Super middleweight boxer-puncher Edwin Rodriguez and Ezequiel Osvaldo Maderna will compete at their weight class limit of 168 pounds in Monaco on Saturday, while light heavyweights Zsolt Erdei and Denis Grachev will face off at 175 on the same day and at the same venue as part of the a four-man elimination event called the Monte Carlo Million Dollar Super Four.
On July 13 in Monaco, the winners of the fights between Rodriguez (12-1-1, 8 KOs) and Maderna (19-0, 13 KOs), and, Erdei (33-0, 18 KOs) and Grachev (12-1-1, 8 KOs) will meet for the tournament crown at a catch weight of nor more than 171.5 pounds for a 60/40 share of one million dollars.
Golovkin-Ishida is promoted by K2, with the general event being handled by Rodney Berman and Golden Gloves.
In the main event, WBA middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin (25-0, 22 KOs) will pursue his 13th straight stoppage victory on Integrated Sports Media pay-per-view show when he faces rugged Japanese journeyman Nobuhiro Ishida (24-8, 9 KOs).
Golovkin who stopped Gabriel Rosado in the seventh round at Madison Square Garden in January, will attempt to do the same to the durable Ishida, who has never been stopped.
“I am very happy to be here in this beautiful country and a in such great city and I want to thank everyone involved in this event,” said Golovkin during a Tuesday press conference in Monaco.
“This is great for the fans and for the sport of boxing. I know Ishida well and I know this is going to be a difficult fight. I am ready to put on a great performance for everyone on Saturday night.”
Ishida is 2-3, with two first-round knockout victories in his past five bouts, and is coming off consecutive unanimous decision losses to former titleholders Dmitriy Pirog and Paul Williams in February of last year and May of last year, respectively.
Ishida bounced back from a unanimous decision loss to Rigoburto Alvarez and a failed bid to win the WBA’s junior middleweight belt in October of 2010 with a sensational first-round stoppage of hard-hitting southpaw James Kirkland, whom he floored three times in April of 2011.
“I want to thank the champion for giving us the opportunity for this fight. We know that Golovkin is a great and powerful champion,” said Ishida, of Osaka, Japan.
“He is very strong and one of the best fighters pound-for-pound in boxing, but we are here for the upset. We are prepared to do whatever we have to do to take this championship home with us.”
Rodriguez is coming off September’s eighth-round stoppage of hard-hitting Jason Escalera (13-1-1, 12 KOs), and will look to do similar damage against Maderna.
The win over Escalera took place on the sixth birthday of Rodriguez’s twin children, Serena and Edwin Rodriguez Jr. Rodriguez said that his wife, Stephanie, is in her eighth month of pregnancy and will expect the birth of their son, Evan Rodriguez, two weeks into April.
“I think that this is a great tournament for not only all of the fighters involved, but for the sport of boxing. Everyone in this tournament is coming in thinking that they are the favorite, and I know that I have a big task in front of me on Saturday with Maderna,” said Rodriguez.
“I plan on taking care of business though, not only on Saturday, but in the finale in July as well. I know everyone has worked very hard to get to this point, but I have no intentions on letting this opportunity pass me by. This is a monumental event for my career as well as for my family.”
Maderna, of Buenos Aires, Argentina, is coming off December’s eighth-round stoppage victory over Claudio Ariel Abalos.
“I respect Edwin as a fighter just like I respect everyone of my opponents that I am up against,” said Maderna. “There is no doubt in my mind though that I will be taking the victory with me back to Argentina.”
Erdei, who turns 39 in May, has not been in the ring since scoring a sixth-round stoppage over former titleholder Byron Mitchell in June of 2011.
“I came back because I love boxing. This is my life,” said Erdei, who once held light heavyweight and cruiserweight belts. “I want to prove that I am still one of the top fighters in the world and winning this tournament does just that.”
Grachev is coming off November’s unanimous decision loss to southpaw former IBF super middleweight titleholder Lucian Bute (31-1, 24 KOs).
“I know everything there is to know about Zsolt. I know he is a tough opponent and it wasn’t a mistake that he was champion for as long as he was,” said Grachev.
“I am here to win, though. I am always confident going into my fights. It doesn’t matter who is in front of me. I will always fight hard and always find a way to win.”
SERGIO MARTINEZ-MARTIN MURRAY TO BE COVERED BY INSTANT REPLAY
The HBO-televised April 27 clash between RING middleweight champion Sergio Martinez (50-2-2, 28 KOs) and Martin Murray (25-0-1, 11 KOs) will employ instant replay, it was announced by Martinez’s promoter, DiBella Entertainment, as well as HBO on Wednesday.
“We are supportive of this initiative and happy to lend technical assistance so the officials can make their determinations,” said Rick Bernstein, executive producer, HBO Sports. “Instant replay can be a valuable asset since everybody’s goal is to have the correct call.”
Martinez, who turned 38 in February, is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (46-1-1, 32 KOs) to take the WBC belt last September. He will face Murray in his native Argentina.
“Boxing needs to step into the 21st century and use the technology that we have available to us, to make sure that justice prevails in this sport,” said Mauricio Sulaiman, secretary general of the WBC.
“Justice is not served in our sport when fouls or accidental actions occur, creating unjust results. The WBC has used instant replay for the last five years with great results, and we are very happy to be working together with the highly prestigious TV network, HBO, for this historic event.”
Ron Rizzo, vice president of DiBella Entertainment, applauds the move by the WBC.
“The WBC has always been at the forefront of advancing boxing either through medical safety standards and technology,” said Rizzo. “This is just another example of the WBC helping boxing take another step forward.”
Martinez rose from a 12th-round knockdown to defeat Chavez in their HBO PPV-televised fight, during which he lost just four of the 36 rounds scored by judges Dave Moretti, Adalaide Byrd and Stanley Christodoulu, who had him winning, 118-109, 118-109 and 117-110.
“Hopefully for the good of boxing,” said Martinez’s advisor Sampson Lewkowicz, “everyone will follow him and use instant replay to avoid any more controversies in our beloved sport.”
Murray battled ex-WBA beltholder Felix Sturm to a draw in December of 2011, and is coming off November’s sixth-round stoppage of previously unbeaten Jorge Navarro (12-1, 10 KOs).
In defeat of Murray, Martinez will “pursue a rematch” against Chavez Jr.
BRANDON RIOS WORKING WITH ANGEL HERNANDEZ FOR MIKE ALVARADO REMATCH
In advance of Saturday night’s rematch of October’s bloody Fight-of-The-Year-caliber clash of junior welterweights against Mike Alvarado (33-1, 23 KOs), Brandon Rios (31-0, 23 KOs) has informed BoxingScene.com that he is working with controversial strength and conditioning guru Angel Hernandez.
Rios said he is using Hernandez to work on his footwork and conditioning.
“I’m working with Angel because he’s helping me with my power and conditioning and nothing else,” said Rios, who became the first man to stop Alvarado, doing so by seventh-round knockout.
“I never did morning runs and conditioning work until I worked with Angel. I feel a lot stronger because of the endurance work we’ve done. I feel great because of it.”
Hernandez worked with four-division titlewinner Juan Manuel Marquez in advance of December’s sixth-round knockout victory by the Mexican over Philippines national hero Manny Pacquiao, who was left lying face-first and motionless on the canvas after his fourth bout against Marquez.
Marquez sparked controversy and came under scrutiny for hiring controversial Hernandez for his third fight against Pacquiao, which he lost by majority decision, since Hernandez had a history of being involved in performance-enhancing activities.
A graduate of Texas A&M’s exercise science program, Hernandez was known as Angel Heredia in May of 2008 when he testified in a San Francisco Court that he supplied former track stars Marion Jones and Tim Montgomery with illegal substances.
Hernandez never was convicted of any crimes, although he admitted to giving the blood-booster EPO, growth hormone and insulin to Jones in 2000 at the request of her then-coach Trevor Graham, who was on trial. Heredia also sold banned substances to Montgomery.
Hernandez was hired by Marquez in order to achieve better results than he did in his welterweight debut, a one-sided unanimous decision loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in September of 2009, and has insisted that his state-of-the-art techniques helped Marquez to gain strength and weight for Pacquiao.
Hernandez said the confusion arose in early November of last year after BALCO founder Victor Conte tweeted his knowledge of Hernandez’s past involvement in performance-enhancing activities, calling him Angel Heredia.
Hernandez was later identified as Angel Hernandez in Episode 2 of HBO’s 24/7 series, during which he was asked why he changed his name from Angel Heredia to Angel Hernandez.
“I never once switched my name. Keep that in mind. That’s been my name since I was born. The thing about it is that Victor Conte started this,” said Hernandez.
“I never changed my name. That was the name that my parents gave me. My father is Mexican and Italian, and my mother was Mexican completely.”
TIM BRADLEY TO SEE CONCUSSION SPECIALIST
In the wake of his March 16 unanimous decision victory in a brawl with Ruslan Provodnikov and Rios’ promotional stablemate Tim Bradley, informed BoxingScene.com that he will see a concussion specialist next month.
Bradley rose from a 12th-round knockdown to retain the WBO welterweight title he won by disputed split-decision in June over Manny Pacquiao.
ROBERT GUERRERO CELEBRATES 30TH BIRTHDAY
Southpaw boxer Robert Guerrero Guerrero (31-1-1, 18 KOs) announced his 30th birthday on his Facebook page on Wednesday.
With his wife, Casey, Guerrero visited the set of of Good Morning America on Tuesday to meet host Robin Roberts, after Monday’s appearances on the shows of CBN’s The 700 Club, hosted by Pat Robertson, TBN’s Praise the Lord show with Carman Licciardello.
Guerrero, who ended Tuesday’s media appearances by being a guest on ESPN’s Sports Center, is also this year’s “Ambassador of Hope” spokesperson for BeTheMatch.org along with Roberts in their quest is to help register minorities into the national bone-marrow registry.
In March of 2010, Guerrero chose to pull out of a scheduled clash with Michael Katsidis in order to be with Casey during her recovery from a bone-marrow transplant. At ringside for Guerrero’s unanimous decision over Selcuk Aydin in July were Casey and her donor, Katharina Zech, of Germany, whom the Guerrero’s met for the first time earlier that year.
Robert Guerrero’s devotion to his wife and family were recognized when he received The Bill Crawford Award for Courage In The Face of Adversity from the Boxing Writers Association of America in 2011.
“Today I turn 30 years old,” stated Guerrero on his page. “The journey to get here has been amazing to say the least. Thank you Jesus Christ for all your blessings #BELIEVE.”
On May 4 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Guerrero will be after his 16th straight win and his 10th knockout during that stretch when he challenges WBC welterweight titleholder Floyd Mayweather Jr. (43-0, 26 KOs) on Showtime Pay Per View.
Guerrero is coming off November’s unanimous-decision victory over two-time titleholder Andre Berto, while Mayweather was last in the ring in May when he earned his fifth belt over eight weight divisions with a unanimous decision that dethroned Miguel Cotto as WBA junior middleweight beltholder.
PETER QUILLIIN: ‘I LOOK IN MIRROR AND HONESTLY BELIEVE NOBODY CAN BEAT ME’
Guerrero, 26, has won four straight, three of them by stoppage, since, himself, being knocked out in the fourth round by journeyman Grady Brewer in June of 2011.
“I love to challenge myself. I look in the mirror and honestly believe nobody can beat me. I still have a lot to improve, though, and I’ve gotten this far fighting through a lot of BS. I take what I do very seriously and anybody can see just that by watching what I put myself through at the gym,” said Quillin, 29.
“I’m expecting to fight the best Fernando Guerrero. He lost to Brewer, but there may have been things going on I don’t know about. I respect him [Guerrero,] but once we step in the ring, things will be different, and I won’t have any respect for him, like anybody else I fight. I know he’s coming in the best of shape — he’d better — and we’re going to give fans what they want to see.”
Quillin is coming off October’s unanimous decision win that dethroned previously unbeaten Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam, whom Quillin dropped six times.
“A lot of guys are told early in their careers that they’ll be world champions. All I was ever called when I was young was a juvenile delinquent or criminal. We’ve both overcome struggles,” said Quillin.
“I’m not saying mine were tougher than his. Struggles make better fighters. He has said that I have power and speed, but I have a lot more — I’m good-looking and tough, with balls. I’ve got the whole package. I want to win this fight as much as my last one.”
FRANK GLARZA SIGNS WITH ELITE BOXING ENTERPRISES
Brooklyn junior middleweight Frank Galarza (9-0-1, 5 KOs) has signed with manager A.J. Galante, founder and President of Elite Boxing Enterprises. Galarza, 27, will join forces with Galante, 26, to form one of the younger Boxer-Manager duos in the sport.
“I have had my eye on Frank for some time now. He has it all. An exciting fan-friendly boxing style, toughness, the looks, an inspiring life story, a great personality and most of all, he is a winner. I am honored that he has put his faith in me to help guide his career to the next level,” said Galante.
“I’m excited to watching him grow as a professional, and I believe we haven’t even scratched the surface of his boxing abilities and he surely will become a force to be reckoned with. My philosophy as a boxing manager is to stay active, and take on the toughest available competition, and Frank fits that mold, he has done it his whole career on his own thus far.”
In his last fight on March 9, Glarza dropped his man twice in the second and final round of a knockout over Guillermo Ibarra (7-2, 4 KOs), of Los Mochis, Mexico.
“To be elite is to be the best or most skilled member of a group, so it only makes sense to sign with Elite Boxing Enterprises,” said Glarza,
“Elite Boxing is a true team and we are establishing a group of elite boxers with a chip on their shoulder. This upcoming year and into the future, fans will continue to hear my name, and I want to spread my reputation further as a fighter who will work harder than anybody and accomplish what many think is impossible.”
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Photo by Stephanie Trapp
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]