Dan Rafael: Kell Brook

Bellew, Brook have a lot at stake

March, 12, 2014
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Two of England’s top fighters, cruiserweight Tony Bellew and welterweight Kell Brook, both face important fights on Saturday at Echo Arena in Liverpool.

Bellew, moving up in weight from light heavyweight, is seeking to get back on track after getting bombed out in a one-sided sixth-round knockout loss challenging light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson on Nov. 30.

Bellew (20-2-1, 12 KOs) will face Russia’s Valery Brudov (41-4, 28 KOs), a former interim titlist with vast experience, in the main event. Bellew needs a victory in order to establish himself in a new division and also to reignite his career after such a nasty defeat.

“I am coming into an exciting division with established world champions, and I am hoping to make my mark in this division,” Bellew said. “My two goals in boxing are to earn a living for me and my kids, and to become a world champion. I will go in with Valery Brudov, who has had 45 fights and 41 wins, 28 by knockout -- he has had more knockouts than I have had fights. He has a good record, he is a good fighter, and this is a dangerous fight, make no mistake. But if I am going to be anything in the cruiserweight division I have to beat this guy and look good beating him.

“It is a test, and it should let me and everybody else know where I am in the cruiserweight division. This is a new chapter, a new beginning for me. It is up to me to pick up the pieces, work hard, and get to where I was at light heavyweight as a cruiserweight. I have always thought about fighting at cruiserweight, but I had always had the attitude that if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. I have to earn my shot now, the way I did at light heavyweight. I have to show I am a top cruiserweight and an A-level fighter. I believe I am, but there is no point me saying that, it is better for me to get in there and prove that.”

While Bellew is trying to rebound, Brook is trying to stay the course knowing that he is one win away from a world title opportunity. He is already the mandatory challenger for titleholder Shawn Porter but both have interim bouts before they are expected to fight later this year, assuming they both win.

Brook (31-0, 21 KOs) will look to stay sharp in what is supposed to be a stay-busy fight with Alvaro Robles (17-2, 15 KOs) of Mexico. There’s always a danger though that something could go drastically wrong, even if Brook is the heavy favorite.

“This is his world title fight so he is going to be game,” Brook said. “He will be very, very tough, and he will want to take my head off. I am looking forward to the opportunity to get in there and show what I do, and that is knock people out. It is a very important fight. It is a banana-skin fight, and it is important because if I don’t win this there is no big one to follow.

“At the beginning of my training for this fight I thought it might be hard to get motivated, but that hasn’t been the case. I have been very motivated for the fight and I think it is your instinct as an athlete, as a fighter, to beat your gym-mates in the gym and on runs, and get your personal best out of everything. I have found the willpower and determination, and I will put on a great display on Saturday night.”

Bellew headlines stacked UK card

January, 22, 2014
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England’s Tony Bellew got wiped out in a sixth-round knockout loss against light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson on Nov. 30. Like so many fighters before him, a big loss means one thing: moving up in weight.

That is what Bellew is doing for his next fight. He is headed for cruiserweight to face Russia’s Valery Brudov (41-4, 28 KOs), a former interim titlist with vast experience.

They will meet at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England, on March 15, Matchroom Sport promoter Eddie Hearn announced Tuesday.

Bellew (20-2-1, 12 KOs) is just one of several notable fighters appearing on the show.

Welterweight contender Kell Brook (31-0, 21 KOs) and lightweight contender Kevin Mitchell (36-2, 26 KOs) are also scheduled to compete as they stay busy moving toward world title opportunities. Neither has an opponent yet.

Brook is the mandatory challenger for world titleholder Shawn Porter, but both will have interim bouts, Brook on this card and Porter likely in an optional defense in April (perhaps against Keith Thurman). If Brook wins the March 15 fight, he is supposed to get the title shot by June.

Three of the fighting Smith brothers are also slated to see action. Junior lightweight Stephen Smith (18-1, 11 KOs) will probably face Fernando David Saucedo (51-5-3, 7 KOs) of Argentina in an eliminator.

British super middleweight champion Paul Smith will defend on the card against an opponent to be determined. Also, super middleweight Callum Smith (9-0, 7 Kos), the youngest of the brothers, will see action.

Commonwealth super middleweight champion Rocky Fielding (17-0, 10 KOs) is supposed to face fellow Liverpool native Tony Dodson (29-8-1, 14 KOs), who is coming off a knockout loss to Paul Smith on June 29. Dodson needs to first win a fight scheduled for Feb. 22.

Brook needs one win for title shot

October, 23, 2013
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Welterweight contender Kell Brook has been here before, needing one more win to get a world title shot.

He got that win last October by knocking out Hector Saldivia in the third round of a final eliminator. That set Brook up for a mandatory world title shot against Devon Alexander, and they were due to meet in May in Atlantic City, N.J. However, about a month before the fight, Brook withdrew because of a stress fracture in his foot.

It was the third time the fight had been derailed by injuries to either Brook or Alexander, and this time it was canceled altogether.

Bye-bye, world title shot.

Alexander went on to fight somebody else -- Brook’s stablemate Lee Purdy -- and when Brook was healed, he returned in July, stopping Carson Jones in the eighth round of a rematch of their fierce 2012 fight.

Now Brook again finds himself in a similar position when he faces former welterweight titlist Vyacheslav Senchenko of Ukraine on Saturday (AWE, 3 p.m. ET) at the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield, England, Brook’s hometown. A win will put Brook back into the mandatory position to fight the Nov. 30 winner between Alexander and challenger Shawn Porter.

In the 36-year-old Senchenko (34-1, 23 KOs), Brook is facing a tough opponent who came to England two fights ago, last November, and knocked out British star Ricky Hatton in the ninth round, derailing Hatton’s comeback from a 3-year retirement.

But Brook (30-0, 20 KOs), 27, is aiming not only to beat Senchenko, but to do it in the kind of style that will get people pumped for him to challenge for a world title.

“I want to do a demolition job on him, put on a great performance and really have fun in my hometown,” Brook said. “He's been over to promote the fight, and that shows he's confident. He's coming here to win and to get a second shot at a world title. It’s always good to get a look at your opponent ahead of a fight, get a feel of what his chin might be like.

“He seemed confident and his team are used to winning. He's got a good amateur background and he almost had a bit of a swagger about him when I saw him at the press conference, and like he did when he beat Ricky Hatton. But it's a whole different story going in there with me, and he's going to realize that really quickly on Saturday. The public know that this is a real fight and that's why it's going to be buzzing in the arena when I walk into the ring.”

Senchenko’s only defeat came when he lost his belt at home in Ukraine to Paulie Malignaggi via ninth-round, cut-induced stoppage in April 2012.

“I need to make a statement,” Brook said. “He's a world-class fighter, and he only lost his title on a cut. They don't give world titles out for nothing. He's proved he deserves to be at the top.

“I've put the miles in on the road and taken myself out of my comfort zone. I left my partner and my little girl at home, so I've trained very hard and we've taken this very, very seriously. As long as we get the end result, a win and one in style, all the hard work is more than worth it.”

Hatton offers advice to Brook

October, 17, 2013
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If anybody knows how effective former welterweight titlist Vyacheslav Senchenko of Ukraine can be, it’s Ricky Hatton, the retired British star and two-division titleholder.

After getting brutally knocked out by Manny Pacquiao in the second round in 2009, Hatton retired but made a comeback last November to face Senchenko.

Senchenko, who had lost his world title to Paulie Malignaggi via ninth-round, cut-induced knockout in April 2012 in Ukraine, went to Hatton’s hometown of Manchester and Hatton looked pretty good early. He was winning through eight rounds, but then Senchenko cut down Hatton with a left hand to the body in the ninth round. Knocked out for the second consecutive fight, Hatton announced his retirement again after the fight.

Now Senchenko (34-1, 23 KOs) is headed back to England to take on welterweight contender Kell Brook (30-0, 20 KOs) on Oct. 26 at the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield, Brook’s hometown. Hatton has a little advice for Brook.

"He's a lot tougher than he looks," Hatton said of Senchenko. "He's a tall boxer-type but he's not a skilful boxer. Kell is a really good boxer and Paulie showed that Vyacheslav can be outboxed. So if Kell chooses to box him rather than go to war with him, like I did, and picks his moments when to put it to him, I think he will do the business."

The card also includes England's Brian Rose (24-1-1, 7 KOs) facing Argentina's Javier Maciel (27-2, 20 KOs) in a junior middleweight final elimination bout and 2012 British Olympic super heavyweight gold medalist Anthony Joshua (1-0, 1 KO) in second professional fight.

Sky, Matchroom extend UK TV deal

October, 4, 2013
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In a major boxing television deal announced Friday, Great Britain’s Sky Sports, a subscription sports network that has been involved in boxing for many years, extended its deal with promoter Matchroom Sport.

Matchroom Sport has been the exclusive provider of fights cards to the network for the past few years and will continue to be for the next two years -- and 40 shows -- under the terms of the deal. The extension commences in June, Matchroom Sport promoter Eddie Hearn announced.

“I'm delighted to announce a new two-year extension to our existing contract with Sky Sports, which will see us as the principle promoter on the channel to summer 2016,” Hearn said in a statement. “We have developed one of the strongest stables ever seen in world boxing and the extension gives us the perfect platform to grow our team and provide them all with the ultimate opportunity to achieve within the sport.

“Sky shares our passion and vision for the sport and is a perfect partner as we look to grow boxing significantly over the next few years. It’s exciting times for an exciting sport and we have some mouth-watering plans to share with Sky Sports viewers.”

Because Hearn has the exclusivity of the Sky platform, it has allowed him to sign many top fighters and put on the bulk of Britain’s major fights over the past few years, including those involving Carl Froch, Ricky Burns, Darren Barker, Scot Quigg, Tony Bellew and Kell Brook. It has also been a key reason he has been able to sign top prospects seeking the necessary exposure to become known to the public, including Olympic gold medalists Anthony Joshua and Luke Campbell.

Said Adam Smith, executive producer of boxing, “We are confident fight fans will continue to enjoy the very best quality, innovation and excitement on Sky Sports.”

The deal also allows Hearn to make deals to secure international fights, including some of the major United States fights, such as next week’s Timothy Bradley Jr.-Juan Manuel Marquez bout, Mike Alvarado-Ruslan Provodnikov on Oct. 19 and the Nov. 2 fight between Gennady Golovkin and Curtis Stevens.

Sky’s only real competition in the boxing market comes from all-boxing subscription network BoxNation, although it is in far fewer homes than Sky.

Jennings in line for Adamek?

July, 25, 2013
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Tomasz AdamekAP Photo/Gregory PayanIf Tomasz Adamek gets past Dominick Guinn on Aug. 3, unbeaten Bryant Jennings might be next.
Here are a few things I've heard in recent days:

• If heavyweight contender Tomasz Adamek beats Dominick Guinn on Aug. 3, promoter Main Events would like to match him with the up-and-coming Bryant Jennings in a very interesting, and surely crowd-pleasing fight. Main Events has talked to HBO about the bout but so far the network has been non-committal to the fight. For my money, that's a really good fight that could show us if Jennings is a contender or a pretender.

• Two-time Olympic gold medalist Vasyl Lomachenko of Ukraine, one of the most decorated amateur fighters in history, is close to a deal with Top Rank to go pro. He won Olympic featherweight gold in 2008 and lightweight gold in 2012. He is also a two-time world amateur champ (2009 and 2011).

• Lightweight Jorge Linares, a former junior lightweight and featherweight titlist, still trying to recover from terrible back-to-back stoppage losses to Antonio DeMarco and Sergio Thompson in 2011 and 2012, will return Aug. 25 in Tokyo. The Venezuela native, who has won two in a row, fought much of his career in Japan and will be appearing on the undercard of the pro debut of 2012 Olympic gold medalist Ryota Murata, who faces Akio Shibata in a six-round middleweight bout.

• Golden Boy got an offer from British promoter Eddie Hearn for welterweight Julio Diaz to face Kell Brook in his next fight in England. But Golden Boy said that Diaz, known to the British fans for giving Amir Khan such a tough fight in April, turned the fight down.

Jones seeks revenge from Brook

July, 10, 2013
7/10/13
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Kell Brook and Carson JonesMatchroom BoxingCarson Jones, right, has no problem going back into Kell Brook's hometown for Saturday's rematch.
Junior middleweight Carson Jones is so confident he will even the score by beating England's Kell Brook in their rematch that he:

• Agreed to raise the contract weight from 150 pounds to 152 pounds because Brook, who usually fights at welterweight, was having problems with his weight.

• Took far less money for the second fight than he made for their first bout last July.

• Didn't hesitate to return to England for the fight, even though he lost a majority decision there in their grueling first encounter.

Jones (35-9-3, 25 KOs), 26, of Oklahoma City, Okla., and the 27-year-old Brook (29-0, 19 KOs) meet again on Saturday (Sky Sports HD1 in the United Kingdom) at Craven Park in Hull, England on the card headlined by the pro debut of Hull's Luke Campbell, the 2012 British Olympic bantamweight gold medalist.

"I had Kell in all kinds of problems in [his hometown of] Sheffield but he got away with it," said Jones, who broke Brook's nose in the eighth round and had him in serious trouble late in the fight. "I took four or five rounds to get started, but as soon as I did it was popping. This time I'll be on him from the start and there will be no escape route for him this time. I want that world title shot just as much as he does.

"Everybody keeps making excuses saying that he had stamina problems. He didn't have stamina problems, he had a Carson Jones problem. I was pressing him, hitting him with clean shots, I broke his nose in the eighth round and from then on it was pretty much my fight. I don't have a problem coming over here. I've been to his hometown before, and I've been to other people's backyards and taken home the victory. When it comes down to it, it's just me and him fighting whether it's his hometown or mine, it's not going to change the outcome. He's never had anybody up in his face before, and he really didn't know how to react to it. He looked a little scared to me."

Brook was supposed to have challenged welterweight world titleholder Devon Alexander in a mandatory fight but it was delayed three times and eventually canceled altogether because of various injuries to the two fighters. When Brook suffered a stress fracture, their most recent date, May 18 in Atlantic City, N.J., was canceled.

Alexander wound up knocking out late replacement (and Brook promotional stablemate) Lee Purdy while Brook took this rematch with Jones a couple of months later.

"I'm even more fired up to get rid of him now," Brook said. "He's very cocky for someone who has never beaten anyone of note, and this time I'll knock him out and send him home for good. He won't want to come back after Saturday night. The first fight has been bugging me ever since I got back in the dressing room afterwards. He was at 100 percent for that fight and put in the best performance of his career. I was nowhere near full throttle but I am as close to the best Kell Brook I've ever been and he'll be out of my life for good on Saturday night.

"I could have had an easier opponent but the last fight was an exciting, mouthwatering fight and I think the fans deserve it. It is going to be a tough fight and I am training hard for it but I am going to go out there and have fun and take care of business. It is going to be a great night, there will be fireworks and I am very excited to get back in and I can't wait to take my frustrations out on Carson Jones."

Ward seeking split from Goossen

June, 19, 2013
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A few notes from around the boxing world:

• Super middleweight champion Andre Ward is seeking to end his promotional contract with career-long promoter Dan Goossen for unspecified reasons. Ward (26-0, 14 KOs) recently asked the California State Athletic Commission for an arbitration hearing on the matter. Word through the boxing industry is that Ward, who has not fought since September and is out until the fall because of a shoulder injury and subsequent surgery, wants to sign with Top Rank to ensure a money fight with former middleweight titlist Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Goossen declined comment to ESPN.com and Ward did not respond to a message.

• Junior lightweight contender Diego Magdaleno of Las Vegas has hired trainer Joel Diaz, who also serves as the head trainer for welterweight titlist Timothy Bradley Jr. Magdaleno will train with Diaz in the Palm Springs, Calif., area. After losing a split decision challenging titleholder Rocky Martinez on April 6 in Macau, Magdaleno parted ways with career-long trainer and manager Pat Barry, who still trains and manages younger brother Jessie Magdaleno (14-0, 10 KOs), a top junior featherweight prospect. Diego Magdaleno (23-1, 9 KOs), 26, replaced Barry on the management end with Frank Espinoza last month before getting together with Diaz on the training end.

• Although welterweight contender Kell Brook (29-0, 19 KOs) of England made several remarks this week about how everything is going well in his preparation for a rematch against Oklahoma City’s Carson Jones (35-9-3, 25 KOs) on July 13 in Hull, England, Brook promoter Eddie Hearn acknowledged that he asked the Jones camp to amend the contract weight for the fight from 150 pounds to 152 because of weight issues. They are related to the fact Brook was limited in his workouts early in training camp because he was still recovering from a stress fracture in his right foot. The injury is what caused Brook to withdraw from a May 18 mandatory shot at welterweight titlist Devon Alexander. “I don't want to put too much pressure on him to make the weight and he was restricted early in camp because of [his] foot,” Hearn said. “Can see a move to 154 soon.” Jones manager Bobby Dobbs said their side rejected the push for the heavier weight.

• Light heavyweight titlist Bernard Hopkins, no longer training for his canceled July 13 mandatory defense against Karo Murat, will fill in some of his free time by serving as the guest commentator Saturday on Showtime’s telecast (9 p.m. ET) headlined by the Paulie Malignaggi-Adrien Broner welterweight title bout at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. Hopkins will be filling in for Malignaggi, the regular Showtime expert commentator.

• Mercito Gesta suffered a rib injury in a sparring session and withdrew from a July 19 ESPN2 “Friday Night Fights” main event against junior welterweight contender Olusegun Ajose (31-1, 14 KOs). Ajose will still headline, but promoter Lou DiBella said he and ESPN are still working on a replacement opponent. Gesta (21-1-1, 14 KOs) was moving up to junior welterweight in the wake of a lopsided loss to lightweight titlist Miguel Vazquez in December.

Brook bullish on Jones rematch

June, 17, 2013
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Jones/BrookPaul Thomas/Getty ImagesKell Brook, right, is excited about a rematch with Carson Jones after last July's first scrap.
Welterweight contender Kell Brook believes his injury issues are behind him and he is looking forward to returning to action when he faces Carson Jones in a rematch on July 13 at the outdoor Craven Park rugby stadium in Hull, England.

England's Brook had been slated to face world titleholder Devon Alexander as the mandatory challenger in Atlantic City, N.J., on May 18, the third date the fight had been set for because of previous postponements. But the fight was canceled altogether when Brook (29-0, 19 KOs) suffered a stress fracture in his right foot during training and had to pull out.

Alexander wound up hammering replacement (and Brook's promotional teammate) Lee Purdy while Brook was sidelined. Brook was then lined up to face Jones (35-9-3, 25 KOs) of Oklahoma City in a rematch of their brutal fight from last July when, fighting in his hometown of Sheffield, Brook won a 12-round majority decision in a semifinal title elimination fight that got him one step away from what became the aborted title shot against Alexander.

"It has been very frustrating," Brook said. "I have never really had an injury in my whole career, and then just before the biggest fight of my life it happens to come along. It was horrible and I was absolutely gutted about it.

"Without a doubt, it was the hardest thing I have had to go through in my boxing career. I have always wanted to be a world champion and when I got a world title fight, it got taken away from me and it was out of my hands. It was so frustrating. I couldn't watch Alexander versus Lee Purdy, I couldn't do it. Knowing that I should have been in there that night, I couldn't sit down and watch it."

Brook said he is past the disappointment now and looking forward to facing Jones again.

"I am on to the next chapter in my boxing career now and I am looking forward to having fun on July 13," Brook said. "Step by step, we will get to where I have wanted to get all of my life and all of my career. I am looking forward to Hull, I am excited and I cannot wait. Big things will come from me. I am going to make a statement in this fight and I am going to carry on from there.

"I could have had an easier opponent, but the last fight was an exciting, mouth-watering fight, and I think the fans deserve it. It is going to be a tough fight and I am training hard for it, but I am going to go out there and have fun and take care of business."

Brook-Jones II is on the card (televised by Sky Sports in the United Kingdom) headlined by the pro debut of Hull native Luke Campbell, who became the first British boxer to win a bantamweight Olympic gold medal in more than 100 years when he did it in London last summer.

Khan: Kell Brook is 'a nobody'

May, 14, 2013
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Amir KhanDavid Becker/Getty ImagesAmir Khan has no interest in giving countryman Kell Brook a payday by agreeing to face him.
One of the most talked-about potential fights, in England anyway, is a showdown between countrymen Amir Khan, the former unified junior welterweight titlist, and welterweight contender Kell Brook.

But Khan (28-3, 19 KOs), who has heard the talk and listened to Brook trash-talk him, said forget about it. Khan said he is not interested and has bigger fish to fry. He is looking for a world title fight and/or a shot against Floyd Mayweather Jr. and doesn't plan to "waste his time" with Brook (29-0, 19 KOs).

I spoke to Khan on Monday and he said he has no interest in fighting Brook, who should have been challenging welterweight titlist Devon Alexander on Saturday night in Atlantic City, N.J., but pulled out for a second time because of a foot injury.

Khan will be at the card, but not in action. He'll be there to support his kid brother, bantamweight Haroon Khan, in his second professional fight.

"A lot of people want to see me fight Brook but when we put that fight to HBO and [later] Showtime, they weren't interested," Khan said. "So if they're not interested, I'm not interested."

But Khan said his lack of interest goes deeper than just simple television business. He said he has felt disrespected by Brook's constant insults whenever he is mentioned to him.

"I don't want to give him that payday," Khan said. "He talks so much crap. I might never give him the opportunity to fight me. He's not worth it. It's waste of time and it has gone further than personal. I don't even want to beat him up now. I just don't even want to step in the ring with him because I don't gain anything from it and I don't want to fill his pockets. If he wants to do it for free, fine. I'll beat him up and he doesn't have to get paid. But I got my own path and my own goals and I don't need to be wasting my time with him. He hasn't even accomplished anything. All he does is irritate me.

"He's a fellow countryman and keeps dissing me and has never shown me and support or respect. All he had to do is say, 'Amir Khan, he's a good fighter,' and maybe we can fight someday. His promoter, Eddie Hearn, is OK. I have no problem with Eddie but Kell Brook, all he does it talk bad about me. If he was respectful, maybe it could happen. But he just says nasty stuff. It's like he's desperate for the fight and the payday. He's just looking for the big payday I would bring him and I won't give it to him."

Khan said even if he was interested, nobody in the United States is, and that is where Khan primarily fights.

"Only in England would that fight make sense, but nobody in the States cares about that fight," Khan said. "They want to see me fight the big names over there, not a nobody like Kell Brook, who hasn't done anything. Let him win a world title or fight a top opponent. Right now he has not done anything whatsoever to shout about. And if I did [agree] to fight him maybe he'd pull out twice on me like he's done to Devon Alexander."

Banks-Mitchell II still on hold

March, 21, 2013
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Johnathon BanksAP PhotoJohnathon Banks was looking forward to a rematch with Seth Mitchell ... before he got injured.

The heavyweight rematch between Johnathon Banks and Seth Mitchell is still supposed to take place, but it will be put off a little longer because of Banks’ injured thumb.

Banks scored an upset when he knocked out Mitchell in the second round on Nov. 17 in Atlantic City, N.J. Mitchell (25-1-1, 19 KOs), who had a rematch clause, exercised his option and they were due to meet again in Atlantic City on Feb. 16 on the Adrien Broner-Gavin Rees undercard.

However, 10 days before the fight Banks broke his right thumb in a sparring session and the bout was postponed.

Golden Boy promoter Richard Schaefer told ESPN.com on Wednesday that he was hoping to add the fight to his May 18 Showtime card in Atlantic City and had already worked it out with the network. It would have turned an already outstanding doubleheader into a tripleheader. Welterweight titlist Devon Alexander is set to defend against mandatory challenger Kell Brook on the show and Schaefer said he is in the process of finalizing the main event, which would feature junior welterweight titlist Lamont Peterson against Lucas Matthysse, an interim titlist.

On Wednesday, Schaefer got word from K2 promoter Tom Loeffler, who handles Banks, that Banks (29-1-1, 19 KOs) would be ready for May 18 and that they would take the fight.

However, later in the day Loeffler apologized to Golden Boy, saying that he checked with Banks, who said his thumb was still pretty sore and that he didn’t feel like he could be ready for the fight until after June 1.

“The fault lays with me for agreeing to something before confirming with Banks,” said Loeffler, a stand-up guy who admitted his error, something many in boxing would never do.

Another issue -- although it was not raised -- could be the fact that Banks is also training heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko for his May 4 defense with Francesco Pianeta. Banks pulled double duty preparing for the first Mitchell fight while also training Klitschko for a defense the week before, but that was a huge grind.

One thing Schaefer said is that whenever Banks-Mitchell II is rescheduled, it will take place on Showtime, where he now does all of his premium cable business. HBO, which televised the first fight and was set to air the rematch last month, cut its ties with Golden Boy this week because of ongoing issues with the promoter.

Peterson-Matthysse looking good

March, 5, 2013
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Golden Boy Promotions chief executive Richard Schaefer said he is closing in on finalizing a main event to go along with the Devon Alexander-Kell Brook welterweight title fight on May 18 in Atlantic City, N.J.: a match between junior welterweight titlist Lamont Peterson and knockout artist Lucas Matthysse.

"Matthysse is on board," Schaefer told ESPN.com. "So now we are waiting on Peterson, but that looks very promising. If we can pull it off, it will be one of the best one-two-punch doubleheaders we could make."

Schaefer is absolutely right about that. I like both of those fights a lot, but Peterson-Matthysse is one of my favorite fights that has been scheduled or is on the drawing board.

Also, Schaefer said he has the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas on hold for June 15 to feature the return of lightweight titlist Adrien Broner. That's likely an HBO show. No opponent yet, but Schaefer said he hopes he can make a deal for Broner to face titlist Ricky Burns, of Scotland, now that Burns' March 16 fight with Miguel Vazquez has been postponed and seems on shaky ground.

Schaefer said welterweight titlist Paulie Malignaggi is due back June 22 for a title defense at the Barclays Center in his hometown of Brooklyn, N.Y., on a likely Showtime card.

For good measure, in addition to the festivities surrounding the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Robert Guerrero Showtime PPV event on May 4 in Las Vegas, Golden Boy will put on a Fox Deportes/FSN show May 3 at the Cosmopolitan, Schaefer said.

Alexander-Brook to get new date

March, 1, 2013
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Welterweight titlist Devon Alexander's mandatory defense against England's Kell Brook is in the process of being formally rescheduled for May 18 (Showtime) at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.

The fight -- Alexander's first defense since winning the belt from Randall Bailey in October -- already has been postponed twice. It was originally scheduled for Jan. 19 in Los Angeles, but Brook (29-0, 19 KOs) suffered an ankle injury. It was rescheduled for Feb. 23 in Detroit, but Alexander (24-1, 13 KOs) suffered a severely strained right biceps.

Golden Boy's Richard Schaefer told ESPN.com that he notified Team Alexander and Brook promoter Eddie Hearn on Thursday, telling them to be ready for May 18 while he finalizes his deal with Showtime and the venue.

Schaefer doesn't want to announce the new date yet because he is trying to close the main event for the card, which he hopes will match junior welterweight titlist Lamont Peterson, in his second title defense, against monstrous puncher Lucas Matthysse, an interim titleholder.

Peterson-Matthysse would be a terrific fight. If it gets paired with Alexander-Brook, it will be a doubleheader all boxing fans should be excited about.

Kevin Cunningham, Alexander's trainer and manager, is happy to be going to Atlantic City.

"I like Atlantic City. There are great boxing fans there," he said. "I've been out there working with Adrien Broner [as an assistant trainer last month] and there's a great boxing atmosphere. I always had pretty good luck there."

Cunningham's biggest win as a trainer came at Boardwalk Hall, where Cory Spinks outpointed Ricardo Mayorga in 2003 to become the undisputed welterweight world champion.

Cunningham said Alexander would be ready for May 18.

"He started back in the gym on Monday, so he's basically at 90 percent, and so we'll step it up a little more next week," Cunningham said. "Within the next couple of weeks, he should be back to 100 percent and we're expecting to do some sparring in the next couple of weeks. We'll be ready, and Kell Brook will finally get his wish to be in the ring with Devon Alexander -- but that's about as far as that wish will go."

Golden Boy maps out 2013

December, 12, 2012
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Floyd Mayweather JrJeff Bottari/Getty ImagesGolden Boy will co-promote Floyd Mayweather Jr's return to the ring in the spring.

Golden Boy Promotions chief executive Richard Schaefer has been working on the schedule for the company's major cards in the first half of 2013 and walked me through it this week. Here's what Golden Boy is working on:

• On Jan. 19 on Showtime, Devon Alexander is supposed to defend his welterweight belt against Kell Brook at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles with interim junior welterweight titlist Lucas Matthysse facing Hank Lundy on the undercard. A third fight for the telecast is in the works: welterweight contender Selcuk Aydin against Jesus Soto Karass.

However, there is a chance the show could be postponed -- or at least the main event -- because Brook is dealing with an ankle problem that might force a short delay in the fight. Schaefer said if the main event has to be postponed, he would try to convince Showtime to do a doubleheader with the other two bouts and move Alexander-Brook into late February.

• Golden Boy will be back for the second show at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Feb. 9 (Showtime) with junior welterweight titlist Danny Garcia defending against former titleholder Zab Judah of Brooklyn in the main event. Middleweight titlist "Kid Chocolate" Peter Quillin, who calls Brooklyn a second home, will make his first defense on the undercard, possibly against former middleweight champion Jermain Taylor. (That is a very, very poor fight and hopefully will not happen.) Middleweight prospect Daniel Jacobs of Brooklyn will also see action in his third fight since returning to boxing after nearly dying from cancer.

Another fight on the card that Schaefer said could happen, although it would probably go on Showtime Extreme coverage of the undercard, would pit welterweights Dmitriy Salita of Brooklyn against Hector Camacho Jr., the son of the late Hector Camacho Sr., who had a big fan base in New York. Salita-Camacho might sell some tickets as a local attraction because Salita has fans in the Jewish community and Camacho would attract Puerto Rican fans.

• Golden Boy will have an HBO card on Feb. 16 at a site to be determined. Lightweight titlist Adrien Broner will headline. Schaefer hopes to make a unification with Ricky Burns, whose fight on Saturday fell apart when opponent Jose Ocampo dropped out this week. The undercard is expected to feature a heavyweight rematch between Johnathon Banks and Seth Mitchell, whom Banks knocked out in the second round of an upset on Nov. 17.

• Schaefer said Feb. 23 is the date for another Showtime card. It could include Alexander-Brook if the fight is postponed with the location to be determined. But if Brook-Alexander stays in January, Schaefer said he would put the Feb. 23 card in Detroit, the hometown of junior middleweight titlist Cornelius "K9" Bundrage, who would defend his belt against Ishe Smith. For the undercard of that fight, Schaefer said he hopes to make a match between Khabib Allakhverdiev, who recently won a vacant junior welterweight belt by handing Joan Guzman is first defeat, and former lightweight titleholder Humberto Soto.

"I have to see what happens with Alexander and Brook and then adjust," Schaefer said.

• Former light heavyweight champ Bernard Hopkins returns on March 9, when he will be 48, at the Barclays Center on Showtime. Schaefer hopes to give Hopkins a shot at one of the world titleholders and has mentioned Tavoris Cloud, Beibut Shumenov and Nathan Cleverly, but so far, there is no opponent set. On the undercard, Schaefer said he has finalized a fight between featherweight titlist Daniel Ponce De Leon, who will be making his first defense, against Jayson Velez, a prospect co-promoted by Golden Boy and Miguel Cotto.

"Velez is an exciting fighter and he feels he's ready," Schaefer said of Velez, who is close to Cotto (and won on his Dec. 1 undercard) because he was discovered and brought along in the pros by Cotto's late father. "For Miguel to be able to have Jayson fight for a world title against Ponce De Leon is very special for him. I'm excited for Jayson and happy for Cotto, but also happy for Ponce De Leon to get the fight. The fight is done. It's Mexico versus Puerto Rico. Stylistically, it's an exciting fight."

[+] EnlargePaulie Malignaggi and Pablo Cesar Cano
Al Bello/Getty ImagesPaulie Malignaggi could be back in Brooklyn April 27 to defend his welterweight title.
• Schaefer said he has April 27 at the Barclays Center on hold for a likely Showtime card to be headlined by welterweight titleholder Paulie Malignaggi of Brooklyn. No opponent yet. Malignaggi scraped by in a split decision to retain his title against Pablo Cesar Cano in the Barclays Center's first card on Oct. 20.

• Also in April -- date not set -- Schaefer is working on a tripleheader with HBO. One of the bouts they are discussing is a featherweight match between former titlist Jhonny Gonzalez and 2011 ESPN.com prospect of the year Gary Russell Jr. Another is welterweight slugger (and former junior welterweight titlist) Marcos Maidana against prospect Keith Thurman. Former welterweight titlist Andre Berto could also be on the card.

• May 4 is the target date for the return of Floyd Mayweather Jr. on pay-per-view. No TV company yet has the rights to the fight, which Golden Boy will promote with Mayweather, as it has for his last several bouts. Schaefer wouldn’t divulge Mayweather's opponent, but all signs point to Robert Guerrero.

• June 8 is another date Schaefer said he has on hold at the Barclays Center for a card on the weekend of the annual Puerto Rican Day parade in New York.

• On June 15 at the MGM Grand, Schaefer said he would present "Knockout Kings II." In September, he put on a card there called "Knockout Kings," in which three of the four televised bouts ended in a KO. The idea is to make matches that likely will end with a knockout, Schaefer said. "I want to do a card like that, a 'Knockout Kings' card, once a year at the MGM."

Alexander, Brook battle over site

October, 29, 2012
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On Oct. 20, Kell Brook knocked out china-chinned Hector Saldivia with a jab in the third round to become the mandatory challenger for one of the alphabet welterweight titles.

Hours after Brook (29-0, 19 KOs) won his title eliminator in front of a huge crowd in his hometown of Sheffield, England, Devon Alexander (24-1, 13 KOs) easily outboxed Randall Bailey for a unanimous decision on the debut boxing card at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., to claim a 147-pound belt, thus inheriting Brook as his mandatory opponent.

Alexander-Brook is a somewhat attractive fight that has been ordered to happen unless Alexander gives up the title or Brook elects to go in another direction and doesn't take the fight.

Assuming neither of those scenarios plays out, the big question about Alexander-Brook is where the fight will take place. Kevin Cunningham, Alexander's trainer and manager, told me he has no problem making the fight with Brook but wants it in the United States.

"I don't see anything special about Kell Brook," Cunningham said. "He can be next if he comes to the U.S. We plan on defending the title, and we will fight Brook anywhere in the U.S."

Matchroom Sport promoter Eddie Hearn, who promotes Brook, wants the fight to take place in England, where Brook is a significant draw. (Alexander is a good draw in his hometown of St. Louis, but not as big as Brook is in Sheffield.)

Hearn said he will do everything he can to make the fight in the U.K. despite Cunningham's lack of interest in going there. Hearn also said he already was negotiating the fight with Alexander's camp, which presumably means Golden Boy Promotions.

"We will be doing all we can to try and make this fight in the U.K.," Hearn said. "I read Kevin Cunningham's comments and, with all due respect, it's not up to him or Devon where the fight is. We have now entered an official negotiation period with his team, and if we can't find a middle ground, then we will go to purse bids. If I win the purse bids, then Alexander has no choice but to come and fight in England or vacate the title.

"I know we can easily fill the 12,000-seat Sheffield Arena, and we also have significant domestic and international TV backing. If we are in a purse bid situation, I am confident we can be very competitive."

If the sides can't come to an agreement, the fight would indeed go to a purse bid and be awarded to the promoter who makes the biggest offer. But the fighter with the title is always at an advantage. As titleholder, Alexander is entitled to 75 percent of the winning bid; Brook will be entitled to just 25 percent.

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