Alvarez-Smith headed to the Alamodome

Canelo Alvarez’s clash with Callum Smith for the WBA and Ring Magazine World Super-Middleweight titles will take place with a limited live crowd at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas on Saturday December 19(DAZN), Matchroom Boxing and Canelo Promotions announced today.

 Canelo (53-1-2 36 KOs) fights at the venue for the second time in his storied career having beaten Austin Trout there in April 2013, and it’s the fourth time the Mexican pound-for-pound king has boxed in Texas having beaten Trout, James Kirkland and Smith’s older brother Liam in the Lone Star state.
 
Smith (27-0 19 KOs) will be gunning for revenge for ‘Beefy’s’ defeat in September 2016, and the Liverpool star will look to rubber-stamp his position as the number one 168lber in the world and crash into the pound-for-pound rankings himself with victory on the biggest night of his eight-year pro career.
 
Home of the UTSA Roadrunners, the Alamodome has a rich history of staging blockbuster fights, with their first fight the infamous draw between Mexican legend Julio Cesar Chavez and the late great ‘Sweet Pea’ Pernell Whitaker in April of the stadiums opening year in 1993, and the likes of Manny Pacquiao, Evander Holyfield, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr and Canelo himself headlining since then – and Canelo is excited to return to San Antonio and fight in front of his adoring faithful.
 
“I am thrilled to be back at the Alamodome and very thankful to be fighting in front of my fans on December 19,” said Canelo. “I have great memories of my previous bouts in Texas, and I expect this to be a special fight to close out the year.”
 
“It’s fantastic news to be able to hold this great fight in front of fans and in a great stadium like the Alamodome,” said Eddie Hearn, managing director of Matchroom Sport. “It’s a fight that deserves to be witnessed in the flesh and those fans that snap up the hottest ticket in town next week will be in for a brilliant night of action, topped by the pound-for-pound king taking on the number one Super-Middleweight in the world – a simply unmissable occasion for those in attendance and watching live on DAZN.”
 

Tyson-Jones: Ne-Yo to sing national anthem, Michael Buffer to be ring announcer

Viral entertainment platform, Triller announced today that Grammy-Award winning singer songwriter, actor, producer Ne-Yo will be performing the National Anthem before Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. enter the ring at next week’s highly anticipated event. Michael Buffer, who’s distinct announcing style has deemed him a cultural icon, is confirmed to announce the main event of Tyson vs. Jones, and UFC Middleweight Champion, Israel Adesanya will commentate the fight alongside Boxing Hall of Famer and Olympic Champion, Sugar Ray Leonard and sportscaster, Al Bernstein. Jim Gray is slated to host the pre- and post-fight interviews, while Barrie Eget will announce the undercard fights and sports anchor, Ernesto Amador will serve as the primary Spanish commentator. The fight can be ordered on Pay-Per-View through cable and satellite providers and is also available on PPV streaming at www.tysonontriller.com. The event is $49.99.

Ne-Yo has sold a cumulative 20+ million adjusted albums worldwide, won three GRAMMY awards and been honored with a total of 14 nominations. He has proven to be as powerful with his pen as he is in the recording studio and on stage, penning bangers like Rihanna’s “Unfaithful,” “Russian Roulette,” and “Take a Bow,” along with Beyoncé’s 2006 breakup anthem “Irreplaceable” and songs for such artists as Jennifer Hudson, Usher, Celine Dion, among others.  In addition to “World of Dance,” Ne-Yo’s film and television credits include “Save the Last Dance,” “Battle: Los Angeles,” “Stomp the Yard,” George Lucas’ “Red Tails,” “Empire,” “The Wiz Live!” and “Step Up: High Water” now in his 3rd season debuting on Starz.

“Opening for a fight of this magnitude is an honor and I can’t wait to witness one of the most noteworthy nights of the decade. I may be performing, but I am a fan at the end of the day and I look forward to witnessing this once in a lifetime lineup,” says Ne-Yo.

Famed ring announcer, Michael Buffer has signed on to announce the historic return of Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr.  Known for his iconic voice and announcing style, the sports world will welcome Buffer back to the ring as he announces another renowned event. During his illustrious career, Buffer has lent his voice to MC some of the biggest sporting events of his lifetime including the MLB World Series, the Stanley World Cup Finals, and the NBA Finals.

Commentating the unforgettable program is a unique lineup of industry megastars whose event narration will only add another layer of notoriety to the night. Undefeated UFC Middleweight Champion and one of MMA’s Pound-for-Pound Best, Israel “The Last Stylebender” Adesanya will join Boxing Hall of Famer and Olympic Champion, Sugar Ray Leonard as they commentate alongside legendary boxing play-by-play analyst, Al Bernstein.

“It’s surreal that I’m actually given the opportunity to witness these two LIVING LEGENDS compete ringside! I grew up watching these two boxing icons in the ring and am honored to be on the sidelines commentating on one of the greatest comeback fights of all time,” said Israel Adesanya.

“I’ve never seen a night with so many iconic names on the program. This matchup is something I thought I’d only see in my dreams, but here we are,” says Sugar Ray Leonard.

The PPV fight card includes Tyson vs. Jones Jr., Jake Paul vs. Nate Robinson, Badou Jack vs. Blake McKernan, and Viddal Riley vs. Rashad Coulter. The memorable night will also include multi-song performances by DaBaby, Lil Wayne, French Montana, Wiz Khalifa, and YG.

Canelo: ‘“I am motivated to continue to be the best’

Canelo Alvarez will take on Callum Smith for the WBA and Ring Magazine World Super-Middleweight titles on Saturday December 19, live on DAZN in 200+ countries and territories worldwide (excluding Mexico).
 
Alvarez (53-1-2 36 KOs) is back in action for the first time since knocking out Sergey Kovalev in November 2019 in Las Vegas, ripping the WBO World Light-Heavyweight title from the Russian to become a four-weight World ruler.
 
The Mexican superstar beat Smith’s old foe and fellow Liverpool fighter Rocky Fielding in December 2018 to win the WBA regular belt at 168 pounds – his third weight to rule at – and will be gunning to follow his domination at Middleweight up to Super-Middle.
 
Smith (27-0 19 KOs) has landed the huge fight he has craved, and the powerful Brit will be out to cement his position as top dog at 168 pounds. ‘Mundo’ landed the WBA and Ring belts he puts on the line with a clinical stoppage win over fellow countryman George Groves in the seventh round of final of the inaugural World Boxing Super Series in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in September 2018. 
 
The 30 year old has defended the titles twice since, stopping Hassan N’Dam in New York in June 2019 and then outpointing John Ryder in his Liverpool hometown five months later. Smith will also be out for family revenge when he steps through the ropes, with Canelo having beaten Smith’s brother Liam in Texas in September 2016.
 
“I’m very happy to return to the ring and continue to make history,” said Canelo. “I am motivated to continue to be the best, and I look forward to fighting Callum Smith, who is one of the best at 168 pounds.”
 
“We are very happy to return to the ring and close out the year with one more victory to continue demonstrating that Canelo is the best boxer on this planet,” said Eddy Reynoso, Sport and Talent director at Canelo Promotions and Canelo’s trainer.
 
“I’ve been wanting a big fight since becoming World champion, so I’m so pleased that during these challenging times we can deliver to the fans a fight between the very best in the division,” said Smith. “I truly believe I beat him and will prove that 168 pounds is my division.”
 

 

Crawford-Brook was a ratings hit!

Saturday’s Top Rank on ESPN saw Terence Crawford (37-0, 28 KOs) retain his WBO welterweight world title with a fourth-round TKO over former welterweight world champion Kell Brook, in a main event from the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.  The fight delivered big on viewership, ranking as the top boxing telecast across all TV networks since January 2019.

Top Things to Know

  • Crawford vs Brook averaged 1,758,000 viewers, making it the most viewed boxing telecast across on all TV networks since January 2019

  • The main event was also the most viewed boxing telecast on cable since December 2018 (Lomachenko vs. Pedraza on ESPN: 1,889,000)

  • The fight rating peaked during the 11:45 p.m.-12:00 a.m. ET quarter hour with 2.1 million viewers

  • Through seven Saturday night telecasts on ESPN so far this year, Top Rank on ESPN has averaged 1,033,000 viewers, up 44% from 11 Saturday night telecasts in 2019

  • Adults 18-49 are up 54% year-over-year

  • Crawford vs. Brook ranked No. 1 as the most socially engaged boxing telecast across TV over the last two years, with over 306,000 total social interactions across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

  • Crawford vs. Brook had a strong performance on social media, becoming the most socially engaged telecast across TV over the last two years, with over 306,000 social interactions across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

  • Lomachenko vs. Lopez and Crawford vs. Brook have been the most socially engaged boxing telecasts across TV in consecutive months over the last two years.

Source: Nielsen, Nielsen Social Content Ratings

Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank/Getty Images

Lopez: ‘I’d love to get a fight with any of the top welterweights that are out there’

 Welterweight contender Josesito “The Riverside Rocky” Lopez has made his name as a contender in numerous memorable, action packed brawls throughout his career, and he expects more of the same when he takes on Francisco “Chia” Santana in FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View action Saturday, December 5 from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

“Like in all of my fights, fans can expect action,” said Lopez. “I’m going up against a tough competitor who comes to fight every time. I’d recommend that fans don’t blink, because this fight could end at any moment. I’m just expecting an aggressive, tough fight.”

Despite the pandemic affecting fight dates and camps throughout the sport, Lopez has been able to have as smooth a camp as possible with his coach Robert Garcia, even with some adjustments being made.

“This training camp is going great, but there are definitely some differences with training during the pandemic,” said Lopez. “The gym is limited to just our team members and sparring partners, but the grind is still the same with coach Garcia. We’re being extra safe, but the effort is the same as it was before.

“I’ve been training for six weeks so far, and now we’ve got a little less than four weeks to go. I’ve really kept busy and basically trained all year though, since I was anticipating that a fight could come at any time. I wanted to stay ready.”

Garcia has helped bring about a career renaissance for Lopez that has included a victory over then unbeaten Miguel Cruz and a narrow title fight loss to Keith Thurman, that saw Lopez hurt and nearly stop the then unbeaten Thurman in January 2019 on FOX. Most recently, Lopez knocked out another veteran contender known for action fights, as he stopped John Molina Jr. in the eighth round of their September 2019 FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View fight.

“It’s been a tremendous difference working with coach Garcia,” said Lopez. “My mental state and my physical training are much better with him. This is like my second life in this sport. I wish I could have started working with him sooner. But now we’re just continuing to make progress and working towards the biggest fights possible.”

Lopez has his eyes set on the elite of the star-studded welterweight division, including the winner of the main event on December 5, a welterweight title unification between Errol Spence Jr. and Danny Garcia. With a litany of big names in his sights, Lopez vows to be ready for any top fighter that he is able to get in the ring with.

“I’m not going after any particular name, but I’d love to get a fight with any of the top welterweights that are out there,” said Lopez. “I definitely think I’m prepared for any of them. Right now I’m just waiting for my moment.

Despite the prospect of these potentially career-defining fights, Lopez has his focus set squarely on Francisco Santana on December 5.

“I have a big obstacle in front of me with Santana and I have to take care of business with him first on December 5,” said Lopez. “Santana is not an easy fight whatsoever. He’s a good fighter who’s given some of the top guys a run for their money. So if I’m able to dominate and get a decisive victory against him, then I’ll be able to show that I’m ready for the best in boxing’s deepest division.”

Brook on Crawford: ‘I stop him, or he quits on the stool’

At age 34, former world champion Kell Brook(39-2, 27 KOs) is running out of time. On Saturday night, Brook will have an opportunity to become a champion again when he battles WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford(36-0, 27 KOs) at the MGM Grand Las Vegas Bubble.

The last time Brook fought in the United States was in 2014 when he earned his first title by defeating then IBF 147-pound champion Shawn Porter. According to the UK native, he knows what it takes to come to America and win a belt.

“I’ve been here before. I’ve been on this stage,” Brook said via a Zoom call on Monday. “I’ve been in there with pound-for-pound top fighters like Golovkin and Errol Spence. I took the title away from Shawn Porter in America. I know what it takes to be champion.

“He’s going to have a rude awakening; I’ll tell you that. He’s going to have a rude awakening Saturday night when he gets in there.

“I hope he’s {overlooking me}. I hope he is because I’m coming with force. Trust me.”

There is nothing like winning your first title, but Brook, who lost his title to Spence in 2017, thinks winning his second title would mean more to him. 

“I think {winning this fight} would rank above Shawn Porter given everything I’ve been through, everyone writing me off,” Brook said. “I think you gotta put it up there because this is the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world. You’ve gotta put him as number one. Nobody has done that in history from Britain, and I’m glad that all the fans will be able to see it on Premier Sports. They’re going to stay up and enjoy me become two-time world champion.”

Not only does Brook, who is on a three-fight win streak, expect to beat Crawford, but he also expects to do it in devastating fashion.

“I stop him, or he quits on the stool,” Brook said. “I’m fully focused. I’ve never been ready for a fight like this before. Looking forward to whatever Terence brings because I can match him. I’m ready for a war.”

This is Brook’s last stand. If he can find a way to beat one of the pound-for-pound best in Crawford, it would be his greatest accomplishment as a pro. Brook was very competitive against Spence and Golovkin, so there’s a good chance that he will be very competitive against Crawford. Based on the way Brook’s talking, we should get an excellent fight on Saturday night.

Garcia on Spence: ‘After the Garcia and Porter fights, I saw some holes in his game’

Throughout his career, two-division world champion Danny Garcia(36-2, 21 KOs) has been doubted. Whether it was against Amir Khan, where he won his second title, or Lucas Matthysse, who at the time was the ‘Boogeyman” at the 140-pound division, Garcia has been at his best when the odds were stacked against him. 

On December 5 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas(FOX PPV), Garcia will battle unified 147-pound champion Errol Spence Jr.(26-0, 21 KOs). Like his fights against Khan and Matthysse, Garcia will be the underdog, which is very familiar to him.

“I’ve been an underdog my whole career. I’m used to playing that role,” Garcia said during a Zoom call on Tuesday. “I just have to go in there and be myself. I have to believe in myself 100% and fight round by round. I’m going to show what a true champion is made of.

“After the Garcia and Porter fights, I saw some holes in his game, and I knew it would be a good opportunity to become champion again. These type of fights bring out the best in Danny Garcia. They give me the extra motivation that I need, and that’s why I wanted it.”

Garcia will have to go to Spence’s backyard on December 5th, which could favor the DeSoto, Texas native if the fight goes to the scorecards. However, according to Garcia, he’s not worried about the judges; he’s worried about winning rounds.

“My job is to fight. I can’t go in there and worry about judges,’ Garcia said. “They’re going to do what they do. My job is to put in the work in the gym so that I’m ready on fight night. I have to go in there and win rounds and win the fight.

“I know that I’m a great fighter. I’ve been in these type of fights before. I know what I’m made of. As long as I’m mentally and physically at my best, nobody can beat me. I’m a dangerous man when I have this focus.”

Spence is coming off a severe car accident, so some wonder if he will be the same fighter, but Garcia expects Spence to be at his best.

“We’re taking this fight like Errol is 100%. We’re not banking on anything hindering him<‘ Garcia explained. “We’re taking this as seriously as possible. We wanted this fight a long time ago, but we just had to stay focused. Now the fight is finally here, and I feel like we’re going to have a great performance.”

In the end, Garcia expects to get the job done against Spence.

“On December 5, no stone will be unturned,” he said. “We’re going to give it 110% and take these titles from him in his hometown.:

History tells us never to doubt Garcia, and for anybody that does, it could be a mistake.

Photo: Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME

Haney on victory over Gamboa: ‘I’m pleased with the performance’

Devin Haney returned to action with a dominant defense of his WBC World Lightweight title against Yuriorkis Gamboa at Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, Florida, live on DAZN.

Haney (25-0 14 KOs) put his crown on the line for a second time, two days shy of one year out of the ring having injured his shoulder in his first defense against Alfredo Santiago in Los Angeles last November.

Haney soon got his spear-like jab upstairs and downstairs, Haney warmed into his first fight for a year in the opening six minutes and began to express his full arsenal in the third round, where Gamboa (30-4 18 KOs) also showed some frustration in hitting Haney after the break.

Gamboa began to shows signs of ambition in the middle rounds but WBC king Haney soon extinguished them, and the former unified Featherweight champion reverted back to trying to keep the Las Vegas starlet at bay, and his survival tactics met the wrath of the referee in the penultimate round where a point was taken from the challenger.

Haney showed no ill-effects of the shoulder injury or year lay-off as he came out firing on the final session, and while he was unable to put the cherry on top of a good night’s work by getting Gamboa out of there, the judges saw the action 118-109 and 120-107 twice as ‘The Dream’ got 12 vital rounds under his belt ahead of what proimises to be a stellar 2021 for the 135lb division.

“I’m pleased with the performance because I didn’t take any punishment,” said Haney. “I came out of there looking like I did when I went in, I was ready to fight again if I had to.

“I knew that he would go into survival mode and he was successful with that, he was in there trying to survive as much as he did. I pitched a shut-out and I didn’t get hit with any big shots, it is what it is.

“Of course I wanted the KO but every fight can’t end like that. Gamboa is a crafty opponent, he showed that he can survive, he showed why he has been in the game for a long time. Anyone that has knocked him out has taken punishment while doing it, I didn’t take any punishment and maybe that’s why I didn’t get the KO.

“I beat him the smartest. The jab, the reach, the speed and the ring IQ were the keys to victory. I showed that I am able to go 12 rounds, to hit and not get hit, you can talk about landing big shots but Gamboa didn’t land anything.

“There’s always going to be pressure, every fight is going to have everyone watching and critiquing what you do, I understand that. I am ready to put on a big 2021 and fight best and put on a statement to show the world that I am the best.

“I am interested in my mandatory of course but I want all the belts, Teofimo Lopez has the rest of the belts so I want to make the undisputed fight.”

Photo: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing

Luis Ortiz scores first round knockout on Saturday night

Top heavyweight contender Luis “King Kong” Ortiz (32-2, 27 KOs) impressed in his ring return Saturday night, knocking out Alexander “The Great” Flores (18-3-1, 16 KOs) in the first round of their FOX PBC Fight Night main event and on FOX Deportes from Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

Returning to the ring after a loss to then heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder last November, Ortiz came out firing from the opening moments. The Cuban southpaw landed a series of jabs and a glancing left hand that forced Flores on the retreat early.

It was then a perfectly placed lead right hook to the body that would end the night early, as Flores folded from the shot to the ribs, giving Ortiz the victory at 45 seconds of the first round.

In the co-main event, rising heavyweight Frank “The Cuban Flash” Sanchez (16-0, 12 KOs) scored a fourth-round knockout over Brian Howard (15-4, 12 KOs), knocking him down three times on his way to the victory.

Sanchez showed improved aggression against Howard, stalking his opponent and forcing the action effectively from the outset. Late in round three, Sanchez broke through with a right uppercut that stunned Howard, before a left hook and straight right hand sent him to the mat.

Howard made it through the round, but in round four Sanchez put him down again with a left hook in the round’s opening moments. Sanchez’s third knockdown of the fight came on chopping right and left hands shortly after. A final flurry from Sanchez eventually forced referee Jerry Cantu to halt the fight 2:07 into the round.

Sanchez controlled the action throughout, out landing Howard 66 to 11, while connecting on 35% of his punches.

In another heavyweight attraction, unbeaten Michael Coffie (11-0, 8 KOs) delivered a TKO victory over veteran Joey Abell (35-11, 33 KOs) in the second round of their bout.

A veteran of the Marine Corps, Coffie connected with a perfect left hook to the body that ended the fight early in the second round. Abell appeared to injure his right bicep while throwing a punch, right before being hit with the hook that ended the fight when referee Rudy Barragan counted Abell out 49 seconds into the round.

“I shielded myself from a punch and I noticed he hit my guard without turning his hand all the way, so I just threw the body shot off of that and he went down,” said Coffie. “I wanted to show a lot tonight. I worked on setting traps in the gym. I saw that he was lunging a lot with his lead hook. So I was trying to sit back and get under that and throw an uppercut.”

In the opening bout, Puerto Rican Olympian Carlos Negron (22-3, 18 KOs) stopped Mexico’s Rafael Rios (11-3, 8 KOs) 2:33 into the second round. Negron hurt Rios with a big right hand early in the frame, eventually dropping him later in the round. While Rios got back to his feet, Negron continued to push forward until referee Rudy Barragan waived off the fight.

Photo: Sean Michael Ham/TGB Promotions

Flores on Ortiz: ‘I’m preparing for the same guy who was beating Deontay Wilder twice’

Alexander “The Great” Flores previewed his showdown against top heavyweight contender Luis “King Kong” Ortiz on a media conference call Tuesday, before they headline FOX PBC Fight Night and on FOX Deportes this Saturday, November 7 from Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

The broadcast begins at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and will see rising unbeaten heavyweight contender Frank “The Cuban Flash” Sánchez battle Brian Howard in the 10-round co-main event. Plus, undefeated Michael Coffie steps in to face hard-hitting Joey Abell in an eight-round heavyweight duel.

The event will be promoted by TGB Promotions and will take place without fans in attendance at the Microsoft Theater, an AEG venue, in downtown Los Angeles.

Here is what Flores had to say Tuesday about training camp, his matchup with Ortiz, both of their places in the heavyweight division and more:

ALEXANDER FLORES

“Training camp has been going really well. I’m always in shape year around. We were already aiming for a November fight, so when this fight against Ortiz presented itself, we jumped on it. We’re ready to take advantage of this opportunity.

“I got the call about Ortiz over six weeks ago. I just had to adjust to southpaw sparring but everything else kept going smoothly. It was tough to find sparring during the pandemic, but I was blessed to find some great quality southpaws to work with.

“Ortiz is a great fighter. He’s still one of the most feared men in the division. A lot of the people on his level don’t want to fight him. His only losses coming against Deontay Wilder says everything about his quality.

“Whenever you fight at that caliber that Ortiz has been at, I know you’re going to know what you need to do in training. But, the older you get, the harder it is to recover. It doesn’t get easier. Maybe his age will show up Saturday night.

“I thought Ortiz was beating Wilder in the second fight. I think he just relaxed at the 10 second mark and got caught with that straight right hand at the end of the round.

“I do think it’s possible I’m being overlooked by Ortiz. I’m just focused on what I can control. I know that one day I might not get these opportunities anymore, so I have to jump all over this one.

“Beating Ortiz will put me up with the top heavyweights. I think a win is going to definitely lead to a world title fight sooner rather than later.

“I’m expecting the best Luis Ortiz on Saturday night. I’m preparing for the same guy who was beating Deontay Wilder twice.”