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Boxing: Morilla’s Sunday Report Card – Canelo Alvarez Demolishes Kirkland and Much More

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 ESPN.com, The Ring, Latino Boxing, MaxBoxing.com, Lo Mejor del Boxeo, PSN.com, HBO Sports and newspapers such as El Mundo, Primera Hora and El Vocero, among others.

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

Houston, Texas, Saturday May 9th

Canelo Alvarez TKO 3 James Kirkland, junior middleweights

Finally, an all-action performance in a high-profile bout. After the May-Pac disappointment, Alvarez (45-1-1, 32 KO) and Kirkland (32-2, 28 KO) matched the huge expectations placed on them for this non-title bout and came out swinging from the very first bell, with Kirkland taking a short-lived initiative only to be dropped in the second half of the round much to the delight of the vocally pro-Alvarez crowd. Not to be outdone, Kirkland took the reins back into his hands in the second round and had his moments, but Canelo was just allowing him to buy time and studying his strengths and weaknesses with the savvy of a veteran beyond his 24 years of age. In the third round, Canelo landed a thunderous hook that sent Kirkland reeling along the ropes and on to the canvas, and moments later he crushed him with a straight right hand that sent Kirkland down on his back after doing a full 360 in midair to cap a career-defining victory against a very respectable opponent.

The winner goes on to: This is the type of fight that puts a fighter on the proverbial “other side” of the word “respect”. Canelo does not have to look for it any longer, and now someone has to take it from him. The passing of the torch to the new PPV attraction in boxing was completed.

Joseph Diaz Jr. UD 10 Giovani Delgado, featherweights

Joshua Clottey UD 10 Jorge Silva, junior middleweights

Taishan Dong MD 4 Jamal Woods, heavyweights

The cancellation of the much-anticipated step up in competition level by Frankie Gomez, who failed to make weight for more than a full division worth of poundage and thus deprived former three-time titlist Humberto Soto of a great chance and a large payday, made way for a rather weak undercard. In the impromptu co-main event, Diaz Jr. (16-0, 10 KO), a former 2012 Olympian, pounded out a methodical decision over Delgado (15-3, 9 KO). Earlier, former welterweight titlist Clottey (39-4, 22 KO) scored a similarly workman-like victory over Silva (20-9-2, 16 KO), and before that, the freakishly tall Chinese heavyweight Taishan Dong (4-0, 2 KO) showed how much of a raw project he is with a hard-earned decision win over Woods (6-19-3, 6 KO).

Hidalgo, Texas, Saturday May 9th

Omar Figueroa UD 12 Ricky Burns, junior welterweights

A great headliner for a talent-rich card. In a crossroads bout, youth prevailed as the unbeaten Figueroa (25-0-1, 18 KO) gave fellow former titlist Burns (37-5-1, 11 KO) all he could handle in a terrific back-and-forth action fight. While neither man was in danger of giving in at any time, the bout was worthy of a greater stage and probably a world title. In the end, Figueroa scored a 116-110 across the board.

Jamie McDonnell UD 12 Tomoki Kameda, WBA bantamweight title

A terrific fight with a controversial ending between two gifted boxers in their prime? You can’t go wrong with that. In the one fight that you should watch again on YouTube this week, WBA titlist McDonnell (26-2-1, 12 KO) retained his belt by the minimum possible margin against one of the most talented fighters you’ve never heard of in Japan’s Tomoki Kameda (31-1, 19 KO), the younger brother of a trio of talented boxers who have achieved rock-star status in their native land. Kameda, a former WBO champ, appeared to be the busier and more focused fighter in the ring, even dropping his foe in the third episode, but McDonnell came through down the stretch to grab an unlikely victory. A rematch should already be in the works if their managerial teams know what they’re doing.

Austin Trout TKO 7 Luis Galarza, junior middleweights

In a fight in which almost no serious expectations were invested, Trout (29-2, 16 KO), a former champion who defeated Miguel Cotto in his finest moment, scored an uneventful stoppage over an uninspired late replacement in Galarza (21-3, 15 KO).

Frankfurt, Germany, Saturday May 9th

Fedor Chudinov SD 12 Felix Sturm, WBA interim super middleweight title

Great victory in a crossroads fight for a talented young contender. Chudinov (13-0, 10 KO) was the slight underdog against the much more experienced Sturm (39-5-3, 18 KO), who was finally moving up in weight officially after a long title reign at 160 lbs, but he turned the tables on the former four-time titlist Serbian-German. The fight was much closer than what the scores suggested, but in the end the judges decided to reward youth and power over ring savvy. And as karma would have it, Sturm was due to lose after too many close hometown decisions in his favor. The scores were 116-112 and 118-110 (Chudinov), and 116-112 (Sturm).

Jack Culcay UD 12 Maurice Weaver, vacant WBA interim junior middleweight title

Copyright-free advertising copy for the inglorious WBA: “It’s vacant, it’s interim, it’s irrelevant… it’s a WBA belt!.” Not sure it will work to help them sell more of their devaluated hardware to unsuspecting fighters and fans worldwide, but at least it will be a step towards a more honest description of what they actually sell. Enough with the (widely deserved) bashing, though. Culcay (20-1, 11 KO) claimed the worthless aforementioned belt with a workman-like win over a mildly-deserving Weber (21-2-1, 8 KO) by scores of 115-112, 116-111 and 118-110 in a fight barely worthy of a main event.

Birmingham, England, Saturday May 9th

Anthony Joshua TKO 2 Rafael Zumbano Love, heavyweights

Another step towards the inevitable title shot for Joshua (12-0, 12 KO), the formidable 2012 Olympic super heavyweight gold medalist who looks better and better in every outing and is now clamoring for a spot among the top 10 heavyweights in the world. This time, he demolished the usually durable Zumbano Love (36-11-1, 29 KO) in what amounted to a glorified sparring session in front of an audience. Time to aim higher for the hugely talented Joshua.

Matthew Macklin TKO 2 Sandor Micsko, middleweights

Macklin (32-6, 21 KO), a former middleweight title challenger who fell short in his three attempts to grab a title belt, stayed busy with a solid win over Hungary’s Micsko (25-9-2, 19 KO), a battle-hardened southpaw who was simply no match for “Mack the Knife” in his first fight since his devastating stoppage loss to Jorge Sebastian Heiland in November.

Callum Smith KO 1 Olegs Fedotovs, light heavyweights

Luke Campbell TKO 3 Aboubeker Bechelaghem, lightweights

Two more quick wins were featured in the undercard. The unbeaten Smith (16-0, 12 KO) destroyed Fedotovs (19-22, 13 KO) in less than half a round. And earlier, 2012 Olympic gold medalist Campbell (11-0, 9 KO) extended his unbeaten streak with a stoppage over Bechelaghem (9-7-1, 0 KO) in the third round.

Kobe, Japan, Saturday May 9th

Hozumi Hasegawa UD 10 Horacio Garcia, junior featherweights

A big comeback for one of Japan’s toughest titlists. Hasegawa (34-5, 15 KO) is a former two-time titlist who dominated a previously unbeaten and legitimate threat in Mexico’s Garcia (29-1, 21 KO). Fighting out of his awkward southpaw stance, Hasegawa displayed flashes of his old self in a solid unanimous decision win by scores of 97-93, 98-93 and 100-91 to continue on his march towards a new title shot.

Fresno, California, Saturday May 9th

Jose Ramirez KO 5 Rob Frankel, junior welterweights

Another unbeaten Olympian notched an important win when Ramirez (14-0, 11 KO) defeated Frankel (33-16-1, 6 KO), his most experienced foe to date, in a dominant performance that ended with a left hook to the liver midway through the fifth round. Time to step up the pace for Ramirez.

Newark, New Jersey, Friday May 8th

Michel Soro TKO 4 Glen Tapia, junior middleweights

Mild upset in the stacked junior middleweight picture, as the once-beaten Soro (26-1-1, 16 KO) took the fight to the hometown fighter and managed to score the unexpected stoppage against the usually durable Tapia (23-2, 15 KO).