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The Avila Perspective Chap. 17: Danny Roman, Terence Crawford and More

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Roman

One of boxing’s biggest secrets, Danny “Baby-Faced Assassin” Roman, hit Chicago last weekend to defend the WBA super bantamweight world title for a third time. And, once again, Roman picked apart a much taller opponent, plank by plank. 

The victim this time was England’s Gavin McDonnell, who had never been stopped before and had entered the boxing ring with only one loss as a professional. That lone defeat was by split decision to WBC titlist Rey Vargas.  

Roman knocked out McDonnell in the 10th round at the Wintrust Arena with pinpoint punching and a right cross that he never saw. It was mesmerizing. 

When you look at Roman’s record of 29 professional bouts it only shows 10 knockouts. Nowadays the first thing fans or anyone looks at are the knockouts. But there’s much more to prizefighting at the elite level. The Los Angeles-based boxer could write a thesis on the subject. 

Simply, Roman is a true craftsman of the sport. 

In all the years of covering prizefighting I can’t remember another world champion with less fanfare but an abundance of talent than the soft-spoken Roman. You won’t see him slapping guys in a bowling alley or throwing dice at a local casino. And you won’t see him taunting opponents before a fight or flipping off fans.  

He just may be the most humble world champion today. 

“He trains extremely hard. He’s one of those dedicated fighters. A very religious young man,” said Alex Camponovo, matchmaker for Thompson Boxing Promotions. “He’s put everything aside from boxing. He’s not a womanizer, drinker or a partier.” 

Watching Roman fight should be a requirement for all young boxers looking to fight professionally. He’s the blueprint for successful prizefighting. 

Most times Roman enters the prize ring, he’s cranking his neck up and looking at his opponent’s chin. The last four foes towered over the 5’5” Los Angeles fighter and had height advantages of more than four inches. No matter, he’s the true giant slayer. 

With three successful title defenses on his resume, he’s not satisfied. He’s eager to see what the other three champions have to offer. Whether it’s Rey Vargas, TJ Doheny, or Isaac Dogboe, he wants a crack at one or all of them.  

He is a prizefighter and curious where he truly rates in the boxing world. 

“It has been my intention to unify ever since I became world champion last year in September,”said Roman after his win against fellow 122-pounder McDonnell. ”I don’t care who steps up to the challenge. I’ll fight any of them.”  

Thompson Boxing Promotions said that efforts to negotiate with the other fighters are already underway.  

“We’re looking for something possibly in February or March,” said Camponovo. 

Unification might be right around the corner. 

 

Terence Crawford 

Another who seems to be slipping under the radar of the boxing world seems to be WBO welterweight world titlist Terence Crawford. 

The Nebraska prizefighter crackles like a live electric wire with all the talent he possesses. 

Crawford (33-0, 24 KOs) defends the WBO welterweight title against Jose Benavidez (27-0, 18 KOs) on Saturday Oct. 13 in Omaha, Nebraska. ESPN will televise the championship fight. 

It’s hard to believe that Benavidez is only 26. He’s been around the pro boxing game for a very long time but started eight years ago. He seems to be even taller now than when he stepped into Freddie Roach’s gym back in 2010. He’s training in another gym nowadays and has fought twice this year after almost two years away. 

It’s a solid matchup. 

Crawford last defended the title back in June when he used his blinding speed to batter then WBO champ Jeff Horn for nine rounds to rip the welterweight title away from the Aussie. The fight was stopped but could have gone longer. Would Horn have won if allowed to continue? 

No. 

The matchup with Benavidez will allow Crawford to determine where he fares among the welterweights. Both fighters have never lost, but many cite Benavidez’s fight against Mauricio Herrera as a loss, though the judges scored otherwise back in 2014. 

If you ask Crawford who he wants next, well, that’s the wrong question to ask. 

“My main focus is on Benavidez. As you can see, he’s been doing a lot of talking, but while he’s talking, I’m working. So, I’m not worried about nothing that he’s saying or that he’s trying to hype up. I’m focused and I’m ready to go next week,” said Crawford. 

Also on the card is Shakur Stevenson (8-0, 4 KOs) fighting Romania’s Viorel Simion (21-2, 9 KOs) for the WBC Continental Americas featherweight belt. The former Olympian has shredded his amateur ticks and fully grasped the ways of the professional fighter. If Stevenson has a chin, watch out. The jump he’s made from last year to this year has been remarkable.  

 

West Coast Action 

Thursday 

OC Hangar features super middleweight Ali Akhmedov (12-0, 9 KOs) in his second appearance in Southern California when he faces Jovany Gomez (17-14) in the main event on the Roy Englebrecht Events card on Thursday, Oct. 11. 

Akhmedov, 23, is trained by Abel Sanchez in Big Bear and he looked strong when he fought at the Hollywood Avalon this past August. Although he  was troubled a bit by the non-aggression of his foe that night, he got the stoppage win. He’s a native of Kazakhstan. Doors open at 7 p.m. 

For more information call (949) 760-3131. 

Friday 

Welterweight Ferdinand Kerobyan (10-0, 5 KOs) looks to keep his record spotless when he meets Rolando Mendivil (10-5) in the main event on Friday, Oct. 12, at Belasco Theater in downtown L.A. The Golden Boy Promotions card begins at 6. 

Kerobyan, 20, fights out of North Hollywood and has shown to be a very entertaining fighter. Fans like his aggressiveness and willingness to mix it up, even when he can easily win by using his speed and superior athleticism. He’s a showman. 

Mendivil, 22, showed a world class chin against Ireland’s talented Aaron McKenna when they clashed last August. The Mexican fighter from Sinaloa absorbed heavy punishment from the Irish welterweight but lasted the entire fight while showing some grit. It will be interesting to see how he does against Kerobyan. 

Saturday 

In Las Vegas, WBO light flyweight world titlist Angel Acosta (18-1, 18 KOs) looks to keep his knockout streak going and keep the world title when he fights Mexico’s Abraham Rodriguez (23-1, 11 KOs) on Saturday, Oct. 13, at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. The Golden Boy Promotions fight card is co-promoted with Miguel Cotto Promotions and will be shown on Facebook’s Golden Boy Fight Night page. 

 

Heavyweights 

Last week WBC heavyweight titleholder Deontay Wilder and lineal world champ Tyson Fury finished their three-city international tour at Los Angeles. 

In the history of heavyweight championship fights, these two have got to be the tallest to ever contend for a world title. Both are past 6’7 and their reach alone makes them formidable for any other heavyweights. And both are characters. They’re both jokesters, talkers, boasters and a few other things. Fury, in particular, brings a certain British vibe that boxing fans in Southern California are not accustomed to.  

Wilder is a funny guy too. Even when he feigns seriousness, he’s basically holding back a smile. They will face each other for both the WBC world title and lineal title on Dec. 1, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Promoter Lou DiBella said that tickets immediately reached $1 million in sales the first day. 

I’m extremely curious about this fight. It’s been a while since we had a good heavyweight title fight. They don’t happen every year in Los Angeles and both are big guys with big personalities.

 

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Fast Results From Latvia: Mairis Briedis and the KO Doctor advance in the WBSS

Arne K. Lang

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briedis vs glowacki

The semifinal round of the Wold Boxing Super Series cruiserweight tournament played out today in Riga, Latvia, the hometown of Mairis Briedis who was matched against Poland’s Krzysztof Glowacki. Both fighters had only one blemish on their ledger and in both cases their lone defeat came at the hands of Oleksandr Usyk.

The fans left happily after Briedis (26-1, 19 KOs) knocked out Glowacki (34-2) in the third frame. But it was messy fight that invites a lot of second-guessing and likely a challenge from the Glowacki camp.

After a feeling-out first round, Briedis cranked up the juice. An errant elbow landed behind Glowacki’s head, putting him on the canvas. For this discretion, Briedis was docked a point. A legitimate knockdown followed — Glowacki was hurt — and then another knockdown after the bell had sounded. The referee could not hear the bell in the din. It was a wild scene.

The fight was allowed to continue, but didn’t last much longer. Coming out for round three, Glowacki wasn’t right and Briedis pounced on him, scoring another knockdown, leading referee Robert Byrd to waive the fight off at the 27 second mark. It wasn’t Byrd’s finest hour.

The tournament organizers anticipated the complication of a draw and assigned extra judges to eliminate this possibility. They did not anticipate the complication of a “no-contest.” If the outcome isn’t overturned, Briedis, a former WBC cruiserweight champ, is the new WBO title-holder.

Dorticos-Tabiti

In the co-feature, Miami-based Cuban defector Yunier Dorticos, nicknamed the KO Doctor, lived up to his nickname with a smashing one punch knockout of previously undefeated Andrew Tabiti. The end for Tabiti came with no warning in round 10. An overhand right left him flat on his back, unconscious. Referee Eddie Claudio didn’t bother to count. The official time was 2:33.

It was easy to build case for Dorticos (24-1, 22 KOs). He was three inches taller than Tabiti, packed a harder punch, and had fought stronger opposition. But it was understood that Tabiti, now 17-1, had a more well-rounded game. Moreover, there were concerns about Dorticos’ defense and stamina.

Dorticos was ahead on the scorecards after nine frames. He rarely took a backward step and let his hands go more freely. And it didn’t help Tabiti’s cause that he was docked a point for holding in the sixth frame. Earlier in that round, an accidental clash of heads left Dorticos with a cut over his right eye. The ringside physician was called into the ring to examine it and let the bout continue.

With the victory, Dorticos became the IBF world cruiserweight champion and moved one step closer to acquiring the coveted Muhammad Ali trophy in what will be, win or lose, the most lucrative fight of his career.

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Angel Ruiz Scores 93 Second KO in Ontario, CA

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Angel Ruiz

(Ringside Report by Special Correspondent Tarrah Zeal) ONTARIO, CA – “Path to Glory” featured some of Southern California’s hottest prospects carving their image into the boxing world through the Thompson Boxing Promotions platform at the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario, CA Friday night.

Undefeated welterweight prospect Angel Ruiz (14-0, 11 KO) of Maywood, CA finished veteran Miguel Zamudio (43-13-1, 27 KO) from Los Mochis, Mexico with an impressive stoppage at 1:33 in the first round scheduled for eight.

At 21 years young, Ruiz (pictured) came into the night with four KO wins in his last four bouts and looking to continue his streak. A second-round body shot win over Gerald Avila (8-17-3) on May 10th and first round KO win against Roberto Almazan (8-9) just this year.

Ruiz was just getting started in the ring using his long distance and power punches to punish Zamudio.

Twenty seconds into the opening round, Ruiz’ mouthpiece went flying out and a timeout was called. Once the mouthpiece was placed back in, Ruiz administered a quick flurry of punches but with no exchange from Zamudio, referee Raul Caiz stepped in and stopped the main event fight.

After the fight interview Ruiz was asked about what he saw in the fight, “I see this guy. He wants to fight. He was trying to fight but I’m too hard. I got you.” Ruiz said. “I feel ready. I want to fight with the best.”

With 89 amateur bouts under his belt, although not signed with any promoters, Ruiz is verbally challenging Vergil Ortiz, “Vergil if you see this video, remember me”.

Brewart

In he co-main event, a six round junior middleweight bout, Richard “Cool Breeze” Brewart (6-0, 2 KO) of Rancho Cucamonga, CA won a unanimous decision over Antonio “El Tigre” Duarte (2-1) of Tijuana, Mexico.

Brewart was coming into the fight looking like the faster, more technical fighter of the two. Duarte over-telegraphed all of his punches, allowing Brewart to use his overhand right and awesome agility to angle out of reach.

Even after Duarte checked Brewart on the chin with a strong punch, Brewart’s power punches always ended the rounds. The judges scored the bout 60-54 twice and 59-55 for Brewart.

Other Bouts

A victorious unanimous decision at the end of a six-round toe-to- toe bantamweight fight was given to Mario “Mighty” Hernandez, (8-1-1, 3 KO) of Santa Cruz, CA over lefty Victor “Lobo” Trejo Garcia (16-11-1, 8 KO) from Mexico City, Mexico.

Continuous hard punches were exchanged from both brawlers starting at the bell of round one. Fans were excited after a flurry of punches and then a clear push from Hernandez sent Trejo to the floor at the end of round three, giving the crowd excitement for the coming rounds.

It deemed to be a bit of a challenge for both, as orthodox Hernandez managed to match southpaw Trejo’s overhand right punches with his own in response. After six rounds of continuous action two judges scored the bout 57-56 and one 59-54 for Hernandez.

In what would be an exciting and entertaining four-round heavyweight bout, Oscar Torrez (6-0, 3 KO) from Riverside, CA took on Allen Ruiz (0-2) of Ensenada, Mexico.

A surprising uppercut from Ruiz, in the beginning of round one, put Torrez on the canvas and every eye in the room were all fixated on both brawlers. The look in Torrez’ eyes were more calculated, as he was careful from then on.

Wild punches were being thrown from Ruiz without fear of repercussion, but then a quick liver shot from Torrez sent him to his knees. After a couple of seconds to adjust back into the bout, Ruiz was then checked again by left hook to the chin knocking out his mouthpiece. There were 20 seconds left in round two and the round ended with no mouthpiece.

Torrez showed he was stronger and the more technical fighter and finally ended the bout by KO with a right hook to Ruiz’s body at 1:08 in the third round.

Jose “Tito” Sanchez, a rising featherweight prospect with two knockouts in his first two fights and training under star trainer Joel Diaz, out of Indio, CA, took on veteran Pedro “Pedroito” Melo (17-20-2, 8 KO). Even with his low experience in the professional boxing world, Sanchez showed his maturity in the ring by controlling the fight when following Melo around the ring and landing clean left hooks and powerful body shots. After four rounds Sanchez won by 40-36 on all three cards.

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Is the UFC Purchasing Premier Boxing Champions?

Miguel Iturrate

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UFC Purchasing PBC?

Several news outlets are reporting that the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s parent company Endeavor is in talks with Al Haymon to purchase the Premier Boxing Champions. The deal is far from happening and will be complicated if it is completed. Let’s look at some of the details.

Dana White has been the face of the UFC since the brand was purchased by Zuffa in 2001 and over the years he has repeatedly hinted about invading the world of boxing. In his early days as the UFC’s head honcho, White even challenged his biggest star, Tito Ortiz, to a boxing match. The match never happened but to this day White will tell you he would have beaten Ortiz in a fight under Queensberry rules.

In more recent years the UFC co-promoted the Conor McGregor versus Floyd Mayweather Jr match and White, although he would vehemently deny it, also had to have at least tacitly approved of Oscar De LaHoya’s promotion of the third bout between Ortiz and his rival Chuck Liddell. That match-up was likely assessed by White this way: “If Oscar wants to promote MMA let him lose his money,” but he didn’t stand in the way of De La Hoya and his Golden Boy Promotions.

White’s name has also come up in connection with Anthony Joshua. White is said to have had a huge offer ready for the then heavyweight champion, but he backed off when the realization hit that he could not make matches for Joshua in the way he is accustomed because he had no roster of potential opponents. However, White has been insistent that the UFC will “100 percent get into boxing.”

Under new owners Endeavor, White cannot operate like he did under old owners Zuffa, but if the deal goes down it is likely because White crafted some type of long term vision that he sold to Endeavor co-founder and CEO Ari Emanuel (pictured).

When Endeavor purchased the UFC in July of 2016 for a reported $4.05 billion, White agreed to guide the company for at least five more years, of which roughly two are up.

On the flipside, it is difficult to see Al Haymon relinquishing control of PBC. More than likely Haymon would stay in charge of the PBC wing and Endeavor would serve as a cash cow to keep what he has built going.

Haymon must stay aboard for another reason, though few will say it. The reason is ethnicity. If Haymon is left out, that would basically leave Leonard Ellerbe and his boss Floyd Mayweather Jr as the only prominent African-American promoters in boxing and that would not be a healthy situation.

Premier Boxing Champions has a diverse group of fighters among the over 200 pugilists under contract. Some are African-American as are many of Haymon’s key employees and associates. Frankly, at least a portion of those fighters and employees would not feel the same comfort level they have with Haymon if Emanuel, a member of an influential Jewish family (his brother is former Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel) and Vegas power broker White were abruptly substituted.

Another effect on the PBC model is on the promotional end. Haymon has cobbled together a group of promoters that operate regionally under his PBC umbrella. The model that Endeavor brings with the UFC will have a more centralized approach to promotion. How will the new owners deal with Lou DiBella in NY, James Leija and Mike Battah in Texas, and Tom Brown in California? Throw in the aforementioned Ellerbe and Mayweather, who operate primarily in Vegas but also in the Washington DC and Baltimore area. How will the promoters who work with the PBC see their relationship change if Haymon left and Dana White was in charge?

Haymon has built the PBC over the years into a big business. He has the PBC on FOX and Showtime whereas the UFC, which previously partnered with FOX, now has a long-term deal with ESPN. This suggests that if a deal is made, PBC and the UFC will have to operate as completely separate entities under the same umbrella, at least for the foreseeable future. And even that might be further away from happening than most people realize.

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