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TSS EXCLUSIVE: Amir Khan Talks About The Poll, and Why He’d Beat Floyd

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You might have heard that Amir Khan and Marcos Maidana are the two fighters thought to be the two possibilities for Floyd Mayweather to fight in his next bout, which will unfold on May 3 in Las Vegas.

I had the opportunity to talk at length with Khan, who resides in England and also in the US, where he does much of his training. We talked about Mayweather’s fan poll, Khan’s credentials to fight Mayweather, the media, Khan’s Army and Khan’s Army of haters. We also touched on Khan’s fight with Marcos Maidana and his drawing power with people outside of boxing.

Over the course of the chat, it became clear to me that Khan idolized Floyd Mayweather. But today is a new day; Khan believes he has more boxing skills than Floyd Mayweather, and if he gets the chance to fight Floyd, it goes without saying, in my mind, that his idolatry of Money will go out the window. I sense that he would force more of a fight than recent foes have, and with his penchant for trading, would give fans who buy the PPV better bang for the buck than they got in the Robert Guerrero and Canelo Alvarez fights.

Read on as I pick the brain of the man that is ready to perhaps sign on for the biggest fight of his life.

Ray Markarian: What do you say to the people that say you don’t deserve the Floyd Mayweather fight?

Amir Khan: Well, styles make fights. People can say he has beaten guys with speed and power. He has done a great job against everyone. He has beaten guys with decent footwork. Well, we bring all of those ingredients to the table.

RM: OK.

AK: I never want to leave the sport not knowing how I would have done against the best fighter out there.

RM: What does a Floyd Mayweather fight mean to you?

AK: Well, at the end of the day you have to look at his record. He has fought the best out there. To have the opportunity fight a guy like him… He is the best fighter I watched growing up, you know. I always wanted to see how I could do against the best.

RM: Yeah.

AK: I remember in the amateurs, I fought the best amateur in the world and he beat me. He was a Cuban guy. I got beat the first time we fought at 132 pounds. But I had to fight him again just to know how I would do against the best. The second time I fought him, I beat him. So then I thought, this is the best time to turn professional because I never want to leave a sport thinking that I never fought the best and I never beat the best.

RM: So, if you didn’t fight Mayweather you would regret it for the rest of your life?

AK: Yeah. Definitely. I’d regret it because there is stuff that I have that would cause him so many problems. My style is unorthodox. It’s just different. Yes, I’ve lost. Yes, I’ve been knocked out. But I don’t think I have ever lost a fight when it comes down to boxing. And I have never been in a boring fight. When I come to fight I come to fight.

RM: Tell me about the flaws that you see in Floyd Mayweather’s game.

AK: He has never faced anyone as quick and explosive as me. I definitely know that. If you look at his previous fight with Victor Ortiz, speed and explosiveness gets to him. Ortiz got beat but when he would explode towards Floyd it was effective. Speed and explosiveness gets to him.

RM: Maidana rushes his opponents too…

AK: Yes, he does. I mean, look, Maidana is a good fighter. I have nothing against him. I beat him before. But I don’t want to talk about that. His fight style is slow and flat-footed. At the end of the day this fight needs to sell on pay per view. Floyd is going to walk him and beat him up. Floyd is going to dictate from the first round on. But with me, he can never dictate a fight. I won’t let him control the fight.

RM: But Floyd has controlled all of his fights. Is that fair to say?

AK: Yes.

RM: Why can’t Floyd dictate a fight with you?

AK: I just won’t let him. That’s the style I have.

RM: Can you explain that to me?

AK: Floyd beats people with single shots, accuracy, and good footwork. He can’t dictate a fight against me because I beat him with footwork and speed. I can keep up with him in many departments. When people can’t keep up with him they get disheartened. He will never dishearten me.

RM: Adrien Broner and Robert Guerrero are names I have heard as possible opponents for you if you don’t get the Mayweather fight. Is there any truth to those rumors?

AK: You know, to be honest with you Ray, Virgil Hunter and I have been focusing on one thing. When I heard that I was a possible opponent for Mayweather, I have focused on just him.

RM: Do you have any control over what is going to happen as far as his decision to fight you?

AK: Look, we are normally the big fish. We control things. We pick opponents. And we dictate the negotiations. With Floyd, we have to put our hands up because he is the bigger name. He is the bigger draw. We have to listen to what he says. Remember when he was fighting Oscar De La Hoya? Oscar was the main man like Floyd is now. Oscar was dictating everything. I remember Oscar made Floyd wear Reyes gloves when he didn’t want to wear Reyes. So, we are in the same position as Floyd now. And every dog has his day, you know. I want to beat Floyd the same way he beat Oscar.

RM: So, what is the hold up with the fight?

AK: Look man, if they want to fight, I’m here. OK. We’re working in the gym. Floyd knows that I am preparing for him and no one else. And if for some reason he doesn’t fight me, then I really believe he is worried. There is no other reason why he wouldn’t fight me. If I am so vulnerable, then why doesn’t he fight me?

RM: Yeah.

AK: If you look outside of hardcore fight fans there is no way he does better numbers than me. I bring fans from the UK, Asia, and the Muslim community. If boxing is a business, and this fight is about giving people an exciting fight and making the most money, then Floyd Mayweather vs. Amir Khan is a no brainer.

RM: You bring up an interesting point, because it seems like the boxing public has a love/hate relationship with you. What do you say to the people that think you sound desperate for a Floyd Mayweather fight?

AK: I’m not desperate. I am just responding to the fans. Look, I am not comparing myself to Floyd Mayweather with his fancy cars and big houses, but I have a great personality. I love to engage with the fans.

RM: But sometimes there are people that question your credentials and challenge you on Twitter and you don’t have a problem responding to them.

AK: Look, I’m a young man. I’m not running around here pretending to have the answer to the world. I know I have put my foot in my mouth sometimes when I have said things. I understand that. Everybody that has been my age has said things that they regret. We’ve all said and done some foolish things. But as long as I continue to grow it doesn’t matter. But besides all that, I’m ready to fight Floyd Mayweather on May 3rd.

RM: OK.

AK: And I am ready to beat Floyd Mayweather.

RM: Right.

AK: Right now Floyd can minimize me. He can show a picture of me getting knocked out. I have been stopped. I acknowledge that. But a lot of guys he fought have been stopped too. I think most of the guys he fought recently besides Mosley, Guerrero, and Canelo, were knocked out before he fought them. That shouldn’t be a reason why he doesn’t fight me. And if you want to be truthful, let’s ask Danny Garcia or some of the other opponents that I fought if they want a rematch. I don’t see anyone really anxious to rematch me. I have tried to rematch Garcia and Lamont Peterson. I don’t see anyone anxious to have a rematch with me. Both of them would make big money to fight me again. People say, “Why didn’t you give Prescott a rematch?” Prescott never put himself in a position of business to get a rematch.

RM: This is a business.

AK: Right. Two fights after the Prescott fight I was a world champion.

RM: Yeah.

AK: It’s my job to continue to grow as a fighter.

RM: I hear you.

AK: You know, no fighter in the world can say that – I called Amir Khan out and he didn’t want to fight me. I have never said no to any fight. Whenever Golden Boy said fight Zab, fight Maidana, fight Peterson, fight Garcia, I always said yes. That’s the type of guy I am. It just shows that I’ll fight who ever they want me to fight. If I were a businessman I would have taken other routes. And sometimes I haven’t made the right business moves by fighting guys when I don’t need to fight them.

RM: So, is the possible Mayweather fight a business decision?

AK: The rewards of money come with fighting Floyd Mayweather. I appreciate that. He is such a high-profile fighter. But it’s also about pride. I want to beat Floyd. I know where that fight could take me. A lot of people say that Floyd is invincible. I know for a fact that he will get hit numerous times against me. I’m too fast for him. Look, financially I’m set. I am blessed. I have made a lot of money in boxing and planting money in real estate. I am very fortunate that way. I have a great team around me. But this fight is also about pride for me. I think he knows that.

RM: Why do you think he knows?

AK: I think that’s why he is making me wait so long. It’s a mind game to him. He knows this is a challenging fight for him. I am not coming to get a paycheck. I am coming to beat him.RM: I hear you. When’s the last time you heard from anyone in the Floyd Mayweather camp or even Golden Boy? When’s the last time you got an email, or voice mail or text from someone on Floyd’s side about the fight?

AK: Well, it was roughly around the time the poll was done. I spoke with Richard Schaefer. He told me to be patient. They are working on things. And we don’t know what Floyd is doing because Floyd is the boss. And he is acting like a boss.

RM: Did you idolize him growing up?

AK: Oh yeah, Ray. He is a great champion. I still like watching him. He is a great fighter. The only reason I want to fight him is because I see something in his style that I could take advantage of.

RM: Your uncle Taz told me that you have a poster of Floyd Mayweather on your wall.

AK: Yeah, I have a poster of him in my gym in the UK of when he fought Gatti. The fight was called Thunder and Lightning. It was a great performance. It was for the WBC title. Ever since then, Floyd has gotten bigger and bigger. And let me tell you something that no one sees – I am never the underdog in a fight. This fight I have so much to prove. I am the underdog.

RM: Virgil Hunter told me that he has no strategy, or overall plan for you in a fight against Floyd Mayweather. He just wants you to watch Floyd. Hunter told me that he is challenging you to memorize Floyd. Tell me more about that.

AK: Well, you have to think. When people fight Floyd they only look for that one big punch. I am not looking for that big punch. I know I can beat him with boxing skills. I am not going to beat him with power. I am going to beat him with skills.

RM: What do you make of the fans poll on Floyd Mayweather’s website. Do you think it was legitimate?

AK: I do think it’s legit. I read something that Floyd Sr. said that Khan would be an easy fight for Floyd Jr. Well, if that is the case then put your son in there. If you want to listen to the fans on your poll, then listen to what the fans have to say. If he is really a man of his word then we got the fight. It’s almost stupid really, why put a poll on your website for the fans to vote for your next opponent and then not listen to the votes? Other websites had polls too. But that doesn’t really make a difference. It’s his website that counts. The other people that voted on other websites might just be regular sports fans. The fans that voted on Mayweather’s poll are true boxing fans.

RM: Was there some sort of agreement among you Floyd Mayweather and Golden Boy Promotions to pass on the Devon Alexander fight in December?

AK: No, there wasn’t an agreement. You know, after Floyd fought Canelo I called Richard Schaefer and said, “I’d fight Floyd Mayweather next.” I was interested right away. Richard thought it was a great idea. He said you know what, that would be an amazing fight.

RM: I see.

AK: So, we spoke about it. But it wasn’t an official agreement. And I kept it quiet. I didn’t tell anyone. I just kept training. Now the fans are getting anxious. I know it’s between me and Marcos Maidana. That’s what I know.

RM: I have read recent reports that say Mayweather/Maidana is already confirmed. What do you think?

AK: You know Ray, I have read and heard the same thing. But I have not heard anything from Mayweather. He is the only person I am waiting for. We are waiting for him to decide.

RM: I think Floyd’s decision is between you and Marcos Maidana because Maidana beat Adrien Broner.

AK: Yes. He beat Broner. But I have beaten Marcos Maidana. Why does he want to fight my leftovers? I knocked Maidana down and beat him in a unanimous decision.

RM: What if he picks to fight Maidana? Where you do go next?

AK: If he picks Maidana it will be a push back for me. To be honest with you, whoever my next opponent is will get hurt.

RM: So, in other words, if he picks Maidana you will be disappointed.

AK: Yeah. All of the hard work… There is so much I want to prove in this fight. There is a lot I want to prove for my future. It’s not about proving it to myself. I want to prove it to my fans and the haters. I can honestly make peoples’ mind change after this fight.

RM: You want to prove that you can beat Floyd Mayweather to the ones that doubt you?

AK: Well, deep inside of me, I know I got it. I mostly want to prove it to all the haters out there that talk smack. Because the haters can say what they want, but they have never seen me fight against a guy that could outbox me. No fighter can outbox me. Floyd won’t do it either. I can’t see Floyd out-boxing me.

You can send Ray an email at Raymond.Markarian@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter here @raymarkarian.

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A Halloween-Inspired Homage to Bernard Hopkins

Bernard Fernandez

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A Halloween-Inspired Homage to Bernard Hopkins

A TSS CLASSIC — It is that time of year. The late-October autumn air on the East Coast is crisp and cool, and throughout America kids are looking forward to trick-or-treat. Go into any neighborhood and you’ll see jack-o-lantern faces carved into pumpkins, ghosts fashioned out of old bedsheets hanging from tree branches, cardboard witches taped to front doors.

Only two of Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins’ 55 professional bouts have taken place in October, but in a very real sense this is his special time, too. Why? Because he is boxing’s equivalent of Michael Myers, the impossible-to-kill night stalker of all those “Halloween” movies, the bogeyman who offed an inordinately high number of unsuspecting teenagers and routinely transformed Jamie Lee Curtis into a screaming, quivering mass of terrified victimhood.

Saturday night, in that haunted mausoleum known as Boardwalk Hall where he has done some of his best work, boxing’s ageless hobgoblin again came out of the shadows to spoil someone else’s party. This time it was the much-younger Kelly Pavlik –OK, so he isn’t exactly a teenager–who was executed. And that grimacing older fellow playing the role of Jamie Lee Curtis was Top Rank founder Bob Arum, who didn’t shriek out loud but looked like he just had swallowed a whole mess of something foul-tasting. Hopkins’ ridiculously easy, 12-round unanimous decision over Pavlik hadn’t followed the predicted script that called for him to finally be battered senseless and forever dragged from his bully pulpit.

“At least (Pavlik) gets to keep his titles,” a glum Arum said of Pavlik’s retention of his WBC and WBO middleweight belts that were not on the line in the 170-pound catchweight bout.

When will they ever learn? Arum has been bewitched, bothered and bewildered by Hopkins before. A few years ago, when Arum still had some promotional dibs on his once-favorite cash cow, Oscar De La Hoya, he promoted a Las Vegas doubleheader in which the Golden Boy and Hopkins were featured in separate bouts. The idea was that De La Hoya would remain loyal, Hopkins would also join the Top Rank fold and everyone would profit nicely from the arrangement. But De La Hoya formed his own company, took Hopkins with him and Arum, who can hold a grudge with the best of them, was left to simmer longer than Grandma’s home-made soup.

Of course, Hopkins has had that effect of any number of exasperated promoters who have tried to make him toe their company line. This guy not only marches to the tune of his own drummer, he has his own percussion section. Butch Lewis can’t string together five or six words, when speaking about Hopkins,  that do not include at least one expletive. Try as he might, even Don King never could bring B-Hop to heel. Lou DiBella still bristles when he thinks about what he believes to be Hopkins’ acts of betrayal. And Dan Goossen regards his brief but stormy association with Hopkins as something along the lines of a Greek tragedy.

“My biggest disappointment in boxing,” Goossen has often said of the pitched battles he waged with his most recalcitrant client behind the scenes. This from a guy who worked with Mike Tyson when Leg-Iron Mike was at or past the point of total mental meltdown.

To Hopkins’ way of thinking, promoters – well, perhaps not Golden Boy, in which he is a limited partner and, at least for now, on kissy-face terms – represent boxing’s power structure, which he claims is hell-bent on making fighters indentured servants with little or no charge over their own destinies. Other than beating up or embarrassing their gloved minions in the ring, there is nothing Hopkins enjoys more than tweaking the noses of those he is convinced have pooled their considerable resources to drive him from the sport.

So there Hopkins was, Michael Myers resurrected for the umpteenth time, chortling over the fact he had again rained on the parade of a perceived enemy. To the Philadelphian’s way of thinking, spoiling the undefeated record of Pavlik, Top Rank’s current marquee attraction, wasn’t just an isolated thundershower drenching Arum’s suddenly soggier operation; it was the landfall of a Category 5 hurricane capable of blowing a familiar tormentor right off the map.

“After Oscar beats (Manny) Pacquiao … look, I don’t want to wish nothing bad on anybody, but that might be the end of Top Rank,” said Hopkins, who might not daydream of such an outcome but clearly would not be despondent were it to come to that.

No wonder the Arums, Lewises, Kings, DiBellas and Goossens probably offer up nightly prayers that their favorite deity, or fate,  humbles Hopkins, or at least makes him grow old fast. Hasn’t this codger been on the verge of retirement now since, what, the first Clinton Administration?

“A few years ago we were here (at Boardwalk Hall) with our jaws on the floor, marveling at Bernard’s performance against Antonio Tarver,” said Mark Taffet, the HBO Pay Per View chief. “We had a beautiful retirement party for Bernard. I still have the big banner on our 11th floor at HBO. We made a beautiful framed photograph of that fight. But here we go again.

“I think I’ll ask Bernard for the $48 (cost of) the frame. I mean, where does he go now? I can’t believe anything this guy does. He continues to amaze us.”

Truth be told, Hopkins is the most accomplished fortysomething fighter the world has ever seen, and the competition for that designation isn’t even close. OK, so George Foreman flattened Michael Moorer to win the heavyweight championship for the second time at 45, unquestionably an inspiring feat, but Big George had lost every round until he delivered the takeout shot in Round 10, and he took terrible beatings in post-40 matchups with Alex Stewart and Axel Schulz, even though he won dubious decisions in those bouts. Archie Moore, the “Old Mongoose,” was the light heavyweight champ well into his 40s, but a French-Canadian fisherman with rudimentary skills, Yvon Durelle, knocked him down four times, including three in the first round, in their Dec. 10, 1958, first meeting in Montreal. Hopkins has been on the canvas exactly twice in his entire career, both of those coming in his Dec. 17, 1994, matchup with Ecuodorean Segundo Mercado, in Quito, Ecuador, for the vacant IBF middleweight crown. Even those flash knockdowns probably owed more to the thin air in Quito, which is 9,350 feet above sea level, and the fact Hopkins arrived there only four days before the fight, not nearly enough time to get acclimated to the altitude, than to the power in Mercado’s punches. Nonetheless, Hopkins salvaged a draw and he battered Mercado en route to a seventh-round TKO 4½ months later, in Landover, Md.

Almost from the time he broke through to the throne room Hopkins has busied himself making enemies, which might seem counterproductive until you examine those emotions which fuel his internal fire.

Hopkins is one of those athletes who seems happiest when he’s unhappy, like tennis’ John McEnroe. He doesn’t get mad, he gets even. Even the slightest provocation can get Hopkins stoked, and nothing lights that particular fire like the notion he is being dismissed, disrespected or disenfranchised.

Take his Sept. 29, 2001, battle with Felix Trinidad for the undisputed middleweight championship of the world. Everybody remembers how Hopkins twice grabbed and threw down the Puerto Rican flag at open-to-the-public press conferences, but the key to his finest performance ever, or at least until the dismantling of Pavlik, was Hopkins’ controlled rage at discovering that his own promoter, King, had had the Sugar Ray Robinson Trophy pre-engraved with the name of Trinidad, another King client, on it.

Like fellow paranoids Richard M. Nixon and Bobby Knight, Hopkins reads and listens to every negative thing anyone has written or said about him. He has compiled an enemies list, at least in his mind, and it pleases him greatly when those who would draw pleasure from his toppling are again left red-faced and embarrassed.

“They say Bernard is old,” Hopkins said at the postfight press conference early Sunday morning. “Yes, I am. They say Bernard is finished. They ain’t saying that now.

“I’m tired, man. I’m tired of proving myself to the same naysayers. Don’t y’all know you motivate me? I mean, what do I got to do, kill somebody? I’m the most underrated fighter when it comes to defense, when it comes to offense, when it comes to my heart. That’s why I always fight like I have to prove something.”

From a technical standpoint, Pavlik – who went off as a 5-1 favorite – probably was toast once Hopkins, who studies film as if he were Roger Ebert, detected that the Youngstown, Ohio, fighter’s big right hand was neutralized whenever he had to throw his payoff punch across his body. That’s why B-Hop continually moved to his right. But for emotional purposes, his victory might have been assured when one Internet writer beseeched Pavlik to “do boxing a favor” and “forever free him” and other dissidents of the torture of watching Hopkins, a defensive genius, make good fighters look bad.

Trash talker supreme that he may be, nothing inspires Hopkins like being on the receiving end of a really mean-spirited insult.

So, what if nine of his last 10 bouts have gone the distance, the exception being his ninth-round knockout of De La Hoya on Sept. 18, 2004? Hopkins is allowed to evolve, just as a strikeout pitcher has to resort to guile as he loses steam off his fastball. What we get nowadays is more a recital of chamber music than a KISS concert, but that does not detract from the fact he still produces classic material. Asked what it was that Pavlik found troubling about Hopkins’ unorthodox style, Pavlik’s trainer, Jack Loew, said, “Kelly had trouble adjusting to everything.”

If Hopkins has his way – and, gee, doesn’t it seem as if that happens quite a bit at this late stage of the game – then another aging legend, Roy Jones Jr., will find a way to win his Nov. 8 fight with Joe Calzaghe in Madison Square Garden, paving the way for a rematch of Jones-Hopkins I, which took place way back in May 22, 1993? Jones won that fight, for the vacant IBF middleweight championship, by close but unanimous decision.

“I’d like to fight Roy Jones again before I die,” Hopkins said.

Might be a long time coming. After all, everyone knows that you can’t eradicate the common cockroach, Michael Myers and Bernard Hopkins.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story originally ran on Oct. 20, 2008, under the title “Halloween’s Early for Hobgoblin Hopkins.” The two Bernards – Hopkins and Fernandez – will be formally inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame next year with the class of 2020. Fernandez joins TSS classmate Thomas Hauser in the “Observer” category.

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Avila Perspective, Chap 111: Munguia, Tank and The Monster

David A. Avila

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Avila Perspective, Chap 111: Munguia, Tank and The Monster

Here come some more hardcore fights.

As the end of the year approaches contracts must be honored. That’s a good thing for fight fans even during a pandemic.

Golden Boy Promotions brings a loaded fight card led by Mexican swing-from-the-heels fighter Jaime Munguia (35-0, 28 KOs) moving into the middleweight division against Tureano Johnson (21-2-1, 15 KOs) at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California. DAZN will stream the Friday night fight card on Oct. 30.

Munguia (pictured opposite Johnson) just recently turned 24 years old; a couple of weeks ago. The former super welterweight world titlist out of Tijuana grew out of the division and now is mentored by boxing great Erik “El Terrible” Morales. No more swinging at anything that moves. Now it’s technical savagery.

Johnson, 36, hasn’t fought in over a year but in that last fight he knocked off Ireland’s undefeated Jason Quigley. That was not supposed to happen. The Bahamian native only has two losses and those were stoppages in the last round by Sergiy Derevyanchenko and Curtis Stevens. He has the technique, but does he have the chin?

Another savage battle involves welterweights.

New England’s Rashidi “Speedy” Ellis (22-0, 14 KOs) faces Orange County’s Alexis Rocha (16-0, 10 KOs) a hard-hitting southpaw in a showdown set for 12 rounds. Will it go that long?

Both have power and I doubt the fight goes beyond seven rounds. Both have ended fights in the opening rounds before. If someone blinks at the wrong time it could be over quickly.

Others on the card including super featherweight contender Lamont Roach and super middleweight prospect Bektemir Melikuziev. Also, female contenders Sulem Urbina and Marlen Esparza square off. Opening bout begins at 5 p.m. Pacific Time.

Crazy Saturday

A Matchroom Boxing fight card stemming from England showcases a Southern California-based world champion Oleksandr Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs) meeting Dereck Chisora (32-9, 23 KOs) in the heavyweight main event.

Usyk, now 33, just recently conquered the cruiserweight division and was undisputed world champion and now deigns to move up in weight where the money is much better fighting the big boys. He’s a speedy Ukrainian southpaw who uses plenty of movement and has shocking power when he sets his feet.

Chisora, 36, has fought all of the top European heavyweights including another Ukrainian heavyweight named Vitali Klitschko. Though it hasn’t always been violets and roses for Chisora, he does pack a wallop and if he catches Usyk it could be all over. But his feet are made of stone and he will have problems moving in rhythm with the fleet-footed Usyk.

A co-main event features lightweight contenders Lee Selby (28-2, 9 KOs) pitted against George Kambosos Jr. (18-0, 10 KOs) in a Great Britain versus Australia battle.

Two female bouts with extra power are also on the card as Savannah Marshall (8-0) battles Hannah Rankin (9-4) for the vacant WBO middleweight title; and Amy Timlin (4-0) meets Carly Skelly (3-0) in a battle of undefeated super bantamweights.

The fight card will be streamed on DAZN at 11 a.m. Pacific Time.

Showtime

World champions collide with three-division world champion Leo Santa Cruz daring to move up yet another weight division and challenge the ultimate danger in super featherweight and lightweight world titlist Gervonta “Tank” Davis for his titles.

Danger is written all over this Showtime pay-per-view card on Saturday Oct. 31.

Davis (23-0, 22 KOs) has yet to be truly challenged by anyone. Santa Cruz (37-1-1, 19 KOs) has always been a risk taker and could be going way over his limit against Tank.

“I’m facing the best fighter in the division. If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best. I have to go against the best fighter,” said Santa Cruz. “I wanted to challenge myself. I know this is a dangerous fight for me, but I want to test myself.”

If Santa Cruz is still standing after 12 rounds then a big salute to him. Davis won’t allow that to happen. He’s not a guy who looks to win by decision. Tank looks to knock opponents unconscious so he can take pictures of them asleep.

“I don’t think I have to knock him out, I just have to go out there and be great. Forget everything else, I just have to go out there and show everyone that I’m the top guy in the boxing world. That’s my main goal,” said Davis.

Right.

It’s not the only good fight on the card.

Mario Barrios (25-0, 16 KOs) defends the WBA super lightweight title against Ryan Karl (18-2) in the co-main event.

Also, on the same card Regis Prograis (24-1, 20 KOs) meets Juan Heraldez (16-0-1, 10KOs) in a super lightweight matchup. Whoever wins will probably meet Barrios for his title soon after. That’s if Barrios beats Karl.

It’s a boxing card that could see the end of the line for one or two of the fighters.

Monster and Mayer

Japan’s Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16 KOs) defends the WBA and IBF bantamweight world titles against Australia’s Jason Moloney (21-1, 18 KOs) at the MGM Grand Bubble in Las Vegas on Saturday October 31. It will be his Las Vegas debut and will be televised on ESPN+.

Inoue will be a big favorite and how can you blame odds makers when Moloney’s only loss was to Emmanuel Rodriguez who was blown out by the Monster?

But you never know.

“There are a lot of expectations, and I want to meet those expectations. I take those big expectations, and I use them as motivation and power to keep getting better with every fight,” said Inoue.

Inoue’s last fight nearly a year ago was an epic clash against Nonito Donaire in a classic battle that saw both deliver bombs and take them in a 12-round fight that ended in a close but unanimous victory for the Japanese star.

Boy was it close.

Until the 11th round it was nip and tuck as Donaire proved why he is destined to be a surefire Hall of Fame inductee when he retires.

Both punished each other and during their confrontation it was evident that Inoue does indeed have a solid chin. One big question will be if Inoue took too much punishment and can he handle a rough customer like Moloney.

“Every fighter should want to fight the best. That’s why we’re in this sport. My dream and my goal is to be the best bantamweight in the world, and the only way to make that happen is to beat Inoue,” said Moloney.

It should be an interesting match.

Also, female American Olympian Mikaela Mayer (13-0) challenges Poland’s Ewa Brodnicka (19-0) for the WBO super featherweight world title. Expect no quarter given by Mayer who has been gunning for a title challenge for the past two years with most of the titleholders in Europe ignoring her.

Brodnicka expects a tough fight.

“I have a lot of things against me. But I’m ready. I don’t care if she says that she doesn’t respect me. She makes a lot of mistakes, and I’m going to take advantage of all of them,” Brodnicka said.

Mayer is not in a good mood.

“I have been calling out the champs for a while. It’s been something I feel like I’ve been ready for a few fights, but now in hindsight looking back, I think everything worked out perfectly. Like Bob Arum said, I’ve had some really great fights, and I’ve really been able to settle in to my pro style. I’m more ready than ever to take on these world champions. I feel like I’m the best in this division,” said Mayer.

Sunday

A Sunday afternoon boxing card by Thompson Boxing Promotions takes place at the Omega Products International in Corona, CA but will not include fans.

Undefeated lightweights Mike Sanchez (6-0-1, 2 KOs) faces Israel Mercado (8-0, 7 KOs) in the main event on Sunday Nov. 1. It will stream on Thompson Boxing Promotions web page and also on its Facebook page beginning at 4 p.m. PT.

Go to this link to watch the fight card: www.thompsonboxing.com

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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Usyk vs. Chisora Sets the Table for a Strong Night of Boxing

Arne K. Lang

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Usyk-vs-Chisora-Sets-the-Table-for-a-Strong-Night-of-Boxing

It’s been largely lost in the ragout, at least on this side of the pond, but Saturday’s busy fight docket includes the return of Oleksandr Usyk, the former Olympic gold medalist who left the cruiserweight ranks as a legitimate four-belt champion. The 33-year-old Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs), opposes tough but erratic Dereck Chisora, a 36-year old Londoner by way of Zimbabwe. Chisora (32-9, 23 KOs), has won five of his last six, the setback occurring in his second encounter with arch-rival Dillian Whyte.

Usyk vs. Chisora, a Matchroom promotion, will play out at Wembley Arena with no fans in attendance. The Ukrainian southpaw is ranked among the top three heavyweight contenders by all four major sanctioning bodies although he has fought only once as a heavyweight, turning away under-trained late sub Chazz Witherspoon who was all in after seven frames. Usyk weighed 215 for that contest and is expected to come in about 230 for Chisora.

Usyk, who has anglicized his first name to Alexander on his English-language twitter feed, is a big favorite, but this is a tricky fight for him. The consensus 2018 Fighter of the Year, Usyk has fought only twice since unifying the cruiserweight title with a lopsided decision over Murat Gassiev in July of that year and 55 weeks have elapsed since his last start. If he needs the early rounds to shake off ring rust, he could find himself clawing out of a hole, and sometimes the hole is too deep as Usyk’s stablemate Vasiliy Lomachenko can attest. Moreover, Usyk has yet to face a naturally bigger man who can bang as hard as “Del Boy.”

The Usyk-Chisora card will air in North America on DAZN with the main event ring walks anticipated about 6 pm ET.

The tiff is hitched to an interesting undercard. Once-beaten Welshman Lee Selby, briefly the IBF featherweight champion, tangles with Australia’s undefeated (18-0) George Kambosos Jr. Savannah Marshall, who saddled Claressa Shields with her only amateur loss, meets former Shields opponent Hannah Rankin with a vacant world middleweight title at stake, Belfast’s Tommy McCarthy opposes Belgium’s Bilal Laggoune for a domestic cruiserweight title, and then there’s the heavyweight fight attracting buzz between popular Yorkshireman David Allen and Christopher Lovejoy.

The buzz surrounds the mysterious 36-year-old Lovejoy who is 19-0 as a pro with all but two of those KOs coming in the opening round.

All of Lovejoy’s fights were staged in Tijuana. Only one of his opponents brought a winning record. For a certain stripe of fighter, Tijuana is the equivalent of a feed lot, a place where livestock go to get fattened up before they are sent off to the slaughterhouse. David Allen is limited, but the most likely scenario in this fight is that it ends with Lovejoy sitting on his stool.

Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel 

To comment on this post in the Fight Forum CLICK HERE

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