Kevin Iole at Boxing 2 days ago
TAPEI -- Boxing promoters are notorious for undermatching their top fighters until it's time to cash in on them.
But what promoter Arthur Pellulo of Banner Promotions is doing for Ruslan Provodnikov's fight on Saturday is risking Jose Luis Castillo's long-term health at even greater risk by giving the Mexican a fight he is fully unqualified to take.
Pellulo was looking for an easy victory for Provodnikov, aka "The Siberian Rocky," who is trying to rebound after a June defeat to Chris Algieri in the New York borough of Brooklyn. He is paying Castillo, the former lightweight champion, $250,000 in order to take a beating from Provodnikov on Saturday in Moscow.
It's the boxing equivalent of college football's so-called "body bag games," where poor and/or smaller programs get paid to take a beating from the Division I powerhouses.
But boxing is a vastly different sport, and Pellulo is putting Castillo in serious jeopardy by pairing him with the power-punching Provodnikov. Castillo is 40 years old and beyond shot, and is only fighting because he loves the sport and needs the money.
Kevin Iole at Boxing 2 days ago
TAPEI – Following Manny Pacquiao's one-sided victory Saturday at Cotai Arena in Macau over Chris Algieri, promoter Bob Arum said the Filipino superstar has his eye on a world champion from Las Vegas as his next opponent.
That would be Floyd Mayweather Jr., but despite all of the recent optimism, the odds are still against that fight occurring.
But if the most prominent fighter from Las Vegas isn't willing to sign on the dotted line to fight Pacquiao, then another one is all but frothing at the mouth, begging for the opportunity. Jessie Vargas, who successfully defended his WBA junior welterweight title against Antonio DeMarco on Saturday in his first bout under the direction of new trainer Roy Jones Jr., is hopeful his performance was enough to land a match with Pacquiao next year.
As a pro, Vargas is now 26-0 and is closing in on a fight with Pacquiao.
Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 3 days ago
MACAU -- It's beyond ridiculous what boxing fans have had to put up with the last five years as they have waited, pleaded, hoped and, in some cases, even prayed for a bout between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr.
The fact that it hasn't occurred minimizes the sport, detracts from the fighters' resumes and makes all involved look, to a greater or lesser extent, like fools for failing to make a sporting event that in one night could generate close to a quarter of a billion dollars.
Mayweather's zealous fans will blame Pacquiao and promoter Bob Arum. Pacquiao's even more ardent fan base will blame Mayweather and adviser Al Haymon.
It doesn't matter who is at fault. They're all to blame.
Pointing fingers is beyond the point now. After Pacquiao routed Chris Algieri on Saturday before 13,202 fans at The Venetian Macao's Cotai Arena, there is no other fight to be made for either man.
Pacquiao looked better on Saturday than he has in a while, knocking Algieri down six times while sprinting after him. All three judges had it easily for Pacquiao, whose major failing Saturday was an inability to cut off the ring.
But what is it? No one knows.
Kevin Iole at Boxing 3 days ago
MACAU -- Freddie Roach has spent the better part of the latter three months preparing Manny Pacquiao to face Chris Algieri. But Roach also reserved a bit of that time to watch some video of Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Roach said not long after Pacquiao's dominant victory over Algieri Saturday before 13,202 fans at Cotai Arena that he is at least guardedly optimistic a bout with Mayweather, the pound-for-pound king, may occur next year.
Roach said he facilitated a summer meeting at Arum's Beverly Hills, Calif., home between the veteran promoter and Leslie Moonves, the chairman of CBS Corp., in the hopes of them arranging a fight between Pacquiao and Mayweather. Roach said Moonves was angry at Arum because Arum had promised Moonves that Pacquiao would fight three times on Showtime and he only fought once.
But Roach said he maneuvered to get the men together and talking.
Asked to rate his level of optimism, Roach smiled and said, "I'm watching tape again."
There is a long way to go between talks in the summer and the fight boxing fans have been desperate to see since 2010, but at least it's a step in the right direction.
Pacquiao said he's down for it.
Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 3 days ago
MACAU – During the build-up to his fight with Manny Pacquiao, actor Sylvester Stallone called Chris Algieri "a real-life Rocky." And, as it turns out, he was.
Just like Stallone's fictional Rocky Balboa didn't win the title in "Rocky," Algieri came up short as well.
Manny Pacquiao knocked Algieri down six times Saturday and was never threatened as he cruised to a laughably easy unanimous decision victory before a sell-out crowd of 13,202 in their bout for the WBO welterweight title at Cotai Arena.
Algieri offered no resistance, appearing from the early stages of the fight as if he were more interested in surviving than in fighting and trying to win.
His plight was complicated by the bizarre advice he was getting in the corner from trainer Tim Lane. After the ninth round, when Algieri had already been down five times, Lane said to him, "We are exactly where we need to be."
Pacquiao still hasn't had a knockout since he stopped Miguel Cotto in the 12th round in Las Vegas in 2009, but this was far different.
As a result, Pacquiao chased him aggressively and was cracking him with big shots.
Kevin Iole at Boxing 4 days ago
MACAU -- Chris Algieri needed about 50 minutes to make weight Friday (Saturday in China) for his WBO welterweight title fight with Manny Pacquiao at Cotai Arena.
Algieri, the unbeaten WBO junior welterweight champion, weighed 144.4 when he first stepped on his scale. After stripping naked and removing a large chain, he still weighed 144.2. At that point, he had two hours to make the weight.
Algieri said he successfully made weight Thursday night in the room of a Top Rank employee.
"Maybe something happened when the scale [got] moved here," said Algieri, who has a master's in clinical nutrition.
Pacquiao weighed 143.8 pounds, making the contract limit of 144 easily on the first try.
"I'm disappointed," Pacquiao said after he was asked about Algieri's weight. He also said that Algieri looked dehydrated when they did the staredown.
Algieri ate a breakfast of oatmeal, eggs and coffee before heading to the arena for the weigh-in.
"I'd rather be well fed and feel good than sucked out and drawn," he said.
Algieri trainer Tim Lane said Algieri did not work out to make the weight and simply used the bathroom.
That, though, didn't bother Lane.
MACAU – Manny Pacquiao has something to prove. The WBO welterweight champion and Filipino congressman wants to prove that not only does he remain relevant, but that he's still capable of the explosive displays that once made him the world's most popular boxer.
It's been five years since Pacquiao last knocked out an opponent. His pay-per-view numbers are down, and he's seemingly in the homestretch of a career that will one day land him in the Hall of Fame.
But he wants to avoid the trend of a series of losses that many legendary boxers endure in their final bouts and the ignominy of losing to a largely unheard of opponent.
His opponent, Chris Algieri, also has something to prove. Algieri is desperate to prove he belongs on the world stage and isn't simply showing up to Cotai Arena on Saturday (Sunday in China) as cannon fodder for Pacquiao.
So, much will be at stake when the HBO Pay-Per-View card kicks off Saturday.
Pacquiao is saying all the right things, and he's attacked with a vengeance in his training sessions with Freddie Roach.
An Algieri win would spoil forever the possibility of Mayweather-Pacquiao, if the likelihood hasn't already been exhausted.
Kevin Iole at Boxing 5 days ago
MACAU -- Life has never been simple for Antonio DeMarco, who grew up so poor in Mexico that he had to search through trash cans and dumpsters in hope of finding something to eat.
Despite the many hardships he endured in his early life, DeMarco found success as a professional boxer and once held the WBC lighweight title before losing it to Adrien Broner.
He's reeled off three consecutive wins since then and added Hall of Famer Freddie Roach as his trainer as he prepares Saturday (Sunday in China) to face Jessie Vargas for the WBA junior welterweight title on the HBO Pay-Per-View card headlined by a welterweight title clash between Manny Pacquiao and Chris Algieri.
But DeMarco (31-3-1, 23 KOs) will fight with a heavy heart on Saturday. While he was in training camp in the Philippines, he learned that his 13-year-old sister, Mariana Soto, is suffering from bone cancer. A large tumor was growing on her shoulder that DeMarco said was life-threatening. He said doctors had considered amputating her arm, but have put that off for now.
MACAU – Outwardly, Zou Shiming is an unremarkable man. He's a slender 5-feet-4 and has neither the fierce countenance nor muscular build one would associate with an elite boxer.
He's largely quiet and respectful and does little to call attention to himself.
But Manny Pacquiao would not be headlining a lucrative pay-per-view card in this lavish casino resort were it not for Zou, a three-time Olympic medalist who may be transforming the sport as we know it.
Millions of words will be written and said about Pacquiao and his bout on Saturday (Sunday in China) with Chris Algieri for the WBO junior welterweight championship at the Cotai Arena in the Venetian Macao.
If it weren't for Zou, however, the fight likely would be taking place on the Las Vegas Strip, where for decades the overwhelming majority of major fights have been held.
Ed Tracy, the CEO of Sands China Ltd., the parent company of the Venetian Macao, did not hesitate: Were it not for Zou's immense popularity in China, there would be no boxing in Macau.
He also won a silver and three golds in the world amateur championships.
Zou also appeared in "Transformers: Age of Extinction."
MACAU – This is a rare occurrence. Manny Pacquiao is doing an interview and he's engaged, involved, eager to speak. This is not his usual stance.
Pacquiao does dozens, if not more, interviews a day during fight week, usually answering questions in an emotionless, monosyllabic style as often as possible.
This time, though, is different. Even when the time allotted for the interview has passed, Pacquiao is eager to keep speaking.
"It's important for me – for all of us – to spread the message," Pacquiao said.
On Saturday (Sunday in China), the WBO welterweight champion will put his title at stake when he faces Chris Algieri at the Cotai Arena in the main event of an HBO Pay-Per-View show. But the message that Pacquiao is eager to spread is not about his fight but about the church, school and community center he's building on 5.7 acres in General Santos City, Philippines.
Boxing is his job; evangelizing is his life's work.
Pacquiao purchased prime commercial real estate at a cost of $1 million U.S. in General Santos City in order to build the Christian-based facilities.
And he became an evangelical Christian as opposed to a Roman Catholic.