Boxing Insider Notebook: Beltran, Pacquiao, Atlantic City, Roach, Plant, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of June 12th to June 19th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Financial Advice from World-Famous Freddie Roach
Under the watchful eyes of world-famous Freddie Roach and Vice Mayor Buboy Fernandez, Senator Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KOs), the Philippines’ national treasure, boxer laureate and the sweet science’s only eight-division world champion, kicked off his U.S. training camp with eight rounds of sparring. Not bad for the jet lagged fighter who arrived at LAX after a 19-hour flight on Saturday night to a throng of media and fans. After five weeks of training in the Philippines, Manny is back at Roach’s Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, Calif., preparing for his third world championship fight in the past 12 months. Amazin’ Manny has begun the most intense part of his training and conditioning for his battle against undefeated WBA welterweight super champion Keith “One Time” Thurman (29-0, 22 KOs), from Clearwater, Florida.
Pacquiao and Thurman will battle in a welterweight world title attraction that headlines a PBC on FOX Sports Pay-Per-View event,Saturday, July 20, live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
And for the first time in many years, Manny, 40, and ten years Thurman’s senior, has been installed as an underdog by major sports & race books around the world.
“I haven’t made a bet in a long time, but the oddsmakers have brought me back. I’m going to make a huge score betting on Manny in this fight,” said Roach. “Manny loves beating undefeated fighters, especially the younger ones. Heck, at this stage of the game, everyone Manny faces is younger. But that makes it fun for Manny. And when Manny is having fun, his opponents had better watch out. I was very pleased with Manny’s first day at Wild Card. Buboy and Justin [Fortune] have him in great condition for the rigors of this part of training camp. We were scheduled for six rounds of sparring and Manny insisted on going eight with two sparing partners. He’s running the Hollywood Hills like a deer. Nobody has the work ethic and conditioning like Manny. I can already see we are going to have to hold him back throughout camp.
“This is a great matchup. Thurman has youth and size. I’m sure he will come into the ring with 160 pounds behind his big right hand. Manny will be under 150,” Roach continued. “But we will have speed and movement. Winning this fight will come down to taking chances. Manny proved in his last two fights, against Matthysse and Broner, that he has his killer instinct back. Thurman better be prepared to shoot the works.”
Aston Palicte vs. Kazuto Ioka is First World Boxing Championship Fight to be Streamed Live on UFC Fight Pass
The official weigh in was held today for tomorrow’s (Wednesday, June 19) first world championship boxing match ever streamed live on UFC Fight Pass®, between the World Boxing Organization’s (WBO) top two-ranked junior bantamweight contenders, “Mighty” Aston Palicte and Kazuto Ioka, who will square off for the vacant WBO World title.
Palicte and Ioka both weigh in at the 115-pound maximum.
Palicte’s promoter, Roy Jones Jr. (RJJ) Boxing Promotions, owns the worldwide live streaming rights outside of Japan. Palicte vs. Ioka, co-promoted by RJJ Boxing and Reason Taki Promotions, will be streamed live, starting at 8 a.m. ET / 5 a.m. PT, from Makuhari Messe in Chiba City, Chiba, Japan.
WBO No. 1-ranked contender Palicte (25-2-1, 21 KOs), fighting out of the Philippines, takes on four-time three-division world champion Ioka (23-2, 13 KOs), who will be fighting at home, in the 12-round main event.
The 28-year-old Palicte (pictured above) knocked out previously unbeaten Jose “Chiquiro” Martinez, this past January 31st in the second round of their WBO title eliminator. Palicte become the mandatory challenger for then WBO champion and fellow Filipino, Donnie “Ahas” Nietes, who subsequently relinquished his title belt rather than accept a Palicte rematch to pursue more lucrative fights than a rematch with his countryman.
Nietes and Palicte had fought to a controversial 12-round draw last September for the then vacant WBO junior bantamweight world title. Nietes, ironically, captured the title last December 31st in Macao, China, winning a controversial 12-round split decision over Ioka.
The No. 2-rated Ioka, 30, has a decisive experience advantage over the younger, stronger Palicte. He has a 13-2 (3 KOs) record in world title fights and Ioka is on a mission to become the first Japanese boxer to be world champion in four different divisions. The only other members of this elite Nippon club are Hozumi Hagegawa, Koki Kameda, Akira Yaegashi and Naoko Fuijioka, the lone female in the group.
“I’m very appreciative of this opportunity to fight or the WBO belt again,” Ioka said from training camp. “Japan has a long history of boxing and for me, personally, it (4-division world champion) would be my highest goal to reach.
“Aston Palicte is a very good, tough fighter. I don’t really see any weaknesses, but I think his strength is his ability to be physical and fight aggressively.”
A triumph over Ioka will allow Palicte to join an elite club of Filipino world boxing champions, past and present, such as Nietes, Manny Pacquiao, Pancho Villa, Flash Elorde, and Nonito Donaire.
Caleb Plant Media Roundtable Quotes
Undefeated IBF Super Middleweight World Champion Caleb “Sweethands” Plant hosted a Las Vegas media breakfast roundtable Saturday morning as he discussed his upcoming title defense Saturday, July 20 against unbeaten Mike Lee in the main event of FOX PBC Fight Night on FOX and FOX Deportes from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
FOX PBC Fight Night begins at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT and also features unbeaten heavyweight sensation Efe Ajagba squaring off against undefeated 2016 Turkish Olympian Ali Eren Demirezen
Tickets for the event, which is presented by TGB Promotions and Sweethands Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased online through AXS.com, charge by phone at 866-740-7711 or in person at any MGM Resorts International box office. The Ajagba vs. Demirezen match is being promoted in association with Ringstar Sports.
After FOX PBC Fight Night, boxing’s only eight-division world champion and Philippine Senator Manny “Pac Man” Pacquiao takes on undefeated WBA Welterweight World Champion Keith “One Time” Thurman in a powerhouse 147-pound showdown that headlines a PBC on FOX Sports Pay-Per-View event beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
Here is what Plant (18-0, 10 KOs), along with his trainer Justin Gamber, had to say Saturday from Hecho En Vegas at MGM Grand about their matchup against Lee (21-0, 11 KOs) and more:
“I’ve been working hard. Sparring is great. My weight is on point and I’ve been eating good. We’re rolling. Last camp I found my groove in probably my third or fourth week. This time it was in my second week. I’m going to be an improved Caleb Plant.
“As I’ve worked more on strength and conditioning with my coach Larry Wade, everyone can see how my power has developed. I’m sitting down on my punches more as well. But there’s no substitute for sharpening your tools in the shed. I’m still working on my craft as much as ever.
“We’ve seen so many big upsets so far this year in boxing, so I have more than enough motivation to focus on the task July 20. I’ve always said that the only fight I worry about, is the one that is signed.
“I already feel like I’m the best out there. Good luck to Mike Lee. I hope he shows up. He’s going to be getting a mattress sponsorship, because July 20 he’s going to sleep. This isn’t going 12 rounds.
“Justin Gamber is underrated and I believe he’s one of the best teachers in boxing. That’s what he is, a teacher. There’s a lot of guys with stopwatches and whistles, but not everyone can teach the art of boxing. Different fighters need different things and Justin knows I don’t need to be screamed at to get going. It’s all positivity and he makes it easy to understand.
“I think I’ve shown that I’m special and I’m different. I can bring things to the table that no one else can. I don’t have to raise my voice for you to know that I mean what I say. You already believe me. I’m going to continue to walk how I walk and talk how I talk.
“Media recognition and stature has changed since winning the title, but who I am and how hard I work, I’m still the same Caleb that I’ve always been. I’ve looked at myself as a world champion from a young age. How else do you become a world champion?
“Jose Uzcategui was everything they were building him up to be. He’s a relentless pressure fighter with power in both hands and I knew it was going to be a tough fight. I don’t think he knew what he was getting himself into, and I tried to warn him.
“We’d love to unify and be undisputed, that’s the goal. For now, we’re just focused on the task at hand. I have my hands full on the big stage July 20. If you look too far down the road, it can mess up the immediate future. I am really focused on getting past this challenge.”
JUSTIN GAMBER, Plant’s Trainer
“Caleb has been the ultimate student. I couldn’t ask for someone better. When I think of Caleb as an amateur, I think of just an athletic guy. Since he turned pro he’s really developed his skill set and fine-tuned his technique. He’s a guy who now has that athletic ability combined with skill and high boxing IQ.
“Caleb amazes me every day with how he tries different things and how he can break it down, fine tune it and perfect it. We’re just making sure that he can use his skills at the right time in the fight.
“The super middleweight division is in one of its hottest eras and I think Caleb Plant is head and shoulders above the rest. When I think of a possible future fight with Caleb against David Benavidez, I think of Floyd Mayweather vs. Diego Corrales. The offensive-minded big man against the smaller, better boxer. I see Caleb doing a similar job one day.”
Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame Inductions Culminates a Weekend of Festivities June 20th through June 23rd
What promises to be a memorable weekend packed with boxing matches, a movie screening, comedy show, meet & greets and more will take place during the 3rd annual Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame event from June 20 through June 23.
The climax of the weekend showcases the prestigious Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony which will take place on Sunday, June 23 in the Celebrity Theater at The Historic Claridge – A Radisson Hotel, located on Park Place & the Boardwalk in Atlantic City. The legendary boxers, sports managers/crew, media, and community honorees being enshrined into the 2019 Hall of Fame includes:
Bernard Hopkins, Tim Witherspoon, Iran Barkley, Roberto Duran, Micky Ward, Kevin Watts, John Brown, Virgil Hill, Butch Lewis, English ‘Bouie’ Fisher, Ace Marotta, Jimmy Binns, Sr., Stan Hoffman, Nigel Collins, Henry Hascup, Tom Kaczmarek, Bob Goodman, Tony Orlando, Jr., and Rhonda Utley-Herring.
“We are delighted to induct such an esteemed group of Individuals whom all have helped make Atlantic City Boxing known around the world. They represent the best of what we envision when selecting individuals to be part of our hall of fame,” said Ray McCline, President of the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame.
In addition, many of our previous honorees, as well as VIP/celebrity guests, will be in attendance including: Michael Spinks, Kelly Pavlik, Al Cole, Chuck Zito, ‘Mr. Basketball’ Sonny Hill, John ‘Iceman’ Scully, Angel Manfredy, Ivan ‘Mighty’ Robinson, Hip Hop Pioneer Roxanne Shante, Syndicated Radio Host, TV Contributor and Author Flo Anthony, Ray Mercer, Tracy Patterson, Junior Jones, Former NBA player Maurice Evans, Sugar Ray Seals, Tyrone Frazier, Daryl ‘Chill’ Mitchell and the Honorable Mayor of Atlantic City Frank M. Gilliam Jr.
Prior to the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, attendees can enjoy the following programs at The Claridge:
Friday, June 21 – VIP Cocktail Reception kicks-off the weekend in the Pop -up Legends Café and a special screening of the movie, “ME WHEE” – a 30-minute short film of Muhammad Ali.
Saturday, June 22 – Boxing enthusiasts may join us for conversation and coffee in the pop-up Legends Café featuring a panel comprised of top boxing historians from New Jersey and Pennsylvania. In addition, the Pop-up Café will showcase spectacular art by Patrick Killian, from Newport, Wales, as well as paintings by Verneen Hill and exhibits by Jack Johnson, Joe Frazier Legacy Exists, Deborah King “Life Is The New Cool, as well as displays by The Boxing Glove Artist Chris Guzman and Sculptures by James O’Neal and the SparBar.
Saturday, June 22
– An evening of laughter will enthrall audiences during the ‘Wise Guys & Whack Jobs’ Comedy Show in the Celebrity Theater.
Sunday, June 23
– Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Pre-Reception in the Art Gallery, and the Induction Ceremony which will culminate in the Celebrity Theater.
In addition, attendees can enjoy two other events including:
Thursday, June 20 – Fight Night by Golden Boy Promotions featuring the main event – a 10-round middleweight battle between D’Mitrius ‘Big Meech’ Ballard (20-0, 13 KOs) and Elias ‘Latin Kid’ Espadas (18-4, 13 KOs) will take place in the Ovation Hall at Ocean Casino Resort. Plus, six undercards which feature several local boxers.
Saturday, June 22 – Guests will enjoy a Fan Experience at the Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall, located inside the Orange Loop, where they can interact with boxing legends and garner autographs and photographs.
Sunday, June 23 – Fans will have an opportunity to join the legends for an interactive meet and greet at the Blue Water Grille located on the 7th floor inside the Flagship Resort.
Cuevas to Face Beltran on Friday July 12th
Boxing returns to its hotbed in South Florida on Friday, July 12, as Kris Lawrence and The Heavyweight Factory in association with All Star Boxing proudly present “Championship Fight Series,” a night of world-class boxing in Hard Rock Event Center at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood with featured bouts televised live on the most popular boxing series on Hispanic television Boxeo Telemundo (11:35 p.m. EST).
The night’s 10-round main event will feature a classic Puerto Rico vs. Mexico showdown, as welterweight Derrieck Cuevas of Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico (21-0-1, 14 KOs) will defend his WBA Fedelatin Welterweight Championship against his toughest challenge to date in Mexican warrior, Jesus Alberto “Barretero” Beltran of Los Mochis (17-2-2, 10 KOs).
Tickets for “Championship Fight Series” are on sale now and cost $60, $100, $150, $250 and $500. Tickets are available through ticketmaster.com.
A hard-punching prospect on the rise, 24-year-old Cuevas was last seen in May scoring a wide unanimous decision over well-respected Ghanaian veteran Albert Mensah at Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood.
“I’m prepared to defend my title,” said Cuevas. “This is my first time headlining on a national stage, and I want to show all my fans that I’m worthy of a world title opportunity after this fight.”
Jesus Alberto Beltran, 30, hails from a boxing family. He is the older brother of super featherweight contender and former world-title challenger Miguel “Barreterito” Beltran Jr.
“I want to thank All Star Boxing for giving me the opportunity to come to the U.S. and showcase my talent,” said Beltran. “I will be victorious come July 12. I look forward to fighting on the Telemundo network for years to come.”
“This will be another great show at this fantastic venue,” said Henry Rivalta, Director of Boxing Operations for The Heavyweight Factory. “Derrieck Cuevas is becoming a player at 147 lbs. and that means taking on tough opponents like Beltran from Mexico. The winner of this fight will almost certainly gain a world ranking and be closing in on a title shot. It’s going to be a terrific match-up between two fighters with their futures on the line.”
Six more exciting bouts are being scheduled. On fight night, the Hard Rock Event Center doors open at 6 p.m., and the action starts at 7 p.m. Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood is located at 1 Seminole Way in Hollywood, Fla.