Night of the undefeated on HBO
After a couple of weeks of speculation, the proposed split-site doubleheader on Sept. 10 that will feature Gennady Golovkin-Kell Brook and Carlos Cuadras-Roman Gonzalez has come to fruition and will be broadcast by HBO.
Golovkin-Brook (which is being contested for Golovkin’s IBF, WBA and WBC middleweight titles) will emanate from the O2 Arena in London and “Chocolatito’s” challenge of Cuadras for his WBC 115-pound title will be staged at the Forum in Inglewood, California.
“We got the deal done last night, so we’re ready to announce the fight today,” Tom Loeffler, the managing director of K2 Promotions, told UCNlive on Wednesday afternoon. “It’s perfect timing because Roman is nominated for the ESPY as the ‘Best Fighter’ along with ‘Triple G,’ so we’re very excited to have two of the fighters we work with nominated for the ESPYs and be considered the two best fighters in the sport of boxing.”
While Golovkin-Brook will garner more headlines, Cuadras-Gonzalez is actually the much better fight on paper as the dynamic Nicaraguan looks to make history. “The fight with Chocolatito, it’s his fourth weight division, challenging an undefeated Carlos Cuadras, the WBC champion at 115 pounds. He’s not looking for a tune-up, fights to move up in weight, he’s going directly to the best champion at that division and it’s a big platform for Chocolatito. And for Cuadras, if he can defend and defeat the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the sport, that’s a huge boost for Cuadras.”
The Golovkin-Brook bout will air live at 5 p.m. ET and then will be replayed as the lead-in to the fight at the Forum at 10 p.m. ET. With all these moving parts involved, this could have been a complicated process but, according to Peter Nelson, the head of HBO Sports, this wasn’t a difficult deal to consummate.
“No, (Teiken Promotions President) Mr. (Akihiko) Honda, Tom Loeffler, (Matchroom Boxing Group Managing Director) Eddie Hearn – on the Triple G portion of the show – and Team Gonzalez and Team Cuadras all want to see the best fighting the best and Chocolatito had expressed a desire to move up to win a fourth divisional title. It was something his mentor Alexis Arguello, was never able to do and, to honor him, it’s something he’s keen on trying to achieve for himself, boxing and his native Nicaragua,” said Nelson, who was in Moscow, Russia.
Loeffler points out, “This will actually be four undefeated fighters on HBO on September 10th. This has got to be the strongest HBO show they’ve had in a number of years. You have the middleweight champion, the best welterweight champion (Brook), the best flyweight champion and the best super flyweight champion. When you have four of the best fighters in these divisions, it’s a huge treat for boxing fans.”
(There will be some debate if Cuadras truly is the best at 115 pounds. There is a strong case that WBO titlist Naoya Inoue is the class of the division. But regardless, the Mexican is undefeated (35-0-1, 27 KOs), is in his prime, at age 27, and more than a few observers are tabbing him to beat Gonzalez.)
It looks like the rematch between Jesus Soto Karass and Yoshihiro Kamegai (who battled tooth-and-nail on April 15 at the Belasco Theater) will accompany the Cuadras-Gonzalez bout at the Forum. It was originally slated to be on the Liam Smith-Saul Alvarez pay-per-view card but was attached to this card in an effort to bolster the live gate at the Forum. But Loeffler wouldn’t confirm this fight was made, “We’re looking to make the biggest fights for that show to support Roman in his first headlining event (on HBO).”
What’s sending Twitter into a tizzy – yes, a tizzy – is that HBO may not televise Soto Karass-Kamegai II.
“I don’t want to speculate on co-features just yet,” said Nelson, who added, “There will be a co-feature that night.”
In addition to all the boxing going on Sept. 10, there’s also the showdown between Miami and Florida Atlantic University…The college football schedule on that day is unusually weak…I’m told the venue/location for Smith-“Canelo” will be announced next week…Nick Saban is even testier these days…The first installment of “The Night Of” on HBO got off to a slow start but, once it got going, it was very good…UCNLive’s Content Editor Coyote Duran’s inaugural Periscope broadcast (@CoyoteDuran) takes place today at 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT and will feature his start of a brand-new painting of Manny Pacquiao…I can be reached at email@example.com 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.