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Boxing Insider Notebook: Pacquiao, Vargas, Fortuna, Crawford, Lopez, Vasquez, and more…


Boxing Insider Notebook: Pacquiao, Vargas, Fortuna, Crawford, Lopez, Vasquez, and more…
By: William Holmes

The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of September 20th to September 27th, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.

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Top Rank Announces Broadcast Team for Pacquiao vs. Vargas

Manny Pacquiao has long been a mainstay for HBO Pay Per View Boxing, but they declined his next fight against Jessie Vargas due to the fact they already have a scheduled Pay Per View on tap for the month of November between Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward.

Top Rank will be the provider of the Pay Per View, and they recently announced their broadcasting team.
ESPN reported that Top Rank will be employing Brian Kenny, Stephen A. Smith, and Timothy Bradley as analysts for the PPV and Charissa Thompson will be the host.

Crawford Guilty of Two Misdemeanors

Terence Crawford was recently in the news for removing his car from a local auto body shop and damaging a hydraulic lift and having an outstanding bill. Crawford was found guilty of criminal mischief as well as disorderly conduct. His sentencing is scheduled for December.

Juan Manuel Lopez Plants to Knock Out Wilfredo Vasquez

Former two-division world champion Juan Manuel “JuanMa” López plans to knockout bitter arch-rival Wilfredo”Papito” Vázquez, Jr., also a past world titlist, in their 12-round Special Attraction showdown Saturday, October 8, airing live on pay per view from San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Guerra En El Clemente: Vázquez Jr. v. López, presented by Black Tiger Promotions, will be distributed by Integrated Sports Media live, starting at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT, in the United States and Puerto Rico on both cable and satellite pay per view on iN Demand, DISH, DIRECTV and Vubiquity. The event will also be available to watch across Canada on Fight Network, as well as via Fite TV app for iOS and Android devices or watch on the www.Fite.TV website. Suggested retail price is $29.95.

The Vázquez, Jr. vs. López main event is presented in association with Matias Entertainment and sponsored by Best Alarms and Municipio de San Juan.

The 33-year-old López (34-5, 31 KOs), fighting out of Caguas, Puerto Rico, is a former World Boxing Organization (WBO) super bantamweight and featherweight world champion. From 2008 to 2010, “Juanma” was one of the top pound-4-pound fighters in the world, but he hasn’t fought in two years heading into his much anticipated confrontation with his fellow countryman Vázquez, Jr.

“I still think I have a lot left in the tank,” López confidently said from his Puerto Rican training camp. “This is the first fight of my career that I feel I owe to fans because of the history behind it. I don’t think there will be any rust because I have been training for many, months and I have been inside the gym working hard. Maybe the agility I had four or five years ago isn’t quite the same, true, but at the same time I am more mature and much more calm and more intelligent in the ring. I definitely feel that I am a better fighter than ever before.”

Vázquez, Jr. (24-6-1, 19 KOs), the son of the great three-time division world champion Wilfredo Vázquez, fights out of Bayamón whose best known boxing son is late Hall of Famer Héctor “Macho” Camacho. Vázquez became the vacant WBO super bantamweight world champion in 2010, knocking out previously unbeaten Marvin Sonsona (14-0-1) in the fourth round.

“I think my opponent is a very persistent fighter and a person who will do anything to meet his goals, even though that will make him behave improperly,” López added. “I think it will be a very aggressive fight, more of a brawl, and I’m sure the night of the fight I will be the stronger fighter. I will dominate him, round by round, and the first moment I have an opportunity to go for the kill, I will pressure him and won’t stop until I get a knockout.”

Javier Fortuna Returns with an Impressive KO

On Saturday night in front of a standing-room-only crowd at the Sambil Commercial Center in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, former world super featherweight champion Javier “El Abejon” Fortuna returned to action with an impressive two-round blowout of fellow Dominican Marlyn Cabrera.

In his first fight since a surprise defeat last June to Jason Sosa that cost him his WBA World Super Featherweight Championship, Fortuna (30-1-1, 22 KOs) dropped Cabrera twice in the second round, eliciting the stoppage. It was Cabrera’s first loss as a professional.

Fortuna’s victory was one of three Sampson Boxing fighters to win Saturday night.

Undefeated 21-year-old Dominican super welterweight Jeison “Banana” Rosario (12-0, 9 KOs) destroyed formerly undefeated Carlos Jairo Cruz (now 17-1, 11 KOs) in two rounds and 22-year-old super featherweight Abraham “Super” Nova moved his record to 3-0, 2 KOs with a fourth-round knockout over Willy Morillo.

Fortuna looked sharp in his comeback bout, putting the explosive power and speed that makes him one of the most exciting fighters in all of boxing. With the victory over Cabrera in the books, the southpaw former champion will now be looking to regain his championship status.

Fortuna’s promoter, Sampson Lewkowicz, says his fighter has two options to consider for his next fight.
“Next we will either look for an elimination bout for the IBF mandatory contender to fight Jose Pedraza or we will look to face the winner of Jason Sosa vs. Stephen Smith in Monaco on November 12,” said Lewkowicz. “Javier wants to be champion again and he’ll fight anyone to get there.”

Rosario, a recent Sampson Boxing signee to a long-term promotional agreement, is a former amateur standout with a wealth of boxing talent. Cruz stood no chance against the Santo Domingo-based slugger.
“Jeison is a future star and I’m happy to have him in my stable,” continued Lewkowicz. “I will get him a
visa to fight in the USA and pay his IRS taxes, which I do for all my fighters.”

Nova, who was born in Carolina, Puerto Rico, to Dominican parents, went 167-11 with 60 KOs as an amateur, winning the 2014 USA Nationals, the 2014 Independent World Cup in the Dominican, Gold at the 2014 Cheo Aponte Tournament, and the 2015 Olympic Qualifiers. He is also a five-time New York Golden Gloves Champion.

“Abraham went some good rounds and got the KO over a veteran with more fights,” said Lewkowicz. “I am happy with his performance and with the improvements he continues to show in every fight. He is a strong prospect with a bright future.”

Mike Reed vs. Aaron Herrera Added to October 14th Card in Philadelphia

Junior welterweight Mike Reed, one of the best prospects in the world at 140 pounds, has been added to the Friday evening, Oct. 14 boxing card at the 2300 Arena.

Reed, of Waldorf, MD, goes against Jose Aaron Herrera, of Mexico, in one of three eight-round attractions on the eight-fight card.

The other eight-rounders feature junior middleweights Tyrone Brunson, of Philadelphia, against Ismael “Tito”Garcia, of Vineland,NJ,and world-rated junior lightweight Tevin Farmer, ofPhiladelphia, against Orlando Rizo,of Managua, Nicaragua.

Reed, 23, a southpaw, is 19-0, 11 K0s, since turning pro less than four years ago. This will be his second appearance at the 2300 Arena. He earned a six-round decision over Samuel Amoako, of Ghana, on March 18 in the same ring.

In his last fight June 11 in Madison Square Garden, Reed stopped Abraham Cordero, of Mexico, in six rounds.

As an amateur, Reed won the 2011 National Golden Gloves championship at 141 pounds, one year after finishing second in the US National Amateur Championships.

“I’ve been watching videos of Aaron Herrera and he’s a tough, durable fighter with excellent ring generalship,” Reed said. “He’s taller than I am but so are most of the guys I fight. “It’s going to be a real fight because I know what he brings. I want to win this fight and work my way toward a match with the Olympian from Fresno (CA)–Jose Ramirez(18-0, 13 K0s). I would like to get him into the ring, but first comes Herrera and I have to deal with him in Philadelphia.”

Herrera, 27, turned pro in 2008 and is 21-5-1, 12 K0s. In his biggest fight to date, he lost a12-round decision to local favorite Jason Pagara for the World Boxing Organization (WBO) junior welterweight title in 2013 in Cebu City, The Philippines.

Local favorites make up the undercard, highlighted by the fourth meeting between lightweights Victor Vasquez; of Philadelphia, and Osnel Charles, of Atlantic City, NJ.Charles leads the series, 2-1, but Vasquez won the last time by knockout.

A pair of six-round lightweight contests features Anthony Burgin against Gerald Smith in an all-Philly showdown plus Steven Ortiz, of Philadelphia, against Daniel Tran, of Oklahoma City, OK.

Local junior middleweight Isaiah Wise faces James Robinson, of York, PA, over four rounds and middleweight Fred Jenkins, Jr., of Philadelphia, takes on lefty Ibrihim Shabazz, of Newark, NJ.

Local welterweight Hasan Young, who has not boxed in nearly two years, returns in a six-round fight.

Michael Spinks and Fitz Vanderpool Honored at Rochester Boxing Hall of Fame

A capacity crowd packed The Diplomat Party House to honor Michael “Jinx” Spinks and Fitz “The Whip” Vanderpool at the recent 26th annual Rochester Boxing Hall of Fame (RBHOF) Banquet & Awards Night.

Spinks (31-1, 21 KOs) received the prestigious Integrity Award, while Vanderpool (26-8-4, 13 KOs) was presented the coveted Courage Award.

Rochester’s Johnny McCoy (Clarence Millard) was inducted into the Rochester Boxing Hall of Fame. McCoy (77-30-14, 21 KOs), who passed away in 1978 at the age of 81, was one of the top flyweights in the world between 1916 and 1932. He was recognized as world champion by the state of California following a tournament to determine the winner of the vacant world title relinquished by Fidel LaBarba.

“This was another memorable banquet for the Rochester Boxing Hall of Fame,” RBHOF treasurer/spokesperson Gino Arilotta said. “Everyone enjoyed the evening. We posthumously inducted Johnny McCoy and honored are award winners, Michael Spinks and Fitz Vanderpool. Hall of Famer referee Steve Smoger gave a wonderful speech. Each of these great men were so pleasant and they gladly signed hundreds of autographs and posed for so many pictures. These three humble men have my sincere respect.

“On Saturday, September 17th, we took the boxers along with Steve Smoger to a local radio station where they were interviewed on air. We also took them to one of Rochester’s super gyms, where Willie Monroe, Jr. trains. We showed them many important sites within the city. I also presented a city high school graduate, the Carmen Basilio Scholarship Award, which is awarded annually.

An International Boxing Hall of Famer (IBHOF), Spinks was the most dominant light heavyweight champion of his era, capturing the World Boxing Association (WBA), International Boxing Federation (IBF) and World Boxing Council (WBC) world titles, in addition to being a 1976 Olympic gold medalist.

Vanderpool is a former World Boxing Federation (WBF), WBC FECARBOX and Canadian welterweight champion. He took on all comers including Rochester’s only world champion, Charles “The Natural” Murray and world champion Fernando Vargas. Today, Vanderpool is a trainer in Canada who also gives countless hours of time and energy in Kitchener as a community volunteer.

October 20th Card Announced in Montreal

The “GYM 2016-2017 BOXING SERIES”, a “Presentation of Casino de Montreal in collaboration with Videotron” will officially begin October 20 and that professional boxing card has been announced today by Groupe Yvon Michel (GYM) president Yvon Michel.

In the 10-round main event, 2012 Canadian Olympian Custio Clayton (9-0, 7 KOs) will face the biggest challenge of his young career in his tenacious Mexican opponent, Ramses “El Faraon” Agaton (17-4-3, 9 KOs).

Clayton, based in Montreal since his professional debut, also headlined the “GYM-CASINO” series last season. In three series bouts held at the Cabaret du Casino in 2016, he stopped Frenchman Stanislas Salmon (25-3-2), American Hector Munoz (23-17-1) and Mexican Jose Emilio Perea (23-6-1).

“I work hard every week and I always feel better when I work out,” Clayton said. “I had a solid training camp in Montreal and a few days in Ottawa with my trainer. I’ll be ready!”

Agaton is a fast, skilled and aggressive southpaw who lost a tough, majority decision to the North American Boxing Federation (NABF) welterweight champion, Konstantin Ponomarev (28-0), of Russia, last November in Las Vegas. Agaton has notable victories over Ronald Montes (16-0), Alejandro Barrera (25-1) and Alvaro Robles (17-2-2).

Charismatic Marie-Eve Dicaire (4-0, 0 KOs), of St-Eustache, will step into the ring in a 6-round fight for only the second time of her career versus Karla Zamora (3-2-0, 1 KO), of Mexico, in the co-feature.
Dicaire will be fighting at Cabaret du Casino for the fourth time having already defeated Manitoba’s Christina Berry (0-2-0), Mexican Martha Patricia Lara (9-4-0) and American Ashleigh Curry (7-9-4) in her previous appearances in her previous fights there.

“The Casino is becoming my home, ” the 30-year-old southpaw commented. “I cannot wait to box again This is the longest I’ve been without climbing into the ring and everything is good to the point. I am transformed! I look forward to applying the new details worked on in the gym.”

A protégé of world light heavyweight contender and 2-time Russian Olympian, Artur Beterbiev, pro-debuting super bantamweight Vislan Dalkhaev (7-0-0, 2 KOs) will try to continue his demolition work in the pro ranks against Rodrigo Adrian Campos (10-4-0, 5 KOs), of Mexico, in a scheduled 8-round fight.

During his illustrious amateur career, Dalkhaev’s major accomplishment was defeating 2-time Olympic gold medalist Robeisy Ramirez, of Cuba, at a 2010 tournament in Kazakhstan. Ramirez recently beat American star Shakur Stevenson championship final of the bantamweight (56 kg) division at the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil this past summer. Based on his rich amateur pedigree, Dalkhaev has a very promising pro boxing career.

“Vislan is very impressive in training and he is improving with every bout,” his trainer Marc Ramseynoted. “We see consistent development by him,”

Twenty-two-year old Dario Bredicean (9-0, 3 KOs), who is trained by the Grant brothers, will also be in action against tough Frenchman Baptiste Castegnaro (8-9, 4 KOs).

An American of Romanian descent who was discovered by former world champion Lucian Bute, Bredicean fought twice at the Casino last season, winning impressive decisions over Mexican Jaudiel Zepeda (12-14-1) and Quebecer François Miville (7-4).

Patrice Volny (2-0, 1 KOs), of Montreal, will fight for the third time at the Cabaret of the Casino de Montréal. Spectacular in his two previous appearances there, where he delivered a brutal KO overMichel Tsalla (1-11-2) and dominated Charles Hauver (pro debut), he will trade blows this time with pro-debuting Cuban Oscar Masso Cando, who is a veteran of 250 amateur fights and now lives in Lévis, Québec.

Lightweight Dwayne Durel, of nearby Laval (4-0-0, 2 KOs), is a former kickboxer, also trained by the Grant brothers, who also will be on the card against a rival to be determined.

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Vonzell Johnson Had All the Skills to Be a World Champion!


Vonzell Johnson Had All the Skills to Be a World Champion!
By: Ken Hissner

This writer remembers seeing Vonzell Johnson the former 1974 Golden Glove and AAU champion fight and was quite impressed with him. His professional record was 22-3 with 11 knockouts. Trainers were Henry Grooms, Dell Williams, Robert Mitchell and Angelo Dundee.

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Johnson was and is from Columbus, OH, and spent time in Detroit and Miami Beach in his professional career. In Detroit he was in a gym with such boxers as Floyd Mayweather, Sr. (28-6-10), Greg Coverson (31-2), Johnny Baldwin 32-5, 1968 Olympics Bronze, Len Hutchins 29-4-1 (1968 GG-AAU champ losing WBA/WBC title bouts and Rico Hoye (24-4 pro/68-12 am) challenged for IBF light heavyweight title.

As you can see Johnson had some very good fighters in the gym he worked. He had good people to spar with. Johnson at 6’4” and 165 in amateurs moved up to 175. He had the build of champion Bob Foster. He turned professional in November of 1974 and went onto win his first 15 fights. His first opponent was Sylvester Wilder of whom Johnson had sparred with in camp with Len Hutchins. He defeated Joe Middleton twice. “He never stopped coming,” said Johnson. In his sixth fight a clash of heads with George McGee in the second round he suffered a bad cut but went onto win decision. In his ninth fight he defeated Terry Lee who Johnson said was “tough”. Lee had 39 fights at the time.

Johnson went onto stop veteran Eddie “Red Top” Owens, 36-27-3. In his 13th fight he took on contender Hildo Silva, 34-9-6, and won by decision. Silva wouldn’t fight again. In Johnson’s next fight he took on Tony Greene, 17-5-3, who was trained by Angelo Dundee at the time. Dundee came into the dressing room watching Johnson get his hands wrapped and said “take that pad off.” To this Johnson said “I’m going to knock him out!” This he did. Greene and Johnson became friends and sparred together when Dundee would later train both boxers. Next up Johnson defeated the Canadian champion Gary Summerhays, 28-10-3.

Johnson took his first loss in his next fight losing to Jerry Celestine, 9-1-1, he his hometown of New Orleans. “I beat him up. He had been in prison and of course it was his hometown. I still never considered that fight a loss on my record,” said Johnson. After winning his next three fights Johnson was off for some 15 months. That is when he decided to have Dundee train him in September of 1979.

In Johnson’s third fight under Dundee he took on Johnny Davis, 9-1, in Atlantic City and defeated him. The younger brother of Davis, Ed Davis at the time was 16-1-1, and was so upset Johnson defeated his brother he wanted to fight Johnson but the fight never came off. Johnny Davis had a win over future champion Dwight Muhammad Qawi.

After his win over Davis, Johnson took on Andros Ernie Barr, 25-6, of the Bahamas in December of 1980, defeating him. It was just two months later he was asked to fight for the title with just 3 weeks to prepare to fight for the WBC title that Matthew Saad Muhammad , 28-3-2, held. Eddie Mustafa Muhammad pulled out of the fight. Johnson was cut over the eye in the seventh round. This was a good close fight in Atlantic City but in the ninth round he asked Dundee “what round is it?” When Dundee told him he said “I’m tired and could never do another six rounds. He was stopped with a kidney punch in the eleventh round. “I could have beaten him easy if I had more time to get ready”, said Johnson.

It would be November of 1981 some nine months later Johnson who was No. 8 in the world got his second chance in a title fight with 1976 Gold Medalist and WBA light heavyweight champion Michael Spinks, 17-0, in Atlantic City. Dundee was in Johnson’s corner and at ringside was “Sugar” Ray Leonard doing the broadcasting. Spinks was ahead 4-2 in rounds having had a big fifth round but was cut in the sixth round when in the seventh round referee Larry Hazzard came from behind Johnson and tapped him on the back making him think break and as Johnson put his two arms out pushing away from Spinks when Spinks threw a left upper cut missing but the follow up right hand didn’t knocking Johnson to the canvas. He beat the count of referee Hazzard’s but he ruled the fight over. “I thought it was a quick stoppage. We were asked to come to New York after that with boxing under investigation but not only didn’t I go but never boxed again,” said Johnson.

“I had one more fight in the making but it never came off. Spinks was awkward and the best fighter I had faced as a professional. Until he passed away Angelo (Dundee) called me on Christmas every year,” said Johnson. Today Johnson would be a world champion!

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