Former lightweight titlist Brandon Rios has lost two fights in a row: a close decision to Mike Alvarado in their interim junior welterweight rematch, a 2013 fight of the year candidate, followed by a one-sided pasting by Manny Pacquiao in a welterweight fight.

After the loss to Pacquiao in November in Macau, Rios tested positive for a banned stimulant (which didn’t help, because Pacquiao won basically every round in an utterly lopsided fight).
A third loss in a row would be a death knell to Rios’ career in terms of six-figure paydays on major televised cards.

Having served a suspension for the failed drug test, Rios is now aiming to re-establish himself while also making some noise at welterweight by taking on rugged Diego Chaves on Aug. 2 (HBO) at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.

“I am looking forward to getting back in the ring. I feel like it’s been a long time since I fought. I miss boxing,” Rios said Wednesday at his media day at trainer Robert Garcia’s gym in Oxnard, California. “I know that a lot of people think I am done but believe I am far from being finished. Pacquiao was a very difficult fight for me and I just felt I could have done better, but he was just too fast.”

He won’t have to worry about Argentina’s Chaves having the kind of speed Pacquiao has. Chaves (23-1, 19 KOs) is similar to Rios (31-2-1, 23 KOs) in that he is more likely to stand and brawl than give angles like Pacquiao can.

Chaves showed enormous toughness -- and a fan-friendly style -- last July when he lost his interim welterweight belt by 10th-round knockout to Keith Thurman in San Antonio, Texas, in an excellent fight.

“Chaves is a tough fighter and I expect a good, hard fight and one the fans will enjoy,” Rios said. “I know I could have fought an easier opponent but I want to show everyone what I am still capable of doing against a top-level guy.”

Rios knows it’s a pivotal fight.

“It's do or die for me and I will do what I have to do to win this fight,” Rios said.
Adrien Broner Al Bello/Golden Boy/Golden Boy/Getty ImagesAdrien Broner will return as a junior welterweight to headline a tripleheader Sept. 6.

Junior welterweight contenders Adrien Broner and Lucas Matthysse are both penciled in for Sept. 6 returns on Showtime, although not against each other.

Golden Boy Promotions is working on putting together a tripleheader for the show, which Broner (28-1, 22 KOs) would headline in his second fight since moving down to junior welterweight after losing his welterweight belt to Marcos Maidana in a terrific fight in December. Broner bounced back from a loss on May 3 on the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Maidana undercard to win a one-sided 10-round decision against Carlos Molina.

“Broner would be the main event with Matthysse as a co-feature. I can confirm that,” Golden Boy Promotions vice president Eric Gomez told ESPN.com. “We don’t have a confirmation on a third fight yet. I gave [Showtime’s Stephen Espinoza] a few ideas. He’s supposed to let me know. He’s willing to do a tripleheader, but the third fight is up in the air.”

So are the opponents for Broner and Matthysse, although Gomez has a list of potential foes he said he and Espinoza are discussing.

Although Gomez would love to match Broner and Matthysse with each other at some point, people should not read into their appearance on the same card as any sort of official prelude to such a fight.

“No, they are not fighting each other [on Sept. 6],” Gomez said. “I would love for them to fight each other, but right now it’s just two guys who need to fight. These are two exciting fighters and two of the top guys in the division fighting on the same card.”

The location for the card has not been determined. Gomez said that Broner would like it to be in his hometown of Cincinnati, which is a possibility. South Florida and San Antonio, where Maidana beat Broner, are other possibilities.

Matthysse (35-3, 33 KOs), a big puncher from Argentina, lost a decision in a high-profile fight to unified junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia last September on the Mayweather-Canelo Alvarez undercard and bounced back to stop John Molina in the 11th round in April in a fantastic fight, one that is a leading fight of the year candidate.
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When middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin and former titleholder Daniel Geale square off on Saturday night (HBO, 9:30 ET/PT) at New York’s Madison Square Garden, it will not be the first time they have duked it out.

Back in 2001, at the amateur East Asian Games tournament in Osaka, Japan, Golovkin (29-0, 26 KOs) and Geale (30-2, 16 KOs) met in the welterweight final. Neither fighter remembers much about the showdown other than that Golovkin won a decision.

It was a long time ago and both fighters had a lot of amateur bouts. Golovkin, of Kazakhstan, had more than 300 in an amateur career that included a 2004 Olympic silver medal. Australia’s Geale did not have quite as decorated an amateur career, but he was a 2000 Olympian, whose Olympics came in his home country of Australia.

Golovkin said he "vaguely" recalls the amateur fight with Geale. His scant memories are simply that he "won going away" in a four-round bout with no knockdowns.

Geale said, "It was a long time ago. The only thing I recall is that we got the opportunity to fight at a few different international tournaments, and, for me, it helped me to step up. I got a chance to fight some of the best fighters from places like Russia and Kazakhstan, and I improved. I think I made the next step after. The thing I remember about the fight [with Golovkin] was that it went the distance and I didn’t fight as well as I wanted to. I was disappointed in my performance."

Unlike some amateur rivals who meet as pros, where the experience with each other sometimes means something -- Vernon Forrest and Shane Mosley, for example -- the Golovkin-Geale matchup from 13 years ago has no bearing on Saturday night’s fight.

"This definitely means nothing as far as Saturday goes," Geale said. "It was early on for me. It was early in my international career."

Adamek-Szpilka in the works

July, 22, 2014
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A heavyweight crossroads fight between the up-and-coming Artur Szpilka and faded contender Tomasz Adamek is in the works for Nov. 8 in Krakow, Poland, according to the promoters for both.

It would be a major event in Poland, where both fighters are quite popular, and probably quite an entertaining fight. Both are also in need of a victory since they are both coming off losses.

Main Events, Adamek’s promoter, and Warriors Boxing promoter Leon Margules, who co-promotes Szpilka, both said they are working on the deal, although both acknowledged there are still a number of open issues.

The 37-year-old Adamek (49-3, 29 KOs), a longtime contender (not to mention a former world heavyweight title challenger and former light heavyweight and cruiserweight titleholder), seemed to reach the end of the line as a serious threat in his last fight when Vyacheslav "Czar" Glazkov doled out a bit of a beating in a decision win on March 15.

Szpilka (16-1, 12 KOs), a 25-year-old southpaw who seems to still have a bright future, suffered his first loss in January in New York when he was stopped in the 10th round by unbeaten prospect Bryant Jennings.
British heavyweight contender Tyson Fury probably will remain on the card Saturday at the Phones4U Arena in Manchester, England, and face a replacement opponent for injured Dereck Chisora.

Fury (22-0, 16 KOs) and Chisora (20-4, 13 KOs) were supposed to meet in a rematch in the main event for Chisora’s European title and an eliminator to determine one of world champion Wladimir Klitschko’s mandatory challengers. However, Chisora, who lost a decision to Fury in 2011, withdrew Monday after suffering a fractured left hand Friday in his final sparring session.

While promoter Frank Warren announced that the Fury-Chisora fight would be rescheduled -- possibly in September -- Fury has put in a full training camp, and the decision was made to keep him on the card.

Warren and Hennessy Sports are looking for a last-minute opponent to face Fury, but even if they find one, don’t expect it to be a top-level fighter.

A frustrated Fury also saw a fight with former world titleholder David Haye called off twice in the past year because of Haye’s injuries.

“It’s very frustrating for me that another of my major fights has been canceled with my opponent pulling out injured,” Fury said. “I have been training for months to get ready for this fight and am in the best condition of my life, so for this to happen again -- for the third time in such a short space of time -- is a big blow. Nevertheless, I will be fighting this weekend, and my team will find an adequate replacement. Believe me, whoever I face on Saturday, they will be in big, big trouble, and I will take out my frustrations on them.”
Bantamweight Randy Caballero is headed overseas again, this time in an effort to win a vacant world title.

Caballero will face former titleholder Stuart Hall of England for the belt recently vacated by Paul Butler. But instead of fighting in his home region of Southern California, where Caballero has fought most of his career, he is headed for England because of the result of Tuesday's IBF purse bid.

Promoter Dennis Hobson, representing Hall, won the auction for $261,750, easily outbidding Golden Boy Promotions, the only other bid, which offered $127,000.

Hobson has 90 days to put on the fight. The purse will be split 50-50, with Caballero and Hall each receiving $130,875.

England’s Butler won a split decision against the 34-year-old Hall (16-3-2, 7 KOs) on June 7 to claim the 118-pound title, but rather than defend it Butler vacated and is moving down in weight, leaving Caballero and Hall as the leading available contenders to vie for the vacant belt.

To get the title shot, Caballero (21-0, 13 KOs) traveled to Japan and knocked out Kohei Oba in the eighth round on April 4 in an elimination bout to become the mandatory challenger for the belt.

A resident of Coachella, California, the 23-year-old Caballero has no problem going back on the road.

“Randy has no problem with it. He’s a real pro,” manager Cameron Dunkin told ESPN.com. “He is not afraid to go anywhere. He went all the way to Japan for the eliminator. He’ll go to England, no problem. He’s great at fighting at home, but [Golden Boy] didn’t win the bid so he has to deal with it. He said, ‘I don’t care where I have to fight. I’ll fight on the moon. I want to be champion.’ He has a great attitude.”
When heavyweight Steve Cunningham faced Amir Mansour and defeated him by 10-round decision -- after getting knocked down twice in the fifth round -- in a terrific slugfest in April, the former cruiserweight titlist made no secret about the reason he continues to fight.

His family is dealing with the mounting medical bills for his 8-year-old daughter, Kennedy, who has a serious heart ailment.

[+] EnlargeSteve Cunningham
Courtesy The Cunningham FamilySteve Cunningham's 8-year-old daughter, Kennedy, needs a heart transplant.
The little girl was ringside for the fight and had a big smile on her face when Cunningham was announced the winner. But given her grave condition, smiles have been hard to come by.

She needs a heart transplant to give her a chance to survive a condition known as hypoplastic left heart syndrome, in which the left side of her heart has not completely developed.

Around the time of Cunningham’s fight with Mansour, the family received word that Kennedy, who had open heart surgery when she was 2 days old, another one six months later and spent the first year of her life in the hospital, was not a candidate for a heart transplant.

Despite numerous medical issues, she is closing in on her ninth birthday, a feat in itself. Doctors in her hometown of Philadelphia told Cunningham and his wife, Livvy, that the best they could do was give Kennedy medication to help her heart function, but that eventually it would give out and she would die.

“I was so completely heartbroken the day her doctor sat me down and gave me the news," Livvy Cunningham said. “My world collapsed. I cried for three days straight while I tried to wrap my head around the news and tried to figure out how to live without the hope of a beautiful future for our beautiful daughter. Tried to picture our lives without her. I just couldn't, it was impossible."

At that point, the Cunninghams sought a second opinion. Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh agreed to evaluate her and last month accepted her into its program and put her on the list for a transplant.

"I'll never forget the day I got the call from my wife with the news (that she wasn’t a transplant candidate),” Cunningham said. “I broke down like never before. I lost it. I was in the middle of my training camp for a must-win fight. People close to me told me I should pull out of the fight, that it was too much for me.

“But I knew that I had to fight for Kennedy. She has been through so many battles in her life and has never once given up and I was not going to let her see her father quit. I turned my sadness and fear into determination and on fight night, I had to dig deep. But it was that determination that got me up off the canvas twice to win. We will never give up on Kennedy and are so blessed and excited that the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh has agreed to take her on and list her.”

The Cunninghams will take Kennedy to the hospital in Pittsburgh one or two times a month for checkups while they await a call telling them that there is an available heart. If that call comes, they’ll have four hours to get her to the hospital.

The bills are a hardship for the Cunninghams and they have set up a fund to help them cover the costs of her medical care. So far they have raised a little more than $7,000 of what they hope will be $25,000. To donate, you can go to http://www.heartbyfaith.com/.

Haymon signs more fighters

July, 21, 2014
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A few notes from around the boxing world:

• Manager Al Haymon’s signing binge continues. He has signed welterweight Roberto Garcia and middleweight Caleb Truax, Sam Watson, Haymon’s right-hand man, told ESPN.com. They join a stable that includes more than 50 fighters, many of whom Haymon has signed this year. Garcia and Truax are both being featured on this week’s edition of “Friday Night Fights” on ESPN2 in Chicago. Garcia (35-3, 23 KOs) takes on Breidis Prescott (27-5, 20 KOs) in the main event and Truax (23-1-2, 14 KOs) meets Derek Ennis (24-4-1, 13 KOs) in the co-feature. Both fights are scheduled for 10 rounds.

• With the postponement on Monday of Saturday’s heavyweight rematch between British contenders Tyson Fury and Dereck Chisora because Chisora fractured his left hand in his final sparring session, AWE, which was due to televise the card in the United States, has dropped its coverage plans. Although the Fury-Chisora II main event is off, the card is still going on but will not have American television coverage now.

• Iron Mike Productions announced a card that will take place at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh on Aug. 8 (Fox Sports 1) that will be headlined by hometown favorite Samuel Vasquez (15-0, 11 KOs) facing James Stevenson (21-0, 14 KOs) of Baltimore in a 10-round welterweight fight. Ievgen Khytrov (5-0, 5 KOs), a 2012 Olympian from Ukraine, is also on the card against Willie Fortune (17-1, 8 KOs) in a six-round middleweight fight.

New date for Molina-Bundrage

July, 21, 2014
Jul 21
3:41
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There’s been a change of date for junior middleweight titleholder Carlos Molina’s mandatory defense against former titlist Cornelius “K9” Bundrage.

They were due to meet Sept. 6 in Cancun, Mexico, but the date has been switched to Oct. 11, still at the Grand Oasis Cancun resort, Warriors Boxing promoter Leon Margules told ESPN.com on Monday.

“Sept. 6 was the date we wanted to do it, but it just didn’t work out, so we had to move the date because of the arena availability and the hotel room availability,” Margules said.

Margules said he is working to finalize a deal with Mexican broadcaster Televisa and that Oct. 11 was better for the network. There is no American television lined up for the fight, but Margules said he was confident there would be.

The fight is taking place in Molina’s native Mexico because the longtime Chicago resident was deported after it was discovered in March that he was in the United States illegally.

Molina (22-5-2, 6 KOs), 31, will be making his first title defense. Bundrage (33-5, 19 KOs), 41, of Detroit, won the belt from Cory Spinks by fifth-round knockout in 2010 and made two successful defenses before losing it to Ishe Smith by majority decision in February 2013. Smith then lost the title to Molina in his first defense. Bundrage easily outpointed Joey Hernandez on Jan. 24 in a title eliminator to become Molina’s mandatory challenger.

New opponent for Tapia set

July, 21, 2014
Jul 21
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Exciting junior middleweight Glen Tapia will remain on the Gennady Golovkin-Daniel Geale undercard on Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Passaic, New Jersey’s Tapia, 24, was supposed to face New Yorker Boyd Melson but Melson suffered an apparent torn left rotator cuff injury in sparring last Tuesday and dropped out of the fight. But Top Rank has secured a new opponent to face Tapia in an eight-rounder.

He will face Salim Larbi (19-5-2, 7 KOs), 27, of France. Although 3-4 in his last seven bouts, he is experienced, having lost a 12-round decision to prospect Jack Culcay in his last fight in April and having also suffered losses to Canadian contender Antonin Decarie and former world title challenger Lukas Konecny in an interim title fight.

Tapia (21-1, 13 KOs) is seeking his second win in a row since starting to train with Hall of Famer Freddie Roach in the wake of his rough sixth-round knockout loss to James Kirkland in December.

Montiel aims at fourth title

July, 21, 2014
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Mexico’s Fernando Montiel has won world titles in three weight classes -- flyweight, junior bantamweight and bantamweight -- and pines for one in a fourth division.

In the twilight of his 18-year professional career, Montiel, 35, has dreams of a world title at featherweight, where he is now campaigning.

With that goal in mind, Montiel (51-4-2, 38 KOs) returns to action to face Jesus Rios (30-5-1, 21 KOs), 30, of Mexico, on Saturday night (beIn Sports Espanol, 11 ET) in Villafores, Mexico.

“I want a fourth world title at featherweight,” Montiel said. “First I have to win on Saturday against Rios and then talk to my promoter Zanfer about making a title fight.”

Montiel has defeated opponents such as Isidro Garcia, the late Pedro Alcazar, Ivan Hernandez, Martin Castillo and Hozumi Hasegawa, and he has suffered losses to Nonito Donaire, Jhonny Gonzalez and Hall of Famer Mark “Too Sharp” Johnson.

Since a decision loss in November 2011 to Victor Terrazas, who later won a junior featherweight world title, Montiel has won five fights in a row.

He said he trains regularly, even when he doesn't have fight lined up, and has a dream fight before retiring.

"I'm always in the gym, no matter what, whether I have fights or not,” he said. “I always train in Los Mochis in the gym of my father and brothers preparing for whatever comes. I would love a fight with Jorge ‘Travieso’ Arce. Hopefully, he will accept before we both retire from boxing.”

A Montiel-Arce fight would match two of the most decorated Mexican stars of the past decade.

Tete claims vacant 115 title

July, 18, 2014
Jul 18
11:38
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South African southpaw Zolani Tete (19-3, 16 KOs) rolled to a lopsided decision against Japan’s Teiru Kinoshita (19-1-1, 3 KOs) on Friday in Kobe, Japan to win a vacant junior bantamweight world title.

The judges all had it for Tete, 119-109, 118-110 and 118-110.

Ace Japanese boxing correspondent Joe Kozumi reported that Tete, 26, a southpaw with a five-inch reach advantage, dominated by sticking his jab into Kinoshita, 28, throughout what he described as “a monotonously one-sided affair. Probably even Tete hadn’t expected such an easy and lopsided victory before the contest, as Kinoshita was just a disappointment (who) showed nothing throughout the bout. He looked pathetic without a game plan to win.”

Tete and Kinoshita were vying for the 115-pound belt left vacant when Daiki Kameda lost a unification fight to Liborio Solis in a December bout that Solis won by decision but the belts were vacant because Solis failed to make weight.

Kameda signs with Haymon

July, 17, 2014
Jul 17
10:30
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Bantamweight titlist Tomoki Kameda, who looked great in his one-punch body-shot knockout in the seventh round against Pungluang Sor Singyu on last week’s Canelo Alvarez-Erislandy Lara undercard in Las Vegas, has been ordered to make his mandatory defense.

Japan’s Kameda, who also signed this week with powerful adviser Al Haymon -- meaning we are likely to see him fighting regularly in the United States -- must next face mandatory challenger and interim titleholder Alejandro Hernandez. The WBO made the order on Tuesday. The sides have 30 days to make a deal or a purse bid will be ordered. Minimum bid is $100,000.

Kameda (30-0, 19 KOs), who turned 23 on the day of his fight last Saturday, has made two defenses. He is the latest addition to the growing Haymon stable that includes numerous top fighters, most notably Floyd Mayweather Jr., along with others such as Danny Garcia, Marcos Maidana, Adrian Broner, Shawn Porter, Keith Thurman, Lucas Matthysse, Amir Khan and dozens of others.

Hernandez (28-10-2, 15 KOs), 28, of Mexico, claimed the vacant interim belt via unanimous decision against Daniel Rosas on June 14. Hernandez scored a first-round knockdown and won on scores of 117-110, 116-111 and 114-113.
Junior middleweight Glen Tapia is in need of a new opponent.

The all-action fighter from Passaic, New Jersey, was scheduled to face Brooklyn's Boyd Melson in an eight-rounder on the Gennady Golovkin-Daniel Geale card next Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York.

However, Melson dropped out of the bout on Thursday after suffering a left rotator cuff injury on Tuesday in one of his final sparring sessions in preparation for the fight. It’s been a chronic injury for Melson (14-1-1, 4 KOs), a southpaw, who has had two surgeries on his rotator cuff so far.

“I felt it stretch when I was throwing a punch and I immediately knew something wasn’t right,” Melson said. “I tried to work through it but the pain only got worse. First, my shoulder started to throb, then it got cold. Since I hurt my rotator cuff and had surgery twice in the past, I know what a tear feels like.

“I didn’t want to believe it because I’ve worked incredibly hard and understand the significance of the Tapia fight. Not only was it a dream of mine to fight at Madison Square Garden, but a victory over Tapia would’ve put me in position to start earning significant money for Team Fight to Walk [the charity he donates his purses to].”

Top Rank promotes Tapia and had made a deal with K2 Promotions to put him on the card next week. Top Rank matchmaker Brad “Abdul” Goodman said he is looking for a new opponent to face Tapia (21-1, 13 KOs), 24, who will remain on the card if an opponent can be secured.

'Ref Cam' to be used on FNF

July, 17, 2014
Jul 17
10:06
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Fight fans are in for a little bit of a different perspective if they are watching this week’s “Friday Night Fights” (ESPN2/ESPN Deportes, 8 p.m. ET).

The card, which takes place at the Paramount Theater in Huntington, New York, will feature referees Steve Willis and Pete Santiago wearing point-of-view cameras to give viewers a first-person point of view of the fights, according to ESPN. The cameras, which will be mounted on both referees using two lapel pins, will be used live and during video replays. This marks the first time a referee camera has ever been used on “FNF.”

“We are always looking to innovate and provide viewers access to things they cannot have access to themselves,” said Matt Sandulli, the senior coordinating producer of the series. “This camera will put viewers in the ring and give them a view of the fight that only a limited number of people in the world have ever seen. We’d like to thank the New York Athletic Commission and referees Steve Willis and Pete Santiago for working with us to make this happen.”

David Berlin, the executive director of the New York State Athletic Commission, had to sign off on the cameras.

“We appreciate ESPN’s introduction of the ‘ref cam’ to bring a new dimension to ‘Friday Night Fights,’” Berlin said. “The New York State Athletic Commission is always working with promoters and networks to advance the sport and welcomes new technology that does not interfere with our regulatory function.”

In the main event, Emanuel Taylor (17-2, 12 KOs) faces Karim Mayfield (18-1-1, 11 KOs) in a 10-round junior welterweight bout and Cletus Seldin (13-0, 10 KOs) meets Bayan Jargal (17-5-3, 10 KOs) in the eight-round junior welterweight co-feature.

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