Breaking Down the Pay-Per-View Rebound

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FROM SHOWTIME BOXING ANALYST STEVE FARHOOD

On Friday, December 12, WBA Super Welterweight titlist Erislandy Lara will fight for the first time since his controversial split decision loss to Canelo Alvarez in July.

Lara will defend his title against former champion Ishe Smith.

In most cases, a pay-per-view main event is the biggest bout of a fighter’s career. A loss in such a bout can be devastating … or not.

Here’s a look at recent pay-per-view losers and how they fared in their very next fight.

Marcos Maidana surprised almost everyone by pushing Floyd Mayweather in May. The Argentine powerpuncher was about a 10-1 underdog, but he roughed Mayweather up and halfway through seemed a legitimate threat to win. Mayweather rallied, of course, and remained unbeaten by securing a majority decision.

In the September rematch, Mayweather dictated the terms and won again on points, but this time far more convincingly.

It was only the second rematch of Mayweather’s career.

Two other Money victims fared much better than Maidana, probably because they didn’t face Mayweather again. In May 2013, Robert Guerrero, a former world titlist in two divisions, challenged Mayweather and lost by one-sided decision. “The Ghost” took more than a year off, then in June engaged in one of the year’s best fights, decisioning Japan’s Yoshihiro Kamegai.

Guerrero remains a top contender at 147 pounds.

When you’re as young and popular as Canelo Alvarez, there’s plenty of life after Floyd. In September 2013, Canelo lost for the first time when he was thoroughly outboxed by Mayweather. The Mexican has gone 2-0 since, destroying Alfredo Angulo in March and edging Lara in July.

Alvarez is the No. 1 ranked junior middleweight in the world–assuming you list Mayweather only among the welterweights.

When Brandon Rios fought Manny Pacquiao in November 2013, he was coming off a loss to Mike Alvarado. It didn’t shock anyone when, in November 2013, he finished second-best to Pac-Man as well. But all-action Rios rebounded in August with a disqualification win over tough Argentinean Diego Chaves.

Rios was behind by a single point on two cards at the time of the DQ.

It’s been tough to figure future hall of famer Miguel Cotto. The Puerto Rican fought well in losing a decision to Mayweather in May 2012, then lost again on points seven months later to difficult southpaw Austin Trout. At that point, most observers decided Cotto was near-finished.

But after a blowout of fringe contender Delvin Rodriguez, Cotto was reborn with a crushing stoppage of middleweight titleholder Sergio Martinez in June.

He is the only Puerto Rican to have won titles in four different weight classes.

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Finally, there’s the curious case of Victor Ortiz, who is among boxing’s most unpredictable performers. A title-winning effort against welterweight king Andre Berto landed Ortiz a shot at Mayweather in September 2011. After suffering a knockout loss, Ortiz lost twice more, both times by stoppage, to Josesito Lopez (Ortiz was ahead on points when he suffered a broken jaw) and Luis Collazo.

Ortiz, who has always made for good fights, is scheduled to return to the ring on Dec. 13 against an opponent to be announced.

Amir Khan Takes On Devon Alexander As Part Of A Hard-Hitting Tripleheader December 13th

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On Saturday, Dec. 13, we present a SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING tripleheader featuring a pivotal welterweight showdown and two world championship fights, live on SHOWTIME® (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).

In a pair of must-see, high-stakes welterweight matchups, British superstar and former unified super lightweight world champion Amir “King” Khan of Bolton, England will take on former two-division world champion Devon Alexander “The Great” of St. Louis, Mo., while undefeated interim WBA Welterweight World Champion Keith “One Time” Thurman of Clearwater, Fla., will defend against Leonard “The Lion” Bundu of Lazio, Italy.

Rounding out an action-packed night on the three-fight SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast will be WBO Junior Middleweight World Champion and 2008 U.S. Olympian Demetrius “Boo Boo” Andrade of Providence, R.I., who risks his 154-pound belt against tough undefeated young star Jermell “Iron Man” Charlo of Houston, Texas. Charlo will make his first attempt at world title glory in a battle of unbeaten junior middleweights.

“Getting back in the ring is all I’ve been looking towards these last few months,” said Khan. “I want to show everybody that I’m a major force at 147 pounds and I’m ready to take on the best. This fight with Alexander has been on the table for a while, but it is finally happening and I plan on winning impressively to show that I am truly one of the best welterweights in the world.”

“I’ve wanted this fight for a long time and I’m ready to show that I’m worthy of this opportunity and the opportunities ahead after I win on Dec. 13,” said Alexander. “I’ve worked hard my entire life and now the pressure is on to really show what I can do.”

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“I can’t wait to get back in the ring and defend my title,” said Thurman. “I’m going to give all my fans the performance of a lifetime and prove why my name should be at the top of the welterweight conversation.”

December 13 is going to be the biggest night of my professional career thus far,” said Bundu. “To be fighting in the United States, in the fight capital of the world — Las Vegas on SHOWTIME against one of the most promising American prospects is a dream come true. But Keith Thurman doesn’t scare me. I know that I have what it takes to win and truly make a name for myself throughout the boxing world.”

“There is no way I’m letting go of my belt,” said Andrade. “Jermell Charlo is a good fighter, but nothing is going to stop me from defending my belt and raising my hand in victory on Dec. 13. I am confident that this will be a fight fans won’t want to miss.”

“I am beyond excited to finally get a shot at a world title,” said Charlo. “This is what I’ve been waiting for. I’m ready to be a world champion. Nothing is going to stand in my way. Andrade is the champion and I’m not looking past him at all, but this is my time. I know it. The title will lead to bigger and better things and that is what I’m all about.”

“A huge main event with two former champions looking to take a major step back towards a title shot; undefeated fighters going head-to-head on the undercard; our last big show of the year - Dec. 13 at MGM Grand will have it all,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Founder and President of Golden Boy Promotions. “Golden Boy Promotions is finishing 2014 strong and will move into 2015 continuing to make good on our promise to make the most exciting fights for boxing fans.”

“The Dec. 13 edition of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING delivers on our promise to televise stacked fight cards featuring big name fighters in meaningful fights,” said Stephen Espinoza, Executive Vice President and General Manager, SHOWTIME Sports. “The main event, Amir Khan versus Devon Alexander, is a matchup between two renowned former world champions, each at a critical juncture in his career. In the co-feature, Keith Thurman, one of the brightest young stars in boxing, faces perhaps his toughest test to date in the highly regarded and undefeated Leonard Bundu, as each boxer battles for position in the ultra-competitive welterweight division. The opening bout on the telecast features two very talented undefeated rising stars, champion Demetrius Andrade and No. 2-ranked challenger Jermell Charlo. Each fight on the telecast will have a significant impact on the top-10 divisional rankings.”

Khan (29-3, 19 KOs), a 2004 Olympic Silver medalist who turns 28 on Dec. 8, has won his last three contests, all against former world champions. In his most recent outing, he scored three knockdowns en route to a lopsided 12-round decision victory over Luis Collazo in the co-main event on May 3. Before that, the popular, lightning-quick Brit defeated Julio Diaz via unanimous decision in April of 2013 and Carlos Molina in Dec. of 2012. A victory against Alexander would put Khan in a position to become a two-division world champion in 2015.

The 27-year-old southpaw Alexander (26-2, 14 KOs), is a former welterweight and junior welterweight world champion and is coming off of a 10-round unanimous decision over the tough Jesus Soto Karass last June. Fighting with a newfound passion and aggressiveness, Alexander was victorious by the scores of 99-91 twice and 97-93. A winner of five of his last six bouts, a stretch that has seen him defeat the likes of Lucas Matthysse and Marcos Maidana, Alexander believes that his technical artistry will put him back in the world title hunt soon.

Thurman (23-0, 21 KOs) has always been feared for his knockout power, but when he won the WBA Interim Welterweight World Title with a 10th round knockout over Diego Chaves in July of 2013, he was put in a position where the elite of the fight game would have to square off with him eventually. The 25-year-old Thurman has since made two successful title defenses with knockouts over Jesus Soto Karass and Julio Diaz, and he will attempt to achieve the same result against Bundu.

Bundu (31-0-2, 11 KOs), who represented Italy in the 2000 Olympic Games, is making his United States and SHOWTIME debut. The European and Commonwealth Champion, is coming off a hard-earned 12-round decision over previously undefeated contender Frankie Gavin on Aug. 1. Bundu was born in Sierra Leone before moving to Italy, where he has fought the majority of his fights since turning pro in 2005. He is ranked No. 3 in the WBC and No, 4 in the WBA and IBF.

A decorated amateur, Providence, Rhode Island’s Andrade (21-0, 14 KOs) turned professional in 2008 after representing the U.S. in the Olympic Games in Beijing. In November of 2013, the talented southpaw won the vacant WBO Junior Middleweight World Title with a 12-round decision over Vanes Martirosyan and this past June, the 26-year-old successfully defended his title for the first time with a seventh-round technical knockout over Brian Rose.

Charlo (24-0, 11 KOs), 24, is the younger-by-one-minute brother of identical twin, Jermall, who is also a world-ranked undefeated contender at 154 pounds. A tall fighter for his division, Charlo has stepped up in class in some recent fights and is coming off two consecutive terrific points’ victories against Charlie Ota in a 12-round fight on May 24 and against Gabriel Rosado in a 10-round battle on Jan. 25. Charlo, also a top-notch amateur, won the bronze medal at the 2005 Junior Olympics. December 13 marks a milestone in Charlo’s career as he will do everything he can to capture his first world title.

Six Fighters. Three Fights. One Man’s Opinion. A Look At Saturday Night’s Fight Card.

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FROM SHOWTIME BOXING ANALYST STEVE FARHOOD

Andrzej Fonfara is a fan-friendly TV fighter.

Have I just praised him or insulted him? Maybe a little of both.

Glass half-full: A TV fighter is someone who’s fun to watch. Aggressive. Capable of scoring KOs. Never in a bad fight. Certainly worth an hour of your viewing time.

Think Gabriel Rosado. Or Chris Arreola. Or Josesito Lopez.

Glass half-empty: A TV fighter gets hit more than he should, which usually prevents him from attaining championship-level status.

Think Gabriel Rosado. Or Chris Arreola. Or Josesito Lopez.

In his most recent bout, the 26-year-old Fonfara, 25-3, challenged WBC 175-pound titlist Adonis Stevenson in May on SHOWTIME®. The Polish light heavyweight was a 10-1 underdog, and when he went down twice in the first five rounds, the odds might as well have risen to 100-1. But Fonfara roared back to drop and almost stop the imposing Stevenson.

The challenger faded late and lost by unanimous decision, but made a name for himself in the process.

Glass half-full: It was a moral victory that significantly raised Fonfara’s stock. Now he was somebody.

Glass half-empty: There are no moral victories in boxing, nor any such thing as a good loss. A somebody could be anybody.

Whatever your perspective, Fonfara, who’s based in Chicago, returns home to face France-based Doudou Ngumbu of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Ngumbu, 33-5, is a road warrior who’s faced local fighters in the Ukraine, Poland, and South Africa, so the 32-year-old veteran is not likely to cower in his corner.

This time it’s Fonfara who’s the favorite (5-1), and his in-the-pocket style and reasonable punching power give him a sizable advantage. But Ngumbu is as awkward as his name, and he’s been stopped only once. If he lands his right hand often enough, he’ll trouble Fonfara.

Remember, Fonfara hits and gets hit. Add the fact that Polish fans might just top even Puerto Ricans and Mexicans as the most passionate in boxing and we’re looking at a lively and energized main event.

In other words, both a good live fight and a good TV fight.

Kameda

In the co-feature, WBO bantamweight titlist Tomoki Kameda returns to SHOWTIME after his one-punch KO win in July. (Remember, little guys can punch!) The Mexico-based Japanese 118-pounder will defend against a countryman of sorts, 28-year-old Alejandro Hernandez of Mexico City.

It’ll be Hernandez’s third try at a world title; he previously fought for championship belts at 112 and 115 pounds.

For a four-month period, Kameda and his brothers, Daiki and Koki, simultaneously held world titles. They are the only trio of brothers to have won world championships.

Kameda came to Mexico at age 15 because he wanted to be “different from his brothers.” His entire amateur career was fought in Mexico, and he lives there now. He’s known as “Mexicanito,” and his hook-to-the-body kayo of Pungluang Singyu on the undercard of the Canelo Alvarez-Erislandy Lara PPV was evidence that it’s not just a nickname of convenience.

The 23-year-old Kameda, 30-0, seems a complete package, with exceptional speed and eye-popping power. Having committed to fighting in the USA, he has an opportunity to do something unique: How many Japanese fighters have established themselves as championship-level stars in the West?

In Hernandez, who is 28-10-2, Kameda faces a veteran boxer-puncher who’s been tested by the likes of world titlists Leo Santa Cruz, Omar Narvaez and Marvin Sonsona. The Mexican, who’s a big underdog, will try to become the only current world champion with double-digit losses.

Hernandez is game (he’s been stopped only by Santa Cruz), but on paper, at least, he’s out of his depth.

The first televised fight will feature a 130-pounder who’s demanded attention for good reason: His one-punch power has produced several spectacular knockouts.

I called Javier Fortuna’s U.S. debut back in 2010, and his first-round wipeout of prospect Victor Valenzuela was nothing short of frightening. Since then, the southpaw Fortuna, 25-0-1, has also obliterated Yuandale Evans and Miguel Zamudio via first-round knockout.

Quality of opposition? Valenzuela, Evans, and Zamudio were a combined 49-1-1.

This’ll be the 25-year-old Fortuna’s fourth fight at 130 pounds. As was the case with junior lightweight titlist Rances Barthelemy on the most recent SHOWTIME boxing broadcast, Fortuna, a native of the Dominican Republic, has a precious opportunity to separate himself from the other top fighters in his underwhelming division.

For a pure puncher, all it takes is one timely performance…

Fortuna will take on Abner Cotto, who’s on a bit of a run. Last time out, Cotto, 18-2, outpointed former world title challenger Jerry Belmontes on the road in Corpus Christi. Before that, he lost a competitive decision to unbeaten top-10 contender Francisco Vargas.

Here’s the key: Fortuna often comes out of the blocks like Usain Bolt, while the 27-year-old Cotto has had his share of first-round issues. (In April 2013, Omar Figueroa blasted out Cotto in one round, and Belmontes hurt the Puerto Rican in the first round as well.) It’s imperative that Cotto extend the fight; Fortuna has scored only one stoppage past the fourth round.

The guess is that Fortuna has a bit too much of everything for Cotto. But the only thing I’ll be looking for is that put-away punch.

See you on Saturday!

Five Reasons I’d Rather Watch Bantamweights Than Heavyweights

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FROM SHOWTIME BOXING ANALYST STEVE FARHOOD

On Saturday, Nov. 1, WBO Bantamweight World Champion Tomoki Kameda will defend against Alejandro Hernandez on a special edition of SHOWTIME boxing (9 p.m. ET/PT, SHO).

Dating back to the sizzling and spectacular “Z Boys” (Carlos Zarate and Alfonso Zamora) in the ’70s, I’ve always favored bantams over the boxers of any other division.

Especially the heavyweight division. Here’s why:

  1. Have you ever seen a fat bantamweight? Heavyweights don’t have to make weight, and all too often, they use that as an excuse to train as if preparing for a Chocolate Sundae Eat-Off.

There are heavyweights with calves that weigh more than 118 pounds.

  1. Maybe there’s something wrong with me, but I like boxing for the action. Bantams deliver most of the time. Sure, there’s nothing like a heavyweight slugfest, but I dare to approximate that only one of every six or seven big-man bouts lives up to the hype.
  2. I’ve spent 36 years attempting to shatter the absurd myth that little guys can’t punch. When The Z Boys” clashed, Zarate was 45-0 with 44 KOs and Zamora was 29-0 with 29 KOs. Ruben Olivares scored KOs in 79 of his 89 wins. More recently, we’ve been treated to the tremendous 118-pound power of Tim Austin, Junior Jones, Nonito Donaire, Rafael Marquez, and many others. And if you have a short memory, Kameda’s SHOWTIME-televised KO of Pungluang Sor Singyu in July was produced by a single and hellacious hook to the body.
  3. In May 1954, world bantam champ Jimmy Carruthers defended against Thailand’s Chamroen Songkitrat outdoors in Bangkok. The bout was contested in a driving rain, and the boxers fought barefooted.

In February 1997, Oliver McCall cried throughout his heavyweight title bout vs. Lennox Lewis.

One has nothing to do with the other, but the bantamweight story is way cooler.

  1. Who would you rather hang out with: Jeff Fenech, Johnny Tapia, Leo Santa Cruz and Jorge Arce, or Sonny Liston, Andrew Golota, Ike Ibeabuchi and Mitch Green?

Well, I guess Chris Arreola wouldn’t be so bad…

Polish Power: A look at the five best Poland-born fighters of all-time

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FROM SHOWTIME BOXING ANALYST STEVE FARHOOD

On Saturday, Nov. 1, Poland’s Andrzej Fonfara will headline a SHOWTIME BOXING: Special Edition at UIC Pavilion in Chicago.

Fonfara proved his toughness in May, when he nearly upset defending WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson in Montreal.

In Chicago, Fonfara (25-3) will battle the Congo’s Doudou Ngumbu.

Poland’s boxing fans may just be the most passionate in boxing. And the fighters have been special, too. Here are the five best Poland-born fighters of all-time.

  1. Dariusz Michalczewski: Titlist at both light heavy and cruiserweight. Best known as being the second-best 175-pounder during Roy Jones’ reign, but went 48-2 and made 23 successful defenses of the WBO title, and that ain’t shabby. Defeated among others Hall of Famer Virgil Hill, Montell Griffin, and Graciano Rocchigiani.
  1. Tomasz Adamek: At 37 and still competing as heavyweight. Is 49-3. Reigned as world titlist at both light heavy and cruiserweight. In 2009, stopped countryman Andrew Golota in Lodz, Poland. Bout was billed “Poland’s Fight Of The Century,” and roughly 25 percent of country’s population watched on TV. Always undersized, but all heart, all the time.
  1. Krzysztof Wlodarczyk: Cruiserweight is 49-3-1 and has been mainstay in division for eight years. Just lost WBC title in September. Has beaten Steve Cunningham and Danny Green.

Question for Vanna: Why hasn’t this fighter’s name been used on “Wheel Of Fortune”?

  1. Andrew Golota: Where to begin? I’ll try the end: Heavyweight fought for presumably final time in 2013 at age 45. Was talented, enigmatic, and unpredictable. Was twice beating Riddick Bowe, only to be DQ’d in both fights for repeatedly punching low. Beat Tim Witherspoon, drew with Chris Byrd, was stopped in one round by Lennox Lewis, and fought to macabre no-contest with Mike Tyson. Went 41-9-1, and contended for the  better part of a dozen years.
  1. Pawel Wolak: All-action junior middleweight performed like a wind-up toy. Went 29-2-1 and fought for last time in 2011. In that same year, drew with Delvin Rodriguez in strong candidate for fight of year. Finished that memorable brawl with right eye hideously swollen and shut. Beat Yuri Foreman and lost close decision to Ishe Smith.

Weigh-In Photos: Barthelemy, Saucedo, Nelson, Martirosyan, Dawson, and Karpency Hit the Scales

Barthelemy vs. SaucedoPhotos: Amanda Kwok / SHOWTIME