GGG nearly on weight a month out

September, 22, 2014
Sep 22
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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 174 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
4:48
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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
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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
1:37
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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
6:36
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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
8:39
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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.

Groves gets back to work

September, 19, 2014
Sep 19
4:33
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Froch/GrovesMatchroom Boxing England's George Groves looks to rebound on Saturday from a pair of losses to Carl Froch.
After back-to-back knockout losses to Carl Froch -- the first one highly controversial in November 2013 and the second one clean as a whistle in May -- super middleweight contender George Groves will look to put those disappointments behind him on Saturday.

Groves (19-2, 15 KOs) will fight at Wembley Arena in his hometown of London and challenge Christopher Rebrasse (22-2-3, 6 KOs) of France for the European 168-pound title.

Not only is the bout for Rebrasse's European belt, but the 12-round fight also serves as a world title eliminator. The winner will become the mandatory challenger for newly crowned titleholder Anthony Dirrell.

Groves, 26, has been focused on Rebrasse and a possible future world title shot rather than dwelling on the clean eighth-round knockout loss to Froch in front of some 80,000 in May.

"We've assessed Rebrasse as a fighter and we know the challenges he poses," Groves said. "He is big for the weight, throws a lot of punches and needs to be taken seriously. But this is my moment. I'm going to get in there, get the win, and show all the super middleweights in the world that I'm back and I mean business.

"Dirrell has been doing a lot of talking. He has said that he won't fight me, that I don't deserve a shot, but I think that just proves he's scared. We've had a letter from the WBC confirming a mandatory shot if I win this fight. Once I'm done with Rebrasse, I'm coming for him."

If Groves wins, promoter Kalle Sauerland said he will start the process of making a fight with Dirrell.

"We've got the money, we've got the talent, we've got the fans, we've got the market," Sauerland said. "We're ready for Dirrell. But make no mistake -- we have to focus on Saturday. We must not get ahead of ourselves. But I am confident that George will take care of business on Saturday night. He is one of the most exciting fighters on the planet."

Rebrasse, 28, has fought three of his last four fights in Italy -- with all of his other fights in France -- and has no problem fighting in Groves' hometown. Rebrasse is looking to ruin Groves' world title ambitions.

"I'm not a big talker. I prefer to do my talking in the ring. But what I will say is that I'm here to defend my titles and beat Groves on his home turf," Rebrasse said in translated remarks. "He is a good fighter but I have trained very hard. He is just the next step for me on my way to the top."

'Mayhem' scores at the box office

September, 18, 2014
Sep 18
8:05
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Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s unanimous-decision victory against Marcos Maidana to retain his welterweight and junior middleweight world titles in their rematch last Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas generated nearly $15 million ticket sales.

According to figures released Thursday by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, the fight grossed $14,899,150 from 14,859 tickets sold. There were 1,080 unsold tickets and no complimentary tickets distributed.

The gate is good for fifth all-time in Nevada boxing history, just ahead of the 2008 fight between Manny Pacquiao and Oscar De La Hoya ($14,380,300 from 14,468 tickets sold) and just behind the first fight between Mayweather and Maidana in May ($15,024,400 from 15,718 tickets sold).

Mayweather has been involved in four of the top five grossing fights in Nevada history:

1. Mayweather vs. Canelo Alvarez ($20,003,150 from 16,146 tickets sold in September 2013).

2. Mayweather-Oscar De La Hoya ($18,419,200 from 15,432 tickets sold in May 2007).

3. Lennox Lewis-Evander Holyfield II ($16,860,300 from 17,078 tickets sold in November 1999).

4. Mayweather-Maidana I.

5. Mayweather-Maidana II.

Big changes to Team Mayweather?

September, 18, 2014
Sep 18
3:43
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Floyd Mayweather Jr. had just beaten Marcos Maidana in their rematch Saturday night and did so in far easier fashion than when they met in May. Yet when Mayweather arrived at the news conference after the fight, he did not seem happy.

Instead, Mayweather was low-key -- well, at least as low-key as Mayweather is capable of being. There was no boasting, no direction to chant, "Hard work! Dedication!" Even before the fight, Mayweather's ring walk was decidedly uneventful with zero of the usual theatrics we've become accustomed to. Shoot, for the first Maidana fight in May, there were juggling clowns leading him to the ring!

[+] EnlargeFloyd Mayweather
Al Bello/Getty ImagesDespite a clear victory over Marcos Maidana in their rematch, turmoil persisted within Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s corner.
Now it seems as though there is a reason: Mayweather was not a happy camper going into the rematch, and he appears ready to clean house on his team with the possible ouster of longtime adviser Leonard Ellerbe, now the CEO of Mayweather Promotions, and longtime cutman/hand wrapper Rafael Garcia.

"I think we're just getting to a point where we're outgrowing each other. I think I just see things my way and I think he sees things in another way," Mayweather was quoted as saying in an interview with Fighthype.com, which has served as Mayweather's mouthpiece website for years. "For example, this time around when I went out and fought, my WBC and WBA titles in both weight classes were on the line and I didn't approve of that at all. That's something I didn't approve of.

"Also, my daughter was sitting in the front row and her mother wasn't sitting next to her, so the ticket arrangements were totally wrong. It just got to a point to where everyone wants to do what they want to do instead of communicating and compromising like we used to. We got to this point by us communicating and compromising. ... There's just a lot of other things within our team that's just not right. Leonard wasn't in my corner, so, you know, it's not any hard feelings. It's just people outgrow one another. I'm not mad at him. There's no hard feeling like I hate the guy; not at all. No hard feelings whatsoever. People just outgrow one another, just like when people get a divorce. They're no longer on the same page mentally.'

Ellerbe could not be reached for comment, as his cell phone continually went directly to voice mail. Kelly Swanson, Mayweather's longtime publicist, also could not be reached for comment.

After wrapping Mayweather's hands and serving as his cutman since 2001, Garcia did not wrap Mayweather for Saturday's fight and apparently was not happy about it. Mayweather said that Bob Ware took over the duties after being shown an alternative method by former Maidana strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza, who was an unofficial member of Mayweather's camp after being fired by Maidana trainer Robert Garcia.

"He's one of the best, if not the best, but even Alex was able to show Rafael some different things, which was great, and then Bob, he wrapped my hands in training camp and it was the best it felt in my life," Mayweather told the website. "But I told Rafael that we work together as one, as a team, and his pay is not going to change. I told him there's enough to go around. ... I love Rafael and I'm going to always love him, but I don't know who's out and who's in. I don't know if Rafael Garcia left me. I don't know."

Garcia told ESPNDeportes.com that he will retire before hearing Mayweather's decision.

One thing Mayweather made clear is that adviser Al Haymon will remain on his team.

"I think when May [the likely next fight] comes around and you guys see [Showtime's] 'All Access' in May, I'll have a totally new team and probably a totally new staff," Mayweather said. "We may make a lot of changes in my team, but Al Haymon ain't going nowhere."

There has been rampant speculation that former Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer, with whom Mayweather is close, could be headed to Mayweather Promotions. If Ellerbe is out, it will only stoke the speculation that Schaefer is on his way, although he is embroiled in a $50 million arbitration with Golden Boy, which claims he is under contract into 2018.

Schaefer, who attended Saturday's fight and sat in the front row near Mayweather's corner, was traveling outside the country and told ESPN.com only, "I am retired for now."

Notes: Sturm-Stieglitz, Bradley, more

September, 18, 2014
Sep 18
2:34
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A few notes from around the boxing world:

• Former four-time middleweight titlist Felix Sturm (39-4-2, 18 KOs) and former two-time super middleweight titleholder Robert Stieglitz (47-4, 27 KOs), two of Germany's most popular fighters, will hook up in a long-awaited showdown as each winds down his career. They are due to meet Nov. 8 in Stuttgart, Germany. Stieglitz, 33, notched a win in July in his return from losing a split decision and his world title to Arthur Abraham in their rubber match. Sturm, 35, lost his last fight and his title by decision to Sam Soliman on May 31.

• The likely site for former welterweight and junior welterweight titlist Timothy Bradley Jr.'s bout on Dec. 13 (HBO) is the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas. Top Rank has a request for that date at the Cosmo on the agenda for the next Nevada State Athletic Commission meeting. Bradley (31-1, 12 KOs) does not have an opponent yet for his first fight since losing a decision to Manny Pacquiao in their April rematch, but the leading candidate is Diego Chaves (23-2, 19 KOs) of Argentina.

• Junior welterweight prospect Jose Ramirez (11-0, 8 KOs), a 2012 U.S. Olympian, headlines a UniMas-televised card against an opponent to be determined on Oct. 25 in his home region of Fresno, California and will shortly thereafter join Pacquiao's training camp in the Philippines to spar with him and help him prepare for his welterweight title defense against Chris Algieri on Nov. 22 (HBO PPV) in Macau, China.

• Welterweight prospect Dusty Hernandez-Harrison (23-0, 12 KOs), scheduled to fight Hector Munoz (23-13-1, 15 KOs) on Sept. 27 in his hometown of Washington, D.C., has postponed the bout because of an ankle injury. No new date has been set. "We will know more this week after we receive further medical guidance and see how Dusty is feeling after his first couple of days of training, including sparring," All In Entertainment promoter Jeff Fried said.

• Darleys Perez (30-1, 19 KOs) will go home for the first defense of his interim lightweight belt when he meets Jaider Parra (23-1-1, 12 KOs) on Oct. 24 in Barraquilla, Colombia, according to Alex Caponovo of Thompson Boxing, Perez's co-promoter.

• Junior bantamweight titlist Kohei Kono (30-8, 13 KOs) and Koki Kameda (32-1, 17 KOs), who vacated his bantamweight title earlier this year and moved down in weight, have reached an agreement for their mandatory fight and avoided a purse bid on Wednesday. The date and venue for the all-Japanese bout have not been announced.

Martinez visits doctor for knee exam

September, 18, 2014
Sep 18
12:37
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Miguel Cotto, Sergio MartinezChris Farina/Top RankSergio Martinez, right, will have his future decided by an orthopedic surgeon in New York.
Former middleweight champion Sergio Martinez was in New York on Tuesday to visit Dr. Answorth Allen, the orthopedic surgeon for the New York Knicks, and have his balky right knee examined.

"Sergio saw the doctor and got some initial thoughts and had some basic tests done," promoter Lou DiBella told ESPN.com. "They need to review his whole history. They have current films and older films that they want to compare against each other. They want to review the changes and see what's going on.

"Sergio had some tests [including an MRI] and did some exercises to check his mobility, but it will be a few days or a week before there is a specific recommendation or a plan of action. When we know what the doctor is recommending and what he's going to do we will announce it."

Martinez, who would like to continue to fight, wanted to get an opinion from the doctor on whether his knee would hold up if he elected to keep boxing.

The knee has been a major problem for Martinez since he first injured it when he was knocked down in the 12th round of a lopsided decision win against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in September 2012 and had subsequent surgery.

Martinez hurt it again in his next fight, a decision win against Martin Murray, in April 2013 and again needed surgery.

Martinez returned on June 7 and lost his title by 10th-round knockout to Miguel Cotto in a one-sided fight in which Martinez got knocked down four times.

Although Martinez (51-3-2, 28 KOs), 39, said he did not specifically injure the knee again against Cotto, it never looked as though Martinez had his legs under him in the fight.

Martinez told ESPN.com last week what he wanted to hear from the doctor.

"The first thing I want to hear from the doctor is that my leg is going to be good enough that I can live a normal life and that I can have a normal leg like a normal person," he said. "I still have some pain I feel in my right leg. But if the doctor says I'm 100 percent or I will be 100 percent then I will continue [boxing]. If he doesn't say that then I won't fight anymore. I don't need to fight because my health is very important to me."

Burns gets foe for 140-pound debut

September, 18, 2014
Sep 18
11:44
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The Ricky Burns story at junior welterweight will begin against Leonardo Esteban Gonzalez on Oct. 4.

Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn announced on Thursday that Burns, a former lightweight and junior lightweight titlist, will face Gonzalez in his junior welterweight debut on a card at the First Direct Arena in Leeds, England.

[+] EnlargeRicky Burns, Raymundo Beltran
Scott Heavey/Getty ImagesRicky Burns, right, will look to get his career back on track with a move up to junior welterweight.
Scotland's Burns (36-4-1, 11 KOs), 31, is winless in his last three fights. He retained his belt with a questionable draw against Raymundo Beltran last September, then lost his belt by clear decision to Terence Crawford in March and then lost a split decision to Dejan Zlaticanin in June. At that point, Burns decided to move up in weight and Hearn scheduled him for Oct. 4.

"I believe that the move up in weight will really benefit me," Burns said. "The lightweight limit [of 135 pounds] was proving tougher to make in my last few fights so that's now behind me and I can concentrate on working on my boxing in the gym with [trainer] Tony Sims," Burns said. "It has been a tough year following the Raymundo Beltran fight but I'm feeling great in the gym and the fire and desire is still there to achieve big things. I'm looking to show in Leeds that I've still got the goods to challenge for major belts and ultimately, win another world title."

Gonzalez (22-5-1, 15 KOs), 32, of Argentina, has faced one recognizable opponent, former titlist Paulus Moses, who knocked him out in the seventh round in October 2013. In 2012, Burns outpointed Moses in a lightweight title defense.

Klitschko close to resuming training

September, 18, 2014
Sep 18
11:16
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Heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko's biceps injury is on the mend and he is almost ready to return to training camp for his mandatory defense against Kubrat Pulev.

[+] EnlargeWladimir Klitschko
AP Photo/Frank AugsteinWladimir Klitschko, right, will defend his heavyweight titles on Nov. 15 against Kubrat Pulev in Germany.
They were due to meet on Sept. 6 at the O2 World arena in Hamburg, Germany, but Klitschko suffered a small tear in his left biceps during training camp and the fight was postponed until Nov. 15.

With Klitschko's healing on schedule, manager Bernd Boente told ESPN.com on Thursday that the champ will resume training in two weeks. He will put in two weeks of training in South Florida, where he lives, and then head to his usual camp in the mountains of Austria for the rest of camp.

"Wladimir is on schedule and he is feeling good," Boente said. "We're thankful it was not a more serious injury."

The timing of Klitschko's return to camp works out well. His trainer, heavyweight Johnathon Banks, fights Antonio Tarver on Sept. 29 in Hidalgo, Texas, so by the time Klitschko goes back into training, Banks' schedule will be clear of his own fight.

Klitschko (62-3, 53 KOs), 38, of Ukraine, will be making his 17th title defense. His 16 successful defenses during his second title reign are the third most in heavyweight history behind only Joe Louis (25) and Larry Holmes (20), and his eight-year-plus reign is second all-time to Louis' record 11 years, 8 months, 8 days.

Pulev (20-0, 11 KOs), 33, of Bulgaria, is the former European champion. He became the mandatory challenger in August 2013 with a unanimous decision against Tony Thompson, who had twice been knocked out by Klitschko in other mandatory title fights.

Cleverly-Bellew rematch on tap

September, 17, 2014
Sep 17
6:32
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Nathan Cleverly (L) Tony BellewDean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty ImagesNathan Cleverly and Tony Belllew will continue their rivalry in a rematch at cruiserweight.
Once rivals Nathan Cleverly and Tony Bellew successfully navigated fights on the same July 12 card -- both winning by knockout - Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn got to work on their rematch.

Cleverly-Bellew II was supposed to take place on Dec. 6 in Sheffield, England -- on the undercard of newly crowned welterweight titlist Kell Brook's first defense. However, Brook suffered a stab wound and his fight has been cancelled. He won't return to action until next year, so Hearn is working on a new date and location for the much-anticipated Cleverly-Bellew rematch.

They first met in 2011 when Wales' Cleverly won a disputed majority decision over Bellew in his hometown of Liverpool, England to retain a version of the light heavyweight world title.

Both went on their separate paths after the fight but a rematch always figured to go down and will, now that they are campaigning as cruiserweights.

"We are almost there," Hearn said. "Having been originally set for Dec. 6, we are now finalizing a new date and venue and I hope to have the deal tied up this week. This is a wonderful fight -- two great fighters with a genuine rivalry that will keep fans on their toes in and outside the ring. I can't wait for this fight, and of course the build up."

Cleverly (28-1, 14 KOs), 27, wound up losing his light heavyweight title by one-sided fourth-round knockout to Sergey Kovalev 13 months ago and then moved up to cruiserweight, where he has won two fights in a row. He is anxious to fight Bellew again.

"I've always said I will fight him anytime anywhere," Cleverly said. "The result will be the same as before, a Nathan Cleverly victory. The only slight change this time is I doubt he will hear the final bell. I'm excited for the fight. It will capture the public's imagination and become a huge event. I'm looking forward to making it 2-0 and moving on to a shot at the title."

Bellew (22-2-1, 14 KOs), 31, got a second world title shot against Adonis Stevenson last November and got crushed in the sixth-round of a one-sided fight. Bellew then moved up to cruiserweight and has also won two in a row. Now he wants revenge against Cleverly.

"I don't just want to beat him, I want to finish him," Bellew said. "He won't want to get in the ring ever again after our fight. Putting the record straight means more to me than a world title. I'm going to put myself through hell in camp and picture his face during every moment. I cannot wait."

Contract comeback fight for Rodriguez

September, 17, 2014
Sep 17
6:25
PM ET
When last seen in the ring, Edwin Rodriguez had the worst performance of his career.

[+] EnlargeRodriguez
Alexis Cuarezma/Getty ImagesEdwin Rodriguez will return as a light heavyweight on the undercard of Gennady Golovkin-Marco Antonio Rubio on Oct. 18.
It was last November, when Rodriguez was supposed to challenge super middleweight champion Andre Ward in an HBO main event. But first Rodriguez missed the 168-pound limit -- by two pounds -- and then looked positively horrible in losing a lopsided decision to Ward.

Rodriguez has not fought since, and neither has Ward, who is wrapped up in a never-ending battle with promoter Dan Goossen and wasting his best days.

But back to Rodriguez. As part of the deal Rodriguez got from HBO to fight Ward (for around $1 million!) he was given a contractually obligated comeback fight by HBO even if he lost. Now it's time for HBO to pay the piper.

Rodriguez, now fighting at light heavyweight, will appear on the Gennady Golovkin-Marco Antonio Rubio undercard on Oct. 18 at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. The fight, however, will not be part of HBO's "World Championship Boxing" telecast. Instead, it will air on HBO Latino, HBO's Spanish-language channel.

Rodriguez (24-1, 16 KOs), 29, of the Dominican Republic, who grew up in Worcester, Massachusetts, will face Azea Augustama (17-1, 9 KOs), 31, a native of Haiti based in South Florida. The one time Augustama faced a remotely notable opponent he lost an eight-round decision to Denis Grachev in 2011.

"This is his contract comeback fight. HBO wanted to put it on HBO Latino and we were OK with that," said Lou DiBella, Rodriguez's promoter. "Edwin is fighting at 175 now and we didn't want to fight a stooge. We wanted a solid guy to see where he is and to assess it pretty quickly. Augustama is a guy we can do that with. I don't think this is a walk-in-the-park kind of fight."

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