Connect with us

Articles of 2005

Hopkins-Taylor Fight Predictions



(*Read JE Grant's Hopkins-Taylor Post-Fight Report)

The long-awaited bout between Bernard Hopkins and Jermain Taylor is this Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, broadcast by HBO PPV. Hopkins is the ultimate old school old pro, Mr. Pound-for-Pound, maybe the smartest man fighting today. Taylor is the young gun who believes his time is now. All that stands in his way is the sharpshooter called The Executioner. This how The Sweet Science writers see it.

All fighters get old, but somehow Bernard Hopkins has avoided this maxim by beating his opponents in the same safety-first, roughhouse style that has defined his career. On Saturday, though, I think Hopkins finally shows his age against Jermain Taylor. I predict Hopkins will get knocked out in the fifth or sixth round. I don't think Hopkins has looked good since he beat Trininad four years ago. Forget about De La Hoya, Robert Allen, William Joppy, that dude Hakkar and Eastman. With the exception of Eastman, these were all shot fighters when they faced Hopkins; I don't think Hopkins was impressive in any one of those fights. The body shot that knocked out De La Hoya was emphatic but my reaction to that was: so what? He beat a fighter he should have tormented. In Taylor, he is facing someone who is younger, stronger, and hits harder, and who I think is treating this fight like it's the Super Bowl. How do you think Hopkins is treating this fight? Like he does any other fight, which is why Taylor will win. No one expected Tarver to knock out Roy Jones the second time they fought, and I think Taylor does the same to Hopkins in a big upset. The reason nobody has accused Hopkins of slipping is because he executes in the same methodical style every time out, so it's hard to tell if he has, but he has slipped and Taylor will expose his age.
Mitch Abramson

Hopkins has been around a long time. But, unlike other champions who reigned for several years, he is remarkably well-preserved for a 40-year-old fighter. Taylor will certainly trouble him early with his hand speed and reflexes and his all-around athleticism, but, once the fight gets to the mid-rounds, things will change. Taylor has yet to be in the ring with a fighter the caliber of Hopkins, as his toughest opponent, William Joppy, was past his prime when they fought. “Ex” will use all of the little tricks that he's learned over his brilliant 16-year career to frustrate the younger, less-patient Taylor. He'll begin to counter a tiring “Bad Intentions” late, and once the fight is in the championship rounds, Taylor will have little success. Hopkins will be bruised, and maybe a little bloodied, but in the end, he will use his experience to master the inexperienced Taylor. Hopkins by unanimous decision.
Matt Aguilar

If I was betting, this would be a no brainer. How could you bet against a guy with a proven track record like Bernard Hopkins? Well guess what? There will be none of my moldy money riding on the outcome of this fight. Therefore I can pick with my heart and not my head. Almost all the advantages go to Hopkins, although Taylor's jab and hand speed should cause some problems for Bernard. Hopkins is so much more battletested, but is that really an asset or will it become a burden? I see Jermain starting quickly, trying to work in behind that fine jab of his. If he can out-jab Bernard then he can set the tempo. If he controls the action, Bernard may have to go forward in an attempt to get inside and do some damage. This could leave him open for quick, counter shots by Taylor. I see Taylor building an early lead but Hopkins will come on late to make a fight out of it. I just think it will be a case of too little, too late. Please don't ask me to put my money where my mouth is … Ain't going to happen. My heart says the winner and new champion will be Jermain Taylor.
Jim Amato

Rarely does Hopkins blow out anyone early, and I don't expect him to start here. What I do expect is a thorough beating through all twelve, somewhat along the lines of his fight w/ Joppy. Some call Taylor “the heir apparent.” Others believe the hype is similar to that of Michael Grant, and that he'll fall here like Grant did against Lewis. I think Taylor is good enough to become champ one day … but that day won't be July 16. Hopkins plans to retire as champion before he turns 41. He's been doing things his way for over 15 years. I expect him to be one step closer toward going out on his own terms when all is said and done with this one. Hopkins by decision. Taylor wins a round or two, but catches a beating and a painful introduction to big time boxing along the way.
Jake Donovan

As much talent as Taylor has, Hopkins will win by decision. The old man will find a way to avoid Taylor's jab and outbox him through 12, potentially boring, rounds.
Rick Folstad

From what I've been reading, Jermain Taylor is younger, bigger, stronger and faster than Bernard Hopkins. But I just can't help thinking that the geriatric incumbent seems to have a real knack for going home with the championship belts at the end of the night. Yes, Taylor is younger and faster, but don't put too much stock in the bigger and stronger. They don't come any craftier than the Executioner and he will be prepared for Taylor's natural physical gifts. I would agree that Hopkins' performances have begun to shade of late, but Taylor hasn't yet done enough to make me believe his time is now. Taylor will look the part early, but Lou DiBella should hold off on planning the parade route because Bernard Hopkins will do what Bernard does – take the fight over late. Hopkins by decision.
Chris Gielty

The old, great veteran champion is in the shape and frame of mind to give the young upstart challenger a lesson in top-notch championship boxing. I just can't pick against Hopkins despite his age and fading skills. I believe he can still box enough and punch enough to get the job done.  Hopkins by decision.
Randy Gordon

Jermain Taylor by decision. He has enough speed to beat Hopkins. If he doesn't get overwhelmed by the moment or allow himself to get tangled up, he should be able to score and move and bank enough rounds to have his hand raised in the end.
Tim Graham

This fight has the early hallmarks of a classic in the making. Bernard Hopkins is the old lion, clearly with the vast number of years in his career behind him. Jermain Taylor, the young lion, meanwhile, roars profoundly. He possesses the physical tools of a future king: dedication, quickness, a jab that Larry Holmes could be proud of, and, perhaps most importantly, the confidence of a man who feels a championship is his destiny. Of course Hopkins has not closed up shop just yet. In recent fights – even fights after the age of 40 – he has demonstrated innovation and patience in closing with and destroying his much younger opponents. He seems to understand the limits of his 40-year-old body and he knows how to compensate. However, even a great champion hits the wall and this will be the night that happens. One must of course be wary of choosing against Hopkins, and it will take a monumental effort by Taylor to win. I think on this night he will provide such an effort and the baton will be passed. His speed, his controlling jab, and his youthful drive will take him to the top. And, the loss will not diminish the greatness of Hopkins – he has already proven his worth. Taylor by decision.
JE Grant

I'm in Hopkins’ corner all the way. Taylor may have youth and strength on his side but the composure in the ring to face somebody of Bernard's caliber isn't there yet. You can be of sound body all day long but if you're not of sound mind, you're no match for the Executioner. I'll say Hopkins by decision.
Amy Green

While the young and talented Taylor has shown he has the potential for greatness and to become a champion, Hopkins IS great and one of the greatest middleweight champions of all-time. I feel that Taylor is going up against too much, too soon. While you can never fault anyone for fighting to become a world champion – which is the ultimate dream and goal of every fighter, yet rarely achieved – Taylor is still a bit too inexperienced. The good news is that Jermain Taylor will bounce back from this defeat; as will his promoter Lou DiBella (one of the “good people” in boxing). Bernard Hopkins defeats Jermaine Taylor via unanimous decision.
Mike Indri

Many people in boxing I respect believe that Hopkins “will find a way to win” and that's how most of them have phrased it. I hold a dissenting opinion. Taylor became a man at an early age and isn't about to be bullied by anyone. If he asserts his speed-fed power behind a well-timed jab, he'll expose Hopkins as physically diminished. The key to the fight is punch output based on tempo. If Taylor punches like he can, he may actually stop Hopkins. Hopkins will want to force Taylor to be selective and get him over- thinking. Make Hopkins fight from the first bell and Taylor's got him. Hopkins knows Taylor can, at times, be technically cautious, and that's what he will want to induce. Bottom line remains: It's up to Taylor to fight like a champion. I think he can and will. Youth shall be serving Hopkins a cold dish of father time! Taylor UD12 Hopkins.
Patrick Kehoe

I keep thinking that sooner or later Hopkins' age is going to catch up with him, and sooner or later it will. Could this be the night? Taylor in an upset decision.
George Kimball

Pretty certain that this one is going the distance as these two are surely the two best middles out there today. Taylor has youth and speed on his side while Hopkins of course is the wise old veteran. At many points in a fighter’s career they take a giant leap forward or have a learning experience that serves them well in the future. Similar to Hatton having his day against Tszyu, I think Taylor graduates tonight. His fight has to be smart and well executed, but with a steady diet of jabs and rights and then using a lot of movement I think he is able to keep Bernie off him and searching for most of the night. Hopkins does his best work inside and Taylor will be well taught to tie X up when things get to close for comfort. If Taylor does this he can 1-2 his way to a slim point victory, and he will.
Joey Knish

I think Taylor's great jab will pose serious problems for Hopkins and be the deciding factor in this fight. To win, the champ will need to get inside the jab and back the contender up. I don't believe he currently has the strength, nor the willingness, to do this. The Hopkins who beat Trinidad in 2001 would have done this with aplomb. Today's version, that fights in spots and does just enough to win, is a different beast. Taylor TKO9.
Zachary Levin

There's a saying in stock market analysis – “The trend is your friend.” It basically means that if a stock is moving in a certain direction, that's the direction you should play the stock. Don't bet against a change. Same thing with Bernard Hopkins. He could get old at any time – but so far he hasn't. He's always in shape and looks sharp. Taylor could have all the talent in the world, but until I see something in B-Hop to make me think he can lose, I have to believe he won't. Hopkins by unanimous decision.
Marc Lichtenfeld

Taylor is younger, bigger and stronger. Unlike De La Hoya and even Trinidad, he's a much bigger man. Taylor W 12.
Bob Mladinich

Is this the one? Boxing has searched every dark corner of the globe for a man who weighs less than 160lbs that could beat Bernard. They tried the raw power of Echols, the reach and punching power of Trinidad, the strength and craft of Eastman, the hand speed and guts of Oscar. Before that the work-rate and heart of Glen Johnson failed, the experience of Daniels, the confidence of Joppy and they tried Robert Allen repeatedly, I think because nobody else was around. Now, with Hopkins age 40 and three fights from retirement they've turned to youth. Now placing a raw kid in with an established champion is a gamble, to put a raw fighter in with Hopkins regardless of his stature, strength or potential is suicide. Someone somewhere is going to have to come up with a better fight plan than, well Bernard COULD get old in the fight. If that’s Taylor's game plan he'll soon reside alongside all the other failed challengers. Now stick Winky in there and I see the upset. But Taylor? I'll take Taylor's youth and strength to get him through to the bell, and he may have a round or two of success behind his solid jab. But win enough rounds to prevail? Heck no. Hopkins UD
David Payne

Old Man River just keeps rolling along — without turbulence … but inexorably, getting his 21st title win. Having his hand raised in a win like this five years ago wouldn't have PPV people pounding on Hopkins' door. He'll sulk all the way to the bank, and salve his wounds, knowing he's drowned DiBella. Taylor will have learned enough about navigating the shoals to come back another day and have his turn at the title. A UD for Bernard that won't stop the Earth spinning on its axis.
Joe Rein

Despite the unfortunate sideshow of Lou DiBella simply waiting for Bernard Hopkins to get old to strike at the right time, I think this will be a very interesting and competitive fight. At this juncture, we have more questions about Jermain Taylor than answers. During the last several years, the middleweight division has been one of the most talent-anemic weight classes in boxing, partially because Bernard cleaned out the division. At the same time, Taylor fought a host of lesser fighters who were either past their prime, were moving up in weight, or both. Marquez probably should've been retired when Taylor signed to fight him. William Joppy was considered to be either a shot fighter, or close to a shot fighter, at the time Taylor met him last year. Taylor hasn’t fought a legitimate threat up until this point. Therefore, he lacks a solid apprenticeship in the pro ranks. Nevertheless, this will be a very tough fight for several rounds. I think it will be a morphed version of the first Hopkins-Echols for 6 or 7 rounds, but with Jermain using his quickness, the jab, and body punches, as opposed to Echols' raw aggression and power. As usual, Hopkins will gradually pick his spots, and take the less experienced man into uncharted waters. The key to this fight is how Taylor reacts when he gets rapped on the chin. Bernard is not a power puncher, but his right hand over Taylor's low left might be a telltale factor in this fight. Besides Bernard's highly underrated jab, it was Bernard's counter right in the first Echols fight, and a right hand in the second round of the Trinidad fight, that set the foundation for later power shots and dominance. He'll find a way to time Taylor's jab along the way, and score with the right hand. It will be a hard, compact, surprise shot with little or no telegraph. In addition to the counter right hand, he'll use angles – and a few Zivic and Pedroza tactics – to confuse and bother the talented and willing greenhorn. In the end, I like Hopkins on a 115-113 type of decision, unless the judges decide that volume supersedes craft and true effectiveness.
Greg Smith

Bernard Hopkins has solidified his place in Canastota by patiently finding his opponents’ weaknesses and exploiting them. The only potential way to stop “The Executioner” is to make him fight twelve full rounds. Jermain Taylor has the tools necessary to do so but is he mentally ready? I think he is. Taylor by split decision.
Aaron Tallent

Father Time gets bottled up on I-15 trying to get to the MGM Grand, so Hopkins once again reaches deep into his bag of fistic tricks and manages to pull out a surprisingly tough decision win over his heir-apparent.
Scott Yaniga

Articles of 2005

In Boxing News: Floyd Mayweather An All-Time Great, Valuev & More



A Shot of Boxing on the Last Day of the Year

The Guardian reports that talks have already taken place between Nicolay Valuev‘s co-promoters – Don King and Wilfried Sauerland – and Danny Williams‘ promoter Frank Warren for Nicolay Valuev to face Danny Williams. I’d suggest Danny Williams needs to worry about Matt Skelton (who Williams is reportedly scheduled to fight in February) before he entertains notions of facing the Beast From The East.

The Mirror in the UK looks forward to a big year in boxing for 2006. The Mirror considers what the future might bring for Joe Calzaghe, Amir Khan and Ricky Hatton, among others.

The Parksville Qualicum News has an interesting column on the travails of former Canadian Super Middleweight title holder Mark Woolnough. Woolnough’s career turned controversial – as widely reported in the Canadian press – at the beginning of this year when Woolnough and four other men were charged with manslaughter and assault after a fight outside a Parksville nightclub. The case returns to court next month. It’s an interesting read, as Woolnough is still looking to the future with hope.

Our own Marc Lichtenfeld provides plenty of food for thought with his Top Ten Wish List for boxing in the New Year. There’s plenty of good stuff here, but what really jumped out for me is Lichtenfeld’s opinion that a win over Zab Judah could have Floyd Mayweather knocking on the door of all-time great status. Seems to me this might be jumping the gun a little. Or is Marc right? Will it soon be time to call Floyd Mayweather Jr. an all-time great?

(More Boxing News Links at

Continue Reading

Articles of 2005

Pick ‘Em: Plenty of Big Upcoming Fights in ’06



Here’s the early call on many top matches scheduled for the first half of 2006: Happy New Year!

As the new calendar dawns, there are already a considerable amount of premium bouts on the horizon. Things don’t look to be bogged down by undetermined championships next year. In many cases the scheduled face-offs involve the best fighters in the division, or at least close enough for general bragging rights. If anybody else with proper qualifications signs up to force the issue, all the better.

It can be argued that some pairings could have taken place within a more optimal timeframe, or that some headliners carry distracting baggage, but there are certainly enough heavy hitters on deck. That nobody can deny.

It doesn’t matter whether one considers the proverbial glass half empty or half full; there’s still the same amount of juice in the vessel. It’s nice to know that even with a high number of cancellations, there will still be plenty of important contenders on tap.

With elite fighters in weight divisions from top to bottom on the agenda, it’s an equivalent to what fans in more mainstream sports expect in a consistent championship format.

Baseball fans can almost always count on a World Series. Some hoops fanatics say too much attention to playoffs distracts unmotivated NBA teams during their regular season. In college, they project Sweet Sixteens. Football fans know there’s always a Super Bowl ahead to raise advertising dollars and test the USA’s halftime morals.

So too, there is method in boxing’s current madness.

The midnight crystal ball hasn’t even been unveiled in Times Square and there are already a number of potential thrillers scheduled. Most feature contrasting personalities that almost guarantee going along for the ride will be worthwhile. Any subsequent drops will probably be cheered.

Don King jumps right out of the auld lang gate with a January 7th Showtime card featuring Zab Judah against Carlos Baldomir and Jean-Marc Mormeck in a cruiserweight unification against O’Neil Bell.

It will be the upset of the year, bar none, if Baldomir can tip the applecart before Judah gets to his scheduled super-showdown with Floyd Mayweather Jr. Meanwhile, Mormeck is emerging and should keep on rolling against Bell, who can expose him if he’s not for real.

The proverbial Big Bang starts with a January 21st rematch of one of the finest fights of ‘05, when Erik Morales goes against Manny Pacquaio for the second time on HBO pay per view. The fact that Morales was upset by Zahir Raheem after beating Pacquaio was no real loss in box-office luster. Artful Raheem will get a spot on the undercard and hope his patience is rewarded.

Everyone figures Morales and Pacquaio will pick up where they left off. Like the first time, the rematch is a pick’em contest. Management distractions and glove restrictions cited as Pacquaio’s previous problems won’t matter this time. The two are very evenly matched and their styles will make for another whapathon. It could come down to corners, where Freddie Roach gets the edge since Morales will have a new trainer for the first time since replacing his father after the Raheem lesson.

February features four of the game’s most enduring attractions, in a pair of crucial matchups.

First up, Showtime presents the Jose Luis Castillo – Diego Corrales tiebreaker from El Paso on Feb 4th. This is another pick ‘em pair, barring any sideshow. In boxing that disclaimer may be a stretch, since the sideshow is part of the act and the charm.

As far as action inside the strands goes, every round these guys have fought has been great. There’s no reason to think that pattern won’t continue. Regarding the result, Castillo keeps the pressure on as he did in the second fight, but he’ll walk into trouble from a more reserved Corrales. We still don’t know which coin to flip.

February also holds a better late than never affair between two perennial favorites as Shane Mosley collides with Fernando Vargas on the 25th.  This fight could lead to a winning ticket in the Golden Boy sweepstakes for a fall bonanza against Oscar De La Hoya.

Vargas has been in tougher recently, based on comparable strength of opposition stats, but he’s seen little action. What weight they enter the ring at may have a lot to do with the result. If Vargas has to struggle at the scale, Mosley might have the battle in the bag after round nine.

It’s hard to imagine Mosley getting stopped early, but Vargas doesn’t have to hurt him, he just has to knock him down three times. With natural size, he may be able to do just that, but Mosley would have to box uncharacteristically flat.

Unless Mosley decides to heed the crowd, the most likely scenario is that Shane plays it safe, picks a few shots, and stays away enough to capture a comfortable, dull decision. An unbowed Vargas maintains his fan base but not his bettors.

March both comes in and goes out as a lion.

On March 4th Joe Calzaghe welcomes Jeff Lacy to Manchester UK for what may be the biggest blowout of the headlining bunch. Calzaghe gets the chance to prove his considerable home-based reputation once and for all, but if Lacy creams him as we expect, that glossy record will be severely tarnished.

All Calzaghe has to do is make a respectable stand, but that’s no small task against the rising Lacy. A motivated Calzaghe, songs of England ringing in his ears, could pull a big surprise if he can exploit Lacy’s relatively limited technical development, but that’s a longshot indeed.

It looks like Lacy can get by on power alone. He could soon emerge as a pound-for-pound leader. Old Joe’s hometown advantage will last about two left hooks.

March 11th has the Ides of history to beware for at least one old lion, with farewell (we’ll see) fireworks featuring Roy Jones Jr. against Bernard Hopkins. Less than two years ago they were considered untouchable all time greats. Now between them they’ve lost five in a row.

This goodbye fight is contracted at light heavyweight, for what seems like an oldies night. Hopkins is the senior at age 41 to Jones’s 37, but Roy seems more the grandpa figure, last seen hanging on against Antonio Tarver. Youth, as it were here, will prevail.

This bout was signed quickly as each principal, usually sticklers for favorable contract clauses, agreed to parity in a demonstration of businessman first and fighter second. They may both expect easy marks. How much the boys have left by the time they get down to business remains to be seen. The history books will show this as a climactic career bout between Hall of Famers.

At 175 pounds, Hopkins may be in for rude awakening. Jones may have been more thoroughly outfought recently, but he was rumbling with bigger, tougher men than Jermain Taylor or Howard Eastman. Respectable as he is, Taylor still falls short of the level of Tarver, at least for now. The difference is still fifteen pounds less pop.

It will be quite a feat if Hopkins can stay in the fight, even at Jones’s advanced age. Our stars point to Jones winning in overwhelming fashion.

On March 18th, James Toney meets Hasim Rahman in another pairing of seasoned war-horses.

Toney and Rahman already had their introductions, when they brawled in Mexico during a WBC gathering to bestow Rahman’s new belt. Between formalities, Toney got married, which could bring up the old questions about carnal training.

Let’s hope when they meet in the ring, they restore some of the fire missing from the heavyweights in ‘05.  Toney might have an edge in recent form, but Rahman shows fine tuning he previously lacked. The winner might get newly “crowned’ Nicolai Valuev, an easy payday outside Germany.

Rahman could be the heavyweight that finally makes Toney look like a blown up middleweight. But anything less than a top effort will probably lead to embarrassing night for the Rock and give Toney solid claim to being the true heavyweight champ.

This might not be the most artful fight of the new season, but it could well be the most grueling, and the closest. He who’s faced the better big boys gets the nod. Advantage Rahman.

March 25 features Marco Antonio Barrera, probably the strongest overall claimant to 130 pound honors. The likely opponent is said to be always tough Jesus Chavez.

Chavez seemed rejuvenated when he met Leavander Johnson, but Johnson’s tragic death may have taken some of the steam out of thoughtful Chavez, said to have received Johnson’s family blessing to continue in Leavander’s name. That could mean a lot of inspiration. Either way, if he does meet Chavez, who hung tough with one arm against Erik Morales, Barrera won’t get any slack. The Fates say Chavez, whose wife recently served in Iraq, is a live, live underdog.

Another clash to be King of the Hill finds Floyd Mayweather Jr, arguably the game’s finest practitioner, bumping heads with Zab Judah, one of very few boxers who rivals Mayweather in speed, skills, and brashness.

Their hoedown, scheduled for April 8th, is one of the top pound-for-pound pairings in recent years. Judah will need a career best performance to have a chance of victory. That’s not to say he can’t pull it off, but currently Mayweather is in a different galaxy in terms of punching power. Slow-motion replays may be the only way to follow the flying fists once these two whirlwinds unload.

Mayweather should be around a 4-1 favorite. Judah is good enough to make taking the odds an attractive proposition, since that’s probably as good of odds as one is likely to see on Floyd for a while. Mayweather will stop Judah in his tracks.

The first half of next year is set to conclude with the star power of Oscar De La Hoya, probably against noteworthy foil Ricardo Mayorga on May 6. There could be some snags before a contract is finalized, but if it comes off count on Mayorga for promotional sound bite nastiness. One of the questions is whether or not he’ll be able to get under Oscar’s skin, and it might actually be entertaining to see the classy, model perfect De La Hoya show he’s human and freak out against the Nicaraguan maniac.

Mayorga may have burnt his best bridges already. De La Hoya has not only the boxing skill to negate Mayorga’s offense, but enough power to end it early. If Mayorga rushes in and causes a cut, De La Hoya might get ruffled enough to duck into defense and Mayorga could get a decision that goes to the cards after six rounds or so. It will be wild for as long as it lasts.

Pro boxing, like many sports, had its share of problems during 2005, but there were also many positives. Most notably, as usual, was superior and inspiring action inside the strands. Unless there’s a mass freeze-up at the top, early 2006 figures to see decisive interaction among many well-known fighters.

If even fifty per cent of the aforementioned pairings come to fruition, it’s a strong likelihood the upcoming year has at least one very positive half. Arturo Gatti, Miguel Cotto, Antonio Margarito, Brian Viloria, and Shannon Briggs, to name a few, are also on deck. No matter how you chose to look at or measure mass qualities, there’s still just as much good to be seen.

Continue Reading

Articles of 2005

ShoBox Friday Night Fights




Hot bantamweight prospect Raul “The Cobra” Martinez heads back to Chicago next Friday night as he is featured in the co-main event of SHOBOX “THE NEW GENERATION,” an action packed evening of professional boxing presented by Dominic Pesoli’s 8 Count Productions,’ HOME OF THE BEST IN CHICAGO BOXING, Kathy Duva’s Main Events Inc., along with Miller Lite and TCF Bank.

The two-time national amateur champion sporting a perfect 12-0 record with 9 knockouts, six of which have come in the first round,  will take on Colombian Andres “Andy Boy” Ledesma, 13-1 (8 KOs) in a scheduled eight round bout.

Speaking after a training session at his home gym in Georgetown, Texas, Martinez said, “I’m truly looking forward to returning to Chicago. The fans were terrific in September, they were very supportive from the start of the fight,” an internationally televised first round knockout of Miguel Martinez on September 16th at the Aragon Ballroom.

Regarding his upcoming fight with Ledesma, “The Cobra” said, “I haven’t seen him fight, although I understand he’s fought at higher weights and will be naturally bigger than me. I’ve had great training for this fight and feel very confident. I really haven’t left the gym in months, just taking off Sunday’s and even then I get my running in. My thinking is that fights are won in the gym and complete preparation is the key.”

When asked about his being mentioned by Dan Rafael, ESPN’s boxing writer as one of the top prospect’s in the boxing world the 23-year-old San Antonio native said, ‘It’s a great compliment, but I still have much work to do. I want to be a champion for Main Events like Fernando Vargas and Arturo Gatti. But like Fernando said while he was in town, ‘be patient, work hard and your time will come.’”

Finishing the conversation, Martinez said, “I’m looking forward to starting out this year with a bang. I might have a couple less fights than the seven I had in 2005, but I’m looking to stepping up the competition, move up to ten-rounders and climb in the rankings.”

Headlining the evening is a ten-round welterweight showdown between boxing’s hottest prospect, unbeaten Joel Julio of Monteria, Columbia, and Ugandan native Roberto “The Doctor” Kamya. Julio, turning 21 years old the day before the fight, is 25-0 with 22 knockouts, twelve of which have come in the first two rounds. Kamya, now fighting out of West Palm Beach, Florida is 15-5 with four knockouts.

Tickets, starting at $30, are on sale in advance by calling 312-226-5800. Cicero Stadium is located at 1909 S. Laramie, at the corner of 19th and Laramie, just ten minutes south of the Eisenhower Expressway and ten minutes north of the Stevenson Expressway. Doors for this evening will open at 6pm with the first bell at 7pm.

The full bout lineup for the evening is:

Joel Julio vs. Roberto Kamya, ten rounds, welterweights

Raul Martinez vs. Andres Ledesma, eight rounds, bantamweights

Miguel Hernandez vs. Butch Hajicek, eight rounds, middleweights

David Pareja vs. Derek Andrews, eight rounds, light heavyweights

Mike Gonzales vs. Tony Kinney, four rounds, lightweights

Omar Reyes vs. Luis Navarro, five rounds, featherweights

Reynaldo Reyes vs. Ricardo Swift, four rounds, middleweights

Continue Reading