Gearing up for a new season of 'FNF'

October, 30, 2014
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Petr PetrovESPNBoxcino lightweight tournament champ Petr Petrov is back on "Friday Night Fights."

The return of ESPN’s “Friday Night Fights” can’t come soon enough, right? Well, the network powers that be are in the process of planning the early part of the new season.

Although the bouts are not yet set, the first three cards have dates, sites and promoters.

The new season will open Jan. 9 at the Chumash resort in Santa Ynez, California, with a card promoted by Gary Shaw.

The second card will be Jan. 16 at the Turning Stone resort in Verona, New York, with a show promoted by Artie Pelullo’s Banner Promotions. The main event will feature the return of Petr Petrov (35-4-2, 17 KOs) in his first bout since winning ESPN's 2014 Boxcino lightweight tournament in May with an eighth-round knockout of Fernando Carcamo. Petrov likely will face Juan Carlos Burgos (30-2-2, 20), who has not fought since a lopsided decision loss challenging then-junior lightweight titleholder Mikey Garcia in January.

The third card will take place at the Foxwoods resort in Mashantucket, Connecticut, on Jan. 30. The promoter will be Main Events, whose exclusive deal with NBC Sports Net expires in December and was not renewed.

Lara-Smith title bout in works

October, 30, 2014
Oct 30
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Erislandy LaraMark Ralston/AFP/Getty ImagesJunior middleweight titlist Erislandy Lara will defend his belt against Ishe Smith on Dec. 12.

A few notes from around the boxing world:

• The fight has not been formally announced yet but junior middleweight titlist Erislandy Lara (19-2-2, 12 KOs) is supposed to defend his belt for the first time against former titlist Ishe Smith (26-6, 12 KOs) on Dec. 12 (Showtime) in a fight that was originally scheduled to take place on May 2. The likely site is San Antonio. Although Lara lost a decision in his last fight to Canelo Alvarez in July, he still holds a title because the fight was at 155 pounds, one over the division limit and, therefore, not a title bout. Smith lost his title in his first defense to Carlos Molina in September 2013 and, in his return, stopped journeyman Ryan Davis in the second round May 2. Smith was originally supposed to challenge Lara on that date, but when he dropped out of the fight in order to accept the big fight with Alvarez, Davis replaced him.

• Heavyweight Andy Ruiz (23-0, 17 KOs) is due to take on the severely faded former titlist Sergey Liakhovich on Dec. 20 (UniMas) in Phoenix, according to Top Rank. Ruiz scored a first-round knockout of low-level opponent Kenny Lemos last Saturday. While Ruiz, 25, won easily he was in poor condition, weighing a soft 272 pounds, 22 more than his previous fight in May. The 38-year-old Liakhovich (26-6, 16 KOs) has lost three of his past four by knockout, including two fights ago to Deontay Wilder, who drilled him so badly in the first round of their August 2013 fight Liakhovich was left literally twitching on the canvas when he hit the deck and was out cold. Liakhovich won his last fight, an eight-round decision against Chad Davis, whose record was 5-11 entering the fight.

• Golden Boy has announced opponents for junior featherweight Joseph Diaz Jr. (12-0, 8 KOs), featherweight Julian Ramirez (12-0, 7 KOs), junior featherweight Diego De La Hoya (7-0, 5 KOs) and Chinese heavyweight Taishan Dong (1-0, 1 KO), all of whom are scheduled to fight on “Golden Boy Live” on Nov. 13 (10 p.m. ET, Fox Spots 1/Fox Deportes) at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California. Diaz, a 2012 U.S. Olympian, will face Roberto Castaneda (21-7-1, 15 KOs). Ramirez, nephew of the late former junior lightweight champion Genaro Hernandez, will face Pedro Melo (11-5-2, 2 KOs). De La Hoya, Oscar De La Hoya’s first cousin, faces Ali Gonzalez (6-3, 1 KO). Dong faces Michael Lane (0-3).

• Zanfer Promotions canceled its card Saturday night in Tijuana, Mexico. The reason was because featherweight Manuel Garcia injured his right hand and was forced to drop out of the main event against former junior bantamweight titleholder Tomas Rojas (44-14-1, 29 KOs). The card was due to be televised in the United States on beIN Sports Espanol.
David Lemieux and Gabriel RosadoRich Kane/Hoganphotos/Golden Boy PromotionsDavid Lemieux, left, is looking for a convincing victory over Gabriel Rosado.

Middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin and junior middleweight star Canelo Alvarez may one day face each other in what would be a huge pay-per-view fight. But until that happens -- if it happens -- HBO, which has both under contract, has a vested interest in helping develop opponents for them.

That’s where HBO’s Dec. 6 “Boxing After Dark” tripleheader (10 p.m. ET/PT) comes in. The card, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, could go a long way toward helping develop opponents for them. But even if it doesn’t, it’s a quality show -- and if you’re a fan, it's a stunning bargain. At the kickoff news conference at the Barclays Center on Wednesday, Golden Boy announced that tickets start at $15.

The main event features Montreal middleweight David Lemieux, a big banger making his American debut, against entertaining gatekeeper Gabriel Rosado, who usually tests every opponent. Lemieux’s job is to beat Rosado convincingly. Fighters who defeat him probably can take the next step. Fighters who can’t, well, they’re probably not going far.

The 25-year-old Lemieux (32-2, 30 KOs) wants in on the big-fight sweepstakes, which means an eventual fight with GGG or Alvarez, who, sooner than later, will be a middleweight. Beating Rosado is a good way for Lemieux to start making his case.

"I'm really looking forward to this fight," Lemieux said. “My training camp has already started and I am in great shape. I want to take this opportunity to prove that I represent a real threat to the middleweight division. Gabriel Rosado is a tough fighter and he has fought a lot of talented boxers and has established his credibility. This will be a good test for me and I'm working really hard to deliver an amazing performance."

Said Camille Estephan, Lemieux’s manager, “I'm extremely happy for David to get this opportunity on the big stage in the U.S. against a very well respected Gabriel Rosado. We are not looking past this fight. Nonetheless, we believe David is capable of competing with the cream of the crop in his division."

Rosado (21-8, 13 KOs), 28, had his shot against Golovkin, who sliced and diced him en route to a bloody seventh-round TKO in January 2013. That loss started a poor run for Rosado, who is in an 0-3 (with a no contest) rut, including another cut-induced TKO loss to Peter Quillin in a title bout. Rosado won a non-official boxing match by sixth-round knockout of Bryan Vera in the Big Knockout Boxing event in August when they fought in a “pit.”

Rosado is happy to be getting another opportunity on HBO, where he faced Golovkin.

"A fight like me against David Lemieux is what HBO is all about, and the type of fight the boxing world craves," Rosado said. "I'm both excited and motivated to fight again on the East Coast. I'm from Philly and I know my fans will be in Brooklyn to represent [Philadelphia] alongside my New York fans. Records can be deceiving and I believe David Lemieux will learn that first hand, and I'm hungry to get back in the mix with the best in the middleweight division."

The junior middleweight co-feature pits Hugo Centeno Jr. (21-0, 11 KOs), 23, of Oxnard, California, and James De La Rosa (23-2, 13 KOs), 26, of San Benito, Texas, in a 10-rounder. Perhaps one will emerge as a fighter to watch at 154.

"I'm really excited about this great opportunity,” Centeno said. “I will take complete advantage of it and showcase my talent.”

De La Rosa scored his biggest win Sept. 13, a 10-round decision against Alfredo Angulo on the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Marcos Maidana II undercard.

"Here I am again on the big stage, this time against Hugo Centeno Jr. on HBO," De La Rosa said. “I'm dedicating this fight to my mentor Emanuel Augustus, who I'd been sparring against since I was 14 years old. People know he came to put on a show and I'm coming to do the same Dec. 6 in Brooklyn."

Augustus is hospitalized in critical condition after recently being shot in the head in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

"The winners of these two fights will find themselves positioned for huge match-ups in their next bouts, while the losers will experience a major setback," said Golden Boy promoter Oscar De La Hoya, whose company is putting on the card and promoting the top two bouts.

The third fight is an even match between junior welterweights Thomas Dulorme (21-1, 14 KOs), 24, and 30-year-old Hank Lundy (25-3-1, 12 KOs). While not an official eliminator the winner very likely could propel himself into a world title opportunity.

“This is a great opportunity for me to showcase my talent against a very good opponent,” Dulorme said. “I know a victory against Lundy will open up many doors for my career. I'm coming to win and win convincingly for my fans back home in Puerto Rico.”

Said Lundy, “This is what we've been waiting for, to fight on a big stage -- HBO. This is a great opportunity to show the world Hammerin' Hank is the best-kept secret in the 140-pound weight class. On Dec. 6, I'm coming to New York to put on a hell of a show. As a Philadelphia kid, everyone knows that I've fought hard. Nothing comes easy. The fans know I'm going to bring it.”

Gonzalez, Estrada on collision course

October, 29, 2014
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Roman GonzalezAP Photo/Toru TakahashiRoman Gonzalez could face Juan Francisco Estrada for flyweight supremacy in 2015.

For those who have not been paying attention, this is a great time to be a fan of the flyweight division. Sure, it doesn’t get much love from the major boxing TV networks in the United States, but that doesn’t change the fact that there have been some excellent fights recently, with another likely to happen in the early part of 2015.

That would be a rematch between lineal champion Roman Gonzalez, also owner of an alphabet belt, and unified titleholder Juan Francisco Estrada.

Gonzalez (40-0, 34 KOs), who has also held titles at strawweight and junior flyweight, made his final junior flyweight defense against Estrada in November 2012. It was a tremendous battle, one Gonzalez won by unanimous decision at the Sports Arena in Los Angeles before vacating the title and moving up in weight.

On Sept. 5, Nicaragua’s Gonzalez, the best fighter in the world most people are not very familiar with, finally got a shot at the flyweight title, going to Tokyo and knocking out Akira Yaegashi in the ninth round to win the world championship.

After Estrada (30-2, 22 KOs) lost to Gonzalez, he moved up to flyweight and in his next fight outpointed Brian Viloria in another excellent fight to claim two belts. He has made three defenses, including an impressive 11th-round knockout of big puncher and former junior flyweight champion Giovani Segura on Sept. 6.

A rematch between Gonzalez and Estrada seemed like a natural and that is what we just might get as both sides are interested in the sequel. To make it even better, HBO, which has generally ignored fights south of the junior featherweight division, is interested in the rematch. That’s a great thing because Gonzalez and Estrada deserve the exposure and fans deserve a can’t-miss fight that should feature plenty of action and a high degree of skill.

But there is still work to be done before the expected rematch comes together. Both fighters have to get through interim defenses.

Gonzalez, 27, is returning to Japan to make his first defense, which will be against the Philippines’ Rocky Fuentes (35-7-2, 20 KOs) on Nov. 22 in Kanagawa.

“I'm in optimum shape. My physical condition is top-notch to face Rocky Fuentes, who's a hard and dedicated rival,” Gonzalez said. “Rocky knows how to throw combinations and he is able to vary his punches. I hope all goes well, as it has in all my fights so far.”

Estrada, 24, had his fourth title defense announced this week: Dec. 6 in his hometown of Hermosillo, Mexico, against the Philippines’ Joebert Alvarez (14-0-1, 6 KOs). That bout likely will air in the U.S. on beIN Sports Espanol.

Ideally, Gonzalez and Estrada will come through their upcoming bouts unscathed and they will meet in a rematch that hopefully will give both men -- and their fun-filled division -- the attention they deserve.
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These Manny Pacquiao fights in Macau are not just a one-shot, or even a two-shot, deal. As long as Pacquiao remains a top draw, expect the Filipino legend and boxing’s only eight-division world titleholder to fight in the Chinese gambling capital annually for the foreseeable future.

That is what Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said recently on the subject as Pacquiao (56-5-2, 38 KOs) prepares for his second fight at the Cotai Arena at the Venetian Macao, where he will defend his welterweight title against junior welterweight titlist Chris Algieri (20-0, 8 KOs) on Nov. 22 (HBO PPV).

Last November, Pacquiao fought there for the first time, easily outpointing Brandon Rios in a nontitle bout. Pacquiao returned to Las Vegas for a rematch with Timothy Bradley Jr. in April, won a clear decision and reclaimed his welterweight belt.

Now it’s off to Macau again to defend the title, even though the pay-per-view numbers for the last overseas fight were off considerably (only 475,000), prompting HBO to say it did not want to go to Macau for another Pacquiao pay-per-view.

But Arum had the final say: If HBO wants to be in business with Pacquiao, which it does, then Macau is where the cameras will be.

“Who are they to say anything when it is my money,” said Arum, who is the one taking the risk on the event. “It’s Manny’s career, and we are fighting in probably the best location in the world, which is in Macau in the Cotai Arena, which is a tremendous place to watch a fight live.”

Arum, who has done several cards in Macau over the past couple of years in partnership with the Venetian, said the money generated in Asia more than makes up for selling fewer pay-per-views in the United States. He said Venetian officials want Pacquiao to fight there regularly and have made it worth their while.

“They said to me they wanted Manny to fight there once a year,” Arum said. “So, obviously, if Manny fights twice a year, he fights there in the fall and in the spring he fights either in the United States or some other place.”

Aguilar re-elected as NSAC chairman

October, 28, 2014
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A few notes from around the boxing world:

• Nevada State Athletic Commission chairman Francisco Aguilar was unanimously elected to a second one-year term at the panel’s monthly meeting Monday in Las Vegas. That is a significant change from the norm as the chairman usually serves just one year before another member of the five-person commission is selected. However, Aguilar was given another year because the commission believes he has done a superb job during his term and because a lot of projects he would typically have spent time on, including the budget, took a backseat.

The reason for that was because Aguilar was much more involved with the commission on a day-to-day basis than commissioners usually are because he handled many of the duties of the executive director while overseeing the search for a new one in the wake of Keith Kizer’s resignation. The commission eventually hired Bob Bennett. Aguilar’s term will expire in October 2015.

• Although promoters Don King and Golden Boy have not made an announcement and the fight still has no date, site or official television deal, the WBC announced that an agreement has been reached for the bout between heavyweight titleholder Bermane Stiverne and mandatory challenger Deontay Wilder, and that the purse bid process has been called off.

• Hiawatha Knight, the former president of the IBF, died last week. A memorial service is scheduled for Thursday in Detroit. “We were deeply saddened when we learned of the passing of our former president Hiawatha Knight last week,” the IBF said in a statement. “Hiawatha was part of the fabric of the IBF/USBA. She was a founding member of the organization and held a position on the board of directors until recently. Hiawatha became a leader in the sport when it wasn’t common to see a woman in such a position. She was one of the pioneers creating a path for many more women to come. Her passion and enthusiasm for boxing, and her dedication to this organization will always be remembered.

"Over the past few days we have received many condolence messages which we deeply appreciate. So many remember her with such fondness, but the common thread in all these messages is, ‘Hiawatha was a class act.’ While our hearts are heavy with this loss, we join the Knight family in honoring and celebrating Hiawatha’s life.”

• In January, 2012 Olympic bronze-medal winner Yamaguchi Falcao (brother of silver medalist Esquiva Falcao) turned pro in his hometown of Sao Paulo and fought to a third-round no-contest with Martin Fidel Rios because both were disqualified for excessive fouls in an extremely dirty fight. Golden Boy, Falcao’s promoter, announced on Monday that Falcao (2-0, 1 KOs) and Rios (13-2-2, 7 KOs) will meet in an eight-round middleweight rematch, also in Sao Paulo, on Nov. 15.

• Mike Tyson’s Iron Mike Productions announced that it will stage a Nov. 21 card at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with 2008 Olympic gold medalist Felix Diaz (15-0, 8 KOs) of the Dominican Republic headlining a welterweight 10-rounder against Adrian Granados (13-2-2, 9 KOs). The co-feature pits featherweight Claudio Marrero (16-1, 12 KOs) and Juan Antonio Rodriguez (26-5, 23 KOs).

Coyle-Campbell showdown on track

October, 27, 2014
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British lightweights Tommy Coyle and Luke Campbell both did what they were supposed to do on Saturday night: knock out solid opponents in entertaining fights and stay on course for a summer showdown.

Coyle and Campbell, a 2012 Olympic gold medalist, are good friends and are both from Hull, England, and their fight with each other is much anticipated.

"We both have the utmost respect for one another but through the city of Hull we are both loved and supported and the fight is being talked about a lot here," Campbell said after Saturday's victory. "Our job is to entertain the fans and for the business and entertainment side of things, we can put our friendship on hold for 30-odd minutes."

In Saturday's main event, Coyle (20-2, 9 KOs) scored a spectacular one-punch second-round knockout of Michael Katsidis (30-7, 24 KOs), sending him into la la land with a left hook.

"Pressure fighters can't go backwards," Coyle said of Katsidis. "[Trainer] Jamie [Moore] is the best pressure [fighter] there was and he told me if you offset his balance and get him going backwards, you will have success. We worked on that left hook in the dressing room before the fight and it has come off.

"I can't change my makeup and I was always going to have a war, but I was going to be smart about it. I know I am not the greatest fighter in the world but I am always going to deliver value for money, I am going to put bums on seats and put everything on the line every time. I was so scared and nervous about losing, I'd visualized being in the worst pain ever as I had put him on a pedestal for 12 weeks. The night was perfect and with Luke winning, it sets the fight up in the summer of next year."

In the co-feature, Campbell (9-0, 7 KOs) drilled Daniel Brizuela (26-4-2, 8 KOs) in the fifth round of a strong outing against his toughest pro opponent.

"It's a great win for me," said Campbell. "He had a very elusive and awkward style and I hit him with some cracking shots in the first round and he just nodded to say, 'OK, let's have some more.' He's a tough, tough customer so I had to nullify that and to get him out of there in five, I'm very happy."

Coyle and Campbell are both likely to have at least one more fight before a fight between them would materialize.

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

October, 24, 2014
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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
Oct 23
11:11
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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.

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