Golovkin Favored Against Alvarez In Middleweight Unification Title Fight

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Gennady (GGG) Golovkin might have looked mortal his last time in the ring four months ago, but respect for the undefeated middleweight champion dictates that he is a betting favorite against Saul (Canelo) Alvarez for their championship fight on Saturday.

Golovkin is listed as the -155 betting favorite to win with Alvarez coming back at +125 for their bout at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Golovkin was listed at -350 when books first began giving odds on spec two years ago and was at -165 when both sides agreed to the fight this spring.

There is the theory that Golden Boy Promotions would not have put the fight together if they didn’t think that Alvarez was capable of beating Golovkin, who had his first-ever 12-round fight in May when he took the unanimous decision against Daniel Jacobs.

Alvarez, a 27-year-old Mexican who excels at defusing attacks and counter-punching, is 49-1-1 with 34 knockouts. His only career defeat, against Floyd Mayweather in September 2013, was also the last time he was an underdog.

If Alvarez is to win, it would be on the strength of using his quick hands to throw combinations and out-point Golovkin, who may have to meet a higher bar to satisfy observers. In method-of-victory prop betting, Alvarez is offering +215 for a win by decision.

Backers of Golovkin, who has offered value above -1000 in four of his last 17 fights, can fall back on the 35-year-old Kazakh’s total package of power, precision and dainty footwork, which has enabled him to go 37-0 with 33 knockouts. He’s also never been knocked down as a pro or amateur.

If the high-for-him price on Golovkin still isn’t sweet enough, he is paying +165 for a win through knockout, technical knockout or disqualification. The Jacobs fight did show Golovkin – who could have been holding back – could handle 12 full rounds. Golovkin pays +280 for a win by decision.

The big payoff for boxing bettors is calling the winner and round. It likely will take a good handful of rounds for Golovkin to wear down Alvarez’s defences. The prices on him in Round 1 through 4 are teasingly high, but remain at +2500 in Round 7, +2200 in Round 8 and +2000 in Round 9

That will be right around the time it becomes apparent whether the bulk Alvarez has added for the fight has affected his stamina.

Pacquiao wins 60th career fight with seventh-round knockout

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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) Manny Pacquiao clinched his 60th victory with a seventh-round knockout Sunday of Argentinian Lucas Matthysse, his first stoppage in nine years.

Pacquiao said he worked hard but was surprised by the swift win in the World Boxing Association welterweight title fight.

Pacquiao rebounded from his disappointing loss last year to Australian Jeff Horn and his victory could extend his boxing career that had taken a backseat to his political life as a Filipino senator.

“This is part of boxing. You win some, you lose some,” Matthysse said. He hailed Pacquiao as a “great legend” and said he will take a break after his loss.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad also attended the fight, the biggest boxing match in the country since the 1975 heavyweight clash between Muhammad Ali and Australian Joe Bugner.

Duterte said: “I would like to congratulate Senator Manny Pacquiao for giving us pride and bringing the Filipino nation together once more.”

‘It’s about time’: Trump pardons late boxer Jack Johnson

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WASHINGTON (AP) President Donald Trump on Thursday granted a rare posthumous pardon to boxing’s first black heavyweight champion, clearing Jack Johnson’s name more than 100 years after what many see as his racially-charged conviction.

“It’s my honor to do it. It’s about time,” Trump said during an Oval Office ceremony, where he was joined by boxer Lennox Lewis and actor Sylvester Stallone, who has drawn awareness to Johnson’s cause.

Trump said Johnson had served 10 months in prison for what many view as a racially-motivated injustice and described his decision as an effort “to correct a wrong in our history.”

“He represented something that was both very beautiful and very terrible at the same time,” Trump said.

Johnson was convicted in 1913 by an all-white jury for violating the Mann Act, which made it illegal to transport women across state lines for “immoral” purposes, for traveling with his white girlfriend.

Trump had said previously that Stallone had brought Johnson’s story to his attention in a phone call.

“His trials and tribulations were great, his life complex and controversial,” Trump tweeted in April. “Others have looked at this over the years, most thought it would be done, but yes, I am considering a Full Pardon!”

Johnson is a legendary figure in boxing and crossed over into popular culture decades ago with biographies, dramas and documentaries following the civil rights era.

He died in 1946. His great-great niece has pressed Trump for a posthumous pardon, and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., have been pushing Johnson’s case for years.

The son of former slaves, Johnson defeated Tommy Burns for the heavyweight title in 1908 at a time when blacks and whites rarely entered the same ring. He then mowed down a series of “great white hopes,” culminating in 1910 with the undefeated former champion, James J. Jeffries.

McCain previously told The Associated Press that Johnson “was a boxing legend and pioneer whose career and reputation were ruined by a racially charged conviction more than a century ago.”

“Johnson’s imprisonment forced him into the shadows of bigotry and prejudice, and continues to stand as a stain on our national honor,” McCain has said.

Posthumous pardons are rare, but not unprecedented. President Bill Clinton pardoned Henry O. Flipper, the first African-American officer to lead the Buffalo Soldiers of the 10th Cavalry Regiment during the Civil War, and Bush pardoned Charles Winters, an American volunteer in the Arab-Israeli War convicted of violating the U.S. Neutrality Acts in 1949.

Linda E. Haywood, the great-great niece, wanted Barack Obama, the nation’s first black president, to pardon Johnson, but Justice Department policy says “processing posthumous pardon petitions is grounded in the belief that the time of the officials involved in the clemency process is better spent on the pardon and commutation requests of living persons.”

The Justice Department makes decisions on potential pardons through an application process and typically makes recommendations to the president. The general DOJ policy is to not accept applications for posthumous pardons for federal convictions, according to the department’s website. But Trump has shown a willingness to work around the DOJ process in the past.

Associated Press writer Zeke Miller contributed to this report.