Tag Archives: roc

Does Roc Nation Sports Care About The Well Being Of It’s Clients?


By: Sean Crose

Back in 2014, the New York Post wrote that Roc Nation Sports’ “lack of media access has given it an air of mystery.” Former featherweight Daniel “Twitch” Franco certainly finds Roc Nation Sports mysterious. After receiving a serious brain injury during a June bout against Jose Haro in Iowa, Franco, a Roc Nation fighter, was subsequently induced into a coma for two weeks. Incredibly, Franco survived and is expected to make a full recovery. Still, getting healthy isn’t cheap. Or easy.

Franco is still in need of a large amount of medical care. The twenty-five year old Californian has another surgery this Friday. And how will Franco and his family pay the hundreds upon thousands of dollars in medical costs? Well, a GoFundMe page has been set up on the fighter’s behalf. One might think Roc Nation Sports, an entity Franco was a part of and under whose banner Franco was so badly harmed, would rise to the occasion in some way. If Roc Nation couldn’t go so far as to pay all of Franco’s bills, one would at least expect it to promote the charity built around supporting the fighter.

According to Franco that has been far from the case. “Roc Nation has not even contacted (me) since the fight,” Franco informed me on Tuesday. “Someone that used to work for Roc Nation sent me a photo of him holding up my shirt with another Roc Nation fighter, but that is all.” In fact, Franco stated that Roc Nation expressed it’s displeasure when he called company out in public. “Dino Duva called a few weeks ago,” Franco claimed, “but it was only to tell my family to take our posts ‘calling out’ Roc Nation down off of social media. Since they haven’t called, we put them back up.” Indeed, Franco has been posting his displeasure throughout social media. And yet he claims he has still heard nothing more from the entity he was once a part of.

I reached out to Roc Nation Sports twice, leaving messages both yesterday and today. Those calls, however, have yet to be returned. Founded by superstar Jay Z (Shawn Carter) in 2013, Roc Nation has repped some top level fighters, such as Andre Ward, Miguel Cotto and Guillermo Rigondeaux. Franco has reached out to Jay Z via video, yet it’s unclear if one of the most famous men on earth is even aware of his plight. Franco and his family, however, will happily accept donations from fans to help pay his medical bills. Anyone who wishes to help may do so through the link below:

https://www.gofundme.com/DanielTwitchFranco

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The Misrepresentation featuring Vasyl Lomachenko and Guillermo Rigondeaux


The Misrepresentation featuring Vasyl Lomachenko and Guillermo Rigondeaux
By: Kirk Jackson

Vasyl Lomachenko 8-1 (6 KO’s) is considered by many pundits as the top pound-for-pound fighter in the sport and is in an odd position.

A fighter with less than 10 fights to be considered by many observers at the very worse, top five pound-for-pound is quite unique.

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^ I personally have Andre Ward clearly ranked at No. 1, followed by Terence Crawford, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Manny Pacquiao and Keith Thurman or Roman Gonzalez.

Lomachenko’s assortment of skills is a sight many observers marvel at; his fluid punch combinations, the flickering of his feet with how he seamlessly moves in, out and around opponents, the various angles and looks that make it nearly impossible for opponents to capitalize on, Lomachenko lives up to his moniker “Hi-Tech.”

With Lomachenko’s short stint as a professional, he boasts a pretty decent resume for the small amount of fights.

Wins against Nicholas Walters and Gary Russell Jr. no matter the circumstances will look good on anyone’s resume.
I wouldn’t hold his last fight versus Jason Sosa 20-2-4 (15 KO’s) against him, as I believe that was set-up as a showcase fight, in effort to build towards a greater fight in the immediate aftermath. But it appears I was wrong with that assessment.

Lomachenko is scheduled to face Miguel Marriaga 25-2 (21 KO’s) August 5th at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles, California.

Wait what?

Fighting Marriaga does not suggest willingness to fight the best per say. For one, Marriaga is not even ranked
within the top 15 of the junior lightweight division.

He is ranked 27th according to Boxrec which is fitting because you have to resort to Boxrec just to figure who Marriaga is.

Marriaga is also coming off a sound defeat against Oscar Valdez via unanimous decision.

The interesting thing, Lomachenko and his supporters (mainly HBO’s Jim Lampley) claim Lomachenko is avoided by everyone virtually between 126 through 135 lbs.

Lomachenko and his handlers claim the same.

However, aside from Russell wanting a rematch with Lomachenko, there is one fighter in particular adamant on facing the Ukrainian star. Another pound-for-pound fighter, often overlooked, Guillermo Rigondeaux 17-0 (11 KO’s).

Rigondeaux is overlooked and often disrespected by many prestigious members of the media. Therefore, there is a clear misrepresentation of the Cuban and his accomplishments.

The question is why?

Along with Lomachenko, Rigondeaux is arguably the most accomplished amateur fighter of all-time. Winning two Olympic gold medals, winning over 400 fights, Rigondeaux is a seven-time Cuban national champion at bantamweight (2000–2006), finishing his amateur career with a record of nearly 475 fights with 12 losses.

The misused and overused rhetoric regarding Rigondeaux is he is “Boring” and isn’t a big draw. Comparatively speaking, these sentiments can be regarded as false.

Rigondeaux has his detractors, HBO commentatorJim Lampley, former promoter Bob Arum, to ESPN writer Dan Rafael.
Rafael flat out called Rigondeaux boring on numerous occasions, while Arum has been quoted saying, “When Rigondeaux stands and fights, the [expletive] has a lot of power and a lot of skill, but running the way he does really makes it not a watchable fight.”

The more accurate reality is Rigondeaux is suffering from being blackballed within the industry.

A small example:

The height of Rigondeaux’s fame was when he dominated Nonito Donaire, at the time regarded as the top guy pound-for-pound.

Why is it, after such a great accomplishment with the unifying of titles, and brilliant performance of defeating a top pound-for-pound fighter, the victor was less promoted than he was before prior to that fight?
It’s as though he was penalized for being that good.

Around that time, circa 2013, Rigondeaux headlined another event on HBO to close out the year. For some odd reason there was a lack of promotion, even though Rigondeaux was fighting a former champion and highly qualified contender, Joseph Agbeko.

That same day rival network Showtime was airing the heavily promoted bout PaulieMalignaggivsZab Judah at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, New York.

There were subsequent fights on both networks and here are the numbers as follows; these numbers are based off a Jake Donovan article on www.boxingscene.com.

Highest to Lowest:
Kirkland-Tapia, HBO, 718,000
PaulieMalignaggi – Zab Judah, Showtime, 640,000
Rigondeaux- Agbeko, HBO, 550,000
Devon Alexander- Shawn Porter, Showtime, 515,000
SakioBika- Anthony Dirrell, Showtime, 446,000
Erislandy Lara- Austin Trout, Showtime, 429,000
Matthew Macklin-Lamar Russ, HBO, 401,000

It can be argued when these two opposing networks (HBO and Showtime) go head to head they lose a significant amount of viewers.

Rigondeaux’s fight was in direct competition with a fight that was actually promoted and didn’t do too bad.
If Rigondeaux vs. Agbeko aired on a night where the opposing network was not showing any boxing events, the numbers may have increased substantially.

We compare those numbers to Lomachenko’s last airing, there was an average of 832,000 viewers who watched Lomachenko defend his WBO world super featherweight title against Sosa in the main event of HBO’s “World Championship Boxing” tripleheader.

An event featuring another Ukrainian star, WBO cruiserweight champion AleksandrUsyk (12-0, 10 KO’s) and talented light heavyweight contender OleksandrGvozdyk (13-0, 11 KO’s).

With everything considered, promotion vs. no promotion, Lomachenko and Rigondeaux are in the same ball park.

Again why is there praise for one (Lomachenko) and disdain for another (Rigondeaux)? Why can’t there be room to praise both talents? By praising both, it’s how we continue to appreciate and build the sport as opposed to continually tear it down.

Also very important, why hasn’t this fight been made?

This can be an interesting match-up of talents featuring two legendary amateur fighters.

Rigondeaux uses an unique skill-set, possesses power in both hands and based on his social media handles (Twitter, Instagram) appears willing to fight the best as well.

The same can be obviously echoed for Lomachenko.

Perhaps it is the former promoter of Rigondeaux and current promoter of Lomachenko who does notnot want the fight to come into fruition?

Arguments and disagreements with weight, money, prevented this epic match-up from manifesting into realization in the past.

The interesting thing is this fight could potentially favor Lomachenko provided his skillset, along with his youth and size advantages.

Based off Rigoneaux’s last performance against Moises Flores 25-0 (17 KO’s) albeit a small sample size, he appears to still possess his reflexes and power.

It’s interesting both Lomachenko and Rigondeaux share so much in common; from amateur pedigree and mirrored accomplishments at the amateur and professional level, high boxing intellect and skill-levels although each possessing different skill-sets and I believe there is a gift and curse they both share.

A gift and curse once shared by Floyd Mayweather, Marvin Hagler and many other great fighters of the past.
Rigondeaux and Lomachenko are so talented, there is reluctance at some degree regarding other fighters and their desire to face them.

It’s to a point where the financial compensation must warrant the risk of the fight.
Rigondeaux’s appears ready.

Let’s make it happen.

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The Best Match In Boxing Is Going Down This Saturday…Does Anyone Care?


The Best Match In Boxing Is Going Down This Saturday…Does Anyone Care?
By: Sean Crose

While the sports world focuses on more frivolous matters this week, the best matchup in all of combat sports is going down this Saturday. No, it doesn’t involve a loudmouthed Irishman or a flashy hedonist with a perfect record. Believe it or not, it doesn’t even involve a red headed Mexican and a Kazakh knockout machine. No, the best match in all of combat sports involves a Russian immigrant and a churchgoing Californian who are set to collide in the city of Las Vegas. Few outside of the world of boxing even know it’s happening. Perhaps few inside the world of boxing even care.

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And that, friends, is really too bad. For Saturday night’s Andre Ward-Sergey Kovalev fight for light heavyweight supremacy promises boxing at it’s best. Exquisite skill. Frightening power. Two men with a lot to prove. Ward-Kovalev II has it all. The first fight between both men last fall wasn’t a classic, but it was damn good, with Ward pulling off a close, yet controversial decision win. Each man now aims to settle things once and for all. Oh, and they don’t like each other. Or at least Kovalev despises Ward. In fact, he despises Ward so bad, he’s made it clear he wants to hurt the man.

Considering the fact that Kovalev has already ended one life, that’s legitimately frightening stuff. Not that the Russian is actually looking to kill Ward, he’s just looking to dispense a world class ass kicking. Ward, on the other hand, is clearly looking to take his opponent to school. And by the way, the guy’s really good at taking opponents to school. One suspects Ward’s also looking to let Kovalev know he’s no pushover. In other words, there’s a lot to look forward to here. The question, however, is whether or not anyone’s actually looking forward to it.

This writer is, and no doubt others are, as well. Probably not too many others, though, and that’s a shame. Neither Ward nor Kovalev has an enormous fan base. People aren’t going to fly across the Atlantic by the jet full for this fight. Nor is an army of people donning hats declaring its preferred fighter the best ever going to be spotted around Vegas this weekend. Nope. This fight is for the purists. As George Foreman once said, boxing is like jazz, the better it is, the less people like it.

Here’s hoping for some seriously good jazz this weekend.

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HBO PPV Preview: Rigondeaux vs. Flores, Bivol vs. Agnew, Ward vs. Kovalev


HBO PPV Preview: Rigondeaux vs. Flores, Bivol vs. Agnew, Ward vs. Kovalev
By: William Holmes

HBO Sports will present four fights on Pay Per View on Saturday night which will feature a main event rematch between the two top boxers in the light heavyweight division, Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward.

Their first bout was a close and entertaining affair that saw Ward scratch out a decision victory after being knocked down early in the bout. Ward and Kovalev genuinely dislike each other and this bout should be as entertaining as the first one.

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Main Events and Roc Nation will be co-promoting this event which will take place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The following is a preview of three of the planned televised bouts.

Dmitry Bivol (10-0) vs. Cedric Agnew (29-2); Light Heavyweights

Prospect Dmitry Bivol is a two time Russian National Gold Medalist as an amateur at two different weights and has never tasted defeated. He lives in Russia but was born in Kyrgyzstan and has never tasted defeated.

Bivol will be four years younger than Agnew, who just turned thirty. They are both six feet tall. Agnew was a runner up in the National Golden Gloves as an amateur.

Both boxers have decent power, but Bivol appears to be the harder puncher. He has eight stoppage wins in only ten fights, while Agnew has fifteen stoppage wins and one stoppage loss.

Bivol has been very active and already fought twice in 2017 and three times in 2016. He has defeated the likes of Samuel Clarkson, Robert Berridge, and Felix Valera. Bivol has never faced someone with a losing record, which is rare for prospects as they are usually brought up slowly.

Agnew’s biggest wins have come against boxers past their primes. He has defeated the likes of Yusaf Mack, Otis Griffin, and Daniel Judah. His two losses were to Sergey Kovalev and a man that Bivol has defeated, Samuel Clarkson.

Agnew is a decent boxer with a good looking record, but he’s been fairly inactive since his loss to Kovalev. He only fought once in 2017 and did not fight at all in 2016. This is a bout that Bivol should win quite easily.

Guillermo Rigondeaux (17-0) vs. Moises Flores (25-0); WBA Junior Featherweight Title

Guillermo Rigondeaux is one of boxing’s best talents and unfortunately, one of boxing’s most avoided fighters.

He’s a two time Olympic Gold Medalist and a two time Gold Medalist in the world amateur championships. He’s slick, quick, and has some incredible defense on top of pin point accuracy. But, his style is considered boring by the average fan and he struggles to bring in a large fan base.

He’s facing his mandatory challenger for his WBA Junior Featherweight title, but it doesn’t appear Flores will be a real challenge to him.

Flores does have an edge in the physicals. He’s six years younger than Rigondeaux and will have a five inch height advantage and about a one inch reach advantage. He’s also been more active than Rigondeaux, but not by much. Flores fought once in 2016 and twice in 2015. Rigondeaux fought once in 2016 and once in 2015.

Flores also doesn’t have the amateur pedigree of Rigondeaux and hasn’t faced good opposition.

Rigondeaux has defeated the likes of James Dickens, Drian Francisco, Joseph Agbeko, Nonito Doniare, Roberto Marroquin, Teon Kennedy, and Rico Ramos. He has eleven stoppage wins on his record but has been unable to entice any of the other world champions to face him in the ring.

Flores has spent most of his career fighting in Mexico against sub-par opposition. He has seventeen stoppage victories, but only two of his past five fights resulted in a TKO or KO victory. His notable wins have come against Oscar Escandon and Mario Macias.

Rigondeaux needs an entertaining victory badly if he wants to stay relevant and land a date on HBO or Showtime. Hopefully he takes some risks to go for the stoppage on Saturday, but there’s little to no doubt that will emerge victorious.

Andre Ward (31-0) vs. Sergey Kovalev (30-1-1); WBO, WBA, and IBF Light Heavyweight Titles

Their first bout was close, very close, and many boxing aficionados thought Kovalev did enough to win the decision. However, the judges disagreed and scored the bout 114-113 on all three cards for Andre Ward.

Luckily for fight fans they get to witness a rare rematch between two of a division’s best on Saturday night, between two boxers who genuinely dislike each other.

Both boxers are nearing the end of their prime. Ward is thirty three years old and Kovalev is thirty four. They are both six feet tall and Kovalev will have a slight one and a half reach advantage on Ward.

Ward is known for his slick, defensive boxing and his accurate counter punching. Kovalev is known for his devastating power. Ward only has fourteen stoppages in his career while Kovalev has twenty six of his opponents.

However, Kovalev’s last two opponents made it all twelve rounds and he was not able to stop the aged Bernard Hopkins. Kovalev’s power appears to be waning.

Ward had a considerable amount of success as an amateur and was able to win the Gold Medal in the 2004 Summer Olympics. Kovalev won a gold medal in the Russian Amateur Championships, but did not experience the type of success Ward experienced as an amateur.

Ward has defeated the likes of Alexander Brand, Sullivan Barrera, Edwin Rodriguez, Chad Dawson, Carl Froch, Arthur Abraham, Sakio Bika, Allan Green, Mikkel Kessler, Edison Miranda, and of course Sergey Kovalev.

Kovalev has defeated the likes of Isaac Chilemba, Jean Pascal, Bernard Hopkins, Blake Caparello, Ismayl Sillah, Nathan Cleverly, and Gabriel Campillo.

Ward is a slick, intelligent boxer who’s able to adjust his style mid match to defeat his opponent. Kovalev’s power caught him off guard in their first fight, but he was able to adjust and win a majority of the rounds in the second half of the fight. Kovalev’s power appears to be escaping him and he looked frustrated in the later rounds against Ward.

Even though their first bout was very close, a rematch favors Ward and this writer expects him to win by a more comfortable margin.

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Why The Dislike For Andre Ward?


Why The Dislike For Andre Ward?
By: Sean Crose

He’s risen above his tough origins. He’s a sound family man. He never makes a scene in public. And he’s one hell of a good fighter. Still, there’s a lot of dislike out there for light heavyweight kingpin Andre Ward. Why that is, however, is a question worth asking. Some time ago, HBO personality Max Kellerman stated that Ward wasn’t popular because he basically didn’t play into the bad boy role such as contemporaries Floyd Mayweather and Adrien Broner had. There may have been some truth to that, but “nice guys” such as Ray Leonard and the second version of George Foreman were popular despite the smiles on their faces.

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Then again, Leonard and Foreman came from different times. This is the era of the big mouth, after all. Heavyweight behemoth Tyson Fury and MMA star Conor McGregor are, along with Broner and Mayweather, more par for the course. Being humble just doesn’t cut it these days. Or does it? Until very recently Manny Pacquiao, who has always come across as smiling and modest, was extremely popular. Perhaps he was the exception, however, as more conservative types like Tim Bradley and Mikey Garcia, although well liked, don’t draw in the attention the rogue warriors do. Errol Spence, though, may be well on his way to enormous popularity. The same goes for Anthony Joshua. And they’re both seemingly nice guys…who are also great fun to watch.

Perhaps that’s what it all comes down to, really….being fun to watch. Except for the fact that Floyd isn’t really fun to watch. For some, his fights are more like works of fine literature – rewarding and very well worth your time – but challenging to get through. Sure enough, Floyd’s “Money” persona may make up for an actual LACK of ring excitement. If you’re starting to feel this all gets confusing, you’re not alone. The truth is, for every argument you make for Ward’s low approval among fans, there’s a counterargument waiting to shut you down.

Think his reputation is harmed because he doesn’t act like a punk? Anthony Joshua is no punk. Think people are turned off because he’s not explosive in the ring? People pay millions to watch Floyd cruise to decisions. Think Ward is disdained for being openly Christian? Foreman’s openly Christian, and – even in retirement – remains one of the most beloved figures in the sport. What exactly IS it about Ward that rankles people, then? This writer sees all kinds of accusations tossed against the man regarding various offenses. Some of them may be spot on, but none seem to warrant the deep dislike people seem to have.

For what it’s worth, one of the charges against Ward is that he’s a diva. Word is the man, or at least his camp, is extremely hard to do business with. That sort of thing can be genuinely off putting. Ward’s opponent this Saturday, Sergey Kovalev, also makes it clear that he feels Ward’s camp is less than fair in it’s treatment of he and his team. If so, that’s another good reason for people to feel animosity.

Ultimately, though, it’s a bit odd that Ward, who appears to be a genuinely unassuming type overall, is seen in such a negative light. This is a sport, after all, where people say and do terrible things, where arrests, PED busts, and antisocial antics occur far more frequently than they should. In light of all that, it may be that Ward is viewed a bit too harshly by his critics. But perhaps there’s more to it than meets the eye of this particular writer.

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Sergey Kovalev Interview: “I Want to Destroy this Guy”


Sergey Kovalev Interview: “I Want to Destroy this Guy”
By: Matthew N. Becher

Sergey Kovalev will attempt to redeem his lone defeat against Andre Ward on June 17th, Live on HBO Pay per view. Kovalev has been very outspoken in the media about his disdain for Ward and that he felt ‘Cheated’ out of his titles the first time they fought. We were able to briefly speak with Sergey as he is entrenched in the middle of his training camp in California.

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Photo Credit: HBO BOxing

Boxing Insider: What was running through your mind when the judges read all 3 scorecards were for Ward?

Sergey Kovalev: When I hear him say ‘and the new…’ I could not believe what I was hearing.

Boxing Insider: What do you need to do different in this fight to make sure you win?

Sergey Kovalev: I was “over-trained’ for my first fight against Andre Ward. I did three work outs a day. I tried to do everything faster, more, and stronger. Instead of running five miles, I did eight miles. I did more than I usually do all the time. I over-trained.This time I do everything less, more smart.

Boxing Insider: The last time we spoke I asked “do you think you can actually knock Andre Ward out?”…you answered, “I don’t know”. Nowthat you have fought him, can you knock out Andre Ward?

Sergey Kovalev: This is boxing, anything can happen. Do I wish to knock him out? Sure. We will see on June 17 on HBO PPV

Boxing Insider: What are some things that impressed you with the way Ward fights?

Sergey Kovalev: (No answer)

Boxing Insider: Will you change anything in this training camp compared to the last?

Sergey Kovalev: My preparation right now is doing great, much better than last time because I took care of all the mistakes I did last two fights. Two last fights I was over-trained, for Chilemba and for Ward, and I fought similar. But this training camp I am doing everything very good. I am doing the same training, but less.

Boxing Insider: What are your true feelings about Andre Ward, is it hate, respect, etc.?

Sergey Kovalev: I do not like this guy. I want to destroy this guy as a boxer, as a champion. For me he is not a champion, he’s a fake champion.

Boxing Insider: If you do win this rematch, would you make Ward fight outside of his comfort zone?

Sergey Kovalev: Let’s see first what happens on June 17th. First of all I must get back my belts, we’ll see what will happen after this.

Boxing Insider: Since he missed your HBO Faceoff, Is there any message you’d like to send to Andre Ward right now?

Sergey Kovalev: He’s playing with me, but what’s broken you makes you only stronger right? I only care that I should beat him on June 17 and get back my belts.

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Luis Arias Interview: “The goal is to be the number one contender by early next year”


Luis Arias Interview: “The goal is to be the number one contender by early next year”
By: Matthew N. Becher

​Luis Arias is a young (26), undefeated (17-0 8KO), American middleweight boxer who will be appearing on the June 17th HBO pay per view showing of the rematch between Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev.

(L-R) Luis Arias throws a right to the body of James Winchester during their super middleweight fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on September 14, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Arias will look to make a big statement in the division as he takes on top ten ranked Arif Magomedov. Boxing Insider was able to speak with Arias as he took a break from his training camp in Florida.

Boxing Insider: Tell the fans a little about yourself and your fighting style.

Luis Arias: I was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I picked up boxing at a young age, at about 7, 8 years old. I then had my first amateur fight at 8. I was an American amateur, seven time national champion, Olympic trial finalist. I’m currently 17-0 as a pro and ranked in more than one of the sanctioning bodies organizations. I have a very fan friendly style. Considered more of a boxer puncher, but I like to be more of a puncher first. I’m a little aggressive, I like breaking my opponent down. I like to go to the body like no other, I feel like I’m one of the best body punchers in the game and I’m ready to prove it.

Boxing Insider: You are a young fighter, what does it feel like to be fighting on the undercard of such a big event?

Luis Arias: It feels great. It’s a fantastic opportunity. It’s like every fighters dream to make it to HBO. To have my first televised fight to be on a HBO pay per view card is amazing. It’s just truly a blessing and goes to show you that hard work really pays off. I’ve been working hard for this and my time has come.

Boxing Insider: What do you know about your opponent Arif Magomedov?

Luis Arias: Well, I know everything there is to know about him. I studied him, my team has studied him. I know he’s a tough guy, young, aggressive. I know he comes to fight. But he does already have a blemish in his record, he’s been beat before and come June 17th I have the perfect game plan to beat him again.

Boxing Insider: Do you feel that a win against Magomedov puts you as one of the top 20 middleweights in the world?

Luis Arias: Well, I’m already one of the top 20 middleweights in the world, but once I get this guy out of the way I will definitely be in the top ten. All I have to do is put on an A class performance, show the crowd that I am a threat to anyone in the division. I will be defending my belt (USBA) for the second time and I will definitely be in the top ten. The goal is to be the number one contender by early next year.

Boxing Insider: That leads into my final question, what are your overall goals for 2017.

Luis Arias: My goal is to creep up that ranking, keep climbing and to be the number one contender. GGG and Canelo are having a big showdown in my weight division. Once their fight is over with both are going to have to fight someone early next year, and my plan is to be the number one contender and force the winner of that fight to fight me. I want top 10 after June, by the end of the year be at least top 5 and just keep climbing and go from there.

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A Case of Revenge or the Same Result? Ward vs. Kovalev II


A Case of Revenge or the Same Result? Ward vs. Kovalev II
By: Kirk Jackson

In a bout titled “NO EXCUSES,” Andre Ward 31-0 (15 KO’s) defends his light heavyweight titles against the man who previously reigned over the division with iron fists – Sergey Kovalev 30-1-1 (26 KO’s).

After Capturing Light Heavyweight Titles, What is Next for Andre Ward?

After talks of retirement from Ward, talks of frustration from both fighters revolving around many things, and trash talk amongst each other, the time for talk is over and the time to resume the battle of supremacy of the light heavyweight division will continue.

The rematch is set for Saturday, June 17th at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, NV and will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View.

Kovalev in vengeful fashion responded to Ward’s tweet stating, “Be ready motherf***er! I’ll finish your boxing career!”

Further elaborating, the no.2 ranked pound-for-pound fighter according to The Ring discussed the importance of this fight.

“I’m glad to know that rematch will happen. I really hope that Andre Ward will get into the ring for this rematch. Fans of boxing will see the real Krusher–the one they have missed for couple of my last fights. For me this rematch is very important as no other bout in my entire boxing career. Thanks a lot to all of boxing fans,” said Kovalev.

It’s obvious the two fighters have strong dislike for one another. At the top of any sport or profession, there will be competition; rivalries developed and strong emotions may play out in the midst of competition between the opposing parties.

There was a time when some people of the boxing community questioned if the rematch between Ward and Kovalev would surface.

Many questioned Ward’s desire to fight Kovalev again; citing the controversy of the original decision, along with Kovalev’s punching power reasons not to mix it up again with the man from Russia.

What many of the doubters failed to realize is the contractual obligations between Kovalev and Ward’s teams. There is a rematch clause in the contract that must be honored and a breach of contract may come with many ramifications.

It may also be argued that the victor of the initial bout (Ward) was frustrated with the network’s lack of promotion and may have felt his performance and recognition of his ability was undermined.

The HBO commentary team was critical of his performance and Ward may feel he does not get the same leeway or appreciation some of his HBO contemporaries (Gennady Golovkin, Roman Gonzalez)receive despite his success in the ring.

Ward is the last American male to win an Olympic gold medal and a five time world champion across two weight classes.

Having won the first fight controversial or not, Ward’s team holds leverage with the negotiation process. They exercised their leverage and thankfully the rematch is on.

The magnitude of this match is significant. This bout between Kovalev and Ward not only features the best fighters in the light heavyweight division (No disrespect to Adonis Stevenson), but this is a battle between arguably the best fighters p4pwith Ward and Kovalev listed in the top four on many respective lists.

Question is how will this fight play out? Will Ward pick up where he left off in the first fight? Mounting a strong attack on the inside, attacking Kovalev’s body, slowly but surely wearing down the bigger man while avoiding crushing punches?

Or will Kovalev make the adjustments against Ward? Keeping the fight at his distance (mid-range), creating offense off his potent jab, perhaps attempting to finish off Ward if he manages to hurt the defense-minded rival, leaving no doubt as to who the winner is?

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Breaking: Ward-Kovalev II Is On


Breaking: Ward-Kovalev II Is On
By: Sean Crose

“Wait for it…”

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These words came from a Tweet today from light heavyweight kingpin Andre Ward. Shortly thereafter, one was able to find some major observers of the boxing world taking to the internet to declare (via sources) that a Ward rematch with Sergey Kovalev was a done deal. What’s more, the date of the rematch was said to be June 17 at the T-Mobile Arena in Vegas. Naturally, it wasbeing stated that the fight will appear via pay per view (you didn’t expect it on CBS, did you?). If word around the campfire was to be believed, a press conference announcing the much anticipated battle will occur next week.

Then, later in the afternoon, Ward tweeted the following:

I’m going to keep it short & sweet, you got what you asked for, now you have to see me JUNE 17. This time leave the excuses at home. #EARNED

Long story short…Ward-Kovalev II is on.

Ward knocked Kovalev off his light heavyweight pedestal with a highly controversial decision late last fall. It was a good, close fight, no matter how you look at it and a rematch is most certainly in order. Still, there was fear in some circles that Ward was far less than interested in facing the Russian again anytime soon.

So much for that line of thinking.

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Miguel Cotto And The Pay Per View Event You Probably Won’t Buy


Miguel Cotto And The Pay Per View Event You Probably Won’t Buy
By: Sean Crose

Okay, admittedly, the title of this piece is dripping in hyperbole. Surely there are those who will cough up good money to see past his prime superstar Miguel Cotto – 40-5 – go head to head with the enigmatic and infrequently in the ring James Kirkland – 32-2 – at the Dallas Cowboys’ training facility in late February. Why good money will be paid for a fight which, for all intents and purposes, belongs on regular HBO is beyond me. Again, though, some will undoubtedly pay. My guess, however, is that not many will. Not many at all.

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The truth is that Cotto hasn’t fought since he lost a close one to Canelo Alvarez in a true mega bout over a year ago. As for Kirkland, he hasn’t fought since Canelo laid him out flat a week after Mayweather and Pacquiao met in their disappointing dud of a supermatch back in 2015. Considering that both men are coming off a loss, that both men are highly inactive, that neither man is considered the top fighter anywhere between the weights of 150-160 pounds, it’s clear this isn’t a fight that’s relevant enough to warrant a pay per view card.

Yet the fight will appear on pay per view regardless. Word is that Roc Nation Sports, which represents Cotto, must pay the man so much for his fights that the outfit has no choice but to go the pay per view route (under the banner of HBO). That’s too bad for Roc Nation and HBO – but it’s even worse for fans, who wouldn’t mind seeing the bout. It’s sure to be entertaining after all, considering the parties involved. The bottom line, however, is Cotto-Kirkland is not pay per view material. A Big Mac can be a terrific Burger, but it’s not worth twenty bucks a pop…just like this fight simply doesn’t warrant a price tag.

The truth of course, is that boxing fans – and this is particularly true in the case of casual fans – are done with pay per view events, at least for the time being. Whether they made money or not, pay per view shows like Kovalev-Ward, Pacquiao-Vargas, Canelo-Smith and Crawford-Postol have been far from huge successes. Indeed, the days of Mayweather-Guererro are over, much less the days of Mayweather-Pacquiao. In other words, the pay per view market is hurting.

Here might be at least part of the problem, however:

That there are some fighters who have, and still, get paid more than their market value. Everyone wants to see fighters get the money they deserve. The history of the sport has been littered with short changing, after all. Yet perhaps the pendulum, at least in some cases, may have swung too far the other way. And this particular pay per view card might well be indicative of that problem.

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Tevin “American Idol” Farmer Retains NABF Title in Philly Friday.


Tevin “American Idol” Farmer Retains NABF Title in Philly Friday.
By: Ken Hissner

At the 2300 Arena in South Philadelphia Friday night Promoters Peltz Boxing, Bam Boxing Promotions, DiBella Entertainment and Joe Hand Promotions put on an 8 bout show. This show was highlighted by a great undercard.

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In the main event the NABF super featherweight champion Tevin “The American Idol” Farmer, 24-4-1 (5), of North Philly, defeated game opponent from Kosovo Dardan Zenunaj, 12-3 (9), out of L.A., over ten rounds.

In the opening round it was all Zenuanaj surprisingly reaching the usually hard to hit Farmer. In the second round Farmer came storming out landing at will. It was all Farmer landing combinations and a hard left to the chin of Zenunaj at the end of a five punch combination. In the third round Farmer continued to rock Zenuanaj with combinations while slipping punches in return. Though Zenuanaj landed half a dozen punches Farmer was able to block most. Farmer finished the round well.

In the fourth round Zenuanaj never stops coming forward while Farmer is doing as much slipping punches as landing them.

Farmer finished strong with a flurry in a close round that could have made the difference. In the fifth round Zenunaj continues stalking and driving Farmer to a corner. Farmer shows his skills but looks a bit tired. In the sixth round Farmer went from doing little but slipping and covering up to landing a four punch combination. Once again Zenuanaj had Farmer in a corner. It was Farmer’s round but is only fighting in spurts. In the seventh round Zenuanaj puts his hips and challenges Farmer to open up. Farmer obliged and it was a good round for both fighters.

In round eighth round both fighters were slugging it out unlike the first seven rounds. In the ninth round Farmer flurries in spurts but still out punches Zenuanaj who looks to be tiring. In the tenth and final round a straight left to the chin of Zenuanaj knocked his head back but he came right back. It was a close round that could decide this one. Referee Shawn Clark had little to do in this one.

Chino Rivas and his assistant Rashiem Jefferson were in the Farmer corner.

Afterwards the promoter of Farmer DiBella was in the ring while WBA champion Jason “El Canito” Sosa was standing in Farmer’s corner. It was the seventeenth straight win for Farmer.

Dewey LaRosa had it 98-92 while Julie Lederman and Dave Braslow had it 99-91. This writer had it 96-94.

In the co-feature Philly cruiserweight Garrett “Ultimate Warrior” Wilson, 17-11-1 (9), won a majority decision in a boring fight over Lamont “Too Smooth” Capers, 7-9-2 (0), of Hawley, PA, in 6.
In the first round the much taller Capers used his long reach and kept it in the face of Wilson annoying him more than anything else. In the second round it was more of the same with Wilson missing more than landing. In the third round Capers continued to use his jab. In the third round Wilson finally got inside of the jab and drove Capers into the ropes having him hurt but Capers managed to hold on.

In the fourth round it was more of the same like the first two rounds with Capers beginning to tire. Close round but Wilson may have pulled it out. In the fifth round Capers countered with a right to the chin of Wilson. Shortly afterwards it was Wilson driving Capers into a corner before getting tied up. Wilson has chased Capers the entire fight. In the sixth and final round it was more of Capers running and Wilson chasing and missing more than he landed. It was a terrible fight due to Capers. Veteran trainer “Cornbread” Ramsey was in the Wilson corner.

Both Dewey LaRosa and Adam Friscia had it 58-56 while Dave Braslow and this writer had it 57-57.

Super welterweight Isaiah Wise, 3-1 (2), of Philly, was in a war and lost a majority decision to Panama’s Roque Zapata, 2-1-3 (0), out of Culpeper, VA, over 4 rounds. This could have been the main event that’s how good it was. This was by far the fight of the night!

The opening round was a war. Wise tried boxing but Zapata would come in low and continue throwing punches. Zapata had rocked Wise several times and had his face reddened. In the second round it was just as brutal as the first. Zapata was getting hit low without warning because it was the only way Wise could keep him from throwing bombs.

In the third round Wise continued to stand in front of Zapata. Wise rarely used his jab as if he was a former MMA fighter. The war continued with Wise going to the body with border line punches while Zapata never stopped throwing and landing. In the fourth and final round they went all out for the fourth round. Wise’s face was showing the wear from the punches to the head while Zapata rarely went to the body. Both fighters took punches well and never stopped landing. Wise continued to the body while Zapata rarely did.

Judges Lederman had it 38-38 while LaRosa had it 40-36 and Braswell 39-37 as did this writer.

In the opening bout southpaw super bantamweight Jose “Chocolatito” Gonzalez, 6-0-1 (2), out of New York City, won a decision over Tim Ibarra, 4-4 (1), out of Denver, CO, over 4 rounds.

In the first two rounds Ibarra took the first but the second was a toss up.

Ibarra doesn’t seem to be bothered by Gonzalez being southpaw. Gonzalez is moving to his right in line for Ibarra to score. In the third round Ibarra was landing lead rights one after another to the chin of Gonzalez. In the fourth and final round Ibarra continues in this round to counter well. He even turned southpaw several times. Gonzalez finished strong landing straight lefts to the chin of Ibarra. Up until the last round referee McCall hardly had to break the boxers.

Judges Lederman and Frisca had it 40-36 while Braswell scored it 39-37 all for Rodriguez. This writer had it 38-38.
Heavyweight from the Ukraine Iegor Plevako, 2-0 (1), out of Brooklyn, NY, stopped Montrell Castro, 0-1 (0), out of Philly, at 0:31 of the first.

In the first round Castro was bullying his way backing up Plevako. All of a sudden Castro started tiring and Plevako rocked him and had him out on his feet and trying to cover up to no avail. For some reason referee Clark instead of stopping the fight gave Castro an 8 count. Castro didn’t look good coming out for the second round when Plevako rocked him again. Castro tried tackling Plevako and fell to the canvas causing referee Clark to finally wave the fight off.
“I thought the referee should have stopped the fight instead of giving him a count.” said Plevako. He is one of many of Dave McWaters boxers.

Lightweight Victor Padilla of PR now out of Berlin, NJ, knocked out Kimmy St. Pierre, 1-3 (0), of Quebec CAN, at 0:59 of the second round.

In the first round Padilla the southpaw started out like it was going to end it early. Then halfway through the round Padilla started picking his punches rocking Pierre with a combination.

Padilla was warned twice for low blows by referee Benjy Esteves, Jr. In the second round a low blow by Padilla gave Pierre several minutes to re-coup by referee Esteves. Padilla came in to end it and he did with a flurry of punches dropping St. Pierre who took the count without trying to get up. Padilla looks like the real deal as his trainer Chino Rivas advised this writer prior to the fight.

Padilla won the FL GG last week and just turned 18. “I was nervous in the first round landing low blows trying to get to the mid-section. I really felt good in this fight and am ready to go again next week,” said Padilla.

Junior lightweight Joseph “Fast Hands” Adorno, 1-0 (1), of Allentown, PA, stopped Guy Newman, 0-1 (0), of Lynchburg, VA, at 1:47 of the first round.

In the first round after a pair of knockdowns referee Clark wisely stopped it. Adorno went to both body and head with vicious punches. He is certainly a good prospect and had many fans come down from Allentown. This kid not only has fast hands but he throws with “bad intensions!” He said “I didn’t look for the knockout but when it came it came.”

Super welterweight Marcel Rivers, 1-0 (1), of North Philly, stormed out of the corner and never gave Tony Kim, 0-1 (0), of Fresh Meadows, NY, a chance stopping him at 0:41 of the first round. Rivers kept beating him until scoring a knockdown. Upon rising Kim again was taking hard punches to the head when referee McCall wisely stopped it. Veteran trainer Fred Jenkins, Sr. was in the corner of Rivers.

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More praise and less criticism: The battle between Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev


More praise and less criticism: The battle between Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev
By: Kirk Jackson

Andre Ward 31-0 (15 KO’s) captured the WBA, WBO and IBF light heavyweight titles from Sergey Kovalev 30-1-1 (26 KO’s), in an action-packed, highly competitive bout, with historical ramifications this past weekend.

Historic, as this fight was the seventh instance, seventh world title fight featuring two undefeated fighters with at least 30 wins each. Ward also became the seventh fighter to capture world titles at 168 and 175 lbs.

After Capturing Light Heavyweight Titles, What is Next for Andre Ward?

Instead of celebrating the fact we witnessed two truly great fighters; each fighter exercising their skills in a highly competitive bout and displaying why each fighter is highly regarded as a top pound for pound fighter.

Instead of reveling in the actual instance of watching two elite fighters in their prime, going back and forth as was the ebb and flow of the fight, Rocky-like if we consider the storyline and circumstances of the fight, we are talking about controversy.

We’re all entitled to our opinions, and in the United States at least, we are allowed the freedoms to express such.

With these varying perspectives and interpretations of what is witnessed, we can certainly have a difference of opinion.

Now how someone interprets a fight is subjective. But scoring rounds and scoring fights are supposed to be based on primarily four factors.

Effective Aggression: Being the aggressor may leave an impression of dominance, but the aggressor must actually “land” punches and avoid counter-punches in return, in order to truly be “effective.” Just chasing the opponent is not effective aggression.

Ring Generalship: The fighter who controls the pace of the fight; the fighter enforces his/her will and is the conductor of the action. Setting the range, establishing the distance in which the fight takes place, which can include clinching/in-fighting.

Defense: How well a boxer is blocking, parrying and slipping punches. Clinching/tying up the opponent, moving around the ring, moving from side to side, presenting different angles is considered defense. It’s not running; there is nothing stated within the rules of boxing that suggests a boxer must only step forward throwing punches. It’s important to keep in mind, good defense is just as important as offense.

Clean/Effective Punches: To the untrained eye, it can appear as if a boxer is landing a lot of punches, when in fact, most are either blocked, not landing flush or grazing punches. A judge or observer needs to look for hard punches that land clean. Hard punches can definitely constitute as effective, but a boxer should not be penalized if he/she is not a powerful puncher; again, it’s about clean, landed punches.

Truly unbiased commentary.

As former world titlist and current esteemed boxer analyst Paulie Malignaggi points out;

Kovalev missed many of his big shots and some of the punches were glancing blows. More importantly points out, the HBO commentary team, missed what was actually going on.

There were various moments in the fight where play by play commentator Jim Lampley, inaccurately called out punches, claiming they landed, while they did not indeed land at all. He even admitted this in round 11.

“Yep, I gave him [Kovalev] credit for a landed punch, but it didn’t land.”

Problem is, Lampley has a long standing history of doing so. As a boxing analyst, play by play or punch by punch boxing commentator, these kind of mistakes are unacceptable.

Question is, are these unintentional mistakes, or intentional calls to paint a narrative to go along with the intended agenda accompanying his commentary?

Harold Lederman is notorious for his bad scorecards during HBO telecasts. As Lampley was quoted as saying in round 11 of Kovalev vs. Ward, “The Lederman card is unofficial and judges often disagree with it.”

The narrative Lampley and former judge Lederman attempts to and successfully projects is the narrative of only appreciating “certain” types of fighters.

There seems to be an agenda aimed against other “certain” styles of fighter. A fighter with a slick defensive style, who is not overly aggressive with an offensive punch output, is not appreciated or even respected by their standards.

Fighters such as Erislandy Lara, Floyd Mayweather, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Bernard Hopkins, Andre Ward, and the list goes on and on. Terence Crawford, was a guy on the list they constantly criticized, until he changed his style and became more action oriented.

Guess what other trait each fighter has in common aside from their defensive acumen? Let it marinate.
Certain companies like to promote fighters who are action fighters; all out-action like the late Arturo Gatti for instance. Hence the “Gatti List” from HBO’s Lampley.

Fighters who are about constant action with no regard for defense, or guys with tremendous punching power or high punch output.

Reminiscent to former HBO broadcaster Larry Merchant, with his criticisms of fighters reluctant to openly engage in all-out slugfests.

However, it’s unfair to criticize a fighter on the basis of his/her lack of punching power. Especially at the highest competitive level of boxing, it may be more impressive for a fighter who is successful despite their lack of punching power.

It’s unfair to criticize a fighter on the basis of their style; there are no unwritten rules where it states a boxer must walk directly towards their opponent and engage in open warfare. And they must not move around or avoid punches; they must stand directly in front of their opponents and throw punches back and forth with disregard for defense and their health.

Again, these commentators openly critical of a fighter for his/her fighting style never stepped in the ring themselves; don’t have to worry about the long term effects of the damage sustained in the ring.

As a commentator, as a boxing analyst, the goal is to educate the fan, to educate and explain to the viewer what they are watching. As the well informed, there is a responsibility to go over different styles, analyzing strengths and weaknesses of each style.

That is the beauty of boxing, the sweet science. The goal should not be to force feed viewers bits of false information to fit your narrative.

It’s okay for fans to have a particular bias; not for commentators. Some observers believe Kovalev won the fight and that’s fine.

They may believe Kovalev won the fight based on total punches landed. According to CompuBox, Kovalev threw 474 punches, landed 126. Ward threw 337 punches, landed 116. 26.6 percent (Kovalev) to 34.4 percent (Ward).

So Kovalev threw 137 more punches and landed only 10 more. Also, just because more punches are landed throughout the course of the fight, this statistic does not necessarily tell the entire tale of the fight. It’s important fights are scored and tallied round by round.

Another thing to consider is some observers may not consider the inside-the-trenches work from Ward; fighting inside the clinch, landing many effective body punches. The HBO commentators surely neglected to mention the activity.

Some observers may say Kovalev chased Ward around the ring and all Ward did was run and hold.
Kovalev never cut the ring off, if he did, he would be showcasing ring generalship and would throw and land more punches. Ward was never trapped against the ropes or in the corner and he did not initiate all of the holding. There were many instances of Kovalev placing Ward in a DDT-styled head lock.

From each fighter, from each camp, of course they’ll have opposing views on what transpired and who won.
Kovalev’s promoter Kathy Duva expressed her disdain towards the decision after the fight.

“I knew all along this would be a close fight, but once I watched the first five or six rounds [Kovalev] was clearly dominating, Ward was backpedaling and actually looked afraid for a while there. When he knocked him [Ward] down it was so emphatic.”

“It’s close. And when it’s close like that I know you can’t yell too loud…but it’s just one of those fights where some of the rounds were so clear-cut.”

Kovalev added, “I don’t think I won only because I dropped him early. I won with my speed and power. He would touch me with the jab, and then grab. I don’t understand,” said Kovalev.

“I feel a bit uncomfortable because I don’t agree with the decision. Boxing fans saw what happened today.

Clearly understandable from their side. Duva believes in her fighter, believes he earned the decision and she is doing her diligence as his promoter. Kovalev was in the fight; it was close and should feel like he won, nothing wrong with that.

The Ward camp, had a different view of course.

“I’m pleased and I’m happy. Of course I wish it was a dominant performance in terms of the scorecards,”
said Ward. “But this was a tough victory against someone a lot of people thought would stop me. We did what we had to do, we got stronger, and I’m very happy.”

“I can’t do anything about the controversy,” Ward said.

“It was a close fight, it’s boxing. If I honestly felt I lost the fight, I would tell you guys. I would
hold my hands up and say, ‘I don’t know what happened, the judges got it wrong, I lost.’ But that’s not how I feel.”

What’s lost in the mist of complaints from Kovalev, his promoter Kathy Duva and some other spectators, was this was a truly great fight.

Ward was knocked down, behind on the scorecards and had to find a way to not only adjust to the power of Kovalev, but to the skills, safely trying to find a way implement his style of fight and enforce his mental toughness and fighter’s spirit.

Ward climbed mount Kovalev and conquered it.

Some journalists such as Larry Merchant, Steve Kim and others say this was a robbery; likening the decision to the greatest robbery since Pernell Whitaker and Julio Caesar Chavez. Some even compared it to the first encounter between Timothy Bradley and Manny Pacquiao.

Stop it.

If anyone wants to talk about robbery, why not discuss the fight between Maurice Hooker 21-0- 3 (16 KO’s) vs. Darleys Perez 33-2-2 (21 KO’s). Want to talk about bad decisions, Perez was robbed of a victory and ended up with a draw.

As a result of the decision between Ward and Kovalev, people are not giving Ward the credit he deserves, even questioning his top position as the sport’s top p4p fighter which is ridiculous.

According to the The Ring Magazine, the “Bible of Boxing,” Ward is ranked no. 4, still behind Kovalev listed as no. 2.

The Ring should reflect the results of the fight, not their interpretation of how the fight went. Going off official records and paperwork, going off Boxrec, Wikipedia, fighters book, however you want to document it, this fight goes down in the history books as a win for Ward.

The Ring did the same thing with Pacquiao with the whole Bradley fiasco of their first fight. They still had Pacquiao as the no. 1 fighter, in spite of his defeat.

But The Ring had nothing to say when Juan Manuel Marquez appeared to defeat Pacquiao in their third encounter, albeit falling short of victory according to the judges. Their p4p standings did not reflect what many interpreted in the ring as defeat for Pacquiao, even if it was not registered officially as a defeat.

According to The Ring, how they critique and fighters:

Results: This is the most objective criterion and takes precedence above all others.

Performance: How a fighter performs in a victory or defeat can be a factor to determine his place in the ratings.

Track record: A fighter’s accomplishments in the recent past can be a factor to determine his place in the ratings. That includes quality of opposition.

You see the justice there? The double standards are remarkable. Again this is the same publication that featured a mma fighter on the cover. A fighter who would ultimately lose to another mma fighter who was accomplished as a world champion boxer.

Again, both Kovalev and Ward should be applauded for their efforts in what is truly a classic.
Consider what Ward had to do and how he effectively enforced his will and skill to EARN victory over another truly great fighter.

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HBO PPV Round by Round Results: Ward Edges Out Kovalev by One Point


HBO PPV Round by Round Results: Ward Edges Out Kovalev by One Point
By: William Holmes

Tonight’s main event was between Sergey Kovalev (30-0-1) and Andre Ward (30-0) and was one of the most anticipate boxing matches of 2016. Many felt that the winner of today’s bout could lay claim to the pound for pound throne.

Three bouts were televised on the undercard, and two time United States Olympic Gold Medalist Claressa Shields was victorious on the untelevised portion of the undercard.

The Russian National Anthem as well as the United States National Anthem was performed before the boxers walked into the ring.

This fight was for the WBO, WBA, and the IBF Light Heavyweight Titles. Andre Ward entered the ring first and Kovalev entered second. The crowd seemed evenly split for both boxers.

The following is a round by round recap of tonight’s main event.

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Round 1:

Kovalev comes right at Ward and throws a cross to the body of Ward. Kovalev throws a jab at the body of Ward. Ward with a jab to the body of Kovalev. Ward throws another jab to the body of Kovalev. Ward ducks under the arm of Kovalev when he throws a jab. Ward with two jabs to the body of Kovalev. Ward lands a right cross upstairs and follows it with a jab to the body. Kovalev hurts Ward with a stiff jab. Ward gets tagged with two jabs by Kovalev and then hangs on. Ward may have landed a low blow. Ward tries to get inside and Kovalev pushes him away. Kovalev lands a good jab at the end of the round.

10-9 Kovalev

Round 2:

Kovalev comes right at Ward again. Kovalev throws out two jabs and a cross to the body. Kovalev lands two short hooks to the body when Ward gets in tight. Kovalev throws a cross to the body and gets jabbed in response. Ward misses with a looping right hook. Kovalev lands another good jab I nthe face of Ward and follows it with a two punch combination. Kovalev lands an over the top right cross on Ward. Kovalev knocks Ward down with a hard right cross to the chin. Ward looks a little shocked and gets back to his feet. Kovalev lands two good jabs and a right hook. Kovalev lands another good jab and Ward is on his bike and survives the round.

10-8 Kovalev, 20-17 Kovalev

Round 3:

Ward may still be shaking his cobwebs out. Ward rushes forward and Kovalev ties up. Ward lands a right cross and goes for a takedown. Ward lands a jab to the chest of Kovalev. Kovalev lands a two punch combination and Ward ties up. They tie up again when they get in tight. Kovalev is pressing forward and Ward is fighting off his back foot. Ward lands a good jab. Ward lands a good short hook. Ward and Kovalev tie up again. Ward lands a lead left hook and follows it with a stiff jab. Ward gets tagged with a short cross by Kovalev. They tie up again.

10-9 Kovalev; 30-26 Kovalev

Round 4:

Kovalev again presses forward and Ward ties up. They’re getting rough on the inside and Kovalev backs him into the corner. Kovalev lands a short left hook on Ward. Kovalev tags Ward when he rushes forward with a hook. Kovalev lands another good right cross on Ward. Kovalev is staying out of the range of Ward. Kovalev lands a counter right uppercut and Ward answers with a jab. Ward misses with a two punch combination. Kovalev lands two good jabs on Ward.

10-9 Kovalev; 40-35 Kovalev

Round 5:

Kovalev pressing forward to start the round again and Ward circles away. Ward lands a long jab and Kovalev misses with a two punch combination. Ward ties up when Kovalev throws a jab. Kovalev with a jab to the body. Ward lands a decent body shot on Kovalev and sneaks a hook to the chin of Kovalev. Ward lands another lead left hook. Kovalev lands two jabs. Ward lands a good stiff jab on Kovalev. Kovalev is not cutting the ring off from Ward. Ward lands some body shots when they clinch up. Kovalev lands a good counter right on Ward. Stiff jab by Kovalev and Ward answers with a hard jab of his own. Ward lands another good hard jab on Kovalev. Kovalev lands a hard jab near the end of the round.

10-9 Ward; 49-45 Kovalev

Round 6:

Kovalev throws a quick lead left hook on Ward and Ward answers with a hook to the body. Ward connects with a jab to the body and then they tie up. Kovalev lands an over the top right cross and they tie up. Kovalev lands another good right cross lead. Kovalev lands a good right hand at the ear drum of Ward. Kovalev throws two jabs to the body of Ward and Ward answers with a jab to the body of his own. They clash heads when they both come forward. Kovalev lands a good two punch combination on Ward.

10-9 Kovalev, 59-54 Kovalev

Round 7:

Ward’s face is showing signs of swelling. They tie up again. Kovalev with a right hook to the body. Ward with a right hook to the body of Kovalev. Kovalev messes with a right hook and Warnd lands a good jab on Kovalev. Ward throwing jabs and crosses to the body of Ward. Ward lands a stiff jab followed by a right hand. Ward lands another hard jab on Kovalev. Ward doing some damage with his body shots. Ward lands another good jab. Kovalev ties up with Ward after getting tagged with another jab. Ward misses with a jab and Kovalev lands a hard jab of his own. Kovalev lands a stiff jab to the chin of Ward. Good round, slight edge to Ward.

10-9 Ward; 68-64 Kovalev

Round 8:

Ward throws a haymaker straight right but misses. Ward misses with a lead left hook and Kovalev ties up and pushes him back to the corner. They tie up again and Ward lands some short hooks to the body of Kovalev. Kovalev’s lead left hook gets blocked by Ward. Kovalev throws a double jab to the body. Ward lands a good jab to the chin of Ward and then lands a short hook. They tie up again by the ropes. Kovalev connects with a stiff jab and Ward lands two punches to the body of Kovalev.

10-9 Ward; 77-74 Kovalev

Round 9:

Ward rushes out to start the ninth round, but they tie up when they get close again. Ward lands two jabs to the body on Kovalev. Kovalev with a good hook to the body and lands a jab. Ward connects with a good jab followed by a two punch combination. Ward lands a hard right to the body of Kovalev and lands a ounter jab followed by a right hook. Kovalev answers with a hook of his own. They tie up by the ropes again. Ward lands a good straight right hand on Kovalev. Good exchanges this round and Ward is landing some short shots to the body.

10-9 Ward; 86-84 Kovalev

Round 10:

Kovalev gets tagged by two short right hands. Kovalev lands a left hook on Ward. Good jab by Kovalev. Kovalev with another good jab. Kovalev lands another jab. Ward throws and lands a lead left hook. Ward with a good lead left hook followed by a jab. Kovalev lands two good jabs on Ward. They both land good jabs. Kovalev lands another good jab on Ward. Kovalev connects with another jab and they both land crosses. Kovalev cracks a hard counter on Ward. They both land jabs at the same time. Ward lands a good body shot and Kovalev has a bloody nose. Kovalev tags Ward with a hard body shot and a left hook upstairs. Kovalev lands a good right hand.

10-9 Kovalev; 96-93 Kovalev

Round 11:

Ward backing away in a circle from Kovalev. They tie up again and Kovalev backs Ward up to the ropes. Kovalev lands another good jab on Ward. They both land a jab at the same time. Ward barely misses with a cross but lands the second one he throws. Kovalev misses with a jab. Ward is an elusive target this round. They both land a jab at the same time. Ward tags Kovalev with another good jab. Kovalev with another jab and Ward tags him with a flush left hook upstairs. They both land good jabs. Kovalev does look tired and slips to the mat after a push. Ward lands a vicious jab on Kovalev.

10-9 Ward; 105-103 Kovalev

Round 12:

Close fight lots of rounds could go either way. Ward opens up with a good left hook, but Kovalev answers with a hard jab and good hook. Ward lands another stiff hook on Kovalev and he looks like the fresher fighter. They tie up again and exchange punches while in tight. Ward connects with a lead left hook. Kovalev lands a few shots to the body of Ward. Ward with a short left hook to the head and body. Kovalev lands a hard left hook to the body of Ward. Kovalev lands a two punch combination and Ward ties up. Kovalev has Ward backing up to the ropes. They exchange at the end and neither lands a clean shot.

10-9 Ward; 114-113 Kovalev

The official scores were 114-113, 114-113, and 114-113 for Andre Ward.

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HBO PPV Preview: Sergey Kovalev vs. Andre Ward, Hooker vs. Perez, Chilemba vs. Gvozdyk, Stevens vs. De La Rosa


HBO PPV Preview: Sergey Kovalev vs. Andre Ward, Hooker vs. Perez, Chilemba vs. Gvozdyk, Stevens vs. De La Rosa
By: William Holmes

On Saturday night Roc Nation Sports and Main Events Promotions will team up to deliver one of the best fights that could be made in boxing on HBO Pay Per View. The T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada will be the host site for the WBO/IBF/WBA Light Heavyweight Title fight between Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward.

Ten fights total are featured on this card, including the highly anticipated debut of two time Olympic Gold Medalist Claressa Shields.

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HBO appears to be ready to televise four fights on the pay per view, and the following is a preview of all four bouts.

Curtis Stevens (28-5) vs. James De La Rosa (23-4); Middleweights

This bout is on the pay per view card despite the fact it’s highly unlikely that either participant will be fighting for a world title in the near future.

Curtis Stevens is a fan favorite and shocked many in his last bout when he beat undefeated prospect Patrick Teixeira.

He’ll be giving up ½ inch in reach and about three inches in height to De La Rosa. However, he has faced significantly better competition and has a deep amateur background than his opponent.

De La Rosa lost his last two fights and only has thirteen knockout victories. Stevens has twenty one knockout victories and is known for delivering exciting bouts.

Both boxers only fought one time in 2016, zero times in 2015, and three times in 2014.

Stevens has beaten the likes of Patrick Teixeira, Tureano Johnson, Patrick Majewski, Saul Roman, Derrick Findley, and Elvin Ayala. He has lost to the likes of Gennady Golovkin, Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam, Andre Dirrell and Jesse Brinkley. De La Rosa has defeated the likes of Alfredo Angulo but has lost to the likes of Jason Quigley, Hugo Centeno Jr., Marcus Willis, and Allen Conyers.

Stevens has been inconsistent throughout his career, but this is a bout that he should win in a fan pleasing fashion.

Isaac Chilemba (24-4-2) vs. Oleksandr Gvozdyk (11-0); Light Heavyweights

Not many boxers can claim to have lasted twelve rounds with Sergey Kovalev, and Isaac Chilemba is one of them.

However, he’s facing a highly decorated Ukranian amateur that is managed by Egis Klimas, who has an impressive stable of boxers under his control, and many consider Gvozdyk to be future world champion material.

Gvozdyk has nine stoppage victories in only eleven professional bouts and is a 2012 Summer Olympics Bronze medalist. Chilemba has ten stoppage victories in thirty professional bouts, so Gvozdyk has a clear edge in power. Chilemba also does not have the amateur experience of Gvozdyk.

Gvozdyk will be the same height as Chilemba but will also have a two and a half inch reach advantage. They are of the same age. Gvozdyk has also been considerably more active than Chilemba. He fought three times in 2016 and four times in 2015, while Chilemba only fought once in 2016 and twice in 2015.

Gvozdyk has already defeated the likes of Nadjib Mohammedi and Tommy Karpency before he has faced his twelfth opponent. Chilemba has defeated the likes of Doudou Ngumbu, Maksim Vlasov, Edison Miranda, Denis Grachev, and Vasily Lepikhin; but he has also lost to the likes of Sergey Kovalev, Eleider Alvarez, Tony Bellew, and Willbeforce Shihepo.

Chilemba is a tough opponent with a strong chin, but he’s not on the same level of technique as Gvozdyk and he doesn’t have the power to score an upset knockout.

This should be a good showcase fight for Gvozdyk to show off his skills.

Maurice Hooker (21-0-2) vs. Darleys Perez (33-2-1); Junior Welterweights

Maurice Hooker is one of the most intriguing prospects on the undercard, as his reach and height has many people comparing him to Paul Williams.

Hooker will have a four inch height advantage as well as an amazing ten inch reach advantage over Perez. He’s also six years younger than Perez.

Hooker is known for being a hard puncher and has stopped sixteen of his opponents. Perez has twenty one stoppage victories, but his best days appear to be behind him.

Hooker fought three times in 2015 and twice in 2016 while Perez fought one time in 2016 and three times in 2015.

Perez has the edge in amateur experience. He represented Columbia in the 2008 Summer Olympics while Hooker’s biggest claim to fame in the amateurs was when he won the Dallas Regional Golden Gloves Championship.

This bout is a big step up in competition for Hooker. He has defeated the likes of Ty Barnett, Wilfrido Buelvas, and Eduardo Galindo. Perez has beaten the likes of Argenis Lopez, Jonathan Maicelo, and Jaider Parra. His losses have come to Anthony Crolla and Yuriorkis Gamboa.

Perez was the former WBA Lightweight champion, but he’ll be competing at a higher weight class on Saturday and will be facing a good opponent with a ridiculous reach advantage.

The ten inch reach advantage will be too much for Perez to overcome.

Sergey Kovalev (30-0-1) vs. Andre Ward (30-0); WBO/IBF/WBA Light Heavyweight Title

The main event of the night is one of the best fights that could be made in boxing today and the winner will likely have a claim to the top pound for pound spot on the mythical list.

Kovalev, at the age of 33, and Ward, at the age of 32, are nearing the end of their physical primes but neither have shown signs of slowing down inside the ring.

They both are six foot tall, but Kovalev will have a slight one and a half inch reach advantage when they are both inside the ring.

Ward has the deeper amateur background of the two as he won the Olympic Gold Medal in 2004. Kovalev also had success as an amateur and was a former Russian Champion as an amateur, but he never competed in the Olympics and was engaged intense competition with two other Russian amateur standouts, Matt Korobov and Artur Beterbiev.

Kovalev has the edge in power. He has stopped twenty six of his opponents while Ward has only stopped fifteen. However, Ward is a gifted defensive boxer and is excellent with his counters, and Kovalev often leaves himself open for counters after he throws one of his heavy combinations.

Kovalev has defeated the likes of Isaac Chilemba, Jean Pascal, Nadjib Mohammedi, Bernard Hopkins, Blake Caparello, Nathan Cleverly, Ismayl Sillah, Cedric Agnew, and Gabriel Campillo. He has fought twice in 2015 and once in 2016.

Ward has fought twice in 2016 and once in 2015. He has defeated the likes of Alexander Brand, Sullivan Barrera, Paul Smith, Edwin Rodriguez, Chad Dawson, Carlo Froch, Artur Abraham, Sakio Bika, Allan Green, Mikkel Kessler, and Edison Miranda.

This is a tough fight for many to pick, mainly because Ward has never faced a power puncher like Kovalev and Kovalev has never faced a slick boxer like Ward.

However, Ward’s jab is his best weapon and he’ll likely use it often to keep Kovalev at bay. History has shown that a slick boxer will usually beat a power puncher if everything else is reason, and Saturday should be no different.

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In Defense Of Andre Ward – Grown Up


In Defense Of Andre Ward – Grown Up
By: Sean Crose

I know, I know, we’re all supposed to hate Andre Ward. He’s not exciting, after all. What’s more, he doesn’t fight nearly as much as he should (as least he hasn’t until recently). Perhaps worse still, he’s openly religious and takes the whole “appearing humble” thing seriously. What a loser. Give us videos of Floyd throwing money at a bunch of twerking strippers. Or of UFC star Conor McGregor gloating essentially for the sake of gloating. After all, we want fighters who celebrate the Self above all else, am I right?

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Well, no, I’m not.

Some people, though certainly not all, like fighters who have a degree of maturity about them. That doesn’t mean these individuals don’t like flash. Everyone likes flash. It’s just that they like something more than mere showiness. Muhammad Ali, after all, stood for something. Hell, so did Jack Johnson, for that matter. Can the same be said of Floyd…or even of his PR apprentice, McGregor? Of course not. Those guys appear to stand for themselves…and not much else.

This isn’t to say they’re bad men at heart. It’s simply to say their public images kind of suck…no matter how popular they may be. Which, of course, brings us back to Ward. There are those in this era of Kim and Kayne who undoubtedly believe any semblance of modesty is indicative of false modesty. Yet there are those who actually find Ward’s lack of swagger refreshing.

Count this author among their numbers.

Look, it’s obvious Ward is far from perfect – just like the rest of us. And the fact that Ward sticks to what he does best – winning – rather than gloating, speaks volumes. Not acting like Mayweather doesn’t equate to false modesty, as some bewilderingly seem to think. It just means Ward doesn’t have a desire to exert all his energies exalting his own awesomeness. Truth be told, he doesn’t have to. He’s a grownup. Besides, Ward, in case you don’t know, is also an amazing fighter. A 30-0 record, a super six championship, and appearances on numerous pound for pound lists can attest to that fact.

And, should Ward best the terrifying Sergey Kovalev this weekend in their battle for light heavyweight supremacy (sorry, Adonis, you’ve taken all the oomph out of your own lineal championship), he will unquestionably be regarded as one of the greats. Of course, there’s no guarantee Ward will pull off such a career defying win. Kovalev is an absolute device of destruction in the ring. Like Ward, he’s undefeated, but he can also take an opponent out with a mere jab – and has boxing skills which, believe it or not, might come close to matching his power.

Needless to say, some will smile in satisfaction if they end up seeing Ward splattered on a Las Vegas canvas this weekend. Fair enough. Boxing is a tough sport, after all, and no one watches it for willowy flights of fancy. In other words, Ward knows full well what he’s getting himself into. Win, lose or draw, however, you won’t see the guy peacocking around after the fight (and, in fairness, the same can most likely be said for Kovalev, who is basically too much of an all-around bad ass to engage in such silliness).

Some may find that lack of showmanship boring. Some may find it hypocritical – again, cynics will always be cynical. Yet others will actually be happy to see a well known individual acting over the age of seventeen. Seriously, guys like Mayweather, McGregor, and others behave like kids sometimes. And in a word of grownup problems, it’s nice to see the grownups take center stage every once in a while.

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