Kevin Iole

  • How did Mayweather become a big-money superstar? He dreamed big – and turned down $12.5M

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports Commentary 7 hrs ago

    LAS VEGAS – Floyd Mayweather and Leonard Ellerbe would talk – dream, really – about the future, like a pair of kids on a Little League squad who imagined themselves making the big plays to win Game 7 of the World Series.

    It was roughly 15 years ago, a contentious point early in a professional career that was teeming with promise. By 2000, there were a few observers who already believed Mayweather was the best fighter in the world. Even those who disagreed couldn't deny his charisma or his fistic brilliance. He was "Pretty Boy" Floyd, an Olympic medalist and a dynamic physical specimen. HBO saw him take apart the classy Genaro Hernandez at the tender age of 21 and knew he was different from the rest of the crowd. 

    There were many good fighters who made their way into the professional ranks from that 1996 U.S. Olympic team. There was, however, only one Mayweather.

    Recognizing that, HBO offered him a six-fight, $12.5 million contract extension, a deal many thought he'd be crazy to decline.

    Mayweather, though, was crazy enough to decline.

    He had this dream, this belief, that he was destined to be different. Not just good. Not just great.


  • Why Manny Pacquiao isn't even the toughest guy on his training team

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 20 hrs ago

    Freddie Roach grumbled something about feeling fine and then proceeded to do what countless politicians do every day when they're asked a question they don't want to answer:

    He talked about something else.

    Asked how he feels, the seven-time Trainer of the Year spoke of how well Manny Pacquiao's preparations are going for his May 2 mega-fight in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Garden against unbeaten Floyd Mayweather Jr.

    Many close to Roach were seriously worried about him, but weren't willing to say anything publicly. In February, just as negotiations to make the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight were hitting the homestretch, Roach was beset by significant back pain.

    Already afflicted with Parkinson's disease, Roach was scheduled to fly Feb. 27 to Macau, China – as Pacquiao was about to get to Los Angeles to begin preparations for Mayweather – to work the corner for Zou Shiming in a flyweight title fight March 7.

    And Roach's back was killing him. Not that he'll really say much about it.

    Like Roach, Fortune scoffed at the notion it might somehow limit him.

  • Trainer Freddie Roach reveals some of Pacman's issues in training camp

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 1 day ago

    One of the few problems in Manny Pacquiao's career that trainer Freddie Roach hasn't been able to solve has been the Filipino superstar's tendency to suffer leg cramps.

    Pacquiao has massive calves, the size of a large apple, and he relies on them to generate his punching power.

    But in many of his fights, he's been hindered by cramps.

    Roach told Yahoo Sports on Wednesday that cramps continue to be an issue for Pacquiao, though he's taking steps to prevent them as the boxer continues his preparations for his May 2 bout in Las Vegas against Floyd Mayweather Jr.

    One of those steps involved purchasing an anti-inflammatory cream for his calves that cost $1,800 for a small tube. The cost was so high because Pacquiao doesn't have U.S. insurance and had to pay the inflated retail cost.

    Before applying it, Roach had it approved by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, which is conducting drug testing for the fight.

    Roach said in an effort to rid Pacquiao of shin splints, he and conditioning coach Justin Fortune no longer have him running hills. Pacquiao often ran up a concrete hill during his previous training camps with Roach in the Los Angeles area.

  • Brock Lesnar shuns UFC, signs contract extension with WWE

    Kevin Iole at Cagewriter 2 days ago

    Brock Lesnar announced Tuesday in a live appearance on SportsCenter that he had re-signed a contract with the WWE and would no longer compete in mixed martial arts. During an interview with Michelle Beadle, Lesnar said he signed the deal to remain in the WWE on Monday.

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    He will face Roman Reigns on Sunday in Santa Clara, California, at WrestleMania 31, the WWE's biggest event of the year. His contract was up on March 30 and UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta and president Dana White both said they planned to speak with him when he was contractually free.

    Lesnar, though, didn't think he could go through the grind of training again.

    "That's why I wanted to come here. I wanted people to hear me. It was a hard decision to make. It took me a year. I've thought about this for a year. At the end of the day, it's all about me wanting to have fun."

    White told Yahoo Sports he supported Lesnar's choice.

    "I wanted to feel that energy [again]," he said.

  • How an MMA fighter found salvation among the Pygmies

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 2 days ago

    Pain is a fighter's constant companion. Few men alive are as intimately acquainted with the pain that is omnipresent in combat sports as much as Justin Wren.

    Not long after he was out of high school, the 18-year-old Wren was living at the Olympic training center in Colorado Springs, Colo., when he suffered an injury that dramatically changed the course of his life.

    First, it led him on a downward spiral toward addiction and depression. He became, he says almost casually, "a depressed, drunk, drug addict."

    "Toward the end of my fight career, right around 'Ultimate Fighter' time, right after that, I was basically hiding a drug addiction," said Wren, who was coached by former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans on Season 10 of the UFC's reality series in 2009. "It was mainly to opiates, narcotics and pain pills, but I was also doing cocaine a lot and medical marijuana."

    It's best to know where Wren has been to better understand where he is in his life today as he prepares to make a comeback.

    All Wren thought of during his time at Bishop Lynch High School in Dallas was fighting.

    The pain, he said, was immense.

  • Floyd Mayweather could earn as much as $180 million to face Pacman, promoter says

    Kevin Iole at Boxing 2 days ago

    In November, Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins signed a 13-year contract extension that would pay him $325 million if he plays the entire length of the deal. It was astounding that the Marlins, a notably penurious franchise, would pay that kind of money to one player. But it was also amazing just for the sheer volume.

    But in one night, Floyd Mayweather Jr. may earn more than half of that. According to a report by The Associated Press' TIm Dahlberg, Mayweather's purse for his May 2 welterweight title bout in Las Vegas against Manny Pacquiao may reach $180 million.

    Pacquiao, who agreed to a 60-40 purse split that favored Mayweather, will make more than $100 million.

    Top Rank's Bob Arum told Dahlberg on Tuesday that the live paid gate could be as high as $72 million. The current record is $20 million, set by Mayweather and Canelo Alvarez in 2013.

    Arum said that with revenues skyrocketing and the economy better than it was when the fight was first talked about, the paydays are going into breathtaking territory.

    • Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers, 10-year deal, $292 million

  • Why Mayweather-Pacquiao should still deliver despite fighters being past their prime

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 3 days ago

    For five long, torturous years, the complaint about Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao was that they wouldn't fight each other.

    Mayweather supporters blamed Pacquiao. Pacquiao supporters blamed Mayweather.

    Each fighter said he was ready, and both got sick of answering questions about the other when they were fighting someone else.

    But now that the fight is only five weeks away, the tune has changed: While there is widespread adulation that the mega-fight has finally been made, there are large numbers of people who complain that the fight can't possibly be what it would have been several years ago.

    Mayweather is 38 and Pacquiao is 36, so neither is young by today's standards.

    Looking at the men whose careers have ended who are generally considered the greatest ever – in no particular order, Sugar Ray Robinson, Henry Armstrong, Muhammad Ali and Joe Louis – shows that they had their greatest bouts from their mid-to-late 20s.

    Robinson won 173 fights in his legendary career and was 128-1-2 before he turned 30.

    So by that standard, both Mayweather and Pacquiao are past their primes.

    Mayweather wouldn't bite when it was suggested the fight is being held too late.

  • Conor McGregor's bravado includes comparing upcoming fight to Mayweather-Pacquiao

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 3 days ago

    LAS VEGAS – Fed a series of predictable, softball and occasionally inane questions Monday during the second stop of an eight-city, five-country tour to promote their July 11 bout in the main event of UFC 189 at the MGM Grand Garden for the featherweight title, champion Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor reacted quite predictably.

    Aldo, who met the media first in a conference room at the Red Rock Resort on Monday, seemed largely bored by the entire thing. He said little of note other than to admit he supports the UFC's new drug-testing plans and that he pays little attention to McGregor's antics.

    Meanwhile, the Irishman said that after meeting the Brazilian face-to-face last week, he's convinced Aldo is afraid.

    "Fear has a strong stench, and he is reeking of it," McGregor said. "I see fear. [His eyes looked like] glass."

    The goal of the news conference, of course, was to jump start ticket sales and get the drums beating for the pay-per-view.

    In a way, Aldo has no clue what he's in for. Never before has he faced such a man as McGregor, one who is quick-witted and meticulous in the way he approaches his marketing and media responsibilities.

  • Sergey Kovalev stops Jean Pascal, retains titles in entertaining slugfest

    Kevin Iole at Boxing 12 days ago

    The light heavyweight division is shaping up as one of boxing's most entertaining, and Sergey Kovalev is leading the parade.

    The hard-hitting Russian outlasted Jean Pascal in Montreal on Saturday at the Bell Centre, retaining his IBF, WBA and WBO light heavyweight belts with an eighth-round technical knockout.

    Kovalev had the edge throughout most of the fight, and put Pascal down for the first time in his career in the third round, when he knocked him through the ropes. But Pascal came to fight and, for a stretch, gave as good as he got.

    But Kovalev simply hits too hard and it finally wore Pascal down. Kovalev hurt Pascal with a crackling left hand late in the seventh round, and it seemed that Pascal hadn't recovered by the time the eighth round started.

    A left and then a series of rights by Kovalev sent a stunned Pascal staggering back into the corner. As Kovalev was going for the finish, he slipped. Referee Luis Pabon broke the fighters, giving Pascal some much needed recovery time.

    "I got him with a good right, a right hand, and after that, he was mine," said Kovalev, who was coming off a whitewash victory over the legendary Bernard Hopkins in November.

  • Rafael dos Anjos blows out Anthony Pettis, claims UFC lightweight belt

    Kevin Iole at Cagewriter 12 days ago

    After stopping former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson in August, Rafael dos Anjos complained that he was being overlooked.

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    After dismantling Anthony Pettis Saturday in a shockingly one-sided performance, dos Anjos will be overlooked no more.

    The Brazilian completed an incredible nine-month run Saturday by winning all five rounds and lifting the lightweight title from Pettis in the main event of UFC 185 at American Airlines Center.

    Coupled with Joanna Jedrzejczyk's victory over Carla Esparza in the women's strawweight title bout in the co-main event, the show became the first where two titles changed hands since UFC 92.

    Neither fight was close. Jedrzejczyk stopped Esparza in the second round, using striking and superb takedown defense. Dos Anjos did just about everything but stop Pettis in the performance of his lifetime.

    "He caught me with that left hand and I had no peripheral vision," Pettis said.