Isaac “Pitbull” Cruz to Defend WBA Junior Welterweight Title Against Jose Valenzuela

Isaac Pitbull Cruz is going on the defensive…

The 25-year-old Mexican professional boxer will defend his WBA junior welterweight title against Jose Valenzuela, according to ESPN.

Isaac "Pitbull" CruzThe fight will take place on the Terence CrawfordIsrail Madrimov undercard presented by Riyadh Season, the first boxing event organized by Saudi Arabia outside the kingdom.

Cruz (26-2-1, 18 KOs) will make the first defense of the title he won last month with an eighth-round TKO victory over Rolly Romero.

That was Cruz’s first fight at 140 pounds.

Cruz has won four fights since a close-decision defeat to Gervonta Davis in December 2021. Cruz is

ESPN‘s No. 5 junior welterweight.

Valenzuela (13-2, 9 KOs) is coming off a brutal sixth-round KO win over Chris Colbert in a December rematch.

The 24-year-old Mexican lost his two previous bouts, a decision defeat to Colbert and a third-round KO at the hands of Edwin De Los Santos.

This will be Valenzuela’s 140-pound debut.

Isaac “Pitbull” Cruz Overpowers & Dethrones WBA Super Lightweight Champion Rolando “Rolly” Romero

Isaac “Pitbull” Cruz has claimed his first major title…

The 25-year-old Mexican professional boxer (26-2-1, 18 KOs) overpowered and dethroned WBA super lightweight champion Rolando “Rolly” Romero (15-2, 13 KOs) after getting an eighth round referee’s stoppage on Saturday night at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Isaac "Pitbull" CruzCruz set the tone early, with wild overhand rights that whistled by the head of Romero.

Then Cruz put on a masterclass in stalking and cutting off the ring against Romero.

Finally, Cruz completed his beatdown of Romero with at least six straight shots to the head, forcing referee Tom Taylor to stop the fight at 56 seconds of the eighth round.

With the win, Cruz took Romero’s WBA junior welterweight world title on the co-main event of a card headlined by a junior middleweight title fight between Tim Tszyu and Sebastian Fundora.

“I didn’t want to come here and just win,” said Cruz. “I wanted to massacre Rolly and make him eat all the garbage he said to me. …I fought with the intention to leave the decision out of the judges’ hands.”

Mission accomplished.

The relentless Cruz so dominated the fight that Romero had to be checked by the ringside doctor before heading out for the fateful eighth round. Romero almost went down in the first round after taking a left hook to the forehead, was docked a point for holding in the fifth and was again saved by the ropes in the seventh after taking a big right uppercut to the chin that essentially had him out on his feet.

Cruz has now won four straight fights since losing a unanimous decision to Gervonta Davis on December 5, 2021 in Los Angeles.

“I was prepared for this. I wasn’t here to just fight. I was here to terminate him,” said Cruz. “I did my talking right here in the ring. And I did this not just for me but for everybody that is here at T-Mobile Arena. There’s going to be a Mexican champ at 140 pounds for a long time.”

The taller Romero, who fights out of Las Vegas but felt no home-ring advantage with a raucous pro-Mexico crowd, fell to 15-2 as he has now lost two of this last three fights.

He lost by a sixth-round TKO against Davis on May 28, 2022 in Brooklyn for the WBA’s lightweight title before stopping Ismael Barroso for the WBA’s junior welterweight title on May 13, 2023 in Las Vegas. He never looked comfortable with the way Cruz cut the ring off on him, while absorbing so many power shots.

Canelo Alvarez to Fight Jaime Munguia in Las Vegas in May

May the Fourth be wih Canelo Alvarez.

The 33-year-old Mexican boxing superstar has finalized a deal to fight Jaime Munguia on May 4 fight at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas for Alvarez’s undisputed super middleweight championship.

Canelo AlvarezIt’s a one-fight deal for Alvarez and Premier Boxing Champions, sources said, after the sides parted ways last week with two bouts remaining on a three-fight agreement signed last June.

It’s a coup for PBC to welcome Alvarez, boxing’s top star, back into the fold for its second pay-per-view offering as part of its new partnership with Amazon‘s Prime Video.

DAZN, the streaming service that has an exclusive deal with Golden Boy Promotions, will also carry the event.

Munguia’s past 12 fights were streamed by DAZN. The 27-year-old Mexican fighter has been co-promoted by Zanfer and Golden Boy.

“On May 4, I’ll be fighting Jaime Munguia at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas,” Alvarez posted on social media. “Mexico vs. Mexico!”

Munguia (43-0, 34 KOs) is coming off a career-best win, a ninth-round TKO of John Ryder in January. He has steadily improved under the guidance of Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach.

Now, Munguia will represent Alvarez’s first Mexican opponent since Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in 2017. Munguia is rated No. 4 by ESPN at 168 pounds.

Alvarez, ESPN’s No. 4 pound-for-pound boxer, was lined up for a championship defense against Jermall Charlo in May. However, Alvarez and PBC couldn’t agree to terms for the matchup, which contractually allowed him to explore other options.

Alvarez (60-2-2, 39 KOs) discussed a return to DAZN for bouts with Munguia and Edgar Berlanga this year, but when those talks stalled the champion returned to the table with PBC, sources said.

Alvarez plans to fight on Mexican Independence Day weekend in September as well.

Alvarez defeated Jermall’s twin brother, Jermell Charlo, via unanimous decision in September to retain his undisputed super middleweight championship as he kicked off the PBC partnership.

When the deal was signed in June, Jermall Charlo was lined up as the first opponent before he ultimately withdrew because of personal matters. Jermell stepped in, while Jermall and Errol Spence Jr. loomed as possibilities for the second and third bouts of the deal. That was before Spence was TKO’d by Terence Crawford in a one-sided beatdown in July, eliminating one viable opponent for Alvarez.

Then in November, Jermall failed to impress in a decision win against Jose Benavidez Jr. The bout was Charlo’s first in 29 months. It’s a big event any time Alvarez fights, but there was little commercial demand for a matchup with another Charlo after Jermell’s listless performance in September.

With an Alvarez-Charlo fight less appealing for May, the door opened for what promises to be a far more lucrative matchup with Munguia. Alvarez has been the sport’s top attraction since Floyd Mayweather Jr. retired in 2017.

The all-time great’s résumé includes a pair of wins over Gennadiy Golovkin and titles in four weight classes. His win over Charlo was preceded by a decision victory over Ryder in May in Mexico. Alvarez scored knockdowns in both fights.

The biggest potential fight out there for Alvarez remains a matchup against rising star David Benavidez.

“The reason why this fight is not happening is because Alvarez doesn’t want it to happen, plain and simple,” David Benavidez told ESPN last week.

PBC’s stable also includes star boxer Gervonta Davis, who is set to return vs. Frank Martin this summer. PBC’s first event with Prime Video will take place March 30 in Las Vegas, a pay-per-view headlined by Keith Thurman vs. Tim Tszyu.

Rolly Romero to Defend WBA 140-Pound Title Against Isaac “Pitbull” Cruz in March

Rolly Romero is going on the defensive…

The 29-year-old Latino boxer has finalized a deal to defend his WBA 140-pound title against Isaac “Pitbull” Cruz on March 30 in Las Vegas, sources tell ESPN.

Rolly RomeroRomero-Cruz will serve as the co-feature to Tim TszyuKeith Thurman, Premier Boxing Champions‘ first PPV as part of its new deal with Amazon‘s Prime Video.

The development comes after Ryan Garcia claimed Wednesday evening on social media that he was fighting Romero on April 20. On Thursday morning after ESPN broke the news of Romero-Cruz, Garcia posted on X that he was “informed the deal was finalizing and it would be announced in the coming days.”

“Obviously that was a lie,” Garcia wrote. “My patience has been tested the last few weeks. … I’ll be looking forward to announcing my next fight. I’m not going to say anything until it’s actually signed and delivered.”

Romero (15-1, 13 KOs) is one of the most outspoken fighters in boxing. He won the title in controversial fashion with a ninth-round TKO victory over Ismael Barroso in May. Barroso dropped Romero in Round 3 and didn’t appear to be in serious trouble when the referee stopped the bout.

Romero, who fights out of Las Vegas, suffered his lone professional defeat in May 2022, a sixth-round TKO defeat to Gervonta Davis.

Cruz (25-2, 17 KOs) will move up to 140 pounds for his first full-fledged title shot. He challenged Davis for a secondary lightweight title in December 2021 and dropped a tightly contested decision.

The Mexico City native has won three bouts since the loss, victories over Yuriorkis Gamboa (TKO 5), Eduardo Ramirez (KO 2) and Giovanni Cabrera (split decision). Cruz hasn’t competed since the win over Cabrera in July.

Ryan Garcia Delivers Eighth-Round Knockout of Oscar Duarte

Ryan Garcia has bounced back with a vengeance…

In his first fight with Derrick James as his trainer, the 25-year-old Mexican American boxer delivered a stunning eighth-round knockout of Oscar Duarte at Toyota Arena in Houston and live on DAZN.

Ryan GarciaGarcia’s stellar return to the ring on Saturday night comes after suffering his lone loss this past April.

Just when it looked like the pressure-fighting Duarte was gaining momentum, Garcia turned the tide in a flash with a left hook to the temple that put Duarte on jelly legs. Sensing he had Duarte hurt, Garcia smothered him with punches, including a right hook and uppercut, forcing Duarte to drop to a knee.

Duarte would rise off the canvas after the count of nine, though the referee stopped the fight right then and there, rewarding Garcia (24-1) with his 20th pro knockout.

“I fought hard to find myself again and I did a lot of soul-searching,” Garcia told DAZN’s Chris Mannix about returning to the ring since falling to Gervonta Davis by seventh-round KO nearly eight months back.

Garcia entered the fight flashing his quicker hand speed, though he seemed to respect the power of the heavy-handed Duarte. Toward the second half of the fight, Garcia noticeably resorted to the shoulder roll more, while moving around the ring enough to draw boos from the Texas crowd.

That hook to the temple ended any criticism of “King Ry” on the night as he positions himself to go after a 140-pound world title next, having these words for WBA titleholder Rolando “Rolly” Romero.

“I’m committing to becoming a world champion,” Garcia told DAZN. “If Rollys wants that, bring it on, Rollys.”

Jose Pedraza to Fight Keyshawn Davis in 10-Round Lightweight Bout in December

Jose Pedraza has secured his next opponent…

The 34-year-old Puerto Rican professional boxer and former two-weight world champion has agreed to fight Keyshawn Davis in a 10-round lightweight bout on December 9 in Pembroke Pines, Florida, according to ESPN.

Jose Pedraza Pedraza (29-5-1, 14 KOs) is winless in his past three bouts, all of which took place at 140 pounds. A draw with Richard Commey was sandwiched in between close decision losses to junior welterweight contenders Jose Ramirez and Arnold Barboza.

Pedraza last competed at 135 pounds in May 2019.

The slick southpaw was a titleholder at 130 and 135 pounds. Both of his title defeats came against the sport’s elite. Pedraza lost his 130-pound title via TKO to Gervonta Davis in 2017.

The following year, Pedraza dropped his 135-pound title via decision to Vasiliy Lomachenko.

Davis, an Olympic silver medalist, will be stepping way up in competition for his first bout against a former champion. The 135-pound bout will take place on the ESPN undercard of a featherweight title fight between WBO titleholder Robeisy Ramirez and Rafael Espinoza, sources said.

Davis, 24, is coming off the toughest fight of his career, a majority-decision victory over Nahir Albright earlier this month.

The matchup with Pedraza will be the fourth fight for Davis (10-0, 6 KOs) this year as the prospect looks to become a contender with a victory over the 34-year-old gatekeeper.

Davis, one of the sport’s best prospects, competed at the Olympics in 2021. The Norfolk, Virginia, native is trained by Brian McIntyre, who also guides Terence Crawford.

Junior middleweight prospect Xander Zayas will also fight on the undercard, sources said.

Ryan Garcia to Fight Oscar Duarte in December Junior Welterweight Bout

Ryan Garcia is heading back to the mat…

The 25-year-old Mexican American boxing star will return to the ring in a junior welterweight fight against Oscar Duarte on December 2 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Golden Boy Promotions CEO Oscar De La Hoya has announced.

Ryan GarciaThe fight will be streamed on DAZN, and it comes one week before Devin Haney challenges Regis Prograis for the WBC junior welterweight title on DAZN PPV.

Garcia will be competing for the first time since he was TKO‘d by Gervonta Davis — the first loss of Garcia’s pro career — in the seventh round of their April fight.

That bout took place at a 136-pound catchweight, but Garcia (23-1, 19 KOs) now will campaign at 140 pounds, the same category as his last two fights before the “Tank” Davis bout took place.

The matchup with Duarte will also be Garcia’s first with Derrick James, who was ESPN‘s 2022 Trainer of the Year, leading his corner.

“Here you have a guy [Duarte] who’s coming off 11 KOs in a row,” De Le Hoya said. “There’s a guy who’s a power puncher who’s going to come forward and make Ryan fight. It’s the proper fight after a knockout loss to Gervonta.”

Garcia, who fights out of Southern California, is still seeking his first world title.

Later this month, he’ll enter mediation with Golden Boy Promotions as the sides attempt to resolve a dispute. Among the issues: Garcia claims his promotional deal to compete on pay-per-view platforms besides DAZN wasn’t honored.

According to Garcia’s demand letter sent to Golden Boy in June, the fighter was advised that his April superfight against Davis “could not happen unless it was broadcast on DAZN because of an exclusive agreement Golden Boy had separately negotiated with DAZN.”

The PPV fight against Davis was broadcast by Showtime — a broadcast partner of PBC (Davis’ promoter). DAZN also carried the fight on its streaming service and was paid a $1.25 million fee to step aside as the exclusive broadcaster, of which $120,000 Garcia personally paid to DAZN, per the letter.

Despite the disagreement and pending mediation, Garcia and De La Hoya were able to finalize this fight against Duarte to keep Garcia’s career moving.

“It’s business as usual,” De La Hoya told ESPN last month. “We have a couple of pending issues that should not impede any type of progress moving forward. I truly feel that we’re going to get this behind us and then move on with his career.”

Duarte, meanwhile, presents a chance for Garcia to bounce back from his first career loss and build some momentum heading into a pivotal 2024. Duarte (26-1-1, 21 KOs) has won 11 fights since his only career loss, all by KO.

The 27-year-old Mexican fighter, who competes at 135 pounds, will make a major jump in class for the Garcia bout.

Garcia’s career-best win remains a seventh-round TKO of Olympic gold medalist Luke Campbell in January 2021, when Garcia survived a knockdown.

With an impressive showing over Duarte, Garcia appears poised for more marquee fights after the big business he delivered with Davis in April. Garcia said on social media that he earned $30 million for that fight.

“We’re looking to do a major, major fight with Ryan, possibly around Super Bowl weekend,” De La Hoya said. “I would love to talk to Bob [Arum] to see what’s going on with him and Teofimo [Lopez], but there’s other options as well.”

Regis Prograis Defeats Danielito Zorrilla to Defend His WBC Junior Welterweight Title

It wasn’t his best showing, but Regis Prograis has successfully defended his title…

The 34-year-old half-Hispanic American boxer successfully defended his WBC junior welterweight title by defeating Danielito Zorrilla by split decision on Saturday night at the Smoothie King Center.

Regis PrograisPrograis won on two cards 118-109 and 117-110 while one scorecard went Zorrilla’s way 114-113.

Prograis (29-1, 25 KO) was honest about his performance and felt he could have put on a better show for the local crowd.

“My performance was s—. I can admit to myself it wasn’t a good performance,” Prograis said. “The last two days, I felt the hometown jitters. The hometown fights, they are the worst. I felt it going into it yesterday into today. I got the job done. I kept the belt. I’m happy about that, but I’m definitely not happy about my performance.”

Zorrilla (17-2, 13 KO) took the fight on less than a month’s notice as he was a late replacement for undefeated Australian fighter Liam Paro, who pulled out of the bout with an injury.

Following the fight, Prograis sat with Matchroom boxing promoter Eddie Hearn as the two spoke with reporters about what options could be next at 140 pounds. Bill Haney, Devin Haney‘s father, was in attendance on Saturday but Hearn said there are plenty of options for Prograis’ next fight.

Hearn mentioned Haney, Teofimo Lopez and Gervonta Davis as all great fights that could be made for Prograis.

“For me, it’s up to Regis,” Hearn said. “I mean, I think the great thing about tonight is there’s going to be a lot of people queuing up to fight. I’ve not heard any of those big names mention Regis’ name before tonight, other than Devin. But now I think you’re going to see people actually target Regis Prograis that he might be beatable now.

“Which we know, there’s a completely different performance to come from Regis Prograis. I think that’s the one thing that I’m happy about and I believe Devin wants that fight.”

It was the first successful title defense of Prograis’ career. After winning the WBA title at 140 pounds from Kiryl Relikh in 2019, Prograis dropped the belt in a majority decision to Josh Taylor later that year. It remains the only loss of his career.

This time, Prograis defended his crown.

In the third round, Prograis dropped Zorrilla with a left hand and started to build on that momentum the rest of the fight. However, that quickly went away as the two danced and plotted on each other for the remainder of the fight.

“He came to survive,” Prograis said about Zorrilla. “He didn’t want to get knocked out. He came to survive. I was chasing him. I just had to chase him for 12 rounds.”

Prograis went to the mat three times but none were ruled knockdowns by referee Ray Corona. In the first round, Zorrilla stunned Prograis with a right knocking him off balance, and both men went to the ground as Prograis tried to clutch with Zorrilla falling into the champion. However, it was ruled as a push. In the 10th round, Prograis’ fall was called a slip and then he again touched the mat in the 12th on a push.

He admitted after the fight that he felt the first-round fall didn’t feel like a knockdown in the moment but looking back at the replay, it could have been.

This was the first major championship fight inside the Smoothie King Center since 2000 when undisputed light heavyweight champion Roy Jones Jr. defeated Eric Harding at what was then called New Orleans Arena (Derrick Gainer also defeated Freddie Norwood for the WBA featherweight title on the same card).

It was the third card that Prograis has headlined in New Orleans. His previous two fights were at the Lakefront Arena on the campus of the University of New Orleans.

New Orleans rap duo Fresh X Reckless performed during Prograis’ walk as he put his own flair on the entrance with a 10-foot Rougarou — Prograis’ nickname and a werewolf-like monster from local folklore — following him.

However, because of those “hometown jitters” Prograis mentioned, there’s a good chance his next fight won’t be in the city.

“I don’t think next time,” Prograis said. “We’ll probably go on the road and then come back here down the line. But not next fight.”

Hearn said there are opportunities for Prograis that could be in Las Vegas or the Middle East for his next fight.

Ryan Garcia Training with Derrick James Ahead of 140-Pound Title Campaign

Ryan Garcia has a new trainer…

The 24-year-old Mexican American star boxer will train with Derrick James in Dallas ahead of his campaign for a 140-pound title, Garcia announced on social media.

Ryan GarciaGarcia presented James as his trainer on Instagram, where he boasts 10.4 million followers. Garcia had parted ways with trainer Joe Goossen following a seventh-round KO loss to Gervonta Davis last month in Las Vegas.

That superfight, which netted $22.8 million in ticket sales, was contested at a 136-pound catchweight, but Garcia (23-1, 19 KOs), ESPN’s No. 6 boxer at 140 pounds, will compete at junior welterweight going forward.

“I’m searching for greatness,” Garcia told ESPN. “I’m looking to improve. I’m looking to be a champion with Derrick James. I feel he can guide me and mentor me.”

James is ESPN’s reigning Trainer of the Year. In 2022, the former boxer guided Errol Spence Jr. and Jermell Charlo to unification title wins, as Spence added a third welterweight title while Charlo became the undisputed junior middleweight champion.

Earlier this year, James began working with former heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, and now the trainer has added a fourth marquee fighter to the mix. James is known for perfecting power punchers, so it’s a natural fit with the heavy-handed Garcia.

Garcia first teamed with Goossen as an amateur boxer in Southern California. Garcia was trained by his father, Henry, for many of his pro fights, but Eddy Reynoso took control of the corner in 2018.

Reynoso, Canelo Alvarez‘s longtime trainer, guided Garcia to five wins in five bouts, including his seventh-round TKO of Luke Campbell in January 2021. Following that career-best victory, Garcia was out of the ring for 15 months while he addressed his mental health and recovered from wrist surgery.

When Garcia returned in April 2022, there was a familiar face in his corner alongside his father: Goossen. Goossen, 69, trained Garcia for three fights: a decision win over Emmanuel Tagoe in April 2022, a sixth-round KO of Javier Fortuna in July and, finally, the loss to Davis.

Rolly Romero to Fight Ismael Barroso for Vacant WBA Junior Welterweight Title

Rolly Romero is still getting his shot at a title…

The 27-year-old half-Cuban American boxer will face off against Ismael Barroso for the WBA‘s vacant junior welterweight title on Saturday in Las Vegas, the organization has announced, after Alberto Puello was made champion in recess due to the adverse finding in his A-sample for the banned substance clomiphene.

Rolly RomeroPuello (21-0, 10 KOs) was set to defend his title vs. Romero on Saturday but was pulled out of the fight last month after the failed test.

The 28-year-old Dominican’s status as champion will be determined following a May 17 hearing with the Nevada commission, the WBA said. The organization will also wait to see if the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association returns a negative result for Puello’s B-sample.

It’s possible the winner of Saturday’s PBC on Showtime main event will have to face Puello next pending the WBA’s decision. Puello’s Dominican Republic-based promoter, Belgica Pena, told BoxingScene last month that Puello was taking the fertility drug clomiphene for its intended use, not as a performance-enhancing drug.

“Your wife is in the DR, right? So, what do you need to take fertility drugs for?” Romero posed during an interview with ESPN on Tuesday. “On top of that you pass one drug test, one with blood, and one with urine and two weeks later you fail a drug test and then you pass the other one?

“It don’t make sense why you’re taking fertility drugs if your wife’s not here. I don’t know about him — maybe that’s why his legs look a little weak sometimes — but I stop like a month before.

“How do I feel? Disgusted with anyone that does any of that s— in boxing. I think [PED testing] should be more regulated.”

Romero, from Las Vegas, is coming off a TKO loss to Gervonta Davis last May at 135 pounds. Romero (14-1, 12 KOs) will fight for a title in his 140-pound debut.

“I’m Rolly, I get special Rolly privileges,” Romero said. ” … Sorry that I’m getting a title shot … but also I’m by far one of the most entertaining boxers in the sport. You don’t wanna give me title shots, don’t watch my fights.”

Barroso (24-3-2, 22 KOs), a 40-year-old Venezuelan, is a 9-1 underdog.