Kevin Iole

  • How a rare loss helped elevate Stephen Thompson's game

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 1 day ago

    He was 37-0 as an amateur kick boxer, 20-0 as a pro. He’s 11-1 in MMA, including 6-1 in the UFC.

    But for a guy who has known nothing but success in the ring or in the cage, Thompson’s greatest lesson came during his lone loss.

    He dropped a clear decision to Matt Brown at UFC 145 in 2012 in only his second UFC fight. Thompson, who fights former welterweight champion Johny Hendricks on Saturday at the MGM Grand in the main event of a UFC Fight Night card, took the Brown fight when the more prudent decision might have been to pass on it.

    Thompson had just made his promotional debut at UFC 143 on Feb. 4, 2012, knocking out Dan Stittgen with a kick to the head that won Knockout of the Night honors.

    Thompson lives in South Carolina and UFC 145 was going to be in Atlanta. He’d only been home from Las Vegas after his knockout of Stittgen for two days when he received the call asking him if he wanted to appear on the Atlanta show.

    That’s where Thompson had to pause. He’d only began his MMA career in 2010, and by UFC 145, Brown had seven years of pro fighting experience and 24 bouts under his belt. He’d already had 11 matches in the UFC.

  • Richie Giachetti, who trained Larry Holmes and Mike Tyson, dead at 76

    Kevin Iole at Boxing 1 day ago

    Trainer Richie Giachetti, who was known for leading Larry Holmes to the heavyweight title and a lengthy run atop the division, died Wednesday at 76.

    Giachetti, who also worked with Mike Tyson for several fights, including his notable 1997 rematch with Evander Holyfield in Las Vegas, also served as Holmes' manager.

    In a 1978 profile of Giachetti, the New York Times wrote, "Giachetti is a tough man. He's been shot and stabbed, he's been tailed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Nobody fools with the manager and trainer of the man who calls himself the baddest heavyweight in the world. Some people believe Larry Holmes wouldn't stand a chance against Richie Giachetti in a barroom brawl."

    Giachetti partnered with Hall of Fame promoter J. Russell Peltz and actor Sylvester Stallone on a series of shows in the 1980s that were televised on ABC and on various cable networks. Peltz promoted the fights, mostly at the Sands in Atlantic City, N.J., and Giachetti was in charge of procuring the talent.

  • Johny Hendricks hoping 'major lifestyle change' will pay off in Octagon

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 2 days ago

    LAS VEGAS – Johny Hendricks talks like a different man. He eats differently. He sure looks different.

    The former UFC welterweight champion will face Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson on Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden in the main event of a UFC Fight Night show on Fox Sports 1.

    It will be his first fight since a failed attempt to make weight for an important match at UFC 192 in October against Tyron Woodley. Hendricks had had some difficulty making the division’s 170-pound weight limit before, but the planned bout against Woodley was the first time he’d missed.

    It wasn’t a pleasant experience for him, mentally or physically. He’s a competitor, and he wanted to prove himself against Woodley, an old collegiate wrestling rival. He’d worked hard in camp and knew that a win over a talented and high-profile foe such as Woodley would be a big step toward regaining the title he’d lost via split decision to Robbie Lawler.

    “As an athlete, as a fighter, you push and you work and you sacrifice because that fight is the prize; it’s what everything is all about,” Hendricks said.

    He’d cut weight his entire life, but his body felt different this time.

  • Cain Velasquez has surgery, says he can train 100 percent in five weeks

    Kevin Iole at Cagewriter 2 days ago

    Former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velaquez, who pulled out of a title fight with champion Fabricio Werdum that was scheduled for Saturday at the MGM Grand, reported on his Facebook page Wednesday that his back surgery went well and that he's already doing light training.

    Velasquez said he's been told he'll be able to train at 100 percent in about four to five weeks. If that's the case, given an eight-week training camp, that would put his return to competition somewhere in the late April, early May time frame.

    Velasquez announced on Jan. 24 that he would have to pull out of UFC 196, which was scheduled for Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden. The UFC immediately named Stipe Miocic to replace him, but the next day, Werdum pulled out, citing injuries as well.

    Velasquez posted the following statement to Facebook on Wednesday:

    "I wanted to update you all on how my injury has been progressing.


  • Flint native Andre Dirrell committed to helping solve city water crisis

    Kevin Iole at Boxing 2 days ago

    Andre Dirrell no longer lives in Flint, Mich., where he was born and raised, but the one-time Olympic bronze medalist and former super middleweight world champion still has many ties to his city.

    And the water crisis that has given many children irreversible lead poisoning as a result of drinking tainted city water, hit close to home. Dirrell still has many family members who live in Flint and have been impacted by the crisis.

    It's driven Dirrell to action. An aunt has already raised $50,000 and worked to try to find a solution. Now, he's lending his time, money and connections to the effort. Not only has Dirrell already donated time and money, he's set up a Go Fund Me page to raise money to buy potable water for those in the city who need it.

    Flint is the second poorest city in the country, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report from last year, leading only Youngstown, Ohio. More than 40 percent of the city's population lived in poverty in 2014, the report said.

  • Mickey Gall's master plan is paying off

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 3 days ago

    LAS VEGAS – Mickey Gall is living a charmed life as a professional fighter so far. He's only 24 years old and was the main event in his pro debut.

    And it just so happened that a very prominent visitor, UFC president Dana White, showed up cageside to watch Gall fight Ron Templeton in Philadelphia on Nov. 21.

    White had shown up at the Dead Serious MMA show as part of an episode of his new series, "Dana White: Lookin' for a Fight." The pilot episode led White to 19-year-old Sage Northcutt, who's already fought three times in UFC and exploded in popularity.

    Long before Gall walked out for the fight, he knew that White would be there. And he, like many others, had seen what happened to Northcutt.

    "I knew he was there, so how could I not do something?" Gall asked.

    White would have been hard to miss next to the cage, but it's what Gall did that landed him a UFC contract. Not only did he quickly submit Templeton, he rushed over to White and immediately called out ex-WWE champion CM Punk.

    Punk signed with the UFC in late 2014 and has been training at Roufusport in Milwaukee under the tutelage of Duke Roufus. He's expected to debut in either June or July.

  • Canelo Alvarez will face Amir Khan on May 7 for WBC middleweight title

    Kevin Iole at Boxing 3 days ago

    Canelo Alvarez won't be fighting Gennady Golovkin next, the fight that is one of the best bouts that could be made in boxing, but fans got something of a consolation prize on Tuesday.

    Golden Boy Promotions announced that Alvarez, who won the WBC middleweight title in November when he defeated Miguel Cotto, will defend his belt against Amir Khan on May 7 on HBO Pay-Per-View in the new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

    Khan, who has been fighting at welterweight, had been rebuffed in bids to land big fights against Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. He agreed to move up in weight to face Alvarez in a bout which will have a contractual weight limit of 155 pounds.

    The middleweight limit is 160, but the fighters agreed by contract to fight at the lower weight.

    That meant that instead of the two popular middleweights fighting in May, they'd each take interim opponents, with the stated goal of fighting in September.


  • What Benson Henderson's Bellator signing really means

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 4 days ago

    When Phil Davis fought out his UFC contract and signed with Bellator last April, there was the expectation in some quarters that the floodgates would open and that Bellator would pick off a lot of UFC stars.

    But little occurred.

    On Monday, former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson announced on his blog that he’d signed with Bellator, and again, the view of some is that it’s open season on UFC free agents.

    And again, that would be wrong.

    Bellator is unquestionably not competition for the UFC, and it’s not because it is in any way a so-called minor league.

    Instead, it’s because the two companies have vastly different business models and needs.

    The UFC is, above all else, a pay-per-view company. It has a contract with Fox, but it uses its shows on Fox to attempt to build fighters into stars. It’s why featherweight champion Conor McGregor fought Denis Siver on Fox Sports 1 in January 2015 before he challenged Jose Aldo for the championship.

    In the UFC, appearing on free television is a pathway to pay-per-view.

    No one could honestly argue that they’re the best fighters in the world, or even close.

    The companies are in the same industry but have vastly different goals and business models.

  • 50 Most Memorable Super Bowl Moments, No. 5: Santonio Holmes' corner TD

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 4 days ago

    As the NFL approaches its highly anticipated golden anniversary Super Bowl, Yahoo Sports takes a look back at some of the most memorable moments in the game's history.

    In our rankings, the moments go beyond the great scores and plays. We also take a look at entertainment performances, scandals/controversies and other events associated with corresponding Super Bowls.

    Here's a look at moment No. 5:

    Holmes' fancy footwork

    It would take something great for the Pittsburgh Steelers to come from behind and defeat the Arizona Cardinals and win their NFL-record sixth Super Bowl championship.

    The underdog Cardinals stunned the Steelers when Larry Fitzgerald burst through a seam after taking a Kurt Warner pass and went 64 yards for a touchdown that gave Arizona a 23-20 lead with just 2:37 left in the game to overcome a 20-7 fourth-quarter deficit.

    Pittsburgh needed someone who dared to be great, or who could at least make a great play.

    After an incompletion, there were 42 seconds left. And Holmes once again spoke up.

  • Sergey Kovalev dominates Jean Pascal in one-sided title fight rematch

    Kevin Iole at Boxing 5 days ago

    Sergey Kovalev continued his snail's pace march toward a fight with former super middleweight champion Andre Ward, dominating rival Jean Pascal on Saturday at the Bell Centre in Montreal and stopping him after seven one-sided rounds. Kovalev retained his IBF-WBA-WBO light heavyweight titles with his 26th knockout while improving to 29-0-1.

    Trainer Freddie Roach, in his first bout in Pascal's corner, told referee Michael Griffin that Pascal could not go on after the seventh round. He could have stopped it as soon as the fifth, and considered it after the sixth but Pascal talked him out of it.

    But the punch statistics showed the brutally one-sided nature of the bout. Kovalev outanded Pascal 31-1 in the fifth, 19-3 in the sixth and 30-4 in the seventh. Pascal landed in single digits in six the seven rounds. For the bout, Kovalev landed 165 of 412, while Pascal connected on 30 of 108.

    It was a brutal fight, made worse by Kovalev's decision to punish Pascal for calling him a racist prior to the fight.

    "I wanted to fight more and make him feel pain," Kovalev said."I wnated to punish him more."