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Articles of 2010

Bradley Or Mayweather For Pacman?



Rumors continue to ricochet from parking lots, to casinos, to boxing gyms and through the Internet, and the center of all the rumors continue to be who will be Manny Pacquiao?s next opponent?

A survey circulated around the boxing world revealed that Timothy ?Desert Storm? Bradley was the favorite of those who participated in the informal poll. It wasn?t Floyd Mayweather, Antonio Margarito or Miguel Cotto who hard core boxing fans want to see versus Pacman. It was the kid from Palm Springs.

Bradley? Wow.

That was a shocking surprise to me. Though many including this writer feel he has the physical tools to match the Filipino superstar, it was an eye-opener to see that many fans prefer Bradley over Mayweather.

Mayweather has experience, defensive skills that border on genius, and just enough power to keep a whirlwind fighter like Pacquiao from attacking with impunity. Bradley has the same physical attributes, but lacks the experience of fighting in a mega fight with all of the world watching.

Mega fights are like no other prize fights. Aside from entering a ring in front of more than 16,000 screaming fans, and knowing that more than 1 million households have purchased the fight, there is much more to a mega fight.

Pacman and Money Mayweather know all about it.

You see, it?s a long arduous road that involves a non-stop road schedule of hyping the fight with numerous press conferences. Then there are the one-on-one stops in between the scheduled stops with boxing writers and high-powered sports columnists from New York, Jersey City, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. on the East Coast.

Sometimes there are other stops in Miami and Chicago depending on the nationality of the fighter.

All this takes place in the beginning of the announcement.

Once training starts there are numerous visits by television and radio crews from all over the country. In Pacquiao?s case they come from all over the world. Also, you have journalists descending on the training camps with their notebooks, recorders and video cameras too. The phone rings constantly with requests for interviews and this goes on every day during a mega fight.

It?s a lot to digest for a prizefighter in his first boxing bonanza.

The other factor is that fans come up every second with demands for autographs, photos or time to chat. They want to have their children pose with the fighter and they don?t care if your sitting down and just about to put a fork full of salad in your mouth. People will stop you and ask for whatever they want to ask.

It?s a daily grind.

Then, during the last two weeks before the big fight, the calls come in like machine gun fire. Sponsors want you to sign boxing gloves, pose for photos and meet their vice presidents and associate vice presidents. More press conferences are ordered by phone and during the last week there are more press conferences. It?s similar to a hurricane descending on the Gulf of Mexico-mass chaos.

Even the best fighters have been known to crack.

Mayweather and Pacquiao know all about this. Even Cotto and Margarito know all about this. The big question is can Bradley deal with the hype and demand of a mega fight.

So far, the Desert Storm seems pretty even keel about everything. He has balance not only in the ring but in life.

That can help a lot.

?Timothy is one the hardest workers and most dedicated fighters in the world,? said Alex Camponovo, who serves as a matchmaker for one of Bradley?s co-promoters Thompson Boxing Promotions. ?He?s amazing.?

Maybe Bradley can be the guy Pacman needs?

More boxing chatter

Desert Showdown at Spotlight 29 in Coachella begins Wednesday July 21 and continues until Saturday July 24. Many of the best amateur boxers will take part in the tournament that has gained popularity nationwide. For more information (760) 775-5566.

Former bantamweight world title challenger Jose Navarro (27-5, 12 KOs) fights Juan Jose Beltran (22-16-3) at Club Nokia on Thursday July 22. It?s the second appearance for the former 2000 U.S. Olympian who came within one point of a world title on two occasions. For tickets and information go to

Freddie Roach?s fighter Craig McEwan of Scotland faces San Diego?s Danny Perez on Friday July 23 at Pechanga Resort and Casino. McEwan amassed more than 300 fights as an amateur and has worked with the Hall of Fame trainer for more than two years at the Wild Card Boxing gym. Perez is a former world title challenger. Local star Charles Huerta and former Olympian Gary Russell Jr. are also on the card.

Mexico?s undefeated Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. will fight former middleweight world champion Kelly Pavlik on Dec. 4, said Cameron Dunkin who manages Pavlik. Chavez recently defeated John Duddy by knockout last month. Pavlik lost his world title to Argentina?s Sergio Martinez in his last fight.

Mexico?s Fernando Montiel (43-2-2, 33 KOs) knocked out Panama?s Rafael Concepcion (14-5-1, 8 KOs) at 1:07 of the third round in Mexico on Saturday. Montiel was making the first world title defense of the WBC bantamweight belt he captured by knockout out Japan?s venerable Hozumi Hasegawa. A possible match with former flyweight world champion Nonito Donaire could happen later this year.

WBA cruiserweight world titleholder Beibut Shumenov defends his title against Viacheslov Uzelkov on Friday at Tachi Palace in Lemoore, Calif. Also on the Gossen-Tutor fight card is Rico Ramos (16-0) matched against Mexico?s Cuauhtemoc Vargas (15-3-1) in a junior featherweight clash.

Heavyweight challenger David Tua (51-3-2, 43 KOs) fought to a draw against Monte Barrett (34-9-1, 20 KOs) after 12 rounds on Saturday in Atlantic City. Barrett said he was retiring after the fight. Tua had hoped a win could place him in a position to fight for one of the four world titles. He was knocked down in the final round.

Strikeforce MMA brings Challengers 9 fight card to Comcast Arena in Everett, Wash. On Friday July 23. Sarah Kaufman fights Roxanne Modaferri for the Strikeforce welterweight title.

A mixed martial arts fight card takes place on Saturday July 24 at the Hollywood Palladium. Respect MMA ? World War 3 starts at 6 p.m.

Mexico?s Jhonny Gonzalez (44-7) meets Aristides Perez (17-2-1) in a 12 round featherweight bout on Saturday July 24, in Campeche, Mexico. The former bantamweight world titleholder Gonzalez is on a four fight winning streak.

Mexican boxers Jorge ?El Travieso? Arce (54-6-1, 41 KOs) and Martin ?Gallito? Castillo (35-3, 18 KOs) battle on Saturday July 31 in Nayarit, Mexico. The two former world champions had been close to fighting each other for the past four years but it never happened.

Puerto Rico?s Carlos Velasquez (13-0, 11 KOs) stopped Mexico?s wild swinging Eduardo Arcos (15-2, 12 KOs) at 1:19 of the fifth round of a junior lightweight contest on Friday in Puerto Rico.

Matthew Hatton (40-4-2, 15 KOs) survived an early knockdown to beat Yuriy Nuzhnenko (30-2-1, 14 KOs) by unanimous decision after 12 rounds and capture the EBU welterweight title on Friday in Bolton, England. Hatton is the younger brother of Ricky Hatton who fought Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather.

Middleweight Fernando Guerrero (19-0, 15 KOs) took a hard fought decision win over Ishe Smith (21-5) on Friday in Mississippi. Also winning was junior middleweight Shawn Porter (16-0, 12 KOs) by decision over Ray Robinson (11-2) and junior welterweight Mike Dallas Jr. (15-0-1) over Lanard Lane (12-1, 7 KOs).

Former world champion Zab Judah (39-6, 27 KOs) knocked out Southern California?s Jose Armando Santa Cruz (28-5, 17 KOs) with a left uppercut at 2:33 of the third round of a junior welterweight clash on Friday. Though Judah is a former undisputed welterweight world champion, he is moving back down to junior welterweights.

Australia?s Danny Green (29-3, 26 KOs) defends his IBO cruiserweight world title against Paul Briggs (26-3, 18 KOs) on Wednesday July 21 in Perth, Australia. It?s Briggs, 34, first fight in three years.

Articles of 2010

Judah To Fight Mbuza March 5 In NJ




Totowa, NJ – Kathy Duva, Main Events CEO, announced their promotional firm won the purse bid held at IBF headquarters in East Orange, NJ, Thursday. The bid was for the right to hold the IBF's junior welterweight title fight between Zab Judah of Brooklyn, NY and Las Vegas, and South Africa's Kaizer Mabuza.

IBF Championships Chairman, Lindsay Tucker explained, “It is a 50-50 split of the earnings between the two fighters. Kaizer is ranked No. 1 by the IBF, and Judah is No. 2. Where the fight will be held is up to the winning bidder.”

Judah (39-6, 26 KOs) is promoted by Main Events and his own firm Super Judah Promotions, and Branco Milenkovic, of South Africa, promotes Mabuza (23-6-3, 14 KOs).

Kathy Duva confirmed the fight will take place at Prudential Center in Newark, NJ, late February or early March this year as part of Main Events' Brick City Boxing Series.  (Saturday Update: the fight is March 5th, in NJ at the Pru Center. The bout will be part of a PPV card.)

“We are very happy that Zab has the opportunity to fight for the IBF Junior Welterweight title right here in New Jersey.  Winning this fight will put Zab right in the mix with the winner of Bradley-Alexander and Amir Khan.” Duva elaborated, ” Zab will work very hard to win this fight so that he will be one step closer to his ultimate goal of unifying all of the Junior Welterweight titles by the end of 2011!”

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Articles of 2010

UFC 125 Preview: Frankie Edgar Vs. Gray Maynard



Few predicted Frankie Edgar would grab the UFC lightweight championship last year but he did. Most felt he would eventually win it but Edgar not only took the title, he beat one of the best mixed martial artists in history to do it.

Edgar (13-1) has emerged from the milieu of nondescript MMA fighters to become one of the more brilliant performers for Ultimate Fighting Championship. Next comes a rematch with Gray “The Bully” Maynard (11-0) tomorrow at the MGM Grand Casino in Las Vegas. UFC 125 will be televised on pay-per-view.

All it took was not one, but two victories over BJ Penn.

If you’re not familiar with Penn, he’s one of the most versatile fighters in MMA history and had been nearly unbeatable in the 155-pound lightweight division. That is until he clashed with Edgar. Until he met New Jersey’s Edgar, the Hawaiian fighter chopped down lightweight opponents with ease. It was only the heavier welterweights he had problems against. Namely: Canada’s Georges St. Pierre.

Edgar showed poise, speed and grit in defeating Penn in back-to-back fights. The world took notice.

“You know, if I keep winning fights, the respect will come eventually,” said Edgar during a conference call.

Now Edgar will find out if he can avenge the only loss on his record.

“I just think I grew as a fighter. You know, mentally, you know, physically I, you know, possess differently skills, increased – you know, I think I boxed and got better, my Jiu-Jitsu got better and, you know, just have much more experience now,” Edgar says.

Maynard seeks to find out if Edgar has added any more fighting tools to his repertoire. Back in April 2008, the artillery shelled out was not enough to beat the Las Vegas fighter.

“It’s a perfect time. He had the chance and, you know, he took it and the time is now for me and I’m prepared,” said Maynard (11-0). “Any time you’re going up against the top in the world, you evolve and change and so I’m prepared for a new fight, so it will be good. I’m pumped for it.”

Though Maynard’s record indicates he is unbeaten that’s not entirely true. He did suffer a defeat to Nate Diaz during The Ultimate Fighter series and subsequently avenged that loss last January.

The UFC lightweight title is in Maynard’s bull’s eye.

“Looking to take the belt for sure,” said Maynard. “We’ll see on January 1.”

Edgar versus Maynard should be a good one.

Other bouts:

Nate Diaz (13-5) faces Dong Hyun Kim (13-0-1) in another welterweight tussle. Diaz is the only fighter with a win over Maynard. Anyone watching TUF remembers Maynard tapping out from a Diaz guillotine choke. The Modesto fighter has a tough fight against South Korea’s Kim.

Chris Leben (21-6) fights Brian Stann (9-3) in a middleweight fight. Leben is a veteran of MMA and if an opponent is not ready for a rough and tumble fight, well, that fighter is not going to win. Stann dropped down from light heavyweight and we’ll see if the cut in weight benefits the Marine.

Brandon Vera (11-5) meets Thiago Silva (14-2) in a light heavyweight match up. Vera is trying to rally back to the promising fighter he was tabbed several years back. Silva is a very tough customer and eager to crash the elite. A victory by either fighter could mean a ticket to the big time.

Clay Guida (27-8) versus Takanori Gomi (32-6) in a lightweight bout. Guida has become one of the most feared fighters without a title. No one has an easy time with the long-haired fighter. Gomi lost to Kenny Florian but knocked out Tyson Griffin. Can he survive Guida?

Marcus “The Irish Hand Grenade” Davis (22-8) clashes with Jeremy Stephens (18-6) in another lightweight fight. Davis is a go-for-broke kind of fighter and is looking to get back in the win column after a tumultuous battle with Nate Diaz last August. Stephens needs a win too. In his last bout he lost to Melvin Guillard.

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Articles of 2010

Borges Looks Back, And Forward With Hope




As the end of another year approaches, there’s no need to invoke Charles Dickens to describe what went on in boxing. It was neither the best of times nor the worst of times. It was just too much time spent on The Fight That Never Took Place.

For the second straight year the sport could not deliver The Fight, the only one fans universally wanted and even casual fans craved – the mix between Floyd Mayweather, Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao.  No one has to be singled out for blame for that failure because this time there’s plenty to go around on both sides. The larger issue is what does it say about a sport when it cannot deliver its top event?

What would the NFL be without the Super Bowl? Where would major league baseball be without the World Series? Golf without the Masters? College basketball without March Madness?

They would all be less than they could be and so it was with boxing this year. Having said that, the sport was not without its signature moments. It was not bereft of nights that left those of us with an abiding (and often unrequited) love for prize fighting with good reason to hope for the future.

Three times promoter Bob Arum took the sport into massive stadium venues just like the good (very) old days and each time boxing drew a far larger crowd than its many critics expected. Twice those fights involved the sport’s leading ambassador, Pacquiao, who brought in crowds of 40,000 to 50,000 fans into Cowboys Stadium against inferior opponents Joshua Clottey and Antonio Margarito. Imagine what he might have done had Mayweather been in the opposite corner?

While both fights were, as expected, lopsided affairs, they showcased the one boxer who has transcended his sport’s confining walls to become a cultural icon and world celebrity. Pacquiao alone put boxing (or at least one boxer) on the cover of TIME and into the pages of such varied publications as Esquire, GQ, The Wall Street Journal, the American Airlines in-flight magazine and even Atlantic Monthly.

As history has proven time and again, that is what happens when boxing has a compelling personality to sell it and Pacquiao is that. Mayweather is such a person as well,  but for different reasons.

The one night he appeared in a boxing ring, he set the year’s pay-per-view standard against Shane Mosley while also leaving a first hint of dark mystery when he was staggered by two stinging right hands in the second round.

Mayweather was momentarily in trouble for the first time in his career but the moment passed quickly and Mosley never had another. By the end he had been made to look old and futile, a faded athlete who’d had his chance and was unable to do anything with it. So it goes in this harsh sport when the sands are running out of the hour glass.

As always there were some surprising upsets, most notably Jason Litzau’s domination of an uninterested and out of shape Celestino Caballero and Sergio Martinez’s one-punch demolishment of Paul Williams. The latter was not so much an upset as it was a stunning reminder that when someone makes a mistake against a highly skilled opponent in this sport they don’t end up embarrassed. They end up unconscious.

SHOWTIME did all it could to further the future of the sport, offering up a continuation of its interminably long but still bold Super Six super middleweight tournament as well as the launching of a short form bantamweight tournament which already gave fans to two stirring and surprising finishes with Joseph Agbeko decisioning Jhonny Perez and Abner Mares upsetting Victor Darchinyan in a battle of contusions.

While the Super Six has had its problems – including several of the original six pulling out – it also lifted the profile of former Olympic gold medalist Andre Ward from nearly unknown to the cusp of universal recognized as the best super middleweight in the world this side of Lucian Bute. If Ward continues winning he’ll get to Bute soon enough because that’s why SHOWTIME signed a TV deal with the Canadian and America may get its next boxing star if Ward proves to be what I think he is – which is still underrated and underappreciated.

HBO and HBO pay-per-view put on 23 shows, few of them compelling and many of them paying big money to the wrong people while doing little or nothing to grow the sport that has helped make their network rich. But they did have the knockout of the year – Martinez’s second round destruction of Williams – and some fights in the lower weight classes that were left you wanting more.

Two new names popped up who are causing the kind of fan reaction that also gives us hope for 2011 – American Brandon Rios and Mexican Saul Alvarez. They are two of the sport’s brightest young prospects because each comes to the arena the old-fashioned way – carrying nothing but bad intentions.
Aggression and knockouts still sell boxing faster than anything else and each exhibited plenty of both this year and left fans wanting to see more. Alvarez is already a star in Mexico without having yet won a world title and Rios is the definition of “promise.’’ Whether the star will continue to shine and promise will be fulfilled may be answered next year and so we wait anxiously to find out.

Backed by Golden Boy Promotions, there is no reason 2011 shouldn’t be Alvarez’s year and if it is people will notice and remember him because he has a crowd-pleasing style that is all about what sells most.

That is what boxing needs more of – fresh faces and new stars… so as fans we should root for guys like Alvarez, Ward, Rios and young Brit Amir Khan, who is a star in England but still a question mark with a questionable chin but a fighter’s heart here in the U.S.

Those guys and others not yet as well known are the future of boxing, a sport that for too long has been recycling the likes of Mosley (as it will again in May for one last beating against Pacquiao in a fight that's a joke), Bernard Hopkins (who can still fight although it is unclear why he bothers or where it’s all headed), Roy Jones and, sadly, even 48-year-old Evander Holyfield, who continues to delude himself but not many other people into believing he will soon unify the heavyweight title again.
If fighters like Ward, Alvarez, Rios, Khan, WBC welterweight champion Andre Berto and middleweight king Sergio Martinez continue their rise they could be the antidote for the art of the retread that Arum and Golden Boy have been forcing fans to buy the past few years at the expense of what boxing needs most – fresh faces.

The heavyweight division, which many believe determines the relevancy of boxing to the larger world, remains a vast desert of disinterest here in the US. The Klitschko brothers, Vitali and Wladimir, hold 75 per cent of the title belts but few peoples’ imaginations in the US, although to be fair they are European superstars and don’t really need U.S. cable TV money to thrive economically.

Each defended their titles twice this year, Vitali against lame competition (Albert Sosnowski and Shannon Briggs) and Wladimir against better fighters (Sam Peter and Eddie Chambers) but not competitive ones. Sadly, there is no American on the horizon to challenge them, a comment on the division and on our country, where the athletes who used to be Joe Louis or Muhammad Ali now opt for the easier and frankly safer road of the NFL or the NBA. Who can blame them considering all the nonsense a fighter has to go through to just make a living these days?

The one heavyweight match that would be compelling and might lift the sport up for at least a night would be either of the Klitschkos facing lippy WBA champion David Haye. The fast-talking Brit claims to not be ducking them but he’s had more maladies befall him after shouting from the rooftops how much he wants to challenge them that you have to wonder if Haye is simply a case of big hat no cattle syndrome.

For the sake of the sport, we should all be lighting candles each night in hopes our prayers will be answered and Haye will finally agree to meet one of them. It may not prove to be much of a fight but at least it will give us something to talk about for a few months.

Whatever Haye and the Klitschkos decide the fighter with the most upside at the moment however seems to be Sergio Martinez.  He has matinee idol looks, a big enough punch to put Paul Williams to sleep with one shot and a work ethic second to none. The Argentine fighter had a year for himself, starting with a drubbing of Kelly Pavlik followed by his demolishment of Williams. Those kinds of victories, coupled with his Oscar De La Hoya-like looks, are the type of things that if HBO or SHOWTIME would get behind him could allow Martinez to capture the attention of both fight fans and more casual ones.

In general, Hispanics fighters continued to dominate much of the sport’s front pages with Juan Manuel Marquez’s two victories in lightweight title fights leading that storyline. His war with Michael Katsidis is a strong candidate for Fight of the Year and his technical skill and calm demeanor make him the uncrowned challenger to Pacquiao. The two have unfinished business that should be settled this year if Arum stops standing in the way.

Two other fighters who gave us moments to remember in 2010 were Juan Manuel Lopez, who knocked out three solid opponents including highly respected Mexican warrior Rafael Marquez, and Giovani Segura, who won four times (that’s three years work for Mayweather) in 2010, all by knockout. Along the way, Segura defeated one of the great minimum weight fighters in history, slick Ivan Calderon, to win the belt on Aug. 28.

Lastly, boxing gave us another magical cinematic moment as well with the release of “The Fighter,’’ a film based on the life and hard times of junior welterweight scrapper Micky Ward. The film has won rave reviews and many awards and seems likely to have several of its actors nominated for Academy Awards, most notable Christian Bale for his sadly humorous portrayal of Ward’s troubled half brother, former fighter Dickie Ecklund.

Boxing has a long history of providing the framework for memorable movies and it did it again with “The Fighter,’’ a film that did more for boxing than any promoter did all year.

All in all, it wasn’t the best of years for boxing but it was a good year that picked up speed in the final months and, like that great golf shot you finally hit out of the rough on the 18th, left us with reasons to hope for a better year in 2011. If somehow it gives us Mayweather-Pacquiao, the emergence of Alvarez and Rios, the ascension of Martinez and Haye vs. the best available Klitschko in addition to the kind of solid performances that always come along, it could be a year to remember.

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