Andre Ward to take on Alexander Brand as fight with Sergey Kovalev looms

Andre Ward stares at Sakio Bika after decking Bika in their November 2010 fight at Oracle Arena in Oakland/Associated Press photo by Jeff Chiu

 

Former super middleweight champion Andre Ward appears headed for a showdown with light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev, as the two are slated to tangle Nov. 19 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. However, both fighters first must get past other opponents and Ward’s next one was announced Tuesday.

Ward will take on Alexander Brand (25-1, 19 KOs) of Colombia in the main event Aug. 6 at Oracle Arena in Ward’s native Oakland (on HBO).

Ward, 32, is in can’t-wait mode.

“We can get it on right now,” he said. “Aug. 6, I will be ready.”

Ward (29-0, 15 KOs) currently fights under the Roc Nation Sports banner. Its COO – David Itskowitch – knows how important it is for Ward to stay focused on the task at hand so as not to upset the apple cart.

“Andre Ward’s quest to become the best light heavyweight on the planet and boxing’s No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter continues on Aug. 6,” Itskowitch said. “Alexander Brand has been waiting for this fight since last year and we have no doubt he is going to enter the ring hungry for a huge victory. There’s a lot on the line in this fight for Andre, who knows he can’t look past Brand toward a much-discussed clash with unified light heavyweight world champion Sergey Kovalev.”

Ward and Brand were supposed to fight in November, but Ward had to pull out with a leg injury.

Kovalev will defend his three titles against Isaac Chilemba of South Africa on July 11 in Kovalev’s native Russia (on HBO).

 

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Mikey Garcia to return July 30 in Brooklyn after layoff of nearly 2 1/2 years

ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE After a lengthy legal battle with Top Rank, Oxnard's Mikey Garcia is free to sign with another promotional company and hopes to get back into the ring in the near future.

Mike Garcia of Oxnard will come out of a 2 1/2-year layoff on July 30/Associated Press file photo

 

Mikey Garcia has not fought in nearly 2 1/2 years, no thanks to contractual issues with his former promoter – Top Rank Inc. Don’t look now, but Garcia is back and the ultra-talented former world champion will make his long-awaited return to the ring when he takes on Elio Rojas on July 30 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn (Showtime).

Garcia was one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world before his long layoff, having won world titles in the featherweight and super featherweight divisions while going 34-0 with 28 knockouts. Suffice to say, he can’t wait to get back in there.

“I just have to get one fight in,” said Garcia, 28, of Oxnard. “This first fight with Elio will be somewhere between 135 (lightweight) and 140 pounds (junior welterweight), but I want to fight at 135 and win a title there. I want to win a title there and keep going after champion after champion. Now that all that (uncertainty) is behind me, I look forward to the next stage of my career. This next stage of my career will be what people remember me for.”

Garcia last fought on Jan. 25, 2014 when he defended his super featherweight title with a unanimous decision over Juan Carlos Burgos at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Garcia and Rojas (24-2, 14 KOs) – a former featherweight champion from the Dominican Republic – will fight underneath the featherweight title fight between champion Leo Santa Cruz of Lincoln Heights and Carl Frampton of Northern Ireland.

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Sergey Kovalev was stoked about training in the mountains of Armenia

Sergey Kovalev in the mountains of Armenia/Photo contributed by Sergey Kovalev

 

Light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev has not fought in his native Russia since December 2011, a year and eight months before he won the first of his three belts.

Kovalev will bring those titles back home when he defends them against Isaac Chilemba on July 11 in Ekaterinburg, Russia (on HBO).

Kovalev is training outside of the U.S. for the first time since beating Nathan Cleverly in August 2013 to win his first belt. Since he likes training at altitude, Kovalev recently completed the first phase of his camp at the mountains of Armenia.

“I try to look for mountainous regions which provide the right elevation and terrain for my conditioning training (biking, running),” Kovalev said. “Armenia is well-known for their mountains and terrain, plus it was also a good opportunity to get away from the attention, to focus solely on training.”

Kovalev liked that the Russian national team was training nearby.

“The Russian Boxing Olympic team had their training camp in the same area (Tsaghkadzor, Armenia) as well, so I had good company around me, the right training mentality and focus level,” he said. “Help from the local trainers and Russian national team boxers was quite handy with finding the new trails for my runs and biking.”

Kovalev, 33, is 29-0-1 with 26 knockouts. Chilemba, 29, is from South Africa. He is 24-3-2 with 10 knockouts and has very little chance of defeating Kovalev, who has a knockout ratio of 87 percent.

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Big opportunity for Norwalk’s Oscar Molina foiled in TKO loss to Jarrett Hurd

Oscar Molina, left, takes a right cross from Jarrett Hurd during their fight Saturday in Brooklyn/Photo by Ryan Greene, Premier Boxing Champions

 

It was good for Oscar Molina of Norwalk to get some national television exposure. Unfortunately for him, he couldn’t take advantage of it.

Molina this past Saturday faced another undefeated junior middleweight – Jarrett Hurd – underneath the welterweight title fight between Keith “One Time” Thurman and Shawn Porter, won by Thurman via narrow decision at Barclays Center in Brooklyn (on CBS).

A victory would have been the biggest of Molina’s career, but he was stopped in the 10th round by Hurd. Molina didn’t agree with the stoppage. But he was well behind on the scorecards, so he wasn’t going to win, anyway, unless he somehow managed to stop Hurd in that final round.

“I felt like Hurd was throwing a lot of punches in the 10th round, but they weren’t really hurting me,” Molina said. “He was staying busy, but he was never really hurting me.”

Molina was decked in the first round. He said he wasn’t in trouble then, either.

“I went low and I had my head down and he caught me with that uppercut in the first round,” said Molina, 26. “He got me with a shot I wasn’t expecting, but it was definitely a flash knockdown. I wasn’t hurt.”

Molina blamed himself for not being able to figure out Hurd’s defense, thus resulting in Molina smothering his own punches. He vowed to return in better form.

“This was a big opportunity for me and I felt like I fought a good fight,” he said. “I’m going to come back stronger. We’re going to work on a lot of things and get back in there.”

Molina is now 13-1-1. Hurd, of Accokeek, Md., is 18-0 with 12 knockouts.

 

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Viktor Postol recalls big night when he knocked out Lucas Matthysse in 10th

Victor Postol celebrates his knockout victory over Lucas Matthysse to win the vacant WBC super lightweight title Saturday at the StubHub Center. (Photo by Gene Blevins)

Viktor Postol wears his new championship belt after winning the junior welterweight title with a 10th-round knockout of Lucas Matthysse on Oct. 3 at StubHub Center/Photo by Gene Blevins

 

You can bet that when Viktor Postol took on Lucas Matthysse for a vacant junior welterweight title this past Oct. 3 at StubHub Center in Carson, more fans expected Matthysse to emerge victorious than Postol.

But it was Postol who stunned the crowd by knocking out Matthysse in the 10th round to win the championship.

Postol, who will take on Terence “Bud” Crawford (28-0, 20 KOs) on July 23 in a title-unification bout at MGM Grand in Las Vegas (on HBO pay-per-view), on Monday recalled that special night.

“The fight with Matthysse was my most challenging and memorable because it was my first world championship fight and I was fighting for the title against one of the strongest punchers in the division,” Postol said from the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, where he is trained by Freddie Roach. “The importance of this fight for my career and my life was not lost on me.”

Matthysse (37-4, 34 KOs) has a knockout ratio of 81 percent, so the thinking was if anyone was going to win by knockout, it would be him because Postol (28-0, 12 KOs) has a knockout ratio of just 43 percent.

Roach couldn’t say enough about his fighter’s work.

“It was a very good performance,” Roach said. “We were in charge of the fight the whole time. Viktor followed the game plan perfectly. I remember before the last round I told our corner that Matthysse was very tired and ready to go out. He was coming in with his head leaning down.”

 

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Keith Thurman retains welterweight title with close decision over Shawn Porter

Keith Thurman

Keith Thurman/Photo courtesy of Premier Boxing Champions

Welterweight champion Keith “One Time” Thurman on Saturday night slugged it out with challenger Shawn Porter over 12 rounds and when the grueling bout was over Thurman had retained his title with a close, yet unanimous decision at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The fight was televised on CBS.

Thurman (27-0) won by three scores of 115-113, which seemed to be the right call. Both fighters had outstanding moments. Thurman just seemed to have more.

The action was terrific and could be in the mix for Fight of the Year, though we have still have six months left of 2016.

There were no knockdowns, but both fighters were cut.

The bout was originally to take place in March, but Thurman was in a car accident, in which he sustained whiplash.

:Porter is 26-2-1.

 

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Dominic Breazeale is stopped in the seventh round by Anthony Joshua

Anthony Joshua knocks out Dominic Breazeale in seventh round after Chris Eubank and George Groves win

Anthony Joshua’s hand is raised after he stopped Alhambra’s Dominic Breazeale in the seventh round Saturday in London/Photo courtesy of Getty Images

 

Dominic Breazeale of Alhambra was simply outclassed in his challenge to heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua on Saturday at O2 Arena in Joshua’s native England.

Joshua appeared to have won ever round before decking Breazeale twice in the seventh round, the referee waving off the fight after the second knockdown.

The seventh-round TKO at 1:01 of the round was Joshua’s first title defense.

Breazeale (17-1) got in a few shots here and there, but there was never any indication he was going to take Joshua’s title

Joshua is now 17-0 with 17 knockouts.

 

 

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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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