‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez, Gennady Golovkin once again paired on a card

Roman Gonzalez, left, of Nicaragua, lands a punch on Mexican champion Carlos Cuadras during a WBC super flyweight championship boxing match, Saturday, Sept. ...

Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez, left, lands a punch to the face of Carlos Cuadras in their super flyweight world-title fight in September at the Fabulous Forum/AP photo by Richard Vogel

 

Roman “Chocolatitio” Gonzalez fighting underneath a Gennady Golovkin main event has become a regular thing of late. It has been the case in three of their past four respective championship bouts.

They’ll do it again when Gonzalez defends his super flyweight world title against Srisaket Sor Rungvisai of Thailand on March 18 at Madison Square Garden, where that night middleweight champion Golovkin (36-0, 33 KOs) will take on Daniel Jacobs (32-1, 29 KOs) in the main event (on HBO pay-per-view).

Gonzalez (46-0, 38 KOs), of Nicaragua, believes Rungvisai is capable of giving him some grief in the ring.

“Rungvisai is a very tough fight for me,” said Gonzalez, who has won titles in four weight classes. “I know that he has fought many other great fighters, including Carlos Cuadras. But with my training and the blessing of God, I plan to come out victorious.”

Gonzalez in September became the first from his country to win titles in four weight classes when he took a unanimous decision over then-super flyweight champion Cuadras at the Fabulous Forum. Cuadras in May 2014 took the title from Rungvisai via eight-round technical decision in Cuadras’ native Mexico.

That’s the same belt Gonzalez took from Cuadras, and Rungvisai (41-4-1, 38 KOs) wants it back.

“I respect Roman Gonzalez,” he said. “He is a legend. He has done great things for boxing, especially by showing the world how talented and exciting smaller-weight fighters can be. I am happy for Nicaragua to have such a great hero.

“However, super flyweight is my weight. And the … belt is my belt. I will do whatever it takes to win my belt back and I am confident I can do it.”

 

 

 

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David Lemieux, Curtis Stevens can’t wait to get at each other on March 11

Gennady Golovkin, left, hits David Lemieux in the eighth round of a world middleweight title fight at Madison Square Garden in New York on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015. Golovkin won by a TKO in the eighth round. (AP Photo/Rich Schultz)

David Lemieux, right, absorbs serious punishment from Gennady Golovkin in their title-unification bout in October 2015 at Madison Square Garden in New York City/Associated Press photo by Rich Schultz

 

Apparently, there is no love lost between David Lemieux and Curtis Stevens. Now the hard-hitting middleweight contenders will be able to do something about that because they will tangle March 11 at Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, N.Y. (on HBO).

The bout was officially announced Monday. Lemieux can’t wait to get at Stevens.

“The time for talking is done,” said Lemieux, a former world champion who lost his belt to Gennady Golovkin via eighth-round TKO in a title-unification bout in October 2015. “And after many long months of hearing Curtis yell about all the things he’s going to do in the ring, I’m really looking forward to shutting his mouth on March 11.”

Stevens has had one shot at a world title, but he was stopped after eight rounds by Golovkin in November 2013. Stevens is ranked as high as No. 3 in the world by one organization, the same of which ranks Lemieux No. 4.

“The wait is finally over,” Stevens said. “No more talking. My hands will do the talking on March 11.”

The bout will be co-promoted by Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions and Main Events. De La Hoya believes the dislike Lemieux and Stevens have for one another is very real.

“You often see fighters pretend not to like each other to help draw an audience,” said De La Hoya, who promotes Lemieux. “These two guys aren’t faking it; they don’t like each other at all. Given the thunder each holds in both hands, and their desire to make a statement in the middleweight division, I think fans are going to be in for a knockout – a spectacular one at that.”

Lemieux, of Canada, is 36-3 with 32 knockouts. Stevens, of Brooklyn, is 29-5 with 21 knockouts.

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Gennady Golovkin on the way to again selling out Madison Square Garden

Gennady Golovkin celebrates his fifth-round TKO of Kell Brook in September in London/Photo by Associated Press

 

Middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin sold out Madison Square Garden when he stopped David Lemieux in the eighth round in October 2015 before 20,548.

Golovkin on March 18 will square off with Daniel Jacobs in a title fight at MSG (on HBO pay-per-view). Although exact numbers weren’t available, a spokesman associated with the promotion said Tuesday that ticket sales for it were ahead of those for Golovkin-Lemieux.

Golovkin’s ever-rising popularity is partly responsible. Another factor is that Jacobs is from Brooklyn.

Golovkin, of Kazakhstan, is 36-0 with 33 knockouts. He is on a string of 23 consecutive knockouts. Jacobs, at 32-1 with 29 knockouts, is a very hard puncher in his own right.

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Miguel Cotto, James Kirkland eager to tangle on Feb. 25 in Frisco, Texas

Miguel Cotto/Photo courtesy of Roc Nation

 

The first thing that came to mind upon hearing that Miguel Cotto and James Kirkland would tangle Feb. 25 in Frisco, Texas, was that this figures to be a bloody ring war. Neither has ever been a defensive wizard and both – especially Kirkland – have plenty of pop.

They played host to a news conference Monday promoting the bout, which will take place at Ford Center at the Star. It will be televised on HBO pay-per-view, which we don’t get at all, but it will be a vicious bout. That’s all but guaranteed.

Kirkland, of Austin, Texas, is coming off a third-round knockout loss to Canelo Alvarez in May 2015, and hasn’t fought since. He’s eager to make a better showing of himself.

“I didn’t give my all when I fought Canelo Alvarez,” said Kirkland, who has been in and out of trouble with the law. “I didn’t prepare the way I needed to, but I’m not going to bring any excuses to the table.

“This bout is to show my team, my fans and everyone who has followed and supported me, that James Kirkland is still in the race; Kirkland is still here to make a stand. Keep my name alive. … It’s going to be a war.”

Kirkland, 32, is 32-2 with 28 knockouts.

Interestingly, Cotto’s most recent bout – in November 2015 – also came against Alvarez, who won a 12-round decision over Cotto at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas in a middleweight title bout.

“It’s good to be back,” said Cotto, 36. “I’ve missed boxing and all I can say right now is that I’m going to bring my best, every day, at every training session.”

Cotto, of Puerto Rico, is 40-5 with 33 knockouts.

This bout will be contested at a catch-weight of 153 pounds.

 

 

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Bernard Hopkins, 51, still an intimidating force – at a news conference

Bernard Hopkins/Associated Press photo by Matt Rourke

 

Bernard Hopkins is the king of trying to win fights at news conferences. Even at 51, that hasn’t changed.

Hopkins and Joe Smith Jr. on Wednesday played host to a news conference at the Fabulous Forum ahead of their light heavyweight main event there Saturday night (on HBO).

This will be the final fight of Hopkins’ illustrious career, one that has spanned 28 years and included titles in the middleweight and light heavyweight divisions. Smith, of Long Island, N.Y., has said all along that he is honored to be involved in Hopkins’ swan song.
Smith also wants to win, and he let everyone know that as he spoke from the dais.

“I know I’m going to be in there with a legend,” said Smith, 27. “But I work very hard, I’ve put many hours in the gym and a lot of sacrifices to get to this point, to where I am today. I’m just ready to get out there and put on a great show Saturday.

“He is a legend, but when he’s in there with me Saturday night, he’s just another opponent to me and I’m looking to get him out of there and stop him, be the first person to stop him in his career.”

Hopkins (55-7-2, 32 KOs), who will be 52 next month, wasn’t about to get that go without talking some serious trash. It included a reference to Kelly Pavlik, who Hopkins easily defeated in October 2008 at a catch-weight of 170 pounds. Pavlik was middleweight champion at the time.

Pavlik went back down to middleweight, defended his title two more times before losing it to Sergio Martinez. Pavlik, who had all kinds of personal issues, fought four more times and won all four bouts, the final one coming at the tender age of 30.

“I’m not going to wish the Kelly Pavlik on him (Smith),” said Hopkins, insinuating he ruined Pavlik’s career. “But what I’m going to do is, I’m going to spank him, teach him his ABCs and then send him back to Long Island, up the road from Philadelphia.

“And then one day, if he recovers mentally … mentally, then he might have something to salvage and go forward. See, that’s what I’m about. I’m a career-stopper to most of my opponents that talk like that.”

Interestingly, Smith (22-1, 18 KOs) had a strange look in his eyes, like he didn’t know what to make of Hopkins and his intimidation tactics.

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Jason Quigley stoked to have cracked the top 15 in middleweight division

Jason Quigley would seem to be getting relatively close to fighting for a world title/Photo courtesy of Golden Boy Promotions

 

Anyone who has followed the career of Jason Quigley knows there is a strong chance the middleweight from Ireland will eventually win a major world title. He recently cracked the top 15 rankings – he’s ranked No. 14 by one organization – so he is well on his way.

Quigley, 25, on Saturday will attempt to continue his rise when he takes on Jorge Melendez (30-7-1, 28 KOs) of Puerto Rico. They’ll tangle underneath the light heavyweight main event between Bernard Hopkins and Joe Smith Jr. at the Fabulous Forum (on HBO).

Quigley on Tuesday via telephone spoke in excited tones about his ranking.

“That’s exactly where I want to be,” he said. “This is the stage of a career that I’m at, these are the steps that I want to be taking. And it’s all happening at the right time and at the perfect moment. I’m starting to climb that ladder, I’m getting my foot on the ladder and getting my feet in the door of the top 15 world rankings.”

Quigley realizes that along with being ranked comes more scrutiny.

“People are going to start seeing my name now, people are going to start recognizing me,” he said. “And people are going to start saying, ‘Who’s this kid?’ It’s up to me now to show everybody who I am, what I am and what I’m going to do.”

Quigley (11-0, 9 KOs) is now eligible to fight for a world title, but he’s still probably a couple of fights from that.

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Bernard Hopkins wants to go out with a bang Saturday against Joe Smith Jr.

 

Bernard Hopkins Should Retire Following Loss to Sergey Kovalev

Bernard Hopkins hits the deck during his fight with Sergey Kovalev in 2014/Getty Images photo by Al Bello

 

Bernard Hopkins wants to go out with a bang, even if he is 51.

“On Dec. 17, I want to give a performance where you beg me to stay,” Hopkins said during a recent conference call promoting his fight Saturday against light heavyweight contender Joe Smith Jr. at the Fabulous Fourm (on HBO). “And it’s a challenge that Joe Smith will have to take on. For fighters to show their greatness, they need someone to bring it out.

“Timing is everything and I am doing it in my calculation. I proved a bunch of people wrong already. There is no stone that has not been unturned, meaning that when I look back, I would have done everything that I wanted to.”

Hopkins (55-7-2, 32 KOs), one of the great middleweight champions of all time, is also a former light heavyweight champion. He hasn’t fought since losing a very wide decision to Sergey Kovalev in a light heavyweight title-unification bout in November 2014. Hopkins was 49 at the time.

That means Hopkins will have been out of the ring for two years and a month when he steps in against Smith (22-1, 18 KOs), a top 10 fighter who is just 27.

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Vasyl Lomachenko makes his case for No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter

AP Photo

Vasyl Lomachenko celebrates after defending his super featherweight title with a 7th-round TKO of Nicholas Walters on Saturday in Las Vegas/Associated Press photo by John Locher

 

Making a fighter like Nicholas Walters quit is ultra-impressive. That’s what Vasyl Lomachenko did Saturday when Walters did not answer the bell for the eighth round of their super featherweight title fight at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.

Did Lomachenko (7-1, 5 KOs) make his case for best pound-for-pound fighter in the world? Perhaps. The two-division champion wants that recognition.

“I had my plan,” said Lomachenko, of Ukraine. “I knew it would take four rounds and then I went to work on him. Walters said he would do this and that he would do that throughout training camp, and in the end, he just quit.  I would like to fight (fellow super featherweight champion) Francisco Vargas next.  My goal is to be the No. 1 pound for pound fighter.”

Prior to the fight, The Ring had Lomachenko No. 7 in its pound-for-pound rankings. With his tremendous performance Saturday, it figures he’ll move up. Heck, it would be difficult to say any other fighter should be ranked ahead of him.

 

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Vasyl Lomachenko realizes what he’s up against in Nicholas Walters

Vasyl Lomachenko, left, of Ukraine, punches Roman Martinez, of Puerto Rico, during the fourth round of a WBO junior lightweight title boxing match Saturday, June 11, 2016, in New York. Lomachenko stopped Martinez in the fifth round. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Vasyl Lomachenko, left, lands a punch to the head of Roman ‘Rocky’ Martinez during the fourth round of their super featherweight title fight in June at Madison Square Garden. Lomachenko won via 5th-round TKO/Associated Press photo by Frank Franklin II

 

As good as Vasyl Lomachenko is, as much as his promoter Bob Arum touts him as the greatest he’s seen since a young Muhammad Ali, Lomachenko knows he is in for a real nasty time of it Saturday when he defends his super featherweight belt against hard-hitting Nicholas Walters. The two will square off at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas (on HBO).

“This is a very important bout for me because many boxing experts and many people in boxing rank Walters as the highest-rated fighter in our division,” Lomachenko said. “He is a very hard puncher and a very good boxer and for me it’s a very important thing to me to fight the best and it’s very important for me because everyone says he is a very good fighter.”

As for the Ali comparison, here’s what Arum told reporters during a conference call: “I would like to say this; that Vasyl Lomachenko is technically the best fighter that I have seen since the early Muhammad Ali. There is nobody that I have seen, and there have been a lot of great technical fighters that I have seen – Alexis Arguello was one, Floyd Mayweather certainly, Manny Pacquiao – but there has been nobody with the skills that Vasyl Lomachenko has.”

Lomachenko, of Ukraine, is 6-1 with four knockouts. The two-time Olympic gold-medal winner has also held a major world title in the featherweight division.

Walters, of Jamaica, is 26-0-1 with 21 knockouts.

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Bob Arum: If Vasyl Lomachenko beats Nicholas Walters, he should be candidate for Fighter of the Year

Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo: TV Fight Time, Date and Live Stream

Vasyl Lomachenko will defend his title Saturday against Nicholas Walters in Las Vegas/Photo by Stephen Dunn, Getty Images

 

Vasyl Lomachenko (6-1, 4 KOs) of Ukraine on Saturday night at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas will put his super featherweight world title on the  line against Nicholas Walters (26-0-1, 21 KOs), a mean, hard-hitting hombre from Jamaica.

Not only does this fight have tremendous potential for great excitement, it could be absolutely vicious.

Promoter Bob Arum explained the reasoning during a conference call Monday.

“Well, they call Walters the ‘Axe Man’ for a reason,” Arum said. “I mean, he searches and destroys, you know, he’s a tremendous puncher. And he’s in with a technician who has enormous ability in boxing not only defensively, but offensively. So I mean, this is a
can’t miss fight and I want people to realize that not only do I believe that it will be a Fight of the Year candidate, I believe that if Vasyl Lomachenko is successful, he should be right up there in the consideration for Fighter of the Year.”

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