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No Time To Waste For Chris Algieri & Other Fight Stuff

David A. Avila

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star033112posterATime definitely waits for no one.

But every so often someone comes along that rips through the limits of time like a human bulldozer.

Undefeated Chris Algieri (13-0, 6 KOs) tangles with fellow New Yorker Winston Mathis (7-4-1) on March 31 at the Paramount Theater in Huntington, New York. The Star Boxing event won’t be televised.

“Winston is from Rochester, New York. He’s a tough guy and comes to fight and has a really good chin,” Algieri says about his rival. “He lost to undefeated guys and he’s going to come to fight.”

It may be difficult to believe but Algieri has already accomplished some incredible goals and seeks another one or two more. He’s rumbling onward at full speed so don’t step in front of his way, you might get trampled on.

Was that Algieri that raced by?

Long Island’s Algieri has two lives: one spent toiling in the gyms working on his craft as a prizefighter and a second life is spent reading tons of books as he pursues entrance to medical school.

A regular human being would have thrown his hands up in exasperation.

“School is intense. The university is a full time job and a lot of work. You have courses like anatomy, chemistry and physics. They’re heavy courses,” admits Algieri who attended Stonybrook University in New York. “The time it takes is tremendous. But I’ve always been good at time management.”

While most of his fellow school mates spend leisure time cajoling in restaurants, theaters or coffee houses, Algieri heads toward the boxing gyms to train.

“It definitely wasn’t easy. I had to sacrifice time. I remember going out to dinner and bringing my books,” says Algieri, adding that attending social gatherings were very rare. 

Learning about medicine is one thing. The Long Island prizefighter also has a passion developed in childhood to attain a world championship in boxing. He already has two world championships in kickboxing.

“I got my world titles in kickboxing. But that’s not enough. I want to go into my first love and that’s boxing,” he says.

Darn! Was that Algieri running by again?

Professional boxing has so many intricacies and fine movements that are invisible to the casual fight fan. It takes many years of training to master them.

“I love the training, dedication and discipline and learning the fine movements,” says Algieri who is currently training in Oxnard under famed coach Robert Garcia. “To an untrained eye it looks like two guys just punching each other. But it’s much more. Even just to spar at such a high level it’s a beautiful thing. Boxing is art.”

A single mistake can wreck everything in a prize fight. A single punch can destroy a life. But Algieri has dreams and they include a world title as a boxer and a later career as a doctor.

“My advisors tell me to go to medical school, to go all the way,” Algieri said. “I’m getting a lot of recognition in boxing now and my friends in school see it s for real and I’m not playing around.”

No time to waste.

Fight Action

Three Southern California fight cards erupt on Friday then a middleweight championship bout takes center stage the next day when undisputed world champion Sergio Martinez (48-2-2, 27 KOs) defends against Great Britain’s Matthew Macklin (28-3, 19 KOs) in New York City.

Plenty of choices for fight fans.

First, Coachella’s undefeated Randy Caballero (13-0, 7 KOs) defends the WBC Youth junior featherweight title against Jose Luis Araiza (29-5-1, 20 KOs) at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio.

The Golden Boy Promotions fight card also features Blythe’s Andrew Cancio (12-1-2, 11 KOs) in a severe test against former title contender Roger “Speedy” Gonzalez (27-5, 18 KOs) who lives in Chino. Both bouts will be televised on Showtime and could end abruptly on Friday night.

On the same day, former junior welterweight champion Kendall Holt (27-5, 15 KOs) fights Baltimore’s Tim Coleman (19-2-1, 5 KOs) in a welterweight main event at Morongo Casino. If you remember, Holt lost the title to Palm Spring’s Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley a few years back. The New Jersey-based boxer with solid power has moved up in weight.

Also on the Morongo fight card will be La Puente’s undefeated Abraham Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs). He’s fought many times at the Doubletree Hotel and collides with Gabriel Tolmajyan (12-1-1, 3 KOs) in an eight-round contest between featherweights.

About 35 miles west of Riverside All Star Boxing hosts a boxing and mixed martial arts fight card at the Quiet Cannon Country Club. They’ve consistently built a fan base for both boxing and MMA fans the past several years. Most of the bouts feature young prospects in both prizefighting styles. Many past and current world champions began fighting on their cards, plus there are always celebrities attending the fight shows.

The Garden

Madison Square Garden Theater is the site for Argentina’s Martinez middleweight world championship defense against Macklin on Saturday. Located right in the heart of Manhattan its only fitting that the old Mecca of boxing stages the fight.

The “Garden” as its known to old fight followers, once was the center of the boxing universe. Plenty of world championship fights took place in this location. Currently this is the fourth version of the Garden, located on Eighth Avenue between 31st and 33rd Street.

Middleweight champions like Stanley Ketchel, Al McCoy, Harry Greb, Mickey Walker, Ceferino Garcia, Tony Zale, Rocky Graziano, Jake LaMotta and Sugar Ray Robinson all fought many times in Madison Square Garden. It’s almost mandatory that a middleweight world championship bout take place under its storied roof.

Martinez erupted on the American boxing scene several years ago as an Argentine who had fought primarily in Spain for almost a decade. When he arrived in the U.S. he was thought to be a so-so fighter. That proved to be an egregious mistake.

A draw by the southpaw Martinez against noted slugger Kermit Cintron, though he knocked that fighter down twice, proved to be a harbinger of things to come. Next up was Paul Williams who emerged with a skintight win and Pavlik who ended up a loser. Martinez quickly showed American fans he was exceptionally quick and gifted.

The big moment for Martinez came in a rematch with Williams for the middleweight championship. He had lost a disputed match to the tall and lanky Georgia fighter but in the rematch he promised a knockout win.

“I know how he fights now,” claimed Martinez who lives in Port Hueneme, Calif.

Those words proved prophetic as he put Williams to sleep with a single overhand left hand in the second round. It deemed by most to be the “knockout of the year” in 2010.

Subsequent knockout wins over Russia’s undefeated Serhiy Dzinziruk and Great Britain’s undefeated Darren Barker have kept him on top. Martinez wants more than the middleweight world championship, he wants fame and fortune.

“I want to be known as the best boxer who ever lived,” said Martinez, 37. “That’s my goal, to be known as the best.”

Macklin knows that a win over Martinez could vault him all the way to the top too. If Martinez wins, a marquee fight in the “big room” at the Garden would make sense, as he’s promoted by New Yorker Lou DiBella.

Fights on television

Fri. ESPN2, 6 p.m., Kendall Holt (27-5) vs. Tim Coleman (19-2-1).

Fri. Showtime, 11 p.m., Randy Caballero (13-0) vs. Jose Luis Araiza (29-5-1).

Sat. HBO, 7 p.m., Sergio Martinez (48-2-2) vs. Matthew Macklin (28-3).

Sat. Telefutura, 11 p.m., Carlos Molina (15-0-1) vs. Angino Perez (11-3).

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Fast Results from Brooklyn: No Surprises as Garcia and Hurd Win Lopsidedly

Arne K. Lang

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Tonight, Philadelphia’s Danny Garcia made his eighth appearance at Barclays Center. Garcia’s 2017 fight with Keith Thurman drew 16,533, the attendance high for a boxing show at the arena. A far smaller crowd was in attendance tonight to see Garcia take on Ivan Redkach in a non-title fight slated for 12 rounds.

Redkach, a 33-year-old LA-based Ukrainian, is a southpaw. That’s no coincidence. Garcia hopes to land big-money fights with Errol Spence and/or Manny Pacquiao, both southpaws.

Redkach (23-4-1 coming in) turned his career around in his last fight with a career-best performance, a sixth-round stoppage of former two-division title-holder Devon Alexander, a 15-year pro who hadn’t previously been stopped. But there was a class difference between he and Danny Garcia, a former WBA and WBC 140-pound world title-holder and former WBC 147-pound champion.

Garcia (35-2, 21 KOs) was simply sharper. His workrate slowed late in the fight, allowing the game Redkach to steal a few rounds, but at the final gun he was relatively unmarked whereas Redkach was conspicuously bruised. The scores were 118-110 and 117-111 twice. The crowd booed at intervals, understandable as they were subject to a drab 7-fight card that was even less interesting than it was on paper.

Co-Feature

In the 10-round co-feature, Jarrett Hurd, making his first start since losing his WBA/IBF super welterweight title to Julian Williams last May, went on cruise control from the opening bell and jabbed his way to a lopsided 10-round decision over Francisco Santana. Hurd, who improved to 24-1, finally let loose late in the 10th frame, putting Santana (25-8-1) on the canvas with a succession of left hooks, but by then many in the crowd had probably nodded off.

This was Hurd’s first fight with new trainer Kay Koroma who has drawn raves for his work with America’s elite amateurs. The scores were 97-92 and 99-90 twice. SoCal’s Santana has now lost five of his last eight.

The opening bout on the main TV portion of the card was a 12-round super bantamweight contest between Philadelphia’s Stephen Fulton and fellow unbeaten Arnold Khegai who currently trains in Philadelphia.

Fulton (18-0, 8 KOs) simply had too much class for Khegai (16-1-1), a Ukrainian of Korean heritage. Although Khegai frequently backed Fulton into the ropes, the Philadelphian had an air-tight defense and connected with many more punches. The fight went the full 12 with Fulton prevailing by scores of 116-112 and 117-111 twice.

If the WBO has its way, Fulton will proceed to a fight with Emanuel Navarrete, but don’t hold your breath as Navarrete is promoted by Bob Arum who undoubtedly wants to extract more mileage from him before letting him risk his belt against a crafty fighter like Stephen Fulton.

Photo credit: Amanda Westcott / SHOWTIME

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Sacramento Honors Diego ‘Chico’ Corrales

Arne K. Lang

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Tonight (Saturday, Jan. 25) former two-division world boxing champion Diego “Chico” Corrales will be posthumously inducted into the Sacramento Sports Hall of Fame at the organization’s eighth annual induction ceremony at the Thunder Valley Casino Resort.

Corrales, who grew up in Sacramento, the son of a Columbian father and a Mexican mother, turned pro at age 18 and went on to compile a record of 40-5 (33 KOs). He won his first title in 1999 with a seventh-round stoppage of previously undefeated Robert Garcia. Now recognized as one of boxing’s top trainers, Garcia was making the fourth defense of his IBF 130-pound title.

Five years later, Corrales won the WBO world lightweight title with a 10th-round stoppage of Brazil’s previously undefeated Acelino Freitas. That set up a unification fight with the WBC belt-holder Jose Luis Castillo.

Corrales and Castillo met on May 7, 2005, at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. To say they put on a great fight would be an understatement. The boxing writers in attendance will tell you that this was the greatest fight of all time. It was named Fight of the Decade by The Ring magazine.

The final round, the 10th, was unbelievable. Heading into the round, Corrales was ahead on two of the three scorecards, but his left eye was swollen nearly shut and during the round he was knocked down twice. No one would have faulted referee Tony Weeks for stopping the fight after the second knockdown. But, somehow, Corrales was able to rally, pulling the fight out of the fire with a barrage of punches that had Castillo out on his feet when Weeks waived it off.

Two years to the very day of this iconic fight, Diego “Chico” Corrales died in a motorcycle accident in his adopted hometown of Las Vegas when he rear-ended a car while traveling at a high rate of speed. He was 29 years old.

Corrales was a thrill-seeker. In a 2006 profile, Las Vegas Review-Journal boxing writer Kevin Iole enumerated these among Castillo’s hobbies: jumping out of planes from 14,000 feet, bungee jumping from 400 feet, snowboarding in treacherous terrain and scuba diving amid a school of sharks. “He lived his life the same way he fought,” said his promoter Gary Shaw, “with reckless abandon.”

It might seem odd that it took so long for Corrales to be recognized by the Sacramento Sports Hall of Fame, but there was a period when Corrales’s name was mud in his hometown and perhaps the organization’s founder, Las Vegas sports radio personality T.C. Martin, a Sacramento native, thought it appropriate to let old wounds heal.

In 2001, shortly after suffering his first pro loss at the hands of Floyd Mayweather, Corrales pled guilty to felony domestic violence in the beating of his first wife and would serve 14 months in prison. “The whole family has worn a black eye for it,” Diego’s brother Esteban Corrales told Sacramento Bee reporter Marcos Bretan.

For all his recklessness, the incident didn’t jibe with his persona. In the company of Las Vegas sportswriters, the soft-spoken and well-spoken Corrales came across as polite and humble.

Corrales, one of five inductees in the 2020 class, joins three other boxers already installed in the Sacramento Hall: Pete Ranzany, Loreto Garza, and Tony “Tiger” Lopez.

Ranzany, a welterweight, fought four former or future world champions and was a fixture in Sacramento rings in the late 1970’s. Garza wrested the WBA super lightweight title from Argentina’s Juan Martin Coggi in France and successfully defended the belt here in Sacramento with a one-sided conquest of Vinny Pazienza. Lopez, Sacramento’s most popular fighter ever, made the turnstiles hum at the city’s largest arena where he fought eight of his 14 world title fights beginning with his 1988 humdinger with defending IBF 130-pound champion Rocky Lockridge.

Among the speakers at tonight’s confab will be Kenny Adams. Perhaps best known as the head trainer for the 1988 U.S. Olympic team that won eight medals in Seoul, Adams currently trains Nonito Donaire. He was with Diego Corrales for 24 fights, during which Corrales was 23-1, avenging the lone defeat by Joel Casamayor. Festivities start at 7 pm.

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Boxing Odds and Ends: Ramirez-Postol, Taylor-Serrano and More

Arne K. Lang

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It takes a strong constitution to be a boxing promoter because things always go wrong. The only law that governs boxing is Murphy’s Law.

Carl Frampton’s first fight under the Top Rank banner was slated for Aug. 10 of last year in Philadelphia. With the fight five days away, Frampton suffered a freak injury while sitting in a hotel lobby. A boy playing behind a curtain knocked over a seven-foot pillar which fell on Frampton’s left hand, fracturing it.

This was the second time that a Frampton fight was knocked out by a freak injury. Two years earlier, a homecoming fight in Belfast had to be scrapped when Frampton’s opponent, Andres Gutierrez, slipped in the shower in his hotel on the eve of the battle and suffered severe facial injuries.

The latest bout to fall out because of an odd development is Jose Ramirez’s Feb. 2 WBC/WBO lightweight title defense against Viktor Postol at a Chinese golf resort south of Hong Kong. The event fell victim to the coronavirus, more exactly the fear it has instilled.

The virus, which produces flu-like symptoms that are resistant to conventional antibiotics, apparently originated at an outdoor food market in the city of Wuhan where live animals are sold. The numbers vary with each new story, but according to one account there have been 444 confirmed cases in Hubei province, of which Wuhan is the capital city, and 653 cases worldwide including two in the United States, a man in his 30’s living near Seattle and a Chicago woman in her 60’s.

The fear of a pandemic (an epidemic becomes a pandemic when it spreads across multiple geographic regions of the world) has led to some drastic measures. The Chinese government has reportedly put 12 cities on lockdown, blocking traffic in and out. At many airports, visitors arriving from China are being screened. There are now thermal cameras than can record a person’s body temperature remotely.

Jose Ramirez (pictured with his promoter Bob Arum) was scheduled to leave for China yesterday (Jan. 23) but was intercepted. Viktor Postol is already there and apparently stranded until an outgoing flight can be arranged.

The Ramirez-Postol fight was to air on ESPN. No make-up date has been set.

– – –

British promoter Eddie Hearn says he’s close to finalizing a fight between Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano. Hearn says the fight will take place in the U.S. in April. It figures that Madison Square Garden is the frontrunner.

If the fight comes off on schedule, this will be the biggest women’s fight in history!

That’s because the odds attached to the fight figure to be in the “pick-‘em” range and that guarantees that boxing writers and others in the boxing community will be surveyed to get their picks – about which there figures to be considerable disagreement – and that will greatly enhance the pre-fight buzz.

Taylor, 33, last fought in November in Manchester, England, advancing her record to 15-0 (6 KOs) with a unanimous decision over Christina Linardatou, a fighter from Greece via the Dominican Republic. It was Taylor’s first fight at 140 after previously unifying the lightweight title with a hard-fought decision over Belgium’s Delfine Persoon.

Amanda Serrano, a 31-year-old southpaw, born in Puerto Rico and raised in Brooklyn, has won titles in five weight divisions. She last fought as a featherweight, turning away gritty Heather Hardy, but has competed as high as 140. Boasting a 37-1-1 record, she’s won 23 straight, 18 by stoppage, 10 in the opening round

What sets women boxers apart from their male counterparts is that the women have a significantly lower knockout ratio. Amanda Serrano is the glaring exception.

Despite a less eye-catching record, Taylor has arguably fought the stiffer competition considering her extensive amateur background. As a pro, her victims include Cindy Serrano, Amanda’s older sister by six years. Taylor whitewashed her in a match at Boston Garden, prompting the elder Serrano sister to call it a career.

– – –

The most bizarre (non)story to appear in a boxing web site this week involved former unified heavyweight champion Riddick Bowe. A man representing Bowe, identified as Eli Karabell, was frustrated because Eddie Hearn wasn’t returning his calls. Karabell had offered Hearn the right of first refusal on Bowe’s next fight.

Bowe, now 51 years old, last fought in a boxing ring in 2008 when he returned to the sport after a three-and-half year absence for an 8-round bout in Germany. In 2013, he appeared in a kickboxing fight in Thailand where he was stopped in the second round after being knocked down five times by leg kicks.

“Will there be another chapter to write for Bowe?” concluded the author of this piece.

Egads, let’s hope not.

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel 

To comment on this story in The Fight Forum CLICK HERE

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