Leo Santa Cruz to defend against Carl Frampton at Barclays Center in Brooklyn

Leo Santa Cruz

Leo Santa Cruz/Photo courtesy of Premier Boxing Champions

 

Leo Santa Cruz of Lincoln Heights will defend his featherweight world title against former super bantamweight champion Carl Frampton of Northern Ireland on July 30 from Barclays Center in Brooklyn (on Showtime), Premier Boxing Champions announced Tuesday.

Santa Cruz (32-0-1, 18 KOs), who has also won titles at bantamweight and super bantamweight, is coming off a fifth-round stoppage of Kiko Martinez in February at Honda Center. It was the first defense of this title.

The Big Apple is not familiar to Santa Cruz, so he’d love to show the East Coast what he’s about.

“I’ve never been to New York before and I’m looking forward to this big opportunity to put on a show for new fans in a new city,” Santa Cruz, 27, said. “I always fight for the fans and I’m excited to be able to do that somewhere I haven’t been before. Frampton is a good fighter. He has power and skills and he moves when he has to, but he has a weak chin.

“When he gets caught with a good punch, he goes down. He doesn’t like pressure and I have that.”

Frampton (22-0, 14 KOs) is moving up in weight after defending his super bantamweight title three times.

“I am in terrific shape, I feel fantastic in the gym and I am ready for the biggest fight of my career,” Frampton said. “On July 30, I will become a two-weight world champion. I respect Leo Santa Cruz, he is a great fighter and person, but I am preparing meticulously to overcome any challenge he brings on July 30.”

 

 

 

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Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez ordered to pay former promoter Zabala $8.5 million

 

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez/Photo courtesy of Golden Boy Promotions

Former middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez of Mexico on Monday was ordered by a jury in Miami-Dade circuit court in Florida to pay former promoter Felix “Tutico” Zabala Jr. of All-Star Boxing $8.5 million.

According to a story on ESPN.com, while the jury did not find that Zabala had a contract with Alvarez, it did find that Alvarez unjustly enriched himself. In his lawsuit, Zabala charged Alvarez with breach of contract and unjust enrichment.

The same jury did not find Golden Boy Promotions – Alvarez’s current promoter – libel for tortuous interference.

Golden Boy will appeal the Alvarez verdict.

“… It is absurd to think that All-Star Boxing provided anywhere near that amount of value that the jury awarded under a separate claim,” it read. “We will appeal this part of the decision, and are confident we will win, just as we did on the contract dispute.

Alvarez recently vacated his middleweight championship when he was given a deadline to make a fight with fellow champion Gennady Golovkin.

 

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Trainer Henry Ramirez: Chris Arreola needs to stay in Deontay Wilder’s chest

Chris Arreola

Chris Arreola/Photo  courtesy of Premier Boxing Champions

 

It’s easy to say the third time might be the charm for Chris Arreola of Riverside, but there will be nothing easy about it when he challenges Deontay Wilder for his heavyweight world title July 16 from Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Ala. (on Fox).

The fight was announced Monday afternoon.

Arreola will try to win his first major world title in his third try. He challenged Vitali Klitschko for his championship belt in September 2009 at Staples Center, but was stopped after 10 rounds. Arreola took on Bermane Stiverne for a vacant title in April 2013, but was stopped in the sixth round at USC’s Galen Center.

Now, Arreola, 35, has the task of trying to win the title against the undefeated Wilder (36-0, 35 KOs), a 6-foot-7 knockout artist.

“I’m thankful to Deontay for this opportunity,” Arreola said. “He has proven a great deal by winning the heavyweight title and by defending it three times. I’m very excited to step into the ring with him, put on a great show, be victorious and make history by becoming the first Mexican heavyweight world champion.”

No fighter of Mexican descent has ever been heavyweight world champion.

Wilder, 30, took the title from Stiverne via unanimous decision in January 2015 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas. It’s the only time Wilder has been taken the distance. He has successfully defended his title with knockouts of Eric Molina, Johann Duhaupas and Artur Szpilka.

Wilder was supposed to make his next defense against Alexander Povetkin of Russia on May 21 in Moscow, but that bout was scrubbed when Povetkin tested positive for the banned substance meldonium.

Wilder can’t wait to get his hands on Arreola (36-4-1, 31 KOs).

“This is the longest stretch (six months) that I’ve been out of the ring and I’m anxious to get back in and continue my quest to become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world,” said Wilder, of Tuscaloosa, Ala. “This is another fight in that process.

“I respect Chris Arreola for getting into the ring with me, but we all know who the real champion is and I’m going to prove it. I’ve been training long and hard for a fight and now I’m going to take it out on Arreola on July 16.”

Arreola, who will be training for this fight in San Diego, is nearly 6-4. But his reach of 76 inches pales in comparison to Wilder’s 83. Arreola’s trainer, Henry Ramirez, has already had a very important talk with Arreola in this regard.

“I told Chris, ‘The safest place for you is in his chest, not only where you can work, but you can avoid the big right hand where he gets his good leverage on it from the outside,’” Ramirez told this newspaper by telephone not long after the fight was made official.

As for this being Arreola’s third shot at the promised land that is a world championship, Ramirez said, “It’s now or never.”

In his most recent fight, Arreola won a 12-round split-decision over Travis Kauffman in December in San Antonio. It was changed to a no-decision when Arreola afterward tested positive for marijuana.

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Shawn Porter has a plan, but can he execute it against Keith Thurman?

Shawn Porter

Shawn Porter/Photo courtesy of Premier Boxing Champions

 

Shawn Porter has a plan. Executing it against the likes of Keith “One Time” Thurman won’t be easy, though. The two will square off June 25 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn for Thurman’s welterweight world title (on CBS).

“I want to win each and every round,” said Porter, a former champion. “We want to make him have to adjust to what we’re doing. If we control the fight, we win the fight.

“I’ve always been taught to control everything in a fight. I can’t allow him to slow the tempo down. But I’m definitely not going to rush. I have the skills to execute the game plan.”

Porter believes his work in the gym will help him get what would be the biggest victory of his career.

“I think the difference is in my preparation,” Porter said. “I have a great team to match my great skills. We’re going to shock the world.”

Porter won a welterweight world title with a unanimous decision over Devon Alexander in December 2013. Porter made one successful defense before losing his belt to Kell Brook via majority decision in August 2014.

Porter, 28, is from Akron, Ohio. He is 26-1-1 with 16 knockouts.

Thurman, 27, is from Clearwater, Fla. He is 26-0 with 22 knockouts.

 

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John Molina Jr. beats Provodnikov, Vasyl Lomachenko KOs Roman Martinez

 

John Molina Jr.

John Molina Jr./Photo courtesy of Premier Boxing Champions

 

John Molina Jr. of Covina on Saturday had the biggest victory of his career when he won a 12-round unanimous decision over former world champion Ruslan Provodnikov of Russia in the junior welterweight main event at Turning Stone Casino in Verona, N.Y. Molina won by scores of 115-113, 116-112 and 117-111.

Molina, a powerful hitter known for getting into ring wars, boxed more than he ever has in securing the victory. His best friend was his left jab, with everything else working off it.

Afterward, Molina, 33, noted that he didn’t have much of an amateur career and that “I believe I’m getting ready to  hit my stride.”

Molina (29-6, 23 KOs)  was asked if he had any concern about the scorecards before they were read. His response spoke volumes.

“I think it was self-explanatory,” he said on the Showtime telecast. “A fighter knows when he won a fight in the ring. I won that fight.”

Provodnikov (25-5, 18 KOs) agreed.

“Today the decision was the right thing,” he said. “Molina won the fight. He was better tonight.”

Also Saturday, on HBO, Vasyl Lomachenko (6-1, 4 KOs) of the Ukraine became the first fighter to win two world titles in his first seven fights when he knocked out Roman “Rocky” Martinez (29-3-3, 17 KOs) of Puerto Rico in the fifth round at Madison Square Garden to take Martinez’s super featherweight championship.

A mean two-punch combination put Martinez on the canvas, time of the end coming at 1:09.

 

 

 

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Heavyweight contender Dominic Breazeale inspired by Muhammad Ali

Dominic Breazeale

Dominic Breazeale/Photo courtesy of Premier Boxing Champions

 

Heavyweight contender Dominic Breazeale of Alhambra is only 30, so he was too young to see Muhammad Ali fight. But that didn’t stop Breazeale from knowing a lot about Ali, who died June 3 and was laid to rest Friday in his native Louisville, Ky.

Breazeale (17-0, 15 KOs) spoke about Ali during a workout Tuesday in Ontario.

“Muhammad Ali was a huge inspiration,” said Breazeale, who will challenge Anthony Joshua (16-0, 16 KOs) of England for his world title June 25 at O2 Arena in London (on Showtime). “Heavy hearts when great ones pass away like that. He was a wonderful man. I never had the opportunity to meet him, but I did meet some of his kids, Layla Ali being one of them.
“Ali was a very inspirational type of individual. You go back and watch some of his fights; I was way too young to see him fight in his prime, but I’ve seen the recordings and seen the video footage. Everyone says he did everything wrong, but everything right. It’s just phenomenal.”

 

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Vasyl Lomachenko vows to ‘spoil’ Puerto Rican Day weekend for fans of Roman ‘Rocky’ Martinez

Vasyl Lomachenko/Photo courtesy of Top Rank Inc.

 

Vasyl Lomachenko of the Ukraine will be seeking history Saturday night when he moves up in weight and challenges Roman “Rocky” Martinez of Puerto for his super featherweight world title at Madison Square Garden (on HBO). If Lomachenko wins, he will have won his second world title in just his seventh fight. The record of two titles in eight fights is held by flyweight champion Naoya Inoue of Japan.

However, Martinez will be defending his belt on Puerto Rican Day Parade weekend, which is huge in New York City, so Lomachenko won’t be the only one filled with extra emotion.
With that said, Martinez couldn’t care less about what Lomachenko is trying to accomplish because looking good in front of his followers trumps everything else.

“I am only thinking about beating him,” Martinez said. “I don’t care if I stop his dreams or whatever. I just have in my mind that I have to beat him and to be ready to beat him. … I don’t care right now if he is thinking that he is going to make history or something like that.”

Similarly, Lomachenko has no problem trying to make Martinez look bad on his big night.

“I am going to spoil the Puerto Rican fans’ weekend,” Lomachenko said. “They will feel very let down.”

Lomachenko still holds the featherweight title he won in his record-tying third bout. If he takes Martinez’s belt at the higher weight, Lomachenko will have to decide which belt he wants to retain and defend. It’s likely he’d stay at super featherweight.

Lomachenko, 28, is 5-1 with three knockouts. Martinez, 33, is 29-2-3 with 17 knockouts.

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Muhammad Ali will be subject of Tuesday’s ‘The Fight Game’ with Jim Lampley

Obit Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali stands over a fallen Sonny Liston, who was knocked out in the first round of their fight in May 1965/Associated Press file photo

 

A special episode of HBO’s “The Fight Game” with host Jim Lampley will air Tuesday night and the subject will be the late Muhammad Ali, who died this past Friday at age 74.

The episode will center on Ali’s impact on sports, culture and politics. Headlining the list of guests will be actor Jack Nicholson, who had a long friendship with Ali.

 

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Reports vary on status of Muhammad Ali, who is hospitalized in Phoenix

Muhammad Ali stands over fallen challenger Sonny Liston, shouting and gesturing shortly after dropping Liston with a short hard right to the jaw on May 25, 1965.

Muhammad Ali stands over Sonny Liston after knocking him out in the first round of their second fight in May 1965/AP file photo by John Rooney

 

Boxing fans around the world are waiting to see if Muhammad Ali can win his latest fight with his deteriorating health.

Ali on Thursday was hospitalized in Phoenix with respiratory issues. By Friday, there were several reports that Ali had been placed on life support. Others speculated the seriousness of this latest hospital stay is being overblown.

Ali, 74, has been suffering for decades from Parkinson’s disease, which apparently exacerbates his breathing problems.

Ali, one of the greatest fighters in history, went 56-5 with 37 knockouts while fighting from 1960-81.

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Vasyl Lomachenko didn’t recognize Orlando Salido before March 2014 fight

Vasyl Lomachenko/Photo courtesy of Top Rank Inc.

 

Vasyl Lomachenko is one of the finest Olympians in history, having won gold medals for Ukraine in both the 2008 and 2012 Games. Still, it was somewhat stunning to see him fight for a world title in his second pro bout.

Then-featherweight champion Orlando Salido of Mexico was Lomachenko’s obstacle in March 2014 in San Antonio. Another one arose at the weigh-in after Salido lost his belt on the scale when he weighed 128 1/4 pounds, 2 1/4 over the limit. That meant only Lomachenko could leave the ring with the title.

However, it also meant that the overweight Salido would enter the ring at 147 pounds, gaining 18 1/2 after the weigh-in. He was 11 pounds heavier than Lomachenko on fight night.

The result was a split-decision loss for Lomachenko. Interestingly, he said that when he saw Salido in the ring before the bell, he couldn’t believe his eyes.

“When he came in the ring and took his t-shirt off, it looked like a different person in front of me than the person I saw at the weigh-in,” Lomachenko said this week. “There was a completely different person in front of me.”

The difference was apparent.

“Did I feel his weight in the ring?” Lomachenko said. “Yes, I did feel his weight when I was fighting him, but I cannot blame it on the weight or anything. I was prepared for him to come heavier in the ring. But I still had to fight – I had to do what I had to do.”

Lomachenko (5-1, 3 KOs) won a featherweight title in his next bout with a majority decision over Gary Russell Jr. in June 2014 at StubHub Center. He has made three defenses and will move up in weight June 11 to challenge Roman “Rocky” Martinez (29-2-3, 17 KOs) of Puerto Rico for his super featherweight belt at Madison Square Garden (on HBO).

Salido (43-13-3, 30 KOs) on Saturday will challenge countryman Francisco Vargas (23-0-1, 17 KOs) for his super featherweight title at StubHub (on HBO).

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