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After 40 Years, the Rancid Decision in Everett-Escalera Still Stinks

Bernard Fernandez




EVERETT-ESCALERA LIVES IN INFAMY — To hear some tell it, Nov. 30, 1976, was the night of the most brazen robbery since Jesse James, Bonnie and Clyde, John Dillinger and Willie Sutton were treating America’s banks as their personal ATMs. But those notorious outlaws made their withdrawals with guns instead of PIN codes.

Hotly disputed decisions are not uncommon in boxing, giving rise to any number of conspiracy theories that involve theft by pencil or some other form of official malfeasance. Few eyebrow-raising outcomes, however, have been so indelibly stamped with the infamy of WBC super featherweight champion Alfredo Escalera’s 15-round split decision “victory” over Tyrone Everett in the challenger’s hometown of Philadelphia. Adding additional intrigue to the heist is the fact that Everett was just 24 years old when he was shot to death six months after the Escalera fight, possibly as the result of his girlfriend discovering him in a tryst with a transvestite lover, possibly because of the slick southpaw’s financial backing of local drug dealers. In the two-story South Philly house where Everett’s brain was violated by a 32-caliber bullet fired from a pistol in the hands of Carolyn McKendrick, 38 cellophane packets of heroin were found on a dining room table.

The circumstances of his demise and the cutting short of what was shaping up as a brilliant ring career have served to make Everett a curious and enigmatic figure whose professional legacy remains a topic of discussion. The man known as “The Mean Machine” went to an unmarked grave with a 36-1 record and 20 wins inside the distance, but the memory of his many successes is forever overshadowed by the sole defeat that over the past 40 years has taken on the trappings of legend.

No one has ever been able to definitively prove that the fix was in that night at the Spectrum, but there is an old saying that holds if something waddles and quacks like a duck, and has webbed feet and a bill, it most likely is a duck.

Nigel Collins, boxing historian, former editor of The Ring and author of Boxing Babylon: Behind the Shadowy World of the Prize Ring, which includes a chapter on Everett, is convinced that, barring a knockout which would have undone the deal, it had been prearranged that Escalera would win so long as he was on his feet at the final bell.

“There obviously have been fixed fights,” Collins, who was at ringside for Escalera-Everett, told me for this story. “I can’t think of anywhere the hometown guy, the one who brought the crowd, wound up on the wrong end of such a blatantly wrong decision. I’d have to do some research on that.

“But clearly this fight was fixed. It was fixed by `Honest’ Bill Daly, who was a leftover from the era when gangsters overtly controlled the sport. That was really a dark day for Philadelphia boxing because so many people high up the totem pole were involved.”

Collins, however, makes it clear that he doesn’t believe Everett or any member of his support team were in on the alleged scheme.

“Everett clearly wouldn’t have agreed to anything like that,” he said. “I don’t think he would have lost on purpose if you had given him a million dollars. He had too large an ego.”

Makes sense; no fighter who had consented to go into the tank would have done the kind of paint job Everett did on Escalera with a fusillade of accurate and stinging counterpunches that, a generation later, would call to mind the artistry of another flashy southpaw, Pernell Whitaker. All of which casts at least a shadow of a doubt on the suggestion of a rigged outcome. If Everett was so highly skilled and capable of winning without assistance, how could any would-be manipulator be assured of getting the result he desired? Perhaps it was because Everett was generally disinclined to take unnecessary chances, settling for easy nods on points when he might have gone for exclamation-point stoppages.

“Everett was a very good fighter, lightning-quick, but he was a safety-first guy,” recalled J Russell Peltz, his promoter. “If he had more of a finisher’s instincts, not as many of his fights would have gone to the scorecards.”

A nice-looking fellow and reputed chick-magnet, Everett was not the typical Philadelphia fighter in that he never went in face-first, the better to protect his matinee-idol looks.

“People say I don’t like to get hit, and that’s true,” he once said. “They say I don’t look like a fighter, that I’m too pretty. I want to stay that way.”

So there is at least the possibility that the split verdict for Escalera owed to simple incompetence instead of corruption. But if that is indeed the case, the level of ineptitude rose to a Himalayan level.

In The Ultimate Book of Boxing Lists, which was compiled by Bert Randolph Sugar and Teddy Atlas in 2010, veteran boxing judge Harold Lederman states that it “may be history’s worst decision.”

Tom Cushman, one of my illustrious predecessors on the boxing beat for the Philadelphia Daily News, was among the ringside reporters who reacted with outrage at what appeared to everyone in the pro-Everett crowd of 16,119 to be a near-shutout romp for the fans’ favorite. Cushman, who scored the bout 148-139 for Everett (as did I, in reviewing the tape), summed up the prevailing reaction of virtually everyone concerned when he authored this opening paragraph of his fight story:

Tyrone Everett won the junior lightweight championship of the world last night. Won it with a whirling, artistic, courageous performance that brushed against the edges of brilliance. Tyrone was standing tall, proud, bleeding in his corner after the 15 rounds, waiting for the championship belt to be draped around his waist, when they snatched it from him. Picked him so clean it’s a wonder they didn’t take his shoes and trunks along with everything else.

Lest anyone think that Cushman had viewed the fight through rose-colored glasses and thus was predisposed to favor the hometown guy, it should be noted that representatives of every media outlet in attendance had Everett winning by similarly lopsided margins. Had CompuBox been operational then, the punch statistics favoring the Philadelphian surely would have as wide as the Grand Canyon.

But the only opinions that counted were those of Mexican referee Ray Solis, Puerto Rican judge Ismael Fernandez and Philly judge Lou Tress, and the scorecards they submitted elicited howls of anger and disbelief that might have produced a riot. Solis got it right by going with Everett, although by a surprising narrow 148-146 (4-2 in rounds for Everett, with an almost-incomprehensible nine rounds even), while Fernandez favored Escalera by 146-143 as did, shockingly, the Philly judge, Tress by 145-143.

Tress, who was 82 when he died on Oct. 13, 1979, hurriedly left the arena and he never again judged another fight. That might have been his choice, but more likely it was by popular demand.

“A day or two after the fight there was a story in the paper in which I was quoted as saying, `Lou Tress will never judge another fight as long as I’m director of boxing at the Spectrum,’” Peltz said. “And he never did, although I don’t think he ever tried to.”

Peltz was asked if the quote attributed to him is accurate.

“Yeah, I said it,” he confirmed. “I meant it, too.”

Tress is the linchpin of every conspiracy theory, the wild card who some have said accepted “a nice parting gift” for submitting a scorecard that seemingly flouted everything he had seen with his own eyes.

In Cushman’s book, Muhammad Ali and the Greatest Heavyweight Generation, there is a passage in which Peltz recalls encountering Frank “Blinky” Palermo, the Philly-based associate of New York mobster Frankie Carbo, a few days after Escalera-Everett. Peltz asked the notorious fixer, who was affiliated with Daly, if he thought some funny business had indeed gone down.

“You can buy Tress for a cup of coffee,” Palermo, who is now deceased, responded.

As it turned out, Tress was something of a mystery guest who arrived at the party at the last minute. Peltz and Everett’s manager, Frank Gelb, didn’t find out who the Philly judge was until the day of the fight.

“When we made the fight, Escalera’s people told us they didn’t care who the officials were,” Peltz said. “In our naivete, we were, like, `This is great.’ But what we didn’t realize was that they didn’t care because they knew the WBC would appoint the officials. That became a big, big bone of contention in the lead-up to the fight, almost to the point of the fight being canceled.

“Ed Snider, who owned the Spectrum at the time, got involved with the governor (Milton Shapp). I remember Linda (Peltz’s wife) and I going to a Flyers game and at a pregame party Snider said, `We got it done. We’re going to have one Pennsylvania (judge), one from Puerto Rico and a neutral referee.’ This was just a week or so before the fight.

“Really, we didn’t know it would be Tress until right at the end. But we figured that whoever the Philadelphia judge was, he was going to be honest. We expected the Puerto Rican judge, no matter what happened, to vote for Escalera if it went to a decision. And we were right; the guy turned out to be a complete crook. But we had investigated the referee from Mexico, and we were pretty confident that he was an honest guy, a fair guy.”

Team Everett anticipated that Tommy Cross, a former Philly fighter from the 1940s and ’50s, would get the judging gig for Escalera-Everett. But, Peltz said, there supposedly was a late conversation between Zach Clayton and Howard McCall in which Clayton, a former Pennsylvania State Boxing Commission head and referee (he was the third man in the ring for the Muhammad Ali-George Foreman “Rumble in the Jungle”), asked McCall, the then-commissioner of the PSAC, to appoint Tress as a favor to the old guy nearing retirement. McCall agreed, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Collins doesn’t know the identities of all those whose fingers were dipped into the rotten pie, but he does give credit to McCall for alleviating a tense situation when ring announcer Ed Derian read the decision that went over with the big turnout – the largest non-outdoors crowd ever for a boxing match in Pennsylvania – like a gob of spit in the punch bowl.

“McCall jumped into the ring, picked up the microphone and said he was suspending the decision pending an investigation,” Collins said. “Now, that was total b.s. There was no investigation, but his saying what he did probably stopped a riot from happening. The place was filled with Tyrone Everett fans and they were very angry, and had every right to be so.”

There was, of course, a public groundswell for Escalera and Everett to move on to an immediate rematch, but there were inevitable complications. Escalera – who insisted he deserved to win the controversial showdown with Everett because the challenger “ran, ran, ran, and you can’t win that way” – said the do-over would have to be in San Juan, Puerto Rico, which Everett and his crew were disinclined to do, given the fact they felt they had been screwed over on supposedly friendly turf. For another, Escalera had subsequently joined the promotional stable of Don King, ensuring that any negotiations would be contentious and drawn-out. Still, it was revealed a deal for Part II was in the works, although contracts had not been signed and might never have been.

Everything went up in smoke – gun smoke – when McKendrick fatally shot Everett on May 26, 1977. She pleaded self-defense, claiming that she had been the victim of domestic abuse by Everett on multiple occasions, and that she feared for her life as he stepped toward her in a menacing manner. Prosecutor Roger King argued that McKendrick shot Everett in cold blood because he had spurned her in favor of a transvestite, Tyrone Price, who was in the house at the time of the shooting. It should be noted that Everett’s family always has insisted that “ladies’ man” Ty, despite speculation, was not one to swing the other way.

The jury deliberated just 2½ hours before convicting McKendrick of third-degree murder. She was released from prison after serving five years.

What there was of the life and times of Tyrone Everett is destined to forever remain a blended jumble of facts and unsubstantiated opinions. While it is indisputable that he was a master technician inside the ropes, he never was afforded the opportunity to flesh out his career resume with more of the kind of defining fights that might have lifted him to the kind of status enjoyed by his stylistic successor, Whitaker, who was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2007. Everett is enshrined only in the Pennsylvania Boxing Hall of Fame, which posthumously recognized him in 2006. There was not even a marker on his grave until John DiSanto, founder of, established a program to place headstones on the otherwise nondescript final resting places of Philly fighters who deserved to be remembered. Everett, the first honoree, got his headstone in 2010.

Leave it to Peltz, who admits that his relationship with Everett was frequently frosty and adversarial, to speculate on how the superstar-in-the-making might have fared against such celebrated contemporaries as Alexis Arguello, Bobby Chacon (both of whom are in the IBHOF), Rafael “Bazooka” Limon and Cornelius Boza-Edwards.

“Escalera gave Arguello hell after the Everett fight,” Peltz, also an inductee into the IBHOF, noted. “They fought twice. I don’t know if both of those fights were life-and-death, but at least one of them was. Arguello was pushed to the max by Escalera and, let’s face it, Escalera was totally outclassed by Everett.

“Everett was lightning-quick. A lot of his fights weren’t exciting because they were one-sided, but if you look at the rankings, every time he fought at the Spectrum we brought in top-10 guys – Hyun-Chi Kim from Korea and Benjamin Ortiz from Puerto Rico, among others, and he handled them all. And he went on the road and beat Ray Lunny in San Francisco, his back yard. He went to Venezuela and beat Hugo Barraza in an eliminator in the rain. Who does that?

“Boza-Edwards, Limon, Chacon … they were used to guys walking to them, standing there and fighting at close quarters. Everett was a really slick, quick lefthander who always gave Hispanic fighters trouble. At the very least, he would have been competitive with any of them.”

And Whitaker, to whom Everett has frequently been compared?

“Well, they were both southpaws and they were both defensive fighters,” Peltz allowed. “Whitaker would stand in the pocket more and make you miss, which is what he learned from (his Hall of Fame trainer, George) Benton. Everett would move side to side and get out of there. But I don’t know that even Whitaker was as quick as Everett.”

Maybe it would all have turned out differently for Everett had he gotten the decision against Escalera he so clearly deserved. It is unfathomable to his admirers that in the 13th round of that miscarriage of justice, when a clash of heads opened a deep cut high on Everett’s forehead, that Escalera won the round on two official scorecards with the other even, despite it arguably being the challenger’s best work, in which he fought back with more passion than at any other time in the bout. It is Peltz’s position that had Everett only continued to go after Escalera the same way in the last two rounds, he would have won by knockout.

“The judges scored the blood instead of the punches,” Everett said of the most perplexing round of a most perplexing confrontation. Then again, maybe one or more of the pencil-wielders knew how they were going to score it before they saw it.

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel


The BWAA Shames Veteran Referee Laurence Cole and Two Nebraska Judges

Arne K. Lang



In an unprecedented development, the Boxing Writers Association of America has started a “watch list” to lift the curtain on ring officials who have “screwed up.” Veteran Texas referee Laurence Cole and Nebraska judges Mike Contreras and Jeff Sinnett have the unwelcome distinction of being the first “honorees.”

“Boxing is a sport where judges and referees are rarely held accountable for poor performances that unfairly change the course of a fighter’s career and, in some instances, endanger lives,” says the BWAA in a preamble to the new feature. Hence the watch list, which is designed to “call attention to ‘egregious’ errors in scoring by judges and unacceptable conduct by referees.”

Contreras and Sinnett, residents of Omaha, were singled out for their scorecards in the match between lightweights Thomas Mattice and Zhora Hamazaryan, an eight round contest staged at the WinnaVegas Casino in Sloan, Iowa on July 20. They both scored the fight 76-75 for Mattice, enabling the Ohio fighter to keep his undefeated record intact via a split decision.

Although Mattice vs. Hamazaryan was a supporting bout, it aired live on ShoBox. Analyst Steve Farhood, who was been with ShoBox since the inception of the series in 2001, called it one of the worst decisions he had ever seen. Lead announcer Barry Tompkins went further, calling it the worst decision he has seen in his 40 years of covering the sport.

Laurence Cole (pictured alongside his father) was singled out for his behavior as the third man in the ring for the fight between Regis Prograis and Juan Jose Velasco at the Lakefront Arena in New Orleans on July 14. The bout was televised live on ESPN.

In his rationale for calling out Cole, BWAA prexy Joseph Santoliquito leaned heavily on Thomas Hauser’s critique of Cole’s performance in The Sweet Science. “Velasco fought courageously and as well as he could,” noted Hauser. “But at the end of round seven he was a thoroughly beaten fighter.”

His chief second bullied him into coming out for another round. Forty-five seconds into round eight, after being knocked down for a third time, Velasco spit out his mouthpiece and indicated to Cole that he was finished. But Cole insisted that the match continue and then, after another knockdown that he ruled a slip, let it continue for another 35 seconds before Velasco’s corner mercifully threw in the towel.

Controversy has dogged Laurence Cole for well over a decade.

Cole was the third man in the ring for the Nov. 25, 2006 bout in Hildalgo, Texas, between Juan Manuel Marquez and Jimrex Jaca. In the fifth round, Marquez sustained a cut on his forehead from an accidental head butt. In round eight, another accidental head butt widened and deepened the gash. As Marquez was being examined by the ring doctor, Cole informed Marquez that he was ahead on the scorecards, volunteering this information while holding his hand over his HBO wireless mike. The inference was that Marquez was free to quit right then without tarnishing his record. (Marquez elected to continue and stopped Jaca in the next round.)

This was improper. For this indiscretion, Cole was prohibited from working a significant fight in Texas for the next six months.

More recently, Cole worked the 2014 fight between Vasyl Lomachenko and Orlando Salido at the San Antonio Alamodome. During the fight, Salido made a mockery of the Queensberry rules for which he received no point deductions and only one warning. Cole’s performance, said Matt McGrain, was “astonishingly bad,” an opinion echoed by many other boxing writers. And one could site numerous other incidents where Cole’s performance came under scrutiny.

Laurence Cole is the son of Richard “Dickie” Cole. The elder Cole, now 87 years old, served 21 years as head of the Texas Department of Combat Sports Regulation before stepping down on April 30, 2014. At various times during his tenure, Dickie Cole held high executive posts with the World Boxing Council and North American Boxing Federation. He was the first and only inductee into the inaugural class of the Texas Boxing Hall of Fame, an organization founded by El Paso promoter Lester Bedford in 2015.

From an administrative standpoint, boxing in Texas during the reign of Dickie Cole was frequently described in terms befitting a banana republic. Whenever there was a big fight in the Lone Star State, his son was the favorite to draw the coveted refereeing assignment.

Boxing is a sideline for Laurence Cole who runs an independent insurance agency in Dallas. By law in Texas (and in most other states), a boxing promoter must purchase insurance to cover medical costs in the event that one or more of the fighters on his show is seriously injured. Cole’s agency is purportedly in the top two nationally in writing these policies. Make of that what you will.

Complaints of ineptitude, says the WBAA, will be evaluated by a “rotating committee of select BWAA members and respected boxing experts.” In subsequent years, says the press release, the watch list will be published quarterly in the months of April, August, and December (must be the new math).

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel


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The Avila Perspective, Chapter 8: Competing Cards in N.Y. and L.A.

David A. Avila



Rival boxing shows compete this Saturday as light heavyweight world titlists are featured in New Jersey while former world champion welterweights and middleweights tangle in New York.

A mere 150 miles separate the two fight cards staged in Uniondale, N.Y. and Atlantic City.

But there’s no mercy inside the boxing ring and certainly no mercy between boxing promotions. While Main Events stages WBO light heavyweight titlist Sergey Kovalev and WBA light heavyweight titlist Dmitry Bivol in separate bouts, DiBella Entertainment stacks former champs Andre Berto against Devon Alexander in a welterweight clash.

Take your pick.

Russia’s Kovalev (32-2-1, 28 KOs) has lost some luster and hopes to reboot his popularity with a win against Canada’s Eleider Alvarez (23-0, 11 KOs). But he will be directly competing against WBA champ Bivol (13-0, 11 KOs), also of Russia, who defends against Isaac Chilemba (25-5-2) of South Africa.

HBO will televise both light heavyweight title fights.

Bivol, 27, has slowly, almost glacier-like slow, picked up fans along the way by training in Southern California. The quiet unassuming fighter with a conservative style and cobra-like quickness appeals to the fans.

“I do not think that now I am the best light heavyweight, but I am now one of the best. One of four guys,” said Bivol during a press conference call. “But I hope in not the far future, we will know who is the best.”

That, of course, would mean a date with Kovalev should both fighters win on Saturday. Nothing is certain.

Kovalev, now 35, has lost some of that fear factor aura since losing back-to-back fights to now retired Andre Ward. Though he’s cracked two opponents in succession by knockout, many are pointing to the potential showdown with Bivol as the moment of truth.

“Most likely this fight is gonna happen since both Sergey and I are HBO boxers and as long as that’s what the people want, most likely the fight will happen,” said Bivol. “Me and Sergey will make sure to give this fight to the people.”

It’s time for the build-up and it starts on Saturday Aug. 4, on HBO.

“That’s certainly a goal of Sergey’s and he’s made it very clear to me that that’s what he wants to do,” said promoter Kathy Duva, CEO of Main Events. “He wants to do unification fights if he is successful with Eleider Alvarez. That’s what he wants to do next; he’s been very clear about that.”


Five former world champions stack the fight card at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York.

Former welterweight world champs Andre Berto (31-5, 24 KOs) and Devon Alexander (27-4-1, 14 KOs) lead the charge in a 12-round clash. FOX will televise the main event and others at 4 p.m. PT/7 p.m. ET.

Berto, 34, has been fighting once a year so it’s difficult to determine if age has crept into his reflexes. When he knocked out Victor Ortiz in a rematch two years ago Berto looked sharp and dangerous. But against Shawn Porter a year ago, the crispness seemed gone and he quickly lost by knockout.

Alexander, 31, has the advantage of being a southpaw. But he always seems to do the minimum when he fights. Last February he slowed down and allowed Victor Ortiz to steal the fight. All the commotion by the announcers was for naught. Defense does not win fights, it allows you to win fights. The lack of offense in the latter rounds cost Alexander a win in a match that entered the books as a majority draw.

It’s a curious matchup of former world champions.

Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin (33-1-1, 23 KOs) the former WBO middleweight titlist meets J’Leon Love (24-1-1, 13 KOs) in a super middleweight bout set for 10 rounds. It’s another intriguing fight especially between two fighters with great personalities.

Quillin, 35, was ambushed by Daniel Jacobs in the first round a year ago in losing the title. Was it bad luck, age or both? As a fighter the Brooklyn-based prizefighter has a ton of followers who like him as a person. Few are as classy as Quillin.

Love, 30, has long been a mainstay in Las Vegas and since his amateur days his abilities have been touted. Throughout the years Love has shown that charm and friendliness can go a long ways, even in the bitter wars of prizefighting. But the time has come to see if he belongs in the prizefighting world. Quillin will present an immense challenge for Love.

A number of other interesting fights are slated to take place among former world champions including Sergey Lipinets who lost the super lightweight title to Mikey Garcia this past winter. There’s also Luis Collazo in a welterweight match.

One world title fight does take place on the card.

Female WBA super middleweight titlist Alicia Napoleon (9-1) makes the first defense of her title against Scotland’s Hannah Rankin (5-1). It’s a 10 round bout and the first time Napoleon defends the title since winning it last March against Germany’s Femke Hermans. Ironically, Hermans now has the WBO super middleweight title after defeating former champ Nikki Adler by decision this past May.

L.A. Congestion

Next week the city of Angels will be packed with three fight cards in four days.

First, on Wednesday Aug. 8, 360 Promotions stages Abraham Lopez (9-1-1, 3 KOs) versus Gloferson Ortizo (12-0-1, 6 KOs) in the main event at the Avalon Theater in Hollywood, Calif. This is Filipino fighter Ortizo’s ninth fight this year. You read that correctly.

All of Ortizo’s fights have taken place across the border in Tijuana. The 32-year-old now returns to California against another Californian in Lopez. He’ll be looking for his fourth consecutive knockout, but Lopez, 22, has not lost a fight since his pro debut. Inactivity might come into play for Lopez who hasn’t stepped in the boxing ring in over a year.

New York’s Brian Ceballo (3-0) returns in a six round welterweight bout against local fighter Tavorus Teague (5-20-4). Ceballo, who is promoted by 360 Promotions, looked good in his last appearance. The amateurish punches seen in his first two bouts were gone by his third pro fight. His opponent Teague has ability and can give problems if Ceballo takes his foot off the pedal.

One of Gennady “GGG” Golovkin’s training partners Ali Akhmedov (11-0, 8 KOs) makes his California debut when he meets Jorge Escalante (9-1-1, 6 KOs) in a light heavyweight match.

Female super lightweight Elvina White (2-0) is also slated to compete. The entire fight card will be streamed at and on the 360 Promotions page on Facebook. First bell rings at 6:15 p.m.

Belasco Theater in downtown L.A. is the site of Golden Boy Promotions fight card on Friday Aug. 10. A pair of young prospects will be severely tested.

San Diego’s Genaro Gamez (8-0, 5 KOs) meets Filipino fighter Recky Dulay (10-3, 7 KOs) for the vacant NABF super featherweight title. For Dulay it’s always kill or be killed. Five of his last fights have ended in knockout wins or losses.

Gamez, 23, seems to thrive under pressure and broke down two veterans in back-to-back fights at Fantasy Springs Casino. Now he returns to the Belasco, a venue where he has struggled in the past. But this time he’s the main event.

Another being severely tested will be Emilio Sanchez (15-1, 10 KOs) facing veteran Christopher Martin (30-10-3, 10 KOs) who is capable of beating anyone.

Sanchez, 24, lost by knockout in his last fight this past March. He’s talented and fearless and one mistake cost him his first loss as a pro. He’s not getting a break against Martin, a cagey fighter who has upset many young rising prospects in the past. Martin also has experience against world champions. It’s an extremely tough matchup for Sanchez.

The fight card will be televised by Estrella TV beginning at 6 p.m.

World Title Fight

On Saturday, boxing returns to the Avalon Theater in Hollywood.

The main event is a good one as Puerto Rico’s Jesus Rojas (26-1-2, 19 KOs) defends the WBA featherweight world title against Southern California’s Jojo Diaz (26-1) in a 12 round clash. It’s power versus speed.

Rojas, 31, is one tough customer. When he took the interim title against Claudia Marrero last year he chased down the speedy southpaw Dominican and blasted him out in the seventh round. Several months earlier he obliterated another Golden Boy prospect, Abraham Lopez (not the same Abraham Lopez that is fighting on the 360 Promotions card), in eight rounds. Now he has the title and defends against the speedy southpaw Diaz.

Diaz, 25, just recently lost a bid for the WBC featherweight title against Gary Russell Jr. Though he lost by decision three months ago, that fight might be easy in comparison to this challenge against Rojas.

The former Olympian won’t be able to take a breath against the Puerto Rican slugger who is about as rough as they come.

Two more undefeated Golden Boy prospects get a chance to eliminate each other when Philadelphia’s Damon Allen (15-0-1) meets East L.A.’s Jonathan Navarro (14-0, 7 KOs) in a super lightweight fight set for 10 rounds.

Phillie versus East LA is like fire versus fire in the boxing ring. Boxers originating from those two hard-bitten areas usually have go-for-broke styles that result in pure action. Allen versus Navarro should not disappoint.

Allen, 25, is not a hard puncher but he’s aggressive and like most Philadelphia fighters, he’s not afraid to mix it up.

Navarro, 21, lives in East L.A. but trains in Riverside under Robert Garcia. He’s slowly finding his timing and will be facing the fastest fighter since his pro debut in 2015.

Others featured on the card will be Hector Tanajara, Aaron McKenna and Ferdinand Kerobyan.

The card will be streamed on the Golden Boy Fight Night page on Facebook beginning at 6 p.m.

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What’s Next for Manny Pacquiao?

Kelsey McCarson




Manny Pacquiao isn’t quite ready to retire, and more big-money fights against high-level competition seem to be on the 39-year-old’s way.

“I feel like I’m a 27-year-old,” Pacquiao told’s Jamil Santos last week. “Expect more fights to come.”

Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 KOs) looked exceptionally sharp in his seventh-round knockout win over former junior welterweight titleholder Lucas Matthysse on July 15 at Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It was Pacquiao’s best performance in at least four years, netting Pacquiao a secondary world title at welterweight along with a slew of renewed public interest in the boxing superstar’s career.

But what comes next for the only fighter in the history of boxing to capture world titles in eight different weight classes? TSS takes a detailed look at the potential opponents for one of the sport’s most celebrated stars.

Cream of the Crop

Pacquiao looked good enough against Matthysse to suggest he’d make a viable candidate to face either Terence Crawford or Vasyl Lomachenko next. Crawford is ranked No. 2 on the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board’s pound-for-pound list while Lomachenko slots at No. 1.

While Pacquiao is no longer under contract with longtime promoter Bob Arum at Top Rank, most industry insiders expect he will continue working with Arum’s team in some capacity so long as his career keeps moving forward. Pacquiao started his own promotional venture, MP Promotions, to co-promote the Matthysse bout with Oscar De La Hoya, but Top Rank was still involved in the fight which is why the bout ended up streaming on ESPN+.

Top Rank’s two hottest commodities at the present are Ring Magazine and WBA lightweight champ Lomachenko and welterweight titlist Crawford. Both are highly-regarded, multi-division world titleholders in the primes of their careers who are universally considered the top fighters in boxing.

Lomachenko and Crawford would each present a unique set of problems for Pacquiao stylistically. Of the two, Pacquiao probably matches up best with Lomachenko at this point in his career. Crawford (33-0, 24 KOs) is much larger and heavier than both Pacquiao and Lomachenko, and unless Pacquiao just really wants to test himself against someone incredibly dangerous, it’d probably be best for Team Pacquiao to avoid fighting Crawford at all costs. Crawford would be a heavy favorite against Pacquiao and most boxing insiders don’t believe this version of Pacquiao could compete with Crawford.

Lomachenko (11-1, 9 KOs) is naturally smaller than Pacquiao and has never fought above 135 pounds. If Pacquiao could lure Lomachenko to 140 pounds or above, he’d find himself in a winnable fight against a top-notch opponent. Lomachenko would probably be the slight favorite based on age alone but Pacquiao’s power and athleticism would give him a realistic chance to pull the upset.

Other Notable Possibilities

Former junior welterweight titleholder Amir Khan has long been angling for a bout against Pacquiao. Khan faces Samuel Vargas on Sept. 8 in another comeback bout against lower level competition. Khan (32-4, 20 KOs) bravely moved up to middleweight to fight Canelo Alvarez in 2016 but was knocked out in the sixth round. He left the sport for a spell but returned to boxing in February as a welterweight with a sensational first round knockout win over Phil Lo Greco. A win over Vargas puts Khan in good position to secure a bout with Pacquiao, and the fight is a reasonable move by both camps. Pacquiao would probably be the heavy favorite, but Khan’s speed and long reach give him a decent chance to pull the upset.

Former welterweight titleholder Jeff Horn won a controversial decision over Pacquiao last year in Australia. The bout grabbed huge ratings for ESPN and there have been many debates since it happened as to which fighter truly deserved the nod from the judges. Horn (18-1-1, 12 KOs) doesn’t possess elite level talent, but he’s huge compared to Pacquiao and fights with such ferocity that the two can’t help but make an aesthetically pleasing fight together. Pacquiao would be the heavy favorite to defeat Horn if the two fight again.

Pacquiao vs. PBC fighters?

Boxing’s current political climate and the ongoing battle of promoters and television networks for the hearts and minds of boxing fans usually leaves many compelling fights between top level stars off the table. Fighters promoted by Top Rank and Golden Boy are almost never able to secure bouts with fighters signed to Al Haymon to appear under the Premier Boxing Champions banner and vice versa. But Pacquiao’s free agent status opens up new and interesting possibilities for the fighter to pursue noteworthy PBC fighters.

There had been lots of chatter about Pacquiao facing Mikey Garcia next. Garcia (39-0, 30 KOs) has been decimating competition at both lightweight and junior welterweight. Garcia is considered by most experts to be one of the top 10 pound-for-pound fighters in the sport. He’s the TBRB junior welterweight champion and a unified lightweight titleholder (WBC, IBF). While Garcia is hoping to land a big money bout against IBF welterweight titleholder Errol Spence, most boxing experts believe the jump up to 147 pounds would be too much for the diminutive Garcia who began his career at featherweight. A better welterweight target for Garcia would be Pacquiao who also began his career in a much lower weight class.

Spence (24-0, 21 KOs) is probably the best of the PBC welterweights. He’s considered by many to be on par with Crawford at 147 so it would be an incredibly dangerous bout for Pacquiao to go after at this point in his career. But Spence is aggressive and fights in a style that Pacquiao traditionally matches up very well against. Spence would be the favorite based on size, age and skill.

Slightly less dangerous to Pacquiao would be facing the winner of the Sept. 8 battle between Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter. Garcia (34-1, 20 KOs) and Porter (28-2-1, 17 KOs) are fighting for the vacant WBC welterweight title and the possibility of capturing another world title in his career could sway Pacquiao to seek out the winner. Pacquiao could find himself a slight favorite or underdog depending on which of the two fighters he would face, but both would be winnable fights.

The WBA welterweight champion is Keith Thurman. Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs) is a good boxer with tremendous power but Pacquiao’s speed and athleticism would probably give him the leg up in that potential matchup. Thurman hasn’t fought in over 16 months though and recent pictures suggest he’s not in fighting shape at the moment, so the likelihood of a Pacquiao vs. Thurman fight is pretty much nil.

Some fans want Pacquiao to face Adrien Broner. Broner (33-3-1, 24 KOs) is a solid contender at 147 but probably doesn’t have the skill to seriously compete with Pacquiao. Pacquiao would be a significant favorite and would likely stop Broner if the two were able to meet in a boxing ring.

Mayweather-Pacquiao 2?

Pacquiao lost a unanimous decision to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2015, but the circumstances surrounding the fight, and the fact it was the biggest box office bash in the history of the sport, have led many to suspect the two fighters would meet again in a rematch.

Yes, Mayweather (50-0, 27 KOs) is retired, but he’s unretired several times in his career for big money fights including last year’s crossover megafight with UFC star Conor McGregor. While it seems unlikely to happen, Mayweather-Pacquiao 2 would still be a huge worldwide event worth millions of dollars to both fighters so those following the sport can never say never to the idea of it happening again.

While Mayweather is 41, he’d still get the nod as the betting favorite should he fight Pacquiao again based on what happened in the first fight as well as his stylistic advantage over Pacquiao.

Pacquiao vs. McGregor?

McGregor’s bout against Mayweather last year was such a financial success and the MMA star made so much more money in the boxing ring than he did as a UFC fighter that the idea of him returning to the sport to face Pacquiao isn’t as far-fetched as one might think.

Pacquiao vs. McGregor would be an easy sell to the general public. According to CompuBox, McGregor landed more punches against Mayweather than did Pacquiao, and the general consensus is that Mayweather-McGregor was more fun to watch than Mayweather-Pacquiao.

The size difference between the two would lead to an easy promotion. McGregor is a junior middleweight and Pacquiao has only competed at the weight once back in 2010. Despite all that, Pacquiao would be a significant favorite to defeat McGregor and rightly so. He’s too fast and too good a boxer, and his aggressive style would likely lead to a stoppage win.

Pacquiao’s Top Targets

Pacquiao’s top targets should be Mayweather, McGregor and Lomachenko. Pacquiao would stand to make the most money facing either Mayweather or McGregor. Pacquiao’s reportedly injured shoulder heading into 2015 bout left many wondering how the fight might be different had the Filipino gone into things at his best, and Mayweather’s age might play more of a factor in the second fight than it did in the first. A Pacquiao-McGregor fight would be a worldwide spectacle, one Pacquiao would be heavily favored to win. Besides, it’d be interesting to see if Pacquiao could stop McGregor sooner than historical rival Mayweather. Finally, Lomachenko might be trying to climb up weight classes too fast, and Pacquiao would certainly be fit to test the validity of that theory. It’d be one of the biggest fights in boxing and a win for Pacquiao would be another huge feather in the cap of one of boxing’s true historically great champions.

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