Dan Rafael: Al Haymon

When welterweight titlist Shawn Porter and mandatory challenger Kell Brook agreed to their fight they also agreed to undergo random drug testing -- blood and urine -- that would be overseen by United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

However, neither fighter had been tested as of last week, raising questions about what was going on for a fight that is scheduled for Aug. 16 (Showtime) at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.

Even Golden Boy Promotions president Oscar De La Hoya and Porter were a bit confused about what was up with the testing when they spoke to the media on a teleconference about the fight last week, and I asked about the drug testing protocol.

“Well, the drug testing was handled through [Golden Boy vice president] Eric Gomez and through [Porter adviser] Al Haymon,” De La Hoya said. “There is a drug testing in place, which the fighters should already have been taking, and going through the process.”

Porter, however, said he had not yet been tested and was expecting it.

“Well, boxing, you roll with the punches. ... I just know that we are supposed to be testing,” Porter said.

Gomez explained what happened in an email, saying the issue happened because the fight was originally scheduled for Sept. 6 but was moved up to Aug. 16. He also assured that there would be testing over the final few weeks before the fight.

“In order to use USADA, they need at least six weeks to get all the required documents and testing done,” Gomez said. “When the date changed to Aug. 16, there wasn’t enough time. We then, collectively [Golden Boy and Brook promoter Matchroom Boxing], agreed to have the California State Athletic Commission handle the testing. The UCLA Olympic Analytical Laboratory, through the [California] Department of Consumer Affairs, will handle the testing for us. They start testing this week.”

Gomez said the testing would include blood and urine, although he was unsure if it would follow the exact protocol that USADA uses.

Porter (24-0-1, 15 KOs), 26, of Akron, Ohio, will be making his second defense when he faces Brook (32-0, 22 KOs), 28, of England.

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.

Kameda signs with Haymon

July, 17, 2014
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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.
Vanes MartirosyanChris Farina/Top RankJunior middleweight Vanes Martirosyan was among the latest fighters to align with Al Haymon.
Lightweight titlist Miguel Vazquez and junior middleweight contender Vanes Martirosyan are the newest fighters to sign with adviser/manager Al Haymon, whose right-hand man Sam Watson told ESPN.com.

Vazquez (34-3, 13 KOs), 27, of Mexico, won a vacant 135-pound title by lopsided decision against Ji-Hoon Kim in 2010 and has been dominant in six defenses. But his fighting style is not crowd-pleasing and he has found it difficult to get on American television. Now that he's with Haymon, you can probably bank on him getting TV time.

In his last fight, Vazquez outpointed mandatory challenger Denis Shafikov on Feb. 22 in Macau on a Top Rank card. Vazquez is promoted by Fernando Beltran's Zanfer Promotions, which is very close to Top Rank (a promotion which does not do business with Haymon). According to Zanfer, Vazquez's promotional agreement expires in October.

Haymon also has lightweight titlist Omar Figueroa in his stable but it would be surprising to see him match them against each other. Despite Figueroa’s growing popularity and crowd-pleasing style, he has difficulty dealing with slick boxers.

Haymon is also deep in the junior middleweight division with champion Floyd Mayweather in his stable along with titleholder Erislandy Lara and former titlist Austin Trout.

It's the third major change for Martirosyan (34-1-1, 21 KOs), 28, of Glendale, California, this year.

After losing a decision to Demetrius Andrade for a vacant world title in November, Martirosyan, a 2004 U.S. Olympian, was released by Top Rank, which had promoted him for his entire career. He signed with promoter Dan Goossen in January and changed trainers, going with Joe Goossen, Dan's brother.

The only other blemish on Martirosyan's record is a ninth-round technical draw with Erislandy Lara in their November 2012 title elimination fight.

Haymon continues to sign fighters left and right, adding Vazquez and Martirosyan to a growing stable that also includes, among others, Danny Garcia, Marcos Maidana, Lucas Matthysse, Adonis Stevenson, Shawn Porter, Keith Thurman, Robert Guerrero, Amir Khan, Peter Quillin, Chris Arreola, Deontay Wilder, Devon Alexander, Adrien Broner, Andre Berto, Lamont Peterson, Anthony Peterson, Gary Russell Jr., Sakio Bika, Leo Santa Cruz, John Molina, Beibut Shumenov, Chad Dawson, Jermain Taylor, Edwin Rodriguez, Errol Spence Jr., Paulie Malignaggi, Luis Collazo, Josesito Lopez, Rances Barthelemy, Marcus Browne and Dominic Wade.

Trio of prospects stepping up

June, 7, 2014
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Three blue chip prospects -- Dominic Wade, Errol Spence Jr. and Marcus Browne, each of whom are with adviser Al Haymon -- will take a step up in their competition level on June 27 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

[+] EnlargeErrol Spence
Harry How/Golden Boy/Golden Boy/Getty ImagesUnbeaten welterweight Errol Spence Jr. is one of three prospects to be featured on a June 27 "ShoBox" card in Las Vegas.
All three scheduled 10-round fights will air on Showtime's "ShoBox: The New Generation," Golden Boy Promotions announced on Friday.

Wade (15-0, 11 KOs), 24, of Largo, Maryland, will take on Nick Brinson (16-1-2, 6 KOs), 26, of Albany, New York, in the middleweight main event. Wade is a huge puncher and Brinson scored a 2013 upset win against Jorge Melendez.

Welterweight Spence (12-0, 10 KOs), 24, a southpaw from Dallas and a 2012 U.S. Olympian, will face Ronald Cruz (20-3, 15 KOs) of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Browne (10-0, 7 KOs), a 23-year-old light heavyweight from Staten Island, New York, and also a member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic team, will meet former title challenger Yusaf Mack (31-7-2, 17 KOs), 34, of Philadelphia. Mack has lost three fights in a row and four of his last six but he has vast experience, including knockout losses to Tavoris Cloud in a 2011 light heavyweight title bout and Carl Froch in a 2012 super middleweight title bout.
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When Richard Schaefer resigned as chief executive of Golden Boy Promotions on Monday, it answered only one of the many questions about the situation -- namely, would he leave the company?

The answer was yes, as the long-rumored split between him and company president, co-founder and majority shareholder Oscar De La Hoya came to fruition after months of infighting. But now what? I don’t have all the answers, but I will try my best to answer some of the key questions.

What does this mean for Golden Boy/De La Hoya?

It means Golden Boy has lost the only CEO it has ever known, as well as pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr., who has worked with Golden Boy on a fight-by-fight basis since 2007. After Schaefer announced his resignation, Mayweather followed him out the door, saying he would no longer have Golden Boy co-promote his events. That’s a huge financial hit to Golden Boy.

But De La Hoya brought Schaefer into his business and surely will find somebody else to run the company. Can that person be as successful in fostering relationships with networks, venues, sponsors, managers, fighters and media as Schaefer, who presided over the two richest pay-per-view events and two richest gates in boxing history? We’ll see.

Golden Boy still has its output deal with Fox Sports 1 and several quality fighters under contract. With Schaefer out of the picture, the way is clear for De La Hoya and Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, his former promoter turned rival, to do business again in the wake of their recent reconciliation.

What does this mean for Schaefer?

Schaefer is a smart, hardworking, relentless businessman. He’ll be just fine. But will he start his own company? Will he go to work for Mayweather Promotions? Will he promote the many Al Haymon-advised fighters he used to promote at Golden Boy but who were not under formal Golden Boy promotional agreements? That was one of the issues that came between Schaefer and De La Hoya. The answers are unknown.

There’s also the question of Schaefer’s contractual status with Golden Boy. Schaefer resigned but remains a shareholder, and De La Hoya’s attorney claims that Schaefer is under contract through March 2018. This could get messy.

Even if a settlement is reached on the supposed signed employment agreement, what about a non-compete clause that would prevent Schaefer from promoting for a certain length of time? Those are hard to enforce in California, where Golden Boy operates. All of this is where the lawyers get involved.

Schaefer has been mum on his plans, but you can count on one thing: He will promote boxing in the future and will probably be successful.

Is Golden Boy going to work with Arum now that Schaefer is out of the way?

The short answer is definitely.

De La Hoya and Arum recently reconciled after many fierce battles between their companies. One of the issues between De La Hoya and Schaefer was De La Hoya’s desire to work with Arum again, and Schaefer’s refusal. With Schaefer gone, it’s only a matter of time until De La Hoya and Arum promote fights together.

The question, however, is: If the companies work together, what kind of fights can they make? It is unclear because nobody knows for sure which fighters Golden Boy has under contract and which fighters are strictly with Haymon. If Golden Boy has many of Haymon’s top welterweights under contract, it could open a good selection of opponents to face Manny Pacquiao, Timothy Bradley Jr. and Juan Manuel Marquez.

That brings us to the next question.

What does this mean for the fighters with Haymon who fight regularly on Golden Boy cards but are not under contract to the company?

Haymon could continue working with Golden Boy and leave things status quo. Or, as many expect, he could gut the company and steer those fighters to some other company, namely Mayweather Promotions or perhaps an entity Schaefer may found.

Besides star client Mayweather, Haymon has numerous name fighters in his vast stable. Among those who are associated with Golden Boy: Danny Garcia, Marcos Maidana, Adrien Broner, Lucas Matthysse, Amir Khan, Deontay Wilder, Peter Quillin, Shawn Porter, Keith Thurman, Erislandy Lara, Devon Alexander, Gary Russell Jr., Leo Santa Cruz, Paulie Malignaggi, Sakio Bika, Robert Guerrero, Lamont Peterson, Daniel Jacobs, Andre Berto, Victor Ortiz, Jermell Charlo, Jermall Charlo and Luis Collazo, not to mention 2012 U.S. Olympians Errol Spence Jr. and Marcus Browne, two top prospects.

It is not clear which of those fighters are under contract to Golden Boy, but it is believed that Khan, Guerrero and Alexander are (although my understanding is that Alexander’s June 21 fight is the final fight of his deal). Some fighters are known to not be under contract, including Porter, Thurman, Russell, Berto, Peterson and the Olympians.

Does this have any impact on the possibility of Mayweather-Pacquiao?

None. Mayweather remains under contract to Showtime and is with Haymon. Mayweather has also repeatedly said he would not do business with Arum, who recently re-signed Pacquiao to a two-year contract extension. From what I am told, Arum got financial help from HBO in closing the Pacquiao deal and then pledged loyalty to HBO on Pacquiao fights. The two boxers will keep fighting on different networks, and the same problems remain as far as how to split the money and various other issues. Bottom line: Still no fight.

Is a Pacquiao-Canelo Alvarez fight now possible?

Technically, yes, since it would mean matching a Top Rank fighter with a Golden Boy fighter who is not with Haymon. However, realistically, it is unlikely. Alvarez is on the verge of moving up to middleweight, and Pacquiao, a small welterweight, has talked about moving down to junior welterweight. Besides, after Pacquiao’s tough fight a few years ago with junior middleweight Antonio Margarito, Pacquiao and trainer Freddie Roach said he would never fight that big of an opponent again. Even if they wanted to make the fight, it is unclear whether HBO has rights to Pacquiao (I believe it does) and whether Showtime has rights to Alvarez (I’m not sure beyond his July 12 fight).

Are any already-scheduled fights going to be canceled now?

No.

Where do Showtime and HBO stand in all of this?

Showtime has been the de facto home for Golden Boy’s major fights for the past couple of years, and Showtime Sports boss Stephen Espinoza is close to De La Hoya and Schaefer -- he used to be Golden Boy’s attorney. So he could continue doing Golden Boy fights if the promotion has the fighters who are ready for prime time. He could also keep working with the Haymon fighters and put on cards involving both factions.

As for HBO, it banned Golden Boy fighters -- and by extension Haymon fighters -- in early 2013 for various reasons. But HBO is also the main outlet for Top Rank’s major fights, and now that Top Rank and Golden Boy likely will work together again I expect Golden Boy fighters will be back on HBO soon. Haymon’s fighters? That’s another story. I don’t see them being welcome on HBO at this point.
There is a limit to the power wielded by manager/adviser Al Haymon. Usually, what he wants, he gets in boxing -- but don’t tell that to the IBF.

Junior middleweight titleholder Carlos Molina, who recently signed with Haymon, has a mandatory defense due against former titleholder Cornelius “K9” Bundrage, but Haymon and promoter Leon Margules requested an exception to allow Molina (22-5-2, 6 KOs) to instead face Jermall Charlo (18-0, 14 KOs), who is also with Haymon.

Molina-Charlo was originally scheduled for March 8 but was canceled a few days before the fight after Molina was jailed in Las Vegas and later deported to Mexico, where he is training and hoping to work out his immigration status and be allowed back in the United States.

Although Molina and Charlo hoped the IBF would allow the fight to be rescheduled, no dice. On Saturday, the IBF refused the request for the exception and ordered the mandatory against Bundrage as his next fight, which very much pleased Bundrage and his wife/manager Shawana.

Negotiations for Molina-Bundrage are to begin immediately, and if there is no deal between the camps, a purse bid likely will be scheduled in the next few weeks.

Bundrage (33-5, 19 KOs) outpointed Joey Hernandez on Jan. 24 in a final elimination fight to become the mandatory challenger for Molina.

Main Events chief executive Kathy Duva watched with interest as light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson, looking anything like his “Superman” nickname would suggest, struggled mightily over the last quarter of the fight with Andrzej Fonfara on Saturday night at the Bell Centre in Montreal.

Although Stevenson won a unanimous decision, scoring knockdowns in the first and fifth rounds and retaining his title for the third time, he also was dropped in the ninth round and looked pretty bad the last few rounds as he faded badly. If 15-round fights still existed we might be talking about a new champion today.

Duva watched with interest because she promotes light heavyweight titlist Sergey Kovalev, whom many believe Stevenson straight ducked by bolting from HBO to go to Showtime for the Fonfara fight (which HBO had agreed to put on) and a probable fall fight with unified titlist Bernard Hopkins, rather than remaining at HBO to face Kovalev in the fall.

Main Events is suing Stevenson, promoter Yvon Michel, Showtime, Al Haymon (Stevenson’s adviser) and Hopkins promoter Golden Boy over the situation, claiming Michel had agreed to a deal for the Kovalev fight on HBO in the fall.

Duva said she saw what happened Saturday coming, the reason why she pushed so hard to make Stevenson-Kovalev happen as quickly as possible.

“I had tried to push HBO to go straight to the Kovalev-Stevenson fight since the fall because I was certain that Stevenson would lose to, or be embarrassed by, just about anyone who could punch just a little bit,” Duva said. “He sure proved me right [Saturday] night. I get the feeling that the boys at HBO thought I was delusional. Probably not so much anymore.”

Stevenson and Kovalev fought on the same HBO card in November and Duva and Kovalev wanted to go right to a fight with Stevenson after that. But the Stevenson camp didn’t want to, and Duva and Kovalev ultimately agreed to each take separate bouts first, with Kovalev knocking out Cedric Agnew on March 29 and Stevenson facing Fonfara.

“I won't criticize Fonfara after hanging in there the way he did. He's a nice kid. But Stevenson really made him look good,” Duva said.

The first hearing in the lawsuit is scheduled for June 6 in U.S. District Court in New York.
Carlos Molina and Ishe SmithAl Bello/Getty ImagesJunior middleweight titlist Carlos Molina' next fight could take place in Mexico.

Junior middleweight titlist Carlos Molina is out of jail and in his native Mexico training while his team -- which now includes adviser Al Haymon, with whom he recently signed -- tries to sort out his immigration issues.

Molina was due to defend his 154-pound belt for the first time against Jermall Charlo on March 8 in Las Vegas on the Canelo Alvarez-Alfredo Angulo Showtime PPV card. However, a few days before the fight, Molina was arrested in Las Vegas on an outstanding warrant in Wisconsin for failing to register as a sex offender, and the fight was canceled. While in custody, immigration officials discovered that Molina (22-5-2, 6 KOs) was in the United States illegally because he had previously had his permanent residency revoked in 2005.

Molina, a permanent resident at the time, had gone to Mexico to fight Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., and when he returned, immigration officials picked him up as deportable because of the felony conviction from years earlier. Rather than fight deportation, Molina agreed to be deported but later snuck back into the U.S. illegally, which was discovered during the time he was being held in Las Vegas in March.

Molina, 30, who is from Mexico but has lived for many years in Chicago, hopes signing with Haymon, the most powerful adviser in boxing, will open doors for him and help him get his situation straightened out.

"I'm really excited and looking forward to fighting the best out there," he said. "Al Haymon has a history of getting the big fights for guys and that's what I wanted. He will make a great addition to my team, which already includes Warriors Boxing and Leon [Margules] and Luis [De Cubas Sr.], who have always done right by me in my career."

Margules, who heads Warriors Boxing and is also an attorney, is working on Molina’s immigration issues.

“We’re optimistic [about having his permanent residency re-established], but we don’t know,” Margules said. “Carlos is excited to work with Al, who is going to help us get him the important fights he's always wanted.”

DeCubas has been with Molina in Mexico and has been impressed with his conditioning, despite the time he spent in jail in Las Vegas followed by time in immigration custody before being deported to Mexico about two weeks ago.

"I spent time with Carlos in Mexico, and he's in surprisingly great shape,” DeCubas said. “He did 20 rounds his first day back and ran for an hour. I was very excited to see that. In that altitude, that's amazing."

Molina said he expects to be ready to fight in June or July. He has a mandatory defense due against former titleholder Cornelius “K9” Bundrage (33-5, 19 KOs), who outpointed Joey Hernandez on Jan. 24 in an eliminator to become the mandatory challenger.

However, Molina on Wednesday requested an exception from the IBF in order to reschedule the optional defense against Charlo (18-0, 14 KOs), also a Haymon fighter, before fighting the mandatory.

It’s possible Molina’s next fight could take place in Mexico if he has not resolved the immigration issues or, if he does, he could be back fighting in the U.S.

Purse bid for Lomachenko-Russell

April, 16, 2014
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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
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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
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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
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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
9:48
PM ET
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.

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