• Why Golovkin, Kovalev could be boxing's future

    Andreas Hale at Boxing 22 hrs ago

    As boxing prepares for the post-Floyd Mayweather/Manny Pacquiao era, the sport is on the prowl for its next wave of superstars. Although the future looked dim a few years back, the current wave of fighters jockeying for position have injected some much-needed energy into the sport.

    Leading the charge is a pair of foreign fighters who have burst onto the scene in a major way. Russian Sergey Kovalev (28-0-1, 25 KOs) and Kazakhstan’s Gennady Golovkin (33-0, 30 KOs) have made significant impressions and could be in line to occupy the throne as boxing’s top pound-for-pound fighter once Floyd Mayweather hangs up the gloves.

    To the untrained eye, Golovkin and Kovalev are a pair of “Rocky IV” Ivan Drago-types who decimate foes with debilitating punching power. But unlike the steely character Dolph Lundgren portrayed in the Sylvester Stallone-anchored series, both GGG and Kovalev are personalities who do not need Brigitte Nielsen to speak for them.

    Nevertheless, the similarities that have forced the comparisons are difficult to ignore.

    But as much as the casual fan may want to compare the two, there are some significant differences that set them apart from one another.


  • Gennady Golovkin set for Oct. 17 PPV bout against David Lemieux

    Kevin Iole at Boxing 3 days ago

    The biggest fight of Gennady Golovkin's memorable career is set, a middleweight championship unification bout with David Lemieux on Oct. 17 at Madison Square Garden in New York.

    Golovkin, who is 33-0 with 30 knockouts, is facing his most formidable challenger in Lemieux, a slugger who won the vacant IBF title in June when he knocked Hassan N'Dam down four times en route to a unanimous decision.

    The bout will mark Golovkin's debut as a headliner on HBO Pay-Per-View. The IBF, WBA and interim WBC belts will be at stake. The WBC gave its champion, Miguel Cotto, an exception to face Canelo Alvarez instead of Golovkin, with the proviso that the winner defend against Golovkin. That bout is expected to be held in November.

    Promoter Oscar De La Hoya of Golden Boy said the Cotto-Alvarez fight is just about at the finish line, with it looking like it will be in November in Las Vegas.

    That, along with the Golovkin-Lemieux fight, sets the stage for a pair of major shows in the middleweight division in the fall.

    He's coming off wins over N'Dam and Gabriel Rosado in his last two outings.

  • Here are five opponents that make sense for Andre Ward

    Andreas Hale at Boxing 6 days ago

    Andre “Son Of God” Ward is easily the best fighter on the planet that nobody talks about anymore. Despite his gold medal in the 2004 Summer Olympics, an impressive run through the sport’s top super middleweights in Showtime’s Super Six World Boxing Classic and a breakout performance in 2012 against Chad Dawson, Ward has been unable to capitalize on any momentum that he once had.

    Ward, who was a consensus No. 2 pound-for-pound fighter according to a number of reputable outlets, should have taken his proper place as the man who would supplant Floyd Mayweather as the best boxer in the world once “Money” cashed out and retired.

    However, between a seemingly endless stream of injuries and a bitter contract dispute with the late Dan Goossen, Ward faded into the background right in the midst of boxing having a resurgence of sorts with a crop of rising stars, a return to network television and the highest-grossing fight in the history of the sport taking place.

    From 2012-2014, Ward only stepped into the ring on two occasions: His TKO stoppage of Dawson on Sept. 8, 2012, and a middling bout with unheralded Edwin Rodriguez on Nov. 16, 2013.


  • Meet the Argentine boxer who's compiled a 46-0 record with two KOs

    Kevin Iole at Boxing 12 days ago

    After 13 years as a professional boxer, Cesar Cuenca says he has only one concern as he prepares to fight I.K. Yang on Saturday in Macau for the IBF junior welterweight title in what is the first title fight of his career: He's worried about home cooking from the judges.

    It's a very apt concern, and not just because Yang is from Hong Kong, only a brief ferry ride from Macau.

    Cuenca, who has never fought outside of his native Argentina, is a dramatically different style of fighter than his more well-known countrymen, Lucas Matthysse, Marcos Maidana and the recently retired Sergio Martinez.

    Matthysse and Maidana are among the hardest punchers in boxing. Martinez wasn't known as a puncher, but he's best remembered for his vicious, one-punch knockout of Paul Williams in a middleweight title fight.

    Cuenca, though, is different.

    Vastly different.

    He's 46-0, but only has two knockouts. 

    In his 19th pro fight, on June 4, 2005, Cuenca stopped Andres Villafane in the fourth round of a scheduled four-rounder. It was nearly eight full years later, on March 9, 2013, that he scored knockout No. 2, when Diego Ponce couldn't beat the 10 count on March 9, 2013.


  • Keith Thurman defends title, calls out Floyd Mayweather

    Joe Garza at Boxing 17 days ago

    WBA welterweight champion Keith Thurman remained undefeated Saturday night as Luis Collazo retired on his stool after the seventh round at the USF Sundome in Tampa, Fla.

    In what has become a formality with the most talented welterweights in the world, Thurman took the chance to call out pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather after his victory.

    “I’m a young, strong champion, Floyd, come get it,” Thurman said to the camera during his postfight interview in the ring. “I’m undefeated like you, baby, come take my ‘[zero],’ baby. I’m ready.”

    While Thurman may feel he’s ready for Mayweather, things weren’t always easy during the main event of the ESPN primetime debut of the Premier Boxing Champions.

    Collazo hurt Thurman with a perfect left hand to the body near the end of the fifth round that forced Thurman to run and try to hold on for the remainder of the round.

    “He caught me with a great body shot, but I took it, I endured like a champion does,” Thurman said.

    “I couldn’t see nothing,” Collazo (36-7, 19 KOs) said during his postfight interview. “I’m the type of fghter, I keep going if I could. I couldn’t see, so better safe than sorry.”


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

    Kevin Iole at Boxing 22 days 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 27 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 1 mth 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 1 mth 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 1 mth 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.