Canelo headed back to HBO?

August, 29, 2014
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Alvarez/LaraJosh Hedges/Getty ImagesCanelo Alvarez could make HBO his next home in November or December.

In late 2013, when Richard Schaefer still ran Golden Boy Promotions, he and Canelo Alvarez announced that Alvarez would fight three times on Showtime PPV this year: March 8, July 26 and Nov. 22.

Indeed, Alvarez knocked out Alfredo Angulo on March 8 and then outpointed Erislandy Lara, albeit on July 12. Both were on Showtime PPV and both did solid numbers -- a little over 300,000 buys -- considering Alvarez had never before headlined a pay-per-view as the A side of the promotion.

But fight No. 3 of this year? Well let’s just say things aren’t what they were a year ago.

Schaefer resigned as Golden Boy CEO, Oscar De La Hoya has taken the day-to-day reins of the company and he is also quietly trying to repair the company’s fractured relationship with HBO, the network that basically put Golden Boy in business and the network on which De La Hoya became a mega PPV star. It is also the network that grew so tired of dealing with Schaefer and adviser Al Haymon, who controlled many of the fighters on Golden Boy’s cards, that HBO banished Golden Boy fighters from the network.

Canelo isn't going to go pay-per-view. We don't want to saturate the market. He's willing to go live on either Showtime or HBO. We'll see. Maybe another network. He has no contract with any network.

-- Golden Boy vice president Eric Gomez
And although Showtime has been the exclusive home for Golden Boy’s biggest cards since, behind the scenes there are issues, namely that many of those cards Golden Boy puts on are controlled by Haymon, and De La Hoya isn’t happy about it. Why else do you think we saw the Danny Garcia-Rod Salka/Lamont Peterson-Edgar Santana mess?

Most of Haymon’s fighters who regularly appear on Showtime are not under contract to Golden Boy, even though GB promotes the cards. This was one of the issues that came between De La Hoya and Schaefer.

There was a recent thaw in the Golden Boy/HBO relationship a few weeks ago when it made a deal to televise the Nov. 8 light heavyweight unification fight between Bernard Hopkins, who is with Golden Boy, and Sergey Kovalev, whom HBO has under contract.

As it relates to Alvarez, he is under contract to Golden Boy and not involved with Haymon. And he got his start on premium cable on HBO and, this is most significant, his biggest fight looms with middleweight champion Miguel Cotto, who is aligned with HBO, which plans to carry Cotto's Dec. 13 title defense against an opponent to be determined on HBO PPV.

Alvarez met in recent days with Golden Boy executives to talk about his next fight and I am telling you there is a good chance that it winds up on regular HBO (and not Showtime or Showtime PPV). That would be a big deal and would likely deliver a huge viewership number for HBO.

“We had a very good meeting with Canelo and we’re talking with him about opponents,” Golden Boy vice president Eric Gomez told ESPN.com on Friday. “We’re actually waiting for the date. He gave us a couple of dates and we’re looking into everything. But he wants to fight late November or early December. We have to work on it.”

The opponent is not set, but it is no secret that Alvarez could face big banger James Kirkland, whose last fight was on HBO (a knockout last December against Glen Tapia in a wild brawl).

Then Gomez caught me by surprise when he added, “Canelo isn’t going to go pay-per-view. We don’t want to saturate the market. He’s willing to go live on either Showtime or HBO. We’ll see. Maybe another network. He has no contract with any network. We’re working on things.”

Whoa.

That is the first time in a lonnngggg time that anyone in a position of authority has specifically stated that Alvarez was a television free agent and, further, used the H-word (HBO) in relation to his future.

It leads me to believe, without question, that Alvarez is likely headed back to HBO for his next fight. I believe it would be part of a deal that would also lock Alvarez into HBO for multiple fights, including a potential spring or summer 2015 showdown with Cotto for the middleweight title.

Let’s look at the late November and early December schedule, which means Nov. 15, Nov. 22, Nov. 28, Dec. 6 or Dec. 13.

Nov. 22 is out because that is Manny Pacquiao’s HBO PPV date with Chris Algieri. Nov. 28 is out because that is already ticketed for Terence Crawford’s next lightweight title defense on HBO. Dec. 13 is out because that is Cotto’s HBO PPV date.

That tells me that if Alvarez returns to HBO, it means a fight on either Nov. 15, which would be a huge telecast on which to promote Pacquiao’s PPV, or Dec. 6, which would be a great way to promote Cotto’s PPV the following week and remind people that wins by Alvarez and Cotto could lead to the super fight after that.

Now that Top Rank, Cotto’s promoter, and Golden Boy, Alvarez’s promoter, say they are ready, willing and able to make fights together, a Cotto-Alvarez fight could get done on HBO PPV without the involvement of Haymon, whom Top Rank does not work with.

All of this is not to say that Showtime couldn’t make a big offer to keep Alvarez for his next fight, but if I were a betting man here’s my take: Alvarez returns to HBO for a fight on Nov. 15 or Dec. 6 with the big payoff coming in May (Cinco de Mayo weekend) or June (Puerto Rican Day Parade weekend) for the biggest fight in boxing this side of Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Manny Pacquiao.

Check back with me in a few months to see how well my crystal ball works.
Sergio MartinezMike Ehrmann/Getty ImagesSergio Martinez's future depends on what his doctor has to say about his health.

A few weeks after Sergio Martinez got knocked down four times and eventually stopped in the 10th round by Miguel Cotto on June 7 in New York -- a defeat that cost him the middleweight championship -- Martinez vowed to fight on.

But whether the 39-year-old Martinez (51-3-2, 28 KOs) really does continue to box will depend largely on what his doctor has to say, particularly about his knee problems, following an exam due to take place Sept. 16 in New York, Martinez's adviser, Sampson Lewkowicz, told ESPN.com.

Lewkowicz will be with Martinez in Belfast, Northern Ireland on Sept. 6 when junior featherweight titlist Kiko Martinez, whom Lewkowicz promotes and Martinez (no relation) manages, defends his belt in a rematch with Carl Frampton.

Lewkowicz said that following the fight, he and Sergio Martinez will travel to Las Vegas to attend the Sept. 13 rematch between pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Marcos Maidana. They will be rooting for Maidana, Martinez’s countryman from Argentina.

“After the fight, we will go to New York together and Sergio will see his doctor,” Lewkowicz said of Dr. Answorth Allen, who is the orthopedic surgeon for the New York Knicks.. “He will have a complete checkup. We will listen to what the doctor has to say and then make a decision about his future."

Haymon signs Sampson Boxing trio

August, 29, 2014
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Promoter Sampson Lewkowicz, whose Sampson Boxing promotional company has been steadily growing, told ESPN.com that three of his fighters have signed with adviser Al Haymon.

The three are Dominican junior lightweight contender Javier Fortuna (25-0-1, 18 KOs), Dominican junior featherweight prospect Jonathan Guzman (16-0, 16 KOs) and junior featherweight Oscar Escandon (23-1, 16 KOs) of Colombia.

Guzman is the only fighter with a bout scheduled. He will fight in Belfast, Northern Ireland on Sept. 6 when Spain’s Kiko Martinez, whom Lewkowicz promotes, will defend his junior featherweight title in a rematch with Carl Frampton of Belfast.

“I’m very delighted that my boys signed with Al Haymon,” Lewkowicz said. “We have always had a nice relationship. We’ve talked many times. I believe this is the best thing.”

Haymon’s vast stable continues to grow. He has at least 75 fighters under contract and some estimate his stable in excess of 100 fighters -- including, of course, Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Martinez-Frampton II on American TV

August, 29, 2014
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There are many quality fights that take place overseas that do not get the U.S. television coverage they deserve.

Epix tried to fill that void but eventually dumped its boxing program without explanation. HBO and Showtime have shown little interest in many of the bouts. And while ESPN has picked up its share and streamed many on ESPN3.com, the coverage has been sporadic. But AWE -- the former WealthTV -- is still here and doing a good job of picking up many of the significant fights.

It snagged another one this week, acquiring the rights to the rematch between junior featherweight titlist Kiko Martinez of Spain and Carl Frampton of Northern Ireland.

They meet in a rematch on Saturday in Frampton’s hometown of Belfast, where a 16,000-seat temporary outdoor stadium is in the final stages of construction to host the fight, like they used to do in the old days at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

AWE will begin its live coverage of the undercard beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET. Existing members can also watch a stream on its website.

"We are very happy to bring this five-star title fight to the fans in the United States," AWE president Charles Herring said. “The first fight was sensational and now Martinez is coming back to Ireland as a world champion, so now the stakes have been raised. Frampton is undefeated and wants that belt. Martinez has that belt and wants revenge. With all these subplots, this fight had the makings of a classic rematch."

In February 2013, also in Belfast, Frampton (18-0, 13 KOs) won the European title by scoring a one-punch knockout of Martinez (31-4, 23 KOs) in the ninth round. But Martinez, who has been on a four-fight winning streak since, won a world title two fights later by scoring an upset knockout of Jhonatan “Momo” Romero in the sixth round in August 2013 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

R. Rios, Orozco in action Oct. 9

August, 29, 2014
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Ronny Rios, Antonio Orozco and Diego De La Hoya, three of Golden Boy’s up-and-coming fighters, will all be in action on an Oct. 9 card announced Wednesday.

Rios (23-0, 10 KOs), a featherweight contender, will be fighting at junior lightweight in the main event of the "Golden Boy Live" card (Fox Sports 1/Fox Deportes) at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California. Rios will take on Robinson Castellanos (19-10, 12 KOs) in a 10-rounder.

Aggressive welterweight Orozco (20-0, 15 KOs) will face the long-faded former junior lightweight titlist Steve Forbes (35-13, 11 KOs) in the 10-round co-feature. Forbes has lost five fights in a row and is 3-10 in his past 13.

In the six-round opener, De La Hoya, a 20-year-old cousin of Golden Boy promoter Oscar De La Hoya, will meet an opponent to be determined in a junior featherweight fight.

"Ronny Rios and Antonio Orozco are two of this [Southern California] area's most talented fighters and we'll see if they're ready for the next level on Oct. 9," said Oscar De La Hoya, who will be ringside. "I'm also looking forward to seeing the new De La Hoya era take charge with my cousin Diego in the ring again and meeting everyone on fight night and talking about this great sport and what we can do to make it even better."

Light heavyweight Beterbiev on fast track

August, 28, 2014
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Light heavyweight Artur Beterbiev was a decorated amateur who twice competed on the Russian Olympic team (2008 and 20012), won a gold medal at the 2009 world amateur championships and twice defeated Russian destroyer Sergey "Krusher" Kovalev in the unpaid ranks.

Now living in Laval, Quebec, the 29-year-old Beterbiev (5-0, 5 KOs), who turned pro 14 months ago, is on the super fast track.

After making his pro debut in a four-rounder and then fighting scheduled six-rounders in his next four bouts, Beterbiev is stepping up to a scheduled 12-round fight for a regional title against former world titleholder Tavoris Cloud (24-2, 19 KOs).

Cloud, 32, is still regarded by many as a top-10 light heavyweight despite back-to-back losses, a decision that cost him his title against Bernard Hopkins in March 2013 followed by a seventh-round knockout loss challenging champion Adonis Stevenson in Montreal last September.

Beterbiev, whose wife gave birth to their third child a few weeks ago, will meet Cloud on Sept. 27 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, promoter Yvon Michel announced Wednesday.

Cloud, who may not be what he once was, has vast professional experience, good power and a good chin. But Michel is convinced that Beterbiev is the next big thing. This fight should go a long way to making that determination.

"Artur Beterbiev is an extremely special talent and we have a boundless confidence in his abilities," Michel said. "It is unheard of for a fighter with only five fights of professional experience to headline an event at the Bell Centre against an opponent the caliber of Cloud."

Love looks to continue rise

August, 28, 2014
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J'Leon Love, Marco PeribanHarry How/Getty ImagesSuper middleweight J'Leon Love, right, headlines Friday's Mayweather Promotions show in Las Vegas.
There's yet another boxing card in the fight capital of the world, Las Vegas, on Saturday night, this one at the Palms Casino Resort. But it probably has more special meaning to pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. than usual.

It's the first card his company, Mayweather Promotions, is doing on its own since securing a promotional license in Nevada on July 30.

Although Mayweather, who lives and trains in Las Vegas, is training for his rematch with Marcos Maidana on Sept. 13, he will be at the show to watch the card filled with fighters he promotes and often trains with.

"It's great to be putting on another great card with Mayweather Promotions stars from top to bottom," Mayweather said. "Even though we will be two weeks away from my rematch against Maidana, there is no way I would miss this. These guys all live by the motto of 'hard work, dedication,' and I look forward to seeing that hard work pay off on [Friday]."

The "ShoBox: The New Generation" card (10 p.m. ET/PT) was originally supposed to be a quadrupleheader, but when junior middleweight prospect Chris Pearson (11-0, 9 KOs) suffered an injury, his undercard fight with Steve Martinez (15-1, 12 KOs) was called off.

The card is headlined by super middleweight J'Leon Love (18-0, 10 KOs) taking on Rogelio Medina (32-6, 26 KOs) in a 10-rounder.

Super middleweight Badou Jack (16-1-1, 11 KOs), looking to bounce back from a first-round knockout loss to unheralded Derek Edwards in February, faces Jason Escalera (15-2-1, 12 KOs) in the 10-round co-feature with super middleweight Ronald Gavril (9-0, 7 KOs) squaring off with Thomas Falowo (12-2, 8 KOs) in the scheduled eight-round opener.

Love is coming off his biggest victory, a 10-round unanimous decision against former title challenger Marco Antonio Periban, who lost a decision battling for a vacant belt against Sakio Bika in June 2013 and then fought to a draw with Jack in his next fight last September.

"My last fight was definitely a learning experience," Love said. "Periban was a title contender and a very experienced fighter. I faced some adversity and I was able to bounce back and come through with a win."

Love's win against Periban came on the Showtime PPV undercard of Mayweather's first fight with Maidana on May 3, his second time fighting on one of Mayweather's events.

"Every fight is a learning experience, but this one was under the big lights," Love said. "It shows I have the heart and determination to win. I know where I want to go with this and I know a world championship is on the horizon. I think I have maybe two more fights before I fight for a belt.

"I'm still growing as a fighter, but I've graduated from prospect to contender and I'm just a few wins away from graduating to world champion. Saturday night is just another step. I think I'm almost there."

Campbell, Coyle face tests

August, 28, 2014
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Lightweights Luke Campbell and Tommy Coyle face legitimate tests in their next fights when they box on the same card Oct. 25 (Sky Sports in the United Kingdom) at the Ice Arena in their hometown of Hull, England.

Campbell (7-0, 5 KOs), 26, a 2012 Olympic gold medalist, takes on Daniel Brizuela (26-3-2, 8 KOs), 28, of Argentina, in Campbell's first scheduled 12-rounder. Two fights ago, also at Ice Arena, Brizuela was stopped in the 12th round by Coyle in an epic fight of the year candidate as each man hit the deck four times in England in February.

"This is a big step up for me but one I feel that I am ready for," said Campbell, who first has a tune-up fight Sept. 20 in London on the undercard of Christopher Rebrasse's European super middleweight title defense against George Groves. "Brizuela's fight with Coyle was unbelievable and I know I am in for a serious night's work, but I'm 7-0 now and with more rounds under my belt in September. I'm confident I can land my first [regional] title."

In the 12-round co-feature, Coyle (19-2, 8 KOs), 24, takes on Australia's Michael Katsidis (30-6, 24 KOs), 34, who twice claimed interim lightweight titles but is better known for his legendary brawls. Katsidis has won both of his fights since ending a two-year retirement in March.

"It's great to be fighting someone of Michael Katsidis' caliber," Coyle said. "There were many big names touted for this fight and I am delighted that it's Michael I'll be taking on. He has been in with [Kevin] Mitchell and Ricky Burns over here and also shared the ring with Robert Guerrero and Juan Manuel Marquez, so to beat him will be a huge achievement and a great scalp to have on my record."

Katsidis has boxed in the England before and one of his most famous brawls, a wild fifth-round knockout of Graham Earl in their first fight, came in London in 2007.

"It is nice to be fighting in England again and I am very much looking forward to the fight with Tommy," Katsidis said. "I have always enjoyed the passion of the fans and I feel at home when I fight there. I have had a number of offers from the UK and I am happy to come to Hull for the fight."

If Campbell and Coyle both win, Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn envisions a big all-Hull showdown next year.

"Tommy Coyle, who now has a reputation of being in regular wars, fights perhaps one of the most world-renowned warriors in Michael Katsidis, while for Olympic champion Luke Campbell, this is the acid test," Hearn said. "Brizuela, who came back from an impressive win following his fight of the year with Tommy, is a huge step up for Luke and one we believe he is ready for. Victory for both men will set up the battle of Hull in 2015, which will be a defining sporting occasion for the city."
videoFor almost 2 1/2 years, the WBC has broken its rules when it comes to Floyd Mayweather Jr., allowing him to simultaneously hold its welterweight world title and the junior middleweight title of the equally rule-ignoring WBA.

No surprise there, since the WBC likes to sanction fighters for cursing in postfight interviews (Chris Arreola) or making a remark perceived as racist (Adrien Broner), yet it took no action whatsoever when Mayweather was incarcerated on a domestic abuse conviction. The WBC's hypocrisy is legendary.

In any event, Mayweather reclaimed the WBC welterweight belt by knocking out Victor Ortiz in September 2011. In his next fight, Mayweather outpointed Miguel Cotto to win the WBA's junior middleweight belt in May 2012.

At that point, based on the rules (which I am not saying I necessarily agree with), both organizations were obligated to make Mayweather pick one belt or the other. It's against the rules of both organizations for a fighter to hold belts in multiple divisions.

Many times over the years a fighter has changed divisions and won another title only to be forced to make a decision on which one to keep within a short period of time, usually two weeks.

But not Mayweather. Now I don't blame him, because it's the organizations who broke their own rules, not Mayweather.

When Mayweather dropped back down to welterweight after the Cotto fight to defend the WBC welterweight title against Robert Guerrero in May 2013, the WBA just let him keep his junior middleweight belt. Why not? After all, that organization already had other multiple champions in the same division, so what's one more, right?

In his next fight, Mayweather schooled Canelo Alvarez to unify the WBC and WBA junior middleweight titles. Alvarez had entered the fight with the WBC belt and secondary WBA belt of the main title Mayweather already owned.

The WBC continued to allow Mayweather to also hold the welterweight belt, in clear violation of the rules it had subjected other fighters to over the years in terms of having to decide which belt to hold.

And when Mayweather beat Marcos Maidana to unify the WBC and WBA welterweight titles in May, he laid claim to unified titles in two weight classes, a historical achievement made possible by the organizations ignoring their own rules.

That brings us to Mayweather's rematch with Maidana on Sept. 13 (Showtime PPV) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

The WBC announced Wednesday that it will allow Mayweather to defend his titles in both weight classes against Maidana -- and undoubtedly collect a sweet sanctioning fee for the privilege. If Maidana wins, the WBC will recognize him as its titleholder in both weight classes. The WBA has made no announcement, but you can bet it will also follow the money.

It's not the first time this unusual allowance has happened. In 1988, the WBC allowed Sugar Ray Leonard to challenge Donny Lalonde for its light heavyweight title as well as for the WBC's vacant (and newly created) super middleweight title, but as weak as that instance was, at least the farce didn't carry on for more than two years, because Leonard vacated the light heavyweight title shortly thereafter.
Blue-chip heavyweight prospect Anthony Joshua is taking a step up in competition for his next fight.

The 2012 British Olympic super heavyweight gold medalist will face Konstantin Airich at the Phones 4u Arena in Manchester, England, on Sept. 13 on the undercard of junior featherweight titlist Scott Quigg’s defense against Stephane Jamoye.

Joshua (7-0, 7 KOs), 24, has scored first- or second-round knockouts in all of his fights, and Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn hopes an opponent can extend him a few rounds.

Airich (21-9-2, 17 KOs), 35, who is from Kazakhstan and lives in Germany, has been stopped four times in his nine defeats but has gone the distance with such fighters as Czar Glazkov and Odlanier Solis. But two of his KO losses were in the first round, to Manuel Charr and Tye Fields.

“This fight signifies the first real step up for Anthony,” Hearn said. “Airich has plenty of experience at the top level. He’s a lively competitor and can punch.”

Joshua should be well-prepared for the fight having just returned from spending time in heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko’s training camp as one of his sparring partners for a Sept. 6 defense against Kubrat Pulev that was postponed Monday because Klitschko suffered a torn left biceps.

Could Froch face Braehmer?

August, 27, 2014
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Germany's Juergen Braehmer is 35 and has twice claimed light heavyweight belts (even if his current one is a secondary version). Still, he has been a good fighter for a long time, a pro since 1999. He hasn't lost since 2008, even if he did walk out on a fight with Beibut Shumenov the week of the bout for no good reason.

[+] EnlargeCarl Froch, George Groves
Scott Heavey/Getty ImagesFresh off a knockout of George Groves in their May 31 rematch, Carl Froch could find himself in a fight with Germany's Juergen Braehmer.
But Braehmer, who has looked good in recent fights, wants a big fight and said he is willing to drop down to super middleweight for an opportunity to fight titleholder Carl Froch of England, who is 37 and winding down his superb career.

Froch (33-2, 24 KOs) hoped for a showdown with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in Las Vegas in January, but those talks appear dead. Froch could opt for a mandatory fight with countryman James DeGale. But Braehmer (44-2, 32 KOs) isn't such a bad option.

"If Froch is worried he doesn't stand a chance of taking my title in my weight class, I'll drop a division or we'll agree a catch weight," said Braehmer, adding he would be happy to go England for the fight if it could be made. "A Germany versus England duel in Great Britain? What more could you want? After all, such highlights are why I became a sportsman, and they electrify boxing fans around the world."

Promoter Kalle Sauerland, who represents Braehmer, said he talked to Froch promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing about the fight this week.

"It is something that we will be discussing [again] in the coming weeks," Sauerland said. "Obviously, there is a score to settle from the amateur days, but it also would represent a new challenge to Froch."

Tapia's return; Soliman-Taylor site

August, 26, 2014
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A few notes from the boxing world:

• Junior middleweight Glen Tapia (21-1, 13 KOs), 24, of Passaic, New Jersey, will be back in action to face Donatas Bondorovas (18-5-1, 6 KOs), 34, of Chicago, in a scheduled 10-round bout on Oct. 4 in the main event of a non-televised Top Rank card at Bally’s in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti told ESPN.com. Tapia, now training with Hall of Famer Freddie Roach, is eyeing his second win in a row since a rough sixth-round knockout loss to James Kirkland on HBO in December.

Tapia was scheduled to fight July 26 in New York on the Gennady Golovkin-Daniel Geale undercard, but was denied a license by the New York State Athletic Commission the day before the fight because of an issue over a pre-existing blood condition, one which he has fought with for his entire career. Tapia is licensed already in New Jersey. He fought there in June. Bondorovas participated in ESPN2’s Boxcino middleweight tournament, losing a six-round decision to Willie Monroe Jr. in the quarterfinals in February.

• Middleweight titlist Sam Soliman’s first defense against former undisputed champion Jermain Taylor (32-4-1, 20 KOs), which is on Oct. 8 (ESPN2), will take place at the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino, Warriors Boxing promoter Leon Margules, who is co-promoting the card, told ESPN.com. Taylor, 36, of Little Rock, Arkansas, was middleweight champion from 2005 to 2007. In 2009, he suffered a small brain bleed in a 12th-round knockout loss to Arthur Abraham. Taylor was off for 26 months, but after extensive medical testing, all of which he passed, he was licensed and has won four fights in a row. Soliman (44-11, 18 KOs), of Australia, will be making his first title defense since outpointing Felix Sturm in Germany in May.

• Talks are ongoing for a junior middleweight bout between contenders Vanes Martirosyan (34-1-1, 21 KOs), whose lone loss was a decision to Demetrius Andrade for a vacant world title in November, and Willie Nelson (23-1-1, 13 KOs), who has won seven fights in a row. Lou DiBella, Nelson’s promoter, said if a deal is made the fight could land on Showtime on Oct. 4 on the same card expected to feature junior lightweight titlist Rances Barthelemy’s defense against Fernando Saucedo at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut.
“It’s a very good fight, a tough fight between real contenders,” DiBella said. “It’s not done, but we’re working on it.”

• Former lightweight and junior lightweight titlist Ricky Burns (36-4-1, 11 KOs), 31, of Scotland, plans to move up to junior welterweight for his ring return on Oct. 4 at First Direct Arena in Leeds, England. Burns, who will face an opponent to be determined, will fight on the undercard of the vacant European featherweight title bout between Josh Warrington (18-0, 2 KOs), who is from Leeds, and Davide Dieli (15-3, 5 KOs) of Italy. Burns is looking to shake a two-fight losing streak, a decision loss to Terence Crawford that cost him his lightweight world title in March followed by a major upset split decision loss to Dejan Zlaticanin on June 27.
For decades, major boxing pay-per-view cards have started at 9 p.m. ET. But many recent pay-per-views have had main events begin later and later, often well after midnight on the East Coast as drowsy-eyed viewers struggled to stay up for the main event.

That will change for the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Marcos Maidana welterweight championship rematch on Sept. 13 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Showtime PPV, Golden Boy and Mayweather Promotions have decided to move the start time up one hour to 8 p.m. ET, which should mean a main event that begins well before midnight -- good news for those in the Eastern and Central time zones, which make up nearly 80 percent of the U.S. population.

"Pay-per-view boxing events have changed, and we think it's time the scheduling changed, too," Showtime Sports executive vice president and general manager Stephen Espinoza said in making the announcement. “Along with our partners at Mayweather Promotions and Golden Boy Promotions, we have been presenting compelling four-fight cards with multiple 12-round world championship bouts. As a result, we've seen the start of the main event coming later and later into the night which is not an ideal viewing experience for viewers in the Eastern and Central time zones. No other major sport makes a significant portion of their audiences wait until well past midnight for the peak of the event. Showtime PPV will no longer be one of the exceptions."

This is a welcome change and one HBO PPV should also consider.

Chavez Jr. fading away

August, 25, 2014
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Bryan Vera, Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr.Soobum Im/USA TODAY SportsJulio Cesar Chavez Jr., left, hasn't fought since his decision win against Bryan Vera in March.

Super middleweight Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., who has fought just once this year, a decision win against Bryan Vera in their March rematch, just doesn’t seem in the mood to get into the ring. That is certainly Chavez’s prerogative, but he’s leaving a lot on the table in his snit with promoter Top Rank and apparent disinterest in boxing.

The negotiations for a January fight with titleholder Carl Froch are going nowhere and very well could be dead as Froch is instead looking at a mandatory defense against British countryman James DeGale because Chavez seems so reluctant to make a deal.

And now Chavez (48-1-1, 32 KOs), who fought just once in 2013 and will fight only once this year, is also passing up the opportunity to win a super middleweight title against Anthony Dirrell (27-0-1, 22 KOs), who claimed the belt on Aug. 16 as he outpointed Sakio Bika in a rematch of their draw. Chavez is Dirrell’s mandatory challenger and not inclined to take that undeserved title opportunity either.

The WBC announced on its website on Monday that Chavez has notified the organization that he will not exercise his mandatory status against Dirrell. The WBC, therefore, said it has approved Dirrell to make a voluntary defense of his title in his next fight while the organization figures out the mandatory challenger.

Keep in mind that Chavez now has not only rejected two different super middleweight title opportunities but also declined to face middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin in a fight that was being put together for July at the Forum in Inglewood, California.

Golovkin had agreed to all terms and would have moved up in weight, but Chavez could not work out his end of the deal with Top Rank, which had already come to an agreement with Golovkin promoter K2 Promotions as well as HBO PPV.

So since Chavez trained all of about a week for his shot against then-middleweight champion Sergio Martinez in September 2012 -- and then failed a postfight drug test and served a nine-month suspension -- he has fought all of twice, both times against Vera, including the first fight which he failed to make weight for and deserved to lose.

Tyson promoting Moreno-Payano

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

• Mike Tyson’s Iron Mike Productions announced that it is headed to the Mesquite Arena in Mesquite, Texas, for a show Sept. 26 that will be headlined by bantamweight titlist Anselmo Moreno of Panama defending his belt for the 13th time when he takes on Juan Carlos Payano (15-0, 8 KOs), a 2004 and 2008 Olympian from the Dominican Republic. The only fight Moreno (35-2-1, 12 KOs) has lost in 12 years was a decision challenging then-junior featherweight titlist Abner Mares for his belt in 2012.

“The state of Texas is the home to some of the toughest fighters and best boxing fans in the country. I’m thrilled to promote my first event there,” Tyson said. “With the highly anticipated bantamweight world title fight and a host of the Dallas-Fort Worth area’s finest boxers, local fight fans are set for an outstanding evening of entertainment.”

The card will also feature middleweight Charles Hatley (23-1-1, 16 KOs) and featherweight Robert Marroquin (23-3-1, 16 KOs), the former junior featherweight title challenger and one-time top prospect recently released by Top Rank.

• Great news for fight fans. During Saturday night’s broadcast of the Antonio DeMarco-Lanardo Tyner fight, beIN Sports Espanol announced it would televise notable fights from Mexico for the next four consecutive Saturday nights (11 ET), including the much-anticipated fight between unified flyweight titleholder Juan Francisco Estrada against former junior flyweight champion Giovani Segura on Sept. 6.

Also on the beIN Sports Espanol upcoming schedule: David Sanchez defending his interim junior bantamweight belt against Anuar Salas on Aug. 30; Omar Chavez (brother of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.) taking on Ramon Alvarez (brother of Canelo Alvarez) on Sept. 13; and former featherweight titlist Orlando Salido taking on Terdsak Kokietgym for a vacant interim junior lightweight belt on Sept. 20.

• Junior welterweight Pablo Cesar Cano (27-4-1, 20 KOs), due to face Juan Pablo Lopez (25-3, 21 KOs) in Cancun, Mexico, on Saturday night in the “Golden Boy Live” main event (Fox Deportes), has dropped out of the fight because he broke a finger in training.

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