Monday, March 20, 2023  |



Bits & Pieces: Hunter opines on boxing, Matthysse, Ward-Rodriguez


2012 Trainer of the Year Virgil Hunter was in attendance at last Saturday’s megafight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Saul Alvarez, and RingTV caught up with him about a variety of subjects.

Hunter has been a staunch defender of the sweet science as opposed to slugfests, which is perhaps evident in the way star pupil Andre Ward has climbed to the top of many pound-for-pound lists underneath Mayweather.

Hunter was quick to point out the manner in which Mayweather and Danny Garcia won their fights on Saturday night.

“It’s funny how people keep talking about these fan-friendly fights, these toe-to-toe fights. It don’t work when you’re at the top level,” said Hunter about the main and co-main event.

“My hat goes off to Danny Garcia. I knew he was gonna win. I have my own personal feelings about Matthysse, based on some experiences I had, so I’m glad they went through all the testing protocols, and he didn’t seem to have the same oomph. It was just a good night of boxing.”

Hunter was undoubtedly talking about when he trained Mike Dallas Jr. against Matthysse back in January and a controversy broke out in the locker room prior to the fight when the Argentine digested a pill that was identified by his team as Amino 4500, a legal supplement.

Hunter went on to point out that it is fighters like Mayweather who are making the serious money as well as extending their careers into their late thirties as opposed to guys who get hit a lot.

“It just shows you what boxing can do to so-called punchers,” said Hunter.

“That’s what it’s all about. You have a man making all this money at 36 years old, didn’t even take a hard blow to the head all night. That’s what boxing is all about. As soon as all these young fighters get ahold of that and realize their careers are at stake, learn the art of boxing, you’ll go a long way.”

Hunter was then asked whether or not he expects Alvarez, who at 23 years old was facing the biggest draw in the sport, to bounce back quickly and whether or not he is still a viable name to help carry the sport into the next decade.

“He’s got a country behind him,” said Hunter.

“If he didn’t have a country behind him, they wouldn’t be saying that. Andre Ward is the best fighter period next to Floyd, but he doesn’t have a country behind him. Any fighter with a country behind him will be able to help carry the sport.”

Ward, the 2004 Olympic gold medalist and current RING super middleweight champion, has tentatively come to terms to face Edwin Rodriguez on Nov. 16.

“Personally, I would have like to see him take another fight but I don’t have no complaints,” said Hunter on the fight. “Let it be Edwin Rodriguez.”

Hunter was then asked about the possibility of Ward facing hardcore boxing darling Gennady Golovkin in the future.

“I think those plans are maybe a year and a half, maybe two years away,” said Hunter.

“Maybe we’ll still be in the super middleweight division, maybe we won’t. I think they have other plans. I think they plan to compete in the middleweight division.”

In the meantime, Ward isn’t struggling to make the 168-pound weight limit but his trainer does see a move to light heavyweight at some point.

“[Making 168 is] very easy, when it’s time to go to light heavyweight, we’ll go. But it’s not time yet.”

Vargas opponent named for Oct. 11

Welterweight contender Jesse Vargas (22-0, 9 knockouts) was the standby guy when problems arose during the negotiations for Timothy Bradley’s Oct. 12 pay-per-view clash with Juan Manuel Marquez earlier this year. If terms weren’t met, Vargas could have been the one who got the call to fight on that date.

Now that Marquez-Bradley has been a go for awhile, Vargas will instead fight the day before at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, the same site where Bradley and Marquez will do battle.

According to Vargas, he will take on veteran Ray Narh (26-3, 21 KOs) in the ten-round main event that will be televised on UniMas. The co-feature will pit junior featherweight blue-chip prospect Jesse Magdaleno (16-0, 12 KOs) against Raul Hidalgo (19-9, 14 KOs).

Narh has lost two of his last three, most recently in August as he was TKO’d in the seventh round by Ray Robinson for a regional welterweight belt.

It will be Vargas’ first fight since his HBO Boxing After Dark victory in March over a then-unbeaten Wale Omotoso, who was cut by Top Rank just a few weeks ago.

Vargas says a victory could lead to a potential HBO return in December.

Mayfield gets new opponent in Top Rank debut Sept. 28

Junior welterweight contender Karim Mayfield, of San Francisco, will face a new opponent in his Top Rank debut next Saturday on the untelevised undercard of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. against Bryan Vera, which will air on HBO.

Late substitute Christopher Fernandez (21-15-1, 13 KOs) will be the new opponent, replacing Pavel Miranda. Fernandez, of Salt Lake City, Utah, is riding a two-fight win streak after losing eight of his previous nine fights.

Mayfield (17-0-1, 10 KOs) is hoping a victory could secure him a shot at a title, perhaps in Macau against WBA titlist Khabib Allakhverdiev if things go well.

Mayfield is coming off his HBO debut last October, when he won a unanimous decision over battle-tested Mauricio Herrera as part of an HBO Boxing After Dark tripleheader.