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The Heritage Sports Collectibles Auction: Buyer Beware

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Heritage Auctions, headquartered in Dallas, bills itself as “the world’s third largest auction house” and “the world’s largest collectibles auctioneer.” Its website states that, since 1976, Heritage has sold more than three billion dollars worth of auction items and that its sports auction division is “the largest sports auction house in the world with over $50 million in annual sales.”

On May 11 through May 13 of this year, a Heritage sports collectibles auction grossed more than $9 million. However, a study of the auction suggests that some of the boxing collectibles offered for sale aren’t what Heritage represented them to be. And the provenance of other items involving Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson has been called into question.

Chris Ivy is Heritage’s Director of Sports Collectibles. The Heritage website says that Ivy began working at Heritage Auctions in 2000 and was “the driving force behind the inception of the Sports auction division in 2003.” It further states, “Chris is recognized as a nationally respected expert in the industry. In his position, he is responsible for the day-to-day operations, combining vision and execution with a balance of business and collecting passion. He counsels advanced collectors to help them build some of the most significant private collections in the hobby and he also works with consignors on a daily basis to recommend the disposition of their collections in order to maximize their financial return.”

Asked to respond to questions regarding the May 11-13 Heritage auction, Ivy referenced “the inevitability that a tiny fraction of the thousands of lots we sell annually are deemed problematic,” and declared, “Our authentication processes are the most rigorous in the industry. We will never sell an item we do not believe to be authentic.”

There’s no suggestion that Heritage knowingly sold phony sports memorabilia. However, Heritage appears to have engaged in painfully sloppy authentication practices.

Let’s start with Lot #81838 from the May 11-13 Heritage auction. It’s listed in the auction catalog as “1980 Matthew Saad Muhammad Fight Worn Robe from Lopez II Bout.”

The Heritage website link for the robe is:

https://sports.ha.com/itm/boxing/1980-matthew-saad-muhammad-fight-worn-robe-from-lopez-ii-bout/a/7190-81838.s?ic4=GalleryView-ShortDescription-071515

The Heritage auction catalog describes the robe as follows:

“It was the Fight of the Year in 1980, a wild and violent thriller that saw Saad Muhammad hit with twenty unanswered power shots in round eight before recovering to drop challenger Yaqui Lopez five times en route to a fourteenth-round stoppage to successfully defend his WBC Light-Heavyweight belt. This is the white satin ‘Everlast’ robe worn by Saad Muhammad both before and after the brutal affair, as period film and photography confirms. Note that the detachable hood has since been lost, but otherwise the match is perfect, the distinctive black tackle twill ’Matthew Saad Muhammad’ text on verso both unusual and unmistakable. Robe is also missing the original black belt and exhibits a degree of toning from wear and storage, but it presents beautifully and ably recalls one of the most thrilling nights of boxing in the past four decades. LOA from Heritage Auctions. Pre-certified by PSA/DNA (autograph). Auction LOA from SGC Authentic (autograph).”

The robe sold at auction for $1,080.

The problem is that the robe sold by Heritage has an Everlast label on the front left breast. As evidenced by a video of the fight, the robe that Saad Muhammad wore did not.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YKN78MSuGM  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uX9GwmmbaDw

Apparently, the “most rigorous” authentication processes in the industry didn’t include the simple viewing of a fight film that’s readily available on YouTube.

Lot #81837 in the May 11-13 Heritage Auction is another robe that’s problematic. It’s listed in the auction catalog as “1950’s Archie Moore Fight Worn, Signed Robe.”

The Heritage website link for the robe is:

https://sports.ha.com/itm/boxing/1950-s-archie-moore-fight-worn-signed-robe/a/7190-81837.s?ic4=GalleryView-ShortDescription-071515

According to Heritage, Moore wore this robe “in several championship matches, including the fights versus Tony Anthony, Yolande Pompey, etc.”

The Heritage auction catalog describes the robe as follows:

“His professional career covered a staggering twenty-eight years, earning him the well deserved nickname ‘The Old Mongoose’ for his tenacity and durability. His career knockout total of 131 is a record in the sport, and he ranks fourth on The Ring magazine’s list of the hundred greatest punchers. Prominent boxing website BoxRec names Moore the greatest pound-for-pound fighter in the sport’s history. But despite his nearly three decades of prizefighting and pantheon status, scant few relics from Moore have surfaced in the collectibles market. We’re happy to address this shortfall with the presented piece, a black floral fabric robe with gold trim that was handmade by one of his ex wives’ mothers. Originally sold to the Sands Hotel Boxing Museum in Las Vegas by Moore, it was later purchased by renowned boxing collector Bob Case and is accompanied by a signed letter of provenance from Moore, which states that it was worn in several championship matches, including the fights versus Tony Anthony, Yolande Pompey, etc. Letter of provenance from Archie Moore. Letter of provenance from Bob Case. LOA from Heritage Auctions. Full LOA from PSA/DNA (autograph)Auction LOA from SGC Authentic (autograph).”
The robe sold at auction for $4,800.

The problem is that, here too, the robe sold by Heritage appears to be different from what it’s purported to be.

There is no film of Moore vs. Tony Anthony to verify that this is the robe Moore wore in that fight. Film of Moore vs. Yolande Pompey (available on YouTube) indicates that the robe auctioned off by Heritage is not the robe Moore wore that night. Note the wide lapels on Moore’s robe in the video, the different waist pocket design, and wider trim at the sleeves.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZradMnI8w4

In response, Chris Ivy states, “The Moore robe, if your contention is correct, would be an extraordinarily rare instance of an athlete letter of provenance proving false. The hobby is conditioned to take athletes at their word, and it is Moore himself who was the source of attribution.”

However, serious collectors are not “conditioned to take athletes at their word” when it comes to sports memorabilia. Jack Dempsey was known for giving away fight artifacts and embellishing what they were. Archie Moore might have done the same thing when selling them. Or giving Moore the benefit of the doubt, he might have believed he wore this particular robe in the Pompey fight and was wrong. All Heritage had to do was go to YouTube and the robe’s provenance would have been called into question.

Lot #81845 in the May 11-13 Heritage auction is listed in the auction catalog as “1982 Larry Holmes Cornerman Shirt Worn by Ray Arcel – Arcel’s Last Fight!”

 

The Heritage website link for the jacket is:

https://sports.ha.com/itm/boxing/1982-larry-holmes-cornerman-shirt-worn-by-ray-arcel-arcel-s-last-fight-/a/7190-81845.s?ic4=GalleryView-ShortDescription-071515

The Heritage auction catalog describes the jacket as follows:

“A glorious career that began in the 1920’s and saw him train twenty men to World Championships ended the night Ray Arcel wore this ‘Everlast’ brand garment in the corner of Heavyweight beltholder Larry Holmes in a bout against Jerry Cooney. The June 11, 1982, contest would conclude with Cooney’s corner throwing in the towel in the thirteenth to rescue their battered challenger. Red satin shirt has zipper front and screened white text on verso reading, ‘World Champion Larry Holmes.’ A thrilling farewell to the greatest trainer in boxing history. LOA from Heritage Auctions.

The reserve price for this jacket wasn’t met at auction. The item is now being offered for sale on the Heritage website for $600.

One might start with the sloppiness of Heritage’s research by noting that the auction catalog spells Gerry Cooney’s name incorrectly. More significantly, as evidenced by a video of Holmes-Cooney posted on YouTube, the jacket worn by Arcel had a PONY patch on the right front breast and an Everlast patch on the left front breast.auction items

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6s2rOOocTXs

The robe being offered for sale by Heritage has only the Everlast patch.
This contradicts Chris Ivy’s claim that ”our authentication processes are the most rigorous in the industry.”

The three auction items referenced above appear to be something other than what Heritage represented them to be. There are also instances where more documentation would have been appropriate to bolster what appears to be questionable provenance.

Lot #81845 in the May 11-13 Heritage auction is listed in the auction catalog as “1960 Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) First Professional Fight Card Program.”

The Heritage website link for the program is:

https://sports.ha.com/itm/boxing/1960-cassius-clay-muhammad-ali-first-professional-fight-card-program/a/7190-81835.s?ic4=OtherResults-SampleItem-Thumbnail-022817

The Heritage auction catalog describes the program as follows:

“A month earlier, on September 5, 1960, an eighteen year old Cassius Clay stood proudly on the top level of an Olympic podium in Rome as the American national anthem played in his honor. Here we find what is arguably the rarest relic in the professional career of the Light-Heavyweight Gold Medalist, the modest single-page fight card for Clay’s professional debut at the Freedom Hall State Fairground in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, a six-round meeting with the thirty year old police chief of Fayetteville, West Virginia, Tunney Hunsaker on October 29, 1960. After the bout, Hunsaker would report, ‘Clay was as fast as lightning. I tried every trick I knew to throw at him off balance but he was just too good.’ And so began the path to a 1964 meeting with Sonny Liston at Miami Beach, and the Heavyweight Championship belt. The 7×9.5″ page survives in astoundingly fine condition with no creasing or tearing. Unscored. This program originates from the granddaughter of Joe Martin. Joe Martin was the police officer who introduced Clay to boxing as a youngster.”

Here’s the problem.

Heritage says the program came from Joe Martin’s collection through Martin’s granddaughter, Jole.

Jole Martin sold her grandfather’s collection to a collector named Peter Morkovin. The Clay-Hunsaker programs, which she found among her grandfather’s belongings after he died, were included in the sale. Morkovin was a sophisticated collector. He asked for and received a notarized letter of authenticity from Jole for each Clay-Hunsaker program. That was important to him because, prior to Jole’s discovery of the programs, no Clay-Hunsaker programs were known to exist.

Morkovin subsequently resold the Clay-Hunsaker programs. Thereafter, Heritage sold Clay-Hunsaker programs at auction on October 26, 2012 (lot #81222 for $3,107), May 3, 2013 (lot #82069 for $3,346 ), and November 8, 2013 (lot #82581 for $2,168).

The Heritage catalogs from these earlier auctions describe the first two of these three copies of the Clay-Hunsaker program as being accompanied by a notarized letter of provenance from Jole Martin. The third program, which doesn’t list a notarized letter of provenance from Jole Martin, sold for considerably less than its counterparts, suggesting that sophisticated collectors of Muhammad Ali memorabilia had doubts about its provenance.

https://www.ha.com/c/search-results.zx?N=0+790+231&Ntk=SI_Titles&Nty=1&Ntt=hunsaker&limitTo=all

The Clay-Hunsaker program offered for sale at the May 11-13 Heritage auction was not listed as having a notarized letter of authenticity from Jole Martin. It didn’t meet the reserve price and is now being offered for sale on the Heritage website for $3,600.

Also, the condition of the Clay-Hunsaker program currently being offered for sale by Heritage raises questions.

Each of the programs that Martin sold to Morkovin was on a single 7-by-9.5-inch piece of paper. And each program had a degree of foxing (brown spotting that becomes visible on paper as it ages). Similarly, the three copies of the Clay-Hunsaker program previously sold by Heritage each had a degree of foxing. But the Clay-Hunsaker program included in the May 11-13 Heritage auction and now for sale on the Heritage website is clean.

Equally troubling, the Clay-Hunsaker program currently being offered for sale by Heritage has flawless lettering. But on other known copies of the program, the lettering is uneven, as though the programs were mimeographed off and the mimeograph drum was running out of ink.

The Clay-Hunsaker fight was contested 56 years ago. An unscrupulous seller could get old paper and reproduce a one-page program. That might not be what happened here. But better authentication would be nice.

Finally, lot #81846 is listed in the Heritage auction catalog as “1988 Mike Tyson Fight Used Mouthpiece from Historic 91 Second Knockout of Michael Spinks.”

The Heritage website link for the mouthpiece is:

https://sports.ha.com/itm/boxing/1988-mike-tyson-fight-used-mouthpiece-from-historic-91-second-knockout-of-michael-spinks/a/7190-81846.s?ic4=GalleryView-ShortDescription-07

The Heritage auction catalog describes the mouthpiece as follows:

“In one of the most highly anticipated fights of the 1980’s, Mike Tyson vs. Michael Spinks represented two undefeated superstar boxers, who each entered the Atlantic City Convention Hall ring as a legitimate heavyweight champion. The richest fight in boxing history to that point, grossing some $70 million, saw Spinks last only 91 seconds, as he was knocked down for the third and final time in the round. Originating from the collection of Tyson’s famed trainer Kevin Rooney, the rubber mouthpiece was worn during that historic fight by Iron Mike. Accompanied by its original yellow plastic case, with ‘vs. Spinks from Kevin Rooney’ on one side, and ‘Mike Tyson’ on the other, it displays even toning throughout. LOA from Heritage Auctions.”

The mouthpiece sold at auction for $2,640.

For starters, Tyson knocked Spinks down twice, not three times as stated in the Heritage catalog.

More important insofar as the provenance of the mouthpiece is concerned; Steve Lott was in Mike Tyson’s dressing room before and after the Spinks fight and in Tyson’s corner during the bout.

Lott says that the “original” case for the mouthpiece that Tyson used in the Spinks fight was not the rectangularly-shaped case shown on the Heritage website but rather a plastic case that was shaped somewhat like a heart to reflect the shape of the mouthpiece.

Also, if the mouthpiece came “from Kevin Rooney,” why is there no letter of authenticity from Rooney?

A Heritage Sports Collectibles brochure states, “The mission of Heritage Auctions is to be the world’s most trusted and efficient marketplace and information resource serving owners of fine art, collectibles, and other objects of enduring value. Heritage’s fine reputation is not a matter of chance. It reflects our relentless drive to always improve our services.”

Adding to that, Chris Ivy has said, “We rely as much as possible on the most respected third-party authentication services, both for their specialized expertise and for the assurance to our buyers that there is no seller bias clouding the evaluation.”

Who were these “most respected third-party authentication services” insofar as the May 11-13 Heritage sports collectibles auction is concerned?

Why didn’t Heritage take the simple step of comparing its auction items with fight videos that are readily available on YouTube?

Buyers rely on Heritage’s name and reputation for authentication. If this is the standard of care that Heritage exercises with regard to boxing-related items, what standard of care does it exercise with regard to other auction items?

Everyone makes mistakes. Heritage appears to have made a lot of them.

Thomas Hauser can be reached by email at thauser@rcn.com. His most recent book – A Hard World: An Inside Look at Another Year in Boxing – was published by the University of Arkansas Press. In 2004, the Boxing Writers Association of America honored Hauser with the Nat Fleischer Award for career excellence in boxing journalism.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The BWAA Shames Veteran Referee Laurence Cole and Two Nebraska Judges

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In an unprecedented development, the Boxing Writers Association of America has started a “watch list” to lift the curtain on ring officials who have “screwed up.” Veteran Texas referee Laurence Cole and Nebraska judges Mike Contreras and Jeff Sinnett have the unwelcome distinction of being the first “honorees.”

“Boxing is a sport where judges and referees are rarely held accountable for poor performances that unfairly change the course of a fighter’s career and, in some instances, endanger lives,” says the BWAA in a preamble to the new feature. Hence the watch list, which is designed to “call attention to ‘egregious’ errors in scoring by judges and unacceptable conduct by referees.”

Contreras and Sinnett, residents of Omaha, were singled out for their scorecards in the match between lightweights Thomas Mattice and Zhora Hamazaryan, an eight round contest staged at the WinnaVegas Casino in Sloan, Iowa on July 20. They both scored the fight 76-75 for Mattice, enabling the Ohio fighter to keep his undefeated record intact via a split decision.

Although Mattice vs. Hamazaryan was a supporting bout, it aired live on ShoBox. Analyst Steve Farhood, who was been with ShoBox since the inception of the series in 2001, called it one of the worst decisions he had ever seen. Lead announcer Barry Tompkins went further, calling it the worst decision he has seen in his 40 years of covering the sport.

Laurence Cole (pictured alongside his father) was singled out for his behavior as the third man in the ring for the fight between Regis Prograis and Juan Jose Velasco at the Lakefront Arena in New Orleans on July 14. The bout was televised live on ESPN.

In his rationale for calling out Cole, BWAA prexy Joseph Santoliquito leaned heavily on Thomas Hauser’s critique of Cole’s performance in The Sweet Science. “Velasco fought courageously and as well as he could,” noted Hauser. “But at the end of round seven he was a thoroughly beaten fighter.”

His chief second bullied him into coming out for another round. Forty-five seconds into round eight, after being knocked down for a third time, Velasco spit out his mouthpiece and indicated to Cole that he was finished. But Cole insisted that the match continue and then, after another knockdown that he ruled a slip, let it continue for another 35 seconds before Velasco’s corner mercifully threw in the towel.

Controversy has dogged Laurence Cole for well over a decade.

Cole was the third man in the ring for the Nov. 25, 2006 bout in Hildalgo, Texas, between Juan Manuel Marquez and Jimrex Jaca. In the fifth round, Marquez sustained a cut on his forehead from an accidental head butt. In round eight, another accidental head butt widened and deepened the gash. As Marquez was being examined by the ring doctor, Cole informed Marquez that he was ahead on the scorecards, volunteering this information while holding his hand over his HBO wireless mike. The inference was that Marquez was free to quit right then without tarnishing his record. (Marquez elected to continue and stopped Jaca in the next round.)

This was improper. For this indiscretion, Cole was prohibited from working a significant fight in Texas for the next six months.

More recently, Cole worked the 2014 fight between Vasyl Lomachenko and Orlando Salido at the San Antonio Alamodome. During the fight, Salido made a mockery of the Queensberry rules for which he received no point deductions and only one warning. Cole’s performance, said Matt McGrain, was “astonishingly bad,” an opinion echoed by many other boxing writers. And one could site numerous other incidents where Cole’s performance came under scrutiny.

Laurence Cole is the son of Richard “Dickie” Cole. The elder Cole, now 87 years old, served 21 years as head of the Texas Department of Combat Sports Regulation before stepping down on April 30, 2014. At various times during his tenure, Dickie Cole held high executive posts with the World Boxing Council and North American Boxing Federation. He was the first and only inductee into the inaugural class of the Texas Boxing Hall of Fame, an organization founded by El Paso promoter Lester Bedford in 2015.

From an administrative standpoint, boxing in Texas during the reign of Dickie Cole was frequently described in terms befitting a banana republic. Whenever there was a big fight in the Lone Star State, his son was the favorite to draw the coveted refereeing assignment.

Boxing is a sideline for Laurence Cole who runs an independent insurance agency in Dallas. By law in Texas (and in most other states), a boxing promoter must purchase insurance to cover medical costs in the event that one or more of the fighters on his show is seriously injured. Cole’s agency is purportedly in the top two nationally in writing these policies. Make of that what you will.

Complaints of ineptitude, says the WBAA, will be evaluated by a “rotating committee of select BWAA members and respected boxing experts.” In subsequent years, says the press release, the watch list will be published quarterly in the months of April, August, and December (must be the new math).

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel

 

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The Avila Perspective, Chapter 8: Competing Cards in N.Y. and L.A.

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Rival boxing shows compete this Saturday as light heavyweight world titlists are featured in New Jersey while former world champion welterweights and middleweights tangle in New York.

A mere 150 miles separate the two fight cards staged in Uniondale, N.Y. and Atlantic City.

But there’s no mercy inside the boxing ring and certainly no mercy between boxing promotions. While Main Events stages WBO light heavyweight titlist Sergey Kovalev and WBA light heavyweight titlist Dmitry Bivol in separate bouts, DiBella Entertainment stacks former champs Andre Berto against Devon Alexander in a welterweight clash.

Take your pick.

Russia’s Kovalev (32-2-1, 28 KOs) has lost some luster and hopes to reboot his popularity with a win against Canada’s Eleider Alvarez (23-0, 11 KOs). But he will be directly competing against WBA champ Bivol (13-0, 11 KOs), also of Russia, who defends against Isaac Chilemba (25-5-2) of South Africa.

HBO will televise both light heavyweight title fights.

Bivol, 27, has slowly, almost glacier-like slow, picked up fans along the way by training in Southern California. The quiet unassuming fighter with a conservative style and cobra-like quickness appeals to the fans.

“I do not think that now I am the best light heavyweight, but I am now one of the best. One of four guys,” said Bivol during a press conference call. “But I hope in not the far future, we will know who is the best.”

That, of course, would mean a date with Kovalev should both fighters win on Saturday. Nothing is certain.

Kovalev, now 35, has lost some of that fear factor aura since losing back-to-back fights to now retired Andre Ward. Though he’s cracked two opponents in succession by knockout, many are pointing to the potential showdown with Bivol as the moment of truth.

“Most likely this fight is gonna happen since both Sergey and I are HBO boxers and as long as that’s what the people want, most likely the fight will happen,” said Bivol. “Me and Sergey will make sure to give this fight to the people.”

It’s time for the build-up and it starts on Saturday Aug. 4, on HBO.

“That’s certainly a goal of Sergey’s and he’s made it very clear to me that that’s what he wants to do,” said promoter Kathy Duva, CEO of Main Events. “He wants to do unification fights if he is successful with Eleider Alvarez. That’s what he wants to do next; he’s been very clear about that.”

DiBella

Five former world champions stack the fight card at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York.

Former welterweight world champs Andre Berto (31-5, 24 KOs) and Devon Alexander (27-4-1, 14 KOs) lead the charge in a 12-round clash. FOX will televise the main event and others at 4 p.m. PT/7 p.m. ET.

Berto, 34, has been fighting once a year so it’s difficult to determine if age has crept into his reflexes. When he knocked out Victor Ortiz in a rematch two years ago Berto looked sharp and dangerous. But against Shawn Porter a year ago, the crispness seemed gone and he quickly lost by knockout.

Alexander, 31, has the advantage of being a southpaw. But he always seems to do the minimum when he fights. Last February he slowed down and allowed Victor Ortiz to steal the fight. All the commotion by the announcers was for naught. Defense does not win fights, it allows you to win fights. The lack of offense in the latter rounds cost Alexander a win in a match that entered the books as a majority draw.

It’s a curious matchup of former world champions.

Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin (33-1-1, 23 KOs) the former WBO middleweight titlist meets J’Leon Love (24-1-1, 13 KOs) in a super middleweight bout set for 10 rounds. It’s another intriguing fight especially between two fighters with great personalities.

Quillin, 35, was ambushed by Daniel Jacobs in the first round a year ago in losing the title. Was it bad luck, age or both? As a fighter the Brooklyn-based prizefighter has a ton of followers who like him as a person. Few are as classy as Quillin.

Love, 30, has long been a mainstay in Las Vegas and since his amateur days his abilities have been touted. Throughout the years Love has shown that charm and friendliness can go a long ways, even in the bitter wars of prizefighting. But the time has come to see if he belongs in the prizefighting world. Quillin will present an immense challenge for Love.

A number of other interesting fights are slated to take place among former world champions including Sergey Lipinets who lost the super lightweight title to Mikey Garcia this past winter. There’s also Luis Collazo in a welterweight match.

One world title fight does take place on the card.

Female WBA super middleweight titlist Alicia Napoleon (9-1) makes the first defense of her title against Scotland’s Hannah Rankin (5-1). It’s a 10 round bout and the first time Napoleon defends the title since winning it last March against Germany’s Femke Hermans. Ironically, Hermans now has the WBO super middleweight title after defeating former champ Nikki Adler by decision this past May.

L.A. Congestion

Next week the city of Angels will be packed with three fight cards in four days.

First, on Wednesday Aug. 8, 360 Promotions stages Abraham Lopez (9-1-1, 3 KOs) versus Gloferson Ortizo (12-0-1, 6 KOs) in the main event at the Avalon Theater in Hollywood, Calif. This is Filipino fighter Ortizo’s ninth fight this year. You read that correctly.

All of Ortizo’s fights have taken place across the border in Tijuana. The 32-year-old now returns to California against another Californian in Lopez. He’ll be looking for his fourth consecutive knockout, but Lopez, 22, has not lost a fight since his pro debut. Inactivity might come into play for Lopez who hasn’t stepped in the boxing ring in over a year.

New York’s Brian Ceballo (3-0) returns in a six round welterweight bout against local fighter Tavorus Teague (5-20-4). Ceballo, who is promoted by 360 Promotions, looked good in his last appearance. The amateurish punches seen in his first two bouts were gone by his third pro fight. His opponent Teague has ability and can give problems if Ceballo takes his foot off the pedal.

One of Gennady “GGG” Golovkin’s training partners Ali Akhmedov (11-0, 8 KOs) makes his California debut when he meets Jorge Escalante (9-1-1, 6 KOs) in a light heavyweight match.

Female super lightweight Elvina White (2-0) is also slated to compete. The entire fight card will be streamed at www.360promotions.us and on the 360 Promotions page on Facebook. First bell rings at 6:15 p.m.

Belasco Theater in downtown L.A. is the site of Golden Boy Promotions fight card on Friday Aug. 10. A pair of young prospects will be severely tested.

San Diego’s Genaro Gamez (8-0, 5 KOs) meets Filipino fighter Recky Dulay (10-3, 7 KOs) for the vacant NABF super featherweight title. For Dulay it’s always kill or be killed. Five of his last fights have ended in knockout wins or losses.

Gamez, 23, seems to thrive under pressure and broke down two veterans in back-to-back fights at Fantasy Springs Casino. Now he returns to the Belasco, a venue where he has struggled in the past. But this time he’s the main event.

Another being severely tested will be Emilio Sanchez (15-1, 10 KOs) facing veteran Christopher Martin (30-10-3, 10 KOs) who is capable of beating anyone.

Sanchez, 24, lost by knockout in his last fight this past March. He’s talented and fearless and one mistake cost him his first loss as a pro. He’s not getting a break against Martin, a cagey fighter who has upset many young rising prospects in the past. Martin also has experience against world champions. It’s an extremely tough matchup for Sanchez.

The fight card will be televised by Estrella TV beginning at 6 p.m.

World Title Fight

On Saturday, boxing returns to the Avalon Theater in Hollywood.

The main event is a good one as Puerto Rico’s Jesus Rojas (26-1-2, 19 KOs) defends the WBA featherweight world title against Southern California’s Jojo Diaz (26-1) in a 12 round clash. It’s power versus speed.

Rojas, 31, is one tough customer. When he took the interim title against Claudia Marrero last year he chased down the speedy southpaw Dominican and blasted him out in the seventh round. Several months earlier he obliterated another Golden Boy prospect, Abraham Lopez (not the same Abraham Lopez that is fighting on the 360 Promotions card), in eight rounds. Now he has the title and defends against the speedy southpaw Diaz.

Diaz, 25, just recently lost a bid for the WBC featherweight title against Gary Russell Jr. Though he lost by decision three months ago, that fight might be easy in comparison to this challenge against Rojas.

The former Olympian won’t be able to take a breath against the Puerto Rican slugger who is about as rough as they come.

Two more undefeated Golden Boy prospects get a chance to eliminate each other when Philadelphia’s Damon Allen (15-0-1) meets East L.A.’s Jonathan Navarro (14-0, 7 KOs) in a super lightweight fight set for 10 rounds.

Phillie versus East LA is like fire versus fire in the boxing ring. Boxers originating from those two hard-bitten areas usually have go-for-broke styles that result in pure action. Allen versus Navarro should not disappoint.

Allen, 25, is not a hard puncher but he’s aggressive and like most Philadelphia fighters, he’s not afraid to mix it up.

Navarro, 21, lives in East L.A. but trains in Riverside under Robert Garcia. He’s slowly finding his timing and will be facing the fastest fighter since his pro debut in 2015.

Others featured on the card will be Hector Tanajara, Aaron McKenna and Ferdinand Kerobyan.

The card will be streamed on the Golden Boy Fight Night page on Facebook beginning at 6 p.m.

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel

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What’s Next for Manny Pacquiao?

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retire

Manny Pacquiao isn’t quite ready to retire, and more big-money fights against high-level competition seem to be on the 39-year-old’s way.

“I feel like I’m a 27-year-old,” Pacquiao told GMAnetwork.com’s Jamil Santos last week. “Expect more fights to come.”

Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 KOs) looked exceptionally sharp in his seventh-round knockout win over former junior welterweight titleholder Lucas Matthysse on July 15 at Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It was Pacquiao’s best performance in at least four years, netting Pacquiao a secondary world title at welterweight along with a slew of renewed public interest in the boxing superstar’s career.

But what comes next for the only fighter in the history of boxing to capture world titles in eight different weight classes? TSS takes a detailed look at the potential opponents for one of the sport’s most celebrated stars.

Cream of the Crop

Pacquiao looked good enough against Matthysse to suggest he’d make a viable candidate to face either Terence Crawford or Vasyl Lomachenko next. Crawford is ranked No. 2 on the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board’s pound-for-pound list while Lomachenko slots at No. 1.

While Pacquiao is no longer under contract with longtime promoter Bob Arum at Top Rank, most industry insiders expect he will continue working with Arum’s team in some capacity so long as his career keeps moving forward. Pacquiao started his own promotional venture, MP Promotions, to co-promote the Matthysse bout with Oscar De La Hoya, but Top Rank was still involved in the fight which is why the bout ended up streaming on ESPN+.

Top Rank’s two hottest commodities at the present are Ring Magazine and WBA lightweight champ Lomachenko and welterweight titlist Crawford. Both are highly-regarded, multi-division world titleholders in the primes of their careers who are universally considered the top fighters in boxing.

Lomachenko and Crawford would each present a unique set of problems for Pacquiao stylistically. Of the two, Pacquiao probably matches up best with Lomachenko at this point in his career. Crawford (33-0, 24 KOs) is much larger and heavier than both Pacquiao and Lomachenko, and unless Pacquiao just really wants to test himself against someone incredibly dangerous, it’d probably be best for Team Pacquiao to avoid fighting Crawford at all costs. Crawford would be a heavy favorite against Pacquiao and most boxing insiders don’t believe this version of Pacquiao could compete with Crawford.

Lomachenko (11-1, 9 KOs) is naturally smaller than Pacquiao and has never fought above 135 pounds. If Pacquiao could lure Lomachenko to 140 pounds or above, he’d find himself in a winnable fight against a top-notch opponent. Lomachenko would probably be the slight favorite based on age alone but Pacquiao’s power and athleticism would give him a realistic chance to pull the upset.

Other Notable Possibilities

Former junior welterweight titleholder Amir Khan has long been angling for a bout against Pacquiao. Khan faces Samuel Vargas on Sept. 8 in another comeback bout against lower level competition. Khan (32-4, 20 KOs) bravely moved up to middleweight to fight Canelo Alvarez in 2016 but was knocked out in the sixth round. He left the sport for a spell but returned to boxing in February as a welterweight with a sensational first round knockout win over Phil Lo Greco. A win over Vargas puts Khan in good position to secure a bout with Pacquiao, and the fight is a reasonable move by both camps. Pacquiao would probably be the heavy favorite, but Khan’s speed and long reach give him a decent chance to pull the upset.

Former welterweight titleholder Jeff Horn won a controversial decision over Pacquiao last year in Australia. The bout grabbed huge ratings for ESPN and there have been many debates since it happened as to which fighter truly deserved the nod from the judges. Horn (18-1-1, 12 KOs) doesn’t possess elite level talent, but he’s huge compared to Pacquiao and fights with such ferocity that the two can’t help but make an aesthetically pleasing fight together. Pacquiao would be the heavy favorite to defeat Horn if the two fight again.

Pacquiao vs. PBC fighters?

Boxing’s current political climate and the ongoing battle of promoters and television networks for the hearts and minds of boxing fans usually leaves many compelling fights between top level stars off the table. Fighters promoted by Top Rank and Golden Boy are almost never able to secure bouts with fighters signed to Al Haymon to appear under the Premier Boxing Champions banner and vice versa. But Pacquiao’s free agent status opens up new and interesting possibilities for the fighter to pursue noteworthy PBC fighters.

There had been lots of chatter about Pacquiao facing Mikey Garcia next. Garcia (39-0, 30 KOs) has been decimating competition at both lightweight and junior welterweight. Garcia is considered by most experts to be one of the top 10 pound-for-pound fighters in the sport. He’s the TBRB junior welterweight champion and a unified lightweight titleholder (WBC, IBF). While Garcia is hoping to land a big money bout against IBF welterweight titleholder Errol Spence, most boxing experts believe the jump up to 147 pounds would be too much for the diminutive Garcia who began his career at featherweight. A better welterweight target for Garcia would be Pacquiao who also began his career in a much lower weight class.

Spence (24-0, 21 KOs) is probably the best of the PBC welterweights. He’s considered by many to be on par with Crawford at 147 so it would be an incredibly dangerous bout for Pacquiao to go after at this point in his career. But Spence is aggressive and fights in a style that Pacquiao traditionally matches up very well against. Spence would be the favorite based on size, age and skill.

Slightly less dangerous to Pacquiao would be facing the winner of the Sept. 8 battle between Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter. Garcia (34-1, 20 KOs) and Porter (28-2-1, 17 KOs) are fighting for the vacant WBC welterweight title and the possibility of capturing another world title in his career could sway Pacquiao to seek out the winner. Pacquiao could find himself a slight favorite or underdog depending on which of the two fighters he would face, but both would be winnable fights.

The WBA welterweight champion is Keith Thurman. Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs) is a good boxer with tremendous power but Pacquiao’s speed and athleticism would probably give him the leg up in that potential matchup. Thurman hasn’t fought in over 16 months though and recent pictures suggest he’s not in fighting shape at the moment, so the likelihood of a Pacquiao vs. Thurman fight is pretty much nil.

Some fans want Pacquiao to face Adrien Broner. Broner (33-3-1, 24 KOs) is a solid contender at 147 but probably doesn’t have the skill to seriously compete with Pacquiao. Pacquiao would be a significant favorite and would likely stop Broner if the two were able to meet in a boxing ring.

Mayweather-Pacquiao 2?

Pacquiao lost a unanimous decision to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2015, but the circumstances surrounding the fight, and the fact it was the biggest box office bash in the history of the sport, have led many to suspect the two fighters would meet again in a rematch.

Yes, Mayweather (50-0, 27 KOs) is retired, but he’s unretired several times in his career for big money fights including last year’s crossover megafight with UFC star Conor McGregor. While it seems unlikely to happen, Mayweather-Pacquiao 2 would still be a huge worldwide event worth millions of dollars to both fighters so those following the sport can never say never to the idea of it happening again.

While Mayweather is 41, he’d still get the nod as the betting favorite should he fight Pacquiao again based on what happened in the first fight as well as his stylistic advantage over Pacquiao.

Pacquiao vs. McGregor?

McGregor’s bout against Mayweather last year was such a financial success and the MMA star made so much more money in the boxing ring than he did as a UFC fighter that the idea of him returning to the sport to face Pacquiao isn’t as far-fetched as one might think.

Pacquiao vs. McGregor would be an easy sell to the general public. According to CompuBox, McGregor landed more punches against Mayweather than did Pacquiao, and the general consensus is that Mayweather-McGregor was more fun to watch than Mayweather-Pacquiao.

The size difference between the two would lead to an easy promotion. McGregor is a junior middleweight and Pacquiao has only competed at the weight once back in 2010. Despite all that, Pacquiao would be a significant favorite to defeat McGregor and rightly so. He’s too fast and too good a boxer, and his aggressive style would likely lead to a stoppage win.

Pacquiao’s Top Targets

Pacquiao’s top targets should be Mayweather, McGregor and Lomachenko. Pacquiao would stand to make the most money facing either Mayweather or McGregor. Pacquiao’s reportedly injured shoulder heading into 2015 bout left many wondering how the fight might be different had the Filipino gone into things at his best, and Mayweather’s age might play more of a factor in the second fight than it did in the first. A Pacquiao-McGregor fight would be a worldwide spectacle, one Pacquiao would be heavily favored to win. Besides, it’d be interesting to see if Pacquiao could stop McGregor sooner than historical rival Mayweather. Finally, Lomachenko might be trying to climb up weight classes too fast, and Pacquiao would certainly be fit to test the validity of that theory. It’d be one of the biggest fights in boxing and a win for Pacquiao would be another huge feather in the cap of one of boxing’s true historically great champions.

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