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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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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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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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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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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Ireland’s Jason Quigley excited to show his wares under ‘Canelo’-Khan

Jason Quigley Meet & Greet

Jason Quigley/Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images North America

 

A fair amount of talent will grace the undercard of Saturday’s middleweight title fight between champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Amir Khan from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas (on HBO pay-per-view). Jason Quigley of Ireland is right up there with the best, make no mistake about that.

Quigley is technically sound, he punches very hard and he has his head on straight.

“Every fight has the same meaning for me because I treat it like a world-title fight,” Quigley said at a recent workout, showing his mental make-up.

Quigley, who won a silver medal for Ireland in the 2013 World Amateur Boxing Championships, is 10-0 with nine knockouts. He’ll take on James De La Rosa (23-3, 13 KOs) in a 10-round middleweight fight.

De La Rosa is coming off a fifth-round knockout loss, but it came against undefeated Hugo Centeno Jr. (24-0), so this still figures to be Quigley’s toughest test to date.

“De La Rosa is another obstacle and hurdle I have to jump over to become a world champion,” said Quigley, 24. “I’m ready to fight anyone and ready to shine on May 7. This is my chance to blow onto the scene.”

Talent breeds confidence, and Quigley is full of it, which only adds to his arsenal.

“De La Rosa is coming off a knockout defeat and he is getting in the ring with a knockout artist, me, on May 7,” Quigley said. “He’s got to have doubts.”

For an up-and-coming fighter, this bout is a big deal for Quigley. Apparently his homeland followers think so, too, and some will be in attendance. For that, he’s stoked and appreciative.

“There are a lot of people traveling out from Ireland for this fight,” said Quigley, who these days trains and lives in the greater Los Angeles area. “The Irish fans are unbelievable. The way they have supported me has been amazing.”

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It’s official: Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez-Amir Khan to be held at T-Mobile Arena

Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez/Photo courtesy of Golden Boy Promotions

Golden Boy Promotions made it official this week – the May 7 middleweight title fight between champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Amir Khan will be held at the new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The fight will be available on HBO pay-per-view.

“The new T-Mobile Arena was clearly the perfect venue choice to host the battle that will be Canelo vs. Khan on May 7,” Oscar De La Hoya, chairman of Golden Boy Promotions, said in a statement. “Boxing in Las Vegas is truly an exciting event, and the fans with tickets to the fight will be in for a treat watching the fight in this new, state-of-the-art venue.”

Alvarez, of Mexico, is 46-1-1 with 32 knockouts. Khan, of England, is 31-3 with 19 knockouts.

The finishing touches are currently being put on T-Mobile Arena, which is scheduled to open on April 6.

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Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez to defend against smaller Amir Khan on May 7

Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez/Photo courtesy of Golden Boy Promotions

 

Many in boxing are hopeful that Saul “Canelo” Alvarez of Mexico will take on fellow middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin sometime this year in a title-unification bout. Meantime, Alvarez will make the first defense of his championship belt when he tangles with Amir Khan of England on May 7, most likely at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The arena is under construction and expected to be finished in time to host the bout, which will be shown on HBO pay-per-view.

The middleweight limit is 160 pounds, but the fight will be contested at a catch-weight of 155. Khan has never fought above welterweight, which is 147 pounds.

“As the middleweight champion of the world, I will take on the best fighters in the sport and on Cinco De Mayo weekend, I look forward to making the first defense of my title,” said Alvarez, 25. “Amir was a decorated amateur, a two-time world champion and is in the prime of his career. Fans are in for a great fight on May 7.”

Khan (31-3, 19 KOs) won a super lightweight world title in July 2009 and added another belt to that when he beat Zab Judah in a title-unification fight in July 2011. Khan moved up to welterweight in April 2013 and has had four fights at that weight.

The fighters are going to say every positive thing they can to promote this fight. It’s boxing, and that’s what they do. But it will be interesting to see how this bout is received by fans who know only too well that there is nothing dangerous about it for Alvarez, who is the larger fighter and won’t have to worry much about being knocked out by a fighter who was a 135-pound lightweight until 2009.

But Khan does have a name in the sport, and he is an exciting fighter to behold.

“I know ‘Canelo’ fights the best and wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to face me like others have,” said Khan, 29. “My goal is to always fight the biggest names and the best fighters. That is why I’m excited for this fight. … I know I have the speed and ability to beat him and will give my fans what they deserve on May 7.”

Oscar De La Hoya will promote this fight under his Golden Boy Promotions banner. He is pumping this as Alvarez (46-1-1, 32 KOs) taking on the “best” the sweet science has to offer.

“We are committed to putting on the biggest and best fights in boxing,” De La Hoya said. “‘Canelo’ is the biggest star in the sport and as he demonstrated against James Kirkland and Miguel Cotto last year, he is only getting better.

“Those who predicted that he would take an easy fight for his first defense have been proven wrong once again.”

Alvarez knocked out Kirkland in the third round this past May in Houston and then won his middleweight title when he took a unanimous decision over Cotto in November in Las Vegas.

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Bob Arum takes shot at Donald Trump at Pacquiao-Bradley event

Bob Arum speaks to a reporter at Wild Card Gym in Hollywood during media day for Manny Pacquiao’s fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr. in May/Photo by Harry How, Getty Images

 

Promoter Bob Arum took a shot at Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at Tuesday’s news conference in Beverly Hills promoting the third fight between Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley on April 9 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas (on HBO pay-per-view).

Arum vowed to put on an all-Hispanic undercard and call it the “Donald Trump undercard.” This is obvious response to Trump wanting to deport the millions of illegal immigrants in this country, as well as wanting to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Arum said the fighters can take care of their business in the ring before Trump deports them. Arum was being sarcastically funny, but he was serious about the subject. He referred to those Trump wants to rid the country of as people “who live, by and large, exemplary lives and want to know that there are a lot of people who have their back and are not going to allow them to be deported.”

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