A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
Porter to defend IBF crown against ‘Magic Man’
When Bernard Hopkins and Bebuit Shumenov fight to unify the IBF/WBA light-heavyweight championships, ‘Kid Chocolate’ Peter Quillin and Lucas Konecny would have already decided their battle for the WBO middleweight title. However, prior to Quillin vs. Konecny, undefeated IBF welterweight champion Shawn Porter (23-0, 14 KOs) would have already fought former two-division titlist Paulie ‘The Magic Man’ Malignaggi (33-5, 7 KOs).
“History at the Capitol” will be made when Hopkins vs. Shumenov, Quillin vs.Konecny, and Porter vs. Malignaggi will compile for a massive SHOWTIME Championship Boxing tripleheader from The Armory in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, April 19.
While Hopkins will attempt to become the oldest fighter in history to unify world titles, and Quillin will take one additional step closer toward making himself a household name, Shawn Porter will attempt to show everyone that he has a bright future as a professional world champion.
Porter was an unrecognizable, undefeated prospect until the night of December 7, 2013 when he wrestled the IBF 147-pound title away from Devon Alexander. Porter displayed the type of heart and determination that a lot of fighters fail to exhibit. Although he fought Alexander as an undefeated fighter, Porter knew that was his only chance at winning a world title and it was important for him to fight as hard as he could.
“That was my mentality and that is my mentality,” Porter said. “I’ve been bred that way, I’ve been trained that way my whole life. I’ve always been taught to be hungry, be aggressive, and not to allow someone to get comfortable in the ring, and that’s going to always be my mentality against whoever it is I’m going to be fighting.”
Alexander entered the fight as the better and more accomplished boxer. Alexander, having shared the ring with WBO welterweight champion Timothy Bradley, Randall Bailey, Lucas Matthysse, Marcos Rene Maidana, Junior Witter, Juan Urango, and DeMarcus Corley, has looked increasingly atrocious in recent performances.
Porter took full advantage of Alexander’s ineptness by displaying the type of resolve and ambition that Alexander had when he defeated Junior Witter and Juan Urango in separate fights to once unify the WBC/IBF junior welterweight titles.
“Winning this IBF title hasn’t changed me one bit, especially not as a person, but it hasn’t changed anything around me either,” Porter said. “I still live with my dad, we still train hard every day, and I still have the same team that I’ve had for the last ‘X’ amount of years. It’s still tight, it’s still small and we’re going to keep it that way. We know what it took to get to this championship and we know that that worked, and so we don’t want to change anything and make anything different.”
Porter will have his hands full against a resurgent Paulie Malignaggi. In 2013, Malignaggi, in defense of the WBA welterweight title, dropped a controversial 12-round split decision against Adrien Broner last June at the Barclays Center. Malignaggi returned to the Barclays Center (the same night and location of Porter’s epic victory over Alexander) in December to outbox Zab Judah in a highly-anticipated crossroads fight labeled ‘The Battle of Brooklyn’ at the Barclays Center.
“I felt like I did enough to not lose my title, to hold onto my title,” Malignaggi said. “I do think it was a close fight, but I did feel like I did enough to hold onto my title. Like I said, I think in the end, at the end of the day, that fight was always going to be used as a filler to fill Adrien’s bullshit resume, which is what it is pretty much if you look at it as a whole. But at the end of the day it didn’t go my way and I’m not going to sit there crying over it or to go back at it. And I think I’ve made my points about the fight, and we go on and we move on.”
Malignaggi has fought some of the best of his era: Judah, Broner, Miguel Cotto, Amir Khan, Ricky Hatton, Lovermore N’dou, and Juan Diaz. At his absolute best, Paulie is one of the fastest and flashiest fighters around. Paulie makes up for his lack of power with speed and movement.
Porter isn’t at all worried about Malignaggi’s speed or athleticism. Porter believes that what Paulie does, he does it better.
“I’ve watched Paulie,” Porter said. “I’ve seen what he can do. I’ve seen it before; I’ve been against it. And like he says, it’s just a matter of being smart, making adjustments: he’s quick, I’m quicker; he’s fast, I’m faster; he works hard, I’m going to work harder than him. I’m going to keep my title.”
The SHOWTIME Championship Boxing telecast will begin at 9 pm ET/PT. Tickets, priced at $25, $50, $75, $200 and $300, are on sale now and available online at www.ticketmaster.com, and calling Ticketmaster (800) 745-3000. The DC Armory Box Office will be open on fight night only from 3 p.m.-10 p.m. ET.
DiBella Entertainment press release
DiBella Entertainment (DBE) will return to the historic BB King Blues Club & Grill in midtown Manhattan for another edition of its popular Broadway Boxing series. The eight-bout card will feature a number of DBE’s most promising up-and-coming talent.
Fighting in one of the eight-round feature bouts will be Ecuardor’s world-rated junior welterweight Erick Bone (13-1, 7KO’s) making his US debut when he takes on perennial contender and Bronx’s popular Francisco Figueroa (20-6-1, 13KO’s). The 25-year-old WBC/WBA #15-rated Bone had a very active 2013, fighting seven times over the course of the year. The lone loss on Bone’s record came at the hands of WBA #6-rated undefeated contender Alberto Mosquera (21-0-2, 14KO’s) via 12-round split decision. The crowd-pleasing Bone bounced back after the defeat, picking up a 10-round unanimous decision victory, and earlier this year he decided to relocate to the US, looking to become a force in the loaded 140lb. division.
Making his official DBE debut will be newly signed junior lightweight prospect Bryant “Peewee” Cruz (9-0, 5KO’s), as the Westchester County-native prepares to make it to the 10-0 mark as a professional when he challenges the game veteran Willshaun Boxley in a six-round junior lightweight matchup. Cruz, who officially signed an exclusive promotional contract earlier this week with DBE and New Legend Boxing, was a finalist at the 2012 National Golden Gloves. As a pro, he has quickly become one of the biggest draws in New York thanks in part to his backing by Westchester County’s most popular restaurant/bar chains (Mickey, Molly and Maggie Spillane’s). Cruz turned pro in December 2012 and fought eight times in his first full professional year. He is coming off his most impressive victory to date, a six-round unanimous in an absolute war over once-beaten Joshua Reyes. Cruz is looking to continue his winning ways and being moving himself into the national spotlight, but he must first get by the tough Boxley.
Hailed as a “boxing prodigy” by the New York Times when he was just 10 years old, the now 18-year-old phenom Junior “Sugar Boy” Younan is gearing up to secure his fourth consecutive win since turning pro in 2013. The skill level of the former #1-rated U.S. amateur and nine-time national amateur champion is way beyond his youth. With devastating power and lightning-quick hands, Younan has all the tools to become an absolute superstar in boxing one day. His career is being guided by the same management team as top pound-for-pounder Andre Ward. This blue-chip prospect has yet to even see the two-minute mark of the very first round. Younan is set to take on an opponent TBA in a four-round super middleweight matchup.
Also seeing action on the card in separate bouts will be DBE’s highly regarded undefeated lightweight prospects, Louis Cruz (6-0, 4KO’s) and Shemuel Pagan (4-0, 1KO). Cruz will face Tony Walker (5-3-1, 3KO’s) in a six-round lightweight matchup, while Pagan challenges James Gooding in a bout scheduled for four rounds.
Both former NY Golden Gloves champions are truly two of the bright young stars on the DBE roster. Cruz also competed at the 2012 US Olympic qualifiers and was the 2011 National Golden Gloves runner-up before successfully turning pro in the summer of 2012. The 23-year-old Bronx-native was a perfect 4-0 in 2013 and in his first bout of 2014, on January 31, Cruz scored his second consecutive highlight-reel knockout. Cruz is hoping for yet another impressive performance when he takes on Walker next Thursday night.
Winning the NY Golden Gloves once is an impressive feat. Winning it five times is something not many fighters even dream about. But that is exactly what the Brooklyn-native Pagan did during his amateur days. Nicknamed “The Chosen One”, Pagan was as promising a prospect to come out of the New York boxing scene in many, many years when he turned pro in 2010. Pagan quickly moved to 2-0 but then was forced to step away from the ring to nurse some nagging injuries. Pagan returned to the ring in 2013, signing with DBE and 50 Cent’s SMS Promotions and has looked very good in each of his two outings, winning back-to-back shutout decisions. A 2008 US Olympic team alternate, the 25-year-old Pagan is looking to continue his winning ways when he takes on the Florida-native Gooding.
Making his New York debut will be talented featherweight Kiun Evans (7-0, 5KO’s) as he squares off against Pedro Toledo (2-1-1) in a six-round featherweight matchup. The 21-year-old Arkansas-native last saw action on DBE’s January 17ShoBox undercard and was very impressive, handing out a vicious beating to his opponent Jesus Lule, before eventually knocking out Lule out in the fourth round of their scheduled six-rounder.
Rounding out the card will be Ryan Gamache (2-0, 1KO) taking on Ryan Picou in a four-round welterweight matchup. The 28-year-old Gamache, the nephew of former world champion and now top-trainer Joey Gamache, will be returning to the ring after successfully turning pro 10 years ago at just 18 years of age.
Tickets for the event are priced at $125, $100 and $75. The $55 general admission seats are already completely sold out. Tables are also available for purchase for this event, with VIP Tables going for $1,000 per table (5 seats at $200 per seat), Ringside Tables for $500 (5 seats at $100), and $375 tables (5 seats at $75). Tickets are available for purchase by calling the DiBella Entertainment office at (212) 947-2577. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with the first bout scheduled for 7:00 p.m.