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Soto Karass, Herrera Engage In Friday Night Thriller


by: Sean Crose

The Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California hosted Friday night’s Golden Boy ESPN card featuring veteran welterweights Jesus Soto Karass and Mauricio Herrera. First, though, light heavyweight Vyacheslav Shabranskyy, 18-1, faced Todd Unthank May, 10-0-1, in a ten rounder. Shabranskyy, who lost an important fight to Sullivan Barrera last December, employed a powerful, methodical game plan, one which was clearly taking its toll on the undefeated Unthank May in the fifth. By the end of the seventh, it was obvious Unthank May’s corner should stop the fight. He was simply taking too much damage. And indeed, the fight didn’t reach the eight round.


Photo Credit: Tom Hogan-Hogan photos/Golden Boy Promotions

Next up was a six round super middleweight throwdown between Jaime Solorio, 10-1-2, and Niko Valdes, 5-0. Solorio was able to land a few good shots early on, but Valdes was clearly able to control the tempo with steady aggression and sound footwork. By the middle of the fight it was obvious that Valdes was stronger and more skilled, but that his patience made his style lack excitement. Not to be outdone, however, Solorio ended the fourth whaling away at Valdes, paying particular attention to his opponent’s body. Still, Valdes was able to reassert control as the fight progressed further and walked away with an easy UD win.

It was time for the main event. Both Soto Karass, 28-11-4, and Herrera, 23-7, had their notable moments throughout their careers. Soto Karass had fought a who’s who of opposition throughout the years while Herrera was still best known for his controversial loss to Danny Garcia in Puerto Rico back in 2014. Friday night was, in a sense, a last ditch effort for each fighter to attain late career glory. Both men remained somewhat patient early on, though Herrera was going effectively to the body. He was also finding a regular home for his jab by the middle of the second. Soto Karass, however, ended the round moving forward and using his reach to good effect.

Indeed it was Soto Karass who began to look stronger in the third and then actually started taking control of the fight early in the fourth. Herrera, though, was there to win and the two men nailed each other repeatedly in the middle of that chapter. Still, it was Soto Karass who was walking his man down and looking to dominate as the fight entered the middle rounds. Yet, Herrera’s jab returned to him in the fifth and he was able to land hard and clean. Soto Karass, however, finished the round strong. It was a solid affair.

As the fight worked its way through the middle rounds, it became clear that these were indeed two aging fighters plying their trade. The action was in bursts and the tempo was rather slow at times. Slow but steady. In this, the bout seemed to actually resemble an MMA match, where the action is often punctuated by notable pauses. By round eight however, the action became somewhat explosive, with Soto Karass ripping into Herrera’s body and Herrera landing in kind. It was a see-saw affair, to be sure. Herrera was more accurate, but Sotto Karass seemed to perhaps have a bit more power.

By the end of the ninth, things had gotten bloody. Herrera’s face was an absolute mess as Soto Karass finished the round battering the man’s head around the the ring. It was now worth wondering how much more Herrera could take – and how much more Soto Karass could give. The tenth and final round was a doozy, with both men firing away and showing tremendous heart. That was no surprise, but it was impressive to watch nonetheless. These were two admirable adversaries.

In the end, I gave it to Soto Karass due to the power of his punches. The judges apparently saw it differently, giving the nod to Herrera. Huge credit goes to both men. What a fight.

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Olympic Stunner: Ireland’s Barnes Falls To Spain’s Heredia


Olympic Stunner: Ireland’s Barnes Falls To Spain’s Heredia
By: Sean Crose

During last week’s opening Olympic ceremony in Rio, Ireland’s Paddy Barnes carried his nation’s flag. On Monday the 29 year old was figuratively sent packing when he lost a split decision to Spain’s 20 year old Samuel Carmona Heredia. A close fight, it was ultimately settled in the third and final round by Heredia’s slippery skill. Needless to say, fans of Olympic boxing were treated to a major upset. For, popular and experienced, Barnes was looking for a third medal after earning the Bronze in both China and England. Sadly for the Irishman, however, it simply wasn’t mean to be this time around.

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The media, which likes to use the same words and phrases in different outlets (so much for individuality) have taken hold of the word “shock” to describe Barnes’ fall to earth. Was Barnes’ himself shocked, however? Truly, it appears a dark truth occurred to the Belfast fighter during the bout. “To be honest, I felt good getting into the ring today,” the Independent quotes Barnes as saying after the loss. “But, to be honest with you, at the end of that first round, my energy was completely gone.” Still, the man made it clear he felt terrible after the loss.

“I’m absolutely devastated,” he admitted, claiming he had been “the favorite for gold.” Yet the light flyweight still had a final, devastating comment to add. “Just as well I got beaten,” he said, “because I would have been embarrassed next week.” A harsh assessment to be sure, but perhaps an honest one from a man who clearly claimed to have weight issues. That doesn’t take anything away from Spain’s Heredia, however. One doesn’t simply stun the world in a boxing match because one fighter has issues. It takes two, after all, to create an upset of such magnitude.

Needless to say, social media was ablaze after the fight.

“Anyway,” fellow Irish boxer Michael Conlon tweeted, “Paddy Barnes is a Legend of Irish sport and always will be! Done a lot more for Ireland than most ever will! #UpBarnes #Legend”

“Absolutely gutted for my mate @paddyb_ireland,” tweeted Irish star Carl Frampton.”I know how much he wanted that and how much he’s put in to these Olympics. Still a hero”

If there’s one fact that’s plainly obvious this week it’s that boxing will be more than a series of staid formalities at this year’s Olympics. Although Barnes’ loss is clearly hard on both he and his fans, some intrigue has now been injected into the ring in Rio. The unexpected, in short, has happened.

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HBO PPV Undercard Results: Gomez Dominates Herrera, Lemieux and Stevens Win by Stoppage


HBO PPV Undercard Results: Gomez Dominates Herrera, Lemieux and Stevens Win by Stoppage
By: William Holmes

The T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada held its first ever boxing event as Golden Boy Promotions put on a WBC Middleweight Title bout between Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Amir Khan.

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Three bouts were on the televised portion of the undercard, and the first fight of the night was between Patrick Teixeira (26-0) and Curtis Stevens (27-5) in the middleweight division.

Teixeira bumped up to the middleweight division from the junior middleweight division for this bout. He intends on going back down to the junior middleweight division.

Teixeira’s height and reach advantage was evident immediately, but Stevens was able to work around that by showing a lot of head movement and being the more active puncher. He was able to hurt Teixeira with a quick jab, and was able to land his left hook several times. Teixeira had to hold on several times and was outworked by the older Stevens.

Teixeira was moved back by a straight right hand from Stevens in the opening seconds of the second round, and Stevens followed it up with a hard left hook. Stevens was able to block most of the punches of Teixeira, and then landed a right hook that sent Teixeira down. Teixeira got back to his feet but was still wobbly, and the referee waived off the bout.

Curtis Stevens wins by TKO at 1:04 of the second round.

After the fight Stevens stated, “The name of the game is to knock people out and that’s what I did tonight. I feel great to get back into the game after my one and a half year break. I really want Lemieux, but I will take whatever I can get. My head is right, and I’m ready to take on whoever.”

The next bout of the night was between Mauricio Herrera (22-5) and Frankie Gomez (20-0) in the welterweight division.

Gomez was the more aggressive boxer in the first round and found a home for his lead left hook several times. Herrera looked a little rusty in the opening round and tied up with Gomez whenever he got in close.

Gomez controlled the action in the second round and was able to land and connect with his punches before Herrera could fire off his. Herrera had a cut under his left eye by the end of the round and Gomez was able to punctuate a strong round with a quick combination.

Herrera looked visibly frustrated at the start of the third round, and he came out more aggressive than the previous rounds and was able to land a few body punches. But, Gomez was sharper with his counter punches and still remained in control.

Gomez’s power punches were landing with regularity in the fourth round, and he had Herrera backing into a corner and taking some hard power shots. Gomez’s aggression continued in the fifth round and he had caused a small mouse to swell up under the right eye of Herrera.

Gomez dominated the sixth and seventh rounds while Herrera was able to offer little offense in return. By the eighth round Herrera looked exhausted and looked defeated in the ring.
Herrera clearly needed a knockout in the final two rounds to win the bout, but that knockout never came.

Frankie Gomez wins a clear decision with scores of 100-90 on all three scorecards.

Afterwards Gomez stated, “It feels good to get this victory. I trained really hard and it paid off. I’m ready to take on my next challenge and take on the best at 140. I want to thank my fans, and I’m glad I was able to put on a good show for them.”

The final bout on the undercard was in the middleweight division between David Lemieux (34-3) and Glen Tapia (23-2).

Glen Tapia bumped up in weight to take on the toughest opponent of his career, and he may have regretted it immediately. Lemieux was banging hard shots to the body and head of Tapia in the opening round and was ripping hard punches into the body of Tapia.

Lemieux had a very strong second round and had Tapia hurt several times. Tapia’s punching power paled in comparison to Lemieux, and Lemieux looked like he was close to scoring a knockdown.

Tapia was able to land a few straight right hands in the third round, but Lemieux still landed the harder shots and his left hook was giving Tapia problems.

Lemieux finally scored a knockdown in the fourth round from a hard left hook followed by a right hand to the top of the head. He was able to beat the count, but Tapia’s corner stopped the fight and did not allow the fight to continue.

Lemieux protested the stoppage, but he was taking a lot of hard shots.

David Lemieux wins by TKO at 0:56 of the fourth round.

Afterwards Lemieux stated, “This victory means the world to me. It proves all the doubters that Lemieux is back. When I first got offered the fight, I knew that it wasn’t going to be easy. We made sure to have the best training camp possible and within the first round I knew I was dominating. I knew after the first round that I would knock him out. I’m ready to be among the best in the middleweight division and become a world champion again.”

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HBO PPV Preview: Herrera vs. Gomez, Tapia vs. Lemieux, Khan vs. Canelo


HBO PPV Preview: Herrera vs. Gomez, Tapia vs. Lemieux, Khan vs. Canelo
By: William Holmes

On Saturday night Golden Boy Promotions will partner up with HBO to broadcast at least three fights on pay per view.

The brand new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada will be the host site for this card in which Canelo Alvarez will defend his WBC Middleweight title against Amir Khan. Two other fights are on tap for the card as David Lemieux looks to bounce back from his loss to Gennady Golovkin when he takes on “Jersey Boy” Glen Tapia in the middleweight division. The opening bout on the card should be between Mauricio Herrera and Frankie Gomez in the welterweight division.

The following is a preview of all three televised bouts on the pay per view.

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Mauricio Herrera (22-5) vs. Frankie Gomez (20-0); Welterweights

The opening bout of the night should be a coming out party for Frankie Gomez.

Freddie Roach once called Frankie Gomez his most prized prospect in the Wild Card Gym, and he has the amateur pedigree to back up that claim. Gomez won the 2009 US National Championships as an amateur in 2009 and has yet to taste defeat.

Mauricio Herrera will be a major step up in competition for Gomez and he is a crafty and tough veteran. Herrera however, is thirty five years old and will be eleven years older than Gomez. Gomez will be about a half an inch taller but will be giving up about an inch and a half in reach. Herrera has spent most of his career fighting in the lightweight division and fought in the junior welterweight division in his last fight.

Gomez’s biggest concern should be his recent lack of activity. He only fought once in 2016 and in 2015, and twice in 2014. His only big victories have come against Vernon Paris and Jorge Silva.

Herrera has beaten the likes of Hank Lundy, Johan Perez, Ji Hoon Kim, and Mike Dallas Jr. His losses have come to Jose Benavidez, Danny Garcia, Karim Mayfield and Mike Alvarado.

Herrera is the perfect test for Gomez at this stage of his career and it’s a test that Gomez should pass. Gomez’s past three wins have come by decision and Saturday should be no different.

David Lemieux (34-3) vs. Glen Tapia (23-2); Middleweights

This is a crossroads fight for both Lemieux and Tapia and both are coming off of tough stoppage losses. However, both boxers are under the age of thirty and have plenty of time to make another title run.

Lemieux is known for his incredible power and has stopped thirty one of his opponents. Tapia only has fifteen stoppage victories. Tapie will have an edge in height and reach, as he is an inch and a half taller and will have a three inch reach.

Lemieux won several Canadian Amateur Championships but did not compete in the Olympics. Tapia placed in several golden gloves tournaments as an amateur, but did not enjoy success on the international level.

Lemieux has the better resume as a professional. He has defeated the likes of Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam, Gabriel Rosado, Fernando Guerrero, Hector Camacho Jr., and Elvin Ayala. His losses were to Gennady Golovkin, Joachim Alcine, and Marco Antonio Rubio.

Tapie has defeated the likes of Daniel Dawsom, Abraham Han, and Ayi Bruce. He has lost to Michel Soro in a mild upset and James Kirkland.

Tapia’s chin has been exposed as suspect in recent fights and he will have a difficult time avoiding the power of Lemieux. A victory for Lemieux in combination with his drawing power in Montreal will likely lead to another future title shot for him.

Canelo Alvarez (46-1-1) vs. Amir Khan (31-3); WBC Middleweight Title

Amir Khan has been chasing a mega fight with either Floyd Mayweather Jr. or Manny Pacquiao and has come up short. He surprised everyone by signing on the dotted line to fight the current WBC Middleweight Champion Canelo Alvarez.

Amir Khan will be jumping up two weight classes to take on the bigger Canelo. Khan is four years older than Canelo and has the faster hands. He will be giving up about a half an inch in height but will have about a half an inch reach advantage.

Canelo does have a clear advantage in power and has the stronger chin. Canelo’s lone loss was by decision to Floyd Mayweather Jr. and two of the three losses for Amir Khan were by knockout. Canelo has stopped thirty two of his opponents while Khan has only stopped nineteen.

Canelo has also been the more active boxer. He fought twice in 2015 and in 2014. Khan only fought once in 2015 and 2013, but did fight twice in 2014.

Khan does have the edge in amateur experience. Khan won the silver medal in the 2004 Summer Olympics and Canelo won the gold medal at the 2005 Junior Mexican National Championships and then turned pro at the age of fifteen.

Khan’s losses were to Danny Garcia, Breidis Prescott, and a disputed decision loss to Lamont Peterson. He has beaten Chris Algieri, Devon Alexander, Louis Collazo, Julio Diaz, Carlos Molina, Zab Judah, Marcos Maidana, and Paul Malignaggi.

Canelo has defeated the likes of Miguel Cotto, James Kirkland, Erisandy Lara, Alfredo Angulo, Austin Trout, Shane Mosley, and Miguel Vazquez.

Khan’s speed could give Canelo problems, but it will be essential for him to stay out of the range of Canelo’s punches. Canelo looked very good in his last bout against Miguel Cotto and he has more power in his hands than Garcia and Prescott, both boxers that were able to stop Khan.

The most likely scenario is that Canelo will use his size to his advantage and trap Khan by the ropes and stop him before the championship rounds.

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