The Friday Five: July 19th, 2019

1.  Erik Morales Surprised Pacquiao Is Still Fighting

In 2005 Erik Morales beat Manny Pacquiao, leading to a three fight series that saw the Filipino senator take revenge with two knockouts in 2006, one coming in the third round.

It has been seven years since Morales last walked in the ring against Danny Garcia, and the 42-year-old fighter has no idea how his rival is still fighting.

“I’m definitely surprised, yeah, that he’s fighting at this age, and due to the fact that all the wars he’s had,” Morales said through a translator at a panel that featured Marco Antonio Barrera, Winky Wright and current WBC welterweight champion Shawn Porter.

“So, it’s very interesting that he’s still fighting. But then again, I’m not surprised because mentally, physically, he’s still training and still maintaining that all throughout his career, his great training regimen. So, by that I’m not surprised. But I am surprised by the time and the wars that he’s had that he’s still active.”

2. Tito Ortiz Thinks He Can Beat Jon Jones

Tito Ortiz is back again to fight pro wrestler Alberto Del Rio for Combate Americas at a date and a location to be announced.

Del Rio has not fought in a professional MMA fight since 2010 where he lost by TKO, he now would face Diaz who defeated an 48-year-old Chuck Liddell in November of 2018 and with his fight coming 22 months prior to that with a January 2017 win over Chael Sonnen.

Interviewed on the Domenick Nati podcast, Ortiz told the host that the fight will be “nice and short,” which oddsmakers would tend to agree with since three of Del Rio’s losses came by way of stoppage, most notably his knockout loss to Mirko Cro Cop in Del Rio’s PRIDE debut.

“He said he wanted to fight me and I think he bit off more than he can chew,” Ortiz continued.

When asked if he’d entertain a fourth fight with Liddell, Ortiz claims he would literally kill the 49-year-old.

“If I fought Chuck Liddell again it would be the first death in MMA (inaccurate),” Ortiz told the host that Liddell has “no business ever fighting again.”

When asked who he felt he would have a better shot at defeating, UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones or UFC heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, Ortiz would pick the current 205 pound champ.

“Cormier is a shorter guy, bigger frame, bigger legs” Ortiz explained of the stocky heavyweight. “Jon Jones is long and lanky… I can try to overpower him… I think I’d have a great chance against (Jones.)

“If I had a camp like I did my last one of 18 weeks, 100%. There hasn’t been anyone to fight Jon Jones and get into his face and stay in his face…. You need to get the inside of him… that’s the way to beat him.”

3. Thurman Literally Betting On Himself

Credit: Sean Michael Ham/Mayweather Promotions

60-1. Those are the odds given on Wednesday for Keith Thurman knocking out Manny Pacquiao in either the first or the second round.

Keith Thurman, the undefeated WBA welterweight champion seems to like those odds and has decided to put his money where his mouth is.

Thurman, 30, will be betting on himself metaphorically and literally on Saturday as he will walk over to the MGM Grand sportsbook and lay some money down.

“Well, to be honest, we were waiting because so many people are betting Pacquiao,” Thurman said to Boxing Scene.

“So, we’re waiting. We believe that the odds are gonna keep being not in my favor, which is gonna allow me to really maximize my bets. So, I went to the bank today. We got the money ready, but we haven’t gotten the ticket yet. Because, you know, they’re still gonna shift. It’s not Friday night. All the fans aren’t here at the MGM yet. And, you know, them Asians have been getting it in. I think I’ve offended a lot more other Filipinos than I did Manny Pacquiao.”

4. Kovalev Up For Canelo Fight This Winter

The search for Canelo Alvarez’ opponent for September 14th ended on Wednesday when Canelo Alvarez announced he will not be fighting on September 14th.

One reason Alvarez may have punted on a September 14th return is his reported desire to fight light heavyweight champion, Sergey Kovalev, who was in-talks with Alvarez for September 14th before locking in his fight with mandatory challenger Anthony Yarde on August 25th.

“I’m told Canelo wants to fight Sergey,” Kovalev’s promoter Kathy Duva told “We’ll see what happens. We have no control over this. [Golden Boy Promotions] clearly has to work out their issues with DAZN and Canelo, and I don’t know what they are. Sergey has been training and planning, full speed ahead, for the fight in August for a while. Even though I was getting an awful lot of calls [about an Alvarez-Kovalev fight], this was never anything realistic, that could’ve gotten done.”

“There was no way we were gonna gamble away his title,” Duva said of allowing the WBO to strip Kovalev of his title. “This is a mandatory. It wasn’t like a fight where we could just say, ‘Hey, let’s put it off for a month.’ Sergey has to go on with his career.”

“That certainly removes a big complication from this,” Duva said of Alvarez cancelling his September 14th return.

“It’s good for Sergey at that point, too, because he’ll be fresher. He likes to stay active. He hasn’t fought since February, so I think he would be better prepared for a fight [against Alvarez] a little later in the year. So, that part might be a plus in the end. But, of course, he’s gotta beat the guy in front of him. That’s really all he can think about and I can think about right now. He has to focus on the fight that’s in front of him. There are no easy fights at this level.”

5. Dana Won’t Guarantee Conor An Opponent 

The UFC has been living without Conor McGregor since his loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229,

Yet, ever since his loss and then shock retirement announcement earlier this year, many have wondered what the UFC can or have offered McGregor in hopes to get him back since McGregor initially balked at a fight with Donald Cerrone, because it was a co-main event.

One option is a fight with Jorge Masvidal, who put McGregor on his “face breaking” list after dropping Ben Askren in five seconds at UFC 239.

When asked about that option, UFC President Dana White shot that down quicker than Askren hit the mat.

“Masvidal’s too big for Conor,” White said of the welterweight. “(McGregor) shouldn’t have (fought at 170),” White said of McGregor’s series with Nate Diaz. “I hated that he did it. Not only did I hate that he did it once, I hated that he did it twice.

“There’s plenty of fights for (Masvidal) in his weight division without Conor. He’s too big for Conor. Conor doesn’t belong at 170. He’s got the balls to fight at 170, but he doesn’t belong there. Hell no, (it won’t happen).”


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