Dan Rafael: Mikey Garcia

Dulorme adds Garcia as trainer

February, 7, 2014
Feb 7
9:32
PM ET
Thomas Dulorme, Robert GarciaCourtesy Team DulormeRobert Garcia, right, who trains several top fighters, is regarded as one of the best in the business.
Welterweight prospect Thomas Dulorme of Puerto Rico has made a big change to his team, leaving longtime trainer Jose Bonilla to train with Robert Garcia at his gym in Oxnard, Calif.

Dulorme (20-1, 14 KOs), 24, was as hot as any prospect in boxing until he ran into Luis Carlos Abregu and got knocked out in the seventh round in October 2012. Dulorme was simply not ready for that level of fight yet.

Since then, Dulorme has been moved slowly but won four fights in a row and now has made the trainer change.

"I needed to see a change in my workouts, learn new things, but I want to make clear that my former trainer, Jose Bonilla, will always be a part of my team because I am very grateful for what he has done for me in my career, as a trainer and currently as a manager,” Dulorme said.

Bonilla co-manages Dulorme along with Enrique Roman. “Garcia has an extensive world-class experience. I'll be grabbing like a sponge all of his knowledge. And let me not forget about the great quality sparring partners that are here [in Oxnard].”

Garcia trains several top fighters, including welterweight titlist Marcos Maidana, junior lightweight titlist (and his brother) Mikey Garcia, 2012 fighter of the year Nonito Donaire, featherweight titlist Evgeny Gradovich and former lightweight titlist Brandon Rios.

Dulorme, who last fought Nov. 30, said co-promoter Gary Shaw told him he would probably next fight in April.

"I just want the bell to ring so I can bring another victory to my people of Puerto Rico that are in my heart, even though I'm here in California,” Dulorme said.

Jennings fight shifted to Jan. 25

December, 5, 2013
12/05/13
3:52
PM ET
Heavyweight hopeful Bryant Jennings, whom HBO wants to begin featuring now that he has signed with promoter Gary Shaw, was initially slated to fight Jan. 18 in Montreal on the Jean Pascal-Lucian Bute undercard.

However, Jennings’ fight has been shifted one week later to Jan. 25 to the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York, where he will fight on Top Rank’s HBO card, which is supposed to be headlined by junior lightweight titlist Mikey Garcia’s first defense.

Arum said the network came to him and asked to slot the Jennings fight on his card.

“They want me to put him on, which is fine with me. What the hell do I care. They’re paying for it and they assure me he will facing a decent opponent,” Arum said.

Arum said that the leading candidate to face Jennings (17-0, 9 KOs), 29, of Philadelphia, is Artur Szpilka (16-0, 12 KOs), 24, of Poland.

American fight fans got a good look at Szpilka last year when he engaged in two all-out slugfests with Mike Mollo on ESPN's “Friday Night Fights,” winning both by knockout.

Arum said Garcia’s opponent in the main event is likely to be former title challenger Juan Carlos Burgos.

“We’re trying to get that done,” Arum said. “I don’t see any impediment.”

A third fight will also be added to the card. If Top Rank wins this weekend’s purse bid for the fight between lightweight titlist Ricky Burns and Terence Crawford, Arum said that fight would go on the card as the co-feature.

Garcia could return Jan. 25

November, 25, 2013
11/25/13
1:46
PM ET
Fresh from a dominant eighth-round knockout of Rocky Martinez on Nov. 9 to win a junior lightweight world title, Mikey Garcia’s first defense is on the drawing board.

Garcia, whose only problem with Martinez was getting dropped in the second round, is expected back on Jan. 25 to headline an HBO card, possibly at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum told ESPN.com.

As for who Garcia (33-0, 28 KOs), 25, of Oxnard, Calif., will fight, Arum and HBO are talking. HBO would like to make a fight between Garcia and interim lightweight titlist Yuriorkis Gamboa, but that’s probably a pipe dream, thankfully.

Arum has no particular interest in making it, and I was glad to hear that. Gamboa is not a draw, his style has become very boring, he looked bad in his last fight against Darleys Perez, he has twice been arrested for domestic abuse of his ex-wife (including earlier this month) and the Miami resident was implicated in the Biogenesis performance-enhancing drug scandal.

Add all that baggage to the fact that Gamboa has never been a ticket seller or a ratings draw but still commanded large purses and it makes no sense.

Arum’s take: “He is not deserving of fighting Garcia, who has a great image. Who needs a guy who has a second (arrest) for domestic abuse?”

Arum said the opponent he is looking at is contender Juan Carlos Burgos (30-1-2, 20 KOs), 25, of Mexico.

In January at the MSG Theater, Burgos got ripped off in a draw against Martinez and was denied of the title on the undercard of the show on which Garcia beat Orlando Salido in the main event to win a featherweight belt.

“Burgos is one of the names we’ve talked about and he’s a difficult opponent,” Cameron Dunkin, Garcia’s manager, told ESPN.com. “I even talked to Alex Camponovo (of Burgos co-promoter Thompson Boxing) about the fight and they’re interested. But HBO wants to explore other things, Gamboa, of course. They’ve even got a couple of other guys they want to explore. I told (Top Rank vice president) Carl Moretti to go ahead and explore whatever you want.”

Dunkin said that once Mikey Garcia and his brother and trainer, Robert Garcia, are settled after their trip home from Macau, China (where they were for the Manny Pacquiao-Brandon Rios fight) that the three of them would get on the phone and discuss what Mikey wants to do.

“We’ll try to put something together but Jan. 25 is great,” Dunkin said. “We’re ready to go.”

Martinez-Garcia getting close

September, 6, 2013
9/06/13
1:51
PM ET
• Finalizing the mandatory fight between junior lightweight titlist Rocky Martinez and former featherweight titlist Mikey Garcia is more or less a formality. Top Rank promoter Bob Arum has said he is down to haggling over the final few dollars with the Martinez camp while Garcia is already on board. But now the WBO, which is sanctioning the bout, has added a time frame for the deal to get done for the proposed Nov. 9 HBO main event. It has set Oct. 3 as the deadline for the deal to be completed or it will order a purse bid, which would be silly for Martinez to force because Arum promotes both fighters. Arum has a stake in the fight and backing from HBO, which means he almost certainly would be offering more money to Martinez than anyone else could. It is highly unlikely another promoter would offer a big enough figure at a purse bid that would give Martinez more than whatever Arum is offering, especially since that promoter has no vested interest in either fighter and would not have HBO’s backing. In any event, if the fight does wind up at a purse bid, the minimum offer is $150,000.

• Juan Carlos Sanchez (16-1-1, 8 KOs) of Mexico, stripped of his junior bantamweight title before a June title defense against Roberto Sosa for failing to make weight, can earn a chance to win back the belt. The IBF has ordered Sanchez, who wound up outpointing Sosa but was not eligible to win the title, to face South Africa’s Zolani Tete in a final eliminator. If Sanchez-Tete comes off, the winner will be the mandatory challenger for Japan’s Daiki Kameda, who outpointed former titlist Rodrigo Guerrero on Tuesday to win the title left vacant by Sanchez’s weight issues. The sides have until Monday to advise the organization of their availability for the fight, otherwise the IBF will go down its ratings to find the next willing contender. Sanchez has accepted the fight. Assuming Tete does also, the target date for the bout is Oct. 26 in Mexico.

• New Yorker Junior Younan, a 17-year-old standout amateur fighter, is going pro. Younan, 90-5 in the unpaid ranks, turns 18 on Oct. 14 and will make his professional debut, probably as a light heavyweight (fighting closer to cruiserweight as an amateur), in late October or November after signing with promoter Lou DiBella and managers James Prince and Josh Dubin.

“It's a real honor being signed by DiBella Entertainment," Younan said. “Growing up in New York and being at all the shows, it's really humbling to know that I'm being recognized as one of the best prospects right now by Lou. I plan on showing everyone what I have in me and bringing that spark back to boxing.”

Said DiBella, “Anytime that you are able to add the type of caliber fighter that 'Sugar Boy' is to your stable, it's special. I have been following him since he has been a child and he has been viewed as a New York gym prodigy. Still a teenager, I expect huge things from 'Sugar Boy' Younan."

Garcia, Donaire plan Nov. 9 returns

August, 13, 2013
8/13/13
1:51
PM ET
Miguel Angel GarciaAP Photo/Gregory PayanMikey Garcia (above) and Nonito Donaire could appear in separate bouts on the same card in Texas.
November 9 looks like it will be a Texas two-step with Mikey Garcia and Nonito Donaire.

Garcia and Donaire, both trained by Mikey's brother Robert Garcia, will likely be fighting in separate bouts on an HBO doubleheader -- with Garcia in the main event -- that Top Rank promoter Bob Arum told ESPN.com probably will take place in Texas, perhaps San Antonio or Dallas.

Garcia (32-0, 27 KOs), stripped of his featherweight title for failing to make weight the day before drilling Juan Manuel Lopez in the fourth round in Dallas on June 15, is moving up to junior lightweight and being lined up to face titleholder Rocky Martinez (27-1-2, 16 KOs), for whom he is the mandatory challenger.

"We're trying to iron out the details on Mikey facing Martinez," said Cameron Dunkin, Garcia's manager. "But we're ready to go. I saw Mikey the other day and we sat down and had a nice long talk -- me, Mikey and Robert -- and we're ready. He's excited about it. I have a meeting with [Top Rank president] Todd [duBoef] on [Wednesday] to talk about a lot of things, including that fight."

Donaire (31-2, 20 KOs), the 2012 consensus fighter of the year, is coming off a decision loss in a junior featherweight unification fight against Guillermo Rigondeaux on April 13. Donaire will be moving up to the featherweight division and is supposed to face Vic Darchinyan (39-5-1, 28 KOs) -- who he knocked out in 2007 to win a flyweight world title -- in a rematch, but that might change because of issues over the contract weight.

"Donaire is ready to fight Darchinyan but Darchinyan is also saying he won't fight at 126 pounds," said Dunkin, who also manages Donaire. "So I am going to talk to [Top Rank vice president] Carl [Moretti] about changing opponents. Nonito wants to fight at 126 pounds and [eventually] win a featherweight title. Vic wants to fight [at] 122 to 124. OK. I'm sorry about that because Donaire is going to fight at 126. So that is what it is."

Amidu tabbed as Burgos' new foe

July, 15, 2013
7/15/13
12:08
PM ET
Rocky Martinez-Juan Carlos BurgosJoel Colon/PRBBPJuan Carlos Burgos could set up another title shot with a win over new opponent Yakubu Amidu.

After junior lightweight contender Juan Carlos Burgos lost his opponent -- Daulis Prescott, due to a case of kidney stones -- last week, the hunt was on for a new opponent for his July 26 fight (ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes) at Thunder Valley Casino Resort in Sacramento, Calif.

After co-promoters Artie Pelullo of Banner Promotions and Thompson Boxing discussed various names with ESPN, the opponent they came to an agreement on was Yakubu Amidu (20-4-1, 18 KOs), who accepted the fight.

Amidu, 28, a native of Ghana based in Los Angeles, has lost two fights in a row, both 10-round decisions at lightweight, to fringe contender Ji-Hoon Kim and Haskell Rhodes.

In 2008, Amidu suffered the only knockout loss of his career, a seventh-round stoppage in Scotland to future lightweight titleholder Ricky Burns.

Burgos (30-1-1, 20 KOs) fought to a disputed draw with 130-pound titleholder Rocky Martinez in January, and a win against Amidu will probably put him in position to challenge for the same belt against the winner of a proposed title fight between Martinez and former featherweight titlist Mikey Garcia.

Other names that were discussed as possible Burgos opponent included Alexei Collado, Marcos Leonardo Jimenez, Hylon Williams, Jr. and Daniel Ruiz.

Big plans ahead for Top Rank

July, 10, 2013
7/10/13
12:16
PM ET
Nonito Donaire and Vic DarchinyanCourtesy Marty Rosengarten for Ringsidephotos.com Nonito Donaire could be headed toward a rematch of his 2007 knockout win against Vic Darchinyan.
After talking with Top Rank chairman Bob Arum on Tuesday about the Orlando Salido-Orlando Cruz vacant featherweight title bout that will be on the Timothy Bradley Jr.-Juan Manuel Marquez HBO PPV undercard Oct. 12, we discussed several other fights he has in the works. Here's an update:

• Former junior featherweight titlist Nonito Donaire (31-2, 20 KOs), who lost his belt by decision to Guillermo Rigondeaux in an April 13 unification bout, will be back in November.

"HBO is giving him a date in November and we're talking about a rematch with [Vic] Darchinyan," Arum said. "That's the fight Darchinyan wants and that's the fight that [Donaire manager] Cameron [Dunkin] wants."

Arum said the bout would be at junior featherweight, even though Donaire talked about moving up to featherweight after the April loss. In 2007, Darchinyan (39-5-1, 28 KOs) was a big favorite when he faced Donaire in defense of his flyweight title, but Donaire scored a ferocious fifth-round knockout to win the title and there has been on and off talk about a rematch since.

• Although Rigondeaux (12-0, 8 KOs) defeated Donaire, Arum said HBO has shown no interest in his next fight. "Every time I mention him, they throw up," Arum said. Rigondeaux, while immensely talented does not make for exciting fights.

"So I have to figure out who I could put him in with," said Arum, adding that he didn't think it was right that HBO pushed for him to match Donaire with Rigondeaux and now has turned its back on the winner.

• The date for interim junior welterweight titlist Mike Alvarado's return is Oct. 19 (HBO) in a fight that would take place in his hometown of Denver. Arum said he's close to finalizing a deal with Artie Pelullo of Banner Promotions for Alvarado (34-1, 23 KOs) to face Ruslan Provodnikov (22-2, 15 KOs), who gave Bradley such a tough fight in March only to lose a close decision, despite nearly knocking Bradley out at least three different times in the action-packed fight.

• Arum said that even though HBO said it isn't interested in the vacant junior middleweight title bout between Vanes Martirosyan, who is with Arum, and Demetrius Andrade, who is co-promoted by Pelullo and Joe DeGuardia, he's talking to Pelullo about a deal. "If I have to do it myself without HBO, so be it. The fight will happen before the end of the year," Arum said. "I owe it to Vanes." The fight is a match of undefeated former American Olympians. Martirosyan (33-0-1, 21 KOs) was on the 2004 team and Andrade (19-0, 13 KOs) was on the 2008 squad.

• If two-time Chinese Olympic gold medalist Zou Shiming wins his second pro fight against Jesus Ortega, a six-round flyweight bout July 27 (HBO2) in Macau, China, Arum said Zou would advance to an eight-rounder for his third pro bout, which would take place on the Manny Pacquiao-Brandon Rios HBO PPV card in Macau on Nov. 23.

• With Top Rank having reunited with Miguel Cotto for his Oct. 5 bout -- opponent not set, but likely to be Delvin Rodriguez -- Arum plans to put rising lightweight contender Terence Crawford (21-0, 16 KOs) on in the HBO co-feature. There is no opponent yet, but Arum said, "I'd like to make him with [interim titlist Yuriorkis] Gamboa." He said he is talking to Gamboa promoter Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson about the fight. Arum said Jackson is interested, but it remains to be seen if Gamboa is.

• Arum said he has met with super middleweight contender James DeGale (16-1, 11 KOs), a 2008 British Olympic gold medalist, and is interested in signing him. "He's a very nice guy and he wants to sign with us," Arum said. "I'm interested but I'm not interested in buying a lawsuit." Arum said he is still doing his due diligence to see if DeGale is still under contract to British promoter Mick Hennessy but that if he is a free agent, he'd like to sign him. "He's a very good fighter, but I know he's not the most exciting guy in the world. He'd certainly be a good opponent for [champion] Andre Ward. There's a lot you can do with him."

• Former featherweight titlist Mikey Garcia (32-0, 27 KOs) could return on the same November HBO card with Donaire, Arum said. Garcia, who knocked out Juan Manuel Lopez on June 15 but was stripped of his featherweight belt for not making weight, likely would move up to challenge junior lightweight titlist Rocky Martinez, Arum said. However, Arum said he's hopeful he can work something out with HBO to have Donaire and Garcia each headline their own show. If that happens, Arum said he would use the televised undercard slots to feature featherweight titlist Evgeny Gradovich and heavyweight prospect Andy Ruiz if they both look good in their bouts in Macau on July 27 (HBO2).

Alexander: Yes to Khan, no to Dubai

June, 25, 2013
6/25/13
12:33
PM ET
A few notes from around the world of boxing:

• Welterweight titlist Devon Alexander was in Brooklyn, N.Y., over the weekend for the Adrien Broner-Paulie Malignaggi fight and I had a chance to talk to him at the fight hotel. He’s still sporting the soft cast on the left hand he broke in his knockout win against Lee Purdy on May 18. Alexander said he'll be in the cast for a few more weeks and is still on track for a probable Dec. 7 defense against Amir Khan. However, Alexander said he did not want to fight in Dubai, one of the places where Golden Boy promoter Richard Schaefer has said was a possibility venue because of the interest there in Khan.

• Newly crowned light heavyweight champion Adonis “Superman” Stevenson, who blasted Chad Dawson to win the title on June 8, was also Brooklyn for the fight and I had a chance to meet him for the first time at the fight hotel. He said that while he was in New York he met with HBO executives, to talk about a plan for his future fights. One possibility is a match with former titlist Tavoris Cloud, who lost his belt to Bernard Hopkins in March. Stevenson, however, said he is more interested in fighting Hopkins, although he has a mandatory due against the reinstated Karo Murat.

• Sauerland Event promoter Chris Meyer said that Murat, who was dropped from a July 13 mandatory shot against Hopkins because he could not obtain a visa to enter the United States, has worked out the paperwork issues. However, when it looked like it might take six months to clear up his problem, Hopkins promoter Golden Boy and Showtime canceled the card. With Murat’s paperwork cleared up, he is the mandatory again, but Showtime has no plans to reschedule the card given its busy -- and expensive -- slate of upcoming shows, according to what Showtime boxing chief Stephen Espinoza told me on Saturday night at the Broner-Malignaggi fight. That would leave the fighters, Golden Boy and Sauerland Event in a tough spot, because HBO has no interest in the fight, either.

• Mexico’s Sergio Thompson (27-2, 25 KOs) has been on a roll since a 2010 split-decision loss to Alisher Rahimov. Thompson has won 13 in a row and made a name for himself with an upset second-round knockout of Jorge Linares in March 2012. The streak has landed Thompson a shot at junior lightweight titlist Takashi Miura (25-2-2, 19 KOs). Golden Boy matchmaker Eric Gomez told ESPN.com the contracts are signed for the fight, which will take place Aug. 17 (Fox Deportes) in Thompson’s hometown of Cancun, Mexico. Miura, who stopped Gamaliel Diaz in the ninth round to win the title in April, will be making his first defense.

• Although neither side is talking publicly, super middleweight champion Andre Ward and promoter Dan Goossen are headed to an arbitration hearing on Tuesday in Los Angeles. Ward, for reasons that have not been disclosed, is seeking to break his promotional contract with Goossen, who has promoted Ward for his entire career, including negotiating for him to have his world title shot against Mikkel Kessler during the Super Six in Ward’s hometown of Oakland, Calif.

• Puerto Rican featherweight contender Orlando Cruz (20-2-1, 10 KOs), who made headlines last year as the first active boxer to announce he was gay, was supposed to fight Friday night on promoter Tutico Zabala’s Telemundo-televised card. However, Zabala told ESPN.com on Monday that he pulled Cruz from the show. The reason, Zabala said, was because after Mikey Garcia was stripped of his featherweight title for not making weight for his June 15 defense against Juan Manuel Lopez, the WBO ordered Cruz to face the former titlist for the vacant belt and Zabala and Cruz didn’t want to risk the surefire title shot.

• Top Rank announced two UniMas cards: July 13 at the Hollywood Park Casino in Inglewood, Calif., headlined by junior lightweight Alejandro Perez (17-1-1, 11 KOs) against Edgar Riovalle (35-14-2, 25 KOs) with light heavyweight prospect Trevor McCumby (11-0, 9 KOs) on the undercard, and Aug. 10 at the Sands Casino in Bethlehem, Pa., headlined by featherweight Gamalier Rodriguez (21-2-3, 15 KOs) facing Jorge Pazos (19-5-1, 13 KOs).

• Top Rank also finalized one of the undercard bouts for the Timothy Bradley Jr.-Juan Manuel Marquez HBO PPV undercard on Oct. 12: light heavyweight Seanie Monaghan (18-0, 11 KOs) against Anthony Caputo Smith (14-1, 10 KOs).
50 Cent-Yuriorkis GamboaChris Farina/Top RankPromoter 50 Cent, left, hasn't been able to secure an interim title fight for Yuriorkis Gamboa.
A few updates on some upcoming fights:

• Former unified featherweight titlist and interim junior lightweight titleholder Yuriorkis Gamboa has never fought at lightweight, but when he makes his debut in the 135-pound division he will be fighting for another interim belt.

Gamboa (22-0, 16 KOs), the Miami-based 2004 Olympic gold medalist, meets 2008 Colombian Olympian Darleys Perez (28-0, 19 KOs) on Saturday (HBO, 10 p.m. ET/PT) at Bell Centre in Montreal. He will be on the undercard of light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson’s defense against Quebec’s power-punching Adonis Stevenson. But what was originally scheduled as a 10-round nontitle bout became an interim title bout after Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, the rap star and Gamboa’s promoter, paid a recent visit to WBA headquarters in Panama and got the bout sanctioned.

Also on the card, prospect Jose “Sniper” Pedraza (12-0, 8 KOs), a 2008 Puerto Rican Olympian, will face Sergio Villanueva (25-2-2, 13 KOs) of Mexico in a scheduled 10-rounder that HBO Latino will air on tape delay at 12:15 a.m. ET.

• East Los Angles junior welterweight prospect Frankie Gomez (15-0, 11 KOs), who is just 21, should gain valuable experience when he faces former titleholder (and now division gatekeeper) DeMarcus “Chop Chop” Corley (39-20-1, 23 KOs) of Washington, D.C., in a scheduled 10-round main event of a “Golden Boy Live” card (FSN/Fox Deportes) on July 20 at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, Calif. Corley is coming off a decision loss in his previous fight, when he traveled to Russia to face Viktor Postal in October, but in his previous two bouts Corley pulled upsets. He outpointed Gabriel Bracero and then stopped Paul McCloskey in the 10th round in Northern Ireland in a stunner. In the co-feature, junior featherweight prospect Randy Caballero (18-0, 10 KOs) will face Puerto Rico's Miguel Robles (12-2-2, 5 KOs) in a 10-rounder. Caballero, who is from Coachella, Calif., is a crowd favorite at Fantasy Springs, where he has fought 11 of his 18 pro fights.

• Former featherweight titlist Orlando Salido (39-12-2, 27 KOs), who got dropped four times and lost his title via lopsided eighth-round technical decision to Mikey Garcia in January, will be back Aug. 16 in his hometown of Ciudad Obregon, Mexico, manager Sean Gibbons told ESPN.com. Salido, 32, suffered a right broken orbital bone in the fight, one of the reasons for the extended layoff. Gibbons said there is no opponent yet, but that Salido will be fighting at junior lightweight, possibly in a title eliminator that would put him in line for a crack at titleholder Roman “Rocky” Martinez.

• Puerto Rican junior middleweight Jorge Melendez (26-2-1, 25 KOs), a Miguel Cotto protege, is on his third opponent for his “ShoBox: The New Generation” main event Friday night (Showtime, 11 ET/PT). Melendez was due to face Mexico’s Luis Grajeda (14-1, 10 KOs) in the scheduled 10-rounder. When Grajeda dropped out -- for no reason other than he decided against taking the fight, according to Showtime -- Lanardo Tyner (30-8-2, 19 KOs) stepped in. However, even though Tyner is coming off a 12th-round knockout win on May 9 in Dallas, he was suspended under the normal Texas rules that say a fighter must be off three days for every round he fought in his most recent fight, which keeps him out until after Friday. So now it’s Nick Brinson (14-1-2, 6 KOs) stepping in on short notice. Puerto Rican bantamweight Jonathan Vidal (17-0, 9 KOs) faces Mario Munoz (13-0-1, 10 KOs) of Mexico in the eight-round co-feature.

• Japan’s Koki Kameda (30-1, 17 KOs) will make his seventh title defense when he faces the Philippines’ Mark John Apolinario (17-2-3, 4 KOs) on July 23 in Tokyo. Odd stat about Apolinario: He’s got three draws in his past four bouts, including back-to-back draws with Roberto Vasquez in interim title bouts.

Martirosyan fit for June 15 bout

May, 29, 2013
5/29/13
11:38
PM ET
Junior middleweight contender Vanes Martirosyan's thumb is feeling better, and he's ready to fight again.

[+] EnlargeVanes Martirosyan
Landry Major/Getty ImagesVanes Martirosyan has recovered from a fractured right thumb and will appear on the undercard of the June 15 Mikey Garcia-Juan Manuel Lopez fight.
Martirosyan (32-0-1, 20 KOs), a 2004 U.S. Olympian from Glendale, Calif., suffered a fractured right thumb while training for a fight on the April 6 card in Macau, forcing him off the show. Now healed, Martirosyan has been added to the untelevised undercard of the Mikey Garcia-Juan Manuel Lopez featherweight title fight on June 15 (HBO) at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.

Martirosyan, who is coming off a ninth-round technical draw against Erislandy Lara in a November world title eliminator, will face Ryan Davis (24-10-3, 9 KOs) in a scheduled 10-rounder.

Obviously, this isn't a big fight for Martirosyan, who will ease back into action off the injury in hopes of landing a more significant fight later in the year. That's probably a good bet, especially now that he has signed with manager Cameron Dunkin, who also handles such top fighters as Garcia, Timothy Bradley Jr., Nonito Donaire and Brandon Rios.

"They contacted me and said they wanted to be with me," Dunkin said of Martirosyan and his family. "We talked a long time and got along great and said 'Let's do the deal.' He's a helluva fighter. He's only 27, strong and fast. He hits hard. He's a real talent, and I always want to work with fighters who have a lot of talent. We'll do this fight June 15 and then push him to a bigger fight."

Several fighters represented by Dunkin will be part of the June 15 show, including lightweight Terrence Crawford (20-0, 15 KOs), former Russian Olympic middleweight Matt Korobov (19-0, 11 KOs) and Quebec power-punching welterweight prospect Mikael Zewski (19-0, 15 KOs).

Crawford, of Omaha, Neb., who beat Breidis Prescott at junior welterweight as a late substitute on March 30, is moving back down to his more natural lightweight to face Mexico's Alejandro Sanabria (34-1-1, 25 KOs) in the 10-round televised co-feature. Korobov will face experienced veteran Ossie Duran (28-10-2, 11 KOs) in an eight-round fight, and Zewski will meet Damian Frias (19-7-1, 10 KOs) in an eight-rounder.

In another fight on the card, 22-year-old blue-chip prospect Oscar Valdez (4-0, 4 KOs), a two-time Mexican Olympian, will face Gil Garcia (5-4-1, 1 KO) in a six-round junior featherweight fight.

Top Rank, which is putting on the Garcia-Lopez show, also announced a card on June 29 (UniMas), which will take place at the WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, Okla.

Featherweight contender Robert Marroquin (23-2, 16 KOs) of Dallas will face Nicaragua's Daniel Diaz (19-5-1, 15 KOs) in the scheduled 10-round main event. Junior welterweight Jose Ramirez (3-0, 2 KOs), a 2012 U.S. Olympian from Avenal, Calif., will fight an opponent to be determined in a four-rounder.
After former featherweight titlist Juan Manuel Lopez got knocked out by Orlando Salido in a world title fight for the second time in March 2012, it seemed like Lopez was poised to make the move to junior lightweight.

He had talked about issues making the featherweight limit of 126 pounds and after nearly a year layoff -- caused by his suspension after the Salido rematch because of the accusations that the referee stopped the fight because he had wagered on the outcome -- Lopez returned in February. His two fights (both knockout wins) since ending the layoff were both contested at 128 pounds, halfway between the featherweight and 130-pound junior lightweight limits.

But Lopez is going to fight at featherweight, at least for the time being, and is all set to challenge titleholder Mikey Garcia (31-0, 26 KOs), who won his belt from Salido in January. The fight is June 15 (HBO, 10:15 p.m. ET/PT) at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.

It appears as though Lopez (33-2, 30 KOs) is taking his training seriously and that making weight won’t be an issue. At this week’s Puerto Rico commission’s 30-day weight check, Lopez scaled 138 pounds, well inside the allowable weight of 144.9.

“We are working to make the weight and to get the best condition,” Lopez said. “Our goal was to make 139 pounds [Thursday] and we made 138, it’s so good. We are one month before the fight and I’m feeling very good with the training. As we made two fights [in February and April] this year, I kept in the gym all the time. We want to be in 131 or 132 pounds next week and work with that weight for the finals weeks, but I’m so good -- eating good and in a good mood.”

Although his weight is fine, he did have a gym mishap this week. He suffered a bruise on his face after falling.

“In reaction work with the medicine ball, I slipped on the on the wet racetrack and fell,” Lopez said. “Unbelievable. That’s the first time in my career.”

Updates: Chavez, Garcia, more

April, 25, 2013
4/25/13
1:52
PM ET
A few fight and fighter updates:

•  Former middleweight titlist Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., whose first fight since losing his belt to Sergio Martinez and subsequent suspension for testing positive for marijuana after the fight was being planned for either June 15 or 22, will be delayed a few weeks. Top Rank promoter Bob Arum told ESPN.com that Chavez, who is likely to fight at about 164 pounds, will instead fight July 13 (HBO). Arum said the likely opponent is Brian Vera and that the fight would be in Texas or Mexico.

•  With Chavez moving into July, Arum said featherweight titlist Miguel Angel "Mikey" Garcia would tentatively take the June 15 HBO date for his first defense. The two opponents under discussion remain former titlist Juan Manuel Lopez and Orlando Cruz. Prospect Terrence Crawford, who easily outpointed perennial junior welterweight contender Breidis Prescott on March 30 as a late substitute on the Mike Alvarado-Brandon Rios II undercard, is being penciled in for the opening television bout. Crawford fought Prescott at junior welterweight but he is likely to go down to lightweight, where he has fought most of his career.

•  Junior featherweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux, who unified titles on April 13 with a decision victory against Nonito Donaire, has nothing specific planned yet for an encore, but Arum said he would meet with HBO in the coming weeks to talk about his next bout.

•  Junior middleweight titlist Ishe Smith's first defense (and a mandatory) against Carlos Molina will take place July 19 in Las Vegas, Warriors Boxing promoter Leon Margules told ESPN.com. Margules, who promotes Molina, made a deal for the fight with Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe to promote the bout a few weeks ago, but now the date is locked in. Smith, the first native of Las Vegas to win a world title, will get to make his first defense in his hometown. TV arrangements are pending.

Asia next for Manny Pacquiao?

March, 30, 2013
3/30/13
2:10
PM ET
LAS VEGAS -- Top Rank promoter Bob Arum is leaving for Macau, China on Sunday to promote his company's card there next Saturday, which is headlined by the pro debut of Chinese national hero Zou Shiming, a two-time Olympic gold medalist. But this isn't likely to be Arum's last trip to promote a fight in Asia.

Arum told ESPN.com on Friday that Manny Pacquiao -- whomever he fights next -- will probably fight next in Asia.

"He is fighting in September," Arum said. "I don't know against who and I'm not exactly sure where, but it looks like Macau or Singapore."

The April 6 card in Macau will be put on at The Venetian resort, which also has a casino in Las Vegas and Singapore. Arum said casino officials are anxious to host a Pacquiao fight and would make the call as to which Asian property it would be held at -- the one in Macau or Singapore.

"They own both properties there, so it doesn't matter," Arum said.

Pacquiao's potential opponents come as no surprise. They are the same ones Arum has been mentioning for weeks: Juan Manuel Marquez, in a potential fifth meeting against the man who drilled him in a December shocker that was the 2012 fight of the year; welterweight titlist Timothy Bradley Jr., in a rematch of the highly controversial split decision Bradley received in June; or Brandon Rios, should he defeat Mike Alvarado in their rematch on Saturday.

"It will be one of those three guys, at 147 [pounds]," Arum said. "My idea would be if [Pacquiao] fought Marquez, we do Bradley against Rios if Rios wins."

Arum added that Pacquiao's Asian fight would take place in the morning local time in order to accommodate a live prime-time HBO PPV broadcast in the United States.

Arum also touched on a couple of other topics:

•  Former middleweight titlist Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. is currently serving a nine-month suspension by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for a positive marijuana test stemming from his loss to champ Sergio Martinez on Sept. 15, but he will fight on either June 15 or June 22. The date is at issue because Arum and the commission disagree over precisely when Chavez is eligible to fight.

"There's a philosophical question -- when the nine months are up," Arum said. "Our argument is it's up June 15. They said originally it's up the 16th. But they might change that."

Arum spent time at Friday's Rios-Alvarado weigh-in huddled in deep conversation with Bill Brady, a member of the Nevada commission, discussing the issue.

Arum said the Chavez fight, which will be on HBO, will take place at the AT&T Center in San Antonio and be fought at a catchweight between middleweight and super middleweight, probably 164 pounds. Arum said the focus is on three potential opponents: Brian Vera, who won his fight Friday night and is from Austin, Texas, and two fighters from Great Britain, former title challengers Darren Barker and Matthew Macklin. However, Arum said that Macklin was offered the fight but didn't want to fight above 160 pounds.

• Mikey Garcia, who was also at Friday's weigh-in, won a featherweight title in January in dominant fashion against Orlando Salido. Garcia's first follow-up fight likely will be in July, Arum said. He said Top Rank president Todd duBoef was meeting with HBO executives on Saturday to talk about the particulars. Arum said the likely opponent will be former titleholder Juan Manuel Lopez, who will first fight on April 20.

"Mikey will fight maybe a catchweight fight against JuanMa Lopez," Arum said. Lopez has trouble making 126 pounds. His previous fight was at 128 pounds, as will be his April 20 bout.

Top Rank and HBO are talking about Garcia's fight headlining a tripleheader. Arum said the other fights that likely would be on the card are featherweight titlist Evgeny Gradovich's first defense -- a mandatory against Mauricio Munoz -- and a heavyweight fight involving prospect Andy Ruiz, possibly against fellow prospect Joe Hanks.

Fight updates: Garcia-Lopez, etc.

March, 12, 2013
3/12/13
3:43
PM ET
Christobal ArreolaBryan Crowe/FightWireImages.comHeavyweight Cristobal Arreola finally has a site for his title elimination bout with Bermane Stiverne.

Top Rank still hopes to make a featherweight title defense for Mikey Garcia against former titlist Juan Manuel Lopez, but the scheduling of the bout is unclear as the promotional company works with HBO for Garcia's next date. Top Rank had hoped for him to make his first defense against Lopez in May. However, Lopez, who is co-promoted by Peter Rivera, is being lined up to fight a second tune-up since being out of the ring for nearly a year. That bout is probably going to take place on April 20 in Mexico City, Top Rank's Carl Moretti told ESPN.com. It would be on the undercard of the fight between Victor Terrazas and Cristian Mijares, who meet for a vacant junior featherweight title. If Lopez fights April 20, it means he would not be available to fight Garcia in May. So the fight could be pushed back to June or perhaps Garcia will make a defense in May or June and then meet Lopez later in the year.

• The heavyweight title elimination fight between Cristobal Arreola (35-2, 30 KOs) and Bermane Stiverne (22-1-1, 20 KOs) on April 27 now has a home. It will take place at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, Calif., promoter Dan Goossen told ESPN.com. Arreola, who is from nearby Riverside, Calif., is a bit of a draw there. The winner of the bout will become the mandatory challenger for titleholder Vitali Klitschko. Arreola-Stiverne will open an HBO split-site tripleheader. The other two bouts will take place in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where middleweight world champion Sergio Martinez (50-2-2, 28 KOs) will have a homecoming fight against England's Martin Murray (25-0-1, 11 KOs) in the main event with welterweights Luis Carlos Abregu (34-1, 28 KOs) of Argentina and Antonin Decarie (27-1, 8 KOs) of Montreal meeting in the co-feature.

• The October junior welterweight fight between former lightweight titlist Brandon Rios (31-0-1, 23 KOs) and Mike Alvarado (33-1, 23 KOs) was one of the best fights of 2012 and one of the best fights in recent years. They battled hard in violent fashion until Rios stopped Alvarado on his feet in the seventh round. It was so good they are meeting again on March 30 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, this time with a vacant interim 140-pound title at stake. The first fight was so good that HBO, which aired the fight and will also broadcast the second bout, will debut "Road to Rios/Alvarado II," a 15-minute show that will preview the rematch. It will premiere Saturday night at 12:15 a.m. ET/PT, or immediately following the conclusion of the Timothy Bradley Jr.-Ruslan Provodnikov telecast -- whichever comes first. The special will look back at the first encounter and profile each fighter.

Garcia-Lopez fight in the works

March, 6, 2013
3/06/13
10:29
AM ET
Garcia-SalidoChris Farina/Top RankUnbeaten Mikey Garcia is likely headed toward a showdown with Puerto Rican star Juan Manuel Lopez.
Featherweight titlist Mikey Garcia could be headed to sunny Puerto Rico for his first defense against island star and former titleholder Juan Manuel Lopez.

Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said Tuesday that he is working on that fight, which he wants to hold in San Juan, and is talking to HBO about a May date.

"It's not done yet, but that's what we're working on," Arum said. "May 11 or May 18, probably, because of the schedule. I'll tell you one thing -- one way or another that fight ain't ending in a decision."

HBO isn't planning to televise a card on May 4 in order to avoid a conflict with the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Robert Guerrero bout on Showtime PPV and because it already has the Mikkel Kessler-Carl Froch super middleweight title rematch on May 25 (and probably will also have the Jean Pascal-Lucian Bute light heavyweight bout on that date).

Garcia (31-0, 26 KOs), 25, of Oxnard, Calif., won a 126-pound belt Jan. 19 at New York's Madison Square Garden Theater via lopsided eighth-round technical decision against Orlando Salido, who was knocked down four times. The fight ended when Salido broke Garcia's nose with an accidental head butt at the end of the eighth round and Garcia was unable to continue.

Cameron Dunkin, Garcia's manager, said his fighter's nose is healed and he will be ready for whichever May date they get.

"His nose is good and he'll be ready to fight, no doubt," Dunkin said. "We're fine with that fight. We like that fight. [Lopez] is a tremendous puncher and he's a really good attraction. I think it's a good fight for Mikey and for boxing."

While it makes the most economic sense to have the fight in Puerto Rico, where Lopez (32-2, 29 KOs), 29, is a star, Dunkin said he still needs to discuss the location with Garcia, his brother and trainer Robert Garcia and their father, Eduardo Garcia.

"My job is to call them and tell them that's what [Top Rank] wants to do and let them hash it over," Dunkin said.

The two defeats of Lopez's career came by knockout in all-action title fights with Salido. Lopez lost his belt by eighth-round stoppage in 2011 and by 10th-round stoppage two fights later in March 2012.

He served a suspension for remarks he made immediately after the second fight in which he accused referee Roberto Ramirez Jr. of stopping the fight because he had wagered on the outcome.

Lopez returned Feb. 2 and stopped Aldimar Silva Santos in the ninth round at 128 pounds.

SPONSORED HEADLINES