Since they went on sale on Friday at 10 a.m., more than 13,000 tickets have been purchased to the fourth fight between four-division title-winner Juan Manuel Marquez and eight-dvision belt-winner Manny Pacquiao, which takes place on Dec. 8 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on HBO Pay Per View.
Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 knockouts) has chosen to face Marquez (54-6-1, 39 KOs) over a rematch with Tim Bradley (29-0, 12 KOs), whose controversial split-decision in June dethroned Pacquiao as the WBO’s 147-pound titleholder.
In November, Pacquiao won an unpopular and highly-disputed majority decision over Marquez, who has also battled Pacquiao through a draw and a split-decision loss previously. Bradley ended a 15-bout winning streak for Pacquaio that included eight knockouts.
MIKE ALVARADO TRAINS FOR KNOCKOUT OF BRANDON RIOS
Denver-based 140-pounder “Mile High” Mike Alvarado (33-0, 23 knockouts) has said that he believes himself to be the bigger, stronger fighter, and that he will be the first man to score a knockout against former WBA lightweight titleholder Brandon Rios (30-0-1, 22 KOs) in Rios’ HBO-televised junior welterweight debut at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., on Oct. 13.
Alvarado is training at The Azteca Boxing Club in Bell, Calif., for Rios, whom he will face on the undercard of a main event matching Nonito Donaire (29-1, 18 KOs) against Japan’s Toshiaki Nishioka (39-4-3, 24 KOs), THE RING’s No. 3 and No. 1 junior featherweights, respectively, in what will be for Donaire’s IBF and WBO 122-pound championship belts.
Alvarado and Rios are known for their fierce, blood-and-guts approach to boxing, with Rios having won his past two bouts by 11th-round knockout of British contender Johnny Murray in December and controversial split-decision over Richard Abril in April. Rios failed to make the 135-pound limit against both Murray and Abril.
On the Rios-Abril undercard, Alvarado overcame rugged Mauricio Herrera for a 10-round unanimous decision after having survived for a come-from-behind, 10th-round stoppage of Breidis Prescott on the November undercard the third fight between Pacquiao and Marquez.
Rios had won 11 consecutive bouts, 10 of them by stoppage, heading into his fight with Murray, which happened on the undercard of Miguel Cotto’s 10th-round knockout of Antonio Margarito in an HBO televised rematch at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
Murray had suffered his previous loss in July of last year, an eighth-round knockout loss to Kevin Mitchell during which he was floored in the final round. Murray had won six of his previous seven victories by knockout before falling to Mitchell.
Prior to facing Murray, Rios had scored a third-round knockout of Urbano Antillon, the first defense of his belt, in July of last year. Before that, Rios came up with a 10th-round stoppage to take the be title from Miguel Acosta in February of last year.
Rios dropped Acosta during the sixth, eighth and last rounds on the way to ending a 19-fight winning streak that had included 12 stoppages.
The lone blemish on the record of Rios is a 10-round draw against Manuel Perez in October of 2008. After that, Rios reeled off six consecutive knockouts before a seventh-round disqualification victory over previously unbeaten Anthony Peterson in a WBA eliminator bout in September of 2010.
PROMOTER BOBBY HITZ TO APPEAR IN ‘MOB DOCTOR’
Chicago-based boxing promoter Bobby Hitz of Hitz Boxing will appear on Monday night’s episode of the new Fox TV series, “Mob Doctor,” as Joey, a bodyguard to mob boss Constantine Alexander, played by William Forsythe.
Depending on show’s success, Hitz’ role could become a recurring one. Mob Doctor can be seen on Fox affiliates on Monday at 9 p.m. PT/8 p.m. CT.
RUSLAN PROVODNIKOVS PUSHING FOR TIM BRADLEY
At one point, Top Rank CEO Bob Arum had mentioned Russian Ruslan Provodnikov (22-1, 15 KOs) as a potential rival for Bradley, who is being targeted an HBO-televised return date to the ring of Dec. 15.
A 140-pounder who is coming off a second-round stoppage of Jose Reynoso in June, Provodinkov has won five straight, four by knockout during that run, and he has had two, consecutive stoppage wins.
“I am ready for this type of fight. I would be grateful for the opportunity, and I have trained my whole life for this,” ,” said Provodnikov, a native of Beryozovo, Russia.
“Bradley is a great fighter, but not only do I know I can win, but I will bring the best out of him and our fight will be one to remember.”
Provodnikov’s promoter agrees.
“We feel that Ruslan is ready for this fight, and he will beat Bradley,” said Artie Pelullo of Banner Promotions. “Based on all the feedback we get after Ruslan’s fights, he is one of, if not, the most television-friendly fighter out there. And a fight with Bradley would be a great fight for the fans.”
SARTONK LAUNCHES INAUGURAL ALI-KING AWARD FOR BOXING WRITING
Sartonk, a designer of boxing belts, has launched a contest for the inaugural Muhammad Ali-Martin Luther King Jr. Award for Writing in Boxing geared toward boxers and boxing enthusiasts between the ages of 17 and 22 who live in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut.
The deadline has been extended to October 10 for the contest, which is co-sponsored by the WBO, IBF, WBA, IBO, New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame, New Jersey Association of USA Boxing, Gleason’s Gym, and Global Boxing Gym.
“The contest’s intention is to promote literacy and inspire youth to think about our sport’s social and historical significance,” said Hasmig Tatiossian, Sartonk’s director of community affairs.
“As the creator of championship belts, we’re in the position to draw the support of key entities in boxing internationally and locally. Imagine the enthusiasm of the winners when their certificates bear the distinct logos of such sponsors. The result, we feel, is truly empowering.”
Participants are asked to choose one of four essay topics ranging from autobiographical analyses of boxing to the role of women in boxing, or the historical impact of leaders like Muhammad Ali and Martin Luther King, Jr.
“We set out to honor Muhammad Ali and Martin Luther King, Jr. for their positive social contributions,” said Edward S. Majian, president of Sartonk Designs.
“We feel that awarding an ‘Ali-King Award’ to boxing youth would be an appropriate way of doing this while also inspiring these young minds.”
Winners will be presented with their awards, including an original Sartonk design, at the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame Banquet in November, where they will be able to address an audience.
The panel of judges charged with reading and evaluating the essays is comprised of Professor Anna Brown, Sonya Lamonakis, Ryan Maquiñana, Professor Gordon Marino, and Michael Woods.
More information about the contest, including submission guidelines, deadlines, awards, and ways for you to help support it, can be found on www.sartonk.com/ali-king. Questions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo by Rafael Soto, Top Rank
Photos by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com