Frank Espinoza believes Oscar Valdez could move up to as high as lightweight

Oscar  Valdez

Oscar Valdez/Photo courtesy of Top Rank Inc.

 

Making a splash in more than one weight class is popular is this day and age. Apparently, Oscar Valdez of Mexico is no different. Valdez on Nov. 5 will make the first defense of his featherweight world title when he takes on Hiroshige Osawa of Japan underneath the Manny Pacquiao-Jessie Vargas welterweight title fight at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas (on Top Rank pay-per-view, $59.95). But there is no telling how long Valdez will remain at 126 pounds.

“I think he is going to move up when it’s time,” said Valdez’s manager, Frank Espinoza. “I think his body will tell us when he’s ready to move up. But, yeah, I see him going to 130 (junior lightweight), 135 (lightweight). He still has youth on his side; we’ve got time.”

Interestingly, Espinoza said Valdez, 25, recently discussed a different idea with him.

“He’s even telling me, ‘What do you think? What about making 122?’ ” Espinoza said. “I go, ‘I don’t know. Can you really do that?’ But he’s a comfortable 126. So right now we’re enjoying the ride right here at 126. When it comes time to move up, we’ll talk and then
we’ll move him up.”

Valdez is 20-0 with 18 knockouts. Osawa, 31, is 30-3-4 with 19 knockouts.
 

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Vasyl Lomachenko, Nicholas Walters set for what could be Nov. 26 barnburner

Vasyl Lomachenko

Vasyl Lomachenko/Photo courtesy of Top Rank Inc.

 

When talk of a fight between super featherweights Vasyl Lomachenko and Nicholas Walters began, the thought of it happening was enticing because these two guys are both mean hombres in the ring.

Well, an accord for the fight came to fruition Wednesday and the two will square off Nov. 26 at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas (on HBO).

Lomachenko (6-1, 4 KOs), of Ukraine, will be looking to make the first defense of the super featherweight world title he won from Roman “Rocky” Martinez via 5th-round knockout in June in New York City.

Lomachenko, who has also won a title at featherweight, said he’s stoked to be getting the opportunity “to test myself in the fight with the best.”

Walters (26-0-1, 21 KOs), a former featherweight champion who lost his belt on the scales prior to what would have been his fourth defense – against Miguel Marriaga – had a similar reaction.

“Any fighter can be knocked out no matter who he is,” said Walters, of Jamiaca. “I like fighting the best and I like fighting against great technical fighter like Lomachenko. Look at what happened when I fought a great technical fighter like Nonito Donaire. Lomachenko is great, he knows what he is doing in the ring.  But I always look for a knockout against whomever I fight.  If I can do it quick, I will.  This is the best fight out there in boxing today. It will be the Fight of the Year.”

Walters stopped Donaire in the sixth round of a featherweight title fight in October 2014 at StubHub Center in Carson.

 

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Isaac Chilemba stoked to be added to Sergey Kovalev-Andre Ward card

Isaac Chilemba/Photo courtesy of Main Events

 

Going the distance with light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev (30-0-1) is not easy, as he has come through with knockouts in 26 of his 31 pro bouts. Isaac Chilemba went all 12 rounds with Kovalev in July. Chilemba lost a wide decision, but he is now getting his reward for surviving what most can’t.

Chilemba on Thursday was added to the Kovalev-Andre Ward card Nov. 19 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, an event that will be televised by HBO pay-per-view. Chilemba (24
-4-2, 10 KOs), of South Africa, will take on contender Oleksandr Gvozdyk (11-0, 9 KOs) of the Ukraine in a 10-round fight.

Chilemba is stoked. As is his new trainer, Roy Jones Jr.

“Isaac is a very exciting fighter with a lot of upside,” Jones said. “I am very excited to be training him and be part of his team now. I look forward to seeing much
bigger and better things from him in the future.”

Chilemba seems over the moon for the opportunity to work with Jones, who will one day be enshrined in the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

“I’m going to work with my idol, the person I look up to most, Roy Jones Jr.,” Chilemba said. “This is a huge opportunity for me to train with him, learn from him and
have him in my corner. Not only is he the greatest, but he cares and has love for the game.”

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Irish Olympian Michael Conlan signs promotional contract with Top Rank Inc.

Michael Conlan

Michael Conlan, left, on Monday signed a promotional contract with Top Rank Inc./Photo courtesy of Getty Images

 

Promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank Inc. has signed two-time Olympian Michael Conlan of Northern Ireland to a promotional contract. Details were not disclosed.

Conlan won a bronze medal while representing Ireland in the 2012 London Games, but lost a highly controversial decision to Vladimir Nikitin of Russia in the quarterfinals in the recent Rio Games. It was one of many unpopular decisions in Rio.

Conlan, 24, is expected to make his pro debut in early 2017.

 

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High-energy trainer Dewey Cooper believes Jessie Vargas belongs in Nov. 5 fight against Manny Pacquiao

Jessie Vargas/Photo courtesy of Top Rank Inc.

 

All one has to do is spend a couple of minutes with Dewey Cooper, and it’s obvious this is a trainer with emotional energy to burn. He speaks in electric, as well as confident, tones.

That was certainly the case when Cooper recently spoke about his fighter, welterweight champion Jessie Vargas, who Nov. 5 will defend his title against Manny Pacquiao
at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas (on Top Rank pay-per-view, $59.95).

This is only going to be Cooper’s second fight with Las Vegas’ Vargas. In their first, Vargas (27-1, 10 KOs) won the vacant title with a ninth-round TKO of then-undefeated Sadam Ali in March in Washington D.C.

Winning that fight is likely a far cry from what Vargas will have to do to beat Pacquiao (58-6-2, 38 KOs). That’s not to mention this will by far be the biggest stage on which Vargas has performed. Some guys fall apart in that situation, others handle it well. Cooper believes the latter will be the case for Vargas.

“Psychologically, I pound the message to him every day that this event is not too big for us,” Cooper said. “We belong here. Everyone keeps saying Pacquiao chose Jessie. No, Pacquiao didn’t choose Jessie. Jessie won a world title on March 5 by knocking out an undefeated fighter, sensational fighter, and that is what put Jessie in the position to have a Manny Pacquiao fight.

“In other words, we earned every step of this. And we’re looking forward to a great opportunity.”

Cooper then suggested a changing of the guard is in order.

“We respect Manny, we love Manny,” Cooper said. “But at the end of the day, it’s survival of the fittest, and it’s our time. Life is about transitions and this is definitely a transitional time in boxing and we want to be ahead of that pack.”

Pacquiao is 37 and likely won’t fight much longer.

Cooper is a former cruiserweight who went 19-3-3 with 11 knockouts fighting from 2001-12.

 

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Tickets go on sale for fight between Manny Pacquiao and Jessie Vargas

Jessie Vargas/Photo courtesy of Top Rank Inc.

 

Tickets for the Nov. 5 welterweight title fight between champion Jessie Vargas of Las Vegas and Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines go on sale Thursday at noon.

The bout will take place at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas and will be distributed on Top Rank pay-per-view.

Ticket prices are $50, $100, $300, $500, $700 and $1,000. They can be purchased at the Thomas & Mack Center box office, online at www.unlvtickets.com or by calling 702-739-3267 or 866-388-3267.

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

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Manny Pacquiao chose Jessie Vargas because Vargas is a world champion

Manny Pacquiao

Manny Pacquiao/Photo courtesy of Top Rank Inc.

 

Promoter Bob Arum on Tuesday night told this newspaper in a telephone call from the Philippines that Manny Pacquiao has decided to fight welterweight champion Jessie Vargas on Nov. 5 from Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.

A couple of other top candidates to land the role as Pacquiao’s opponent were junior welterweight champion Terence Crawford and welterweight champion Danny Garcia.

“I wasn’t hoping anything,” Arum said. “I presented all the options to Manny and after he discussed it he decided last night at dinner that that was the fight to make.”

Vargas is also promoted under Arum’s Top Rank Inc. banner.

This will be Pacquiao’s first fight since being elected to the Senate in May in his native Philippines. As it happened, Arum was on his way to attend a Senate session “to see him in action.”

Pacquiao (58-6-2, 38 KOs) said after he defeated Timothy Bradley this past April that he was retired. But once he was elected rumors of at least one more fight started. At first, the date of his return was going to be Oct. 15. But Pacquiao, 37, was told by the president of the Senate he could not fight that soon because of his duties.

“We have tremendous logistical problems because of his being a senator, but we’re working through them and everything will be fine,” Arum said. “It’s going to be very, very interesting.”

Arum said this fight will not be on HBO pay-per-view.

“We’re going to be distributing it in other ways, but it will definitely not be distributed by HBO pay-per-view,” he said.

Pacquiao was asked by Dyan Castillejo of ABS-CBN TV newtork in the Philippines why he selected Vargas.

“I chose Vargas because he is a champion,” said Pacquiao, who intimated he can’t wait to get back in the ring.

“I miss my boxing routine of training, the things i do for my sport everyday,” he said. “But I assure my people my fight and training will not affect my work as a senator.”

Vargas, 27, of Las Vegas, is 27-1 with 10 knockouts.

BoxingScene.com first reported this news.

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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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