- Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports14 hrs ago
Shawn Porter was at home minding his own business when the telephone rang. It was a call that would change his life.
Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer was scrambling to find an opponent to fight Devon Alexander for the IBF welterweight title after Amir Khan took a pass.
The Alexander-Khan fight had long been anticipated, but Khan opted not to sign when he sensed he was a leading contender for a match against Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Porter was Schaefer's choice. And while Porter, an elite amateur who has compiled a 22-0-1 pro record, was hardly overwhelmed, he was plenty excited.
- Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports16 hrs ago
It doesn't have a name. It doesn't have a price. It's not going to be widely available at launch.
Still, the UFC's new digital television service is a major step forward for the company and is an example of ownership's forward-looking view.
The service is designed to be similar to Netflix or Hulu, and ultimately will be able to be found on smart televisions, set-top boxes such as Roku and Apple TV, gaming systems such as Xbox, and iOS and Android devices.
It's a monthly subscription service that will include live fights and library fights that will feature every match ever held in the UFC, Pride, Strikeforce, World Extreme Cagefighting, Bushido and World Fighting Alliance.
In addition, it will have enhanced all-access coverage of UFC events. The UFC has hired reporter Megan Olivi, who will provide backstage access at news conferences, workouts and the like.
- Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports1 day ago
Since he was hired in January as the first full-time head coach for the Sacramento, Calif.,-based Team Alpha Male, Duane Ludwig has gotten plenty of credit for the team's success.
The former UFC welterweight contender, whose career ended in 2012 when he couldn't remain healthy, finds a lot of humor in that.
"People seem to want to point to me and my hiring and give me all this credit [for the team's success]," he said. "It's nice, and I'll take it, and I deserve some of the credit, but it's fighters who win fights."
It's true that Ludwig inherited one of the sport's deepest and most talented teams. But consider the 2012 versus 2013 records for Chad Mendes, Urijah Faber, Joseph Benavidez and Danny Castillo, four of its biggest stars, when assessing Ludwig's impact.
Each of them will fight on Dec. 14 at SleepTrain Arena in UFC on Fox in Sacramento and all will be trying to finish off a more success 2013 than they had in 2013.
In 2012, Faber was 0-1. In 2013, he's 3-0. In 2012, Mendes was 2-1, but he's 2-0 in 2013. Benavidez was 1-1 in 2012 and 3-0 in 2013 and Castillo was 1-1 in 2012 and 2-0 in 2013.
- Yahoo Sports1 day ago
Boxing changed forever on Sept. 18, 1999.
It was on that night at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas that Felix Trinidad defeated Oscar De La Hoya in what was billed as "The Fight of the Millennium."
The bout was a mega-hit at the box office, selling more than 1.4 million pay-per-views, a record for a non-heavyweight bout at the time.
It was that fight that ended the heavyweight division's longtime stranglehold over the sport's audience.
The De La Hoya-Trinidad welterweight bout showed that lighter weight fighters could be stars the equal of the heavyweights, and it changed the focus of the sport.
For much of the 1990s, for example, Ricardo Lopez was one of the greatest fighters in the sport, but he was largely ignored by the American media and unknown by the American fans because he was a minimumweight.
Television executives never gave Lopez a thought, despite his brilliance in the ring.
But after De La Hoya-Trinidad's stunning box-office success in 1999, that all changed.
- Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports2 days ago
Glen Tapia has become one of boxing's bright young stars because many years ago, he was afraid to say no.
Tapia is following the path that Arturo Gatti, the late Hall of Famer, blazed a generation earlier: He's making a name for himself in the New York Metropolitan area with an aggressive, fan friendly style.
On Saturday at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J., the room that Gatti made famous, Tapia will face the fight of his life when he meets heavy handed James Kirkland in a 10-round super welterweight bout.
[Related: Nine must-see fights in December]
In Kirkland, Tapia will face one of the sport's bigger names in the co-feature of a nationally televised card, fulfilling the vow he made when he was a young professional.
"When I first turned pro, I'd tell people I'd be fighting in Atlantic City and they'd look at me like I was crazy," he said.
No one looks at him that way any more. He's a rare combination of speed, power, fearlessness and boxing ability, with the opportunity to become a star.
- Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports5 days ago
LAS VEGAS – Gray Maynard looked like he'd have rather been anywhere than sharing a cage in a fight with Nate Diaz on Saturday.
Diaz felt the same way, but he turned in one of the great performances of his career and stopped Maynard after a series of strikes in the first round of their bout at The Ultimate Fighter Finale at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.
Diaz had wanted to attend his high school reunion, but skipped it to take on Maynard, a former lightweight-title challenger, in a rubber match. It turned out to be no contest, as Diaz overwhelmed Maynard and forced referee Yves Lavigne to stop the bout.
As good as he looked, though, Diaz wasn't keen on fighting. He wanted to attend his reunion.
"It would have been cool to go there [to my reunion], but I was broke, so I had to show up [to fight]," Diaz said.
And he fought as well as he has in his long career. He caught Maynard with a nice judo throw early in the fight before then using his punching accuracy to set up the finish.
Typical of Diaz, though, he didn't want to hang around much to celebrate. He was being interviewed by Jon Anik in the cage on Fox Sports 1 shortly after the match ended, but cut it short.
- Kevin Iole at Cagewriter6 days ago
Ronda Rousey was concerned that she'd be viewed as some kind of deranged nut job after her stint as a coach on Season 18 of "The Ultimate Fighter" aired on Fox Sports 1.
The season concluded on Wednesday andit portrayed Rousey as ultra-competitive, ultra intense and an extremely poor loser.
None of that, though, is much of a surprise and none of it detracts from her primary gig as the UFC women's bantamweight champion. Her job is not only to fight and retain her title, but also to sell tickets and pay-per-views.
After just one fight in the UFC, a victory in February over Liz Carmouche, Rousey is already one of the sport's biggest stars, male or female. It's fair to say that only welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre clearly exceeds her as a draw. Some might argue that light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and/or middleweight champion Anderson Silva may exceed her in terms of star power.
- Kevin Iole at Boxing6 days ago
Adonis Stevenson has had a superb 2013 campaign, and even though Floyd Mayweather Jr. seems to have the edge on Fighter of the Year honors, "Superman" remains in contention heading into his WBC light heavyweight title bout on Saturday in Quebec City against Tony Bellew.
Stevenson has scored two impressive knockout wins in 2013, halting Chad Dawson in the first round and then stopping Tavoris Cloud after seven one-sided rounds. An impressive win over Bellew would force voters to at least consider him as 2013 Fighter of the Year.
But more importantly, a big victory for the heavy handed Stevenson would put him in prime position for 2014. First, it will position him for a fight with Sergey Kovalev, a match that would be an absolute donnybrook, should Kovalev, as expected, get past Ismayl Sillakh on Saturday's undercard.
A Stevenson-Kovalev WBC-IBF unification bout would be one of the best action fights on the early 2014 schedule.
- Kevin Iole at Cagewriter7 days ago
LAS VEGAS -- It's hard to tag a bout a must-win for a fighter who is 11-2-1 and has beaten some of the best fighters in the world. But if Gray Maynard wants to remain remotely in contention for the UFC lightweight title, then he has no other choice but to defeat Nate Diaz when they meet on Saturday in The Ultimate Fighter 18 finale at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.
Maynard's record is magnificent, and he was seconds away from having Dana White wrap the lightweight belt around his waist on New Year's Day 2011, when he knocked champion Frankie Edgar down three times in the first round of their bout at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas.
But Maynard is just 1-2-1 in his last four fights and a loss to Diaz on Saturday would literally mean a year or more climb back to relevancy in the division.
The fighters are so evenly matched at the highest levels of the division that losses take on a lot more meaning. A series of losses can be a killer to one's title hopes.
- Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports12 days ago
Pacquiao used his blinding hand and foot speed to batter Brandon Rios into submission on Saturday at CotaiArena in his first fight in nearly a year after being knocked cold.
Following a lost year in 2012, which included losses to Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez and dropping his position as the best fighter in the world not named Mayweather to Andre Ward, Pacquiao seemed to regain his mojo fighting before an energized crowd of supporters.
The sellout crowd of 13,101 lustily roared at every Pacquiao combination that landed. Pacquiao went hard, early and often, to the body and easily won the unanimous decision.
Judge Michael Pernick saw it 120-108, a shutout, the same as Yahoo Sports. Lisa Giampa scored it 119-109, giving Rios the eighth. Manfred Kuechler scored the fight 118-110, judging the third and eighth rounds for Rios.