Canelo Alvarez to Fight Callum Smith Next Month in Texas

Canelo Alvarez is heading back to the ring…

Following months of conflict between the 30-year-old Mexican boxer, his promoters and his broadcast partners, Alvarez is finally ready to rumble.

Canelo Alvarez

Alvarez will meet Callum Smith in Texas this December to unify WBA super middleweight titles, according to ESPN. This will be Alvarez’s first appearance since his 11th-round TKO victory over Sergey Kovalev in November 2019.

The target dates for the fight are December 18, 19 or 20.

Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 KOs) faces “Mundo” Smith (27-0, 19 KOs) after he announced himself as a free agent last week. His first business partner will be Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing. It’s very possible that DAZN, the broadcaster partner Alvarez was working with before severing ties with longtime promoter Golden Boy Promotions, could carry the fight in the U.S.

The fight — targeted for AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas, or the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas — will come a year after a meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, where Smith’s trainer, Joe Gallagher, spent a few minutes with Eddy Reynoso, Alvarez’s trainer, to tell him about his interest in an Alvarez-Smith fight.

Smith, 20, is seven inches taller than Alvarez and has about eight inches reach advantage. Smith, like Alvarez, hasn’t fought since last November when he scored a contested unanimous decision victory over John Ryder.

Smith is the WBA “super” super middleweight world titlist, and Alvarez has the WBA “regular” belt, but the fight could also be for the WBC super middleweight title that was left vacant when David Benavidez missed weight for his fight against Roamer Alexis Angulo in August and was stripped of the belt.

Alvarez starts a new era as his own promoter with a title fight against a legit opponent. Smith is considered one of the elite fighters in the division, and is ranked No. 1 by ESPN.

Canelo Alvarez Officially a Free Agent After Release from Golden Boy Contract

Canelo Alvarez is officially a free agent.

After several days of negotiations, representatives for the 30-year-old Mexican boxer and four-division world champion, the sport’s most lucrative fighter, and Golden Boy Promotions have reached an agreement to release him.

Canelo Alvarez

In September, Alvarez filed a lawsuit in federal court citing a breach of contract on an 11-fight, $365 million deal signed in 2018. A subsequent mediation situation between all parties failed, and the suit was refiled after a technical error.

Alvarez has not fought since November 2019, when he defeated light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev via DAZN. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Alvarez, Golden Boy and DAZN were unable to agree on Alvarez’s next opponent and the salary for that fight.

“After extended discussions between the parties, DAZN offered to pay Alvarez and Golden Boy Promotions a fraction of the contracted $40 million license fee in cash and some DAZN stock in advance of a potential IPO,” according to the initial lawsuit filed in California. “However, the entire value of the package — for a bout against another World Champion — was substantially less than Alvarez’s contractual guarantee.”

When Alvarez initially signed with DAZN, it was a massive moment for the business of boxing. Alvarez had agreed to fight on the streaming platform that opted for a monthly subscription over the traditional pay-per-view model used in boxing in recent decades. DAZN also signed Gennadiy Golovkin, whom Canelo has defeated once and drawn with in two controversial outcomes.

However, a third fight to complete the trilogy has become less likely in the wake of Alvarez’s release from his promotional contract.

Court filings show that Alvarez’s lawsuit was refiled October 8 and an additional motion was submitted by the defendants that said the lawsuit should be settled via arbitration, which Alvarez’s side disagreed with. In a statement Friday afternoon, Golden Boy chairman Oscar De La Hoya said both sides had come to an amicable solution.

“The lawsuit was resolved to everyone’s satisfaction and we wish Canelo the best going forward,” De La Hoya said in the statement. “In the strong partnership with DAZN, we will continue showcasing our wide array of talent, including rising superstars like Ryan Garcia, Jaime Munguia and Vergil Ortiz Jr., all of whom have the talent and potential to become the next biggest star in our sport.”

Ryan Garcia to Fight Luke Campbell for the WBC Interim Lightweight Title in December

The date is set for Ryan Garcia’s title fight…

The bout between the 22-year-old Mexican American boxer and Luke Campbell for the WBC interim lightweight title will take place on December 5, Golden Boy Promotions and DAZN have announced.

Ryan Garcia

The venue is still to be determined.

Vasiliy Lomachenko is the WBC lightweight “franchise” champion; Devin Haney is the WBC titleholder.

This is the first title fight for the 22-year-old Garcia (20-0, 17 KOs), who has not fought since a highlight-reel first-round knockout of Francisco Fonseca on February 14.

“I’ve been eagerly waiting to get back in the ring and have been working harder than ever to get here,” Garcia said. “It’s been a tough year for everyone, but I’m excited to bring the fans an escape for the night … or based on my track record, a few minutes at most. Luke’s record speaks for itself, but I’m ready to prove the doubters wrong. This is my era now and Dec. 5 is just the start of it.”

Added promoter Oscar De La Hoya: “For years, the world of boxing has been clamoring for a crossover star who can reach new audiences that have gone untapped for far too long. Ryan Garcia stands at the precipice of doing the same thing at an incredibly young age when he takes on Luke Campbell.”

The 33-year-old Campbell (20-3, 16 KOs) is ESPN‘s third-ranked lightweight and a seasoned veteran who has faced the likes of Jorge Linares and Lomachenko in recent years.

“2020 has been an extremely tough year for everyone, so I’m really pleased we can finally get this fight officially on and give the fans something to look forward to,” said Campbell, a 2012 Olympic gold medalist. “There’s been a lot of talk and he’s clearly a very highly regarded fighter, but I’m going to prove that this is far too much, far too soon, and that I’m on a completely different level.

“I’ve fought in America before, so this will be nothing new for myself and my team. Fans or no fans, the one thing I can guarantee is that I will be coming back to the UK with the victory. Training hasn’t stopped for me, and I’m going to be in peak condition to show something very special from Luke Campbell on December 5.”

Ryan Garcia Agrees to Fight Luke Cambell for WBC Interim Lightweight Title

Ryan Garcia is ready to rumble…

The proposed bout between the 22-year-old Mexican boxer and Luke Campbell for the vacant WBC interim lightweight title has been agreed upon.

Ryan “Kingry” Garcia 

A purse bid for the contest had been scheduled for Tuesday, but a seven-day extension was granted to Golden Boy Promotions, Garcia’s promoter, and Matchroom Sports, who promotes Campbell, to work out the final details.

“The WBC is pleased to confirm that the respective camps have agreed to the material terms of the Luke Campbell vs. Ryan Garcia bout for the WBC interim lightweight world championship,” the WBC said in a statement Tuesday.

The promoters are still working on a date and venue for the fight.

“The date we’re looking at is in November, and there’s going to [be] provisions in the agreement for the fight taking place in the U.K., or in the U.S.,” Golden Boy Promotions president Eric Gomez told ESPN.

When asked if the ability to have a live audience would be a determining factor in where this fight lands, Gomez said they will cross that bridge when the time comes.

“Right now, we haven’t discussed that,” said Gomez about the availability of fans. “It really depends on protocols and obviously travel restrictions because of COVID.”

Campbell (20-3, 16 KOs) is the WBC second-rated lightweight, and Garcia (20-0, 17 KOs) is No. 3.

It’s an interesting clash of styles, with the flashy Garcia, who has fast hands and a lethal left hook, against Campbell, a technically sound southpaw who has an Olympic gold medal to his credit and has had great battles against Jorge Linares and Vasiliy Lomachenko in recent years.

Currently the WBC lists Lomachenko as its “franchise” champion and Devin Haney as its “regular” titleholder.

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.

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.

Vergil Ortiz Officially Set to Fight Samuel Vargas in Golden Boy’s First Post-Coronavirus Fight Card

Vergil Ortiz is officially ready to rumble…

As previously expected, the 22-year-old highly regarded Mexican American welterweight will face veteran Samuel Vargas on July 24 in Golden Boy‘s first fight card since the coronavirus pandemic put a halt to boxing events across the world in mid-March.

Vergil Ortiz Jr.

The card will take place at the Fantasy Springs Casino Resortin Indio, California.

“We’re just excited, happy to be back with our fighters,” said Eric Gomez, president of Golden Boy Promotions

“Especially a guy like Vergil who was scheduled to fight before the shutdown. He was 10 days out from fighting, so I’m just happy he gets to fight again, and we’re back at it.”

For the time being, Golden Boy’s cards in California will be held without an audience.

Ortiz (15-0, 15 KOs) is considered one of boxing’s best young fighters. The Grand Prairie, Texas native has stopped everyone he has faced thus far as a professional. In 2019, Ortiz stopped Mauricio Herrera in three rounds, and then Antonio Orozco in six.

Ortiz and Vargas were originally scheduled to clash on March 28 at The Forumin Inglewood, California, before that card was canceled.

“I’m very thankful and excited to be headlining the first Golden Boy event after the quarantine,” said Ortiz, who has been training with Robert Garcia in Riverside for the past few weeks. “I’m happy that it’s still with the same opponent, so basically we’re picking up where we left off. It’s going to be a tough fight, and it’ll be a great way to kick off the year for me.”

Ortiz is facing a seasoned veteran in Vargas (31-5-2, 14 KOs), who has faced Amir KhanLuis CollazoDanny Garcia and Errol Spence over the course of his career.

“I think that everything happens for a reason,” said Vargas, who has been in Las Vegas in recent weeks, preparing for this bout. “I think this time off benefited me. I’m ready to upset the world. I believe I can come out with the win. The world is a weird place right now. The show will be different. There will be no fans, but I have no doubt I’m going to win.”

As Golden Boy officials began to put this card together, they found a rather limited pool of options to draw from, in terms of selecting boxers.

“There’s a lot of guys that just weren’t ready,” Gomez said. “They hadn’t been to the gym because [gyms] were closed, they didn’t train, do road work, sparring or anything. Now it’s a little better, but we’re not in the clear yet.”

The co-feature scheduled for July 24 is a 10-round lightweight contest between Hector Tanajara (19-0, 5 KOs) and Mercito Gesta (32-3-3, 17 KOs). Other fights include an eight-round middleweight bout between Shane Mosley Jr. (15-3, 9 KOs) and Jeremy Ramos (11-8, 2 KOs), a women’s junior flyweight fight between Seniesa Estrada (18-0, 7 KOs) and Jacky Calvo(12-5-2, 1 KO), and a clash between prospects Hector Valdez and Evan Sanchez.

There’s no indication when spectators will be allowed back into any sporting events, and from Golden Boy’s perspective, the hope at this point is just to try to get the first few cards off the ground smoothly.

“It’s hard to say. It’s scary. You’ve seen the numbers, they’ve been rising again,” Gomez said. “There have been surges in Florida, here in California. I don’t know what the governor is going to decide. I just hope we don’t get shut down again.”

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.

Canelo Alvarez Open to Fighting Without a Live Audience for Next Bout

Canelo Alvarez is willing to fight with or without an audience…

While no opponent or date has been finalized, Golden Boy Promotions president Eric Gomez says the 29-year-old Mexican boxer doesn’t mind fighting without a live audience in his next post-COVID 19 outing.

Canelo Alvarez

Alvarez, who holds titles at 160 and 168 pounds, is one of the biggest draws in the sport. But regulations related to the coronaviruspandemicwill prevent events from having audiences as fights begin to resume.

“Yes, for the time being, Canelo is open to fighting in September with no fans,” Gomez said Wednesday on “The 3 Knockdown Rule” podcast. “We’re actually discussing all the details now. But he’s open to it.”

As for who Alvarez’s opponent will be and when a fight will take place, Gomez said nothing has been finalized. 

Alvarez was expected to face WBO super middleweight belt-holder Billy Joe Saunders on May 2 in Las Vegas, but that fight didn’t happen because of the pandemic.

For now, the economics of the business have been greatly altered. With no fans and no tickets sold, the numbers involved in overall revenue have shrunk. For a franchise fighter like Alvarez, who signed a ballyhooed, 10-fight, $365 million contract with DAZN in 2018, ticket sales are vital to the bottom line. 

For example, Alvarez’s rematch against Gennadiy Golovkin sold 16,732 tickets at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, netting more than $23.4 million.

The reality is there is currently less money available to everyone involved in the sport.

“It’s going to be tricky. There are certain fighters that are going to accept it. They understand it,” said Gomez, whose company hopes to resume operations on July 4. “There are other fighters that are going to reject it.”

Marlen Esparza to Fight Lucia Nunez in March

Marlen Esparzais ready to rumble…

The 30-year-old Mexican American boxer will box on Golden Boy Promotions’ “Thursday Night Fights” series (DAZN/RingTV.com, 10:00 pm ET) on March 19 at the Avalon in Hollywood, California.

Marlen Esparza

Esparza joins a card that includes Joet Gonzalezand Lamont Roach, all coming off decision losses in world title bouts.

Esparza (7-1, 1 KO), who was a 2012 U.S. Olympicbronze medalist, will face Lucia Nunez(7-10), 29, of Mexico, in a six-round, women’s junior bantamweight bout.

In Esparza’s last fight, on November 2 in Las Vegas on the Canelo AlvarezSergey Kovalevundercard, she lost a ninth-round technical decision because of a bad cut from an accidental head-butt against rival Seniesa Estradafor a vacant interim women’s flyweight title.

“I’m ready to get back in the ring,” Esparza said. “There were multiple factors that made this last fight a real learning experience, but this next round of professional boxing is just the beginning of much more. I’m looking forward to coming out with the new strategies that I’ve been learning and switching up my game a bit.”

Gonzalez (23-1, 14 KOs), 26, of Glendora, California, will square off with former world title challenger Chris Avalos (27-7, 20 KOs), 30, of Lancaster, California, in a 10-round featherweight fight.

Gonzalez will be fighting for the first time since he faced bitter rival Shakur Stevenson for a vacant featherweight world title on October 26 in Reno, Nevada, and lost a near-shutout decision.

“I can’t wait to step back into the ring,” Gonzalez said. “I fought for a world title, so I know what it’s like to be at that level. Now, I’ll be coming back with an even stronger desire to become a world champion. This March 19, I will not disappoint.”

Avalos has lost two fights in a row but has vast experience, including in losses in world title bouts to Carl Frampton and Leo Santa Cruz and to Oscar Valdezin a nontitle bout.

“We’re coming to win,” Avalos said. “We’re back on track. The old Chris Avalos is back. (Gonzalez) may think I’m a joke. You may think I’m washed up. But I’m coming to kick your ass. Keep your hands (up) or you will see what happens.”

Roach (19-1-1, 7 KOs), 24, of Washington, will face Neil John Tabanao(17-7, 11 KOs), 25, of the Philippines, in a 10-round junior lightweight bout in the co-feature.

Roach will be in the ring for the first time since he lost a competitive unanimous decision as the mandatory challenger for 130-pound world titlist Jamel Herringon November 9 in Fresno, California.

“I’ve been itching to get back in that square to show that I’m the best at 130,” Roach said. “My last fight was just a glimpse, but this year it’s all the way up with me.”

Tabanao is coming off three 10-round decision losses in a row, all against undefeated fighters.

“I’m looking forward to this fight against Lamont Roach Jr.,” Tabanao said. “I know that he’s coming off his first loss and that he wants to fight for a world title again. However, I more experience than he, and I know how to score an upset.”