CINCINNATI (April 25, 2013) – For many years, on his way to becoming a world champion boxer, Adrien Broner trained and sparred inside an aged ring tucked into the small boxing gym of the Mount Auburn Recreation Center. Now, after securing two world titles and becoming one of the foremost figures in the sport, the native Cincinnatian has decided to give back to the gym where he built his professional career by donating a brand new ring.
Perhaps the biggest sign that improvements were needed came just two weeks ago when Broner was in the middle of a sparring session operating around cut-man Levi Smith who was knelt down in the center of the ring patching up another long tear in the canvas.
While Broner trains daily at the gym, he is not the only person using the ring. Many boxers, young and old, male and female, use the facilities of the Mount Auburn Rec Center, and the new ring will serve as a welcome upgrade for all. He also bought brand new gloves and headgear which were put to use by the amateurs at the regional Golden Gloves tournament. For the many youth who are learning the sport, this generous gift will help provide them with improved amenities as they work towards their own career, and is also a great example of giving back to the community.
Broner is currently in the midst of preparation for his June 22 fight against Paulie Malignaggi at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. The bout is scheduled for 12 rounds with the WBA Welterweight title at stake. A victory for Broner will be his third championship in three weight divisions.
By José Santana Jr.
The first time Darnell Boone stepped into a boxing ring was perhaps a foretelling of his career to be. By now many in the boxing world know about Youngstown, Ohio, and the city it once was, and currently is. A city which cannot claim much, but proudly hangs on to what it still has. There’s the General Motors Assembly plant, a wealth of football talent, and of course, a still thriving boxing scene.
Part of that scene was former middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik, the most popular boxer from the area since Ray Mancini in the 1980s. Boone is no Pavlik, nor Mancini. His record isn’t pretty and his popularity not nearly to their level. He’s been an underdog ever since that initial visit to Jack Loew’s gym where he quickly found himself face-to-face with the biggest guy they could throw at him – Pavlik.
From that moment, Boone has been up against it. He turned pro at the age of 24 with only 10 amateur fights, but it was likely the best decision he could have made.
At the time, Boone wasn’t up to much. “I was doing the normal street guy thing,” Boone said. “(Boxing) actually changed everything. I know exactly where I’d be if I didn’t start boxing.”
It was Boone’s younger brother who led him to the gym.
“My little brother came to my house and was crying that nobody would take him to practice,” Boone said. “I’m thinking he’s playing football. He said, ‘No, I don’t play football, I box.’”
Being the person that he is, Boone took his brother to the gym and also decided he was going to spar somebody. “(The trainer) kept telling me no, no, no,” Boone said. “I said I know how to fight. He said, ‘You know how many guys come in here and say that all the time and then we have to clean them up?’”
Boone eventually got his chance against Pavlik. He lasted a couple of rounds that day, but chose boxing for life.
Learning on the fly hasn’t been too difficult for Boone. Despite a 19-20 (8 KOs) record, he hasn’t found fighting in a ring to be too big of a change – he did a lot of it in the streets. What has been hard for Boone is finding proper guidance, both from trainers and managers.
“I had hard fights from the gate,” Boone said. That’s an understatement. Boone has been left as fodder many of the top upcoming fighters at super middleweight – Andre Ward, Enrique Ornelas, Jean Pascal, Fernando Zuniga, Erislady Lara, Edwin Rodriguez, and Adonis Stevenson.
The one outlier in the group is Stevenson. Boone ended his undefeated mark in 2012, and looks to take his No. 1 contender spot the second time around Friday at the Bell Centre in Montreal.
When Boone first started boxing he had no real representation. It was just him and his trainer going for the gusto. This past January, a well-known Youngstown management group decided to pick Boone up and get his career on-track.
“As we look to grow the fighter management aspect of our business, a local guy like Darnell was a perfect fit,” said Michael Cefalde Jr., one of the partners in the Lights Out Management team. “He was without a promoter and manager at the time so we worked with him on his last fight against Derrick Webster. We know that from Darnell we will get an honest effort in training, his fights, and outside the ring.”
Boone feels just as good about the move. He now trains with Sam Calderon at the United City Boxing gym, another necessary change for his career. It wasn’t long ago when he wasn’t sure if even his trainer had faith in him.
“It feels great to have a team who has your best interests at heart,” Boone said. “Everybody is on the same page. Before you never knew where my trainers mind was at; if he gave up on me or if he had the fire for me he had before. Come to find out, he gave up on me and was just getting a paycheck, but now
I have a team where everybody is on the same accord and have the same goal in mind.”
None of these changes are going to make Boone a world class fighter all of a sudden. But they certainly can help Boone become more than just a dangerous stepping stone. A world title opportunity isn’t too farfetched.
“I know for a fact with the trainers I got now we can (fight for a world title),” Boone said. “You’re not going to win them all, especially being where I’m at now in my career. I have to take the risk to fight this or that guy to get a step ahead. I’m willing to do that because you have to fight the best to be the best.”
The second fight against Stevenson this Friday was supposed to be for his NABA super middleweight title. Boone saw winning that belt as a small fruit for his labor, but unfortunately boxing politics took that away. After signing the contract, Boone and his team were notified by Stevenson’s promotion team – Groupe Yvon Michel – that the fight was being changed to 10 rounds and that Stevenson inexplicably no longer possesses the belt.
It’s all a part of the game. Boone knows he just needs to win. They can’t take away Stevenson’s No. 1 contender ranking with the IBF, only he can.
Shuffled throughout his 19 wins are some fighters who had promise. Boone is no cakewalk, and this time around he has had a full training camp.
“Darnell has spent many years with no training camps, one week’s notice for fights, and fighting out of his weight class,” Cefalde said.
Couple a full camp with some added confidence and Boone seems to be feeling at the top of his game. “When you get a short notice fight you’re not mentally ready or physically ready,” Boone said. “So with this camp, I’m more mentally ready and I’ve got the confidence right now.”
It’s likely that Stevenson will try to do something different this fight – he was KOd with his last gameplan. Boone is preparing himself for it, and he’s not expecting to go to the judges. Not because he’s concerned about being in the other man’s territory, but because that’s just the type of fighter he is.
“I’ve been everybody’s backyard since day one,” Boone said. “So it’s just another backyard that I’m going in.”
Although there’s no title on the line, and Boone will likely have to jump through many more hoops if he ever wants to achieve boxing glory, this fight means a lot to him. He hasn’t given up on his career, settling for collecting paychecks. Boxing is his full-time job, and he puts all his effort into it.
“A win would be the culmination of many years of blood, sweat and tears,” Cefalde said. “He deserves this.”
Boone is an unsung hero of sorts for Youngstown. He’s a true representation of the struggle and perseverance.
“I’m representing the streets and it’s a big thing for me to bring the light of boxing back to Youngstown,” Boone said.
To think that it all started in the same ring as the city’s biggest pride, a well-trained boxer against whom he didn’t stand a chance, Boone pushed on and has forged a career in the sport doing the same thing. Life can be funny in that way sometimes.
Boone has yet to witness the glory that Pavlik saw in his prime, but as those closest to him can attest, he is certainly most-deserving of it. Perhaps, he can get a new start this Friday.
Author’s note: Lights Out Management has Team Deezol T-shirts available on their website for purchase. Please visit their website at www.lightsout.lightsout-management.com if you are interested in supporting Darnell Boone.
Article appeared on SecondsOut.com on March 22, 2013
CINCINNATI (Feb. 5, 2013) — The consensus top Lightweight in the world, Adrien Broner, is defending his newly earned WBC lightweight championship Feb. 16 against Gavin Rees at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J. Broner, a two-time world champion in two different weight classes, looks to continue his dominance against the experienced Welshman going for his sixth knockout in a row.
With an undefeated record of 25-0 (21 KOs) Broner has an impressive 84% knockout ratio. The Cincinnati native has been impressing audiences around the world since he first hit the scene in 2008. His most recent victory came last November against Mexico’s Antonio DeMarco. Many predicted it would be the toughest challenge the 25-year-old Broner’s career and he handled it by stopping DeMarco in eight rounds.
Rees (37-1-1, 18 KOs), 32, has been on the rise over the past years rolling off 10 wins since the lone loss of his career against then-world champion Andriy Kotelnyk.
The undercard will feature Cincinnati’s own three-time U.S. Olympian Rau’shee Warren (2-0), Robert Easter (2-0, 2 KOs) and Jamel Herring (1-0, 1 KO). Warren is one of the most heralded amateurs to make the jump to the pro ranks, and is rising up the flyweight division, Easter was an alternate on the Olympic team and is competing at the lightweight division, and Herring was the captain of the 2012 Olympic team and is also a former U.S. Marine. All three fighters train together along with Broner under coach Mike Stafford.
Broner vs. Rees, a 12-round fight for Broner’s WBC Lightweight World Championship, is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and R&R Promotions, sponsored by Caesars Atlantic City, Corona and AT&T and will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT. The co-main event will be a 12-round heavyweight clash between Johnathon Banks and Seth “Mayhem” Mitchell for Banks’ NABO and WBC International Heavyweight titles.
Highlights from the Dec. 15 SHOWTIME Championship Boxing broadcast including Amir Khan vs. Carlos Molina, Alfredo Angulo vs. Jorge Silva, and Deontay Wilder vs. Kelvin Price. Plus, highlights from the Showtime Boxing on CBS match between Leo Santa Cruz and Alberto Guevara.
One of the most underrated boxers of the past 10 years, Argentina’s Omar Narvaez, once again defended his WBO super flyweight (115 pounds) world title this past Saturday against David Quijano of Puerto Rico. Narvaez is a tricky southpaw with many years behind him still running strong. Quijano was the No. 11 ranked contender to the title. Check out the video below to catch some of the action.
Tonight at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao and three-time world champion Juan Manuel Marquez will clash for the fourth time trying to settle once and for all who is the better boxer of the two. As it stands, Pacquiao owns two victories over Marquez while the first fight was ruled a draw. Below is my prediction on tonight’s bout.
This time around I see Pacquiao finally being able to deliver a clear victory against Marquez — or maybe that’s just wishful thinking on my part that a clear victor is even possible. The reality seems to be that both of these fighters are so evenly matched that whoever finally comes out as the definitive loser may just be showing that his skills have begun regressing sooner than the others’. Pacquiao will be aggressive and Marquez will look to counter, that will not change in this fourth fight. What we will have to look for is how carefully Pacquiao picks his spots and how much Marquez can lure Pacquiao into trading where he will hope Pacquiao gets sloppy attempting to throw four and five punch combinations. That’s the way I see it at least.
Pick: Pacquiao by Unanimous Decision
See more predictions on the Pacquaio vs. Marquez IV welterweight championship fight by my colleagues at SecondsOut.com.
Take a look at the third episode of 24/7 Pacquiao-Marquez 4 — the latest of HBO Sports’ acclaimed 24/7 series, a documentary style show that follows boxers as they prepare for much-anticipated upcoming fights. This time the cameras are with boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao and the man who has given him the most trouble throughout his career Juan Manuel Marquez. The two have fought three times with Pacquiao coming out on top the most recent two and the first fight a draw. All three fights were so close that the debate still rages of who actually won each fight amongst fans.
Not much is known about Austin Trout other than that he is a solid boxer all around. He hasn’t shown to be particularly great at any one thing but he can control the pace and win rounds. Though he is the champion in this fight, he hasn’t faced anyone near the caliber or Cotto, meaning this is his time to prove he can be great. He chose quite the opponent to do that against, can’t fault him for that. Cotto isn’t as old as we thought, and seems to have been revived working under Pedro Luis Diaz. It’s hard not to pick Cotto in this fight, we know what he can do, and it’s only failed against the two best current fighters in the sport (If you don’t count his controversial loss against Margarito). Cotto will have to overcome Trout’s lengthy height advantage, but I see him outlanding Trout with accurate punching and possibly showing a weakness in him with some revitalized vicious body punching.
Cotto TKO 10
See more predictions on the Cotto vs. Trout super welterweight championship fight by my colleagues at SecondsOut.com.