Dan Rafael: Daniel Geale

Tapia's return; Soliman-Taylor site

August, 26, 2014
Aug 26
A few notes from the boxing world:

• Junior middleweight Glen Tapia (21-1, 13 KOs), 24, of Passaic, New Jersey, will be back in action to face Donatas Bondorovas (18-5-1, 6 KOs), 34, of Chicago, in a scheduled 10-round bout on Oct. 4 in the main event of a non-televised Top Rank card at Bally’s in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti told ESPN.com. Tapia, now training with Hall of Famer Freddie Roach, is eyeing his second win in a row since a rough sixth-round knockout loss to James Kirkland on HBO in December.

Tapia was scheduled to fight July 26 in New York on the Gennady Golovkin-Daniel Geale undercard, but was denied a license by the New York State Athletic Commission the day before the fight because of an issue over a pre-existing blood condition, one which he has fought with for his entire career. Tapia is licensed already in New Jersey. He fought there in June. Bondorovas participated in ESPN2’s Boxcino middleweight tournament, losing a six-round decision to Willie Monroe Jr. in the quarterfinals in February.

• Middleweight titlist Sam Soliman’s first defense against former undisputed champion Jermain Taylor (32-4-1, 20 KOs), which is on Oct. 8 (ESPN2), will take place at the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino, Warriors Boxing promoter Leon Margules, who is co-promoting the card, told ESPN.com. Taylor, 36, of Little Rock, Arkansas, was middleweight champion from 2005 to 2007. In 2009, he suffered a small brain bleed in a 12th-round knockout loss to Arthur Abraham. Taylor was off for 26 months, but after extensive medical testing, all of which he passed, he was licensed and has won four fights in a row. Soliman (44-11, 18 KOs), of Australia, will be making his first title defense since outpointing Felix Sturm in Germany in May.

• Talks are ongoing for 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. Lou DiBella, Nelson’s promoter, said if a deal is made the fight could land on Showtime on Oct. 4 on the same card expected to feature junior lightweight titlist Rances Barthelemy’s defense against Fernando Saucedo at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut.
“It’s a very good fight, a tough fight between real contenders,” DiBella said. “It’s not done, but we’re working on it.”

• Former lightweight and junior lightweight titlist Ricky Burns (36-4-1, 11 KOs), 31, of Scotland, plans to move up to junior welterweight for his ring return on Oct. 4 at First Direct Arena in Leeds, England. Burns, who will face an opponent to be determined, will fight on the undercard of the vacant European featherweight title bout between Josh Warrington (18-0, 2 KOs), who is from Leeds, and Davide Dieli (15-3, 5 KOs) of Italy. Burns is looking to shake a two-fight losing streak, a decision loss to Terence Crawford that cost him his lightweight world title in March followed by a major upset split decision loss to Dejan Zlaticanin on June 27.

Ruiz to face faded Liakhovich

August, 14, 2014
Aug 14
A few notes from the boxing world:

" Heavyweight prospect Andy Ruiz Jr. (22-0, 16 KOs), 24, will headline a card on Sept. 20 (UniMas) in Phoenix against former world titleholder Sergei Liakhovich (26-6, 16 KOs), who lives in Arizona. Although Liakhovich is the first name opponent of Ruiz’s career, he is badly diminished. The 38-year-old, who is originally from Belarus, has lost three of his last four fights with each defeat coming by knockout, although he won his most recent fight by eight-round decision against the unknown Chad Davis, who was 5-11. When Liakhovich faced Deontay Wilder last August, Wilder knocked him out so severely in the first round that Liakhovich was on the canvas convulsing.

" Although there is no opponent set yet, the HBO target date for middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin’s next fight is Oct. 18. Golovkin (30-0, 27 KOs) retained his title for the 11th time on July 26, destroying former titlist Daniel Geale by third-round knockout.

" HBO announced that “The Fight Game With Jim Lampley,” a 30-minute boxing studio show that covers the top fights and issues in the sport, will return for a four-show run beginning Sept. 16 with additional episodes on Oct. 28, Nov. 18 and Dec. 23.

“I am excited to hit the ground running in September and deliver four more shows during what promises to be a robust time in the boxing season,” said Lampley, HBO’s blow-by-blow commentator. “We will continue to explore hot-button issues, sprinkle in some entertaining elements, and deliver comprehensive unfiltered discussion and analysis of the sport on this platform.”

" One week after claiming a vacant secondary middleweight title on Showtime, Daniel Jacobs, who knocked out Jarrod Fletcher in the fifth round at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, will be ringside to serve as a guest analyst for the network’s tripleheader topped by the mandatory fight between welterweight titlist Shawn Porter and Kell Brook from the StubHub Center in Carson, California, on Saturday night (9 ET/PT).

“How cool is that? Fighting one week on one coast on Showtime and then announcing the fights the very next week on Showtime from the other coast,” said Jacobs, who will sit in for regular analyst Paulie Malignaggi, who will miss the card for family reasons. “I love this. I think announcing fits me. To be able to do something like this, to be in this position, is very important to me. Other fighters have done it as well, of course, but for me to be able to follow in their footsteps is an honor. It shows that we can not only announce fights, but we can be good at it."

GGG heading west for next fight

August, 8, 2014
Aug 8
Gennady Golovkin and Daniel GealeMike Stobe/Getty ImagesMiddleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin, right, could make his next defense on the West Coast.

Although middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin’s overwhelming third-round knockout of former titleholder Daniel Geale was only two weeks ago, plans are already in motion for GGG’s ring return.

Golovkin will make his 12th title defense in the fall (and, undoubtedly, will be eyeing his 18th consecutive knockout). K2 Promotions managing director Tom Loeffler told ESPN.com that HBO is holding a date for Golovkin in October and November, although the Golovkin team prefers to go in October.

Loeffler said he hopes to have the date squared away in the next week or so.

“We are just working on which opponents are available and willing to get in the ring with GGG,” Loeffler said.

That has been a problem for quite some time because few have wanted to face boxing’s most devastating knockout artist. Golovkin (30-0, 27 KOs) will not be facing world champion Miguel Cotto, who will have his own Dec. 13 date. Golovkin and Loeffler mentioned the possibility of a unification fight with Australia’s Sam Soliman at the news conference following the Geale bout.

The location of Golovkin’s next bout probably will be on the West Coast. All five of the fights that the Kazakhstan native has had so far in the United States have been in the Northeast: three in New York City, one in upstate New York and one in Connecticut.

Loeffler, who is from Los Angeles, is looking to bring Golovkin to a new market.

“We are exploring options in L.A.,” he said. “Our plan has always been to have a GGG fight on the West Coast because he trains in Big Bear [California] and to compliment the fan base he has built up on the East Coast.”

GGG's viewership figures down

July, 29, 2014
Jul 29
Middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin's wipeout of former titlist Daniel Geale on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York lasted less than three full rounds, which was probably one of the factors that hurt Golovkin's viewership figures for the first bout of his new deal with HBO.

According to Nielsen Media Research, Golovkin-Geale averaged 984,000 viewers for the live airing (with a peak at 1.048 million viewers). That ranks as the eighth-most-viewed fight of the year on American television. (HBO has televised the top nine.)

[+] EnlargeGennady Golovkin, Daniel Geale
Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY SportsDespite finishing Daniel Geale in exciting fashion on Saturday, Gennady Golovkin delivered a surprisingly low rating on HBO.
The average was a significant drop from Golovkin's last HBO fight in November, when he knocked out New York's Curtis Stevens in the eighth round of a fight that averaged 1.41 million viewers (by far the best of any of Golovkin's five HBO bouts) and had many labeling Golovkin as boxing's next big star.

Usually, as a fight goes deeper the audience grows, but with Golovkin (30-0, 27 KOs) scoring his 17th knockout in a row in short order, there was no opportunity.

HBO officials were disappointed with the figure but attribute the brevity of the fight as one of the key reasons for the decline, not to mention the fact that it took place in the dead of summer, which is always the lowest viewership time of year.

Other factors are also significant, including that HBO had not had any live, prime-time boxing in a month, meaning there were fewer opportunities to promote the event to its boxing audience. Also, despite Geale's credentials as a quality, top-5 middleweight, the Australian is an unknown in the United States. The fight with Golovkin was only his second American television appearance.

Here are the average viewership figures for all five of his Golovkin's HBO fights, in chronological order:

• Gregorz Proksa (Sept. 1, 2012): 685,000

• Gabriel Rosado (Jan. 19, 2013): 813,000

• Matthew Macklin (June 29, 2013): 1.1 million

• Stevens (Nov. 2, 2013): 1.41 million

• Geale (July 26, 2014): 984,000

Saturday's co-feature -- heavyweight Bryant Jennings' lackluster split-decision victory against Mike Perez in a title elimination contest -- averaged 714,000 viewers, peaking at 780,000.

NEW YORK -- Middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin took care of business inside the ring when he knocked out Daniel Geale in the third round of a dominant performance to retain his title for the 11th time (and score his 17th consecutive stoppage) on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.

The day before the fight, Golovkin took care of his business outside of the ring when he signed a multi-fight contract extension with HBO, K2 Promotions managing director Tom Loeffler told ESPN.com following the fight.

“We are looking forward to continuing our long-term relationship with HBO,” Loeffler said. “They've invested a lot in Gennady, and we feel they are the best television partner we could have to help take his career to the next level.”

The deal calls for a minimum of four fights, although the Geale bout was the first one under the contract. The agreement also has provisions for overseas fights and potential pay-per-view fights, meaning there could be far more than four bouts. The bottom line is that all of Golovkin’s fights, wherever they may take place, will be on HBO or HBO PPV for the foreseeable future.

The fight with Geale was supposed to be the final bout of Golovkin’s previous agreement with HBO, but the terms for Saturday’s fight were renegotiated, and the old deal was ripped up and replaced by the new deal.

Since making his HBO debut in September 2012, Golovkin’s star has steadily risen, as have his viewership figures, which are among the network’s best for boxing. Golovkin (30-0, 27 KOs) has fought five of his last seven fights on HBO, with his two overseas fights in Monaco not being on the network, which took some criticism for not showing his February fight with Osumanu Adama. That won’t happen again under this agreement.

HBO declined to comment on Golovkin’s contract, saying it won’t talk about its multi-fight agreements -- the same stance it took when it declined to discuss the exclusive deals it has recently made with Manny Pacquiao and Sergey Kovalev.

Golovkin is expected back in the ring for one more fight this year, likely in October or November.

When middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin and former titleholder Daniel Geale square off on Saturday night (HBO, 9:30 ET/PT) at New York’s Madison Square Garden, it will not be the first time they have duked it out.

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

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

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

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

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

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

New opponent for Tapia set

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top Rank promotes Tapia and had made a deal with K2 Promotions to put him on the card next week. Top Rank matchmaker Brad “Abdul” Goodman said he is looking for a new opponent to face Tapia (21-1, 13 KOs), 24, who will remain on the card if an opponent can be secured.
Middleweight contender Matthew Macklin, an Irishman who lives in England, has not fought in Ireland since he outpointed Rafael Sosa Pintos at National Stadium in Dublin in December 2009. Now the time is right for the three-time world title challenger to return.

Macklin will headline a card there on Aug. 30 in his first fight since agreeing to a co-promotional deal with Matchroom Boxing’s Eddie Hearn.

Hearn, who will co-promote Macklin with Lou DiBella, Macklin’s longtime promoter, made the announcement on Wednesday.

Macklin (30-5, 20 KOs), 32, doesn’t have an opponent yet. He is coming off a strong performance in a unanimous decision win against then-unbeaten Lamar Russ in December. Macklin’s next fight was supposed to be against former titleholder Daniel Geale on HBO on May 24, but when the Bryant Jennings-Mike Perez heavyweight main event was postponed, Macklin’s fight was called off because Geale got a better opportunity (a title fight with Gennady Golovkin on July 27).

That understandably upset Macklin, who instead has a chance to go back to the United Kingdom.

“It’s been four years since I last boxed in the U.K. and five since I boxed in Ireland, so I am really looking forward to boxing this side of the Atlantic again,” Macklin said. “The National Stadium has always been a great traditional venue for Irish boxing, and I think the atmosphere on August 30 will be electric.”

Hearn said he has been looking to promote in Dublin but needed the right fighter to appear in the main event. He believes he has the guy in Macklin, who lost a controversial decision in a title fight to Felix Sturm in 2011 but suffered knockout losses in title bouts against Sergio Martinez (2012) and Golovkin (2013).

“Matthew is a proven world-level fighter on the verge of another world title shot, and I am delighted to also be working with our American partner Lou DiBella on making that happen,” Hearn said. “Fans in Dublin can expect a corker of a card with Olympic super heavyweight king [Anthony] Joshua fighting in the city for the first time as a pro and an all-Irish grudge match between [middleweights] Spike O’Sullivan and Anthony Fitzgerald.”

DiBella said he will take the lead on Macklin's fights in the United States, while Hearn will handle the promotions for Macklin in Europe.

“I’ve always had a good relationship with Eddie,” DiBella said. “This was a deal that made sense for everybody.”

GGG deep in training for Geale

June, 26, 2014
Jun 26
Gennady GolovkinCourtesy Abel SanchezMiddleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin has been in training camp since late May in Big Bear Lake, Calif.
With a month to go before the fight, middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin is deep in training for his defense against former titleholder Daniel Geale on July 26 (HBO) at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Golovkin, from Kazakhstan, has been in training camp with Abel Sanchez in Big Bear Lake, California since late May in preparation for his 11th title defense, which will come against his most accomplished opponent in Australia's Geale (30-2, 16 KOs).

Golovkin (29-0, 26 KOs) had been due to fight in April, but due to the unexpected death of his father, a defense against Andy Lee was canceled. That means this has been a longer layoff than usual for Golovkin, who hoped to fight four times this year, yet hasn't fought since a seventh-round knockout of Osumanu Adama on Feb. 1.

"It feels great to be back with Abel and the team," Golovkin said. "Daniel Geale is a former world champion and this is the toughest fight of my career. It took me a couple days when I got to camp to get comfortable, but now camp is going well and I look forward to returning to Madison Square Garden."

Golovkin did take a trip down the mountain last weekend to attend the fight card headlined by the Robert Guerrero-Yoshihiro Kamegai welterweight slugfest at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. It was a nice, but quick, timeout from training for GGG.

"This [past] Saturday night was a nice break," Sanchez said. "Gennady is a boxing fan and wanted to take in the fights from ringside instead of watching from camp. The fans love him and he enjoys signing autographs and taking pictures with them."

But Sanchez said Golovkin would be ready for Geale.

"Geale boxes a little more [than other opponents]," he said. "We've been very confident of the past opponents running away, but we don't anticipate that from him. Hopefully, he will bring out the very best of Gennady. The better he is, the better it will be for Gennady to perform.

"Geale is more accomplished [than other opponents]. He has [won unified world titles] and he's the most experienced boxer at the top level that we've fought. He has got the most to gain and is on the cusp of being a world champion again."

Sanchez also broke down Golovkin's training routine: On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, they meet at the gym at 7 a.m. and run five miles. Then there is a gym session at 1 p.m. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, they do sprints instead of the distance run.

Since Golovkin has no problem making 160 pounds, Sanchez said his fighter isn't on a strict diet.

"Not really a particular diet; no sugars, fats or sodas. Just a balanced diet," he said. "Gennady eats pretty much what he wants, but he's very smart about what he eats in camp. The great Emanuel Steward said it best: Keep it as simple as possible for the fighter. It should not be a dramatic change as they get to another level."

DiBella: Macklin is wrong

May, 23, 2014
May 23
Understandably, middleweight contender Matthew Macklin is disappointed. That is because he was supposed to fight former titleholder Daniel Geale on Saturday in Corpus Christi, Texas on HBO.

The fight was scheduled to be the co-feature on the card headlined by the heavyweight elimination bout between Mike Perez and Bryant Jennings, but when Perez suffered a shoulder injury two weeks ago the card was canceled. Poof, there went Macklin’s fight and low six-figure payday.

But not long after that, HBO was interested to have him face Matt Korobov on June 28 on the Terence Crawford-Yuriorkis Gamboa undercard. While Macklin would make a little less money for the fight, he would at least not have let his training go to waste, would still be on HBO and also in a winnable fight.

But Macklin did not respond in a timely enough fashion about whether he would accept the fight, so HBO and Top Rank moved on and Korobov will face Jose Uzcategui instead.

Now Macklin, upset with promoter Lou DiBella over the situation, has declared himself a free agent even though DiBella said he has one more fight with him, and certainly Macklin believed that also given that he had accepted the Geale offer from DiBella.

Macklin has said that the Perez injury was fishy, believing that the card was called off as a way to get Geale a July shot at the K2-promoted Gennady Golovkin because right after the card was canceled Golovkin-Geale was being negotiated. Perez is also with K2.

“I think something’s fishy there myself, but HBO did come back and offer Matthew a Korobov fight,” DiBella said. “He was offered the fight in writing. He never got back to me. The next day HBO called me and they needed to know if we will accept the fight or not. Matthew said he needed a day to decide and, besides, it was his birthday and he didn’t want to think about boxing. I got Top Rank and HBO to wait one more day. And as of the middle of the next day his adviser (Anthony Catanzaro) said he couldn’t reach him. The following day still no response and Anthony sent me a text message saying he hadn’t heard from Matt and to tell them if they have to move on they should move on.”

DiBella said Macklin is not a free agent and is upset that Macklin is seemingly blaming DiBella for what happened.

“It’s totally disrespectful. I also had a fighter retire on me by text message,” DiBella said of Yuri Foreman, who announced his retirement two weeks before he was to fight June 7 on the Sergio Martinez-Miguel Cotto HBO PPV undercard. “The job I’ve done with Macklin after not getting the decision against Felix Sturm, he should be thrilled.”

After that robbery, DiBella got Macklin a shot at middleweight champ Martinez (Macklin was knocked out), got him on the Martinez-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. HBO PPV card and then a shot at Golovkin (Macklin was knocked out). And then Macklin found himself back on HBO against the unknown Lamar Russ because DiBella negotiated a comeback fight in the Golovkin contract.

“I got him on HBO against Lamar Russ after he knocked out early (third round) by Golovkin. I did my job,” DiBella said. “Matthew has turned down fights and also been injured. How can he argue I don’t have a fight left? It was his choice not to fight Korobov, but he can’t say he doesn’t have a fight left.

“I have fought for this kid non-stop. I questioned with what happened with Geale. It’s not fair but there’s nothing I can do about it so he shouldn’t blame me and he’s the one who turned down Korobov. Matthew is sick of the politics of boxing but so am I, and part of it’s the fighters who take advantage of the people who work hard for them and don’t honor their contracts. I literally feel hurt. I respected him and considered him a friend, so I am hurt and upset. He is wrong.”
Bryant ''By-By'' JenningsCal Sport Media/AP ImagesBryant Jennings is looking to take another step toward the heavyweight title.
The May 24 HBO doubleheader featuring heavyweight Bryant Jennings against Mike Perez in a title eliminator and the middleweight showdown between former titlist Daniel Geale and former three-time title challenger Matthew Macklin will take place at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas, promoters Gary Shaw and K2 Promotions have announced.

Both fights look like good, competitive bouts on paper. The Jennings-Perez winner will become the mandatory challenger for the fighter who emerges from the winner of the Bermane Stiverne-Chris Arreola vacant title bout after taking on first mandatory Deontay Wilder.

“The world has been desperately seeking a heavyweight to take over the division, and I believe that person is me,” Jennings said. “By defeating Mike Perez, I will position myself as the mandatory in the WBC.

Said Perez: “My dream has always been to fight for the heavyweight championship. This has been my dream since I first started boxing, and I have sacrificed a lot to get this opportunity. Jennings and I have been on a crash course for a while, and now with so much at risk I’m sure it will bring out the best in both of us. However, as good as Jennings is, I will be victorious.”

The Geale-Macklin winner figures to be in a great spot to land another title shot.

“I'm keen to prove I am still one of the best middleweights in the world,” Geale said. "Macklin is a very tough opponent who likes to go to war, as do I. Our clash of styles could make a fight that steals the show. I will confirm my status as one of the top fighters in the division with a victory. When I win, I still want to fight [Gennady] Golovkin or the winner of [Felix] Sturm vs. [Sam] Solomon.”

Said Macklin: “I'm really excited about the fight with Daniel Geale. He's a good fighter, a former world champion, and he throws a lot of punches like me, so I'm expecting it to be a tough, action-packed fight. After the Golovkin fight [a knockout loss], the win over [Lamar] Russ got me back on track and a much-needed 10 rounds of work. Winning on May 24 against Geale will throw me back into the world title mix, so in many ways this is almost a world title eliminator. It's a great fight between two of the best and most exciting middleweights in the world.”

There were plans to include a third televised fight, light heavyweight Edwin Rodriguez against Marcus Johnson, but the bout was scrapped when Johnson pulled out of the fight, according to Rodriguez promoter Lou DiBella.

You might be asking why HBO would bring Rodriguez back in his next fight after missing weight for a super middleweight title challenge against Andre Ward in November, when he fought poorly and lost a one-sided decision. The reason is because HBO gave Rodriguez a six-figure comeback fight in his contract in the event of a loss. It’s a terrible way to do business and something I have argued with HBO Sports president Ken Hershman about, but he said sometimes that is an onerous part of getting a fight deal done. It shouldn’t be.

Geale calls for GGG showdown

February, 24, 2014
Feb 24
Daniel Geale Matt King/Getty ImagesDaniel Geale, right, is calling out middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin.
Former middleweight titlist Daniel Geale, who returned to the win column Wednesday by knocking out Australian countryman Garth Wood in the sixth round, is now calling for a fight with titleholder Gennady Golovkin.

There’s two ways to look at that. On the one hand, it’s good to see Geale call for a fight with a guy most people do not want to face. GGG has been destroying opponents and is a sure loss for most opponents. On the other hand, it’s kind of easy to call out Golovkin when you have no chance to be his next opponent -- because you already declined the opportunity.

Golovkin returns on April 26 (HBO) at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York and Geale (30-2, 16 KOs) has already passed on the fight. He claims that because of the date, he cannot face Golovkin because he would have no Australian television revenue because the pay-per-view company that would handle the bout already has a UFC event scheduled the same day.

So what Geale is really doing is throwing his hat into the ring as a candidate for Golovkin this summer, should he defeat likely April 26 opponent Andy Lee.

"My ambition is to recapture a world title and bring it back to Australia,” Geale said. "I will do whatever it takes to regain my status as the middleweight champion of the world. With Wood out of the way, the doors have opened for other big fights. I believe Gennady Golovkin and I would make for a great fight. If HBO can bring that fight to fruition, then I'm all for it. Golovkin needs to fight someone of my caliber to be considered elite. The fans deserve a great competitive fight and that's what Golovkin and I bring to the table.

"I would have fought Golovkin already had there been a PPV date [in Australia], but there was none available. My promoters, Gary Shaw and Garrie Francisco, believe this fight can happen and that's the direction I want to go. The same style I fought against Wood is what I anticipate would be successful against Golovkin. It would be a great fight for the fans."

Geale’s win against Wood was his first since losing his world title by split decision to England’s Darren Barker in a great fight in August in Atlantic City, N.J.

GGG likely to face Andy Lee

February, 5, 2014
Feb 5

You can cross former middleweight titlist Daniel Geale off the list of potential opponents for Gennady Golovkin’s April 26 HBO fight at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York.

You can also cross off James Kirkland, another of the three leading candidates.

You know what that means? That means GGG likely will face former title challenger Andy Lee.

“We're close. We’re talking, and Andy wants the fight,” Lou DiBella, Lee’s promoter, told ESPN.com on Wednesday. “Andy believes he can win, and this is a fight that he wants.”

Geale (29-2, 15 KOs) is scheduled to face Australian countryman Garth Wood on Feb. 19 in Geale’s first bout since losing his belt to Darren Barker in a great fight in August in Atlantic City, N.J., but he was viewed as the leading candidate to try to slow down the Golovkin train.

But he’s now out of the picture. Geale and promoter Gary Shaw both said that the reason is because if he fights Golovkin on April 26 -- the firm date for Golovkin’s next fight, mainly because that is when the MSG Theater is available -- the bout would not be televised in Australia, where most fights of consequence are on Main Event PPV. On April 26, Main Event PPV is already slated to air a UFC pay-per-view.

With no Australian television revenue, that would leave Geale without an important piece of his overall revenue for a fight with Golovkin (29-0, 26 KOs), who is coming off last week’s bruising seventh-round knockout of Osumanu Adama in Monte Carlo.

“We weren't ducking him," Geale told Fox Sports Australia. “If they had given us a week later or a week before, it would have been perfect. But they wouldn't budge on the date and I want the people of Australia to be able to see a fight like that. Golovkin has built his name up so well; he's stopped pretty much everybody he's been in there with. I don't want to go over there [to the U.S.] and do something great and nobody see it."

Shaw told ESPN.com, “I agree with Geale. He wants his fights to be shown in Australia. Hope he gets the next fight with enough time to secure a TV network. Geale has never been afraid to fight GGG and continues to believe that he has a chance.”

[+] EnlargeGennady Golovkin
Didier Baverel/Getty ImagesAfter stopping Osumanu Adama on Saturday, Gennady Golovkin, left, is ready to get back in the ring as soon as April.
Kirkland (32-1, 28 KOs), the vicious junior middleweight puncher who would have to move up in weight for the fight, was also in the running. In fact, some at HBO preferred him over Geale as GGG’s opponent.

But according to sources involved in the talks, Kirkland’s camp has rejected the fight. Instead, there’s a good chance that Kirkland, of Austin, Texas, will wind up on the April 26 HBO undercard with the understanding that if Kirkland and Golovkin both win they would meet in the summer.

That left Ireland’s Lee (31-2, 22 KOs), HBO’s third choice but the one guy willing to take the fight and the guy who probably can significantly boost ticket sales. New York’s Irish fight fans are very loyal to their fighters.

Lee has won three low-level fights in a row since being destroyed in a seventh-round knockout loss to then-middleweight titlist Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in June 2012.

I don’t think Lee stands much of a chance against Golovkin, but I didn’t think Geale or Kirkland did either.

Quillin eyes 'career-defining' fight

November, 7, 2013
Jacobs/QuillinMarty Rosengarten/Hoganphotos/Golden Boy PromotionsPeter Quillin, right, could face Daniel Jacobs next, but he's hoping for a glamour bout soon.

Although Peter Quillin had a tough time of it, he got the job done and retained his middleweight world title for the second time when he stopped Gabriel Rosado on a cut in the 10th round on Oct. 26 in Atlantic City, N.J.

Quillin dropped Rosado in the second round but was having problems in the middle rounds before opening the bad cut on Rosado's left eyelid in the ninth round, which led to the stoppage.

The 30-year-old Quillin (30-0, 22 KOs) deserves credit for getting through a difficult fight, especially given the personal situation he was going through during the last part of his training camp. While in the midst of training in Los Angeles, Quillin's wife, Allison, was home in New York and suffered a miscarriage five months into her pregnancy.

"I struggled with it," Quillin said. "I was obligated to camp, 3,000 miles away, and she had to go through it without me being there to comfort her. We're praying together and I'm working on being more compassionate."

Quillin is putting the miscarriage and the fight with Rosado behind him and has returned to light training, even though he doesn't have his next fight lined up.

"I took a week off and bought my dream car," he said of his new red Corvette Stingray. "I get depressed when I'm not working out. My wife goes to work and I'm all alone. I need to be active to be productive, so I went right back into the gym. My dad taught me how to clear my head. I'm staying ready and in shape, just in case the opportunity for my career-defining fight comes along."

Getting that big fight is going to be tough. Although Quillin might end up defending against Golden Boy Promotions teammate Daniel Jacobs in early 2014, he knows he is a long way from getting one of the big names in the division because of the divide that has his promoter working exclusively with Showtime on premium cable cards while many of the other top middleweights, including champion Sergio Martinez and red-hot titleholder Gennady Golovkin, have been fighting on HBO.

"If the money is right, I'm up for fighting any of the top names, especially Martinez and Golovkin, but everybody's aware of what's going on behind the scenes," Quillin said. "My job is to work hard and be ready."

Quillin offered his take on some of the top middleweights:

Martinez: "He is the one everybody has as No. 1 in the middleweight division. Martinez has fought some very exciting fights. He's a showman in the ring."

Golovkin: "A power puncher. Golovkin brings power into the ring and gets a lot of knockouts."

Darren Barker (titleholder): "He always puts his best foot forward and always tries as hard as possible. Barker and I would bring a lot of fireworks into the ring."

Daniel Geale (former titlist): "Another exciting fighter who bangs with the best. It worked for a while against Barker."

Felix Sturm (former titlist): "I haven't seen too much of him. I hope Sturm pursues more fights to make the middleweight division even tougher than it is right now."

Martin Murray (interim titlist): "He is determined and exciting. I can't take anything away from Murray."