Dan Rafael: Lou DiBella

'Broadway Boxing' hits the road

February, 5, 2015
Feb 5
Promoter Lou DiBella is taking his 12-year-old “Broadway Boxing” New York club show, a longtime staple of midtown Manhattan, on the road.

DiBella announced this week that he will put on his first “Broadway Boxing” card in New York’s Westchester County with a Feb. 20 card at the Hilton Westchester in Rye Brook, New York.

Brooklyn junior middleweight Frank Galarza (15-0-2, 9 KOs) will face an opponent to be determined in an eight-rounder, and junior lightweight Bryant Cruz (13-0, 7 KOs) of Port Chester, in Westchester County, will face an opponent to be determined, also in an eight-rounder.

“This is going to be our first-ever ‘Broadway Boxing’ show in Westchester and we are truly excited about it,” DiBella said. “It allows us to expand the series into a new territory and reach an entirely new fan base. We anticipate a terrific card from top to bottom and hope that this will be the first of many cards to come in the area."

Ievgen Khytrov switches promoters

December, 22, 2014
Levgen KhytrovCourtesy Iron Mike ProductionsPromoter Lou DiBella bought out a stake in middleweight prospect Ievgen Khytrov's contract.
Highly touted middleweight prospect Ievgen Khytrov has signed a co-promotional deal with Lou DiBella, who will guide his career along with original promoter Fight Promotions Inc., DiBella told ESPN.com.

Khytrov (7-0, 7 KOs), 26, a native of Ukraine living in Brooklyn, New York, was being co-promoted by Iron Mike Productions. But with the implosion of IMP, DiBella said he made a deal to buy out IMP's stake in his contract. Khytrov, a gold medalist at the 2011 amateur world championships and 2012 Olympian, has looked superb as a professional.

"I think he's an animal," DiBella said. "I think in two years down the road a fight between him and [Gennady] Golovkin is warfare. He's not ready yet, but that's a fight that I think will happen someday."

DiBella said Khytrov's first bout of the new deal will be on the "ShoBox" card he is promoting on Jan. 9 (Showtime) at the Morongo resort in Cabazon, California. The card is slated to be headlined by lightweight prospect Ivan Redkach (17-0, 13 KOs).

Notes: Redkach headlines 'ShoBox' card

December, 19, 2014
A few notes from around the boxing world:

• The new season of Showtime’s “ShoBox: The New Generation” will kick off Jan. 9 at the Morongo resort in Cabazon, California, where promoter Lou DiBella will put on a card headlined by up-and-coming lightweight Ivan Redkach (17-0, 13 KOs), who will face an opponent to be determined in the main event.

• Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn announced an April 4 card at the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle, England, on Friday. Junior welterweight Bradley Saunders (11-0, 8 KOs) will challenge Commonwealth champion Dave Ryan (16-8, 3 KOs) in the main event. Also on the card will be heavyweight prospect Anthony Joshua, the 2012 British Olympic gold medalist, against an opponent to be determined, assuming all goes well for Joshua (10-0, 10 KOs) when he faces American Kevin Johnson, the former title challenger, on Jan. 31 in London.

• Junior featherweights Andres Gutierrez (31-0-1, 22 KOs) and Hugo Ruiz (35-2, 31 KOs) will meet March 14 in Ruiz's hometown of Los Mochis, Mexico, in a title eliminator to become the mandatory challenger for world titleholder Leo Santa Cruz (28-0-1, 16 KOs), who has a defense scheduled against an opponent to be determined on Jan. 17 (Showtime) on the undercard of the Bermane Stiverne-Deontay Wilder heavyweight title fight.

• Junior welterweights Cletus "The Hebrew Hammer" Seldin (14-0, 11 KOs) and Bayan "The Mongolian Mongoose" Jargal (17-5-3, 11 KOs) meet in a rematch on Saturday night at the Paramount in Huntington, New York. They fought to a third-round no contest in July on ESPN2. The fight was stopped because Jargal suffered a bad cut from an accidental head-butt. The fight headlines Star Boxing promoter Joe DeGuardia’s card and although there is no live television coverage, the show will be taped and air on MSG Network on Jan. 11 (9 p.m. ET).

• The rivalry between Mike Alvarado and Brandon Rios has produced two epic junior welterweight battles. They split a pair of fight of the year candidates and meet in the welterweight rubber match on Jan. 24 in Broomfield, Colorado, just outside of Alvarado’s hometown of Denver. In anticipation of the third fight, HBO will air “Road to Alvarado-Rios 3” (Jan. 10, midnight ET/PT) to preview the expected action-packed fight.

Inoue moving up to challenge Narvaez

November, 10, 2014
A few notes from around the boxing world:

•  Japanese prodigy Naoya Inoue (7-0, 6 KOs) won a junior flyweight world title in his sixth pro fight in April and defended the title in September. Inoue, 21, is jumping up two weight classes to challenge longtime junior bantamweight titleholder Omar Narvaez (43-1-2, 23 KOs) of Argentina on Dec. 30 in Tokyo. Inoue announced he has vacated his 108-pound title because he can no longer make weight. Narvaez, a longtime flyweight titleholder before moving up in weight, will be making his 12th junior bantamweight title defense. It’s a very ambitious fight for Inoue, but Narvaez is 39 and has been shaky in some recent fights. He could be ready to go, especially facing such a young, fresh opponent brimming with confidence.

“I’m happy to be able to exchange punches with such a great champion as Narvaez,” Inoue said in translated remarks. “I’ll do my best to win over him.”
The card will also include Inoue’s younger brother, 19-year-old junior flyweight Takuma Inoue (3-0, 1 KO), in an eight-rounder versus Nestor Daniel Narvaez (20-2-2, 9 KOs), 32, a former flyweight title challenger.

•  Middleweight Willie Monroe Jr. (18-1, 6 KOs) and lightweight Petr Petrov (35-4-2, 17 KOs), who won the 2014 Boxcino tournaments in their weight divisions, will return to co-headline the Jan. 16 edition of ESPN2’s “Friday Night Fights” at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York, Banner Promotions announced. Both will face opponents to be determined in their first bouts since winning the Boxcino tournament in May.

"We are excited to start the year with Willie and Petr on ESPN,” Banner Promotions chief executive Artie Pelullo said. “They are coming back to the same venue where they won their titles. This is going to be a big year for both of them, and on Jan. 16 they will continue their quests to become world champions.”

•  Last year I had a chance to see “Tapia,” a documentary on the late, great former three-division titleholder Johnny Tapia, who died at age 45 in 2012. The film, which featured promoter Lou DiBella and rap star/promoter Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson as executive producers , was the talk of several film festivals. Now the masses will have a chance to see it as HBO has acquired the film -- and put its own imprint on it, including the addition of narrator Liev Schreiber. The one-hour documentary debuts on Dec. 16 (11 p.m. ET/PT). “Tapia” includes first-person narration and archival footage to explore Tapia’s career and well-chronicled personal demons that resulted in drug addiction, multiple suicide attempts and jail time.

“This is not a boxing film, but a film about tragedy, triumph, demons and redemption,” DiBella said. “Johnny gives us an honest assessment of his strengths and frailties. He reminds us of the power and resiliency of the human spirit.”

•  Junior welterweight prospect Bradley Saunders (10-0, 8 KOs), 28, of England, has signed a promotional agreement with Matchroom Boxing, promoter Eddie Hearn announced. Saunders’ first fight of the deal will be in an eight-rounder on the Nathan Cleverly-Tony Bellew II undercard on Nov. 22 at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England. “I am thrilled to be joining Eddie Hearn and fighting on Sky Sports,” Saunders said. “I had plenty of options and I definitely chose the best one for me. It's a new chapter and I am raring to go. I am looking for big things. I don't want anything less than being a world champion. I played at the game in the amateurs, but it is serious now.”

Martinez visits doctor for knee exam

September, 18, 2014
Miguel Cotto, Sergio MartinezChris Farina/Top RankSergio Martinez, right, will have his future decided by an orthopedic surgeon in New York.
Former middleweight champion Sergio Martinez was in New York on Tuesday to visit Dr. Answorth Allen, the orthopedic surgeon for the New York Knicks, and have his balky right knee examined.

"Sergio saw the doctor and got some initial thoughts and had some basic tests done," promoter Lou DiBella told ESPN.com. "They need to review his whole history. They have current films and older films that they want to compare against each other. They want to review the changes and see what's going on.

"Sergio had some tests [including an MRI] and did some exercises to check his mobility, but it will be a few days or a week before there is a specific recommendation or a plan of action. When we know what the doctor is recommending and what he's going to do we will announce it."

Martinez, who would like to continue to fight, wanted to get an opinion from the doctor on whether his knee would hold up if he elected to keep boxing.

The knee has been a major problem for Martinez since he first injured it when he was knocked down in the 12th round of a lopsided decision win against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in September 2012 and had subsequent surgery.

Martinez hurt it again in his next fight, a decision win against Martin Murray, in April 2013 and again needed surgery.

Martinez returned on June 7 and lost his title by 10th-round knockout to Miguel Cotto in a one-sided fight in which Martinez got knocked down four times.

Although Martinez (51-3-2, 28 KOs), 39, said he did not specifically injure the knee again against Cotto, it never looked as though Martinez had his legs under him in the fight.

Martinez told ESPN.com last week what he wanted to hear from the doctor.

"The first thing I want to hear from the doctor is that my leg is going to be good enough that I can live a normal life and that I can have a normal leg like a normal person," he said. "I still have some pain I feel in my right leg. But if the doctor says I'm 100 percent or I will be 100 percent then I will continue [boxing]. If he doesn't say that then I won't fight anymore. I don't need to fight because my health is very important to me."

GGG taking SoCal by storm

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

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

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

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

• Bantamweight titlist Shinsuke Yamanaka (21-0-2, 16 KOs) of Japan will face mandatory challenger (and former junior bantamweight titlist) Suriyan Sor Rungvisai (37-5-1, 16 KOs) of Thailand on Oct. 22 in Tokyo. Yamanaka, a southpaw, will be making his seventh defense. A lightweight undercard bout will pit former featherweight and junior lightweight titlist Takahiro Ao (26-3-1, 12 KOs) of Japan, and former junior lightweight titlist Juan Carlos Salgado (26-3-1, 16 KOs) of Mexico.
A former world titleholder and a 2012 Olympian preparing for his professional debut are the latest fighters to sign with promoter Lou DiBella.

DiBella announced Tuesday that he has signed former featherweight titlist Elio Rojas and Olympian Jonathan Alonso of Spain.

Now fighting at junior lightweight, Rojas (23-2, 14 KOs) will face Robert Osiobe (14-9-4, 6 KOs) in the scheduled eight-round main event on an Aug. 13 “Broadway Boxing” card at B.B. King Blues Club and Grill in midtown Manhattan while Alonso’s pro debut will come against an opponent to be named in a four-round junior welterweight bout on the undercard.

"I couldn't be more excited and grateful to have signed with DiBella Entertainment and my manager Joe Duva and to finally get my career back underway," Rojas said. "Now living in New York, it has always been a dream of mine to fight here, in front of my fans, and now I will have the opportunity on Aug. 13. I want to fight the best that my division has to offer, and I feel that I will be ready to take on any of the top fighters that are willing to accept the challenge and ultimately win back a world championship."

Rojas, 31, a native of the Dominican Republic, is ending a 2-year layoff. He has not fought since losing a decision while challenging Jhonny Gonzalez for a featherweight world title in April 2012. Rojas held a version of the 126-pound title from 2009 to 2010, making one successful defense.

"Elio Rojas is not only a former world champion but a tremendous offensive fighter, who will immediately be a player in the 130-pound division,” DiBella said. “After just a few fights, Elio would love a showdown with a 130-pound champion or his dream bout against Yuriorkis Gamboa.”

As for Alonso, 23, who was 98-12 as an amateur, DiBella said, “We are pleased to have inked a deal with Jonathan Alonso, an Olympian and one of the best amateur fighters to come out of Spain in recent decades."

DiBella stocking up at 160

June, 10, 2014
Promoter Lou DiBella likes his middleweights. He helped guide Bernard Hopkins to the undisputed title in 2001. He did the same with Jermain Taylor, and he promoted Sergio Martinez throughout his title reign, which came to an end Saturday night at the hands of Miguel Cotto.

DiBella has also promoted 160-pound contenders such as Matthew Macklin and Andy Lee. And now he is stocking up at 160 again.

DiBella recently signed amateur middleweight standouts Sergiy Derevyanchenko and Ivan Golub of Ukraine and on Tuesday announced that he has signed two more middleweight prospects: Eduardo Alicea (6-0, 3 KOs) and Paul Littleton (8-0-1, 5 KOs).

“The middleweight division has always been one of boxing's elite weight classes, and it is once again today,” DiBella said. “We just recently added two of the best amateur boxers in the world to the DBE roster and we are now adding these two undefeated prospects to our growing stable. We truly feel that these talented fighters, in addition to fellow DBE middleweight prospect Lamar Russ, make up the best young group of middleweights in all of boxing. We are excited to be working with each and every one of them.”

Alicea, 23, who is trained by Robert Garcia, was 143-16 as an amateur and won at the 2007 national Junior Olympics. He’s been a pro since 2011 but had promotional and managerial issues. DiBella is co-promoting Alicea with Steve Smith's Rumble Time Promotions.

Alicea’s next fight will be June 27 at Ameristar Casino in St. Charles, Missouri, on an ESPN2 “Friday Night Fights” undercard. Golub will make his pro debut on the same card.

Littleton is a former Chicago Golden Gloves champion. He and Derevyanchenko will have their first bout with DiBella this summer on one of his Broadway Boxing cards.

DiBella inks Ukrainian Olympian

May, 29, 2014
Middleweight champ Sergio Martinez is the current star of promoter Lou DiBella's stable and has a huge fight on June 7 when he defends the title against Miguel Cotto. But DiBella is also looking to the future with his latest middleweight signing.

Ukraine’s Sergiy Derevyanchenko, 28, a 2008 Olympian and 2007 world amateur championships bronze medalist, has signed with DiBella and co-promoter Fight Promotions.

His pro debut will be on a date to be determined this summer on one of DiBella's "Broadway Boxing" cards, but he is experienced. Derevyanchenko, who was 390-20 as an amateur, has compiled a 23-1 record fighting in the World Series of Boxing -- which some consider professional bouts -- so expect him to move quickly. DiBella said his summer bout is likely going to be a scheduled eight-rounder.

"Turning pro was a logical step for me at this point in my career," Derevyanchenko said. "It has always been my dream to be a world champion and fight the best fighters in the world. I am ready to do whatever it takes, taking one step at a time, putting in hard work to achieve my ultimate goal. I am delighted to have signed a promotional agreement with Fight Promotions and DiBella Entertainment.

"With hard work and a great team behind me, I will become a world champion in the middleweight division. There is no doubt in my mind."

DiBella is happy to have the prospect on board.

"Sergiy is one of the most decorated amateurs in the world and 100 percent one of the best middleweight prospects in all of boxing," DiBella said. "We feel that in one year's time, he will be ready to compete at the highest level in boxing."

DiBella: Macklin is wrong

May, 23, 2014
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.”

Yuri Foreman retires?

May, 19, 2014
One of the fights scheduled to be part of what is a woeful pay-per-view undercard for the Sergio Martinez-Miguel Cotto middleweight championship fight on June 7 (HBO PPV) from Madison Square Garden in New York is a junior middleweight bout between Jorge Melendez (28-3-1, 26 KOs) of Puerto Rico and former titleholder Yuri Foreman (32-2, 9 KOs) of New York.

But on Monday, Foreman, who lost his belt by ninth-round knockout to Cotto in 2010 at Yankee Stadium, said on his Facebook page that he was retiring and not fighting. He said it is because of a dispute he is having with manager Len Zimmerman.

“Dear Friends! Unknowingly, I signed a very harmful contract regarding my boxing [career],” Foreman wrote. “I tried all possible ways to free myself from it, but nothing else I can do than announce my retirement from boxing. So from now [on] I'm on to bigger and better things. Much blessings!”

You probably won’t find too many fight fans upset that Foreman might be off the show. There’s a reason why many call him “Yuri Boreman.” Promoter Lou DiBella, however, hopes Foreman will change his mind and issued a statement on the odd situation.

“Yuri Foreman has been training hard for his fight on June 7th against Jorge Melendez. At this moment, there is a dispute within Yuri's team that does not involve DiBella Entertainment,” DiBella said. “Yuri has worked very hard on his comeback to get to an opportunity like this. Lou DiBella and DBE have a great working and personal relationship with Yuri. We are awaiting a phone call and hope to see him fight on June 7th at MSG. This will be resolved very shortly."

Joel Diaz Jr. headlines May 16 card

April, 28, 2014
Undefeated junior lightweight prospect Joel Diaz Jr. will take on Tyler Asselstine in a scheduled 10-rounder that will headline a May 16 card at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Conn., promoter Lou DiBella announced on Monday.

The fight will headline an edition of Showtime’s “ShoBox: The New Generation” (10 p.m. ET/PT). In the co-feature, unbeaten junior middleweight prospects Frank Galarza (13-0-2, 9 KOs) and Sebastien Bouchard (9-0, 2 KOs) meet in an eight-rounder.

The 21-year-old Diaz (15-0, 12 KOs) recently signed a co-promotional deal with DiBella and light heavyweight contender Jean Pascal’s company. Asselstine (14-1, 7 KOs) was an amateur standout in his home country of Canada.

Galarza is coming off a spectacular second-round knockout of John Thompson on “ShoBox” on Jan. 17. Bouchard is a former two-time Canadian amateur champion and will be making his television debut.

Feisty Martinez rips Cotto on tour

March, 11, 2014

Middleweight champion Sergio Martinez and three-division titleholder Miguel Cotto are two days and two cities into the media tour to promote their June 7 (HBO PPV) showdown at Madison Square Garden in New York and the heat is building.

They kicked things off in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Monday at a news conference open to the public, and the two future Hall of Famers showed great respect for each other.

"I will prepare myself to be the best that I can be inside the ring like always do,” said Cotto, who has probably used that line at every single pre-fight press conference he has ever appeared at. “The Garden holds a very special place in my career and I know that my fans will be there to support me in this quest.”

The fight will be Cotto’s ninth at Madison Square Garden -- all main events -- where he has become a huge attraction, regularly drawing raucous crowds to his fights.

This fight should be no different. A sellout is expected as Cotto is attempting to become the first fighter in the great boxing history of Puerto Rico to win a world title in a fourth weight class.

"I am looking forward to this fight because a win will be historic in Puerto Rican boxing history,” Cotto said.

Then Cotto, 33, brought up the fact that Martinez, who has not fought since April, is coming off a second surgery on his bum right knee, which he has injured in his past two fights, decision wins against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Martin Murray.

"I hope that Sergio is 100 percent and his knee is fine because I want no excuses after I defeat him,” Cotto said.

Martinez, who turned 39 on Feb. 21, spoke about his excitement of fighting in New York and his respect for Puerto Rican boxing.

"I am very excited to be fighting in Madison Square Garden where many greats have fought in the past,” he said. “I know Cotto is a great fighter but I will ready to defend this championship at all costs. Puerto Rico has a rich boxing history and I am looking forward to fighting and beating one of their best. I will prepare to give the fans a great night of boxing and because of our styles, this will be a great fight.”

When they met face to face again at the Garden on Tuesday, Cotto was his usual stoic self and offered his standard sales pitch.

“I’m just looking forward to starting my camp, looking forward to train as hard as I can each day, and being here on June 7th just to become the first Puerto Rican to be a champion in four different divisions,” Cotto said. “I’d want to say to Sergio good luck in your camp. Try to do your best and I’m going to do my best. At the end of the road, the winners are going to be the fans.”

Martinez, however, was more agitated and animated, deriding Cotto for the way he feels he disrespected him during the difficult negotiations for the fight, which got the crowd at the public event into it.

Keep in mind that even before the fight was made Martinez felt ill will toward Cotto. Martinez’s side of the story is that a couple of years ago at a television studio in Mexico, he was excited to meet Cotto (38-4, 31 KOs) because they were there at the same time. However, the way Argentina’s Martinez (51-2-2, 28 KOs) tells it, Cotto blew him off and refused to even shake his hand, hence the ill will.

When the fight finally was being worked out, Martinez’s ire grew even more toward Cotto because of the demands he made. Cotto insisted on being in the champion’s corner for the fight, having his name listed first in the promotional materials, walking to the ring last, etc., even though Cotto is the challenger.

For a champion as proud as Martinez, it was difficult to swallow and he let Cotto have it at Wednesday’s press conference.

“Don’t forget one thing,” Martinez said. “We are gonna fight because I am the champion and I’m coming into the ring first and he’s coming in second, otherwise there would be no fight. I go to the blue corner and I really don’t care, because I’m the champion and if it wasn’t for that he won’t fight.

“I will be introduced first in the ring because if it wasn’t that way Cotto would not fight me. I can imagine on June 7th that he’s going to ask for rose petals, otherwise he won’t walk into the ring. No more excuses. On June 7th, I’m gonna win, Argentina.”

Things could get even more interesting on Wednesday in Los Angeles, where Cotto and Martinez will meet face to face for the third and final stop of the tour.

Dulorme makes another change

February, 11, 2014
Last week welterweight prospect Thomas Dulorme of Puerto Rico announced he had left longtime trainer Jose Bonilla to join the stable of Robert Garcia in Oxnard, Calif.

On Tuesday, Dulorme (20-1, 14 KOs) announced that he has further changed his team, buying out two of the three promoters who owned stakes in his promotional contract.

Gone are Lou DiBella and Javier Bustillo of Universal Promotions, who had signed Dulorme along with Gary Shaw in 2012. Shaw will remain as Dulorme’s promoter.

"I bought the parts of my contract that belonged to Lou DiBella and Javier Bustillo, but Gary Shaw stays in,” Dulorme said. “I felt that lately those businesses were not going well and I had to do something about it. But this is nothing personal against DiBella and Bustillo because they have been very important in my career and I learned a lot from them. But, still, this is just plain business.

Shaw told ESPN.com he is aiming for the 24-year-old Dulorme to return to action in April.

Dulorme was as a red-hot prospect until he was overmatched against the more experienced and stronger Luis Carlos Abregu, who knocked him out in the seventh round in October 2012. Dulorme has won four fights in a row since.

Redkach set to kick off 2014

December, 19, 2013
RedkachDiBella EntertainmentUnbeaten lightweight prospect Ivan Redkach, of Ukraine, faces Tony Luis on Jan. 17 in Memphis.
One of my favorite prospects, Ukrainian lightweight terror Ivan Redkach, returns to action to headline the first "ShoBox: The New Generation" card of 2014.

Redkach (15-0, 13 KOs) will face Tony Luis (17-1, 7 KOs) in a 10-rounder in the main event of a quadrupleheader on Jan. 17 (Showtime, 10 p.m. ET/PT) from the Cook Convention Center in Memphis, Tenn.

Also on the card, announced on Thursday, in eight-round bouts: junior middleweight John Thompson (14-0, 5 KOs) faces Frank Galarza (11-0-2, 7 KOs), middleweight Antoine Douglas (11-0, 7 KOs) fights Marquis Davis (8-0-2, 5 KOs) and Maurice Hooker (12-0-1, 9 KOs) will be in a junior welterweight bout against an opponent to be determined.

"People are going to get the opportunity to see Ivan Redkach, a potential star, along with a number of other undefeated, young fighters, all competing to make a name for themselves. This is what 'ShoBox' is all about,” promoter Lou DiBella said.

Redkach had a big amateur career (2008 Olympic alternate), turned pro in November 2009 and is a gifted offensive fighter. The fight with Luis will be Redkach's first scheduled 10-rounder. Luis was one of Canada's top amateurs before turning pro in 2008. He has won two in a row since his only loss, an eighth-round knockout to Jose Hernandez this past January.