RESULTS FROM FOXWOODS
(all pictures by Ed Diller/DiBella Entertainment)
New England boxers dominated last night’s Broadway Boxing, presented by DiBella Entertainment and sponsored by Nissan of Queens, Optyx, Azad Watches and Christos Steak House, held in the Fox Theater at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut.
Rhode Island lightweight “Nice” Nick DeLomba (11-1, 2 KOs) outboxed and outpunched former Florida State Golden Gloves champion Amos “2 Smooth” Cowart (11-2-1, 9 KOs) for an upset victory by way of an eight-round unanimous decision.
DeLomba, who was one of five winning New Englanders without a loss, took the fight to Cowart, beating him to the punch and effectively counterpunching. Cowart was unable to contain DeLomba’s side-to-side movement or his flurries of punches in the main event.
“Everybody looks at me and thinks they’re going to attack my body,” an ecstatic DeLomba said after the fight. “Nobody moves as smooth as me and I’m going to keep doing it.”
Nick DeLomba (R) outworked Cowart
In the co-feature, New Mexico super featherweight Jose “Shorty” Salinas (10-2-1, 5 KOs) stood tall, stunning Albania native Dardan Zenunaj (12-2, 9 KOs), who is trained by Robert Garcia. Now fighting out of Belgium, Zenunaj couldn’t put Salinas away early and he paid for that in the later rounds. Bloodied and bruised, Salinas refused to stop throwing punches, and his huge heart resulted in an eight-round unanimous decision victory.
Jose Salinas pulled off a stunner:
Undefeated Spaniard Jon “Jonfer” Fernandez (9-0, 7 KOs) used a tremendous height and reach advantage to pound his tough Mexican opponent Naciff “Chata” Castillo (17-9-2, 5 KOs) until referee Joey Lupino halted the action midway through the fifth round. Fernandez recently signed a promotional contract with DiBella Entertainment and legendary boxer Sergio Martinez.
Jon Fernandez (R) unloaded on Naciff Castillo
Brooklyn lightweight Wesley Ferrer (12-0, 6 KOs), a 2013 New York City Golden Gloves champion, kept his undefeated record intact by outclassing a game Angel Figueroa (4-4-1). Referee Arthur Mercante stopped the fight 20 seconds into the seventh round.
Wesley Ferrer (L) was simply too much for Angel Figueroa
Sensational high school senior “Marvelous” Mykey Williams (4-0, 2 KOs) unloaded a three-punch combination that knocked out David Nelson (3-6, 1 KO) just 24 seconds into the first round. The 18-year-old Williams, fighting out of East Hartford, is rapidly developing into a rising star.
Mykey Williams ended the show early
Worcester, MA featherweight Irvin Gonzalez (2-0, 2 KOs) needed only two minutes to knock out Juan Muniz (0-5). The 20-year-old Gonzalez, whose pro debut also ended spectacularly in the opening round, exploded with a barrage of punches until referee Mercante stepped in to save the Texan from additional damage.
Irvin Gonzalez (R) is a promising prospect
In an action-packed match between a pair of pro debut fighters, East Hartford welterweight Anthony Laureano (1-0) emerged with a hard-fought win by four-round majority decision over Philadelphia’s Nahir Albright (0-1). The 21-year-old Laureano was a 2016 New England Golden Gloves champion.
Anthony Laureano (R) and Nahir Albright went to war
Fan favorite Jonathan “Smooth” Figueroa (1-0, 1 KO), fighting out of nearby Hartford, turned in an impressive performance in his professional debut, finishing off Philadelphia welterweight Demetris Williams (0-2) in the fourth round. Figueroa, a 2012 Southern New England Golden Gloves champion, wore down Williams and ended things with a powerful right hand.
Jonathan Figueroa celebrating his pro debut victory
Full results below:
(all winners listed first)
Anthony Laureano (1-0, 0 KOs), East Hartford, CT
WDEC4 (39-37, 39-37, 38-38)
Nahir Albright (0-1, 0 KOs), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Jonathan Figueroa (1-0, 1 KOs), Hartford, CT
Demetris Williams (0-2), Philadelphia, PA
Mykey Williams (4-0, 3 KOs), East Hartford, CT
David Nelson (3-6, 1 KO), Lawton, OK
Nick DeLomba (11-1, 2 KOs), Cranston, RI
WDEC8 (80-72, 80-72, 78-74)
Amos Cowart (11-1-1, 9 KOs), Groveland, FL
Jon Fernandez (10-0, 8 KOs), Bilbao, Pais Vasco, Spain
Naciff Castillo (17-10-2, 5 KOs), Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Wesley Ferrer (12-0, 7 KOs), Brooklyn, NY
Angel Figueroa (4-4-1, 0 KOs), Loran, OH
Jose Salinas (10-2-1, 5 KOs), Albuquerque, NM
WDEC8 (78-74, 78-74, 77-75)
Dardan Zenunaj (12-2, 9 KOs), Braine le Comte, Belgium
Irvin Gonzalez (2-0, 2 KOs), Worcester, MA
Juan Muniz (0-5), Tyler, TX
The Full Fight Card – LIVE HERE ON GFL
Weigh In’s for Tonight’s Card | LIVE From the Foxwood Casino & Resort
MAIN EVENT – LIGHTWEIGHTS – (8)
Amos “2 Smooth” Cowart (11-1-1, 9 KOs), Groveland, FL 137 lbs.
“Nice” Nick DeLomba (10-1, 2 KOs), Cranston, RI 137 lbs.
CO-FEATURE – SUPER FEATHERWEIGHTS (8)
Dardan Zenunaj (12-1, 9 KOs), Braine le Comte, Belgium 130 lbs.
Jose “Shorty” Salinas (9-2-1, 5 KOs), Las Cruces, NM 131 lbs.
“Marvelous” Mykey Williams (3-0, 2 KOs), East Hartford, CT 142 lbs.
David Nelson (3-5, 1 KO), Lawton, OK lbs. 140 lbs.
Irvin Gonzalez (1-0, 1 KO), Worcester, MA 126 lbs.
Juan Muniz (0-4), Tyler, TX 129 lbs.
Anthony Laureano (pro debut), East Hartford, CT 146 lbs.
Nahir Albright (pro debut), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 144 lbs.
Jonathan “Smooth” Figueroa (pro debut), Hartford, CT 144 lbs.
Demetris Williams (0-1), Philadelphia, PA 144 lbs.
Jon “Jonfer” Fernandez (8-0, 6 KOs), Bilbao, Pais Vasco, Spain 132 lbs.
Naciff “Chata” Castillo (17-8-2, 5 KOs), Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico 132 lbs.
Wesley Ferrer (11-0, 6 KOs), Brooklyn, NY 139 lbs.
Angel Figueroa (4-3-1, 0 KOs), Lorain, Ohio 139 lbs.
WHAT: “Broadway Boxing”
WHEN: Thursday, September 1, 2016
WHERE: Fox Theater, Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, CT
PROMOTER: DiBella Entertainment
DOORS OPEN: 5:00 p.m. ET
FIRST BOUT: 7:00 p.m. ET
The Full Fight Card – LIVE HERE ON GFL
Looking to add to its ever growing stable of young, up-and-coming talent, DiBella Entertainment (DBE) has announced the signing of undefeated Spanish prospect Jon Fernandez (L in photo) and Puerto Rican amateur standout Jose Roman to exclusive long-term promotional contracts. Both Fernandez and Roman will be making their DBE debuts on the upcoming special edition Broadway Boxing card in the Premier Ballroom at the beautiful Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, CT, next Thursday, September 1. Broadway Boxing is proudly sponsored by Nissan of Queens, OPTYX, Azad Watches, and Christos Steakhouse.
“I am happy to be coming back to Foxwoods with another great card, and to have the opportunity to showcase these two new additions to the DBE roster,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. “Promoting Sergio Martinez was one of the highlights of my career and I am proud to say that he and I have forged a lifelong friendship. Sergio told me that Jon is one of the best young fighters he has seen in a very long time, and I look forward to helping build the career of Jon Fernandez here in the States with my friend and great champion Maravilla.”
Regarding Roman, DiBella continued, “Jose Roman was a terrific amateur, and gained invaluable experience fighting on the Puerto Rican national team. He was one of the most sought out amateurs on the island and we are thrilled for him to call DBE his home. We are looking forward to featuring him in the US, as well as in Puerto Rico, and building him in front of the huge Puerto Rican fan base here on the East Coast.”
At just 20 years of age, the junior lightweight Fernandez (8-0, 6 KO’s) is one of the most promising young prospects to come out of Spain in years. Standing at 5’11”, Fernandez is extremely tall for the 130lb. division and has devastating power in both hands. Fernandez caught the eye of former middleweight kingpin and future Hall-of-Famer Sergio Martinez when he was still fighting as an amateur. Martinez immediately saw star potential and signed Fernandez to his promotional company, MaravillaBox Promotions, in 2015 and soon after began courting the young Fernandez to his own former promoter Lou DiBella. DiBella and Martinez made things official in June, signing Fernandez to a co-promotional deal at this year’s Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) awards dinner, where DiBella received the James A. Farley award for honesty and integrity in boxing.
“This is a dream come true. I still cannot believe it,” said Fernandez. “I am very grateful to Lou DiBella, one of the most important and prestigious promoters in the United States, for the trust and belief that he has placed in me and to Sergio (Martinez) for the potential he saw in me as a boxer. Boxing is my life and I want to be the best. Following in the footsteps of Sergio and becoming a world champion like him is my lifelong dream.”
“I have been watching Jon fight since his amateur days and truly believe that the sky is the limit for him,” said Maravilla Martinez. “With each passing fight, he continues to show vast improvement and I believe that he has the ability to become not only a future champion but a future star in this sport. Jon has to stay focused and continue to work, to learn and to give everything he has to this sport. For Jon to have the opportunity to sign with Lou at just 20 years old, an opportunity that I did not have until I was already 32, is amazing and he has to take full advantage of it. Jon has to destroy everything that is put in his path and with time, patience and hard work, he will achieve greatness in this sport.”
Tickets for the Sept. 1st card are on sale and priced at $125, $75 and $45, not including applicable service charges and taxes. Tickets are available at www.ticketmaster.com and www.foxwoods.com or by visiting the Foxwoods’ Box Office. To charge by phone, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000. Broadway Boxing is proudly sponsored by Nissan of Queens, OPTYX, Azad Watches and Christos Steak House.
[Full Article via. PhilBoxing.com [CLICK HERE TO READ]
The Full Fight Card – LIVE HERE ON GFL
By Bart Barry
LAS VEGAS – Only prizefighting, among all sports, is able to induce a vicarious sensation so near to personal tragedy one’s mind, in a headlong rush for homeostasis, begins to tamper with its stimuli, misreading moments and writing them in memory more creatively than truthfully. To see a man so large in what gorgeous violence he perpetrates on another suddenly diminished, panicked, desperately swimming towards his foe like a drowning child after pool’s edge, is to witness sport extended to its legal limit.
That is what happened Saturday in the final two minutes of 37-year old Argentine Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez’s successful defense of his lineal middleweight championship against 26-year old Mexican titlist Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. at Thomas & Mack Center, a match Martinez won by lopsided unanimous-decision scores after being forced to the blue mat twice in its 12th round.
There was “Maravilla” in the final 80 seconds, eyes big, body failing, fright both overwhelming and accelerating his exhaustion – the man who boasted before training camp that in his matches “99 percent is studied” beforehand; every wink, every straightening of his trunks, every shoulder shimmy, every smile, every word, all of it, devised in his downtime, planned in his training, executed by a tyrannical actor/director who does not abide improvisation on the set after a bell calls Action. Then none of it was planned.
Felled as much by fatigue as Chavez’s short left hook, a punch that hadn’t found a meaningful mark more than a pair of times in Chavez’s 34 1/2 minutes of winging it, Martinez emoted a confused panic even he didn’t know was in his theatrical range. Martinez rose and tackled Chavez, causing a second knockdown ruled a slip because it didn’t matter how it was ruled because the scorecard never mattered a whit to Chavez. Entirely unconscious of himself or strategy or script, Martinez fought a just-exhausted-enough Chavez off him in a minute that Martinez’s curious mind and creative memory will now stretch to a width most hours of his life will not rival for duration or anxiety.
Anxiety was the large part of that extraordinary final minute. After a 10th round that saw Chavez cast his fourth and fifth urgent and nearly hopeless glances at referee Tony Weeks, beseeching him to do something about Martinez’s low punches or dangerous head, the Argentines in the arena began to serenade their champion and each other. They filled Thomas & Mack with song. A Buenos Aires fútbol rally in the middle of a city that was once Mexico, on the weekend of El 16 de Septiembre: ¡Pinches argentinos, hijos de la Chingada!
After the 11th, a round that saw Chavez land his most meaningful right hand of the evening then see another rally extinguished by Martinez’s sense of the moment and its augmentative, momentum, the aisle in section 112 began to fill with well-dressed Mexicans stomping up the stairs towards the exit. There was no suspense at the end of the 11th, and let no one tell you otherwise.
The suspense happened when the bell to begin the 12th rang and Chavez remained on his stool. Martinez raised both hands above his head, certain he’d beaten “Son of the Legend” yellow on the eve of Mexican Independence Day. Then Chavez, that child of privilege and man of an eccentric nonchalance almost goofy, showed Martinez his mouthguard and hopped off his stool.
When Chavez’s left hook came home and Martinez’s wondrous legs finally failed him moments later, an energy coursed through Thomas & Mack Center like no other. It was a catharsis whose pursuit is the very reason any self-respecting experientialist pays his airfare to Vegas and endures its gauche price-gouging ways – to experience a mindless union with 18,000 others, a burst of something so chemically pure the body hates it, an intensity unendurable for more than a few seconds. The moment could not have been improved upon; its potency was a product of surprise: “Maravilla” in an instant diminished, worn, fragile, spent, withered, more miserable than he’d made Chavez in a half hour of smacking his face with knuckles.
Does it detract from the moment to price it? Surely it does, but that’s why it’s called prizefighting after all. The most terrifying moment of Sergio Martinez’s career will be the one that makes him a much wealthier man. He is now damaged and old, more likely to find underestimation than over. Somewhere from Floyd Mayweather’s fighting soul – the sacred part of him as yet unsullied by “Money” – there must today be a voice that says, “You’re gonna tell me I gotta avoid a guy Little Chavez had out?”
And while Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., right now, knows just how physically ruinous Martinez’s 300 flush blows were to his young body and younger brain, Mexicanismo will ensure he forgets posthaste: “¿Qué haría tu papá, Júnior?”
Whatever he said about it afterwards on Saturday night, his head still thrumming with concussion and ears throbbing each beat of his heart, Sergio Martinez is too introspective, too gentle-spirited, not to have doubt. “Maravilla” is not delusional and does not wish to become so. He fought Chavez perfectly Saturday, just enough playfulness and just enough clean striking and just enough macho, and came within a punch of drowning. It will not be lost on him what will come if he fights imperfectly in a rematch.
Bart Barry can be reached at bart.barrys.email (at) gmail.com
By Bart Barry (Ringside)
LAS VEGAS – And in an instant, Martinez-Chavez went from Pacquiao-De La Hoya to Chavez-Taylor.
Not since Manny Pacquiao retired Oscar De La Hoya had a small southpaw looked so profoundly dominant against a larger titlist as Sergio Martinez looked against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. for 11 rounds. And not since Chavez Sr. came back to stop Meldrick Taylor in the final seconds of a fight he was losing lopsidedly had such a profound change of fortunes been brought to a world champion the way Chavez brought it to Martinez in the 12th.
Saturday night, in a match at Thomas & Mack Arena that disappointed all expectations of suspense for 33 minutes before becoming an unforgettable thing in its final three, Argentine middleweight champion Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez (50-2-2, 28 KOs) rose from the canvas in the final round to survive and decision Mexican Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (46-1-1-1, 32 KOs) by unanimous scores of 117-110, 118-109 and 118-109. The 15rounds.com ringside scorecard concurred, marking 117-110 for Martinez – while marking the final round 10-7 for Chavez.
“We are two professionals,” Martinez said afterwards. “And we comported ourselves as professionals.”
The fight began the way all prognosticators believed it would. Martinez’s class was too much for Chavez in the first round and each of its successors. What little sense of geometry Chavez showed in the opening round, extending Martinez’s circles to the perimeter somewhat, was gone by the third.
“I began slowly,” Chavez said in the ring after the judges’ cards were read. “But I will not do that in the rematch.”
In fact, not till the sixth round did Chavez land anything consequential. Though Chavez was the much larger man, Martinez was the far more balletic, polished, athletic and accurate, hitting Chavez with nifty left uppercut leads and other inventive combinations. Chavez, sporting a knee brace and suffering abrasions and swelling round both eyes, was not dissuaded, however.
“This confirms me in boxing,” said Martinez, to an outnumbered but surprisingly vocal Argentinean group of fans. “Long live Argentina!”
More fatigued than he knew as the bell for the 12th rang, Martinez walked into a short Chavez left hook that wobbled and shocked him in the final two minutes. Martinez’s eyes bulged and he collapsed in the ropes. A pair of rights and lefts from Chavez then tossed him limply to the canvas. But Martinez rose, ran, held, slipped, and ultimately punched his way to the final bell, as suddenly enchanted Mexican fans rabidly urged their man on.
“Of course,” Martinez said when asked if he would grant Chavez a rematch.
“Long live Mexico!” cried Chavez at the end of his postfight interview.
ROMAN MARTINEZ VS. MIGUEL BELTRAN JR.
In an attempt at prophecy, or at least wishful thinking, Saturday’s excellent Top Rank co-main event featured a hard-pressing Mexican slugger named “Junior” against a foreigner named Martinez. Unfortunately for the emotional Mexican crowd, the Mexican did not prevail.
Fighting for a vacant WBO super featherweight title, Puerto Rican Roman Martinez (26-1-1, 16 KOs) sneaked past Mexican Miguel Beltran Jr. (27-2-0-1, 17 KOs), besting him by split-decision scores of 116-111, 113-114 and 113-114. The fight would have been a majority draw, were it not for a penalty assessed to Beltran in the championship rounds.
Each round of Martinez-Beltran featured punches both well leveraged and well landed by both fighters, but in each of the opening six rounds, regardless of what Martinez did, Beltran appeared to do a little more. In the sixth, Beltran landed the match’s most-devastating punch, a right cross that snapped Martinez’s head back between his own shoulder blades.
The seventh round, though, saw Martinez begin to establish a more effective attack, catching Beltran on the way in, with oddly placed punches. But by the middle of the eighth, Beltran again appeared the stronger man. By the end of the 10th, Martinez, game as he was, did not appear to want much more.
The 11th brought a point deduction to Beltran’s tally from overly officious Nevada referee Russell Mora, though, tightening ringside scorecards somewhat. Martinez also flurried in the 12th, appearing to steal that stanza as well. Ultimately, the fight was a close one that might have gone either way and probably should have gone the way of a majority draw.
MATTHEW MACKLIN VS. JOACHIM ALCINE
Matthew Macklin makes his ring entrance to a hybrid song of “Mack the Knife” and “Rocky Road to Dublin,” in a two-part nod to his nickname and heritage. But Saturday, he didn’t have to take his opponent very far down a rocky road before knifing him.
In the penultimate match of the evening’s undercard, Macklin (29-4, 20 KOs) caught Canadian middleweight Joachim Alcine (33-3-1, 19 KOs) with a flush right cross in the opening moments of the fight then marched him down, dropped him a second time and brought the match to an exciting knockout conclusion at 2:36 of round 1.
Despite a record with four losses on it, Macklin again proved that he can rally a crowd and make an exciting, satisfying match whomever he is given for an opponent.
GUILLERMO RIGONDEAUX VS. ROBERTO MARROQUIN
After a 2010 showing in Cowboys Stadium that brought loud boos from those fans not yawning, Cuban super bantamweight Guillermo Rigondeaux needed two years of exciting knockouts to make fans forget how displeasing his defense-first style can be. Saturday in Thomas & Mack Arena, though, they were reminded once more.
Rigondeaux (11-0, 8 KOs) successfully, and rather easily, defended his WBA super bantamweight title against tough if limited Texan Roberto Marroquin (22-2, 15 KOs) by unanimous scores of 118-108, 118-108 and 118-109. And if there is a prizefighter today who fights like Floyd Mayweather as well as Mayweather does, he is Rigondeaux, right down to the cautiousness.
Rigondeaux established a superiority of reflex over Marroquin – a superiority of reflex Rigondeaux enjoys over most every opponent he faces – and then put the match on a form of cruise control that did little to entice fans. Possessed of every punch and step in the boxing lexicon, Rigondeaux does not appear to enjoy physical matches with larger men, and he certainly did not look for one with Marroquin, who appeared a weight class or two larger than Rigondeaux on Saturday.
Twice in the match Marroquin managed to land a pulled left hook that temporarily destabilized the Cuban southpaw’s otherwise flawless footing, but from each of those faux scares, Rigondeaux quickly recovered and returned to mastering Marroquin technically if not combatively.
In round 10, bored by Rigondeaux-Marroquin, the crowd – partisan Mexican though with an Argentinean contingent – began to sing futbol songs at one another till the match was over, despite Rigondeaux’s scoring the match’s one knockdown in its final two minutes.
MIKE LEE VS. PAUL HARNESS
Mike Lee is undoubtedly the best light heavyweight on the Notre Dame campus, but he is decidedly not the best light heavyweight in the world. Further evidence of this came at the midway point of Saturday’s undercard when Lee (11-0, 6 KOs) whacked away at Kansas City opponent Paul Harness (4-4-1, 3 KOs) for four rounds and ultimately prevailed by unanmious scores of 40-36, 40-36 and 40-36.
Questions about Lee’s power – he landed at least four clean right hands in every round without once felling Harness – and his defense, though, remain, and grow, with every showing. Despite leading comfortably in the fourth round, Lee nevertheless was tagged by several knee-buckling shots by Harness.
Highly regarded super welterweight John Jackson brought his undefeated record in the Thomas & Mack Center ring for Saturday’s third bout, against Cleveland’s Willie Nelson, and Jackson’s ‘0’ left the ring before Jackson did. In a close fight that might have been scored either way, Nelson (19-1-1, 11
KOs) decisioned Nelson (13-1, 12 KOs) by unanimous scores of 96-94, 96-94 and 98-92.
Before that, in an eight-round super welterweight match, Mexican Michael Medina (26-3-2, 19 KOs) scored a lopsided decision victory over North Carolinian James Winchester (15-5, 5 KOs). All three judges had the match 80-70 for Medina.
The evening began with an eight-round, unanimous-decision victory for California welterweight Wale Omotoso (23-0, 19 KOs) over Puerto Rican Daniel Sostre (11-7-1, 4 KOs).
Opening bell rang on a sparsely populated Thomas & Mack Center at 3:17 PM local time.
LAS VEGAS (September 15, 2012) – Contrary to some erroneous reports circulated yesterday that World Boxing Association World Super Bantamweight Champion Guillermo “El Chacal” Rigondeaux (10-0, 8 KOs) had agreed to an 18-month contract extension with Top Rank, the two-time Olympic gold medalist will become a promotional free agent after his fight tonight against Robert Marroquin (22-1, 15 KOs), on the Sergio Martinez-Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. HBO Pay-Per-View event, at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
“I met with Bob Arum on Thursday and he increased his earlier proposal considerably, but ‘Rigo has not signed a promotional deal with Top Rank or any other promoter for that matter,” Rigondeaux’ manager Gary Hyde explained. “I am waiting for Top Rank to send its proposal to my attorney, Patrick English, and then I will consider it. We have two other lucrative offers and will decide which promoter we will sign with after thoroughly reviewing each all proposal. Tonight’s fight against Robert Marroquin will be Rigondeaux’ final fight for Top Rank as his promotional contract expires after tonight’s one-fight deal.”
Atty. English sent the following email to Top Rank’s attorney last night:
Earlier today I send an e mail inviting a written proposal for review. I have now read two articles quoting Bob Arum to the effect that Mr. Rigondeaux will remain with Top Rank. Those statements seem to be offered as fact and not opinion. Let me make this clear. Any offer must be placed in writing and will be considered. However, it is not accurate to suggest that any new contract is in any way a fait accompli and Bob should be so advised. The sole commitment made is to consider any written proposal.”
By Bart Barry
LAS VEGAS – The weekend’s first upset happened Friday, and it wasn’t by way of a punch at Thomas & Mack Center. In what may turn out to be the greatest surprise of Martinez-Chavez, barring of course an early stoppage, Argentine Sergio Martinez outweighed Mexican Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Friday afternoon at Wynn Las Vegas’ Encore Theater. But if either man was surprised, neither showed it.
Martinez, considered by most to be a small middleweight champion, and Chavez, considered by all to be an enormous middleweight titlist, shared a one-pound disparity on the scale: Martinez made 159, and Chavez made 158.
“He said it’s going to be a war,” Martinez said immediately after a talkative stare-down with Chavez that followed both making weight for their middleweight world championship match. “I want a war.”
Martinez, known as much for his cool demeanor and handsome countenance as his jazzy southpaw style, appeared uncharacteristically anxious Friday afternoon. Dressed in a black sweatsuit and dark shades, Martinez preceded Chavez to the stage and the scale and made a show of rallying a small Argentinean contingent waiving robin’s-egg-blue and white flags, stage left.
“He said that he is going to rip my head off,” said Chavez, when asked what words Martinez spoke to him after he climbed off the scale. Then Chavez, easily the cooler character Friday, laughed and shrugged.
While Saturday’s match for the lineal middleweight championship of the world – along with belts from The Ring, WBC and surely a few others – will be the biggest fight of both men’s careers, Chavez shows the demeanor of a man who knows other superfights will inevitably follow. Martinez, about whom the same cannot be said, appears to be channeling some of his handlers’ nervousness.
Part of what led to onlookers’ general surprise at Friday’s weighin, and specifically Chavez’s coming-in two pounds under the middleweight limit, were reports of undertraining by the Mexican champion. Numerous sources reported Chavez had skipped scheduled sessions with trainer Freddie Roach during his camp, preferring to work-out at home instead.
But Chavez’s promoter, Top Rank, expressed no concern. Chavez made weight easily, and apparently needs little instruction in how to cut-off a prizefighting ring, as he is expected to have to do against Martinez on Saturday.
Early Friday afternoon, one last thread of controversy was stitched in the Martinez-Chavez tapestry: Trainer Nazim Richardson will attend the wrapping of Chavez’s hands in behalf of the Martinez camp, Saturday. Richardson, of course, was the man who caught a hardening substance on the wraps of Antonio Margarito before the Mexican champion’s 2009 match with Shane Mosley.
Nevada State Athletic Commission executive director Keith Kizer said on Friday that while he’ll be at both of Saturday’s fight cards – Martinez-Chavez, and Saul Alvarez vs. Josesito Lopez a few blocks away at MGM Grand Garden Arena – the main event he’ll be attending is Chavez-Martinez, as Kizer anticipates potential prefight controversy at Thomas & Mack Center.
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. 158 – Sergio Martinez 159
Rocky Martinez 129 – Miguel Beltran Jr. 131
Gulliermo Rigondeaux 122 – Robert Marroquin 122
BETHLEHEM, PA – Just because the key players of next week’s nationally televised NBC Sports Network Fight Night triple header inBethlehem, PA are locked away for their final preparations before their own fights, it doesn’t mean they aren’t looking forward to the two monster fights scheduled for this weekend – just like the rest of us.
For certain, all eyes will be on both the Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. vs. Sergio Martinez and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez vs. Josesito Lopez world championship fights this Saturday night. So how does the crew on the Bethlehem card see these fights going down?
WHO WILL WIN THE JULIO CESAR CHAVEZ JR. vs. SERGIO MARTINEZ FIGHT?
Gabriel Rosado: CHAVEZ by KO
“I actually got Chavez winning that fight, probably stopping Martinez. I think Chavez is really coming along. 24/7 makes him out to be lazy, but I think they just do that for ratings. For him to be as big and strong and cut-up like he is, you don’t get that being lazy. Chavez is a legit middleweight now and Martinez is probably slowing down a little bit. In his last couple fights he didn’t really fight guys that were as strong as Chavez, and he didn’t dominate those fights until the later rounds. So I think the pressure Chavez is going to apply and the body punches are probably going to break Martinez down.”
Charles Whittaker: MARTINEZ by DECISION
“It’s going to be a very good fight. I like Martinez. He came up the hard-knocks way. He took his bumps along the path, and it took him a long time. He showed his desire and determination. He got there late in his career, and cannot be underestimated. In a lot of ways, Martinez is more a man now than Chavez. I think Chavez is a better fighter than he’s gotten credit for, but I like Martinez because he has the better skills. He has the ability to move his feet and keep punching. He’s very busy.”
Billy Briscoe (Trainer of Gabriel Rosado): CHAVEZ by KO
“I’m leaning toward Chavez. He’s a big guy. His size and his body punching is going to break Martinez down. And if you look at Martinez, he’s starting to look old. He’s got crow’s feet and everything else.”
Ronald Cruz: MARTINEZ by DECISION
“Chavez looks really strong, but he’s a little wild. He’s really not a technical fighter, he just a pressure fighter. He comes forward, sort of like his Dad did. But he looks strong and looks like he can put a lot of pressure on Martinez. But Martinez can maybe outbox him. I think in the later rounds the pressure will give Martinez some problems, even though I think Martinez will come up with the win, but not look very good toward the end of the fight. He’ll win the decision, but barely.”
Antwone Smith: CHAVEZ by KO
“I think Chavez. I think if he catches Martinez early, he can take care of him. He’s a big dude.”
Indio Rodriguez (Trainer of Ronald Cruz): CHAVEZ WILL WIN
“My personal opinion is that it can go both ways, but I think the way Chavez came in for his last fight (against Andy Lee), means he can beat Martinez. Martinez did not look good in his last fight. But Martinez proved that he can end a fight with one punch. But when you pressure him, he doesn’t know what to do. So if Chavez can make him go backwards, Martinez will be in a little bit of trouble. ”
Sergey Kovalev: MARTINEZ WILL WIN
“It’s very hard to say. In boxing, anything can happen. But I favor Martinez because he has very strong boxing legs. We have a saying in Russia that goes, ‘the legs feed the wolf’. If a wolf has strong legs, he eats well. It’s the same thing in boxing. Martinez has the strong legs, so I’m going with Martinez.”
Lionell Thompson: MARTINEZ by KO
“I got Martinez winning hands down. Chavez is not really what people think he is. In my opinion, he’s been babied, and pampered because of who his father is. Who has he fought? All you have to do is outbox him. Martinez is a very mentally strong fighter. He boxes, he doesn’t get tired, and he throws punches in bunches. And that’s the blueprint you need to beat Chavez. He can eat him up all night. I actually got Martinez stopping Chavez in the later rounds. He gets tired because he has a hard time making weight. If the right Martinez shows up, I got him stopping Chavez, or winning a 12-0 decision.”
TOTALS: 4-4 EVEN
WHO WILL WIN THE SAUL “CANELO” ALVAREZ vs. JOSESITO LOPEZ FIGHT?
Gabriel Rosado: ALVAREZ by DECISION
“I like Josesito Lopez. He’s got a lot of heart. But I think the size is just too much. If he did it gradually it might be more natural. But this being his first time at 154, he’s not going to be a strong guy. I think Canelo is just going to overpower him. Canelo should stop him, but Josesito has a lot of heart. So I can see him making it through.”
Charles Whittaker: ALVAREZ by KO
“You have to like Canelo. Now you can’t underestimate a guy like Lopez because he’s coming off a fight he wasn’t supposed to win, but I like Canelo. I think it becomes a grind down fight and I like Canelo. I like Canelo all day.”
Billy Briscoe (Trainer of Gabriel Rosado): ALVAREZ by KO
“I think Canelo is just going to be too big for him. Josesito is really a 140 pounder. Later on in the fight, the size and the pressure of the bigger man will break him down. Maybe 10th, 11th round.”
Ronald Cruz: ALVAREZ by DECISION
“I don’t see Lopez coming up two weight classes and beating a stronger fighter like that. Lopez has a lot of heart. So he’ll probably finish the fight, but who know? Canelo is pretty strong, so he might stop him, but I think Lopez will make it to the end.”
Antwone Smith: ALVAREZ by KO
“I think Canelo should win easy, but Josesito will be in there for a little bit.”
Indio Rodriguez (Trainer of Ronald Cruz): ALVAREZ by KO
“Canelo Alvarez is going to kill Josesito Lopez. There’s no doubt about it, because Joseito Lopez, that’s not his weight. Josesito Lopez should have nothing to do with Canelo Alvarez. I don’t like that match.”
Sergey Kovalev: NO PICK
“I really don’t follow anybody else’s career, and I’m not a big expert with a prediction.”
Lionell Thompson: LOPEZ by DECISION
“That’s a toss-up. That’s going to be a good fight. I can’t wait to see that fight. They are both tough, and they both levy punches with murder on them. Lopez is coming off that Ortiz win, and Canelo has got a lot on his hands. But Canelo is tough. It comes down to who has the better conditioning. I’m going to go with Lopez.”
TOTALS: 6-1-1 for ALVAREZ
ABOUT SEPTEMBER 21
The Smith-Cruz, Kovalev-Thompson and Whittaker-Rosado fights top a seven-bout card at the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem. First fight is 7.15 pm (ET). Tickets priced at $80 and $55 can be purchased through the offices of Peltz Boxing (215-765-0922), all Ticketmaster outlets (800-745-3000) or at the box office at the Sands Event Center (610-297-7414). Tickets also can be purchased online at www.peltzboxing.com, www.SandsEventCenter.com and www.Ticketmaster.com. Luxury suite tickets at $130 apiece also are available. In Bethlehem, tickets are available at Deja Brew, Inc., 101 West 4th Street (610-865-2739) and at Pronto Insurance Notary, 232 East 3rd Street (610-419-6790).
NBC Sports Network will televise the Cruz-Smith, Kovalev-Thompson and Rosado-Whittaker fights, beginning at 9 pm (ET).
The card is being promoted by Main Events and Peltz Boxing Promotions, Inc., in association with the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem.
NBC SPORTS NETWORK FIGHT NIGHT SCHEDULE (All Times ET)
Friday, September 21, 9-11pm – Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem
Saturday, December 8, 9-11 pm – Site TBA
To find the location of the NBC Sports Network on your local cable, satellite or IPTV provider, click here:http://www.nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/30092015/ns/sports/
Tweet the link to NBC Sports Network Fight Night channel finder: bit.ly/175UuU
Twitter: @main_events @NBCSN
By Norm Frauenheim
LAS VEGAS – News conferences came like a one-two punch Wednesday and Thursday for dueling promotions Saturday night featuring Sergio Martinez-versus-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. at Thomas & Mack Center and Canelo Alvarez-Josesito Lopez at the MGM Grand.
It’s been a rhetorical food fight, boxing’s version of Republicans and Democrats after back-to-back conventions. First, it’s Top Rank to the bully pulpit. Then, it’s Golden Boy’s turn. It’s Home Box Office- versus-Showtime. Ego-against-ego. An insult-fest. But should it be?
After widespread criticism for scheduling two major cards on the same night and amid all the ongoing negativity, there’s a chance at some numbers that might put a surprising spin on the business. Attendance at each could provide a powerful counter to an epitaph so often repeated, yet never proven.
If boxing is really dying, then a lot of people – maybe more than 30,000 at two venues within a couple miles of each other – have yet to hear the news.
There’s plenty of debate about box-office numbers promised by Golden Boy for Alvarez-Lopez in a 154-pound bout televised by Showtime. Golden Boy President Oscar De La Hoya said Thursday at the Canelo-Lopez news conference that 13,000 tickets had been sold.
“We are expecting a sellout,’’ De La Hoya said of a weekend celebrating Mexican Independence.
Top Rank doesn’t believe it. On the surprise meter, that ranks somewhere between zero and yawn. If the situation was reversed – and it will be one day, Golden Boy wouldn’t believe it either. Remember, Republicans and Democrats trust each other more than Top Rank and Golden Boy do.
For Martinez-Chavez, Jr., in a HBO pay-per-view bout for the middleweight title, Top Rank already has a sellout, 19,186, a boxing record at Thomas & Mack. Even if a sellout is announced for Alvarez-Lopez, there will be suggestions that Golden Boy gave away tickets to get there.
As of Thursday, it wasn’t clear what number Golden Boy needed for a sellout. Seating capacity at The MGM Grand Garden Arena has been 14,800. But Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer said 2,000 seats can be added before Saturday’s opening bell. If there’s time to construct the addition and the seats are filled, the crowd would be announced at 16,800. Add the Thomas & Mack sellout, and the total would be 35,186.
“That would tell you a lot about the sport,’’ Schaefer said.
With apologies to Mark Twain, t would tell you that all those dire warnings of imminent death are greatly exaggerated.
It might also tell you what could happen if Golden Boy and Top Rank made peace and did business together. But that’s another story, if not a miracle. It didn’t sound as if peace were even a remote possibility Thursday. The irony is that the fighters were the diplomats. Canelo and Lopez praised each other. The only real trash talk came from Keith Kizer, the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s executive.
In an apparent reference to the controversy over the judging of Tim Bradley’s decision over Manny Pacquiao in June at the MGM Grand, Kizer seemed to take exception at HBO’s criticism of judges Duane Ford, CJ Ross and Jerry Roth.
“There was another fight here in June, but some of the veterans at ringside that felt badly that night won’t feel so bad this time, because HBO, (Jim) Lampley and (Harold) Lederman won’t be there,’’ Kizer said. “I like the Showtime announcers much better.’’
Kizer’s shot followed one at Showtime from Top Rank’s Bob Arum.
“Half the people who’ve got Showtime don’t know they have it,’’ Arum said.
Shot, counter-shot. The beat goes on.
But if predictions are fulfilled and the numbers add up Saturday night, there won’t be an argument about whether the business still has a heartbeat.