Boxing


Anthony Dirrell vs. St. Juste on Friday

Anthony DirrellNOTE: WEIGHTS (Photo: Tom Casino/Showtime - (Dec. 1, 2011) – Unbeaten, top-ranked super middleweight Anthony Dirrell tipped the scales at 167 pounds and fellow world-ranked southpaw Renan St-Juste weighed in at 166 ½ pounds during Thursday’s weigh in at Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez, Calif.

Dirrell (23-0, 20 KOs), of Flint, Mich., and St-Juste (23-2-1, 15 KOs), of Canada, will square off in the 12-round main event on ShoBox: The New Generation on Friday, Dec. 2, live on SHOWTIME® (11 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast).

The telecast will originate from Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez, Calif., just one night before the highly anticipated rematch between International Boxing Federation (IBF) bantamweight titleholder Abner Mares and Joseph King Kong Agbeko on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING.

Hard-hitting ShoBox alum Chris Avalos measured 121 ¾ ounds and Jhonatan Romero weighed in at 121 pounds. Avalos (19-1, 15 KOs), of Lancaster, Calif., will make a ShoBox-record sixth appearance against Colombia’s Romero (19-0, 12 KOs) in a 10-round co-feature battle of up-and-coming super bantamweights.

Prior to Thursday’s weigh in, the world-ranked super middleweights gave their picks for the upcoming Super Six World Boxing Classic Final, a World Championship Unification, on Saturday, Dec. 17 on SHOWTIME®, while Romero gave his predictions for Saturday’s Mares-Agbeko bantamweight world championship showdown and the bantamweight world championship co-feature between Anselmo Moreno and Vic Darchinyan. (Picks are below).

Dirrell is ranked No. 1 in the World Boxing Council (WBC) and No. 3 in the World Boxing Association (WBA). St-Juste, the WBC’s No. 3-rated contender, represents the first top-10 fighter Dirrell has faced. The bout will serve as a title eliminator for the WBC super middleweight title currently held by Super Six World Boxing Classic finalist Carl Froch.

Friday’s event is promoted by Gary Shaw Productions.

What the fighters had to say on Thursday:

ANTHONY DIRRELL

"It's going to be a big fight. I'm ready mentally and physically. I've been training hard, working with my brother (Andre) and the team, Team Dirrell. I'm ready."

"I'm definitely ready to go 12 rounds if I have to. The commentators always say, 'Are they ready to go 12?' If you can do it in the gym, if you are physically and mentally ready, you can do it. If you're in shape, you can do it."

"If I can get my opponent out of there, I'm going to get them out of there. I'm not going to hang in there more rounds than I have to and give this guy a chance."

Super Six pick: "Andre Ward on a points decision."



RENAN ST-JUSTE

“I know Dirrell is an undefeated fighter. He says he's hungry but I know I'm prepared. I'm treating this like a world championship.

“Being at 168 is better for me. It was difficult for me to make 160. I walk around in the 180s. At 168, I can keep my muscle and not worry about the weigh-in.

“The winner tomorrow will be No. 1 in the WBC but I'm not looking past Friday night.”

Super Six pick: “Ward, by a very little bit in a tight fight.”



CHRIS AVALOS

“I didn't know until today that I'm the only fighter with six ShoBox appearances. I love the series but I think it's time to move on to the Championship level.

“I'll give fans a little of both tomorrow. I'll box and I'll brawl. We'll see what happens.

“I've been taking shots for my hand. They helped it a lot. It's fine. I could knock a guy out just as easily as I could before the injury.

“If I win tomorrow, I'd like to see Abner Mares or Vic Darchinyan in the ring. I don't have any picks for Saturday night. I just hope the winners want to give me a shot at their belts.”



JHONATAN ROMERO

“I think it's better to come in here as the opponent. I'm relaxed. I'm confident. What could be better than beating a guy everyone knows?

“Only God, the promoter and my managers can tell what the future holds for me. I know that all I can do is win and better things will come for me after.”



Mares-Agbeko prediction: Mares

Moreno-Darchinyan prediction: Darchinyan


Curt Menefee will call the Dec. 2 ShoBox action from ringside with Steve Farhood serving as expert analyst. Gordon Hall is the executive producer of ShoBox with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.

For information on SHOWTIME Sports Programming, including exclusive behind-the-scenes video and photo galleries, complete telecast information and more, please go to the new SHOWTIME Sports website at http://sports.SHO.com.

BACK TO THE FUTURE JOSE BENAVIDEZ RETURNS TO WILD HORSE PASS!

CHANDLER, Ariz. (December 1, 2011) – Opportunities to witness emerging greatness are rare. Rangy and poised 19 year-old fighters with devastating right crosses are even rarer. Both are coming to Wild Horse Pass Casino’s beautiful Ovations Live Showroom Theater, on Friday, February 3rd!

Showdown Promotions, in association with Top Rank – and sponsored by CORONA and FOOD CITY – is thrilled to announce “RUMBLE AT THE RIVER III: THE FUTURE,” a card featuring undefeated Phoenix superstar Jose Benavidez (14-0, 12 KOs) in his triumphant return to Wild Horse Pass.

Fresh off a dominant Las Vegas win as part of the Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez HBO PPV undercard on November 12 at the MGM Grand, Benavidez – who has raced through junior welterweight prospects from Tennessee and Puerto Rico since last fighting at Wild Horse Pass in June – will return to his home state of Arizona in February to beat anyone put in front of him.

“It’s just such an honor to be bringing a young man like Jose back to Arizona,” Showdown Promotions’ Gerry Truax said. “Wherever I go in this state, people ask me about Jose and when they can see him again and when he’ll be back in his hometown. There are too few young ticket sellers in our sport right now. It’s fantastic to be working with one of the best.”

Joining Benavidez on January’s action-packed card is fellow undefeated Phoenix prospect Javier "El Gallo Negro" Loya (6-0, 5 KOs), who had an easy day at the office in his last fight, needing not even five minutes to blast his July opponent out of Madison Event Center in nearby Phoenix.

“RUMBLE AT THE RIVER III: THE FUTURE” will also have a stellar undercard of supporting cast members like Juanito Gonzalez (4-0, 3 KOs) – currently in training camp with Antonio Margarito to help the “Tijuana Tornado” get ready for Miguel Cotto – and undefeated prospects Xavier Martinez Montelongo Jr and Fernando Samaniego Jr.

Wild Horse Pass Casino will begin 2012 on its way to becoming the Mecca of prizefighting in the Grand Canyon State.

Tickets can be purchased by calling 1-800-WIN-GILA or visiting www.WinGilaRiver.com.

Rivera Seeking Fourth World Title

Former three-time world champion in two weight divisions, “El Gallo” Jose Antonio Rivera (41-6, 24 KOs) is looking to get himself back into a world championship opportunity. The former World Boxing Association (WBA) champion in two different weight classes is not impressed with the current group of young title holders in the junior middleweight and middleweight divisions.

"I tell you sitting back watching some of these fights on TV with the commentators blowing up the reputation of some of these champions is not easy. I hope one of the champs in my weight class is willing to give me a chance. I am willing to put up my experience against their youth any day,” says Rivera.

The Worcester, MA native Rivera is not being picky at all in terms of who he would like to challenge first as he stated to Ten Count Media that his first choice for an opponent is the one who is willing to step up to his challenge first!

The champion he has his eye on is the recently victorious World Boxing Council (WBC) middleweight champion, Julio Caesar Chavez Jr. (44-0-1, 31 KOs), who won a fifth round knockout over “The Contender” season one finalist Peter Manfredo Jr. (37-7, 20 KOs) a couple of weeks ago.

A Chavez Jr. – Rivera fight would be a great test Chavez Jr. He would get to do battle against an experienced veteran with multiple world championship experience. For Rivera, it will give him his long awaited fourth world title opportunity.

As the old adage goes, ‘styles make fights.’ Rivera feels that he would match-up well stylistically against current IBF junior middleweight champion and former “The Contender” reality show boxer, Cornelius “K9” Bundrage (31-4, 18 KOs), WBC champion Saul Canelo Alvarez (39-0-1, 29 KOs), WBA champion Miguel Cotto (36-2, 29 KOs), and Austin Trout (24-0, 14 KOs).

“As you see I mentioned all world champions. These are the fights that motivate the hell out of me,” said Rivera.

Touching upon the subject of Miguel Cotto, he will do battle this weekend in a rematch of their highly controversial battle against Antonio Margarito (38-7, 27 KOs). The winner of this bout could potentially be the biggest fight available for Rivera, depending on the outcome this weekend.

Rivera predicted that, “I see Cotto winning that fight, not because he is a fellow Puerto Rican, but because I really agree with Cotto that Margarito cheated in the first fight. I am not going to get into why on here, but I will say that I don't think Margarito is going to be as strong as he was in the first fight. Hmmmm, I wonder why, LOL!”

In terms of if the winner of the Cotto-Margarito fight would be a dream fight on his radar, Rivera said simply, “My dream fight is to battle any of the current world champions who are brave enough and willing to take a chance against me.”

Another potential intriguing potential matchup for Rivera at 154 would be against the legendary “Sugar” Shane Mosley (46-7-1, 39 KOs). Both fighters are former world champions and stylistically would matchup extremely well.

“Definitely an exciting fight for the fans, but not a fight I see happening. I think Mosley is retired, but if the fight were to ever take place, I think our styles would match well because Mosley still at his age has great speed and still some power left as he showed when he caught Mayweather with a good shot, but was unable to follow up. I feel my conditioning, pressure and punch output would take a toll on him and I would win by decision,” said Rivera.

There are also a couple of young guns that are world rated right here in New England that would also matchup well with “El Gallo.” They are Delvin Rodriguez (25-5-3, 14 KOs) and Providence, RI's Demetrius "Boo Boo" Andrade (15-0, 10 KOs). When asked about either as a potential opponent, Rivera stated to Ten Count Media, “I think both fighters have bright futures ahead of them. Any of those fights would be interesting match-ups pitting youth against experience, but will any of those fights lead me to a world championship fight? I think not. Now, if by any chance any of them becomes a world champ, bring it on baby.”

“El Gallo” has fought twice in 2011 capturing both victories by convincing unanimous decisions. He would like one or two more fights and he feels that 2012 is the right time to challenge any fighter with a world championship around their waist.

Rivera’s journey into professional boxing was not an easy one. He grew up with four of his siblings along with his mother back in the mid 1970s. Unfortunately for Rivera and his family, his mother passed away when he was just ten years old. During his teenage years, he moved to Puerto Rico, dropped out of school and worked as a day laborer.

It wasn’t until his Aunt visited him in Puerto Rico and brought him back to the United States that he began his passion for boxing as he trained at the Worcester Boys and Girls Club in Worcester, MA under Carlos Garcia. “I will say that it was my upbringing by being able to overcome major obstacles in my life that has helped me to become the man that I am today and this gave me the right attitude and work ethic to become a three time world champion.”

After winning the IBO world welterweight championship in 1997, and two WBA world championships first at welterweight in 2003 over German native Michael Trabant, then at junior middleweight in his hometown of Worcester, MA in 2006 over Alejandro "Terra" Garcia, Rivera is hungry for a fourth world title opportunity. “I will say my win in Germany was very gratifying, but my win over Alejandro Garcia in my hometown to capture my third world title in two different divisions was my career defining fight.”

Many people ask “El Gallo” why after over 40 professional victories and three world championships over a career that has spanned over 18 years, what made him decide on a comeback after retiring briefly in 2008.

His response to this is simple, “I never really retired, I just took a mental break. I don't want to get into making a bunch of excuses, but let’s just say that after winning the WBA junior middleweight title against Garcia in May of 2006 my life and boxing career started to get a bit hectic,” said Rivera. “That is when I decided to take a break from boxing. I was just too mentally drained and the performances in my last three fights, even the one I won before taking a break were pathetic.”

Ultimately Rivera finished by saying that “I decided to come back because I felt great and healthy and wanted to see if I could get myself back into championship form and when I accomplished that I decided I wanted an opportunity to become a four time world champion.”

Currently Rivera has been training hard as if he is in a constant training camp for a major fight, even though at the present time, he is not scheduled for one. When asked about it, he replied by saying, “right now my training consists of trying to keep myself in great shape for each and every opportunity that may come my way. I am hoping to work with a promoter in the very near future that is willing to work with me to get me that fourth world title opportunity. Then the rest is up to me!”

“El Gallo” is currently in amazing shape at 38 years of age, he is out working fighters in the gym that are ten and fifteen years younger than he is. “I will say that I feel I have a few championship caliber fights left in the tank. I will be honest I don't want to fight into my forty's. I will say I have two years left to see if I can accomplish my goal.”

Training isn’t the only way a fighter prepares for battle, nutrition plays a huge part in a boxer’s ability not only to stay in shape, not only to be able to absorb damage from his opponent and to be able to recover from it well, but also to allow yourself the energy and determination to battle in the championship rounds of a world title fight. When asked how important his nutrition is to his training regimen, Rivera said, “I have been blessed to have found the top rated nutrition company on the market today, and it is rated #1 by the consumer guide to nutritional supplements.”

He continued by saying, “One of my sports physicians introduced me to USANA Health Sciences and it has helped me tremendously with my stamina, energy and recovery. I am 38 but I feel like I did when I was 28 years old and into my early thirty's.”

“Being blessed by God and USANA is the only reason I am able to attempt this now. I wish I found USANA way back in my career, but it is what it is and I am just glad I have USANA in me now.”

To all of his skeptics, Rivera replied by saying, “I know people tell me winning a fourth world title is not going to be easy, but I am up to the challenge!"

Article posted on 02.12.2011



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