- Kevin Iole at Boxing Experts Blog4 days ago
Former South African president Nelson Mandela, who died on Thursday at 95, was a an amateur boxer who had a long-time love affair with the sport.
In 2001, he sat for a brief interview in his home in Mozambique, South Africa, with Larry Merchant, then the boxing analyst at HBO, to discuss the sport. More than 12 years later, that interview remains one of the highlights of Merchant's legendary career.
"There was a regal aura about him," Merchant told Yahoo Sports. "It was an incredible opportunity and experience."
HBO will air part of the interview on Saturday during its boxing broadcast that features Guillermo Rigondeaux against Joseph Agbeko in the main event. Top Rank will broadcast the interview on its international feed of the fight.
When Merchant walked into the room to do the interview, he was warmly greeted by a smiling Mandela. Merhant said he instantly knew that the reports he'd heard about Mandela loving boxing were true.
- Kevin Iole at Boxing5 days ago
Manny Pacquiao's trip to China to fight Brandon Rios on Nov. 23 in Macau was a success on many levels, but not on the pay-per-view front.
Mark Taffet, the senior vice president of HBO Sports, told Yahoo Sports on Thursday the Nov. 23 bout sold 475,000 pay-per-view units and generated roughly $30 million in revenue.
Promoters knew going in that fighting outside of the U.S. would adversely impact the pay-per-view numbers, but they weren't sure how much. In a February interview with Yahoo Sports to announce the signing of two-time Olympic gold medalist Zou Shiming, Arum estimated it could be as much as 50 percent.
Taffet feared the decline might even be greater. He said his research indicated that a pay-per-view emanating from outside the U.S. would only get 30 to 40 percent as much as a show started from within the U.S., despite the fact that the show started at the exact same time as it would have had it been in the U.S.
- ecepeda at Boxing6 days ago
WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko talked down a quickly-forming mob in Kiev, Ukraine on Sunday, that called for the ousting of President Viktor Yanukovich. According to a report from the LA Times, protesters armed with bricks and flares threatened to storm the Presidential Administration Building Sunday before Klitschko, himself an opposition leader who has said he will run for president of the Ukraine in 2015, got hold of a bullhorn and told the crowd that if they were to use violence, they'd be walking into a "trap."
“I am telling you, get back!” Klitschko yelled at the crowd, reportedly pushing the men near him so hard that they almost fell down.
“You have no business here. Don't fall into a trap!”
Some estimates place the protest at about 200,000 people strong. The LA Times report said that after Klitschko's admonition, "the tense crowd began to reluctantly back up."
- Kevin Iole at Boxing11 days ago
Adonis Stevenson has had a superb 2013 campaign, and even though Floyd Mayweather Jr. seems to have the edge on Fighter of the Year honors, "Superman" remains in contention heading into his WBC light heavyweight title bout on Saturday in Quebec City against Tony Bellew.
Stevenson has scored two impressive knockout wins in 2013, halting Chad Dawson in the first round and then stopping Tavoris Cloud after seven one-sided rounds. An impressive win over Bellew would force voters to at least consider him as 2013 Fighter of the Year.
But more importantly, a big victory for the heavy handed Stevenson would put him in prime position for 2014. First, it will position him for a fight with Sergey Kovalev, a match that would be an absolute donnybrook, should Kovalev, as expected, get past Ismayl Sillakh on Saturday's undercard.
A Stevenson-Kovalev WBC-IBF unification bout would be one of the best action fights on the early 2014 schedule.
- Cody Brunner at Boxing17 days ago
Just two fights before Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios were set to make history in Macau on Saturday (Sunday local time), the American heavyweight erred on the side of self-preservation and quit on the stool after the fourth round of an action-packed (albeit short) bout against Andy Ruiz Jr.
The move wasn't well-received by his promoter, Lou DiBella.
By the way, Tor, you are released. WTF!!!
Hamer and Ruiz had plenty of quality exchanges in the first two rounds of the fight, but Ruiz landed more frequently. That momentum seemingly gave Ruiz confidence and the Mexican used his weighty frame to unload on Hamer's body and head in the third and fourth rounds, which prompted Hamer to call it a night.
What's more: This is the second time in the last year Hamer has quit in the middle of a fight. In December 2012, he retired in his corner after the fourth round against Vyacheslav Glazkov.
Now out a promoter, Hamer may have trouble landing another major gig. But DiBella did wish him luck moving forward, so Hamer's got that going for him.
- Yahoo Sports Staff at Boxing17 days ago
Kevin Iole, Yahoo Sports U.S. Manny Pacquiao's hands are going to be too fast for a very game Rios to handle. Rios is an offensive fighter and hasn't spent much time working on his defense. That will hurt him against Pacquiao, who will eventually stop him after a flurry of punches.
Carlo Pamintuan, Yahoo Sports Philippines Brandon Rios is a tireless worker and a fearless fighter. However, his best accolades are not the ones needed to beat someone like Manny Pacquiao. Even at this slightly past-peak level, Pacquiao is still too fast for Rios. He also preys on fighters who come forward and that's really the only way Rios fights. The young guy's only shot at winning is if he outworks Pacquiao for the entire duration of the fight and hope the judges reward his activity. But the most likely scenario is that Rios will discover early that he is not in the same league as Pacquiao. He'll get hit hard and hit often but his chin will hold up. The referee or his corner will save him from career-altering punishment in the end.
- Kevin Iole at Boxing18 days ago
Count me as a skeptic: I still don't believe Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao wil ever meet.
But there are still those who do, and Top Rank's Bob Arum said it is not out of the question for September 2014.
But the question is, if the fight happens, could Pacquiao be competitive with Mayweather? At one stage three or four years ago, they were the unquestioned No. 1 and unquestioned No. 2 fighters in the world, in whichever order you wished to rank them. I have long believed Mayweather to be the best fighter in the world, and haven't wavered from that belief, but I would still rather see it decided in the ring.
Pacquiao has to beat Brandon Rios on Saturday (Sunday in Macau) in order for there to be even the slightest glimmer of hope for the bout to happen. But if it were to be signed, Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach believes the Pacman could pull it off.
Rios trainer Robert Garcia has flip-flopped on the issue.
"Three or four years ago, when Manny was knocking all those people out and looking like a monster, I think he would have beaten Mayweather," Garcia said. "But not now, though. I think Mayweather would beat him now."
- Kevin Iole at Boxing Experts Blog18 days ago
MACAU -- Felix Verdejo bears an uncanny resemblance to his more famous, and much more accomplished, countryman, Felix "Tito" Trinidad. But Verdejo has the same kind of elite boxing skills and the charismatic personality that could turn him into boxing's next big star.
Verdejo is just 20 years old, but already has shown enough to make promoter Bob Arum giddy. Verdejo lost to Vasyl Lomachenko in the 2012 Olympics, but made a fan of the two-time Olympic gold medalist.
"Lomachenko told me Verdejo was his toughest amateur fight and you can't get a better endorsement than that," Arum said.
Indeed. Lomachenko compiled an amateur record of 396-1 and is regarded by some as the greatest amateur boxer of all-time.
Verdejo, who is 8-0 with six knockouts as a pro, will fight Petchsamuthr Duanaaymukdahan in a lightweight fight Saturday (Sunday Macau time) on the Manny Pacquiao-Brandon Rios pay-per-view card at CotaiArena.
"It's important for me to fight in different places and for people to get to see me and know how I fight," Verdejo said. "The whole world is going to get to see me in this fight and so it's a very important fight for me."
- Kevin Iole at Boxing Experts Blog19 days ago
MACAU -- Michael Koncz, Manny Pacquiao's adviser, was released from a local hospital on Thursday and said he is not certain if he suffered a heart attack.
Koncz, who also was hospitalized briefly on Sunday, said he was still having issues. His blood pressure was 220/110, he said. He was having difficulty hearing out of his left ear and his face was still contorted from an episode of Bell's Palsy.
He said he never had high blood pressure before in his life. He said that on his first trip to the hospital, nurses wanted to draw two vials of blood. They tried in his right arm, but couldn't get any blood. Eventually, they got it from the left arm, but the blood was so thick it took a half hour to fill two vials, a process that should take a minute or so.
Koncz, who was in intensive care for two days, said "as far as I know, I did not have a heart attack, but I don't understand all this technical stuff."
"They said I had all of the symptoms of a heart attack, but there is no damage to the heart muscle," Koncz said.
- Kevin Iole at Boxing20 days ago
MACAU -- The scuffle that erupted between the camps of Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios on Wednesday Macau time was not scripted in the manner that a professional wrestling match is staged.
But this was an entirely predictable and preventable occurrence that happened only because no one took the simple steps required to stop it.
That falls totally on the shoulders of the promoter, Top Rank. The animosity between Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach and Rios strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza is real and was well known to boxing insiders for years.
In August, Roach fired Ariza as Pacquiao's strength and conditioning coach. Allowing them to linger in the same area with no significant management and security presence was inviting trouble.
Further, Roach has an intense dislike for Rios and Garcia since they mocked him for his Parkinson's Disease in a disgusting 2010 video that was released days before Pacquiao fought the Garcia-trained Antonio Margarito in Dallas.