Archive for May, 2012

Anderson Silva, Steven Seagal feature in schlocky Budweiser commercial

Decrease fontDecrease font
Enlarge fontEnlarge font

UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva appears with action-movie hero Steven Seagal in a new TV commercial for Budweiser that debuted in Brazil over the weekend.

The 90-second spot includes references to The Karate Kid, Bloodsport, Enter The DragonKill Bill: Volume 1 and Rocky IV, with cameos by octagon announcer Bruce Buffer, UFC referee Dan Miragliotta, former champion Lyoto Machida and his karate-master father.

– staff

  • Published On May 21, 2012
  • Manny Pacquiao to make Hollywood debut in Rob Schneider movie

    Decrease fontDecrease font
    Enlarge fontEnlarge font

    Manny Pacquaio’s most notable movie role to date was the Philippine superhero film “Wapakman” in 2009. (Courtesy of Solar Entertainment)

    Manny Pacquiao, long regarded as one of sports’ most tireless multitaskers, will share the screen with Rob Schneider and Benecio del Toro in an action-comedy film due in theaters next year.

    The WBO welterweight champion will make his Hollywood debut in Brass Knuckles, according to ABS-CBN News. Pacquiao, who has starred in more than a half-dozen movies in his native Philippines, will play a gangster who is the uncle of Schneider’s character.

    The eight-division champion, whose previous film roles have included the schlocky superhero pic Wapakman, will film his scenes in Los Angeles after his June 9 fight with Timothy Bradley and return for post-production in August and September. Two-time Emmy winner Erick Geisler will direct the film, which has been slated for a 2013 release.

    “The whole point of the movie is it really exploits and shows how and what a bad choice it is to be involved with drugs and just this whole world,” actor-producer Damian Perkins said. “Manny’s got a good role, we’re actually going to bulk up the role a little bit for him as well. More lines for him.”

    Schneider, the Filipino-American actor and comedian best known for his starring roles in Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo and The Hot Chick, is an avid boxing fan.

    – Bryan Armen Graham

  • Published On May 18, 2012
  • Andre Berto tests positive for steroids, rematch with Victor Ortiz called off

    Decrease fontDecrease font
    Enlarge fontEnlarge font

    Andre Berto (right) lost a split decision to Victor Ortiz (left) in one of 2011′s best fights. (AP)

    Former welterweight titleholder Andre Berto has tested positive for a banned substance and Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer has called off the fighter’s rematch with Victor Ortiz.

    The positive test, which was administered by the Las Vegas-based Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency, was confirmed in Berto’s A and B samples.

    The banned substance was norandrosterone, a metabolite made of nandrolone and an anabolic steroid which can stimulate muscle growth. Traces of nandrolone can be found in supplements. Last January, Berto ruptured his left bicep, forcing the fight to be postponed until June.

    Before the fight was officially cancelled, Showtime had already started looking at possible replacement candidates for Berto.

    After learning of the positive test, Ortiz’s camp released a statement denying any use of a banned substance and questioning the laboratory that took the tests.

    “At the present time, I cannot explain the positive drug test, which was provided as part of a voluntary anti-doping program in which I agreed to participate,” Berto said in the statement. “I know that I have never used any steroids or other banned substances, and I am investigating all possible causes of the positive test with my attorney Howard Jacobs. I have never cheated, and all of my success has come from hard work and dedication.”

    Victor Conte, the convicted steroids distributor who had been working with Berto as a nutritionist, distanced himself from the positive result on Twitter.

    “Andre Berto’s postive test for nandrolone has absolutely nothing to do with me or any supplements I provided,” Conte said. “[It’s] likely trace contamination. Andre has admitted to taking supplements other than what I provided without my knowledge. Apparently, something was contaminated. Nandrolone is known as the ‘kiss of death’ steroid. [It] stays in [the] body from minimum of six months up to 18 months. No athlete uses it to cheat. Hundreds of Olympic athletes have testing positive for traces of nandrolone. I do not believe any of them injected it with intent to cheat.”

    – Chris Mannix

  • Published On May 18, 2012
  • Roundtable: What’s next for Lamont Peterson and Amir Khan?

    Decrease fontDecrease font
    Enlarge fontEnlarge font

    Amir Khan (left) and Lamont Peterson were to have fought on May 19. (Nick Wass/AP)

    What is your takeaway from the aborted fight between Lamont Peterson and Amir Khan, and where should both fighters go from here?

    CHRIS MANNIX: Hyperbole aside — and boy, has the rhetoric been ratcheted up over the last few days, hasn’t it? — I’m inclined to let this thing play out before I judge Lamont Peterson as a cheater. On one hand, I’m inclined to believe this was a mistake; it was Peterson, after all, who requested VADA testing in the first place. On the other hand, Peterson was given every opportunity to disclose his testosterone injection, and didn’t. His trainer, Barry Hunter, who is closely involved with USA Boxing, should know that any type of synthetic testosterone treatment should have been disclosed. That they didn’t and claimed to have “forgot” is a little fishy.

    Let’s see what the Nevada commission has to say about it. If they don’t buy Peterson’s story in a hearing next month, Peterson will be effectively suspended, his reputation stained, his career as a HBO headliner likely gone. In that case, I’d like to see Khan stay at 140 pounds for one more fight: a showdown with Tim Bradley. Khan has chased Bradley for more than a year, and assuming Bradley doesn’t shock the world and beat Manny Pacquiao next month, that’s a fight that still generates a lot of interest.

    Admittedly, there is a part of me that hopes Peterson comes back clean. Or at least cleanish. His backstory is incredible, the true definition of the American dream. If the Nevada commission decides that Peterson did have a legit reason for taking testosterone, then I’d like to see Peterson-Khan II as soon as possible.

    RICHARD O’BRIEN: The first takeaway is that, once again, professional athletes need to be aware of what’s going into their bodies. Yes, testing is imperfect and (to be cynical) beatable, but chances are, if you’ve taken a supplement of whatever kind, it’s going to show up in the results at some point. Had Peterson revealed back in December, before the first Khan bout, that he had received a medically recommended injection of soy pellets (for his evidently astonishingly low testosterone levels), he might well have been granted a waiver. Now he faces the almost certain prospect of not having his Nevada (and, essentially, universal) license renewed until sometime next year — thus missing out on the lucrative rematch with Khan and on any momentum he had going after his upset win in December.

    I was looking forward to the rematch — expecting it to be just as tough and, with luck, less squirrely than the first one. Both fighters are gifted and well-schooled and for both it was going to be a make-or-break fight. Now, it seems, we’re going to see Khan in action in July. Steve Kim of Max Boxing reports the likely venue is Anaheim’s Honda Center and the date July 7. The expected opponent is WBC 140-pound champion Danny Garcia, who should be a competitive match for Khan. A safer opponent could be the ageless Erik Morales, who lost to Garcia on March 24, but showed himself to be a still credible contender. Another Khan-Paulie Malignaggi bout would draw as well, if Khan wanted to move up to welterweight, but I don’t see Paulie eager to risk his new title so soon, especially not 3,000 miles from Brooklyn.

    Khan has said he wants one more fight at 140 before making the leap to 147, where, presumably, the eventual target would be Floyd Mayweather Jr. Khan’s not ready for that yet; a Peterson rematch would have given him some more valuable seasoning, but an impressive win over Garcia (or even Morales) would keep things going in the right direction.

    Peterson, meanwhile, has famously overcome so much in his career — and built up a lot of goodwill along the way. However long he’s out, I think he’ll be welcomed back by his fans. By then, though, Khan may have moved on — making it a rare case in which the winner of the first bout will suffer for not having had the rematch.

    BRYAN ARMEN GRAHAM: Peterson, who’d lived parentless with his brother on the streets of Washington D.C. from age 9 to 14, was a 7-to-1 underdog when he fought with a rare tenacity and nicked a split decision over Khan for the light welterweight title. From homeless to world champion: it was one of the best sports stores of 2011.

    Which is what makes the events of the past seven days such a bummer. Multiple organizations had named Peterson-Khan I the Fight of the Year — an honor the IBF ominously rescinded last week — and the rematch was one of the year’s most anticipated fights among hardcore boxing fans. As Chris suggests above, the accusations don’t seem to fit Peterson’s character; but his excuse isn’t exactly ironclad either. He used testosterone, didn’t disclose it, and tested positive. It’s pretty much as open as shut as it gets.

    Yes, Peterson was visibly shaken in his first TV interview since the news broke – apologizing to Khan and the fans for failing to disclose the  treatment – and his trainer continues to plead ignorance. But if the commission doesn’t clear his name, Peterson’s reputation will be permanently tainted.

    For Khan, it means his long-speculated rise to 147 pounds must wait at least a little while longer. He will fight once more at junior welter according to trainer Freddie Roach, but it’s no secret a showdown with Floyd Mayweather is in the plans, an international bonanza that could draw thousands of British fans to Las Vegas — or lure as many as 80,000 fans to Wembley Stadium.

  • Published On May 17, 2012
  • Pacquiao may oppose gay marriage, but that doesn’t make him a bigot

    Decrease fontDecrease font
    Enlarge fontEnlarge font
    Manny Pacquiao

    Manny Pacquiao says he loves and supports gays and lesbians, even though he does not approve of gay marriage.
    Reed Saxon/AP

    Manny Pacquiao said what?

    That was the widespread reaction on Tuesday when Pacquiao, in an interview with the National Conservative Examiner, criticized U.S. President Barack Obama’s support of gay marriage.

    “God only expects man and woman to be together and to be legally married, only if they so are in love with each other,” Pacquiao told the publication. “It should not be of the same sex so as to adulterate the altar of matrimony, like in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah of Old.”

    Inflammatory words, sure, but then again Pacquiao is not your traditional boxer. He’s a Filipino congressman with an eye toward running for president in 2013. He is asked questions that other fighters aren’t.

    But what really electrified this story were words attributed to Pacquiao that he claims he never said. In the Examiner story, Pacquiao was originally attributed invoking the Old Testament, citing Leviticus 20:13, saying: “If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.”

    Scary stuff, but later — after outlets like USA Today and LA Weekly wrote scathing rebukes and The Grove, a  Los Angeles-area shopping mall where Pacquiao was scheduled to be interviewed on Wednesday, released a statement saying Pacquiao was not welcome at The Grove and “will not be interviewed here now or in the future” — both Pacquiao and the original article’s author released statements saying that, in fact, Pacquiao did not make those comments.

    “I didn’t say that, that’s a lie,” Pacquiao said. “I didn’t know that quote from Leviticus because I haven’t read the Book of Leviticus yet. I’m not against gay people. I have a relative who is also gay. We can’t help it if they were born that way. What I’m critical of are actions that violate the word of God. I only gave out my opinion that same sex marriage is against the law of God.”

    If Pacquiao is telling the truth — and given that he has never hinted at having that line of thinking before, I’m inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt — all Pacquiao is guilty of is being against gay marriage. He won’t get many members of GLAAAD buying his pay per views but he should not be branded a bigot, either.

    Longtime nemesis Floyd Mayweather — who had his own battles with being branded a bigot earlier this year and is never one to miss an opportunity to get his name in the news cycle — tweeted out his support for gay marriage. Said Mayweather: I stand behind President Obama & support gay marriage. I’m an American citizen & I believe people should live their life the way they want.

    Well, glad we cleared that up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                – Chris Mannix

  • Published On May 16, 2012
  • Middleweight beltholder Gennady Golovkin looking to shake up division

    Decrease fontDecrease font
    Enlarge fontEnlarge font

    Ukraine’s Golovkin, who already holds an alphabet title at middleweight, is looking for a fight with WBA “super” champion Felix Sturm. (AP)

    There is a new middleweight on the block and he is already jumping up the most avoided list: Gennady Golovkin.

    Last Saturday in Kiev, Ukraine’s Golovkin (23-0, 20 knockouts) defended his paper title in a three-round destruction of Makoto Fuchigami. Golovkin, 30, is a baby faced Kazakhstan native — when I ran into him in New York recently he was sporting a multi-colored T-shirt and a sideways-turned baseball hat, looking more like a refugee from a Manhattan art school than a prizefighter — but sports one of the most devastating right hands in the 160-pound division.

    “In order to get the recognition of being the best middleweight in the world, which we think he is, he needs to be seen,” said Golovkin’s trainer, Abel Sanchez. “Right now we just can’t seem to get anyone in the ring with him.”

    Golovkin knows who he wants to get in the ring with: Felix Sturm, the WBA “Super” champion (Golovkin holds the “regular” title). According to Golovkin’s promoter, Tom Loeffler, after Sturm makes a voluntary title defense, he will be obligated to face Golovkin.

    “The deal we made with the WBA is that Sturm was allowed a voluntary defense and if he wins, his next fight will be a mandatory defense of the winner of Gennady-Fuchigami,” Loeffler said. “They have been ordered to make that fight by September 30th. At this point, Sturm is running out of options. Sturm at this time holds the record for being a champion the longest without having a mandatory defense. Two years ago Gennady was the interim champion and Sturm was the WBA Champion. Sturm then got elevated to Super Champion. For the last two years Gennady has been trying to fight him.”

    One of the most likeable things about Golovkin is his willingness to shuttle up and down weight classes to get a big fight. At 5-foot-10, Golovkin is already short for a middleweight but says he is willing to go all the way up to 168 pounds for the right matchup.

    “I want the fight with Felix Sturm,” Golovkins said. “That is the only fight I really want at this time. If that doesn’t work out … I can move to either 154 or 168 if I need to find another opponent. Whatever it is, I want the best fights against the best opponents. I will fight [WBO middleweight titleholder] Dmitry Pirog or any of the other champions. Right now it doesn’t matter who my opponent is or what weight I fight at.”

    Loeffler, who promotes both Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko, says he would like to market Golovkin the same way as the Klitschkos.

    We had Wladimir fight at [Madison Square] Garden, where we had marketed him to the Russian community,” Loeffler said. “The Garden has shown interest and would like to have him fight there two times a year. We were at the Martinez fight and Gennady has a lot of respect for him. That is a fight that he would take immediately — on Saturday night if he had the choice. They probably would not want to put him in with Gennady at this time. There is no fighter that he wouldn’t get in the ring with. He considers himself the best middleweight. He just wants the opportunity to prove it to all the fans out there.”

    – Chris Mannix

  • Published On May 15, 2012
  • Floyd Mayweather-Miguel Cotto fight does 1.5 million pay-per-view buys

    Decrease fontDecrease font
    Enlarge fontEnlarge font

    The May 5 fight between Floyd Mayweather and Miguel Cotto did 1.5 million pay-per-view buys, HBO Sports announced Friday.

    The $94 million in revenue generated by Mayweather-Cotto represents the second highest grossing non-heavyweight pay-per-view event in history, trailing only Mayweather’s 2007 fight with Oscar De La Hoya. That fight did a whopping 2.4 million buys for $137 million in revenue.

    Mayweather has now generated 9.6 million buys in his nine pay-per-view fights, representing $540 million in revenue.

    Aside from Mayweather-De La Hoya, only four pay-per-view events have surpassed the buy total from Saturday’s fight: Holyfield-Tyson II in June 1997 (1.99 million buys), Lewis-Tyson in June 2002 (1.97 million), Holyfield-Tyson I in November 1996 (1.59 million) and Tyson-McNeeley in August 1995 (1.55 million).

    Mayweather improved to 43-0 and captured the WBA super welterweight championship with a unanimous-decision victory over Cotto, but not before enduring what many regarded as his toughest test in years.

    HBO will replay the Mayweather-Cotto fight, along with the co-feature between Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Shane Mosley, on Saturday night (10:15 p.m. ET/PT).

    Mayweather’s 21-month retirement, which ended in 2009, did little to diminish his value as an attraction, as evidenced by subsequent fights with Juan Manuel Marquez (1.05 million buys), Mosley (1.4 million), Victor Ortiz (1.25 million) and Cotto (1.5 million).

    Over that span, Manny Pacquiao — Mayweather’s lone rival to the mythical pound-for-pound throne — has posted comparable numbers in fights with Cotto (1.25 million), Josh Clottey (700,000), Antonio Margarito (1.15 million), Mosley (1.34 million) and a third fight with Marquez (1.45 million).

    – Bryan Armen Graham

  • Published On May 11, 2012
  • Andre Ward-Chad Dawson fight looks good on paper, terrible in reality

    Decrease fontDecrease font
    Enlarge fontEnlarge font

    Chad Dawson has several options for a great fight, including the winner of Jean Pascal-Tavoris Cloud. (Al Bello/Getty Images)

    NEW YORK — It’s no secret that HBO has been pushing for a showdown between super middleweight champion Andre Ward and newly re-crowned light heavyweight titleholder Chad Dawson. The network considers (correctly) Ward and Dawson to be at the top of their respective divisions and sees an opportunity to match two of arguably the top-10 fighters in the world.

    On paper, it makes sense. In reality, it’s a terrible idea.

    Styles make fights and Ward-Dawson is a stylistic Titanic. One fighter, Ward, is a chameleon, capable of adapting to any style an opponent brings into the ring. But Ward lacks aggressiveness and has made it clear he is not interested in getting into a firefight if he can avoid it. Which, considering his enormous talent, is quite often.

    Dawson is equally as talented. He has arguably the best jab in boxing and the speed and elusiveness to go with it. But Dawson hasn’t been in a great fight since … well, I can’t remember when Dawson was last in a great fight. Put those two fighters together, as several experienced matchmakers have told me, and you get a snoozer.

    Now, if there was no one else for Ward or Dawson to fight, then maybe it should be something to consider. But the fact is there are opponents out there. On May 26, Lucian Bute will travel to England to take on Carl Froch. Bute, of course, is the other top dog in the 168-pound division. If Bute wins, he could be ready for a showdown with Ward in the fall. Ward, meanwhile, could take a tuneup fight in Oakland (against a Don George-type) and make some decent money from the gate while shaking off the rust. And in September or October, we would finally get a fight we have been waiting for.

    Dawson, likewise, has options. On August 11 two top-rated light heavyweights, Jean Pascal and Tavoris Cloud, will face off for Cloud’s alphabet title. It was Pascal who handed Dawson his first loss in 2010 while the undefeated Cloud has power and a fan-friendly style. The winner of Cloud-Pascal will see his Q rating spike considerably, making him a natural fit for Dawson later in the year. If Dawson is anxious for a payday, a unification match with Nathan Cleverly in the U.K. would probably be pretty easy to make. Probably pretty easy for him to win, too.

    Maybe someday there will be a clamor for Ward-Dawson. But it’s not today. Neither Ward or Dawson is likely to come cheap, meaning whatever license fee HBO ponies up is going to be a big one. Simply put, that money is better spent elsewhere.

    – Chris Mannix

  • Published On May 11, 2012
  • VADA president issues statement on Peterson-Khan cancellation

    Decrease fontDecrease font
    Enlarge fontEnlarge font

    What follows is the complete statement from Dr. Margaret Goodman, president of the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association, issued Thursday in response to the cancellation of next week’s Lamont Peterson-Amir Khan rematch in Las Vegas:

    VADA’s mission is to help protect the health and safety of athletes who are willing to demonstrate their commitment to clean sport. As a voluntary organization, we depend on those who share our vision to help rid boxing and MMA of PEDs. VADA understands and shares the disappointment that is felt by Golden Boy Promotions, Amir Khan, the undercard fighters, HBO, and the thousands of fans who were looking forward to Khan-Peterson II. This unfortunate situation, however, serves to underscore the need for PED education and the high-caliber testing procedures that VADA offers.

    VADA has respect for Richard Schaefer, GBP, and their commitment to clean sport. However, VADA disagrees with Mr. Schaefer’s characterizations of the contractual relationship between GBP and VADA. The facts are as follows.

    There was never a final or signed contract between GBP and VADA. When VADA became involved with the Peterson-Khan fight in March, the individual athletes signed up for the VADA program and executed the proper documentation.

    VADA was told that GBP also wanted a contract so that GBP would be authorized to receive the testing results, including the preliminary results from an “A” sample analysis. It is important to understand that “A” sample results are only preliminary, do not legally stand up by themselves, and under commonly accepted anti-doping procedures are typically released only to the athlete.

    In order for VADA to release the preliminary “A” sample results to a third party such as GBP, VADA requires an executed authorization allowing us to do so. VADA sent GBP a draft contract for its signature which would have authorized the preliminary “A” sample results to be released to GBP. This initial draft (which was never signed) contained a clause pursuant to which GBP would have represented that it had obtained the necessary authorization from the fighters. GBP’s legal team rejected this clause and instead suggested making the fighters signatories to the contract with their signatures being the necessary authorization. VADA’s counsel made it clear to GBP that, if GBP wanted to handle it this way, GBP must take responsibility for obtaining the athlete’s signatures. Unfortunately, and to VADA’s dismay, GBP never obtained the signatures.
Various versions of a draft contract were sent back and forth between GBP and VADA. The contract was never finalized. Richard Schaefer may, or may not, have been aware of this situation. The bottom line is that VADA had no contract with GBP. This is not a mere technicality. It involves issues of medical ethics. VADA needed a signed contract in order to deviate from its Results Management Policy (posted on our website) and release the preliminary and personal medical information to a third party. VADA still has never received a signed contract or signed athlete authorization from GBP.
 VADA would have been happy to inform GBP of the preliminary “A” results. But we needed a signed authorization allowing us to do so, which we never received.

    It has also been asked why it took so long to test the “B” sample after the first positive test result. When VADA notified Mr. Peterson of the adverse finding on April 13, Mr. Peterson had one week to challenge the “A” test result and ask for the “B” sample to be tested. During that time, Mr. Peterson also had the opportunity to supplement his earlier written submissions to VADA with regard to drugs and other medications that he had used prior to the testing. Mr. Peterson’s representatives waited eight days (until Saturday, April 21) to respond. At that time, they did not communicate any of the “exculpatory” material later offered to the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Instead, they chose to challenge the positive test result, asserted their right to be present when the “B” sample was tested, and asked that the “B” sample be tested on Friday, April 27th. The UCLA laboratory said that Friday was an inappropriate day to begin testing because four consecutive days are needed to complete the test. The sample “B” test began on Monday, April 30th.

    VADA has complied in every way with all signed contracts that we had and will continue to do so. VADA welcomes the discussion about the dangers of PEDs to those who use them and to their opponents. We also reiterate our contention that it is imperative for the managers, promoters, and friends of these brave athletes to assist in the education about PEDs. VADA will help in every way we can. Our hope is that there will come a time when every test is negative.

    – staff

  • Published On May 10, 2012
  • Lamont Peterson’s team issues statement regarding cancellation

    Decrease fontDecrease font
    Enlarge fontEnlarge font

    The team behind IBF and WBA light welterweight champion Lamont Peterson issued the following statement on Thursday morning in response to the cancellation of the May 19 rematch between Peterson and Amir Khan:

    Team Peterson is very disappointed and distraught by the decision to cancel the May 19th rematch against Amir Khan. This is an extremely difficult decision to accept. We have always taken the position of providing factual information rather than responding emotionally to rumors and innuendoes. We did everything that was asked of us in efforts to comply. To support our stance we provided the Nevada State Athletic Commission with a significant amount of factual medical data in response to these allegations. Lamont did a battery of test this week and saw a number of independent board certified physicians. They all had the exact same conclusion as the doctor that initially treated and diagnosed Lamont’s medical condition. It began as a confidential medical matter between a patient and his physician; unfortunately, it has now become a public issue in efforts to clear the name and reputation of this young man.

    As a condition for this rematch Lamont demanded that Olympic style random drug testing be implemented. He has been a true advocate for making boxing drug free and fair. In his 18 year career (10 amateur and 8 professional) Lamont Peterson has never failed a drug test and has always complied with the rules beyond this isolated and explainable occurrence. We still stand behind the fact that he did nothing wrong and he was more than ready to go through with the May 19th fight. He is a man of tremendous character and will. His work ethic is second to none and in every sense of the word he is a true Champion, in life, as well as in the ring.

    We will vigorously pursue the truth with regards to this matter and continue to fight to protect this young man’s character, credibility and all he has accomplished. Once all the facts have been reviewed we have no doubt that he will be vindicated.

    – staff

  • Published On May 10, 2012