Arizona Boxing News & Notes With Don Smith:
Boxing Fans, within days after Top Rank INC. announced Manny “Pac Man” Pacquiao (57-6-2) would challenge Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley (32-1-1) for his WBO World Welterweight Title on April 9, critics wondered aloud just how much the public wanted to see the two pugilists scuffle for the third time. According to published reports, Top Rank CEO Bob Arum had reservations about whether or not “Pacquiao vs. Bradley 3” would be a fitting and financial rewarding farewell for Pacquiao who is retiring to pursue a senate seat in the Philippines.
Contrary to the opinion of some armchair critics the HBO televised PPV event is doing quite well in ticket sales and early PPV numbers. It is an under-statement to say anticipation of the bout is gathering momentum. Produced by Top Rank in association with MP Promotions, fans wanting to watch the historical bout in person can do so by purchasing tickets at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada or through ticket master. Ticket prices are listed at: $154.00, $254.00, $404.00, $604.00, $804.00 and $1,204.00 not including applicable service fees. To charge by phone with a major credit card (JC Penney not accepted), call Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000 or go online at: ticketmaster.com. Believe it or not, Khan vs. Alvarez tickets for May 7 bout is more expensive.
Bradley and Pacquiao drew large crowds on both coasts during their press tours. And on Wednesday, February 10 at noon (PT), Top Rank CEO Bob Arum and members of the undercard will attend a press conference held inside the Conga Room at LA Live in Los Angeles., 800 West Olympic Blvd. in Los Angeles. A 11:30 AM (PT) luncheon will precede the presser. ABNN will not attend due to a scheduling conflict.
Fighters expected to attend the press luncheon are boxers, Gilberto “Zero” Ramirez, former Olympian Oscar Valdez, Jose Ramirez and former world champion Evgeny Gradovich. On paper, it is a very impressive card. Sorry, it is a press only event. Anyone trying to crash the party might get bounced on their head: ouch!
Alvarez vs. Khan: Boxing Superstar Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (46-1-1 32 knockouts) will defend his WBC World Middleweight Title on May7, 2016 against former two-time world champion Amir Khan (31-3-19 knockouts). The bout will be held at T Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and televised, on a PPV basis, by the HBO Network. Golden Boy Promotions will exclusively promote the fight and for Khan the May 7 encounter could be considered a time for redemption.
He was hoping to fight Mayweather in “Money’s” last fight but the date conflicted with a religious holiday honored by Khan; sometimes fate is cruel. Fast forward to 2016 when PAC-MAN decided he would end his boxing career with a fight on April 9. “King Khan” lobbied hard to be the second fighter in the ring; but the UK boxing star wasn’t chosen and some critics say that the resurgent Khan, 5 consecutive wins after losses to Danny Garcia & Lamont Peterson. wasn’t a consideration to fight Pacquiao because of his close ties to Al Haymon (Premier Boxing Championship) A Top Rank INC. nemesis.
Sometimes fate is kind. The Cinco De Mayo weekend fight could easily pan more gold than the Pacquiao/Bradley 3 skirmish on April 9; also an HBO PPV Event: both will do quite nicely.
Alvarez is arguably the most exciting boxer on the planet, today. The only boxer mentioned in the same breath is GGG and the boxing universe is eagerly waiting for the dynamic duo to agree on the terms and do the dance. It should be a top 5 grosser.
The catch weight for the title tiff is 154. Khan won his two titles (WBA & IBF) as a light welterweight. The tale of the tape battle gives the power advantage to Canelo and in the speed category, edge goes to Khan. One thing is for certain, the television set won’t be off that night and T Mobile Arena will be SRO. Box-office# is 1-844-753-8364. Ticket Prices range from: $695.00- $4,550.00.
Iron Boy 32: Arizona Boxing News & Notes will be at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix on Saturday, February 20 to watch Iron Boy 32, a boxing event co-produced with Top Rank INC. The Iron Boy Website is currently showing 9 pictures of boxers that were expected to appear on the card. Here is a update on who remains on the 2/20 boxing menu. All bouts are subject to change. Hard hitting Brazilian Middleweight prospect Esquiva Falco Florentino bowed out of the Celebrity gig to take a fight in Houston Texas on March 19.
ABNN would like to compliment the photographer contracted to do the photo shoot for the Iron Boy 32 poster. I wish he/she had shot my passport and State ID photo; instead I opted for “One Eyed Billy Jax” who learned his craft through a trial and error process; as a result, customs detained me twice –telling me I didn’t bear a resemblance to either photo. I complained to Billy who apologized; but, he hasn’t refunded my $5.00.
Budding Super Star Bantamweight Jessie Magdaleno brings his 22-0-16 knockouts to the center ring against tough Edward Mansito (13-3-2) in a bout scheduled for 10 round. Jesse is very close to earning a title shot and a win over Mansito would be a step in the right direction; be ready to be impressed.
Hard punching WBO ranked Light Heavy Trevor McCumby (#9) takes on James Freeman who brings a 9-7 record with 7 knockouts to the bout. Freeman has power and the Texan has never been knocked out since turning professional; but the fighter from the lone star state has lost his last three bouts. McCumby enters the bout with a 21-0 record that includes 16 knockouts and he is disappointed with his last performance which went the distance; Freeman & McCumby signed for 8 rounds-a word to the wise: arrive early!
Undefeated 21 year old Super Bantamweight Carlos “The Chosen One” Castro, fighting out of Phoenix at Knockout Boxing Club, should get his first stiff test when he meets 23 year old Rafael Reyes (18-5-13 knockouts) in a scheduled for 8 round contest that could be a crossroads for both fighters. Castro, according to some of his supporters, is ready for a minor title shot; but Reyes isn’t one of his supporters.
Fan favorite Francisco C. De Vaca, Phoenix featherweight with a 14-0 record) is listed on the boxing menu for an 8 rounder with an opponent to be determined. The youngster is maturing in a hurry and 2016 could be a very good year; if astute readers caught they might assume is a Frank Sinatra reference, it was coincidental and if you missed it, don’t feel like a stranger in the night.
Undefeated Super Lightweight Luis Olivares (Busted Knuckle Boxing) is signed for a six rounder with Mexico’s Omar Garcia (4-1) from Monterrey, Mexico. Luis (9-0 w/ 6 knockouts) is considered one of Arizona’s top young prospects and he is very entertaining in the ring.
Brash Phoenix Featherweight Paul Romero (6-0-1) needs no introduction to Arizona fight fans. He was a standout amateur in the state of Arizona and he has a rabid following. Romero trains at Hammer Gym in Phoenix under the watchful eye of George Garcia Sr. and his son Georgie. Matchmaker Michael Sanchez is still searching for an opponent for Romero aka Ziggy.
Newcomers Jesse Garcia is a highly touted Featherweight (1-0-1 KO) from Houston Texas. The 20 year old prospect is scheduled to fight 6 rounds with a TBD opponent. Someone must think Garcia is special if he is fighting a six rounder in his second professional bout.
19 year old Flyweight Luis Espinoza (1-0) was impressive in his pro debut at the Celebrity and he hopes lightning strikes twice as he tries for his second victory in a 4 round contest versus a yet to be named foe.
General admission Tickets are now available at the Celebrity Box-office or online. Doors at 5 PM and 1st bout starts at 6 PM. A few ring side ducats remain.
Straight Jabs: we were right in predicting 36 year old Jean Pascal (30-4-1) would suffer a knockout loss at the hands of big bad Sergey Kovalev in their one-sided Quebec rematch. Our accurate prediction doesn’t mean we will open a betting parlor or become a back alley bookie.….A reader of our column approached me last week to ask me where in the “Blazing Saddles” is Emilio Garcia (9-2-2)and when is his next fight? The 25 year old “Milo Time” last fought in October of last year, but we keep hearing rumors that he may fight in March or April.
In his last 2 ring tiffs, the light hitting Garcia has a loss and controversial draw to show for his efforts. The term 2 tiffs is a tongue and cheek reference to Donald “2 Corinthians” Trump and his biblical malfunction. ABNN was on hand for Garcia’s last two performances and it is our opinion that his performance lacked heart; we wish him the best… In our opinion, Khan vs. Alvarez offers a contrast in styles and we see Canelo ending the bout somewhere between the 8th and 10th round: size does matter…Phoenix fighter Alexis Zazueta scored a 2nd round TKO victory over Alberto Serna on 2/6 in Dodge City Kansas to up his record to 8-0; a good move on his part to hit the road; travel usually breeds maturity. Emily Pandelakis, publicist, made the trip on behalf of Cameron Dunkin who manages the young Flyweight. Arizona boxing figure Ralph Velez Jr. was ringside with camera ready.
More Ring Dope: We recalled our last column temporarily to correct erroneous report that Lightweight Samuel Teah was awarded a UD victory over Demond Brock on Friday January 22 at Casino Del Sol in Tucson, Arizona. In reality, the two warriors settled for a draw in their 8 round squabble. We made the correction before the column was widely distributed; but it was sent (unfortunately) to 8 individuals within the boxing industry and we apologized to them and re-sent a corrected copy to all of them. The error was attributed to an erroneous bout sheet that was printed over the internet. Special thanks to Roy Jones Jr Promotions for accepting our personal apology….. Super Lightweight Adrian “Tigre” Granados from Illinois is ranked #5 by the WBC and #6 by the WBA. He is inked with Journeyman Management and Arizona Boxing News & Notes is very impressed with the 17-4-2 fighter whose fast and furious style has earned him 12 knockouts. We don’t have a promoter’s license; but here’s hoping Andrew Zak (Manager) can find a worthy opponent and stage a bout in Phone sometime this year for the youngster; Adrian is a true warrior inside the ring and a gentleman outside…..”Young Guns” boxing card in Tijuana, Mexico on Friday, February 26, the same day my brother Raymond celebrates his olden but golden birthday; more on the card, next issue.
Fight Hard Update: It looks as if Super Middleweight Andrew “Hurricane” Hernandez (10-4-1) is back on the “Warfare: The Battle Begins” show booked for March 12 at Valentino’s Event Center in Phoenix. The popular 30 year old will try to get his career back on track after losing 3 of his last 4 fights. Hernandez is prepared to appear on the under card and his opponent is yet to be determined.
Here is the latest rundown on who is scheduled to fight on the March 12 card: Welterweight Abel Ramos 14-1-2, Bantamweight Salvador Sanchez 30-6-3, Junior Bantamweight Alex Rangel 16-5-2, Featherweight Jesus Serrano 10-4-2, Light Heavyweight Dakota Dawson 3-3, Flyweight Elihu Soto 4-0, Featherweight Edward Ceballos 2-1, Bantamweight Ryan Riddell 1-0, British Super Welterweight prospect Donovan Cameron 1-0-1 knockout and Middleweight Karel Sangster 0-0, a military veteran making his boxing debut at age 28. Cameron’s was working out at Mayweather’s gymm, a couple of years ago.
The event starts at 5 PM (doors open at 4 PM) and general admission is $35.00 & ringside seating is available for $55.00. Intermission will offer a salute to military service men and women (including Sangster) and a posthumous tribute to Ben Miranda, awarded The Bronze Star for his heroic action in Vietnam and a longtime member of the Arizona State Legislature. Maritza Miranda Saenz, daughter, is expected to attend and say a few words about the life of her late father. Representative Ruben Gallego D-Arizona and a boxing fan have been invited to the event. Gallego, a former US Marine, served in Iraq and is currently completing his first term in the US House of Representatives.
Quick Jabs: Undefeated Carlos “The Chosen One” Castro has left Benavidez Boxing and joined Knockout Boxing Club according to two sources. Castro’s departure angers Gym boss Jose Benavidez Sr. who thinks the boxer stabbed him in the back ala Judas Iscariot. In biblical terms, Benavidez gym has one less disciple. Speaking of the Benavidez family, World Champion Jose Benavidez Jr. (24-0-16 knockouts) is expected to make an announcement for the defense of his title next week. According to an inside source, his next defense will be aired on the UNIMAS Network. When Team Benavidez decides, we will share the decision with our readers. Younger brother David (12-0-11 knockouts) is taking a short respite after his latest knockout victory….We wish Arturo Ortega (Hard Knocks Gym) a speedy recovery from recent back surgery……Here is breaking news: repeated blows to the head can cause head trauma and concussions-it’s time for the Arizona Boxing Commission to take the issue seriously.
It’s Official: ABNN broke the news some time ago that Bout Maker Boxing Promotions CEO Maritza Miranda Saenz was considering a run for the Arizona State, Legislative District 27 as a Democrat; it’s official, Mrs. Saenz is running and she has been endorsed by The Arizona List, a grassroots, full-service political team with a simple mission: “elect progressive, pro-choice Democratic Women.”
Mrs. Saenz will face Catherine Miranda (her stepmother) in the 2016 Democratic Primary held on August 30, 2016. The winner of the Democratic Primary will advance to the General election, held on November 8, 2016. Catherine Miranda won her seat in 2014 with 74.3% of the vote. ABNN doesn’t endorse candidates; but we hope every citizen eligible to vote will exercise their constitutional right to do so in 2016 and years beyond.
Her decision to run has the boxing community wondering if Maritza can or will retain her CEO status with Bout Maker Boxing Promotions given the Arizona State Legislature’s ties with the Arizona Boxing Commission; especially if she triumphs over the incumbent Arizona State Senator ,Catherine Miranda. I have sent the question over to the Boxing Commission and their response, if any, will be relayed to our readers.
Olympic Trivia: In recent years, the Philippines has produced a number of quality professional boxers; however, the country has been less than prolific in producing amateur boxers who scored medal wins in the history of the Olympic Summer Games.
The sport of boxing was introduced to the Olympics in 1904; but was absent from the Summer Games of 1912 (hosted by Sweden) because the sport was described as too brutal by the Swedish Government. And in 1980 America’s President James Earl Carter ordered the United States Olympic Team to boycott the Summer Olympic Games after Russia refused to withdraw their troops from Afghanistan and the Philippine Government joined the United States in the boycott.
For the record, boxers representing the Philippines in past Summer Olympic Games won 5 medals. Here are the names of the Filipino medal recipients, year of win and color of their medallion: Bantam Weight Jose Villanueva – 1932 Los Angeles – Bronze Medal, Featherweight Anthony Villanueva – 1964 Tokyo – Silver Medal, Light Flyweight Leopoldo Serantes 1988 Seoul – Bronze Medal, Light Flyweight Roel Velasco – 1992 Barcelona – Bronze Medal, Light Flyweight Mansueto Velasco – 1996 Atlanta – Silver Medal; perhaps the Philippines will win an elusive Gold Medal in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil in 2016.
More Boxing News: The 69th Annual Arizona Golden Gloves Tournament will be held 2/26, 2/27 and 2/28 at the Arizona Event Center in Mesa and gyms from around the State of Arizona will enter the Competition; including Busted Knuckle Boxing, Central Boxing, Fuentes Boxing, Mendoza Boxing, Fuentes Boxing, Broadway Boxing and Hard Knocks Gym. Our printed list of participants is incomplete and we hope more Arizona Boxing gyms involved will contact us to report any news within the boxing community…Madison Boxing will host a smoker on March 12 at the Greenfield Elementary School in South Phoenix. Doors open at 12:30 and 1st bout commences at 2 PM: check USA Boxing Arizona website for further details….No update on what is going on with Rage in the Cage and their dispute with previous owner Rolaid Sarria. I talked briefly to Nathan Hyland (co-owner with Brother Nolan) and he promised to contact ABNN nest week. In the meantime, the MMA promotions has nothing in the works according to the schedule posted on the Arizona Boxing/MMA website…..185 lb. Dionte Riggs and 189 lb. Farid Ngoga will represent Hard Knocks Boxing in the 3 day Arizona State Golden Gloves Championship Tournament at the Arizona Event Center in Mesa this month. Both young men plan to turn professional this year.
More Stuff: 90 lb. Micky Scala (Broadway Boxing) scored runner-up at the Silver Gloves Finals in Kansas City; congratulations to Micky.….Busted Knuckle boxing is expected to enter 10 boxers at the 69th annual Golden Gloves Tournament held at the Arizona Event Center 2/26, 27 and 28….21 year old Phoenix Featherweight boxing prospect Francisco C. De Vaca (Iron Boy Promotions) upped his record to 14-0 with a 1/29 victory of Cesar Garcia in California; Vaca may be ready for a NABF type title fights. His next bout is set for 2/20 at the Celebrity Theatre…..Fight Hard Promotions has some type of agreement with Siege boxing; details forthcoming….No word on Ray Beltran’s next fight; but he is working out in Phoenix where he now resides….UNTIL NEXT TIME!