Boxing: jan zaveck

Hopkins and Cloud make weight

March, 8, 2013

Bernard Hopkins and Tavoris Cloud both made weight Friday and so we're a step closer to seeing if Hopkins, who turned 48 on Jan. 15, can still be considered the ageless wonder of pugilism, or if that cruel predator Father Time has finally gotten his clutches into the Philly-based legend.

Cloud, who holds the IBF light-heavy crown, was 173.8, while Hopkins, a six-time champ, was 174.4 at a session held in the lobby of Barclays Center. Hopkins (52-6-2 with 32 KOs) was in Executioner mode, intensity emanating from every pore, while Cloud looked loosey-goosey during the ceremony. The Florida-born hitter, who holds a 24-0 (19 KOs) mark, giggled when he inadvertently almost yanked down his underwear as he took off his sweatpants to step on the scale.

The heat in the building rose when the two men did a staredown. Hopkins leaned right into Cloud, put his face on Cloud's, and whispered not-so-niceties into the ear of the Don King-promoted boxer. They were separated and escorted to different parts of the building.

After, one vet boxer I spoke to, not on the card, said he thought Cloud looked drained. But the fighter struck me as very relaxed, and told me that he felt as good as he ever has before a fight. His legs had good bounce in them, he reported. And what was it that Hopkins whispered to him during the staredown? "He said, he didn't want me to beat him up too bad," Cloud said, with a slight grin. "I ain't worrying about what he said, I'm about to end his career. It's irrelevant what he said. I told him I'm going to whup his ass."

His trainer, Abel Sanchez, told me he loves Cloud's mood going into the bout. He said he'd rather have a guy be able to joke some, not be too tight and angry, heading into fight night. "We're going to have to make Hopkins fight," he said, when asked about strategy. "We're not letting him rest." Hopkins has never been stopped, but Cloud seems like he's aiming for that. "Anyone can be stopped," he said to NYFightblog.

It's a good bet, though, that the judges will have the final say at the end of the night on the card promoted by Golden Boy.

If you can't make it to Barclays Center, HBO will show the main event, after a support bout pitting Keith Thurman, a show-closer type, against ex-champ Jan Zaveck.

Readers, feel free to drop a prediction in the comments section.

Keith 'One Time' Thurman opening eyes

March, 1, 2013
I was talking to a boxing manager the other day and he was telling me he doesn't care for the attitudes of many of the boxers today. When he hears a kid he is contemplating signing say, "Skills pay the bills," he said, he's inclined to put away the pen and paper. No, signing cuties who prize not getting hit more than inflicting punishment isn't on his to do list. That manager doesn't manage Keith Thurman, but Thurman, a welterweight who fights March 9 at Barclays Center, is the sort of throwback attacker he'd like to have in his stable.

The 19-0 (1 NC, head clash) Florida resident, who has 18 knockouts to his credit, spoke to NYFightblog about his March 9 bout in Brooklyn against ex-champ Jan Zaveck (32-2 with 18 KOs, ex-IBF welter champ; from Slovenia), his rise to this place and why he calls out the top names in the game.

"I'm psyched to fight in NYC on March 9 at the Nets Center [aka Barclays Center]," Thurman told me. "New York is one of those legendary boxing capitals I've yet to enter, and it feels really great to hit New York up." Thurman-Zaveck is support to a Bernard Hopkins-Tavoris Cloud mainer, on a card promoted by Golden Boy which will run on HBO (9:30 PM ET start).

Thurman opened eyeballs when he took out Brandon Hoskins on the May 5, 2012, on the Mayweather-Cotto PPV undercard, more yet when he stopped Orlando Lora on the July 21, 2012 Broner-Escobedo undercard on HBO, and exponentially more when he stopped (TKO4) slick vet Carlos Quintana on Nov. 24, 2012, underneath the Guerrero-Berto scrap, again on HBO. Zaveck is probably a step up from Quintana, and Thurman isn't assuming he's going to blast him out with ease.

"Zaveck I know is a very tough and durable fighter, he's been in with world champs, he's an ex-world champion, he's 36 and knows if he wants to be champ again the time is now," Thurman said. Good assessment from the fighter, who grew up in a single parent household, with his mother holding the fort after dad left.

He got into boxing at age 7, and found a mentor in trainer Benjamin Getty, who was with Thurman until he died in May 2009. Thurman won silver at the 2008 Olympic trials, to Demetrius Andrade, and turned down a slot as an Olympic alternate. He turned pro in November 2007.

Thurman isn't shy about trying to separate his foes' heads from their shoulders, or calling out those presently higher than him on the ladder. "I called out big fighters in my HBO debut, I called out Malignaggi, Bradley, Floyd Mayweather, I created buzz," he said. "People maybe said why is he calling people out, he hasn't done anything. I don't claim to have done anything but to I want to show you what I'm about to do. It's about letting the world know the future of boxing is Keith "One Time" Thurman."

And that nickname, "One Time," where does that come from?

Thurman said his dad back in the day would throw hands with buddies, and he'd often put someone down with a single body shot: "I am Keith Thurman Junior, I might as well take his nickname. I didn't announce that nickname till I had eight first-round KOs, I didn't want to brand myself right off the bat, I wanted to show what I can do."

My takeaway: His inclination to finish fights, paired with a smart mix of chutzpah and humility has placed Thurman on my must-watch list.

More names into the mix for Malignaggi

July, 17, 2012
Paul Malignaggi's adviser, Anthony Catanzaro, offered a few more possibilities for his guy, for his next bout, which all assume will take place at the still-being-built Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

"There are several interesting fights out there for Team Malignaggi on October 20th at Barclays," Catanzaro told us. "First-ballot Hall of Famer Erik Morales versus Paulie would tear the roof off the new arena. Jan Zaveck versus Paulie puts a former world champion whose stock went up against against Andre Berto in his US TV debut in a classic bull-versus-matador type of fight. And Dmitriy Salita is a big ticket seller whose name has been linked to Paulie's for a long time now, but he has some business to take care of on August fourth."

Indeed, Salita confirmed as much to NYFightBlog. "Golden Boy is talking about putting me on their August fourth show," he said. "I don't have an opponent but I am in Detroit training for that possibility."

Fans, feel free to weigh in with your pick ... or throw in someone whose name hasn't been mentioned yet, if you think something else makes more sense than what has been suggested already. Any other guys who you think are good style matchups for Malignaggi? Any other fighters who would make for a good regional rivalry?