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Kovalev Facing Felony Assault Charges, Still Fighting Alvarez
Sergey Kovalev is being accused of punching a woman in the face, breaking her nose, giving her a concussion and displacing a disk in her neck. The incident allegedly took place in June but was reported by TMZ this week. Kovalev is facing up to four years in prison for the crime, but will still be looking to avenge his knockout loss to Eleider “Storm” Alvarez on Feb. 2.
While we don’t want to presume anything, this is a horrifying accusation. Kovalev is not only one of the biggest punchers at light heavyweight, he once killed an opponent in the ring due to the concussive force of his blows. A few people on various boxing forums are now mockingly calling him, Sergey “Krush-her” Kovalev, which is making light of a truly terrifying situation. One thing is for sure, with ESPN+ investing heavily in this highly anticipated rematch, and ESPN boxing analyst Max Kellerman’s own disturbing admission of a onetime domestic violence incident, this news could not be coming out at a worse time for the self-proclaimed Worldwide Leader in Sports.
Flores Injures Ankle, Rafael Rivera to Fight Santa Cruz
A Feb. 16 PBC on Fox card had to change its main event this week, as Miguel Flores suffered an ankle injury in training was replaced by Rafael Rivera as Leo Santa Cruz’s opponent. Flores was knocked out in two of his last three fights, while Rivera has lost two decisions in his last three fights, so it is neither a huge step up nor a huge step back in opponent. Either way, with the fight taking place in Los Angeles, it’s clear Santa Cruz is the star, and the fighter viewers will be tuning in to see regardless of opponent.
Conlan to Face Hernandez at MSG on St Patrick’s Day
Speaking of star featherweights, former Irish Olympian Mick Conlan will be fighting Ruben Garcia Hernandez at Madison Square Garden this St. Patrick’s Day, on a card that will air on ESPN+. This will be Conlan’s third fight at Madison Square Garden in only an 11-fight professional career, which shows how strongly Top Rank wants to build him an East Coast, Irish-American following. His opponent is 24-3, but has only lost to Nonito Donaire, Randy Caballero and Rafael Rivera. Conlan will be the fan, and odds on favorite, but this is a fight where while he will likely win he may not look great.
Algieri Eying Fight Against Hooker
After beating Danny Gonzalez by a close but unanimous 98-92, 97-93, 96-94 decision on Saturday for the WBO International Super lightweight title, Chris Algieri is apparently eyeing a shot at Maurice Hooker saying in response to a question about facing the WBO light welterweight champion "I can turn it up when I need it ... I have always been the guy that can pull off the unexpected."
The only unexpected moment in Algieri’s career was when he was knocked down by Manny Pacquaio, while his trainer promised he was about to let him out of his cage. Still, he deserves credit if he takes the matchup, as just two fights into his comeback he would be a heavy underdog.
Pacquiao’s Home Robbed After Broner Fight; May Have Cornea Injury
Manny Pacquiao’s house in LA was robbed just one day after his win over “About Billions.” While we don’t know what the robbers took, we know that Manny likely has a costlier issue to deal with. With rumors of matchups against Keith Thurman or Floyd Mayweather swirling, Pacquiao apparently suffered an eye injury so severe some members of his team were concerned it would be career ending. Luckily, Manny likely did not suffer a detached retina as feared but a scratch from the tape on Broner’s gloves, and was seen without an eyepatch, a sign that he will likely be OK. Pacquiao will however, have his eye examined further back home in the Philippines.
Texas Boxer Murdered by 12 Year-Old Boy, British Boxer Murdered With Shotgun
While everybody loves a story about a bunch of muggers getting beaten up by a boxer or MMA fighter, and there will inevitably be a “These guys picked the wrong victim to rob” headline, it’s worth noting that there’s no martial art that can beat a gun. As unfortunate proof of that, this week two boxers were shot to death. In Texas, boxer John Duane Vanmeter was shot by a 12 year-old trying to break into his house, while in the UK, British fighter Tom Bell died after being shot with a shotgun.
Griffith Opera and Second Wepner Movie Premiere
An opera based on the life of Emile Griffith premiered this week at the Opera de Montreal. Griffith is most famous for killing Benny Paret in the ring after Paret consistently taunted the bisexual Griffith with homophobic insults. This story was covered extensively in the great documentary “Ring of Fire: The Emile Griffith Story.” The opera is titled “Champion: An Opera in Jazz.” Credit should be given to the show’s creator for using such a unique story in creating his opera.
On the other hand, a Chuck Wepner biopic premiered this week at the Kent Theater in Brooklyn Titled, “The Brawler.” This film is not to be confused with “Chuck,” the Chuck Wepner biopic starring Leiv Schreiber that came out just two years ago. This brings me to a plea for all the screenwriters out there: please stop making movies about mediocre white boxers.
We already have two Wepner flicks, a Vinny Paz feature, a James Braddock movie and a Micky Ward film. There are a million interesting boxing stories out there: Kasim Ouma was a child soldier in Uganda, James Scott defended his title live from prison where he was an inmate. So I don’t think we need to watch another gritty white guy fighting his way back to a title shot after some tough life lessons.