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
New York, July 26th
Gennady Golovkin KO 3 Daniel Geale, WBA middleweight title
If there was a scene missing in Golovkin’s already breathtaking highlight reel, it was this one. Even though he was clearly dominating the fight during the first two rounds, Golovkin (30-0, 27 KO) took a massive shot right in the face as he was moving in for the kill towards the end of the third round after dropping his foe in the previous episode. Did he flinch? Hardly. Did he stumble? Not really. Did he fire back with an almost instinctive defensive shot that landed flush in his foe’s face and sent him to the canvas for a protective count and a stoppage victory? As unlikely as that scenario would appear, that’s exactly what happened. Australia’s Geale (30-3, 16 KO), a champion in his own right, was supposed to be Golovkin’s biggest test to date, and he was no stranger to fighting abroad in the role of the underdog, as he had so brilliantly demonstrated with his title-clinching victory against Felix Sturm in Germany in 2012. But Golovkin was making his big-time debut in the main room of the storied Madison Square Garden, and looking to solidify his position as the most fearsome puncher in the middleweight division. He achieved his goal, and judging by his performance, he probably would have achieved the same result if he had fought in Geale’s own backyard. The Kazakhstan-born slugger is no longer on his way to stardom: he is already there. Another spectacular victory by a fighter who promises to move up on the pound-for-pound list fight after fight in the years to come.
The winner goes on to: His recognition as the undisputed middleweight champion would imply either a retirement or a drop in weight by current linear champ Miguel Cotto (or obviously a fight between them), and that’s all that separates Golovkin from being acknowledged as the top 160 lb fighter in the world.
Bryant Jennings SD 12 Mike Perez, heavyweight title eliminator
Thanks for ruining my prediction for The Ring magazine’s panel of experts, Mr. Harvey Dock. It was my impression that Perez (20-1-1, 12 KO) was too big, savvy and powerful for Jennings (19-0, 10 KO) in this bout between unbeaten heavyweights. But apparently, Perez failed to come through in the late going, and then the referee deducted a point from him in the final round for excessive holding, in an unnecessary sanction that had a deciding effect on the outcome. Without that point deduction, Perez would have received at least a draw, but the split decision ended up giving Jennings a victory by scores of 115-112 and 114-113, with another card of 114-113 went for the Cuban fighter. Other than that, there was not too much more to mention from this fight, in which both fighters failed to seize the momentum in their careers and the international exposure of this card by engaging in a safety-first affair that didn’t earn either one of them any praise.
The winner goes on to: Jennings’ bid to become the next big Philly fighter to hold a heavyweight title could become a reality next year, possibly in a fight against the winner of the already scheduled Wilder vs. Stiverne title bout.
Ola Afolabi TKO 3 Anthony Caputo Smith, cruiserweights
The tall and rangy Afolabi (21-3-4, 9 KO) was never the most entertaining fighter out there, but he did manage to score a few meaningful fights in recent years. Trying to claw his way back to the top, he took care of Caputo Smith (15-4, 10 KO) with a solid beating, sending him to the canvas twice in the third round to prompt a stoppage after the bell by referee Steve Smoger after a short consultation with the ringside physician.
Phoenix, Arizona, July 26th
Jose Benavidez Jr. KO 1 Henry Aurad, welterweights
Oscar Valdez UD 8 Juan Ruiz, featherweights
Benavidez (21-0, 15 KO) is one of boxing’s most promising young contenders, and he continues growing with ever performance. This time, he took care rather quickly of a solid trialhorse in Colombia’s Aurad (16-9-1, 13 KO), sending him to the canvas twice in the opening round to force a stoppage barely two minutes into this long-awaited homecoming. Previously, Valdez (13-0, 11 KO), a two-time Mexican Olympian, dominated veteran Ruiz (23-15, 7 KO) with a workmanlike performance over eight rounds, with three identical scorecards of 80-71 after a point deduction in the final round.
Epazoyucan, Mexico, July 26th
Rodrigo Guerrero TKO 9 Takahiro Shigee, bantamweights
Fight of the week? Could be. Fight of the week in which no fighter named Gennady Golovkin was involved? Definitely! Guerrero (21-5-1, 13 KO) is a former flyweight titlist who was attempting to revive his career in front of his loyal hometown crowd. But Japan’s Shigee (11-0-1, 9 KO) didn’t get the memo, and he came in to win it from the first bell, dropping bombs on the local fighter and overpowering him with superb shots and an impeccable sense of distance and pacing. But Guerrero had too much on the line, and he went after Shigee with a sense of desperation that the visiting fighter simply couldn’t fend off. After opening a cut on Shigee’s forehead, Guerrero muscled his way towards a mid-range fight in which he felt more comfortable, and just when his foe was losing steam he relentlessly stepped up the pressure to force a stoppage between the 8th and 9th round. A terrific, all-action bout that deserved more exposure – and maybe a rematch.
Manchester, England, July 26th
Billy Joe Saunders KO 8 Emanuele Blandamura, vacant European middleweight title
This card was supposed to be headlined by heavyweights Tyson Fury and Eddie Chambers, but both of them ended up cancelling their respective separate bouts at the last minute for different reasons. One of the undercard fights was elevated to main event status, and in it Saunders (20-0, 11 KO) managed to keep his unbeaten record by scoring an eighth round KO over another previously unbeaten contender in Italy’s Blandamura (22-1, 5 KO). The southpaw Saunders was always in control, in spite of a badly cut left eye early in the fight. He delivered a sustained beating until Blandamura’s corner decided they had seen enough and threw in the towel after a brief visit to the canvas.
Dessau, Germany, July 26th
Robert Stieglitz TKO 10 Sergey Khomitsky, super middleweights
Christina Hammer W (DQ) Ann Sophie Mathis, female junior middleweights
Two different fights, two completely bizarre results. In the main event, Stieglitz (47-4, 27 KO), a former two-time titlist, continues searching for the elusive recognition outside of Germany as a top 168 lb fighter. This time, he took care of business with a solid win against Khomitsky (29-11-2, 12 KO) in freak stoppage. After both fighters were bloodied by several cuts, Stieglitz seemed to be ahead on all scorecards and headed to a 12 round decision in his favor. But referee Lagosz Zbigniew grew impatient with Khomitsky’s apparent delay in his corner while he had his gloves fixed, and decided that this was enough reason to stop the bout. A mild protest ensued, but the result stood nonetheless.
In a previous bout, the WBO female junior middleweight title stayed in Germany when Hammer (18-0, 8 KO) went down from what appeared to be a legitimate punch in the fifth round that referee Manfred Küchler ruled as a rabbit punch (the video replay showed Mathis repeatedly bludgeoning Hammer with numerous right hands in the back of the ear). Mathis (27-4, 23 KO) was already celebrating her victory, but she was disqualified and the bout awarded to Hammer.
Villaflores, Mexico, July 26th
Fernando Montiel KO 1 Jesus Rios, featherweights
Mario Rodriguez UD 10 Junior Granados, junior flyweights
Two former champions took a step on the comeback trail in two separate victories. Montiel (51-4-2, 39 KO), a superbly talented former three-division world champion who never recovered fully well after his one-sided defeat at the hands of Nonito Donaire back in 2012, took only 96 seconds to stop Rios (30-5-1, 24 KO) (with a body shot that landed a bit too low to my taste), as he campaigns in the 126 lb division looking for a new chance at a world title. Previously, Rodriguez (18-9-4, 11 KO), another former world champion, scored a unanimous decision over ten rounds against Granados (13-2-1, 8 KO) in an entertaining bout, with scorecards of 97-93 (twice) and 97-95.
Riga, Latvia, July 26th
Roy Jones Jr. TKO 5 Courtney Fry, cruiserweights
Ten years ago, the legendary Jones Jr (58-8, 41 KO) would have literally fried Fry (18-6, 6 KO), a tough but limited fringe contender. But today, Jones, a shadow of his former self, has to earn his victories with considerably more work than in his best years. True, he did annihilate Fry with relative ease, flooring him with a left hand towards the end of round five and forcing him to quit at the end of that episode. But Jones’ face was badly swollen after the fight, and he never managed to look even close to his best shape. Still, expect Roy to continue fighting at least a few more fights, perhaps even in a pointless rematch against another over-the-hill former foe in James Toney.
Indio, California, July 25th
Frankie Gomez UD 10 Vernon Paris, super lightweights
Terrell Gausha KO 1 Ronnie Warrior, middleweights
Two unbeaten former amateur standouts continued their march towards championship territory with two completely different victories. Topping the bill, highly-touted Frankie Gomez (18-0, 13 KO) scored his most impressive victory to date against a much more experienced former contender like Vernon Paris (28-1, 16 KO) with a very promising performance, dropping Paris in the fourth round and scoring demolishing combinations throughout the bout to grab a 100-89 points victory across the board. Previously, Gausha (11-0, 6 KO), a former U.S. Olympian middleweight, unceremoniously stopped Warrior Jr. (15-9-1, 5 KO) with a thunderous body shot at the very end of the first episode.
Chicago, Illinois, July 25th
Roberto Garcia UD 10 Breidis Prescott, welterweights
An entertaining crossroads fight between two former contenders. Fighting with a sense of urgency and needing a solid victory to keep their career going, both Garcia (36-3, 23 KO) and Prescott (27-6, 20 KO) engaged in a terrific, back-and-forth fight in which Garcia outboxed the Colombian contender most of the time. Prescott did manage to send Garcia down in the ninth round briefly, but it was too little too late, and the Mexican fighter ended up getting the win by scorecards of 96-93, 95-94 and 96-92.