DSH Boxing Notebook: Andre Ward's injury, sneak peeks at Bradley-Rios and Cotto-Canelo

November 7, 2015

This week's version of The Daily Sports Herald's Boxing Notebook examines some upcoming November fights and provides the latest information on the career of boxing star Andre Ward. Take a look:

Andre Ward cancels November bout after knee injury

One of the best boxing cards of the year became a little less interesting after Roc Nation Sports announced this week that Andre Ward (28-0, 15 KOs) will be unable to participate in his November 21 bout at the Mandalay Events Center in Las Vegas due to a knee injury sustained while training.

Ward's mobility has been significantly restricted because of inflammation and constant pain in his right knee. He has been advised by his physician to immediately rest and begin rehabilitation on the knee to reduce the inflammation.

“I’m extremely disappointed that I’m missing this opportunity on November 21, but at the same time, I’m encouraged,” said Ward. “Anytime I have had a minor or major setback in my career, by the Grace of God, I’ve come back stronger and this will be no different. I’m looking forward to a big 2016. Thank you to all my fans for your support and patience.”

Ward, who essentially cleaned out the 168-pound division several years ago, was scheduled to fight at light heavyweight on the undercard of the Miguel Cotto-Canelo Alvarez mega-bout.  The HBO Pay-Per-View event is currently looking for a replacement bout now that Ward is out of the mix.

What this means is that a potential showdown with champion Sergey Kovalev will have to be pushed back until Ward gets healthy and gets at least a fight or two under his belt at this new weight class.

After his career was put on hold for several years due to shoulder problems and discord with his prior promoter, Ward, 31, had recently signed an exclusive multi-fight agreement with HBO that would have commenced with his November 21 bout.

“HBO is the premier network in boxing and has been a great home to me both as a fighter and a commentator,” Ward said at the time. “I made my professional debut on HBO nearly 11 years ago and I’m excited to move on to this next stage of my career at the light heavyweight division on HBO.”

Ward recently stepped in front of the camera for a completely different role, a part in the upcoming movie “Creed,” hitting theaters on November 25. Fellow Bay Area natives, director Ryan Coogler and the film’s star Michael B. Jordan, reached out to Ward so that he could provide his expertise for the film. In addition to working in front of the camera with Ward, Jordan spent time at Ward’s home gym in preparation for his role as Apollo Creed’s son.

Tim Bradley and Brandon Rios get ready for battle

Many expect tonight's bout between Timothy Bradley (32-1-1, 12 KOs) and Brandon Rios (33-2-1, 23 KOs) to be a potential Fight of the Year candidate, as both guys seem to love a good scrap.  However, one of the major side stories involves the two other men who will be ringside on fight night -- the trainers.  Many are speculating that Bradley's new trainer, Teddy Atlas, will have a major effect on the bout.

Rios' trainer has his own thoughts about the change in Bradley's corner.

“The only thing they have controlled is the message on why Joel Diaz was dumped and how great a team they have become,” said Robert Garcia, Rios' trainer. “We’ll see how long that lasts. I give it three rounds before Tim Bradley goes back to his corner and finds Teddy Atlas sitting on his stool doing his act. Maybe I'm old school, but I was taught that the fighter always comes first. Every story coming out of the Bradley camp has been about the trainer. Let's see who takes ownership of the loss Brandon pastes on them Saturday night.”

Bradley, a very determined fighter with excellent boxing skills, has taken some serious punishment in recent fights by getting into brawls, rather than trying to play it safe.  With Atlas, many are predicting that Bradley will try to implement a more disciplined boxing gameplan into his fight against the dangerous Rios.

Canelo Alvarez ready to face Miguel Cotto

Mariachis and screaming fans were all on deck to greet Canelo Álvarez (45-1-1, 32 KOs) at his San Diego media workout at House of Boxing Gym ahead of his 12-round November 21 middleweight world championship showdown against WBC, Ring Magazine, and Lineal Middleweight World Champion Miguel Cotto (40-4, 33 KOs).

Oscar De La Hoya, chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, surprised Canelo at the workout with a special presentation to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Mexican superstar fighter's first professional fight, a fourth-round technical knockout that took place Oct. 29, 2005 in his hometown of Jalisco, Mexico.

Below is what Canelo and Oscar De La Hoya had to say:


"I have had great sparring partners for this fight, focusing on Cotto's style of fighting. We also know he is a southpaw and that has been something we always work on."

"I want to fight the big fights and am not afraid to take risks. I believe my fighting style and opponents over the years have shown that. I am here to prove I am the best and the best way to do that is fighting the best."


"Canelo Álvarez is ready for November 21. I've visited his training camp many times and he is looking great, very strong, very powerful."

"Canelo has been fighting for 10 years now, but he's still only 25-years-old. I think the best is yet to come with him. He has grown as a fighter every year, learning from victories and his losses. Legacy is important to him, and when all is said and done, I know he will be remembered as one of the best in the sport."

Miguel Cotto putting in work in camp, brings out the stars

WBC, Ring Magazine, and Lineal Middleweight World Champion Miguel Cotto (40-4, 33 KOs) hosted a media workout this week with his renowned trainer Freddie Roach at Wild Card Boxing Club in Los Angeles ahead of his fight against former WBC and WBA Super Welterweight World Champion Canelo Alvarez (45-1-1, 32 KOs).

Cotto's hard work has not gone unnoticed by some big names in the entertainment industry.

After rapper Jay Z went to observe the progress of his Roc Nation signee, actor Sylvester Stallone also visited the champ at training camp at The Wild Card Boxing Club.

Below is what Cotto and Roach had to say:


“I don’t care about Canelo’s age. I don’t care about his size. I’m just here to do my work and be ready for November 21. I can tell you that I am going to be in the best shape on November 21."

“People will have to wait to see on November 21 if Canelo’s age is stronger than Miguel’s spirit. On November 21, people are going to see the best Miguel Cotto they have ever seen."

“Freddie had the opportunity to make Miguel Cotto work better and harder. With Freddie, I just realized that I could bring more to every day. I’m here to follow everything Freddie wants me to do in training camp."

“The biggest tool I have on my side is Freddie Roach. They know what Freddie Roach means in boxing. They know what Freddie Roach is capable of doing with Miguel Cotto."

“The Mexican-Puerto Rican rivalry is one of the biggest in boxing. It’s in our hands to present the fight at the same level of intensity everyone expects. Mexico is a lot bigger than Puerto Rico, but we have something in our boxers that make us able to compete at the same level."

FREDDIE ROACH, Seven-Time BWAA Trainer of the Year Award Winner

“I believe this is going to be the best fight of the year. I think it’s a great match up. I think its youth versus experience. How much is Canelo’s youth going to take a toll on him? How much will it help him? I think you get a little bit of everything. You get Mexico versus Puerto Rico. You get youth versus experience. This fight brings a lot to the table. It’s the perfect match. It’s a very exciting fight."

“Canelo is only about a half-inch taller [then Miguel]. He doesn’t have a huge height advantage or reach advantage over us. I don’t think he’s stronger than we are. I think we are the better puncher out there. We have more experience. We beat a lot of guys a lot better than him along the way. He’s just another guy to us."

“We’ve had four sparring partners against Miguel each day. That’s for breaking the fighter down and hitting the body. We take their legs away from them. I feel that our opponent does a lot on his own. He’s not that disciplined. He’s a young guy. He’s the playboy. He’s a good looking guy. He gets all the girls like Oscar De La Hoya, but the thing is, those girls are not going to help him in this fight."

“I have the better fighter. We’ve fought better opposition. We’ve been in there with better fighters. We’ve learned after the process of going through this and he’s still at the beginning of the learning stage. Who knows how far he’ll go? Miguel’s gone a long, long way. We’ve proven ourselves and we’ll prove ourselves again on Nov. 21. I promise."

“Miguel and I get along really well together. We’re just working out the strategy of the fight. Both of us work together combining what he’s comfortable with and what I’m comfortable with and it works out really well."

“I think we’ll give Canelo a boxing lesson for about five rounds and then I think we’ll turn it up from that point on. After five, I am going to have Miguel go out there and trade with him a little bit and when Canelo slows down a little bit, I think we will knock him out in about eight or nine rounds.”

Lomachenko looks to steal the show on Bradley-Rios undercard

Two-time Ukrainian Olympic gold medalist and reigning WBO featherweight world champion Vasyl Lomachenko (4-1, 2 KOs) will defend his title tonight against WBO No. 7 world-rated contender Romulo Koasicha (24-4,14 KOs), on the undercard of the Bradly-Rios bout.

Lomachenko kicked off Fight Week this week with a training camp media workout at the Robert Garcia Boxing Academy in Oxnard, California, and the fighter many feel is the best pound-for-pound in the world looked primed for an excellent performance.

Here is what Lomachenko had to say about his upcoming bout and his career:

"I want to bring something new to boxing.  I want to be known to fans and appreciated as a 'boxer-painter' in regards to speed, footwork, punching power -- an art form inside the ring. I have looked at videos of many great champions like Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Robinson, and Joe Frazier who each had special qualities.  I never say one particular fighter is the best ever because each has a special unique style of fighting."

"Every fight has challenges.  I looked at some video of my opponent who fought Lee Selby.  In the middle of that fight my opponent did a transition and fought with a different type of style against Selby.  These are the situations you must deal with on the night of a fight."

"Who would I like to fight some day?  Getting Salido back into the ring would be something I would like to see."

Douglas finishes off Sherrington on cold night on ShoBox

With temperatures dipping into the low 50s Friday night in the specially-constructed ring outside the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center, unbeaten middleweight Antoine Douglas fought off the elements and impressively knocked out Les Sherrington in the fourth round in the main event of a ShoBox: The New Generation quadrupleheader.

“They said this was my graduation day, time for a cap and gown, so this was definitely a big win,’’ said Douglas, a top amateur who made it to the 2011 U.S. Olympic Trials and was the WBA’s ninth-ranked contender. “It was a great experience fighting on ShoBox and I appreciate everything they’ve done for me getting me ready to go to the next level. Now, it’s time for me to take the next step."

Douglas (19-0-1, 13 KOs) dropped Australia's Sherrington (35-8, 19 KOs) five times before the one-sided fight for the WBO International 160-pound title was stopped at 1:02 of the fourth. The quick, hard-hitting Douglas dropped Sherrington one time in the first and second rounds, two times in the third, and once in the fourth.

“I expected to win, probably by knockout, but I didn’t expect it to be this way," said Douglas. "I expected Sherrington to be tougher, more prepared. I think my jab was the key. It set him up for all the big shots I landed with my right hand and left hook."

Douglas went 10 rounds for the second time and upped his winning streak to five since boxing a draw in July 2014.

“We got what Antoine Douglas needed: The type of utterly dominant performance that makes you want to see him against the best middleweights. Tonight was Antoine’s graduation from ShoBox. Now he’ll move up to bigger and better things," said ShoBox expert analyst Steve Farhood.

Sherrington, who was fighting outside of Australia and making his U.S. and 2015 debuts, came in having won eight of his last nine fights, including his last pair. But the WBA’s No. 12 contender was no match for Douglas.

“Antoine Douglas is very good and he will go on to really big things in this sport,’’ Sherrington said. “I’m not making excuses, but I was freezing and could never really warm up. And then he caught me cold. I came here to reach a lifelong dream of mine, but it was not meant to be. I got welcomed into the big leagues in a big hurry and in the worst way. All credit goes to Douglas for that.’’

In the co-feature, Ukrainian southpaw Taras Shelestyuk (13-0, 8 KOs) pitched a near-10-round shutout over Aslanbek Kozaev (26-2-1, 7 KOs) to capture the WBO-NABO Regional Welterweight title. A former amateur standout and 2012 Olympic Games Bronze Medalist, Shelestyuk, won by the scores of 100-90 twice and 99-91.

“Shelestyuk looked like the most mature fighter on the card,’’ Farhood said. “He has a wonderful amateur pedigree, he was an Olympic Bronze Medalist. He fought a fighter that made him fight and throw a lot of punches -- he averaged 85 punches a round. He dominated the fight from the first round on and he looked like the world-class fighter that he was developed to be."

Shelestyuk utilized his 3½-inch height advantage to dominate the game but outclassed Kozaev.

“This was a good fight for me. I’m so happy. I won my first pro title, went 10 rounds for the first time and won all the rounds,’’ Shelestyuk said.

Kozaev, making his first start in 18 months, started fast but got outhustled and outworked from the second round on. “He’s a good fighter and I gave my best, but having not fought for such a long time was a big factor,’’ he said.

In other results, Keenan Smith (9-0, 3 KOs), of Philadelphia, won a unanimous eight-round decision over Benjamin Whitaker (10-2, 2 KOs), of San Antonio, in a competitive welterweight scrap.

Smith overcame a nasty cut over the left eye from an unintentional headbutt in the sixth, but came back to score a knockdown in the seventh. He triumphed by the scores of 79-73 and 78-74 twice.

“Keenan Smith overcame a very bad cut to win this fight,’’ Farhood said. “He scored a knockdown that was unexpected late in the fight. I thought that it was a very close fight, but Smith did enough in the early rounds to win. He’s definitely a prospect that will get better."

Smith was fighting for the fourth time this year after a three-year hiatus. He was less than enthusiastic afterward.

“This was a rough camp for me. My mother died. I dedicated this fight to her and really wanted to get the knockout,’’ said Smith who wore all-pink trunks in her honor.  “I’m not all that happy because I felt I could have finished him even though my left shoulder was hurting and I was not 100 percent. I also couldn’t see much at all out of my eye after the cut."

Caballero-Haskins to rumble on Cotto-Canelo undercard

Making the first defense of his IBF Bantamweight World Title, Randy "El Matador" Caballero (22-0, 13 KOs), 25, will headline the preliminary undercard preceding the HBO Pay-Per-View telecast of the Miguel Cotto versus Canelo Alvarez event on November 21 as he faces off against England's Lee "Playboy" Haskins (32-3, 14 KOs).

"I am excited to be fighting in one of the biggest cards of the year," said Caballero. "I have been out of the ring for about a year and it has been hard watching all the great shows, but I am ready to come out strong and defend my title. I know Lee is a tough guy, there is a reason why he is my mandatory, but his style will make me shine on fight night. This training camp has been wonderful, my body feels different, and we have been training very hard to make sure I remain the champion."

In 2014, Caballero traveled to Japan to defeat Kohei Oba via eighth-round technical knockout. The victory earned Caballero a shot at a world championship, and on October 25, 2014, he packed his bags once again, as he traveled to the Salle des 'Etoiles in Monte Carlo to defeat England's Stuart Hall for the vacant IBF World Bantamweight Championship.

British southpaw Haskins has had a big 2015 campaign thus far. The Bristol native regained the EBU Bantamweight Title in February with a decision win over Omar Lamiri, and then took the interim IBF Bantamweight crown in June by stopping Ryosuke Iwasa in six rounds. This November, the 31-year-old will attempt to unify the title with the highly-touted Caballero.

"All my life I have dreamed about boxing in Las Vegas and now my dreams have come true," said Haskins. "I have great respect for Randy Caballero, and I will be in the best shape of my life with all intentions of bringing the IBF World Bantamweight belt home. You best believe I am as fit as a butcher's dog. I am counting the days for when I arrive in U.S.A. Let's get it on!"

Fighters on the Jacobs-Quillin undercard discuss their bouts

Erick Bone (16-2, 8 KOs), the welterweight contender facing Long Island’s Chris Algieri; former world champion Yuri Foreman (32-2, 9 KOs); undefeated rising star from Staten Island and 2012 U.S. Olympian “Sir” Marcus Browne (16-0, 12 KOs); and undefeated Brooklyn-native Heather “The Heat” Hardy (14-0, 3 KOs) spoke to the media about their upcoming bouts on December 5 in New York.

The fighters will showcase their skills on the undercard of the all-Brooklyn battle between middleweight world champion Daniel “The Miracle Man” Jacobs (30-1, 27 KOs) and former world champion Peter "Kid Chocolate" Quillin (32-0-1, 23 KOs).

Below is what the fighters had to say Monday:


"When I first heard Algieri’s name, I was a little surprised about it. Once I realized it, I got really excited and happy because if I can pull off the win, this will be big for my career."

"Something I learned from my last fight is, I don't have to respect an opponent. I lose all respect for the person I'm fighting as soon as they're in the ring. Another thing I learned is, if I get injured, I need to stop. I was injured in the second round last fight, but I kept going and​ fought for three rounds with one knee. I had to wear a cast for two months right after that fight. My k​nee is 100 percent healed now."

"I feel like I'm a boxer-puncher. I can box and I can punch."

"In reality, to beat Algieri, all I have to do is listen to my coach, my corner and my whole team.”


“I believe that timing is everything. I’ve been off for two years. I realized that I needed a little rest. I love boxing. It is something that I’ve loved since I was a kid and I feel like I wanted to do it more."

“[On ending retirement] It’s a combination of a variety of things. I wouldn’t come back just for the rush of it – I would probably jump out of an airplane if I needed a rush. I like the daily routine. It’s going to the gym, it’s keeping a mental, emotional and spiritual balance. I want to become a world champion again."

“I’ve been in the gym since June, so more than half a year. Camp is good. I have friends and sparring partners that are helping me. It is the same as any fighter – preparation is a routine."

“It is refreshing to be back in the ring. I feel more centered spiritually and mentally. I am more mature. I just feel stronger all around."

“This is great. I live on 6th street so 10 or 15 blocks away. I’ve always wanted to fight at Barclays Center. One of the things you learn about your life about yourself. Every human has a desire and a goal. I had a desire to fight here and now I am. It is a big card with a lot of talent and great fighters. I am happy to be a part of it."

“I always consider myself a smart fighter and boxer. I would say I’ve added more aggression to my arsenal since the last time I was in the ring.”


"I went into my last fight with a different mentality. And I'm going into this fight exactly the same way. I'm not playing with anybody. I need to make a statement this year because this is an important time in my boxing career.  The light heavyweight division is picking up and I need to make a solid name for myself."

"I see a lot of openings in a lot of people's games, but I have some openings in my own game too that I need to tighten up. You cannot afford to have those types of openings at this level."

"I've been bumping up the conditioning as I've been getting fights with more rounds. I'm ready to go 10 rounds right now."


“I hate doing rematches because it’s so redundant, I already beat you. It was a split decision from a crazy judge, she feels like she can come back and beat me. I didn’t want to deny her because we put on a great show for the fans."

“People at the fight knew I won the fight and that it was a clear decisive win, but when people see ‘split decision’ there are always questions that arise because she is such a good legitimate fighter. I’m giving her another chance."

“I did three fights in a row over the summer, so it was nice to take a little break. I’m happy to get back in there."

“It’s an honor to fight at Barclays Center. I am the first girl to ever fight there and I want to keep the door open and keep the momentum going."

“The truth of the matter is; women don’t get the recognition that they deserve [in this sport]. What people see, I’m a sole leader in women’s boxing, but behind the scenes, there are girls out there kicking ass all over the place. My stablemate just won a world title, oldest woman to win a world title in the Guinness Book of World Records. It is kind of sad that we aren’t all getting the recognition we deserve."

“I hate looking past a fight, but without saying too much -- I want 2016 to be my world title year. I earned it and I’m so ready for it.”

 Oscar De La Hoya gives back to local boxing gym

Olympic gold medalist and 10-time world champion Oscar De La Hoya, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, donated thousands of dollars worth of new-state-of-the-art boxing equipment to Grampa's Boxing Gym in Orange County this past Friday to encourage the gym's aspiring young boxers to continue in their training and lead positive lives away from gang activity and violence.

This was the third annual boxing equipment giveaway the Oscar De La Hoya Foundation has hosted for after-school youth programs. The Foundation, with the support of its corporate partner of the year California Municipal Finance Authority and Everlast, is donating new, state-of-the-art boxing equipment to five gyms in Southern California that serve youth in economically disadvantaged communities plagued by gang and drug violence.

The equipment will help these local gyms use boxing as an after-school program alternative to gang activities. Recipients of the Foundation's boxing equipment donations this giving season include Southern California-based boxing gyms Grampa's Boxing Gym in Westminster, Azusa Boxing Gym in Azusa, Westside Boxing Club in Los Angeles, Azteca Boxing Club in Bell, and Lugo Fitness Center in Cudahy.

By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services

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