- Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports53 mins ago
LAS VEGAS – Canelo Alvarez hardly covered himself with glory in his split-decision victory Saturday over Erislandy Lara in their non-title super welterweight bout.
Alvarez struggled to cut off the ring, often flailed helplessly at Lara and, despite moving forward relentlessly throughout the bout, never had Lara so much as wobbled.
But Alvarez won the bout, and in boxing, nothing is more important than that. Memories will fade and in a few months, those who weren't impressed with what they saw will forget it.
Alvarez generates big money – he sold out the MGM Grand Garden Saturday, attracting 14,239 fans who roared every time he got close to hitting Lara – and that rules the day.
Alvarez will move on to a big-money fight in November and the controversy over whether he deserved to win will be long forgotten.
Judges Dave Moretti (115-113) and Levi Martinez (117-111) scored it for Alvarez, while Jerry Roth had it 115-113 for Lara. Yahoo Sports also had it 115-113 for Lara.
- Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports2 hrs ago
LAS VEGAS – Canelo Alvarez escaped by the narrowest of margins, surviving an upset bid by Cuban-born Erislandy Lara by claiming a split decision.
Judge Jerry Roth had it 115-113 for Lara, the same score as Yahoo Sports. But Roth was overruled by judges Dave Moretti (115-113) and Levi Martinez (117-111) for Alvarez in their non-title super welterweight bout before 14,239 at the MGM Grand Garden.
Alvarez landed the far harder punches, and was on the attack all night. Lara moved in circles, making certain to stay away from the powerful shots that Alvarez was winging at him.
Lara did well when he moved, but threw his jab and left hand behind it. But far too often, Lara moved in circles without letting his hands go, and that's probably what cost him the bout.
"I think 100 percent I won the fight," Lara said. "I was totally in control. It didn't seem like he was doing anything. I know one thing: I made him look bad in front of all his people."
- Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports1 day ago
Two fight cards into the second half of 2014, and one fact has become abundantly clear: Without former welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, the UFC does not have one fighter it can place atop a card and, no matter who he or she is fighting, reasonably expect it to sell 500,000 or more pay-per-views.
The company has a lot of popular fighters and burgeoning stars, not the least of which are women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey and middleweight champion Chris Weidman.
Selling a fight on pay-per-view is a difficult and challenging business in the best of times. When times are rough, it can be next to impossible.
The UFC does not release its pay-per-view results and any list or discussion of sales is speculation. There is, however, a general feeling in the industry that the company has backslid in pay-per-view sales this year compared to last.
In 2013, the UFC had extraordinary luck with injuries and did not have to change one main event all year after it was announced because a fighter got hurt.
But in 2014, some of the company's best fighters and potential stars have yet to compete.
- Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports1 day ago
LAS VEGAS – It's all about positioning for Canelo Alvarez. After what some would call a flop against Floyd Mayweather in September, Alvarez needed to regroup.
He was still young, still talented and still massively popular.
There were few men in his weight class who would be favored to beat him other than Mayweather, but he was handled so easily once he had his shot he seemed out of place to not belong.
But as he tries to rebound from that difficult loss, Alvarez has something going for him that few others do: He is a massive draw who helped Mayweather set a single-fight record for most pay-per-view revenue at $150 million. The fight sold 2.3 million, making it the second-best selling fight behind Mayweather's 2007 win over Oscar De La Hoya.
So if Alvarez could rebuild himself and convince the public that he is a legitimate threat to Mayweather in a rematch, it's then at least feasible he could get a second shot at the King and the mega-payday that would carry with it.
The second step on that path toward redemption comes Saturday, and it promises to be a much more difficult challenge than his first post-Mayweather bout when he easily thrashed Alfredo Angulo in March.
The UFC is quickly running out of viable challengers for women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, as the 2008 Olympic bronze medalist has run roughshod over the 135-pound division.
On Thursday, the UFC may have gotten her some stiff competition.
UFC president Dana White announced on Twitter that the company had signed former boxing champion Holly Holm, who is 7-0 in her mixed martial arts career.
Holm is expected to debut with the promotion in the fall, but isn't expected to land an immediate title shot against Rousey. She was 33-2-3 as a boxer and was 2-1 as a kick boxer.
Holm is 5-8, an inch taller than the 5-7 Rousey, and has a 70-66 advantage in reach.
The UFC had been in talks with Holm for several months. Holm began boxing in 2002 and won a number of world championships. Included among her victories were 2005 wins over Christy Martin and Mia St. John.
Holm made her MMA debut on March 4, 2011, defeating Christina Domke by leg kicks in the second round. Later that month, on March 27, 2011, Rousey made her pro MMA debut by submitting Ediane Gomes with an arm bar in just 25 seconds of the first round.
The third UFC fighter to be randomly tested for the usage of performance-enhancing drugs in the past seven weeks has turned in a positive test.
Ali Bagautinov, a flyweight who did nothing in a title fight loss to Demetrious Johnson on June 14 in Vancouver, British Columbia, tested positive for the hormone EPO. The British Columbia Athletic Commission suspended Bagautinov for a year.
EPO is banned in and out of competition and is on the World Anti-Doping Agency's 2014 prohibited list.
A favorite of cyclists for its ability to help improve endurance, EPO helps increase the body's production of red blood cells, which allows more oxygen to be delivered to the lungs and then muscles. That helps increase endurance and aid in recovery following workouts, allowing an athlete to train more vigorously.
- Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports2 days ago
The most influential boxer in the world flexed his muscles a bit on Thursday to show who's boss to the man who used to hold that mythical title.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. announced via a smartphone app, of all things, that he would fight a welterweight title rematch against Marcos Maidana on Sept. 13 at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas.
That the announcement was made only hours before Golden Boy Promotions president Oscar De La Hoya was about to step behind a podium and run a very critical news conference was not at all coincidental.
The message was loud and clear, to De La Hoya, to potential venues, to Showtime, and to anyone else with an interest in the fight game: This is all about what's best for Floyd Mayweather. Everyone else be damned.
De La Hoya is promoting a pay-per-view card on Saturday between Canelo Alvarez and Erislandy Lara at the MGM Grand on Saturday. The news conference was scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. Pacific time on Thursday, or only about three hours after Mayweather announced he would rematch Maidana.
- Kevin Iole at Boxing2 days ago
LAS VEGAS – Floyd Mayweather, the world's top pound-for-pound boxer, waited until about the last possible moment to announce via a smart phone app on Thursday that he will rematch Marcos Maidana on Sept. 13 at the MGM Grand Garden in a bout that will be televised on Showtime pay-per-view.
Mayweather made the announcement of the rematch of his May 3 majority decision win over Maidana on the Shots smart phone app, but didn't announce either the venue or the promoter. Leonard Ellerbe, the CEO of Mayweather Promotions, confirmed to Yahoo Sports via telephone that the bout will be co-promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and Mayeather Promotions.
Cat Zingano, who lost a UFC title shot and an opportunity to coach against women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey when she suffered a knee injury during training, willl return to competition on Sept. 27 in Las Vegas when she meets Amanda Nunes at UFC 178 at the MGM Grand Garden.
Zingano defeated former Strikeforce champion Miesha Tate to earn a shot to coach against Rousey and then fight her in the finale, but a knee injury announced on May 28, 2013, forced her to withdraw. She was replaced by Tate, a move that shocked Rousey. Rousey then defeated Tate in the third round when they met at UFC 168.
Injury, though, hasn't been Zingano's only issue. In January, her husband, Mauricio Zingano, took his own life.
- Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports3 days ago
LAS VEGAS – There is, Martin Kampmann says, at least some similarities between mixed martial arts and playing professional poker.
The longtime UFC fighter has recently turned professional in poker and is currently playing in the World Series of Poker at the Rio.
Contestants begin with $30,000 in chips, and at the end of the day on Tuesday, Kampmann wound up with a stack of $40,775, so he'd made considerable progress.
MMA fighters need a poker face and must remain cool under pressure, traits that also help greatly in poker. But there is one thing, he concedes, that makes fighting more appealing than poker.
"I don't have to worry about getting punched in the face in poker, though," Kampmann said, chuckling. "But staying cool under pressure is a big similarity. One mistake in fighting, if you leave your chin up or your arm out, the fight is going to be over quickly and you'll wind up being knocked out or submitted.