Posts tagged HBO

Ruslan Provodnikov vs Chris Algieri Weigh-In


Photos by Jason Costa for Hit First

by Sarah Deming

What got me out of bed and over to the Barclays Center for Friday’s weigh-in was the image of Ruslan Provodnikov in dinosaur Underoos. Provodnikov (23-2, 16 KOs) will defend his junior welterweight title against Chris Algieri (19-0, 8 KOs) in the main event of Saturday’s HBO card, and although most boxing writers have cast him as some kind of Siberian missing link, I still think he’s smarter than the average bear.

Ruslan recites Russian poetry during his ring walk, eschews materialism, and says he grew up sniffing glue. Even if his pull quotes are tweaked in translation, they still beat anything Chris Algieri says.  

Preview: Sergio Martinez vs Miguel Cotto


Photo by Chris Farina for Top Rank

by Gautham Nagesh

Madison Square Garden in midtown Manhattan will once again be the center of the boxing universe on Saturday, when middleweight champion Sergio Martinez defends his crown against Puerto Rican icon Miguel Cotto.

As the champion the Argentine is a deserving favorite, but the New York crowd will undoubtedly be heavily boricua and squarely in Cotto’s corner. This is the kind of fight I would have bought a ticket to see myself, if I hadn’t just returned from an international trip. Instead our senior writer in New York Sarah Deming will handle fight night coverage, while I will be at home hoping neither of these likable champions takes too much damage in the fight.

Eight Count: Should BHop retire? Herschel Walker Is Crazy

by Anna John

Who’s in the mood for some links? You? Great! Here’s what we’re reading at Stiff Jab’s offices here in suddenly balmy Washington, D.C.

1) Earlier this month, Bernard Hopkins thrilled Chocolate City with his ageless, obvious victory over Beibut Shumanov and this week, we start off our link roundup with a story about the alien wonder: George Foreman thinks he should retire. When I first heard that, I thought he was hating. Turns out he’s just concerned and filled with admiration for Hopkins:

Foreman — who famously fought until he was 48-years-old — says he was incredibly impressed with 49-year-old B-Hop’s commanding victory over Beibut Shumenov this weekend … but cautions, “Don’t tempt fate…Leave while you can. When the curtain closes, you don’t want to be laying on your back in the middle of the ring.” [TMZ]

2) Speaking of the oldest man in boxing, he has no interest in my dream event, a matchup against Floyd “Money” Mayweather. Damnit!

"Hopkins has claimed he could come all the way back down to middleweight— where he also owns the record, this for the longest reigning middleweight titlist in boxing history— for such a fight…Whether or not Hopkins can even come close to making weight is anyone’s guess. Mayweather, who has never fought above the 154 lb. division at any point during his 18-year pro career, doesn’t seem particularly interested in finding out…" [Boxing Scene]

Chris Algieri vs Ruslan Provodnikov on June 14 in Brooklyn

Chris Algieri photo by Ed Diller for Star Boxing

by Sarah Deming

BROOKLYN, N.Y.—Junior welterweight contender Ruslan Provodnikov wants bigger game, but he’ll settle for Chris Algieri.

After his thrilling loss to Timothy Bradley in our 2013 Fight of the Year, the Siberian Rocky dropped back down to 140 last October to grab Mike Alvarado’s WBO belt. He makes his first title defense June 14 at the Barclays Center against the undefeated Algieri, broadcast live on HBO Boxing After Dark. The baby-faced Algieri is a former kickboxing champion who sells a lot of tickets in Huntingdon, New York.

By the time Wednesday’s presser at the Barclays Center rolled around, Provodnikov seemed to have processed his initial crankiness about the choice of opponent and joined in the general enthusiasm of Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark, HBO’s Peter Nelson, Artie Pellullo of Banner Promotions, Joe Deguardia of Star Boxing, and Kevin Rooney of DiBella Promotions. Top Rank’s Bob Arum, also co-promoting, took a pass for his grandson’s bar mitzvah.

Manny Pacquiao Beats Tim Bradley In Rematch

Photo by Chris Farina for Top Rank

by Gautham Nagesh

If there were any doubts about whether Manny Pacquiao is a superior fighter than Tim Bradley Jr., the Filipino welterweight put them to bed on Saturday night in Las Vegas on HBO Pay Per View.

The Pacman overcame a spirited early effort from Bradley to win a convincing decision at the MGM Grand, avenging his controversial loss in their first bout last year. This time there could be no debate: Bradley threw everything he had against Pacquiao in the early rounds, but Pacman took it all and kept coming.

Bradley landed a number of crashing rights early in the fight, but it was Pacquiao’s dynamite left hand that ruled the evening, as it has so many times before. Pacquiao’s speed and effortless power were the difference in the end. Bradley left his sizable heart into the ring, but he simply did not have the talent to match Pacquiao.

Preview: Sergey Kovalev vs. Cedric Agnew

Photos by Rich Graessle for Main Events

by Raymundo Dioses

Russian super-puncher Sergey ‘Krusher’ Kovalev will face Chicago’s Cedric Agnew in a match-up of unbeaten light heavyweights on HBO Saturday night from Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.

Agnew, (26-0, 13 KOs) is unbeaten, yet considered a soft-touch who was supposed to set ‘Krusher’ for a puncher vs. puncher mega bout with light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson this fall on HBO. Stevenson will be defending his title against Andrzej Fonfara in May; Fonfara, (27-2, 15 KOs) has faced better competition than Agnew, but is also considered a walk-through bout so HBO could make the Kovalev-Stevenson fight before the calendars turn.

However, events this week threw a proverbial punch in the best laid plans of men. Stevenson (23-1, 20 KO) aligned himself with shadowy advisor Al Haymon, and the Fonfara fight was shipped to HBO rival Showtime. Most of the industry sees this move as a buzzkill, scuttle-butting a potential knockdown, knockout-fest between two 175-pound lions.

Ashanti To Sing Anthem At Manny Pacquiao vs Tim Bradley II


by Anna John

Details have started emerging regarding Manny Pacquiao vs. Tim Bradley II—Electric Boogaloo. Stand up and put your hand over your heart for singer Ashanti, who has been summoned all the way from the year 2002 to sing the national anthem for the highly-anticipated HBO Pay Per View event that’s going down on April 12th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Ashanti Shequoiya Douglas, the Grammy award-winning singer whose eponymous debut album outsold Alicia Keys and Lauryn Hill’s respective debuts in April of 2002 actually has familial ties to the Sweet Science. She will be rooting for Manny Pacquiao, according to a release from Pacquiao promoter Top Rank.

"I’m such a huge fan of Manny Pacquiao! I have family in the boxing business — Howard Davis, Jr. and Dyah Davis,” Ashanti said.

Pacquiao, who has been known to rock a mic himself, personally asked Ashanti to serenade the millions who will be tuning in after the two found themselves seated together recently at Madison Square Garden.

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Beats Brian Vera In Rematch, Lomachenko Falls Short Against Salido


Photos by Chris Farina for Top Rank

by Gautham Nagesh

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (above) was not raised as a fighter, and he doesn’t always behave like one. But the son of el Gran Campeon is a fighter nonetheless, and the ultimate argument for nature over nurture.

A focused, lively Chavez Jr. battered the game Brian Vera to win their super middleweight rematch convincingly in San Antonio on HBO Saturday Night. Chavez Jr. looked like a different fighter after making weight and preparing properly for the first time in recent memory. This version of Chavez Jr. was too big and too strong for Vera, blasting him with hard right hands for most of the fight.

The final result was a unanimous decision for Chavez Jr. Stiff Jab scored the fight 116-111 for Chavez Jr. Vera had his moments, since Chavez Jr. remains extremely hittable despite improved head movement. But Junior was the harder puncher, and used his jab to keep the fight outside for most of the rounds. Vera did better when things moved in close, but Chavez adjusted and scored with hard body shots up close. In the end Chavez was just too talented for Vera (below), a limited brawler with heart to spare.


Mikey Garcia & Bryant Jennings Make Headway At MSG

Bryant Jennings Photo by Rob Epstein for Gary Shaw Productions

by Gautham Nagesh

They say if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere.

I’m not sure how true that is in boxing anymore, but the future looks bright for heavyweight Bryant Jennings (above) and junior lightweight Mikey Garcia (below).The unbeaten duo both won convincingly on Saturday night at the Theater at Madison Square Garden, dispatching Artur Szpilka and Juan Carlos Burgos respectively.

Jennings made his HBO debut memorable by hurting Szpilka several times before stopping him in the 10th and final round. A vicious left to Szpilka’s solar plexus dropped the Pole in the 6th round, and a snapping counter left hook sent Szpilka crashing into the ropes a second time in the 10th. Jennings looked like a cagey veteran, not someone who picked up boxing in his mid-20s. His progress has been so dramatic, the thought of him fighting for a heavyweight title no longer seems absurd.

Mikey Garcia photos by Carlos Baeza for Thompson Boxing Promotions

Preview: Lamont Peterson vs Dierry Jean, Mikey Garcia & More


Photos by Tom Casino for Showtime

by Gautham Nagesh

After a slow start to 2014, boxing kicks into high gear this weekend. There will be total of five shows on national TV this Friday & Saturday, plus assorted other shows across the country. 

Of most interest to our readers is the Saturday night Golden Boy Promotions show at the D.C. Armory, headlined by Lamont Peterson vs. Dierry Jean (above) at 140 lbs. We’ll be ringside for the card, which also features Gabriel Rosado vs. Jermell Charlo in an intriguing crossroads fight, while the undercard is stacked with local prospects.

But that’s just the start. HBO has a show at Madison Square Garden on Saturday headlined by Mikey Garcia vs. Juan Carlos Burgos at 130 lbs. Local light heavyweight Thomas “Top Dog” Williams Jr. will headline on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights tomorrow, while NBC Sports Network and Fox Sports 1 will also bring us shows from Atlantic City and Indio, Calif. on the same night.

Full previews and predictions after the jump:


Jean Pascal Beats Lucian Bute In Battle Of Montreal

by Gautham Nagesh 

For ten rounds on Saturday night, Montreal fans watched their hero come undone.

The long-awaited battle of local light heavyweight contenders Jean Pascal and Lucian Bute had been a farce. Pascal spent ten rounds patiently disabusing the 20,000 fans in attendance of any notion that Bute was worthy of their admiration. The Romanian-Canadian looked tentative, and even frightened at times. Bute’s confidence has been long gone since Carl Froch took his heart that May evening in Nottingham, and not even the friendly confines of the Bell Centre could bring it back.

Once, Bute’s entrance to U2’s “Where The Streets Have No Name” had been one of the sport’s great spectacles, even for those of us that revile Bono and Co. Last night it sounded like a requiem. For ten rounds, Bute looked like a man with no business in the prize fighting ring. There is nowhere to hide inside the ropes, and nothing like boxing to expose what exactly a man has inside. For ten rounds last night on HBO, Lucian Bute looked like beaten man. But the fight was scheduled for 12.

Wladimir Klitschko Cements Heavyweight Supremacy, Kills Writer’s Interest In Boxing


by Anna John

When Stiff Jab started in 2010, I joked that I was a “boxing widow”. I identified with the term so much I listed it in my Twitter bio, right after my profession and alma mater. 

Tonight I was forced to recall why, thanks to an unbearable hour spent watching Wladimir Klitschko (left) cement himself as the heavyweight champion of the world by bullying the vastly inferior Alexander Povetkin in Moscow on HBO.

by Anna John
As a fan of boxing, Muhammad Ali, AND “Game of Thrones" (ahem, I have a puppy named #DaenerysTheFrenchie), this fan art is a happy thing for me to behold.
Many viewers of the HBO show fantasize about beating the snot out of the incest-spawned evil King of Westeros Joffrey Baratheon. To picture one of boxing’s greatest getting medieval on this little blonde shit is immensely satisfying. Well done, Not.M.CVNY. (via i09)

by Anna John

As a fan of boxing, Muhammad Ali, AND “Game of Thrones" (ahem, I have a puppy named #DaenerysTheFrenchie), this fan art is a happy thing for me to behold.

Many viewers of the HBO show fantasize about beating the snot out of the incest-spawned evil King of Westeros Joffrey Baratheon. To picture one of boxing’s greatest getting medieval on this little blonde shit is immensely satisfying. Well done, Not.M.CVNY(via i09)

Opening Bell: Manny Pacquiao vs Brandon Rios Set For Nov. 24

by Gautham Nagesh

That video above of an old man busting loose at a Wizards game is exactly how most boxing fans feel after finding out that Manny Pacquiao will return from his two-loss winning stream against all-action warrior Brandon Rios in Macau on November 24th.

HBO Pay Per View will broadcast the fight in the U.S., while promoter Top Rank is reportedly teaming up with Major League Baseball Advance Media to make the fight available via Internet stream to fans in China at a much lower cost. If it works, this is the kind of visionary move that has kept Top Rank boss Bob Arum on top of the fight game for the past 30 years. Asian fans can’t get enough of Pacquiao, and they could be the key to him staying lucrative far beyond his days on top.

Mike Alvarado Avenges Loss to Brandon Rios in Another War


Photo by Top Rank

by Gautham Nagesh

I love boxing.

That was the only thought I had while watching Denver’s Mike Alvarado reach to the sky in victory after surviving 12 rounds of brutal combat against his nemesis Brandon Rios at Mandalay Bay. Final scores were 115-113 (twice) and 114-113 for Alvarado.

In winning, Alvarado defied 4-1 odds and reversed the outcome of their previous match last October. That fight saw the two engage in all-out war for six rounds, before the referee controversially stepped in during the 7th while Alvarado was on the ropes. Most pundits predicted a similar outcome on Saturday night. Fighters that get knocked out in such a brutal manner rarely do better in the rematch.

Alvarado wisely ignored the pundits and focused on his game plan, which was to move and box enough to keep Rios on his toes. He did just that, while standing and fighting often enough to earn respect. At times, the two returned to battling at close quarters, but more often Alvarado kept things at distance, where he had the advantage. Rios stalked his prey throughout, but Alvarado’s conditioning allowed him to dance circles around the Kansas native for the final five rounds.

“It was that movement, that focus to stay on my movement, the gameplan,” Alvarado told HBO’s Max Kellerman after the fight. “I capitalized on it and I did what I had to win this fight.”