Connect with us

Featured Articles

Canelo’s Fate May Rest in the Hands of a Bolivian Soccer Guy

Bernard Fernandez

Published

on

Canelo's-Fate-May-Rest-in-the-Hands-of-a-Brazilian-Soccer-Guy

Canelo’s Fate May Rest in the Hands of a Bolivian Soccer Guy

His name is Munir Somoya and, for now, he’s the least-known member of Team Canelo. But Somoya’s relative anonymity could well receive a major upgrade should Canelo Alvarez (52-1-2, 35 KOs), making the always-risky two-division jump up from middleweight to light heavyweight for Saturday night’s DAZN-streamed challenge of WBO 175-pound champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (34-3-1, 29 KOs), win as impressively as, say, Michael Spinks did when he dethroned Larry Holmes, or Roy Jones Jr. did when he took down the much larger John Ruiz, or Bernard Hopkins did when he schooled Antonio Tarver.

The aforementioned champions, all of whom have been or soon will be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame (Hopkins likely will be enshrined on June 14, 2020, and Jones is a mortal lock for the Class of 2022), successfully moved up two weight classes to win fights that history and their natural physical dimensions suggested might have represented an attempt to go a bridge too far. So, what did the Spinks Jinx, RJJ and B-Hop have in common? Their regular training regimens for those watershed matches were augmented by the addition to their corner teams of Mackie Shilstone, the now-celebrated New Orleans-based fitness expert whose methods once were deemed to be so untraditional as to be almost revolutionary. But there is no arguing with success; to a man, Spinks, Jones and Hopkins are effusive in their praise for the 69-year-old Shilstone, who KO magazine once named as one of the 50 most influential figures in boxing history.

Shilstone, who is not involved with Alvarez, also has a onetime boxing client list that includes Hall of Famer Riddick Bowe and future Hall of Famer Andre Ward (eligible for induction in 2021). Perhaps to demonstrate that he can take pounds off as sensibly as he helps to put them on, he oversaw the frequently flabby Bowe’s paring down from 272 to 235 for the first of his three confrontations with Evander Holyfield, in which the no-quite-as-large “Big Daddy” seized the WBA, IBF and WBC belts on a 15-round unanimous decision on Nov. 13, 1992.

It was Spinks’ upset of Holmes, who was attempting to match Rocky Marciano’s legendary record of 49-0, that made Shilstone something of a trailblazer in the field of nutrition and physiology, a reputation which over time he would go on to buff and polish to a sparkly sheen. But boxing represented only a small portion of Shilstone’s fitness empire. Over the past 30-plus years he has helped whip into supreme condition such other legendary athletes as tennis’ Serena Williams, football’s Peyton Manning, baseball’s Ozzie Smith and basketball’s Ralph Sampson and Manute Bol, scrawny skyscrapers who even more than any of Shilstone’s fighters needed all the help they could get in gaining weight the proper way.

“Their caloric machine is always in overdrive,” Shilstone once said of working with the 7-foot-4 Sampson and 7-7 Bol. “It’s like pumping blood up an elevator shaft.”

So what does Somoya have in common with Shilstone? Maybe nothing. And maybe quite a bit, as he is playing the role of a Shilstone equivalent for Alvarez, who is giving away four inches in height (he’s 5-8 to Kovalev’s 6-foot) and two inches in reach (Kovalev’s in 72½ inches to Canelo’s 70½). What may prove more consequential is that Kovalev has always been a light heavyweight, one who conceivably might have done what Alvarez is now attempting to do by bulking up to cruiserweight or possibly even heavyweight, as the undisputed light heavyweight titlist Spinks, with Shilstone’s assistance, did for Holmes. Alvarez, on the other hand, began his career as a junior welterweight. He was just 139 pounds for his pro debut, a fourth-round stoppage of Abraham Gonzalez on Oct. 29, 2005, although that bout took place when Canelo was just 15 years old. The precocious adolescent was in the 140s for his next 12 bouts, and 20 of his first 21 overall until he filled out to welterweight on the way up to junior middleweight and middleweight. The heaviest he has ever weighed for any professional outing was 167¼ for his third-round technical knockout of WBA “regular” super middleweight champ Rocky Fielding on Dec. 15, 2018, a massacre in which the Briton was floored four times. No one, however, is apt to equate the always-dangerous Kovalev with the out-of-his-league Fielding.

As TSS contributor Matt McGrain has noted, middleweight champions, even Hall of Fame-caliber ones, have a spotty record when diving into choppy light heavyweight waters. A highly accomplished Shilstone alumnus, Andre Ward, might be correct in opining that the 37-year-old Kovalev, a 4-1 underdog who is 0-2 against Ward, is “no longer `The Krusher,’ he’s simply Sergey Kovalev,” but even a lesser version of the hard-hitting Russian who routinely belted out opponents much larger than Canelo figures to have enough of a power advantage to pose a constant threat to detonate a bomb on the Mexican superstar’s jaw. It’s a fairly safe bet that Alvarez, upon making the 175-pound limit for the weigh-in, won’t come in much higher than that on fight night. It’s also a fairly safe bet that Kovalev could rehydrate into the mid- to high-180s, or possibly even a bit north of that, further accentuating the size difference between the two men.

All of which makes Somoya, a Bolivian whose expertise mostly had been confined to working with soccer players in his home country, a bit of a wild card given his shadowy function as a sort of Shilstone equivalent. Although Shilstone’s methods were considered unorthodox when he first made his mark in boxing with Spinks, and were viewed with some suspicion by Spinks’ old-school trainer Eddie Futch, not much about the Somoya plan has garnered media attention, even though this is Somoya’s second time around with Canelo. The first came when he was brought aboard by Alvarez for his winning May 4 middleweight defense against Daniel Jacobs, which was hardly a walk in the park for the victor.

Unlike Spinks’ preparations for his first go at Holmes, in which Shilstone’s mad-scientist experiments – he had the challenger doing interval sprints instead of long jogs, among other innovations – were a fascinating subject to reporters 34-plus years ago, Somoya is just … there. Canelo hasn’t mentioned him often, and neither has his principal trainer, Eddy Reynoso. Even Eric Gomez, president of Canelo’s promotional company, Golden Boy, seemingly has only a vague notion as to what Somoya does.

“I’ve met the guy,” Gomez said of Somoya. “He has some sort of soccer background. I think he has a strategy and a plan, like he did for Jacobs. But not all fights are the same. I just know Canelo feels comfortable with him.”

Not surprisingly, Gomez does not view his guy as being too undersized, to cite an analogy used by trainer Teddy Atlas prior to the recent light heavyweight unification showdown of Atlas’ fighter, Oleksandr Gvozdyk, and Artur Beterbiev, as a piranha going up against a shark. As things turned out, Gvozdyk, the perceived piranha, didn’t have teeth large enough to out-chomp Beterbiev’s voracious shark.

“What people don’t realize is that Canelo’s a big kid,” Gomez said. “He’s like (Mike) Tyson, a tank. He has big, strong legs, big shoulders, a big back.”

But while other members of Team Canelo aren’t revealing any of Somoya’s secrets, whatever they are, leave it to Golden Boy executive and Shilstone fan Bernard Hopkins to offer his thoughts on a fight that is of massive consequence to the boxing industry, given Alvarez’s position as the highest-paid (the Kovalev fight is the third in his 11-bout, five-year, $365 million deal with DAZN) drawing card in the sport. Beating the bigger man, and especially if done in an emphatic fashion, makes Alvarez add the designation of giant-killer to his commendable portfolio. A loss doesn’t necessarily make him severely damaged goods, but it almost certainly would result in his moving down to super middle or, more likely, a more familiar comfort zone at 160.

“Canelo’s not the tallest light heavyweight, but you don’t have to be in order to be effective at 175,” said Hopkins, who reigned for extended periods at both middleweight and light heavy, with a wide points loss to Kovalev. “When I look at Canelo I think of the `Camden Buzzsaw,’ Dwight Muhammad Qawi, who was built kind of similar, wide and stocky. Yeah, Kovalev has advantages in height and range, but there are ways for a shorter fighter to neutralize that, especially if the shorter fighter has Canelo’s talent.”

Although Gomez said it will be up to Alvarez to decide which weight class he chooses to campaign in should he defeat Kovalev, Hopkins figures the most logical course would be for this fight to be a one-and-done before Canelo slims back down to middleweight and a more appealing variety of opponents that can be easily sold to the public by DAZN.

“The great thing about the middleweight division is that it’s loaded, maybe more than it’s been in the last 10 or 15 years,” Hopkins said. “Even if Canelo wins on Nov. 2, what’s his choice going to be? I don’t think 175 is that deep. I mean, Beterbiev is impressive and dangerous, but who really knows him? I see light heavyweight as a stopover for Canelo.

“I want Canelo to be undisputed (champion at middleweight). He can grab that IBF title that got stripped from him (and is now held by familiar foe Gennadiy Golovkin, against whom Alvarez is 1-0-1). There’s Demetrius Andrade (the WBO middleweight ruler), and the Charlo twins (Jermall holds a version of the WBC middleweight crown and Jermell is the WBC’s No. 1 contender at junior middleweight).

“Ultimately, Canelo’s body is going to tell him what to do to some extent, but you have to look at what matches are out there for him as well. I don’t think there’s as many big names at super middle, which is why he jumped over 168 and went straight to 175. DAZN is paying him a lot of money, so those people are going to want him to take the biggest fights at whichever weight he chooses to fight at because the fans are going to demand that.”

All of which begs one question, and maybe two. Will a victory over Kovalev suddenly make Munir Somoya a hot property, as Spinks’ upset of Holmes did for Shilstone? And would Somoya still have a place with Canelo if, should he elect to go back down to middleweight, he has to sensibly take off the weight he put on for Kovalev?

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel 

To comment on this story in The Fight Forum CLICK HERE

Featured Articles

Teddy Atlas, Keeper of His Late Father’s Flame, Called to a Higher Mission

Bernard Fernandez

Published

on

Teddy-Atlas-Keeper-of-His-Late-Father's-Flame-Called-to-a-Higher-Mission

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – What people see, and hear, is not always what they get or expect. That is especially true of Theodore A. Atlas Jr., whom the world at large, and particularly the boxing world, knows as a first-rate trainer of fighters and an astute, opinionated longtime analyst of the sport for ESPN and for four Olympics televised by NBC.

For most individuals who have fully devoted themselves, or nearly so, to the sweet science, there can be no greater point of pride than to be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, which Teddy Atlas was on June 11 of this year in the Observer category. But for a very select few individuals even that signal achievement must yield precedence to a higher mission and purpose which more clearly defines who and what they are as human beings.

So, for those whose sensory perceptions of this special man are limited to his commendable corner work and heavy Staten Island accent, be advised that, as much as he loves boxing, the greater measure of who he is was on display here Thursday night at the Hilton Garden Inn. At the 23rd annual Teddy Dinner, the founder, chairman and driving force behind the Dr. Theodore A. Atlas Foundation was again at his persuasive best, urging diners to again open their hearts and minds to those less fortunate. The dais again was filled with like-minded celebrities who gladly lend their time and prestige to such a worthy ongoing project.

Recently retired ESPN broadcaster Bob Ley, who received an award named after the late journalist Jack Newfield, was making his first appearance at the event and he was visibly moved by tales of pain eased, wrongs righted and hope restored.

“I had heard this much about this dinner, and it was totally undersold to me,” Ley said. “This is an experience. These incredible stories, anecdotes, human tales, (are about) making a difference. Teddy Atlas, the man, he makes a difference. Jack Newfield made a difference. He was driven by his principles. To be here tonight, in this company, and to accept an award in Jack Newfield’s name, is to me a great honor.”

To have a better understanding of the charitable principles which have arguably made Teddy Atlas Staten Island’s most prominent citizen and resident angel of mercy, it is required to know the history of his late father, Dr. Theodore A. Atlas, a physician who over decades unselfishly became a local legend. Dr. Atlas dispensed his time, more than a little of his own money and especially his genuine concern for his patients, especially the poor, and even more especially the children of the poor. His level of compassion must have seemed bottomless to those residents of this comparatively unglamorous borough of New York City who seldom are served much when life’s better things are handed out.

Dr. Atlas waded through snow drifts and climbed through windows to deliver babies during winter’s worst storms; he went into the projects to provide needed medical services while other doctors refused to go there, and on Wednesdays he used blankets and pillows to make makeshift beds in his office and performed tonsillectomies on patients who could not afford to pay for surgery. He founded two hospitals whose first function was not to ascertain how much and how soon their patients will be able to pay for the services they received. He served his community for 55 years until his death, at 88, in 1994, leaving a void so wide it must have seemed impossible to even consider the possibility it could ever be bridged.

But Teddy Atlas, his father’s son and namesake, was determined that the legacy of the dad he held in such towering esteem not fall into disrepair. He established the Dr. Atlas Foundation in 1997, whose modest early successes have, if anything, matched or even exceeded those of the original Theodore A. Atlas, in no small part because of the platform that boxing has afforded him.

Like his father, Teddy, well-known for his work in boxing, would prefer not to take credit for all the good deeds made possible by the Dr. Atlas Foundation. But that credit comes nonetheless from the recipients of those good deeds, who understand that Teddy, although assisted by so many devoted friends and supporters drawn to the cause, is no mere figurehead. As has been the case with the many accomplished fighters with whom he has worked, such champions as Michael Moorer (who was in attendance), Wilfred Benitez, Simon Brown, Joey Gamache, Donny Lalonde, Barry McGuigan, Tracy Harris Patterson, Timothy Bradley and recently dethroned WBC light heavyweight titlist Oleksandr Gvozdyk (also in attendance), Teddy is a hands-on, all-in, heart on his sleeve kind of guy when it comes to his interaction with those who come to the Foundation seeking assistance.

So diners learned of the two severely impaired children who found reasons to smile after they received motorized wheelchairs furnished by the Foundation; the single mother of four, one autistic, who feared she would be forced to live in a city shelter because she had fallen behind in her rent, until the Foundation stepped in; and another mom, with a son inflicted with muscular dystrophy, whom Teddy said was his “hero.”

“Her husband, obviously not a hero, took off” after his son’s disability was diagnosed,” Teddy said. “She was no longer able to bathe him properly in her small apartment bathroom. She needed a handicap setup put in. She was also sick, and she was living on her Social Security disability check.” Yep, the Foundation provided her with what she needed to get by.

You think there’s pressure to win a fight which seems lost in the prize ring? To sink a couple of free throws when there’s only a second or two on the clock and you’re down a point? To make that 15-foot putt with the green jacket that goes to the Masters champion on the line, and a national TV audience watching? Well, yeah. But pressure comes in many forms for many people, and in many ways.

“We all feel it, and we all are impacted by it, and we all react differently to it,” Teddy said. Of the aforementioned cases mentioned in this story, and others, the pressures can be enormous. But they can be alleviated by the people like Teddy Atlas, his cadre of Foundation workers and the hundreds of diners who attend his dinner not only for a good meal but for the opportunity to also do what they can to bring a little light into the darkness of despair.

“These pressures can also be a privilege, our privilege, our gift, that we are lucky enough and blessed enough to be able to make a difference in people’s lives, to sometimes awaken them from their individual nightmares so they can have hope to feel loved and care off,” he continued.

For all his excitability on-camera, Teddy’s multifaceted nature includes the gentle soul of a poet. While he was in Philadelphia for two months, preparing Gvozdyk for a sure-to-be-difficult Oct. 18 unification showdown with IBF champ Artur Beterbiev, a bout won by Beterbiev on a 10th-round stoppage, Teddy wrote a quite literary message to his guy, which he intended to be relevant regardless of the outcome. But the message conveyed really applies to everyone, as he told his audience.

“There is a darkness that one works into, knowing there is risk and uncertainty waiting for them,” it begins. “But there is also a certain light that can be found through the dark, an understanding that comes from having gone to the inner caves of one’s self and discovering what is there. That journey can create a path, that can lead to new and greater places that would not have been possible before.

“The courage it took to walk into this place allows you to now leave with a lantern of knowledge and awareness that will forever provide a beacon of light, wherever you go. You will be a champion. Again.”

For those interested in contributing to the Dr. Theodore A. Atlas Foundation, donations can be sent to 543 Cary Avenue, Staten Island, N.Y. 10310.

Photo credit: Jason Paderon

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel 

To comment on this story in The Fight Forum CLICK HERE

Continue Reading

Featured Articles

Avila Perspective, Chap. 74: Cancio, Wilder, Santa Cruz and More

David A. Avila

Published

on

Avila-Perspective-Chap-74-Cancio-Wilder-Santa-Cruz-and-More

Cancio vs. Alvarado, Wilder vs. Ortiz, Santa Cruz vs. Flores and More

Casinos are getting rich and boxing fan grunts are getting slightly frustrated.

It’s the big guys versus the little guys on Saturday with heavyweights in Las Vegas and featherweights in Indio, California going head to head in separate shows.

If only I could be in two places at once.

Let’s start with the little guys as WBA super featherweight titlist Andrew Cancio (21-4-2, 16 KOs) and his jackhammer hands defends against former foe Rene Alvarado (31-8, 20 KOs) at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio. DAZN will stream the Golden Boy Promotions fight card.

They clashed once before in 2015 with the Cancio winning by technical knockout in the eighth round due to a cut from a punch suffered by Alvarado. Until the stoppage, it was fierceness at its best.

“I wanted to give him (Alvarado) another chance,” said Cancio who still has his day job breaking cement with a jackhammer. “He deserves it. Who knows if I would have won if not for the cut?”

Cancio is a cool customer.

Also on the same card will be China’s Can Xu (17-2, 3 KOs) defending the WBA featherweight title against Manny Robles III (18-0, 8 KOs), the son of trainer Manny Robles Jr. who works with IBF, WBA, WBO heavyweight champ Andy Ruiz.

Xu, who only has a couple of knockouts, can’t help from being involved in wars. He endured hell and back against Puerto Rico’s Jesus Rojas in his last U.S. appearance at the Toyota Center in Houston back in January. Now he gets Robles who has improved tremendously since his pro debut at the same venue back in 2012. It was not an impressive moment. But he’s slowly and determinedly added more skills in the last seven years. Now he’s 25 years old and has his man strength. It makes a major difference.

Another interesting return match features Rashidi Ellis (21-0, 14 KOs) against Eddie Gomez (23-3, 13 KOs) at the same venue as their first encounter. That first fight only lasted one brutal round. Can Ellis duplicate his first victory over the Bronx fighter?

Las Vegas

Speaking of rematches, WBC heavyweight titlist Deontay Wilder (41-0-1, 41 KOs) has to reload when he meets Cuban challenger Luis Ortiz (31-1, 26 KOs) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. FOX pay-per-view will televise the PBC fight card. It’s been 20 months since their first clash ended in a knockout win for Wilder.

For those unaware, Wilder has held the WBC version of the title for almost four years and that includes nine title defenses. All but one has ended by knockout and the one that got away (Tyson Fury) will be his new date should he prevail against the southpaw Ortiz.

Wilder has pure athleticism and has added more technique each time he jumps in the boxing ring. The first time I witnessed Wilder in person was at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas back in 2010. He’s improved immensely since that time. I saw him later that year at Fantasy Springs. He traded knockdowns with Harold Sconiers and actually could have lost that fight, but the referee missed a crucial knockdown. Wilder could not get up and had there been a count, he would not have survived. But sometimes you get a break and Wilder has shown he knows how to cash in.

Ortiz has more skills than the champion but lacks the athleticism and is older. Some say he is much older than Wilder. He’s made some astute changes for his career and now the Cuban heavyweight can cash out or cash in, depending on the outcome. Either way he’s going to make some heavyweight money.

Heavyweights are a different ilk. They are large, carnivorous and pack immense power. Anything can happen at any time of the fight.

Need convincing?

Look at the Andy Ruiz fight against Anthony Joshua. The Mexican heavyweight was supposed to be an easy substitute opponent and despite getting knocked down, he got up and wiped the mat with Joshua.

In this Wilder-Ortiz rematch anyone can win. Ortiz had Wilder down in their first fight but could not finish the job. Wilder finished the job when he put Ortiz down. Will we see a repeat?

The MGM Grand should be packed with fans eager to see the result.

Santa Cruz

In another world title clash Leo Santa Cruz (36-1-1, 19 KOs) moves up a weight division and fights Miguel Flores (24-2, 12 KOs) at the MGM Grand on the pay-per-view portion on Saturday. It’s for another version of the WBA super featherweight title that Cancio is defending on the same day in California.

Yes, it’s confusing. You got a title and I got a title and everybody’s got a title.

Still, Santa Cruz is hunting for his fourth division world title. I still remember watching him for the first time in November 2007 at Morongo Casino. Bobby Pacquiao was the main event, Carlos Baldomir was a semi-main eventer and Santa Cruz wore braces for his teeth into the fight if I’m not mistaken.

Back in those days no major promoter wanted to take a chance on Santa Cruz. Though his older brothers had fought and were successful, many matchmakers were not convinced on little Leo. But he could always fight up a storm. He had a life and death struggle at Pala Casino with Robert DaLuz in 2009. After that fight he seemed to find himself and got on a tear much like a Major League Baseball player finding his stroke.

Since 2012 he’s won the bantamweight, super bantamweight, and featherweight world titles. He lost to Carl Frampton in 2016, then regained it in 2017 in the rematch. Now he fights Flores for the super featherweight title. They were supposed to fight back in February but Flores was forced to pull out with an ankle injury. Now they are finally meeting.

“I’m really glad I’m getting this second opportunity to fight Leo Santa Cruz,” said Flores. “I thought I would never get a second chance, but here I am.”

Santa Cruz has bigger plans than just securing a fourth division world title, he wants world domination at 130 pounds.

“I want to unify and fight everyone at 130,” said Santa Cruz. “Whoever they throw in front of me.”

First up is Flores. But 300 miles to the west, Cancio will be defending his version of the WBA super featherweight title too. And he’s not too happy.

“I think it’s a bunch of B.S. I got the short end of the stick once again. I’m not a big name to a lot of people like Leo Santa Cruz is. I feel like that’s why they did it,” said Cancio. “If I come out victorious Nov. 23 and if Leo comes out victorious Nov. 23, that’s a fight I definitely want to make. I feel like I’m the bigger, stronger 130-pound guy.”

That’s a fight many people would like to see made.

Friday Fights

In the sleepy town of Ontario, California, another Thompson Boxing Promotions card takes place at the Doubletree Hotel on Friday, Nov. 22.

Three interesting eight-round fights highlight the card including the newest finds by the Orange County based company in a lightweight contest. They specialize in finding talent.

Ruben Villa (10-0, 8 KOs) seeks to extend his unbeaten streak against Eduardo Lionel Rodriguez (8-1-1). The lanky Santa Monica fighter Villa emerged on top with a win over another undefeated fighter George Acosta last May. He followed that up with a quick two-round destruction over veteran Ruben Tamayo last July. Now he faces another test with Rodriguez.

Also on the Thompson card, is the return of Giovani Santillan (24-0, 14 KOs) who meets Wilfrido Buelvas (20-12) in a welterweight match. It’s been 19 months since Santillan was last in the ring and knocked out Alejandro Barboza on a televised match to retain the NABO title.

Santillan, 28, fights out of San Diego and his southpaw style allowed him to rise up the rankings in impressive fashion until his disappearance from the fight scene.

Does he still have it?

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the first bell starts around 8 p.m. For more information call (714) 935-0900.

Al Mitchell

Al Mitchell, the trainer for female super featherweight star Mikaela Mayer, will be inducted to the USA Boxing Alumni Association Hall of Fame on Friday Dec. 13, it was announced this week.

Mitchell, 76, has been an advisor for many top amateur boxers throughout the past 60 years and was the head coach for the 1996 US Olympic Team. He also advised on numerous Olympic teams that featured boxers such as Vernon Forrest and Floyd Mayweather.

“I want to thank all the coaches who worked under me and all the young fighters I’ve worked with,” said Mitchell. “I’m thankful that USA Boxing believed in me, putting 13 to 15 boxers in my program, and cream does rise to the top.”

Today, Mitchell has female fighter Mayer headed to a world title bid in 2020. The tall super featherweight will be accompanying Mitchell when he is inducted to the Hall of Fame at ceremonies held at the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Al Bernstein will host the proceedings.

Others being inducted are George Foreman, Joe Frazier, Mark Breland, Ray Rodgers and Sen. John McCain.

Fights to Watch

Fri. ESPN+ 7 a.m. Jack Caterall (24-0) vs Timo Schwarzkopf (20-3)

Fri. WWW.RingTV.com

Sat. DAZN 11 a.m. Callum Smith (26-0) vs John Ryder (28-4).

Sat. WWW.DBE1.com 4 p.m. Marie Eve Dicaire (16-0) vs Ogleidis Suarez (29-3-1); Raquel Miller (9-0) vs Alma Ibarra (7-0).

Sat. DAZN 4:30 p.m. Andrew Cancio (21-4-2) vs Rene Alvarado (31-8); Can XU (17-2) vs Manny Robles III (18-0)

Sat. FOX pay-per-view 6 p.m. Deontay Wilder (41-0-1) vs Luis Ortiz (31-1); Leo Santa Cruz (36-1-1) vs Miguel Flores (24-2); Luis Nery (30-0) vs Manny Rodriguez (19-1); Brandon Figueroa (20-0) vs Julio Ceja (32-4)

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel 

To comment on this story in The Fight Forum CLICK HERE

Continue Reading

Featured Articles

Dubai Poised to Mirror Saudi Arabia in the New World Order of Boxing

Arne K. Lang

Published

on

Dubai-Poised-to-Mirror-Saudi-Arabia-in-the-New-World-Order-of-Boxing

The royal family of Saudi Arabia is committed to making their fiefdom a major player in the world of professional boxing. The grand finale of the super middleweight tournament of the 2018 World Boxing Super Series (Callum Smith vs. George Groves) was held in Saudi Arabia as was Amir Khan’s last fight against overmatched Billy Dibs. Those fights, in retrospect, were overtures to the big shebang on Dec. 7, the rematch between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr.

Saudi Arabia’s next-door neighbor, the United Arab Emirates, is poised to join the party. Tomorrow’s show at the plush new Caesars Palace resort at Bluewaters, a man-made island overlooking Dubai, is the latest manifestation of the incursion of boxing into the Arab world.

This isn’t the first boxing show in Dubai. In 2008, former heavyweight champion Michael Moorer closed the curtain on his pro boxing career in Dubai, knocking out South Carolina no-hoper Shelby Gross in the opening round. That allowed Moorer to bookend his career with KOs in one, taking his leave on the same note on which he walked in the door. (You could probably win a few bar bets with this piece of trivia.)

When that odd event took place, there was only one registered professional boxer in all of the UAE.

That number is growing in leaps and bounds thanks to Ahmed Seddiqi, the driving force behind Dubai’s Round 10 Boxing Club. Founded in 2013, Round 10 is the first gym in Dubai built specifically for boxing.

Seddiqi (pictured on the left with his cousin and business partner Abdulla Khoory) subsequently became a regional manager for MTK Global, a powerful boxing management company with a murky past. His association with MTK Global, which is now headquartered in Dubai, gave him the resources to bring in fighters from overseas to spiff up his promotions. And the relationship between Top Rank and MTK Global gave Dubai boxing greater exposure via Top Rank’s affiliation with ESPN+.

arab 2

Seddiqi and MTK Global manufactured the inaugural boxing show at Caesars Palace Dubai this past Sept. 13. The main event pitted Pakistan’s Muhammad Waseem against Conrado Tanamor of the Philippines. The super flyweights were penciled in to fight eight rounds.

Tomorrow’s show has a larger budget reflected in a more interesting main event. England’s Jack Catterall, ranked #1 by the WBO at 140 pounds, opposes Timo Schwarzkopf, the Kosovo-born German, in a match slated for 10.

The undefeated Catterall (24-0, 13 KOs) is on a collision course with WBC/WBO 140-pound title-holder Jose Carlos Ramirez. That bout will almost assuredly take place, notwithstanding the fact that the fans would much prefer to see Ramirez, the pride of Fresno, in a unification fight with Josh Taylor and that Ramirez’s next title defense will apparently come against Viktor Postol, a bout seemingly headed to China in February.

Catterall is handled by longtime British promoter Frank Warren who currently has a very cozy relationship with Ramirez’s promoter Bob Arum, an upshot of their shared financial interest in Tyson Fury. Being ranked #1 by the WBO carries sway with Arum who is a de facto member of the WBO Board of Directors. Arum’s current title-holders (Terence Crawford, Vasyl Lomachenko, Jamel Herring, Shakur Stevenson, Emanuel Navarrette, and Ramirez) sport WBO colors.

For Dubai locals, the undercard holds more appeal than the main event. Vijender Singh and Muhammad Waseem, who returns for an encore after knocking out Conrado Tanamor in the opening round, have built-in fan bases in a country where immigrants outnumber natives by a 9/1 margin with ex-pats from India (27.5 percent) and Pakistan (12.5 percent) comprising 40 percent of the total immigrant population.

Vijender Singh, 34, is a three-time Olympian. In 2008, in the second of his three Olympic engagements, he won the bronze medal — the first Olympic medal of any kind for a boxer from India. He returned to his homeland a national hero, a man who would transcend boxing in the world’s second-most populous country, appearing in layouts in popular fashion magazines and on numerous TV shows.

Singh (11-0, 8 KOs) signed a multi-fight contract with Top Rank in November of last year. His opponent, Charles Adamu, is a 42-year-old Ghanaian with a 33-14 record.

Adamu, who went 12 rounds with Carl Froch back in 2004, has been stopped only twice but Singh, despite being relatively inactive, expects to win comfortably. “I don’t expect him to put up too much of a challenge because I have noticed he is slower than me…So I am relaxed, nothing to worry there,” he told a reporter for the Hindustan Times.

In common with Singh, Muhammad Waseem (9-1, 7 KOs) is the most well-known boxer in a country where cricket is the national sport. The Quetta, Pakistan, native, 32, previously fought for the IBF world flyweight title, losing a close but unanimous decision to South Africa’s Moruti Mthalene in Kuala Lumpur.

Waseem has something in common with headliner Jack Catterall. Both spent an extensive amount of time in Las Vegas at the Mayweather Gym. Catterall helped Floyd Mayweather Jr prepare for his bout with Manny Pacquiao. For a time, Muhammed Waseem’s head trainer was Jeff Mayweather.

Waseem had a wealth of international amateur experience, but has answered the bell for only 61 rounds as a pro. By contrast, his Mexican opponent, former WBC light flyweight champion Ganigan Lopez (36-10, 19 KOs), has answered the bell for 311 rounds. It’s an interesting match, notwithstanding the fact that Ganigan, 38, was knocked out just six weeks ago by a journeyman in Mexico City.

In common with the first boxing show at Caesars Palace Dubai, tomorrow’s event is called the Rotunda Rumble. The Rotunda is the free-standing entertainment venue at the resort, a structure, says management, inspired by the Roman Pantheon although for most folks the referent would be an Eskimo’s igloo. Nearby on the island, accessible to the mainland by a causeway, sits the world’s largest ferris wheel.

rotunda

Can boxing at Caesars Palace Dubai ever match the heyday of boxing at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas? That’s very doubtful. In Las Vegas, the early Caesars Palace shows in the indoor tennis pavilion were designed to showcase the property. The fights were televised on ABC’s Wide World of Sports. Management expected an increase in casino activity, but were surprised at the extent of the increase. Boxing, they quickly learned, was a magnet for high rollers, the impetus for raising the bar, begetting the outdoor extravaganzas.

Caesars Palace Dubai is a non-gaming hotel. There is no legal gambling in the Arab world. Moreover, the crowds at the fights in Dubai will never resemble the crowds at the big fights in Las Vegas where a secondary diversion is ogling the scantily-clad young women who arrive on the arms of their benefactors. Dubai is a country where an unmarried couple can be arrested for sharing a hotel room.

But let’s not sell Dubai short. You won’t find a pari-mutuel window at Dubai’s swanky Meydan Racecourse, but since 1996 the facility has been home to the world’s richest thoroughbred horse race. So, if the nation’s rulers become enamored of boxing, it’s a fair guess they will parrot neighboring Saudi Arabia and go all in.

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel 

To comment on this story in The Fight Forum CLICK HERE

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Fighter-of-the-Decade-2010-2019
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Fighter of the Decade (2010-2019)

Saturday's-Fight-in-the UK-Has-a-Beterbiev-Gvozdyk-Sparkle
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Saturday’s Fight in the UK Has a Beterbiev-Gvozdyk Sparkle

Canelo-Kovalev-the-UFC-and-the-Great-DAZN-Flapdoodle
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Canelo-Kovalev, the UFC, and the Great DAZN Flapdoodle

Blair-Cobbs-Took-a-Strange-Route-to-his-Grand-Arrival-at-the-MGM-Grand
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Blair Cobbs Took a Strange Route to his ‘Grand Arrival’ at the MGM Grand

KSI-Beats-Logan-Paul-and-Haney-and-Saunders-Win-Title-Fights-in-LA
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

KSI Beats Logan Paul and Haney and Saunders Win Title Fights in L.A.

Elwin-La-Pulga-Soto-Retains-WBO-Title-in-Ugly-Fight-at-Fantasy-Springs
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Elwin “La Pulga” Soto Retains WBO Title in Ugly Fight at Fantasy Springs

Serhii-Bohachuk-KOs-Tyrone-Brunson-in-Hollywood
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Serhii Bohachuk KOs Tyrone Brunson in Hollywood

The-TSS-Prediction-Page-Returns-With-Picks-and-Analyses-of-Canelo-vs-Kovalev
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

The TSS Prediction Page Returns with Picks and Analyses of Canelo vs Kovalev

Dueling-Fight-Cards-in-Reno-and-Reading-Have-Toledo-Components
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Dueling Fight Cards in Reno and Reading Have Toledo Components

Forget-Logan-Paul-vs-ksi-Pulev-vs-Booker-Warrants-a-Look-See
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Forget Logan Paul vs. KSI: Pulev vs. Booker Warrants a Look-See

Canelo's-Fate-May-Rest-in-the-Hands-of-a-Brazilian-Soccer-Guy
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Canelo’s Fate May Rest in the Hands of a Bolivian Soccer Guy

Nonito-Donaire-and-The-Monster
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Nonito Donaire and The Monster

Canelo-and-KingRy-Master-and-Pupil-Enter-Danger-Zone-in-Las-Vegas
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Canelo and ‘KingRy’ — Master and Pupil — Enter Danger Zone in Las Vegas

Saul-Canelo-Alvarez-KOs-Krusher-ro-Win-Fourth-Division-Title
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez KOs Krusher to Win Fourth Division World Title

Takuma-Inoue-the-Brother-of-Naoya Inoue
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Three Punch Combo: The Other Inoue, the Saunders-Coceres Mismatch and More

Dwight-Ritchie-Australia's-Fighting-Cowboy-Dead-at-Age-27
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Dwight Ritchie, Australia’s Fighting Cowboy, Dead at Age 27

RIP-Don-Fraser-California-Boxing-Icon-Dead-at-Age-92
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

R.I.P. Don Fraser, California Boxing Icon Dead at Age 92

From-Womb-to-Tomb-Sonny-Liston's-Fate-Was-Seemingly-Preordained
Featured Articles7 days ago

From Womb to Tomb, Sonny Liston’s Fate Was Seemingly Preordained

Avila-Perspective-Chap-72-Pound-for-Bound-King-Matchroom-in-LA-and-More
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Avila Perspective, Chap. 72: Pound for Pound King, Matchroom in L.A. and More

Victor-Oganov-a-Fireball-Coming-Out-of-the-Amateurs-Keeps-Plugging-Away
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Victor Oganov, a Fireball Coming Out of the Amateurs, Keeps Plugging Away

Teddy-Atlas-Keeper-of-His-Late-Father's-Flame-Called-to-a-Higher-Mission
Featured Articles57 mins ago

Teddy Atlas, Keeper of His Late Father’s Flame, Called to a Higher Mission

Avila-Perspective-Chap-74-Cancio-Wilder-Santa-Cruz-and-More
Featured Articles23 hours ago

Avila Perspective, Chap. 74: Cancio, Wilder, Santa Cruz and More

Dubai-Poised-to-Mirror-Saudi-Arabia-in-the-New-World-Order-of-Boxing
Featured Articles1 day ago

Dubai Poised to Mirror Saudi Arabia in the New World Order of Boxing

The-Official-TSS-Wilder-Ortiz-2-Prediction-Page
Featured Articles2 days ago

The Official TSS Wilder-Ortiz 2 Prediction Page

Callum-Smith-Britain's-Best-Boxer-Has-a-Date-With-a-Gorilla-on-Saturday
Featured Articles3 days ago

Callum Smith, Britain’s Best Boxer, Has a Date With a ‘Gorilla’ on Saturday

GGG-The-End-Game-for-the-Big Drama-Show
Featured Articles4 days ago

GGG: The End Game for the Big Drama Show

Hits-and-Misses-from-Another-Weekend-in-Boxing
Featured Articles4 days ago

Hits and Misses from Another Weekend in Boxing

Three-Punch-Combo-The-York-Hall-Tournament-Luis-Nery-Deconstructed-and-More
Featured Articles5 days ago

Three Punch Combo: The York Hall Tournament, Luis Nery Deconstructed and More

12-Rounds-in-Lo's-Gym-Book-Report-by-Thomas-Hauser
Book Review5 days ago

“12 Rounds in Lo’s Gym” by Todd D. Synder: Book Review by Thomas Hauser

Abel-Sanchez-Had-a-Very-Pleasant-Trip-to-Paris
Featured Articles6 days ago

Abel Sanchez Had a Very Pleasant Trip to Paris

From-Womb-to-Tomb-Sonny-Liston's-Fate-Was-Seemingly-Preordained
Featured Articles7 days ago

From Womb to Tomb, Sonny Liston’s Fate Was Seemingly Preordained

Tony-Harrison-and-Jernell-Charlo
Featured Articles7 days ago

Tony Harrison and Jermell Charlo; They Just Don’t Like Each Other

Australia's-Moloney-Twins-Keep-on-Truckin'
Featured Articles7 days ago

Australia’s Moloney Twins Keep on Truckin’

Carlos-Morales-and-Mercita-Gesta-Fight-to-a-Technical-Draw-in-LA
Featured Articles1 week ago

Carlos Morales and Mercito Gesta Fight to a Technical Draw in L.A.

New=Zealand-Heavyweights-Fa-and-Ahio-Have-a-Home-Field-Advantage-in-Utah
Featured Articles1 week ago

New Zealand Heavyweights Fa and Ahio Have a Home Field Advantage in Utah

Avila-Perspective-Chap-73-Gesta-vs-Morales-Celebrity-Boxing-Liston-and-More
Featured Articles1 week ago

Avila Perspective, Chap 73: Gesta vs Morales, Celebrity Boxing, Liston and More

Ortiz Accuses Wilder-of-Criminal-Tactics-Wilder-Takes-Umbrage
Featured Articles1 week ago

Ortiz Accuses Wilder of ‘Borderline Criminal’ Tactics; Wilder Takes Umbrage

Thomas-Hauser's-Latest-Book-A-Dangerius-Journey-is-Another-Peach
Featured Articles1 week ago

Thomas Hauser’s Latest Book, ‘A Dangerous Journey,’ is Another Peach

Weekend-Recap-Hits-and-Misses
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Weekend Recap: Hits and Misses

3-Punch-Combo-Under-The-Radar-Fights-Elton-Dharry's-Improbable-Journey-and-More
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

3 Punch Combo: Under The Radar Fights, Elton Dharry’s Improbable Journey and More

Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending

Advertisement