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Algieri Predicts 21st Win, More Magic At Barclays

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People on the East Coast of the US, from 8 to 80, looked at this as the longest winter of their lives, from Boston to Brooklyn, most of ’em have been pleased as punch to see the sun, and feel that delightful trickle of sweat which runs down from your back to the behind.

So it was within that context that many of the boxers who’ll glove up and rumble Friday night in Brooklyn, at Barclays Center, posed for pics under the Brooklyn Bridge on Tuesday afternoon.

Yep, there were game faces on Amir Khan, the Brit star who is in the mix to get a Floyd Mayweather lottery ticket op, and Chris Algieri, the Long Islander tasked with derailing the Khan momentum train. But with the sun blaring down, everyone, really, possessed an extra tick of sunny disposition as they chatted with press about the card, portions of which will run on SPIKE.

Haymon Boxing and DiBella Entertainment, along with Joe DeGuardia, Algieri’s promoter, are putting the event together. Javier Fortuna and Costa Rican star Bryan Vasquez also showed up to hype their title clash, which will support Khan-Algieri. Marcus Browne, the pugilistic pride of Staten Island, along with Teddy Atlas, was present and accounted for, as was Heather Hardy, the first lady of Dibella Entertainment, who scraps Friday night.

Khan, who has a loyal fanbase in England, but also no shortage of bashers, who enjoy seeing him get busted on in the tabloids, has taken some heat for not accepting a challenge from fellow Brit Kell Brook, and instead signing on to meet Algieri. Algieri wants to prove those bashers are just haters and he belongs on the biggest stages…

The NY-based boxer was last seen getting trounced by Manny Pacquiao, but showed not a hint of being gun shy when we chatted Tuesday. He told me that his sessions with new trainer John David Jackson have paid immense dividends. I asked Algieri, boxing’s top avocado advocate, how he beats Khan.

“You put pressure on him, you keep pressure on him, you don’t let him rest,” he told me. “He’s a sprinter, he needs to spring and then rest, and catch his breath, I’m just not going to let him catch his breath.”

The fighter has a new trainer,Sergey Kovalev’s trainer, John David Jackson, who told me that he is bringing out some hidden power in Algieri. Might that be a key to his effort on Friday? “I’ve always had power, we just had to fine-tune it to find it. I’m more comfortable with it, really setting down on my shots, taking my time, moving less…I think that’s going to show up on May 29,” Algieri maintained.

“It’s a fan friendly fight for sure,” he noted, saying that both men throw lots of volume, and now, adding power to the mix, that should make for good watching. “I will get my 21st win and it will be another magical night at the Barclays,” he predicted.

And wait…might the winner get a shot at Floyd Mayweather? “That’s the word on the street!” he said, grinning, that shining sun taking a bit of the edge off the making weight/ticking down to fightnight gameface.

Here is a release which went out following the media session:

Photos From Ed Diller/DiBella Entertainment

 

BROOKLYN (May 26, 2015) – Fight week for Friday’s Premier Boxing Champions on Spike event kicked off today with Amir Khan (30-3, 19 KOs)and Chris Algieri (20-1, 8 KOs) hosting a photo opportunity at Brooklyn Bridge Park before they square-off at Barclays Center on May 29.

Coverage on Spike begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT with an exciting showdown between Javier Fortuna (27-0-1, 20 KOs) and Bryan Vasquez (35-1, 18 KOs).

Tickets for the live event, promoted by DiBella Entertainment and Star Boxing, are priced at $250, $150, $75, and $45, not including applicable service charges and taxes, and are on sale now.  Tickets are available at 
www.barclayscenter.comwww.ticketmaster.com and at the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center. To charge by phone, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000. For group tickets, please call 800-GROUP-BK.

Here is what Khan and Algieri had to say about training camp, each other and more:

AMIR KHAN

“Algieri is a fighter that has a lot of skills and assets. His range and height give him good advantages against opponents but I believe with my speed, movement and style it will be too much for him.

“Each day me and Virgil Hunter are getting stronger and we have built a really good rapport. It takes time to get that but he understands my style even more now and what works for me so we’re only going to keep growing.

“My aim since I was a kid and got into this sport was to be the very best. I fulfilled a dream when I got to the Olympics at 17 and brought back a silver medal. Later I became a world champion and then unified the light-welterweight division. My goal now is to fight the very best at 147 pounds and make my mark on this division too.

“I was away in training camp when my daughter turned one last week. It’s hard to be away from her but as a fighter those are the sacrifices you have to make. Everything I do is for her and I can’t wait to see her and spend time with her after this fight. Her birthday celebrations have been put on hold until after the fight!

“I’m really looking forward to returning to New York and fighting at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. I have good memories of this city because it’s the place where I had my first fight on US soil against Paulie Malignaggi in 2010 and also where I got married. I’m out to make it another good time this weekend.”

CHRIS ALGIERI

 “I know that it gets said all the time, but this was truly the best and most intense training camp of my life. Working with John David Jackson has truly been a blessing. He has brought out the best Chris Algieri there is. You are going to see a whole new fighter come Friday night.

“I am excited to be back in New York and excited to show the world what I am really made of on Friday night. We are just a few days away from the fight and I am so anxious to get in there and get to work.

“Amir is a tough fighter there is no doubt about that, but I am very confident in my ability and the game plan that coach has come up with for me.

“You are going to see two proven champions in a high intensity and high level fight, laying everything on the line come Friday night.”

 

                                                      #          #          #

The Friday, May 29 edition of Premier Boxing Champions on Spike features Amir Khan (30-3, 19 KOs) and Chris Algieri (20-1, 8 KOs) squaring off in a 12-round welterweight battle and the 12-round junior lightweight battle between Javier Fortuna (27-0-1, 20 KOs) and Bryan Vasquez (35-1, 18 KOs).

This event is promoted by DiBella Entertainment and Star Boxing with live coverage beginning on Spike at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.

 

Readers, talk to me.. Can Algieri spring the upset, bring it at Barclays, as he did last summer, against Ruslan Provodnikov? Weigh in, in our Forum!

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Michael Dutchover Remains Undefeated in Ontario, Calif.

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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

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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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Bob Arum Hails Terence Crawford (not Lomachenko) as Boxing’s Next Superstar

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Arum says Terence

Top Rank’s Bob Arum says Terence Crawford will become this generation’s Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao–elite boxers who became worldwide celebrity sensations. Arum, who promoted both Mayweather and Pacquiao on the way to their historic crossover statuses expects big things from the undefeated Crawford over the next few years.

“He’s the best fighter in the United States, and he’s so charismatic,” said Arum. “He comes from middle America, and In the next year or so, he will be huge.”

Arum’s assertion is noteworthy for two reasons. First, Arum is also the promoter for Vasyl Lomachenko. Lomachenko is ranked No. 1 pound-for-pound by The Ring, the Boxing Writers Association of America and the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board. More importantly, Lomachenko seems to have a groundswell of support behind him both in the media and among fight fans.

Lomachenko has also been heavily featured through Top Rank’s television partnership with ESPN. While Crawford has achieved more in his career than Lomachenko (at least in my eyes) and, as noted by Arum, is a homegrown American talent, Lomachenko seems to be considered the more marketable commodity to that network judging by the amount of promotional materials ESPN has pumped out about the fighter over the last year.

The other reason Arum’s claim about Crawford is interesting is the performance of Canelo Alvarez over the weekend in his majority decision rematch win over Gennady Golovkin. Besides Mayweather and Pacquiao, Alvarez is the clear PPV leader among all of boxing’s current commodities, and his status as boxing’s new money fighter should only grow stronger after the best win of his career.

Still, Crawford is one of the few very elite fighters in all of boxing. He’s ranked No. 2 pound-for-pound by The Ring, the Boxing Writers Association of America and the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board.

While Lomachenko and Alvarez are also candidates to become boxing’s next big thing, there’s no doubt Crawford is also one of the few boxers in the sport right now with the right things in place to become the next Mayweather or Pacquiao.

Omaha’s Crawford is in the midst of an historic run. When he stopped Jeff Horn in round 9 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in June, Crawford captured a world title in his third different weight class, welterweight. This after Crawford had already captured two lineal boxing championships, as well as multiple alphabet titles, in both the lightweight and junior welterweight divisions.

By any measure, Crawford is truly one of the best boxers in the sport. Not only does he look the part in the ring on fight night (something more and more writers seem to value most when voting for pound-for-pound lists), but the fighter has already accomplished so much in his career that it seems Arum is doing more than the fiduciary duty of promoting his fighter when he ascribes to Crawford such lofty praise.

Crawford, still just 30 years old, is already halfway to matching Mayweather and Pacquiao’s shared record of most lineal championships. Over the course of his career, Mayweather captured lineal championships at junior lightweight, lightweight, welterweight, and junior middleweight. Pacquiao won his as a flyweight, featherweight, junior lightweight, and junior welterweight.

In order for Crawford to grab lineal championship No. 3, most believe he’ll have to go through welterweight phenom Errol Spence. While promotional entanglements might keep this superfight on the shelf for a while, Arum said he had no problem pitting Crawford against Spence in what would be one of the best matchups in recent memory.

“Absolutely,” said Arum when asked about working with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions, who represents Spence, to make the fight. Could any response from him be more exciting? Crawford vs. Spence might be the next superfight in boxing. Both fighters are among the very elite, and unlike what ultimately happened with Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, who fought each other well past their peak years, both would be in the prime of their careers.

Winning that fight would certainly go a long way to making Arum’s vision of Crawford’s future come true. And who knows? Maybe Crawford really is the next Mayweather or Pacquiao. Heck, for all we know, he could even be on his way to doing something more.

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