Sergey Kovalev’s goal is to become top pound-for-pound fighter in the world

Sergey Kovalev Is the Rare, Refreshing Boxing Star Who Doesn't Duck a Challenge

Sergey Kovalev lands a right hand to the head of Bernard Hopkins during their November 2014 fight won by Kovalev/Photo by Associated Press

 

Sergey Kovalev, the vicious light heavyweight champion from Russia, is unquestionably a top pound-for-pound fighter. He’s No. 2 or No. 3, with Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez No. 1 and Gennady Golovkin either No. 2 or No. 3.

Kovalev on Nov. 19 will be defending his belts against Andre Ward at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas (on HBO pay-per-view). Since Ward is a top 5 pound-for-pound fighter, suffice to say that a victory for Kovalev would make his case stronger for being anointed No. 1. He wouldn’t mind that a bit.

“When I was growing up in Russia, I did not hear these words ‘pound- for-pound,’ ” Kovalev said. “Once I learned what this was I knew this was important. I am honored that people think I am the fighter that could get this title. It’s important for me, for my career. I am champion in my division now, but I want to get all the belts and also I would like to be best pound-for-pound boxer in the world.”

Kovalev, 33, is 30-0-1 with 26 knockouts. Ward, 32, is 30-0 with 15 knockouts.

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Bernard Hopkins never considered taking on a weak opponent in final fight

Kovalev dominates Hoplrins

In his most recent fight, Bernard Hopkins (right) was dominated by light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev in November 2014/Photo by Associated Press

 

Bernard Hopkins is 51. He’s a living legend and will be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame on the first ballot.

Not one person would have blamed Hopkins if he decided to fight a tomato can for his farewell fight. Hopkins doesn’t roll like that, though. Instead, he’s taking on highly ranked light heavyweight Joe Smith Jr. in his final bout Dec. 17 at the Fabulous Forum (on HBO).

Hopkins and the rest of the interested parties played host to a news conference Monday to formally announce the bout. Hopkins was asked about taking on a guy who in his most recent bout stunned everyone by stopping Andrzej Fonfara in the first round this past June in Chicago, instead of an easy mark.

“That’s not me,” Hopkins said. “And you would look at it as, ‘Bernard wants the easy way out.’ I never want anything easy. And just give me an opportunity and I want to figure it out myself. And I think that is more of the credibility that’s in me even at this age, to understand that’s just me.

“I don’t want nobody to think anything different. Win, lose or draw, this is the final one. I will win and I will win impressively. And I’m in it with a guy that’s going to push me, that’s going to make me fight a young man’s fight in this sport.”

Hopkins, of Philadelphia, is 55-7-2 with 32 knockouts. Smith, 27, of Long Island, N.Y., is 22-1 with 18 knockouts. That’s a knockout ratio of 78 percent. He is ranked as high as No. 2 in the world.

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Manny Pacquiao to arrive at LAX on Saturday night, will finish his training camp for Jessie Vargas at Wild Card

Manny Pacquiao/Photo courtesy of Top Rank Inc.

 

Manny Pacquiao is scheduled to arrive at LAX at 7:30 p.m. Saturday from the Philippines to conclude his training for his Nov. 5 fight against Jessie Vargas. Pacquiao will train the last two weeks at Wild Card Boxing in Hollywood under the watchful eye of his longtime trainer Freddie Roach, who has been in the Philippines with Pacquiao.

Pacquiao (58-6-2, 38 KOs) will challenge Las Vegas’ Vargas (27-1, 10 KOs) for his welterweight title at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas (on Top Rank pay-per-view, $59.95).

Pacquiao has been training in the Philippines until now because of his senatorial duties there.

Pacquiao will be flying in on Philippine Airlines on flight 102. To check the status, go to this link: https://www.philippineairlines.com/en.

 

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Oscar Valdez, Jessie Magdaleno tell fans why they should buy Nov. 5 card that includes Pacquiao-Vargas in main event

Jessie Magdaleno

Jessie Magdaleno/Photo courtesy of Top Rank Inc.

 

The heck with the naysayers. According to Oscar Valdez and Jessie Magdaleno, there are plenty of reasons why fans should buy their Nov. 5 pay-per-view card that will be headlined by Manny Pacquiao challenging Jessie Vargas for his welterweight title at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.

Indeed, there is not as much buzz for this Pacquiao fight as usual. Valdez and Magdaleno are in title fights on the undercard, and when asked why fans should fork over the $59.95 for the Top Rank-produced feed, they let everyone know why this is a worthwhile purchase.

“Why shouldn’t they?” Magdaleno said Thursday during a workout at Jackrabbit Boxing Club in Long Beach. “They’ve got great, young talent that’s in that ring. They’ve got myself, they’ve got Jessie Vargas, they’ve got Oscar Valdez – two-time Olympian who is now a world champion. They’ve got great upcoming historical guys who are going to make history in the boxing world, and who are going to put on great shows as the years go on.

“… We are the future of boxing and we are action-packed guys who want to put on great shows as great Mexican guys. We want to live to that legend. And that’s what we’re doing. That’s why people should continue buying this pay per view card.”

Magdaleno (23-0, 17 KOs), of Las Vegas, will challenge Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire (37-3, 24 KOs) for his super bantamweight title.

Mexico’s Valdez (20-0, 18 KOs) will make the first defense of his featherweight world title when he squares off with Hiroshige Osawa (30-3-4, 19 KOs) of Japan. Valdez put his own colorful spin on why this is a solid purchase.

“First of all, you’ve got Jessie Magadaleno,” Valdez said. “Hungry lion, as they say, fighting Nonito Donaire, which, Nonito is still a tough, tough fighter. He’s one of the top fighters out there, so that;s going to be a great, great fight. Me, as a fan, I would love to see that fight. In my case, I’m fighting the WBO ranked No. 1 – Osawa. A lot of people don’t know this guy because he mainly did his career in Japan. But he’s still a tough fighter. I don’t take him lightly at all and I never will take a fighter lightly.

“In my case, I’m going to give it my best. … And then, finally, you’ve got this fighter, Pacquiao, fighting Jessie Vargas. Jessie Vargas is not easy. He could beat Pacquiao. Anyone that knows boxing knows that Jessie Vargas could beat Pacquiao. Pacquiao’s still Pacquiao. I still think Pacquiao is going to put up a good fight, he always puts up a good fight. And I think that’s why everyone should buy this fight.”

There is a fourth world-title fight on this card. It will match Zou Shiming (8-1, 2 KOs) of China against  Prasitsak Papoem (39-1-2, 24 KOs) of Thailand for a vacant flyweight title.

 

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Trainer Manuel Robles believes Oscar Valdez can become an all-time great

Oscar Valdez/Photo courtesy of Top Rank Inc.

 

Oscar Valdez on Nov. 5 will make the first defense of his featherweight world title when he takes on Hiroshige Osawa (30-3-4, 19 KOs) of Japan underneath the welterweight title fight between champion Jessie Vargas and Manny Pacquiao at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas (on Top Rank pay-per-view, $59.95).

Valdez’s trainer, Manuel Robles, on Thursday spoke as if boxing fans are on the cusp of witnessing another fighter who soon will be considered among boxing’s elite.

“I’ve trained champions like Reggie Johnson, Martin Castillo, Israel Vasquez, Mike Anchondo and now Oscar,” Robles said during a media workout at Jackrabbit Boxing Club in Long Beach. “All of those champions have similarities in how they are focused and how hard they want it. Oscar has all of that. I think he will become one of the greatest champions of all time.”

Valdez’s desire to be all he can be is what will get him there, Robles said.

“Oscar is a world champion for these reasons – dedication, determination, will to win, wants to be the best ever,” Robles said.

Valdez (20-0, 18 KOs) of Mexico, won his title with a second-round stoppage of Matias Rueda of Argentina in July at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

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HBO’s ‘My Fight: Kovalev/Ward’ will make its debut on Oct. 29

Sergey Kovalev/Photo courtesy of Main Events Boxing

 

HBO’s “My Fight: Kovalev/Ward” will debut on Oct. 29. The documentary will take an in-depth look at the upcoming light heavyweight title fight between champion Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward that will take place Nov. 19 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas (on HBO pay-per-view).

Kovalev, of Russia, is 30-0-1 with 26 knockouts. More importantly, he is 9-0 with seven knockouts in world-tltle fights.

Ward, of Oakland, is a former super middleweight champion with a record of 30-0 and 15 knockouts. He went 7-0 with just one knockout in super middleweight world-title fights before moving up to light heavyweight in 2015.

The documentary will air several more times on HBO as well as HBO2 leading up to the bout.

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Tickets for Vasyl Lomachenko-Nicholas Walters go on sale Wednesday

Vasyl Lomachenko

Vasyl Lomachenko/Photo courtesy of Top Rank Inc.

 

If ever there was a case to use the term “potential Fight of the Year candidate,” it would be regarding the Nov. 26 super featherweight title fight between champion Vasyl Lomachenko and Nicholas Walters at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas (on HBO).

Lomachenko, who won gold medals for Ukraine in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games, will be making the first defense of the title he won with a fifth-round knockout of Roman “Rocky” Martinez in June at Madison Square Garden. Lomachenko (6-1, 4 KOs) also has held a world title in the featherweight division.

Walters, of Jamaica, is  a former featherweight champion who once stopped Nonito Donaire in the sixth round of a title fight in October 2014. Walters is a vicious fighter with a record of 26-0-1 and 21 knockouts.

Tickets go on sale Wednesday at 10 a.m. for this Top Rank Inc. card. They are priced at $50, $75, $100, $150 and $200 and can be purchased through Ticketmaster by calling 800-745-3000 or by going to www.ticketmaster.com. Another avenue is going to www.cosmopolitanlasvegas.com/.

 

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Promoter Bob Arum uses ticket sales for Manny Pacquiao-Jessie Vargas to take another shot at Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump

Donald Trump second debate (Saul Loeb / Associated Press)

Donald Trump speaks to Hillary Clinton during a debate/Photo by Associated Press

 

Bob Arum has not hid his disdain for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, so it’s not surprising the veteran promoter is using ticket sales for the upcoming Manny Pacquiao-Jessie Vargas welterweight title fight Nov. 5 at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas as a platform to further make those feelings known.

“Our ticket sales are great with Las Vegas fighters on this card in significant world championship fights,” said Arum, who is promoting Pacquiao-Vargas. “Fans in Las Vegas can still buy their tickets online or by phone. And to Mr. Trump’s chagrin, the only drug-testing taking place at Thomas & Mack, between now and Nov. 5, will be the ones given by the Nevada State Athletic Commission to the fighters on the Pacquiao-Vargas card.”

That was a shot at Trump calling for drug-testing for himself and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton ahead of their next debate, which will take place Wednesday at Thomas & Mack.

Ticket prices for Pacquiao-Vargas are $50, $100, $300, $500, $700 and $1,000. They can be purchased at the Thomas & Mack Center box office, which is currently closed and won’t reopen until Thursday because of the debate. Tickets also can be purchased by calling 732-739-3267 or 866-388-3267. Another avenue is www.unlvtickets.com.

Pacquiao-Vargas will be televised by Top Rank pay-per-view for $59.95. Three other world-title fights will fill the undercard, led by Nonito Donaire of the Philippines defending his super bantamweight belt against Jessie Magdaleno of Las Vegas.

Also, Oscar Valdez of Mexico will defend his featherweight belt against Hiroshige Osawa of Japan. And Zou Shiming of China and Prasitsak Papoem of Thailand will square off for a vacant flyweight title.

 

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Luis Ortiz, Malik Scott will square off Nov. 12 in Monte Carlo on HBO

December 19, 2015; Verona, NY; Luis Ortiz and Bryant Jennings during their HBO Boxing After Dark bout at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, NY.  Photo: Ed Mulholland/HBO

Luis Ortiz/Photo courtesy of Matchroom Boxing

 

Top-rated heavyweight contender Luis Ortiz of Cuba will take on Malik Scott of Philadelphia on Nov. 12 from Monte Carlo, and it will be televised on HBO.

“Fans know Luis Ortiz as a heavyweight knockout machine, and we’re happy to announce his showdown with Malik Scott from Monte Carlo live on our network on Nov. 12,” said Peter Nelson, executive vice president of HBO Sports.

Ortiz (25-0, 22 KOs) is 37. He previously boxed under the Golden Boy Promotions banner, but recently signed with Matchroom Boxing.

Scott, 36, is 38-2-1 with 13 knockouts.

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Bernard Hopkins’ final fight will be against Joe Smith Jr. on Dec. 17 at Forum

Kovalev dominates Hoplrins

Sergey Kovalev, left, lands a punch to the head of Bernard Hopkins during their fight in November 2014/Associated Press file photo

 

Living boxing legend Bernard Hopkins has been saying he wants to fight one more time, even though he’s 51. Hopkins will get his wish when he takes on Joe Smith Jr. in a light heavyweight bout Dec. 17 at the Fabulous Forum in Inglewood (on HBO).

Eric Gomez, president of Golden Boy Promotions, confirmed late Monday morning that a verbal accord had been reached for the bout.

“We just got a deal done,” Gomez said.

Hopkins is a partner in Golden Boy, whose CEO and chairman is Oscar De La Hoya. De La Hoya, inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2014, began his pro career at the Forum in 1992.

That irony is not lost on Gomez.

“It’s pretty cool that Oscar started his career at the Forum and now Bernard is going to retire at the Forum,” Gomez said.

Hopkins, of Philadelphia, is 55-7-2 with 32 knockouts. He hasn’t fought since losing a wide decision to light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev in November 2014. Smith, 27, is from Long Island, N.Y. He is 22-1 18 knockouts.

Hopkins-Smith would have taken place on the same card as the interim super featherweight title fight between Orlando Salido of Mexico and Takashi Miura of Japan. But Salido sustained a back injury this past week and pulled out Monday.

“Now we’re either going to replace Salido with a suitable replacement, or replace the entire fight,” Gomez said. “We don’t know yet.”

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