Archive for January, 2013

Experts’ Predictions for UFC 156

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Jose Aldo

Two of SI.com’s three experts believe Jose Aldo (above) will defeat Frankie Edgar on Saturday. (Andrew Richardson/Icon SMI)

SI.com analysts Dave Doyle, Loretta Hunt and Jeff Wagenheim provide their predictions for UFC 156 on Saturday in Las Vegas. 

Jose Aldo vs. Frankie Edgar

HUNT: This is one of those rare occasions where I’m glad a fighter was cajoled into something he didn’t want to do. After a stellar run at lightweight, the smaller Edgar makes his featherweight debut against the explosive Brazilian champ, who will finally have an opponent who can match his speed and skill. Trilogy potential here. Aldo by decision.

DOYLE: This is the toughest pick I’ve had to make in seven years covering MMA. I’ve changed my mind 100 times and might change it 100 more before fight time. As of now, I think Aldo’s kicks will be enough to keep Edgar from getting his offense fully untracked. Aldo via decision. 

WAGENHEIM: Anyone have a coin I can borrow to flip? Too many variables here for the math to make any sense to me, so let me try to keep it simple: Aldo has won 14 straight fights, while Edgar has lost two in a row. So obviously the answer is… well, “The Answer” is Frankie. Why? Because he always has an adjustment, an answer, for anything thrown at him. So look for him to weather an early storm (been there, done that) and settle into a rhythm and a pace that gradually makes him the lead in this dance. Edgar by decision.

Rashad Evans vs. Antonio Rogério Nogueira

HUNT: Speed and nimbler footwork will give Evans the edge against the more plodding Nogueira. Evans by TKO.

DOYLE: “Li’l Nog” has always been just a cut below the championship level, and he isn’t getting any younger. Evans is going to be motivated in his first fight since losing to Jon Jones. I smell 30-27 across the board. Evans via decision.

WAGENHEIM: “Little Nog” is coming off a win, but beating Tito Ortiz does not mean what it used to. On the other hand, losing to Phil Davis and Ryan Bader speaks volumes. Nogueira is a solid light heavy, but Rashad is simply too quick, too slick, too good for him to contend with. Where a victory here will lead “Suga Rashad” is uncertain, but that’s a question for another day. Evans by KO.

Alistair Overeem vs. Antonio Silva

HUNT: This is a career re-builder for Overeem, whose reputation took the hit everyone anticipated when he was flagged for steroid use last summer. With a brutally bloody battering from Cain Velasquez still in the back of his mind, the 6-foot-4, 285-pound “Big Foot” won’t be overshadowed by Overeem’s stature, but he will be bullied on its feet and from his back. Overeem by TKO.

DOYLE: I’m calling an upset here. Overeem has been out a year and his win streak is frankly a bit of a hype. Silva seems to perform best when he’s counted out. “Bigfoot” tags a rusty Overeem and scores the early finish. Silva via TKO.

WAGENHEIM: Overeem might be rusty after being idle since December 2011, and “Bigfoot” might have what it takes to step up. Silva is coming off an upset of rising heavyweight Travis Browne, and the two losses that preceded it were to the iron of the division, Cain Velasquez and Daniel Cormier. But “The Reem” has too much riding on this. Overeem by KO.

Jon Fitch vs. Demian Maia

HUNT: BJJ black belt Maia’s work ethic is top-tier in and he constantly pushes himself out of his comfort zone to even out his skill set. This isn’t necessarily a bad matchup for him — Fitch is a wrestler and Maia is a shark on the canvas — but if Fitch pushes this one to the fence and lingers there, he can eat crucial time and ride out a decision. Fitch by decision.

DOYLE: Fitch has never been known to take easy fights. This is no different. Maia’s undergone a career rebirth at welterweight, but ultimately, Fitch’s wrestling and submission defense will be too much for the jiu-jitsu specialist. Fitch by decision.

WAGENHEIM: Wouldn’t it be a cool turnabout if the crowd were to boo as the fighters come out of their corners and trade punches, then let out one of those bloodthirsty cheers as soon as they take the contest to the mat? After all, it is in the grappling (usually a dirty word for cageside fans) where the magic will happen. Fitch by decision.

Joseph Benavidez vs. Ian McCall

HUNT:  A rebound fight for Benavidez, the faster, more assertive, and most importantly, more marketable fighter of the pair coming off a split decision loss against champion Johnson. Benavidez by submission.

DOYLE: McCall’s had a nice run at flyweight, but Benavidez is simply a notch above. I see a dominant win for Benavidez, the type that demands a shot at Demetrious Johnson’s title. Benavidez via submission.

WAGENHEIM: I must admit I was surprised to see Demetrious Johnson beat Benavidez, who I thought was going to own the new UFC flyweight division. Now Joseph faces a guy “Mighty Mouse” had to fight twice on the way to the championship. All roads lead to rematch, no? Benavidez by decision.


  • Published On Jan 31, 2013
  • Quick Jabs: Donaire-Mares bout in limbo, Gamboa to escape punishment

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    Nonito Donaire

    Golden Boy Promotions is trying to get Nonito Donaire (above) and Abner Mares in the ring together. (AP)

    Golden Boy Promotions ratcheted up its pursuit of a fight between super bantamweights Nonito Donaire and Abner Mares this week, submitting a contract to an attorney for Top Rank, which promotes Donaire, for a guaranteed $3 million purse for the fight. That money — however it is split between Donaire, Top Rank and manager Cameron Dunkin — would be a record purse for Donaire. Unfortunately, it’s not enough. I’m told Top Rank has no interest in the offer. It prefers Donaire fight in April, on HBO; the contract gives Golden Boy the ability to hold the fight as late as June 30. It also states that should the fight need to be postponed, Golden Boy has the right to reschedule it within 90 days or cancel it outright, provisions Top Rank isn’t willing to live with.

    Instead, Top Rank plans to move ahead with an April 13 date for Donaire and match him against either super bantamweight titleholder Guillermo Rigondeaux or former bantamweight champion Vic Darchinyan.

    Personally, I think this is all pretty stupid. If scheduling is the biggest issue — and forget the network issue, if Golden Boy is putting up close to $5 million between Donaire and Mares, it’s a safe bet it winds up on HBO — then shame on the promoters for not finding a common ground. And according to Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer, it’s not. Schaefer told me on Wednesday that he has “all the flexibility in the world” when it comes to changing the date and that he personally sent an email to HBO letting network executives know he had no intention of squeezing them out, that he would take the best financial offer for the fight, regardless of the network.

    “What usually happens when you get a $3 million offer is you come back with comments,” Schaefer said. “If we can do this or that, we have a deal. But it just doesn’t seem like they want the fight. I’m going to keep trying. I’m going to keep pursuing until [Top Rank] announces something. Then, I’ll move on.”

    • One of the names published in a scathing Miami New Times report  connecting athletes to a company that allegedly provided steroids and other performance enhancing drugs was that of Yuri Gamboa, a 2004 Olympic gold medalist and current super featherweight contender. But while Major League Baseball investigates the players who were named in the report, Gamboa has nothing to worry about. That’s because boxing — with one of the worst drug testing systems of any major sport — will not retroactively punish a fighter, nor will it do any kind of investigation. In fact, if Gamboa, who tested clean after his December fight in Nevada, has been using something, there is little incentive for him to stop. Clearly, the arcane testing by state athletic commissions isn’t catching him.

    • Brian Kenny has been a superb addition to Showtime’s broadcasts. Kenny is a pro’s pro, a skilled interviewer and an excellent host.

    • Heavyweight contender Tyson Fury is close to a deal that will match him with former cruiserweight champion Steve Cunningham on April 20 at Madison Square Garden. The fight will be an afternoon show broadcast nationally on NBC. Cunningham’s wife and manager, Livvy, told me that while they do not have an official offer — and though they prefer a fight with Alexander Povetkin — they were interested in a Fury fight. Cunningham, of course, is coming off a controversial loss to Tomasz Adamek in December.

    • One of the names I’m hearing for the Cunningham-Fury undercard is Curtis Stevens, who is coming off a spectacular first round knockout of journeyman Elvin Ayala last month.

    • Boxing Scene has an interesting post detailing how the WBA and former middleweight champion Felix Sturm colluded to avoid forcing Sturm to defend his title against Gennady Golovkin.

    • Last week, heavyweight contender Bryant Jennings told SI.com he was out of a proposed March 9 date on NBC Sports Network. Jennings said the money he was being offered was the same as what he made last January, when he made his television debut. Main Events CEO Kathy Duva denied that the offer was the same, telling me that it was, in fact, double what Jennings made in his first fight.

    • Can Sergey Kovalev fight again soon? Please?

    • I can understand Zab Judah’s frustration with the postponement of his Feb. 9 fight against Danny Garcia, but accusing Garcia of faking an injury is just dumb. Injuries during training happen, unfortunately, and Judah himself has experienced them: In 2008, Judah fell in a bathroom, a fall that opened a gash on his arm and forced the cancellation of a fight against Shane Mosley. Garcia-Judah has been rescheduled for April 27.

    • Lucas Matthysse’s spectacular first round knockout of an overmatched Mike Dallas Jr. will only enhance his reputation as the most feared fighter in boxing. While Matthysse wants a fight with Danny Garcia, expect Showtime to try to lure him back into the ring quickly, possibly as early as March.

    • Paging Vernon Paris.

    • Johnathan Banks wasn’t too excited when Seth Mitchell exercised the immediate rematch clause in his contract following Banks’s knockout win over him in November. Banks wanted to take an interim bout, preferably against Alexander Povetkin, before facing Mitchell again. But at a recent public workout, Banks sounded like a fighter who has found motivation.

    “Mitchell has contradicted himself,” Banks said. “Right after the fight he was very humble, gave me respect for the win and said he was going to have to go back to the drawing board, work his way back to the position he was in. Now I hear him saying things like ‘I didn’t win the fight or knock him out because I was the better man that night,’ and that it was his mistakes that were the cause of the loss. I find that to be out of character for this guy who seemed to be humble and respectful of me as a fighter prior to the first fight. When I lost to [Tomasz] Adamek as a cruiserweight, I lost. I can see [Mitchell] coming for the knockout this time. He says he is going to be different this time. I believe he will be.

    – Chris Mannix


  • Published On Jan 30, 2013
  • Chael Sonnen and Jon ‘Bones’ Jones find themselves to be friends — sort of

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    Jon 'Bones' Jones

    Jon Jones will defend his light heavyweight title in April. (Dustin Bradford/Icon SMI)

    The second the cameras stopped rolling, UFC fighter Chael Sonnen turned to Jon “Bones” Jones and slapped him on the knee.

    “I can’t believe you did that! How could you?!” Sonnen joked, acting not unlike a married couple. Or, at the very least, friends.

    Conducting an interview in the Sports Illustrated studio, Jones had just given away one of the results of a yet-to-be-aired episode of FX’s The Ultimate Fighter, and there would have to be a re-take.

    Having spent so much time together in recent weeks taping The Ultimate Fighter, the days of Sonnen trash-talking Jones seem too long gone. Despite the fact that they are preparing to fight each other on April 27, they really do seem like friends.

    So are they actually?

    “Yeah we are [friends],” Sonnen said. “The single most disappointing part about going through this coaching process was finding out what a nice and genuine and passionate person that he is. [Spending so much time with someone] is really a recipe for disaster. Most of the time tensions fly… but for whatever reason Jon’s and my personality really hit it off.”

    Jones does not entirely agree with such a flowery characterization, though.

    “Oh no, me and Chael are not friends,” he quickly interjects. “We’re far from friends. We’re definitely more friendly than I would have expected, but that’s just my nature – I’m a friendly person.”

    Whatever the status of their relationship, the fact remains that they are three months away from meeting in the octagon.

    Jones has a belt to hold on to — a belt that Sonnen covets dearly. Expect all niceties to be spared.

    R.J. Rico


  • Published On Jan 25, 2013
  • After injury, Foreman eases back into boxing with win

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    Yuri Foreman returned with a victory after 22 months away from boxing. (Getty Images)

    Yuri Foreman returned with a victory after 22 months away from boxing. (Getty Images)

    NEW YORK — A few hundred fans turned out for Yuri Foreman’s comeback fight Wednesday at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill in Times Square, a six-round, unanimous-decision win over someone named Brandon Baue that amounted to little more than a workout for a former champion easing back into boxing after 22 months away.

    The turnout was a far cry from the more than 20,000 that flocked to Yankee Stadium the last time Foreman fought in New York in June 2010. That night, Foreman — then undefeated and the WBA junior welterweight champion — lost his title to Miguel Cotto after suffering a knee injury that would require major reconstructive surgery.

    A native of Belarus who relocated to Park Slope several years ago, Foreman brought a lot to that promotion. He was an undefeated titleholder with a fascinating second life — he’s an Orthodox rabbi-in-training — who was said to be the first Jewish world champion since the 1930s. Foreman’s unique backstory helped make the Yankee Stadium fight HBO’s highest-rated non-pay-per-view event of 2010.

    Yet a hasty return from ACL surgery contributed to a demoralizing sixth-round stoppage loss to Pawel Wolak in March 2011. (That a heavy-handed swarmer like Wolak was chosen for Foreman’s first opponent after a major knee procedure speaks to matchmaking that can only be described as negligent.) Foreman then retired — or at least thought awfully hard about it. Either way, he’d been out of the ring for nearly two years until Wednesday’s fight.

    Foreman entered the ring in black trunks with gold lettering — and, notably, no knee brace. By his side was Joe Grier, the longtime trainer with whom he’d split and since reunited. Elusive as always, he pawed his way through the first three rounds against a limited opponent, picking up the pace marginally in the later rounds, occasionally putting combinations of punches together. Baue landed shots but never came close to winning a round.

    “More nervous than usual,” Foreman said of his return. “I was just happy to shed some of the rust and get some rounds in.”

    All three judges scored it 60-54, lifting Foreman’s pro ledger to 29 wins in 31 fights. Afterward, Foreman discussed his recent signing with Lou DiBella, who promoted Wednesday’s show. When current 154-pound titleholders Austin Trout and Canelo Alvarez were brought up, Foreman seemed enthused about the prospect of facing them within the next two years.

    Yet Wednesday’s first step served only one practical purpose — eradicating the specter of injury — and to that end it was a success.

    “The knee is out of my head,” he said.

    –Bryan Armen Graham


  • Published On Jan 24, 2013
  • Quick Jabs: Kelly Pavlik has a tough fight ahead, Gabriel Rosado recovering, more

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    Kelly Pavlik

    After struggling with alcoholism, Kelly Pavlik has retired from boxing at the age of 30. (Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

    • I can’t say I’m surprised that former middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik decided to call it quits last week, at 30. From what I have been told, the move to Oxnard, California to train with Robert Garcia had not been going as well as planned and that Pavlik often appeared disinterested during training. It’s fortunate for Pavlik that Andre Ward had to back out of a scheduled January date with a shoulder injury; that could have gotten real ugly, real fast.

    Is Pavlik done? I doubt it. Boxing is littered with comebacks, and Pavlik is young enough that he can take a couple of years off. I just hope Pavlik can keep the demons that have chased him the last few years in check. I wrote the first story on Pavlik following his second stint in rehab and I remember his defiance towards accepting that he had a drinking problem. It’s going to be a battle for him to keep his life in order now that he is retired. I hope that, like so many of his battles in the ring, he wins it.

    • I’m told Gabriel Rosado, who absorbed a pretty good beating from Gennady Golovkin last weekend, is recovering well and expects to return sometime this summer. Rosado plans to drop back down to 154-pounds, where he will still be a top contender. I know Rosado has his eyes on Saul Alvarez, but a good fight for him would be a rematch with Alfredo Angulo, who knocked Rosado out in the second round in 2009.

    • Speaking of Golovkin, promoter Tom Loeffler told me the plan going forward was to have Golovkin fight in March, somewhere in Europe, before returning to the U.S. in June for a bigger HBO fight. If IBF titleholder Daniel Geale wins his rematch with Anthony Mundine later this month, a unification fight with Golovkin would make for a good matchup.

    • Timothy Bradley — who has made some of the worst business decisions in recent memory — is reportedly closing in on a fight with Yuri Gamboa. I like it. It’s a very winnable fight for Bradley and would give him a big bounce towards a bigger fight later in the year.

    • Checked in with Sergio Martinez’s advisor, Sampson Lewkowicz, last weekend, who told me Martinez is doing well in his recovery from knee surgery. According to Lewkowicz, Martinez is doing strictly upper body workouts right now but will begin full training in late February and will be ready to fight in April.

    • Top Rank announced the signing of Chinese amateur superstar Zou Shiming, a three-time world champion and two-time gold medalist in the junior flyweight division. Zou, 31, will make his pro debut in Macau in April.

    • If you missed Sergey Kovalev’s one-sided beating of former light heavyweight titleholder Gabriel Campillo, find the replay on NBC Sports Network. In his stiffest test to date, Kovalev walked right through Campillo, a slick, talented boxer who had been knocked out just once before. Kovalev is more than just raw power: He’s a smart boxer who under the tutelage of John David Jackson has developed a complete game. He goes to the head, to the body and when he smells blood has a tremendous killer instinct. Main Events would like to bring him back sometime in June, preferably on HBO. If Tavoris Cloud can get past Bernard Hopkins in March, a Cloud-Kovalev showdown would be explosive.

    • I like Bryant Jennings — he was SI.com’s 2012 Prospect of the Year. But fighting Wladimir Klitschko right now is a bad, bad idea. Jennings made great strides in 2012 but he is nowhere near ready for that kind of fight. At this point in his career, a knockout loss to Klitschko might be something he doesn’t recover from.

    • Still no decisions have been made on the futures of the Klitschko brothers, per manager Bernd Boente, though I still expect both to be back in the ring sometime this spring.

    • So Jorge Arce wants another fight. Boxers really need to stop using the word ‘retirement.’

    • Another week, another disgraceful judging performance, this time by Tony Paolillo, who inexplicably scored the Roman Martinez-Juan Carlos Burgos fight for Martinez, 116-112. I’ve watched that fight three times and there is no way you can give Martinez that many rounds. The official punch stats gave Burgos a 286-193 advantage, including 234-164 in power shots.

    Unsurprisingly, Burgos’ promoters demanded a rematch.

    “Juan Carlos won that fight hands down and this week we will file for an immediate rematch”, said Artie Pelullo, CEO of Banner Promotions. “The kid worked hard and should be a world champion this morning. We just hope the WBO agrees with what the whole world saw and does the right thing by granting us this rematch.”

    -Chris Mannix


  • Published On Jan 23, 2013
  • Michael Chandler and Pat Curran retain title belts in Bellator’s debut on Spike

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    Michael Chandler wasted little time in submitting Rick Hawn (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting).

    Michael Chandler wasted little time in submitting Rick Hawn (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting).

    Sometimes a first impression is a double-take.

    That was the case Thursday night when the Bellator Fighting Championship made its debut on Spike TV and two of its champions put on shows that demonstrated why they own the belts.

    Pat Curran opened the Irvine, Calif., main card — and Bellator’s new residency on the former TV home of the UFC — with a masterful five-round picking apart of Patricio “Pitbull” Freire to successfully defend his featherweight title for the first time. It went into the books as a split decision, but the rounds Freire (17-2) won were razor thin, while Curran (18-4) seized control as the fight wore on.

    The other championship bout? That can be summed up in two words: Michael Chandler. Or more appropriately: Michael! Chandler!

    The lightweight belt holder also was defending for the first time, and he protected the strap like a mama bear protects her cubs, dominating Rick Hawn on the way to a second-round submission victory. Chandler (11-0) had captured the title in a thrilling back-and-forth battle with Eddie Alvarez back in November 2011, but there was no back and forth this time. Hawn (14-2), who represented the United States in judo at the 2004 Olympics, couldn’t stop Chandler from taking him down and keeping him down, and the champ’s second-round takedown led to a rear-naked choke that elicited a tapout at 3:07.

    “Me and [grappling coach] Neil Melanson worked that about 16,000 times right there, and it worked out, man,” Chandler said afterward in the cage, taking about the finish. “It’s a crazy game, but I love it.”

    Chandler is not so much in love, oddly enough, with where he stands as a mixed martial artist. “I’ve got a lot of improving to do, I’ll tell you that much,” he said, later adding, “If you ain’t moving forward, you’re moving backward.”

    Moving forward presents another kind of challenge for Chandler: Who’s next for the promotion’s 155-pound king?

    If Bellator’s contract litigation with Alvarez resolves in favor of Bjorn Rebney’s promotion and it gets to retain the services of the ex-champ, a rematch between Chandler and the man he dethroned would be a big hit. But if Eddie ends up in the UFC instead, then what? Well, eight fighters begin the Season 8 lightweight tournament later this month, and just as happened when Hawn won last season’s tourney, a challenger will emerge.

    —Jeff Wagenheim


  • Published On Jan 18, 2013
  • Quinton “Rampage” Jackson accuses the UFC of mistreatment

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    Quinton Jackson will leave the UFC after his fight on Jan. 26. (AP)

    Quinton Jackson will leave the UFC after his fight on Jan. 26. (AP)

    Quinton “Rampage” Jackson is living up to his nickname by going on one, accusing the UFC of mistreating and underpaying fighter to denying him the ability to wear Reebok products in the cage.

    Jackson (32-10) will be leaving the UFC after his Jan. 26 matchup with Glover Teixeira and he isn’t going quietly. In a conference call with reporters on Tuesday, Jackson said, “[The UFC] offered to renegotiate the contract but I didn’t want to. I don’t want to renegotiate with them. I think the UFC don’t know how to treat their athletes, in my opinion. The fighters, I feel like we do a lot for this sport and I just feel like we’re not taken care of. I feel like they’re getting rich off of us. We’re all having surgeries and stuff like that. Some of these guys can’t even afford to pay sparing partners. Some guys fight for $10,000 or $20,000. That ain’t right, man. . . I want to go somewhere they take care of their fighters and treat us like human beings.”

    He says money isn’t the only reason behind his departure.

    “It’s not just about money, it’s about respect,” he says.

    The former UFC light heavyweight champion claims the UFC prohibits him from wearing gear from his sponsor, Reebok.

    “Other fighters are sponsored by Nike and stuff, so why can’t I wear Reebok,” he asked.

    Heavyweight Junior dos Santos, for example, donned Nike apparel into the cage for his UFC 155 rematch with Cain Velasquez last month.

    “We work with apparel companies from all over the world through our approved partnership program,” a UFC spokesperson said. “We’ve not yet been approached by Reebok on behalf of Rampage, but welcome the conversation. We do everything we can to support our athletes getting these types of sponsorships and will continue to do so moving forward.”

    Jackson, 34, says his experience with the premier mixed martial arts promotion “turned me into a very negative person. I just want to be a positive person. I got to get rid of all the negativity in my life. . . No matter what the outcome is on Jan. 26, I’m going to be happy for everything. . . I’ve trained to destroy him, and then leave the UFC to leave on a positive note and let the UFC be my past.”

    He didn’t mention any specifics for his future but suggested the possibility of working more in the film industry [he’s appeared in the movie The A-Team and has two films in post-production] and, perhaps, a professional boxing stint.

    “There’s nothing going on right now. I’m just concentrating on this fight. This fight is very important for me. I’ve put my time in. I did my thing. . .  Maybe I want to try some boxing. . . I’ve done, jujitsu tournaments,  wrestling tournaments, kickboxing fights but I’ve never been a boxer.”

    - Melissa Segura


  • Published On Jan 15, 2013
  • Quick Jabs: Manny Pacquiao in no rush to fight, Glazkov-Scott card could be unwatchable, more

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    Manny Pacquiao

    Despite rumors, Manny Pacquiao probably will not be fighting in April. (AP)

    • Speculation has been rampant in the boxing industry that Manny Pacquiao could return to the ring in April, possibly in a fight in Singapore, Macau or Abu Dhabi. Yet I’m told that there is no sense of urgency to rush Pacquiao back into the ring.

    Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, told SI.com recently that he prefers that Pacquiao — who was brutally knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez last month — stay out of the ring until September. Pacquiao’s promoter, Top Rank, isn’t pushing to make the fight, partly because getting a $10-million site fee secured in the next two months would not be easy, and partly because Top Rank, like Roach, doesn’t see any need to rush back in the ring, not with another $30 million payday coming Pacquiao’s way in a potential fifth fight with Marquez. Most of the talk of a comeback fight is coming from Pacquiao’s business advisor, Michael Koncz, who will need the full support of Top Rank to make the fight happen. And right now, he doesn’t have it.

    • Last week, Main Events announced that heavyweight prospect Vyacheslav “Czar” Glazkov would headline an NBC Sports Network Fight Night show against undefeated Malik Scott on February 23. Now there has been some backlash to the choice of Scott. Despite good size (6-foot-3) and an unblemished record, Scott is rarely, if ever, in an entertaining fight, preferring to jab his way to lopsided wins on the outside against inferior opposition. It’s how his career has gone and, at 32, it’s likely how his career is going to be.

    Certainly Scott wasn’t the promoters’ first choice. Main Events thought it had a deal with heavy-handed heavyweight Magomed Abdusalamov before he backed out. They it turned to Joe Hanks, Jason Estrada, Travis Kauffman, David Rodriguez, Justin Jones and Franklin Lawrence. Each turned the offer down.

    There is plenty of upside for Glazkov (14-0). Beating Scott (35-0) would be a nice feather in his cap. The fear though is that Scott, as he has done his whole career, will use his length, box on the outside and win a boring, unwatchable decision. And for Main Events, which has made Fight Night a success largely by putting together exciting fights, that would be a disaster.

    • Shane Mosley, whose skills have deteriorated significantly in recent years and who retired following a lopsided decision defeat to Saul Alvarez last May, is coming out of retirement to challenge welterweight titleholder Paulie Malignaggi at the Barclays Center in April. Putting aside that Mosley, 41, whose declining motor skills have been noticeable to reporters who have interviewed him the last few years, has reached the point where just fighting is especially dangerous, there is almost no way that can be an entertaining fight.

    • British promoter Frank Warren announced a terrific card to be held March 16 at Wembley Stadium in London. Headlining will be lightweight titleholder Ricky Burns, who will attempt to unify the 135-pound titles against fellow titleholder Miguel Vazquez. In addition, light heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly will defend his belt against mandatory challenger Robin Krasniqi, super middleweight prospect George Groves will face Mouhamed Ali Ndiaye, and Dereck Chisora, who has not fought since being knocked out by David Haye last summer, will face an undetermined opponent.

    Chisora’s participation in the show is contingent on him being relicensed by the British Boxing Board of Control, which suspended Chisora’s license indefinitely after he provoked an ugly brawl with Haye last year.

    The card will be televised in the U.S. on Epix and EpixHD.com.

    • Heavyweight contender Tomasz Adamek will likely have to deal with charges stemming from an arrest for driving under the influence in upstate New York last week, but physically Adamek emerged from the three-car wreck unscathed. Adamek reportedly crashed his car into a parked vehicle, which was pushed into another parked car, while driving late Saturday night near Lake Placid, N.Y.

    Adamek is hoping to face Kubrat Pulev later this year in a fight that will determine the next mandatory challenger for Wladimir Klitschko.

    “Fortunately, he’s fine,” said Adamek’s promoter, Kathy Duva, in an email. “This will not affect his next fight.”

    • Undefeated heavyweight Denis Boytsov, who is recovering from elbow surgery, has resumed training again. I’ll care when the oft-injured Boytsov starts fighting again.

    • Lightweight Adrien Broner’s impressive stoppage of Antonio DeMarco last November has many clamoring to see him in more big fights, including some at junior welterweight, one of the deepest divisions in boxing. However Broner, 23, has no plans to move up in weight anytime soon.

    “That’s what everybody wants you to do,” Broner said. “They have just seen me dominate and put on a great performance… but I just moved up to this weight [135 pounds]. I still make the weight [by] eating steak and potatoes every night at training camp. I make the weight comfortably, so I’m going to stay here for a lot of good fights that I still can have at 135-pounds.  So, I’m going to flush out this lightweight division and then we can go up to the light welterweight and crush their dreams. We’re going to stay here for a while.”

    • An interesting fight under discussion for the spring: Steve Cunningham, the former cruiserweight titleholder coming off a controversial loss to Tomasz Adamek last month, against Tyson Fury, the big (6-foot-8) heavyweight prospect who has been looking for name opponents.

    -Chris Mannix


  • Published On Jan 15, 2013
  • Overeem reinstated by Nevada Athletic Commission

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    Alistair Overeem

    Heavyweight Alistair Overeem has the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s OK to compete again. (Eric Jamison/Getty Images)

    The Nevada State Athletic Commission voted unanimously Tuesday morning to reinstate the license of heavyweight fighter Alistair Overeem after a nine-month ban for elevated testosterone levels. The reinstatement ends Overeem’s exile and clears his path for his UFC return against Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva on Feb. 2 at Las Vegas’s Mandalay Bay.

    “We’ve done everything we could to correct ourselves from the errors that was made,” the Miami-based fighter told the commission. “I’m ready to get my life back on track and get fighting.”

    He nodded in agreement when asked by the commission if his suspension was just. Overeem passed recent drug tests in November and December.

    The compliant Overeem, 32, seated in front of the commission contrasted with the fighter who appeared before the same panel last April. At the commission hearing last spring, Overeem maintained that his test, which showed a 14-to-1 testosterone-to epitestosterone levels—more than double Nevada’s 6-to-1  limit–was an unwitting mistake. During the April 24 hearing, Overeem testified under oath that he never knowingly used performance-enhancing drugs.

    Overeem told the commission last spring that he sought treatment from a nagging rib injury from Texas-based doctor Hector Oscar Molina. The physician administered what the doctor testified was a “tetra mix”—a mixture of Vitamin B-12, anti-inflammatory medication Dexamethosone, the popular pain killer Toradol, and a form of testosterone. On March 23, according to the fighter’s testimony, he injected himself with the “tetra mix” given to him by Molina after reinjuring himself.  On March 27, Overeem appeared at a UFC press conference promoting his May 26 scheduled title fight against Brazilian Junior Dos Santos. Following the press conference, Nevada subjected Overeem to the random drug test that led to his suspension.

    The 36-11 fighter had previously missed a drug test required by the Nevada Athletic Commission, saying he had flown back to Holland to tend to his ailing mother.  As a condition of a previously issued license, Nevada required Overeem to submit to random drug tests through 2012, like the March 27 test that snared him.

    At the same April hearing, Molina testified he did not tell Overeem about the presence of testosterone in the drug cocktail. While failing to inform a patient about the contents of medication would generally be grounds for a patient to file a complaint against a physician, the Texas Medical Board website does not show that Overeem has filed any such complaint against Molina.

    While Overeem’s positive drug test upended what would have been a super bout with Dos Santos, his reinstatement can once again alter the heavyweight landscape.

    The UFC is arguably in a no-lose situation with Overeem. Should he win his Super Bowl weekend match with Silva, he’d most likely be fast-tracked to a title fight against Cain Velasquez.  Should he succumb to Silva, the UFC could reschedule the previously-derailed bout with Dos Santos, which would likely be a ratings bonanza. — Melissa Segura


  • Published On Jan 08, 2013
  • Quick Jabs: Mayweather still needs opponent, Pavlik could benefit from Ward injury, more

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    It is still unclear who Floyd Mayweather will be facing in May. (AP)

    It is still unclear who Floyd Mayweather will be facing in May. (AP)

    Some quick jabs …

    • Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer said no decisions have been made regarding opponents for Floyd Mayweather and Saul Alvarez in May. While Robert Guerrero continues to be a leading candidate to face Mayweather, Schaefer indicated that Austin Trout, who is coming off an upset win over Miguel Cotto in December, isn’t a likely candidate for Alvarez.

    “[Trout] is one of the names being considered,” Schaefer said. “But at this point, I don’t think it will happen.”

    • The shoulder injury that will sideline Andre Ward for at least the next few months could turn out to be a blessing for Kelly Pavlik. Pavlik, of course, was scheduled to face Ward later this month. Few people in the industry — myself included — gave Pavlik little more than a puncher’s chance against Ward, a physically stronger and more skilled fighter who has been campaigning at 168-pounds for most of his career. With Ward out, Pavlik has plenty of options in the super middleweight division. A fight with Lucian Bute has been dangled and a long-awaited matchup with Arthur Abraham could be a possibility. One name I’ve heard linked with Pavlik: Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., who could still be contemplating a move up to 168-pounds.

    • So Mariusz Wach says he has lost his passion for boxing. I would too if I took the beating Wladimir Klitschko gave him.

    • Heavyweight contender Kubrat Pulev’s promoter, Chris Meyer of Sauerland Event, told me on Monday that he will begin negotiations with Main Events CEO Kathy Duva this week about a matchup between Pulev and Tomasz Adamek this year. Pulev-Adamek would be an IBF eliminator, with the winner guaranteed a shot at IBF titleholder Wladimir Klitschko. Meyer said he hoped to have a tentative plan settled in the next 10-14 days.

    • Credit junior middleweight Gabriel Rosado for refusing to fight middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin at a catchweight of 158-pounds. I like Golovkin to win that fight but Rosado — who has never backed up from anyone — will make Golovkin fight. Could be an early candidate for Fight of the Year.

    • NBC reported that the ratings for its December 22nd card headlined by Tomasz Adamek and Steve Cunningham averaged 1.6 million viewers (a 1.2 rating), peaking at 3.2 million viewers (2.2 rating). On the heels of a successful show on CBS a week earlier, I think it’s safe to say boxing will be back on network TV. Soon.

    • Count me among those concerned about Manny Pacquiao after his devastating knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez last month. But I don’t think doctors who have never examined him — like Filipino neurologist Dr. Rustico Jimenez, who last week said he saw early signs of Parkinson’s disease in Pacquiao — have any right to go public with that kind of accusation. That’s staggeringly irresponsible.

    - Chris Mannix


  • Published On Jan 08, 2013


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