Lotsa stuff going on in boxing…
Tonight from the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California is the inaugural edition of the Golden Boy Promotions series on ESPN2 (10 p.m. ET) which will feature middleweight prospect Jason Quigley against the faded Glen Tapia. Also highlighted is the return of former bantamweight titlist Randy Caballero and the pro debut of former U.S. Olympic bronze medalist Marlen Esparza. Earlier this year, Golden Boy entered an agreement with the four-letter network to televise cards (which will appear on its various platforms).
“We’re excited and we think we’re starting off with a great show and, in order for this to work, we have to make great matches,” said Eric Gomez, the president of GBP. “Robert (Diaz, matchmaker) Oscar (De La Hoya, CEO and founder) and I put our heads together and we feel like we’re going to put up some great matches that people are going to be excited about. That’s always the recipe for success and that’s what we’ve been doing the last few years.
“So we’re going to continue with the great matches that the fans will enjoy.”
Truth be told, tonight’s main event could be a bloodletting. Quigley, who hails from Ireland, is facing a very shopworn veteran in Tapia, who has never been the same after taking a beating from James Kirkland back in December of 2013, when he was allowed to take an extended and unnecessary beating. In his last two outings, Tapia was stopped by Michel Soro and, last year, he looked like a spent bullet in getting taken out early by David Lemieux.
The hope is Tapia doesn’t get seriously hurt here.
– On April 1, they will have a battle between Antonio Orozco and Keandre Gibson from the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas. Now, this is the type of fight this series needs on a regular basis.
– Also from Randolph, New Jersey, at the Skyland Events Center, there is a card being staged by Greg Cohen Promotions.
“We have the Halili brothers, Skender, who’s become a regular fighter for us and one of my favorite fighters to watch and he’s just a great kid to be around, as well. He’s fighting a real veteran, Eduardo Flores, a guy who has over 50 fights. It’s a good test on the way up for Skender. There’s no doubt about it that he has world-class power in either hand. He can knock out any human being out with one punch,” said Cohen, who was under the weather earlier this week.
Last year, Halili scored one of the most dramatic knockouts of 2016, getting off the canvas to stop Jason Thompson (and that’s Ray Flores and Yours Truly on the call):
“He just needs to sharpen up his skills and become a little bit more of a complete fighter and I think we might have something special with him,” says Cohen of his hard-punching junior middleweight, 13-1 (13). His brother Enver an undefeated junior middleweight, 8-0 (2) is also on the bill.
– It was announced over in the U.K. by Eddie Hearn that the IBF welterweight title fight between defending champion Kell Brook and his mandatory challenger Errol Spence Jr. will take place on May 27 at the Bramall Lane Football Ground in Sheffield, England, Brook’s hometown. This enticing match-up will be broadcast in America on Showtime.
This will be Brook’s second big event, being he faced unified middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin last September in front of a sold-out crowd at the O2 Arena. Brook will now defend his crown in a soccer stadium that holds over 30,000 patrons. As for the talented Spence, if he wants to win his first world title, he’ll have to earn it as a road warrior in hostile territory against a formidable foe.
Cue Bart Scott.
– It was announced on Tuesday that an agreement had been reached for WBC 130-pound champion Miguel Berchelt to defend his title against Japanese veteran Takashi Miura. According to Gomez, this Golden Boy-promoted event will take place in the Los Angeles area but may not necessarily land on June 24, as being reported.
OK, this is a really nice match-up and the hope here is it lands at a venue that rhymes with “Hubbub Renter.”
– The brand new MGM National Harbor in Maryland will host two nationally-televised boxing events in less than a week’s span between April 8, for the Ukrainian invasion led by WBO junior lightweight titlist Vasyl Lomachenko (on HBO), and April 14 for a “ShoBox” that has a main event of Dmitry Bivol-Samuel Clarkson and features local boxers like Glenn Dezurn and Malik “Ice Man” Hawkins.
Cohen, whose company will be involved in this event alongside Banner Promotions, told UCNLive.com that the two events will not cannibalize one another, explaining, “There’s no concern because the Lomachenko fight has been sold out for weeks. That shows me there’s a real appetite. Also, look: Lomachenko’s an Eastern-European, almost on the verge of being a superstar. That’s a different audience than for a kid like Malik, who’s a hometown kid from Baltimore and Glenn, who’s in the opening TV bout, also from Baltimore, and trains with Barry Hunter in Washington D.C. Hasim Rahman Jr. (who is debuting on the card) is from Baltimore.
“We’re really appealing to the local masses and the people from the neighborhood will come out to support these kids, as opposed to the white-collar, who will come to be part of the first show at the new MGM,” said Cohen, who believes the Beltway can become a real boxing market.
“I think it’s very important area for us. A local promoter, the Shabazz Brothers, who have done a great job of building a local audience in the Baltimore area, they are actually going to help us with this show, Artie (Pelullo, head of Banner Promotions) and I,” explained Cohen. “They hit the streets hard and, yeah, I believe we have some really good talent on our roster in that area and I think it can become a hotbed of boxing.”
This region has an important commodity – blue-chip boxers.
“Look, you have Gervonta Davis, a Mayweather Promotions fighter but who’s from the same gym as Malik. There’s Rahman Jr. and he’s trained by the same trainers. Upton Boxing is producing real talent and I think there’s definitely an appetite in that area and we want to capitalize on it and build it as one of our home areas,” stated Cohen, who says ticket prices for this card will range between $45, $75 and $100 (for ringside).
– On April 9 from the Club Nokia at L.A. Live, Ringstar Sports will promote a card that will be broadcast on FS1 and feature Josesito Lopez-Saul Corral and Alejandro Luna-Andrey Klimov, in addition to the pro debut of the highly-touted Carlos Balderas.
Making their pro debuts will be some of the new talent Ringstar Sports founder Richard Schaefer has signed: Misael Rodriguez, Money Powell IV, Eimantas Stanionis and Lindolfo Delgado. And it looks like these bouts will be streamed, according to the following Premier Boxing Champions press release:
“Fans can live stream the fights on FOX Sports GO, available in English or Spanish through the FS1 or FOX Deportes feeds. The fights are available on desktop at FOXSportsGO.com and through the app store, or connected devices including Apple TV, Android TV, Fire TV, Xbox One and Roku. In addition, all programs are also available on FOX Sports on SiriusXM channel 83 on satellite radios and on the SiriusXM app.”
– Here’s a very interesting video review/breakdown of the recent bout between Gennady Golovkin and Danny Jacobs:
The announcers tonight on “The Deuce” will be the always-capable Bernardo Osuna, Bernard Hopkins and Teddy Atlas…Romero Duno, who stopped Christian “Chimpa” Gonzalez a couple of weeks ago at the Belasco Theater, has been signed to a deal with Golden Boy…Finally FOX’s “Empire” is back!…So is Steve Alford going back to Indiana after this tournament run with UCLA is over?…LaVar Ball sure knows how to “punch up,” as they say…I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and I tweet (a lot) at twitter.com/steveucnlive. I also share photos of stuff at instagram.com/steveucnlive and can also be found at tsu.co/steveucnlive.