Chocolatito vs. Rungvisai to be Co-Feature on March 18 Golovkin-Jacobs PPV at MSG

Photo: Will Hart

Consensus No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter and WBC Super Flyweight champion Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (46-0-0, 38 KOs), fighting out of Managua, Nicaragua, will defend his title against mandatory challenger Srisaket Sor Rungvisai  (41-4-1, 38 KOs) of Si Sa Ket, Thailand, on Saturday, March 18 at Madison Square Garden. 

Chocolatito vs. Rungvisai will be the co-feature to the World Middleweight championship between Unified Middleweight World champ Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (36-0-0, 33 KOs) and WBA Middleweight World champ and mandatory challenger Daniel “The Miracle Man” Jacobs (32-1, 29 KOs). The event will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT

“I’m very excited to fight again at Madison Square Garden,” said Gonzalez. “Rungvisai is a very tough fight for me, I know that he has fought many other great fighters including Carlos Cuadras, but with my training and the blessing of God I plan to come out victorious.”

Said Rungvisai: “I respect Roman Gonzalez. He is a legend. However, super flyweight is my weight. And the WBC Super Flyweight World title belt is my belt. I will do whatever it takes to win my belt back, and I am confident I can do it. I was able to hurt Carlos Cuadras in the way that Gonzalez could not. Cuadras did not hurt me when we fought but he hurt Gonzalez throughout their fight last year. I am confident I can beat Roman Gonzalez. And the fight will not go 12 rounds.

“It is my dream to fight at Madison Square Garden,” continued Rungvisai. “I am thrilled to be the first Thai to fight there on HBO Pay-Per-View against the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world. This is history. I will fight for Thailand and my family. I will fight to bring back the WBC Superflyweight belt to Thailand where it belongs. Some fans in America might not know me well, but I have knockout power and I will go there to win. I cannot be more excited to show you and the world who Srisaket Sor Rungvisai is. It will be a great fight on March 18th. "

This past September 10, the 29-year-old Gonzalez faced the biggest challenge of his career, squaring off against undefeated WBC Super Flyweight champ Carlos Cuadras as he sought his fourth divisional world title. In a 2016 “Fight of the Year” candidate in front of a very large and passionate crowd at The Fabulous Forum in Los Angeles, Gonzalez won a 12-round unanimous decision. 

The victory, dedicated to Gonzalez’s mentor, boxing legend Alexis Arguello, distinguished Gonzalez as the first fighter from Nicaragua to earn four divisional world titles and further validated his status as the consensus No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter. 

On October 17, 2015, Gonzalez made his debut at “The World’s Most Famous Arena” knocking out four-division world champion Brian Viloria in the ninth round in front of a sold-out Madison Square Garden crowd and live on HBO Pay-Per-View. The victory took place on the undercard to the World Middleweight Championship between Golovkin and David Lemieux. 

The heavy-handed Rungvisai, 30, will be fighting for the first time in the United States. A four-time world title challenger, Rungvisai challenged then-WBC Super Flyweight champ Carlos Cuadras on May 31, 2014. In an action-packed battle featuring excellent two-way action, Rungvisai was the unfortunate victim of a shortened bout as Cuadras was deemed unable to continue after the eighth round following an accidental clash of heads between the two warriors. Going to the scorecards, Rungvisai came up just short with Cuadras retaining his title. 

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David Lemieux and Curtis Stevens to Square Off March 11 on HBO Boxing After Dark

Photos: Will Hart

Former IBF Middleweight champion and current NABO Middleweight champ David Lemieux (36-3, 32 KOs) will go toe-to-toe with Curtis “The Cerebral Assassin” Stevens (29-5, 21 KOs) to battle for Lemieux’s NABO title on Saturday, March 11. Scheduled for 12 rounds, Lemieux vs. Stevens will take place at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York, and will be televised live on HBO Boxing After Dark beginning at 11 p.m. ET/PT.

Lemieux, from Montreal, Canada, is coming off impressive back-to-back victories including a knockout win over perennial contender and Freddie Roach-trained Glen “Jersey Boy” Tapia as well as a hard-fought, unanimous decision victory against Argentine fighter Cristian Fabian Rios.

“The time for talking is done, and after many long months of hearing Curtis yell about all the things he’s going to do in the ring, I’m really looking forward to shutting his mouth on March 11,” Lemieux said. “I’ve told everyone my goal is to once again become middleweight champion of the world. Curtis is in the way, and I’m going to go right through him.”

Stevens, who rose from Brownsville, Brooklyn to become former NABF and now Continental Americas middleweight champ has also won two straight fights, with a thunderous knockout over then-undefeated Patrick Teixeira in May 2016 followed by a unanimous decision victory over James de la Rosa later in the year.

“The wait is finally over!” said Stevens. “No more talking. My hands will do the talking on March 11.”

With both Lemieux and Stevens appearing and convincingly winning on the undercard of the Canelo Alvarez vs. Amir Khan fight at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, boxing fans quickly began calling for the two contenders to get together in the ring. Both fighters were happy to oblige, engaging first in a war of words, and now in a war of jabs, hooks and uppercuts.

“We often see fighters pretend not to like each other to help draw an audience – these two guys aren’t faking it; they don’t like each other at all,” said Oscar De La Hoya, CEO and Chairman of Golden Boy Promotions. “Given the thunder each holds in both hands and their desire to make a statement in the middleweight division, I think fans are going to be in for a knockout – and a spectacular one at that.”

"This is a fight of the year candidate,” said Camille Estephan of Eye of the Tiger Management. “We feel that 2017 is David’s year to take over through all the experiences he got in the last little while. He improved by leaps and bounds, we want another world title and this is the next step. We are happy to give the fans what they want.”

Canelo Alvarez vs. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. set for May 6 on HBO PPV

Photos: Will Hart

In a historic showdown that will rival the biggest fights in the history of Mexico’s proud boxing lineage, two-division world champion Canelo Álvarez (48-1-1, 34 KOs) will take on former WBC World Middleweight champion Julio César Chávez Jr. (50-2-1, 32 KOs) on Cinco de Mayo weekend, Saturday, May 6, in a 12-round battle to be contested at a maximum 164.5 pounds. The event will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View.

Details regarding venue and an international press tour will be announced soon.

“I’m excited to announce my fight against Julio César Chávez Jr. and confirm that I will be prepared, like I’ve been throughout my career, to give a great fight,” said Álvarez. “I want to remind you that when two Mexican fighters face-off, a spectacular show is guaranteed, and I can assure you that May 6 will be no exception especially during the Cinco de Mayo festivities.
 
“Cinco de Mayo and Mexican Independence Day in September are important dates for us Mexicans, and I’m expecting a great night for boxing and the whole world,” Canelo continued. 
 
“I dedicate this fight to Mexico,” said Chávez Jr. “I’m going to win, but my country will too because this is the fight that boxing needs.”

Álvarez was last seen in the ring Sept. 17, 2016, knocking out the previously undefeated WBO junior middleweight champion Liam Smith in front of more than 51,000 fans in Dallas. Chávez was last in action Dec. 10, 2016, when he secured a unanimous decision victory over highly regarded German fighter Dominik Britsch in Monterrey, Mexico.

“Boxing has been searching for a fight to draw the casual fan back to our sport, and Canelo versus Chávez Jr. is just that fight,” said Oscar De La Hoya, CEO and Chairman of Golden Boy Promotions. “Canelo, the biggest star in boxing, will take on not only a former world champion in Julio César Chávez Jr., but the son of the biggest star in the history of boxing in Mexico. Add in 98 victories and 66 knockouts between these two superstars along with a Cinco de Mayo fight date, and you have a can’t-miss battle.”

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Golovkin, Jacobs Primed for Pivotal Fight on March 18

Photos: Ed Mulholland/K2 Promotions

By Matt Draper

NEW YORK -- For top middleweights Gennady “GGG” Golovkin and Daniel “The Miracle Man” Jacobs, who on March 18 will step into the ring at Madison Square Garden to battle for the unified middleweight title on HBO pay-per-view, facing off at the “World’s Most Famous Arena” for division supremacy represents the biggest and most difficult fight of their impressive careers.

“[This is] the best matchup … the best opponent … the best place,” said Golovkin (36-0, 33 KOs) at Tuesday’s press conference at MSG, standing at a podium in front of a lowered jumbotron flashing his fight highlights. “I promise you’ll have an amazing show.”

Golovkin, who will put his four middleweight titles on the line, is no stranger to MSG. The 34-year-old knockout artist from Kazakhstan has fought in the building four times since 2013, using The Garden to build his KO streak (23 and counting) and develop into one of the most dangerous boxers in the world.

But fighting Jacobs (32-1, 29 KOs), who is widely viewed as both a skilled boxer and fighter, will likely be the toughest test of GGG’s career thus far.

“I believe Daniel is ready for this fight,” Golovkin said. “[It’s the] biggest step for us.”

Golovkin trainer Abel Sanchez also recognized the challenge that Jacobs presents.

“I would say he’s probably the best fighter we will have fought to date,” Sanchez told reporters on Tuesday. “A better amateur, great right hand, good boxing IQ. Danny is smart. He’s going to be a big threat to us.”

For Brooklyn’s Jacobs, 29, the hometown showdown versus one of boxing's best has been a lifetime in the making. Jacobs captured New York Golden Gloves titles at MSG as an amateur, climbed the pro ranks with multiple fights in the New York metro area and, despite being forced to take a 19-month hiatus from the sport in 2011 to overcome bone cancer, has steadily continued his ascent to the top tier of the middleweight division.

“This is the fight I’ve always wanted,” Jacobs said. “This is the pinnacle as far as opponents. I have to shock the world and I have to let them know that I am the best.

“If I’m 100 percent mentally and physically prepared, there’s going to be a new undisputed middleweight champion of the world,” continued Jacobs. “My fists are really going to do the talking inside that ring.”

While the outcome of the fight is far from certain, it stands to reason that it will involve big blows and may not go the distance; Golovkin and Jacobs have a combined 35 consecutive knockouts, with both coming off fights that ended by the fifth round.

“With two guys going into the ring with a 90 percent KO ratio,” said Sanchez, “it’s fair to say that someone is going out.” 

Watch Live: Golovkin vs. Jacobs NYC Press Conference at MSG

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Golovkin vs. Jacobs airs Saturday, March 18 live at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT on HBO Pay-Per-View.

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