Dan Rafael: Chad Dawson

You know that quadrupleheader on Showtime on Saturday night at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut? Well, now it’s down to a tripleheader.

Middleweight prospect Dominic Wade (16-0, 11 KOs) of Largo, Maryland, who was due to open the card programmed by adviser Al Haymon against KeAndre Leatherwood (14-2-1, 10 KOs) of Birmingham, Alabama, injured his back. That bout has been canceled.

There are still three other fights: junior lightweight titleholder Rances Barthelemy (20-0, 12 KOs) against Fernando Saucedo (52-5-3, 8 KOs) in the main event; a junior middleweight bout between Vanes Martirosyan (34-1-1, 21 KOs) and Willie Nelson (23-1-1, 13 KOs) -- that has potential to be a decent fight -- and former light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson (32-3, 18 KOs) in a blatant mismatch against club fighter Tommy Karpency (23-4-1, 14 KOs).

Pascal continues to chase Stevenson

August, 31, 2014
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Jean Pascal AP Photo/The Canadian Press/Ryan RemiorzJean Pascal is a big draw in Quebec where he has fought his last 10 bouts.

Light heavyweight champ Adonis Stevenson has blown fights with Sergey Kovalev and Bernard Hopkins for the fall, so they are unifying their belts with each other on Nov. 8.

The next best choice for Stevenson is an all-Montreal showdown with former champion Jean Pascal, who has one of the biggest names in the division and a quality resume that includes a win over Chad Dawson (long before Stevenson knocked him out to win the title), Lucian Bute, Adrian Diaconu (twice), a draw and competitive loss to Hopkins and a competitive loss to Carl Froch at super middleweight.

Stevenson-Pascal was in talks, too, but quickly went nowhere because of a disagreement over the revenue split for a fight that Showtime is interested in.

Stevenson’s side has thrown around a 70-30 split in favor of the champ while Pascal -- who is the mandatory challenger -- is seeking a 50-50 deal.

The 50-50 deal is what is fair considering that Pascal is a much greater draw in Montreal than Stevenson. Bottom line, while Stevenson brings the title to the table, Pascal brings a bigger name and more financial muscle.

Pascal’s camp is putting on the hard press in an attempt to lure Stevenson back to the table for a more equitable split of the money.

Greg Leon, CEO of Jean Pascal Promotions, laid out the argument, which makes a lot of sense. Included in his case:

• Pascal has taken part in three of the five highest grossing fights (including No. 1, with Bute), in the history of Canadian boxing. Stevenson was not involved in the other two.

• In those three fights, Hopkins I and II and the Bute fight in January, Pascal generated more gate revenue than Stevenson has in his entire career.

• The biggest money fight available to both Stevenson and Pascal is to fight each other. There isn't another fight for Stevenson that gives him the chance to become a 10,000-plus ticket seller in Quebec, not to mention that Stevenson would reap a career-high payday and be favored against Pascal.

• Leon claims that Pascal is willing to allow Stevenson promoter Yvon Michel, who used to promote Pascal, to become involved with Pascal in another multi-fight deal as part of making a Stevenson fight.

[+] EnlargeAdonis Stevenson, Tavoris Cloud
AP Photo/The Canadian Press/Ryan RemiorzIn 2014, Adonis Stevenson, right, left on the table fights with light heavyweight titlists Bernard Hopkins and Sergey Kovalev.
“Now it's up to Stevenson to grow a pair and accept a major challenge or blatantly duck his third big fight in the last year or so,” Leon said. “A champion who ducks three big fights in favor of bouts against second tier opponents is a champion nobody respects and is easily forgotten, especially at 36 years old.

“Our willingness to give the old man a rematch clause is above and beyond our requirements as WBC mandatory challenger. At 36 years old Adonis Stevenson can assure himself at least two big paydays before he turns 40. At the end of the day, boxing is a business and Team Stevenson isn't using their best business sense. They have already lost millions of dollars with the Kovalev and Hopkins bouts and have the potential to lose millions more by choosing another second tier opponent over Jean Pascal. Considering all of the facts, how does 50-50 not make sense to Team Stevenson? If Jean Pascal is as difficult to deal with as Yvon Michel would have the world believe, then clearly it is impossible to deal with Adonis Stevenson.

“If Superman continues to run and hide behind his manager (Al Haymon) and promoter, Jean Pascal's new nickname will be ‘Kryptonite.’ And everybody knows what would happen to Superman if he were in a boxing ring with ‘Kryptonite. ‘

So instead of facing Kovalev, Hopkins or Pascal, the names being thrown around to face Stevenson later this year include the unimpressive likes of Umberto Savigne and Gabriel Campillo.

Hopefully Stevenson, Michel and Haymon will spare us that dreck. And the excuses.
Chad Dawson, a longtime fixture in the pound-for-pound rankings, won a light heavyweight world title by decision in a rematch against Bernard Hopkins in an excellent performance in April 2012. But it's been downhill since for Dawson.

Five months later, he made the ill-advised decision to drop down to super middleweight and challenge champion Andre Ward, who battered the weight-drained Dawson, knocked him down three times and stopped him in the 10th round.

Although Dawson (31-3, 17 KOs), from New Haven, Conn., went back up to light heavyweight to defend his title in his next fight last June, he fared no better and got drilled with one punch in 76 seconds by Adonis Stevenson in the 2013 knockout of the year.

Many left Dawson's career for dead after that, and he has not fought since. But he will be back on Saturday night (Showtime Extreme, 8 ET/PT) looking to launch another title run. Dawson will face Indianapolis journeyman George Blades (23-5, 16 KOs) in a scheduled 10-rounder on the undercard of the show (Showtime, 10 ET/7 PT) headlined by welterweight Robert Guerrero against Yoshihiro Kamegai.

Dawson said he has put the defeats behind him and expects to get himself right back in the title mix.

“I'm coming off losses in my last two fights, but nothing's changed,” said Dawson, who recently signed with adviser Al Haymon. “I’m just back to being myself. I'm working hard with [trainer] Eddie [Mustafa Muhammad] and doing the right things. I've been training for this fight for about two months."

Dawson, who will turn 32 on July 13, has been training with Muhammad in Las Vegas and considers Saturday’s fight to be a fresh start.

“I’m getting ready for the second chapter of my career," Dawson said. “I'm back to ‘Bad’ Chad."

Besides beating Hopkins, Dawson also has wins against Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson (twice each), Tomasz Adamek and Adrian Diaconu.

The 39-year-old Blades has never beaten a top opponent, but he got a world title shot in 2007 and got knocked out by Zsolt Erdei in the 11th round. The only name opponent he has faced was former champion Jean Pascal in his last fight in September. Pascal, who also owns a win against Dawson, knocked Erdei out in the fifth round.

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.

Dawson latest to join Haymon

March, 8, 2014
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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.

Nothing easy about Ward's return

July, 30, 2013
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WardEzra Shaw/Getty ImagesAfter cleaning out the 168-pound division, Andre Ward can't find a suitable opponent.
Super middleweight champ Andre Ward and promoter Dan Goossen, who appear to have worked out their issues following Ward’s unsuccessful attempt to break their contract (although they’re not discussing the issue publicly), are seemingly at loggerheads with HBO over the opponent Ward should face in his tentative Sept. 28 fight.

Ward hasn’t fought since beating down then-light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson (who dropped down to super middleweight) last September because of a shoulder tear and subsequent surgery that forced a January fight with former middleweight champ Kelly Pavlik to be canceled.

HBO is resistant to spending good money for Ward to face the likes of Dimitri Sartison (a former titlist of the ultimate paper variety with zero name recognition in the United States), equally unknown interim titlist Stanyslav Kastanov, or Caleb Truax, a fun fighter to watch but not in the same league as Ward. Truax’s claim to fame is a recent knockout win over Donovan George and dropping badly faded former middleweight champ Jermain Taylor in a 2012 loss.

So it’s unclear who Ward will face and there does not seem to be many quality available opponents.

One of the biggest problems for Ward is that he’s already cleaned out the super middleweight division. The Super Six World Boxing Classic champion has easily defeated two reigning titleholders (who picked up their belts after Ward dominated them), Carl Froch and Sakio Bika. Ward also routed former titleholders Mikkel Kessler and Arthur Abraham. Even if a Froch rematch floats your boat, like it does for some, he’s unavailable, as he is scheduled to fight George Groves in the fall.

Robert Stieglitz, another titleholder, and his handlers have no interest in facing Ward. That’s an almost certain loss that Stieglitz needs no part of as long as he has a fat TV contract in Germany from which he can earn plenty of money facing handpicked opponents on home turf rather than make similar money to come to the United States to give up his title.

One viable opponent is Edwin Rodriguez, who is coming off an impressive first-round knockout of Denis Grachev on July 13 in the final of the Monaco Million Dollar Super Four. However, Lou DiBella, his promoter, has said repeatedly they have no interest in fighting Ward. DiBella is a smart matchmaker. He knows that’s not a good fight for his guy.

One guy who fought his way out of a possible shot at Ward is Thomas Oosthuizen, who was featured June 29 on HBO for the express purpose of seeing if he could create some buzz as a possible Ward opponent. He did the exact opposite by looking terrible in a draw against Brandon Gonzalez, who was never a serious candidate for the fight since he also didn’t exactly set the world on fire but mainly because he’s Ward’s pal; they share the same gym and trainer, Virgil Hunter.

One guy who is calling Ward out is Zsolt Erdei (33-1, 18 KOs), a former cruiserweight and long-reigning light heavyweight titlist who suffered his only defeat by debatable split decision to Grachev in the semifinals of the Monaco tournament.

Erdei clearly didn’t learn anything from Dawson’s ill-advised drop down in weight because he, too, said he would drop down to 168 pounds to face Ward, who has maintained that he will eventually go to 175 but is not ready yet.

“When I decided to sign with Lou DiBella and fight in America, it was for me to face the best boxers in the world,” Erdei said. “Ward is considered to be the best boxer in the world above the middleweight division and he is a great champion. I respect his skills very much, but I know that I have what it takes to get the job done and shock the world. A win over Ward makes me a superstar in America and that is my ultimate goal.”

When Erdei, a 1996 and 2000 Olympian for Hungary, faced Grachev, he was coming off a nearly two-year layoff because of a retirement and then an injury.

"Everybody knows that I won my last fight and was clearly robbed of the victory,” Erdei said. “For that reason, I still consider myself an undefeated two-division champion and I still want to fight the best.”

DiBella also is campaigning for his man to get the shot with Ward.

“Many people who saw his fight with Grachev thought that Erdei won,” DiBella said. “Regardless though, he showed that he is still one of the best 168-/175-pound fighters in the world, having performed at the level that he did after not fighting for nearly two full years."

Ward and HBO are both in tough spots here. The fighter (who also serves as an HBO broadcaster) is coming off an injury and a long layoff, so it’s understandable that he and his team would want a tuneup-level fight. HBO sure doesn’t want to buy an inferior product for premium money, but there are not a lot of good options.

Stevenson-Cloud deal is near

July, 18, 2013
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Light heavyweight world champion Adonis Stevenson and Tavoris Cloud are getting closer to fighting each other. Their promoters, Yvon Michel and Don King, respectively, are nearing a deal for the fight, which, if finalized, is penciled in for Sept. 28 on HBO and would take place at the Bell Centre in Montreal, where Quebec's Stevenson is a crowd favorite.

Stevenson (21-1, 18 KOs) won the world championship on June 8, blasting out Chad Dawson in just 76 seconds. Cloud (24-1, 19 KOs) lost his version of the 175-pound title via unanimous decision to Bernard Hopkins on March 9.

That HBO telecast could also feature the return of super middleweight champion Andre Ward against an opponent to be determined from another site. Ward (26-0, 14 KOs) hasn't fought since last September after a shoulder injury and subsequent surgery.

Alexander: Yes to Khan, no to Dubai

June, 25, 2013
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A few notes from around the world of boxing:

• Welterweight titlist Devon Alexander was in Brooklyn, N.Y., over the weekend for the Adrien Broner-Paulie Malignaggi fight and I had a chance to talk to him at the fight hotel. He’s still sporting the soft cast on the left hand he broke in his knockout win against Lee Purdy on May 18. Alexander said he'll be in the cast for a few more weeks and is still on track for a probable Dec. 7 defense against Amir Khan. However, Alexander said he did not want to fight in Dubai, one of the places where Golden Boy promoter Richard Schaefer has said was a possibility venue because of the interest there in Khan.

• Newly crowned light heavyweight champion Adonis “Superman” Stevenson, who blasted Chad Dawson to win the title on June 8, was also Brooklyn for the fight and I had a chance to meet him for the first time at the fight hotel. He said that while he was in New York he met with HBO executives, to talk about a plan for his future fights. One possibility is a match with former titlist Tavoris Cloud, who lost his belt to Bernard Hopkins in March. Stevenson, however, said he is more interested in fighting Hopkins, although he has a mandatory due against the reinstated Karo Murat.

• Sauerland Event promoter Chris Meyer said that Murat, who was dropped from a July 13 mandatory shot against Hopkins because he could not obtain a visa to enter the United States, has worked out the paperwork issues. However, when it looked like it might take six months to clear up his problem, Hopkins promoter Golden Boy and Showtime canceled the card. With Murat’s paperwork cleared up, he is the mandatory again, but Showtime has no plans to reschedule the card given its busy -- and expensive -- slate of upcoming shows, according to what Showtime boxing chief Stephen Espinoza told me on Saturday night at the Broner-Malignaggi fight. That would leave the fighters, Golden Boy and Sauerland Event in a tough spot, because HBO has no interest in the fight, either.

• Mexico’s Sergio Thompson (27-2, 25 KOs) has been on a roll since a 2010 split-decision loss to Alisher Rahimov. Thompson has won 13 in a row and made a name for himself with an upset second-round knockout of Jorge Linares in March 2012. The streak has landed Thompson a shot at junior lightweight titlist Takashi Miura (25-2-2, 19 KOs). Golden Boy matchmaker Eric Gomez told ESPN.com the contracts are signed for the fight, which will take place Aug. 17 (Fox Deportes) in Thompson’s hometown of Cancun, Mexico. Miura, who stopped Gamaliel Diaz in the ninth round to win the title in April, will be making his first defense.

• Although neither side is talking publicly, super middleweight champion Andre Ward and promoter Dan Goossen are headed to an arbitration hearing on Tuesday in Los Angeles. Ward, for reasons that have not been disclosed, is seeking to break his promotional contract with Goossen, who has promoted Ward for his entire career, including negotiating for him to have his world title shot against Mikkel Kessler during the Super Six in Ward’s hometown of Oakland, Calif.

• Puerto Rican featherweight contender Orlando Cruz (20-2-1, 10 KOs), who made headlines last year as the first active boxer to announce he was gay, was supposed to fight Friday night on promoter Tutico Zabala’s Telemundo-televised card. However, Zabala told ESPN.com on Monday that he pulled Cruz from the show. The reason, Zabala said, was because after Mikey Garcia was stripped of his featherweight title for not making weight for his June 15 defense against Juan Manuel Lopez, the WBO ordered Cruz to face the former titlist for the vacant belt and Zabala and Cruz didn’t want to risk the surefire title shot.

• Top Rank announced two UniMas cards: July 13 at the Hollywood Park Casino in Inglewood, Calif., headlined by junior lightweight Alejandro Perez (17-1-1, 11 KOs) against Edgar Riovalle (35-14-2, 25 KOs) with light heavyweight prospect Trevor McCumby (11-0, 9 KOs) on the undercard, and Aug. 10 at the Sands Casino in Bethlehem, Pa., headlined by featherweight Gamalier Rodriguez (21-2-3, 15 KOs) facing Jorge Pazos (19-5-1, 13 KOs).

• Top Rank also finalized one of the undercard bouts for the Timothy Bradley Jr.-Juan Manuel Marquez HBO PPV undercard on Oct. 12: light heavyweight Seanie Monaghan (18-0, 11 KOs) against Anthony Caputo Smith (14-1, 10 KOs).

Prospect to watch: Marcus Browne

June, 19, 2013
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The light heavyweight division is one of boxing’s hotter divisions.

It boasts Adonis Stevenson, whose electrifying one-punch knockout of Chad Dawson on June 8 to become the champion sent shockwaves through the 175-pound weight class.

There’s the Canadian super fight on tap between former champ Jean Pascal and Lucian Bute.

Titleholder Bernard Hopkins, the 48-year-old legend, is still doing his thing.

Sergey Kovalev has emerged as one of the most exciting contenders in the division in years and is poised to challenge titlist Nathan Cleverly on Aug. 17.

And the division will get another boost with the eventual arrival of super middleweight champion Andre Ward.

But looking down the road we might someday include the name Marcus Browne of Staten Island, N.Y., when gauging the interest in the light heavyweight division. Browne (4-0, 4 KOs) is a good looking prospect. He’s young (22), skillful and, thus far, crowd pleasing.

He boasts a very likable and engaging personality and he comes to the pro ranks with vast amateur experience, which is usually the foundation for top pros. Besides being a 2012 U.S. Olympian, Browne won two National PAL titles, a U.S. national amateur championship and was a three-time New York Golden Gloves champion.

In his first scheduled six-round fight, Browne will face Ricardo Campillo (7-6-1, 5 KOs) on Saturday night (Showtime Extreme, 7 ET/PT) at the Barclays Center, in Brooklyn, N.Y., where the arena has become his home base.

When Browne fights on the undercard of the Paulie Malignaggi-Adrien Broner welterweight title fight (Showtime, 9 ET/6 PT), it will mark his third fight in a row at the Barclays Center, where Browne has drawn good fan support. Both times he has fought there, he had a nice cheering section. As Browne progresses, that support undoubtedly will grow.

“My gym is 30 minutes away, so it’s home,” Browne said. “My family and friends can come and see me. It’s perfect timing that the Barclays Center opened up and that [promoter] Golden Boy is working with them. I can continue fighting there, putting butts in seats, because that’s an important thing. You have to put people in the seats.”

Browne said he had fan support when he fought at Madison Square Garden in the Golden Gloves and as a pro “it’s a bigger stage. It’s more of a show and now I can show the people my personality and have a lot of fun. When it comes to promoting, social media is a blessing to all of us. It’s the biggest free promotion you can get. I use that to my advantage, and my personality. A lot of these fighters don’t know how to speak to people and be nice to people and that’s what it’s about. I want to let people know that I am a regular human being, that I come from a humble beginning and that I’m fighting my way through life like everyone else.”

Browne comes off as confident about his future prospects, but not at all cocky.

He got good experience last month when he went to Las Vegas to serve as a sparring partner for Pascal, who was getting ready for Bute, before the bout was postponed because of Bute’s injury.

Browne, who has the backing of powerful manager Al Haymon, said he and Pascal sparred eight rounds over two four-round sessions and that it was an excellent experience.

“I’m fighting every month or two and getting professional experience and I went to camp with Jean Pascal. That was a great experience,” Browne said. “It was great for my confidence and to let me know where I’m at.”

Where Browne is at is in position as one of boxing’s most interesting prospects. He has the right connections, the right attitude and a lot of potential. And he does not seem to be in a rush, knowing that what he needs is experience.

“I got time on my side,” Browne said.

Adonis Stevenson's next move

June, 16, 2013
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The excitement of Adonis Stevenson's one-punch highlight-reel knockout of Chad Dawson on June 8 has yet to wear off, but Dan Rafael is ready to look forward at the immediate prospects for the new light heavyweight titlist. Watch the video above for more.


Promoter/rap star Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson started off slowly in the promotional game.

The first fight he was involved in was when he made a deal with Top Rank to put his top fighter, Yuriorkis Gamboa, on the HBO PPV undercard of Juan Manuel Marquez-Manny Pacquiao IV last December.

For his second foray, Fiddy's SMS Promotions teamed up with promoter Lou DiBella to put on an ESPN2 "Friday Night Fights" card on March 1. But it was really DiBella’s staff that did the heavy lifting for that event in which Billy Dib, one of Jackson’s fighters, lost a split decision and his featherweight world title to Evgeny Gradovich in the main event at the Foxwoods resort in Mashantucket, Conn.

And last Saturday, he had Gamboa on an HBO card in Montreal promoted by Yvon Michel and Gary Shaw.

Now with a little experience under his belt, Jackson is promoting his first card solo-style, another "FNF" show, which takes place July 5 at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, Conn.
Jackson was in Hartford on Wednesday for a news conference to announce the card.

Dib originally was going to headline the card, but when a main event-worthy opponent could not be lined up, Jackson made a deal to bring in the fight between light heavyweight Eleider Alvarez (12-0, 8 KOs), a 2008 Colombian Olympian living in Montreal, and Tulsa, Okla., native Allan Green (32-4, 22 KOs), who participated in the Super Six World Boxing Classic super middleweight tournament.

Alvarez-Green was originally supposed to be on the May 25 Jean Pascal-Lucian Bute undercard in Montreal. When Bute got hurt and the show was postponed, promoter Yvon Michel shifted the fight to last Saturday’s Adonis Stevenson-Chad Dawson undercard. But it was pulled off that show for various reasons and ultimately, a deal was made with Jackson to have the fight headline the ESPN2 card.

Australia’s Dib (35-2, 21 KOs) will also be on the card in a non-title bout in the co-feature against Mike Oliver (25-3, 8 KOs) of Hartford. Dib has a rematch clause with Gradovich and if Dib beats Oliver and Gradovich retains his title against Mauricio Munoz on July 27 in Macau, the rematch is expected to follow.

"I'm excited because this is the first show put together by SMS Promotions,” Jackson said. “It's been a learning experience. We've been part of shows but never did the promotional job. I'm not far from home in Farmington [Conn.]. We've put together a real event with some of the best fighters in the world, good prospects and some local fighters. We're creating a platform for fighters to progress and I want to be part of it. Overall, it's a great opportunity to do things a little differently. I've associated myself with some big name fighters.

"The Hartford area has a long boxing history with Hall of Famer Willie Pep and other world champions and top contenders [and champions] like Battling Battalino, Marlon Starling [who was in attendance at the news conference], Kid Kaplan, Tyrone Booze and 'Iceman' John Scully.”

Jackson will also have three of his other fighters on the card, lightweight prospect Mark Davis (16-0, 5 KOs), a former two-time U.S. national amateur champion, junior welterweight Luis Olivares (3-0, 2 KOs) and junior welterweight Donte Strayhorn (1-0, 0 KOs).

Oliver hasn’t fought since being knocked out in the second round by former featherweight titlist Juan Manuel Lopez in October 2011 and is in a tough fight against Dib.

“I haven't fought in over a year, but I'm back,” Oliver said. “My last fight was against 'Juanma,' but that was in Puerto Rico and this fight is in my hometown, Hartford. I know you don't believe me 50, but I'm going to beat your guy.”
50 Cent-Yuriorkis GamboaChris Farina/Top RankPromoter 50 Cent, left, hasn't been able to secure an interim title fight for Yuriorkis Gamboa.
A few updates on some upcoming fights:

• Former unified featherweight titlist and interim junior lightweight titleholder Yuriorkis Gamboa has never fought at lightweight, but when he makes his debut in the 135-pound division he will be fighting for another interim belt.

Gamboa (22-0, 16 KOs), the Miami-based 2004 Olympic gold medalist, meets 2008 Colombian Olympian Darleys Perez (28-0, 19 KOs) on Saturday (HBO, 10 p.m. ET/PT) at Bell Centre in Montreal. He will be on the undercard of light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson’s defense against Quebec’s power-punching Adonis Stevenson. But what was originally scheduled as a 10-round nontitle bout became an interim title bout after Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, the rap star and Gamboa’s promoter, paid a recent visit to WBA headquarters in Panama and got the bout sanctioned.

Also on the card, prospect Jose “Sniper” Pedraza (12-0, 8 KOs), a 2008 Puerto Rican Olympian, will face Sergio Villanueva (25-2-2, 13 KOs) of Mexico in a scheduled 10-rounder that HBO Latino will air on tape delay at 12:15 a.m. ET.

• East Los Angles junior welterweight prospect Frankie Gomez (15-0, 11 KOs), who is just 21, should gain valuable experience when he faces former titleholder (and now division gatekeeper) DeMarcus “Chop Chop” Corley (39-20-1, 23 KOs) of Washington, D.C., in a scheduled 10-round main event of a “Golden Boy Live” card (FSN/Fox Deportes) on July 20 at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, Calif. Corley is coming off a decision loss in his previous fight, when he traveled to Russia to face Viktor Postal in October, but in his previous two bouts Corley pulled upsets. He outpointed Gabriel Bracero and then stopped Paul McCloskey in the 10th round in Northern Ireland in a stunner. In the co-feature, junior featherweight prospect Randy Caballero (18-0, 10 KOs) will face Puerto Rico's Miguel Robles (12-2-2, 5 KOs) in a 10-rounder. Caballero, who is from Coachella, Calif., is a crowd favorite at Fantasy Springs, where he has fought 11 of his 18 pro fights.

• Former featherweight titlist Orlando Salido (39-12-2, 27 KOs), who got dropped four times and lost his title via lopsided eighth-round technical decision to Mikey Garcia in January, will be back Aug. 16 in his hometown of Ciudad Obregon, Mexico, manager Sean Gibbons told ESPN.com. Salido, 32, suffered a right broken orbital bone in the fight, one of the reasons for the extended layoff. Gibbons said there is no opponent yet, but that Salido will be fighting at junior lightweight, possibly in a title eliminator that would put him in line for a crack at titleholder Roman “Rocky” Martinez.

• Puerto Rican junior middleweight Jorge Melendez (26-2-1, 25 KOs), a Miguel Cotto protege, is on his third opponent for his “ShoBox: The New Generation” main event Friday night (Showtime, 11 ET/PT). Melendez was due to face Mexico’s Luis Grajeda (14-1, 10 KOs) in the scheduled 10-rounder. When Grajeda dropped out -- for no reason other than he decided against taking the fight, according to Showtime -- Lanardo Tyner (30-8-2, 19 KOs) stepped in. However, even though Tyner is coming off a 12th-round knockout win on May 9 in Dallas, he was suspended under the normal Texas rules that say a fighter must be off three days for every round he fought in his most recent fight, which keeps him out until after Friday. So now it’s Nick Brinson (14-1-2, 6 KOs) stepping in on short notice. Puerto Rican bantamweight Jonathan Vidal (17-0, 9 KOs) faces Mario Munoz (13-0-1, 10 KOs) of Mexico in the eight-round co-feature.

• Japan’s Koki Kameda (30-1, 17 KOs) will make his seventh title defense when he faces the Philippines’ Mark John Apolinario (17-2-3, 4 KOs) on July 23 in Tokyo. Odd stat about Apolinario: He’s got three draws in his past four bouts, including back-to-back draws with Roberto Vasquez in interim title bouts.

June 8 fight undercards set

May, 24, 2013
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There are two big fight cards on June 8.

A Showtime tripleheader from the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., will be headlined by the welterweight clash between Marcos Maidana and Josesito Lopez, and also will feature two junior middleweight fights: Erislandy Lara against Alfredo Angulo, and prospect Jermell Charlo facing Demetrius Hopkins.

In an HBO doubleheader, Chad Dawson will defend the light heavyweight world championship against Adonis Stevenson in the main event at the Bell Centre in Montreal, and Yuriorkis Gamboa will move up to lightweight to take on Darley Perez in the co-feature.

Now both undercards have come together.

The Carson undercard includes a pair of fights that will air as part of Showtime Extreme's coverage of the preliminary bouts. Japan's Yoshihiro Kamegai (22-0-1, 19 KOs) and Johan Perez (16-1-1, 12 KOs), a former interim junior welterweight titlist from Venezuela, will meet in a 10-round welterweight bout. This one could be action-packed. Also, heavyweight Gerald Washington (7-0, 5 KOs), a former USC football player, will meet journeyman Sherman Williams (35-12-2, 19 KOs).

Time permitting, junior featherweight Joseph Diaz (4-0, 2 KOs), a 2012 U.S. Olympian, will also get TV time for his six-rounder against an opponent to be determined.

In other fights, junior lightweight prospect Ronny Rios (20-0, 9 KOs) will face veteran Leonilo Miranda (32-5, 30 KOs); lightweight Luis Ramos (23-1, 10 KOs) will face Fidel Maldonado (15-2, 12 KOs); lightweight Jamie Kavanagh (13-0-1, 5 KOs) will face Sergio Perez (27-14, 18 KOs); junior featherweight prospect Manuel Avila (11-0, 4 KOs) will meet Jamal Parram (6-7-1, 4 KOs) and bantamweight Edgar Valero (2-0, 2 KOs) will take on David Reyes (2-3-1).

In Montreal, lightweight prospect Jose "Sniper" Pedraza (12-0, 8 KOs), a 2008 Puerto Rico Olympian, will face an opponent to be determined. The bout will air on HBO Latino, which will begin televising undercard bouts from some HBO cards, similar to what Showtime Extreme does for Showtime bouts. The big difference, though: HBO Latino telecasts will be broadcast in Spanish.

Among the other undercard fights, light heavyweight prospect Eleider Alvarez (12-0, 8 KOs) will face former super middleweight contender Allan Green (32-4-0, 22 KOs), who was a washout as an alternate in the Super Six World Boxing Classic; Montreal middleweight David Lemieux (28-2, 27 KOs), one of boxing's biggest punchers, will meet Robert Swierzbinski (11-1-0, 3 KOs); and unbeaten heavyweights Didier Bence (8-0, 2 KOs) and Eric Barrack (7-0, 6 KOs) will square off.

Bellew, Chilemba set for Round 13

May, 23, 2013
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Bellew-Chilemba AP Photo/Peter Byrne/PA WireAfter fighting to a draw in March, Isaac Chilemba and Tony Bellew will pick up where they left off.
When light heavyweight contenders Tony Bellew of England and Isaac Chilemba of South Africa met on March 30 for the right to become the mandatory challenger to world champion Chad Dawson, they fought to an unsatisfying draw in England in a dreadful fight.

Now they are set to do it again with the title shot on the line when they meet Saturday at the O2 Arena in one of the featured bouts on the Mikkel Kessler-Carl Froch II undercard (on Sky Box Office pay-per-view in Great Britain).

"I wanted the rematch straight away and he basically had nowhere to go," Bellew said. "He is somebody who no one wants to fight because at the end of the day Isaac Chilemba is in the 'who-needs-you' club because he doesn't come to fight. He comes to make you miss and make you look bad."

Indeed, while Bellew (19-1-1, 12 KOs), 30, is typically an aggressive fighter, Chilemba (20-1-2, 9 KOs), 26, played the spoiler role in the first bout. Bellew is hoping he comes to fight this time.

"Ideally, we match up very well and we match up to make a really, really great fight but you can't force a guy to fight in that ring," Bellew said. "To make a great fight happen it takes two to tango and it takes two guys who really want to have a fight. I am willing to play my part in it. It is whether he is willing to play his part. The real big difference on the night will be in my output and this time I am not going to stop after seven rounds. That is the top and bottom of it. I am not going to fall apart halfway through the fight.

"I didn't perform last time, it is as simple as that. I did not perform to anywhere near the best of my ability or my potential and I was very disappointed in myself. While I still think I won, and he knows I won deep down, I still didn't perform well enough and I am paying for that by having this rematch."

Chilemba also feels like he won the first fight.

"I feel like I've already beaten Tony, but apparently that wasn't enough, so this time I am getting in the ring with full intentions of surpassing my last performance," Chilemba said. "If Tony thought he had it tough in our last bout, then he better be ready this time around because he is in for the fight of his life.

"I am sharper, stronger and definitely healthier this time around. I will adjust and do whatever is necessary to beat him and bring the victory home. The changes that I made this time were mostly to do with my approach to the camp and keeping healthy. [Trainer] Buddy [McGirt] has made a few changes in the ring with me as well."

When the March fight ended one judge had it 114-114, one had it 116-115 for Bellew and one had it 116-112 for Chilemba.
Dawson is defending his title against Adonis Stevenson on June 8 in Montreal. The winner will have to take on the winner of Bellew-Chilemba II.

Bellew thinks Dawson's skills will trump Stevenson's freakish power.

"I think Dawson is too clever for Stevenson," Bellew said. "But Stevenson has an equaliser in that right hand. He can really, really punch. I am not looking too much into that fight. I will pay attention to that once I beat Chilemba, but my head says Dawson because he is at that level and has dealt with people at that level many times before but you can never write off a puncher and Stevenson is definitely, definitely a puncher."

Glad to see Glazkov, not vs. Scott

January, 10, 2013
1/10/13
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Heavyweight prospect Vyacheslav "Czar" Glazkov (14-0, 10 KOs), a 2008 Olympic bronze medalist from Ukraine, got tremendous exposure in his last fight when he made Tor Hamer quit after four rounds in the opening bout of the return of boxing to NBC on Dec. 22.

Glazkov will look to build on that solid performance when he headlines the Feb. 23 edition of NBC Sports Net’s “Fight Night” series.

The downside, however, is that Glazkov, 28, has been matched with 32-year-old Malik Scott (35-0, 12 KOs), who has a sterling record but has built it against 35 nobodies and put more people to sleep than Ambien. I’ve been hard on Scott through the years. I admit it. I hung the nickname “80-72” on him because so many of his fights -- against overmatched opponents -- went the distance and he won by shutout rather than even remotely try to press the action. It’s a real shame, too, because Scott has the size and the skills but has never shown an ounce of fire in the ring. Even when in total control, he refuses to try to stop his opponent.

After more than a three-year-layoff, Scott returned last February and made a halfway decent fight (by his low standards, anyway) in an -- you guessed it -- 80-72 decision against Kendrick Releford on Showtime Extreme. I tried to give him another chance, but then, two fights later, Scott absolutely stunk the joint out again in a lame eighth-round TKO win against Bowie Tupou (who injured his arm, which caused the end of the fight) in September on the Andre Ward-Chad Dawson undercard. The fight was so bad, the crowd was booing before the first round was over. I watched the whole fight at ringside. I’ll never get that half hour of my life back.

So I feel for Main Events matchmaker Jolene Mizzone. She did not want to make Glazkov-Scott. She tried hard to make a more fan-friendly match. She told me she offered the fight to 11 different heavyweights before having no other choice but to take Scott. Those other guys did not want to face Glazkov or were not happy with the money or both. Heavyweights such as Magomed Abdusalamov, Travis Kauffman, Joe Hanks, David Rodriguez and Franklin Lawrence all turned it down.

So now we’re stuck with Glazkov-Scott. Maybe, for once, Scott will fight with a shred of passion. He doesn’t deserve it, but Scott is going to be on national TV. If he isn’t going to fight with passion then, when will he ever?

Whatever he does, I’m not worried because I refuse to watch the fight live. I’ll DVR it, watch the Showtime card that is on opposite “Fight Night” and then find out the result of Glazkov-Scott before speeding through it. I’ve watched too many terrible Scott fights to be suckered again.

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