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
Mashantucket, Conn., October 4th
Rances Barthelemy UD12 Fernando Saucedo, IBF junior lightweight title
Barthelemy (21-0, 12 KO) had promised to demonstrate why he is the best 130 lb fighter in the world today, and he may have accomplished just that in spite of the lack of a solid challenge by a willing but limited Saucedo (52-5-3, 8, KO) in what turned out to be a thoroughly dominating performance. Cuba’s Barthelemy outlanded his Argentine foe at a rate of almost 3 to 1, punching from all angles but without the necessary power to put him in danger at any time. A brief moment of trouble came in the sixth round, when a counter left hook shook Saucedo and made him stumble to the ropes, but the rest of the bout was just a long monologue by an inspired and talented Barthelemy showing what he is capable of. The 120-108 scorecards across the board were already in before the final bell even rang. A thorough schooling by Barthelemy, who clearly deserves a better challenge at this stage of his career.
Tommy Karpency SD 10 Chad Dawson, light heavyweights
Mild (and pre-ordained, if you ask me) upset in this one. Dawson (32-4, 18 KO) had a terrible streak recently, having lost his title to Adonis Stevenson in the middle of a 3-4 debacle in the past four years, including an infamous no contest against Bernard Hopkins in what can be considered in hindsight as a warning of worse things to come. This time, Dawson was aiming to continue his unlikely comeback in this homecoming bout against Karpency (24-4-1, 14 KO), a fighter he should have dominated easily only a couple of years ago. Instead, Dawson turned in another disappointing performance, with three identical cards of 96-94 being split between the two fighters, with two going to Karpency to give him the win. Dawson claimed an injury after the end of the bout, but even if it proves true it will be difficult to take it as a proper justification for his weakest showing in recent memory.
Vanes Martirosyan UD 10 Willie Nelson, junior middleweights
Martirosyan (35-1-1, 21 KO) has failed to make an impression in the boxing world with his methodical but unexciting approach, but this time he put on a spirited performance to earn a decision win over Nelson (23-2-1, 13 KO). Inspired perhaps by the recent death of his promoter Dan Goossen, Martirosyan made very few mistakes and muscled his way to a solid 97-93 (twice), 96-94 decision using his counter right hand and a terrific left hook as his primary weapons. Nice change of pace for the usually cold and calculative Martirosyan.
Atlantic City, N.J., October 4th
Glen Tapia TKO 4 Donatas Bondorovas, junior middleweights
“Jersey Boy” does it again at home. Tapia (22-1 14 KO), of nearby Passaic, NJ, continues on the comeback trail after his loss to James Kirkland back in December with this devastating KO of Bondorovas (18-5-1, 6 KO). After dominating the early proceedings, Tapia stepped on the gas pedal in the fourth, and soon enough Bondorovas was on his way down and out, literally. The Chicago-based Lithuanian fighter ended up traveling through the ropes and onto the ring apron for a spectacular stoppage that puts Tapia back in title challenge territory.
Jesse Hart KO 4 Roberto Acevedo, super middleweights
Mikael Zewski KO 2 Roberto Ventura, 10 rounds, welterweights
Mike Reed UD 6 Onsel Charles, junior welterweights
Some interesting action took place in the undercard of Tapia’s homecoming. In the co-main event, Philly middleweight Hart (15-0, 12 KO), son of the legendary Eugene “Cyclone” Hart, stayed unbeaten after an uneventful KO victory over Acevedo (8-3, 5 KO). Earlier, Zewski improved to a nice and even 25-0 with 20 KOs after destroying Ventura (13-10, 13 KO) in less than four rounds. And earlier on, Mike “Yes Indeed” Reed (11-0, 6 KO) got his 11th win and gave Charles (10-11-1, 1 KO) the same number of losses to send him to sub-.500 territory with a unanimous decision by scorecards of 60-52 (twice) and 59-53. Needless to say, Reed had won the contest for best nickname in the entire event even before he threw his first punch. Oh, Yes. Indeed.
Los Mochis, Mexico, October 4th
Jhonny Gonzalez TKO 11 Jorge Arce, WBC featherweight title
It’s always sad to see a legend go down in less-than-glorious fashion. But we’d gain some measure of satisfaction if Arce (62-8-2, 49 KO) simply stays retired this time and spares us the pain of seeing him come back once again to put his life in danger. Attempting to win yet another title in a career that saw him win multiple belts in several divisions, Arce faced current featherweight titlist and compatriot Gonzalez (57-8, 48 KO) in his hometown, hoping to have his people’s support in his quest for a heroic new achievement. Instead, the audience was loudly asking for a stoppage of the carnage by the 10th round, and they got it towards the end of the 11th when Arce was simply circling the ring hoping just to end the fight on his feet and avoid a final embarrassment in what was, according to Arce’s words, his final bout. Even though he is only 35 years old, Arce is a veteran of dozens of punishing bouts in several divisions, and he is now completely shot. Arce was dropped a total of three times, and was spitting his mouthpiece constantly in the eleventh before the referee finally halted the massacre.
Adrian Estrella UD 12 Celestino Caballero, junior lightweights
Mild upset, or passing of the torch? Just a few months ago, Panama’s Caballero (37-5, 24 KO) was still a threat in the 122-ish territory, even with his awkward style and his dubious punching power. But in Mexico’s Estrella (19-0, 17 KO) he was facing a fast-rising unbeaten contender on a mission, and he seemed to age ten years in ten rounds. Estrella simply walked through him, being the more polished and powerful of the two, and Caballero ended up visiting the canvas a total of four times before dropping a decision by scores of 115-109 and 117-107 (twice). Textbook crossroads fight, with the youngster schooling the teacher all the way through.
Orlando, Florida, October 4th
Felix Verdejo KO 3 Sergio Villanueva, lightweights
In his young, unbeaten streak, Verdejo (15-0-0, 11 KO) has produced some impressive displays of power. But this one was highlight-reel, made-for-SportsCenter stuff, indeed. After dominating the flashy but untalented Villanueva (26-5-2, 13 KO), for two rounds, Verdejo decided that it would not be a bad idea to switch stances just to try something different. Just as he was getting confident from his new angle of attack, Villanueva missed wildly with a left hook and Verdejo came back with one devastating right hook of his own. Villanueva dropped face first in frightening slow motion to land halfway in, halfway out of the ring, and then he tried to stand up on unsteady legs as the referee stopped the bout to award Verdejo a spectacular KO win – and to cue the end of a fight video destined to go viral. Simply devastating.
Gamaliel Rodriguez TKO 2 Martin Cardona, featherweights
Esquiva Falcao TKO 2 Austin Marcum, middleweights
Janthony Ortiz UD 4 Gilberto Mendoza, flyweights
The event also featured a handful of interesting unbeaten prospects. In the most interesting fight of the night, Rodriguez (25-2-3, 17 KO) defeated Cardona (17-3-0, 12 KO) with a calculated attack that resulted in a devastating, early second round stoppage. Earlier, Brazil’s 2012 Olympic silver medalist Falcao (5-0-0, 3 KO) kept his young career on track in a dazzling display of talent and power against Marcun (6-6-1, 3 KO). And in one of the opening bouts, former Puerto Rican Olympian Ortiz (3-0-0, 2 KO) failed to score a KO but nonetheless cruised to a victory by scorecards of 38-37 (twice) 39-36 against Mendoza (4-4, 1KO).
Lviv, Ukraine, October 4th
Olexander Usyk KO 7 Daniel Bruwer, cruiserweights
Usyk (5-0, 5 KO), an Olympic gold medalist and probably the best Ukranian heavyweight not named Klitschko, continued in his path towards contender territory with a demolition of his most experienced foe to date in Bruwer (24-6-1, 21 KO) in another dominating performance punctuated by one of his trademark left hooks. No, seriously, this guy is the man to follow, ponytail or not.
Andriy Kotelnik UD 10 Alexander Benudze, welterweights
Kotelnik (32-4-1, 13 KO) is a former WBA super lightweight champion who gave Marcos Maidana his first defeat and then lost the title against Devon Alexander in a terrific bout. But he feels that 36 years is too much for a fighter to continue fighting, and he decided to give his fans one last chance to cheer him on in this unanimous decision victory over Benidze (13-15-2, 6 KO), in what amounted to a pedestrian, lackluster performance in which a second-round knockdown was the only highlight.
Leeds, England, October 4th
Ricky Burns UD 8 Alexandre Lepelley, junior welterweights
Burns (37-4-1, 11 KO), a two-division former titlist trying to establish himself in the crowded 140 lb division, got a nice victory in this scheduled eight-rounder (watered down from the originally scheduled 10), doing just enough to get back on track against a limited Lepelley (17-2-1, 3 KO), another fighter making his way up into a new weight class. After being dropped in the very first round, Lepelley understood that he had to improve just to survive, and he did both things, to no avail. The lone score of 79-71 favored Burns, who thus shakes off his two recent consecutive losses and moves on.
Josh Warrington TKO 4 Davide Dieli, vacant European featherweight title
Warrington (19-0, 3 KO) kept his unbeaten streak alive with this demolishing stoppage of Dieli (15-4, 5 KO) to earn the European title and put the division on notice with a powerful statement. Dieli never had a chance, and when he went down in the beginning of the fourth round it was clear that it was just a matter of time before Warrington could bring him down again. He didn’t, but the ensuing barrage of punches finished him anyway.
Madrid, Spain, October 3rd
Michele Di Rocco UD 12 Ruben Nieto, European junior welterweight title
In a close but still clear victory, Di Rocco (38-1-1, 16 KO) traveled to Spain to defend his European belt and his preferential place in the rankings against unbeaten challenger Nieto (15-1, 7 KO), and he will now return to his native Italy with a 114-113 (twice), 114-112 decision victory that should earn him some measure of respect across the pond, along with his willingness to travel in order to get a proper challenge.
Zarate, Argentina, October 3rd
Luis Cusolito KO 7 Diego Silva, super bantamweights
Nice little brawl, indeed. Cusolito (20-1, 18 KO), delivered in front of his people to become a serious threat in the 118 lb division with this hard-fought victory over Silva (29-4-4, 15 KO), a veteran of two world title challenges against Fernando Montiel and Scott Quigg. Cusolito established his superior range and speed early on, but Silva got him in trouble a couple of times with his unrelenting pace and his power. However, Cusolito was not to be denied, and when he stepped up the pressure it was all over for Silva, who visited the canvas three times in the sixth and two more in the seventh to prompt the justified stoppage.