Fightful Boxing Newsletter (7/12): Pacquiao vs. Matthysse Preview, WBSS, Jose Ramirez

Fightful Boxing Newsletter (7/12) Table Of Contents:

  1. Manny Pacquiao vs. Lucas Matthysse Preview (Page 1)
  2. World Boxing Super Series Season Two (Page 2)
  3. July 7 Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Results (Page 3)
  4. United States Boxing News Roundup (Page 4)
  5. United Kingdom Boxing News Roundup (Page 5)
  6. Japan Boxing News Roundup (Page 6)
  7. Miscellaneous Boxing News Roundup (Page 7)
Watch: UFC 262 Pre-Fight Press Conference Video Live Stream

Manny Pacquiao vs. Lucas Matthysse Preview:

It’s hard to believe any boxer not only competing nearly 25 years after making his pro debut, but it’s even harder to believe that same boxer would be competing for a world title, but Manny Pacquiao will do just that on July 14 when he faces off against WBA “regular” welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse.

The fight will headline a rare supercard in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia that will have a total of four world title fights take place on July 14 (July 15 in Malaysia).

It’s a strange sight in 2018, but ultimately proves that Pacquiao, one of the biggest global stars the sport has had in the last 20 years, is timeless.

This fight might just be Pacquiao's last time fighting in the ring. Pacquiao turns 40 years old, hasn't been considered a welterweight elite in years, despite winning a world title in 2017, and has been on the decline in his last 10 fights. Pacquiao's schedule has also been mainly busy with working as a promoter and more famously, a senator in his native Philippines.

One can argue that Pacquiao's four losses in his last 10 fights are not entirely his fault. After all, two of those losses came via extremely dubious judging, but the other two losses came against Floyd Mayweather and Juan Manuel Marquez (yes, the famous knockout win for Marquez). Those losses clearly showed Pacquiao is not the same boxer who dominated Shane Mosley, Antonio Margarito, Miguel Cotto and Ricky Hatton in years past.

On the other hand, the 35-year-old Matthysse is also on the decline, despite a strong performance against Tewa Kiram earlier this year. But the win against Kiram was probably more so Kiram's skills not being up there among the best boxers Matthysse has previously fought than Matthysse being a top three welterweight. Matthysse's loss to Viktor Postol in 2015 showed that Matthysse would not be considered a the guy at 140 lbs. and eventually 147 lbs.

Since then, Matthysse has rattled off wins against Emmanuel Taylor and Kiram, but its hardly the type of resume anyone would think would be the recipe to beating Pacquiao.

Still, there was a reason not many were actually complaining when it was revealed that the plan was to have this fight be on traditional pay-per-view instead on ESPN+ in the United States. The two can still provide a quality fight for fans to enjoy and more than anything, after an exciting 2017 for the welterweights, 2018 has been somewhat lackluster.

Tale of the Tape:

Manny Pacquiao:

Record: 59-7-2 (38 KO)

Age: 39

Height: 5’5.5”

Reach: 67”

Notable Fights: Marco Antonio Barrera, Juan Manuel Marquez, Erik Morales, Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto, Antonio Margarito, Shane Mosley, Timothy Bradley Jr., Floyd Mayweather Jr.

World Titles Won: WBC Flyweight, IBF Super Flyweight, IBF Super Bantamweight, WBC Super Featherweight, WBC Lightweight, Ring Magazine Junior Welterweight, WBO Welterweight, WBC Junior Middleweight

Lucas Matthysse:

Record: 39-4 (36 KO)

Age: 35

Height: 5’6.5”

Reach: 69”

Notable Fights: Zab Judah, Devon Alexander, Lamont Peterson, Danny Garcia, Ruslan Provodnikov, Viktor Postol

World Titles Won: Interim WBC Junior Welterweight, WBA “Regular” Welterweight

World Boxing Super Series Season Two:

While we await news of the third weight class for the second season of the World Boxing Super Series, the two weight classes that we do know of -- bantamweight and junior welterweight -- almost have their entire eight-man field set.

The bantamweight tournament, currently has seven of the eight contestants announced:

  • WBA “Super” champion Ryan Burnett
  • WBA “Regular” champion Naoya Inoue
  • IBF champion Emmanuel Rodriguez
  • IBF mandatory challenger Jason Moloney
  • WBO champion Jason Moloney
  • Juan Carlos Payano
  • Nonito Donaire

The eighth spot in the tournament is a mystery and we should know in the coming days who will fight in the tournament. The hope from a lot of people is that the eighth spot be filled by the WBC champion to guarantee an undisputed bantamweight champion. Part of the reason some believed the WBC champion would fight in the tournament because the WBC had written on their website that they would support the tournament despite no WBC titleholders being in the tournament and only two of the seven fighters being ranked in the top 10 in the WBC rankings: Payano (No. 6) and Moloney (No. 8).

Currently, the two fighters ordered by the WBC to fight for the vacant title are Nordine Oubaali and Petch Sor Chitpattana. The two were supposed to have fought for the title last month in Paris, but for some unknown reason the fight got delayed and it doesn’t look like there is enough time to have the two boxers fight for the title and then have the winner fight in the first round of the tournament (though it is believed to be an issue finding a television station in France to air the fight).

Realistically, two names that are more likely to fill the final roster spot would be either Oscar Negrete and Liborio Solis, which wouldn’t be bad options and they would be a strong final pick. If one were to take a look at the bantamweight division, the best available fighter that could enter the tournament would be Luis Nery, though he would be a more controversial pick than either Negrete and Solis.

For those unaware, Nery is the former WBC bantamweight champion who had his title stripped from him after coming in massively overweight for his February title defense against Shinsuke Yamanaka. The fight was a rematch from last year, which saw Nery initially retire Yamanaka, but after Nery failed a drug test, the WBC ruled the two fighters must fight in a rematch, but that Nery would remain as champion. Nery was then suspended by the WBC because he then tried to book a fight a couple of months ago while he was suspended only to then withdraw from the fight.

Although Nery insists that he wants to remain at bantamweight and can make 118 lbs., there’s always going to be concerns regarding his ability to make weight. Of course, tournament organizers might overlook those concerns after Donaire was announced as a participant in a tournament contested at a weight classes he has not fought at in seven years and his most recent fight took place at featherweight, two weight classes above bantamweight.

Regardless who the eighth man in the tournament is, the bantamweight tournament has a lot to live up to after the success of the first two tournaments as well as the quality of fights the cruiserweight division has given us, including a Fight of the Year contender in the semifinals with Murat Gassiev vs. Yunier Dorticos.

July 7 Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Results:

Boxing fans got a taste of what UFC fans experience on a regular basis, unfortunately, as the July 7 ESPN card from Fresno, California had a major shuffle at the top as Danny O’Connor had to withdraw from the fight after suffering major complications from his weight cut on the morning of July 6.

O’Connor was supposed to fight Jose Ramirez for the WBC junior welterweight title in the main event fight. O’Connor was hospitalized on July 6 and was said to be in very rough shape which meant that the fight was called off. The card remained mostly intact outside of the main event, but the card started an hour ahead of schedule for the television card and the new main event was Egidijus Kavaliauskas defending the NABF welterweight title against Juan Carlos Abreu and the new co-main event is Andy Vences vs. Frank De Alba.

The whole card was centered around Ramirez’s first title defense, which was supposed to be a homecoming of sorts for Ramirez. There was major expectations for the card with the hope that it would draw more than 10,000 people in attendance.

Right before Top Rank CEO Bob Arum announced during weigh-ins that the world title fight had been canceled, there was heavy speculation something was up and if there was an attempt to find a replacement opponent for Ramirez, it was surely squashed immediately since 24 hours is not nearly enough time to find a replacement for a world title fight.

Plans then moved forward to have Ramirez defend his title soon and it was announced by Arum on July 7 that Ramirez would fight on a Top Rank card, yet to be formally announced, on September 14 on a venue to be determined later. The timing of this is interesting since it is the day before HBO broadcasts its first pay-per-view of the year headlined by the Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin rematch. At the time of the announcement, there was no opponent for Ramirez, but a few days later, Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times reported that Ramirez will fight Antonio Orozco on September 14, which is perhaps the biggest gamble Top Rank could make when it comes to Ramirez and his first opponent.

Orozco is arguably one of the best options available for Ramirez as a first title defense, as most of the top contenders and champions at 140 lbs. are either busy with other fights or already committed to the World Boxing Super Series. Ramirez talked previously of fighting the top boxers in the division before the fight against O’Connor and many had thought the comments were somewhat hypocritical. With all due respect to O’Connor, but he would not be anyone’s first guess as top challenger for Ramirez, but this ended up being a choice between maximizing Ramirez’s profitability and Ramirez fighting the best boxers in the division.

For Top Rank, the choice was simple and that was to build up Ramirez with relatively easy opponents to further build Ramirez up for a potential showdown against the likes of Regis Prograis, the interim champion, and Viktor Postol, Ramirez’s mandatory challenger.

A fight against Orozco would be a great first title defense, but here’s why it’s a big gamble. It’s not because Orozco has a good shot at beating Ramirez (which is entirely possible), but because Orozco has the same weight issues that plagued the fight against O’Connor.

In two of his last four scheduled fights, all at 140 lbs., Orozco missed weight and in the second instance, Orozco was so overweight, believed to be sitting at 147 lbs. (the welterweight limit), that he did not bother showing up to weigh-ins. So it behooves most boxing pundits that Orozco, a fighter with well-documented weight problems, would be Ramirez’s opponent after Ramirez’s last opponent also had weight issues which cost him a chance to defend his title in front of his home fans.

While nothing is set in stone as far as the undercard for the September 14 card is concerned, but if Bob Arum is smart (and he wouldn’t be if he’s still one of the top promoters in the sport at 86 years old), he would put on another world title fight just in case things go awry for Ramirez again.

Turning back to the July 7 card in Fresno, the card was disappointing to say the least, given the hype hardcore fans had for Kavaliauskas. Kavaliauskas was in the running to face WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford and managed to get a unanimous decision victory over Abreu (96-94, 97-93, 97-93), but the fight was not exactly very entertaining.

The styles clashed poorly, nothing was very exciting and Kavaliauskas didn't look like the type of boxer who could contend with Crawford if he ever gets the chance to. In the co-main event, Vences got a unanimous decision win over De Alba (99-91, 98-92, 99-91).

United States Boxing News Roundup:

Tevin Farmer, who is fighting Billy Dib for the vacant IBF super featherweight title on August 3 in Australia, is currently 138 lbs. as of July 10, a pretty good indication (though not a guarantee) that he will be making the 130-pound limit. Hopefully the third time is the charm for an IBF super featherweight title fight going without a hitch after Gervonta Davis missed weight last August before a title defense and then it was revealed Kenichi Ogawa failed a drug test after initially beating Farmer for the vacant title last December.

Undefeated featherweight prospect Ruben Villa continued his climb through the ranks with a sixth-round knockout win over Ricardo Lopez. Look for Villa to eventually make a splash in the WBO rankings after winning the previously vacant WBO Youth featherweight title back in April.

Interestingly enough, Ring 8 will host a retirement roast for former heavyweight boxer Vinny Maddalone on September 27 in New York. Maddalone fought between 1999-2013, retiring with a 37-28-1 record. Maddalone has fought the likes of Evander Holyfield, Tyson Fury, Tomasz Adamek, Jean-Marc Mormeck and Al Cole and was one of the more prominent heavyweight fighters in the 2000s on ESPN.

First reported by Slater Scoops, top prospect Shakur Stevenson was charged with misdemeanor battery for his role in an altercation in Miami. Stevenson and welterweight David Grayton were allegedly in a fight with a group of people in a Miami parking lot after Stevenson celebrated his 21st birthday. According to Miami police, the boxers made comments to the group in the garage, including two women to whom they directed sexual innuendo, which precipitated the incident. According to the police report, a male and female were treated by medical personnel at the scene and had visible injuries, though Stevenson and Grayton had left by the time the police showed up. Police found them about an hour later at a South Beach hotel, where Stevenson had a cut on his lip and Grayton had cuts on his knuckles. Police said they would check the garage cameras for footage of the incident. Stevenson is scheduled to face Carlos Ruiz on the August 18 Top Rank Boxing on ESPN card in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Undefeated welterweight prospect Ferdinand Kerobyan will fight in a six-round fight as the co-feature bout for the August 11 Golden Boy Promotions show that will be streamed on Facebook as part of the five-fight partnership between Facebook, Golden Boy and Main Event. Aaron McKenna will participate in a four-round welterweight fight on the undercard with the main event fight being Jesus Rojas vs. Joseph Diaz for the WBA "regular" featherweight title.

An arrest warrant has been issued for Victor Ortiz after violating his probation stemming from a 2016 DUI arrest. According to court documents, he was supposed to check in with his probation officer on June 20, but failed to do so. Ortiz was then ordered to appear in court on July 10. He didn't appear in court on July 10, so a violation of probation warrant was issued. If Ortiz has a run-in with the authorities, he'll be arrested and hauled into court with bail already set at $5,000.

United Kingdom Boxing News Roundup:

Viddal Riley, who is perhaps best known now as the head boxing coach for YouTube star KSI for his upcoming fight against fellow YouTuber Logan Paul in August, will be turning pro as a cruiserweight. Riley fought 49 fights as an amateur boxer, winning regional titles as well as a silver medal at the Junior European Championships. Riley will be trained by Jeff Mayweather and be managed by Amer Abdallah, who also works with two-division champion Badou Jack. Riley and KSI were recently in Las Vegas for training and Riley even got the chance to spar with cruiserweight contender Andrew Tabiti.

Promoter Frank Warren spoke to the Belfast Telegraph and talked about the possibility of a rematch between Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg. Warren was dismissive of the chances a fight between the two happen anytime soon, saying, "Quigg seems to forget that he lost his last fight to the WBO featherweight champion Oscar Valdez. It's alright saying, 'Yes, I want the fight' but then when you say how much you want then it's just unrealistic. What he wanted for the fight was just unrealistic so that was it."

MTK Global announced that it will have its first boxing show in Wales later this year. The show will take place at the Vale Sports Arena on September 7 though no fights have been announced as of yet.

Gamal Yafai, brother of WBA super flyweight champion Kal Yafai, has been confirmed to fight on the August 4 JDNXTGEN card at the Ice Arena in Cardiff, Wales. Gamal will be fighting for the first time since losing his WBC International super bantamweight title, and his undefeated record, to Gavin McDonnell in his last fight. Welsh Area light heavyweight champion Nathan Thorley and super middleweight prospect Daniel Barton have also been announced for the card, headlined by Joe Cordina vs. Sean Dodd for the vacant Commonwealth lightweight title. Prospect Daniyar Yeleussinov, WBA Female International super featherweight champion Natasha Jonas and undefeated boxer Jordan Gill are also scheduled to fight on the show.

In an interview with Boxing News, former IBF super middleweight champion James DeGale mentioned that two possible options for his next fight would be either WBC champion David Benavidez and former IBO champion Chris Eubank Jr., who is currently fighting on the undercard of the World Boxing Super Series super middleweight finals fight between George Groves and Callum Smith, though that card does not have a date and a venue as of this writing.

Former cruiserweight and heavyweight champion David Haye, who retired earlier this year, has opened up his gym for Joseph Parker to train for his upcoming fight against Dillian Whyte on July 28. This isn’t the first time Haye has helped Parker, as Parker trained in Haye’s gym for his March fight against Anthony Joshua to unify the WBA, WBO and IBF titles in Cardiff, Wales. Parker ended up losing the fight against Joshua by unanimous decision.

In an interview with Fight Hype, Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn spoke about Amir Khan's upcoming fight against Samuel Vargas and spoke on a possible fight with WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford, saying, “You know, the [Kell] Brook fight, the [Manny] Pacquiao fight. You know, styles make fights, and people may say ‘Eddie, what are you talking about?’ Khan’s a tough fight for Crawford. You know there are certain styles where Crawford is unbeatable. But Khan is a good style to try and beat Crawford.”

The IBF heavyweight mandatory challenger situation has reached a new chapter as Jarrell Miller is now the latest boxer to decline to fight Kubrat Pulev with the winner being the mandatory challenger to Anthony Joshua’s IBF title. Miller could not come to terms on a deal with Pulev, who wants the fight to take place in Bulgaria. Moving down the list of available heavyweights, Hughie Fury would be next in line to receive the order to fight Pulev. Fury is ranked No. 5 in the IBF rankings, but with fourth-ranked Alexander Povetkin looking like he will be Joshua’s next opponent for September 22 at Wembley Stadium, Fury is the next man up.

Japan Boxing News Roundup:

Rising light flyweight Masamichi Yabuki will have his 10th professional bout on September 29 against Daniel Matellon, ranked No. 10 in the WBA rankings and also fighting his 10th pro fight. Yabuki has gained significant momentum from his last fight which was a second-round win over former world title challenger Gilberto Pedroza in June. The win over Pedroza rebuilt a lot of faith that was lost on Yabuki after Yabuki was stopped by Seigo Yuri Akui back in April.

Ryuya Yamanaka and Vic Saludar have passed medical examinations on July 10 ahead of their fight for the WBO minimumweight world title on July 13 in Central Gym in Kobe, Japan.

The July 9 show at Korakuen Hall didn’t have any title fights, but did provide some interesting results including a retirement match. The first of these results was Amphol Suriyo scoring an upset win over highly-touted lightweight prospect Kazuki Saito, knocking Saito out in the second round of their bout and handing him his first pro loss. Suriyo now moves to 23-3 with 19 KO wins and it’s entirely possible he could be catapulted into an OPBF title fight so soon after losing his chance at the title back in February. One would think that there might be growing concerns over Saito’s chin as this loss effectively set his career back several months, maybe a year.

The other notable result was middleweight Shoma Fukumoto losing to Arnel Tinampay in a rematch from their 2013 bout. Like in the first fight between the two, Tinampay scored the victory with a TKO win over Fukumoto. Fukumoto’s career is starting to spiral out of control after losing two of his last three fights and both of those losses came via stoppage. The rematch was not even planned as Fukumoto was supposed to face Mark Lucas but the fight was canceled. Perhaps the biggest fight of the Korakuen Hall show was former Japanese interim welterweight champion Daisuke Sakamoto end his career in a loss as he was stopped in four rounds by Koki Koshikawa. Sakamoto had previously stated that this would be his final fight, handpicking Koshikawa as his final opponent. The 36-year-old Sakamoto made his pro debut in 2007, amassing a 14-10-3 record.

Former world title challenger Terumi Nuki will be getting her third chance at a world title when she faces Mariana Juarez for the WBC women’s bantamweight title on August 11 at the Arena Ciudad de Mexico in Mexico City. Nuki previously challenged Juarez for the WBC title in 2017 with Juarez winning their first encounter by unanimous decision with all three official judges’ scores going 98-92 in favor of Juarez. It is a bit odd to see Nuki back to fighting Juarez since Nuki lost her next fight which was an IBF super flyweight title fight. Nuki then scored a knockout win over Wassana Kimdee, who came into the fight with a 3-2 record, hardly the kind of win that would immediately put someone in a world title fight.

Undefeated welterweight Yuki Beppu moved one step closer to fighting for a Japanese title after defeating Phongsathon Sompol on the July 6 Korakuen Hall show. Beppu will fight in a title eliminator on October 21, likely against Yuki Nagano.

Taisei Gym announced at a press conference last week that Futa Akizuki will fight Yuto Nakamura for the Japanese Youth super flyweight title on July 29 in Osaka. That card will also have fights featuring the likes of OPBF lightweight champion Masayoshi Nakatani, Shohei Omori and Sho Ishida. Another fight announced by Taisei Gym was Riku Kano challenging Shin Ono for Ono’s Japanese minimumweight title on the August 24 event in Korakuen Hall. That card will also have a Japanese interim junior middleweight title fight between Ryosuke Maruki and Akinori Watanabe.

Taiki Minamoto will make his first Japanese title defense when he faces off against former title challenger Tatsuya Otsubo on the August 9 Korakuen Hall show. Minamoto first won the title earlier this year when he knocked out Takenori Ohashi, ending Ohashi’s reign at a little more than four months with no successful title defenses. The fight between Minamoto and Otsubo will be a part of a Diamond Glove show and likely be shown on Fuji TV in Japan although it’ll probably be on a tape-delay.

Former Japanese champion Mamoru Hayashi passed away at the age of 76 on June 30 due to myocardial infarction. Hayashi was an amateur standout, compiling a 101-10 record winning several major competitions before turning pro. Hayashi would make his pro debut in 1963, eventually moving up in weight to super featherweight about a year into his a career after being losing to Atom Hatai in a major upset at the time. Towards the end of 1964, Hayashi would beat Yasunobu Takada to become the second man to win the Japanese super featherweight title. After losing the title in his second fight as champion against Hiroshi Mori, Hayashi would win back the title in a rematch before losing the title once more to Yuji Amashima in 1966. Hayashi retired with a 13-4 record but was integral to the growth of Yonekura Gym as the gym’s first-ever champion, paving the way for the gym to be one of the biggest in Japan.

Ohashi Gym announced in late June that former Japanese middleweight and OPBF super middleweight champion Yoshinori Nishizawa will now be a trainer. Nishizawa, a 58-fight veteran who started at the Yonekura Gym, previously challenged for the WBA super middleweight title and WBC super middleweight title in separate bouts in 2004. Nishizawa lost both of those fights, but still he was one of the greatest Japanese super middleweights in the history of Japan.

Miscellaneous Boxing News Roundup:

The July 27 show in China has a second world title bout as WBA minimumweight champion Knockout CP Freshmart will defend his title against interim champion Xiong Zhao Zhong. This would put an end to any talks of a fight between Freshmart and former champion Byron Rojas, but it is entirely possible the winner of the July 27 bout would fight Rojas next. Rojas has not fought since last December. The July 27 show will also feature Sho Kimura defending his WBO flyweight title against Froilan Saludar.

The Jose Sulaiman World Invitational welterweight tournament that Evander Holyfield’s Real Deal Boxing is promoting will have its semifinal fights take place on August 25 at the Mattamy Athletic Center in Toronto. The semifinals will pit No. 2 Chris van Heerden against No. 3 Fredrick Lawson and No. 4 Brad Solomon taking on No. 8 Francisco Santana in other semifinal after Santana scored a major upset win over former world title challenger Felix Diaz in the quarterfinal round earlier this year.

BUI Celtic featherweight champion Eric Donovan has taken Olympic medallist and former teammate Kenneth Egan on board as coach. Donovan is headlining the 'Celtic Clash 6' show at the Good Counsel GAA Club in Drimnagh, Dublin on July 14 in what will be Donovan's eighth pro fight, meaning that he would be eligible to be ranked in the European rankings.

With Felix Verdejo suffering his first pro loss back in March, any plans of him fighting for a lightweight world title have been dashed, at least for the next year or so. He’s been quiet for the last few months since the loss, which involved his team exploring the possibility of him moving up in weight, trying to regroup after his loss and a search to add a coach to Verdejo’s team. That search is over as Memo Heredia will now help prepare for Verdejo’s return to the ring. Funny enough, it was my own father who actually asked Verdejo’s coach/manager Ricky Marquez when Verdejo is going to fight again and Marquez said sometime between the end of August and start of September. That means two possible dates Top Rank has around that time frame: the August 25 show in Arizona headlined by Raymundo Beltran vs. Jose Pedraza and the September 14 show that will feature WBC champion Jose Ramirez in action.

In the past week or so, it was revealed that the WBA has elevated Jesus Rojas from interim featherweight champion to secondary world champion just weeks after “super” champion Leo Santa Cruz defeated former “regular” champion Abner Mares to unify the two titles. Well at the same time Rojas was elevated to regular champion, it was revealed that there was another WBA “regular” featherweight title that was being contested on the Manny Pacquiao vs. Lucas Matthysse undercard from Malaysia on July 14: Jhack Tepora vs. Edivaldo Ortega.

This caused a huge uproar in boxing as essentially the WBA could not clear up the confusion of two WBA “regular” featherweight title fights with different fighters being contested. It was then decided that Tepora vs. Ortega would now fight for the vacant interim title and Rojas vs. Diaz would be for Rojas’ new “regular” featherweight title. This further cemented people’s frustrations with the WBA and their mess of a championship title system. Although the WBA has stated in years past that they would work hard to reduce the number of title belts per weight class, it’s situations like this where boxing pundits say they are sick of the WBA for continuously pulling stunts like this and no one can really blame them.

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