Boxing – Morilla’s Sunday Report Card – November 17th

Andre Ward vs. Edwin Rodriguez

Our resident boxing writer Diego Morilla serves up a full weekend wrap-up of the most relevant boxing events in the worldwide scene. Every fight that matters is right here, in one place, and at one click away.

Andre Ward vs. Edwin Rodriguez
November 16 2013 Ontario CA USA Andre Ward is declared the winner following his fight against Edwin Rodriguez at Citizens Business Bank Arena Gary A Vasquez USA TODAY Sports

Ontario, California, Saturday, Nov. 16

Andre Ward UD12 Edwin Rodriguez, WBA super middleweight title 

In a triumphal, long-awaited return after a 14-month layoff, Ward (27-0, 13 KOs), one of boxing’s top pound-for-pound fighters, added another master class to his extensive teaching curriculum with a one-sided drubbing of a respectable contender in Rodriguez (24-1, 16 KOs), with scorecards of 118-106, 117-107 and 116-108. The only reason why Ward didn’t make it all the way to a perfect 120 is because referee Jack Reiss, in a very unusual move, took two points from each fighter for “unsportsmanlike conduct” in a very theatrical call in round 4. However, the controversial call ended up being appropriate, as it kept both fighters in check after what had been a dirty, foul-infested affair up to that point. Ward’s ramming jab was in Rodriguez’s face all night, and his occasional hooks landed with numbing power in numerous occasions, especially a head-spinning hook in round 10 that drew oh’s and ah’s from every corner of the stadium. Ward, a 2004 Olympic gold medalist, is now officially consolidated at number 2 in the pound-for-pound list after a terrific win in which he dispelled many doubts about his physical condition due to a recent surgery in his right shoulder, among other minor injuries. The winner moves on to: continuing his dominance of the 168 lb division and beyond, with no dangerous opponent in sight.

Jonathan Arellano MD 8 Charles Huerta

In an interesting eight-round prelim between two rising junior lightweights, Jonathan Arellano, (13-2-2, 3 KOs) managed to outhustle slight favorite Charles Huerta (18-3, 11 KOs) with a hard-fought majority decision. Huerta took control in the first few rounds, but soon enough Arellano neutralized his opponent’s superior punching power count as he took the fight in the short range to a scrawny but tough Huerta, who dropped the decision by scores of 76-76 80-72 and 78-74. The winner moves on to: a tough scenario in an elite division, in which his solid boxing skills should land him a few good paydays.

Brandon Gonzales UD 10 Jonathan Nelson, super middleweights

It loomed as a tough assignment for both young contenders, but in the end, Brandon Gonzales demonstrated that his unjustified draw against up-and-coming South African contender Thomas Oosthuizen was a clear injustice as he defeated a tough unbeaten contender in Jonathan Nelson by unanimous decision with scores of 99-91, 99-91 and 98-92. Gonzales (18-0-1, 10 KOs) made the same mistakes as he did with Oosthuizen when he got off to a slow start, allowing Nelson (19-1, 9 KOs) to check him regularly, but it was clear that Gonzales’ superior stamina would prove the deciding factor as the fight moved along to the final stages. The winner moves on to: hopefully, a challenge worthy of his terrific skills and heart.

Sergio Mora TKO 5 Milton Nuñez, 8 middleweights

A superbly talented fighter, Mora (25-3-2, 8 KOs) was given dozens of great opportunities, and failing only in capturing the imagination of the hardcore boxing fans. He now seems to be on his way to earning that respect again after a fifth-round stoppage over an overmatched Milton Nuñez (26-9-1, 24 KOs), who gave Mora a run for his money with occasional solid shots. But Mora, a former winner of The Contender reality show, had more than enough to counteract Nuñez’s bull-rush tactics, and it was a matter of time before Mora took over. That time came during the 5th round, when Nuñez got up from the canvas to find himself bombarded by Mora before the referee in charge stepped in to stop the carnage as the round was coming to an end. Solid win for one of boxing’s most notorious underachievers. The winner moves on to: ideally, a true test against a top contender before making a more audacious move at either 160 or 154.

Cancun, Mexico, Saturday, Nov. 16

Daniel Ponce De León UD 10 Joksan Hernandez, lightweights

At the age of 33, Ponce de Leon (45-5, 35 KOs) hit the comeback trail one more time after losing his belt to Abner Mares and grabbed a hard-fought but solid unanimous decision against a tough club fighter in Hernandez (23-6-1, 15 KOs), who was in over his head against a proud former champion like Ponce de Leon. However, the champ failed to carry his vaunted punching up to lightweight as most peopled expected, earning a 110-89 (three times) points win on the scorecards, but failing to put his foe in any type of danger. The winner moves on to: a hard road at 135, where talent abounds and opportunities for a tough veteran with nothing to lose will be scarce.

Roberto Manzanarez TKO3 Alejandro Barrera, lightweights

A superbly talented 18-year old fighter, Manzanarez (25-1, 20 KOs) avenged the only setback in his career in this one-sided affair. Barrera (22-16, 15 KOs) took  Manzanarez by surprise and made him the lone victim of a woeful 1-11 streak since 2011 with a chilling TKO, but now Manzanarez is back on track, although the blemish will hardly go away. The winner moves on to: a more cautious pace towards bigger challenges.

San Luis Potosi, Mexico, Saturday, Nov. 16

Jorge Arce TKO 8 Jose Carmona, featherweights  

One of boxing’s most entertaining characters, former multiple division champ Arce (62-7-2, 46 KO) retired after his loss against Nonito Donaire last year, but it didn’t take long for him to reconsider his love for the sport that made him a star, and returned to give his countrymen a terrific show with a TKO over Colombia’s Carmona (22-4, 12 KO), who ended up in the hospital (recent reports say he’s undergoing surgery for a blood clot in the brain) after receiving about a dozen punches in the head in the eighth round of a scheduled 10 rounder. Carmona did well in the first half of the bout, but once Arce got his rust off, he was all business, and he finished the fight as he usually does: face covered in blood, pumping his muscles while standing atop the ropes in a corner and shouting his joy into the crowd. The winner moves on to: if he gets his wishes, a shot at Orlando Salido’s title.

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Diego Morilla
Diego Morilla is a boxing writer since 1992. His work has been extensively featured in some of the most prestigious boxing media outlets in Latin America and the U.S., including, The Ring, Latino Boxing,, Lo Mejor del Boxeo,, HBO Sports and newspapers such as El Mundo, Primera Hora and El Vocero, among others.