By: William Holmes
Despite the loud whispers of impending doom and gloom for Golden Boy Promotions, they successfully put on a world championship card on Showtime tonight from the Stub hub Center in Carson, California.
Photo: Tom Hogan – Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions
The opening bout of the night was between Devon Alexander (25-2) and Jesus Soto Karass (28-9) in the super welterweight division, but both fighters only came in one pound over the welterweight limit.
Both Alexander and Soto Karass were coming off of tough losses and were looking to bounce back with a convincing victory.
Alexander was active with his jab in the first round and showed that he had a large hand speed advantage over Soto Karass. He was uncharacteristically active and was able to tag Soto Karass’s iron jaw several times with quick combinations and straight left hands.
Alexander was told by his corner before the start of the second round to mix up his combinations, and he was seemingly landing two punches to every one for Soto Karass. Soto Karass was able to land some decent body shots, but Alexander’s punches upstairs were doing more damage.
Alexander continued to stay out of Soto Karass’ range in the third round and was countering Soto Karass effectively. He showed a willingness to exchange with Soto Karass in the third, but Soto Karass was taking Alexander’s best punches well.
Alexander staggered Soto Karass in the fourth round with hard right hooks, and Soto Karass was forced to switch to a southpaw stance. The southpaw switch might have been effective for Soto Karass as he was beginning to land an increasing number of body shots and Alexander was less active in the middle rounds.
Soto Karass had a strong sixth round with an effective body attack, and volume punching from Soto Karass might have won him the seventh round, but Alexander took back control of the fight in the eighth round when he landed a hard right hook to the body and right uppercut to the chin combination.
Alexander caught his second win in the ninth round and was able to stick and move and comfortably coast through the round. Soto Karass let it all out in the final round and threw an incredibly high number of punches, but Alexander fought back and didn’t run away from the action.
Alexander could have played it safe in the final round but didn’t, and for that he deserves credit.
The final scores were 97-93, 99-91, and 99-91 for Devon Alexander.
The next bout of the night was for the WBO Featherweight Title between Vasyl Lomachenko (1-1) and Gary Russell Jr. (24-0). This was a fight that many boxing purists were looking forward to as both Lomachenko and Russell had incredible amateur backgrounds.
Both boxers were southpaws, but it was Lomachenko who was taller and longer. Russell landed the first punches of the night with two quick jabs, but he later ate a left cross from Lomachenko. Lomachenko established his body attack in the first round which would be a common theme of the night, and his body work opened up combinations upstairs by the end of the first.
Russell was sharp with his jabs in the second round and had a good three punch combination in the center of the ring. Lomachenko answered with heavy left hooks to the body. Lomachenko closed out the second round well and pressed the pace in the second half of the round.
Russell was on the offensive at the start of the third and fourth rounds, but Lomachenko was able to survive the offensive assaults in the beginning halves of the round and dominated the later parts of the third and fourth rounds with a brutal body assault.
Lomachenko opened up the fifth round with a hard overhand left and followed that up with a straight left to the chin and right hook to the body combination. Russell was left to throwing meager jabs in Lomachenko’s direction while trying to stay on his feet.
Russell’s was throwing a high volume of punches for the rest of the middle rounds, but he was never able to land clean combiantions nor hurt Lomachenko. Lomachenko’s punches, when they landed, visibly hurt Russell and often would stop him in the middle of a combination.
Russell may have won the ninth and tenth rounds on some scorecards based on activity alone, but his face was swelling up at the end of the fight and he looked close to going down several times during the fight.
Most felt Russell needed a knockout in the final round to pull out a victory, but his punches were ineffective against Russell. Lomachenko had Russell staggered near the end of the twelfth round but was unable to finish the fight.
The final scores were 114-114, 116-112, and 116-112 for Vasyl Lomachenko.
The main event of the night was between Robert Guerrero (31-2) and Yoshihiro Kamegai (24-1-1) in the welterweight division.
Many, including this writer, felt this fight was a mismatch. Kamegai proved us all wrong.
Kamegai was slightly taller and longer than the southpaw Guerrero, and had trouble staying out of the way of Guerrero’s jab early in the first round. Guerrero was landing good combinations from mid range and was mixing up shots to the body and head. Kamegai was trying to get in tight, but Guerrero was successful at keeping hima t bay.
Guerrero opened up the second round mixing up combinations to the body and head of Kamegai. He was using volume punching, but unlike Gary Russell’s fight, his punches were landing. Kamegai was landing some shots to the body, and ended the round with landing his right hook. He walked back to his corner with blood dripping from his nose.
The third round featured Guerrero dominating the action in the center of the ring while Kamegai was trying to trap Guerrero by the ropes. Kamegai was digging hooks into Guerrero’s body and connecting overhand rights. Guerrero punches had more snap to them, but Kamegai was making this a brawl.
Before the start of the fourth round Kamegai’s corner could be heard telling him, “just like we planned..this is where we are going to start.”. Their plan must have been to attack the body of Guerrero because he went right at Guerrero’s midsection. Guerrero, however, was landing the harder punches.
Guerrero tried to stay on the outside at the beginning moments of the fifth round, but Kamegai tied up with Guerrero and kept the fight in tight. Neither fighter showed much defense and were exchanging heavy blows.
As each round progressed, the action and violence in the ring only seemed to increase. Guerrero showed more variety with his combinations, but Kamegai was able to take Guerrero’s best shots and landed a multitude of power shots of his own.
By the start of the seventh round Guerrero’s left eye was nearly closed. It must have affected his ability to see Kamegai’s right hand as it landed several times. By the start of the eighth round both fighters had thrown over 1100 punches combined.
The action see sawed backed and forth and both boxers were swollen, bloody, and beat. Guerrero had a dominating tenth round but Kamegai answered with a dominating eleventh round.
Both boxers came out firing vicious combinations in the final round, but it was Guerrero that nearly put Kamegai to the mat.
It was clearly a fight of the year candidate.
The final scores were 116-112, 117-111, and 117-111 for Robert Guerrero.