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Are Golovkin And Kovalev Leading Boxing’s Impending Resurgence?



On February 21st of this year WBA/IBO middleweight title holder Gennady Golovkin 32-0 (29) stopped former title holder Martin Murray 29-2-1 (12) in the 11th round. Prior to fighting Golovkin, Murray had never been off his feet or stopped. Over the course of the 11 rounds they fought, Golovkin managed to accomplish both against Murray. Twenty one days later WBA/IBF/WBO light heavyweight title holder Sergey Kovalev 27-0-1 (24) stopped former title holder Jean Pascal 29-3-1 (17) in the eighth round. And like Murray before fighting Golovkin, Pascal was never knocked down or stopped before touching gloves with Kovalev. After tangling with Sergey for almost eight full rounds, Pascal can no longer say he’s never been down or stopped as a professional fighter.

It’s been a reoccurring theme in the media that after Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao fight this coming May 2nd, boxing will again go back to being in the doldrums unless they fight a rematch. And to that I say: have the media been paying attention?

Actually, the faux super fight between Mayweather and Pacquiao has been overshadowing boxing and some of its emerging stars that have recently arrived or are on their way to arriving. MayPac has sucked so much air out of boxing’s atmosphere that some outstanding on their way to possibly be great fighters have gone virtually unnoticed or mentioned.

Yes, super middleweight Andre Ward 27-0 (14) and super bantamweight title holder Guillermo Rigondeaux 15-0 (10) are outstanding and two of the top p4p fighters in boxing today. But Ward hasn’t fought since November of 2013 and Rigondeaux is 34 and perhaps older. Ward is maybe in the cat-bird seat and could end up fighting both Golovkin and Kovalev down the road. However, Andre has been a pro for over a decade and isn’t new on the national/world scene.

When it comes to the fighters representing boxing’s future, is there a more complete destroyer than 27 year old WBC flyweight title holder Roman Gonzalez (42-0 (36))? Want to see a fighter who can blend both boxing and punching, then check him out when he next fights this coming May 16th.

How about 29 year old WBA featherweight title holder Nicholas Walters 25-0 (21)? He looked utterly dominant and powerful in stopping Philippine terror Nonito Donaire in his last fight.

WBO super featherweight title holder Mikey Garcia 34-0 (28) is a deliberate in his attack, a boxer-puncher who at age 28 is improving every time he fights.

And 27 year old WBO lightweight title holder Terence Crawford 25-0 (17) is probably the best natural boxer in the sport. And he’ll be tested a bit in his upcoming bout against Thomas Dulorme 22-1 (14) next month.

Yes, there are plenty of fighters under 30 years old who are on my radar whenever they fight. And the fighters mentioned above are tremendously skilled and seem ready and willing to fight the best their division has to offer. Which is all that hardcore boxing fans can ask of them. However, the outstanding fighters above have not captured the public’s interest or imagination to the degree that Golovkin and Kovalev have, and the interest in watching them fight is escalating with every bout.

I’m not sure most fans and writers fully grasp how lucky they are to be experiencing the Golovkin/Kovalev wave… In the last quarter century there have only been two great middleweight champs, Marvin Hagler and Bernard Hopkins. And the same applies to the light heavyweight division. You have to go back to Michael Spinks and Roy Jones to have last seen true greatness at 175. Yet, we’ve seen a plethora of outstanding/great featherweights and lightweights since 1980. More than this space allows to name.

It is way too premature to proclaim either Golovkin or Kovalev as being great fighters. Special, yes, but not great, at least not yet.

Regardless of how much fans say they appreciate watching technicians/boxers like Floyd Mayweather, the fact is fans only count down the days to see legitimate punchers. Muhammad Ali to this day is probably the only natural superstar in boxing history that wasn’t perceived as a catch n’ kill style fighter. Yes, Mayweather is a draw today, but he was barely a blip on the radar for the first 11 years of his career. It wasn’t until Floyd fought Oscar De La Hoya and became a heel in the WWE style that quasi boxing fans even knew who he was. By the time Ali was in his 11th year as a pro (1971) he was the most recognized face on the planet.

Gennady Golovkin is rampaging through the glamor division in boxing, middleweight. Through 32 pro bouts he’s shown that he has a first rate chin and two handed power. Neither of those two assets can be learned or manufactured in the gym, through a needle or in a weight room. Golovkin is a swarmer and is adept at cutting the ring off and he appears to be physically strong. Add to that his confidence and willingness to test himself against the best fighters available, how can he not be must see? Fans know that when they watch Golovkin, they’re going to see a fight regardless of how long it lasts. And that’s because he’s a nightmare to try and hold off and box, and if you stand your ground and fight him, he’s more than happy to oblige. In summation, it’s his style and power that virtually guarantee that his fights will be exciting and end in a dramatic fashion. The only down-side to his dominance is the fact that the middleweight division is very pedestrian and devoid of challengers, including lineal champ Miguel Cotto, who are capable of testing him.

Sergey Kovalev owns three of the four relevant light heavyweight title belts. In his last two bouts he took apart two (Bernard Hopkins & Jean Pascal) of the three best and well-known fighters in the division. Hopkins is a master technician and is about as unbreakable mentally as any fighter in boxing. Yet, Sergey ran away with the fight, winning no less than 10/11 of the 12 rounds it went. By the sixth round Hopkins was reduced to looking for a lottery punch to save the fight. As for Pascal, who is an unorthodox herky-jerky puncher, Kovalev beat him at every turn. In fact Pascal forced Kovalev, because of his changing styles during the fight, to adapt and switch styles as well. Kovalev showed against Pascal that he is dangerous fighting at long range or in close. And if you try to rattle him with movement and unconventional combinations, he’ll just jab you to the stomach or chest and knock you out of range and render you out of position to attack him.

Golovkin and Kovalev are physically big and fight like big guys. Their power and eagerness to land it makes them fan friendly. Fans love to watch power punchers and prefer watching boxers who can end fights with one or two punches. Their style of fighting as the predator and forcing their opponents to have to fight as the prey has fans anticipating their next fight in a big way. Their last bouts on HBO drew tremendous numbers. The combination of them both being legitimate tough guys, who don’t brag about their abilities like an Adrien Broner, has fans rooting for them to win when they fight instead of the reverse. And it’s much more fun watching fighters who you’re rooting for than against.

Because of how formidable and dangerous he is, it looks as if Golovkin will own the pedestrian middleweight division for the foreseeable future. And you can count on fans tuning in to watch him every time he fights hoping to see another stoppage win over an opponent who entered the ring with a plan but was unable to execute it. Kovalev is fighting on a tougher block. There are more future opponents living on it who can test him. The biggest threat is WBC title holder Adonis Stevenson (25-1 (21)). The problem is, for reasons only known to Stevenson, Sergey can’t get him into the ring. But eventually they’ll fight. But until then, Kovalev will be an overwhelming favorite every time he fights.

Boxing may be on the upswing with fighters like Roman Gonzalez, Nichols Walters, Mikey Garcia and Terence Crawford emerging as must see. But it is Gennady Golovkin and Sergey Kovalev who really have fans on the edge of their seats anticipating their next fight. And that’s mainly because they can punch and always come to fight, and they’re willing to meet the baddest and most dangerous fighters in their division.

Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at


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Saul Sanchez Wins in Ontario, CA



ONTARIO, CA- Saul Sanchez remained undefeated after a tumultuous battle against Mexico’s Fernando Saavedra to win by majority decision to the dismay of a small crowd on Friday.

In a battle of bantamweights at the Doubletree Hotel, it was Pacoima’s Sanchez (11-0, 6 KOs) who started quicker but San Luis Potosi’s Saavedra (7-6, 3 KOs) closed the gap in the latter half of the fight in front of a boisterous crowd of maybe 400 fans.

Sanchez nearly floored Saavedra in the first 20 seconds of the fight when a three-punch combination had the Mexican fighter wobbled. It spurred Sanchez to go on the attack, ultimately leading to a toe-to-toe battle.

The quicker hands and feet of Sanchez proved troubling for Saavedra, who needed the Southern Californian to stand still. That seldom happened in the first four rounds.

But though neither boxer seemed to tire, Sanchez began getting trapped against the ropes and allowing Saavedra to connect with powerful blows. The last three rounds were especially close and Sanchez was able to slip more blows than Saavedra. But each never ready to quit.

After eight bantamweight rounds, two judges scored it 77-75 for Sanchez and one had it 76-76 a draw. Sanchez was deemed the winner by majority decision.

Many fans were angry by the decision.

Other bouts

Corona’s Louie Lopez (5-0, 3 KOs) remained undefeated with a solid performance over Bakersfield’s Ray Cervera (0-2), a resilient super welterweight. Lopez was able to use his quick left hooks to score in every round but Cervera had a good chin and was able to counter with rights. No knockdowns were scored in the four round fight and all three judges scored the fight 40-36.

Oscar Torrez (3-0, 1 KO) knocked down Richard Soto (0-1) in the last round to assure a victory by unanimous decision in an entertaining heavyweight fight. Torrez fights out of Rialto, CA and is trained by Henry Ramirez who also trains Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola. The two heavyweights seemed evenly matched for the first two rounds, with Soto having his best round in the second when he continually landed one-two combinations with good effect. But Torrez resumed control of the fight in the third by using the jab, then mixing up his attack. In the fourth round, Torrez unleashed a 10-punch barrage that dropped Soto in the corner. The fighter from Northern California got up and survived the round but was unable to turn things around. Two judges scored it 39-36 and another had it 40-35, all for Torrez.

Anthony Franco (3-1-1) took time to warm up before scoring a knockdown and defeating Kansas fighter Antonio L. Hernandez (1-4) by decision after four rounds in a super welterweight contest. In the third round, Franco slipped under a left by Hernandez who tripped and when he turned was met by a perfect left that knocked down the Kansas boxer. Though he wasn’t hurt, it changed the complexion of a close fight in favor of Franco who lives in Redlands, CA. All three judges scored it for Franco 38-35, 39-36, 38-37.

Tijuana’s Rafael Rivera (26-2-2, 17 KOs) ripped into Guanajuato’s Jose Ramos (11-15-1, 8 KOs) with a savage attack to win by knockout in the first round. A barrage of blows sent Ramos backward dangling over the ropes. Referee Ray Corona ruled it a knockdown and let the fight continue. Rivera resumed the attack and blistered the taller Ramos with blinding punches forcing the fight to be stopped at 1:51 of the first round. It was Rivera’s first fight since losing to Joet Gonzalez by split decision last July in Los Angeles.

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Pacquiao-Broner: A Perfect Fight for Pacquiao and the Good Guy Wins



Various sites are reporting that eight division titlist Manny Pacquiao 60-7-2 (39) will meet four division title winner Adrien Broner 33-3-1 (24) in December or January with Manny’s WBA regular welterweight title on the line. The fight hasn’t been confirmed yet but here’s how you know it’ll happen, and that is the fight makes dollars and sense for the super-star involved and that’s Manny Pacquiao.

Pacquiao signed with adviser/promoter Al Haymon – with the hope of getting a rematch with Floyd Mayweather in 2019. Haymon is tied to Mayweather and Broner and most of the top welterweights in the sport – including world champions Errol Spence, Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter. Manny lost a unanimous decision to Mayweather in May of 2015 and has longed for a rematch ever since. And ironically, neither Mayweather nor Pacquiao want any parts of taking on a young gun boxer in his prime. Both Terence Crawford, the WBO title holder, and Errol Spence, the IBF titlist, would take apart and embarrass both of them and there’s a sound case to make that both would’ve been okay tangling with Floyd and Manny even during their prime.

However, Mayweather and Pacquiao are businessman first and fighters second at this time and that’s been the case for quite a while. Manny only has interest in facing Mayweather again because he seeks revenge and Floyd will be 42 and coming off a long period of being inactive by the time they face off. As for Mayweather, he’d rather partake in big money fiascos where he can continue to gouge the public in WWE gimmicks against elite MMA fighters like Conor McGregor, his last opponent, or McGregor’s recent conqueror Khabid Nurmagomedov.

The only real boxer Floyd would entertain fighting is Pacquiao, who at this stage is only a moderate threat to Floyd because Mayweather hasn’t been in the gym much and has been preoccupied with spending his money. That and Pacquiao has a style that Floyd knows he can handle and Manny holds a version of the welterweight title. Granted, Floyd would probably make more money facing Nurmagomedov and Pacquiao is more or less his plan B if Manny gets by Broner. The problem with Mayweather facing Nurmagomedov is that Nurmagodev’s MMA fights don’t attract big interest and just maybe after the McGregor farce, both boxing and MMA fans are fed up with Mayweather’s faux fights and rip-offs – and with him then rubbing it in their faces by bragging how much money he made. So perhaps fans have wised up and will only consider paying to see Floyd fight another boxer – therefore Pacquiao becomes relevant to him.

With it no longer a secret that Mayweather and Pacquiao are only interested in robbing the public, enter Adrien Broner. If there’s another fighter who has been rewarded with big fights after posting underwhelming performances every time he has faced an upper-tier fighter, I don’t know of him. Broner is 3-2-1 in his last six bouts, having faced two championship caliber opponents in Shawn Porter and Mikey Garcia. He lost on the judges’ cards by a collective 16 points versus Porter and 14 against Garcia….in other words he didn’t compete and after the first third of those fights you could’ve turned to something else and you wouldn’t have missed a thing…other than Broner scoring a knockdown over a coasting and careless Porter in the 12th round.

Broner, 29, is a highly skilled boxer, and when he fights he shows flashes of what he could’ve been but never was. Adrien’s problem is he has a low boxing IQ and never cared to expand it. He’s let his weight balloon up and he’s lazy. Actually, Broner doesn’t like to fight and does it because he’s pretty good at it and he likes the notoriety it brings him. Other than that, he’s a contented loser and that makes him perfect for an aging Pacquiao.

When they get in the ring Manny can count on Broner fighting no more than 30 seconds per round and posing and loafing for the remaining 2:30. Adrien will talk up a great fight, saying he knows time is running out and he needs a sensational showing, but once again his words won’t translate into deeds…they never do. Pacquiao, knowing that a potential Mayweather rematch hinges on how he looks, will show up prepared and ready for battle. Manny has been around the block a few times and knows nothing will escalate the interest in another fight with Mayweather like a good showing and perhaps him being the first to stop Broner inside the distance.

Hopefully boxing fans won’t be asked to shell out PPV dollars to watch Pacquiao vs. Broner. But it’s boxing, so nothing should come as a surprise. The only given here is that Broner doesn’t hold any advantage over Pacquiao in size or skill, which isn’t normally the case with Manny. Moreover, he’s facing a fighter who will fold and break the first-time things get tough, and if we know one thing about Pacquiao it’s that he doesn’t make it easy for anybody. And I expect him to feed off of Broner’s weak constitution as the fight progresses. In addition to that this is the perfect good guy versus bad guy match up.

The one thing that might add intrigue to Pacquiao-Broner is that Broner is an easy guy to root against and a ton of fans would love to see nice guy Manny Pacquiao beat him up and humiliate him. And if the fight comes to fruition, count on that being how it unfolds. Yes, Pacquiao fights the perfect guy in order to set up a rematch with Mayweather and Broner will exit the ring a loser once again, only with a little more money to flush down the toilet.

Frank Lotierzo can be reached at

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Irish Jason Quigley Keeps NABF Title at Fantasy Springs



INDIO, Calif.- Jason Quigley returned to fight in Southern California after nearly two years away and found it tough going in defeating Mexico’s veteran Freddie Hernandez by unanimous decision to retain the NABF middleweight title on Thursday.

Nearly every round was contentious.

Quigley (15-0, 11 KOs) had decided to train in England after spending several years in Southern California. Though he beat Hernandez (34-10, 22 KOs) he must have forgot how to fight inside as that’s where the troubles began at Fantasy Springs Casino. The fight was televised on ESPN.

After spending the first several rounds picking apart 39-year-old Hernandez from the outside, when the Mexican fighter crowded Quigley, the Irish fighter found it difficult to maintain his punch advantage.

Hernandez used his crafty inside work to both score and muffle the punches incoming from Quigley. In the sixth and seventh round the Mexican fighter began mounting considerable damage on his foes’ face. Whether it was weariness or some other factor, Hernandez was scoring big with well-placed left hooks and lead rights.

The crowd began shouting “Fred-die, Fred-die” as the veteran landed flush blows. A look of concern crossed Quigley’s face.

Both fighters looked tired by the ninth round, but the older fighter Hernandez somehow seemed fresher especially while fighting on the inside. Then Quigley began separating himself and scoring with pot shots. That seemed to stop the rushes of Hernandez.

In the final round Quigley’s fans began shouting his name and the Irish fighter though weary managed to fire some combinations while on the move. Both fighters were exhausted when the final bell rang.

One judge scored it 99-91, the other two had it 98-92 all for Quigley.

“I feel great, I knew coming in this was a big test for me,” said Quigley.

Yes it was.


New York’s Eddie Gomez (22-3, 12 KOs) was supposed to be joined with his dad for the fight against Japan’s Shoki Sakai (22-9-2, 12 KOs) in Indio, but unexpectedly his father passed away this past weekend. The fight still went on.

Gomez won every round against the game Sakai who was trained by Mexico’s famed Nacho Beristain. The welterweight Gomez from the Bronx used his speed and movement to keep away from Sakai’s big blows. After eight rounds all three judges saw it 80-72 for Gomez.

“It was very hard. He (father) was supposed to come out Saturday night. He took a week off of work. He was supposed to fly out and Saturday was the day he had died,” said Gomez after the fight. “I got to bite down. He was in camp with me. He had his input. He would have been proud today. I love you pops.”

Other bouts

Coachella’s Rommell Caballero (4-0, 3 KOs) floored Hugo Padron twice to win by knockout at 1:25 of the first round in a super featherweight match. Caballero, the 19-year-old brother of former super bantamweight champion Randy Caballero, connected with a counter left hook during an initial exchange that sent Pardo to the floor. He got up tentatively and was met with a crisp right through the gloves for a second knockdown. Referee Tom Taylor took a look at Pardo and waved the fight over.

“My first fight on ESPN I just want to thank everybody. All I’m doing is training. I’m getting ready and staying sharp,” said Caballero who was a former sparring partner for Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez. “Training with him (Gonzalez) is one of the greatest experiences I ever had.”

After losing most every round Ray Perez (24-10, 8 KOs) made a stand and connected with an overhand left that staggered Chimpa Gonzalez (19-3, 15 KOs) and then the Filipino fired another overhand left through the guard and down went Gonzalez. Though he beat the count, Gonzalez seemed light headed and when the fight resumed Perez connected with more blows and the fight was called at 2:15 of the seventh round. Perez was deemed the winner by knockout.

It was a rematch of a fight that took place last February at the same venue. In that contest Perez won by unanimous decision.

Gonzalez trained with Joel and Antonio Diaz in Indio for this match. And though the lanky lightweight was far ahead on the score cards, he seldom moved his head and paid for it. Before that, he was ahead by attacking the body of Perez who protected his body for the last three rounds. But once Gonzalez slowed Perez revved up his attack and finished Gonzalez.

In a featherweight clash Edgar Ortega survived a first round knockdown against Recky Dulay (11-4, 8 KOs) and rallied to win by unanimous decision after six rounds by scores 57-56, and 58-55 twice.

Southpaw lightweight Angel Ruiz (11-0, 8 KOs) knocked out Dominican Republic’s Jonathan Fortuna (8-3) at 1:40 of the fourth round. Ruiz, 21, fights out of Tijuana, Mexico.

Super featherweight Elnur Abduraimov (2-0) knocked out Giovannie Gonzalez (5-3) at 2:38 of the second round. Abduraimov, 24, is originally from Uzbekistan.

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