Canelo Alvarez, Oscar De La Hoya still defending their move to make Gennady Golovkin wait until September 2017

Canelo Alvarez sits on the dais at a news conference promoting his fight this past May against Amir Khan, won by Alvarez via 6th-round knockout/Associated Press photo by John Locher

 

Canelo Alvarez and his promoter – Oscar De La Hoya – on Wednesday played host to a conference call promoting Alvarez’s fight against junior middleweight champion Liam Smith (23-0-1, 13 KOs) of England on Sept. 17 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas (on HBO pay-per-view). But Alvarez (47-1-1, 33 KOs) and De La Hoya found themselves still defending the decision to have Alvarez gave up his middleweight title rather than meet middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin this fall. Alvarez and De La Hoya also previously said they now won’t consider Golovkin until September 2017.

Alvarez shrugged off the negativity.

“Yeah, you know, there’s always going to be critics,” he said. “They’re always there, and it’s something that’s part of it. It’s part of the business. Obviously, there’s good critics sometimes and there’s bad critics.

“But the most important thing is it doesn’t faze me. That’s fine, I’m used to it now, and I’ve got to do what’s best for my career.”

De La Hoya said it was all about Alvarez not being ready to fight at the full middleweight limit of 160 pounds. When he fought in the middleweight division, it was at a catch-weight of 155, just one pound over junior middleweight.

“I mean, Canelo knows his body,” De La Hoya said. “His trainers know his body, and the bottom line is Canelo is a 154-pound fighter. The fact that he fought at 155, people expect him to go up and fight at middleweight, and that’s not the case. He’s a 154-pounder, and he’s going to go up to 160 when his body feels ready.”

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Andre Ward believes Alexander Brand could be dangerous on Saturday

Andre Ward/Photo courtesy of Roc Nation Sports

 

Alexander Brand of Colombia has 26 professional fights, with all but four of them taking place in his homeland. Three were in the States, but none on a big stage. The other was in the Dominican Republic.

Brand (25-1, 19 KOs) is therefore nothing close to a known commodity. But Andre Ward, who Saturday will tangle with Brand in the light heavyweight main event at Oracle Arena in Oakland (on HBO), says he knows what he needs to know about the 39-year-old Colombian.

“I know enough about Brand,” said Ward, a former super middleweight champion. “He’s got everything to gain and nothing to lose. He swings for the fences with every punch. He’s a dangerous guy to fight.”

Brand has a knockout ratio of 73 percent. Ward’s, at 29-0 with 15 knockouts, is 52 percent. But Ward is so much better, that disparity won’t mean much when he squares off with Brand.

A victory for Ward will mean he’ll next challenge Sergey Kovalev for his light heavyweight title Nov. 19 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

 

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Andre Ward claims he has only one opponent on mind – Alexander Brand

Andre Ward/Photo courtesy of Roc Nation Sports

 

When unheralded Abner Lopez gave top-ranked junior welterweight Antonio Orozco all kinds of grief this past Saturday at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio before Orozco emerged victorious, it made one wonder if perhaps Orozco was looking past Lopez to a world-title shot that figures to come sooner rather than later.

Well, we’ll be looking at a similar situation this Saturday when Andre Ward takes on Alexander Brand, a relative unknown out of Colombia at Oracle Arena in Ward’s native Oakland (on HBO).

Ward has a Nov. 19 fight scheduled with ferocious light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev of Russia at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. A loss by Ward would mess that up, as unlikely as that would be to happen. Still, it wasn’t surprising to hear Ward’s response recently when he was asked if he had watched Kovalev’s victory over Isaac Chilemba on July 11 in Kovalev’s native Russia.

Ward’s response was telling.

“No, I did not watch it,” Ward said. “He’s not my next opponent. It is, obviously, the end game and what we’re trying to get. But I didn’t watch it. I have to compartmentalize what I have to do right now. That’s just kind of how I operate and how I stay focused. I don’t want to juggle two opponents right now. I have to focus on one guy and that’s Alexander Brand on Aug. 6.”

Ward vows he won’t take a victory over Brand (25-1, 19 KOs) for granted.

“I will not take him lightly,” said Ward, a former super middleweight champion with a record of 29-0 and 15 knockouts.. “If I’m not successful Aug. 6, there is no fight down the road with me and Kovalev, and I’m very clear that it’s not just a fight for me.”

Ward said he holds himself and his team to very high standards, so just defeating Brand is not good enough.

“I have a certain amount of pressure on myself to go out there, perform and, hopefully, look good doing it,” Ward said. “So my team has looked at it (Kovalev-Chilemba), they are doing their due diligence. But, no, I personally have not looked at it.”

 

 

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Tom Loeffler scoffs at notion Golovkin-Brook comparable to Canelo-Khan

Unbeaten welterweight champion Kell Brook will go up in weight to fight undefeated middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin on Sept. 10 in London. (Chris Carlson/The Associated Press)

Kell Brook of England will move up two weight classes to challenge Gennady Golovkin for his middleweight belts Sept. 10 in London/AP photo by Chris Carlson

 

Canelo Alvarez took a lot of heat when, as middleweight champion, he took on welterweight Amir Khan and knocked him out in the sixth round this past May. It’s only fair then that Gennady Golovkin absorb similar criticism, or so it would seem.

Tom Loeffler disagrees. Loeffler, who promotes Golovkin under the K2 Promotions banner, insists that Golovkin defending his title against welterweight champion Kell Brook on Sept. 10 in Brook’s native England (on HBO), is not the same.

“I think the fans realize it’s a completely different situation,” Loeffler told this newspaper this week. “That’s why tickets sold out as quickly as they did. I mean, literally, 11 minutes.”

Golovkin-Brook will be contested at O2 Arena in London. It seats 20,000.

Loeffler reminded a reporter that K2 Promotions tried to get a middleweight for Golovkin. Alvarez, rather than fight Golovkin this fall, gave up his middleweight belt and has moved back down to junior middleweight.

“Every middleweight that we tried to get in the ring with Gennady (turned down the fight), starting with Canelo and going to Billy Jo Saunders to try to unify the title, and then Eubank,” Loeffler said.

Loeffler thought he had a deal for Golovkin to defend against No. 2-ranked middleweight Chris Eubank Jr., but Eubank balked.

“Eubank was a long, drawn-out process,” Loeffler said. “So I think there’s a big difference there and the fans realize that. Look, if any one of those three we had been talking to had signed the contract, Gennady would be fighting a middleweight. But fighting an undefeated welterweight who is arguably the best in his division with a bigger heart than many of the middleweight champions, I think it’s a big statement.

“And the British fans realize how difficult it’s been for Kell Brook to get a big name as well. So it actually solves the problems of both fighters. It’s a good fight.”

Moreover, Khan was a small welterweight. Brook (36-0, 25 KOs) is a big welterweight. A source told this newspaper that when the muscle-bound Brook was on hand for a news conference July 14 in New York City, he was walking around at 178 pounds.

Golovkin (35-0, 32 KOs) never weighs that much between fights.

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‘Handsome’ Carlos Caudras discusses defense against ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez

Carlos Cuadras/Photo courtesy of Teiken Promotions

 

Apparently, Carlos Cuadras of Mexico is quite a character.

Cuadras was on hand Monday at the Fabulous Forum for a news conference promoting his Sept. 10 super flyweight title defense there against Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez of Nicarauga, who is considered by some to be the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world.

When it was his turn to speak on the dais, Cuadras showed us his personality.

“I want to remind everybody that this fight will provide fireworks,” Cuadras said. “It’s going to be a war, and that title’s coming back to Mexico. I can assure you that.”

Cuadras paused and took a bottle of chocolate milk out of his coat pocket and began to drink it as “Chocolatito” watched and smiled.

“I want to remind everybody that I’m good, I’m fast … and I’m handsome, baby,” Cuadras said.

It was all good fun. But these two will be very serious come the fight. For Gonzalez, he is trying to become a world champion in yet another weight class. He has already won titles at minimumweight, light flyweight and flyweight and is again moving up in weight.

“My biggest motivation is getting my fourth title,” Gonzalez said. “It’s a blessing to receive that opportunity.”

Gonzalez, 29, is 45-0 with 38 knockouts. The way he goes about his business in the ring is a beautiful thing.

Cuadras, 27, is 35-0-1 with 27 knockouts.

Cuadras-Gonzalez will tangle the same night middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin will defend his three titles against Kell Brook in London. HBO will televise that fight live during the day, then show it on tape later that night as a prelude to Cuadras-Gonzalez.

The semi-main event to Cuadras-Gonzalez will be a rematch between junior middleweights Jesus Soto-Karass of Mexico and Yoshihiro Kamegai of Japan. They fought to a 10-round draw in April at Belasco Theater in Los Angeles.

Ticket prices for Cuadras-Gonzalez are $25, $50, $100, $200 and $300 and can be purchased at the Forum box office and through Ticketmaster.

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Oscar Valdez explosive in knocking out Matias Rueda in second to win title

Oscar Valdez/Photo courtesy of Top Rank Inc.

 

Oscar Valdez, a highly touted featherweight out of Mexico, is now a world champion after knocking out Matias Rueda of Argentina at 2:18 of the second round to win the title recently vacated by Vasyl Lomachenko.

The bout was the semi-main event to the junior welterweight title-unification fight between Viktor Postol and Terence Crawford won by Crawford via wide decision.

Valdez (20-0, 18 KOs) came out swinging and laid some serious leather on Rueda (26-1) in the first round. Valdez then decked Rueda with an absolutely vicious left hook to the body in the second round, Rueda tasting the canvas after a second delay.

Rueda rose at about nine seconds, but Valdez was on him again and landed several shots to the head before again decking Rueda with a body shot. The bout was waved off right then and Valdez ran around the ring in celebration.

“The best day of my life,” Valdez said. “It’s what my father and I have dreamed of since I started boxing.”

Rueda was simply overmatched, his record coming in notwithstanding.

“He caught me with a good (punch) in the second round and that was it,” Rueda said. “I could never recover from that.”

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Viktor Postol says Terence Crawford did not want to make their fight exciting

Viktor Postol, left, is knocked back by Terence Crawford during their WBC-WBO junior welterweight title unification boxing bout in Las Vegas on Saturday, July 23, 2016. (AP Photo/Chase Stevens)

Viktor Postol’s glove touches the canvas in the fifth round, Terence Crawford getting his second knockdown of the round/AP photo by Chase Stevens

 

Terence Crawford won a wide unanimous decision over Viktor Postol in a junior welterweight title-unification bout Saturday at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

What was interesting about the fight was how much Crawford danced and moved. Both fighters came in 28-0, but Crawford entered with 20 knockouts to just 12 for Postol. Yet, Crawford was the fighter who seemed unwilling to go toe-to-toe. Afterward, he and his trainer – Brian McIntyre – both talked about how film they studied of Postol showed he can’t get his punches off unless he’s sitting down on them, which can’t be done when a fighter has to chase another.

Postol made note of Crawford’s excessive movement in the post-fight news conference.

“What I tried to do is make the fight happen,” said Postol, of Ukraine. “I tried to go forward. I didn’t choose to do a technical style and make it only a chess match. I think I did my best to make it an exciting fight. I think the other side did not really want to do that.”

Postol was asked if he expected Crawford to move as much as he did.

“No, I did not expect that,” Postol said. “I thought there were two champions in there and one was going to be a unified world champion. And I thought we’re both there to prove we’re a world champion.”

Crawford, of Omaha, Neb., won by scores of 118-107, 118-107 and 117-108. He did score two knockdowns in the fifth round. The first was a flash knockdown in the opening seconds of the round, Postol later saying he was off-balance. The second came when Postol’s glove touched the canvas after he was sent reeling from a left to the head. Postol said that one was legitimate.

The fight was carried on HBO pay-per-view. It will be replayed on HBO next Saturday.

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Oleksandr Gvozdyk gets off canvas to knock out Tommy Karpency in 6th

Oleksandr Gvozdyk/Photo courtesy of BoxRec.com

 

When Tommy Karpency decked Oleksandr Gvozdyk in the first round of their light heavyweight fight Saturday, it appeared their bout scheduled for 10 rounds could be over quickly. However, Gvozdyk (11-0, 9 KOs) recovered nicely and eventually knocked out Karpency with a body punch in the sixth round. The time was 2:21.

The fight was underneath the junior welterweight title-unification fight between Viktor Postol and Terence Crawford at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

It appeared Karpency could have gotten up, but he stayed on his knee and took the 10-count. He was pointing to his right eye after he was counted out.

“It was a great right to the body,” said Gvozdyk, of Ukraine. “It went deep. It felt good.”

Karpency (26-6-1), of Adah, Pa., was bleeding from a cut on the bridge of his nose. By the time the fight was over, his white trunks were partially covered with blood.

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Viktor Postol, Terence Crawford make weight for their showdown Saturday

Terence Crawford/Photo courtesy of Top Rank Inc.

 

All four fighters for Saturday’s two main fights at MGM Grand in Las Vegas made weight Friday.

Viktor Postol weighed 139 1/2 pounds and Terence Crawford came in at the 140-pound limit for their junior welterweight title-unification bout (on HBO pay-per-view).

Postol, of Ukraine, is 28-0 with 12 knockouts. Crawford, of Omaha, Neb., is 28-0 with 20 knockouts.

The semi-main event will feature a vacant featherweight world-title fight between Oscar Valdez (19-0, 17 KOs) of Mexico and Matias Rueda (26-0, 23 KOs) of Argentina. Valdez weighed in at the 126-pound limit, Rueda came in a pound light at 125.

 

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Viktor Postol brimming with confidence ahead of bout with Terence Crawford

Viktor Postol/Photo courtesy of Top Rank Inc.

 

Confidence is a force that can do wonders for a fighter. If Viktor Postol has as much as it sounds like he has, Terence Crawford could be in trouble Saturday night.

The two will square off in a junior welterweight title-unification bout at MGM Grand in Las Vegas (on HBO pay-per-view). Postol, of Ukraine, is 28-0 with 12 knockouts. Crawford, of Omaha, Neb., is 28-0 with 20 knockouts. It’s just the type of fight that can be won by the fighter more sure of himself during the vital moments.

Postol was asked recently to explain what’s different about Crawford compared to others he’s fought. Postol mentioned all of Crawford’s fine points, such as his technical skills and his ability to successfully change stances. Then Postol spoke in very self-assured tones.

“But that does not mean he is the best I have fought,” Postol said. “I think Lucas Matthysse is a higher-level fighter than Crawford and everyone knows how my fight with Matthysse ended, with him knocked out and the WBC belt around my waist.”

Postol won a vacant title with a 10th-round knockout of the hard-hitting Matthysse this past October at StubHub Center.

“And that is exactly where the WBC belt will remain after my fight with Crawford,” Postol said. “Just above the WBO belt (currently held by Crawford). I am looking forward to destroying Crawford, destroying his perfect record and destroying his reign as world champion.”

Wow. This dude sounds serious.

Crawford actually likes Postol’s spirit, even if he doesn’t agree with everything he said.

“He is supposed to say he is going to destroy anybody that he is going to step in the ring with,” Crawford said. “But to my knowledge, I don’t care what he says because come (Saturday) he is going to have to show me; he is not going to just be able to tell you.

“He knew who to fight. He had the option of fighting either me or Matthysse and he thought Matthysse was the easier fight because he knew if he was going to fight Terence Crawford, he knew what was going to happen.”
Oh, yeah, this could be a good one.

Although Crawford has more knockouts, Postol has knocked out two of the three fighters he’s faced under the guidance of trainer Freddie Roach. Postol is also three inches taller and has a reach advantage of 3 1/2 inches.

Since Postol has a nice left jab, that could be a big weapon for him. Roach thinks so.
“Viktor has a height advantage and a little bit of a reach advantage,” he said. “He sets things up real well with his left hand.”

Crawford scoffs.

“It’s funny how all of the people are giving Postol all of the credit for his jab, but nobody is talking about how good my jab is,” Crawford said. “So I’m loving it.  I’m loving it.”

Those in attendance and watching on TV figure to be loving this fight. It’s a tough one to pick, but the feeling here is Crawford will prevail in a tough one.

The winner could get a shot at Manny Pacquiao on Nov. 5. But it’s doubtful these two will be thinking about that during what should be a tremendous back-and-forth bout with each boxer having big moments.

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