Ward vs. Kovalev 2 Weigh-In Recap and Slideshow

Photos: Ed Mulholland
By Kieran Mulvaney

LAS VEGAS -- One day after walking off the press conference dais, Sergey Kovalev stood face to face with Andre Ward at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on Friday afternoon. Having appeared to be on edge of losing control because of his dislike of the American, who took his light-heavyweight belts in a controversial decision win last November, Kovalev displayed an altogether lighter mood after tipping the scales at 175 pounds, the same as his rival. He had left the press conference, he explained, because he was just tired of hearing Ward’s team talking, and he just wanted to get on with things and fight.

Ward was of pretty much the same mind, stating that the rematch was effectively the 13th round onward of the contest that the two men began seven months ago. As the two men stared at each other after making weight, Ward appeared to say a few words to the Russian.
Asked if he wanted to share what he had said, Ward demurred.

“As long as he understood me, that’s all that matters.”

The two men will be talking with their fists on HBO Pay-Per-View on Saturday night.

Weights from Las Vegas:
Andre Ward 175 pounds | Sergey Kovalev 175 pounds
Guillermo Rigondeaux 121.5 pounds | Moises Flores 122 pounds
Dmitry Bivol 174.5 pounds | Cedric Agnew 175 pounds
Luis Arias 160 pounds | Arif Magomedov 159.75 pounds

Watch: Crawford vs. Diaz Weigh-In Recap

Watch a recap of the weigh-in for Terence "Bud" Crawford vs. Felix Diaz ahead of tomorrow's fight.

Crawford vs. Diaz happens Saturday, May 20 live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10:15pm ET/PT.

Weigh-In Recap + Slideshow: Crawford, Like Golovkin, Dreaming of Big Fight

Photos: Ed Mulholland

By Kieran Mulvaney

NEW YORK -- At first glance, there isn’t much, beyond their shared their profession, that Gennady Golovkin and Terence Crawford would appear to have in common: not their nationalities, nor their upbringings, nor even their fighting styles. But scratch beneath the surface, and the similarities are there.

Quiet and respectful to interlocutors outside the ring, both flip switches and become stone cold destroyers when they step between the ropes. Neither appreciates the kind of pre-fight smack talk from opponents that they feel crosses into disrespect, not just of them but of boxing itself. When middleweight contender Curtis Stevens took to social media to post an image of he and some friends standing with a casket they had made for Golovkin, the Kazakh champion responded with a prolonged pummeling of his American foe, closing with an angry postfight exhortation to the beaten opponent – and the world at large – that “you must respect box.” After calling out Crawford and promising to take the Nebraskan’s junior welterweight title back to Canada, Dierry Jean received a 10-round beating punctuated by Crawford yelling at him, “Did you get what you’re looking for?”

But their greatest commonality is that both Golovkin and Crawford are extremely good at their job – so much so, in fact, that they have at times appeared to be too good for their own good. Golovkin has spent the past several years bludgeoning one overmatched foe after another while waiting for a meaningful challenge; he finally received that challenge in March, in the form of Daniel Jacobs, and his reward at overcoming the New Yorker is the matchup he has long coveted: a blockbuster showdown with Canelo Alvarez, which will take place on September 16 on HBO PPV.

Somewhat like Golovkin, Crawford has been going through the gears, taking on a succession of opponents who, through no fault of his own, have been no match for him. For David Lemieux, Martin Murray or Matthew Macklin, substitute Ray Beltran, Hank Lundy, or John Molina. But Golovkin’s plaintive call for a Canelo clash has now been answered; Crawford is more reticent about naming his would-be big-name foil, but his promoter has been more forthcoming. Should Crawford overcome Felix Diaz on Saturday (HBO World Championship Boxing, 10:15 PM ET/PT), and perhaps claim the last remaining belt in his division from Julius Indongo, then the reward that may very well await him, the bauble that has been dangled in front of him teasingly for over a year now, is Manny Pacquiao.

Step one, however, is Diaz – and in Saturday’s contest there could conceivably be another parallel with Golovkin. Like Daniel Jacobs before his encounter with the Kazakh in the same Madison Square Garden ring in which Crawford and Diaz will lock horns, the Dominican is an amateur standout with one defeat and a reputation as a tough and skillful fighter. The prevailing narrative surrounding Crawford-Diaz, as it was for Golovkin-Jacobs, is that the challenger is likely to provide a stern test before being overcome. In the event, Jacobs pushed Golovkin farther and harder than anyone had done before; Diaz will be aiming to do that and more – not just exposing vulnerabilities in Crawford but upsetting the apple cart entirely and taking the American’s place in the Pacquiao stakes. Crawford may be looking ahead to the prospect of the biggest opportunity of his career, but for Diaz, that opportunity comes this Saturday, and he does not intend to blow it.

Weights from New York:

Terence Crawford 139.2 pounds | Felix Diaz 139.4 pounds

Ray Beltran 134.6 pounds | Jonathan Maicelo 134.8 pounds

Watch: Crawford vs. Diaz Weigh-In Livestream

Watch the Terence Crawford vs. Felix Diaz official weigh-in livestream from Madison Square Garden beginning at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT.

Crawford vs. Diaz happens Saturday, May 20 live on HBO beginning at 10:15 p.m. ET/PT.

Weigh-In Recap + Slideshow: Alvarez and Chavez Battle for the Love of a Nation

Photos: Ed Mulholland

By Kieran Mulvaney

There were plenty of eyes trained on Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. on Friday as he stripped off and prepared to step on the scale in front of several thousand fans at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. One of the big, hitherto unknown, variables in the build-up to his Saturday contest with countryman Saul “Canelo” Alvarez was the physical condition of Chavez, who once fought at middleweight but of late has been fighting at roughly 10 pounds above that division’s weight limit. Would he, the notoriously undisciplined bigger man, be able to force his lanky frame down to 164.5 pounds, the contracted catch weight for this battle for Mexican bragging rights?

As it turns out, he would be able to and indeed he did, with half a pound to spare. Chavez didn’t look great: His cheeks were positively sunken and his whole body looked somewhat drawn, but he didn’t look on the verge of imminent collapse, either. He will doubtless have been grateful for the water and protein shakes that he is likely downing as you read this, but there’s no reason to disbelieve his camp’s assertion that he will rehydrate and gain perhaps 20 pounds by the time of the fight.

That will likely leave him with an advantage of 10-15 pounds over Alvarez, who also weighed in at 164 pounds, confidently shedding his shirt as he marched toward the scale and looking, in contrast to his rival, taut and toned.

The weigh-in and the subsequent face-off elicited raucous roars from the assembled throng, and if the atmosphere on the day before the fight is any guide, fight night itself is going to be an electric experience. It is anticipated that the capacity crowd inside the T-Mobile Arena will be the largest ever to watch a Las Vegas fight at an indoor venue, and outside of the media section, it is hard to believe that there will be more than a handful of neutrals in the entire building. The festive mood is divided evenly between partisans who are either solidly pro-Canelo or resolutely pro-Chavez.

There is an immense amount at stake for both men on Saturday, with each man seeking to forge an undisputed claim to being the country’s boxing lodestar, and neither able to stomach the notion of losing to a hated rival. The smell of victory will be sweet, the prospect of defeat unthinkable. This is more than just a fight; it is a battle between glory and shame.

Weights from Las Vegas:

Canelo Alvarez: 164 pounds | Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.: 164 pounds

David Lemieux: 163 pounds | Marco Reyes: 163 pounds

Lucas Matthysse: 147 pounds | Emanuel Taylor: 147 pounds

Joseph Diaz Jr.: 125.5 pounds | Manuel Avila: 125 pounds

Watch Live: Canelo vs. Chavez Jr. Official Weigh-In

Watch the official weigh-in for Canelo Alvarez vs. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. live from Las Vegas. 

Canelo vs. Chavez, Jr. happens Saturday, May 6 live on pay-per-view beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.

England Awaits, as Joshua Welcomes Klitschko to the National Stadium

Photos: Lawrence Lustig/Matchroom

By Kieran Mulvaney

LONDON - With the exception of a few years early this century, there has been a stadium in Wembley, in northwest London, since 1923. The original version, graced by a pair of iconic towers, hosted – among many other things – the 1948 Olympics and the Live Aid Concert in 1985. It saw a moment that nearly changed the tide of boxing history forever, when Henry Cooper flattened the future Muhammad Ali with his patented left hook at the end of the fourth round of their 1963 contest, a punch so hard that Ali testified “my ancestors in Africa felt it.” it was also the site of this nation’s most celebrated sporting triumph, when England won the 1966 World Cup; the captain of that team, Bobby Moore, stands guard in statue form in front of the new stadium, which was opened in 2007, four years after its predecessor was demolished.

Wembley 2.0 replaces the twin towers with a 436-feet tall, 1,033 feet long steel lattice arch, billed as the longest single roof structure in the world. Its 90,000-seat capacity makes it the largest stadium in the United Kingdom and the second largest in Europe (behind only Barcelona’s legendary Nou Camp). It also – and anyone who has attended a major sporting event can testify to the importance of this – boasts the largest number of toilets of any venue in the world. (Two thousand six hundred and eighteen, if you were wondering.)

In 2014, the new stadium hosted its first boxing card, headlined by Carl Froch knocking out George Groves in the eighth round of their super-middleweight championship rematch. The 80,000-strong throng on hand that night was the largest postwar boxing crowd in Britain; it will be surpassed on Saturday night, when Wembley will be filled to its capacity as Britain’s own Anthony Joshua takes on Wladimir Klitschko in a battle to determine the consensus top dog in the heavyweight division (although a presently inactive Tyson Fury would beg to differ).

Particularly for an interloper from a land where the sport is often met with a shrug, it is difficult to overstate how huge the event is here in the country where boxing’s rules were codified – and not just in the literal sense of 90,000 people witnessing a combined 13 feet and 490 pounds of humanity doing battle.

A media workout at nearby Wembley Arena on Wednesday evening featured the kind of production values, including strobe-lit boxer entrances, more often seen on fight night. The live-streamed press conference, held at the British broadcaster’s campus headquarters in western London, was attended by hundreds of the company’s employees, who lined hallways, stairways and balconies to catch a glimpse of both men. The website of one of the most popular tabloid newspapers posted more than 60 articles on the bout during fight week. In search of new and interesting angles, UK media has cast a wide net: that aforementioned tabloid included pieces on Joshua’s new Range Rover and the life of ring announcer Michael Buffer, while the BBC website on Wednesday featured a profile of a Romanian amateur boxer who competed against Joshua in 2011.

The excitement is not just because it is a heavyweight title fight; courtesy primarily of Lennox Lewis, UK boxing fans have experienced a fair few of them in living memory, including several on these shores. It is more that, in Joshua, plenty of British fans feel they have a home-bred fighter capable of being a true superstar. He is warmer and more effortlessly congenial in both public and private than the more reserved Lewis ever was; and unlike his predecessor, the Olympic gold medal he won was for Great Britain, not Canada. Furthermore, that medal came not just in the Olympics, but the 2012 games, held here in London in a summer that saw the greatest surge of sporting patriotism since Moore and his teammates conquered the world.

Not everybody is won over, and Joshua has neither the everyman appeal nor the depth and intensity of support enjoyed by Ricky Hatton in his pomp. But the Manchester Hitman, surely the single most popular boxer in modern British history, is perhaps an impossible yardstick by which to measure anyone; and for Joshua, these are early days. He is just 18 fights into his professional career, after all, and that is perhaps the primary reason why enthusiasm for him is leavened with a degree of caution. At 41 years old and with 68 pro bouts under his belt, Klitschko is almost certainly past his peak, but Joshua still looks at times to be short of his. He is, unusually, a champion-slash-prospect, one who might prove vulnerable to the kind of old school tricks and moves that the Ukrainian will have at his disposal.

Should he pass this test, however, then fully expect much of the reticence presently attached to his support to fall away. And if it does, and if Joshua does go on to be everything his most fervent supporters hope he might be, then Saturday night may become etched in the annals of the greatest events to take place at this most historic of venues.

Weights from London:

Anthony Joshua: 250.1 lbs.
Wladimir Klitschko: 240.5 lbs.

Golovkin Calm, Jacobs Confident at Early Weigh-In

Photos: Ed Mulholland

By Eric Raskin

The city that never sleeps became the city where you can’t sleep in -- not if you wanted to catch the official weigh-in for Saturday’s Gennady Golovkin vs. Daniel Jacobs HBO Pay-Per-View fight card, anyway. Typically, big-fight weigh-ins take place in the afternoon the day before the show, giving boxers some 30 hours to rehydrate. But for a variety of reasons -- including avoiding going head-to-head with March Madness action -- Golovkin, Jacobs and the undercard fighters began stepping on the scale at the Theater at Madison Square Garden at 9 a.m. on Friday, meaning “GGG” and “The Miracle Man” will have had some 38 hours to replenish themselves before they enter the ring to determine who is the world’s best middleweight.

Both men made weight with a few ounces to spare: Jacobs scaled 159.8 pounds, Golovkin 159.6. As they stared each other down, it was clear that Jacobs is taller (three inches, officially), and he has long been reputed to be the naturally heavier man who struggles more to get his body under the 160-pound limit. So does the early weigh-in give the underdog from Brooklyn an advantage? That remains to be seen, but it certainly doesn’t rate to hurt his chances at upsetting the undefeated Kazakh.

Even though Jacobs is the local fighter, GGG had the support of more of the fans who lined up at sun-up to attend the weigh-in. There were “Tri-ple-G! Tri-ple-G!” chants as Golovkin climbed onto the stage, and he responded with his usual nonchalant smile. Golovkin didn’t have much of note to say after making weight, other than acknowledging that Jacobs is his most dangerous pro opponent and replacing his usual advertisement of a “big drama show” with a more all-encompassing promise of a “big drama event.”

Jacobs, on the other hand, had plenty to say.

“You’re gonna see [me do] whatever it takes to win,” he told weigh-in host and HBO Boxing Insider Kieran Mulvaney. “I’m a true champion, I adjust. My preparation was right, I’m making sure I do what I gotta do to get the victory. Point blank. Period.”

Mulvaney asked Jacobs why he’s so confident he’ll succeed where all others have failed against GGG, and he barked, “Because I’m the man. I believe in myself, and I’m not those other guys. I’m different. I’m a different commodity. I’m a different champion. My mindset is different. My skill level is different. You’re going to see that on Saturday night … Nobody needs to believe in me but me. I can have all the boos in the world, but I believe in me.”

Undercard weights:

Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez: 114.6 pounds
Srisaket Sor Rungvisai: 114 pounds

Carlos Cuadras: 115.6 pounds
David Carmona: 115.8 pounds

Ryan Martin: 134.6 pounds
Bryant Cruz: 135 pounds