ESPN and Top Rank announce new fight series

ESPN and Top Rank today announced a vast and exclusive, multimedia agreement to make ESPN the home of Top Rank in the U.S. and Canada.  Under the agreement, ESPN will televise live fights on ESPN and ESPN Deportes and stream them on the ESPN App, will stream fights and other Top Rank content on the recently announced ESPN-branded direct-to-consumer streaming service via BAMTech and deliver select pay-per-view (PPV) fight events.  It will also air all Top Rank content in English and in French on Canadian sister networks TSN and RDS.  The nextTop Rank on ESPN fight card, scheduled for September 22 in Tucson, Arizona, features two WBO World Title Fights with Oscar Valdez (22-0, 19 KOs, Featherweight) and Gilberto Ramirez (35-0, 24 KOs, Super Middleweight) title defenses.


“ESPN is excited to announce this new relationship with Top Rank, the most comprehensive and innovative media agreement in the history of the sport,” Burke Magnus, executive vice president of programming & scheduling, ESPN said.  “We believe in a new vision for boxing that will super-serve existing boxing fans and create legions of new fans through the highest quality boxing content across multiple ESPN platforms – 365 days a year.  Together, ESPN and Top Rank will build the superstars of tomorrow through unrivaled exposure, original content and cutting edge technology.”


In the first year of the deal, ESPN will showcase 18 main events in the U.S. on multiple platforms, including television networks, the ESPN App, the direct-to-consumer service and PPV events, in both English and Spanish, and on Canada’s TSN in English and RDS in French. Top Rank on ESPN content will be widely accessible across multiple platforms, including the ESPN-branded multi-sport direct-to-consumer streaming service, and will feature all undercards, select main events, re-airs of all ESPN and PPV events, Top Rank archival fights and more.


“Top Rank is thrilled to enter into this relationship with ESPN, the top sports media brand in the world,” said Todd duBoef, President of Top Rank.  “This unprecedented partnership offers a 360 approach to the entire boxing vertical, including live world class events, unparalleled coverage as well as access to historical moments in the sport.”


Creative Artists Agency (CAA) served as the media advisor to Top Rank on the landmark agreement with ESPN.  Furthering its relationship with the leading sports and entertainment agency, Top Rank has retained CAA Sports to manage its official sponsorship sales efforts, working closely with ESPN.


“The deal puts Top Rank and its best-in-class stable of global fighters at the core of ESPN’s combat sports offering across television, PPV and OTT,” said Alan Gold, Head of CAA’s Sports Media Advisory practice.  “Top Rank has consistently and successfully built many of their fighters into global brands, and now will benefit significantly from ESPN’s broad distribution, sales and marketing support and outstanding storytelling.”


The ESPN-branded multi-sport direct-to-consumer streaming service (being developed with BAMTech and debuting in early 2018) will be a key part of the Top Rank Boxing on ESPN multi-platform distribution.The service was announced earlier this month as part of The Walt Disney Company’s acquisition of majority ownership of BAMTech. It will join a wide array of sports programming on service, including approximately 10,000 live regional, national, and international games and events, including Major League Baseball, National Hockey League, Major League Soccer, Grand Slam tennis, college sports and more.


The new ESPN service will be accessed through an enhanced version of the current ESPN app and from authorized MVPDs.  In addition to the multi-sport service, the ESPN app will continue to include the news, highlights and scores that fans enjoy today, and consumers who are pay TV subscribers will also be able to access the ESPN television networks in the same app on an authenticated basis.


“Top Rank will be a great partner with high-quality live content, perfectly fit for the new ESPN-branded streaming service we’re building,” said Michael Paull, Chief Executive Officer of BAMTech. “It’s another exciting opportunity for our direct-to-consumer platform to bring sports fans widespread access to their favorite sporting events.


Antonio Tarver on a McGregor victory over Mayweather: ‘It destroys boxing for years to come’

Upsets happen in the sport of boxing. Whether it’s Buster Douglas knocking out Mike Tyson, or Hasim Rahman knocking out Lennox Lewis, on any given night, strange things can happen. It seems it would take something strange or supernatural for Conor McGregor to beat Floyd Mayweather in Las Vegas on Saturday night.

Great fighters like Manny Pacquiao, Miguel Cotto, and Shane Mosley have tried to beat Mayweather (49-0, 26 KOs) and failed.

What would happen if McGregor were to beat Mayweather?

Former world champion Antonio Tarver, who upset Roy Jones Jr. back in 2004, believes a McGregor victory would have a negative impact on the sport of boxing:

“I think it turns boxing upside down. It destroys boxing for years to come because this ain’t like an Olympian, a guy that has won multiple titles before facing a great fighter, and then proven that he was the best fighter all along,” Tarver told the “Go4it” podcast with Paul Gant.  “I mean this guy has never fought in the Olympics, this guy ain’t never had one fight, so when you talking about somebody’s “0” is gotta go, he got three or four “0’s” on his side, and Floyd only got one “0.”

According to Tarver, a McGregor victory would be one of the biggest upsets in the history of sports:

“So, I can’ wrap my mind around it, but if he does, it would be the biggest upset I think in sports history,” Tarver said.  “I don’t think anything can compare to this. Not even Buster Douglas knocking out Mike Tyson. I don’t even think Antonio Tarver knocking out Roy Jones can compare. Nothing in sports can compare. If Conor McGregor knocks out Floyd Mayweather, the sports world would stop for a minute, and they would have to just praise Conor McGregor for being one the smartest, bravest, and the most daring guys I’ve ever known for him to pull this off. It would be unbelievable.”

A McGregor victory would be bad for boxing, but it would be good for the wallets of both Mayweather and McGregor. Both fighters could make even more money in a rematch.

However, it won’t happen. Mayweather stops McGregor in 10.


Photos from Mayweather-McGregor weigh-in

Floyd Mayweather(149.5) and Conor McGregor(153) both made weight on Friday at T-Mobile Arena as they prepare to battle on Saturday night. The weight limit for the fight is 154 pounds.

While Mayweather (49-0, 26 KOs) and McGregor (0-0) both made weight, Gervonta Davis (18-0, 17 KOs), who is fighting in the co-main event, missed weight on Friday after weighing in at 132 pounds, which is two pounds over the maximum weight of 130 pounds. Davis was stripped of his IBF super featherweight title. However, his opponent Francisco Fonseca (19-0-1, 13 KOs), who made weight, can still win the belt with a victory on Saturday night.

Here is how the weigh-in looked:

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Photos from Esther Lin/SHOWTIME

Antonio Tarver on Paulie Malignaggi: ‘I think he got what he deserved’

The Mayweather-McGregor promotion was the talk of the summer. From the world tour back in July, to the weigh-in on Friday, we could not get enough!

A sideshow to this event was the McGregor-Malignaggi sparring session. Paulie Malignaggi, who sparred with Conor McGregor, left McGregor’s camp after photos were leaked of their sparring session. Ultimately, UFC head Dana White leaked a video of their sparring session. In the video, we saw Malignaggi get knocked down(questionable) by McGregor.

Now, another video of their sparring session has surfaced, and just like the first video, McGregor is getting the better of the action.

Take a look:

According to former boxing world champion Antonio Tarver, Malignaggi got what he deserved:

“When you go to a champion’s camp, you don’t have any rights. You’re there as a hired hand. Get your meals, prepare to work, that’s it. So Paulie, I think he got what he deserved, basically,” Tarver told the “Go4it” podcast with Paul Gant. “I mean, was he really going there to help McGregor, or was he going there to get the spotlight? And it went bad for him.”

Based on photos, videos, and Malignaggi’s body language, Tarver thinks McGregor did dominate Malignaggi in sparring:

“We saw what happened, and body language is everything.  You can do some altering to some pictures and stuff like that, but the video was plain to see, and your body language tells everything. And it just looked like Paulie got his a__ beat,” Tarver said. “That’s what I said when I first saw the pictures, and then when they put the video out, I think it got worse when he was trying to make excuses and defend what everybody else was seeing. It was a bad day of sparring; you got caught with some clean shots, it didn’t look good for you and you were still trying to justify what everybody was seeing. That’s what made it, I think look bad.”

In the end, Tarver believes that this whole situation for Malignaggi was not necessarily a bad thing:

“Overall, most people don’t videotape sparring because most champions don’t want other people seeing inside their camp, so that was a little below the belt for what they did, but what happened in sparring, is what happened. I think Paulie got the worse of it; he got his ego bruised a little bit, but at the same time, he is a smart guy, an intelligent guy, so of course, his name being mentioned around this big super fight, it can’t do no harm for Paulie,” Tarver said.

Listen at the link below:




Nate Diaz on McGregor beating Mayweather: ‘I believe he’s definitely going to have a chance’

If Floyd Mayweather loses to Conor McGregor on Saturday night in Las Vegas, the world would go crazy! It probably would go down as the biggest upset in the history of sports.

One man who gives McGregor a shot is Nate Diaz. Diaz fought McGregor two times in the Octagon. Diaz won the first fight, and McGregor bested Diaz in the rematch.

Diaz told Against All Odds with Cousin Sal the following:


“I’ve sparred with the top pros in the fight game, the best fighters in the world, and done better than a lot of them. I fought Conor for 25 minutes. I believe he’s definitely going to have a chance,” Diaz said.

“Fighting and beating the best boxer pound for pound in the world right now? That’s another story, but a fight’s a fight, and we’re going to have to watch and see what happens.”

Diaz think it’s ridiculous that many pro boxers are not giving McGregor a chance:

“The boxers, every f____ pro boxer is saying something and all this criticism, and I think it’s a better option is to keep your opinion out of it,” Diaz said.

“What happens when Conor wins? Let’s say he wins, and all this sh*t these boxers talk oh you thought you knew but you don’t know sh*t because you say stuff like he doesn’t stand a chance. They should know, being fighters, in a fight, everyone stands a chance, and if they’re saying that there’s no chance, that’s a problem.”

I’m not a boxer, but I don’t give McGregor much of a chance. It’s impossible to think a guy could beat an all-time great in his first fight. I maybe wrong, but I doubt it!


Photos from Mayweather-McGregor final press conference

Fight week for the biggest event in combat sports history continued Wednesday as Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor squared off at the final press conference ahead of the SHOWTIME PPV matchup on Aug. 26 from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

The fighters spoke to hundreds of media from all around the world as the anticipation continues to grow for this once-in-a-lifetime event that combines the worlds of boxing and MMA for one spectacular fight.

Take a look at some of the sights of the final press conference:

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Photos from Esther Lin/SHOWTIME

Conor McGregor: ‘I’ve never missed weight in my life’

Earlier this week, Floyd Mayweather speculated that Conor McGregor might not make weight for their fight on August 26. Mayweather told that McGregor is at 164 pounds, which is 10 pounds over the weight limit of 154 pounds for this fight. Mayweather said McGregor would pay a hefty fine if he misses weight.

McGregor had this to say on Wednesday about his weight:

“I’ve never missed weight in my life and it won’t be happening this time. I’ve had my nutritionist practically living with me throughout camp,” McGregor said at the final press conference for the fight. “We are ready and feel great at the weight right now. The weight has been taken seriously and Floyd can keep wishing that I’ll miss weight.”

We’ll see what happens at the weigh-in on Friday.

Floyd Mayweather: ‘After 21 years, I’ve been hit with everything and I’m still right here’

August 26 is the last time we will probably see Floyd Mayweather in the ring. He has fought 49 times, and has won all 49 times. Many expect Mayweather to get win number 50 on Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas against Conor McGregor.

Mayweather expects to win as well!

Here is some what Mayweather had to say at the final press conference for his big fight against McGregor:

“After 21 years I’ve been hit with everything and I’m still right here. One thing you must know about combat sports, if you give it, you must be able to take it. Last time I checked, no one is walking me down. It’s all about my IQ and patience in the ring,” Mayweather said.

 “We’re both real fighters. We’re two huge names in combat sports. He’s made a mark the last few years and I’ve made a mark for 21 years. Now it’s time to go do what we do best and fight.

“I go out there and do what I do. I’ve been here before and fought many different fighters with different styles. There have been plenty of guys who talked a lot of trash, but when it’s all said and done, I came out victorious.”

Conor McGregor: ‘I am my own man and I feel I am superior to Floyd’

UFC star Conor McGregor is a very confident man. He believes that August 26 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas will be the night he shocks the world. McGregor is looking to become the first man to beat Floyd Mayweather(49-0, 26 KOs). Can he do it? I doubt it, but anything is possible.

Here is what McGregor said on Tuesday during Grand Arrivals in Las Vegas:

“Floyd can talk about whatever he wants to talk about. He can talk any kind of trash he wants, because he’s talking to the new God of boxing, McGregor said. “I like the move from five to three minute rounds. I feel like I’ve built a solid engine that is going to last me through the rest of my career and help me in the fight.  We’ve put in the work. I’ve fought many 12-rounders.

“The Irish are rolling in and whenever we roll in, we take over. It was amazing to see all the Irish fans out today. It’s going to be a great spectacle.

“If people are overlooking my size, power and youth, they shouldn’t be. I’m very confident in those attributes. I believe I’ll knock him out early.

“If you look at the way I fight, I am a fast starter. I come out and bang people right away. With eight ounce gloves, I don’t see him lasting more than one or two rounds.

“I am my own man and I feel I am superior to Floyd. When it comes to Saturday night, he will not be prepared for me.

“I cannot wait to get in the on Saturday night and perform in front of my fans and take my place at the top of this sport.”

Photos from Mayweather-McGregor Grand Arrivals

Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor officially kicked off fight week events Tuesday with grand arrivals at the Toshiba Plaza ahead of the SHOWTIME PPV event this Saturday, Aug. 26 taking place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Also making an official grand arrival in Las Vegas was unbeaten Francisco Fonseca, who challenges 130-pound champion Gervonta Davis, plus light heavyweight titleholder Nathan Cleverly and former 168-pound champion Badou Jack, who meet in a 12-round title fight on the PPV undercard. The SHOWTIME PPV telecast begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT with unbeaten Andrew Tabiti and former world championSteve Cunningham meeting in a 10-round battle after making their grand arrivals Tuesday.
Fighters were greeted by fans at the Toshiba Plaza before making brief remarks onstage.
Here are photos from the Grand Arrivals:

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Photos from Esther Lin/SHOWTIME