Joe Smith Jr.: ‘If Canelo wants to come to 175 and fight me, I’m ready for him’

The Steve Geffrard story was something out of a Hollywood script. The South Florida native accepted a shot at the title on eight days’ notice, but he didn’t author the shocking upset. WBO light heavyweight world champion Joe Smith Jr. made the first successful defense of his crown, knocking out Geffrard in the ninth round Saturday at Turning Stone Resort Casino.

Smith (28-3, 22 KOs) was never threatened, as his activity (665 punches thrown) forced Geffrard (18-3, 12 KOs) on the back foot. Geffrard had minor pockets of success in the opening round, but it soon turned into a one-sided exhibition for the Long Island native. He stunned Geffrard with right hands in the fifth and turned up the heat in the ninth. With Geffrard pinned against his corner, Smith unloaded with a combination, and Geffrard went to a knee. Before referee Mark Nelson could finish the 10-count, trainer Kevin Cunningham threw in the towel to end the one-way traffic.

Smith has his sights set on the other division kingpin, IBF/WBC champion Artur Beterbiev. Or perhaps a date with Canelo Alvarez if the pound-for-pound king elects to move up from super middleweight.

Smith said, “He really brought it today. It was a great fight. As you can see, he’s a great boxer, a good survivor. I was trying to get him out of there early, but I realized he was very tough and I wasn’t going to be able to do that. I tried to wait until the later rounds and started throwing more combinations to pick him apart.
 
“{Beterbiev} is what I want. I want to get back in the gym, work on my craft, and like I say each and every time I get in the ring, I’m going to get better and better. I believe the next time you see me, I’ll be ready for anybody.
 
“If Canelo wants to come to 175 and fight me, I’m ready for him. That’s the fight I want. Everybody would love to see that fight. It would be a big deal.”

Nova TKOs Encarnacion in Co-Feature

Undefeated featherweight Abraham “El Super” Nova walked to the ring with a mascot and cheerleaders, but he soon found himself in a fight. Short-notice opponent William “El Gago” Encarnacion stunned Nova with an a chopping right in the first round, but Nova (21-0, 15 KOs) settled in and prevailed by eighth-round TKO.

Nova was world-ranked at junior lightweight before moving down to featherweight last year. He survived the early rough patch and plastered Encarnacion (19-2, 15 KOs) with body shots. Encarnacion’s corner saw enough and threw in the towel, much to the shock of those in attendance.

Nova said, “It feels good to fight close to home a day after my birthday. I had a tricky opponent in front of me, but I got the job done.

“I want {WBO world champion Emanuel Navarrete}, to be honest. Everybody thinks he’ll blow me out. Put him in there. Let’s see if he’ll do it. I know I’ll beat him. I know I have the punch output, I know I’ll knock him out, and I know I’ll be the next WBO champion.”

In other action:

Junior Welterweight: Puerto Rican prospect Omar Rosario (6-0, 2 KOs) learned another lesson in his young career, as he nearly finished off Brooklyn’s Raekwon Butler (4-2, 2 KOs) in the opening round before being forced the six-round distance and winning a unanimous decision (59-54 2x and 58-55). Rosario outlanded Butler 111-49.

Welterweight: Jahi Tucker (6-0, 4 KOs) is fighting beyond his years. The 18-year-old knocked down Akeem Black (6-5, 2 KOs) with an uppercut in the opening round and then finished things off with a flurry in the second. Tucker became only the second man to knock out Black and landed 47 out of 98 punches thrown.

Middleweight: U.S. Olympian Troy “Transformer” Isley (4-0, 2 KOs) threw everything, including the kitchen sink, but Harry Keenan Cruz-Cubano (6-3, 2 KOs) withstood a hellacious beating to survive the six-round distance. Isley tagged Cruz-Cubano with uppercuts in the early rounds and cruised to a decision by scores of 59-53 and 59-54 2x.

Cruiserweight: Lyubomyr Pinchuk (14-2-1, 8 KOs) lumbered to an eight-round unanimous decision over Jose Mario Flores (8-3-2, 4 KOs) by scores of 80-72 and 79-73 2x. 

Photo: Mikey Williams / Top Rank via Getty Images

Andrade: ‘Canelo you going to run up to 175?’

Demetrius Andrade will top a World title quadruple-header as he defends his WBO World Middleweight against Jason Quigley at the SNHU Arena in Manchester, New Hampshire on Friday November 19, live worldwide on DAZN.

Andrade (30-0 18 KOs) puts his crown on the line for the fifth time and the Rhode Island star will be looking for a statement win as he hunts the unification blockbusters with his fellow belt holders at 160 pounds. The 33 year old, who picked up the vacant strap in his first fight with Eddie Hearn in Boston in October 2018, will make it five straight fights with European challengers when he steps through the ropes against Quigley.

Quigley (19-1 14 KOs) moved into prime position to land a World title shot in May by beating Golden Boy stablemate Shane Mosley Jr by majority decision in a thriller in Las Vegas, and the former amateur star becomes the second Irishman to challenge ‘Boo Boo’ after Luke Keeler took on the WBO ruler in Miami in January 2020.

“November 19, it’s me again,” said Andrade. “Jason Quigley, world rated, good amateur pedigree, decent skills, comes to fight, and hats off to him, he’s actually willing to step in the ring with me, which you can’t say for any of these other so-called top guys. On November 19though I show him that there are levels to this game.

“Just keep winning, that’s all I can do. Go in there, handle my business, do my job, look sensational, come out healthy and then it’s onto the next. If you have a belt at 160 or 168 lbs, let’s go. Put the politics aside, have your people call Eddie. Let’s get down to business. Charlo, stop running your mouth, making up excuse after excuse. You’re a fighter, let’s fight bro. GGG, where you at? Unify against Murata and then let’s put the three belts on the line next year.

“Canelo you going to run up to 175? Cool, I can meet you there, no problem. First things first though, I need to go out on November 19, defend my championship belt, and put on a spectacular performance, and that’s exactly what I plan on doing.”

“I’ve worked my whole career to get into this position of becoming world champion,” said Quigley. “Demetrius is a great champion but now it’s my time and that World title is coming back to Ireland.”

Three more World title fights in support of Andrade’s clash with Quigley are led by Murodjon Akhmadaliev defending his IBF and WBA World Super Bantamweight titles against Ronny Rios.

Akhmadaliev (9-0 7 KOs) was at his spiteful best last time out, putting the challenge of Ryosuke Iwasa to bed in the fifth round of his first professional outing in his homeland of Uzbekistan. ‘MJ’, who became unified champion in just his eighth fight in the paid ranks by ripping the belts from Daniel Roman, puts the belts on the line for the second time in New Hampshire and does so against his WBA mandatory challenger and #1 in the rankings.

Rios (33-3 16 KOs) is in great form heading into his second World title challenge, heading to the east coast on the back of four wins, the latest being the only one to go the distance in February in Indio, California with a wide points win over Oscar Negrete.

“I would like to thank my promoters Eddie Hearn and Andrei Ryabinsky for the opportunity to defend my titles in New Hampshire,” said Akhmadaliev. “I’m living and training in Indio, so I know how people love and appreciate boxing here.

“It will be my second mandatory challenger in a row, he’s a good fighter and I expect it to be a great fight for everybody to enjoy! As always, I’m working hard with my coaches Antonio and Joel Diaz, and we’ll be prepared to defend what belongs to us!”

“Who is the best to beat at my weight class? It’s MJ so I am here to challenge myself with this task and I’m confident in my ability and my team to come out victorious,” said Rios. “On November 19th you will see a new world champion added to the Golden Boy stable”

The third world title fight is pits Mexico vs. Puerto Rico and it’s the long-awaited showdown between Julio Cesar Martinez and McWilliams Arroyo.

Mexican Martinez (18-1 14 KOs) returned to action in typically entertaining fashion in June, stopping Joel Cordova in Guadalajara to successfully defend his WBC World Flyweight title for the third time. It will be third time lucky for the Arroyo clash, with Covid squashing the first attempt to pit them together in Tulsa in May 2020 and then a hand injury to Martinez ruled him out in fight week when they were due to clash on the undercard of Canelo Alvarez’s clash with Avni Yildirim in Miami in February.

Puerto Rican Arroyo (21-4 16 KOs) was able to taste action that night and picked up the Interim title at the home of the Miami Dolphins with a fifth round win over Abraham Rodriguez, and will be desperate to upgrade and rip the full title from Martinez as they finally get to tangle.

“It is great that we are finally able to get this fight,” said Martinez. “We have tried twice to do it but that’s all in the past and now we’re going to go to war on October 16.

“McWilliams is a strong challenger for the belt but I feel fantastic and I am ready to prove that I am the man to beat at Flyweight.”

“This fight has been asked for and the fans will finally get a great battle on November 19,” said Arroyo. “I hope he will come prepared because I am going to be 100 per cent ready and confident that I will be victorious.”

The fourth World title bout on the bill is the second step on the path to crowing an undisputed women’s champion at 140lbs as Kali Reis takes on Jessica Camara for the WBA, IBO and vacant WBO straps.

Two-weight champion Reis (18-7-1 5 KOs) added the IBO title to her WBA crown last time out with a majority decision win over Australian Diana Prazak, and the Rhode Island champion and former WBC Middleweight ruler will be looking to add another title through victory over Camara (8-2), the Canadian that bounced back from defeat to Melissa St Vil with a confidence boosting win over Heather Hardy in May – and the stakes couldn’t be higher with the winner set to face the victor of the with October 30 clash between WBC champion Chantelle Cameron and IBF champion Mary McGee at The O2 in London, England.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alvarez on fight with Saunders: ‘I hope that I don’t need the judges’

Canelo Alvarez met the media at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX today, the stadium he’ll face Billy Joe Saunders in a blockbuster unification fight on Saturday night (May 8), live worldwide on DAZN and distributed by TV Azteca in Mexico and Latin America.

Alvarez (55-1-2 37 KOs) and Saunders (33-0 14 KOs) lock horns at the home of the Dallas Cowboys for the WBC, WBA Super and WBO titles on Cinco De Mayo weekend, and the Mexican told reporters he is laser focused on the task ahead against the unbeaten Brit.

“He thinks he’ll give me a boxing lesson?,” said Alvarez. “We’ll see. I am not the same guy I was five or six years ago. I have experience, I am a more mature fighter. So he can say whatever he wants, on Saturday night, he is in a different level of fight. I hope that I don’t need the judges on the night.

“We have always been open about what are short and long term plans have been. I want to unify the 168-pound division, and Caleb Plant would be next in line to secure that short term goal if successful against Billy Joe Saunders

“The goal is to be undisputed at 168 pounds and then we’ll see. I think I could stay at Super-Middleweight until the end of my career. I think I have about seven years left until I retire, but I’m listening to my body and when it tells me to quit, I’ll quit

“Nothing frustrates me, I am just focused on winning on Saturday. He has to fight me on Saturday, that has to happen, it’s not a problem.

“I don’t care about anything; I am just going to go in there and do my job. Saunders has come up with other excuses, he’s had plenty of excuses, but I am just going to go in there and do what I have to do.”

“We have faced everyone, lefties, righties, champions, former champions, so to us this is nothing new,” added trainer Eddy Reynoso.

Alvarez and Saunders clash on a huge night of action in Texas with a stacked undercard in support of the mammoth main event, with Elwin Soto (18-1 12 KOs) defending his WBO World Light-Flyweight title against Katsunari Takayama (32-8 12 KOs).

Kieron Conway (16-1-1 3 KOs) defends his WBA Intercontinental Super-Welterweight title against Souleymane Cissokho (12-0 8 KOs), Eddy Reynoso trained Cuban Heavyweight Frank Sanchez (17-0 13 KOs) meets Nagy Aguilera (21-10 14 KOs), Mexican-American talent Marc Castro (2-0 2 KOs) fights on his third Canelo undercard, Castro’s old amateur foe Keyshawn Davis (2-0 2 KOs) faces Jose Antonio Meza (6-4 1 KO) over six rounds and it’s a family affair on the night with Keyshawn’s brother Kelvin Davis (1-0 1 KO) fights for the second time in the paid ranks, with Mexican Welterweight Christian Alan Gomez Duran (19-2-1 17 KOs) celebrating Cinco De Mayo weekend over eight rounds against an opponent to be named soon.

Photo: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom

Martinez-Arroyo added to Canelo-Yildirim undercard

Julio Cesar Martinez will defend his WBC World Flyweight title against McWilliams Arroyo as the chief support to Canelo Alvarez’s defense of his WBC, WBA Super and Ring Magazine World Super-Middleweight titles on Saturday February 27 at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, live worldwide on DAZN (except Mexico).

 Martinez (17-1 13 KOs) puts his title on the line for the third time since landing the belt in December 2019 in a thrilling stoppage win over Cristofer Rosales, outpointing Jay Harris in Dallas in February and blasting away Moises Calleros in two rounds in Mexico City in October.

The all-action Mexican is raring to finally face his mandatory challenger Arroyo after having to pull out of a proposed clash with the Puerto Rican through illness in August. It is a huge night for the all-action champion, who turns 26 on Wednesday, as he finally gets to fight as the chief support to his stablemate Alvarez, whom he also shares a trainer and manager in Eddy Reynoso, after illness ruled him out of fighting on his card in December in San Antonio.

“I am so happy to be back in the ring again and I promise you a war with Arroyo in Miami,” said Martinez. “With the unification fights ahead of me, it is important to take care of my mandatory challengers and I expect a tough fight with Arroyo. I believe that 2021 will see me unify the division and become undisputed and I can’t wait put a smile back on boxing fans faces.”

Arroyo (20-4 15 KOs) has been ready to pounce on his shot at the title and win a World strap at the third time of asking. The decorated Puerto Rican amateur was edged out via split decision by IBF champion Amnat Ruenroeng in September 2014 and then fell to pound-for-pound star Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez in April 2016 for the WBC and Ring Magazine crowns in California.

The 34 year old ranked at number one in the WBC enters the bout on the back of three wins in 2019 having returned to Flyweight from a brief stint at Super-Fly, and the former World Amateur Champion is determined to end the talented Mexican’s reign in Miami.

“Finally, the fight is near, and I am sure the fans will enjoy another classic between Mexico and Puerto Rico,” said Arroyo.

A stacked undercard in support of Alvarez also sees Chinese Heavyweight star Zhilei Zhang make a quick return to action over ten rounds against Jerry Forrest.

Zhang (22-0 17 KOs) is back in the sunshine state after stopping Devin Vargas in four rounds in their clash in Hollywood, Fl. in November, and the 37 year old giant will look to take another step towards securing a huge fight in the glamour division with victory over Forrest (26-4 20 KOs), who took Carlos Takam the distance in his last outing in July.

“I’m very excited about this fight,” said Zhang. “February 27 is the highest profile card of the first quarter of 2021, and it will be an honor to be part of it. I can’t wait to get in the ring and wish the best of luck to my opponent Jerry Forrest. I am training full force. I will be ready.”

“Zhang is a good fighter with great size and technique, but I’ll be ready for this fight,” said Forrest. “2021 is a new beginning for me. Covid has made training difficult with many gyms shut down, but I’ve stayed in shape since my last fight. I’m now up at my manager’s gym in Ashburn, Virginia, and my trainers have been creating a game plan while bringing in sparring partners to match Zhang’s size and style. I’m excited about this opportunity and am looking forward to ending Zhang’s unbeaten streak.”

A host of young talents get the chance to shine on the card, led by Diego Pacheco. The rangy teen has raced to 10-0 with eight wins inside the distance, and the Super-Middleweight sensation will look to add another impressive win when he takes on Rodolfo Gomez Jr (14-4-1 10KOs) over eight rounds.

“I am excited to be back under the bright lights,” said Pacheco. “2021, it’s time to show everyone I’m here and I’m a problem for anyone at 168 pounds.”

Alexis Espino (6-0 4 KOs) had a frustrating end to 2020 after losing out on two fights, but the 21 year old is ready to put that behind him and get 2021 off to a flier against Ashton Sykes (5-3 KOs)

“I am more than ready to fight on this amazing card and show what I been working on aside from the time I spent away,” said Espino. “it was a frustrating time for me at the end of 2020, but I am itching to finally show how much work I have been putting into this since I haven’t been in the ring due to recent cancellations.”

Former amateur sensation Marc Castro got his pro career off to the perfect start on Canelo’s undercard in San Antonio with a KO win, and the Fresno star goes again in Miami against Lester Brown (4-2-3 1 KO).

“I am ready to get back in the ring and I want thank God and my team for making it possible for being a part of the pound-for-pound king Canelo’s undercard once again,” said Castro.

Another successful amateur making his second appearance in the paid ranks is Miami’s own Aaron Aponte. The 19 year old won via stoppage on debut in October, and Aponte will showcase the his talents on a huge platform in his hometown.

“I’m super excited to be fighting at the Hard Rock Stadium on February 27 on the undercard of boxing superstar Canelo Alvarez” said Aponte. “It’s an honor to fight on such a massive event in my hometown and I’m very grateful to Matchroom and DAZN along with my manager Peter Kahn and the Fight Game Advisors Team for this opportunity. Stay tuned for the rise of Aaron ‘Alien King’ Aponte!!”

“This is a stacked undercard in support of the pound-for-pound king,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “Julio Cesar Martinez is fast becoming a must-see attraction in the sport and an impressive win here will take him to another level – but McWilliams Arroyo is up for the challenge and is a dangerman.

“Zhilei Zhang can stake his claim for a massive fight at Heavyweight later in the year with victory over Jerry Forrest, and it is fantastic for the young talents on the card to be able to perform on this huge stage.”

Andrade: ‘I’m not fighting Canelo or Charlo or Billy Joe behind closed doors’

Demetrius Andrade hopes to finally get to face bitter rival Billy Joe Saunders when boxing returns – and told Matchroom Boxing’s Podcast ‘The Lockdown Tapes’ that he would ‘bust up’ the Brit if they clashed.

Andrade (29-0 18 KOs) was due to face Saunders in October 2018 for the Londoner’s WBO crown but the Briton failed a drugs test and subsequently relinquished the title.

Andrade would win the vacant belt against Walter Kautondokwa in Boston and has since defended the title with imposing wins over Artur Akavov, Maciej Sulecki and Luke Keeler. The Rhode Island star has been hunting a massive fight to stamp his authority on the 160lbs division before moving up to Super-Middleweight, and the 32 year old ran the rule over his rivals at both weights as he itches to get back in the ring.

“I was willing to fight Billy Joe after a 15 month lay-off but that didn’t happen and I am willing to fight him again,” said Andrade. “If I can’t get Canelo then it’s Billy Joe or Charlo at 160. At 168 we’ve got Callum Smith. I would bust Billy Joe Saunders up at 160 or 168, that’s not a problem.

“I consider Danny Jacobs one of the best Middleweights out there, but would I fight him, yeah! If it came to the point where we were going to make X amount, then we could make it happen, but I grew up with him and we have a brothership and mutual connections. Fighting him isn’t something I’m looking to do.

“I don’t want to talk about Liam Williams because there is nothing to talk about. What do I have to say? We know Jacobs, Canelo, GGG, Sergey Derevyenchenko and Billy Joe want to fight, who am I going to fight? Billy Joe or Liam Williams? Who do you want to see?

“I saw Billy Joe in the airport not too long ago. He said ‘what do you think about me and you?’ and I told him ‘he doesn’t want to fight me and for him to go and enjoy his life’.

“It might be Williams but I’m not fighting Canelo or Charlo or Billy Joe behind closed doors because I want to shut them up in front of people! And tell them ‘It’s me again’!”

THE LOCKDOWN TAPES WITH DEMETRIUS ANDRADE IS ALSO ON MATCHROOM BOXING’S YOUTUBE CHANNEL NOW!

Evan Holyfield to make debut on Canelo-Kovalev undercard

On November 2, before thousands of fans in attendance at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV are treated to the most-anticipated fight of the year, the live audience will witness the professional debut of Evan “Yung Holy” Holyfield. The 21-year-old son of Hall-of-Famer and five-time world heavyweight champion, Evander “Real Deal” Holyfield, will face Nick Winstead of Abita Springs, Louisiana in a 4-round junior middleweight matchup on the undercard of Canelo Alvarez vs. Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev.

Evan is the middle child of the 11 Holyfield children and older brother of Carolina Panthers running back Elijah Holyfield. As an amateur, Holyfield amassed over 80 fights including the Semi-Finals for the US Team. Standing 6’1.5″, Evan is extremely athletic, a boxer-puncher with lightning fast speed and hard-hitting power.

When asked about debuting on the biggest fight card of the year, Evan said, “There is no added pressure. I have fought on the top level before as an amateur. All this really isn’t too much of a big deal. I am just here to do my job.”

He continued, “I know I am ready. My trainers have been switching things up a bit and making things more difficult to ensure I am ready. I would like to tell everyone who has helped me get here that I appreciate all the support and I love y’all.”

Evan has assembled a top-notch team fighting out of the Fighter Nation Boxing Gym in Houston, Texas. His trainer/manager is Maurice “Termite” Watkins (61-5-2, 42 KOs) and his strength and conditioning coach is Tim Hallmark, who has over 40 years of experience and is best-known for working with Evander Holyfield throughout his professional career.

“I know people called Evander ‘Real Deal’ but Evan is the real deal,” said Watkins. “There is pressure on him for this big card and because he has the Holyfield name, but that is part of the game. To be a great world champion you must be able to handle the pressure. You got to handle whatever circumstances are thrown at you.”

He explained, “Evan’s conditioning is incredible, but he is also amazingly talented with speed and power in both hands. We are training him to be skillful. We are going to look for him to hit and move.”

“We are prepared for a fight,” added Watkins. “We are ready to show our stuff and we are excited about being part of the Main Events team with Kathy Duva.”

Holyfield’s strength and conditioning coach, Tim Hallmark, said “We are constantly challenging Evan in different ways, and he is always up to those challenges. We are challenging him physically and mentally to keep him out of a rut. We are just trying to stay on the cutting edge and constantly looking at a better way to reach our end result.”

He continued, “We are excited about this opportunity. Evan has come a long way and he is a hard worker. He is mentally strong and very intelligent. He is a pleasure to work with. We will be ready for November 2nd.”

According to Main Events’ Matchmaker, Jolene Mizzone, “I am excited and honored to work with Evan and his entire team to get him to that championship level one day. I am going to fly the plane (make the fights) but he is the one who going to have to land it (win the fights). I have complete faith in him, his abilities and his team, Termite and Tim.”

Photo Credit: Hosanna Rull

Canelo on Kovalev: ‘He’s naturally the bigger man, but that’s the kind of challenges and risks that I like’

Canelo Alvarez (51-1-2, 34 KOs), the face of boxing and the king of the middleweight division, will take on a new challenge as he moves into the 175-pound weight class in a 12-round bout against champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (34-3-1, 28 KOs) for the WBO Light Heavyweight World Title. The event will take place Saturday, Nov. 2 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas and will be streamed exclusively live on DAZN in all of its nine markets, including the United States, Canada, Brazil, Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Japan.

Canelo, the 29-year-old native of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, became the face of boxing by taking on some of the biggest names in the sport. At 154 pounds, Canelo captured several world titles and defeated the likes of Austin “No Doubt” Trout, Sugar Shane Mosley, Alfredo “El Perro” Angulo, Erislandy “The American Dream” Lara and Liam “Beefy” Smith.

At 160 pounds, Canelo defeated Gennady “GGG” Golovkin and Daniel “Miracle Man” Jacobs to establish himself as the king of the middleweight division. And, shortly after signing a groundbreaking partnership with global sports streaming giant DAZN, Canelo moved into the 168-pound division by stopping Rocky Fielding in three rounds to become the WBA Super Middleweight World Champion.

Canelo will now look to make history once again by becoming the second Mexican boxer to hold a world title in the light heavyweight division, a feat only done by Julio Cesar Gonzalez in 2003. The pound-for-pound king will at the same time join an elite group of four-division world champions from Mexico.

“The second phase of my career is continuing just as we had planned, and that’s why we are continuing to make great fights to enter into the history books of boxing,” said Canelo Alvarez. “That’s also why I’ve decided to jump two weight classes against one of the most feared champions of recent years. Kovalev is a dangerous puncher, and he’s naturally the bigger man, but that’s the kind of challenges and risks that I like to face.”

On November 2nd, Kovalev, 36, will participate in his 17th consecutive world title bout and the most lucrative fight of his career against the biggest star in boxing. A Russian knockout artist and three-time light heavyweight world champion, “Krusher” is no stranger to fighting in hostile territory. He captured the WBO Light Heavyweight World Title in 2013 when he traveled to Wales and scored a stunning knockout of Nathan Cleverly. Kovalev traveled to Atlantic City to meet future Hall of Famer Bernard “The Alien” Hopkins near his Philadelphia home to unify the WBO, WBA and IBF titles with a lopsided unanimous decision victory in 2014. As unified champion, “Krusher” successfully defended his titles twice against current WBA Interim Light Heavyweight titleholder Jean Pascal in Pascal’s hometown of Montreal, scoring a stoppage victory both times.

Kovalev suffered two controversial losses to former Olympic Gold medalist Andre Ward (in 2016 and 2017) and a surprise upset to Eleider Alvarez last year, but quickly regained his WBO Light Heavyweight Title each time. In August, the road warrior finally got the chance to fight in his own hometown of Chelyabinsk, Russia, stopping undefeated mandatory challenger Anthony Yarde in a sold-out arena.

When asked about this fight, Kovalev said, “In order to be the best you have to beat the best. I have always tried to fight the toughest opponents in my division, but many have ducked me throughout my career. Canelo wanted to fight me; to step up to higher weight and challenge for my belt. I will be ready on November 2nd. Thank you, Main Events, Kathy Duva, Egis Klimas, DAZN and Canelo for making this fight happen.”

Lara: I do want to go up or down a division to fight Spence Jr. or rematch Canelo

Erislandy “The American Dream” Lara knocked out Ramon “El Inocente” Alvarez in the second round (2:03) to capture the WBA Super Welterweight title Saturday night from The Armory in Minneapolis.

“Having this belt back on my shoulder feels great,” said Lara. “It means the world to be champion again. I felt like in my past fights I didn’t lose, and that stings a bit, but to come back and win the title feels great. I’m back.”

Lara applied pressure early and in the second round he landed a flurry of punches that sent Alvarez halfway through the ropes, causing the referee to rule it a knockdown. Once Lara had Alvarez hurt, he didn’t hesitate to finish the bout.

“Once I had him against the ropes, I knew I had it won and I didn’t want to give him another power punch to hurt him,” continued Lara. “We expected him to be a little more durable. I thought it was a good stoppage. I hurt him with a lot of shots before I put him down the first time. I hit him real flush with one and I would have gone in for the kill. It was a great job by the referee.”

Alvarez didn’t disagree with the timing of the stoppage saying, “I respect the referee’s decision. I’m going to keep working. It is what it is. I fell down, but I will get up again.”

Lara went on to say, “I’ll fight anyone in the division. I do want to fight the best boxers out there in the division, or go up or down a division to fight Errol Spence Jr. or rematch Canelo Alvarez.”

Watch highlights of Lara vs. Alvarez HERE and HERE

Photo: Stephanie Trapp/TGB Promotions

Canelo-Fielding Final Press Conference Quotes

WBC, WBA, Lineal Middleweight World Champion Canelo Alvarez (50-1-2, 34 KOs) and WBA Super Middleweight World Champion Rocky Fielding (27-1, 15 KOs) hosted a their final press conference today at Madison Square Garden ahead of their 12-round super middleweight fight. The battle will take place Saturday, Dec. 15 at the aforementioned Madison Square Garden in New York City and will be streamed live on DAZN – which, at just $9.99 per month after a one-month free trial, means new subscribers to DAZN will enjoy the entire Canelo vs. Rocky fight night for free.

They were joined by David Lemieux (40-4, 34 KOs), Tureano Johnson (20-2, 14 KOs), Sadam “World Kid” Ali (26-2, 14 KOs), Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera (24-7, 7 KOs) and many other fighters from the undercard.

Below is what the fighters had to say at today’s final press conference:

CANELO ALVAREZ, WBC, WBA, Lineal and Ring Magazine Middleweight World Champion:

“I’m very happy to be here at Madison Square Garden. It’s just yet another story, another dream realized in my career and this new phase of my career with DAZN. I’m very happy and I’m motivated. Perhaps many don’t give the credit to Rocky Fielding that he deserves but for a reason, he’s a world champion. I know who he is, I’ve trained very hard, I know the challenge I have in front of me. I know that I have a tough fight but I like challenges and I know we’re going to make history. I’m ready for that.”

ROCKY FIELDING, WBA Super Middleweight World Champion:

“It’s great to be here. I was here years ago, sitting right at the top over there, watching a Knicks game, wishing one day to fight here. Now I’ve put a lot of work in, I’ve had a lot of setbacks, and here we are. It’s unbelievable. I’m looking forward to it I believe in myself. I come here as a champion, and that’s what champions do – they win, and they defend. This is a great opportunity and I’m very happy to be here.”

JOSE “CHEPO” REYNOSO, Manager and Trainer of Canelo Alvarez:

“Madison Square Garden, be prepared because Canelo is coming to conquer you and to write in the story of MSG.”

EDDY REYNOSO, Manager and Head Trainer of Canelo Alvarez:

“We know it’s going to be a tough fight. Every time a fighter moves up in weight, the fighter has to experiment on how he’s going to feel. Fielding is a strong fighter, he’s a tough fighter, but more than anything’s, he’s a world champion. We know we have a big compromise ahead and I’m taking the responsibility to make sure all the details are covered off on. I just hope that this Saturday, Mexico is excited for Canelo to become a three-division world champion. We’ve excited for him to join the exclusive history of Mexican boxing this Saturday.”

JAMIE MOORE, Trainer of Rocky Fielding:

“I think boxing’s all about timing. And Rocky Fielding made sure he was ready when he got the phone call for a world title with five weeks’ notice. It came at the right time for him. And when we got the phone call for the Canelo fight, he took it without hesitation. There’s weight divisions for a reason. I applaud Canelo, I admire his tenacity and his will to achieve greatness. But it’s all about timing. I just think that this is the right time for Rocky Fielding. He’s in a great place mentally and physically. And I’m looking forward to shocking the world and delivering a big upset.”

DAVID LEMIEUX, Former IBF Middleweight World Champion:

“I’m extremely happy to be back at Madison Square Garden. I was here three years ago in a unification fight with Golovkin. It didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to but over the years, I’ve learned a lot. I believe I’m at my peak. The greatest years are yet to come for me. Saturday night will be a step towards that. I promise everyone a great fight. Tureano Johnson is a great fighter, but we’ve trained extremely hard for him so we don’t have any surprises in the ring. Whatever he brings forward, I’ll take care of it.”

TUREANO JOHNSON, Middleweight Contender:

“It’s going to be an exciting night. I’m excited, I’m ready, I’m energized. I respect Lemieux. I have a lot of respect for him. You guys can expect an awesome fight. I’m definitely coming to bring it. Come Saturday night, they’re going to see a different Tureano – a more intelligent fighter.”

MAURICIO HERRERA, Former Interim WBA Super Lightweight Prospect:

“This is a great opportunity and I feel blessed to fight here at the Madison Square Garden. Sadam is a great fighter but I put on a great show as well. The both of us together will be a fight to remember.”

SADAM ALI, Former WBO Junior Middleweight World Champion

“I’m excited. I’m ready. This is a big fight, Every fight is a big fight. There’s nothing like fighting at home. It doesn’t get to happen every time but when it does, I’m excited and I’m ready.”

VERGIL ORTIZ JR, Super Lightweight Prospect

“I’m very happy to be fighting here at Madison Square Garden. For some reason I thought it’d be a square…it’s not a square. It’s my first fight in New York. Other than that, I’m just happy to be here.”

KATIE TAYLOR, WBA/IBF Lightweight World Champion

“I’m here to bring my very very best. I know [Eva’s] a great competitor and a fantastic fighter. I just can’t wait to put on an exciting fight.”

TEVIN FARMER, IBF Super Featherweight World Champion:

“I’m ready for Saturday. It’s another opportunity to show that I’m one of the best in the world.”

LAMONT ROACH JR., WBO International Super Featherweight Champion:

“I feel blessed to be on this stage. I’m going to kick it off with a bang.”

RYAN GARCIA, Lightweight Prospect:

“We had two months of nonstop work, really focused, and now I’m just ready to put on my best performance at Madison Square Garden. What better place than Madison Square Garden? I’m just ready to prove and show everybody what I’ve been improving on and what I’m going to bring for times to come.”

BERNARD HOPKINS, Future Hall of Famer and Golden Boy Promotions Business Partner:

“What I’ll say to everyone is take this opportunity, even Canelo and Rocky, to put your DNA in the history of the great legendary MSG. Enjoy the fight. DAZN is here. Enjoy the fight and get ready for 2019.”

JOE MARKOWSKI, Executive Vice President, DAZN North America:

“In parts of the twentieth century, the heavyweight champion was the most famous man in the world. But then something changed. Pay-per-view. Boxing became one of the only sports to take its biggest moments and deliver them to smallest audience possible. And that’s why Saturday night is such a milestone. The last king of pay-per-view Canelo Alvarez will become the first king of sports streaming. This fight is not 75 or 100 dollars. Canelo-Rocky is free on DAZN for all new subscribers.”

“This is just the beginning and we encourage everyone to join us for this ride. It’s simple. Just like you would with Netflix or Hulu, you download our app, sign up and watch amazing content on all devices – including the big screen on the wall of your living room.”

EDDIE HEARN, Managing Director of Matchroom Sports:

“I remember Eric Gomez calling me up and asking if Rocky Fielding would like to fight Canelo Álvarez. Not once did he ask about the money. It was a yes. This is everything to Rocky Fielding. This is the opportunity of a lifetime, to come to MSG and defend his world title against Canelo Álvarez. I believe he’s going to give Canelo Álvarez everything he has and everything he can handle.”

“DAZN is a game-changer for the world of boxing. Normally U.S. fight fans would have to put their hands in their pockets for $80, $100. Not only is this a great deal for fans in terms of price, but production is top shelf.”

Photo Credit: Tom Hogan-Hogan photos/Golden Boy Promotions

Danny Jacobs: ‘The fight for May is the Canelo-Jacobs unification’

Daniel Jacobs is gunning for a Middleweight World title unification battle with Canelo Alvarez in 2019 – and the IBF World ruler says their showdown is one of the biggest fights in boxing.

Jacobs will be ringside at Madison Square Garden in New York on Saturday night as Alvarez looks to become a three-weight World champion when he challenges WBA World Super-Middleweight champion Rocky Fielding – with the Mexican king making his debut on streaming giant DAZN, with the clash also live in the UK on Sky Sports.

Jacobs became a two-time Middleweight king at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in October with victory over Sergiy Derevyanchenko in a fight of the year contender in the Big Apple. Canelo is moving up from 160lbs where he holds the WBA and WBC titles following his win over Gennady Golovkin in their rematch in September – and Jacobs wants Canelo to return to Middleweight and put his titles on the line in a huge Cinco de Mayo showdown.

“I’ll be there front and center on Saturday night – it’s no secret that my focus is on Canelo,” said Jacobs. “There is no other fight in boxing I want right now more than him.

“I did what I had to do and beat Derevyanchenko, a guy nobody wanted to fight and claimed a piece of the Middleweight crown. Now it’s time to unify. I believe that I am the best Middleweight in the world, and he thinks he is, so let’s put it all on the line.

“This is not only the absolute biggest fight to be made in the division, but one of the biggest in all of boxing. As long as he takes care of business on Saturday night I’m ready to go. Let’s give the fans and the sport of boxing what they want and let’s get this done for May 4.”

“I’m rooting for a Rocky Fielding win this Saturday – and when Canelo returns to Middleweight, THE fight for May is the Canelo vs. Jacobs unification,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “After Danny’s great fight with GGG and his IBF victory in October, it’s a fight he wants and one he believes he wins. He will be there on Saturday with among the star-studded crowd watching very closely.”

Photo: Matchroom Boxing