Abraham-Smith II in the works?

October, 1, 2014
Oct 1
Arthur Abraham, Paul SmithMartin Rose/Bongarts/Getty ImagesArthur Abraham, right, could give Paul Smith a rematch even if the WBO doesn't order one.
A few notes from around the boxing world:

• Super middleweight Paul Smith may get a rematch with titleholder Arthur Abraham even if the WBO doesn’t order one based on his protest of the scoring of their fight Saturday in Kiel, Germany. Abraham won a unanimous decision in what most viewed as an incredibly close and competitive fight, although the three judges had very wide scorecards -- 119-109, 117-110, 117-110. Matchroom Boxing’s Eddie Hearn, Smith’s promoter, filed a protest, and the WBO agreed to review the fight. It could order a rematch, but even if that doesn’t happen, Hearn and Abraham promoter Sauerland Event have already begun talks for a rematch, according to a source with knowledge of the discussions.

• Heavyweight Amir "Hardcore" Mansour (20-1, 15 KOs), from Philadelphia, will face Frederic Kassi (18-2, 10 KOs), a Cameroon native living in New Orleans, on Nov. 8 (NBC Sports Net) at the Sands Resort Casino in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Main Events announced. The 10-round fight will headline a televised tripleheader, which will be the final edition of “Fight Night” of the year and likely Main Events’ final card on the network as its contract has not been renewed. Mansour is coming off a decision loss to Steve Cunningham on April 4 in an action-packed fight. Also on the card, welterweight Dmitry Mikhaylenko (17-0, 6 KOs) of Russia faces Emmanuel Lartey (17-2, 8 KOs) of Ghana. In the opener, Russian light heavyweight Vasily Lepikhin (16-0, 9 KOs) faces Jackson Junior (15-0, 13 KOs) of Brazil.

The card conflicts with a major Main Events card as it is co-promoting the Bernard Hopkins-Sergey Kovalev light heavyweight unification fight on HBO in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Although Main Events certainly would prefer not to promote against itself, the company said the conflict was unavoidable because neither network could or was willing to change the date.

• Former lightweight titlist Ricky Burns (36-4-1, 11 KOs) of Scotland, who is moving up to junior welterweight on Saturday’s Matchroom Boxing card in Leeds, England, will face France’s Alexandre Lepelley (17-1-1, 3 KOs). Original opponent Leonardo Esteban Gonzalez dropped out.

• The drug tests for all the fighters who appeared on the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Marcos Maidana II card Sept. 13 in Las Vegas have come back negative, according to the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

• Lightweight Monty Meza Clay (36-3, 22 KOs) signed with Iron Mike Promotions on Wednesday. Meza Clay, 33, of Rankin, Pennsylvania, had his last fight on an Iron Mike card and scored a 10th-round knockout of Alan Herrera in a sensational, action-packed fight in Pittsburgh.

Huck looks to go out on his own

October, 1, 2014
Oct 1
In a significant development in German boxing, ARD, one of the country’s national television networks, which has had an exclusive output deal with Sauerland Event since 2000, will not renew its contract after Sauerland's final boxing card of the year in December.

According to sources in Germany, ARD is still open to televise some boxing, but it won’t spend nearly as much money as it had annually on the Sauerland contract, which is estimated by many at more than $10 million per year. However, ARD will also be open to working with promoters besides Sauerland, which is supposedly in talks with SAT.1, another German network, about a deal for next year.

Sauerland promotes several of Germany’s most significant fighters and other top fighters, including cruiserweight titlist Marco Huck, super middleweight titleholder Arthur Abraham, cruiserweight titlist Yoan Pablo Hernandez, former super middleweight titlist Mikkel Kessler, super middleweight contender George Groves and light heavyweight titleholder Juergen Braehmer.

However, with an expiring television contract, some fighters may look to leave the company. That is already the case with Huck, who told German newspaper Bild that he will not renew his expiring promotional agreement with the company after a decade-long relationship.

"I am very grateful to [company founder] Wilfried Sauerland, but I decided to take the reins,” Huck told Bild. “As a great champion, I want to be independent. Now I am free for Klitschko.”

Huck, who once challenged Alexander Povetkin for a heavyweight belt and was badly robbed, wants a crack at heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, whose K2 Promotions rarely does business with Sauerland unless it’s a mandatory situation. Klitschko also has a deal with German network RTL. The television issues would disappear if Huck is no longer with Sauerland. To that end, Huck has formed Huck Sports Promotion.

"I dream of big fights, even in the United States,” Huck said. “I want to fight the best. Klitschko is at the top with me. I want to leave [Sauerland] in peace and hope that there will be no obstacles in the way. It was a successful time together.”

Sauerland Event did not want to discuss the television situation.

Provodnikov has date, needs foe

October, 1, 2014
Oct 1
Bradley, ProvodnikovKevork Djansezian/Getty ImagesRuslan Provodnikov, right, is headed back to Russia for his next bout.
Banner Promotions boss Artie Pelullo spent much of last week in Russia working out arrangements for the return of former junior welterweight titlist Ruslan Provodnikov, the “Siberian Rocky,” who has not fought in his home country since 2011.

Pelullo is back in the U.S. and told ESPN.com that Provodnikov will face an opponent to be determined on Nov. 28 in Moscow. The overseas fight was made necessary because of HBO’s unwillingness to give a fall date to Provodnikov, who has drawn some of the network’s highest viewership figures for boxing in his recent fights, which are typically action-packed.

Instead, HBO offered an undercard slot on a non-Banner card -- Nov. 8 on the Bernard Hopkins-Sergey Kovalev show -- for very short money. Provodnikov and Pelullo said no thanks.

Provodnikov lost his belt via disputed split decision to Chris Algieri, who got knocked down twice in the first round, on June 14 in the fourth-most viewed fight of the year in the United States so far. For his return fight, Provodnikov wanted to fight at junior welterweight, but Pelullo said the upcoming bout would be a welterweight fight.

“All of the opponents we’re looking to get, none of them can make 140 pounds, and this is not a world title fight, so Ruslan will probably fight between 145 and 147,” Pelullo said. “Right now the opponent is up in the air, but we are talking to three or four guys. I can tell you who turned the fight down for very good money.”

Pelullo said Mauricio Herrera, who handed Provodnikov (23-3, 16 KOs) his first loss in 2011 and in March lost a controversial decision challenging champion Danny Garcia, and former world titleholder Zab Judah rejected offers for the fight.

“I offered them both $400,000, five airline tickets, hotel rooms for 10 days, everything they needed, and then I went to $500,000,” Pelullo said. “They both turned down a half million dollars. I started at $400,000 and then I went to $500,000 and then I said no more. I also said I would put in the contract that there would be neutral officials since the fight would be in Ruslan’s home country.”

Pelullo initially talked to HBO about matching Provodnikov with several of Top Rank’s prominent fighters, including titleholder Jessie Vargas, Brandon Rios and former titleholder Timothy Bradley Jr. in a rematch of the 2013 fight of the year. But Top Rank declined to seriously discuss any of those bouts.

No word yet on whether there will be American television for Provodnikov’s fight.

A lot at stake for Stevens, N'Dam

October, 1, 2014
Oct 1
Hassan N’Dam has held a world title, albeit briefly, and Curtis Stevens has fought for one, although that went really, really badly.

But both are in position to get back to the promised land of another title shot when they square off Wednesday night (ESPN2, 9 p.m. ET) at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California, for the right to become a mandatory challenger for the winner of the fight between titleholder Sam Soliman and former undisputed champion Jermain Taylor. Soliman and Taylor meet next Wednesday night in Biloxi, Mississippi (ESPN2, 9 p.m. ET). So N’Dam-Stevens amounts to a semifinal with a lot at stake.

N’Dam’s title reign didn’t exactly rival Bernard Hopkins’. A native of Cameroon who lives in France, N’Dam claimed an interim belt in 2011. He defended it twice and then was elevated to a full titleholder without having beaten a top opponent. In his first defense of the full belt, N’Dam (30-1, 18 KOs) faced Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin in October 2012, got knocked down five times, and lost a clear decision and the belt. But N’Dam, 30, has won three fights in a row to set himself up for the match with Stevens.

"I think Curtis Stevens is a great fighter,” said Gary Hyde, N’Dam’s manager. “He's unbelievably strong and can knock you out with either hand. But I think he's limited when it comes to fighting a boxer like Hassan. I think the key to this fight is just Hassan being himself. He's got lovely lateral movement and he's a fantastic boxer. He's got the Ali/Leonard style, and that's what he should stick with against Stevens.”

Stevens (27-4, 20 KOs), of Brooklyn, New York, trash-talked his way into a title shot against Gennady Golovkin in November 2013. Although Stevens, who had the at-home advantage in New York, showed great heart, he was totally outclassed. Golovkin manhandled Stevens, knocking him down in the second round and battering him into submission in the eighth round of a one-sided drubbing.

Stevens, 29, dusted himself off and has won two fights in a row, both by knockout, including a 10th-round stoppage (some say a quick stoppage) against Tureano Johnson in an action-packed bout in April.

“I really expect Curtis to be super-explosive,” said Andre Rozier, Stevens’ trainer and uncle. “He knows that this is a title eliminator, which will bring him to fighting the winner of the Jermain Taylor-Sam Soliman fight. So he's literally right back in the title hunt with two steps to go -- two really very short steps. I think we're going to see a very explosive performance that ends in a big knockout.”

For the fight, Stevens said he worked more on his cardio training so he would have more endurance. He also believes it will help his speed.

"For the Golovkin fight, I had a personal trainer,” he said. “For the Saul Roman fight [the one before Golovkin], that was just all me. I noticed that when I do it myself it is more of a push. I am the only one that knows what I am doing. If things go bad, it's on me. I fight for three minutes, so if I can hold a sprint for two minutes, somebody's in trouble.

“You fight 12 rounds, but it is different when you are holding a two-minute sprint with 30 seconds' rest. With the power I got, if I am on your ass for two minutes, it's a bloodbath."
Arthur Abraham and Paul SmithMartin Rose/Bongarts/Getty ImagesPaul Smith, right, gave Arthur Abraham all he could handle, but lost a controversial decision.

The stench from the horrible scores turned in Saturday in Kiel, Germany still lingers in the air.

That’s where super middleweight titlist Arthur Abraham of Germany retained his world title by unanimous decision against England’s Paul Smith. It was an exciting and highly competitive fight, and although I scored it a draw (114-114) and many thought Smith deserved a close decision, it was not unreasonable to have Abraham winning a close fight.

The problem, however, was that the three judges whiffed badly, with Spanish judge Fernando Laguna incredibly scoring the fight 119-109 for Abraham -- 11-1 in rounds -- while American judge Waleska Roldan and Hungarian judge Zoltan Enyedi each had it 117-110 (9-3), which was also way too wide. The wide scoring, not necessarily who won, drew outrage from many.

On Tuesday, WBO president Paco Valcarcel announced that he had received the formal protest petition from Smith’s promoter, Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing.

Valcarcel went so far as to say: “Regarding Abraham-Smith, I assure you that I review each and every scorecard for WBO title fights. Fernando Laguna screwed up Saturday night.”

He sure did. The protest means the WBO will commission an independent panel of judges (who shall remain anonymous) to review a video of the fight and score it. Protests usually go nowhere. The result is not going to be overturned -- unless somehow corruption was discovered.

More likely, the best Smith can hope for is for a rematch to be ordered. Given how competitive and entertaining the fight was, that would be a good thing.

Abraham (41-4, 28 KOs), of course, did not score the fight and deserves no blame for the cards. He gave Smith (35-4, 20 KOs) credit for a good fight in the immediate aftermath.

“It was a tough fight,” he said. “Paul Smith was by no means an easy opponent and he made me work hard for the win. I was pleased with my performance. I feel that I have proved to myself, to my coach Ulli Wegner and to my fans that I still have what it takes. I’m not in decline and I look forward to more successful defenses of my WBO title.”

Smith, however, was crushed by the wide scores that made it appear the fight was one-sided. It was nothing close to that.

“First and foremost, I’d like to say that I have a lot of respect for Arthur Abraham,” Smith said. “He is a great champion and we had a great fight. But I think the judges got it wrong. I’ve been waiting a long time for this opportunity. I just wanted a fair crack at the whip and I don’t think I got that.”

Abraham said he would be open to a rematch -- which is worthy of happening regardless of what the WBO comes up with in its review of the fight -- but probably not right away.

“Of course I would fight Paul again,” Abraham said. “I’m sure it would be another exciting fight. However, the circumstances would need to be right. At the moment the most interesting fight for me would be [Felix] Sturm or [Robert] Stieglitz.”

Sturm, a former middleweight titlist, and Stieglitz, a former super middleweight titlist against whom Abraham is 2-1, are set to meet Nov. 8 in Stuttgart, Germany in a major fight in that country.

“I have a lot of respect for Paul, his family and his team. He did himself proud,” Abraham promoter Kalle Sauerland said. “But Arthur has shown yet again that he belongs at the top of the division. A rematch with Paul is a possibility, but first we will be looking at the winner of Felix Sturm and Robert Stieglitz.”

Coyle-Katsidis should deliver action

September, 30, 2014
Sep 30
British lightweight Tommy Coyle is gaining a reputation among hardcore fight fans as an all-action fighter, mainly because of his absolutely thrilling brawl with Argentina’s Daniel Brizuela on Feb. 22 in Hull, England.

It is a definite fight of the year candidate, which Coyle won by 12th-round knockout to finish a fight that featured blazing action throughout and both men getting dropped four times apiece.

Coyle (19-2, 8 KOs) returned in May for an eight-round decision against a novice opponent setting himself up for a fight that could be another classic against Australia’s Michael Katsidis, one of boxing’s purest action warriors of the past 25 years.

Katsidis (30-6, 24 KOs) has been in several tremendous fights, including his all-time classic first fight against Graham Earl as well as battles with Juan Manuel Marquez, Juan Diaz and Czar Amonsot.

So when Coyle and Katsidis meet on Oct. 25 at the Ice Arena in Coyle’s hometown of Hull it will be the new generation of action fighter, Coyle, taking on the fading one in Katsidis, who has won two fights in a row since ending a two-year retirement in March, but is certainly near the end.

And wouldn’t you know? Coyle is a Katsidis fan.

“I used to be a big fan of his and I still am a big fan of Michael Katsidis,” Coyle said. “I’ve watched his fights for years. When I was offered the fight I took it straight away. I think all the boxing fans know I like to be involved in exciting fights and I’m sure this one will be another one of them.”

The fight Coyle had with Brizuela is the kind of fight that can take years off a career, but the 25-year-old Coyle said he does not believe it caused any lasting damage.

“I don’t think it took much out of me, I’m only young,” Coyle said. “I’ve got fresh legs. It’s not like I’ve been involved in 10 of those fights. It was just the one. I was in fantastic shape. I could’ve done 15 rounds that night.

“My lasting memory was picking myself up each time from the canvas. As the counts got bigger, the crowd got louder. That’s what picked me up and pulled me through fighting at home. I’ve got fantastic fans. But that adds character to someone generally. It’s certainly done that to me. It’s given me confidence. I was in there against a world class fighter and I was on the canvas four times. To come back to win a fight which, many said has been fight of the year, it shows character. It shows I can dig down into the trenches. It’s second nature to me.”

The way Katsidis and Coyle both go after opponents, it won’t be a surprise at all if they have to show that character Coyle was talking about and get off the canvas -- maybe even a few times -- come Oct. 25.
You know that quadrupleheader on Showtime on Saturday night at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut? Well, now it’s down to a tripleheader.

Middleweight prospect Dominic Wade (16-0, 11 KOs) of Largo, Maryland, who was due to open the card programmed by adviser Al Haymon against KeAndre Leatherwood (14-2-1, 10 KOs) of Birmingham, Alabama, injured his back. That bout has been canceled.

There are still three other fights: junior lightweight titleholder Rances Barthelemy (20-0, 12 KOs) against Fernando Saucedo (52-5-3, 8 KOs) in the main event; a junior middleweight bout between Vanes Martirosyan (34-1-1, 21 KOs) and Willie Nelson (23-1-1, 13 KOs) -- that has potential to be a decent fight -- and former light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson (32-3, 18 KOs) in a blatant mismatch against club fighter Tommy Karpency (23-4-1, 14 KOs).

Oscar opens up about Canelo deal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oscar: No Stiverne-Wilder deal yet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beterbiev dominates, stops Cloud

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Middleweight Wade added to Oct. 4 card

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

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

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

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

Avalos passes on Rigo, eyes Frampton

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now Caribe doesn’t have to worry.

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

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

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

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

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

Notes: Dirrell, Dulorme, Ramirez updates

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Big award for England's Kid Galahad

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

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

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

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

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

Lawsuit vs. Canelo headed to mediation

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

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

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

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

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