The Friday Five: June 21st, 2019

1.  Canelo-GGG Trilogy In Trouble

Credit: Hogan Photos/ Golden Boy Promotions

Gennadiy Golovkin wants his shot at redemption against Canelo Alvarez, but the former unified middleweight champion of the world refuses to return to the site of their first two fights.

First reported by Chris Manni of Sports Illustrated, negotiations between the two sides have stalled due to Golovkin refusing to fight Alvarez in Las Vegas,  where Alvarez won their second fight and where both men went to a controversial draw in their initial 2017 meeting.

As was the case for their 2018 fight, Oscar De La Hoya, Alvarez’ promoter will begin to look for other opponents for the current IBF/WBA/WBC middleweight champion for September 14th if a resolution by June 21st.

While this tactic has worked before, it may not fly with John Skipper, DAZN’s executive chairman, who has made it the platform’s goal to secure the fight for September to help generate subscriptions to the over the top streaming service.

“I want [the fight at MSG],” Golovkin said after defeating Steve Rolls earlier this month inside the Garden. “It’s different people, different atmosphere.”

2. Paige Van Zant Looking Towards Free Agency

Speaking with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, VanZant, who has undergone her third arm surgery in less that two years on the same arm, feels that her popularity will warrant some interesting offers following the last fight of her UFC contract.

“I am, yeah,” VanZant said of looking to test free agency after her next fight, which she hopes to be in December in Las Vegas.

“You know, it’s more for me, I want to prove my worth. And obviously, with my arm injuries I’ve had three surgeries in a row now. Even though I’m so popular, I guess… I’ve been doing amazing things outside the UFC—Sports Illustrated, Dancing with the Stars, all these amazing things. I want to show, ‘Hey, I’m a huge player in this division. I’m a huge player in the UFC.’ And I think it’s going to take one more fight to do that. And more than anything, I’m just focused on getting back in the cage. I don’t want to put any pressure on myself, or any stress behind anything. I just want to fight.”

3. Thurman Couldn’t Turn Down Offer To Fight Manny

Credit: Darnell Ellerbe/Mayweather Promotions

Keith Thurman had no idea that his second fight after a two-year layoff would be against Manny Pacquiao.

“We had no clue when I got back in the sport that a fight like this would happen this quickly,” Thurman said in an interview with BoxingScene.com of his July 20th pay-per-view fight with the Filipino senator.  “There was no guarantee that I would get this fight. I was just ready to return after losing two years of my prime.

“It wasn’t like I was in secret training, working on some Bruce Lee 6” punch that I wanted to show the world. When I came back, we let everyone know you’re going to see a world class performance from Keith Thurman because I’m a world class fighter. I didn’t promise the best Keith Thurman because I was still wiping off some of that (dust). But if that’s what helped me land a fight like this, I’ll take it.”

“I told everyone (late last year) when I was ready to return to the sport what my 2019 was going to be about,” Thurman said of looking to build back to major opponents, starting off against Josesito Lopez, who would give the champion more of a challenged then be bargained for. “There wasn’t going to be a fight with Danny Garcia or Shawn Porter—two guys I already beat, by the way—or Errol Spence in 2019. It was about returning to the sport, then building towards the superfights in 2020.”

4. Fury Exceeded Expectations At Box Office

Tyson Fury’s Las Vegas debut may set up a long-term residency for the “Gypsy King,” as his second round knockout of Tom Schwarz did decent box office.

While the alleged sold-out crowd of 9,012 was actually a paid gate of 5,489 fans and 1,187 comps, the event would generate a live gate of $882,145 for Fury’s debut in Sin City, per the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

Final viewership numbers for the ESPN+ card headlined by Fury’s drubbing of the once-undefeated Schwarz have not been revealed, but the ESPN2 undercard headlined by Mikaela Mayer’s win over Lizbeth Crespo, would see an average of 493,000 viewers with a peak audience of 800,000 viewers for the Mayer and Crespo.

5. Shields Quest To Win Third Division Title Delayed

Credit Stephanie Trapp/SHOWTIME

Claressa Shields’ chance to become the fastest three-division fighter in boxing history has been delayed, as the undisputed middleweight champion has suffered a knee injury.

In a press release sent out on Thursday, it was revealed that Shields injured her knee while doing roadwork this week for her fight with Ivana Habazin for the vacant WBO super welterweight title.

“There’s nothing I love to do more than boxing, and I train hard for all of my fights. It’s going to be tough for them to keep me out of the gym for a few weeks,” said Shields. “But I will heal quickly and then go to training camp, so I can make history in front of all my fans in the fall. I can promise you this – I’ll be training harder than ever soon again, and I will provide a spectacular performance and make history for everyone in attendance and for the viewers on SHOWTIME.”

 

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