Dan Rafael: Lou DiBella

DiBella stocking up at 160

June, 10, 2014
Jun 10
6:24
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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
May 29
8:48
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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
May 23
9:17
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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
May 19
6:07
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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
Apr 28
10:22
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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
Mar 11
6:14
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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
Feb 11
1:55
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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
12/19/13
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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.

Jo Jo Dan anxious for opportunity

December, 19, 2013
12/19/13
10:59
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Jo Jo DanEd Diller/DiBella EntertainmentWelterweight Ionut "Jo Jo" Dan, who fights out of Montreal, is closing in on a world title shot.
Welterweight contender Ionut "Jo Jo" Dan scored an important win last month when he outpointed Quebec's Kevin Bizier on the Adonis Stevenson-Tony Bellew undercard in Quebec City.

It was an entertaining fight and one that should move Dan, who is from Romania but lives in Montreal, closer to a shot at a world title.

"I am back at the top level," said Dan, who handed Bizier his first defeat. "I am very satisfied with this win. Bizier was an undefeated [now 21-1, 14 KOs], highly ranked fighter, and I pulled out the decision in his backyard. My determination and experience were the difference in the fight."

Dan (32-2, 17 KOs), a 32-year-old southpaw, was a standout amateur and has only lost a pair of decisions to Selcuk Aydin, both in Aydin's native Turkey. In their 2010 meeting, Dan lost a heavily disputed split decision. He lost a unanimous decision in the 2011 rematch that was very, very close.

Promoter Lou DiBella said he will push for a bigger fight for Dan.

"Jo Jo Dan has clearly established himself as one of the best welterweights in the world and proven that he is championship material. It is time for him to get his opportunity," DiBella said. "I hope that everyone who hasn't already seen his fight with Bizier gets a chance to watch it and see for themselves what kind of warrior Jo Jo Dan truly is."

The win was Dan's third in a row since the second loss to Aydin.

"Maybe, down the road, we can do this fight [with Bizier] again, but next time with a world title at stake and main event status," said Chris Ganescu, Dan's manager. "In the meantime, we are looking for the biggest fights possible and trust that our promoter, Lou DiBella, will get us those opportunities. When those opportunities present themselves, Jo Jo Dan will be ready to make the most of it."

Dan is highly ranked across the board in the various sanctioning bodies.

"I just want my shot," Dan said. "I proved and solidified [against Bizier] what my team and I have felt for a very long time, that I am one of the best 147-pound fighters in the world. I deserve a shot at a piece of the welterweight crown. I don't care who it is."

Macklin hopes for Sturm rematch

December, 15, 2013
12/15/13
9:13
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Middleweight contender Matthew Macklin returned to his winning ways on Dec. 7 by scoring a clear 10-round decision against previously undefeated Lamar Russ and now wants a rematch (one he deserves) with titleholder Felix Sturm.

Macklin (30-5, 20 KOs) beat Russ to rebound from a knockout loss in a title fight to Gennady Golovkin in June and has his eye on Sturm, with whom he has unfinished business. In 2011, Macklin, an Irishman from England, went to Sturm’s native Germany and appeared to handily beat him only to lose by split decision in one of the worst decisions of the year.

Sturm would later lose his title, but he won a 160-pound belt for the fourth time on Dec. 7 in Germany by stopping Darren Barker, who was hampered by a hip injury, in the second round. Sturm (39-3-2, 18 KOs) owes Barker a contractually obligated rematch, but Barker may have to retire because of the injury. If he does, Macklin wants the next shot.

"I punched Felix around the ring for 12 rounds in our fight in 2011, only to be robbed in what was described by many as one of the worst, if not the worst, decisions they have ever seen -- 78 percent of German viewers voting online had me winning the fight,” Macklin said. “German TV had me winning the fight by four rounds.

“He knows that I beat him and the boxing world knows that I beat him. He has done well to win back the world title for a record fourth time for a German fighter, so for that I congratulate him. But he knows that we have unfinished business and if he's a real man then he will give me a rematch like he promised. Actually, if he's a real man then he should want the rematch for himself.”

Lou DiBella, Macklin’s promoter, hopes to put the fight together, even though one of his other clients, middleweight contender Andy Lee, is calling out Macklin.

"Matthew was deprived of a world title belt the first time that they fought in their great but controversial battle in 2011," DiBella said. "Sturm is a proud champion and I am confident that he will give Matthew his much deserved rematch."

In the 2011 fight, CompuBox had Macklin averaging 92 punches thrown per round, doubling Sturm's output. Macklin also landed 127 more punches and outlanded Sturm in 11 of the 12 rounds.

Irish bragging rights: Lee-Macklin?

December, 11, 2013
12/11/13
9:25
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Former welterweight titleholders Paulie Malignaggi and Zab Judah just concluded their hyped “Battle of Brooklyn” on Saturday night with Malignaggi winning the decision and earning the “King of Brooklyn” tag. So how about we move two divisions north for a middleweight turf battle for Irish bragging rights?

Who’s up for a showdown between Ireland’s Andy Lee and Matthew Macklin, who is from England, but Irish by family heritage? Good fight, right? I sure think so and so does Lee, who tossed out a challenge to Macklin on Tuesday.

It’s been a fight that has been discussed a bit here and there, especially because Lou DiBella promotes both of them. It would be big in Ireland and would surely draw a crowd in New York, where the Irish fans are terrific and very supportive of their fighters.

“Matthew and I have both fought recently, we're both from Ireland, we're both middleweights, we're similarly rated, we're both in a similar position in our careers,” Lee said. “So let’s give the boxing public the fight they crave for and let the best man win.

“This is a massive fight in Ireland, Boston, Chicago or New York and will pack any venue. I am ready for the fight, we both have the same promoter, Lou DiBella. Therefore, the fight can easily be put together.”

If they were to fight, the winner would certainly put himself in a great position to earn another title fight.

Lee (31-2, 22 KOs), 29, has won three fights in a row since his 2012 stoppage loss in a world title fight against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., including a second-round blowout of Ferenc Hafner on Nov. 23.
Macklin (30-5, 20 KOs), 31, is 0-3 in world title fights, getting stopped by Sergio Martinez (in a highly competitive fight) and Gennady Golovkin but also getting ripped off against Felix Sturm in a terrible split decision.

Macklin righted his ship after the loss to Golovkin last June by winning a clear 10-round decision on HBO against Lamar Russ in an excellent performance on Saturday night on the James Kirkland-Glen Tapia undercard in Atlantic City, N.J. (I consider the horrible Guillermo Rigondeaux-Joseph Agbeko match to be the walk-out bout, and people really did walk out.)

“The fight would be a critical moment in both fighters’ careers,” Lee said. “A win for either of us would propel us to a world title fight again. Whoever wins the fight will go on and whoever loses the fight will have to either pack it in or start again. It is a fight I want. People talk about it all the time, so let’s make it happen.”

DiBella said it’s possible. But. There’s always a but, right?

“Macklin’s first choice is to fight Felix Sturm again,” DiBella said.

That’s a fight DiBella said could happen. Sturm won a title on Saturday by second-round knockout of Darren Barker, who re-injured his hip and could not continue. It’s an injury that could cause Barker to retire. If Barker doesn’t retire, he has an immediate rematch option to fight Sturm again, which would leave Macklin without the title fight. But if Barker does retire, Macklin could very well face Sturm next.

“Macklin is waiting to see what happens with Barker and Sturm,” DiBella said. “In the meantime, we’re in a holding pattern. But [Macklin-Lee] is a great fight. It could happen.”

Macklin-Nelson in the works

October, 2, 2013
10/02/13
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A middleweight bout between former three-time world title challenger Matthew Macklin and junior middleweight contender Willie Nelson has been made by promoter Lou DiBella, although he is waiting for a date from HBO to slot the fight on.

There’s a chance that the middleweight bout will wind up on the undercard of super middleweight champion Andre Ward’s defense against Edwin Rodriguez on Nov. 16 in Ontario, Calif. HBO is still trying to figure out what it will air on that undercard, even though it is only six weeks away.

“Macklin-Nelson is being looked at for the Ward-Rodriguez undercard and since I also promote Rodriguez, it makes sense,” DiBella told ESPN.com. “Macklin and Nelson have agreed to fight at 160 pounds, but I’ve been waiting for weeks for (HBO) to confirm the date.”

Macklin (29-5, 20 KOs), 31, an Irishman from England, suffered a devastating one-punch, third-round knockout loss to challenging middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin on June 29. The end came on a brutal body shot that cracked one of Macklin’s ribs.

Despite the one-sided loss, HBO owes him another televised bout, a deal point in the contract for the fight against Golovkin.

Nelson (21-1-1, 12 KOs), 26, of Cleveland, survived a very tough battle against decided underdog Luciano Cuello, who cut Nelson over both eyes, on the Golovkin-Macklin undercard. If Nelson-Macklin is finalized, Nelson, a very big junior middleweight at 6 feet 3 inches, will move up in weight.

“It’s an intriguing fight, I think,” DiBella said. “Willie can bang and be banged. He’s moving up in weight but he obviously has a body that can handle it. And while Matt is still an elite middleweight, he needs to get back on the winning track. It’s a must-win fight for him.”

Macklin has lost three of his last four fights, although one of them was a heavily disputed split decision to then-titleholder Felix Sturm of Germany on Sturm’s turf. The other defeat was an 11th-round knockout loss to champion Sergio Martinez in a highly competitive fight, during which Macklin dropped Martinez in the seventh round before getting dropped twice and stopped.

Dulorme regroups despite setback

August, 16, 2013
8/16/13
12:13
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Thomas Dulorme, Carlos AbeguCourtesy of HBOAfter losing to Luis Carlos Abregu, right, in October, Thomas Dulorme is trying to get back on track.
There is no doubt that welterweight Thomas Dulorme took a big step backward when Luis Carlos Abregu knocked him out in the seventh round in October.

At the time, Dulorme was a red-hot prospect. He had been scoring big knockouts and had the attention of the media and HBO, which put on the Abregu fight and was super interested in him.

Since the loss, Dulorme and his team have regrouped, and he is being moved a bit slower. At 23, there is no hurry. He needs to be developed properly and not rushed into a fight he isn’t ready for, which is what happened with Abregu.

Since the loss, Dulorme (18-1, 13 KOs) has won both of his fights against modest opposition, a first-round knockout of Eddie Brooks in Puerto Rico, where Dulorme lives, followed by an eight-round decision against Ben Ankrah in April.

Dulorme’s rebuilding will continue against New York’s Frankie Figueroa (20-5-1, 13 KOs) on Saturday night at the Revel Casino-Hotel in Atlantic City, N.J., on the undercard of Daniel Geale’s middleweight title defense against Darren Barker.

While Geale-Barker will air live on HBO along with the junior featherweight title bout between Jonathan Romero and Kiko Martinez, Dulorme-Figueroa will be taped and air on HBO Latino immediately following the conclusion of Geale-Barker, at approximately 12:30 a.m. ET.

"I'm just excited to get back into the ring,” Dulorme said. “Staying busy keeps me focused and motivated. My head is never clearer than when I am preparing for a fight. It takes a toll on most fighters, but I'm centered and very relaxed. I owe the fight game a lot, and I am doing this for my fans, the people who believe in me. I want to show my supporters that their belief in me is based on actual ability, and when I am on top, I will share that moment with those who stuck by me, especially my promoters Gary Shaw, Javier Bustillo and Lou DiBella.”

Even with the setback against Abregu, Dulorme said he believes he can still win a world title.

“If you're not in the sport to become champion, then what's the point? I have every intention on winning a title one day, and I know that it is a real goal, one that I have control of accomplishing,” he said. “I have a strong support group and plenty of people in my corner that believe in me, but from this point on, I must make believers out of everyone else. Come fight night, I will make believers out of anyone who may still have doubts.”

Shaw said he believes Dulorme can regain the form that made him such a dynamic prospect.

“Thomas is a young fighter and young guys are always finding themselves, but he is special because he is so far ahead of his age group,” Shaw said. “The maturity level he displayed after his setback was tremendously inspiring. He will challenge for a world title, and he has the potential to be one of the best fighters in the division period.”

Sergio Mora signs with DiBella

July, 30, 2013
7/30/13
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Sergio MoraAP Photo/Damian DovarganesSergio Mora will get another opportunity after signing with DiBella Entertainment.

Middleweight Sergio Mora, a former junior middleweight titlist and first-season winner of “The Contender” reality series, signed Tuesday with promoter Lou DiBella.

“I have always respected Lou for his bold ways and honesty,” Mora, known as “The Latin Snake,” said. “Lou is very knowledgeable and experienced and he is passionate and really cares about his fighters and the sport as a whole. Having the opportunity to work with someone like Lou is a blessing and an honor.

“I want to fight the top 160-pounders in the world, and the best is Sergio Martinez, who just happens to also be promoted by Lou.”

DiBella is heavily involved in the middleweight division. Besides promoting Martinez, the champion, he also works with contenders Matthew Macklin and Andy Lee, so having another solid middleweight on his roster made sense.

“It was a no-brainer of a signing,” DiBella said.

Mora (24-3-2, 7 KOs), 32, of Los Angeles, is just 2-2 in his past four fights, but both losses were debatable decisions to Brian Vera. Mora also won his last fight, looking very good in a decision win against former European champion Grzegorz Proksa on June 28.

The rap on Mora for years is that he is anything but a crowd-pleasing fighter, but as he has gotten a little older he has slowed down a touch and also come to realize that if he wants to get another significant fight he is going to have to be a bit more entertaining. His recent fights have been more crowd-pleasing than earlier in his career.

“Sergio is going to get another good fight,” DiBella said. “And I think he’s become a more pleasing fighter. I thought he fought a great fight against Proksa and the fights with Vera were both pleasing and I thought he won at least one of them and neither of them were boring.”

DiBella does not have a fight set for Mora yet but said he would fight in the fall.

“Say what you want, but Mora is, and has been for many years, one of the most skilled middleweights in the world,” DiBella said.

In 2008, Mora outpointed the late Vernon Forrest to win a 154-pound world title, but he lost a unanimous decision and the belt in the immediate rematch later that year. Two fights later, Mora held the heavily favored Shane Mosley to a draw in September 2009. Mora won “The Contender” tournament and the $1 million grand prize in 2005.

Ward seeking split from Goossen

June, 19, 2013
6/19/13
3:11
PM ET
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.

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