Posts tagged Preview

Ruslan Provodnikov vs Chris Algieri Weigh-In

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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.  

Maryland Boxer Mike Reed Auditions For Top Rank

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by Gautham Nagesh

Waldorf, Md. junior welterweight Mike “Yes Indeed” Reed has taken the hard road to 9-0 (6 KOs).

Since turning professional 15 months ago, Reed has fought without a promoter or manager, and has endured tough match-making to become a local headliner for Keystone Boxing. At a time when most prospects are knocking out creampuffs, the 21-year-old Reed has fought quality opposition, and handled everything thrown at him with aplomb. We’ve been ringside for almost all of those fights to witness his steady improvement, which is why we named him our 2013 Prospect of the Year.

Word of Reed’s talent couldn’t help but escape the beltway, and his name eventually found its way to Top Rank matchmaker Brad Goodman via Keystone matchmaker Ross Molovinsky. One of the oldest and largest promotional outfits in boxing, Top Rank has built an empire in the Southwest, and rarely signs East Coast talent. But Goodman reportedly decided to give Reed a shot, hence his appearance on the undercard of Glenn Tapia vs. Keenan Collins tomorrow night in Atlantic City.

Reed will take on Alberto Morales of Nicaragua in a six-round battle early in the evening. Even for a prospect as proven as Reed, the fight is a real test. Morales is bigger, having campaigned at welterweight and junior middleweight. He has been in with tougher competition than Reed, and has power to boot. Reached by phone Thursday night, Reed said he’s ready for the challenge, and expects Morales to be in his face all night.

"He’s a pressure fighter and this should be a good fight. I’m not going to have to chase him, or find him," Reed said.

Preview: Sergio Martinez vs Miguel Cotto

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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.

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.

Preview: Danny Garcia, Adamek vs Glazkov, Saturday Night Boxing In NoVa

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Danny Garcia photos by Tom Casino for Showtime

by Gautham Nagesh

Friday night is a little light this week, but Saturday night will be packed with boxing, on TV and live in Northern Virginia.

The big show will come to you on Showtime from Bayamon, Puerto Rico, where junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia will stay busy against sturdy veteran Maurcio Herrera. A solid undercard from Golden Boy includes unbeaten Alabama heavyweight Deontay Wilder in a step up against Malik Scott on the main telecast, and Juan Manuel Lopez vs. Daniel Ponce de Leon on Showtime Extreme.

Back on the East Coast, Polish heavyweight Tomasz Adamek will headline a Main Events show on NBC Sports Net from Sands Resort in Bethlehem, Pa. against Vyacheslav “Czar” Glazkov. The winner will be well-positioned for a shot at heavyweight champ Wladimir Klitschko, unless the Wilder-Scott winner gets there first. Isaac Chilemba vs. Denis Grachev at light heavyweight highlights the undercard.

Meanwhile, closed to home in Springfield, Va., the ABC Sports Complex will host a card featuring middleweights Brandon Quarles (below), Antoine “Action” Douglas, and super middleweight Jerry “2 Tickets 2 Paradise” Odom.

Full previews and predictions after the jump:

Dusty Harrison vs Michael Balasi March 7 on ESPN

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by Anna John

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Members of the press studied the candied bacon and chicken wings from Founding Farmers, just across Pennsylvania Avenue. P.R. pros confidently wove through the small crowd, shaking hands and offering guests Starbucks coffee.

At the front of a glass conference room here in Northwest D.C., 2012 Stiff Jab Prospect of the Year Dusty Hernandez-Harrison stood silently, uncharacteristically alone. Dusty used the time to collect his thoughts before addressing the reporters who had gathered to hear about his next bout against Michael Balasi (10-3, 7 KOs) on March 7th in San Diego on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights.

If there was one overarching theme from today’s press conference, it’s that DUSTY LOVES THE DMV. I’m surprised there aren’t already shirts bearing that slogan, printed and circulating among the thousands of local fight fans who are down for Dusty. From All-In Entertainment President Jeff Fried to Dusty’s father Buddy Harrison to the young boxer himself, every person who spoke wanted to emphasize that Dusty’s favorite aspect of being a local star is the “local”, not the “star”.

Lamont Peterson vs Dierry Jean Weigh-In

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Photos by Tom Casino for Showtime

by Anna John

WASHINGTON, D.C.—How do you annoy the fecal matter out of Lamont Peterson (left)?

Ask him (for the umpteenth time) if he has recovered from getting knocked out by Lucas Matthysse.

Seriously, don’t do it. Yesterday, when I innocently (Hey! It wasn’t *my* idea…my editor demanded it!) asked him that question, he rolled his eyes sadly before murmuring, “Not again.” He’s sick of telling people that he’s moved past that fight, as he informed Brian Custer of Showtime at today’s weigh-in at the Renaissance Hotel downtown.

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“Ain’t nobody worried about that, man. I’m ready to fight tomorrow, man, that’s all we worried about…I’m ready to fight right now, really. So at this point, who cares about what they say? I’mma show you tomorrow what I’m about,” Peterson promised.

Before Peterson stepped up to the mic, his opponent Dierry Jean (below) said he dreamed of taking home a belt. Lamont’s response?

“Key word: dream. We’re all entitled to a dream so he gonna have to show me tomorrow.”

Speaking of Dierry Jean, he stripped down to Diesel knickers while I was distracted by the realization that D.C.’s underwear game is wack.

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Preview: Manny Pacquiao vs Brandon Rios

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Photo by Chris Farina for Top Rank

by Gautham Nagesh 

Tonight is one of the biggest nights of the year for boxing. Filipino welterweight Manny Pacquiao will face Brandon Rios in Macau on HBO Pay Per View. Pacquiao is one of the most popular athletes in the world, while Rios is one of the sport’s most exciting combatants. The combination is a sure-fire recipe for fireworks, and promises to be thrilling for as long as it lasts. Yet I found myself strangely unenthusiastic for both the announcement and buildup to this fight.

Pacquiao has dominated boxing for over a decade, becoming an icon in his homeland along the way. But Father Time remains undefeated, in the sport and in life. Pacquiao’s loss to Tim Bradley last June may have been a farce, but there was no doubt about his near-decapitation at the hands of Juan Manuel Marquez last December. The image of Pacquiao slumped face-first on the canvas will likely dog him for the rest of his career. Boxers are remarkable people, but they are human. No 34-year-old can sustain such a blow without it leaving some impact, whether mental or physical.

Still, this is boxing at the highest level, so the possibility of a lucky, one-punch knockout always exists. Whether Pacquiao can recover is the open question. It is understandable that such a champion would be reluctant to end his career on such a sour note. Very few of the sport’s greatest champions can resist the urge to fight one bout longer than they should. Whether tonight will prove to be that bout for Pacquiao lies in the hands of Kansas native Brandon Rios.

Preview: Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs Saul “Canelo” Alvarez

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Photos by Anna John for StiffJab.com 

by Gautham Nagesh 

Like Gatsby, boxing is a sport forever reaching for the past. Fight fans are always eager to tell newcomers how much better things were back in the day, when fighters fought six times a week and still had time to work the overnight shift on the docks. Boxing was dead and buried long before Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, or Mike Tyson enthralled the public, and yet it still persists today. 

There are many who think Floyd Mayweather Jr. will be the last great American boxer, that the sport will quietly fade from the mainstream after he retires from the ring. It is true that none of the younger pretenders (including Adrien Broner) appear to match Floyd’s quality, but someone  will eventually emerge. Poverty and frustration among American youth appear unlikely to decrease in the near future. There will always be those for whom fighting is the best and only option.

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Then there’s the rise of the Hispanic demographic, as confirmed by the most recent election. Aside from being the swing vote, Latinos love boxing, especially those that trace their origins South of the border. Mexico’s current fixation is a ginger-haired, cherub-faced phenom from Guadalajara named Saul Alvarez. To millions of his countrymen, he is known simply as “Canelo,” or cinnamon. Teen idol looks and quiet disposition aside, Alvarez was born to be a prizefighter. He has only one fewer fight than Mayweather, despite being born just six years before "Money" turned pro.

These two men, ranked first and second at 154 lbs. by the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, will square off Saturday night in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand in the biggest fight that can be made in boxing. The winner will become the true junior middleweight champion of the world, and undeniably the biggest star in the sport. It is a position Mayweather has occupied since he dethroned Oscar de la Hoya in 2007 in the sport’s largest Pay Per View event to date.

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Hyperbole comes as naturally to boxing promoters as breathing. But this is a fight that sells itself. To put it succinctly: Canelo has a better chance of beating Mayweather than anyone since de la Hoya. Click through to find out why, and who I’m picking to win: 

Preview: Phil Jackson-Benson, Mike Reed Step Up Their Game

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by Gautham Nagesh 

This is a huge weekend for boxing in the Capital region, and not only because heavyweight Seth Mitchell is squaring down with Chris Arreola tomorrow night on Showtime. Several local prospects including Phil Jackson-Benson, Mike Reed, and Alantez Fox will face perhaps the toughest tests of their careers on Saturday night at Rosecroft Raceway. As always, we’ll be ringside to bring you live coverage of the card from Keystone Boxing.

The main event will pit Jackson-Benson against Baltimore super middleweight Scott “Cujo” Sigmon, who has announced this will be his last professional fight, win or lose. The swan song aspect of the fight alone would sell tickets, but Sigmon has also been in with the likes of Kelly Pavlik and Farah Ennis, much better competition than Jackson has faced. 

For his part, Jackson disagreed that Sigmon would be his best opponent, arguing instead for Maxell Taylor , who he stopped in May at Club One Fitness in Millersville, Md. (below)

"You can expect a knockout. It’s gonna come early," Jackson told Stiff Jab recently. “Maxell was a good fighter. In my personal opinion, Maxell is better than Scott. It’s a step up on paper, but on experience, style and talent-wise, it’s really not. Maybe other people will be surprised, but I know what I’m gonna do.”

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Preview: UFC 164 Main Card

by Dr. Octagon, J.D. 

Benson Henderson vs Anthony Pettis: Big rematch of one of the greatest WEC fights of all time. It will be interesting to see how this Pay Per View card sells, because Benson Henderson (left) has been a pretty terrible draw compared to some of the other champs. The reason is probably a combination of his penchant for not finishing fights, along with his general lack of charisma.

Henderson is sort of a weird dude. He has big angel wings tattooed on his back, and may or may not be fighting with a toothpick in his mouth. He also aggressively name checks his lord and savior Jesus Christ every five seconds, which is sure to turn off the more secular fans. Henderson has been referring to the loss to Pettis as a “stain on his soul”.  

That being said, Henderson has an interesting life story, having been brought up by his Korean mother after his father abandoned the family. He went completely straight edge to avoid the mistakes of his father. I like the guy, but I don’t love his fighting style.  He’s very crafty about winning rounds and close fights, but he lacks a sense of urgency in a sport with terrible judging, so he’s been content to leave it in the hands of the judges way too many times.  

The judges, for their part, have given him some victories in cases where many had him losing.  I was certain he lost the second fight to Frankie Edgar and many think that Gilbert Melendez beat him too (though I wasn’t among them).

Anthony Pettis is an ultra-precise striker that’s deadly from distance, with a ton of highlight reel kicks on his resume. He has a clear advantage on the feet and will try to keep it there against the powerful Henderson. Pettis is also going to be fighting on his home turf, so don’t be surprised if a close decision to go his way.  

Slideshow: Boxing At Harlem Children’s Festival

Photos by Debi Cornwall

2012 U.S. Olympian Marcus Browne, Bronx junior middleweight prospect Eddie Gomez and other Golden Boy fighters stopped by the Harlem Children’s Festival on Saturday to take photos, sign autographs and introduce some youngsters to the Sweet Science.

Our Sarah Deming was on hand with Atlas Cops & Kids Boxing to spread both the sport and their anti-gun violence message. Her friend, the clearly talented photographer Debi Cornwall, was gracious enough to let us publish her photo essay on the event above.

Sarah will bring you ringside coverage of the card from Best Buy Theater headlined by Danny Jacobs vs. Giovanni Lorenzo at middleweight tomorrow (Monday) night. Full bout sheet here.

MMA Preview: UFC on Fox Sports 1

by Dr. Octagon, J.D.

It’s Friday night and I’m trying to DVR UFC on Fox tomorrow, but I’m already confused.

Fox Sports 1 is supposed to be on channel 583 for Verizon, replacing Speed (which was pretty useless now that they don’t have F-1), but Speed is still there and the guide is still showing the Speed schedule. I know this is supposed to be the grand opening for the new network, but you’d think that they’d at least have the weigh-ins or something on FS1, or they’d switch the channel over before the last possible moment so those of us that plan to spend the day drinking tomorrow won’t have to worry about missing the fights.  

If you don’t mind getting the fights in non-HD with Spanish commentary, you can DVR them on Fox Deportes right now or maybe just try recording everything that’s on Speed from 7pm EDT on tomorrow. So that’s a mess. Another silly thing, if you look at the guide information for Fox Deportes, the first event is called UFC on Fox FS1. The second one is called UFC on Fox FS1-2 (and third, which I’m assuming is erroneous, is UFC on Fox FS2-2). Even the magical elves that refresh the DVR information are confused. I think the shows going to just be called UFC Fight Night once the DVR is updated.

Anyhow, this is a stacked card, even though you’re going to have to find the new channel tomorrow (hopefully they’ll switch it over at midnight, but who knows). This cable card is so stacked, it almost makes up for the terrible UFC 163 Pay Per View that I foolishly paid for, which even Joe Rogan couldn’t even be bothered to show up for. The UFC has so many events these days, it’s rare to see a card with this much depth, even though it lacks a title fight. Not only is the card stacked with great fights, all the match-ups are really great, and I could reasonably see the underdog winning in nearly every fight. 

Showtime Sports sends along this video feature on Brooklyn’s own Paulie Malignaggi. The Magic Man will attempt to stop the rise of Adrien “The Problem” Broner on Showtime at 9 p.m. this evening. Full preview and predictions here.