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

Andre Ward vs. Edwin Rodriguez

Hamilton, New Zealand, Saturday, Nov. 16

Alexander Ustinov UD12 David Tua, heavyweights

Apparently, this was seen as an opportunity for Tua (52-5, 43 KOs) to demonstrate he can handle the height and reach advantage of today’s towering heavyweights, but he ended up demonstrating quite the opposite. All it took for 6’7″ Alexander Ustinov (29-1, 21 KOs) to dominate this fight was to hide behind a his stiff jab and land an occasional straight right to take a victory against a 41-year old former contender who is clearly past is prime and hopelessly undersized in a division that has clearly outgrown him. In the end, the WBA Pan-African heavyweight is on its way to Belarus (yep, this is boxing sanctioning body insanity at its rawest). The winner moves on to: unfortunately, not much, in a division that already has plenty plodding 6’5’’-plus fighters without much more to offer.

Laughlin, Nevada, Saturday, Nov. 16

Jose Felix TKO 3 Santos Benavidez, junior lightweights

Chris Avalos TKO 3 Rolly Lunas, junior featherweights  

Jose Benavidez TKO 2 Abraham Alvarez, welterweights  

It was intended as a showcase event for young fighters in the Top Rank stable, and the fellows delivered as promised. Jose Felix Jr (26-0-1, 21 KOs) got a third round TKO over Santos Benavides (23-5-2, 17 KOs), Chris Avalos (23-2, 17 KOs) did exactly the same against Rolly Lunas (34-9-1, 20 KOs), and young welterweight phenomenon Jose Benavidez (18-0, 14 KOs) continued on his fast track towards bigger challenges with a second-round TKO over Abraham Alvarez (16-5-1, 7 KOs). No upsets, but plenty of good boxing from some of the hottest young Mexican-American fighters in the area. The winners move on to: greater exposure in Top Rank cards, and hopefully a real challenge in 2014.

Greenhithe, England, Saturday, Nov. 16

James DeGale UD 12 Dyah Davis, super middleweights

A local hero with a huge following after his gold-medal Olympic performance in 2008, DeGale improved his mark to 17-1 (11 KOs) and edged closer to what is now an imminent title bout with a one-sided drubbing over American Dyah Davis (22-4-1, 10 KOs), the son of Howard Davis Jr., the only medalist of the 1976 U.S. boxing team who never achieved a professional championship. A tough southpaw with plenty of talent, DeGale scored a 118-110 decision that should put his name on the table in any negotiation for a title fight at 168 in the near future. The winner moves on to: likely, a shot at the winner of next week’s Froch-Groves title bout.

Chris Eubank Jr. TKO 6 Frankie Borg, middleweights

Another son of a legendary fighter of the past, Chris Eubank, Jr. (12-0, 7 KOs) is attempting to build a career of his own, away from the shadow of his old man’s own legend. And he took another decisive step when he stopped an overmatched Frankie Borg (8-2, 3 KOs) in the 6th round of a scheduled 8-rounder. Eubank’s name and flashy personality will make him a mainstay in a very interesting division that has great names and terrific possible matchups in the British scene. The winner moves on to: a two championship career, just like dad’s? Not impossible, at all.

Bethlehem, Pa., Saturday, Nov. 16

Ronald Cruz TKO 3 Hector Muñoz, welterweights

It loomed as a tough test against a battle-hardened veteran, but it only took one round for Puerto Rico’s Ronald Cruz (20-2, 13 KO) to find his rhythm against Albuquerque’s Hector Muñoz (22-12-1, 14 KO) and figure him out before scoring a third-round stoppage in this crossroads fight. Cruz needed to confirm his good moment after a hard-earned final round KO over Alberto Morales in his last outing, and he achieved his goal in an impressive way. Apparently, his recent gig as Danny Garcia’s sparring partner helped him take his game to another level to score this solid win. The winner moves on to: hopefully, some tougher assignments for Cruz.

Verona, N.Y., Saturday, Nov. 16

Vyacheslav Glazkov UD 10 Garrett Wilson, heavyweights

Originally meant to showcase former cruiserweight titlist Tomasz Adamek, this fight was shortened to 10 rounds and pitted Glazkov (16-0-1, 11 KOs) against a brave late-replacement in Wilson (13-7-1, 7 KOs), in what turned out to be an entertaining scrap. The 29-year old Glazkov, a 2008 Olympic bronze medalist for his country of Ukraine, tried to look good and take control of the fight from the beginning, but the camouflage-wearing Wilson had signed up for a war, and that’s what he kept aiming for. Wilson took the fight to Glazkov, gladly taking two punches for every punch he landed, and doing some occasional damage. In the end, Glazkov’s more accurate punches and polished stye caught the eyes of the judges, who gave him the victory by scores of 97-93, 98-92 and 99-91, but the underdog came alive in a very pleasant manner in this bout, with both fighters earning the respect of the crowd after a solid performance. The winner moves on to: well, you’re a tall, slow heavyweight with decent skills and a not-too-exciting style, uh? Grab a ticket and get in line.

Karl Dargan UD 10 Mike Brooks, lightweights

In a rare clash of unbeaten up-and-comers, Dargan improved to 14-0 (7 KOs) after an entertaining, back-and-forth unanimous decision over Brooks (11-1-1, 2 KOs), with scorecards of 99-91 (twice) and 98-92 for the local hero, who heard some booing towards the end of the bout after a headbutt put him in retreat mode. The winner moves on to: staying in the mix for a high-profile bout in the revitalized NY boxing scene.

Isaac Chilemba UD 8 Michael Gbenga, light-heavyweights

A once-promising contender now facing a do-or-die situation after a disappointing 0-1-1 run, Malawi-born Isaac “Golden Boy” Chilemba improved to 21-2-2 (9 KOs) with a convincing win over Ghana’s Michael Gbenga (16-10, 16 KOs). As a typical power puncher, Gbenga swung for the fences with every punch he could throw, missing wildly and leaving himself open for Chilemba’s more controlled output. The final round found both fighters aiming for the KO in a wild-swinging affair, but in the ind iw was all for Chilemba, who won this all-African matchup by scores of 80-72 and 79-73 (twice). The winner moves on to: expanding his options in a division undergoing heavy reconstruction.

Albertslund, Denmark, Saturday, Nov. 16

Patrick Nielsen TKO 5 Jose Pinzon, middleweights

A local hero on a mission to keep Denmark on the boxing map after Mikkel Kessler’s best years have passed, southpaw Patrick Nielsen improved to 21-0 (9 KOs) and brought his local crowd in his hometown of Albertslund to its feet when he fought there for the first time of his career in this one-sided drubbing of Mexico’s Jose Pinzon (24-5, 15 KOs), all while achieving his goal of breaking the record for the noisiest indoor sports crowd previously standing at 106.6 dBA (set during an LA Clippers-Milwaukee Bucks NBA game in 2008). The new record stands now at 114 decibels. The winner moves on to: continuing to make noise in the 160 division, probably loud enough to clinch a title bout in 2014.

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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.