Posts Tagged ‘preview’

02-15-17 Keith Thurman

(photo by Douglas DeFelice/Prime 360 Photography)

Photo Credit: Prime 360 Photography

We’re just over two weeks away from the big welterweight showdown between Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia. Thurman, who’s putting the finishing touches on his training camp in St. Petersburg, Florida, took time to disclose his thoughts on the matchup and how his last win against Shawn Porter lifted his game.

KEITH THURMAN

At the end of the day, it’s just another fight. My job has not changed since I was seven years old. This is the sport that I love. The name of the game to hit and not get hit, but you know I’m looking to inflict some damage as well.

I know Danny is confident coming into this fight. He’s trying to challenge me and hurt me. I have an ‘0’ and I’m not ready to let it go. If you think you can beat me, beat me. It’s going down on March 4.

02-15-17 Keith Thurman

(photo by Douglas DeFelice/Prime 360 Photography)

You can expect a world class fight. We’re both great champions with impressive skills. We’re going to be pushing each other and testing each other. I see myself as the smarter fighter. I’ve shown that I can adjust in the middle of a fight. With the experience that I have, I go in there with an objective I’m trying to achieve. If it’s not happening, then I have to use something else.

Ultimately, my heart desires victory at this stage and at this level. I’m looking to do what I do best. Which is be a smart fighter, look for the openings and if I can cause some damage, hopefully I can capitalize on that.

I showed against Shawn Porter that when you fully challenge me and make me gut it out, I’m there. I’m a champion and this champion doesn’t lie down for anybody. That fight was a tremendous fight and we showed that we understand each other as fighters.

I thought to myself after eight rounds against Porter, ‘this fight is tied.’ Nothing that happened in the first eight rounds mattered. The fight was going to be decided in four rounds, just like the amateurs. I had to do what Ben Getty always said, ‘smart fighters win and dumb fighters lose.’

I just want to keep moving myself up and establishing my legacy. I want to distinguish myself from the other welterweights. The winner of this fight will get the spotlight over everyone else in the division.Β 

02-15-17 Keith Thurman

(photo by Douglas DeFelice/Prime 360 Photography)

I’m doing this for my career, for my legacy and for the fans. Without the fans, there’s no legacy. I’ve been boxing for 21 years of my life and I look forward to having some more great years. I’m proud to be living my dream.

To get two tremendous fights back-to-back is evidence that I’m on the right track and you could say we’re gaining more power in the sport. I’m getting what I want out of the sport, which are big fights like this.

This is something that the fans are excited about and I’m truly looking forward to this fight. I just want to keep living my dreams and working to become the best fighter in the world.Β 
Establishing a unification of a weight class is my ultimate goal in the sport of boxing. That’s what we’re working for.
02-15-17 Keith Thurman

(photo by Douglas DeFelice/Prime 360 Photography)

DAN BIRMINGHAM, THURMAN’S TRAINER

The preparation has been fantastic. Keith has been on both. His long runs, short runs, sprinting, listening to everything in the gym not to mention great sparring. You are going to see a great performance.

This is a dream come true for me. I never dreamed of this when I was Youngstown, OH before I came to Florida. When I came here there were guys like Jeff Lacy and Winky Wright that came into my gym who I’ve been fortunate enough to work with. Then came Ben Getty and Keith Thurman.

I owe most of this to Ben Getty. I want him to get a lot of the recognition. He really deserves it. I am just trying to continue what he started.

Fans are going to see a great performance. They are going to see a well-conditioned, well-trained Keith Thurman. He is very focused on getting rid of Garcia and moving up in the ranks.

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As if you needed any more reason to be excited, Marvel Studios has released this first look mini-doc on the process of creating Avengers: Infinity War. Stars Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man), Tom Holland (Spiderman) and Chris Pratt (Star-Lord) give their thoughts, as well as the producer Kevin Feige and writer Christopher Markus.

The tentative release date is May 4, 2018.

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Photo Credit: Premier Boxing Champions

WBC heavyweight titlist Deontay Wilder met with the media today in NYC to promote his February 25 title defense against undefeated prospect Gerald Washington. Wilder spoke on a myriad of topics that included Washington’s chances, last year’s dominant KO wins over Artur Szpilka and Chris Arreola, and the desire for a big unification matchup before year’s end.

Wilder vs. Washington airs live February 25 at 8 p.m. on Fox.
There are a lot of heavyweights who say they want me, but at the end of the day, do they really want this? Everybody knows that Deontay Wilder comes with power.
I fight for the people, that’s what I’m all about. I like to give the fans a great fight at a reasonable price. Each fight I’m in I’m always exciting and well-prepared. I come to give people what they want to see when they see a heavyweight, and that’s a knockout.
Gerald Washington is a big guy I’ve seen fight a few times. I don’t think he’s ready to fight me, but he thinks he is. We’ll find out on February 25. I chose him because he’s always been respectful while always wanting the opportunity. He’s going to come ready to fight.
My preparation stays the same, even with the opponent change. I’ve been in situations where I’ve had to change a lot after an opponent dropped out, but Gerald being as good as he is and similar to Wawrzyk makes it easier. They have different styles but we’ll work on how to break him down.
When I knocked out Artur Szpilka, I thought he was dead for a few seconds. That’s just from natural, Alabama country power.
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I’m still training while I’m here in New York. I have Mark Breland here with me helping me get a lot of good work in. I’m staying focused. When February 25 comes, I’ll be ready.
I definitely feel 100 percent, but we’ll see what it’s going to feel like in the ring when I apply this force to a human skull. When I’m in the gym doing work, I feel great.
I never really let my hand properly heal until this injury, because the bicep takes longer to heal than the hand. The time gave me an opportunity to really improve my left hand. I feel more polished now than I’ve ever been.
You have to have patience in this sport. The big fights that people want to see will be coming. I’m not scared of anyone and I won’t run for anyone. My team is on the same page and we’re going to keep working together and moving forward.
It’s all about adjusting. Each and every time I go through something inside or outside of the ring, it just makes me better and better.
Chris Arreola’s style was perfect for mine. Even with the injuries that I was suffering, I could still get the job done. I also had to fight through the injuries with Stiverne, because I hurt my hand in the third round of that fight. Being able to have these experiences has made my confidence even higher.

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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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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.

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Andre Ward has the biggest fight of his career this Saturday (November 19) when he faces light-heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev. Even at 32 years old with numerous titles and a 30-0 record, it’s clear from talking with him that Ward still feels he has a lot to prove. After years of legal setback, 2016 has been his most active in-ring year since 2009. He headlines his first pay-per-view with the stakes not just being financial, but the chance to be universally recognized as the best Pound 4 Pound fighter in the world (a title some would say he’s never lost despite inactivity).

In this candid interview, Ward gives insight into his personal views on Kovalev, Black Lives Matter and the role of boxers, and the fine line between chasing greatness and sound business decisions.

BeatsBoxingMayhem: About your role in Creed, I wanted to get your stance on gym politics. In the movie, you knocked out the Creed character on a gym bet and got to keep his car. With so many cameras and media people around these days, is it a violation for the boxers involved to make something like that public?

Andre Ward: Personally, I come from the old school where what happens in the gym is supposed to stay there. It’s not like that anymore — it’s too many cameras and phones out there. People can’t wait to bust out the door and say something happened.

I like the old set of rules because things happen in the gym. You may have a bad day and not look good. That’s not something 20 people should know about. You get knocked down, things happen. Unfortunately, it’s a different era.

Speaking of it being a different era, the politics of boxing have prevented a few big matchups from going down this year. This is perhaps the one superfight in 2016 where we didn’t have a lot of back and forth in the media. Do you feel this fight has more significance in carrying the sport because so many great fights have fallen through?

Ward: Not really. Of course, I want to do my part to contribute to great fights, but I don’t get caught up in what fights didn’t happen. Boxing is here to stay. We may have a slow year, but next year is looking like a great year in the first quarter. I don’t put too much stake in that.

At super-middleweight, you were able to overwhelm a lot of guys with your physicality on the inside. At 175, I’ve noticed your game has become more about timing and finesse and picking your spots on slower guys. How much of that can be attributed to age and facing naturally bigger men?

Ward: I think it depends on the opponent and what’s needed that night. Just because fans don’t regularly see a particular style or nuance in my game doesn’t mean I’m not still working on it. It just means I wasn’t able to pull it off like I wanted or it wasn’t needed. That’s what makes a great fighter, someone who can show something different every time out. And even remind people of what they haven’t seen in a few years or show some new wrinkles out there.

Going back to this being a different era, I noticed Muhammad Ali is the background of your Twitter page. In his time, he fought tough fights regularly. In this era, Floyd Mayweather had the leverage to be selective in when he took a challenging fight because he controlled the business aspect. With you being the premiere athlete now, how does a boxer go about balancing greatness with financial smartness?

Ward: That’s a great question. It’s definitely up to the individual fighter and their team on what legacy means to them. Is it important to just make money or have a strong resume? It is such a fine line and there is no blueprint on how many tough fights you should have or tune-ups. It’s very tricky.

For me, I have a great team in my lawyer Josh Dubin, my manager James Prince, my promotional team, and trainer. Collectively we come together and make these decisions based on where I’m at, where I want to get to, and how much longer I want to be in the game.

The fine line comes if you continue to take tough fight after tough fight and guys are getting beat up, you’ll be criticized for not being smart. But if you’re real selective, you’ll get criticized for that too. You just have to do the best you can to make sound decisions.

Give me the science behind your jab. Most fighters get countered when they try to repeatedly jab to the body. But I can’t recall you ever getting caught consistently with that punch.

Ward: I definitely get countered from time to time, but I was once told that if you want to be a good fighter, don’t jab. If you want to be a great fighter, learn to use that jab. But it has to be an “educated jab.” Like you said, you go upstairs and downstairs, you fient with it. The jab will save you from a lot [of punishment], you can survive when you’re hurt. You can hide your big shots behind it.

It’s one of those things where it’s easy to get away from it because everyone wants to be a two-fisted fighter. That’s cool but all the greats that I’ve seen, they had a great jab and I want to be great.

A lot of attention is being given to athletes and the role of social protest in sports. Where do you feel your role is as a boxer? Since boxing is not a team sport, there hasn’t been a lot of talk about what boxers can or should be doing to push the discussion forward.

Ward: That’s tough. I’m a man who tries to be lead in whatever he does. I try not to make knee-jerk reactions to get press off of things. I’m also a man of inspiration. If I feel inspired and sought counsel on something, I’ll do it regardless of the backlash I’ll get.

It’s tough with the current things going on because obviously I have an opinion on it I want to share publicly. I think about it all the time. I’m African-American. My children are African-American. There are things they will have to face and deal with. I think before you speak, you need to educate yourself and have a plan with it so you’ll be respected in whatever you feel lead to do.

Having watched you interacting with fans, you’re very personable and friendly. That is contrary to how some portray you in the media. Do you think this fight has or will do a lot to dispel some of the claims of you being standoffish and hard to deal with?

Ward: I think I’ve always been who I am. People have to realize the boxing media is not very big. It’s very small and incestuous; this guy knows that guy and this guy. Unfortuntely, one person may have a personal vendetta for whatever reason. They spew out venom without the facts or coming to get to know a person. Other writers will follow up and do the same thing.

When I was younger, it used to bother me because I felt it was wrong and unjust. But as I get older and matured, I’m confident if an individual gets to meet me, they are going to get the person they’re supposed to get. And that is a person who’s appreciative, thankful and somebody who cares about people. So I don’t worry about that no more because the cream always rises to the top. The key is to continously be me.

A few months ago, we talked briefly about the alleged racist comments Sergey Kovalev had made back in 2013 and the Adonis Stevenson “monkey” incident. Recently, he also made a sexist comment to Claressa Shields about needing her to be in the kitchen. Although he said he was joking, do personal incidents like that give you more motivation going into a fight?

Ward: At the end of the day, I can’t bring his personal shortcomings, views on race, and life into the ring. The boxing ring is a very delicate place. I just make a mental note on the type of individual I’m dealing with.

When we get in the ring, we understand a fighter’s struggle, where they come from and their triumphs. We understand that so we can know who we’re truly dealing with. So when those things are said, we add them to the chalkboard to dissect the opponent we’re facing.

What’s your Hip-Hop playlist looking like these days?

Ward: I don’t listent to overall Hip-Hop anymore, but I do listen to gospel rap. There’s some hittas out there, man. Lecrae is one of my favorites. You have Tagoshi, Trip Lee, Transparent, Black Knight; the list goes on and on. These are guys that love God, have a positive message, bangin’ beats and a ton of talent. People definitely need to check those guys out.

Even though you’re not near retirement, when you talk I can sometimes tell you can see your life after boxing. After Kovalev, win or lose, do you feel this will be the climax of your career?

Ward: I feel I have a lot left in the tank. I speak to a lot of guys who are retired, and they tell me “you’ll know.” At the same time, I’ve seen a lack of preparation from athletes. When we’re young and doing good, we feel like it’ll last forever. Mentally, we don’t set ourselves up for the end. I’ve made sure that mentally I’ve prepared for it in every single way.

Andre Ward vs. Sergey Kovalev airs live on HBO pay-per-view Saturday November 19. Friday’s weigh-in will be streamed live on BeatsBoxingMayhem.

 

 

 

Sergey Kovalev

We’re now just days away from Sergey Kovalev defending his light-heavyweight titles against fellow undefeated P4P fighter Andre Ward. Much attention has been placed on their recent fights to get hints on how things will play out Saturday night. Although winning easily on the cards, Kovalev had difficulty over the summer in finishing off Isaac Chilemba.Β In this exclusive HBO discussion, Kovalev discusses how the challenges of the Chilemba bout have prepared him for the biggest fight of his career on Saturday.

Your last fight was in your native Russia. What did you learn about training outside the US and fighting Isaac Chilemba, a fighter you said has similarities with Andre Ward?

Β I was very excited to be fighting in my home town and very happy because for a long time I didn’t fight there. The most important thing for me was that I fought there as a world champion and I defended my titles. There was little bit more pressure when I fought there because I had more responsibility, I had my family, my friends and everybody who knows me in Russia to take care of. I did not want to let everyone down, but I think I gave good fight and all fans enjoy it. Also, Chilemba is tough fighter, very good defense, so he is not a fighter that you can think will be easy. The fight against Chilemba was like a test for my fight with Andre Ward. We never know what Andre Ward will bring against me onNovember 19, he is good defense and is fast so I must be ready for anything. We are preparing for best possible Andre Ward in camp, so all I can do is train hard and prepare with my coach and my team. I am going in the ring with strong belief that I will get victory.