Archive for August, 2016

Kovalev vs. Ward: Championship Boxing Or High Stakes Poker?

Monday, August 29th, 2016

By William Trillo
Photo-Chop: Bret “The Threat” Newton

Andre Ward had just unimpressively defeated some unknown 40 year old Columbian and was standing in the ring with his proposed next opponent Light Heavyweight Champ Sergey Kovalev. In the interview conducted by HBO’s Max Kellerman, Ward said all the right things but his body language told a different story. I personally sensed a problem but I wasn’t sure what it was.

The truth was Ward and his promoter Roc Nation were already playing a game of video poker with Main Events promoter Kathy Duva. Just prior to the fight that night Team Ward informed Duva that he would not be attending an already scheduled press conference in Los Angeles early the following week to officially kick off the Kovalev vs. Ward fight announcement.

It appeared Ward was not very thrilled with the venue that was already agreed upon and set in place, that being The T-Mobile arena in Las Vegas. At the press conference that was attended by only Kovalev and his promoter Duva, the media was informed that for whatever reason Ward and his team, who were not present, wanted to hold the fight back east with MSG and Barclays on the top of their list.

In a move that would make many poker players proud, Duva dug in her heels and called their bluff. Her fighter “Krusher “holds all the cards at Light Heavy. As we now know, Ward folded his hand and as originally scheduled this fight is set to take place in Las Vegas on November 19th. The PPV attraction should be aired by HBO PPV.

This in one fight that fight fans deserve and I am looking forward to it as much as any other fight in recent memory. I hope to be there and I hope it lives up to expectations.

That being said…I will believe it when I see it.

I am not worried about Kovalev, he is holding a Full House right now, he will be there come hell or high water.

I am not so confident when it comes to Ward. I mean, we are talking about a guy who squandered the prime of his career in a contract dispute with Dan Goossen that seemed to go on and on forever. Instead of taking that Super Six title and cashing in on it Ward pissed and moaned his way into very few lucrative (if any) fights after taking that tainted title.

There is also the fact that Ward, an undefeated World Class fighter has never set foot inside the squared circle in Las Vegas. It’s the boxing capital of the world, yet a high profile fighter like this has avoided it like the plague. For Ward, his home in Oakland and The Oracle Arena are where he prefers to conduct business. Unfortunately for him one of the first things Duva had written into this fight contract was the fight cannot be held in either fighter’s home town. Sucks for you Andre.

Another concern of mine is Ward’s injuries. Knee, shoulder…whatever. I’m not convinced right now that he won’t fold ‘em long before the fight with Kovalev is set to take place. If Ward isn’t holding the right cards his tendency is to sit the hand out and wait to see what will be dealt after that.

I’m just giving you the facts here, they are indisputable.

My gut is telling me Ward is still looking for a way to stack the deck. Experience tells us now that Kathy Duva will call Ward’s bluff every time and do everything she can to make this fight go down as scheduled.

In a perfect world the fight goes on without a glitch and come November boxing fans are treated to a fight they deserve to see go down. Let’s all hope for the best.

As Kenny Rogers would say:
You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run…….

Check out www.Pound4Pound.com for all the latest boxing news.

Rosarito & Margarito

Monday, August 15th, 2016

By William Trillo
Photos: William Trillo & German Villasenor

Over the last couple of years I have been harassed by one of my peers, German Villasenor, to go cover the fights in Tijuana. His reasoning was that TJ was only a stones throw away from our Los Angeles home and covering down south of the border is a lot more fun than it sounds. I was assured that “El Chapo” nor his clan would not bother me in the least. I did not have much interest in all honesty. But when rumors of a comeback by Antonio Margarito began to be heard I stated that if Tony fought in TJ that I would be all in.

It was inevitable.

I held good on my south of the border promise and I was pleasantly surprised when I heard that Margarito would fight Ramon Alvarez just a few miles south of Tijuana at a venue in Rosarito.

No sooner said than done and ocean front hotel reservations were made and yes, we did make the trek to the fight. I do not regret a moment of the weekend.

Having covered fights in Mexico multiple times I expected things would be a lot different than what I was used to from fights at home and I was right.

The weigh in was complete with the dude that dresses up like Shrek and all the usual day before the fight shenanigans.

A local promoter put on a show in TJ on Friday night that was long on heart but short on talent.

The big day was Saturday and after a trip to the beach and some Shrimp cocktails we made our way to the event.

I must admit I was stunned to see the new arena in Rosarito get filled to capacity. The area loves Tony and with “Canelo” in attendance to cheer on his brother the event had somewhat of a bigtime feel to it.

Somewhat.

I am here to tell you Tony can fill the arena again but before anyone gets too excited about another world title they better take a good hard look at the tape from Saturday night. Margarito won the fight, that is without question, but calling out Cotto and Canelo could be just a tad premature.

It’s going to be hard to contain The Tijuana Tornado. Most likely he will be back in the ring sooner rather than later.

A big thanks to German for his grand tour of the Tijuana to Puerto Nuevo scene.

Check out www.Pound4Pound.com for all the latest boxing news

Kovalev vs. Ward Fight Not A Done Deal Yet

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

By William Trillo

With only moments to go before Sergey Kovalev was set to address the media to discuss his proposed battle with Andre Ward the Light heavy weight champ leaned on the railing of The Target Terrace at L.A. Live and gazed over the downtown Los Angeles street scene. One could only assume that he wondered to himself if the highly anticipated fight with Ward would ever become a reality.

The body language of all parties involved told the story, and it wasn’t good.

As the press conference began the media in attendance learned that Andre Ward and his promoter Roc Nation were not in agreement with Kathy Duva and Main Events. Apparently they had taken issue with the venue that was already in place to hold the event, that being The T-Mobile arena in Las Vegas.

In regard to the negotiation process Duva described it as “a living hell”. Strong words for someone who had just recently had to deal with Adonis Stevenson and his promoter PBC and Al Haymon. As we all know Adonis avoided Kovalev like the plague. And now this, Ward is following suit as he is obviously having second thoughts about facing “Krusher”.

Trying to explain the situation Duva stated, “Roc Nation may not be capable of dealing with this fight or there is some problem with Ward.”

Personally I believe it’s a combination of both. When push comes to shove I am not certain they, Ward and Roc Nation, really want this fight. Sources close to the situation express my sentiments exactly. It’s not unlikely that Ward is looking for a way out. It’s as simple as that.

Kovalev has done all the work inside the ring to make a super fight like this one happen. Likewise, Kathy Duva and Main Events have done all the work necessary outside the ring to make this fight become a reality. Yet, at the present time it’s not clear if any of that hard work will pay off.

And, as usual, it’s the boxing fans who could end up being short changed once again.

Hopefully Roc Nation and Andre Ward will grow a pair and sign on the dotted line. Only time will tell.

Check out www.Pound4Pound.com for all the latest boxing news.

The Word On Ward

Monday, August 8th, 2016

By William Trillo

If you thought you were going to come here today and read my latest piece dragging Andre Ward through the mud you would be mistaken. In a world full of unexpected pleasures I was pleasantly surprised to read the brutally honest report sent to us from Andrew LaPachet who covered the Oakland fight for us live from ringside. Not only is LaPachet a proud Northern California, but in his own words he has covered Ward since his amateur days and hates what he is seeing from Ward right now. To read what this Northern California boxing writer has to say is better than anything I would have come up with, because as you know, I am not Ward’s biggest fan. I would love to go on and eviscerate S.O.G right now but you would all deem me a hater. With that said go ahead and read this report in its entirety. LaPachet hits the proverbial nail directly on the head:

“Ward Proves Nothing With Shutout Win Over Brand” – (Click Here)

Dumb Ass Clause

If I am not mistaken stars in most of the major sports have clauses written into their contracts that forbids them from going all “Evil Knievel” on themselves and their franchises. Thus… keeping them from hopping onto their Big Wheels and jumping the fountains at Ceasars Palace, trying to cross The Shake River Canyon or getting onto any motorized two wheel contraption that could wind up causing irreparable and/or career ending damage.

Yes, the reason I bring this up is because of the news that lightweight contender Felix Verdejo (22-0, 15 KOs) went down on his motorcycle over the weekend. According to reports out of Puerto Rico no other vehicle was involved. Verdejo lost control, kissed cement and was hospitalized.

Looks like it’s time for boxing managers and promoters to protect their investments and go to the Dumb Ass Clause. It’s the only way to save these knuckleheads from themselves and ensure the next fight won’t get cancelled because one of the fighters is too busy picking asphalt out of his teeth.


Lee Samuels: One Of The Good Guys

In a sport full of slippery characters and questionable shenanigans Top Rank’s long time publicist Lee Samuels has always been one of the good guys in the sport. I met Lee back in 2002 when I first started writing and just saw him working as hard as ever recently when Terrance Crawford beat Viktor Postol in Las Vegas.

The news of his son’s passing delivered via HBO at the end of the broadcast this weekend floored many of us. It’s hard to put into words what to say in moments like these.

I am sure I speak for everyone in the boxing community when I send my sincere and deepest sympathy to the Samuels family.

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