- Yahoo Sports1 day ago
Kelvin Gastelum has seen both sides of Johny Hendricks. The 22-year-old winner of Season 17 of "The Ultimate Fighter," trained in Montreal at the TriStar Gym with then-UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre late last year.
St-Pierre was preparing to defend his title against Hendricks at UFC 167 and brought Gastelum in as one of his training partners.
Gastelum, who faces Rick "Horror" Story on Saturday at UFC 171 in Dallas at the American Airlines Center, got a first-hand look at what made St-Pierre so great.
Gastelum was preparing for his own fight, a December match against Court McGee that was canceled when Gastelum injured a knee.
When Gastelum recovered, the UFC granted his wish and paired him against Story at UFC 171. And when he set up his camp for the Story fight, he found himself training in Dallas with Hendricks at Team Takedown.
Hendricks will meet Robbie Lawler in Saturday's main event for the welterweight title that St-Pierre vacated.
- Yahoo Sports1 day ago
Undefeated fighters who flummox one of the hottest men in the sport generally wind up in a high-profile match worth millions of dollars the next time out.
But not Danny Garcia.
Six months after Garcia outclassed Lucas Matthysse in Las Vegas in September in one of the most significant super lightweight title fights in years, Garcia finds himself away from the spotlight taking on a relatively unknown opponent.
The win did not put his name into the Floyd Mayweather Derby, as it seemed it should have. Rather, Amir Khan, a guy Garcia knocked out in a one-sided manner, was one of two finalists for the spot that ultimately went to Marcos Maidana.
He'll take on Mauricio Herrera on Saturday in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, in a bout televised on Showtime in a match far less anticipated than his last few outings.
As hard as it might be to believe, it's all just fine with Garcia, too.
Garcia was brilliant in defusing the powerful Matthysse on the undercard of Mayweather's one-sided rout of Canelo Alvarez. His victory over Matthysse tagged him as unquestionably the class of the 140-pound division and seemed to set him up for a series of big fights.
- Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports1 day ago
Almost from the first moment he set foot inside of a cage, the expectations for Robbie Lawler were immense. He was an all-state wrestler in high school, but it was the natural power in his hands that led so many to predict mixed martial arts greatness for him.
He turned pro only a couple of weeks after his 19th birthday. He was in the UFC by the time he was 20, with only four fights, all first-round knockouts, under his belt.
He was, along with lightweight B.J. Penn, the greatest prospect in the UFC. He was a can't-miss kid if ever there were one.
"Robbie had a tremendous amount of talent and it was pretty obvious that he could do great things," said Monte Cox, Lawler's manager then and now.
It took nearly 12 years after his first UFC fight, a decision over Aaron Riley at UFC 37 in 2002, for Lawler to finally get his title shot.
Along the way was a trail of missed opportunities, disappointments and difficulties.
Lawler won regional titles, but never achieved the expected greatness at the elite level of the sport.
But just when it appeared that he would be relegated to the huge pile of can't-miss prospects who missed, it all of a sudden came together.
- Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports2 days ago
The journey toward redemption for Manny Pacquiao resumed on Tuesday, when his workout was so difficult that all he wanted to do when he stepped out of trainer Freddie Roach's Wild Card Gym was to go to sleep.
Pacquiao had arrived in Los Angeles late Saturday after conducting the first part of his training camp in the Philippines. He took Sunday off, and then slept in on Monday while fighting off jet lag.
So he began the American portion of perhaps the most important training camp he's faced in years on Tuesday by putting in a long, hard day that by end had left him with next-to-no energy.
"We're working very hard," Pacquiao said, almost as if by rote.
Even though Pacquiao remains one of boxing's biggest stars – No. 2 in the world behind Floyd Mayweather Jr. – his fight against Timothy Bradley at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas on April 12 brings him to a sort of crossroads.
He's vowed to get a knockout, which he hasn't done since he stopped Miguel Cotto on Nov. 14, 2009, in the bout that truly spurred calls for a match with Mayweather.
- Yahoo Sports2 days ago
For the first time in nearly six years, someone other than Georges St-Pierre will leave the Octagon on Saturday with the UFC's welterweight title belt strapped around his waist.
St-Pierre, who won the interim belt on Dec. 29, 2007, and then captured the full title on April 19, 2008, will be in Los Angeles when Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler meet Saturday in the main event of UFC 171 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas for the belt he voluntarily surrendered in December.
He'll try to catch the fight, he said, but there will be no feelings of melancholy as he watches another man being proclaimed the champion even though he never lost.
"This was my choice, it is what I wanted, so I won't feel badly at all" to see either Hendricks or Lawler crowned champion, St-Pierre said.
He told Yahoo Sports the pressure of being champion "was just eating me alive, totally, and I couldn't go on one more second that way."
It's why he opted to take a sabbatical and surrender his belt.
- Yahoo Sports2 days ago
Monday was a typically long day for Sergio Martinez. The affable Argentinean, who holds the WBC middleweight title, awakened early to attend a news conference in Puerto Rico to promote his June 7 bout at Madison Square Garden with Miguel Cotto.
At midnight, he was in a hotel suite in New York, munching on a plate of pasta, meatballs and prosciutto, still doing interviews.
He's had surgery after each of his last two bouts, victories over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in Las Vegas in 2012 and Martin Murray in Argentina in 2013, and his body seems on the verge of collapse.
He says he mostly feels good, but rates his surgically repaired knee as a nine on a 1-10 scale. Given the rigors of training camp, he should be so lucky on fight night to be able to rate his knee a nine.
He's now 39, and still considered one of the best pure athletes in the sport.
Yet, Martinez's body is betraying him because he pushes it relentlessly for one simple reason: He doesn't believe he's that good.
Martinez, who is 51-2-2 and has been widely regarded as one of the five best fighters in the world for at least the last six years, simply doesn't believe he's that naturally gifted.
- Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports3 days ago
I've spent about 10 weeks playing with UFC Fight Pass, the UFC's new digital streaming service that debuted in January by offering a two-month free trial.
Zuffa, the UFC's parent company, began charging $9.99 on March 1. Despite an offer of free service for media, I have chosen to pay for it out of my own pocket because it's the right thing to do.
In using it on an almost daily basis, and in comparing it to the new WWE Network that I purchased last week, I'm astounded at the level of vitriol that surrounds Fight Pass.
In this review, I'm going to try to explain what it is, who it is for and, most importantly, my experience using the service.
Clearly, it's a better product conceptually than in actuality now, but it's good enough as is that I do not plan to cancel (or accept the free offer).
For those who don't know, UFC Fight Pass is a digital streaming service that Zuffa officials have tried to position as a Netflix for fight fans.
- Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports5 days ago
LAS VEGAS – For a guy who did just about everything perfectly on Saturday, Canelo Alvarez heard plenty of boos. He entered the ring at the MGM Grand Garden for his bout with Alfredo Angulo to an unfamiliar chorus of boos from the sellout crowd of 14,160.
And he left it with the crowd in a full-throated hissy fit, hurling trash and drinks toward the ring.
But in between, Alvarez gave the fans plenty to cheer about in a magnificent performance that helped erase the bad memories of his September loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr.
That bout sold 2.2 million on pay-per-view, in large part because so many Alvarez fans believed he'd become the first man to defeat Mayweather. He couldn't do it and landed little of consequence, angering a large portion of his vast fan base.
They let him hear it on the way to the ring Saturday, but he responded like a top-flight champion. Only seconds into the bout, he cracked Angulo with a blistering left hook, setting the tone for what would be a dominant, superstar-caliber effort.
The fans became irate when referee Tony Weeks stopped the bout 47 seconds into the 10th round after a perfectly placed Alvarez uppercut.
- Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports5 days ago
LAS VEGAS – Floyd Mayweather arrived at the MGM Grand Saturday a little after 1 p.m. PT for a breakfast news conference to formally announce his May 3 bout with Marcos Maidana.
Of course, it was breakfast for Mayweather, who stepped to the podium not long after just waking up.
"I was up gambling [at the MGM] half the night last night," Mayweather said, struggling to appear alert. "I was here causing a riot."
As he was rubbing the sleep from his eyes, he looked around the crowded ballroom seeking out familiar faces. He spotted his daughter in the crowd and asked her to join him on the dais.
A few seconds later, he called his mother up to join him.
"Come on up, Mom," he said. "We ain't dressed the best, but we're getting paid."
Most of his remarks from the podium were little more than self-aggrandizement. But when he sat down for a half-hour to talk with the media, it became clear why he's 45-0 and the highest-paid athlete in the world.
Maidana got the fight by beating Adrien Broner on Dec. 14 in San Antonio. Broner was a heavy favorite and was outright dismissive of Maidana's skills.
- Yahoo Sports6 days ago
LAS VEGAS – Canelo Alvarez faced a situation in his last fight that he had never faced before. When he stepped into the ring to meet Floyd Mayweather at the MGM Grand Garden in September, he met the master boxer, a man faster, quicker and smarter in the ring than him.
Mayweather dictated the tempo of the fight, unexpectedly moving forward early and backing his younger opponent up, then using lateral movement later to take advantage of the openings the frustrated Alvarez provided.
On Saturday, in his first fight since the match he called "a great learning experience," Alvarez again will face a situation he's never encountered before.
When he takes on junior middleweight Alfredo Angulo on Saturday in the main event of a pay-per-view card on Showtime at the MGM Grand Garden, Alvarez will face a guy who will willingly brawl and slug with him and who has the ability to pull it off.