Oscar opens up about Canelo deal

September, 29, 2014
Sep 29
videoGolden Boy Promotions president Oscar De La Hoya said the main reason Mexican superstar Saul "Canelo" Alvarez opted to return to HBO when he signed an exclusive multifight agreement with the network last week -- and dumped Showtime, his TV home for the past five fights, in the process -- was because he wanted to be with HBO.

Alvarez, a former unified junior middleweight titleholder, received a handsome offer to remain with Showtime but "Canelo didn't want to hear it. He wanted to be with HBO," De La Hoya told ESPN.com on Sunday night. "The big problem I had was Canelo wants to fight on Cinco de Mayo weekend and he wants Sept. 16 [weekend]. Those are the big Mexican holidays, and he doesn't want to be second to nobody.

"I was stuck between a rock and hard place. Saul wanted to go with HBO, and HBO really wanted him. When you have a 24-year-old fighter who knows that he is the next superstar and has it in his head that he wants to go to HBO, it's a difficult position for me to be in because, obviously, we do a lot fights on Showtime."

Pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr., whose win against Alvarez in September 2013 set numerous all-time boxing revenue records, is in the midst of a six-fight contract with Showtime and is its priority, not Alvarez. And Mayweather has been fighting on the May and September pay-per-view dates, even when he is not facing a Mexican opponent. Alvarez wants to fight on those dates, and HBO plans to help De La Hoya make that happen.

"I have to do what Canelo asks me to do," De La Hoya said. "I'm not going to jeopardize my relationship with Canelo. The biggest factor for him was being second to nobody. So that's what I did -- I made the deal with HBO, where he won't be second. You're dealing with someone who is 24 years old. He's a superstar in Mexico and realizes his potential in the States. He has another 10 years to go, and he wants to capitalize as much as he can."

When the deal was finalized, Showtime Sports chief Stephen Espinoza lashed out in several interviews, saying De La Hoya was "deceitful" and had reneged on a verbal agreement to sign Alvarez with Showtime.

De La Hoya said that is "100 percent not true, but I'm gonna take the high road and not even go there because, obviously, the ultimate decision was leaving it up to my fighter, and the ultimate decision was made to go to HBO. HBO came with a huge offer, but the deciding factor wasn't the huge offer. It was in Saul's head that he wanted to be with HBO."

Although HBO and Golden Boy did not make the terms of the deal public, sources told ESPN.com it's a three-year deal that calls for at least one live HBO fight per year, with the others ticketed for HBO PPV.

Alvarez is supposed to open the deal Dec. 6 on regular HBO at a location to be determined, perhaps Houston. No opponent is signed, and, although former welterweight titlist Joshua Clottey has been linked to the fight, De La Hoya said Alvarez could face brawler James Kirkland, who recently turned down a fight with Gabriel Rosado for Nov. 8 on HBO's Bernard Hopkins-Sergey Kovalev telecast.

"Absolutely, it's a possibility. Maybe Kirkland," De La Hoya said.

De La Hoya was due to be in New York by Monday night and said he planned to meet with Alvarez and HBO this week to talk about the particulars of the December fight.

De La Hoya added that he hopes the Alvarez deal with HBO won't negatively impact his dealings with Espinoza and Showtime, which has been the exclusive home to Golden Boy's major fights since HBO booted the company off the network 18 months ago -- before ironing things out in the past few weeks.

"I have Leo Santa Cruz signed to Golden Boy, I have Deontay Wilder signed to Golden Boy, I have 'Kid Chocolate' [Peter Quillin] signed to Golden Boy. We have business to do," De La Hoya said, naming three boxers who have been regulars on Showtime. "But I didn't have those fighters calling me every day saying they wanted to be with HBO, so we have business to do and fights to make. This is nothing personal.

"When I said I wanted to work with every promoter and deal with all the networks and make good fights, I think this is another indication that I am dead serious."

Oscar: No Stiverne-Wilder deal yet

September, 29, 2014
Sep 29
Golden Boy Promotions president Oscar De La Hoya's message was very clear: Don't believe everything you hear.

Contrary to an announcement by the WBC, which said De La Hoya and Don King had reached an agreement for the heavyweight title bout between Bermane Stiverne and mandatory challenger Deontay Wilder, De La Hoya told ESPN.com on Sunday night that no deal had been reached.

[+] EnlargeBermane Stiverne
Stephen Dunn/Getty ImagesHeavyweight titlist Bermane Stiverne's mandatory defense against Deontay Wilder could be headed toward a purse bid.
Stiverne (24-1-1, 21 KOs), who is promoted by King, is due to make his first defense against the Golden Boy-promoted Wilder (32-0, 32 KOs). A purse bid had been scheduled for Sept. 12, but when the camps told the WBC they were getting closer, it was postponed. If no deal is reached, the purse bid is scheduled for Wednesday.

De La Hoya said he and King have spoken several times but "the problem is we're not getting any closer. I want to make an agreement and we'll see what we can do, but there is nothing agreed to. There is no deal."

De La Hoya was scheduled to fly to New York on Monday for Canelo Alvarez/HBO-related business but said he would again reach out to King, whom he said he has been unable to get in touch with for the past few days.

"I just wanted to clarify there is no deal done, and I have no idea if there will be one," De La Hoya said. "I talked to [WBC president] Mauricio [Sulaiman], and he told me King told him there was a deal. So I rolled my eyes and said, 'That's Don King for you.' The truth of the matter is Deontay Wilder is a Golden Boy fighter, and no deal can be made without talking to me or me giving the authority to talk to [Golden Boy vice president] Eric Gomez.

"Don made an offer. I'm not gonna say the offer but the proper protocol is to give me a site and a date, and that's what I am waiting for. He didn't tell me when and where the fight would be. We're OK with the money, but we want to get the fight done this year. Without a site and date, what would keep Don from just changing things? So without a site and a date in a contract, we have no deal whatsoever."

De La Hoya said he hoped that they would be able to work it out before Wednesday's purse bid.

"I'm confident it won't go to a purse bid," De La Hoya said. "It's actually easy -- if you want to get the fight done, you get the fight done. But it won't get done if Don King can't give me a date or a site."

What about a television network? HBO and Showtime surely would have interest in one of the heavyweight division's most significant fights.

"He hasn't given me that, either," De La Hoya said, adding he is willing to work with any network that offers an acceptable deal. "My motto is I'll give the opportunity to anybody. Since when is competition not healthy?"

Beterbiev dominates, stops Cloud

September, 28, 2014
Sep 28
Artur Beterbiev, Tavoris CloudEric Bolte/USA TODAY SportsArtur Beterbiev, right, needed less than two rounds to stop former light heavyweight titlist Tavoris Cloud.

Either former light heavyweight titlist Tavoris Cloud is totally shot and finished as a meaningful fighter or Artur Beterbiev is the real deal and a potential new star on the world boxing scene.

The reality is it’s probably a bit of both but, wow, was Beterbiev impressive blowing away Cloud in the second round of a four-knockdown complete destruction on Saturday night at the Bell Centre in Montreal.

However shot you might think Cloud is, Beterbiev’s performance was still eye-catching.

Cloud (24-3, 19 KOs) is only 32, but he looks just about done after losing his third fight in a row in the most lopsided fashion yet. He may have lost two previous fights, but he didn’t get destroyed like this.

In the two losses that preceded the loss to Beterbiev, Cloud lasted into the seventh round challenging light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson last September before getting stopped. In the fight before that, Cloud lost his belt and his first fight to the great Bernard Hopkins in a one-sided decision in March 2013. But Beterbiev (6-0, 6 KOs) laid waste to Cloud. And he did it quickly and ruthlessly.

Those who have followed Beterbiev know that he has vast potential. Still, there’s a difference between having the p-word and actually living up to it. So far, Beterbiev, who is 29 but didn’t turn pro until June 2013, is living up to his billing as the bluest of blue-chip prospects.

His amateur background is impressive. Beterbiev, who now makes Montreal his home, was a 2008 and 2012 Russian Olympian, a 2009 world amateur champion, and owns a pair of amateur wins against countryman and light heavyweight titleholder Sergey Kovalev, one of the most destructive forces in boxing today.

As a pro, Beterbiev’s opposition pre-Cloud was nothing too much to write home about. Only one of his first five opponents had a winning record (and barely). Three had sub-.500 records. One opponent was .500. Still even watching him against lesser opponents it was obvious that he had talent and a certain ferocity about him. Promoter Yvon Michel, who has promoted some top fighters in his time and been around for many years, has called him special. He just might be right after seeing what he did to Cloud.

What he did to him was knock him down to a knee with an onslaught of head shots, including a nasty uppercut, with 42 seconds left in the first round. An onslaught of rights and left sent him to the mat 20 seconds later and yet another series of blows dropped him for the third time right at the bell ending the round.

Cloud was basically finished at that point. He was brave to come out for the second round but he had nothing. Beterbiev immediately attacked him, backed him into a corner and was swinging heavy shots. He connected with two booming left hooks to the head and Cloud went down face first, getting counted out by referee Michael Griffin 38 seconds into the round.

It was undoubtedly the end of Cloud’s career as a meaningful fighter but also the exciting birth of Beterbiev’s position as the possible future of the light heavyweight division.

Middleweight Wade added to Oct. 4 card

September, 26, 2014
Sep 26
The final televised fight of the Al Haymon-engineered Oct. 4 Showtime quadrupleheader was announced on Thursday and it should come as no surprise that the slot goes to another fighter in the massive stable of the powerful adviser.

It goes to middleweight prospect Dominic Wade (16-0, 11 KOs) of Largo, Maryland, who is not signed to any promoter. He will square off with KeAndre Leatherwood (14-2-1, 10 KOs) of Birmingham, Alabama, in a 10-rounder that will open the card, which is being co-promoted by Haymon operatives Lou DiBella and Leon Margules, at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut.

Also on the card are the previously announced main event of junior lightweight titleholder Rances Barthelemy (20-0, 12 KOs) against Fernando Saucedo (52-5-3, 8 KOs); a junior middleweight bout between contenders Vanes Martirosyan (34-1-1, 21 KOs) and Willie Nelson (23-1-1, 13 KOs); and former light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson (32-3, 18 KOs) in an overt mismatch against club fighter Tommy Karpency (23-4-1, 14 KOs).

Barthelemy, Martirosyan, Dawson and Wade are all with Haymon.

Avalos passes on Rigo, eyes Frampton

September, 26, 2014
Sep 26
It’s good to have options as a boxer, and junior featherweight contender Chris Avalos has them.

This week, he turned down a mandatory title shot against Guillermo Rigondeaux, the extremely talented but deathly boring and unmarketable unified champion.

Avalos could have had the shot against Rigondeaux and made a decent payday. Caribe Promotions, Rigondeaux’s sole promoter since his co-promotional deal with Top Rank (Avalos’ promoter) expired in July, won the rights to the fight at a Sept. 19 purse bid. Caribe offered $317,777.77, including a 25 percent cut for Avalos. That would have translated to a career-high purse of $79,444.45.

But after knocking out Yasutaka Ishimoto in the eighth round on May 31 in Macau, China, Avalos also became the mandatory challenger for Kiko Martinez’s version of the 122-pound title.

Martinez, however, secured an exception to the mandatory in order to make a lucrative optional defense against Carl Frampton, who outpointed Martinez to take his belt on Sept. 6. In order for the IBF to approve the exception, Martinez and Frampton agreed to make their first defense against Avalos (24-2, 18 KOs) within 90 days.

Frampton suffered an injury in the victory that will keep him out of action for a couple of months, but Avalos will remain mandatory and Frampton (19-0, 13 KOs) will have to face Avalos upon returning, likely in early 2015.

Anyone who knows anything about boxing economics knows that Avalos will make substantially more to face Frampton, a major star in Northern Ireland. Rigondeaux (14-0, 9 KOs) has basically no fan base and virtually zero interest from the television networks. Given the dearth of television interest in Rigondeaux, it remains a mystery how Caribe would have covered the purse bid amount -- not to mention the other expenses associated with putting on a card -- if Avalos had accepted the terms.

Now Caribe doesn’t have to worry.

"Chris and his team have decided to pursue the IBF champion, Carl Frampton. Both champions, Frampton and Rigondeaux, present difficult challenges in the ring, but there is no comparison as to who presents the better financial opportunity. Not even close,” Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti told ESPN.com.

Not even close is right. Martinez made $700,000 to go to Belfast tor face Frampton. Avalos won’t make that kind of dough, but he still figures to make a low six-figure payday. In boxing terms, Avalos also has a far better chance to beat Frampton, who will come to fight, than Rigondeaux, who will come to run and play defense.

The choice was clear: pass on the Rigondeaux fight and wait a few extra months for Frampton.

"Once Frampton heals from his injury, we look forward to challenging him for the title,” Moretti said. “Would seem like an ideal title fight to bring to Macau in the first quarter of 2015.”

More likely, however, it will mean a lucrative trip to Belfast for Avalos for a fight in front of a big crowd, which sounds a whole lot better than taking a lot less money against Rigondeaux for a tougher fight nobody cares about.

Notes: Dirrell, Dulorme, Ramirez updates

September, 25, 2014
Sep 25
A few notes from around the boxing world:

• Super middleweight Andre Dirrell (22-1, 15 KOs), the 2004 U.S. Olympic bronze medalist and former world title challenger, is getting busy again. He is due to face Nick Brinson (16-2-2, 6 KOs) on Oct. 8 (ESPN2) in the 10-round co-feature of the Sam Soliman-Jermain Taylor middleweight title bout at the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi. It will be the second fight in three months for Dirrell, 31, of Flint, Michigan, who had fought only twice between his 11th-round disqualification win against Arthur Abraham in the Super Six World Boxing Classic in March 2010 and his fifth-round knockout of Vladine Biosse on Aug. 1 on ESPN2.

• Welterweight Thomas Dulorme (21-1, 14 KOs), a 24-year-old Puerto Rican prospect, who has won five fights in a row since his upset loss to Luis Carlos Abregu in 2012, has signed with manager Cameron Dunkin. The pairing is interesting because it means Dunkin, whose deep stable also includes Nonito Donaire and Brandon Rios, and Dulorme promoter Gary Shaw, who have had major issues over the years, leading to a falling out, will have to deal with each other.

"I apologized to Gary. I'm sure Gary doesn't like me but I love Gary so it will work out," said Dunkin, adding that Dulorme does not have his next fight set. Dulorme's last fight, which was on HBO, was a unanimous decision against then-undefeated Karim Mayfield.

• Hot super middleweight prospect Gilberto Ramirez (29-0, 23 KOs) of Mexico will be back in action in November, according to Top Rank. He could fight Nov. 15 in San Antonio on an HBO Latino-televised card or serve as the co-feature for the Nov. 29 HBO telecast topped by lightweight titlist Terence Crawford defending against Raymundo Beltran in Crawford's hometown of Omaha, Nebraska.

• The all-German showdown between former two-time super middleweight titlist Robert Stieglitz (47-4, 27 KOs) and former four-time middleweight beltholder Felix Sturm (39-4-2, 18 KOs) will be contested at a catch weight of 166 pounds to accommodate the smaller Sturm, who has fought his entire career at middleweight. They meet Nov. 8 at the Porsche Arena in Stuttgart, Germany.

• Featherweight Orlando Cruz (20-4-1, 10 KOs), 33, of Puerto Rico, will look to shake off a two-fight losing streak when he meets Ruben Tamayo (25-4-4, 17 KOs) of Mexico on Oct. 24 (Telemundo) at the Kissimmee Civic Center in Kissimmee, Florida. Cruz, the first openly gay boxer, challenged Orlando Salido for a vacant world title last October and lost by seventh-round knockout and then lost a 10-round decision to Gamalier Rodriguez in April.

Big award for England's Kid Galahad

September, 24, 2014
Sep 24
Junior featherweight Kid Galahad of England is one of the top prospects in boxing and he has been recognized as such by the British Boxing Writers Association, which has awarded him its prestigious "Young Boxer of the Year" award.

Galahad, who has won the traditional British, Commonwealth and European titles, will pick up his hardware at the organization's annual dinner next month in London.
The 24-year-old Galahad (18-0, 9 KOs), a pro since late 2009, won his most recent fight last week, a 12-round rout of Adeilson Dos Santos.

"This is a great honor for Kid Galahad and it's richly deserved," promoter Mick Hennessy said. "He has won British, Commonwealth and European titles in the space of three fights and has truly established himself as one of the very best [junior featherweights] in the world. It's now only a matter of time before he becomes a world champion."

Galahad has been able to develop a following because his fights have been airing on free TV on England’s Channel 5.

The list of past winners of the award, which dates to the 1950s, is loaded with fighters that went on to become major stars and champions, including Randy Turpin, Ken Buchanan, John Conteh, Barry McGuigan, Frank Bruno, Nigel Benn, "Prince" Naseem Hamed, Joe Calzaghe, Ricky Hatton (there's only one!) and Amir Khan.

Lawsuit vs. Canelo headed to mediation

September, 24, 2014
Sep 24
The big news of the week as it relates to Canelo Alvarez and Golden Boy Promotions is that they are headed back to HBO after Alvarez signed a multifight contract this week for the network to once again televise his bouts on both the regular network as well as HBO PPV.

Alvarez had been fighting on rival Showtime for the past two years in the wake of a falling out between HBO and Golden Boy, one that stemmed, in large part, from HBO opting for the Sergio Martinez-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. fight on HBO PPV in September 2012 (on Mexican Independence Day weekend) instead of supporting an Alvarez fight.

Getting less publicity than Alvarez’s new deal, however, is the ongoing lawsuit filed by All-Star Boxing promoter Felix “Tuto” Zabala Jr. against Alvarez and Golden Boy.

The crux of the suit, filed in Miami-Dade circuit court in Florida in early 2011, is that Zabala contends that he signed Alvarez to a four-year promotional deal in 2008 and that Golden Boy interfered and stole the fighter. Zabala is seeking millions in punitive damages.

These kinds of cases typically move at a snail’s pace, but there has been some movement in the Alvarez one. The sides are scheduled to meet for mediation in Miami on Friday. If there is no resolution via mediation, a trial is scheduled to begin on Dec. 8, two days after Alvarez is tentatively scheduled for the first fight of his HBO deal.

Kirkland makes another bad decision

September, 23, 2014
Sep 23
James Kirkland-Glen TapiaChris Farina/Top RankJunior middleweight James Kirkland, left, will not face Gabriel Rosado on Nov. 8.

If you’re a fan of the greatest baseball movie of all time, “Bull Durham,” you know all about how Kevin Costner’s character, minor league journeyman catcher Crash Davis, was assigned to the Durham Bulls to serve as a mentor to hot-shot pitching prospect Nuke Laloosh, played by Tim Robbins.

Laloosh had awesome talent but was not very smart. It was Davis’ job to teach him the ins and outs of pro ball so his makeup could catch up to his ability.

At one point, Davis taunts Laloosh, telling him that he has a million dollar arm but a five-cent head.

If it were a boxing movie, Davis would be talking about junior middleweight James Kirkland, who yet again is showing that his five-cent head is nowhere near his million-dollar punch.

Kirkland, who has bailed on fights, gotten in trouble with the law (multiple prison terms, including possessing a firearm as a convicted felon) and generally made poor decisions on how to handle his career, is doing it again.

The 30-year-old Kirkland (32-1, 28 KOs) is one of most ferocious fighters in boxing. He is a punching machine with a chance to make huge sums of money because of the excitement and drama that he brings to the ring. Unfortunately, he keeps making terrible decisions that prevent him from advancing his career.

How else to explain his latest dopey decision -- passing on a career-high payday of $270,000 to fight Gabriel Rosado on Nov. 8 in the HBO co-feature of the Bernard Hopkins-Sergey Kovalev light heavyweight unification fight?

With Kirkland-Rosado off, the new co-feature is likely to be a very interesting fight between welterweight Luis Carlos Abregu (36-1, 29 KOs) of Argentina and 2008 U.S. Olympian Sadam Ali (20-0, 12 KOs) of Brooklyn, New York.

The sides are working out a few details and once it’s done it will mean that Top Rank promoter Bob Arum and Golden Boy’s Oscar De La Hoya are following through on their vow to do fights together again after their summer reconciliation. Abregu-Ali will be the first non-purse bid fight between a Top Rank fighter (Abregu) and a Golden Boy boxer (Ali) since a 2011 fight between Yuriorkis Gamboa and Daniel Ponce De Leon and only the second since they co-promoted the Manny Pacquiao-Ricky Hatton fight in 2009.

Kirkland’s camp (promoter Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and adviser/attorney Michael Miller with the blessing of trainer Ann Wolfe), made a deal with Rosado and promoter Golden Boy for the fight, even getting Rosado to agree to come down from the 160-pound middleweight division he had been fighting in to a catch weight of 157 pounds.

And it was a very winnable fight for Kirkland too, who accepted the terms.

And then he bailed.

“Here we go again,” Miller told ESPN.com on Tuesday.

Miller, like everyone else involved with Kirkland’s career, is as frustrated as can be. It’s not the first time Kirkland has taken a fight only to drop out on a whim.

In 2012, Kirkland accepted a fight with Canelo Alvarez after Alvarez’s opponent, Paul Williams, was paralyzed in a career-ending motorcycle crash. But then Kirkland quickly pulled out and was unable to get his story straight. First he said his injured shoulder was not healed enough to take the fight but then said he was unhappy with the purse offered to him but would fight with the bum shoulder if the purse was dramatically increased.

It’s déjà vu all over again.

Miller said that Kirkland agreed to face Rosado for the money on Sept. 12. A few days later, Miller said, Kirkland called him and said he decided to pull out of the fight.

“He said he wouldn’t have enough time to train even though he would be able to have an eight-week training camp,” Miller said. “I talked to [HBO executive] Peter Nelson and they said they were willing to commit to the same fight on a card in December instead, which would give James more time to train. And when I told him that then he said the money wasn’t enough.

“First it was not enough time and then it wasn’t enough money.”

Sound familiar?

“I think it was a very fair offer and a great opportunity,” Miller said. “I told James you have to beat fighters like Rosado if you’re going to be a world champion. It was a great opportunity and a very fair deal so I am frustrated and disappointed. James was going to make his biggest payday to fight on HBO against a guy who has lost three of his last four fights.”

Indeed, Rosado lost three of his last four official boxing matches (with the other result being a loss that was changed to a no decision because winner J’Leon Love failed a drug test). Rosado’s most recent fight was a knockout victory against Bryan Vera in the Big Knockout Boxing “pit” last month.

Yet Kirkland, who hasn’t fought in nearly a year -- since his action-packed sixth-round beat down of Glen Tapia in December -- passed on the fight and the career payday.

He has no other fight on the on the table (contrary to popular belief, he is not a candidate to face Alvarez on Dec. 6), and allegedly hasn’t made a dime in 10 months, has mounting debt, child support issues and a promoter, adviser and trainer who are fed up with him.

And, yes, he also still has that million-dollar punch to go with his five-cent head.

GGG nearly on weight a month out

September, 22, 2014
Sep 22
Middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin is a month away from his defense against Marco Antonio Rubio (whose interim belt absurdly will also be on the line) on Oct. 18 (HBO) at the StubHub Center in Carson, California, and it is clear that Golovkin is already in fantastic condition.

At a 30-day WBC-ordered weight check, Golovkin, training with Abel Sanchez in Big Bear Lake, California, was already down to 165 pounds, just five away from the division limit.

Rubio, meanwhile, who is training with Robert Garcia in Oxnard, California, was 174½ pounds, which is still inside the allowed limit with a month to go. The fighters needed to be inside 176 pounds.

Golovkin (30-0, 27 KOs), boxing's most exciting fighter, will be making his 11th title defense and aiming for an 18th consecutive knockout. Rubio (59-6-1, 51 KOs) claimed an interim belt by 10th-round knockout of Domenico Spada on April 5.

In the co-feature, Nonito Donaire (33-2, 21 KOs) and Nicholas Walters (24-0, 20 KOs) meet in a featherweight title bout.

Fury vows silence before Chisora rematch

September, 22, 2014
Sep 22
Tyson FuryJordan Mansfield/Getty ImagesHeavyweight contender Tyson Fury found a way to not be fined for obscene language.

Here we go again. On Monday, the promotion for the rescheduled (yet again) rematch between British heavyweight contenders Tyson Fury and Dereck Chisora kicked off. Again.

But it appears that the fighters won’t be doing nearly as much smack-talking as they have been doing.

Fury was so off the rails at the original news conference for the July fight that the British Boxing Board of Control -- the agency that oversees boxing in England -- fined him 15,000 pounds. So when the boxers met again on Monday at the news conference to restart the promotion, Chisora was more restrained than usual and Fury was -- amazingly! -- silent.

Fury showed up at the news conference with his mouth taped closed, with “BBB of C ?????” written across the tape in reference to his fine. He vowed to remain silent until the fight.

Undoubtedly, British bookmakers will be taking action on whether he can keep quiet for that long.

The fight will take place Nov. 29 at the ExCel Arena in London, the third date for the fight. It was originally scheduled for July 26 in Manchester, England, but it was postponed until Nov. 22 after Chisora fractured his left hand during his final sparring session eight days before the fight. Then it was moved to a week later to get out of the way of a big soccer match.

If you are at all familiar with these guys, you know they like to talk. And talk. And talk. And generally say nasty things about one another. And make outlandish predictions about what they will do when they get their hands on each other.

They did plenty of talking in the months leading up to the July date before it was canceled, and they continued even after it was postponed.

But with Fury promising to remain silent, his uncle and trainer, Peter Fury, did the talking Monday.

“The board wanted us to tone it down, so here's Tyson -- the board dummy,” Peter Fury said.

All Fury did was gesture that he’d knock out Chisora in two rounds.

Chisora was also calmer than usual.

“I will knock out him, plain and simple,” he said. “I’m not saying what round. All I’m saying is he’s going to be knocked out. Bring on Nov. 29. I’ll show everyone what I would have done to him in July. I’ll be in fantastic shape come fight night, and he’s looking in good shape himself, so the better man will win and that will be me.”

Chisora’s European heavyweight title is at stake, as is the vacant British title. The winner will become a mandatory challenger for world champion Wladimir Klitschko.

Fury (22-0, 16 KOs), 26, and Chisora (20-4, 13 KOs), 30, first met in July 2011 in a much-hyped showdown and engaged in an exciting fight, although Fury pounded his way to a clear decision win against an obviously out-of-shape Chisora -- who suffered his first loss -- to win the British and Commonwealth titles.

Butler eyes second belt

September, 22, 2014
Sep 22
England’s Paul Butler is not a well-known fighter, nor is he considered a legit top-10 fighter in the bantamweight or junior bantamweight division, but he is about to attempt something unusual in boxing: going down in weight to try to win a second world title.

Butler (16-0, 8 KOs) won a split decision over countryman Stuart Hall in June to win an alphabet bantamweight belt and vacated soon after in order to challenge junior bantamweight titleholder Zolani Tete (19-3, 16 KOs) of South Africa, who had claimed a vacant title by decision against Teiru Kinoshita in July.

Tete and Butler meet Oct. 25 at Echo Arena in Liverpool, England. In Great Britain, Butler’s attempt is being portrayed as a big deal as he would be the first British boxer since Hall of Famer Bob Fitzsimmons to win a title and then move down to win another. In 1903, Fitzsimmons, the former middleweight and heavyweight champion, dropped down to light heavyweight and also won that world title (thus becoming boxing’s first three-division champion).

Butler certainly won’t rank along with Fitzsimmons as one of boxing’s all-time greats, and in this era of numerous titles, the attempt should be taken with a grain of salt. But it's a big deal to Butler.

"I can't wait to face Tete and take that world title from him," Butler said. “He gets my full respect for being world champion and for coming to Liverpool to defend his title against me, but when he gets in that ring he will be in against a man who is totally focused and driven to win the world title. Winning one world title is every boxer's dream. To win a second world title would be just unbelievable and to do it in back-to-back fights makes it more special. To become a two-time and two-weight world champion and to join other British champions like Duke McKenzie, David Haye, Ricky Hatton, Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank in the history books is a massive motivator for me.

"By beating Tete I will achieve another feat not done since Bob Fitzsimmons well over 100 years ago and win a second world title in a lighter division which, again, would be an honor. Breaking records is great, but my primary focus is beating Tete and becoming world champion."

Groves eyes Dirrell title shot

September, 22, 2014
Sep 22
Geroge Groves, Christopher Rebrasse Scott Heavey/Getty ImagesGeorge Groves, left, earned the right to face super middleweight titlist Anthony Dirrell.

Super middleweight contender George Groves put himself in a great position by outpointing Christopher Rebrasse of France in an entertaining fight (and a dominant performance) on Saturday in London.

England’s Groves (20-2, 15 KOs) won the European title and put back-to-back knockout losses to Carl Froch in world title bouts behind him, and also put himself in position for another world title shot.

Groves’ victory made him the mandatory challenger for Anthony Dirrell (27-0-1, 22 KOs), of Flint, Michigan, who claimed a 168-pound world title by outpointing Sakio Bika in their rematch (of a previous draw) on Aug. 16.

Groves’ KO loss to Froch in November 2013 was heavily disputed because of the quick stoppage in a fight Groves was winning handily. Groves couldn't complain, however, about the knockout in their May rematch. But Groves looked good getting back on track against Rebrasse.

“It feels great to be back,’’ Groves said. ‘’Rebrasse was a good opponent, a very tough guy. He took an awful lot of shots and kept coming. I knew it was going to be a hard fight. I felt in good condition but you always have to be cautious against a guy that has never been stopped. I want to entertain. I want to knock people out. I didn’t manage that, but I gave it real good go. Things are only going to get better from here. We’re getting ready to take over the world.”

He's hoping for a fight with Dirrell as soon as possible.

“Dirrell has already made some statements, he’s a bit cheeky, a little bit outspoken,’’ Groves said. “He’s been quite disrespectful to Rebrasse. I knock out a lot of guys and Rebrasse took some big shots. I’m not sure Dirrell could stand up to some of the punches I landed. He has said he doesn’t want to fight me, that he doesn’t want to come to the U.K., but now he may just have to.”

There’s no doubt that there is more money for a Dirrell-Groves fight in England than in the United States. Dirrell essentially has no fan base, which is why both of his title fights with Bika were on Showtime undercards and neither did anything to help the gate. Groves, however, is a draw in England and was a big part of why the rematch with Froch drew some 80,000 to Wembley Stadium in London.

Groves’ promoter, Kalle Sauerland, said he is ready to begin negotiating Dirrell-Groves.

“Before this fight [against Rebrasse] I described George as one of the most exciting boxers on the planet,” Sauerland said. “After [Saturday’s] performance my mind hasn’t changed one bit. We’re ready to start talking to Dirrell's people [adviser Al Haymon]. I don’t see any other options for them. There are no bigger fights out there. George is a natural entertainer inside and outside the ring. He has a style that would be very appealing to a U.S. audience.”

Donaire-Walters good to go

September, 20, 2014
Sep 20
Top Rank made official on Friday what has been known for weeks -- that featherweight titleholder Nonito Donaire and secondary titlist Nicholas Walters will fight.

They’re set to meet Oct. 18 at the StubHub Center in Carson, California, and open a top-notch HBO doubleheader headlined by middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin taking on interim titleholder Marco Antonio Rubio in Golovkin’s West Coast debut.

What’s nice about a card like this is that Top Rank is working with Golovkin promoter K2 Promotions to put on the doubleheader. It’s nice when promoters work together and the fans wind up with a quality card.

With Friday’s announcement also came a couple of quotes from the fighters.

"I am very excited for this fight. We are doing everything we can to be ready for everything Walters brings on Oct. 18," Donaire said.

Walters, who will be making his HBO debut, said, “This is my dream fight. It's now the time to show everyone who is the best 126-pound world champion in the entire world.”

The fight will be Donaire’s third at the StubHub Center. He fought there twice during his 2012 fighter of the year campaign, unifying junior featherweight belts by outpointing Jeffrey Mathebula in a dominant performance and then knocking out former titleholder Toshiaki Nishioka in the ninth round of another dominant fight.

Donaire (33-2, 21 KOs) and Walters (24-0, 20 KOs) are both coming off victories on the same card on May 31 in Macau, China.

Donaire won his title by dropping Simpiwe Vetyeka in the fourth round and claiming a fifth-round technical decision when the referee ruled that Donaire was unable to continue due to a cut caused by an accidental head-butt. The fight was sent to the scorecards and Donaire was ahead 49-46 on all three of them.

By beating Vetyeka, Donaire -- “The Filipino Flash” -- claimed a world title in his fourth weight class (fifth, if you count interim belts) and won his second fight in a row since losing his junior featherweight title in a unification fight to Guillermo Rigondeaux in April 2013.

On the undercard, Walters, known as “The Axe Man,” scored a dominant fifth-round knockout of aging former two-division titlist Vic Darchinyan, who had previously been twice knocked out by Donaire. Walters, who has defended his belt twice, has scored knockouts in 10 of his past 11 fights.

Caribe wins Rigondeaux-Avalos purse bid

September, 19, 2014
Sep 19
Caribe Promotions, the lone promoter of unified junior featherweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux since the expiration of his deal with Top Rank in July, won a purse bid on Friday for his mandatory defense against Chris Avalos.

Caribe was the only bidder at the WBO headquarters in Puerto Rico, offering $317,777.77. Avalos promoter Top Rank did not bid.

As champion, Rigondeaux is entitled to 75 percent of the money ($238,333.32) and Avalos would receive the remaining 25 percent ($79,444.45). The minimum bid was $100,000.

In its winning offer, Caribe said the target date for the bout is Nov. 22 in Miami or the Dominican Republic. However, it remains to be seen if Avalos and Top Rank will accept the fight because they have been in talks with Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn of England about working together on an Avalos fight in the United Kingdom. Avalos is also the mandatory challenger for titleholder Carl Frampton and that is a much bigger commercial fight than one against Rigondeaux. It is also a more winnable fight for Avalos.

Rigondeaux (14-0, 9 KOs), the two-time Cuban Olympic gold medalist, is coming off a first-round knockout of Sod Kokietgym in Macau on July 19 in his fifth title defense.

Avalos (24-2, 18 KOs), 24, of Lancaster, California, also fought his most recent fight in Macau, stopping Yasutaka Ishimoto in the eighth round in May in an eliminator to put him in position to be Frampton's mandatory.