Featherweight champ Mikey Garcia to hold public workout Saturday in Yorba Linda

Featherweight world champion Mikey Garcia of Oxnard will play host to a sparring session today at 11 a.m. at the UFC Gym in Yorba Linda. It will be open to the public.

Garcia (31-0, 26 KOs) is preparing to defend his title against former champion Juan Manuel Lopez (33-2, 30 KOs) of Puerto Rico on June 15 at American Airlines Center in Dallas (on HBO).

Joining Garcia at the workout will be his older brother and trainer, former super featherweight champion Robert Garcia. Also on hand will be their father, Eduardo Garcia, who helps Robert train Mikey.

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Golden Boy matchmaker Eric Gomez stoked about making Mayweather-Alvarez

There were some boxing insiders who didn’t think a fight would be made between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. Well, that junior middleweight title-unification bout for Sept. 14 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas (on Showtime pay-per-view) was announced Wednesday.

The thing that was supposed to kill the fight was weight. Alvarez is a big junior middleweight and would not have been able to get down to welterweight. Mayweather holds titles in both the welterweight and junior middleweight divisions, but he is considered more of a welterweight. They agreed to fight at a catch-weight of 152 pounds – two under the junior middleweight limit. Problem solved, and that made Golden Boy Promotions executives very happy.

“I’m just happy we made it,” said Eric Gomez, matchmaker and vice president at Golden Boy. “There were a lot of doubters. Talking to (Golden Boy CEO) Richard (Schaefer) and Oscar, we knew Floyd would do it because he’s a fighter. He’s a bad (dude). And you don’t get there by dodging anybody.”


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Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez is made for Sept. 14 at MGM Grand

It’s time to rejoice, fight fans, because the fight that figures to be a blockbuster in every way was made Wednesday, as Floyd Mayweather Jr. announced via Twitter that he will take on Saul “Canelo” Alvarez of Mexico in a junior middleweight title-unification bout Sept. 14 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas (on Showtime pay-per-view).
“I chose my opponent for September 14th and it’s Canelo Alvarez,” Mayweather tweeted. “I’m giving the fans what they want. It will be at the MGM Grand.”
Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions, confirmed to this newspaper via telephone an accord has been reached for the fight that will be contested at a catch-weight of 152 pounds, two under the junior middleweight limit.
“One hundred percent,” Ellerbe said. “Most definitely, we’re ecstatic. Floyd is ecstatic. This is the fight he wanted, the biggest fight out there in boxing that could be made. He
made it very clear to me and (adviser) Al (Haymon) that this is the fight he wanted.”
Mayweather currently holds belts in the welterweight and junior middleweight divisions. His junior middleweight title will be on the line, as will Alvarez’s two titles.
Mayweather, 36, is coming off a unanimous decision over Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero in a welterweight title defense May 4 at MGM Grand. Alvarez, 22, most recently defeated Austin Trout in a title-unification fight in April at the Alamodome in San Antonio.
Alvarez, who fights under the Golden Boy Promotions banner, is 42-0-1 with 30 knockouts. Mayweather is 44-0 with 26 knockouts.

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Alabama native Michael Finney talks boxing, and his love for NASCAR

Michael Finney wasn’t very good in team sports growing up, so he took up boxing.

“I tried all of the sports – baseball, football, basketball, even a little soccer – I wasn’t too good in any of those,” he said. “Then my mother said, ‘There is a new boxing gym opening near our house.’ In a few days I was over there to take a look.”

Finney, of Smith’s Station, Ala., was hooked. He had roughly 150 amateur bouts, and in 2008 won a Junior Olympic national championship. Now 21, Finney is 11-0 with nine knockouts as a professional, and June 8 he will try to improve upon that when he takes on Raul Tovar (10-6-1, 4 KOs) at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on a Solo Boxeo telecast (on UniMas); the main event will see Juan Carlos Sanchez defending his super flyweight title against Roberto Sosa.

Finney, a welterweight, is promoted by Top Rank Inc. and managed by Cameron Dunkin, one of the top managers in the game. He’s in good hands.

“Cameron was the first to talk to me,” Finney said. “It was very exciting for me, a kid from Alabama. The key thing for me now is training. I want to do well and I know what kind of work it takes to get to where I want to go – to the big fights.”

Finney indeed has a love for the sweet science. He’s also a huge NASCAR fan.

“My favorite driver is Jeff Gordon,” he said. “I root for car No. 24 every weekend.”

Finney has never been to a NASCAR event, however. It is on his list of things to go.

“I plan to go to my first race this summer,” he said. “I’ll be looking out for car 24.”

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John Molina in a crucial fight on June 7 against Russian Andrey Klimov

Unfortunately for John Molina of Covina, he fights in a boxing world today where, unless you are an established star, you better not lose more than a fight or two, or you’ll have a hard time getting there.

Take the networks. Molina had just gotten on HBO for the first time, then got stopped in the first round in a challenge to lightweight champion Antonio DeMarco in September 2012 at Oracle Arena in Oakland. It was a big stage, as it was on the undercard of the Andre Ward-Chad Dawson super middleweight title fight.

Molina came back with an impressive fourth-round knockout of Dannie Williams in January at Pueblo Pavilion in Santa Fe, N.M. That was televised by ESPN2. And a week from Friday – on June 7 – Molina (25-2, 20 KOs) will be squaring off with Andrey Klimov (15-0, 8 KOs) of Russia in Shelton, Wash. (on ESPN2).

A good showing could get Molina back on HBO, and in the limelight. One thing’s for sure, Molina has enough power to take out any opponent with one punch, as his 74 percent knockout ratio attests. That helps keep him attractive to the networks.

Molina is 30. Klimov, also 30, is 15-0 with eight knockouts.

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A rematch between Andre Ward and Carl Froch would be great, but where?

Super middleweight champion Andre Ward was part of the HBO broadcast team for Saturday’s super middleweight title-unification bout between Carl Froch and Mikkel Kessler, won by Froch via unanimous decision at O2 Arena in London.

Froch’s victory could have earned him a rematch with fellow champion Andre Ward, who is considered the best 168-pounder in the world. The two tangled in December 2011 in Atlantic City, Ward coming away with a unanimous decision.

Following Saturday’s bout, Ward talked about the possibility of a return fight. At the root of the conversation is where the fight would take place. Ward is from Oakland, Froch from England.

“At this stage of my career I’m open for any fight that makes sense. A rematch makes sense,” Ward said to HBO’s Jim Lampley just after the decision was announced, according to ESPN.com. “I don’t know if it would be in the U.K. or if it would be in the United States, but Froch’s promoter (Eddie Hearn) needs to show how bad he wants it here. They need to understand I don’t have to come here. If I come, it’s because I want to and I need a reward.”

Hearn told Sky Sports the fight would have to be in the United Kingdom.

“Andre has absolutely no options,” Hearn said. “Tell me another fight out there for him at super middleweight. That’s why he was at the O2 – he wants the fight with Froch. That’s a massive fight  … If Andre wants the fight, then it will have to be where we want it.”

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Carl Froch gets his payback against Mikkel Kessler in title fight in London

Not surprisingly, Carl Froch and Mikkel Kessler put on a crowd-pleasing performance Saturday night in their super middleweight title-unification fight at O2 Arena in London.

Froch won a unanimous decision in a fight that had several thrilling moments. When the final bell rang, the 18,000-plus went wild.

Froch won by scores of 115-113, 116-112 and 118-110; that third score seemed a bit out of whack.

Froch, 35, of England, is 31-2 with 22 knockouts. Kessler, 34, of Denmark, is 46-3. Kessler won their first fight via unanimous decision in April 2010 in Denmark.

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Richard Schaefer says Abner Mares is no worse than third pound-for-pound

Abner Mares of Hawaiian Gardens is finally getting some recognition on respectable pound-for-pound lists. Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, appreciates that. But Schaefer believes Mares should be in the top three, rather than in the bottom half of the top 10.

“In my opinion, there’s Floyd Mayweather, there’s Andre Ward and there’s Abner Mares,” Schaefer said. “That’s how, in my book, the ratings should be.”

Mares, who was born in Mexico but grew up in Southern California and attended Artesia High, has won titles in three weight classes – bantamweight, super bantamweight and featherweight. Most recently, he took Daniel Ponce De Leon’s featherweight belt via 9th-round TKO on the May 4 undercard of the Mayweather-Robert Guerrero welterweight championship at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Schaefer said Mares (26-0-1, 14 KOs) is hopeful his next fight can take place in Mexico.


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Carl Froch, Mikkel Kessler make weight for Saturday’s title unification bout

Carl “The Cobra” Froch of England weighed 167.9 pounds and Mikkel “Viking Warrior” Kessler of Denmark weighed 166.7 Friday in preparation for their super middleweight title-unification bout Saturday at O2 Arena in London. The limit is 168.

HBO will televise the bout live at 3 p.m. and again on tape at 10.

Froch, 35, is 30-2 with 22 knockouts. Kessler, 34, is 46-2 with 35 knockouts.

This is a rematch of an April 2010 fight in Denmark won by Kessler via unanimous decision.

Tune in, it could be a terrific fight.


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Former champion Antonio Margarito strongly denies rumors of a comeback

Rumors have recently circulated about a return to the ring by former welterweight champion Antonio Margarito of Tijuana. Supposedly, he needs the money because of an impending divorce from his wife, Michele, that allegedly will net her a nice sum of money.

Margarito this week vehemently denied he is coming back.

“I was surprised by several unfounded rumors regarding my current situation, including news on a return to boxing and supposedly a divorce settlement that has left me broke and with the need to return to boxing,” Margarito said in a statement. “In some cases, the information dealt with news of my return, and some unfounded news about a settlement. However, some tabloid media has gone further than that, spreading unfounded rumors that no one took the trouble to investigate fully.
“I am the first to admit that my time in the boxing stage is a thing of the past.”
Margarito said any word of his wife getting big money in a divorce, could be harmful.
“There is some damage to my family that can be done by spreading lies and half-truths,” he said. “We have been officially separated from my wife Michele for over two years. She is now in a new relationship and pregnant. Since then, I have also started a new life, and also had a baby with my girlfriend Lorena Vidales. The divorce settlement has not been finalized and as civilized people, we respect each others’ life and during this time have been negotiating the settlement.
“With what we will share, I expect that it will help us to live, if not full of luxuries, in a comfortable lifestyle. However, when people start talking of “a millionaire settlement,” it exposes Michele and my children – who live in Tijuana, Mexico- to becoming victims of blackmail and even kidnapping. That is why I wanted to make this public statement about the situation.”
Margarito, 35, has not fought since being stopped by Miguel Cotto after 10 rounds in December 2011.
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