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Sergey Kovalev vs. Vyacheslav Shabranskyy – Preview and Predictions

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Former unified light-heavyweight champion Sergey ‘Krusher’ Kovalev returns this Saturday night at the famous MSG arena in New York to take on dangerous Ukrainian Vyacheslav ‘Lionheart’ Shabranskyy.

Kovalev, who is off a five month layoff since his last loss to Andre Ward, will be looking to bounce back against Shabranskyy and take over the light-heavyweight division once again. With dangerous up and comers such as ‘The Nail’ Gvozdyk and fellow Russian Dmitry Bivol hot on his heels looking at usurping the long dominant, Kovalev/Stevenson stranglehold of the division, this is an extremely defining fight for Kovalev as he looks to keep the young guns at bay.

Sergey Kovalev comes into this fight as the -2000 favorite with the underdog Shabranskyy priced at around +900.

There is no denying Kovalev was one of the premier stars in the light-heavyweight division just a short while ago before back to back losses to Andre Ward derailed his career somewhat. Heading into their first fight just over a year ago, Kovalev was undefeated and had knocked out twenty-six of his previous thirty-one opponents. The moniker ‘Krusher’ had been well-earned.

But then the wheels came off. In what was arguably a dubious decision at best, Kovalev lost his first fight to Ward on points despite knocking him down in the second round and dominating large portions of the fight with his effective jab. That questionable loss seemed to mentally fatigue Kovalev as Ward continually played mind games with the more stoic Russian. Ward helped unsettle Kovalev even further by hinting at retirement leading up to the rematch and by the time a second fight was finally announced, that instability seemed to have crept into Kovalev’s camp also. Tensions with secondary trainer Don Turner and rumors of main trainer John David Jackson switching to and communicating with Ward’s camp abounded and the former champ looked anything but settled.

Ward’s constant mind games seemed to have psychologically broken the former undisputed light-heavyweight champion and despite starting the second fight well, Kovalev wilted around the third round. From that point on it was all Ward as he applied constant pressure on the inside and eventually forced a stoppage midway through the eighth round.

With that latest loss, the ‘Krusher’ finally seems vulnerable at light-heavy and for anyone watching the second fight, Kovalev looked exposed to the mid-section especially, something which Ward himself alluded to after the fight. The question in this fight is, can Shabranskyy take advantage of these perceived Kovalev weaknesses?

Shabranskyy himself has had a somewhat similar career path as the ‘Krusher’ up to this point.

Knocking out fourteen of his previous seventeen opponents, Shabranskyy looked like a veritable demolition man heading into his first showcase fight against tough Cuban veteran Sullivan Barrera. Because of how he had dispatched his previous opponents so ruthlessly up to that point, Shabranskyy was installed as a heavy favorite going into the fight. Many expected Shabranskyy to be too powerful on the inside against the Cuban and predicted an easy KO victory for the Ukrainian. What transpired was anything but ‘easy’ as ‘Lionheart’ Shabranskyy was involved in a multiple knockdown war with Barrera and was eventually stopped in the seventh round due to some concussive punching from the Cuban contender.

Since then Shabranskyy has racked up two unimpressive journeyman wins but is eager to get back on track and grasp this opportunity against Sergey Kovalev, getting him that first huge signature win that he so craves.

Above all, this is a mental match-up rather than a talent one. While Shabranskyy has power and a decent assortment of weapons with which to work with, I have little doubt pre-2016 version of Kovalev would have had a relatively easy time breaking down the strong Ukrainian as he boxed his way in from the outside and eventually likely stopped his taller foe.

But this isn’t pre-2016 Kovalev. This is a mentally fragile 2017 Kovalev and while the talent remains, you would have to be somewhat concerned at laying this kind of price with a fighter who has just come off two of the most demoralizing losses of his career.

In terms of styles, Shabranskyy doesn’t use his superior height to effective advantage and only sporadically targets the body, something which Ward focused on against Kovalev in the rematch. This means its definitely advantage Kovalev in the match-up department.

Shabranskyy will no doubt however look for a shootout up top early, and as long as Kovalev can weather the initial storm he should dispatch Shabranskyy in the mid to late rounds with some pinpoint overhand rights and hooks as the challenger starts to fade. I can see this being an entertaining fight for the first five or six rounds, but expect Kovalev to take over at some point in the mid rounds and slowly dominate.

While Shabranskyy maybe the proverbial banana skin, more than likely he is the perfect defense deficient opponent that Kovalev needs right now and hopefully a good win here should force Stevenson to engage in a unification bout with Kovalev sometime next year. Take Kovalev in this one.

Pick: Sergey Kovalev by stoppage.

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Crawford/Khan & Garcia/Granados Prediction

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Photo Courtesy of Top Rank Boxing

Bud Crawford (34-0, 25 KOs) VS. Amir Khan (33-4, 20 KOs)- First of all, I love Khans bravery, the kid is always willing to lock horns with anybody. Thing is that bravery and overconfidence is what has always hurt Khan in his battles.

Khan is the type of boxer that is so fast that he will always outbox you right until the second that he doesn’t anymore, I know, I know sounds strange. What I mean by that is that Khan builds up leads but then he get overzealous and so comfortable with his blinding hand speed that he then leads with his chin.

So with that being said, I am expecting to see Khan outbox Bud early and will beat Bud to the punch enough to take the majority of the first 6 rounds.

Bud will then pick his spots by switching to a southpaw stance and will time an overconfident Khan jumping in and will walk him into a big right hand. Bud’s body punching and ability to land his own jab over Khan’s rapid jab will be key.

Give me Bud to take it by 9th round TKO. Bud will step it up another level and put it on Khan so bad that he will stop Khan late forcing Khan’s corner to wave it off in round 9.

Danny Garcia (34-2, 20 KOs) VS. Adrien Granados (20-6-2, 14 KOs)- I am expecting for Granados to be exactly who he is, so I see Granados pressuring Garcia enough to make it uncomfortable enough to dog Garcia out to bag in a handful of rounds.

Garcia must employ his heavy underrated jab to box Granados from the outside. Granados will need rough up Garcia as much as possible to keep the fight on the inside, similar to the Porter blueprint.

I see Garcia landing enough jabs and the harder judge friendly punches to take it in a 8 rounds to 4 unanimous decision that may appear closer due to a few hard to score rounds.

 

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25th Annual Muhammad Ali Celebrity Fight Night, A Charity Knockout Event

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Photo Credit: Monica Alvarez

The stars came out last night to give, show support, perform, and to continue to raise money and awareness in hopes of one day find a cure to knockout Parkinson’s disease.

Going back to year number 1, The first ever event was held at the Ritz-Carlton operated on a much smaller scale than today, which is now held at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa.

At the very first Celebrity Fight Night With the help of Phoenix Suns Charles Barkley, Dan Majerle, and the valley of the sun’s very own Louie Espinoza, Tony Baltazar, and boxing champion Michael Carbajal who by the way fought in the ring with over sized boxing gloves.

The ”Puttin on the Fists at The Ritz” first Celebrity Fight Night scored a knockout win and is STILL punching on through today for the Greatest Of All Time, The late great Muhammad Ali.

Last night I was honored to attend and speak to a few of the stars, one was NFL legendary kicker Nick Lowery, Mr. Lowery now spends most of his time at charitable endeavors and advocating for alternative medicine research and is also a spokesman for Kannalife, Inc to raise awareness for CTE and players safety in hopes of one day having intercellular “helmets,” like Kannalife’s CBD and KLS-13019, is so important to potentially treat the brain.

I asked Lowery what is his favorite Ali memory, and Lowery’s response: ” Taking Ali to the NBA All-Star game one year as we sat behind Jay-Z and Beyonce and watching Beyonce wave to Ali, Beyonce spoke to us, she is the sweetest person. Also taking Ali to the locker rooms and watching Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, and all the other all stars turn into children at the sight of seeing their hero the greatest of all time Muhammad Ali walk through the doors, what an experience that was.”

In asking the very same question to R&B Singer Brian McKnight, ”I have so many Ali memories but my favorite was watching Ali knockout George Foreman at home with my dad. The odds were against Ali and Ali being the great fighter that he was he beat the odds and stopped a much younger powerful puncher in Foreman. You know, I am still a big boxing fan today, I enjoy watching Tyson Fury out of the current heavyweights.”

And what did legendary former champion boxer, Micheal Carbajal have to say? ”It’s truly an honor to attend this great event, at the very first one proceeds went to my 9th street boxing gym and now 24 years later it’s still going strong, a great charity”. Mr. Carbajal went on to talk some boxing with me,

Carbajal- ” You see Spence/Garcia?”

Me- ” Yes, it was brutal, what did you think?”

Carbajal- ” Not good for Mikey Garcia at all, but he is still my favorite current boxer, and he beats everybody at 135 pounds if he can make the weight there. Mikey would knockout Lomachenko in 4 rounds at 135.”

Me- ”Wow, you really think that? Both are great technical boxers but I can’t see a 4 round fight between them, so you really think it would only take Mikey 4 rounds to stop Lomachenko?”

Carbajal- ” I KNOW so!”

Special honorees for the evening include fabled American music producer and 27-time Grammy Award-winner Quincy Jones, Arizona State University President Dr. Michael Crow and Dr. Abraham Lieberman, the medical director of the Movement Disorders Clinic at Barrow Neurological Institute and Renee Parsons of the Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation.

“For 25 years, we’ve treated Celebrity Fight Night audiences to the world’s greatest entertainers and this year will be no different as we welcome Barry Manilow,” said Jimmy Walker, Founder of Celebrity Fight Night. “With the help of our celebrity friends and incredibly generous donors, we are once again excited to raise millions of dollars and make a difference in the lives of those who need our support.”

Individual tickets for Celebrity Fight Night start at $1,500 – $10,000.  To purchase tickets or to get more information on the event, please visit www.celebrityfightnight.org, or call (602) 956-1121.

About Celebrity Fight Night
Celebrity Fight Night has gifted more than $86 million over the past 24 years benefiting the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, as well as several other worthy charities.

The black-tie event features a cocktail reception, silent auction, elegant dinner, and an exciting live auction including one-of-a-kind luxury items and experiences. Celebrity Fight Night Foundation is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 1994 by Jimmy Walker and supports the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, as well as numerous other charities. For more information, visitwww.celebrityfightnight.org.

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Canelo Alvarez/ Daniel “Miracle Man” Jacobs L.A. Press Tour Quotes & 5th Annual Box Fan Expo News & Spence/Garcia Fight Pick

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Canelo Alvarez (50-1-2, 34 KOs), WBC, WBA, Lineal and Ring Magazine Middleweight World Champion, and Daniel “Miracle Man” Jacobs (35-2, 29 KOs), IBF Middleweight World Champion, completed the final stop of their three-city press tour with a spectacular press event at Microsoft Theater at L.A. Live.The 12-round unification fight will take place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas Saturday May 4 and will be streamed live exclusively on DAZN.

Below is what the participants had to say at the event:

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

“I know Jacobs is a tough opponent and it’s going to be work, but I’ve always believed to be the best you must beat the best. I love challenges. I want people to experience a good fight when they come watch my fights. I may lose, but my heart is a winning heart and I want to give the fans a spectacular finish and I’m going to put up a good fight.”

DANIEL JACOBS, IBF Middleweight World Champion:

“I have the will and desire to go inside to go in that ring and be victorious and I see myself with my hand raised by the end of night. I know the odds are stacked against me and Canelo’s resume speaks for itself, but he’s never faced a tall, fast and big guy all at once and that’s what I’m going to give him. We’re going to give you what you’re looking for and the fans going to get a great fight come May 4.”

EDDY REYNOSO, Head Trainer and Manager of Canelo Alvarez:

“Our objective this year is win all the belts and become the first Mexican to win the all the world championships.”

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

“The moment he set foot in the gym we knew he was something special, the day he debuted he was great, but the day he retires the world will know how great of a fighter he is.”

ANDRE ROZIER, Trainer of Danny Jacobs:

“Jacobs is the best middleweight walking on this planet, his capabilities, skillset and gentleman ship will be what wins the fight on May 4.”

OSCAR DE LA HOYA, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions:

“I guarantee this is going to be the fight of the year. You have two fighters who don’t have a quit in their game, this is a fight for the ages. The fact that Jacobs and Canelo both want to be great, there’s no other way than to make this one great for the fans, they will get their money’s worth come May 4.”

FRANK SMITH, CEO of Matchroom Boxing:

“We believe Jacobs will unify all of those belts and he’ll take on Canelo and win that fight.”

JOSEPH MARKOWSKI, Executive Vice President, DAZN North America:

“We’re deeply honored and proud to be exclusively showing this champion versus champion fight in the U.S.”

Canelo vs. Jacobs is a 12-round fight for the WBC, WBA, Lineal, Ring Magazine and IBF Middleweight World Titles presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Matchroom Boxing. The event is sponsored by Tecate, “THE OFFICIAL BEER OF BOXING” and Hennessy “Never Stop. Never Settle.” The event will take place Saturday, May 4, 2019 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and will be streamed live exclusively on DAZN.

Tickets for Canelo vs. Jacobs are one sale now and are priced at $2,505, $1,505, $1,205, $805, $605, $405, $305, $205 and $105, not including applicable service charges and taxes. There will be a limit of 10 per person at the $2,505, $1,505, $1,205, $805, $605, $405, and $305 price levels with a limit of two (2) per person at the $205 and $105 price levels. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call 888-9-AXS-TIX (888-929-7849). Tickets also will be available for purchase at www.t-mobilearena.com or www.axs.com.

Devin Haney to make an appearance at the 5th Annual Box Fan Expo on May 4

Undefeated boxing phenom Devin Haney has confirmed that he will appear, have a booth and hold a Meet & Greet with his fans at the Las Vegas Convention Center for the 5th Annual Box Fan Expo on Saturday May 4, 2019 from 10a.m to 5pm, during Cinco De Mayo weekend. The Boxing Expo will also coincide with the highly anticipated fight between Canelo Alvarez vs Danny Jacobs, that will take place later that evening at the T-Mobile Arena.

Haney will make his 1st appearance at this years’ Expo, and will be signing gloves, photos, personal items and memorabilia. Haney will also have merchandise and products to sell for fans to enjoy. Boxing Fans will also have an opportunity to take pictures with this boxing sensation also known as “The Dream”.

Haney joins Earnie Shavers, Al Bernstein, Michael Spinks, WBC, Erik Morales, James Toney and Jessie Vargas as an early commitment to this year’s Box Fan Expo.

About Devin Haney
Devin Haney is quickly becoming the new sensation of boxing today, building an undefeated record of 21 fights, 13 of them by KO, since his debut on December 11, 2015. Haney has defined his aspirations to shape up and become the new star of boxing and to become world champion. A young man who has dedicated his life to the sport since he was seven years old, he has won 7 national championships as amateur, shaping a record of 130-8. He became the youngest member of the national Junior Team and was the youngest boxer to win the Junior World Championship in Nevada. On January 11, Haney took another significant step towards becoming a world champion, by defeating South Africa’s Xolisani Ndongeni by a wide unanimous decision in 10 rounds, in the main event of a card at the StageWorks in Shreveport, Louisiana and capturing the WBC International and WBO Inter-Continental lightweight Titles. Haney was born in San Francisco, and raised in Oakland, California but has been living in Las Vegas since he was 7 years old and he’s managed by his father William Haney. Devin knows that this is only the beginning of a brilliant career, hoping, planning and working hard to become the next boxing idol.

About Box Fan Expo

Box Fan Expo has been a huge success with fans and boxing industry people. Many boxing stars have attended the last four Expos such as Floyd Mayweather, Mike Tyson, Roberto Duran, Tommy Hearns, Juan Manuel Marquez, Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, Roy Jones Jr., Marcos Maidana, Andre Ward, Errol Spence Jr., Sergio Martinez, Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia, Tim Bradley, Deontay Wilder, Amir Khan, Shawn Porter, Fernando Vargas, Zab Judah,  James Toney, Vinny Pazienza, Mikey Garcia , Mia St.John, Leo Santa Cruz, Abner Mares Maricela Cornejo, Badou Jack, Terry Norris , Riddick Bowe , Earnie Shavers, Leon Spinks, Danny Jacobs, Jorge Linares, Brandon Rios and many more…

Exhibitors such as boxing gear, apparel, new equipment’s, energy drinks, alcohol, supplement products, broadcasting media, sanctioning bodies and other companies who wish to participate will once again have a chance to showcase their brand to fans, media and the boxing industry.

Tickets to the Box Fan Expo are available online at: 

https://boxfanexpo.eventbrite.com

Box Fan Expo is the ultimate boxing fan experience event, which allows fans to Meet and Greet Boxing Superstars of today, current and former world champions, Legends of the sport and other boxing Celebrities at their booth. On Site, fans will experience different activities from Autograph Sessions, Photo Sessions, FaceOff with your favorite boxers, as well as a chance to purchase merchandise and memorabilia from their booth, plus so much more… you won’t want to miss this must-attend Expo!

Box Fan Expo will also feature top boxing organizations, promoters, ring card girls, famous trainers and commentators as well as boxing gear companies “ALL UNDER ONE ROOF”.

Throughout the next couple of months leading up to the event, there will be weekly updates on the many stars that will commit their appearance at the Boxing Expo. And for anyone in the Boxing industry or other Exhibitors (non-industry), who would like to be involved and reserve a Booth, contact Box Fan Expo:

Telephone number: (514) 572-7222 or Las Vegas Number (702) 997-1927

For any inquiries please email: [email protected]

For More information on Box Fan Expo visit: http://www.boxfanexpo.com

Follow Box Fan Expo on Twitter and Instagram: @BoxFanExpo

Follow Box Fan Expo on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/BoxFanExpo

March 16: Arlington, Texas (Fox PPV)

Errol Spence Jr.(24-0) Vs. Mikey Garcia(39-0) For Spence’s IBF Welterweight Title- For starters, I would like to point out that I really admire Garcia for daring to be great in jumping up 1 or 2 weight classes(depending on who you ask) to face the much bigger Spence.

Thing is though, that there are weight classes for a reason and in this bout, Mikey may have bitten off more than he can chew. I mean on paper, Mikey is the sharper more technical boxer, yet thing is that no fight is ever fought on paper.

Mikey is a brilliant boxer that takes subtle steps towards his foe in which doing so it places him at all times within striking distance. So in short, Mikey never over extends himself so he never wastes punches or motion.

Spence on the other hand is a big and strong welterweight that is known to carve up his opponents mid section. Spence also has a hard stiff jab that he employs often and very well.

In this clash I am expecting Spence to hurt Mikey with right hook body shots and short left hooks upstairs. Mikey will need to box in and out and must look to keep Spence turning.

I see Spence taking this in a 8 rounds to 4 comfortable unanimous win. But I also would be far from shocked if Spence lands something nasty to stop Garcia in his tracks late in the fight around the 9th round.

Bonus Pick: David Benavidez(20-0) over J’ Leon Love(24-2-1) by a brutal 8th round TKO.

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