Dan Rafael: Golden Boy

A few notes from around the boxing world:

•  The ongoing litigation over Canelo Alvarez’s promotional contract between Golden Boy Promotions and All-Star Boxing was scheduled to go to trial next week in Dade County circuit court in Florida. However, according to All-Star Boxing promoter Tutico Zabala, the trial has been delayed and won’t start until January. No reason was given for the delay. Zabala is suing Golden Boy, claiming it interfered with his contract with Alvarez. Golden Boy and Top Rank are currently negotiating a spring fight between Alvarez and middleweight champion Miguel Cotto.

•  Former two-time Olympic gold medalist Zou Shiming (6-0, 1 KOs) of China suffered a cut over his left eye from a head butt in a lopsided decision victory against Kwanpichit OnesongchaiGym in a November flyweight eliminator on the Manny Pacquiao-Chris Algieri undercard in Macau, China, so Zou's return (penciled in for February) has been pushed back to March 7 (also in Macau) to give the cut time to heal. Zou is slated to challenge world titleholder Amnat Ruenroeng (14-0, 5 KOs) of Thailand.

•  Fan-friendly cruiserweight prospect Oleksandr Usyk (5-0, 5 KOs), the 2012 Olympic heavyweight gold medalist, will face South Africa’s Danie Venter in a 10-rounder on Dec. 13 at the Sport Palace in Kiev, Ukraine, Usyk's home country. Usyk's training for the fight included two weeks of sparring with cruiserweight contender Ola Afolabi. Venter (19-6, 14 KOs) has won four fights in a row.

“Training was terrific and I learned a great deal sparring with Ola,” said Usyk, who has also trained with heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko. “He’s one of the very best cruisers in the world and it was a tremendous experience. I’m getting better with each bout and looking to close out 2014 in style.”
Junior featherweight prospect Joseph "Jo Jo" Diaz, a 2012 U.S. Olympian, will face Mexican veteran Jose Angel Beranza in the main event of a Dec. 8 card at the Cowboys Dancehall in San Antonio.

Promoters Golden Boy and Leija Battah Promotions are getting into the holiday spirit for the "Christmas in the Ring" card by offering fight fans free admission with the donation of a toy to benefit the Children's Shelter of San Antonio and St. PJ's Children's Home for abused and neglected children.

Toys can be brought to the Leija Battah offices at 4310 West Avenue in San Antonio between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday through Friday in exchange for a free ticket.

Diaz (13-0, 9 KOs) will be seeking his sixth win in what has been a busy 2014 when he faces Beranza (36-31-2, 28 KOs) in a scheduled 10-rounder.

In the all-San Antonio co-feature, Jose Hernandez (14-8-1, 6 KOs) will face Justo Vallecillo (6-17, 3 KOs) in an eight-round junior welterweight bout.

In another bout on the show, bantamweight Ivan Morales (26-0, 15 KOs), the 23-year-old younger brother of future Hall of Famer Erik Morales, will face Timur Shailezov (17-8-1, 4 KOs) in a 10-rounder.

Aguilar re-elected as NSAC chairman

October, 28, 2014
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A few notes from around the boxing world:

• Nevada State Athletic Commission chairman Francisco Aguilar was unanimously elected to a second one-year term at the panel’s monthly meeting Monday in Las Vegas. That is a significant change from the norm as the chairman usually serves just one year before another member of the five-person commission is selected. However, Aguilar was given another year because the commission believes he has done a superb job during his term and because a lot of projects he would typically have spent time on, including the budget, took a backseat.

The reason for that was because Aguilar was much more involved with the commission on a day-to-day basis than commissioners usually are because he handled many of the duties of the executive director while overseeing the search for a new one in the wake of Keith Kizer’s resignation. The commission eventually hired Bob Bennett. Aguilar’s term will expire in October 2015.

• Although promoters Don King and Golden Boy have not made an announcement and the fight still has no date, site or official television deal, the WBC announced that an agreement has been reached for the bout between heavyweight titleholder Bermane Stiverne and mandatory challenger Deontay Wilder, and that the purse bid process has been called off.

• Hiawatha Knight, the former president of the IBF, died last week. A memorial service is scheduled for Thursday in Detroit. “We were deeply saddened when we learned of the passing of our former president Hiawatha Knight last week,” the IBF said in a statement. “Hiawatha was part of the fabric of the IBF/USBA. She was a founding member of the organization and held a position on the board of directors until recently. Hiawatha became a leader in the sport when it wasn’t common to see a woman in such a position. She was one of the pioneers creating a path for many more women to come. Her passion and enthusiasm for boxing, and her dedication to this organization will always be remembered.

"Over the past few days we have received many condolence messages which we deeply appreciate. So many remember her with such fondness, but the common thread in all these messages is, ‘Hiawatha was a class act.’ While our hearts are heavy with this loss, we join the Knight family in honoring and celebrating Hiawatha’s life.”

• In January, 2012 Olympic bronze-medal winner Yamaguchi Falcao (brother of silver medalist Esquiva Falcao) turned pro in his hometown of Sao Paulo and fought to a third-round no-contest with Martin Fidel Rios because both were disqualified for excessive fouls in an extremely dirty fight. Golden Boy, Falcao’s promoter, announced on Monday that Falcao (2-0, 1 KOs) and Rios (13-2-2, 7 KOs) will meet in an eight-round middleweight rematch, also in Sao Paulo, on Nov. 15.

• Mike Tyson’s Iron Mike Productions announced that it will stage a Nov. 21 card at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with 2008 Olympic gold medalist Felix Diaz (15-0, 8 KOs) of the Dominican Republic headlining a welterweight 10-rounder against Adrian Granados (13-2-2, 9 KOs). The co-feature pits featherweight Claudio Marrero (16-1, 12 KOs) and Juan Antonio Rodriguez (26-5, 23 KOs).

Gomez re-signs with Golden Boy

October, 4, 2014
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Junior welterweight Frankie Gomez, one of Golden Boy's top prospects, re-signed with the company on Friday.

It was an important move for promoter Oscar De La Hoya as Gomez is one of the few potential top fighters the company has who is not controlled by adviser Al Haymon.

Gomez (18-0, 13 KOs), who was a star amateur, has had his ups and downs as a pro but he is only 22 and seems to be turning the corner. Despite his perfect record, he has had legal issues and also had his dedication called into question by the company because he came into some fights out of shape. But those things seem to be behind the East Los Angeles product.

Gomez, nicknamed the "Pitbull," is coming off his biggest victory, a shutout 10-round decision against fringe contender Vernon Paris on July 25.

"This is clearly a huge opportunity for me because extending my contract with Golden Boy Promotions tells me that they have full confidence in me and I'm 100 percent loyal to Oscar De La Hoya and Golden Boy Promotions," Gomez said. "I have the experience and I'm ready to face bigger challenges and win my first world title."

De La Hoya was happy to keep Gomez -- with whom he shares a Feb. 4 birthday with -- with Golden Boy.

"Frankie Gomez is a natural talent and that's why I have no doubt that he'll be the next superstar and next world champion from East Los Angeles," De La Hoya said. "The truth is that we are very happy to continue promoting Frankie and help him to continue on his quest for a world title."

Big opportunity for Abregu, Ali

October, 3, 2014
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The peace accord between Golden Boy Promotions and Top Rank has quickly yielded its first fruit -- the first non-purse bid fight the companies have done together since 2011: an interesting welterweight match between 2008 U.S. Olympian Sadam Ali, still looking for his breakout fight, and battle-tested contender Luis Carlos Abregu.

They will hook up Nov. 8 (HBO) at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in the fight that will open the broadcast, which will be headlined by the much-anticipated light heavyweight unification match between the great Bernard Hopkins and offensive machine Sergey Kovalev.

"The cold war is officially over, but that peace will now extend to the ring when two of the top contenders in the 147-pound division go head to head in Atlantic City," Golden Boy president Oscar De La Hoya said. “I have made a promise to the fans that nothing will stand in our way of putting on the best fights our sport has to offer. Consider this monster matchup between a Top Rank fighter [Abregu] and a Golden Boy Promotions fighter [Ali] another example of making good on that pledge.”

For Ali (20-0, 12 KOs), it’s a chance to finally be on the big stage as he makes his HBO debut; Golden Boy returns to HBO after an 18-month exile.

"This is the big fight I've been asking for, and I'm ready to perform on Nov. 8," Ali said. “Abregu is a seasoned veteran. He hits hard and he comes to fight. It's the type of win that will put me in the title picture, and I can't wait to put on a great fight for the fans and bring the win back to Brooklyn."

Argentina’s Abregu (36-1) has had his HBO opportunities, suffering his lone defeat on points to Timothy Bradley Jr. in 2010 and scoring a seventh-round knockout of highly touted prospect Thomas Dulorme in 2012.

Now Abregu aims to put himself in the same conversation as some of his talented countryman.

"I've been sitting back watching my fellow Argentinian brothers Marcos Maidana, Lucas Matthysse and Diego Chaves all get their opportunities to fight in the U.S., and now it’s my time to show the boxing world the best fighter from Argentina is me," Abregu said. “I have been avoided by Manny Pacquiao, Brandon Rios and Ruslan Provodnikov, so I thank Sadam Ali for stepping up to fight me. Nov. 8 I will show the fans why I am the best and most exciting fighter from Argentina. Viva!"
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.

R. Rios, Orozco in action Oct. 9

August, 29, 2014
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Ronny Rios, Antonio Orozco and Diego De La Hoya, three of Golden Boy’s up-and-coming fighters, will all be in action on an Oct. 9 card announced Wednesday.

Rios (23-0, 10 KOs), a featherweight contender, will be fighting at junior lightweight in the main event of the "Golden Boy Live" card (Fox Sports 1/Fox Deportes) at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California. Rios will take on Robinson Castellanos (19-10, 12 KOs) in a 10-rounder.

Aggressive welterweight Orozco (20-0, 15 KOs) will face the long-faded former junior lightweight titlist Steve Forbes (35-13, 11 KOs) in the 10-round co-feature. Forbes has lost five fights in a row and is 3-10 in his past 13.

In the six-round opener, De La Hoya, a 20-year-old cousin of Golden Boy promoter Oscar De La Hoya, will meet an opponent to be determined in a junior featherweight fight.

"Ronny Rios and Antonio Orozco are two of this [Southern California] area's most talented fighters and we'll see if they're ready for the next level on Oct. 9," said Oscar De La Hoya, who will be ringside. "I'm also looking forward to seeing the new De La Hoya era take charge with my cousin Diego in the ring again and meeting everyone on fight night and talking about this great sport and what we can do to make it even better."
Bantamweight Randy Caballero is headed overseas again, this time in an effort to win a vacant world title.

Caballero will face former titleholder Stuart Hall of England for the belt recently vacated by Paul Butler. But instead of fighting in his home region of Southern California, where Caballero has fought most of his career, he is headed for England because of the result of Tuesday's IBF purse bid.

Promoter Dennis Hobson, representing Hall, won the auction for $261,750, easily outbidding Golden Boy Promotions, the only other bid, which offered $127,000.

Hobson has 90 days to put on the fight. The purse will be split 50-50, with Caballero and Hall each receiving $130,875.

England’s Butler won a split decision against the 34-year-old Hall (16-3-2, 7 KOs) on June 7 to claim the 118-pound title, but rather than defend it Butler vacated and is moving down in weight, leaving Caballero and Hall as the leading available contenders to vie for the vacant belt.

To get the title shot, Caballero (21-0, 13 KOs) traveled to Japan and knocked out Kohei Oba in the eighth round on April 4 in an elimination bout to become the mandatory challenger for the belt.

A resident of Coachella, California, the 23-year-old Caballero has no problem going back on the road.

“Randy has no problem with it. He’s a real pro,” manager Cameron Dunkin told ESPN.com. “He is not afraid to go anywhere. He went all the way to Japan for the eliminator. He’ll go to England, no problem. He’s great at fighting at home, but [Golden Boy] didn’t win the bid so he has to deal with it. He said, ‘I don’t care where I have to fight. I’ll fight on the moon. I want to be champion.’ He has a great attitude.”
Abner MaresGene Blevins/Hoganphotos/Golden Boy PromotionsAbner Mares should be rooting for peace between Golden Boy and Top Rank.

If there is one fighter in the Golden Boy Promotions stable who might benefit the most from the newfound peace between Golden Boy’s Oscar De La Hoya and Top Rank’s Bob Arum, it is clearly former three-division titleholder Abner Mares.

De La Hoya and Arum recently put aside years of animosity and pledged to work together on fights, at least where they make sense. That is music to Mares’ ears, since he has few marquee featherweights available to him in the Golden Boy stable while Top Rank has several of whom would make for interesting and marketable fights.

First, Mares (26-1-1, 14 KOs) needs to bounce back with a win against Jonathan Oquendo (24-3, 16 KOs) in their scheduled 10-round bout, in the co-feature of the Canelo Alvarez-Erislandy Lara junior middleweight fight on Saturday night (Showtime PPV, 9 p.m. ET) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

This will be Mares' first time fighting in the 11 months since he lost his featherweight belt by first-round knockout to Jhonny Gonzalez. But if Mares comes through, there could be potential fights against a quartet of Top Rank featherweight titleholders: Nonito Donaire (a fight that was one of boxing’s most anticipated bouts, but it didn’t happen because of the bad blood between companies), Vasyl Lomachenko, Evgeny Gradovich and Nicholas Walters.

“Obviously, you've heard the news, my promoter, Golden Boy Promotions, is looking to work with Top Rank on fights in the future and, look, they have great fighters, great champions,” Mares said. “I feel very comfortable at 126 [pounds] right now. That's what I have in front of me right now, and I have an opponent [Oquendo] that I'm concentrating on him.”

Mares would like to fight for a world title in a fourth weight class at some point, but he said he plans to stay at featherweight for the time being. Ideally, it would mean facing at least one of those Top Rank titleholders.

“I want to go in for the fourth division [title], but sometimes when you think with the heart only, it can run into mistakes and it could cost you,” he said. “It could have cost me a loss right there. So, right now, I'm making the weight very comfortable. I'm very happy at 126 and we're going to continue here.”

Porter-Brook headed to Aug. 9

June, 11, 2014
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Despite Richard Schaefer’s resignation as Golden Boy Promotions CEO last week those at the company say it’s business as usual.

There are fights to arrange and cards to promote. President Oscar De La Hoya, fresh off his Sunday induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, is coming into the office regularly and working on events.

The company is promoting a June 21 Showtime tripleheader at the StubHub Center in Carson, California -- welterweight Robert Guerrero’s return against Yoshihiro Kamegai, Vasyl Lomachenko against Gary Russell Jr. for a vacant featherweight title and former welterweight titlist Devon Alexander against Jesus Soto Karass -- and also working on other events later in the summer.

One date in the works is tentatively an Aug. 9 Showtime card at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

One of the fights ticketed for that show is welterweight titlist Shawn Porter’s mandatory defense against England’s Kell Brook. Golden Boy and Brook promoter Eddie Hearn reached an agreement and a purse bid scheduled for last week was canceled, according to the IBF and Golden Boy vice president and matchmaker Eric Gomez.

“We have a verbal agreement, but there are still some little issues,” Gomez told ESPN.com. “But we have enough of an agreement that (the IBF) was comfortable enough to call off the purse bid. The date we’re shooting for is Aug. 9 but that could change. We have to dot our I’s and cross our T’s but everything is moving in the right direction.”

Several other potential bouts have been mentioned as possibilities for the card. One of them is a fight between Daniel Jacobs of Brooklyn, New York and Jarrod Fletcher of Australia for a vacant secondary middleweight title (since Gennady Golovkin was made a “super champion” by an organization).

Junior welterweight champ Danny Garcia has also been mentioned for the card as has junior welterweight titlist Lamont Peterson. (No, they are not fighting each other.)

But Garcia could also wind up fighting in September instead, according to Gomez.

Golden Boy also has addressed the mandatory defense of lightweight titlist Omar Figueroa against Daniel Estrada. A purse bid had been scheduled for June 6 in Mexico City, but Gomez said the sides made a deal.

“We have a deal in place but no date just yet,” he said.

Showtime, Top Rank still at odds

June, 10, 2014
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When Oscar De La Hoya was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame on Sunday in Canastota, New York, he brought up the ongoing promotional battles that have bogged down the sport and prevented some significant fights that fans have wanted to see.

"We must put aside the egos that have damaged our brand and sullied our reputation," he said during his remarks. "We, the promoters, must stop carrying petty grudges that serve no purpose but to divide our sport. And most important, we must give the fans the fights that they want."

De La Hoya is seemingly doing his part. He has reconciled with Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, and they both claim they want to do business together again after years of battles. De La Hoya’s desire to work with Arum again was one of the many issues that came between him and Richard Schaefer, who resigned last week as Golden Boy’s CEO; he didn’t want to work with Arum again.

But for anyone who thinks that all is now well, don’t fool yourself. There is still massive pettiness, and it spilled over Tuesday when Showtime Sports boss Stephen Espinoza apparently barred Arum from participating on a media teleconference to promote a Showtime-televised June 21 fight between Gary Russell Jr. and Vasyl Lomachenko, who meet for a vacant featherweight title.

Golden Boy, representing Russell, won the rights to the fight in a purse bid before De La Hoya and Arum made up. Golden Boy could have put on the fight without involving Top Rank in anything. But because De La Hoya and Arum have made up, Golden Boy invited Arum to participate in the teleconference to promote the fight. It is common practice for fighters on these calls to be represented by somebody from their promotional company, whether it’s a co-promotion or not.

But, according to Top Rank, Espinoza barred Arum. But it’s not like he barred Top Rank, because Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti participated.

“Bob Arum, CEO of Top Rank, was scheduled to be on the Vasyl Lomachenko conference call,” Top Rank's spokesman Lee Samuel said. “Stephen Espinoza requested that Arum not be on the call. Carl Moretti will replace Arum.”

Espinoza, on his Twitter account and not to mention time and again in interviews, has stated he is open to working with Top Rank, even though based on the fights he has scheduled it is obvious he has no interest in that at all.

Tuesday’s action made it even more obvious even if Showtime tried to spin that fact in a statement given by email to ESPN.com by spokesman Chris DeBlasio.

“Neither Bob Arum, nor Stephen Espinoza were scheduled to be on [Tuesday’s] media conference call,” DeBlasio wrote. “The June 21 ‘Showtime Championship Boxing’ event is promoted by Golden Boy and, collectively with Oscar De La Hoya and Golden Boy Promotions, we agreed that this was not a platform on which any other promotional outfit belongs. This call is about the fighters on this card that are preparing for important, and competitive fights."

That’s all well and good, but De La Hoya wanted Arum to be on the call. Arum was ticked off by the situation.

“Obviously, I was supposed to be on the call, and Espinoza objected,” Arum told ESPN.com. “It’s the same petty stupidity. It’s the same old, same old. Oscar wants to open everything up and to do business to do the best fights. He sincerely wants that. People like Espinoza are an impediment to that. The fact that I do my fights with HBO means nothing. I’m doing a fight here with Golden Boy because they won the purse bid. Back when we did [Vanes Martirosyan-Erislandy Lara] and we won the purse bid we acknowledged Golden Boy was the promoter of Lara and showed them respect. That’s how it’s done. But it goes back to Espinoza’s mean-spirited nature.

“Golden Boy asked me to be on the call, and Espinoza said no. He decided that I’m not a co-promoter and I shouldn’t be on the call. But it is personally directed at me because he didn’t say Moretti shouldn’t be on the call. He’s afraid of my renewed relationship with Oscar. It’s inexcusable behavior. What does he gain by doing something like that?”

To think that the lineup of speakers on a conference call would turn into a controversy just shows how ridiculous the petty business of boxing often can be.

De La Hoya looks back on career

June, 4, 2014
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Oscar De La Hoya, who won 10 world titles in a then-record six weight classes, was one of the best fighters of his time and the most popular fighter of his day. On Sunday, he will be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, New York, along with two other first-ballot inductees, Felix Trinidad and Joe Calzaghe.

De La Hoya touched on a variety of topics during our interview earlier this week. Here’s what he had to say on some subjects:

Going in with Trinidad, who outpointed him by majority decision in a very controversial 1999 welterweight unification fight

“We have a great relationship. Every time we see each other we can hug each other and laugh. We don’t even talk boxing, that’s how good of relationship we have. He’s a great guy. He was such a people’s champion. Along with Calzaghe, this class is three guys who are fighters inside the ring but are good people outside the ring.

“It makes it more memorable to be going in with Trinidad. But I know I absolutely won the fight (laughing).”

The best performance of his career

“It has to be the first Julio Cesar Chavez fight [to win the junior welterweight title by fourth-round knockout in 1996]. I could have faced the heavyweight champion at the time and I was very confident I would beat him. I felt unstoppable. I felt like the stars were aligned. Everything was perfect. I felt like I was floating in the ring. I felt powerful, compact, every punch was perfect. My movements side to side, even when I was in the ropes, the defense, everything was working. I was so focused. I was in the zone. It is an amazing, amazing feeling, that rush of knowing that victory is in your hands.”

The worst performance of his career

“I would have to say the Felix Sturm fight [to claim a middleweight belt by controversial decision in 2004]. I was facing a 160-pounder no one knew of but he was tough as nails, a good boxer, and I took the challenge because I wanted to be the best at 160. I was very ambitious. Truthfully, and I’m not one to make excuses, but I took the guy lightly. I was like, ‘Who is he?’ I trained in Vegas for a month. I remember gambling, staying up to 3, 4 in the morning. I made it difficult for myself. Truthfully, you feel you’re the winner when you win and the referee is holding your hand in the air. But I didn’t feel like I was the winner that night. I just didn’t feel victorious that night. I didn’t feel like the champion. There were times I did feel like the champion when I didn’t get the victory.”

On other close fights he had

“I did feel like the victor, like the champion, when I fought [Pernell] Whitaker and [Ike] Quartey [and got close decisions]. One fight I felt like the winner was when I fought Shane Mosley the second time and they gave it to him. You can make an argument I beat Floyd Mayweather. I felt as the champion that I did enough to win. That’s the beauty of the sport. When you have these close fights it can go either way. Whether I lost or won I’m OK with it.”

Most important win

“I would have to say Fernando Vargas [by 11th-round knockout to unify junior middleweight titles in 2002], because it not only showed me, but a lot of people, that I have that eye of the tiger, that I can dig deep down and win fights and that I’m not afraid to stand toe-to-toe, not afraid to bleed. He didn’t knock me down but that night I could have gotten knocked down five times and still gotten back up. It was personal, which made it that much more intense.”

Most satisfying win

“The second Chavez fight [to retain the welterweight title by eighth-round knockout by making Chavez quit]. The first time I fought him all the Mexican nationals and all Chavez fans were all against me. You have this kid born in the USA, but he’s not Mexican enough. They were like, ‘He doesn’t fight like a Mexican,' and they were questioning my manhood. So when I stopped him no one gave me credit for it because Chavez was cut.

“In the rematch I beat him at his own game. I stayed flat-footed and fought him toe-to-toe. He hit me with a right hand in the first round, if he would have continued the attack he would have knocked me out. He didn’t know I was hurt. I played it off perfectly. That I could take his punches and that I stopped him, made him quit, it was so satisfying. It showed the nonbelievers that I have what it takes, that I wasn’t just a pretty face and a gold medal. It’s blood and guts. I never expected him to quit. It was satisfying. But it was a double-edged sword because I just stopped my hero.”

What fight didn’t De La Hoya get that he wanted most?

“I would have loved to fight [Hall of Fame junior welterweight champion] Kostya Tszyu. We talked about it a lot but I never understood why I didn’t fight him. It would have been at 140 pounds. That was one of my best weight classes. It would have been a great fight. He had a lot of toughness. He was a great fighter.

“And a rematch with Trinidad. That would have been satisfying. I never understood why I didn’t have a rematch. I would have loved a rematch.”
Bob Arum, Oscar De La HoyaEthan Miller/Getty ImagesRival promoters Bob Arum and Oscar De La Hoya have decided to bury the hatchet between them.
As far as Top Rank promoter Bob Arum is concerned, he and Golden Boy Promotions president Oscar De La Hoya have buried the hatchet.

Whether that will pave the way for Top Rank and Golden Boy to do business with each other again remains to be seen, but at least the possibility exists for a thaw in boxing's cold war, which has prevented many attractive fights from happening in recent years.

Arum, of course, promoted De La Hoya for most of his Hall of Fame career but, unless you've been living on Mars or under a rock, you know that there has been terrible bad blood between the companies for years.

Golden Boy chief executive Richard Schaefer and Arum still have no relationship remaining and neither is interested in dealing with each other, which is one of the issues that has driven a wedge between Schaefer and De La Hoya. While Schaefer steadfastly refuses to do business with Arum, De La Hoya, Golden Boy's majority shareholder, said he is open to it now.

De La Hoya, Arum and Todd duBoef, Arum's stepson and Top Rank president, met at Arum's Los Angeles home last week. It was a personal visit, not for business, but the re-engagement certainly left open the possibility of a business relationship.

"Oscar and I hadn't had a serious conversation since he stopped fighting for Top Rank," Arum said, referring to the Bernard Hopkins fight in 2004. "But when we met and talked, we enjoyed it. We had a good time. It was 2 1/2 hours that we spent bullsh------ about the old days. I really enjoyed it. It was very, very enjoyable. I think Oscar also enjoyed it."

Arum said the meeting came together through an intermediary, who reached out to him on De La Hoya's behalf and planned it.

Most of the time in recent years when you would hear either speak about the other it was only to take shots in the media.

Arum did say that De La Hoya called him around Christmas and they spoke for about 15 minutes on the phone. He said that De La Hoya apologized for some of the hateful things he had said about Arum. De La Hoya, who had been in rehab for alcohol and drug dependency, was working his 12-step program, part of which is to reach out to those you have hurt to make amends.

"When he called around Christmas, it was just about the usual thing, I'm sorry if I offended you, the sort of stuff they tell you in the program, but this meeting at my house, this was real," Arum said. "The only business we talked about was that we would look to do business where we could in the future, but nothing specific. And why not? We're friends now. If we can make a match that's a really good match with his fighter and my fighter why wouldn't we do it?

"Now, it doesn't solve a Mayweather-Pacquiao problem. That's on a much different level, but it solves some problems."

As an example, Arum cited featherweight Jayson Velez, who is co-promoted by Cotto Promotions and Golden Boy. Arum and Cotto Promotions wanted to match featherweight titlist Evgeny Gradovich, a Top Rank fighter, with Velez on June 7 on the Sergio Martinez-Miguel Cotto HBO PPV undercard.

Arum said Cotto Promotions tried to get Golden Boy to allow the fight but that Schaefer wouldn't go for it.

"Schaefer said, 'Absolutely not.' Now, that's not a network problem, that's a problem between promoters," Arum said. "But now that Oscar and I are friends again, that's a fight we could have done. Those types of fights are a start."

Arum said he and De La Hoya didn't rehash the bad times or even apologize to each other for all the hateful things they have said about each other.

"We focused on the good things, on the good experiences," Arum said. "We had years and years of them. It was more us emphasizing the positive. It wasn't a mea culpa for anyone. That wouldn't have been fun. We have a lot of water under the bridge."

During a news conference before the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Marcos Maidana fight on Saturday at the MGM Grand, De La Hoya also addressed the situation.

"All business aside I talked to Bob Arum and there is nothing wrong with that because Bob Arum was my promoter for many years and he helped me build my career to what it was," De La Hoya said. "And I'm grateful for that. And so our meeting was nothing to do with business. Our meeting was just to bury the hatchet, to discuss the old times, the great stories we shared together and that's it.

"But it doesn't necessary mean that down the road, down the line, we can't have another meeting. And maybe it will be based on business. But who knows. Maybe I can lay my head on the pillow at night and know I apologized for what I said about Bob. As long as we are moving forward, that's all that it's about for me."

Arum said that as far as he is concerned, the feud with De La Hoya is over.

"It never even really bothered me because I was schooled by the master and that was Don King and I gave back to him as good as I got," Arum said. "If you're in a battle with a real heavyweight everything else was easy, even when we insulted each other. It happened. When you get as old as I am, things happen and you can't take them back."

So what about repairing the rift with Schaefer?

"I'm not going to talk about that," Arum said.

Quillin caught up in cold war

April, 22, 2014
Apr 22
3:56
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Peter QuillinGeoff Burke/USA TODAY SportsWithout impressing fight fans, Peter Quillin, right, won an unanimous decision against Lukas Konecky.
WASHINGTON -- Since “Kid Chocolate” Peter Quillin won his middleweight world title in October 2012, dropping Hassan N’Dam six times and winning a decision in an exciting fight, his opponents in three defenses have not exactly inspired much excitement.

Quillin has won the fights easily, by knockout against Fernando Guerrero and Gabriel Rosado and a near-shutout decision against outclassed Lukas Konecny in a tedious fight that drew heavy booing from the crowd Saturday night at the DC Armory.

If there is any fighter who is a clear victim of the frigid political landscape in boxing with HBO having banished Golden Boy Promotions and Al Haymon fighters from the network, it’s Quillin, who is on Showtime, which has almost nobody of significance for him to fight barring Floyd Mayweather Jr. or Canelo Alvarez perhaps looking to move up to middleweight to challenge for his title.

Meanwhile, HBO has contracts with middleweight champion Sergio Martinez and fellow titleholder Gennady Golovkin, the two best fighters in the division.

Those two are clearly the most interesting potential opponents for Quillin, but when sitting down with reporters at ringside after the card Saturday night, he said he would not let the lack of those fights get to him.

“Golden Boy will try to get whatever opponent they can for me," Quillin said. "I’m an American champion. A lot of those other guys, they come to our country to fight over here to fight in our homeland, and I’ve always said I was hoping to fight Sergio Martinez, Gennady Golovkin, all these different guys, but it’s not really my fault, the political thing going on. All I have to do is keeping doing me.

“We over here on this network [Showtime] looking for guys for me. I got 31 professional fights. At this point, I can’t worry about who I am gonna fight. I only worry about staying ready and being in shape. I’m gonna take one week off, and then I’ll be back in the gym.”

Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer said he is open to making a fight with any of the top guys, even if it means having Quillin on HBO, where he appeared before the network kicked Golden Boy to the curb.

“If Golovkin wants to have a fight with Peter, then what they should do is that they should make us an offer,” Schaefer said. “That would be a start.”

With Martinez scheduled to fight Miguel Cotto on June 7 and Golovkin seemingly headed for a July showdown with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. at super middleweight (as long as Chavez can iron out his deal with Top Rank, which has been difficult), that leaves Quillin (31-0, 22 KOs) with few choices.

The most probable opponent is Golden Boy and Haymon stablemate Daniel Jacobs, 27, who lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., as does the 30-year-old Quillin.

“Danny would like the fight, the Barclays Center would like the fight, and Peter is the kind of guy who fights anyone as long he gets properly compensated and it’s a challenge,” Schaefer said. “That’s definitely a possibility. But if [K2 Promotions and HBO] want to do a fight with Golovkin, let’s do it.”

Jacobs (27-1, 24 KOs) was ringside for Quillin’s fight Saturday. He called it while filling in for regular Showtime analyst Paulie Malignaggi, who was on the card getting knocked out by welterweight titlist Shawn Porter.

“If it's Danny Jacobs and they want to make a fight right there in Brooklyn, well, I live right up the street from the Barclays Center,” Quillin said. “It won't take me long to get there. I'll drive my Corvette and drop the top on it when I go.

“I think Danny is special. Danny had his shot to glory when he fought for the same belt [I have] against Dmitry Pirog [in 2010], and Danny had his time to shine. Now it’s my time to shine. The spotlight is on me. My job is not worry about the guy who is trying to get that spotlight.”

Jacobs was a big favorite against Pirog but got knocked out in the fifth round in their bout for the vacant belt that Quillin eventually won against N’Dam.

Quillin suggested that Jacobs doesn’t deserve the shot at him and should fight Curtis Stevens, another Brooklyn middleweight contender, for the right to get the title shot.

Either way, Quillin’s dance card looks to be a bit barren for the time being.

Golden Boy signs Rene Alvarado

March, 20, 2014
Mar 20
10:15
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When featherweight Rene Alvarado knocked out Robinson Castellanos on Feb. 15 in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, he caught the attention of Golden Boy Promotions, which had put on the fight.

Castellanos had the been the favorite and on a good roll but Alvarado ended his 11-fight winning streak since 2010.

On Wednesday, Golden Boy signed Alvarado (20-2, 14 KOs), 25, of Nicaragua, to a promotional contract.

"This is the most exciting moment of my career, and as a member of the Golden Boy Promotions team I know I'll get every opportunity to achieve my dreams in this sport," Alvarado said in a statement. "My win against Castellanos was just the beginning, and I hope to get a world title fight soon."

Alvarado's next fight is not yet scheduled but Golden Boy chief executive Richard Schaefer said he was happy to add him to the company's deep roster.

"Rene Alvarado flew onto our radar with his win over Castellanos last month, and with his skill, determination and warrior spirit, we believe he has all the tools to become a world champion," Schaefer said. "He is a great addition to our team and we're pleased to be working with him."

Alvarado, whose two losses are by decision, turned pro in 2008 as a junior bantamweight. He has been fighting at featherweight since 2013.

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