A return to the division south of welterweight could await Manny Pacquiao if trainer Freddie Roach has much sway in the Filipino legend’s next move as the Wildcard Boxing Club owner believes the 35-year-old will only recapture his knockout power if he campaigns within the confines of light welterweight (140-pounds) or lightweight (135-pounds). Promoter Bob Arum may not be so keen as the ‘money’ fights are at 147-pounds, but here’s five candidates who could bring bucks at light welter and below…
Sam Janes – Leicester
Amir Khan rose up from the canvas on his way to winning a close 12 round unanimous decision against game Julio Diaz. Khan largely dominated the fight but was on the end of some telling blows by the powerful Mexican (now 40-8-1), especially with a sharp left hook in the 4th which put Khan down.
Deontay ‘Bronze Bomber’ Wilder (27-0-0, 27ko) of Tuscaloosa, Alabama will be crossing the Atlantic to take on Harlesden’s 2000 Olympic Gold Medalist Audley ‘A-Force’ Harrison (31-6-0, 23ko) in the co-featured fight that will headline the undercard on ‘The Return of the King: Khan vs. Diaz’ bill at Motorpoint Arena, Sheffield on Saturday, April 27.
Wilder, a rising star on the American heavyweight scene, has shown his phenomenal punching prowess by blasting his way past all of his opponents. The knockout king now steps into the ring against the veteran Harrison. The pair will clash in a 12-round heavyweight showdown with the victor propelling themselves into world title contention.
“There’s nothing like the day before, the morning of and night after you’ve claimed victory,” said Wilder. “The emotion, the excitement and adrenaline rush that I have is ready to explode out of me. I’m a starving lion that’s ready to eat. On April 27 my next meal will be served; on the menu: Audley Harrison… bon appetite.
“For the many fans in England, Deontay ‘Bronze Bomber’ Wilder is coming. You’ve been waiting for this moment and now it’s here. I can’t wait to show you guys why I am the light and the way for this dark division.”
Said Harrison: “Deontay is a fast, dangerous puncher, but he has not been tested as a pro. I have lot of respect for him, so it’s not personal, but this is the door I must walk through. Lose and it’s over, win and I’m in the top ten for sure, eligible to challenge for the world title. Biggest risk, for the biggest reward. It can’t get any better than that.”
On The Beak – Admin
Amir Khan is looking forward to the ‘crazy’ Manny Pacquiao versus Timothy Bradley fight that will be broadcast in the UK live on Primetime. Boxing superstar Amir Khan shared his thoughts with Primetime ahead of Saturday night’s super-fight between Manny Pacquiao and Tim Bradley. The former unified light-welterweight champion knows both fighters well, check out what he has to say about the eagerly anticipated world title clash.
“I’m always going to back my training partner Manny Pacquiao in this fight because he’s been in with better competition and reigned for such a long time. I think Manny will win the fight but don’t get me wrong it’s going to be a tough fight. I don’t think Manny will knock him out I feel it’s going to go the distance because Bradley is tough. There’s no doubt Bradley will come to fight, seeing him train on HBO 24/7 he seems focused and confident and he’ll go in there wanting to win.
“Manny’s not performed at his best in his last few fights so that might be on Bradley’s side and he could use that to his advantage. No matter what, it’s going to be an electrifying fight and one of those tough and crazy fights that boxing fans want to see. I’m looking forward to it as we offered Bradley the fight twice and he turned it down so I’m hoping my teammate can beat him for me in a way.”
“It will be a tough fight and a toe-to-toe scrap at times. Both guys can fight, and they like to fight, they throw a lot of shots and have great fitness. It will be a match-up that people love to see and fans will be on the edge of their seats, it will be an exciting fight no matter what because you have two guys that are in their prime and are hungry for the win. Manny won’t want to lose his pound-for-pound title and Bradley wants to move up and make a statement.
“I don’t think Bradley will be the same fighter at 147 as he was at 140. He thinks he’s a better fighter at 147 which I don’t thinks the case because he doesn’t have the power to knock Manny Pacquiao out or any other fighter at that weight. But he will cause a problem in the fight because he has a great engine, work rate and likes to keep coming forward.”
On Manny’s training…
“Manny always trains hard, I was out in the Philippines with him when I was training for my rematch with Peterson. Manny is always dedicated when it comes to training and you can’t knock him for that because he’s always strong and tough and likes to push himself to the limit. He always spars hard and he’s looking in tremendous shape.
“People can say what they like about his last few fights, and he hasn’t really performed well, but I think that’s down to how his opponents have been. When he fights top opposition he always boxes better but when he faces guys that people expect him to beat he doesn’t really put on the ‘A’ game that he has.”
On sparring Manny…
“Manny is a tricky guy to beat. I’ve sparred with him and shared a ring with him, and he sometimes adapts quite late in a fight because the first few rounds he eases into it and sees what the opponent does and kind of breaks him down. Whereas Bradley is a bit wild and seeing him fight he goes in there with his head. Manny needs to watch his head because they are a similar size but Bradley’s game plan will be to put pressure on him, push him back and throw four or five shots at a time.
“Speed is going to be crucial, Bradley knows Manny is fast so Bradley’s going to try and use his speed against him but I think Manny has way more ability and eventually his class will shine through. What Manny has to be wary of though is Bradley’s head and the looping shots that don’t come from far away.”
“You always have that one opponent that knows your style inside out. I think Marquez has that style to beat or look really good against Manny Pacquiao that’s why the last fight was so awkward.”
On fighting the winner…
“I would love to fight Bradley at 147 if he somehow manages to come through. I don’t think he’s going to beat Manny, but it’s a fight that we put to him before when he was at light-welterweight and he turned it down twice. I wouldn’t face Manny because we are friends and share the same trainer and there are plenty of other big fights out there.”
Words: Tommy Barber – London
Photos: Gene Blevins/Hogan Photos
Ahead of former WBA/IBF super lightweight world champion Amir Khan‘s fifth fight on American canvas, the 25-year-old dubbed King was subjected to a dissident’s protest as Angel Garcia, the father of his July 14 opponent Danny Garcia, brandished him “over-rated“. Garcia recently edged ring legend Erik Morales to claim the vacant WBC championship at 140lbs and makes the first defence of the belt against Amir at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.
On a night that Golden Boy Promotions founder Oscar de la Hoya believes will “be exciting” and in a match-up that Freddie Roach regards to be “the best fighting the best”, Khan (26-2-0, 18ko) is set to participate in his eighth successive world title bout but does so against an undefeated boxer. Khan, though, regards Garcia (23-0-0, 14ko) to be the one who should be experiencing fear.
“I have seen him fight and he has a dangerous style,” said Khan of his opponent, who has already defeated one fighter from Britain; Ashley Theophane at Don Haskins Convention Center in El Paso, Texas, a little over two years ago. “He is tough,” Khan continued, “but he has never faced anyone like me. I promise this is going to be a good fight… a legendary fight.”
Both fighters could be highly motivated but for alternative reasons. Khan, for instance, is coming off a loss – to Lamont Peterson, whom he relinquished his brace of world titles to in Washington in a 12-round fight not short of controversy in 2011. The last time Khan fought having just been beaten was in 2008, when he demolished Oisin Fagan inside two rounds.
Furthermore, Khan was due to box Peterson in a rematch, but the bout was called off when the latter failed a drug test due to testosterone pellets that were later found to have been inserted inside the armpit as early as the build-up to their first match-up. The disruption to Khan’s fighting schedule may have provided the 2004 Olympic silver medalist with an appetite for destruction.
Meanwhile, the 24-year-old from Philadelphia, Garcia, is slowly leapfrogging significant fighters in the world ranks and is determined to improve with every in-ring appearance he makes. Garcia’s last three opponents include Nate Campbell, Kendall Holt and Morales, all of whom he defeated via points decisions and he is banking on adding Khan’s name to his resume: “I bring blood, sweat and tears. You haven’t seen the best of Danny Garcia.”
Any respect shown proved to be exclusive to the boxers as Garcia’s father, Angel, angered Amir by stating that he “is an overrated fighter”. Khan swiftly riposted: “When I beat your son, am I still going to be overrated? Maybe it’s Danny who is the one who is overrated.”
Danny even acknowledged that he will have to be on top of his game if he is to return to the East Coast with the W on his record, as he labelled Khan “a great fighter”. He added: “When you put two great fighters together, you have to fight your best to get the win. This is a big fight, but every fight is a big fight for me.”
Amir Khan – Los Angeles
Dear fans, no one was more shocked and upset by the cancellation of next week’s fight than me. I had been training hard for almost eight weeks and was ready to put on a dazzling performance and win my belts back. I know many of you purchased tickets for the fight and had planned to make the trip to Las Vegas next weekend. For any inconvenience or hardship this cancellation has caused, I am truly sorry.
We’re working hard to schedule my next fight for some time during the early summer in the States and hope that you can find a way to reschedule your arrangements and come out support me with the enthusiasm that you always do. As you know, I always perform at my best when my fans are rooting me on. Thanks as always for your support.
Ticket refunds for “Peterson vs. Khan II” will be available at your point of purchase.
On The Beak – Admin
Five-time Trainer of the Year Freddie Roach, coach of Manny Pacquiao, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr and Amir Khan, predicts the jab of WBA welterweight world champion Vyacheslav Senchenko will be the difference in his Saturday, April 29 world title defence against challenger Paulie ‘Magic Man’ Malignaggi, airing live on pay per view from Donboss Arena in Donetsk, Ukraine.
Undefeated Senchenko (32-0-0, 21ko), rated number five in the world by The Ring magazine, has been training at Roach’s famed Wild Card Gym in Hollywood. The 2000 Ukraine Olympian captured the WBA title in 2009, winning a 12-round decision from previously undefeated Yuriy Nuzhnenko, and Vyacheslav has successfully defended his world title belt three times: Motoki Sasaki (DEC12), Charlie Jose Navarro (DEC12) and more recently Marco Antonio Avendano (TKO6) last August in his last fight.
“Senchenko is a very, very good boxer with good technique,” Roach recently said from his California boxing club. “He has good height and a good punch. He had a great amateur background. Ukraine has the number one program in the world this year. It has a very good program and Senchenko is very well schooled. His jab is his best weapon and I think that will be the difference in this fight. He has a faster jab than Malignaggi and it should control the fight.
“I think Senchenko’s boxing ability will enable him to out-score Paulie to win a decision. Paulie is very game. He’ll bring the fight and make it exciting. Going to the Ukraine is not like going into hostile territory. The promoter [Yuri Ruban, Union Boxing] over there is very fair. One time I had a fighter from there – I thought he won – but he lost a decision at home. There will be neutral judges and the winner will be the real winner.”
The brash Malignaggi (30-4, 6ko) a former IBF junior welterweight champion, is unbeaten since moving up to welterweight with impressive wins against Michael Lozada (TKO6), Jose Miguel Cotto (DEC10) and Orlando Lora (DEC10).
“Paulie has a lot of heart,” Roach noted. “He always tries to win and gives 100 percent. He came to my gym after he lost to Amir Khan – my fighter – but I didn’t have time to work with him. One of my best trainers, Eric Brown, is training Paulie. It wouldn’t have been fair for me to watch Paulie train here to a fight a guy I train. A decision was made by all of us that it would be better if Paulie didn’t train here. Paulie’s getting ready for this fight at home (New York City but he recently shifted training camp to Milan, Italy). There were no bad words or feelings. Paulie’s a nice kid. He speaks his mind and I like people like that.”
Training a fighter for an opponent trained by one of his assistant trainers, like it is for Roach against the Brown-trained Malignaggi, is something that seldom happens: “It’s a little unusual but it does happen,” Freddie concluded. “I may have a similar situation of [Julio Cesar] Chavez Jr fighting Vanes [Martirosyan]. I train and like both of them. It’s not fair… maybe I’ll stay at home. There’s been talk of Amir fighting Manny [Pacquiao] someday. I don’t think it’ll happen; they respect each other so much, but business is business.”
Senchenko vs. Malignaggi, presented by Union Boxing Promotion, is being distributed in the United States by Integrated Sports Media for live viewing at 1:00 PM/ET – 10:00 AM/PT on both cable and satellite pay-per-view via iN Demand, DIRECTV, DISH Network and Avail-TVN for a suggested retail price of $29.95. Click here for additional information.
Denzil Stone – Atlantic City
Zab Judah teekayoed Vernon Paris in the main event of their IBF super lightweight eliminator on March 24 at the Aviator Sports and Events Center in Brooklyn, New York, securing himself a referee’s stoppage in a victory he believes could have been notched earlier had it not been for survival tactics employed by his opponent.
Judah’s domination began in the opening round as he staggered the erstwhile undefeated 140lber. The hurtful blows occurred again in the second and, in the sixth, Paris began boxing with unsteady legs before finding himself trapped in the corner in the ninth, taking 11 power shots flush.
His inability to defend himself was enough to prompt the referee – Steve Willis – to withdraw him from the bout but: “[Paris] was in survival mode,” Judah noted in what he perceives to be a cause for a late, rather than early, finish. “It would have been an earlier [win] as he [was just trying to survive] so I had to use my jab and not get unfocused.”
Judah could now see himself positioned into a rematch with Amir Khan, or an intriguing stylistic match-up with current WBA/IBF unified super lightweight world champion Lamont Peterson, depending on the outcome of their toss-up tussle later this year.
Tommy Barber – London
British super lightweight, Amir ‘King’ Khan, once ruled over the world as the WBA/IBF unified champion at 140lbs but lost his belts on a narrow points call to mandatory challenger Lamont Peterson last year. Now, in the immediate rematch set for May 19 at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, the 25-year-old is determined to produce a majestic performance in order to reclaim the world titles.
“I’m delighted that I have finally been given the chance to avenge the result of my last fight,” said Khan, who was twice deducted a point during his majority decision defeat to Peterson (30-1-1, 15ko) in Washington.
The Bolton-born boxer, who trains out of the elite Wildcard gym in Hollywood, California, displayed extraordinary speed of both fist and foot during the opening rounds but Lamont, under advisement from head cornerman Barry Hunter, adapted his gameplan by taking the fight to the inside, where Khan (26-2-0, 18ko) was far less effective.
The tactic alteration is, perhaps, an under-rated factor as the main talking point of the December punch-up was the controversy stirred up by Khan’s team and Golden Boy Promotions over the refereeing and ‘Mystery Man’ Mustafa Ameen’s involvement. Khan, though, stated that, whilst “unhappy” with the outcome from their previous duel, he wanted to “take nothing away from how Peterson fought”.
He continued: “[Lamont] showed tremendous heart that night, but now I have the chance to prove once and for all that I’m the very best in the division. I’m going to take care of business inside the ring and this fight is going to be just as exciting as the last one.
“The only difference is going to be in the [result].”