Boxing: Morilla’s Sunday Report Card – Ramirez Stops Zuñiga and Much More

Gilberto "Zurdo" Ramirez

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

San Antonio, Texas, Nov. 15

Gilberto Ramirez KO 8 Fulgencio Zuñiga, super middleweights

“El Zurdo” may be just the next big thing to come out of Mexico in a quite a while. Ramirez (30-0, 24 KO) looked like a typical Mexican bantamweight who never got the memo telling him that he weights over 165 lbs. He moves, punches, walks the ring and throws the amount of punches that you’d expect from his lighter-weight compadres, and yet he is a light-heavy in the making with his terrific height and wingspan. This time, he made it to an even 30 in his career mark with a progressive and punishing destruction of a battle-tested veteran in Zuñiga (27-10, 24 KO) in a terrific display of power and skill. Ramirez was punishing Zuñiga in a corner when the fight was stopped as the 8th round was coming to a close.

The winner goes on to: Next year should bring along Ramirez’s long-awaited title shot, and possibly a mega-showdown with fellow Mexican star Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (unless Top Rank makes the usual mistake of waiting too long to match two of their fighters in a big fight).

Oscar Valdez TKO 7 Alberto Garza, featherweights

Valdez (14-0, 12 KO) should have been disqualified under the suspicion of hiding two GPS trackers in his gloves on this one. He could have closed his eyes and fired five punches to land at least four of them. That’s how accurate this two-time Mexican Olympian and unbeaten featherweight star is. True to his stellar amateur upbringing, Valdez worked Garza (26-9-1, 21 KO) patiently and constantly, piling up solid stats and points during the first half of the fight. After that, he decided to test Garza’s chin with a barrage of punches, landing a vast majority of them and pummeling his foe on the ropes until the referee decided to call a halt to the bout midway through the seventh episode. Another day in the office for a fighter to follow closely in the years to come.

Hamburg, Germany, Nov. 15

Wladimir Klitschko KO 5 Kubrat Pulev, lineal/IBF/WBO/WBA heavyweight title

That’s it, folks. Klitschko (63-3, 53 KO) officially owns the heavyweight division until further notice. A brief mea culpa from me: I did embarrass myself with a prediction of a Pulev victory that had no chance of materializing, but I am sure that my desire to see a game changer in the division partially clouded my usual good judgment, and nothing more. Whatever the case, I’ve learned my lesson: I’ll predict a Klitschko win in every one of his next fights, even if he lives to be 100 years old and decides to take on Godzilla in a comeback bout. This particular time, Klitschko was facing the consensual top contender of the entire division in Bulgary’s Pulev (20-1, 11 KO), a towering, strong contender with a stellar amateur record – just like Wladimir was when he first challenged for the title. But instead of getting a long-awaited tough test, Wladimir simply tore through Pulev with the force of a hurricane, dropping him heavily in the first round and then three more times until he finally was able to stop him in the fifth round with a picture-perfect left hook that sent Pulev down on his back for the full count. Klitschko won much more than his 17th consecutive defense of the heavyweight crown. He won the undivided respect of the entire boxing world after destroying the one fighter who was supposed to be his biggest threat in definitive and demolishing fashion.

The winner goes on to: His native Ukraine looks like it could use the services of a feisty, 6’5’’ national hero who holds a PhD and is a former army officer, but who would want to quit boxing when it is so easy to continue winning night after night? Brace yourself for at least two more years of Klitschko domination before he even considers retirement.

Cebu City, Philippines, Nov. 15

Donnie Nietes TKO 7 Carlos Velarde, WBO junior flyweight title

Nietes (34-1-4, 20 KO) is one of the Philippines’ most regular and reliable champions, and he defended his WBO junior flyweight title with a demolition of a veteran contender in Velarde (26-4-1, 14 KO) after six punishing rounds. Nietes displayed an awesome sense of timing and his usual superb physical form to dominate his foe, who chose not to come out for the seventh round. Nietes is one of the longest-reigning titlists out there, and he is in dire need of a serious challenge and a big payday while he is still in his prime.

Milan Melindo UD 12 Saul Juarez, IBF junior flyweight eliminator

Francisco Rodriguez Jr. D 12 Jomar Fajardo, junior flyweights

Albert Pagara UD 12 Raul Hirales, junior featherweights

Faris Nenggo TKO 4 Merlito Sabillo, strawweights

A terrific undercard featured more than one upset in this event in the Philipppines. Melindo (32-1, 12 KO) kept his chances of getting a title shot alive with a win over Juarez (20-4, 11 KOs) in an IBF elimination bout, scoring a 116-112, 115-113 and 118-111 decision. Rodriguez (16-2-1, 11 KO), a highly-regarded young champion, was lucky to escape with a draw against Fajardo (14-5-2, 7 KO) in a non-title flyweight bout destined to test the waters at a higher weight division, with wildly divergent scorecards of 98-92 (Rodriguez), 96-94 (Fajardo) and 95-95. Pagara (22-0, 15 KO) managed to stay unbeaten against a solid gatekeeper in Hirales (22-4-1, 11 KO), dropping him in the third round and scoring a 120-107 (twice) 119-108 decision win. And in the biggest upset of the night, former strawweight titlist Sabillo (23-2-1, 12 KO) was stopped by Nenggo (9-6-3, 3 KO) in a defeat that could derail his career completely in the near future.

Cancun, Mexico, Nov. 15

Yuriorkis Gamboa KO 6 Joel Montes de Oca, lightweights

One of the most mismanaged boxing careers in recent memory is now back on track. Gamboa (24-1, 17 KO) made almost every mistake in Winky Wright’s career-derailing manual, and then some. But now he appears that “the Guantanamo Cyclone” is raging again after a terrific stoppage over a limited but willing Montes de Oca (18-4, 10 KO), who in spite of being dropped in rounds five and six remained defiant until the end, which came courtesy of a picture-perfect left hook that had a retarded effect on Montes de Oca, who beat the count on shaky legs and had the fight stopped by the referee at the 1:13 mark of the sixth round.

The winner goes on to: After this nice victory to rebound from his lone career loss against Terence Crawford, Gamboa should aspire to at least one more bout at 130 before challenging for a title again, and both things should happen in 2015 for him if he manages to keep his career under control.

Cristian Mijares UD 10 Lester Medrano, featherweights

Another positive return from a former champion. Mijares (51-8-2, 25 KO) has had an uneven career, but lately he appears to be getting his act together once again, and this dominating victory over Medrano (14-3-1, 9 KO) by scores of 99-91 across the board was a positive sign of recovery from him.

Erica Farias SD 10 Alejandra Oliveras, female super lightweights

A rare female scrap between two Argentine ladies in Mexico. Farias (21-1, 10 KO) and Oliveras (31-3-2, 16 KO) had to take their intense personal dispute to Mexico due to managerial and contractual problems, and they produced quite a solid fight in a title fight for a version of the world title at stake. Farias made great use of her leg work and more constant combinations to win by scores of 99-92, 97-94 (Farias) and 97-94 (Oliveras).

Kempton Park, South Africa, Nov. 15

Thomas Oosthuizen TKO 11 Denis Grachev, light heavyweights

Quite a way to start a campaign in a new division! South Africa’s Oosthuizen (24-0-2, 14 KO) was having too much trouble making the 168 lb weight limit, and decided to take on a dangerous former kickboxing champ in Grachev (13-5-1, 8 KO) for his first bout at 175. The result was a thoroughly entertaining fight, with the local fighter scoring an eleventh round technical knockout when Grachev retired in his corner after a competitive fight. In fact, the ending came as a surprise given the intense nature of the bout until then.

Ali Funeka TD 11 Roman Balaev, welterweights

Funeka (36-4-3, 28 KO) is a talented but awkward fighter who is trying to regain a foothold in the division after a couple of disappointing losses in the past few years. This time, he beat Russia’s Belaev (14-1, 10 KO), ending his unbeaten streak after outboxing him thoroughly for 10 rounds to set him up for a cuts-induced stoppage in the 11th that sent the fight prematurely to the scorecards.

Dublin, Ireland, Nov. 15

Sebastian Heiland KO 10 Matthew Macklin, WBC middleweight eliminator

We’re talking game-changing upset here. Heiland (25-4-2, 13 KO) was supposed to be just a stay-busy fight for top-ranked Macklin (31-6, 20 KO), a former title challenger who had given Sergio Martinez a terrific fight a couple of years ago. Instead, he ran into an even more serious challenge from another Argentine fighter who displays a constant improvement in his style (somewhat similar to Martinez’s from his awkward southpaw stance) and found himself in one of the toughest fights of his career. The fight was even in the early going, but Heiland outboxed and outmuscled the local fighter from round 3 onwards, punishing his body with a constant stream of punches and then scoring a picture-perfect, left-jab right-hook combo on a corner, reminiscent of the devastating stoppage of Nino Benvenutti at the hands of Carlos Monzon some 43 years ago, and potentially equally significant for Heiland’s career looking towards a future challenge.

Praia Grande, Brasil, Nov. 15

Alejandro Valori KO 1 Carlos Nascimento, cruiserweights

Patrick Teixeira TKO 3 Ulises Lopez, super welterweights

Yamaguchi Falcao UD 8 Martín Ríos, super welterweights

The long-awaited Argentina-Brazil final match in the recent World Cup failed to materialize, but this card provided a solid substitute for this heated and always controversial South American rivalry.

In the main event, a huge upset took place when Argentina’s Valori (16-6, 12 KO) stunned the previously unbeaten Nascimento (10-1, 7 KO) with a huge KO victory in the very first round. Valori was coming off a defeat at the hands of Wales’ Nathan Cleverly, but he hit the comeback trail in remarkable fashion with a terrific win on enemy territory. Previously, local fast-rising young star Teixeira (24-0, 21 KO) stayed unbeaten with a stoppage over Lopez (28-5, 16 KO) in three rounds. The fight was shaping up as an entertaining event when Lopez went down hard complaining of a rabbit punch (the video is inconclusive in this regard). And earlier on, Olympic bronze medalist Falcao (3-0, 1 KO) scored a 77-73, 78-70,79-70 decision win against Rios (13-3-2, 7 KO) in a rematch of their controversial first meeting, (yes, there cannot be any kind of sporting event involving Argentines and Brazilians without a healthy dose of controversy) in which the fight was declared a double disqualification in what was supposed to be Falcao’s debut.

Pittsburgh, PA, Nov. 14

Sammy Vasquez KO 1 Alberto Mosquera, welterweights

Too much talk for so little action. Mexico’s Vasquez Jr. (18-0, 13 KO) had a verbal sparring match against Mosquera (21-3-2, 14 KO) during the buildup of this fight that ended up lasting more than the fight itself. If anything, Vazquez was able to back his words with a very impressive performance, scoring repeatedly and almost at will against a tough trial horse in Mosquera, who remained defiant in spite of Vazquez’s clear superiority. Panama’s Mosquera visited the canvas twice before the bout was stopped towards the end of the very first round.

Rod Salka UD 10 Monty Meza Clay, lightweights

Salka (20-4, 3 KO) and Monte Meza-Clay (36-4, 22 KO) had a bit of a local feud going on this one, being crosstown rivals in the local area and trying to take their act to the next level after a few career-derailing losses. And they produced a thoroughly entertaining bout, with Salka going all out from the very beginning and Meza-Clay accepting the challenge to produce one of the best rounds of the weekend. In the end, Salka won a bloody unanimous decision after both fighters suffered cuts that impaired their vision and progressively slowed them down throughout the bout. The scores were in favor of Salka by 98-92, 97-94 and 99-91, who thus won the insane WBC FeCarBox lightweight title (yes, FeCarBox stands for “Caribbean Boxing Federation,” because Pittsburg is in the Caribbean, of course…)

San Juan, Puerto Rico, Nov. 15

Jose Pedraza UD 12 Michael Farenas, IBF junior lightweight eliminator

The “Sniper” does it again. Pedraza (19-0, 12 KO) is one of the last remaining unbeaten Puerto Rican prospects in his generation, and he continues to look good as he progresses towards an inevitable title bout. This time, he took on a proven fighter in Farenas (39-5-4, 31 KO) in front of his adoring local audience and became the mandatory challenger for IBF champ Rances Barthelemy with a sustained, workmanlike performance. Farenas sought to make good use of his superior firepower, but Pedraza’s volume was too great to be denied and the scorecards reflected this domination with numbers of 117-111, 118-110 and 116-112 for Pedraza.

Washington, D.C., Nov. 13

Carlos Cuadras TKO 6 Marvin Mabait, WBC junior bantamweight title

Cuadras (31-0-1, 25 KO) was expecting to show his true value to the world in a tough challenge, but he did not get it against a last-minute substitute in Mabait (19-3-2, 13 KO) in this pedestrian title bout while Cuadras waits to face Omar Narvaez one day for all the marbles in the division.

Melbourne, Australia, Nov. 12

Anthony Mundine SD 12 Sergey Rabchenko, junior middleweights

An intense crossroads fight between two hungry contenders. Mundine (47-6, 27 KO) is an experienced, former two-division world champion who wants desperately to get back in the mix, and Rabchenko (25-1, 18 KO) is an unbeaten Ukranian contender managed and trained by Ricky Hatton who expected to turn his glitzy “silver” belt into a more meaningful title in the future. In the end, Mundine ended up bouncing back from his defeat at the hands of Emmanuel Clottey with a controlled, safety-first performance with outbursts of superb boxing and good control of the timing of the fight. Rabchenko proved to be the most powerful of the pair, but that didn’t serve him so well as he ended up being outscored by 115-113 and 116-112 in two cards, while grabbing the third one by a close 115-113.

Lucas Browne TKO 5 Chauncy Welliver, heavyweights

“Big Daddy” stays unbeaten in this one. Browne (22-0, 19 KO) improved his unblemished mark with a demolition of a tough veteran in Welliver (55-8-5, 22 KO), who was stopped at the end of the 5th round due to an eye injury. Browne could be a factor in a hypothetical non-Klitschko heavyweight era someday, and he is a nice work in progress with great potential and an imposing physical frame to go along with that.

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Diego Morilla
Diego Morilla is a boxing writer since 1992. His work has been extensively featured in some of the most prestigious boxing media outlets in Latin America and the U.S., including, The Ring, Latino Boxing,, Lo Mejor del Boxeo,, HBO Sports and newspapers such as El Mundo, Primera Hora and El Vocero, among others.