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.

Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez Outlasts Israel Gonzalez to Keep WBA Junior Bantamweight World Title

Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez is still the champion…

The 33-year-old Nicaraguan professional boxer retained his WBA junior bantamweight world title by wearing down Israel Gonzalez in 12 fast-paced rounds full of action on Friday night on DAZN at the TV Azteca Studios in Mexico City.

Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez

At the end of the fight, all three judges scored the fight for Chocolatito: 118-110, 116-112 and 117-111.

It was a remarkable pace set forth by Chocolatito, against an opponent nine years his junior.

Chocolatito was able to figure out the upper body movement of Gonzalez (25-4, 11 KOs) in the early rounds by landing right hands to the body, and then combining his attack with an array of left hooks, uppercuts from both sides and right hands over the top.

While Israel was the taller fighter, Roman (50-2, 41 KOs) was able to close the gap and send his opponent to the ropes, where Roman would landed effective combinations to the body and head.

Israel had some spurts of effectiveness, as he had the faster hands, but for the most part, he was on the receiving end of an unrelenting offensive attack that he simply couldn’t fend off.

With the victory, Chocolatito moved one step closer to an expected rematch with Estrada, whom he defeated in 2012 in a memorable battle.

Leo Santa Cruz to Defend WBA Junior Lightweight Title Against Gervonta Davis on Halloween

Leo Santa Cruz is ready for a Halloween rumble….

The title fight between the 32-year-old Mexican professional boxer and Gervonta “Tank” Davis, one of the biggest events of 2020, has been moved to October 31 at San Antonio’s Alamodome, the two junior lightweight fighters have announced.

Leo Santa Cruz

The bout, which will be broadcast on Showtime PPV, is tentatively scheduled to be the first American combat sports event to allow fans since COVID-19 became a pandemic. The number of fans who’ll be in attendance has not been announced.

Santa Cruz (37-1, 19 KOs), ranked eighth among junior lightweights, will be defending the primary WBA junior lightweight belt.

Davis (23-0, 22 KOs) is the No. 4 lightweight in ESPN‘s divisional rankings.

Santa Cruz is coming off a unanimous decision against Miguel Flores last November. Davis most recently fought in December, when he stopped veteran Yuriorkis Gamboa.

Davis, 25, needed two attempts to make the 135-pound weight limit for the Gamboa bout. The October 31 fight against Santa Cruz will be at the junior lightweight limit of 130 pounds.

Under current state guidelines, Texas allows 50% of a stadium’s capacity for sporting events. The indoor venue has a listed capacity of 32,000 for boxing events but seats 64,000 for football. Last weekend, the announced attendance for UTSA‘s football win over Middle Tennessee was 6,182.

Smaller cards around the country have hosted fans in attendance since the pandemic forced restrictions nationwide. But every major bout has been conducted in a closed environment with no paid spectators.

Premier Boxing Champions, which unofficially promotes Davis and Santa Cruz, held a Showtime PPV event last weekend at the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut featuring Jermall Charlo and Jermell Charlo. It was PBC‘s first major event since the COVID-19 shutdown.

Yordenis Ugas Outpoints Abel Ramos to Win WBA Welterweight Title

Yordenis Ugas is a champion…

The 34-year-old Cuban boxer captured a version of the WBA welterweight title by outlasting Abel Ramos over 12 clinical rounds at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Sunday night.

Yordenis Ugas

While it seemed like Ugas (26-4, 12 KOs) dominated most of the fight behind his long left jab, the fight was actually a split decision.

Zachary Young and Edward Hernandez had him up by the score of 115-113, while Lou Moret had Ramos on top, 117-111.

Regardless, this was a strong showing from Ugas, who boxed well from the outside in the early rounds. Then in the fourth, he began to plant his feet and started to control the center of the ring, almost daring Ramos to come toward him. But throughout the night, the rapier-like jab of Ugas kept him from ever really committing to a sustained offensive attack.

Ugas isn’t generally known as an aggressive fighter, but on this night, he was in command and for the most part initiating the action. Along with his steady jab, Ugas would throw long right hands and the occasional left hook to the body, consistently out-working Ramos (26-4-2, 20 KOs) round after round.

In his last outing back on February 15, Ramos made a miraculous comeback in scoring a last-second knockout of Bryant Perella while he was down big on the cards. On Sunday night, he was able to clip Ugas in the late stages of the 12th, staggering him for a quick spell. But it was far too little, far too late.

Ugas out-landed Ramos 233 to 109 in terms of total punches, 160 of them being the jab, which set the table for him all night.

Despite what the scorecards showed, this was a dominant outing for Ugas, who last year was on the wrong side of a disputed decision versus Shawn Porter for the WBC welterweight title.

Ugas, who is rated seventh in the ESPN rankings at welterweight, has won 11 out of 12 bouts since dropping back-to-back bouts in 2014.

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.

Rolando Romero Defeats Jackson Marinez to Become Interim WBA Lightweight Champion

Rolando Romero is a champion…

The 24-year-old Latino boxer defeated Jackson Marinez by unanimous decision on Saturday night at the Mohegan Sun Casino and Resort in Connecticut to become the new interim WBA lightweight champion.

Rolando Romero

The judges scored the fight 115-113, 116-112 and 118-110 for Romero.

But the victory didn’t come without controversy, as Marinez outlanded Romero and appeared to control the majority of the rounds.

The hard-hitting Romero (12-0, 10 KOs) came out fast, throwing punches with bad intentions from the very beginning, but the savvy Marinez (19-1, 7 KOs) was able to evade most of those attacks and soon he was controlling things with his jab.

There wasn’t much sustained action as the fight fell into a familiar pattern. Romero would throw punches with all his might, miss most of them, then Marinez would land a few jabs and the occasional right hand.

“I don’t think I had a bad performance,” Romero said. “I thought I won the fight. Regardless of everything, I’m the world champ now. I’m happy.

“He came out a little bit tougher and slicker than what I thought. But all he did was move around the entire fight. He didn’t even try to engage so it’s hard to knock out someone who doesn’t want to get knocked out or doesn’t try to engage. I hurt him multiple times, with body shots, with a few hooks. There was one moment I hurt him with a right hand and he pulled my head down. It was hard to finish him off because I hurt him a lot at the end of the rounds.”

Marinez outlanded Romero 103-86 in total punches and appeared to outbox him for much of the night.

“That was pure robbery,” Marinez said. “I won the fight. I out-jabbed [him], outboxed him. You could tell he didn’t think he won the fight right afterwards. It’s a robbery.”

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.

Seniesa Estrada Scores One of the Fastest Knockouts in Boxing History

Seniesa Estrada is celebrating a record-setting win…

The 28-year-old Mexican American boxer, an unbeaten junior flyweight, needed just seven seconds to finish off an overmatched Miranda Adkins as part of the DAZN card on Friday night at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California.

Seniesa Estrada

As the opening bell rang, Estrada (19-0, 8 KOs) stunned Adkins immediately with a three-punch combination, then followed with a four-punch salvo, punctuated by a left hook that sent Adkins to the canvas.

In doing so, Estrada scored the fastest knockout in women’s boxing history.

“It was the outcome I expected,” Estrada said. “I give her respect for stepping into the ring with me while having a 5-0 record. If it weren’t for her, I probably wouldn’t have had an opponent tonight, so I thank her.

“Hopefully, next time I can fight someone who is a world champion.”

Adkins (5-1, 5 KOs), a late replacement for Jacky Calvo after Calvo suffered a knee injury, came into Friday’s fight undefeated. But four of Adkins’ wins came against opponents making their pro debut, and the other came against a foe who was winless in two fights.

“I give Adkins so much credit because she stood up and took the fight,” Estrada said. “Due to the COVID situation, we tried to get current champions, former champions, and Miranda was the only one who stepped in to take the fight. I had more experience than her in the professionals and amateurs, so I let my punches go and couldn’t stop. I knew the outcome would be a knockout, for sure, but didn’t know how long it would take.

“I want all the champions; I’m ready for it. At 105 pounds, 108 pounds or 112 pounds. I want Anabel Ortiz, who has the WBA title at 105, and Yesenia Gomez, who has the WBC title at 108. I want a world champion fight. Marlen Esparza, l will give her the rematch. Let’s go!”

According to Guinness World Records, the fastest knockout in boxing history was in a Golden Gloves tournament in Minneapolis on November 4, 1947, when Mike Collins knocked out Pat Brownson in four seconds.

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.