Sampson Lewkowicz talks GGG-Canelo, Kovalev-Ward, David Benavidez and More

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Sampson Lewkowicz

By: Jerome Souza (@Jerome510)

Promoter Sampson Lewkowicz recently spoke with FirstClassBoxing.com regarding his current stable of boxers and the major events surfacing in the sport of boxing. Two of Lewkowicz’s fighter’s formerly undefeated knockout artist Jonathan Guzman and rags-to-riches former cab driver David Emanuel Peralta took defeats this past December. Peralta was coming off his major upset over Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero and Guzman was looking to add to his perfect 22-0 with 22 KO record. Both suffered decisions losses.

“He (Guzman) needs to think about his loss and decide what he wants to do with his future as well as Peralta”. At 27, Guzman still has several years left in him, but that maybe a different case for the 34 year old Peralta. “Now it’s time to think and feel like [Perlata] has something left to bring to this sport. And make his own decision”.

Javier Fortuna’s only loss came at the hands of once-beaten Jason Sosa, who scored an exciting decision victory over Stephen Smith this past November. On that same day, Fortuna perhaps sealed his rematch against Sosa with a solid performance over undefeated prospect Omar Douglass. Lewkowicz said of Fortuna, “instead of being patient waiting for [Sosa], Fortuna fought twice against undefeated fighters and now he’s ready for the rematch”. When asked about the expected date of the rematch. “Most likely will fight in April. We plan to to have a decision from the WBA because [Jason] Sosa has a mandatory with [Jezreel] Corrales and it looks like Corrales will go after Lomachenko so we know we don’t want to stop that fight and [Fortuna] will fight most likely fight Sosa for the rematch”.

On February 18th, Oscar Escandon will travel to Cincinnati, Ohio and take on Gary Russell Jr. for the WBC World Featherweight Title on a televised Showtime card. “That is the fight that we’ve been waiting for almost a year,” Lewkowicz told FirstClassBoxing.com. The veteran promoters said issues of money lead to the long delay of getting the fight made.  “Russell Jr., he understands that business has changed and it’s not the money that it used to be a couple years ago. But I believe by now he understood that and he’s ready to fight for something and not fight for nothing.”

Lewkowicz confirmed that Jorge Cota will take on highly touted Junior Middleweight prospect Erickson Lubin on March 4, 2017. However, a pending fight between undefeated featherweights Jorge Lara and Oktay Takalak scheduled for the Frampton-Santa Cruz II undercard plans to be moved to February 25th.

In terms of Frampton-Santa II, Lewkowicz expects the same result from the first meeting between the two. “Frampton beat him in the first one and probably by now I give him a two-to-one favorite to repeat Frampton against Santa Cruz. If you cannot punch, you cannot beat Frampton”.

Perhaps the brightest star under the Sampson Boxing banner is 20 year old, undefeated Super Middleweight David Benavidez. Benavidez will make an appearance on the Frampton-Santa Cruz II undercard. “He will be on Showtime Extreme. We really recommend to everyone to see it because by far he’ll be the new star in the Latino community for sure and he’ll try to get the heart of the American because he’s bi-lingual and he’s from Arizona”. Lewkowicz added that he also has plans for Benavidez to fight in March for an elimination bout for whichever sanctioning body (hopefully the WBC and IBF) will allow Benavidez “opportunity to fight for the world title this year and be the youngest ever of the 168 division champion”. Lewkowicz will be ringside for James DeGale vs. Badou Jack to observe two fighters who may one of the Benavidez’s opponents down the road. FirstClassBoxing.com asked if Benavidez would face the DeGale-Jack winner this year, “maybe, you never know. But for [Benavidez] to be the champion he’ll need to face them one way or another”.

Last Fall’s pound-for-pound showdown between Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward has yet to make any progress toward a rematch. Lewkowicz doesn’t believe it will happen. “I believe that it will never happen”. Lewkowicz also believes Ward’s recent comments in which he brought up the possibility of retirement. “If [Ward] retires nobody will realize that he retired because all his career was controversy with the promoters, with everything. So I don’t believe he has too many fans”. With Kovalev-Ward pay-per-view totals underperforming at around 160,000 buys, Lewkowicz compares Ward’s style to that of Super Bantamweight Guillermo Rigondeaux in which it is skillful but in no way exciting for fans. “He doesn’t like to get hit and it’s not exciting”. Lewkowicz also sees Ward leaving boxing for good since he just received his biggest payday to date. “I predicted that he’d retire, he’d pick-up the money and run. Just like in poker, when you pick your hands and you run away and he leave in the cold the rest of the the table. In this case, Roc Nation”.

In terms of Sergey Kovalev, Lewkowicz sees his time at 175 being limited. “I believe that he has a very hard time to make the weight. His body hurts and will most likely go to the Crusierweight division. But if Ward doesn’t fight him and he retires, definitely [Kovalev] will sacrifice his body to go to 175 because that division has a lot of good boxers that are good names to fight”. One name in particular, Joe Smith Jr. “I love the kid”, added Lewkowicz. But he believes Smith still needs to prove himself against opponents that don’t underestimate him. “I’d love to see him against Kovalev, I love to see him against many of the champions. I believe he deserves to fight for the world title”.

The most anticipated matchup of superstar fighters is Saul “Canelo” Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin. Lewkowicz sees the fight taking place and says he expects it to be closer than most would predict to be. “I believe that Canelo is not afraid of anyone. That is a fact. He fought Mayweather and he make a fortune and probably would make much more fighting Golovkin so sometimes money talks. And by the way don’t think [Canelo] doesn’t have a chance to win the fight”. Lewkowicz sees age as playing a major factor in the fight. The former undisputed Middleweight Champion Sergio Martinez comes to mind when looking at Golovkin’s future in boxing. “I love Golovkin, but he’s like Sergio Martinez, he was on the top and any minute you will see that he’ll start to slow down because of his age being close to 40 very soon. So [Canelo] has a shot, as a younger, hungry, Mexican, it would be a great fight”.

FirstClassBoxing.com asked Lewkowicz to comment on the chances of Golovkin’s current opponent Daniel Jacobs scoring an upset. “Absolutely not”. Lewkowicz has great respect for Jacobs but feels at this time Golovkin is just too strong for him. “First of all it’s a great story about Jacobs [but] the only way you can beat him is to have the youth. A younger fighter that can move a lot and not be in front of him. Jacobs will be in front of him and that will be a problem”.

With DeGale-Jack and GGG-Jacobs both taking place in the New York, Lewkowicz is pleased that there is at least some boxing taking place in the state. “New York is the mecca of boxing and what happened with the commission is very sad. There will not be small shows though, only big shows”. Along with many in the industry, Lewkowicz remains puzzled with the hefty insurance requirement and suggests there’s no logic behind the requirement since no insurance policy can prevent suffering caused from an accident or the accident itself. Lewkowicz believes all it does for fans is keeps them from enjoy small club shows which are the backbone of boxing.

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