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Arizona Boxing News & Notes with Don Smith: Pac vs. Horn Tickets on Fire, IB MMA Show at Celebrity & More

Boxing Fans, when the formal announcement was made that WBO Welterweight Champion Manny Pacquiao (59-6-2-38 knockouts) will defend his title against virtually unknown Australian Jeff Horn (16-0-1-11 knockouts) in Brisbane Australia on July 2, fans and scribes alike were skeptical about the matchup.

Horn is a long shot to upset the 11 time world champion and when ABNN contacted (a sports book), we were told that the champ is favored over the former school teacher by 8-1 betting odds. Muhammad Ali, then known as Cassius Clay, was a 7-1 underdog when he fought Charles L “Sonny” Liston on 2/25/1964 and captured the world heavyweight title after Liston refused to leave his stool at the start of the 7th round of their epic battle in Miami Beach Florida.

The 29 year old Horn is convinced he will prevail on July 2 and the #2 ranked contenders has earned kudos from the “fighting Filipino Senator by selecting WBO super featherweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko ,considered one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world, as his prime sparring partner in preparation for July 2.

Despite printed rumors that implied Pacquiao and trainer Freddie Roach were looking beyond fighting “The Hornet”, and focusing on a future money rich rumble the Mikey Garcia; the boxing icon describes Horn as a good boxer and strong fighter.

Top Rank (Pacquiao’s promoter) dispatched an email to our desk that stated ticket sales for July 2 are “on fire”. Duco Events (Main promoter) expects to meet their projections of 55,000 sold tickets. Duco Events is one of Asia Pacific’s leading sports Promotion companies and the venue (Suncorp Stadium) is renowned for hosting a variety of prestigious events. Tickets for “Battle of Brisbane” begin at $39.00 and can be purchased through Ticketek. ABNN is looking forward to being ringside at Suncorp Stadium on July 2. Bob Arum believes the match-up could be entertaining, he might be right.

FHP in Mexico: Rigo Ledezma (CEO Fight Hard Promotions) took a contingent of Arizona fighters down to Agua Prieta, Sonora Mexico on Saturday May 13 to fight and returned with a handful of victories and one draw. Phoenix featherweight Keenan Carbajal (13-2-2) settled for a draw with his unnamed Mexican opponent who entered the ring with a reported record of 3-10-1.

FHP and BoxRec was unable to provide ABNN with specific details of the bouts; but, we were able to ascertain that the following FHP backed fighters; Ryan Riddell (4-0), Daniel Garcia (4-0) and 11 year old amateur Zeus Pinder fought on the card and scored knockout victories. In the Main Event, Jesus Serrano defeated Marco Antonio Hernandez (11-1) to win the vacant WBC FECO MBOX featherweight title. Serrano (16-4-2) is a FHP fighter, but he resides in Mexico. According to Mr. Ledezma, Fight Hard Promotions will continue to promote shows in Mexico and the next across the U.S.A. border presentation is tentatively scheduled for June 17.Cris Vasquez is the official FHP matchmaker.

No official word on when and if FHP will present a show in Arizona or anywhere in the U.S.A….for now, Mexico is the land of opportunity for FHP, just don’t drink the water! Two members of Team Fight Hard did and paid a price. Arizona boxing/MMA announcer Ralph Velez Jr. was scheduled to travel to Mexico to work the fight; but, personal reasons prevented him from handling mike chores; we hope he is okay….no word on his replacement!

Iron Boy MMA: Special thanks to Iron Boy matchmaker Mike Sanchez for forwarding the bout sheet list for their show at the Celebrity Theatre on Saturday May 20 in Phoenix. The weigh-in will hit the scales on Friday, May 19, 4 pm at Sushi Sonora, 6544 W. Thomas Road in Phoenix. Fans who go Saturday night will watch 8 amateur bouts and 3 professional bouts, sorry to report the weight classifications of all listed bouts are unknown: Amateur Contests: Brandon Yandell vs. Arron Montano, Darius Martinez vs. Paul Looper - Austin Solari vs. TBA- Eric Fimbres vs. Dawson O’Keeffe -Josh Dasil Veira vs. TBA-Brendan Trujillo vs. Orlando Jiminez-Johnny Nguyen vs. TBA-Nathan Hyland vs. Tyler Wisdom- Pro Bouts: Jose Rodriguez vs. Jr. Cortez-Jesus Orta vs. Mario Bautista-Brandon Trujillo vs. Paris Stanford. Doors at the Celebrity Theatre will open at 5 pm for the event and tickets are still available at the box-office. Iron Boy Boxing will return at the Celebrity on June 24.

Mail Bag: ABNN thanks our reader who corrected our recent story that claimed boxer GGG is Ukrainian. The undefeated middleweight champion was born in Kazakhstan; therefor he is Kazakhstani. We subsequently corrected the error after the fact and we apologize for not catching the mistake before the edition was initially sent. Brad Sheppard wants to know why Iron Boy doesn’t update their website. Iron Boy receives our column; so, now they are unaware of your complaint. Arturo Gomez wants to know when the Arizona Boxing Commission will release recommended revisions to existing boxing statues for the public to review. We are told sooner than later! Roberto Munoz wants to know when the Arizona Boxing Commission will do something about the increased number in head injuries attributed to boxing. Answer: we keep asking to no avail! Our last inquiry comes from several young women (names withheld) who have boyfriends or husbands (working in the boxing industry) who were court ordered to pay child support; but, are delinquent and they want to know what to do. We can’t give legal advice; however, child support evaders can be reported by calling 602-252-4045 in the Phoenix Area. This is a very serious matter and don’t call unless the complaint is legitimate!

USA Boxing Arizona: Madison Boxing will host the Star Spangled Banner Battle #2 on Saturday, May 20 at Greenfield Elementary School in South Phoenix beginning at 2 pm. Ricky Ricardo Rodriguez will honor veterans advance of the May 29th Memorial Day Holiday. Ricky says the trophies are beautiful and he invites everyone to come out and join the boxing fun. There is a cover charge at the door. Greenfield Elementary is located on 10th Street just South of Vineyard. Call Ricky at 602- 434-7770 for more information…..The Central Boxing Club, on 17th Avenue & Van Buren in Phoenix is hosting the J.O. Golden Gloves on 6/23-24. Call 702-7053 for times and other further details….On 7/08 the Salvation Army, 1375 E. Broadway Road in Phoenix, is hosting a one day smoker. Contact # is 602-425-5079 for more details.

Boxing News: Phoenix Super middleweight David Benavidez (17-0) is fighting Rogelio “Porky” Medina (37-7) on Fox Sports 1 on Saturday May 1 with the winner getting a title shot. On HBO, same night, popular Phoenix lightweight Ray Beltran (32-7-1) fights Jonathan Maicelo ((25-2) for three minor titles. Terence Crawford fights Felix Diaz in the main event on HBO. It could be a two TV night and one to remember.
Other upcoming fight telecasts working circling on the calendar include Kelly Brook vs. Errol Spence Jr. on Showtime, Saturday May 27. Adonis Stevenson faces Andrzej Fonfara on Showtime, June 3. Ward vs. Kovalev, a HBO PPV fight that should help fans forget the Canelo vs. Chavez meltdown is set for Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas on June 17. It should be a title fight to remember.

In other big fights, WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao sets out to prove that 38 is just a number in Brisbane on July 2 when he fights unheralded Jeff “The Hornet” Horn. Broadcast details are unknown at this time, but expected to be released soon. The Saul Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin much anticipated bout is scheduled for September 16 and every fight fan in the world expects this contest to be “the mother of all fights”. Forgive me, I have never used that phrase and it feels appropriate. The Twin Peaks Sports Bar & Grill is going to the city to request a permit so they can add an extension to accommodate an overflow crowd like they have never seen before. The hype over the event has already begun to surface and the Golden Boy Promotions has yet to pick a venue. Our sources believe the event will be in a stadium and the betting favorite is Cowboy Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys. Jerry Jones is quite persuasive. Dodger Stadium and the Alamo Dome are possibilities and Las Vegas can never be ruled out.

Quick Jabs: Phoenix featherweight Edward Ceballos (5-1-1) chalked up a split decision victory over tough Xavier Montelongo (9-5-1) in Montebello California on 5/6. Edward is trained by his Dad (Pablo) and Jesus Fuentes (Fuentes Gym) in Phoenix. 14 year old Aaron Zurdo Lopez is a student at Camelback High School in Phoenix and a 2 time national youth boxing champion. Born in Washington State, his family moved to Arizona five years ago and he lists GGG and Prince Naseem Hammed as his favorite fighters; good choices. Aaron fights at 132 lbs. and stands 5’ 9” and will compete in a WBC sponsored Youth Belt Championship Tournament. His father told me no one in Arizona wants to fight his talented son and I told him we would throw his challenge to all male boxers in his weight & age class. Aaron has so much confidence that he sparred with former world featherweight champion for 2 rounds at Fuentes Boxing Gym in Phoenix…..Phoenix super lightweight Alfredo Escarcega Jr. (1-0) is tentatively slated to fight Roland Padilla (debut) Wednesday 5/24 on the Sugar Leonard Foundation’s 8th annual “Big Fighters, Big Cause” Charity Fight Night. The charity proceeds is committed to funding research and awareness for childhood type 1 & 2 Diabetes. ABNN supports Sugar Ray Leonard’s dedication to help those who need help… Golden Boy Promotions is producing and promoting the show…...Until Next Time!

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Don Smith.

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