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 Juan, Puerto Rico, April 11th
Rocky Martinez UD 12 Orlando Salido, WBO junior lightweight title
If you’re going to watch only one of the fights you missed this week, this should be it. It was advertised as “The War”, and war was what they gave us. Martinez (29-2-2, 17 KO) stopped Salido’s winning streak in Puerto Rico (3-0) with a terrific victory over twelve hard-fought rounds. The always game Salido (42-13-2, 29 KO) was always in the fight, but he visited the canvas twice in the first five rounds, and those knockdowns ultimately ended up costing him the fight – and the title. Salido started out with a bang, but Martinez took control in the middle rounds and cemented his win with the knockdowns and with a points deduction for Salido in the 11th round, when the Mexican visitor was dominating the fight in the home stretch. Martinez won by scores of 114-111, 115-110 and 116-109, in a terrific bout that could easily have a rematch this year.
Brooklyn, N.Y. April 11th
Danny Garcia UD 12 Lamont Peterson, welterweights
Controversy again in a Haymon card? It would appear we will have to get used to it. Or maybe it was just another debatable decision. In the end, Garcia (30-0, 17 KO) stayed unbeaten in a non-title bout that allowed him to keep his WBC/WBA super lightweight belts anyway. But if the titles had been at stake, there are many who believe that current IBF 140 lb titlist Peterson (33-3-1, 17 KO) would have taken the belt home, if the judges had done their job properly. This is by no means a unanimous verdict among press and fans. Some favored Garcia’s greater punch rate, some others praised Peterson defensive wizardry. The fight itself had dozens of shifts in momentum throughout the bout, with Garcia taking control sporadically against a forward-charging but oftentimes ineffective Peterson. The perception that the last three rounds (especially the remarkable final round, which had the crowd on its feet) went to Peterson were determinant in the general perception of robbery, but a more detailed analysis will show that the fight was much closer than what the audience perceived as their overall impression of the bout. In either case, the scores of 114-114 and 115-113 (twice) in favor of Garcia (who did manage to outland Peterson 147 to 105 in power punches according to Compubox) will be a matter of discussion for a while.
The winner goes on to: Garcia is in a short list of possible opponents for Floyd Mayweather Jr. in the future, but he will now need to prove himself further if he wants to get that assignment. Marcos Maidana (who called him out on Twitter immediately after the bout) would be a great test.
Andy Lee D 12 Peter Quillin, WBO middleweight title
Another controversy? Maybe not this time. Most people are disappointed when a title bout ends in a draw, but this one seemed fair as Quillin (31-0-1, 22 KO) and Lee (34-2-1, 24 KO) pawed harmlessly at each other for 12 rounds in a fight with very few emotional exchanges. They were both known for their punching power, but they made very little use of it as they stayed in front of each other feigning and playing cat-and-mouse for most of the fight. Quillin did land a terrific right hand at the end of the first round that sent Lee to the canvas, but he was unable to follow through even when it was clear that the Irish titlist was in serious trouble. Lee went down again briefly in the third round, although he appeared unharmed, and then returned the favor by dropping Quillin in the seventh round. In the end, the fight was scored a draw (113-112 for Lee, 113-112 for Quillin and 113-113), and Lee got to keep his title (which was not at stake for Quillin, who had failed to make weight the day before).
Errol Spence Jr. TKO 4 Samuel Vargas, welterweights
We’re talking top quality prospects here. Spence (16-0, 13 KO) is one of boxing’s most outstanding young contenders, and he used this bout to showcase some of his best moves against a tough and legitimate challenge in Vargas (20-2-1, 10 KO). Beautiful combinations, uncanny sense of timing and above-average power to boot. Spence has it all, and it will be just a matter of time before he starts displaying it at the highest level in a talent-rich division. The end came midway through the 4th round when Vargas, who had already visited the canvas in the second round, was being pummeled against the ropes by a deadly accurate Spence. A superb victory for one of the fighters to watch in 2015 and beyond.
Felix Diaz UD 10 Gabriel Bracero, welterweights
Marcus Browne TKO 6 Aaron Pryor Jr., light heavyweights
Viktor Postol UD 8 Jake Giuriceo, welterweights
A terrific undercard in this spectacular ten-bout show had some outstanding fights that could have been headliners themselves. In one of the three walk-out bouts, Diaz (17-0, 8 KO) scored a demolishing decision in a hard-fought bout against a local hero in Bracero (23-2, 4 KO) who visited the canvas twice in the last three rounds after struggling to stay in the fight earlier on against a gritty and oftentimes dirty Diaz. The fight was closer than what the 98-90, 97-91 and 96-92 cards in favor of Diaz ended up suggesting. Earlier, Browne (14-0 with 11 KO) stayed unbeaten against Pryor Jr. (19-8-1, 12 KO) with a controlled demolition against a completely lackluster Pryor Jr., finishing him at the end of the sixth round. And earlier in the card, Postol (27-0, 11 KO) kept his name in the conversation in the top of the loaded welterweight ranks with a decision victory over Giuriceo (17-4-1, 4 KO) with a lopsided win by scores of 79-73 and 80-72 (twice).
Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico, April 11th
Pedro Guevara KO 1 Richard Claveras, WBC junior flyweight title
It could have been the hidden gem of a terrific boxing weekend, but Guevara (25-1-1, 17 KO) had other plans. Defending his WBC junior flyweight championship in front of his countrymen, he went straight to work against a bonafide contender and KO artist in Claveras (12-1-2, 12 KO) of the Philippines. It was an all-action bout from the very start, but then Guevara landed a demolishing hook to the body that sent Claveras face down to the canvas, where he remained to be counted out at 2:31 of the very first episode. The win puts Guevara (whose only loss came at the hands of Filipino boxer Johnriel Casimero in a title fight) on a collision course with the also Filipino mandatory contender Jonathan Taconing.
Laredo, Texas, April 11th
Oscar Valdez KO 3 Jose Ramirez, junior lightweights
In a card that was supposed to be headlined by Jessie Magdaleno, two-time Mexican Olympian Valdez (16-0, 14 KO) took center stage to steal the spotlight with a stoppage win over a proven journeyman in Ramirez (25-6-3, 15 KO), scoring a demolishing knockdown with a with a textbook hook to the liver barely two minutes into the third round, a few seconds after they both clashed heads violently and sustained separate cuts on the forehead. A highlight-reel stoppage for a terrific young contender.
Jose Gonzalez TKO 6 Marvin Quintero, lightweights
McWilliams Arroyo TKO 3 Ismael Garnica, flyweights
In the undercard, local young gun “Chelo” Gonzalez (24-1, 19 KO) dominated Quintero (26-6, 22 KO) over six rounds, forcing him to surrender at the beginning of the six round due to an injury. Earlier on, Arroyo (16-2, 14 KO) kept trudging on the comeback trail with a stoppage win over Ruiz (13-7-1, 5 KO) in which he scored two knockdowns before the end of the fight midway through the third round.
Leeds, England, April 11th
Josh Warrington UD 12 Dennis Tubieron, featherweights
Solid win for a fighter on the rise. Warrington (21-0, 4 KO) set the bar high for himself with a colorful ring entrance, and then proceeded to improve on that performance with a dominating win against a game challenger in Tubieron (19-4-2, 8 KO) in front of an adoring crowd in his hometown. Warrington hit Tubieron with everything but the ring posts, but the tough Filipino challenger never budged. Warrington got the nod with scorecards of 119-109 (twice) and 119-110.
Maribor, Slovenia, April 11th
Jan Zaveck UD 12 Sasha Yengoyan, junior middleweights
Zaveck (35-3, 19 KO), a former titlist, returned to action in his homeland with a win over Armenia’s Yengoyan (31-2, 21 KOs), who now lives in Belgium. Zaveck survived a rocky early going to earn his victory in the middle rounds and then weathered another storm at the end to secure scorecards of 115-114, 117-112 and 118-112.
Benavidez, Argentina, April 10th
Victor Emilio Ramirez UD 12 Ola Afolabi, IBF interim cruiserweight title
During the weigh-in for the fight, a dispute erupted between both camps over what appeared to be very soft gloves proposed by Ramirez for this fight, with Afolabi and his camp claiming that “they could feel the knuckles” when they tried Ramirez’s Corti gloves on. The dispute ended with both camps agreeing to use their respective gloves (Afolabi wore Everlast Protex), but in hindsight the visiting fighter should have known better, because after his loss he claimed that he could feel “(Ramirez’s) knuckles on (his) bones” in a Facebook post. And there was a lot of that knuckle-to-bone action during the twelve grinding rounds of this rare IBF interim title fight. Ramirez (22-2, 17 KO) dominated the first four rounds by a landslide, scoring at will at close and mid –range. Afolabi (21-4-4, 10 KO) attempted a surge in the middle rounds, especially in a superb seventh episode, but Ramirez regained control midway through the eighth – and never relinquished it. Spurred on by a raucous crowd, Ramirez punished a defenseless and tired Afolabi down the stretch to win by scores of 115-111 (twice) and 116-111 after Afolabi was deducted two points for low blows in the eleventh round. A dominant victory by a rough and unpolished but very tough champion, who now waits to validate his title against the legitimate owner of the belt, Cuba’s Yoan Pablo Hernandez.
Moscow, Russia, April 10th
Denis Lebedev UD 12 Youri Kalenga, interim WBA cruiserweight title
Lebedev (26-2, 20 KO), a superb fighter who still has to realize his full potential, had a few rocky moments against Kalenga (21-1, 14 KO) but survived to score a relatively wide victory on points by scores of 115-112 (twice) and 116-111 after exchanging knockdowns with his opponent in the middle rounds.
Dmitry Kudryashov KO 1 Francisco Palacios, cruiserweights
Bang-up job by the supremely talented Kudryashov (17-0, 17 KO), who kept his perfect pro streak alive with a highlight-reel worthy and frighteningly easy demolition of a solid challenger in Palacios (23-3, 14 KO), dropping him with a vicious hook that flattened his foe like a fallen tree less than a minute into the fight.
Rakhim Chakhkiev KO 4 Valery Brudov, cruiserweights
Chakhkiev (22-1, 17 KO), a former Olympian, suffered a setback earlier in his career but remains one of the most formidable cruisers out there. This time, he disposed of a proven and durable contender like Brudov (42-6, 28 KO) with a demolishing stoppage after dropping him in the third round.
Eduard Troyanovsky KO 8 Aik Shakhnazaryan, junior welterweights
Troyanovsky (21-0, 18 KO) took his time to get some rounds in his resume, and finally got his reward with a great stoppage over Shakhnazaryan (15-2, 6 KO) thanks to a perfectly placed and timed right hand.
Johann Duhaupas UD 10 Manuel Charr, heavyweights
In a minor upset, Duhaupas (32-2, 20 KO) showed up in superb form and displaying an extreme confidence to defeat a lackluster challenger in Charr (27-3, 16 KOs) with scores of 98-93 (twice) and 95-95.
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