Terence Crawford, Felix Diaz make weight for Saturday’s bout

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

Terence Crawford, left, lands a left cross on Viktor Postol during their title-unification bout in July 2016 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Crawford won a wide decision/AP photo by Chase Stevens

 

Junior welterweight champion Terence Crawford and Felix Diaz on Friday successfully made weight for their showdown Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York City (on HBO).

Crawford (30-0, 21 KOs), of Omaha, Neb., weighed in at 139.2 pounds. Diaz (19-1, 9 KOs), of the Dominican Republic, weighed 139.4; the limit is 140.

 

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Top Rank makes it official: Manny Pacquiao will defend against Jeff Horn

Manny Pacquiao, right, goes 12 round with Jessie Vargas Saturday. Manny Pacquiao took the win by unanimous decision for the WBO world title on November 5, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Gene Blevins/Southern California News Group)

Manny Pacquiao, right, lands a left cross to the chest of Jessie Vargas during their welterweight title fight in November/Photo by Gene Blevins

 

Top Rank Inc. on Monday formally announced the welterweight title fight between champion Manny Pacquiao and Jeff Horn. They will tangle July 1 at Suncorp Stadium in Horn’s native Australia. (It will be July 2 in Australia, which is 17 hours ahead of California).

According to a news release, promoters are expecting a crowd of 55,000. Details on how it will distributed on television are forthcoming.

Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 KOs) most recently fought Nov. 5, when he took Jessie Vargas’ title via unanimous decision at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.

Horn (16-0-1, 11 KOs) is the No. 2 contender to Pacquiao’s title, but he has not fought anyone of note. He did stop former champion Randall Bailey after seven rounds a year ago this month, but Bailey was 41 at the time. At 29, Horn is nine years Pacquiao’s junior. His 17 bouts have been in either Australia or New Zealand.

Suffice to say, Horn will be getting most of the fan support, being the bout will be in his backyard.

“Manny knows who will be the crowd favorite on July 1, but he can’t wait to give Australia and the world a great performance,” Pacquiao’s promoter, Bob Arum, said. “It’s going to be unbelievable event.”

 

 

 

 

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Report: Bob Arum says Manny Pacquiao-Amir Khan not yet a done deal

Manny Pacquiao/AP, Las Vegas Sun photo by Steve Marcus

 

Even though Manny Pacquiao and Amir Khan both tweeted over the weekend that they will tangle with each other April 23, it is not official.

Bob Arum, Pacquiao’s longtime promoter, has to sign off on any Pacquiao fight and he has not done that as of yet, according to BoxingScene.com

“No,” was Arum’s response, when asked if the deal is done.

Arum said he will be meeting with Pacquiao’s adviser, Michael Koncz, on Tuesday.

Keep in mind that Pacquiao had previously said he would next fight Jeff Horn of Australia.

 

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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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Jessie Vargas believes a victory over Manny Pacquiao will make him a star

Welterweight champion Jessie Vargas works out with trainer Dewey Cooper for his fight Saturday against Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas. (Photo by Gene Blevins)

Jessie Vargas works with trainer Dewey Cooper/Photo by Gene Blevins

 

Jessie Vargas is a welterweight world champion, but he’s not exactly a household name even though he’s from Las Vegas, the fight capital of the world. If he beats Manny Pacquiao on Saturday at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, that will change.

“It would definitely put me on the worldwide stage, make me that boxing star that I have been looking forward to being,” Vargas said. “I have been waiting for this for a long time and I’m glad it’s here and I am going to take advantage of it.

“The only fighters to beat Manny Pacquiao have become legends themselves. So I plan to become one of the few to beat Manny Pacquiao and also become one of the legends.”

Bob Arum, whose Top Rank Inc. is producing the ($59.95) pay-per-view feed for the card, promotes both fighters. He agrees Vargas could alter how he is viewed by the boxing world.

“He becomes not just a champion, but a superstar,” Arum said. “I will deny to him that I said that because I will have to negotiate his next fight (laughing). He would be a superstar, there is no question about that, if he were to beat Manny Pacquiao. He has a hell of a shot to do that.”

Pacqujiao, 37, is 58-6-2 with 38 knockouts. Vargas, 27, is 27-1 with 10 knockouts.

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Sylvester Stallone takes in Manny Pacquiao sparring session at Wild Card

Manny Pacquiao poses with Sylvester Stallone on Saturday at Wild Card gym in Hollywood/Photo courtesy of Miguel Salazar

 

Manny Pacquiao received a visit from a rather famous fictional fighter on Saturday at Wild Card gym in Hollywood. It was none other than Sylvester Stallone of “Rocky” fame.

The two posed for pictures after Pacquiao finished sparring in preparation for his challenge to welterweight champion Jessie Vargas on Saturday at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas (on Top Rank pay-per-view).

Pacquaio (58-6-2, 38 KOs) is hopeful he and Vargas (27-1, 10 KOs) can put on a heck of a show.

“My first concern is for the fans; that the people who are going to watch the fight will be happy and satisfied,” Pacquiao said. “I want this to be a fight for fans to remember.”

 

 

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Jessie Vargas knows a victory over Manny Pacquiao will change his career

Jessie Vargas/Photo courtesy of Top Rank Inc.

 

Jessie Vargas knows one thing – a victory over Manny Pacquiao on Nov. 5 would change his career and his life. He wants that.

“It would definitely put me on the worldwide stage, make me that boxing star that I have been looking forward to being,” said Vargas, who will defend his welterweight title against Pacquiao at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. “I have been waiting for this for a long time and I’m glad it’s here and I am going to take advantage of it. The only fighters to beat Manny Pacquiao have become legends themselves. So I plan to become one of the few to beat Manny Pacquiao and also become one of the legends.”

Vargas, 27, is 27-1 with 10 knockouts. Pacquiao, 37, is 58-6-2 with 38 knockouts.

The card will be available on Top Rank pay-per-view for $59.95.

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Jessie Vargas’ trainer Dewey Cooper says he’s improving his fighter’s power

Jessie Vargas/Photo courtesy of Top Rank Inc.

 

Dewey Cooper isn’t the most well-known trainer in the world. But his passionate way of answering questions could help grow his popularity.

Cooper on Thursday was part of a conference call promoting the Nov. 5 welterweight title fight between champion Jessie Vargas and Manny Pacquiao (58-6-2, 38 KOs) at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas (on Top Rank pay-per-view, $59.95). Cooper trains Vargas, who has only 10 knockouts in 28 pro bouts. That’s a low knockout ratio of 36 percent.

But Cooper has been telling reporters that he is improving Vargas’ punching power through various techniques and exercises. He scoffs at the notion that a fighter either has power or he doesn’t, and that one can’t improve upon that power.

By the time Cooper was finished explaining to an inquiring reporter, he had left a lasting impression.

“He feels it,” Cooper said of Vargas’ newfound heavier punch. “He feels it in his knuckles, he feels it in his forearm when he hits, he feels it in his hip when he hits and it’s a natural thing, guys. For anyone in the world to say someone cannot improve on something is just ignorant. We can improve our reading speed, we can improve our running speed, we can improve our strength on a bench press, so why wouldn’t we be able to improve our punching power?

“Everything’s about technique and exercise on the right sports specific move that should make you improve. And that’s all we’ve done. It’s not rocket scientist. We’re just smart enough to know not to limit ourselves and our possibilities. We can do the improbable, we could do the impossible, and that’s exactly what’s going to happen on Nov. 5, guys.”

Vargas (27-1) has had one fight under Cooper. That was March 5 when Vargas stopped Sadam Ali in the ninth round to win the vacant title. Vargas decked Ali twice.

 

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