Four-time Sports Emmy Award winning broadcaster Jim Lampley returns Friday on HBO with his latest 30-minute edition of The Fight Game, which will include a remembrance of Hall of Fame trainer and former HBO boxing analyst Emanuel “Manny” Steward, who died on Oct. 25 of 2012 at the age of 68.
Steward groomed young fighters, including Thomas Hearns, at Detroit’s famous Kronk Gym. Steward also developed Detroit natives Hilmer Kenty (his first fighter to win a world title), Jimmy Paul, Milton McCrory, Duane Thomas and Leeonzer Barber into major beltholders during the 1980s.
Steward trained McCall, regarded as little more than a journeyman at the time, to upset then-WBC beltholder Lewis in 1994. Steward then took over training duties with Lewis, who he helped remake into the undisputed champ during the second half of the 1990s.
FIGHT GAME TO ALSO INCLUDE REVIEW OF RUSLAN PROVODNIKOV-MIKE ALVARADO
According to Nielsen Media Research, Provodnikov’s victory over Alvarado, whom he dropped twice in the eighth round, drew 1.2 million viewers, matching Alvarado’s unanimous-decision victory over Brandon Rios in March that won the rematch of a seventh-round TKO loss from October of last year.
PROVODNIKOV-ALVARADO: EXPERT GETS IT RIGHT
In Alvarado’s previous fight, only Rich Marotta, of KFI Radio in Los Angeles, correctly selected him to win his rematch with Rios. Marotta was the lone person to select Alvarado out of 22 who were polled.
Later, with 10 of 17 boxing insiders believing that light heavyweight Sergey Kovalev would successfully dethrone Nathan Cleverly as WBO titleholder, panelist Keith Idec went with the eventual winner by fifth-round stoppage, but only Jack Obermayer was dead on with his prediction of a fourth-round KO for Kovalev.
Freeman is the latest to appear prophetic; his assessment is below as it appeared before the fight:
Ruslan Provodnikov TKO 10 Mike Alvarado: Returning home to Colorado after two fan-friendly firefights with Brandon Rios, there’s no rest for the weary, or for Mike Alvarado. “Mile High” Mike is matched tough against Ruslan Provodnikov, a Russian mauler coming off a brutal confrontation of his own against Tim “Desert Storm” Bradley.
Which warrior goes into this battle more shell-shocked from recent combat? It has to be Alvarado. Those 19 rounds against Rios probably took more out of him than Bradley could ever take from Provodnikov no matter how many times they fought. To win, Alvarado must fight smart and dial back his taste for exchanges like he did in the Rios rematch, but there will be great pressure to perform in combative manner in Denver for his hometown fans.
Then there’s the pressure that Provodnikov will be applying in the ring. It’ll all be too much for Alvarado to abide. “This fight has war written all over it,” said Alvarado in promotion for the bout, and he’s right. When the boxing stops and the hostilities inevitably commence, Provodnikov will be the fresher of the two. Look for him to out-last Alvarado down the stretch and batter the WBO champion for a late round TKO.
DRUG TESTING TO BE DISCUSSED ON THE FIGHT GAME
Also part of The Fight Game, which is scheduled to begin at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT, will be Margaret Goodman, founder of The Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA).
Lampley and Goodman plan to discuss the enhanced drug-testing program used for the Oct. 12 fight during which WBO welterweight beltholder Tim Bradley earned a split-decision over Juan Manuel Marquez in defense of the belt he won by split-decision over Manny Pacquiao in June of 2012.
Most recently, Goodman revealed said that Pacquiao and Brandon Rios have been randomly tested by VADA as contractually agreed upon in advance of their 147-pound clash in Macau on Nov. 23 (Nov. 24 in China).
Pacquiao-Rios promoter Top Rank is using VADA for the third time, having employed the organization in March for Bradley’s unanimous-decision victory over Provodnikov, as well as April’s unanimous decision by RING, WBA and WBO titleholder Guillermo Rigondeaux over Nonito Donaire.
DEMETRIUS ANDRADE GEARS UP FOR CLASH OF UNBEATENS VS. VANES MARTIROSYAN
A gifted southpaw who is nicknamed, “Boo Boo,” Andrade, 25, was last in the ring for a unanimous decision over Freddy Hernandez in January, after a streak of four consecutive stoppage victories. In 2007, Andrade captured a gold medal as an amateur at the AIBA World Championships in Chicago.
A resident of Providence, R.I., Andrade can become the first native New Englander to be a titleholder since Massachusetts-born heavyweight John “The Quietman” Ruiz in 2005, as well as the first fighter from Rhode Island to do so since junior middleweight Vinny Pazienza of Cranston, R.I., in 1991.
“I honestly don’t pay attention to anything other than working hard to reach my goal of becoming world champion. Everything else is irrelevant, at least for right now, as I train for my first world title fight,” said Andrade, in a prepared release, from his training camp in Atlanta.
“New England has had a lot of good fighters. I do know I am going to be the first pro world champion from the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team. I just want to show the boxing world that I am the No. 1 light middleweight in the world, and why I will be for years to come. I’m just beginning my legacy. I’m growing in stature, and a lot more people are going to know me after Nov. 9.”
Martirosyan, 27, is coming off a second-round knockout of Ryan Davis in June that followed a draw with Erislandy Lara in November of last year.
Andrade-Martirosyan will be part of an HBO tripleheader airing live from Corpus Christi, Texas, headlined by WBO junior lightweight Roman “Rocky” Martinez’s title defense against RING featherweight champion Mikey Garcia, in addition to a rematch between Donaire and Vic Darchinyan at featherweight.
GOLDEN BOY HAS OCT. 28 SHOW ON FOX SPORTS 1
Manuel Avila (12-0, 4 KOs) and Jose Angel Cota (15-9-1, 11 KOs) will meet in a featherweight main event, and Paul Mendez (14-2-1, 6 KOs) will be in against middleweight rival Louis Rose (8-1, 2 KOs) on an Oct. 28 Fox Sports 1 broadcast from Redwood, Calif.
“This going to be my first time fighting on live TV., but it’s normal. I’m not going to be paying attention to the cameras. I’m just going to get zoned out and do what I have to do,” said Rose, 24, who will be after his third straight win on a show promoted by Golden Boy.
“I’m anxious. There are some butterflies, but I just can’t wait. This will be my first 10-rounder, so I’m pretty sure that his game plan will be to stretch the fight. He’ll try to create some pressure to see if I can handle it, which I can, because I’ve been sparring about 20 rounds a day.”
Photos by K2 Management; Chris Farina-Top Rank
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]