Saturday, December 02, 2023  |



Lem’s latest: Garcia-Martinez on Nov. 9? Roach fires Ariza

Fighters Network


Negotiations are ongoing for a Nov. 9 junior lightweight bout between RING featherweight champion Mikey Garcia and WBO beltholder Roman “Rocky” Martinez, Top Rank CEO Bob Arum and WBO President Paco Valcarcel informed

Garcia (32-0, 27 knockouts) is the WBO’s mandatory challenger to face Martinez (30-1-1, 20 KOs), who is coming off a split-decision victory over previously unbeaten Diego Magdaleno in April, which followed a split draw with Juan Carlos Burgos in January.

Valcarcel said that the bout is being discussed by Arum and Top Rank President Carl Moretti, both representing Garcia, and Martinez’s promoter, Peter Rivera, of Puerto Rico’s P.R. Best Promotions.

“They’re negotiating for early November,” said Valcarcel. “The mandatory for Martinez is due in September, and that mandatory is Mikey Garcia.”

Arum said that a venue still is being determined.

“We’re waiting for the basketball schedules and the hockey schedules to finalize,” said Arum. “We can’t get that date in certain arenas until we know. But it will take place in the United States.”

A 25-year-old Mexican-American boxer-puncher from Oxnard, Calif., Garcia, 25, is coming off January’s eighth-round technical decision over Orlando Salido, which was followed by June’s fourth-round stoppage of former titleholder Juan Manuel Lopez.

Garcia was overweight prior to his contracted 126-pound bout with Lopez, costing him his WBO belt at the scales.


Trainer Freddie Roach has announced the firing of strength and conditioning guru Alex Ariza in advance of Manny Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 KOs) facing rising junior welterweight Brandon Rios (31-1, 23 KOs) on Nov. 24 in Macau (Nov. 23 in the western hemisphere).

“I had a discussion with Manny and I told him that I had a lot of trouble working with Alex, because he was always trying to do everyone else’s job,” said Roach, according to Yahoo!Sports.

“I told him that Miguel Diaz had told me he would not work with Manny as his cutman if Ariza was around. As I said, he wanted to do everyone’s job but his own. I told Manny it was hard for us to work with him. Manny said, ‘You’re the boss. You hired him.’ When he said that, I fired him.”

Ariza defended himself in a subsequent report by Yahoo!Sports.

“My fiancee is real good friends with Jinkee, Manny’s wife, and she said that Freddie had been complaining about this, that and the other for the last couple of weeks, so it wasn’t a surprise. It didn’t come as too much of a shock,” said Ariza to Yahoo!Sports.

“Because over the course of the last couple of fights, obviously, Freddie and I were having differences of opinion on how to train Manny. After [Roach was] nagging him too much, I’m sure Manny felt he didn’t need that much disarray in the camp. That’s OK. But I don’t work for Freddie and I haven’t in a couple of years.”


Lightweight contender Denis Shafikov (32-0-1, 17 KOs) of Russia, who signed a deal with Top Rank last month, will face Santos Benavides (23-3-2, 17 KOs) on the Aug. 17 card headlined by Juan DiazAdailton de Jesus in Laredo, Tex., according to

Shafikov last fought in March, dominating Ali Rahimov before a couple of deliberate punches below the belt got Rahimov disqualified in the 11th round.

It was the Russian’s 135-pound debut after campaigning mostly at junior welterweight prior to the victory over Rahimov. He holds wins over Albert Mensah, Brunet Zamora, and Lee McAllister among others.


A third bout between female flyweights Yesenia Gomez (6-2, 3 KOs) and Arely Valente, (11-1, 6 KOs) has been added to the Aug. 17 Golden Boy card previously reported by RingTV featuring Mexican junior lightweight Sergio Thompson (27-2, 25 KOs ) against WBC beltholder Takashi Miura (25-2-2, 19 KOs).

Gomez was 1-2 following a four-round unanimous decision loss to Valente in April of last year. Since then, however, Gomez has won five consecutive bouts, three of them by first-round stoppage.

The run by Gomez also includes a 10-round unanimous decision triumph over Valente in their March rematch.

The card, being held in Cancun and promoted by Golden Boy, will also feature female Filipino featherweight Ana Julaton (12-3-1, 2 KOs). Featured in an earlier story by’s Mark Ortega, Julaton will meet Mexico’s Celina Salazar (3-1-2, 1 KO).

Also expected to be part of the card, according to Golden Boy matchmaker Robert Diaz, could be junior lightweight Adan Mares (9-0, 3 KOs), who is the younger brother of RING No. 5-rated pound-for-pound and WBC featherweight titleholder Abner Mares.

Doors open at 6 p.m. CT, with the initial bout beginning at 6:30. The Televisa broadcast will air in Mexico on Channel 5 beginning at 10:30 p.m. CT, with the FOX Deportes broadcast airing at 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT in the United States.

Photo by Naoki Fukuda

Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]