- Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports14 hrs ago
LAS VEGAS — Brandon Rios is a guy who never projected anything but the utmost confidence. He may not have been the most gifted boxer or talented athlete, but Rios always came across as the ultimate tough guy.
A smirk would frequently cross his face, as if he dared you to cross him.
The one thing he never portrayed was self doubt.
Rios is trying to keep up the familiar facade, but it's not as convincing. He faces tough Diego Chaves Saturday at the Cosmopolitan in a welterweight bout that will headline a split-site tripleheader on HBO.
Rios grins devilishly when it's mentioned that the fight with Chaves should be highly entertaining.
"Just like I love it," Rios said.
But longtime Rios watchers would agree, it's a very different demeanor he's displaying.
Gone from his camp is conditioning coach Alex Ariza. New to the team is sports psychologist Raudel Flores, who has a Master's degree in clinical psychology.
Rios understands the importance of Saturday's bout – it's hard to be a headliner and make the big bucks coming off three consecutive losses – but insists he's not dwelling on the losing streak.
- Kevin Iole at Boxing1 day ago
LAS VEGAS – Thanks to the intervention of Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Diego Chaves has obtained his work visa and has been cleared to travel to the U.S., enabling him to fight Brandon Rios on Saturday at the Cosmopolitan.
The fight was in jeopardy because the U.S. state department's computer system that processes travel documents crashed, creating havoc for travelers around the world.
Chaves, who lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina, passed an FBI clearance earlier this week, but like thousands of travelers looking to come to the U.S., the computer crash was creating issues for him.
Top Rank chairman Bob Arum is a longtime friend of Reid's, the Senate majority leader and one of the most powerful men in the U.S. Reid, a longtime boxing fan, got involved and with his assistance, Chaves' visa was expedited. Chaves was headed to the embassy in Buenos Aires to pick up the visa and then head to the airport.
Arum was uncertain of his travel plans but said Chaves would be in the U.S. by Thursday at the latest.
- Kevin Iole at Cagewriter2 days ago
The World Series of Fighting will return to the NBC Sports Network on Sept. 13 when Marlon Moraes defends his bantamweight title against unbeaten Josh Hill in the main event of WSOF 13, tentatively set to be in Pennsylvania, matchmaker Ali Abdelaziz told Yahoo Sports.
Moraes, 13-4-1, is ranked No. 9 at bantamweight by Sherdog. Moraes has won seven bouts in a row. Hill is 10-0 and defeated Mike Adams via first-round knockout on June 7 in Edmonton.
Abdelaziz said he thinks Hill can give Moraes a good fight.
"Marlon's striking is so good, but Josh has a plan to beat him," Abdelaziz said. "Marlon is a guy who puts on exciting fights for the fans and this will be a quality test for him going against a wrestler who has good jiu-jitsu, too."
Editor's note: Story updated at 9:23 p.m. ET to reflect bout is on NBC Sports Network, not NBC.
- Kevin Iole at Cagewriter2 days ago
Only 13 months after a gruesome injury that appeared to end his legendary fighting career, former middleweight champion Anderson Silva will return to the UFC when he meets Nick Diaz in a middleweight bout in the main event of a Jan. 31 pay-per-view show in Las Vegas.
UFC president Dana White made the announcement on ESPN's SportsCenterat 3 p.m. PT, not long after telling Yahoo Sports via telephone he had nothing to announce. White said the deal with Silva was not finalized until 2:50 p.m. PT.
Ed Soares, Silva's manager, told Yahoo Sports he and Silva met with White in Beverly Hills, Calif., for lunch on Tuesday.
"As soon as we got out of the meeting, Anderson was like a little kid because he was so excited to be back," Soares said. "He's worked very hard to get to this point [where he's capable of returning]."
- Kevin Iole at Boxing2 days ago
England's Samuel Maxwell may go on to a great professional career and tremendous popular acclaim. However, the light welterweight amateur boxer is going to have to reach extraordinary heights to ever be remembered for anything more than he will be for the photo of him taken during a second-round fight with Kenya's Denis Okoth at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, on Sunday.
Okoth landed a left hand to the right side of Maxwell's face that a photographer for Reuters captured expertly. The picture captures Maxwell's face at the point of impact, his features completely distorted from the force of the blow.
Maxwell, incidentally, defeated Okoth and has moved on to the semfinals.
The photo is reminscent of the famous photo of Rocky Marciano landing a right hand on the chin of "Jersey" Joe Walcott in 1952 in which Marciano scored a knockout to win the heavyweight title.
The Maxwell-Okoth photo may never be as famous as the Marciano-Walcott shot, but it undoubtedly is one of the best boxing photos ever taken.
- Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports2 days ago
There is a number on Blake Caparello's record that should be flashing like a big red light to Sergey Kovalev.
Caparello is unbeaten, as everyone connected with Saturday's WBO light heavyweight title fight has taken great pains to point out.
A little known Australian who has never previously faced a top-10 opponent, Caparello is 19-0-1, apparently his main qualification for getting a title shot on HBO.
But the number that really matters is six, as in the number of knockouts Caparello has had, even against the very limited opposition he has faced. It's been more than two years since he scored a knockout.
Numbers can lie, but those six knockouts in 20 fights suggest very strongly that Kovalev doesn't have to worry about wading in and getting caught with a punch that knocks him out.
That in turn dramatically increases the pressure on Kovalev, who is one of the game's hardest punchers pound-for-pound, to get in there and get rid of Caparello.
Kovalev, who holds the WBO light heavyweight belt, is still trying to build a name for himself in the U.S. and land a bout against one of the high-profile 175-pounders.
- Kevin Iole at Boxing4 days ago
When Gennady "GGG" Golovkin knocked out Daniel Geale in the third round of their WBA middleweight title fight Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York, the most impressive part of it was what occurred during the fight-ending right hand.
Golovkin was out of position, hands down, winding up to throw at Geale when Geale threw a right that landed squarely on Golovkin's nose. Geale is not a big puncher, but the force of the punch pushed Golovkin back ever so slightly and caused Golovkin to momentarily close his eyes.
But when Golovkin threw his right in return, he did so with his right foot off the ground. Geale's right had thrown off Golovkin's mechanics, and so he wasn't able to explode off the right like he frequently does and land a crushing shot.
Triple-G showed his incredible power, though, by hitting Geale so hard he knocked him down and ended the fight even when his balance wasn't nearly perfect or close to what it should have been.
Even though he's 32 years old and Saturday's bout was his 30th professional win in as many tries, Golovkin is still unproven in comparison to some of the hardest punching middleweights who ever lived.
- Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports5 days ago
SAN JOSE, Calif. – Two years ago, Robbie Lawler and Anthony Johnson were UFC rejects, among the scores of promising fighters who failed to live up to their billing.
Saturday, in front of a national television audience on Fox, both men took giant steps toward the top of their respective divisions.
On a night with very few finishes at the SAP Center, Johnson delivered the one jump-out-of-the-chair moment when he blew out Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in just 44 seconds.
Johnson roared from his corner and stalked the highly respected veteran from Brazil. He blistered him with four consecutive powerful uppercuts, putting a quick end to Nogueira's night and perhaps his legendary career.
The devastating knockout rocketed Johnson toward the upper reaches of the light heavyweight division, where stars such as champion Jon Jones and elite contenders like Daniel Cormier and Alexander Gustafsson ply their trade.
Lawler moved to the very top of the welterweight division, earning the next crack at champion Johny Hendricks with a unanimous decision over a tough-as-nails Matt Brown.
- Kevin Iole at Cagewriter7 days ago
It appears the prodigal son is about to return.
Welterweight Nick Diaz, who was last seen in the Octagon when he was routed by Georges St-Pierre in a title fight in Montreal on March 16, 2013, plans to fight soon.
Diaz was in Las Vegas on Thursday to meet with UFC president Dana White and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta, according to a story on UFC.com.
Next year I guess. Whatever, though. I can fight tomorrow, tonight. You have to do what you have to do. ... [I came today] to sort things out with Dana White and Lorenzo. It was hard times for a little bit, but people act like I've been doing nothing. I've been getting some things done. Just because I'm not getting punched around every day doesn't mean I'm not focused on what I'm doing. Now, here we are.
Diaz has long been one of the sport's most popular fighters, but he might have been at the peak of his popularity on the night of his unanimous decision loss to St-Pierre at the Bell Centre.
- Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports7 days ago
A 15-hour flight awaits Noad Lahat on Sunday morning, only hours after he faces Steven Siler on Saturday in a three-round featherweight bout at UFC Fight Night 12 at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif.
Little good will come of the trip, but Lahat, 30, has few options.
He's headed to war, to join his countrymen in the seemingly never-ending struggle to defend Israel.
He was born in Alfei Menashe, Samaria, Israel, and has lived his entire life in the country except for those periods since 2009 when he's lived in San Jose during his mixed martial arts training camps.
His preparations for the bout with Siler, though, have been more difficult than normal. He doesn't want to be in the gym. He doesn't want to be in the U.S. His heart and mind are thousands of miles away, on the other side of the world, where his countrymen are fighting the Palestinians in Gaza.
"It's been really hard," Lahat told Yahoo Sports. "I've been on my phone all the time, checking messages, checking the news, stuff like that. The only time I get some peace and get to isolate myself from all of this is when I'm in the gym training.