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Mayweather’s Main Appeal Now His Lifestyle of the Rich and Famous

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Making history by matching Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 record? Forget it. Mere boxing considerations no longer are what drives the public to follow the aptly nicknamed Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. (48-0, 26 KOs) as the sport’s most ostentatious cash cow collects another $32 million or so of chump change for cuffing around doomed challenger Andre Berto (30-3, 23 KOs) on Sept. 12 at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand.

There is no way, of course, that Mayweather can hope to come within Hubble telescope distance of the staggering numbers he posted for his largely disappointing May 2 conquest of Manny Pacquiao. Even now, those grotesquely swollen figures — $500-million-plus in total revenue, 4.4 million pay-per-view subscriptions, somewhere between $220 million to the winning fighter — must seem like misprints to regular Americans struggling to meet their monthly mortgage payments. But the six-fight sweetheart deal Mayweather signed with Showtime/CBS in February 2013, the last installment of which is against designated fall guy Berto, guarantees that he be paid no less than $32 million even if it’s for little more than a glorified sparring session. As a legitimate boxing match, Mayweather-Berto is of almost zero interest to the average fight fan; Berto is a 40-to-1 longshot, and even those Grand Canyonesque odds would seem to be conservative. Berto, though he is himself a former world welterweight champion, probably has about much chance of claiming Mayweather’s WBC, WBA, lineal and THE RING welter titles as he does of winning the Powerball Lottery.

The 38-year-old Mayweather, in a sense, has already won the Powerball Lottery – several times over. According to Forbes magazine, he again is guaranteed to be the highest paid athlete in the world, having already made $285 million this year before he throws his first punch at Berto. His current net worth is an estimated $500 million, which seemingly ensures that he won’t – can’t – suffer the same financial ruin that befell such riches-to-rags boxing greats as Joe Louis, Sugar Ray Robinson, Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield. Pacquiao lags far behind in second place, at $160 million earned in 2015, with the third athlete on the list, soccer’s Ronaldo, a semi-pauper at $79 million. Even basketball superstar LeBron James, in sixth place, seems like he should be clipping discount coupons and shopping in thrift stores at a mere $64.8 million.

What’s more amazing is that none of Mayweather’s income comes from product endorsements; the last such gigs he had were way back in 2009, when he did minor TV spots for AT&T and Reebok, with neither company electing to renew its association with him in 2010.

“You can’t deny people want to watch him, and people have been waiting a long time to see this fight (against Pacquiao),” Bob Dorfman, editor of Sports Marketers Scouting Report, said earlier this year. “But it doesn’t mean you’ll buy a product he’s endorsing or believe him as a spokesman.”

Not being a compensated pitchman for Madison Avenue, though, does not seem to bother Mayweather in the least. He almost revels in his anti-establishment, bad-boy persona. What you see is what you get, he insists, and if that includes the occasional homophobic and sexist rant, and at least three domestic-violence convictions, so be it.

“I am always the villain,” Mayweather said before his June 25, 2005, brutalization of Arturo Gatti in Atlantic City. “That’s all right. I know how boxing works. You have to have a good guy and a bad guy. I don’t mind being the bad guy.”

Is “Money” actually a villain? Or does he merely play one because it helps embellish his brand? Either way, it doesn’t seem to matter much from a bottom-line standpoint. The way he looks at it, has always looked at it, if someone plucks down enough cash for a ticket or a PPV subscription to watch his bouts, it is of no concern to him if that person desperately wants to see him win or lose. Income streams play no favorites.

For a Showtime special he did last year with former “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” host Robin Leach, Mayweather explained why he’ll never be broke, despite profligate spending habits that make even Tyson’s conspicuous consumption in the 1980s and ’90s, which saw him blow through a reported $300 million, seem semi-miserly.

“I’ve got plans for real-estate ventures in New York and film production in Los Angeles,” Mayweather, who has vowed that the Berto fight will be his last, told Leach. “I’ve invested wisely over the years, and I’m not going to wind up broke. I set a goal of $12 million a year coming in at a million a month in interest alone. We’ve reached that – and I still sign all my own checks.”

The only problem with that is Mayweather, who bets hundreds of thousands of dollars on sporting events (he only goes public on those occasions when he collects on wagers), routinely spends more than a million dollars a month. If he had to subsist solely on that interest revenue, he’d have to cut back, drastically, on the extravagances that have made him more intriguing to fight fans and non-fans than his luminescence inside the ropes. Put it this way: It is Mayweather’s flaunting of his fabulous wealth that has replaced his undeniable ring skills as the cornerstone of his appeal. At this stage of his career, he doesn’t even pretend otherwise.

Keith Thurman, the WBA’s “regular” welterweight champion, admits to being disappointed when he lost out to Berto for the slot opposite Mayweather in which the man with total control, or as close as it ever gets to that in the fight game, adamantly says is his farewell to boxing. Then again, Thurman believes that actual bouts no longer are the primary engine that drives Mayweather’s notoriety.

“Let’s watch `Money’ spend his money on a Rolls-Royce and a Bentley,” Thurman told reporters at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., a few hours before Danny Garcia’s Aug. 1 rout of Paulie Malignaggi. “Let’s watch `Money’ go to a strip club. Let’s watch `Money’ go around with a bag of money and buy some shoes. Whatever he wants to do, America is going to watch; it’s called the `Money Show.’

“So right now at the end of his career he’s making more money than anyone thought was possible in the world of boxing. And to me that is his goal. That’s why he nicknamed himself `Money.’ He’s focused on the money and he wants to make history – not in the way I want to make history – but he wants to make history on (financial) numbers and numbers alone. So once again, enjoy the `Money Show.’ I wouldn’t pay for his next fight, but that’s on you.”

Truth be told, it does appear that Mayweather has received more attention for his latest lavish purchase than he did for attempting to depict Berto, who has two losses to fighters (Victor Ortiz and Robert Guerrero) that Mayweather dominated, as the guy who might finally smudge the record of the self-proclaimed TBE (“The Best Ever”). Despite the fact that Mayweather already has bought at least 88 luxury cars for himself and members of his unwieldy entourage, he couldn’t resist the urge to fork over $4.8 million in late August for a Koenigsegg CCXR Trevita, a land rocket that can go from zero to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds and has a top speed of 250 mph. It’s the perfect vehicle for those occasions when Floyd is running a bit late for an appointment.

Thurman, who, most would agree, would pose a sterner test to Mayweather than Berto figures to, might have reason to be perturbed, but any suggestion that the most-well-compensated fighter in boxing history has been doing it against a steady stream of bums is misleading at best and simply wrong at worst. Twenty-five of Floyd’s 49 pro bouts have been for world championships, and his list of victims includes such notables as Pacquiao, Oscar De La Hoya, Shane Mosley, Miguel Cotto, Canelo Alvarez, Diego Corrales, Juan Manuel Marquez, Jose Luis Castillo, Genaro Hernandez, Zab Judah and Ricky Hatton. Even though he seemingly was pressed in majority decisions over Marcos Maidana (the first of their two fights) and Alvarez, and a split decision over De La Hoya, the closest brushes he has had with possible defeat came against Maidana (I), Castillo and Emanuel Augustus.

No wonder Mayweather struts around like the cock of the walk. He figures he’s merited his announced position at the top of the all-time heap, and being No. 1 should have its perks.

“No one can get me to say Sugar Ray Robinson or anybody else was or is better than me,” he said before the Mosley fight on May 1, 2010. “No one was better. No one is better. Maybe no one else ever will be better.”

The extent of Mayweather’s greatness as a fighter is a topic that is debated now and will continue to be well into the future. He is, indisputably, a defensive genius. He is also is a technician who doesn’t always deliver much bang for all those bucks; his most recent win inside the distance came against Ortiz on Sept. 17, 2011, and he might not have ended that one early (the fourth round) had not Ortiz made the mistake of dropping his hands and turning his head to look at the referee. The first rule of boxing is to protect yourself at all times and Mayweather, with as free a shot as he has ever had, took advantage of Ortiz’s lapse of judgment with an overhand shot that landed flush. But Mayweather’s last six fights have gone to the scorecards, a streak he vows will end against Berto.

“There’s going to be some knockdowns,” Mayweather said when the matchup was made. “A lot. And there’s going to be blood. A lot.”

Mayweather being Mayweather, though, don’t expect him to toss caution to the wind as if it were so much confetti. If he didn’t do it against Pacquiao, when so much was expected in terms of excitement and so little delivered, it would be foolish to think “Money” has suddenly become a leopard disposed to change its spots.

“My health is more important to me than anything,” Floyd said of the fears raised by the diminished mental capacity of his uncle and former trainer, Roger Mayweather. “It hurts me extremely bad he don’t even know who I am anymore.”

If this is indeed Mayweather’s last rodeo, the decision not to go for win No. 50 might be his and his alone. It also could be that Showtime or his former TV home, HBO, would balk at coming up with another contract the size of a Third World nation’s gross national product, and especially if a precondition to any such arrangement would cede to Floyd total control over, well, everything. It’s highly unlikely that Mayweather would be willing to mark himself down like bruised fruit at the supermarket. He is accustomed to receiving premium compensation every time he laces up the gloves, and it seems reasonable to assume he won’t accept a penny less than what he’s been getting on the about-to-lapse Showtime deal.

But if he really is on the verge of retirement, he soon will walk away with a legacy of opulence that any captain of industry would envy. Consider some of the adventures in spending that Mayweather has engaged in in his relentless march toward membership in the billionaire’s club, a distinction he might already have attained if he were only a bit more frugal:

*He keeps on staff a personal chef who is paid $4,000 a day to rustle up his favorite meals, and at any time of the day or night. Also on staff is a personal barber, which also might seem a tad excessive in that Mayweather shaves his head.

*He signs contracts with a solid-gold pen.

*He maintains three residences in Las Vegas; one in Sunny Isles, Fla., outside of Miami ; one in Los Angeles and one in New York. He keeps a matching set of cars –a fleet that includes 14 Rolls-Royces – at his primary Las Vegas residence (those are white) and the one in Florida (those are black). “I don’t want to get confused where I am,” he said in explaining the arrangement to Leach.

*He maintains a staff of around 20, including four burly bodyguards, who know better than to question any directive from the boss.

*He has “at least” $5 million in jewelry, including a $1.6 million necklace.

*He wears top-of-the-line underwear (boxer shorts) and sneakers (Christian Louboutins, which are priced anywhere from $795 to $3,595 a pair, depending on the model) only once before discarding them.

*The bars at his various residences are stocked with his beverage of choice (Louis XIII Remy Martin Cognac, which goes for $3,500 a bottle).

If it appears that PPV sales for Mayweather-Berto are lagging, despite the angle of Floyd bidding to match Marciano, there is one surefire way to spur interest in a fight that hasn’t exactly caught on like wildfire with consumers who still feel stung for buying into May-Pac.

All it would take is for Mayweather to announce that his trip from his dressing room to the ring will be made as he sits behind the wheel of that Koenigsegg CCXR Trevita and ticket sales would be sure to boom. And why not? Those who have followed Mayweather have gotten used to the notion of his receiving a minimum wage of $32 million. But a chance to see and a $4.8 million car … now that would really be something , wouldn’t it?

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Johnny Bey and the Glory Days of Boxing at the Great Western Forum

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Veteran boxing publicist John Beyrooty was inducted into the West Coast Boxing Hall of Fame last week. This particular hall of fame is the third boxing hall of fame devoted primarily to boxers and boxing personalities who energized the Los Angeles boxing scene. Its antecedents were the California Boxing Hall of Fame and the World Boxing Hall of Fame.

With this latest honor, John Beyrooty (Johnny Bey to his friends and co-workers) hit the trifecta. He’s been recognized by all three. For good measure, Beyrooty received the 2016 Good Guy Award by the Boxing Writers Association of America.

Beyrooty’s induction called to mind the days when the Great Western Forum (now back to being called the plain old Forum) was a beehive of boxing. Wealthy real estate investor Dr. Jerry Buss then owned the joint as well as the arena’s signature tenant, the Los Angeles Lakers. During the Buss years (1982-1999), there were 302 GWF shows, most of which were held on a Monday. They aired on Prime Ticket, a regional cable network in which Buss had an ownership stake.

Beginning in 1989, Johnny Bey was Jerry Buss’s PR guy for the fights.

JOHN BEYROOTY, NEWSPAPERMAN

A little background. For folks of a certain vintage, John Beyrooty will always be associated with the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner. At one time the largest circulation afternoon paper in America, the paper, which could trace its roots to 1903, went belly-up 29 years ago. The last issue rolled off the press on Nov. 2, 1989.

The Herald-Examiner had a great sports section. The rival LA Times could boast of Jim Murray, a wonderful wordsmith, and several other notables, but no one bought the Times just for the sports section. Three Herald-Examiner sportswriters – columnists Allan Malamud and Melvin Durslag and Bob Mieszerski, the horse racing guy, were snatched away by the Times during the end days of the Herald-Examiner.

Beyrooty, who grew up in the LA suburb of Downey (Herald-Examiner sports editor Bud Furillo was a neighbor) joined the paper as a copy boy. After five years in this capacity he became a writer, assigned to the boxing beat. “They gave me boxing because no one else wanted it,” he recalled in a 2010 interview with former Herald-Examiner colleague Doug Krikorian.

The first boxing show Beyrooty covered, on March 15, 1979, at the fabled Olympic Auditorium, was also the first boxing show he ever saw. Alberto “Superfly” Sandoval opposed Eddie Logan in the main event.

During his days as a copy boy Beyrooty moonlighted as a parking lot attendant at the old LA Sports Arena, a job he kept for a time after becoming a boxing writer. One night he worked a double shift, so to speak. In the fashion of Superman changing his costume, he ripped off the colorful shirt that parking lot attendants were required to wear and dashed into the arena to take his assigned seat in the section reserved for the ringside press.

FORUM BOXING, SNAPSHOTS

Twelve fighters promoted by Forum Boxing have been inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. For some, the Great Western Forum was their nursery. Juan Manuel Marquez graduated from a preliminary boy to a headliner here. Oscar De La Hoya made his pro debut at the Great Western Forum. John Beyrooty is credited with giving Oscar his nickname, “Golden Boy.”

At the Great Western Forum, good things came in small packages. The great flyweight Mark “Too Sharp” Johnson had most of his early fights in and around his native Washington DC, but came to the fore at the Great Western Forum where he made 14 appearances. Ask John Bayrooty and he would tell you that Mark Johnson in his prime was pound-for-pound the best boxer in the world. An even smaller man, Humberto “Chiquita” Gonzalez, made the GWF turnstiles hum. “Chiquita” was responsible for five of the 10 largest crowds.

In 1993 and again in 1995, Humberto Gonzalez was involved in the Fight of the Year. His opponents were Michael Carbajal and Saman Sorjaturong.

The first of these fights, co-promoted with Top Rank, was actually held in Las Vegas. Forum Boxing occasionally took its act on the road. This practice became more common when Forum Boxing president John Jackson took a second job as an assistant football coach at UNLV under his longtime friend and mentor John Robinson.

A bizarre moment in the shoddy history of UNLV football – engendering some outrage but mostly horse laughs — occurred on Nov. 2, 2002, when Coach Jackson disappeared with three minutes remaining in a game that was hanging in the balance. Marco Antonio Barrera, who was then the ace of the dwindling Forum Boxing stable, was fighting Johnny Tapia up the road at the MGM Grand. Jackson didn’t want to miss the fight. (UNLV prevailed without him, upending Wyoming 49-48 in overtime).

The Gonzalez-Sorjaturong fight was one of many great wars staged at the Great Western Forum during the Buss years. Among the others, two in particular stand out. The June 27, 1987, match between neighborhood rivals Frankie Duarte and Alberto Davila, won by Duarte (TKO 10), was a savage bloodbath. Two years later, in the first of their three meetings, Paul Banke and Daniel Zaragoza, went hammer and tongs for all 12 rounds. Zaragoza retained his WBA 122-pound title on a split decision.

The April 26, 1993, bout between defending WBA 130-pound champion Genero “Chicanito” Hernandez and Raul Perez warrants a citation as the most disappointing. The highly-anticipated match was over in 28 seconds. A wicked cut wrought by an accidental head butt forced the stoppage.

No arena is going to host that many fights without some rancid decisions. The worst of the worst was the May 20, 1991 match between Victor Rabanales and Greg Richardson. The crowd went berserk when the decision went to Richardson. All three judges were appointed by the WBC. Richardson was promoted by Don King. ‘Nuff said.

JOHN BEYROOTY, FIGHT PUBLICIST

Jerry Buss reportedly lost money with his boxing venture but he wasn’t the sort to pinch pennies. The program that Beyrooty assembled for each show – “Fight Night at the Forum” – was produced on thick, glossy paper stock at considerable cost. Inside the publication, at its core, Beyrooty analyzed the main event, breaking down the principals in terms of their fighting styles and other variables. In most issues, Beyrooty reprised his old Herald-Examiner weekly notes column, a wide-ranging potpourri of fight news and rumors. At his heart, John Beyrooty was still a newspaperman.

The programs – a complete set would be a cool collector’s item — were also chock full of eye candy. The late Dr. Buss had a fine eye for the ladies and that’s putting it mildly as he was in Hugh Hefner’s league as a playboy. The Great Western Forum was continually running tournaments for ring card girls (fans got to choose their favorite from each pod) and full pages were devoted to the lineup.

After the end of his run with Forum Boxing, Beyrooty joined Brener-Zwikel & Associates, a sports public relations firm. He did considerable traveling while handling the SHOWTIME BOXING account, including a trip to China for a fight that was cancelled at the 11th hour. Nowadays, Johnny Bey has been scarce around the office as he deals with a myriad of nagging little health issues. Hopefully this is only a hiccup and he will be back to full speed very soon.

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The Avila Perspective Chap. 18: Timekeepers, Pension and Coming Fights

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Mike North works in the underbelly of the boxing world in a state that sees more fight business in a month than other states see in an entire year.

If this was the military, he might be a radar technician or man the sonar in a nuclear-powered submarine.

But this is prizefighting, and in his role, North tirelessly works with a stopwatch as the official timekeeper. It’s a role that he’s performed for hundreds of fights through two decades in the state of California.

North will be inducted into the California Boxing Hall of Fame for his many years spent as an official timekeeper for the California State Athletic Commission. The ceremony takes place on Saturday Oct. 20, at the Sportsman’s Lodge in the Studio City area of Los Angeles.

Others being inducted are Michael Carbajal, Chango Carmona, Frankie Liles, Guty Espadas Sr. and Guty Espadas Jr., Jose Celaya and others.

As a youngster in Kansas City, Missouri who loved boxing, North began as an amateur boxer and frequented the nearby gym to learn the fistic art.

“The people training me said you’re not very good, why don’t you be a writer or photographer. So, I became one in 1990,” said North, adding that he moved to California and began working first as a photographer and then as a writer for various sports publications, including a magazine called Ring Sports.

Through his work as a journalist, he began meeting ring officials and was persuaded to apply for a position as a boxing official for the state of California.

“I got to meet a lot of officials, and Dick Young was a Missouri boy like me. He recommended to me to be an official in 1998,” said North who, because of an abundance of referees and judges, opted for the role as a timekeeper.

He’s been working the fights as a CSAC timekeeper ever since.

“One of my first shows on TV was for Julio Cesar Chavez at Staples Center. That was one of my first shows. I was happy to do that show. The boxing legend and his son made his pro debut but he (senior) got beat up and later retired. So, I got to time his second to last fight,” said North of the fight that took place in May 2005.

Along the way, North has worked many of the biggest prize fights in Southern California, including the Oscar De La Hoya and Steve Forbes fight at the StubHub Center in May 2008. That fight drew more than 30,000 fans into the stadium where the LA Galaxy and LA Chargers now play.

Another memorable moment for North occurred with one of his favorite fighters, Bernard Hopkins in 2016. That title contest turned out to be the Philadelphia fighter’s final prize fight.

“I was timekeeper when Bernard Hopkins got knocked out of the ring,” said North, who is married and works about 30 fight cards a year. “That night during a championship fight, he gets knocked out of the ring. He’s got 20 seconds to get back into the ring. I start counting. One or two of the inspectors helped him out. Once they touched Hopkins the fight was over and I finished counting.”

That fight emphasizes just one of the many duties of a timekeeper. Once any fight card begins, a timekeeper has to manage the clock, bell and whistle for the ring announcers, referees, and television when it’s involved.

It’s a tedious adventure and not meant for everyone.

“The difficulties come in doing it when I’m tired. Talk about the fundamentals, the hardest thing is having to stay focused during the entire fight from beginning to end. In a big 12 round fight, it’s 50 minutes just timekeeping and focusing, maintaining discipline of timing the rounds and rests and counting the knockdowns. Those are the biggest demands for a timekeeper,” said North, who works as an aerospace engineer during the day.

“It’s not as easy as people think. Especially if you are doing live TV like HBO, there are all kinds of distractions. Sometimes when you are on live TV it adds a little bit of pressure to you.”

Experiencing that pressure and dealing with it over the last two decades has prompted California State Athletic Commission executives to appoint North as an advisor for new recruits joining the ranks of timekeepers.

The first advice he gives is purchasing a reliable stopwatch, whistle, bell and black and white striped shirt.

“I recommend they buy a stopwatch that has a certificate of calibration from a manufacturer and costs over $25. You need to have two to four stopwatches in case one goes out,” says North, who has more than one of everything.

“Once, I had a whistle with a corked ball inside of it. I was doing a fight at the Playboy Mansion and the corked ball blew out the gap of the whistle. It didn’t impact the fight. But a malfunction can impact the fight if you are not prepared.”

North is always prepared.

“It is difficult to find people that want to do timekeeping, stay with it and like to do it,” said Andy Foster, Executive Director for CSAC. “We don’t have that many. It’s a real skill to picking up that count, to working with the referee and having the focus and instincts. There is a real skill to it.”

After 20 years of working along the boxing rings throughout Southern California, the veteran timekeeper realizes a need for more official clock watchers has arrived. But his time is not over as he works with new recruits.

“It has a lot of rewards that go with it. We have the best seats in the world for boxing events,” said North, who also keeps time for MMA bouts. “It’s very rewarding because you get to meet a lot of great people.”

Many of those people will be at the Sportsman’s Lodge when North receives his entry into the California Boxing Hall of Fame.

Time really does go fast when you are having fun.

 

California Pension for boxers

“A pension fund established for retired boxers has reached a total of more than $5 million dollars,” said Andy Foster, Executive Director for CSAC.

Any retired boxer over the age of 50 who fought more than 75 rounds with no more than a three-year break, or 10 rounds a year for at least four years without a three-year break is eligible for money due.

The pension fund was established in 1982 to help retired prizefighters in their older years.

A list will be provided soon and a future story on this will also be available.

Downtown L.A. and Indio on Thursday night

In the old business district of downtown Los Angeles, a boxing show takes place at the Exchange LA, located at 618 S. Spring Street, L.A. 90014. PR Sports is putting on the show that features Gloferson Ortizo, Adan Ochoa, and Damien Lopez among others. A couple of years ago it’s where current budding prospect Ryan “The Flash” Garcia made his first American debut as a professional.

It’s a solid fight card.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. For more information call (310) 315-0525.

It can be seen on the CBS Sports website.

About 120 miles east another boxing card takes place.

Fantasy Springs Casino hosts a Golden Boy Promotions fight card showcasing Ireland’s Jason Quigley (14-0) against Mexico’s Freddy Hernandez (34-9) in a middleweight clash set for 10 rounds.

Quigley defends the NABF title he won in March 2017. During that fight against Glen Tapia he broke his hand and was out of action for a year. He returned this past March and won by knockout on a Massachusetts card.

Hernandez, 39, is a veteran originally from Mexico City who fights out of L.A. His best victory came against Alfredo Angulo two years ago. He’s crafty and doesn’t take chances.

ESPN2 will televise the Golden Boy card.

Friday in Ontario

Thompson Boxing Promotions rolls out another boxing card at the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

For 18 years this Southern California promotion group has been uncovering hidden jewels. Its latest is WBA super bantamweight champion Danny Roman, who is expected to be present at the fight card this Friday, Oct. 19.

Roman will be introduced to the crowd. Last week, the Los Angeles-based prizefighter knocked out England’s Gavin McDonnell in the 10th round in Chicago. It was his third successful defense of the title he grabbed in Japan a year ago.

A primary reason I’ve covered these fight cards has been Thompson Boxing’s ability to discover talent like Roman and many others.

Saturday in Las Vegas

WBA middleweight titlists Ryoto Murata (14-1, 11 KOs) defends the title against Rob Brant (23-1, 16 KOs) in a 12 round clash on Saturday Oct. 20, at the Park Theater MGM in Las Vegas. The Top Rank card will be televised by ESPN.

Murata, 32, doesn’t have time to waste at his age. He needs to go after the big guns, whoever they are. As the holder of the minor version of the title, he’s got to keep his place in line. And like most Japanese fighters, he’s not shy about taking chances.

Brant, 28, will be fighting an upper tier opponent for the second time. His only loss was to former WBA and WBO world light heavyweight champion Juergen Braehmer in first round action in the World Boxing Super Series 168-pound tournament.

With Canelo now holding the WBC title and fighting for the WBA super middleweight title in December after defeating Gennady Golovkin by decision, the middleweight division is wide open.

In the semi-main event, a super lightweight match set for 10 rounds, Russia’s Maxim Dadashev (11-0,10 KOs) meets the ultimate gatekeeper in Mexico’s Antonio DeMarco (33-6-1, 24 KOs).

Dadashev, 28, has knocked out almost all of his opponents, so the brain trust at Top Rank wants to see if he can truly fight someone who does not go down easily.

DeMarco, 32, is a rangy former world titlist from Tijuana who has warred against the best punchers in the business, including wins over Jorge Linares, John Molina and Mickey Roman. He doesn’t quit. He didn’t quit against one of the best punchers of all time, Edwin Valero, in that fighter’s last pro fight.

It’s a perfect test for Dadashev. It’s also a good fight for DeMarco to prove that he deserves another world title shot.

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Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Golden Boy Promotions Announce Fight Deal With DAZN at MSG

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At a press conference today at Madison Square Garden, professional boxing’s biggest star Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Golden Boy Promotions announced they signed a massive deal, reportedly a more than $365 million dollar contract, with the streaming company DAZN.

“I’ve always said when one door closes, another one opens,” said Alvarez in front of a crowd at the Garden and also to those watching it streamed live.

That door was blasted wide open with the announcement that Alvarez and Golden Boy Promotion fighters will be included on future DAZN streamed boxing cards in a five-year deal.

“Obviously for us it’s a major day. Live sports are undergoing a major change,” said Eric Gomez, president of Golden Boy. “We’ve made a deal with the sports leaders in the sport of boxing DAZN.”

Gomez added that Canelo will perform 11 fights with DAZN exclusively.

“He will now have the richest sports contract in sports history,” said Gomez, adding that 10 future DAZN events will feature other Golden Boy fighters too.

It’s been a topsy-turvy month, especially after HBO announced two weeks ago that they were moving out of the boxing business after 40 years. Boxing had brought that television network its success and now it is bailing out.

Streaming has become the new source for watching live boxing, but it still needed a major star to bring viewers. What bigger name than Canelo.

“Canelo was the answer,” said DAZN.

“Canelo has sold 3.6 million buys for three quarters of a billion dollars. His next 11 fights will be exclusively on DAZN,” said John Skipper, chairman of DAZN adding that Alvarez’s next fight will be free. “Today represents a major shift in providing the top major sports content.”

Super middleweight title fight

Alvarez, who recently defeated long reigning middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin to win the WBC and WBA middleweight titles, will now face WBA super middleweight titlist Rocky Fielding at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 15. It will be streamed free to entice fans to subscribe to DAZN which also streams MMA and other sports events.

Fielding, who fights out of Liverpool, England, looked like a basketball player standing next to the redhead Alvarez on the stage.

“I’ve worked all my life to get to the world stage. Now I’m fighting the biggest star in boxing. It’s every fighter’s dream to fight in Madison Square Garden,” said Fields. “I’ve watched him over the years. I’m going to give everything.”

Eddie Hearn, whose promotion company Matchroom Boxing represents Fielding and heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, is also a partner with DAZN.

“We had a mission to make sure that the DAZN platform worked and is a success. We launched that platform with Anthony Joshua and now with Golden Boy they bring Canelo Alvarez to the landscape,” said Hearn. “Now with Joshua and Canelo on DAZN the whole game is about to change. This is just the beginning for the DAZN platform believe me.”

No more pay-per-view

Golden Boy Promotions announced that the deal to showcase its other fighters begins in early 2019 and will feature 10 high caliber fight cards. No longer will its fight be on pay-per-view. Instead the low monthly cost of about $5 dollars a month will be the only charge for all of the fights on DAZN that will be streamed in not only the U.S., but also the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Canada and Japan.

Other sports promotions include Matchroom Boxing cards and MMA by Bellator and Combate Americas.

“It’s been many years that I wanted to fight here. I’m here and I want to give a great fight to the fans in New York,” said Alvarez at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday. “The most important thing is the fans can enjoy this fight at a very low price.”

Golden Boy will also co-produce the televised events and social media presentations. The deal will also include 7,000 hours of Oscar De La Hoya’s library.

De La Hoya was elated by the new partnership.

“This is easily one of the best days in the growing history of Golden Boy Promotions,” said De La Hoya, the CEO and chairman of Golden Boy Promotions.

A new page is turned for the sport of boxing and a redhead named Canelo Alvarez is leading the way.

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