Dan Rafael: Randy Caballero

Notes: Frampton-Avalos fight in talks

December, 3, 2014
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A few notes from around the boxing world:

•  Junior featherweight titlist Carl Frampton (19-0, 13 KOs) is due to make his first defense, against mandatory challenger Chris Avalos (25-2, 19 KOs). Cyclone Promotions, which represents Frampton, and Avalos promoter Top Rank are in talks and expect to avoid a purse bid. It likely will take place in early 2015 in Frampton’s home country of Northern Ireland, where he is a major draw. Frampton won the title by wide decision against Kiko Martinez in September in Belfast. Avalos, who has won six fights in a row, knocked out Yasutaka Ishimoto in the eighth round in Macau in May to become the mandatory challenger.

•  Middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin (31-0, 28 KOs) and British challenger Martin Murray (29-1-1, 12 KOs) are scheduled to meet Feb. 21 in Monte Carlo (HBO in the U.S., Channel 5 in the U.K.). They were supposed to meet head-to-head at a news conference on Wednesday in London, but it was postponed because of Golovkin’s issues obtaining a visa. However, the problem was quickly resolved and it was rescheduled for Thursday.

•  Japan’s Teiken Promotions was the only bidder at a purse bid Tuesday at IBF headquarters in Springfield, New Jersey, for the bantamweight title eliminator between Japan’s Ryosuke Iwasa (18-1, 11 KOs) and Sergio Perales (24-2, 16 KOs) of Brownsville, Texas. Teiken's winning bid was $72,100. As the higher-rated fighter, Iwasa gets 60 percent ($43,260) and Perales 40 percent ($28,840). Teiken has 90 days to put on the fight. The winner becomes the mandatory challenger for titleholder Randy Caballero.
As an up-and-coming fighter, Randy Caballero of Coachella, California, fought 18 of his first 20 professional bouts in the home comforts of Southern California, with most of those fights coming at the Fantasy Springs resort in Indio, where he developed a healthy fan following.

But when it came to go get a world title, Caballero had to go on the road. So off he went to Japan in April and knocked out Kohei Oba in the eighth round to become a mandatory challenger for a 118-pound world title.

Last Saturday, Caballero got his title shot, but again had to go on the road to Monte Carlo to face England’s Stuart Hall, a former titleholder, for a vacant belt. It was a tough, hard-fought match but the 24-year-old Caballero (22-0, 13 KOs) won a unanimous decision in a solid performance.

So now that he had a title in hand, where do you suppose he will make his first defense? If you guessed back at home, you’d be right.

"Randy is so popular around his home of Coachella, and Fantasy Springs was the venue for so many of his fights as he climbed the championship ladder. Put those facts together and there's only one possible spot for his first title defense,” said Golden Boy Promotions president Oscar De La Hoya, whose company promotes Caballero.

“I've been saying for a long time that Randy is a true future star of boxing, and he continues to deliver on that promise. The fans at Fantasy Springs should buckle up for another fantastic fight in the near future.”

There is no date or opponent yet, but it figures to take place in early 2015.

With a win, Murray probably next for GGG

October, 24, 2014
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Martin Murray Paula Ribas/LatinContent/Getty ImagesMartin Murray could get another title fight opportunity if he beats Domenico Spada on Saturday.

Good boy Gennady Golovkin’s next big drama show is penciled in for Feb. 21 on HBO in Monte Carlo, where the middleweight titleholder and K2 Promotions managing director Tom Loeffler will be on Saturday. They will be ringside at the Salle des etoiles to watch GGG’s likely next opponent, British contender Martin Murray.

Murray (28-1-1, 12 KOs) takes on Domenico Spada (39-5, 19 KOs) in the 12-round main event -- ESPN3 will stream the full card beginning at 1 p.m. ET in English with Spanish-language coverage on ESPN Deportes joining the card in progress at 3 p.m. ET -- knowing a victory means a likely shot at Golovkin (31-0, 28 KOs).

Murray, who has won three fights in a row since knocking down then-champion Sergio Martinez and losing a very close decision in Martinez’s Argentina homecoming fight in April 2013, said he is using the prospect of the showdown with Golovkin as motivation against Spada rather than viewing all the talk as a distraction.

“It's been a motivation thing for me,” said Murray, who fought to a draw with Felix Sturm in Germany in a 2011 world title bout. “People talk about Golovkin and you've got to answer questions about it, but the more people I get asking me about it, the more I get motivated to do a proper job on Spada this Saturday night. I knew I had a world title shot against Sergio Martinez back in 2013, but I still had to go out there and beat Jorge Navarro to get it. It's the same [Saturday]. If I don't beat Spada, there's no world title fight.

“For that reason, I'm completely focused on Spada and am not thinking about Golovkin one bit. In fact, I didn't even watch his fight against Marco Antonio Rubio at the weekend. I just completely ignored it. Instead, I stuck in a DVD of Spada that morning to keep me focused.”

Rubio won a vacant interim 160-pound title by knocking Spada out in the 10th round in April and Spada has won one fight since.

Golovkin destroyed Rubio in the second round to retain his title for the 12th time and record his 18th consecutive knockout on Oct. 18 at the sold-out StubHub Center in Carson, California. Golovkin-Murray makes sense for GGG’s February date because there is no big-name opponent willing to get into the ring with him yet. Also, Murray, because of his criminal past, has been unable to get a visa to fight in the United States, so with Golovkin fighting his next bout in Europe, it’s the ideal match.

“I want the Golovkin fight and it's one I've always wanted,” Murray said. “It's one I look forward to. But, in order to get the fight I want, I have to beat Spada on Saturday. He's experienced. His style is horrible and awkward but it works for him. You look at videos of him and think he looks very beatable. He looks like he's got nothing about him. But then you look at his record and look at the people he has fought and beat and you start to realize that he makes his style work for him.

“He's got a good record. He pushed Darren Barker close and then Darren went on to win a world middleweight title. His style isn't the prettiest and he can be quite dirty at times, but that's not to say he isn't dangerous. If you overlook someone like Spada, he'll make you regret it.”

Also on the card:

• Bantamweight contender Randy Caballero (21-0, 13 KOs) of Coachella, California, faces England’s Stuart Hall (16-3-2, 7 KOs) for a vacant world title.

• Strawweight titlist Hekkie Budler (26-1, 9 KOs) of South Africa will make his second defense against former world titleholder Xiong Zhao Zhong (24-5-1, 14 KOs) of China.

• Light heavyweight prospect Eleider Alvarez (15-0, 8 KOs), a Colombia native living in Montreal, will square off with South Africa’s Ryno Liebenberg (16-0, 11 KOs) in a 12-round bout.

• British middleweight Nick Blackwell (15-3, 6 KOs) will face Belarus’ Sergey Khomitsky (29-11-2, 12 KO) in a six-rounder.
Randy Caballero earned his shot at a world title by going overseas and he'll also have to win it overseas.

Caballero (21-0, 13 KOs) will challenge England's Stuart Hall (16-3-2, 7 KOs) for a vacant bantamweight world title at the Salle des etoiles in Monte Carlo on Saturday (ESPN3, 1 p.m. ET).

Caballero, of Coachella, California, has fought 18 of his 21 professional fights in Southern California, mostly in Indio, but had no qualms about going to Japan in April for a world title elimination bout. He knocked out Kohei Oba in the eighth round of a very impressive performance in Kobe to become the mandatory challenger for the 118-pound title.

And now he will be fighting for the belt on the other side of the globe in Monaco.

"This is the moment every fighter dreams of, and I would have gone anywhere to fight for that title," the 24-year-old Caballero said. "Stuart Hall is a former world champion, he's hungry to get that title back, but he's not hungrier than me. I've worked harder than anyone for years, and this is my time."

The fight wound up in Monte Carlo because Dennis Hobson, Hall's promoter, beat Caballero promoter Golden Boy in a purse bid, allowing him to control the site of the fight. He made a deal with South Africa's Rodney Berman to put it on his card in Monte Carlo.

Hobson won the rights to the fight with a bid of $261,750 to Golden Boy's $127,000. For a vacant belt the split is 50-50, meaning Caballero will earn a career-high $130,875.

"Every boxer dreams of becoming a world champion, but only those who work hard and are willing to go the extra mile -- like traveling half way around the world to fight for a title -- will persevere," Golden Boy president Oscar De La Hoya said. "Golden Boy Promotions is committed to putting on the best fights possible for fans all over the world, and I fully expect 'El Matador' and Stuart Hall to deliver on that promise."

England's Paul Butler won a split decision against the 34-year-old Hall on June 7 to claim the 118-pound title, but rather than defend it he vacated to move down in weight, leaving Caballero and Hall as the leading available contenders to vie for the vacant belt.

British middleweight contender Martin Murray (28-1-1, 12 KOs) headlines the card against Italy's Domenico Spada (39-5, 19 KOs) in a 12-rounder. If Murray wins, he could challenge world titleholder Gennady Golovkin, who will be ringside, in February in Monte Carlo.

The rest of the card will also be part of the ESPN3 stream:

• Strawweight titlist Hekkie Budler (26-1, 9 KOs) of South Africa will make his second defense against former world titleholder Xiong Zhao Zhong (24-5-1, 14 KOs) of China.

• Light heavyweight prospect Eleider Alvarez (15-0, 8 KOs), a Colombia native living in Montreal, will square off with South Africa's Ryno Liebenberg (16-0, 11 KOs) in a 12-round bout.

• British middleweight Nick Blackwell (15-3, 6 KOs) will face Belarus' Sergey Khomitsky (29-11-2, 12 KO) in a six-rounder.

Martin Murray card live on ESPN3

October, 21, 2014
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As soon as Gennady Golovkin finished his second-round annihilation of Marco Antonio Rubio on Saturday night, the discussion turned to who would be his next opponent when he returns to action in February in Monte Carlo, where has fought twice before.

Tom Loeffler, his promoter at K2, said GGG’s ideal opponent for his next fight -- unless one of the really big names steps up, which they likely won’t -- would be longtime middleweight contender Martin Murray of England, who gave then-champion Sergio Martinez a tough night in Argentina in a close decision loss in 2013 and held then-titlist Felix Sturm to a debatable draw in Germany in 2011.

Golovkin (31-0, 28 KOs) will be ringside at the Salle des Etoiles in Monte Carlo on Saturday, when Murray (28-1-1, 12 KOs), winner of three in a row since the loss to Martinez, headlines a card against Italy’s Domenico Spada (39-5, 19 KOs), who is two fights removed from being knocked out by Rubio in an interim title bout. It will be Murray’s second fight in a row in Monte Carlo, and GGG will be there checking him out the man who might be his next opponent.

American fight fans can check out the fight -- and the entire card -- via live stream on ESPN3.com after ESPN acquired the American rights on Tuesday.

The stream begins at 1 p.m. ET and will include five fights. Also on the card:

• Coachella, California’s Randy Caballero (21-0, 13 KOs) will face England’s Stuart Hall (16-3-2, 7 KOs) for a vacant bantamweight world title.
• Strawweight titlist Hekkie Budler (26-1, 9 KOs) of South Africa will make his second defense against former world titleholder Xiong Zhao Zhong (24-5-1, 14 KOs) of China.
• Light heavyweight prospect Eleider Alvarez (15-0, 8 KOs), a Colombia native living in Montreal, will square off with South Africa’s Ryno Liebenberg (16-0, 11 KOs) in a 12-round bout.
• British middleweight Nick Blackwell (15-3, 6 KOs) will face Belarus’ Sergey Khomitsky (29-11-2, 12 KOs) in a six-rounder.
Bantamweight Randy Caballero is headed overseas again, this time in an effort to win a vacant world title.

Caballero will face former titleholder Stuart Hall of England for the belt recently vacated by Paul Butler. But instead of fighting in his home region of Southern California, where Caballero has fought most of his career, he is headed for England because of the result of Tuesday's IBF purse bid.

Promoter Dennis Hobson, representing Hall, won the auction for $261,750, easily outbidding Golden Boy Promotions, the only other bid, which offered $127,000.

Hobson has 90 days to put on the fight. The purse will be split 50-50, with Caballero and Hall each receiving $130,875.

England’s Butler won a split decision against the 34-year-old Hall (16-3-2, 7 KOs) on June 7 to claim the 118-pound title, but rather than defend it Butler vacated and is moving down in weight, leaving Caballero and Hall as the leading available contenders to vie for the vacant belt.

To get the title shot, Caballero (21-0, 13 KOs) traveled to Japan and knocked out Kohei Oba in the eighth round on April 4 in an elimination bout to become the mandatory challenger for the belt.

A resident of Coachella, California, the 23-year-old Caballero has no problem going back on the road.

“Randy has no problem with it. He’s a real pro,” manager Cameron Dunkin told ESPN.com. “He is not afraid to go anywhere. He went all the way to Japan for the eliminator. He’ll go to England, no problem. He’s great at fighting at home, but [Golden Boy] didn’t win the bid so he has to deal with it. He said, ‘I don’t care where I have to fight. I’ll fight on the moon. I want to be champion.’ He has a great attitude.”

Randy Caballero hits the road

November, 1, 2013
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Rising bantamweight contender Randy Caballero has fought all but one of his 19 professional fights in his home area in Southern California, going to Las Vegas for his sixth professional fight.

In fact, 12 of Caballero's fights have come at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, Calif.

But the 23-year-old Caballero is going on the road when he travels to the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla., for a fight on Nov. 26 (Fox Sports 1).

Caballero will face Miami's Jessy Cruz in the scheduled 10-round co-feature on the card headlined by the return of Antonio Tarver (29-6, 20 KOs). The former light heavyweight champion, who is coming off a suspension for a positive steroid test, will be fighting for the first time since June 2012 when he moves up to heavyweight to face Mike Sheppard (21-15-1, 9 KOs).

"This is only my second fight outside of California and I'm looking forward to putting on a great show for the Florida fans on Nov. 26," said Caballero (19-0, 11 KOs), who is from Coachella, Calif. "This is a big night for me and I can't wait to get into the ring."

Cruz (10-5-1, 4 KOs), 30, has faced very limited competition but has won three fights in a row.

"Caballero is a tough kid and I've watched him on the way up," Cruz said. "But he's not coming into my house and beating me here. My trainer, Herman Caicedo, has prepared me well and I will shock the world when we fight."

Miami-based Cuban heavyweight Luis Ortiz (19-0, 16 KOs) was originally scheduled to fight in the co-feature against an opponent to be determined, but he is off the card for reasons that promoter Golden Boy did not announce.

Frankie Gomez injury dashes fight

July, 15, 2013
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Junior welterweight prospect Frankie Gomez (15-0, 11 KOs), who is just 21, was scheduled to face former titleholder (and now division gatekeeper) DeMarcus "Chop Chop" Corley (39-20-1, 23 KOs) of Washington, D.C., on Saturday (FSN/Fox Deportes) at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, Calif.

However, Gomez suffered a deep bruise in his left knee and will be sidelined for a month, Golden Boy matchmaker Eric Gomez told ESPN.com.

"He can begin sparring right after that," said Gomez, who is not related to the fighter.

Eric Gomez said he hopes to reschedule the fight with Corley, who would be the most notable opponent so far for the prospect and former amateur standout.

The original co-feature of junior featherweight prospect Randy Caballero (18-0, 10 KOs) against Puerto Rico's Miguel Robles (12-2-2, 5 KOs) has been moved up to the main event. Caballero was the draw of the card in the first place. He is from Coachella, Calif., and the crowd favorite at Fantasy Springs, where he has fought 11 of his 18 professional fights.

Also on the card will be a trio of 2012 U.S. Olympians: welterweight Errol Spence Jr., junior featherweight Joseph Diaz and middleweight Terrell Gausha.
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.

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