Kevin Iole

  • Manny Pacquiao spreads word about Christian-based project

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 2 hrs ago

    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.

  • Why UFC featherweight contender Frankie Edgar isn’t stressing about a title shot

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 10 hrs ago

    An opportunity to fight for a championship can be a life-changing event for UFC fighters. It's why Georges St-Pierre once so famously dropped to his knees in the Octagon and pleaded with UFC management to give him a title shot.

    Former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar knows full well its value, but he's not going to grovel for a chance at a title.

    Edgar will meet Cub Swanson on Saturday in the main event of a card at the Erwin Center in Austin, Texas, but nothing is guaranteed for him, even with a win.

    UFC president Dana White has promised Swanson a shot at featherweight champion Jose Aldo if he's victorious Saturday, but he has yet to extend the same courtesy to Edgar.

    But instead of begging publicly, or venting to the media, the low-key Edgar will take the same approach that has worked so well for him as he's fashioned a 16-4-1 mark in his mixed martial arts career.

    He plans to fight so hard, and make his bout so memorable, that he hopes White will have little choice but to give him another crack at the belt.

    Edgar has long been one of the UFC's best and most exciting fighters. He's regularly engaged in some of the promotion's most memorable fights.

  • Manny Pacquiao gets a chuckle out of meeting his mini doppelganger

    Kevin Iole at Boxing 20 hrs ago

    MACAU – Manny Pacquiao sat placidly throughout much of Wednesday's news conference at the Venetian Macao until promoter Bob Arum introduced  Kwanpichit Onesongchaigym.

    As Onesongchaigym, who fights double gold medalist Zou Shiming on the pay-per-view portion of Saturday's card (Sunday in China), walked to the microphone to make a few remarks, Pacquiao did a double take and then laughed heartily.

    Onesongchaigym combed his hair forward like Pacquiao does and could be mistaken for his (much smaller) twin brother. Pacquiao several times shot glances at Onesongchaigym as if he could hardly believe what he was seeing.

    When Pacquiao and Chris Algieri, who meet in the main event of Satuday's bout, were posing for photos, Onesongchaigym jumped between them.

    Algieri played along with the joke. He pointed at Onesongchaigym with a quizzical look on his face and held up two fingers, as if he were facing two Pacquiaos.

    Onesongchaigym (27-0, 12 KOs) was a good sport and played along, but said he doesn't want to be known for looking like Pacquiao.

  • Aspiring physician Chris Algieri nearly quit boxing a year ago

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 1 day ago

    MACAU – As he was preparing for what would be by far the most important fight of his life, Chris Algieri awoke before the crack of dawn to get to the gym.

    But he wasn't doing roadwork or studying the nuances of Ruslan Provodnikov's style. Rather, Algieri pulled himself out of the comfort of his bed to put some middle-aged housewives through their paces at a fitness center near his home on Long Island, N.Y.

    He was a personal fitness trainer who charged $45 for a 30-minute private session, making some extra income to supplement his meager boxing earnings.

    Prior to the $115,000 he made to face Provodnikov for the WBO junior welterweight title at the Barclay's Center in Brooklyn in June, Algieri's biggest purse was only $15,000.

    He paid off his student loans with the money he made from his bout with Provodnikov, in which he survived two hard first-round knockdowns to win a gut-check decision. That landed him a bout, along with his first $1 million-plus purse, against Manny Pacquiao on Saturday on HBO Pay-Per-View in one of the year's high-profile events.

    Medical school can wait, he said, while he pursues his boxing dreams.

  • WBA champion Jessie Vargas shines with last-minute TV gig

    Kevin Iole at Boxing 1 day ago

    MACAU -- After Chris Algieri finished an interview with a group of American boxing writers about his upcoming match with Manny Pacquiao for the WBO welterweight title, he wasn't finished. He had one more interview to give.

    This one, though, was different than the others. The interviewer was not a reporter, but a much more familiar face.

    Jessie Vargas, the unbeaten WBA junior welterweight champion who fights Antonio DeMarco on Saturday (Sunday China time) in the co-main event of the HBO Pay-Per-View card at The Venetian Macao, did the interview for Univision with Algieri.

    The two men are champions in the same division and are fighting on the same card. The possibility exists that they could fight each other down the road.

    But Vargas, a 25-year-old with an ebullient personality and the ability to think quickly on his feet, handled the assignment with aplomb.

    He did have one significant problem he had to solve before he could complete the interview. 

    "You know how expensive it is here in Macau? I'm not a cheap guy, but wow, it was pretty expensive."

  • Despite knockout drought, Manny Pacquiao still a major draw

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 2 days ago

    MACAU – Manny Pacquiao is struggling to explain his five-year streak without a knockout, as well as why a fight with Floyd Mayweather has yet to happen.

    He had difficulty coming up with the right words, unable to provide a cogent explanation. After scoring five stoppages in eight bouts, Pacquiao has now gone eight consecutive fights without a knockout.

    Pacquiao stopped Miguel Cotto on Nov. 14, 2009, a comprehensive and impressive victory that led some to believe that he, and not Mayweather, was the sport's finest fighter. And it was only days after that bout that talks began to heat up about the two great champions facing each other.

    Five years later, we're still waiting for another Pacquiao win by knockout as well as a fight with Mayweather.

    The reason for the excitement over Pacquiao-Mayweather was simple: They were Nos. 1-2 in the world, in whichever order you wanted to put them, and a fight between them offered the boxer-vs.-slugger match that has always intrigued boxing fans.

    Mayweather's bouts were more like a symphony. To watch him was to appreciate a master at his craft plying his work.

    But Pacquiao has evolved into, well, it's hard to know what.

  • Fabricio Werdum's nasty KO of Mark Hunt just tip of iceberg on historic UFC card

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 4 days ago

    MEXICO CITY – Just about everything that could go wrong with the UFC's debut in Latin America did go wrong.

    Heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, the reason the fight was held in the country's most populous city to begin with, had to pull out three weeks before his title defense against Fabricio Werdum at UFC 180 with a knee injury.

    Two other promotions, Bellator and the World Series of Fighting, put free shows on television with compelling bouts that aired opposite the UFC's pay-per-view offering.

    And the arena staff at Mexico City Arena was confused and disorganized in all manner of ways, creating havoc where there should have been none.

    Despite everything that went wrong, however, this turned into one of the UFC's most memorable nights.

    Werdum won the interim heavyweight title by surviving a brutal onslaught of power punches from late replacement Mark Hunt, catching the "Super Samoan" with a perfect knee on the butt of the chin.

    A few punches on the ground later and referee Herb Dean was peeling Werdum off Hunt and UFC president Dana White was putting the title belt around the Brazilian's waist.

  • Fabricio Werdum TKOs Mark Hunt with massive knee to win interim heavyweight belt

    Kevin Iole at Cagewriter 4 days ago

    MEXICO CITY -- Mixed martial arts is the most unpredictable sport in the world, and Fabricio Werdum proved that yet again on Saturday before a raucous sell-out crowd at Mexico City Arena in the main event of UFC 180.

    Mark Hunt was controlling the bout with his punching power, keeping the Brazlian on edge and wary of engaging. But as Hunt moved in for what appeared to be a right hand, he ducked his head. At the same time, Werdum leaped and hit the iron-jawed Hunt squarely on the chin with a crushing knee.

    Hunt went down and Werdum quickly followed him to the ground. He landed a series of hard shots that forced referee Herb Dean to stop it at 2:27 of the second round. He won the UFC's interim heavyweight title and will meet champion Cain Velasquez when Velasquez recovers from knee surgery.

    The main event was the only one on the main card to go past the first round, but it finished in dramatic and unexpected fashion. Hunt seemed in control and it appeared to be a matter of time before one of the power bombs he was firing at Werdum would land and end the fight.

    That unpredictability is what makes the sport so great and it made Werdum a champion.


  • Leslie Smith gets her left ear torn half off by punch in UFC 180 bout

    Kevin Iole at Cagewriter 5 days ago

    MEXICO CITY -- Jessica Eye and Leslie Smith engaged in a spirited slugfest for the better part of the first round, until a right hand by Eye landed squarely on Smith's left ear in the waning seconds of the round on the preliminary card at UFC 180 Saturday in Mexico City Arena.

    It split Smith's ear open, sending blood pouring out and covering the side of her face. In between rounds, doctors took a long time to look at the ear and opted to allow Smith to continue.

    But not long after the second began, the fighters clinched and Eye then connected with a couple of short rights from close range that opened it again. After another Eye right, referee Herb Dean called time to have the doctors examine it again when the ear was flapping down.

    When it was shown on the gigantic video board in the arena, the crowd let out a loud "Ewww!"

    After an examination, Dean stopped it on the advice of the ringside physicians. Smith angrily protested, but Dean had no choice but to stop it at 1:30 of the second, giving Eye the TKO victory in the women's bantamweight bout.

  • Fabricio Werdum, Kelvin Gastelum headline picks to win on UFC 180 main card

    Kevin Iole at Cagewriter 5 days ago

    MEXICO CITY -- The UFC will make its first appearance in Mexico tonight when a bout for the interim heavyweight title between Fabricio Werdum and Mark Hunt headlines an 11-bout card at UFC 180 in the sold-out Mexico City Arena.

    I'm on the scene and will be reporting from cageside at what is expected to be a raucous scene. The fans in Mexico have mobbed the UFC fighters wherever they have gone this week and it's expected to be a great atmosphere in the arena tonight.

    Here are my picks for each of the five main card bouts:

    Bout: Fabricio Werdum (18-5-1) versus Mark Hunt (10-8-1)

    UFC rankings: Werdum No. 1, Hunt No. 4.

    Division: Heavyweight (For interim championship)

    Odds: Werdum -450

    Pick: Werdum by third-round submission

    Bout: Jake Ellenberger (29-8) versus Kelvin Gastelum (10-0)

    UFC rankings: Ellenberger No. 7, Gastelum No. 11

    Division: Welterweight

    Odds: Gastelum -200

    Pick: Gastelum by decision

    Bout: Ricardo Lamas (14-3) versus Dennis Bermudez (15-3)

    UFC rankings: Lamas No. 4, Bermudez No. 7.

    Division: Featherweight

    Odds: Bermudez -180

    Pick: Lamas by decision

    Bout: Dodger Montano (13-1) versus Chris Heatherly (8-2)

    UFC rankings: Both are unranked.

    Division: Welterweight

    Odds: Garcia -200