DSH Boxing Notebook: Kovalev-Ward fight week, Arum promotes 2000th card

November 19, 2016

The countdown to Kovalev-Ward is on, as two of the sport's Top 5 fighters will go mano-a-mano this Saturday night in Las Vegas. The very next week Vasyl Lomachenko and Nicholas Walters will do battle in Bob Arum's 2000th career fight card. For this and all the latest news in the sweet science, read below:

Bob Arum promotes his 2000th fight card

Bob Arum is about to hit another landmark in what has been a landmark year for the tireless, Brooklyn-born Hall of Fame promoter.

On March 29, Arum celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first event he ever promoted -- the battle for the Heavyweight Championship of the World between Muhammad Ali and George Chuvalo.

Next week, Saturday, November 26, at The Chelsea inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Arum will present his 2,000th event -- the WBO junior lightweight title fight between undefeated two-division world champion Vasyl Lomachenko and undefeated former world champion Nicholas Walters.  It will be televised live on HBO, beginning at 10:35 p.m. ET/PT.

"When I promoted my first fight my accountants were still using roman numerals," said Arum.  "It's been quite an adventure."

The following week, Arum will fly to New Zealand where he will celebrate his 85th birthday on December 8, and two days later sit ringside watching undefeated heavyweight contender Andy Ruiz attempt to become Mexico's first heavyweight champion when he battles Joseph Parker for the vacant WBO title.

Also on December 10, undefeated World Junior Welterweight Champion and top-rated pound-for-pound fighter Terence Crawford will make the first defense of his unified WBO / WBC / Ring magazine 140-pound world titles when he rumbles with one-time world title challenger and current No. 1 contender John Molina Jr. at CenturyLink Center Omaha.  That fight will also  be televised live on HBO, beginning at 9:35 p.m. ET/PT.

Here are a few of Arum's observations from his first 50 years in boxing as previously reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal:

Arum's Favorite Fighters

Longtime fight promoter Bob Arum has worked with thousands of fighters in his 50 years in the boxing business. Here are his top five fighters he has worked with:

1.    Muhammad Ali. "He was a world figure. People loved him wherever he went. But he was also a great fighter."

2.    Manny Pacquiao. "His life story is amazing. He came from virtually nothing to captivate an entire country."

3.    Marvin Hagler. "He was the most loyal, standup guy I ever worked with. A tremendous fighter with great resolve."

4.    George Foreman. "He changed his persona and had such a big impact on our culture. He became the most loveable guy."

5.    Floyd Mayweather Jr. "He had extraordinary ability and he backed it up in the ring."

Arum's next five: Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns, Roberto Duran, Oscar De La Hoya, and Alexis Arguello.

Arum's Top 5 Promotions

Bob Arum lists the top five promotions he was involved in:

1.    Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Marvin Hagler, 1987, Caesars Palace. "It was the Yuppie (Leonard) vs. the Blue collar guy (Hagler.) It was a great fight that did extremely well.

2.    Marvin Hagler vs. Thomas Hearns, 1985, Caesars Palace. "That was the first time we did a cross-country tour. We had two planes and made 26 stops. It took that fight to another level and by the time they got in the ring, they were so sick of each other they literally wanted to kill each other."

3.    Oscar De La Hoya vs. Felix Trinidad, 1999, Mandalay Bay. "It was the first major Mexico vs. Puerto Rico fight, even though Oscar was American and from East LA. Don King had Trinidad and we had Oscar and there was a lot of back-and-forth between the two sides."

4.    Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier II, 1974, Madison Square Garden. "Ali got his revenge for losing the first fight and I remember the two of them getting into it while being interviewed oin television by Howard Cosell. That helped sell the rematch."

5.    Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao, 2015, MGM Grand Garden. "We never had anything like it. The numbers were incredible, even though the fight wasn't."

Andre Ward versus Sergey Kovalev Scouting Report

On Saturday night, live on HBO Pay-Per-View, the new pound-for-pound king will be crowned when WBO, WBA, and IBF Light Heavyweight World Champion Sergey "Krusher" Kovalev 30-0-1 (26 KOs) and Two-Time World Champion Andre "S.O.G." Ward 30-0 (15 KOs) square off in their much-anticipated showdown at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Below is the scouting report for this highly anticipated fight:

Photo Credit: David Spagnolo/Main Events

Sergey "Krusher" Kovalev
Andre "S.O.G." Ward
30-0-1 (26 KOs)
30-0 (15 KOs)
The Krusher has a stiff jab, devastating knockout power in both hands and a granite chin. He is a physically strong fighter who has also shown that he can cut the ring off.
Ward is a phenomenal defensive fighter who is incredibly difficult to hit. He is an effective counter-puncher with quick hands and moves well around the ring. 
Kovalev tends to leave openings in his guard, which causes him to get hit more than he should. He will have to tighten up his defense when facing a quick counter-puncher in Andre Ward.
He has not been nearly as active as his opponent; Ward has only fought three times over the last three years. He also lacks adequate knockout power, which could be an issue now that he has moved up to a higher weight-class to face the big puncher, Kovalev.
Sergey is well-seasoned at this point in his career. He put on a clinic in his win over future Hall-of-Famer Bernard Hopkins and has defended his titles on nine separate occasions. 
Andre has profound amateur experience; he earned a gold medal at the 2004 Olympics. As a 168 lb contender, Ward cleaned out his division soundly. He defended his Super Middleweight strap on six separate occasions.
The Krusher possesses tremendous power in both hands. He throws each punch with bad intentions and has the potential to end the fight with a single punch.
He will be at a disadvantage; Andre is a technically skilled fighter who relies more on his inside game and his defense, rather than power.
Kovalev has average speed but he tends turn it up a notch when his opponents go into survival mode.
S.O.G. will be the faster fighter, both with his hands and on his feet. His hand speed has posed a problem for the majority of his opponents thus far.
Sergey has gone a full twelve rounds on two separate occasions; which were both unanimous decision wins: Bernard Hopkins and most recently in his win over Isaac Chilemba.
Andre's endurance is one of his strengths; he has been a full twelve rounds on nine separate occasions, including his two recent bouts at light heavyweight.
Kovalev likes to utilize a long-range aggressive style that starts with a pinpoint accurate jab. He also delivers very accurate and powerful body shots.
Ward is an incredibly accurate puncher. He times his punches well and also uses a sharp jab to help set up his shots.
The Krusher will be at a disadvantage as his opponent specializes in defense. However, Sergey's main strength is his offense, which he has established as his best defense thus far.
Andre's defense may just be his most prominent strength. He has proved throughout the years that he is very difficult to hit. He utilizes an inside fighting style that his previous opponents failed to iron out.
Kovalev has proven many times he has a durable chin. He has been knocked down twice in his career, but he has risen to the occasion both times to finish the fight and remain undefeated.
Ward has a solid chin, he has been knocked down earlier in his career, but managed to get off of the canvas and earn a decision win.
He utilizes a long-range aggressive style and never takes his foot off the gas. He has one goal in mind from start to finish, which is to knock his opponents out or inflict as much damage as possible.
Andre Ward is a technically sound boxer who has an effective inside fighting style. He utilizes good defense and picks his opponents apart with sharp counter-punching.
Kovalev cleaned out the light heavyweight division during his reign as champion. He has an old-school fighter mentality: he only wants to fight the best. Just four months after earning a hard-fought decision win over the previously top-ranked Isaac Chilemba, The Krusher will continue his quest to be the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
Ward spent most of his pro career successfully dominating the 168 lb division. After being out of action for some time, he has opted make the leap to the light heavyweight division to take on the best that the division has to offer. Many would have chosen to climb the ladder in a timely manner before taking on such a challenge, but Ward hopes to be the sport's pound-for-pound best fighter.
Crowd Support
Kovalev's aggressive style and decorated punching power may win him the crowd support by the time this fight is over.
Andre Ward is very well known by boxing fans. It is likely that he will have an even share of the crowd.
The Match-up
1.       Will Kovalev be able to cut off the ring and catch Ward?
2.       Will Ward's inactivity get the best of him?
3.       Will Kovalev get frustrated with Ward's style?
4.       Will Ward be able to handle the power of Kovalev?

Talkin' Smack

Hall-of-Famer, Pernell "Sweet Pea" Whitaker:
"The Krusher is much stronger and works the body well. He also has a good left hook. Ward has fast hands. He is quick and mixes it up with good combinations. However, I think the Russian wins." 
Andre Ward:
"His side has been doing a lot of talking, and that's fine, we love it. It's not our first rodeo, we've been down this road before. We don't always respond right away. Sometimes our silence is misinterpreted as us not getting it. We watch, we take notes, but in the meantime we keep working and we produce come fight night. That's what we specialize in. So all the talking is great, I love it, but know one thing - I'm not taking no mess come Saturday night. Ima be there."
Sergey Kovalev:
"I am very excited for this fight and a little nervous because I never was on this level." 
Trainer Virgil Hunter:
"I believe that Kovalev is everything that they say he is. He is a dangerous opponent; he's coming intended to win. We've seen him do things to opponents that when they step into the ring, they shiver. Now, it's just up to us to dilute that situation."
Curtis Stevens:
"This is the road back to GGG. I am the only one that wants a rematch because I gave him his toughest challenge so far. I know I can beat him. I just gotta let my hands go."

Trainer Virgil Hunter:

"I would encourage all promoters to treat your fighters fairly, don't hoodwink them. Don't keep them robots. Encourage them and teach them how to be businessmen. If you have a champion, he deserves a champion's ration."

Badou Jack and James DeGale to fight for belt on January 14 in Brooklyn

WBC Super Middleweight World Champion Badou Jack (20-1-2, 12 KOs) and IBF Super Middleweight World Champion James DeGale (23-1, 14 KOs) will look to stake their claim as the best 168-pound fighter in the world when they meet in a title unification clash on Saturday, January 14, from Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Both Jack and DeGale retained their titles in April. Jack kept his belt via a controversial split draw against Lucian Bute, a match in which many thought Jack had prevailed, while DeGale defeated mandatory challenger Rogelio Medina. Both fighters were sharp; each landed over 60 percent of his respective power punches to set up this showdown for the top spot in the super middleweight division.

“I’m expecting a very tough fight from James DeGale,” said Jack. “But I’m very confident that I’m going to win the fight and become the unified champion. This is an incredible stage to be at Barclays Center and on Showtime and I’m going to take full advantage of it. I’m ready to make my mark as the best in the division.”

Jack captured the WBC 168-pound crown with a 12-round majority decision over previously unbeaten defending champion Anthony Dirrell last April 24. The 6-foot-1, 33-year-old won four in a row leading up to his controversial draw against Bute in April.

DeGale won the vacant IBF belt in his U.S. debut last May by dropping Andre Dirrell twice on his way to a unanimous decision. The 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist from London then successfully defended it last November in a thrilling shootout with the hometown favorite and former titlist Bute.  The 30-year-old, who’s only blemish came in a majority decision in his 11th bout against the then-unbeaten Groves, will make his fourth consecutive start outside his native England as he looks to become a global power and a unified champion at 168 pounds.

“I am so happy that this fight has finally been made,” said DeGale. “This is the best fighting the best. This is what boxing is all about. Badou Jack is a very good fighter and he’s underrated. I am going to have to be 100 percent on my game to beat him, but I am confident I will deliver on January 14. I have already fulfilled my dream of becoming a world champion and now it is time to unify.”

The Showtime telecast will also feature undefeated junior lightweight world champion Jose Pedraza (22-0, 12 KOs) defending his title against up-and-coming Mayweather Promotions’ undefeated contender Gervonta Davis (16-0, 15 KOs).

“Davis is a great young fighter with an impressive record,” said Pedraza. “He is a complete fighter and I am very happy to fight a challenger of his caliber. However, I do feel that Davis has been protected so I plan to really show off in this fight and perform at my best. Defeating Davis will be a great start to 2017, a year I would love to unify my division.”

Davis enters his first world title showdown with seven straight victories by stoppage.

“I'm excited for the opportunity to fight a respected undefeated world champion like Jose Pedraza,” said Davis. “I'm also ready to show the boxing world what I'm capable of doing. Boxing is searching for its next star and I believe that I'm the one. On January 14, I plan to show what over 200 amateur wins and 12 years of training with coach Calvin Ford looks like. Baltimore, we're here. Brooklyn, I'm ready to shine for you. Jose Pedraza, get ready. I'm coming to kick your ass.”

Roy Jones discusses Isaac Chilemba

As Isaac Chilemba (24-4-2, 10 KOs) prepares to attempt to reclaim the NABF Light Heavyweight Title from Oleksandr Gvozdyk (11-0, 9 KOs) on the Kovalev-Ward undercard, he will have former four-division world champion Roy Jones Jr. in his corner for the first time.

Below Jones assesses the match-up and his observations of the young Malawi native:

Q:     Does Chilemba's performance against Kovalev give him more confidence going into this fight?
RJ:    "Oh yes, most definitely. Kovalev had been crushing everybody and he didn't get crushed so it has to give him confidence."

Q:       Chilemba has almost three times as many fights as Gvozdyk. How big of an advantage is this?
RJ:     "It's not a big advantage because Gvozdyk probably has three times more fights than Chilemba does in amateurs. These Eastern European guys have so many more amateur fights than we do. They fight from when they're small and they go through schools and everything. These guys are very, very high-tech when it comes to being skilled in the ring in the sport of boxing so he probably has a little bit more experience if you add up the fights over the years."

Q:       What must Chilemba do in this fight in order to win?
RJ:     "He's got to disrupt Gvozdyk. He can't let Gvozdyk fight at his own pace. He can't let Gvozdyk constantly push him backwards so he's gotta make Gvozdyk change, make Gvozdyk do things he does not like to do."

Q:       What must Chilemba prevent Gvozdyk from doing or take away from him in order to win?
RJ:     "Chilemba must prevent Gvozdyk's control of the power of the jab and setting up the big right hand."

Q:       Do you think, now that you are working with Chilemba, if he defeats Gvozdyk he should be entitled to a rematch with Sergey?
RJ:     "Of course, of course he should. Chilemba deserves a rematch with Sergey."

Q:       What are Chilemba's biggest strengths and weaknesses. How are you working to correct them?
RJ:     "His feet are his biggest strength. His feet are very good, he can be very elusive. And his biggest tool is his straight right hand. His weakness is that he had a lack of punching power because he wasn't turning his shoulder, turning his body with his punches. We are fixing that, working on it right now."

Q:       As a former light heavyweight world champion, what are your observations on the Kovalev-Ward fight?
RJ:     "Very good fight. Best fight of boxing today. I look forward to seeing it. To me it's one of the best fights we had in boxing in years as far as guys being in their prime, being the two best in the division. That is just a great fight. A great fight for boxing."

Q:       Which fighter, Kovalev or Ward, would have given you the best fight when you were 175-pound world champion?
RJ:     "Both of them would be really good fights, very hard fights to fight. Very different fights to fight. My hand speed maybe would be better against both of them but they'd be tough guys to fight. Kovalev because of the power and Ward because of his mentality, he's a very smart guy in the ring. Very hard fights, but speed factor is probably what I would use to get both of them beat."

Trainers for Ward and Kovalev throw verbal darts

World renowned trainers, John David Jackson and Virgil Hunter, squared off in a debate moderated by HBO Boxing Insider Kieran Mulvaney on Wednesday, Nov. 16, ahead of Sergey Kovalev vs. Andre Ward "Pound For Pound" showdown on Nov. 19 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Here is what the trainers had to say:

John David Jackson, Trainer of Sergey Kovalev:

"Andre has a lot of strengths. You know when you look at him or when you really study him he's a well schooled fighter he listens to everything Virgil preaches and he definitely absorbs it. The one beautiful thing I've noticed from that is he trusts Virgil. When you trust your trainer that speaks volumes for you, you listen to everything he tells you to do, so any game plan that Virgil advises he's gonna follow."

"I really studied Andre these past few weeks I have a great appreciation for what he does because looked and I said you know what his style was similar to mine. I was busy in my fights, I was very captivated in my moves, I set traps for my opponents. As soon as I sat down and recognized what he does, I like what he (Ward) does he's very smart."

"Once I really sat down and studied Andre and Virgil I had to sit back and give them all the credit they deserve I kinda sold them short a couple years back."

"He don't need to worry about the knockout if the knock come it come but if it doesn't we are prepared to go 12 hard rounds to get the victory by decision."

Virgil Hunter, Trainer of Andre Ward:

"Each fighter is different but you have the masses, the critics who need to be impressed by a certain way that a victory comes up. We came out of the garage from a one-and-a-half-year layoff and fought Sullivan Barrera. He was the number one contender at the time, so it was a dangerous fight until the fight was over, then Barrera was garbage. Nobody is ever going to be satisfied. That's just the nature of the game so you have to be satisfied with yourself."

"I'm very attuned to body language, I'm very attuned to tone of voice, and from what I hear, from what I see, it's safe to say that there is a lot of disarray in that camp. What I mean by that is I don't even know if Coach Jackson is getting the respect he is due in that camp but time will tell. For instance, why do we have to make an excuse for Kovalev in Russia for selling tickets and things. Don't you have a team who could have taken care of that? You're supposed to have a team to take care of that to take the pressure off the fighter."

"I believe somebody probably told Kovalev to say that Ward is a dirty fighter because you go eight, nine weeks and all of a sudden he is a dirty fighter? Kovalev will learn, one day, to not be everyone's robot and do what they tell and ask him to do. He does it because he's loyal. It doesn't even sound like him. That's not him saying that. That's not in his character. That is his promoter saying that. It's nothing but if he kicks Ward, he'll get kicked back. Simple as that."

"We know Kovalev is a dangerous fighter, we give him all he's due. I give Coach Jackson all he's due. The coaching fraternity is a very tough fraternity. We are the first ones to get the blame. The fighter never takes full responsibility for his shortcomings. The fighter always has other people in his ear, telling him there is a better way, so I understand what he goes through as a coach.

 "I just want the best Andre Ward and the best Sergey Kovalev. If Kovalev wins the fight, my respect goes out to him. If we win the fight, my respect goes out to him because they can't be great unless they fight each other. Sometimes two people come out of that situation looking great. I wish the best to both of them regardless of what happens.

"'Do I believe that Ward will exhibit mental toughness? Yes, without a doubt. Do I believe that Kovalev will exhibit it? I'm sure he will as well, and that's the making of a great fight."

Heavyweight Mike Perez to fight at OC Hangar on December 8

Fight Club OC will have a quality card on Thursday, December 8, at The Hangar at the OC Fair and Event Center in Costa Mesa.  The card is headlined by such stars as 21-2 Cuban heavyweight Mike Perez, 2012 Mexican Olympian Oscar Molina, 7-0 flyweight sensation Carlos "Mexicanito" Licona, 11-0 Emmanuel Medina, and 6-0 Mongolian star Tug Nyambayar.

Perez will face surging Avery Gibson who has won his last four bouts; 11-3 Limberth Ponce will face Molina in what should be an all action bout; Licona will put his perfect record on the line versus Garden Grove's tough Yezber Romero; and Tug will face German Meraz from Sonora, Mexico who comes in with 55 wins.

Oscar De La Hoya praises "Bleed for This"

Open Road Film’s Bleed for This is the incredible true story of one of the most inspiring and unlikely comebacks in sports history.

Miles Teller (Whiplash, Divergent) stars as Vinny "The Pazmanian Devil" Pazienza, a local Providence boxer who shot to stardom after winning two world title fights. After a near-fatal car accident leaves Vinny with a broken neck, he is told he may never walk again.

Against all odds and doctor's orders, renowned trainer Kevin Rooney (Aaron Eckhart) agrees to help Vinny return to the ring just a year after the accident for what could be the last fight of his life. It opens nationwide on Friday.

Oscar De La Hoya wrote the following piece on the film:

Curtis Stevens vs. James de la Rosa Scouting Report

On the Kovalev-Ward undercard, Curtis "Cerebral Assassin" Stevens (28-5, 21 KOs) will attempt to defend his WBA Continental Americas Middleweight Title against James De La Rosa (23-4, 13 KOs) in a 10-round bout. Below is the scouting report for this exciting match-up:

Curtis "The Cerebral Assassin" Stevens
"King" James De La Rosa
28-5 (21 KOs)
23-4 (13 KOs)
Curtis is a power-puncher that can end the fight with any punch he throws. He has plenty of experience and has fought better opposition than his opponent.
James has quick hands and is fast on his feet. He is a brave fighter who has never turned down a fight. He also has faced a number of current and former ranked opposition in his young career.
Stevens has been somewhat inactive, his recent victory in May of this year was his first time in a boxing ring since 2014. He also has a tendency to not let his hands go, which could be costly when fighting De La Rosa who is in a must-win situation.
Similar to his opponent, James has been somewhat inactive with only one fight since 2014. He also has a suspect chin; he's been stopped once in his career. He will have to tighten up his defense when facing a heavy-handed puncher in Curtis Stevens.
He is a young, but seasoned veteran. Curtis has been on the biggest stage of them all when he came up short in a title bout against GGG and he also holds a TKO come-from-behind win over current top-rated contender Tureano Johnson.
Other than his recent inactivity, James was an active fighter for the majority of his career. He earned a clear-cut decision win over former title-contender Alfredo Angulo in his most recent win.
Curtis has knockout power in both hands; if he connects clean with any punch it can be a game-changer at any time.
King James is more of a technical boxer who relies more on his speed than power.
Curtis turns it up a notch when he smells blood. He shows off his quick hands and savage-like combinations.
James is naturally lighter in weight and will be sure to use his quick feet and fast hands to attempt to take Stevens out of his rhythm.
Stevens is a young veteran who has proven his endurance; he has gone 10 rounds on four separate occasions and 12 rounds twice.
De La Rosa has proven that he can go the distance without an issue. He has gone a full 10 rounds on six different occasions.
If Curtis can work his way to the inside, then he may be able to utilize some accurate bodywork.
King is an accurate fighter with a sharp jab and solid left hook. If he can keep his composure and put his punches together, his accuracy can become a problem for anyone.
Curtis's best defense has been his offense. He often finds himself in situations in which his opponents are running from him rather than running towards him.
James is quick on his feet and moves around well. He will need to double-up on his jab, as he has done in the past, in order to keep his opponent from breaking through his guard.
Although Curtis has been stopped in his career, he has a solid chin. He has been knocked down from some big shots by big punchers and has gotten back to his feet. 
His chin has been an issue throughout the past couple of years. He has been stopped once in his career and has been knocked down multiple times.
Curtis is a no-nonsense, in-your-face power-puncher who is always looking to end the night early rather than to drag it out.
King James is a slick boxer who gets very busy with his jab. Although he is not a heavy puncher, he is a brave fighter who likes to engage.
Curtis is a fighter who, at one time, was written-off by critics of the sport. However, he continues to rise to the occasion and beat the odds. After a lengthy layoff, Curtis returned with a bang this past May when he defeated previously undefeated prospect Patrick Teixeira with a brutal second round TKO. He is willing to take on any top-rated middleweight but none are willing to accept his challenge. So he decided he would rather be in the ring than on the sideline waiting for someone to step up.
At one point in time King James was a highly regarded prospect. He experienced some minor bumps in the road but is eager to get his name back in the mix. After two consecutive losses to highly regarded prospect Hugo Centeno Jr and Jason Quigley, James would not even consider a tune-up fight. He believes in his abilities and has chosen an opponent who many other top middleweights are avoiding. He understands the challenge of facing a seasoned veteran and big puncher like Stevens, but he is focused on the possibilities that lie ahead if he wins.
Crowd Support
Curtis is a fan-friendly fighter and does his best to provide fans with the knockouts they love to see. 
De La Rosa has fought in Las Vegas on four separate occasions, including his recent bout.
The Match-up
1.       Will Curtis look past this fight and look to bigger fights on the horizon?
2.       Will James be able to pull the upset like he did with Angulo?
3.       Will Curtis be able to cut off the ring and not fall into fighting Delarosa's fight?
4.       Will Delarosa be able to handle Curtis' power?
Roy Jones Boxing Promotions signs Bryan Vasquez to promotional deal

Roy Jones Jr. Boxing Promotions Founder and boxing legend Roy Jones Jr. proudly announced the signing of a promotional agreement with Bryan "Tiquito" Vasquez.

"It is a dream come true," stated Bryan Vasquez.  "What a better way to become a legend than to work with one.  I won't disappoint my idol, Roy Jones Jr."

The 29-year old Vasquez (35-2, 19 KOs) is from Costa Rica, and is a two-time WBA World Champion.  He is currently the #1 ranked contender in the world by the WBA.  Making waves in the boxing ring with his mobility, charisma, and one-two's, Vasquez quickly made a statement when he defeated Jose Felix Jr. (35-1-1. 27KOs) on the Bradley-Pacquiao card back in 2014.

"Vasquez is a huge pick up for team RJJ," stated Roy Jones Jr. "Bryan Vasquez adds to our conception of being one of the best boxing promotions companies in the industry."

Gvozdyk-Chilemba Scouting Report

Before they enjoy Kovalev-Ward on Nov. 19, the HBO Pay-Per-View audience will get to see another great 50-50 bout between a veteran and a prospect when Isaac Chilemba (24-4-2, 10 KOs) challenges Oleksandr Gvozdyk (11-0, 9 KOs) for Gvozdyk's NABF Light Heavyweight Title. Below is the scouting report:

Oleksandr Gvozdyk
Isaac "Golden Boy" Chilemba
11-0 (9 KOs)
24-4-2 (10 KOs)
Oleksandr has raw power in both hands, he does a good job of applying pressure on his opponents. He also has a good jab that remains at constant throughout the fight.
Isaac is a tough, durable and crafty fighter with plenty of experience. He utilizes his jab well and has been in the ring with some of the best fighters in the division.
He is inexperienced as a professional compared to Chilemba. This will be the biggest challenge of his career thus far. Also, he tends to stand directly in front of his opponents. In his last bout against Tommy Karpency this got him in trouble. After being caught by a shot, he got knocked down.
"The Golden Boy" lacks adequate punching power and has a tendency to start slow. He may need to step on the gas early against Gvozdyk who has wasted little time finishing opponents thus far in his career.
Oleksandr has an impressive amateur background, but as a professional he lacks the big-fight experience that Chilemba has.
Isaac has been in almost triple the amount of pro bouts as Gvozdyk. He has competed all over the world. In his most recent bout he competed on the biggest stage of them all when he came up short in a decision loss to titleholder Sergey Kovalev in Kovalev's backyard.
Gvozdyk has tremendous power and a devastating right hand when he lands clean.
Chilemba is a technically skilled boxer, but lacks that initial pop that could change the momentum of the fight.
He has significant hand speed, especially when he puts his combinations together.
Isaac has average speed, he keeps a steady and consistent pace throughout the fight.
Oleksandr's endurance is still in question. He has yet to fight more than six rounds in any of his pro bouts thus far.
Chilemba has excellent endurance; he has gone a full 12-rounds on ten separate occasions throughout his career, including his most recent bout against three-belt champion, Sergey Kovalev.
Similar Chilemba, Gvozdyk is a very accurate puncher. He has a jab that is constantly in motion, and a right hand that very few have been able to avoid.
Isaac is a very accurate puncher who chooses his punches wisely and times his punches well. He has an accurate jab that has been a key factor in taking his opponents out of their rhythm.
The Ukrainian's offense has been his best defense thus far. He has managed to walk his opponents down and inflict damage at will.
Chilemba is a defensive fighter with effective counter-punching skills. He has good foot work and moves around the ring well.
His chin is still a question; he was knocked down in the first round of his recent bout. However, he managed to get back to his feet and score a sixth round TKO.
Isaac has never been stopped, he took some heavy shots and was knocked down in his most recent bout with The Krusher, but he managed to get off of the canvas and make it to the final bell.
Oleksandr is an aggressive, in-your-face fighter who is always looking to finish the fight early. He is constantly putting his jab to work and picking his opponents apart during the process.
Chilemba is an effective technical fighter with good counter-boxing skills. He likes to utilize his defense and a sharp jab to take his opponents out of their comfort zone.
Despite having only 11 professional fights under his belt, Gvozdyk is coming off of two dominant wins over former title contenders: Nadjib Mohammedi and Tommy Karpency. He clearly plans on wasting no time with meaningless tune-ups, as he is looking to make a statement in the light heavyweight division by taking on another former title contender, and also one of only two fighters to go the championship distance with Sergey Kovalev. 
Isaac is coming off of consecutive losses for the first time in his career: WBC #1 contender Eleider Alvarez and light heavyweight kingpin Sergey Kovalev. At the young age of 29, Isaac has time to polish his game against lesser opposition before he is called upon for another major title implication bout. However, Isaac is a gamer and believes in his skillset, which is why he has decided to take on a top-five ranked contender and knockout artist in Oleksandr Gvozdyk.
Crowd Support
Gvozdyk may have an edge because he has competed in Las Vegas on four separate occasions, including his two most recent bouts. He also possesses a fighting style that may attract new fans.
Chilemba has only competed in Las Vegas once in his career back in 2012. However, he raised a lot of eyebrows during his hard-fought bout against Kovalev in July so he may have gained some new fans in the process.
The Match-up
1.       Will Chilemba be able to handle the power Gvozdyk has?
2.       Will Gvozdyk get frustrated with Chilemba's boxing ability?
3.       Will both guys rise to the occasion with fighting on such a big stage?
According to Main Events' matchmaker and 2015 NABF Matchmaker of the Year Jolene Mizzone, "This is the match that should be made more often in boxing. Gvozdyk is an up-and-coming boxer who could have passed on the fight to keep building his record but instead he opted to challenge himself against a fighter that no 175lber ever wants to fight, unless they have to. Chilemba just came off a hard-fought 12-round fight with Sergey Kovalev and could have opted for a tune-up fight before taking another big fight. Instead he wanted the challenge. This is your typical veteran against the prospect.  There is not one person who can say for sure who will win this fight and boxing needs more fights like this!"

By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services

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