The welterweight title unification fight between Keith Thurman (27-0, 22 KOs) and Danny Garcia (33-0, 19 KOs) on Saturday (CBS, 9 p.m. ET) is a heavily anticipated match and one of the toughest fights to pick in a long time. Both fighters are undefeated and in their prime. So who’s going to win the big fight?
Here are predictions from some top fighters and trainers:
- Shawn Porter (former welterweight titlist)
Thurman MD 12 Garcia
I've watched both Danny Garcia and Keith Thurman all the way through the amateurs and now in the pros. They're both really good fighters. Both strong. Both intelligent. Both make good adjustments over the course of a fight. I'm choosing Thurman to stay undefeated because I think not only is he a little stronger, and a little smarter, but I also think his boxing ability is superior to Garcia's. I think he's going to give Danny problems when he moves. I think Thurman is going to have Danny off-balance. I think Thurman is going to make it very hard for Garcia to set up his offense. And I think based off of that one element Thurman will win a majority decision
- Mikey Garcia (lightweight titlist)
Garcia W12 Thurman
I think Danny Garcia takes it. He finds a way to win. He has experience and has been able to make adjustments to get the win. Garcia by decision over Keith Thurman.
- Jarrett Hurd (junior middleweight titlist)
Garcia W12 Thurman
I haven't seen Danny Garcia hurt before, but I've seen Keith Thurman hurt to the body against Luis Collazo. Garcia took punches from hard-hitting Lucas Matthysse. No matter how much Garcia's been the underdog, he always finds a way to pull the upset.
- Andre Berto (former welterweight titlist)
Thurman W12 Garcia
It's going to be a great fight. I'm learning toward Keith Thurman over Danny Garcia.
- Robert Guerrero (former two-division titlist)
Thurman W12 Garcia
I'm picking Keith Thurman to win by decision over Danny Garcia. Both fight with a lot of heart, and it's going to be a Fight of the Year type of fight. I just think Thurman has more weapons in his arsenal. Both are undefeated, so may the best man win.
- Ronnie Shields (trainer of Jermall Charlo)
Thurman D12 Garcia
Keith Thurman-Danny Garcia is a 50-50 fight. Both guys are well-schooled, and I predict that it will end in a split-draw.
- Stephen Edwards (trainer of Julian Williams)
Garcia W12 Thurman
Keith Thurman has the faster feet and more skittish style. Although he is looked at as the puncher, Danny Garcia has to not chase Thurman. Garcia has to make Thurman come to him so he can counterpunch. Garcia's dilemma is does he chase Thurman or does he wait. He always makes the right decision. I say that he waits and wins a controversial decision.
- Derrick James (trainer of Errol Spence Jr.)
Garcia SD12 Thurman
It should be an interesting fight. Danny Garcia has the speed, and he should be able to use that to his advantage. On the other hand, Keith Thurman should have more power and if he lands, Garcia may be in trouble. I am focused on our fight with Kell Brook, but I hope that we are able to fight the winner, which I think will be Garcia by close split-decision victory.
- Ernesto Rodriguez (trainer of Jarrett Hurd)
Thurman W12 Garcia
I pick Keith Thurman due to adjustments to box when he's in trouble and his ability to hurt you with a punch. Tough bout to pick but I'm picking Thurman to beat Danny Garcia by decision.
- Abel Sanchez (trainer of Gennady Golovkin)
Garcia W12 Thurman
In my opinion, Danny Garcia wins a tough, hard-fought decision. I never really thought that Keith Thurman would be able to pull it out in a hard, 12-round fight.
- Ruben Guerrero (father and trainer of Robert Guerrero)
Thurman W12 Garcia
I think Keith Thurman is going to win the fight, but he needs a knockout. If it goes to the distance, I think they'll give it to Danny Garcia.
- Kevin Cunningham (trainer of Devon Alexander)
Thurman W12 Garcia
I've got Danny Garcia winning by a decision over Keith Thurman.
Final tally: Thurman 6, Garcia 5, Draw 1
MEXICO CITY -- Juan Manuel Marquez refuses to say goodbye to boxing. The four-time world titleholder, who has not fought in more than two years, returned last week to conditioning sessions with his trainer for a potential farewell fight in 2017, as long as his body responds as he expects.
The 43-year-old fighter said he has been training with Memo Heredia and that he has felt good in this first week of work. Marquez will train until December and once the physical work is done, he will decide what to do.
“We have been training with Memo in the gym, more on fitness than anything else, the body is responding well, but I will not make the decision to return until my body tells me how well I feel,” Marquez said.
During the “Golpe a Golpe” boxing show on ESPN Deportes, Marquez said he still has the desire to do one more fight.
“I want to do everything I can [to get ready]. I don’t want to retire and then return. If the body responds well, we are going to make a comeback, I have the desire to do a retirement fight,” he said.
Marquez has not been in the ring since May 2014 when he defeated Mike Alvarado by unanimous decision at the Forum in Inglewood, California -- the 64th fight of his professional career -- due to knee injuries, an issue Marquez says is in the past.
"I feel good, but let’s see how my body responds when I go to the gym, when I have to train every day, when we do double sessions, six to eight hours of work a day. Right then we’ll decide what comes next, but we want to make that [last] fight,” Marquez said.
Fighters like Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto have been mentioned as potential opponents for a possible Marquez return, but a fifth fight against Pacquiao never materialized and with Cotto, Marquez hasn't been able to reach an agreement on the weight for the fight.
Marcos Maidana has officially announced he's hanging up the gloves. He was a fiery brawler, an unforgettable fighter and a true legend of the sport.
In the future, tales will be told of a fighter from Santa Fe, Argentina. A man of few words with a warrior's heart who gave everything in the ring. This can be said of Carlos Monzon, but it also depicts another world class fighter in Maidana. It's not about establishing comparisons or going back in history, but we can't fail to mention a great when talking about greats.
In the birth of a new century, Argentine boxing was reborn internationally. From Omar Narvaez to Juan Carlos Reveco, to fighters the likes of Sergio "Maravilla" Martinez and Lucas Matthysse, came hope of the grandeur and prestige once tasted through great fighters such as Monzon, Victor Galindez, "Latigo" Coggi, Julio Cesar Vasquez, Pascual Perez and, of course, Nicolino Locche.
There was, however, a distinctive name: Maidana, "El Chino," the man from Margarita, a small town in the province of Santa Fe.
After a European campaign that led him to a world title shot on Feb. 7, 2009 (a loss by decision to Andreas Kotelnik for the WBA junior welterweight title), Maidana started competing in North America working with Golden Boy Promotions.
This is not the time to get into some ill-advised management decisions. This is a time to remember that he found the right man at the right time. Sebastian Contursi took over Marcos Maidana's representation and took him to the next level.
Maidana did his part, too. He brought explosiveness, rock solid punches, a steel jaw, a giant heart and the tenacity of a true warrior. From then on, the rest was done by his work against his opponents.
His great bout with Victor Ortiz for the interim WBA junior welterweight title in June 2009 was the Fight of the Year and a key moment in Maidana's career. Ortiz came into the bout ticketed for stardom by Oscar de la Hoya and Golden Boy Promotions and precisely because of his links with Golden Boy, Maidana came into the bout way down on the experts' labeling Ortiz as the big favorite.
The result was an explosive fight with knockdowns by both fighters until Ortiz finally gave up. Ortiz, severely wounded, practically turned his back on the fight in the sixth round.
We won't mention his fights one by one, but he did have a wild duel with Amir Khan in December 2010, a true battle of wills with Erik Morales for the interim WBA welterweight title on April 9, 2011 and the night he broke down Josesito Lopez, on practically one leg. And we can't forget the knockout against Jesus Soto Karass in September 2012.
With Sebastian Contursi by his side, Maidana accepted every fight with the same determination. He endured long training camps in California, away from his family.
"Once fighters have recognition, they are rarely open to advice or change," said Robert Garcia, one of his main trainers. "Instead, Maidana takes every lesson with humility and desire to learn."
There are two opponents who will be forever marked by fire in Maidana's career, and in the memories and hearts of his fans: Adrien Broner and Floyd Mayweather.
Broner was presenting himself as the new Mayweather, the great figure of the future. Arrogant, talented and exceptional at marketing and self-promotion, he was poised to keep growing and succeeding.
That was until he collided with Maidana. Or better said, until Maidana crashed into him.
It was in San Antonio, Texas, in December 2013 where Maidana not only won the WBA world welterweight championship from Bronzer, but much more than that. He won with emotion, drama, ecstasy and clarity. The image of Broner, walking slowly toward an ambulance, was representative of the fight, considered the surprise of the year.
He won people's admiration, especially from the Latino fans. And he earned a fight with Mayweather.
No one will forget what happened in that first confrontation against Mayweather on May 3, 2014, because nobody has ever hit Mayweather so much. Maidana harassed him, hit him, pushed him, made the MGM roar and put on such a show that Floyd himself, when everything was over, was the first to congratulate him.
The rematch took place on Sept. 13 and it was Maidana's last bout. At 33, with a record of 35-5 (31 by knockout) Maidana walks away from boxing. As he exits, a whole era will be gone and leaves fresh nostalgia for the Argentine people who gathered to palpitate, suffer, thrill, celebrate and believe during each fight.
On the day the history of Argentine boxing will be written, Maidana will surely have a special chapter. One that could be simply called: MAIDANA, THE WARRIOR OF ALL OF US.
There’s a stoic, almost cautious nature to unbeaten junior welterweight titlist Viktor Postol’s personality, which mirrors his calculated style inside the ring.
“I’m a little hesitant and I’m not too talkative,” Postol told ESPN.com, with the help of translator Vadim Kornilov. “I enjoy that. That’s part of the way I am.”
It’s not that Postol (28-0, 12 KOs), appropriately nicknamed “The Iceman,” isn’t exciting. In fact, if you watch him compete long enough, he has a way of coming out of his shell at just the right moment -- evidenced by the explosive way he finished Selcuk Aydin and Lucas Matthysse in a pair of victories that put Postol on the map in the United States.
A native of Ukraine who didn’t compete outside of Europe until his 20th pro fight in 2012, Postol certainly prefers to approach you on his terms, at the tail end of a well-considered plan of attack. It’s a good way to describe his journey from being an unknown to a fighter who is on the verge of making major noise in the sport.
Postol, 32, squares off with Terence Crawford (28-0, 20 KOs) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Saturday (HBO PPV, 9 p.m. ET) in a unification bout for 140-pound supremacy. Crawford, ESPN.com’s 2014 Fighter of the Year, enters the bout ranked as ESPN.com’s No. 6 pound-for-pound boxer in the world.
Ask Postol about the high stakes or Crawford’s skills and, true to his nature, the Ukrainian is unmoved. He describes his placement in this pay-per-view main event as simply “payback for how much I put into the sport and how much I have worked hard to make sure to get to my dream.”
But if you ask Postol for the turning point in his career -- the exact moment when his seemingly unshakable confidence was set in stone -- you can hear a slight change in his reticent voice.
Freddie Roach, who became Postol’s trainer before his May 2014 fight, flew Postol to the Philippines to spar with Manny Pacquiao at his gym in General Santos City. Pacquiao -- with his longtime trainer, Roach -- was preparing for a November 2014 pay-per-view bout against Chris Algieri, and Postol fit the bill as a tall, rangy fighter with a pure boxing pedigree to mimic Algieri.
At the start, however, things didn’t go smoothly for Postol.
“In the beginning, Manny got the best of Viktor,” Roach said. “But as camp progressed, so did Viktor.”
Roach said Postol was a quick study and adapted to Pacquiao’s frenetic style.
“[It was] to the point that both were even with each other when they sparred,” Roach said. “When that happened, I stopped having them spar with each other so much. I didn’t have to teach Viktor anything special about sparring with Manny. Viktor taught himself how to adapt and counter to Manny’s style. It was very impressive.”
Postol credits his 2011 victory over Karen Tevosyan in his native Ukraine -- for the WBC International Silver title -- with planting the seeds of confidence that he can compete at the elite level. But it wasn’t until he sparred with Pacquiao that it all sunk in -- that moment when Postol realized just how great he could be.
“That was the second step for me in understanding and realizing I can fight anybody in the world, because I felt pretty confident,” Postol said. “When I was sparring, it built my confidence up even more.”
Postol’s in-ring style might best be compared to that of a chess player, who sets up his moves well in advance.
“I would say about my style that I’m not in a hurry,” Postol said. “I know that the fight is a 12-round fight, and I want to make sure that I don’t make any mistakes -- and I feel everything out and make my moves late. There is no reason to be too much in a hurry because it can be grounds for a mistake.”
Postol is just another in a line of skilled, tough fighters from Eastern Europe who have taken over boxing in recent years, joining the likes of Sergey Kovalev, Gennady Golovkin and Vasyl Lomachenko. When asked for the secret to their success, Postol pointed to one thing: hard work.
“I think it has something to do with the history of our countries,” Postol said. “I think some of the Russian and Ukrainian fighters are just very persistent and the work ethic is very, very high and somewhat different than other fighters. I think that work ethic is a big part of the achievement.”
Talk about a pretty good night for Shelly "Shelitos' Way" Vincent. The super bantamweight UBF and IBA World Champion pulled off an majority decision victory (76-76; 77-75 and 77-75 for Vincent) over Christina Ruiz at Foxwoods on Thursday, then took a knee in the ring to propose to her girlfriend Jennifer "The Bolivian Queen" Salinas.
The fight was a rematch of their fight on April 3, 2015 which resulted in a Vincent victory by unanimous decision. Vincent is now 18-0 with 1 KO and a marriage proposal acceptance in the ring. A bout against undefeated WBC international junior featherweight belt holder Heather Hardy (17-0, 4 KOs) could likely become a reality after her win on Thursday. Ruiz is now 7-9-3 with 4 KOs.
MEXICO -- Charismatic former junior featherweight world champion Israel Vazquez is not exactly going through the best time in his life, but he somehow feels happy and thankful. As a result of an accident and some oversights, "Magnifico", the battle-hardened warrior, is set to lose his right eye in the coming months and will be fitted with a prosthetic one.
With no regrets for having chosen a career in boxing and much less for having already made the decision to get his right eye removed, the Mexico City-born idol recommends that future generations should not play the superhero but should go to the doctors at the slightest discomfort. The first report of his decision was revealed by Felipe Bravo from Televisa Deportes.
“The problem obviously arose after the last fight [a KO loss to Rafael Marquez in May 2010, with whom Vazquez had four unforgettable bouts], but I don't want to demonize the sport or the fight, because this was an oversight by a doctor and by myself," said Vazquez. "When they started to perform the surgeries, I didn't take care of myself. They told me I was doing well and I tried to speed up the recovery, but my retina detached. I underwent many surgeries and they tried many methods, one of which was to put silicone in the eye. I assumed the doctors knew what they were doing, and at that moment I didn't recover my vision a hundred percent but I could live my life,” Vazquez recalled.
Vazquez and Marquez fought four times between 2007 and 2010 with each winning two fights, all four at junior featherweight.
“In 2011, I went to Mexico and visited a renowned clinic. They told me it was practically a miracle that I hadn't lost my eye because the eye can't withstand so many surgeries and I had already had six," added Vazquez. "They then told me that I needed a corneal transplant but I left it there. The eye was getting a little smaller but I thought that if I wore contact lenses then nobody would notice. But then, the color of the cornea changed in 2013 and I thought, I need the transplant.”
With the help of the World Boxing Council, Israel was treated in Mexico City by specialists who revealed to him that the silicone that had been used on his eye had hardened. They gave him two options. The first was to wait for the eye to dry out, which could take anything between a year and 10 years, and the other was to remove his eye and fit a prosthetic eye. "Magnifico" took the second option.
“The thing is, I can no longer see with my right eye," said Vazquez. "I am sensitive to light, I can make out silhouettes, but I can hardly see anything at night. I've lived my life with my left eye and I have no problems. So I opted for the prosthetic eye and Mr. (WBC president, Mauricio) Sulaiman has been helping me. Without being sarcastic, I'd prefer to look good with something that doesn't work rather than having something that doesn't work and doesn't make me look good. No date has been set but we'll see when it can be done. I know that psychologically it won't be easy but it's something I'll need to get used to.”
Is there any sense of regret or remorse?
“I don't regret anything," Vazquez said. "If I am reborn, I would be a boxer again. This sport has given me a lot; a lot of people take the time to talk to me and ask about my health and wish me well. If it had just been an ordinary person, maybe it wouldn't have mattered to them. I have no regrets. For me, what happened was an accident. Life has treated me well. It's a matter of getting used to it and ensuring that people don't see this as something that happened because of the sport, but because of an oversight.”
Now that he has made his decision and with this experience, Vazquez calls on boxers to take care of themselves as much as possible. “You feel like a superhero, but I would ask everyone who has fought in some tremendous bouts not to risk so much, to take precautions. I know that when you're fighting you don't think about this, but maybe when you feel pain, discomfort, a headache, a toothache, something, go and see the doctor because prevention is always better. Hopefully my case will serve as an example for many others,” said the 38-year-old from Mexico City who retired in 2010 with a 44-5 record and 32 knockouts.
Despite his current situation, Vazquez feels no regrets at all. “I still have the sporting glory. Regardless of material things, this sport gave me many friends and many people have shown me their support. My family has supported my decision, my wife, my children. I thank God for everything. In the meantime, I'll continue commentating on fights and training kids; I have about 50 in the gym,” he said.
Heavyweight titlist Anthony Joshua of Great Britain has looked the part of boxing’s next great superstar throughout each step of his progression. His first title defense on Saturday was no different.
Joshua (17-0, 17 KOs), a 2012 Olympic gold medalist, picked apart determined American challenger Dominic Breazeale to the tune of a seventh-round TKO in front of his home fans at London’s O2 Arena.
The combination of patience, poise and downright nasty finishing ability has fans longing to see Joshua against a top name in the division. How about fellow unbeaten titlist Deontay Wilder?
Considering the towering size, explosive power and colorful personalities of both, a Wilder-Joshua unification bout would do big business and command the attention of the entire sport (and potentially beyond). Joshua has been open about wanting the fight, but following his win over Breazeale, it doesn’t appear he wants it soon.
Instead, Joshua mentioned hard-hitting New Zealand native Joseph Parker (19-0, 16 KOs) as a possible next opponent. He also brought up the idea of facing the winner of the rematch between lineal champion Tyson Fury and Wladimir Klitschko later this year. The fight, originally set for July 9, was postponed on Friday due to an ankle injury suffered by Fury.
“[Wilder is an] unbelievable, inspirational person,” Joshua said. “He was patient [on his way to winning] the WBC title. I’m following suit. I’m making my way into the U.S. with Showtime backing me as well. So he watched that, and he can pick up whatever he wants from that, but it’s so different when you are in the ring with each other. One day, we will get to experience what each other is about.”
Wilder (36-0, 35 KOs), who became the last American male to medal at the Olympics when he captured bronze in 2008, joined Showtime’s broadcast team on Saturday and was open about wanting to face Joshua right now instead of waiting.
“If he wants to make his mark in the United States, what better person to try and make his mark against than a Deontay Wilder?” Wilder said. “He said he wanted Fury or the winner of the Klitschko fight in the winter. Why not do it with me? I would love to take that fight. [Joshua promoter] Eddie Hearn said they want it sooner than later. Let’s make this right now.”
Wilder gave praise to Joshua’s performance against Breazeale, despite admitting his preference to see the British star against someone more athletic like himself.
“[Joshua] did everything right,” Wilder said. “He beat him to the punches. He stayed calm in an arena filled with his people. I’m happy for the man. He did a great job.”
When Oscar De La Hoya turned 25, he had already won a gold medal at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona and 27 professional fights, including world titles in four divisions.
De La Hoya, a 2014 inductee to the International Boxing Hall of Fame, had faced a variety of high-quality fighters, with some already in the twilight of their careers and others on their way to the top of the sport.
But despite his own numbers and accomplishments, De La Hoya admits he is surprised by what Mexican star Canelo Alvarez has achieved by age 25. De La Hoya, the founder of Golden Boy Promotions, which promotes Alvarez, admits his fighter has earned his admiration.
Alvarez (46-1-1, 32 KOs) has won three titles in two different divisions and, as was the case with De La Hoya, is seen as the new face of boxing. He sets to make the first defense of his middleweight championship Saturday against Amir Khan at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
"I see some similarities, of course, but I feel that [Alvarez] is more advanced than me at this point in his career," De La Hoya said.
At 25, De La Hoya had already headlined six pay-per-view events compared to Canelo's four. However, at that point, De La Hoya's fights had generated a combined 2.4 million buys while Canelo has reached 3.75 million homes.
"He is ahead of where I was. He has achieved more than I had when I was 25," De La Hoya said. "People tend to forget that he is only 25. So at this early stage of his career he is a bit more advanced. And I admire that. I admire his career and I will support him 100 percent, because he is still young and has much to accomplish."
By age 25, De La Hoya had faced the following champions or former titleholders: Hector Camacho, Pernell Whitaker, Miguel Angel Gonzalez, Julio Cesar Chavez, Jesse James Leija, Genaro Hernandez, Rafael Ruelas and Jorge Paez -- defeating all of them, including seven by knockout.
At the same age, Alvarez has faced: Miguel Vazquez, Carlos Baldomir, Lovemore Ndou, Kermit Cintron, Shane Mosley, Austin Trout, Floyd Mayweather, Alfredo Angulo, Erislandy Lara and Miguel Cotto -- losing only to Mayweather and knocking out three of his opponents.
After the age of 25, De La Hoya went on to win titles at junior middleweight and middleweight to become the first fighter in history to win titles in six different divisions (Manny Pacquiao went on to surpass his record with eight). De La Hoya also suffered key defeats to Felix Trinidad, Mosley (in their rematch), Bernard Hopkins, Mayweather and Pacquiao.
A victory against Khan will give Alvarez the opportunity to cement his position in the middleweight division and look ahead to some of the big-name fights on the horizon. Although he may lose some fights, there is a chance that, as was the case with his now promoter, any defeats will not prevent him from leaving a lasting legacy.
For as brilliant as unbeaten welterweight Errol Spence Jr. has looked over the past two years, the crossover from top prospect to title contender is still a transaction that can only take place inside of a ring.
Countless fighters have teased our senses in recent years by looking the part, only to falter upon their first taste of adversity on the big stage. But Spence (19-0, 16 KOs), a 2012 U.S. Olympian from Desoto, Texas, has made it very difficult to hold back from anointing him as the one fighter most likely to have “next” in the sport’s glamour division.
On paper, the 26-year-old southpaw appears to have it all, from a rare combination of stiff power and near-flawless technique to a profound sense of maturity and strong work ethic. The result has been a wide spectrum of praise as Spence, the 2015 ESPN.com prospect of the year, has been publicly lauded by Floyd Mayweather as the next pound-for-pound king in waiting.
But despite knocking out nine of 10 opponents since 2014, Spence has yet to face a legit, world-class challenge. That will change on Saturday, when Spence faces former 140-pound titlist Chris Algieri in the main event of a Premier Boxing Champions card from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York (NBC, 8:30 p.m. ET).
While it would be unfair to characterize Spence’s recent matchmaking as soft, it certainly has been slower than expected. Not only has Spence’s in-ring performances suggested he could be already wearing a world title by this point, the fighter himself boldly called out unbeaten titlist Keith Thurman last spring.
One year later, however, Spence believes Saturday is “the perfect timing” for his first real test. As far as what’s at stake, Spence simply says “everything,” from his unbeaten record to his desire to fight for a world title later this year.
“I’m very excited and this is a huge opportunity for me and something that I have wanted for a while,” Spence told ESPN.com. “I will make the most of this opportunity.”
Spence credits Algieri (21-2, 8 KOs) with toughness and an ability to think in the ring. But Algieri, who appeared last week on ESPN.com’s “Making The Rounds”, wasn’t as quick to anoint Spence as the next big thing.
“He’s definitely a solid guy and you have to give him the amateur pedigree,” Algieri said. “But I haven’t seen so much in the pros yet. He has done a good job with the guys who have been put in front of him but he really hasn’t been tested all that much yet.
“This is a huge leap up in class and anytime you are going from the prospect status and trying to break into contender status, it’s a really, really, really big step.”
Yet with all the accolades and expectations that come with being so highly touted, Spence appears largely unmoved. With a calm demeanor and an outward persona devoid of emotion, Spence says he isn’t bothered by the pressure.
“It’s just something that makes me train harder and makes me work harder,” Spence said. “It’s more about me not wanting to let anyone down. It just makes me train harder and stay 100 percent focused.”
Spence understands there are those waiting to see just how well he responds the first time he enters deep waters in a tough fight. But he says the combination of difficult sparring in the gym and his inner belief in himself allows him to be confident that he will have what it takes to dig deep and pull through.
It all goes back to the way Spence is wired. His transformation from prospect to contender, should it happen with a victory over Algieri, will be a transformation that won’t change who he is on the inside.
And that, above all else, appears to be the secret to his success up to this point.
“I’m a down-to-earth, humble guy who is hard working just like them,” said Spence, about what he hopes to teach new fans about himself. “I work hard at my craft and train hard. I stay home and chill with my daughter and family. I’m just like them. I might be on professional boxing and be on TV but I’m not on an island.”
MEXICO CITY -- In some way or another, legendary four-time world champion Erik "El Terrible" Morales believes that he inspired Manny Pacquiao to make history by proving it was not impossible to move up in weight and win, although what PacMan ended up doing after that was truly extraordinary.
Morales recalled that before his first against Pacquiao in 2005, the Filipino icon didn't want to move up from featherweight to junior lightweight because of the success he was having at 126 pounds. Although Morales went on to beat Pacquiao in the first of their three legendary encounters, Morales' subsequent move up to 135 pounds paved the way for Pacquiao to do the same.
"Pacquiao didn't want to move up to 130 pounds because he had fought [Marco Antonio] Barrera and [Juan Manuel] Marquez at 126," Morales told ESPNdeportes.com. "He didn't want to move up so I said, 'Convince him, get him to 130,' [and] we got him to 130. Then he wouldn't move up to 135, he always refused. In fact, he didn't want to fight me at 135 when I could no longer make 130. Then, after I fought David Diaz, he saw how easy it was and that things weren't so tough at 135. Then he moved up to 140 before he went crazy and went to 147 and then 154.
"Anyway, I can say that I played a part in getting everyone to change weight. Little by little, I helped to inspire others and that, either out of necessity or duty, I carried them all with me. I think I achieved some good things in boxing, taking a lot of punches and helping others do things they didn't think they could."
When it comes to Pacquiao's third fight against Timothy Bradley Jr. on Saturday, Marquez believes his former foe is the clear favorite and he isn't ruling out a victory by stoppage.
"It's an interesting fight in terms of seeing if Manny Pacquiao has the same hunger and aggression to keep Bradley at arm's length, or at least at bay," Morales said. "I think he can afford to fight how he wants. I've seen some videos and I don't think he should have any problems. To some extent, it could be even easier and he could even knock him out."
LOS ANGELES -- Former middleweight titlist Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. unexpectedly left his training camp in Big Bear Mountain in California during the weekend and his father, Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. said he’s worried about his son’s lack of discipline and that he may be on a rocky road.
“I don’t know what happened, I’m extremely disappointed, sad and very worried about his indiscipline,” said Chavez Sr., who first broke the news Monday on ESPN Deportes' A Los Golpes show. “Really, he was training very hard at Big Bear and all of a sudden he left, he came down.”
Chavez Sr. said he was concerned that Chavez Jr. leaving camp -- where he's been training for a fight tentatively set for April 30 challenging super middleweight titlist Badou Jack -- was not just to take a break from his training. Chavez Jr. had been training for weeks at Big Bear under the supervision of trainer Robert Garcia, who was at his corner for his previous fight against Marcos Reyes in July.
“I don’t think he left to do good things,” said Chavez Sr. “That worries, stresses me.”
Chavez Jr. posted a photo on his Instagram account on the Santa Monica coastline later in the afternoon and told ESPN Digital Salvador Rodríguez that he never "escaped" camp, but went to Los Angeles to check his heel with a doctor and later went to the beach to run.
“I don’t know what happened, I don’t know why he said that. I came down from Big Bear to Los Angeles to check on my heel, then later went and ran in Santa Monica, I took the time to see my daughter and I’m returning to do sparring because my heel feels better,” said Chavez Jr. “Maybe he got mad because I don’t do things as he likes to. I respect him because he’s my father, but I’m 30 years old.”
Chavez Jr., who has had problems making weight in recent fights, has twice failed drug tests and been suspended. He was also arrested for a DUI a few weeks before a 2012 middleweight title defense.
Chavez Sr. said on A Los Golpes that he preferred that his son retire from boxing and that the proposed fight against Jack be cancelled.
“If this boy, my son, continues with this lack of discipline, his lack of responsibility ... I’d rather have him retire, that he not fight,” Chavez Sr. added. “This kid wants to do what he wants, train what he wants, at the time he wants. I’m disappointed of his (lack) of discipline, his apathy.”
The legendary Mexican boxer said he can’t cover up any more the problems that his son has regarding discipline inside and outside the ring and that he will immediately stop helping him on his training if the Jack fight is still on. Sources have said that the fight would be announced Friday and that Texas is the leading candidate to host the event.
"I can’t cover up any more, I can’t keep on faking that Julio is the same person of old and that breaks me," said Chavez Sr. "His lack of discipline, trying to do things his way ... that I don’t agree."
Chavez Jr. said that he would keep going down to the beach one or two days a week to combine his training in the mountains, Monday through Saturday, with exercises at sea level.
“... I have not failed. I know this fight can change the history of what has happened, all bad things are behind me,” said Chavez Jr., who is with powerful advisor Al Haymon.
Chavez Sr. said he will continue to watch over his son as a father, but that he knows where he can wind up if things go wrong.
“I hope ... We will wait. For now, I’ll take some distance from him,” said Chavez Sr. “He had asked me to be there and help him ... I can’t be there covering up, I’ll keep away from him. If he’s going to misbehave, to do things the wrong way, he knows where he will wind up.”
Salvador Rodriguez, from ESPN Digital, and ESPN.com's Dan Rafael contributed to this report.
MEXICO CITY -- Four-division titlist Juan Manuel Marquez revealed on Thursday he is already in talks to face the Puerto Rican icon Miguel Cotto in September or October of this year.
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum claims to still have a contract with Marquez, 42, and is awaiting the fighter's decision about a comeback before getting involved in talks to make the fight.
"Yes, [we have a contract] and when he comes back we'll talk with Fernando Beltran [of Zanfer Promotions] and agree to fights with him," Arum said. "I don't want to put pressure on [Marquez] to return, but if he wants to come back we'll cooperate with him on future fights."
Marquez also spoke of the possibility of fighting in Mexico City in May and said that his comeback would be announced in mid-March, provided of course that he decides to return to the ring. He revealed that he has already begun training this week.
"I talked to Cotto's people and told them about my situation and what I want, and they are willing to cooperate," Marquez said. "It appears that Cotto wants to fight in June and I want to fight in May because two years of inactivity is a very important factor. I have to get on pace with a fight in May and then why not consider a fight with Cotto in September or October?"
Cotto's team has shown interest in a fight with Marquez, which could be at 147 pounds or at a catchweight of 150 pounds. Much of that, however, will depend on Marquez's ability to negotiate with Cotto promoter Roc Nation Sports.
On the prospect of fighting in Mexico City, Marquez said that the local government has expressed an interest, but first he will listen to what his body is telling him now that he is back in the gym.
"We're watching and waiting, the doctor [Miguel Angel Mancera] is interested and it's important," Marquez said. "I need to make a decision and a professional decision, I need to get to 100 percent. We don't have much time to decide. I trained yesterday. I'm sore, but my body is responding well, and if we fight in May, we can announce it in March."
MEXICO CITY -- Hall of Famer Nacho Beristain says he believes Canelo Alvarez should beat Amir Khan on May 7 because he is a good fighter, has the tools and he will have a big weight advantage on the day of the fight.
But that did not stop the renowned Mexican trainer from guaranteeing that the fight will be "high voltage."
"I think it's a very good combination," Beristain said. "In a way, it's a great opportunity for Canelo to prove to people that he has something. For me, he lost the fight with [Miguel] Cotto and this is a great opportunity to put on a display, because the Englishman is a good boxer, an excellent boxer. The fight may be short but it'll be high voltage."
While both are fighters are strong from a technical standpoint, Beristain says each one will enter the ring with a clear physical advantage.
"Canelo is very strong; he'll weigh 155 pounds on the day of the weigh-in, and about 170 on the day of the fight," Beristain said. "Khan's advantage is speed and that could end up hurting Canelo.
"The good thing here for Canelo is that Khan doesn't have [Floyd] Mayweather's defensive style. Khan likes to put on a show which means the fight will be spectacular."
Beristain said he was hoping for an Alvarez knockout but that the fight would be high quality and action-packed, however long it lasts.
"It will be a great fight, however long it lasts, including the build-up and the press conferences," Beristain said. "Khan's British fans are as passionate as Mexican fans and Khan knows he can't let them down."
Beristain also says he believes Alvarez should look to put on a show, because most people expected more from him against Cotto and he failed to live up to expectations.
"I think Canelo has everything in place to put on a show," Beristain said. "I think it'll be sensational from the moment the bell rings and hopefully Canelo can take this opportunity to regain his credibility with people. I like how he fights, he has good skills. I don't know why it has been so tough for him."