Boxing: lou dibella

Caparello hungry for success on FNF

January, 30, 2014
Jan 30
NEW YORK -- I watched his eyes. He didn't once look at the bread basket, or the french fries on my plate during a get to know you lunch at the Palm in midtown on Tuesday. No, light heavyweight Blake Caparello, an Aussie who's decided he wants to make his stamp here in the U.S., and will seek to make an impression on ESPN's "Friday Night Fights" against vet Elvir Muriqi, came off as dialed in, ready to rumble and rebuff the seductive power of carbs.

The 27-year-old, who was just signed by NYC promoter Lou DiBella, told me he's fit and sharp, having been the main sparring partner for Canada-based 175-pound ace Jean Pascal, who won a superbout against rival Lucian Bute on Jan. 18. Asked if he'd like a real-deal crack at Pascal, Caparello (18-0-1 with 6 KOs) answered immediately, "Absolutely!"

First things first, though, he'll need to take down the 34-year-old Muriqi. He spoke respectfully of his foe, who will enter with a 40-5 (24 KOs) mark. "Muriqi is strong, a walk forward type, he's solid," the Aussie said. "But I can use angles on him, control the distance."

Promoter DiBella said that Caparello is "not a brawler, he's a very good boxer," and a good athlete. Lou was sold on signing him, he said lightly, when he found out the kid's dad's parents came from Italy. "I have a soft spot for Italian heritage fighters," he said. Caparello recently beat a boxer DiBella used to promote, so he had a good idea of the boxer's skills.

"I want to be known," Caparello told me, while I chewed fries which he ignored. "This is where you gotta do your thing. America is the boxing capital of the world. If you're big there you're big around the world. And my ultimate goal is to win a world title."

DiBella doesn't want to get ahead of himself, but likes Caparello's stuff in a lively division. "A win puts Blake in the picture," DiBella said.

Sergey Kovalev is building a rep as a dark destroyer, and fellow titlist Adonis Stevenson is also a building block at HBO. Would Caparello take a bout with Kovalev, who is gaining a rep as a guy foes shy away from? "Those guys are on my radar," he said. "I don't think they are fighting each other any time soon, so why not?" He said that he's seen Kovalev foes back straight up, make themselves easier targets, and believes he has a distinct mobility edge on the Main Events bomber. As for Stevenson, he thinks he could perhaps set a trap for him, and test his whiskers.

But first, Muriqi. Caparello told me wins are great, but a win, with buzz, is better. "It's about how you win," he told me.

Smart guy. Avoids the carbs, and understands, it seems, that boxing is the sports entertainment business. Purists dig the master pugilists, but to snag that widespread appeal, you'd best be a hungry, aggressive sort, who punches hard, in volume.

The FNF card will unfold at the Codey Arena in West Orange, N.J., and portions will be shown on ESPN2 on Friday evening, live.

Macklin sets sights for title in 2014

December, 6, 2013
He'd like to have that opportunity back. Middleweight Matthew Macklin didn't particularly care for the lead-in to his June scrap (a KO3 loss) against Gennady Golovkin, which had him trying to shrug off some knuckles busted in camp.

"We did at one point try to put the fight back," he said, as the left-hand woes kept him from doing pads and a lot of sparring. And looking back, he didn't like his gameplan, which called for him to out-box the terminator from Kazakhstan.

"They were the wrong tactics," he admitted to me.

Yes, it's fair to say the Irishman, who fights for New York promoter Lou DiBella and is advised by Anthony Catanzaro, who also is part of Team Malignaggi, would like a re-do against Triple GGG. But first, there's a comeback to attend to. Macklin, age 31, fights Saturday night in AC, on a Top Rank-HBO card topped by Guillermo Rigondeaux-Joseph Agbeko. The 29-5 hitter, who splits his time between England and Spain, is in against a dangerous foe, a man with little to lose. The 14-0 Russ took the fight on short notice, after Willie "Not That Willie" Nelson fell out with injury. If Russ loses, no big deal, he's young and had short notice.

So, it's fair to say Macklin is aware that he can't assume Russ will be an easy out. "Russ has a great jab, big amateur pedigree, tall, rangy, an undefeated's confidence but I'm going to drag him into deep waters and drown him," Macklin said. "I'm going to be back to winning ways."

When he gets the W in N.J., he said he'd love to fight Golovkin again. Or Peter Quillin, or the Daniel Geale-Felix Sturm winner. Some title, really, any title is in his sights for 2014.

An aside: Catanzaro will have a busy night; he'll be in Brooklyn to watch Malignaggi headline at Barclays, and will have to hustle to find a TV showing the HBO -- the enemy of Showtime! -- card in AC which features Macklin.

Olusegun loses to Matthysse, via TKO

September, 8, 2012
Olusegun Ajose hoped that his slickness edge would bring him to a win against bomber Lucas Matthysse on Saturday night at the Hard Rock in Las Vegas. But the Argentine was in seek-and-destroy mode from the first round, and the Nigerian-born NYC resident wasn't able to outbox the man with the heavier hands. With one second to go in the 10th round, the ref hopped in and saved Ajose from further punishment, giving Matthysse the W, via TKO.

Matthysse went 290-698, to 153-561 for the loser.

With the interim WBA 140-pound strap up for grabs, the 32-year-old Ajose looked to be deteriorating some under the pressure in the second and third rounds, but he regained his faculties and used his legs to get himself into safer zones later in the third. He ate lefts, up top and to the body, that made me cringe, and one thought maybe he'd decide to get on his bike and scoot. He didn't, not that often. Hey, it's easy to opine from the sideline; considering that Matthysse has pop with both hands, it's not easy to choose which direction to slide.

Ajose got buzzed in the fifth, but hung tough and looked to land sneaky counters. His energy didn't lag by the seventh, somewhat surprisingly, what with the bombs he had to endure. Matthysse proved he wasn't just a bomber; he slipped smartly, put on the earmuffs when he felt danger, but yeah, he mostly used the offense as his best defense. Ajose's power wasn't enough to dissuade, let alone buzz, the Argentine, making his job that much harder. A looping right discombobulated Ajose, with 1:06 to go in the tenth, but bless him, he stayed upright. Left hooks thudded on him, sounding like a baseball bat on a past-its-prime pumpkin. A clean right hurt him, and another clean right sent him down, for the first time in his career. The ref hopped in and stopped the bout with a second left in the 10th, though the loser was on his way to rising to his feet.

Let me amend that; "loser" is the wrong term, as all were left impressed with Ajose's heart and chin, and his stock didn't drop. In fact, his rep was bolstered because of his ballsy showing.

Matthysse, 29, went to 32-2, while Ajose, promoted by New Yorker Lou DiBella, slipped to 30-1.

Chavez Jr. calls Sergio a 'ballerina'

July, 12, 2012
Tempers flared, mildly, as Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. mocked Sergio Martinez, saying he found his true calling as a "ballerina," during a Thursday press conference at the Edison Ballroom in NYC to hype the Chavez-Martinez bout which unfolds on Sept. 15 in Las Vegas.

Chavez, the son of the Hall of Famer Chavez Sr. who has in his own right become a respected hitter in the sphere, referenced Martinez's stint on Argentina's "Dancing with the Stars." Martinez has danced twice on that show, and will be back next season, to dance more.

A source tells us that during a promo photo shoot before the presser, Junior had a game face on, was semi-surly, while Martinez seemed more relaxed.

The background here: Martinez has for about two years called a Junior a chicken, saying that he was avoiding this fight. Rather than seeing that as gamesmanship, and business, it looks like Chavez has internalized it. His father, we hear, is even more heated, sticking up for his son, and looked a couple times at the presser like he wants to come out of retirement.

The most heat during the presser came when Fernando Beltran, Chavez' co-promoter, reminded all that he went on a radio show in Mexico about seven months ago and called Martinez an expletive deleted. That enraged Martinez's advisor Sampson Lewkowicz, who stood up and looked ready to rumble in NYC, but order was restored.

Tonight, the fighters will tape Max Kellerman's "Face Off" from 3 to 7 p.m. at a studio in Chelsea. One can guess some more bad blood will boil there.

Punching publicist Kevin Rooney Jr. gets W

February, 6, 2012
Our favorite boxer-publicist, Kevin Rooney Jr., upped his record as a pro to 3-1, as the 27 year-old son of noted trainer Kevin Rooney scored a UD4 over Stanley Harvey (now 1-1) on Saturday night at the Times Union center in Albany.

We asked the junior middleweight, who in his 9-to-5 guise does publicity work for promoter Lou DiBella, to assess his showing.

"I was happy with my performance," he said. "I got some needed rounds in and the kid came to fight and came to win. He was tough! Took some bombs. I was able to work on a lot of things, and showed improvement in my defense and my movement. He was bruised and bloody but never gave up. Everyone was happy with the outcome. I'm back in action March 17th at MSG."

Here is some video from the bout.

Sergio Martinez-Matthew Macklin headlines the Theater on that night.

Props to Rooney, who like so many pros does a day job, and then still finds the time and energy to get his training in.

Here is a video with some clips from the fight.
He is one of the nicer guys in the sport, who used to be, in a former life, a severe badass who was saved by boxing. Gabriel Bracero will defend his NABF 140 pound title on Jan. 21 at the Roseland Ballroom.

The 30 year-old Sunset Park, Brooklyn boxer, who has an 18-0 record, will meet Michael Clark, a 38 year-old Ohioan with a 42-6-1 record. Clark was on the downside around 2006-2007, losing high-profile bouts to K9 Bundrage and Mike Alvarado, but he's 6-1-1 (1 NC) in his last 8 scraps.

Bracero is being guided meticulously by Tommy Gallagher, who knows that Clark is a half step up from what the Brooklyner has seen before. Lou DiBella will promote the Roseland show.

Lorenzo would like to fight for crown in NY

January, 5, 2012
Dominican-born Bronx resident Giovanni Lorenzo is ready to get some more stamps on his passport. The 31 year-old with a 31-4 mark has been two Germany twice and France once in his quest to snag a middleweight crown, and while he says he's willing to risk losing luggage again, he'd love to get a shot here in the States, too. “I’m ready for a huge 2012," he said. "I’ll go anywhere to fight but would love to fight in New York City.

He might get a better look from the judges than he did in France, against Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam for the interim WBA world middleweight title in April.

He dropped N’Jikam in the fifth and came out ahead in CompuBox numbers, but lost a UD. "I've fought the best in Europe right in their backyards," he said. "I want a big fight here in America, so I can have my fans support me and not have to worry about getting robbed by the European judges. I'm ready for anybody, bring it on!"

Lorenzo dropped a SD to Sebastian Sylvester in Germany in 2009, and a UD to Felix Sturm in Germany a year later. With middleweight ace Sergio Martinez fighting in NY in March against Matthew Macklin, and building up his fanbase here, seeing as how both are promoted by NY's Lou DiBella, we could see Lorenzo getting his wish, and getting a title crack close to home...
On his Sept. 14 radio appearance, Paulie Malignaggi took pains to tell listeners that he believes Lou DiBella did many things well as his promoter.

"I think I could've made more money, I could have done a little bit more, but at least I got money in bank, I can live good," Malignaggi said on the show. "I can say I forgive him but I'm not going to say Lou did anything wrong...I just hope he doesn't think I did anything wrong for not sharing his opinion."

Again, Malignaggi made repeated efforts to look on the brighter side; but he did spill a lengthy laundry list of DiBella's perceived faults, or slights. He thinks more could have been done to build his brand, and he says he hears from people who wonder why they never saw him on national talk shows.

"If you do your job, I'll do my job," he said. "I busted my ass, I cannot accept mediocrity, if I'm not giving you mediocrity, I don't want mediocrity back. I wanted to have this talk with Lou, I got nothing against Lou. It's a difference of opinion, a difference of personal matters, a difference on the business side. I got love for Lou. Nobody's going to be in your life nine, ten years you're not going to have love for them...I could've been with Don King, I could've signed with Lou Duva, I wouldn't have had the career I had."

He tried to quash the flareup. "I hope this thing ends," he said. "The gratitude is fifty-fifty. I owe Lou a thank you and I think Lou owes me a thank you. I hope tonight's interview got that across. I've got no regrets, it's a difference of opinion."

That it was..and maybe it didn't have to be that way.

Malignaggi critiqued ex-promoter DiBella on radio

September, 22, 2011
When Lou DiBella went into the ballistic zone on the afternoon of Sept. 14 as he discussed his former fighter, Paulie Malignaggi -- the Bensonhurt, Brooklyn, native who moved to California last year to try and re-invigorate his career -- I wasn't clear on what he was responding to. What set Lou off?

So I poked around, and found comments Malignaggi made on the "Rope A Dope" radio show on the evening of Sept. 14. Was the show pre-taped, and Lou got wind of the contents? Or was the promoter simply hearing things on the grapevine? The hard-and-fast timeline aside, here's a taste of Malignaggi's comments regarding DiBella.

"People talk about my career, they have this myth I couldn't punch, I had constant injuries and (all the success) was all thanks to Lou," Malignaggi said. "They're fifty percent right. I think the other fifty percent is Lou owes me a thank you for doing all the things I did to me making his company as well."

Malignaggi acknowledged that he can be emotional, and said the same goes for DiBella. He made sure to mention that he isn't trying to tell the world that fighting under the DiBella banner was such a curse to his career. "It could have been worse. Signing with Don King would have been worse."

But he did lay out a decent sized list of where he think DiBella and company could have served him better. He said DiBella didn't fight to get a smaller ring than the enormous one which was used during the 2006 Miguel Cotto-Malignaggi fight at MSG. "I'm doing my job you got to do your job ... At least look out for me ... this is where I get a little critical."

He went on, saying that he thinks no one at Dibella Entertainment thought he'd win that fight. (He got this info, he said, because he was on the sly dating a lady who worked at DBE, and she told him what others at the office said about him.) He also said Lou should have warned him about hiring an ex-manager, who he says was no prize. Malignaggi said he didn't think DiBella battled hard enough for him before he was jobbed by the judges in Texas in his 2009 fight with Juan Diaz, and didn't lobby hard enough for the bout to take place outside Diaz' home state. A rematch with Diaz was secured, and the fighter said he did that himself.

The boxer said he's happy to be working with Golden Boy, which he said is helping build him back up on TV, whereas, he thinks with DiBella he would not have been on TV. It would have been out of sight, out of mind, in that case, the transplant said.

The radio segment went over 20 minutes, so Malignaggi laid out more dirty laundry. Come back for more of his side, and then NYFightblog will take a look at the origin of the flareup. Hint: it stemmed from a mistake made by the radio host.

DiBella-Malignaggi beef re-heated

September, 22, 2011
Lou DiBella, the combustible promoter, was in typical form at the Red Lion on Greenwich Village last Wednesday.

The Brooklyn-born Long Island resident, whose office is in Manhattan, was there to hype an undercard fight (Andy Lee-Brian Vera) on his Oct. 1 Atlantic City show featuring Sergio Martinez. He spoke passionately about his stable of boxers, dropped in the occasional eff bomb, and as usual, made the media's job that much easier, because he is unafraid to go there.

He touched on the Lee-Vera bout, what's next for his marquee welterweight, Andre Berto, and some other notables in his stable. Then someone asked about comments one of his ex-fighters, Paulie Malignaggi, had made on a radio show called "Rope A Dope Radio," on Sept. 14.

The floodgate opened wide, and out flowed a heavy helping of beef. DiBella promoted Malignaggi for almost 10 years, but last year, the two parted ways, and not gently. They'd been extremely tight, and most in boxing saw the duo as having been in a mutually beneficial relationship. DiBella stood by Malignaggi while the fighter struggled with hand problems, and Malignaggi stood out as a boldfaced name on the roster for several years. Both men made money along the way.

"It sucks," DiBella said of Malignaggi's comments. "He's said it to many members of the press on and off the record, he's said it to loads of fighters. I've tried to take the higher road and he won't stop. If I ever go into the Hall of Fame, which I think eventually I deserve, that's one of the jobs I did with a fighter which most deserves to put me there. Six years I took care of him. My office called him my nephew cause he broke his hands so many times. I didn't make a dollar with him until the seventh year I promoted him. I never took more than thirty percent in any fight and less than that the last few. He thought his career was over when he (messed) the bed, (messed the bed) against Ricky Hatton, and he was ready to retire. He made seven figures with me after that. Why is this emeffer out there badmouthing me to people, to fighters, is he stupid? Off the record means the writer won't write something. But I have enough members of press who are my friends that they share the conversations with me. So here's my thing to Paulie: go eff yourself and if I never effing see you I don't give an eff. The lesson I learned in the Hopkins situation ... I learned hate eats you up. (Hopkins and Dibella feuded bitterly, after Hopkins accused DiBella, then his adviser, of unethical practices. DiBella took the fighter to court in 2004 and won a judgement for libel against him.) I don't hate the kid, I just don't want to talk to him, I don't want to see him."

NYFightblog was out of the loop, didn't know what DiBella was responding to. Check back here in a bit, and we'll share what it was that got DiBella so steamed ...

Video: Lou DiBella interview

September, 15, 2011

Lou DiBella, who promotes Sergio Martinez, talks to NYFightBlog from the Red Lion in Greenwich Village.
New York City is sometimes described as the greatest city in the world. That may be so in some regards, but in the eyes of middleweight boxer Andy Lee, the description doesn't fit.

Lee (26-1 with 19 KOs) came to the United States from Ireland in 2005. He arrived from Limerick, which is known as "Stab City" to some, because of its rough-'n-tumble vibe. He settled with trainer Manny Steward in Detroit, then soon after came to NYC to enjoy some of the buzz Derry transplant John Duddy was luxuriating in.

He lived in New York from 2006-09, but it proved difficult to concentrate on the ring ascent. The 27-year-old Lee spoke to NYFightblog on Wednesday afternoon at a press conference to hype his Oct. 1 bout in Atlantic City. He'll fight Brian Vera at Boardwalk Hall in a rematch of their 2008 scrap, which the heavy underdog Vera won via TKO. This scrap is the top support bout to the Sergio Martinez-Darren Barker main event.

"I liked New York, but I had to get back to Detroit for boxing," Lee told me. "Too many distractions in New York. It's a rat race. You have to hustle for the rent. And then there's the nightlife, the friends. There were good times, but it wasn't good for boxing."

Lee expects he'll get by Vera, who is a banger with skills and endless stamina, this time. His eyes are wide open as to what happened in their 2008 tussle. "The first time, it was on ESPN. I underestimated him. I was unprepared and overconfident. I expected the fight to be another fight in my step up. I was playing to the crowd. I was immature."

If and when Lee gets past the 19-5 Vera, he has his sites set on bigger game in the division. Martinez, like Lee promoted by Lou DiBella, is the marquee name. Lee would welcome a crack at his stablemate. "On any day, I'm as good as any middleweight out there. Sergio is the only guy I would fight and think before, 'You'll go in and win this one easy.'" But I wouldn't be mesmerized by his tricks, his feints. I think good, basic boxing would beat him."