HBO will allow viewers to select which classic fights featuring Floyd Mayweather (42-0, 26 knockouts) and Miguel Cotto (37-2, 30 KOs) they would like to see air on the network in advance of the Mayweather-Cotto pay-per-view showdown on May 5 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas..
Beginning now through March 23, fans can go to the HBO Boxing facebook page to vote.
The winning fights will be announced on March 24 during the World Championship Boxing telecast featuring WBC junior welterweight beltholder Erik Morales and Danny Garcia that will take place at Reliant Arena, in Houston, Texas.
Floyd Mayweather Classic: Which Floyd Mayweather Boxing Classic would you like to see air on HBO2 in April?
Facebook poll here.
Miguel Cotto Classic: Which Miguel Cotto Boxing Classic would you like to see air on HBO2 in April?
Facebook poll here.
JIM LAMPLEY TO HOST ‘THE FIGHT GAME’
HBO will launch a new boxing show, The Fight Game, to be hosted by four-time Sports Emmy Award winner Jim Lampley that will begin on May 12, the network’s executive producer, Rick Bernstein, announced on Tuesday.
The broadcast will debut at midnight, be available on HBO on Demand and HBO Go, and delve into intriguing storylines, newsmakers and issues that are top-of-mind in boxing, according to the release.
“Jim Lampley is a gifted broadcaster and one of the most accomplished journalists ever,” said Bernstein. Developing a new program that will take advantage of all his talents, as well as the strong association that he and HBO Sports have with boxing, is an exciting endeavor. We look forward to launching this new program in a unique and stylish way.”
In addition to the resources of the HBO Sports department, the production team for the series will include renowned filmmaker and Emmy nominee Peter Berg, who will serve as an executive producer along with Lampley, Bernstein, Sarah Aubrey and Michael Price. Jonathan Crystal will be the producer.
“I’m excited for all of us boxing fans to have this new platform for comprehensive, unfiltered discussion and analysis of the sport,” said Lampley.”And I am thrilled to work at the only television network capable of this type of program.”
JAMES KIRKLAND BELIEVES PRESSURE, BOXING SKILLS WILL OVERCOME CARLOS MOLINA
Junior middleweight prospect James Kirkland (30-1, 27 KOs) will be after his fourth straight knockout over the course of as many consecutive victories when he steps into the ring opposite Carlos Molina (19-4-2, 6 KOs) for Saturday night’s HBO-televised clash on the Morales-Garcia undercard from the Reliant Center in Houston, Texas.
Kirkland, who celebrated his 28th birthday on March 19, is coming off November’s come-from-behind victory over fellow junior middleweight Alfredo Angulo, against whom he was a prohibitive underdog. Kirkland was floored 30 seconds into the bout, only to drop Angulo just before the bell ending the same round. He would go on to stop Angulo in the sixth.
Angulo was knocked out for the first time in his career.
Kirkland’s comeback came at a time when he was just two fights removed from his only setback — a startling first-round knockout by Nobuhiro Ishida, who came in with only seven KOs within in a record of 26-6-2.
Although there are few who would question his intestinal fortitude, there still are those who wonder about Kirkland’s chin and boxing ability.
“All I know that when you apply pressure, pressure busts pipes. A man can be in the best shape of his life, but you also have to think about the type of power that you’re putting on the end of your punches and the type of intensity that you’re putting out,” said Kirkland, who was 25-0 record with 22 knockouts before falling to Ishida, but ignited his three-fight run after reuniting with trainer Ann Wolfe.
“You have to think about the people that he’s fought, and he hasn’t fought anyone halfway like me as far as being able to impose their will and to cut the ring off. People just don’t believe that I have the boxing ability. They don’t know that I can actually box until they actually see me in against somebody who can put me in that position. I will box. Until then, however, I’m just going to have fun. The more the person puts out, the more that I give out, so it’s just going to be fun.”
MOLINA SAYS HE DONE WITH LOSING
The 28-year-old Molina has an unbeaten streak of 11-0-1 with two knockouts that includes having sandwiched a victory over two-time welterweight beltwinner Kermit Cintron in July and a draw with then-unbeaten southpaw Erislandy Lara in March around a seventh-round stoppage of Allen Conyers in April.
Molina’s earlier career includes a draw, followed by a six-round majority decision loss to unbeaten current WBC middleweight beltholder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in December of 2005 and 2006, respectively.
But Molina said that he never lost faith in his abilities, or the fact that one day his time would come for a big-time, high-level opportunity for exposure.
“I knew that all that I had to do was to keep winning and to stay positive and that eventually I would get my chance and my opportunity to get into the bigger fights. I just had to stay focused and not let anything bother me,” said Molina.
“You’ve just got to roll with the punches of the sport and keep winning and working no matter what. If you lose, that’s a step backward. So after I lost my last fight, I said that I wasn’t going to lose anymore fights. I’m sticking to that. I’m not losing any more fights the rest of my career.”
BOB ARUM DOES NOT BELIEVE JUAN MANUEL LOPEZ SHOULD BE PUNISHED FOR HIS COMMENTS
RingTV.com caught up with Top Rank CEO Bob Arum for his thoughts regarding former WBO titleholder Juan Manuel Lopez, who is facing suspensions by the Professional Boxing Commission of Puerto Rico and the WBO in relation to disparaging comments he made following his 10th-round TKO loss to Orlando Salido on March 10 about referee Roberto Ramirez Sr..
Lopez faces a temporary suspension pending a March 26 hearing with the Puerto Rican commission, according to Peter Rivera, Lopez’s Puerto Rico-based co-promoter along with Top Rank. Lopez has been suspended for one year by the WBO pending his hearing with that organization on a date that was to be determined this week, Rivera said.
Arum believes that Lopez’s comments should be dismissed given his mental condition after the fight.
“For me, the Puerto Rican commission should realize that what happened was that he was badly concussed, and to use an interview that he did on Showtime right after he’s been concussed, that’s like inteviewing some drunken guy. That is not fair,” said Arum.
“The commission should have seen what state he was in and escorted him to the dressing room and none of this would have occurred. So I completely sympathize with Lopez. Not that what he said was right, but you have to understand the circumstances and where it was said.”
WBO President Francisco Valcarcel had originally given until March 16 “to show us why we should rescind the suspension,” but Rivera said that Lopez was granted an extension until this week.
“The WBO is a very, very good organization, and Paco understands what happened, and so I’m not concerned with the WBO. Everybody who watched that fight saw that this guy had been detatched from his senses,” said Arum.
“Because of the force of the knockdown and the blow, you can not take any kind of punitive action against any athlete who is in that dire circumstance when he’s being interviewed.”
Lopez was originally dethroned by Salido via eighth-round stoppage in April on Showtime in a bout that was officiated by Roberto Ramirez Jr. Salido-Lopez II was televised by Showtime and refereed by Roberto Ramirez Sr. Both fights took place in Lopez’s native Puerto Rico.
“I was dominating the fight. It was a tough fight, but I felt that I was dominating the fight. The referee stopped the fight. The other fight, his son stopped it. And now, he stopped it,” said Lopez (31-2, 28 knockouts) after failing to regain the WBO featherweight title he lost to Salido (38-11-2, 26 KOs).
“The referee stopped the fight because they have gambling problems. I told the commission that the referee was a gambler, and that they did it wrong by putting him in there. It’s very irresponsible to put him in as a referee when he has a gambling problem.”
Lopez publicly apologized to Ramirez on March 11 in a statement.
“I want to apologize to Roberto for the comments I made after the fight against Salido. Roberto is one of the best referees in the world, he did a great job and I appreciate him for protecting me because I was definitely hurt,” said Lopez.
“Everyone knows how much I trained for this fight and all the sacrifices I made because I wanted to give a great victory to Puerto Rico. Maybe, in my frustration for failing my country, I said things that right now I don’t remember. And I want to delete. And again, I want to thank Roberto for his work.”
Salido had risen from a fifth-round knockdown to drop Lopez — who had floored Salido in the fifth of their first fight. Lopez rose on unsteady legs from the knockdown, and was deemed unfit to continue by Ramirez Sr., who waved an end to the fight.
“Also, I want to give the credit to Salido for his victory and thank to him for coming to my country to give me the rematch,” said Lopez.
“There was a great fight as all of the fans could watch and I want to thank all the fans for their support. I want the fans to know that I have some things to (accomplish) in boxing and I’ll be back soon.”
MIKE AND MIKE MEET ON THE SET OF ROSIE O’DONNELL
Ring announcer Michael Buffer and former champion Mike Tyson were together during a recent taping of the Rosie O’Donnell Show in Chicago.
Buffer said he is unsure of when the show will air.
Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Photo by Chris Cozzone, Fightwire Images
Photos / Peter Amador-Top Rank
Photo by Michael Buffer
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com