Big-time boxing coming to New York
Nonito Donaire throwing a left hook to the head of Omar Andres Narvaez during their championship bout. (Oct. 22, 2011) (Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.)
It's going to be a super six-week run for boxing, particularly in New York.
It starts on April 13, with Top Rank's super bantamweight title unification bout between WBO champion Nonito Donaire (31-1) and WBA champion Guillermo Rigondeaux (11-0). Donaire is the reigning Fighter of the Year and Rigondeaux is a two-time Olympic gold medalist who defected from Cuba in 2009. This card will be televised live by HBO from Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan. It's only the second time since the building opened in 1932 that boxing has been staged at Radio City. The first time occurred in 2000 when Roy Jones Jr. outpointed David Telesco.
Also on the Donaire-Rigondeaux card, Long Beach light heavyweight prospect Sean Monaghan meets Dion Stanley in an eight-round bout. Jesse Hart, the son of former Philly middleweight contender Eugene "Cyclone" Hart, will also appear on the undercard.
One week later, on April 20, NBC will televise from Madison Square Garden's Theater as Kathy Duva and Main Events brings a heavyweight bout between Tyson Fury and Steve Cunningham to network television. Cunningham is a former world cruiserweight champion and Fury is 20-0 with 14 knockouts. Brooklyn middleweight Curtis Stevens meets Derrick Findley in an eight-rounder. Chris Eubank Jr., son of the former WBO middleweight champ of the same name, also fights on the card.
Fury opened his Ontario-training camp to the media this week and had this to say about Cunningham: "I am a confident person to start with but when they bring in a 6-3, 200-pound guy and put him in with a 6-9, 255-pound solid machine, there is an aura of confidence that you’re gonna do a job on him. I believe that I’m gonna be the most dominant heavyweight in the world. If I have a hard time in there with a guy like Steve Cunningham, that suggests that I’m not gonna be that champion that I think I am. I’m a realist. I don't talk rubbish. If I am going to be the dominant champion that I think I am, then I should take care of Cunningham no problem. If I do [have problems], then I’m a fraud."
Also on this date, Canelo Alvarez meets Austin Trout in a junior middleweight unification showdown, televised by Showtime from the Alamodome in San Antonio.
Moving on to April 27, Golden Boy will bring its third show to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The main event features a junior welterweight title fight between Danny Garcia and Brooklyn's own former champion Zab Judah. In the co-feature, Peter Quillin defends his WBO middleweight title against Fernando Guerrero. Local fighters Danny Jacobs, Boyd Melson and 2012 Olympian Marcus Browne are all on the card.
While this corner was covering Opening Day at Citi Field on Monday, the main event fighters held a conference call. The good folks at Swanson Communications provided us with a transcript. The Garcia-Judah press conference ended in fireworks but the media call was a lot more tame. What has been at issue is Garcia's rib injury, which originally forced the postponement of the bout on February 9.
"I’m 110% ready," Garcia said during the call. "We healed it right. We started sparring at the right time. We did a couple treatments. We’ve done our physical training and I’m just strong and I’m ready to go."
Judah added: "I mean my opinion is my opinion; you know what I’m saying? … I don’t really know, but Danny has got one story. We got another story, but Danny is a fighter, so Danny—who am I to say what really happened to him? I can’t judge that, man. I mean April 27th we’re going to find out everything."
Judah also spoke about the importance of this fight taking place in his backyard: "We’re in Brooklyn; the city needs a great champion. It needs somebody to stand up for the city, you know what I’m saying? That’s for my American fans and Latino fans. New York City is New York City … Brooklyn once reigned in the early ‘80s and the early ‘90s with Mike Tyson and now Zab Judah is going to come back in and take over again. This time we got an arena to represent it."
Quillin and Guerrero, however, were somewhat less civil:
We'll pick up Quillin in mid-answer:
Quillin: "… So me doing this, it’s more than just like for Cuba and my father, who came over here with just a pair of pants and a shirt with no shoes on and come over here to make a …"
Guerrero: "I’m sorry to cut you off, Peter."
Quillin: "I didn’t cut you off."
Guerrero: "I could never do it for somebody else."
Quillin: "I respect what you’re doing. I respect what you’re doing, but when I gave you the opportunity to talk and you gave your long answers, I respect that, but now it’s my turn to talk. I’m the champion; respect the champ… Right now I’m telling you that whatever you’re doing and for whatever reasons you’re doing it, you’re finding the wrong reasons and I’m going to exploit those reasons why you’re doing this for the wrong people…"
Guerrero: "Are you done?"
Quillin: "Yes, let’s keep it short and straight to the point because that’s what I’m going to do when I fight you. We’re going to keep it straight, straight to the point."
Guerrero: "The only way we can keep it straight and short to the point is in the ring, my man, you know."
Quillin: "I’m going to prove that April 27th."
Also on April 27, HBO will be doing a split card, televising Sergio Martinez's middleweight title defense from Argentina as well as a bout from a card in Ontario, California. The network is employing two broadcast teams that night: Working ringside from the 50,000-seat Club Atlético Vélez Sarsfield soccer stadium in Buenos Aires will be host Jim Lampley, commentator Max Kellerman, analyst Roy Jones Jr. and unofficial scorer Harold Lederman. The evening’s telecast -- which begins at 8:30 p.m. ET live from Citizens Business Bank Arena in California -- with the Chris Arreola- Bermane Stiverne heavyweight battle, will feature blow-by-blow announcer Bob Papa, analyst Andre Ward and Steve Weisfeld as the unofficial scorer.
Then, of course, on May 4, Floyd Mayweather fights Robert Guerrero on Showtime pay-per-view. Also that night, at the Resorts World Casino, at Aqueduct, Shirley's Joe Smith Jr. headlines the card against Hamid Abdul-Mateen.
And finally, on May 11, Queens heavyweight Vinny Maddalone - who once fought Evander Holyfield - headlines Joe DeGuardia's card at the Paramount in Huntinton. Long Islanders Alan Gotay and Anthony Karperis fight as well.
, Tyson Fury
, Golden Boy
, Top Rank
, Floyd Mayweather
, Danny Garcia
, Zab Judah
, Sergio Martinez
, Guillermo Rigondeaux
, Nonito Donaire
, Seanie Monaghan