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So Who’s Your Favorite Boxer? 15 Sage Boxing Buffs Make Their Picks

Ted Sares




Recently this question was posed to me and my answer was almost Pavlovian. Vasyl Lomachenko is my favorite because of his athleticism and reflexes. I was then asked who my all-time favorite was and again I answered without hesitation: Bob Satterfield, a Chicago heavyweight back in the day. He was a chill-or-be chilled type and that made him Mr. Excitement and therefore my favorite.

As a matter of interest, I decided I would ask a number of boxing writers, ex-fighters, trainers, referees, promoters, and other boxing luminaries the same two questions. The respondents are listed alphabetically.

Jim Amato (writer, historian, and member of the BWAA)

My all-time favorite is Roberto Duran. My current favorite boxer is Mikey Garcia.

Duran was the most complete fighter of his era. I loved to watch him in action.

Joe DeGuardia (President of Star Boxing)

Favorite All-Time Boxer: There are so many great boxing all-timers so this isn’t as easy a question as it seems. I grew up during the Muhammad Ali era so he’s certainly on my list, as is Sugar Ray Leonard who won his gold as I was winning junior titles in my pre-teenager years–who can forget the greatness he showed in the first Hearns fight? I used to watch tapes of Ray Robinson and Willie Pep (my Dad knew both well and sparred with Willie) and they were both masterful and true artists in the ring.  Picking one from them is very difficult — so let’s say those three –and while I’m at it –I’ll throw in Rocky Marciano for his relentlessness, grit and determination.”

Favorite Current Boxer: I have many fighters that I promote that I enjoy watching fight. The punching power of the Hebrew Hammer, Cletus Seldin.The finesse of Demetrius Andrade. But the excitement Joe Smith Jr has been bringing to his fights, and certainly his last couple of fights, has really been something else. The Fonfara fight had me jumping more than I’ve jumped in years. I’d have to say Joe Smith Jr right now.

Outside of my guys I like the tremendous improvement as a boxer that Canelo has shown and when you combine that with his warrior style and business impact on the sport — well, it earns my respect.

Jill Diamond (boxing writer and matchmaker)

Sugar Ray Robinson and Christy Martin are my all-time favorites.

Triple G and Claressa Shields are my current favorites.

Character, overcoming obstacles, and staying power are key. I know Claressa is young, but I say that two Olympics, poverty and a wicked and thoughtful technique makes her p4p and one to watch.

Steve Farhood (award-winning TV boxing commentator and 2007 International Boxing Hall of Fame inductee)

Favorite All-Time Boxer: Roberto Duran. He was as pure a fighter as I’ve ever seen. I was lucky to cover a few of his fights. He was a mix of brilliance, cunning, natural talent, and savagery. How could anyone NOT love him?

I often unofficially score fights, so I don’t want to name a current favorite. I enjoy watching many, including Errol Spence, Leo Santa Cruz, Canelo Alvarez, Naoya Inouye, and Jorge Linares.

 Bernard Fernandez (boxing writer and lifetime member of the BWAA)

Don’t know if this counts, but my favorite all-time boxer, whom I never saw fight (and there are no tapes of him in action) is the late welterweight Jack Fernandez, who posted a rather nondescript 4-1-1 record with one knockout. That would be my father, who went to his grave as Bernard J. Fernandez, Sr. As I was an only child who dearly loved his dad, and my dad loved boxing, I would watch the Gillette Cavalcade of Sports on Friday nights with him. He would tell me what was going on, and why, and boxing became something that bonded us in so many ways. Basically, he gave me the gift of boxing which led to the career that has been so very good to me. But if choosing my dad for No. 1 doesn’t count, then I would say Carmen Basilio. The “Upstate Onion Farmer” was my father’s favorite fighter, so he of course became my favorite fighter when I was a little kid, much in the same manner that Stan Musial was my favorite baseball player.

It was a thrill when I finally met Carmen in person, at one of my early trips to cover induction weekend at the International Boxing Hall of Fame. I only wish I had brought my father, who lived in the New Orleans area his entire life, with me to Canastota (he died on March 4, 1994) so he, too, could have met his ring hero. I did bring him to a major fight in Las Vegas (Tyson-Ruddock II) and to Europe for the only time in his life, Lennox Lewis-Razor Ruddock in London; he had served in the Navy in the Pacific theater in World War II. By the way, my proudest possession is an old fight poster in which the main event is Archie Moore vs. Jimmie Hayden with the principal lead-in bout (well, one of two) between — ta da! — Jack Fernandez and Jimmy Hatmaker, By extension, I also have a soft spot in my heart for the “Mongoose,” who I would have liked in any case because … well, just because.

 If my dad falls into a separate category, then I guess I would go with Roberto Duran. I became mesmerized by the “Hands of Stone” when he was a young, remorseless lightweight, in my mind the greatest 135-pounder of all time, and the ultimate fighting machine. Ironically, later on in my career I became close to Sugar Ray Leonard, so I have to also give him a high place of honor for reasons both personal and professional.

Favorite Current Boxer: This is a bit trickier. I was immediately enthralled with Manny Pacquiao the first time I saw him fight in the U.S., when he beat Ledwaba in Vegas on the undercard of De La Hoya-Castillo. He remained a personal favorite for some time, although he obviously is not the same fighter he was in his glorious prime. I was very fond of the entertainment value of the late Johnny Tapia who, I must say, also was a favorite of my father when the world was privileged to have both of them alive and kicking.I also go back further with Bernard Hopkins than with any other boxer of personal acquaintance, and I imagine the same holds true for him with me. Although technically he’s not active any longer, his work ethic and longevity are the cornerstones of his legend. Today, the skills and potential for the establishment of far-reaching legacies have VasylLomachenko and Errol Spence Jr. high on my list of must-sees, if not yet in Basilio/Duran/Pacquiao territory.

Lee Groves (boxing writer, author, and BWAA member)

Favorite All-Time Boxer: Roberto Duran. His second fight with DeJesus was the first fight I ever saw and it was the bout that reeled me in. In the intervening years I’ve been fascinated with his fusion of savagery and science inside the ring and his personality outside it.

I don’t have a particular favorite today, but I do like to watch guys like VasylLomachenko, Naoya Inoue, Roman Gonzalez and Leo Santa Cruz. These are action fighters who are also capable of stimulating the intellect. Lomachenko’s use of angles is superlative and the others’ combination punching is a joy.

Miguel Iturrate: (matchmaker, promoter, writer and Senior Archivist at The Boxing Channel)

Favorite All-Time Boxer: Wow, It’s tough to narrow down. I remember watching a trilogy between Jorge Paez and Troy Dorsey in the 90s that made Paez my favorite fighter, and then obviously that was the era of Roy Jones Jr and Julio Cesar Chavez, two who receive consideration as my favorites.

I love historical figures – like I’m a huge Ad Wolgast fan and I don’t think there are many people in the world who know as much about him as I do. That whole pre-Dempsey era is hugely attractive to me because it takes in history as well.

I have to say that of the current crop of boxers, my favorite to watch is Terence Crawford.

Harold Lederman (famous boxing judge and 2016 IBHOF inductee)

Favorite All-time Boxer: Bennie Briscoe. He was exciting and I like excitement.

Current Fighter: Terence Crawford is exciting as well.

Ron Lipton (world class referee)

 Favorite All-Time Boxer: I would have to say the one that stays in my mind the most was the early Rubin Carter. I saw Gene Fullmer fight Florentino Fernandez for 15 hard rounds and no one got dropped. I sat ringside in MSG and saw Carter take out Fernandez in 69 seconds and it has stayed with me forever. Then seeing him in person in Pittsburgh take out Griffith in one round just put him in a niche that lasts until this day. Yeah, I love Sugar Ray Robinson, but seeing those KO’s by Carter live as a kid who would end up sparring with him, and knowing how tough Griffith and Fernandez were just put him in a fistic Valhalla forever with me.

Modern Fighter: As an active professional referee I have no particular preference. Having sparred with some of the greats of the past, I ended up with some hard bark on me, so I’m not awed by anyone anymore, but I do have a finite appreciation of the skills and courage of so many of them today. I was the alternate referee for the Roman Gonzalez – SrisaketSorRungvisai fight on March 18, 2017. I could not believe the courage and determination of the Thai fighter Rungvisai. He kept coming on and on, walking through fire. He had my admiration for sure. I like and respect Lomachenko’s skills and speed. There are so many others it is hard to pick one.

Frank Lotierzo: (former fighter, writer for TSS, and lead analyst for The Boxing Channel)

Favorite All-Time Boxer: Ali.

I don’t have a favorite fighter today. However, if forced to pick the ones I like to watch the most, it’s between Terence Crawford, Mikey Garcia and Anthony Joshua.

Gordon Marino (philosophy professor, Wall Street Journal boxing writer, trainer)

Favorite All-time Boxer: I lived and died with Smokin’ Joe Frazier. Loved his grit, courage, left hook, and his pure human dignity.

Favorite Current Boxer: GGG. I love his technique, balance, power, but also his sportsmanship and his deep awareness that boxing is a sport, not war. I am also an ardent fan of Manny’s — who has a matchless and loving spirit. I am forever amazed at what MP has overcome in life.

When I began writing on boxing I really believed it was 90 percent talent and work but over the years I have come to appreciate the importance of the character, intelligence and perspicuity of the all-time greats.

“Iceman” John Scully: (elite trainer, former world title challenger)

 Favorite All-Time Boxer: Muhammad Ali. His ability to deal with adversity in and out of the ring is almost awe-inspiring. He influenced me in many ways, especially as a person. He was 100 percent his own man and I have always been attracted to that aspect of his being.

Favorite Current Boxer: Andre Ward, Gennady Golovkin and VasilyLomachenko. Each is tremendously focused and tuned-in to their own game and its very, very pleasing to watch. Being able to maintain yourself under the pressure of battle is an extremely underrated aspect of a boxer’s game.

Mike Silver: (boxing historian; author of “The Arc of Boxing: The Rise and Decline of the Sweet Science” and “Stars in the Ring: Jewish Champions in the Golden Age of Boxing”) 

 Favorite All-Time Boxer: The one and only Sugar Ray Robinson–mainly because he was the “one and only.” There was nobody like him before and nobody since. He possessed every characteristic of a great fighter, both physical and mental. He had the  greatest combination of speed, power and eleganceever seen in a prize ring. The accolade “best pound for pound” was invented just for him. But — and this is most important — he epitomized artistry in the ring.

Favorite Current Boxer: It’s close between Lomachenko, Rigondeaux, Crawford and Triple G, but I’ll go with Golovkin, mostly because he is the most accomplished boxer-puncher of the four, has tremendous power and knows how to use it. He understands how to break down another fighter using skills and strategy rarely seen today. He is always exciting and interesting to watch.

Gary “Digital” Williams: (boxing writer, blogger and “Master of the Beltway”)

Favorite All-Time Boxer: Mark “Too Sharp” Johnson and Sugar Ray Leonard. For me, covering boxing in the Washington, DC area, they have meant the most to me. Although I started off being a fan when Muhammad Ali was competing, I saw Johnson and Leonard at their primes and they really were the major reasons I am doing what I do.

Favorite Current Boxer: VasylLomachenko. Seeing him in person last April, I just marveled about how good and technically sound he is. I do believe he will be an all-time great.

Peter Wood: (former boxer, author, and a member of the BWAA)

Favorite All-Time Fighter: That’s easy. How could it be anyone else but that poverty-stricken roughneck of the early 1900s? That prizefighter who fought all comers in saloons and back alleys–that mixed-race brute who traveled east–from hobo camp to hobo camp–via boxcars to seek his fortune? Jack Dempsey is my favorite fighter of all time.

I forgive Dempsey for ducking Harry Wills; I forgive him for posing as a shipyard worker during World War I while wearing glossy patent-leather shoes, and I forgive him for going Hollywood by pinning back his cauliflower ears.

Favorite Current Fighter: That’s not so easy. I respect Andre Ward’s natural ability. I admire Canelo’s sneaky overhand right, and I appreciate Danny Jacobs’s lightning reflexes and personal story. But my favorite fighter today is Gennady Golovkin. Golovkin, in a sense, is a modern day Jack Dempsey, a boxer who traveled far from home – Kazakhstan — to seek his fortune. Golovkin isn’t as colorful, or as charismatic, as Dempsey. But I appreciate that Golovkin doesn’t talk trash in order to be colorful, or box-office. He just wants to kick your ass—just like Jack Dempsey.


Sugar Ray Robinson, Ali, and Duran got mentioned a lot, as did GGG and Lomachenko.

Who are your favorites?

Ted Sares, a member of Ring 4’s Boxing Hall of Fame, is one of the world’s oldest active power lifters and holds several records in the Grand Master class. He has won the EPF Nationals four years in a row.

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel.


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).

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel


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

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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