May 25, 2017
May 25, 2017
Oscar De La Hoya

Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions

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FLOYD MAYWEATHER is considering UFC star Conor McGregor’s offer to fight. Stephen Espinoza, the head of Showtime, has just told Boxing News why his network would broadcast it. But Oscar De La Hoya, a rival of Mayweather’s who promotes Canelo Alvarez vs Gennady Golovkin, has delivered a broadside of his own towards the potential Mayweather-McGregor match-up. On his social media he posted the open letter below:

To my fellow boxing fans,

I write in the hopes that together we can protect the sport of boxing.

With each passing day, it looks more and more likely that the circus known as Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor will be coming to town in the near future.

As undercard fights start to take form, athletic commissions give their blessings in exchange for millions of dollars and the fighters start counting even more cash, one group will eventually be left to make sure this farce doesn’t occur.

We, the fans, who are the lifeblood of our sport.

Boxing is starting to dig out of the hole that Floyd and Manny Pacquiao shovelled by waiting seven years to put on a fight that ended up being as dull as it was anti-climactic.

2017 has started off as a banner year for boxing. Joshua vs Klitschko; Thurman vs Garcia; Golovkin vs Jacobs; Canelo vs Chavez. All four of these fights – and many more — have brought the fight game back and reinvigorated interest from the ever-elusive casual fan.

But if you thought Mayweather/Pacquiao was a black eye for our sport – a matchup between two of the best pound-for-pound fighters that simply didn’t deliver — just wait until the best boxer of a generation dismantles someone who has never boxed competitively at any level [McGregor has in fact boxed as an amateur].

Our sport might not ever recover.

Oscar De La Hoya

I fully understand the initial attraction from any fan of combat sports. McGregor is almost certainly the best pound-for-pound MMA fighter. Floyd is Floyd — the most dominant boxer of his time.

But success in one sport does not guarantee success in another. Far from it. And let’s be clear, these are two different sports — from the size of the gloves fighters wear, to the size and shape of the ring, to the fact the one sport allows combatants to use their legs to strike.

Think about it, beyond Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders, what other athlete has successfully competed in two sports in the modern age? And Jackson and Sanders both played both baseball and football throughout their high school and college careers before going professional.

Furthermore, it’s not like McGregor would be fighting a good fighter, let alone a mediocre one. He would be fighting the best. To use a bit of an extreme analogy, I happen to be a pretty good golfer. Could I potentially hold my own on one of the second-tier tours? Maybe. But would I be able to compete with Rory McIlroy, Jordan Speith or Sergio Garcia? Of course not. Nor would I think to try.

Now, I know critics will say that I’m only writing this letter because my company is promoting what will be the culmination of an outstanding boxing year when Canelo Alvarez takes on Gennady “GGG” Golovkin in September, and I don’t want anything to distract attention away from that fight.

But my interest is in the health of boxing as a whole. It always has been. And if Floyd were to come out of retirement to take on someone like Keith “One–time” Thurman, Errol Spence or some other top welterweight, not only would I applaud the fight, I’d be the first one on line for a ticket.

That kind of fight is what the fans – and I am a fan first — deserve.

Which brings me back to the circus.

Floyd’s and Conor’s motivation is clear. It’s money. In fact, they don’t even pretend it’s not. But it’s also a lack of consequences for when the fight ends up being the disaster that is predicted. After this fight, neither of them will need us anymore. Floyd will go back to retirement — presumably for good this time with another nine-figure paycheck — and Conor will go back to the UFC.

It’s a win-win for them. It’s a lose-lose for us. We’ll be $100 lighter and we will have squandered another opportunity to bring boxing back to its rightful place as the sport of kings.

At this point, only we can shut the circus down by making it clear that we won’t pay to see a joke of a fight and telling our casual-fan friends that they shouldn’t either.

Sincerely,

Oscar

What do you think of De La Hoya’s broadside? Let us know below

May 25, 2017
May 25, 2017
Floyd Mayweather

Action Images/Andrew Couldridge

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FLOYD MAYWEATHER has, almost, welcomed the thought of coming of retirement to box Conor McGregor, the star name from mixed martial arts. In London last week Mayweather spoke candidly about taking on the Irishman and suggested he even was ready to fight him this year.

Floyd Mayweather vs Miguel Cotto

The bout, pitting a famous fighter from another sport against this generation’s finest boxer, is a strange one (to say the least) and while it is drawing closer, and it is possible, it is not imminent yet. “Not quite yet,” Stephen Espinoza, the head of Showtime who broadcast Mayweather’s final fights, tells Boxing News.

But Mayweather-McGregor is of interest to Showtime and they would broadcast it.

“It is. It’s a massive, massive event. To say that, it would generate worldwide interest, not just limited to sports but cultural interest is no exaggeration. If it does happen we do expect to be involved,” Espinoza explained.

“UFC reaching a deal with Conor to allow him to participate was a big step. But there’s still a lot of work to do. Now the real negotiations start and that’s between the Floyd side and the UFC/Conor side.”

May 25, 2017
May 25, 2017
anthony joshua

Lawrence Lustig/Matchroom

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IF Anthony Joshua’s global appeal needed any further emphasis, Stephen Espinoza, head of US broadcast giant Showtime, provided it.

“The importance of Joshua to us is that we intend to be in business with him for hopefully his entire career. The great thing about where Anthony is, he’s got massive popularity but he’s still very, very young and we hope that relationship is going to continue for a long, long time,” Espinoza told Boxing News.

Showtime signed a multi-fight deal with Joshua last year and screened his epic win over Wladimir Klitschko live in the USA. HBO, who have a relationship with Klitschko, screened the replay in America later on. If Joshua does box Klitschko again that too would be shared by the two channels. “We have an arrangement with HBO, if they do the rematch then we’ll be some splitting it in some way,” Espinoza said.

anthony joshua

Showtime are involved with British boxing, televising Gervonta Davis vs Liam Smith and Kell Brook vs Errol Spence on consecutive weekends. “This is the third time Showtime has been in the UK for the last five weeks. First one obviously was British superstar Anthony Joshua in the massive Klitschko fight. The last two are really two of the most promising young American stars. Last weekend was Gervonta Davis, who for my money is probably the most exciting young fighter in the sport right now. And then this Saturday Spence versus Brook. Errol Spence has been called the promising, the up and coming, the next guy for quite a while and this is an opportunity to change the word potential to reality.

“[Brook] won the title on Showtime, that was the first time he had been on American TV was the Shawn Porter fight and there’s a certain sort of circularity with it. Kell didn’t hesitate. He won’t over to the US to get his title shot. So it suits him that now Errol’s got to come into his backyard and challenge for his title.”

For an exclusive interview with Kell Brook click HERE

May 25, 2017
May 25, 2017
Kell Brook

Action Images/Carl Recine

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KELL BROOK won’t reveal whether he will box Errol Spence from the orthodox or southpaw stance when the two clash in Sheffield on Saturday (May 27).

“You’re going to have to wait and see. I’m like Ronnie O’Sullivan I can do it left or right. It’s going to be a great fight. I’m ready and Spence is ready,” Brook said.

Speaking exclusively to Boxing News, Kell, the IBF welterweight champion, continued, “I don’t study my opponents, I leave it to Dominic [Ingle, his trainer]. Dominic in the gym, training and sparring, he points and tells me what he’s seen. I don’t really watch my opponent but I’ve been in with some southpaws. This one’s the best southpaw that I’ve been in with. Dominic’s giving me the breakdown.”

Brook is coming all the way down from middleweight to defend his 147lbs title, after fighting Gennady Golovkin at 160lbs and sustaining a fractured eye socked in September. But he looked primed for the fight. “I feel good. I’m on edge. I’m ready to fight. It’s going to be good to see Spence today. I’ve done the work and now it’s time to play,” he said. ”I think we’ve got it right. I feel brilliant in training I feel good at these light weights. Time will tell. I think I’m going to be strong, fast and I’m going to be alert. I think we got it right.”

kell brook

Against Golovkin, Brook proved his courage and his heart. But against Spence, Kell believes the world will see his sheer talent. “I always rise to the occasion. I think that you’re going to see it all Saturday night. I think you’re going to see the best of me. The best of me, Errol’s going to bring the best out of me so I’m looking forward to giving the fans a fantastic night of boxing,” Brook promised. “This is the fight, it’s my football team at Bramall Lane. This fight’s at welterweight with the most feared man in America in Errol Spence. I think it ticks every single box this fight. The atmosphere is going to be unbelievable and I’m excited to let some ‘chocolate brownies’ go and impress the fans Saturday.”

After defending his crown, Brook’s next goal is to unify titles and Keith Thurman is one of his main targets. “That would be ideal,” he added. He wants “the biggest fights that can get made. The main focus is Errol Spence now, then I’m looking for the biggest names in boxing”.

“There’s some big names, they’re the ones I want,” he said. “Unifying the titles, big names are really going to be with them. They aren’t champions for no reason.”

May 25, 2017
May 25, 2017
kell brook vs errol spence

Action Images/Carl Recine

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May 25, 2017
May 25, 2017
pedro club

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THE PEDRO CLUB is an integral part of the community in Hackney, London, largely thanks to the tireless work of former British super-middleweight champion James Cook.

The 58-year-old was awarded an MBE in 2007 for the outstanding work he has done for the youth in the area, providing an outlet and structure to help tackle gang crime.

However, the club has fallen on hard times and is in desperate need of funding. Cook, who is not paid for the work he does at the club, hopes the boxing community will help keep the facility going.

“We’ve been struggling but we’re coming to a time now where the club needs to provide more, like disability access,” he told Boxing News.

“It’s an old building, we have over 50 classes [a week], some people can’t get down the stairs to the toilet, sometimes the roof leaks. Sometimes I have to fix the roof myself, but I’m not a roofer [laughs]. It’s a community project and I just want to carry it on for the young people so it stays there for the next 30 years or so.”

Outside of amateur boxing classes, the club also offers women’s box-fit classes, a youth club with leisure facilities, a computer room and music room and over 50s nights. The club is in urgent need of refurbishment though, and the team – including Derek Williams and Marvin Stone, who are also volunteers – hope to introduce new offerings such as parenting education, business acumen classes and motivational speeches.

This weekend (May 27) the club stages an amateur boxing show to raise funds. Doors open at 12.30pm with the boxing set to begin at 2pm at the club itself (175 Rushmore Road, Clapton, London E5 0HD – call 020 8985 3800 for further details). Alongside the boxing there will be raffles, music and celebrity guests.

The club was first opened in 1929 by Baroness Harwood but has not had any work done on it since the 1960s when Dame Elizabeth Taylor, former vice-president of the club, raised money alongside her then husband Richard Burton.

Having seen money spent on new residential developments in the area, Cook is keen to highlight the importance of the Pedro Club.

“They’re building all these new houses in the area but they don’t understand the problem. I tell them, no matter what you do, if you don’t have anything in the area for young people, you’re gonna have problems,” he said.

“The days of Girl Guides and Boy Scouts are gone, so you have more young people on the streets. The Youth Club now has got four football teams. We’re looking for a lot of money, we’re looking for money for refurbishment, which I don’t think is impossible. If you go round the area and ask about the Pedro Club, people will tell you it’s the one place where we don’t have problems with the young people. At one point, the police weren’t even allowed in here, now we play football with them.”

A Just Giving page has been set up to raise funds and donations can also be made via the club’s website.

May 25, 2017
May 25, 2017
george groves

Action Images/Carl Recine

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Watch below as George Groves and Fedor Chudinov address the media ahead of their clash for the vacant WBA super-middleweight title this weekend. The press conference also features the rest of the Kell Brook-Errol Spence undercard, including Jamie Cox, Dave Allen, Joe Cordina, Lawrence Okolie and Anthony Fowler.