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April 22 Barclays Presser Report, Including Espinoza Scrum, Part 2

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It is now an entrenched ritual for a presser that touts a Showtime card to see their boxing boss Stephen Espinoza on site, and for us the keyboard tappers to cluster around him and pick his brain.

This occured Thursday afternoon at the 52nd St NYC steakhouse Gallagher’s.

Espinoza’s an easy interview, and basically seems to enjoy the back and forth with guys like me, Mitch Abramson, Keith Idec and possibly even Mike Coppinger, at times. (That’s a joke. Coppinger is often quite pointed and fearless with his queries, and isn’t afraid to challenge wisdom, conventional or otherwise. So, he will at times get into joust scenarios with executives and such. Evidence of this was on display when promoter Lou Dibella referenced Copp’s style in reference to Luis Ortiz’  history, as a few years ago he got popped for PED use, and Coppinger has brought it up a few times since.)

At Gallagher’s, before the undercard standouts on the April 22 Barclays Center card, promoted by Dibella, and portions of which will run on Showtime were trotted out, we peppered Espinoza with questions. We learned that Keith Thurman, who bested Danny Garcia on the last Barclays card, is in wait and see mode. Espinoza said Thurman will want to see how the forthcoming Errol Spence versus Kell Brook bout in Britain plays out, and do his planning from then on. Yes, he’d like a crack at the winner. If the winner was cut, or something put off a consolidation bout for nine months, then, Espinoza said, he thinks Thurman would take an interim bout. Same sort of thinking is afoot for Mikey Garcia. He will see how the Terry Flanagan v Petr Petrov scrap plays out, and has already seen Jorge Linares, another possible foe, look too classy for Anthony Crolla. Mikey will see where more 135 chips fall, and plan from there, Espinoza said. “They’d rather a couple extra fight for the big fight, than stay busy,” Espinoza synopsized.

Another topic: Who will televise the April 29 Wladimir Klitschko versus Anthony Joshua scrap, Sho or HBO. The financials have been decided on, Espinoza said, but other stuff is being debated. “The financial terms have been settled,” he said. The deal is close, interceded Chris Deblasio of Showtime’s publicity division. No need to screw up the stew so close to plating time, he said, as Espinoza chewed some Ceasar salad and pondered a response. Espinoza won the pressers’ humor contest: “Sean Spicer, ladies and gentlemen,” he said, cracking up, referring to Deblasio, who good naturedly, running with the conceit, asked all of us not to shake our heads.

I was genuinely pumped for this presser, after seeing Rossy there. I asked the ex Boston College footballer, age 36, when he knew this fight could happen. “About three days ago,” he told me. “Then they gave me some offers, and I said I would hold out for what I think I’m worth. And they showed me some respect, and I’m appreciative for the opportunity.” He called Ortiz durable, well schooled and strong. “I think it’s going to be a great fight.”

Rossy admits he has nerves, “I’m human. But I think it’s the best opportunity I can take.” Of the 38 on Wednesday Ortiz, Rossy told me he thinks yes, the fight is a 50-50 proposition. Promoter Dibella told me that he’d been eyeing Rossy for another bout, against another heavyweight.

“Ortiz didn’t ask for someone off the bench and we weren’t going to take someone off the bench,” Dibella said.

Trainer Grant Seligson told NYFIGHTS  “of course I like my guy” and he too sees it sort of 50-50.

“He’s ready, he’s a warrior,” Rossy’s promoter Sal Musumeci said.

“Is it 50-50, I think I make Derric the favorite. Sharper, better conditioned..his time is here.”

Rossy noted that it is important for the fans to see fun, busy fights. It won’t be like when Malik Scott fought Luis Ortiz. Scott ran and survived and Twitter slammed him, hard. Won’t happen like that in Brooklyn, Rossy said, and later, Ortiz told me the same.

Check back for Part 3…

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About Michael Woods

Editor/publisher Michael Woods became addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the fearsome Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist Woods has covered the sport since then, for ESPN The Magazine, ESPN.com, ESPN New York, RING, and he was editor of TheSweetScience.com from 2007-2015. Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and numerous other organizations.

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