In a sad irony, Campbell said just a day earlier that he knew he was an inspiration for all the struggling fighters out there who felt they never get a break because his did not come until he was 36 years old. That was the night he upset then unified champion Juan Diaz 11 months ago and appeared to turn around what had been a hardscrabble life.
But his next bout, which was supposed to pay him $300,000, was cancelled last summer when Joan Guzman ironically failed to make weight himself and then refused to fight Campbell at all. By the time he finally got someone to the scales, No. 1 IBF contender Ali Funeka, it turned out it was now Campbell who would fail himself and his professional obligations when he weighed in at three pounds over the 135-pound limit Friday after having spent the past two days baking himself dry in a sauna with few positive results.
He was given two hours to get down to the lightweight limit but upon his return he’d lost only a half pound and so was stripped of the IBF title that was at stake. With the WBA belt already gone due to boxing politics and the WBO belt likely to be stripped away as well, Campbell was left with what he’s had most of his life – nothing but his two fists, which he’ll use tonight on Funeka so that he at least earns the $240,000 payday he contracted for even though only Funeka has a chance to leave the ring as IBF lightweight champion.
“I did everything I could to make it,’’ Campbell insisted. “I feel like its unprofessional (of him) but I can’t do it any more. I’m 36 now and I just couldn’t do it. I thought the last couple pounds would come off easily but they didn’t.’’
Campbell then said the obvious – that he’d move up to 140 pounds to begin campaigning as a junior welterweight – but the sad fact is he very likely blew his one chance to change his life. Had he defeated Funeka and retained his title belts he would have been able to demand a larger purse as unified champion in his next outing or move up then to 140 and very likely instantly become the No. 1 contender in at least one of the four major sanctioning bodies’ ratings.
Now, at nearly 37, he’s back to where he’s been most of his career, which is in limbo. The irony is that 24 hours earlier Campbell talked at some length about how he would not fall into the trap that had cost so many other fighters over the years when long layoffs slow down their progress.
By Saturday night Campbell will have fought only once in the past 19 months, the kind of inaction that has in the past caused many other Don King promoted fighters to lose their resolve and dissipate themselves.
Campbell insisted that would never happen to him because, as he put it, “I tell fighters all the time that come to me when their career isn’t going right to just keep fighting. Keep working. Keep being you. This is a job. You got to go to work every day if you want to retire with benefits.’’
Apparently he failed to take his own advice. Although he and his chief advisor Terry Trekas both claim Campbell had a good training camp and that the problem was that his aging body simply shut down and refused to take him back to 135 pounds after so long away from that weight, those words rung hollow.
It was a weight Campbell has been making most of his career. Only now, with the trappings of success around his waist even as he filed for bankruptcy after the Guzman fight collapsed, he suddenly is unable to do it?
What is more likely is that he simply was no longer able to push himself and deny himself with the same urgency he had before becoming a world champion and then seeing it lead only to bankruptcy and three belts he couldn’t seem to transform into a life-altering payday.
Considering where he started from Campbell’s insistence that he would not follow in the failed footsteps of so many before him who suffered the same fate of sudden success followed by inaction and then personal failure seemed poignant and believable.
He had grown up living in 15 different homes after his father’s alcoholism forced him to turn his then seven-year-old son over to the Jacksonville, Fla. foster care system for a decade. At the age of 18 he was an under-educated father working two and three low-paying jobs to make ends meet, a young man headed in a lot of directions but none likely to lead to the world championship of anything.
Then, at 24, Campbell found his calling one night in a Winn-Dixie warehouse in Jacksonville when a white man challenged him to use a talent he didn’t even know he possessed. That evening, while working the 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift cutting boxes open, a co-worker watched Campbell shadow box, as he often did to entertain himself during lulls in the wee hours. The man told Campbell to stop wasting what seemed obvious boxing skills and take the risk to be great.
The age of 24 is no time to start a boxing career but Campbell was coerced into it by that challenge. Three years later he turned professional and nine years and several stops and starts later he was one of the most unlikely world champions in boxing history. It is a story that has fortified him and hundreds of fighters who know it, a story he credited with preventing him from slipping into the abyss of a post-championship lethargy fueled by inactivity that could strip those titles from him faster than Ali Funeka could.
“Every day I think of those days at Winn-Dixie,’’ Campbell said. “That’s why I didn’t get down on myself after Guzman fell out. I was ready to fight, he wasn’t. That’s what my job is. It’s to be ready to fight regardless. What was I supposed to do? Quit training. I know if I’m not ready what will happen. I remember those days.’’
“Those days’’ were long ones with little money, less hope and a string of jobs to try and make ends meet. Now all he had to do was one job but when it seemingly counted most he couldn’t bring himself to do it one more time.
“I don’t know why it took so long for me to get a chance to win the title,’’ Campbell (32-5-1, 25 KO) said the day before he lost it without a fight. “Maybe it was because I didn’t have that backing with me (that he now has from promoter Don King). I don’t think I’m the only talented fighter out there who nobody knows. There are tons of guys with talent like me. I see them all the time.
“Every where I go I hear I’m their inspiration. They look at me and believe they can still do it. It was a long time coming but I tell them remember this is a job and show up every day regardless.’’
When asked what he had done in the long months since the Guzman fight failed to materialize Campbell said loudly, “Train. That’s what fighters are supposed to do. I didn’t look at the belts. This is not about trinkets. It’s about becoming the very best fighter I can and making some money.’’
That’s what it was supposed to be about Saturday night on HBO but that train left the station the minute Nate Campbell stepped on those scales the second time Friday night and they barely moved eight ounces. Perhaps he had trained as much as he’d said but you had to wonder if this was just another guy for whom success was harder to cope with than the absence of it had been.
Campbell understood the risk of 11 month layoffs and fighting once in over a year and a half. He knew there is a dullness that can develop from that, an erasing of desire and a loss of hope and faith that hard work equals success.
He claimed to have avoided that pitfall, although the story was truly told only when he and Funeka stood at the scales. One made it. The other did not. Without a punch being thrown, Nate Campbell had been dethroned, a champion felled by a fork.
“Did I do enough?’’ Campbell said the day before the weigh-in. “We’ll find out Saturday night.’’
If you were sizing up the feature bout, which pitted Camacho against journeyman Carlos Molina, purely on record, you would have steered yourself wrong.
After two rounds in NYC, all could see that we could toss records out the window, that Molina’s hands and feet were faster, and that Camacho’s game had some glaring holes in it. After ten rounds, the judges said all that, in so many words, awarding Molina a unanimous decision (97-93, 98-92, 100-90). They, and the viewers, saw what Julio Ceasar Chavez Jr had seen when he eked out a draw against Molina in 2005, before beating him in 2006…that the Illinois resident Molina may not have great pop, but he has the basics down pat, and his desire is top shelf.
Camacho (age 27; born in Mexico, lives in Texas) had a lone loss, to Terrence Cauthen, going in, while the Mexican-born Molina (age 25; 148 pounds) was 14-4-1 entering. All of his losses and draws came against unbeaten boxers.
Molina knew that his foe had been down several times as a pro, so he knew that Camacho was hittable. Camacho did indeed eat some hooks in the first and second. Camacho also drops his hands at inopportune moments. Speaking of his hands, they aren’t that fast. Think I’m being too negative? I was simply surprised that this was our 17-1 guy, I guess. Molina banged to the body, too, and was more active with his feet. Through four, I had him up 3-1, as did analyst Teddy Atlas. Some blood trickled down from Camacho’s nose in the seventh, and his hands were even slower than before. In the ninth, his right eye was swollen noticeably, and Molina kept on banging away, as his stamina was in solid supply. Camacho swung for the fences in the tenth, to no avail. Molina went 198-512, and Camacho 173-863 after ten. Philadelphian Ray Robinson (142 pounds; age 23; 9-0 coming in) met New York’s Darnell Jiles Jr. (142 pounds; age 20; 8-0-1 entering) in a scheduled eight. The two lefties were both warmed up, ready to go in the first. They looked comparable early. RR has a nice jab, and he’ll double and triple it. He stayed on the outside, and kept a smart distance. A left hurt Jiles, and RR poured it on in the last third of the third round. RR tried to close it out, but Jiles stayed standing. He went to his corner, and told his trainer Charles Murray, the ex fighter, and the physician that his head hurt, and he chose not to continue.
Brian Kenny was joined by Bert Sugar in the studio. Sugar weighed in on the Margarito hand wrap flap, and pointed out that this type of thing has been going on since they started using gloves. Jack Dempsey was accused of having plaster in his gloves and successfully sued Sports Illustrated when they printed that allegation, Sugar said. Bottom line, this is part and parcel of boxing, just as cheating in baseball, thru chemical means, has been the norm for a good twenty years.
The show delved into the Margarito hand wrap flap, and showed video of Bob Arum defending his man, and saying he was found guilty and suspended because he’s Mexican. “I know that for a fact,” said Arum, who didn’t share the basis for this assertion. Arum said he wouldn’t be bringing fights to California unless the decision was reversed. The promoter maintains that Margarito had no clue what his trainer was doing. Atlas dismissed this argument, and was quite comfortable saying that any fighter would know that something funky had been slipped into his gloves, or smeared on his wraps.
My take: Margarito apologists and Arum will have a tough, tough time defending their guy if that material found smeared on the wraps, which has been described as a plaster-type substance, is indeed found to be plaster. That finding is expected within a month.
New York Athletic Commissioner Melvina Lathan was on, and she said she would “probably have been a little bit more stringent” on Margarito and Capetillo had the infraction occurred in her jurisdiction. Atlas heard that and I think he wanted to give her a smooch in appreciation.
With the business of boxing looking for more profitable ways to stage fights and with Tijuana searching for visitors it makes perfect sense to Top Rank to stage a pay-per-view card in Mexico that can also attract thousands.
Ask the Mayor of Tijuana.
“Our city has a great history in boxing,” said Jorge Ramos, the mayor of Tijuana, Mexico while at the Century Plaza Hotel in Century City, California. “It’s been through tough times.”
During the past month two separate boxing cards promoted by American companies have found success in Mexicali, another border town located about 80 miles east of Tijuana. Now the action will be moved further west in hopes of catching on.
“We can call this (boxing card) the grand slam,” Ramos said.
It looks good on paper.
The last fight card signed features former lightweight world titleholder Castillo (57-9-1, 49 KOs) facing Indio’s Antonio Diaz (45-5-1, 29 KOs), whose brother Julio Diaz lost to Castillo four years ago.
“I’m back,” said Castillo who promises to dedicate himself better than a year ago when he failed to make weight in a scheduled fight with another Indio fighter, current WBC junior welterweight titleholder Timothy Ray Bradley. “I’m definitely preparing myself properly this time.”
Segura (19-1-1, 15 KOs), a junior flyweight now living in South Gate, is getting a second crack at the man who beat him for the interim WBA title, Cesar Canchila (27-1, 21 KOs) of Colombia. They fought last July in Las Vegas.
“This time they are not going to get away with this,” said Segura of his Colombia opponent. “I’m going to win.”
Chavez has a date with Argentina’s undefeated Luciano Cuello (23-0, 10 KOs) who hails from Buenos Aires but now lives in Madrid, Spain.
“I’m from Culiacan, but I spent a lot of time in Tijuana,” said Chavez (38-0-1, 29 KOs). “It is my second home.”
Montiel is seeking the interim WBO bantamweight title against Diego Silva of Argentina. He has big plans this year that might include a date with junior bantamweight world champion Vic Darchinyan, who needs competition.
“A lot of people have been talking about me fighting Vic Darchinyan but I have a fight on March 28,” said Montiel. “I also want to win a third world title in a third weight division.”
Soto is the only fighter without an opponent at this time.
“We’re calling it Tijuana Thunder,” said Bob Arum of Top Rank. “We’re going to give fans a special treat.”
To his family and fistic friends, Angelo Santana is sometimes known as “The Cobra.’’ To his promoter, Don King, he’s “The Swimmer.’’
Why, you wonder? Not because Michael Phelps has anything to worry about.
Angelo Santana is “The Swimmer’’ because Don King figures that might sell and these days, as always, that’s what boxing is about. It’s about selling. Selling yourself and selling tickets and young Santana has just gotten on the road toward trying to do both.
The 20-year-old Cuban defector who will appear on the under card of Saturday night’s Nate Campbell-Ali Funeka lightweight title fight on HBO literally floated into King’s arms not long after he’d floated onto the shores of Miami 2 1⁄2 years ago. Santana and 27 others built a makeshift boat out of a little wood and a lot of inner tubes and slid off into the Atlantic Ocean hoping to somehow find their way to America. Angelo Santana found more than that.
He found Don King.
For three days the former two-time Cuban national boxing champion floated and paddled in the Atlantic Ocean before he and his desperate comrades hit the Florida shoreline on Sept. 1, 2007. It was not the normal way of arriving unless you are a defector from the failed political dream Fidel Castro’s Cuba has become but for Santana it was a godsend.
That kind of instantaneous life change would be a shock for anyone but nothing like the shock Santana felt 10 days later when he found himself signing a promotional contract with King even though King had no idea who he was.
All he knew was all that he needed to know – which was that the kid could fight, the kid came cheap and the kid had a story. The way King figured it, compared to many of his dealings in boxing he was already well ahead of the game.
“Anybody willing to swim all the way to Miami in search of freedom is my kind of guy,’’ King rhapsodized. “I signed him sight unseen because I believe he earned an opportunity in the land of opportunity.’’
Barely four months later, Santana found himself standing in his under shorts in the ring at Madison Square Garden, making his pro debut on the under card of the Roy Jones, Jr.-Felix Trinidad match, which King promoted. Although he would need only 33 seconds to stop Kenny Keaton, Santana admits now that he felt as adrift that night as he’d been when he first left his home and family behind to slide into the sea under a dark Cuban sky.
What he sought – the chance to write a new chapter in a boxing career Cuban sporting officials had put on hold despite Santana’s 180-3 amateur record because several of his relatives had already fled Cuba illegally – he now had. But who could have expected this?
“I felt like a complete hillbilly,’’ Santana (4-0, 3 KO) said of his first professional victory. “I was just a 19-year-old kid from Cuba one minute and the next I’m fighting with my heroes on a big fight card in New York City. The idea of fighting at Madison Square Garden had never even crossed my mind but there I was. I was overwhelmed. It was like a dream.’’
If so, it was a short dream, which is the way his next two fights also ended - quickly and concussively. By that time Santana had boxed a total of a minute and 19 seconds before finally being taken the distance in his last outing, a four round victory over someone named Anthony Woods, who will never be known as The Swimmer but may one day be a footnote in boxing history if King is right about his “Swimmer.’’
Santana insisted that fight would have ended earlier as well had he not sustained a rib injury in training but in fairness he has yet to face any serious iron as he works to adjust to a new and far different life than the one he’d known while learning his trade, a trade Santana first adopted as a nine year old volunteer.
Growing up in San Cristobal, Cuba as one of three brothers in a family dominated by a love of baseball not boxing, Santana sought another road. He fancied a different sport, one with more action than he found in the boring monotony of baseball.
When officials from the Cuban Sports Authority visited his fourth grade class seeking anyone interested in becoming a boxer, Santana was the only child to raise his hand. Before the year was out he had his first knockout and had begun a trip that would lead him to a place he never would have imagined – inside the offices of Don King Productions in Deerfield Beach, Fla., an hour or so from his new home in the Little Havana section of Miami.
But while Santana may be fighting in different venues than he ever expected and for someone he never thought he’d meet, one thing remains unchanged. What first brought him to boxing continues to have a firm grip on him.
“I enjoyed the fact you have to be quick, tenacious and decisive in boxing,’’ Santana said about what attraction him to boxing in the first place. “These are things that come naturally to me. Things I enjoy.’’
And what he enjoys most, like most people who have to work with their hands for a living, is going home early.
“Truthfully, I’ve stopped almost everyone I ever faced,’’ he said.
That included his high school sweetheart, who left Cuba legally for Miami before he followed her on his inner tubes a year later. He moved in with her family upon his arrival and is now fighting for her and, in a sense, for the family he left behind because he knows if he ever wants to see them again he will have to do something special inside the harshest landscape in sports – the boxing ring.
“I’m living my dream boxing professionally but another dream is to keep winning and move up the rankings so I can bring my mother and father to America,’’ Santana said. “I believe it’s my destiny to fight for a world championship and I believe my mother and father will be in the arena when I get that chance.’’
It’s a dream he held firm to while he was fiercely holding onto those inner tubes. It’s a dream that remains alive today as he watches the success of Joel Casamayor, Juan Carlos Gomez and Yuriokas Gamboa, all Cuban defectors like himself who came to America with two fists, one dream and not much else.
If he lives his dream very likely standing not far away will be a man he never thought he’d be fighting for, the loud guy with the cigar calling him “The Swimmer’’ to anyone who will listen.
Had Cintron not faced the now disgraced Margaritgo, who was suspended for a year earlier this week by the California Athletic Commission for tampering with his hand wraps before he was to face Shane Mosley on Jan. 24, he might still be the undefeated IBF welterweight champion of the world and in position to make millions against guys Mosley and Miguel Cotto, another Margarito victim.
He would be 30-0 with 27 knockouts and among the most feared 147-pounders in the world but instead Saturday night he will try to win the interim WBC super welterweight title from a bigger man, Sergio Martinez, because, well, that was the best deal he could find.
The latter is happening because Cintron was twice knocked out by Margarito, the last time 10 months ago. Whether Margarito had loaded hand wraps that night or not Cintron will never know but he knows one thing – none of that matters to Martinez, who is at the moment the most important fighter in the world to the former champion.
“This is a great opportunity,’’ said Cintron, who was originally set to fight IBF welterweight champion Joshua Clottey but opted to face Martinez instead because the purse was larger. “We felt moving up in weight and fighting on HBO was a better opportunity.
“I have no problem making 147. Moving up just makes it a little easier for me. I don’t have to lose 13 pounds (from his walking around weight of 160). I feel really comfortable.’’
That’s nothing like he felt the night Margarito unloaded on him last April. It was almost a replica of what happened when the two of them first met there years earlier, a stunning destruction of the then undefeated Cintron, who was challenging for the WBO title Margarito held at the time.
They are fights he has since put out of his mind, accepting them as the oddity of a sport where if two styles don’t properly mesh there is little one side can do against the other.
“I guess he just has my number,’’ Cintron said. “Our styles don’t match up well for me. It’s like Oscar De La Hoya and Shane Mosley and Shane and Vernon Forrest. I just have to move on and learn from the loss. You take those losses and learn from them. If you don’t learn anything from them then you shouldn’t be fighting any more.’’
Since that second loss he’s learned plenty and last month that included that there might be more to his defeats than simply Margarito’s style. Something buried unseen under his nemesis’ gloves. Something sinister and dirty. Something, frankly, his lawyer has told him not to say too much about.
And so Cintron tried not to but when one man has changed your career so completely in the way Margarito has changed Cintron’s silence is not easy to maintain.
“Right now I shouldn’t make any comments,’’ Cintron said. “That’s what my lawyer told me. The fights happened. They’re in the past and I’m looking forward to what’s happening with Martinez….but to me, it’s messed up. It wasn’t fair. If that’s what he has to do to win fights, he’s not a real fighter.’’
So much for “No comment.’’
Regardless of what happens to Margarito, what is now paramount to Cintron is what happens between him and the slick moving Martinez when they square off on the undercard of lightweight champion Nate Campbell’s title defense against Ali Funeka on HBO. That is the only fighter Cintron can afford to be thinking about and the only one who now can affect his life. Anything else, even the now suspect side of Antonio Margarito, is of little short-term importance.
“He’s a little slick southpaw but he hasn’t really fought anybody,’’ Cintron said of Martinez, who some consider to be the best 154-pounder in the world. “He won the (interim) title from (then top-rated Alex) Bunema but Bunema just stood in front of him. I’d look the same way if he stood in front of me. I’ll test him out Saturday night.’’
He will but he is facing a test of his own as well. Seven months after that second loss to Margarito, Cintron came back to win a unanimous decision from former IBF junior welterweight champion Lovemore N’Dou in November in a welterweight title eliminator that set up another shot at the 147-pound title against Clottey until the money came up short and he opted to accept the unexpected opportunity to challenge Martinez.
Now he is in what is arguably the biggest fight of his life and there remain lingering doubts in the minds of many around boxing if Cintron has yet fully overcome the painful losses to Margarito. After the second, he was released by his promoters, Main Events, who had lost faith in him, and signed with Lou DiBella. DiBella insists he still has the power and the skill to be a major factor at 147 but his decision to grab the Martinez fight is a gamble that must pay off.
“Kermit is a classy guy,’’ DiBella said. “I think he’s thinking a lot of stuff about Margarito but he didn’t want appear like a sore loser so he’s moving on.
“When I signed him I just felt any time a guy punches like he can and whose only losses are to one guy he deserves the benefit of the doubt. He can punch like a mule and he’s a high-quality fighter. Signing him for me was a no brainer.
“Sergio may be the best in the world at 154 so even if Kermit loses, as long as he doesn’t lose the way he did against Margarito, he’s still in at 147 and still an HBO fighter.’’
Cintron is not in Florida to lose however. He is weary of that and anxious for the kind of comeback fight that will help him feed his wife and three children, including his new-born son, Clemente. Just don’t call Saturday night a comeback.
“This is not a comeback fight,’’ Cintron insisted. “The media writes you off after a loss. You knock somebody out and they’re on your jock. You lose a fight and they’re off your jock. They can write what they want but I don’t consider this a comeback fight.
“I took this opportunity because I expect to win. After I do, people will talk more about me again and we’ll keep the doors open for both weight classes and see what’s out there.
“I think everything happens for a reason. I really do believe that. Losing to Margarito, then getting surgery done (on his wrist and thumb) and seeing my son born, well if I’d won I would have missed out on the birth of my baby boy. Like I said, things happen for a reason. I believe there will be better things for me in my career.’’
Kermit Cintron believes that begins Saturday night at the expense of the Argentinian-born resident of Spain who is 44-1-1 with 24 KO because he’s the kind of fighter who can frustrate and fascinate an opponent with his slipperiness, boxing skills and natural difficulties that are spawned from his southpaw stance.
Cintron knows all this, of course. He is well aware of what he has gotten himself into and what he must do to get himself out of it and back into the welterweight mix. He has to win.
“I was definitely hurt when I lost to Margarito again,’’ Cintron said. “It was a big opportunity because next would have been a fight with Cotto and my kids would have been (financially) set. But boxing is a crazy business. If you lose a fight and you come back and win a fight you can get back on TV and back into the picture.’’
That’s where he is now, back on TV and back in the picture. But if Kermit Cintron wants to be part of the big picture he must do more than that. Saturday night he must win like he always has except for two nights against a guy with a troubling style and just maybe trouble in his hand wraps.
“Kermit is a devastating puncher and certainly has the ability to win another world title,’’ DiBella said. “He’s still a young man in the prime of his career. He’s an intelligent guy who knows exactly what he has to do to get back on top.’’
Yes he does. Win another world title on Saturday night.
More than 20,000 fans packed the Staples Center in downtown L.A. on January 24th to watch Antonio Margarito get pummeled by Shane Mosley in what was a miraculous rewinding of the clock for the 37 year old boxer from Pomona.
Amazingly, after a dismal performance against Ricardo Mayorga, Mosley destroyed the rugged and gritty fighter from Tijuana that some fans were already hailing as the new Julio Cesar Chavez. It was a brilliant performance by Mosley who somehow managed to fight like a 25 year old and battered the same man that crushed the soul of Miguel Cotto just months earlier.
Make no mistake about it. Most of those fans weren’t there to watch “Sugar” Shane be sweet. They were there to watch Margarito retire Mosley and to be part of the coronation of a Mexican boxing hero in the tradition of Eric Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera and Julio Cesar Chavez. But it was not to be as the re-vitalized Mosley stopped Margarito’s rise in its tracks.
Fast forward two weeks later to the Honda Center in Anaheim on a rainy Saturday as more than 5,000 rabid fans made up of mostly Mexicans and Armenians congregate to support the very popular Jorge Arce and Australian/Armenian world champion Vic Darchinyan as they fought for the Super Flyweight world title.
Arce gave as much of himself as any true warrior is expected to. The naturally smaller, former world champion came to fight but Darchinyan was too big, too awkward and too strong. Even in losing by referee stoppage before the twelfth round, “El Travieso” did not disappoint his fans. He was willing to come out for the last round and go out on his shield if he had to, but the referee called it a night for the Los Mochis, Sinaloa native.
With Margarito and Arce’s career hitting the skids and Israel Vazquez out on medical leave due to eye surgery, a real void has been created for fans of Mexican boxers.
Although Juan Manuel Marquez is still a player in the fight game, he’s never managed to create the kind of following that Margarito, Arce and Vazquez have enjoyed.
So who’s out there? Let’s take a look.
He’s one of boxing’s most devastating punchers who won the first of his legendary three fight series against Israel Vazquez. After the first win, he seemed destined for stardom until Vazquez beat him in the two following rematches by the closest of margins.
Marquez (37-5, 33 KO’s) is currently waiting on Vazquez to heal up so they can fight a fourth time. His career defining win remains against Vazquez but losing twice to him afterwards certainly derailed his shooting star. A win against Vazquez and someone like Juan Ma Lopez would put him back on track.
Alfredo “Perro” Angulo:
Who’s more fun to watch than Alfredo Angulo (14-0, 11 KOs)? Aside from Israel Vazquez and Rafael Marquez, no one brings the type of fireworks and electricity into the ring more than this former Mexican Olympian. The junior Middleweight promoted by Gary Shaw was supposed to fight Danny Perez after Ricardo Mayorga pulled out of their scheduled match on February 14. Perez also pulled out and will be replaced by journeyman tough guy Cosme Rivera. Angulo is still looking for a career defining win but his style is so exciting to watch that we’ll be tracking him every step of the way.
Tony De Marco:
Is Tony De Marco (20-1, 14 KOs) the next big thing? De Marco hails out of Tijuana and fought as part of the undercard of the Arce/Darchinyan event. He looked impressive in dismantling “Kid Diamond” before stopping him the ninth round. His calm demeanor in the ring against a dangerous opponent coupled with solid boxing skills makes this 23 year old an interesting prospect to watch.
So where are the rest?
There’s definitely a drought when it comes to legitimate fighters with star potential from south of the border. Mexican migration to the west coast over several generations means that a lot of those Mexican boxers are now Mexican-American, fighters like Victor Ortiz, Juan Diaz, Chris Arreola, Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero and Vicente Escobedo. There are many other fighters just starting out in California and Texas that look promising but there are too many to mention. The Mexican fighting spirit still lives on in the children of immigrants who brought it with them along with their love for the sweet science. “Maromero” Paez at the Honda Center:
Former world champion Jorge Paez Sr. was in attendance at the Honda Center wearing a bluish purple suit, big gaudy sunglasses and a strange haircut that consisted of one spike pointing upwards. The guy still has tons of fans as evinced by the lines that formed to get his autograph and the scene he caused as people yelled out his name. If he had a quarter for every signature and photo he’s taken for the fans over the years, I guarantee you “Maromero” would be pretty well off. Fights in the stands:
I was very surprised that I made it through the whole Darchinyan-Arce card without seeing one fight in the stands. The energy was extremely high for only having about 5500 in attendance as the Armenian and Mexican fans waved their respective flags. Minutes after the Arce bout ended, a fight in the stands broke out which led to at least one person getting carted away in handcuffs by Anaheim’s finest.
I counted four big fights in the stands at the Margarito-Mosley card. They were far more entertaining than the under-card.
Bobby D. Show
Chris Martin (12-0, 2 KO’s) and Trinidad Mendoza (24-18-2, 19 KO’s) mix it up at the Four Points Sheraton Hotel in San Diego on Thursday February 12th as part of a Bobby D. Presents promotion. Also on the card are Ronny Rios and Andrew Cancio. First fight at 7:30 p.m. For tickets call 619-420-8866.
As the Ultimate Fighting Championship has industriously sought to make a myriad of quality matchups on its cards, MMA fans have responded in kind by taking their seats when the first fight of the night begins and cheering relentlessly throughout.
It is arguable that the supporters of both sports are different, but when the UFC came to Dublin, Ireland last month, a sizeable proportion of the attendance was composed of genuine boxing supporters. Tickets sold out so quickly and the crowd created such a wild atmosphere during the ten-fight card that UFC officials promised to bring their show back to Dublin on a regular basis.
“The Irish crowd was unbelievable,” Wayne McCullough, a former 122-pound boxing world titlist and now a UFC ambassador, told TheSweetScience. “But most of the people there were boxing fans, even though it’s a completely different sport than boxing. The fans just turned out to see good fights.”
With the appetite of Irish fight fans whetted by the UFC extravaganza, boxing promoter Brain Peters has responded with a packed show of his own. His March 21 event at Dublin’s O2 Arena is headlined by Bernard Dunne’s challenge of WBA 122-pound titlist Ricardo Cordoba, but the undercard features some unexpected attractions.
The show will include two of the biggest names in Irish boxing: amateur standouts Kenny Egan and Katie Taylor.
The amateur scene in Ireland has produced a variety of fighters that have garnered the type of mainstream attention that would make any promoter envious.
Nearly 80 percent of the country’s television viewership watched Egan narrowly lose in the light heavyweight final of the Beijing Olympics, while Taylor has received copious amounts of publicity for winning gold at the female world amateur boxing championships last year.
Egan resisted the temptation to follow fellow Olympian Darren Sutherland into the paid ranks, even turning down an offer from Shelly Finkel. But the Dubliner has still been presented with numerous corporate sponsorship opportunities and his profile has risen to the extent that even his love life made font page news last October.
Not long ago the prospect of a Bernard Dunne world title challenge would have been enough to satisfy Irish fans’ fistic hunger, but the cutback in the population’s disposable income and threat from other fighting forms may have spurred Peter’s idea of putting Dunne, Eagan, Taylor and Beijing bronze medallist Paddy Barnes on the same event.
Amateur boxing organizations previously wanted to keep a clear distance from the professional game, viewing the paid ranks as a completely separate sport that required a different mentality and fighting style.
So the Amateur Irish Boxing Association had to change their rules to allow amateur boxers to compete on the upcoming pro-am show, but the organization believes the outcome will aid the burgeoning profile of the sport.
“This will be the first time we’ve done this,” admitted AIBA vice-president Tommy Murphy last week. “Under our rules over the past years this couldn’t have happened. But if we don’t change we’ll be left behind and at the moment amateur boxing in Ireland is on a high.”
“It’s amazing how things have changed,” adds McCullough, an Irish silver medallist at the 1992 Olympic Games who now lives in Las Vegas. “When I was an amateur we weren’t even supposed to spar with pro fighters, now they’re on the same card.”
The top Irish amateur boxers receive sizeable funding from the government, but there is the possibility that the experience of fighting in front of a 10,000 crowd at a professional show will dull their hunger for the amateur game.
“The amateur boxers will certainly see the difference between the amateur and pro games in March,” reckons McCullough. “But they are both completely different. Amateur boxing is so quick paced, while the pro game is like a marathon. Fighting on the card will give the amateurs a taste of being a pro, but that doesn’t mean they’ll like it.
“Egan, Barnes and Taylor are serious world-class boxers and I think they’re dedicated to amateur boxing. But personally, I hated amateur boxing. I was sparring pro fighters for six or seven years before I turned pro. I couldn’t wait. The computerized system takes the fun away from throwing body shots and aggression. It’s all about one punch at a time now.”
But that is unlikely to deter fans from flocking to the O2 Arena on March 21.
“The pro-am show is a great idea, but it’s a big risk,” says McCullough. “But it’s a risk that should pay off. Irish boxing people love amateur or pro fights and the event will bring good attention to the amateur sport.”
But Peters is not content to just have the amateur stars box on his show, he wants to match them in notable fights, and that means somehow convincing Eagan’s conqueror in Beijing, China’s Zhang Xiaoping, to make the trip to Ireland.
The dealings may blur the line between amateur and pro boxing, but ultimately everyone should be happy as Peters can look forward to increased ticket sales while the AIBA will hope the event can satiate the amateur fighters’ desire for the big time, and convince them to stay in the headgear until 2012.
Mundine has interesting views on the world and has managed to continually court controversy throughout his sporting career. He has drawn hostile media reaction for acts that include: accusing America of bringing the September 11 terrorist attacks “upon themselves”, making a rap video featuring the burnings of the Union Jack flag and a photo of then-Australian Prime Minister John Howard, and a myriad of comments disparaging the most successful fighters of his native land.
Unsurprisingly, corporate sponsors have distanced themselves from the two-time super middleweight world titlist.
Yet one man’s villain can be the next man’s hero.
Mundine, born in New South Wales of indigenous Australian descent, has been awarded accolades honoring him as the Aboriginal person of the year and is viewed as an icon by thousands of young Aborigines.
Some portray him as a vehicle for expressing the views of Australia’s original dwellers, a race that was long scorned and rejected by the Christian conquerors of the land. In a move apparently inspired by his heroes Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X, Mundine converted to Islam in an ostensible effort to move further away from the religion of his ancestors’ persecutors.
For Mundine, denigrating symbols of Australia’s government is a rallying cry for his followers to stand up to what he believes is a domineering regime.
“[The burning of the flag] signifies politicians and the structure of the government and its foundations,” the 33-year-old told The Australian newspaper. “What they have done to my people in the past and what they are still doing today mentally and psychologically.
“It’s not to start a race riot. The Union Jack, that’s the government, that's what it was built on and it's a symbol of oppression. It's a fight for justice, we have to stand up and be counted.”
He described John Howard as “a puppet to the bigger brothers, who are England and America” and poured scorn on Cathy Freeman, an Olympic gold medal athlete of Aboriginal descent recognized by mainstream Australia as the perfect role model for the largely impoverished race. Mundine branded Freeman a “sell-out,” as if viewing her as a defector that has forgotten the past in favor of generating income for the corporate world.
Mundine vows never to disregard his impecunious roots. He regularly trains at a shabby gym in Sydney and has made discreet trips into the Australian heartland to talk to troubled youngsters and help inspire them to join the recently formed Indigenous Boxing Academy.
“I'm not one of those guys who needs to bring 20 cameras. I do it out of my own heart,” he told FoxSports.
“People can't buy my heart,” he added. “My heart and my soul; that's who I am. I represent the people. I represent the struggle. I represent the common man. And [the media] might want to portray me as a villain, this or that, a d***head, brash - there are reasons why I'm like that.”
Like the youthful Ali, he is determined to maintain his political views regardless of mainstream opinion, but Mundine’s charisma falls short of his hero’s. While Ali courted the media through an unscathed, perfectly formed visage, Mundine has the face of a fighter, a rugged jaw line embalmed with rough skin.
While his fights attract significant publicity in Australia, many viewers are more interested in seeing him lose, as evidenced when he was jeered and pelted with debris after his 2005 knockout victory over Rico Chong Nee in Perth. Mundine had previously sparked the ire of many boxing fans after labelling Hall of Fame inductee Jeff Fenech a “limited fighter” and former light heavyweight world titlist Danny Green a “bum.”
Yet his own boxing ability is also a topic of contention.
Mundine turned professional at 26 after abandoning a successful rugby career that he claims was stymied by racism. While his only experience of boxing was a handful of amateur bouts in his teenage years, Mundine’s exceptional athletic ability and guidance from his father Tony, a world-class middleweight contender in the 1960s, has seen him develop into an agile, sharp-hitting prizefighter.
Over 30,000 attended his lopsided points win over the popular Green. On that night Mundine effectively shutdown his strong, heavy-handed opponent, utilizing superior hand speed and footwork.
In claiming his WBA titles he scored decisive victories over respectable opposition in Sam Soliman and Antwun Echols, but the defeats on his 33-3 (23 KOs) record highlighted severe vulnerabilities.
His first world title bout came in just his eleventh pro outing against the long reigning IBF champ Sven Ottke in 2001. Mundine journeyed to Ottke’s homeland of Germany and put up a commendable effort against the skilful champion, but in the tenth round a right cross sent the Australian crashing to the canvas in shocking fashion. The manner of the loss was worrying, given that the light-hitting Ottke finished with just six knockout wins on his final career tally, but some Mundine supporters dismiss questions about their fighter’s punch resistance, categorizing the punch a freak blow that landed high on the temple.
Regardless, Mundine’s points defeats to Manny Siaca and Mikkel Kessler pointed to a fragility in the Australian’s psyche. Against Siaca, Mundine was floored in the second and thereafter allowed himself to be outworked by the relatively ordinary pressure fighter, relinquishing his WBA title in the process.
Mundine put up a more robust effort versus Kessler in 2005, but never provided a genuine threat to the fighter now regarded as the world’s premier 168-pounder. In both losses it was apparent that Mundine seemingly retreats into a shell if he is unable to dictate the pace of the contest.
Physical ailments have also hampered his career. In August 2007 a serious infection threatened the sight in his left eye, while a long-term hip injury will require surgery in the coming months.
Yet Mundine, who has worked with Roy Jones Sr. on numerous occasions, has racked up 12 straight victories since the Kessler defeat, and has developed a working relationship with Golden Boy Promotions. He won every round in his points victory over Shannan Taylor and was able to box well within his true ability against the rugged, yet faded 36-year-old.
Mundine seemed content to attain a decision victory, using his speed to counter Taylor’s attacks and control the bout’s sluggish tempo. Given that it was his first fight at 160-pounds, stamina issues may have been weighing on his mind.
“I worked hard to get to middleweight,” explained Mundine after the bout. “I didn’t know how I was going to hold up. But the longer I stay at middleweight, the stronger I will get, the better I will get.”
Mundine’s drop in weight seems to have been inspired by the prospect of a WBA title shot against current incumbent Felix Sturm – a smooth, yet physically unimposing boxer. Mundine is highly ranked by the organization and if the match comes to fruition it will occur in Sturm’s base of Germany, but Mundine views the possible excursion as an opportunity to exorcise his pugilistic demons.
“It feels as if God is drawing me back to Germany,” he said in reference to the Ottke defeat eight years ago. “This time I will be going there as a man, whereas last time I was just a boy in boxing terms.”
Many observers also hope that Mundine’s rhetoric will take a more mature tone. But whether he will be remembered as a spiteful egomaniac, brilliant self-publicist or a heroic campaigner misunderstood by the masses, his pugilistic epitaph is far from finalized.
“I've got the will, I've got the drive, I've got the determination and I've got the talent, the sheer brilliance, the ability and I've got the flamboyance, everything that makes the great champions. And in the future people are going to see that,” he predicts.
To achieve such recognition Mundine must prove that when the going gets tough in the ring, he can fight with the same tenacity with which he craves publicity.
Pensacola, FL (February 11, 2009) – Roy Jones Jr., Eight-Time World Champion, returns to Pensacola to fight for the first time since January, 1999 when he battles Omar Sheika at the Pensacola Civic Center on Saturday, March 21, 2009. The fight card will also feature a bevy of Mixed Martial Arts stars headlined by Seth Petruzelli, who most recently knocked out Internet legend and previously undefeated Kimbo Slice. The event is being promoted by Square Ring Promotions in association with Hirsch Borao Boxing and the Pensacola Civic Center and will be broadcast live on pay-per-view.
Tickets, priced at $128, $103, $78, $53 & $28 go on sale Wednesday, February 11th at 10:00 a.m. and will be available at all Ticketmaster locations, the Pensacola Civic Center Box Office and Ticketmaster.com.
It wasn’t that long ago that Roy Jones Jr. (52-5, 38 KOs) was the consensus “pound-for-pound” champion and just over 20 years since the exuberant, talent-brimming Jones was denied an Olympic Gold Medal by corrupt judges. In a contradictory but unofficial admission the “Silver Medialist” Jones was named the Most Valuable Boxer at the ’88 Seoul Olympics. Jones later used that unfortunate episode as inspiration to become an eight-time world champion in four weight classes, claiming belts at middleweight, super middleweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight.
He blew through the 90s and well into the 21st Century in unstoppable fashion, stunning his opponents with blinding quickness and brutal power, beating the top names in the sport, including Bernard Hopkins, James “Lights Out” Toney, Mike McCallum and Virgil Hill. He made history on March 1, 2003 when he stymied then-heavyweight champion John Ruiz to become the first former middleweight champion to win the heavyweight title in more than 100 years.
Following the Ruiz triumph, Jones was to take on “Iron” Mike Tyson, but when the deal fell through he had to lose twenty-five pounds of solid muscle in six weeks to drop not one, but two weight classes to regain the light heavyweight championship from Florida rival and nemesis Antonio Tarver on November 8, 2003. It was an unprecedented feat in boxing history, going from middleweight champion to heavyweight champion then back down to win the light heavyweight championship once again. However, the sudden weight variations had taken a toll on Jones’ body and he subsequently lost consecutive bouts against Tarver (twice) and Glen Johnson.
Down, but not out, Jones came back to score wins in his next two fights, setting up a highly-anticipated duel with Puerto Rican legend Felix “Tito” Trinidad at Madison Square Garden on January 19, 2008. A renewed Jones looked sharp and focused, flooring Trinidad twice, in capturing a hard fought unanimous win. In his most recent bout, on November 8, 2008 in “Battle of the Superpowers” Jones fought undefeated and the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world, Joe Calzaghe. Jones started out strong, knocking Calzaghe down with a left-right combination in the first round and had “Super” Joe practically out on his feet. To his credit, Calzaghe mustered the heart to get through the round, gaining strength in the next few rounds until Jones rocked him in the sixth with a deadly uppercut. The fight, however, took a significant turn in the seventh when Jones was cut for the first time in his career from a Calzaghe right hand. Jones’ corner was unable to stop the bleeding, and the steady stream of blood running over his eye was wreaking havoc on his vision and his pace had slowed considerably. Calzaghe went on to win a unanimous decision. To Roy, this was just another valley, and he will now begin another trek back to the peak and the first step takes place on March 21 against the always game, exciting brawler Omar Sheika.
Sheika (27-8, 18 KOs) of Paterson, N.J. accomplished something Roy Jones Jr. did not: he beat Glen Johnson, on June 2, 2000 at the famed Blue Horizon in Philadelphia. In the fourth-round, Sheika was getting inside of Johnson’s jab and began to nail him with uppercuts. He then floored Johnson with a powerful right hand. The fight went the distance and Sheika won a majority decision.
The Johnson win catapulted Sheika to a world title fight against reigning super middleweight champion and another Jones common opponent, Joe Calzaghe on August 12, 2000. In the fifth round of that bout a nasty laceration was forming above Omar’s left eye due to an accidental clash of heads earlier in the fight. However, the referee had ruled it had come from a punch and when it was decided that Omar could not continue, the fight ended as a technical knockout loss for Sheika.
But Sheika may mostly be known for his two brawling and brutal bouts against Scott Pemberton. The first meeting took place on July 25, 2003 and was ESPN2’s Fight of the Year. Pemberton won a 12-round split decision after being knocked down by Sheika in round two and surviving a late round rally. Their January 23, 2004 rematch, again for the NABF super middleweight title, was just as action-packed and an early candidate for 2004’s Fight of the Year. Sheika knocked Pemberton down in round two and in the sixth, drove Pemberton into the ropes with an overhand right leading to a mandatory 8-count. Pemberton survived the round and in a reversal of fortune, knocked Sheika down for the first time in his career in the tenth and the fight was soon stopped. In Sheika’s last bout, on September 29, 2007, he stopped Tiwon Taylor in the fourth round in Atlantic City.
Mixed Martial Arts Fights
Seth “The Silverback” Petruzelli vs. Doug “Rhino” Marshall
Bobby Lashly vs. TBD
Roy “Big Country” Nelson vs. Jeff “The Snowman” Monson
Headlining the Mixed Martial Arts portion of the card will be Seth “The Silverback” Petruzelli (10-4, 9 KOs) a wrestling/karate specialist from Fort Myers, FL. Seth has had only three of his fourteen bouts go longer than one round. Most recently, on October 4, 2008, Petruzelli took a fight against Internet Legend Kimbo Slice on one hour notice in an event broadcast on national television. Petruzelli attacked Slice from the opening bell and the fight was stopped 14 seconds in, giving Kimbo his first professional loss…and a new MMA star was born.
Doug “Rhino” Marshall (9-3, 6 KOs, 3 Submissions) is a Muay Thai and Jiu Jitsu specialist from Visalia, CA. Doug began his MMA career at heavyweight and won his pro debut in 32 seconds. “Rhino” was given the opportunity to fight for a title in only his third pro fight and won that in 22 seconds! Doug’s thirst for winning was motivating him to train harder and his new regimen dropped him down to light heavyweight. On August 17, 2006, Doug won the WEC light heavyweight championship and had three successful defenses.
Bobby Lashley (1-0, 1 KO) is 6’3”, 265 lbs and cut like a Greco-Roman statue. He hails from Junction City, Kansas and was a three-time NCAA wrestling champion (1996-’98) and four-time All-American while at Missouri Valley College. After college, Lashley joined the Army and was a two-time Armed Forces Champion and 2002 Silver Medalist at the Military World Championships. In 2005, he began working in professional wrestling and before long was a WWE superstar. In 2007, Lashley was the star of Wrestlemania 23, representing Donald Trump in a bet against Vince McMahon. Lashley won the match and helped Trump shave Vince McMahon's head in the ring. Lashley then began to train in MMA full time and made his debut on December 13, 2008 by stopping his opponent in 41 seconds in Miami, FL.
Roy “Big Country” Nelson (13-3, 6 KOs, 3 Submissions) is a grappler and Jui Jitsu specialist from Las Vegas, NV. Nelson played football and baseball and wrestled in high school. “Big Country” became motivated to learn martial arts after watching “The Karate Kid” and now trains with Ken Shamrock in The Lion’s Den. The 250 lb. heavy-handed Nelson is the current International Fight League (IFL) Heavyweight Champion. He’s a fan-favorite for two reasons…his body type (soft) and his skill (outstanding).
Jeff “The Snowman” Monson (27-8, 2 KOs, 17 Submissions) from Olympia, WA is 5’ 8” 240 lbs of solid muscle and was recently featured in a 3-page spread in ESPN The Magazin, as the world’s most intimidating MMA fighter. Monson got his nickname while in a 1999 grappling tournament in Brazil. He came in unknown and beat four Brazilians in a row, each tougher than the one before him, to win the tournament. They said he was like a snowball: white, compact, rolling downhill while getting bigger and stronger. In a fight, he is an avalanche headed straight for you. From 2002 to 2006, Monson won sixteen consecutive fights over the four and a half year time period. Monson, who has run into problems with the law as an open anarchist, comes into the ring using John Lennon's "Imagine" and is a card-carrying member of the Industrial Workers of the World (Wobblies). Not only a superb athlete, Monson is an intellectual and idealist, and these attributes coupled with his skills as a fighter, make him one dangerous and unpredictable opponent.
"March Badness" is being distributed by Square Ring Promotions, Inc. live on pay per view at 9:00PM ET/6:00PM PT in North America, on cable and satellite via iNDemand, TVN, DirecTV and Dish Network in the United States, as well as Viewer's Choice, Shaw Cable, Star Choice and Bell TV in Canada, for a suggested retail price of only $29.95.
COCONUT CREEK, Fla.—International Boxing Federation, World Boxing Organization and World Boxing Association lightweight champion Nate “Galaxxy Warrior” Campbell (32-5-1, 25 KOs), his opponent IBF No. 1-ranked mandatory challenger Ali “Rush Hour” Funeka (30-1-2, 25 KOs) and undefeated WBC and WBO No. 1-ranked contender Alfredo “Perro” Angulo (14-0, 11 KOs) participated in media workouts at American Top Team gym in South Florida today promoting Saturday’s big “St. Valentine’s Day Massacre” card at BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla. (HBO Boxing After Dark tripleheader, 10 p.m. ET/PT)
“Funeka said he knows me like the back of his hand,” Campbell told the media. “Now he gets to meet the front of my hand on Saturday night.”
Funeka made comments while training in his native South Africa that Campbell felt were disparaging. After arriving in America, Funeka has taken a much more conciliatory tack towards the unified lightweight world champion.
“Campbell is a good champion and a good boxer,” Funeka said. “I am hungry as well. I don’t want to talk any more trash this close to the fight.”
Angulo, who received news yesterday that Cosme “Chino” Rivera (31-11-2, 23 KOs) will step in to face him after Ricardo Mayorga pulled out, said he doesn’t like to say bad things about any boxer.
“It doesn’t matter that Mayorga pulled out,” a resolute Angulo said. “I was only disappointed for people who wanted to see me fight him. I trained to fight and I thank Cosme Rivera for taking the match on short notice. I respect Rivera because he is a veteran who has faced many great fighters, but when I enter the ring that respect will disappear. Then he will be just another opponent I must defeat.”
Rounding out the HBO-televised tripleheader is another match of great importance at 154 pounds pitting interim World Boxing Council super welterweight champion Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez (44-1-1, 24 KOs) against former IBF welterweight champion Kermit “The Killer” Cintron (30-2, 27 KOs).
Cintron and Martinez arrived in South Florida this afternoon and will attend the event’s final press conference tomorrow (Thursday).
Tickets priced at $200, $75, $40 and $25 (with all seats 2-for-1 excepting a limited number of golden circle seats) are on sale now and can be purchased at all Ticketmaster outlets, charge by phone at (800) 745-3000, by visiting www.ticketmaster.com or at the BankAtlantic Center box office.
The event is presented by Don King Productions in association with Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler Attorneys at Law, V Georgio Vodka, The BOVA Restaurant Group, Renato Watches and QTask. Campbell vs. Funeka is presented in association with One Punch Productions. Martinez vs. Cintron is presented by DiBella Entertainment. Angulo vs. Rivera is a co-promotion with Gary Shaw Productions. Campbell vs. Funeka, Martinez vs. Cintron and Angulo vs. Rivera will also be televised live on HBO Boxing After Dark beginning at 10 p.m. ET/PT. A full, domestically non-televised, undercard will begin at 5:30 p.m. with 12 bouts in total scheduled for the event.
Nate Campbell: “Funeka said he knows me like the back of his hand. Now he gets to meet the front of my hand on Saturday night.
“Saturday night will be the culmination of a long hard training camp. Funeka is more important than my valentine. I spent less getting married than I did in training camp with my team and sparring partners. I could have bought my wife a new car with that money instead of putting in a full training camp, but I don’t look past anyone. This is what I love and do for a living.”
Ali Funeka: “Campbell is a good champion and a good boxer. I am hungry as well. I don’t want to talk any more trash this close to the fight, but I will take his titles with me back to South Africa.
“I am 6 feet 1 inch. Campbell has never fought anyone that tall. It will be new territory for him, and he will have to figure it out.”
Alfredo Angulo: “It doesn’t matter that Mayorga pulled out. I was only disappointed for people who wanted to see me fight him. I trained to fight and I thank Cosme Rivera for taking the match on short notice. I respect Rivera because he is a veteran who has face many great fighters, but when I enter the ring that respect will disappear. Then he will be just another opponent I must defeat.
“We have a saying in Mexico. Instead of people crying in my house, there will be crying in his house. I never know how the fight will end, but I come to win. If the knockout comes, it’s only sweeter.”