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AVILA INSIGHT: HBO and Golden Boy Ink Deal With Canelo



Oscar De La Hoya returned fire in the opening salvo against all those lining up against him. Kind of like one of those De La Hoya left hooks in his prime.

It was announced on Tuesday that Saul “Canelo” Alvarez has signed a long term contract with HBO thus giving both leverage in their battle against rival Nevada-based promoters. No longer does a cold war exist. It’s full-fledged “Mayhem.”

As rival promoters stack their fighters on Showtime, the Los Angeles-based Golden Boy Promotions made its move by countering and signing a deal with HBO. It also allows them to be in a prime position for Alvarez to fight Miguel Cotto in either May or September should Cotto agree.

“I want those dates. They’re Mexican dates,” said Alvarez, who was pushed aside by Showtime to allow Mayweather to fight on those dates. “I want to fight on those Mexican dates. I want them.”

Though some experts deride Alvarez’s fighting prowess, the redhead from Guadalajara has proven to be a draw, especially with Mexican fight fans. The Cinco de Mayo date will perhaps be scheduled in San Antonio, Texas. But first, Alvarez will fight in December. No opponent or site has been determined.

Recently, De La Hoya has been meeting with Top Rank’s Bob Arum. You can imagine the advice he received from the old wizard. This recent move was right out of the Arum Playbook.

During a conference call, De La Hoya was asked if he gave Showtime’s Stephen Espinoza a verbal agreement?

“No verbal agreement,” answered De La Hoya. “I’m obviously doing what Canelo is asking of me.”

Canelo was part of the record breaking pay-per-view money during his fight with Floyd Mayweather. Since that fight, the Las Vegas prizefighter has not come close to approaching those PPV numbers of September 2013.

A civil war between Golden Boy Promotions and Top Rank seems to be ended but it seems trivial when compared to what’s about to occur as several other promotion companies seek to grab a foothold. The ultimate prize is television contracts and the riches it can bring.

At the moment De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions leads the pack with television contracts with Showtime, Fox Sports 1 and Fox Deportes that allow the company prime exposure for its prizefighters.

Those struggling to shove their way in are Mayweather Promotions, Al Haymon Promotions, Main Events, K2 Promotions, Goossen-Tutor Promotions, Gary Shaw Productions, Don King Productions and new players like hip hop star Jay Z’s Roc Nation and Iron Mike Promotions. All want a piece of the television pie. It’s the key to exposure and that means big money fights.

Television remains the most important asset for any boxing or MMA promotions. A single prizefighting event on a network can result in 1 million to 20 million viewers. It’s exposure that can make or break a promotion company so obtaining television viewers can bump up a fighter’s salary.

Middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin, who trains in Big Bear Lake and fights on Oct. 18, at the StubHub Center, vaulted from a good fighter with no recognition to a rapidly popular boxer because of exposure from HBO telecasts of his fights. K-2 Promotions convinced the network to telecast his fights and after two years saw that the Kazakhstan boxer had star appeal.

Back in the Golden Age of boxing before the 1950s, television fights did not exist. High-powered promotion companies barnstormed around target areas to attract fans around the country to their arenas. Fighters like Jack Dempsey, Max Baer, Joe Louis and others depended on newspapers and radio for exposure. Now, they battle for TV exposure.

It was rumored that Al Haymon, a boxing powerbroker with at least 40 high-profile prizefighters under his wing, has initiated plans to start his own television network that will feature his fighters like Lucas Matthysse, Robert Guerrero, Keith Thurman, Chris Pearson and others. The company has previously depended on Golden Boy to televise its fighters but now seeks to go on its own.

Golden Boy’s presumed alliance with Top Rank would give them added television power and the ability to match each of their stars like Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, Miguel Cotto, Mikey Garcia and Amir Khan.

“I met with Bob Arum to bury the hatchet and down the road we can work together for the sake of boxing,” said De La Hoya. “There are a lot of great fights that can be made.”

About Alvarez, the president of Golden Boy said “we’ve always said there is something special about Canelo.”

Fights on television

Sat. PPV, 7 p.m., Demetrious Johnson (20-2-1) vs. Chris Cariaso (17-5).

Sat. Fox Deportes, 7 p.m., Javier Prieto (24-7-1) vs. Ivan Cano (22-6-1).

Sat. beIn Sports, 11 p.m., Omar Chavez (32-2-1) vs. Ramon Alvarez (19-4-2).

Mon. Fox Sports 1, 7 p.m., Joseph Diaz (11-0) vs. Raul Hidalgo (22-11).


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Fast Results From London: Joshua Takes Out Povetkin in the 7th



UK sporting

It was a very wet night at Wembley Stadium, but the dampness didn’t diminish the enthusiasm of the crowd which welcomed UK sporting hero Anthony Joshua into the ring with a thunderous ovation. And Joshua didn’t disappoint. After six relatively even rounds, he found his range in the seventh and became the first man to stop Alexander Povetkin. A three punch combo that began with an overhand right sent Povetkin sprawling into the ropes. The Russian beat the count, but Joshua smelled blood and as soon as the ref allowed the proceedings to continue he moved in for the kill. The official time was 1:59.

Povetkin started fast and in the eyes of many observers won the first three rounds. A sharp right hand in the waning seconds of round one reddened Joshua’s nose which leaked blood in the next round. The tide began to turn in round four when Povetkin suffered a cut above his left eye.

Povetkin (now 34-2), was the lighter man by 23 pounds. Joshua had a four inch height advantage and a seven inch reach advantage. And it mattered greatly that AJ was the younger man by 10-plus years. Povetkin wasn’t intimidated by Joshua and had several good moments but, at age 39, his reflexes betrayed him once the fight had crossed the midpoint.

Joshua, who owns three of the four meaningful heavyweight title belts, improved to 22-0 with his 21st stoppage. His next fight is penciled in for April 13 of next year against an opponent to be determined. His promoter Eddie Hearn has reserved that date at Wembley Stadium.

Other Bouts

In a 12-round lightweight bout, Joshua’s Olympic Games teammate and fellow gold medalist Luke Campbell (19-2) avenged the first loss of his career with a unanimous decision (119-109, 118-111,116-112) over France’s Yvan Mendy (40-5-1). This was Campbell’s second start since coming up short in a bid for Jorge Linares’s lightweight title and his first fight under his new trainer Shane McGuigan.

In their first meeting in December of 2015 at London’s O2 Arena, Mendy won a split decision that should have been unanimous. Campbell insisted that he had improved greatly in the interim and tonight’s fight bore witness. However, he needs to develop a harder punch to rank among the top lightweights in the world, a list headed by Mikey Garcia. As this fight was framed as a WBC title eliminator, Campbell is next in line to meet Garcia, but Mikey has indicated that he will pursue bigger game.

Lawrence Okolie, a 2016 Olympian who trains with Anthony Joshua, won a Lonsdale belt in only his 10th pro start with a 12-round decision over defending BBBofC cruiserweight champion Matty Askin in a messy fight. The undefeated Okolie had a point deducted in round five for leading with his head and had two more points deducted for holding, but banked enough rounds to get the nod on all three cards: 116-110, 114-112, and 114-113. Askin, who declined to 23-4-1, had won five straight heading in.

A 10-round heavyweight match between Sergey Kuzmin (13-0, 1 NC) and David Price (22-6) ended suddenly when Price retired on his stool after four relatively even rounds. The six-foot-eight, china-chinned Price claimed to have aggravated a biceps tear.

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Michael Dutchover Remains Undefeated in Ontario, Calif.

Transplanted Texan Michael Dutchover needed a little time to figure out Costa Rican Bergman Aguilar but when he did it was over quickly on Friday.



Michael Dutchover

ONTARIO-Calif.-Transplanted Texan Michael Dutchover needed a little time to figure out Costa Rican Bergman Aguilar but when he did it was over quickly on Friday.

Lightweight prospect Dutchover (11-0, 8 KOs) knocked out southpaw Aguilera (14-4-1, 4 KOs) in the fifth round with a barrage of body blows that left the Costa Rican limp at the Doubletree Hotel.

For two rounds Aguilar used an awkward counter-punching style that had Dutchover a little tentative. But once he figured out that combination punching was the key, he opened up with barrages and floored Aguilar with body shots at the end of round four.

That signaled doom for Aguilar.

The fifth round saw Dutchover target the body with impunity as Aguilar tried holding, running and covering up with no success. Referee Wayne Hedgepeth signaled the fight over at 2:31 of the fifth round giving Dutchover the win by knockout.

In a bantamweight clash Santa Ana’s Mario Hernandez (7-0-1, 3 KOs) and Mexico City’s Ivan Gonzalez (4-1-2, 1 KO) fought to a majority draw after six back and forth rounds.

Hernandez targeted the body against the taller Gonzalez who relied on long range counters. Both found success but neither could prove superiority after six turbulent rounds.

After six rounds one judge saw it 58-56 for Gonzalez but the two other judges saw it 57-57 for a majority draw.

Other bouts

South Central L.A.’s Ruben Torres (7-0, 6 KOs) extended his undefeated streak with a knockout over Mexico’s Eder “El Koreano” Amaro (6-6, 2 KOs) in a lightweight fight. But it wasn’t easy.

Amaro switched from southpaw to orthodox and was matching Torres for two rounds until the taller local fighter began blasting away to the body and head with precision. Many in the crowd cheered “Koreano” in unison but it couldn’t help once Torres zeroed in.

At the end of the fourth round Amaro could not continue and the fight was stopped giving a knockout for Torres.

Richard Brewart Jr. (2-0) mowed through Edward Aceves (0-5) flooring him with body shots in the first round then overwhelming him in the second. After seven unanswered blows referee Eddie Hernandez stopped the fight at 1:32 of round two giving Rancho Cucamonga’s Brewart the win by knockout in the super welterweight bout.

Southpaw David Ortiz (1-0) won his pro debut by unanimous decision after four rounds in a welterweight match against San Diego’s Mario Angeles (2-11-2). Ortiz lives in Bloomington, Calif. and is trained by Henry Ramirez. No knockdowns were scored.

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Charr-Oquendo Scuttled When Charr Tests Positive; the Odious WBA Saves Face



Manuel Charr

Manuel Charr and Fres Oquendo were scheduled to fight in Cologne, Germany, later this month (Sept. 29). Charr would be defending his WBA world heavyweight title, the “regular” version of it, not the “super” version which rests in the hands of Anthony Joshua.

The bout was quickly cancelled when it was revealed that Charr had tested positive for two banned anabolic steroids. The test was performed by VADA, the anti-doping agency identified with Las Vegas neurologist Dr. Margaret Goodman.

The 33-year-old Charr, born in Lebanon but a resident of Germany since the age of three, won the belt in his last start with a unanimous decision over 281-pound Russian behemoth Alexander Ustinov in Oberhausen, Germany. The title was vacant. Charr won the right to fight for it with a 10-round decision over Albanian slug Sefer Seferi. The victory over Ustinov elevated his record to 31-4. He has been stopped three times, by Vitali Klitschko, Alexander Povetkin, and Mairis Briedis.

If it wasn’t for bad luck, as the old saying goes, Fres Oquendo wouldn’t have any luck at all. For various reasons, his fights keep falling out. Before long he’ll be drawing social security. Well, not exactly, but he turned 45 in April and hasn’t fought in more than four years.

Oquendo has competed for this belt before. In his last ring appearance in July of 2014, he lost a majority decision to Russia’s Ruslan Chagaev in Grozny, Russia. As a concession for taking the fight on short notice, Team Oquendo negotiated a rematch clause in the contract, but a shoulder injury prevented Fres from activating it. When the injury healed, he had to go to court to compel Chagaev to fulfill his obligation. But then the Russian retired, muddling the water.

The WBA was legally bound to find Oquendo a title fight and in desperation turned to ancient Shannon Briggs. But the Oquendo-Briggs fight, scheduled for June 3 of last year in Hollywood, Florida, fell out when Briggs’ urine specimen showed an abnormally high level of testosterone.

Fres Oquendo was dogged by bad luck even before these recent developments. His professional record, 37-8, is somewhat misleading as six of his eight defeats were razor-thin including his 2003 setback to Chris Byrd and his 2006 setback to Evander Holyfield. However, Oquendo, something of a cutie, was never a crowd-pleaser and in none of his narrow defeats was there a public clamor for a rematch.

The cancellation of Charr-Oquendo cuts the World Boxing Association out of a sanctioning fee, but one would think that the WBA honchos are actually rather pleased by this turn of events. The fight, more precisely the WBA’s world title imprimatur, would have brought more unwanted publicity to the Panama-based organization.

ESPN’s Dan Rafael, who has the largest platform of any boxing writer, has been a persistent critic of the organization which once recognized 41 “champions” in 17 weight classes. In 2009, Rafael wrote, “(The WBA) has become such an absolute farce that even somebody like me, who follows boxing closely, sometimes has a hard time keeping track of all the nonsensical so-called world title belts the WBA has been doling out at an alarming rate. It almost reminds me of the ladies at Costco who hand out various samples on a busy Saturday afternoon.”

Rafael took note when WBA president Gilberto Mendoza promised to cull the herd by eliminating “regular” titles, and then became more caustic when Mendoza didn’t follow through. Recently, in one short, punchy diatribe, Rafael blistered the WBA as wretched, vile, and rancid.

Regardless of your opinion, it’s hard not to feel sorry for Fres Oquendo who keeps getting stranded at the altar. No, he’s not fun to watch and a man of his age shouldn’t be taking any more punches, but he has always been an honest workman and by all accounts he’s a very decent man. Born in Puerto Rico but raised in Chicago, Oquendo pitched right in when the island nation of his birth was ravaged by Hurricane Maria. He was personally responsible for relocating Puerto Rican boxing legend Wilfred Benitez and Benitez’s sister, his caregiver, to Chicago where their lives wouldn’t be as hard.

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