BASN Boxing Notebook: De La Hoya-Mayweather Sets Stage For Others

By Francis Walker
Updated: May 1, 2007

NEW YORK — An incredible super fight between Oscar De La Hoya and unbeaten Floyd Mayweather could perhaps re-energize the entire sport of boxing. There will be a number of high profile and quality fights preceding “De La Hoya vs. Mayweather: The World Awaits,” in the coming days.

The action has already started. Last Saturday, Juan Diaz (32-0, 16 KOs ) defeated Acelino Freitas (38-2, 32 KOs) to unify the WBO/WBA lightweight championships at Foxwoods in.

Mashantucket, CT.

“In the people’s eyes once you have all the belts you’re a true champion,” Diaz said afterwards.

Diaz, the young 23-year-old from Houston, was making the sixth defense of the WBA 130-pound title he won in November of 2004. Freitas, making the first defense of the WBO title he won last year, competed in his 14th and (perhaps final) world title fight.

What quickly developed into an action-packed slugfest between a pair of world champions ended in round eight. Diaz, who pressed much of the action, emerged victorious when Freitas quit on his stool before the start of the ninth round.

In the fifth, Diaz, not recognized for his punching power, hurt Freitas against the ropes with several left hooks to his head. Freitas clinched Diaz twice to survive the round.

Both Diaz and Freitas continued to pound each other as they did from the opening bell in round one. Both Diaz and Freitas connected with solid left and right hooks from the inside. However, it was Diaz who pressed Freitas against the ropes and landed more effective and accurate punches.

Freitas, 31 from Brazil, became a star in his native country after building a 100% knockout percentage in his first 29 professional fights. The punching power that was present when Freitas fought opponents he could simply beat up was withstood by Diaz.

Diaz put a dent in Freitas confidence by rocking him with a flurry of punches in both the seventh and eighth rounds. Aside from applying pressure and keeping his opponent against the ropes, Diaz pummeled Freitas in a corner on two occasions in the seventh. Diaz’s left hand counters landed flush on the head, staggering, and nearly knocking Freitas onto the canvas in the eighth.

As soon as Freitas returned to his corner, he did not want to continue fighting. This is not the first occasion that Freitas has quit. He was criticized heavily after quitting in the 10th round of his fight against Diego Corrales in August of 2004.

Gary Stark, Jr. Returns To Broadway

Three nights prior to De La Hoya-Mayweather, DiBella Entertainment’s “Broadway Boxing” series returns to the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City on Wednesday. Gary Stark, Jr. (18-1, 8 KOs) will be featured in the main event against super bantamweight Andres Ledesma (13-5-1, 8 KOs).

“I was a little depressed,” Stark said in a recent statement. “I have good people around me like my father, my manager Ben Cognetta, and a lot of people came to my aid and lifted my spirits.”

“My promoter, Lou DiBella gave me good advice and was by my side. He told me: Keep your head up, Kid, you are going to be a champion one day, you are one of my best fighters. That kept my sprits up, I said maybe I can do this boxing thing.”

In February, Stark suffered his first professional loss following a controversial 12-round decision to Mike Oliver. Everyone (accept for the three Oklahoma judges) who saw the fight believed that Stark had won.

“Even though people thought I won the fight, when I look at my record, I still have a loss at the end of the day,” Stark said. “They can say that I didn’t really lose, but everyone else can go to sleep, but to me it messes up my bank account.”

“This is a business. I want to live in a nice house, drive a nice car, those people can go to sleep, but I cannot two back to back. So I am training very hard so that it won’t happen again.”

“Broadway Boxing” will also feature James “Buddy” McGirt, Jr., the son of former world welterweight champion Buddy McGirt, Sr., McGirt, Jr. (14-0, 8 KOs) will be featured in a super middleweight fight against Brad Austin (8-2, 5 KOs). Junior middleweight James Moore will also be on the card.

Junior Welterweight Prospect Makes Broadway Debut

Junior welterweight prospect Juliano Ramos will fight for the first time under the DiBella Entertainment banner on Wednesday, at the Hammerstein. Ramos, 27, Sorocaba, Brazil anxiously awaits the opportunity to fight Priest Small in a six-rounder.

“I am so happy and thankful for this opportunity to work with DiBella Entertainment,” Ramos said. “They were at the top of my list from the start, my number one choice. I am very happy to be with them. I have been working very hard in the gym to be ready to fight.”

“Now, I will work even harder to show my appreciation to them for this opportunity. There are a lot of talented, tough fighters in my division, but my goal is to work hard and learn every day from my trainer, and when given the opportunity, I will do everything I can to win a world title.”

Ramos was referring to the deep waters of talent between 140 and 147: Ricky Hatton, Jose Luis Castillo, Junior Witter, Demetrius Hopkins, Kendall Holt, Lovemore N’dou, and DiBella’s own Paul Maliginaggi are just some of the top junior welterweights in the world.

These are just some of the many other great fighters above their weight class including Shane Mosley, Zab Judah, Miguel Cotto, Antonio Margarito, Paul Williams, Joshua Clottey, and Arturo Gatti to name a few.

Boxing Picks Up Its Pace

In the weeks following De La Hoya-Mayweather, rival promoters Lou DiBella, Bob Arum, and Leon Margules will put their fighters in what hopefully will result into world middleweight championship elimination.

Jermain Taylor defends his unified WBC/WBO middleweight championship against Cory Spinks, the IBF junior middleweight champion on May 19 in Memphis , TN. The winner should meet the winner of an exciting middleweight title elimination between Edison Miranda and unbeaten Kelly Pavlik.

Miranda has staked (or rather talked) Taylor during the last several months. First, he must beat Pavlik, who perhaps maybe a better boxer and more solid puncher than “Pantera.”

Miranda says that Taylor is running scared and labels him a “coward.” But it could be Miranda (or Pavlik) who’s on the floor and may never receive an opportunity to fight Taylor .

In June, Shannon Briggs makes the first defense of his WBO heavyweight championship when he meets unbeaten southpaw, Sultan Ibragimov on June 2, at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City , NJ .

The following week on June 9, at Madison Square Garden will be electric. Undefeated two-division champion, Miguel Cotto defends his WBA welterweight championship against Zab Judah .

Also, heavyweight champions Wladimir Klitschko (IBF) and Oleg Maskaev (WBC) are scheduled for tough title defenses this summer. On July 7th, Klitschko will make the third defense of his championship against the man who defeated him several years ago, Lamon Brewster in Cologne , Germany .

Maskaev will have a tough mandatory defense against WBC No. 1-ranked, Sam Peter in August. The winner will meet “Champion Emeritus,” Vitali Klitschko.

HBO Sports will broadcast a rare split-site triple header on Saturday, July 14. Arturo Gatti will have his career-ending farewell final in Atlantic City. Gatti will face “The Contender” television show contestant Alfonso Gomez in a 10-round fight. Gatti will be trained by former rival Micky Ward. Kermit Cintron defends the IBF welterweight championship against Walter Matthysse.

The third fight, televised from the West Coast, will feature Antonio Margarito’s highly anticipated mandatory defense against unbeaten Paul Williams.

For a sport that many critics believe is dying, Boxing is alive and doing well.