Archive for August, 2012

Miguel Cotto opts to fight Austin Trout after turning down Manny Pacquiao

Decrease fontDecrease font
Enlarge fontEnlarge font
Miguel Cotto

Miguel Cotto’s only losses have come to Antonio Margarito (controversially), Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather. (Eric Jamison/AP)

Junior middleweight Miguel Cotto will return to the ring Dec. 1 at Madison Square Garden against undefeated American Austin Trout, industry sources confirmed to SI.com.

Cotto (37-3) is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Floyd Mayweather in May. Cotto had been a candidate to face Manny Pacquiao in a rematch of Pacquiao’s electrifying knockout win in 2009. However, Cotto turned down an offer from Pacquiao’s camp earlier this week. Instead, Cotto will face Trout (25-0), a 26-year-old who defeated Delvin Rodriguez by unanimous, albeit dull, decision in June.

Though Cotto-Trout will likely be billed as a world title fight, it’s one on paper only. Mayweather is the WBA “super” champion, having won the belt from Cotto. Trout is the WBA’s “regular” champion; in a blatant cash grab, the sanctioning body elevated Cotto from “regular” champion to “super” champion in 2011, creating another title it can collect fees from.

The announcement of Cotto-Trout will have a domino effect: Pacquiao had been deciding between Dec. 1 and Dec. 8 as the date for his next fight. With Cotto locked into the former, Pacquiao will likely move to the latter in a rematch against Tim Bradley or a fourth fight with Juan Manuel Marquez.

– Chris Mannix


  • Published On Aug 31, 2012
  • Knock us over with a feather: Edgar to challenge for Aldo’s belt at UFC 153

    Decrease fontDecrease font
    Enlarge fontEnlarge font

    So now we know the new formula for securing a title shot in the UFC: Lose two straight championship fights in your weight class, then move to another division and, Voila!

    That was the path cleared a week ago for Chael Sonnen, who less than two months removed from a TKO loss in his second challenge of middleweight champion Anderson Silva was offered a shot at light heavyweight belt holder Jon Jones. (That fight fell through, of course, as did all of UFC 151 amid a fiery scenario we’ve already beaten to death and will not rehash here.)

    Now that same yellow brick road is being paved for Frankie Edgar.

    The former lightweight champion, who just three weeks ago lost a tight, much-debated decision in his attempt to regain the belt from Benson Henderson, will drop down to featherweight to challenge José Aldo on Oct. 13 at UFC 153 in Rio de Janeiro. Aldo was scheduled to face Erik Koch, but USA Today reported late Thursday that Koch suffered an undisclosed injury in training and was a no-go.

    No doubt UFC president Dana White breathed a sigh of relief when his champion gave the OK to a change of opponent this time. To be fair, Aldo has a full six weeks to prepare for Edgar, while Jones was being asked to step in with Sonnen on essentially three days of training.

    That’s not the only reason this featherweight fight has more appeal and way more credibility than the late-replacement title bout Dana & Co. tried to foist upon us last week. Unlike Sonnen, Edgar has been a champion. Unlike Sonnen, Edgar is ranked in most every pound-for-pound Top 10 you’ll find. And perhaps most important from a competitive angle, while Sonnen would have been stepping up to a division 20 pounds heavier and therefore taking on a bigger, stronger athlete, Edgar will be moving down 10 pounds. He’s always been a small lightweight, anyway, fighting close to his walk-around weight and using quickness to deal with being outmuscled. Now Frankie will be basically picking on someone his own size.

    Aldo vs. Edgar might not be a “superfight,” a designation that should be reserved for a meeting of two reigning champions. But it has the makings of a super fight … and a super opportunity — for Aldo, who can use a high-profile challenge like this to launch himself into the MMA stratosphere, and especially for Edgar, who after two straight losses to Henderson appeared to be out of opportunities at lightweight.

    Frankie acknowledged as much when he took to Twitter after midnight and wrote, “Thanks to all of the UFC fans for all of the support. And thank you @danawhite & [UFC co-owner/CEO] @lorenzofertitta for the opportunity.” Then, in the morning, Frankie tweeted out the fight announcement and added this hashtag: #herewego.

    Here we go, indeed.

    –Jeff Wagenheim


  • Published On Aug 31, 2012
  • Silva suddenly rooting against Jones? OK, it’s not much … but it’s a start

    Decrease fontDecrease font
    Enlarge fontEnlarge font

    Jon Jones (left) and Anderson Silva are friends, but Silva will root against Jones at UFC 152. [Jason Merritt/Getty Images]

    So we’re finally going to see Anderson Silva going against Jon Jones.

    No, the UFC middleweight and light heavyweight champions, the No. 1 and No. 2 fighters in every mixed martial arts pound-for-pound ranking outside of Georges St-Pierre’s parents’ house, have not agreed to square off inside the octagon. They doused the rising fan groundswell for a superfight a couple of months ago by basically walking arm-in-arm singing “You’ve Got a Friend” in two-part harmony.

    But while “Bones” is too close of a friend for Silva to fight, Jon is apparently not so tight of an amigo that “The Spider” refuses to root against the guy. Amigo is “friend” in Portuguese, which is the language of Brazil, where Silva is from. And where Jones’ next opponent, Vitor Belfort, is from.

    “As a Brazilian, I’ll be rooting for the Brazilian, even though I have a very good friendship with Jon Jones,” Silva said when asked about the UFC 152 title fight during an appearance on the Brazilian television show Bem, Amigos! (there’s that “friend” word again) earlier this week. “Whenever I’m with [Jones], I ask him to conduct his career in a different way, because he is very young and is always asking me something. But I’ll be rooting for Brazil, yes. May the best man win, but I’m rooting for Brazil.”

    Read More…


  • Published On Aug 30, 2012
  • Floyd Mayweather discusses Manny Pacquiao, jail stint in lengthy interview

    Decrease fontDecrease font
    Enlarge fontEnlarge font

    Floyd Mayweather visited New York hip-hop station Hot 97 on Wednesday morning for a lengthy in-studio interview on the Cipha Sounds & Rosenberg show, addressing a wide range of topics including a prospective megafight with Manny Pacquiao. (Video of the entire interview appears below, with transcripts of the Pacquiao portions at the bottom.)

    “I don’t have any hate toward Manny Pacquiao,” Mayweather said.

    It wasn’t Meet The Press — host and hardcore boxing fan Peter Rosenberg offered a mostly fawning line of questioning, accepting Floyd’s long-debunked premise that Pacquiao won’t agree to random blood and urine testing — yet Mayweather spoke at length about his recent jail stint (including his weight loss).

    Mayweather also discussed the controversial outcome of the Victor Ortiz fight, his gambling habits, the Chad Ochocinco situation, his “number” and his love of hip-hop — which included attending a Run-D.M.C. and LL Cool J concerts as a youngster.





    MAYWEATHER: Everybody always asks me about the Pacquiao fight. And I’m not saying that I never wanted the fight to happen. Only thing I wanted the fight to do is just be on an even playing field. Since I’m the face of boxing, of course, we wanted an even playing field. Random blood and urine testing. No different from Lance Armstrong, who just went through the same thing. Once USADA got involved in, you know …

    ROSENBERG: OK, so here’s the question: Don’t you find it interesting that — and I think some of it’s because of your personality and the fact that you like playing the bad guy — but how did you become the bad guy when you wanted drug testing? It is a very ironic situation.

    MAYWEATHER: People has to realize, I don’t have any hate toward Manny Pacquiao.

    ROSENBERG: You respect him, right?

    MAYWEATHER: Yeah, I respect him, but I’m just saying. It’s not a crime. I’m also saying that I’m going to do random blood and urine testing, just so I can be in a clean sport. That’s all I’m asking.

    ROSENBERG: But what about the [purse] split? There’s always debate about what really the split is.

    MAYWEATHER: Well actually we don’t do the same type of numbers, so how can we split …

    CIPHA SOUNDS: … maybe like draw in the same type of money?

    ROSENBERG: So why don’t you man up and just say winner gets more? ‘Cause you know you’re going to win. Why not just say 70/30 for the winner?

    MAYWEATHER: For starters, we got to get past the random blood and urine testing.

    CIPHA SOUNDS: Why don’t you just shoot up steroids and then y’all be even?

    MAYWEATHER: Naw.

    CIPHA SOUNDS: Or whatever drug you think he’s taking?

    MAYWEATHER: No, I don’t feel you have to cheat. I don’t believe in cheating. I believe in doing it the honest way.

    ROSENBERG: So is there a chance that if he was to agree to the blood and urine testing, which doesn’t seem like it’s ever going to happen …

    MAYWEATHER: It’s not even that. He has a … He’s with Bob Arum, he’s with a whole ‘nother company. And I have Mayweather Promotions, I have my own company.

    ROSENBERG: But you and Arum will be willing to … you guys both want money.

    MAYWEATHER: Arum wants money. But the thing is about putting the fighters in a good position. It’s about Pacquiao and Mayweather. It’s about putting both fighters in a good position. Of course I’m going to put myself in a good position.

    Floyd went on to waffle about the drug-testing controversy.

    CIPHA SOUNDS: So why won’t he do the drug, the urine testing?

    MAYWEATHER: I can’t really say why he won’t do the random blood and urine testing. I can’t really say why he won’t do it. Every other fighter that I face, that I’ve been facing …

    CIPHA SOUNDS: Does it?

    MAYWEATHER: Of course. And I have to do it too. They can just come at any time just to test you. And at this particular I don’t know if he want to do it or not.

    CIPHA SOUNDS: But what did he say? Did he say it was something religious or … ?

    ROSENBERG: There was a whole bunch of weird reasons.

    MAYWEATHER: It was just different things from the past that were said. I don’t know exactly word for word but that was in the past. Only thing I can continue to do, if I do fight again, I’ll fight whoever they put in front of me.

    ROSENBERG: It’s a bummer. If the fight was somehow to happen now, I’ve always said that it’s gotten to the point that it would be a little bit like [Lennox] Lewis-[Mike] Tyson. If it happens now, to me, it’s going to be too late. That fight would have been amazing two years ago. Now everyone’s getting older. I think he’s aging at a faster rate than you are …

    MAYWEATHER: But I’m older than he is.

    ROSENBERG: No, I know. But in Manny’s defense, Manny does a lot of stuff. Boxing is almost … I think at this point boxing is kind of secondary to Manny almost, in a different way than you are. I think you’re a little bit more of a pure … I think that’s one of the things that makes you a special athlete.

    MAYWEATHER: Well, I just dedicated myself to my craft. I’ve been in boxing, now, I’ve been a professional for 16 years. I’ve been world champion for 15 years. I just dedicated myself to my craft.

    – SI.com staff


  • Published On Aug 29, 2012
  • Report: Manny Pacquiao didn’t need to move fight over paperwork issue

    Decrease fontDecrease font
    Enlarge fontEnlarge font

    Manny Pacquiao, a congressman in the Philippines with lofty political aspirations, has designs on the office of governor of Sarangani province in 2013. (AP)

    The intrigue surrounding Manny Pacquiao’s next fight continues to simmer.

    The Filipino puncher’s first outing since a controversial loss to Timothy Bradley had long been scheduled for Nov. 10 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas against an opponent to be determined, with Bradley, Juan Manuel Marquez and Miguel Cotto — all previous Pacquiao opponents — among the leading contenders.

    On Wednesday, longtime Pacquiao advisor Michael Koncz told ESPN.com the fight had been moved to Dec. 1 due to issues with his re-election campaign for the congressional seat he holds in the Philippines. Koncz said Pacquiao was required to submit his certificate of candidacy in person and didn’t want to interrupt his training for two days in October with less than a month before the fight.

    However, a spokesperson for the Philippine Commission on Elections told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that Pacquiao in fact does not need to submit his certificate in person, but can send the documents through an authorized representative.

    The inconsistent messages surrounding the postponement have only further fueled rumors, perhaps borne from desperate hope of fight fans and media, that Pacquiao’s team is working to make the long-anticipated megafight with Floyd Mayweather.

    Koncz flatly denied the Mayweather speculation, however, saying he doubts the undefeated American will fight again before 2013 after recently serving two months of a three-month sentence in a misdemeanor battery case.

    “As you know, we’re willing and able to fight Floyd anytime he wants, but I don’t believe he is ready,” Koncz told ESPN.com. “Floyd just got out of (county jail). He’s spending time with his family. He’s enjoying his freedom. He has money left over from the last fight after being in jail for two months. I don’t see Floyd going into the ring until next year, but who knows? I have no confirmation of his schedule. I’m just glad he’s out of jail. I wish him all the luck in the world and so does Manny, but I don’t see Floyd fighting before us this year.”

    – SI.com staff


  • Published On Aug 23, 2012
  • Floyd Mayweather counts out $1 million while aboard private jet in viral video

    Decrease fontDecrease font
    Enlarge fontEnlarge font

    Floyd Mayweather was the highest-earning American athlete of the past year, collecting $85 million for a pair of victories over Victor Ortiz and Miguel Cotto.

    And it looks like a two-month stint in a Las Vegas jail hasn’t made the fighter nicknamed “Money” any less brazen about flaunting it.

    Mayweather is shown counting out $1 million while aboard a private jet in a video posted on YouTube earlier Tuesday.


    The No. 1 fighter in SI.com’s pound-for-pound ratings, Mayweather was released from the Clark County Detention Center on Aug. 3 after serving two months of a three-month sentence in a misdemeanor battery case.

    The 35-year-old has yet to hint at his future plans, though Mayweather will need a new license to fight in Las Vegas, according to the Nevada State Athletic Commission. His previous license for the May 5 victory over Cotto was granted for one fight only.

    – SI.com staff


  • Published On Aug 21, 2012
  • Experts’ predictions for UFC 150

    Decrease fontDecrease font
    Enlarge fontEnlarge font

    Benson Henderson (left) looks to show his February victory over Frankie Edgar (right) was no fluke on Saturday at UFC 150 in Denver. (Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)

    SI.com analysts Dave Doyle, Loretta Hunt, Jeff Wagenheim and Jon Wertheim provide their predictions for UFC 150 on Saturday in Denver.

    Benson Henderson vs. Frankie Edgar

    DOYLE: Can Edgar avoid the fight-changing strikes of the sort he took from Henderson in their first fight? As simplistic as it sounds, it comes down to that. These guys are close to stylistic mirror images in their standup games, but Henderson is bigger and more powerful. This match is winnable for Edgar if he fights a mistake-free battle, but in the end, I see Henderson maneuvering his way to the win. Henderson by decision.

    HUNT: We have probably the biggest lightweight in the division taking on the smallest one here. Henderson has already proven he can keep up with Edgar’s frenetic pace and he’ll use his physicality again to stifle him. Henderson by decision.

    WAGENHEIM: After the first of Edgar’s two impossible comebacks against Gray Maynard, I swore to myself that I’d never, ever pick against the guy. Henderson is bigger, stronger and more dangerous, but a pledge is a pledge. I’d hate to later have to tell myself “I told you so.” Edgar by decision.

    WERTHEIM: I’m going with Edgar in the rematch. True, he’s less athletic and lost the first time. But says here, he’s motivated and has a new fightplan. The conventional wisdom is that he needs to be on his feet to win, but the guy was a college wrestler — is it fatal if he gets grounded? Edgar by decision.

    Donald Cerrone vs. Melvin Guillard

    DOYLE: This lightweight contenders’ showdown has the potential for fireworks, as both guys know how to stand and bang. But there’s the thousand-mile-wide hole in Guillard’s game: Nine of his 10 losses are by submission. Cerrone has submitted 13 opponents. This one should be spectacular before Guillard commits a fatal error and Cerrone finishes him. Cerrone by submission.

    HUNT: Cerrone was on a nice little roll until he lost to Nate Diaz in January and we saw dramatic improvement in his transitions and overall skillset along the way. Though he’s the superior athlete, Guillard is hit or miss when harnessing that natural ability into MMA skills. I like Cerrone’s steady climb to Guillard’s hills and valleys. Cerrone by submission.

    WAGENHEIM: Some people can’t understand how close friends can stand to punch each other in the face. But to give yourself a sporting chance, you do whatever the competitor inside demands that you to do. One thing you don’t do is go easy. Cerrone by KO.

    WERTHEIM: These know each other well, a current and former member of the Jackson camp. Guillard hasn’t been the same since he left and needs the win. But Cerrone is a more clever and resourceful fighter. As long as he doesn’t get caught with a haymaker … Cerrone by decision.
    Read More…


  • Published On Aug 10, 2012
  • Floyd Mayweather: “I think Pacquiao’s an unbelievable fighter”

    Decrease fontDecrease font
    Enlarge fontEnlarge font

    Floyd Mayweather (right) attended the VIP screening of “Freelancers,” a forthcoming film starring friend 50 Cent (left), this week in L.A. (Eric Charbonneau/Getty Images)

    Floyd Mayweather made his first public appearance this week since his Aug. 3 release from a Las Vegas jail after serving two months of a three-month sentence in a misdemeanor battery case.

    The No. 1 boxer in SI.com’s pound-for-pound ratings attended the VIP screening of Freelancers, the forthcoming crime-drama film starring Robert De Niro, Forest Whitaker and Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Mayweather’s friend and business partner.

    While on the red carpet, Mayweather (43-0, 26 KOs) made his first comments to the press since his release, briefly acknowledging longtime rival Manny Pacquiao.

    I think Pacquiao’s an unbelievable fighter, and hopefully we can make the fight happen in the future.

    Top Rank’s Bob Arum traveled to the Philippines on Monday to meet with Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 KOs) to discuss the fighter’s prospective opponents for a planned Nov. 10 fight. The leading candidates are Timothy Bradley, Juan Manuel Marquez and Miguel Cotto.

    – SI.com staff


  • Published On Aug 10, 2012
  • Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields on front page of Detroit Free Press

    Decrease fontDecrease font
    Enlarge fontEnlarge font

    Claressa Shields, the 17-year-old middleweight from Flint, Mich., who won an Olympic gold medal on Thursday in London, appeared on the front page of Friday’s Detroit Free Press.

    The only member of the American team to capture gold, Shields is regarded as one of the fastest-rising stars in women’s boxing — and one of the feel-good stories of the London Games.

    – SI.com staff


  • Published On Aug 10, 2012
  • Spence Jr. declared winner after AIBA overturns controversial ruling

    Decrease fontDecrease font
    Enlarge fontEnlarge font
    Errol Spence Jr.

    The U.S. men still have a shot at a medal after the AIBA’s decision to overturn Errol Spence Jr.’s defeat. (John Biever/SI)

    LONDON — The United States men’s boxing team still has hope for an Olympic medal after all. After reviewing the welterweight fight between Errol Spence Jr. and India’s Krishan Vikas, the International Boxing Association (AIBA) has overturned the decision and declared Spence the winner, advancing him to the final eight.

    The AIBA decision reads as follows:

    There were a total of nine (9) holding fouls committed by the Indian boxer in the third round alone. However the Referee only gave one caution;

    In the second round, at the time 02:38, the boxer from India spitted out his gum shield intentionally. However the Referee didn’t give any warning.

    Based on these findings, the Competition Jury Members unanimously decided the following:

    Decision #1: Based on the AIBA Technical & Competition Rules 12.1.9, the Referee should have given at least two (2) warnings to the Indian boxer;

    Decision #2: Although the boxer from India intentionally spitted out his gumshield, the Referee’s view was blocked by the boxer from the USA and was not able to see the action;

    Final Decision: Based on Decision #1, at least four (4) points should have been awarded to the boxer from the USA. Therefore the final score should be 13:15 in favour of the USA. The protest is accepted and the winner of Bout #142 is Errol Spence (USA).

    The decision salvaged an otherwise difficult day for USA Boxing. Flyweight Rau’shee Warren, a medal favorite coming in, lost a narrow decision to France’s Nordine Oubaali.

    Spence was understandably happy with the AIBA’s decision.

    “I am obviously thrilled that the competition jury overturned my decision and I can continue chasing the gold medal I came here to win,” Spence said. “I am going to make the most of this second chance that I’ve been given. I can’t wait to get back in that ring on Tuesday.”

    – Chris Mannix

     


  • Published On Aug 03, 2012


  •