Margarito, “Sugar Shane” Set for Battle

By Francis Walker
Updated: December 12, 2008

Welterweight World Champion Antonio Margarito (left) and Three Division World Champion Sugar Shane Mosley (right) pose on December 9, 2008 at Staples Center in Los Angeles at the press conference to announce their January 24, 2009 world title fight at Staples Center which will be televised live on HBO's World Championship Boxing. Photo Credit: Gene Blevins - Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions

Welterweight World Champion Antonio Margarito (left) and Three Division World Champion Sugar Shane Mosley (right) pose on December 9, 2008 at Staples Center in Los Angeles at the press conference to announce their January 24, 2009 world title fight at Staples Center which will be televised live on HBO's World Championship Boxing. Photo Credit: Gene Blevins - Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions

NEW YORK – WBA welterweight champion Antonio Margarito (37-5, 27 KOs) returns to the boxing ring to defend his crown against former three-division champion, Sugar Shane Mosley (45-5, 38 KOs). The fight will commence live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA on January 24, 2009. HBO will televise.

“Like you all know, I’m ready for any type of fighter and my history has proven it, Margarito said at a recent press conference. “I respect everyone I face and I know Shane is an amazing fighter.”

After his five-year reign as WBO champion ended at the hands of Paul Williams in July 2007, Margarito had a spectacular 2008. The 30 year-old from Tijuana, Mexico won two versions of the world welterweight championship. In April, Margarito scored a repeat knockout of Kermit Cintron for the IBF title in a rematch of their 2005 encounter.

Margarito vacated the IBF crown and followed-up with a career-defining, eleventh round TKO of Miguel Cotto for the WBA title in July.

Mosley himself is coming off a spectacular KO victory in September. With just seconds remaining in the final round, Mosley unleashed a left hook that knocked Ricardo Mayorga out flat on his back at 2:59 of the final round.

Mosley’s knockout of Mayorga was the kind of performance that boxing needed and that catapulted Shane into another world title fight.

“Margarito is a good warrior, this will make for a good fight,” Mosley said.

Three Division World Champion Sugar Shane Mosley (left) and trainer Nazim Richardson (right) pose on December 9, 2008 at Staples Center in Los Angeles at the press conference to announce Mosely's January 24, 2009 world title challenge against Welterweight World Champion Antonio Margarito at Staples Center which will be televised live on HBO's World Championship Boxing. Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Gene Blevins - Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions

Three Division World Champion Sugar Shane Mosley (left) and trainer Nazim Richardson (right) pose on December 9, 2008 at Staples Center in Los Angeles at the press conference to announce Mosely's January 24, 2009 world title challenge against Welterweight World Champion Antonio Margarito at Staples Center which will be televised live on HBO's World Championship Boxing. Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Gene Blevins - Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions

After having won world championships at 135, 147, and 154 pounds, Mosley is the only fighter to have beaten both Oscar De La Hoya and Fernando Vargas twice. Mosley is a future Hall of Fame fighter and a win against Margarito would be icing on a wonderful career.

Throughout Mosley’s life his father Jack was always in is corner as his trainer. Recently, however, Mosley replaced his dad with longtime Bernard Hopkins lead trainer/assistant Nazim Richardson.

It’s a pleasure to work with Sugar Shane, he is an amazing boxer,” Richardson stated. “Throughout history, every ‘Sugar’ has had great battles, Sugar Ray had his and now Sugar Shane will have his,” Richardson said.

It will be interesting to see what changes to Mosley’s style he can implement in order to deal with Margarito’s devastating body attack and relentless pressure. Mosley is 37 years of age and is seven years older than Margarito. Can Mosley sustain Margarito’s forward attack and put forth another memorable performance.

Demetrius Hopkins replaces Ricardo Torres in world title fight

Undefeated junior welterweight prospect Demetrius Hopkins received a pleasant surprise this week. While preparing for a bout against Germaine Saunders, Hopkins (28-0, 11 KOs) was informed that Ricardo Torres pulled out of his highly anticipated third fight against WBO 140-pound champion Kendall Holt (24-2, 13 >KOs).

“Torres really wanted to fight but he was ill during camp, missed some training and was not in the condition he needed to be in for a war like this,” said Bruce Trampler, chief matchmaker for Top Rank.

Hopkins is the nephew of former undisputed world middleweight champion turned light-heavyweight Bernard Hopkins. Demetrius jumped on the opportunity to fight Holt for a chance to win his first world title.

Holt vs. Hopkins will be the featured 12-round main event attraction of the critically acclaimed “ShoBox: The New Generation” series on Saturday, December 13, at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ. In the co-featured bout, unbeaten Yuri Foreman (26-0, 8 KOs) battles James Moore (16-1, 10 KOs) in a 10-round super welterweight bout. Showtime will televise the doubleheader beginning at 11 PM/ET.

“This is a fight that he has wanted for a long time,” Hopkins manager Cameron Dunkin said in a statement. “His first world title fight; we have wanted this for a long time. I am excited and proud that he will get the chance on Saturday. This is what we’ve been waiting for.”

Hopkins’ career has been plagued by inactivity and a strained relationship with his uncle. The two have reportedly been at odds on a number of different issues and barely communicate with one another. Bernard doesn’t speak about Demetrius and vice versa.

A victory against Holt will allow Demetrius to step out away from the background and establish his own identity as a fighter.

The bout will be in Holt’s hometown of Atlantic City, NJ, but Hopkins’ native Philadelphia, PA is only miles away. Holt will have the crowd behind him, but Hopkins will have his supporters in attendance as well.

Wladimir Klitschko vs. Hasim Rahman

IBF/WBO and unrecognized IBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko defends his titles on December 13, in Mannheim, Germany against Hasim Rahman. Can Rahman pull off another upset?

IBF/WBO and unrecognized IBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko defends his titles on December 13, in Mannheim, Germany against Hasim Rahman. Can Rahman pull off another upset?

The IBF/WBO and unrecognized IBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko (51-3, 45 KOs) defends his titles against Hasim Rahman (45-6-2, 36 KOs) at the SAP Arena in Manheim, Germany. HBO will televise beginning at 4:45 PM/ET along with the HBO Pay-Per-View replay of Manny Pacquiao’s technical mastery and dominance against Oscar De La Hoya last week.

Klitschko, 32, Ukraine, will be making the sixth defense of the heavyweight championship since he defeated Chris Byrd (KO 7) for the IBF title in April 2004. Since then, Klitschko has avenged a loss to Lamon Brewster (TKO 7), handed Calvin Brock and Sultan Ibragimov the first defeat of their careers, and won the WBO title in the process.

In Klitschko’s last bout in July, he knocked out WBO No. 1-ranked Tony Thompson in the eleventh round.

Klitschko will have his hands full with Rahman, a two-time world heavyweight champion. Rahman, 36, Baltimore, MD, is best-known for his shocking upset, a one-punch KO in the fifth round against Lennox Lewis in South Africa in April 2001.