Coronavirus Forces PBC, Top Rank and Several Other Promoters to Postpone All Boxing Events
By: Hans Themistode
Fans that were in search of a reprieve from the Coronavirus pandemic, won’t be receiving one anytime soon.
Over the past few days, boxing events all around the world have been postponed. From big name fighters such as Shakur Stevenson and Naoya Inoue, to lesser known names and shows such as Michael Conlan and his annual headlining card which was due to take place in Madison Square Garden, in New York City on St. Patrick’s Day.
Every single one of those aforementioned shows have fallen victim to this pandemic that has affected not just boxing, but every sport around the world.
Still, even with the immediate future of boxing appearing extremely bleak, fans were thrown a lifeline of sorts.
Over in Hinckley, Minnesota at the Grand Casino, a small card headlined by undefeated prospect Brandun Lee took place in front of a crowd of absolutely no one on March 13th. It wasn’t exactly the most exciting card as Lee cruised to an easy third round stoppage victory. But for fans who have been deprived of sports for what feels like forever, they gladly accepted it.
If obscure names such as Brandon Lee and Camilo Prieto could be given the chance to fight and entertain those watching at home, then it gave fans everywhere hope that the big names associated with the sport could continue to enter the ring.
That last glimmer of hope however, has officially been taken away.
Promoters from every part of the world have officially waived the white flag in regards to future shows that were set to take place. Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) has pulled the plug on their March and April events. Including a Phoenix, Arizona card headlined by WBC Super Middleweight champion David Benavidez.
“Due to the growing concerns over COVID-19, Premier Boxing Champions scheduled events for March and April have been cancelled and will be rescheduled for a later date,” said PBC through an email statement.
“At this time there’s no information regarding future shows. The health and safety of the boxers, fans and those working the events are of utmost importance to us,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions and lead promoter for the cancelled shows. “We are all disappointed and as we get more information we will address future events.”
PBC, was soon followed by other heavy hitting boxing promoters such as Bob Arum and Top Rank.
“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Top Rank has postponed all events scheduled for March and April. We are monitoring the situation closely. We will reschedule the shows as soon as it’s safe and reasonable to do so.”
“The health and safety of our fighters, staff and ESPN’s incredible production team is the most important thing as we plan our next steps,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “We look forward to the day when we can bring our loyal fans world-class boxing once again. But exercising caution is the most prudent thing to do at this moment.”
Even stars who seem to be bigger than life such as four division champion Canelo Alvarez have been forced to take a backseat. His upcoming May 2nd, contest against Billy Joe Saunders will now be pushed back to at least June, if not later.
Those who were looking to beat the rush and purchased their tickets early on Ticketmaster, will be issued a full refund for every event.
All ticket orders will be refunded from your original point of purchase. If you have purchased online through Ticketmaster, all orders will be refunded automatically. Orders purchased with a credit card will be refunded to the credit card used for purchase. For third party purchases, please reach out to your original point of purchase for information regarding your credit. Please allow up to 30 days for this refund to reflect with your financial institution. If you have any questions, please contact Ticketmaster’s Customer Service line at 1-800-653-8000.
As is always the case in all parts of life, there is always a rebel. One person or entity that laughs in the face of those who are following the rules. In this case, UFC President Dana White plays the role of that rebellious figure. This past weekend on March 14th, White went through with his UFC event which took place in Brazil.
It may not have been in the best interest of his fighters, but fans who were stuck inside of the house searching for something other than Spongebob to watch, were ecstatic to actually see sports on their television screens. No fans were in attendance, but the fights took place without a problem.
Hopefully fans cherished that moment, as that could be the last time they see any new sports related content for quite some time.
“We can’t do it,” said White. “We have no choice now but to postpone these fights.”
White’s new comments were a far cry from the statement he made just a few days prior. The change of heart from White came from President Trump and his recommendation to postpone his events.
“We’re not stopping,” said White when asked if he would consider postponing fights last week.
Now, just like every other sport, the UFC is at a complete standstill.
The sport of boxing and UFC are different in many ways. But they believe in the same concept. Beat your opponent up until they quit.
At this point in time, it seems as though both the UFC and boxing have been given no choice but to do just that. At least temporarily.
Boxing, UFC, basketball and every other sport across the world has waived the white flag. The Coronavirus has won.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Donaire, Rosado, Top Rank, MTK Global, Clark, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of March 5th to March 12th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Photo Credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing
Hearn: Winner of Rosado-Sulecki Fight Likely for Andrade
The Middleweight clash between Gabriel Rosado and Maciej Sulecki on Friday night (March 15) at the Liacouras Center, Philadelphia live on DAZN in the US and Sky Sports in the UK, has extra spice added to it as promoter Eddie Hearn announced that the winner is likely to face WBO kingpin Demetrius Andrade in June.
TICKETS ARE ON SALE NOW PRICED FROM $40 FROM THE LIACORAS CENTER WEBSITE
Rosado and Sulecki promised to be a war from the get-go when the fight was announced in January, but now the WBO International title will be on the line, and with that, a likely shot at Rhode Island star Andrade in the summer.
Rosado (24-11-1 14 KOs) is back in action following his closely fought draw with Luis Arias in Mulvane, Kansas in November – another contentious fight for the Philly favorite who will now be chasing a third World title shot in his first fight on home turf in seven years.
Sulecki (27-1 11 KOs) is hunting a first World title shot having returned to winning ways in November with a second round stoppage of Jean Michel Hamilcaro in his native Poland. The 29 year old gave Daniel Jacobs a stern test in April before the Brooklyn man moved on to become a two-weight World ruler, and Sulecki will believe that experience will serve him against Rosado.
WBO ruler Andrade defended his title live on DAZN in January against Artur Akavov at Madison Square Garden in New York, and the streaming giants rubber-stamped their status as the home of the elite Middleweights by adding Kazakh star Gennady Golovkin to the phenomenal roster of 160lbers, with Canelo Alvarez and Daniel Jacobs clashing in a unification blockbuster on DAZN on May 4 in Las Vegas.
“I’m pretty sure that the winner of Saturday’s fight will be the next opponent for Demetrius in June,” said Hearn. “It’s a massive fight for Gabe and Maciej – we know that DAZN is the home of the Middleweights and these two have the opportunity on Friday to unlock the door to the big time.
“I expect an absolute war between both men, I think it could be fight of the night and on this card, that’s saying something!”
Rosado’s clash with Sulecki is part of a huge night of action in Philadelphia on St Patrick’s weekend topped by a World title double-header as Philly’s Tevin Farmer (28-4-1 6 KOs) comes home to defend his IBF Super-Featherweight title against Ireland’s Jono Carroll (16-0-1 3 KOs), and Irish sensation Katie Taylor (12-0 5 KOs) looks to unify the Lightweight division once again, putting her IBF and WBA straps on the line against Brazil’s WBO champion Rose Volante (14-0 8 KOs).
Philly Lightweight’s Hank Lundy (29-7-1 14 KOs) and Avery Sparrow (9-1 3 KOs) battle for local pride, Olympic gold medal pair Luke Campbell MBE (19-2 15 KOs) and Daniyar Yeleussinov (5-0 3 KOs) and silver medalist John Joe Nevin (11-0 4 KOs) taste their first action of 2019, unbeaten Super-Middleweight D’Mitrius Ballard (19-0 12 KOs) faces Victor Fonseca (17-9-1 14 KOs) while exciting New Jersey amateur star Raymond Ford makes his pro debut.
Super Welterweight Contender Jamontay Clark Battles Unbeaten Vernon Brown on March 24th
Exciting super welterweight contender Jamontay Clark joins the Peterson brothers on a Premier Boxing Champions on FS1 and FOX Deportes show on Sunday, March 24 from MGM National Harbor in Maryland.
Clarkwill take on Vernon Brown of Chicago in a 10-round super welterweight match that will open the broadcast at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. ET. Two-division world champion Lamont Peterson takes on former junior welterweight world champion Sergey Lipinets in a 12-round welterweight match that will headline the show. Anthony Peterson, Lamont’s brother, battles former junior lightweight world champion Argenis Mendez in a 10-round junior welterweight bout that serves as the co-main event.
The Peterson brothers are an inspirational duo that rose from poverty and homelessness in Washington D.C. as children to become professional boxers and reach an elite level in the sport. They will be fighting as the main and co-main event in these nationally televised bouts for the first time since 2006 and will look to put on a show for fans just outside of their hometown.
The 24-year-old Clark (13-1, 7 KOs) was on an impressive roll, having defeated Domonique Dolton and previously unbeaten Ivan Golub, before his match against Jeison Rosario last August. Fighting out of Cincinnati, he dropped a tough unanimous decision to Rosario in the first loss of his career. He will be looking to bounce back against the 29-year-old Brown (10-0-1, 7 KOs), who had a busy 2018 with three victories – two by way of knockout.
The FS1 prelims broadcast will begin at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT and feature Mexican slugger Jose Miguel Borrego (14-2, 13 KOs) clashing with California’s Jerry Thomas (14-1-1, 8 KOs) in an eight-round super lightweight match. It will also see Brandon Quarles (21-4-1, 10 KOs) battling Kansas-native Aaron Coley (15-2-1, 7 KOs) in an eight-round middleweight bout, plus Baltimore’s Lorenzo Simpson (2-0, 2 KOs) taking on Earl Henry (0-1-1) in a four-round super welterweight attraction.
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions and HeadBangers Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased by visiting www.mgmnationalharbor.com/.
Action-Packed Night of Undercard Attractions Lead Up to Errol Spence Jr. vs. Mikey Garcia
An exciting night of undercard attractions will lead up to the first Premier Boxing Champions on FOX Sports Pay-Per-View event headlined by unbeaten welterweight world champion Errol Spence Jr. taking on undefeated four-division champion Mikey Garcia on Saturday, March 16 from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
The action features 2016 Mexican Olympian Lindolfo Delgado (8-0, 8 KOs) looking to keep his perfect record intact against once-beaten Oklahoma-native James Roach (5-1, 5 KOs) in an eight-round super lightweight fight and undefeated Dallas-native Fernando Garcia (11-0, 6 KOs) taking on Colombia’s Marlon Olea (14-4, 12 KOs) for eight rounds of super featherweight action.
Tickets for this showdown, which is promoted by TGB Promotions and Ringstar Sports, are on sale now, and can be purchased at SeatGeek.com, the Official Ticketing Provider of AT&T Stadium.
The undercard will also see a host of local talent from Texas as cruiserweight Burley Brooks makes his pro debut against Randy Mast (1-0) in a four-round bout, Dallas-native Amon Rashidi (5-0, 3 KOs) in a six-round welterweight fight against El Paso’s Gabriel Gutierrez (5-7, 3 KOs), San Antonio’s Jesse Rodriguez (8-0, 4 KOs)facing Rauf Aghayev (26-6, 11 KOs) in an eight-round bantamweight showdown, Mesquite’s Adrian Taylor (8-1, 4 KOs)in a four-round cruiserweight attraction and San Antonio’s Robert Rodriguez (2-0) in a four-round super flyweight fight against Fernando Ibarra.
Rounding out the show are Marsello Wilder (3-1, 2 KOs)facing Mark Sanchez (0-2)in a four-round cruiserweight fight, California’s Luis Coria (10-2, 5 KOs) in a six-round featherweight bout against Mexico’s Omar Garcia (6-7, 1 KO), Milwaukee’s Thomas Hill (7-2, 1 KO) facing Christian Aguirre (8-4, 4 KOs) in a six-round super welterweight attraction, unbeaten Aaron Morales (5-0, 3 KOs) taking on Fernando Robles (2-0) for six-rounds of bantamweight action and Mexico’s Jose Valenzuela (2-0) in a four-round super featherweight bout against Christian Velez (1-1, 1 KO).
Top Rank Announced Media Partnership with MTK Global
Top Rank and MTK Global are proud to announce an exclusive multi-year licensing agreement that will bring MTK Global events to fans in the United States on ESPN platforms, including ESPN+ — the direct-to-consumer sports streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer & International segment and ESPN.
The agreement calls for approximately 30 shows a year emanating from the United Kingdom, Ireland, and elsewhere around the globe.
The inaugural Top Rank/MTK Global/ESPN card will be announced soon.
“MTK Global manages a vast number of A-list fighters from around the globe,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “This deal will enable Top Rank, through the ESPN family of networks, to afford viewers in the United States the opportunity to see these great fighters perform.”
“This is a very proud day as MTK Global partners with the biggest and best in the industry to expand the audiences for our incredible fighters,” said MTK Global CEO Sandra Vaughan. “Our sole mission has, and always will be, to afford every possible opportunity we can to the athletes we represent, and this partnership really cements that. Top Rank and ESPN are names synonymous with boxing on an international level, as MTK Global has become in recent times, and we couldn’t imagine better partners to take the next step with.”
MTK Global is the world’s leading boxing management firm with more than 100 fighters under their umbrella, including lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, Michael Conlan, Billy Joe Saunders and Carl Frampton. The MTK Global cards will complement the wide variety of international fight offerings already under the Top Rank on ESPN banner.
Prograis-Relikh and Donaire-Tete WBSS Semi-Finals Confirmed for Lafayette
Regis Prograis & Kiryl Relikh and Nonito Donaire & Zolani Tete continue their pursuit for the Ali Trophy on April 27 at the Cajundome in Lafayette, Louisiana, USA. Tickets on sale next Friday.
The sensational doubleheader opens the semi-final stage of the World Boxing Super Series.
American and New Orleans native Regis Prograis (23-0, 19 KOs) faces Belarusian Kiryl Relikh (23-2, 19 KOs), who is training in Miami, in a semi-final in the 140lb division and American-Philippine Nonito Donaire (39-5, 25 KOs) meets South African Zolani Tete (28-3, 21 KOs) in a semi-final in the 118lb edition of the tournament.
“Fighting in Lafayette is a perfect situation for me because it’s halfway between my two homes Houston and New Orleans,” said Prograis, the WBC Diamond Champion. “I can’t wait to come out and put in a historical event.”
The World Boxing Super Series is returning to Louisiana after last years 140lb quarter-finals in New Orleans.
“We are thrilled to bring the Ali Trophy lights to Lafayette kickoff the semi-finals of the World Boxing Super Series,” said Kalle Sauerland, Comosa’s Chief Boxing Officer. “The fans in Lafayette and around the world can look forward to two unbelievable blockbusters with the best production in the game all on one night.
“The WBSS is about the best fighting the best and to serve up Fight of the Year contenders in the quest for the Ali Trophy and the supreme international superstars involved in this doubleheader at the Cajundome on April 27 will deliver just that .”
Fans wanting to buy tickets are encouraged to sign-up to Ticket Alerts to receive emails reminders when tickets go on sale.
Fans in the U.S. and Canada can watch all the Ali Trophy semi-finals LIVE, exclusively on DAZN.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Lara, Hurd, Imam, Ramirez, Top Rank, ESPN, and more….
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of March 6th to March 13th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Lara and Jarrett Hurd to Clash on April 7th
Erislandy Lara, the longest reigning world champion at 154-pounds, will clash with IBF champion “Swift” Jarrett Hurd in a highly-anticipated super welterweight title unification live on SHOWTIME (10 pm ET/7 pm PT) as part of an exciting card presented by Premier Boxing Champions Saturday, April 7 from The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
In the co-main event, Super Middleweight World Champion Caleb Truax will make the first defense of his IBF title against James DeGale in a rematch of one of the biggest upsets of 2017 that saw Truax wrestle the belt from DeGale on his home turf in London last December.
Tickets for the show, which is promoted by TGB Promotions and Mayweather Promotions, will go on sale Friday, March 16 and be available by visiting AXS.com or the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas Box Office.
“This is an action-packed card from top to bottom. The televised card features boxers who all have something significant to gain with a victory,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “The winner of Lara-Hurd will be one step closer to becoming the undisputed 154-pound world champion. In a rematch, Truax gets to re-affirm his position as champion and DeGale has a chance to regain his world championship status. This is the kind of show that keeps fans on the edge of their seats.”
“We take pride in promoting quality events that our audiences always want to see,” said Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions. “This card is going to be another line-up that the fans won’t want to miss. With Lara and Hurd looking to unify their titles and guys going head-to-head in rematches on the undercard, this is sure to be a night of non-stop action.
Lara vs. Hurd is a classic contrast in styles that could force each fighter to raise their game to another level. Lara is a crafty southpaw who relies on his superior boxing skills to confound opponents, while Hurd is a pure pressure boxer-puncher that stalks his opponents and isn’t easily frustrated.
Lara, a Cuban whose nickname is “The American Dream”, is coming off a unanimous decision victory on SHOWTIME over Terrell Gausha in October. Hurd was on the same card and defeated former champion Austin Trout when Trout’s corner stopped the fight in the 10th round. That paved the way for this unification showdown.
The 34-year-old Lara (25-2-2, 14 KOs), who lives and trains in Houston, Texas, won his world title with a TKO victory over Alfredo Angulo in 2013 and has successfully defended it seven times, which includes wins over Trout, Ishe Smith and Vanes Martirosyan.
“I’m very excited and motivated for this fight and to once again be headlining on the best network in boxing on SHOWTIME, is truly a pleasure,” said Lara. “I look forward to adding another belt to my collection on April 7 and to proving that I’m the best 154-pound fighter out there. Everyone tune-in because you don’t want to miss this unification. It’s going to be a legendary night and one for the history books.”
The undefeated Hurd (21-0, 15 KOs) is coming off a career-defining TKO victory over the former champion Trout in his last fight on Oct. 14. It was the first defense of the title for the 27-year Hurd of Accokeek, Maryland, who won the championship with a TKO victory over Tony Harrison on Feb. 25, 2017.
“I plan on being the aggressor for the entire fight, so I’ve been doing some exercises and working on techniques to improve my foot work so that I can stay on top of Erislandy Lara,” said Hurd. “We are not trying to go to the scorecards, so hopefully, I can be the first man to stop him, which I hope to do in the later rounds.
“I called him out, and now, it has come to pass that I get to become a unified champion against the man everyone considers to be the best and most feared in the division, and that’s Erislandy Lara.”
They call 34-year-old Truax “Golden”, and he punched his ticket to world title gold while on a trip to London in December, when he defeated DeGale by majority decision. Truax (29-3-2, 18 KOs) of Osseo, Minnesota was on a two-fight win streak heading into the match against DeGale. Before that his only losses came against former champions Anthony Dirrell, Daniel Jacobs and Jermain Taylor.
“They made the right call on the decision in England, and I expect to be even more dominant this time around,” Truax said. “I am planning to really just beat up James Gale and get the job done in more efficient fashion this time.’
“Fighting in Las Vegas for the first time will be a very cool experience and I expect it to be friendlier than it was in London. There is a lot of pride on the line for me, being that I’m the first boxing world champion from Minnesota in a long time. So there is a lot on the line for me and I plan to keep that going, especially as a means for supporting my family.”
The 32-year-old DeGale (23-2-1, 14 KOs) was the first British boxer to win a Gold Medal in the Olympics (2008 Beijing Games) and a world championship as a professional. He won his world title with a unanimous decision over Andre Dirrell in 2015 and made two successful defenses before fighting to a draw against Badou Jack on Jan. 14, 2017. It was a brutal standoff between two world champions, but neither man had his hand raised in victory. DeGale, who was coming off of an injury, had his home town crowd behind him but couldn’t deliver a win as Truax scored a stunning upset with the majority decision victory.
‘I’m happy to have the opportunity to rematch Truax and regain my IBF title,” said DeGale. “I am not going to make excuses for my poor performance, actions speak louder than words. I am excited to be boxing in Vegas and on SHOWTIME again. The real JD will be back on fight night!”
Amir Imam Preparing for Jose Ramirez
Amir Imam (21-1, 18 KOs) is in Pompano Beach, Florida, under the auspices of head trainer Stacy McKinley, in final preparations for his March 17 showdown against Jose Ramirez (21-0, 16 KOs) from Avenal, California for the vacant World Boxing Council (WBC) super lightweight belt Saturday, March 17, at the The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden.
Imam, 27, rated No. 1 by the WBC, boasts a victory by knockout ratio of 86%, including his last three and five of his last seven. Ramirez, 25, WBC No. 3 ranked super lightweight, has stopped 76% of the opponents he has faced, including four consecutive and eight in his last 10 bouts
“Amir Imam is coming to Madison Square Garden, The Mecca of Boxing, in New York City, to take down not only Jose Ramirez but Bob Arum too!” boasted Imam’s promoter Don King. “I can hardly wait for Saturday night. Start the clock. Tick-tock, tick-tock.” T-minus 124 hours 45 minutes till Ramirez-Imam enter the ring, Saturday night . . .
“Yes sir, March 17 is a big day for me and the stakes are real high for both me and him. It’s the first time I get to fight in the Garden and that’s exciting, knowing that greatness has fought there. It’s the first time I am fighting in a main event and first time fighting for a world title,” said Imam. “It’s what I have been working for my whole life and it’s finally here and I’ve got to take advantage of it.
“He’s kind of tall and long just like me, so it’s like seeing each other in the mirror so it is going to be real interesting and it’s going to be an electrifying fight.”
“Ramirez is a tough fighter – a real tough fighter and we know what we’ve got to do to win this fight. If a knockout comes I will take advantage of it but I am not going in there looking for a straight knockout. I have to fight real hard and get the rounds under my belt just in case. He’s been aggressive but he may not come out aggressive – you never know. I just have to be smart in the ring and adjust to things he will be doing.”
“I can definitely match his power, I can box when I have to, and I can fight. I can do a lot of things. I can do whatever it takes to get the W. A lot of fighters these days can’t do that – they are one-dimensional fighters. If I have to box or if I have to slug I can do it. I think I am the toughest guy in the 140-pund divisi
“I can just hear them saying “The New.”
Ramírez vs. Imam will headline a spectacular St. Patrick’s Day boxing extravaganza, The Ramírez – Imam world championship fight will be televised live and exclusively at 8 p.m. EDT on ESPN and stream live on the ESPN App at 6 p.m. EDT. It will mark the first time Arum and King have battled each other promotionally on the same card since Miguel Cotto defended his World Boxing Association (WBA) super welterweight world title on March 12, 2011.
ESPN Scores Highest Rated Boxing Fight on Cable Television in 2018 with Saturday Night’s Top Rank on ESPN
Top Rank on ESPN saw Oscar Valdez (24-0, 19 KOs) retain his WBO featherweight title against Scott Quigg while fighting under a canopy at the rainy StubHub Center, the famed outdoor boxing venue in Carson, Calif. south of downtown Los Angeles. The telecast includes two of 2018’s top five highest-rated fights on cable television in 2018, according to preliminary audience results from Nielsen. The Valdez vs. Quigg world championship fight aired live and exclusively on ESPN and ESPN Deportes and streamed live on the ESPN App.
Top Things to Know
• Last night’s telecast was the highest-rated of the three Top Rank on ESPN telecasts in 2018
• Last night’s Top Rank on ESPN featured two of the five highest-rated fights on cable television in 2018
• The main event featuring Valdez vs. Quigg averaged a 0.7 metered market rating, while the co-main event featuring undefeated junior lightweights Andy Vences vs. Erick De Leon averaged a 0.8 metered market rating
Top Boxing Overnight Ratings on Cable Television 2018 (By Fight)
VENCES vs. DE LEON
WILDER vs. ORTIZ
VALDEZ vs. QUIGG
MATTHYSSE vs. KIRAM
KOVALEV vs. MIKHALKIN
The next Top Rank on ESPN is this Saturday, March 17 and features top-rated contenders José Ramírez and Amir “Young Man” Imam fighting for the vacant World Boxing Council (WBC) super lightweight world title. Ramirez vs. Imam will headline a St. Patrick’s Day at The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden. The event also features Irish Olympian Michael Conlan (5-0, 4 KO’s), from Belfast, who begins his sophomore professional year exactly where he started his freshman year — at The Garden. The Ramirez vs. Imam world championship event will live and exclusively at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN and stream live on the ESPN App at 6 p.m. ET.
Witherspoon Decisions Capers in Atlantic City
Chazz Witherspoon raised his winning streak to eight in a row as he went the eight-round distance by won a unanimous decision over Lamont Capers that headlined a seven-bout card at The Claridge Hotel in Atlantic City.
The show, which took place this past Saturday, was promoted by Mis Downing Promotions and Silverspoon Promotions.
Witherspoon was able to outpoint the crafty Capers. Capers was very competitive, but it was Witherspoon’s size and harder punches that proved to be the difference as he captured the via 78-74, 78-74 and 77-75 scores.
Witherspoon of Paulsboro, NJ is now 37-3. Capers, who was fighting for the 2nd time in seven days is 9-12-4.
Willis Lockett took a six-round majority decision over Prince Badi Ajamu in a cruiserweight bout.
Lockett of Takoma Park, MD won by scores of 59-55, 58-56 and 57-57, and is now 16-22-6. Ajamu of Camden, NJ is 28-4-1.
Super Lightweight John Bauza remained undefeated with a six-round unanimous decision over David Morales.
Bauza of North Bergen, NJ won on all cards by scores of 60-54, and is now 9-0. Morales of Managua, Nicaragua is 13-9.
Mike Hilton won a three-round technical unanimous decision over Hector Perez.
The fight was a terrific back and forth brawl when Perez suffered a cut over his right eye in the third frame.
Perez almost made a quick night for himself as he dropped Hilton in the 1st round. Hilton stormed back to register his own knockdown’s in round two and three.
The scores were 28-26 on all cards at the time of the stoppage.
Hilton of Trenton, NJ is 10-0. Perez of Pleasantville, NJ is 3-2
Edgar Cortes won a four-round unanimous decision over Kevin Asmat in a featherweight bout.
Scores were 38-37 twice and 39-36 for Cortes, of Vineland, NJ, who is now 6-4. Asmat of North Bergen. NJ is 3-2.
Alejandro Jimenez made a successful pro debut with a 2nd round stoppage over Derrick Pitts in a bantamweight bout.
The time of the finish was 3:00. Pitts is 0-2.
Dan Murray and Latorrie Woodberry fought to a no-contest when Woodberry hurt his shoulder in the 1st round of their scheduled four-round welterweight bout.
“I am ecstatic about Saturday night’s card,” said Mis Downing of Mis Downing Promotions. “The fights were terrific and very competitive. I want to thank the Claridge Hotel and a special thanks to The Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame. I also want to thank Mayor Frank Gilliam for supporting our event. We are excited about what is to come in the future, and we will have a very big announcement shortly about our next event, which will be a very special night of boxing.”
Breaking: Pacquiao-Horn Is Officially Set For July
Breaking: Pacquiao-Horn Is Officially Set For July
By: Sean Crose
“It’s official: @mannypacquiao will fight @jeffhornboxer in Brisbane, Australia, Saturday, July 1st. Stay tuned for more info.”
The above tweet appeared Monday on Top Ranks’ Twitter page. Indeed, it is official: Legendary fighter Manny Pacquiao will be facing the little known Jeff Horn this coming summer. There was talk for a while that Pacquiao would face Amir Khan in a superbout of sorts in the United Arab Emirates, but it was simply not meant to be.
Instead, the 59-6-2 Pacquiao will be fighting a man even hard core fans may have a hard time recognizing. And while it’s true the 18-0-1 Horn has never lost a bout, he’s never faced any truly notable opposition, either. In this sense, he is the most unrecognizable of all Pacquiao’s opponents since at least 2008, when the Filipino great’s name became known the world over (as opposed to among fight fans) after he demolished Oscar De La Hoya.
Top Rank’s tweet said nothing of where or how this fight would be shown. It’s hard to imagine the match being a pay per view success, as Pacquiao’s PPV numbers have dwindled since his epic disappointment against Floyd Mayweather two years ago in a mega bout which was all but universally panned.
Floyd-Manny II? Like It Or Not, Here Comes The Hype
Floyd-Manny II? Like It Or Not, Here Comes The Hype
By: Sean Crose
I guess we should have seen it coming. Sure enough, many of us did. The rest of us, however, seem to have stuck our heads in the figurative sand, hoping that the thing we dreaded simply wouldn’t come to pass. We were wrong, of course, and now the buzz for – oh boy – Mayweather-Pacquiao II has arrived. If there was a single moment that acted as the starting gun for the inevitable hype machine, it was Floyd Mayweather’s arrival at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas on Saturday. Floyd, on the surface of things, had simply decided to stop by with his daughter to catch Pacquiao’s fight with the ultimately overmatched Jessie Vargas. Perhaps that was actually the case. No matter. The hype for the rematch between the two biggest stars in this era of boxing has subsequently begun.
Don’t believe it? Just go online. Respected journalists are saying the rematch is going down. And no, these people are not guilty of creating false buzz. They’re simply doing their jobs and their jobs require them to go public with such matters. Long story short, these individuals see the writing on the wall. And now, begrudgingly, this writer does, too…or at least he accepts the possibility that the rematch to one of the most disdained fights in history is indeed real.
Here’s the truth, though – in hindsight (and after numerous viewings) I don’t think the first fight was all that bad. To be sure, I now believe it may have been far closer than some would like to admit. We media smart asses were so convinced of Floyd’s easy dominance, however, that everyone from the broadcast team to those of us writing from homes loaded with guests essentially convinced the world – live and in real time – that it was a walk in the park for Mayweather. Sure, Floyd won, fair and square, but what the hell were we thinking? Going into the later rounds, it was still anyone’s’ fight.
Still, the lead up to that Titanic sized first affair was so over the top that many analysts and fans – casual and hardcore alike – are still figuratively hung over. No matter, the people who would be behind Floyd-Manny II know a large percentage of those fans will pay up to see the second go round between two legends regardless. No, it won’t be anywhere as big as the first one, but it will be a big event nonetheless. Let’s face it, you’ll watch it live should it happen and I will, too.
Why? Because the main allure to boxing is the fact that it answers a single question: Who’s the better man (or woman)? Whether we realize it or not, we’re going to WANT to know who the better man is should Floyd-Manny II get made. Floyd may have won the first fight decisively, but there’s still enough of a question as to whether or not he could do it twice to make a second go round interesting. Indeed, as the possibility of Floyd-Manny II becomes clearer and clearer, I find myself wondering whether or not a rematch would be such a bad thing.
Truth is, it probably wouldn’t. Provided, of course, that the second go round be treated as what it would ultimately be – a superfight. Not an ESSENTIAL CULTURAL EVENT, not something that SPEAKS TO WHO AND WHERE WE ARE AS A SOCIETY, just a very relevant boxing match. If I can sum up the nonsense that surrounded the first fight in a single tale, it’s this: An old high school classmate of mine who had taken to admonishing me publicly on Facebook for supporting the “dead” sport of boxing subsequently celebrated on that same social media site a short time later because he had gotten tickets to the Mayweather-Pacquiao weigh in.
The weigh in, people.
There’s other stories, too. That final Mayweather conference call was a real treat. I heard the final Pacquiao conference call was even better, replete with the antics of Bob Arum at his worst, but I had missed that one. The list goes on and on, frankly. I had spent the entirety of the lead up to “The Fight of This and Every Century” thousands of miles away from Vegas, on the east coast, yet I was still waiting for it all to be over come fight day. Needless to say, a repeat of such a migraine headache of PR inspired group think insanity, would not be welcomed warmly by many in and out of the boxing world this time around.
A healthy, organic buzz for an interesting, high profile matchup, however…
Here’s something worth pondering: What if the rematch doesn’t happen? The first one was virtually impossible to make. Is it worth all the strife for a second fight that clearly won’t be as lucrative? Sure, Floyd showed up at Manny’s bout this weekend, but he’s also teased a potential fight with mixed martial artist Conor McGregor, the current Cherished White Fighter of the mainstream media (the Irishman has replaced blonde haired Californian Ronda Rousey as the object of “high end” journalists’ admiration and attention these days). The point?
That Floyd likes being the center of attention. McGregor may be cocky, but he seems unaware of the fact that Mayweather is sharing the spotlight with him during what may be the zenith of the Irishman’s career. Point Mayweather. What’s more, Mayweather, who hasn’t fought in over a year, is sharing the spotlight with Pacquiao after a Pacquiao pay per view weekend. Again, point Mayweather. To be sure, this might ultimately still be Floyd’s world that the rest of us just living in it.
Why Manny Pacquiao Keeps Fighting
Why Manny Keeps Fighting
By: Sean Crose
“Pacquiao will have earned $500 million from boxing purses and endorsements during his two-decade professional career.”
So wrote Kurt Badenhausen of Forbes last April, on the eve of Manny Pacquiao’s supposed last fight against Timothy Bradley. Clearly both the monetary amount and the title of “last fight” are now no longer valid. To be sure, Pacquiao is facing reliable if not brilliant welterweight Jessie Vargas this Saturday in yet another Vegas throwdown. He’s also set to make a whole lot of money in doing so. Make no mistake about it, the gravy train keeps rolling for Pacquiao.
For how long, though? And at what cost, at this point?
To be sure, there are those out there who are wondering why Pacquiao, who is now a senator in his homeland and inching closer to forty by the day, is still so eager to ply his trade. The truth, upon reflection, may come down to three simple – and not entirely incompatible – reasons. The first is that Pacquiao, believe it or not, possibly needs money. To be sure, Pacquiao is an exceedingly generous fellow, despite whatever flaws some may find in his character.
“I can’t,” Pacquiao said a short time ago, in the early leadup to Saturday’s fight, “rely on my salary as public official.” Beg pardon? Wasn’t the man who said this the same individual who earned well over a hundred million dollars for his fight with Floyd Mayweather alone? How much cash does a guy actually need to get by these days? Apparently quite a lot if others rely on him.
“I’m helping the family of my wife and my own family, as well,” Pacquiao explained. “Many people also come to me to ask for help,” he added, “and I just couldn’t ignore them.” And therein may lie the problem. Pacquiao, for those who don’t know, comes from a background so harsh it fell well below substandard. Living in a hut. Being chased out of one’s home by armed soldiers – such things do not make for an easy childhood.
Nor, it seems, do they make for a cold heart once one finds success. A product of poverty, Pacquiao appears to be willing to go out of his way for those who feel its sting. Still, it would be a mistake to confuse the man with Mother Theresa. Pacquiao is known to have had a serious gambling problem, after all. There were also women other than his wife for a spell and perhaps the age old boxer’s problem of hanger’s on. To be sure, camp followers can damage a successful boxer more than a left hook can.
Yet there may be another big reason Pacquiao wants to keep fighting – one, specifically, with a 49-0 record who bested Pacquiao last year in a fight that disappointed untold numbers of fans and casual observers alike. I write, of course, of Floyd Mayweather, who has – and still does – represent the white whale of the entire boxing world, an elusive target both in and out of the ring who holds the promise of millions of dollars as well as ring glory, should he agree to a match.
While the very thought of Floyd-Manny, Chapter Two sends collective groans throughout the boxing world, it’s also pretty much a fact of life that all who piss and moan at the prospect would cough up hard earned money to see Mayweather and Pacquiao get it on again. In short, there’s a ton of money and potential glory to be found in that possible rematch. Mayweather knows it. Pacquiao knows it. And Bob Arum, Pacquiao’s outspoken promoter, knows it, too. Whether it would have made a difference or not, Pacquiao fought Mayweather hurt. Don’t think it doesn’t bother the man, no matter how much money, power, fame and love he receives.
Still, there’s no guarantee that the rematch no one wants – but will still watch, should it occur – will ever happen. Surely, Pacquiao and his camp are aware of this. Perhaps, then, the Filipino icon is simply driven by a desire for ring competition. To be sure, boxing is historically an exceedingly tough endeavor for its most successful practitioners to break from. The list of great fighters who hung on too long or who made ill advised comeback attempts is almost too numerous to count.
It’s curious, though, why Pacquiao would choose to face Vargas if he truly was sticking around for the sheer thrill of battle. There’s more challenging opponents out there, after all. Keith Thurman, for instance, has expressed a willingness to fight the man. And, if politics were to prevent a Thurman-Pacquiao fight from happening, fellow Arum fighter Bud Crawford would no doubt be happy to fill the bill for Pacquiao.
Why, one may well ask, is Pacquiao not facing men like Thurman and Crawford, when both would jump at the chance to face him? Is it victory he desires more than the battle itself? There is a fine line between the thrill of competition and the thrill of winning, after all. To be sure, only Pacquiao himself knows the answer. Or not. Indeed, sometimes it’s unknown forces within or own psyches which drive us. Or perhaps they’re forces we ourselves simply don’t want to know about. Could this be the case with Pacquiao?
Or could he just really, really want to fight Jessie Vargas?
Make It Happen: Danny Garcia vs. Terence Crawford
Make It Happen: Danny Garcia vs. Terence Crawford
By: Matthew N. Becher
It started last week when the father/trainer of WBC Welterweight champion Danny Garcia’s, Angel, told Fighthype.com that “HBO should be embarrassed” about putting the Terrence Crawford v. Viktor Postol fight on pay per view. Angel followed with “the REAL champion, they don’t get no respect and they don’t get no exposure”. This set an alarm off in a lot of boxing fans heads since it has always seemed that Angel Garcia has never wanted “respect” or “exposure” for his son Danny. Earlier this year it was confirmed by Top Rank promotions that an offer was extended to Danny Garcia to fight Manny Pacquiao later this year for a fight purse between $3-4 million dollars, Angel was quick to end the negotiations.
Angel Garcia has also gone on the record as saying “Why would (elite) fighters fight each other when they can fight a Salka (referring to the time Danny Garcia took on a much smaller and less talented Rod Salka)?” When answered by the reporter “to see who’s the best”, Garcia scoffed and said, “it’s about the bank being loaded”. In his mind, why fight a tough opponent when you can just make money without any risk. Yes, $3-4 million would be Danny’s biggest payday, but it would also be his biggest risk, and what is the point to taking a risk.
Someone that took exceptional disrespect to the comments made last week was lineal Jr. Welterweight champion Terrence Crawford, who aired his anger out towards Garcia on twitter just two days ago.
“@DannySwift yo dad said im a made up champion for beating the guy yall was scared to fight”
“@DannySwift so I tell you what tell yo dad make the fight and ill show him how much of a paper champ I am at yo weight and for yo belt”
“@DannySwift that same stiff guy yall paid so you didn’t have to fight his that guy? Look im not them old guy you been fight you know that”
Danny Garcia responded with his own twitter comments:
“@budcrawford402 your fight did 50k buys lol if you wanna do real numbers and get defeated. Tell bob to call AL.”
“@budcrawford402 you doing what I did 3 years ago. I ain’t no little gamboa or stiff postal. I end careers check my track record”
The point to all of this is this. Danny Garcia is a talented young fighter. He is undefeated but does not seem to have the drive to become an elite fighter. He tries to make fun of Crawford’s lack of Pay per view buys, but has never been close to headlining a pay per view fight of his own. He was gifted the WBC welterweight belt in a vacant fight against a faded Robert Guerrero in only his second fight in the weight class. That fight took place in January of this year, and Garcia has still not fought since. His father is correct that taking the lesser fights, which he is still paid well for, keeps his son safe and the “bank loaded”, but his nickname in the boxing world also has changed from “Swift” to “Cherry” Garcia, because of all his handpicked opponents. He is currently in negotiations on another handpicked opponent from the PBC stable, Andre Berto.
Terrence Crawford is one of the fastest rising stars in the sport. He has a lesser known name, but is a top 5 pound for pound fighter and has already unified two divisions. Crawford does not necessarily need Garcia, but knows that a fight between them would be good for the sport and one, on a personal level, would be very good for him, since he feels that Angel Garcia has disrespected Crawford’s accomplishments.
This would be a fight between the “new” boxer, Garcia, that see’s this sport as a business. Selling his clothing line and name to make a profit. Against the “old” boxer, who fights because that is what he does, to solidify a legacy, to prove that no man can beat him and if he can, then he is going to have to get in that ring with him and prove it.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Monroe, Top Rank, Gonzalez, Barrios, Benavidez, Gomez, Saunders, and more
Boxing Insider Notebook: Monroe, Top Rank, Gonzalez, Barrios, Benavidez, Gomez, Saunders, and more
By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of July 5th to July 12th, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Banner Promotions Re-signs Willie Monroe Jr.
Banner Promotions is pleased to announce the re-signing of former world title challenger and Boxcino 2014 Middleweight champion, Willie Monroe Jr. to an exclusive promotional agreement.
Monroe of Rochester, New York has a record of 20-2 with 6 knockouts and is coming off a 10-round unanimous decision over fellow former world title challenger and Boxcino champion, John Thompson on June 11th in Verona, New York.
The 29 year-old Monroe turned professional in 2008 and won his first 10 bouts. Monroe won the 2014 Boxcino Middleweight tournament with wins over Donatas Bondorovas, Vitally Kopylenko, and Brandon Adams.
Those wins catapulted him into a bout with WBA/Interim WBC Middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin.
Monroe performed admirably in the bout, which took place on May 16, 2015 at The Forum in Inglewood, California.
“I’m excited to re-sign with Banner Promotions. Artie has been nothing but great to me, and he’ll put me in position to fight against the Danny Jacobs and Canelos of the boxing world,” said Willie Monroe Jr.
“It feels good to have a fresh start over. I am coming off of a huge win on Showtime vs. John Thompson, and I now have a great team watching my back with my brother, Trent Monroe, TJ Nolan and Adrian Clark as my Strategic Partner.”
“Doing what was best for Willie was the focal point in negotiations. We put our heads together and structured a great deal for Willie with Banner Promotions. I am looking forward to working with Artie to map out things for Willie,” said Adrian Clark, Monroe’s Strategic Partner.
“We are excited to have Willie back in the fold,” said Banner Promotions President, Arthur Pelullo.
“Willie has showed not only in the Boxcino tournament, but in his fight against Golovkin, that he is one of the top middleweights in the world. He had a great performance against John Thompson, and now he is ready for any challenge in the division. We will be actively pursuing all of those opportunities for Willie.”
Top Rank Signs Jose Gonzalez
Unbeaten featherweight prospect José ‘El Chocolatito’ González signed a multiannual promotional contract with Top Rank® the promotional company based in Las Vegas that is led by hall of fame promoter, Bob Arum.
As a professional fighter, Gonzalez, who was born and raised in Harlem, New York, marches undefeated with a record of 3-0-1 and 1 knockout. The fighter that is called ‘El Chocolatito’ amassed a 34-6 record as an amateur and won various amateur tournaments as: Junior Olympics in 2011 and Golden Gloves in 2014.
“I feel very blessed and thankful for my managers and Top Rank for giving me this opportunity to sign with the best promotional company,” said Gonzalez. This will motivate me to train harder every day and accomplish my goal of becoming a world champion,” guaranteed the 20-year old fighter.
‘El Chocolatito’, who describes himself as a classic boxer-puncher with knockout power, is trained by his father Martin Gonzalez, in the famous Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn.
Boxing runs through the Gonzalez’s veins. Martin represented Nicaragua in 1992 Olympic games in Barcelona and Jose is the cousin of world champion Roman ‘El Chocolatito’ Gonzalez, from whom he adopted his nickname.
“Jose is solid prospect who is always in entertaining fights and has a growing fan base. Along with his manager, Richard Anthony guiding him, his future is extremely bright,” said Carl Moretti, vice-president of Top Rank.
“It is a honor and privilege to work with the Top Rank family. Bob Arum and his team have been a delight to work with and we look forward to a long and happy relationship,” said Richard Anthony, manager of Gonzalez.
Details about Gonzalez debut under the Top Rank banner will be announced soon.
Barrios Defeats Boschiero on ESPN
Undefeated rising super featherweight contender Mario Barrios (16-0, 8 KOs) defeated former title challenger Devis Boschiero (39-5-1, 21 KOs) by unanimous decision (120-107 X 3) in the 12-round main event of Premier Boxing Champions on ESPN & ESPN Deportes from Sun National Bank Center in Trenton, New Jersey.
From the opening bell, Barrios asserted himself as the aggressor, landing his jab at will and finding his distance early.
Barrios said, “Initially my game plan was to work the jab and see what would open (Boschiero) up. But as the rounds went by he didn’t seem like he was going to come at me. He just didn’t seem to want any action.”
A very tall super featherweight at more than six feet, the 21-year-old Barrios proved difficult for the stocky Boschiero to reach. However, near the end of the second round, the experienced Italian found a rare opening and landed several punches that briefly put Barrios on his heels.
In round three, Barrios regained control and coasted throughout the middle rounds, largely due to Boschiero’s hesitation to engage.
“It was pretty frustrating. I came out to put on a show for the fans, and unfortunately it seemed like my opponent was just trying to survive,” said Barrios. “I can try to press the fight all I want, but if he doesn’t want to fight it’s not going to happen.”
Boschiero, who challenged for a world title in 2011, added, “I had trouble finding my range tonight. He was tougher to hit then I expected.”
In round 12, Barrios scored the only knockdown of the fight, but Boschiero was able to get back to his feet and used the final seconds of the fight to execute his best combination of the night.
“I got to him in the final round,” said Bosciero. “But the opportunities were there when they weren’t in previous rounds.”
A victorious Barrios said, “This was my first 12-round fight, and it felt good to get the experience, I just wanted more intense action. But an ESPN main event takes my career to the next level. I’m just hoping for my shot at the title.”
Televised coverage kicked off with undefeated prospect Eddie Ramirez (14-0, 9 KOs) handily defeating Californian contender Jessie Roman (20-3, 9 KOs) by unanimous decision (98-92, 99-91 X2) in a 10-round super lightweight showdown.
David Benavidez Gets Right Back in the Gym
Just two days after dominating previously undefeated Francy Ntetu (16-1, 3 KOs) on Premier Boxing Champions’ June 25th CBS card at New York’s Barclay’s Center, “El Bandera Roja,” David Benavidez, was back at his home gym in Long Beach, preparing for his next bout. The rising star had no intention of taking time off, and jumped right into an intense training regimen that included sparring with Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez (34-0, 24KO), who was set to make his pay-per-view debut later in the month, but was sidelined this week with an injury.
“My last fight was hard, but I learned a lot,” stated Benavidez regarding his bout with previously unbeaten Canadian Ntetu. “It was great experience, getting rounds in.”
With only one exception, a six round fight that went the distance in 2014, Benavidez hadn’t fought beyond the second round, knocking out opponent after opponent.
“I feel better and more experienced,” Benavidez continued. “I have confidence knowing I can go into deep waters and finish a fight if I have to. I’m learning how to pace myself when I need to during a round, and I know that those later rounds made me a better fighter.”
As Benavidez prepares for his next fight, he’s focused completely on improving himself.
“I didn’t mind getting right back to the gym,” said Benavidez. “This is my lifestyle now. I just want to train. I want to look at what I did wrong in my last fight and fix it. I don’t want to get rusty in between fights. When I’m not physically training, I’m thinking about mistakes I made in fights, techniques that can be improved. I want to get better each fight, and I’m consumed by that.”
“It’s this commitment to success and improvement that sets David apart from other young men his age, and other fighters,” said Jose Benavidez, Sr., David’s father and head trainer. “This is what makes him different, and this is why he’s going to be the best.”
Gomez Suffers Injury, Velez vs. Alvarado New Main Event
The exciting 10-round super featherweight bout between Jayson “La Maravilla” Velez (23-2-1, 16 KOs) and Rene “Gemelo” Alvarado (23-7, 16 KOs) has been upgraded to the main event on the Estrella TV Boxeo Estelar, broadcast on July 15. The originally scheduled fight between Alfonso Gomez vs. Pablo Cesar Cano has been cancelled due to Gomez sustaining an elbow injury earlier this week.
Live from Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, the event will feature a new televised co-main event between undefeated prospect Rashidi “Speedy” Ellis (15-0, 11 KOs) of Boston and Luis “La Roca” Hernandez (12-1, 7 KOs) of Rio Pierdas, Puerto Rico in a eight-round super welterweight fight. Decorated amateur, Cesar Diaz of Palmdale, Calif. will make his professional debut and open up the Estrella TV broadcast in a scheduled four-round super bantamweight fight.
The event will feature former five-division boxing world champion and International Boxing Hall of Famer Sugar Ray Leonard hosting a meet and greet at the Fantasy Springs Special Events Center ahead of the televised bouts from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Rob Brandt Wants to Face Billy Joe Saunders
Undefeated Minnesota-based middleweight Rob “Bravo” Brant would like to be the contender chosen to face WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders on September 17.
Saunders (23-0, 12 KOs) announced last week he would be fighting on the Saul “Canelo” Alvarez vs. Liam Smith undercard on HBO pay-per-view in the United States, and WBO #9-rated Brant (20-0, 13 KOs) says he thinks he’s the right choice to face him.
“I have the utmost respect Billy Joe Saunders as an athlete,” said Brant. “I respect him so much that I would really enjoy giving him a grand welcome to the United States in the middle of the square circle.”
Brant has been on a tear for the last year, scoring important victories on national television, including a “KO of the Year” contending knockout over Decarlo Perez in January. During that time, he also won the NABA Middleweight and WBC Continental Americas Championships.
“Rob Brant is the perfect choice for Saunders in that fight,” said Brant’s promoter, Greg Cohen of Greg Cohen Promotions. “He’s red hot right now. He’s undefeated and makes for exciting fights and he’s got a fan following from his television appearances. Saunders vs. Brant makes great sense for boxing fans and from a business perspective.”
Cohen says he’s hoping to hear from Saunders’ representatives soon.
The Deck is Stacked Against Mikey Garcia
The Deck is Stacked Against Mikey Garcia
By: Brandon Bernica
Just 2 ½ years ago, Mikey Garcia reigned as the toast of the 130-pound division. He outclasses opponents, displaying pinpoint accuracy and knockout power. HBO loved him, and his promoter, Bob Arum, didn’t shy away from announcing his intentions to pit Garcia with Manny Pacquiao down the line. Flanked by his brother – well-respected trainer Robert Garcia – the opportunity to break into boxing’s elite was in the palm of Mikey’s hand.
And then, it all slipped away. Mikey became inactive, ensconced in a legal battle with Top Rank to escape his contract. There were no murmurs about returning to the ring, and, naturally, fight fans forgot about him. Meanwhile, Terence Crawford, the guy Mikey helped get signed by Top Rank, stole Garcia’s thunder and beat Yuriorkis Gamboa in a big fight Mikey was close to accepting. The win propelled Crawford to new heights while Garcia observed from the sidelines, helpless as the years the past on.
Garcia finally received his wishes when Top Rank released him from their stable after weighing that litigation wasn’t worth the headache. All indications point to him teaming with boxing’s top advisor/power broker Al Haymon, poised to start off fresh. Showtime already scooped him up and is marketing his July 30th return to prominence. But even with momentum finally swinging in his favor again, Garcia will now have an even greater uphill battle to the pinnacle of the sport.
Consider that a 2 ½ year hiatus from doing anything can disrupt your instincts, ruin your confidence, and plague your growth in that particular field. While it remains to be seen whether Garcia exhibits these symptoms, one can’t argue that ring rust will play a factor in his return. If he steps up in competition too quickly, he risks losing to less-skilled opponents simply because his tools aren’t sharp enough.
Another factor at play is Garcia’s love – or lack thereof – for boxing. He has stated on multiple occasions his distaste for the laborious work of training as a pro fighter. While his accomplishments ring even more impressively when taking that into account, it also leaves you wondering whether that mindset inhibited him from training properly in the interim. Boxing is its own truth-telling serum; if you don’t put in the work, you’ll be exposed.
From a marketing standpoint, groundwork must be laid to build him into a household name. Garcia’s fighting style is pragmatic but, at times, uneventful. This absence of sustained excitement inside the ring means Haymon will have to throw significant promotional muscle behind him. While Haymon thrived in contriving the careers of villains like Floyd Mayweather and Adrien Broner, his track record in building less polarizing stars has been less impressive. Most of the fighters on his PBC outfit are considered second-tier in talent and fanfare to HBO mainstays such as Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez.
Of course, winning cures everything, or so they say. Beating opponents you’re supposed to beat can only take you so far, and with a talent disparity existent between Garcia and Haymon’s stable, that could be an issue. What if he eventually matches up with a Vasyl Lomachenko or a Terence Crawford? Consistent experience against top-notch fighters is crucial in preventing career stagnation, so Garcia better accumulate quality wins before fishing for the big tuna.
Young and talented, cerebral and decisive, Mikey Garcia’s ceiling sits higher than most. Yet there are still questions and factors that limit his potential as a fighter. No one enjoys seeing talent wasted, so losing the prime years of Garcia’s career would be a true travesty. One thing is clear, though: Garcia’s decisions inside and outside of the ring during his break will be heavily scrutinized, shaping the remainder of his career. Sadly, he may already be fighting from behind.
Pacquiao-Broner? Stranger Things Have Happened In Boxing
Pacquiao-Broner? Stranger Things Have Happened In Boxing
By: Sean Crose
Manny Pacquiao is supposedly retired and embracing his new job as a Filipino senator. Yet there’s word that the aging great may be coming back to face one Adrien Broner. That right, the one and only Adrien Broner. While this bout may seem absurd on the face of things, there’s little doubt that there’s a certain appeal to it. Boxing is very much a personality based business, after all, and the contrast in personalities here would be glaring. Bad boy Broner, with his history of legal trouble, is a brash, showy, obnoxious guy who some say puts his persona over his genuine talent.
Smiling Pacquiao, on the other hand, doesn’t have much bad to say about his opponents in the lead up to fights. He’s just not into trash talk. He is, however, quite into beating the hell out of his opposition in the ring. Sure enough, it’s hard to imagine many people picking Broner to win the matchup, should it occur. Even if Pacquiao is indeed growing long in the tooth, Broner has simply never looked great against the most serious of his opponents. The Cincinnati native may simply have to become an all-around new man if he wants to be serious enough to beat Pacquiao.
Still, some very smart people in and around the fight world are claiming this is all a lot of talk – at least for the moment. Golden Boy, the promoter of Canelo Alvarez, supposedly wanted its man to (ridiculously) fight Pacquiao (he’s a lot smaller than middleweight Gennady Golovkin, after all) but that they were led to believe (by who, we don’t know) team Pacquiao essentially had its eyes on a Broner fight. Whether this bit on information is true or not remains to be seen, though it’s worth noting Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum claims he has Broner in mind should Pacquiao return to the ring.
As for how this fight might play out, we’ve only got what has come before to use as a guide. Pacquiao isn’t what he was as a fighter, but he’s still one amazing athlete. Lightning fast and aggressive, the guy employs angles that may truly fluster Broner, who, let’s face it, doesn’t have great foot movement. As for Broner, well, he’s disappointed a lot of people. He’s fast and has a solid skill set, but his Mayweather influenced defense is a pale imitation of the original. Still, it’s ridiculous to write the guy off. Broner is a VERY talented fighter. If he were to somehow develop that talent while Pacquiao were simultaneously to slip deeper into decline, an upset might well be in order.
That, however, is a very big if.
Las Vegas and the Final Fight of Manny Pacquiao
Las Vegas and the Final Fight of Manny Pacquiao
By: Matthew N. Becher
Entering the MGM grand, opening the lobby doors to see a full sized ring with Golden Lion statue situated in the center, you knew that something was going on. Little else gave any indication to that. In years past, when the “Pride of the Philippines” Manny Pacquiao was set to fight in Las Vegas, the buzz surrounding the event was almost always at a fever pitch. For his final fight last night against former foe Timothy Bradley Jr. you hardly seemed to hear a whisper or any talk among patrons.
In the decade of the 2000s, when Pacquiao was named the BWAA “Fighter of the Decade”, people traveled in droves. The Filipino community would travel well for his fights. The “High Rollers” would also be present, as well as Hollywood celebrities that loved the fighter were constantly seen at his training sessions at the Wild Card gym would show up front row. Manny was a top seller in the business, whose tickets were hot and pay per view sales were among some of the greatest of all time. This time not so much. Most of the people we encountered were wearing shirts and hats from the previous night’s Guns n Roses reunion concert. What happened?
The box office announced that ticket prices would be dropped early yesterday morning in Vegas. Talks of Pay per View doing under 400 thousand buys were being circulated and people were wondering how an event that cost $24 million dollars would be able to see any of that money back. After speaking with ESPN writer Dan Raphael, we asked “how do you explain this fights Buzz compared to previous Pacquiao events”, his response “you can’t, this one doesn’t have it”.
As we watched the “No Trump” undercard that Bob Arum and Top Rank put together, it was very noticeable how empty the MGM Grand Arena was, Turquoise seats everywhere. Fights usually fill up the closer it gets to the major fights, but this was empty and that was consistent all the way up to the co-main event, a Title fight between legendary Arthur Abraham and newly crowned champ Gilberto Ramirez.
It was all a sad way to see the great Manny Pacquiao go out. After all he has given to the sport, a bad performance against Mayweather ruined all of this? No celebrities were ringside, most likely because of the anti-gay statements Manny had made a month ago, they could not take the chance of having their names connected with supporting Manny. It didn’t seem fair that a man who gave so much to the sport of boxing was just being given up on.
As the second to last fight ended and the ring was cleared, you could see that more and more people started arriving. People wearing the Philippine flag like capes. People of all walks of life, color and nationality wearing Pacquiao shirts began to take their seats. They may have been die hard boxing fans, or merely casual ones, but they were, without a shadow of a doubt, Manny Pacquiao fans, and they were there to see their favorite fighter, do what he does best in his final time in the ring.
From the ring walk, it happened. The place returned to that Buzz that was missing. People forgot all about the Floyd fight, they didn’t care about his remarks, all they cared about was watching a man that always puts on a great fight do his thing. Manny did do his thing, looking as good as he ever has in his previous three fights against Bradley, even scoring two knockdowns in the process. The arena was on its feet for almost the entire fight, screaming and chanting “Manny, Manny, Manny”. They cheered for his flurries, and took photos of the action, they waited to hear his “retirement” speech with Max Kellerman on HBO. They gave him the proper sendoff he deserved and in turn they were all treated to a great performance by a boxer that may only come around once in a generation. The Fighting Pride of the Philippines got his final victory in unanimous fashion last night, and it was just how it should have been.
Bradley vs. Pacquiao III Round by Round Recap: Pacquiao Sizzles in Retirement Bout
Bradley vs. Pacquiao III Round by Round Recap:
By: William Holmes
Timothy Bradley and Manny Pacquiao met for the third time at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on an HBO Pay Per View.
Roberto Duran was acknowledged before the national anthems and the Filipino National Anthem was performed by the World Choir of the Philippines. The United States National Anthem was sung by Season Fifteen American Idol winner Trent Harmon.
Timothy Bradley entered the ring first with trainer Teddy Atlas walking behind. Manny Pacquiao entered second and was treated favorably by the crowd.
Lupe Contreas, instead of the normal Michael Buffer, made the formal introductions for the boxers in the ring. Tony Weeks served as the referee.
The following is a round by round recap for tonight’s main event.
Manny Pacquiao (57-6-2) vs. Timothy Bradley (31-1-1); Welterweights
Bradley flicks out a few jabs, all short. Pacquiao with a jab to the body. The crowd is cheering for Pacquiao. Bradley is circling to the right of Pacquiao. Bradley lands a good jab after a missed combination from Pacquiao. Bradley is effective at keeping Pacquiao at bay with his jab. Pacquiao lands a jab and Bradley answers with a straight right hand. Bradley is making Pacquiao chase a little bit. Bradley lands a straight right hand on Pacquiao. Pacquiao has been unable to land much so far this round. Pacquiao lands a straight left counter. Bradley misses with a right hook. Pacquiao misses with a straight left hand at the end of the round.
Bradley is using his jab early on to keep a distance. Pacquiao lands a counter left hook when Bradley misses with a right hand. Bradley misses with a check left hook. Pacquiao barely misses with a straight left hand, but later follows it with another one that lands. Bradley is circling away from Pacquiao. Pacquiao is stalking Bradley and misses with a straight left hand. Bradley lands a short left hook when they tie up. Bradley lands a right hook to the body of Pacquiao. Pacquiao misses with a straight left hand. Pacquiao with a straight left to the body, Bradley misses with his counter. Pacquiao with a straight left to the body. Pacquiao lands a crisp straight left hand. Pacquiao lands another two punch combination as the round nears an end.
10-9 Pacquiao; 19-19
Pacquiao blocking Bradley’s jabs early on. Pacquiao barely misses with a wild left hand. Pacquiao has his back to the ropes but then lands a good jab. Bradley misses two bombs including a wild left hook. Pacquiao with a good two punch combination. Good straight right hand by Bradley. Pacquiao seems a little more hesitant to move forward after getting tagged with that right. Pacquiao is showing good head movement and lands a good check right hook. Bradley misses with a straight right lead. Jab to the body by Bradley. Pacquiao ducks under an uppercut from Bradley. Close round, but Bradley landed the best punch in the round.
10-9 Bradley, 29-28 Bradley
The announcers noted that Pacquiao was shaking his right arm out as if his shoulder was bothering him still. Bradley bangs two jabs against the guard of Pacquiao. Bradley comes forward and connects with two left hooks. Pacquiao lands a crisp straight left hand at the end of a combination. Pacquiao with another two punch combination followed by a straight left hand. Bradley barely misses with a straight right hand. Pacquiao looks light on his feet this round. Bradley misses with a straight right lead. Pacquiao barely misses after a combination. They both connect with straight crosses at the same time. Pacquiao bangs another straight left off the head of Bradley. Pacquiao is popping his gloves together. Bradley ends round with a hard right hand.
10-9 Pacquiao; 38-38
Bradley bangs a jab off the guard of Pacquiao. Bradley lands a two punch combination that momentarily knocks Pacquiao off balance. Pacquiao misses with a reaching jab, but lands a right hand afterwards. Pacquiao barely misses with a straight left hand, but connects with one immediately afterwards. Pacquiao lands a quick combination. Pacquiao misses with a straight left hand, but follows it up with a right hook. Pacquiao connects with a good left hand. Bradley connects with a right hook to the body. Bradley lands a good left uppercut. Pacquiao rushes forward and lands a three punch combination. Pacquiao connects with a straight left hand, and follows it with another flurry. Pacquiao lands another hard left hand and wide left hook. The crowd roars in approval as Pacquiao stalks Bradley. Pacquiao ends round with a two punch combination.
10-9 Pacquiao; 48-47 Pacquiao
Bradley throws two right hooks and Pacquiao blocks them. Bradley is pressing the action a little more to start the round. Bradley lands a good two punch combination on Pacquiao. Bradley connects with two jabs in the middle of the ring to the body. Pacquiao lands a hard straight left to the chin of Bradley. Bradley lands a three punch combination. Pacquiao lands a right hook to the chin of Bradley. Bradley lands a straight right hand and Pacquiao answers with a blistering combination. Pacquiao lands a check right hook and Bradley then ties up. Pacquiao lands a quick jab after a missed Bradley right. Bradley lands a two punch combination. Close round.
10-9 Pacquiao; 58-56 Pacquiao
Bradley is short with two reaching jabs. He bangs two punches off the guard of Pacquiao. Pacquiao lands a two punch combination. Pacquiao thuds a hard two punch combination off Bradley’s head. Pacquiao is able to stay out of the range of Bradley. Pacquiao reaches with a wide right hook. Bradley catches Pacquiao with a hook after a missed Pacquiao attack. Bradley gets tagged with a straight left hand after Pacquiao blocked his combination. Pacquiao with a good jab to the head of Bradley. Bradley misses with a four punch combination. Pacquiao lands a right hook and Bradley’s glove briefly touched the canvas, scoring a knockdown for Pacquiao.
10-8 Pacquiao; 68-64 Pacquiao
Bradley presses forward early and lands a heavy hook to the body of Pacquiao. Bradley misses with a wide right hook to the body of Pacquiao. Pacquiao lands a counter left after a failed Bradley combination. Pacquiao bangs his gloves together again. Pacquiao lands two hard right jabs to the face of Bradley, and Bradley answers with a hook to the body. Pacquiao barely misses with a two punch combination. Bradley lands a hard straight right hand. Pacquiao lands two consecutive two punch combinations. Bradley lands two hard hooks on Pacquiao, and Pacquiao may be hurt. Pacquiao ties up with Bradley by the ropes. Pacquiao lands a hard two punch combination.
10-9 Bradley; 77-74 Pacquiao
Bradley rushes forward and lands two punches off a combination. Pacquiao with a wide right hook on Bradley. Pacquiao misses with his jab. They both land hooks at the same time inside. Bradley with a good two punch combination on Pacquiao. Pacquiao with a good two punch combination off of a break. Pacquiao with a good straight left hand that forces Bradley to back up. Pacquiao lands a hard left hand and follows it with another left hand that sends Bradley falling backwards. That was a clean knockdown for Pacquiao. Bradley is backing up and Pacquiao lands a two unch combination. Pacquiao is backing Bradley up, but Bradley lands a hard right hand. Pacquiao answers with a quick combination on Bradley.
10-8 Pacquiao; 87-82 Pacquiao
Pacquiao and Bradley touch gloves at the start of the round. Bradley looks like he may still be wobbly. Pacquiao is backing Bradley up. Bradley circling to Pacquiao’s left hand now. Pacquiao lands a cross to the body of Bradley and follows it up with two straight right hands. Bradley misses with a left hook. Bradley lands a looping right hook on Pacquiao. Pacquiao misses with a straight left hand. Pacquiao is still pressing forward and lands a right hook followed by a straight left hand. Pacquiao barely misses with a blistering straight left hand. Pacquiao cracks Bradley with a hard straight left and follows it with a good two punch combination.
10-9 Pacquiao; 97-91 Pacquiao
Tim Bradley’s wife left her seat before the start of the eleventh round, but came back midway through. Bradley misses with a wide hook to the body of Pacquiao. Bradley misses with a straight right hand. Pacquiao connects with a stiff jab to the head of Bradley. Pacquiao lands a counter right hand to Bradley’s head. Pacquiao lands a good quick jab. Pacquiao misses with a lead right hook. Not a whole lot of action this round. Pacquiao lands a good straight left hand after a Bradley miss. Pacquiao connects with another clean jab. Bradley with an over the top right hand. Close round
10-9 Bradley; 106-101 Pacquiao
Timothy Bradley needs a knockout to win the fight. Bradley misses with a straight right hand and Pacquiao lands a quick two punch combination in response. A low blow may have landed by Bradley. Pacquiao with a lead right hook to Bradley. Bradley connects with a crisp counter right hand. Bradley misses with a wide lead left hook. Pacquiao lands a lead left cross. Pacquiao with a straight left hand and then moves out of the way. Pacquiao lands a good two punch combination and Bradley lands a hook while in tight. Pacquiao with a two punch combination and then moves out of the way. Bradley misses with a right hook. Pacquiao lands a lead right hook and then a straight left hand before moving out of the way. Bradley tries to catch Pacquiao by the corner but Pacquiao is able to move out of the way. Pacquiao lands a left hand that has Bradley hurt as the fight comes to an end.
Boxing Insider scored it 116-110 Pacquiao
The official scores were 116-110 on all three scorecards for Manny Pacquiao.
Afterwards, Pacquiao announced his retirement from boxing.
HBO Pay Per View Undercard Results: Valdez Impresses, Jose Ramirez and Gilberto Ramirez Win by Decisio
HBO Pay Per View Undercard Results: Valdez Impresses, Jose Ramirez and Gilberto Ramirez Win by Decision
By: William Holmes
Tonight’s HBO Pay Per View was presented by Top Rank Promotions from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. As typical for Las Vegas, the Grand Garden Arena was nowhere near filled by the time the opening bout started.
The opening bout of the night was between Manny Perez (25-11-1) and Jose Ramirez (16-0) in the super lightweight division.
Jose Ramirez is a high ceiling prospect with a lot of hype behind his name. He began the opening round strong and landed multiple jabs, but Perez showed he was here to fight and connected with several stinging straight right hands in a row in the last minute of the first round.
Ramirez had settled down by the second and third round and stayed active with his jab and Perez at bay. Perez was able to land some shots to the body in the third round, but Ramirez had a very strong fourth round and nearly doubled the number of punches connected.
Perez was able to match Ramirez in activity in the fifth and sixth rounds and had some success to the body, but Ramirez landed the harder and crisper punches and Perez’s face was starting to show signs of swelling. By the seventh round he had blood pouring out of his face.
Perez showed incredible heart and did his best to make it a fight, but he was getting beat badly and was fading badly as the rounds progressed.
Jose Ramirez remained undefeated with a decision victory over a very game Manny Perez with scores of 97-93, 98-92, and 99-91.
The next televised bout was between Evgeny Gradovich (21-1) and Oscar Valdez (18-0) in the featherweight division.
Valdez looked comfortable early on in the bout and was landing clean counters in the first round. Valdez mixed up his combinations to the body and head in the second round and battered Gradovich whenever he tried to get in close.
Gradovich’s face was red by the third round and Valdez tagged Gradovich with nearly every punch he threw. He began to really throw some power behind his shots this round and was landing some vicious ones.
Gradovich finally went down in the third round from a hard right hook left hook combination by Valdez. Gradovich was able to get back to his feet before the count of ten but the referee had seen enough and stopped the fight.
Valdez was extremely impressive and obliterated a former world champion.
Oscar Valdez wins by TKO at 2:14 of the fourth round.
The final bout on the undercard was between Arthur Abraham (44-4) and Gilberto Ramirez (33-0) for the WBO Super Middleweight Title.
Ramirez, a southpaw, was obviously longer and taller than Abraham. Abraham was content with fighting defensive early on and kept a high guard, while Ramirez threw a high volume of punches and outworked the older Abraham.
Ramired’s activity continued in the second round and Abraham’s face was showing signs of damage. Abraham was able to land a hard right uppercut in the second, but was countered with a left hook that forced Abraham to back into a corner.
Ramirez had a strong third round and was ending several of his combinations with stiff body shots. Abraham was able to throw a few wild bombs at the end of the fourth round but did not land many shots.
Ramirez continued to stick and move in the fifth, sixth and seventh rounds and was dominating the action. Abraham’s best round of the three was the sixth as he was able to land a few right hands when he let his hand go.
By the seventh round Ramirez had connected with eighty four punches while Abraham hand connected with only forty nine. Abraham was momentarily wobbled with a left hand in the seventh.
Ramirez was warned for low blows in the eighth round but continued to batter his opponent and kept up a strong pace. Ramirez connected with a thudding straight left hand in the eleventh round and only needed to play it safe in the final round to win a decision.
Abraham was never able to effectively push the pace and seriously threaten Ramirez. The judges scored it 120-108 on all three scorecards for Gilberto Ramirez.
Back to the Future with Manny Pacquiao, Timothy Bradley in Las Vegas
Back to the Future with Manny Pacquiao, Timothy Bradley in Las Vegas
By Ivan G. Goldman
In a world teeming with excellent welterweights, we wake up just about every year to the same old match-up of Timothy Bradley versus Manny Pacquiao. Will this never end? Will they battle on and on like doomed ageless warriors in a demented sci-fi flick?
Won’t someone step up to release them and us from this bend in the time-space continuum?
When Bradley won a ridiculous split decision over Pacquiao in their first bout almost four years ago, promoter Bob Arum described the foolish scorecards as a “death knell” for the sport. Yet that didn’t prevent him from promoting a second and now a third contest, which comes at us this Saturday night on HBO pay-per-view.
Everyone connected to the promotion acts like it’s an event surrounded by unparalleled drama, but when the microphones and cameras are gone everyone – and I mean everyone – understands Pacquiao prevailed in both previous contests. In terms of entertainment they were acceptable, certainly not thrilling.
Arum, who’s promoting this fight because he seems to be out of good ideas, hired respected boxing voice Bill Dwyre to write a series of pre-fight articles that are being emailed all around the fight community. Dwyre, now retired, used to run the sports section at the L.A. Times.
From time to time he falls back on the fact that both these fighters happen to be trained by celebrities – Teddy Atlas in Bradley’s corner and of course Freddie Roach in Pacquiao’s. The latter is a storied fighter/trainer combination known around the world. Atlas versus Roach creates a kind of reality TV programming atmosphere.
What goes unmentioned in publicity materials is that in his previous outing Pacquiao screwed all the paying customers by participating with a serious injury that he and his team covered up as long as they could. They clearly feared to jeopardize an astronomical payday for at long last facing Floyd Mayweather.
Previously Philippines Congressman Pacquiao had an almost sacred bond with fans. His Number One goal, he said repeatedly, was to entertain them with good fights. But if that ever was his mission, he discarded it like a wad of chewed-up gum when faced with the prospect of losing a $100 million purse. So he climbed into the ring injured and fought like it.
Mayweather, as is his wont, never really pressed him so the biggest-money fight in history was a terrible dud, a bomb, a failure, flop, a catastrophe, bogus. But not for the folks who shared the booty.
Afterward Mayweather jogged through a 49th victory – also on PPV — over Andre Berto and hung up his gloves. Meanwhile legendary Pacquiao, who turned 37 four months ago, soldiers on. Beloved by Filipino fans, he’s apparently been guaranteed $20 million. Isn’t 37 rather old for a welterweight? Especially one who’s been through so many wars as he notched up a record of 57-6-2, 38 KOs? Yes.
As for Bradley, guaranteed $4 million, he’s come through fire to achieve well-earned success, but he lacks a knockout punch. If they’ll keep offering him this kind of money to fight Pacquiao, he’ll keep showing up. But will the fans? Pacquiao, once known for blazing power, has delivered only one stoppage in his last 11 outings. That was over Miguel Cotto in 2009.
Al Haymon, who presides over cash-guzzling Premiere Boxing Champions, has reached the point where he might do business with his archenemy Arum and offer up welterweights like Danny Garcia and Keith Thurman as opponents. Maybe not. But Kell Brook and Amir Khan are also out there. Khan may or may not be involved in a business relationship with inscrutable Haymon.
Arum, who’s put together another so-so undercard, predicts a PPV audience of 700,000-plus. I hope everyone who buys this fight ends up pleased with the purchase. It’s possible.
Ivan G. Goldman’s 5th novel The Debtor Class is a ‘gripping …triumphant read,’ says Publishers Weekly. A future cult classic with ‘howlingly funny dialogue,’ says Booklist. Available from Permanent Press wherever fine books are sold. Goldman is a New York Times best-selling author.
HBO Pay Per View Preview: Pacquiao vs. Bradley, Valdez vs. Gradovich, Abraham vs. Ramirez
HBO Pay Per View Preview: Pacquiao vs. Bradley, Valdez vs. Gradovich, Abraham vs. Ramirez
By: William Holmes
The MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada will be the host site for HBO’s next Pay Per View offering featuring Top Rank Promotions’ stars Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley Jr.
Saturday night might be the last time we ever see Manny Pacquiao inside the ring as he has previously stated his intentions to retire after this fight to focus on a career in politics, but he has recently waivered on that promise.
HBO usually televises at least two bouts before the main event of a pay per view, and one of the bouts is a super middleweight title fight between Arthur Abraham and Gilberto Ramirez.
The following is a preview of the three televised bouts for Saturday night.
Oscar Valdez (18-0) vs. Evgeny Gradovich (21-1); Featherweights
Oscar Valdez is a young twenty five year old prospect that competed in the Olympics for Mexico in 2008 and 2012. Gradovich is called by many the Mexican Russian and is known for his aggressive fighting style and is trained by Roberto Garcia.
Gardovich has a strong amateur background and was a member of the Russian Amateur Team, but he never competed in the Olympics like Valdez. He’s also four years older than Valdez but is still in his athletic prime.
Valdez has the heavier hands and has stopped sixteen of his opponents, including four of his past five fights. Gradovich is aggressive, but he’s not a powerful puncher. He only has nine stoppage victories and hasn’t had one in his past five bouts.
Gradovich will have about a two and a half inch height advantage as well as a one inch reach advantage. Both boxers fight out of an orthodox stance.
Valdez has been considerably more active than Gradovich in the past two years. He has fought a total of eight times in 2014 and 2015 while Gradovich fought four times.
Gradovich is a former IBF World Featherweight Champion and has defeated the likes of Alexander Miskirtchian, Billy Dib (twice), and Mauricio Javier Munoz. Valdez has not faced the level of competition of Gradovich but has defeated the likes of Chris Avalos and Ruben Tamayo.
Most concerning for Gradovich however is that he struggled in his last two fights despite winning, and was only able to manage a split decision against an unheralded Aldimar Silva Santos. He’ll have to swarm Valdez and throw a high volume of punches if he hopes to win.
This is an excellent test for Valdez to see if he can handle a former champion that’s still relatively young, but it’s a test that many expect Valdez to pass.
Arthur Abraham (44-4) vs. Gilberto Ramirez (33-0); WBO Super Middleweight Title
Arthur Abraham has been fighting as a professional since 2003 and is the current WBO Super Middleweight Champion and was the former IBF Middleweight Champion.
Age, however, is not on his side as he is thirty six years old and twelve years older than his opponent. He will also be giving up five and a half inches in height and three inches in reach to Ramirez.
Both boxers have decent power as Abraham has stopped twenty nine of his opponents while Ramirez has stopped twenty four. Ramirez has been more active than Abraham and has fought seven times in the past two years, but Abraham by far is the more experienced and tested boxer.
The Armenian born Abraham has defeated the likes of Martin Murray, Robert Stieglitz (three times), Paul Smith, Jermain Taylor, Lajuan Simon, Raul Marquez, Edison Miranda, Elvin Ayala, and Howard Eastman. His losses were to Robert Stieglitz, Andre Ward, Carl Froch, and Andre Dirrell.
Ramirez’s best victories to date have come against Gevorg Khatchikian, Derek Edwards, Maxim Vlasov, and Giovanni Lorenzo.
Abraham hasn’t fought outside of Germany in five years and two of his losses have occurred in the United States.
This will be a tough fight for Ramirez and Abraham is well known for his excellent stamina and ability to come on strong as a fight progresses. This is one of the most competitive fights on the card and most intriguing, but Ramirez is a highly regarded prospect for Top Rank. Abraham’s age and lack of success when fighting in the United States will be a hindrance for him.
This bout could go either way, but Ramirez should be considered a very slight favorite.
Manny Pacquiao (57-6-2) vs. Timothy Bradley Jr (31-1-1); Welterweights
This will be the third time these two will meet in the ring, with Bradley winning the first bout and Pacquiao winning the rematch. However, most ringside observers, including this writer, felt Pacquiao won both bouts.
Both boxers will surely have had hall of fame careers, but this might be Pacquiao’s last fight as a professional and his skills have been slowly eroding before our eyes.
He has been fighting as a professional since he was sixteen years old and weighed 98 pounds and was only 4’11”. This will be his 21st year fighting as a pro. His first professional bout was in 1995.
Pacquiao has since grown to 5’5 ½” and has a 67” reach. Bradley is only a half an inch taller but will have a two inch reach advantage. Bradley is also thirty two years old while Pacquiao is thirty seven.
Bradley has the edge in amateur experience and is a former US Jr. Golden Gloves Champion and a Police Athletic League National Champion. Pacquiao though, had the edge in world titles held and is an eight division world champion.
Neither boxer can be accused of ducking the competition. Pacquaio has thirty eight stoppage wins on his record and has defeated the likes of Lehlo Ledwaba, Juan Manuel Marquez, Erik Morales, Oscar Larios, Jorge Solis, Marco Antonio Barrera, David Diaz, Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto, Joshua Clottey, Antonio Margarito, Shane Mosley, Brandon Rios, and Chris Algieri. He has lost to Floyd Mayweather Jr., Juan Manuel Marquez, Timothy Bradley Jr., Erik Morales, and two losses early on in his career to Medgoen Singsurat and Rustico Torrecampo.
Bradley’s lone loss was to Manny Pacquiao. He has defeated the likes of Brandon Rios, Jessie Vargas, Diego Chaves, Manny Pacquiao, Juan Manuel Marquez, Ruslan Provodnikov, Joel Casamayor, Devon Alexander, Lamont Peterson, Nate Campbell, Kendall Holt, Edner Cherry, and Junior Witter.
The intangibles in this fight favor Bradley.
It should be noted that Bradley recently hooked up with Teddy Atlas to be his trainer and looked sensational in his last fight against Brandon Rios.
Pacquiao’s age and recent inactivity will be a factor in this bout. He has only fought four times since 2013 and has not looked the same since his devastating knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez. He is also coming off of a shoulder surgery and even Freddie Roach noted that Pacquiao took a little longer than usual to get into fighting shape.
Pacquaio is also running for a Senate seat in the Philippines and may be dealing with those distractions, as this is the biggest political seat he has ever ran for.
Speed is usually the first thing to go with age, and at thirty seven years old Pacquiao is clearly past his prime. He’s also not fully committed to the sport of boxing and looked very hesitant to pull the trigger in his last fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr.
If Pacquiao wants to continue boxing and rebuild some of that luster his name used to have, he’ll need to be a little reckless and box aggressively to go for the stoppage. Pacquiao has already reached the top of the sport and he has other endeavors that he wants to pursue, and a sport like boxing requires your full attention if you want to remain at or near the top.
Bradley is hungrier than ever, and this could spell trouble for Pacquiao.
Pacquiao might have one last thrilling fight left in his body to give his fans, but all signs point to a victory for Bradley.