.
Most concerning for Gradovich however is that he struggled in his last two fights despite winning, and was only able to manage a split decision against an unheralded Aldimar Silva Santos. He’ll have to swarm Valdez and throw a high volume of punches if he hopes to win.
This is an excellent test for Valdez to see if he can handle a former champion that’s still relatively young, but it’s a test that many expect Valdez to pass.
Arthur Abraham (44-4) vs. Gilberto Ramirez (33-0); WBO Super Middleweight Title
Arthur Abraham has been fighting as a professional since 2003 and is the current WBO Super Middleweight Champion and was the former IBF Middleweight Champion.
Age, however, is not on his side as he is thirty six years old and twelve years older than his opponent. He will also be giving up five and a half inches in height and three inches in reach to Ramirez.
Both boxers have decent power as Abraham has stopped twenty nine of his opponents while Ramirez has stopped twenty four. Ramirez has been more active than Abraham and has fought seven times in the past two years, but Abraham by far is the more experienced and tested boxer.
The Armenian born Abraham has defeated the likes of Martin Murray, Robert Stieglitz (three times), Paul Smith, Jermain Taylor, Lajuan Simon, Raul Marquez, Edison Miranda, Elvin Ayala, and Howard Eastman. His losses were to Robert Stieglitz, Andre Ward, Carl Froch, and Andre Dirrell.
Ramirez’s best victories to date have come against Gevorg Khatchikian, Derek Edwards, Maxim Vlasov, and Giovanni Lorenzo.
Abraham hasn’t fought outside of Germany in five years and two of his losses have occurred in the United States.
This will be a tough fight for Ramirez and Abraham is well known for his excellent stamina and ability to come on strong as a fight progresses. This is one of the most competitive fights on the card and most intriguing, but Ramirez is a highly regarded prospect for Top Rank. Abraham’s age and lack of success when fighting in the United States will be a hindrance for him.
This bout could go either way, but Ramirez should be considered a very slight favorite.
Manny Pacquiao (57-6-2) vs. Timothy Bradley Jr (31-1-1); Welterweights
This will be the third time these two will meet in the ring, with Bradley winning the first bout and Pacquiao winning the rematch. However, most ringside observers, including this writer, felt Pacquiao won both bouts.
Both boxers will surely have had hall of fame careers, but this might be Pacquiao’s last fight as a professional and his skills have been slowly eroding before our eyes.
He has been fighting as a professional since he was sixteen years old and weighed 98 pounds and was only 4’11”. This will be his 21st year fighting as a pro. His first professional bout was in 1995.
Pacquiao has since grown to 5’5 ½” and has a 67” reach. Bradley is only a half an inch taller but will have a two inch reach advantage. Bradley is also thirty two years old while Pacquiao is thirty seven.
Bradley has the edge in amateur experience and is a former US Jr. Golden Gloves Champion and a Police Athletic League National Champion. Pacquiao though, had the edge in world titles held and is an eight division world champion.
Neither boxer can be accused of ducking the competition. Pacquaio has thirty eight stoppage wins on his record and has defeated the likes of Lehlo Ledwaba, Juan Manuel Marquez, Erik Morales, Oscar Larios, Jorge Solis, Marco Antonio Barrera, David Diaz, Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto, Joshua Clottey, Antonio Margarito, Shane Mosley, Brandon Rios, and Chris Algieri. He has lost to Floyd Mayweather Jr., Juan Manuel Marquez, Timothy Bradley Jr., Erik Morales, and two losses early on in his career to Medgoen Singsurat and Rustico Torrecampo.
Bradley’s lone loss was to Manny Pacquiao. He has defeated the likes of Brandon Rios, Jessie Vargas, Diego Chaves, Manny Pacquiao, Juan Manuel Marquez, Ruslan Provodnikov, Joel Casamayor, Devon Alexander, Lamont Peterson, Nate Campbell, Kendall Holt, Edner Cherry, and Junior Witter.
The intangibles in this fight favor Bradley.
It should be noted that Bradley recently hooked up with Teddy Atlas to be his trainer and looked sensational in his last fight against Brandon Rios.
Pacquiao’s age and recent inactivity will be a factor in this bout. He has only fought four times since 2013 and has not looked the same since his devastating knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez. He is also coming off of a shoulder surgery and even Freddie Roach noted that Pacquiao took a little longer than usual to get into fighting shape.
Pacquaio is also running for a Senate seat in the Philippines and may be dealing with those distractions, as this is the biggest political seat he has ever ran for.
Speed is usually the first thing to go with age, and at thirty seven years old Pacquiao is clearly past his prime. He’s also not fully committed to the sport of boxing and looked very hesitant to pull the trigger in his last fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr.
If Pacquiao wants to continue boxing and rebuild some of that luster his name used to have, he’ll need to be a little reckless and box aggressively to go for the stoppage. Pacquiao has already reached the top of the sport and he has other endeavors that he wants to pursue, and a sport like boxing requires your full attention if you want to remain at or near the top.
Bradley is hungrier than ever, and this could spell trouble for Pacquiao.
Pacquiao might have one last thrilling fight left in his body to give his fans, but all signs point to a victory for Bradley.