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The Hauser Report: Wilder-Stiverne and More from Barclays Center

Thomas Hauser




WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (now 39-0, 38 KOs) has one-punch knockout power. How much power is unclear since, for the most part, he has steered clear of opponents with sturdy chins. And he has gravitated away from big punchers because his own chin is suspect.

Wilder’s ring skills have also come under attack.

“I fight with my heart,” Denotay said last month in response to the criticism. “I fight with my will. Forget skills. Skills ain’t got me nowhere in life.”

Two months ago, in an effort to silence his critics, Wilder signed to fight Luis Ortiz (27-0, 23 KOs) on November 4 at Barclays Center in a bout to be televised by Showtime. Ortiz a inflatable garden slide 38-year-old Cuban expatriate now living in Florida, looked his best in demolishing Bryant Jennings on a seventh-round knockout two years ago. But he hadn’t done much since then, and the prevailing view was that age might be catching up with him.

There was the usual smack-talking after the fight was announced.

“Somebody better endorse the bottom of Ortiz’s shoes,” Wilder advised the media, “because he’ll be on his back, staring at the ceiling, and they’ll be seeing both of them at the end of this fight.”

And of course, the usual hyperbole.

“Deontay Wilder versus Luis Ortiz is the best heavyweight championship fight that was makeable this year,” promoter Lou DiBella proclaimed.

That left open the question of where Anthony Joshua vs. Wladimir Klitschko (which drew 90,000 fans and was televised by two American premium cable networks) ranked in DiBella’s thought processes. But the matter became moot when Ortiz tested positive for chlorothiazide and hydrochlorothiazide (both of which are banned under the WADA code) and Wilder-Ortiz was cancelled.

In place of Ortiz, the promotion substituted Bermane Stiverne.

Fighting largely against the usual suspects, Stiverne had compiled a 25-and-2 (21 KOs) record. He won the WBC heavyweight belt by knocking out a badly-faded Chris Arreola in 2014 and lost to Wilder in his next outing. His other loss was a knockout defeat at the hands of an 11-and-15 fighter named Demetrice King. Stiverne is 39 years old. He’d fought only once since losing to Wilder (a controversial decision over Derric Rossy two years ago). Somehow, that qualified him to be the mandatory challenger for Wilder’s WBC title.

Sporting a new mustache (to support prostate cancer awareness) that didn’t quite conjure up images of a young Clark Gable, WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman told reporters at the final pre-fight press conference, “Whoever thinks this is not the best championship fight that can be made in the heavyweight division is wrong.”

But in truth, Wilder-Stiverne was a fight that no one except Team Stiverne and the WBC had much interest in seeing.

Wilder has voiced resentment in recent months over the fact that the American public hasn’t gotten behind him the way that the Brits support Anthony Joshua and other nations supported Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko.

“I’m the best, hardest-punching, most feared heavyweight in the world,” Deontay declared at an October 14 media sitdown. “I don’t have to put punches together. It’s one punch, goodnight. Tell your favorite fighter to come see me.”

Wilder also referenced the hardships of boxing, observing, “A lot of people say what I can’t do, but they’re not me. They don’t train. They don’t bust their ass every day in the gym, lay in the bed and you can’t really get a good position to sleep because your body is so sore.”

The promotion sought to infuse drama into Wilder-Stiverne by noting that Stiverne was the only opponent who’d gone the distance with Wilder. Bermane, in turn, said he’d lost to Deontay the first time around because of unspecified health issues. That led Wilder to reply, “People don’t want to hear excuses. They want a winner and they want a loser. The facts are the facts. The person that loses, nobody wants to hear the reason. They just want to hear you say, ‘Hey, I admit it. I lost, but I’m gonna try my best the next time.’ People respect that. People don’t like a loser that contradicts themselves. One minute, you’re good, you’re healthy. You’re talking so confidently. And then, when the time to fight happens, all of a sudden something just so dramatically happens in the ring.”

Then Stiverne upped the ante, telling the media at the final pre-fight press conference, “One thing that really caught my attention – and I don’t really pay attention to social media and all that stuff – is that he said that he fears for my life.” At that point, Stiverne turned to face Wilder. “You fear for my life, man? You fear for my life? I don’t fear for your life because I’m a killer! If that’s what it takes for me to take that title, that’s what I’m gonna do. And I’m gonna walk away with a smile on my face.”

“I don’t have to say what I’m gonna do because I’m gonna show him,” Wilder responded. “It will be a show-and-tell on Saturday night. Like my daddy said; I’ll whup you because I love you.”

Most of the excitement in the pre-fight promotion was supplied by Don King.

King sightings in boxing are rare these days. But DK has a promotional interest in Stiverne (and also in Eric Molina, who’d been brought in as an opponent for Dominic Breazeale in an undercard fight).

King turned 86 in August. His hair is no longer thick enough to rise dramatically toward the heavens. His frame is a bit stooped and he walks more slowly than before. The custom-made “Only in America” jacket he wears is fraying and discolored at the cuffs. But he remains a man of remarkable energy and vitality. His booming voice and high-pitched laugh still pierce the air. He commands attention wherever he goes. King might not look seventy anymore, but he doesn’t look 86 either.

“God has sent Bermane Stiverne to do His work,” King proclaimed at the final pre-fight press conference. “Bermane is going to do what Donald Trump did and triumph against all odds.”

The announced attendance on fight night was 10,924, but that included a lot of giveaway tickets.

Once upon a time, King would have had both fighters in the main event and controlled the undercard. Now he was on site with a 15-to-1 underdog (Stiverne) and a 7-to-2 long-shot (Molina).

Breazeale stopped Molina in eight rounds.

In the first Showtime bout of the evening, Sergey Lipinets (12-0, 10 KOs) and Akihiro Kondo (29-6-1, 16 KOs) battled for an IBF 140-pound belt of questionable provenance. Three of Kondo’s opponents during the past two years had records of 0-0, 0-1, and 0-0 at the time he fought them. Lipinets decisioned Kondo by a 118-110, 117-111, 117-111 margin in a fight that was much closer than the scorecards indicated.

Next, Shawn Porter (27-2-1, 17 KOs) took on Adrian Granados (18-5-2, 12 KOs).

Porter came out on the short end of razor-thin decisions in his two biggest fights (against Kell Brook and Keith Thurman) and has scored victories over past-their prime former champions Andre Berto, Paulie Malignaggi, Devon Alexander, and Adrien Broner. He’s a volume puncher whose mauling brawling style and chin make him a tough out for anyone. If Shawn shortened his punches and placed them more judiciously, they’d be more effective.

Granados was an opponent for young fighters on the rise until two years ago, when he upset an applecart by knocking out Amir Imam. That got him a fight against Adrien Broner in which he acquitted himself well but lost. Now he’s an opponent again.

This was a stay-busy fight for Porter while he waits for Keith Thurman to heal, have a comeback bout against a soft opponent, stay healthy, and then (maybe) fight Shawn again.

As expected, Porter mauled and brawled for most of the fight. Granados fought with heart and a measure of skill. But Adrian’s defense is porous and he had nothing to keep Shawn off. Porter dominated the first ten rounds before an injured left hand led to his avoiding contact in the final two stanzas. That cut his margin of victory to 117-111, 117-111,117-111.

Then it was time for Wilder-Stiverne.

Bermane was never svelte. He turned pro twelve years ago at 233 pounds and has entered the ring as high as 258. For his most recent outing against Derric Rossy, he weighed in at 254. Facing Wilder two years ago, he tipped the scales at 239.

This time, Stiverne weighed in at an unsculpted 254-3/4 pounds. One could imagine Don King arguing, “Bermane is in shape. Round is a shape.”

Wilder weighed in at 220-3/4.

This time against Stiverne, Wilder came out behind an aggressive jab and Bermane did nothing. More than a minute passed before the challenger threw his first punch, a meaningless stay-away-from-me jab that fell far short of the mark. That was followed twenty seconds later by a tentative jab in the direction of Wilder’s mid-section.

Just past the two-minute mark of round one, Wilder jabbed and followed with an uncharacteristically (for him) straight right that landed smack in the center of Stiverne’s face. Bermane went down hard and rose unsteadily. Every punch Deontay threw after that seemed to come in as wide an arc as was anatomically possible. But they landed often enough and hard enough to do damage. Referee Arthur Mercante halted the carnage after the third knockdown at 2:59 of the round. CompuBox credited Stiverne with throwing four punches. He landed none.

One week ago, WBA-IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua looked less than scintillating en route to a tenth-round stoppage of Carlos Takam. Joshua won virtually every minute of the fight. He’s a big strong guy who can do damage both from a distance and on the inside. But A.J. has also been more hittable than his partisans would like.

Wilder has fast hands. And he can whack.

*     *     *

Arthur Mercante Sr (the “Sr” was added when the Hall-of-Fame referee’s son followed his father’s footsteps into refereeing) was a textbook on the art of how the third man in the ring should oversee a fight. One of the things Mercante was firm about was his belief that, during a fight, the referee should touch the fighters as little as possible.

“A referee should control a fight through positioning and voice commands,” Mercante told me. “If a fighter doesn’t respond appropriately, you warn him that, the next time it happens, you’ll take a point away. Then, if it happens again, you deduct a point. And after that, he’ll listen.”

Mercante’s thoughts are relevant today because two referees were overly physical with the fighters at Barclays Center on Saturday night. Danny Schiavone, who refereed the undercard bout between Dominic Breazeale and Eric Molina, was constantly pushing and pulling at the fighters and tugging at their arms to break them apart. Gary Rosato did the same thing with Shawn Porter and Adrian Granados.

Some good referees ply their trade in New York with Harvey Dock heading the list. But the New York State Athletic Commission needs to train a new generation of referees. And every knowledgeable person in boxing knows it.

*     *     *

Boxing is very much a “what have you done for me lately” business. That said; something that happened at Barclays Center on Saturday night troubled me.

Seanie Monaghan is an honest hardworking fighter and a thoroughly decent man, who has been a fixture on the New York boxing scene for years. In his last fight, he suffered the first loss of his ring career, a knockout defeat at the hands of Marcus Browne.

Monaghan began his comeback on Saturday night in an eight-round bout against Evert Bravo. One day prior to the fight, DiBella Entertainment (the promoter of record) advised Team Monaghan that Seanie’s fight might be a “swing” bout. Monaghan and company weren’t happy about it but were told they had no choice.

DiBella Entertainment didn’t control the bout order. That was decided by Showtime in conjunction with Al Haymon. Showtime didn’t care when Monaghan-Bravo was contested because it wasn’t a TV fight. The decision was made by Haymon, who had a financial stake in most of the other undercard fighters but not in Monaghan.

P.J. Kavanagh (Monaghan’s manager) told this writer on Sunday, “We got to Barclays when they told us to, which was six o’clock. At first, we were on the list as the sixth fight of the night. Then they told us that we weren’t going on until after the Wilder fight. Seanie took it like a professional and didn’t complain. All he said was, ‘Let’s stay positive.’”

Monaghan didn’t glove up and start warming up until Wilder began his ring walk. Then, after the Wilder fight, the powers that be put another swing bout on before Monaghan-Bravo.

Here, one might add that, unlike most undercard fighters, Seanie is a good ticketseller. His team sold hundreds of tickets in bars and other outlets for his comeback fight. And that’s not counting the tickets his fans bought at the box office and online.

The bell for round one of Monaghan-Bravo didn’t ring until 12:22 AM. The fight went the full eight-rounds and ended at 12:53 with Seanie winning a unanimous decision.

“It’s the hand we were dealt and we played it,” Kavanagh says. “And Lou DiBella has been good to us. But we’ve gotten a lot of complaints from fans who felt that they and Seanie were disrespected.”

Seanie Monaghan has earned the right to be more than a walk-out bout and to know in advance what time he’s fighting. He and his fans deserved better.

Thomas Hauser can be reached by email at His most recent book – There Will Always Be Boxing  – was just published by the University of Arkansas Press. In 2004, the Boxing Writers Association of America honored Hauser with the Nat Fleischer Award for career excellence in boxing journalism.

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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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