Negotiations have been dragging on for unified middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin to face secondary titlist Daniel Jacobs. While they still hope to make a deal for the bout to be in early 2017, the absence of it on Dec. 10 left a gaping hole in HBO's fourth-quarter schedule, but it is one that unified junior welterweight champion Terence Crawford is all too happy to fill. Once Golovkin-Jacobs was off the network's schedule, HBO was suddenly left with an available date and a seven-figure chunk of money that had been earmarked for the card. Crawford, who had wanted to fight three times this year, was scheduled for only two bouts because there were no available HBO dates or money left.
It looks like Alexander Shlemenko will be the next man to challenge for the 185-pound Bellator title. Fighting in the main event of the card, Shlemenko defeated Kendall Grove in a wild, back-and-fourth scrap that had the Russian fighter in trouble at one point. The 32-year-old Shlemenko caught the Hawaiian early in the fight, but going in for the kill Grove turned things around and caught Shlemenko with a well-timed hook, rocking the former Bellator champion. Grove then followed up with a series of punches and knees from the clinch, but it wasn't enough to put away Shlemenko. For the rest of the round, both middleweights exchanged solid strikes in an even fight. Entering the second, Grove looked
Leo Santa Cruz will have the opportunity to avenge his only loss, to Northern Ireland’s new featherweight champion Carl Frampton, Jan. 28, Frampton manager Barry McGuigan first reported Thursday, with others later confirming the news. The card’s co-main event will be the World Boxing Council lightweight title defense featuring Riverside challenger Mikey Garcia (35-0, 29 knockouts) and Montenegro’s champion Dejan Zlaticanin (22-0, 15 KOs), who claimed the belt in June. Los Angeles’ three-division champion Santa Cruz (32-1-1, 18 knockouts) lost his World Boxing Assn. belt to Frampton by majority decision on July 30 at Barclays Center in New York and immediately sought a rematch for his next bout. Instead of fitting in a fight in December, when arenas throughout the West have been increasingly booked on Saturday nights, PBC has placed Frampton-Santa Cruz in 2017.