Boxing: NYFightblog

'The Brooklyn Rocky' packs a wallop

May, 15, 2014
May 15

Skills do indeed pay the bills, as they say, but KOs such as the one above put butts in seats and earn fighters more opportunities to shine on bigger stages.

Frank Galarza (13-0-2 with 9 KOs), the Red Hook, Brooklyn, native dubbed "The Brooklyn Rocky" by local sportscaster Bruce Beck, came out in the second round of his second-to-last fight, against John Thompson, and came at his foe with a nasty intent.

Bing-bang-boom, down went Thompson, and up went Galarza's visibility in the sport.

It often works like that, right or wrong. Many fans do indeed appreciate the sweet science, look up to those pugilist-specialists who work with a "hit and don't get hit" MO ... but let's face it, highlight-reel knockouts go a long way in boosting a young prospect into that contender class, which is what the 28-year-old junior middleweight Galarza craves.

The Thompson win was seen by viewers of the ShoBox series on Jan. 17, and he followed up with a KO2 win over Franklin Gonzalez on April 5. Galarza gets another shot to keep the buzz going as he meets 8-0 Canadian Sebastien Bouchard at Foxwoods in Connecticut on Friday night, once again on ShoBox.

Analyst Steve Farhood will work the fight, so I asked him for an assessment of the clash, which features a fighter who has had to travel a long way to get here -- Galarza's dad died from a gunshot wound complication when he was 7, and his mother died of an overdose just two years later.

"Galarza is nicknamed 'The Brooklyn Rocky,' and I think that's appropriate because there are name fighters from Brooklyn, like Louie Collazo, Daniel Jacobs, and Curtis Stevens, and he was never one of them," Farhood said. "Also, he was a big underdog in his breakthrough fight on ShoBox vs. 14-0 John Thompson, and he won in Rocky style. Galarza had minimal amateur experience, and that's a lot to overcome. But he's rangy, has good power, and seems to be on the improve as a boxer.

"In Sebastien Bouchard, he's fighting a short pressure fighter who lacks a big punch. It seems a good style matchup for Galarza. Bouchard isn't proven yet; he's been scheduled for only six rounds to date. I look for Galarza to keep his momentum. Against the exceptionally tall Thompson, he needed a way to get close. Against Bouchard, he'll want to keep an arm's length away. We'll see if he can adjust.

"In terms of his development, this is a big fight for Galarza. Fighting on ShoBox gives him the opportunity to grow and advance, and to do so on a national stage. For a fighter who didn't have much buzz before his initial ShoBox appearance, the exposure is invaluable."

Galarza certainly sounds ready. "Just be ready for a show -- the same thing as last time," he said. "I come to fight, I don't come to play games."

To help insure that atmosphere is electric in Foxwoods, Galarza's manager, A.J. Galante, rented a bus to take fans for free from Brooklyn to Connecticut, so the joint should be rockin' to see BK Rocky, and see if he can offer up another stellar stoppage.

Malignaggi weighs in on Broner's flaws

December, 16, 2013
He's been telling us, and not in subtle fashion, not resorting to hints or implications. No, Paul Malignaggi has told us for a long spell that Adrien Broner is not the heir apparent, not the new Floyd Mayweather, definitely not the future of boxing, as the fighter himself has been stating for the last couple of years.

Judging by what fight fans saw of Broner on Saturday night, in a welterweight clash against rugged rumbler Marcos Maidana of Argentina, it is clear that all should have been paying more heed to Malignaggi.

The Bensonhurst-bred boxer -- who had his hand raised in his last scrap, on Dec. 7 against Zab Judah at Barclays Center -- was a Broner doubter even before he faced off with the Ohio-based 25-year-old who lost via UD to Maidana in San Antonio. The doubts for Malignaggi, who worked an analyst chair for Showtime and saw Broner floundering on Saturday, increased last June when he clashed with Broner at Barclays. The cocksure Broner beat Malignaggi and exited with the New Yorker's WBA welterweight title via split decision, but Malignaggi's certainty that Broner had more flaws than his backers acknowledged grew immensely. Those flaws -- his lack of calmness when in trouble, his inability or unwillingness to adapt to a game plan that isn't working, his disdain for using his feet to get better angles or remove himself from being exposed to punches, his desire to manipulate the circumstances to gain an edge from an official instead of fighting his way out of trouble, the immaturity he has demonstrated both personally and professionally -- became apparent to all the folks who swallowed the hype.

"Broner can fight," Malignaggi told me, "and there's nothing wrong with being a very good fighter, which he is, he just isn't and was never going to be this generation's best fighter. He can be one of this generation's high-level fighters, but to crown him what the media tried to crown him is just ridiculous."

To strike a note of solidarity with my media brethren, I will say oftentimes we do simply act in a "we report, you decide" manner. Broner himself pushed the idea that the Mayweather era was passing and he was taking over the mantle, and yes, perhaps some of us could have examined his bona fides more judiciously. But ultimately, I think the magnifying glass and critiques are best aimed at the boxer, rather than the promoters who hyped him and the media which reported the hype chatter. And indeed, you see in the days after the Broner loss that fans agree; the level of contempt for the fighter is considerable and cringeworthy. You had some folks saying they don't need Santa to slither down the chimney, that Broner losing is all they need to make their holidays merry ones.

Check back for more from Malignaggi about what if anything Broner can do to rebound, and who he wants to target next.

Part 2: Swanson nears charity bout

November, 13, 2013
I crack myself up as I ask Kelly Swanson a question that I've asked her clients countless times.

"What is your prediction?" I ask the Brooklyn resident, who will glove up to fight a three-round bout for charity on Saturday night at Gleason's in Brooklyn.

"If I can fight my fight, and pull off my game plan, I can stop my opponent," she tells me on Wednesday afternoon. I don't doubt it, especially when she tells me that client Bernard Hopkins, the 48-year-old light heavyweight champion, will be working her corner.

Don't tell her foe, but she tipped me off that Floyd Mayweather's "check hook" is her favorite strike, and she could easily see that stopping her opponent, either to the body or the head.

Swanson, one of five kids, grew up in Buffalo and got into boxing after deciding in college that she wanted to get into the sports business. Swanson liked boxing, getting into it as a kid watching the 1976 Olympic Games, featuring Sugar Ray Leonard and the Spinks brothers. The University of Vermont grad wanted to get a job working with Howard Cosell, the loquacious foil to Muhammad Ali, and while that didn't happen, she did meet ex-champion Jose Torres while she was working at a NYC restaurant.

Torres helped introduce her to someone at Alan Taylor Communications, the PR firm. She was there for seven years and decided to go her own way after tasked with an account which included representing a cereal brand.

"It was a reading program, going to libraries, sponsored by this cereal," she told me as I tried to get a sense of why she was choosing to glove up and fight.

She'd met Riddick Bowe while working at the Olympics in 1988, and when Bowe, a Brooklyn native, started to take off, Swanson was hired on by his manager, Rock Newman, who used to do PR for Don King. Now a DC resident, Swanson was on the Bowe merry-go-round until he left the game in 1996; she greatly enjoyed the ride, she said, which included his megabouts with Evander Holyfield, and visits with marquee names like Nelson Mandela and Pope John Paul II. Her association with Hopkins, the apparently ageless wonder who is defying the immutable law of aging, beating down young guns while holding the IBF light heavyweight crown, began when Hopkins fought for King.

The last couple years, she's held down the PR fort for Hopkins, as well as Mayweather, the Michigan native who signed a six-fight, $250 million-plus deal in February with Showtime. I dare say keeping those clients happy would be enough on the plate for most folks, so I asked Swanson why she's doing this. To prove something to herself? To better comprehend what her clients go through?

"First, I'm doing it for the kids," she says. "Also, the opportunity to experience something I never experienced in my career, to feel what it feels like to be in the ring and come full circle. I've worked every aspect for the fighters, their personal and professional sides. ... but I could never relate to this part, I've never done it. It's an opportunity to know that, and I already have a newfound appreciate for exactly what they do."

If you can't attend, you can watch a stream:




The event starts at 6:00 p.m. ET and Kelly will fight around 8:00 p.m. ET.

Kelly is fighting in the Fighters 4 Life Showcase, which benefits Gleason's Give A Kid A Dream Foundation, an organization that pairs at-risk youth with trainers to learn fitness and nutrition and possibly become a fighter someday. To donate to the cause go to

To follow the conversation on fight night use #KellysFight.

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Mikey Garcia: Great fighter, impressive man

November, 12, 2013
Mikey GarciaTom Pennington/Getty ImagesHow does Mikey Garcia celebrate a big win? It's probably not how you'd expect.
I'm a sucker for the humble warriors -- people who you know could care for your toddler in an emergency. Promoter Bob Arum has a couple of those types. One of them, Manny Pacquiao, fights Nov. 23 in Macau. Another one, Mikey Garcia, won in Texas on Saturday, stopping Rocky Martinez 56 seconds into the eighth round to take the WBO junior lightweight crown.

Arum said he's impressed with both Garcia the fighter, and Garcia the citizen, as a guy who never gets involved in drama, or stoops to toxic trash talk to sell his fights. The 33-0 (28 KOs) fighter is disciplined in the ring, calmly assessing the situation and rarely leaving himself open to being countered. That mindset fits his choice to attend and graduate from California's Ventura County Police and Sheriff's Reserve Officer Academy in January 2010.

"After his boxing days are over, Mikey will excel as a law enforcement officer as he has as a boxer," Arum said. "He will handle himself with the grace and decency he has always shown."

OK, he's a promoter, so maybe you think he's too predisposed to give a positive assessment. I'll give you insight into the sort of guy Garcia is.

After he downed Martinez, Garcia was thrown after-party offers. What did he do -- hit a club, snag some bottles and blow off steam? Nope. "I went to Whataburger, had a burger and went to sleep," he said in a Monday phoner.

Garcia has creeped up peoples' pound-for-pound lists. And in fact, one writer posted a column Monday afternoon in which he posited that Garcia has looked as good as Floyd Mayweather did at the same stage of Mayweather's career. I clued Garcia into that quote, and he reacted with humble gratitude. "That's really big, to be considered with a guy like Floyd," he said. "But I gotta keep proving myself."

Garcia showed his worth in New York on Jan. 19 when he beat Orlando Salido (TD8) at the Theater at MSG. Area fight fans would be more than pleased to get him back in the area for another look. Garcia said one name he's heard is Yuriorkis Gamboa. Garcia said he'd happily jump to 135 from 130 for that rumble. WBA junior lightweight champ Argenis Mendez is another possibility. "That's a very good, close fight," he said. "He is skilled, fast, doesn't give a lot of openings, while Gamboa does present more openings."

Having a varied array of personalities to cover in the sport is a fine thing, from a writer's perspective. The trash talkers, the Broners of the world, are always good for some sensational actions that stir the pot. But in the grand scheme of things, as a global citizen, as someone who, like all of us, looks for touchstones of sanity and decency in a too-frequently unstable and fearsome world, it's good to have Mikey Garcias to look up to and admire.

Abdusalamov's plight a stark reminder

November, 4, 2013
Two days after taking heavy punishment over 10 rounds against Mike Perez at the Theater at Madison Square Garden, heavyweight Magomed Abdusalamov was in stable condition and intensive care at Roosevelt Hospital in New York on Monday, according to Nathan Lewkowicz, vice president of Sampson Boxing, the promotional company that promotes Abdusalamov.

Abdusalamov, 32, who entered the fight with Perez unbeaten at 18-0 (18 KOs), underwent brain surgery on Sunday after complaining of a headache. Physicians at Roosevelt Hospital decided to place him in a coma to attempt to minimize swelling in his brain and reduce the possibility of more brain damage.

The New York State Athletic Commission offered this statement about the Abdusalamov situation to NYFightblog on Monday:

"NYSAC's primary concern is the health and safety of its licensed athletes. As we do in all such cases, NYSAC is reviewing the circumstances surrounding Mr. Abdusalamov's injuries. We are hopeful he makes a complete and speedy recovery."

The Russian's plight, on the heels of Frankie Leal's death from injuries sustained in his Oct. 19 bout against Raul Hirales, are two stark reminders that boxing isn't merely a sport, but in fact a potentially life-and-death endeavor. Former 154-pound champion Sergio Mora, who fights for New York promoter Lou DiBella, told me he found himself caught up, like so many, in the violent ebb and flow between Perez and Abdusalamov.

"As I was watching this weekend's semi-main event on HBO, I was thinking, 'Wow, this fight is getting good between Mago and Perez,'" Mora said. "I was guilty just like everyone else in wanting to see two big, strong fighters put on a show of beautiful brutality. ... Mago's corner did what they were supposed to do for their fighter, and that is to remain calm, give proper instructions and relieve their boxer of worry and concern. Mago, being a tough fighter, did his job and continued fighting, trying to win. It was clear who was the polished boxer here and who was the fighter."

Mora is scheduled to step into the ring Nov. 16 against Milton Nunez.

"There is no one in particular at fault for the violent display of courage this [past] weekend. ... The problem is the aftermath that no one sees," he said. "The bruises and injuries that well up all over the boxer's head and body after the adrenaline wears down. But we signed up for this. ... We all wait for Mago's medical clearance and pray for his health and family. At the same time, this brutal and fickle sport will patiently await his return to the ring as well."

Kovalev trainer likes Golovkin over Stevens

November, 2, 2013
John David Jackson, the former junior middleweight and middleweight champ who now trains fan favorite Sergey Kovalev, spoke to NYFightblog about tonight's headline attraction at Madison Square Garden's Theater.

Jackson, who took part in a ceremony before the promotion kicked off at MSG in which Kovalev received a custom ring from promoter Main Events in appreciation of his title win against WBO 175 pound champ Nathan Cleverly in his last scrap, said he thinks Gennady Golovkin will get the better of Curtis Stevens.

"I give Golovkin the edge 'til proven otherwise, but I'm pulling for Stevens," he said.

"If Curtis can let his hands go, he's probably the faster fighter," Jackson added.

"The thing about Golovkin: He hasn't really fought anybody. His trainer, Abel Sanchez, said he's better than Marvin Hagler -- what was he smoking the day he said that?" Jackson said, chuckling.

Jackson recalled a rough night, on Jan. 29, 2010, for Stevens, when he lost a UD12 to Jesse Brinkley and looked uninspired in doing so.

"That fight with Brinkley showed he might not be on the level they say he is ... but 'til you beat Golovkin, you can't say anything bad about him, you can just say he has shortcomings."

Rodriguez likes Cotto to beat Sergio

October, 7, 2013
Delvin Rodriguez was mightily impressed with the oomph on Miguel Cotto's left hook on Saturday night in Orlando, Fla. The Danbury, Conn.-based boxer, who also works as an analyst for ESPN and will be heading to Las Vegas this week to work the Timothy Bradley Jr.-Juan Manuel Marquez show, told me that Cotto's power surprised him.

I asked Rodriguez, who was TKO'd in Round 3 by the Puerto Rican future Hall of Famer, what he foresees occurring if a rumored showdown between Cotto and middleweight champion Sergio Martinez were to take place.

"That's a great fight," Rodriguez said. "Cotto is really strong, very determined. He could do a lot of damage because Martinez fights with his hands down." The fighter/analyst said he could see Martinez using his movement to good effect early, but getting broken down as the rounds progress.

So who would have his hand raised at the end of the night?

"Cotto would beat Martinez, definitely, in a close fight," Rodriguez said.

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Malignaggi, Judah ready for 'turf war'

October, 5, 2013
UPDATE: Showtime boxing boss Stephen Espinoza just informed me that the Alexander-Collazo bout is an inaccurate rumor and is "not being considered."


Paul Malignaggi will meet Zab Judah in a battle for Brooklyn bragging rights, on Dec. 7 at Barclays Center. That date has been set in stone, but all the participants haven't been, as a proposed Devon Alexander-Amir Khan scrap was on, off, on and off again. As of today, Malignaggi will fight Judah in a welterweight scrap. "It's a go, I'm not sure if it's the main event or co-main, though," he said.

Malignaggi grew up in Bensonhurst and is living in Los Angeles now, though he's moving back to New York in the next couple months. Judah comes from the fertile fighting hood of Brownsville and currently makes his home in Las Vegas. "This is a battle of Brooklyn, it's a turf war," Malignaggi said.

The grapevine is saying that Alexander, the IBF welter champ, will defend against Queens' Luis Collazo, but that is news to Alexander trainer-manager Kevin Cunningham. "I don't know anything about a Collazo fight," he told me. "I woke up to all kinds of texts. I haven't heard anything. No one has come to me about that fight. We are training, but don't have an opponent," he said.

In fact, Cunningham isn't assuming Devon will fight Dec. 7, though he did leave the door wide open for an Alexander-Collazo tussle. "It's something I would definitely entertain, something like that, a former world champ," Cunningham said. "I thought he beat Ricky Hatton. I think it'd be good for Barclays."

He was conclusive in saying that an Alexander-Amir Khan bout is off the table for that date, however. "Khan is definitely out," he told me.

Stay tuned for more developments on this ever-shifting Golden Boy card.

Michael Perez featured Monday at Barclays

September, 30, 2013
Two men met up, with gleaming records, with boundless expectations, with title shots and belts and nest-egg money to come bouncing around their heads like pinballs. Michael Perez, from Newark, took on Omar Figueroa, a Texan, on Jan. 6, 2012 in Indio, Calif. Perez entered at 15-0-1, Figueroa at 13-0-1.

They scrapped, hard, with Figueroa stepping up a bit more, forcing a stoppage at the end of round six. The Perez corner requested the halting.

Perez (18-1-2 with 10 KOs; lives in Bloomfield, N.J.) has fought four more times since then, with his last scrap a draw against Lonnie Smith on March 9. The former 2008 National Golden Gloves champ Perez gets another shot at restarting positive career momentum Monday, at Barclays Center, when he fights 12-2 Miguel Zuniga, in a junior welterweight fight on a Golden Boy card topped by Sadam Ali. That will be his first foray at 140, and father-manager Jesus Perez told NYFightblog the weight leap will make a world of difference.

He said his son, now 23, had trouble maintaining energy from draining too much weight, and expects that he will show his best tonight. "He's growing up," he said. "He's a thick kid."

California's 17-1 Carlos Molina was supposed to be the foe, but he pulled out, complaining of a flu. Jesus thinks he was getting cold feet because he feared Perez. The father said the near-term plan is to win tonight, grab the vacant WBA Fedalatin 140 pound title, and by next year, look to get a shot against Danny Garcia, who holds WBA crown.

Brooklyn boxer looks to knock out hunger

September, 30, 2013
Claude Staten Jr.Elsa/Golden Boy/Getty Images/Golden BoyClaude Staten Jr. plans to use part of his Barclays pay to help feed the homeless.
Sometime after he steps out of the ring at Barclays Center on Monday night, Claude Staten Jr. is going to take stock of the prize money from his second professional fight.

Staten Jr. might set aside some money to buy clothes, shoes and other accessories befitting a 25-year-old from Brooklyn.

But he also has bigger plans for his paycheck.

"I want to give back," he said.

For Staten Jr., giving back means spending his own money to help feed the homeless.

"No matter how many mistakes they've made or how many wrong things they've done, everyone deserves to eat a meal," Staten Jr. said.

[+] Enlargetbd by editor
Courtesy of Claude Staten Jr.Staten Jr. took up boxing after getting busted for drug possession as a 17-year-old.
The Brooklyn-born Staten Jr. was living in Los Angeles in 2012 when he funded a "Knockout Hunger Day" there, feeding hundreds of homeless people in L.A.'s Skid Row neighborhood. He and his friends dispensed sandwiches, bottles of water and shoes.

Staten Jr. plans to do the same in New York after this fight and, eventually, to expand his "Knockout Hunger" program to other cities.

"That day in L.A. really motivated me, it really drove me," Staten Jr. said. "I want to help these people."

Staten Jr. has come a long way in boxing in a short time. He had only a handful of amateur fights before his pro debut last March (a four-round unanimous decision over Mike Hill at Barclays Center). Most fighters gain experience by fighting dozens if not hundreds of amateur fights, but Staten Jr. is different.

"It seems to just come naturally to him," said his Atlanta-based trainer, Kennie Johnson. "He's still learning a lot, but there's so much that he knows without the experience. ... It's pretty rare to see."

There was a time not long ago when boxing wasn't on Staten Jr.'s radar. As a teen in Brooklyn, he was raised mostly by his grandmother. His grandfather died when he was 12 and his mother was just 14 when Claude was born. He fell in with the wrong crowd while attending Lafayette High School in his sophomore year.

"He got into some trouble," his uncle, Francisco Valdez said. "It was tough for a while."

Staten Jr. said he got caught selling drugs with his friends when he was 17. He was charged with drug possession and sentenced to six months probation after spending more than a month at the Riker's Island Correctional Facility.

"I grew up where there are a lot of negative things that you can do -- it's easy to do that," he said. "But that's when I realized, 'Look man, I don't want to be separated from my grandmother.'"

Upon his release, Staten Jr. knew he couldn't go back to selling drugs ("I wasn't Pablo Escobar. I was making $1,000 to $1,500 a week"), so he took up boxing.

"I started going to Gleason's [gym in Brooklyn] and I got obsessed with it," Staten Jr. said. "I was reading everything, watching everything. I just gravitated towards the sport."

After a handful of amateur fights, Staten Jr. turned pro. His trainers and the members of Golden Boy Promotions who handle his fights rave about Staten Jr.'s hand speed and power at super bantam weight.

"He's special," Johnson said. "I've seen a lot of fighters and he's the real deal."

One July afternoon, Staten was sitting in an office on the 86th floor of the Empire State Building, reflecting on his journey from Riker's Island inmate to up-and-coming fighter.

"It's just amazing," he said, growing emotional, "that I've come this far. I'm finally here."

For Staten Jr., though, the best might be yet to come.

Malignaggi thinks a Floyd-Khan fight works

September, 27, 2013
Paul Malignaggi and I played the what-if game Thursday at Gleason's, and I asked what he thought about a matchup between a man he fought, Amir Khan, and Floyd "Money" Mayweather.

Team Mayweather announced at a Wednesday media lunch in New York that it would be making a popularity and relevance push for Mayweather in the U.K. to widen the scope of his brand. That would correlate with a faceoff against the Brit Khan, who is a transcendent celebrity in his nation.

Malignaggi said he's hearing that the powers that be like the idea of a Mayweather-Khan scrap in May.

"And what about me in the co-feature in England? I'm big in England," Malignaggi said, harkening to his 2008 appearance on a Ricky Hatton undercard in Manchester and a fight with Hatton in Vegas six months later. "I'd need a win to get into that."

He wouldn't go there, and call Khan chinny, but Malignaggi didn't disagree that punishment absorbed in a December 2010 bout against Marcos Maidana didn't do Khan's chin a bit of good. "He does get hit with left hooks," Malignaggi allowed.

We also talked about his recent assertion that Mayweather is the best ever -- the top of the pugilistic pyramid, bar none. I wondered what he thought of the blowback on social media, with a majority of those weighing in labeling that call absurd.

"That kind of talk makes boxing fun," he said. "But let's remember, I do this for a living. I feel I know more than 99.9 percent of the people out there. I see what Floyd does in there. I see how he adapts."

And sorry Angelenos, Malignaggi is preparing to move back to New York. He purchased a home and will be here full-time within a few months. Back to Brooklyn?

"Nah," he said, grinning, "I like my privacy."

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Malignaggi not keen to share spotlight

September, 26, 2013
Paul Malignaggi, the Bensonhurst-bred former junior welter and welterweight champion who doubles as a Showtime analyst, is between fights. He seems to be enjoying the downtime; the boxer relished bites of a cupcake at Gleason's in Brooklyn on Thursday, during a workout session to hype the Monday Golden Boy card at Barclays.

The frosted treat had been purchased by publicist Kelly Swanson for the Monday headliner, Sadam Ali, a birthday boy on Thursday, as he makes his Golden Boy debut against Jay Krupp.

As Malignaggi licked the last bit of frosting from his fingers, he got NYFightblog up to speed with his current status as a boxer. We'd heard that a fight with Zab Judah was imminent and asked him where that all-Brooklyn mash-up stood.

"You get one shot to make me and Zab," he said, explaining that he sees that scrap as a main event in Barclays, not as a support bout with other principals topping a Dec. 7 Barclays card. "It's not a co-main event with Zab."

Common sense says the budget for the main support bout isn't in the same ballpark as a main event, and, he implied, he's not keen at this stage of his career to accept lesser-light status and the paycheck haircut that would result.

Malignaggi said that a match with Shawn Porter, an ascending welter, had been brought up to him, but he didn't seem enthused. He also had gotten wind of a theoretical scrap against interim WBA welter champ Keith Thurman, but Thurman is locked in with a date against Mexican rumbler Jesus Soto Karass on Dec. 14 in Vegas. An Adrien Broner-Marcos Maidana tussle tops that Vegas promotion, and Malignaggi would be pumped to face the winner. He acquitted himself more than adequately against Broner, losing a split decision to the cocky Cinci stylist on June 22 in Brooklyn. But he's pretty pragmatic, and knows he'll likely not be handed that honor. "I've got to come back with something," he said. "I do feel I shouldn't have to tap-dance for a shot but I think I will have to stay busy."

Ali, Browne ready for Barclays bouts

September, 26, 2013
Barclays Center will stage its fifth fight night on Monday, with a card unfolding in the Cushman & Wakefield Theater, topped by a Sadam Ali-Jay Krupp main event.

[+] EnlargeSadam Ali
AP Photo/Gregory PayanSadam Ali
Ali and others on the bill, including Staten Island's Marcus Browne, showed up at Gleason's in DUMBO on Thursday to hype the Golden Boy event.

Ali, a Brooklyn resident who had a place on the 2008 U.S. Olympic squad, has taken his time to get to this place. He staged his own cards and stayed independent until he and his father/manager, Mahmoud, who stood next to the 25-year-old hitter while he chatted with NYFightblog, found the right terms. I asked Sadam if he had ever gotten impatient, to the point of severe frustration, since turning pro in March 2010 and seeing some other folks who arguably might not be as skilled as he is get signed to promotional deals.

"No," he said, "not at all. I knew this day would come."

And what about the father?

"Of course I did," the father admitted with a tiny grin. "I'm just always wanting what's best for my son."

The 16-0 welterweight takes on the 17-5 Krupp, who features a Mike Tyson-style peek-a-boo look he honed under ex-Tyson trainer Kevin Rooney. Ali didn't seem phased by the Tyson talk. "He can't peek-a-boo me if he can't see me," Ali said.

The 22-year-old Browne finished skipping rope, and I approached him for a quick chat. What if, I said, you upstage your pal Sadam, I asked. Will you feel bad?

"Of course not," the 6-0 light heavy said. "That's what you're supposed to do! Boxing isn't a team sport." Browne takes on 5-1-1 Lamont Williams, who is a half-step up from anyone he has tangled with before as a pro.

All the fighters seemed to be on message, and Ali, for one, was tested. Thursday was his birthday, and publicist Kelly Swanson presented him with a cupcake.

"I can't eat it," Ali said. "I'll eat it after the fight."

Mayweather makes the NYC media rounds

September, 25, 2013
Floyd Mayweather Jr.Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY SportsFloyd Mayweather has to decide soon on an opponent for his next fight.
Floyd Mayweather sat in a chair at the Vanderbilt Suites in Manhattan, watching himself do his thing on a screen showing Round 10 of his master-class showing against Canelo Alvarez on Sept. 14 at the MGM in Las Vegas.

Mayweather landed a wicked right on the Mexican, a 23-year-old of considerable talent whom Mayweather reduced to a hesitant shell of himself, and beamed slightly at his handiwork.

"When you watch yourself do that," I asked, "what are you thinking?"

He paused, and I leaned in to see if I could lock in on his pupils through his sunglasses. "It's just artwork," he said.

Indeed it was. And Mayweather is getting paid for it. His adviser, Leonard Ellerbe, who was present at the media gathering held Wednesday, said Floyd could end up with a cool $100 million for downing Alvarez.

Mayweather said this was the second time he's watched a portion of the bout. Everyone else who watched it, save inept judge CJ Ross, deemed the fight a Mayweather domination exercise.

The boxer, who turns 37 in February, said he watches his fights not to luxuriate in his superiority, but rather to learn.

"Touch him," he murmured to himself as he landed a snappy jab on Alvarez, who wasn't able to so much as slip a stitch because Floyd's hand speed is unlike anything Alvarez had dealt with previously.

Mayweather had fun getting grilled by Howard Stern on Wednesday morning, and was off to chat with the Bloomberg TV and print people after the media gathering. On Tuesday, he was on MSNBC's "The Cycle," and on Friday, publicist Kelly Swanson told me, he'll be on ABC's "LIVE with Kelly and Michael."

Mayweather wouldn't offer any hints on who will get the next lotto ticket/beating, but said he will next glove up on May 3, and then again in September 2014. He talked legacy, saying that he thinks he will be the boxer they talk about in 20 to 30 years, as they talk about Muhammad Ali now, and gave a none-too-subtle hint on where he rates himself all time: He noted that when Ali was Mayweather's age (36), he lost to a fighter who'd had seven pro bouts (Leon Spinks). Contrast that with Mayweather's dismantling of an A-grade Alvarez and 17-year stretch as a stellar craftsman.

"It's not my fault I make A-minus and B-level fighters look like D-minus and D-plus fighters," Mayweather said. "I'm the happiest I've ever been in my life. My dad is getting along, my mom is happy." And he said his kids are getting a good education.

Considering how stellar he's looked in his past two scraps, something Ellerbe attributed mostly to being active and not being a "part-time fighter," I wondered if Mayweather had decided to add a few years to his arc as an active fighter. He has four more fights on his six-fight Showtime deal, and said he'd thought about four more, or maybe six more. No, he joked, he hadn't talked about a contract extension or more favorable terms with Showtime boxing boss Stephen Espinoza, who drew repeated compliments from Mayweather and Ellerbe for believing in the boxer and letting Floyd be Floyd.

And that includes a heavy emphasis on the main reason all of us work: compensation. When asked if he'd cashed that $40 million dollar check we've all seen on social media, "Money" grinned and offered, simply, "I'm comfortable."

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Yormark pitches Mayweather-to-Brooklyn

September, 24, 2013
The "boxing is dead" bunch got a kick in the groin on Sept. 14, when Floyd Mayweather took on Canelo Alvarez at the MGM Grand and more than 2.2 million households ponied up to watch the 12-round Mayweather master class unfold on pay-per-view.

If we're measuring the vitality of a business with a dollars and sense metric, and we usually do, the Mayweather-Canelo tussle was a Powerball home run, as it set a new mark as the highest-grossing PPV ever, generating $150 million plus.

The naysayers will counter that Mayweather is the "last star" and the sport will fall off a cliff and turn to a skeleton in a graveyard next to horse racing when he exits the scene. They'll stick to their rigid stance of negatavism, showing their ignorance of the time-honored tradition of the birthing of new megastars to replace the old ones. I semi-respectfully disagree with their reasoning, which is myopic at best. Sounds to me like the CEO of Barclays Center and the Nets, Brett Yormark, is in my camp. Yormark chatted with NYFightblog on Monday morning, and sounded beyond upbeat about the state of the sport, especially within the sphere of the five boroughs.

You'll recall that Yormark flew to Vegas to begin setting the table for a pitch to bring the next Floyd Mayweather fight to Barclays, so I asked him for an update on that junket.

"I'm a big-event guy," Yormark told me. "Do I want to do the Super Bowl of boxing here? Darn right I do. And I will work tirelessly to convince promoter Golden Boy and any other partner that a Mayweather fight could be that much bigger, in the biggest city, New York. In Vegas, I made it known my interest. His nickname is "Money," well, "Money" needs to come to the money city. Mayweather transcends boxing, everywhere I went in Vegas and on the way, people were talking about the fight, and I think people who attended will look back at the event, and say, 'I was there.' "

Yormark said he will be putting together a pitch within a month for Team Mayweather and Golden Boy which will play up the success Barclays has enjoyed, like the buzz pop (including a 66% year-over-year ratings jump) the Video Music Awards received when they unfurled at Barclays on Aug. 25.

"It's about building the story," the Barclays boss said, when asked about the critics who say that the revenue derived from the gaming upsurge a Mayweather-in-Vegas bout spurs means Floyd will never fight outside Nevada. "The money will work itself out. The overall package will excite people. We have Madison Avenue, we have the talk shows, we have the media, things Vegas doesn't have. And I love Vegas. I was there for the fight, and I want to bring the next Mayweather fight here to New York, to Brooklyn, and have it be an 'I was there' event."

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