Canelo Alvarez gets nod over Erislandy Lara

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Peter Wells reports as Canelo Alvarez gets nod over Erislandy Lara with a split decision win, which will divide as much opinion post fight as it did pre fight.

By Peter Wells:

Beforehand the tentative pick was for Erislandy Lara to win, but I was edging towards Canelo Alvarez on the sad basis that if the fight were close then Canelo would receive the verdict. This prior knowledge is not what boxing fans want. The fact that a certain fighter must win 8 clear rounds to get a verdict, that he must virtually dominate the contest to be given a fair shake. Now while I am NOT claiming that Alvarez’s split decision victory was the wrong decision – it was a contest that could have gone either way – but the fact that the result was inevitable because of the close nature of the contest, highlights what is so wrong with judging in boxing, and why there are so many cases of robberies hindering the sport.

115-113 scorecards for each fighter were legitimate scores that no one could possibly argue with, but 117-111 for Canelo Alvarez! This is the point that I am trying to make when there is one judge that blatantly has no intention of scoring the fight for the unfavoured fighter.

My initial scorecard was 115-113, but I would like to re-watch the contest to verify my final verdict. Rounds 5, 6, 9 and 12 were particular stanza’s that could have tilted either way.

Lara started the contest well, behind a sharp jab that was doubled and even tripled while Canelo looked to find his range. That would not be easy against the mobile Lara, but a couple left hooks to the body – Alvarez’s Sunday punch – would certainly help.

Lara was less busy in the next two rounds but he still remained in enough control to claim them both. Alvarez was unable to land anything significant outside of the odd left hook to the ribcage. Lara was not landing much but his ring generalship was enough with Canelo landing little of effect.

A significant change came in the 4th as Alvarez was in range to pound the body of Lara, who was beginning to feel the heat. Lara managed to sting Alvarez with a sharp left, but the pressure was telling.

Both had their own respective successes in rounds 5 and 6, I split the rounds but they could quite easily have both gone to Alvarez or both gone to Lara.

The 7th saw a cut open up over the right eye of Lara, caused by a lovely grazing uppercut. Lara was covering up well but after the cut appeared a slight sign of panic came across Lara who clearly lost the round.

The trend continued in the 8th as the momentum was clearly shifting, Lara’s effectiveness with the left cross down the pipe was dipping. Alvarez had little to walk through now, and Lara’s movement became just that, rather than anything effective.

The 9th was another tight round, Alvarez still piling forward with effective pressure but Lara responded well, getting behind several double jabs which had been missing for the previous few rounds.

Suddenly Lara seemed to find a second wind as Alvarez was once again unable to land, allowing Lara to get off first before he slid off the ropes and circled a frustrated Alvarez. The left hand continued to land with ease in the 11th as Lara looked to take a slight lead late in the fight.

Alvarez’s corner also showed urgency during the final minute break before Canelo came out with a solid final round on his mind. Canelo won the first half of the round with powerful combinations with Lara stuck on the ropes, before Lara made his way back into the round as Canelo was unable to keep up the intensity, another session that could have been scored for either fighter.

Alvarez 44-1-1(31) taking the split decision will likely move up to Middleweight rather than hand Lara the rematch that this close contest merits. But boxing is a business and while a second bout between the two would bring as much interest, fights with the likes of Miguel Cotto and Gennady Golovkin are contests the whole world wants to see.

Canelo showed he learnt from some of the lessons he received against Floyd Mayweather, but he was still guilty of waiting too long and allowing the counterpuncher to shoot first. He also remains a sucker for the backhand, whether that be from the orthodox or southpaw stance.

The Cotto clash seems a winnable fight, a true 50/50 contest, but his inability to avoid the backhand would be a worry if he were to meet the heavy fisted – understatement of the year – Golovkin. The right cross of Golovkin would be a potent weapon that Canelo would need to fathom to stand any chance against the number 1 Middleweight.

While Alvarez will move on to greater things, Lara 19-2-2(12) is stuck in a tricky situation with a rematch unlikely. Where Lara goes from here depends on how much Golden Boy is willing to invest in his career. Let’s just hope that the talented Cuban doesn’t become an outcast like fellow countryman and pound for pound star Guillermo Rigondeaux.

On a packed Pay-Per-View undercard, Abner Mares 27-1-1(14) returned from a first round defeat to Jhonny Gonzalez with a unanimous decision win over Jonathan Oquendo 24-4(16).

Mares dominated an unlively contest after shaking off the cobwebs in the early stages, taking the contest 96-94 and 98-92 (twice).

Francisco Vargas 20-0-1(14) took the biggest scalp of his career thus far when he stopped Juan Manuel Lopez 34-4(31) in 3 rounds.

Lopez was dropped hard in the 3rd, before his corner retired their fighter in-between rounds 3 and 4.

The odd exchanges in the opening 2 rounds went to Vargas before he caught JuanMa with a hard right before a culmination of shots sent the former world titlist to the canvas. Lopez became even more raged after he touched down and was rightly pulled out before taking unnecessary punishment.

In the opening Pay-Per-View bout, Mauricio Herrera 21-4(7) continued his good run of form with a Majority decision victory over Paul Spadafora conquorer, Johan Perez 19-2-1(13).

Not noted as a puncher, Herrera stung Perez on several occasions, dominating much of the contest behind an aggressive approach. Perez failed to make his physical attributes count as he lost his WBA Interim Light Welterweight title with scores of 114-114 and 116-112 (twice).

On the untelevised card, Tomoki Kameda 30-0(19) stopped Pungluang Sor Singyu 46-3(31) in 7 rounds to retain his WBO Bantamweight title. The bout was a split draw at the time of the knockout.

Crawford shines in homecoming. Stops Gamboa in 9

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Peter Wells reports as Terence Crawford shines in homecoming bout to stop Gamboa in 9 furious rounds

By Peter Wells:

It’s not often we see an American fighter selling out in his hometown, very rarely do they get great home support, but Terence Crawford is one of the rare fighters as he sold 11,000 tickets for his maiden world title defence against Yuriokis Gamboa.

Before Saturday night’s massacre, Crawford wasn’t that big a household name in America, but in Omaha, Nebraska the fans poured out in droves to see the first world title fight there since Joe Frazier stopped Ron Stander in 1972.

The night could not have gone any better for Terence as he packed out in his home city and scored a landmark win against fellow unbeaten Gamboa, add to that the fact that last night’s encounter is a contender for fight of the year. Not a bad way to keep those loyal fans coming back for more. A star talent who is exciting, a brilliant boxer and has some power to accommodate that skill.

Cuban hotshot Gamboa had taken quite a step up through the weight divisions – he looks more of a natural Featherweight/Super Featherweight – in recent years and his lack of size proved dividends as he was dropped 4 times in a 9th round knockout defeat.

In the opener Gamboa darted in and out, displaying his fast hands, landing to the body. Crawford caught Gamboa on the way in with a jab while the Cuban landed a right over the top. Crawford continued to paw with the jab as Gamboa feinted on the outside. A right hand chopped Gamboa just under his ear prior to the bell.

A right hand tagged Gamboa to start the 2nd, Crawford circling once again hanging the jab out waiting for Gamboa to make a move before sticking the jab in the face of Gamboa. Yuriokis continued to bounce in and out, jabbing to the body while Crawford then pecked away from a good distance. A right tagged Crawford before a left to the body was followed by a right upstairs by Gamboa. A right hand seemed to momentarily stumble Gambia who was more off balance than anything.

Gamboa came steaming out in the 3rd, but Crawford was able to slide out of the way of the attack. Gamboa made his way inside before Crawford wisely tied him up. A solid right hand landed by Crawford as Gamboa was bouncing backwards but it did not disrupt Gamboa’s rhythm as he continued his motion onto the inside. The action continued to heat up as Gamboa darted in somewhat recklessly, but he managed to get the better of the exchange. With swagger to his work Gamboa tagged Crawford with another couple of good rights to finish the round.

Fighting out of the southpaw stance to start the 4th, Crawford landed with two downward projected sharp jabs. Another lunge by Gamboa was well seen by Crawford as he swivelled away. Gamboa drove with another quick assault while Crawford returned fire in two wild exchanges.

Long right hands came in from Gamboa, a right to the body and another solid shot upstairs landed on Crawford. A left uppercut from Crawford was instantly answered by a right over the top. Then came the usual lapse in defence for Gamboa as he lunged in and was caught with a solid right hand, then he was bundled to the canvas, counted as a knockdown. Gamboa still in some trouble traded viciously with Crawford who was hurting Gamboa badly with big right hands. Gamboa’s own bombs were not getting through as the crowd went wild for their hometown hero.

Gamboa did as he has done all his career in the 6th diving at Crawford but his reckless aggression was easy enough for the fully fledged Lightweight to counter with more hurtful punches. A big right landed by Gamboa out of a quick clinch. The pace dropped noticeably, and not surprisingly, in the final half of the round as Crawford dominated behind the odd jab.

A steady pace to the 7th round as a solid jab tags Gamboa who was waiting on the outside, but still in Crawford’s range, too long. A right hand tagged Crawford while he took a double jab on the way in. Crawford himself ending the round with a swagger in his step as he stepped to the side before tagging Gamboa with a left.

Just as Gamboa came to life to end the round he was caught by a short left followed by a hard right and his glove touched down, resulting in the 2nd knockdown of the fight. The two exchanged furiously to end the 8th but it was Crawford again that caused the most damage.

Crawford was now the aggressor as he slammed Gamboa with a left hook, now looking at a potential stoppage. Suddenly it was Crawford backpedalling as he seemed to have been caught while switching stances. Gamboa sensing the opportunity remained on Crawford’s toes for the rest of the round. Another hard shot staggered Gamboa and then he was dropped again by an overhand left. Gamboa out on his feet continued to throw on instinct before he was wiped out by a beautiful uppercut to end the contest.

With the impressive result, Crawford moves to 24-0(17) with the decision of whether or not to move up to Light Welterweight coming up. Gamboa may need to step down in weight if he is to fulfil his potential as he drops to 23-1(16) after he went a bridge too far.

 

Master class from Lomachenko; Guerrero brawls with Kamegai

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Peter Wells reports on a boxing master class from Lomachenko as he outscores Russell Jr in a high quality affair, while Guerrero brawls with Kamegai in a fight of the year contender.

By Peter Wells:

Lessons are learnt for every fighter in every fight, sometimes those lessons are harsher than others, and Vasyl Lomachenko learnt his lesson last time out. This time it was Gary Russell Jr’s time to learn as he lost in his first world title bid against fellow amateur star Lomachenko.

Lomachenko – one of the greatest amateur fighters of all time – swarmed Russell with swift combinations, darting in and out to avoid the supremely fast hands of Russell.

The Ukrainian’s body of work was sensational to watch, and Russell can’t be too forlorn with his own performance, there were mistakes, and his tactics did play right into Lomachenko’s hands, but he played his part in an enjoyable encounter between two of boxing’s rising stars.

The intentions of Lomachenko were clear in the opener as he swarmed Russell after the American’s bright start. Lomachenko darted towards Russell who found himself on the ropes several times.

Russell’s success with the right hook continued in the 2nd but it was Lomachenko’s variety that was eye-catching as he remained the aggressor. The straight left to the head and body was an exceptionally accurate shot for Lomachenko.

Russell came out with more urgency in the 3rd as he backed Vasyl up, swarming the amateur superstar with hard hooks. The two exchanged but it was Lomachenko’s right hook that made the hardest impact.

Russell was in need of offering Lomachenko a different look as the style he was employing was a perfect fit for Lomachenko who had seen his style so many times before in the unpaid ranks, and it was showing as he dominated when Russell didn’t work inside.

Cracks began to show midway through the 5th as Russell was caught by a stiff jab before a left cross sent the American into a shell. Lomachenko went to work in search of an early stoppage, but Russell reclaimed his composure.

Russell regained his position on the front foot to open the 6th, but his effectiveness behind fast right hooks did not match what Lomachenko had done behind a stiff jab and darting combinations in the 5 previous rounds.

Several attacks from Russell went without success before he walked onto a confidence-knocking uppercut, showing the calm Lomachenko had under pressure. Lomachenko’s workload had dropped but Russell’s work was sloppy and rushed. Late in the round body shots broke through as Russell was in big trouble, scrambling across the ring apron while Lomachenko continued to drive forward stepping across the ring with Russell who could not move quickly enough.

Knowing he was down big on the cards, Russell landed a good long left hook in the opening 30 seconds of the 9th. Russell for all his misfortune in the fight put up a great effort and a good display of his own. But it was Lomachenko who handled Russell’s style with ease and that was evident again as Russell’s bright start was blighted by Lomachenko who came back into a round that Russell found his best work in. Russell ended the session strong countering Lomachenko with a solid left hook.

Despite the body assaults he had sustained, Russell was still letting go a high output in short bursts, but Lomachenko neutralised those fast combinations with diligent work behind straight punches. A big right hand snapped the head back of Russell to end the 10th.

After a couple of explosions in the 11th the action continued in the 12th as Russell had to look for the knockout. But Lomachenko stuck to the gameplan, avoiding those flashy, hard punches from Russell before keeping himself busy from range, although in this round Russell’s work wasn’t so sporadic as he put it all on the line. Russell ended the contest out on his feet after another hard right caught him flush.

While an action packed and fun fight where both fighters deserve huge credit, it seemed clear that Lomachenko had done enough to win, and that was the case in two judges’ eyes although one judge scored it 114-114, the other two saw the Ukrainian a 116-112 winner.

Lomachenko moves to 2-1(1) and becomes the WBO Featherweight champion at the second time of asking. Russell Jr who can come again dropped to 24-1(14), while Lomachenko will be expected to move on to face the top Featherweights in the world, which could result in some huge matchups in the lighter weight class in the next few years.

Russell Jr’s speed and own boxing skills will be enough to see him return to the world title picture in the next 12 months or so, but a better development to a world title shot would be valuable.

The official main event saw Robert Guerrero 32-2-2(18) brawl his way to victory against Japanese slugger Yoshihiro Kamegai 24-2-1(21) in a fight of the year candidate.

Both fighters’ chins were checked on several heart pounding occasions as they dug in toe-to-toe for 12 rounds. The close fight was not entirely shown by scorecards 116-112 and 117-111 (twice) all in favour of the rightful winner Guerrero.

Guerrero bounced back from his defeat to Floyd Mayweather by going back to his roots in an all-out war, ripping in uppercuts when in close while snapping left crosses to the non-moving head of Kamegai.

Kamegai was relentless as he sustained punishment throughout but managed to cut Guerrero over his left eye and continued to pound the body of the favourite.

It was Guerrero’s good start and better work on the outside that earned him the victory. One has to believe that Guerrero could have won a lot more comfortably had he landed his bombs from the outside all night, but instead he often chose to engage. Credit still has to go to Kamegai for forcing that decision on Guerrero with his relentless pressure and iron chin.

In a dominating and sometimes enjoyable victory, Devon Alexander improved to 26-2(14) with a unanimous decision win against tough guy Jesus Soto Karass 28-10-3(18).

Alexander dominated the battle-worn Karass off the back foot, firing in flurries of punches constantly while moving around the ring. Karass, who was never allowed to sit down on his punches, took punishment throughout, but dished out some of his own, but only when Alexander allowed him as the two-weight world champion looked to wow the fans.

Devon rightly took a clear decision win; 97-93 and 99-91 (twice), which was greeted by a couple of ludicrous boos.

A crack at conqueror Shaun Porter will be no doubt on the mind of Alexander as he looked far sharper in his ring return, even stinging the Mexican on a few occasions, albeit not hurting Karass.

‘Bad’ Chad Dawson returned to the ring with a first round stoppage of George Blades 23-6(16). Dawson 32-3(18) showed more bad intentions than many fans had come to recognise him for, but Blades offered very little and went down early from a body shot. Dawson never let him off the hook as he poured forward, a quality left hand followed by a straight right sent Blades down again, this time he decided against rising.

 

Andrade dominates Rose; Algieri causes huge upset

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Andrade vs Rose

Last night at the home of the Brooklyn Nets Andrade dominates Rose for a 7th round stoppage, while Algieri stuns feared Provodnikov. Peter Wells brings you the full report

By Peter Wells:

Demetrius Andrade needed a performance and he delivered as he outclassed Britain’s Brian Rose over 7 rounds to retain his WBO Light Middleweight title in his maiden defence.

Andrade proved to be on another level to Rose who had quickly, clearly too quickly, ascended up the rankings from English champion to world title challenger.

Two knockdowns and several impressive bursts from the fast fists of Andrade were too much for Rose who lost every round before his corner waved the towel to save their man from further punishment.

It was a disastrous start for Rose who hit the canvas early in the opener from a straight left cross. Andrade was in utter control as Rose failed to let his hands go, aware of the early speed from Andrade. From the southpaw stance Andrade was snapping a sharp jab out and upped the ante after he floored Rose.

Andrade’s confidence of becoming world champion last time out was elevated to a new level in the 2nd as he came out with a swagger, snapping the head back of Rose with two left hands. There was a real snap to Andrade’s work in the early going.

To open the 3rd it was a short right hand that dropped Rose, a cracking shot that Andrade forced Rose to walk on to, and he landed with nasty precision. Andrade criticised for his style being “too safe” was looking to put it on Rose who was proving to not be on the champions’ level. Rose pushed forward bravely but Andrade was in the zone and there was no budging him.

After a quiet 4th, Andrade came out with a blistering combination to open the 5th session. Rose had tightened his defence as Andrade was forced to search for new points of entry, namely the body.

Andrade backed Rose up to begin the 6th, regaining the centre ring that he had lost in the previous round. Andrade opened up again to end the stanza, bloodying Rose on the bridge of the nose.

A sickening uppercut made its way through as Rose was in trouble again but once more the Blackpool warrior sucked it up, but ultimately he was too brave for his own good and Bobby Rimmer waved the towel forcing the referee to intervene midway through round 7.

Andrade will now look to step in with the other top 154lb fighters after he improved to 21-0(14), while Rose will need to go back to the drawing board after the 2nd defeat of his 25-2-1(7) career.

In the main event, Chris Algieri pulled off a huge shock to dethrone WBO Light Welterweight champion Ruslan Provodnikov via spilt decision.

The feared Russian floored Algieri twice in the opening round but Algieri continued to fight perfectly to the gameplan while Provodnikov didn’t land with anywhere near enough to worry Algieri thereafter.

Algieri was understandably a huge underdog going into the fight but proved the boxing world wrong with a terrific performance that included great boxing and the heart of a warrior after suffering a nasty eye injury very early on.

Algieri started behind a sharp jab but it was quickly apparent that he did not have the power in those punches to keep the marauding Provodnikov off of him. A left hook dropped Algieri heavily which prompted a nasty mouse under his right eye. Algieri took a knee later in the first but ended the round well.

Algieri kept that momentum he picked up late in the 1st in the 2nd as he boxed nicely, putting together solid combinations rather than nervous jabs. A left hook wobbled Algieri again with a minute left in the 2nd but it did not detract him from putting his punches together before moving. A solid jab snapped the head back of Ruslan.

The swelling under Algieri’s right eye was only worsened with every solid left hook that landed in between his own impressive bursts that were keeping Provodnikov busy enough. Algieri fired in a right cross that projected another good round for the New Yorker.

Provodnikov’s urgency upped in the 5th but it was still Algieri who was first to the punch as he took the lead in the fight despite the early 10-7 round. Another left hook forced a stumble from Algieri just prior to the bell.

Provodnikov landed the same left hook early in the 6th, a shot that Algieri could no longer see coming. Algieri’s work rate dipped slightly and Ruslan improved his own output.

Following that bruising 6th, Algieri regained his mojo in the 7th as he slipped Provodnikov’s slow assaults while whipping in shots with real swagger.

Provodnikov continued to be aggressive but it was not the usual effective aggression that fans have become used to seeing from the champion.

The tempo dropped from Algieri in the 9th as Provodnikov, while still not landing with high regularity, didn’t have as much to do defensively.

With an urgent message from his corner Provodnikov came out with a four punch combination to open the 11th. But Algieri quickly weathered the breeze before finding his range again.

The final 2 rounds saw a lot of missed punches from both boxers as they each failed to find a rhythm to tip a close fight in their favour.

The official scorecards read 117-109 (Provodnikov) and 114-112 twice for Algieri who deserves immense credit for a terrific performance, recovering from a horrific eye injury and two disheartening knockdowns in the opening round.

I scored the bout 114-113 to Algieri who thoroughly merited the split decision victory. The new WBO Light Welterweight champion remained unbeaten at 20-0(8) while Provodnikov, who’s potential super fights with Pacquiao and Garcia etc. took a huge blow, dropped to 23-3(16).

Elsewhere the always entertaining Sean Monaghan 22-0(14) took a comfortable unanimous decision win over Elvir Muriqi 40-7(24).

Monaghan started brightly but after stinging Muriqi multiple times in the opening 3 rounds he never came close to stopping his opponent after that.

Monaghan suffered three nasty cuts over both eyes which slightly marred a 99-90 (twice) and 98-91 points win for the Irish-American.

Miguel Cotto dominates Sergio Martinez; Knee injuries haunt Maravilla again

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Miguel Cotto dominates Sergio Martinez, Peter Wells reports as Cotto becomes a 4-weight world champion.

By Peter Wells:

With so many questions waiting to be answered it was terribly ironic that the most important of those questions was to be answered before the first punch had been thrown. Knee braces supporting both of Martinez’s knee’s told you all you needed to know about Martinez’s fitness, the result seemed to be inevitable after that.

Cotto duly took advantage of Martinez’s liabilities winning in 9 rounds, Martinez’s corner pulling him out after a one-sided beating. How effective this Cotto will be at Middleweight – if he decides to stay there – is hard to fathom having beaten such a banged up champion, who was far from his best last night.

Cotto became the first Puerto Rican 4-weight world champion, just another string to add to his bow in his legendary career.

The bold statement of his trainer Freddie Roach looked very likely in the opener as Martinez, whose mobility was clearly hampered, could not avoid Cotto who stood centre ring and pounced on Martinez, flooring him 3 times in the opener.

The left hook caught Martinez flush leaving him in trouble in the opening minute, then a culmination of punches forced Martinez to the canvas. Martinez looked stunned and stumbled down a second time not long after, this time smirking as he rose from the deck, possibly laughing at the irony of his body failing him in such a huge fight. A third knockdown followed shortly after, but Cotto who remained patient didn’t force a stoppage that looked on the cards in the early stages.

Martinez’s balance improved round by round but he could never force himself into the fight. Cotto owned the centre of the ring and Martinez remained out of range, the usual spring in his steps that would allow him to bounce in and out with the jab and left cross was not there.

Cotto continued to land occasionally with the left hook, visibly stinging Martinez whenever it connected with the chin of the 39 year old. It was hard to find a way to give any rounds to Martinez. Cotto’s work rate dropped but Martinez’s connect rate did not improve significantly.

Cotto’s timing was brilliant and his underrated boxing skills were on full display, but one must not look past the fact that Martinez was there for the taking that night, and Cotto took full advantage.

Still Cotto remained impressive and professional throughout, never losing his composure when many would not have blamed him for going for the knockout, but wary of Martinez’s power in the left hand he never gave the champion a sniff.

Martinez was ruled to have gone down again in the 9th, although replays clearly showed Martinez’s knee had not touched the canvas. It was proof if ever you need it that when one thing goes wrong, everything goes wrong.

Looking in no position to force a shock in the championship rounds, and clearly not in fighting shape, Martinez and his corner made the correct decision to retire after the 9th round, that ghost knockdown possibly the final straw.

Clearly Martinez and his team knew that the fighters knees weren’t anywhere near 100%, which begs the question of why they allowed the fight to go ahead. But it is far more complicated than that, and while the right choice would have been to pull the plug on the contest, they would have been hopefully optimistic that Martinez could still find a way to win, probably hoping his power would get to Cotto. The money would have also been a large factor, and most important of all, a fighters pride.

So while one legend continues in Miguel Cotto 39-4(32) another may be about to take his final bow in boxing. Sergio Martinez’s rise to the top was as sudden as his bodies demise, the multi-talented Argentinian 51-3-2(28) has provided fans with several great nights of boxing.

The undercard saw two upsets as Javier Maciel 29-3(20) and Marvin Sonsona 19-1-1(15) both scored majority and split decision victories respectively.

Maciel came in as a late replacement to face the favoured Puerto Rican Jorge Melendez 28-4-1(26) who may well have underestimated his opposite number.

Maciel was active throughout; jumping on a rather lethargic Melendez who clearly believed his power would get to Maciel in the end. However that wasn’t the case and in a very enjoyable scrap he rightly took the victory.

Sonsona scored a revenge victory of Wilfredo Vazquez Jr 23-4-1(19) – whom he lost to in 4 rounds in 2010. It was an extremely scrappy affair that was at times tough to watch. Sonsona scored the only knockdown of the fight in the opener, while also seeing a point deduction later in the fight.

Most of the rounds were hard to score thanks to the scrappy nature of the contest, but it was Sonsona who took an unpopular split verdict.

Elsewhere Andy Lee suffered a 2nd round knockdown to score a contender for knockout of the year as a counter right hand landed under the chin of John Jackson who landed flat on his face, out from the moment the punch connected.

Lee 33-2(23) sent a statement against his big punching opponent, putting himself back in contention in the world title picture. Jackson – son of big hitting Julian Jackson – dropped to 18-2(15) after a respectable effort.

Potential Puerto Rican superstar Felix Verdejo 13-0(10) continued to sparkle with a first round stoppage of Engelberto Valenzuela 8-2(3). A step up in class seems to be needed now for the former amateur star.

 

 

Donaire beats Vetyeka; Walters sparks Darchinyan

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gNonito Donaire’s title challenge of Simpiwe Vetyeka was cut short as Donaire beats Vetyeka under bizarre circumstances. Peter Wells reports.

By Peter Wells:

Since stepping in the ring with the exceptional Guillermo Rigondeaux, something has been missing from Nonito Donaire’s boxing. Rigondeaux altered Donaire’s style that night and thus far he has struggled to find the aggression he was so renowned for, at least for sustained periods in a fight.

Vic Darchinyan enjoyed far more success in their rematch, than anyone could have expected, before Donaire pulled it out of the bag in round 9. Then yesterday afternoon, in Macau, China, Nonito never got the chance to launch as he dethroned the WBA ‘Super’ Featherweight champion, Simpiwe Vetyeka. The victory came at the end of round 4, when Donaire informed the doctor he could not continue with a cut over his left eye, apparently caused by an accidental head butt. The fight went to the scorecards, where Donaire, who scored a knockdown in round 4, was ahead 49-46 on all three scorecards.

So now it’s time to dissect all the confusing factors in this fight. Probably the least important would be the scorecards, one must assume they should have read 39-36, but the ring announcer read out 49-46, despite the 5th round not even starting. While it likely made no difference, and may well have been a mistake, it does still add to the fallaciousness of the fight. I must also point out that neither fighter is to blame for this confusion, they both acted with class after the fight, despite the tough circumstances.

To add to the mystery, referee Luis Pabon never actually made ringside officials aware of the cause of the cut. He then asked the doctor at the end of the 4th, to which the doctor told him it was caused by a butt. Replays are inconclusive, it was either caused by a left jab that clearly brushed the corner of Donaire’s eyelid, or a potential accidental elbow, that may have caught Donaire in the same spot, either way it wasn’t a head butt. But had it been ruled as caused by a punch, then it would have been Vetyeka leaving with his biggest scalp to date.

Outside of the crazy conclusion the contest was beginning to warm up in the 4th, as Donaire – who was extremely bothered by the cut – leapt on Vetyeka, flooring the South African with a hard left. Vetyeka regained his composure as Donaire expended a lot of energy desperately looking for the stoppage. Prior to that, Vetyeka was frustrating a cautious Donaire, boxing well with his long limbs causing Donaire plenty of problems.

Donaire 33-2(21) was almost apologetic in the aftermath of the fight, and immediately offered Vetyeka an immediate rematch after the inconclusive finish. Vetyeka 26-3(16) was clearly disappointed, believing that the cut was caused by a punch.

After a fantastic performance, the WBA ‘regular’ Featherweight champion, Nicholas Walters will now have to wait for his merited shot at Nonito Donaire. Walters was superb when stepping up a level to face Vic Darchinyan, destroying the Armenian in 5 rounds.

Walters was not given an easy task whatsoever, having pushed Donaire last time out, Darchinyan is one of the most awkward fighters in the world. Constantly feinting with his arms and head, Walters looked tentative to let go until Darchinyan threw. That set for a cagey start to the contest, but in the 2nd round a quick right uppercut sent Vic to the canvas, a flash knockdown. Darchinyan recovered very well and took control of the rest of the round.

After outworking Walters in the 3rd and 4th – both close rounds – Darchinyan was shaken to his boots in the 5th as a cracking left hook sent the challenger to the canvas. Darchinyan tried to survive but could not deter Walters who’s natural power shone through again as he was knocked spark out by an outstanding left hook. Even slow motion could not slow the punch down as it sent Vic’s head spinning round before he crashed onto the bottom rope.

Walters improved to 24-0(20) with highlight reel knockouts becoming quite his speciality. Walters looks a true force at Featherweight and a dangerous opponent for Nonito Donaire. Darchinyan can still produce, but his punch resistance may be faltering – albeit there aren’t many Featherweights with the power of Donaire and Walters. Maybe Vic 39-7-1(28) will consider his future but his awkward style would cause problems for many other world title hopefuls at 126lbs.

To conclude the “Featherweight Fury”, Evgeny Gradovich 19-0(9) followed up his second victory over Billy Dib with a comfortable points win over the gutsy Alexander Miskirtchian 24-3-1(9).

Miskirtchian had some success, including a flash knockdown in the 6th, but outside of that the better boxing and better accuracy of Gradovich helped him control much of the contest.

After an entertaining 12 rounds for the IBF Featherweight title, Gradovich won by scores of 117-110 (twice) and 118-110.

On the untelevised undercard, the pick of the bunch was Chris Avalos 24-2(18) becoming the first man to stop Tasutaka Ishimoto 24-7(7) in 8 rounds at Super Bantamweight.

 

Bye For Now – Niall Doran – Thanks For Everything

Mike Tyson and Niall Doran - Limerick 2012

***Message to DBB followers – Bye For Now – Niall Doran***

Hi guys,

Recently I have accepted two new job offers, one will be a new full time role I will be relocating to Dublin for and the other will be as a free lance boxing writer for About.com, so I will now seldom be posting on the blog due to new commitments on my time.

However, the blog will still be kept open for our Sunday post-fight analysis segments, which will be posted by our boxing journalist superstar – Peter Wells. In my opinion he is one of the best boxing analysts and objective writers out there. I have absolutely no doubt he will go on to become a big name in boxing/sports journalism over time. Continue to support him.

Although I will now only be popping on here (and on Facebook a couple of times a week) and writing the very occasional article every couple of months, I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank ye all for continuing to support the blog and this great sport that we all love.

Its been a great journey the last year and a half since the blog started out and one I’ve enjoyed immensely. I’d also like to thank the other contributors to the blog over the last year for their quality insights.

I’m not going away for good, I just won’t be on here as regularly any more. I am now moving onto a new chapter in my life and looking forward towards new goals and challenges.

Remember to log on to About.com in the future to catch up on my latest boxing thoughts and opinions (first article should be up in June). I’ll more than likely post the links on here anyway too for ye.

In closing, thanks for everything, its been epic.

PS – My weekend prediction – Groves to beat Froch!

Always your boxing friend,
Niall Doran

Doran’s Boxing Blog – A Place For Fight Fans To Stop By

Stevenson Beats Fonfara – Weekend Roundup

Stevenson Beats Fonfara

By Peter Wells

Stevenson Beats Fonfara

Just like the great saying, ‘you learn something new every day’, with Stevenson you learn something different about him in the ring every time he fights. Last night boxing fans saw the great body punching of ‘Superman’ Stevenson as he made Fonfara suffer several body crunching shots, a key to victory against an unrelenting challenger.

But on the other side, Fonfara also reminded fans of the vulnerabilities in Stevenson’s arsenal as he touched the canvas in round 9 of a fight he otherwise dominated retaining his WBC Light Heavyweight title with a unanimous decision win.

Fonfara came out on the front foot, looking to beat Stevenson to the punch and ultimately the KO. That tactic only resulted in a huge straight left sending the Polish fighter to the canvas. Stevenson boxed patiently but turned up the intensity slowly, whacking away as Fonfara looked on the brink of being stopped.

Fonfara survived the opener and did well in the 2nd, stinging Stevenson with a double right hand. Stevenson remained behind a patient jab and lead straight lefts, hoping that Fonfara’s aggression would once again lead him onto Stevenson’s million dollar weapon.

Stevenson’s maturity in the ring continued to show as he dug to the body instead of just simply head hunting as he dominated all 180 seconds of round 3.

Fonfara’s success with the right hand had disappeared as Stevenson’s timing and reflexes were in perfect synergy with the left cross.

The visitor’s task was made tougher in the 4th as a cut opened up over his right eye, which would be assisted in getting worse by the left cross of Adonis.

A straight left to the midsection of Fonfara then felled Fonfara for a second time in round 5, but the tough Pole quickly recovered, but continued to walk on to hurtful shots, including a few more solid body punches.

Fonfara was then hurt again by a shot to the body, and for the first time in the fight he back-pedalled to steer clear of what Stevenson had to offer.

Stevenson’s chin – that many had as his main weakness – was given a thorough check on several occasions, and it stood tall to the powerful right hand of Fonfara, another tick in the box of the Stevenson manual.

That was until round 9 as Stevenson began to tire and became far too comfortable, and he was sent flying from his comfort zone in the 9th as he was caught square on and hit the canvas from a straight right. Fonfara went somewhat for broke and while landing 4 or 5 more good rights he didn’t have Stevenson in trouble again. But the knockdown was certainly a wakeup call for Stevenson who had begun to settle too much.

Stevenson woke up in the 10th as he came right at Fonfara, landing another stinging left cross to the jaw, pushing Fonfara onto the back foot for the majority of the stanza. Stevenson came out with similar intensity in the 11th, the left uppercut now finding a home under Fonfara’s chin. Stevenson then finished in style as he began playing to the crowd as he went for the knockout once again, even though he was a mile ahead on the cards.

Adonis Stevenson 24-1(20) won by scorecards of 115-110 (twice) and 116-109 as the gutsy Andrzej Fonfara dropped to 25-3(15).

David Lemieux Knocks Out Fernando Guerrero

Stevenson Beats Fonfara

In the co-feature, David Lemieux showed some explosiveness of his own as he jumped to 32-2(30) as he stopped fellow puncher – albeit nowhere near as powerful as Lemieux – Fernando Guerrero 26-3(19).

In the opener Lemieux shook Guerrero late in the round, although when Guerrero went down it was ruled a slip. Lemieux however knew he had Guerrero hurt and went for the knockdown, flooring Guerrero before he was saved by the bell.

Guerrero went down again late in the 2nd, very similarly to the first as he was hurt by the money punch – the left hook – and once again Lemieux went into attack mode. A nasty gash had also opened up above the right eye of Guerrero, which to his credit; he never made a fuss about when the blood appeared.

The end came in the 3rd as Guerrero took a knee, wanting the doctor to check his eye, Lemieux then slammed Guerrero into the ropes before a final volley of shots left him on his back. A culmination of it being the 4th knockdown in 3 rounds and the blood pouring from Guerrero’s eye left the referee with no choice but to call off the count.

Charlo was dominant for much of the fight, if not spectacular, as he bossed the contest behind an intelligent jab and good combination punching. The lead left hook was a particular weapon of choice for Charlo, twin brother of Jermall.

Charlo did hit the canvas in the 3rd, part slip, part punch, but a legit knockdown without a doubt. But that momentary success was as good as it got for Ohta, who put forth a game effort, even if it came to no reward. Charlo did however suffer a point deduction later in the fight for repeated low blows

The contest was scrappy at times but after 12 rounds Charlo took the victory 115-111 & 118-109 (twice) moving to 24-0(11) while Ohta dropped to 24-2-1(16).

 

Doran’s Boxing Blog – A Place For Fight Fans To Stop By

Marquez Beats Alvarado – Juan Manuel Still Has It At 40

marquez beats alvarado

Marquez Beats Alvarado – Juan Manuel Still Has It At 40

By Peter Wells

After several hard and brutal wars, it was no wonder that Mike Alvarado 34-3(23) could not quite produce on a 4th consecutive basis. The blows he received seemed to be catching up with him and the mental scars seem hard to cover. That only makes it even more incredible that Juan Manuel Marquez, at 40 and following multiple hard wars, is still able to produce at the highest level. Even defeat last time out to the younger Timothy Bradley could not faze this Mexican maestro.

Over 12 rounds Juan Manuel Marquez 56-7-1(40) controlled the contest, taking a unanimous points victory. Both fighters hit the canvas in an entertaining but one-sided affair.

Alvarado looked cagey for most of the fight and was easily picked off by Marquez rights in the early stages. Marquez was comfortable at the pace, as he was able to set up sharp single shots before unleashing short 3-4 punch bursts.

From the 2nd round Alvarado began to mark up around the left eye, as he was made to miss and made to pay when he let his hands go with single and easy to counter shots.

Too wary of what was coming back at him, Alvarado closed the gap and set his feet well, but was ineffective in his pursuit of Marquez as he failed to let leather fly.

While the lack of offense may have been a confidence issue for Alvarado, the way in which he switched stances for no reason made one wonder if he had a gameplan to beat Marquez, as it seemed early on he was out of ideas.

Alvarado’s best chance of victory looked to be to brawl with Marquez and following his recent wars, no one will hold it against Alvarado for trying to find another route to victory.

Alvarado tried his luck at the end of rounds 4, 5 and 6 as they exchanged blows, in by far his most effective moments of the contest at that point.

Marquez continued to find the gaps as Alvarado continued to find himself in no man’s land, and he was made to pay for wondering around the ring in the 8th as he was nailed by a hard right hand. Alvarado managed to drag himself to his feet with little of the round to go for Marquez to press home for a stoppage.

Alvarado recovered in the 9th and scored a flash knockdown as a wild exchange culminated in Marquez touching down from a short right. The 9th round then exploded into life as Marquez looked to regain pride, trading frenetically with Alvarado.

The hot action continued in the 10th, both trading and clattering one another with solid rights. But the final two rounds petered out as Marquez regained control from the outside, boxing his way to a one-sided win.

The official scorecards read 117-109 (twice) and 119-108 all for Marquez, as he sets himself up to take on the WBO Welterweight champion…..Manny Pacquiao.

So Marquez-Pacquiao 5 looks on the cards next while Mike Alvarado would be wise to look to rebuild at Light Welterweight – this fight was contested just above the Light Welter limit, 143lbs. His road back will be very tough, but with a couple of adjustments – namely head movement or stopping leaning forward leaving himself open to uppercuts – he can regain some confidence that he lost in defeat to Ruslan Provodnikov.

Postol vs Aydin

On the undercard, Viktor Postol finished a fine performance in devastating fashion as he landed a one-punch highlight reel knockout to finish Selcuk Aydin 26-3(19) in the 11th.

Postol was far ahead on the scorecards when the knockout came as he controlled proceedings with a dominant jab that had the shorter Aydin in fits all night.

Aydin did start the fight well, tagging Postol with a hard left hook which really staggered the Ukrainian.

The success though didn’t last as although I gave him the 2nd he was dominated from then on. Postol moved and jabbed, adding right hands as Aydin looked to be getting further and further away from the chin of Postol as the fight went along.

To his credit Aydin tried to close the gap but it was to no avail as he only pushed Postol to inflict more damage with precise straight shots.

After a methodical display Postol finished things off with a bang in the 11th, after a point deduction for Aydin he became even more raged, and leaning in with his chin exposed, Postol fired a quick and powerful right uppercut to floor Aydin heavily, the fight was immediately waved off.

Postol improved to 26-0(11) as he looks to make himself known in the Light Welterweight title picture.

To start off the night were two relatively comfortable victories for Diego Magdaleno 26-1(10) and Oscar Valdez 11-0(10) respectively.

Doran’s Boxing Blog – A Place For Fight Fans To Stop By

Weekend Previews and Predictions – Marquez and Cleverly

By Niall Doran

There is some intriguing action taking place this weekend both in the States and on our side of the pond but this weekend I’m going to focus on the two biggest fights and bouts that are happening and fights that I certainly I am looking forward to:

Juan Manuel Marquez vs Mike Alvarado

marquez alvarado 2

Tear up. That’s what springs to mind straight away for me here. A genuine 50/50 between two Mexican warriors could really translate into some tangible carnage this weekend in California. Both men have something to prove too coming off losses, Marquez to Bradley and Alvarado to Provodnikov, which could make this weekend’s bout all the more explosive.

Stylistically you’d have to say Marquez is the better boxer technique-wise but on the other hand could we finally see father time catching up with Juan Manuel who gives away 7 years in youth to the 33 year old Alvarado? I think he’s got one last real gem of a performance in him to be honest and Alvarado who likes to come forward (and who has been stopped twice before) could walk onto some of those trade mark combinations that Marquez is famed for.

My prediction – Marquez inside the distance in a potential fight of the year candidate

clev

Nathan Cleverly vs Sean Corbin

Former WBO light heavyweight champion of the world Nathan Cleverly makes his cruiserweight debut this weekend having not boxed since the first loss of his career when he was knocked out by Sergey Kovalev last August. I’ve been watching a few interviews from him lately and he seems in a very good place mentally again and just needed a bit of a break from the sport to recharge the old batteries after the Kovalev battering. However my one concern for him at this division is that he isn’t a particuarly big cruiser nor is he a huge puncher.

But then again you never know, he could be much stronger at this weight and I believe he has been working on sitting down on his shots a lot more. I do know that it has been a struggle to put on muscle and weight to get up to the cruiser weight limit but he is expected on the night to make the limit.

His opponent Sean Corbin is a solid crusierweight unit but out of the four losses on his record he has been stopped on each occasion. Although Clev might not be famed for one punch, massive KO power, I’d be looking for him to get rid of Corbin inside the distance.

My prediction - Cleverly inside 7

Doran’s Boxing Blog – A Place For Fight Fans To Stop By