Danny Garcia Has Reportedly Agreed to Fight Errol Spence Jr. This Fall

Danny Garcia has lined up his next opponent…

The 32-year-old Puerto Rican professional boxer, the former junior welterweight and welterweight titlist, has agreed to fight unified welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. in a fall pay-per-view event, according to ESPN.

Danny Garcia

The bout — which needs a negotiation of final contract numbers — is expected to take place in November at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, according to sources. 

But, Premier Boxing Champions, which promotes both fighters, has put holds on other venues around the country as it monitors the coronavirus pandemic and the guidelines in place for each state.

The Athletic first reported the agreement.

Garcia (36-2, 21 KOs) was a unified champion at junior welterweight and a world titlist at welterweight. In his most recent fight in January, Garcia outpointed Ivan Redkach over 12 rounds.

Spence defeated Shawn Porter by 12-round split decision on September 28 in a tough fight at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Spence, who came into the bout as the IBF titlist, earned the WBC belt with the win. He was involved in a horrific one-car accident a few weeks later near Dallas, Texas, and suffered serious injuries, including facial lacerations and a broken jaw.

Before the accident, there was talk of Spence facing Garcia in late January 2020.

Spence is ranked No. 1 at welterweight in ESPN‘s divisional rankings, and Garcia is No. 6. Manny Pacquiao (WBA) and Terence Crawford (WBO) are the other titleholders in the division.

Jose Ramirez Likely to Defend Title Against Viktor Postol in August

Could the third time be the charm for Jose Ramirez’s challenge bout?

A fight between the 27-year-old Mexican American unified WBC and WBO light welterweight titleholder and Viktor Postol, his WBC mandatory challenger, will take place the last week of August, according to Top Rank president Todd duBoef

Jose Ramirez,

The bout will be broadcast live on an ESPN network.

There’s no exact date yet for the fight, according to duBoef, but Top Rank is working with the sports network to add the bout to its programming calendar.

“We’re being as flexible as possible with ESPN,” duBoef said. “They’re going to see how the NBA schedule comes out, the MLB schedule, all the other sports that are supposed to be back in August. They’re formulating their schedule.

“We’re basically telling [fighters], ‘Hey, you’ll be this week in August. You’ll be this week in August.’ Then we’re honing in on a date.”

Ramirez-Postol was originally scheduled for February 1 in China, and then May 9 in Fresno, California. Both times the fight was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Ramirez last fought on July 27, 2019, when he stopped Maurice Hooker in six rounds to unify the WBC and WBO junior welterweight titles. 

Postol, who once held the WBC 140-pound belt, last fought on April 27, 2019, scoring a 10-round unanimous decision over Mohamed Mimoune.

Eleider Alvarez’s Bout Against Joe Smith Jr. Rescheduled for Late August

Eleider Alvarez will have to wait a little longer to return to the ring…

The light heavyweight bout between the 36-year-old Colombian professional boxer and Joe Smith Jr. has been rescheduled for the third week of August, according to Alvarez’s promoter Yvon Michel

Eleider Alvarez

The fight had originally been scheduled for July 16 inside the “bubble” at the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas, but was postponed when Alvarez suffered an injury to his right shoulder.

“I sent a medical report on Alvarez’s situation early last week confirming that the inflammation is gone after treatment, the pain is minimum,” Michel said. “He’s going to start sparring next week, everything is under control. He’s fit and ready to fight by mid-August.

“So the message I got from Top Rank is that the fight will be rescheduled for some time between August 20 and August 22, depending on the schedule.”

According to Top Rank vice president of boxing operation Carl Moretti, the plan is to stage one fight a week inside the “bubble” in the month of August, but the exact dates of haven’t been chosen.

“It’s not ideal, it’s not what we wanted,” said Joe DeGuardia, who promotes Smith. “We think it’s unfortunate it got pushed back in the first place, however, we’re realists. I just want this fight to take place, and we’re going to do what we have to do to get Joe ready and have this fight.”

Alvarez (25-1, 13 KOs) is rated at No. 6 by ESPN and held the WBO light heavyweight title after knocking out Sergey Kovalev in 2018. Back on January 18 he scored a seventh-round knockout of Micheal Seals. Alvarez also has victories over Isaac ChilembaLucien Bute and Jean Pascal.

Smith (25-3, 20 KOs) is rated ninth in the division by ESPN. Back in 2016 he gained prominence as he scored stoppage wins over Andrezej Fonfara and Bernard Hopkins. In his most recent fight on January 11, Smith defeated Jesse Hart in an upset by split decision.

The winner of this bout will then face the winner of the contest between Umar Salamov and Maksim Vlasov, as part of an elimination process to fill the WBO light heavyweight title, which is currently vacant.

Jennifer Lopez & Alex Rodriguez Add Sports Star Power in Bid to Purchase the New York Mets

Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez aren’t giving up their Mets quest…

The 50-year-old Puerto Rican superstar and the 44-year-old Dominican American former-baseball-player-turned-sports-commentator aren’t giving up on their bid to purchase the New York Mets from the Wilpon family. 

Jennifer Lopez & Alex Rodriguez

After the pair reportedly teamed up with billionaire Mike Repole in an ownership group, they’ve now added a group of investors that includes some other big names. 

Per ESPN, Hall of Fame linebacker Brian Urlacher, 2020 Super Bowl champion Travis Kelce, ex-NFL star DeMarco Murray, former Cleveland Browns offensive lineman Joe Thomas,Washington Wizards All-Star Bradley Beal and Denver Nuggets center Mason Plumlee are all joining the celebrity couple’s bid.

“We couldn’t be more excited to have such high-quality individuals as part of our group,” Lopez and Rodriguez told ESPN on Monday.

The Wilpons have been looking to sell the Mets for months now, but a deal hasn’t been reached despite some interest. 

The Wilpons originally had an agreement in place to sell the team to hedge fund investor and billionaire Steve Cohenwhile remaining in control of the club for another five years, but that deal fell apart.

Recently, it was reported that Cohen delivered the family an offer for $2 billion, and was willing to offer an additional $2 billion to also acquire SportsNet New York (SNY). The Wilpons have reportedly been reluctant to give up SNY. However, it now appears the television network would now be included in a potential sale, indicating the Wilpons are more serious about a deal.

The group headed by Lopez and Rodriguez reportedly submitted an initial bid of $1.7 billion. The former New York Yankees slugger and Bronx-born pop star have reportedly put $300 million of their own money toward the bid. 

The Wilpons will review all of the bids, and work with MLB commissioner Rob Manfred to determine the next steps in the process. Whoever does end up taking home the Queens-based franchise will need to their purchase to be approved by 75 percent of MLB owners.

The Wilpons reportedly hope to close a deal by the fall and gain Major League Baseball approval for the new owners before the end of the year.

ESPN Films Orders Documentary Series on Keith Hernandez & His 1986 World Series-Winning New York Mets

Keith Hernandez is getting documented…

The 1986 World Series-winning run by the 66-year-old half-Spanish American former professional baseball player’s New York Mets will get the multi-part documentary treatment by ESPN in a project under the 30 for 30 banner, whose executive producers include Jimmy Kimmel.

Keith Hernandez

ESPN Films said the series will chronicle the team’s exploits on and off the field. 

In the World Series, the Boston Red Sox were one strike away from victory before a two-out rally and a ground ball hit by Mookie Wilson slipped through the legs of Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner

The comeback, ESPN said in a press release, “was merely the climax of an epic tale of ambition and swagger set in a city that was synonymous with excess.”

ESPN promises “hours of never-before-seen footage” of the team, a group of disparate, larger-than-life characters who made a big impression on and off the field. 

Keith Hernandez

Many members of the team went on to generate headlines long after 1986, among them Darryl StrawberryDwight Gooden, Hernandez, a five-time MLB All-Star, and Lenny Dykstra

The team already has been the subject of a dishy non-fiction book,The Bad Guys Won, written by Jeff Pearlman, whose L.A. Lakers book, Showtime, has been turned into a scripted drama on HBO.

Hernandez played the majority of his career with the St. Louis Cardinals and Mets. He shared the 1979 National League MVP awardand won two World Seriestitles, one each with the Cardinals and Mets.

Hernandez retired as an active player after spending one year with the Cleveland Indians in 1990. Since 2006, he has served as a television broadcaster for Mets games on SportsNet New York and WPIX, as well as a studio analyst for MLB on Fox since 2017.

Henry Cejudo Open to Return to Competition with Fight Against Ryan Garcia

Henry Cejudo is open to a comeback…

The 33-year-old Mexican American retired mixed martial artist is open to return to competition, witha fight against up-and-coming boxer Ryan Garcia at the top of his wish list.

Henry Cejudo

The former UFC double champion told ESPN that if any bout would get him to come back, it would be one against Garcia, the 21-year-old boxing prodigy promoted by Oscar De La Hoya‘s Golden Boy Promotions.

Cejudo and Garcia have been going back-and-forth on social media for weeks. Cejudo said he’d be willing to face Garcia in a boxing match, but he proposed a hybrid fight with 10-ounce boxing gloves that have the fingers exposed for grappling.

Previously, Cejudo, a former Olympic wrestling gold medalist, said he’d most like to return against UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski. But the ex-UFC flyweight and bantamweight champ has changed his tune a bit.

“I think Ryan Garcia would be the easiest payday ‘Triple C’ would ever get,” Cejudo said. “It would be a lot bigger than any purse I did in the UFC. If there’s any fight that intrigues me between staying retired, between fighting … Alexander Volkanovski or fighting … Ryan Garcia, I like the payday. Plus, it’s easy money because he’s fought nobody.”

Cejudo added that he thinks Garcia is “another Sean O’Malley,” referring to the highly touted UFC bantamweight prospect, when it comes to unfounded hype.

“It makes me sick,” Cejudo said.

Cejudo said Garcia “wouldn’t make it 30 seconds” with him in mixed martial arts. A bout between the two seems like a long shot. Cejudo still has a UFC contract, and the promotion would have to OK any other fight deal or be part of the co-promotion.

Cejudo (16-2) stepped away from MMA unexpectedly after six straight wins. ESPNstill has him ranked No. 3 on its pound-for-pound fighter list. Cejudo has an impressive résumé, including being one of four fighters to hold two UFC titles at the same time. The Arizona resident has beaten the likes of Demetrious JohnsonTJ Dillashaw and Dominick Cruz, all former champions.

“Triple C” is apparently now looking to add Garcia to that list.

“Ryan Garcia, if you are watching this … answer the call, man, and sign the damn contract,” Cejudo said.

Teofimo Lopez to Fight Vasiliy Lomachenko in September

Teofimo Lopez is taking on a goliath

The 22-year-old Honduran American boxer, one of the sport’s rising stars, is set to fight lightweight titlist Vasiliy LomachenkoESPN‘s top pound-for-pound fighter.

Teofimo Lopez

Lopez will fight Lomachenko in a unification bout on September 19, announced Top Rank chief Bob Arum.

Lomachenko, who holds the WBO and WBA lightweight belts, was initially scheduled to face Lopez, who holds the IBF belt, on May 30 at Madison Square Garden. But that fight was scrapped because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs) hasn’t been in the ring since October 2019, when he won a unanimous decision over Luke Campbell. It was only the second time since 2014 that he didn’t win via stoppage.

Lopez (15-0, 12 KOs) earned one of the four major belts in the 130-pound division when he stopped Richard Commey in December 2019. The Brooklyn native, who was ESPN’s 2018 prospect of the year, fought four times last year as he ramped up toward a belt.

The undefeated titleholder had previously complained about the negotiations with Lomachenko, who went back to his home country of Ukraine during the pandemic.

“I try to make these fights happen for the fans, the fans are the ones that win at the end of the day. But honestly, we’re not going to wait on this guy,” Lopez said in March. “We gave him everything he needs and everything he wants, and now he’s complaining about New York, he wants it in Vegas, he wants it in Cali. It’s been annoying.”

Both fighters are represented by Top Rank. In May, Arum told ESPN both fighters were adamant about a showdown in 2020, even if the circumstances were atypical because of the pandemic.

“In talking with Lomachenko and Lopez, neither of them want an interim fight,” Arum said. “So we would plan to do that in September, with or without an audience.”

Arum previously suggested that the fight would be a pay-per-view bout that could still be an event in Las Vegas that adheres to current safety protocols. Since early June, Top Rank has hosted multiple cards per week in the city.

Jorge Linares to Fight Javier Fortuna in August

Jorge Linaresis heading back to the ring this summer…

The 34-year-old Venezuelan professional boxer and three-time world champion will fight Javier Fortuna (35-2-1, 24 KOs) on August 28 at the Fantasy Springs Resort and Casinoin Indio, California.

Jorge Linares

After Linares (47-5, 29 KOs) dispatched Carlos Morales in four rounds on February 14, a showdown with the undefeated Ryan Garcia was heavily rumored for the summer. That fight never materialized, and Linares and his representatives shifted their focus to another fight.

“We wanted that fight [with Garcia], Jorge wanted that fight more than anybody,” said Jose de la Cruz, who manages Linares. “I guess their camp is not being reasonable with Golden Boy.”

In regard to the potential July 4 fight, Garcia representative Lupe Valencia said, “What they offered Ryan was not acceptable. We can’t just accept it if we know it’s not reasonable.”

Eric Gomez, the president of Golden Boy Promotions, told ESPN, “Fortuna was willing to fight pretty much anybody, he was available. So we made the offer to Linares, and he took it right away.”

Gomez said there is a chance that this bout could be contested for the WBC interim lightweight title.

“It was a no-brainer,” said de la Cruz. “I think it’s the right time for Jorge to fight for a world title, and to stay active, number one. He’ll be 35 by the time he fights. How many fights does he have left? We all want to know.”

Linares, who is ESPN’s No. 6 lightweight, has had a memorable career, filled with substantial victories and mind-boggling defeats. 

He’s captured world titles at 126, 130 and 135, but never had a long title run with any of those belts. Linares has victories over the likes of Oscar LariosKevin MitchellAnthony Crolla and Luke Campbell, and gave Vasiliy Lomachenko his toughest test to date as a professional. 

But Linares has also been knocked out in all five of his losses, the latest of which was when he was stopped in the first round by Pablo Cesar Cano in an ill-fated experiment at 140 at the beginning of 2019.

The 31-year-old Fortuna, who is ESPN’s No. 8 lightweight, once held the WBA 130-pound title and had a strong showing as he knocked out a faded Jesus Cuellar in two rounds last November. 

Fortuna, a southpaw from the Dominican Republic presents a formidable challenge for Linares with his above-average power. Should Linares overcome the challenge of Fortuna, he’ll be in line for even bigger fights.

“There’s [DevinHaney,” said De La Cruz, mentioning the current WBC lightweight titleholder as one option. ”If Golden Boy can make the Ryan Garcia fight, if the virus doesn’t affect us late in the year, everything goes well, we want a championship fight or a big fight at the Staples Center. That’s what Golden Boy wants.”

The August 28 Golden Boy card is scheduled to be the promotion’s second of the summer, following a July 24 show headlined by Vergil Ortiz and Samuel Vargas.

Javier Martinez Signs Multiyear Contract with Top Rank

Javier Martinez is turning pro…

The 24-year-old Latino fighter, USA Boxing‘s top-rated boxer at 165 pounds, has signed a multiyear contract with Top Rank.

Javier Martinez

The Milwaukee native will make his professional debut on June 30 in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Conference Center.

Martinez won the 2020 U.S. Olympic trials, but he was only selected as an alternate for the team. When that decision was made, Martinez decided to turn professional.

“I knew it would be hard for me to qualify for the Olympics, so when I found out they chose someone else, it made no sense for me to stay,” Martinez said. “I got this opportunity from Top Rank, so why not? I have a great promotional company and manager behind me.”

“I’ve just been beating everyone in the country the past three, four years, so the time was right to make my next move,” he added.

“With Javier’s amateur credentials, fan-friendly style and Top Rank’s amazing track record at developing amateurs into champions, this is a win-win for everyone,” said Tim VanNewhouse, Martinez’s manager. “I look forward to a big future for Javier, and I’m eager for everyone to see his pro debut on ESPN June 30.”

VanNewhouse scouted Martinez extensively before signing him to a management contract after the Olympic trials back in December.

“When you’re watching the amateurs, when you’re looking at the kids, you want to figure out who’s really trying to hurt somebody from the opening bell,” he said. “Javier’s looking to hurt you.”

Martinez, who is trained by Javier Capetillo, captured his first of five national titles at age 13 and won a USA Elite National Championship in 2018.

VanNewhouse says he will be competing as a middleweight as begins his professional journey.

“I do this for my family. I do it for my kid,” said Martinez, a father to a 7-year-old son. “I want to represent Milwaukee and my parents, who came to this country with nothing and built a life for my brothers and me.”

Vergil Ortiz to Headline Golden Boy Promotions’ Return to Boxing in July

Vergil Ortiz is the Golden Boy of the moment…

The 22-year-old Mexican American boxer and undefeated welterweight will be the headliner when Golden Boy Promotions returns to boxing in July.

Vergil Ortiz Jr.

The original plan for Golden Boy was for the highly marketable and telegenic Ryan Garcia to take part in the main event on the Fourth of July. But the two sides weren’t able to come to a financial agreement. Oscar De La Hoya, the founder of Golden Boy, tweeted about the situation on Monday.

Eric Gomez, the president of GBP, confirmed to ESPN that Ortiz (15-0, 15 KOs), whom many consider the company’s best prospect, would be in the main event of Golden Boy’s first card of the summer. This show will most likely take place at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California, and will be streamed on DAZN

Ortiz was originally scheduled to face Samuel Vargas on March 28 in Los Angeles, before that card was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. It’s expected this fight will be rescheduled for late July.