Kevin Iole

  • Pacman decides to skip shot at Olympic gold, focusing on political career

    Kevin Iole at Boxing 2 days ago

    It appears that Manny Pacquiao will not compete in the Olympics after all.

    The eight-division boxing world champion had toyed with the idea of pursuing the first Olympic gold medal by an athlete in the history of the Philippines. But according to the head of amateur boxing in the Philippines, Pacquiao has decided not to go forward.

    He was elected to a seat in the Filipino Senate earlier this month and is focusing his energies on preparing for that.

    Ring's Ryan Songalia broke the news. Songalia received a text message from Ed Picson, the executive director of the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP), saying that Pacquiao had opted to "prioritize his legislative duties."

    AIBA, the body that governs amateur boxing, opted this year to allow professionals to compete, but it does not appear any major names will pursue it.


  • UFC Fight Night 88 headlined by battle of unbeaten fighters

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 2 days ago

    LAS VEGAS – Thomas Almeida hasn't yet been in the UFC for two full years. Cody Garbrandt has only been on the roster for a little more than a year.

    But there was nary an eyebrow raised when the two young, budding stars were paired in the main event of UFC Fight Night 88 on Sunday at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.

    Both are potential bantamweight champions who have the ability to bring fans out of their seats at any moment. They’re a combined 29-0 with 23 knockouts and three submissions.

    In boxing, fighters of this caliber and of this promise would almost never see each other until years down the line. But in MMA, it’s never an issue. If it makes a compelling fight, let’s do it.

    The 24-year-old Garbrandt, who is 8-0 with seven knockouts, is excited that the UFC didn’t keep the two away from each other until it meant more.

    “I’m super excited the UFC is having this fight now instead of prolonging it,” said Garbrandt, a member of the great Urijah Faber’s Team Alpha Male. “That’s a fight that has been on my radar for quite some time now. I remember him fighting his debut and I said, ‘Ah, I can’t wait to fight this cat.’ He has all this hype.

  • Revelatory interview puts Nate Diaz in UFC's elite star class

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 3 days ago

    The angry young man has come of age.

    The enduring image of Nate Diaz before his hour-long interview with Ariel Helwani on "The MMA Hour" on Wednesday was one of a man with a scowl, often while giving the middle-finger salute.

    He was angry with his opponents and has never been the guy to play nice with them before, or for that matter, after a fight. It was a business, yes, but this was all personal to Diaz, and there would be no glad-handing or smiling.

    He complained that he wasn’t pushed by the UFC, but he’d routinely miss interviews or mumble his way through those he showed up for.

    His interviews were filled with so many expletives and obscene gestures that Fox had to bleep him regularly and his post-fight comments were often impossible to follow.

    He’s disappeared for lengthy periods. In the last 2 ½ years, he’s had absences from the Octagon of 12 ½ months and 12 months.

    Fans, as well as many MMA journalists, were breathlessly tweeting a play-by-play of the show, in awe of Diaz’s perception, frankness and understanding of the business.

  • Freddie Roach on Pacman/Olympics and who's to blame for Canelo-GGG not happening

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 4 days ago

    Canelo Alvarez has come under criticism in many quarters for dropping the WBC middleweight title and not pushing for a bout with Gennady Golovkin.

    But Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach said the blame is misplaced. The blame, if there is any, needs to be on Golden Boy Promotions chairman/CEO Oscar De La Hoya.

    “They’re all blaming Canelo, but look, fighters aren’t scared,” Roach said. “It’s a business decision by his promoter. I don’t know why the blame went to the kid.”

    And Roach, who trained De La Hoya for his 2007 bout with Floyd Mayweather, said he’s not so certain De La Hoya is wrong for avoiding the fight.

    Golovkin isn’t popular enough right now and thus wouldn’t generate the truly big money, Roach said, to justify the risk the fight would present.

    “Why fight the toughest guy for no money?” Roach said. “I think Triple-G is the best pound-for-pound guy out there right now. I rate him very highly. But he’s not that kind of a draw yet. Eventually, he will be, but that fight is going to just get bigger.”

    More nuggets from Roach:

    Roach isn’t making any commitments or plans just yet, though.

    Around the sport:

    The WBC made the only move it could make.

  • Desperate for a win, Jeremy Stephens faces challenge in Renan Barao

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 4 days ago

    Now, White is a promoter and it’s his job to boost the profile of those who fight for him. So obviously it was somewhat self-serving in 2014 when White began a campaign on behalf of the soft-spoken Brazilian.

    Barao wasn’t particularly popular in the U.S. going into his bantamweight title fight at UFC 173 against T.J. Dillashaw and was rarely, if ever, mentioned at the time as being among the handful of best fighters in the world.

    Dillashaw twice beat Barao decisively, and no one is making that argument any longer. But neither are they dismissing Barao’s considerable talents, particularly since he’s moved to featherweight.

    At Sunday’s UFC Fight Night from the Mandalay Bay Events Center, Barao will debut at 145 pounds and there, eager to face him, is a man as desperate for a victory as Barao: Jeremy Stephens.

    Stephens is coming off a disappointing loss to Max Holloway at UFC 194 in December. It was a bout that was expected to produce fireworks, but turned out to be a dud. Holloway’s strategy was to circle and move and limit the amount of time he engaged with Stephens.

    Stephens was unable to force Holloway to fight and the result was a lackluster bout that had the crowd booing.

  • Francisco Vargas, tainted meat and the slippery PED slope in boxing

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 5 days ago

    LAS VEGAS – Regulators attempting to keep performance-enhancing drugs out of sports are modern-day versions of Sisyphus, condemned to pushing an immense boulder up a hill, only to continually see it roll back down.

    Chasing the drug cheats is hard but important work, particularly in combat sports where the usage of PEDs can literally be the difference between life and death. And, sadly, they’re often a step behind those looking for an edge.

    That brings us to the case of Francisco Vargas, the WBC super featherweight champion who won the title in 2015 from Takashi Miura in one of the year’s finest fights. He’s set to defend his belt on June 4 in California against Orlando Salido.

    Vargas, concerned that Salido had failed a drug test in 2006, requested that both fighters be tested randomly by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association.

    On April 21, shortly after eating a meal at his mother’s home in Mexico City, Vargas tested positive for the banned substance Clenbuterol. The concentration of it in his system was 1.3 nanograms per milliliter.

    Thus, it seems fair to allow him to compete.

  • Let's stop with the Mayweather-McGregor talk

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 6 days ago

    The idea of a potential bout – a boxing match – between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor is sheer lunacy. It’s almost certainly not going to happen and yet Mayweather is leading many around like sheep.

    It’s been one of the most prominent topics in the fight game since a tabloid “broke” the newsa few weeks ago that a bout between the superstars was done.

    Nothing, of course, is further from the truth, but that hasn’t stopped people from talking about it and acting like it's going to happen.

    Mayweather is simply looking for the easiest possible fight to make the most possible money. This is not meant to dog McGregor, the UFC featherweight champion and one of the finest mixed martial arts fighters in the world.

    So when Mayweather talks about a $100 million payday to fight McGregor, what he’s really saying is that he doesn’t want anyone remotely in his class to fight him, but he wants to paid like he’s facing his greatest challenge.

    If you thought the Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight was bad – and it was horrid – Mayweather-McGregor would be far worse.

  • Manny Pacquiao elected to Senate, ending his legendary boxing career

    Kevin Iole at Boxing 10 days ago

    Filipino authorities on Thursday certified their national election results, thereby making boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao one of the island nation's 24 senators. Filipinos elected 12 new senators on May 9, and Pacquiao finished seventh, with more than 16 million votes.

    It signals the end of his legendary boxing career, which began as a child when he left home to fight to earn money for his destitute family.

    He rose to unimaginable heights, winning world titles in a record eight weight classes and becoming one of the two most popular fighters in the world. He was involved in three of the 14 best-selling pay-per-views in boxing history and developed a loyal and passionate fan base.

    Pacquiao, who ends his career with a 58-6-2 mark and 38 knockouts, turned professional in 1995, just a month after his 16th birthday, as a 106-pounder. He went on to win world titles at flyweight, super bantamweight, featherweight, super featherweight, lightweight, super lightweight, welterweight and super welterweight.

    His statement in full:

    Unquestionably, he's bound for the International Boxing Hall of Fame and should be elected the first time he is eligible.



  • Michael Bisping on finally getting his title shot: 'I believe this is my destiny'

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 10 days ago

    Ask a friend who loves mixed martial arts to name the best fighter in UFC history. Expand that to perhaps the five best, or even the 10 best fighters. And ask as many people as you know who follow the sport.

    Chances are, Michael Bisping’s name will rarely, if ever, come up.

    And yet, Bisping needs only two more wins to become the winningest fighter in UFC history, and just two more bouts to become the most active.

    Judging by statistics, he’s had an extraordinary career, one that would seem to make him a lock for the UFC’s Hall of Fame, but were it not for a fluke set of circumstances, Bisping might still have never gotten a championship opportunity in more than 10 years with the promotion.

    If Chris Weidman hadn’t gotten hurt and been forced Tuesday to pull out of his middleweight title fight on June 4 with champion Luke Rockhold in the main event of UFC 199 at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif., Bisping would still have zero title fights on his record.

    And if Jacare Souza had come out of his impressive win over Vitor Belfort on Saturday at UFC 198, healthy, Bisping wouldn’t have it now, nor would he get a shot at the winner.

  • Canelo Alvarez vacates WBC title, putting Triple-G fight in jeopardy

    Kevin Iole at Boxing 10 days ago

    One of the most infamous scenes in boxing history played out in London on Dec. 14, 1992. Riddick Bowe, who on Nov. 13 of that year won the undisputed title by defeating Evander Holyfield in one of the great heavyweight bouts ever held, had been ordered by the WBC to make his first defense against Lennox Lewis.

    The proposed Bowe-Lewis bout made sense on so many levels. They had fought in the gold medal match in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. They were both big and talented men and with Mike Tyson in prison, they were the biggest stars in the division.

    Bowe, who would go on to make the International Boxing Hall of Fame, didn’t want to fight Lewis for some unknown reason. And so on Dec. 14, 1992, he showed up in London, summoned reporters and summarily dumped his belt into the trash can.

    Rather than be forced to fight Lewis, he instead fought Michael Dokes and Jesse Ferguson in far lesser fights.

    Though Bowe wound up fighting Holyfield three times, he never did meet Lewis in one of the tragic losses for boxing fans of the era. A Bowe-Lewis fight that could have been the best matchup of talented big men in history never occurred.

    But perhaps this is more worrisome than it appears.