– 2/2 James Kirkland suffered a broken nose forcing the cancellation of his fight against Ring Mag #4 Jr Middleweight Miguel Cotto. The fight was scheduled to take place on Feb 25th at the Force Center at the Star in Frisco, Tx. The entire card was cancelled, also resulting in the cancellation of Ring Mag #7 lb for lb, #1 Jr featherweight & WBA champ Guillermo Rigondeaux making the 8th defense of his title against #6 rated Moises Flores.

– Ring mag #8 lightweight Felix Verdejo won a tougher than expected 10 rd UD over unrated Oliver Flores on Feb 3rd at Coliseo Roberto Clemente, in San Juan PR. Verdejo started strong, but couldn’t finish off Flores, who was stopped in 3 rds by Ring Mag #7 Jr Lightweight Takashi Uchiyama last Dec in his last fight. Flores was the stronger fighter down the stretch as Verdejo appeared to fade badly. This was Verdejo’s 1st fight since his serious motorcycle accident last Aug that left him hospitalized for 5 days. He’s not been taken the distance in 4 of his last 6 fights. Next up is supposedly a clash with Ring Mag #2 & WBO Lightweight champ Terry Flanagan in June.

– Ring mag #6 Middleweight Chris Eubank Jr went up to Super Middleweight & stopped unrated Renold Quinlan at 2:07 of the 10th rd on Feb 4th at Olympia in Kensington, London. Quinlan took many hard shots as the referee waved off the bout. Eubank trained himself for the fight & since his lone loss in Nov. ’14, has now won 6 straight, all by stoppage.

– Ring Mag #10 Flyweight Daigo Higa stopped unrated Diomel Diocos at 2:29 of the 3rd rd on Feb 4th at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan. Higa was never in trouble & dominated the action. He remained undefeated in 12 fights with all his wins coming by way of knockout.

– Ring Mag #9 Jr Flyweight Hekkie Budler won by 8th rd TKO over unrated Straweight Joey Canoy on Feb 4th at the Emperors Palace in Kempton Park, Gauteng, South Africa, when Canoy remained on his stool at the start of the round. Budler has now won 2 straight since his 1st loss when he lost the WBA Straweight Title by 12 rd UD vs Byron Rojas last March.

– 2/7 Opening statements for the civil trial brought on by Ring Mag #2 Heavyweight & WBC Champ Deontay Wilder against Alexander Povetkin began today. The suit stems from Povetkin failing a WADA administered drug test, cancelling their fight six days before it was to take place, which was scheduled for May 21st in Moscow. Wilder is seeking $5M in damages for the lost fight.

– Ring Mag #3 Lightweight & IBF Champ Robert Easter successfully defended his title for the 1st time with a 12 rd UD over unrated Luis Cruz on Feb 10th at the Huntington Center in Toledo, Oh. Easter scored knockdowns in the 10th, 11th & 12th rounds as he was in control throughout. He’s now gone the distance in B2B fights after 5 str KO’s. Cruz was totally undeserving of a title shot as he hadn’t beaten an opponent with less than 15 losses since 2011! Totally undeserving title shot.

Photo by Sumio Yamada

Photo by Sumio Yamada

– On the undercard of Easter/Cruz, unrated Zhanat Zhakiyanov won a 12 rd SD over Ring Mag #2 Bantamweight & WBA Champ Rau’Shee Warren by the scores of 116-110, 115-111 & 111-115. Warren was making the 1st defense of his title that he won last June and scored 2 knockdowns in the opening round. Zhakiyanov appeared to score a knockdown in the 3rd round, but ref Gary Rosato ruled a slip. Zhakiyanov controlled the fight the remainder of the way. This was his 1st fight in over a year & he’s won 22 str since his lone loss in ’08. Warren, a 4.5:1 fav, has now lost 2 of 3.

 

– Ring Mag #6 Jr Welterweight Regis “Rougarou” Prograis scored a 1st rd TKO over unrated Wilfrido Buelvas on Feb 11th at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Biloxi, Miss. Prograis has stopped 12 of his last 13 foes, including 4 straight. Buelvas came in 7 pounds overweight for the fight.

– 2/13 Ring Mag #2 Heavyweight & WBC Champion Deontay Wilder won an approximate $5.5 Million dollar lawsuit over Alexander Povetkin. The suit stems from Povetkin failing a WADA administered drug test, cancelling their fight six days before it was to take place, which was scheduled for May 21st 2015 in Moscow. Wilder & his promoter Lou Dibella filed the suit seeking lost damages.

– 2/16 Ring Mag #2 Jr Middleweight & IBF Champion Jermall Charlo has vacated his IBF title as he is moving up to the Middleweight division.

– Adrien Broner won a 10 rd SD over Ring Mag #4 Jr Welterweight Adrian Granados on Feb 18th in Cincinnati, Oh. The fight featured a lot of clenching and holding and neither fighter was knocked down or seriously hurt. Broner has now won six of seven including three straight. The fight was assumed to be fought at 140 pounds, but then it was reported the fight would be at 142 pounds. A week before the contest, however, it was announced that Broner needed the weight to be increased to 147 pounds, which Granados agreed to because he didn’t want to miss the opportunity for the fight. Broner was rated by the Ring Mag as the #2 Jr Welterweight when the fight was announced, but come fight time, had been dropped in the ratings.

– Ring Mag #4 Light Heavyweight Eleider Alvarez stopped unrated Lucian Bute at 2:22 of the 5th rd on Feb 24th at Centre Videotron in Quebec City, Quebec Canada. Bute was in control early, but two right crosses to the head by Alvarez dropped Bute for the count. This was Alvarez’s first stoppage win in 5 fights. He’s now the mandatory challenger for Ring Mag #3 & WBC Champ Adonis Stevenson.

– Ring Mag #2 & WBC heavyweight champ Deontay Wilder successfully defended his title for the 5th time when he stopped unrated Gerald Washington at 1:45 of the 5th rd. Washington controlled the fight early, but there was little action as Wilder offered little offense. A short right cross dropped Washington in the 5th and after rising Wilder threw several haymakers, none landing solidly, however the referee stepped between the two and called off the fight. Washington was on unsteady legs when the ref intervened. Wilder has now stopped 5 straight opponents. This was Washington’s first defeat. Originally Wilder was set to defend against unrated & 60:1 ‘dog Andrzej Wawrzyk, until he tested positive for steroids in Jan.

– On the undercard of Wilder/Washington Ring Mag #9 Jr Middleweight Jarrett Hurd won the vacant IBF Title after stopping unrated Tony Harrison at 2:24 of the 9th rd. Harrison controlled the fight early with Hurd’s aggressive style beginning to take over in the middle rounds. A right hand upstairs dropped Harrison and after rising before the count, he spit out his mouthpiece indicating he wanted no more. Hurd has now stopped 8 of his last 9 foes including 6 straight.

– Ring Mag #4 Jr Featherweight Rey Vargas won the vacant WBC title after winning a 12 rd majority decision over unrated Gavin McDonnell on Feb 25th at the Hull Ice Arena in Hull, England. The scores were 117-111, 116-112 & the lone British judge turned in an eyebrow raising 114-114 card. The undefeated Vargas is now a World Champion for the 1st time. It was the 1st loss for McDonnell.

JANUARY:

– 1/4 Longtime boxing judge Gale Van Hoy passed away.

– 1/5 WBA orders negotiations to commence between 2 unranked heavyweights, Shannon Briggs & Fres Oquendo for a fight for the WBA world title, which is currently vacant. The winner must then take on the unranked Alexander Ustinov.

– 1/16 The Anthony Joshua/Wladimir Klitschko fight has sold over 80,000 tickets, shattering the box office record at Wembley Stadium in London, surpassing Carl Froch’s super middleweight rematch vs George Groves in 2014.

Ring Mag No. 3 and WBA Jr Middleweight Champion Erislandy “The American Dream” Lara made the 4th defense of his title when he stopped unrated Yuri Foreman at 1:47 of the 4th rd on Jan 13th at the Hialeah Park Racing & Casino in Hialeah, Florida. Foreman was down in the 3rd rd & a Lara left uppercut sent Foreman down for the count in the 4th. Lara was off a 12 rd ud over Vanes Martirosyan last May and has now won 7 of 8 including 5 straight. Foreman had won 6 straight with ko’s in 2 of the L/3 after B2B losses in ’10-’11, but the combined record of his foes in that win streak was just 80-59-4 as he was totally undeserving of a title shot.

– Ring Mag #7 super middleweight Anthony “The Dog” Dirrell stopped Norbert Nemesapati at 3:00 of the 6th rd on Jan 13th on the Lara/Foreman undercard. The fight was a clear mismatch, dominated by Dirrell with the ref stopping the action. Dirrell has now won 3 straight including his last 2 by stoppage since his 12 rd MD loss to Badou Jack in April ’15.

– Ring Mag #3 bantamweight Juan Carlos Payano stopped Isao Gonzalo Carranza at 1:16 of the 7th rd on Jan 13th on the Lara/Foreman undercard. The fight was a mismatch, but this was the 1st fight for Payano since suffering his 1st loss, a 12 rd MD to Rau’Shee Warren last June.

Photo by Tom Casino/Showtime

Photo by Tom Casino/Showtime

– The vacant Ring Mag Super Middleweight championship remained without an owner as Ring Mag #1 & IBF champ James “Chunky” Degale, making his 3rd defense & Ring Mag #2 & WBC champ Badou Jack, also making his 3rd defense, fought to a 12 rd MD on Jan 14th at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. Degale scored a flash knockdown in the 1st rd and won many of the early rounds with Jack coming on late and scoring a knockdown in the 12th rd. Degale wanted a rematch to take place in England in the post fight interviews, but Jack wants to go up to 175 pounds. A great fight with a lot of back and forth action. A rematch would be well received.

– On the undercard of Jack/Degale, undefeated but unrated Gervonta “Tank” Davis stopped Ring Mag #6 & IBF Jr Lightweight champ Jose “Sniper” Pedraza at 2:36 of the 7th rd to become the 2nd youngest current world champion (WBO Jr Flyweight Kosei Tanaka). Davis landed the clearer & more powerful shots throughout, was never in any real danger & although Pedraza got to his feet, the ref wouldn’t let him continue, in what was a fair stoppage. Davis has 8 straight stoppage wins, but none of the prior 7 had come over a foe that had a combo of DD wins & less than 4 losses. Pedraza, a ’08 Puerto Rican Olympian, was making the 3rd defense of his title.

– 1/18 Ring Mag #2 & WBC Super Middleweight champ Badou Jack has informed the WBC that he is vacating the title to move up to the light heavyweight division. The #1 & #2 ranked fighters in the WBC rankings are Ring Mag #6 Callum Smith & #5 Anthony Dirrell and neither have any fights scheduled at this time.

– 1/19 Golden Boy Promotions & ESPN enter agreement for a 42 fight deal in the next 2 years. The first card will be on March 23rd.

– 1/20 David Haye’s Haymaker Promotions entered into an agreement with Ex Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer to create Haymaker Ringstar Promotions to focus mostly on UK market.

– 1/24 Andrzej Wawrzyk, in line to challenge Deontay Wilder for the WBC heavyweight title on Feb 25th, has tested positive for steroids & is off the card. He was a 60:1 ‘dog.

– 1/25 Oscar De La Hoya arrested for DUI in Pasadena, Ca.

– Ring Mag #1 & WBC strawweight champ Wanheng Menayothin aka Chayaphon Moonsri successfully defended his title for the 6th time with a 12 rd UD over undefeated, but unrated Melvin Jerusalem on Jan 25th at Phitsanuloke Province in Thailand. There were no knockdowns, but Jerusalem had a crucial point deducted in the 8th for a low blow. With no point deduction, the fight would have ended as a majority draw. The undefeated Menayothin has now gone the distance 3 straight fights. Jerusalem had never even fought anyone that had at least 2 wins with less than 4 losses prior to the bout.   

– 1/26 Golden Boy Promotions $300M lawsuit against Premier Boxing Champions creator Al Haymon dismissed by US District Judge John F. Walker. The lawsuit alleged that Haymon violated antitrust laws & the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform act.

– 1/27 Ring Mag #3 & IBF featherweight champ Lee Selby was due to make his 3rd defense on the Frampton/Santa Cruz undercard against unrated Jonathan Victor Barros, but the fight was cancelled the day prior due to Barros failing to submit his Nevada application and medical records. Selby was off a 12 rd ud over Eric Hunter last April, when he was dropped for the 1st time in his career. Since his lone loss in his 5th fight in ’09, Selby has won 19 straight.

Photo by German Villasenor

Photo by German Villasenor

– 2016 “Fighter of the Year,” Ring Mag #10 pound for pound, Ring Mag #2 Featherweight & WBA featherweight champ Carl “The Jackal” Frampton lost a 12 rd majority decision in his 2nd defense against #4 Leo Santa Cruz on Jan 28th at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NV. There was great back and forth action throughout, but no knockdowns. The fight was an immediate rematch when Frampton won a 12 rd MD last July in a “FOTY” candidate with the 12th rd being a candidate for ‘Round of the year.’ There are already talks of a rubber match to be held in Ireland.

 

Photo by Esther Lin/Showtime

Photo by Esther Lin/Showtime

– On the undercard of Frampton/Santa Cruz 2, unrated & undefeated former WBO Featherweight & Jr Lightweight champion Mikey Garcia added his 3rd title in 3 different weight classes by knocking out the undefeated Ring Mag #1 & WBC lightweight champ Dejan Zlaticanin at 2:21 of the 3rd round. Zlaticanin was making his 1st title defense, but was dominated from the outset. The end came after an uppercut sent Zlaticanin forward into the ropes and then upon turning back towards Garcia, an overhand right square to the jaw sent him down and unconscious for several minutes. This is a definite “Knockout of the Year” candidate. This was Garcia’s 2nd fight following a 2.5 year layoff due to management issues. Garcia was a 2:1 fav.

Photo by Tom Hogan/Golden Boy Promotions

Photo by Tom Hogan/Golden Boy Promotions

– Unrated Miguel Berchelt stopped Ring Mag #2 & WBC Jr lightweight champ Francisco Vargas at 2:19 of the 11th rd on Jan 28th at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio Cali. Vargas, who was making the 2nd defense of his title, was dominated from the outset, taking a beating before referee Raul Caiz Jr jumped in and stopped it. Berchelt has now won 10 in a row since his lone loss in March ’14. He is now due to defend against Takashi Miura, who won an eliminator on the undercard.

 

– On the undercard of Vargas/Berchelt, Ring mag #5 Jr Lightweight Takashi Miura knocked out unrated Miguel Roman at :53 of the 12th rd in a WBC Jr Lightweight eliminator in a fight of the year candidate. Roman was cut above the right eye due to an accidental headbutt. He was in the lead heading into the championship rounds, but was dropped from a body shot near the end of rd 10. He was dropped to his knees from a flurry, then a straight left ended his night in the 12th. This was Miura’s 2nd fight since losing the WBC Jr Lightweight title to the aforementioned Vargas in Nov ’15. He’s now in line to take on Miguel Berchelt for the title. Roman had his 18 fight win streak snapped.

 – Ring Mag #8 & IBF Jr Bantamweight champ Jerwin Ancajas made the 1st defense of his title by stopping unrated Jose Alfredo Rodriguez in the 7th rd on Jan 29th at Studio City Casino in Macao, China. Rodriguez failed to come out for the 8th, citing a shoulder inj. Andcaja was in command throughout. He’s now won 13 str, 12 by ko. Rodriguez was totally undeserving of a title shot as none of his prior 3 foes had a combined double-digit wins with less than 5 losses.

new-orleans-bowl

I know, I know.  “There’s too many bowls.” I hear this all the time. I, for one like the bowl games and will share some reasons to maybe change your mind enough to tune into the New Orleans Bowl (Southern Miss Golden Eagles vs Louisiana Ragin Cajuns).

  1. These schools were former rivals, having met 50 previous times with the 1st game played in 1923 and the last in 2008.
  2. Southern Miss quarterback Nick Mullens completed 63% of his passes with a 22-10 ratio and Louisiana counters with Phil Steele’s #106 ranked pass efficiency defense.
  3. Louisiana running back Elijah McGuire was the Sun Belt’s Player of the Year in 2014. He’s been banged up this year, but is as healthy as he’s been all season and the Golden Eagles allow 149 (4.7) rush yards per game. Can I also mention that McGuire walked on to the Ragin Cajuns basketball team last season?
  4. Despite being an underdog in 3 of the 4 New Orleans Bowl games they’ve been in, Louisiana has won all 4. They are a 6.5 point underdog this year.
  5. Southern Miss is 6-6 this year, but actually outgained 11 of their 12 opponents.

camellia-bowl-logo

I know, I know.  “There’s too many bowls.” I hear this all the time. I, for one like the bowl games and will share some reasons to maybe change your mind enough to tune into the Camellia Bowl (Appalachian State Mountaineers vs Toledo Rockets).

  1. Toledo quarterback Logan Woodside led the FBS with 43 touchdown passes! How will he fare when he looks across the field at Phil Steele’s #10 ranked pass efficiency defense that only allowed 10 td’s while intercepting 19 passes?
  2. Toledo set a school record averaging 530 yards per game. While Appalachian State allowed non conference opponents to gain 420 yards per game, they did hold Tennessee to just 4.4 yards per play.
  3. Appalachian State runs the option offense that averages 247 (5.6) rush yards per game and Toledo allows 166 (4.7) rush yards per game.
  4. Toledo tight end Michael Roberts was named 1st Team Mid American Conference and the best tight end the Mountaineers faced this year was 3rd Team Sun Belt Buck Cowan from Idaho and he finished with 10 receptions for 118 yards and a touchdown.
  5. This is likely going to end up as a high scoring affair so if points is your thing, you will be entertained.

cure-bowl

I know, I know.  “There’s too many bowls.” I hear this all the time. I, for one like the bowl games and will share some reasons to maybe change your mind enough to tune into the Cure Bowl (Arkansas State Red Wolves vs UCF Knights).

  1. This game is being played in UCF’s former home venue
  2. UCF is the lone team to go from winless to a bowl the next year since 2002 (and this is the 2nd time they’ve done so in that span)!
  3. Arkansas State has the Sun Belt Player of the Year in defensive end Ja’Von Rolland-Jones (conferences career leader in sacks).
  4. A big special teams play is bound to happen as UCF has Phil Steele’s #23 ranked unit, while Arkansas State rates just #70.
  5. If you prefer defense, points in this game will likely be scarce.

las-vegas

I know, I know.  “There’s too many bowls.” I hear this all the time. I, for one like the bowl games and will share some reasons to maybe change your mind enough to tune into the Las Vegas Bowl (Houston Cougars vs San Diego State Aztecs).

  1. The all time FBS rushing record is in jeopardy! San Diego State’s Donnel “DJ” Pumphrey is just 108 yards away from breaking the current record of 6,397 held by Wisconsin’s Ron Dayne.
  2. Houston head coach Tom Herman has moved on to Texas and this will be Major Applewhite’s 1st game as a head coach.
  3. Houston is +84 yards per game against bowl teams, while San Diego State is -16 yards per game against bowl teams.
  4. Houston quarterback Greg Ward was a Heisman Trophy candidate entering the season and while he’s been banged up, he still completed 68% of his passes with a 22-9 ratio. San Diego State counters with a pass defense that led the nation with 20 interceptions.
  5. San Diego State features the Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year (Pumphrey, also won last year), Defensive Player of the Year (cornerback Damontae Kazee, also won last year), and Special Teams Player of the Year (Rashaad Penny).

906_-new_mexico_bowl-primary-2011

I know, I know.  “There’s too many bowls.” I hear this all the time. I, for one like the bowl games and will share some reasons to maybe change your mind enough to tune into the New Mexico Bowl (UTSA Roadrunners vs New Mexico Lobos).

  1. Witness history! This is UTSA’s 1st ever bowl game. New Mexico is actually playing in its home venue.
  2. New Mexico has the #1 rushing offense in the FBS averaging 361 (6.8) yards per game. UTSA counters with a rush defense that has improved as the season progressed. In their last 7 games, the Roadrunners held their opponents to an average of 48 rush yards per game and 1.1 yards per carry less than their foes season average.
  3. UTSA quarterbacks have a 24-7 touchdown to interception ratio and New Mexico counters with Phil Steele’s #117 ranked pass efficiency defense (allowed 22-7 ratio).
  4. New Mexico has covered 5 of its last 7 games against the Vegas line, while UTSA is 4-2-1 against the spread as an underdog. (New Mexico is favored by 9.5 points).
  5. If you like high scoring affairs, tune in as there figures to a lot of points scored in this one.


There certainly won’t be any drama when undefeated Ring Magazine No. 7 rated welterweight Errol “The Truth” Spence takes on 41 year old Leonard Bundu this Sunday night from the Ford Amphitheater in Coney Island, NY. The bout will be shown nationally on NBC after the closing Olympic ceremonies. Spence is a huge 100-1 favorite that has knocked out 17 of his 20 opponents, including seven straight.
The significance of this fight has nothing to do with the fight itself, but with details outside the squared circle. That’s where things get interesting as there will be an important question that should be closer to being answered. Will a Top Rank promoted fighter be matched with an Al Haymon managed fighter? That hasn’t happened yet, which has kept some promising fights from happening.

When Spence, who is managed by Haymon, wins on Sunday, he will be the mandatory challenger for IBF Welterweight champion Kell Brook. While Brook hasn’t vacated his title as of yet, he has moved up to middleweight to fight GGG on Sept 10th. It’s not impossible that Brook will move back to welterweight after his fight, but it’s highly unlikely given his struggle to make the 147 pound limit. At the 30 day out weigh in, Brook tipped the scales at 176 pounds, further implying his permanent move up in weight.

What this all means is that Brook is going to end up vacating his title, which would result in Spence having to face another fighter for the vacant strap. When looking over the IBF welterweight rankings, the fighter ranked just below Spence is Konstantin Ponomarev, who just so happens to be promoted by Top Rank, and who would be the most logical matchup to fill the IBF’s vacancy. There’s no excuse for those two not to be matched up as Ponomarv last fought on April 9th and doesn’t have another fight scheduled.

If those two don’t get matched together next, that will further show that Bob Arum (CEO of Top Rank) and Haymon still cannot co-exhist enough to put some great matches on for the public.

I’d put my money on that fight not happening and instead would be willing to bet that Spence takes on Haymon managed, Lamont Peterson, who is ranked No. 5 by the IBF. Peterson also is available as he hasn’t fought since last October and there wouldn’t be a conflict between manager and promoter. Let’s all hope I’m wrong and that the feud between these two boxing power brokers can finally end.

(photo: George Jimenez/ GeoImagez)

(photo: George Jimenez/ GeoImagez)

Newly crowned WBO NABO bantamweight champion Antonio “Carita” Nieves (16-0-1, 10 KO’s) will return to the ring on Friday, August 19th when he takes on the also undefeated, Nikolay Potapov (14-0-1, 6 KO’s) from Rhinos Stadium in Rochester, New York in a 10-round bantamweight bout.

The co-featured match is part of a tripleheader that will be live on Showtime as part of their “ShoBox: The New Generation” series that focuses on up-and-coming prospects in the boxing game.

Nieves is coming off his first 10 round bout, a unanimous decision over then once-beaten Oscar Mojica on June 18th in Washington, Pa., when he won the WBO NABO crown.

Potapov is coming off a 10 round majority draw against Stefon Young on April 15 that was also televised by Showtime for their “ShoBox” series.

Ironically, the only blemish on Nieves’ record is the draw that he also had with the aforementioned and fellow undefeated Young last June.

On paper this appears to be Nieves’ toughest fight. Potapov was a former amateur standout in Russia with over 200 wins and is ranked in the top 15 by the WBO (No. 7), IBF (No. 13), & WBA (No. 14). He’s also already had seven bouts that have gone ten rounds including one which went 12.

The event is promoted by Salita Promotions and tickets go on sale this Friday at Noon ET at www.rhinosoccer.com and www.etix.com.