Posts Tagged ‘HBO’

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Roc Nation Sports announced moments ago that James Kirkland has been forced to withdraw from his scheduled February 25 pay-per-view matchup against Miguel Cotto due to injury.

Kirkland reportedly suffered a fractured nose in training. The entire card, which also featured junior featherweight titleholder Guillermo Rigondeaux against Moses Flores in the co-main event, has been called off. How much consideration was given to finding a replacement opponent was not disclosed.

The cancellation prolongs the ring inactivity of both main eventers. Cotto last fought in November 2015, losing a competitive 12-round decision to Canelo Alvarez. Kirkland’s last bout was a one-sided, third-round knockout to Alvarez in May 2015.

Roc Nation has promised to refund all tickets purchased for the event.


I hate to speculate, but did anyone else immediately think of Ann Wolfe’s medieval training methods? Sure, we’ve seen fights get canceled from freak injuries like cuts in sparring, but it’s hard not to think Wolfe’s brutal sparring sessions on a shopworn fighter like Kirkland didn’t heighten the possibility of injury. See below from several years ago:

Yes, Kirkland battered him but that kind of sadistic “training” likely had him taking his fair share of lumps this time around, especially coming off a year-plus layoff. Hell, who says Wolfe didn’t do it herself?

We’ll see if Kirkland’s camp decides to elaborate on exactly how the injury occurred.

 

 

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Photo Credit: Ed Mulholland

INDIO, CA — HBO Boxing After Dark’s first card of 2017 is set for tomorrow night as all the fighters were on target for today’s weigh-in.

Former WBC super featherweight champion Takashi Miura tipped the scales at 129.8, his lowest since weighing 129.5 in a 2013 decision win over Sergio Thompson. His opponent, Miguel Roman, came in at 129.2. Tomorrow’s fight will be Miura’s first U.S. appearance since losing by ninth round knockout to Francisco Vargas in 2015’s Fight of the Year.

Vargas, who main events the card, weighed in at 129.6. The challenger for his WBC super featherweight crown, Miguel Berchelt, came in at 129.8

Saturday night’s card airs live on HBO at 10 p.m. ET.

 

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For the first time, an all-Mexico showdown will commence this year on Cinco de Mayo when Canelo Alvarez takes on former WBC middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. The event will air live on HBO pay-per-view May 6.

The fighters had been deep in negotiations the last with month with both sides having no qualms about going to the media whenever talks stalled. A breakthrough happened this week when Chavez Jr. stated he was willing to agree to a 164.5 pound catchweight stipulation.

“I dedicate this fight to Mexico,” said Chavez Jr. “I’m going to win, but my country will too because this is the fight that boxing needs.”

“I’m excited to announce my fight against Julio César Chávez, Jr. and confirm that I will be prepared, like I’ve been throughout my career, to give a great fight,” added Alvarez. “I want to remind you that when two Mexican fighters face-off, a spectacular show is guaranteed, and I can assure you that May 6 will be no exception especially during the Cinco de Mayo festivities.
Cinco de Mayo and Mexican Independence Day in September are important dates for us Mexicans, and I’m expecting a great night for boxing and the whole world.”
At press time, the Las Vegas venue for the fight has not been determined.

 

 

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Years ago, Bernard Hopkins’ former trainer Naazim Richardson told me that Hopkins had done everything in the ring except lose badly. I remembered that quote two years ago when Hopkins was dominated but survived to a decision loss against Sergey Kovalev. I figured that would be the “bad” career loss. Unfortunately for Hopkins, he tempted fate tonight by returning from a 25 month layoff to face power-puncher Joe Smith Jr. At 51 years old, Hopkins finally got his wake-up call from Father Time after being blasted out of the ring by a Smith Jr. left hook to suffer the first knockout of his career.

Yes, you read that right. Bernard Hopkins, after three decades in boxing and nearly 70 fights, has finally suffered a KO defeat.

Hopkins is a notorious slow-starter, but tonight was different. His movements were stiff. His body, while still in shape, was softer and less like a formidable boxer. In round one, the bigger Smith Jr. hurt Hopkins with a looping right and forced the future Hall of Famer to hold. Smith, while crude, remained the aggressor and took the second on my card with some wincing body shots.

Hopkins gained a rhythm in the third and fourth by baiting Smith into right hands. Going into the eighth, I had Smith holding a narrow 67-66 lead, but looking like the sturdier fighter. Hopkins went to the ropes and got caught with a haymaker right. Hopkins sagged over the middle rope and received two left hooks that sent him toppling head-first to the floor. Although he got to his feet after the 10 count, Hopkins was clearly disoriented and couldn’t even make it to the apron in the 20 seconds alloted for a ring floor knockdown.

Hopkins was still in shock for his post-fight interview. Despite claiming that he was pushed out the ring, the man stood by his word that this was his last fight. We can only hope he keeps his word.

 

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Photo Credit: Hogan Photos

The last time we saw Bernard Hopkins in a boxing ring, we saw an aged legend fighting valiantly against a younger, stronger beast in then light-heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev. The winner wasn’t in doubt. The question was could Hopkins make it to the final bell after being dropped earlier and back-pedaling from a murderous puncher. Hopkins would not only survive, but get in a few counter shots to remind Kovalev that things might have been different 10 years ago.

The brave stand could have been a fitting way for Bernard Hopkins to end a near 70-fight career that started when George Bush Sr. was president in 1988. But if fans have learned anything from Bernard Hopkins, it’s that he does things his way, and the future Hall of Famer felt it was fitting to head into the ring one last time on Saturday December 17 against Joe Smith Jr. (22-1, 18 KOs).

Smith is not an easy farewell fight on paper. He’s 27 years old to Hopkins’ 51, and coming off one of the year’s biggest upsets when he knocked-out the previously durable Andrzej Fonfara in one round.

BeatBoxingMayhem: You had a brave showing last year going the distance against Sergey Kovalev. What made you want to come back for a final bout?

Hopkins: First, Joe Smith Jr. is a hungry, young contender coming up in the division. That right there is a shoo-in for me. Second, [I wanted] to go out not the way people think I should because they feel I’ve done enough. I need to be me and do things not in an arrogant way, but my way. This is the way I’ve always been. I have to be satisfied and be content with myself to know when it’s done.

This approach has helped me a lot in my sports and personal life. Here I am approaching December 17 getting ready to close that historic book of discipline and sticking to what you believe in. Certain things in life you don’t compromise. What a way to go out.

BeatsBoxingMayhem: The way boxing politics are now, is it still possible to have a career like yours? These days fighters seem to have to choose between money or legacy.

Hopkins: Hey, listen — if Donald Trump can be president, it’s possible for anyone in this world to do anything!

BeatsBoxingMayhem: As a fighter, talk about the process of wealth-building. Especially considering your on the promoter side as well with Golden Boy. 

Hopkins: First, you have to arm yourself with education no matter what occupation you’re a part of. I don’t care if it’s sports or corporate America. Whether you’re the CEO or employee, you need education to elevate yourself and take someone’s position. The competition is fierce; everyone that is in a prominent position took that spot from someone else.

Nobody’s job is safe. They have a saying called “You fell off,” and you know what that means. At law firms if you don’t bring in a certain amount of money per year, that means you’ve fallen off and you’ll be called into a little room to talk about your numbers. And if you don’t pull your weight, then another lawyer will be brought in to take your place. I took a page from that reality and I put it into my life and thinking.

I educated myself on the business of boxing. A lot of it was forced upon me, but I embraced it. Sometimes it was with tears and questioning myself on if I was making the right decision. My thing was “How can I be different and survive this thing? And what would that do for other fighters to have inspiration and a blueprint to go by?”

I hope I accomplished that, by only time will tell.

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BeatsBoxingMayhem: We’ve all heard the famous Marvin Hagler quote of how hard it is to get up for road work when you’re sleeping in silk sheets. How hard was it to resurrect “The Executioner” mindset for this fight?

Hopkins: It’s not difficult at all for me because I’ve been operating like that. There are people in my family I can’t take care of. I have a big family with third and fourth cousins, and they have mothers. I know there is always a class in this world that will remind us, the ones that made it out, that we can always end up back where we started. That’s not always good, especially in sports.

I kept that close to me. I needed that hunger to face all types of adversity: court battles, sick relatives and opponents in the ring. Even if you’re not there physically, you mentally have to go back to where you started, where you had nothing and got through it. I know how to prepare for a fight and still open a refrigerator that’s full but look at it like it’s empty. That takes a hell of a lot of strength and discipline.

Those who’ve been paying attention like yourself and others, not a lot, see that in me. They see that in me.

Hopkins vs. Smith airs live on HBO World Championship Boxing this Saturday (December 17) at 10 p.m.

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LAS VEGAS — It was dubbed a fight to crown the Pound 4 Pound best and it delivered. Andre Ward was hurt in the first round and dropped in the second, but mounted a gradual comeback behind a strong body attack to take a narrow 114-113 win on all scorecards.

Ward was stunned by a jab in the opening round and forced to hold. In the second, Kovalev floored the challenger with a perfect right hand. Kovalev continued his aggression behind the stiff jab and right hand, but Ward responded strong in the third by countering to the body and working the left hook.

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The remaining rounds were a seesaw of momentum on both sides. Ward got more moments for inside mauling where he slowed Kovalev with hard body shots. Although Kovalev was not able to replicate the clean shots landed in the opening rounds, he still manged to back Ward up with counter jabs and right hands.

The fight would come down to the 12th, where Kovalev landed the harder head shots, but Ward continued his solid work downstairs. Ultimately, the judges preferred Ward’s offense, and he won the round on all the judge’s scorecards.

The win gives Ward the WBA, WBO and IBF light-heavyweight titles and sets the stage for a lucrative rematch.


What a fight! On my scorecard, I had 115-112 for Kovalev, believing the knockdown pushed him ahead in a close bout. I had Kovalev taking rounds 1, 2 (w/ knockdown), 4, 6, 9, 10, and 12. Ward took rounds 3, 5, 7, 8, and 11. However, there were at least two close rounds on my card where I had some doubt before I tallied the final score. In Vegas, judges prefer aggression and for whatever it’s worth, Ward was the one who looked fresher and landed the most consistent punches on the second half — the body shots. And while the crowd should not influence judges, we know it does and there were wild cheers for Ward’s comeback likely played a part in the favorable scoring.

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Photo Credit: Tom Hogan

Watch the final pre-fight face to face confrontation between light-heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward at this afternoon’s weigh-in. The live stream opens at 5:30 p.m. ET and will include the undercard fights.

Kovalev vs. Ward takes place Saturday November 19 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO pay-per-view.