The Friday Five: January 26th, 2018

1. Hearn Doubts Parker Smiling Through Joshua’s Punches
Following comments where WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker said he’d smile if Anthony Joshua punched him on the chin, Eddie Hearn made it known he highly doubts that.

The two champions face off in a unification fight on March 31st, at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, where 70,000 tickets have already sold.

Joshua has replied to Parker’s claims, and wants to test the champions durability. The majority of Joshua’s opponents have been stopped within three rounds, but he’s worked a lot harder in his last few fights as the level of competition has increased.

“Apparently [Parker is] going to laugh when Anthony Joshua hits him on the chin. I hope he doesn’t. If he does, I think we’ve got something to worry about, because when Anthony Joshua hits you on the chin, I don’t think laughing is one thing you’ll be doing. But interesting comment,” Hearn told Sky Sports.

2. Roach Believes Gesta Can Take Linares
Freddie Roach, who once trained Jorge Linares, believes that Mercito Gesta can win their fight for Linares’ WBA lightweight title.

“It’s a very, very tough fight,” Roach told

“[Linares] is a very good fighter. I worked with him before. But Gesta could take his heart. The thing is, he’s getting older and so forth, and once he gets caught, he falls apart. If you frustrate him, he falls apart. If things don’t go his way, he can be a little bit of a baby. At this point in his career, I think we have a very good shot to win that fight.”

Linares is in the midst of a 12 fight win streak, and last lost with Roach watching on to Sergio Tompson in 2012.

3. Ferguson Frustrated with Title Situation
UFC president Dana White attempted to claim that Tony Ferguson vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov would be for the UFC’s official lightweight title while also refusing to say the UFC’s absentee lightweight champion, Conor McGregor, would be stripped of the belt he has yet to defend since winning it in 2016.

For current interim champion, Ferguson, it means the lead-up to UFC 223 will inevitably be filled with endless questions and theories about McGregor and the state of the 155-pound division. And that has set Ferguson off

“Yeah, it bothers me. It bothers the sh*t out of me, dude,” Ferguson admitted Monday on The MMA Hour. “Straight up. I’m the f*cking champ and we don’t know if we’re fighting for the real belt or not. What the f*ck is that? Dana White is telling us one thing on one [side] of the curtain and on the other side he’s saying, ‘No, Conor McGregor is the champion. Go and do your homework.’ And I love Dana, man, but I’m like, ‘What the f*ck, dude? Am I not the champ or am I the champ? Do you want to hype me up or do you not want to hype me up for this fight?’”

4. Nate Diaz Teases Return to MMA
It seems that Nate Diaz is looking at a spring return to MMA.

The popular and outspoken Diaz posted a cryptic Instagram message Tuesday night, which followed a string of videos and photos from prior fights. The final one was a picture of Diaz flipping both middle fingers with a major hint about a return fight.

In the post, Diaz wrote that he’s “sick of sitting around waiting” and that there’s “no excitement in this fight [sh*t].”

“Step your games up,” he wrote. “I’ll see u around may,June.”

Diaz signed off with: “Sincerely The Real Champ.”

5. Roach Thinks Manny Can Beat Lomachenko
Manny Pacquiao has made it known he wants to have a showdown against Top Rank stablemate Vasyl Lomachenko.

Lomachenko’s father/trainer, Anatoly, is dismissing the idea of his son moving up directly from super lightweight  all the way up to the junior welterweight limit of 140-pounds.

Word is that Lomachenko (who is currently the WBO 130-pound titlist) will be moving up to lightweight soon.

Pacquiao has not fought since July 1st of 2017, when he traveled to Australia and took a controversial decision loss to Jeff Horn for the WBO welterweight title before a crowd of 51,000 at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.

If the fight against Lomachenko is made, Freddie Roach believes that is a winnable fight for his man.

“Yes,” stated Roach to,

“but the thing is we need a real good training camp and we need him to get out of being a senator for a little while. I said,’Manny, this is too tough a sport to have another job.

“You’ve got to concentrate and be really, really prepared for this fight and you have to be aggressive in this fight because [Lomachenko] does have great footwork but if you press him hard enough and so forth.”

“You take that game away from him and he’s beatable.”

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