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Boxing Chronicles notebook: Pavlik, Cotto vs. Clottey, HBO, and more!

It would appear that two of Bob Arum's biggest stars almost have their next fights officially set in stone. WBC/WBO middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik will defend his titles against former WBC super welterweight champion Sergio Mora at some point in July. Once again, it's not Arthur Abraham, Winky Wright or Paul Williams, but I suppose we're allowing Pavlik one more gimme before mandating that he face the Wright vs. Williams winner or Abraham in order to legitimize his claim as the middleweight champion of the world.

WBO champion Miguel Cotto and IBF titlist Joshua Clottey will meet in a welterweight championship unification at Madison Square Garden on June 13, which is the eve of the Puerto Rican Day parade in NYC. HBO will televise. While Cotto isn't facing Shane Mosley, Clottey certainly remains seasoned and skilled enough to pose a serious challenge to Cotto. Cotto vs. Clottey is practically an even money fight that should make for interesting viewing, so I'm satisfied with this intriguing match up as well as the fact that it will be televised on HBO World Championship Boxing. Perhaps I'll even take the train right into Penn Station to see this fight live at Madison Garden!

The fact that Cotto vs. Clottey will be World Championship Boxing rather than PPV is further evidence that HBO is carefully weeding out fights that they will or will not accept on their network. When you look at HBO's boxing schedule, as well as the fights that have already aired on HBO this year, you will notice that Mosley vs. Margarito and Marquez vs. Diaz were both on HBO World Championship Boxing. Williams vs. Wright, Dawson vs. Tarver II, and Cotto vs. Clottey will all also air live on HBO's regular network rather than their PPV outlet. Floyd Mayweather's rumored return to the ring in July, as well as Bernard Hopkin's challenge of IBF cruiser weight champion Tomasz Adamek, are also being considered by the cable giant at this moment. The only fight in the foreseeable future that will be on HBO PPV is Pacquiao vs. Hatton on May 2, which is warranted given the fact that Pacquiao vs. Hatton is currently one of the most significant fights as well as the biggest and most anticipated event in the sport of boxing. Hatton is the world champion at 140lbs. Pacquiao is pound for pound the best fighter in the world. Both combatants are viewed as heros in their respective countries and have shown their ability to draw crowds to their events in the USA - particularly in Las Vegas.

This week on ESPN2 Friday Night Fights, former WBC heavyweight champion Sam Peter returns to the ring against Eddy Chambers. This will be the first fight on Peter's comeback trail from having suffered an 8th round TKO loss to Vitali Klitschko this past October, losing his WBC title in the process. We'll see how Peter looks physically going into this fight, whether he is in sufficient fighting shape or whether he's overweight and has had one two many dates with the refrigerator leading up to this fight. I think Peter is going to have his hands full with Chambers, but I am not yet ready to commit to a prediction. Tune in this Friday on ESPN2 to see the fight.

Another terrific title unification fight is coming up in a couple weeks, as WBC champion Timothy Bradley and WBO kingpin Kendall Holt meet in a super lightweight title fight on April 4th in Montreal, Canada. Bradley is coming off his upset title winning victory over Junior Witter in the UK, as well as a unanimous decision over Edner Cherry in his first title defense. Holt, the WBO rose from two knockdowns to score a 1st round TKO/headbutt stoppage of Ricardo Torres. He made a successful defense of his title by winning a close split decision over Demetrius Hopkins this past December. With less than two weeks to go before the fight, I have to go with Bradley by decision. I think he's a good little fighter who is gradually going to get better with experience.

WBC welterweight champion Andre Berto is likely to defend his title on May 30 against .... IBF super lightweight champion Juan Urango!?!? Isn't Urango a 140lber??? Isn't Berto a 147lber (a big one at that?) What happened to a Berto vs. Collazo rematch??? Come on, Andre!

Jones stops Sheika in five!

Roy Jones Jr TKO5 Omar Sheika... On Saturday night, at the Pensacola Civic Center in Pensacola, FL, former Pound for Pound king Roy Jones Jr was too fast and had too many tools in his arsenal for Omar Sheika, as he outboxed him for four one sided rounds. In the fifth round, the referee saw fit to end the contest [I felt prematurely] awarding Jones the TKO victory in the fifth round. I'm going to go out on a limb and call that the worst stoppage I've seen in recent memory. Sheika was clearly losing each and every round, but it's not like he was taking punishment from Jones that could cause him serious bodily harm. Sheika was still trying to compete, and it was only the fifth round, so the referee probably should've given the man a serious fighting chance to win the bout and allowed the fans to see the fight that they had paid good money attend live as well as watch on PPV.

Although Jones appeared to be well on his way to winning a lopsided decision, anything could've happened in the remaining five and a half rounds had the referee not jumped the gun so quickly. My guess is that the fight was in Jones's hometown of Pensacola, this was a Roy Jones show both from a promotional and geographic standpoint, and the referee did a little hometown cooking by sparing Jones from being taken the full distance by a fighter of Sheika's calliber. Furthermore, it's fortunate that nobody was seriously injured and Jones performed well in front of his adoring hometown crowd.

BJ Flores W10 Jose Luis Herrera... In the co-feature, top cruiserweight contender BJ Flores thoroughly outboxed Jose Luis Herrera, who I had last seen stopping previously undefeated Aaron Williams on ESPN2 Friday Night Fights, and won an easy 10 round unanimous decision. Official scores of the contest were 98-92 and 99-91 (twice) all in favor of Flores. Flores is a really good technically sound boxer; if he had more punching power he could probably do even more damage. According to Flores in an interview he did with Boxingtalk's Greg Leon, he broke his left knuckle in the third round and couldn't really use his left hand as much as he would've liked. Although the fight was deprived of any type of excitement, Flores still put on a boxing clinic even with the broken knuckle and showed why he's one of the best cruiserweights in the world today.

television: Square Ring PPV

Klitschko stops Gomez in ninth round!

Vitali Klitschko TKO9 Juan Carlos Gomez... On Saturday night, at the Hanns-Martin-Schleyer Halle in Stuttgart, Baden-W├╝rttemberg, Germany, Vitali Klitschko retained his title with a sloppy by effective ninth round TKO of former cruiserweight champion Juan Carlos Gomez. The opening stanza, which I actually gave to Gomez, was pretty close. From the second round on, Klitschko assumed command as he began to find his range with the left jab and nailed Gomez with straight right hands and jarring left hooks.

After four rounds, Gomez's right eye was beginning to swell shut and was also bleeding. Klitschko dropped Gomez in the seventh round, but Gomez got up and was able to survive the round. Klitschko suffered a cut above his hairline, product of accidental clash of heads. In the ninth round, Klitschko once again dropped Gomez, but Gomez made it to his feet again. Klitschko continued to punish Gomez, as Gomez turned his back to him and the referee mercifully stopped the contest.

Overall, I felt that this was a sloppy performance on Vitali's part, but he was still effective enough to lay a beating on a skilled and experienced former champion. Klitschko has a pretty good straight right hand, but he paws way too much with his jab. His size is by far his greatest asset as well as the fact that he lets his hands go. Other than that he looks too loose and wide open for counter punches. If he was to face somebody the caliber of his brother, with that kind of height, reach, and boxing ability, I think he would be at serious risk of being exposed. However, somebody the likes of WBA heavyweight champion Ruslan Chagaev might be able to pose a spirited challenge to Klitschko.

television: ESPN Classic

Is Floyd Mayweather Jr returning to the ring?

A source says he's sparring and trying to plan a return to the ring on July 11!

According to an article I read on ESPN by Dan Rafael, former pound for pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr has been in the gym sparring and is itching to make a return to the ring. Mayweather has not seen action since December of 2007, when he knocked out Ricky Hatton in 10 rounds to retain the WBC welterweight championship of the world. After a rematch with Oscar De la hoya had been scheduled for September 20 of last year, Mayweather humbly announced his retirement from the sport of boxing.

Such news is reassuring to read, but I would like to hear it or read it from either Floyd Mayweather, Jr or his advisor and close confident Leonard Ellerbe rather than just a source. There are so many sources out there these days, right down to a simple cab driver or security officer, who has absolutely no legitimate projection of an athlete's future business endeavor. I for one would like to see Mayweather in the ring again, primarily against against Miguel Cotto, welterweight champion Shane Mosley, or most preferably - current pound for pound king Manny Pacquiao. As I have noted previously on numerous occasions, Pacquiao vs. Mayweather is a huge event, staging a potentially exciting fight, for millions of dollars in what could be the greatest payday for both combatants.

There is not one serious boxing fan who would not want to go to Las Vegas to attend that fight live or pay to see it on PPV. Regardless of who would win or lose, it is definitely the type of fight against the caliber of opponent who could push Money May to the edge of his physical and mental ring abilities. Mayweather would not be able to pot shot and run his way to a decision. Pacquiao is simply too fast and throws too many punches. Whoever were to emerge victorious, Pacquiao vs. Mayweather is certainly a fight worth watching. Mayweather's been in a few boring fights, but I have rarely ever seen Pacquiao in a dull fight (one-sided or competitive) and nobody has ever tarnished Mayweather's undefeated record.

The source claims that Mayweather has been discussing a July 11th date with HBO for his return to the ring, which Mayweather would prefer to have on HBO World Championship Boxing, but there are a couple monkey wrenches that conflict with those plans. HBO would have to come up with a license fee in order to put Mayweather's summer comeback fight on HBO, or else that event might also air live on PPV.

The other obstacle would be a conflict of dates, as July 11 is the date currently being negotiated for a proposed cruiserweight title fight between IBF champion Tomasz Adamek and former middleweight and light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins. However, Main Events and Golden Boy Promotions, the respective promoters for Adamek and Hopkins, have not yet committed to that date, so it remains questionable whether or not Mayweather's return engagement would fill that time slot.

Khan wins technical decision over Barrera!

Ladies and gentlemen, I have been busy eating crow for what was a completely inaccurate prediction last week. I picked Marco Antonio Barrera to defeat Amir Khan based on experience and class. I could not have been more wrong.

Amir Khan W5 Marco Antonio Barrera... Amir Khan, 2004 Olympic Silver Medalist, defeated Marco Antonio Barrera by technical decision, in what was a WBO lightweight title eliminator, at the M.E.N. Arena in Manchester, UK last Saturday night. From the opening bell, Khan's hand and foot speed bothered the aged former champion, but perhaps the most telling blow was an accidental headbutt that opened a deep gash on Barrera's hairline. The cut continued to bleed into Barrera's left eye as the rounds progressed, but the doctor and the referee allowed the fight to continue for four rounds before ending the contest in the fifth round. According the rules of the WBO, if a fight is stopped after four rounds due to an accidental clash of heads, the result is determined by the official scores. At the time of the stoppage, the three official judges scored the fight 50-45 (twice) and 50-44, all in favor of Khan.

I had said that Khan would have to fight an almost perfect fight to defeat a boxer the likes of Barrera. Unfortunately for Barrera, he didn't even fight a perfect fight for as long as it lasted and he still won every minute of every round. Surely, the blood pouring down into the left eye did not help Barrera's cause, but he just wasn't letting his hands go and he could not find Khan. After the first round, I could already see the difference between the two combatants. I actually scored the first round 10-8 for Khan, as did one of the three judges. Khan did get a little help from the referee and the doctor for letting it go on until four rounds were completed. That was the difference in a No Contest vs. a technical decision win for the hometown hero.

Having said all of that, I believe that a rematch with Breidis Prescott is a fight that should happen for Khan. As long as Prescott remains undefeated and is on the rise himself in the lightweight division, nobody is going to take Khan seriously if he fails to avenge that loss or even fails to make an attempt. Surely the 55 second knockout loss that Khan suffered at the hands of Prescott back in September remains a demon that Khan is still going to have to exercise if he hopes to compete against the bigger and more technically sound punchers of the 135lb and 140lb weight classes.

Ola Afolabi TKO 9 Enzo Maccarinelli... Enzo Maccarinelli was on the comeback trail from what had been a devastating 2nd round TKO loss to David Haye, in what was a fight for the undisputed cruiserweight championship back in March of 2008. Maccarinelli had every intention of returning to prominence and gaining the interim WBO cruiserweight title, but Ola “Kryptonite” Afolabi had other plans as he shocked the world and derailed the plans of Maccarinelli by stopping him in the 9th round with a big right hand. Throughout the first eight rounds, Maccarinelli was in control of the fight for the most part as he outworked Afolabi but Afolabi was able to stun Maccarinelli on numerous occasions. Time of the stoppage was 1:50 of round 9. Afolabi is now the interim WBO cruiserweight champion of the world.

Roman Martinez TKO4 Nicky Cook... There's a fresh new face in the super featherweight landscape, and he is undefeated Roman "Rocky" Martinez. Martinez dethroned defending WBO champion Nicky Cook by means of a TKO in impressive fashion. After controlling the first three rounds, Martinez dropped Cook with two left uppercuts, but Cook rose to his feet and beat the count. Shortly thereafter, Martinez dropped Cook again with huge left hook. Cook once again rose to his feet, but on shaky legs this time around, at which point the referee stopped the contest.

television: Integrated Sports PPV

Dawson vs. Tarver II rescheduled for May 9!

HBO still intends to televise.

The rematch between IBF/IBO light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson and former light heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver will happen on May 9 at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV. They were originally scheduled to meet on March 14, but Dawson withdrew from the fight due to an injury suffered in training. According to an interview conducted by Ryan Burton on Boxingtalk, Alfredo Angulo will appear on the under card.

Kirkland and Ortiz score impressive stoppages; Guerrero vs. Yordan ends in No Contest!

Boxing was the center of attention on Saturday night, in the San Francisco Bay area, where light middleweight prospect James Kirkland and up and coming light welterweight Victor Ortiz scored impressive knockout wins on HBO Boxing After Dark. There were a total of three televised fights that took place at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California. As I said earlier this week, I failed to cover these fights live due to the fact that I was out of town on Saturday, but I recorded a replay of the telecast on HBO2 a couple nights ago. The card was promoted by Golden Boy Promotions.

James Kirkland TKO6 Joel Julio... James Kirkland showed his perseverance and determination, as he attacked Joel Julio from the get go with combinations and relentless pressure. At times, Julio was the more accurate puncher, as he was able to catch Kirkland with right hands as he was coming straight in. For the most part, Kirkland kept attacking and Julio had not a clue as to how he was going to escape the onslaught. Kirkland opened a cut above Julio's right eye with a left hand at the end of round one.

Julio had his moments, such as round three when he was able to crack Kirkland on the chin with a crisp left hand, but unfortunately for him it didn't even phase Kirkland. Slipping into a mode of retreat as a result of his discomfort for Kirkland's aggressive style, Julio tried to box a little bit more in rounds four and five by using his jab to set up some right hands. Undaunted by anything Julio was able to land, Kirkland continued to punish him with both hands and was beginning to break him down to the body. At the end of the sixth round, the referee decided to stop the contest, noting that Julio's bloody and swollen right eye was only going to worsen as he continued to take punishment for the remaining rounds.

With the win, Kirkland moves to 25-0, 22 KOs. This marks the second consecutive loss for Julio, who had lost a split decision in a title challenge against WBO champion Sergeii Dzinziruk - also a southpaw. Kirkland is definitely a force to be reckoned with in the 154lb weight class, where title holders such as Vernon Forrest, Sergeii Dzinziruk, and Daniel Santos currently campaign. Sergio Martinez, the slick veteran from Argentina who was robbed of a decision win in his draw against Kermit Cintron last month, would be a decent fight for Kirkland.

Personally speaking, I would love to see Kirkland against Alfredo Angulo. That would be a battle of two young undefeated hard-hitting pressure fighters who always enter the ring with intentions of exchanging blows with their opponents.

Victor Ortiz TKO2 Mike Arnaoutis... Victor Ortiz looked sensational, brutally stopping the game and experienced former title challenger Mike Arnaoutis in two rounds. This was an impressive win for Ortiz, as he was able to stop Arnaoutis, who previously took current WBO champion Kendall Holt the distance and also lost a close debatable decision to Ricardo Torres when they fought for the vacant WBO title a few years back. As Max Kellerman pointed out, Ortiz looked a bit tight in the first round.

After a feeling out process, in what was slow first round won by Ortiz primarily based on his activity, Ortiz stunned Aranoutis with a lunging left hand that immediately drove Arnaoutis into the ropes. Sensing that Aranoutis was hurt and possibly ready to be taken out, Ortiz pursued him by attacking with a vicious barrage of punches. Shortly thereafter, the referee jumped in and waved the fight off to protect Arnaoutis from taking unnecessary punishment.

Ortiz, who looks to be the future of boxing once aging stars like Shane Mosley, Bernard Hopkins, and Juan Manuel Marquez are no longer actively fighting, is currently in the process of crossing over from prospect to contender at this early stage of his career. He will probably fight one more opponent, who is on the level of an Arnaoutis and then hopefully a top 10 contender en route to a title shot or a meaningful big money match up with one of the division's elite.

Robert Guerrero NC2 Daud Yordan... In the opening bout it appeared as though Robert Guerrero was going to get all he could handle, in from of his adoring home town fans, from the relatively unknown and undefeated Daud Yordan of Indonesia. Yordan was able to catch Guerrero with a few left hooks and right hands, as Guerrero was coming forward and trying to land leather on his opponent. Yordan won the first round on my scorecard, but scorecards would become irrelevant as both fighters clashed heads, opening a cut above Guerrero's right eye. The referee called time, directed Guerrero to the ring side physician, and Guerrero claimed that his sight was impaired by severity of the cut and the bleeding.

The referee called a halt to the bout and it was declared a no-contest. HBO's ringside expert commentator and former three time heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis mentioned that Guerrero could have fought on for another couple of rounds, and after four rounds the fight would've gone to the scorecards in adherence to the rules of the bout, thus giving him a chance to earn a victory in front of his home town crowd. Point well taken on Lewis's behalf, but I think Guerrero knew that he was going to be in for a tough night. Would Guerrero have been in any jeopardy of losing had the fight continued? That we will never know, but what is not up for debate is that the referee's duty is to protect the fighter's health and safety. Had that fight continued, perhaps the cut would have opened even more and become more of a hazard.
television: HBO Boxing After Dark

While it is true that champions like Bernard Hopkins, Manny Pacquiao, Juan Manuel Marquez, and Shane Mosley will not be around forever, it is becoming abundantly clear that we are getting some fresh young faces to carry boxing into the new generation. After all, the fighters that fans have fallen in love with over the course of time had to start some where.

Here in 2009, we are just beginning to get a glimpse of these young gladiators who are marching their respective paths to world championships. Some of them, such as undefeated WBO super bantamweight champion Juan Manuel Lopez, who will be seen in a title defense on HBO April 25, have already won a title.

I'm looking forward to seeing Lopez's next fight against WBO Bantamweight Champion Gerry Penalosa, who is coming up in weight to face Lopez. I also look forward to seeing Kirkland, Ortiz, and Angulo in their next appearances. According to an interview with Angulo, conducted by Ryan Burton on Boxingtalk, Angulo will next appear on the undercard of the recently rescheduled Dawson vs. Tarver rematch on May 9. According to Golden Boy Promotions Senior Executive Richard Schaefer, Kirkland and Ortiz will be probably be fighting again on June 27.

Again, who said boxing was dying?

Khan and Barrera meet in crossroads fight!

On Saturday afternoon, from the MEN Arena in Manchester England, British lightweight contender Amir Khan will square off with ring legend and former three division champion Marco Antonio Barrera.

Khan, who won a silver medal in the lightweight division at the 2004 Olympic games in Athens, was considered an emerging British phenomenon on the rise to super stardom, touted by many as the second coming of Prince Naseem Hamed.

Wins over the likes of Gary St. Clair and Michael Gomez contributed to the padding of Khan's undefeated professional record, and there were those in the British isles who believed that Khan's rise to prominence was inevitable, but the general boxing public was still waiting for Khan to make a significant splash against a legitimate top contender.

Some observers were anxious, even as recently as a year ago, to see Khan against the like's of Juan Manuel Marquez, Joel Casamayor, and Juan Diaz. Undefeated as a professional, Khan met fellow undefeated lightweight Breidis Prescott of Columbia on September 6, 2008. In the eyes of fans and experts, following the embarrassing 54 second KO loss to Prescott, Khan had been reduced from being Great Britain's most promising young superstar in the making to boxing's latest hype job.

Many felt they had seen the last of Barrera, following his retirement after his second loss to Manny Pacquiao in October of 2007, but rarely do boxers who ever reach Barrera's level of success and acclaim stay retired without making a comeback. Throughout his career, Barrera has posted wins over the likes of Kennedy McKinney, Erik Morales, Kevin Kelley, Johnny Tapia, and Hamed just to name a few.

Taking into account as impressive of a resume as Barrera has, one would declare that he has established quite a legacy for himself in the sport of boxing. Khan, 29, has much more to prove going into this fight than does his opponent who is one of Mexico's finest champions of recent memory. Barrera is making one last stand in a career that probably should have been permanently complete following the loss to Pacquiao in 2007. Khan is still rebounding from the knockout loss to Prescott and feels that a win over Barrera will elevate him to lightweight title contention or at least a big payday.

Barrera's losses to Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny Pacquiao are more excusable, as they pertain to his standing in all-time history, than they were a couple of years ago, as Marquez and Pacquiao are arguably the two best pound for pound fighters in the world today. Pacquiao went out of his natural weight element to dominate and stop Oscar De la hoya in a welterweight fight, while Marquez has now scored two consecutive knock out wins over Joel Casamayor and Juan Diaz. Therefore, Barrera may not be as finished or over the hill as we once thought.

Given the fact that Khan is a fragile-chinned, relatively recent first round knockout victim who still remains unproven, coupled with Barrera's incomparable professional experience against top flight opposition, I am inclined to pick the old warrior in this one - probably by decision, but a stoppage win would not surprise me at all.

Khan vs. Barrera can be seen live on PPV, distributed by Integrated Sports, on Saturday, March 14 at 4pm E/T 1PM P/T.

Cotto vs. Clottey June 13 at Madison Square Garden?

According to, it looks like a unification title fight between WBO welterweight titlist Miguel Cotto and IBF welterweight belt holder Joshua Clottey is almost officially set for Madison Square Garden on June 13, which is the weekend of the Puerto Day Parade in New York City.

In a way, I'm a bit surprised that Top Rank promoter Bob Arum did not choose Cintron as Cotto's next opponent, being that both guys are Puerto Rican and the idea for the event is to stage it at Madison Square Garden on the weekend of the Puerto Rican Day parade. Cintron tarnished his reputation in his last fight with the way he carried on about the so called headbutt that dropped him in the seventh round, rather than the straight left hand that Martinez landed. As if that wasn't enough, he cried robbery when the official judges declared that fight a draw. Therefore I am delighted that Arum did not select him as Cotto's next opponent.

Furthermore, Clottey currently resides in Bronx, NY, both Cotto and Clottey fight under the Top Rank banner, and overall this is a much better match up than Cotto vs. Cintron. Would I most like to see Mosley vs. Cotto II? Yes, but I won't beat a dead horse over and over again. To his credit, Clottey is a titleholder as well as a top three welterweight would could present Cotto with spirited challenge, so Cotto vs. Clottey is fine by me. No complaints on my end; lets make this fight happen Bobfather!

Carl Froch set to defend title against Jermain Taylor

Press Release: NEW YORK - A household name in his native England, talented, undefeated Carl Froch will look to make a major statement - and enhance his reputation in America -- when he defends his World Boxing Council (WBC) super middleweight title against one of the most highly regarded and recognizable fighters of his generation, former undisputed middleweight belt-holder Jermain Taylor, Saturday, April 25, on Showtime Championship Boxing from Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Conn.

A formal announcement was made by Ken Hershman, Senior VP and General Manager of Sports and Event Programming for SHOWTIME.

“Jermain Taylor is a great fighter and I am excited to have him make his SHOWTIME debut on April 25,” said Hershman. “He’s the more accomplished fighter and the better-known guy right now, but in Froch, he’s facing the naturally bigger fighter and a man that has never lost. Our viewers have come to expect competitive fights month-in, month-out on SHOWTIME and this fight should be no different.

“The 168-pound weight division is one of the deepest and most exciting in boxing,” Hershman continued. “Froch-Taylor is just one of many compelling matchups that this division has to offer.”

The telecast will air live at 9 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast) from MGM Grand Theater at MGM Grand at Foxwoods. The fight card is being co-promoted by DiBella Entertainment and Hennessy Sports.

“I expect fireworks in this matchup,” said DiBella Entertainment President Lou DiBella. “There is an aggressive, straight-ahead, rugged champion fighting a seasoned athletic warrior. It is a can’t-miss fight and the title will change hands.”

“We are honored to be hosting the WBC World Super Middleweight Championship in association with DiBella Entertainment and SHOWTIME,” said Joseph Jimenez, Senior Vice President of Casino Marketing for MGM Grand at Foxwoods. “We are excited to showcase our beautiful property and magnificent theater at the MGM Grand at Foxwoods.”

Tickets are on sale now and priced at $200, $100, $75 and $50. Tickets are available at, your local Ticket Master and MGM Grand Box Office 866-646-0649.

Froch (24-0, 19 KOs), of Nottingham, England, will be making the first defense of the vacant 168-pound crown he gained in his last outing with a unanimous 12-round decision over Jean Pascal on Dec. 6, 2008. He earned the title shot after registering a fourth-round TKO over Albert Rybacki on May 20, 2008, on ShoBox: The New Generation on SHOWTIME.

The six-foot, 31-year-old Froch, who has fought all but one of his fights in the UK , is one of 30 Shobox alums to become a world titleholder. A victory over Taylor would provide Froch instant stardom. The winner on April 25 will perhaps have the opportunity to unify against the IBF champion, the winner of this Friday’s Lucian Bute vs. Fulgencio Zuniga bout.

Taylor (28-2-1, 17 KOs), of Little Rock, Ark., has had a prolific pro career since winning a bronze medal for the United States in the 2000 Olympic Games. The six-foot-one-inch, 30-year-old Taylor is the only boxer to twice defeat future Hall of Famer Bernard Hopkins.

In a WBC title eliminator last Nov. 15, Taylor dominated Jeff Lacy en route to taking a unanimous decision. Taylor also has defeated former champions Cory Spinks, Raul Marquez and William Joppy.

When he outpointed Hopkins the first time, Taylor became 160-pound world champion in the WBC, World Boxing Association (WBA), International Boxing Federation (IBF) and World Boxing Organization (WBO).

SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING announcers Gus Johnson and Al Bernstein will call the action with Jim Gray reporting from ringside. The executive producer of SHOWTIME Sports is David Dinkins Jr., with Bob Dunphy directing.

For information on SHOWTIME Sports, including exclusive behind-the-scenes video and photo galleries, complete telecast information and more, please visit the SHOWTIME Sports website at

Boxing Chronicles Scorecards: Marquez -vs- Diaz & John -vs- Juarez

Here is how scored the Marquez vs. Diaz and John vs. Juarez title fights that took place at the Toyota Center in Houston, TX a couple weeks ago on HBO.

Marquez vs Diaz - World Lightweight Championship

Marquez won by TKO in 9.
Official judges scores:
Max DeLuca: 77-75 Diaz
Duane Ford: 77-75 Marquez
Levi Martinez: 76-76

John vs Juarez - World Featherweight Championship

Official judges scores:
Tom Miller, Raul Caiz, and Gale Van Hoy: 114-114

Kirkland/Ortiz/Guerrero fight reviews coming soon!

Over the weekend, James Kirkland and Victor Ortiz both scored impressive TKO wins on HBO Boxing After Dark, but I was not at home to watch these fights. I believe they are going to replayed one more time tonight on one of HBO's channels - HBO2 East I believe. Upon watching all three of the televised fights in their completion, I will post an update regarding my views based on the performances of Kirkland, Ortiz, and Robert Guerrero, whose fight ended in a highly disappointing no-contest. Ortiz appears to be the goods at 140lbs; this young kid has a bright future ahead of him in the talent laden jr welterweight division. Last time I saw Ortiz, he looked sensational on the the Pacquiao/De la hoya under card, stopping Jeffery Resto in devastating fashion. The two round destruction of "Mighty" Mike Arnaoutis is clearly the biggest win of his career to this day, especially when you consider the fact that some experts and journalists, including but not limited to Boxingtalk's Greg Leon, were picking Arnaoutis to defeat Ortiz. I am definitely looking forward to watching a replay of these fights this evening. Stay tuned to!

Froch vs Taylor officially set for April 25!

According to reliable news sources, WBC super middleweight champion Carl Froch is finally set to defend his title against former undisputed middleweight champion Jermain Taylor on April 25. The fight will take place at the MGM Mirage at Foxwoods Resort and Casino in Connecticut. Contract for the fight has been signed by both parties and the fight is officially a done deal. Froch vs Taylor will be televised on Showtime.

Pacquiao/Hatton 24/7 premieres on HBO April 11!

Press Release: NEW YORK, March 9, 2009 – HBO Sports’ groundbreaking reality franchise “24/7,” which captured three Sports Emmy® Awards for its first season and produced two acclaimed editions in year two, will return with PACQUIAO/HATTON 24/7, an all-new four-episode, all-access series, it was announced today by Ross Greenburg, president, HBO Sports. Debuting SATURDAY, APRIL 11 (9:30-10:00 p.m. ET/PT), the series spotlights two of boxing’s most intriguing superstars – Manny Pacquiao, the sport’s reigning pound-for-pound king, and Ricky Hatton, his fiery opponent from across the pond – as they prepare for their May 2 junior welterweight pay-per-view showdown in Las Vegas.

Noted Greenburg, “This latest edition of ‘24/7’ features two of the most talented and personable fighters in boxing today, and we look forward to bringing their compelling storylines and personalities to our subscribers in what promises to be engaging television. The trainers Floyd Sr. and Freddie Roach will likely add fireworks to the series. This fight is sure to generate a lot of excitement and energy worldwide, and we hope to capture those dramatic moments.”

Episodes two and three of PACQUIAO/HATTON 24/7 debut on subsequent Saturdays – APRIL 18 (10:00-10:30 p.m.) and 25 (9:35-10:00 p.m.) – while the finale debuts FRIDAY, MAY 1 (9:30-10:00 p.m.), the night before the fight. All four episodes will have multiple replay dates on HBO, and the series will also be available on HBO On Demand.

PACQUIAO/HATTON 24/7 will provide exclusive behind-the-scenes access, along with in-depth interviews, as these determined warriors, both making their second “24/7” appearance, prepare for the first mega-fight of 2009. A hero in his native Philippines, the 30-year-old Pacquiao (48-3-2, 36 KOs) is regarded by most boxing observers as the sport’s unofficial pound-for-pound king. Demonstrating knockout power in five weight classes, his recent victory over his boxing idol, ring legend Oscar de la Hoya, was cause for national celebration in his homeland. Amid growing worldwide celebrity, he returns to the 140-pound division to take on the hard-hitting Hatton.

Hailing from the streets of Manchester, England, Ricky Hatton (45-1, 32 KOs) has a tenacious fighting style and a devout following. The 30-year-old suffered his only professional loss in December 2007 when he battled future Hall of Famer Floyd Mayweather Jr. as a welterweight. Now back in the junior welterweight ranks, he wants to prove himself the most formidable fighter in the division.

Storylines for this fast-paced series will include the interaction between Pacquiao and his trusted trainer and friend Freddie Roach, as well as the fascinating alliance of Hatton and outspoken trainer Floyd Mayweather Sr.

PACQUIAO/HATTON 24/7 is the latest installment of the widely acclaimed “24/7” franchise that began on HBO in 2007 with “De La Hoya/Mayweather 24/7” and “Mayweather/Hatton 24/7.” The series returned in 2008 with “Calzaghe/Jones 24/7” and “De La Hoya/Pacquiao 24/7.”

Newsweek described the first installment of “24/7” as “an engrossing look at both a boxing match and a personal circus, and fans of human drama will want to have a ringside seat.” ESPN The Magazine proclaimed the series “a masterfully entertaining reality show,” while the New York Daily News called it “compelling television.”

On Saturday, May 2 at 9:00 p.m. (ET)/6:00 p.m. (PT), HBO Pay-Per-View presents “Pacquiao vs. Hatton,” live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

Kirkland vs Julio headlines HBO Boxing After Dark trippleheader this Saturday!

Press Release: HBO Sports serves up a triple-header of action on March 7, 2009. The main event features two fighters known for their aggressive style and heavy hitting, as undefeated James Kirkland (24-0, 21 KOs) of Austin, Tex. and Joel Julio (34-2, 31 KOs) from Monteria, Colombia battle in a scheduled ten-round junior middleweight contest. Kirkland has quickly become a top prospect in the division with a knockout-to-victory ratio in the high 80% range. Julio, another top prospect with an equally impressive percentage of KO victories, has suffered only two losses. Both men see the match as an important step toward a title in the division.

The middle bout has Victor Ortiz (23-1-1, 18 KOs) from Oxnard , Cal. going against Mike Arnaoutis (21-2-2, 10 KOs) from Atlantic City in a scheduled 12-round face-off. Ortiz has been steadily notching victories against top fighters. Arnaoutis, a hot prospect in the junior lightweight division who is now fighting as a junior welterweight, looks to put the brakes on Ortiz’s rise.

The evening kicks off when two-time featherweight titlist Robert Guerrero (23-1-1, 16 KOs) from Gilroy , Cal. takes on undefeated Daud Yordan (23-0, 17 KOs) from Kalimantan, Indonesia in a scheduled ten-round junior lightweight contest. Guerrero won titles in the featherweight division at ages 24 and 25. Now 26, he is moving up in weight to seek a third crown. Yordan will be fighting in the U.S. for only his second time and is looking for a victory to affirm his status in the division.

The executive producer is Rick Bernstein; producer, Jon Crystal; director, Mike Sheehan.

"Dynamita" Marquez scores KO in classic fight; John and Juarez fight to unanimous draw!

Last Saturday night, I was fortunate to witness one of the greatest lightweight fights of all time when "Dynamita" Juan Manuel Marquez and Juan "Baby Bull" Diaz met at the Toyota Center in Houston, TX for the lightweight championship of the world. Given the 14,571 fans in attendance at this fight in Houston, and taking into account the downward economic turbulence that our country is suffering from at the present time, further evidence is once again established that the sport of boxing remains healthy and is very much alive today.

Even though the WBA and WBO belts were added to the sweepstakes being contested for, nobody needed alphabet soup organizations to make the determination that the victor in this fight was indeed going to be designated as the universally recognized king at 135lbs. What we were not totally certain of was that this match up would produce the greatest lightweight championship fight, or even lightweight fight for that matter, since the memorable encounter between Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo in May of 2005.

Juan Manuel Marquez TKO9 Juan Diaz... This fight was indeed an all time classic as well as an early Fight of the Year candidate. Going into the fight, one knew that it featured a more experienced and seasoned all time great Mexican in Marquez against a young Mexican American fighter in Diaz. Both fighters came out prime for combat in the opening round, as Diaz took the initiative in the opening rounds and raked Marquez on the ropes with savage body work as well as punches to the head. In the second round, Diaz even managed to hurt Marquez momentarily, but Dynamita would survive those critical moments to come back and win the third round with precise and accurate counter punching.

Following the first couple of rounds, won by the Baby Bull from my view point, the fight became more of a sea saw battle throughout the early to middle rounds. The action was so two-sided and indistinguishable that it made each round extremely difficult to score. Neither combatant had a clear edge, nor was there any point when it looked like either fighter was imposing his will on his opponent. After five hotly contested rounds, the battle line had been drawn. Marquez had the advantage in the middle of the ring with his counter punching, while Diaz had his finest moments battering Marquez on the ropes with his fast crisp combinations. While scoring each individual round, I would begin to give credit to Marquez for outboxing Diaz in the center of ring, when all of a sudden Diaz would bully Marquez on the ropes and retaliate by viciously attacking him with combinations to the body and head.

Marquez began to take command in round eight, as he seemed to stun Diaz towards the end of the round. Round nine was the beginning of the end for Diaz, as Marquez hurt Diaz with a right hand followed by a flurry of shots that dropped the Houston native. Diaz was able to make it to his feet, but Marquez dropped him once again with an uppercut and the referee waved the fight off without even administering another count. This fight had been so difficult to score, that the three official scores at the time of the stoppage were 77-75 Diaz, 77-75 Marquez, and 76-76. Boxing Chronicles had the fight scored 77-75 Marquez after eight rounds. With his win over Diaz, Marquez claimed the vacant WBA and WBO title belts and retained the Ring Magazine lightweight championship.

With the consecutive knockout wins over Casamayor and Diaz, Marquez moves on to bigger fights, most notably a third fight against Pacquiao if he's successful against Ricky Hatton on May 2, as well as a possible move up in weight. There are few fans and experts who would not want to see Juan Diaz in action again. This young man gave a great account of himself in his own right and was very exciting to watch. Win or lose, his fights are entertaining to watch, viewers know that there will be fire works in his fights, and fighters like Diaz make for entetaining television. With Campbell at 140lbs, and Marquez soon to be on his way there himself, Diaz may yet have a chance to emerge as a dominant force at lightweight, or at least win another title as long as he remains in that weight class.

Chris John D12 Rocky Juarez... Listening to the commentary of Jim Lampley, Max Kellerman, and Emmanuel Steward at ringside on HBO, one would believe that John deserved to win this fight handily. Not so much the case in my unbiased opinion, as this fight in all honesty was very close. John outworked Juarez in many of middle rounds, but it was Juarez landing the cleaner and more effective punches. In the last couple of rounds, often noted as the championship rounds, John was in retreat and Juarez was on the attack trying to score the type of dramatic come-from-behind knockout that he was able to produce against Jorge Barrios in his previous fight.

Juarez even managed to stagger John at the end of the eleventh round. The twelfth and final round produced more of the same as round eleven, with Juarez scoring and John attempting to run out the clock. In what is surely a rare occurrence in judging, all three official judges scored the fight 114-114. How about that? That is exactly how Boxing Chronicles happened to score the fight as well. All four of us can't possibly be blind, can we? HBO's unofficial ringside judge Harold Lederman scored the fight a suprisingly wide 116-112, inexplicably giving John the twelfth round. Nonetheless, Chris John has made another successful defense of the featherweight championship. A rematch is certainly warranted as well as probable.
television: HBO World Championship Boxing

Barring a draw somebody is inclined to taste defeat in every fight, but there were no losers in either of the matches that took place in Houston on Saturday. All four pugilists fought brilliantly, gave great accounts of themselves, and HBO is definitely stepping their game up with this quality matches. They see what Showtime has been doing. Executives within HBO's establishment must have had a long and fruitful conversation regarding the history of their recent events and telecasts and that talk was based on bringing an end to showing rising stars as well as current superstars featured in awful mismatches against over matched opposition. If promoters like Bob Arum elect to showcase their stars against disposable can fodder, HBO would finally appear to be stepping up to the plate and advising them to show it on their own PPV channel - as was the case with Top Rank's Pavlik/Cotto PPV doubleheader a couple weeks ago. HBO starting 2009 off on the right track.