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Boxing Movies We Hope to See: Suggested Storylines from 50+ Boxing Notables

Ted Sares

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The Fourth Quarterly TSS Survey: Part One (A-K) — The question for our final survey of 2019 was not an easy one. “If you were to make a boxing movie, what would the subject be? How might you title it (optional)?” There was an excellent collection of inputs from a larger than normal number of respondents, including many former fighters. Hence, we are running this story in two parts. The respondents are listed in alphabetical order.

BONES ADAMS — former world super bantamweight champion, elite trainer: A movie about me and my complex life. How many white guys do you know from Kentucky who went on to become a world champion?

RUSS ANBER — elite trainer, cornerman, and owner of Rival Boxing Equipment: Provided it would be given the budget it deserved, my movie would be called “On God’s Side” as it tells the tale of the parallels of both the Louis vs Schmeling fights and the rise of the Nazi regime and eventually World War II, while the world watched both intently.

I’d follow that with “No Quarrel,” the story of Ali’s stand against the establishment and the Viet Nam war, his subsequent suspension, the social divisiveness, and Ali’s subsequent return vs Joe Frazier in the most politically important fight since Louis vs Schmeling.

MATT ANDRZEJEWSKI –TSS boxing writer: I’d make a movie about Archie Moore. I’m surprised one has not yet been done. It would be a great story to tell the world of perseverance and determination. I’d title it “The Old Mongoose.”

DAVID AVILA — TSS West Coast Bureau Chief: I’d do a story on a guy named Luis Magana. He passed away 10 years ago in his late 90s. He was a former PR for the Olympic Auditorium and his dad was a PR for the Olympic when it was first built. He had so many stories to share about guys like Jack Dempsey, Joe Louis and Mexican fighters like Baby Arizmendi and Art Aragon. He was also a sort of playboy who knew many Hollywood starlets. Incredible guy.  “.…if you don’t know who Luis Magana is, then you’re not a real boxing writer”: Hector Zapata, Los Angeles Reporter

BOB BENOIT — former professional fighter, current pro referee and judge: It was the 60’s, and New England Pro boxing was roaring with a fight or two every week in New England.  Worcester- Portland – North Adams – Boston – and New Bedford were SOME of the fistic hotbeds. Our fighter, a 20-year-old white male from rural Maine was called on every week. Short on money and long on need, he had amassed 27 fights in 18 months. The last one was a brutal affair with Gene Cyclone Herrick. Following a bad beating and after paying his cornerman, he went home with $40. Then, Sam Silverman, the Promoter, needed to fill in a fight card at the last moment in Boston and called the fighter but received no answer. He had died from a brain injury 2 days after the Herrick fight. “Nobody Answered the Phone.”

JEFF BUMPUS — former fighter and writer: Danny “Little Red” Lopez was of Ute Indian, Mexican, and Irish heritage. He had been moved from one foster home to another, and coming off a Ute Indian Reservation in Utah, to become the WBC featherweight champion. Obvious title: “Little Red.”

TRACY CALLIS — eminent boxing historian: I’d make a movie about James J. Jeffries and use the book, “A Man Among Men,” by Kelly Nicholson, as the guide. Jeffries was a great champion and lost the only fight of his career in a comeback contest after a long five-year layoff.

STEVE CANTON — the face of boxing in South Florida: I’d do a documentary about the difference between Old School boxers and current boxers, the difference between old training methods and new, the difference between old trainers and current trainers and illustrate the demise of the technique of the Sweet Science with a plea to bringing back the old tried and proven methods.

GUY CASALE — former fighter and retired policeman/lawyer: Mine would concern Organized Crime’s continued influence on boxing. My title would be “Owned.”

MONTE COX — former fighter; noted boxing historian: Sam Langford. Since his most well-known nickname, The Boston Tar Baby, might not translate well in today’s world, and his other nicknames such as “The Boston Terror” might have someone thinking of the Boston marathon bombing, I’d just call it “Feared, the Sam Langford Story.” One of the most avoided boxers in history, he was never given the opportunity because he was too black and too good. Even Jack Johnson drew the color line against him once Sam hit the peak of his powers. Langford had 126 knockouts with nearly all the top heavyweights of his era on the victim list.

MICHAEL CULBERT — former super middleweight contender: I’d make a movie about the life and times of Hector Camacho and call it: “Too Macho.”

JOEY “TANK” DAWEJKO — heavyweight contender:  It would be about all the bad stuff that goes on in the boxing world! Title: “Corruption.”

DAVID DIAMANTEring announcer, actor, tv host, and sports announcer: Sam Langford. Call it “Fight to the Finish.” Keep it gritty and real, in the vein of “Fat City”.

JILL DIAMOND — WBC International Secretary; “WBC Cares” Chair: One of the greatest and most interesting champions and a hero whose legacy was tarnished by a questionable suicide; Alexis Argüello.

CHARLIE DWYER– former fighter, pro referee, and member of Marine Corps Boxing Hall of Fame: My story would be about Arturo Gatti and would be called “Blood and Guts.”

STEVE FARHOOD – TV commentator, former editor The Ring magazine and 2017 IBHOF inductee: Two movies: One, a biopic of Matthew Saad Muhammad. Two: A boxing parody, making fun of all the things in boxing that deserve to be made fun of (there are so many!).

MATT FARRAGO — former fighter and founder and President of RING 10: “When the Last Blow Lands.” The subject would be whether boxers suffer from CTE like in football or do they just end up Punchy which doesn’t sound so bad? I could pick 20 big name fighters that faded away to nothing and nobody said anything. My last trainer was Emile Griffith and I witnessed his deterioration into oblivion and death. Totally forgotten. The Quarry brothers. Same thing.

RICK FARRISfounder and President, West Coast Boxing Hall of Fame: I’d make a film like the cool one of which I am now a part; namely, a documentary about the Olympic Auditorium. And I am beyond excited about Steve DeBro’s brilliant film, “18th & Grand” which is in post-production and which is the Olympic Auditorium Project. As an aside, I’d never do an Ali-type film or a Rocky fantasy.

BERNARD FERNANDEZ — TSS mainstay and lifetime member of the BWAA: Flicks about two Philly fighters—Matthew Saad Muhammad and Bernard Hopkins—with terrific backstories that immediately come to mind. Saad was abandoned on a city street as a toddler by a relative, grew up to be a light heavyweight champion and one of the great action fighters. B-Hop did a prison stretch, lost his pro debut but went on to become the most enduring of champions, in two weight classes. But if push comes to shove, I might go with Craig Bodzianowski who lost his left leg from the knee down in a motorcycle accident, got fitted for a prosthetic leg and returned to the ring and did well enough to earn a shot at a cruiserweight title. See: https://tss.ib.tv/boxing/featured-boxing-articles-boxing-news-videos-rankings-and-results/17009-later-gator-bodzianwski-1-legs-a-1-big-heart.

JERRY FITCH — Cleveland’s Mr. Boxing; author, historian: I’d make a movie about Jimmy Bivins with the same title as my book “James Louis Bivins….The Man Who Would Be Champion.” Actually in 1999/2000 a couple from New York came to Cleveland several times and interviewed the family, Jimmy Bivins and me, shot a lot of footage, tracked down surviving opponents, etc. They were planning on doing a documentary film on Jimmy. Then, just like that, they disappeared. It would have been interesting as there were many neat side stories. 

SUE TL FOX — former world class female boxer, founder/president of WBAN™ and IWBHF: If I were to make a boxing movie, I would title the movie, “The Fighter Within.” It would be about the life and struggles of the 1970s to 1980s female boxer Lady Tyger Trimiar who struggled not only to be recognized inside the ring—- but outside the ring as she made countless efforts to get women’s boxing to be recognized and to improve the sport for not only herself but others.

JEFFREY FREEMAN — TSS writer: Having your words published, like entering a ring, puts your talent on display. And there’s nowhere to hide. The truth is revealed. And sometimes, the results can be disastrous.” ~ Erik Kernan Jr., Resurrecting The Champ. There needs to be a proper film made about the history of boxing writers. From Liebling to Collins to BFern and beyond, there is a very colorful story to be told about those who have penned boxing’s most colorful stories. The only other time such an endeavor was attempted was in 2007’s Resurrecting The Champ, an honest movie told through the eyes of a young fictional sports writer assigned to cover boxing while also uncovering some of its essential hidden truths.

CLARENCE GEORGE — writer and historian: Many years ago, there was talk of a movie on “Two Ton” Tony Galento, with Burt Young in the title role. It never came to pass, unfortunately, but I think it should. After all, Tony’s easily among boxing’s most colorful characters. As Young’s rapidly approaching 80, however, it would have to star somebody else. Not sure who, but I’m open to suggestions.

BUDDY GIBBS — author and historian: My movie would be on the great trainer Harry Wiley from the streets of Harlem; he fought as an amateur boxer until he became a trainer. Harry worked as a water boy for Jack Dempsey, worked in the camp of Harry Wills, and gawked at Sam Langford during his fighting days. As a trainer, Wiley molded Ray Robinson into arguably the greatest fighter that ever lived. Harry was also the reason why the Mob did not have their foot on Robinson’s throat during his career. He worked with Ambers, Armstrong, Baby Joe Gans, Ali, and many others. In 1932, he became the first African-American to train a U.S. Olympic boxing team; unfortunately, due to racial discrimination, he was replaced before the start of the event. He battled against prejudice as a matchmaker and promoter and even tried to help arrange bouts for Ali during his exile. He stood up against racial injustice in boxing, stood his ground against the Mob, helped mold some of the greatest fighters of all-time, and remained humble through it all.

HENRY HASCUP — boxing historian and President of the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame: There are so many so I just can’t pick just one. Sam Langford, Harry Greb, Mickey Walker and Archie Moore would be the ones I would like to see. They all grew up in hard times and overcame problems that no fighter today would even think of. When we go over the best fighters of all-time, most young people don’t even know who these fighters are, so we should educate them by putting their stories up on the BIG screen!

CHUCK HASSON — historian, author. “HE FIGHTS FOR A LIVING.” A story about a club fighting journeyman who travels the country (and world) fighting everywhere he can get a fight. The experiences he encounters, both good and bad, and his chances of winning a close verdict are slim and none.

JACK HIRSCH — former President and now lifetime member of the BWAA: It’s amazing that a movie has never been made about one of the most flamboyant fighters in history, Sugar Ray Robinson. I’d make one and call it “SUGAR RAY.”

CRAIG HOUK — Founder/CEO Indiana Boxing Hall of Fame; fought 110 pro bouts: I’d do one called “Legacies,” and it would be about the price of fame if you really chase greatness.

BRUCE KIELTY — booking agent; boxing historian: For me, the obvious choice is a biopic of Stanley Ketchel

1) man who lived every minute like it was his last.

2) A man who had cojones as large as bowling balls.

3) A man who had a good heart for his family

4) A man who brought massive excitement every time that he entered a ring.

5) A man who reportedly was a ladies man of the first order.

6) A man who departed this world at only 24 (violently) yet is still remembered today.

7) A title has to sell a film to the public, so I’d title it “CRAZY STANLEY.”

STUART KIRSCHENBAUM — Boxing Commissioner Emeritus, State of Michigan: “ROXY”…the story of John Roxborough…a leading gambling racket boss, helped operate a policy and numbers business in Detroit. His $10 million annual business was at the center of a scandal that led to the indictment, prosecution and prison sentences of street hustlers, police officers as well as former Mayor Richard Reading of Detroit…all served prison time. “Roxy” co-managed world heavyweight champion Joe Louis whom he met in 1931 when the “Brown Bomber” was a teenager learning to box at Brewster Recreation Center.  

MARK KRAM JR — multi-award-winning feature writer and author: My aim is to arrange for the development of a limited series based on my book, “Smokin’ Joe: The Life of Joe Frazier.” From his childhood in the Jim Crow South to his wars in and out of the ring with Muhammad Ali, Joe lived an extraordinarily eventful life, one that was populated by an array of colorful characters such as Gypsy Joe Harris, Yank Durham, Eddie Futch and so on. Far more complex that even his fans understood him to be, his story is far larger in scope than a single biopic could comfortably accommodate. Given his signature style of never backing up, I’d call it “RELENTLESS.”

Editor’s Note: The photo is of Kirk Douglas from the 1949 RKO movie “Champion.” Douglas turns 103 on Dec. 9.

Ted Sares is a member of Ring 8 and a member of Ring 4 and its Boxing Hall of Fame and a lifetime member of Ring 10 which in 2019 honored him with the first annual Harold Lederman Award for Historian. He also is an Auxiliary Member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA). He still competes as a power lifter in the Master Class.

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel  

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Brandon Adams Bursts Bohachuk’s Bubble in Puerto Rico

Arne K. Lang

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Brandon Adams Bursts Bohachuk’s Bubble in Puerto Rico

Ring City USA, a new promotional entity, debuted on Nov. 19, 2020 with a show staged in the parking lot of Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, CA. Ring City stayed outdoors for their first offering of 2021, but the company was a long ways from California. Tonight’s card was staged on a roundabout near a municipal gym in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico.

The headline attraction was an attractive match between junior middleweights Serhii Bohachuk and Brandon Adams. The bout was originally set for Dec. 3, but had to be pushed back when Bohachuk tested positive for the coronavirus.

Bohachuk, a 25-year-old California-based Ukrainian, had stopped all 18 of his previous opponents. He had never gone past six rounds. Brandon Adams, a former world title challenger, represented a step up in class.

Bohachuk was well on his way to winning a unanimous decision when the tide turned dramatically in round eight. Fighting on a slick canvas, Adams suddenly found a new gear, unloading a series of punches climaxed by a thunderous left hook as Bohachuk retreated. The Ukrainian beat the count, but was teetering on unsteady legs and the referee properly called a halt.

Adams was without his regular trainer, 80-year-old Dub Huntley, who remained back in LA as a health precaution. In winning, he elevated his records to 23-3 (15). It was his best performance since defeating Shane Mosley Jr in the finals of Season 5 of the “Contender” series.

In the co-feature, an 8-round featherweight contest, Puerto Rico’s Bryan Chevalier improved to 15-1-1 (12) with a third-round stoppage of Peru’s Carlos Zambrano (26-2). Chevalier scored two knockdowns, the first a sweeping left hook that appeared to land behind Zambrano’s head, and the second a punch to the liver that left Zambrano in severe distress. The referee waived the fight off in mid-count.

The official time was 2:21. Chevalier, a tall featherweight (5’11”) made a very impressive showing; he bears watching. This was Zambrano’s first fight since April of 2017 when he was knocked out in the opening round by Claudio Marrero in a bout for the WBA interim featherweight title.

The TV opener was an entertaining fight between contrasting styles that produced a weird conclusion when Danielito Zorrilla was awarded a technical decision over Ruslan Madiyev. The bout was stopped at the 1:16 mark of round eight after Zorrilla sank to his knees after absorbing a punch to the back of the head. The ringside physician examined him for evidence of a concussion, but ultimately it was Zorrilla’s choice as to whether the bout would continue. He declined and was reportedly taken to a hospital for observation.

Madiyev, a California-based Kazahk, was the aggressor. He fought the fight in Zorilla’s grill, often bullying him against the ropes. In round five, he had a point deducted for hitting behind the head, squandering what was arguably his best round.

The fight went to the scorecards with Zorrilla winning a split decision (77-74, 77-75, 73-76), thereby remaining undefeated: 15-0 (12). Ironically, Madiyev (13-2, 5 KOs), suffered his previous loss in a similar fashion.

Madiyev’s new trainer Joel Diaz reportedly discouraged his charge from taking this fight for fear that he wouldn’t get a fair shake in Puerto Rico. Diaz’s apprehensions were well-founded.

Photo credit: Tom Hogan / Ring City USA

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Ed Odeven’s New Book Pays Homage to Sports Journalist Jerry Izenberg

Rick Assad

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It’s one thing to get to the top, but it’s something else entirely to remain there for more than half a century. Jerry Izenberg, longtime sports columnist for the Newark Star-Ledger, now semi-retired and living in Henderson, Nevada, has done just that.

Izenberg is the subject of Ed Odeven’s book, “Going 15 Rounds With Jerry Izenberg,” which was released New Year’s Eve and is available at amazon.com.

“By all accounts, he should be recognized as one of the greatest American sports columnists,” said Odeven, a 1999 graduate of Arizona State University who has lived in Japan since July 2006 and is the sports editor for the website Japan Forward. “A versatile professional, he was equally skilled at writing books and magazine articles and producing sports documentaries and crafting essays for the groundbreaking ‘Sports Extra’ television program on Channel 5 in New York in the 1970s.”

Odeven went on: “Jerry has seen everything and been seemingly everywhere. He brought gravitas to the newspaper sports section with decades of sustained excellence.”

During a seven-decade career in sports journalism, the 90-year-old Izenberg, found time to write 15 non-fiction books and one novel. His affinity for the manly sport is reflected in his 2017 book, “Once There Were Giants: The Golden Age Of Heavyweight Boxing.”

“From the 1950s to the present day [including recent years’ coverage of Tyson Fury and Manny Pacquiao, for instance, Izenberg has shined in his boxing coverage,” Odeven said. “You can’t ignore his remembrance pieces on fighters and boxing personalities across the decades [such as a terrific column on the late Leon Spinks in which he weaved a tapestry of the fighter’s life and his family’s struggles into a powerful piece], either.”

One of Izenberg’s favorite topics is Muhammad Ali.

“Izenberg first observed the great fighter’s infectious personality, popularity and boxing talent on display at the 1960 Rome Olympics,” Odeven said. “Cassius Clay was unlike any other famous pugilist in those days and for the rest of his life.”

Odeven spoke about the support Ali received from Izenberg: “When very few were publicly taking a stand to support Ali, Izenberg wrote columns that defended his right to fight. He took the boxing establishment to task for stripping Ali of his titles even while Ali’s case was making its way through the courts – and ultimately the United States Supreme Court.”

Izenberg, a graduate of Rutgers University who covered the first 53 Super Bowls, and Ali were close. “As friends, they were around each other in all corners of the earth,” Odeven said. “They shared highs and lows during periods of personal and professional success and disappointment.”

Here’s Jerry Izenberg talking about Ali’s humanity: “I was a single father and when my children came to live with me, they were very nervous. I took them to Deer Lake [Pennsylvania] for a television show I was filming as an advance to the Foreman-Ali fight. After the filming, knowing my situation, (Ali) took my son aside and put his arm around him and said, “Robert, you have come to live with a great man. Listen to him and you will grow to be a great man just like him.

“On the way up my daughter, who was seven, had said, ‘I hope Foreman beats him up because he brags too much and you always told me to not brag.’ “I told her, ‘you are seven and you have nothing to brag about. Both of these men are my friends. When you get there, keep your mouth shut.’ When we were packing up the equipment, he saw her in the back of the room and hollered, ‘come up here little girl. You with the braids.’ She was convinced I had ratted her out about what she said and tried her best to melt into the wall because she was frightened. As she walked toward him, she lost the power of speech and mumbled. He was 6-3 and she was 4-5. He grabbed her and held her over his head. ‘Is that man your daddy?’ All she could do was nod. ‘Don’t you lie to me little girl, look at him,’ and he pointed at me. ‘That man is ugly…ugly. You are beautiful, now gimme a kiss.’ On the way home she said, ‘I hope Muhammad can win,’ and I said, ‘you are just like the rest of them. The only difference is your age.’ He was one of my five best friends. When he died, I cried.”

Odeven offered his slant on why Izenberg was at home at major boxing events: “It was clear that Jerry was in a comfort zone on the week of a big fight, writing the stories that set the stage for the mano a mano encounter and the follow-up commentary that defined what happened and what it meant.”

Izenberg, noted Odeven, had worked under the legendary Stanley Woodward, as had Red Smith and Roger Kahn, among others, the latter most well-known for having penned the baseball classic, “The Boys Of Summer.” Many insist that Woodward, who read the classics, was the greatest sports editor.

Woodward, Odenven believes, helped shape Izenberg’s world outlook. “Izenberg became keenly aware of this human drama at its rawest form that existed in boxing,” he said, noting that in decades past the public was captivated by the big fights. “Examples, of course, include the first and third Ali-Frazier bouts and The Rumble In The Jungle [against Foreman]. Let’s not forget they were cultural touchstones.”

Referencing the third installment of Ali-Frazier in Manila, Izenberg said, “I’ve probably seen thousands of fights, but I never saw one when both fighters were exhausted and just wouldn’t quit…My scorecard had Ali ahead by one which meant if Joe knocked him down in the 15th, he would have won on my card. But there was no 15th because Joe’s trainer, Eddie Futch, ordered the gloves cut off after the 14th.

“At the finish, Ali collapsed. Later as Ali walked slowly up the aisle supported by his seconds, he leaned over toward the New York Times’ Dave Anderson and me and said through puffy lips, ‘Fellas. That’s the closest you will ever see to death.’”

Izenberg remembered his lead: “Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier did not fight for the WBC heavyweight title last night,” he wrote. “They did not fight for the heavyweight championship of the planet. They could have fought in a telephone booth on a melting ice flow. They were fighting for the championship of each other and for me that still isn’t settled.”

What makes Izenberg relevant even today? “His canvas was the global sports landscape and he explored the human condition in each of his columns in some way,” Odeven stated. “He recognized what made a good story and sought out individuals and topics that fit that description – and he still does.

“You could read a random stack of columns about any number of topics from the 1960s or ’90s and be enlightened and entertained at the same time…He has always had a razor- sharp eye for details that illuminate a column and a source’s words to give it added verve.” Moreover, added Odeven, Izenberg had a never-wavering commitment to championing a just cause: “Speaking out against racism and religious bigotry, he gave a voice to the voiceless or those often ignored.”

Note: Jerry Izenberg was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in the Observer category in 2015.

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Avila Perspective, Chap. 126: Viva Puerto Rico, Claressa Shields, Canelo and More

David A. Avila

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Avila Perspective, Chap. 126: Viva Puerto Rico, Claressa Shields, Canelo and More

In the age of Covid-19 fights get canceled and re-arranged and that’s found here in this second attempt to stage Serhii Bohachuk versus Brandon Adams in a super welterweight showdown.

This pairing was first talked about back when the Dodgers and Lakers both won world championships last October. Finally, it’s ready to cast off.

Beautiful Puerto Rico will be the locale for Bohachuk (18-0, 18 KOs) when he meets Adams (22-3, 14 KOs) on Thursday March 4, at Felix Pintor Gym in Guaynabo. NBC Sports Network will televise the Ring City USA fight card.

“Flaco” Bohachuk has rampaged through the super welterweight division like a ravenous Ukrainian version of Pacman. Who can stop him?

Adams has fought the better competition including a world title match against Jermall Charlo that he lost by decision less than two years ago.

Other factors exist.

Bohachuk was formally trained by Abel Sanchez in Big Bear Mountain but now works with Manny Robles at sea level. Will it make a difference when he trades blows against the smaller but seemingly stronger Adams?

“We’re taking this fight seriously against Adams,” said Robles who has trained numerous world champions including Oscar Valdez and Andy Ruiz. “Adams is a very strong fighter.”

Bohachuk last fought deep in the heart of Mexico and emerged with a stoppage that saw him scrap with little-known but tough-as-nails Alejandro Davila. Both landed serious stuff but Bohachuk just had more firepower.

Adams says he has seen firepower like Bohachuk’s before. He went toe-to-toe with Charlo for the WBC middleweight title and never touched the canvas. He’s smaller but more muscular and has fought taller guys most of his career.

This is one of those fights that used to be held at the Olympic Auditorium back in the day. Ironically, there is a documentary that has just been released about those days before it was closed to boxing in 2005.

Added note: Fernando Vargas Jr. will also engage on the fight card. The son of “El Feroz,” Fernando Vargas Jr. fights out of Las Vegas and will be in his second pro fight as a super middleweight.

Women’s pay-per-view

An all-women fight card led by Claressa Shields takes place on Friday March 5. It will be streamed by FITE.tv beginning at 6 p.m. PT. Price is $29.99.

Shields (10-0) faces her toughest foe yet when she steps in the boxing ring against Canada’s undefeated Marie Eve Dicaire (17-0) for the undisputed super welterweight world championship.

Dicaire is a tall southpaw with speed and agility who has defeated several world champions.

Shields is a two-time Olympic gold medalist and former undisputed middleweight world champion and super middleweight titlist who dropped down two weight divisions to pursue this venture.

Also, just added is Marlen Esparza, a USA Olympic bronze medalist, and current flyweight contender.

Esparza (8-1) agreed to fight on the pay-per-view card and meets Shelly Barnett (4-3-2) in a six-round bout set for the super flyweight division. Her last fight took place in October and she handed talented Sulem Urbina her first loss as a pro.

Barnett is a Canadian veteran of nine pro fights including an eight-round battle with Florida’s Rosalinda Rodriguez.

Rumor has it that Esparza is getting prepared for a showdown with Mexico’s Ibeth “La Roca” Zamora for the WBC flyweight world title later in the spring.

It’s a pretty good pay-per-view card that also features Danielle Perkins, Logan Holler and Jamie Mitchell in competitive fights. If you haven’t seen women fights, take a look. Shields alone can astonish with her fighting skills.

Canelo

That redhead from Mexico continues to decimate the competition whether its from England, Turkey or Russia. Line them up and let them fly.

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez holds the WBA and WBC super middleweight world titles and was forced to fight the number one contender Avni Yildirim and promptly stomped him out like a bug on the rug.

Fans get upset. They don’t understand that ratings exist and with four or five sanctioning organizations all having different standings, a fighter like Alvarez who has two titles is forced to fight fighters ranked number one through 10. But it’s just a part of boxing that has to be done.

Alvarez had already skipped Yildirim before to fight Callum Smith for the WBA title which he won by unanimous decision. Now he will be meeting another Brit in Billy Joe Saunders who has the WBO version of the super middleweight title. It will take place on May 8, most likely in Las Vegas. That’s Cinco de Mayo weekend. Las Vegas needs the bank. Once again it depends on the Covid-19 situation.

Off topic, Canelo recently had an exchange with Claressa Shields who posted on social media that the Mexican redhead is one of her favorite fighters. She likes working on technique and posted one of her workouts where she is hitting a heavy bag with a combination that she saw Canelo use.

Canelo saw it and gave her a few tips. Champion to champion. That was kind of cool.

Farewell to L.A. Favorite

Featherweight contender Danny Valdez passed away on Sunday February 28 in Los Angeles. He was 81.

Valdez held the California Featherweight title when the state championship was not easy to gain. He also vied for the world title against Davey Moore in April 1961 in Los Angeles.

Many of his battles took place at the vaunted Olympic Auditorium where he fought the likes of Gil Cadilli and Sugar Ramos. Back in those days there was no better place to fight than the Olympic. But Valdez did engage in battles at Wrigley Field and the Hollywood Legion Stadium too.

Though Valdez fought up and down the West Coast in Oregon and California, he primarily battled at the Olympic Auditorium, a total of 24 times in all. If you ever watched a boxing card at the Olympic, it was a magical place.

Fights to Watch

(All Times are Pacific Time)

Thurs. 6 p.m. NBC Sports Network Serhii Bohachuk (18-0) vs Brandon Adams (22-3)

Fri. 6 p.m. FITE.tv.  Claressa Shields (10-0) vs Marie Eve Dicaire (17-0); Marlen Esparza (8-1) vs Shelly Barnett (4-3-2); Logan Holler (9-0-1) vs Schemelle Baldwin (3-1-2); Danielle Perkins (2-0) vs Monika Harrison (2-1-1); Jamie Mitchell (5-0-2) vs Noemi Bosques (12-15-3).

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