Exclusive PHOTOS: Behind the scenes during Andre Ward vs. Sergey Kovalev Fight Week in Las Vegas

Behind the scenes inside of the MGM Grand during the Andre Ward vs. Sergey Kovalev showdown (Photo: Hustle Boss)

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By Chris Robinson

Hours from now the boxing world will be witness to a high-stakes clash between former super middleweight champion Andre Ward and WBA/WBO/IBF light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev, from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.

It’s been a busy fight week as usual, with several boxing luminaries on hand due to their involvement in the event, whether they are undercard fighters, managers, trainers, fans, and anything in between.

PHOTOS: Former world champion Bryan Vasquez officially signs with Roy Jones Jr. Boxing Promotions

Former world champion Bryan Vasquez, left, is now part of the Roy Jones Jr. Boxing Promotions family (Photo: Hustle Boss)

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Photos by Chris Robinson

Was pleasantly surprised when I found out that former world champion Bryan “Tiquito” Vasquez has signed on to an exclusive agreement with Roy Jones Jr. Boxing Promotions.

On Thursday evening, inside of the Brio Tuscan Grille in Las Vegas, Vasquez made the announcement 100% official by signing the contract, with 10x world champion Roy Jones Jr. and the company’s CEO/Co-Founder Keith Veltre on hand during the announcement.

Curtis Stevens on Kovalev-Ward and whether we’ll see Canelo vs. Golovkin

Curtis Stevens speaking in Las Vegas (Photo: Hustle Boss)

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By Chris Robinson

On Saturday night, lineal light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev (30-0-1, 26 KO’s) and former super middleweight champion Andre Ward (30-0, 15 KO’s) will meet inside of the T-Mobile Arena in an HBO pay per view attraction.

On the undercard, middleweight contender Curtis “Cerebral Assassin” Stevens (28-5, 21 KO’s) will face off with upset-minded James De La Rosa (23-4, 13 KO’s). In his last match, this past May 7 on the Amir Khan vs. Canelo Alvarez undercard, Stevens stopped previously unbeaten Patrick Teixeira (26-1, 22 KO’s) in devastating fashion.

VIDEOS: Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev arrive to the MGM Grand ahead of this weekend’s big fight

Sergey Kovalev is in Las Vegas ahead of his Saturday night showdown vs. Andre Ward (Photo: Hustle Boss)

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By Chris Robinson

On Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 15, lineal light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev and former super middleweight champion Andre Ward made their grand arrivals to the city of Las Vegas ahead of their showdown this Saturday night from the T-Mobile Arena.

Set for a clash on HBO pay per view, Kovalev (30-0-1, 26 KO’s) and Ward (30-0, 15 KO’s) will face off for a battle that will likely determine who is the sport’s number-one fighter.

Exclusive PHOTOS: Sparring between unbeaten prospect Ahmed Mahmood and WBC silver flyweight champion Muhammad Waseem

Prospect Ahmed Mahmood and WBC silver flyweight champion Muhammad Waseem working (Photo: Hustle Boss)

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By Chris Robinson

Some nice sparring the other day took place between unbeaten junior lightweight prospect Ahmed Mahmood (6-0-1, 3 KO’s) and WBC silver flyweight champion Muhammad Waseem (4-0, 3 KO’s).

You can tell both men were not going at each other hard, more so working on angles and technique at a modest pace. Still, up close and in the trenches you could see both men playing chess with each other as they picked their shots.

PHOTOS: Manny Pacquiao overcomes a game Jessie Vargas inside of the Thomas & Mack

Manny Pacquiao overcame a spirited effort from Jessie Vargas (Photo: Mikey Williams – Top Rank)

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By Chris Robinson

As expected, eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao defeated Jessie Vargas this past Saturday night in Las Vegas, Nev.

Inside of the Thomas & Mack Center, Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 KO’s) was sharp, strong, and efficient throughout the fight, while Vargas, (27-2, 10 KO’s) lost no stock at all in defeat, showing true grit and determination in the face of his more experienced foe.

Pacquiao, 37, picks up the WBO welterweight title for a third time with the win and speculation about a rematch with Floyd Mayweather has begun. Check below for a closer look at the action.

Photos courtesy of Mikey Williams/Top Rank

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Chris Robinson can be reached at CRobinson@hustleboss.com

 

 

Manny Pacquiao vs. Jessie Vargas Official Weigh-In

Manny Pacquiao and Jessie Vargas face off later tonight in Las Vegas (Photo: Mikey Williams – Top Rank)

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By Chris Robinson

Later tonight, inside of the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nev., WBO welterweight champion Jessie Vargas (27-1, 10 KO’s) meets eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao (58-6-2, 38 KO’s) in an attempt to make a first defense of his belt and also elevate his career to a new level.

Vargas is a heavy underdog, anywhere between 6-1 to 7-1 according to Las Vegas odds makers, but he is not short of any confidence heading into the most pivotal fight of his career.  Vargas is coming off of his biggest victory to date, a ninth-round TKO over previously unbeaten Olympian Sadam Ali this past March, while Pacquiao is returning following an announced retirement that came after his victory over Tim Bradley in their third encounter.

PHOTOS: Inside the Final Manny Pacquiao vs. Jessie Vargas Press Conference

Manny Pacquiao and Jessie Vargas face off on Saturday night in Las Vegas (Photo: Mikey Williams – Top Rank)

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By Chris Robinson

On Wednesday afternoon, inside of the Margaux Ballroom at the Wynn Las Vegas, the final press conference was held for this weekend’s Manny Pacquiao vs. Jessie Vargas pay per view event.

Vargas (27-1, 10 KO’s) will defend his WBO welterweight belt against Pacquiao (58-6-2, 38 KO’s) from the Thomas & Mack Center in a fight that he is considered a 7-1 underdog.

Pacquiao-Vargas Fight Week Kicks Off At The Top Rank Gym

Trainer Ismael Salas and Nonito Donaire inside of the Top Rank Gym in Las Vegas (Photo: 1Tarrell #ClockInNotOut)

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By Chris Robinson

Fight Week has again descended upon the city of Las Vegas, as the Thomas & Mack Center will host this weekend’s Manny Pacquiao vs. Jessie Vargas pay per view showdown.

Vargas (27-1, 10 KO’s) will defend his WBO welterweight title against Pacquiao (58-6-2, 38 KO’s) in an independent pay per view to be held by promoter Top Rank.

VIDEO: Manny Pacquiao Media Day Highlights ahead of Nov. 5 Jessie Vargas bout

Manny Pacquiao training in Los Angeles ahead of his Nov. 5 bout in Las Vegas vs. Jessie Vargas (Photo: Mikey Williams)

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By Chris Robinson

We are a little over a week away from the Manny Pacquiao vs. Jessie Vargas showdown.

Set for Nov. 5 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nev., Vargas (27-1, 10 KO’s) will defend his WBO welterweight title against Pacquiao (56-8-2, 38 KO’s), an eight-division titlist over his legendary career.

Exclusive PHOTOS: ‘Prince’ Albert Bell putting in work in Las Vegas

“Prince” Albert Bell working out in Las Vegas (Photo: Hustle Boss)

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By Chris Robinson

I had been hearing good things about Toledo, Oh. prospect “Prince” Albert Bell the past few months in Las Vegas and after checking out some of his work inside of the Mayweather Boxing Club recently, I can attest that his talent is for real.

Bell, 23, carries with him a 6-0 record with 2 knockouts in the junior welterweight class and he possesses a very elusive style. He darts in and out and counter-punches well enough.

Dashaun Anderson: Ready to Bloom

17-year old Dashaun Anderson is eyeing a breakthrough in the boxing game (Photo: Team Anderson)

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By Chris Robinson

It’s been a few years now since I have been keeping in touch with young amateur Dashaun Anderson.

A native of Chicago, Ill. and now residing in Phoenix, Ariz., Anderson, 17, is ambitious as they come and has been updating me about his progress as a fighter for several months. Anderson has been active in the sport since he was eight years old, after heeding advice from his grandmother at the time, as she felt it would be a good fit for him.

Exclusive PHOTOS: Back inside of the Salas Boxing Academy in Las Vegas

Inside of the Salas Boxing Academy in Las Vegas (Photo: Hustle Boss)

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By Chris Robinson

It had been a while since I had linked up with trainer Ismael Salas and his stable of fighters out here in Las Vegas.

Presently running the Salas Boxing Academy, which is inside of the Bones Adams Boxing Gym a few miles West of the strip, Salas is one of the busiest and most dedicated coaches in the game. The Cuban-born Salas trains WBA lightweight champion Jorge Linares, IBF lightweight champion Rances Barthelemy, former featherweight champion Yuriorkis Gamboa, cruiserweight champion Beibut Shumenov, as well as a slew of contenders and upcoming prospects.

Trainer and former fighter Monyette Flowers makes his way back to Las Vegas

Monyette Flowers works with amateur MMA fighter Bronson Sabado in Las Vegas (Photo: Hustle Boss)

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By Chris Robinson

It was May of last year when I first crossed paths with trainer and former fighter Monyette Flowers out here in Las Vegas.

Having been through the amateur and professional grind as a fighter out in Memphis, Tenn., Flowers knows all too well the responsibilities that surround a boxer.

Getting Uncut with Stacy Mayweather

Stacy Mayweather, pictured right, always keeps it moving (Photo: Hustle Boss)

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By Chris Robinson

Las Vegas is a transit destination for several people from the globe over and the city plays host to a wide range of characters.

In getting to know Grand Rapids native Stacy Mayweather, I’ve grown to appreciate how he has adapted and thrived during his three-plus years in Las Vegas.

PHOTOS: Prospects and stars emerge at 9/30 ‘Downtown at the D’ event in Las Vegas

Stephon Young, right, lands against Juan Antonio Lopez in their bantamweight bout at the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center (Photo: 1Tarell of #ClockInNotOut)

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By Chris Robinson

On Saturday night, Sep. 30, another installment of “Knockout Night at the D” returned to the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center, with several notable matchups taking place.

As we mentioned in a previous post, Oxnard’s Erik Ruiz shined against Hanzel Martinez in a mild upset, and there were other prospects who left their mark as well.

Erik Ruiz’s career hits another high-note with majority-decision victory over Hanzel Martinez

Oxnard’s Erik Ruiz backstage after defeating Hanzel Martinez in Las Vegas (Photo: Team Ruiz)

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By Chris Robinson

On Saturday night, Sep. 30, Oxnard, Calif. native Erik Ruiz notched another highlight victory in pulling a mild upset over Mexico’s Hanzel Martinez inside of the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center in Las Vegas, Nev.

Ruiz (16-5-1, 6 KO’s) was a little busier than Martinez (23-3, 18 KO’s) from the outset and you could tell that he was completely geared up for this challenge. Ruiz actually was a late replacement for Ghanaian-born Emmanuel Quartey, who was unable to secure a visa in time before his match.

Exclusive PHOTOS: Micko Zizic preparing for Sep. 30 bout at the D vs. unbeaten John Vera

Micko Zizic, right, sparring with unbeaten Will Clemons in Las Vegas (Photo: Hustle Boss)

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By Chris Robinson

On Sep. 30, once-beaten Milorad “Micko” Zizic will step back into the ring when he faces unbeaten John Vera inside of the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center. The Vera-Zizic clash will air on CBS Sports and serves also as the biggest date in Zizic’s career.

Zizic (12-1, 6 KO’s) has been training in Las Vegas under the watchful eye of his trainer Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, as well as his father Veselin Zizic, who was a former amateur standout himself. Vera (14-0, 9 KO’s) is coming off of a sixth-round TKO victory over Joey Ruelas this past May and figures to be full of confidence coming into the match.

Kenny Porter remembers Golovkin as an amateur; expects the boxing public to demand Canelo

Kenny Porter speaking in Las Vegas (Photo: Hustle Boss)

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By Chris Robinson

On Friday night, inside of the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas, Hustle Boss caught up with trainer Kenny Porter.

Kenny’s primary fighter, his son, former IBF welterweight champion Shawn, is coming off of a rousing performance this past June 25, where he dropped a razor-thin unanimous decision to WBA titlist Keith Thurman.

Floyd Mayweather watches from ringside as Lionell ‘Lonnie B’ Thompson defeats Donovan George

Floyd Mayweather, pictured center, was inside of the Cosmopolitan this past Friday night (Photo: Stephanie Trapp)

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By Chris Robinson

On Friday night, Sep. 16, light heavyweight contender Lionell “Lonnie B” Thompson got back in the winner’s circle with a clear-cut eight-round unanimous decision over Chicago’s Donovan George. Thompson (17-4-1, 10 KO’s) was too sharp and agile for George (25-6-2, 222 KO’s), and registered a knockdown late in the match before claiming his victory.

Watching from ringside, amongst others, was Thompson’s promoter Floyd Mayweather of Mayweather Promotions. Mayweather defeated Andre Berto in September of last year and walked away from the sport afterwards, with no indication that he will be returning.