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.”

Yuniel Dorticos’ World Boxing Super Series Cruiserweight Finals Bout Against Mairis Briedis Set for Later This Month

The third time will hopefully be the charm Yuniel Dorticos

The World Boxing Super Series cruiserweight finals between the 34-year-old Cuban professional boxer and Latvia’s Mairis Briedis has been rescheduled for September 26 at the Plazamedia broadcasting center in Munich, Germany, according to Kalle Sauerland, chief boxing officer for the WBSS.

Yuniel Dorticos

The fight, which matches ESPN‘s top two rated cruiserweights, has been postponed twice because of the coronavirus pandemic. The bout was originally scheduled for March 21, and then for May 16.

“It’s the biggest fight in boxing since the coronavirus outbreak. I can’t think of any other fight that’s bigger than this one,” Sauerland told ESPN on Tuesday. “It’s for the Muhammad Ali Trophy, the finals of the second season of the World Boxing Super Series, and it’s a sign that boxing is back.

“There’s been some great boxing on, but there hasn’t been a No. 1 versus No. 2 in the division, which this is.”

Dorticos (24-1, 22 KOs), the IBF belt holder, reached the finals by scoring a unanimous decision victory against Mateusz Masternak in October 2018 and a 10th-round KO win over Andrew Tabiti in June 2019. Breidis scored a unanimous decision victory over Noel Gevor in November 2018 and a third round stoppage of Krzysztof Glowacki last summer.

“[The event] will be completely behind closed doors — we’re under very strict supervision by the local authorities,” Sauerland said.

Since Breidis is from Latvia and Breidis is based in Miami, there were some logistical hurdles that had to be climbed as both will travel to Germany for this event, which will be streamed on DAZN.

“It’s taken a lot of energy in the background, both teams have been great, very supportive of all the information we’ve needed. It’s really been an effort,” Sauerland said. “As a fan, I’m just looking forward to seeing big-time boxing back. What more can I say?”

Jose Ramirez Defeats Viktor Postol to Retain WBC & WBO Junior Welterweight World Titles

Jose Ramirez is still a titleholder…

The 28-year-old Mexican American boxer has retained his WBC and WBO junior welterweight world titles in a close battle against Viktor Postol.

Jose Ramirez

Postol’s tactical boxing style made Ramirez strategically uncomfortable throughout this weekend’s fight, and neither man ever truly took control of the action.

But, it was Ramirez who ultimately got the majority decision win by the scores of 114-114, 115-113 and 116-112 at the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas.

With the victory, Ramirez kept alive his chances of fully unifying the 140-pound division against Josh Taylor, who holds the WBA and IBF world titles.

Ramirez, a frenetic pressure fighter, was kept at bay for much of the fight by the long reach of Postol, who worked the perimeter of the ring adroitly for long stretches of the fight.

While many of the rounds were close, Ramirez generally appeared the busier fighter. He was able to stun Postol a few times with left hands in the seventh and eighth rounds.

But Ramirez was never truly able to impose his will on the always-composed Postol. Unfortunately for Postol, his game plan wouldn’t be enough to capture the two belts.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, this bout had been canceled twice prior. Both fighters had not fought in more than a year.

Ramirez said the long layoff and the crowdless environment affected his performance.

“I went in there a little too cold, you know?” Ramirez said after the fight. “I impressed myself. I’m much stronger than most guys think. I just gotta not lose confidence in myself and stick to what I do best and box, let my hands go and not hesitate too much. I think there was a little bit of hesitation throughout the fight.

“I felt like I was just in a sparring session. I think I could’ve made the fight a lot easier in my favor, but we live and we learn. This was an amazing experience. I’m just happy I got the win.”

Ramirez cleared a significant hurdle in his quest to become the first fighter of Mexican heritage to capture all four major belts in a division.

Ramirez’s attention now turns to September 26, when Taylor faces his IBF mandatory challenger, Apinun Khongsong. A victory by Taylor could set up a title unification bout with Ramirez.

Andy Ruiz Jr. Agrees to Fight Against Chris Arreola

Andy Ruiz Jr. has a new challenger…

The 30-year-old Mexican American boxer, a former unified world titleholder, will battle against former title challenger Chris Arreola in a heavyweight bout.

Andy Ruiz Jr.

No date and venue have been announced, but the fight is supposed to take place later this year.

“It’s a planned fight. They pretty much know that the plan is to fight each other. We don’t have a set date for that or know what show we’re going to put it on yet,” a source at Premier Boxing Champions tells ESPN.

The Athletic first reported the news.

Ruiz (33-2, 22 KOs) was the Cinderella story of boxing in 2019 after shocking the world by stopping Anthony Joshua by seventh-round TKO to win the WBO, IBF and WBA world titles at Madison Square Garden in New York. Ruiz then lost the belts by unanimous decision in a rematch with Joshua six months later at the Diriyah Arena in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia.

After coming in at 268 pounds for the first encounter, Ruiz weighed in at 283.5 pounds for the rematch and was soundly criticized for his training habits leading into that fight. Ruiz replaced his head trainer, Manuel Robles, with Eddy Reynoso, best known for his work in developing Canelo Alvarez.

The 39-year-old Mexican American Arreola (38-6-1, 33 KOs) has been a fixture in the heavyweight division for years. He has gotten two shots at the world title, against Wladimir Klitschko and Deontay Wilder.

After getting stopped by Wilder in eight rounds in 2016, he took nearly a year and a half off from the ring but returned to score stoppage victories against Maurenzo Smith (TKO in 6th) and Jean Pierre Augustin (TKO in 3rd) before losing a unanimous decision to Adam Kownacki last summer.

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.

Top Rank Eyes October 3 Fight Date for Teofimo Lopez Jr. vs. Vasiliy Lomachenko

The biggest fight of Teofimo Lopez Jr.’s career could be happening soon…

The lightweight unification title fight between the 22-year-old Honduran-American professional boxer, who has held the IBF lightweight title since 2019 and Vasiliy Lomachenko might now take place on October 3 in Las Vegas, Top Rank president Todd duBoef confirmed to ESPN.

Teofimo Lopez

Recently, Top Rank chairman Bob Arum suggested September 19 as a potential date for the fight, after a spring date was moved because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

DuBoef said “it’s still too early to determine everything” regarding the bout and that he is uncertain as to whether it will be closed to the public.

“I’m not sure that fight happens with fans,” duBoef told ESPN.

Top Rank, which promotes Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs) and Lopez (15-0, 12 KOs), has held several cards inside an enclosed area at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. DuBoef said the fight could be a potential pay-per-view bout at the MGM.

Arum told Boxingscene.com he is hopeful to have perhaps 2,000 to 2,500 people in attendance. But those plans could be altered as the pandemic worsens around the United States.

Like many other states, Nevada is experiencing a spike in COVID-19 cases. According to the most recent numbers posted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the state has seen an increase of 5,889 cases over the past seven days, which is nearly a quarter of the state’s total cases since the pandemic started.

The October 3 date was originally reserved for the third bout between heavyweights Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder, duBoef told ESPN. That was pushed to December 19, leaving a potential PPV slot available.

Lomachenko is ESPN’s top pound-for-pound fighter, while Lopez won the IBF’s lightweight belt in December, when he stopped Richard Commey in the second round for his first major professional championship.

Jose Zepeda Beats Kendo Castaneda by Unanimous Decision to Bolster World Title Hopes

Jose Zepeda has bolstered his world title hopes…

The 31-year-old Mexican American junior welterweight title contender earned a unanimous decision Tuesday night over Kendo Castaneda after easily outpointing his opponent over 10 rounds in a clinical performance inside “The Bubble” at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Convention Center.

Jose Zepeda

Zepeda (32-2, 25 KOs) kept his focus and won by scores of 97-93, 98-92 and 98-92. He was sharp in the early going, boxing out of his southpaw stance as he established his right jab and then alternated planting straight lefts to the body and head of Castaneda (17-2, 8 KOs) — boxing freely at his own pace.

Castaneda was a step behind Zepeda from the start, and he failed to find a consistent answer for Zepeda’s variety of punches with great speed and precision. Castaneda eventually had some moments in the sixth and seventh rounds, but Zepeda quickly reasserted control in the eighth and cruised to victory through the last few rounds.

“I think it was good,” Zepeda said of his performance. “Since he hasn’t been on the big stages, nobody knows anything about him. But today I noticed that he can get hit. He can [take] some punches. It was a good performance, [but] I can do better. Every time the level goes up, I go up, too.”

Zepeda was originally slated to face fellow junior welterweight contender Ivan Baranchyk, who pulled out of the fight due to an injury suffered in training. Zepeda has been angling for a world title fight against one of two fighters who each hold two belts — Jose Ramirez, to whom Zepeda dropped a close split decision loss, or Josh Taylor.

“Like I said before, I have four names in mind — WBC,WBOIBF and WBA,” Zepeda said.

Zepeda challenged for the WBO lightweight title in 2015 and the WBC light welterweight title in 2019. He’s currently ranked as the world’s fourth best active light welterweight by BoxRec, eighth by The Ring and ninth by the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board.

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.

Rey Vargas Defeats Tomoki Kameda to Retain WBC Junior Featherweight Title

Rey Vargasis still the champion…

In what’s described as “an often awkward and ugly affair” over the weekend at the Dignity Health Sports Park, the 28-year-old Mexican professional boxer retained his WBC junior featherweight title by outpointing Japanese challenger Tomoki Kameda.

Rey Vargas

All three judges scored the fight 117-110 for Vargas.

Loud boos poured in at the end of the bout and after the decision was rendered; while Vargas (34-0, 22 KOs) was effective, he was far from exciting. Kameda (36-3, 20 KOs) certainly tried his best to make a fight, but his efforts were mostly futile.

While the decision was unpopular, it was the correct one.

Vargas is one of the toughest matchups in boxing. Listed at nearly 5-foot-11 — significantly tall for a 122-pounder — he can control distance from the outside and is adept at smothering his foes as they get close. While not a particularly crowd-pleasing style, it works for Vargas, who methodically wins one round after another.

That continued Saturday night.

 “The idea was to throw a lot of punches and to have a very intelligent fight,” said Vargas, who made his fifth title defense. “I believe that we made this a very smart fight, an intelligent one. This is a boxer’s style, to fight with precision. I believe that he brought a lot of fans from Japan, and that’s why they don’t agree with the decision.”

Kameda tried his best to close the gap and rush inside on Vargas, but oftentimes he was devoid of the jab and had problems gauging distance. That left him in positions where he couldn’t land clean punches and then ended up in a clinch with the champ.

“First of all, I want to say thank you to everyone,” Kameda said. “I recognize Vargas. I believe that he won the fight tonight, and I respect him as a champion. He won. I need to learn and to practice more in order to get another chance to be champion again. I am very grateful for all the Mexican people. I want to be world champion again.”

Moving forward, Vargas would like to add a couple of more belts to his collection. Asked whom he wanted to face next, he pointed to the IBF and WBAbelt holder.

Danny Roman,” Vargas said. “We need to unify titles — why not? I want all three titles. Danny, we are ready. I am ready whenever you want to fight. You know when a Mexican fights another Mexican, it’s a war.”

Barthelemy to Defend Boxing Title Against Fernando Saucedo

Rances Barthelemy is ready to defend his title…

The 28-year-old Cuban boxer, the current IBF Super Featherweight champion, will face-off against Fernando Saucedo on October 4, according to ESPN.com.

Rances Barthelemy

Warriors Boxing promoter Leon Margules says the fight is signed and will likely air on Showtime from a site to be determined. Margules says there’s a strong chance that it will take place at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut.

“I think Barthelemy is the best 130-pound fighter in the world and Saucedo is a good boxer, strong and very durable, so he should be a good test for my guy,” Margules said. “Saucedo earned his ranking and it’s a good test for Barthelemy in his first title defense.”

Barthelemy (20-0, 12 KOs), a Cuban defector living in Miami, won his title via unanimous decision from Argenis Mendez on July 10 in Miami. It was a rematch of the two-round no decision they fought in January, when Barthelemy knocked Mendez out in the second round but the result was eventually changed to a no decision and the title returned to Mendez after his camp protested the outcome because video replays showed that the knockout blow was clearly delivered after the bell had rung to end the round, which was an unintentional foul.

Saucedo (52-5-3, 8 KOs), of Argentina, is riding a 14-fight winning streak since losing his only other world title fight, a lopsided decision to then-featherweight titlist Chris John in 2010 in John’s native Indonesia. The other name fighter on Saucedo’s resume is former two-division titleholder Acelino “Popo” Freitas, who dropped and outpointed Saucedo in a 10-rounder in 2004. Saucedo has never been knocked out in any of his five defeats.

“Saucedo is the most talented, available fighter willing to fight Barthelemy that is in the top 15 of the IBF rankings,” Margules said. “And he is also the highest available guy, No. 3, so we are fighting him. And top 15 and he was the highest available guy, No. 3.”

Margules said another factor in making the fight is that Saucedo is promoted by Sampson Lewkowicz, with whom Margules is close.

“We do a fare amount of business together and he is a friend,” Margules said.