Gennady Golovkin, David Lemieux agree to Oct. 17 fight at MSG

August 11th, 2015 | By

Middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin’s goal for years has been to unify belts, but boxing’s most fearsome puncher has not been able to convince any of the other belt holders or big names to face him.

Until now.

Montreal slugger David Lemieux, also one of boxing’s biggest hitters, will meet Golovkin to unify their 160-pound world titles Oct. 17 in an HBO PPV main event at Madison Square Garden in New York, K2 Promotions managing director Tom Loeffler, Golovkin’s promoter, and Golden Boy’s Oscar De La Hoya, who represents Lemieux, said Saturday.

It’s a match that figures to be explosive — a big drama show, as Golovkin would say — between two of boxing’s most crowd-pleasing and aggressive fighters, both of whom possess devastating punching power.

“In one word: finally,” Loeffler told ESPN.com. “We’ve gone to great lengths to try to put unification fights together for Gennady. We have to give Lemieux and Golden Boy a lot of credit for stepping up to the plate. Gennady will not underestimate Lemieux. He is the biggest puncher he will have ever faced, and Gennady will be the biggest puncher Lemieux will have ever faced.

“It is a great unification fight between two champions and the two biggest punchers in the middleweight division. If Lemieux wins, he takes over the spot as the best middleweight in the world, and if Gennady wins, he stays the best middleweight in the world.”

Lemieux said he is looking forward to the matchup of two powerful punchers.

“This is the fight that all the fans and the world wants to see,” he said. “I hope and expect this will be the best fight of the last five years. There will be blood. It’s going to be exciting.”

Golovkin (33-0, 30 KOs), 33, of Kazakhstan and living in Los Angeles, has knocked out 20 opponents in a row, including all 14 in his title defenses. The 26-year-old Lemieux (34-2, 31 KOs) is also a blistering puncher. But although he dropped Hassan N’Dam four times in their June 20 fight for a vacant world title in Montreal, Lemieux won a unanimous decision.

 

 

 

 

Shortly after Lemieux’s title victory, which came just a month after Golovkin knocked out Willie Monroe in the sixth round of a one-sided title defense May 16, Loeffler and De La Hoya began talking about making the fight.

Initially, De La Hoya and Lemieux co-promoter Camille Estephan of Eye of the Tiger said that while they were interested in a unification fight with Golovkin they preferred to have Lemieux make his mandatory defense in the fall — even though the identity of the mandatory challenger has not even been determined — and wait to face Golovkin in 2016.

“What changed my mind and everyone involved is that Lemieux can beat GGG, so why even waste our time with the mandatory? Let’s go straight to GGG,” De La Hoya told ESPN.com. “He has a real shot at beating him. And this is the big fight he wanted, and when we presented this fight to him he was ecstatic.

“Lemieux is fired up. He says, ‘Nobody has ever pushed Golovkin back. He does not know how to fight going back.’ Lemieux has a beautiful jab, and he is going to use it.”

Lemieux said he will show the world what he can do against Golovkin.

“Everyone should be ready to have a new man to fear in the middleweight division,” Lemieux said. “I am well aware of what kind of power I am facing, but I’m not worried about it. It’s going to be a war. I know he’s going to come to fight. He might break my nose, but I’m going break his too.

“I’ve said very honestly that I don’t care who I fight, so long as they are the best, and Golovkin is the best out there in the middleweight division. And I consider myself fully of his caliber. I don’t want any easy fights. GGG is the fight that people want to see. He wants me, then he’ll get me. On the 17th, it’s going to be fireworks. I want history. I want big, big things. And this is another big step.”

Golovkin’s fan base has grown quickly since he came to fight for the first time in the United States in 2012, as he stormed through a series of top contenders, knocking out the likes of former titleholder Daniel Geale, Martin Murray, Matthew Macklin, Gabriel Rosado, Curtis Stevens and Monroe. Now, he and Lemieux will fight on pay-per-view for the first time, but fight organizers have high hopes because of Golovkin’s burgeoning fan base, reputation as must-see TV and the fact that he has a serious opponent in front of him.

“When you talk about getting bang for your buck it doesn’t get any better than this,” De La Hoya said. “When you think about the pay-per-view numbers we’re being real here. This is not a million-selling pay-per-view. We’re thinking along the lines of between 350,000 and 500,000 buys. You have to start somewhere, and this is a perfect fight for both guys to start off on pay-per-view. Obviously, we are going to stack the card like there’s no tomorrow. We want to give the fans bang for their buck.”

De La Hoya said it will be a four-fight telecast, and while they are working on the specific matches, flyweight champion Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (43-0, 37 KOs), of Nicaragua, is likely to be in one of the fights, Loeffler said. Gonzalez was a big hit fighting on HBO for the first time on Golovkin’s May 16 undercard, where he looked sensational in knocking out former junior flyweight titlist Edgar Sosa in the second round.

Golovkin drew a crowd 8,572 to Madison Square Garden for the fight with Geale, a third-round knockout, last July. Two of his last three fights (the other was in Monte Carlo) have been in Southern California, where he drew a wild crowd of 12,372 to the Forum in Inglewood in May and an arena-record crowd of 9,323 to the StubHub Center in Carson for his second-round knockout of Rubio last October.

“We put a very fair deal together for Lemieux and Golden Boy, and the Garden put in a very strong offer to get Gennady back,” Loeffler said. “They saw his success in Los Angeles and they wanted him back in New York.”

The crowd total figures to grow even larger with Golovkin’s return to New York because of his popularity combined with Lemieux having his own fan base in Montreal, which is only a few hours by car from New York.

“New York is not a very far trip from Montreal,” De La Hoya said. “We expect a lot of fans from Canada and a lot of fans there for Gennady. Without a doubt it will be a sold-out arena.”

The making of the fight solidifies what amounts to a de facto 160-pound tournament. Golovkin and Lemieux will unify their world titles, and by virtue of Golovkin also holding an interim belt, the winner will be the mandatory challenger for the winner of the fight between champion Miguel Cotto and Canelo Alvarez, who are in the final stages of finalizing their fight, which will take place on either Nov. 7 or Nov. 21, either in Las Vegas or New York.

 

Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez to defend flyweight title vs. Brian Viloria

August 11th, 2015 | By

Flyweight world champion Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez, one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world, will make his third title defense when he faces former unified titleholder Brian Viloria on Oct. 17 in one of the best fights that could be made in boxing’s smaller weight divisions.

The fight, rumored for weeks but formally announced on Tuesday by K2 Promotions and Teiken Promotions, will take place at Madison Square Garden in New York in the co-feature on the HBO PPV-televised undercard of the middleweight title unification bout between Gennady Golovkin (33-0, 30 KO) and David Lemieux (34-2, 31 KOs).

“I know Brian Viloria is a great [former] champion and it will be a hard fight, but I am ready for the challenge,” Gonzalez said. “I have faith that God will give me the strength to keep training and be able to give all my fans my best fight ever.”

The 28-year-old Gonzalez (43-0, 37 KOs), a former junior flyweight and strawweight champion before vacating those titles to move up in weight, was a big hit in his last fight when he made his HBO debut — his first wide American television exposure — on May 16 at the Forum in Inglewood, California. He violently blew away former junior flyweight titlist Edgar Sosa in the second round on the undercard of Golovkin’s title defense against Willie Monroe.

The promoters and HBO liked the pairing of Golovkin and Gonzalez, both exciting punchers, and wanted to do it again.

“We’re thrilled to welcome back Roman Gonzalez as the co-feature once again to one of Gennady’s fights,” K2 Promotions managing director Tom Loeffler said. “His performance at the Forum in May was extraordinary and made for a terrific pairing. With Roman defending his title against former world champion Brian Viloria, one of the best flyweights in the world, fans in the arena and those watching on HBO pay-per-view will see an outstanding battle as the lead-in to Golovkin versus Lemieux.”

Gonzalez, of Nicaragua, is regarded as the best fighter in the nation’s history behind only the late, great Hall of Famer Alexis Arguello, who discovered Gonzalez, mentored him and trained him early in his career.

Known as “The Hawaiian Punch,” Viloria (36-4, 22 KOs), a 2000 U.S. Olympian and former flyweight and junior flyweight titleholder, is still going strong at age 34.

He knocked out Hernan “Tyson” Marquez in the 10th round to unify to flyweight world titles in November 2012 before losing them by split decision to Juan Francisco Estrada in March 2013 in Macau, China.

Since then, Viloria has won four fights in a row — including a first-round knockout of Omar Soto on July 25 — and his promoter, Top Rank, promised him another title shot.

“I’ve fought and won on the world’s biggest stages against the best of the best. I’ve prepared my whole life to win at every level of competition from world amateur titles to the Olympic Games to professional world titles,” Viloria said. “And this fight against Roman Gonzalez is likely to be my biggest challenge yet. But it’s Roman’s biggest challenge too. This is the realization of my dreams and I will make the most of it on fight night.

“I applaud Roman for accepting this fight. Together we will give boxing fans something special — something they can talk about for a very long time.”

Viloria was one of three fighters in contention to get the title shot against Gonzalez. The others were former junior flyweight champion Giovani Segura (32-4-1, 28 KOs), of Mexico, and Puerto Rican contender McWilliams Arroyo (16-2, 14 KOs).

The addition of Gonzalez-Viloria to the card gives it a strong 1-2 punch with the much-anticipated main event.

“On Oct. 17th, fight fans are going to be treated to a tremendous night of action headlined by not only the spectacular Golovkin-Lemieux main event, but also a terrific co-feature starring Chocolatito Gonzalez and Brian Viloria,” said HBO Sports senior vice president Mark Taffet, who runs HBO PPV. “Chocolatito was spectacular in his HBO debut last May and Brian is the essence of an intense competitor. The co-promoters of this event are determined to deliver tremendous value to boxing fans on Oct. 17 at Madison Square Garden.”

One of the other bouts in the works for the pay-per-view portion of the card is a heavyweight fight between Cuban puncher Luis “King Kong” Ortiz (22-0, 19 KOs) and former world titleholder Bermane Stiverne (24-2-1, 21 KOs), who would be fighting for the first time since losing a unanimous decision and his title to Deontay Wilder on Jan. 17. The fight has been agreed to but the contracts have not yet been signed.

VOTE GGG Best FIghter 2015 ESPY Awards!

July 17th, 2015 | By

The sports world gets the award ceremony treatment on July 15, when ESPN puts on the 2015 ESPY Awards, celebrating the best athletes, teams, moments and more from the preceding 12 months.

Hosting the ESPYs from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles will be comedian/actor Joel McHale, best known for his role as Jeff Winger on the television series Community and as host of pop culture commentary program The Soup. His statement upon being revealed as the host gave a taste of the humor he’ll bring to the awards ceremony.

“I’m thrilled to be hosting The ESPYS. Just ecstatic,” he said, via CBS News’ Amanda Mikelberg. “After my stunning victory in the Iditarod[dog sled race] this year by only using six Bichon Frises and a lamb, I think the sports world saw me as the logical host.”

McHale joins a long line of comedians who have hosted the event, including Jimmy Kimmel, Rob Riggle and Seth Meyers. Expect a highly potent, hilarious roasting of some of the top athletes from McHale, whose clever verbal barbs sting with the best of them.

 

Viewing Info

The ESPYs will air for the first time on ABC this year, starting at 8 p.m. A countdown show for the ESPY Awards will air at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN. Live streams of the event can be found at WatchESPN. Some streams are subject to blackout based on region

Golovkin Vs Monroe May 16th

May 6th, 2015 | By

By Dan Rafael

Middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin, with the aim to fight four times this year and remain one of boxing’s busiest top stars, will be back in short order following his 11th-round destruction of top contender Martin Murray on Feb. 21.

GGG will make the 14th defense of his 160-pound world title against slick southpaw Willie Monroe Jr. on May 16 (HBO, 10 p.m. ET/PT) at the Forum in Inglewood, California, K2 Promotions announced Friday. A news conference is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon at the Forum.

Golovkin (32-0, 29 KOs), a native of Kazakhstan, recently relocated from Germany to Los Angeles and will be fighting in Southern California for the second time.

In October, he blew out Marco Antonio Rubio in the second round in his first West Coast fight, drawing a sellout crowd of 9,323 at the StubHub Center in Carson, where additional bleacher seats and standing room only tickets were added because of the heavy interest in seeing boxing’s most exciting fighter. Golovkin, 32, has knocked out 19 opponents in a row. Monroe (19-1, 6 KOs), 28, of Rochester, New York, is riding a nine-fight winning streak since suffering an eight-round split decision loss to journeyman Darnell Boone in 2011.

Monroe has made something of a name for himself over his last four fights in which he swept to victory in the eight-man ESPN Boxcino middleweight tournament last year, including a near-shutout decision against Brandon Adams in the May final, followed by a dominating 10-round decision win against veteran fringe contender Bryan Vera on Jan. 16.

Monroe is the nephew of 1970s middleweight contender Willie “The Worm” Monroe, who defeated Hall of Famer Marvin Hagler in the first of their three meetings before being knocked out in their second and third fights.

“Gennady likes the challenge of fighting a southpaw,” K2 Promotions managing director Tom Loeffler told ESPN.com on why Golovkin selected Monroe over the other candidates. “He has not fought a southpaw since [his American debut against Grzegorz] Proksa [in 2012]. So Willie is a southpaw and he also has been on ESPN four times in the past years between winning the Boxcino tournament and beating Vera. Willie beat two undefeated guys in the Boxcino tournament (Adams and Vitaliy Kopylenko), so he made sense for this particular fight.”

Loeffler is close to finalizing a deal for flyweight world champion Roman Gonzalez (42-0, 36 KOs), 27, of Nicaragua, one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, to make his HBO debut in the co-feature against former junior flyweight titlist Edgar Sosa (51-8, 30 KOs), 35, of Mexico. The fight will be Gonzalez’s second defense of the 112-pound title he won by ninth-round knockout of Akira Yaegashi in September in Japan.

Gonzalez, who goes by the nickname Chocolatito, is also a former strawweight and junior flyweight world titleholder and one of boxing’s most dominant champions. He was a protégé of late Hall of Famer Alexis Arguello, Nicaragua’s most revered boxer. Sosa has won two fights in a row since losing a decision to Yaegashi in a December 2013 flyweight world title challenge.

The other candidates HBO approved to fight Golovkin were Jorge Sebastian Heiland (25-4-2, 13 KOs), of Argentina, who has never been knocked out and is coming off a highlight-reel 10th-round knockout of faded former contender Matthew Macklin (whom Golovkin knocked out in the third round in 2013), and Tureano Johnson (18-1, 13 KOs), of the Bahamas, an all-action fighter who has won four fights in a row since being stopped in the 10th round by Curtis Stevens 11 months ago; Golovkin knocked out Stevens in the eighth round in 2013. But it was Monroe who got the call.

“It’s a contract of styles, Gennady being the aggressive, come-forward fighter and Monroe being a slick southpaw. He’s never been stopped, only has one loss,” Loeffler said. “So if Gennady is going to keep his knockout streak alive, it is going to come against a credible opponent in Willie. Monroe was one of the rare people who jumped at the opportunity to take the fight with Gennady.”

Golovkin, who owns an interim title in addition to another organization’s full title, would have preferred to fight middleweight champion Miguel Cotto, for whom he is the mandatory challenger. However, Cotto is allowed to fight one optional defense, tentatively scheduled for June 6 against an opponent to be determined, and was not interested in facing Golovkin, at least not yet.

“We never got any response from the Cotto camp,” Loeffler said. “We can’t force guys to fight Gennady. But he wants to stay active and we want to keep the momentum we have in Los Angeles after the Rubio fight going, so we’re going to fight at the Forum. It’s a great venue with the renovations, and it has a long history of some great fights.”

Golovkin also had interest in fighting big-name opponents such as junior middleweight star Canelo Alvarez, super middleweight titlist Carl Froch, inactive super middleweight champion Andre Ward or Julio Cesar Chavez, the former middleweight titlist whose next fight is at light heavyweight. But none of them were interested or available.

If Golovkin retains his belt against Monroe it would be his 14th consecutive title defense and would tie him with Hall of Famer Carlos Monzon for second place in middleweight history; Bernard Hopkins holds the division record at 20.

Klitschko excited to fight again at Madison Square Garden

February 11th, 2015 | By

The king of the heavyweight division is set to make his much-anticipated return to the United States.

Wladimir Klitschko, who has had some version of the heavyweight title since 2000, will defend his current collection of titles (WBA, WBO, IBF, IBO and The Ring Magazine) against Bryant Jennings on April 25 at Madison Square Garden.

Klitschko (65-3, 53 KOs) made his New York debut in 2000 with a second-round stoppage of David Bostice on the undercard of the Lennox Lewis-Michael Grant fight.

“It feels like the first time,” Klitschko, 38, said at last week’s news conference. “It feels so good to be back here. I had this feeling and excitement … to be at Madison Square Garden is a dream.

“It is a dream of every performer and entertainer, to perform in the main event at Madison Square Garden. This is the high stage of entertainment.”

Since his last fight in the U.S. (2008, also at MSG) Klitschko has fought in Germany and once in Russia, in front of large crowds in soccer-sized stadiums.

Still, the lure of fighting again at MSG is something that certainly intrigues Klitschko.

“I have a lot of connections to this city, I used to live here, I used to spend a lot of time here,” he said. “It puts a lot of responsibility as well for me to keep having the same level of performance that I have set up.

“I’ve learned a lot in the past years in facing different opponents.”

Klitschko has won 21 consecutive fights since being stopped by Lamon Brewster in 2004.

The man faced with the challenge of trying to derail the Klitschko train is Jennings (19-0, 10 KOs). The question facing Jennings is whether he’s ready for this level of opposition.

“He has the qualities of Rocky Balboa,” Klitschko said of Jennings.

Jennings is coming off of a split-decision victory over Mike Perez last July.

“History will definitely be made,” Jennings said. “This is going to end in a knockout, so it is either going to be me or him. … One of us is going to lose, but, guess what, I don’t think it is going to me.”