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, Dec 13th
Timothy Bradley Jr. D12 Diego Chaves, welterweights
Another “Desert Storm” fight, another controversy. Bradley (30-1-1, 12 KO) was the ample favorite in a fight against a tough former interim titlist in Argentina’s Chaves (23-2-1, 19 KO) even though common sense indicated that such overwhelming odds were at least a little bit exaggerated. And they proved to be just that. Fighting with a sense of urgency (especially in the second half of the bout) after being stopped and DQd (after leading in the scorecards) in his last two bouts in the US, Chaves put on a terrific challenge in a fight in which both fighters had to survive a couple of heavy accidental clashes of heads but ended up bearing the marks of those violent encounters on their faces for most of the fight. Compubox numbers favored Bradley by 225/572 to Chaves’ 152/570 in connect/overall output respectively, but the eerie similarity in the amount of punches thrown by both of them, and the distribution of those punches through the 12 rounds seems to have benefited Chaves, who surged late to grab a few key rounds that impressed some judges enough to give him the edge. The most interesting card came from Julie Letterman, who scored the fight 116-112 for Chaves even though her own father Harold had the same numbers for Bradley in his role as HBO’s unofficial scorekeeper. Burt Clements scored it 115-113 for Bradley (in consonance with XN Sports) and Craig Metcalfe scored it even at 114-114.
The winner goes on to: Winner? Wait a minute…. Bradley was counting on a victory to put his name in the Mayweather sweepstakes, but after this performance he will probably have to settle for a rematch against Chaves or another fight before even asking for Money.
Andy Lee TKO 6 Matt Korobov, WBO middleweight title
Lee (34-2, 23 KO) is quickly becoming a huge fan favorite with his come-from-behind victories in co-main events. Back in June, he dispatched John Jackson with a highlight-reel stoppage after trailing in the scorecards and being on the brink of being stopped himself. And now, he destroyed a respected and previously unbeaten Olympian in Korobov (24-1, 13 KO) to grab a minor portion of the middleweight pie and thus pay the ultimate tribute to his mentor, the late Emmanuel Steward. It was a competitive and attractive bout between two skilled and tough fighters until Lee produced an outburst of a couple of dozen unanswered punches to force a stoppage with Korobov out on his feet.
The winner goes on to: With his appealing personality and style, Lee could become an interesting addition to an already stacked 160 lb championship picture. He’s no match for Gennady Golovkin, but everyone else in the top 10 is pretty much within his range right now.
Jose Benavidez Jr. UD 12 Mauricio Herrera, WBA interim junior welterweight title
Highway patrol, calling all units! A robbery was clearly perpetrated in this one. Benavidez Jr. (22-0, 15 KO) was supposed to be the young unbeaten contender graduating into championship territory against a proven, tough-as-nails champ, but the truth is that even though his longer reach and smoother boxing skills did make an impression, Herrera (21-5, 7 KO) had him on the run all night, throwing bombs from all angles and landing by a healthy enough margin to score a two or three points victory, at least. Instead, the scorecards gave Benavidez a 116-112 (twice) and 117-111 victory. The decision was bad enough for the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, one of the most respected independent rankings in the world, to call a vote to invoke the “robbery clause” in order to allow Herrera to keep his place in the ranks above Benavidez. A rematch is clearly in order for this one.
Jose Ramirez TKO 6 Antonio Arellano, junior welterweights
Mikael Zewski UD 10 Jeremy Bryan, welterweights
Seanie Monaghan KO 3 Daniel Regi, light heavyweights
A trio of unbeaten prospects got their share of exposure during this card. Ramirez (13-0, 10 KO) a former 2012 Olympian, dominated Arellano (7-3-1, 3 KO) with frightening ease and stopped him at the very last minute of the last round, proving that he’s ready for the 8/10 round distance from now on. Zewski (26-0, 20 KO) had his work cut out for him against a determined foe in Bryan (17-5, 7 KO), who surprised the unbeaten young contender by becoming the “aggressor in retreat” quite effectively, pushing the fight to the distance in which Zewski ended up taking a 95-95, 97-93 (twice) decision in his favor. Finally, Monaghan (23-0, 15 KO) had no problems stopping Hungary’s Regi (20-12, 9 KO) on a three-KD rule in the third round.
Las Vegas, Nevada, Dec 13th
Amir Khan UD 12 Devon Alexander, welterweights
The biggest winner of last Saturday’s Las Vegas Welterweight Extravaganza (with two simultaneous cards at the MGM Grand and the Cosmopolitan featuring at least three of the top 10 welters in the world) was indeed “Bolton’s finest”. Khan (30-3, 19 KO) had his career derailed by botched negotiations, delays, and other problems, but he managed to translate this anxiety into a superb, career-best performance against another terrific former champion in Alexander (26-3, 14 KO) with a definitive win by scores of 119-109, 118-110 and 120-108. Khan put on a display of skill and speed that will likely put his name even higher on the list of possible opponents for Floyd Mayweather early next year, and he made Alexander (who produced one of his most lackluster, uninspiring performances ever) look amateurish in comparison.
The winner goes on to: British fans are probably looking forward to a grand return to Las Vegas for a mega-event in the mold of the Hatton-Mayweather bacchanal of yore, and Khan is the perfect choice for the profitable, high-profile bout. And after Khan’s dominant victory, their clash of styles looks more promising than ever.
Keith Thurman UD 12 Leonard Bundu, WBA interim welterweight title
It looked like an easy night for Thurman (24-0, 21 KO) and in a sense it was, but it ended up going the distance anyway. Bundu (31-1-2, 11 KO) was unbeaten and coming off a few terrific wins, but his age (40) raised too many questions, and Thurman seemed on his way to answering them categorically about 30 seconds into the fight when he dropped Bundu on his trunks with a left hook. A premature ending was in order, but Bundu got the memo and retreated to an ultra defensive game plan that allowed him to go the distance – and little else. The tree scorecards of 120-107 should be more than enough to describe what amounted to a glorified sparring session for Thurman. Easy night for one of the division’s fastest rising stars.
Abner Mares TKO 5 Jose Ramirez, featherweights
Mares (28-1-1, 14 KO), a former three-division world titlist, is on the comeback trail after his devastating loss to Jhonny Gonzalez back in late 2013. This time, he looked like his former self in this decisive beating imposed on Ramirez (25-5, 15 KO), punctuated by three knockdowns and capped by a voluntary stoppage at the end of the fifth round.
Jermall Charlo TKO 3 Lenny Bottai, junior middleweights
Jermell Charlo UD 10 Mario Lozano, junior middleweights
The Charlos claim to be on their way to become the first pair of identical twins ever to hold world titles at the same time, and they took a step towards that goal with two separate victories. Jermall (20-0, 16 KO) seems to be the one closer to that goal after disposing of Italy’s Bottai (22-3, 9 KO) in an elimination bout that could put him in the ring with IBF titlist Cornelius “K-9″ Bundrage sometime soon. Jermall’s vaunted left hook did most of the damage, including a cut and a knockdown in the third round that Bottai was unable to beat. Earlier, Jermell (25-0, 11 KO) methodically destroyed Lozano (27-6, 20 KO) with a workmanlike performance, only failing at scoring a stoppage after outlanding his foe somewhere in the vicinity of 20 to 1. Nice progress for the Charlos, who are now set to dramatically improve their level of competition in the near future.
Philadelphia Nevada, Dec 13th
Felix Verdejo TKO 4 Karim El Ouazghari, lightweights
The “Diamond” shines on. Verdejo, an unbeaten Puerto Rican former Olympian, continued looking more and more like a polished version of his countryman and namesake Felix Trinidad with this absolute domination of El Ouazghari (16-6, 4 KO) that ended in a devastating stoppage in the 4th round. Business as usual for one of boxing’s most promising young guns.
Jesse Hart TKO 2 Samuel Miller, super middleweights
Hart (16-0, 13 KO) had no problems disposing of a tough but ineffective Miller (28-10, 25 KO) barely two minutes into what threatened to be a mildly entertaining fight.
Monterrey, Mexico, Dec 13th
Johnriel Casimero TKO 2 Armando Santos, flyweights
Francisco Vargas KO 2 Genaro Camargo, junior lightweights
Another terrific fight for Casimero (21-2, 13 KO), a demolition expert who is always happy to take his act to his foe’s backyard if need be. This time, the former IBF junior flyweight titlist traveled to Mexico to take on local tough guy Santos (14-4-1, 8 KO), who was not even close to being up to the task of withstanding Casimero’s onslaught. The Filipino fighter came out storming to drop his man in the first round and finish him in the next episode in devastating fashion, probably setting up a new title bout with Thailand’s IBF flyweight titlist Amnat Ruenroeng in the process. Earlier on, Vargas (23-0-1, 15 KO), a 2008 Mexican Olympian, stopped a rugged veteran in Camargo (44-18, 34 KO) in two rounds.
East London, South Africa, Dec 13th
Simpiwe Vetyeka UD 12 Arturo Santos Reyes, featherweights
Win or lose, South Africa’s Vetyeka (27-3, 16 KO), a former world titlist, never fails to entertain, and this time he did just that against Mexico’s Reyes (18-4, 5 KO), a former title challenger, scoring a decisive victory in the process to bounce back from his loss against Nonito Donaire back in May. Vetyeka dominated easily over the championship distance, and in one of the first fights ever under the controversial half-point scoring system allowed by the WBA for championship fights in those countries that allow it. The final tally was a confusing 120.5-108.5, 119.5-112.5 and 119-109 in favor of the local fighter.
Albertslund, Denmark, Dec 13th
Erik Skoglund UD 10 Glen Johnson, light heavyweights
Skoglund (22-0, 11 KO) stayed unbeaten in a lackluster performance capped by a dubious decision in his favor against a true road warrior in former world titlist Johnson (54-20-2, 37 KO) by scores of 97-93 (twice) and 98-92. The 20-year difference in age between both fighters was not as noticeable as one would expect, and Skoglund barely escaped with a victory that should have been much closer in the scorecards.
Patrick Nielsen UD 10 Lukasz Wawrzyczek, middleweights
Micki Nielsen UD 10 Gusmyr Perdomo, cruiserweights
Earlier on, two local superstars stayed on track to bigger and better challenges when the Nielsen brothers won their respective matchups. Micki (16-0, 12 KO) routed former title challenger Perdomo (21-5, 14 KO) by scores of 99-91 and 100-90 (twice), while his brother Patrick (23-1, 11 KO) dominated Wawrzyczek (20-3-2, 3 KOs) by similar scores of 100-90, 98-93 and 99-91.
Kiev, Dec 13th
Oleksandr Usyk TKO 9 Danie Venter, cruiserweights
Usyk (6-0, 6 KO) may very well be one of boxing’s most promising stars in the higher weight divisions. The unbeaten Olympic gold medalist from Ukraine had a relatively easy win over an experienced foe in South Africa’s Venter (19-7, 14 KO), battering his man into submission with his usual mix of athleticism and solid boxing skills.
San Antonio, Dec. 12th
Erislandy Lara UD 12 Ishe Smith, WBA “regular” junior middleweight title
In the main event of a terrific, talent-laden card, Cuba’s Lara (20-2-2, 12 KO) scored a lopsided unanimous decision over Smith (26-7, 12 KO), a former titleholder, with another one of his usual dominating performances. Moving around the ring with his usual control of the spaces and punching from all angles, Lara simply dominated a foe who had no answer for his wide array of punching combinations. The scorecards read 119-109 (twice) and 117-111 for Lara.
Badou Jack TKO 6 Francisco Sierra, super middleweights
Jack (18-1, 11 KO) scored a dominating win over Sierra (26-8-1, 23 KO) in a grueling, progressive beating punctuated by a devastating straight right in the sixth round that stopped Sierra cold on his tracks to force the stoppage.
Temecula, Calif., Dec. 11th
Austin Trout TKO 8 Luis Grajeda, junior middleweights
Trout (28-2, 15 KO) bounced back in what was a brilliant career that suffered a few unexpected derailments after this punishing win over Grajeda (17-4-2, 13 KO), who was battered into submission through eight one-sided rounds.
Antonio Tarver TKO 7Johnathon Banks, heavyweights
The snoozer of the weekend, without a doubt. Tarver (31-6, 22 KOs) was trying to stage a comeback after being suspended in 2012 and suffering from chronic inactivity, but this fight did very little to put the world on notice about his intention to come back in full flight. Instead, he put everyone to sleep with the exception of Banks, (29-3-1, 19 KO). Or almost. The bout failed to entertain during most of its duration, until Tarver finally started doing some damage behind his right jab from his southpaw stance, and then nailing Banks repeatedly with right hooks. One of those found its home and sent Banks down, and the fight was stopped a few minutes later when Banks was deemed unable to continue. Not sure of where Tarver intends to go from here, but he will certainly have trouble finding high-profile bouts after such a lackluster performance.
Oscar Escandon SD 12 Tyson Cave, vacant WBA interim junior featherweight title
Another controversy, just when we thought we hadn’t had enough. Colombia’s Escandon, (24-1, 14 KO) managed to escape with a razor-thin split decision against Cave to capture an interim belt in the process. The scorecards of 115-113 either way were understandable up to a point, but the 117-111 scorecard for Escandon was just horrible. Cave (22-3, 6 KO) was in control most of the bout, landing at will and putting his punches together in terrific combinations, but it was clearly not enough for the judges.