Dan Rafael: Marco Antonio Periban

Periban aims to derail DeGale title shot

November, 21, 2014
J'Leon Love, Marco PeribanHarry How/Getty ImagesMarco Antonio Periban, left, is one fight removed from a competitive decision loss to J'Leon Love.
Super middleweight contender James DeGale is on the verge of a world title fight. He became one of unified titleholder Carl Froch's mandatory challengers by knocking out Brandon Gonzales in the fourth round of a final eliminator on May 31.

A fight between DeGale, a 2008 British Olympic gold medalist, and countryman Froch would be a big fight in England. But DeGale also knows the fight, if it ever happens, is still several months away, at the earliest.

So rather than sit around and wait for a fight that might not materialize, DeGale (19-1, 13 KOs) has elected to stay busy. Instead of fighting a no-hoper, he will take on tough Mexican brawler Marco Antonio Periban (20-2-1, 13 KOs), a former world title challenger, ont on Saturday (AWE, 1 p.m. ET) at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England on the Nathan Cleverly-Toney Bellew II undercard.

Periban, who lost a debatable majority decision for a vacant world title to Sakio Bika in a brutal fight in June 2013, said he is planning to derail DeGale's title shot.

"Bika was a more difficult challenge than anyone DeGale has ever faced," Periban said. "He was very difficult. To have a fighter like him in front of you who is so strong and so resilient is hard. Bika is also considered one of the best punchers in the division at this moment. I did a good job after a good training camp and it made me realize that I'm at the level of the division's strong fighters.

"This division is the hardest one at the moment. A lot of experts believe that. That's an added motivation knowing that I'm up there fighting the best. That speaks well of me, it shows that I'm doing a good job and I just need to work harder to win a world title."

Periban is 0-2-1 in his last three fights with the loss to Bika starting the winless streak. He fought a draw with favored Badou Jack 14 months ago and also lost a competitive decision to J'Leon Love in May, although he had Love hurt.

"I should have knocked Love out in the fifth round but then the referee made a big mistake," Periban said. "He pushed me when I was going for Love and I almost went out of the ring. Floyd Mayweather [Love's promoter and mentor] had mentioned in the pre-fight press conference that Love was almost like his son. Perhaps there was a lot of favoritism towards him.

"I don't feel like I'm undefeated because unfortunately the records show that I lost. It's harder to impress the judges away from home. I do feel like I have a lot of experience now, in terms of catching the judges' eyes in other countries. This is really important."

DeGale said he wanted a quality opponent even though he is close to a title shot.

"A lot of people are saying, 'Why are you taking this fight, James?' The guy is a former world title challenger, he’s boxed Sakio Bika, he has boxed some good opponents. Why are you taking this fight because you’re so close now to a world title,'" DeGale said. "The simple answer is that I want to box the best that I can. Fighting Periban and beating him, I'm going to get some credit after. I don’t have to take this fight, I could have taken a routine eight-rounder against a journeyman but I told [promoter] Eddie Hearn, 'I don’t want that, get me someone I’m going to get credit for after. This guy is going to come to fight but the better the opposition the better I’ll box."

The card, which is on Sky Box Office pay-per-view in the U.K., also includes junior featherweight titlist Quigg defending against Hidenori Othake; bantamweight titlist Jamie McDonnell defending against Javier Chacon; super middleweight contender George Groves against Denis Douglin; Callum Smith squaring off with Nikola Sjekloca in a super middleweight title eliminator; and heavyweight prospect Anthony Joshua, a 2012 British Olympic gold medalist, facing journeyman Michael Sprott.

Broner-Molina added to May 3 card

March, 26, 2014
First came the announcement that Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Marcos Maidana would meet in a welterweight unification fight May 3 (Showtime PPV) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in one of the year’s biggest fights.

On Monday came the announcement that former junior welterweight titlist Amir Khan would move up to welterweight to tangle with former titleholder Luis Collazo in a strong co-feature.

And on Tuesday came the announcement of the remaining two fights on the pay-per-view: former three-division titleholder Adrien Broner, moving down to junior welterweight and coming off his December loss to Maidana, against Carlos Molina, who hasn’t fought since a knockout loss to Khan in December 2012, and super middleweight J’Leon Love against Marco Antonio Periban in what should be a competitive fight in the opener.

With the announcement of the two final bouts also came comments from those four fighters. Here’s what they had to say:

• Broner (27-1, 22 KOs): "I had minor setback, but I am back on May 3. Everybody needs to understand that I just took a loss. I haven't lost it. I'm still ‘The Problem,’ and anyone can get it, whether you are Afri-can, Puerto Ri-can, Domini-can, Cuban or Mexi-can."

• Molina (17-1-1, 7 KOs): "I am so excited to be able to fight on a card of this magnitude against Adrien Broner. Sure he's tough, but we all saw what happened in his last fight when he was under pressure. I have the boxing ability and punching power to beat him, and that is exactly what I plan to do on May 3."

• Love (17-0, 10 KOs): "It is always an honor to be on the same card as my boss, Floyd Mayweather. I train with him in the gym every day and see what it takes to compete at the highest level in boxing. I can't thank Floyd and Mayweather Promotions enough for these opportunities. My opponent is a very tough competitor, but I have no doubt that I will be victorious and move one step closer to a world championship. May 3 can't get here soon enough."

• Periban (20-1-1, 13 KOs): "This is a great opportunity for me, and I will represent my country and Mexican boxing fans all over the world on this Cinco de Mayo weekend. J'Leon Love might be a member of 'The Money Team,' but that won't matter on May 3, when he has to face someone like me. We'll see who comes out victorious. I will not let my people or my country down."

WBC announces mandatory fights

November, 6, 2013
Floyd Mayweather Jr.Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY SportsFloyd Mayweather has to decide soon on an opponent for his next fight.

As much as I rail against the WBC’s rule-breaking and divisional rankings, those rankings affect the mandatory fights that are made for the organization’s belt. So that makes its annual convention notable in that many of those mandatory situations are clarified.

This year’s convention is going on this week in Bangkok, where organization officials, promoters and managers gathered to argue and debate the rankings and mandatory fights that are not yet set.

Here’s a look at some of the key rulings related to mandatory fights made Wednesday:

• Heavyweight: The situation with titleholder Vitali Klitschko is up in the air. He is running for president of Ukraine in 2015 and has made no decision about his boxing career, even though his mandatory defense against Bermane Stiverne is way overdue. Klitschko addressed the crowd at its opening, but not about his boxing plans. Stiverne, however, was still traveling to Thailand on Wednesday, so the debate was put off until at least Thursday.

• Super middleweight: Titleholder Sakio Bika must make two mandatory defenses. The first is against Anthony Dirrell on Dec. 7. The winner of the fight was approved for one optional defense. Marco Antonio Periban and James DeGale were ordered to meet in a semifinal eliminator with the winner ordered to meet Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. to determine the second mandatory challenger. Keep in mind that these orders are the WBC’s wishes and that often what it lays out does not wind up happening because either a fighter decides to go in another direction or, as often happens, the WBC ignores its own ruling.

• Middleweight: If champion Sergio Martinez, sidelined with a knee injury, can’t make his mandatory defense against Marco Antonio Rubio, Rubio will be ordered to face Domenico Spada for the interim belt. This will be interesting because Martinez has no interest in Rubio and instead hopes for a June pay-per-view megafight with Miguel Cotto. It seems that Martinez, who has been very loyal to the WBC, will be allowed to face Cotto upon his return from injury with Rubio settling for the interim title bout for the time being.

• Junior middleweight and welterweight: Floyd Mayweather Jr. holds the WBC title in both divisions, as well as another alphabet junior middleweight title. Holding titles in multiple weight classes is against sanctioning organization rules, but that hasn’t stopped the WBC from allowing Mayweather to get away with it for 1 years. Finally, the WBC ruled that Mayweather must decide which division title he wants to keep by Dec. 15. If Mayweather doesn’t notify the WBC, however, I won’t believe it would strip him of the title until I see it happen. He is one of the WBC’s favorite sons in that he fills the coffers with enormous sanctioning fees.

• Junior welterweight: Danny Garcia’s last fight in September was his mandatory against Lucas Matthysse, but a final eliminator to determine the next mandatory was approved between Viktor Postal and Selcuk Aydin.

• Lightweight: Adrien Broner has the title, but he also won another organization’s belt this year -- in the welterweight division -- and has been allowed to keep both since the summer, which is against the rules. Broner is never going to see 135 pounds again -- did you see how he looked on Showtime on Oct. 26? -- but his request to wait to make a decision until after his Dec. 14 welterweight defense was approved. Daniel Estrada is the mandatory challenger. What should have happened is that Broner should have been forced to pick, and if he picked the welterweight belt (which he obviously would do), interim titlist Omar Figueroa should have immediately been elevated. But that would be too easy.

• Junior featherweight: A final eliminator between Hugo Cazares and Andres Gutierrez was approved to determine Leo Santa Cruz’s mandatory.

• Bantamweight: An eliminator was approved for Stephane Jamoye to face Julio Ceja, with the winner to fight Suriyan Sor Rungvisai in a final eliminator to determine Shinsuke Yamanaka’s mandatory.

• Junior flyweight: Adrian Hernandez’s mandatory will be the winner of an eliminator between Javier Mendoza and Yodmongkil Wor Saengthep.

• Strawweight: A final eliminator was approved between Wanheng Menayothin and Osvaldo Novoa to determine Xiong Zhao Zhong’s mandatory challenger.

Porter-Diaz II offers appetizer

September, 11, 2013
LAS VEGAS -- The fight week festivities for the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Canelo Alvarez megafight on Saturday night kicked off on Tuesday afternoon with the grand arrivals of the fighters walking down a red carpet in the packed and raucous MGM Grand lobby.

But just before that, those fans were treated to the final news conference for the appetizer
boxing show on Thursday night (Fox Sports 2, 10 ET) at the MGM's Premier Ballroom.

The card is headlined by a rematch between welterweights Shawn Porter (21-0-1, 14 KOs) and Julio Diaz (40-8-1, 29 KOs), who fought to a draw in an excellent fight in December.

"It's showtime," said Porter, who was the heavy favorite against Diaz in the first fight but was surprisingly held to a draw by the former two-time lightweight titleholder. "This is a big week for me. I'm very excited. This is my first time fighting here in Vegas, the main event on the card. It doesn't get any better than that. I had a great camp. Can't wait to bust this joker up again, take care of business and set the record straight."

Diaz said the rematch will not go the distance.

"A couple of years ago, the boxing world retired me; supposedly I was done," Diaz said. “But here I am still headlining shows. I never gave up and I kept on working hard, and I'm still here. The first time around, we had a good fight. I was coming back, gaining my confidence. Right now, I think I'm where I need to be. I'm very excited and I'm coming with everything. This fight, we will not need judges. Any way it goes, it's not going to a decision. I guarantee you that."

In the co-feature, super middleweight prospect Badou Jack (15-0, 10 KOs), a former Olympian and one of the most promising fighters under the banner of Mayweather's promotional company, faces his best opponent yet in Marco Antonio Periban (20-1, 13 KOs), who fought for a vacant world title in his previous fight but lost a decision in a brutal battle with Saki Bika in June.

In a third televised fight, junior middleweight prospects Hugo Centeno Jr. (19-0, 10 KOs) and Julian Williams (13-0-1, 7 KOs) will square off.

The card also will feature junior middleweight prospect Jermall Charlo (15-0, 11 KOs), the pro debut of 19-year-old junior featherweight Diego De La Hoya (Oscar's cousin) and three 2012 U.S. Olympians in welterweight Errol Spence, middleweight Terrell Gausha and heavyweight Dominic Breazeale.

Porter-Diaz II tops tripleheader

August, 9, 2013
Whenever there’s a huge fight in Las Vegas, you can count on a smaller card to serve as something of an appetizer earlier in the week.

That will be the case again during the week of the Floyd Mayweather-Canelo Alvarez card. The mega fight takes place Sept. 14 (Showtime PPV) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, but with so many boxing fans expected to inundate the city, Golden Boy chief executive Richard Schaefer told ESPN.com that there will also be a televised tripleheader on Sept. 12 (Fox Sports 2), which will take place in the convention area at the MGM Grand.

The main event is a good one: welterweights Shawn Porter (21-0-1, 14 KOs) and Julio Diaz (40-8-1, 29 KOs), a two-time lightweight titleholder, in a rematch of their spirited draw in December 2012.

“Their first fight was terrific and I’m looking forward to the rematch,” Schaefer said. “I’ve wanted to see the rematch since we did the first fight.”

Porter was the heavily favored rising prospect when they first met and it was a shocker to see Diaz so competitive. Many thought Diaz did enough to deserve the victory.

Porter has won his only fight since, a dominant decision against Phil Lo Greco in May. Diaz lost his only fight since, but gave Amir Khan all kinds of trouble in a decision defeat in England in April.

The other two fights on the card also look promising: super middleweight Marco Antonio Periban (20-1, 13 KOs) against prospect Badou Jack (15-0, 10 KOs) and undefeated junior middleweight prospects Hugo Centeno Jr. (19-0, 10 KOs) and Julian Williams (13-0-1, 7 KOs) squaring off. Periban, easily the toughest opponent so far for Jack, lost a decision in a fight with Sakio Bika for a vacant world title on June 22 but it was a tremendous battle. Jack is a former Olympian and Mayweather, his promoter, thinks very highly of him.

“Having a card like this, with three very interesting fights, a couple of days before the big one will give all the fight fans in town another good night of boxing action,” Schaefer said.

GBP announces changes; more fights

June, 13, 2013
A little of this and a little of that from the world of boxing:

• There’s been a big shake-up behind the scenes at Golden Boy as chief executive Richard Schaefer recently announced a major restructuring of the staff of the world’s No. 1 promotional company.

Chief operating officer David Itskowitch is leaving the company after six years, effective July 31, which set off a slew of changes. Bruce Binkow, the chief marketing officer, will also now be the COO, and longtime vice president of operations Armando Gaytan will also assume the newly created position of deputy COO and has been promoted to senior VP of operations. Chief of staff Robert Gasparri will take on the role of VP of operations. Schaefer also announced that attorney Arnold Joseph, who has done work for the company for years, is joining the staff full-time as general counsel. Longtime director of communications and events Monica Sears was promoted to VP of operations and digital marketing coordinator Nicole “The Spark” Sparks is moving up to director of marketing. Marylyn Aceves is returning to the company as VP of public relations.

“Given his contributions to Golden Boy Promotions over the past six years, David Itskowitch's departure from the company is significant and he will be missed, but with the restructuring we have implemented we will have a smooth transition that will ensure the continued success of Golden Boy Promotions,” Schaefer said.

• Golden Boy announced the full undercard for its June 22 Showtime tripleheader at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. In addition to the TV fights -- welterweight titlist Paulie Malignaggi defending against lightweight titleholder Adrien Broner, the heavyweight rematch between Johnathon Banks and Seth Mitchell and Sakio Bika-Marco Antonio Periban for a vacant super middleweight belt -- junior middleweight prospect Julian Williams (12-0-1, 7 KOs) will face chin-challenged former titleholder Joachim Alcine (33-4-1, 19 KOs) in the most notable other bout. Three of the other bouts will involve members of the 2012 U.S. Olympic team: Staten Island light heavyweight Marcus Browne (4-0, 4 KOs), who always has a fan section cheering for him at Barclays, bantamweight Rau'Shee Warren (4-0, 2 KOs) and lightweight Jamel Herring (3-0, 2 KOs).

• Promoters Lou DiBella and Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson announced that they have acquired the rights to “Tapia,” a documentary on the late former five-time world champion Johnny Tapia, who died in May 2012 at age 45. The world premiere of the documentary will take place at the Los Angeles Film Festival on Saturday. The film, directed by Eddie Alcazar, chronicles Tapia’s tumultuous personal and professional life using first-person narration from Tapia himself, archival footage and personal photos. Alcazar spent many hours with Tapia filming, including in the weeks before Tapia’s death. Those last interviews are included in the film, as are interviews with Mike Tyson, trainer Freddie Roach (who trained Tapia at one point during his career) and Teresa Tapia, Johnny’s widow.

“I was drawn to the intensity of this project,” Jackson said. “His story resonated with me because like Tapia, I too lost my mother to violence and grew up with limited means. It’s a heartfelt story and it was important for me to get involved with bringing this to a broader audience.”

Said DiBella, who, when he programmed boxing at HBO, put Tapia on the network, “This is not a boxing film, but a film about tragedy, triumph, demons and redemption. Johnny gives us an honest assessment of his strengths and frailties; he reminds us of the power and resiliency of the human spirit.”

• European light heavyweight champion Juergen Braehmer (40-2, 31 KOs), a former world titleholder, will make his second defense against Italy’s Stefano Abatangelo (17-2-1, 6 KOs) on Aug. 24 in Schwerin, Germany, Sauerland Event announced. Abatangelo is 11-0-1 in his past 12 fights. Braehmer is the mandatory challenger for world titleholder Nathan Cleverly, who he could meet later this year. Also on the card is supposed to be the return of former middleweight and super middleweight titlist Arthur Abraham (36-4, 28 KOs) against Willbeforce Shihepo (20-6, 15 KOs). In his last fight, Abraham was destroyed in four rounds and lost his super middleweight belt to Robert Stieglitz in their March 23 rematch.

• Some interesting stats from last Saturday’s head-to-head clash between the HBO and Showtime cards. According to Nielsen Media Research, HBO’s undercard fight of Yuriorkis Gamboa-Darleys Perez drew 947,000, which increased to 1,024,000 viewers for the Adonis Stevenson-Chad Dawson main event. Showtime, which had a tripleheader, drew a measly 207,000 viewers for the Jermell Charlo-Demetrius Hopkins opener, which grew to 471,000 for the Erislandy Lara-Alfredo Angulo co-feature and then 594,000 for the Marcos Maidana-Josesito Lopez main event. Although Showtime (which is in about 8 million fewer homes than HBO) had the better overall card for sure and has seen its boxing viewership on an overall upswing, the dreadful Gamboa-Perez undercard fight on HBO still drew 353,000 more than Showtime’s main event.
Some news and notes from the boxing world:

• Nevada State Athletic Commission executive director Keith Kizer said Thursday that the post-fight drug tests for Floyd Mayweather Jr., Robert Guerrero, Abner Mares and Daniel Ponce De Leon all came back negative for any prohibited substances. The results for the rest of the boxers on the May 4 card at the MGM Grand and May 3 card at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas are still pending. Kizer said all 30 boxers on the two cards were tested.

• Mares looked fantastic knocking out Ponce De Leon in the ninth round to win a featherweight title on the Mayweather-Guerrero undercard, giving Mares a world title in his third weight class in the past three years. Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer said two scenarios are being considered for Mares' first defense. One is for Mares, who lives in Southern California, to return home to his native Mexico for a homecoming fight. The other is for Mares to once again fight on Mayweather’s undercard when he returns Sept. 14 to the MGM Grand.

• A little date switcheroo to fill you in on: Sakio Bika (31-5-2, 21 KOs) and Marco Antonio Periban (20-0, 13 KOs), due to meet for a super middleweight title that was stripped from Andre Ward for no good reason, were scheduled to fight June 8 on the Golden Boy/Showtime card at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. But Schaefer said the fight has been pushed back two weeks and will instead go on a Showtime tripleheader on June 22 on the Paulie Malignaggi-Adrien Broner undercard at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. Also on the card is the heavyweight rematch between Johnathon Banks and Seth Mitchell.

• With Bika-Periban moving to June 22, Schaefer said another fight has been added to the June 8 card to also make it a tripleheader: a junior middleweight fight between hot prospect Jermell Charlo (20-0, 10 KOs), 22, of Houston, and Philadelphia’s Demetrius Hopkins (33-2-1, 13 KOs), 32, the nephew of light heavyweight titlist Bernard Hopkins. The June 8 card is headlined by welterweight Marcos Maidana against Josesito Lopez and also includes a junior middleweight fight between Erislandy Lara and Alfredo Angulo.

• Featherweight prospect Gary Russell Jr. is slated to appear on Showtime on the undercard of light heavyweight titlist Bernard Hopkins’ defense against mandatory challenger Karo Murat at the Barclays Center on July 13. Finding an opponent for Russell is always difficult, and this fight is no different.

“We have made a very strong offer to (former titlist) Jhonny Gonzalez and we’re waiting to hear from him,” Schaefer said.

• When the Canadian super fight between former light heavyweight champ Jean Pascal and former super middleweight titlist Lucian Bute, which was supposed to take place May 25 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, was called off because of Bute’s left hand injury, Pascal promoter Yvon Michel said some of the undercard bouts would be shifted to the June 8 card at the Bell Centre headlined by light heavyweight champ Chad Dawson facing Quebec’s Adonis Stevenson. Michel, who also promotes Stevenson, told ESPN.com that these two bouts would shift to June 8: light heavyweight Eleider Alvarez against Allan Green and welterweight Kevin Bizier versus Aldo Nazareno Rios.

• Up-and-coming lightweight Bahodir “Baha” Mamadjonov (13-1, 9 KOs), 25, a former standout amateur from Uzbekistan now living in Houston, has signed a promotional deal with Don King. Mamadjonov scored an upset on April 12 by knocking out Angelo Santana -- the best prospect in King’s thin stable -- in the ninth round. Mamadjonov had taken the “ShoBox” main event on short notice and impressed in front of a national TV audience.

“Signing with Don King brings me closer to my goal of winning a world championship,” Mamadjonov said. “That is what drives me every day. I want to win a world title for my family and the people of Uzbekistan who always believed in me.”

Said King, “I am extremely pleased and proud to have Baha with me. I expect great things from this young man because he’s dedicated and committed to becoming a world champion. He took the fight with Santana on almost no notice and stopped a great lightweight.”

• Former junior welterweight titlist Gavin Rees (37-2-1, 18 KOs) of Wales, who got knocked out by Adrien Broner in the fifth round in a February world title bout, returns to face England’s Anthony Crolla (25-4-1, 9 KOs) on June 29 in Manchester, England. The fight is the co-feature on the card headlined by former heavyweight titlist David Haye against former title challenger Manuel Charr. Crolla is coming off a 12-round split draw for the Commonwealth lightweight title against Derry Mathews on March 30 in a rematch of a Mathews sixth-round knockout win in April 2012.

“I cannot wait to get back into action,” Rees said. “I am itching to get another world title shot after fighting Broner. He is a megastar and will go on to do massive things in the game, but I feel that I can win another world title and this is a massive fight to prove I still have ambitions at that level.

“Anthony is a very good fighter and he put up a great performance in his rematch with Derry Mathews, and I think that the draw was the fair result. All-British clashes are always great to be a part of, with my own battle against Mathews a real cracking fight."

• Irish featherweight Patrick Hyland (27-1, 12 KOs), who is coming off a decision loss to Javier Fortuna for an interim featherweight title on Dec. 8, was due back in action on May 18 in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. -- near his base of Marlboro, N.Y. -- but the card was canceled on Thursday because Hyland suffered a shoulder injury in his training camp, Final Round Promotions announced.