Top Rank Boxing http://www.toprank.com Top Rank boxing news, event, videos and photo galleries en-us Copyright Top Rank 05-25-2016 19:43:15 60 Beltran Aiming for World Title Shot http://www.toprank.com/news/boxing-promotions-beltran-aiming-for-world-title-shot/ LAREDO, TX – Veteran Mexican brawler Ray Beltran wants to return to the world title picture in the lightweight division, but to reach that treasured opportunity of fighting for a world championship, he will first have to battle against Ivan ‘Bam Bam’ Najera this Saturday, May 21 at the Laredo Energy Arena.

Beltran (29-7, 17 KO’s), from Los Mochis, Sinaloa, will take on Najera (16-2 8 KO’s), from San Antonio, Texas, in a eight round lightweight battle that will be the main event of the ‘Solo Boxeo Tecate’ card that will be broadcasted from coast to coast in the United States this Saturday at 11 p.m. ET/PT on UniMas.
 
"I am very excited for this Saturday. After a very long year I will again have an opportunity to do what I love and for this opportunity I am so grateful,” said Beltran, who is coming from a one-year inactivity period. “Life is full of ups and downs, successes, failures, victories, defeats and Lord knows mistakes. This past year has given me much time to reflect.  I have reflected on my life and my career, my triumphs and my mistakes, for which I make no excuses.”
 
The veteran fighter assures that he has learned from his mistakes, and now he is seeking a dominant victory that will catapult him into an opportunity to fight for a world title.  
 
“I will not be overlooking my opponent Saturday, Najera is tough fighter and we know he will be bringing his A game.  However, I want it to be known that I am completely dedicated and focused on becoming a world champion. I am ready to take anyone in this division,” added Beltran.
 
In the co-feature and in the bout that will open the UniMas telecast, unbeaten Mexican prospect Álex ‘El Cholo’ Saucedo (21-0, 14 KO’s) from Chihuahua, México, will face Brazil’s Claudinoei Lacerda (17-14-1, 12 KO’s) in a eight round rumble in the super lightweight division.
 
Also on the card, undefeated Houston prospect Arturo Marquez (1-0, 1 KO) – Son of Raul ‘El Diamante’ Marquez – will make his debut under the Top Rank banner when he fights against Jesus Rodriguez (0-1, 0 KO’s) in a four round welterweight battle.
 
Presented by Top Rank, remaining tickets for ‘Solo Boxeo Tecate’, priced at: $55 (Ringside), $20 (Lower Bowl) y $10 (Upper Bowl) can be purchased at the Laredo Energy Arena box office, on the website www.TicketMaster.com, on select Ticket Master outlets or by calling Ticket Master at: (800) 745-3000. VIP tables are available by calling: 956-791-9192.
 
Join the conversation on social media by using the hashtag #SoloBoxeo. For more information about this card, visit: www.TopRank.com and follow us on Facebook (www.Facebook.com/trboxeo / www.Facebook.com/trboxing), Twitter: (www.Twitter.com/trboxeo / www.Twitter.com/trboxing) and Instagram (www.Instagram.com/trboxing)
 

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Thu, 19 May 2016 16:03:53 -0500
Enfocado Ray Beltrán en coronarse como campeón mundial http://www.toprank.com/news/enfocado-ray-beltran-en-coronarse-como-campeon-mundial/

 
LAREDO, TX – El veterano púgil azteca Ray Beltrán quiere volver a ser protagonista en la división de peso ligero para poder tener la oportunidad de disputar un campeonato del mundo, pero para llegar a ese sitial tendrá que antes despachar al mexicoamericano Iván ‘Bam Bam Najera’ cuando ambos se enfrentenESTE SÁBADO 21 de mayo en la Laredo Energy Arena.
 
Beltrán (29-7, 17 KO’s), de Los Mochis, Sinaloa, enfrentará a Nájera (16-2 8 KO’s), de San Antonio, Texas, en un combate a ocho asaltos en el peso ligero que será el evento estelar de la función ‘Solo Boxeo Tecate’ que se televisará de costa a costa en los Estados Unidos a las 11 p.m. ET/PT por la cadena UniMás.
 
“Estoy muy emocionado por la pelea este sábado. Después de un largo año tendré la oportunidad de hacer lo que amo y estoy agradecido,” dijo Beltrán, quién viene de un periodo de inactividad de un año. “La vida está llena de altas y bajas, éxitos, fracasos, victorias, derrotas y errores. Este último año he tenido mucho tiempo para pensar. He reflexionado sobre mi vida, mi carrera, mis triunfos y mis errores, por los cuales no tengo excusa.”
 
El veterano peleador asegura haber aprendido de sus errores del pasado y ahora anda en busca de una victoria que lo posicione nuevamente para disputar un título mundial.
 
“No voy a subestimar a mi oponente de este sábado. Najera es un peleador duro y sabemos que traerá lo mejor. Sin embargo, quiero que sepa que estoy completamente dedicado y enfocado en convertirme en campeón mundial. Estoy listo para enfrentar a cualquiera en esta división,” aseguró Beltrán.
 
En el combate co-estelar de la cartelera y el que abrirá la transmisión de la cadena UniMás, el invicto prospecto mexicano Álex ‘El Cholo’ Saucedo (21-0, 14 KO’s) de Chihuahua, México, se medirá ante el brasileño Claudinoei Lacerda (17-14-1, 12 KO’s) en un combate a ocho asaltos en el peso superligero.
 
Además, el invicto prospecto de Houston, Arturo Márquez (1-0, 1 KO) – hijo de Raúl ‘El Diamante’ Márquez -- debutará bajo el banderín de Top Rank cuando choque ante Jesús Rodríguez (0-1, 0 KO’s) en una reyerta a cuatro episodios en el peso welter.
 
En una promoción de Top Rank, boletos restantes para el cartel ‘Solo Boxeo Tecate’ a precios de $55 (Ringside), $20 (Planta Baja) y $10 (Planta Alta) pueden ser adquiridos en la boletería de la Laredo Energy Arena, en el sitio webwww.TicketMaster.com, en selectos puntos de venta de Ticket Master o llamando a Ticket Master al (800) 745-3000. Mesas VIP están disponibles al llamar al 956-791-9192.
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Thu, 19 May 2016 15:36:12 -0500
Saúl ‘Neno’ Rodríguez tiene un importante compromiso este sábado en ‘Solo Boxeo Tecate’ http://www.toprank.com/news/saul-neno-rodriguez-tiene-un-importante-compromiso-este-sabado-en-solo-boxeo-tecate/

 

LOS ÁNGELES, CA – El invicto prospecto mexicoamericano Sául ‘Neno’ Rodríguez buscará continuar su paso firme rumbo a una posible oportunidad de disputar un título mundial en la función que se celebrará MAÑANA sábado, 14 de mayo en el Sportsmen’s Lodge de Studio City.

Rodríguez (19-0-1, 14 KO’s) de padres mexicanos, pero nacido en Riverside, California, enfrentará al experimentado peleador colombiano Deulis Prescott (30-3, 23 KO’s) -- un ex retador a título mundial -- en un combate a diez asaltos en la división de peso ligero que será el evento estelar del programa ‘Solo Boxeo Tecate’ que se  televisará en los Estados Unidos, MAÑANA sábado a las 11 p.m. ET/PT por UniMás.

“Esta es una pelea muy importante para mi. Necesito continuar con mi record invicto y también debo lucir impresionante mientras lo hago,” dijo Rodríguez, quien reconoce que su oponente no será presa fácil. “Mi oponente es uno difícil y tiene mucha experiencia,” añadió el peleador que es entrenado por Robert García.

El que apodan ‘Neno’ ha ganado ocho de sus últimos diez combates por la vía del cloroformo y viene de conseguir una impresionante victoria por nocaut en el segundo asalto ante Iván ‘Bam Bam’ Najera el pasado mes de noviembre en Las Vegas.

Además, el invicto contendiente peso pesado Andy ‘Destroyer’ Ruiz (26-0, 17 KO’s) de Mexicali, California, chocará ante Ray Austin (29-6-4, 18 KO’s) en un combate a ocho asaltos en el cual estará en juego el título de la Federación Norteamericana de Boxeo (NABF, por sus siglas en inglés).

Los invictos prospectos: Esquiva Falcao (13-0, 10 KO’s), Toka Khan Clary (18-0, 12 KO’s), Arnold Barboza Jr. (11-0, 4 KO’s) y Maxim Dadashev (1-0 , 1 KO’s) también estarán en acción en la cartelera. Este será el debut de Dadashev -- un destacado peleador aficionado ruso -- bajo el banderín de Top Rank.

En una promoción de Top Rank en asociación con Bash Boxing, boletos restantes para el cartel ‘Solo Boxeo Tecate’ pueden ser adquiridos en el sitio web www.ValleyFightNight.com o llamando al (626) 388-8888.

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Fri, 13 May 2016 10:52:03 -0500
Crawford-Postol Features 2 of Boxing's Best http://www.toprank.com/news/boxing-promotions-crawford-postol-crawford-postol-features-2-of-boxings-best/ LAS VEGAS, NV. (May 10, 2016) -- Undefeated junior welterweight champions TERENCE "Bud" CRAWFORD and "The Iceman" VIKTOR POSTOL will go mano a mano, in a 12-round world title unification fight, to determine the lineal king of the exciting 140-pound division.  The Crawford vs. Postol world championship event will take place on Saturday, July 23, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.  It will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET / 6:00 p.m. PT. 

Promoted by Top Rank®, in association with Tecate and the motion picture "Hands of Stone," tickets to Crawford vs. Postol, priced at $304, $204, $104, and $54, not including applicable service fees,  go on sale Today! Tuesday, May 10, at 4:00 p.m. ET / 1:00 p.m. PT.  To charge by phone with a major credit card, call 1-888-9-AXS-TIX.  Tickets will also be available for purchase at mgmgrand.com or axs.com.   

"This is a great opportunity to show the world I'm the best champion at 140," said Crawford.

"We are about to show the world that I am indeed a better trainer than Postal's trainer Freddie Roach," added Brian McIntyre, Crawford's trainer and co-manager.

"I believe this is a GREAT fight and Terence will prove he's not only the best 140-pound fighter in the world but that he is pound for pound the best fighter in the world," said Cameron Dunkin, Crawford's co-manager.

"I have been waiting for this fight for a long time and I want to thank my promoters Elite Boxing and Top Rank for making this fight a reality for the fans," said Postol.

"This has Fight of the Year written all over it," said Hall of Fame Trainer World-Famous Freddie Roach.  "For the second consecutive time Viktor will be involved in a world title tilt pitting the two best fighters in the division.  He'll be ready."     

"This is one of those fights where no one knows who will come out victorious," said Vadim Kornilov, Postol's manager. "It's the type of fight fans crave but rarely get to see.  There are no opponents in this battle, only champions.  Postol and Crawford each have  28-0 records and they have both fought great opposition."

"This title unification battle between Terence Crawford and Viktor Postol is evenly matched and both undefeated champions are determined to prevail.  This is must-see television," said Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum

“We look forward to hosting what very well could be the ‘fight of the year’ this summer at MGM Grand,” said Richard Sturm, president of entertainment and sports for MGM Resorts International.  “These two fighters will make their Grand Garden Arena debut and undoubtedly provide an exciting evening for boxing fans worldwide.”

“We are excited to present two accomplished champions in a major unification title showdown at 140 pounds” said Peter Nelson, Executive Vice President, HBO Sports. “Terence Crawford stands today among boxing's elite attractions. His opponent Viktor Postol, Crawford's toughest to date, seeks to seize that star power for himself with an upset under the bright spotlight in Las Vegas."

Crawford (28-0, 20 KOs), of Omaha, Neb., a two-division world champion who has won four of his last five bouts by stoppage, will be making his MGM Grand Garden debut in his third title defense as World Boxing Organization (WBO) junior welterweight world champion.  The consensus Top-10 pound-for-pound fighter will be looking to build on his star-making 2014 which featured three world championship victories as well as Fighter of the Year honors from the Boxing Writers Association of America and major media alike.  Crawford, 28, captured the vacant WBO junior welterweight crown on April 18, 2015, via a devastating sixth-round knockout of once-beaten No. 2 world-rated contender Thomas Dulorme.  He has successfully defended the title twice -- stopping No.2 world-rated contender Dierry Jean in front of a packed house at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha on October 24, 2015, and knocking out Top-10 contender Hank Lundy in the fifth round last February 27, at a soldout Theater at Madison Square Garden.  Crawford began his career-best year on March 1, 2014, just 13 days short of the sixth anniversary of his professional debut.  He captured the WBO lightweight title, dethroning defending champion Ricky Burns on Burns’ home turf of Glasgow, Scotland. Scoring a powerful and unanimous decision, Crawford put the boxing world on notice with his virtuoso performance as he pulled out all stops in dismantling Burns, rocking the defending champion throughout the fight, while switching back and forth between orthodox and southpaw stances.  He followed that with a dramatic and critically-acclaimed knockout victory of undefeated former world champion and Cuban Olympic gold medalist Yuriorkis Gamboa on June 28, 2014, in a Fight of the Year nominee.  It was one of the most-watched fights of the year with over 1.2 million viewers catching the live, first-time airing of the fight, according to Nielsen Media Research.  He concluded 2014 on November 29 with a thorough shellacking of one-time world title challenger and No. 1 contender Ray Beltran, winning 11 of the 12 rounds.   Crawford, who is friendly with Warren Buffet, is only the second Nebraska native to be recognized as a boxing world champion.  Perry “Kid” Graves, from Rock Bluff, captured the welterweight crown, knocking out Johnny Alberts in Brooklyn, in 1914, according to the Omaha World-Herald.

Postol (28-0, 12 KOs), from Kiev, Ukraine, put his stamp on the boxing landscape when he scored a 10th-round knockout of the heavily-favored former interim world champion Lucas Matthysse to capture the vacant World Boxing Council (WBC) super lightweight world title on October 3, 2015.  World-rated No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, Postol and Matthysse went toe to toe throwing every weapon in the arsenals at each other until Postol caught  Matthysse with a right uppercut and a left hook effectively turning out the lights on one of boxing's most fearsome punchers.  A former sparring partner of eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao, Postol's resume includes victories over top-rated contenders Selcuk Aydin, Jose Lopez, Lundy, and former world champion DeMarcus Corley.  Postol, who has been trained by Hall of Famer Freddie Roach for his last three fights, with two of those ending in knockouts, will be making his first defense as the WBC super lightweight champion. 

For fight updates go to www.toprank.com, or www.hbo.com/boxing, on Facebook at facebook.com/trboxingfacebook.com/trboxeo or facebook.com/hboboxing, and on Twitter at twitter.com/trboxing, twitter.com/trboxeo, or twitter.com/hboboxing.  Use the Hashtag #CrawfordPostol to join the conversation on Twitter. 

#          #          # 

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION (Media):

 

TOP RANK

Lee Samuels:  702-378-1083 / Lee@toprank.com

Gardy Lopez: 787-246-3668 / GLopez@toprank.com  

Fred Sternburg: 303-548-0707 / TooFred@aol.com

Ed Keenan:  609-399-1330 / Keenan@emcevents.com

 

HBO

Kevin Flaherty:  212-512-5052 / kevin.flaherty@hbo.com         

Patrick Byrne: 212-512-1361 / patrick.byrne@hbo.com  

 

MGM RESORTS INTERNATIONAL

Scott Ghertner:  702-692-6750 / sghertner@mgmresorts.com

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Wed, 11 May 2016 13:42:21 -0500
Postol Vows to Put His Stamp on the Jr. Welterweight Division with Win Over Crawford http://www.toprank.com/news/boxing-promotions-postol-vows-to-put-his-stamp-on-the-jr-welterweight-division-with-win-over-crawford/ LOS ANGELES (May 10, 2016) --  A picture may be worth a thousand words but a stamp is Forever.  Just ask World Boxing Council (WBC) super lightweight world champion "The Iceman" VIKTOR POSTOL who presented a larger than life commemorative "stamp" of himself to his opponent World Boxing Organization (WBO)  junior welterweight world titlist TERENCE "Bud" CRAWFORD at today's Beverly Hills press conference (photo attached).  The undefeated world champions announced their 12-round world title unification fight to determine the lineal king of the exciting 140-pound division.  

The stamp not only featured Postol's image but also foreshadowed  the result of their upcoming fight, with a caption that included Postol's record after their rumble, complete with projected record and unified titles.

"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night nor Terence Crawford stays this Postol courier from the swift completion of unifying the titles," said World-Famous Freddie Roach, Postol's Hall of Fame trainer.  "Come July 23, Postol will deliver just like he did against Lucas Matthyse.".

After viewing the artwork, a bemused Crawford told Team Postol, "There's only one place for junk mail and that's the shredder.  I'm going to cancel your stamp and your reign as WBC champion on July 23.  The new face of boxing isn't on that stamp, it's in front of you."    

Promoted by Top Rank®, in association withTecate and  the motion picture "Hands of Stone,"  the Crawford vs. Postol world championship event will take place on Saturday, July 23, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.  It will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View® beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET / 6:00 p.m. PT.  Tickets, priced at $304, $204, $104, and $54, not including applicable service fees, went on sale today.  To charge by phone with a major credit card, call 1-888-9-AXS-TIX.  Tickets are also available for purchase at mgmgrand.com or axs.com.   

Crawford (28-0, 20 KOs), of Omaha, Neb., already a two-division world champion, has won four of his last five bouts by stoppage.  The consensus Top-10 pound-for-pound fighter will be making his MGM Grand Garden debut in his third title defense of his WBO junior welterweight world championship crown. 

Postol (28-0, 12 KOs), from Kiev, Ukraine, put his stamp on the boxing landscape when he scored a 10th-round knockout of the heavily-favored former world champion Lucas Matthysse to capture the vacant  WBC super lightweight world title on October 3, 2015.  Having won two of his last three fights by knockout, the Freddie Roach-trained Postol will be making his first defense of that title. 

For fight updates go to www.toprank.com, or www.hbo.com/boxing, on Facebook at facebook.com/trboxingfacebook.com/trboxeo or facebook.com/hboboxing, and on Twitter at twitter.com/trboxing, twitter.com/trboxeo, or twitter.com/hboboxing.  Use the Hashtag #CrawfordPostol to join the conversation on Twitter. 

#          #          #

 

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION (Media):

 

TOP RANK

Lee Samuels:  702-378-1083 / Lee@toprank.com

Gardy Lopez: 787-246-3668 / GLopez@toprank.com  

Fred Sternburg: 303-548-0707 / TooFred@aol.com

Ed Keenan:  609-399-1330 / Keenan@emcevents.com

 

HBO

Kevin Flaherty:  212-512-5052 / kevin.flaherty@hbo.com         

Patrick Byrne: 212-512-1361 / patrick.byrne@hbo.com  

 

MGM RESORTS INTERNATIONAL

Scott Ghertner:  702-692-6750 / sghertner@mgmresorts.com

 

CREDENTIALS:

www.MagnaMedia.com

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Wed, 11 May 2016 13:42:06 -0500
Terence Crawford y Viktor Postol chocarán el 23 de julio en combate unificatorio en Las Vegas http://www.toprank.com/news/terence-crawford-y-viktor-postol-chocaran-el-23-de-julio-en-combate-unificatorio-en-las-vegas/

FOTOS: Conferencia de Prensa Crawford vs. Postol

LAS VEGAS, NV. (10 de mayo del 2016) – Los invictos campeones de peso junior welter TERENCE "Bud" CRAWFORD y "The Iceman" VIKTOR POSTOL se enfrentarán mano a mano, en una pelea unificatoria a doce asaltos, para determinar el campeón lineal de la emocionante división de las 140 libras. El evento de camponato mundial Crawford vs. Postol se celebrará el sábado, 23 de julio, en el MGM Grand Garden Arena en Las Vegas, Nev. Será producido y distribuido en vivo por HBO Pay-Per-View comenzando a las 9:00 p.m. ET / 6:00 p.m. PT. 

Crawford (28-0, 20 KOs), de Omaha, Nebraska, es un dos-veces campeón divisional que ha ganado cuatro de sus últimas cinco peleas por nocuat, realizará su debut en el MGM Grand Garden Arena en su terecera defensa titular como campeón Junior Welter de la Organización Mundial de Boxeo (OMB).

“Esta es una gran oportunidad para demostrarle al mundo que  soy el mejor en las 140,” dijo Crawford. “Le vamos a demostrar al mundo que yo soy un mejor entrenador que el entrenador de Postol, Freddie Roach,” añadió Brian McIntyre, entrenador y co-manejador de Crawford.

“Creo que está es una gran pelea y Terence probará que no sólo es el mejor 140-libras en el mundo, sino que también probará que él es el mejor peleador libra por libra en el mundo,” dijo Cameron Dunkin, co-manejador de Crawford.

Postol (28-0, 12 KOs), de Kiev, Ucrania, impresionó al mundo del boxeo al lograr una impresionante victoria por nocaut ante el gran favorito Lucha Matthysse, para capturar el vacante título superligero del Consejo Mundial de Boxeo (CMB). Postol, quién es entrenado por Freddie Roach, estará realizando ante Crawford la primera defensa de su título.

“He estado esperando por esta pelea por mucho tiempo y quiero agradecer a mis promotores Elite Boxing y Top Rank por hacer esta pelea una realidad para los fans,” dijo Postol.

“Esta podría ser la ‘Pelea del Año’,” dijo el legendario entrenador Freddie Roach. “Por segunda vez consecutiva Viktor estará envuelto en una pelea de título mundial entre los dos mejores peleadores en la división. Él estará listo.”

“Esta es una de esas peleas que nadie sabe quien saldrá victorioso,” dijo Vadim Kornilov, manejador de Postol. “Esta es el tipo de peleas que los fans quieren, pero que raramente pueden ver. No hay oponentes en esta batalla, sólo campeones. Postol y Crawford tienen cada uno record de 28-0 y ambos han enfrentado gran oposición.”

“Esta batalla de unificación de título mundial entre terence Crawford y Viktor Postol está bastante pareja y ambos invictos campeones están determinados en prevalecer. Esta es una pelea que no se pueden perder,” dijo el legendario promotor Bob Arum.

“Estamos entusiasmados de recibir este verano en el MGM Grand la que podría ser la ‘Pelea del Año’,” dijo Richard Sturm, presidente de entretenimiento y deportes de MGM Resorts International. “Estos dos peleadores harán su debut en el Grand Garden Arena y sin duda proveerán una emocionante noche de boxeo para los fans alrededor del mundo.”         

“Estamos muy contentos de presentar a dos campeones en un gran choque unificatorio en las 140 libras,” dijo Peter Nelson, Vicepresidente Ejecutivo de HBO Sports. “Terence Crawford es hoy una de las atracciones elite del boxeo. Su oponente Viktor Postol, el más difícil para Crawford hasta el momento, buscará convertirse en una estrella con una sorpresa bajo las luces brillantes de Las Vegas.”

En una promoción de Top Rank®, en asociación con “Hands of Stone’, taquillas para Crawford vs. Postol, ya están a la venta a precios de: $304, $204, $104 y $54, sin incluir los cargos aplicables. Para cargar por teléfono con tarjeta de crédito, llama a Ticketmaster al (800) 745-3000. Los boletos también estarán disponibles para compra en mgmgrand.com o ticketmaster.com.  

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Tue, 10 May 2016 18:29:44 -0500
Championship Fights Hit Puerto Rican Day Parade Weekend http://www.toprank.com/news/boxing-promotions-championship-fights-hit-puerto-rican-day-parade-weekend/ NEW YORK (April 28, 2016) -- You better believe Saturday night's alright for fighting, especially in New York on Puerto Rican Day Parade weekend! 

Three-time world champion ROMAN "Rocky" MARTINEZ and World Boxing Organization (WBO) featherweight world champion VASYL LOMACHENKO will go mano a mano for Martinez's WBO junior lightweight world title and the boxing gem of Puerto Rico, FELIX "El Diamante" VERDEJO, will risk his WBO Latino lightweight crown, undefeated record and No. 2 world rating against JUAN JOSE MARTINEZ in the co-main event of a championship doubleheader Saturday, June 11 -- one day before the famed Puerto Rican Day Parade -- at The Theater at Madison Square Garden.  The two bouts, scheduled for 12 and 10 rounds, respectively, will be televised live on HBO beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.   The non-televised undercard will feature the U.S. debut of two-time Olympic gold medalist and three-time World Amateur Champion ZOU SHIMING from The Peoples Republic of China in a 10-round flyweight bout. 

The five gladiators boast a combined record of 87-6-3 (53 KOs) -- a winning percentage of 91% with over 60% of their victories coming by way of knockout.

Promoted by Top Rank®, in association with Puerto Rican Best Boxing, Diamante Promotions, SECA and Madison Square Garden, tickets to the Martinez vs. Lomachenko / Verdejo vs. Martinez championship doubleheader will go on sale Today!  Thursday, April 28, at Noon ET.  Priced at $300, $200, $100, $50 and $35, tickets can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster charge by phone (866-858-0008), and online at www.ticketmaster.com and www.thegarden.com.  

"I feel very happy returning to New York to fight, and even more on a special date like the Puerto Rican Day Parade.  I know that a lot of Puerto Ricans will be there and I'll be ready, as always, to give it my all," said Martinez.  "About Lomachenko I can say that he is a boxer with a lot of accomplishments as an amateur and even though he became champion in just a few professional fights, it isn't the same in amateur as in professional boxing and we are working hard to take the victory on June 11."

"Thank you to Top Rank!   Thank you to my manager, Egis Klimas!.  And thank you to HBO for believing that I can headline its telecast in the main event of the evening," said Lomachenko.  "It is a big opportunity for me.  It is a chance to set a new record by becoming  a two-division world champion in the shortest period -- my seventh professional fight -- a record that currently stands at eight fights.  On June 11, at Madison Square Garden, I'm going to do my best to reach a new career pinnacle."

"I would like to thank our promoter Top Rank for making this fight against Rocky Martinez a reality," said Egis Klimas, Lomachenko's manager.  "We are also very thankful to HBO for approving this fight as its main event of their telecast.  And a big thanks to the WBO for sanctioning this battle between two great champions.. For our team it is a big honor to be headlining at Madison Square Garden on June 11th and putting on a good show for the fans.  I have no doubts that Vasyl will be in great shape for his debut in the 130-pound weight class."

"I'm more motivated than ever for this fight on HBO and performing in front of my people in New York,” said Verdejo.  “I recognize that my focus for my last couple of fights hasn't been at its best. I feel that my last performances haven't been close to what has been expected of me and that has motivated me to show my supporters that the Felix Verdejo they have been rooting for will be at The Garden on June 11 and for a very long time after."

"This is the first time in boxing history which two fighters on this card each won two Olympic gold medals," said Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum. "Vasyl Lomachenko and Zou Shiming accomplished iconic feats in the sport of boxing and Felix Verdejo himself is a former Olympian and one of the top amateur boxers."

"On Puerto Rican Day Parade weekend in New York, Rocky Martinez fights to defend his 130-lb crown and his heritage, while Vasyl Lomachenko moves up in weight campaigning for a second world title in a continued quest to have his professional career mirror the glory of his unrivaled amateur virtuosity," says Peter Nelson, Executive Vice President, HBO Sports. "The high stakes are well deserving of one of boxing's most elite stages: Theater at Madison Square Garden."

Martinez (29-2-3, 17 KOs), from Vega Baja, Puerto Rico, is a three-time WBO junior lightweight world champion.  He won his first world title on March 14, 2009, knocking out defending champion Nicky Cook in the fourth round in Manchester, England.  He successfully defended that title twice during his 19-month reign, knocking out Feider Viloria and Gonzalo Munguia before losing a 12-round decision to Ricky Burns on September 4, 2010.  Martinez's second reign as world champion began on September 15, 2012, winning the vacant title via a split decision over top contender Miguel Beltran, Jr.  Martinez successfully defended his title twice during his 15-month reign, scoring a split decision victory over Diego Magdaleno and a draw against Juan Carlos Burgos before being dethroned by undefeated former WBO featherweight champion Mikey Garcia on November 9, 2013.  Martinez's current world title reign began on April 11, 2015 when he defeated defending champion Orlando Salido via a 12-round decision.  In their rematch, on September 12, Martinez retained his title by virtue of a draw.  Both fights were worthy of Fights of the Year consideration.

The greatest amateur boxer of his era and arguably of all time, two-time Ukrainian Olympic gold medalist Lomachenko (5-1, 3 KOs), of Odessa, captured the vacant WBO featherweight title on June 21, 2014, winning a scintillating majority decision over the previously unbeaten Gary Russell Jr.  It was Lomachenko's third professional bout, tying him with Thailand's Saensak Muangsurin for fewest fights to win a world title.  Muangsurin won a junior welterweight title in 1975, also in his third professional fight.  Russell, a former U.S. Olympian and current World Boxing Council (WBC) featherweight world champion, was totally blitzed by Lomachenko, battered around the ring throughout the fight.  From the outset of his professional career, Lomachenko made it known that he was ready for the best in his division.  He made his professional debut in 2013 knocking out the WBO's No. 7-rated featherweight contender Jose Luis Ramirez (24-2-2, 15 KOs) in the fourth round of a bout that was scheduled for 10.  Less than five months later, on March 1, 2014, in his second professional bout, he challenged WBO featherweight champion Orlando Salido, losing a split decision to the heavier defending champion whose title had been stripped because he could not make the weight limit.  Since winning the world title, Lomachenko has successfully defended it three times, winning a 12-round unanimous decision on November 23, 2014, against No. 1 contender Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (51-1, 33 KOs), a ninth-round knockout of Gamalier Rodriguez (25-2-3, 17 KOs) on the undercard of the May 2, 2015 Floyd Mayweather - Manny Pacquiao extravaganza and a 10th-round knockout of Top-10 contender Romulo Koasicha (24-4, 14 KOs), on the undercard of the November 7, 2015 Timothy Bradley - Brandon Rios world welterweight championship .  Lomachenko first gained international renown by winning gold medals in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2012 London Games as a featherweight and a lightweight, respectively. 

Verdejo (21-0, 14 KOs), from San Juan, Puerto Rico, who earned "Prospect of the Year" honors in 2014 and 2015, began this year as a bona fide world title contender.  He returns to the ring having won eight of his last 12 fights inside the distance, including his first and last fights of 2015 -- a fifth-round knockout of Marco Lopez, on April 25, for the vacant WBO Latino lightweight title and a second-round pasting of Josenilson Dos Santos on December 11, which was Verdejo's second defense of the title.  In between those two fights, Verdejo successfully defended his title on June 13 at Madison Square Garden during Puerto Rican Day Parade weekend, winning a 10-round unanimous decision over previously undefeated contender Ivan Najera of San Antonio, TX.  This year he has scored dominant 10-round unanimous decision victories over William Silva on February 27 at The Garden and Jose Rodriguez on April 16 in San Juan.  Already world-rated No. 2 by the WBO and the World Boxing Association (WBA), and No. 6 by the International Boxing Federation (IBF), Verdejo, 22, continues to develop into a major gate attraction, producing standing room only crowds every time he fights.  A former amateur standout who represented Puerto Rico in the 2012 Olympics, Verdejo has been mentored by Puerto Rican boxing icon and Hall of Fame inductee Felix Trinidad.

Martinez (25-2, 17 KOs), of Mexico City, Mexico, captured the ABMH (Hispanic World Boxing Association) junior lightweight title in 2014 via a 12-round unanimous decision over Carlos Jimenez.  Since moving up to the lightweight division he has gone undefeated and enters this fight riding a two-year six-bout winning streak, all at the lightweight division.     

Zou (7-1, 2 KOs), from Guizhou, China, and trained by Hall of Famer Freddie Roach, returns to the ring fresh from his most impressive professional victory -- an eighth-round knockout of undefeated contender Natan Santana Coutinho on January 30, in Shanghai.  This will mark the first time the newly-minted two-time WBO International flyweight champion has ever fought outside of China.  Zou's professional career highlights include a 12-round decision loss t to International Boxing Federation (IBF) flyweight champion world champion Amnat Ruenroeng in 2015 and a 12-round unanimous decision victory over undefeated No. 3 contender Kwanpichit Onesongchaigym in a world flyweight title elimination bout.  Their fight was the co-main event to the Manny Pacquiao - Chris Algieri world welterweight championship on November 22, 2014 at Cotai Arena.  Zou scored three knockdowns en route to a 119-106, 119-106 and 120-103 victory over his vastly more experienced opponent.  He showed his mettle by fighting through numerous head butts that swelled his left eye shut as well as weathering numerous low blows.  But Zou kept his composure throughout the fight showing the world he was ready for a world title shot.  Zou captured his first WBO International flyweight title on July 19, 2014, stepping up to his first 10-round fight and winning a unanimous decision over Top-10 contender Luis De La Rosa, proving to the world that he had developed into a world title contender.  Zou is currently world-rated No. 3 by the WBO and No. 5 by the IBF.  One of the most popular Olympic athletes in China, Zou was the world's greatest amateur light flyweight, capturing gold medals in the World Amateur Championships in 2005, 2007 and 2011, along with gold medals in the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympic Games. He also owns an Olympic bronze medal from the 2004 games, making him his nation's first Olympic medallist in boxing as well as its first boxing gold medallist in the World Amateur Championships and the Olympics.

For fight updates go to www.toprank.com, or www.hbo.com/boxing, on Facebook at facebook.com/trboxingfacebook.com/trboxeo or facebook.com/hboboxing, and on Twitter at twitter.com/trboxing, twitter.com/trboxeo, or twitter.com/hboboxing.

#          #          #

 

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION (Media):

 

TOP RANK

Lee Samuels:  702-378-1083 / Lee@toprank.com

Gardy Lopez (Verdejo): 787-246-3668 / GLopez@toprank.com  

Fred Sternburg: 303-548-0707 / TooFred@aol.com

Ed Keenan:  609-399-1330 / Keenan@emcevents.com

  

HBO

Kevin Flaherty:  212-512-5052 / kevin.flaherty@hbo.com         

Patrick Byrne: 212-512-1361 / patrick.byrne@hbo.com  

 

MADISON SQUARE GARDEN

Larry Torres:  212-631-5178 / Larry.Torres@msg.com   

 

MEDIA CREDENTIALS

www.toprank.com/credentials

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Wed, 27 Apr 2016 15:23:49 -0500
El invicto prospecto ruso Maxim Dadashev firmó con Top Rank http://www.toprank.com/news/el-invicto-prospecto-ruso-maxim-dadashev-firmo-con-top-rank/ LAS VEGAS – ¡Ahí vienen los rusos! El invicto prospecto ruso Maxim Dadashev es la última adición a la invasión de peleadores europeos en el establo de Top Rank. El destacado peleador amateur de San Petersburgo firmó un contrato promocional multianual con Top Rank®, la compañía liderada por el legendario promotor, Bob Arum.

Dadashev es un peleador Junior Welter de 26 años de edad con un record profesional de 1-0 y  1 nocaut, que compitió en sobre 250 peleas amateur y ganó  múltiples torneos nacionales en Rusia.

“Maxim es un peleador extremadamente capas que se puede ajustar a cualquier estilo. Su experiencia como amateur y ética de trabajo, junto con el equipo a su alrededor lo llevará muy lejos,” dijo Carl Moretii, Vicepresidente de Top Rank.

Dadashev es un compañero de escuadra del campeón peso pluma de la Organización Mundial de Boxeo (OMB) Vasyl Lomachenko – ambos son manejados por Egis Klimas.

“Estoy muy contento de representar y traer un boxeador de clase alta a Top Rank. Maxim es de San Petersburgo, Rusia, donde ganó muchos torneos aficionados al boxear en sobre 250 peleas. Estamos emocionados por el futuro brillante que tendrá con Top Rank," comentó Klimas.

“Maxi es entrenado por Robert García, el “Entrenador del Año 2012” de la Asociación de Escritores de Boxeo de América (BWAA, por sus siglas en inglés).

“Él tiene buen experiencia amateur. Él está bien enfocado y dedicado. Él sabe como usar su alcance y poder y será un oponente difícil para cualquier Junior Welter. Nuestro equipo, con Egis como manejador y Top Rank como promotor, no tengo duda de que Maxim llegará lejos en el boxeo,” añadió García.

Dadashev hará su debut bajó el banderín de Top Rank en nuestro cartel “Solo Boxeo Tecate” que se celebrará el 14 de mayo en el Sportsman’s Logde en Studio City, California.

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Fri, 22 Apr 2016 18:20:30 -0500
El ex-olímpico José Ramírez regresará a casa el 9 de julio http://www.toprank.com/news/el-ex-olimpico-jose-ramirez-regresara-a-casa-el-9-de-julio/ Fresno, California – Tras presentare ante una gran cantidad de fans en el MGM Grand Garden Arena de Las Vegas en un combate que fue televisado al mundo entero por HBO PPV, el invicto campeón continental de la Américas del Consejo Mundial de Boxeo (CMB) Jose Ramírez (17-0, 12 KO’s) ganó de manera impresionante y retuvo su título. Ramírez ahora regresará el 9 de Julio en su ciudad natal en un combate que será el evento estelar de un cartel que será televisado nacionalmente y se celebrará en el Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino y se espera un todo vendido en solo semanas.

Una victoria le daría a Ramírez una clasificación mundial. Campeones incluyendo Evander Holyfield y Roy Jones y muchas superestrellas han sido campeones Continental de las Américas del CMB.

“José Ramírez es uno de los mejores talentos jóvenes en años recientes y tiene todos los elementos para convertirse en una superestrella. El CMB está muy orgulloso de estar mano a mano con él desde el comienzo de su carrera,” dijo el presidente del CMB, Mauricio Sulaiman.

“Después de una presentación espectacular en el cartel Pacquiao vs. Bradley, el ex olímpico José Ramírez regresa al ring el sábado, 9 de julio en el Tachi Palace Hotel y Casino en Lemoore para continuar su marcha hacia una pelea de campeonato mundial. Estoy seguro que todos los fans del Valle Central continuarán apoyando a este gran atleta y la persona especial que José es. Quiero agradecer al asesor y agente de José, Rick Mirigian, por todo lo que está haciendo para hacer de este un evento especial,” dijo el legendario promotor Bob Arum de Top Rank.

“Estoy contento de regresar a casa y de defender mis correas y traer una pelea grande a donde yo vivo. Voy a tomarme una semana de descanso para compartir con la familia y regresar al gimnasio,” dijo Ramírez.

“No hay días de descanso en este deporte, estamos de vuelta a hacer grandes peleas y continuar a evolución de él a convertirse en campeón mundial,” añadió el asesor de Ramírez, Rick Mirigian.

Taquillas a precios de: $1,000 (Mesa VIP | 10 personas por mesa), $65 (Reservado) y $35 (Entrada General), más cargos aplicables, estarán a la venta el 29 de abril y podrán ser adquiridos en el Tachi Palace Hotel Gift Shop (17225 Jersey Ave. Lemoore, CA 93245), llamando 1-866-4PALACE, o visitando: www.TachiPalace.com.

Un cargo de $3 será aplicado y donado a la ciudad de AVENAL donde José Ramírez nació y fue criado para ayudar con sus problemas de agua.

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Wed, 20 Apr 2016 17:19:37 -0500
Jose Ramirez Continues the Fight for Water http://www.toprank.com/news/boxing-promotions-jose-ramirez-continues-the-fight-for-water/ Fresno, California - Coming off a packed MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on April 9th and on HBO PPV televised to the world, USA Olympian, WBC Continental Americas Champion, NABF Champion and undefeatedJose Ramirez (17-0, 12 KOs) won in dominant fashion and retained his title. Ramirez now will return July 9th in his home town where he will main event a Nationally televised fight at Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino which looks to sell out in a week. Ramirez last fought at home December 5th at the Save Mart Center drawing 13,100 and before that 10,000 in May at the Selland Arena.

A victory will give Ramirez a Top-10 world rating and further his journey to a world title. Champions including Evander Holyfield and Roy Jones and many other superstars have held the WBC Continental Americas belt.

"Jose Ramirez is one of the greatest, young talents in recent years and has all the elements of becoming a Superstar. The WBC is very proud to have been hand-in-hand with him since the beginning of his career," said WBC President, Mauricio Sulaiman

"Fresh off a spectacular performance on the Pacquiao - Bradley card, USA Olympian Jose Ramirez returns to the ring on Saturday, July 9 at the Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino in Lemoore to continue his march towards a world championship fight. I am sure all of the fans from the Central Valley will continue to support this great athlete and the special person Jose is. I want to thank Jose's advisor and agent Rick Mirigian for all he is doing to make this a very special event," said Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank.

"I’m happy to come home and be able to bring a big fight to where I live and defend my belts at Tachi Palace as they have supported me since day one and it is important to me to fight there, I will take a week off to be with family and get right back to the gym" Jose Ramirez.

"No days off in this sport, we are right back to getting big fights put together, big sponsors and his evolution to becoming a world champion and dont wait to get tickets on this fight as they will be tough to get and Tachi Palace is the premier resort and casino in the central valley so make a weekend out of this huge event" agent/promoter Rick Mirigian.

Tickets priced at $1000 per table (VIP 10 people per table), $65 (Reserved) and $35 (General Entrance), plus applicable charges, go on sale April 29th, come in and purchase tickets at the Tachi Palace Hotel Gift Shop (17225 Jersey Ave. Lemoore, CA 93245), by phone at 1-866-4PALACE, or online at: www.TachiPalace.com.

A $3 Ticket fee will apply and be donated to the city of Avenal where Jose Ramirez was born and raised to help with their water issues.

 

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Tue, 19 Apr 2016 13:01:47 -0500
Listo Félix 'El Diamante' Verdejo para su combate de este sábado en Puerto Rico http://www.toprank.com/news/listo-felix-el-diamante-verdejo-para-su-combate-de-este-sabado-en-puerto-rico/
Listo Félix 'El Diamante' Verdejo para su combate de este sába...

El boricua Felix Verdejo sabe que en el boxeo no existe enemigo pequeño y por eso el joven peleador de 22 años se prepara a conciencia para cada uno de sus combates. Hoy durante un entrenamiento de medios, 'El Diamante' aseguró que eso no cambiará cuando suba al ring ESTE SÁBADO en el Coliseo Roberto Clemente de San Juan, P.R.DETALLES: http://bit.ly/1RQe4Ig #SoloBoxeo

Posted by Top Rank en Español on Monday, April 11, 2016

 

SAN JUAN, P.R. (11 de abril del 2016) - El invicto contendiente boricua Félix 'El Diamante' Verdejo sabe que en el boxeo no existe enemigo pequeño y por eso el joven peleador de 22 años se prepara a conciencia para cada uno de sus combates. Hoy durante un entrenamiento de medios, 'El Diamante' aseguró que eso no cambiará cuando suba al ring este sábado, 16 de abril, en el Coliseo Roberto Clemente de la capital borinqueña.

Verdejo (20-0, 14 KO's) defenderá por cuarta ocasión su título latino peso ligero de la Organización Mundial de Boxeo (OMB), esta vez ante el mexicano José Luis Rodríguez (17-6-1, 10 KO’s), en el evento estelar del cartel que presentará Top Rank en asociación con Diamante Promotions.

En el combate coestelar de la función, el invicto prospecto Christopher ‘Pitufo’ Díaz (15-0, 10 KO's) disputará el título juvenil peso pluma de la OMB. Pronto se estarán anunciando el rival de Díaz.

También en la cartelera estarán en acción los invictos prospectos de Top Rank: el peso junior welter Julian ‘Hammer Hands’ Rodríguez (12-0, 9 KO’s) y el recién firmado supergallo Jean Carlos ‘Chapito’ Rivera (5-0 , 3 KO’s).

Además, de la promotora Diamante Promotions estarán en acción: Jean Carlos ‘El Lobo’ Torres (4-0, 3 KO’s) y los debutantes Midyael ‘El Diamante Negro’ Sánchez y Roberto ‘El Terror de Cayey’ Cruz.

Boletos restantes para la cartelera que será presentada por Top Rank en asociación con Diamante Promotions, a precios de $150 (Red Carpet), $100 (Ring Side), $75 (Palco Centro), $40 (Palco), y $15 (General), más cargos aplicables, pueden ser adquiridos en www.TicketCenterPR.com, en todos los puntos de ventas Ticket Center o llamando al (787) 792-5000.

Utiliza el hashtag #SoloBoxeo para unirte a la conversación en las redes sociales sobre esta cartelera.

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Mon, 11 Apr 2016 21:10:46 -0500
A Grand Finale That Hit All the Right Notes http://www.toprank.com/news/boxing-promotions-a-grand-finale-that-hit-all-the-right-notes/ LAS VEGAS -- MANNY PACQUIAO and TIM BRADLEY performed a symphony Saturday night.  In a sport that can be so out of tune, in a world of pro athletics that is so often off-key, these two boxers hit all the right notes.   

Even Bradley, who lost the decision, might agree.  This ending, this result, this conclusion, felt right.      

Pacquiao has said this will be his last fight.  Pressed from all angles afterward about how likely it is that he will stick to that -- especially in the aftermath of such an impressive performance -- he remained steadfast.

“I want to go home, spend time with my family and serve the people,” the Filipino superstar said.

That decision is chocked full of logic.

He is 37 years old.  This was his 66th professional fight (he is now 58-6-2).  He appears to be leaving with his faculties intact.      

He is in his second term as a Congressman from the Sarangani province of the Philippines.  In those two terms, he has done his best to serve the poor, which is what he was as a child.  He has become the Robin Hood of his country, without robbing from the rich.  He doesn’t need to.  He is among the country’s richest.      

Now, on May 9, he will see if he becomes one of the 12 elected into the Philippine Senate.  He has said, over and over, that being a senator is likely to be more time consuming, that he needs to focus on that.  But he has also said that he loves boxing, that he won’t know how it feels to “hang my gloves up.”  The mitigating circumstance of that seemed to be how Saturday night’s fight turned out.  He has said, repeatedly, that he “wanted to win convincingly.”

And so he did, knocking Bradley down twice and getting the same score from each of the three judges, 116-110.   

But a key element in that “wanting to win convincingly” was the opponent.  Had Pacquiao finished up by beating a tomato can, it would have been seen only as one last payday, as one more boxer hanging on too long. It would not have brought any sort of the grand finale he deserved, just an ending.  To top Bradley’s presence, skills and competitiveness made it a perfect ending.  

Bradley’s nickname is the Desert Storm, and the Palm Springs-area fighter kept throwing gusts at Pacquiao all night.  He was quick, he was nicely prepared by trainer Teddy Atlas, and he was probably the best welterweight on the planet, had there not also been a guy named Pacquiao here, too.

Bradley is lightning fast.  Pacquiao is warp speed.  Atlas puts it best in his description of Pacquiao.     

“He is a freakish combination of speed and power,” he has said.

This was their third fight, the rubber match, and watching this one from ringside brought newfound empathy for the three judges who, by all accounts, screwed up the decision in the first fight and gave it to Bradley.  With these two boxers, everything happens so fast that you would need three days of replays to be sure what you saw.     

My card may have been the strangest kept for the fight. I had it 113-111 for Pacquiao, despite his two 10-8 knockdown rounds, because I saw no winner in three rounds -- the first, second and the eleventh -- and scored them all 9-9.  But I have no quarrel with the 116-110 of the judges, not did anybody else ringside or, for that matter, in a crowd of 14,665 in the MGM Grand Garden.

The crowd in itself was a fascination.  As things would heat up in a given round, a huge chant would begin that seemed to be “MANNY, MANNY.”  But soon, it sort of morphed into “BRADLEY, BRADLEY.”

Winning wasn’t everything in this one.  The level of performance was.        

Ideally, Pacquiao will stay retired and become a different sort of icon in his country.  He can depart 66 pro fights with his sense and great pride of accomplishment.  That’s no small thing in this sport.    

Bradley is 32, has lost only twice now in 36 fights, and is likely to carry on a bit more.  He appeared to emerge relatively unscathed, despite the two knockdowns.  The first was in the seventh round, and was questionable in even being ruled a knockdown.  Both Atlas and Bradley said afterward they thought it had been more a push than a knockdown.

There was no question about the one in the ninth round.  Pacquiao caught Bradley with a quick left hook, Bradley was jolted on his back, but was so uninjured that he merely completed the fall with a somersault that put him back on his feet immediately.    

“He caught me good there,” Bradley said.     

Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, was a bit more poetic, with some subtle politics tossed in.     

“Manny’s left trumps all,” Roach said.    

Bradley seemed to realize quickly after the fight that losing is only bitter when you haven’t done your best, when you’ve had a chance and not risen to the occasion.  On this night, against a Pacquiao at his best, Bradley had little chance.

“I was in there with a pretty good man,” Bradley said.       

Pacquiao said he was trying for the knockout, but that Bradley was too tough.      

“He deserved to go the distance,” Pacquiao said.        

There might be no better summary than that of what this evening was about.  When was the last time you heard one boxer talk about what the other boxer DESERVED?

Also, when was the last time you heard two boxers, minutes after trying to punch each other into oblivion, make plans to meet the next morning for breakfast?  These two did.   

This was a night that wrapped up three months of talking, speculating, promoting and wondering what would happen.  It was a night that much of the media felt would be overrated, would draw little buzz and would lay an egg.     

In fact, while it may not have been the biggest deal or the most memorable moment ever in boxing, it ended up being a high-quality, competitive fight that showcased the sweet science of the sport.  Seldom does any event get it quite as right, from all angles, as this one did.

Which, of course, is music to the ears of boxing.

#          #          # 

* This column was not subject to the approval of Top Rank.  Any editorial usage of all or part of this column is welcome but must include credit to Bill Dwyre.

 

Bill Dwyre will be writing a series of weekly columns on the Pacquiao vs. Bradley world championship event.  Bill was sports editor of The Los Angeles Times for 25 years, ending in 2006.  He was a sports columnist for 9 1/2 years at The Times, ending Nov. 25 with his retirement.  Boxing was among his most frequent column topics. Bill can be contacted at BillPatDwyre@gmail.com or via Twitter at @BillDwyre.

 

Promoted by Top Rank®, in association with MP Promotions and Tecate, the Manny Pacquiao - Tim Bradleychampionship event took place Saturday, April 9, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.  It was produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View®.  The exclusive replay of Pacquiao vs. Bradley will be seen Saturday, April 16 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on HBO®. 

 

The NoTrump pay-per-view undercard featured undefeated No. 1 contender and mandatory challengerGILBERTO "Zurdo" RAMIREZ dethroning World Boxing Organization (WBO) super middleweight world champion "King" ARTHUR ABRAHAM by unanimous decision, undefeated No. 1 WBO featherweight contender and two-time Mexican Olympian ÓSCAR VALDEZ successfully defending his NABO featherweight title by knocking out former International Boxing Federation (IBF) featherweight world champion EVGENY GRADOVICH and 2012 U.S. Olympian JOSE RAMÍREZ successfully defending his World Boxing Council (WBC) Continental Americas super lightweight title by winning a unanimous decision against MANNY PEREZ. The Abraham vs. Ramirez world championship fight was co-promoted by Sauerland Event and Zapari Boxing Promotions. 

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Sun, 10 Apr 2016 17:13:40 -0500
Extending or Finalizing a Legacy http://www.toprank.com/news/boxing-promotions-extending-or-finalizing-a-legacy/

LAS VEGAS -- Saturday night, in a familiar boxing ring at a trendy bright-lights casino here, superstarMANNY PACQUIAO will do, in 36 minutes or less, what superstar Kobe Bryant has spent an entire NBA season doing.

He will attempt to finalize a legacy.      

Both Bryant and Pacquiao can point to bodies of work beyond the remarkable.  But the farewell tours, much like the sports each represent, are vastly different.

Pacquiao is 37.  He has been boxing since he was barely a teenager.  His record is 57-6-2, which translates to 65 wars in about 25 years.  Once Oscar De La Hoya left the scene, somehow fittingly at the hands of Pacquiao in 2008, the mantle of most-popular and most-skilled boxer went to Pacquiao.  He drove billions of dollars into the sport and his native Philippines into a more frequent international conversation.     

He shared the top rung of boxing status in his generation with Floyd Mayweather Jr., who has never lost in 49 fights, who beat Pacquiao in his final one last year and who earned the reputation as the best defensive fighter and pure practitioner of the sweet science of his era.  Few threatened to beat Mayweather.  Few even hit him.

But Mayweather’s flashy lifestyle, general arrogance and braggadocio have been enough of a turn-off to the general sports fan to prompt millions to turn to Pacquiao for hero worship and inspiration.  Mayweather won the fight, but he would not win the popularity contest.

That brings us to Saturday night, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, where Pacquiao has fought the bulk of his battles and generated the bulk of his popularity.  He has said this will be his last fight.  When boxers say this, we roll our eyes.  A boxer’s retirement is like a politician’s campaign promise.

Pacquiao’s stance in this, however, sounds firm, less naively dishonest.

“I want to win, and I want to do so convincingly,” he has said here, over and over.  “I want for this to be part of my legacy, for me, for my family, for the Philippines.”

He also has said, “I am happy with my career.  What I have done is beyond my imagination.”    

What he has done is gone from a scraggly 106-pounder -- working dozens of odd jobs, even as a 10 and 11-year-old street urchin, to scrape together food for his family --to a multi-millionaire boxing star, a 147-pound welterweight marvel, Filipino congressman and current candidate for a senate seat in his country.  At Friday’sweigh-in, he was introduced as a “global icon.” 

That pretty well covers it.  A legacy?  Who would need more?      

But this is boxing, where your reputation and public perception lasts about as long as it takes to go 12 rounds.  In Pacquiao’s case, his most-recent 12 rounds were his loss to Mayweather, one further stained by his admission afterward that he had torn a muscle in his right shoulder in the fourth round that he said rendered him ineffective the rest of the way. Mayweather got the decision and Pacquiao and his fans were left with bad tastes in their mouth.   

Then, at the beginning of this promotion, the highly religious Pacquiao made a controversial and silly statement about gays and lesbians being “worse than animals.”  But that has somehow blemished his reputation less than might be expected, partly because his home country appears less upset than the more knee-jerk, politically-correct USA.  A reporter from a major Philippine newspaper said recently that, were they to hold a poll right now in his country that asks public opinion about gay and lesbian marriage, “as much as 75%” would vote no.

Pacquiao’s legacy seems to have survived both the Mayweather loss and his unfortunate statement. Now, the question of the moment is, can it survive TIM BRADLEY?       

In a refreshing sort of way, having Bradley as the opponent is perfect for Pacquiao’s legacy grand finale. That was not the case when this fight was announced and the promotion began three months ago.

This is their third fight, and fans and media tend to yawn over boxing trilogies.  The prevailing theory was that there was no buzz, that boxing had been there and done that twice before. There was even the theory that Promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank had committed financial suicide by putting a pay-per-view match on during The Masters golf weekend, when millions of sports fans will have already spent their manageable hours watching TV by fight time.   

Lost in all this were the incredible match-up statistics that have Pacquiao as the only eight-division world champion in history --“That’ll never happen again,” says his trainer, Freddie Roach -- and Bradley as a five-time world champion.  Also lost is that Bradley, while the after-thought in this fight, is no kid at 32 and has just one loss on his record, to Pacquiao two years ago.  That’s the case, even though his victory in their first fight, in 2012, was widely panned as a judging screw-up.         

The wild card in all this is that, as the promotion has grown, so has the stature of Bradley.        

Part of it is his addition of the fascinating Teddy Atlas as his trainer.  The other part is that, with Atlas providing the thought-processes and articulate examples of free and colorful expression, Bradley has become more outgoing and media-attractive.  He has picked up a new fan following and has, in so doing, stamped himself as much more than just another guy that Manny is fighting.   

Now, a Pacquiao victory over Bradley is, indeed, a legacy builder; something you proudly tell your grandchildren, while pointing out who Tim Bradley was, what he stood for and how well he could fight.

Bradley, of course, has not come from Palm Springs, with his Desert Storm nickname and high heat punching style, to be merely a pawn in Pacquiao’s legacy night. After his weigh-in Friday, he said, “I think there will be lots of disappointed fans here Saturday night.”  That showed not only a recognition of Pacquiao’s stature compared to his own, but a swagger that goes beyond normal fight hype.     

Atlas calls Pacquiao, “One of the greatest fighters of our time,” and, “one with a freakish combination of speed and power.”

Pacquiao says, “I want to win, stay humble and be with my family.”

Bradley says, “This is my shot.  If I don’t do it Saturday, I won’t do it.”      

After a seven-month season, Kobe will play his last Lakers’ game next week and ride off into the sunset, leaving record-books and historians to tell the rest.

After 36 minutes or less Saturday night, Manny Pacquiao says he will do the same.     

Bradley is not Steph Curry, nor Chris Paul or Tony Parker.  But in this arena, in this sport, on this Saturday night, he will more than suffice.    

Legacy building should not be easy.  Pacquiao should be grateful that, this time, it will not be.

             

#          #          #

 

* This column was not subject to the approval of Top Rank.  Any editorial usage of all or part of this column is welcome but must include credit to Bill Dwyre.

 

Bill Dwyre will be writing a series of weekly columns on the Pacquiao vs. Bradley world championship event.  Bill was sports editor of The Los Angeles Times for 25 years, ending in 2006.  He was a sports columnist for 9 1/2 years at The Times, ending Nov. 25 with his retirement.  Boxing was among his most frequent column topics. Bill can be contacted at BillPatDwyre@gmail.com or via Twitter at @BillDwyre.

 

Promoted by Top Rank®, in association with MP Promotions and Tecate, the Manny Pacquiao - Tim Bradleychampionship event will take place Tonight! Saturday, April 9, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.  It will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View®  beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET / 6:00 p.m. PT.  The NoTrump pay-per-view undercard will feature World Boxing Organization (WBO) super middleweight world champion "King" ARTHUR ABRAHAM defending his title against undefeated No. 1 contender and mandatory challenger GILBERTO "Zurdo" RAMIREZ, undefeated No. 1 WBO featherweight contender and two-time Mexican Olympian ÓSCAR VALDEZ defending his NABO featherweight title against former International Boxing Federation (IBF) featherweight world champion EVGENY GRADOVICH and 2012 U.S. Olympian JOSE RAMÍREZ defending his World Boxing Council (WBC) Continental Americas super lightweight title against MANNY PEREZ.  The Abraham vs. Ramirez world championship fight is co-promoted by Sauerland Event and Zapari Boxing Promotions. 

 

Remaining Tickets to Pacquiao vs. Bradley are priced at $1,204, $804, $604, $404, $254 and $154, not including applicable service fees.  To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000.  Tickets are also available for purchase at mgmgrand.com or ticketmaster.com.  

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Sat, 09 Apr 2016 12:21:19 -0500
American Idol Winner to Sing National Anthem During Pacquiao-Bradley http://www.toprank.com/news/boxing-promotions-american-idol-winner-to-sing-national-anthem-during-pacquiao-bradley/ LAS VEGAS (April 6, 2016) -- This week, someone's life will change forever as AMERICAN IDOL, the cultural phenomenon that changed the face of television and created some of today’s biggest music stars, will crown its 15th and final AMERICAN IDOL.  That newly-crowned winner – in his/her post-IDOL debut -- will be whisked to the MGM Grand in Las Vegas to sing The National Anthem before Fighter of the Decade MANNY “Pacman” PACQUIAO,  and five-time world champion TIMOTHY “Desert Storm” BRADLEY, battle it out in a 12-round high stakes welterweight showdown.  Promoted by Top Rank®, in association with MP Promotions and Tecate, Pacquiao vs. Bradley will take place on Saturday, April 9 and will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View® beginning at 9:00 PM ET / 6:00 PM PT.     

America’s most crucial – and last-ever – vote will take place when the remaining finalists battle it out live from Dolby Theatre Tonight! Wednesday, April 6 (8:00-9:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed). AMERICAN IDOL’s two-part Grand Finale will be filled with surprise appearances and star-studded performances, including winners Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, along with Jennifer Hudson, who return to the IDOL stage one last time to perform on Thursday, April 7 (8:00-10:06 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed). The farewell celebration will continue, as IDOL pays tribute to the past 15 seasons, the amazingly talented contestants and the millions of fans who called, tweeted, texted and championed their IDOLS, before the 15th AMERICAN IDOL is crowned.

In addition to superstars Clarkson and Underwood, Thursday’s final episode will have all-star performances by former IDOLs, including Ruben Studdard, Fantasia, Taylor Hicks, Jordin Sparks, David Cook, Kris Allen, Lee DeWyze, Scotty McCreery, Phillip Phillips, Candice Glover, Caleb Johnson, Nick Fradiani, Ace Young, Allison Iraheta, Amber Holcomb, Blake Lewis, Bo Bice, Brandon Rogers, Bucky Covington, Carly Smithson, Casey James, Chris Daughtry, Clark Beckham, Clay Aiken, Colton Dixon, Constantine Maroulis, Danny Gokey, Diana DeGarmo, Elliott Yamin, George Huff, James Durbin, Jennifer Hudson, Jessica Sanchez,  Joshua Ledet, Justin Guarini, Katharine McPhee, Kellie Pickler, Kimberley Locke, Kree Harrison, LaToya London, Lauren Alaina, Melinda Doolittle, Pia Toscano, Sanjaya, Skylar Laine, Tamyra Gray and more, before host Ryan Seacrest announces the results of America’s votes and the final IDOL is crowned.

Here are the three finalists:

 

Trent Harmon                    

Age: 25           

Hometown: Amory, MS

Keep up with Trent at:

TWITTER: @TrentWHarmon

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/TrentHarmonMusic

INSTAGRAM: @trent.harmon.music

 

Dalton Rapattoni                

Age: 19         

Hometown: Dallas, TX

Keep up with Dalton at:

TWITTER: @DaltonRapattoni

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/DaltonRapattoni

INSTAGRAM: @daltonrapattoni

 

La’Porsha Renae                

Age: 22        

Hometown: McComb, MS

Keep up with La'Porsha at:

TWITTER: @laporsharenae

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/LaPorshaRenae

INSTAGRAM: @laporsharenae

 

********************************

 

Remaining Tickets to Pacquiao vs. Bradley are priced at $1,204, $804, $604, $404, $254 and $154, not including applicable service fees.  To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000.  Tickets are also available for purchase at mgmgrand.com or ticketmaster.com.  

 

            For fight updates go to www.toprank.comwww.hbo.com/boxing or  www.mgmgrand.com  on Facebook at  facebook.com/trboxing,  facebook.com/trboxeo or facebook.com/hboboxing, and on Twitter attwitter.com/trboxingtwitter.com/trboxeo, or twitter.com/hboboxing.  Use the Hashtag #PacBradley to join the conversation on Twitter.

 

#          #          #

 

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION (Media):

 

TOP RANK

Lee Samuels/Bradley:  702-378-1083 / Lee@toprank.com

Gardy Lopez:  787-246-3668 / GLopez@toprank.com

Fred Sternburg/Pacquiao: 303-548-0707 / TooFred@aol.com

Ricardo Jimenez/Valdez & G. Ramirez:  909-615-3436 / ricardoej@aol.com 

Ed Keenan/Live Satellite Telecasts:  609-399-1330 / Keenan@emcevents.com

 

SAUERLAND EVENT

Thomas Schlabe /Abraham:  +49-30-301297-18 / t.schlabe@se-box.de   

 

HBO Pay-Per-View

Kevin Flaherty:  212-512-5052 / kevin.flaherty@hbo.com        

Patrick Byrne: 212-512-1361 / patrick.byrne@hbo.com  

 

MGM Resorts International

Scott Ghertner:  702-692-6750 / sghertner@mgmresorts.com

 

CREDENTIALS:

www.MagnaMedia.com

]]>
Thu, 07 Apr 2016 11:58:37 -0500
Nice Guys Finish First http://www.toprank.com/news/boxing-promotions-nice-guys-finish-first/

LAS VEGAS -- Let’s be realistic.  The sports Richter Scale reading for Saturday night’s MANNY PACQUIAO - TIM BRADLEY boxing match is about a 3.1.  There are a few jiggles of interest, but nothing is falling off shelves.

But while you are sweating it out with your favorite baseball team or praying for the right draft choice for your NBA favorites, Pacquiao - Bradley is worth a moment of attention.  That’s because, while this may turn out to be a really good fight, it has become a model of athletic humanity and sportsmanship in a game that has thrived for years on a blueprint of the opposite.     

Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s trainer and a man of few words, hit it right on the head a few months ago when he said, during yet another stop in a seemingly interminable promotion, “There is no villain in this fight.”      

At the time, it seemed like an ordinary statement.  Play nicey, nicey until it gets closer to the time to start throwing punches, both verbal and literal.  But as time has passed, and with the fight just three days away, Roach’s quote might as well be the slogan hung up in huge letters over the MGM Grand ring.    

Wednesday brought more proof.  They held a news conference and a lovefest broke out.  

If you have covered boxing for many years, this was jolting.  The very core of the sport is conflict, anger and greed.  To even write about it in another light is stunning to a comfort zone that has always leaned on sarcasm and cynicism.  Muhammad Ali called Joe Frazier an Uncle Tom.  Mike Tyson threw punches at his opponent at news conferences; then bit off a portion of Evander Holyfield’s ear in a fight.  Floyd Mayweather Jr. approached fights with three axioms: Hate the other guy, flaunt your money and win at all costs.

Bob Arum, Top Rank Promotion’s chief, may have had Mayweather in mind when he said at Wednesday’ssession, “There is no wise guy here.  Both are down-to earth people.     

This is a sport that would have sent Mother Teresa, screaming into a cave to do penance on its behalf. But she certainly would have emerged here Wednesday, refreshed with hope.      

It has been mind-blowing for a few weeks now.  But moments before the proceedings began, it reached new levels.  There were Bradley and Pacquiao, standing on stage, chatting each other up like two old fishing buddies.  How’re the kids?...Have you been to that new restaurant on the Strip?...What did you think about Trump getting beat in Wisconsin?...      

This sort of socialization doesn’t occur in boxing.  Nor in most sports.    

It brought to mind the quote from the 1987 Fiesta Bowl, when huge tackle Jerome Brown led a walkout of his Miami teammates from a promotional dinner with their opponent, famously saying: “Did the Japanese go sit down and have dinner with Pearl Harbor before they bombed them?”    

Here were Pacquiao and Bradley, three days from attempting to commit mayhem on each other’s bodies, defying their sport’s tried-and-true practices.  To be ready to punch and slug and eventually win, you have to hate.  Or at least dislike.

These two don’t.  They have lives.  They are adults who act like it.  Even Pacquiao’s strange and misguided statement a few weeks ago about gays and lesbians seemed driven by religion and culture, more than animosity.          

In various gatherings with the media, both spoke articulately about life.  At this stage of most promotions, the topics are only left hooks and who has the most guts.

Pacquiao talked about his first fight as a pro, where he earned $20 dollars and had to take a three-hour boat ride to get there.  He remembered his first fight in Las Vegas, when the ring announcer couldn’t pronounce his name.  He recalled how, as barely a teenager, he became the family breadwinner. “I needed to send my brother to school,” he said. “There were days when there was no food, so I had to find enough water to stay alive.”     

Bradley told of fighting in ballrooms the size of the one he was now speaking in, and hoping they could squeeze in a couple thousand people. “I started fighting four-rounders for $800,” he said.

Pacquiao repeated, almost as if nobody had been listening, that his desire that this be his last fight is driven by family. “My mother has been after me for three years now to retire,” he said. “I just want to stay humble, and live with my family.”       

Bradley talked -- make that gushed -- about the role his wife/manager/confidant/best friend has played in all this.  He said he is amazed at how Monica Bradley can be up at 2 a.m., paying bills, and have a one-year-old who doesn’t sleep well at night and be getting the other four kids to school the next day.  “She has a lot of common sense, business sense,” he said. “I’m just a boxer.”

Normally, the boxers’ speeches at the formal function run about two minutes and focus on thanking God and Arum, not necessarily in that order.  Bradley’s was ten minutes of eloquent perspective, more about life and good fortune than left jabs and game plans for bloodying his opponent.  He ended by saying that Pacquiao was the kind of humanitarian who deserves to be elected a senator in the upcoming Philippine election.  He endorsed him to become “governor of the Philippines,” but the title mis-statement was nowhere near as important as the sentiment behind it.      

Pacquiao, similarly eloquent, said the Philippine people knew his story of poverty-to-podium and hoped it would be inspirational to them.  He called Bradley a good person and a much-improved boxer.

Then Arum, who in his next life as a baseball player will be a closer, wrapped it up by telling the story about Pacquiao buying outboard motors for an entire Philippine fishing fleet, so the fishermen would not have to take long hours rowing out to the prime deep-water tuna banks.        

“If you’ve been to the Philippines,” Arum said, “you know how much Manny gives back.  The social welfare system in the Philippines ought to be called the Manny Pacquiao.”      

Having heard all this; how does one root?  This is, after all, Peyton Manning versus Aaron Rogers. What’s not to like?

The solution?     

A hotly contested fight, maybe one knockdown each, that thrills the fans, leaves them feeling they got their money’s worth, and brings a judging draw.  That would allow Pacquiao to retire with the honor and legacy of a great effort and great career, and Bradley to carry on for a few more big-money fights as Top Rank’s star, knowing that his legacy will include a record of 1-1-1 against one of the best fighters of the era.     

Nobody roots for a draw, and it won’t happen, of course.     

But we can dream.

#          #          #

 

* This column was not subject to the approval of Top Rank.  Any editorial usage of all or part of this column is welcome but must include credit to Bill Dwyre.

 

Bill Dwyre will be writing a series of weekly columns on the Pacquiao vs. Bradley world championship event.  Bill was sports editor of The Los Angeles Times for 25 years, ending in 2006.  He was a sports columnist for 9 1/2 years at The Times, ending Nov. 25 with his retirement.  Boxing was among his most frequent column topics. Bill can be contacted at BillPatDwyre@gmail.com or via Twitter at @BillDwyre.

 

Promoted by Top Rank®, in association with MP Promotions and Tecate, the Manny Pacquiao - Tim Bradleychampionship event will take place on Saturday, April 9, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.  It will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View®  beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET / 6:00 p.m. PT.  The NoTrump pay-per-view undercard will feature World Boxing Organization (WBO) super middleweight world champion "King" ARTHUR ABRAHAM defending his title against undefeated No. 1 contender and mandatory challenger GILBERTO "Zurdo" RAMIREZ, undefeated No. 1 WBO featherweight contender and two-time Mexican Olympian ÓSCAR VALDEZ defending his NABO featherweight title against formerInternational Boxing Federation (IBF) featherweight world champion EVGENY GRADOVICH and 2012 U.S. Olympian JOSE RAMÍREZ defending his World Boxing Council (WBC) Continental Americas super lightweight title against MANNY PEREZ.  The Abraham vs. Ramirez world championship fight is co-promoted by Sauerland Event and Zapari Boxing Promotions. 

 

Remaining Tickets to Pacquiao vs. Bradley are priced at $1,204, $804, $604, $404, $254 and $154, not including applicable service fees.  To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000.  Tickets are also available for purchase at mgmgrand.com or ticketmaster.com.  

]]>
Thu, 07 Apr 2016 11:09:16 -0500
You Known You've Arrived When... http://www.toprank.com/news/boxing-promotions-you-known-youve-arrived-when/

LAS VEGAS -- My bucket list is now complete. I saw a boxing Grand Arrival.

I used to work for a newspaper where the old sports editor frowned on such frivolity and didn’t allow his reporters to waste time and money on such things.  They would be allowed to report to Las Vegas for the big matches, such as Saturday’s MANNY PACQUIAO - TIM BRADLEY battle, the day after the Grand Arrivals.

What is a Grand Arrival, you may ask?          

You also may ask, did Derek Jeter make a Grand Arrival before every Yankee game he played?          

And what if nobody shows for the Grand Arrival?  Does that make it a Goofed Arrival?

A free man now, clear of the chains of journalistic stubbornness and misguided attempts at common sense and fiscal responsibility of that old sports editor, I decided to go Tuesday, to be there in the warmth and excitement of the main lobby of the MGM Grand Hotel.  The big boxing ring was there.  So was the big MGM lion, sitting prominently in the middle.  

Ah, a little cross promotion (wink, wink).      

And there were fans everywhere, stacked four and five deep behind barriers.  The barriers had MGM Grand signs on them.  A little more cross promotion (wink, wink).    

Everybody had a camera, or at least a cell phone with a camera.  People were taking pictures of themselves with blown up balloons painted as Tecate beer bottles.  The real trending thing was taking selfies of people taking selfies.  There is a line here about the need to get a life, but that would sound too much like a curmudgeon.  And that was not me.  I was there, at the Grand Arrival, trying to be trending, too.

There was music.  Loud music.  No sporting event can take place these days without it.  By the year 2030, we will have an entire generation of deaf people, and doctors will be baffled by this, until they find out they were all sports fans.  Until the Grand Arrival boxing stars made their grand arrivals, the star was the ringside disc jockey in jeans and head phones, who, so expertly made Adele morph into Jay-Z, all at high decibels.

The noise helped build the excitement for what was to come, whatever that was.  The most content person on the premises was the promoter of this grand fight, Top Rank’s top gun, Bob Arum.  He was content because he only hears well out of one ear.       

There was other, less-significant activity taking place in the lobby of this gigantic hotel, things such as people checking in.  They would walk into the middle of this and eyes would open wide.  You could almost guess the conversation: “Hey, Millie.  This sure ain’t what it was like when we checked into that Holiday Inn in Keokuk last year.”         

The Tecate girls were there, as they are everywhere during these promotions.  And I never fail to feel sorry for them, because they clearly aren’t allowed to eat in the days preceding these big fights, plus the outfits they are made to wear have been left in the dryer too long and don’t seem to cover those areas that are usually covered.  But then, in show biz, as we all too well know, equipment malfunctions do happen.  Right, Janet Jackson?       

The Grand Arrivals, for those of you who intelligently pay no attention to such things, are merely each boxer walking into the MGM lobby.  They actually made their un-grand arrivals the day before and went quietly to their hotel rooms.  This, presumably, makes it official, that they are in town.  But then, we shouldn’t really have had to worry about that, seeing that Pacquiao has been guaranteed $20 million for this fight and Bradley $4 million.  Not a lot of chance for no-shows there.

Bradley arrived first and freneticism broke out.  People were taking selfies with people who had taken selfies of people who had tried to take a selfie with Bradley.  He marched in and slowly made his way in a circle around the ring, engulfed by security guards, TV cameras, pretend TV cameras and selfie hopefuls.  He did a long interview with people manning the TV cameras and pretend TV cameras, but it was so noisy that nobody could really hear, nor could he say anything that he hasn’t already said in the last two months.  

Yes, the sad essence was that this was a no-news Grand Arrival, which, presumably, is no different than any other Grand Arrival. But it quenched the thirst of gawking and selfie-taking that is an epidemic these days.

Bradley and his trainer, Teddy Atlas, went off to meet a small gathering of reporters, the majority of whom had shown veteran savvy by skipping the noise and just going directly to the interview room.    

With Bradley gone, Pacquiao made his Grand Arrival with trainer Freddie Roach nearby.  And everything -- noise, music, fan gushing -- was multiplied by two.

The post-Grand-Arrivals press gatherings broke some new ground, with Bradley and Atlas talking about noticing the huge Ferris wheel near the Strip, so cleverly named the High Roller, and Atlas seeing it as kind of a symbol of his fighter taking on Pacquiao for a third time.  The first time you see the wheel, it is bigger and imposing and scarier than it really is, especially after you have already ridden it twice.       

Pacquiao told reporters he had had a dream before his disappointing loss a year ago to Floyd Mayweather Jr. and in that dream, he had lost.  He was evasive when asked if he had a dream about this fight. Roach said, “I dream he wins by knockout.”

Arum ended the proceedings in a perfectly fitting way, with a political non-sequitur no less head-scratching than the two hours of Grand Arrivals, which brought much sound and fury and signified nothing.      

Never missing an opportunity to make a pitch for the election of Hillary Clinton, Arum said it was perfect that he had German boxer Arthur Abraham on the undercard because Abraham came from a country whose president is a woman, Angela Merkel, and Abraham’s presence would show that a woman can be our president.      

As the late, great Los Angeles radio star, Jim Healy, used to say, I don’t make ‘em up, pally.

 

#          #          #

 

* This column was not subject to the approval of Top Rank.  Any editorial usage of all or part of this column is welcome but must include credit to Bill Dwyre.

 

Bill Dwyre will be writing a series of weekly columns on the Pacquiao vs. Bradley world championship event.  Bill was sports editor of The Los Angeles Times for 25 years, ending in 2006.  He was a sports columnist for 9 1/2 years at The Times, ending Nov. 25 with his retirement.  Boxing was among his most frequent column topics. Bill can be contacted at BillPatDwyre@gmail.com or via Twitter at @BillDwyre.

 

Promoted by Top Rank®, in association with MP Promotions and Tecate, the Manny Pacquiao - Tim Bradleychampionship event will take place on Saturday, April 9, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.  It will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View®  beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET / 6:00 p.m. PT.  The NoTrump pay-per-view undercard will feature World Boxing Organization (WBO) super middleweight world champion "King" ARTHUR ABRAHAM defending his title against undefeated No. 1 contender and mandatory challenger GILBERTO "Zurdo" RAMIREZ, undefeated No. 1 WBO featherweight contender and two-time Mexican Olympian ÓSCAR VALDEZ defending his NABO featherweight title against formerInternational Boxing Federation (IBF) featherweight world champion EVGENY GRADOVICH and 2012 U.S. Olympian JOSE RAMÍREZ defending his World Boxing Council (WBC) Continental Americas super lightweight title against MANNY PEREZ.  The Abraham vs. Ramirez world championship fight is co-promoted by Sauerland Event and Zapari Boxing Promotions. 

 

Remaining Tickets to Pacquiao vs. Bradley are priced at $1,204, $804, $604, $404, $254 and $154, not including applicable service fees.  To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000.  Tickets are also available for purchase at mgmgrand.com or ticketmaster.com.  

]]>
Wed, 06 Apr 2016 11:27:54 -0500
No Trump Undercard: A "Serling" Example of Contrasts http://www.toprank.com/news/boxing-promotions-no-trump-undercard-a-quotserlingquot-example-of-contrasts/

LAS VEGAS – There were interesting doings Monday afternoon at the Top Rank Gym here.  If you remember the old Rod Serling Twilight Zone series on TV, you get the picture.    

"King" ARTHUR ABRAHAM, an Armenian-born German and a longtime main-event star in the sport, sat on the steps of one of the two gym rings and talked about his undercard fight on Saturday’s MANNY PACQUIAO - TIM BRADLEY card.

He was asked how long it had been since he was not in the main event of a boxing card.  He responded with a knowing smile and some broken English.   

“I think…..I think,” he said, meaning that he was pretending to be trying to remember, when he knew quite well that there has been much discussion about his reduced status here and that it has been at least ten years since he fought on anybody’s undercard.

In one of the rings near Abraham, the noise of a mitts workout crackled, as young Devin Haney pounded away with his trainer.  Haney will fight in one of the early bouts Saturday, not in the HBO pay-per-view portion where Abraham will take on Mexican Gilberto Ramirez just before Pacquiao and Bradley.

At one point, Abraham glanced at Haney as he worked and grinned, almost as if to say, Hey, Kid, I have shoes older than you.       

Abraham is 36, Haney 17.  Abraham is established, a veteran with a 44-4 record, who is remembered by most fight fans for the pre-fight challenge he presented in the Super Six tournament against Andre Ward before Ward imposed his will. In boxing annuls, Abraham has been there and done that.      

Haney, a Las Vegas prospect with a 3-0 record, can only hope for that future.  His entourage wears t-shirts that capture that hope: “Devin Haney vs. Everybody.”   

The Twilight Zone moment was more than simple age and experience contrasts. The trainer working the mitts with Haney was Floyd Mayweather Sr.  The Mayweathers, and the man who owns the gym, Top Rank’s Bob Arum, are not exactly frequent dinner companions.  They feel about each other somewhat like the Kardashians feel when a cameraman leaves.    

Maybe Arum, promoting the fight elsewhere, didn’t read Monday’s guest list at his gym.   

There was also the huge undercard mural covering one wall of the gym.  Pictured in it were four young Hispanic fighters, one young Russian who calls himself the Mexican Russian and an older man, whose bald head shined in the middle of the picture.  That would be Abraham.

His opponent GILBERTO RAMIREZ, is 24.  The other undercard fighters are JOSE RAMÍREZ, 23;ÓSCAR VALDEZ, 25; MANNY PEREZ, 31, and the Mexican Russian, EVGENY GRADOVICH, 29.  The picture looks a little like dad and his five sons.  

Make no mistake. Abraham appears to be in top physical shape.  At first look, it is hard to tell whether he is flesh or sculpted bronze.  His ripples have ripples.

“I trained in Bulgaria,” he said, adding that he had to walk around in snow up to his waist and that his blood was nice and thick because of the altitude.

“I have been here a week,” he said, “and I will stay for another week, around here and in Los Angeles. There are a million Armenians in Los Angeles.”

But he left no doubt that, to him, Las Vegas was a boxing mecca that should not be skipped.  Even young Haney got that, telling reporters earlier that he was both overwhelmed and grateful for his chance.        

“The MGM Grand, on a Saturday night, at age 17,” he said, wide-eyed.  No verb was needed to complete his sentence of awe.

Abraham, who has never fought in Las Vegas and who has only fought four times previously in the United States -- and not in five years -- said, “I come here to make history.  All the big champions fight at the MGM Grand.”

Notice he didn’t say Madison Square Garden.    

Still, to have a boxer of Abraham’s caliber playing second fiddle on anybody’s card is a stunner, as well as a tribute to both circumstance and the negotiating powers of Top Rank.

Gilberto Ramirez was the No. 1-ranked contender for Abraham’s WBO world super middleweight title. That made him the mandatory challenger for Abraham, were he to keep that title.  All logic would put that fight on Abraham’s home turf in Germany.  Top Rank was outbid by Abraham’s promoters on the first go-around for the fight, but German television couldn’t quite cover the bid.   

So Arum kept the talks open.  He badly wanted not only as much Hispanic presence as possible because of his wish to use his undercard -- the NoTrump Undercard -- to wage a little side political campaign against Donald Trump.  But he also wanted Gilberto Ramirez’s next fight, just in case he won and became the highest-weight Mexican boxing titleholder ever.      

Plus, Abraham is a big name, and Arum said he is sick of people whining about the quality of the fights put on.

Eventually, he bid $1.5 million -- “That’s as much as many HBO title fights,” he said -- and got Abraham to climb out of the snowbanks of Bulgaria and head West.  Pacquiao is guaranteed $20 million and Bradley $4 million.    

“The Germans not only got the TV rights,” Arum said, “but they got the German rights to the Pacquiao fight.”        

Abraham kept talking about history, and that he will make some by fighting in the same MGM Grand ring as the likes of Mike Tyson.  He also said he had watched many Floyd Mayweather Jr. fights from the MGM and added that Floyd Jr. “was the best of the best.  He showed what you can achieve in boxing.”         

So there it was, the perfect Twilight Zone ending. Cue the creepy music.

Superstar undercard boxer, being paid handsomely by Top Rank, bestows the highest of honors in the sport upon arch-rival of Top Rank, and does so in the gym owned by Top Rank, with the father of the arch-rival training a newcomer in one of Top Rank’s rings.

Look for the locks to be changed by Tuesday noon.

 

#          #          #

 

* This column was not subject to the approval of Top Rank.  Any editorial usage of all or part of this column is welcome but must include credit to Bill Dwyre.

 

Bill Dwyre will be writing a series of weekly columns on the Pacquiao vs. Bradley world championship event.  Bill was sports editor of The Los Angeles Times for 25 years, ending in 2006.  He was a sports columnist for 9 1/2 years at The Times, ending Nov. 25 with his retirement.  Boxing was among his most frequent column topics. Bill can be contacted at BillPatDwyre@gmail.com or via Twitter at @BillDwyre.

 

Promoted by Top Rank®, in association with MP Promotions and Tecate, the Manny Pacquiao - Tim Bradleychampionship event will take place on Saturday, April 9, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.  It will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View®  beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET / 6:00 p.m. PT.  The NoTrump pay-per-view undercard will feature World Boxing Organization (WBO) super middleweight world champion "King" ARTHUR ABRAHAM defending his title against undefeated No. 1 contender and mandatory challenger GILBERTO "Zurdo" RAMIREZ, undefeated No. 1 WBO featherweight contender and two-time Mexican Olympian ÓSCAR VALDEZ defending his NABO featherweight title against formerInternational Boxing Federation (IBF) featherweight world champion EVGENY GRADOVICH and 2012 U.S. Olympian JOSE RAMÍREZ defending his World Boxing Council (WBC) Continental Americas super lightweight title against MANNY PEREZ.  The Abraham vs. Ramirez world championship fight is co-promoted by Sauerland Event and Zapari Boxing Promotions. 

 

Remaining Tickets to Pacquiao vs. Bradley are priced at $1,204, $804, $604, $404, $254 and $154, not including applicable service fees.  To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000.  Tickets are also available for purchase at mgmgrand.com or ticketmaster.com.  

 

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Tue, 05 Apr 2016 11:11:09 -0500
Fans: You're Invited to the Pacquiao-Bradley Grand Arrivals in Vegas http://www.toprank.com/news/boxing-promotions-fans-youre-invited-to-the-pacquiao-bradley-grand-arrivals-in-vegas/

LAS VEGAS, NV (April 4, 2016) – Fight Week is here! 

Boxing's only eight-division world champion and the reigning Fighter of the Decade, CongressmanMANNY “Pacman” PACQUIAO, and five-time world champion TIMOTHY “Desert Storm” BRADLEY return to Las Vegas.  Before they collide in their 12-round high-stakes welterweight showdown of pound for pound titans, they will make their Grand Arrivals, Tomorrow!  Tuesday, April 5, in the front lobby of the MGM Grand. Bradley will arrive at 12:30 p.m. PT followed by Pacquiao at 1:00 p.m. PT.  Fans are invited to give these two gladiators a championship welcome.

Pacquiao vs. Bradley will take place Saturday, April 9, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.  This will also mark the first time former Trainers of the Year Freddie Roach and Teddy Atlas have faced each other from opposite corners.  Promoted by Top Rank®, in association with MP Promotions and Tecate, the Pacquiao vs. Bradley championship event will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View® beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET / 6:00 p.m. PT.

The NoTrump pay-per-view undercard will feature World Boxing Organization (WBO) super middleweight world champion "King" ARTHUR ABRAHAM defending his title against undefeated No. 1 contender and mandatory challenger GILBERTO "Zurdo" RAMIREZ, undefeated No. 1 WBO featherweight contender and two-time Mexican Olympian ÓSCAR VALDEZ defending his NABO featherweight title against formerInternational Boxing Federation (IBF) featherweight world champion EVGENY GRADOVICH and 2012 U.S. Olympian JOSE RAMÍREZ defending his World Boxing Council (WBC) Continental Americas super lightweight title against MANNY PEREZ.  The Abraham vs. Ramirez world championship fight is co-promoted by Sauerland Event and Zapari Boxing Promotions.

********************************

 

Remaining Tickets to Pacquiao vs. Bradley are priced at $1,204, $804, $604, $404, $254 and $154, not including applicable service fees.  To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000.  Tickets are also available for purchase at mgmgrand.com or ticketmaster.com.  

For fight updates go to www.toprank.comwww.hbo.com/boxing or  www.mgmgrand.com  on Facebook at  facebook.com/trboxing,  facebook.com/trboxeo or facebook.com/hboboxing, and on Twitter attwitter.com/trboxingtwitter.com/trboxeo, or twitter.com/hboboxing.  Use the Hashtag #PacBradley to join the conversation on Twitter.

#          #          #

 

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION (Media):

 

TOP RANK

Lee Samuels/Bradley:  702-378-1083 / Lee@toprank.com

Gardy Lopez:  787-246-3668 / GLopez@toprank.com

Fred Sternburg/Pacquiao: 303-548-0707 / TooFred@aol.com

Ricardo Jimenez/Valdez & G. Ramirez:  909-615-3436 / ricardoej@aol.com 

Ed Keenan/Live Satellite Telecasts:  609-399-1330 / Keenan@emcevents.com

 

SAUERLAND EVENT

Thomas Schlabe /Abraham:  +49-30-301297-18 / t.schlabe@se-box.de   

 

HBO Pay-Per-View

Kevin Flaherty:  212-512-5052 / kevin.flaherty@hbo.com        

Patrick Byrne: 212-512-1361 / patrick.byrne@hbo.com  

 

MGM Resorts International

Scott Ghertner:  702-692-6750 / sghertner@mgmresorts.com

 

CREDENTIALS:

www.MagnaMedia.com

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Mon, 04 Apr 2016 16:13:14 -0500
Jose Ramírez Never Stops Looking Back http://www.toprank.com/news/boxing-promotions-jose-ramirez-never-stops-looking-back/

Even on a high-profile April 9 boxing card that features MANNY “Pacman” PACQUIAO versus TIMOTHY "Desert Storm" BRADLEY JR undercard fighter JOSE RAMÍREZ is hard to ignore.

He is unbeaten in 16 fights, with 12 knockouts.  But that’s just ordinary boxing statistical stuff.  Ramírez’s story is anything but ordinary.  Writers have told it before, including this one.  But it is a story that keeps on giving.     

In brief summary, Ramírez was born in Avenal, grew up in California’s Central Valley, worked the agriculture fields as a teenager in the 100-degree heat of the summer alongside his family, and then escaped the heat and drudgery via his boxing career.  That’s not an unfamiliar story in the sport:  Poor kid avoids the inevitable pitfalls of crime and drugs and poverty by finding a gym, taking up boxing and never looking back.       

Except that, Ramírez has never stopped looking back.

He has given a face to the cause of water rights for the agriculture workers in the Central Valley.  He has returned to fight there, time after time, first filling small gymnasiums and then big arenas.  He is 23 and already a marketing machine, although that marketing appears to be less for personal gain and more for unity of the cause, which has pitted agriculture water-rights advocates against environmentalists.

Among the issues championed by the environmentalists is the preservation of wild life.  One specific issue is the saving of the Delta Smelt, prompting the wonderful quote from Ramírez’s promoter, Top Rank’s Bob Arum: “Who in hell ever saw a Delta Smelt?”

Because of the fervor with which Ramírez has taken on the agriculture cause, his endorsement appeal is well beyond that of an undercard boxer.  With manager and promoter Rick Mirigian leading the way, Ramírez recently became a national spokesman for Dodge Ram trucks, has his name on a Discover Card and is a spokesman for responsible drinking on behalf of a tequila company.  He has a total of 11 endorsement deals, close to tops in boxing.   

But loyalty to the home front continues to be the thing that sets Ramírez apart.  

When his career had just begun to blossom a few years ago, Mirigian, at Ramírez’s behest, decided to put together his next fight close to home.  West Hills College was 30 minutes from Avenal in Leemore, and the college had a gym that could hold 3,000.

It was an unusual marriage -- a pro fight and a community college gym.  There was no staff, no security group in place, no concessions group willing or able to serve 3,000.  And maybe no lack of skepticism that the 3,000-person sellout Mirigian was pushing could be anywhere near a reality.   

But the president of the school, Don Warkentin, decided to get on board, fight all the fights alongside Mirigian that needed to be fought, and made the kind of time and issue commitment not usual for a person in his position.  The 3,000 showed up in the Golden Eagle Arena, and Ramírez did not lay an egg.  He scored an early knockout, and soon, for Jose Ramírez and his future, 3,000 seats were not nearly enough.

Ramírez never forgot the help he received at the start, and he will honor West Hills and Warkentin by wearing a West Hills logo on his shorts and robe as he takes the ring, giving the Central Valley and its special cause another boost with the national and international exposure from HBO.

Sadly, Warkentin won’t be there to see it.  He died a few months ago.

-------

Another undercard fighter will be EVGENY GRADOVICH, who fights out of Oxnard and comes from Russia, apparently without love.            

He will be in the second HBO Pay-Per-View fight, after Ramírez takes on MANNY PEREZ.

Gradovich, like Ramírez, is hardly a bashful flower when it comes to creating attention.  He calls himself the Mexican Russian.  

“I got double pressure,” he says, “because everybody hates Russians and everybody hates Mexicans.”

-------

Before the selection of Bradley, among the candidates to fight Pacquiao in his alleged grand finale fight was England’s Amir Khan.  Arum, when asked why that didn’t happen, was his usual shy, noncontroversial self.

“Khan had a distorted notion of what he was worth,” the promoter said.

------

Gradovich’s opponent will beÓSCAR VALDEZ, who has the distinction of being the only Mexican to make two Olympic boxing teams.  Valdez won four fights last year. When Arum introduced him at an earlier press gathering, he used Valdez to punctuate his anti-Donald Trump political stance and to further define why he is calling his batch of preliminary fights the “NoTrump Undercard.”  He said, “I’m not gonna let Trump get a hold of Óscar Valdez’s paycheck to help him build his wall.” 

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Pacquiao has been guaranteed $20 million for the fight. Bradley will get $4 million, less than he received for either of his first two fights against Pacquiao. He got $6 million for the first fight, $5 million for the second.

----

Fight fans in the Central Valley think they are fortunate to have Ramírez. Little do they know.

When Juanita Ramírez was five-month’s pregnant with Jose, she was involved in an auto accident, when her car was struck by a drunk driver.  She was on her way to an Easter egg hunt.  The car flipped, she broke her arm and because of her pregnancy, could not take the kind of drugs needed to reduce the pain in the arm.  By the time she delivered Jose, she was so ill and frail that she remained in the hospital for nearly a month.

#          #          #

 

* This column was not subject to the approval of Top Rank.  Any editorial usage of all or part of this column is welcome but must include credit to Bill Dwyre.

 

Bill Dwyre will be writing a series of weekly columns on the Pacquiao vs. Bradley world championship event.  Bill was sports editor of The Los Angeles Times for 25 years, ending in 2006.  He was a sports columnist for 9 1/2 years at The Times, endingNov. 25 with his retirement.  Boxing was among his most frequent column topics.  Bill can be contacted atBillPatDwyre@gmail.com or via Twitter at @BillDwyre.

 

Promoted by Top Rank®, in association with MP Promotions and Tecate, the Manny Pacquiao - Tim Bradley championship event will take place on Saturday, April 9, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.  It will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View®  beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET / 6:00 p.m. PT.  The NoTrump pay-per-view undercard will feature World Boxing Organization (WBO) super middleweight world champion "King" ARTHUR ABRAHAM defending his title against undefeated No. 1 contender and mandatory challenger GILBERTO "Zurdo" RAMIREZ, undefeated No. 1 WBO featherweight contender and two-time Mexican Olympian ÓSCAR VALDEZ defending his NABO featherweight title against former International Boxing Federation (IBF) featherweight world champion EVGENY GRADOVICH and 2012 U.S. OlympianJOSE RAMÍREZ defending his World Boxing Council (WBC) Continental Americas super lightweight title against MANNY PEREZ.  The Abraham vs. Ramirez world championship fight is co-promoted by Sauerland Event and Zapari Boxing Promotions. 

 

The HBO Special UNDER THE LIGHTS:  PACQUIAO – BRADLEY, examining the April 9 Pay-Per-View Showdown, debutsSaturday, April 2 at 11:05 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.

 

Remaining Tickets to Pacquiao vs. Bradley are priced at $1,204, $804, $604, $404, $254 and $154, not including applicable service fees.  To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000.  Tickets are also available for purchase at mgmgrand.com or ticketmaster.com.  

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Mon, 04 Apr 2016 14:09:15 -0500
Previously, on Pacquiao-Bradley... http://www.toprank.com/news/boxing-promotions-previously-on-pacquiao-bradley/  

 

 

 

 

 

It may seem like the promotion for Saturday’s MANNY PACQUIAO - TIM BRADLEY boxing match has lasted longer than several of Zsa Zsa Gabor’s marriages, which is not a major achievement.

One old hack has even written more than 20 columns about it.  He soon will be looking to get a life or a spot in a rest home.

Still, it can be argued that, while the jury is out on how good the actual fight will be, there is little question that the promotion has had its moments.  And there is more to come.  Think of it as six more days on a bucking bronco.      

Here are some samples of what has happened and what was said about what has happened:

Pacquiao stunned the boxing world, as well as the real world, when he made his now infamous anti-gay and lesbian comments (“worse than animals”) in the Philippines. The other day, in a conference call, he agreed, when prompted, that the comments had been “taken out of context,” because the interview went on “for five or ten minutes.”  So, apparently, the next bank robber who confesses and then keeps talking for five or ten minutes will be able to invoke the “taken out of context” defense.  Defense lawyers worldwide have been looking for something exactly like this.    

When Bradley heard about Pacquiao’s comments, he rolled his eyes and said, “Oh, oh.  There goes the promotion.”  Later, he told reporters, “I love everybody,” and elaborated to Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times about his gay favorite uncle.

Top Rank Promoter Bob Arum has celebrated his 50th year in the sport by upping his game to new levels, which is saying something.

He gathered the best Hispanic fighters he could find to dominant the preliminary bouts and waited a few weeks, either for affect or for his writers to hit the right phrase, and then labeled it the “NoTrump Undercard.” Arum has been almost giddy at this chance to kill three birds with one stone -- promote the fight, dump on Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and help get Hillary Clinton elected.     

“My Hispanic army is marching,” Arum said the other day, suggesting that the halls of the MGM Grand will be full of sombreros.

Asked if Trump or any of his people had called to chat with Arum about his “NoTrump Undercard” and its accompanying negativity, Arum responded, “I only hear from sane people.”  

Pacquiao is a congressman in the Philippines and is running in the May 6 election to boost that status one notch to senator.  He has said all along that this is his last fight.    

“My mind has decided to retire,” he said.    

Arum responded by saying that reporters following this fight better be sure not to blame him if Pacquiao comes back and fights again, because “I have never promoted this as his last fight…I’ve been around for 50 years, and I’ve seen that fighters have a hard time walking away...so don’t be pinning it on me.”    

Pacquio’s trainer, Freddie Roach, said recently that his fighter is in fine form, showing no signs of weakness after right shoulder surgery, and even hitting harder with his right hand than his classic powerful left. Roach said he thinks Pacquiao, at 37, still has fights left in him, and said it would be tough to see their personal and professional relationship end.

“We’ve been together for 15 years,” Roach said.  “That’s longer than most marriages.”     

Nobody disputed Pacquiao’s celebrity.

Arum said that we all know so much more about the Philippines than we did before Pacquiao came on the scene.  Bradley, calling himself a Class-C celebrity, said, “I can go to Disneyland and walk around just fine. Manny shows up there and it’s all over.”      

Arum boiled Pacquiao’s political campaign down to a simple observation, one that Pacquiao’s campaign staff ought to put on all the billboards.   

“Manny Pacquiao’s politics are on the side of right,” Arum said.    

Bradley’s public praise for his new trainer, Teddy Atlas, has been a major story.  They have a theme for their fight strategy, or maybe just for the fight.  They are calling it “The log in the ocean,” and nobody outside of a few Bradley/Atlas confidants, has any idea what that means.   

Roach, no friend of Atlas’, said that the Bradley log would be caught in Pacquiao’s buzz saw.  He also reacted to all the credit Atlas was getting for orchestrating Bradley’s recent impressive victory over Brandon Rios by saying Rios was just out of shape and Atlas had little to do with the victory, but that Atlas, an ESPN commentator, was “a good announcer and a storyteller.”  

There seemed to be sarcasm there (you think?) and Atlas responded by saying, “I did not fire the first shot across the bow.”

The banter of the trainers wandered into football comparisons at one point.  When Roach made it clear that he did not put Atlas’ skills in a Tom Brady category, Atlas responded, “I may not be Tom Brady, but he is no Bill Belicheck.”         

Along the way, a new star emerged.        

Bradley’s wife, Monica, who has taken over as her husband’s manager and most trusted adviser, told of how her husband felt abandoned by former manager Cameron Dunkin after Bradley got a controversial decision in the first Pacquiao fight.     

“Tim was like somebody under a rock,” she said.  “It shouldn’t have happened.”       

Then, in her candid and logical way, as she fights the battles she feels others did not fight for her husband, she uttered the quote of the promotion, the kind that only a wife could offer who has watched her husband and father of her children get punched repeatedly in the face, and the kind that cuts through all the hype and BS and macho pretense that the sport thrives on.    

“I’m never going to tell him (Tim) when it is time (to quit),” she said, “because, for me, it was time long ago.”        

A boxing promotion is a work of art that not even Picasso could match.  It is months of words, millions of them, most of them colorful.  There is nonstop noise, all eventually concluding the same thing: Nobody knows.       

And then they finally get into the ring and, soon, we all do. 

* This column was not subject to the approval of Top Rank.  Any editorial usage of all or part of this column is welcome but must include credit to Bill Dwyre.

 

Bill Dwyre will be writing a series of weekly columns on the Pacquiao vs. Bradley world championship event.  Bill was sports editor of The Los Angeles Times for 25 years, ending in 2006.  He was a sports columnist for 9 1/2 years at The Times, ending Nov. 25 with his retirement.  Boxing was among his most frequent column topics. Bill can be contacted at BillPatDwyre@gmail.com or via Twitter at @BillDwyre.

 

Promoted by Top Rank®, in association with MP Promotions and Tecate, the Manny Pacquiao - Tim Bradleychampionship event will take place on Saturday, April 9, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.  It will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View®  beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET / 6:00 p.m. PT.  The NoTrump pay-per-view undercard will feature World Boxing Organization (WBO) super middleweight world champion "King" ARTHUR ABRAHAM defending his title against undefeated No. 1 contender and mandatory challenger GILBERTO "Zurdo" RAMIREZ, undefeated No. 1 WBO featherweight contender and two-time Mexican Olympian ÓSCAR VALDEZ defending his NABO featherweight title against formerInternational Boxing Federation (IBF) featherweight world champion EVGENY GRADOVICH and 2012 U.S. Olympian JOSE RAMÍREZ defending his World Boxing Council (WBC) Continental Americas super lightweight title against MANNY PEREZ.  The Abraham vs. Ramirez world championship fight is co-promoted by Sauerland Event and Zapari Boxing Promotions. 

 

Remaining Tickets to Pacquiao vs. Bradley are priced at $1,204, $804, $604, $404, $254 and $154, not including applicable service fees.  To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000.  Tickets are also available for purchase at mgmgrand.com or ticketmaster.com.  

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Mon, 04 Apr 2016 12:50:09 -0500