Unbeaten two-time world champion David “El Bandera Roja” Benavídez and former world champion David Lemieux officially kicked off fight week events with a media workout on Wednesday ahead of their 12-round showdown for the vacant Interim WBC Super Middleweight Title which headlines live on SHOWTIME this Saturday, May 21 from Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona in a Premier Boxing Champions event.
The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® telecast begins at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT and features two exciting undercard matchups as hard-hitting Cuban prospect Yoelvis Gómez faces Mexico’s Jorge Cota in the co-main event, while Dominican prospect Luis “The Twist” Núñez squares off against Mexico’s Jonathan Fierro in a battle of unbeatens that kicks off the action.
The two-power punchers (combined 85% KO rate for Benavídez and Lemieux) showed off their skills at Central Boxing Gym, as they look to grab the interim title and move one step closer to regaining world champion status with an emphatic victory on Saturday night. For Benavídez, he will be returning to fight in his home state for the second-straight outing, after he knocked out Kyrone Davis in front of his hometown fans in November.
Here is what Benavidez and Lemieux had to say Wednesday:
Photos: Esther Lin/SHOWTIME
“I definitely want to go out there and follow my gameplan. I don’t care [if the KO] comes in the first, second, fifth or 12th round. When it comes, it comes. I visualize everything I’m going to do in the ring.
“I just hit the weight yesterday and now everything is amazing. We took that stress off the table after four months of hard work. Now, I’m excited to go out there, fight for the title and give the fans a great fight.
“It makes me happy to be able to inspire kids and to see the smiles on the faces of the people in my city. It’s inspiring to have them come out and support me the way that they do.
“It means the world to me to be here in my hometown with my family – both my son and my dad. Now I know what my dad meant when he said that once you have a child, your life changes. My son Anthony is 18 months and he’s given me so much motivation to be the best version of myself.I have a newfound focus and I’m ready to conquer the division.”
“On fight night I’ll be about 180 pounds. I don’t care what he is at. Maybe 190? It doesn’t really matter. I’ll be ready no matter what.
“If he wants a war, he’ll get a war. I’m strong and I’ve very confident in my abilities. I know he’s a very strong fighter, but we have a plan going in against him. We’re not worried and we will do what we have to do to be at our best on fight night. David Benavídez will have his hands full on Saturday night.
“If you know David Lemieux, he’s never refused a fight and he’s always taken whatever fight they put in front of him. When we had big fights in the past, we always took them. If you want to be a world champion you have to fight the best.
“He’s a great fighter and you can’t take anything away from him, but he’s never fought David Lemieux and he will see what that means on Saturday night. I know what I’m going in there against. Does he know what he’s going in against?”
Toronto Raptors guard-forward Scottie Barnes, Detroit Pistons guard Cade Cunningham and Cleveland Cavaliers forward-center Evan Mobley have been unanimously selected to the 2021-22 NBA All-Rookie First Team, the league announced Wednesday.
The three players each received NBA All-Rookie First Team votes on all 100 ballots from a global panel of sportswriters and broadcasters.
Joining Barnes, Cunningham and Mobley (200 total points each) on the 2021-22 Kia NBA All-Rookie First Team are Orlando Magic forward Franz Wagner (183 points; 84 First Team votes) and Houston Rockets guard Jalen Green (158 points; 58 First Team votes).
Barnes, the 2021-22 NBA Rookie of the Year, ranked third among first-year NBA players in points (15.3 ppg) and rebounds (7.5 rpg) and fifth in assists (3.5 apg). He was named the NBA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month twice (February and March/April). Cunningham, the first overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, led all rookies in points (17.4 ppg), was second in assists (5.6 apg) and finished fifth in rebounds (5.5 rpg). He earned NBA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month honors for January.
Mobley, who finished second to Barnes in voting for the NBA Rookie of the Year Award, led all rookies in rebounds (8.3 rpg) and blocked shots (1.67 bpg) and was fifth in points (15.0 ppg). He was honored as the NBA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for October/November.
Wagner, the NBA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for December, started all 79 of his games and ranked fourth among first-year NBA players in points (15.4 ppg). Green, the NBA Western Conference Rookie of the Month for March/April, finished second among rookies in scoring average (17.3 ppg) and recorded at least 20 points in 17 of his final 25 games.
The 2021-22 NBA All-Rookie Second Team consists of New Orleans Pelicans forward Herbert Jones (123 points), Oklahoma City Thunder guard Josh Giddey (122), Denver Nuggets guard Bones Hyland (81), Chicago Bulls guard Ayo Dosunmu (75) and Indiana Pacers guard Chris Duarte (52).
The Orlando Magic won the NBA Draft Lottery 2022, conducted at the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago.
Orlando, who had the second-worst record in the NBA this season, had a 14% chance of getting the number one pick.
The NBA Draft will be held on Thursday, June 23, at Barclays Center in New York City.
The last time the Magic won the Draft Lottery was in 2004 when they selected Dwight Howard.
Below are the results from NBA Draft Lottery:
2. Oklahoma City
8. New Orleans (from Los Angeles Lakers)
9. San Antonio
11. New York
12. Oklahoma City (from LA Clippers)
Below is the order for the remainder of the first round of NBA Draft 2022 presented by State Farm:
15. Charlotte (from New Orleans)
17. Houston (from Brooklyn)
20. San Antonio (from Toronto)
22. Memphis (from Utah)
25. San Antonio (from Boston)
28. Golden State
30. Oklahoma City (from Phoenix)
Below is the order for the second round of NBA Draft 2022 presented by State Farm:
31. Indiana (from Houston via Cleveland)
33. Toronto (from Detroit via San Antonio, Washington and Chicago)
34. Oklahoma City
35. Orlando (from Indiana via Milwaukee)
38. San Antonio (from Los Angeles Lakers via Chicago and Washington)
39. Cleveland (from San Antonio via Utah)
40. Minnesota (from Washington via Cleveland)
41. New Orleans
42. New York
43. LA Clippers
46. Detroit (from Brooklyn)
47. Memphis (from Cleveland via New Orleans and Atlanta)
49. Sacramento (from Chicago via Memphis and Detroit)
50. Minnesota (from Denver via Philadelphia)
51. Golden State (from Toronto via Philadelphia)
52. New Orleans (from Utah)
— Milwaukee (forfeited)
— Miami (from Philadelphia via Denver; forfeited by Miami)
54. Washington (from Dallas)
55. Golden State
56. Cleveland (from Miami via Indiana)
57. Portland (from Memphis via Utah)
58. Indiana (from Phoenix)
[*] This pick may be conveyed to Brooklyn
Unbeaten lightweight contender Rolando Romero is getting prepared for the biggest fight of his life when he battles Gervonta “Tank” Davis(28-0, 24 KOs) on May 28 from Barclays Center in Brooklyn(Showtime PPV).
Romero(14-0, 12 KOs) was scheduled to fight Davis in December 2021, but he was hit with sexual assault allegations and was removed from the fight. Romero has been cleared of those allegations, and now, he gets a shot at the undefeated Davis.
Photo: Sean Michael Ham/Mayweather Promotions
“One round, I’m knocking him out,” Romero said of Davis during a media workout Tuesday in Las Vegas. “If I say I’m going to do it, then I’m going to do it.
“He’s going to get knocked out by the first punch that he eats. He’s going to run right into something.”
Romero and Davis have bad blood. The two have sparred at press conferences, and according to Romero, the reason for the bad blood is that Davis would not spar him in the ring.
“I don’t like ‘Tank’ as a person, and I believe he’s going to get whupped in this fight,” Romero said.
“He ducked me twice for sparring, and the bad blood has been there ever since. I’ve been calling him out since 2017. The only reason this fight was made was because I wanted it. He doesn’t want this. He wishes he was fighting some 126 or 122-pounder.”
Romero had to watch as his replacement Issac Cruz got a shot against Davis in a close fight. Davis won by unanimous decision, but Romero believed the wrong guy won.
“I thought Isaac Cruz beat Gervonta,” Romero said. “That fight showed just how vulnerable he is. He’s scared of people that can actually crack.”
Romero had one final message for Davis.
“I don’t have any message for Davis; I just have these fists.”
Both fighters have power, which should make for a fun night in Brooklyn.
Unbeaten two-time champion and Phoenix-native David “El Bandera Roja” Benavídez threw out the first pitch at the Arizona Diamondbacks game on Sunday as he prepares to fight in his home state for the second straight time this upcoming Saturday night. Also prior to the game, Benavídez took part in a boxing glove and jersey exchange with Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo.
“I’m very thankful to the Diamondbacks organization for inviting me to throw out the first pitch at Sunday’s game,” said Benavídez. “Receiving a jersey from them is truly a dream come true. I love representing Arizona and I can’t wait to do it in the ring once again on Saturday night. Don’t miss this one, because I’m planning on bringing the heat.”
Photo: Chas Wright/Team Benavídez
Benavídez will take on former world champion David Lemieux for the vacant Interim WBC Super Middleweight Title live on SHOWTIME on Saturday, May 21 from Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona headlining a Premier Boxing Champions event.
Tiger Johnson has been ready for prime time ever since representing the U.S. at last summer’s Tokyo Olympics. The welterweight standout will get a chance to put his skills on display in prime time as he fights an opponent to be named in a six-round special feature Saturday, May 21, at the Resorts World Event Center at Resorts World Las Vegas. Johnson’s bout will open the ESPN telecast of the Janibek Alimkhanuly-Danny Dignum WBO Interim middleweight world title bout.
Alimkhanuly-Dignum, a 10-round lightweight co-feature between Jamel Herring and Jamaine Ortiz, and Johnson’s return will air live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
Following his Olympic run, Johnson (3-0, 2 KOs) made an impressive pro debut by stopping Antonius Grable in the fourth round last November on the Terence Crawford-Shawn Porter undercard. The 23-year-old followed up that performance with a decision win over Xavier Madrid and a fourth-round TKO over Sebastian Gabriel Chaves.
The following undercard bouts are scheduled to stream live on ESPN+ beginning at 5:15 p.m. ET/2:15 p.m. PT.
Southern California standout Adam “Blunose” Lopez (15-3, 6 KOs) will face Dominican puncher William Encarnacion (19-2, 15 KOs) in an eight-round featherweight bout. Lopez became a fan favorite after a breakout performance against Oscar Valdez in November 2019. Despite losing that fight, Lopez demonstrated the poise and composure that would eventually lead him to wins over Louie Coria, Jason Sanchez, and a razor-thin majority decision loss to former world champion Isaac Dogboe. The 26-year-old faces yet another tough challenge in Encarnacion, who is coming off a loss against top contender Abraham Nova.
2016 U.S. Olympian Karlos Balderas (12-1, 11 KOs) will take on Colombian Ruben Cervera (13-2, 11 KOs) in a junior lightweight clash scheduled for eight or six rounds. Balderas is coming off three consecutive stoppage victories since signing with Top Rank last year.
Former world champion Jessie Magdaleno (28-1, 18 KOs) returns from a nearly two-year layoff to fight Mexico’s Edy Valencia Mercado (19-6-6, 7 KOs) in an eight-rounder at featherweight. Magdaleno has won three in a row since losing the WBO junior featherweight crown to Isaac Dogboe in April 2018.
U.S. Olympic silver medalist Duke Ragan (5-0, 1 KO), from Cincinnati, Ohio, will put his unbeaten record on the line against Victorino Gonzalez (5-2, 2 KOs) in a featherweight bout scheduled for six or four rounds.
Steven “So Cold” Nelson (17-0, 14 KOs), from Omaha, Nebraska, returns from an extended layoff to take on Louis Rose (17-3-1, 7 KOs) in an eight-round light heavyweight battle. Nelson, who knocked out DeAndre Ware in September 2020, suffered a torn Achilles shortly after that bout.
The undercard will also feature three swing bouts:
Undefeated lightweight contender Giovanni “El Cabron” Cabrera (19-0, 7 KOs), a Chicago native who signed with Top Rank earlier this year, will face Argentinean veteran Elias Araujo (21-4, 8 KOs) in an eight-rounder.
Lightweight prospect Charlie Sheehy (2-0, 2 KOs), a former Team USA amateur standout from Brisbane, California, returns in a four-rounder against New Orleans native Burnell Jenkins (2-1, 1 KO).
Rising junior welterweight Kasir “Mazzi” Goldston (4-0, 1 KO) will fight Cuban spoiler Yaniel Alvarez (2-1, 1 KO) in a bout scheduled for six or four rounds.