Dan Rafael: Al Haymon

Purse bid for Lomachenko-Russell

April, 16, 2014
Apr 16
Given that featherweight Vasyl Lomachenko is promoted by Top Rank and Gary Russell Jr. works with Golden Boy (although he is not under contract), it is no surprise that the sides have not engaged in a negotiation for the vacant title bout they have been ordered to meet in.

With no deal in the works, the WBO has ordered a purse bid, which is scheduled to take place Friday at noon ET in Orlando, Fla., according to Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti. Orlando is the site of Top Rank’s UniMas-televised fight card Saturday night, and since the card includes a WBO regional title bout, organization officials as well as Top Rank personnel will be on hand.

Lomachenko (1-1, 1 KO), the two-time Olympic gold medalist from Ukraine, and manager Egis Klimas both say they are eager for the fight with Russell. Whether Russell (24-0, 14 KOs), a 2008 U.S. Olympian, and adviser Al Haymon are interested in the bout remains to be seen.

The title became vacant when Orlando Salido was stripped for not making weight for a March 1 defense against Lomachenko, who then lost a split decision to Salido, leaving the belt vacant.

“There are not a lot of expectations from either side [on making a deal], so the purse bid was called and we’ll see how it will unfold there,” Moretti said.

Khan joins Haymon's stable

April, 15, 2014
Apr 15
The stable of powerful adviser Al Haymon continued to grow Wednesday as he added yet another prominent fighter -- former unified junior welterweight titlist Amir Khan of England.

The signing comes as little surprise, as Khan has talked about signing with Haymon in recent weeks.

“I am very happy to have signed with Al Haymon, who has not only shown that he is a very astute businessman, but is extremely knowledgeable of the fight game and always has his fighters’ best interests at heart,” Khan said in a statement. “I’m looking forward to building a long and successful relationship during this exciting stage of my career.”

Khan’s next fight is already set. He will face former welterweight titlist Luis Collazo -- another Haymon client -- in a welterweight bout on May 3 in the co-feature of the Showtime PPV card headlined by the welterweight unification fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Marcos Maidana, both of whom also are Haymon clients.

The Khan-Collazo winner figures to be in great position to land a shot at Mayweather in the fall, assuming he defeats Maidana.

Haymon also recently signed light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson, welterweight contender Robert Guerrero, junior welterweight titlist Lamont Peterson and his brother, lightweight Anthony Peterson.

Haymon also handles, among others, top fighters Adrien Broner, Danny Garcia, Lucas Matthysse, Deontay Wilder, Chris Arreola, Peter Quillin, Shawn Porter, Keith Thurman, Paulie Malignaggi, Sakio Bika, Chad Dawson and Rances Barthelemy.

Ali, Ochoa, Brown on D.C. card

April, 7, 2014
Apr 7
Unbeaten welterweight Sadam Ali, a 2008 U.S. Olympian from Brooklyn, N.Y., will be one of the boxers featured in the nontitle bouts that Golden Boy Promotions announced Monday for the undercard of its April 19 (Showtime) card at the DC Armory in Washington, D.C.

The three top fights are world title bouts: the Bernard Hopkins-Beibut Shumenov light heavyweight title unification match, welterweight titlist Shawn Porter defending against former titleholder Paulie Malignaggi and middleweight titlist “Kid Chocolate” Peter Quillin in a defense against Lukas Konecny.

Ali (18-0, 11 KOs) will meet Jeremy Bryan (17-3, 7 KOs) of Paterson, N.J., in a scheduled 10-round bout that will be featured on the Showtime Extreme telecast.

Also scheduled for the Showtime Extreme portion of the card are Brooklyn’s Zachary Ochoa (6-0, 3 KOs) against Puerto Rico's Hector Marengo (6-7-4, 4 KOs) in a four-rounder and light heavyweight Marcus Browne (9-0, 7 KOs), a 2012 U.S. Olympian from Staten Island, N.Y., against an opponent to be determined in an eight-rounder.

In one of the nontelevised fights, middleweight prospect Dominic Wade (14-0, 10 KOs) of Largo, Md., who recently signed with powerful adviser Al Haymon, faces Marcus Upshaw (15-11-2, 7 KOs), of Jacksonville, Fla., in an eight-round fight.

It's Showtime for Lemieux

April, 2, 2014
Apr 2
By virtue of its close ties to Golden Boy Promotions and adviser Al Haymon, Showtime has a very deep stable of fighters that fight on the network. One of them is middleweight titlist “Kid Chocolate” Peter Quillin, who defends his belt on April 19 in Washington, D.C., against Lukas Konecny on the Bernard Hopkins-Beibut Shumenov undercard.

It’s not a very interesting matchup, as Quillin is the overwhelming favorite against the relatively unknown and not all that accomplished Konecny, whose best days were as a decent junior middleweight contender about five years ago.

One thing Quillin (30-0, 22 KOs) needs is name opponents, but HBO is where the two most notable fighters in his division ply their trade -- Sergio Martinez and Gennady Golovkin, not to mention many of the top super middleweights, should Quillin want to move up in weight. Golden Boy has a dearth of middleweights other than Daniel Jacobs, who could face Quillin this summer if he beats Konecny. That’s the fight Golden Boy chief executive Richard Schaefer has told me repeatedly that he wants to make.

But one of the benefits of Showtime’s recent deal with light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson is that when he defends his title against Andrzej Fonfara on May 24 in Montreal, a prime potential opponent for Quillin is coming along with him.

David Lemieux (31-2, 29 KOs), the power-punching middleweight from Montreal, is promoted by Yvon Michel, as is Stevenson. Lemieux is scheduled to fight on the Stevenson-Fonfara undercard -- opponent to be determined -- and his bout will be part of the Showtime telecast, according to Stephen Espinoza, who heads Showtime Sports.

“Yes, we’re doing Lemieux,” Espinoza said. “We're discussing opponents now.”

Lemieux was a superb prospect before back-to-back upset losses in 2011, but remains a highly entertaining and charismatic fighter. By making his Showtime debut next month, Lemieux, who has won six fights in a row against middling opposition, obviously becomes a potential opponent -- and an interesting one -- for Quillin, which is something Quillin really needs.

• A fight Espinoza has designs on televising is the junior lightweight rematch between titleholder Argenis Mendez (21-2-1, 11 KOs) and Rances Barthelemy (19-0, 12 KOs), one of Haymon’s most recent signings. Mendez-Barthelemy I, which opened the ESPN2 “Friday Night Fights” season on Jan. 3, ended with Barthelemy knocking out Mendez at the end of the second round but the result being changed to a no decision and the title being returned to Mendez because the knockout punches happened after the bell ended the round.

“I do want to do Mendez-Barthelemy II,” Espinoza said. “[I’m] looking for a place for it in June.”

Given Haymon’s association now with Barthelemy, you can count on Espinoza finding a place for it.
Adonis StevensonAP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jacques BoissinotLight heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson had some words for Sergey Kovalev.

Often in boxing, it is trash talk between fighters that leads to a match being made. And often it is also after a match is made that the trash-talking begins.

Rarely do you hear the trash talk after a fight goes unmade, but that is where we are now as it relates to the no-longer-happening light heavyweight championship showdown between champion Adonis “Superman” Stevenson and titlist Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev.

Their fight was supposed to take place in the fall after Kovalev promoter Kathy Duva of Main Events and Stevenson promoter Yvon Michel made a deal with HBO. But as you should know by now that is not happening, because Stevenson and his team reneged last week on a multifight deal they had with HBO for a May 24 showcase fight and the fall fight with Kovalev.

Stevenson’s team -- new adviser Al Haymon and promoter Yvon Michel -- attempted to shake down HBO for more money on the May fight as well as refusing to follow through on a deal agreed to for the fall fight. In other words, they wanted more money for the expected walkover fight and didn’t even want to commit to the hard, big fight. HBO, which had already made a deal (although it was unsigned, which is on HBO for being sloppy), was having none of that. When Showtime eventually made a bigger offer for the May fight, HBO declined its contractual right to match the offer. Thus, Stevenson is now a Showtime fighter and Kovalev happily remains at HBO, which televised his seventh-round destruction of overmatched Cedric Agnew from Atlantic City, N.J., on Saturday night.

After the fight, Kovalev had some choice words for Stevenson when asked by HBO’s Max Kellerman about the situation during his postfight interview.

"Adonis Stevenson is a piece of s---. Oh, sorry for my English,” Kovalev responded about the man who certainly seemed to duck the fight.

I totally get that Stevenson will make more money for the May 24 fight now that it is on Showtime. Fighters should go for the biggest money. That is what they and their team are supposed to do. It’s the hurt business, emphasis on business. I would do the same thing. But, and it’s a big but, the issue here is giving your word as a man, agreeing to a deal down to the little details and then backing out. That is not cool. And, frankly, Duva said she is considering litigation over the issue because she says she has emails confirming every step of the way toward a done deal.

In any event, after Kovalev gave his opinion on Stevenson, the champ took to Twitter and had his say, lashing out at Kovalev.

“You just a real slow BUM with no defense. Easy work,” Stevenson wrote.

Stevenson was not done quite yet adding, “Tell your mama Kathy Duva to stop crying and to call Yvon Michel and Al Haymon to make the fight happen! BUM.”

I had tweeted Kovalev’s postfight comment about Stevenson and he responded to me, tweeting, “When Kovalev fight me he will stay at the hospital and mama Duva will come see him! Tell mama Duva to call Al Haymon and Yvon Michel to make that easy payday happen!”

(By the way, in disrespectfully calling Duva, who has 30 years of experience at the top of the promotional business, ‘mama,’ Main Events responded to Stevenson, “Adonis, your disdain for women and misogyny is, unfortunately, not surprising. #SuperDuck.” Main Events was probably referring to Stevenson’s prison sentence for promoting prostitution.)

But back to Stevenson’s tough talk about making the fight, the easy payday, etc. ... with Kovalev. The trash talk is good and everything except for one small detail: The fight was made already and it was Stevenson who walked away from the deal, not Kovalev.

For Stevenson to go after him like that smacks of hypocrisy. Like he is the schoolboy beefing with his rival and threatening to fight him on the playground, screaming, “I’ll get you! Let’s fight!” Meanwhile, he is standing behind his buddies, who are not going to let anything happen.

It’s not a good look. This is not a good look for Stevenson, who had the fight with Kovalev. If it was such an easy payday why didn’t he and his team keep their word? Stevenson threw it away, not Kovalev.

R. Guerrero signs with Haymon

March, 21, 2014
Mar 21
Robert GuerreroEthan Miller/Getty ImagesRobert Guerrero, who has not fought since last May, has aligned with powerful adviser Al Haymon.
Stop if you've heard this one before: powerful adviser has signed another top fighter.

Haymon continued his signing binge on Friday, inking welterweight contender (and former featherweight and junior lightweight titlist) Robert Guerrero.

Guerrero co-manager Luis DeCubas Jr. and Sam Watson, Haymon's right-hand man, both told ESPN.com that the deal was signed.

"We're very excited. I think it's proven that Al Haymon is the top adviser in boxing," said DeCubas, who also has junior middleweight titlist Erislandy Lara with Haymon. "Robert is one of the top welterweights in the world. It's the hottest division and we're ready to fight. Robert is looking at all comers and we're looking to take over the division."

DeCubas and Bob Santos will continue to co-manage Guerrero.

"It's a wonderful team and me and Bob are extremely excited to bring Robert in as part of the Haymon family," DeCubas said.

Guerrero said in a statement, "Signing with Al Haymon was a team decision and together we feel with no doubts that this was the best move for my career. Team Guerrero and Team Al Haymon are united as one and together we are going straight to the top. I'm hungry and I'm ready to get back in the ring. My goals are still the same and that's to be the best fighter I can be and give the fans great performances."

Haymon's stable already boasts numerous top fighters, including cornerstone boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. not to mention Marcos Maidana, Adrien Broner, Danny Garcia, Lucas Matthysse, Deontay Wilder, Peter Quillin, Shawn Porter, Keith Thurman, Paulie Malignaggi and many others.

In recent weeks Haymon has also signed junior welterweight titlist Lamont Peterson, his brother, Anthony Peterson, junior lightweight contender Rances Barthelemy and former light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson.

Guerrero has been trying to get out of his contract with Golden Boy Promotions since late last year. After the California State Athletic Commission denied his request for arbitration to break his promotional contract, he threatened litigation. But no suit was filed.

Haymon does almost all of his business with Golden Boy so it's a good bet that Guerrero and the company will quickly iron out their differences. DeCubas did not want to discuss Guerrero's issues with Golden Boy, saying only, "Al Haymon is handling the business decisions for Robert Guerrero's career. It's up to him. We're ready to rock and get in that ring."

Guerrero (31-2-1, 18 KOs), who turns 31 next week, has not fought since last May, when he earned a career-high $3 million in a lopsided decision loss challenging welterweight champion and pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Peterson brothers join Haymon

March, 18, 2014
Mar 18
Lamont Peterson, Dierry JeanTom Casino/ShowtimeJunior welterweight titlist Lamont Peterson was among three new fighters to align with Al Haymon.
The roster of Al Haymon fighters just keeps growing and growing.

Boxing's most influential adviser added three more fighters to his stable in the past week, signing the Peterson brothers -- junior welterweight titlist Lamont and lightweight Anthony -- along with junior lightweight contender Rances Barthelemy, according to Sam Watson, Haymon's right-hand man.

“We signed them and we're happy to have them," Watson said.

The signings come on the heels of other recent signings that include light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson, former welterweight titleholder Luis Collazo and former light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson.

Lamont Peterson (32-2-1, 16 KOs) defended his title on Jan. 25 and has nothing scheduled, but younger brother Anthony (32-1, 21 KOs), who has fought just twice since a disqualification loss in a title eliminator to Brandon Rios in 2010, returns in this week's "Friday Night Fights" co-feature on ESPN2 when he faces Marcos Jimenez (20-4, 13 KOs) in a 10-round bout at the Morongo Castino Resort & Spa in Cabazon, Calif.

Barthelemy (19-0, 12 KOs) thought he won a 130-pound world title by second-round knockout of Argenis Mendez on Jan. 3 but the result was later changed by the Minnesota commission to a no decision because the knockout blows were thrown after the bell ended the round. Mendez appealed the result and won, so the outcome was changed and he retained the title. They are due to meet in a mandatory rematch, probably in the early summer.

Haymon represents numerous top fighters, most notably pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. But there are so many more, including Marcos Maidana, Adrien Broner, Danny Garcia, Lucas Matthysse, Beibut Shumenov, Devon Alexander, Deontay Wilder, Peter Quillin, Shawn Porter, Keith Thurman, Erislandy Lara, Paulie Malignaggi, Andre Berto, Chris Arreola, Sakio Bika, Gary Russell Jr. and twins Jermell and Jermall Charlo.

Haymon also signed several members of the 2012 U.S. Olympic boxing team, including Dominic Breazeale, Marcus Browne, Terrell Gausha, Errol Spence Jr. and flyweight Rau'shee Warren.

Dawson latest to join Haymon

March, 8, 2014
Mar 8
LAS VEGAS -- Powerful adviser Al Haymon usually signs top titleholders, contenders and elite prospects. He is not known for signing reclamation projects, but that is exactly what he has done by adding former light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson to his star-studded stable, Sam Watson, Haymon’s right-hand man, told ESPN.com on Friday at the Canelo Alvarez-Alfredo Angulo weigh-in.

Watson said the plan is to get Dawson back in the ring “probably in May.”

“Chad’s still only 31,” Watson said. “We know he’s had some tough times but he can fight. And all he wants is an opportunity. We’ll get him an opportunity. The rest is up to him.”

Dawson (31-3, 17 KOs), a southpaw from New Haven, Conn., was long one of the best fighters in the world and the class of the light heavyweight division. As recently as April 2012, he easily outpointed Bernard Hopkins in their rematch. Dawson also owns two wins apiece against Antonio Tarver and Glenn Johnson and wins against Adrian Diaconu and Tomasz Adamek.

But things went south very quickly for Dawson after the Hopkins win, getting knocked out twice in a row. After the Hopkins win, he dropped down to super middleweight -- an ill-advised moved -- and challenged champion Andre Ward, who cleaned his clock and stopped him in the 10th round of an utterly one-sided fight.

Dawson returned in June 2013 and lost the light heavyweight title when Adonis Stevenson -- who signed with Haymon two weeks ago -- drilled him in the first round for the 2013 knockout of the year.

Dawson is a promotional free agent following the expiration of his contract with Gary Shaw, but it would seem likely that he will wind up fighting on a Golden Boy card since Haymon does nearly all of his business with the company.

Haymon represents numerous top fighters, most notable pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. But there are so many more, including junior featherweight titlist Leo Santa Cruz (who is on Saturday night’s Alvarez-Angulo card and the reason Watson is in Las Vegas), Marcos Maidana, Adrien Broner, Danny Garcia, Lucas Matthysse, Beibut Shumenov, Devon Alexander, Deontay Wilder, Peter Quillin, Shawn Porter, Keith Thurman, Luis Collazo, Paulie Malignaggi, Chris Arreola, twins Jermell and Jermall Charlo, and Stevenson.
Luis CollazoMaddie Meyer/Getty ImagesSigning with powerful adviser Al Haymon will open many doors for welterweight Luis Collazo.

Add one more guy to the list of fighters who undoubtedly will say at his next news conference or after his next victory, “I’d like to thank Al Haymon.”

Former welterweight titlist Luis Collazo became the latest fighter to sign with Haymon, the most powerful adviser in boxing, whose vast stable includes many of the best fighters in the world, including Floyd Mayweather Jr., Marcos Maidana, Danny Garcia, Adrien Broner, Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter, Peter Quillin, Deontay Wilder, Devon Alexander, Lucas Matthysse and many others.

Collazo, 32, of Brooklyn, N.Y., is coming off a second-round knockout of Victor Ortiz, another Haymon client, on Jan. 30.

"I'm excited to be joining Team Haymon," Collazo said. "I'm looking forward to the doors this opportunity is going to open for me. I can't wait to get this partnership going."

Collazo (35-5 18 KOs), who held a welterweight world title from 2005 to 2006, has won four in a row and put himself in position for a major fight in a deep 147-pound weight class.

"I'm looking forward to a big year ahead and signing with Team Haymon is just one of the first steps," Collazo said. "He works with a lot of guys in my division and with this new step in the right direction, I'm sure I will be fighting some of them in the near future."

Collazo, like everyone else, would love a piece of Mayweather and the big payday that goes with it. Collazo called out Mayweather after knocking out Ortiz, who had previously been knocked out by Mayweather.

"God willing I'll get the chance to be in the ring against Mayweather and prove what I've always thought, that I'm the best in the world,” Collazo said.

Haymon, as always, had no comment.

Stevenson signs with Haymon

February, 19, 2014
Feb 19
Al HaymonRamon Cairo for ESPNPowerful adviser Al Haymon works behind the scenes with some of the best fighters in boxing.
Light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson surprised many on Tuesday when he signed with powerful adviser Al Haymon.

Stevenson signed the papers in California with Sam Watson, Haymon's right-hand man. Watson said he has known Stevenson for a while and that Stevenson has wanted to sign with Haymon because the boxer has seen what Haymon has been able to do for his numerous clients.

"This is a big signing for me," Stevenson told ESPN.com. "I've known Sam a long time and wanted to be with Al. It will be better for me and my career and give me better opportunities."

Said Watson, "It's big fights for Adonis."

What is unclear is whether the signing will have an impact on the game plan already in motion for Stevenson, or if it just means that Haymon will work to get Stevenson a better deal for the fights that are in the works.

Stevenson (23-1, 20 KOs) is supposed to be back in action for his third title defense on May 24, when he is planning to headline an HBO card in his hometown of Montreal against Chicago-based Poland native Andrzej Fonfara (25-2, 15 KOs). However, that fight is not signed yet. A Stevenson victory would supposedly lead to a fall unification showdown with titleholder Sergey Kovalev, who fights his interim bout against Cedric Agnew on March 29 in Atlantic City, N.J., in the main event of his own card. That fight is not signed either, and Haymon may have other ideas for Stevenson.

Haymon, of course, is essentially a recluse and does not speak to the media, so don't expect to hear from him on the matter.

However, it is common knowledge that HBO -- which has made Stevenson-Kovalev one of its 2014 priorities -- and Haymon are on the outs following the defection last year of Haymon’s No. 1 client, Floyd Mayweather Jr., to Showtime.

Additionally, Haymon represents numerous Golden Boy fighters, including Marcos Maidana, Adrien Broner, Danny Garcia, Lucas Matthysse, Beibut Shumenov, Devon Alexander, Deontay Wilder, Peter Quillin, Shawn Porter and Keith Thurman. After Mayweather left HBO, the network banned Golden Boy fighters and those boxers wound up on Showtime, even though HBO had poured considerable resources into many of them.

HBO did make one exception for a Haymon fighter -- when Edwin Rodriguez (who is promoted by Lou DiBella, not Golden Boy) fought super middleweight champ Andre Ward in November. However, the deal for that fight was way down the road to being completed before Rodriguez signed with Haymon. Perhaps it will be the same thing with regard to Stevenson and the fights against Fonfara and Kovalev that are being lined up for him by promoter Yvon Michel.

Watson said Haymon and Michel spoke on Tuesday about the signing and had a "good conversation."

Michel told ESPN.com that he expected to still go forward planning the fights with Fonfara and Kovalev.

"Adonis' goals have not changed," Michel said. "He wants three fights [in 2014], wants to unify the titles, be considered in the top five pound for pound before the end of the year and keep winning by spectacular knockout. I can also add making a lot of money. We are still moving forward in our negotiations. Al Haymon is certainly a great asset for Adonis and for us and his presence can only be positive."

Said Stevenson, "We haven't made any fights yet but whatever my promoter and Al say I should do, that's the way I'm going to go. I'll fight anybody. Al has a plan that will be good for me. I'm ready for anything. My job is to knock everybody out."

Watson said that Haymon has also signed John Molina (27-3, 22 KOs), the former lightweight title challenger who fought at junior welterweight in his last fight in November. Watson said Molina plans to continue to fight at 140 pounds.

No threat for Floyd from 140 to 154

September, 18, 2013
Floyd Mayweather Jr. was so easily beating Canelo Alvarez on Saturday night that in about the seventh or eighth round, I actually began to think about whom Mayweather should fight next.

I’m still thinking about it a few days later and there is still no obvious choice that really pumps me up. You know why? Because it doesn’t matter who Mayweather fights. He will beat anyone, probably easily, from 140 to 154 pounds. Frankly, there is not one fighter in those weight divisions who I think would even be competitive with the brilliant pound-for-pound king.

Junior welterweight champ Danny Garcia beat Lucas Matthysse in the co-feature of Saturday’s card at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and looks like a good bet to get the fight. It would be an easy fight to make because he is with Golden Boy and also with Al Haymon, the powerful manager and adviser whose No. 1 client is Mayweather.

For Garcia to put on seven pounds to meet Mayweather at welterweight would be no issue.

While Garcia, a heavy underdog against Matthysse, scored the upset and fought exceptionally well, would anyone give him much of a shot against Mayweather? No disrespect to Garcia, a fine fighter (and an exciting one) and a good guy, but he’d be a long shot. A really long shot.

Another opponent many mention as a possible Mayweather foe for May, when he plans to next fight, is the winner of a bout between welterweight titlist Devon Alexander and former junior welterweight titleholder Amir Khan. They are close to a deal for a fight on Dec. 7 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

As is the case with Garcia, would anyone give either man a serious chance to beat Mayweather? Alexander is a very good technical boxer, but there is not one category, other than age (26), in which he has an advantage over Mayweather, who's 36.

If Khan were to defeat Alexander (and he’d be the underdog for sure in that one), a fight with Mayweather might be the best bet economically because of the infusion of the British fan base and television money. Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer even talked about the possibility of having a potential Mayweather-Khan fight in front of 90,000 at Wembley Stadium.

So Mayweather-Khan would be a bigger event than Mayweather against Garcia or Alexander, but Khan has looked so bad in recent fights that he would be an even longer shot than those guys. I can’t see him laying a glove on Mayweather.

All could land the fight with Mayweather -- and they are all with Golden Boy, which makes them relatively easy to make -- but none do anything to set the world on fire.

[+] EnlargePeter Quillin
Elsa/Getty ImagesPeter Quillin could be an interesting opponent for the pound-for-pound king.
Fighters such as Manny Pacquiao, Brandon Rios, Timothy Bradley Jr. and Mike Alvarado you might as well cross off the list, because they are all with Top Rank, meaning there is no chance they would get made. We all know that. Other than Pacquiao -- and we’ve been down this road too many times -- none are all that interesting anyway.

Even Pacquiao, coming off a bad knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez (already dominated by Mayweather in 2009) has lost a lot of luster as a Mayweather opponent. Their fight would have set records had they gotten a deal done three years ago, when the world was desperate for the fight.

Eventually, a Mayweather-Adrien Broner fight will be big business if Broner continues to win (and he has a potentially tough fight in December against Marcos Maidana, should that deal be finalized). But it is not ready to be the May fight for Mayweather. Besides, I need to see Broner accomplish more before he deserves a shot at the king.

At junior middleweight, Mayweather has already convincingly defeated Alvarez and Miguel Cotto, and there is not another opponent in that weight class who would be any match for him or create any excitement whatsoever.

Basically, whomever Mayweather fights from 140 to 154 -- it’s all the same. It makes no difference.

But if Mayweather wants to get people truly excited for his next fight -- and wants them to pay $75 to watch it on Showtime PPV in HD -- he needs to dare to be greater than he already is.

That means seeking out a quality middleweight whom he could force to come down in weight a bit, even to 155.

I’d love to see Mayweather challenge champion Sergio Martinez, but that isn’t going to happen. Martinez is injured and fights on HBO. I wouldn’t count on seeing Mayweather call out Gennady Golovkin, boxing’s boogeyman, either. He also fights on HBO and might be the only man from 140 to 160 I’d give serious consideration to picking over Mayweather.

But the specter of Mayweather fighting somebody like titleholder Peter Quillin (easy to make, as he is with Golden Boy and Haymon), a quality bigger man with a personality built for selling pay-per-view? Now that is interesting.

Mayweather opens camp to media

August, 30, 2013

With training camp winding down ahead of his Sept. 14 megafight against fellow junior middleweight titleholder Canelo Alvarez at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Floyd Mayweather Jr. opened his gym for media day this week.

Mayweather hit the mitts, heavy bag and speed bag, jumped rope, stretched, did calisthenics and, of course, did a ton of interviews.

Mayweather fought in May, easily outpointing Robert Guerrero, and is returning very quickly -- at least by his usual standards. Without a long layoff, Mayweather figures to be in better form than usual, a scary prospect.

"I think I'll be a lot sharper for this fight," Mayweather said. "My training camp has been great. Actually, this is one of my best training camps I've had, probably since 2005. On my first day back, I got right back into sparring. I think I sparred seven rounds.

"I've been boxing a lot of rounds, so I'm sharp. I'm in great condition and happy to get right back in there. I feel tremendous."

The fight, although to be contested for the 154-pound titles that Mayweather and Alvarez hold, is at a catchweight of 152 pounds, which is more of a concession by Alvarez to the smaller Mayweather, who has no issues making weight.

"My weight is made," Mayweather said. "I came into training camp weighing 150 or 149 and I came into the gym [for Thursday’s media day] probably weighing 150 or 149. "Canelo is a solid competitor, but it is what it is: I've faced the best in this sport, I know what it takes to be involved in a fight of this magnitude and I'm dedicated to my craft. I was born for this."

Mayweather also talked up the match that so many fight fans are anxious to see.

"This is a great matchup. He's a puncher. I'm a sharp boxer," he said. "You know, a lot of times I hit these guys and I make them go into survival mode. Even in the Robert Guerrero fight, I was looking for the knockout, but I hurt my hand. So I wasn't impressed with myself, because I didn't get the knockout. This time around, I'll be looking for the knockout.

"He's banking on his youth, I'm banking on my experience. I have a lot of experience in championship fights. Look at his résumé, look at my résumé and see what you come up with."

Mayweather has faced numerous titleholders, former titleholders or future titleholders and many fighters who will someday be in the Hall of Fame. Alvarez’s experience level isn't even close, but Mayweather said he believes Alvarez is one of the best active fighters.

"He is one of the best in boxing at this particular time. He's young and strong," Mayweather said. "He's got guts, so we'll see how the fight plays out.

"It's not about the weight, it's about the skills. The skills pay the bills. I can't wait to get in there and compete and test my skills against this young guy. I feel good. I'm still hungry."

One of the many topics Mayweather addressed was the prediction from Alvarez and Golden Boy promoter (and former Mayweather victim) that Canelo would win by knockout.

"Did Canelo KO [April opponent] Austin Trout? This is a whole different ballgame," Mayweather said. "He may be predicting a knockout, but all you have to do is look at the opponents he's faced. I really don't know too many, but a lot of the guys went the distance with him. And we're not just talking about A-fighters, but D- and C-fighters. Guys that he should have knocked out in the fourth round, they were able to go into the eighth and ninth rounds even though they were caught with numerous shots. I don't think Ricky Hatton's brother [Matthew] is on the level of a Floyd Mayweather."

As for De La Hoya making the KO prediction?

"Oscar said he was gonna knock me out also," Mayweather said. "Did you see what happened in that fight? People are entitled to their opinion. People are going to say what they're going to say. My job is to be the best I can be and continue to do my job. There's a reason I do record-breaking numbers."

GBP working on Garcia-Matthysse

June, 11, 2013
Lucas Matthysse and Danny GarciaGetty ImagesLucas Matthysse and Danny Garcia have a new date for their promotional tour in the U.S.

Golden Boy chief executive Richard Schaefer is awfully busy juggling a bunch of fights that are coming up, including the big one, Floyd Mayweather-Canelo Alvarez on Sept. 14. But there are a lot of other fights to get done also, undercards to load up and Showtime dates to fill.

Schaefer, who has been in Mexico on business, told ESPN.com that he and Al Haymon, Mayweather’s adviser and manager to many of Golden Boy’s fighters, plan to sit down in the coming days when they are both back in Los Angeles to go over a host of issues. Among them: ironing out the Mayweather-Alvarez Showtime PPV undercard and trying to finalize a Sept. 7 fight between Danny Garcia and Lucas Matthysse (both Haymon clients) for junior welterweight supremacy.

Here’s an update from Schaefer on a variety of things he’s working on:

• Schaefer said his main focus is getting Garcia-Matthysse done.

“That’s what I’m working on this week,” he said. “I’d like to have the August and September schedules all done by the end of the week. I need to sit down with Al though and figure everything out.”

Schaefer said while some have been skeptical that Haymon would go through with Garcia-Matthysse, he is not.

“Al realizes that having all these fighters means they will sometimes have to fight each other,” Schaefer said. “Danny Garcia has never turned down anybody. And Matthysse? This is the fight he’s been waiting for. The fighters want it and the adviser is on board. I just have to finalize the money and the site. But I think we will get this done.”

• Former welterweight titlist Victor Ortiz, healed from his broken jaw after a knockout loss to Josesito Lopez last June, is expected back in action either late this summer or in the fall. Schaefer said one fight he is considering trying to make is Ortiz against Shane Mosley, who is coming off a desperately needed win against Pablo Cesar Cano on May 18 after exiting retirement.

This is not a fight I am a fan of, especially considering all of the top guys Schaefer could match Ortiz with. For example, I love the idea of an Ortiz fight against Robert Guerrero, a fight Guerrero also wants. Ortiz (two losses in a row) and Guerrero are both coming off defeats, but it would definitely be a fan-friendly fight with the winner putting himself back on track.

With regard to an Ortiz-Mosley fight, Schaefer said, “I would like to see it. Both guys have a lot to prove if they want to fight for a title again. I ask people, ‘Who do you think wins?’ And the response is split. That makes it an interesting fight to me.”

• Golden Boy recently won the purse bid for the mandatory fight between junior featherweight titlist Victor Terrazas and Leo Santa Cruz and needs to schedule the bout. Schaefer said it could wind up on the Mayweather-Alvarez pay-per-view. But so, too, could featherweight titlist Abner Mares’ next fight.

“It could be Mares against [former titlist] Jhonny Gonzalez,” Schaefer said. “Gonzalez would love to fight for the title and you know how Abner is. He’s never worried about fighting anybody.”

There is also the possibility, Schaefer said, of Mares and Santa Cruz not appearing on the PPV undercard and instead having their next fights in Mexico, possibly on the same card. It is also possible that one will be on the PPV and one will fight in Mexico.

• With Marcos Maidana defeating Josesito Lopez last Saturday in a barnburner, Schaefer said Maidana is in line for two potential fights. One would be a match with Andre Berto should Berto defeat Jesus Soto Karass on July 27 in San Antonio in the main event of a Showtime tripleheader. The other could be a shot at the winner of the June 22 fight between welterweight titlist Paulie Malignaggi and Adrien Broner. Maidana could shadowbox and I’ll be watching, so either fight sounds good to me, but I love Maidana-Berto. Can you say fight of the year?

“Maidana-Berto, Maidana with the Paulie-Broner winner, both are great fights,” Schaefer said. “We have so many guys at 140 and 147 you can mix and match any of these guys. It’s insane.”

• Schaefer said in addition to the Sept. 7 and Sept. 14 cards, he will also have a major card on either Aug. 24 or Aug. 31.

Thurman-Zaveck eliminator nearly set

February, 5, 2013
Power punching prospect Keith Thurman, the Al Haymon-managed HBO darling, is one win away from fighting for a world title despite an awfully thin resume.

Thurman, who makes exciting fights but has been matched very, very cautiously by Haymon and Golden Boy Promotions, will be back in action March 9 in the HBO co-feature of the Tavoris Cloud-Bernard Hopkins light heavyweight title fight at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., in a welterweight title eliminator against former titleholder Jan Zaveck.

The contracts for the bout are being finalized.

Thurman (19-0, 18 KOs), 24, of Clearwater, Fla., who did not fight at all in 2011, was still fighting eight-round bouts in early 2012 until a pair of scheduled 10-rounders on HBO, a gimme mismatch against Orlando Lora (TKO6) and another relatively soft touch in faded former welterweight titlist Carlos Quintana (TKO4) at 152 pounds.

Next up will be Slovenia’s Zaveck (32-2, 18 KOs), 36, who won a belt in 2009 and made three defenses against soft opposition before coming to America and losing the strap by fifth-round knockout (because of a badly busted up right eye) to Andre Berto in an HBO fight in November 2011. Zaveck returned to decision Bethuel Ushona (who?) last March but has been out of action since because of an elbow injury.

The winner of Thurman-Zaveck will be in position as the mandatory challenger for the title held by Timothy Bradley Jr.

Bradley, Gamboa in discussions

January, 19, 2013
Timothy BradleyChris Farina/Top RankTimothy Bradley Jr. could face Yuriorkis Gamboa ... or Floyd Mayweather Jr. in his next fight.

NEW YORK -- Welterweight titlist Timothy Bradley Jr. is supposed to be back in action March 16 and Top Rank promoter Bob Arum has been saying it’s going to be a big-name opponent, but he won’t say who.

But from what I am told, Top Rank has a deal with Yuriorkis Gamboa to face Bradley in an HBO main event at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.

Gamboa, the 50 Cent-promoted former featherweight titlist, won an interim junior lightweight belt in December on the Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez IV undercard in a deal made with Top Rank (Gamboa’s former promoter).

Gamboa would move up in weight to challenge for Bradley’s welterweight title, but there are issues of how high. My sources tell me that they have been unable to agree on an exact weight. Gamboa, at a huge size disadvantage, would like Bradley to come into the low 140s while Bradley (not far removed from being a champion at 140) is not keen on dropping weight, nor is he in love with the financial terms.

It remains to be seen if Bradley will take the fight. He hasn’t fought since June, when he got a gift decision (and a welterweight title) against Pacquiao.

He could have returned in December to fight a rematch with Lamont Peterson (the junior welterweight titlist who would have moved up in weight) on HBO for $2.3 million. But Bradley turned it down, even though he had decisively beaten Peterson a couple of years ago.

One of the reasons there could be issues closing a deal with Bradley -- and this is speculation, but some in the business believe could be legit -- is that he is also being considered as an opponent for Floyd Mayweather Jr. on May 4.

Obviously, he would make way more money against Mayweather than Gamboa. And he wouldn’t have to lose any weight.

Some might ask how could a Mayweather fight be made, since Mayweather is with Al Haymon and Golden Boy is the main promoter of the event, and Haymon and Golden Boy have horrific relations with Top Rank, Bradley’s promoter.

I believe that if a Mayweather fight was presented to Bradley, that Top Rank, for the right seven-figure cut of the Bradley package, would allow him to go fight Mayweather and stay out of the promotion.

I can see it happening. If you’re Mayweather, Bradley is a better style fight for him than either of the two candidates being discussed for his next fight: Robert Guerrero (a physical southpaw) and Saul "Canelo" Alvarez (a bigger man with good power). Bradley is right-handed, smaller and presents less problems than they do.

Maybe I’m being a conspiracy theorist here, but maybe, just maybe, the hang up in announcing Mayweather’s next opponent is because there are delicate talks going on behind the scenes for a possible fight with Bradley, whose attorney Gabriel Penagaricano, has a good relationship with Golden Boy through his recent dealings with the company on behalf of his top client, Miguel Cotto (Mayweather’s last opponent).

If Bradley vacates the March 16 date -- be it to fight Mayweather or because he won’t agree to terms for a Gamboa fight -- it would not surprise me to see Top Rank and HBO move junior featherweight titlist Nonito Donaire up a month (possibly to fight a unification bout with Guillermo Rigondeaux) and have him fill the date rather than go in April, which is the plan now.

All food for thought.