Dan Rafael: Al Haymon

'Mayhem' media center fertile for news

September, 13, 2014
Sep 13
4:57
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LAS VEGAS -- Here are a few pieces of news I picked up this week while roaming the "Mayhem" media center while covering Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Marcos Maidana II at the MGM Grand:

• I ran into interim welterweight titlist Keith Thurman (23-0, 21 KOs), who is here for the fight, and he told me that his planned October return has been pushed back until November to give his injured shoulder more time to heal. Thurman said his shoulder is OK and he has been rehabbing it but the change was "just to be on the safe side. There's no reason to hurry."

• I also caught up with former three-division titlist Abner Mares (27-1-1, 14 KOs) in the media center and he said that promoter Golden Boy and adviser Al Haymon are planning his return for November or December. He said he heard that interim featherweight titlist Jesus Cuellar called him out after knocking out Juan Manuel Lopez in the second round on Thursday night in Las Vegas and that he would be interested in the fight. Mares lost his featherweight belt by first-round knockout to Jhonny Gonzalez in a major upset 13 months ago and returned in July to outpoint Jonathan Oquendo.

• Former Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer has been at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas all week for Mayweather-Maidana II, but he is keeping a very low profile. He quit Golden Boy in June after a falling out with president Oscar De La Hoya, who filed a $50 million arbitration case against him. The case is ongoing. So while Schaefer is at the venue where his old company will co-promote the fight, he is on site because he is close to Mayweather and because one of his sons is working for Mayweather Promotions on the event.

• Junior featherweight Jorge Lara (25-0-1, 17 KOs), a 23-year-old southpaw from Mexico, has signed with adviser Al Haymon, according to Sampson Lewkowicz, Lara's promoter. Haymon now handles around 120 fighters.

GGG taking SoCal by storm

September, 13, 2014
Sep 13
12:51
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A few notes from around the boxing world:

• Middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin’s West Coast debut is already a hit. Due to overwhelming ticket demand, K2 Promotions is putting $27 standing room only tickets on sale for Golovkin’s defense Oct. 8 (HBO) at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.

“In the first two weeks, we've sold over 75 percent of the available tickets to [the card dubbed] ‘Mexican Style,’ which truly validates the popularity of Gennady on the West Coast,” Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions said. “This speaks to Gennady’s growing global brand, as he is willing to fight in locations around the world unlike many champions who only fight in one city or one state. We’re happy to announce the unprecedented addition of standing room only tickets in order to meet the demand from boxing fans for this event.”

• Former junior middleweight titlist Sergio Mora announced on his Twitter page that he has signed with adviser Al Haymon. Mora (26-3-2, 9 KOs), 33, of East Los Angeles, has won three fights in a row, including his past two by knockout. His signing with Haymon harkens back to Haymon’s start in boxing. His first client was the late Vernon Forrest, whom Mora outpointed to win a junior middleweight belt in 2008. Three months later, Forrest outpointed Mora in the rematch to reclaim the title in what was Forrest's final fight, as 10 months later, he was murdered. Mora and Haymon were on opposite sides then, and now they are together. Mora will continue to be promoted by Lou DiBella, who has a longstanding business relationship with Haymon.

• Bantamweight titlist Shinsuke Yamanaka (21-0-2, 16 KOs) of Japan will face mandatory challenger (and former junior bantamweight titlist) Suriyan Sor Rungvisai (37-5-1, 16 KOs) of Thailand on Oct. 22 in Tokyo. Yamanaka, a southpaw, will be making his seventh defense. A lightweight undercard bout will pit former featherweight and junior lightweight titlist Takahiro Ao (26-3-1, 12 KOs) of Japan, and former junior lightweight titlist Juan Carlos Salgado (26-3-1, 16 KOs) of Mexico.

Santa Cruz, fans deserve bigger fight

September, 10, 2014
Sep 10
3:20
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Leo Santa CruzEsther Lin/ShowtimeAll-action boxer Leo Santa Cruz defends his junior featherweight title Saturday against Manuel Roman.
LAS VEGAS -- Junior featherweight titlist Leo Santa Cruz is one of the most fan-friendly fighters in boxing. He throws tons of punches and usually has a smile on his face inside an
d outside the ring.

The former bantamweight titleholder -- he vacated to move up in weight -- will make the third defense of his featherweight title Saturday night (Showtime PPV, 8 ET) in one of the most coveted spots a fighter could ask for: the co-feature of Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s rematch with Marcos Maidana at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.


But instead of fighting a big name or a unification bout, which Santa Cruz has called for, or even a top contender, he is fighting Manuel Roman (17-2-3, 6 KOs), his former sparring partner. This is not a fight worthy of such a massive platform.

It sure is a far cry from other recent Mayweather co-features, such as Danny Garcia-Lucas Matthysse or Amir Khan-Luis Collazo.

While Roman is a hard worker and a nice guy, he hasn't done a single thing of note to get this title shot -- much less in the co-feature of a major pay-per-view. He has never fought a scheduled 12-round fight, has had only two 10-rounders, and has been fighting mainly six- and eight-round fights.

Santa Cruz (27-0-1, 15 KOs) would prefer a bigger fight, but he accepted Roman because that is who manager Al Haymon put in front of him.

"I don't like saying no to no fights. The first guy they offered to me was [Roman]," Santa Cruz said Tuesday. "So I was like, 'yeah.' I wanted to give him the opportunity. He was a good amateur growing up. So I wanted to give him the opportunity. Everybody deserves it, so I said yes.

"I wanted to fight a bigger name or a champion, but I didn't want to contradict the promoter [Golden Boy] or [Haymon]. I just said, 'yeah,' and they made the fight."

It puts Santa Cruz in a no-win situation. If he cruises to a win, that's what he was supposed to do. If he loses, it's a disaster.

"Fighters like Roman are dangerous," Santa Cruz said. "They come with everything and sometimes they surprise you. We don't underestimate anybody and we always come ready.

"I know he will come hungry, but I have trained hard and I won't let that happen."

Roman, of course, is aiming for the huge upset.

"We're here to try to disappoint Leo Santa Cruz," Roman said. "I've been working out very hard three times a day and also focusing on strength and conditioning. Nothing worries me. I know myself, I'm ready. He's just a great fighter who throws a lot of punches, but I'm a better boxer.

"I've known Leo for a while. We used to train together and that builds my confidence up. I'm a great counterpuncher and he's a slugger, and I think that works to my advantage."

Assuming Santa Cruz beats Roman, he does want a unification fight next.

"Hopefully, we get the victory and we can fight [unified champion Guillermo] Rigondeaux and make that happen. If not, hopefully [newly crowned titlist Carl] Frampton or [secondary titleholder] Scott Quigg."
Promoter Leon Margules of Warriors Boxing is working on a pair of quadrupleheaders -- Oct. 4 and Nov. 1 -- that will air on Showtime.

Although the cards are not finalized, some of the fights are. Margules told ESPN.com that the Oct. 4 card at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut, will be headlined by junior lightweight titlist Rances Barthelemy (20-0, 12 KOs), a Miami-based Cuban defector, in his first defense against Argentina’s Fernando Saucedo (52-5-3, 8 KOs). The fight was made three weeks ago.

Also on the card will be a junior middleweight bout between contenders Vanes Martirosyan (34-1-1, 21 KOs), whose lone loss was a decision to Demetrius Andrade for a vacant world title in November, and Willie Nelson (23-1-1, 13 KOs), who has won seven fights in a row.

A third bout will feature former light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson (32-3, 18 KOs), who scored a first-round knockout of journeyman George Blades on June 21 in Dawson’s first fight since losing the title by first-round knockout to Adonis Stevenson in June 2013. Dawson-Blades was contracted at 179 pounds, but an out-of-shape Dawson weighed in at 182¾ but promised to be better conditioned for his next bout.

The fourth fight on Oct. 4 has not yet been determined.

The Nov. 1 card, which will take place at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago, will be headlined by light heavyweight contender Andrzej Fonfara (25-3, 15 KOs), a popular Polish fighter who lives in Chicago and is one of adviser Al Haymon’s newest signees. Fonfara, whose opponent is not set, gave champion Adonis Stevenson a very tough fight on May 24 but lost a decision in a grueling fight in which Fonfara survived two knockdowns in the first half of the fight to mount a huge rally and drop Stevenson in the ninth.

Also on the Nov. 1 card, bantamweight titlist Tomoki Kameda (30-0, 19 KOs) of Japan will make his mandatory against Alejandro Hernandez (28-10-2, 15 KOs) of Mexico. Margules does not promote either boxer, but won an Aug. 8 purse bid for the right to promote the bout.

The two other fights will feature welterweight Roberto Garcia (36-3, 23 KOs) and middleweight Caleb Truax (24-1-2, 14 KOs) in separate bouts against opponents to be determined, according to Margules, who has both dates thanks to his close relationship with Haymon, with whom he has been working closely of late.

Barthelemy, Martirosyan, Dawson, Fonfara, Kameda, Garcia and Truax are all with Haymon, who has been on a signing binge this year and whose stable is now around 115 fighters, which is around the same number as promoters Top Rank and Golden Boy have combined.
Peter Quillin, Fernando GuerreroJoe Camporeale/USA TODAY SportsPeter Quillin has until Thursday afternoon to sign his contract to face Matt Korobov on Nov. 1.
On Monday, I wrote a blog post detailing what was going on with regard to the delay in getting the mandatory fight between middleweight titleholder “Kid Chocolate” Peter Quillin and Matt Korobov signed.

Roc Nation Sports, the new boxing promotional company owned by music mogul Jay Z, won promotional rights to the fight at a purse bid last month for $1,904,840, a dramatic overbid that easily beat Quillin promoter Golden Boy Promotions ($1,207,000) and Korobov promoter Top Rank ($515,000). Both fighters are guaranteed the biggest purses of their careers by far.

Korobov signed last week with no issues, but the Quillin side not only has not signed but had not even been in touch with Roc Nation Sports about any potential changes to the agreement. Instead, Golden Boy, on behalf of Quillin, requested that the WBO extend the signing deadline from Aug. 28 to 4 p.m. ET Wednesday, which was granted.

There is speculation from Roc Nation Sports that the Quillin camp -- namely adviser Al Haymon -- is not interested in consummating the deal. Now the Quillin side has asked for a second extension.

Golden Boy attorney Arnold Joseph wrote to the WBO (with Top Rank and Roc Nation Sports copied): “I acknowledge and thank you and your committee for the extension, which you previously granted Mr. Quillin for the execution of the bout agreement. Mr. Quillin has had to continue to address certain personal matters over the past few days and has therefore not had an opportunity to fully focus his attention on the agreement. Please accept this letter as Mr. Quillin’s final request for an extension of time until the close of business Pacific Coast Time on Thursday September 4, 2014, for the execution of his bout agreement.”

Quillin’s wife gave birth to their first child, a boy, last week. That is the personal matter Joseph is referring to, although spending an hour or two going over a contract with an attorney for a career-high payday does not seem unreasonable several days after a healthy birth.

Roc Nation Sports and Top Rank both objected to Quillin’s request for a second delay. But the WBO gave Quillin an extension on Tuesday.

Luis Batista-Salas, an attorney and the WBO championship committee chairman, responded to Joseph, Top Rank and Roc Nation, writing that the extension had been granted -- until 4 p.m. ET Thursday.

“No further extension requests will be considered nor granted,” Batista-Salas wrote.

If Quillin signs, the fight is scheduled for Nov. 1 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, Quillin’s hometown, with television plans to be determined.

Quillin-Korobov in trouble?

September, 1, 2014
Sep 1
6:50
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Quillin-RosadoJoe Camporeale/USA TODAY SportsPeter Quillin would earn a career-high purse for his mandatory title defense against Matt Korobov.
Middleweight contender Matt Korobov has signed for his mandatory shot against titlist "Kid Chocolate" Peter Quillin, doing so last week after promoter Top Rank received the contract from Roc Nation Sports, the sports agency founded by music mogul Jay Z that is now licensed as a boxing promoter.

But Quillin's side? Pretty much radio silence, according to Roc Nation Sports, which shocked everyone by winning a purse bid for the fight for a whopping $1,904,840 to handily defeat two other bids by Quillin promoter Golden Boy Promotions ($1,207,000) and Korobov promoter Top Rank ($515,000).

The Korobov side couldn't wait to sign. It received the contract from Roc Nation Sports, asked for a minor adjustment and returned the signed contract with no issues, according to both Roc Nation Sports and Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti.

The Quillin side, however, has been almost silent, which is perplexing when you consider the money on the table from Roc Nation Sports' clear overbid.

Roc Nation Sports is looking to make a splash in boxing, and it certainly has everyone's attention now.

It plans to put the fight on Nov. 1 in Quillin's hometown at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, as long as he signs for the fight. Roc Nation Sports originally intended to put the fight on Nov. 8, but moved off the date so as not to conflict with the HBO telecast of the Bernard Hopkins-Sergey Kovalev light heavyweight unification bout that night in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

There is no television deal yet for Quillin-Korobov, but the date and site are locked in after Barclays Center agreed to move a concert off Nov. 1 to accommodate the fight for Jay Z.

"Top Rank requested a change which we made and are very excited about the fight," Michael Yormark, president and chief of branding and strategy for parent company Roc Nation, told ESPN.com.

The Quillin side, however, was not nearly as excited as Top Rank/Korobov, even though Quillin stands to make by far his biggest purse -- more than $1.4 million, which is more than three times his biggest payday.

According to Yormark, Golden Boy asked for an extension to sign the contract, which the WBO granted. Instead of being due back by Aug. 28, the deadline was extended to Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET.

"With the exception of asking for an extension they have been very quiet, which is unusual with this kind of purse on the table," Yormark said. "We don't understand why they haven't rushed to sign this contact or ask for changes to move this fight forward. We're not sure. We're puzzled. We're very curious. With Top Rank, there was 100 percent cooperation. With Golden Boy, there seems to be indifference."

Yormark's speculation is that perhaps Al Haymon, Quillin's adviser, is not so eager to finalize the deal, that perhaps he has other plans.

Even still, what other fight out there in the coming months could Haymon get Quillin that would pay him anything close to what the Korobov fight will? There isn't one. And for any other fight Quillin would also have to give up his title.

"I have to tell you that it feels that way," Yormark said of his belief that Haymon is trying to block the fight. "We are concerned but at the same time very puzzled.

"For us this is about the fighters, like it is with our other clients [in other sports and entertainment]. We want to make sure the fighters get paid. They deserve to get paid. These guys deserve to get paid the amount of money we [bid]. Both of them deserve it. They earned those dollars and we're anxious to move forward for them and put this fight on."

If Quillin doesn't sign by the deadline, he could be stripped of his title and would lose out on the payday.

Golden Boy vice president Eric Gomez told ESPN.com it requested the delay in the contract deadline because Quillin's wife gave birth to their first child (a boy) last week and wanted him to enjoy some family time.

"His baby was just born so we asked for a little more time so he can be with his family and then review [the contract] with his attorney. He's not rushing to meet with his attorney a few days after the baby was born," Gomez said. "There are also concerns from Al about the TV because Peter is a Showtime fighter and he's trying to figure out the TV. It is a concern if you are a manager who has a fighter who fights regularly on Showtime and all of a sudden you are on a different network. There's something out there known as an image. There is some concern there. But the money is great.

"Out of respect to Peter and his wife he wanted a little bit more time [to sign] and the WBO granted it."

Three thoughts:

1. With that much money at stake, you'd think Quillin would sign the paperwork as soon as humanly possible, as long as it was a good contract, especially with a new member of the family to support.

2. Quillin is not contractually signed to Showtime or any other network. None of Haymon's clients are with the exception of Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Amir Khan, both of whom have Showtime deals.

3. Roc Nation Sports said it would be happy to make a TV deal for the bout with Showtime -- or any other network interested.

As of Monday evening, there still had been no additional communication between Golden Boy and Roc Nation Sports on the deal. It'll be interesting to see what happens at 4 p.m. ET Wednesday.

Canelo headed back to HBO?

August, 29, 2014
Aug 29
6:43
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Alvarez/LaraJosh Hedges/Getty ImagesCanelo Alvarez could make HBO his next home in November or December.

In late 2013, when Richard Schaefer still ran Golden Boy Promotions, he and Canelo Alvarez announced that Alvarez would fight three times on Showtime PPV this year: March 8, July 26 and Nov. 22.

Indeed, Alvarez knocked out Alfredo Angulo on March 8 and then outpointed Erislandy Lara, albeit on July 12. Both were on Showtime PPV and both did solid numbers -- a little over 300,000 buys -- considering Alvarez had never before headlined a pay-per-view as the A side of the promotion.

But fight No. 3 of this year? Well let’s just say things aren’t what they were a year ago.

Schaefer resigned as Golden Boy CEO, Oscar De La Hoya has taken the day-to-day reins of the company and he is also quietly trying to repair the company’s fractured relationship with HBO, the network that basically put Golden Boy in business and the network on which De La Hoya became a mega PPV star. It is also the network that grew so tired of dealing with Schaefer and adviser Al Haymon, who controlled many of the fighters on Golden Boy’s cards, that HBO banished Golden Boy fighters from the network.

Canelo isn't going to go pay-per-view. We don't want to saturate the market. He's willing to go live on either Showtime or HBO. We'll see. Maybe another network. He has no contract with any network.

-- Golden Boy vice president Eric Gomez
And although Showtime has been the exclusive home for Golden Boy’s biggest cards since, behind the scenes there are issues, namely that many of those cards Golden Boy puts on are controlled by Haymon, and De La Hoya isn’t happy about it. Why else do you think we saw the Danny Garcia-Rod Salka/Lamont Peterson-Edgar Santana mess?

Most of Haymon’s fighters who regularly appear on Showtime are not under contract to Golden Boy, even though GB promotes the cards. This was one of the issues that came between De La Hoya and Schaefer.

There was a recent thaw in the Golden Boy/HBO relationship a few weeks ago when it made a deal to televise the Nov. 8 light heavyweight unification fight between Bernard Hopkins, who is with Golden Boy, and Sergey Kovalev, whom HBO has under contract.

As it relates to Alvarez, he is under contract to Golden Boy and not involved with Haymon. And he got his start on premium cable on HBO and, this is most significant, his biggest fight looms with middleweight champion Miguel Cotto, who is aligned with HBO, which plans to carry Cotto's Dec. 13 title defense against an opponent to be determined on HBO PPV.

Alvarez met in recent days with Golden Boy executives to talk about his next fight and I am telling you there is a good chance that it winds up on regular HBO (and not Showtime or Showtime PPV). That would be a big deal and would likely deliver a huge viewership number for HBO.

“We had a very good meeting with Canelo and we’re talking with him about opponents,” Golden Boy vice president Eric Gomez told ESPN.com on Friday. “We’re actually waiting for the date. He gave us a couple of dates and we’re looking into everything. But he wants to fight late November or early December. We have to work on it.”

The opponent is not set, but it is no secret that Alvarez could face big banger James Kirkland, whose last fight was on HBO (a knockout last December against Glen Tapia in a wild brawl).

Then Gomez caught me by surprise when he added, “Canelo isn’t going to go pay-per-view. We don’t want to saturate the market. He’s willing to go live on either Showtime or HBO. We’ll see. Maybe another network. He has no contract with any network. We’re working on things.”

Whoa.

That is the first time in a lonnngggg time that anyone in a position of authority has specifically stated that Alvarez was a television free agent and, further, used the H-word (HBO) in relation to his future.

It leads me to believe, without question, that Alvarez is likely headed back to HBO for his next fight. I believe it would be part of a deal that would also lock Alvarez into HBO for multiple fights, including a potential spring or summer 2015 showdown with Cotto for the middleweight title.

Let’s look at the late November and early December schedule, which means Nov. 15, Nov. 22, Nov. 28, Dec. 6 or Dec. 13.

Nov. 22 is out because that is Manny Pacquiao’s HBO PPV date with Chris Algieri. Nov. 28 is out because that is already ticketed for Terence Crawford’s next lightweight title defense on HBO. Dec. 13 is out because that is Cotto’s HBO PPV date.

That tells me that if Alvarez returns to HBO, it means a fight on either Nov. 15, which would be a huge telecast on which to promote Pacquiao’s PPV, or Dec. 6, which would be a great way to promote Cotto’s PPV the following week and remind people that wins by Alvarez and Cotto could lead to the super fight after that.

Now that Top Rank, Cotto’s promoter, and Golden Boy, Alvarez’s promoter, say they are ready, willing and able to make fights together, a Cotto-Alvarez fight could get done on HBO PPV without the involvement of Haymon, whom Top Rank does not work with.

All of this is not to say that Showtime couldn’t make a big offer to keep Alvarez for his next fight, but if I were a betting man here’s my take: Alvarez returns to HBO for a fight on Nov. 15 or Dec. 6 with the big payoff coming in May (Cinco de Mayo weekend) or June (Puerto Rican Day Parade weekend) for the biggest fight in boxing this side of Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Manny Pacquiao.

Check back with me in a few months to see how well my crystal ball works.

Haymon signs Sampson Boxing trio

August, 29, 2014
Aug 29
4:17
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Promoter Sampson Lewkowicz, whose Sampson Boxing promotional company has been steadily growing, told ESPN.com that three of his fighters have signed with adviser Al Haymon.

The three are Dominican junior lightweight contender Javier Fortuna (25-0-1, 18 KOs), Dominican junior featherweight prospect Jonathan Guzman (16-0, 16 KOs) and junior featherweight Oscar Escandon (23-1, 16 KOs) of Colombia.

Guzman is the only fighter with a bout scheduled. He will fight in Belfast, Northern Ireland on Sept. 6 when Spain’s Kiko Martinez, whom Lewkowicz promotes, will defend his junior featherweight title in a rematch with Carl Frampton of Belfast.

“I’m very delighted that my boys signed with Al Haymon,” Lewkowicz said. “We have always had a nice relationship. We’ve talked many times. I believe this is the best thing.”

Haymon’s vast stable continues to grow. He has at least 75 fighters under contract and some estimate his stable in excess of 100 fighters -- including, of course, Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Mares joins Haymon stable

August, 21, 2014
Aug 21
3:35
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Abner MaresCarlos Delgado/Hoganphotos/Golden Boy PromotionsFormer three-division titlist Abner Mares is looking for a return bout in November or December.
Abner Mares, who has won world titles in three weight classes, is the latest fighter to join the ever-growing stable of manager/adviser Al Haymon.

"I'm really excited and to be part of his team. I'm thrilled," Mares told ESPN.com. "The talks we had before I signed and the talks we had about the future ahead of me were great. I can't wait. I'm looking forward to it."

Mares (27-1-1, 14 KOs), 28, has won world titles at bantamweight, junior featherweight and featherweight. Last August, he was upset via first-round knockout by Jhonny Gonzalez, losing his featherweight title. Mares returned July 12 in Las Vegas, outpointing Jonathan Oquendo, and he is on track for another title opportunity.

"Any fight, Al and myself are open to," Mares said. "The one thing I like about Al and respect is before we made it official, we did talk to [Golden Boy Promotions] president Oscar [De La Hoya] and let him know we are working together. Oscar is open to work with us for any fight. You know me, my record speaks for itself. I'm not scared of anyone."

Mares said he remains under contract to Golden Boy until November, but that he will fight again this year.

"We're working on a date for November or December, but for sure another fight before the end of the year," Mares said.

Will it be with Golden Boy?

"It all depends on what we work out," said Mares, a 2004 Mexican Olympian, who has been with Golden Boy for his entire career and was the promotional company's first home-grown world titleholder.

Mares (27-1-1, 14 KOs) said he plans to stay at featherweight for the time being.

"My purpose now is to capture a world title again in this division," Mares said. "The way I lost, I feel pressure and obligated to myself to get that title back. Once I accomplish that, my intention is to move up and win another world title."

Mares said that he would like to face Gonzalez in a rematch but is open to fighting any of the other titleholders at 126 pounds. Those fights, however, could be difficult to make because Haymon and Top Rank do not work together, and the other titleholders, Nonito Donaire, Vasyl Lomachenko, Evgeny Gradovich and Nicholas Walters, are all promoted by Top Rank.

Whomever Mares will face next, he said he is doing some light training in Los Angeles, where he lives, but would make his way to the Bay Area next week for a two-week stay with trainer Virgil Hunter to work on some things.

Haymon has around 100 fighters in his stable, including many top fighters, such as Floyd Mayweather Jr., Marcos Maidana, Danny Garcia, Lucas Matthysse, Keith Thurman, Adrien Broner, Shawn Porter, Lamont Peterson, Deontay Wilder, Peter Quillin, Daniel Jacobs, Leo Santa Cruz, Devon Alexander, Chris Arreola, Rances Barthelemy, Andre Berto, Sakio Bika, Jermell Charlo, Jermall Charlo, Luis Collazo, Chad Dawson, Andre Dirrell, Anthony Dirrell, Omar Figueroa Jr., Andrzej Fonfara, Robert Guerrero, Amir Khan, Tomoki Kameda, Erislandy Lara, Josesito Lopez, Paulie Malignaggi, Beibut Shumenov, Adonis Stevenson and Austin Trout.

Mares joined Haymon after a five-year run with manager Frank Espinoza, who guided him to his three world titles.

"I hear people say I'm a traitor, that I sold," Mares said of leaving Espinoza. "I was with Frank for five years and the contract expired. We had success together, and we went our separate ways. I didn't do anything to get out of the contract. I completed my five years. I was a free agent and best deal wins, and the best move for myself was going with Al Haymon."

De La Hoya eyes Garcia-Peterson

August, 15, 2014
Aug 15
6:54
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Like most boxing fans, Golden Boy Promotions president Oscar De La Hoya would have preferred to see junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia facing titleholder Lamont Peterson in the main event of last Saturday’s Showtime card at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

For whatever reason, the fight was not made. De La Hoya and Showtime both said it was the fight they preferred but that the match could not be made for that date -- even though both boxers said they were willing to fight each other. That leaves only their adviser, Al Haymon, who did not want to make the fight. And when he doesn't want to make a fight involving the fighters he works with, it doesn't happen.

Instead, Garcia smoked no-hoper Rod Salka in two lopsided rounds in a nontitle bout at 142 pounds, dropping him three times, including for a devastating knockout on the third knockdown.

Peterson retained his title in his own mismatch, battering helpless Edgar Santana for 10 one-sided rounds before the abuse was finally called off.

If De La Hoya has his way we won't see that kind of card again. He told ESPN.com on Thursday that he was going to press Haymon to make the fight for the end of the year.

"I’m sitting down with Al [on Friday] and we're going to discuss it," De La Hoya said. "That's the fight I'm going to push for. That's the fight that must be made.

"Al knows it and understands. We're on the same page. We must make the best fights happen because the fans are speaking, the media is speaking and the fighters want these fights. It's a matter of me sitting down with Al and talking it over. Al understands that."

Welterweight titlist Shawn Porter has a tough assignment in mandatory challenger Kell Brook (32-0, 22 KOs) of England on Saturday night at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.

But if Porter (24-0-1, 15 KOs) prevails, one of the best fights that could be made in the division would be to match him vs. interim titleholder Keith “One Time” Thurman.

Thurman (23-0, 21 KOs) is sidelined at the moment nursing a shoulder injury, but he is expected back in action in October, not against Porter.

But if Porter wins Saturday (Showtime, 9 p.m. ET with preliminary bouts on Showtime Extreme beginning at 7 p.m. ET/PT) and Thurman comes through his October fight, a Porter-Thurman showdown in early 2015 would be something to get excited about.

Both are in the vast stable of adviser Al Haymon, so the fight could be made easily. And you can bank on this: Showtime would be an interested buyer.

So what about it? Porter was enthusiastic about the possibility of facing Thurman.

“I'll fight ‘One Time’ two times,” Porter said. “I don't look past what's in front of me. Again, we've seen it all over the internet, all over the media wavelengths -- everybody wants that fight. I think it'd be an exciting fight, and it's a fight that I wouldn't turn down.”

Dan Birmingham, Thurman’s trainer, recently told ESPN.com that he thinks the fight will eventually happen. Like everyone else, he thinks it would be a good one.

“I think that fight is inevitable,” Birmingham said. “We know those guys, Shawn and his dad [Kenny Porter]. We have had Shawn in our camp before and we’re friends with them, but this is also business. We all know they might have to fight. When they do, it’ll be a great fight.”
Daniel JacobsDavid Doonan/Hoganphotos/Golden Boy PromotionsDaniel Jacobs would welcome the opportunity to fight middleweight sensation Gennady Golovkin.

Middleweight contender Daniel Jacobs faces serious business when he meets Jarrod Fletcher of Australia for a vacant belt Saturday night (Showtime, 9 ET/PT) at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, Jacobs’ hometown.

While winning the title would mean a lot to both Jacobs and Fletcher, the fact is they are vying for the WBA’s second-tier "regular" title, because the WBA absurdly has sometimes handed out as many as four titles in the same weight class and often doles out at least two.

Everyone knows that Gennady Golovkin holds the organization's top title and that he is probably also the best middleweight in the world.

So, naturally, Jacobs (27-1, 24 KOs) was asked for his views on an eventual fight with GGG, a growing attraction in New York, should he beat Fletcher for the JV title.

Jacobs said he would welcome the fight, although given the politics it's a tough one to make because Golovkin is under contract to HBO and Jacobs has been fighting on Showtime and is with adviser Al Haymon, whose fighters are not welcome on HBO at this point.

But we can still talk about it right?

"I think it will be huge," Jacobs said. "It's an opportunity that I would love to have to fight him. I also think that he's already a superstar and I think I want to have the opportunity to be a superstar myself. So, I think that if I can maybe get a couple of fights, maybe [fellow New Yorker and titleholder] Peter Quillin or someone like that and then go up to Golovkin, that's something that I would look forward to doing.

"But initially, right after the win, I mean, I'm not really in control of who I fight. But if I had it my way I would probably get me a couple of fights just to solidify that spot and to secure my name and be considered a superstar in the division and a big play in the division as well, so we can go ahead and make the fight."

Two weeks ago, Golovkin (30-0, 27 KOs) retained his title for the 11th time as he destroyed former titlist Daniel Geale in the third round at New York’s Madison Square Garden. Jacobs said he saw the fight and was impressed by GGG but believes he is beatable.

"I think his performance was great. I think what everyone else thinks," he said. "I think that the hype is real only in the sense that he's doing what he's supposed to do. Whether or not I believe in the hype, that's a different story. I see flaws in his game, but his power is tremendous and Mike Tyson used to say you can have all the game plan in the world until you get hit and that changes your whole perspective.

"You definitely have to be aware of his power, but I do see a whole lot of flaws in his game as far as his defense and his ability to move his feet and [his] being flat-footed. So, if there is a possibility that we can fight, I'll look forward to it."
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.

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