BHop-Kovalev undercard unveiled

October, 24, 2014
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Main Events and Golden Boy Promotions on Friday announced the full undercard that will support the Bernard Hopkins-Sergey Kovalev light heavyweight unification bout and the welterweight co-feature between Sadam Ali and Luis Carlos Abregu on Nov. 8 (HBO) at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

French light heavyweight Nadjib Mohammedi (35-3, 21 KOs) will face Demetrius Walker (7-7-1, 4 KOs) of Kansas City, Missouri, in a 10-rounder. Mismatch on paper, perhaps, but Mohammedi’s presence on the card is part of what enabled Hopkins-Kovalev to be finalized. He beat Anatoliy Dudchenko by seventh-round knockout in June to become one of Hopkins’ mandatory challengers and Golden Boy is taking care of him with this fight since he didn’t cause a stink about Hopkins facing Kovalev first, although Hopkins was well within his rights based on IBF rules.

Main Events’ main undercard fight involves heavyweight contender Vyacheslav "Czar" Glazkov (18-0-1, 11 KOs), a 2008 Olympic bronze medalist from Ukraine. Glazkov, who owns a win over Tomasz Adamek, will face Miami's Darnell "Ding-A-Ling-Man" Wilson (25-17-3, 21 KOs), a former cruiserweight world title challenger and big puncher.

The rest of the card includes:

• Los Angeles-based Ukrainian light heavyweight Vyacheslav Shabransky (10-0, 8 KOs) versus Puerto Rico’s Emil Gonzalez (11-8-1, 8 KOs) in a 10-rounder.

• Philadelphia featherweight Eric Hunter (18-3, 9 KOs) versus William Gonzalez (27-5, 23 KOs) of Nicaragua in a 10-rounder.

• Miami-based Cuban light heavyweight Sullivan Barrera (13-0, 8 KOs) versus Rowland Bryant (18-3, 12 KOs) of Almonte Springs, Florida, in an eight-rounder.

• Russian super middleweight Andrey Sirotkin (4-0, 1 KO) versus Michael Mitchell (3-4-2, 1 KO) of Paterson, New Jersey, in a six-rounder.

• Lightweight Ryan Martin (8-0, 4 KOs) of Chattanooga, Tennessee, versus Isaac Gonzalez (17-3, 12 KOs) of Tucson, Arizona, in a four-rounder.
Martin Murray Paula Ribas/LatinContent/Getty ImagesMartin Murray could get another title fight opportunity if he beats Domenico Spada on Saturday.

Good boy Gennady Golovkin’s next big drama show is penciled in for Feb. 21 on HBO in Monte Carlo, where the middleweight titleholder and K2 Promotions managing director Tom Loeffler will be on Saturday. They will be ringside at the Salle des etoiles to watch GGG’s likely next opponent, British contender Martin Murray.

Murray (28-1-1, 12 KOs) takes on Domenico Spada (39-5, 19 KOs) in the 12-round main event -- ESPN3 will stream the full card beginning at 1 p.m. ET in English with Spanish-language coverage on ESPN Deportes joining the card in progress at 3 p.m. ET -- knowing a victory means a likely shot at Golovkin (31-0, 28 KOs).

Murray, who has won three fights in a row since knocking down then-champion Sergio Martinez and losing a very close decision in Martinez’s Argentina homecoming fight in April 2013, said he is using the prospect of the showdown with Golovkin as motivation against Spada rather than viewing all the talk as a distraction.

“It's been a motivation thing for me,” said Murray, who fought to a draw with Felix Sturm in Germany in a 2011 world title bout. “People talk about Golovkin and you've got to answer questions about it, but the more people I get asking me about it, the more I get motivated to do a proper job on Spada this Saturday night. I knew I had a world title shot against Sergio Martinez back in 2013, but I still had to go out there and beat Jorge Navarro to get it. It's the same [Saturday]. If I don't beat Spada, there's no world title fight.

“For that reason, I'm completely focused on Spada and am not thinking about Golovkin one bit. In fact, I didn't even watch his fight against Marco Antonio Rubio at the weekend. I just completely ignored it. Instead, I stuck in a DVD of Spada that morning to keep me focused.”

Rubio won a vacant interim 160-pound title by knocking Spada out in the 10th round in April and Spada has won one fight since.

Golovkin destroyed Rubio in the second round to retain his title for the 12th time and record his 18th consecutive knockout on Oct. 18 at the sold-out StubHub Center in Carson, California. Golovkin-Murray makes sense for GGG’s February date because there is no big-name opponent willing to get into the ring with him yet. Also, Murray, because of his criminal past, has been unable to get a visa to fight in the United States, so with Golovkin fighting his next bout in Europe, it’s the ideal match.

“I want the Golovkin fight and it's one I've always wanted,” Murray said. “It's one I look forward to. But, in order to get the fight I want, I have to beat Spada on Saturday. He's experienced. His style is horrible and awkward but it works for him. You look at videos of him and think he looks very beatable. He looks like he's got nothing about him. But then you look at his record and look at the people he has fought and beat and you start to realize that he makes his style work for him.

“He's got a good record. He pushed Darren Barker close and then Darren went on to win a world middleweight title. His style isn't the prettiest and he can be quite dirty at times, but that's not to say he isn't dangerous. If you overlook someone like Spada, he'll make you regret it.”

Also on the card:

• Bantamweight contender Randy Caballero (21-0, 13 KOs) of Coachella, California, faces England’s Stuart Hall (16-3-2, 7 KOs) for a vacant world title.

• Strawweight titlist Hekkie Budler (26-1, 9 KOs) of South Africa will make his second defense against former world titleholder Xiong Zhao Zhong (24-5-1, 14 KOs) of China.

• Light heavyweight prospect Eleider Alvarez (15-0, 8 KOs), a Colombia native living in Montreal, will square off with South Africa’s Ryno Liebenberg (16-0, 11 KOs) in a 12-round bout.

• British middleweight Nick Blackwell (15-3, 6 KOs) will face Belarus’ Sergey Khomitsky (29-11-2, 12 KO) in a six-rounder.
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Junior welterweight titlist Chris Algieri has oozed confidence during the buildup to his challenge of welterweight titleholder Manny Pacquiao on Nov. 22.

The fight headlines an HBO pay-per-view card at the Cotai Arena at the Venetian Macao in Macau, China, and while Pacquiao is the prohibitive favorite, his team has not left anything to chance on the business end.

Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said on a teleconference with the boxing media Thursday that Pacquiao (56-5-2, 38 KOs) has a rematch clause in the event he should lose to Algieri (20-0, 8 KOs) -- which would be a huge upset.

“If Algieri wins the fight, there is a provision in the contract that he must give Manny Pacquiao a rematch,” Arum said. “So if he does pull off the upset and win, I’m sure Manny would want revenge, so that would be Algieri’s next fight. Then we would have to see what develops along the line. But Algieri is one of the most confident fighters that I have run across. He has convinced everyone he has spoken to, because he believes it himself, that he is prepared to give the fight of his life against Manny.

“He is very intelligent. He knows what he’s doing in the ring, and this is going to be a very competitive fight.”

Rematch or no rematch with Pacquiao, Arum said Algieri would become a much bigger name if he was to upset Pacquiao.

“Commercially, if you beat somebody like Manny Pacquiao, particularly someone as media friendly and so crowd friendly as Algieri, he would instantly be a huge attraction in the sport of boxing,” Arum said.

When Algieri upset Ruslan Provodnikov to win his 140-pound belt by controversial split decision June 14, Provodnikov had a rematch clause at the discretion of his promoter, Banner Promotions’ Artie Pelullo, who co-promotes Algieri now thanks to the options he secured in the deal for the fight with Provodnikov. When Algieri won, Pelullo elected to make the deal with Pacquiao before seeking a rematch for Provodnikov.

Arum aims for Walters-Lomachenko

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Nicholas Walters’ sixth-round knockout of Nonito Donaire to win a featherweight world title last Saturday night at the StubHub Center in Carson, California, was very exciting and quite impressive, and the big puncher from Jamaica known as the “Axe Man” has another big fight to look forward to if everything goes as planned.

Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said Thursday that he would like to match Walters (25-0, 21 KOs) with Vasyl Lomachenko (2-1, 1 KO) in a unification fight next year, although not necessarily next.

First off, Arum liked what he saw in Walters, who dropped Donaire for the first two times in his career on the way to the big knockout in a somewhat dominating performance.

“[He] did extraordinarily well on Saturday beating Donaire,” Arum said.

Arum co-promotes Walters and also represents Lomachenko, so making the unification bout would be a relatively easy deal to make. But Lomachenko, the brilliant, two-time Olympic gold medalist from Ukraine, first has to take care of his business in Macau, China, on the Manny Pacquiao-Chris Algieri undercard Nov. 22 (HBO PPV). He faces mandatory challenger Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (52-1, 33 KOs) of Thailand.

“I have always thought Lomachenko is a special talent and one of the greatest fighters around so it would be silly if they didn’t fight sometime next year,” Arum said of the Walters match. “Lomachenko is fighting only his fourth professional fight, and he’s fighting Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo of Thailand, with [52] wins and one defeat. He lost [two] years ago to Chris John [in a featherweight title fight] and of his [52] victories, 33 of them have been by knockout. So Lomachenko has his work cut out for him. So believe me, this fight on Nov. 22 is hardly a gimme.

“Piriyapinyo deserves his No. 1 ranking, so that should be a very good fight. So yes, if Lomachenko is successful, I would anticipate a fight with Walters sometime next year.”

It would seem that if Lomachenko wins, he and Walters would both have at least one more fight before a unification fight, which is reasonable. Let’s just hope Arum doesn’t allow this one to marinate for too long and risk losing it, like he did with another big-time featherweight unification fight many wanted to see between Juan Manuel Lopez and Yuriorkis Gamboa a few years ago. How’d that work out?
Golden Boy promoter Oscar De La Hoya is putting his money where his mouth is.

For the past several months, since assuming day-to-day control of the company in the wake of the resignation of CEO Richard Schaefer in June, De La Hoya has preached nonstop about his desire to work with all promoters and networks to put on the best fights possible.

[+] EnlargeOscar De La Hoya
AP Photo/Alex MenendezOscar De La Hoya and Golden Boy Promotions will have a hand in promoting a pair of rival cards in Las Vegas on Dec. 13.
So far, so good.

He has repaired his relationship with longtime rival Top Rank, and they have begun to make fights together, including the Sadam Ali-Luis Carlos Abregu welterweight bout and Mauricio Herrera-Jose Benavidez Jr. interim junior welterweight title bout, even if the companies have not yet made a big-time main event.

Golden Boy also negotiated Bernard Hopkins-Sergey Kovalev with Main Events and has repaired its battered relationship with HBO while continuing to work with Showtime.

Hopkins is moving back to HBO to face Kovalev on Nov. 8, Golden Boy also signed Canelo Alvarez to the network in a recent deal, it has Herrera on HBO's Dec. 13 card in Las Vegas, and it is promoting a Dec. 6 card on HBO that will be headlined by middleweight David Lemieux against Gabriel Rosado.

But Golden Boy is still doing business -- even if it is a bit strained -- with Showtime, where it is promoting a card on Dec. 13 headlined by Amir Khan versus Devon Alexander.

That card is also in Las Vegas and will go head-to-head with the HBO card headlined by Timothy Bradley Jr.-Diego Chaves on which Herrera will appear.

"It was something that we could not avoid, but we will make it work as best as possible," De La Hoya told ESPN.com.

Golden Boy would have preferred to have the Dec. 13 card in San Antonio, as originally planned, but it was pushed to Las Vegas by Showtime.

"This is a testament to what I have said before about working with anybody," De La Hoya said. "When I took control of the company, that is what I said, and I mean it. So I have to be at The Cosmopolitan with Mauricio Herrera on HBO watching him fight a Top Rank fighter [Benavidez], and then I have to run across the Strip in Vegas to the [MGM Grand] and go and sit down for the Showtime fights we are doing.

"We're willing to work with anybody and anywhere as long as we can make fights."

De La Hoya acknowledged the delicate balance he is dealing with on Dec. 13 but said he was up front with Top Rank and HBO about it and that he is doing what is best for the boxers involved, as well as for Golden Boy.

"Yes, it puts us in a tough position as a promoter, but we are working with everybody," he said. "The great thing is we talked to HBO about going to Las Vegas [with Showtime] on their same night. I talked to [Top Rank president] Todd [duBoef] and said we had a problem and explained everything to him. There were no surprises for nobody. We're gonna have a lot of boxing on TV and in Vegas that night. Hopefully the Cosmo is packed, and hopefully the [MGM Grand] is also packed.

"Regardless, it will be a helluva night on HBO and Showtime and a great night for boxing. I just want to make the best fights. I have said this before and I will say it again, and you can quote me on this: Ego is not my amigo."

Hopkins-Kovalev media picks

October, 23, 2014
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Hopkins-Kovalev Jeff Fusco/Hoganphotos/Golden BoyDespite closing in on 50, Bernard Hopkins is a slight favorite to beat Sergey Kovalev in a media poll.
The Bernard Hopkins-Sergey Kovalev light heavyweight unification fight, which takes place Nov. 8 (HBO) at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey, is unquestionably one of the biggest matches of the year.

There is a very diverse opinion among media members on who will win the fight: the 49-year-old living legend Hopkins or the gargantuan-punching, 31-year-old Kovalev, who has been destroying opponents fight after fight. As the fight approaches, 23 media members were asked for their picks for inclusion in the fight-night program that will be for sale at the arena and SPBoxing.com.

For all of those who think Hopkins is a big underdog, think again. According to the poll taken, he edged Kovalev 12-11 in the media poll.

Here's a sampling of some of the picks:

• Dan Rafael (ESPN.com): Hopkins has been in this exact position many times, and pulled an upset. I've learned my lesson. It's a tough fight, but Hopkins' ring intelligence, experience and chin trump a Kovalev whose opponents have not been much to write home about. Hopkins W12.

• Bob Velin (USA Today): Kovalev might be the hardest puncher Hopkins has faced, and there is no doubt Hopkins is the smartest boxer Kovalev has faced. That should make for a fascinating matchup. Hopkins is older than old for a fighter, but is probably in better shape than the Russian destroyer, and has avoided damaging punishment. That said, I don't think he will escape Kovalev's ample power and Kovalev will not lose patience like so many of Hopkins' most recent victims. Kovalev KO10.

• Dave Weinberg (Atlantic City Press): Hopkins will frustrate and confuse Kovalev for the first few rounds, but Kovalev's power will eventually be the difference. Kovalev late KO.

• George Willis (New York Post): Hopkins has proved me wrong plenty of times. He hasn't had too much trouble with punchers. He beat Trinidad and ruined Pavlik. He'll have to prove me wrong again. Kovalev KO10.

• Mitch Abramson (New York Daily News): Hopkins is just too crafty, too smart and still possesses the necessary athleticism to beat a top fighter. Insane that a near 50 year old can win? No it's not. Hopkins W12.

• Ron Borges (Boston Herald): Hopkins will do what he does best. He'll mystify Kovalev into a fog of inaction and find a way to outpoint him. Hopkins W12.

• Graham Houston (British Boxing Monthly): I think Kovalev will out-work
Hopkins; don't think he will try to blast out the old ring general. Kovalev W12.

• Lem Satterfield (RingTV.com): Hopkins will be completely relaxed in this fight. He once told me that Kovalev is the virtual mirror image of Pavlik. However, I don't think that this will be as easy, but I do believe that he'll find a way to be victorious. Hopkins W12.

• Robert Morales (Los Angeles Daily News): I rarely go against Hopkins because of his defense and trickery, but have to go with Kovalev in this one because he'll be unfazed by the stuff that lulls others to sleep when they are in with Hopkins. Kovalev late KO.

• Jake Kaplan (Philadelphia Daily News): The ageless Hopkins will defy the odds again -- against an opponent young enough to be his son. Like many opponents before him, Kovalev will have trouble handling Hopkins' mind games before and during the fight. Hopkins W12.

• Tim Struby (ESPN The Magazine): Once again, Hopkins will defy conventional thought. He'll stay out of range, trash talk, hold and frustrate Kovalev. Hopkins will also pick precise spots to stick and move; it won't be pretty. Hopkins W12.
Australian lightweight Michael Katsidis, who has been in several thrilling brawls and is one of boxing's most revered action fighters of the past decade, said he is ready to bring the heat when he faces England's Tommy Coyle on Saturday at the Ice Arena in Hull, England.

"I'm here to prove that I still have plenty left to offer, and there will be no questioning my future after Hull," Katsidis said. "I've been over here for a while, settling in, getting comfortable in his backyard and ready to perform at my best on the night. I don't know much about Tommy, but I know that he is in for a tough night."

[+] EnlargeMichael Katsidis
Ethan Miller/Getty ImagesAll-action lightweight Michael Katsidis, left, is looking to spoil a potential showdown between Tommy Coyle and Luke Campbell.
Katsidis (30-6, 24 KOs), 34, has been in many tough fights, and after losing four out of five bouts, he retired in 2012. But after two years away from the ring, he returned in March and has won two fights in a row, albeit against lower level opposition in Australia, including a rematch with England's Graham Earl in July.

Katsidis-Earl I, which took place in England in 2007, was one of the wildest fights of the decade, which Katsidis won by fifth-round knockout.

Coyle (19-2, 8 KOs), 25, will be fighting in his hometown and has begun to develop his reputation as an all-action fighter in the wake of his absolutely epic battle with Daniel Brizuela in February. Coyle stopped him in the 12th round, but not until each man had been knocked down four times in a blazing fight of the year candidate.

Katsidis knows he could be in for another hard fight and said he is ready.

"I love boxing, and this is what I do," he said. "This isn't a job for me; this is love."

In the co-feature, 2012 Olympic gold medalist Luke Campbell (8-0, 6 KOs), also from Hull, meets Brizuela (26-3-2, 8 KOs).

Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn has said that, if Coyle and Campbell both keep winning, it could lead to a showdown next summer. They are both up for it.

"We both have tough fights on Saturday, but if we keep winning, then we can be looking at a massive outdoor show at the KC Stadium, which will be great for boxing fans and for the people of Hull," Campbell said. "Tommy and I have been friends for a long time. We've known each other for over a decade, we trained together as kids, but this is the sport we're in. It's the entertainment business, and we can put our friendship to one side for a night to put on a great show for the fans. I am going to stay unbeaten, that's for sure, so if Tommy can do the same we'll be ready for a big one."

Said Coyle: "We're pals and we've traveled the world together as amateurs, but I am not daft. Eddie promotes us both, and it makes sense to put us in the ring together. First and foremost, it's Katsidis. The fight with Luke excites me very, very much. Luke is a good friend of mine. I have a lot of respect for him and his success in the Olympics.

"I'd be confident of beating him. He has not been in there with someone like me but it would be a very good fight, and we both have hard fights to take care of this weekend first."
Chris Arreola Courtesy of Goossen Tutor PromotionsFresh off a title loss, Chris Arreola could be in line to headline an ESPN2 card in December.
A few notes from around the boxing world:

• Heavyweight contender Chris Arreola (35-4, 31 KOs) could return Dec. 11 on an ESPN2 boxing special in honor of his late promoter, Dan Goossen. The network is working through possibilities for the card, which Arreola would headline if a deal is finalized. It is slated to take place at the Pechanga Resort in Temecula, California. In Arreola's last fight, he challenged for a vacant world title and was stopped in the sixth round by Bermane Stiverne in their rematch. Former junior middleweight titlist Austin Trout (27-2, 14 KOs) could also appear on the card. Trout outpointed Daniel Dawson on Aug. 22 in the season finale of "Friday Night Fights" to rebound from back-to-back decision losses in 2013 to Canelo Alvarez (in a title unification fight) and Erislandy Lara (in an interim title bout).

• Colombia's Darleys Perez (30-1, 19 KOs), whose lone defeat was a decision to Yuriorkis Gamboa in a 2013 interim lightweight title bout, claimed that interim belt two fights later in June and is set to make his first defense. He will face countryman Jaider Parra (23-1-1, 12 KOs) on Friday at the Coliseo Universidad Del Norte in Barranquilla, Colombia. Perez realizes that he is not a full titleholder and aims to defeat Parra and then challenge the full titlist Richar Abril.

"This is simply another step I need to take to fulfill my goal of becoming an outright world champion," Perez said. "I've been focused since Day 1 of training camp and look forward to winning in front of my hometown fans. I know Parra will come out swinging, but I won't let that affect my game plan."

• Welterweight Karim Mayfield (18-2-1, 11 KOs), 33, makes his return Nov. 8 at the Longshoreman's Hall in his hometown of San Francisco in a scheduled eight-round bout against Michael Balasi (10-5, 7 KOs) of Hawaii. Mayfield is looking to shake a two-fight losing streak, both 10-round decision losses. In March, Mayfield got a shot on HBO and lost to Thomas Dulorme. In July, he lost to Emmanuel Taylor on ESPN2.

"Man, I've been working real hard in the gym and I'm just trying to get back in the win column," Mayfield said. "I had a couple of setbacks in my last two fights but I've had time to rethink the situation and now I feel I'm ready to go on another run. I know I have some fight left in me and I'm going to bring it on Nov. 8 in front of my hometown fans."

• Welterweight prospect Dusty Hernandez-Harrison (23-0, 12 KOs), who was scheduled to fight Hector Munoz (23-13-1, 15 KOs) on Sept. 27 in his hometown of Washington, D.C., but had to postpone the fight because of an ankle injury, has been rescheduled to fight Michael Clark on Nov. 1. The fight will take place at Constitution Hall in Washington. Clark (44-11-1, 18 KOs) is a very poor opponent. He has been knocked out in three straight fights and four of his last five, including twice in the first round and twice in the fifth round. He also has shown very little effort in some recent fights.
Randy Caballero earned his shot at a world title by going overseas and he'll also have to win it overseas.

Caballero (21-0, 13 KOs) will challenge England's Stuart Hall (16-3-2, 7 KOs) for a vacant bantamweight world title at the Salle des etoiles in Monte Carlo on Saturday (ESPN3, 1 p.m. ET).

Caballero, of Coachella, California, has fought 18 of his 21 professional fights in Southern California, mostly in Indio, but had no qualms about going to Japan in April for a world title elimination bout. He knocked out Kohei Oba in the eighth round of a very impressive performance in Kobe to become the mandatory challenger for the 118-pound title.

And now he will be fighting for the belt on the other side of the globe in Monaco.

"This is the moment every fighter dreams of, and I would have gone anywhere to fight for that title," the 24-year-old Caballero said. "Stuart Hall is a former world champion, he's hungry to get that title back, but he's not hungrier than me. I've worked harder than anyone for years, and this is my time."

The fight wound up in Monte Carlo because Dennis Hobson, Hall's promoter, beat Caballero promoter Golden Boy in a purse bid, allowing him to control the site of the fight. He made a deal with South Africa's Rodney Berman to put it on his card in Monte Carlo.

Hobson won the rights to the fight with a bid of $261,750 to Golden Boy's $127,000. For a vacant belt the split is 50-50, meaning Caballero will earn a career-high $130,875.

"Every boxer dreams of becoming a world champion, but only those who work hard and are willing to go the extra mile -- like traveling half way around the world to fight for a title -- will persevere," Golden Boy president Oscar De La Hoya said. "Golden Boy Promotions is committed to putting on the best fights possible for fans all over the world, and I fully expect 'El Matador' and Stuart Hall to deliver on that promise."

England's Paul Butler won a split decision against the 34-year-old Hall on June 7 to claim the 118-pound title, but rather than defend it he vacated to move down in weight, leaving Caballero and Hall as the leading available contenders to vie for the vacant belt.

British middleweight contender Martin Murray (28-1-1, 12 KOs) headlines the card against Italy's Domenico Spada (39-5, 19 KOs) in a 12-rounder. If Murray wins, he could challenge world titleholder Gennady Golovkin, who will be ringside, in February in Monte Carlo.

The rest of the card will also be part of the ESPN3 stream:

• Strawweight titlist Hekkie Budler (26-1, 9 KOs) of South Africa will make his second defense against former world titleholder Xiong Zhao Zhong (24-5-1, 14 KOs) of China.

• Light heavyweight prospect Eleider Alvarez (15-0, 8 KOs), a Colombia native living in Montreal, will square off with South Africa's Ryno Liebenberg (16-0, 11 KOs) in a 12-round bout.

• British middleweight Nick Blackwell (15-3, 6 KOs) will face Belarus' Sergey Khomitsky (29-11-2, 12 KO) in a six-rounder.
A few notes from around the boxing world:

•  Flyweight world champion Roman Gonzalez (40-0, 34 KOs), who won an alphabet title and the lineal championship via his ninth-round knockout of Japan’s Akira Yaegashi on Sept. 5 in Tokyo, is returning to Japan to make his first defense against the Philippines’ Rocky Fuentes (35-7-2, 20 KOs) on Nov. 22 in Kanagawa. The fight is on the undercard of junior lightweight titlist Takashi Miura (27-2-2, 20 KOs) of Japan defending against Mexico’s Edgar Puerta (23-4-1, 19 KOs). Teiken Boxing, which promotes Gonzalez, announced the card Monday.

A former strawweight and junior flyweight titleholder, Gonzalez, 27, of Nicaragua, likely will face unified flyweight titlist Juan Francisco Estrada in the first half of 2015 in a rematch of Gonzalez’s decision victory in a fantastic junior flyweight title fight in 2012. But first Gonzalez needs to beat Fuentes, 28, who lost his last fight by decision challenging flyweight titlist Amnat Ruenroeng in Thailand in January.

•  Junior middleweight John Jackson (18-2, 15 KOs), one of the fighting sons of former middleweight and junior middleweight titleholder Julian Jackson, had it rough in his last fight in June on the Miguel Cotto-Sergio Martinez undercard. After knocking Andy Lee down hard in the first round, nearly knocking him out and dominating the fight, Lee knocked Jackson out cold with a Hail Mary right hand in the fifth round. Now Jackson, 25, of the U.S. Virgin Islands, is scheduled for his ring return, which will be Nov. 15 in Cordoba, Argentina, against Carlos Adan Jerez (40-17-3, 18 KOs). Besides looking to rebound from the loss, Jackson is also seeking a bit of family revenge. Jerez handed Samuel Rogers, Jackson’s cousin, his first loss.

"John knows he got careless against Lee," said Sampson Lewkowicz, Jackson’s promoter. “He knows what he did wrong and paid a heavy price for it. He was beating Andy Lee all over the ring and forgot about his defense. It's something that will never happen again."

•  Some of Golden Boy’s best prospects will be in action on the Nov. 13 edition of “Golden Boy Live” (10 p.m. ET, Fox Spots 1/Fox Deportes) at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California. Junior featherweight Joseph Diaz Jr. (12-0, 8 KOs), a 2012 U.S. Olympian, headlines the card; junior featherweight Diego De La Hoya (7-0, 5 KOs), Oscar De La Hoya’s first cousin, is in the co-feature; and featherweight Julian Ramirez (12-0, 7 KOs), a nephew of the late former junior lightweight champion Genaro Hernandez, and Chinese heavyweight Taishan Dong (1-0, 1 KO) also are scheduled to appear. All will face opponents to be determined.

•  Japan’s Takashi Uchiyama (21-0-1, 17 KOs), 34, will seek his ninth successful defense when he faces Israel Perez (27-2-1, 16 KOs), 35, of Argentina on Dec. 31 in Tokyo. Uchiyama has not fought since last New Year’s Eve. Perez will be fighting for a world title for the first time. "I have experience. I am in shape and I am very much aware that I am going to bring the championship home,” Perez said. “I will not disappoint and will make my dream of becoming champion of the world a reality. Uchiyama is a good boxer, but not unbeatable.”

Martin Murray card live on ESPN3

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As soon as Gennady Golovkin finished his second-round annihilation of Marco Antonio Rubio on Saturday night, the discussion turned to who would be his next opponent when he returns to action in February in Monte Carlo, where has fought twice before.

Tom Loeffler, his promoter at K2, said GGG’s ideal opponent for his next fight -- unless one of the really big names steps up, which they likely won’t -- would be longtime middleweight contender Martin Murray of England, who gave then-champion Sergio Martinez a tough night in Argentina in a close decision loss in 2013 and held then-titlist Felix Sturm to a debatable draw in Germany in 2011.

Golovkin (31-0, 28 KOs) will be ringside at the Salle des Etoiles in Monte Carlo on Saturday, when Murray (28-1-1, 12 KOs), winner of three in a row since the loss to Martinez, headlines a card against Italy’s Domenico Spada (39-5, 19 KOs), who is two fights removed from being knocked out by Rubio in an interim title bout. It will be Murray’s second fight in a row in Monte Carlo, and GGG will be there checking him out the man who might be his next opponent.

American fight fans can check out the fight -- and the entire card -- via live stream on ESPN3.com after ESPN acquired the American rights on Tuesday.

The stream begins at 1 p.m. ET and will include five fights. Also on the card:

• Coachella, California’s Randy Caballero (21-0, 13 KOs) will face England’s Stuart Hall (16-3-2, 7 KOs) for a vacant bantamweight world title.
• Strawweight titlist Hekkie Budler (26-1, 9 KOs) of South Africa will make his second defense against former world titleholder Xiong Zhao Zhong (24-5-1, 14 KOs) of China.
• Light heavyweight prospect Eleider Alvarez (15-0, 8 KOs), a Colombia native living in Montreal, will square off with South Africa’s Ryno Liebenberg (16-0, 11 KOs) in a 12-round bout.
• British middleweight Nick Blackwell (15-3, 6 KOs) will face Belarus’ Sergey Khomitsky (29-11-2, 12 KOs) in a six-rounder.

GGG big on TV as well as at arena

October, 21, 2014
Oct 21
2:08
PM ET
videoGood boy Gennady Golovkin’s second-round knockout of Marco Antonio Rubio -- GGG’s 18th KO in a row -- to retain his middleweight title for the 12th time on Saturday night at the StubHub Center in Carson, California, was a rousing success at the gate to the tune of a standing-room-only crowd of 9,323 as well as on HBO.

It was an electric atmosphere at the stadium, with most in the heavily Mexican crowd cheering for Golovkin against Rubio, a Mexican. In fact, the crowd broke out into chants of “Triple G! Triple G!”

It was such a great crowd and lively atmosphere that Dan Beckerman, the CEO of AEG, the company that owns StubHub as well as the Staples Center a few miles away in downtown Los Angeles, told me after the fight that he thought Golovkin, who was fighting on the West Coast for the first time, would have done a much bigger crowd at the Staples Center and that he very much wants Golovkin to headline there, ideally against Canelo Alvarez or Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

So we know Golovkin can sell tickets. He also has drawn well in New York at Madison Square Garden and the Theater at MSG.

But Golovkin (31-0, 28 KOs) is also clearly a big television draw, too, based on his numbers. Saturday’s viewership on HBO -- which has aired the top 10 cable TV fights this year (and 13 of the top 15) -- only added to that fact.

According to Nielsen Media Research, Golovkin-Rubio averaged 1.304 million viewers for the live, first-time airing. That makes it the second-best-performing fight on American cable television in 2014. Only the March rematch between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Bryan Vera drew more viewers (1.390 million). Golovkin-Rubio peaked at 1.323 million viewers, a healthy figure, especially considering that the fight was up against the Florida State-Notre Dame game, a huge college football matchup, on ABC.

The co-feature on Saturday’s card, Nicholas Walters' devastating sixth-round knockout of Nonito Donaire to win a featherweight world title, also performed well, averaging 1.1 million viewers (fifth best on cable TV in the U.S. this year so far) and peaking at 1.166 million viewers.

Here are the average viewership figures for all six of Golovkin’s HBO fights in chronological order:

• Gregorz Proksa (Sept. 1, 2012): 685,000
• Gabriel Rosado (Jan. 19, 2013): 813,000
• Matthew Macklin (June 29, 2013): 1.1 million
• Curtis Stevens (Nov. 2, 2013): 1.41 million
• Daniel Geale (July 26, 2014): 984,000
• Rubio (Oct. 18, 2014): 1.304 million

Golovkin’s ability to sell tickets and draw viewers means that he is headed for HBO PPV sooner than later and, ideally, a big-name opponent will get into the ring with him. Nobody can use the excuse that he doesn’t bring anything to the table. The fact is he brings money now and lots of it, not to mention big crowds and TV audiences who want to see his “big drama show.”

Goossen Promotions carries on

October, 21, 2014
Oct 21
8:18
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After promoter Dan Goossen died at age 64 on Sept. 29, just a few weeks after being diagnosed with liver cancer, there were many questions about what would happen to his company, Goossen Promotions.

Tom Brown, Goossen’s brother-in-law, close friend and the company matchmaker, said after Dan’s death that the family business would carry on even though it would be impossible to replace their beloved leader.

“It's full steam ahead," Brown said less than a week after Goossen’s death. "I'm working on closing a few things between now and the end of the year. It's not going to be the same without Dan, but he wouldn't want us to just quit. No way. He gave me an opportunity when some people said, ‘Are you crazy?’ So we are going to move forward. He would expect nothing else.”

The first efforts of Goossen Promotions carrying on were unveiled Monday with the announcement of a card -- in Goossen’s honor -- Nov. 20 at the Sportsmen's Lodge in Studio City, California.

“My Dad was the ultimate San Fernando Valley guy and the continuation of this series is the perfect way to honor his devotion to the sport and passion for the Valley. ‘Live at the Lodge’ will be a key ingredient to his legacy,” said Craig Goossen, one of Dan’s four sons, who has been involved in the family business for most of his adult life.

Said Brown: “Dan loved promoting high-quality shows in his hometown. He's been a staple in the Southern California boxing community going all the way back to the Reseda Country Club, where he first made his mark, up to major championship bouts at Staples Center."

The Nov. 20 card, which won't be televised, will be headlined by junior welterweight Lydell Rhodes (22-0, 11 KOs) in a 10-rounder against an opponent to be determined. In the 10-round co-feature, welterweight Wale “Lucky Boy” Omotoso (24-1, 20 KOs) will face an opponent to be named.

Another fight on the card will mark the return of 2008 U.S. Olympian Shawn Estrada (15-0, 13 KOs), who has not fought in two years. Estrada, who has struggled to make weight and not fought since August 2012, will fight an eight-rounder against an opponent to be named at light heavyweight, Brown said.

Goossen promoted several cards at the Sportsmen's Lodge in the late 1990s and then more shows there in 2012. Like the Reseda Country Club shows in the 1980s and '90s, the idea is to use the shows to help build younger fighters into future contenders and eventually champions. Now his son and brother-in-law will look to carry on his legacy beginning with the card Nov. 20. As Brown said of Goossen Promotions, it’s full steam ahead.

GGG expects a huge 2015

October, 17, 2014
Oct 17
8:19
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CARSON, Calif. -- Middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin fought four times in his breakout 2013 and hoped to do it again this year. But when his father died unexpectedly, Golovkin withdrew from an April fight, leaving him with only three appearances this year.

GGG knocked out Osumanu Adama in February, Daniel Geale in July and returns to make his 12th title defense against Marco Antonio Rubio (59-6-1, 51 KOs) on Saturday night (HBO, 10 ET/PT) at the sold-out StubHub Center.

But next year, Golovkin (30-0, 27 KOs), one of the busiest elite fighters in the sport, has designs on another four-fight year.

“Right now I am focused on Rubio. He’s a strong guy,” Golovkin said. “He is good experience for me. This is my first fight in California, so it’s a big step for me, a big deal for me. But I am ready for a unification fight. After this fight I hope so for a unification. I need Canelo [Alvarez]-[Miguel] Cotto first and then, of course, I want the winner. But [Julio Cesar] Chavez Jr., Andre Ward, Carl Froch. Bring me big fight.”

With a win, Golovkin is ticketed for a February return in Monte Carlo, perhaps against British contender Martin Murray. After that he wants a big pay-per-view fight.

Golovkin was supposed to face Chavez at super middleweight on HBO PPV in July. Golovkin agreed to terms, but Chavez backed out. Golovkin would love for the fight to be finalized.

With middleweight champion Cotto likely headed to a spring showdown with Alvarez, the winner would be an ideal opponent and a huge fight for GGG in the second half of next year.

K2 Promoter Tom Loeffler, who represents Golovkin, said he also has been in touch with Eddie Hearn, who promotes super middleweight titleholder Carl Froch, to gauge their interest. That’s a fight Loeffler said that Golovkin would happily travel to Froch’s turf in England for and also fight him at 168 pounds.

Another name that interests Golovkin is super middleweight champion Andre Ward, although he is inactive with no return on the horizon. Ward is going on a year of inactivity while embroiled in a promotional contract dispute.

“If Gennady fought Canelo, Chavez, Cotto, Froch it would be phenomenal,” Loeffler said. “Those are really big fights. People can’t say Gennady doesn't bring a reward. He's still a big risk but he brings a lot of interest and a lot money with him now that HBO has committed their financial support to him. So if everything goes the right way on Saturday we're looking for a huge 2015. I'm convinced there is nobody at 160 pounds who can last 12 rounds with him.”

Golovkin said he won’t be picky about his opponents. He just wants something huge.

“I feel great. Four times [in 2015]. It is my time,” he said. “Next year will be big for me and my team. Right now, I focus on Rubio. In the future, I am ready for anyone. I waited a long time. I want big, big fights with superstars. It doesn’t matter who. Cotto, Canelo, Chavez Jr., Froch. It doesn’t matter. I want big fights for me and my fans. I want great show.”

Vasyl next for Donaire-Walters winner?

October, 16, 2014
Oct 16
10:22
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Vasyl LomachenkoChris Farina/Top RankVasyl Lomachenko could be in line for a fight against the winner of Nonito Donaire-Nicholas Walters.
The bout Saturday night between featherweight titleholder Nonito Donaire and secondary beltholder Nicholas Walters (HBO, 10 ET/PT) at the sold-out StubHub Center in Carson, California, on the Gennady Golovkin-Marco Antonio Rubio undercard shapes up to be very interesting.

But what comes next for the winner could be even more fascinating.

Top Rank's Bob Arum promotes several of the top featherweights, including Donaire (33-2, 21 KOs) and Walters (24-0, 20 KOs). He also promotes two of the other world titleholders, Evgeny Gradovich (19-0, 9 KOs) and Vasyl Lomachenko (2-1, 1 KO), the brilliant two-time Olympic gold medalist, whose pro record is deceiving.

If Arum has his way -- and he hopes HBO will ante up for it -- he would like to match the winner of Donaire-Walters with Lomachenko, assuming he defeats Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (52-1, 33 KOs) on Nov. 22 on the Manny Pacquiao-Chris Algieri HBO PPV undercard.

"The winner of Donaire-Walters against Lomachenko is a massive, massive fight, especially if it's Donaire who wins," Arum told ESPN.com. "I would look forward to matching Saturday's winner with Lomachenko if he beats the Thai guy, who is a tough opponent with a great record. The winner of [Saturday's] fight versus Lomachenko is a major event in my opinion.

"But it's an expensive fight. We all know that. I would hope we can make it work. But, hey, even if HBO doesn't want it, I have other means. I can take it to Asia."

Donaire said he is open to any challenge from a top opponent, but also said one of his goals is to get a rematch with Guillermo Rigondeaux (14-0, 9 KOs), who outpointed him in April 2013 to unify junior featherweight belts.

"The rematch was one of the fights I requested," Donaire said. "I know if I am at my best, I have more than enough to beat him. I want to make that rematch happen. As a fighter and champion, you don't want leave things the way it is."

Donaire moved up to featherweight after the loss but said if Rigondeaux didn't want to come up to 126 pounds, he would be willing to meet him at 124, right between featherweight and junior featherweight.

However, in addition to having Walters in front of him, there is also zero public demand for a Rigondeaux rematch because of how bad the fight was thanks to Rigondeaux's utter lack of engagement.

"If they are willing to do the fight, that would be great. But is [HBO] willing to pay for that? Maybe they don't want to pay for it," Donaire said. "But that's a fight I requested."

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