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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
Las Vegas, Nevada, July 12th
Saul Canelo Alvarez SD 12 Erislandy Lara, junior middleweights
Styles make fights, indeed, and this fight was quite an example of that maxim. Alvarez (44-1-1, 31 KO) was the puncher and Lara (19-2-2, 12 KO) the speedster (in more than one way), so the stage was set for a promising clash of styles. And in the end, this stark difference in their approach to boxing made for an interesting fight that, predictably enough, ended up with very divided opinions about the outcome. Who do you side with? The guy who outlanded his foe 55 to 9 in jabs, or the one who outmuscled his opponent by 88 to 52 in power punches (with an emphasis on “power”)? Numbers didn’t tell the whole story, and neither did the wildly divergent scorecards of 115-113 (one for each of them) and the inexplicable 117-111 for Canelo. Fought at a catchweight of 155 lbs with no titles at stake, the bout followed a predictable pattern of Lara moving in circles avoiding Canelo’s powerful hooks to the body and landing in spurts but very effectively, albeit without ever coming close to hurting the Mexican fighter. Canelo wanted the fight more, always pressing the action but failing to find his range most of the time. But when he did, he connected to Lara’s body with enough pop and precision to slow him down by the second half of the fight, when Canelo unleashed a stronger and more damaging attack. The very disputed final rounds were key to scoring this fight, which had the entire press row divided in three different but very clear opinions: one point for Canelo, a draw, or one point for Lara. Feel free to ad yours after you watch the fight once again, either on video or in an eventual rematch.
The winner goes on to: Canelo holds enough sway in the boxing industry to pick and choose his opponents at will, but a rematch against Lara will make a lot of sense, although he may be headed to a mega-fight with Miguel Cotto for the middleweight title.
Abner Mares UD 10 Jonathan Oquendo, featherweights
Wake me up when it’s over, please. Oh, is it? Well, let me speed through the video and see if I can catch some of the old flashes of vintage former three division titlist Mares (27-1-1, 14 KO) performing at his best. Well, not quite. Mares still has the moves that made him a pound-for-pound favorite, and Oquendo (24-4, 16 KO) didn’t exactly expose him or carried him the distance with a terrific effort. Instead, what we got was a stay-busy performance from Mares, who thus bounces back from his stoppage loss to Jhonny Gonzalez one year ago in a fight that featured the debut of a new trainer in Virgil Hunter. Other than a cut above the left eye and a few solid exchanges in the early going, it was all Mares, and the scores of 96-94 and 98-92 (twice) reflected that dominance.
Francisco Vargas TKO 3 Juan Manuel Lopez, junior lightweights
It’s always sad to see a once-formidable former champion go down in flames, but it’s even sadder to see him become a stepping stone for unbeaten young contenders. And that’s exactly what happened here. Vargas (20-0-1, 14 KO) is a solid former Mexican Olympian being groomed for stardom, but Lopez (34-4, 31 KO) was considered not too long ago one of boxing’s pound-for-pound best, and after this terrible stoppage is now officially a has-been. Lopez was known as a heavy puncher with a suspect chin in his best days, but now all suspicions are cleared and he is now entering trialhorse territory after this one-sided drubbing. It only took Vargas two rounds to get a sense of Lopez’s timing, and when he launched his attack it was all over, as a wobbly Lopez was not allowed to come out for the fourth round by his corner. Sad to see him go, indeed.
Mauricio Herrera MD 12 Johan Perez, WBA interim junior welterweight title
The interim kingdom is growing at a neck-breaking pace! In yet another interim title fight for the always generous WBA, Herrera (21-4, 7 KO) grabbed a title belt against Perez (19-2-1, 13 KO) in a solid performance, as usual. Herrera never fails to provide fireworks and has put more than one top contender in a lot of trouble, so the title (as devaluated as it is) is well deserved. The action was terrific in a back-and-forth barnburner of a fight, and the scores (114-114, and 116-112 twice) reflected this. Beautiful win for a fighter who clearly deserves another chance in a high-profile bout.
Tomoki Kameda TKO 7 Pungluang Sor Singyu, WBO bantamweight title
“El Mexicanito” did it again. Kameda (30-0, 19 KO) is one of three Japanese brothers (along with Koki and Daiki) who are all fighters and champions in their own right. Having lived in Mexico for a while, Tomoki has taken on some of the best features of Mexican boxing, and his aggressive style reflects this influence. The action was entertaining and had several changes in momentum, with Sor Singyu (46-3, 31 KO) putting Kameda in trouble in the fourth round only to be dominated later and finished by a terrific body blow halfway through the seventh round.
The winner goes on to: It will be interesting to see Tomoki’s career developing in America, and maybe using his crude but solid Spanish language skills to seduce the boxing-crazy Latino audience in the US.
Liverpool, England, July 12th
Tony Bellew TKO 5 Julio Cesar Dos Santos, cruiserweights
Nathan Cleverly KO 4 Alejandro Valori, cruiserweights
Two terrific and entertaining fighters started the road to their grudge rematch with these two separate victories on the same card. In the main event, Bellew (22-2-1, 14 KO), a former world title challenger, demolished Dos Santos (26-3, 23 KO) with a thunderous left hook to the temple midway through the fifth round. And minutes earlier, Cleverly (28-1, 14 KO), a former WBO 175 lb titlist, did his part of the job with a stoppage of Argentina’s Valori (15-5, 11 KO) with a body attack that gradually wore the visiting fighter out to the point of sending him to the canvas in the second round and then finishing him midway through the fourth.
The winners go on to: Title belt or not at stake, these two are headed to a rematch that may very well become a trilogy one day, thanks to the support of a huge fan base and the expectations created by their excellent first encounter.
Anthony Joshua KO 2 Matt Skelton, heavyweights
Rocky Fielding KO 5 Noe Gonzalez, super middleweights
Callum Smith UD 10 Vladine Biosse, super middleweights
Luke Campbell UD 6 Craig Woodruff, lightweights
Anthony Ogogo TKO 5 Wayne Reed, middleweights
The rest of the card provided a chance for a group of unbeaten, mostly former Olympian hopefuls to continue their respective unbeaten runs at the expense of second-tier opposition. Joshua (7-0, 7 KO), a 2012 Olympic super heavyweight gold medalist, disposed of an over-the-hill former contender in Skelton (28-9, 23 KO) in expedited fashion after sending him to the mat twice. Fielding (19-0, 11 KO) stopped Gonzalez Alcoba (30-4, 22 KO), a former world title challenger from Uruguay based in Argentina, in a five round workout. Smith (12-0, 9 KO) was taken the distance by an always competitive Biosse (15-4-2, 7 KO) with scores of 100-89 and 99-91 (twice), and so was 2012 Olympic gold medalist Campbell (6-0, 4 KO), who scored a more pedestrian, 60-54 decision against a much less competitive fighter in Woodruff (5-4, 2 KO). Earlier, Ogogo (7-0, 4 KO), a 2012 Olympic bronze medalist, had stopped Reed (10-9, 5 KO) in five.
Pittsburgh, July 11th
Paul Spadafora UD 8 Hector Velazquez, junior welterweights
The “other” crazy, over-the-top Paulie did it again. Spadafora (49-1-1, 19 KOs), a former IBF lightweight champion on the comeback trail, almost made it to a perfect 50-0 untill he ran Johan Perez last November when trying to win an interim title belt, but now he is back on the winning track with this decision win over Velazquez (56-22-3, 38 KO) in a homecoming of sorts. Spadafora controlled the action with the remains of his once-superb boxing skills from his agile but still awkward southpaw stance, scoring a 79-73 (twice), 80-72 decision victory.
The winner goes on to: The road back to championship glory can be hard if you are a 38-year old once-beaten former champ, but Spadafora could have one more big performance left in his tank, and the 140 lb division is brimming with young talents looking to test themselves against big names.