Archive for July, 2013

Will moving down to cruiserweight help Eddie Chambers move up in boxing?

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Eddie Chambers

Eddie Chambers says he expects an easy transition to the lower weight class. (Christof Koepsel/Getty Images)

Even at the height of his success as a heavyweight — which included 30 straight wins to open his career and a title shot against Wladimir Klitschko in 2010 — many in boxing looked at Eddie Chambers and wondered what he was doing in the division. Rarely was Chambers more than 10 or 15 pounds over the 200-pound cruiserweight limit and sometimes, like in his last fight, a decision defeat to Tomasz Adamek, he was just a couple of pounds past it. A fighter with Chambers’ hand speed and skill, some in the industry reasoned, could do some real damage in a smaller, albeit less popular, division.

On Saturday night, Chambers (36-3) will finally cut the extra weight when he makes his cruiserweight debut against Thabiso Mchunu (13-1) at Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, CT (NBC Sports Network, 10:30 pm).

“I’ve been thinking about [moving down] for a long time,” Chambers said. “I always thought that if I could fight guys my own size, I’d have the opportunities and the upper hand.”

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  • Published On Jul 30, 2013
  • Undefeated heavyweight Denis Boytsov signs with Sauerland Event

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    27-year-old heavyweight Denis Boytsov (right) is 32-0. (Lars Baron/Bongarts/Getty Images)

    27-year-old heavyweight Denis Boytsov (right) is 33-0. (Lars Baron/Bongarts/Getty Images)

    Undefeated heavyweight contender Denis Boytsov — whose rise in the division has been stalled by injuries and a promotional dispute — has signed with Sauerland Event, the promotional company announced on Monday. Boytsov will fight on a Sauerland card this fall.

    Boytsov’s contract with Sauerland will run through 2015.

    Boytsov, 27, was a decorated amateur, winning the 2001 and ’02 Cadet World Championships and the ’04 Junior World Championships before turning pro. As a professional, Boytsov (33-0) quickly established himself as one of the top heavyweights in Europe, showcasing skill and solid knockout power (78.8 percent knockout rate) as he rose up the ranks. Boytsov appeared headed for a world title shot before injuries — a right hand in 2010 and an elbow last year, both of which required surgery–slowed his ascent.

    With two wins already this year, Boytsov — who reportedly chose Sauerland over offers from Felix Sturm’s promotional company and Don King — believes the injury woes are behind him.

    “I am happy to be a part of Team Sauerland, where I will train under the guidance of coach Karsten Roewer,” Boytsov said. “Therefore, I will move from Hamburg to Berlin to be close to the training facilities.”

    Boytsov joins a Sauerland Event stable that already includes heavyweights Alexander Povetkin, Karo Murat and Robert Helenius, fighters that Boytsov — who is currently ranked as the No. 1 contender by the WBO — could be matched up against in the next year.

    “After we found out that Denis was officially a free agent, we immediately tried to sign him,” said Sauerland Event managing director Chris Meyer. “Promotions all over the world tried hard to get his signature but in the end he decided to join us, which makes us very proud.”

    — Chris Mannix

  • Published On Jul 29, 2013
  • Undefeated Malik Scott hoping win vs. Dereck Chisora will bolster his cause

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    Malik Scott is undefeated but does not have a big fanbase because of a boring fighting style. (Getty Images)

    Malik Scott is undefeated but does not have a big fan base because of a boring fighting style. (Getty Images)

    Fact: There is little upside to fighting Malik Scott.

    Win, and you have beaten an unknown American who, despite an unbeaten record, has no fan base and no buzz around him. 

    Lose, and you will add an ‘L’ to your resume in the aftermath of a boring fight. 

    And most heavyweights will lose. At 6’4” and equipped with a steady jab and hard to hit chin, Scott is as technical as any other big man in boxing. In February, Main Events thought it was a good idea to match rising heavyweight contender Czar Glazkov with Scott as the main event of a show on NBC Sports Network. In a fight that featured little action, Scott boxed Glazkov to a draw, even as  some ringside reporters — including this one — believed Scott won fairly easily. 

    That’s why it was surprising when promoter Frank Warren signed up Scott to fight Dereck “Del Boy” Chisora at Wembley Arena in London on Saturday night. Chisora needs a win. He has lost three of his last four fights, including a crushing knockout loss to David Haye last year. Chisora is an appealing heavyweight opponent — he talks tough and comes straight forward, a style that lends itself to entertaining fights — but there are only so many losses he can take before his marketability starts to slide. And against Scott, Chisora has an opponent who could easily box circles around him. 

    “Malik’s in tremendous shape,” said Scott’s trainer, Jesse Reid. “He’s my prize racehorse and he’s ready for Chisora. His strongest assets are his speed, footwork and intelligence. He knows how to stay calm under pressure. I’m more than confident. I’ve trained many world champions in my 42 years in boxing and some of the biggest names in the sport, but a world heavyweight champion has eluded me. But I believe I’ve got one in Malik.”

    That may be wishful thinking. Scott’s sleep-inducing style isn’t going to have either Klitschko brother clamoring to face him, which means the only way he will get a shot is to position himself as the mandatory challenger. And Scott (35-0-1) isn’t ranked in the top 10 by any of the major organizations. 

    Still, beating Chisora (16-4) would undoubtedly move Scott up. Chisora, however, doesn’t expect that to happen. 

    “I’m happy now that I’ve looked into his eyes and I see that the boy is scared,” Chisora, said. “What counts is what happens in the ring on Saturday, and I’m going to do a real good job on this boy and pack him back off to America, defeated.”

    Added Chisora’s trainer, Don Charles, “”Scott looks in great shape, which is good news for us, as it will be all the better when Del beats him. Trust me, Del is in the best shape of his career and Scott will not be able to stand the heat that Del is going to dish out. Scott has not met anyone like Del and he’s caught him at the wrong time. Del is hungry and determined as he knows he can’t afford to lose this fight.”

    Tough talk from a Scott opponent is nothing new. Being able to back it up would be. 

    –Chris Mannix

  • Published On Jul 19, 2013
  • Danny Garcia and Lucas Matthysse to fight on Mayweather-Alvarez undercard

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    Lucas Matthysse celebrates after his TKO victory over Lamont Peterson in May. (Al Bello/Getty Images)

    Lucas Matthysse celebrates after his TKO victory over Lamont Peterson in May. (Al Bello/Getty Images)

    Unified junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia will defend his titles against Argentinean knockout artist Lucas Matthysse on September 14th on the undercard of the Floyd Mayweather-Saul Alvarez pay per view, Golden Boy Promotions announced on Thursday. The addition of Garcia-Matthysse creates one of the most anticipated cards in pay-per-view history.

    The hype for Garcia-Matthysse has been building since May, when Matthysse — with Garcia in attendance — stopped titleholder Lamont Peterson in the third round in Atlantic City. It was the sixth straight knockout win for Matthysse (34-2), who hasn’t lost since a 2011 defeat to Devon Alexander. The win setup the showdown with Garcia (26-0), arguably the top fighter at 140-pounds.

    “I’m glad I finally get a chance to fight Danny Garcia,” Matthysse said. “This is the fight that the entire boxing world — especially my country Argentina — and I wanted. I want to thank my promoters Golden Boy Promotions and Mario Arano for making this fight possible. On September 14th, I will show the world that I am the best 140 pound fighter on the planet.”

    Garcia has quickly emerged as one of the biggest stars in boxing. After decisioning Erik Morales to win a vacant title in 2012, Garcia followed it up with a spectacular knockout of Amir Khan four months later. He knocked out Morales in a rematch last November and in April outpointed former titleholder Zab Judah.

    According to Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer, Garcia pushed hard for a Matthysse matchup.

    “This is the fight I wanted and the fight that I asked for,” Garcia said. “That is why I’m so happy this fight has been made and will be a part of this huge event. I’m more confident than ever in my abilities and I’m going to show it on September 14th. Matthysse is a good fighter and has a big punch, but I’m a talented fighter with what it takes to be a champion and stay that way. This is an opportunity for the world to see what I can really do in the ring.”

    Mayweather-Alvarez was already expected to produce one of the biggest pay-per-view revenues in history, with the popular Mayweather getting a boost from a young star in Alvarez, who has a huge fan base in Mexico and the southwestern U.S. By adding Garcia-Matthysse — which on its own would do a huge rating on Showtime — to the card, the show could come close or surpass 2 million pay-per-view buys.

    The fight could also be a showcase, with the winner in line for shot at Mayweather — should he get past Alvarez — sometime next year.

    – Chris Mannix

  • Published On Jul 18, 2013
  • Chris Weidman: Anderson Silva ‘deserves’ the rematch

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    Chris Weidman celebrates after recording a TKO victory over Anderson Silva during UFC 162. (AP)

    Chris Weidman celebrates after recording a TKO victory over Anderson Silva during UFC 162. (AP)

    The arena is booked. The date is set. And even though the new UFC middleweight champion, Chris Weidman has held his title for a mere 10 days, his Dec. 28 rematch with Anderson Silva can’t come soon enough.

    “I’m excited to go out there and prove that what I did is going to happen again,” Weidman, 29, told in his first comments since UFC president Dana White on Saturday officially announced the rematch. “I’m the better fighter and I’m excited to look even better this next fight.”

    Weidman (10-0-0) dethroned Silva (33-5-0) with a knockout 1:18 into the second round of their July 6 title fight. Silva taunted Weidman before the last blow by keeping his arms down and feigning injury after a series of Weidman’s blow. Silva’s antics sparked controversy ranging from erudite discussion about the sportsmanship of Silva’s goading of his opponents to harebrained conspiracy theories about fight fixing. The knockout ended Silva’s streak of 16 straight wins in the UFC, a record 11 knockouts and 14 total finishes.

    Weidman wanted the rematch not only to snuff out any talk of subterfuge but also for a much more basic reason: Silva deserves it.

    “I’m going to give it to him but because he’s going to deserve it. He’s been on the top for so long,” Weidman says. Though the wait to meet again, for the fighters, might feel just as long.

    – Melissa Segura

  • Published On Jul 16, 2013
  • Quick Jabs: Gary Russell needs tougher fights, Tony Thompson still has it, more

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    Tony Thompson (left) recorded a TKO victory over David Price on July 6 in Liverpool. (Scott Heavey/Getty Images)

    Tony Thompson (left) recorded a TKO victory over David Price on July 6 in Liverpool. (Scott Heavey/Getty Images)

    Some quick jabs…

    • Raise your hand if you are surprised that featherweight prospect Gary Russell turned down a fight with Daniel Ponce de Leon. No one? I thought so. Ponce de Leon, according to Steve Kim at, was ready and willing to take the fight, only to be told that Russell (22-0), who has not fought since March because of a hand injury, preferred to take an easier fight. That’s not particularly surprising because Russell’s entire career has been easy fights. I’m as big a fan of Russell’s talent as anyone, but until he faces an opponent who actually wants to fight back, he doesn’t belong on premium television.

    • Neither, of course, does Deontay Wilder, who continues his run through bums when he faces Siarhei Liakhovich, last seen getting flattened by Bryant Jennings 18 months ago and knocked out by Robert Helenius the year before that, in August. Showtime will broadcast it. Pathetic.

    • The late Emanuel Steward would have been 69 this week. If you missed it, here is the tribute I shot of him for Epix.

    Last year, Tony Thompson thought his career was over. It was in Switzerland, and Thompson had just suffered a sixth round knockout defeat to Wladimir Klitschko, his second straight loss to the unified champion. I was part of the broadcast team for Epix that night, and I remember what Thompson told me clearly: I still think I can beat anyone but Wladimir, he said, but if I can’t beat him, is it worth continuing? Apparently, it is. Thompson’s knockout win over David Price on Saturday was his second straight knockout of Price, a prized prospect seen by some as the heir apparent to Wladimir Klitschko. It made me remember: Since 2000, Thompson has lost two fights, both to the man considered the best heavyweight of this generation.

    At 41, Thompson clearly still has some fight left in him. He’s awkward, crafty and has a good chin. He wants a title shot with Vitali Klitschko, but that’s not going to happen. However Thompson has earned another big fight — and another big payday — and I could see some kind of premium network televised fight against a young prospect like Bryant Jennings or Deontay Wilder at some point later this year.

    • I think promoter Frank Warren made a big mistake matching heavyweight Dereck Chisora with Malik Scott on July 20. Chisora is trying to rebuild his career after back to back losses to Vitali Klitschko and David Haye, and Scott is a nightmare. He is the worst kind of combination, incredibly dull and incredibly skilled, the kind of fighter who impresses judges while putting an audience to sleep. Scott was robbed of a win against Czar Glazkov in February, and is very likely to box circles around Chisora later this month.

    • Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer refuted reports of a deal being struck for a fight between Lucas Matthysse and Danny Garcia, telling me via email that neither a deal nor a date had been agreed on. I continue to hear from industry sources that there is a strong possibility the fight could land on the undercard of Floyd Mayweather-Canelo Alvarez on September 14. If so, that will rank as one of the best cards in history.

    • One reason Matthysse-Garcia could move off the originally planned September 7th date: Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. is scheduled to return on that date. Though judging by recent photos of Chavez it’s fair to wonder exactly what weight class he plans to fight in.

    – Chris Mannix

  • Published On Jul 11, 2013
  • 10 months later, Marco Huck and Firat Arslan to fight again

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    Marco Huck (left) still thinks that he defeated Firat Arslan when they fought in November. (AP)

    Marco Huck (left) still thinks that he defeated Firat Arslan when they fought in November. (AP)

    Last November, cruiserweight titleholder Marco Huck and Firat Arslan engaged in a physical, back and forth fight that ended with Huck escaping with a narrow decision. In September, they will do it again. On Thursday, Sauerland Event announced that Huck (36-2-1) will defend his WBO title against Arslan (33-6-2) on September 14th in Stuttgart, Germany.

    “I still believe that I won our first fight,” Arslan said. “I should be the world champion. I won’t let my second chance to capture the crown just slip away. This is a fight right on my own home turf.”

    While Arslan, 42, last fought in April, Huck, 28, will be making a quick return to the ring after defending his title last month against archrival Ola Afolabi. Both Arslan and Huck have fought once since their showdown last year, with both picking up decision wins. 

    Huck remains convinced he won the first fight, but he understands Arslan’s desire for a rematch. 

    “I understand that Firat is disappointed, I was in the same position after I fought Alexander Povetkin,” Huck said. “I saw myself as the winner in that match up, but the judges didn’t. That is exactly why I always said that I would give Firat a rematch even if he wasn’t my mandatory challenger.”

    – Chris Mannix

  • Published On Jul 11, 2013
  • UFC 162 Predictions: Anderson Silva vs. Chris Weidman

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    Despite the growing hype around his opponent, all three of SI's MMA experts expect Anderson Silva to win. (AP)

    Despite the growing hype around his opponent, all three of SI’s MMA experts expect Anderson Silva to win. (AP) analysts Loretta Hunt, Jeff Wagenheim and Jon Wertheim provide their predictions for UFC 162, which takes place Saturday (10 p.m. ET) and will be live-blogged on

    Anderson Silva vs. Chris Weidman

    HUNT: I have to hand it to Weidman and the UFC. I can’t remember the last time a virtually unknown fighter stirred up this much hype as the usurper to the Silva dynasty. I feel like I’m standing alone on a platform where the train has long left the station. Is Weidman the one? He looked promising against a crippled Munoz, who couldn’t move his shoulder six weeks before the bout. I’m sticking with the aging Spider — I can always catch the later train. Silva by TKO

    WAGENHEIM: Are we putting too much weight on Weidman’s most high-profile victory, in light of what we now know about the physical and mental state of Mark Muñoz on the night last summer when Chris pummeled him? On the other hand, shouldn’t Weidman’s plodding performance in his second-biggest fight get a pass, considering that he took on (and beat) the estimable Demian Maia on just 11 days’ notice? My point: The jury is still out on the 9-0 challenger. Not so with the champ, who’d already had 29 pro bouts, including four defenses of the UFC middleweight belt, by the time Weidman began his MMA career four years ago. I want to be sold on the good-natured yet bad-to-the-bone Weidman, but I’m not yet ready to liquidate my Silva stock. Silva by TKO.

    WERTHEIM: The skills of Weidman are lost on no one but the upset pick — and it’s a hot one — feels more hopeful and whimsical than legitimate. Silva is MMA’s GOAT (Greatest of All-Time) and it’s because of his versatility and adaptability. If there’s a weakness in his game, it would have been exposed by now. Is Weidman — coming off a year-long layoff, under huge pressure, having faced no opponent nearly as skilled — ready? I say close by not quite. Silva by TKO.

    Frankie Edgar vs. Charles Oliveira

    HUNT: Three tough losses for former champion Edgar has strewn him towards the bottom of the heap. Oliveira is actually more in the middle, a talented featherweight who can clear out the bottom rung, but struggles with the contenders. Edgar by decision.

    WAGENHEIM: Edgar enters on an unthinkable three-fight losing streak. But all of the ex-lightweight champ’s defeats were in title fights. Coming out on the wrong end of uber-close decisions against Benson Henderson (twice) and José Aldo can be explained away. A loss to Charles Oliveira could not be. Having fought a higher grade of opponents, Frankie now needs to outclass this guy. Edgar by decision.

    WERTHEIM: Both fighters have something to prove. Edgar hasn’t won a fight in almost two years and Oliviera’s star is falling, having not only lost but missed weight in his last fight. This bout feels like an attempt by the UFC to reignite the career of Edgar, a grinding honest fighter. I say he outwrestles and outworks Oliviera. Edgar by decision.

    Tim Kennedy vs. Roger Gracie

    HUNT: This was a bout that would have eventually played out in Strikeforce, if the promotion was still standing. I expect Kennedy to close the distance to negate Grace’s reach advantage and rack up points on the cage and with an occasional and carefully executed takedown (you don’t want this Gracie on his back too long). If he executes correctly, Kennedy is in the clear. Kennedy by decision.

    WAGENHEIM: The majority of Kennedy’s wins have come by submission, but he would be wise to go with Plan B right from the start this time. Tim should know better than to mess with Gracie on the mat. But I’m guessing he’ll play with fire anyway, and get scorched. Gracie by submission.

    WERTHEIM: An interesting fight and contrast of styles. Can Kennedy beat Gracie to the punch, as Mo Lawal did? Or can Gracie utilize his size advantage to defend striking and take the fight to the ground? I’ll go with the latter. Gracie by submission.

    Mark Muñoz vs. Tim Boetsch

    HUNT: Muñoz impressed the MMA sphere this week with his very own Extreme Makeover reveal — the dude lost 62 pound in 5 months! How does this relate to my pick? Munoz gained that weight during a downslide: coming into the Weidman fight with his shoulder surgery still not healed and out of that disaster with a broken foot. If the four-time All American wrestler is back in fighting condition, Boetsch can only hope to throw off some scattered punches here and there before he’s scooped to the mat and eating some Grade A ground-and-pound leather. Muñoz by TKO.

    WAGENHEIM: Both were on track for a title shot — Muñoz farther along than Boetsch. Both were derailed — Muñoz more shockingly. Afterward, “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” crashed and burned. Now he faces a road test he simply cannot fail if he’s to stay in the race. Muñoz by decision.

    WERTHEIM: Muñoz got plenty of attention in MMA World last week when he revealed that his depression following the loss to Weidman caused his weight to drift north of 260 lbs. Good for him for dropping more than 50 lbs. in seven months. But it’s not the ideal pre-fight regimen, physically or mentally. Still, he’s a superior fighter to Boetsch, 32, whose momentum was stopped by Constantinos Philippou at UFC 155. Muñoz by decision.

    Cub Swanson vs. Dennis Siver

    HUNT: SoCal survivor Swanson has definitely found his stride: four straight wins in 13 months, with one of them on short notice. When he fights aggressively and uses his speed, things come together for him. Siver, like the oncoming tank that he is, lacks the latter. Swanson by decision.

    WAGENHEIM: Swanson is on a roll with four straight wins, three by KO. Siver, in winning six of his last seven, has shown himself to be a survivor. Dennis will be no pushover, but he won’t withstand Cub’s ferocity. Swanson by TKO.

    WERTHEIM: An erratic fighter for much of his career, Swanson has matured at the Jackson/Winklejohn Gym. Almost 30, he is on a four-fight win streak and has become one of the more dangerous strikers in the division. Siver is a tough customer with plenty of experience. But Swanson is the stronger fighter. Swanson by TKO.

  • Published On Jul 03, 2013