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Brandon Adams Walks Away As The Top “Contender”


By: Sean Crose

“The Contender” Season Five on Epix concluded on Friday night at the Forum in Inglewood, California. Things started off with a scheduled 8 round middleweight affair between 17-2 Michael Moore and 17-2 Eric Walker. The first round was close, but Walker’s wide stance looked as if it might become problematic. The second round saw Moore seeming unwilling to pull the trigger, his hesitation giving Walker the round. Walker went on to showcase some strong body work in the third.

“I’m really concerned,” said ringside commentator Andre Ward in the fourth, “that Michael Moore has accepted defeat right now.” Ward was right to voice his concern, for Moore’s performance had become listless. Moore landed hard and effectively in the 6th. Walker, however, came on strong at the end of the round. The bell sounded with the two men firing bombs. The truth, though, was that Moore never employed an effective enough attack to earn the victory. Therefore, the UD win ultimately went to Walker after eight.

It was time for the main event. Shane Mosley Jr., the 13-2 son of a legend, faced off in a scheduled ten round middleweight bout against the 13-2 Brandon Adams. The first round was rather cautious and uneventful. Adams landed a sharp left in the second that changed the tempo. Adams continued to control the tempo in the third. By the fourth it was clear that Mosley simply wasn’t being aggressive enough. Adams, on the other hand, was starting to aggressively apply pressure.

The fifth and sixth made it obvious that Adams was the more dominant of the two fighters. In fact, by the halfway point of the sixth, Mosley began to get in trouble as a result of Adam’s blows. At the bell to end the round, Mosley seemed to be in serious danger of being stopped, or – worse yet – getting hurt. In the seventh, Adams was landing hard, accurately, and effectively on Mosley’s head. “I don’t think Mosley wants any more,” said Ward after the round had ended. The look on Mosley’s face said Ward was correct.

To his credit, Mosley tried to get back into the fight in the eighth, but it looked to be too little, too late.

Barring a knockout, it appeared as if Mosley was on the road to losing. Mosley tried to assert himself again in the ninth, but he was simply outgunned. Adams continued to land solidly on his man in the 10th and final round. Needless to say, Adams walked out with a well deserved win, “The Contender” title, a ranking in the top ten, and a cool two hundred fifty thousand dollars.

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Final Fight Of “The Contender” To Be Live On EPIX From Los Angeles November 9


On Friday, November 9 at 10pm ET/7pm PT, premium pay television network EPIX® will air the finale of The Contender live from the “Fabulous” Forum in Los Angeles. In the two-hour special episode, the final fight will showcase the end of a long journey for two fighters, one of whom will be crowned the new 160-pound middleweight champion of The Contender and awarded a $250,000 prize during the live finale.

Tickets will be available for purchase to the general public at ticketmaster.com beginning Friday, October 12 at 12pm PT.

The two finalists will be revealed in the series’ last pre-taped episode, airing Friday, November 2 @ 9pm.

The 12-episode boxing competition series premiered Aug. 24, 2018 at 9 pm ET/PT and is hosted by undefeated boxing champion Andre “Son of God” Ward. The Contender is the first-of-its-kind documentary series on EPIX®, with the fights in each episode airing unedited and in their entirety throughout the season.

“Boxing goes hand-in-hand with premium television, and there’s no better way to experience the sport than by watching the drama unfold in real-time,” said Michael Wright, President, EPIX. “The Forum in Los Angeles has been home to some of boxing’s most preeminent fights. This opportunity gives the contenders the platform they deserve, and fight fans an adrenaline-filled, live experience they weren’t expecting.”

“There is nothing like live television when it comes to a boxing match and to have The Contender LIVE from the Forum is the perfect ending for this series.” said Burnett, Chairman of Worldwide Television Group, MGM.

The series highlights 16 fighters, divided into two teams that live and train together under the guidance of legendary boxing coach Freddie Roach and renowned Philadelphia trainer Naazim Richardson. Each week sees the fighters pushing their skills, strength and endurance as they prepare for their weekly elimination fights and the hopes of living out their boxing dreams.

The original Contender series ran for four seasons (2005-2009) and launched multiple fighters into contention for world titles, including title winners Sergio Mora, Cornelius Bundrage, Sakio Bika, and Sam Soliman.

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The Contender Preview: A Look at the Competitors


By: Jeandra Lebeauf

The fifth season of television’s boxing tournament/reality series The Contender premieres Friday night on EPIX with an updated look, new trainers and a new host.

Hosted by former super middleweight and light heavyweight champion Andre Ward, the Contender examines the lives of 16 boxing hopefuls competing for the chance to win a six-figure purse and the title of ultimate Contender. Divided into two teams of 8, the fighters will live together in close quarters while being guided by world-renowned trainers Bro. Naazim Richardson (trainer of former champions Bernard Hopkins, Sugar Shane Mosley)and Freddy Roach (trainer of Manny Pacquiao, Miguel Cotto)with Ward stopping in from time to time to impart wisdom.

This season, the participants will compete at the middleweight limit of 160 pounds, the weight class led by WBC/WBA/IBF champion Gennady Golovkin (fighting Canelo Alvarez September 15 in Las Vegas) and WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders (fighting Demetrius Andrade October 20 in Boston). While a Contender win doesn’t guarantee a title shot once the outcome is determined, it could prove to be decent sized bargaining chip to entice other fighters into the ring.

Here’s a look at who will be competing this season via TV Insider:

Ievgen “The Ukranian Lion” Khytrov, Age: 29, Rank: 20, Hometown: Brooklyn, N.Y.-

A Ukrainian immigrant, Olympian, Ievgen Khytrov recently relocated to America to pursue his dream of becoming a world champion and to create a better life for his family. A dedicated, quiet, religious man. He’s also the one to beat.

Eric “Babyface Assassin” Walker, Age: 34, Rank: 68, Hometown: Plaquemine, La. –

Incarcerated at 15 years old and spent 14 years behind bars for robbery and attempted murder, Eric “Babyface Assassin” Walker learned to box while in prison. He is now fighting for a second chance at life, living proof that it’s never too late to live out your dreams.

John “Apollo Kid” Thompson, Age: 29, Rank: 70, Hometown: Newark, N.J. –

After losing his mother to AIDS at six years old, this married performing artist, painter and fighter, John “Apollo Kid” Thompson is here to prove to the world that he can’t be boxed into a single category despite holding impressive titles including the 2015 WBA-NABA Super Welterweight, WBO Inter-Continental Super Welterweight and Boxcino Tournaments.

Malcolm “The Punisher” McAllister, Age: 27, Rank: 172, Hometown: Long Beach, Calif. –

Always at the center of schoolyard fights growing up, Malcolm “The Punisher” McAllister now channels his energy into helping others rebuild outside of foreclosure and his young, growing family. In boxing has built an impressive KO record and the 2014 Golden Gloves title on his journey to take the title of The Contender.

Brandon “The Cannon” Adams, Age: 28, Rank: Inactive, Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif. –

A bold fighter in the ring, Brandon “The Cannon” Adams knows firsthand what it means to push through adversity and step up to care for his family when there’s no one else around to. Coming from a poverty stricken neighborhood, this larger than life father of two marks his return to boxing after a three year hiatus, initiated by a loss to fellow competitor, John Thompson.

Quatavious “Cash” Cash, Age: 26, Rank: 161, Hometown: Las Vegas, Nev. –

This Atlanta native is the current record-holder for fastest KO in Georgia, a four0time Golden Gloves state champ and Bronze medalist. Quatavious Cash is fighting for his late mother and for the chance to prove that a life of fighting street gangs can be channeled for good.

Shane “Sugarman” Mosley, Jr., Age: 27, Rank: 149, Hometown: Santa Monica, Calif.-

The lone single contender, son of legendary Hall of Fame boxer “Sugar” Shane Mosley, Shane “Sugarman” Mosley Jr. is fighting to step out of his father’s shadow and carve out his own legacy.

Daniel “El Chapulin” Valdivia, Age: 25, Rank: 116, Hometown: Tulare, Calif. –

A natural salesman and real estate agent by day, nicknamed “El Chapulin” (“Grasshopper”) for his boundless energy, Mexican immigrant Daniel Valdivia was born to step into the ring. With several titles including the NABF Super Welterweight Champion as an underdog, he’s chasing fame to prove giving up college for boxing was the right move.

Michael “The Silverback” Moore, Age: 31, Rank: 252, Hometown:Cleveland, Oh. –

Reformed from a hard life on the streets, fraught with drugs, death and family suicide, Michael Moore is a natural hustler and leader. Married with two kids, Moore is constantly moving from state to state with his family in tow in pursuit of the boxing dream.

Gerald “G5” Sherrell, Age: 24, Rank: 216, Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pa. –

A fan of the original Contender series growing up, Gerald “G5” Sherrell is an undefeated and explosive fighter with a level of unrivaled and self-proclaimed swagger.

Hailing from the projects, this multiple time Golden Gloves, Silver Gloves and Junior Olympic competitor, this local zoo security guard by day, and young father by night, is looking to bring boxing glory back to his hometown of Pittsburgh.

Morgan “Big Chief” Fitch, Age: 34, Rank: 154, Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pa. –

Injury-plagued throughout his career, the Native American hailing from Southern Louisiana is a married father of three. Knowing that he’s old for the sport, Morgan “Big Chief” Fitch has one last shot at making his boxing dreams come true.

Marcos “Mad Man” Hernandez, Age: 24, Rank: 104, Hometown: Fresno, Calif. –

Having been bullied from a young age after an accident left him with burns on 30 percent of his body, Marcos “Mad Man” Hernandez is fighting for his young autistic son, in hopes that he won’t be bullied the same way he was. With Junior Olympics, 2012 Blue and Gold titles and “Mexican-go-forward” style fighting he may be overlooked and underestimated.

Tyrone “Young Gun” Brunson, Age: 33, Rank: 39, Hometown: Philadelphia, PA –

At a time when he needed to sell drugs to support himself at the age of 13, a stepfather’s ultimatum: be grounded or go to the boxing gym was his saving grace. Now a humble father of two, and sitting with one of the best rankings in the competition, his 24 KO’s send a signal that he will not fight silently but his cocky attitude has beat him more than just once.

Lamar “Omega” Russ, Age: 31, Rank: 115, Hometown: Wilmington, N.C. –

One of four kids raised by a single mom and the first person in his family to graduate college, Lamar “Omega” Russ takes pride in being the underdog, and beneath the loud exterior is a boxer that needs to prove he can put his money where his mouth is.

HBO, ESPN and a first round KO on Showtime do all the talking.

John “The Rock” Jackson, Age: 29, Rank: 63, Hometown: St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin
Islands –

A divorced father of two, this slick and agile boxer, Virgin Islander John “The Rock” Jackson started fighting at 12 years old, following in his world champion father Julian Jackson’s footsteps at the Pan American Games and 2008 Olympics. He comes from wealth but cares for the underprivileged and dreams of making his island proud bringing visibility to those struck by recent natural disasters.

Devaun “Unique” Lee, Age: 30, Rank: 82, Hometown: Jamaica Queens, N.Y.

When one of his friends was shot and killed at 16, Devaun “Unique” Lee knew he needed a way out from the mean streets of Queens. Boxing keeps him straight. So do long hours fueling airplanes and caring for his five year old daughter. The real love of his life. Fatherhood and the sport are the motivation to take his NY State Middleweight championship to the next level.

Previous winners of The Contender include: Sergio Mora (ex-WBC super welterweight champion), Grady Brewer, Sakio Bika (ex-WBC super middleweight champion), and Troy Ross.

The Contender Airs on EPIX at 9/8c.

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Frank Warren’s ‘The Time is Now’ Breakdown


By: Oliver McManus

FRANK WARREN announced his first show of the new season for October 6th. Taking place at the Leicester Arena, “The Time is Now” has had five fighters confirmed for the bill – with more to come – and seeing as we’re still two months out from fight night this isn’t as much of a preview as it is my, personal, thoughts on the fighters / fights confirmed;

Nicola Adams OBE

The Lioness from Leeds, Nicola Adams will be one of the main attractions of this fight night with the super flyweight set to challenge for either an interim or full world title in only her fifth professional fight. A history maker and a trailblazer for women’s boxing, the two-time Olympic Champion has looked calm and composed throughout her four fights thus far and, though she didn’t appear as frequently as she would have hoped in 2017, this year is all about establishing herself at the top of the division.

Last time out in May she fought, former world title challenger, Soledad del Valle Frias who is an opponent far better than her, 13-11-4, record at the time suggests. Even though there was some mild controversy with the timekeeper believing the bout was set for three minute rounds as opposed to two minutes, Adams showed blistering hand speed and power to catapult her Argentine opponent out of the ring within the first round. A supreme performance.

Looking at the structure of the women’s super-fly division I find it hard to see world champions who Adams wouldn’t have, AT LEAST, a 50-50 chance of winning going into the fight which is a strong testament to her amateur pedigree and certainly with, the two likeliest contenders for October, Raja Amasheh or Maribel Ramirez there’s a distinct potential that we could witness the crowning of a new British world champion.

Jack Catterall vs Ohara Davies

Now this, this is a fight and a half. Two contrasting personalities but, in equal measure, imperious boxers with exciting futures.

Catterall has looked rejuvenated since linking up with Jamie Moore, his new trainer, and the WBO Inter-Continental champion showed bags of heart and grit towards the back end of June when he fought Tyrone McKenna in a bruising encounter – Catterall dug deep, looked calm and dropped his man twice to secure a unanimous decision in a contest that showed he can adapt with relative ease to different fight plans.

Davies secured a highlight-reel knockout of Paul Kamanga on June 23rd with a right hand to the head of the Congolese fighter flooring him like a lightning bolt to an extra chilly penguin and his style is, to the eye, more explosive than Catterall with varied and continuous output to both body and head of his opponents, utilising strong flurries to really wear his man down.

Make no mistake, though, Catterall packs one hell of a punch and has a tendancy to target the body in a sickening fashion, one, two, three slammed into the region between rib and liver to punish and fatigue his counterpart into hiding.

Regardless of whether they win or lose there are huge futures ahead for both fighters with the winner probably being in pole position to face the WBO Champion – currently Maurice Hooker – whilst the loser, and there can be no shame in losing this fight, sets up some blockbuster domestic clashes ahead of a rebuild to world level.

I think the main thing for this is just to respect both guys for taking this fight, it’s going to be a cracker.

Daniel Dubois vs Kevin Johnson

I’m in two minds about this fight, I think it’s a good level of opponent to test Daniel Dubois in only his ninth professional contest but, having said that, if Johnson were to get bounced out within two-three rounds, would I be surprised? Not in the slightest.

And that’s not a slur on the American because he’s been a very good, durable, yardstick to measure up against with Dereck Chisora, Kubrat Pulev, Manuel Charr and Christian Hammer all going the distance with Kingpin. Although, then again, Sefer Seferi went the distance with Manuel Charr so now everything just seems confusing.

Anyway, back to being serious, there can be no disputing that Kevin Johnson is past his prime whether that be as a genuine contender – the bell probably rang on that in 2010 – or, indeed, as a gatekeeper which, feasibly, came to a conclusion after Anthony Joshua pummelled him to a second round knockout back in 2015.

Still, however, I’m in the mind-set that, yeah, it’s about time that Dubois got in the ring with someone of Johnson’s calibre and let’s not forget that he extended Andy Ruiz Jr to the full 10 rounds earlier this year so his chin is still in good nick and unquestionably this is the best opponent that Dubois has faced thus far.

20 years old with eight explosive knockouts on his record, I understand the want of some fans to fasten his development and get him in with even bigger names but we need to remember that Dubois is learning on the job and given that his own personal target was to be world champion in 2020 I don’t think we can judge him too much until we hit the latter end of next year.

A knockout expected, this will definitely be a learning test for Dynamite but there’d be nothing surprising if he sent Johnson into retirement.

Lyon Woodstock Jr vs Archie Sharp

Again this is a fight that you need to sit back from, initially, and just applaud both guys for taking on the contest when they could have had far easier contests but there’s no messing around from either guy and the two will produce a sumptuous display for the fans on October 6th.

Several, seemingly, bitter exchanges between the pair on Twitter have set the tempo for this encounter with Woodstock promising a beat-down over his stablemate, looking to showcase the skills he’s put into place to considerable success over the course of his career thus far.

Woodstock, the local man, is two fights less experienced but has looked punch-perfect over the past 12-18 months with a strong performance against Paul Holt, taking to the centre of the ring and fighting from distance before claiming a shellacking knockout with ferocious hooks against the ropes. If ever there was a performance to mark yourself out as one to watch, this was it.

Nine years as an amateur, nine national junior titles, Frank Warren has called Archie Sharp the “best kept secret in British boxing” and the super featherweight has wasted no time in racking up the wins – 13 without defeat, so far – and whilst Lyon will provide the dynamite in this contest, Sharpe will focus on his fluid movement, controlling the ring from the outset and attempting to dictate the pace of the fight into a tempo more suitable for him and his puppy-like energy.

The winner of this contest will surely be in line for the British title, held by Sam Bowen, and from a neutral perspective this promises to be a really good fight, it’s got the ingredients – young, hungry, unbeaten, powerful, quick on the feet.

WHAT MORE COULD YOU ASK FOR? A great fight.

Sam Bowen

Talking of the British super featherweight champion, Sam Bowen will also feature on the October 6th card at the Leicester Arena with the 26 year old having signed a three year promotional deal with Frank Warren.

Heralded for a long time by Carl Greaves, Bowen is the epitome of silky smooth with a style that’s easy to watch. Without fail Sam will take to the centre of the ring and keep on bouncing around, causing problems, with a continuous left jab popping into the face of his opponent before, bam, the deceptive power comes into play with the knockout merchant stringing together punishing combinations.

Against a, good, Maxi Hughes earlier this year “Bullet” Bowen pieced together an emphatic display in which everything just seemed to click, dominant movement, rhythmic shot timing, stance switching, a true masterclass from Sam with big shots dropping his man on two occasions.

Now with the backing of a big-time promoter and TV coverage the hope is that Sam Bowen will be able to push on a lot quicker than beforehand with the additional money a big incentive to those who, otherwise, would likely have avoided him.

Scheduled for a British title defence but without an opponent, I’d like to see him in with Ryan Wheeler or Jordan McCorry for October before the youngster looks for even bigger things – a showdown with James Tennysson for the British, European and Commonwealth titles would be PHENOMENAL.

And there we have it that is the first show of the new season for Frank Warren and Queensbury Promotions and, boy, it’s shaping up to be a tasty one!

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Andre Ward Talks Hosting “Contender” Redux


By: Sean Crose

From 2005-2009, “The Contender” showed television viewers the struggles and triumphs of struggling boxers determined to crack through to the big time. With heavyweight star power like Sugar Ray Leonard and Sylvester Stallone, The Contender would offer viewers highlights of the contestant’s plights along with highlights of the contestant’s ring battles with one another. Now, The Contender is coming back. On August 24th, EPIX will run a new, revived Contender, which will feature 16 new contestants and the talents of host and mentor Andre Ward.

“It excited me for various reasons,” Ward said of The Contender’s comeback during a Tuesday conference call. Upon learning the show would be revived the recently retired great sprang into action. “I immediately called my lawyer,” Ward stated, referring to his plan to get in on The Contender’s return. For Ward, there’s more to the show than simple production values and ratings. “It’s about human interest stories,” he said. “It talks about human beings…you can relate to a human interest story.”

I asked Ward if he felt his personality, which is far from the showy personas many fighters like to showcase, made him a natural fit for a show which focuses primarily on people’s struggles, issues and dreams. “I genuinely love the sport,” he said. “I care about the fighters because I was a fighter.” The show’s executive producer, Eric Van Wagenen, had nothing put praise for The Contender’s new host, claiming that after “about a fifteen minute conversation with Andre, I felt the franchise was in safe hands.” A fight fan, Wagenen was impressed with what he saw in Ward outside of the ring.

“I gained a new respect for him,” he said of the new host, “how smart he is, how much he cares for the young fighters.” Ward, whose last fight was a second win over light heavyweight terror Sergey Kovalev in June of 2017, had not made specific plans for the future after his retirement. “At the time of my retirement, I didn’t know about Creed 2,” Ward stated, in reference to the upcoming film he’ll be acting in (he was in the first Creed film). According to Ward, it was important “to be a guy who left (the ring) on time.” It looks to have been a wise choice.“Sometimes,” he added, “you’ve got to take the leap of faith before these other opportunities come on board.”

Van Wagenen, a close associate of original (and current) creator Mark Burnett, promises a Contender that will be in tune with the times. “I was involved with The Contender in its original form,” he said, adding that, with better production values, the new Contender has “all the things that make a show successful now.” One of those things will be a social media presence, and also full footage from the fights, rather than just highlights.

Ward was asked if working on the show made him want to make a comeback to the ring. “Yeah,” he said, “but as soon as I got hit (in sparing)…that desire just disappears.”

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Epix Sets Premier Date for The Contender, Reveals 16 Fighters Vying for Championship Belt


Premium pay television network EPIX® has announced the 16 fighters who will be facing off with one another for the championship belt on the revival of boxing franchise series The Contender this fall. The highly anticipated 12-episode season, from MGM Television and Paramount Television, will premiere on EPIX on Aug. 24, 2018 at 10 PM ET/PT.

Hosted by undefeated boxing champion Andre “Son of God” Ward, the first-of-its-kind competitive documentary series for the network will feature 16 fighters pushing their limits in grueling elimination-style fights and testing their grit and determination to achieve their boxing dreams. The fighters will be overseen by legendary boxing coach Freddie Roach, and renowned Philadelphia trainer Naazim Richardson.

“The Contender takes unscripted TV to its grittiest. It has incredible professional fighters and real professional fights. The edge of your seat drama and true stories sets a tone that our audiences will be expecting and I love it,” said Mark Burnett, President of MGM Television.

“With this new iteration of The Contender, the focus is on the gritty, personal stories of the fighters battling for boxing glory,” said Michael Wright, President, EPIX. “It was important for us to find individuals who not only displayed the boxing chops and resilience in the ring, but who also showed a depth of heart and humor outside of it. Our 16 fighters are vivacious, tough, funny, sensitive, driven and inspiring, and we are excited for our fans to get to know their stories and root for them inside the ring and out.”

The 16 Contenders come from a wide variety of professional boxing backgrounds and stations in life, bringing their unique stories, personalities, strengths and motivations to the series.

Each fighter will be vying to be declared the new 160-pound middleweight champion of The Contender and take home the winner’s six-figure purse — a prize, which, for all the fighters, represents a better life for their families and loved ones who have been there with them through all the ups and downs of their journeys.

The 16 fighters on The Contender this season are:

◦Ievgen “The Ukranian Lion” Khytrov, Age: 29, Rank: 20, Hometown: Brooklyn, N.Y.- A Ukrainian immigrant, Olympian, Ievgen Khytrov recently relocated to America to pursue his dream of becoming a world champion and to create a better life for his family. A dedicated, quiet, religious man. He’s also the one to beat.

◦Eric “Babyface Assassin” Walker, Age: 34, Rank: 68, Hometown: Plaquemine, La. – Incarcerated at 15 years old and spent 14 years behind bars for robbery and attempted murder, Eric “Babyface Assassin” Walker learned to box while in prison. He is now fighting for a second chance at life, living proof that it’s never too late to live out your dreams.

◦John “Apollo Kid” Thompson, Age: 29, Rank: 70, Hometown: Newark, N.J. – After losing his mother to AIDS at six years old, this married performing artist, painter and fighter, John “Apollo Kid” Thompson is here to prove to the world that he can’t be boxed into a single category despite holding impressive titles including the 2015 WBA-NABA Super Welterweight, WBO Inter-Continental Super Welterweight and Boxcino Tournaments.

◦Malcolm “The Punisher” McAllister, Age: 27, Rank: 172, Hometown: Long Beach, Calif. – Always at the center of schoolyard fights growing up, Malcolm “The Punisher” McAllister now channels his energy into helping others rebuild outside of foreclosure and his young, growing family. In boxing has built an impressive KO record and the 2014 Golden Gloves title on his journey to take the title of The Contender.

◦Brandon “The Cannon” Adams, Age: 28, Rank: Inactive, Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif. – A bold fighter in the ring, Brandon “The Cannon” Adams knows firsthand what it means to push through adversity and step up to care for his family when there’s no one else around to. Coming from a poverty stricken neighborhood, this larger than life father of two marks his return to boxing after a three year hiatus, initiated by a loss to fellow competitor, John Thompson.

◦Quatavious “Cash” Cash, Age: 26, Rank: 161, Hometown: Las Vegas, Nev. – This Atlanta native is the current record-holder for fastest KO in Georgia, a four0time Golden Gloves state champ and Bronze medalist. Quatavious Cash is fighting for his late mother and for the chance to prove that a life of fighting street gangs can be channeled for good.

◦Shane “Sugarman” Mosley, Jr., Age: 27, Rank: 149, Hometown: Santa Monica, Calif. – The lone single contender, son of legendary Hall of Fame boxer “Sugar” Shane Mosley, Shane “Sugarman” Mosley Jr. is fighting to step out of his father’s shadow and carve out his own legacy.

◦Daniel “El Chapulin” Valdivia, Age: 25, Rank: 116, Hometown: Tulare, Calif. – A natural salesman and real estate agent by day, nicknamed “El Chapulin” (“Grasshopper”) for his boundless energy, Mexican immigrant Daniel Valdivia was born to step into the ring. With several titles including the NABF Super Welterweight Champion as an underdog, he’s chasing fame to prove giving up college for boxing was the right move.

◦Michael “The Silverback” Moore, Age: 31, Rank: 252, Hometown:Cleveland, Oh. – Reformed from a hard life on the streets, fraught with drugs, death and family suicide, Michael Moore is a natural hustler and leader. Married with two kids, Moore is constantly moving from state to state with his family in tow in pursuit of the boxing dream.

◦Gerald “G5” Sherrell, Age: 24, Rank: 216, Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pa. – A fan of the original Contender series growing up, Gerald “G5” Sherrell is an undefeated and explosive fighter with a level of unrivaled and self-proclaimed swagger. Hailing from the projects, this multiple time Golden Gloves, Silver Gloves and Junior Olympic competitor, this local zoo security guard by day, and young father by night, is looking to bring boxing glory back to his hometown of Pittsburgh.

◦Morgan “Big Chief” Fitch, Age: 34, Rank: 154, Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pa. – Injury-plagued throughout his career, the Native American hailing from Southern Louisiana is a married father of three. Knowing that he’s old for the sport, Morgan “Big Chief” Fitch has one last shot at making his boxing dreams come true.

◦Marcos “Mad Man” Hernandez, Age: 24, Rank: 104, Hometown: Fresno, Calif. – Having been bullied from a young age after an accident left him with burns on 30 percent of his body, Marcos “Mad Man” Hernandez is fighting for his young autistic son, in hopes that he won’t be bullied the same way he was. With Junior Olympics, 2012 Blue and Gold titles and “Mexican-go-forward” style fighting he may be overlooked and underestimated.

◦Tyrone “Young Gun” Brunson, Age: 33, Rank: 39, Hometown: Philadelphia, PA – At a time when he needed to sell drugs to support himself at the age of 13, a stepfather’s ultimatum: be grounded or go to the boxing gym was his saving grace. Now a humble father of two, and sitting with one of the best rankings in the competition, his 24 KO’s send a signal that he will not fight silently but his cocky attitude has beat him more than just once.

◦Lamar “Omega” Russ, Age: 31, Rank: 115, Hometown: Wilmington, N.C. – One of four kids raised by a single mom and the first person in his family to graduate college, Lamar “Omega” Russ takes pride in being the underdog, and beneath the loud exterior is a boxer that needs to prove he can put his money where his mouth is. HBO, ESPN and a first round KO on Showtime do all the talking.

◦John “The Rock” Jackson, Age: 29, Rank: 63, Hometown: St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands – A divorced father of two, this slick and agile boxer, Virgin Islander John “The Rock” Jackson started fighting at 12 years old, following in his world champion father Julian Jackson’s footsteps at the Pan American Games and 2008 Olympics. He comes from wealth but cares for the underprivileged and dreams of making his island proud bringing visibility to those struck by recent natural disasters.

◦Devaun “Unique” Lee, Age: 30, Rank: 82, Hometown: Jamaica Queens, N.Y.

When one of his friends was shot and killed at 16, Devaun “Unique” Lee knew he needed a way out from the mean streets of Queens. Boxing keeps him straight. So do long hours fueling airplanes and caring for his five year old daughter. The real love of his life. Fatherhood and the sport are the motivation to take his NY State Middleweight championship to the next level.

The original Contender series ran for four seasons (2005-2009) and launched multiple fighters into contention for world titles, including title winners Sergio Mora, Cornelius Bundrage, Sakio Bika, and Sam Soliman.

Eric Van Wagenen serves as executive producer and showrunner of the revived franchise alongside Mark Burnett. The format is owned by MGM Television and Paramount Television.

EPIX is available nationwide through cable, satellite, telco and streaming TV providers including Charter Spectrum, Cox, Verizon FiOS, AT&T U-verse, Dish Network, Sling, PlayStation Vue and, as of June 13, Comcast.

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Andre Ward, Freddie Roach, and Naazim Richardson Join The Contender


Premium pay television network EPIX®, an MGM company, has announced that undefeated boxing champion Andre “Son of God” Ward will host the new version of the seminal The Contender boxing franchise. Legendary boxing trainers Freddie Roach and Naazim Richardson join as trainers in the iconic series that has launched multiple boxers into contention for world titles.

The all-new 12-episode season of the boxing competition series, the first of its kind to air on EPIX is produced by Mark Burnett and his longtime executive producer Eric Van Wagenen. MGM Television has joined forces with Paramount Television to produce, and filming will begin this Spring 2018 in Los Angeles.

As host, Ward brings his undefeated record and undisputed boxing expertise to The Contender. Throughout his incredible 13-year undefeated career, he’s held multiple world titles in two weight classes including, unified WBA (Super), WBC, Ring magazine, and lineal super middleweight titles between 2009 and 2015 as well as the unified WBA (Undisputed), IBF, WBO, and Ring’s light heavyweight titles between 2016 and 2017. Ward also won the gold medal in the light heavyweight division in the 2004 Summer Olympics.

Said Ward, “I have faced the unique challenges of professional boxing firsthand and know the focus required to succeed at the highest level. Hosting a show that has enabled so many talented fighters reach their dreams is an honor and I look forward to giving the fans unique insight into the life of a fighter and leading the audience through the thrills of this competition.”

“It is so important for The Contender to have the best and most trusted boxing experts which is why we reached out to Andre, Freddy and Naazim,” said Burnett. “They are the very best and can help create an experience almost never seen before. Eric and I are really excited to exceed the fans’ expectations. We love The Contender and we love boxing.”

Esteemed coaches Roach and Richardson will each oversee a team of eight fighters, pushing their fighting skills, strength and endurance to the limit in preparation for elimination competitions. The coaches will also act as the fighters’ mentor, helping them to navigate their everyday life as the competitors live and train together and fight each other in the ring. Each fighter will be vying to become the ultimate Contender and take the winner’s six-figure purse.

Roach is widely regarded as one of the most successful boxing trainers of all time. His roster includes the eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao, five-time and four-division World Champion Miguel Cotto, former WBC Middleweight Champion Julio César Chávez, Jr., defensive master and three-time world champion James Toney, former UFC Middleweight and three-time Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre, as well as top prospects Jose Benavidez, Peter Quillin, and Vanes Martirosyan, among many others.

One of the most respected trainers from the boxing hotbed of Philadelphia, Naazim Richardson has helped shape the careers of some of the biggest names in the sport over the past 30 years. From Bernard Hopkins to “Sugar” Shane Mosley, as well as others like Travis Kauffman, and prospect Khalib ‘Bigfoot’ Whitmore, Richardson’s work and his spirit continue to be part of boxing lore. The father and trainer of boxing twin brothers Rock Allen and Tiger Allen Richardson, Naazim is also known for discovering plaster hidden in Antonio Margarito’s wraps before the January 24, 2009 fight between Margarito and Mosley.

Eric Van Wagenen serves as executive producer and showrunner alongside Burnett. The format is owned by MGM Television and Paramount Television.

EPIX is available nationwide through cable, satellite, telco and streaming TV providers including Charter Spectrum, Cox, Verizon FiOS, AT&T U-verse, Dish Network, Sling, PlayStation Vue and, later this year, Comcast.

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The Contender Returns


By: Oliver McManus

THE CONTENDER returns to our television screens later this year after being picked up by the premium cable and satellite network Epix – the iconic show has been off air for nine years since its original run between 2005 and 2009 but with the fresh backing of the Epix network and a renewed passion for the format from Mark Burnett, President of MGM Television and Digital, this fan-favourite is sure to pick up where it left off.

When announcing the relaunch of The Contender, Burnett declared “Boxing belongs on premium pay television and there is no better home for The Contender than EPIX” , before announcing his vision to “tell stories of the fighters, the families and their difficult journeys in the emotionally compelling Contender style, so that viewers get to vicariously ‘walk a mile’ in the boxers shoes”.

The series will showcase 16 fighters, in two TUF-style teams, trained by world class boxing coaches as they live together, sleep together, train together over the course of the season in the bid to be crowned the Ultimate Contender, taking a home a six-figure purse, in an elimination competition designed to test them both in the ring and out of it.
Although no official weight class has been announced for the revival, it is understood that the show will focus on the middleweight division – where Gennady Golovkin, Billy Joe Saunders and Ryota Murata currently rule the roost.

For the boxers involved there is no better platform to launch their career into the big time than via The Contender, a proven format that has seen 11 of its competitors go on to fight for world titles with Sergio “The Latin Snake” Mora being the most notable to come through the challenging 15-week process. Having reached 180 million cumulative viewers over its first four seasons, according to Nielsen Media Research, the format is a marketable hit with audiences both domestic and international – but in a bid to enhance viewership it is understood the Epix will air each week’s elimination fight in its entirety as opposed to the heavily edited versions that drew criticism from many boxing fans previously.

The first winner of the franchise, Mora challenged for the WBC World Super Welterweight title against Vernon Forest in 2008 – winning a Unanimous Decision – before a failed defence against the same opponent, a split decision draw against Shane Mosley and two challenges for Daniel Jacobs WBA Middleweight title in 2015 and 2016.

Marking a welcome return of boxing on Epix this will be the network’s first venture into boxing since Vitali Klitschko vs Odlanier Solis back in 2011 and compliments their current sporting portfolio that features the Bellator Fighting Championship as their lead programming.

Hold on to your seats because THE CONTENDER is back and it’s bigger and better than ever before.

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The Real Fight of 2016


by B.A. Cass

The fight between Francisco Vargas and Orlando Salido, which seemed to be just about everyone’s pick for 2016 fight of the year, was certainly a good fight. But thirty seconds into Round One and the two men were already in their first clinch, something that turned into a bizarre twirl. A minute later, Vargas was walking Salido back as if they were partners in an intermediate ballroom dance class. Yes, there were moments of intense onslaught by both men, and yes, the majority of the fight was brutal and entertaining. However, it was nowhere near as thrilling as the best fights of the past.

Over the week I watched nineteen fights, both female and male, from 2016. I had originally intended to watch twenty-four, but five of the female fights were not available online. (Click this link to get the full list of the fights I watched: http://bit.ly/2x65wKk.) I had two criteria for judging these matches. The first was that the opponents had to be well matched, meaning no early round knockouts or clear domination. The second was that that the fight had to be thrilling from beginning to end. This, unfortunately, disqualified Amanda Serrano, who KO’d Olivia Gerula in the first round of their fight. And while it was a pleasure watch the skilled Jelena Mrdjenovic, she was the more talented fighter in both her fights that I watched. On the male side, I was impressed by all of what I saw except by the Dillian Whyte vs. Dereck Chisora fight, which seemed to me just like two really big guys punching each other in slow-motion.

And while I was deeply impressed by the Carl Frampton vs. Leo Santo Cruz bout (I gave it runner up), one fight stood out from all the rest. And that’s Heather Hardy vs. Shelly Vincent, my pick for “2016 Fight of the Year.”

The public animosity between these two fighters has been well-documented. Vincent spent years trying to secure a fight with Hardy, going so far as to show up at Hardy’s fights to taunt and ridicule her. Their fans exchanged vicious words. Hardy’s mother may have even been involved in a physical altercation with Vincent at The Roseland Ballroom, though that has not been confirmed. In other words, this was the real deal, an epic fight three years in the making.

But put aside all that, and put aside the historic nature of the fight. (It was the first female boxing match televised in the US in over 20 years.) In fact, put aside everything and anything that didn’t take place in the ring that night at Coney Island’s Ford Amphitheater because it was, from beginning to end, a spectacular fight. There was no clinching, not a single moment when either fighter tried to save energy. Hardy and Vincent simply gave everything they had from the first bell to the last.

The New York based Hardy won by split-decision, which didn’t surprise Vincent, who had traveled from Providence to take the fight. “It being in New York, I knew from the gate that unless I knocked her out, I wasn’t going to get a W over there,” Vincent recently told me. “I had it six rounds to four. And two rounds she beat me. I admit that. She beat me those two rounds. But clearly I dominated. I kept moving forward.”

Devon Cormack, Hardy’s trainer, obviously doesn’t agree with Vincent’s analysis: “At no point did I feel Heather was losing the fight,” he told me over the phone. “She made the adjustments as the fight went on, more than Shelly did.” Still, Cormack acknowledges that it was close. “It wasn’t a perfect thing having a split decision, but I didn’t think it was that far removed, which is why I thought it made for an excellent fight.”

Vincent’s trainer, Pete Manfredo Sr., can’t figure out why there hasn’t been a rematch. All he knows is that it should have been done already. “It was the fight of the night, and it even had Errol Spence on the card that night. I thought Vincent/Hardy was a much better fight for the crowd, even the television crowd.”

Let’s be honest, though: if a rivalry like this occurred between two male boxers and their much-anticipated, widely-viewed fight ended in a close, split-decision win, the rematch would have already happened.

Still, Hardy remains hopeful for the future of women’s boxing. “If you put Holly Holm with someone like a Katie Taylor, or one with Cecilia Brækhus, that would be a huge money fight—maybe not in America but it would be a huge money fight because so much of the country follows MMA. Even when I had my first MMA fight, I got tens of thousands of new followers. I was on the MMA radio show with Ariel Hawani and like a hundred people had tweeted it out. And so the more public demand, the more popular it gets, the easier it will be.”

Let’s hope Hardy is right. Let’s hope that the gods of the boxing world come together and align the stars to make this rematch happen. In the meantime, you can see Shelly Vincent fight in person at the Fox Theater at Foxwoods Resort Casino on September 15th. (Buy your tickets here: http://bit.ly/ShellyVincent). And, though her opponent has yet to be announced, Heather Hardy is set to return for her second Bellator fight on October 20th at the Mohegan Sun Arena.

Follow B.A. Cass on Twitter @WiththePunch

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Heather Hardy Interview: “I still haven’t gotten the mainstream media attention that I’d like”


Heather Hardy Interview: “I still haven’t gotten the mainstream media attention that I’d like”
By: Matthew N. Becher

​Heather “The Heat” Hardy is one of the top ranked female fighters in the world today. With a record of 20 wins 0 losses, she is a staple in the New York boxing scene, remaining a fan favorite at her home away from home, the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

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​Hardy is currently training for her mixed martial arts debut, June 24th on the Bellator 180 undercard at the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden. Hardy was kind enough to take a few moments to speak with us about her upcoming fight and the switch from Boxing to MMA.

Boxing Insider: What made you decide to switch to Mixed Martial Arts?

Heather Hardy: It’s not actually a switch, I’m just going to do both. The boxing was just taking a really long time to turn around. I still haven’t made a really nice paycheck out of it. I still haven’t gotten the mainstream media attention that I’d like. So I’m hoping that the MMA will bring back some attention to boxing and vice versa. This is just like another job.

Boxing Insider: For the most part, boxers do not typically adapt well to MMA. Does that concern you?

Heather Hardy: Every fighter is different. All boxers are not the same. Maybe a fighter that wasn’t as good as me didn’t adapt well. But I’ve been doing a lot of sparring with elite level fighters and I’m feeling pretty good.

Boxing Insider: How do you feel about finally fighting at Madison Square Garden? This will be your first time right?

Heather Hardy: It will be my first time as a professional. I won my Golden Gloves title there. I’m super excited to be fighting there as a professional and adding it to my resume.

Boxing Insider: You are 35 years old and highly ranked in the featherweight division, as a boxer. Do you think a title fight is going to be coming up soon?

Heather Hardy: Could be, I mean, I’m hoping for it. Right now all the girls that are holding titles are out of the country and they don’t want to come to America. Because in America they don’t pay female boxers. So I’m really hoping that we can change that and we can get one of those girls over here so I can take their title.

Boxing Insider: Could you go over there?

Heather Hardy: It’s hard because I’m signed to a promotional deal with Lou Dibella and I’m contracted under him. His fights are only here in New York, so it would require a lot of negotiations for me to fight somewhere else.

Boxing Insider: How much fighting do you think you have left in you?

Heather Hardy: It’s really hard to say. Your body is a machine. If you take care of it you have extended use for it. If you abuse your body you won’t have a long time. I take care of myself. As long as I feel good, I’ll keep going.

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Why Jeffries Came Back for Johnson & Marciano Didn’t for Johansson!


Why Jeffries Came Back for Johnson & Marciano Didn’t for Johansson!
By: Ken Hissner

James J “The Boilermaker” Jeffries was considered one of the all-time great heavyweight champions when he retired after defeating Jack Munroe in 2 rounds in August of 1904. His record was 19-0-2 (16).

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When Jack “The Galvestan Giant” Johnson became the first black champion defeating Tommy Burns in December of 1908 the white race seemed to be quite upset especially due to the arrogance of Johnson. Johnson had four defenses with the first a draw with light heavyweight champion Philadelphia Jack O’Brien, NWS decisions with Tony Ross 11-6-2, NWS with Al Kauffman 18-1 and came off the canvas to KO12 middleweight champion Stanley Ketchell.

Johnson as you can see was running out of opponents though also drawing “the color line” not defending against any of the black opponents since becoming champion. On the other hand even Jeffries Pastor in front of his congregation was embarrassing him saying “we have a coward amongst us” in trying to bring him back to take back the title from the black champion.

Jeffries had gained over 100 pounds and hadn’t fought in 6 years minus a month. He unwisely came back at 227 to Johnson’s 208. Jeffries was 224 in his last fight some 6 years before. Jeffries was stopped in the 15th of a scheduled 45 round scheduled battle. In those days if you took a knee the round was over. Johnson was 38-5-7 going into this fight outdoors in Reno, NV.

In Marciano’s decision not to return after retiring coming off the canvas to knockout light heavyweight champion Archie Moore in his last bout in September of 1959 he had no plans to return to the ring. Floyd Patterson would defeat Moore for the vacant title. There was talk of a Marciano Patterson fight but Marciano who would take months prior to a fight away from his family wanted to spend time lost with his wife and children. At retirement he was 49-0 (43) with 6 title defenses the first was a KO1 over “Jersey” Joe Walcott whom he won the title over with a KO13 while behind in the scoring 4-7, 5-7 and 4-8 needing a knockout to win.

Marciano went onto KO11 Roland LaStarza in 1953 who he had won a split decision over in 1950 before becoming champion. He then defeated the former champion Ezzard Charles twice. The first was a decision 8-5, 9-5 and 8-6 and in the rematch Charles split Marciano’s nose so bad a only a knockout would save his title from the referee or ring physician possibly stopping the fight though ahead 5-1 and 6-1 twice. Then after 8 months he knocked out the British Empire champion Don Cockell 66-11-1 in 9 rounds with the Moore fight to follow.

Patterson after defeating Moore for the vacant defended his title 6 times all by knockout until he was knocked out by Sweden’s Ingemar Johansson. This is when Marciano felt he would come back to bring the title back to America. He spent time alone nearby his home trying to get back in shape. He said the desire wasn’t there anymore. Patterson would come back to win the title from Johansson bringing back the title to America.

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Who Was the Best P4P “Sugar” Ray Leonard, Aaron “The Hawk” Pryor, Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker or Floyd “Money” Mayweather, Jr?


Who Was the Best P4P “Sugar” Ray Leonard, Aaron “The Hawk” Pryor, Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker or Floyd “Money” Mayweather, Jr?
By: Ken Hissner

This writer has met “Sugar” Ray Leonard several times, Aaron “The Hawk” once and Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker once. I never met Floyd “Money” Mayweather. All are IBHOF inductees except Mayweather who has to wait five years after retiring before induction. He hasn’t fought since 2015.

Mayweather media day

As far as an amateur Leonard would be in a class of his own compared to the other three though Whitaker also won an Olympic Gold Medal but against lesser opposition.Leonard was from Palmer Park, MD.

Let’s take a look at Leonard first with an amateur record of 145-5 (75) winning the 1976 Olympic Gold Medal before turning professional on possibly the greatest Olympic team in the history of the Games. He won the 1975 Pan American Games the previous year defeating Cubans for both Gold Medals. He was inducted into the Olympic HOF in 1985 and the IBHOF in 1997 fighting from 1977 thru 1997 with a 36-3-1 (25) record.

In talking with Manny Steward who helped this writer judge 1976 vs 1984 Olympic teams we both agreed Leonard was a better amateur than a professional. Steward told me due to hand injuries as a professional. His manager was Mike Trainer and his trainers were Dave Jacobs, Janks Morton, Adrian Davis, Angelo Dundee and Pepe Correa.

Leonard won the WBC & WBA welterweight titles, WBA Junior middleweight, WBC’s middleweight, super middleweight and light heavyweight titles. Highlights winning world titles by stopping Wildfredo Benitez, winning two of three from Roberto “Hands of Stone” Duran, stopping and drawing with Tommy “Hit Man” Hearns, stopping AyubKalule, defeating “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler and stopping Donny Lalondetwice.
Aaron “The Hawk” Pryor, 39-1 (36), was from Cincinnati, OH. He was 204-16 in the amateurs winning AAU and Golden Gloves titles while being a Silver Medalist in the 1975 Pan Am Games and a 1976 Olympic alternate losing to future Gold Medalist and Van Barker winner Howard Davis. In talking to Davis over the phone I told him I thought he lost against Pryor in the Olympic Trials. He didn’t agree. Pryor won the 1976 Golden Gloves defeating Tommy “Hit Man” Hearns.

At the Pan Am Games in 1975 Olympic members Chuck “White Chocolate” Walker and Davey Armstrong agreed Leonard just got the best of Pryor in sparring in unforgettable performances by both.

Pryor was the IBF and WBA light welterweight champion. He was 35-0 and was inactive for 2½ years coming back and tasting his only career defeat to Bobby Joe Young then winning his last three fights. He fought from 1976 thru 1990. His most notable wins were over Antonio “Kid Pambele” Cervantes, Dujuan Johnson and over Alexis Arguello twice.His manager was Buddy LaRosa and trained by Panama Lewis.

Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker as a professional was 40-4-1 (17), and as anamateur 201-14.In 1982 he was the Silver Medalist in the World Amateur championships reversing the loss by defeating the same Cuban for the Pan Am Games 1983 Gold Medal. The Russians and Cubans didn’t compete in the 1984 Olympics where Whitaker won the 1984 Olympic Gold Medal in the lightweight division.

Whitaker held the WBA, WBC and IBF titles as a lightweight and a light welterweight. His first attempt for the WBC lightweight title was his first career loss to Jose Luis Ramirez but defeated Ramirez the following year for his first world title. He defeated Azuma Nelson, Jorge Paez, BuddyMcGirt twice and drew with Julio Cesar Chavez. He lost to Oscar “Golden Boy” De la Hoya and Felix “Tito” Trinidad. He fought from 1984 thru 2001.

Whitaker was managed by Shelly Finkel while trained by George Benton and Lou Duva as a professional. He was inducted into the IBHOF in 2007. He would become a trainer after retiring.

Floyd “Money” Mayweather, Jr.,was 49-0 (26), as a professional winning the WBC super featherweight, lightweight and light welterweight titles. He won the IBF, WBC, WBA and WBO titles as a welterweight and the WBA & WBC light middleweight titles.

He was managed by Floyd Mayweather, Sr., James Prince and Al Haymon. He was trained by Roger Mayweather, and Mayweather, Sr. He was promoted by Top Rank, Goossen Tutor Promotions, Golden Boy Promotions and Mayweather Promotions.

Mayweather was 84-8 as an amateur winning the 1996 Golden Gloves and the Bronze Medal in the 1996 Olympic Games. As a professional he fought from 1996 thru 2015.

In this writers opinion “Sugar” Ray Leonard was the better P4P boxer than the other three. What do you think?

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Already A Legend, Roman Gonzalez Still Wants To Challenge Himself


Already A Legend, Roman Gonzalez Still Wants To Challenge Himself
By: Sean Crose

“I have already accomplished a lot,” undefeated multi-division champion Roman Gonzalez said on a recent conference call. Without doubt, the Nicaraguan slugger known as Chocolatito has earned some well deserved accolades. Last November the man won a world title in his fourth weight class by grinding out a grueling win against Carlos Cuadras for the WBC world super flyweight title. His legacy assured, Gonzalez is turning his attention towards other matters. “Now,” he claimed on the call, “my goal is to hold onto my fourth world title in order to gain higher purses and more money.” Fighting at 115 pounds isn’t exactly easy for Gonzalez, however.

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“Never did I think it was going to be easy campaigning in this division at 115,” Gonzalez said. “It takes time to get used to and I think that’s what is happening at the moment but I think I will be fine.” His battle against Cuadras certainly was no walk in the park. Defending champ Cuadras wasn’t in it to lose. Indeed, the undefeated Mexican made it clear that he saw Gonzalez was his ticket to the big time. And even though Cuadras lost the fight, he gained an enormous amount of respect from the fight world.

And now people, including, it seems, Gonzalez, are looking forward to a rematch. “As I look at a fight coming up against Carlos Cuadras again,” Gonzalez claimed, “I realize I have to train harder. Every opponent presents different challenges. I do believe that the second fight, the rematch, will be better.” First, however, Gonzalez has business to attend to in Madison Square Garden this Saturday. For, Gonzalez will be featured in the co main event of the Gennady Golovkin-Daniel Jacobs card. His opponent? The hard hitting former champ Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, the man who Cuadras won the super flyweight title from.

In other words, it’s not necessarily easy going for Chocolatito this weekend. Sor Rungvisai may not have faced a murderer’s row throughout his career, but he goes to the body like it’s no one’s business. What’s more, Sun Rungvisai, like Cuadras, undoubtedly sees a great future ahead of him should he beat the Nicaraguan legend. Then there’s the matter that Gonzalez’ last fight was an absolutely brutal affair. Such things can have an impact. Add all this to the fact that the man has already reached Olympian heights and it’s worth wondering if an upset might be in the air.

Still, this is Gonzalez fighting here, the fighter widely regarded as the best pound for pound boxer on earth. Whether that’s really true or not, Gonzalez is a force to be reckoned with. What’s more, he knows what it’s like to be on a big stage. “On any other show,” promoter Tom Loeffler said of Gonzalez-Sor Rungvisai, “it would clearly be the main event.”

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ShoBox Results: Baranchyk and Ramos Deliver a Ten Round Thriller, Fernandez and Williams Victorious


ShoBox Results: Baranchyk and Ramos Deliver a Ten Round Thriller, Fernandez and Williams Victorious
By: William Holmes

The Buffalo Run Casino and Resort in Miami, Oklahoma was the host site for tonight’s ShoBox card live on Showtime and featured a main event between Ivan Baranchyk and Abel Ramos.

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Jon Fernandez (10-0) and Ernesto Garza (7-1) opened up the telecast with a bout in the super featherweight division.

Fernandez and Garza are both young professionals with a good amateur background that fought like they knew this fight was a good opportunity for exposure for them.

Garza was a southpaw, but was a good head shorter than Fernandez. Fernandez landed his overhand rights early on, and had Garza stunned with a hard right uppercut. He connected with another combination that dropped Garza. Garza was able to beat the count and put up a good fight for the remainder of the round and landed some heavy body blows, but Fernandez was more accurate puncher.

Garza opened up the second round aggressively and attacked to the body, but Fernandez remained calm and connected with clean shots of his own to the head of Garza. Garza appeared to tire as the round progressed and Fernandez was more easily avoiding the rushes of Garza.

Fernandez turned up the pressure in the third round and hammered Garza by the ropes and landed several hard unanswered shots. Garza looked dazed and confused while hanging on the ropes and the referee stopped the fight.

Jon Fernandez wins by TKO at 1:39 of the third round.

The next bout of the night was between Lenin Castillo (15-0-1) and Joe Williams (10-0) in the light heavyweight division.

Castillo was the more decorated amateur boxer as he competed for Puerto Rico in the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Castillo was the taller boxer and his jab was causing Williams problems in the first round. Williams was a little wild early and had to deal with Castillo holding on when he got in close.

Castillo’s jab was on point in the second round and was able to block most of Williams’ punches. Castillo’s range was firmly established by the third round and was landing the cleaner, sharper combinations, though Williams was not making it easy for Castillo.

The action remained consistent in the fourth and fifth rounds, with Castillo being the more effective fighter on the outside and Williams doing some damage on the inside, but Castillo was landing the more noticeable punches.

Castillo was the more active boxer in the sixth round but never had Williams in any real trouble. Williams pressed the action in the seventh round and may have won it due to Castillo constantly tying up and not throwing enough punches.

The fight could have been scored for either boxer going into the final round, and even though Castillo started the fight off strong, Williams ended the fight the busier boxer and who was pressing the pace.

The judges scored the bout 76-76, 78-74, 77-75 for Joseph Mack Williams Jr. by majority decision.

The main event of the night was between Ivan Baranchyk (13-0) and Abel Ramos (17-1-2) in the Super Lightweight Division.

Baranchyk entered with a very elaborate entrance, especially by ShoBox standards.

Baranchyk was aggressive early and throwing wild left hooks and very wide punches. Ramos was connecting with his jab and took a hard right uppercut by Baranchyk well, but it was a close round and could have been scored either way.

Baranchyk was able to briefly trap Ramos by the corner early in the second round and land some hard body shots, but was missing when he threw his wild shots to the head. Ramos’ jabs were landing at a high rate in the second round.

Ramos has control early in the third round and was controlling the action until Baranchyk landed a thudding right hand that sent Ramos down. Ramos was able to beat the count and get back to his feet and score a stunning knockdown with a counter left hand.

Ramos went back to his jab in the fourth round and was connecting with good straight right hands. He had Baranchyk hurt in the fourth, but Baranchyk landed another hard left hook that sent Ramos down to the mat. Ramos got back to his feet and looked fully recovered by the end of the fight.

Ramos had a very strong fifth round and was landing hard shots at will from the outside. It was an action packed round, but a clear round for Ramos.

The sixth round was an incredible round that featured both boxers throwing and landing the hardest punches that they could throw, and somehow, amazingly, neither boxer scored a knockdown.

Ramos, inexplicably, decided to stay in fierce exchanges with Baranchyk in the seventh round even though he did better when boxing from the outside and boxing smartly. Baranchyk’s punches were doing more head snapping damage than the shots of Ramos.

Amazingly, both boxers were still standing and throwing a high volume of power shots in the eighth round. Ramos, however, had some bad swelling around both of his eyes and looked like he was wearing down and slowing down. Ramos took some very heavy shots at the end of the round and his face was badly swollen.

Ramos’ faced looked badly disfigured at the start of the ninth round but he was still throwing a large number of punches and fighting back in extended spurts, but Baranchyk was landing the far more brutal punches.

Baranchyk and Ramos both looked exhausted in the final round and spent most of the final round doing something we didn’t see most of the fight, exchange mainly jabs. Baranchyk was able to buckle the knees of Ramos in the final seconds of the final round, but Ramos was able to survive the fight.

This was an incredibly exciting fight.

The judges scored the bout 97-92, 99-91, and 97-93 for Ivan Baranchyk.

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2016 Fighter of the Year Anyone But Andre Ward!


2016 Fighter of the Year Anyone But Andre Ward!
By: Ken Hissner

In looking over the new and defending world champions WBC/WBO super lightweight champion Terence Crawford, 30-0 (21), out of Omaha, NEB, was 3-0 with a pair of ko’s in 2016.

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The only other “champion” with 3 fights was Andre Ward who won a disputed decision over Sergey Kovalev who also had 3 fights. A fair decision and Kovalev would be a shoo-in for Fighter of the Year. This should never get “Fight of the Year” for Kovalev got hugged more (46x) by Ward then he does by his wife.

IBF super welterweight champion Jermall Charlo, 25-0 (19), out of Houston was 2-0 winning a close decision over former champion Austin Trout and stopping previously unbeaten Julian “J-Roc” Williams.

New WBC Super flyweight champion Roman Gonzalez, 46-0 (38), of NIC, had his toughest fight of his career stepping up a division winning a hard fought decision. He was 2-0.

Gennady “GGG” Golovkin, 36-0 (33), holding the WBA, WBC and IBF middleweight titles stopped a pair of unbeaten boxers with records of 36-0 and 18-0 to expend his knockout streak to 23.

In the cruiserweight division there were 3 new champions. Tony “Bomber” Bellew, 28-2-1 (18), won the vacant WBC title and was 2-0.

Murat “Iron” Gassiev, 24-0 (17), of Russia, won the IBF title over Denis Lebedev who didn’t have his WBA title on the line.

Oleksandr Usyk, 11-0 (10), of UKR, won the WBO title and went 2-0.

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, 48-1-1 (34), the WBC/WBO Super welterweight champion went 2-0 but pushed back his bout with GGG a year.

So who do you think should be awarded “Fighter of the Year?”

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