Kevin Iole

  • Keith Thurman: PBC's 'big league' setting means more pressure

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 5 hrs ago

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    LAS VEGAS – Robert Guerrero and Keith Thurman are here on this grand stage, in boxing's first primetime show on NBC since a heavyweight championship bout in Reno went 15 rounds 30 years ago, largely because of what they've accomplished.

    Guerrero has been a professional boxer for nearly half of his life, and briefly hit the summit in 2013 when he faced the pound-for-pound king, Floyd Mayweather Jr.

    Thurman has won 24 bouts without a loss, with 21 of those ending in a stoppage, and he holds the WBA interim welterweight title.

    But when the two stand across from each other in the ring Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden in the main event of the debut Premier Boxing Champions card, it will almost be like they're starting over.

    The power of network television has the ability to make them overnight sensations after years of struggle.

    "We're in the big leagues now," Thurman said. "This puts us on a par with all the other major sports. But when you're in the big leagues, they expect you to perform."

    That, though, is all window dressing to what is really important.

    It left Guerrero decidedly unimpressed.

  • For Ronda Rousey, 14 seconds is nice, but it's hardly a personal record

    Kevin Iole at Cagewriter 6 hrs ago

    Ronda Rousey won her last fight in just 14 seconds, successfully defending her UFC women's bantamweight title against previously unbeaten Cat Zingano by catching Zingano in an arm bar.

    [DraftKings: Players Who Drafted Ronda Rousey during UFC 184 won over $150,000. Draft Your Fantasy MMA Team.]

    The fight before that, she needed just 16 seconds to best Alexis Davis at UFC 175.

    Rousey has become the talk of the sports world because of her dominance. On Monday, former New York Mets general manager Steve Phillips and  1996 National League Rookie of the Year Todd Hollandsworth mentioned her on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM, and they joked about which baseball player they could find who could hang with Rousey in a fight.

    Heyman told Reigns, "Brock Lesnar [might] simply Ronda Rousey your ass."

    The entire video is below. And while it's not of the greatest quality, it's obvious that Rousey was just as dominant as a young girl as she is now. She also has the giddy celebration that she still uses in the UFC.

  • PBC setting resembles Olympics ceremony, Super Bowl production

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 17 hrs ago

    LAS VEGAS – Floyd Mayweather refers to Al Haymon as "The Ghost," because the powerful manager and the creator of the Premier Boxing Champions series is so rarely seen.

    But Haymon's vision of what professional boxing ought to be will be on display for the first time on Saturday, when the PBC debuts on NBC at the MGM Grand Garden. Robert Guerrero will face Keith Thurman in the main event.

    The show will be a symphony of light, sound and visuals never before seen during a live boxing match. It's more akin to an Olympics Opening Ceremony or a Super Bowl production.

    The Grand Garden has hosted fights for more than 21 years, but none has ever looked, or will feel, quite like this, both for the paying customer as well as the fan watching on television.

    Haymon's team has created an elaborate in-arena experience that, quite literally, needs to be seen to be believed.

    Marto said that Haymon's idea was to make the experience of being at the venue be as good or better than watching on television.

    The PBC has brought in equipment that will make the Grand Garden almost unrecognizable to those who are frequent guests.

    You almost have to see it to believe it.

  • Why Adrien Broner still has shot at being boxing’s top star

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 1 day ago

    Adrien Broner, boxing's self-anointed superstar, sits in a unique place in boxing history.

    It's not clear who is going to replace Floyd Mayweather Jr. or Manny Pacquiao as the biggest star in the sport. It's only certain that someone will assume the mantle not long after they exit the stage.

    Just as Sugar Ray Leonard followed Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson followed Leonard and Oscar De La Hoya followed Tyson, someone will emerge as the leading light to replace Mayweather and Pacquiao.

    They've had a chokehold on the spotlight in the 21st century, but they're both now nearing the finish line.

    Broner, who fights John Molina Jr. on Saturday in a nationally televised bout on NBC at the MGM Grand Garden as part of the debut card of the Premier Boxing Champions series, has long viewed himself as heir to that throne.

    Truth be told, he has some of the characteristics it takes to grab such a position.

    He's got fast hands and decent power and flashy movements in the ring. He's also not camera shy and is (more than) willing to promote himself.

    Broner has no such list.

    His popularity is more folk story than achievement.

    Even Mayweather has urged him to cool it down.

  • Trainer Freddie Roach fires opening salvo, blasts Floyd Mayweather Sr.

    Kevin Iole at Boxing 2 days ago

    Since their mega-fight was announced amid much fanfare on Feb. 20, neither Floyd Mayweather Jr. norManny Pacquiao have had anything bad to say about the other.

    But Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach, isn't as interested in playing nice.

    In a telephone interview with Yahoo Sports from Macau, China, where he is preparing Zou Shiming to challenge Amnat Ruenroeng for the IBF flyweight title in Cotai Arena, Roach blasted Mayweather's father, Floyd Mayweather Sr., and said Mayweather Jr. would be far better off with his uncle, Roger Mayweather, working his corner.

    Roach said Roger Mayweather is a better trainer than Floyd Mayweather Sr., and said he believes he'd face a more challenging battle when the welterweight title fight happens on May 2 at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas if Roger Mayweather were the one giving Floyd Jr. the instructions.

  • Ronda Rousey is never going to fight a man, so please STOP

    Kevin Iole at Cagewriter 2 days ago

    An online sports book set odds at 25-1 that Ronda Rousey would fight a man in a UFC sanctioned event by Dec. 31, 2016. Bovada could have set the number at 100 million to 1, because it's never going to happen.

    [DraftKings: Players Who Drafted Ronda Rousey during UFC 184 won over $150,000. Draft Your Fantasy MMA Team.]

    Not now.

    Not ever.

    It's beyond ridiculous and is highly disrespectful to Rousey, the wonderfully talented UFC women's bantamweight champion. What Rousey is doing is remarkable, and should be celebrated. She's 11-0 with 11 finishes and has won her last two fights in a combined 30 seconds.

    It's one of the most dominant runs in sports history by any athlete in any sport, male or female.

    Beating a fighter like Zingano in 14 seconds is kind of like Tiger Woods winning the 2000 U.S. Open by 15 shots. Or Secretariat winning the 1973 Belmont Stakes by 31 lengths. Or the Chicago Bears defeating the Washington Redskins 73-0 in the 1940 NFL Championship game.

  • Why odd fit John Molina Jr. belongs in NBC's boxing series

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 2 days ago

    LAS VEGAS – At the inaugural Premier Boxing Champions news conference in New York, one name stood out as out of place among the others.

    It was no shock that Adrien Broner would be involved in the first primetime boxing match on NBC since 1985. Nor was it all that much of a surprise that Keith Thurman and Robert Guerrero would square off.

    And then came the name "John Molina Jr." and it was like, "Huh?"

    Is this the same Molina (27-5, 22 KOs) who lost his last two bouts?

    Is this the same guy who had lost every round to Mickey Bey before a stunning final-minute knockout?

    Is this the guy who was knocked out in the first round of a lightweight title fight by Antonio DeMarco, and is it the same guy who has lost four of his last seven and could easily have lost five of his last seven were it not for that haymaker against Bey?

    Yes, he's one and the same.

    But it speaks to progress in the industry that there wasn't much grumbling among those in the know about his inclusion on the card.

    Hockey coaches often use the saying, "Talent won't beat hard work if the talent doesn't work hard," and that's also true in boxing.

  • Manny Pacquiao confident ahead of Mayweather fight but refuses to talk trash

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 3 days ago

    The word for years among those who know Manny Pacquiao is that he didn't particularly care much for Floyd Mayweather as a person, but Pacquiao was always far too courteous and circumspect to ever say anything derogatory about his biggest rival.

    Pacquiao will fight Mayweather on May 2 at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas in a bout that will generate close to $300 million in gross revenue as the richest fight in the sport's history.

    In a telephone interview with Yahoo Sports on Monday, Pacquiao praised Mayweather's abilities as a fighter, but predicted he would be victorious.

    He credited CBS Corp. chairman Leslie Moonves and HBO CEO Richard Plepler for being the driving forces behind getting the massive deal completed.

    And he said he loves Alex Ariza, his former strength and conditioning coach who has since defected to Mayweather and has been critical of his performance.

    The one thing he didn't want to do, though, was speak about Mayweather personally.

    Though they fought on the same card on Nov. 10, 2001, they never spoke face-to-face until Jan. 27, when they met at an NBA game in Miami and later when Mayweather visited Pacquiao in his hotel room.

  • How Marv Albert, 73, could help boxing regain traction with younger crowd

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 4 days ago

    Boxing desperately needs a younger audience, and fast. Scan a television ratings spreadsheet and it's impossible to miss that the largest numbers of viewers for any boxing telecast almost always fall into the category of what is referred to in the ratings business as "P55+."

    It shouldn't be confused with Tony Horton's workout program, P90X, which is very popular among young people.

    No, in the television ratings game, P55+ isn't anything to be excited about. It refers to people aged 55 and older, perhaps the least desirable audience segment. Advertisers are desperate to reach a younger audience, particularly the coveted 18-to-34-year-old demographic.

    Over the last 25 years, boxing hasn't been able to do that.

    And so to some, it might seem a curious choice on the part of NBC and the Premier Boxing Champions to name a soon-to-be 74-year-old who hasn't called a boxing match since the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, as the play-by-play voice for the upcoming series.

    Then as now, Marv Albert will be the man calling the fights.

    To that, to borrow Albert's distinctive catch phrase, fans can only say, "Yes!"

    What PBC on NBC needs to succeed is simple:

  • How Ronda Rousey went from child prodigy to the UFC's most dominant champ

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 5 days ago

    LOS ANGELES – When Ronda Rousey was 13 and in junior high school, she was doing things athletically that made her mother's jaw drop. AnnMaria De Mars suspected she may have a child prodigy on her hands.

    De Mars was not just another proud mother. She was a world-class athlete herself and in 1984 became the first American to win a world judo championship. She had an eye for talent and an analytic mind, and she believed deeply that her daughter had the potential for greatness.

    What she was concerned about was having it develop to its fullest extent. So she did what any parent in a similar situation would do with a prodigy. She sought help, only to get rebuffed.

    "I called up USA Judo, the governing body for judo, and I said, 'I have this kid and I seriously think she is going to be something special,' DeMars said. "[I said to them], I don't just say it because she's my kid, because I have three other kids. I'm telling you Ronda has something. Can you send me a program for what to do with really gifted athletes.' They kind of laughed and said, 'That would be nice to have.' So I kind of made it up as I went along."