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Manny Pacquiao gains revenge, likely Marquez date in win over Tim Bradley

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Manny Pacquiao defeats Timothy Bradley

Manny Pacquiao (right) weathered Tim Bradley’s attack early and used an aggressive approach to win a unanimous decision for the WBO welterweight crown. (Jed Jacobsohn/SI)

LAS VEGAS — Three thoughts on Manny Pacquiao’s unanimous decision win over Tim Bradley

Pacquiao’s revenge. While most observers believed Pacquiao won his first fight with Bradley, officially, it was a loss. Pacquiao avenged that defeat Saturday night, outpointing Bradley in an entertaining slugfest that shifted the WBO welterweight title back to Pacquiao. Bradley looked comfortable early, taking advantage of Pacquiao’s aggression with crisp counterpunches. When he moved forward, he landed flush shots. It was clear from the last fight that Bradley has no fear of Pacquiao’s power and he showed that same fearlessness in the early rounds. Pacquiao was able to connect with combinations, but Bradley’s head movement gave him problems.

The second half of the fight was a different story. Pacquiao’s aggression clearly took its toll on Bradley, who was consistently fighting on his heels. Pacquiao pressed the action, and though he wasn’t as active as his trainer, Freddie Roach, promised he would be, he was active enough to keep Bradley backpedaling and unable to mount a sustained attack. Per CompuBox, Pacquiao landed 198 of 563 punches (141 out of 627 for Bradley, including 148 power shots (109 for Bradley). It wasn’t vintage Pacquiao — unfortunately, we may never see that relentless brawler again — but it was enough to beat a very good fighter in Bradley. Read More…


  • Published On Apr 13, 2014
  • Is Pacquiao-Bradley undercard example of what boxing needs to improve?

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    Khabib Allakhverdiev

    WBA light welterweight champion Khabib-Allakhverdiev isn’t a household name. ( Didier Baverel/WireImage)

    LAS VEGAS — When it comes to pay-per-view undercards, Top Rank’s Bob Arum has a philosophy: People aren’t hitting the buy button because of it, so there’s no need to spend a lot of money on it. That position is evident in the undercard fights of Manny Pacquiao’s rematch against Tim Bradley (9 p.m., HBO PPV) on Saturday: None of the three early fights (Jose Felix vs. Bryan Vazquez; Jessie Vargas vs. Khabib Allakhverdiev; Arash Usmanee vs. Ray Beltran) feature a household name.

    “Most people who buy a pay per view buy it only to watch the main event,” Arum said. “As for the undercard, the people who want to see other boxing are entitled to see good competitive matches between really good outstanding pros. That’s what we try to give them. This undercard has good quality fighters in equal fights.”

    Mark Taffet, HBO’s Vice President of Sports Operations and PPV, agrees. 

    “Having been involve in over 180 pay per view events, we have seldom seen an undercard materially drive pay per view buys,” he said. “While we haven’t done extensive research on this, my instinct is that if the undercards are competitive and entertaining, that may provide tremendous value. I don’t necessarily believe it needs to be big name fighters, particularly in fights where the outcome is not in doubt.”

    MANNIX: Timothy Bradley’s journey leads him back to Manny Pacquiao

    That thinking is not uniform in boxing. Recently, Showtime and Golden Boy Promotions — direct rivals to HBO and Top Rank, respectively — have put more of an emphasis on high profile undercards. Last September, Danny Garcia fought Lucas Matthysse on the undercard of Floyd Mayweather’s fight with Saul Alvarez. Next month, Amir Khan will face Luis Collazo on the undercard of Mayweather-Marcos Maidana. Both Garcia-Matthysse and Khan-Collazo are fights that could headline their own HBO or Showtime card. 

    Arum acknowledges the value fights like Garcia-Matthysse and Khan-Collazo add to a card. But he points out that some of the other fights on these cards are less competitive. Arum cites Adrien Broner’s upcoming fight against Carlos Molina, which will appear on the Mayweather-Maidana undercard. Broner is an enormous favorite. 

    “Broner-Molina is dreadful,” Arum said. “Putting that fight on, you’re trying to delude morons.”

    Arum and Taffet are likely right: Fans do buy the top of the ticket. But there are other, less quantifiable ways that putting high profile fights on an undercard brings. Media exposure, for starters. Garcia-Matthysse was one of the most anticipated fights of 2013. The fight had its own press tour and generated significant press interest, which added another layer to the promotion. Similarly, Khan-Collazo is a crossroads fight between two welterweight contenders. The winner will take a big step forward, possibly into a fight against Mayweather in the fall. 

    There is also exposure. Pacquiao and Mayweather draw in the largest mainstream audience of pay per view buyers in boxing. That audience may not be as familiar with HBO’s or Showtime’s other fighters. Take Sergey Kovalev. He is one of boxing’s fastest rising stars. He is well known by boxing’s base. But Kovalev is still largely unknown to the casual fan. Put Kovalev on the undercard of a major pay per view and he would be exposed to a fan base that may not tune in to see him otherwise.

    Constructing undercards is complicated, and there are no easy, calculable answers. But as boxing desperately attempts to connect more with the average fan, it’s important to find them.

    – Chris Mannix


  • Published On Apr 10, 2014
  • Three thoughts on Sergey Kovalev’s dominating knockout win over Cedric Agnew

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    Sergey Kovalev

    Sergey Kovalev (left) pummeled Cedric Agnew, notching a pulverizing knockout win. (Tim Larsen/AP)

    Three thoughts on Sergey Kovalev’s knockout win over Cedric Agnew…

    1.) This was a predictable blowout

    Kovalev was a huge favorite against the undefeated, but untested, Agnew, a Chicago native who was one of the few HBO-approvable opponents Main Events could dig up to fight the avoided Kovalev. And the fight played out as expected, with Kovalev winning every minute of every round, backing Agnew up with a steady diet of power shots, dropping him in the second and sixth rounds before finishing him off with a straight left hand to the body in the seventh.

    Agnew, who described Kovalev as “ordinary” in the weeks before the fight, offered little resistance, occasionally pushing back a Kovalev assault with a combination, opening a decent cut over Kovalev’s right eye with a head butt, but spending the bulk of the rounds covering up. No one expected Agnew to win but it was fair to hope for more than a glorified sparring session. Which  brings us to …

    2.) This was a waste of time

    I understand why Kovalev-Agnew was made. Originally, HBO was willing to give Kovalev and Adonis Stevenson soft touches, with the understanding that the two top dogs in the light heavyweight division would meet in a title unification fight in the fall. Stevenson scuttled those plans earlier in the week by reneging on the deal and moving over to Showtime. That left Kovalev with an unheralded opponent that served as a tuneup fight for, well, nothing.

    You can’t blame Kovalev — since his days fighting on NBC Sports Network, Kovalev has been willing to fight all comers. And it’s clear Kovalev isn’t happy with Stevenson’s antics. When asked about Stevenson after the fight, Kovalev was succinct.

    “I don’t want to speak on Adonis Stevenson,” Kovalev said. “Adonis Stevenson is a piece of sh–.”

    3.) So, now what?

    Good question. If you have an answer, I’m sure Main Events and HBO would love to hear it. With titleholders Stevenson, Bernard Hopkins and Beibut Shumenov fighting on Showtime, the 175-pound division offers few options. Jean Pascal beat Lucian Bute on HBO earlier this year, but Pascal is promoted by Yvon Michel, Stevenson’s promoter, who may have issues cutting a deal with HBO in the future.

    Moreover, Pascal publicly has expressed more interest in fighting Stevenson than a showdown with Kovalev. Main Events has rising contender Isaac Chilmeba on the roster, but Chilemba is at least a fight or two away from being a serious challenger. Unless Andre Ward expresses interest — and Ward, who is embroiled in a conflict with promoter Dan Goossen, has yet to indicate he is ready to move up to light heavyweight — or the winner of May’s super middleweight fight between Carl Froch and George Groves is ready, Kovalev is a fighter without an opponent.

     

    – Chris Mannix


  • Published On Mar 30, 2014
  • The fight to televise Adonis Stevenson’s light heavyweight title defense, more notes

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    Adonis Stevenson

    Adonis Stevenson is set to defend his light heavyweight title. (Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

    • What a mess. What a politically fueled, fan-maddening mess. On May 24th, Adonis Stevenson will defend his light heavyweight title against Andrzej Fonfara. Stevenson’s trainer, Sugar Hill, confirmed the fight to me last week and it was formalized on Monday. HBO–which televised three of Stevenson’s fights last year — planned to televise this one, with an eye towards matching Stevenson in a highly anticipated 175-pound title unification fight against Sergey Kovalev later in the year.

    That was the plan, anyway. Then HBO moved slowly executing the contracts, Stevenson signed with adviser Al Haymon and now we have the mess we’re in now: HBO uncertain if it will televise Stevenson-Fonfara and the growing possibility that Stevenson will head to Showtime and attempt to unify the titles against Bernard Hopkins later this year. This could be a potential nightmare for HBO.

    And while it’s easy to blame Haymon — HBO has no interest in working with him, believing his business model to be toxic for the network — network executives have to shoulder some of the responsibility. Representatives for Stevenson and Kovalev say the key deal points for a two-fight deal that would have ultimately pitted Stevenson against Kovalev in the fall were agreed to well before Haymon got involved. Stevenson was set to receive the larger share of the license fee, Montreal or Las Vegas were being discussed as possible venues.

    From HBO’s perspective, agreeing to deal points and finalizing a deal are two different things, but the delay allowed Haymon to slide in, sign Stevenson and produce more money from Showtime for a Fonfara fight while dangling the carrot of a future Hopkins fight, a fight that was always more appealing to Stevenson. Showtime, which under Executive Vice President Stephen Espinoza has been aggressively pursuing big fights, is now in a strong position to put on one of the biggest light heavyweight fights in recent years.

    Over the last few days, HBO executives have been attempting to convince Stevenson to pass on Showtime’s offer, pushing the idea that a long term association with HBO will ultimately be more lucrative. Stevenson hasn’t budged.

    If Stevenson bolts, Kovalev becomes collateral damage. Kovalev is scheduled to fight Cedric Agnew on Saturday on HBO. Without Stevenson, Kovalev doesn’t have a natural future opponent. Andre Ward is there, but Ward is embroiled in a contract dispute with promoter Dan Goossen and has not indicated he is ready to move up to 175-pounds anyway. Main Events, which promotes Kovalev, has a handful of rising light heavyweights in its stable (Isaac Chilemba, Lonnie Thompson) but none that belong on HBO right now. What once looked like a big year for Kovalev could be flushed down the drain.

    And a fight between Stevenson and Kovalev, the most relevant fight in the light heavyweight division, will be washed away with it.

    • In an effort to lure Floyd Mayweather to Brooklyn, Barclays Center executives put together one of the most lucrative site fees in U.S. boxing history: $17 million, according to multiple industry sources. In addition to the cash, Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark was prepared to roll out one of the most aggressive marketing plans in boxing history. From New York-based talk shows to promoting the fight in the financial community and on Madison Avenue, Yormark said the event would have given Mayweather “a platform like he had never had before. We would have made his brand dominant for the six weeks leading up to the fight. It was going to be our Super Bowl.”

    Ultimately, Mayweather chose to stay in tax friendly confines of Las Vegas and at the MGM Grand, where he has fought his last eight fights. However Yormark told SI.com he hopes to lure Mayweather to Brooklyn before his career is over.

    “At the end, Floyd probably decided the comforts of where he has been were better for him,” Yormark said. “Maybe one day it happens. We feel we gave them a lot to think about.

    • Great to see ESPN get more involved in boxing, as they’re set to televise the heavyweight title fight between Chris Arreola and Bermane Stiverne on May 10th from the Galen Center on the campus of USC. The success of ESPN, NBC Sports Network and Fox Sports 1 as boxing friendly outlets is critical to the growth of the sport.

    • That Vivian Harris beat Jorge Paez Jr. last week is irrelevant; Harris, 35, shouldn’t be fighting. Harris has been knocked out five times in the last four years, some in absolutely brutal fashion, and recently he was denied a license by the British boxing commission for medical reasons. No respectable commission should ever license him again.

    • Amir Khan says he plans to challenge Floyd Mayweather in the ring if Mayweather beats Marcos Maidana next month. Khan’s obsession with Mayweather is just weird. Khan should be focused on his opponent that night, Luis Collazo, a veteran welterweight who is coming off a career defining win over Victor Ortiz. If Khan looks like he did in his last few fights, Collazo will walk all over him.

    • Tony Thompson keeps his career going … again. A win over Odlanier Solis last weekend will position Thompson, the heavyweight division’s gatekeeper, for another notable fight. Amazing.

    – By Chris Mannix


  • Published On Mar 24, 2014
  • Olympian Lomachenko loses fight, gains experience and second title shot

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    Vasyl Lomachenko (left) dropped his fight with Orlando Salido but proved he could compete at the professional level.

    Vasyl Lomachenko (left) dropped his bout with Orlando Salido but proved he could compete at the professional level. (Eric Gay/AP)

    Two-time Olympic gold medalist Vasyl Lomachenko took a major step up in competition on March 1 when he challenged for a world title in what was billed as his second professional fight. Lomachenko lost, dropping a split decision to Orlando Salido. Now, Lomachenko wants to do it again.

    The featherweight contender wants to fight for a vacant title in his next fight, Lomachenko’s manager, Egis Klimas, told SI.com.

    “We hope we can fight for a title right away,” Klimas said.

    Read More…


  • Published On Mar 18, 2014
  • Alvarez-Angulo bout draws ‘well over 350,000′ buys, Showtime says

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    Canelo Alvarez rebounded from a loss to Floyd Mayweather with a 10th-round TKO of Alfredo Angulo.

    Canelo Alvarez rebounded from a Floyd Mayweather loss with a 10th-round TKO of Alfredo Angulo. (Eric Jamison/AP)

    The pay-per-view show headlined by junior middleweight Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Alfredo Angulo last Saturday generated “well over 350,000” pay per view buys, Showtime said in a statement sent to SI.com. In the release, Showtime Sports Executive Vice President Stephen Espinoza called the show, which Alvarez won on a TKO in the 10th round, “a knockout success.”

    “We are thrilled with the numbers from Saturday’s event,” Espinoza said. “March 8th was the first time Canelo Alvarez headlined his own pay-per-view, and he decisively proved that he was ready to carry a pay-per-view card. These results are especially impressive in comparison to the pay-per-view performances of other boxing events over the past few months. Add in the near sellout crowd and there is no doubt this event was a huge success for Canelo, Golden Boy Promotions, MGM Grand, Showtime and boxing as a whole.”

    Read More…


  • Published On Mar 14, 2014
  • Bypassed by Floyd Mayweather, Danny Garcia finds match vs. Mauricio Herrera

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    Danny Garcia will defend his junior welterweight titles Saturday in Puerto Rico vs. Mauricio Herrera. (Matt Rourke/AP)

    Danny Garcia will defend his junior welterweight titles Saturday in Puerto Rico vs. Mauricio Herrera. (Matt Rourke/AP)

    The fight was set. Or at least most thought it would be. In the aftermath of Danny Garcia’s surprising win over Lucas Matthysse last September — a fight that was strategically placed on the undercard of Floyd Mayweather’s revenue record-breaking fight with Saul Alvarez — speculation was rampant that Garcia would challenge Mayweather next. Garcia had beaten most of the top talent at 140 pounds, and Mayweather did not have an obvious opponent for his next fight.

    It didn’t happen, of course. After a lengthy — and mind-numbing — process of choosing between Marcos Maidana and Amir Khan, Mayweather settled on Maidana. And Garcia? On Saturday Garcia will defend his junior welterweight titles against unheralded Mauricio Herrera in Bayamon, Puerto Rico (Showtime, 9 p.m. ET). Read More…


  • Published On Mar 13, 2014
  • Marquez to fight Alvarado on May 17; winner to face Pacquiao-Bradley victor

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    Juan Manuel Marquez lost his last fight in October to Tim Bradley.

    Juan Manuel Marquez lost his last fight in October to Tim Bradley in a split decision. (Julie Jacobson/AP)

    At 40, Juan Manuel Marquez is ready for another fight. Marquez (55-7-1) will take on Mike Alvarado (34-2) in a 12-round fight on May 17 at the recently refurbished Forum in Los Angeles, Top Rank Vice President Carl Moretti told SI.com

    According to Moretti, the winner of Marquez-Alvarado will fight the winner of Manny Pacquiao-Tim Bradley — who are scheduled to fight for Bradley’s WBO welterweight title on April 12 — sometime in the fall.

    Read More…


  • Published On Mar 13, 2014
  • Gennady Golovkin to step away from ring after father’s passing

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    There is no timetable for Gennady Golovkin's return to the ring, or what will happen to his fight scheduled for April 26. (Rich Graessle/Icon SMI)

    There is no timetable for Gennady Golovkin’s return to the ring after his father’s passing. (Rich Graessle/Icon SMI)

    NEW YORK — Middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin will not fight on April 26th due to the recent passing of his father, K2 Promotions Managing Director Tom Loeffler told SI.com. Golovkin (29-0) was tentatively scheduled to face Andy Lee at Madison Square Garden.

    Golovkin’s father, Gennady Ivanovich Golovkin, died unexpectedly of a heart attack last month in Kazakhstan. He was 68. Golovkin, 31, has endured several family tragedies. In 1990, his older brother, Vadim, a soldier in the Russian army, was killed in action. In 1994, another older brother, Sergey, also a soldier, was killed.

    “It was very tough, very tough,” Golovkin told SI.com last year. “My family, it really tore us up.”

    Loeffler offered no timetable on Golovkin’s return to the ring. Golovkin has been in Kazakhstan with his mother and his twin brother, Max, since his father’s death.

    “It’s hard to say what is going to happen,” Loeffler said. “I think it is going to be a significant amount of time before he gets back to the States. He is the eldest surviving brother. He is the oldest twin. He has a lot of responsibility. There is a 40-day mourning period there. He will be there at least that long, possibly longer.”

    An HBO spokesman told SI.com that the network would explore possible options for the April 26th date. The Garden remains on hold and its possible another fight could replace Golovkin-Lee at that venue.

    – Chris Mannix


  • Published On Mar 01, 2014
  • Amir Khan goes on Twitter rant after believing he lost potential Floyd Mayweather fight

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    Amir Kahn

    Amir Kahn hasn’t helped his case for a Mayweather fight, dropping two of his last four bouts. ( Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

    If anyone is looking for Floyd Mayweather, you can find him inside Amir Khan’s head.

    For nearly two decades Mayweather has been the master of the mental game, poking, prodding, doing everything he can to make an opponent uncomfortable outside the ring as he makes them look in it. Khan, the former unified junior welterweight titleholder long rumored to be a frontrunner to fight Mayweather in May, is the latest potential foe to understand this.

    To recap: Last December, Khan believed he had a deal to fight Mayweather sewn up. In an interview at Showtime’s Manhattan offices, Khan was practically giddy. While acknowledging that he couldn’t confirm anything, Khan consistently referred to a fight with Mayweather in the present tense. Privately, members of his team said that virtually all the deal points were agreed to.

    Things changed quickly on December 14th, when Argentinean slugger Marcos Maidana upset Adrien Broner. Suddenly Maidana—who Khan defeated back in 2010—was a player in the Mayweather sweepstakes. And Mayweather, never one to miss a chance to self promote, took advantage, publicly saying Maidana was a candidate, even putting a poll featuring the two fighters up on his website to give fans an opportunity to vote for their choice.

    As the weeks have gone by, Khan has begun to come unraveled. After urging his Twitter followers to vote for him in the poll, Khan tweeted after winning that he was just waiting for Mayweather’s call. There was a measurable desperation in his words. And then, on Wednesday, Khan tweeted this:

    Somewhere, Mayweather has to be laughing.

    Despite Khan’s surrender, it’s entirely possible he could still be Mayweather’s next opponent. Mayweather is about one thing: Money. Though Maidana offers the more crowd-pleasing style — and is coming off his biggest win — he brings little to a promotion. He speaks minimal English which diminishes his value on a U.S. press tour —  To those that say Saul Alvarez didn’t speak much English either, Alvarez is exponentially more popular than Maidana. Khan, on the other hand, is well known in the U.S., popular in his home country of the U.K. and has 1.38 million Twitter followers to sell the fight to. Showtime has been one of the biggest proponents for Khan, as network executives wanted to cash in on Khan’s popularity while he was still a viable opponent.

    Moreover, Khan may be a more dangerous opponent. Maidana’s brawling style is a hit with audiences, but it’s a solvable attack. Khan beat him in ’10. Devon Alexander virtually shut him out in ’12. Beating Broner was a nice feather in Maidana’s cap, and he has undoubtedly improved as he has grown more comfortable at 147-pounds. But a wild free swinger would seem to be a tailor made opponent for one of the best ring tacticians in boxing. Khan, on the other hand, brings a different level of hand speed and footwork, albeit with a weak chin.

    Whatever happens, Khan has no one to blame for this mess but himself. His sense of entitlement towards a Mayweather fight is mind boggling when you considering he has lost two of his last four fights—a decision defeat to Lamont Peterson and a knockout loss to Danny Garcia—and his two-fight winning streak has come against low level opponents. Khan has yet to fight as a full 147-pounder, yet he believes he has earned a shot at the best fighter in boxing?

    Khan put himself in this position, and now he has to live with the consequences. What he should have done was gone forward with a planned welterweight title fight against Alexander last December. Had Khan beaten Alexander, he would have been a strong candidate to face Mayweather. Instead Khan passed on the offer to wait on a phone call that has never come.

    – Chris Mannix


  • Published On Feb 21, 2014


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