Kevin Iole

  • It’s winning time for UFC lightweight Norman Parke

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 18 hrs ago

    Norman Parke is in a spot no UFC fighter wants to be in: He’s lost two in a row and faces a must-win bout on Oct. 24 in Dublin when he faces Reza Medadi.

    Another loss and Parke knows full well what to expect. Not every UFC fighter who loses three in a row gets cut, but a very high percentage of them do.

    With just a minor break or two, things could be different for Parke, the lightweight winner of “The Ultimate Fighter: Smashes” in 2012.

    Parke is 4-2-1 in the UFC and 20-4-1 overall as a professional. He’s a strong, aggressive well-rounded fighter who is good enough to be ranked in his stacked division’s top 10.

    Two things, though, have kept Parke from that rarefied air: Razor thin split-decision losses to Gleison Tibau and Francisco Trinaldo in his last two bouts, and his inability to get a top-10 opponent to fight him.

    This is a guy who had Edson Barboza and Jorge Masvidal pull out of fights with him because of injury, and who himself had to pull out of what could have been a career-defining fight with Diego Sanchez because of torn knee ligaments.

    He knows he’s going to have to prove it next week or he may not get another chance to back up his words. It’s now-or-never time for him.

  • Veteran Brian Viloria ready to show what little guys can do

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 19 hrs ago

    When the 2000 Olympics ended, it was a boxer who failed to medal who seemed to have the most promising professional career ahead of him.

    Brian Viloria, the winner of the light flyweight gold in the 1999 World Amateur Championships, went to the Sydney Games in the summer of 2000 as one of the pre-tournament favorites.

    It didn’t work out that way, as he lost to eventual gold medalist Brahim Asloum of France in the second round. It was a result that was more a product of the crazy Olympic scoring system that didn’t count many of Viloria’s body shots rather than Asloum being the better boxer.

    Viloria has had a stellar career as a professional, even if he wasn’t quite the best pro out of the 2000 class.

    That honor would belong to Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto, who is in the late stages of a career that should deliver him to the International Boxing Hall of Fame on the first day he is eligible.

    That Viloria is still going some 15 years later, though, comes as a shock. In a sport in which guys routinely jump up three, four, five and even six weight divisions over the course of a career, Viloria is still one of the most relevant flyweights in the world.

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  • Cancer survivor Daniel Jacobs a different man, different champion

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 4 days ago

    The quickest way for a young boxer to garner attention and make a name for himself is to score a string of quick, devastating knockouts.

    By the summer of 2010, middleweight Daniel Jacobs had become arguably one of the sport’s hottest prospects, with a string of knockout victims in his wake.

    Jacobs scored knockouts in his first nine professional bouts and in 17 of his first 20, earning him a July 31, 2010, middleweight championship match against unbeaten Dmitry Pirog in Las Vegas.

    It wasn’t Jacobs’ power, though, that grabbed people’s attention.

    Instead, it’s something deep inside of him that has made him special.

    Jacobs is one of the few athletes in the sport’s history to win a world championship after having cancer.

    This, though, was no ordinary cancer. As Jacobs himself told Yahoo Sports in 2012, he was only days away from death less than a year after he’d fought Pirog unsuccessfully for the world title.

    He returned to the ring on Oct. 20, 2012, a vastly different man. Miraculously, perhaps, he’d survived after his initial diagnosis in May 2011.

  • Manny Pacquiao in talks for Floyd Mayweather rematch?

    Kevin Iole at Boxing 4 days ago

    Sports fans around the world held their breath in anticipation last winter as it became obvious that Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao were nearing the finish line for a welterweight title bout between the two superstars.

    Mayweather won that bout on May 2 in Las Vegas and has subsequently announced his retirement following a Sept. 12 victory over Andre Berto.

    But that hasn't stopped rumors of a Mayweather-Pacquiao rematch. The source of the latest rumor, though, is a bit unusual.

    Pacquiao himself told Agence France Presse during a trip to Doha that he was in talks for either a rematch with Mayweather or a bout with Amir Khan. He also said there is a chance the fight could be held in the Middle East.


  • How Teddy Atlas was persuaded to train Timothy Bradley

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 5 days ago

    His days as a trainer were long over. There was no way that anyone was going to get Teddy Atlas to leave a comfortable, and lucrative, position as one of boxing's most influential broadcasters to immerse himself in the seamy side of the sport again.

    Memories of the end of his run with heavyweight Alexander Povetkin were too fresh.

    Atlas and Povetkin had a deal, and it worked well, until Povetkin apparently broke it. For a guy who so relies on honor, and believes so deeply in the meaning of a handshake, that was a knockout blow.

    "At the end of the day, they didn't keep their word," Atlas told Yahoo Sports, explaining that training locations were at the heart of the conflict. "And at that point, all of the other dimensions of this business showed their ugly side."

    So Atlas parted ways with Povetkin and saw himself as a broadcaster. He could no longer deal with the betrayal, the lack of commitment from fighters and the interference from friends and family that diminished his relationship with the boxers he was teaching.

    None of the hassles, the headaches, the deviousness that pervade boxing were an issue for him when he was behind the microphone at ringside.

  • Legitimate champ or not, Daniel Cormier showed true grit in UFC 192 win

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 9 days ago

    He retained the light heavyweight belt he won in May by defeating Alexander Gustafsson on Saturday via split decision in the main event of UFC 192, coming out on top in one of the year’s best fights.

    It was a back-and-forth, bruising, bloody battle, reminiscent of ex-champion Jon Jones’ epic victory over Gustafsson at UFC 165 in Toronto. Like Jones did at UFC 165, Cormier took the final round to pull out the win at the Toyota Center in Houston.

    Kerry Hatley scored it 49-46 for Cormier, giving him all but the second round. Sal D’Amato scored it 48-47 for Cormier, while Derek Cleary scored it 48-47 for Gustafsson. Cleary gave Gustafsson Rounds 2, 3 and 4. Yahoo Sports had it for Cormier, 48-47, giving him Rounds 1, 3 and 5 in an insanely close and competitive fight.

    After four rounds, D’Amato had it even 38-38. Hatley had Cormier up 39-37 and Cleary had Gustafsson up 39-37. When Cormier won the fifth – and all three judges gave Cormier gave him the fifth – he pulled out the fight on D’Amato’s card and earned the win.

    It probably wasn’t enough to make fans regard Cormier as the legitimate champion, but it showed him to be one of the toughest, most hard-nosed men in the world.

  • Dominick Cruz says Cormier has tall task to overcome at UFC 192

    Kevin Iole at Cagewriter 10 days ago

    When then-champion Jon Jones defended the light heavyweight championship against Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165 in Toronto in 2013, much of the marketing centered around Gustafsson's height advantage.

    The 6-4 Jones had run roughshod through some of the best competition in the history of the division, and few were seriously giving the 6-5 Gustafsson much of a chance. And so when the UFC played up the difference in height, fans and media alike scoffed.

    But it took everything in Jones' power to win a decision that night in a fight that was much more difficult than expected. And that came even though Jones only gave up one inch in height and enjoyed a five-inch edge in reach.

    On Saturday at UFC 192 at the Toyota Center in Houston, reigning light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier will make the first defense of the belt he won in May when he meets Gustafsson. And this time, the 5-11 Cormier will give away six inches in height and seven inches in reach to the Swedish challenger.

    Cruz said his own fights showed how much range make a difference in a bout.

    Cruz said Cormier can do it, but that it won't be easy.

  • Johny Hendricks out of UFC 192

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 10 days ago

    UFC president Dana White tweeted the news about eight hours before the scheduled weigh-in at the Toyota Center.

    Hendricks vs Woodley is off the card due to Hendricks weight cut issues.

    Hendricks' manager, Ted Ehrhardt, told Yahoo Sports via text message that Hendricks had a blockage in his intestine and a kidney stone. Ehrhardt said Hendricks was taken to the emergency room at a Houston hospital late Thursday, where he was administered an IV.

    Because it is so close to the fight, a replacement for Hendricks could not be found and so the bout was completely scrapped. The UFC will replace it on the pay-per-view portion of the card by elevating a flyweight match between Joseph Benavidez and Ali Bagautinov from the prelims.

    White told Yahoo Sports that while he had no evidence that it wasn’t a kidney stone that caused Hendricks to withdraw, he said he believed it was related to his weight cut.

    UFC vice president Marc Ratner said that Hendricks was “20 to 25 pounds over” the non-title welterweight limit of 171 pounds when he checked in on Tuesday afternoon in Houston.


  • Finally at the top, Daniel Cormier says being champ 'not really that different'

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 11 days ago

    He was days away from a shot at the UFC light heavyweight championship, held then by Jon Jones. Cormier's disdain for Jones was obvious, as the two had gotten into a brawl in the lobby of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas a few months prior.

    Cormier spoke frankly about his inability to win at the right time during his athletic career.

    He spoke of losing to the legendary Cael Sanderson in the NCAA Division I wrestling finals. He discussed his failures as a member of the 2008 U.S. Olympic wrestling team.

    Repeatedly, he pointed out how he’d always gotten so close to the summit, only to lose when it mattered most.

    “I need this one,” Cormier said while sitting amid a group of reporters a few days before he was to fight Jones.

    He was too fired up, too eager, too emotional. And Jones was too good. He routed Cormier and seemingly ended Cormier’s dreams forever.

    But Jones was stripped of his title following allegations of leaving the scene of a traffic accident, and Cormier wound up fighting Anthony “Rumble” Johnson in May for the vacant belt.

    And this time, he didn’t fail. He choked out Johnson to become the UFC’s light heavyweight champion.

  • Slugger Lucas Matthysse’s boxing skill could be key to his title shot

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 11 days ago

    Longtime boxing fans were all but frothing at the mouth in the spring, when Golden Boy Promotions announced Lucas Matthysse would face Ruslan Provodnikov.

    It would be the brawl to end all brawls. Two men with concussive power in each hand and a willingness, almost an eagerness, to mix it up made fans giddy at the prospect of them fighting.

    Matthysse won a unanimous decision that April night in Verona, N.Y., but a strange thing happened: It was his boxing skills that led him to the majority decision victory.

    Provodnikov couldn’t get much going in the early part of the fight, largely because Matthysse boxed so beautifully.

    It was hardly what fans expected from the Argentinian, who entered the bout with a 36-3 record and 34 knockouts. He hadn’t won a fight by decision since Dec. 20, 2008, when he was fighting on smaller shows in his native Argentina.

    What American fans knew about him was that he was a killer. They saw the first-round devastation of Mike Dallas Jr. and the third-round blowout of Lamont Peterson. They watched as he outslugged John Molina Jr. in 11 thrilling rounds and were awed as he knocked Roberto Ortiz unconscious in the second.