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40 Noted Boxing Buffs Recall Their Favorite Round of Boxing



Part Two

PART TWO OF A TWO-PART SERIES: In previous stories, we asked a set of respondents to name their favorite boxing book, favorite fight, and favorite fighter. This article closes the book on this series. Listing our respondents alphabetically, Part Two of “Favorite Round” opens with the contribution of award-winning HBO broadcaster Jim Lampley, a 2015 inductee into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.


Favorite Round: Round 10, Holyfield-Bowe I (Nov. 13, 1992)

I resist the temptation to go with the easy choice–round nine of Gatti-Ward I–in favor of a higher skill level and bigger stakes. The first half of round 10 of Holyfield-Bowe I showcased Riddick’s spectacular array of skills, from driving jabs to powerful uppercuts that put Evander in deep trouble. The second half was the ultimate tribute to Holyfield’s incomparable recovery capacity and trademark left hooks. As the bell sounded I caught the eyes of Magic Johnson directly across the ring. He lifted his head up in exultation, closed his eyes, and swung it back and forth, side to side as if to say “never saw anything like that before,” and I think Magic was right

ARNE LANG (historian, author, editor-in-chief of The Sweet Science):

Round 15, Holmes vs. Norton, June 9, 1978

This fight was dead even on all three scorecards through 14 rounds. The final tallies were 143-142 for Ken Norton and 143-142 twice for Larry Holmes who likely pulled the fight out in the last 20 seconds. In the New York Times, Michael Katz wrote that the fight provided more action than all the roulette tables in the city and called the 15th round “3 of the finest minutes in boxing history.” Over the next seven years, Holmes was 19-0 in world title defenses. Can’t think of another long title reign that was launched with such a punishing nail-biter.

RON LIPTON (NJ Boxing Hall of Fame referee, former fighter, boxing historian, retired police officer):

Round 2, Jose Torres vs. Charley Green, July 14, 1969.

The “Devil” could punch and was strong as an ox. I was sitting near him as Johnny Bos had gotten the tickets and Charley ate hot dogs and a soda. (Matchmaker) Teddy Brenner found us and in desperation offered Charley $5000 to step in with Jose. Charley made him pay for his ticket, hot dog and soda and said OK. I knew Green and he could knock out anybody without warming up. He came out and dropped “Chegui” so hard they had to drag Torres back to the corner; He would have been counted out today. In the second Charley dropped him again with that crazy over the top round house looping right hand and down went “Chegui.” He got up easier this time. Charley was out of gas and Torres nailed him with a lightning fast right hand and followed it up with that left hook body shot that had previously dropped Thornton, Olson and Pastrano. The right laid “Devil” out like a dead man.

FRANK LOTIERZO (former boxer, writer, and lead analyst for The Boxing Channel):

Round 1, Frazier vs. Quarry, June 23, 1969.

Quarry the counter-puncher came out “Smokin” and took it right to Joe. It was Quarry in his prime and the action was non-stop give and take for the first two rounds, with the first being more frantic and Quarry getting slightly the better of it. Before he tired and got cut, Quarry showed that he could hang with Frazier. This was voted the round of the year by The Ring magazine.

PAUL MAGNO (writer, former boxing web site manager, and boxing official in Mexico):

Round 1, Hagler vs. Hearns, April 15, 1985.

The anticipation for this fight was huge, the crowd was buzzing, the fighters were seething– and when the bell rang, everything just erupted. This was a true war between two elite-level legends with legitimate bad blood for one another. Momentum swung back and forth several times and the wild, frenzied crowd just made everything more exciting. If I had just three minutes to try and sell the sport to a non-fan, I would show them this round. And the menacing scowl from Hagler at the end of the round? Man….

ADEYINKA MAKINDE (author, boxing writer, barrister, author of DICK TIGER: The Life and Times of a Boxing Immortal and JERSEY BOY: The Life and Mob Slaying of Frankie DePaula):

Round 4, Michael Watson vs. Nigel Benn, May 21, 1989.

This round was an archetypal “ding-dong” affair— a violent exchange ….At the bell, Benn resumed his aggressive rhythm; throwing jabs and short hooks at Watson who stood his ground, stoically blocking most but absorbing a hook. Less than a minute in, Watson slipped a wild left and connected with a right, following up with a fusillade of punches that pushed Benn backwards. Groggy, hands down and with his back against the ropes, Benn suddenly sparked to life. He sent Watson on the retreat with a powerful combination. Now Watson was on the ropes, hands held high, parrying and countering Benn’s thrusts. A jarring punch stunned Benn who, out of thin air, managed to summon another attack: throwing a powerful left-hook followed by four clubbing rights and ending with a left-hook and right-cross combination. The crowd roared, but Watson had blocked each blow. This round determined the outcome of the fight: Benn’s ferocity had been neutralized by Watson’s impenetrability and Benn would run out of steam two rounds later.

 LARRY MERCHANT (retired legendary HBO commentator and 2009 IBHOF inductee):

The deal is, people love lists but I’m not a list-maker. There are too many fights and countless great rounds. My mind wanders to Robinson, his eye a bloody mess, told by the ref he had one more round in the rematch with Turpin, who was strong, athletic, and awkward. But Robinson stopped him. my mind wanders to Ali whispering to me on the flight to Zaire for the Foreman  fight that “if  he doesn’t get me in seven, his parachute won’t open,” identifying the only weakness in Foreman’s armor, his stamina, which i believe was the genesis of the suicidal  rope-a-dope strategy, ending it, yes, in the eighth round. My mind wanders and wanders to many, many more.

ROBERT MLADINICH (former NYPD police detective, author, and boxing writer):

Round 15, Holmes vs. Norton

This was a round for the ages. Both were exhausted and throwing punches on pure adrenaline and desire. The fight was so close, it was up for grabs right up until the last minute. It was a spectacle and set the stage for Holmes’s championship reign. I was in college, and even non-boxing fans were whooping it up because it was so exciting. And who can forget the famous eighth round between Matthew Saad Muhammad and Yaqui Lopez? Saad Muhammad took so many unanswered punches, but stayed upright and came back to later stop Lopez, one of the most durable and popular fighters of the golden age of light heavyweights.

GORDON MARINO (philosophy professor, Wall Street Journal boxing writer, and trainer):

Round 1, Joe Louis vs. Max Schmeling, June 22, 1938.

I think it was the most significant sporting event in US history. The great Joe Louis had the burden of race in America on one shoulder and the Nazi menace on the other. In addition, in 1936, after being drubbed to the canvas numerous times, Louis suffered a brutal knockout at the hands, or rather, right hand of Schmeling. Knockouts are not easy to reverse; it seems as if the fighter who put you down for the count has your number. I can hardly imagine a more pressurized situation for an athlete than the one Joe Louis faced that June evening, when he tore into Max Schmeling and stopped him in 2:04 of the first frame. It was not a competitive round. Schmeling only got off 2 inept punches. But it was a round that lifted the entire nation.

JOE PASQUALE (esteemed boxing judge):

The final round of Ali /Frazier in The Thriller in Manila. Next is the 9th round of Gatti-Ward 1.

ADAM POLLACK (author, historian, writer and boxing official):

Round 1, Hagler vs. Hearns

No brainer. The fight essentially was decided in that first round. They fought ferociously, blasting away at one another, but Hagler kept forcing, and by the end of the round, one could see that despite the cut, his strategy was working, for he got Hearns on the ropes and was pounding away relentlessly, despite the fact that Hearns was firing back and landing some vicious blows. Two great fighters who just let it all fly in one round, which encapsulated the fight. Hearns tried to box a little thereafter, but Hagler’s confidence was sky high, for he knew that he could take it and that he had him and it was just a matter of time before he broke him down and finished him off.

DANA ROSENBLATT (former world middleweight and super middleweight champion who retired with a 37-1-2 record):

Round 12, Julio Cesar Chavez vs. Meldrick Taylor I, March 17, 1990.

As controversial as it was, it was as heroic as I have ever seen. If the fight was a scheduled 15 rounder there would have been no controversy and the fight would have ended as the second one did

RICHARD SCHWARTZ (eminent cut-man):

Round 10, Diego Corrales-Jose Luis Castillo I, May 7, 2005.

JOHN “ICEMAN” SCULLY (elite trainer and former world light heavyweight title challenger):

Round 9, Gatti-Ward I, May 18, 2002.

For a long time my answer would have been the first round of Hearns vs. Hagler, but the Gatti and Ward 9th round was even more incredible in my opinion. It was three minutes of constantly sustained action. That’s number one. Also, both guys came very close to being stopped within the same round. And the fact that Micky was able to come back late after being in serious trouble was nothing short of incredible. And the fact that he almost stopped Arturo with the body shot before that makes it the closest I’ve ever seen to a full round actually being like something from a Rocky movie.

MIKE SILVER (boxing historian; author):

Round 4, Foreman vs. Lyle, Jan. 24, 1976.

So many great rounds are crowded into my head, but I’ll go with the incredible fourth round of Foreman vs. Lyle, Cosell’s hysteria notwithstanding.

JOHN STILLER (neurologist; ringside physician)

Round 10, Corrales-Castillo I

Also, round 10 of Douglas-Tyson, the round in which Douglas won by stoppage….But as a physician I like the boring ones where no one gets hit hard.

CARYN TATE (boxing writer):

Round 3, Hagler-Hearns.

It’s a classic for a reason, and it ends with a stoppage. The action was also highly skilled and technical, not just a slugfest. You can study seemingly minor details to better understand why the fight played out the way it did. The urgency of that single round really captured everything great about the sport.

BRUCE TRAMPLER (Top Rank matchmaker; 2010 IBHOF inductee):

Round 10, Earnie Shavers vs. Roy “Tiger” Williams, Dec. 11, 1976.

Also, round 10 of the Foreman-Moorer fight, the round in which George knocked out Moorer.

GARY “DIGITAL” WILLIAMS (boxing writer, blogger and “Master of the Beltway”):

Round 6, Vincent Pettway vs. Simon Brown, April 29, 1995.

Both men were knocked down in the foul-plagued contest but Pettway came back and landed a solid punch that froze Brown in his tracks and knocked him out. The aftermath of Brown throwing punches after being knocked out will echo through time.

PETER WOOD (boxing writer, author, and former boxer):

Round 6, Frankie DePaula vs. Rocky Rivero, July 17, 1968.

It was a night of beauty – and ugliness — in Madison Square Garden. It was the ugly co-main event that had my dad and I–and everyone else in The Garden–standing up screaming. Frankie DePaula, a rising light heavyweight, caught up with an aging Rocky Rivero on the ropes in the sixth round and started doing what he did best–punch. DePaula kept punching–and he punches pretty damn hard. Where was the referee? This was assault and battery at its best. DePaula just kept punching and punching until he was finally pulled off.

Observations: It was no surprise that Round 10 of Castillo–Corrales, Round 9 of Gatti-Ward, Round 1 of Hagler-Hearns and Round 15 of Holmes–Norton each received multiple mentions. Conversely, I found it mildly surprising that none of the following rounds got a call:

Garza vs. Meza (2007) Round 1;

Lee Roy Murphy vs. Chisanda Mutti (1985) Round 12;

“Yaqui” Lopez vs. Matthew Saad Muhammad II (1980) Round 8; and

James Kirkland vs. Alfredo Angulo (2011), Round 1

Based on his perspective as a judge, I thought Dick Flaherty’s inside account of Gatti-Ward I was especially compelling.

Thanks to all for their participation.

Check out more boxing news and features at The Sweet Science, where the best boxing writers write.

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 championship four years in a row.

READ: What Was Your Favorite Round of Boxing? 40 Notables Share Their Picks Part 1

To comment on this article at The Fight Forum, CLICK HERE.


The BWAA Shames Veteran Referee Laurence Cole and Two Nebraska Judges



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.



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?




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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