Ryan Garcia Agrees to Terms with Javier Fortuna on a Fight This Summer

Ryan Garcia is sealing the deal…

The 22-year-old Mexican American budding lightweight contender has agreed to terms with former champion Javier Fortuna on a fight this summer, according to ESPN.

Ryan Garcia

In March, the WBC ordered Garcia to fight Fortuna in a defense of the WBC’s interim lightweight title. The winner will likely be in contention to face Devin Haney, who holds the sanctioning body’s top belt in the 135-pound division.

The location and date is yet to be determined, but sources confirmed to ESPN it likely won’t occur on July 10, which is the same date as UFC 264 featuring the trilogy fight between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier.

Garcia (21-0, 18 KOs) is coming off a January win over Luke Campbell, which was the toughest bout of the 22-year-old’s young career. Fortuna (36-2-1, 25 KOs), who was once the junior lightweight champion, has won three straight fights since a no-contest against Adrian Granados in 2018.

Friday’s development comes exactly two weeks before a scheduled purse bid if Garcia and Fortuna’s promoters couldn’t come to an agreement.

Garcia, who has one of the biggest social media followings in boxing, has long viewed as one of Golden Boy Promotions‘ top prospects. Garcia defeated Campbell with a 7th-round technical knockout via a big body shot, Garcia’s fifth consecutive stoppage victory.

News of the Garcia-Fortuna bout was first reported by The Athletic.

Jason Castro Signs Two-Year, $7 Million Contract with Houston Astros

Jason Castro has landed an astronomical deal…

The Houston Astros have reached a two-year, $7 million contract with the Latino professional baseball catcher, according to ESPN.

Jason Castro

The deal, which includes $2 million in possible escalators based on games played at catcher in 2021, brings Castro back to Houston, where he was drafted in the first round of the 2008 amateur draft, spent his first six major league seasons and was an MLB All-Star in 2013.

Castro gives Houston another veteran catcher to play behind starter Martin Maldonado. Castro hit hit .232 with 62 home runs and 212 RBIs over 617 games during his first stint in Houston.

Castro finished the 2020 season with the San Diego Padres following a trade by the Los Angeles Angels in August. He appeared in 27 games between the two teams during the shortened season, hitting .188 with two home runs and nine RBIs. He spent the previous three seasons with the Minnesota Twins, where he played 208 games and hit .229.

He’s been a below-average hitter throughout his career, with a .230 batting average, but has been lauded for his pitch-framing and blocking skills.

The Athletic first reported on the agreement, while USA Today first reported the terms of the deal.

Canelo Alvarez Reportedly Planning to Fight Mandatory Challenger Avni Yildirim in February

Canelo Alvarez isn’t waiting long to get back in the ring…

The 30-year-old Mexican boxer, the sport’s biggest star, will return to the ring on February 27 versus mandatory challenger Avni Yildirim at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, according to sources.

Canelo Alvarez

The fight will be broadcast on DAZN and other PPV cable platforms everywhere except Mexico.

It will be a stay-busy title defense for Alvarez (54-1-2, 36 KOs), who is coming off a dominant unanimous decision victory over previously undefeated champion Callum Smith on December 19 to win the WBA, WBC and the Ring magazine super middleweight titles.

 

The Athletic was the first to report the Alvarez fight date.

“Canelo is in the gym, and he has been working and training, waiting for the date,” Alvarez’s trainer, Eddy Reynoso, said. “And to take advantage of the preparation we had for most of last year without fighting.”

After a deal with Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn, Alvarez is on track to fight again on May 8, the weekend following Cinco de Mayo, against WBO super middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders. That bout is not official yet, but it is expected, with IBF champion Caleb Plant as a secondary option.

Alvarez (54-1-2, 36 KOs) has plans to unify the super middleweight division, with Saunders and Plant as the two other belt holders in the division.

Yildirim (21-2, 12 KOs) hasn’t fought since a February 2019 split technical decision loss to Anthony Dirrell. He has been Alvarez’s WBC mandatory challenger since before the Alvarez-Smith bout.

“Obviously it’s a very big fight for me. It makes me very proud to be on a stage like this, representing the Turkish people,” Yildirim told ESPN on Wednesday. “I know my opponent well. Of course, Canelo is one of the best in the world. But I know my value, and now the entire world will see who Avni Yildirim is.”

Alvarez and Reynoso wanted to fulfill their commitment to the WBC by fighting Yildirim before continuing their pursuit through the super middleweight champions.

“Yildirim is a strong fighter. He is a fighter who has earned his place in boxing to get to where he is as the No. 1 challenger in the world,” Reynoso said. “He had a fight against Anthony Dirrell, which seemed to me they took away from him, and gave it to Dirrell due to a cut. It was a world title fight, and [even with a loss], he became an official challenger. He is a guy who has worked honestly to be there, and he is dangerous, strong, has a good punch and very reliable.”

This will be Alvarez’s first bout in Miami, a place he has long enjoyed. Fans can be in attendance up to the COVID-19 pandemic capacity allowed at Hard Rock Stadium, where the Miami Dolphins and Miami Hurricanes play their home football games.

Martin Perez Agrees to One-Year Deal to Return to the Boston Red Sox

Martin Perez is seeing Red (Sox)

The 29-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball pitcher, a veteran left-hander, has agreed to a one-year, $5 million guaranteed contract to return to the Boston Red Sox, according to ESPN.

Martin Perez 

Perez’s agreement, which was first reported by The Athletic, includes a club option for a second year in 2022.

Perez spent last season with the Red Sox, going 3-5 with a 4.50 ERA, which was preceded by a season in which he went 10-7 with a 5.12 ERA with the Minnesota Twins.

He had spent the previous seven seasons with the Texas Rangers, posting double-digit wins three separate times.

Felix Verdejo to Fight Masayoshi Nakatani in December

Felix Verdejo will be returning to the ring next month…

The 27-year-old Puerto Rican professional boxer and lightweight contender will fight Masayoshi Nakatani on December 12, Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti has told The Athletic.

Felix Verdejo

The fight will be the co-main event of a Top Rank card at the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas.

Verdejo (27-1, 17 KOs) was injured in a motorcycle accident in August 2016 but returned to the ring six months later and has a record of 5-1 since then, including an impressive first-round TKO victory over Will Madera in July.

Japan’s Nakatani (18-1, 12 KOs) made his U.S. debut in July 2019 and was the first fighter to take Teofimo Lopez the distance, losing a hard-fought unanimous decision at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland.

Top Rank is still looking for a replacement main event after Miguel Berchelt tested positive for COVID-19 and his fight against Oscar Valdez was postponed.

Former featherweight titlist Shakur Stevenson offered to step in for Berchelt and told ESPN on Tuesday that he had asked his team to inquire about the possibility of fighting Valdez on short notice.

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.

Yoan Moncada Agrees to Five-Year, $70 Million Extension with Chicago White Sox

Yoan Moncadais the $70 million man…

The Chicago White Sox have agreed to a five-year extension with the 24-year-old Cuban professional baseball player and third basemanworth $70 million, according to ESPN.

Yoan Moncada

The contract includes a sixth-year club option worth $25 million and includes a $5 million buyout. It also buys out two years of Moncada’s free agency.

The news was first reported by The Athletic.

Moncada, who was acquired by the White Sox in the trade that sent ace left-hander Chris Sale to the Boston Red Sox in 2016, has hit .265 with 50 home runs and 163 RBIs in three seasons with Chicago.

He had a career season in 2019, hitting .315 with 25 home runs and 79 RBIs in 132 games.