Boxing: Morilla’s Report Card – Kovalev and Dulorme Shine in Atlantic City

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

Atlantic City, N.J., March 29

Sergey Kovalev TKO 7 Cedric Agnew, WBO light heavyweight title

A star in the making notched another landmark in his young career when WBO light heavyweight champion Kovalev (24-0-1, 22 KO) outhustled and manhandled an outgunned but very live underdog in previously unbeaten Agnew (26-1, 13 KO) in an entertaining fight. Agnew went on a defensive shell for most of the earlier rounds and was decked in rounds two and six after a solid barrage by Kovalev, but he did look willing to fight on the few scattered exchanges of the fight. When Agnew went down from a body shot barely a minute into the seventh round, the challenger simply decided he had enough. Kovalev looked every bit as dominant as predicted, and displayed a very clean technique with solid punches from all angles. It will be interesting to see him develop into a unified champion someday.

The winner goes on to: With Adonis Stevenson signing with Showtime, the mega-fight with Kovalev goes down the drain, and the Russian fighter will now have to wait for the result of Hopkins-Shumenov to find a suitable opponent.

Thomas Dulorme UD 10 Karim Mayfield, junior welterweights

An early crossroads fight between two young up-and-coming contenders quickly turned into a grudge match after a heated weigh-in, in which both fighters grabbed each other’s throats to put an end of a nasty shouting match. The fight itself, however, was a much more polished affair, where once-beaten Dulorme (21-1, 14 KO) ended up proving to be the better fighter, using his considerable height and reach advantage to score a very solid decision over previously unbeaten Mayfield (18-1-1, 11 KO) in a scheduled ten-rounder. The wildly diverse scores (98-92, 97-94, 96-93) reflected the back-and-forth nature of the action, where Dulorme imposed his initiative and Mayfield counterattacked with sporadic success. Good showing by two young contenders who still have lots to give.

The winner goes on to: As nice a rebound win this was for Dulorme, his setback against Argentina’s Luis Abregu last year will still weigh heavily enough to keep him in the backburner in the welterweight picture.

Las Vegas, Nev., March 29

Juan Carlos Martinez SD 10 Alejandro Perez, junior lightweights

A fine crossroads fight between a veteran trialhorse and a young contender ended with a victory for the underdog in this one. Martinez (19-14-1, 6 KO) was brought in as a mere “opponent” for Perez (19-4-1, 13 KO), who was tentatively scheduled to get his title shot in May in China. However, he ended up picking up a loss in a very hard-fought battle that saw Martinez winning by split decision by scores of 96-93 (twice) while the third card, with an identical score, went for Perez, who goes home wishing he had picked a different tune-up opponent before the most important fight of his life.

The winner goes on to: Sadly, not too far. Too young to retire, too sloppy for a title shot. Hopefully we’ll see him again.

Jose Ramirez TKO 2 Boyd Henley, junior welterweights

Another unbeaten on his way up is keeping his career alive with an impressive win. Ramirez (9-0, 7 KO) hardly broke a sweat as he steamrolled the hapless Henley (10-4-1, 9 KO) with a barrage of punches in round two to force the referee to stop the proceedings at the 2:32 mark.

The winner goes on to: Hopefully, his 10th victory will come in a more prominently exposed televised card against a tougher opponent.

Brian Viloria UD 10 Juan Herrera, junior bantamweights

An old warrior refuses to go down. One year after dropping his hard-earned belts in China, Viloria (33-4, 19 KO), a former Olympian from Hawaii, is staging a solid comeback and he notched another win on that trail with this workmanlike performance against Herrera (9-8, 4 KO). Viloria scored harder and more often to claim the victory by scores of 98-92 (twice) and 97-93. Good win by a fighter who hardly ever fails to give a good account of himself.

The winner goes on to: Hopefully, my personal dream match will come true and he’ll finally face fellow Olympian and champion Omar Narvaez in a title bout.

Mexico City, Mexico, March 29

Alejandro Hernandez TKO 5 Marvin Mabait, bantamweights

A once-promising two-time title challenger aims for a third chance after a solid victory. Mexico’s Hernandez (27-10-2, 14 KO) showed his worth once again in this spirited effort against Mabait (20-2-2, 13 KOs), the “Chavacano Disaster” (whatever that means) of Zamboanga City, Philippines. Four rounds of back-and-forth action led to a fifth round that had Fernandez going into the episode on kill-or-be-killed mode. After landing a solid right hand to the head, Hernandez had Mabait on the ropes and was banging away when the referee stepped in to stop the contest.

The winner goes on to: The bantamweight division is in full rebuilding mode right now, and Hernandez should seize the opportunity to put his name in the mix with solid performances like this one.

Newcastle, England, March 29

Stuart Hall D 2 Martin Ward, IBF bantamweight title

A bad blood grudge match turned into a bloody affair. Hall (16-2-2, 7 KO) was favored to win this hometown defense against a tough but untested Ward (18-2-1, 4 KO) in what was expected to be an entertaining clash of styles, until a terrible clash of heads opened a nasty cut above Ward’s right eye to put an end to the fight, which was declared a technical draw. It looked great while it lasted though, but then again, it’s difficult to tell after only three minutes and 35 seconds of action. Hopefully they’ll get more time to settle their differences next time.

The winner goes on to: All signs point to an immediate rematch, but it will be hard to keep Hall, a fighter with a solid following, waiting around for Ward to heal properly.

Eddie Chambers TKO 6 Tomas Mrazek, cruiserweights

A former heavyweight contender headed back to the cruiserweight division came back from a defeat with a feel-good comeback win. Chambers (37-4, 18 KO) is a former heavyweight contender who apparently got tired of dragging his flabby belly into the ring in losing efforts, and decided to shape up for one last chance at the championship level. He dropped to cruiserweight and set camp in Europe under the orders of Peter Fury, but lost his fight at the lower weight. On Saturday, he shook off that loss with a TKO over a very soft touch in Mrazek (9-46-6, 5 KOs) a few ounces above the heavyweight limit. Chambers’ nickname is “Fast”, and he was all that in this bout, connecting with blistering combinations throughout the bout and finally forcing a halt to the bout 30 seconds before the final bell when the referee spared Mrazek from further punishment. Nice win for Chambers, who could become a contender again in the post-Ukranian heavyweight era.

The winner goes on to: If he can stay in shape and make the most of his new training setup, there’s no limit for the super tough and superbly motivated Chambers.

Destin, Florida, March 29

Nate Campbell UD 8 Gilbert Venegas, junior middleweights

As hard as it is to become a boxing champion, it is even harder to stay retired once a career is finished. And Campbell (36-11, 26 KO) knows one thing or two about that, being that he is in the middle of his second comeback after a championship run and a handful of very tough fights. This time, he took a small take back into the spotlight with a pedestrian unanimous decision against Venegas (12-14, 8 KO), an opponent he would have easily KOd in his prime, but this time he probably had a hard time gathering his usual strength after barely making weight over three tries in three hours. Not a good sign for a fighter who should be much better prepared if he wants to make a serious run at this.

The winner goes on to: Beating the Venegas of the world won’t get Campbell a new title bout anytime soon, but he has the name and the talent to keep the opposition honest

Daying, China, March 29

Xiao Jun Qiu UD 12 Jonathan Baat, super bantamweights

Chinese boxing is on the rise, and this fight was another proof of that. In it, a talented young prospect in Qiu (12-2, 4 KO) looked superb in his domination of Filipino southpaw Jonathan Baat (25-5-3, 12 KO), in their third match. Baat had won the first two fights (the first one easily, the second one barely), but was now dominated in every aspect, as Qiu outworked and outboxed him. Baat made a late surge after learning he was behind on points (thanks, WBC, for your useless open scoring system) but it was too little too late as Qiu had already cemented his victory by scores of 116-112, 119-111 and 116-113.

The winner goes on to: With China becoming a prime boxing market, the sky’s the limit for Qiu and his compatriots, especially if they continue looking impressive.

Evgeny Orlov TKO 10 Peter Okello, heavyweights

The Tinsel Fairy has been busy this past weekend! This time, the insanity comes as courtesy of the WBC, which has been responsible for matching a native of Russia (that’s in Europe, yes) and a native of Uganda (Africa, but currently residing in the island-nation of Japan) for something called the Asian Continental Heavyweight title. These guys would send Frankenstein’s sister to Miss Universe if we let them. Fortunately, the fight was entertaining regardless of the continent that hosted it (oh, that’s it! Since the bout took place in China, then that’s where the title hast to come from, right?), with the towering 6’9″, 310-pound Orlov (15-12-1, 11 KO), nicknamed the “Molecule from Hell” (sheesh, we had quite a few nicks this Saturday, haven’t we) taking the initiative and handing Okello (21-8, 19 KO) a punishing defeat. Jab-jab straight hand, and little more was what Orlov had to set in motion in order to grab this foul-infested bout, which included low blows, rabbit punches and pushes, with multiple warnings but no penalties from the referee until the seventh, when the Siberian fighter finally got a point deduction. But the punishment had already taken its toll, and when the bell for the 10th round sounded Okello decided to stay in his corner awarding the victory to Orlov by TKO. Not a bad win for Orlov, who will need some polishing (to put it mildly) if he wants to take his act any further.

The winner goes on to: Orlov has the size to make a splash in the heavyweight division, but he will need to get in serious shape if he wants to make a serious incursion in championship territory.

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