• Mark Taffet resigns as senior VP of HBO Sports

    Kevin Iole at Boxing 10 hrs ago

    A massive overhaul at HBO Sports continued Tuesday when Mark Taffet announced his resignation as its senior vice president, effective at the end of the year.

    Taffet’s departure comes quickly on the heels of the resignation of HBO Sports president Ken Hershman, who resigned last month, also effective at the end of the year. Taffet said Hershman's decision crystallized his own.

    Taken together, the moves seem to solidify the power base of Peter Nelson, HBO Sports’ vice president of programming and the presumed successor to Hershman as the division’s president.

    Nelson was recruited for his role by Michael Lombardo, the president of programming at HBO. It is unclear whether Nelson will replace Hershman as president of HBO Sports, but a source with knowledge of the situation told Yahoo Sports that Hershman’s successor would come from within.

    That would seem to make Nelson, a Harvard graduate and one-time sportswriter, the frontrunner.

    Taffet, 58, had been with HBO for 32 years and ran its pay-per-view department. He began as a manager in budgeting and finance for the sales and marketing departments before moving to Sports and becoming one of its most influential executives.

  • Andre Ward says Sergey Kovalev is a ‘tougher challenge’ than GGG

    Andreas Hale at Boxing 1 day ago

    LAS VEGAS – The debut of Andre Ward as a light heavyweight was supposed to take place on the undercard of the Nov. 21 showdown between Miguel Cotto and Canelo Alvarez. However, a knee injury forced the 2004 Olympic gold medalist to push back his return.

    That didn’t prevent Ward from attending the festivities and sitting down with a select group of media members to discuss his foray to a bigger weight class. More importantly, why Ward decided to give up on chasing boxing’s new star, Gennady Golovkin, in favor of current light heavyweight kingpin Sergey Kovalev.

    No much more than a year ago, it appeared that Ward and GGG were heading for a clash. However, talks between the two camps have been less than amicable and fingers have been pointed regarding who is truly at fault for the bout stalling out.

    “I was willing to fight him anywhere, anytime,” Ward said while pointing at his cell phone. “I can show you the texts between my people and his people. He just doesn’t want to fight me. Period. He can come up with any excuse he wants to, but the fact is that the fans will never get to see this fight and it would have been a great one.”


  • New Roc Nation fighter Guillermo Rigondeaux says he's ready for Vasyl Lomachenko

    Andreas Hale at Boxing 4 days ago

    Guillermo Rigondeaux is ready to put the past year behind him and prove that he’s the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world.

    The 35-year-old, who is regarded as perhaps the greatest amateur boxer of all time, ended his 11-month absence from boxing by signing with a new promoter, music mogul Jay Z’s Roc Nation. Upon signing, it was immediately announced that Rigondeaux would be added to Saturday’s Miguel Cotto-Canelo Alvarez undercard in a bout against lightly regarded Drian Francisco.

    “This is a great platform to take my career to the next level, and to showcase my talents on the big stage,” the former super bantamweight champion said through a translator.

    At 15-0 with 10 KOs, Rigondeaux joins Cotto and Andre Ward at Roc Nation Sports and is prepared to be more active in 2016.

    “While I've been sidelined for the past year, I am grateful for the opportunity to deliver a show to all the boxing fans that have supported me throughout this journey, and I look forward to delivering my best come fight night,” Rigondeaux said.

    With the fight against Francisco considered to be more of a showcase than an actual competition, Rigondeaux explained that it’s all part of a bigger plan.


  • Floyd Mayweather defends Ronda Rousey: 'I don't think it's cool how everyone is trolling her'

    Andreas Hale at Boxing 7 days ago

    With Ronda Rousey’s shocking knockout loss to Holly Holm at UFC 193 and the subsequent influx of memes and criticism, it was almost expected that Floyd Mayweather would pile on.

    After all, if there were a time for Mayweather to take a shot at the former champion, it would be now. Instead, the recently retired pound-for-pound king did something for which he hasn’t been known: He took the high road.

    “I don't think it's cool how everyone is trolling her on social media," Mayweather told in an interview. "Certain things you have to learn. People will love you on Friday, and then Sunday morning, it's nothing but negative comments and people making jokes and people making fun about you, which I don't think is cool.”

    He went on to suggest that he’s never had anything against MMA fighters and offered some words of support for both the new champion and the former champ.

    “I’m proud of the new girl, Holly, and I'm proud of Ronda,” Mayweather said.

    He then went on to praise Rousey’s accomplishments in the UFC despite suffering her first loss in devastating fashion.

  • Freddie Roach taunts Teddy Atlas, says Pacman would fight Bradley 'tomorrow'

    Kevin Iole at Boxing 8 days ago

    Freddie Roach is getting WBC middleweight champion Miguel Cotto ready for a big fight, but it appears as if the Hall of Fame trainer is angling for a fight himself.

    Roach, who will lead Cotto against Canelo Alvarez on Saturday, ridiculed rival trainer and ESPN boxing analyst Teddy Atlas when discussing potential opponents for what is expected to be Manny Pacquiao's final fight on April 9.

    Promoter Bob Arum has sent tapes of 2014 Fighter of the Year Terence Crawford, Amir Khan and Timothy Bradley to Pacquiao to watch to see whom Pacquiao wants to fight. Pacquiao manager Michael Koncz took the tapes to Israel, where Pacquiao is on vacation, Arum said.

    "Hopefully, there will be divine intervention and he'll pick the right one," Arum said, jokingly.

    Asked by Yahoo Sports Monday his opinion, Roach seemed to favor Crawford.

    Reminded that it was Bradley, coming off a nice stoppage over Brandon Rios on Oct. 24, Roach had no hesitaton.

    "Oh, Bradley?" Roach said. "We'll fight him tomorrow."

    Roach apparently saw that, and wasn't too impressed.

  • Guillermo Rigondeaux a late addition to Cotto-Canelo PPV undercard

    Andreas Hale at Boxing 10 days ago

    The Miguel Cotto-Canelo Alvarez card lost one pound-for-pound fighter but gained another as a replacement.

    Guillermo Rigondeaux, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, was added to the highly anticipated pay-per-view card that will be headlined by Cotto and Alvarez for the WBC middleweight title on Nov. 21 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.

    Rigondeaux (15-0, 10 KOs) will meet fringe contender Drian Francisco (28-3-1, 22 KOs) in a bout added to the card after former super middleweight champion Andre Ward pulled out because of a knee injury.

    Rigondeaux, 35, a former WBA-WBO super bantamweight champion, hasn’t fought since stopping Hisashi Amagasi on New Year’s Eve in Japan.

    There is finally light at the end of the tunnel for the slick Cuban after a tumultuous month that saw him stripped of his titles due to inactivity.



  • Andre Ward gives up title to pursue run at light heavyweight championship

    Andreas Hale at Boxing 12 days ago

    Andre Ward’s move to light heavyweight is official after it was announced Thursday that the 2004 Olympic gold medalist has vacated his WBA super middleweight title as he pursues a showdown with WBO, IBF and WBA light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev.

    “I won the WBA belt for my first world title in 2009 and have defended it six times and it’s been a wonderful ride with the WBA,” Ward said about the world title he won by beating Mikkel Kessler in the opening fight of the Super Six tournament. It was a tournament he impressively rolled through, and as a result of his dominating performances, he ascended up the mythical pound-for-pound rankings. “[WBA vice president] Gilberto Mendoza and his team have shown me nothing but respect, and I’m looking forward to moving up and hopefully winning the WBA light heavyweight belt.”

    He was supposed to debut as a light heavyweight in the co-featured bout on the Miguel Cotto vs. Saul “Canelo” Alvarez pay-per-view card Nov. 21, but an injury has postponed the start of his career at 175 pounds.


  • De La Hoya to Mayweather: You were boring and took the easy way out

    Kevin Iole at Boxing 12 days ago

    It's no secret that there is no love lost between Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather Jr., the two biggest draws of their generation. But De La Hoya, the 1992 Olympic gold medalist who lost a 2007 bout to Mayweather in Las Vegas, took the feud to another level with an essay he wrote for Playboy.

    De La Hoya's essay appears in Playboy's December issue, and is written as an open letter to Mayweather, who succeeded him as the sport's highest paid athlete and best pay-per-view attraction.

    Mayweather's history on PPV is unparalleled. He sold a record 4.6 million pay-per-views for his May fight with arch-rival Manny Pacquiao. Three times, including the bout with Pacquiao, he exceeded 2 million sales, and seven times in 14 bouts on pay-per-view he sold 1 million or more.

    De La Hoya acknowledges Mayweather's financial success, but takes him to task for what he says were a series of boring fights.

    Leonard Ellerbe, the CEO of Mayweather Promotions, said Mayweather wouldn't comment on De La Hoya's essay. Ellerbe, though, had plenty to say himself.


  • Oscar De La Hoya, Jay-Z wager $100K on outcome of Cotto-Canelo

    Kevin Iole at Boxing 13 days ago

    Oscar De La Hoya is a boxing Hall of Famer and has been involved in the sport in one manner or another for more than 30 years. The CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, whose flagship fighter is Canelo Alvarez, De La Hoya figures to have a significant edge in boxing acumen over music mogul Jay-Z.

    Jay-Z's company, Roc Nation Sports, signed Miguel Cotto to a lucrative contract and will promote his middleweight title defense on Nov. 21 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas against Alvarez.

    De La Hoya is picking Alvarez to win and Jay-Z is going with Cotto, not surprisingly. Given the way that De La Hoya's luck has gone in picking winners, Jay-Z and Cotto could be ready for a windfall.

    Most of De La Hoya's incorrect picks have come in fights in which he's promoted a Floyd Mayweather opponent. De La Hoya mistakenly tabbed Juan Manuel Marquez, Shane Mosley, Victor Ortiz, Robert Guerrero and Alvarez to top 'Money May.'

    At most sports books, Alvarez is between a 2-1 and 3-1 favorite to defeat Cotto.

  • FBI involved in search for title belts stolen from Boxing Hall of Fame

    Kevin Iole at Boxing 13 days ago

    Six irreplaceable championship belts have been stolen from the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, N.Y., and the FBI's Antiquities division has joined in the effort to recover the precious artifacts.

    Executive director Ed Brophy said four of the belts were worn by ex-welterweight and middleweight champion Carmen Basilio, a member of the Hall's Class of 1990. The other two were owned by ex-middleweight champion Tony Zale, a 1991 inductee.

    "The boxing community is a close-knit family who care deeply for the sport. We are asking the boxing community and the entire sports world to provide any information that may be helpful in the return of these belts," Brophy said in a statement.

    Anyone with information on the theft or the whereabouts of the belts is asked to contact Canastota Police Chief Jim Zophy at 315-697-2240.