August 17, 2017
August 17, 2017
Gennady Golovkin

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THIRTY days out from his mouth-watering clash with Canelo Alvarez, unified middleweight world champion Gennady Golovkin was comfortably inside the WBC’s allowable weight limit.

The Mexico-based organisation insists that fighters are no more than 10 per cent above the contracted weight of the fight a month out, so ‘GGG’ had to be 176lbs or below.

When the WBA, WBC and IBF champion weighed in yesterday, he tipped the scales at a svelte 170lbs, signifying that he is well on track for his September 16 meeting with Mexican star Alvarez.

The news comes shortly after Conor McGregor – who fights Floyd Mayweather on August 26 – described Golovkin as ‘drained‘ and claimed the Kazakh wrecking ball entered this training camp ‘badly out of shape.’

His weight at this stage of camp is higher than it was for when he fought Kell Brook – a much smaller man than Canelo – last year. Golovkin weighed 165lbs at the WBC 30-day weigh-in for that fight.

Canelo has already confirmed he will not contest the WBC title, a belt he briefly held last year, and so does not need to take part in their 30-day weigh-in. However, he is fighting for the WBA and IBF titles, so he will have to successfully complete the IBF’s check weigh-in on the day of the fight itself.

August 17, 2017
August 17, 2017
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Video: Golden Boy Promotions

August 17, 2017
August 17, 2017
Darren Barker

Action Images/Andrew Couldridge

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DARREN BARKER laid aside long years of frustration and heartbreak to produce the performance of his life and edge out Australia’s defending IBF middleweight champion Daniel Geale in a pulsating title fight at the Ovation Hall in the Revel, the newest and plushest of the Boardwalk hotels.

Geale felt he had done enough to cling on to his belt but he had not: this was the kind of night where nothing was going to deny Barker – not even a shudderingly dramatic sixth round knockdown when a left hook to the stomach knocked the wind out of him could crush his single-minded determination to earn himself a world crown.

British fans know the Barker story well: he lost his younger brother, Gary, in a terrible car crash and for almost a year felt he could not box again. When he did, although he won British, Commonwealth and European titles, injuries sapped his self-belief. He was second best against world number one Sergio Martinez in a first appearance in Atlantic City in 2011, a right hand putting him over for the count in the 11th. More injuries left him ready to retire a year ago, before he decided on one last big effort to become a world champion.

His promoter Eddie Hearn said the next morning as we walked on the Boardwalk: “It’s unbelievable. When we heard the words ‘And the new..’ it was a dream moment. If you had told us this would happen a year ago, we would have said you were mad.”

Barker, bruised and swollen eyes hidden behind dark glasses, said: “It’s not sunk in yet. This moment has been 19 years in the making. It’s very emotional, I have needed my family around me. We’ve shared some tears and laughter and I’ve honestly been overwhelmed by the support I’ve received.”

Barker admitted he was on the brink of defeat in that sixth round. “I couldn’t breathe. I was in trouble but I wanted it so bad there was no way I was going to stay down.”

Geale’s trainer, Graham Shaw, said he thought referee Eddie Cotton was going to stop the fight – and Barker was under such pressure after the knockdown that another referee might have done that, but if he had, it would have been wrong. Barker proved that by coming back and getting the better of the second half of the fight.

At this level, in battles as close as this one was, there are sometimes very fine lines between the career-changing jubilation of victory and the heartbreaking frustration of failure. I thought Barker won 114-113, seven rounds to five, with Geale getting an extra point for the knockdown. Both Sky (Jim Watt) and HBO (Steve Weisfeld) saw it 115-112 Barker. Yet even though Barker acknowledged he might have lost the last round it was the decision of judge Carlos Ortiz to give him that session that turned a split decision defeat into a career-defining win. That is the way this business falls sometimes and nobody deserves this success more than the 31-year-old family man from Barnet. The official scores were 116-111 Barker from Barbara Perez, 114-113 Geale from Alan Rubinstein and 114-113 for Barker from Ortiz, the scoreline that set up Michael Buffer’s delivery of “And the new…”. The rest of the announcement seemed lost in the din as Barker’s fans and family set up a roar that might have been heard in New York. Tony Sims hugged him until it seemed he’d have no breath left, Peter Sims wept tears of joy as he leaned on the ropes, Mark Seltzer and Eddie Hearn almost ran around in celebration.

While it was Barker’s night, Geale took his loss with great dignity. He felt he had won, had blocked a lot of Barker’s punches and felt in control, but said: “I’m not going to whinge and cry. It didn’t go my way tonight. I’m just so disappointed.”

Geale had won split decisions in Germany over Sebastian Sylvester and Felix Sturm to win the IBF belt and then add (temporarily) WBA recognition, so has had his times of joy as well, but my feeling here was that in a close fight, he didn’t have enough consistent success to earn the verdict.

Both felt their way into the first round with Barker edging it with the cleaner work. Geale responded in the second with some clever sneak uppercuts although Barker closed it up again with right hands, then apologised for a low left on the bell. Barker won the third beyond doubt, attacking with a commitment that was never present in his Martinez challenge of nearly two years before, then Geale produced another cracking response to win the fourth. Barker needed a ‘time out’ after shipping a low blow, but then boxed better in the fifth. The intensity was relentless.

darren barker

Both missed too much for their own comfort but then both were putting so much into the attempt to get the other under control. Barker drove himself on, but wound up his shots and seemed in danger of using up too much gas.

Then round six seemed to make worries about either man’s stamina irrelevant. Geale’s perfect left hook beneath the elbow sent Barker down in a heap, bent forward in obvious pain. It seemed all over midway through the count but only he knows how he managed to regain his feet at nine.

His nose bled as Geale went for the finish but he saw it through, then came out and took the seventh. After looking all over, it seemed as if we were back in for the long haul.

So it proved. Geale won the eighth, but then Barker slipped into another gear and reeled off rounds nine, ten (when he was cut over the left eye) and 11, his relentless workrate and driving finishes to each round putting him two up on my card with one to go.

It was Geale, 29-2 (15), who responded better in the last, starting fast and staying in front as they slugged it out with the crowd rising to their feet. At the final bell Barker, 26-1 (16), threw his arms in the air in, as it turned out a minute or two later, celebration of the win that will redefine his entire career. Both fighters weighed 11st 5 1/2lbs.


August 16, 2017
August 16, 2017
Floyd Mayweather

Esther Lin/Showtime

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IN an unprecedented move, the Nevada State Athletic Commission have dismissed their own rules and will allow Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor to fight each other in eight ounce gloves.

Their rules officially state that boxing bouts fought at 154lbs – the weight at which Mayweather and McGregor will meet in the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas – must be undertaken with 10oz gloves, for health and safety reasons.

However, at a meeting earlier today, where the officials for the bout were also selected, the NSAC declared that in a ‘one off’ move, Mayweather-McGregor will take place with smaller gloves.

The prospect of the pair fighting in 8oz gloves came closer to reality when Floyd challenged Conor to the stipulation, after which both men had representatives lodge requests with the NSAC.

Mayweather insists it will give McGregor, who will be making his professional boxing debut, more of an advantage in a fight few expect him to win. More cynical observers might speculate that the move is merely another marketing tool being used to drum up interest and, in turn, pay-per-view buys.

The move is a stark contrast to Mayweather’s reaction over the gloves used for his first fight with Marcos Maidana, when the bout was thrown into jeopardy after Floyd took offence to a particular type of Everlast glove the Argentinian intended to use.

August 16, 2017
August 16, 2017
Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor undercard

Action Images

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THE officials who will oversee Floyd Mayweather’s Las Vegas fight with Conor McGregor on August 26 have been confirmed by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

Veteran referee Robert Byrd will be the third man in the ring while Burt Clements, Dave Moretti and Guido Cavalleri have all been selected as judges.

Byrd is an experience and accomplished ref in big fights. He oversaw Andre Ward’s first win over Sergey Kovalev in November of last year and Canelo Alvarez’ victory against Miguel Cotto in 2015. The last Mayweather fight he refereed was Floyd’s decision win over Robert Guerrero in 2013.

Moretti has been one of the scoring judges for Mayweather’s past five fights; decision wins over Canelo Alvarez, Marcos Maidana twice, Manny Pacquiao and Andre Berto.

Some have speculated that the referee may play a huge role in the Mayweather-McGregor fight, given that it will be the UFC star’s first ever professional boxing match. He brought in another veteran referee, Joe Cortez, to oversee some of his sparring sessions in order to help him become better acquainted with the Queensbury Rules.

August 16, 2017
August 16, 2017
miguel cotto

Ed Mulholland/USA Today Sports

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TWO top trainers tell Boxing News how Puerto Rican warlord Miguel Cotto can be beaten, ahead of his fight with Yoshihiro Kamegai on August 26 for the WBO 154lb crown.

Louie Burke – Trainer of Austin Trout, who beat Cotto in 2012

Austin Trout beating Miguel Cotto was his best win, and what worked well for us was literally boxing circles around him. Austin’s a southpaw, so that posed some problems for Cotto, and we’re bigger than Cotto, height and reach-wise, so we used that to our advantage.

We didn’t want to stay in front of him too long, even though we were the bigger guy, so for the most part we circled Cotto. It wasn’t like Muhammad Ali, circling the ring, it was just a matter of staying out of the pocket – let our combinations go, get a slight angle, and work from there.

We knew Cotto would have to come in and close the distance so we kept him off balance with the jab. He has real crisp, fast combinations; if you stay in front of him he’ll take you apart.

Miguel Cotto

Cotto was a beast in the lighter divisions but as you go up in weight it’s harder to knock people out – he’s lost some of that but he still has a tonne of experience. He’s a very crafty fighter; he knows how to make adjustments which is why you have to keep him off balance. If he gets into a rhythm it’s hard to win, but he’s also crafty inside, and a good boxer – people don’t give him credit for his outside game. He also has heart and more speed than we expected.

You got to work off the jab. He has to mix up his combinations, go to the body, work up and down to keep Cotto guessing, and then step around.

You have to pick your moments and create more opportunity. Don’t look for the one-punch knockout, because it never comes. If you’re one-dimensional, you’re not going to beat Cotto – you can’t just brawl because he’ll make you look silly.

You should be working on your footwork to circle Cotto. If Cotto still has the same speed as when we fought him it might be difficult to outbox him. You need to use strength and pressure Cotto, outwork him.

Adam Booth – Trainer of Andy Lee, potential future opponent

We’re talking about an older Miguel Cotto fighting above his natural weight. He’s a natural light-welterweight, welterweight – not a middleweight. I’m convinced a natural middleweight can give him some problems through being tough enough at 160lbs to deal with Cotto’s power, particularly if throwing enough shots to outwork him, and moving enough to frustrate him.

Cotto likes to be at a certain distance. His preference is for someone to be in front of him, so that he can do what he wants to do. Clever movement can give him problems now – when you’re over your natural weight your movement isn’t quite as quick. His legs won’t be conditioned for moving that size around, so moving him can tire him out.

Against Sergio Martinez, after the early blitz Cotto gave him, he was very careful about picking the times to let his shots go, and he was very cleverly conserving energy and buying himself time with his little bounces, and walks away, and feints. His punch output was a bit lower, too. Unlike the Martinez fight, which flattered him a little bit – Martinez didn’t move very well around him, his legs were impeded – Cotto can be properly tested at middleweight against someone who can look after himself and compete for 12 rounds.

miguel cotto

Cotto’s left hand is much better than his right hand. He’s got a beautifully balanced left jab, his left hooks to the head and body are exquisite, but because of his balance – and the way he positions himself – his right hand isn’t as effective as his left.

You should move, punch and work in a very basic manner, like Amir Khan does; punch quickly, tuck up, and keep moving. Having a natural size advantage gives someone a good chance against Cotto, but that’s not to say I think they should stand and trade.

Moving, giving little target away, and sneaking shots on Cotto is the way you can win. Going to the body means trading up close, so I would say to target head. And when Cotto punches, reply with three or four of your own – always finish the exchanges with three or four shots. And move.

August 16, 2017
August 16, 2017
Conor McGregor, floyd mayweather

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Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor preview, betting tips and odds

IT’S the fight few thought would happen – there weren’t even many who thought it could happen. Floyd Mayweather, his legacy confirmed as the best fighter of his generation, had retired with a perfect 49-0 record. Conor McGregor, in four short years, had turned himself into a global superstar through his exploits in the UFC. Surely they would never fight in a boxing match – yet here we are.

On August 26, at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, McGregor will make his professional boxing debut against Mayweather and an extraordinary amount of money will be generated. It may be a complete mismatch, but there is money to be made with the right wagers.