Posts Tagged ‘Top Rank’

Crawford_Diaz

Before they do battle Saturday on HBO, unified junior welterweight champion Terence Crawford and gold medalist Felix Diaz are on deck this afternoon for the official weigh-in. The live stream opens at 2 p.m. ET. Tomorrow’s HBO card airs at 10:15 p.m. ET.

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pacquiao_vargas_knockdown

Manny Pacquiao has reached the point where the years of hard fights are supposed to have taken their toll. He should be susceptible to younger fighters that are faster, stronger and hungrier. Saturday night that fighter was supposed to be Jesse Vargas — 10 years younger, 5 inches taller and possessing a 4 inch reach advantage. Instead, Pacquiao showed that he remains an all-time great way ahead of most competition by scoring a second round knockdown and winning a unanimous decision to recapture the WBO welterweight title.

It wasn’t a flawless performance by any means. Pacquiao isn’t the whirlwind of motion he was six years ago. Vargas had his moments were he caught Manny flush with right hands and appeared to have him stunned on a few occasions. But this fight made it clear that outside of Floyd Mayweather, there are few fighters from 140-147 pounds that can get the job done against Pacquiao.

pacquiao_vargas

FIRST HALF CHESS MATCH: Vargas’s game plan was to play the role of counter-puncher and catch Pacquiao when he rushed in behind the straight left. When they got close, he’d fire off short body shots (some went low) that forced Pacquiao back outside to reset. Occasionally, he’d lull Manny to sleep on the outside and catch him clean with a right cross.

The strategy resulted in enough clean, effective punching for me to give Vargas rounds 1, 4, and 6 over the first half. However, Pacquiao held a 57-56 advantage on the scorecards due to nailing Vargas with a counter left for a flash knockdown.

pacquiao_vargas1

SECOND HALF WIPEOUT: Once Pacquiao figured out Vargas’ rhythm, it ceased being competitive from a scoring standpoint. Vargas would land the occasional solid right hand, but they couldn’t negate the volume of straights lefts and right hooks that caused swelling over his right eye and split open his face. On my scorecard, Pacquiao swept rounds 7-12 for a 117-110 score. Official scorecards had Pacquiao winning 114-113 and 118-109 twice.

NEXT ORDER OF BUSINESS: Hardcore fans have been clamoring for a “passing the torch” match with Pacquiao taking on young star Terence Crawford. After some pressure from Stephen A. Smith, Manny eventually said he wouldn’t mind facing Crawford at 140 pounds. Considering Pacquiao hasn’t competed at 140 in seven years, and his management team previously dismissing Crawford due to his “style,” I doubt the fight ever happens. A fight against the winner of Danny Garcia vs. Keith Thurman at the end of 2017 is a little more feasible, but I’d wager Pacquiao takes a safer contest like Amir Khan. Or, considering he was at ringside, we could get a rematch no one wants to see in the sparring contest that was Mayweather-Pacquiao.

 

Lomachenko_win

NEW YORK — I think it’s safe to say Vasyl Lomchenko is the most dangerous and talented 7-fight boxer in the world today. Since turning pro in late 2013, he’s already made history by claiming titles in two weight classes in just seven fights with his KO of the Year contender win over the Roman Martinez.

Roy Jones has been singing Lomachenko’s praises for the last year, calling him one of the sport’s top Pound 4 Pound fighters. Top Rank CEO Bob Arum went into full hype mode proclaiming him the “best of his era,” similar to how “Muhammad Ali was the best of his era.”

Like most, I love watching Lomachenko go to work. His footwork is impeccable. The way his mixes setup and hard shot combinations should come with a caption that says “Sweet Science.” Nonetheless, a dominant win over Gary Russell and Roman Martinez, to go along with a decision loss to Orlando Salido, do not constitute P4P #1 nor “best of his era.”

This is the main reason the negotiation collapse between him and Nicholas Walters at featherweight was so disappointing. Orlando Salido, who drew against Francisco Vargas last week in a Fight of Year contender, might be next up in an intriguing grudge rematch. I pick Lomachenko to stop him in that one, and further options that open up at junior lightweight include Jezreel Corrales, Jose Pedraza (if Arum and Haymon are truly playing nice), and even another try at the Walters fight.

Two wins against any combination of the above fighters could possibly be enough to get Lomachenko into lower Top 10 P4P discussions.


Verdejo_Martinez

I like watching Felix Verdejo because I realized long ago he’s not the savior of Puerto Rican boxing. If you’re expecting him to be the next Felix Trinidad, Miguel Cotto or even Ivan Calderon, I understand why’d you’d be upset with the listless nature of his recent performances.

Yes, he’s very popular among his PR countryman and has crossover potential. But being a boxing star does not automatically translate to “all-time great” or even a “hall of famer.” Let the kid face a live body before we make definitive statements about his potential.

Crawford_Postol

Check out the opening press conference for the July 23 junior welterweight unification matchup between Terence Crawford and Viktor Postol. The live coverage begins at 4 p.m. ET.

Pacquiao_Bradley_3

LAS VEGAS — Before indulging in the main card at 9 p.m. ET, stream the untelevised undercard for Pacquiao-Bradley III starting at 6 p.m. ET. The list of fights are as follows:

  • Light heavyweights, 10 rounds: Oleksandr Gvozdyk (9-0, 7 KO) vs Nadjib Mohammedi (37-4, 23 KO)
  • Welterweights, 10 rounds: Konstantin Ponomarev (29-0, 13 KO) vs Brad Solomon (26-0, 9 KO)
  • Welterweights, 8 rounds: Egis Kavaliauskas (12-0, 11 KO) vs Deniz Ilbay (15-0, 8 KO)
  • Super middleweights, 6 rounds: Leon Bauer (7-0, 6 KO) vs Ilshat Khusnulgatin (12-1, 6 KO)
  • Lightweights, 4 rounds: Devin Haney (4-0, 3 KO) vs Rafael Vazquez (2-4, 0 KO)

 

Pacquiao_Bradley_3

BeatsBoxingMayhem is providing a live stream for today’s weigh-in for Pacquiao-Bradley III. The event begins at 6 p.m. ET. Check back here tomorrow at 6 p.m. ET for a stream of the untelevised undercard.

The pay-per-view card begins tomorrow at 9 p.m. ET.

Mikey_Garcia

Photo Credit: Chris Farina/Top Rank

After two years of fighting in the courtroom instead of the ring, Mikey Garcia is finally a free agent.

The former featherweight and super featherweight champion was granted his release today from Top Rank, confirmed company president Bob Arum on The Morning Punch-In Show with RB & Jae.

“We’ve given Mikey his release. So he’s free to do whatever he wants,” said Arum.

Garcia first launched his suit in April 2014, claiming violations of the Muhammad Ali Act as Top Rank allegedly “failed to make required disclosures to Garcia concerning, among other things, the amount of money it would make from each of Garcia’s bouts, therefore entitling Garcia to additional damages.” Garcia has opted to not fight since scoring a unanimous decision over Juan Carlos Burgos in January 2014.

According to Arum, unrealistic purse demands from Garcia’s camp was the main reason for his inactivity. A proposed fight with Terence Crawford quickly fell apart, allegedly due to excessive purse demands from Garcia.

“Other promoters/managers made runs at him and that screwed him up,” said Arum. “And yeah, we didn’t offer him a Crawford fight because he wanted more money than Crawford. Crawford was the champion and that means something.”

The 29 year old Garcia is 34-0 (28 KOs) and last competed in the super featherweight division. At press time, he could not be reached for comment.