Is Antonio Tarver the Best US Heavyweight Challenger at Age 46?

Story by:  Chip Mitchell
Video by:  Richard Dwyer

Last Thursday, Antonio “Magic Man” Tarver (31-6, 22 KOs) scored a sensational KO victory over Johnathon Banks (29-3-1, 19KOs) on a special ESPN card honoring Dan Goossen. It was the fourth win in the last five fights for Tarver, who is aiming to stake his claim at the linear heavyweight title. The ageless wonder demolished Banks with a 7th round knockout and I must admit, he looked good once he sat down on his punches.

The fight won’t be considered a classic by anyone’s recollection, but that’s not the question at hand.  The question is, where does Tarver rate on the list of top American (or world for that matter) challengers to the crown currently worn by Wladimir Klitschko?

One person who thinks highly of Tarver’s ranking is my man Richard Dwyer.  Check out the video below as Richard presents his case for The Magic Man:

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Khan Dominates Alexander; Thurman Unanimous!

imageShowtime:  Amir Khan W12 Devon Alexander… In Las Vegas, Amir Khan on a unanimous decision over Devon Alexander in a battle of two welterweight contenders vying for a shot at Floyd Mayweather. Khan was judged the victor by scores of 120-108, 119-109 and 118-110.

With the win, Khan remained undefeated at 147 pounds and extended his winning streak against southpaws to seven.

In just his second fight at welterweight pounds, Khan was the supremely accurate boxer. The former world champion at 140 pounds landed 54 percent of his power punches to Alexander’s 32 percent and 43 percent of his total shots versus Alexander’s 20 percent. But it was Khan’s hand speed and combinations that were too much for Alexander, who couldn’t get inside against and take any chances against the Brit.

“We knew we had to make a statement at 147 pounds,” Khan said. “I was up against a very skilled fighter and I knew we couldn’t make any mistakes. I’m the best boxer with the quickest hands in the world and I think this was one of my best performances.

“I’m getting better as I’m getting older. I have the best jab in the business and my speed causes a lot of problems for guys.”

Khan, who has been campaigning for a chance to fight pound-for-pound champion Floyd Mayweather, stated his case for a mega-fight in 2015.

“I really believe I earned my shot against the best fighter in the world, which is Floyd Mayweather,” Khan said. “I believe he’ll have problems with my speed, movement and accuracy. I’m going to leave it to my team and let’s hope we get that fight.”

Former two-division world champion Alexander didn’t make any excuses after the fight.

“He was the better man tonight,” Alexander said. “My coach told me to get off and I wasn’t getting off. I could have caught him I just didn’t do it tonight. I was supposed to follow the game plan, I was moving good but I just couldn’t move forward and get off.”

In the co-feature, Keith Thurman proved he can box as well as bang, showcasing his skills and footwork in a shutout unanimous decision victory over previously undefeated Leonard Bundo, scored 120-107 by all three judges.

Thurman (24-0, 21 KOs), who made the third defense of his interim WBA Welterweight World Title, scored a knockdown in the first round, but was unable to find his rhythm and went the distance for just the third time in his career. Regardless, he was the younger, faster fighter. Thurman kept his range and picked his punches, preventing the 40-year-old Bundu (31-1-2, 11 KOs) from consistently landing meaningful shots.

“Bundu was a smart fighter,” Thurman said. “He was tricky and he switched. He came to not get knocked out and he was able to do that, but he was unable to win rounds. It was hard to time him because he was always switching it up, but we boxed smart. It was a great learning experience.

“I want Marcos Maidana. I see you, let’s go. Mano y mano.” Continue reading

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Weights from MGM Grand!

MGM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Showtime— Weigh-In Results:

Amir Khan 147 – Devon Alexander 147
Keith Thurman 146 – Leonard Bundu 146.5
Jermall Charlo 154 – Lenny Bottai 154
Abner Mares 128 Jose Ramirez 131

SHOWTIME® Sports will offer a live stream of Friday’s official weigh-in for “ROYAL BATTLE: AMIR KHAN vs. DEVON ALEXANDER” taking place this Saturday, Dec. 13, live on SHOWTIME® at 9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

Friday’s feed from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas will be hosted by Brian Custer and will be available in High Definition.

The Media Center at MGM Grand in Las Vegas was buzzing today as some of boxing’s brightest stars took to the stage and addressed the media ahead of their respective bouts on the “Royal Battle: Amir Khan vs. Devon Alexander” fight card taking place this Saturday, Dec. 13 live on SHOWTIME from the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Here is what the fighters had to say at today’s press conference.

AMIR KHAN, Former Unified Super Lightweight World Champion

“This is a great fight and a great fight card overall from top to bottom. It’s almost like pay-per-view. But it’s a great opportunity for my fans to see me fight.

“From me, you can expect to see a lot of explosiveness and movement. I don’t understand why Devon is saying he’s fought better than me when we’ve fought most of the same guys.

“I’ve fought a lot of top guys, too. It sounds to me like Alexander is trying to give himself confidence; saying things to pick himself up.

“I feel like a different fighter at 147 pounds. I feel stronger. I’m happier making weight.

“I am not taking this fight lightly. I am not looking past it one bit. Devon Alexander is tough and I am going to stay focused.”

DEVON ALEXANDER, Former Two-Division World Champion

“I am ready to go 15 rounds if we had to. This is a tough test and I’m ready.

“I’ve dreamt of this my whole life. Headlining in Las Vegas is a dream come true and I plan on taking full advantage of this.

“I’m as prepared mentally and physically as I’ve ever been for a fight. If you look at my resume, I’ve fought top guys throughout my career. Khan is a good fighter and this is going to be a great fight.

“I’m going to stand and fight. This isn’t going to be a track meet. At least not for me.

“I know I’ve got a lot of fans back home pulling for me and I’ve got some fans in the UK too that will be rooting for me on Saturday night too.”

KEITH THURMAN, WBA Interim Welterweight World Champion

“I know a little about my opponent; he just beat an unbeaten 28-year-old and he was a 2000 Olympian. Bundu is active in the ring and likes to get into a rhythm. He’s not a huge puncher but he places them right where they can do damage. He’s making his U.S. debut.

“I plan to provide him with a traditional ‘One-Time’ welcome to America. I plan to come out and box smart and take it from there. My shoulder is fine and I’m excited about getting back in the ring.

“I’m not looking past Bundu, but I’m looking through him to 2015 when I expect to start fighting Top-5 fighters on a consistent basis.’’

LEONARD BUNDU, Undefeated Welterweight Contender

“I’m excited to be here. I am here to gain some respect. I am 40-years-old, but I feel much younger. I know it is a hard test for me on Saturday, but I am going to give it my all.

“I am Italian and like fine wine, I get better with age.”

ABNER MARES, Former Three-Time, Three-Division World Champion

“I’m willing to fight anybody. There are some great possibilities for me: Leo Santa Cruz, Jhonny Gonzalez, Lomachenko. If these fights can be made, I want them.

“Expect the old Abner Mares on Saturday. The hunger is back, the passion has returned. I’m back with my original team.

“I’ve won three world titles in three divisions but I don’t call myself a former three-division champion. I think of myself now as a future four-division world champion.”

JOSE RAMIREZ, Top Featherweight Contender

“This Saturday, I will be facing a tough fighter in Abner Mares. This Saturday is going to be a war between two Mexicans and I am here to be victorious.”

JERMALL CHARLO, Undefeated Junior Middleweight

“I am happy to be on this show. Lenny says he is seasoned and I am ready to serve you all some Italian sausage.

“Me and my twin brother have been through a lot of adversity. Getting world title shots and not being able to compete in them, but we overcome it and we are ready to put on good shows on Saturday night.

LENNY BOTTAI, Junior Middleweight Contender

“What do I expect from the fight? I expect a great battle. I expect it to be a stepping stone to make my name in the U.S.

“I hear that I keep getting called a seasoned fighter. I come from Italy where the cheese is the best seasoned cheese in the world, so I am going to show what seasoned fighters can do.”

JERMELL CHARLO, Top Junior Middleweight Prospect

“Unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to fight for the world title. I moved past that. I am staying focused and in control of what’s going to take place on Saturday.

“I am going to continue to grow, continue to stay smart and stay focused.”

ERROL SPENCE JR., Top Junior Middleweight Prospect

“It is going to be another great performance. Hopefully by next year I will be fighting one of these guys in front of me and fighting for a world title.”

VICTOR ORTIZ, Former Welterweight World Champion

“Once again we are starting over. This was a very tough camp, but we are here. I am sharing this podium with some great fighters. I am at the back [of the dais] today, but you better believe I will be in the front with the fans someday soon.” Continue reading

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Trout defeats Grajeda & Tarver stops Banks at Pechanga!

desdeelring.com

desdeelring.com

Story by:  Rob Smith

World #6 WBA Austin Trout (28-2, 15 KOs) proved tonight he could beat a 2nd tier fighter in stopping Luis Grajeda (17-4-2, 13 KOs) in the 7th round at the Pechanga Resort & Casino, in Temecula, California, USA. Grajeda didn’t come out for the 8th round and the fight was halted with him on his stool. It was a boring fight from start to finish with Trout taking the fight to a reluctant looking Grajeda. Both guys were counter punchers, but Trout was clearly the better fighter of the two by far.

You have to wonder why Trout was fighting someone of this class. Trout looked horrible in his last fight against Daniel Dawson, which is perhaps why his management chose to step him down in competition rather than move him up a level. We basically learned nothing from this fight other than the fact that Trout can beat an over-matched opponent without much punching power. Trout is likely going to still have the same problems in the future once he’s stepped up a couple of levels to face someone with punching power.

Heavyweight Antonio Tarver (31-6, 22 KOs) stopped Johnathon Banks (29-3-1, 19 KOs) in the 7th round. Tarver knocked Banks down with a left hand in the 7th. Once Banks got back up, Tarver finished him off with a small flurry of punches.

The fight was boring to watch with both fighters throwing very, very few punches in each round. Tarver was able to win most of the rounds by landing one or two solid punches. Banks was throwing next to no punches and just looking to keep from getting hit by Tarver, which wasn’t that hard for him to do because of Tarver’s low work rate.

After the fight, Tarver expressed interest in wanting to fight for a world title against champion Wladmir Klitschko. If that fight does happen, it would have to be an optional title defense for Wladimir, because Tarver isn’t his mandatory challenger and it’s highly unlikely that he could fight his way into a mandatory spot by beating a top contender.

“I’m punching now. I’m a knockout artist. When I drop the hammer, it’s good night Irene. I want to become the oldest champion to win a world title. I will become the heavyweight champion of the world,” Tarver said.

Other action on the card:

Oscar Escandon SD 12 Tyson Cave
Rico Ramos UD 8 Juan Ruiz
Marcus Browne TKO 1 George Blades
Gerald Washington TKO 1 Mike Sheppard
Terrell Gausha TKO 8 Cesar Vila

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A BIG weekend of fights begins Tonight!

Story by:  Chip Mitchell

Folks, we have THREE hours of boxing on ESPN 2 tonight, beginning at 10:00pm eastern. The featured bout will be Austin Trout against Luis Grajeda. Trout has some questions that need to be answered as he was dropped twice in his last fight against Daniel Dawson. Also on tap is a bout that was crapped earlier in the year, Antonio Tarver vs. Johnathon Banks. Could this be a loser-go-home match? Both guys have questions that need to be answered tonight. We will see. Hot prospect Marcus Browne will also have to answer some questions tonight. Is his punching power real? We could find out tonight as he faces George Blades who comes in at a whopping 19.6 pounds over the agreed upon weight.

Also appearing on the card are Sergio Mora, Rico Ramos, Edwin Rodriguez, and Dominic Breazeale. This special three-hour card is a Goossen Promotions fight card- in honor of founder Dan Goossen, who died at age 64 on September 29, 2014.

Lara vs. Ishe tomorrow night
WBA super welterweight champion Erislandy “The American Dream” Lara (19-2-2, 12 KOs) scaled in at the division limit of 154 pounds for his title defense against former IBF jr middleweight champion Ishe “Sugar Shay” Smith (26-6, 12 KOs). Smith was a half-pound lighter at 153.5. The bout takes on tomorrow night at the Illusions Theater at The Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. Showtime will televise the card. Also featured will be Badou Jack, Chris Pearson in separate bouts.

Saturday Night HBO, Showtime Extreme, and Showtime
A combined SEVEN (7) fights will take place on Showtime Extreme and Showtime Saturday.  Also, on HBO there will be an exciting tripleheader that takes place.

On Showtime Extreme we have Errol Spence taking on Mike Arnaoutis in a good test.  Also, the return of the “Clown Prince” of boxing, Victor Ortiz.  Talk about questions needing answers…

Rounding out the telecast will be Abner Mares and Jermell Charlo in speparate bouts.  In addition, on the non-televised portion we will have Beibut Shumenov (with trainer) of recent Bernard Hopkins fame.

Then we move to Showtime with Jermall Charlo facing Lenny Bottai.  Also, hard hitting Keith “One Time” Thurman vs. tough customer Leonard Bundu.  The main event features a long-awaited showdown between Amir “King” Khan and Devon Alexander.  A LOT of questions will be answered in these fights.

On HBO, Timothy Bradley faces ultra tough Diego Chaves.  In a prelude to the main event, a very interesting battle between Matt Korobov and Andy Lee will take place.  Also scheduled to fight are Mauricio Herrera and Jose Benavidez.  Fan favorite Sean “Seanie” Monaghan will box on the non-televised portion of the card.

Fans check out the fights this weekend, beginning tonight.  This is a great way to wrap up 2014 as we head to some big fights already signed for first quarter 2015.

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Paul Williams Joins Team Fight to Walk!

WBC Boxing

WBC Boxing

 

New York, NY (December 7, 2014) – Three time world champion Paul “The Punisher” Williams ist member of Team Fight to Walk.

A fixture on the pound for pound lists and a fan fvorite, Williams had an outstanding 41-2 record with 27 wins by knockout. Williams, a two-division titlist, became paralyzed from the waist down following a motorcycle accident in May 2012. Even after becoming a paraplegic from the accident, Williams maintained his signature smile and a great attitude.

Recently, Williams connected with Team Fight to Walk co-founder Boyd Melson in New York City, where he helped Williams find speaking engagements. During their time together, Melson took Williams to Rutgers University to meet Dr. Wise Young. He showed Williams patients treated during clinical trials in China. Williams saw the patients walking following a surgical procedure that enabled their axons to regenerate. Young is planning to conduct the same trials next year in the United States. Amazed by what he saw, Williams immediately joined Team Fight to Walk.

“Being a member of Team Fight to Walk is an incredible feeling,” said Williams. “Regardless of how I felt, people were telling me that I was never going to walk again but after meeting Boyd and Dr. Wise Young, you can’t tell me anything! I saw people with Spinal Cord Injuries walking again and their cords regrowing. It’s amazing how God works because he brought all of us together and I’m confident as ever that I’ll walk again.”

Melson is also overjoyed about having Williams on board and knew it was only a matter of time until the two connected.

“From the day I heard about Paul’s accident, I tried to get in touch and let him know there was hope. Thankfully, we were able to connect and I showed him the incredible results from Dr. Young’s clinical trial in China. He’s an important member of the boxing world who can help our outreach tremendously. Like (Team Fight to Walk founder) Christan (Zaccagnino), Paul’s life changed in a split second but now he knows that results of trials overseas means there’s plenty of hope for both of them. I believe that Christan and Paul will walk again once the clinical trials take place in the United States.”

For more information on Team Fight to Walk or to donate, go to Teamfighttowalk.com. Fans can contact Paul on Twitter @1paulwilliams. All questions about Team Fight to Walk or Spinal Cord Injuries can be emailed to Boydmelson@Teamfighttowalk.com.

Contact: Matt Yanofsky (Publicist) – 551-206-0578 or @kopublicity

Posted in Professional Boxing

Kennedy Cunningham Heart Transplant a Success!

At Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, heavyweight contender and former cruiserweight champion Steve Cunningham and his wife Livvy were overjoyed this morning to receive the news that their 9 year old daughter Kennedy’s heart transplant surgery was a success.

The fearless Kennedy went into surgery around 3:00am. Kennedy’s pre-surgery comment was, “When the clock says it’s about to be fight time, you need to pack up and go. It’s about to be fight time right now.”

Kennedy has emerged as the champion in this fight! At 7:30am, the surgeon, Dr. Victor Morell reported that the heart was placed and beating. About an hour and a half later Dr Morell confirmed the surgery went well and the risk factors they were concerned with ended up not being issues at all. The Cunningham’s feel incredibly blessed.

Steve and Livvy issued this statement:

“We are so happy to share that early this morning our daughter Kennedy received the gift of life. She received her new heart and is doing very well. This day is so very special to us and the promise of a better and longer life for our daughter trumps any victory boxing could ever give us. This is the ultimate championship right here. We would like to thank everyone for their continued prayers and support. And most importantly we send our sincere condolences to the donor family that through their extraordinary selflessness made this day possible for our daughter. We are forever grateful!”

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