It’s quite hard to believe, but the classic, the inspirational and the just plain terrific “Rocky” movie is 40 years old this year. Released just before Christmas, in early December of 1976, the film was an instant success and all these years later it’s still nothing but a treat to watch. There is just so much to enjoy from this, a relatively low budget, but highly moving piece of cinema. The film of course made a hero out of its star, Sylvester Stallone, but the supporting cast, the theme music, the realistic fight scenes and makeup, all share top billing.
40-year-old Solomon Haumono will certainly be ruining a lot of big plans if he pulls off the upset and defeats top-ranked IBF heavyweight contender Joseph Parker when they meet next month, but Haumono’s trainer Justin Fortune is confident it can happen. Currently training the 24-2-2(21) giant in Los Angeles, Fortune – best known as a former co-trainer of superstar Manny Pacquiao but also a former heavyweight himself – told The Daily Telegraph that “Sol,” as he refers to Haumono, is “going to be completely different to anything he has ever shown in the past.”
The tributes continue to pour in for The Greatest, Muhammad Ali, as we all knew they would after his sad passing of June 3rd. But one man, IBF heavyweight champ Anthony Joshua, a huge Ali fan, is planning to pay a visual tribute to the great man: by mimicking Ali’s flashy Ali Shuffle. A number of fighters who came after Ali have tried to either win over fans or impress them by doing The Shuffle, and it has not always gone down too well. Seen by many fans as a classless act, by fighters who were not worthy of imitating the incomparable Ali (think Tony Tucker, for example, when he did The Shuffle during his big fight with Mike Tyson; the fans booed and the commentators cringed).
Shades of Mike Tyson Vs. Buster Douglas? WBC heavyweight champ Deontay Wilder is a whopping favourite to retain his belt with a win over Chris Arreola when they meet on July 16th. A betting site in Alabama – Wilder’s hometown – list the champ as a 37-1 favourite to beat Arreola. Most odds, found on line, have Wilder as around a 25-1 favourite to win next month.
Amir Khan, last seen losing his big and brave gamble of a 155-pound fight with Mexican star Saul Canelo Alvarez, is not sounding at all like a fighter who is thinking about retirement. Far from it, Khan is searching – or, to use his exact words, chasing – another big fight; a return meeting with WBC welterweight ruler Danny Garcia. Khan is currently the WBC number-one contender and he wants the fight.
Khan was of course stopped by Garcia back in 2012, inside four-rounds. Can Khan do any better in a rematch? If Khan gets his way, we will find out.
Though there are certainly plenty of critics and cynics who say the fight will either never happen at all or that it is a gross mismatch anyway, Chris Eubank Junior’s promoter Eddie Hearn insists talks are well underway, at an advanced stage even, for his fighter to face unbeaten pound-for-pound star Gennady Golovkin. In fact Hearn, in speaking with Sky Sports News HQ, said we should “not be surprised to see Eubank-Golovkin in September.”
Hearn said Eubank must first take care of, and look good against, Tom Doran in defence of his British middleweight belt on June 25th (on the Joshua-Breazeale card in London) but that it could then be an assault on GGG’s collection of world titles.
Mexican superstar Saul Canelo Alvarez will fight again on September 17th, RingTV.com reports – but there are three different venues being considered for Canelo’s return and, more seriously, no confirmed opponent. Alvarez will fight, Golden Boy’s Eric Gomez says, either at The MGM in Las Vegas, at Madison Square Garden in New York or at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. At which weight? Gomez says Alvarez will box anywhere from 154 to 160, with “everybody” in that weight range being considered as an option.
Heavyweight great Mike Tyson used to visit the gravesite of the legendary Sonny Liston (and maybe still does) and, legend has it, Tyson would carry out imaginary conversations with the 1960s heavyweight king who was so mysterious in so many ways. Tyson found inspiration from his visits with Liston and another fighter who aims to become the next heavyweight ruler, in New Zealand’s Joseph Parker, has reportedly been paying homage to Liston at his final resting place just outside of Las Vegas.
Providing they each win their upcoming tune-up bouts, Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward, both unbeaten and rated highly in the various pound-for-pound rankings, will fight on November 19th at The T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. ESPN.com reports the fight will be available on HBO pay-per-view. A genuinely intriguing, hard to pick fight, Ward-Kovalev is a classic boxer Vs. puncher match-up.
Outside of a Kovalev-Adonis Stevenson unification clash, Kovalev-Ward is the biggest and best fight that can currently be made in the 175-pound division.
The great Roberto Duran turns 65 today, June 16th. Arguably the finest living fighter, the finest lightweight in history and one of the greatest Hispanic boxers of all time, Duran, Hands of Stone, is a hero to millions and a huge influence on many thousands of fighters, both past and present. Duran turned pro way, way back in February of 1968 (LBJ was president, Muhammad Ali was in exile, George Foreman had not yet won his Olympic gold medal) and he won his first world title, the WBA lightweight crown, in June of 1972 (“Tricky Dicky” was now president, Ali had returned, lost to Joe Frazier and was on the comeback trail anew, Foreman was an unbeaten 35-0 contender).
This is how long the cherished Duran had been a part of fight fans’ lives. Duran would beat everything in his path at 135-pounds, then beat the new US superstar Sugar Ray Leonard at welterweight, then win world titles up at 154 and 160 and fight to earn a quite astonishing, 103-16-(70) pro record! Imagine that today? No, I can’t, either.