Garcia must prove he’s still hungry against Thurman

By toshiro

Story and photos by John DiSanto – PhillyBoxingHistory.com

Saturday’s showdown between WBC welterweight champion Danny Garcia, 33-0, 19 KOs, and WBA welterweight champion Keith Thurman, 27-0, 22 KOs, is generating a lot of buzz with boxing fans. The scheduled 12-round bout, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY, is one of those all too rare matches that pits two undefeated champions in their prime. Usually we’re forced to wait until the match loses its luster or is no longer at the peak of its competitiveness. This is not the case with Garcia-Thurman. The timing couldn’t be better on this one. In fact, it is the timing of the bout that makes this fight so attractive.

Thurman is coming off his most entertaining fight to date, an exciting unanimous decision over Shawn Porter. He’s been a welterweight since 2013 (after coming down from 154), and a world champion (or interim champion) over seven fights, or three years and eight months. This probably tipped the betting odds to his favor.

Danny Garcia had a steady rise through the 140-pound division. He won big fights, mowed down several favored opponents, and with his tour de force performance against Lucas Matthysse in 2013, proved, without a doubt, that he was the best junior welterweight in the world.

In his follow up to Matthysse the following year, Garcia came close to losing his crown to Mauricio Herrera. Garcia escaped with a controversial decision on that night, but ever since the near slip, great care was taken in choosing Garcia’s matches.

He blasted an over-matched Rod Salka in two rounds, took an uncomfortably close majority decision from Lamont Peterson next, and then stopped Paulie Malignaggi in nine rounds. Garcia remained undefeated, but took a hit with the fans who thought the Philadelphian was suddenly a cherry-picker.

Fourteen months ago, Garcia captured the vacant WBC crown by unanimous decision over Robert Guerrero. Danny won the fight by a comfortable margin, although it wasn’t his easiest night’s work. Garcia followed that fight with a tune up against Samuel Vargas, and won by seventh round TKO to set up the meeting with Thurman.

“There’s been a lot of bad blood,” Garcia said. “A lot of trash talk, but come March 4th, that’s all over and we got to go in there and do what we do best – win.”

Thurman will be Garcia’s toughest opponent since Matthysse, and Danny will have questions to answer in the fight. Over the past few years, Garcia has padded his bank account and generally faced a lower grade of competition than he did leading up to the Matthysse bout.

“I’m always motivated,” Garcia said. “But I feel extra motivated because it’s a big fight. The media says it’s a big fight. I know it’s a big fight, and we got to be ready for it. I fought 120 amateur fights for free. I’m getting paid now and I’m cool with that.”

Garcia has enjoyed his status and success as a world champion. Sometimes the spotlight softens a fighter. Against Thurman, Garcia will have to prove that he still has the hunger that helped him achieve his many accomplishments.

Therefore, in addition to Saturday’s showdown being a high-level contest between two excellent young boxers, the fight will also test if the wealthy, successful Garcia still has the desire and ability to fight at the level he did on his way up. At nearly 29, Garcia, for the first time, faces a real crossroads fight on Saturday night.

“There’s a lot of pressure on me to be the best,” Garcia said. “That’s what keeps me focused. That’s what gives me that push. When I don’t feel like doing it, I think that the world is going to be watching me. I’ve got fans. I’ve got family. I can’t let them down. I got to go in there and look my best. I got to be prepared. That’s what keeps me focused, the love of the sport.”

Thurman looks good, but Garcia’s experience is stronger and his skills are deeper than his opponent’s. Danny has the power and style to beat Thurman, but he’ll have to be in tip-top mental, emotional, and physical condition to have success. Successful champions must retain their edge and fight hard to stay on top.

“I need that chip on my shoulder,” Garcia said. “The pressure of performing, living up to the stage. That’s what will make me fight the best. These are the type of fights that bring out the best in me. When I’m not under pressure, those are my bad days. So I need that chip on my shoulder to bring out the best in Danny Garcia.”

Garcia has been locked away at his DSG Boxing Gym preparing. Usually the place is loaded with young fighters, but not this time. A sign on the door says that the gym is closed and that no one is allowed in. Team Garcia is working hard and keeping their heads down.

“This has been a hard, tough camp,” Garcia said. “We’re pushing ourselves to the limit. We’ve done everything we could do. We’re working smart and hard. We’re working on sharpening up. We’ve got a good game plan. It’s fight time. I’ve been in a lot of big fights in my career. Come, March 4th, I’m going to show the world again why I’m world champion.”

And if Garcia can top Thurman, he’ll be a unified champion once again.

“There’s no better feeling than to unify the titles,” Garcia said. “I did it at 140, and my dream was to do it again at 147. This is my opportunity and I got to take advantage of it.”

Garcia feels that he has the edge over Thurman in many areas.

“I have a lot of advantages,” Garcia said. “The Barclays Center is like my second home. I feel I’m the sharper boxer. I’m the more patient fighter. I’m the battle-tested fighter. We’re going to work everything – body, head, everything we can possibly work. We’ve got a good game plan and body shots are definitely part of the game plan.”

Garcia’s father and trainer, Angel Garcia, as usual, has many opinions about the fight and his son’s chances of coming out with another win.

“It’s a good fight for Danny, a fight to take us forward, but it’s a bad fight for Thurman,” Angel Garcia said. “At the end of the day, he never fought a guy like Danny. He’s just undefeated. Just because they call him “One Time”, that don’t mean he’s going to do that to Danny. Danny’s got a chin, and we know his (Thurman’s) chin is shady.”

Angel Garcia has made a career of talking trash about his son’s opponents, and this match is no different. It seems he feels that the fact that the betting odds favor Thurman are a sign of disrespect toward his son.

“Danny’s been the underdog since the amateurs,” Angel said. “I’m not going to stress on it. There’s nothing I can do about it, because that’s the people. The people can do whatever they want to do. It’s a free country. We don’t have to change nothing; we don’t have to add nothing. Danny’s just got to be Danny. He’s just got to go in there and be him. We don’t have to change anything for him. He’s nobody special for us to get worried, threatened of change. We don’t have to bring Superman from the moon to train him. We don’t need any of that.”

They might not be changing their routine for Thurman, but you can still sense that Angel knows the fight is a big one.

“To me, every fight is big,” Angel said. “Every fight that Danny has is important. We always train the same way. We don’t take nothing away. We got to take everybody very seriously. When you expect less, you fall asleep on somebody and think it’s going to be easy. Nothing’s easy in life. So everything is important. From the beginning of his career until now.”

In the end, Angel feels that Danny is the better fighter.

“Let me put it to you this way,” Angel said. “A person who drinks and smokes hookah ain’t beating Danny. If you want to smoke hookah, you can smoke all the hookah you want but don’t get in the ring with Danny. Danny is 100%. It’s going to be a great fight for Danny, and at the end of the night it’s going to be, ‘And the new WBA champion of the world’.”

Garcia-Thurman will be nationally televised, live on CBS.

To read more about the Philly fight scene – past and present – visit www.phillyboxinghistory.com. [See image gallery at www.fightnews.com]

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Source:: Fightnews.com

Canelo: Estoy listo para el mejor Chavez Jr.

By gabrielf388d

Foto: Tom Hogan y Gene Blevins – Hoganphotos / Golden Boy Promotions
Por Miguel Maravilla

La superestrella mexicana Saúl “Canelo” Alvarez (48-1-1, 34 KOs) de Guadalajara, Jalisco, México, se prepara para su próximo enfrentamiento con su compatriota y ex campeón mundial Julio César Chávez Jr. (50-2-1 , 32 KOs) de Culiacán, Sinaloa. Canelo se enfrentará a Chávez el sábado 6 de mayo en el T-Mobile Arena de Las Vegas en HBO Pay Per View. Alcanzamos a Canelo en la conferencia de prensa de LA mientras hablaba de su próximo enfrentamiento.

“Esta pelea es extremadamente importante para los aficionados de las peleas Mexicanas que han querido esta pelea se pueda realizar. Este es un buen momento para tener esta pelea y estoy listo para dar a los fans una gran pelea “, dijo Saulo Canelo” Alvarez a Fightnews.com “Esta es mi época”, agregó Canelo.

“Ambos chicos tienen su base de fans y eso es lo que hace que esta pelea sea emocionante, por eso quieren ver esta pelea porque es orgullo y honor. La razón por la que hicimos esta pelea porque hay mucho orgullo y honor en juego “, dijo Oscar De La Hoya a Fightnews.com

A medida que la anticipación y la demanda de un enfrentamiento entre Canelo y GGG se intensificó, muchos quedaron atónitos cuando se hizo la pelea con Chávez. Lo que siguió fue una crítica masiva para Canelo dispuesto a tomar la pelea en 164.5 y no luchar contra Golovkin. Sin embargo la pelea con Golovkin es inminente después del enfrentamiento con Chávez, Canelo nos dio su impresion.

“Los contratos están en manos de Golovkin. Ahora mismo sólo quiero hablar de Chávez “, dijo Canelo.
“Esta es, con mucho, la mayor pelea en la historia del boxeo Mexicano. Si es una buena pelea, ¿por qué no hacer una segunda pelea en septiembre, pero siempre he dicho y quiero mantener mi promesa. Golovkin está en el radar de Canelo y no le tiene miedo “, dijo De La Hoya. “Golovkin es un peso mediano fuerte y eso es lo que los fans quieren ver. Va a suceder. El plan es luchar contra él es septiembre que ha sido el plan todo el tiempo “, agregó De La Hoya.

Canelo está saliendo de una espectacular victoria por nocaut sobre Liam Smith el pasado mes de septiembre en Arlington, Texas, Canelo entregó un gancho de izquierda crujiente al cuerpo cuando un atestado Estadio de AT & T se alzó a sus pies como un aterrizaje de Dallas Cowboys. Antes de la pelea de Smith, Alvarez logro un triunfo un nocaut devastador sobre Amir Khan en mayo cuando Canelo encabezó el primer evento de boxeo en el T-Mobile Arena.

“El año pasado fue así, hice un poco de historia con las peleas que tuve. Todo lo que quiero hacer es poner mi sello y dejar mi legado “, dijo Canelo.

Chávez, por otro lado, está tratando de cambiar las cosas, ya que está saliendo de dos victorias seguidas desde que sufrió una derrota humillante derrota ante Andrzej Fonfara en abril de 2015. Se recuperó al ganar dos decisiones, sólo tres meses más tarde ganó una decisión en contra Marco Reyes en una pelea de peso semipesado y en su último derrotó a Dominik Britsch en un combate de peso súper mediano en diciembre pasado.

“Julio está acostumbrado a este gran escenario y ha estado allí con su padre durante las grandes peleas. Ha tenido sus contratiempos pero tiene un estilo muy fuerte y va adelante aplicando la presión, pero haremos nuestro trabajo en el campamento para salir por encima “, dijo Canelo sobre Chávez
¿Qué Chávez quiere que Canelo y Oscar esperen?

“Esta es una gran oportunidad para él. Yo realmente espero que él venga en bien preparado y estoy listo para el mejor Julio César Chávez Jr.” dijo Canelo

“En este momento, Chávez es un nuevo boxeador disciplinado. Creo que esta es la segunda mitad de su carrera y sabe que esta pelea es muy importante. Ganar esta pelea lo lleva de nuevo a la cima “, dijo Oscar De La Hoya.

“Está interesado en mostrar a la gente que está de vuelta”, agregó De La Hoya.

Alvarez, de 26 años, ahora se prepara para su enfrentamiento con sus entrenadores padre e hijo Eddie Reynoso y el asistente de entrenador y entrenador Jose “Chepo” Reynoso en San Diego, California mientras se preparan para Chávez.

“Ahora voy a comenzar mi preparación y trabajar duro para salir con el triunfo”, dijo Canelo en el campamento inicial.

Canelo vs Chávez será una pelea programada de 12 rounds con un peso de 164.5 mientras las mayores estrellas de México lucharán en el fin de semana del Cinco de Mayo

“Espera una gran pelea de mí voy a dejar todo en el ring para tener mi lugar en la historia del boxeo mexicano”, dijo Canelo.

Sigue a Miguel en Twitter @MigMaravilla

The post Canelo: Estoy listo para el mejor Chavez Jr. appeared first on Boxing News.

Source:: Fightnews.com

Haye-Bellew: Liverpool Press Conference

By Wil Esco

David Haye got a little flustered in front of Tony Bellew’s hometown fans.

The Liverpool press conference ahead of David Haye and Tony Bellew’s fight this weekend didn’t have any punches thrown this time around, but things did get a little heated. As you can see from the footage above, Haye appeared to get a little rattled as Bellew’s hometown fans taunted him.

“I’m really happy that you’re backing your man, he needs all the support he can get,” Haye began.

As the crowd erupted into a chant which drowned out Haye at the podium, Haye challenged the crowd to empty out their “little bank accounts” and place a bet on Bellew.

“If you’re all so brave bet all the money you have, collectively, and bet it on Tony Bellew…but deep in all of your tiny minds you know this guys is getting drilled to the canvas pretty fast.

“When he comes back to Liverpool afterwards, just make sure you guys are there for him because he’s going to need all of your help, believe me…”

Bellew would then interject by calling Haye a bitch and a “broken man” which further escalated tensions. Haye and Bellew would then get into an on-stage argument.”

“I’m going to smash your f*cking head in and you know it,” exclaimed Haye. “This right hand is going through your f*cking head, and you know it…All of these f*cking retards know it as well,” Haye said referencing those in attendance, causing the crowd to erupt.

Once Bellew took his turn at the podium things calmed down a bit, but Haye continued to taunt Bellew’s fans afterwards on social media calling them racist and drunken idiots.

It got seriously heated in Liverpool today. The racist scumbag #BellendBellew Fans are a real prize bunch of drunk moronic imbeciles. #Scum pic.twitter.com/ljxCaSikUR

— David Haye (@mrdavidhaye) February 27, 2017

Fight night should have an electric atmosphere if nothing else.

Source:: Bad Left Hook

Vitu-Matano en Eliminatoria por titulo FIB

By gabrielf388d

Por Marco Bratusch

La Federación Internacional de Boxeo confirma que una pelea de eliminación entre el Francés Cedric Vitu (45-2, 18 KOs), clasificado en el puesto 4 y el italiano Marcello Matano (17-2, 5 KOs), clasificado en el puesto 5 Para determinar el retador obligatorio para el nuevo campeón de peso mediano junior de la FIB, Jarrett Hurd, que ganó el título vacante el sábado por la noche en Birmingham, Alabama, deteniendo al retador Tony Harrison en el noveno round.

Para Matano, de 30 años, promovido por Boxe Loreni, esto representará la segunda oportunidad de convertirse en retador obligatorio de la FIB después de la pérdida sufrida ante Julian “J-Rock” Williams el pasado mes de junio en Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Vitu, de Creil, Francia, ahora lleva el título europeo en 154 libras-límite desde 2015 y ha defendido el cinturón tres veces hasta ahora, el último contra el caza catalán Isaac Real.

Ambas partes interesadas parecen estar listas para aceptar formalmente la propuesta de la FIB pronto, utilizando el siguiente período de negociación libre en busca de un acuerdo privado para llegar a fin de evitar la subasta obligatoria.

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Source:: Fightnews.com

Chavez Jr. Esta es la pelea más importante de mi carrera

By gabrielf388d

Foto: Tom Hogan y Gene Blevins – Hoganphotos / Golden Boy Promotions
Por Miguel Maravilla

El ex campeón del mundo Julio César Chávez Jr. (50-2-1, 32 KOs) de Culiacán, Sinaloa, México busca redimir su carrera coen una mega pelea con su compatriota Saúl “Canelo” Alvarez (48-1-1, 34 KOs ) De Guadalajara, Jalisco. Chávez se enfrenta a Canelo el sábado 6 de mayo en el T-Mobile Arena de Las Vegas en HBO Pay Per View. Fightnews.com se encontró con Chávez en la conferencia de prensa de Los Angeles mientras hablaba de su próxima pelea con Canelo.

“Estamos contentos de tener esta pelea. Esta es la pelea que quería “, dijo Julio César Chávez Jr. a Fightnews.com” Esta pelea es entre Canelo y yo, por honor y orgullo, es una buena pelea para el pueblo Mexicano “, agregó Chávez.

“Esta es una pelea muy difícil y dura, pero mi hijo será el que salga por encima”, dijo Julio César Chávez Sr. a Fightnews.com

El hijo de la leyenda Mexicana comenzó su carrera y ascendió a la clasificación con un récord de 43-0-1, ya que consiguió su primer título en junio de 2011, Chávez derrotó a Sebastian Zbik por decisión unánime para ganar el título de peso mediano del CMB. Después de algunas defensas Chávez comenzó a vivir la vida de estrella de rock y hasta fue arrestado por conducir bajo la influencia del Alcohol antes de su defensa de febrero de 2012 contra Marco Antonio Rubio. Posteriormente ese mismo año septiembre de 2012 Chávez sufrió la primera derrota de su carrera dejando por decisión ante el Argentino Sergio Martínez ya que sus hábitos de entrenamiento y ética de trabajo estaban en duda entrando en esa pelea. Después de la pelea de Martínez, Chávez se separó con el entrenador del Salón de la Fama Freddie Roach. Sólo empeoraría cuando un año más tarde Chávez ganó una decisión cuestionable a Brian Vera en septiembre de 2013 en su combate de vuelta y siguió seis meses más tarde con otra decisión sobre Vera `pero su peso y la disciplina también estaban en cuestión. Lo que siguió en abril de 2015 fue la peor noche de Chávez en el ring cuando fue detenido por Andrzej Fonfara luego de ascender al peso semipesado.

Los aficionados mexicanos comenzaron a separar a Chávez mientras miraban hacia otra esquina.

“Ahora tengo más experiencia en el ring y en la vida”, dijo Chávez. “Usted puede decir que he aprendido mi lección y soy otra persona ahora”, dijo Chávez Jr.

Chávez se está recuperando, una decisión unánime sobre Dominik Britsch el pasado mes de diciembre en un combate de peso súper mediano en Monterrey, México y en su anterior pelea un año antes, Chávez ganó una decisión unánime sobre Marco Reyes.

“Esta es la pelea más importante de la carrera de mi hijo, ya que he mencionado que hemos visto lo mejor de Canelo, pero no has visto al mejor Julio”, dijo Chavez Sr..

Canelo, viene de un triunfo por nocaut en el noveno asalto sobre Liam Smith de Inglaterra en septiembre pasado y está montando una racha de seis victorias consecutivas desde que sufrió su única derrota ante Floyd Mayweather en 2013. Junior y Senior nos dieron su opinión sobre Canelo.

“Él es un buen boxeador y lanza grandes combinaciones pero tendremos una fuerte preparación para ser victoriosos. Las peleas en las que `perdio fueron contra Mayweather y Lara porque eran muchachos más grandes “, dijo Chávez Jr. sobre Canelo.

“Todos conocemos a Canelo y esperamos que haga lo mejor”, dijo Chávez Sr. sobre Canelo.

Júnior ahora parte para el campamento de entrenamiento ya que será entrenado por el legendario entrenador Mexicano Ignacio “Nacho” Beristán para su pelea con Canelo. Beristain que ha guiado y entrenado a los Legendarios Mexicanos Daniel Zaragosa, Humberto “Chiquita” González, y Juan Manuel Márquez, así como a su hermano Rafael Márquez a los títulos mundiales.

“Empezaré mi campamento y entrenaré muy duro y realmente espero este campamento con Nacho Beristán”, dijo Chávez Jr..

Haber sido entrenado por el entrenador mexicano Romulo Quirarte, el entrenador del Salón de la Fama Freddie Roach y Joe Goosen. Chávez asegura que Beristán sacará lo mejor de él.

“Ha trabajado con los mejores e hizo muchos campeones”, dijo Chávez Jr. sobre Beristan. “Nacho será lo que sacará lo mejor de mí”, agregó Chávez Jr..

Canelo vs Chávez será una pelea programada en 12 rounds con un peso de 164.5, ya que las estrellas más grandes de México lucharán el fin de semana del Cinco de Mayo.

“No estamos jugando juegos. Los fanáticos Mexicanos querían esta pelea y les daré una buena pelea”, concluyó Chávez Jr..

Sigue a Miguel en Twitter @MigMaravilla

The post Chavez Jr. Esta es la pelea más importante de mi carrera appeared first on Boxing News.

Source:: Fightnews.com

WBC orders Stevenson-Alvarez

By Wil Esco

Adonis Stevenson has been ordered to face mandatory challenger Eleider Alvarez.

WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson (28-1, 23 KOs) is now on the clock to begin negotiating a deal to face mandatory challenger Eleider Alvarez (22-0, 11 KOs), reports RingTV. The two will have until March 24 to strike a deal for the fight, otherwise the fight will head to purse bid at WBC headquarters in Mexico City.

Sources tell RingTV that Stevenson, 39, had been tentatively scheduled to open up the renovated Nassau Coliseum in New York on April 29 (with Long Island’s Seanie Monaghan targeted as a potential opponent), but that situation is said to be extremely fluid.

Now, with the WBC’s new mandate, it’s anyone’s guess how Stevenson will elect to move forward. Stevenson’s promoter Yvon Michel has yet to clarify his fighter’s next move while promoter Lou DiBella (who has a hold on the venue for April 29) declined to comment.

Eleider Alvarez, 32, earned his mandatory challenger position by knocking out Lucian Bute in five rounds last Friday.

Source:: Bad Left Hook

Thurman vs Garcia: Fight preview and breakdown

By Scott Christ

You don’t need me or anyone else to tell you that this is a must-see fight, but I’ll tell you, anyway.

Keith Thurman vs Danny Garcia

Keith Thurman

Keith Thurman v Shawn PorterPhoto by Ed Mulholland/Getty Images

Record: 27-0 (22 KO) … Streak: W27 … Last 5: 5-0 … Last 10: 10-0 … Stance: Orthodox … Height/Reach: 5’7½” / 69″ … Age: 28

Thoughts: Keith Thurman has advantages in this fight. He’s perceived as the bigger puncher, for instance. Whether or not that’s really true, I’m not totally certain. Plus, well, he’s better-liked. Garcia is half a villain in the boxing world. Thurman is pretty well regarded. It matters, at least in terms of how people think about matchups a lot of the time. There is an instinct to root, and Thurman probably has more people rooting for him than Garcia does.

That, of course, won’t matter once it gets going. But Thurman is a good, well-rounded fighter, and he showed us basically everything in his toolbox last time out against Shawn Porter in June 2016, his lone fight of the year. He had to box. He had to brawl. He had to think. He had to maneuver and plan and execute various plans.

Porter tried to make it a rough fight. He succeeded. Thurman scraped by, winning on unanimous scores of 115-113, a totally fair decision. Garcia probably won’t try give Thurman the same troubles, but he’s going to give him troubles. And now we’ll have to see how Keith does against someone who is a top fighter, and doesn’t come charging forward much of the time. Probably, anyway. I have no idea if perhaps Angel Garcia has cooked up a kamikaze game plan. Who knows?

This fight pretty much sells itself, so I don’t really have a ton to say. Let’s move on to Garcia.

Danny Garcia

PBC on Spike: Danny Garcia v Samuel VargasPhoto by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

Record: 33-0 (19 KO) … Streak: W33 … Last 5: 5-0 … Last 10: 10-0 … Stance: Orthodox … Height/Reach: 5’8½” / 68½” … Age: 28

Thoughts: DO NOT COUNT DANNY GARCIA OUT IN THIS FIGHT. DANNY GARCIA IS A PROVEN WINNER. DANNY GARCIA “KNOWS HOW TO WIN.” DANNY GARCIA IS A VERY, VERY GOOD FIGHTER.

OK, I needed to yell that. I feel, perhaps wrongly (?), that Garcia is being a little overlooked here. As if he’s a clear underdog. As if he doesn’t present some serious potential matchup issues for Thurman.

Garcia is one of the smartest top fighters out there. He knows his way around the ring, doesn’t get himself in big trouble often, and his struggles have come against fellow crafty fighters like Mauricio Herrera and Lamont Peterson, guys who also don’t often look to do more than is presented to them.

But Keith Thurman has some of that in his game, too. He talks a big game about being “One Time” and bringing the action, but Thurman is no reckless dummy. When he doesn’t see a path to a KO, he doesn’t push it, as evidenced when he faced Leonard Bundu, who tried to play keepaway, basically.

So it’s perhaps up to Garcia to try and bait Thurman into making aggressive mistakes. Danny’s a good counter puncher, and he’s got more pop than his record might indicate, though his power has been questioned a bit as a welterweight, even though he’s 3-0 (2 KO) at the weight.

The biggest question for Garcia is level of opposition at the weight. He’s beaten Paulie Malignaggi, Robert Guerrero, and most ridiculously, Samuel Vargas. Thurman is a whole new level for him at 147. But Garcia has proven himself plenty already. He’ll look to do it yet again.

Matchup Grade: A. Not much more you can ask. A unification fight between two unbeaten, in-prime fighters, both still fighting like they have something to prove, both of whom want to be recognized as the best in the world. Fair or unfair to Manny Pacquiao, the winner of this fight might well be seen as that guy, simply on the level of competition faced in this fight alone. This is the sort of fight we wanted to see headlining network TV when PBC made a big deal of buying time on the networks. This is what PBC is supposed to be. This is what boxing is supposed to be.

Erickson Lubin vs Jorge Cota

Erickson Lubin

PBC on NBC: Jermall Charlo v Wilky CampfortPhoto by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images

Record: 17-0 (12 KO) … Streak: W17 … Last 5: 5-0 … Last 10: 10-0 … Stance: Southpaw … Height/Reach: 5’11” / 76″ … Age: 21

Thoughts: A great prospect, Lubin has stayed busy and improved his game as a pro thus far, not always looking super demolishing or anything, but working on his craft. That’s probably better in the long run.

That’s not to say he doesn’t still have some flaws. He does. Some are youthful exuberance. Some are inexperience. Some are just flaws, like everyone has. And they may be flaws that Jorge Cota can expose, at least to some degree.

In 2016, Lubin went 4-0, beating Jose de Jesus Macias, Daniel Sandoval, Ivan Montero, and Juan Ubaldo Cabrera, the last win coming on December 10, via second round knockout. All of those fights were good steps on the path for Lubin, and that’s what this fight is, too. He should win, and it’s what it is, meant to be a showcase, but he’s not been matched easy, either. If he makes it easy, it’s his talent talking.

Jorge Cota

 Alex Menendez/Getty

Record: 25-1 (22 KO) … Streak: W9 … Last 5: 5-0 … Last 10: 9-1 … Stance: Orthodox … Height/Reach: N/A / N/A” … Age: 29

Thoughts: Cota has power, as evidenced by his KO rate. He’s not got the natural talent of Lubin, but he also doesn’t have the natural talent of Yudel Jhonson, and he beat Jhonson in his last fight.

The big red flag is that Cota’s last fight came in August 2015. So it’s worth wondering what kind of shape he’ll be in, how prepared he’ll be for a tough fight, and so on. Also, the Jhonson win was by far the best of his career, and Jhonson isn’t exactly a world beater. Cota’s loss came back in 2012 against Marco Antonio Rubio at middleweight, a TKO-7 defeat. He’s fought between 147 and 160 in his career, settling in at 154 for his last couple of outings.

Matchup Grade: C+. It’s a perfectly fine step for Lubin on paper, and could be more danger than we recognize. That last win of Cota’s was solid. Lubin is a blue chip prospect, but we’ve seen those guys fail before.

Andrzej Fonfara vs Chad Dawson

Andrzej Fonfara

Andrzej Fonfara v Nathan CleverlyPhoto by Jon Durr/Getty Images

Record: 28-4 (16 KO) … Streak: L1 … Last 5: 3-2 … Last 10: 8-2 … Stance: Orthodox … Height/Reach: 6’2½” / 77″ … Age: 29

Thoughts: A tough, scrappy fighter, Fonfara is nonetheless coming off of a TKO-1 shocker defeat at the hands of Joe Smith Jr, who would go on to knock Bernard Hopkins’ career out of the ring six months later. So that loss doesn’t really look so bad. Smith can thump. We know that.

But where is Fonfara’s head at? Losses can do unseen damage, especially losing in 2:32 in your hometown in a fight where you were so clearly favored that the bout was all but laughed off by a lot of alleged experts, including alleged me, allegedly. (Not that I allege I am an expert, necessarily, but then that’s a whole other discussion, and this is not about me, it’s about these fights. Right? Right. Good. Let’s move on.)

I like Fonfara. For one thing, his 2015 was just fantastic. First, he beat Julio Cesar Chavez Jr from pillar to post, then Chavez complained about Fonfara being too big. This was comical, and I was greatly amused. Then he had a fantastic fight with Nathan Cleverly, a real blood and guts type of war, the sort of thing that the revered Saint Arturo Gatti would look down upon from his perch in the great beyond, no doubt, smiling through bloodied teeth, nodding that it was Good.

Then came Smith. Now Fonfara is in a pickle. And this is an absolute must-win scenario for him. To stay in contention at 175, he needs the win. I mean, that’s good narrative, at least. I don’t know that it’s true. He could probably lose or draw and get a world title shot of some sort, because boxing is kinda dumb and throws logic out the window when at all possible. But it’s important that he win. Or at least it should be.

Chad Dawson

Chad Dawson v Cornelius WhitePhoto by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Record: 34-4 (19 KO) … Streak: W2 … Last 5: 3-2 … Last 10: 5-4 (1 NC) … Stance: Southpaw … Height/Reach: 6’1″ / 76½” … Age: 34

Thoughts: Five years ago, Chad Dawson was recognized as the best light heavyweight in the world. He’d beaten Bernard Hopkins in a rematch of their farcical first bout, and less than five months later, he took a risk, moving down to super middleweight for a big fight on HBO with Andre Ward.

That did not go well. Whether he was drained or whatever, Ward took Dawson apart and made him quit in the 10th round. The fight wasn’t competitive. Dawson moved back up to 175 nine months later to defend his WBC title, and Adonis Stevenson put him away in 76 seconds. His career has never recovered.

Dawson is one of the most curious fighters of his generation. He’s always had talent, and his crafty southpawness made him a bad style matchup for the likes of even Hopkins. But there have always been questions about his desire and focus. He’s changed trainers like most of us change socks, which is never a good sign. Those trainers have in turn questioned how much he really cared about boxing at all, at least sometimes.

Now 34, Dawson’s career is at the brink. Either he wins this fight and finds his way back into the mix at 175, or he’s basically irrelevant. Since losing to Stevenson, he’s gone 3-1, beating George Blades, Dion Savage, and Cornelius White, but he also dropped a decision against Tommy Karpency, a guy who plain should not beat Chad Dawson.

The question now is whether he really has anything left at all against a relevant opponent, or if he’s just done. That’s what he’ll answer one way or the other on Saturday.

Matchup Grade: C. This is desperate times for Chad Dawson. A loss here, and you can write him off for good, basically, as far as ever being a contender again goes. But with a win, he’s alive and in the game. Fonfara also cannot afford the loss. The fight isn’t a marquee attraction, and there’s a chance Dawson is just plain dunzo as it is, so I can’t give it a higher grade. But I’m interested.

Source:: Bad Left Hook