The Friday Five: February 1st, 2019

1. Pacquiao Eyes May Return 

Credit: Esther Lin/Showtime Sports

“I have advised Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) that I can fight in May or July,” Pacquiao told The Manila Bulletin.

Pacquiao views May as his preferred return date, but July would be the backup and conincides with the one-year anniversary of winning the title from Lucas Matthysse.

2. Dillian Whyte Calls AJ April Fight “Dead”

Dillian Whyte seems to have conceded any chance of facing Anthony Joshua this April at Wembley Stadium.

The top heavyweight contender told Gareth Davies of The Telegraph this week that a “half-hearted” attempt was made by promoter Eddie Hearn, to schedule a heavyweight rematch, just under a week after Hearn claims talks were “close” in making Whyte the next challenger to the unified champion.

“It’s clear to me that they have never been serious about making a fight with me for April 13,” Whyte told Davies of Telegraph Sport. “If they were serious, they should have started negotiating sooner and with more realistic terms. The way he is going about business, Joshua won’t be fighting me, Wilder, or Fury any time soon.”

“They’ve had the (Wembley Stadium) date booked for ages, and have known AJ was available since he beat Alexander Povetkin on 22 September, yet didn’t even make an initial offer until 10 January. We could have made this fight if Joshua really wanted it but it has been clear to me all along that they’ve been focused on making the Jarrell Miller fight in New York city.”

3. Klitschko’s Manager Lays Out Return Road Map

Whispers seem to persist that Wladimir Klitschko may eye a return to the ring. And while the former unified world champion has claimed it to be “fake news,” his promoter has a road map in-mind if he made a return to the ring.

“There is an example in front of us represented by another Klitschko in Wladimir’s older brother, Vitali, who chose to come back following a four-year absence and was quite successful. He regained his throne and left the sport while still on top,” Alexander Krassyuk about the elder Klitschko brother, who returned from a four year retirement in 2008, regaining the WBC title from Samuel Peter.

“I think Wladimir can do the same. He is in great shape; his mind is bright. He is training every day. It is not difficult for him to return to the sport.”

4. Rashad Evans Claims UFC Titles Are Worth $300K

With the UFC changing their title belt design, current UFC champions will no longer get a new championship for every successful defense.

Discussing the change on his Believe You Me podcast, Michael Bisping relayed an interesting note about the worth of the UFC’s old title belts.

“Rashad Evans, obviously (a) former champion. I was working with him last week, Rashad Evans…former champion, has a belt at home. I don’t know how many he has, I don’t know if he defended the belt or not…but he definitely has at least one (for) when he knocked out Forrest Griffin. He was having a conversation with Dana White, Dana White told him that the old belts…the ones that we have are worth $300,000 each. That’s what Dana White told Rashad Evans,” Bisping said to Luis J. Gomez on the podcast.

“I know, that’s what I thought (that it wasn’t true). I just thought…because mine’s just been gathering dust back there. There’s another one in the other room just gathering dust, if I known they were worth $600,000 between them…I might…I might get them insured for one and then they get stolen, I’m joking. I might at least put them in some kind of case and keep the dust off of them, apparently Rashad Evans swears they’re worth $300,000 apiece. Which…yeah, I was happy…oh great, that’s good to know.”

5. UFC Co-Owner Joins New Helmetless Football League

With the emergence of the AAF and the XFL, another football league has entered the fray, but lacking helmets and shoulder pads, but adding a UFC founder.

David Isaacs, who helped develop the UFC in 1993 along with SEG, has signed on as the chairman of the A7FL’s advisory board, two days before the NFL’s 53rd Super Bowl from Atlanta.

“Following an extensive search for the ideal candidate, we are extremely excited to announce David Isaacs has joined us as the chairman of our advisory board. David brings his vast experience in the sports and entertainment industry as well as management, deal-making and financial expertise to the team, which is a huge value as we continue to scale the company,” said Sener Korkusuz, CEO of A7FL.

Speaking with FIGHT SPORTS exclusively on Friday, Isaacs said the reason the A7FL attracted him was the idea of making the sport safer.

“A7FL’s no helmets, no pads, full contact football attracted me for some of the same reasons as when we created the UFC,” Isaacs said via email. “It’s safer than NFL-style football, but still a tough and exciting sport.”

“Removing equipment to make any sport safer seems counterintuitive and we faced similar issues when we launched the UFC and created the sport of mixed martial arts. With the A7FL, football can be safer but still thrilling full-contact competition. I can’t wait to get started.”


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