Trainer Joe Gallagher confident Liam Smith can give Canelo Alvarez grief

Liam Smith/Photo courtesy of Queensberry Promotions

 

Trainer Joe Gallagher thinks a lot of his fighter, Liam Smith, and Gallagher on Tuesday gave notice to the boxing world that Smith (23-0-1, 13 KOs) will be able to give Canelo Alvarez (47-1-1, 33 KOs) all he wants when they square off Saturday for Smith’s junior middleweight world title at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas (on HBO pay-per-view).

“We are full-heartily confident in what we have come to show the crowd,” Gallagher said. “Smith is a serious threat. Liam Smith can box from the outside, he’s a great counterpuncher, can fight from the inside, has great shots from the inside and has a great temperament. These are some of my favorite characteristics of Liam Smith. I think he might shock a lot of people in just how great he is come Saturday night.”

 

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Canelo Alvarez says he still feels best fighting in junior middleweight division

Canelo Alvarez, left, seems almost nonchalant as Amir Khan is counted out of their fight in May in Las Vegas/Photo by Associated Press

 

We all know how Canelo Alvarez called out Gennady Golovkin after Alvarez knocked out Amir Khan in May in Las Vegas. We also know how Alvarez and his promoter – Oscar De La Hoya – backtracked.

They went from saying that yes, Alvarez will fight Golovkin at the full 160-pound middleweight limit this fall, to saying that Alvarez is not a middleweight and he won’t entertain fighting Golovkin until he is – maybe in the fall of 2017.

Alvarez, rather than fight Golovkin, gave up his middleweight belt and on Saturday will challenge Liam Smith (23-0-1, 13 KOs) of England for his junior middleweight title at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas (on HBO pay-per-view).

Alvarez this week explained his way of thinking regarding the junior middleweight (154 pounds) and middleweight divisions.

“For the last six years, my body has felt best and I have been strongest as a junior middleweight,” said Alvarez, who won the middleweight title with a decision over Miguel Cotto at a catch-weight of 155; Alvarez’s fight with Khan was also at 155. “I still feel that way today.”

Alvarez (47-1-1, 33 KOs) said he at some point expects to move up to middleweight, where Golovkin holds three major belts and has knocked out his past 23 opponents.

“Do I think I will eventually move up to middleweight and perhaps beyond?” Alvarez said. “I do, when my body feels it’s time. My promoters and trainers have always told me that as you get into your late 20s and early 30s, your body continues to change and going up in weight become more natural. Having just turned 26, I will see how I feel as I grow older.

“For the time being, I will continue to campaign at junior middleweight and am looking forward to once again regaining the championship at that weight class.”

Alvarez held a junior middleweight title from March 2011, won another one in April 2013 and lost both to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in September 2013.

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Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez wants to win 4th title for Alexis Arguello

Roman Gonzalez/Photo courtesy of BoxRec.com

 

Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez of Nicaragua has won world titles at minimumweight, light flyweight and flyweight. He is arguably the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world. He has one more goal, and he can attain that Saturday night when he challenges Carlos Cuadras of Mexico for his super flyweight title at the Fabulous Forum (on HBO).

A victory would give Gonzalez (45-0, 38 KOs) a title in a fourth weight class, something his countryman – Alexis Arguello – was unable to do. Arguello won belts at featherweight, super featherweight and lightweight. But he was knocked out twice by Aaron Pryor, in 1982 and 1983, in efforts to win a super lightweight championship.

“I dedicate this fight to my mentor, Alexis Arguello,” Gonzalez said. “I know how badly he wanted a fourth divisional championship and I want to do it for him.”

Caudras (35-0-1, 27 KOs) wants to prevent that from happening. He understands it won’t be easy.

“He’s a very strong fighter,” Cuadras said. “Puts a lot of pressure, comes at you, throws a lot of punches.”

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Andre Ward: Once the bell rings, it’s all about executing and getting it done

Andre Ward/Photo courtesy of Roc Nation

 

Andre Ward doesn’t see any reason for trash-talk. He explained why Tuesday when he and Sergey Kovalev played host to a New York City news conference promoting their Nov. 19 light heavyweight title fight at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas (on HBO pay-per-view).

“… I’ve been in this position before and so has my opponent,” Ward said. “It doesn’t matter what the other side says, how they feel, what they say. He’s got to get it done and I’ve got to get it done. When those bright lights come on, it’s all about who executes and who gets it done. I don’t have to throw chairs. I don’t have to cuss. I don’t have to act crazy.”

Ward, 32, of Oakland, is 30-0 with 15 knockouts. He is a former super middleweight champion.

Kovalev, 33, is the champion from Russia. At 30-0-1 with 26 knockouts, he has become one of the meaner hombres in the game. He knows he’s got to be as ferocious as ever to get past the more crafty Ward.

“It’s a big moment in my career,” Kovalev said.

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Tom Loeffler speaks in prideful tones about K2 Promotions’ big night

Gennady Golovkin

Gennady Golovkin/Photo courtesy of K2 Promotions

 

K2 Promotions will have the lead fighter in Saturday’s co-promotion with Matchroom Boxing, which will feature K2’s Gennady Golovkin (35-0, 32 KOs) defending his middleweight championship against Matchroom’s Kell Brook (36-0, 25 KOs) at O2 Arena in London (on HBO). On the same night, K2 Promotions will be the lead promoter for the super flyweight title fight between champion Carlos Cuadras (35-0-1, 27 KOs) of Mexico and Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (45-0, 38 KOs) of Nicaragua at the Fabulous Forum.

It, too, will be televised by HBO. Tom Loeffler, general manager of K2 Promotions, speaks in prideful tones about K2’s big night.

“I think it’s the first time two fights of this magnitude have been put together by a promotional company on two different continents (on the same night)”, Loeffler
said.

It wasn’t easy getting it all done, he said.

“We had to get the Triple G (Golovkin) fight done first, and then I had been pushing HBO for Chocolatito’s own HBO date,” Loeffler said.

Gonzalez, who has won titles in three weight classes and is considered the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world by some, will be looking for a fourth when he moves
up in weight to challenge Cuadras.

Cuadras believes he can hand Gonzalez his first loss.

“He’s going to come right at me,” Cuadras said at Tuesday’s final news conference. “I’ve gotta counterpunch him, counterpunch him, counterpunch him. He’s going to come
with a lot of pressure and I just have to be ready for that. And I think I am.”

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Kell Brook’s seven-day weigh-in tells a big story his about fight with Golovkin

FILE - In this Aug. 16, 2014, file photo, Kell Brook, right, hits Shawn Porter during their IBF welterweight title boxing bout in Carson, Calif. Gennady Golo...

Kell Brook of England is shown here taking care of Shawn Porter in their welterweight title fight in August 2014 at StubHub Center/ Associated Press file photo by Chris Carlson

 

Kell Brook might be the biggest welterweight ever. At Friday’s mandated seven-day weigh-in for his fight next Saturday against middleweight champion Genady Golovkin from O2 Arena in London, Brook came in at 167.8 pounds, nearly five more pounds than Golovkin’s 162.9.

Brook, of England, holds a world title in the welterweight division, which is 147 pounds, and will be moving up two  weight classes to challenge Golovkin. The middleweight limit is 160.

The bout will be televised by HBO. Chances are, Brook will be the bigger man the night of the fight. By all accounts, he had been having to kill himself to make 147.

 

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Liam Smith believes he has a better chance against Canelo Alvarez than Kell Brook does against Gennady Golovkin

Liam Smith/Photo courtesy of Queensberry Promotions

 

Two British boxers are coming up on the biggest fights of their respective careers. Welterweight champion Kell Brook will move up in weight and challenge middleweight Gennady Golovkin of Kazakhstan on Sept. 10 in England (on HBO). A week later, on Sept. 17, Liam Smith will be defending his junior middleweight title against Canelo Alvarez of Mexico at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas (on HBO pay-per-view).

Smith (23-0-1, 13 KOs) believes he’s the Brit with the best chance to emerge victorious.

“Yes, 100 percent,” Smith said Thursday during a conference call. “I like my chances because I’m 100 percent confident I’m going to win this fight, and Canelo’s the favorite to win the fight. And I’ll be rooting for Kell Brook, but I think it’s a step too far for him. But I don’t think it’s a step too far for myself.”

 

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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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