By Jake Donovan
The third time proved to be a charm for Felix Alvarado.
A relentless workrate coupled with a sustained body attack paved the way for the 29-year old from Nicaragua to capture a vacant junior flyweight title, halting Randy Petalcorin in seven rounds Monday in Pasay City, Philippines.
Petalcorin did his best to keep pace but was ultimately sent home courtesy of three knockdowns in round seven. The last of the three forced the Filipino to the canvas for the full ten count, producing a knockout at 2:04 of round seven.
It was never that easy for Alvarado, whose previous title bids resulted in back-to-back road losses to Kazuto Ioka in Japan and Juan Carlos Reveco in Argentina. The latter defeat came in June ’14, with Alvarado having rattled off 15 consecutive wins—all but one coming inside the distance—coming into Monday’s clash with Petalcorin, a former interim titlist making his first attempt at a real belt.
Their main event battle—which aired live on ESPN+ in the United States and TV5 in the Philippines—was fought at a furious pace and supremely high skill level. Alvarado forced the action early and essentially throughout, while Petalcorin favored efficiency over volume, the southpaw riding out the early exchanges and countering with straight lefts highlighting his combination punching.
Realizing that Alvarado wasn’t going to let up, Petalcorin took the initiative in the middle rounds in his best efforts to keep his opponent at bay. The biggest difference in their methods of attack was body punching. Whereas Petalcorin sought to take the lead when the opportunity arose, Alvarado never stopped going downstairs.
It was an investment that reaped dividends, even if it meant giving away rounds to reach his end goal. During nearly every exchange, Alvarado would at some point catch his foe with a left hook or right hand to the body, often setting up the shots with straight right hands upstairs.
Meanwhile, Petalcorin’s strategy only proved aesthetically pleasing but not particularly effective. The 26-year old title hopeful often found a home for his left hand, but never put enough behind it to make Alvarado break stride. It wasn’t for a lack of trying, but rather his absorbing a tremendous amount of body punches taking the sting off of his attack.
Alvarado picked up on this as the fight entered the second half, intensifying his own offensive attack. A right hand upstairs followed by one to the body forced Petalcorin to a knee just inside the first 40 seconds of round seven, at which point in the round he’d already landed six purposeful body punches.
Petalcorin managed to beat the count but was visibly struggling to catch his breath as referee Ernie Sharif—after giving the boxer a hard look—elected to allow the action to continue. Alvarado went right back on the attack, at times a bit wild but settling down just long enough to prompt his foe to once again take a knee just past the one minute mark.
The sequence looked to have finally beaten the fight out of Petalcorin, who was up at eight but bearing a lost look on his face as Sharif asked if wanted to continue. Action resumed, with Alvarado finishing off the local favorite with a flurry of power punches. A left hook to the body knocked the wind out of Petalcorin, with a right hand upstairs serving as window dressing as he once again fell to a knee.
This time, Sharif reached the full ten count in waving off the contest at 2:04 of round seven.
Alvarado (34-2, 30KOs) has now racked up 10 straight knockouts—all within the past two years—amidst a current 16-fight win streak. With the win, he picks up a title left behind by Hekkie Budler, whom he was supposed to challenge earlier in the year after the South African boxer inherited two mandatory challengers following his two-belt win over Ryoichi Taguchi this past May.
The title, however, became available when Budler vacated in lieu of being stripped due to their mandatory title fight failing to secure the minimum purse bid requirement during a hearing in July. Bulder was never keen on defending by the October deadline as it was, opting to relinquish the strap in lieu of being stripped.
Nevertheless, the ugly side of boxing’s politics provided an opportunity for Petalcorin (29-3-1, 22KOs) to challenge for first major title. He’d briefly reigned as an interim titlist, but his first bid at the real thing results in a six-fight win streak coming to a close—and persistence paying off for Alvarado, who joins top-rated flyweight Cristofer Rosales as Nicaragua’s lone current major titlists.
Boxing’s Dark Saturday
By: Sean Crose
Look, boxing is a rough sport. Always has been. Always will be. Nothing gets much darker than when fighters become permanently damaged or even killed.
There’s other less than savory matters, however, that often abound in and around the sweet science. For years, the sport was heavily under mafia influence. What’s more, bad decisions on the part of judges still pop up on a regular basis. Worse yet, modern fans are forever being taken for saps (Mayweather-McGregor is – or will be – in a sense, only the most recent example). And then, of course, there’s the miscellaneous, off the wall stuff. Like the time an in-ring riot erupted immediately after a Riddick Bowe-Andrew Golota heavyweight throwdown.
This past Saturday presented just such a scenario, when Jose Uzcategui was disqualified for hitting Andre Dirrell after the bell, an act which subsequently sent Dirrell to the mat. In response to said offense, Dirrell’s trainer and uncle, Leon Lawson Jr, absolutely cold cocked an unsuspecting Uzcategui twice. To make matters all the more insane, the entire incident was recorded for the entire world to see. Police are now looking for Lawson, who will be charged with some pretty serious stuff after such a violent assault. The trainer, who slipped out of the MGM Grand National Arena after the attack, is still essentially on the lam, as a Sunday phone call to the Saint George’s County Police Department presented no further developments.
Again, boxing is a rough sport. What’s more, physical violence, which is what boxing deals in, can lead to exceedingly high emotions. Still, one simply does not get to step up to an unsuspecting person and repeatedly punch that person in the face. It’s illegal and it’s also wrong.
Will Lawson be banned from boxing, as some are suggesting? Will he end up doing jail time? Maybe. Maybe not. This is boxing, after all, where nothing can be taken for granted, either in or out of the ring.
Yet the dark cloud that hung over the sport on Saturday didn’t begin and end with Lawson. Up in Madison Square Garden, Terence Crawford absolutely beat the hell out of an overmatched Felix Diaz later that same evening. Fair enough, you might say, Diaz knew what he was getting himself into. And while that’s true, this author still found Crawford’s behavior unsavory. Mocking an opponent is part of the psychological warfare of boxing.
Mocking an opponent while in the act of deforming that opponent’s face, however, is sadistic and unacceptable. Oh, it’s legally permissible. But it is – or should be – socially unacceptable, nonetheless.
Boxing’s been having a great year. Here’s hoping the terrible moments keep to a minimum.
HBO World Championship Boxing Results: Beltran Flattens Maicelo,
By: William Holmes
The ultra-talented and underappreciated Terence Crawford headlined tonight’s HBO World Championship Boxing Card live from Madison Square Garden in New York City as he took on former Olympic Gold Medalist Felix Diaz.
The untelevised undercard featured some of Top Rank’s best prospects, including gold medalist Fazliddin Gaibnazarov and the man many consider to be the best prospect from the US Olympic Boxing team of 2016, Shakur Stevenson.
There were no notable upsets on the undercard.
Unfortunately for Top Rank, Terence Crawford’s ability to draw in New York City appears to be questionable, as the top section of Madison Square Garden was empty and there were numerous empty seats in the lower section of the arena.
The first bout on the televised card was between Jonathan Maicelo (25-2) and Ray Beltran (32-7-1) for the NABF, NABO, WBA International, and in an IBF World Title Elimination Bout in the lightweight division.
Maicelo, surprisingly, had a large number of fans in attendance and they were very vocal during the ring entrance and announcements.
Both boxers fought out of an orthodox stance and Beltran was clearly the bigger fighter. Beltran pressed forward in the opening round while the crowd loudly chanted “Peru, Peru!” for their boxer Jonathan Maicelo. Maicelo was able to score a surprise knockdown on Beltran from a combination to the body and an accidental head-butt in the first. The clash of heads opened up a cut over the left eye of Maicelo and the left eye of Beltran. Beltran was able to hurt Maicelo with a left hook at the end of the round.
Beltran pressed forward to start the second round and opened up with an early left hook. Maicelo was able to respond with a solid four punch combination followed by a hard shot to the body. Maicelo looked energized and landed another combination on Beltran by the ropes. However, beltran later responded with a vicious left hook that sent the back of Maicelo’s head crashing hard on the mat.
Maicelo was out cold and the referee immediately stopped the bout. Ray Beltran wins by a vicious knockout at 1:25 of the second round.
The main event of the night was between Olympic Gold Medalist Felix Diaz (19-1) and Terence Crawford (30-0) for the WBO and WBC Super Lightweight World Titles.
Crawford, who had a noticeable height advantage, was active with his jab early on and chose to come out in a southpaw stance against the Diaz, who is a natural southpaw. Diaz was short with most of his punches and reached for his left hook while Crawford was active with his jab.
Diaz was able to land a good left hook early in the second round and later fell to the mat with a pushdown afterwards. Crawford was sharp with his jab for most of the second round and landed a sharp double uppercut combination in the middle of the round. Diaz was able to land a hard right hook near the end of the second that caught Crawford off guard.
Crawford hard a commanding third round and opened it up with a crisp counter left uppercut on a charging Diaz. Crawford’s accuracy with his jab continued in the third round and he was able to land several hard two punch combinations on Diaz.
Diaz was warned for a low blow in the fourth round, but more concerning for him was that Crawford’s accuracy showed no signs of letting up while Diaz’s face was beginning to show signs of swelling from Crawfrod’s accurate assaults.
Crawford dominated the fifth round which was punctuated by a left cross right jab combination and a hard left uppercut.
Crawford toyed with Diaz in the sixth round and seemingly touched Diaz with his gloves whenever he wanted to. Diaz was able to land some good punches in the seventh round and they had several good exchanges, but Crawford appeared to get the better of Diaz.
There was some trash talk between both boxers in the eighth and ninth rounds, but Crawford was landing combinations at will and the intensity of his punches showed no signs of slowing down. He had Diaz momentarily stunned in the ninth round with a hard left cross to the temple of Diaz.
Ringside doctors took a hard look at the eyes of Diaz before the start of the tenth round but decided to let him continue. Crawford took no pity on the plight of Diaz and battered him from ring post to ring post in the tenth round and toyed with him, again.
Diaz walked back to his corner at the end of the tenth round looking like a defeated man and his corner wisely decided to call of the fight.
Terence Crawford wins by TKO at the end of the tenth round in an impressive and dominant performance.
Undercard Quick Results:
Steve Nelson (7-0) defeated Gilberto Rubio (7-5) by TKO at 0:36 of the second round in the light heavyweight division.
Henry Lebron (2-0) defeated Johnny Estrada (0-2) by TKO at 0:52 of the second round in the super featherweight division.
Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (2-0) defeated Agustine Mauras (6-3-3) by decision with scores of 80-72 on all three scorecards in the super lightweight division.
Konstantin Ponomarev (32-0) defeated Edward Paredes (37-7-1) by decision with scores of 78-74 on all three scorecards in the super welterweight division.
Teofimo Lopez III (5-0) defeated Ronald Rivas (5-6-2) by knockout at 2:21 of the second round in the lightweight division.
Tong Hui Li (9-1) defeated Daniel Calzada (14-17-3) by decision in the super welterweight division with scores of 60-54 on all three scorecards.
Shakur Stevenson (2-0) defeated Carlos Suarez (6-4-2) in the featherweight division wins by TKO at 2:35 of the first round.
HBO World Championship Boxing Preview: Raymundo Beltran vs. Jonathan Maicelo, Terence Crawford vs. Felix Diaz
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night the under appreciated Terence Crawford will defend his WBO and WBC titles against former Olympic Gold Medalist Felix Diaz. This bout will take place at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
The co-main event of the night will be between Raymundo Beltran and Jonathan Maicelo in an IBF Lightweight eliminator. American prospect Shakur Stevenson will also be featured on the undercard.
Top Rank will be the lead promoter on Saturday night and HBO will be televising the fights. The following is a preview of Saturday’s card.
Raymundo Beltran (32-7-1) vs. Jonathan Maicelo (25-2); IBF Lightweight Eliminator
The opening bout of the night will be between the rugged and entertaining Raymundo Beltran and contender Jonathan Maicelo.
Beltran is always a tough fight, but at thirty five years old his best days physically are likely behind him. He’s two years older than Maicelo and will be about one inch taller than him but will also be given up one inch in reach.
Beltran has the edge in power over Maicelo. He has twenty victories by stoppage and his last three wins have been by KO or TKO. Maicelo has twelve wins by stoppage but his last four fights were decision victories. Both boxers are able to be stopped, as Beltran has two stoppage losses and Maicelo has one.
Neither boxer has any notable international success as an amateur, though Maicelo did compete in several regional amateur tournaments in South America with a moderate amount of success.
Beltran’s last fight was a sensational knockout victory over Mason Menard. He has also defeated the likes of Arash Usmanee, Ji-Hoon Kim, Henry Lundy, and David Torres. His losses were to Terence Crawford, Luis Ramos Jr., Sharif Bogere, and Ammeth Diaz. He stopped Takahiro Ao in the second round, but that bout was overturned due to a positive test for steroids.
Maicelo has defeated the likes of Jose Felix Jr., Samual Amoako, and Art Hovannisyan. His losses were to Darleys Perez and Rustam Nugaev.
Beltran is that type of contender that will seemingly always be in the title hunt and has a pressure style that is difficult for some boxers to overcome. Maicelo has never defeated a high level opponent and doesn’t seem suited to handle the forward pressure that Beltran is known for.
This should be a good fight, but despite his age Beltran has enough gas in his tank to squeak out a decision victory.
Terence Crawford (30-0) vs. Felix Diaz (19-1); WBO/WBC Junior Welterweight Title
Terence “Bud” Crawford is considered to be a possible future opponent for Manny Pacquiao and is one of the top talents on the Top Rank roster.
He’s twenty nine years old and is in the middle of his athletic prime. His opponent, Felix Diaz, is thirty three years old. Crawford will also have a three inch height advantage and a three inch reach advantage.
Crawford has been fairly active the past two years. He has fought three times in 2016 and twice in 2015. Diaz fought twice in 2016 and twice in 2015.
Both boxers have strong amateur backgrounds. Crawford had success on the national level as an amateur and won the Police Athletic League Championship as well as the United States Pan American Games. Diaz won the gold medal in the 2008 Summer Olympics for the Dominican Republic.
Crawford has looked sensational throughout his career and nobody has come close to defeating him. He has defeated the likes of John Molina Jr., Viktor Postol, Henry Lundy, Dierry Jean, Thomas Dulorme, Raymundo Beltran, Yuriorkis Gamboa, Ricky Burns, and Andrey Klimov. Even though Crawford has fought many fights in his native Nebraska, he has shown a willingness to travel to fight as evident in his past fight with former champion Ricky Burns in Scotland.
Diaz is a technician but lacks power. He only has nine stoppage wins while Crawford has twenty one. The best opponents Diaz has defeated so far are Sammy Vasquez, Gabriel Bracero, Adrian Granados, and Emmanuel Lartei Lartey. His lone loss was a disputed loss to Lamont Peterson.
This writer thinks Diaz be one of the most difficult fights in Crawford’s career. He’s a technician and has a deep and successful amateur background. But Crawford has faced elite talent several times in his career and has defeated every opponent put in front of him. Diaz’s resume is void of any elite talent, and the one time he did face a legitimate title contender in Lamont Peterson he came up short.
Crawford should win the fight by decision.
The Adaptable Terence Crawford
By: Sean Crose
Terence “Bud” Crawford is in a real fight this weekend (at least on paper) when he takes on Felix Diaz before HBO cameras at Madison Square Garden in a bout Home Box Office will air live Saturday night. Diaz is a talented enough threat to Crawford’s junior welterweight supremacy to make this weekend’s fight actually worthy of being on HBO, the pay cable network which has largely neglected boxing of late without having the courtesy to tell subscribers who might be fans why (though it must be stated that HBO very much remains active in the Pay Per View business). On this particular occasion, though, the network is getting it right.
Diaz, 19-1, first made his mark as an Olympic gold medalist at the 2008 Olympics in China. As a pro, he’s defeated the likes of Adrian Granados and Sammy Vasquez. His lone loss came by virtue of a controversial Majority Decision nod in the direction of Lamont Peterson back in 2015 which raised more than a few eyebrows. Now the man is getting his big chance and many inside the world of professional boxing feel he has a legitimate chance to upset Nebraska’s Crawford, a star in need of a star making fight.
Watching Diaz fight, it’s easy to see why so few analysts are willing to write him off come Saturday. Boasting a nearly perfect record, the native of the Dominican Republic utilizes space with fine effectiveness, throws a mean uppercut and knows the value of not letting an opponent know where the next shot is coming from. He’s also able to employ slick defensive skills when necessary. All these can prove to be frustrating for the 30-0 Crawford, who has never met an opponent he wasn’t eventually able to dominate.
It’s that word “eventually,” however, which is telling. As impressive as his record is, Crawford hasn’t always had an easy time of it in the ring. Yuriorkis Gamboa, for instance, performed brilliantly with Crawford for part of their 2016 bout. Viktor Postol, who fought Crawford last year, was also able to have his moments early on. Again, though, it’s that word “eventually” that pops up. For Crawford has always, at some point, been able to figure his opponent out, no matter how well that opponent may have previously been doing. Gamboa ended up being knocked out in stunning fashion, while Crawford went on to make easy work of Pistol.
And most products of the fight world seem to be thinking Diaz will ultimately succumb to Crawford, as well. The man from Omaha, simply put, finds a way. Crawford is not only willing to to let a round slide, a la Floyd Mayweather, in order to find his rhythm, he switches stances as proficiently as the great Marvin Hagler used to. For a fighter to beat Crawford, he must have far more than a plan A, or even a plan B. That fighter is going to have to be able to employ multiple strategies in the ring.
That’s something that’s far easier said than done.
Why is Terence Crawford Getting No love For His Next Fight?
By: Matthew N. Becher
We can all agree, Terence “Bud” Crawford (30-0 21KO) is one of the best fighters on the planet right now. He is a two division lineal champ, with impressive wins against the likes of Ricky Burns (in Scotland), Yuriorkis Gamboa (his first professional loss), Ray Beltran, Thomas Dulorme and Viktor Postol (also his first professional loss). Crawford is set to fight in the big room at the mecca of boxing, Madison Square Garden next weekend, May 20th. Unfortunately, nobody even realizes that is happening.
Seriously, the promotion for this fight is non-existent. The Ring Magazine, WBC &WBO Jr. welterweight champion. The guy who is arguably the best American fighter today, fighting on the biggest stage of his career and people have no idea this is even on the calendar. I live in New York, and I haven’t seen one poster, heard one radio ad, nothing. What is going on with Top Rank?
Could it be his lesser known opponent that is the problem? Maybe, but probably not. Crawford fought guys like Dulorme and Hank Lundy and those seemed to have gotten more press then this fight against Felix Diaz. Is Felix Diaz unknown, sure, but he is a very good fighter. Diaz is a 2x Olympian who won the gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics for his native Dominican Republic. He sports an impressive record of 19 wins with only 1 defeat (which was a majority decision to Lamont Peterson) and he sports victories over decent foes, such as Granados, Bracero, and Sammy Vasquez. I personally don’t expect Diaz to win, but I do expect him to come in and turn this fight into a brawl, make it ugly for Crawford.
One week before the fight, this writer checked ticket prices on a well-known secondary market site and saw that you can get a seat for as little as $17.68. That is in the lower bowl, 100 level, section 111. That is a seat that would have been $250 for March’s fight between GGG and Jacobs. $17.68!?!?!?!? That is an insane price for a chance to see an Olympic Gold Medalist take on a top 3 pound for pound fighter. The undercard even has the east coast debut of future American star and Silver Medalist Shakur Stevenson.
If anyone has the answer why Bud Crawford is getting no love, please let me know.
He is one of the sport’s most exciting fighters, he is a pleasure to watch. But for some reason, he is not getting the publicity that he needs and deserves.
3 Olympic Boxing Gold Medal Winners in Papp, Stevenson & Savon!
By: Ken Hissner
Hungarian southpaw Laszlo Papp won Olympic Gold Medals in boxing in 1948, 1952 and 1956. When the Communist country of Hungary finally allowed Papp to turn professional in 1957 he was not permitted to box other than in Europe. Boxing promoter Lou Lucchese informed this writer that when he tried matching middleweight champion Joey Giardello with Papp the FBI showed up on his door step in Leesport, PA, questioning his interest in Papp. The fight was never made.
As a professional Papp was 27-0-2 (15), and became the European middleweight champion in 1962 and defended that title six times before being forced into retirement for refusing to coach the Russian boxing team in 1962. He boxed in Germany, Austria, France, Spain and Denmark. He defeated four Americans with the most known being Ralph “Tiger” Jones.Papp passed away in 2003 at the age of 77.His amateur record was 301-12-6 and was inducted into the IBHOF in 2001. In Helsinki, Finland in 1952 he defeated American Spider Webb. In 1956 he defeated future world champion Jose Torres.
Cuban Teofilo Stevenson was the Olympic Gold Medal winner in 1972, 1976 and 1980. Cuba withdrew from the Olympics in 1984. In 1972 he avenged a loss in the 1971 Pan Am Games to American Duane Bobick defeating him in the Olympics. He was awarded the Val Barker Trophy as the best boxer in the Olympic Games. In 1976 he defeated future world champion John Tate. He won World championships in 1974 defeating American Marvin Stinson and in 1978 defeating future world champion Tony Tubbs. In 1982 he lost to future world champion Francesco Damiani.
In the Pan American Games Stevenson in 1975 defeated future world champion Michael Dokes for the title. In 1979 he defeated American Rufus Hadley for the title. In USA-Cuba meetings he defeated Jimmy Clark three times and Tyrell Biggs the 1984 Olympic Gold medalist twice. He defeated American Philipp Brown in 1979. He was 302-22 in the amateurs. He passed away in 2012 at the age of 60.
Cuban Felix Savon won Olympic Gold Medals in 1992, 1996 and 2000. 362-21 was his amateur record. In 1992 he defeated American Danell Nicholson and Nigerian David Izon. In 1996 he defeated Luan Krasniqi. In 2000 he defeated American Michael Bennett and future world champion Russia’s Sultan Ibragimov. He defeated David Tua and future world champions Lamont Brewster and Shannon Briggs. Savon is 49 years-old.
More Boxing History
Brook and Spence Set To Rumble, Crawford To Face Diaz
By: Sean Crose
The long awaited IBF world welterweight title throwdown between champion Kell Brook and rising star Errol Spence Jr has been set for May 27th in Brook’s hometown of Sheffield, England. Many felt that Brook, an excellent 36-1 titlist, might move away from the welterweight division after a crushing loss to middleweight honcho Gennday Golovkin last year. Brook proved game, however, showing a willingess not only to return to welterweight, but also to take on a menacing challenge in the 21-0 Spence. “I’m an expereinced fighter,” Brook said at a Wednesday press conference, “I know what I need to do. I’ve done it before. I’ll do it again.”
Brook refused to pay homage to Spence at the conference. When Spence was referred to at one point as a “brilliant American,” Brook scoffed. “Brilliant American,” he quipped. “Yeah. We’ll see how brilliant he is.” Spence, however, wasn’t about to show deference to Brook, either. “Dude had two good rounds with GGG,” the Texas native snapped. “Willie Monroe did the same thing.” To be sure, there was a lot of back and forth at the press conference – mainly, it seemed, between the two fighter’s trainers. Such things make for good drama, however, and Brook-Spence promises (at least on paper) to be a very interesting matchup.
For Brook is a big, strong welterweight who knows how to let his strength be felt while throwing impressive straight punches. Spence, on the other hand, comes across as something of a wunderkind, a fact evidenced by his dismantling of former junior welterweight champ (and Manny Pacquiao opponent) Chris Algieri. Spence simply went through the Long Island native, much as he has most of his opponents to date. Can he get by the skilled and expereinced Brook, however? Can he do so in Brook’s hometown, no less? Those questions are what make this match so intriguing.
There’s also intruiging news to be found in the division below Brook and Spence, for Bud Crawford, the 30-0 king of the junior welterweight division is all but set to face 19-1 Felix Diaz May 20th in Newark, New Jersey. People have been waiting for a while to find out who the highly lauded Crawford’s next opponent would be. And while many want to see the WBC and WBO super lightweight champ against the likes of Adrien Broner or Manny Pacquiao, Diaz, whose apparently wanted this fight for a while, looks to be the man. While he’s no household name, Diaz has managed to best the likes of Adrian Granados and Sammy Vasquez. Some also feel he got robbed when he fought Lamont Peterson back in 2015. In other words, the guy’s no slouch.
The Cuban Heavyweights Professional and Amateur!
By: Ken Hissner
TEOFILO STEVENSON was 6:03 andin 1972, 1976 and 1980 won Olympic Gold Medals.He won World Gold Medals in 1974, 76 and 1980. He won Pan Am Gold in 1975 beat future WBA championMichael Dokes, 79 and a Bronze in 1971. He stopped Duane Bobickin 1972 after losing to him in 1971. He won the Val Barker Trophy in 1972. In 1976 he KO1 John Tate, future WBA champion andin 1981 defeated Jimmy Clark 1978 twice and in 1980 once and in 1982 he lost tofuture WBO champion Francesco Damiani. In 1984 he defeated future 1984 Olympic Gold Medalist Tyrell Biggs and in 1986 beat Alex Garcia. He also defeated future WBA champion Tony Tubbs, Marvin Stinson and Phillip Brown. Stevenson was awarded the Merited Master of Sport of the USSR in 1972, 1976 and 1980. He is the only boxer to have received this. He died in June of 2012 at age 60 from heart failure.
FELIX SAVON was 6:00 and in 1992, 96 and 2000 won Olympic Gold Medals as a heavyweight. In Pan Am Games in 1987, 1991 and 1995he won Gold Medals. He won4 Central American& Caribbean Games and 4 World Cups. He was 362-21 with all losses avenged. He defeated RuslanChagaev twice. He KO’d DaVarryl Williamson. In 2000 Olympics he defeated Michael Bennett and retired at age 33. He won 6 world championships and aSilver Medal. He defeated Danell Nicholson and David Izon in 1992 Olympics. In 1996 he defeated Georgi Kandelak, Luan Krasniqi and David Defiagbon. In 2000 he defeated Michael Bennett, Sebastian Kober and Sultan Ibragimov. He defeated in Pan Am Games Michael Bentt, Shannon Briggs and Lamon Brewster. He is 67.
ALEXIS RUBALCABA was 6:08 and in 1999 he wonthe Pan Am Gold Medal. He representedCuba in the 1996 and 2000 Olympics at Super heavyweight. In 1997 World Games he won a Silver Medal. He is 44.
JORGE LUIS GONZALEZ at 6:07 was 31-8 as a professional. In 1983 won Pam Am Gold. He defeated Tyrell Bigss. In 1987 he won Pan Am Gold defeating Riddick Bowe and Lennox Lewis. In 1987 North American Championships he lost to Lewis.
ROBERT BALADO was 6:00 and was the 1992 Olympics super heavyweight Gold Medalist defeating Larry Donald and Brian Nielsen. He was World Championship Gold Medalist in 1989, 1991 and 1993. He was Pan Am Games Gold Medalist in 1991. He died in 1994 at age 25 in car accident.
JULIO CARLOS “BLACK PANTHER” GOMEZ was 6:03 1/2 and was the WBC cruiserweight champion and finishing at 55-4-1nc (39). He had 10 successful title defenses and moved up to heavyweight fighting twice with former heavyweight champion Oliver McCall winning the first which got reversed to NC but winning the second. He lost to VitaliKlitschko for the WBC heavyweight title and moved back to cruiser. He was 158-12 as an amateur and moved to Germany as a professional. He reversed 2 of his losses as a professional.
MIKE “THE REBEL” PEREZ at 6:01 won the World Junior championship in 2004. In 2007 he defeated Louis Ortiz in the Cuban National championships but lost to Osmay Acosta in the final. In 2007 he defected to Cork, IRE. He was 21-2-1 (13) as a professional finishing up in 2015 losing to Alexander Povetkin for the WBC Silver title at age 30.
ODLANIER SOLIS FONTEat 6:01 ½ was 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist defeating Sultan Ibragimov and David Haye. He won 3 consecutive World Championships in 2001, 03 and 05. In 1999 he defeated Felix Savon for the Cuban title and took 2 of 3 from him. He won the 1999 and 2003 Pan Am Games Gold Medals. His amateur record was 227-14. He is 22-3 (14) as a professional losing to WBC champion VitaliKlitschko in 2011. He won the WBC International, IBF Inter-Continental and the WBA Fedelatin titles. He is 36 and lives in North Miami, FL.
YANQUI DIAZ at 6:04 in 2002 came to Mexico and then Las Vegas, NV, and won 13 of his first 14 fights stopping Juan Carlos Gomez and defeating Vaughn Bean while losing to Tony Thompson. Then in 2005 and 2006 losses to Samuel Peter and Kirk Johnson followed by a pair of nc’s before losing to Damian Wills and Oliver McCall retiring at 30 the end of 2006 with a 13-5 (8) record.
ERISLANDY SAVON the nephew of Felix Salon in 2016 was Olympian Bronze Medalist. He won the Pan Am Games in 2015 and a Silver in the World championships. He won the World Junior championships in 2008. At the National Championships he lost in semi-final by DQ to Osmay Acosta. He is 26.
OSMAY ACOSTA DUARTE won the 2007 Pan Am Games Gold Medal and was the 2008 Olympic heavyweight Bronze Medalist. In 2009 he was the Silver Medalist in the World Amateur championships. At the 2006 National Senior championships he lost to Odlanier Solis at super heavyweight and dropped back to heavyweight winning the Central American Games. He qualified for Beijing in an Olympic qualifier defeating current WBC champion Deontay “Bronze Bomber” Wilder. He retired in 2009 after finishing with a Silver Medal in the World Amateur championships at age 24.
LOUIS “KING KONG” ORTIZ at 6:04 was 343-19 as an amateur. In 2005 he won the PAN AM championships. In 2010 he came to Miami, FL, and won 5 minor titles as a professional in 2010 the FECARBOX, 2011 the Fedelatin, in 2012 the Inter-American, WBC and WBO Latino titles. In 2015 he won the interim WBA World title. He is currently 27-0-2 nc’s (23). He is the current No. 1 WBA, No. 2 WBC and No. 6 IBF contender at 37 turning 38 this month.
NANCIO CARRILLO represented Cuba in the 1968 Olympics losing in the first round to East German Bernd Anders.
Other Cuban heavyweight professionals: Nino Valdez, 48-18-3 (36), OmelioAgramonte, 50-21 (32), Federico Malibran, 34-22-1 (25), Antolin Fierro, 8-8 (8), Santiago Esparraguera, 46-21-4 (42), RoleauxSaguero, 25-21-1 (23), Goyito Rico, 28-12-1 (25), Young John Herrera, 42-22-3 (28) and trained Stevenson, Elieser Castillo, 30-7-2 (17), Julio Mederos, 21-19-3 (14) who was managed by Jake LaMottaand Jose Ribalta, 38-1-1 (27), 55-8 (26) as an amateur in Cuba.
THE TOP 5 ROBBERIES OF THE LAST 25 YEARS
By: John Freund
Here’s a news flash: Boxing isn’t fair. The best fighter, or the one who fights the best in the ring on a given night, doesn’t always win. In other sports, the scoring is obvious. Everyone knows when a basket is made or when a touchdown is scored. But in boxing, the scoring remains a mystery until after the final bell. And that often leads to controversy. Whether that controversy stems from poor judgment or corruption on the part of the judges, is up for debate. One thing is for certain though, there are plenty of asterisks alongside boxing wins and losses. Following, are five of the most egregious robberies of the last 25 years:
Note – this list factors in the commercial significance of each bout. So fights like Williams-Lara, and Rios-Abril, while clearly miscarriages of justice, are not weighted as highly given their lack of mainstream significance.
#5) De La Hoya vs. Trinidad – Sep 18, 1999
Billed as ‘The Fight of the Millennium,’ the last of the so-called ‘Superfights’ of the 20th Century, it was a battle of unbeaten champions as reigning WBC megastar Oscar De La Hoya squared off against boxing’s other pound-for-pound king, IBF Champion, Felix ‘Tito’ Trinidad. This match would both unify the Welterweight titles, and prove who was the best fighter in the world.
Or so people thought…
“Outclassed is too big a word for what’s happening here, but it’s verging on that.”
When Jim Lampley spoke those words in Round 9, the so-called Superfight had thus far been nothing more than a chess match. And not even a competitive one at that – picture Bobby Fischer versus some hustler in Washington Square Park. Yup, it was that kind of lopsided.
De La Hoya frustrated Trinidad all night with his lateral movement and footwork, never getting caught up in the ropes and keeping his distance from the heavy-hitting Puerto Rican by effectively utilizing his jab. De La Hoya – a fighter known for his jab and vicious left hook – continually stunned Trinidad with right cross after right cross. He seemed to be landing them at will.
I gave De La Hoya 8 of the first 9 rounds. Larry Merchant had it 6 to 2 with 1 even. Howard Lederman had it 6 to 3, which, in my opinion, is exceedingly generous. Regardless of the score, there is little debate about who won the early rounds. It’s rounds 10-12 that this fight is remembered for.
De La Hoya, on the advice of his corner, played defense in the final three rounds – which is a polite way to say that he ran the hell away from Trinidad and didn’t fight for 9 minutes straight.
Now, to be fair, De La Hoya’s entire strategy was to box – stick and move, stick and move – and he employed that strategy beautifully for 9 rounds. He didn’t let Tito cut off the ring, and he picked his opportunities to fight and throw combinations, landing at least 2 or 3 per round. Tito, on the other hand, barely threw a single combination in the first 9 rounds. That’s how effective De La Hoya’s game plan was.
Yes De La Hoya took off the last 3 rounds, and yes he lost all 3 (though the 10th was pretty close). But even still, there is no question who won the fight. As Jim Lampley said, he didn’t outclass Tito, but it was verging on that.
The judges, of course, saw it differently. They handed Tito the win, and that’s how the ‘Golden Boy’ came to record his first ‘L.’ Incidentally, this fight set the record for non-heavyweight PPV buys, with 1.4 million; a mark that would stand for 8 years until De La Hoya-Mayweather broke it.
There would be future controversial decisions in the Golden Boy’s career – one where he was robbed against Mosely, and another where he was gifted against Sturm. Regardless, this fight goes down as one of the biggest boxing robberies of all time, given the hype surrounding it, the status of the two stars inside the ring, and the fact that they never fought again – so we’ll never really know who was the best boxer in the world at the time.
#4) Chavez vs. Whitaker – Sep 10, 1993
Before there was Mayweather-Pacquiao, before De La Hoya-Trinidad, there was Chavez-Whitaker.
Julio Cesar Chavez is a boxing legend, often considered the greatest Mexican boxer of all time, which is saying a lot. Coming into this fight, he had a jaw-dropping record of 87-0. Chavez was that rare combination of boxer and brawler, someone who could bob and weave and play defense on the outside, until he worked his way inside on you and broke your will. He was the best in-fighter in the game, and his chin was legendary; the first time Chavez ever hit the canvas was in his 91st pro fight.
Pernell Whitaker, meanwhile, was the best outside-fighter in the game. A slick southpaw with phenomenal footwork – he would dance, move, duck, hop, and sometimes even leap to places other boxers could only dream of reaching. Whitaker brought a 32-1 record into this fight, with his only loss being to Jose Luis Ramirez in what many consider to be a fight that Whitaker actually won. He was the Floyd Mayweather Jr. of his day, and Chavez-Whitaker was the ultimate ‘Bull vs. Matador’ matchup; it was brute force against blinding speed.
The first half of the fight was dead even. Whitaker established his game plan in Round 3, slipping and dipping, utilizing his speed and elusiveness, and finding just the right moments to throw wicked combinations. Chavez, who was the best in the business at cutting off the ring, was relegated to chasing the man they called ‘Sweet Pea’ around and around, just as Trinidad would chase De La Hoya six years later. Chavez did manage to force the action enough in the first 6 rounds to make it close on the cards, if not even.
But Round 7 was when Whitaker took over. He began to outclass Chavez, sticking and moving, capitalizing on his hand and foot speed. Whitaker even fought Chavez on the inside – and beat him there; something no one thought possible. There were moments when Whitaker double-jabbed Chavez, and somehow brought his right back in time to block a Chavez left hook. Thus was the blinding speed of Pernell Whitaker.
By Round 11 Chavez was exhausted. He was lunging and leaning, his punches lacking their usual sting. They fought the whole round on the inside, and Whitaker dominated without question. It was a masterful show of boxing prowess, and it earned Whitaker the right to be known as the first man to defeat Chavez in the ring.
But the fight was ruled a draw. Conspiracy theories abound, as Don King – Chavez’s promoter – was under federal indictment at the time for a litany of charges, including match-fixing. Dan Duva, Whitaker’s promoter, lodged a formal complaint with the Texas department of licensing and authorities after British judge Mickey Vann admitted to docking Whitaker a point for a low blow in the 6th Round. Referee Joe Cortez warned Whitaker for the blow, but did not instruct the judges to dock a point. To make things even more suspicious, the judges’ scorecards mysteriously disappeared the day after the fight…
If one were so inclined, one might argue that Don King rigged the match to keep Chavez’s revenue-generating, zero-loss streak alive for as long as possible. Of course that would imply that Don King were capable of such devious, underhanded, mafia-style tactics.
Regardless of what actually happened that night, one thing is certain: Sweet Pea won the fight, and was robbed of a victory.
#3) Castillo vs. Mayweather 1 – Apr 20, 2002
I can already hear Mayweather fans cursing my name. Go on, I can take it. Do your worst in the ‘Comments’ section…
If you’re a Mayweather fan, it’s time to eat some humble pie. Your hero was beaten and beaten soundly, and on Hitler’s birthday no less! (No idea why that’s relevant, I just like to point out Hitler’s birthday whenever I see it anywhere…)
Mayweather, at age 25, with a record of 27-0, was years away from the iconoclastic figure nicknamed ‘Money’ for having generated more of it than any other boxer in history. This was ’02, and ‘Pretty Boy Floyd’ was moving up from Jr. Lightweight to Lightweight to face a Mexican bruiser named Jose Luis Castillo. Most experts predicted a Mayweather rout; just another rung on King Floyd’s ladder of greatness.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the coronation – someone forgot to tell Castillo that he was supposed to lose. The fiery Mexican crowded his elusive opponent, pinning Mayweather against the ropes and viciously attacking his rib cage. Remarkably, Mayweather stood and traded with Castillo instead of slipping away eel-like, as he normally does. Perhaps he wanted to prove he could go toe-to-toe with a heavy-handed lightweight. Whatever the reason, as Larry Merchant later said, Mayweather ‘fought the wrong fight.’
His loss was apparent, even to Mayweather, who could be seen hanging his head immediately after the final bell sounded, and staring down at the canvas in the run-up to the decision. This wasn’t the loud and proud Pretty Boy Floyd we’d all come to expect. This was a man who knew he was beaten.
Yet the judges decided otherwise. Two of the judges scored it 115-111, and Anek Hongtongkam (best name ever!) had it 116-111.
I personally had Castillo up 8 rounds to 4. Harold Lederman at ringside had a similar score. I can understand 7-5 Castillo, but anything beyond that is stretching it. And to say that Mayweather not only won this fight, but won it convincingly – as all three judges’ scorecards imply – is an outright travesty. Castillo out-muscled, out-maneuvered, and out-classed boxing’s soon-to-be brightest star.
A lot of people blame the decision on Bob Arum, who promoted both Mayweather and Castillo at the time. It’s clear what Arum’s motivation would have been to fix this fight – Pretty Boy Floyd was on the rise, and having that big goose egg in the ‘Loss’ column helped make him a household name.
And a household name he would become, as Mayweather went on to rack up 49 victories with no official defeats, and generate more money than any boxer in history. Would all that have changed if Castillo had gotten his just desserts? No one will ever know…
It’s impossible to say for certain if the fight was fixed, or if the judges were just in awe of Mayweather and scored him more generously than they should have. But don’t forget, this is boxing, where what goes on outside the ring is just as important – or sometimes even more important – than what goes on inside the ring. Perhaps Castillo himself put it best when he responded to the controversy by saying, “Well, I don’t want to say the wrong thing, but boxing is certainly filled with interests, let’s put it that way.”
#2) Holyfield vs. Valuev – Dec 20, 2008
If you’ve never seen this fight, don’t bother. It’s easily the most boring championship match of all time. I’ll give you a quick rundown of the entire fight right here: Valuev stands in the center of the ring and does nothing, while Holyfield dances around him and does next to nothing. Picture that for 12 rounds.
The reason this is an all-time great robbery is because, at the end of the day, next to nothing is still more than nothing.
Holyfield won this fight 11-1. The only round that is even plausible to give to Valuev is the 12th, yet somehow, in some universe, the judges gave Valuev the win. I guess they decided that lumbering around for 33 out of 36 minutes and throwing 4 or 5 punches a round – never mind any combinations – is enough to retain a title. Yikes.
This is a big deal, considering Holyfield would have made history with this win, notching his fifth world title and becoming the oldest man ever to win the heavyweight crown at age 45 (besting ‘Big’ George Foreman by several months). But alas, it was not to be.
The one cool thing about this fight is that Valuev is a monster. And by that I mean he’s 7 feet tall and weighs over 300 lbs. Holyfield, at 6″3, 210, looks like a hobbit dancing around that Stone Giant thing in Lord of the Rings.
The reason this fight is #2 on the list is because the decision is so egregiously wrong. Other than the 12th, I defy you to find one round that Valuev won. I know this isn’t the most meaningful heavyweight bout of all time, but from now on, when someone mentions the fact that George Foreman is the oldest man ever to win the heavyweight title, you can bring up the asterisk that is Holyfield-Valuev.
#1) Pacquiao vs. Bradley 1 – Jun 9, 2012
You knew it was coming. The grandaddy of all highway robberies. The most shameless star-making event in boxing history. The day that three judges decided Tim Bradley out-fought Manny Pacquaio.
A little context before we delve into this one: The fight took place in 2012, right around the time everyone was clamoring for a Pacquaio-Mayweather Superfight. We all know what happened there. Instead of Pacquaio-Mayweather, we got Pacquaio-Bradley.
Okay, fair enough. Bradley came into this fight undefeated, with impressive wins over Lamont Peterson and Joel Casamayor. He was ranked a top 10 pound-for-pound fighter, so after negotiations with Mayweather and for a Cotto rematch both fell through, why not give a guy a shot?
The fight went as everyone predicted. Manny just had too much speed, too much power, too much technical skill for Bradley to handle. Bradley fought Manny’s fight and PacMan picked him apart, landing his straight left all day long. As Max Kellerman declared in Round 5, Manny ‘Outclassed him.’
The fight itself brought zero surprises. It was the decision afterward that left everyone floored. In the narrowest of margins, the judges gave a mixed decision to Bradley.
It’s tough to find a single person who thinks the decision was justified. By my count, Manny won the fight 10 rounds to 2, and most of those were pretty decisive. The only rounds I gave to Bradley were the 10th and 12th. Now, I can see a 9-3 decision, and can even stomach an 8-4, but giving more than 4 rounds to Bradley…?
The judges unanimously gave Bradley the 7th round, even though Manny doubled him in punches landed! 2 of the 3 judges gave Bradley the 8th, even though Manny outpointed him 15-9 in that round. And there was no question who was throwing the harder leather. Jim Lampley and Emanuel Steward were commenting all night how much more power Manny had, and how Bradley simply couldn’t handle his trifecta of speed, skill, and punching power.
After the fight, Bradley was asked by Max Kellerman in the center of the ring if he thought he won. He said that he would ‘have to go back and watch the tape to see who won the fight.’ The crowd booed. Kellerman then asked Pacquiao if he thought he won the fight. Pac responded, “Absolutely, yes.” And the crowd went wild.
Now, if you’re going to claim that a fight is fixed, you should at least have a theory as to why it would be. There’s a pretty convincing one for this fight, and it starts and ends with Bob Arum.
Bob Arum promoted both fighters. Pacquiao was already a legend, and having had 3 losses, wasn’t protecting a goose egg the way Mayweather was throughout his career. So what’s one more loss going to do to his iconic reputation? Absolutely nothing.
Meanwhile, a win for Bradley makes him an instant star – which is exactly what happened. It also sparked a very lucrative Pacquaio-Bradley trilogy, of which Pacquiao convincingly won the last two fights (and wasn’t robbed by the judges).
And if you want to be uber-consipratorial about the whole thing (and who doesn’t!), you could say that, ‘isn’t it a coincidence that Bradley signed with Top Rank just before this fight, and fought a big match on the Pacquaio-Marquez 3 undercard, thus introducing him to a more mainstream audience?’ And… let’s just go the full nine here… ‘isn’t it strange that Bradley looks a heck of a lot like Floyd Mayweather Jr., whom fans wanted to fight Pacquaio, but the fight never materialized (up to this point)?’ Could Bob Arum be pulling his best Vince McMahon impression, giving us a substitute for Mayweather-Pacquiao – only one in which the drama was artificially manufactured instead of naturally ingrained?
Color me cynical, but I think all of the above is possible.
Whatever the case, things certainly didn’t go as planned for PacMan moving forward. He would fight Marquez for the fourth time later that year, and get famously knocked unconscious, then spend over a year recovering before returning to the ring. Boxing fans often point to the Bradley fight as the beginning of Manny’s downfall, if you can call the last 4 years a ‘downfall.’
Bradley, meanwhile, went on to fight and beat some top contenders, including an aging Juan Manuel Marquez, Jessie Vargas, and Brandon Rios.
Tim Bradley is by all accounts a very warm, likable guy, and it’s worth noting that he is not the one who robbed Pacquiao. It was the judges who robbed Pacquiao.
Or maybe it was Bob Arum…
Regardless, this fight is yet another reminder that boxing can be such a cruel mistress: she can seduce you, and just as quickly stab you in the back.
What are some of your all-time biggest boxing robberies? Leave a comment below…
PBC on Fox Results: Wilder Obliterates Arreola, Lubin and Diaz Win by Decision
By: William Holmes
Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) series returned to Birmingham, Alabama for another World Heavyweight Title fight featuring the lone American champion in that division, Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder.
The Fox Network televised tonight’s fight card from the Legacy Arena and Lou Dibella was the lead promoter.
Photo Credit: Ryan Hafey / Premier Boxing Champions
The opening bout of the night was between two time Iraq War veteran Sammy Vasquez (21-0) and former Olympic Gold Medalist Felix Diaz (17-1) in the welterweight division.
Both boxers fought out of a southpaw stance, and it was Vasquez that was backing up Diaz in the first two rounds with a steady jab while remaining out of the range of Diaz. There was more action in the second round than the first, but it appeared Diaz was having difficulty solving the height and range of Vasquez.
Diaz had a solid third round by getting in tight and landing some wild punches and short uppercuts. The difference in power was also evident in the fourth and fifth rounds as Diaz has Vasquez backing up and at times caught him by the ropes or corner with quick combinations.
Vasquez’s punches looked like they were losing it’s snap in the sixth and seventh rounds as Diaz continued to lay traps and pop Vasquez when he came in forward. Vasquez had blood coming out of his nose in the seventh round, and his mouth was wide open in the eighth round and he was visibly tiring.
Diaz knocked Vasquez’s mouthpiece out of his mouth again in the eighth round with several hard combinations. Vasquez’s mouth was bleeding badly and he was taking some hard shots.
Vasquez mounted a small comeback in the ninth round and showed he was willing to take a punch in order to land a punch, but he didn’t appear to seriously hurt Diaz, though he did threaten at times.
The last round featured some hard exchanges by both boxers, but Vasquez’s mouthpiece was popped out again by Diaz and Vasquez lost a point by the referee. Vasquez suffered a bad cut near his right eye in the final round.
It was a good bout with several close rounds but it looked like to this author that Felix Diaz had done enough to win the bout, but the judges scored it 96-94 Diaz, 95-95, and 95-95 for a majority draw.
However, the Alabama Comission recalculated the scorecards and found out the scores should have been 96-93, 95-94, and 95-94 for Felix Diaz. The final round point deduction helped Diaz squeak out the victory.
The second fight of the night was between Erickson Lubin (15-0) and Ivan Montero (20-1) in the super welterweight division.
Lubin, a southpaw, looked in control early with accurate check right hooks and strong body shots. He was walking Montero down in the second round with combinations to the body and head, and several hard left hands.
Lubin was in complete control in the third round, but was warned by the referee twice for low blows in the fourth warned and was told he would be deducted a point if he landed another low blow. Montero was also warned for landing a low blow.
Lubin dominated Montero in the fifth and sixth rounds. He stunned Montero in the fifth round with a straight left hand and did it again in the sixth round with a left hook to the chin preceded by a combination to the body.
Montero clearly needed a knockout in the final two rounds in order to win the fight, but instead he got battered by the more talented Lubin.
Lubin won the decision with scores of 80-72 on all three scorecards.
The main event of the night was between Deontay Wilder (36-0) and Chris Arreola (36-4-1) for the WBC Heavyweight Title.
Even though this bout took place in Wilder’s hometown, the crowd appeared to be somewhat subdued during the ring walk and fighter introductions.
The opening round was a slow round. Arreola circled to his right in order to avoid the right hand of Wilder but threw little. Wilder threw a pawing jab and threw a couple of right hands, but was also pretty passive.
Arreola tried to press forward a little more in the second round but had to eat several jabs in the process and was cut on the bridge of his nose at the end of the round after Wilder made him pay with hard right hand counters.
Wilder landed several hard jabs in the third round that snapped the head of Arreola backwards. Arreola was able to land some body shots, but was stunned at the end of the round.
Arreola was badly wobbled from a two punch combination in the fourth round and went to the mat. He was able to get back up before the ten count, but was immediately attacked by Wilder and badly hurt and wobbly as the round came to an end.
Wilder started off the fifth round aggressively but Arreola still had some fight left in him and kept coming forward despite being badly hurt the previous round. Arreola tried to throw some shots at the head of Wilder,
but most of them were blocked. Wilder was able to land a vicious right uppercut in the fifth round when his back was near the ropes.
Wilder’s jab was extremely accurate in the sixth round. Arreola just was not able to get past that jab and within range to hurt Wilder.
Wilder continued to obliterate Arreola in the seventh round and was showboating while doing so. Arreola went back to the stool on wobbly legs at the end of the seventh and his face was badly bruised.
Arreola had little ot nothing left in the eighth round and had blood streaming from the bridge of his nose. Wilder just continued to land shots at will and the referee looked like he was close to stopping it.
Arreola survived the eighth round, but his corner wisely went to the referee and told him he was stopping the fight before the ninth round could begin. Arreola showed incredible heart, but Wilder was just too big and too powerful for him.
Deontay Wilder wins by TKO at the end of the eighth round.
PBC on Fox Preview: Wilder vs. Arreola, Vasquez vs. Diaz
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night in Birmingham, Alabama Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) will return to the hometown of Deontay Wilder as he defends his WBC Heavyweight Title against former title challenger Chris Arreola.
A welterweight matchup between Sammy Vasquez and Felix Diaz will open up the telecast.
Fox will televise this heavyweight fight live from the Legacy Arena and the telecast will begin at 8:00 PM.
The following is a preview of both of the televised bouts.
Photo Credit: Chris Farina/Premier Boxing Champions (PBC)
Sammy Vasquez (21-0) vs. Felix Diaz (17-1); Welterweights
Sammy Vasquez served two tours in Iraq for the United States Army and is a fan favorite. He’s been very active the past two years and fought six times in 2014, three times in 2015, and once in 2016. He had a successful amateur career and was able to make it in the semi finals of the 2012 US Olympic Boxing Trials and was the runner up in the 2008 Golden Gloves competition.
His opponent, Felix Diaz, had a more successful amateur career and was a Gold Medal winner in the 2008 Summer Olympics and also competed in the 2004 Summer Olympics for the Dominican Republic.
Both boxers are southpaws. Vasquez will have a five inch height advantage and a four inch reach advantage. He is also two years younger than Diaz.
Diaz has not been anywhere near as active as Vasquez. He fought twice in 2014 and in 2015.
Vasquez has defeated the likes of Aaron Martinez, Jose Lopez, Wale Omotoso, Emmanuel Lartey, James Stevenson, and Juan Rodriguez Jr. Diaz’s only notable victories have come against Emmanuel Lartey by split decision and Gabriel Bracero. Diaz lost his last fight to Lamont Peterson in a close bout.
Vasquez would be wise to use his height and reach advantage and stay on the outside. However, if Diaz is able to work his way in, Vasquez does appear to have an edge in power. He has stopped fifteen of his opponents while Diaz only has eight stoppage victories.
This should be a close fight, and is a competitive matchup for the PBC opener. Vasquez should be considered a slight favorite.
Deontay Wilder (36-0) vs. Chris Arreola (36-4-1); WBC Heavyweight Title
The one thing most fight fans are pretty sure about is that this fight will end in a knockout.
Deontay Wilder has stopped every single one of his opponents except for one, and that was Bermane Stiverne. Arreola has stopped thirty one of his opponents and is also known for his vicious power.
Wilder will have a four inch height advantage and a very large seven inch reach advantage on Saturday night. He is also five years younger than his opponent.
Both boxers fight out of an orthodox stance. Wilder has been the more active of the two, as he fought three times in 2015 and twice in 2014, while Arreola fought once in 2014 and three times in 2015.
Wilder, obviously, has won thirty six fights in a row and has yet to taste defeat. Arreola has gone 2-2-1 in his past five fights and only one once in 2015. His last good win was in 2013 when he defeated Seth Mitchell.
This will be the third time that Wilder has fought for the heavyweight title in Alabama and he has successfully defended his title three times. He hasn’t faced any of the elites in the heavyweight division at this point, but he has defeated the likes of Bermane Stiverne, Artur Szpilka, Johann Duhaupas, Eric Molina, Bermane Stiverne, Malik Scott, and Siarhei Liakhovich.
Arreola has lost to Bermane Stiverne twice, as well as Tomasz Adamek and Vitali Klitschko. He has defeated the likes of Chazz Witherspoon, Travis Walker, Jameel McCline, Eric Molina, and Seth Mitchell.
Both boxers have had successful amateur careers. Wilder is a bronze medalist in the 2008 Summer Olympics and is a former National Golden Gloves Winner. Arreola was the 2001 National Golden Gloves Champion in the Light Heavyweight division.
Arreola recognizes that father time is working against him and stated, “Deontay is a very tough opponent so I have to come hard this time. This is my third world title shot and I have to make it count. The first time I was too young, the second time I got caught with a shot, but this time I’ll be ready for anything..”
Wilder, as always, is looking for the knockout and stated, “Arreola definitely has a style prone to a knockout. He’s a pressure fighter who will come forward all night. That plays to my style. I love pressure fighters who give me a challenge. They keep me moving and thinking. I love the sweet science and the art to it.”
This would have been a much more interesting fight in Arreola’s prime. It will likely feature some suspenseful moments, but Wilder will likely continue to roll and stop Arreola before the end of the bout.
Verdejo’s Path to Glory
By: Brandon Bernica
Felix Verdejo stepped into the ring Saturday night with weight on his shoulders. After beginning his career with astounding knockouts and little resistance, he began to plateau in the eyes of many fans. He coasted to decision victories in his last two fights, both outings featuring more questions and less action than we’re used to seeing from the Puerto Rican prodigy. Fans and pundits curiously watched, hoping to verify whether Verdejo really is the island’s next boxing icon.
Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank
He didn’t disappoint. In against a hard-charging Mexican named Juan Jose Martinez, his counterpunching and explosiveness perfectly foiled Martinez’s attack. By the 5th round, Verdejo’s overwhelming ability imposed itself on Martinez. His barrage of fists rained on Martinez’s slumped frame until the referee called the bout. It was the result most fans prayed for coming into the fight, yet the rounds leading up to the knockout left more questions than answers on the table.
Verdejo’s timing remains a major area of needed improvement. In certain exchanges, he waited a half-second too long to unload, stifling himself from firing fluid combinations. This contributed to a slowed pace, which diminished Verdejo’s margin of victory each round and limited fan-pleasing punch trading. Shuffling on the back foot throughout the night, Felix should have been comfortable. Instead, he failed to plant his feet and throw the punishing punches that punctuated many of his early-career wins. He even got tapped a couple times by an outgunned challenger.
But many would argue that these observations are simply over-analytical critiques overshadowed by a terrific performance. Verdejo unfurled a quick jab that, if used properly, can be a potent set-up tool for his offense in the future. Another impressive attribute from his win was the ability to adjust his arsenal to the opponent on the fly. When the overhand right began to land with consistency, he stuck with it. When he recognized his mobility advantage, he pivoted and threw uppercuts while Martinez was on the ropes. In flashes, we began to see the dynamic, assertive Verdejo reemerge. And while he dangerously teetered the edge of punching himself out at the end of the fight, he harnessed the ferocity and focus that might put his skillset over the top in the years to come.
With both positives and negatives from his victory presented, which side paints a better picture of the truth? Yes, Verdejo is an unfinished product, but that’s alright. He’s 23 years old with 22 fights, all against outclassed opposition. It’s clear that adapting to the pace of the pro game is still a necessity. Molding his style around his strengths is still a work in progress. But the last outcome Verdejo needs is to be rushed into championship fights without the proper refining. Growth comes when faced with adversity, and great fighters rise to meet those conditions. Make it a priority to match him with high-level foes that stress his weaknesses and force him to improve.
Verdejo’s development speaks to a larger trend in boxing: excessive scrutinizing of top-tier talent. We look at fighters who lack the same expectations with optimism, impressed by their good qualities. When we judge fighters who project highly, we break down every flaw instead of allowing them the same maturation process as everyone else. People forget that Verdejo exhibited a wealth of ability in the amateurs. His talent is unquestionable. He carries his country’s flag into a new era, adding heaps of pressure on top of him. Plus, two or three average outings are not a career but merely a sample size. Boxing’s game rewards consistency in regimen, team, and focus. Allow Verdejo time to discover what works before giving up on him.
For Verdejo, the game plan consists of one concept: tune out the noise. As the bandwagon lightens and opinions fly from every angle, it is easy to find value in the many who don’t know much about the sport, especially with the propagation of social media. Only he can rise to the occasion. If Verdejo slows himself down, analyzes his mistakes, and remains honest with himself, that’s all he needs. It appears he’s on the path to validating his early promise. If he resists feeding into the capricious nature of hype, these past flubs will fall into the dust of a successful career.
HBO Boxing After Dark Results: Lomachenko and Verdejo Shine with Stunning Knockout Victories
By: William Holmes
The Theatre at Madison Square Garden in New York City has long been a venue to showcase upcoming boxers that are on the cusp of stardom.
Tonight was no different as Puerto Rican boxer Felix Verdejo and two time Olympic Gold Medalist Vasyl Lomachenko competed in two separate fights on the HBO televised portion of the card.
Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank
The annual Puerto Rican Parade was held today and as is customary for Top Rank Promotions, they promoted a card that featured several fighters of Puerto Rican decent. Zou Shiming, Christopher Diaz, and Julian Rodriguez highlighted the undercard with easy wins against over matched opponents.
The first televised bout of the night was between Felix Verdejo (21-0) and Juan Jose Martinez (25-2) for the WBO Latino Lightweight Championship.
Verdejo, as expected, had most of the fans in attendance supporting him and was greeted warmly by the crowd.
Verdejo was sharp with his jab in the first round and the crowd was boisterous in their support of him. Both boxers showed good upper body movement in the first round, but Verdejo had the quicker hands and was able to move Martinez when he landed his jab.
Martinez was pushing forward in the second round, but was unable to get inside and land any effective punches. Verdejo was beginning to throw more combinations in the second round with moderate success.
Verdejo looked very sharp in the third round and was able to land some hard counter right hands. He was also able to open up a cut by the right eye of Martinez. Verdejo focused more to the body in the fourth round and
was able to out maneuver his opponent.
Verdejo employed his lead left hook as a counter in the fifth round to keep Martinez at bay. He badly hurt Martinez with a combination that ended with a right cross that sent him stumbling back towards the ropes. He unleashed a flurry of punches on Martinez, who did not throw any punches back, and forced the referee to jump in and stop it.
Felix Verdejo remained undefeated with a TKO stoppage win at 2:40 of the fifth round.
A touching tribute to Muhammad Ali was shown in between the end of the co-main event of the beginning of the main event, and it brought the crowd to it’s feet.
The main event of the night was between Roman “Rocky” Martinez (29-2-2) and Vasyl Lomachenko (5-1) for the WBO Junior Lightweight Championship.
Lomachenko was the favorite entering the bout and the crowd was evenly split between supporters of Lomachenko and supporters of Martinez. The theatre was extremely loud during the fighter introductions.
Lomachenko, a southpaw, was pressing the action in the opening round and was able to sneak in a few straight left hands. He was showing good head movement and Martinez was fighting while moving backwards in the opening round.
Martinez was able to land some good body shots and straight right hands in the second round, but Lomachenko’s amazing footwork was on full display in the second round as he was able to land combinations and quickly circle out of danger before Martinez could counter effectively.
Lomachenko’s superior footwork enabled him to land hard straight left hands and uppercuts in the third round, and he finished the round with a crisp straight left to the face of Martinez. Lomachenko’s dominance continued in the fourth round, except for this time his straight left hands were snapping the head of Martinez backwards.
Martinez pressed the action in the fifth round but Lomachenko made him pay dearly with a hard right hook that sent him to the mat and knocked him out.
Vasyl Lomachenko put on an amazing performance with a knockout at 1:09 of the fifth round.
Undercard Quick Results:
Juan Carlos Rivera (7-0) wins by TKO at 0:49 of the sixth round over Heriberto Delgado (11-5-1) in the featherweight division.
Michael Reed (19-0) defeated Abraham Cordero (13-3-1) in the super lightweight division by TKO at 2:29 of the sixth round.
Julian Rodriguez (13-0) defeated Adam Mate (18-10) in the welterweight division by first round TKO at 2:27.
Christopher Diaz (17-0) defeated Neftali Campos (11-2) by TKO in the featherweight division at 2:33 of the eighth round.
Jose Gonzalez (3-0-1) fought to a majority draw with Sean Acosta (0-2-1) by scores of 39-37 Gonzalez, 38-38 on the other two cards.
Zou Shiming (8-1) defeated Jozsef Ajtai (15-3) by decision with scores of 100-89 on all three scorecards for the WBO International Flyweight Championship.