Five-belt, three-division titlewinner Robert Guerrero brought the heat on July 22, when he threw out the first pitch at The Oakland Coliseum before the Oakland A’s 5-4 baseball victory over the New York Yankees in Oakland, Calif.
Guerrero (29-1-1, 18 knockouts) will be doing the same on Saturday night at the HP Pavillion in San Jose, Calif., near his hometown of Gilroy, where he will take on Turkish-born Selcuk Aydin (23-0, 17 KOs) of Hamburg, Germany, in a Showtime-televised clash for the WBC’s interim belt in Guerrero’s welterweight debut.
Guerrero will be after his 14th-straight victory and his 10th knockout during that run against Aydin, with the winner becoming the organization’s mandatory challenger to face WBC beltholder Floyd Mayweather Jr., (43-0, 26 KOs).
BANNER PROMOTIONS: GENNADY GOLOVKIN-GRZEGORZ PROKSA ‘IS DEFINITELY THE FIGHT’
A deal for WBA middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin (23-0, 20 KOs) to defend his belt against Polish southpaw Grzegorz Proksa (28-1, 21 KOs) is “being worked out” to be televised on HBO on Sept. 1, according to a representative with Banner Promotions, which is co-promoting the event with Gary Shaw.
“It has not been announced yet, but we’re just working it out with HBO on when they’re going to announce it,” said Matt Rowland of Banner Promotions, whose president is Artie Pelullo. “But that’s definitely going to be the fight.”
Proksa (28-1, 21 KOs) stepped in in the wake of a back injury that forced Golovkin’s WBO counterpart, Dmitry Pirog (20-0, 15 KOs), to pull out of their initially-planned bout.
Golovkin-Proksa will headline a card whose co-feature matches former WBO junior middleweight titleholder Sergei Dzinziruk (37-1, 24 KOs) against Jonathan Gonzalez (15-0, 13 KOs). Proksa is coming off an eighth-round knockout of Kerry Hope on July 7 that avenged his only loss by majority decision to Hope in March.
The site still is being determined, according to Rowland.
‘SUPERMAN’ LOOKS TO NEUTRALIZE ‘DA BOMB’
Showtime has officially announced the clash between hard-hitting southpaw knockout artist Adonis “Superman” Stevenson (18-1, 15 KOs) and hammer-fisted Donovan “Da Bomb” George (22-2-1, 19 KOs), who will meet in an IBF super middleweight eliminator on the Aug. 11 undercard of a main event featuring IBF light heavyweight beltholder Tavoris Cloud and former RING and WBC titleholder Jean Pascal.
Stevenson will be after his sixth straight knockout in as many consecutive victories since, himself, being stopped in the second round by Darnell Boone in April of 2010. Stevenson will be under the guidance of trainer Manny Steward for the third consecutive time against George.
“People know what to expect from me. They know I’m a power puncher, and that I’m fast,” said Stevenson, who is 34. “I have a good defense and I have skill. I fight aggressively. Fans like that. Fans want action. They want knockouts. That’s what I give them.”
The event will take place at Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada, where Stevenson and Pascal are from.
“This is a monster shot I’m getting. To be able to fight on the biggest stage is great, and I’m thankful to all who made it happen. I know all about fighting on the road, so it doesn’t matter that we’re fighting in Montreal,” said George.
“There should be a great atmosphere at Bell Centre. I know that this has been a tough fight to make after so many passed on the fight. But I’m glad to take the challenge. Stevenson is very talented, comes to fight, and has a big punch. But I’ll be very well prepared and willing to go to war in what is the biggest fight of my career.”
George is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Edwin Rodriguez (21-0, 14 KOs) in March on the under card of an 11th-round knockout by RING middleweight champion Sergio Martinez over Matthew Macklin in The Theatre at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
“I know it’s going to be a grueling fight and I know it’s going to come down to conditioning and basically who can take the better punch. Adonis is a big puncher, but so am I, so I think it’s going to be a very explosive fight. There’s no secret to how I’ll fight,” said George.
“I’m going to throw big punches and I’m going to try to knock him out. I’ll try to add a little boxing to my slugging — I always try to do that — but when the bell rings, I forget about it. This is a big stage, a big audience, and I want to just look great. There’s no way it can’t be a great fight.”
RANDALL BAILEY GETS HIS DAY — AGAIN
The City of Key West in Florida has declared this coming Saturday as “Randall Bailey Day,” in honor of the newly-crowned IBF welterweight titleholder’s triumph for the belt that he currently owns.
Bailey (43-7, 37 KOs), of Miami, was last in the ring for an 11th-round knockout of previously unbeaten Mike Jones (26-1, 19 KOs) for the vacant title on June 9.
Bailey is slated to defend his crown on Sept. 8 on Showtime at a site to be determined opposite ex-IBF and WBC 140-pound titleholder Devon Alexander (23-1, 13 KOs), of St. Louis, Mo.
On the undercard, hard-hitting junior welterweight Lucas Matthysse (31-2, 29 KOs) of Argentina will pursue his fourth straight knockout against unbeaten Nigerian southpaw Ajose Olusegun (30-0, 14 KOs), according to Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer.
Alexander is coming off of consecutive triumphs over Matthysse in June of last year and Marcos Maidana (31-3, 28 KOs) in February by split- and unanimous decision. Alexander-Maidana happened in Alexander’s welterweight debut from the Scott Trade Center in St. Louis.
Matthysse scored his third straight knockout victory over former WBC 130-pound and lightweight titleholder Humberto Soto (58-8-2, 34 KOs) in the fifth round last month, ending the Mexican’s 15-bout winning streak that had included six knockouts.
Olusegun is coming off September’s unanimous decision over Canada’s Ali Cheba, ending the loser’s eight-fight winning streak that had included seven stoppages.
HUGO CENTENO LOOKS TO REMAIN UNBEATEN
Junior lightweight Hugo Centeno Jr., a 21-year-old from Oxnard, Calif., will pursue his third straight knockout and his 15th win without a loss on the Guerrero-Aydin undercard on Saturday.
Nicknamed “The Boss,” Centeno is 14-0 with eight knockouts, and will take on Ayi Bruce, a 26-year-old fighter with a mark of 22-7 that includes 14 stoppages.
“I’m feeling great about it. I’ve been training super hard out here and this has been my toughest training camp, so I’m feeling pretty amazing. You know, every fight is getting bigger,” said Centeno.
“To me, this will be one of the biggest fight cards that I’ve fought on so far. I mean, I love it. It’s awsome that I keep getting these great opportunities, and that they are letting me show off my skills on all of these different fight cards.”
But it won’t be the first time that Centeno has bee on the big stage.
Centeno, whose father, Hugo Sr., is also his trainer, was 8-0 with six knockouts when he scored a unanimous decision over Alfredo Rivera in September on the undercard of an event featuring WBC junior middleweight titleholder Saul “Canelo” Alvarez’s sixth-round knockout of Alfonso Gomez at The Staples Center in Los Angeles.
“I fought on that undercard, and that was huge too. That was bigger. I actually went the distance. When I’m in there, believe it or not, I can’t hear the voices in the crowd or anyone. Everything goes blank as soon as the bell rings. I can’t hear anything,” said Centeno.
“It’s straight to zone-in mode and focusing on what I have to do. I can only hear my dad’s voice, since he’s my trainer. I’m so used to hearing his voice during the fight, that his voice just becomes familiar. Everything else just sounds like static or just a bunch of voices clashing together.”
Born in Ghana but hailing from Albany, N.Y., Bruce is coming off a third-round knockout of Gabriel Adoku in June.
“Everybody always asks me if I’m going to get a knockout, and I always want to try to make a statement,” said Centeno. “I don’t go in there looking for a knockout. If it comes, then it comes. But as long as I get that win, then it doesn’t matter.”
Photo by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org