Posts Tagged ‘Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.’

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
  • Three Thoughts: Gennady Golovkin brutalizes Matthew Macklin

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    Gennady Golovkin dropped Matt Macklin in the third round with a vicious body shot. (Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports)

    Gennady Golovkin (left) dropped Matt Macklin in the third round with a vicious body shot. (Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports)

    MASHANTUCKET, Conn. — Three thoughts from WBA middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin’s third round destruction of Matthew Macklin…

    There are body shots, and there was that: If you’re a young fighter who thinks headhunting is how you score knockouts, save the footage of this fight. In the third round, after backing up and battering Macklin up for most of the first two, Golovkin (27-0) delivered one of the most savage body shots in boxing history, a perfectly placed left hook that was both precise and savage, and kept Macklin on the mat long after he was counted out.

    Make no mistake: Macklin is a live opponent. He gave Sergio Martinez all he could ask for in a loss last year and was coming off a first-round knockout win over veteran Joachim Alcine. But he had no chance. Golovkin’s pressure was swarming, and Macklin was never given a chance to fight back.

    “It was an easy fight for me,” Golovkin said. “He never hurt me. I felt great in the ring. I want to fight again as soon as possible. Any top fighter, any champion, any belt holder, anywhere.”

    Said Macklin, “He’s the best I ever fought. He never let me get started.”

    Anyone still think it’s hype? There had been this bizarre belief among some on the Internet that, perhaps, Golovkin was more hype than substance. Maybe it was his opponents—no superstars on that resume yet—or perhaps it was the way HBO has anointed him as its next star. Regardless, that debate should be over. The narrative tomorrow will be Golovkin’s power, and it should. “He has clubbing, solid power,” Macklin said. “You can feel the weight of every punch he throws.”

    But Golovkin is so much more than just a power puncher. He fought 355 amateur fights, and won 350 of them. He is methodical, technical, accurate with every punch he throws. There is no wasted motion, no wasted energy. He is a complete fighter.

    “People talk about punching power,” Andre Ward said. “He is always in position to punch. It’s from that Soviet system. He has a strong base, strong foundation. He puts a lot of pressure on people, and it starts with his feet. He gets into position, then is able to unload the big shot.”

    Who’s next? Anyone? Bueller? Think any middleweight is eager to get in with Golovkin? After the fight, Golovkin was asked about Sergio Martinez, the 160-pound division’s money man who is out for the rest of the year with multiple injuries. Golovkin was all for it. Lou DiBella, Martinez’s promoter, was not.

    “It’s not that its out of the question,” DiBella said. “But he’s not going to come off a 14-month layoff and fight this animal.”

    Fortunately for Golovkin, he is going to start attracting some top opponents, thanks to HBO’s exposure. Exposure means money, and Golovkin’s license fees will continue to rise. Top Rank’s Bob Arum said he is open to a fight with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., and IBF titleholder Daniel Geale—who fights on HBO in August—is another possibility. Even Ward is now warming to it; he told me after the fight that he has no problem fighting Golovkin, but said Golovkin’s team “doesn’t want it right now.”

    In short: Golovkin is going to start getting bigger fights. And that’s good news for everybody.

    – Chris Mannix

  • Published On Jun 30, 2013
  • Will HBO’s spat with Golden Boy cost Peter Quillin a shot at the top?

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    Peter Quillin (Elsa/Getty Images)

    Peter Quillin took down Fernando Guerrero to defend his WBO middleweight title at Barclays Center. (Elsa/Getty Images)

    NEW YORK — Peter Quillin sat on a dais late Saturday night with a toothy smile and hardly a scratch on his face. Hours earlier, Quillin, the undefeated WBO middleweight champion, the charismatic transplanted Brooklynite who has made the Barclays Center his new home, defended his title, stopping Fernando Guerrero in the seventh round. At 29, Quillin is a fighter with a bright future. Or at least he should be.

    Read More…

  • Published On Apr 29, 2013
  • Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. says he’s never smoked marijuana, blames positive drug test on insomnia medication

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    Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. told ESPN Deportes he’s never smoked marijuana, attributing his positive test for the drugs for insomnia medication that contains cannabis. (AP)

    Former middleweight beltholder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. addressed his indefinite suspension and $20,000 fine for marijuana use Thursday in a television interview.

    The appearance on Nación ESPN, a Spanish-language talk show on ESPN Deportes, marked Chavez’s first public comments since his positive drug test following his Sept. 15 defeat to Sergio Martinez.

    Chavez said he’s never smoked marijuana, claiming he’d been prescribed eyedrops for his insomnia that contained cannabis.

    “I’m not a drug addict, I have never smoked marijuana. For years I have had insomnia, so I went to the doctor and he prescribed some drops for me that contained cannabis. I stopped taking them before the fight with [Sergio] Martinez, and I didn’t think I was going to test positive,” said Chavez in Spanish from his home in Mexico. “I have great respect for [WBC president] Jose Sulaiman, I guess what they do is for my good and boxing, but I find it unfair.”

    Chavez lost his WBC middleweight title to Martinez in a high-profile fight that attracted 475,000 pay-per-view buys and a $3 million gate. On Thursday, the WBC announced his indefinite suspension and $20,000 fine. The Nevada State Athletic Commission has yet to mete out its punishment.

    “Now I hope the opinion of the Commission of Nevada [is positive],” Chavez continued. “I hope they realize the truth, that I have not lied about anything, and I hope the punishment won’t be a heavy one. Let there be a rematch, and we will work with renewed vigor, and I’ll take whatever test they want.”

    The drug test wasn’t Chavez Jr.’s first act of immaturity. Last January, the 26-year-old was arrested for suspicion of DUI. He pleaded no contest and was sentenced to probation.

    Chavez Jr. had previously been suspended after testing positive for a diuretic in his November 2009 win over Troy Rowland. The official result was changed to a no-contest.

    – staff

  • Published On Oct 05, 2012
  • Sergio Martinez-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. fight does 475,000 pay-per-view buys

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    The numbers are in for last weekend’s fight between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Sergio Martinez, and they are big: According to HBO, Chavez-Martinez generated an estimated 475,000 pay-per-view buys and $24 million in revenue.

    The numbers — which will likely grow once all the figures are reported — vastly exceed the promoter’s and the network’s expectations of 250,000 buys.

    Both Chavez and Martinez have expressed interest in a rematch. That rematch will likely be delayed at least a year however, after Chavez tested positive for marijuana after the fight and will face a lengthy suspension.

    – Chris Mannix

  • Published On Sep 21, 2012
  • Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. tests positive for banned substance after Sergio Martinez fight

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    Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (above) tested positive for a banned substance — reportedly marijuana — after Saturday’s fight with Sergio Martinez in Las Vegas. (AP)

    Former middleweight titleholder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. tested positive for a banned substance following Saturday’s unanimous-decision defeat to Sergio Martinez. Chavez’s promoter, Top Rank, confirmed the positive test.

    Top Rank’s Carl Moretti confirmed the positive test was for marijuana.

    “Top Rank is reviewing the situation,” Top Rank publicist Lee Samuels said in a statement. “Julio Cesar Chavez Jr will have the opportunity to explain this situation to the Nevada State Athletic Commission.”

    The positive test is the second for Chavez in Nevada. In 2009, Chavez tested positive for Furosemide, a known diuretic that helps with weight loss, after his win over Troy Rowland. Chavez was suspended for seven months and fined $10,000 by the commission. The official result was changed to a no-contest.

    Last week, Chavez cited that positive test as one of the turning points of his career.

    “I thought about it, and I said, ‘What am I doing here? Do I need to be serious about this?’” Chavez said. “‘Do I really want this? How much do I want it?’”

    NSAC executive director told there is no mandatory suspension length for a second positive test. Kizer said any violation can result in a fine of up to 100 percent of the fighter’s purse — Chavez was guaranteed $3 million against Martinez — and/or a one-year suspension.

    The positive test is the latest act of immaturity from the 26-year old Chavez. Last January, Chavez was arrested for suspicion of DUI. He pleaded no contest and was sentenced to probation. Before teaming up with Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach, Chavez had a reputation for being lazy in the gym. Though he seemed to shed that reputation over the last year, in the weeks before the fight with Martinez, Chavez routinely skipped out on training sessions, often preferring to work out at home late at night rather than at the gym.

    Roach said he will continue to work with Chavez but that “the first day he misses something, I’m going home.”

    – Chris Mannix

  • Published On Sep 19, 2012
  • Quick jabs: Ricky Hatton comes back, Amir Khan finds new trainer, more

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    Former two-division world champion Ricky Hatton (above), who announced a comeback last week, might be an attractive opponent for compatriot Amir Khan. (AP)

    Some quick jabs …

    • How much money did Miguel Cotto leave on the table when he passed on a rematch with Manny Pacquiao? According to Bob Arum, a lot. Arum said Cotto’s guarantee for a Dec. 1 date with Pacquiao would have been around $13 million, with the possibility of going as high as $15 million if the pay-per-view numbers were strong. Instead, Cotto will settle for significantly less in a fight with unknown junior middleweight Austin Trout while Arum signed Juan Manuel Marquez for a fourth fight with Pacquiao by guaranteeing just $6 million.

    • HBO was thrilled with the rating it got for the heavily promoted Sept. 8 showdown between Andre Ward and Chad Dawson. According to the Neilsen numbers, Ward-Dawson attracted 1.3 million viewers, the sixth straight World Championship Boxing telecast exceeding 1 million viewers for HBO.

    • Here’s my one and only thought on the proposed partnership between Manny Pacquiao and 50 Cent: I’ll believe it when I see it.

    • I’m fully expecting a rematch between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Sergio Martinez to take place early next year. Chavez Jr. wants it and Martinez isn’t going to sniff that much money against anyone else. Hopefully Chavez will take his training a little more seriously next time. He has the talent to beat Martinez but he has to be in peak condition both mentally and physically if he expects to have a shot against a fighter as fast and skilled as Martinez.

    • At 33, comebacking Ricky Hatton probably has one more big fight left in him. And perhaps the biggest one of his career could be out there: Amir Khan. They haven’t invented a word for how big Hatton-Khan could be in England and after a tune-up or two both could be ready for it.

    • Little tired of strength coach Alex Ariza taking to Twitter and passive aggressively implying that a fighter would have done better had he been more involved. In the aftermath of Chavez’s loss to Martinez, Ariza, who had reduced role in Chavez’s camp this time around, in a Q&A with his followers, suggested that Chavez would have performed better had he followed his diet and that Chavez was “not in my kind of shape.” It’s not the first time Ariza has done this and it’s getting a little old.

    • Arum says he plans on bringing welterweight titleholder Tim Bradley back in December. Possible opponents include Ruslan Provodnikov, Zab Judah, Lamont Peterson and Robert Guerrero. Guerrero is under contract with archrival Golden Boy but Arum told a handful of reporters last week that Bradley-Guerrero was a fight he would really like to make.

    • Hasim Rahman, who held the WBC heavyweight title for a year between 2005 and ’06, is getting another crack at a world title. Rahman, 39, will travel to Germany to take on Alexander Povetkin on Sept. 29 in a fight that will be televised in the U.S. on Epix.

    • Predictably, the Adrien Broner-Antonio DeMarco negotiations are progressing slowly. Broner, who is represented by influential and divisive manager Al Haymon, wants the lion’s share of the money and DeMarco isn’t willing to give it to him. Like I’ve said before: Fight each other or don’t fight anyone else in your weight class on premium TV.

    • How much did it cost 50 Cent to pry Yuri Gamboa away from Top Rank? That would be $1.2 million. From what I hear from Top Rank officials, that’s just about how much the company invested in Gamboa.

    • The always entertaining Gabriel Rosado (20-5) is back in action on Friday night, when he headlines the next installment of NBC Sports Network’s Fight Night series against Charles Whittaker (38-12-2). This is a big fight for Rosado: If he wins, he becomes the No. 1 contender for the IBF junior middleweight title held by Cornelius Bundrage.

    • While we all wait (and wait, and wait) for Pacquiao-Mayweather, it’s clear Arum is setting up the winner of next month’s junior welterweight fight between Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado as the next opponent for Pacquiao. Rios-Alvarado is expected to be a war, which should give the winner a nice bounce going into a Pacquiao fight.

    • Showtime has to be pleased with the numbers for Saul Alvarez-Josesito Lopez on Saturday. According to Neilsen ratings, Alvarez-Lopez attracted 1.04 million viewers. Still, that’s a 42 percent drop from Alvarez’s HBO-televised fight against Kermit Cintron in November 2011, which drew 1.47 million viewers.

    • Amir Khan is reportedly set to name Virgil Hunter, best known for training super middleweight champion Andre Ward, as his new coach. That’s a good call. Hunter has a brilliant boxing mind who believes hit-and-don’t-get-hit is the only philosophy a fighter should live by. For a shaky-chinned fighter like Khan, that’s the best kind of trainer.

    • Speaking of Ward, cross Mikkel Kessler off the list of potential next opponents. Ward had expressed interest in a rematch with Kessler — whom he picked apart over 11 lopsided rounds in 2009 — but Kessler elected to face 37-year old Brian Magee, who owns a minor super middleweight title. It’s just as well: Ward-Kessler would have created no buzz in the United States.

    • Last week, Arum spent a lot of time talking to reporters about junior middleweight prospect John Jackson, even going as far as to say Jackson would get a televised slot on the Pacquiao pay-per-view telecast. But on Saturday, Jackson (13-1) ran into another pretty good prospect, the Jack Loew-trained Willie Nelson (19-1-1), who beat him in a close decision. Jackson still has potential and a lot of power (12 knockouts) but needs to polish his game so he can out box fighters he can’t knock out.

    – Chris Mannix

  • Published On Sep 18, 2012
  • Experts’ predictions for Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.-Sergio Martinez

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    Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (left) looks to score the signature win of his young career Saturday against Sergio Martinez in a middleweight championship fight. (AP)’s boxing experts predict Saturday’s middleweight title fight between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Sergio Martinez (9 p.m. ET, HBO PPV). Share your prediction in the comments below.


    A year ago this fight was a mismatch, back when Martinez was peaking and Chavez was still learning the craft. Yet time has slowed the 37-year-old Martinez — the early success of Darren Barker and Matthew Macklin in Martinez’s last two fights attests to that — while Chavez has grown into his 6-foot frame and, with the help of Freddie Roach, into his natural skill.

    That preamble is to illustrate why this will be a closer fight than if it took place a year ago; but the outcome will be the same. Martinez has been victimized by slow starts lately but Chavez has his own habit of poor early rounds to deal with. Chavez will score with his body work but Martinez’s clean, precise punching should produce obvious points. I’m wary of a bad decision here: On Mexican Independence Day, Chavez will have a lot of fans in the building and Nevada judges have been shaky recently. But I’m still taking Martinez because in the later rounds, his talent will shine. Martinez by split decision.


    I can’t decide if an uncharacteristically angry Martinez (“It is personal …. I will break his face a thousand times”) poses an extra danger for Chavez, or whether that impressive vitriol is a sign that the usually easy-going and respectful Argentine is feeling a bit of a threat and may be vulnerable. Chavez, at 26, is 11 years younger than Martinez, and appears to be maturing into a more complete fighter than it seemed he would ever become. He is also a very big (six-foot, and likely to come into the ring 10 to 15 pounds over the 160-pound limit) and very powerful middleweight. In his recent outings, against Peter Manfredo Jr., Marco Antonio Rubio and, especially Andy Lee, the son of the legendary JCC (the greatest Mexican fighter of all time) has displayed a more fluid and multi-dimensional style, seemingly finally stepping up his learning curve. Certainly he’s a very dangerous customer.

    That said, I have to think that Martinez, though 37, is still very much in his prime and has far more tools than Chavez. He’s still faster than Chavez and a far more skilled boxer, and he’s an exceptional finisher. I see Martinez dominating the early rounds. Chavez may very well mount an attack in the middle of the bout – those boy shots will get through – but I see Martinez weathering it and then his superior skill, fitness (we know Chavez Jr. has blown off more than a few sessions with Freddie Roach) experience – and maybe even his righteous anger — should come together to batter Chavez down the stretch. One danger: If it’s at all close round-by-round, look for the judges to give an edge to Chavez.

    Still, I am looking for Martinez on points. Martinez by unanimous decision.


    The late-blooming Martinez has spent most of the past three years near the top of the pound-for-pound charts, generally considered the best fighter in the sport not named Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao. Chavez spent the same period regarded by many as the coddled son of a legend, more sizzle than substance. Junior’s impressive knockout of Andy Lee may have tempered that perception, underscoring a key fact: this is the biggest, strongest and perhaps most agressive opponent Martinez has faced. And, yes, the cagey Argentine puncher has showed signs of slippage in recent outings.

    Still, no one can deny it’s a major step up in class for Chavez. Expect the wiser, more accurate and more intelligent Maravilla to make the most of his long-awaited moment in the spotlight, taking the fight to Chavez from the opening bell, creating angles the young Mexican has never seen before and — of no small significance — trying above all to keep it out of the judges’ hands. Look for boxing’s most impressive closer to make it five straight knockouts somewhere in the middle rounds. Martinez by sixth-round KO.

  • Published On Sep 14, 2012
  • Quick jabs: Andre Ward, Gennady Golovkin, Adrien Broner making news

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    Manny Pacquiao (above), who fell to No. 3 in’s most recent pound-for-pound ratings, might not fight again in 2012 according to Top Rank’s Bob Arum. (AP)

    Some quick jabs …

    • Expect to see Andre Ward, fresh off last weekend’s impressive knockout win over Chad Dawson, in Las Vegas this Saturday at the Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.-Sergio Martinez middleweight title fight. Ward is eyeballing the winner for his next fight. Just don’t expect Ward, a 168-pound super middleweight, to drop too close to the 160-pound middleweight limit. Ward’s trainer, Virgil Hunter, told me Ward might be willing to cut “a couple of pounds” but no more than that. Nor is Ward all that interested in moving all the way up to 175 pounds, either. Hunter believes anyone who wants a crack at Ward should have to fight him at his weight.

    • So much for TMT Promotions — a company founded this summer by rapper 50 Cent and believed to involve Floyd Mayweather — making a big splash. While TMT is still in the hunt for a November date on HBO, nothing is close to being finalized. Moreover, 50 Cent has indicated in recent interviews that his relationship with Mayweather isn’t as strong as it used to be. That’s not good news for Andre Dirrell, Yuri Gamboa and Billy Dib, fighters who have signed to TMT but don’t appear to have many options before the end of the year.

    • After watching Tomasz Adamek get knocked down and struggle in an eventual fifth-round knockout of journeyman Travis Walker, you have to wonder just how much the 35-year old Adamek has left in the tank. In the last year Adamek has been battered by Vitali Klitschko, gone the distance in wins over Nagy Aguilera and Eddie Chambers, and been life and death with Walker. Adamek has fought some wars in his career; now, they might be catching up with him.

    • When Zsolt Erdei withdrew from his Sept. 29 fight with Isaac Chilemba, one solution was to take Chilemba off promoter Lou DiBella’s HBO-televised show and move him to a Main Events-promoted Sept. 21 card on NBC Sports Network. Main Events had been searching for a replacement for Gabriel Campillo, who withdrew from a fight with Sergey Kovalev, which would have headlined the NBC show. DiBella and HBO, however, wanted Main Events to give up Kovalev and have him fight Chilemba on HBO. But because boxing promoters get along about as well as a divorced couple, Chilemba stayed on DiBella’s card, where he will fight a yet to be named opponent on the untelevised undercard, while Kovalev will face unheralded Lionel Thompson on the NBC card. No one wins.

    • I still think that from a marketing perspective, Kelly Pavlik makes the most sense for Andre Ward.

    • If HBO can’t make Adrien Broner-Antonio DeMarco in November, I don’t want to see either of them on television. The network has invested millions in Broner, who has looked great plowing over a collection of stiffs. And DeMarco, who knocked out John Molina in less than a minute on Saturday, told me that he is ready, willing and able to fight Broner in November. Make it happen, or don’t give them the platform or the money to fight someone else.

    • Look for scintillating middleweight Gennady Golovkin to be back in the ring before the end of the year; just don’t expect it to be a unification fight against Daniel Geale. There’s a strong interest from HBO to make Golovkin-Geale but the sense I’m getting is that it’s more likely to happen in the spring of 2013.

    • No one at 140 pounds wants a piece of Lucas Matthyse. No one.

    • Spent some time talking to several people in Manny Pacquiao’s camp this week and no one can say with any certainty whether Pacquiao will fight again this year. Top Rank is still holding the Dec. 8 date but it is waiting to hear from Pacquiao.

    • During its broadcast last weekend, HBO incorrectly identified Ward as the last U.S. Olympic boxing gold medalist. Ward is the last men’s boxing gold medalist. The last gold medal won by a USA boxer was claimed by Claressa Shields, the 17-year old phenom who picked up middleweight gold in London.

    – Chris Mannix

  • Published On Sep 11, 2012
  • Martin Murray withdraws from June fight with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

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    Great Britain's Martin Murray (right) battled middleweight beltholder Felix Sturm to a draw in December. (Uwe Anspach/DPA/

    British middleweight Martin Murray has withdrawn from a June 16 fight with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. due to legal issues preventing him from obtaining a visa to enter the United States. The issues are connected to Murray’s past criminal behavior, which included street fighting and robbery, crimes that resulted in four separate stints in prison.

    “I’d signed the contract and everything was agreed, so to be told I cannot box Chavez Jr. because of my past is gut-wrenching,” Murray said. “As a human being, I couldn’t have done any more to turn my life around over the last seven years. I have a fantastic wife, Gemma. We have two wonderful children, Archie and Amelia. They are my life and everything I do is for them.”

    Murray, 29, popped on the international radar last December, when he battled WBA middleweight champion Felix Sturm to a draw. Murray’s manager Neil Marsh and promoter Ricky Hatton said in a statement that they would work to resolve the visa issues quickly. In the meantime, they will look to make a fight for Murray (23-0-1) in the U.K., where he could defend his minor domestic titles.

    “I am a qualified youth worker and spend lots of time working with kids making an effort to help keep them out of trouble,” Murray said. “I am pleading with the youth of today not to make the same mistakes I did when I was young. Even if you change your life around it can still come back to bite you.”

    Meanwhile, Chavez Jr. will look to fill Murray’s slot. Industry sources say unbeaten junior middleweight contender Vanes Martirosyan and middleweight Andy Lee are the leading candidates.

    – Chris Mannix

  • Published On Mar 20, 2012