By: Jesse DonathanRest assured, the more things change, the more they remain the same. The professional boxing landscape has recently looked offset and bewildered in the wake of what is increasingly shaping up to be a combat sports entertainment industry that is turning the page on how business is conducted in the modern era. With the highly unusual delay of the Canelo vs. Kovalev fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas at the hands of the UFC 244 main event as well as the recent KSI vs. Paul Logan II YouTube star spectacle, an overall picture is beginning to emerge on that suggests change is coming to the otherwise relatively steadfast traditional boxing hierarchy. With the emergence of social media, streaming services and the ever-looming presence of Zuffa Boxing and the UFC’s entry into the world of professional boxing, alliances are quickly shaping up in the way of UFC President Dana White reportedly meeting with boxing promoter Eddie Earn as UFC fighters and professional boxers are increasingly calling one another out.Just this past week, former NFL standout Greg Hardy put Tyson Fury on notice while Fury himself was recently spotted training with UFC middleweight star Darren Till. Also waiting in the wings for a piece of the Tyson Fury sweepstakes is UFC titan Francis Ngannou, who has dreamed of a career in professional boxing since virtually the inception of his combat sports journey. This news of course, coming on the heels of the well-publicized beef between UFC president Dana White and boxing star Oscar De La Hoya means that the promotional and business aspects of the boxing/mixed martial arts crossover have been well in the making for some time now as the dollars and cents begin shape up in the combat sports entertainment industry.Though not directly related to the UFC/Zuffa Boxing entry into professional boxing, the recent KSI versus Paul Logan II YouTube star headlining main event on a card promoted by Eddie Hearn, featuring legitimate, championship caliber boxers is a harbinger of things to come for many boxing fans who do not like the change in direction that the wind appears to be now taking. “White collar boxing is a slippery slope and has opened a very dangerous door,” writes four-time national amateur boxing champion Eric Kelly in his November 10, 2019 Twitter social media post. According to Kelly, “#KSI vs #PaulLogan is all the proof that you need. Being the main event on a card that features real professional boxers and world champions. Yet the boxers had to take a backseat to the YouTubers.”Back in May of 2019, BoxingInsider.com published an article titled, “The Don King Effect – UFC’s Dana White and Zuffa Boxing to Promote Big Fights” where I predicted that the UFC was going to break into boxing in a big way moving forward into the future in 2020 and beyond. According to a November 7, 2019 Chael Sonnen YouTube video titled, “Could Jorge Masvidal vs Canelo Alvarez actually happen?” the former UFC middleweight title contender and current ESPN MMA analyst sat down in “The Bad Guy” studio to discuss what could possibly be on the horizon in the future concerning the professional boxing/mixed marital arts crossover.“So Masvidal has something known as a hit list he put it out. There were three names on it, I can’t even remember two of them, but I want to get to the third because I remember this. He called out Canelo, Canelo Alvarez,” said Sonnen. “The sitting, reigning, multi-division world boxing champion. Canelo has only lost one fight ever, 21-years old, but he lost it, it was to a guy named Floyd Mayweather. And while he was dominated, it was his only loss and the guy was named Floyd Mayweather and Canelo was 21.”In making sure his audience understood exactly what it was that he was trying to say, Sonnen went on to remark that, “I’m going to say that all for you a second time, so that you could put those pieces together. So, Canelo is a very special talent. And I’m condescending in case you don’t watch boxing and you didn’t know that,” said Sonnen.According to Sonnen, “Masvidal is in a very unique position right now that I do not think he is aware of.” In summarizing the down to earth, regular kind of guy off the street attitude Masvidal seems to have, Sonnen went on to summarize exactly where Masvidal’s career stands at this point in time as “The Bad Guy” sees it. “I don’t think Masvidal realizes that anything is different in his life or career,” said Sonnen. “He woke up last week, trying to make weight knowing he was going to have to go out there and put it on the line against somebody for 25-minutes. Do the best that he could, walk away and live with the result. That’s what he got out there and did and I think he is waking up today in the exact same position,” theorized Sonnen.“But he is wrong. He is wrong,” argued Chael. “The landscape of Jorge Masvidal has changed tremendously. He, I believe, is officially the number one contender. Would that be true? That if he wants to fight the winner of Kamaru/Colby that he will be given that opportunity. Would that be true? I think you guys would agree with me,” offered the ESPN MMA analyst. “But he doesn’t have to go fight the winner of Kamaru/Colby, he has a title,” said Sonnen. “Mission accomplished!” he added.Stepping into Masvidal’s shoes, it’s all seems pretty simple and straight forward from “The Bad Guys” perspective. “Got in the sport, went up to that division, took big risks to win a belt; he has the belt,” said Sonnen. “He can now go after big fights and there is something about him versus Canelo that just works, it just does,” Sonnen confided.“And as soon as he (Masvidal) said it, I said, ‘Oh, my goodness,’” explained Sonnen who no doubt knows few things are left to chance, but rather design.“Now I am not predicting for you guys that you’re going to see that fight, the logistics of how are we going to do it and where are we going to do it are going to be tough,” Sonnen explained. “When Masvidal fights in the UFC and Canelo is exclusive on DAZN, but Dana worked that out with Showtime once before, he can work it out again,” said Sonnen. Which perhaps may go a long way in explaining the unusual delay of the Canelo/Kovalev main event this past Saturday night?As originally reported in a November 7, 2019 BoxingInsider.com article titled, “DAZN’s Stands Defiant in Face of Canelo-Kovalev Criticism,” author Sean Crose writes, “After it delayed last Saturday’s Canelo-Kovalev match for 90 minutes in order to appeal to MMA fans who were watching a card of their own, I decided to reach out to DAZN for an explanation,” writes Crose. According to the veteran BoxingInsider.com reporter, he received a response the following Tuesday, though unfortunately none of his questions were answered directly as he was instead referred to comments DAZN representative Joe Markowski had previously made to ESPN reporter Steve Kim, who, as Crose noted, works for ESPN who coincidentally enough broadcasted last weekend’s UFC 244 event.The report went on to note that, “The quotes, such as they are, make it clear DAZN is happy it delayed the fight for an hour and a half on Saturday. What’s more, Markowski added absolutely nothing conciliatory towards those who paid for what was literally poor customer service,” said Crose. According to BoxingInsider.com report, “Sure enough, my question to DAZN about how some perceived their weekend strategy went unanswered. Which brings us to a simple fact – DAZN is not only disinterested in individual consumer satisfaction, it isn’t afraid of that disinterest being public knowledge.”Searching for a possible explanation to the sudden change of direction, Crose, who is the author of the acclaimed historical fiction novel titled, “the Regulator,” went on to postulate that, “Perhaps the streaming service received such a windfall from all those MMA fans this past weekend that it no longer feels it needs to play nice. Or perhaps it’s just an operation straight out of a Dickens’ novel. Either way, its coldness is notable,” writes Crose.According to a November 6, 2019 Luke Thomas YouTube video titled, “UFC 244 vs. Canelo-Kovalev: Was DAZN Right?” the Sirius XM radio host weighed in on the issue, stating that, “I’ve noticed a lot of different takes on this. Basically, it goes one of two ways. One way is that you’re in favor of this. And the argument would be, wow, as a service to the fan, you got to watch the UFC 244 PPV and then, when that was over, you got to flip right over and then catch Canelo doing pretty incredible things,” said Thomas.“Alright, and that was one argument essentially for it. And the other side, is that, well I don’t know how much of a cross over audience there actually is,” explained Thomas. “And more to the point, if you want to make your product look Busch league, boy, this is a great way to do it,” notes Thomas.According to Luke, “MMA and boxing have always had a natural tension, and more to that point, when you look at the actual dollar figures that boxers make right, the 35-million that Canelo has made, the 40-million, I think 42-million guaranteed that Floyd got to fight Canelo or the 300-million that Mayweather got to fight McGregor, right, it’s always had this status as not merely the more lucrative sport for it’s a-list stars, its always had a bit of a big brother vibe to MMA,” explained Thomas.Continuing, Thomas went on to expound that, “Like we respect the hustle to a degree of the MMA fighters, you are seeing some people open their doors more, the Freddy Roaches, the Teddy Atlas’s, that kind of thing, but its always had a bit of a big brother vibe to UFC,” said Thomas. “I think this was startling to boxing fans because this was the first time where that relationship got completely inverted. It was the first time where boxing could not look at itself in the face and say we are the big brother on this night,” explained the former United States Marine.“And that’s important, because not only was this fight with Canelo and Kovalev not the big brother scenario, I mean it wasn’t the big brother when you had their top star. It wasn’t Danny Garcia versus Thurman II or something like that. This was Canelo Alvarez, the biggest star in combat sports. The biggest star in boxing, active, jumping up two weight classes man, and they made that one the second fiddle. I think that startled boxing fans,” noted Thomas.In the after math of the Canelo Alvarez vs. Sergey Kovalev fight and its highly unusual delay at the hands of the UFC 244 main event at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas as well as the recent KSI vs. Paul Logan II YouTube star spectacle an overall picture is beginning to emerge on the combat sports landscape that suggests the winds of change are in the air as the page is beginning to be turned in the otherwise steadfast, traditional professional boxing landscape.With the emergence of streaming services, YouTube social media sensations and the ever-looming presence of Zuffa Boxing and the UFC’s entry into the realm of professional pugilism, alliances are quickly forming with some of the biggest movers and shakers in the combat sports entertainment industry. Though one can sense the offset fear and bewilderment from the professional boxing community, one can rest easy knowing that the more things change, the more they will inevitably remain the same.The post UFC: Zuffa Boxing, DAZN and the Canelo/Kovalev Delay appeared first on BoxingInsider.com.

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During a recent interview with Boxing Insider Radio which can be heard on Spotify, iTunes and on Boxinginsider.com, undefeated boxer Michael Conlan took the time to discuss just how important a win against Vladimir Nikitin on December 14th, at Madison Square Garden is for his legacy, as well as future a future contest against WBO Featherweight champion Shakur Stevenson.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QELud1DdAP0It was the middle finger that was seen around the world. During the 2016 Olympic games in Rio De Janeiro, Michael Conlan was running through his competition. It was becoming more and more clear that he was on his way to possibly bringing a gold medal with the display of skills he was putting on for everyone to see. Everything was going as he expected. He danced around his bigger opponents and punished the smaller ones. Conlan was on cloud nine and everyone could understand why. He entered his quarterfinal matchup against Russian opponent Vladimir Nikitin as a significant favorite. There in the crowd stood Conlan’s mother, father and fiancée. They expected Conlan to cruise to victory and that is exactly what he did. Credit: Top Rank BoxingConlan made it look easy against Nikitin. He was barely touched during the bout while Nikitin on the other looked as though he had been in a fight with a wild grizzly bear. Yet, for some inexplicable reason, Nikitin was given the victory. Much like Roy Jones Jr who was robbed at a chance of gold during the 1988 Olympics and Floyd Mayweather Jr in 1996, Conlan had his olympic dreams taken away from him in a contest in which he clearly won. Instead of going back to his locker room with pain and agony, Conlan let it all out as he flipped the middle finger to the judges that were scoring the bout. Fast forward nearly four years later, and Conlan will now get his chance for revenge as the two will face off on December 14th, at Madison Square Garden. This time, as professionals.“It’s been a long time coming,” said Conlan to Boxing Insider Radio. “The engine is warm and we’re ready to rock. I’m expecting a big, big performance.”This contest between Conlan and Nikitin actually won't be the second time they meet in the ring. It will be their third. Every and anyone who watched these two share the ring against one another during the Olympics in 2016 would rightfully have given the fight to Conlan, but the fact of the matter is, he did not officially come out with the win. For the Ireland born fighter who has a future just as bright as anyone else’s in the sport, he will now have one final time to prove something to not only his naysayers, but also to himself.“I’ve lost both times. It’s a chance for me to get my redemption. People may look at the 2016 fight and think that I won but let’s be honest, when the decision was called his hand was raised so I actually didn't win. I've got to go in there and prove to myself and to the rest of the world that what happened in Rio was an injustice and the wrong decision. But more than anything I have to prove to myself that I can beat this guy and I am better than him. I believe I want it more and I believe that I am the better fighter but I have to go out there and prove it.” Conlan isn't the only person who is motivated for their upcoming clash. So is Nikitin as well. Conlan may have something that he wants to prove but his rival will have a chip on his shoulders that will be just as enormous.“He’s obviously coming to prove a point that the decision in Rio was the right one. He probably has a lot of ill feelings towards me but I want to go in there with no emotions and treat this as a demolition job. I don’t want to leave this in the hands of the judges. I want to go out there and beat this guy and look good doing it.”On the surface level it may seem like a boxing match between two fighters who aren't exactly very fond of one another, but it isn't just about that. For Conlan, this contest stretches far beyond just the boxing ring.“It just lets me close a chapter in my amateur career and how it finished and the controversial saga. I think for me and many people around the world, if you have been screwed over whether it was in sports or in life, everybody has had that feeling of injustice against them. The fact that I have a chance to rewrite a wrong that should have never been written, I think a lot of people can feel that. A lot of people never get that chance to right a wrong so this is bigger than me and it’s bigger than just this fight. It’s about righting wrongs and injustices that should have never happened. It’s more than a boxing match. It’s like history being rewritten.”For as badly as Conlan wanted to bring home the gold in 2016, his career has seemingly not suffered in the slightest. Not only is he undefeated in 13 professional contest, but he was also arguably the hottest amateur prospect with a seemingly endless amount of promoters who were vying for his services, including Floyd Mayweather and Mayweather Promotions.“It would not have been beneficial for me because I’m an Irish guy and the time zone differences with where he is located. With Top Rank they put me in Madison Square Garden and have promoted me really well so it was a no brainer for me to sign with Top Rank.” The promotion and hype surrounding Conlan has been unbelievable since day one. Top Rank has continuously placed him in the limelight where he has shined. For the budding star, he has countless supporters in Ireland but he has grown a fan base in New York that rivals the love and affection he receives in his native land.“I Can't really compare them because Ireland is my home but fighting in New York is my home away from home. It’s where I have boxed the most as a professional and the atmosphere’s are actually pretty similar. In my last fight I boxed in August it was in Belfast and it was very special to me, so it would be very hard top that one but the two best places that I am supported in the world is New York and Ireland.”At the age of 28, Conlan isn't your typical boxing prospect. Young fighters who are fighting their way up are typically in their early 20s. With 30 coming right around the corner, Conlan won't be afforded the same time frame that many of his younger counterparts are given. In comparison, Conlan’s fellow stablemate Shakur Steven is only 22 years of age, but he has already captured a world title and is widely regarded as a future pound for pound level fighter. The accomplishments of Stevenson haven’t gone unnoticed by Conlan. The Ireland born fighter would be willing to face not just Conlan in the near future but against any world champion.“Fantastic matchup and a fantastic fighter. He has answered every question that has been placed in front of him so far. If that is a fight that is going to happen next year, I’m ready. I see myself fighting for world titles. Fighting against a specific opponent doesn't matter but I see myself fighting for multiple world titles. If he is the champion then I’m ready for anything but I am focused on December 14th, so I can't even take a peek ahead of what’s to come.”The future of Conlan is undoubtedly a bright one, but at the moment it is stuck in the past. He can take his first step forward if he manages to defeat Nikitin on the 14th of December. With as much history as the two have, a simple win for Conlan won’t be good enough. He intends on putting on a show.“You can possibly expect a war or you can expect a masterclass. I can out box the guy completely if I want. Whether it lasts three rounds, seven rounds or ten rounds it will be a statement and it will be exciting.” As for the now infamous middle finger that propelled Conlan to national notoriety might also make an appearance when this fight is set and done as well.“I’ll start it off by giving him a middle finger and then I’ll give him a thumbs up at the same time.”The post Michael Conlan Speaks With Boxing Insider Radio About His 2016 Olympic Redemption and Shakur Stevenson appeared first on BoxingInsider.com.

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By: Hans ThemistodeTwo division world champion Danny Garcia recently informed everyone that he would be making his return to the ring in January of 2020 at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, New York. What he didn't say or rather, what he didn't know at that time, is who he would be taking on.“January 25th I’m back at the Barclay Center, my home away from home,” said Garcia. “It’s a great atmosphere here, I just can't wait to be back. I don't know who I’m facing yet but I’ve been in the gym training hard. I’m already ready so whoever they put in front of me I’ll be ready to get it on.”Garcia now not only has a date but he now has an opponent as well. Ivan Redkach will look to grab the biggest win of his career when the two face off on the 25th of January. If this contest had taken place just a few years ago, it would have been viewed as a non competitive one. Redkach lost three of his past four matches from 2016-2017, but he has seemingly put that in the past as he has won three fights in the row with his latest coming via stoppage against former world champion Devon Alexander. The announcement of this contest comes as somewhat of a shocker. Redkach was rumored to be taking on Adrien Broner, while Garcia on the other hand had his eyes set on taking on unified Welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. Those plans were immediately scrapped once Broner and Redkach were unable to solidify a deal. As for Spence vs Garcia, that contest will have to wait while Spence recovers from his horrific car accident. At this point in their respective careers, neither man can afford a loss on the 25th of January. Although Redkach looked great in becoming the first man to stop Devon Alexander in his last ring appearance, a win over Garcia would bring his career to a whole other level. Garcia on the other hand faces a ton of pressure as well as a win over Redkach is expected to lead him directly to a huge fight for the second half of 2020.“First of all thank God Spence is doing good and he's recovering well. I was looking forward to fighting him but that is always something that can happen in the future, but yeah Pac-man [Manny Pacquiao] or Spence those are the fights we want.”With Garcia amongst the many who are vying for a shot against Pacquiao, he could vault his name to the top of the list with an impressive victory against the surging Ivan Redkach. The post Danny Garcia vs Ivan Redkach Set For January 25th appeared first on BoxingInsider.com.

By: Hans Themistode“It’s tough to get out of bed to do roadwork at 5am when you’ve been sleeping in silk pajamas,” said hall of fame fighter Marvin Hagler. Andy Ruiz Jr quickly found out just how true those words are actually are. The former unified Heavyweight champion was the man for six months. TV shows, pictures, parties, you name it. Hell, Ruiz could have ran for president in his home country of Mexico and came out with the victory. An unanticipated win against Anthony Joshua can do that to a fighter. We’ve all seen it. Ruiz walked into the ring on June 1st, at Madison Square Garden, in New York City as a late replacement and pretty much pounded Joshua for seven straight rounds until he could no longer take the punishment. From there, Ruiz was literally an overnight celebrity. You always worry about that with people who aren't accustomed to that sort of attention. But yet, something about Ruiz seemed to be different. He did change up a few things. He wore iced out watches and chains. Drove around in Bentleys and upgraded his living arraignment significantly. That should have been a sign, but we didn't see it. Ruiz was still soft spoken, he wasn't loud or brash and he wasn't a jerk to fans who clamored to him grab a picture. It didn't seem like the money, power, attention and championship status got to his head. We were all wrong. Andy Ruiz Jr stepped onto the scale the night before his rematch against Joshua in Saudi Arabia weighing over 15 pounds then he originally did in their first contest. This was after Ruiz and his trainer claimed that he would come in lighter. Still, for some reason, we didn't see it coming. Ruiz claimed to want the extra pounds to be stronger. Right, right. Did the extra pounds make him stronger? Maybe. But it also made him slower, lethargic and a shell of his former self. For 12 straight rounds Ruiz plodded around the ring while Joshua easily out boxed and punished him for the entire contest. Following a lopsided unanimous decision loss that saw his 15 minutes of fame come to an end, Ruiz admitted that he didn't take this fight as serious as he should've. I didn’t prepare how I should have,” Ruiz said. “I gained too much weight, but you know what? I don’t want to give no excuses. He won. He boxed me around, but you know what, if we do the third fight you better [expletive] believe I’m going to get in the [expletive] best shape of my life.”So let's get this straight. It took Ruiz losing the biggest fight in his life in order for him to take things more seriously? For fans of Andy Ruiz, that must be a tough pill to swallow. A loss to Anthony Joshua is nothing to be ashamed of. After all, he has carved one hell of a career for himself already. What Ruiz should be ashamed of, however, is his performance and of course, his fitness level. Everything was there for Ruiz. Joshua did not by any stretch of the imagination look like a world beater. He fought cautiously and timid as though he did not want to get hit on the chin. He spent the majority of the contest staying on the outside and clinching whenever Ruiz got in close. He landed a few shots here and there but nothing significant. All Ruiz needed to do was be in better shape in order to cut off the ring and keep the pressure on Joshua. “That would have knocked down a horse,” said Joshua when referring to the punch that ended his championship reign in New York. “Andy’s a strong boy. He’s a strong man, you know what I mean?”You don't even need to read in-between the lines to understand what Joshua was essentially saying here. He did not want to get hit on the chin by Ruiz the second time around. During the build up of their Heavyweight rematch, Ruiz was empathic about wanting to lose weight. Something that not many thought would be a good idea. Why fix something that isn't broken? Still, Ruiz informed everyone that would listen that losing weight would allow him to be faster, cut the ring off easier and let his hands go even better than before. You know what? He was right. Had he gone through with initial plans of losing weight he could have accomplished everything he wanted to. Instead, he sat back, took this huge opportunity for granted and let down a fan base that was starving for their Mexican warrior to hold on to his titles.“You know what, it kind of affected me a lot,” Ruiz said of the extra weight he carried. “I thought I was going to feel stronger. I thought I was going to be better. But you know what? Next fight, I think I’m going to get more prepared. I’m going to work with my team a little bit more. I tried to train kind of train myself.”The words spewed by Ruiz are almost unbelievable. How can one night of glory infiltrate the mind of the former champion and force him into such a state of complacency? This won't be the last we see of Ruiz. He is only 30 years of age and has plenty of tread left on his tires. Will he win another world title? It’s difficult to say. He certainly has the talent to trouble anyone in the division. But honestly, it doesn't matter. Ruiz will always be remembered for his horrific performance in Saudi Arabia on December 7th, 2019. Ruiz let down an entire country that had his back. Even Mexican superstar boxer Canelo Alvarez made the trek to Saudi Arabia to root for his fellow countrymen. Needless to say, Canelo must have been disappointed with what he witnessed. The career of Andy Ruiz isn't over, but he will need to come back better than ever if he intends to win back the fans and hometown support he undoubtedly lost. The question now is, can Ruiz buckle down and regain his focus? That will depend entirely on whether or not his pajamas are still made from silk.The post Andy Ruiz Jr’s 15 Minutes of Fame is Over appeared first on BoxingInsider.com.

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