• Floyd Mayweather Jr. stripped of WBO title after failing to pay sanction fee

    Kevin Iole at Boxing 1 hr ago

    Floyd Mayweather isn't frugal by any means, but with dozens of world title belts scattered around his home, $200,000 was a bit much even for a boxer nicknamed "Money" to pay for a title belt.

    Mayweather failed to pay the $200,000 sanction fee required by the World Boxing Organization for the belt he won on May 2 when he defeated Manny Pacquiao at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas by the deadline, which was the end of the business day on Friday. So on Monday, the Puerto Rico-based organization stripped Mayweather of its title.

    It elevated Timothy Bradley, who defeated Jessie Vargas on June 27 for the interim championship, to full champion status.

    Both the WBO and the WBC have taken great steps forward in recent years, and have done much to clean up their end of the business. 

    The fact that the WBO stood firm and followed its rules is encouraging.

  • Top Rank latest promoter to file suit against Al Haymon

    Kevin Iole at Boxing 5 days ago

    The lawsuits against Al Haymon continue to arrive at a dizzying rate.

    Powerful Las Vegas-based Top Rank joined the ever-expanding ranks of promoters that have filed suit against Haymon, filing an antitrust suit in federal court in California. The suit also named Waddell & Reed, an asset management company that invested more than $400 million into the Premier Boxing Champions series created by Haymon, as a defendant.

    Haymon was supposed to give a deposition in the Bad Dog Productions case on Tuesday in Florida, but BDP attorney Jorge L. Fors Jr. told Yahoo Sports that Haymon was ill and postponed the deposition.

    In its lawsuit, Top Rank alleged that Haymon is violating the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act by serving as both a manager and a promoter. To support that allegation, it posted a photo that boxer Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. posted, and later deleted, to the social media website Instagram.


  • Ex-UFC fighter Chris Spang pursues his passion as a boxer

    Kevin Iole at Boxing 10 days ago

    LAS VEGAS -- There aren’t a lot of professional boxers from Sweden, and a large reason why is likely that the sport was illegal in the country from 1970 through 2007.

    Chris Spang, a Swede, managed to find a way to fight despite the ban, though he could never fully indulge his passion for the sport until now. He even did a long stint as a gymnast because there were so few boxers around.

    Spang, who was 19 and in the midst of his amateur mixed martial arts career when the law prohibiting boxing in Sweden was repealed in 2007, always felt he’d been miscast in MMA.

    He did it because it was a way toward making a living, but he was never fully able to take advantage of his skills.

    Spang didn't need to fight. He's a model of some note, has a degree in economics and spent some time managing a nightclub. He's got plenty of substance to go with those athletic genes.

    He went 5-3 in MMA and made it to the UFC, where he lost his only fight in 2013. He worked hard on his wrestling and had a solid takedown defense, but he was really a boxer attempting to make a go of it in MMA.

    “I was born to do this,” Spang said of BKB.

    He said he loves to fight for the same reason he enjoys modeling.

  • Mutual funds' troubles may negatively impact the Premier Boxing Champions

    Kevin Iole at Boxing 17 days ago

    There is a boxing card on broadcast or basic cable television in the U.S. just about every weekend, courtesy of Al Haymon and his Premier Boxing Champions. 

    It's almost mind-boggling, though, how many in the sport are vigorously rooting against Haymon and for his venture to fail. It's not just the promoters -- with executives at Top Rank, Golden Boy and Main Events chief among them -- who want to see the PBC die a quick but painful death. It's also a lot of reporters and a vocal segment of the fan base.

    Haymon is far from perfect, and he's trying to effect profound change in an industry which is conservative and has often resisted it. It's mystifying, though, why so many of the sport's most ardent fans are so dead set against the PBC.

    Haymon's refusal to ever speak to the media is not only confounding but is also a mistake. It's turned a large number of reporters virulently against him and his product. His company is a closed shop and its response to just about any question on any topic is no comment.

    That said, there was ominous news last week for the PBC, and good news for its haters. 

    From the WSJ story:

    However, no one can be sure right now.

  • Boxing is simple compared to what Sammy Vasquez has been through

    Kevin Iole at Boxing 17 days ago

    LAS VEGAS -- Sammy Vasquez will face Wale Omotose on Sunday at the MGM Grand Garden in a welterweight bout that will be televised on CBS. As it happens, Omotoso's nickname is "Lucky Boy," which, if it weren't taken, probably should be Vasquez's nickname.

    Vasquez is a veteran of two military tours in Iraq, and is well aware how fortunate he is to have been sitting in the Mayweather Boxing Club discussing his career and an upcoming bout. The Pittsburgh native was a sophomore in high school when he watched the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. He dreamed of becoming an anesthesiologist, but his focus shifted after that day.

    He was overcome with emotion and determined to do something, anything, to help his country. He graduated high school in 2004, and he joined the National Guard. It wasn't long before he not only found himself in Habbaniyah,  Iraq, but also feeling extremely fortunate to have survived an attack. 

    A bullet whizzed past his ear, hit the turret behind him and deflected into the air. That experience, and many others like it, made boxing look simple by comparison. 

  • When Floyd Mayweather wants his own gym, Leonard Ellerbe acts

    Kevin Iole at Boxing 18 days ago

    LAS VEGAS -- A white tent occupied the two parking spaces immediately in front of the entrance to the Mayweather Boxing Club rather than the luxuries cars owned by the gym's proprietor that usually fill them.

    It was media day for a pair of upcoming shows that Mayweather Promotions is staging, on Saturday at the MGM Grand on NBC and on Sunday afternoon at the MGM on CBS. The tent was to shade the fighters signing autographs in the scorching 110-degree temperatures for the several hundred fans who showed up.

    The gym is fairly anonymous in a strip mall in Las Vegas' Chinatown section. It's about twice the size it was when it opened in the first half of 2007, when Mayweather was preparing to fight Oscar De La Hoya. That was the fight that turned Mayweather into a superstar.

    But life with one of the world's greatest, and richest, athletes isn't always easy, as Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe discovered one weekend during the build-up to the fight.

    "Barry's was great and they were very good to Floyd, but basically, he wanted his own place," Ellerbe said. 

    That's life with one of the world's best, and most demanding athletes.


  • Sergio Martinez a champion and king of a man

    Kevin Iole at Boxing 21 days ago

    After winning the world title, Sergio Martinez often wore a crown into the ring prior to his fights. It was a fitting symbolism for a boxer who, as a man, was a king among men.

    Martinez, the former middleweight and super welterweight champion who announced his retirement during the International Boxing Hall of Fame ceremonies in Canastota, N.Y., on Saturday, was one of the better fighters of the last decade or so.

    But you'd have to look far and wide to find a classier, more socially aware man than Martinez. He gave of himself constantly on behalf of issues he believed in and was a giant in the anti-bullying campaign.

    While his boxing skills were terrific, there were better fighters before he came along and will be better ones who succeed him.

    Where he'll be missed is in the example he set for so many. He was always in magnificent condition and prepared expertly each time out. There was never any question whether Martinez would make weight, nor was there any debate about whether he'd be able to finish the fight hard.

    To his next fight, he wore a patch on his fight shorts with her name on it in memory and tribute.

  • Miguel Cotto blows out Daniel Geale, sets up huge bout with Canelo Alvarez

    Kevin Iole at Boxing 29 days ago

    There was little reason for Miguel Cotto to fight Daniel Geale, because Geale clearly had little chance to win and there was precious little demand for the fight.

    Such is not the case with Cotto's next fight.

    Cotto's sensational performance in stopping Geale at 1:28 of the fourth round Saturday at the Barclays Center in New York on an HBO-televised card sets up a hotly anticipated match later in the year with Canelo Alvarez.

    Cotto knocked down Geale twice in the fourth round, the first time on a vicious left hook to the jaw, and the second with a right to the top of the head during an exchange, and totally dominated the action.

    Geale never had much of a shot and fought like it. He was blasted repeatedly by Cotto shots to the body and never landed a punch of consequence.

    But a fight between Cotto and Alvarez figures to be a sensational battle that willl raise the passion of their large and loyal fan bases.

    Alvarez, who had hoped to fight Cotto last month, knocked out James Kirkland on May 9 in a brilliant performance in Houston. On Saturday, after Cotto dispatched Geale, he green-lighted a fight with Alvarez.

  • Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao pass all drug tests

    Kevin Iole at Boxing 1 mth ago

    Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao were each tested 19 times for performance-enhancing drug use both prior to and following their May 2 mega-fight at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas, and both men passed all of the examinations.

    According to records provided by the Nevada Athletic Commisison, each man gave 11 urine and eight blood samples. Among the special analyses given to the samples were Carbon Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry (CIR/IRMS) testing as well as tests to detect usage of EPO and human growth hormone.

    Mayweather gave urine on March 13, 18, 19 and 28, April 2, 10, 15, 21 and 27 and May 1 and 2. He gave blood samples on March 13, 18 and 28, April 2, 10, 15 and 21 and May 2.

    Paquiao gave urine on March 14, 17, 23 and 24, April 1, 9, 16, 22 and 27 and May 1 and 2. Pacquiao gave blood samples on March 14, 17 and 24, April 1, 9, 16 and 22 and May 2.

    Nevada rules permit the mixes that Mayweather took, but because USADA was overseeing the testing he applied for and was granted the TUE for them.

    All tests came back negative.

  • Roman Gonzalez absolutely brilliant in two-round destruction of Edgar Sosa

    Kevin Iole at Boxing 1 mth ago

    INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- Floyd Mayweather has been largely unchallenged as the world's finest fighter for more than a decade. Now, though, there may be a debate.

    Flyweight Roman Gonzalez made his HBO debut on Saturday a spectacular one, dumping Edgar Sosa three times en route to a successful WBC title defense at The Forum, forcing referee Raul Caiz Sr. to stop it at 2:37 of the second. It raised Gonzalez's record to 43-0 with his 37th knockout and burnished his reputation as an elite champion.

    He may not be the best in the world yet, but there aren't but a very few fighters who are better than he is at this stage.

    Gonzalez, 28, started slowly in the first round, getting the measure of Sosa, who was moving away.

    It was for good reason. Once Gonzalez got his sense of timing and distance, he was blistering Sosa with near-perfect three- and four-punch combinations. He was working the body and the head and showing the complete arsenal of speed, power, boxing ability and defense.

    Gonzalez has been one of the world's elite for a while, but because American television has had a bias against smaller fighters, he didnt' get an opporunity to fight on the big stage before Saturday.