Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez will challenge Liam Smith for junior middleweight title

Saul Alvarez/Photo courtesy of Golden Boy Promotions

 

Former middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez of Mexico will move back down in weight and challenge Liam Smith for his junior middleweight title on Sept. 17, Golden Boy Promotions announced Friday. The venue is not yet confirmed, but it could be MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The bout will be televised on HBO pay-per-view.

Golden Boy and K2 Promotions – which promotes middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin – met this week in Los Angeles and out of that came the news that a bout between Alvarez and Golovkin will not take place until September 2017 at the earliest. Golovkin would fight Alvarez this September, but Golden Boy does not want that.

Instead, we’re getting Alvarez-Smith. Smith, of England, is 23-0-1 with 13 knockouts. He has never fought anyone near the caliber of Alvarez (47-1-1, 33 KOs). But Golden Boy and Alvarez are going to play it off like Smith is a real mean hombre.

“I am very pleased to announce my next fight against Liam Smith, a tremendous fighter with real knockout power, and the WBO junior middleweight world-title owner,” Alvarez said. “I have no doubt that this fight will be give and take, which will fill the expectations of the fans, and I will work with all the enthusiasm as I always do to get the upper hand.”

Oscar De La Hoya, president of Golden Boy, also played up this fight as a certain barnburner.

“This fight will be a slugfest between two heavy hitters, and I have little doubt that it will end with a 10-count,” he said.

Smith has stopped his past eight opponents inside the distance, and that is something we’re going to hear a lot about from Golden Boy. But the eight victims are anything but household names. One thing’s for sure, this is a terrific chance for Smith, though it’s unlikely he’ll be able to take advantage of it.

“This fight allows me to make my name in the U.S. and show just how good I am and this is the big stage that will enable me to do that,” Smith said.

 

 

 

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So-called verbal agreement for ‘Canelo’-Golovkin means very little at this time

Gennady Golovkin

Gennady Golovkin/Photo courtesy of K2 Promotions

 

OK, so promoters Oscar De La Hoya and Tom Loeffler apparently met at De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions offices in Los Angeles on Wednesday to talk about a fight between middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin and former middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, according to several publications.

It’s no secret that the boxing world was hopeful that fight would happen this September. But Alvarez recently vacated his WBC title rather than sign to fight Golovkin under the duress of a deadline set forth by the WBC.

Well, the only thing that apparently came out of Wednesday’s meeting was that the sides verbally agreed to make the fight – in September 2017. That means virtually nothing because there is no contract. And this is boxing, where so much can happen in 15 months.

Before everyone who so badly wants to see this fight goes off the deep end in celebration, chill out. Golovkin is likely still going to be a monster in 15 months, and we’re not sure De La Hoya will ever want Alvarez to tangle with him.

Golovkin, of course, would have happily fought Alvarez this September. It’s De La Hoya, Alvarez’s promoter, who seems reluctant to put his man into a fight with the beastly Golovkin at this point in time. We’re going to hear how De La Hoya wants this fight to marinate and how this extra time will allow Alvarez to mature into a full-fledged 160-pound middleweight, instead of one that toils at a catch-weight of 155.

If this fight happens at some point, terrific. But as a story on Yahoo.com points out, Loeffler – Golovkin’s promoter – said nothing has been signed. So there is really nothing to celebrate.

The feeling here is, we’ll believe it when we see it.

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Sugar Ray Leonard will host meet and greet at July 15 Golden Boy card in Indio

Sugar Ray Leonard/AP photo by Darron Cummings

 

All-time great Sugar Ray Leonard on July 15 will spend an hour with fans during a meet and greet at a Golden Boy Promotions card at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio that will feature Pablo Cesar Cano  (29-5-1, 21 KOs) of Mexico taking on KeAndre Gibson (15-0-1, 7 KOs) of St. Louis in the welterweight main event.

Fans with tickets to the card will be able to mingle with Leonard from 6 to 7 p.m. in the Special Events Center.

Cano-Gibson will be televised live on Estrella TV beginning at 7.

 

 

 

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Deontay Wilder sees Anthony Joshua-Dominic Breazeale as a ’50-50′ fight

Dominic Breazeale

Dominic Breazeale/Photo courtesy of Premier Boxing Champions

 

Heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder holds one of the four championship belts, and he’d love to get the rest of them. That means he’ll be an interested observer Saturday when Anthony Joshua (16-0, 16 KOs) defends his title against Dominic Breazeale (17-0, 15 KOs) of Alhambra at O2 Arena in Joshua’s native England.

Wilder this week gave his thoughts on that fight, which be televised at 2:15 p.m. (Pacific time) on Showtime.

“I definitely see the fight as a 50-50,” said Wilder, who July 16 will defend his title against Chris Arreola of Riverside at Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Ala. (on Fox). “You’ve got two big heavyweights, and the challenger wants what the champion has, and the champion wants to keep what he has.

“It’s going to be interesting because we’ve seen Breazeale in a lot of wars. He’s almost been taken out by some of the smaller heavyweights. He’s been punched around, but he has always survived.  We’ve seen Joshua (get) busted up as well, but he has kept his composure, and this fight is in his backyard amongst his people.”

It sounded like Wilder won’t be surprised if Breazeale emerges victorious because, “I think he really wants it.”

 

 

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Chris Arreola, on title shot against Deontay Wilder, ‘Third time’s the charm’

Chris Arreola

Chris Arreola/Photo courtesy of Premier Boxing Champions

 

LOS ANGELESChris Arreola of Riverside would love to become the first fighter of Mexican descent to win a major heavyweight world title. He’s already had two bites at the apple, but came up short in TKO losses to Vitali Klitschko in 2009 and Bermane Stiverne in 2014.

He’s going to get one more shot when he challenges undefeated knockout artist Deontay Wilder for his title July 16 at Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Ala. (on Fox).

“It is now or never,” Arreola told this newspaper before Tuesday’s news conference at the Conga Room formally announcing the bout. “Title shots don’t come that often. This is my third time, man. Third time’s the charm, man. I’ve gotta make this happen.”

A victory – especially considering Arreola will be a heavy underdog – would mean everything to Arreola.

“The main thing is history. That’s it,” he said. “I’m going to be remembered.”

Wilder, of Tuscaloosa, Ala., won the title with a wide unanimous decision over Stiverne in January 2015. Wilder has defended his belt three times and was supposed to make his fourth defense against Alexander Povetkin of Russia on May 21.

However, Povetkin tested positive for the banned substance meldonium and that fight was scrapped. It was time to look for another opponent, and Wilder believes Arreola was the right choice for a fight that was made June 13, just more than a month before it will be contested.

“We know that Chris comes to fight,” said Wilder, who at 6-foot-7 is some four inches taller than Arreola. “We know that whether he’s in shape or out of shape, he’s going to give a hundred percent. And he’s going to sell tickets because of the toughness.”

Wilder said that to him, all of Arreola’s fights have been exciting.

“That’s what we need,” Wilder said. “And when you’ve got two guys that are hard-hitters that fight with their heart, and they try to get you out of there as soon as possible, what a great fight it makes for short notice. It’s going to be crazy, so I definitely think we picked the right person for this.”

Arreola has fought three journeymen since losing to Stiverne via 6th-round TKO at USC’s Galen Center in May 2014. He beat Curtis Harper over eight rounds and had a draw with Fred Kassi. Arreola then won a split-decision over Travis Kauffman this past December in San Antonio, only to have that changed to a no-decision when Arreola tested positive for marijuana.

This is hardly awe-inspiring stuff, but Wilder scoffed at the notion Arreola is not worthy of this chance.

“People said Arreola doesn’t deserve the shot, but who are they to say things about a man who every time he gets in the ring, fights with his heart?” Wilder said.

Arreola has taken a lot of heat over the years. Particularly, he’s been hammered about coming into fights out of shape. Against Kauffman, he weighed 236 1/2 pounds, his lowest since 2011.

But his effort in training and subsequent victory were wasted with the positive test. He was asked how fans can be sure he won’t have another dirty test that would disallow what would be a shocking victory over Wilder.

“Because (trainer) Henry (Ramirez) doesn’t let me out of his sight, you know what I mean?” Arreola said. “But in all honesty, man, I do have to take this serious and I have taken this serious.”

Arreola, 35, is 36-4-1 with 31 knockouts. Wilder, 30, is 36-0 with 35 knockouts.

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Viktor Postol does not want to hear that he’s underdog to Terence Crawford

Viktor Postol/Photo courtesy of Top Rank Inc.

 

Terence “Bud” Crawford is a top 10 pound-for-pound fighter. Viktor Postol is not – not yet, anyway. That means that Crawford will likely be picked by more experts to win when he squares off with Postol in a junior welterweight title-unification bout July 23 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas (on HBO pay-per-view).

Postol, of the Ukraine, couldn’t care less.

“I do not consider myself an underdog in this fight,” he said. “Terence Crawford’s fans might consider me as the underdog, but that does not bother me. I’m 100 percent confident in myself and in my victory on July 23 and the reasons are simple:

“I work harder in training camp than my opponents because I have to.  Because I want to. I have the best trainer working with me and his name his Freddie Roach. He has been named Trainer of the Year a record seven times and he is in the Hall of Fame.”

Postol, speaking from his camp in Hollywood, dug deeper.

“Crawford has no one like that on his team,” he said.

Roach spoke in equally feisty tones.

“I do not feel that Viktor is an underdog going into this fight,” he said. “Why should I?  In his two toughest tests – Lucas Matthysse and Selcuk Aydin – he didn’t just knock them out, he took their will to fight away.  He broke them down brick by brick.”

Postol stopped Aydin in the 11th round at the Fabulous Forum in May 2014 and he knocked out the hard-hitting Matthysse in the 10th round in his most recent fight in October at StubHub Center.

“His experience against blue-chip opposition has been great preparation for his fight with Terence Crawford,” Roach said. “Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of respect for Crawford. He has a lot of talent.  But I think this is going to come down to resumes and I think Postol has fought tougher and better opponents than Crawford.

“Postol even spent an entire training camp with Manny Pacquiao in 2014 when Manny was preparing for Chris Algieri. Viktor more than held his own against Manny. Crawford is going to find out that defending a title against Hank Lundy and Dierry Jean is a lot different than fighting a fellow undefeated world champion like Viktor Postol.”

Crawford, who also has won a title at lightweight, has made his two junior welterweight title defenses against Lundy (TKO 5) and Jean (TKO 10).

Crawford, 28, is from Omaha, Neb. He is 28-0 with 20 knockouts. Postol, 32, is 28-0 with 12 knockouts.

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Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford stoked about headlining in Las Vegas for first time

Terence Crawford/Photo courtesy of Top Rank Inc.

 

Terence “Bud” Crawford has become one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world. But the two-division world champion has never headlined a big card in Las Vegas.

That will change July 23 when he takes on Viktor Postol (28-0, 12 KOs) of the Ukraine in a junior welterweight title-unification bout at MGM Grand in Las Vegas (on HBO pay-per-view).

Crawford, of Omaha, Neb., on Monday talked about his big moment from his camp in Colorado Springs.

“It is an honor to fight in Las Vegas, especially at the MGM Grand where so many historic fights have taken place and so many great fighters have made their mark, said Crawrod, who sports a record of 28-0 with 20 knockouts. “It’s the same way I felt when I headlined my first card at Madison Square Garden earlier this year.”

Crawford this past February defended his junior welterweight belt for the second time with a fifth-round TKO of Hank Lundy at the Madison Square Garden Theater.

“Many fighters dream of fighting on such a big stage, but it’s something you have to earn,” said Crawford, 28. “I have worked very hard to get to this point in my career – to earn the right to headline my first pay-per-view event. I can’t think of a better place to do it than in the fight capital of the world. It’s very exciting, but I need to keep my eye on the ball.

“There will be a lot of hard work to do in training camp to make my pay-per-view debut successful. This isn’t just opening night for a new phase of my career. I want this to be the beginning of a long run as boxing’s next pound-for-pound star and a worthy successor to Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr.

 

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Dominic Breazeale pulls no punches when asked for prediction for fight with heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua

Dominic Breazeale

Dominic Breazeale/Photo courtesy of Premier Boxing Champions

 

Heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua of England and contender Dominic Breazeale of Alhambra on Monday played host to a conference call promoting their title fight Saturday at O2 Arena in London (on Showtime).

Joshua fielded questions first, then Breazeale. At the end, Breazeale was asked for a prediction. The former Division I college quarterback (Northern Colorado) pulled no punches.

“Knockout,” Breazeale said. “I keep telling you guys, man. Six, seven rounds, I’m knocking Anthony Joshua out.”

Breazeale, 30, is 17-0 with 15 knockouts. Joshua, 26, is 16-0 with 16 knockouts. He won the title with a second-round knockout of Charles Martin of St. Louis this past April at O2 Arena.

 

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Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns anticipate Thurman-Porter showdown

Sugar Ray Leonard (L) in action vs Thomas Hearns during fight at Sports Pavilion of Caesars Palace. Neil Leifer
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Thomas Hearns, right, throws a body punch at Sugar Ray Leonard during their September 1981 fight in Las Vegas/File photo courtesy of Getty Images

 

Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns were in a few big fights of their own. The first of two they had against one another – in September 1981 outdoors at Caesars Palace – was a classic as Leonard came from behind to stop Hearns in the 14th round of their welterweight title fight.

This Saturday’s welterweight title fight between champion Keith “One Time” Thurman and Shawn Porter at Barclays Center in Brooklyn (on CBS) isn’t as anticipated as Leonard-Hearns, but Leonard and Hearns themselves can’t wait to see it.

“Just the heart of Keith and Shawn,” Leonard said, when asked what excites him most about this fight. “Both of these guys have heart and both have that will. That composure. You can’t teach composure. It’s something that you either have or you don’t. You can’t learn that. That deep, deep composure when your left eye is closed and your liver is busted and you got to get up (off) the canvas.”

Hearns intimated it could be an early exit for someone.

“I know Thurman and Porter have the ability to get each other out of there,” he said. “It’s going to be a matter of who gets to who first. I’m definitely watching. I hope to be there in person.”

Thurman, 27, is 26-0 with 22 knockouts. Porter, 27, is 26-1-1 with 16 knockouts.

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Joe Smith Jr. stunningly stops Andrzej Fonfara in the first round in Chicago

Joe Smith Jr. at Friday’s weigh-in/Photo courtesy of Nabeel Ahmad, Premier Boxing Champions

 

Andrzej Fonfara had something to say about Joe Smith Jr. in the days leading to their light heavyweight bout Saturday at UIC Pavilion in Chicago.

“I know he has a big punch, because he wins fights by knockout,” Fonfara said of Smith, who took a record of 21-1 and 17 knockouts into their bout. “But who has he knocked out? The guy who was a little bit better, Will Rosinsky, he went the distance (with Smith). He has heavy, wide punches and we will be ready for him.”

Famous last words.

Some of those heavy punches found the heavily favored Fonfara (28-4). He was sent crashing to the canvas twice in the first round, the second time ending the fight as Smith shockingly knocked out Fonfara with 28 seconds left.

The fight was televised by NBC.

Fonfara came in ranked as high as No. 2 by one of the four major governing bodies. Smith (22-1, 18 KOs), of Long Island, N.Y., was unranked, but figures to find his way into the rankings after this.

Fonfara, of Chicago via Poland, was fighting in front of his fans.

Rau’shee Warren of Cincinnati got revenge when he won a majority decision over Juan Carlos Payano of Miami via the Dominican Republic to take Payano’s bantamweight world title. Scores were 114-114 and 115-113, 115-113 in favor of Warren (14-1).

Payano (17-1) had made the first defense of his belt when he won a split-decision over Warren this past August in Winter Park, Fla.

 

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