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If You Can’t Stand the Heat, Stay Out of the Ring

Bernard Fernandez



pet phrases

BOXING IN DANTE’S INFERNO — Harry S Truman, the 33rd President of the United States, had a lot of pet phrases, probably the most enduring being “the buck stops here.” But there is another of good ol’ Harry’s sayings that has become part of the popular culture and is especially appropriate to the 65th anniversary of the infamous Sugar Ray Robinson-Joey Maxim bout, in which Robinson, well on his way to wresting the light heavyweight championship from Maxim in steamy Yankee Stadium on June 25, 1952, fell victim more to the oppressive heat than anything Maxim did.

In boxing, even more so than in the culinary arts, it really is true that if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

It was so hot that night in the Bronx, with a temperature reading of 104 degrees on the ring apron at the time the fighters stepped inside the ropes, that one New York reporter, Jim Jennings, wrote that the bout would be held under “conditions which might have made Dante’s Inferno seem like a refrigerator.” Sugar Ray, widely considered to be the greatest pound-for-pound fighter of all time (don’t try to claim otherwise, Floyd Mayweather Jr.), already was working at a considerable size disadvantage (he weighed in at a taut 157½ pounds to Maxim’s 173) and he became increasingly gassed with each passing round until he simply could no longer run on empty, or even stand up.

At the start of what was to have been the 14th round of the scheduled 15-rounder, Sugar Ray was so totally spent that he could not summon the energy to rise from his stool. Sweat-drenched referee Ray Miller – who had taken over for Ruby Goldstein in the 11th round, after a delirious Goldstein took his leave due to the effects of heat prostration – called for ring physician Alexander Schiff to check in on the exhausted and clearly distressed challenger.

“Can you go on?” Dr. Schiff asked Robinson.

“I just can’t,” gasped Sugar Ray, who later stated that he had no memory of anything that transpired after the ninth round. Just like that, Robinson lost inside the distance for the first time in 141 professional bouts dating back to his debut in 1940.

Interestingly, Robinson insisted that he had a vivid dream a few nights before the Maxim fight that might have hinted at a tragic outcome had he attempted to soldier on in those last two rounds.

“I had dreamt that in the fight with Maxim I was stretched out in the ring and somebody, a doctor I guess, was bending over me and saying, `He’s dead, he’s dead,’” Robinson told New York Times sports columnist Dave Anderson, his collaborator for SRR’s 1970 autobiography, Sugar Ray. “And when I woke up, all I could think of was my dream a few years earlier involving the premonition about Jimmy Doyle’s death.”

Robinson claims to have had a similar deep-sleep vision prior to his June 24, 1947, welterweight title defense against Doyle in Cleveland, in which Doyle died the following day of a cerebral injury he sustained during the fight.

June 21 marked the official start of summer in 2017, and that fact – along with the impending anniversary of Robinson-Maxim and heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua’s 11th-round stoppage of Wladimir Klitschko on April 29, which was witnessed by 90,000 on-site spectators in London’s Wembley Stadium – called to mind another saying that once was part of nearly everyone’s lexicon. In the 1954 Academy Award-winning motion picture, On the Waterfront, onetime middleweight Terry Malloy, played by Marlon Brando, bemoans the dive he reluctantly took at the behest of his mobbed-up brother, which resulted in the winner getting “a title shot outdoors in a ballpark,” which was as good as it got in those technologically-deficient times when the live gate was paramount to a fight’s financial success.

Major fights, for world championships or not, outdoors in a ballpark – or a soccer stadium, bull ring or at a temporary structure erected on the site of tennis courts – has become increasingly rare, at least in America, but there are telltale signs they might be coming back in vogue. The Klitschko brothers, Wlad and Vitali, often appeared before massive audiences in European soccer stadiums, and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has brought Manny Pacquiao and Canelo Alvarez bouts to 80,000-seat AT&T Stadium, the palatial home of his NFL team. Jones was an enthusiastic bidder for the Gennady Golovkin-Alvarez middleweight title fight which will be staged Sept. 16 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, but it should be noted that AT&T Stadium does not strictly meet the criteria of a fight staged “outdoors in a ballpark.” It has a retractable roof, meaning spectators can still beat the Texas summertime heat when the air-conditioning is going full blast.

Still, past should serve as prologue to any promoter toying with the idea of putting an important fight in an outdoor facility during the dog days of summer, even if it means 50,000-plus faces in the place. As Robinson-Maxim and other notable bouts staged in the overly warm arms of Mother Nature should remind us, the fighters don’t just take on one another when the heat index is off the charts. They’re battling dehydration and a potentially lethal toll exacted on their bodies that exacerbates anything inflicted by an opponent’s balled fists.

Randy Gordon, now a radio host but the former editor of The Ring magazine and former head of the New York State Athletic Commission, was recalling the blast-furnace-like atmosphere for one of the most celebrated boxing matches of all time, the “Thrilla in Manila” held in Quezon City, the Philippines, on Oct. 1, 1975. Although that all-time classic took place in a supposedly “air-cooled” indoor arena, the effect of 27,000 spectators wedged together overwhelmed the cooling system and obliged the principals to engage in an epic battle of will and stamina in a virtual sauna.

“One of my favorite interviews ever was with Muhammad Ali (who was accorded a 14th-round TKO victory when Frazier, both his eyes nearly swollen shut, was prevented from coming out for Round 15 by his compassionate trainer, Eddie Futch) years after that fight,” Gordon recalled. “I was commissioner (of the NYSAC) then, I’m thinking it was 1992 or ’93, and it was just me and Ali in the room. I said, `Muhammad, you once said that had Joe Frazier come out for that 15th round, you wouldn’t have come out. Were you just saying that to be nice?’ He said, `No. Between the heat and Joe Frazier, I could not go on. I was telling Angelo (Dundee) to cut my gloves off. That’s real. I wasn’t coming out. But then Angelo looked over and he saw Eddie Futch waving it off.

“I asked Muhammad how much the heat had affected him – and remember, Joe was fighting under the same conditions – as opposed to fighting in air-conditioning that, you know, was actually working. He said, `I would have been stronger, but at the mid-point of the fight, with Joe Frazier’s constant pressure in that brutal heat, I could barely stand up. I was fighting on will alone. I’ll never understand how I was able to last as long as I did in that fight with Joe Frazier putting it on me the way he was.”

Ali also allowed that that fight was “the closest thing to death” he had experienced in boxing or anywhere else, and that statement might be closer to the truth than anyone realized, for him and for Smokin’ Joe.

Gordon told a parallel story about another crown jewel in the crown of boxing history, the Sept. 16, 1981, welterweight unification showdown between undefeated champions Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns, which was held in the 20,000-seat “temporary”outdoor stadium at Las Vegas’ Caesars Palace that could be assembled and disassembled as if it were a child’s Lincoln Logs structure. Trailing on points and with his face battered lopsided, Leonard staged a furious rally to stop the “Hit Man” in the 14th round.

“I’ve been to a lot of outdoor fights in Vegas when it’s been hot, but never that hot,” Gordon said. “At ringside it was in the high 90s, but in the ring – we had a thermometer in there before the fight started – it was, with the TV lights, 130 degrees.

“In later times when I spoke to him, Sugar Ray admitted the heat was getting to him. But Tommy … he literally had nothing left. The heat had completely drained him. In the 14th round he could barely hold his hands up.”

Another of the more notable wars in the outdoor stadium at Caesars Palace pitted heavyweight Larry Holmes against hard-hitting Gerry Cooney on June 11, 1982. Holmes, who stopped Cooney in the 13th round, said that for days afterward he urinated blood, the result of absorbing more than a few of Cooney’s sledgehammer left hooks to the body. But it was another part of the “Easton’s Assassin” oozing-red anatomy that might prove surprising to some. The canvas ring was so sizzling, Holmes has said, that the soles of his feet were blistered and bleeding from having had to move around on it as long as he did.

Other fights that are noteworthy for the effect heat had on the principals include:

*Jess Willard KO26 Jack Johnson, April 6, 1915, Havana, Cuba

Johnson, the dethroned heavyweight champion who was 37 at the time, initially gave credit to Willard for having beaten him fair and square, but he later claimed to have gone into the tank for a promised under-the-table payment of $50,000 and the unobstructed right to return to the United States, which he had fled after being convicted in absentia for violation of the Mann Act. It is easy to believe the recanted version of the story, given that Johnson’s high ranking among all heavyweight titlists far supersedes that of Willard and he had had to deal with the pervasive racism that existed in the U.S. at the time. It has been noted that, once he went down, the “Galveston Giant” shaded his eyes from the blazing sun and seemingly allowed himself to be counted out. But consider this: that bout was scheduled for 45 three-minute rounds, in an outdoor stadium in 104-degree heat. It is not unreasonable to believe that an aging Johnson, by the 26th round, had had his pugilistic superiority over Willard slow-cooked out of him by a celestial opponent 96 million miles removed from the fight site.

Jorge Paez MD15 Calvin Grove, Aug. 4, 1988, Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico

Making the second defense of his IBF featherweight title, stick-and-move stylist Grove, nicknamed “Silky Smooth” for his well-stuffed trick bag, had a bad feeling that he – or, more specifically, his management team – had made a mistake by agreeing to fight Paez, a native of Mexicali, in his back yard for more money than Grove could earned by fighting on U.S. soil, and most likely in an indoor venue. But the Coatesville, Pa., resident trained in Texas, which he dared to believe had prepared him for the hellish heat he would soon encounter in the Plaza del Toros Calafia, a bull ring. It proved to be a disastrous miscalculation. “Paez was used to that kind of heat, or as used to it as anyone can get,” Grove said. “I had trained in Texas, so I figured, how bad could it be? I had no idea. In the ring, with the overhead lights, it was 130 degrees. My goodness.” Seemingly too far ahead on points to be caught, a gasping Grove was floored three in the 15th round in a fight that made history, as the last sanctioned 15-rounder in North America. It was enough to make his presumed lead to go up in smoke, or maybe in steam.

Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini KO14 Duk-Koo Kim, Nov. 13, 1982, Caesars Palace, Las Vegas

It might have been late autumn, but it was an afternoon fight outdoors in Vegas, a desert town where the calendar doesn’t always recognize the passing of the seasons. One can only imagine what the conditions might have been had the fight been staged in July or August. As it was, Kim, a South Korean southpaw who matched Mancini’s furious work rate most of the way, had nothing left by way of defense when the WBA lightweight champion closed the deal just 19 seconds into the 14th round, connecting with two crushing overhand rights. Kim was unable to be revived and, after being rushed to a nearby hospital where he underwent emergency surgery to remove a large blood clot on his brain’s surface, he died five days later.

John David Jackson UD12 Tyrone Trice, July 21, 1991, Atlantic City Race Course

It must have seemed like a good idea at the time, packaging a boxing match with a thoroughbred horse race in the afternoon with both events to be televised as a sort of double-feature on the CBS Sports Spectacular. But, as I noted in my story for the Philadelphia Daily News, the horses had to run for only two minutes or so. Jackson, the WBO super welterweight champion, and Trice had to huff and puff for 45 minutes, including the one-minute intervals between rounds. Temperature in the ring was 110 degrees, and Trice literally had to be carried up a flight of stairs for the postfight press conference. “By the seventh or eighth round, I felt like I couldn’t stand up,” Trice said. “I was in good condition, but the heat was overwhelming.” Said Jackson: “From the 10th round on, I don’t even remember what happened. I was fighting on instinct.”

“Rockin’” Rodney Moore UD10 Miguel Santana, Aug. 3, 1989, Blue Horizon, Philadelphia

This one was held indoors, but in the legendary Philly club boxing site where air-conditioning was non-existent. On particularly hot nights – and this one was – fans almost could be excused to stripping down to their skivvies, as the fighters were. The fighters, though, were moving around and punching one another, which required considerably more exertion. After the bout, an exhausted Moore, a native of North Philadelphia, had a microphone stuck in his face by a young radio reporter for a black station. The young guy wanted to know if Moore had any advice for the kids of North Philly. “Yeah, I do,” Moore said after taking a few moments to catch his breath. “Never fight in an un-air-conditioned building in August.”

Photograph: Maxim vs. Robinson. An exhausted Robinson fell flat on his face after missing with a wild right hand near the end of Round 13.

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The BWAA Shames Veteran Referee Laurence Cole and Two Nebraska Judges

Arne K. Lang



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).

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

David A. Avila



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.”


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 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.

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What’s Next for Manny Pacquiao?

Kelsey McCarson




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’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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