24/03 – Boxing Update by Paul Ready

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As British Summer Time officially begins in the early hours of Sunday morning, everyone becomes more upbeat.

Longer evenings, beach bodies made at salad bars and of course our glorious sport moves towards the business part of the season. 

  

With Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao finally announced it has yielded a much-needed “double vodka & redbull” to proceedings.

Let’s focus on where we are in the UK.

James DeGale (who I interviewed & spent time with last week) is expecting his IBF world title shot against Andre Dirrell to be announced momentarily.

Warriors Boxing based out of Florida won the purse-bid with an eye-watering $3.1m. Chunky will have to travel to America to make history in May.

Kevin Mitchell off the back of his career-best performance over Daniel Estrada in January has another crack at a world-title against WBC Lightweight champion Jorge Linares.

Matchroom have pulled a masterstroke delivering that fight in Mitchell’s home-town of London – the roof will come off the O2 on the 30th May.

Tony Sims told me a few weeks ago that Kevin Mitchell is the most talented fighter he has ever trained – the 30 yr old does things in camp that you can’t teach.

Mitchell brimming with confidence and I simply cannot wait for that fight.

On the same bill Lee Selby faces IBF Featherweight world champion Evgeny Gradovich.

Selby is the bookies favourite for this fight. I spoke to Selby last month and he was out in Omaha for Gradovich’s last fight. The 28 yr old perceives him as a similar come-forward fighter to Joel Brunker – the Welshman is confident he will break him down and stop him late.

Former two-weight world champion Ricky Burns makes his US debut on 9th May against Omar Figueroa.

Rickster has endured a hellish 12 mths breaking his jaw, losing his world title to Terence Crawford, a long protracted court-case with a former promoter, change of trainer to Tony Sims and culminated with a loss in the first fight under him.

Anything that could have gone wrong for the 31 yr old had. I think it says a great deal about his resolve that he still has that desire to fight – I hope he comes back with a bang.

Anthony Joshua has flown slightly under the radar this year due a back-injury.

The Olympic gold medallist was due to face Kevin “Kingpin” Johnson at the end of January – which has been rescheduled for 30th May – some card that will be!

When Joshua steps in the ring next month in Newcastle against a yet unnamed opponent – it will mark a near six month absence since his last fight.

The 25 yr old was involved in a brief spat on Twitter with former amateur foe Dillian Whyte some weeks back. Whyte who boxed on the recent Carl Frampton and Chris Avalos bill is very keen to face AJ again in the pro-ranks – I hope we get to see that score settled once and for all this summer.

Matchroom Promoter Eddie Hearn is reportedly due to meet Barry McGuigan of Cyclone Promotions tomorrow (Wednesday) morning in London to “thrash-out” a deal for Carl Frampton to face Scott Quigg this summer.

The two Super-Bantamweights have long been affiliated with one-another – all being well we can finally see this match-up in what I anticipate to be THE fight in the UK this year.

Amir Khan seems to be the one man without a date for the summer prom so far. He was stood up again by Floyd Mayweather and unless he moves quick he could be dancing on his own for a while.

Adrien Broner has declared on Twitter & Instagram that he would be keen to face the 28 yr old, but after The Problem was found out at 147lbs against Marcos Maidana – I feel he needs to box a bit longer at 140lbs before moving up naturally.

So who does that leave for Khan?

Timothy Bradley would be a good option but it was challenging enough to get Bob Arum and Al Haymon round the table for Mayweather v Pacquiao. I’m not going to hold my breath on that one.

 

So as you can see, there are fights announced and plenty bubbling in the background.

 

The next few weeks and months will be seductive – time to musk up lads…

 

@PaulReady

@EliteBoxingNet

http://www.eliteboxing,net

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How the Boxing landscape lies so far in 2015… by Paul Ready

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Happy New Year to one and all.

To quote Michael Woods of The Sweet Science in America:

“I would like boxing to get to a point where so much of our coverage is not regarding negotiations’ and will they or won’t they conjecture.”

That is a vision that I think we all yearn for in the future of the sport. With that being said, let’s look at how the landscape lies currently – which fights are confirmed and who the big-names have been linked with:

 

Confirmed

17th January – MGM Grand, Las Vegas

Bermaine Stiverne v Deontay Wilder – WBC Heavyweight title.

Leo Santa Cruz v Jesus Ruiz – WBC Super Bantamweight title.

 

24th January – 1st Bank Centre, Colorado

Mike Alvarado v Brandon Rios III – Welterweight.*

*Alvarado recently arrested on weapons charge. Fight could be postponed*

Gilberto Ramirez v Maxim Vlasov – Super Middleweight.

 

31st January – O2 Arena, London

Anthony Joshua v Kevin Johnson – WBC International Heavyweight title.

Kevin Mitchell v Daniel Estrada – WBC Silver Lightweight title.

John Ryder v Les Sherrington – WBO International Middleweight title.

Tyler Goodjohn v John Wayne Hibbert – WBC International Light-Welter title.

Ricky Boylan v Tommy Martin – English Light-Welter title.

 

21st February – Monte Carlo, Monaco

Gennady Golovkin v Martin Murray – WBA Super & WBC Interim titles.

Lee Haskins v Omar Lamiri – EBU Bantamweight title.

Hughie Fury v Andriy Rudenko – Heavyweight.

 

21st February – O2 Arena, Berlin

Arthur Abraham v Paul Smith II – WBO Super-Middle world title.

 

28th February – O2 Arena, London

Tyson Fury v Christian Hammer – WBO International Heavyweight title.

Chris Eubank Jr v Dmitry Chudinov – WBA Interim Middleweight world title.

 

28th February – Odyssey Arena, Belfast

Carl Frampton v Chris Avalos – IBF Super-Bantamweight world title

 

11th April – First Direct Arena, Leeds

Josh Warrington v Dennis Tubieron – WBC Featherweight title eliminator.

Martin J Ward v Maxi Hughes – Super Featherweight.

 

There may be some that I’ve missed and no doubt the above confirmed fights will swell significantly in the coming weeks.

So that covers what is signed & sealed so far, but where are we with the pending super-fights and other big names?

 

Kell Brook

IBF Welterweight champion Brook is due to make his long-awaited comeback after the horrific injury he suffered in Autumn last year.

With an inaugural homecoming in March scheduled – attention turns to who he is likely to face. Names such as Juan Manuel Marquez and Paulie Malignaggi have been linked, but he could end up facing his mandatory challenger Jo Jo Dan.

Amir Khan

After a complete shut-out against Devon Alexander before Christmas, Khan has made no secret in his desire to face Floyd Mayweather Jr in May.

The consensus is he will miss out again and a blockbuster fight at Wembley in the summer against Kell Brook for me appears the most logical and lucrative move.

 

Carl Froch

Strong rumours persist that the fight against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr in Las Vegas is signed for 28th March – all we are awaiting is the confirmation.

The fight will be a dual PPV in the UK and in America on HBO. James DeGale is the Cobra’s IBF mandatory and he has had an extension until the end of January to either negotiate with DeGale or vacate – smart money is on the latter.

 

James DeGale

To continue the “dominos-effect” theme in British boxing – DeGale will fight next for the IBF world title, be it against Froch or Andre Dirrell who is next in the rankings.

Promoter Eddie Hearn has openly discussed the possibility of making James DeGale v George Groves II for said belt but whether Dirrell would side step remains to be seen.

Regardless DeGale v Groves II is a must for 2015.

 

George Groves

Similar to DeGale, Groves’ next fight is also for a world title – the WBC belt against champion Anthony Dirrell, brother of Andre…. (try to stay with me!!)

Groves has made no secret in his desire to fight for the WBC belt next, if he was to win a fight with DeGale in a unification bout (should he win of course) would make the rematch even bigger.

 

Ricky Burns

Former two-weight world champion Burns is now back at Lightweight after his last fight was at Light-Welter.

The Rickster has already signed to face a big-name in a rumoured World title fight in America – with confirmation imminent.

 

 

Floyd Mayweather Jr

THE fight we should have had in 2009 but still haven’t – yawn – is “close” to being made.

If I’m honest, I’ll believe it when they are both in the ring – so I will refrain from boring you on it. I doubt it will happen so rumours have been circulating of Mayweather v Cotto II as Cotto’s ongoing talks with Canelo Alvarez appear to be dragging on.

In truth none of us bar Floyd & Al Haymon have any clue who he will fight next.

Miguel Cotto

As above talks are ongoing with Canelo Alvarez’s camp regarding a fight on Cinco De Mayo. Personally I’d love to see that fight – Puerto Rico v Mexico is one of the fiercest rivalries in the sport.

A rematch with Mayweather Jr doesn’t excite me if I’m honest – regardless of having Freddie Roach in his corner.

Gennady Golovkin is now mandatory for his WBC title and that would be monstrous in Autumn.

So as you can see there is plenty happening in the background. This January in boxing feels like the UK football transfer window has a rival with the rumour mill going in to overdrive.

By the end of this month we should know who all the big-hitters are up against.

2015 could truly be spectacular….

 

@PaulReady

@EliteBoxingNet

http://www.eliteboxing.net

Future 147lb Kings by Paul Ready

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The 147lb division for 7 years has been lauded with superlatives as THE weight class in this era. Sat at the top of the throne has been Floyd Mayweather Jr, the P4P king has been impossible to overthrow. The one man who could and some say would have beaten Floyd is Manny Pacquiao, the fight due to boxing politics has never happened.

Accelerating rapidly in the slipstream are a number of Welterweight fighters who believe they have what it takes to be crowned the next king.

Keith Thurman (23-0: 21KO’s – 1 no contest)

One Time is billed as the next big thing in the 147lb division. A frightening KO record that arguably only Gennady Golovkin can rival; Thurman has promised to destroy the Welterweight division and has aspirations to become in his own words “a living legend”.

Already a highly avoided fighter due to brutal destructions of Jesus Soto Karrass and Julio Diaz, the 25 yr old needs a big name scalp on his CV. Thurman was in the crowd for Porter v Brook and has been touted as a potential opponent for Brook which is far too dangerous as a voluntary defence for me.

Displaying an intelligent boxing brain inside & outside the ropes is a rare trait but one Thurman has in abundance, he will certainly be around the top of the tree in the not too distant future.

 

 

Errol Spence (13-0: 10KO’s)

Spence is a slick boxer, patient, picks his punches well. It’s easy to get carried away, but he looks special. Appears to be no ego with this guy either yet, one hopes he stays humble as the victories and women pile up.

The 24 yr old 2012 Olympian became a somewhat overnight sensation for allegedly knocking Adrien Broner down in sparring and giving Floyd Mayweather a black eye whilst training at Mayweather Gym last year. Spence received a black eye himself, in what some described as the toughest sparring Mayweather has had for some years. Mayweather then proceeded to eject him  immediately from the gym in disgust, for him to only be invited back later that day.

Spence needs to now face a former contender as a benchmark of where he really is in the division.

 

 

Kell Brook (33-0: 22KO’s)

The newly-crowned IBF world champion is now amongst the elite within the division. Special K defeated Shawn Porter on points in a career best performance in Carson, California this month. Brook has taken some time to arrive on this stage but you feel this is just the start of things to come for him.

The hard-hitting Brit will need to continue to display his crisp boxing ability as a queue has formed for him. Next up will be a voluntary defence with likes of Brandon Rios being touted as an opponent.

An all British stadium showdown with arch-nemesis Amir Khan will take place next summer; possibly at Wembley Stadium with the caveat for the victor a ticket in the “Mayweather Sweepstakes”.

 

 

Danny Garcia (29-0: 17KO’s)

Swift has stagnated somewhat since his one-sided victory over Lucas Matthysse 12mths ago. Garcia, 26 has been slaughtered on social media with his perceived cherry-picking of recent opponents Mauricio Herrera and Rod Salka. If you were to visit his Instagram page the comments section is filled with cherry emojis and various images of Garcia displayed on cans of Cherry Coca Cola.

Let’s be clear, Garcia has all the attributes to be one of top fighters in the 147lb division when he considers moving up. To regain credibility he needs to fight a big name as when he is thrives under pressure. Let’s not forget he was the underdog for both Amir Khan and Lucas Matthysse, two career best wins.

I believe he was wrapped up in the emotion of fighting in his “mother-land” Puerto Rico against Herrera, took him lightly and thus had to fight a “gimme” in Salka as a confidence booster. I expect him to fight a credible name before 2014 is out.

 

 

Tim Bradley (31-1: 12KO’s)

Desert Storm will be the main man in the division once Floyd Mayweather & Manny Pacquiao hang the gloves up. Bradley, 30 has the strongest resume of the leading pack with notable victories over Juan Manuel Marquez, Devon Alexander, Lamont Peterson and of course a contentious win over Pacquaio in 2012.

The former WBO champion lost to Pacquiao in their rematch in April surrendering his “0” in the process. The orthodox counter-puncher showed some real heart winning Fight Of The Year in 2013 against club-handed Ruslan Provodinkov.

Bradley has long been in the shadows of the big 2, but once they have gone his opportunity to be crowned will never be better.

 

 

Shawn Porter (24-1-1: 15KO’s)

Former IBF champion Showtime lost his title to Kell Brook earlier this month. It would be foolish and naive to dismiss Porter’s credentials in light of this defeat. Victories over Julio Diaz, Devon Alexander and the mauling of Paulie Malignaggi illustrates that the 26 yr old is a dangerous animal.

Described as a mini Mike Tyson, Porter is not renowned as the most fluid of fighters; he tends to lunge in with jabs and throw a cluster of hooks. Putting his opponent under constant pressure until they crumble.

A fight between Porter and Keith Thurman was discussed post-Brook, it’s one I believe both men need at this stage of their careers.

 

 

@PaulReady

@EliteBoxingNet

http://www.eliteboxing.net

@SpecialKBrook A star is born…. by Paul Ready

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He came, he saw and he conquered.

Ezekiel Brinsly Reid “Kell” Brook won and won big on Saturday night at the Stub Hub Arena in Carson, California.

Brook, 28 achieved a life-long dream by becoming the IBF Welterweight world champion.

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He is now recognised as an elite fighter within the illustrious 147lb division, Special K can proudly exhale like a peacock as he has become a global star overnight.

The current Welterweight world champions read as follows: Floyd “Money” Mayweather WBA & WBC champion; Manny Pacquiao WBO champion and Kell Brook IBF champion.

It is surreal to see his name alongside the two of the greatest fighters of this generation, but this is something he must get used to.

Brook has acted like the home fighter all of last week, appearing cool, calm and composed like a man driving his own destiny. He has been dismissed in a condescending manner for some time by the super-power pugilist nation; Porter was expected to walk through Brook with ease.

Credit must be given trainer Dominic Ingle and the Ingle Gym for the 16 yrs of education to Kell at their fabled Wincobank gym. Brook graduated on Saturday evening with a Msc. The meticulous preparation that took place ensured no stone was left unturned from 3 weeks trans-atlantic acclimatization, employing nutritionists, strength and conditioning coaches right down to the below motivational white-board in the dressing room on fight-night.

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“Showtime” Shawn Porter was in his face from the first bell, applying aggression and putting Brook under intense pressure. Welcome to the elite-level. Kell could hardly breath. Brook struggled early on to find his rhythm and let his hands go, he rocked Porter at the end of the 1st with a big-shot but the bell saved the defending champion. In the clinches Showtime adopted prison-yard tactics headbutting Brook which culminated in a cut above his right eye in the 2nd. The crisper, cleaner shots were delivered from the Brit as he illustrated he was the better boxer throughout. Porter suffered a cut in the 6th and ran out of steam as we headed towards the championship rounds. Brook sensed that he would need to raise his work-rate to avoid an unjust points defeat. He done so by winning the 2nd half of the fight taking 2 score-cards in his favour 117-111, 116-112 the final a 114-114 draw.

Do you prefer an aggressor or do you prefer a boxer? A boxer will always prevail for me on points.

Once Brook has taken some well earned time off to celebrate and saviour this moment with his family, he needs to get himself back to work as a queue is forming to face him. He is now a wanted man, I wouldn’t be surprised to see old fashioned Wild-West style posters donning Brook’s face plastered over the West Coast.

Devon Alexander, Keith Thurman, Juan Manuel Marquez, Danny Garcia and Marcos Maidana were all sat ringside, judging by the post-fight videos I watched last night, they were all impressed and will now all want a piece of Kell.

Amir Khan has been very supportive to the 28 yr old in the build-up last week, Khan is an intelligent man, he knows that a bout between them both is a million-pound-money-spinner. Khan was on the Skysports commentary panel and as subtle as a brick he threw his name in for consideration. It will be a bigger fight and rivalry than Froch v Groves, mark my words.

The history and animosity between both men spans a decade of back & forth bitching. It is a PPV blockbuster that will capture the public’s imagination summer 2015.

You feel this is just the start of bigger things to come from Kell Brook; this wasn’t his career-defining performance, his Froch v Bute, Calzaghe v Lacy, Hatton v Tszyu, Benn v McClellan moment is yet to come.

All of the lights by Kanye West which is Brook’s entrance music rang out post-fight as the fans departed the Stub Hub Arena, the final chorus has the lyrics; “We going all the way this time”, I don’t think you could find a more apt sentence to summarise the direction which Kell is now heading in.

@PaulReady

@EliteBoxingNet

http://www.eliteboxing.net