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Boxing: Morilla’s Sunday Report Card – Garcia Annihilates Salka and Much More

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.

Danny Garcia
Danny Garcia

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

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

Brooklyn, N.Y., August 9th

Danny Garcia KO 2 Rod Salka, junior welterweights

Nobody can honestly say that they didn’t see this coming. Nobody. Garcia (29-0, 17 KO) was the undefeated linear champion in the division, and Salka (19-4, 3 KO) was not exactly a tomato can, but the Pittsburgh native was really no threat at all for a fighter who always finds a way to win. In all, Salka visited the canvas in three occasions during the bout, but it wasn’t a question of how many knockdowns there were, but rather in what fashion were they produced. Salka was beaten with such frightening ease that if the fight had been stopped after the first knockdown nobody would have complained. Finally, the punishment was too much even to pretend that Salka would survive to put on a more dignified losing performance, and the bout was stopped towards the end of the second round.

The winner goes on to: If Garcia’s challengers are going to continue being this soft, then we’ll be seeing him wearing those belts for a long time. A fight against Lamont Peterson or a rematch against Lucas Matthysse, however, would be much more desirable.

Lamont Peterson TKO 10 Edgar Santana, IBF junior welterweight title

Even after losing his title to Lucas Matthysse in heart-breaking fashion, Peterson (33-2-1, 16 KO) remains an elite fighter in boxing’s elite division, and his talents were in full display on this fight. Ramming jab, superb punch placement, terrific body shots, all wrapped in athleticism and decent speed. True, Santana (29-5, 20 KO) was not the ultimate test for a fighter of his caliber, but nonetheless Peterson put on a master class that will surely net him another high-profile bout in the near future. Peterson landed at will throughout the fight, but the terrible punishment he imposed on Santana in the 10th round prompted the ringside doctor to do something that you don’t see every day: he waved the fight off from his seat, asking the referee to halt the carnage. Which he did, luckily for Santana, at the 2:50 mark of that episode. Terrific win for Peterson, who now has a lot of options on his plate.

The winner goes on to: After what we saw tonight, a Peterson-Garcia fight would be dead even in the betting odds, and so would many of the potential matchups against the crème of the crème in the 140 lb vicinity.

Daniel Jacobs TKO 5 Jarrod Fletcher, vacant WBA “regular” middleweight title

Just what Jacobs needed: a terrific fight to cap his unlikely, heart-breaking comeback after a life-threatening illness. Jacobs (28-1, 25 KO) had a career made for Hollywood: raised by his grandmother, he was a decorated amateur with enormous promise when he fought for the title back in 2010 and lost against Dmitry Pirog in Las Vegas. He was later diagnosed with cancer, but returned to the ring and is now the “regular” titlist at 160 lbs, which is not as awesome as surviving cancer (and not as bad as getting it, despite what the critics of this sanctioning body may tell you), but it is a start. In this particular fight, Jacobs started in a hurry and dropped Australia’s Fletcher (18-2, 10 KO) early in the first round, to set the tone for a domination that would end in the fifth round with a terrific punishment to the body that crumpled Fletcher and forced the referee to intervene just as the round was coming to a close. A fitting return to the ring for a champion whose accomplishments extend far beyond the ropes.

Sadam Ali SD 10 Jeremy Bryan, welterweights

It’s not easy to win the hearts and minds of American boxing fans if your name is Sadam Ali, even if you were born in Brooklyn. But Ali (20-0, 12 KO), a former standout amateur, is giving it his best shot. This time, he was tested to the limit by Bryan (17-4, 7 KO) in a barnburner. They both exchanged terrific punches in the early going, but as the rounds progressed it was clear that Ali had more gas going into the final stretch. A picture-perfect left hook sent Bryan down in the ninth round and secured the victory for Ali, who won by scorecards of 96-93 all around (two for Ali, one for Bryan). Maybe if his handlers manage to find an opponent named Osama or Fidel they may further capture the imagination of the public in his next fight. Otherwise, the promotional battle will only get tougher.

Bethlehem, Pa. , August 9th

Vyacheslav Glazkov MD 10 Derric Rossy, heavyweights

Unbeaten contender meets desperate road warrior trying to revive his career? Sometimes it works, some others… well. Glazkov (18-0-1, 11 KO) was supposed to beat Rossy (29-9, 14 KO) easily, but instead he found himself in a heap of trouble, unable to pull the trigger at the right time and simply allowing Rossy to outscore him during most of the rounds. Sensing a tragedy, Glaskov dug deep and came back with a few inspired rounds to rally late for the win, which was not precisely a generous one. Scorecards of 95-95, 96-94, and a ridiculous 98-92 gave him the go-ahead to fight another day and keep his unbeaten record intact. He will have to work much harder if he wants to keep it for a longer time.

Vasily Lepikhin TKO 5 Robert Berridge, light heavyweights

Even though he was unbeaten, Lepikhin (16-0, 9 KO) was being served as the sacrificial lamb for local hero Berridge (24-2-1, 20 KO), a once-beaten fighter on the road to a title opportunity. But Lepikhin didn’t get the memo, and came out fighting, dropping Berridge three times in five rounds to force the referee to halt the bout with barely a minute into the fifth round.

Monterrey, Mexico, August 9th

Francisco Rodriguez UD 12 Katsunari Takayama, WBO/IBF unification, minimum weight

There is nothing quite like a come-from-behind win to put people on notice about a fighter’s heart and will, and that’s exactly what Rodriguez (15-2, 10 KO) achieved in this fight. The WBO minimum weight champion from Mexico held on to his title and grabbed a new one with a gritty win over a true champion in Takayama (27-7, 10 KO) after 12 electrifying rounds. Rodriguez sent Takayama to the mat in the third round, but the Japanese titlist refused to stay down and instead rallied to put together a terrific fight that featured lots of action. The venue and the knockdown were determining factors in the final scorecards, won by Rodriguez by what appeared to be excessive margins of 116-111, 115-112 and an inexplicable 119-108.

Tomas Rojas UD 10 Irving Berry, junior featherweights

Rojas (44-14-1, 29 KO) is more than a former world champion who refuses to quit. He is a solid, skilled and tough fighter who always comes to win. And he did it again and with class in this fight against Berry (22-6-2, 19 KO), a willing foe who was never close to posing any danger against a fighter determined to win every minute of every round. Impressive performance by Rojas, who was rewarded with scorecards of 100-90 (twice) and 98-92.

Sebastopol, Ukraine, August 9th

Dmitry Chudinov TKO 3 Mehdi Bouadla, WBA interim middleweight title

Insanity as usual, WBA style! Yes, the WBA now has THREE middleweight champions. In this particular fight, Chudinov (14-0-2, 9 KO) won this sanctioning body’s middleweight “interim” world belt (the “regular” version was defended by Daniel Jacobs and the “super” version is in the hands of Gennady Golovkin) with a severe beating of Bouadla (30-6, 11 KO) in a rare fight staged in the war-ravaged area of Crimea. Chudinov made Bouadla feel the firepower of his fists as soon as the first bell rang, dropping him with a terrific body blow, and repeating the dose twice more in the following episode. Another two knockdowns convinced the referee to stop the carnage in the third round, and now the middleweight scene has a new titlist waving his belt around and fighting for universal recognition. Can’t do anything but wish him the best.

Arif Magomedov UD 12 Patrick Mendy, middleweights

Magomedov (12-0, 8 KO) showed lots of talent in this unanimous decision win over Mendy (15-8-1, 1 KO) in a showcase fight that ended up being much easier than expected. Mendy visited the canvas three times in different rounds, but managed to survive and made it to the final bell still standing and fighting back. Nice test for Magomedov.

Pavel Doroshilov TKO 4 Danny Williams, heavyweights

Apparently, having defeated Mike Tyson back in the day is not helping Williams (46-23, 35 KO) in his career, beyond preferential matchmaking and bragging rights. This time, the soft-in-the-middle, over-the-hill Williams was soundly defeated by a fighter making his professional debut, no less. Yes, Doroshilov (1-0, 1 KO) battered former world title challenger Williams with frightening ease before forcing him to quit on his stool, which gave the Russian former amateur standout from the beleaguered region of Crimea his first professional victory. Now on a 2-13 streak in his last 15 fights, Williams is officially in “has-been” territory, where he shall live out the rest of his boxing days.

Queretaro, Mexico, August 9th

Andres Gutierrez UD 12 Mario Macias, junior featherweights

Gutierrez (30-0-1, 22 KO) owns a WBC belt of the “silver” variety, and he got to keep that and his unbeaten record intact in this solid defense against a proven trialhorse in Macias (26-13, 13 KO) with a workmanlike performance that produced scorecards of 118-109, 116-111 and 117-110 in his favor.

Panama City, Panama

Liborio Solis TKO 2 Jose Carlos Vargas, bantamweights

Venezuela’s Solis (18-3-1, 9 KO), a former WBA super flyweight titlist, stopped Mexico’s Vargas (14-10, 9 KO) with ease after dropping him once in the first round and then twice more in the following episode to stage a comeback after losing his belts when he failed to make weight in a routine defense two years ago.

Kempton Park, South Africa, August 9th

Ryno Liebenberg UD 12 Denis Grachev, light heavyweights

This was supposed to be Liebenberg’s first big test, and he did pass, but he did leave some unanswered questions lingering around. Grachev (13-4-1, 8 KO) was not too long ago considered a superb contender who scored a couple of upsets in his career as a professional boxer after being a kickboxer for a while in his native Russia. But his star dimmed a bit lately, and he is now a very young trialhorse trying to regain some of his lost luster. This time, he suffered a series of severe cuts earlier on, and the fight became a bloody affair in which Liebenberg (16-0, 11 KO) managed to sneak in the best punches and score often enough to secure the decision by scorecards of 116-112, 117-111 and an unjustifiable 120-108.

Thabo Sonhica UD 12 Roli Gasca, junior featherweights

A true eyesore of a fight, indeed. Sonjica (20-2, 14 KO) had already lost the bogus belt at play (IBO) when he failed to make weight before this fight against The Philippines’ Gasca (22-5-1, 6 KO), and then he failed to put on a fight even remotely worthy of any title. Wild, swinging punches on both sides, clinches galore, and other delicacies abounded in this terrible affair. In the end, Sonjica outmuscled his foe to score a unanimous decision by scores of 117-109 and 116-109 (twice).

Glendale, California, August 9th

Jose Felix Jr. TKO 6 Alejandro Rodriguez, lightweights

Jose Zepeda TKO 3 Adrian Garza, junior welterweights

Ivan Najera SD 8 Stan Martyniouk, lightweights

Three young promising fighters advanced their career with solid victories in this action-packed card. Topping the bill, Felix Jr. (27-1, 22 KO) shook off the bad vibes from his failed title bid and stopped a proven trialhorse in Rodriguez (21-15, 12 KO) with ease and class in a bloody war. Rodriguez abandoned the fight in the 8th round citing a severe hand injury, but was already on his way to a stoppage loss on cuts. Earlier, Zepeda (21-0, 18 KO) had an easy night when he took care of Garza (8-4, 6 KO) with a terrific body attack in the third round, dropping his foe three times on his way to a stoppage. And earlier on, Najera (14-0, 8 KO) had his hands full against a surprisingly live underdog in Martyniouk (13-2, 2 KO). Najera had the initiative, but Martyniouk gave him quite a workout and pressed the action by being the “aggressor in retreat”, and the scorecards of 79-73 and 75-77 (Najera) and 78-74 (Martyniouk) reflected the wild back-and-forth action in the bout.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, August 9th

Sammy Vazquez TKO 9 James Stevenson, welterweights

When two unbeaten young welterweights engage in an early crossroads fight, you already know it’s going to be a good night of boxing. And that was exactly what we got here. Vasquez (16-0, 12 KO) was the slight favorite in this one, and he progressively made his case to keep his 0 in definitive fashion when he stalked and chased Stevenson (21-1, 14 KO) all over the ring during most of the bout. Other than a competitive second round, Vazquez was pretty much in control, although Stevenson did show some flashes of great boxing skills. By the end of round 6, the southpaw Stevenson was clearly gassed out and mechanically throwing a defensive 1-2 just to stay in the fight. Stevenson collapsed under the heavy punishment in round 8, and the fight was stopped when Vazquez was pounding on Stevenson on the ropes.

Monty Meza Clay TKO 10 Alan Herrera, lightweights

A fan favorite resurrected his career in his hometown. Meza Clay (36-3, 22 KO) is a promising but diminutive lightweight who always struggled to reach the next level in his career, but he may be on his way to achieving just that with this terrific win over Herrera (32-7, 21 KO) in a barnburner. Meza Clay was his usual, aggressive self, and he managed to drop Herrera in round six, but Herrera stayed in the fight and came back to rock Meza Clay a few rounds later. Sensing the right momentum to stage a comeback, Meza Clay dug deep and pummeled Herrera on the ropes to convince the judge to stop the fight in his favor. A terrific victory for a fan-friendly fighter who still has a lot to give.

 

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