Guerrero: 'I'm an elite fighter'

March, 6, 2015
Mar 6
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Robert Guerrero has had much success in his career. He has won world titles at featherweight and junior lightweight as well as interim belts at lightweight and welterweight.

He has been one of boxing’s top fighters for several years, losing only once in the past decade, and that was certainly forgivable. It was a decision to the great Floyd Mayweather Jr. in a 2013 welterweight championship fight.

But Guerrero has also been a bit inactive. He fought only Mayweather in 2013 and only once in 2014, a very exciting but much more difficult than anyone expected decision against Japan’s Yoshihiro Kamegai in June.

"My last opponent was tough and I was dealing with some injuries but you have to be able to overcome and make adjustments,” Guerrero said. “I got a little wild and just started slugging it out with him.”

Guerrero’s point is that even if he may have looked vulnerable against Kamegai, he is not concerned about what is ahead. That is challenging Keith Thurman for his welterweight belt on Saturday night (NBC, 8:30 ET) as live, regularly scheduled boxing returns to network primetime for the first time in decades.

In the co-feature, former three-division titlist Adrien Broner (29-1, 22 KOs) will face John Molina Jr. (27-5, 22 KOs) in a junior welterweight bout.

"There were doubters when I went to 147, people thought I was nuts,” said Guerrero, who turned pro as a featherweight in 2001. “Every time people don't think I can do something, I prove them wrong. If you live the lifestyle of a fighter; you should be able to fight regularly.”

Guerrero (32-2-1, 18 KOs), who owns solid welterweight victories against Andre Berto and Selcuk Aydin, said he is ready to show the world that he can be a force at 147 pounds.

“I'm ready to go. I had a great training camp and worked very hard. It's time to take care of business Saturday night,” he said. “We did a lot of different work in training camp to prepare for this fight. Keith Thurman is talking about coming out and becoming the first person to knock me out. I like that type of challenge.”

Thurman (24-0, 21 KOs) is a big-time puncher. It’s the reason he goes by the nickname “One Time” -- as in he only needs to hit you one time to knock you stiff.

He is undoubtedly the best puncher Guerrero will have faced. He is still confident, however.

"Thurman is very strong and has great lateral movement. He can box, fight on the inside,” Guerrero said. “There are also a lot of flaws with his game and we are going to take advantage of his flaws.”

Aside from the potential to claim yet another world title, Guerrero understands that doing it on network prime time would be huge.

"I can't wait to show the world and everybody watching on NBC what I'm all about,” he said.

In fact, Guerrero, a 31-year-old southpaw from Gilroy, California, said that being featured in the first PBC main event has given him additional drive.

“I'm extremely motivated to be the first fighter to bring boxing back to NBC on primetime,” he said. “I want to show the world I'm an elite fighter and what better way to do it then against an undefeated world champion.”

Thurman ready for the spotlight

March, 5, 2015
Mar 5
10:30
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videoThe MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas is one of the most famed boxing venues in the world. The best of the best have performed there in main events including Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, George Foreman, Julio Cesar Chavez, Oscar De La Hoya, Manny Pacquiao and, of course, Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Welterweight titlist Keith Thurman has fought there three times, in a co-feature in a December fight and twice before that further down the card.

But now he is pumped up to take his place in the pantheon of main event fighters there when he makes the first defense of his belt against contender Robert Guerrero on Saturday night (NBC, 8:30 ET with additional coverage on NBC Sports Net at 11 ET) as big-time boxing returns to network television in prime time with the kickoff card of adviser/manager Al Haymon's "Premier Boxing Champions" series.

"I love MGM Grand. The last time when I fought there as the co-main event it was an honor," Thurman said. "This is an even greater honor to be the main event. Many world-class fighters have performed there and Floyd Mayweather has made it his home. This is a dream come true."

Thurman, 26, of Clearwater, Florida, also understands the magnitude of being the A-side fighter in the return of boxing to prime time. It is not an accident that he was picked to headline the show. Many view Thurman as a possible future star with the chance to be one of the fighters to carry boxing into the future in the post Mayweather/Pacquiao era.

Thurman (24-0, 21 KOs) is personable, charismatic, very well spoken and -- and this is the most important part -- he can fight and he is also a huge puncher.

"It's a blessing and I've been working toward this for 19 years," Thurman said. "Al Haymon could have picked any of his great fighters for this moment and I'm honored be part of this night and kick things off right. With NBC coming back to prime-time boxing it gives us boxers a chance to shine again on the biggest stage. We've been continuing to fill up arenas for years, but boxing is returning to the mainstream spotlight with an even bigger punch on [Saturday]."

He is not in easy against Guerrero, a former featherweight and junior lightweight titlist, who also claimed interim belts at lightweight and welterweight. Guerrero (32-2-1, 18 KOs), a 31-year-old southpaw from of Gilroy, California, however, has been inactive. Since a lopsided loss challenging Mayweather in May 2013, Guerrero has fought only once, and that was a decision win in a life-and-death battle with unheralded Yoshihiro Kamegai in June.

"I'm expecting him to come out throwing punches and looking to execute his game plan when we enter the ring," Thurman said. "We're going to show him that he never should have signed this contract. There's a different side of Keith Thurman inside that ring and he's going to learn the hard way. He hasn't fought anyone with extreme power like me.

"He has been in the ring with some great fighters, but every fight is its own learning experience. We work hard in training every time to outbox boxers, outpunch punchers, and I'm expecting to be ready to do everything better than him."

When Thurman fought on Dec. 6, he dropped Leonard Bundu in the first round but was taken the distance by the obscure opponent in a fight most figured he would win by knockout. For his fight with Guerrero, Thurman sounded like a guy anxious to win by stoppage.

"I'll be honest, I'm going to stand there and exchange with him for six rounds, and if he's still standing there we'll see," Thurman said. "With my punching power the KO can come at any time with that one punch. If he walks into it or I lunge at him -- it can even be a body shot. I'm just looking to get him out of there. I'm going to do what I need to do to stay a champion and we're looking to move on past [Saturday] with a victory."

In the co-feature, former three-division titlist Adrien Broner (29-1, 22 KOs) takes on John Molina Jr. (27-5, 22 KOs) in a junior welterweight bout.
Thomas Dulorme, Hank LundyAlex Goodlett/Getty ImagesThomas Dulorme, right, will have a new trainer when he faces Terence Crawford on April 18.
For two fights, junior welterweight contender Thomas Dulorme trained with Robert Garcia, one of the best in the business, at his gym in Oxnard, California.

Dulorme (22-1, 14 KOs) won both bouts against solid opposition -- Karim Mayfield and Hank Lundy -- and will next fight for a vacant 140-pound world title when he meets 2014 fighter of the year Terence Crawford (25-0, 17 KOs), the lightweight champion who is moving up in weight, on April 18 (HBO, 9:45 p.m. ET/PT) at the College Park Center on the campus of the University of Texas at Arlington in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

But Garcia will not be in the corner on his now-former fighter's biggest night. They have surprisingly parted ways.

"I had him for two fights, everyone in my gym liked him," Garcia told ESPN.com on Thursday, the same day that Crawford and Dulorme and their promoters were in Arlington, Texas, for the news conference formally announcing the bout. "I don't think it's him, I think it's the people who were advising him."

Garcia, who had also had a small piece of Dulorme's management contract with Cameron Dunkin, said that out of the blue about a month ago "we started getting calls from new agents of his from Puerto Rico. They were asking if I could go to Puerto Rico to train him, and I said no. I got fighters from Argentina, from Russia, from Cuba -- I got guys from all over, and for one fighter you want me to go to Puerto Rico? I can't do that. I have [featherweight titlist Evgeny] Gradovich fighting the next week in London. I can't leave them. We couldn't work it out."

If Garcia wouldn't travel to Puerto Rico to train Dulorme, would he send Donald Leary, his assistant? Garcia said no to that request also because Leary is an integral part of the Oxnard gym who also works with many of the fighters there. It is unclear exactly who will train Dulorme for the fight with Crawford.

"We pushed hard to get that fight, a title opportunity, for Dulorme. But it is what it is," Garcia said. "They advised him to stay in Puerto Rico."

Garcia said he and Dunkin gave up their management stakes, but Garcia said there are no hard feelings and he wishes Dulorme luck against Crawford, who is also managed by Dunkin.

"Dulorme is a very dedicated fighter and trains harder than anyone else. He will be in good shape," Garcia said. "I won't be there for that fight, but I wish him the best. It won't be easy, but it would be nice to see him win the title."
Welterweight contender Jo Jo Dan has the biggest opportunity of his career right in front of him -- a March 28 shot at world titleholder Kell Brook -- and he plans on taking advantage of it.

Dan (34-2, 18 KOs), born in Romania and living in Montreal, will travel to face Brook in his hometown of Sheffield, England, at the Motorpoint Arena.

"Kell has not fought anyone like me," Dan said. "I believe in myself and I don't think he can bring anything I can't deal with on fight night. I am on schedule with my work and I will be in top shape on March 28. I saw his last fight where he won the world title and it was a great performance, but I just let my team study him in depth and come up with a winning strategy."

Brook (33-0, 22 KOs) traveled to Carson, California, in August and outpointed Shawn Porter to win the belt. A win over Dan could lead to a summer showdown with British countryman and former unified junior welterweight titlist Amir Khan.

Dan hopes to ruin that plan or any other Brook might have.

"I want us to put together a super fight for all boxing fans. We both train and aim for the win, so the fans should expect fireworks," he said. "I have waited a long time to get a world title shot so I am determined to take advantage of this opportunity. My prediction for the fight is simple -- Jo Jo Dan becomes the new IBF welterweight world champion."

Dan beat Kevin Bizier for the second time on Dec. 19, claiming a split decision in Quebec City in a title elimination fight to become Brook's mandatory challenger.

There is no American television lined up for Brook-Dan but Showtime is considering it.

Cotto-Golovkin? Wait and see

March, 5, 2015
Mar 5
9:51
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Gennady Golovkin and Miguel CottoGetty ImagesMiddleweight champ Miguel Cotto, right, is unsure whether he will agree to face Gennady Golovkin.
While it remains to be seen who middleweight champion Miguel Cotto will face when he fights for the first time since signing this week with Jay Z's Roc Nation Sports, one thing his clear: If Cotto wins his proposed June 6 fight (at a venue to be determined in New York), his next bout must be against fearsome Gennady Golovkin if he wants to keep his alphabet belt.

Cotto, the lineal champion, is also the WBC's titleholder and it has mandated that after his optional defense in June, his next fight must be against GGG, who owns another organization's title but became the WBC's interim titleholder -- and, therefore, Cotto's mandatory challenger -- by blowing out Marco Antonio Rubio in two rounds on Oct. 18.

Golovkin thrashed Martin Murray in an 11th-round knockout, his 19th consecutive stoppage and 13th title defense, on Feb. 21 in Monte Carlo and will be back in action May 16 in Southern California.

But Golovkin (32-0, 29 KOs) wants Cotto (39-4, 32 KOs) in the worst way and has said it over and over.

K2 Promotions managing director Tom Loeffler, Golovkin's promoter, has said repeatedly that they would make a deal to fight Cotto in a heartbeat and give him basically whatever he wants just to get him in the ring.

"We'll make the terms very attractive for Cotto. We would make a lot of concessions to get that fight," Loeffler told ESPN.com after Golovkin's win against Murray.

So if Cotto retains his title in June, will he honor the mandatory and fight Golovkin after that? Cotto would be a huge underdog.

"He has to wait like anybody else," Cotto told ESPN.com. "He can do what ever he wants. My career does not depend on Gennady Golovkin."

But is Cotto interested in such a fight?

"We don't know yet," he said. "Everything I do will be the best for me. That is what I will do. If that is fighting Gennady Golovkin, I will do it. If not, he can take the middleweight title. He can take it."

Gaby Penagaricano, Cotto's lawyer, said it was too soon to say if Cotto would face Golovkin since they both have intervening bouts.

"I don't know yet," Penagaricano said. "We need to talk about the June fight, and after we will sit down with Tom, who's a dear friend of mine, and see if we can make the fight. But as you know by Miguel’s track record, he is not one who ducks opponents."

HBO re-signs Lampley, Kellerman

March, 4, 2015
Mar 4
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HBO Sports announced on Wednesday that it has extended its contracts with broadcasters Jim Lampley and Max Kellerman in "new multi-year deals."

Lampley, the legendary blow-by-blow announcer on its boxing coverage, and Kellerman, the main analyst, will continue in their roles, HBO senior vice president and executive producer Rick Bernstein said.

"For more than two decades, Jim has been the signature voice of HBO boxing," Bernstein said. "Jim's incomparable knowledge of the sport of boxing and his work on our many boxing programming initiatives, along with his own boxing studio program, have made him universally recognized as the best in the sport and the captain of our boxing coverage. We're thrilled Jim will continue to bring his high journalistic standards and talents to the HBO audience for many years to come."

Lampley, who has been calling fights for HBO since 1988 after previously calling fights for ABC, will be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame on June 14.

"I am delighted and grateful for the chance to continue my richly rewarding relationship with the No. 1 network in television," Lampley said. "In sports as in entertainment, HBO presents the greatest of all opportunities to report complex truth, and there are no sports truths more profound and complex than those illuminated by boxing."

Kellerman has been with HBO Sports since 2005, after previously having been a studio co-host on ESPN2's "Friday Night Fights."

"Max has been an invaluable asset to the HBO Boxing franchise since joining us ten years ago," Bernstein said. "His passion, instincts and historical knowledge all play a key role in making our broadcasts impactful."

"The privilege of calling the best fights in the sport is second only to working alongside all of the extraordinary people in the HBO family," Kellerman said.

The new season of Lampley's "The Fight Game with Jim Lampley" kicks off March 17 (HBO, 11 p.m. ET/PT). Joining Lampley will once again be Kellerman and Michelle Beadle to discuss boxing's biggest news stories and personalities. There were eight episodes in 2014 and the plan is for the same number this year.

PBC finds TV home in U.K.

March, 4, 2015
Mar 4
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One of the most frequently asked questions that I have been getting on social media in recent days -- non-Mayweather-Pacquiao category -- is whether the "Premier Boxing Champions" cards will be televised in the United Kingdom, where the fight fans are nothing if not passionate.

The answer is yes.

While the series kicks off on Saturday night on NBC (8:30 ET) in the United States, the fights from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas will also be available live on subscription boxing channel BoxNation in the U.K.

BoxNation announced a multi-fight deal to air adviser/manager Al Haymon's series on Wednesday.

So far BoxNation is booked to air three fight cards as part of the deal: Saturday night's card that includes welterweight titlist Keith Thurman against Robert Guerrero and junior welterweight Adrien Broner against John Molina Jr.; the March 13 card (Spike TV in the U.S.) that includes welterweight Andre Berto against Josesito Lopez and Shawn Porter against Roberto Garcia; and the April 11 card (NBC in the U.S.) that includes junior welterweight champ Danny Garcia against titleholder Lamont Peterson in a nontitle fight and middleweight titlist Andy Lee defending against former titlist Peter Quillin.

Saturday's BoxNation coverage begins at 1:30 a.m. U.K. time, March 13 begins at 2 a.m. and the April 11 start time is to be announced.

U.K. fans figure to have particular interest in the winner of the between Ireland's Lee and Quillin is mandated to face British contender Billy Joe Saunders later in the year.

"BoxNation continuously looks to deliver the very best fights out there for our viewers. This agreement once again demonstrates our commitment to boxing and our aim of airing the very best shows, both domestically and internationally, to our loyal subscribers," said Jim McMunn, BoxNation's managing director.

Smack talk from Andrade, Lara

March, 3, 2015
Mar 3
5:35
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Demetrius Andrade AP Photo/Eric GayDemetrius Andrade wants a crack at fellow junior middleweight titlist Erislandy Lara.

Junior middleweight titlist Demetrius Andrade is doing something nobody does -- calling out titleholder Erislandy Lara for a unification fight. Based on the heated rhetoric between camps it just might work.

Andrade (21-0, 14 KOs), who has not fought since June, pulled out of a December defense, scheduled to be on Showtime, against Jermell Charlo because he was unhappy with his $300,000 purse. But his father/trainer Paul Andrade said they ultimately did agree to face Charlo in a postponed fight, and signed a contract a month ago.

However, by that time, Charlo was lined up to face fellow contender Vanes Martirosyan on March 28 on Showtime. So Andrade turned his attention to Lara (20-2-2, 12 KOs) this week.

"We signed a contract to fight Charlo a month ago," Paul Andrade said. "He opted to fight a guy that we beat already in Vanes Martirosyan [for the vacant belt in 2013]. I don't even think Charlo will beat him. I can see Vanes out-bullying him and win a decision about eight rounds to four.

"That's in the past and now we have to look towards the future. That future hopefully includes Lara. The real fight for us is with Lara. Fighting Charlo would not have done much for us anyway. That would have been like a man fighting a boy. We are calling Lara out but he has had no response. He doesn't have a dance partner, so the time is right for both of us."

Lara got a fight with Canelo Alvarez, albeit a nontitle match, last year and lost a split decision, after relentlessly calling him out.

Now the shoe is on the other foot.

"Lara thought he was cute by calling out Canelo by going to his press conference,” Paul Andrade said. “He was trying to embarrass him and goad Canelo into a fight. Lara is now in that position.”

He then turned his comments directly to Lara.

“We would go to one of your press conferences and embarrass you but you don't even have a fight on the table, so there is no press conference for you,” he said. “Why don't you step up like Canelo and be a man and accept our challenge like Canelo did for you. I guess it's not so cute for him anymore. And if you do step to the plate, you can bring your running shoes because you are a better runner than boxer."

Artie Pelullo of Banner Promotions, Andrade’s co-promoter with Joe DeGuardia of Star Boxing, said he’d like to put the fight together; adviser Al Haymon oversees Lara’s career as he is not signed to a promoter.

"This is a fight that Demetrius wants,” Pelullo said. “Last year he wanted a fight with Canelo. Canelo had and has other plans now so why not fight the man who some people believe beat him in Lara."

After hearing about the comments from Andrade’s camp, Lara responded.

"I'll fight him anytime,” Lara said. “My resume speaks for itself. I'm willing to fight Cotto or GGG [middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin] next. You think I'm worried about this little spoiled brat? Look at my resume of great fighters I've fought, [Paul] Williams, [Carlos] Molina, Vanes, [Austin] Trout, Canelo, [Alfredo] Angulo and now [Ishe] Smith. In 24 fights, who has he fought?"

Lara further bashed Andrade for pulling out of the fight with Charlo.

"I'm the best in the division. If I put my name to a contract I show up and fight, unlike him when he pulled out of the biggest fight of his career against Charlo. Not to mention, he turned down a fight with me on ESPN2 years ago when I was willing to put a beating on him for $15,000,” Lara said. “And don't forget, I already whooped that ass for free in the amateurs.”
A few notes from around the boxing world:

•  Unified flyweight titlist Juan Francisco Estrada (31-2, 22 KOs) will make his fourth defense when he faces the Philippines’ Froilan Saludar (21-1-1, 13 KOs) on March 28 (beIN Sports Espanol) in Merida, Mexico, Zanfer Promotions announced on Tuesday. Estrada was initially supposed to defend against former titleholder Hernan “Tyson” Marquez (37-5-1, 26 KOs) but, according to Zanfer, Marquez priced himself out of the bout and Saludar accepted the fight.

•  Cruiserweight Ola Afolabi (21-3-4, 10 KOs), of England, will travel to Argentina to face former titlist Victor Emilio Ramirez (21-2, 17 KOs) for a vacant interim title on April 10 after the sides made a deal and avoided a purse bid. The IBF made an interim title available because titleholder Yoan Pablo Hernandez (29-1, 14 KOs) is sidelined for an extended period because of a right elbow injury and unable to face Afolabi, his mandatory challenger. Hernandez’s first fight upon his return is mandated to be against the Afolabi-Ramirez winner. If Hernandez is unable to return by Aug. 6, he will be stripped and the Afolabi-Ramirez winner will become the full titleholder. Afolabi, a former interim titlist, is 0-2-1 against Marco Huck in world title bouts.

•  Cruiserweight titlist Marco Huck (38-2-1, 26 KO), of Germany, who has been ordered to make his mandatory against Poland’s Krzysztof Glowacki (24-0, 15 KOs), has until Wednesday to make a deal or the WBO will order a purse bid. Minimum bid is $300,000. Huck has made 13 title defenses, tying him with England’s Johnny Nelson for most in cruiserweight division history.

•  Cruiserweights Thabiso Mchunu (17-1, 11 KOs), of South Africa, and Ilunga "Junior" Makabu (18-1, 17 KOs), of Congo, will meet May 16 in South Africa, Main Events promoter Kathy Duva told ESPN.com on Tuesday. Duva, who promotes Mchunu, recently won the promotional rights to the bout via a purse bid. The winner of the bout will become the mandatory challenger for world titleholder Grigory Drozd (39-1, 27 KOs) of Russia. Mchunu, 26, has won seven fights in a row. Makabu is unbeaten since getting knocked out in the first round of his 2008 pro debut.
Since mid-January, adviser/manager Al Haymon has been unveiling his new time-buy TV deals that will carry his “Premier Boxing Champions” series.

First, it was a deal with NBC and NBC Sports Net, which kicks off the first of 20 PBC shows this year with a prime-time card headlined by welterweight titleholder Keith Thurman defending against Robert Guerrero on Saturday night (NBC, 8:30 ET) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Then came the announcement of a deal for monthly cards on Spike TV, which kicks off March 13 with former welterweight titlist Andre Berto facing Josesito Lopez at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, Calif.

Next up came word of a deal with CBS, which will air its first PBC card on April 4 from Quebec City’s Pepsi Coliseum, where light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson will defend against former super middleweight titleholder Sakio Bika.

Haymon, however, was not done, and not by a long shot. On Monday the next deal was announced. He has purchased time on Bounce TV, a network he helped found in 2011 that caters to an African-American audience, to televise monthly cards beginning in July.

Bounce TV, which is available on many cable systems but also free over the air in many markets, announced the agreement as a multi-year deal for a series called “Premier Boxing Champions: The Next Round.” The two-hour live shows will feature prospects from Haymon’s expansive stable of more than 180 fighters.

The first date and the particulars of the card have not been set yet, Bounce TV said in its announcement.

The network bills itself as “the fastest-growing African-American network on television and has become the No. 2 most-watched among all African-American networks. It has grown to be available in more than 85 million homes.” Besides Haymon, the network’s founders include Martin Luther King III and Andrew Young, former mayor of Atlanta, Georgia congressman and ambassador to the United Nations.

“This series provides future stars of boxing frequent nationwide exposure on over-the-air television, and will benefit the African-American audience, who I believe miss watching this great sport on free TV,” King said in a statement.

In 2012, Bounce TV did one fight card, which was headlined by a junior welterweight title bout between Khabib Allakhverdiev and Joan Guzman.

Caballero to have foot surgery

March, 2, 2015
Mar 2
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Bantamweight titleholder Randy Caballero was supposed to make his first defense by facing Alberto Guevara this past Friday night at the Fantasy Springs Resort in Indio, California, in what would have been a triumphant homecoming to the venue where he has fought numerous times.

Caballero instead had to pull out the fight in early February and is prepping for foot surgery on Wednesday.

“He has a non malignant tumor in the heel of his foot,” Golden Boy Promotions vice president Eric Gomez told ESPN.com. “It was causing him much pain and finally caused him to stop training.”

Caballero is expected to sided for as long as four months.

Initially, Golden Boy Promotions announced that 24-year-old Caballero (22-0, 13 KOs), who won a unanimous decision against England’s Stuart Hall on Oct. 25 in Monte Carlo to claim the vacant 118-pound belt, had an ankle injury.

Caballero, of Coachella, California, has had 18 of his 22 professional fights at home in Southern California, including numerous at Fantasy Springs, and was looking forward to a homecoming for his first defense after going on the road to win the title eliminator in Japan and then the title fight in Monte Carlo.

Texas to host Crawford-Dulorme

February, 28, 2015
Feb 28
6:42
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The two sites for HBO’s April 18 split-site doubleheader are set.

A few days ago, Banner Promotions and Golden Boy locked in the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York, as the site for the much-anticipated junior welterweight fight between former titleholder Ruslan Provodnikov (27-3, 17 KOs) and Lucas Matthysse (36-3, 34 KOs), whom many expect to engage in an all-action fight of the year candidate.

And on Friday night, Top Rank locked in the site for the bout that will open the broadcast between 2014 fighter of the year Terence Crawford (25-0, 17 KOs), the lightweight champion from Omaha, Nebraska, who is moving up to junior welterweight to fight Puerto Rico’s Thomas Dulorme (22-1, 14 KOs) for a vacant 140-pound title. The site will be the University of Texas at Arlington’s College Park Center, the home arena for the school’s basketball team, Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti told ESPN.com.

Top Rank had a hard time finding an available arena for Crawford’s bout after it was postponed from March 21 at the Theater at Madison Square Garden. It had been looking at sites in Southern California, New York and Chicago but could not make any of them work.

But Moretti said Top Rank is happy to bring the event to Arlington.

“There have been a couple of ESPN cards there, and it’s a state-of-the-art arena. It holds about 6,000,” Moretti said. “We really didn’t want to go to a casino ballroom with the fighter of the year, so through availability, we are going to Arlington. Texas is an important place for us and our sponsor Tecate. Texas is a good place to do shows and when you bring the fighter of the year there it’s something special.”

Moretti said Top Rank decided against going to Omaha for Crawford’s third fight in a row.

“We really didn’t want to go Nebraska for this fight because we want to expand his popularity and marketability,” he said.

The winner of the fight is supposed to face former titleholder Chris Algieri (20-1, 8 KOs) in a mandatory defense, who got wiped out in his last fight on Nov. 22 as he was knocked down six times in a decision loss challenging welterweight titleholder Manny Pacquiao.

Ward-Froch rematch ordered

February, 28, 2015
Feb 28
1:31
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Ward/FrochNick Laham/Getty ImagesAndre Ward, left, and Carl Froch were ordered to fight a rematch of their fight in 2011.

Here’s a curveball: The WBA has ordered inactive super middleweight champion Andre Ward and injured regular titleholder Carl Froch, who technically is Ward’s mandatory challenger, to fight a rematch.

On Saturday, the organization said it notified both camps to begin negotiating. It has given their camps 30 days to reach an agreement for a fight that it says has to take place in “a period no longer than 120 days.” If the sides fail to make a deal, a purse bid would be ordered.

The order means that the fight is supposed to take place by the end of June. However, there is almost no chance of that happening.

Froch is out until this summer because of an elbow injury, one which already prevented him from making a mandatory defense that was due for his other alphabet title. Froch (33-2, 24 KOs), 37, of England, gave up the IBF version of the title because he was unable to face countryman James DeGale (and frankly, he was also uninterested).

Froch has said he wants a big fight in Las Vegas and two names on is radar are former middleweight titlist Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (who fights in April) and former light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins, who has said he would drop down to super middleweight to face Froch.

Froch perhaps would like to face Ward to avenge his one-sided loss to him in December 2011, but the timing of the order seems difficult to overcome.

Ward and Froch met in the final of the Super Six World Boxing Classic to unify 168-pound world titles and Ward whipped him in a decision win in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Ward (27-0, 14 KOs), 31, of Oakland, California, has only fought twice since he beat Froch -- once in 2012 (10th-round KO of Chad Dawson) and once in 2013 (lopsided decision against Edwin Rodriguez) -- because of injuries but largely because of a protracted (and seemingly unnecessary) battle with his late promoter, Dan Goossen.

Goossen died in September. In January, Ward and Goossen Promotions finally reached a settlement and he became the first significant fighter to sign with Jay Z’s Roc Nation Sports. But there has been little movement in terms of a fight date of opponent.

One thing Ward has made clear, however, is that he does not intend to jump into a big fight upon his return, claiming he needs a tuneup-type of opponent after having not fought since November 2013. Obviously, Froch, who is unlikely to be ready to fight by June anyway, is a much bigger fight than a tuneup fight.

Fury risking mandatory title shot

February, 28, 2015
Feb 28
6:19
AM ET
Tyson Fury iBryn Lennon/Getty ImagesTyson Fury has promised to stop Christian Hammer when they meet Saturday in England.

Tyson Fury, the big (6-foot-9, 260 pounds) and brash British heavyweight contender, has a world title shot coming his way in the near future. He is the mandatory challenger for champion Wladimir Klitschko.

But rather than wait on that fight, which could take place as soon as this summer, Fury is putting his position at stake by taking on Christian Hammer on Saturday (BoxNation in the United Kingdom) at The O2 arena in London.

As usual, Fury (23-0, 17 KOs) is predicting a devastating performance in what should be his final fight before fighting for the world title -- if he wins.

“I’ve had a great camp, training has gone very well, and because of that I don’t see this fight going beyond five rounds,” Fury said. “I want the knockout and that’s what I’m out to get. There’s a reason this bill is being labeled Risky Business, because of everything that is on the line. I’m mandatory to face Wladimir Klitschko next, but if I don’t win this fight I’ll lose that mandatory position and my chance to fight for the world title.

“We’ve seen fighters in the past who have been in a similar position and lost, but that’s not going to happen with me. The reason is because I’m not overlooking Christian Hammer. I’ve seen him in the amateurs and I’ve seen the progress he has made in the paid ranks. He’s a very good fighter and not someone you can overlook. But a Tyson Fury fight is never boring, and I can guarantee excitement and drama when I step in the ring. Put it this way: Someone is getting knocked out and it isn’t going to be me.”

Fury, 26, looked superb in his last outing, a one-sided 10th-round demolition of Dereck Chisora in their rematch. The victory in the world title elimination fight netted Fury the European title and also made him Klitschko’s mandatory challenger, although if Fury defeats Hammer and Bryant Jennings upsets Klitschko on April 25, Fury would be next up to face Jennings.

The 6-2, 250-pound Hammer (17-3, 10 KOs) is from Romania and lives in Germany, and he has not lost since 2010 and is riding a 10-fight winning streak. He believes he will upset Fury.

“Tyson Fury will not go the distance against me,” said Hammer, 27. “He will be getting knocked out clean and left to pick up the pieces after the fight. He cannot hurt me with his punches because I’m in the best shape of my career for this fight, and he will not last against me. He has been put down before. He can be hit and hurt. He has plenty of heart, but once I put him down he will stay down.

“I’ve taken this fight because I know I can get the Klitschko world title fight when I beat him. Klitschko is talking about fighting Fury, but he will be talking my name once I knock out Fury.”

Also on the card, Dmitry Chudinov (14-0-2, 9 KOs), 28, of Russia, will make the third defense of his interim middleweight belt when he faces Chris Eubank Jr. (18-1, 13 KOs), 25, of England.

R. Rios on the comeback trail

February, 27, 2015
Feb 27
5:34
PM ET
A few notes from around the boxing world:

• Featherweight Ronny Rios, a rising contender on the verge of fighting for a world title, suffered an upset fifth-round knockout to Robinson Castellanos in October. Now Rios is on the comeback trail and slated for his fight since that stunner. Rios (23-1, 10 KOs), 25, of Santa Ana, California, will face Mexico’s Jesus Navarro (23-9-1, 16 KOs) on March 20 (Fox Sports 1/Fox Deportes) at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California, Golden Boy announced on Friday. The fight is the co-feature on the card headlined by Mexican junior middleweight Alfonso Gomez (24-6-2, 12 KOs), a two-time world challenger and for star of “The Contender” reality series, taking on Japan’s Yoshihiro Kamegai (25-2-1, 22 KOs).

• Lightweight contender Sharif Bogere (26-1, 18 KOs) and Jose “Chelo” Gonzalez (23-1, 18 KOs) will square off on April 11 (PPV) in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on the undercard of junior lightweight titlist Orlando Salido (42-12-2, 29 KOs), of Mexico, defending against Puerto Rico’s Roman "Rocky" Martinez (28-2-2, 17 KOs), the former titleholder, PR Best Boxing Promotions announced Friday. Bogere, from Uganda but living in Las Vegas, suffered his only loss in a world title fight, losing a decision to Richar Abril in Las Vegas in March 2013. Gonzalez’s only loss was also in a world title fight in May 2013. He faced Ricky Burns in Burns’ home country of Scotland and was winning but quit because of a wrist injury after the ninth round.

• Junior featherweight prospect Joseph Diaz (14-0, 9 KOs), a 2012 U.S. Olympian, got a new opponent this week for his 10-round bout that will headlined the debut of Golden Boy’s revived “LA Fight Club” series on March 6 (Fox Sports 1/Fox Deportes, 10 p.m. ET) at the sold-out Belasco Theater in downtown Los Angeles. Diaz, of South El Monte, California, will face Mexico’s Juan Luis Hernandez (17-4-1, 9 KOs) after Geovanny Delgado dropped out.

(BULLET)Promoters Sampson Lewkowicz of Sampson Boxing and Oswaldo Kuchle of Promociones Del Pueblo proudly announced that they have renewed their promotional agreement with Mexico’s Hugo Ruiz (35-2, 31 KOs), 28, a former interim bantamweight titlist with a fan-friendly style. Ruiz is now fighting as a junior featherweight. "I am very happy that Hugo Ruiz has decided to stay loyal to us and I expect he will be world champion in his new division very soon," Lewkowicz said. "He is a very exciting fighter with the power to make every fight exciting."

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