Alex Pereira to Fight UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya at UFC 281

Alex Pereira is taking on a champion…

Israel Adesanya will defend his UFC middleweight title against the 35-year-old Brazilian professional mixed martial artist and former kickboxer, his old rival, in the headliner of UFC 281 on November 12 in New York’s Madison Square Garden.

Alex Pereira

Pereira owns two wins over Adesanya in kickboxing, including one via knockout. ESPN has Adesanya ranked tied for third on its pound-for-pound MMA list. At middleweight, Adesanya is No. 1 and Pereira is No. 7.

Pereira, a former two-division Glory Kickboxing champion, beat Adesanya in kickboxing once by decision in 2016 and then again a year later via knockout.

Adesanya (23-1) is undefeated in his career at middleweight. The Nigerian-born New Zealand resident has won three straight since falling in a light heavyweight title bout to Jan Blachowicz in March 2021. Adesanya, 33, owns five successful title defenses at middleweight, holding the undisputed title since October 2019.

Pereira (6-1) is coming off a first-round knockout of Sean Strickland at UFC 276 last month, the same card in which Adesanya defended his title successfully against Jared Cannonier. The Brazilian slugger has five finishes in six career pro MMA victories since coming over from kickboxing.

Pereira, 35, is 3-0 in the UFC with a pair of $50,000 Performance of the Night bonuses to his name.

Amanda Serrano to Share Fight Card with Jake Paul in Return to Madison Square Garden in August

Amanda Serrano is returning to the ring this summer…

The 33-year-old Puerto Rican professional boxer, mixed martial artist and professional wrestler will once again share a fight card with Jake Paul when they fight on August 6 at Madison Square Garden in what they’re labeling “two main events.”

Amanda SerranoThe fights will be on Showtime Pay Per View. It’s the second straight fight for Serrano at MSG and Paul’s first in the iconic venue.

Serrano will fight at featherweight, where she’ll defend her WBO and WBC belts for the first time since her August 29, 2021 fight against Yamileth Mercado.

Serrano, one of two clients of Paul’s management and promotional company, Most Valuable Promotions, last fought on April 30 at a sold-out Madison Square Garden in a fight considered one of the best in women’s boxing history in a split-decision loss to Katie Taylor for the undisputed lightweight championship.

This will be the fourth fight for Serrano (42-2-1, 30 KO) attached to Paul. She first fought as the co-main event on Paul’s first fight against Tyron Woodley last August.

She signed with his promotional company a month later and fought as the co-main event on Paul’s second fight against Woodley in December.

She then fought Taylor in April, which was co-promoted by Paul and Eddie Hearn from Matchroom Boxing.

There was thinking that Serrano’s next fight would be a rematch against Taylor in Ireland later this year — Serrano and Paul both said they would be open to it immediately after the April fight — but Hearn told multiple outlets in the past couple of weeks that such a fight would not take place in Ireland in the immediate future.

Paul (5-0, 4 KO) last fought in December, knocking out  Woodley. He said he was going to take a break after fighting four times in 13 months between November 2020 and December 2021, then announced an August return to the ring the day after Serrano fought Taylor at MSG in April.

“Back in the gym, back to training and excited, more excited and motivated than ever,” Paul told ESPN back in March. “You know, that was Chapter 1 of my boxing career, that was my rookie season, and now I get to go on another chapter here.”

Paul had initially said he was returning to the ring on August 13, but has now moved it up a week.

HBO Max to Release “Menudo: Forever Young” Documentary This Summer

Here’s your chance to relive Ricky Martin’s breakthrough moments…

HBO Max will release Menudo: Forever Young, a new documentary about the Latin American boy band that helped make the 50-year-old Puerto Rican singer, songwriter and actor a star.

Ricky Martin, MenudoHailing from filmmakers Angel Manuel Soto and Kristofer Ríos, the documentary will be released on June 23.

The premiere will follow the project’s debut at the 2022 Tribeca Festival on June 11.

Menudo was formed by producer Edgardo Diaz in 1977 with five original members: Ricky Melendez, brothers Carlos and Oscar Meléndez, and the Sallaberry brothers, Fernando and Nefty. The group changed members often mostly after the pre-teen and early teenage boys aged out around age 15 or 16. Two of its most famous members include Ricky Martin and Draco Rosa (as Robbi Rosa).

Diaz, who served as the band’s manager, was accused of sexual abuse by multiple members beginning in 1991. He denied the allegations that same year on El Show De Cristina, a popular talk show at the time hosted by Cristina Saralegui.

Menudo disbanded in 2009 though reunion tours and performances have taken place with various former members.

The four-part documentary will deep dive into the rise and fall of the boy band, including the allegations against Diaz.

“The Puerto Rican diaspora in New York played a critical role in the success of Menudo and its crossover in the US, shutting down traffic for blocks surrounding the band’s hotel and selling out Madison Square Garden on multiple occasions,” said Soto in a statement. “We couldn’t be more excited to premiere this series in their backyard at TriBeCa and honor their contribution to the band’s legacy.”

Menudo: Forever Young is executive produced by Cristina Costantini and Jeff Plunkett of Muck MediaAlex Fumero of Trojan Horse, Bryn Mooser and Justin Lacob of XTR, and Soto.

Costantini and Fumero most recently collaborated on the popular Netflix documentary Mucho, Mucho Amor following the life of Walter Mercado.

 

Amanda Serrano to Fight Katie Taylor in First Women’s Boxing Match to Headline at MSG

Amanda Serrano is ready to take part in the biggest fight in women’s boxing history.

The 33-year-old Puerto Rican professional boxer, mixed martial artist and professional wrestler, a seven-division world titlist, will face undisputed lightweight champion Katie Taylor.

Amanda SerranoThe bout between Taylor and Serrano, ESPN‘s No. 1 and No. 2 in the pound-for-pound rankings, has been scheduled for April 30.

They will headline a card in one of the most iconic boxing venues in the world, the main arena of Madison Square Garden. It is the first women’s boxing match in history to headline at MSG.

“I wasn’t sure if it was going to be possible, but for this fight to headline at Madison Square Garden would truly be the pinnacle of the sport,” Taylor told ESPN recently. “So much of boxing’s history is linked to MSG, and I’ve been fortunate enough to fight there already on a couple of occasions.

“It’s such an iconic venue so to be part of the first ever women’s fight to main event there would be truly special.”

This fight has been talked about for years — and booked in the past before falling apart. Now, though, with a major venue, a headline attraction and major paydays for both fighters, it is locked into happening.

Both fighters knew the possibility was coming in December, before they won their last fights of 2021. Taylor won a unanimous decision over Firuza Sharipova on Dec. 11 and a week later, Serrano picked up a unanimous decision against Miriam Gutierrez.

Now, Taylor (19-0, 6 KO), 35, and Serrano (42-1-1, 30 KO) will end up in the ring against each other.

“It is the megafight for women’s boxing,” Serrano said after she beat Gutierrez. “You have pound-for-pound top three, however you look at it.”

It’s a long way from when Serrano’s sister, Cindy, lost to Taylor in a unanimous decision in Boston in 2018. The paydays then were much smaller. It is expected to be the biggest payout of Amanda Serrano’s career on the biggest stage as well as the largest payday in women’s boxing history.

“After the Katie Taylor fight, I’ll be able to sit down and say, ‘This is what boxing has done for me,'” Serrano told ESPN. “And be comfortable.”

It’s also a fight between two of the latest pioneers in the sport. Taylor, when she was 15, fought in the first sanctioned women’s boxing match in Ireland. After turning pro in 2016, working with Eddie Hearn‘s Matchroom Boxing, Taylor helped push women’s boxing into the mainstream.

Serrano, who for years had been considered one of the best knockout fighters in the sport, received even more attention and notoriety over the past six months among a broader base of fans after she began fighting as the co-main events of Jake Paul‘s last two fights.

The fight, which will be put on by Matchroom Boxing and Paul and Nakisa Bidarian‘s Most Valuable Promotions, could be a boon for women’s boxing, which has been trying to get more in the conversation of mainstream sports. It’s also being announced almost two years to the day after Paul fought his first pro fight — on the same undercard as Serrano.

“We need to do more big fights like this for women,” Paul told ESPN last month. “What I’m excited about is using my creative ability to tell a story about why people should care about Amanda Serrano, specifically, but also women’s boxing and also this fight against Katie Taylor.

“Because people should care, and people do care. A lot of people care but I think a lot more women should care and a lot more people in general should care.”

Edgar Berlanga to Fight Steve Rolls in Super Middleweight Bout This March

Edgar Berlanga is heading back to the ring this Spring…

The 24-year-old Puerto Rican professional boxer has agreed to terms for a super middleweight fight against Steve Rolls on March 19 at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, according to ESPN.

Edgar Berlanga

The bout will be Berlanga’s first since he tore his left biceps in Round 3 of his victory over Marcelo Esteban Coceres in October. Berlanga (18-0, 16 KOs) struggled at times in the fight and was even floored in Round 9, the first knockdown of his career.

Following surgery, the 24-year-old rehabbed at the UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas in preparation for his first headline bout on ESPN. Berlanga, a native of Brooklyn, New York, scored 16 first-round KOs in his first 16 fights.

His April decision win over Demond Nicholson, a fight in which he scored four knockdowns, was the first time he was extended past the opening round.

Before the injury, the bout with Rolls had been eyed as the December 11 co-feature to the Vasiliy LomachenkoRichard Commey fight.

Rolls (21-1, 12 KOs), a 37-year-old Canadian, is best known for his fourth-round KO loss to Gennadiy Golovkin in 2019. He has competed just twice since then, both wins inside the distance.

Amanda Serrano Defeats Miriam Gutierrez To Set Up Potential Fight Against Katie Taylor

Amanda Serrano is one step closer to the fight she’s been waiting for…

The 33-year-old Puerto Rican professional boxer, mixed martial artist and professional wrestler easily bested Miriam Gutierrez on Saturday night inside Amalie Arena, setting up what she hopes will be a potential massive fight against undisputed lightweight champion Katie Taylor.

Amanda SerranoIt’s a fight that has been discussed several times before but now appears ever so close to becoming a reality in 2022.

“It is the megafight for women’s boxing,” Serrano said. “You have pound-for-pound Top 3, however you look at it.”

While the fight date hasn’t been officially set yet, potential million-dollar purses and a venue of Madison Square Garden have been discussed by both Serrano’s team and Taylor’s.

Before she could think about it, though, she had to beat one more opponent to close out her 2021. In a 100-90, 99-91, 99-90 unanimous decision win over Gutierrez at lightweight, Serrano made it clear she’s one of the best fighters in the world. And by moving up to lightweight for this fight — and fighting as she did — she knows what she wants next.

Serrano moved up in weight for the fight, hiring a nutritionist for the first time and continually enjoying chocolate milkshakes — while enduring eating carrots, among her least favorite foods — to prep. She also sparred with fighters who weighed far more than the 135 pounds she was fighting at — 150-and 160-pounders — in an attempt to prepare for Gutierrez.

After the fight, Gutierrez told Serrano she weighed 160 pounds on Saturday. Serrano, meanwhile, weighed 133 pounds.

The prep work against heavier fighters showed from the opening bell. Serrano landed 46% of her power punches and 236 total punches to 129 for Gutierrez. Almost every round seemed similar to the first, in which Serrano consistently pummeled Gutierrez’s head and body, putting her in the corner and against the ropes several times and looking like she was going to send Gutierrez to the canvas.

Gutierrez held on. Barely. Serrano landed 37 of 86 punches in the first round, a massive 43%, according to Showtime stats, while Gutierrez landed only eight.

“The strategy was to just go out there and just beat her,” Serrano said. “Beat her every single round and dominate her. Just box and show that I’m an all-around fighter. That I could do whatever I want in. I can brawl with her. I can box with her. Body shots, head shots.

“I wanted to be a complete fighter. The knockout, if it came, it came. But I just wanted to make sure that I beat her.”

The next two rounds showed Serrano’s more clinical side. Her pacing was a little slower, but she still went at Gutierrez consistently. Gutierrez rarely seemed to take a step forward throughout the first half of the fight.

Serrano again got Gutierrez against the ropes for the final minute of the fourth round, continually landing shots. Through four rounds, Serrano outlanded Gutierrez in power punches 83-49. She was more active, more powerful and more accurate. Through six rounds, Serrano, from Brooklyn, New York, outlanded Gutierrez 119-69 in total.

“She punches so hard,” Gutierrez said. “And she is consistent.”

It was a master class missing just one thing: the knockout. She bloodied Gutierrez’s nose in the seventh. Sensing opportunity, she continually pounded Gutierrez’s face throughout the seventh round, a constant barrage Gutierrez, from Madrid, seemed fortunate to survive.

Gutierrez appeared to have her best round in the eighth, but even punches that were landing didn’t seem to matter. Serrano would take one punch on her way to landing two on Gutierrez.

The last round was more of the same for Serrano (42-1-1, 30 KO). She backed Gutierrez (14-2, 5 KO) onto the ropes and then landed multiple shots before Gutierrez was able to escape. To Gutierrez’s credit, she held on well despite taking a ton of punishment, including two swollen eyes and a bloody nose.

Meanwhile, Serrano looked like she just had a long run on the treadmill. And now, she could end up with what she’s hoping for next — the biggest fight of her career. And one Serrano’s co-promoter, Jake Paul, believes can carry a card on its own after her fighting as the co-feature on his past two cards.

“That’s its own main event,” Paul said after his knockout victory over Tyron Woodley in Saturday night’s main event. “For sure. And I’m so excited. I’m going to do everything in my power to make that fight the biggest female boxing fight in the history of the sport.”

Miguel Cotto Named to International Boxing Hall of Fame

Miguel Cotto entering the hall

The 41-year-old Puerto Rican former professional boxer will be enshrined into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, alongside Roy Jones Jr. and James Toney.

Miguel Cotto,Cotto, Jones and Toney highlight the Boxing Hall’s Class of 2022, as revealed on Tuesday.

They’re joined by female champions Holly Holm and Regina Hamlisch, alongside publicist Bill Caplan, journalist Ron Borges and historian/producer Bob Yalen.

When they’re all inducted on June 12 in Canastota, New York, the group will be accompanied by the previous two classes. Because of the pandemic, fighters from those classes — such as Floyd Mayweather, Andre Ward and Wladimir Klitschko — have yet to be enshrined.

Cotto (41-6, 33 KOs) retired at age 37 following an upset loss to Sadam Ali. One of the most accomplished boxers from Puerto Rico, Cotto routinely fought before sellout crowds at Madison Square Garden, thrilling the masses with his ferocious body punching.

Cotto won titles at 147 pounds and 154 before he upset Sergio Martinez for the middleweight championship. Cotto competed with three Hall of Famers during his career: a win over Shane Mosley and losses to Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. Cotto was also defeated by future Hall of Famer Canelo Alvarez.

Cotto’s loss to Antonio Margarito in 2008 is a welterweight classic. He later avenged the defeat.

Marlon “Chito” Vera to Fight Frankie Edgar for UFC 268 in November

Marlon “Chito” Vera may be returning to the Octagon this fall…

The UFC is targeting a bantamweight matchup between the 28-year-old Ecuadorian mixed martial artist and Frankie Edgar for UFC 268 on November 6, according to ESPN.

Marlon “Chito” Rivera

Contracts haven’t been signed, but both sides have verbally agreed to the matchup. The pay-per-view event is expected to take place at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

Vera (19-7-1) is riding some momentum, coming off a decision win over Davey Grant in June. He is 2-1 in his past three, including wins over Grant and Sean O’Malley. His loss in that stretch was to former featherweight champion Jose Aldo. He is 7-2 over his past nine.

A former lightweight champion, Edgar (24-9) is coming off a first-round knockout loss to Cory Sandhagen in February. A longtime lightweight and featherweight, Edgar has now competed in the UFC’s 135-pound division twice. He is 1-1, with a five-round decision win over Pedro Munhoz in August.

Edgar, 39, fights out of Toms River, New Jersey. This will mark his first fight in New York since 2016 and only the third overall of his storied career.

A welterweight title fight between Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington is slated to headline the UFC 268 event.

Edgar Berlanga Agrees to Two-Fight Plan with Top Rank Boxing

Edgar Berlanga is ready to rumble… twice.

The 24-year-old Puerto Rican boxer has agreed to terms on a two-fight plan with Top Rank.

Edgar Berlanga

The first bout comes October 9 in Las Vegas against Marcelo Esteban Coceres, Berlanga said, in the main event of a Top Rank Boxing show on an ESPN platform that will lead into the Tyson FuryDeontay Wilder III fight on pay-per-view.

Berlanga’s second fight is December 11, the co-feature to Vasiliy Lomachenko‘s return in New York at Madison Square Garden. An opponent has yet to be finalized for that bout. The power-punching super middleweight Berlanga is in the midst of a multiyear deal with Top Rank. Financial terms were finalized for both of his upcoming fights.

“I’m knocking these guys in October and December; we’re not going to the scorecards,” said Berlanga (17-0, 16 KOs). “I want to let the world know after these two fights that I’m the guy they need to worry about.”

Berlanga was extended the distance for the first time in his last bout, an April win over Demond Nicholson. It was the first time Berlanga heard the bell to signal the start of Round 2 in his pro career. He scored first-round knockouts in each of his first 16 fights.

Berlanga dropped Nicholson three times but settled for the unanimous-decision victory. The Brooklynite will now face another durable opponent in Coceres (30-2-1, 16 KOs). The 30-year-old Argentine is best known for an 11th-round KO loss to Billy Joe Saunders in a 2019 title fight. That was his only fight outside of Argentina.

In January, Coceres lost again, this time a split-decision defeat to Sebastian Horacio Papeschi in Argentina. He rebounded with a second-round stoppage win in June over Nelson Nicolas Rosalez.

The two-fight plan promises to give Berlanga his greatest exposure yet as he inches closer to title contention. Despite 17 pro fights, he remains inexperienced with just 24 rounds in the professional ranks.

If all goes according to plan, Berlanga will return in March to Puerto Rico (the country his family hails from) before headlining at Madison Square Garden in June on Puerto Rican Parade Day weekend.

Alejandro Fernandez Announces 19-Date U.S. Leg of “Hecho en México” Tour

Alejandro Fernandez is rarin’ to get back on the road…

After a more than 12-month hiatus that saw him interrupt his tour mid-start, the 49-year-old Mexican superstar has announced a 19-date U.S. tour.

Alejandro Fernandez

It’ll see him performing with 25 people onstage, including his full band, his Mexican mariachi, special guests Christian Nodal and his son, Alex Fernández, as well as a handful of guests in different cities.

The “Hecho en México” tour, so named after Fernández’s Grammy-nominated album (out on Universal Music Latin), kicks off on September 10 in Reno, and ends October 24 in Phoenix.

The tour is presented by Live Nation, and tickets go on sale on April 16 at 10:00 am on Ticketmaster.

The tour will play to full capacity venues, says Luana Pagani, a partner in Seitrack, Fernandez’s management team. For these venues, it translates to 5,800 people at the Hulu Theater in Madison Square Garden to nearly 15,000 at The Forum in Los Angeles.

“Nothing is ‘normal’ yet in terms of venues, but we understand all venues will follow their protocols, and we will as well,” says Pagani.

All visa and work requirements for Fernández and his musicians have already been cleared, and Fernandez will also perform at the Latin American Music Awards April 15.

For Fernandez, the import of his tour announcement is not lost, especially as one of Latin music’s biggest stars, as the scion of one of Mexico’s most prominent musical families (his father is Vicente Fernández), and as the spokesperson of Families Belong Together. The campaign of the National Domestic Workers Alliance works to end family separation, and will receive a portion of the tours’ proceeds.

“We lost a lot of people in this pandemic — fiends, family,” Fernández tells Billboard. “So the most important thing is we’re coming back properly, doing things right and with a very important message after all that’s happened, which is thanking God that we’re alive.”

Fernández, a prolific touring act, is known — like his father — for his bravura performances that are long on time and high on quality.

For “Hecho en México,” he is upping the ante by touring for the first time ever with his son, Alex Fernández, who is 25 and signed to Sony. The prospect recalls Fernández’s own stage debut alongside his father, when he was only six years old.

However, says Fernández, “I only started to tour when I was 18, so we’re not that far apart. Alex is a good kid. He’s dedicated and professional. He’s seen how my father works, and he’s seen how I work, and he’s responsible. He’s hungry to do things right.”

Fernández will also invite rising ranchero/norteño star Christian Nodal as a special guest on at least three tour stops. The two became close after recording the hit “Duele” together. It was the kind of cross-generational collaboration Fernández had not done before in Mexican music.

Fernández, that rare artist who’s able to navigate easily between traditional pop and traditional regional Mexican music, had most often collaborated with pop acts, and in his concerts he tends to mix styles and outfits to represent his two styles of music.

Partnering with Nodal, and also with Edén Muñoz of Calibre 50, who will be a guest in at least one show, highlights a new generation of Mexican music starts that are propelling the music forward.

“There’s a resurging interest for Mexican music,” agrees Fernández. “In fact, I’ll be singing some of my pop material, but in more Mexican arrangements.”

Fernández will also perform the entire tour dressed in the traditional formal charro garb that includes the broad-rimmed hat, tight decorated pants and a short fitted jacket.

That’s good news for Mexican fans, who are expected to fly in from Mexico to see Fernández’s shows, particularly on the West Coast. The month of September, which has traditionally drawn Mexican tourists to Las Vegas for the many Latin music performances that take place there as part of Mexican Independence, is expected to see a surge in travel, as concerts have not restarted in Mexico.

“Last year I had played Auditorio Nacional in Mexico City and a couple of dates in Guadalajara and then we had to put everything on hold,” says Fernández. “This will be an epic return.”

Here are the dates and venues for the “Hecho En Mexico” tour:

*with Alex Fernandez
+with Christian Nodal

Fri, Sept. 10 – Reno, NV – Grand Sierra Theatre^
Sat, Sept. 11 – Sacramento, CA – Golden 1 Center*
Sun, Sept. 12 – Fresno, CA – Save Mart Center*
Wed, Sept. 15 – Las Vegas, NV – MGM Grand Garden Arena*
Fri, Sept. 17 – Albuquerque, NM – Rio Rancho Events Center*
Sat, Sept. 18 – El Paso, TX – UTEP Don Haskins Center*
Fri, Sept. 24 – Houston, TX – Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land*
Sun, Sept. 26 – Chicago, IL – Allstate Arena*
Thurs, Sept. 30 – Boston, MA – Orpheum Theatre
Fri, Oct. 1 – New York, NY – Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden
Sun, Oct. 3 – Miami, FL – AmericanAirlines Arena
Tues, Oct. 5 – Atlanta, GA – Coca-Cola Roxy
Fri, Oct. 8 – Irving, TX – The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory*
Sat, Oct. 9 – Hidalgo, TX – Payne Arena*
Sun, Oct. 10 – San Antonio, TX – AT&T Center*
Fri, Oct. 15 – San Jose, CA – SAP Center at San Jose+
Sat, Oct. 16 – San Diego, CA – Viejas Arena+
Fri, Oct. 22 – Los Angeles, CA – The Forum+
Sun, Oct. 24 – Phoenix, AZ – Arizona Federal Theatre*