Kevin Iole

  • How James DeGale turned a negative into a positive

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 1 day ago

    To begin to understand how James DeGale got to the top of the mountain in boxing’s super middleweight division, it’s best to look back at his low moment as a professional.

    DeGale won the middleweight gold medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. He instantly became a huge star in the United Kingdom, where he was born and raised.

    In just his 11th professional fight, DeGale fought George Groves for the British super middleweight title on May 21, 2011. It was a fight that DeGale figured to win.

    It was supposed to be a pathway toward a world title for DeGale. Instead, it was a disaster. He wasn’t properly prepared and shockingly suffered a majority decision defeat.

    On Saturday in Washington, D.C., DeGale will make the second defense of his IBF super middleweight title against Rogelio Medina in a bout to be televised by Showtime. That loss nearly five years ago seems like just a blip on the radar, an outlier to be ignored.

    DeGale, though, certainly doesn’t look at it that way. That defeat has everything to do with the fighter he’s become.

    DeGale’s blunt words and brutally direct self-assessment stands in contrast to the majority of high-end athletes.

  • Lucian Bute has found his confidence again

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 2 days ago

    Few professional athletes are willing to ever admit what Lucian Bute did on the eve of what could be the final title shot of his career.

    The former super middleweight champion, who challenges champion Badou Jack on Saturday in Washington, D.C., in a bout televised on Showtime, admitted he went through a crisis of confidence.

    Even as he stepped into the ring for his last title bout, an enthralling back-and-forth battle he eventually lost to James DeGale last year, Bute harbored doubts about his ability to do what had for so long come naturally to him.

    "I had lost my confidence and it was difficult," Bute told Yahoo Sports. "I had doubts before that fight."

    Confidence is as critical for a fighter as speed, power and a stinging jab. If a boxer doesn't believe he can do it, chances are he won't.

    It was a strange spot that Bute found himself in. He won his first world title on Oct. 19, 2007, when he stopped Alejandro Berrio in the 11th round in Montreal to win the IBF super middleweight belt.

    He was routed by archrival Jean Pascal in a light heavyweight bout on Jan. 18, 2014, making him question everything.

    He was being hit more and hitting back less.

  • Terrorist group plotted to kidnap boxer Manny Pacquiao, President Aquino says

    Kevin Iole at Boxing 3 days ago

    Filipino president Benigno Aquino III said Abu Sayyaf, a militant Muslim group based in the Philippines, planned to assassinate him and was plotting to kidnap boxer Manny Pacquiao, according to a report from The Associated Press.

    Pacquiao, who announced his retirement as a boxer following an April 9 victory over Timothy Bradley in Las Vegas, is a congressman representing Sarangani province and the most popular figure in the island nation. He is in the midst of a campaign for a seat in the Filipino senate.

    Aquino said the government scuttled Abu Sayyaf's plans to detonate bombs in Manila.

    They allegedly even hatched plots to kidnap Manny Pacquiao or one of his children, as well as my sister Kris or one of her children, with the plan to use them in bargaining for the release of their cohorts. Threats against my own life have been investigated.

    Aquino gave no further details about Pacquiao.

  • Daniel Cormier to meet Jon Jones in main event of UFC 200 on July 9

    Kevin Iole at Cagewriter 3 days ago

    There was no surprise on Wednesday when the UFC announced on "Good Morning America" that the main event of UFC 200 will be a rematch between champion Daniel Cormier andinterim champion Jon Jones for the light heavyweight belt on July 9 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

    Jones, then the outright champion, routed Cormier in the main event of UFC 182 on Jan. 3, 2015, in Las Vegas, taking a lopsided unanimous decision. But Jones had a series of legal problems after that and he was stripped of his title in April 2015 when he was involved in a hit-and-run traffic accident in Albuquerque, N.M., where he trains.

    Cormier won the vacant title in his absence, submitting Anthony "Rumble" Johnson in the second round of UFC 187 on May 23 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

    When Cormier's physician cleared him on Monday, the fight was all but official.

  • Dispute between Chris Algieri and promoter Joe DeGuardia carries on

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 4 days ago

    Boxer Chris Algieri, unhappy with promoter Joe DeGuardia, said he assumes a great risk every time he walks into the ring and that without him, DeGuardia makes no money.

    DeGuardia, unhappy with Algieri, said he assumes a risk every time Algieri fights and that without him, Algieri would have no one to pay him to fight.

    The risk that Algieri faces in the ring is obvious. Despite the best regulatory efforts to enhance safety measures, boxers can and still do die in the ring, as well as suffer serious brain injuries.

    The risk DeGuardia alludes to is financial. Promoters invest in boxers, often significantly, and if they don’t pan out, the promoter can lose large sums of money.

    The dispute between the two is a long simmering one and cuts to the core of the boxer-promoter relationship.

    Algieri is upset because DeGuardia takes a 50-50 split, which is extremely high in favor of the promoter for a fighter on Algieri’s level who fights on HBO or Showtime. Algieri agreed to a $325,000 purse to fight Errol Spence Jr. on April 16 in Brooklyn, a bout that was televised in primetime by NBC.

    DeGuardia is one of the few who felt otherwise.

    That line greatly irritated the boxer.

  • Bellator lightweight Djamil Chan overcomes autism to make the big time

    Kevin Iole at Cagewriter 4 days ago

    Djamil Chan said he doesn't want to be pitied. The Bellator MMA newcomer is autistic, which makes the fact that he finds himself competing at the highest level of mixed martial arts all the more amazing.

    And anyone who watched Chan's Bellator debut last week against Richard Patishnock would no doubt be pitying Patishnock and not Chan.

    After working his way off the ground, Chan landed one of the best overhand rights of the year that all but finished Patishnock. The rest were the formalities, like how long it would take the referee to get in to stop the bout. It was over at 3:09 of the first round.

    Chan, 25, grew up in The Netherlands, where so many of the great kick boxers train. He was into fighting from a young age and said he dropped out of school while he was in high school.

    He said he prefers not to discuss his autism, because he doesn't want to be pitied. He wants to be judged as a fighter and said he's taking his job more seriously now that he is a father.

    His goal is a simple one: Make himself must-see TV.

  • Why ‘McGregor Promotions’ would have no shot succeeding against UFC

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 5 days ago

    Since last Tuesday, he has posted six times on Twitter and twice on Facebook. The first Facebook post, which hit about 10:40 a.m. ET on Thursday, has gotten 726,000 likes, 265,347 shares and 131,730 comments. The second Facebook post, which went up about 10 hours later, has 182,000 likes, 6,135 shares and 5,688 comments.

    His six tweets have combined to receive 405,000 retweets and 454,000 likes.

    That is a mind-bogglingly effective use of social media. He’s forced the UFC to scramble a bit.

    Few, if any, other fighters could accomplish what he has in less than a week. The UFC 200 announcement news conference on Friday was overwhelmingly about McGregor, as was most of the media coverage last week, which no doubt will wind up lessening the sales of UFC 197.

    For more than a year, McGregor has hinted that at the very least, he’d like to co-promote with the UFC, if not one day outright promote himself by creating McGregor Promotions.

    This is the path that boxing star Floyd Mayweather took, and for just $750,000, it helped set him on his way to becoming the highest-paid athlete in sports history.

    He exceeded 1 million sales in eight of those 12 and averaged 1.55 million.

  • Conor McGregor tweets he's back on UFC 200, but White says it's untrue

    Kevin Iole at Cagewriter 5 days ago

    Conor McGregor has once again gotten the mixed martial arts world buzzing with a tweet. This time, the UFC featherweight champion has tweeted that he is back on the UFC 200 card, only three days after UFC president Dana White officially ruled him out because he did not show up in Las Vegas for promotional activities related to the summer blockbuster card.

    At about 2 a.m. ET on Monday, McGregor continued his pattern of issuing a single tweet and then going silent. In this one, he thanks White and UFC chairman for fixing the issue and making certain that he's back on the blockbuster summer card, which will be July 9 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

    Happy to announce that I am BACK on UFC 200! Shout out to @danawhite and @lorenzofertitta on getting this one done for the fans. #Respect

    It appears McGregor's tweet was simply about leverage. White told Yahoo Sports, "It's not true. We haven't talked to Conor or his manager since the press conference. I don't know why he would tweet that."

     

     

  • How Jon Jones won one title while losing another at UFC 197

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 6 days ago

    Though he won a clear unanimous performanceSaturday in the main event of UFC 197 before 11,352 at the MGM Grand Garden, routing a not-so-willing-to-engage Ovince Saint Preux, Jones may have lost another, albeit unofficial title.

    Flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson may well have surpassed him as the world’s finest fighter.

    Jones topped Saint Preux by scores of 50-45, 50-44 and 50-45 and was never in danger. But he looked, well, like a good fighter who’d been away for a long time and had spent the majority of his camp training for someone else. Johnson, however, was simply sensational.

    The mythical pound-for-pound honor has been one that Jones has held for years. He’s been extraordinarily dominant in the five years since he destroyed Mauricio “Shogun” Rua to become the youngest UFC champion in 2011, and he’s knocked off one elite fighter after another.

    He did what he had to do Saturday in getting past Saint Preux, who in all honesty looked like his primary goal was simply to make it through all five rounds.

    “There are a lot of stars here,” he said.

  • UFC 197: Jon Jones defeats Ovince Saint Preux for interim title

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 6 days ago

    LAS VEGAS — Jon Jones returned to the Octagon for the first time in 15 months, and though he won his bout with Ovince Saint Preux via unanimous decision Saturday in the main event of UFC 197 at the MGM Grand Garden going away, it was hardly vintage Jones.

    Only seconds after UFC president Dana White wrapped the title belt around his waist, signifying him as the interim light heavyweight champion, Jones took it off.

    “I don’t think I want that belt,” Jones said. “It’s not the real belt. I want my actual belt back.”

    Jones was stripped of the title almost a year ago to the night after he was involved in a hit-and-run auto accident in his hometown of Albuquerque, N.M. His bitter rival, Daniel Cormier, whom he had beaten at UFC 182 in his last appearance in the cage, won the vacant belt by submitting Anthony “Rumble” Johnson.

    Jones and Cormier were supposed to rematch on Saturday and, as it turned out, it was probably a pretty good thing that Cormier injured his left legand had to pull out of the fight.