Gennady Golovkin and David Lemieux kick off their NYC press conference today at 12:30pm ET/9:30am PT, live from Madison Square Garden.
Golovkin vs. Lemieux happens Saturday, October 17th, at 9pm ET on HBO PPV.
HBO Boxing Insiders Eric Raskin and Kieran Mulvaney can barely contain their excitement about the just-announced megafight between Miguel Cotto and Canelo Alvarez.
HBO Boxing Insiders Eric Raskin and Kieran Mulvaney interview Wladimir Klitschko, the heavyweight champion of the world, to discuss his career and upcoming bout against Tyson Fury on October 24.
By Diego Morilla
For some fighters, staying unbeaten is the one key to their success, their one claim to fame and their most preciously protected bragging right on their way to their championship dreams.
There are some others, however, who find it more interesting to ruin someone else’s unbeaten record instead. And one of them appears to be Venezuela’s Johan Perez, who has enjoyed his best moments against unbeaten opponents and plans on continuing his streak this coming Saturday at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino when he will face undefeated Russian contender Dmitry Mikhaylenko in the main event of a card televised live on HBO Latino Boxing beginning at 10:30 pm ET/PT.
Perez (20-2-1, 13 KO) and Mikhaylenko (19-0, 8 KO) will be clashing in an intriguing matchup of two contrasting styles. Although neither one of them is known for his punching power, it is quite clear that Mikhaylenko will have the upper hand in this particular department, and it is also clear that the rangy Perez will be looking to turn this bout into a stick-and-move competition.
So far, the mid-long range punch-and-get-out tactic has worked marvels for Perez, who engaged in his first title bout in his 16th fight (even though it was merely one of the WBA’s devalued “interim” versions of the junior welterweight belt).
But those days are behind him now. Currently fighting as a welterweight, Perez is seeking the chance to fight for a more legitimate title belt in the future. He's produced a few explosive performances in his recent streak under the spotlight since a competitive loss by a frustrating technical decision to Pablo Cesar Cano in 2012.
After losing his precious 0 to Cano, Perez had a string of high-profile victories in his next few outings, starting with a hard-fought win over former champion Steve Forbes, and then proceeding to ruin two perfect records by defeating Japan’s Yoshihiro Kamegai and former lightweight titlist Paul Spadafora. But his competitive loss against upset specialist Mauricio Herrera in July of 2014 convinced him that his days as a 140-pound fighter were over. He moved on to beat Mexico’s Humberto Gutierrez in his next bout, the start of his career at the competitive welterweight division, where he be meeting Mikhaylenko.
Nicknamed “The Mechanic,” Mikhaylenko has been known for his methodical dismantling of opponents with a style based on his strong body punching. But he leaves himself open to dangerous counters and has problems keeping a safe distance, which could spell disaster against a rangy and accurate fighter like Perez, who was described by former victim Spadafora as a "tough fighter with an awkward rhythm."
Mikhaylenko will be seeking to improve his record away from home with a third victory on American soil after convincingly beating Ronald Cruz and Sechew Powell in two of his previous outings. Everything suggests that “The Mechanic” will have to dig deep into his tool bag if he wants to emerge victorious against an inspired and talented Perez.
In another intriguing matchup between two fighters on different sides of the title fight spectrum, Cuba’s former title contender Yoandris Salinas (21-1-2, 14 KO) will square off against undefeated standout Manuel Avila (17-0, 7 KO) in a 10-round super bantamweight co-main event.
Salinas had his title shot in 2013 against Scott Quigg for a super bantamweight belt, but the fight was declared a draw. Avila, hailing from nearby Fairfield, Calif., is a fast-rising contender who could be making his case for a title fight in 2016 if he defeats Salinas, in what looms as the toughest challenge in his career so far.
Kicking things off and recently added to the undercard, Irish knockout artist and Los Angeles transplant Jason Quigley (7-0, 7 KOs) will take on Eddie Hunter (10-13-2, 3 KOs) of Seattle in a six-round super middleweight bout.
Following the announcement of the October 17th fight between heavy hitters Gennady Golovkin and David Lemieux, HBO Boxing Insiders Eric Raskin and Kieran Mulvaney make their picks for the top pound-for-pound punchers in the sport.
HBO Boxing Insiders Eric Raskin and Kieran Mulvaney discuss Sergey Kovalev's demolition of Nadjib Mohammedi and the all-action scrap between Jean Pascal and Yunieski Gonzalez.
Photos: Will Hart
By Kieran Mulvaney
Sergey "Krusher" Kovalev swatted aside the challenge of Frenchman Nadjib Mohammedi at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, knocking him down twice en route to a dominant third round stoppage victory in his first outing as a Las Vegas headliner.
The first round was uneventful, Kovalev (28-0-1, 25 KOs) patiently stalking his foe, landing stiff jabs that snapped back Mohammedi's head but unable initially to land any power shots past his defensive stance and herky-jerky upper body movement. The second, in contrast, saw the two men make four visits to the canvas between them, although only one was a legitimate knockdown.
Kovalev was the first to find himself horizontal, tripping over as he circled away from a clumsy Mohammedi assault, but shortly afterward he sent the Frenchman to his knees with a brutal flurry of blows: a right hand that drove his opponent into the ropes, a left that caused him to topple forward, and then another right/left combination that dropped him. Mohammedi beat the count, but understandably looked far from comfortable as the Russian pursued him with a predatory zeal. Mohammedi went down again, but this time from a push, and stumbled as he sought to escape Kovalev, rising slowly and uncertainly.
“After the knockdown, I knew I was in a fight,” said Mohammedi afterward – as if he didn’t know that before.
He survived the round, but Kovalev began the third with bad intentions, landing two powerful straight rights that sent Mohammedi into the ropes. The Frenchman, however, appeared to have regained his bearings – until a two-punch combination suddenly ended the night. A Kovalev overhand right twisted Mohammedi’s head to one side, and a follow-up straight left landed square in the center of the Frenchman’s face, sending him to his haunches. He rose to his knees, blinking and rubbing his eyes, and as he lifted himself to his feet, still appearing in distress, referee Kenny Bayless waved off the contest at 2:38 of the round.
Mohammedi, who falls to 38-4 with 23 KOs, said afterward that he couldn’t open his eyes, improbably blaming Kovalev’s thumb for causing the injury. The fact that that thumb was just one part of a powerful fist was the significantly more likely cause.
“I don’t even know how I landed the punch that got his eye,” shrugged Kovalev, who admitted that he had been shouting at Mohammedi to get up. “I wanted more rounds,” he said. “I wanted to make him look like a clown. I wanted him to look foolish. I wanted to give the fans more of a show.”
Kovalev promoter Kathy Duva announced afterward that her fighter would return on November 28 in Moscow; she planned to offer the fight to another undefeated Russian, Artur Beterbiev, but said that other options were on the table.
Kovalev said he was happy, whomever he faced:
“I’m ready for anybody.”