Boxing – Morilla’s Sunday Report Card

Manny Pacquiao
Manny Pacquiao
November 24 2013 Macau China Superstar Manny Pacquiao R wins a 12 round unanimous decision over Brandon Bam Bam Rios at The Venetian Macao Resort in MacauChina Chris Farina Top Rank

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. Follow Morilla on Twitter at @MorillaBoxing

Macau, China, November 23

Manny Pacquiao UD 12 Brandon Rios, welterweights

If you could tell baseball players apart by looking at their hats, you’d swear Brandon Rios is a catcher. And he did a great job at catching Manny Pacquiao’s shutout pitching job for 12 rounds in a lopsided decision in favor of the Filipino icon, who is now officially back in business after two consecutive losses. Pacquiao (55-5-2, 38 KOs) was his usual awkward self, upsetting his opponent’s tempo, taking the initiative, and using his signature lateral movement to stay away from Rios’ bombs, which were never a factor. In the end, Rios (31-2-1, 23 KOs) was unable to mount any offensive other than a few spurts of action in the short range, his best and probably his only known feature. Pacquiao looked dominant and confident after outlanding Rios 281 to 138 according to Compubox numbers, and heads back to his job as a congressman in the Philippines with a well-deserved victory by scores of 120-108, 119-109 and 118-110. His opponent heads back to the drawing board after his second consecutive loss. You can keep your hat on, Brandon. Catching definitely suits you more than pitching.

The winner goes on to: hopefully, the most anticipated fight in recent boxing memory against pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Evgeny Gradovich TKO 9 Billy Dib, IBF featherweight title

This rematch of a terrific first matchup ended with the relentless Gradovich making the grade once again in an exciting but one-sided rematch. Gradovich (18-0, 9 KOs) had taken his first fight against Dib on short notice last March, but he made the best of it by outhustling his opponent to grab the title, and now he defended it in a rematch to erase any possible doubts. Dib (36-3, 21 KOs) was competitive in the first one, but today he was no match for Gradovich, who just overwhelmed with punches from all angles until his trainer jumped in at 1:10 of the ninth round to stop the pointless carnage.

The winner goes on to: with an exciting style and a terrific skill set, the “Mexican Russian” can go anywhere he wants in a deep division that now has one more fighter to worry about.

Andy Ruiz TKO 4 Tor Hamer, heavyweights

One had a promising record, and the other one had a promising name. But in the end, neither one of them really delivered on their full promise, as Hamer disgraced his surname by failing to hit anything of significance and simply quitting after three rounds of fighting. Ruiz, (21-0, 15 KOs) seemed happy to keep his unbeaten streak alive in what was shaping up as an intriguing matchup. Hamer (21-3, 14 KOs) a Penn State graduate who is allegedly studying to become an airline pilot, got an extra push into his new career when his promoter, the always loquacious Lou DiBella, released him from his contract with a comment on Twitter, disgusted by his reluctance to continue fighting.

The winner goes on to: if he follows the trail left by fellow Mexican heavy Cristobal Arreola, he may end up in a title fight after the Klistchko era is over, with minimal opportunities of achieving something of note.

Zou Shiming UD 6 Juan Toscano, flyweights

China’s most accomplished amateur boxer made a discreet advance in his foray into the pro ranks with a fan-friendly 6-round shutout. Two-time Olympic gold medalist Zou Shiming improved to 3-0 with no KOs with a unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Juan Toscano (4-1, 1 KO). Zou tried hard for the KO, but he just doesn’t have the punching power for that, even against a guy like Toscano, who was on the brink of a stoppage on cuts after a huge gash opened on his cheek and his inept corner lacked the knowledge and the proper equipment and supplies to close it properly. The scorecards were 60-54 all around.

The winner goes on to: a title shot, likely a “vacant interim” belt that would also guarantee a safe victory in front of his countrymen, and becoming the most visible figure in the rising Chinese boxing market.

Felix Verdejo UD 6 Petchsamuthr Duanaaymukdahan, junior lightweights

In a star-studded undercard featuring some of Top Rank’s most prized prospects, everyone got to keep their unbeaten streak intact, and Puerto Rico’s 2012 Olympian Felix Verdejo (9-0, 6 KOs) was the first one in line. Fighting behind a superb jab, and featuring a devastating uppercut as well, Verdejo (hailed by many as the second coming of the legendary Felix Trinidad) grabbed a one-sided six round decision over Thailand’s Petchsamuthr Duanaaymukdahan (8-2, 1 KO), who has a tough name to pronounce and a very tough chin to punch, much to his disgrace. Petchsamuthr took a tremendous beating and was deducted a point for a low blow in the sixth round, winning by scores of 60-53 all around.

The winner goes on to: being featured regularly in mayor Top Rank cards until he is deemed ready for the big time. Next up: a possible clash on Dec. 14 in Puerto Rico.

Manchester, England, November 23

Carl Froch TKO 9 George Groves, IBF/WBA super middleweight title

A big neighborhood rivalry in England ended in bitter disappointment as Froch (32-2, 22 KOs) stopped Groves (19-1, 15 knockouts) under a barrage of punches that only the referee saw as dangerous enough to put an end to the bout. A notorious slow starter, Froch was pushed into a tough spot early on, when his former sparring partner flattened him with a terrific cross midway through the very opening round. Fighting in survival mode from then on, Froch managed to score with both hands repeatedly, but it was Groves the one in control until about a dozen punches were apparently enough for the referee to declare unfit to continue at 1:33 of the ninth round, when Groves was ahead on all three cards by 78-73, 76-75 and 76-75. Given the good promotion that they got with their personal rivalry and the thrilling nature of this bout, however shortened, it is entirely possible that both fighters may meet again sometime in the near future to settle this dispute once and for all.

The winner goes on to: a talent-laden division awaited the winner, but they may have to wait until the eventual rematch to figure that out.

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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.