BASN’s Boxing Roundup

By Francis Walker
Updated: August 1, 2008

GlovesNEW YORK — Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins will be in New York next week to officially announce his very intriguing fight with WBC/WBO middleweight champion Kelly “The Ghost” Pavlik. The two have agreed to a catch-weight bout of 170 pounds and Pavlik’s titles will not be on the line.

Hopkins (48-5-1, 32 KOs) vs. Pavlik (34-0, 30 KOs) will be televised live on HBO Pay-Per-View on Saturday, October 18, boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ.

Hopkins, arguably one of the greatest middleweight champions in boxing history made a record twenty successful title defenses of his crown. Hopkins became the first fighter to unify the WBC/WBA and IBF 160-pound titles since Marvelous Marvin Hagler when he knocked out Felix Trinidad in the final round of the World Middleweight Championship series in 2001.

Hopkins also became the first fighter to unify the WBC, WBA, IBF, and WBO championships in any weight division when he stopped Oscar De La Hoya on a body shot in 2004.

Hopkins’ best days could very well be behind him. In 2005, Hopkins’ middleweight dominance ended after losing two consecutive decisions to Jermain Taylor.

It was Taylor, whom Pavlik beat to win the middleweight championships last year. Pavlik survived a second-round knockdown to knockout Taylor in the seventh round. Pavlik would beat Taylor again by decision in a catch-weight bout of 166 lbs.

Hopkins will be coming off a 12-round split decision loss to Joe Calzaghe in April. He’s 43 fighting an unbeaten 26 year-old in Pavlik, who starched overmatched mandatory challenger Gary Lockett (KO 3) in June.

Melvina Lathan makes history

Ms. Melvina Lathan was honored at the Harlem PAL in Manhattan last week because, she became the first woman to have been appointed Chairperson of the New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC). Ms. Lathan was appointed to the position by New York State Governor David Paterson. Ms. Lathan replaces Chairman Ron Scott Stevens.

“They just wanted to do something special because I am the first woman (who happens to be Black) to ever hold this position,” Ms. Lathan said.

Ms. Lathan, who is also the first African-American licensed boxing judge, is also a New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame inductee. Her involvement in boxing spans for two decades. Ms. Lathan also travels the country and conducts seminars as to how to judge a boxing match correctly.

Ms. Lathan is a very professional and active member of the boxing community. Throughout her career Ms. Lathan has had to walk a straight-narrow line and it has not been easy. Ms. Lathan’s every step and every syllable that has left her mouth was closely monitored.

It didn’t matter because Ms. Lathan was always professional in her persona and always treated people with respect. Whenever necessary, Ms. Lathan can be very firm because she is the real thing.

As the new Chairperson of NYSAC, Ms. Lathan will face opposition. She will be closely, but carelessly monitored by critics. It’s not going to matter because, Ms. Lathan’s ability analyze and make solid decisions is very credible.

Boxers help to KO poverty

A group of African boxers, along with boxing promoter Bob Duffy of Ring Promotions, will come together in an attempt to KO Poverty in Africa. The event billed as “KnockOut Poverty” will commence on Tuesday, September 23, at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York.

“KnockOut Poverty” is a groundbreaking event to help fight poverty in Africa. Grammy Award-winning, UN Goodwill Ambassador Youssou N’Dour and company will be scheduled to perform. Proceeds from the evening’s festivities help benefit the “All For Africa” charitable organization.

“I’m honored to be working on such an important fundraiser,” Duffy said in a recent statement. “We’re just involved in the boxing portion of the event, but we’re going to have some of Africa’s best homegrown talent in action September 23rd.”

The card will feature African fighters like Ghana’s Ossie Duran (23-6-1, 9 KOs), from Ghana, Kenya’s Evans “African Warrior” Ashir (29-3, 15 KOs), Nigerian Eromosele “Bad Boy” Albert, Togo’s Jaffa Ballagou (45-6, 39 KOs), and Cameroon’s Manu Ntoh (17-14-1, 10 KOs.

Mora vs. Forrest 2 set

The rematch between WBC junior middleweight champion Sergio Mora (21-0, 5 KOs) and Vernon Forrest (40-3, 29 KOs) will commence on Mexican Independence Day weekend.

Mora-Forrest will be the co-featured attraction to Juan Manuel Marquez’ HBO Pay-Per-View bout with Joel Casamayor on September 13, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NV. The suggested retail price is $49.95.

It will be Mora’s first defense of the WBC 154-pound championship he won from Forrest, who is also a former world welterweight champion. Mora, winner of the inaugural season of the reality show the “The Contender,” simply outhustled Forrest through twelve rounds when they fought in April.

All three judges scored the bout — for Mora.

“Even though I won the championship from Vernon in June, I know that my claim as a champion will not be solidified until I beat him again, so I’m very excited about this fight,” Mora said in a recent statement.

“I will leave no doubts as to who the best 154 pound fighter in the world is on September 13th, and if Vernon thinks he can beat me on Mexican Independence Day weekend, then I obviously hit him even harder than I thought in our first fight.”

Forrest, who holds two consecutive wins over Sugar Shane Mosley in 2002, also has victories against former world champions Ike Quartey, Juan Carlso Baldomir, and Vince Phillips. Mora became the first fighter to have defeated Forrest in five years when in 2003 Ricardo Mayorga both KO’d and outpointed Forrest in consecutive fights.

Forrest launched in incredible comeback following the two shocking losses to Mayorga. In 2005, Forrest returned from a two-year layoff after having two surgically repaired shoulders.

Forrest had won five consecutive fights that included as a world championship by defeating Baldomir (W 12). Forrest also earned the most exciting knockout victory of his career, an eleventh round stoppage of Michelle Piccirillo in December.

Forrest will be fighting Mora for something that he felt shouldn’t have lost — a world championship.

“I respect Mora and give him all the credit in the world for his win in our first fight, but on September 13th, he will see the real Vernon Forrest,” said Forrest. “I’m gonna warn him now that I will win this fight and I’m not leaving it up to the judges this time.”

The end of the road for Castillo

One of the most exciting fighters in boxing, Jose Luis Castillo has reached the end of a terrific career. On ESPN’s Wednesday Night Fights, Castillo (56-9-1, 48 KOs) dropped a 10-round decision to Sebastian Andres Lujan (30-5-2, 20 KOs). The judges’ scores: 99-91 (twice) and 98-92. Lujan also threw more than 1200 punches, as Castillo looked like a shot fighter.

During the course of Castillo’s career he will best be remembered for his two wars with Diego Corrales in 2005.

Their first fight was one of the most amazing battles ever seen. It was a brutal fight in which a badly hurt Corrales came from out of nowhere to stop Castillo in the tenth round.

The rematch was marred in controversy, as Castillo weighed in more than 3 ½ pounds of the 135-pound lightweight limit. Corrales agreed to move forward with the rematch after Corrales was heavily fined.

Castillo, who appeared to be very strong, knocked Corrales out in the fourth round. The two were supposed to have fought a third time, but Castillo, once again couldn’t make the 135-pound limit. Castillo’s weight problems would signal the beginning of his end.

Castillo moved up in weight last year to campaign as a junior welterweight. He won a controversial split decision against Herman Ngoudjo before getting knocked out by the unbeaten Ricky Hatton.

Castillo challenged Floyd

Castillo, a former WBC lightweight champion, won the title following a surprising 12-round decision against Stevie Johnson in June 2000. Three months later, Castillo would fight Johnston to a disputed draw following a recalculation one judge’s scorecard that inadvertently had Johnston the winner.

Castillo would lose the lightweight title in his third defense to Floyd Mayweather, Jr. in April 2002. Some would argue that it was the closest Mayweather was to defeat. Some would argue that Mayweather lost the first bout with Castillo. In December 2002, Mayweather would win a repeated unanimous decision.

Castillo has also defeated Joel Casamayor, Juan Lazcano, and Julio Diaz.