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The Avila Perspective, Chap. 29: Uzcategui – Plant, Pacquiao – Broner and More

David A. Avila

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The boxing schedule is so full it’s overlapping and promoters are battling for space. Suddenly Sundays have become an open day for pugilists and will become a regular date for prizefighting.

First up is the showdown between IBF super middleweight titlist Jose Uzcategui (28-2, 23 KOs) and Caleb Plant (17-0, 10 KOs) at the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles on Sunday Jan. 13. Fox Sports 1 will televise.

Uzcategui had to battle both Andre Dirrell and the Maryland officials in their first fight which ended in an erroneous disqualification loss though he knocked out the Michigan southpaw in the eighth round. Immediately after the fight Dirrell’s corner attacked him for merely doing his job in the ring. Then the Maryland officials decide he should be disqualified for hitting after the bell. No person in the world could have stopped the punch that came as the bell rang. But the state of Maryland in all of its subpar wisdom disqualified poor Uzcategui. No matter, they fought again, this time in Brooklyn and with the same result: Uzcategui knocked out Dirrell in the eighth round.

“It should be a great fight with Plant, I will take the fight to him and I hope that he will be willing to engage and give the fans a spectacular fight,” said Uzcategui who trains in Mexico.

Plant is the next challenge and he’s been around the fight game for a bit. He’s originally from Tennessee but has been a regular on the Las Vegas fight scene since signing with Mayweather Promotions. He’s a slick customer with a hard edge to him and has been itching to get a shot like this.

“I think about this moment literally all day every day,” said Plant, 26, to the Nashville Post newspaper.

It’s yet another match up of Uzcategui’s Mexican style fighting versus the shoulder roll defense that Plant uses in his prize fights.

The fight card features 10 bouts including undefeated Brandon Figueroa (17-0) against Mexico’s Moises Flores (25-1) in a featherweight showdown. It also showcases the return of Cuban great Guillermo Rigondeaux who has not fought since facing Vasyl Lomachenko in December 2017.

Rigondeaux (17-1) will be in a warm up fight against Giovanni Delgado (16-8) set for eight rounds.

The doors open at 2 p.m. PT

Media Day at the Wild Card Gym

A couple of hundred reporters gathered at the Wild Card Boxing gym to wait for Manny Pacquiao and Adrien Broner to show on Wednesday.

Pacquiao showed and Broner changed plans.

Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 KOs) and Broner (33-3-1, 24 KOs) are set to meet on Saturday, Jan. 19, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Showtime pay-per-view will televise the WBA welterweight title showdown.

The last time we saw Pacman in action was when he blitzed Lucas Matthysse to rip the WBA title away from the Argentine strongman. It was barely a contest as the speedy Filipino star shredded him into retirement.

In that fight Pacquiao entered the boxing ring minus his long-time trainer and confidante Freddie Roach. People seemed more concerned with that than the actual fight.

Roach didn’t know what to tell friends, fans and reporters. He was basically kept out of the loop with nary a phone call. But they’re together again.

“Manny wants Buboy to become more known as a trainer,” said Roach about why Buboy was in Pacquiao’s corner during the fight with Matthysse last July in Kuala Lumpur.

Roach let it be known there is no animosity whatsoever between him and Pacquiao and the past is the past.

Speaking of the past, while at a Filipino Day at an LA Clippers basketball game on Tuesday night, Pacquiao ran into Floyd Mayweather who regularly attends NBA games for the Clippers and Lakers. Both shook hands, smiled but it led to a firestorm of questions on whether they will meet again for a rematch.

For both Roach and Pacquiao that’s a moot point.

“First we have Broner,” said Pacquiao.

Broner is the first target.

The four division world champion Broner changed his media day to another location 20 miles away in Van Nuys at a later time. But he’s ready to face an icon as he said in his own words.

“His last fight he did stop Matthysse, so I’m pretty sure he still has power. But I’m going to be ready, I’m going to be ready for whatever he brings to the table. We’re in shape to get it done, I can tell you that,” said Broner. “This win makes me an icon. It makes me what I always wanted to be, and what everybody always thought I would be. A win here and I’m a legend overnight.”

Devin Haney on Showtime

Las Vegas lightweight Devin Haney (20-0, 13 KOs) defends the IBF North American title against Xolisani Ndongeni (25-0, 13 KOs) on Friday Jan. 11, at Shreveport, Louisiana. Showtime will televise.

Haney just turned 20 and in his last bout handily defeated Mexican veteran Juan Carlos Burgos by unanimous decision. It wasn’t even close.

With speed to spare and sound boxing technique Haney looks like the real deal. Though he rarely took a punch, the only thing we don’t know is if Haney can take a blow from a solid puncher.

South Africa’s Ndongeni has fought once in the US and has a lot of speed too. It’s a good matchup for both fighters. If Haney can pass the South African then he might be ready for better foes like maybe an Anthony Crolla or Robert Easter Jr.

“After this fight I want the whole world to know I’m no longer a prospect. I’m a contender,” said Haney.

Villa

On the same Showtime card on Friday, California’s Ruben Villa (14-0, 5 KOs) has his first dangerous challenge in facing undefeated Ruben Cervera (10-0, 9 KOs) of Colombia in an eight round featherweight clash.

Villa trains in Southern California with Danny Zamora and is co-promoted by Thompson Boxing Promotions and Banner Promotions.

“Being able to fight on TV is going to finally put me on the map,” said Villa, a 21-year old southpaw. “After Friday night, people are going to be talking about me. They are going to see what I’m made of.”

New Las Vegas Card Added

Layla McCarter, the pride of Las Vegas and considered the best female fighter pound for pound, returns on Thursday, Jan. 17, at the MGM Grand against former super lightweight world title challenger Yamila Reynoso.

McCarter (42-13-5, 11 KOs) has not lost a fight in more than 11 years and has become the most feared and avoided fighter in the world. Reynoso (11-5-3, 8 KOs) is a big hitting former champion from Argentina who recently went the distance with power punching Amanda Serrano for 10 rounds. She has never been stopped.

Several other Las Vegas fighters are included on the boxing card including Cameron Krael.

Complimentary tickets are available for fans.

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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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