Archive for September, 2013

Super middleweight champ Andre Ward slated to fight Edwin Rodriguez

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Andre Ward (left) has posted an undefeated mark of 26-0 for his career to this point. (Naoki Fukuda/AFLO/Icon SMI)

Andre Ward (left) has posted an undefeated mark of 26-0 for his career to this point. (Naoki Fukuda/AFLO/Icon SMI)

Super middleweight kingpin Andre Ward is close to an agreement to face Edwin Rodriguez on Nov. 16, industry sources told SI.com. The fight will take place in either Anaheim or Ontario, Calif. and be televised on HBO.

A source described the deal as “90 percent done” and said an announcement should come within the next two days.

Ward (26-0) has been out of action since last September, when he knocked out light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson. A shoulder injury sidelined Ward for the first half of the year and a protracted dispute with HBO over his next opponent pushed his target return date from September to November. In discussions with HBO, Ward preferred a softer opponent — Dimitri Sartison, Caleb Truax and Stanyslav Kashtanov were three of the names that were floated — while still making a seven-figure payday. HBO was unwilling to put up the money Ward wanted for a tune-up fight.

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  • Published On Sep 19, 2013
  • Bernard Hopkins wants to fight Floyd Mayweather

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    Bernard Hopkins

    One for the ages: 48-year-old Bernard Hopkins believes he could defeat Floyd Mayweather if given the chance. (AP)

    LAS VEGAS — The pool of prospective opponents for Floyd Mayweather’s next fight already includes Danny Garcia and Amir Khan. Late Saturday night, another fighter tossed his name into the mix: Bernard Hopkins. The 48-year old light heavyweight champion said he would be willing to drop down to 160 pounds for a fight with Mayweather.

    “Floyd, his skills are so out there that he can risk going up to 160,” Hopkins said. “It isn’t the weight that is going to win the fight, it’s the skills. The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. The only guy who is going to beat a guy like Floyd Mayweather is a master chess player. And who is the master chess player? I’ll go back to 160. It’s the biggest old [man] fight. Everyone from the nursing home will be watching.”

    It’s certainly conceivable that Hopkins, who has fought at light heavyweight since 2006, could make a 160-pound weight limit. Hopkins is a finely conditioned athlete. He doesn’t drink or smoke and rarely strays from a disciplined diet. He says he walks around 10 pounds heavier than his fighting weight and if given until May, he could make the weight.

    “I will go to New Orleans or some place hot, I will train like a dog, and I will make an extraordinary fight,” Hopkins said. “If I was coming from [heavyweight] to [light heavyweight] like Roy Jones did, then it would be a problem. But being a guy who lives the way I live… for me to come down to 160, it’s doable.”

    For Hopkins, 160 pounds would be familiar territory. He was one of the greatest middleweights in boxing history, dominating the division for the better part of a decade, making a record 20 title defenses along the way.

    Mayweather, though, may not share Hopkins’s enthusiasm for a middleweight fight. Mayweather’s win over Saul Alvarez was just the third time he has fought above 147 pounds. On the day of the fight Mayweather “rehydrated” to half a pound lighter than what he weighed in at the day before. Moreover, even if Hopkins weighed in at 160, it’s likely he would balloon into the 170’s on fight night, creating an enormous size advantage.

    Still, Hopkins believes Mayweather could be interested.

    “When your name is Money, money moves you,” Hopkins said. “It would be a chess game. He would have the burden. You can’t let a 49-year-old go the distance with you. It would have to be a rumble. It wouldn’t be easy, This man has a defense that it would be a counterpunching fight.”

    For now, Hopkins says, he is focused on October 26, when he will defend his IBF title against Karo Murat. After that, it will be Mayweather’s call.

    “You can be 200 pounds [but] if you can’t fight, I could be 115 [pounds] and I will still kick your a–,” Hopkins said. “And Floyd can fight. I was one of his critics. When he beat Shane Mosley, remember I sort of instigated that fight. But when I saw him recover [from a Mosley punch], when I saw him make Shane Mosley want to shake hands and talk, I was converted. You give me until May, I will make that weight.” – Chris Mannix


  • Published On Sep 16, 2013
  • Three thoughts on Floyd Mayweather’s win over Saul Alvarez

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    Floyd Mayweather had little trouble with Saul Alvarez over 12 rounds Saturday. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    Floyd Mayweather had little trouble with Saul Alvarez over 12 rounds Saturday. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    LAS VEGAS — Three thoughts on Floyd Mayweather’s majority decision win over Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez:

    This was a blowout: Judge C.J. Ross—the same C.J. Ross who scored Manny Pacquiao-Tim Bradley for Bradley last year—inexplicably scored the fight a draw, 114-114. This wasn’t even close. For 12 rounds, Mayweather put on a boxing clinic. He ricocheted his jab off of Alvarez’s head repeatedly, snapping it back as Canelo made no effort to move out of the way. Though Canelo was the aggressor, it was Mayweather landing the cleaner, harder shots all night. According to SHOSTATS, Mayweather landed 232 of his 505 punches (compared to 117 of 526 for Canelo) and connected on 139 of his 330 jabs (44 of 294 for Canelo). Mayweather never appeared to be in trouble and never appeared tired, and Canelo fought with his hands down in the later rounds and was rooted to the mat when Mayweather pushed him to the corner. Credit Canelo for taking so many clean shots, but that’s about the only thing for which you can credit him.

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  • Published On Sep 15, 2013
  • Three thoughts on Danny Garcia’s action-packed title defense versus Lucas Matthysse

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    Danny Garcia was able to avoid Lucas Matthysse's heavy blows in his successful title defense. (Robert Beck/SI)

    Danny Garcia was able to avoid Lucas Matthysse’s heavy blows in his successful title defense. (Robert Beck/SI)

    In a bout that was far more anticipated than your usual after-thought semi-final matchup, Danny Garcia and Lucas Matthysse lived up to the hype, fighting a bruising, action-packed 12 rounds. In the end, the underdog Garcia preserved his undefeated record with a close but unanimous — and well-deserved — victory. Here are three things to take away (in addition to the image of Matthysse’s battered left eye) from the memorable bout.

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  • Published On Sep 15, 2013
  • SI.com predictions: Mayweather-Alvarez

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    Floyd Mayweather vs. Canelo Alvarez

    Will Floyd Mayweather’s perfect record remain intact against Canelo Alvarez? (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    LAS VEGAS — SI.com boxing insiders Chris Mannix and Rich O’Brien make their predictions for Danny Garcia-Lucas Matthysse and Floyd Mayweather-Canelo Alvarez

    Garcia-Matthysse

    Chris Mannix: Part of me — a big part — wants to pick Garcia. He has been consistently underestimated, expected to lose to Kendall Holt, Erik Morales and Amir Khan, and won each time. And I do think we are getting a little too swept up in Matthysse’s run of knockouts, as most have come against light competition. But for me, it boils down to this: Matthysse is the real thing and I’m still not sure Garcia is. Matthysse has a granite chin and he is facing an opponent in Garcia who won’t be hard to find. It will be a slobberknocker (That’s for you, Jim Ross), one I don’t see Garcia winning. Take Matthysse by sixth round knockout.

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  • Published On Sep 14, 2013
  • Oscar De La Hoya says he is going into rehab, will miss Mayweather-Alvarez

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    De La Hoya and his promotion company helped set up the Alvarez-Mayweather fight. (Alexis Cuarezma/Getty Images)

    De La Hoya and his promotion company helped set up the Alvarez-Mayweather fight. Alexis (Cuarezma/Getty Images)

    LAS VEGAS — Former six-division champion Oscar De La Hoya has voluntarily checked himself into an undisclosed treatment facility and will not attend Saturday’s showdown between Floyd Mayweather and Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez. The 40-year-old De La Hoya, the president and founder of Golden Boy Promotions, one of the most powerful promotional companies in boxing and the co-promoter of Mayweather-Alvarez, confirmed the news in a statement released Tuesday afternoon.

    De La Hoya–who has admitted to battling alcohol and cocaine addictions in the past–did not indicate what he was seeking treatment for. In 2011, De La Hoya checked himself into a rehab facility for undisclosed reasons.

    “Canelo Alvarez and I have big fights coming up this weekend. His is in the ring and mine in treatment,” De La Hoya said. “I will not be at the fight to cheer Canelo to victory since I have voluntarily admitted myself to a treatment facility. I explained this to Canelo, and he understood that my health and long-term recovery from my disease must come first. Thank you for your understanding. I ask for your support during this difficult time and for me and my family.”

    Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer said that in the past week De La Hoya had opened up to him about his ongoing problems. Schaefer admitted, however, that he was surprised by the timing of the decision.

    “He really sounded very bad,” Schaefer said. “It wasn’t one of the things when you can wait until next week. I was surprised. But at the same time I was very supportive. I didn’t try to convince him that he had to be here. It wouldn’t have been the advice of a friend. I was hoping it wouldn’t happen but it did happen. I’m very proud of him. It’s not perfect timing, but what is? They say the show must go on. Oscar has a fight where he is and we have a big fight here.”

    Both Alvarez and Mayweather expressed support for De La Hoya.

    “I support him in his life battle,” Alvarez said. “I am sure he is going to win his battle, and I am going to win mine.”

    Said Mayweather, “I wish him nothing but the best. Hopefully he can pull through, like a true champion.”

    Schaefer said he didn’t know how long De La Hoya would be in rehab. In interviews, De La Hoya has previously admitted that his addictions led him to consider suicide.

    “Within a couple of years, just thinking, ‘Is my life even worth it?,’” De La Hoya said in a 2011 interview with Univision. “I don’t have the strength, I don’t have the courage to take my own life. But I was thinking about it.

    “There were drugs. My drug of choice was cocaine and alcohol. Cocaine was recent, the last two years, last two-and-a-half years, and I depended more on the alcohol than the cocaine. It took me to a place where I felt safe. It took me to a place where I felt like … nobody can say anything to me. It took me to a place where I can reach out and just grab my Mom.”

    – Chris Mannix


  • Published On Sep 10, 2013
  • Saturday’s ‘Fight Master’ finale bout postponed

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    Joe Riggs suffered an eye injury in training recently. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

    Joe Riggs suffered an eye injury in training recently. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

    The Bellator MMA: Fight Master finale bout between Joe Riggs and Mike Bronzoulis, scheduled to take place on the promotion’s season-nine kickoff event this Saturday (8 p.m. ET, Spike TV) at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., has been put on hold.

    Riggs, the most experienced contestant among the 32 fighters who competed on the debuting reality series for a slot in an upcoming welterweight tournament and a $100,000 prize, suffered a partial orbital bone fracture and retina detachment injury in training three weeks ago.

    “My sparring partner threw a high kick and I blocked it, but his toe went through my head gear,” said the 30-year-old Riggs on Friday. “I was in horrible pain and they had to pry my eye open to see the damage.”

    Riggs underwent a four-hour surgery for the injury that night, he said, and spent four days recovering in an Arizona hospital. Riggs said the surgery was successful and his physician has already cleared him to train again.

    The bout will be rescheduled as soon as Riggs has recovered, wrote Anthony Mazzuca, Bellator’s Director of Public Relations, in an email to SI.com. Mazzuca added that Bellator hopes to reschedule the bout before season nine comes to its close in December.

    “I can be ready [to fight] in October or [on] Nov. 2, if they need me,” said Riggs. Bellator will promote its first-ever, pay-per-view event on Nov. 2 at the Long Beach Arena in Southern California. Former UFC superstars Tito Ortiz and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson will meet in the light heavyweight headliner, while three title bouts, including an anticipated rematch between lightweight champion Michael Chandler and Eddie Alvarez, round out the main card.

    Riggs, a recovering drug addict who fought for the UFC from 2004 to 2006, defeated Rob Mills, Eric Scallan, Evan Cutts, and Cole William to earn his place in the Fight Master finale. Greg Jackson coached Riggs (39-14, 1 NC) during the series, which shot for six weeks outside New Orleans. Riggs trains at The MMA Lab in Glendale, Ariz., with former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson, among other notables.

    The run to the finals by Bronzoulis (15-5-1) included victories over Gareth Joseph, Jason Norwood, Chris Lozano and Eric Bradley. The 34-year-old Houston native, who was coached by UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture on the show, trains at the Paradigm Training Center and the Main Street Boxing Gym.

    Bellator MMA begins its ninth season on Saturday with a middleweight championship bout between Alexander Shlemenko (47-7) and Brett Cooper (19-8). Fight Master coach and former Bellator featherweight champion Joe Warren (8-3) will debut at bantamweight against Nick Kirk (9-2) in a semifinal tournament fight. The event will also feature the opening round of this season’s middleweight tournament. Bellator’s live events will then move to Friday nights (9-11 p.m. ET) for its fall run.

    Update: Riggs has tweeted a photo of what his eye looked like the night of his injury

    –Loretta Hunt


  • Published On Sep 03, 2013


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