HBO Boxing Insiders Eric Raskin and Kieran Mulvaney break down Alberto Machado's stunning come-from-behind upset knockout win over Jezreel Corrales, Demetrius Andrade's workmanlike performance against Alantez Fox, and Ryan Burnett's gutty victory over Zhanat Zhakiyanov as part of the Oct. 21 HBO Boxing After Dark tripleheader.
Photos: Ed Mulholland, Lawrence Lustig / Matchroom
By Kieran Mulvaney
VERONA, N.Y. - For the best part of eight rounds, Alberto Machado withstood a series of violent blows from all angles, as Jezreel Corrales looked to knock him out with almost every punch he threw. He rocked, he reeled, he hit the deck. And through it all, Machado kept his composure, heeding the advice of trainer Freddie Roach to stick to his fundamentals, work his jab and look for the openings that a constantly onrushing Corrales would provide. And then, in the eighth, it happened, a left hand sending Corrales down and out for the count and handing Machado a victory that he immediately dedicated to his battered homeland of Puerto Rico.
Corrales (22-2, 8 KOs) began fight week as a beltholder at 130 pounds but, by the time he entered the ring on Saturday night, he had already surrendered his title, having lost it on the scale by weighing in four pounds over the limit on Friday. Machado, however, could still win the belt if he came out on top, a turn of events that seemed hugely improbable early on as the Panamanian flung himself at him with a vicious if unconventional attack. A big southpaw left hurt Machado in the first round, and in the second Corrales seemed unable to miss with left after left. Machado steadied the ship in the third, working behind a jab and steering Corrales into power shots of his own, but normal service was resumed in the fourth, even as Corrales, having tasted some of Machado’s offense, now seemed marginally less reckless with his assault.
A massive left hand from Corrales hurt Machado badly in the fifth; Corrales’ own momentum carried him into the Puerto Rican, but he was able to step back enough to land a couple more cuffing punches that helped Machado on his way to the canvas for a knockdown. But Corrales allowed his foe to survive the round; and in the sixth he nearly paid the price as Machado (19-0, 16 KOs) landed a left hand of his own that clearly hurt Corrales badly. The Panamanian clung on for dear life, even tackling Machado to the canvas, but was cracked by a right hand that stunned him again before the round ended.
Corrales returned the favor in the seventh, landing yet another left that had Machado seemingly ready to fold, but then in the eighth, his recklessness finally cost him. The two men uncorked simultaneous left hands, but Machado’s, the more technically precise, landed first, its impact accentuated by the momentum of the onrushing Corrales. Corrales dropped to his knees, grabbed Machado around the legs and then, when the Puerto Rican extricated himself, folded flat on to his face. Although he hauled himself up, he could not do so in time to convincingly beat the count of 10, and just like that, Machado had scored what had seemed an unlikely victory.
“Freddie told me to double up the jab and that the opportunities would come, and they did,” Machado said afterward. “He caught me a few times, but I’m a warrior. I’m from Puerto Rico and I was always going to win this for Puerto Rico.”
Demetrius Andrade’s middleweight debut was a victorious one, and a dominant one too. Whether it was enough to cause any of the major champions and contenders to look nervously over their shoulders, or for fans to clamor to see the Rhode Islander take on any of them is a different matter. It appeared early on as if Andrade (25-0, 16 KOs), a 2008 Olympian whose professional career has stagnated through inactivity over the last four years, might treat fans to an early night when he landed a booming southpaw left in the opening round that sent Fox (23-1-1, 11 KOs) staggering backward into the ropes with a shocked look on his face. But despite Andrade’s efforts to apply the finishing blow, the 6’5” Fox steadied his lengthy legs beneath him and survived the round.
Still, in the fight’s formative stages, it appeared its conclusion was just around the corner. Fox, who had never before been in the ring with anyone of Andrade’s caliber or experience, looked lost and borderline overwhelmed. He circled constantly into Andrade’s power hand, offered little by way of offense and looked frankly out of his depth. In the third, Andrade began targeting Fox’s lanky body with vicious left hand power shots, landing one and then another and then another. Fox’s body language betrayed a man who was far from happy with his situation. Yet with each round that passed, Andrade seemed less and less likely to bring the curtain down early, and by the midpoint of the bout, the fight had fallen into something of a monotonous rhythm. Andrade was winning handily, but if he wanted to make a true statement and sell himself as a major attraction and contender, he needed to find an extra gear, figure out a way to somehow change the tenor of the contest.
His cause wasn’t especially helped when he officially suffered a knockdown in the seventh. Technically, perhaps, it was the correct call as a punch did indeed land on Andrade’s torso before he hit the deck, but he seemed to be already on his way to the canvas by that point after his feet became entangled with his opponent’s. The call was always likely to be more embarrassing than significant; Andrade was so far ahead already that there was no way Fox could reel him in on the scorecards unless he found a way to turn things around dramatically over the closing five rounds; and, to his credit, Fox attempted to do just that from the eighth round on. Chastised in the corner by his father and trainer for not throwing enough punches, Fox stood in the pocket in the eighth and sought to make a fight of it. His bravery made things more exciting, but was of little if any functional difference in the direction of the contest; Andrade was still the first to the punch and the man landing the harder and better blows. The body shots in particular continued to cause Fox to wince in obvious discomfort and there were several points at which he might be ready to find a spot to lie down.
But Fox somehow continued to stand tall, even if he was unable to impose himself on the contest. Although he made it to the final bell, the result was in no doubt, even though one judge’s score of 116-111 in favor of Andrade seemed oddly close. (The other two, 118-110 and 118-109, were more reflective of Andrade’s dominance.) Fox will learn from the experience; Andrade will satisfy himself that he got an important win under his belt on his return to HBO, and will move on to fight against, hopefully, better – if not necessarily bigger – competition.
In the opening bout of the broadcast, from Belfast, Northern Ireland, Ryan Burnett remained undefeated by emerging victorious from a grueling bantamweight brawl with Kazakhstan’s Zhanat Zyakiyanov. This was a tough battle, with neither man giving any quarter, both men lowering their heads, digging their toes into the canvas and ripping short power punches. It wasn’t subtle, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t skillful, as Zhakiyanov (27-2, 18 KOs) smothered and mauled while Burnett (18-0, 9 KOs) fought to gain any extra inch he could find in order to secure greater leverage on his punches. It was the Ulsterman who ultimately prevailed, emerging from a fairly even first half to dominate down the stretch and win a deserved unanimous decision.
Photos by Ed Mulholland
VERONA, NY – Asked what fans could expect from his challenge of super-featherweight titlist Jezreel Corrales on Saturday night, Alberto Machado confidently predicted, “New world champion!” And, as it turns out, he’s right. Machado may or not win his contest with the Panamanian, but whatever happens, Corrales will be champion no more, as he surrendered his belt on the scales at Turning Stone Resort & Casino on Friday when he weighed in at 134 pounds, fully four pounds above the division weight limit. Two later attempts to make weight, one and two hours later, saw him drop to 133 ¼ without underwear, and no further.
Corrales, to be fair, looked as if he had little if anything left to give; it may simply be that he is no longer able to squeeze those extra few pounds out of his body. But he must have known how far in excess of the weight limit he was when he smiled his way through a Friday morning sit-down with HBO’s Jim Lampley and Andre Ward and confidently stated that “I want to be the best at 130 pounds.” His added poundage may end up giving him an inherent advantage in his contest with Machado, but in the long term, it could well prove deleterious to his efforts to secure future big bouts on HBO. The super featherweight division that he has seemingly outgrown is packed with talent, and Corrales’ goal would surely have been to mix and match with as much of it as possible, be it in the form of Miguel Berchelt, Orlando Salido, Jason Sosa, Francisco Vargas, Tevin Farmer – or perhaps, for a second time, Robinson Castellanos, whom he overcame via technical decision earlier this year.
The clash with Castellanos was the Panamanian’s first outing in the United States, and it did not exactly provide him with the launching pad that he would have wanted. It was an entertaining enough tussle, but it was also a scrappy affair, ended prematurely when a clash of heads left a gash on Castellanos’ head and sent the fight to the scorecards two rounds early. In that sit-down with Lampley and Ward, Corrales expressed confidence that the style matchup with Machado would be “more pretty, more elegant” than was the case against Castellanos. It may well be, but it will do nothing to further Corrales’ goal of being in the best super featherweight in the world. Win or lose, the lightweight division would appear to be his home for the immediate future; it is the Puerto Rican Machado – tall, undefeated, quietly confident and possessed of a powerful southpaw right hook – who will be looking to stake his claim at 130 pounds.
Another fighter who, as Corrales had been, is hoping that Saturday will provide him with something of a reboot is Demetrius Andrade, a former Olympian and two-time junior middleweight titlist taking his bow at middleweight against undefeated 6’5” Alantez Fox. Whether it his fault or that of others that his career, which following a late 2013 win over Vanes Martirosyan seemed poised to take the next step, has since stalled, is a matter of opinion. The past is the past; the future for Andrade is 160 pounds and the prospect of mixing with the likes of Billy Joe Saunders, David Lemieux, Gennady Golovkin or Canelo Alvarez. (Daniel Jacobs, a close friend, is a dance partner he would pursue only with the greatest reluctance.)
Andrade is light-hearted and full of confidence, making light of his absence from and return to the limelight with a joking refrain of “It’s me again!” in interview after interview; but his initial challenge at middleweight is almost literally the biggest he could have taken. Fox is a mighty long, tall, drink of water (his younger brother, just one inch shorter and fighting at a weight 20 pounds lighter, is relatively speaking even more so). It is clear he is determined to make the most of his initial impression: He showed up for his on-camera HBO interviews on Thursday neatly groomed, complete with bow-tie, and told Lampley and Ward that he is keen to prove that not all fighters have to be prototypical dunces. But his intellect will matter only if he uses it to deploy his 83-inch reach to maximum advantage and keep the more experienced, and arguably more skilled, Andrade at bay. Like Machado, he knows that he is the B side to a more compelling story; but he is also keen to ensure that whatever story is ultimately written on Saturday night, his is the name that will lead the headline.
Weights from Verona:
Jezreel Corrales: 133.25 lbs.
Alberto Machado: 130.0 lbs.
Demetrius Andrade: 159.50 lbs.
Alantez Fox: 160.0 lbs.
Weights from Belfast:
Ryan Burnett: 117.6 lbs.
Zhanat Zhakiyanov: 117.4 lbs.
Photo: Ed Mulholland
Two of the most experienced fighters in the stacked 130-pound division will continue the heated Puerto Rico vs. Mexico rivalry when Jason “El Canito” Sosa (20-2-4, 14 KOs) takes on Robinson “Robin Hood” Castellanos (24-13, 14 KOs) in a 10-round super featherweight fight at the Theater at Madison Square Garden on the televised undercard for Kovalev vs. Shabranskyy. The event takes place Saturday, November 25 and will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10 PM ET/PT.
Although the competition between Puerto Rico and Mexico runs deep in the ring, Latinos come together and support each other in times of need. In light of the natural disasters affecting Mexico and the Caribbean, a portion of the proceeds of the ticket sales from this event will be donated to relief efforts for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the earthquake in Mexico City when ticket buyers use the code LATINOSUNIDOS to purchase their tickets through Ticketmaster.
“With the terrible natural disasters that have impacted Puerto Rico and Mexico recently, it was incredibly important to us that we find opportunities in boxing to give back to those affected,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. “Though Puerto Rico and Mexico are rivals when it comes to boxing we stand together united to help these communities recover and rebuild their lives.”
The 29-year-old Sosa, of Camden, NJ and of Puerto Rican descent, is the former WBA World Super Featherweight Champion. He earned his title by handing Javier “El Abejon” Fortuna his first loss as a pro with an 11th-round knockout in Beijing, China in June 2016. Sosa successfully defended his title with a 12-round decision win over Stephen Smith in Monte Carlo in November 2016 before returning several months later in a tough fight against Vasyl “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko in April 2017. Sosa is also known for fighting to an impressive majority draw against former WBA Super World Featherweight Champion Nicholas “Axe Man” Walters and for stopping former world title challenger Jerry “The Corpus Christi Kid” Belmontes in only one round. Sosa’s aggressive style should produce fireworks against Castellanos.
"Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico,” said Sosa. “I have been living there for the last few months and I opened a business there. Now to see the destruction and devastation that my people are going through, it breaks my heart. It was very difficult for me to leave and begin my training camp back in New Jersey to get ready for the fight against Castellanos. This fight is important for many reasons. It is the beginning of the road to becoming champion again and it is my way of giving Puerto Rico a reason to smile and be proud. They are my biggest supporters and that little island shows me so much love. I can't do much but I can show them that this win is for them. I want to thank Castellanos and HBO for this opportunity.”
Castellanos is a battle-tested warrior who is coming off a spectacular performance against current WBA Super World Super Featherweight Champion Jezreel “El Invisible” Corrales in July of this year. The 35-year-old native of Guanajuato, Mexico also handed super bantamweight contender and world title challenger Ronny Rios his first career loss, stopping him by TKO in October of 2014. Before challenging for a world title, Castellanos stopped Cuban former unified WBA and IBF Featherweight Champion Yuriorkis “El Ciclon de Guantánamo” Gamboa on the May 5 edition of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN. After having been so close to winning a world title in his last outing, Castellanos will look to make sure that he gets another crack at the top of the division with a victory on Nov. 25.
“What has happened in Mexico and Puerto [Rico] has been devastating,” said Castellanos. But it has also reminded us that we are strong and united. The crisis won’t be resolved from one day to another, but however long it takes we will lift ourselves up. I know little about Jason [Sosa], but I know that he was a world champion. He has already accomplished a dream that I am still looking to accomplish. I know that I’ll need a victory to fight for a world title again. Both of us will have to leave everything in the ring, and I hope that the people in New York really enjoy our fight.”
When things are going well in one's career, one would be wise to strike while the iron is hot. That's what WBA super featherweight titlist Jezreel Corrales and challenger Alberto Machado are doing. Just 98 days after making his HBO debut with a twice-off-the-floor 10-round technical decision win over Robinson Castellanos, Corrales will fight Puerto Rican power puncher Alberto Machado, who last captured a wide unanimous decision over Carlos Morales on ESPN. Both have much to gain with a victory and, who knows, the winner could opt to seize the day once again before the end of 2017.
Nothing gums up a fighter's offense more than facing someone like Corrales -- a mobile southpaw who operates out of a crab-like stance, throws strangely sequenced combinations and utilizes intelligent feints. In his last three fights against Takashi Uchiyama (who Corrales dethroned in fight one and defeated in the rematch) and Castellanos, Corrales was able to impose his preferred thinking man's pace on his foes.
While he averaged 52.3 punches per round in those bouts -- a bit below the 57.8 division average -- his foes threw just 35.3 per round. This was particularly noteworthy against Castellanos, who averaged 75.7 punches per round against action fighters Oscar Escandon, Rocky Juarez, Ronny Rios, and Rene Alvarado but was kept to 45 per round against the equally quirky Yuriorkis Gamboa (who he stopped in the seventh). Even worse for his foes is the fact that Corrales is hard to hit. In his last three bouts, he's been struck with 24% overall, 15% jabs and 30% power, all below the division norms of 30%, 19% and 37% respectively.
The good news for Machado is that Castellanos might have uncovered a way to foil Corrales' game -- seize on all openings with full force. In round four, Castellanos scored two shocking knockdowns. Unfortunately for him, he was unable to maintain the momentum. Machado's KO record suggests that he has the firepower to put Corrales down -- and keep him down. Another potential problem for Corrales is accuracy, for his three-fight average is just 22% overall, 12% jabs and 29% power -- all below the figures cited above for his opponents.
Up until his most recent bout with Morales, little was known about Machado beyond his ability to put opponents away early. He had yet to fight past round four, but in the 10 rounds he waged against Morales he showed himself to be someone with excellent stamina as he threw more punches in the tenth (52) than he did in the first (51) and peaked at 65 punches in rounds six and seven.
He also limited Morales to just 33.8 punches per round, and that total would have been even lower had Morales not unleashed a fight-high 73 punches in the 10th (a round that also saw Machado land 61% of his power shots). In the end, Machado prevailed 162-100 overall, 44-10 jabs and 118-90 power. Though he landed an impressive 46% of his power punches, his inaccurate jab (14%) dragged his total accuracy down to 28% to Morales' 30%.
While we now know he can fight 10 strong rounds, is Machado taking on too much by accepting a 12-round bout against the best opponent of his career? While Machado is attempting a quantum leap up in terms of distance and opponent for the second straight fight, the reward -- a world title -- certainly justifies the risk.
At 5-foot-10, Machado will own a four-inch height advantage as well as a five-inch reach gap. Those are powerful margins with which to work, and if he fights the right fight he is capable of scoring the upset, not just because he's a big puncher who can finish what Castellanos started in round four of their fight, but also because he is also a left-hander. Also, the fight will be held on neutral ground in Verona, N.Y., so the prospect of a hometown decision is removed from the equation. Still, this is a big leap up for Machado and Corrales' cuteness could cross his wires. Corrales on points.
Photo: Will Hart
Christmas will come early for boxing fans this year as WBO World Middleweight Champion Billy Joe Saunders (25-0, 12 KOs) will put his belt on the line on Saturday, December 16 against former IBF World Middleweight Champion David Lemieux (38-3, 33 KOs) at a soon-to-be-announced venue in Montreal, Canada. The fight will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 9:40 PM ET/PT.
Saunders, 28, from the United Kingdom, is undefeated and coming off back-to-back defenses of the WBO belt he won against “Irish” Andy Lee in late 2015. Over a standout career, Saunders has defeated the likes of former WBA Interim World Middleweight Champion Chris Eubank, Jr., then-undefeated Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan and longtime contender Willie “The Mongoose” Monroe Jr.
“Firstly I’d like to thank Golden Boy Promotions for putting the show on,” said Saunders. “Lemieux looks good against ‘B level’ fighters, but he is now getting in the ring with someone who is far more superior and slick than anyone he has ever been in with. I don’t just want the dog meat that Golovkin has left behind, I want the dog himself and when I come through this fight I will have him. He is a mandatory and we’ve agreed a deal to go over to foreign soil and get it on. I have a lot of friends in Canada, and I’ll be bringing a lot of supporters over to Canada from the UK. It has all the makings of a good fight. I’m expecting a good, clean, fair decision. Once I beat Lemieux I’ll be moving onto bigger fish; the winner of the rematch between Canelo and Golovkin. I’m looking forward to a great fight.”
Lemieux, 28, and from Montreal, is a thunderous puncher with tremendous power in both hands, who captured the IBF World Middleweight championship against Hassan N’Dam in 2015, knocking the then-world titleholder down four times en route to a unanimous decision victory. This year alone, Lemieux blasted out title contender Curtis “Cerebral Assassin” Stevens in a third-round knockout-of-the-year contender before earning a unanimous decision win against Marcos “Dorado” Reyes.
“It's time to be world champion again,” Lemieux said. “Saunders is about to get destroyed. I'm going to be extremely ready for this fight and I'm going to inflict a lot of pain on Saunders. His 0 must go.'”
“Saunders vs. Lemieux is exactly the right way to end a year that has been tremendous for boxing,” said Golden Boy Promotions CEO and Chairman Oscar De La Hoya. “Will Saunders be able to use his speed and craftiness to outbox Lemieux, or will David land a massive shot to end it in short order? We’ll find out December 16.”
“This has ‘great fight’ written all over it,” said Camille Estephan, President of Eye of the Tiger Management. “I know David is extremely motivated and viscerally dislikes Saunders. When he’s in that state, watch out. This promises to be a war. We are thrilled to have the opportunity for David to fight for the WBO title at home and keep it here. “
‘We’re delighted to be working again with Golden Boy Promotions, who we continue to enjoy a fantastic relationship with,” said Frank Warren. “Billy Joe Saunders is going into the lions’ den as he believes he has the beating of David Lemieux. It’s a great opportunity for Billy Joe to defend his WBO World Title against a big-name opponent and headline his first bill on HBO at American primetime, whilst being broadcast back to the UK live on BT Sport and BoxNation. He is looking forward to making a statement to the American audience to ensure he secures a fight with the winner of the Canelo vs. Golovkin rematch, for the Undisputed Middleweight World Championship. Billy Joe is out to prove he is the best Middleweight in the world. He has been continually avoided and if it means he has to go to Canada to ensure he can no longer be overlooked, then that is what he is prepared to do!’
“The middleweight division is stacked with the likes of Canelo, Gennady Golovkin, and Daniel Jacobs, and on December 16, fans will see champion BJ Saunders travel across the Atlantic to fight one of the divisions biggest punchers in David Lemieux on his home turf in Montreal,” said Peter Nelson, Executive Vice President, HBO Sports.
Saunders vs. Lemieux, a 12-round fight for the Saunders’ WBO World Middleweight Championship, is presented by Golden Boy Promotions and Eye of the Tiger Management in association with Frank Warren Promotions. The event will take place December 16, in Montreal, Canada and will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing.
By Eric Raskin
There’s a little something for everyone in the 130-pound division. It boasts quite possibly the best pound-for-pound pugilist in the sport right now, Vasyl Lomachenko. There are action fighters galore, such as Orlando Salido, Francisco Vargas, and Miguel Berchelt. There are undefeated up-and-comers like Gervonta Davis and many-times-defeated veterans like Robinson Castellanos. And there might soon be big-name featherweights on the rise, like Leo Santa Cruz, Gary Russell Jr., Oscar Valdez, and Carl Frampton.
With all of that going on, it’s easy for a couple of underexposed southpaws like Panama’s Jezreel Corrales and Puerto Rico’s Alberto Machado to get lost in the shuffle. And that’s part of the reason they’re facing each other on Saturday night at Turning Stone Casino on in the headline bout of an HBO Boxing After Dark card: so that one of them can step out of the shadows and into the mix for major fights atop the division.
The 26-year-old Corrales is fighting to prove he’s better than he showed in his HBO and American debut in July, when he tasted the canvas twice en route to an inconclusive 10-round technical decision win over Castellanos. Corrales (22-1 with 8 KOs) was at the forefront of the “best fighter you’ve never seen” conversation coming off of two straight wins over Takashi Uchiyama in Japan, but Castellanos brought into question whether “El Invisible” was even the best fighter in the ring that night. Two knockdowns in the fourth round — one more of push, but the second a clean decking when the Panamanian leaned into a right uppercut — put Corrales in a hole. He showed his mettle by dropping Castellanos with a left hand in round six, then a head clash in the 10th brought about a premature ending and the reading of scorecards of 94-94, 94-93, and 96-92, the latter two both for the prefight favorite. It was a victory, yes. But it was not the serve-notice arrival that Corrales had envisioned.
While Corrales fights for his reputation, Machado is fighting for an entire island nation. “I know that it won’t be an easy fight, but I am more motivated than ever to take this title to my family and to Puerto Rico, who really needs it during this time of grief,” the 27-year-old Machado says. “This fight is for my son, my family, and for Puerto Rico. I know that a victory would bring happiness to Puerto Rico after the destruction caused by Hurricane Maria.”
At 18-0 with 15 KOs, Machado has never fought outside of Puerto Rico and is far less proven than Corrales. The man known as “El Explosivo” was moved slowly for his first 16 fights, before stepping up a bit and blowing out Juan Jose Martinez in one round in April 2017, then winning a comprehensive decision over Carlos Morales in August. He looked good in those minor advances in competition, but it’s safe to say he’s never seen anything like Corrales.
Both men fight left-handed, but that’s about where the similarities end. Corrales is highly unconventional — for better and for worse. He can be sloppy, lose concentration, take rounds off. But when he’s on his game, he’s an expert counterpuncher who will attack from unexpected angles. The 5’10” Machado, who stands four inches taller than Corrales, is more of a traditional, stand-up boxer-puncher, packing most of his power in his left hand. Machado also has some serious power standing behind him: Miguel Cotto is his promoter, and he trains at Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Boxing Club, where a combination of Roach, Marvin Somodio, and Gavin McMillan are working to improve his balance and ability to cut off the ring. Though Machado is unproven, all the ingredients are there for another stiff test for Corrales in his second HBO fight.
“I know that Alberto Machado is a strong fighter,” Corrales says, “but I too am strong and intelligent. I know that my style of fighting will give him a lot of problems.”
This battle of southpaws will come down to which one is better equipped to solve problems. Then that man can move on to a new set of problems against his fellow elite 130-pounders.
Speaking of compelling style matchups and rising twentysomething fighters looking to make a leap, on the undercard at Turning Stone, southpaw 154-pound belt holder Demetrius “Boo Boo” Andrade is jumping up to the middleweight division to take on the ridiculously tall Alantez “SlyAza” Fox. (Say it loud if you don’t get the nickname.) Andrade (24-0, 16 KOs) was widely considered the best prospect from a 2008 U.S. Olympic team that included Deontay Wilder, Gary Russell Jr., and Sadam Ali, but it’s been a slow climb to true contendership. A close 2013 win over Vanes Martirosyan on HBO remains Andrade’s most significant victory; now, at 29, the Rhode Island lefty is ready to start fulfilling his promise.
His opponent on Saturday won’t make it easy, however. The 6’1” Andrade is used to being the taller man in the ring, but he’ll be looking up considerably at the 6’4” Fox, who is just 25 years old and has put together a record of 23-0-1 with 11 KOs against very limited opposition. If you want to know whether Fox uses his height in the ring, here’s a stat that can easily answer that question: In one fight in 2015, he threw 436 jabs in eight rounds. That’s 54.5 jabs per round. Andrade had better show up with a plan to close the distance or counter the stick.
“The Olympics were [nine] years ago,” the confident Fox declares. “Andrade is not the same fighter today. I don’t see anything that he will do that can put a loss on my record. I am going to put on a boxing exhibition.”
The HBO tripleheader will also include one fight from a separate location, the SSE Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where unbeaten local Ryan Burnett puts his bantamweight alphabet belt and perfect record of 17-0 with 9 KOs on the line against a fellow belt holder, 33-year-old Kazakh veteran Zhanat Zhakiyanov, whose record of 27-1 with 18 KOs includes an eye-opening win in February that saw him rise from two first-round knockdowns to outpoint former U.S. Olympian Rau’shee Warren. The 25-year-old Burnett may be the hometown hero, but Zhakiyanov will be accompanied to the ring by a UK hero of his own: his trainer, Ricky Hatton.
“This is a massive fight for the city — the first ever unification fight in Northern Ireland — and it’s an honor to be the man stepping through the ropes to make history,” Burnett says. “I know Zhanat is a tough challenge for me, but I believe that I have the momentum behind me from beating [Lee] Haskins and I won’t be denied on October 21. I would love to be in a huge fight in America one day, and I intend to impress the American fans who will love the atmosphere in the SSE Arena.”
HBO Sports, widely acclaimed for its innovative boxing programming, takes an in-depth look at Daniel Jacobs, one of the sport’s true superstars in and out of the ring, as he makes his return in November in the talent-rich 160 pound division against undefeated middleweight Luis Arias, when My Fight: Daniel Jacobs debuts Saturday, November 4 at 11 p.m. ET/PT following the prime time replay of the HBO Boxing After Dark telecast from Monte Carlo.
The special will also be available on HBO NOW, HBO GO and HBO On Demand, and at HBO.com/boxing, as well as other new media platforms.
Former middleweight champ Daniel “Miracle Man” Jacobs (32-2, 29 KOs), returns to action following his superb performance against fearsome pound-for-pound king Gennady Golovkin this past March in New York where “GGG” edged the Brooklyn native out on points. Jacobs will be looking for an explosive performance against the unbeaten American Arias as he looks to get back into title contention and a force to be reckoned with in the stacked middleweight division.
My Fight cameras travel with Jacobs in his proud hometown neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY to chronicle the long journey it took to reach the elite level of professional boxing. The special is narrated by Liev Schreiber.
On Saturday, Nov. 11, Jacobs and Arias meet at NYCB Live, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York, in a 12-round showdown that will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing as part of a tripleheader event beginning at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
For more information, visit hbo.com/boxing; become a fan on Facebook at facebook.com/HBOBoxing; and follow on Twitter and Instagram at @HBOBoxing. Follow the conversation using #JacobsArias.