By: Sean Crose
“Our last two opponents were southpaws,” says 26-2 featherweight Jesus Rojas, who will be facing 15-2 orthodox contender Can Xu on January 26th at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. “We’re working on our jab,” he says of training camp, “we’re working on our head movement, and we’re working on our lateral movement.” Indeed, different fighters require different camps. “What changed primarily,” says Rojas, “was the sparring. We’re (now) sparring with people who are right handers.” The fight, which will be for the WBA featherweight title, is one Rojas wants to win in impressive fashion.
“I want to make sure that I win impressively,” the Caguas, the Puerto Rico native claims. An impressive win, after all, can lead to fights with such names as “Oscar Valdez, Leo Santa Cruz, or even (Josh) Warrington.” Not that he’s writing off Xu. “You have to be careful with what you’re doing with him,” he says of his upcoming opponent. “He’s a tall, strong boxer, and he’s ranked.” A native of China, Xu, 24, will be fighting on US soil for the second time in a row, his first American endeavor being a split decision win over Enrique Bernache last September in Las Vegas.
Rojas, on the other hand, is hoping to return in grand fashion after dropping a unanimous decision to Joseph Diaz last August in California. That fight was supposed to be for the WBA featherweight championship, but Diaz showed up a bit heavy and lost the opportunity to be crowned as a titlist. “I don’t think it (the weight) had an effect on the fight itself,” Rojas says with refreshing honesty. Still, Rojas feels Diaz lost “the opportunity to earn the title by losing the fight on the scale.” It’s simply something Rojas feels is indicative of “a lack of discipline.”
As for the future, Rojas has big plans for 2019 (provided he gets past Xu). “The plans are to win this fight and then unify the titles,” he says. As far as the issues that can keep champions from facing off, Rojas feels that’s “something that’s between the promoters.” The man simply wants to become an undisputed champion. “If we don’t have the opportunity to unify,” he claims, “we’ll move up in weight.”
By: Ken Hissner
Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions put on a card at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California televised live on ESPN2. Neeco “Rooster” Macias lost for the first time to 37 year-old veteran Jesus Karass in his career ending fight setting a record over three thousand punches thrown!
In the Main Event previously unbeaten Super Welterweight southpaw Neeco “Rooster” Macias, 17-1 (10), of Lancaster, CA, suffered his first loss to veteran Mexican Jesus “Renuente” Soto Karass, 29-13-4 (18), out of N. Hollywood, CA, in the winners career ending fight over 10 rounds of non-stop action.
Photo Credit: Golden Boy Promotions Twitter Page
In the first round Macias ran across the ring landing like a buzzsaw pinning Karass in his own corner. Karass gets in one to three of punches from Macias. The 37 year-old Karass in the final fight of his career can’t get off the ropes. Karass was returning as many punches as Macias. Both fighters were landing uppercuts galore.
In the second round Macias picked up where he left off pinning Karass against the ropes. The face and head of Karass was already red. An accidental head butt caused a cut over the right eye of Macias. Referee Thomas Taylor halted the action to take a look at the cut. A right hook from the southpaw Macias rocked the veteran Karass. Karass slides across the ropes trying to get away from Macias but couldn’t get away from the attack from Macias.
In the third round once again Macias has Karass against the ropes. Both are mostly landing wicked body shots. This one could have been held in a phone booth. Karass landed a good right hand to the chin of Macias who has no defense. The slugged it out right up to the bell. In the fourth round the “human buzzsaw” Macias had Karass against the ropes in the latter’s corner. Karass backs Macias up several steps until Macias backs Karass back into the corner. The trunks of Karass are covered with blood from the cuts from Macias. Both are throwing leather at a non-stop pace.
In the fifth round it body work from both continued with Karass sliding along the ropes into a neutral corner as hundreds of punches being thrown by both fighters. In the sixth round Macias finally went to the head with a left hook. Macias got warned for hitting Karass behind the back from referee Taylor. Karass was out landing the younger Macias. Karass walked back to his corner slowly looking exhausted.
In the seventh round head’s clashing and punches flying. Karass is out punching the 10 year younger Macias off the ropes. Well over a thousand punches landed with Macias closing in on the two-thousand mark. In the eighth round Karass tried to push Macias back with little success. The punches from Karass started getting wider being out landed two to one. Right up to the bell they were throwing punches.
In the ninth round Macias continues to start the round rushing over backing Karass against the ropes. It’s Karass landing more than Macias in this round. Fortunately for Karass the ropes are covered with leather or his back would be raw. Karass is out landing the younger Macias two to one.
In the tenth and final round of the career of Karass it was the only round Macias couldn’t rush across the ring since both fighters had to touch gloves. Within seconds Karass was backed against the ropes and still out landing the younger Macias. Karass continues to land the harder punches. It was non-stop punching from both fighters with blood coming from the cut over the right eye of Macias. It was a record setting amount of punches thrown and landed by both fighters. What a fight! Over three thousand punches thrown!
Scores were 95-95, 97-93 and 96-94 for Karass. This writer had it 95-95.
“I want to thank God being able to be in the ring with Karass,” said Macias.
Unbeaten NABF Featherweight Champion Manny “Chato” Robles lll, 17-0 (8), out of L.A., CA, won a split decision over Jose “El Torito” Gonzalez, 23-7 (13), out of Guadalajara, MEX, over 10 rounds.
In the first round Gonzalez came out firing punches off the jab while Robles was slipping and blocking punches with hand’s held high. In the final minute Robles goes on the offense backing up Gonzalez. A right from Robles on the chin buckled the knees of Gonzalez. In the second round Gonzalez countered with left hooks to the head of Robles who had his hands high. Robles got in a left hook to the chin of Gonzalez. Gonzalez switched to southpaw for a matter of seconds before returning to orthodox. It was a close round.
In the third round Gonzalez landed a solid combination to the chin of Robles. Both boxers went to the body of one another. Robles is wearing down Gonzalez. In the fourth round Gonzalez held his own but fell behind losing every round. Switching back and forth has not confused Robles who keeps looking for the knockout.
In the fifth round Robles missed a right and got countered by a left hook from Gonzalez to the chin. Robles landed a 3-punch combination to the body of Gonzalez. Robles missed a pair of right’s. Gonzalez backed Robles against the ropes landing a solid left hook to the nose drawing blood from Robles.
In the sixth round Gonzalez with hands to his side coming forward landed a left hook to the head of Robles. Referee Ray Corona allowed Gonzalez to hold a straight arm in the face until Gonzalez landed a right on the chin of Robles. Gonzalez countered with a right to the chin of Robles. Robles came back hurting Gonzales with a flurry of punches with a right doubling Gonzalez over. Robles landed punches right up until the bell.
In the seventh round Robles came out looking angry while it was Gonzalez landing left hooks while Robles went back to hands held high blocking punches best he could missing countering chopping right’s. Robles countered a Gonzalez left hook with a right cross to the chin. Gonzalez landed a solid right to the chin of Robles. It was the best round so far.
In the eighth round Gonzalez landed a pair of left hooks but got countered by a Robles right to the chin. Gonzales was pushed to the ropes then landed a right cross to the chin of Robles. Gonzalez had Robles turning southpaw on the defense. In the ninth round Gonzalez continues landed the left hook that doesn’t seem to have much power on it but is landing counting as points. Gonzalez had a right blocked but landed a double left hook to the body of Robles.
In the tenth and final round Gonzalez went on the attack until he ran into a right from Robles. Gonzalez knew he needed a knockout to pull the fight out landed a solid left to the chin of Robles. Robles continued to miss a chopping right to the head of Gonzalez. Robles finally got warned for holding down the head of Gonzalez. Robles won but didn’t impress.
Scores were 96-94 Robles, 96-94 Gonzalez and 97-93 for Robles as did this writer score it.
In addition, unbeaten Super Middleweight D’mitrus “Big Meech” Ballard, 19-0 (12), out of Temple Hills, MD, easily defeated Alan “Amenaza” Campa, 17-4 (11), out of Sonora, MEX, by scores of 80-72, 79-73 and 78-74 over 8 rounds.
By: Sean Crose
On August 11th, in Hollywood, the interim WBA world featherweight champ (more on that later) Jesus Rojas, 26-1-2, will defend his title against the 26-1 Joseph Diaz. This might seem problematic on the surface of things since Diaz calls California home. Rojas, however doesn’t mind. “I’ve had the opportunity to fight in places like Las Vegas and Las Angeles,” he tells me, “and I don’t feel any pressure fighting in the territory of Jospeh Diaz Junior.” In fact, Rojas has his own unique take on things. “The pressure,” he says, “is on Diaz.”
Fair enough. It’s Diaz, after all, who has to impress his home crowd. Not that Rojas doesn’t have anyone to impress himself. “I’m also a family man,” he says, adding “that’s been one of the keys” of his successful training camp. A native of Puerto Rico, Rojas is also aware of the island’s rich heritage in the fight game. “It’s an honor and it’s a joy,” he says of representing his home (especially the fact that he’s “the 59th champ” in Puerto Rico’s history) “and I feel really proud of it.” Yet, at the moment, Rojas knows must focus intently on his battle with Rios.
“We’ve definitely been making some changes,” he says of his training. Diaz, who lost his last fight, a title shot against the supremely gifted Gary Russel Jr., will be looking for redemption, a fact Rojas is well aware of. Still, Rojas feels it will be a different kind of fight than Diaz’ failed title attempt last May. Russel, Rojas points out, is a slick boxer, “whereas Jesus Rojas is a guy who comes to fight.” As training winds down, Rojas is ready for fireworks. “I think it’s going to be a war,” he says.
Although Diaz is the man before him, Rojas has plans for the future. “I’m focused on this fight,” he claims, “but I also want to be remembered and known as one of the best world champions and doing that means to fight the best.” One of the best that Rojas would like to face is the WBA super world featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz. Like many others, however, Rojas makes it clear that the WBA, which is widely regarded as a random and generally unprofessional organization, isn’t always in the business of ordering matches that would make sense.
“ I can’t really say that I’m going to get the opportunity,” to fight Santa Cruz, he tells me, even though both men hold WBA titles and fight at featherweight. “If we’re unable to make the fight with him,” Rojas claims, “we’re willing to fight any other word champion.”
“I feel sad,” he adds. “I started boxing for eleven years and I’ve been working very hard and training hard…because of that I’m actually very sad that things like that (a match with Santa Cruz) can’t take place.” Great though it is, boxing is a brutal sport – in more ways than one.
Live from the Casino del Sol in Tucson, Arizona, Golden Boy Promotions presented a handful of fights that were aired on ESPN2 and ESPN3.
Photo Credit: Tom Hogan-Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions
In the fourth round of the first televised fight, Cesar Diaz (5-0) forced Pedro Melo (17-18-2) to his knees with a body shot. Melo, however, complained of a shot to the back of the head and the referee did not give him a count. It was at this point that the excuses began for Melo. In the fifth round, he was knocked down again and before he got up started rotating his shoulder. The referee gave him his count. Melo got up and started walking around, still making a theatrical show of his injured shoulder. He had found his “out.” The referee asked if he wanted to continue. Melo shook his head. And so Diaz won by an uneventful TKO.
Up next Rafael Gramajo (9-1-1) fought German Meraz (58-45-2), who was a last-minute replacement for Sergio Najera. A veteran of over a hundred fights, Meraz made this fight fun to watch. He wasn’t there just to collect a paycheck. He was there to win and to entertain the crowd while doing it. The more experienced Meraz may not have dominated, but he did control the fight. Jerky, and a bit hyperactive, Meraz even slipped once, but that did not stop the crowd from rooting for him. The fight was ruled a draw, by majority decision, but one judge had Gramajo winning. Who knows what that judge was thinking.
The Hector Tanajara vs. Jesus Serrano fight was mostly uneventfully, except for an exciting fifth round exchange. Tanajara won, but not as decisively as the judges thought. Serrano was a last-minute replacement and gave Tanajara more trouble than he expected. Tanajara initially prepared to face Oscar Eduardo Quezada, and perhaps he was a bit unprepared to deal with a southpaw.
The co-main event was Ryan Garcia (11-0) vs. Cesar Valenzuela (14-5-1). Garcia’s power was on full display in the first round when he knocked Valenzuela down with a sharp left hook to the head. Garcia calls himself a boxing historian and his short shorts are certainly something from another era. Garcia knocked Valenzuela down two more times before the referee stopped the fight. Garcia has the potential to become a star. He’s veritable force of nature, a kid with enviable speed and power.
The main event was Jesus Soto Karass (28-12-4) vs. Juan Carlos Abreu (19-3-1). The 35-year-old Soto Karass started out slow, spending much of the first-round walking into Abreu’s hardest shots. Abreu ended the 1st round with a shot to the head that landed after the bell. In the 3rd round, there was a great exchange between both men, and Soto Karass landed a solid left hand to the head. Over the next two rounds, the flat-footed Soto Karass kept coming forward as Abreu kept skipping around. The younger Abreu looked fresh and more alive. Soto Karass slowed in the fifth. His punch count was down from previous fights. But he began to open up with his hands by the end of the sixth. Soto Karass kept up the pace into the seventh, but he continued to take punishment. Then, in the seventh round, Abreu knocked him down. Soto Karass staggered to his feet. The referee should have called off the fight then, but he let it continue. Moments later, he jumped in and called the fight off when Abreu caught Soto Karass on the ropes.
Follow B.A. Cass on Twitter @WiththePunch
By: B.A. Cass
After suffering a first-round KO from Henry Lebron in July, Oscar Eduardo Quezada (6-4) went on to beat Ernesto Gutierrez (0-7-1) in September. Now Quezada is being used as an opponent for the Hector Tanajara (10-0), the San Antonio super featherweight who hopes to be Golden Boy Promotions newest star. Tanajara still needs some development, but he’s young and fast. And he is unbeaten for a reason. Tanajara is a boxer, not a brawler. He has a three-inch height advantage over Quezada, and we can expect him to use his jab to keep Quezada at a safe distance, as he has effectively done with opponents in the past.
Photo Credit: Golden Boy Promotions
The fight between Jesus Serrano (17-4-2) and Genaro Gamez (6-0) should be much more exciting. At first glance, Serrano may seem like the more experienced fighter on a downward slide, a journeyman sent in to fight a younger, up-and-coming fighter who needs some credible wins on his resume. However, the four losses and two draws on Serrano’s record happened earlier in his career and is on a nine-fight winning streak. He has also knocked out over half of his opponents. As for Gamez, he may have less professional experience, but he’s a dangerous fighter: of the six fights he has fought, four have ended in first round KOs. Both fighters like to keep their hands down. Expect a brawl.
Ryan Garcia (11-0) vs. Cesar Valenzuela (14-5) is the fight on the undercard that you won’t want to miss. Valenzuela is a strong, more experienced opponent, but Garcia, who looks about twelve years old, has a knockout record that rivals Deontay Wilder’s. He’s sharp too, and when his punches connect (as they often do), the result is devastating. He was last seen in the ring in September when he knocked out Miguel Carrizoza with a powerful shot to the head that was so fast it was almost invisible.
Jesus Soto Karass (28-12-4) wants to show the boxing world that he isn’t just another aging gatekeeper. He’ll get his chance this Thursday, Nov. 2 when he encounters Juan Carlos Abreu (19-3-1), the aggressive Dominican fighter who likes to taunt his opponents as he stalks them around the ring. Karass has beaten some decent talent, including Andre Berto. Recently, however, he’s lost more than he’s won. This fight may be his last chance to prove himself, and he’s sure to give everything he’s got.
Hosted by Casino Del Sol in Tucson, Arizona, this 10-round main event will be aired at 11 PM (EST) on ESPN2.
ESPN3 will stream the undercard fights starting at 9:30 PM (EST). Make sure to tune in early so that you don’t miss the fight between US Olympian Marlen Esparza (3-0) and Karla Valenzuela (3-16-3). It should be a one-sided affair, but Esparza is supremely talent and it will be fun to watch.
Follow B.A. Cass on Twitter @WiththePunch
By: William Holmes
The Marquee Ballroom at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada was the host site for tonight’s Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN Card.
The venue was a more intimate venue with good views for the fans in attendance.
Photo Credit: Tom Hogan-Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions
The opening bout of the televised card was between Damon Allen Jr. (12-0) and Jayro Duran (10-2) in the lightweight division.
Damon Allen is a Philadelphia native and considered by many to be on of the area’s best prospects.
Allen was in clear control the opening rounds and was able to land his left hook and jab with ease. He was able to control the distance and fight a measured but controlling pace on Duran.
Duran was able to land a thudding right hook in the fifth round that caught Allen by surprise momentarily, but Allen was able to outland Duran for the remainder and in this writer’s opinion still won the round.
Allen won a large majority of the remainder rounds and was sharp with his combinations and didn’t appear to tire even though Duran was able to continuously come forward. However Allen did not show that he had fight stopping power, but he did have good boxing skills.
All three judges scored the bout 79-72 for Damon Allen Jr.
The next bout of the night was in the Super Featherweight Division between Ryan Garcia (10-0) and Miguel Carrizoza (10-2) in the Super Bantamweight division. This bout was for the Junior NABF Super Featherweight Title.
Garcia came right out and landed a thudding right hook in the opening seconds that sent Carrizoza down to the mat. As soon as Carrizoza got to his feet Garcia landed another thudding hook that sent him down to the mat and the referee stopped the fight.
Two punches, two knockdowns, quick stoppage. Impressive fight for Garcia.
Ryan Garcia wins by TKO at 0:30 of the first round.
The next bout of the night was between Alexis Salazar (11-3) and Evan Torres (6-4) in the middleweight division. This bout was a TV swing bout.
Salazar was the taller fighter and he attempted to use his reach to keep Torres at bay. Torres, however, applied consistent pressure but he appeared to be more effective in the earlier rounds.
Both boxers took advantage of the opportunity to possibly be on television and had some heavy exchanges in the later rounds.
The final scorecards were read in Torres favor: 59-55, 58-56, and 60-54.
The televised main event was between Claudio Marrero (22-1) and Jesus Rojas (25-1-2) for the WBA Interim Featherweight Title.
Rojas is known for his hard charging come forward style and he had Marrero backing into a corner early. Marrero was mixing his combinations to the body and head and at one point pushed Rojas down into the corner. Marrero landed several good uppercuts in the opening round.
Marrero controlled the distance in the second round and showed he was clearly the fighter with the faster hands. Rojas was able to do a better job in the third round keeping the fight in close quarters, but Marrero was dominating when there was some separation between the two fighters.
Rojas dominated the fourth and fifth rounds and looked like he was wearing Marrero down. He kept his head in the chest of his opponents and was landing heavy shots, though Marrero was able to get in some good combinations of his own.
Marrero was able to retake control in the sixth round by landing good combinations and even backing Rojas up. Marrero could be seen jawing to his opponent throughout the sixth.
Marrero looked like he was catching his second round in the seventh round until Rojas landed a devastating combination with a fight ending left hook that sent Marrero down to the mat. Marrero was badly hurt and unable to get up before the count of ten.
Jesus Rojas wins by knockout at 2:59 of the seventh round.
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.
Mares Impresses, Charlo Destroys In Satisfying Showtime Card
It was a battle of undefeateds Saturday night in California as Jernall Charlo – 24-0 – defended his IBF super welterweight title against Philadelphia tough guy Julian Williams – 22-0-1 – at the USC campus in Los Angeles. This was no mere tuneup. This was two top divisional fighters throwing down. It was, in short, the real thing. Both men were active and sharp in the first, with no one landing anything too significant. Things remained sharp in the second until – bang – Charlo dropped his man with a jab. Williams beat the count and the two men took to banging away for the next several seconds. Things settled down – but then Williams landed hard himself.
It was becoming an exciting affair.
Things got a bit quiet in the third – at least by the standards that had been set by the match so far. In the fourth, Williams started landing clean and hard with some consistency. It remained, however, a very close bout. Williams continued to land in the fifth, but an absolutely thunderous shot from Charlo put Williams down in highlight reel fashion. Williams managed to get up – but Charlo put him right back down again and that was the end of the fight.
Unfortunately, in an act of bad sportsmanship, Charlo refused to tap William’s offered glove after the fight. It was an off putting footnote to an impressive performance. Afterwards, however, the man publicly expressed remorse when being interviewed by Showtimes’ Jim Grey. “I apologize for me being a fighter and letting my emotions take over me,” he said.
The audience at USC appeared to be unforgiving, but that didn’t take away the fact the man apologized in public. What more could be expected of the guy?
It was then time for the main event. Thirty-one-year-old Abner Mares – 29-2-1 – was giving what might be a last grasp at glory by facing the menacing 28-1 Jesus Cuellar for Cuellar’s WBA featherweight title. The first round belonged to the veteran challenger, Mares, who controlled space and fired effectively. Cuellar started trying to rough his man up in the second and managed to find some success. Mares, however, wasn’t simply going to roll over.
Cuellar began asserting himself in the third, moving forward and landing hard. Mares landed straight and clean in the first minute of the fourth. Indeed, the experienced pro re-asserted himself and took the round. Mares went on to employ an impressive skill set throughout the fifth. Cuellar, however, kept the fight very close in the sixth, possibly taking the round with a clean shot in the final seconds. And indeed, things remained close and exciting throughout the seventh.
Yet Mares looked completely in control in the eighth. As the fight moved onto the later rounds it became clear that Mares controlled tempo and distance – but Cuellar landed the harder shots. Depending on one’s preference, it wasn’t hard seeing the rounds go to one man or another. Mares landed hard after the bell at the end of the ninth, of course, but illegal shots simply don’t count. Things remained incredibly close in the tenth – but then Cuellar tasted the canvas in the eleventh.
Cuellar got up, but it looked like Mares was going to stop him. Cuellar managed to survive the round and even remained competitive. Still, it was clear by that point that Mares had the edge. Mares played defense in the center of the ring in the twelfth and began raising his hands in victory before the round even ended. Here was a supremely confident man.
Ultimately, the judges went for Mares by split decision. Those who had possibly written Mares’ career off after his 2015 loss to Leo Santa Cruz had clearly done so too soon.
Showtime Championship Boxing Preview: Anthony Joshua vs. Eric Molina, Cuellar vs. Mares, Charlo vs. Williams
By: William Holmes
Showtime will be televising three world title fights on Saturday from two separate locations. The first bout they will be showing is an IBF Heavyweight Title Bout between Anthony Joshua and Eric Molina in Manchester, England. Coincidentally, HBO will also be showing a heavyweight title bout around the same time.
The other two bouts they will be showing is a WBA Featherweight Title bout between Jesus Cuellar and Abner Mares, as well as a very intriguing IBF Junior Middleweight Title bout between Jermall Charlo and Julian Williams.
Two of the three bouts should be very competitive and intriguing bouts, with only the heavyweight bout having a clear and hands down favorite.
The following is a preview of all three world title bouts.
Anthony Joshua (17-0) vs. Eric Molina (25-3); IBF Heavyweight Title
Of the three world title fights that Showtime is televising, this is by far, the biggest mismatch.
Eric Molina is thirty four years old and seven years older than his opponent. He will be giving up three inches in reach and two inches in height. He also has three knockout losses and will be facing an opponent that has defeated every single boxer he’s faced as a professional by stoppage.
Molina does have nineteen knockouts, but he was unable to stop nine of his opponents.
Anthony Joshua has been very active in the past two years. He has already fought twice in 2016 and fought five times in 2015. Molina fought once in 2016 and three times in 2015.
Joshua has the edge in amateur experience. He won the gold medal in the Super Heavyweight division in 2012. Joshua will also be fighting in front of a friendly crowd in Manchester, England.
The only reason Molina is fighting Joshua is because he scored a huge upset over the veteran Tomasz Adamek in his last fight in Adamek’s home country of Poland. However, his list of notable victories is short. His biggest wins have come against Adamek, DaVarryl Williamson, and Tony Grano. He has lost, by stoppage, to Deontay Wilder, Chris Arreola, and Ashanti Jordan.
Joshua has defeated the likes of Dominic Breazeale, Charles Martin, Dillian Whyte, Gary Cornish, and Kevin Johnson.
Every single victory that Joshua has earned has come by way of stoppage. Every single loss that Molina has suffered has come by way of stoppage.
The expectations are that those trends will continue.
Jesus Cuellar (28-1) vs. Abner Mares (29-2-1); WBA Featherweight Title
Abner Mares has had recent issues with his eyes and it has been questioned if he should ever fight again.
Mares is a good boxer, but he’s a former bantamweight world champion and is likely fighting in a higher weight class than he should be.
Mares will be giving up an inch and a half in height to Jesus Cuellar and will be giving up two inches in reach. Cuellar also has the edge in power. He has twenty one stoppage victories, all at a higher weight class than what Mares is used to competing in. Mares’ power hasn’t followed him as he’s gone up in weight classes but he still has fifteen stoppage victories.
Mares is two years older than Cuellar, but has been in the ring with some of the best bantamweights the sport of boxing has to offer. His losses were to Leo Santa Cruz and Jhonny Gonzlaez. He has defeated the likes of Daniel Ponce De Leon, Jonathan Oquendo, Anselmo Moreno, Eric Morel, Joseph Agbeko, and Vic Darchinyan.
Cuellar hasn’t fought the same level of competition that Mares has fought as a professional, but he still has an impressive resume. He has defeated Jonathan Oquendo, Vic Darchinyan, Ruben Tamayo, Juan Manuel Lopez, and Rico Ramos. His lone loss was in 2011 to Oscar Escandon.
The biggest question mark about Cuellar on Saturday will be ring rust. He had no fights in 2016 and will be in the ring with an experienced opponent.
Mares does have the edge in amateur experience. Cuellar experienced some success in regional tournaments as an amateur, but Mares represented Mexico in the 2004 Olympics.
Mares career appears to be on the downside of his career. He’s good enough to make the fight competitive and close with Cuellar, but Cuellar is the naturally bigger boxer and should be considered the favorite.
Jermall Charlo (24-0) vs. Julian Williams (22-0-1); IBF Junior Middleweight Title
If you talk to anyone involved in the Philadelphia boxing scene, they will tell you that Julian “J-Rock” Williams is one of Philadelphia’s best boxers and has the potential to be a world champion.
That reputation may have hurt Williams’ chances at securing a title shot as he has been avoided by many the past two years, but he’ll get his first chance at a world title against a very dangerous champion.
Jermall Charlo, one half of the Charlo twins, is the same age as Williams but will have a one inch height and a one inch reach advantage over Williams. He also has more knockout victories. He has stopped eighteen of the boxers he’s faced while Williams has only stopped fourteen.
They both had good amateur careers, but neither can claim any international amateur success.
Charlo has the more impressive professional resume. He has defeated the likes of Austin Trout, Wilky Campfort, Cornelius Bundrage, and Antwone Smith. Two of Charlo’s past four fights were stoppage victories.
Williams has had trouble attracting a top name opponent into the ring with him, but he has beaten fighters such as Marcello Matano, Luciano Leonel Cuello, Joey Hernandez, Freddy Hernandez, and Joachim Alcine. However, William’s power appears to be improving as he has stop four of his past five opponents.
Everything on paper appears to suggest that Charlo should be the favorite on Saturday, but Williams has been avoided for a reason, and this writer believes Williams will win the IBF Junior Middleweight Title on Saturday.
HBO World Championship Boxing Preview: Chocolatito vs. Cuadras, Golovkin vs. Brook
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night HBO will broadcast two world championship fights from two different venues. Pound for pound king Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez will be bumping up to the junior bantamweight division to chase after another world title when he faces off against Carlos Cuadras. If he is successful he will have won titles in four different weight classes. Earlier in the day knockout artist Gennady Golovkin will be defending his middleweight titles when he faces welterweight world champion Kell Brook.
The Gonzalez vs. Cuadras bout will take place at the Forum in Inglewood, California and the Golovkin vs. Brook bout will take place at the O2 Arena in London, England on Brook’s home turf. HBO will also be televising a rematch between Yoshihiro Kamegai and Jesus Soto-Karass in the junior middleweight division. Their previous fight was considered by many to be a fight of the year candidate.
The following is a preview of both world title fights.
Carlos Cuadras (35-0-1) vs. Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (45-0); WBC Junior Bantamweight Title
Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez is a three division world champion and considered by many to be the best pound for pound boxer in the world today. However, there are limits to how many weight classes an individual can be a champion in and he’s facing a legitimate junior bantamweight world champion.
Gonzalez will be giving up five inches in height and two inches in reach to Cuadras. Cuadras is also one year younger than Gonzalez, but both are in their physical primes.
They both have been fairly active in the past two years. Cuadras fought three times in 2014 and in 2015, and already fought once in 2016. Gonzalez fought four times in 2014, three times in 2015, and once so far in 2016.
They both had experienced success as an amateur. Cuadras is a Pan American gold medalist and a gold medalist in the International Junior Olympics. Chocolatito has an alleged record of 88-0 as an amateur, but does not have any notable international amateur tournament victories.
Chocolatito has beaten the likes of Yutaka Niida, Juan Francisco Estrada, Rocky Fuentes, Akiri Yaegashi, Edgar Sosa, Brian Viloria, and McWilliams Arroyo. Cuadras has defeated the likes of Marvin Mabait, Luis Concepcion, Dixon Flores, Koki Eto, and Richie Mepranum.
Gonzalez has more world title fight experience and has a record of 14-0 in world title fights. Cuadras has a record of 6-0 in world title fights.
Both boxers have considerable power. Cuadras has twenty seven stoppage victories, and three of his past five fights were by stoppage victory. Gonzalez has thirty eight stoppage victories.
It will be interesting to see how Gonzalez handles the length and reach of Cuadras. Gonzalez, who was a world champion in the minimumweight division, will likely be unable to jump additional weight classes if he’s victorious on Saturday and he has a very tough test ahead of him. This should be an entertaining and technical bout, but Gonzalez should be able to pull off the decision victory, but may have his chin tested in the process.
Gennady Golovkin (35-0) vs. Kell Brook (36-0); WBA/WBC/IBF Middleweight Titles
Don’t let the fact that Kell Brook is jumping up two weight classes to fight Gennady Golovkin fool you. Brook is a large welterweight and Golovkin is a smaller middleweight. In fact, Brook has been weighing in heavier than Golovkin in the weeks leading up to the fight.
One of the biggest question marks about Golovkin is his age. He’s thirty four years old and doesn’t have many years left in his prime. His opponent is four years younger than him. Golovkin, however, will have a slight one and a half inch height advantage and a one inch reach advantage.
Despite the fact he’s a major star in boxing, Golovkin has kept a fairly active schedule. He has fought once in 2016, three times in 2015, and three times in 2014. Brook has been having trouble finding a big fight in the welterweight division and fought twice in 2014 and in 2015, and once in 2016.
Golovkin’s power is well known and can be considered legendary. He has thirty two knockouts on his resume and is in the midst of an incredible streak that consists of twenty two wins by knockout in a row. Brook’s power can’t be overlooked, he has stopped twenty five opponents and has one four of his past five fights by stoppage.
Brook will be fighting in front of his home crowd at the O2 arena and that will be a big advantage for him. He has defeated the likes of Kevin Bizier, Frankie Gavin, Ionut Dan Ion, Shawn Porter, Vyacheslav Senchenko, Matthew Hatton, and Luis Galarza.
The last person to go the distance against Golovkin was Amar Amari in 2008. He has steamrolled every boxer he’s faced since then. He has defead the likes of Dominic Wade, David Lemieux, Willie Monroe Jr., Martin Murray, Marco Antonio Rubio, Daniel Geale, Curtis Stevens, Matthew Macklin, Nobuhiro Ishida, Gabriel Rosado, Kassim Ouma, and Grzegorz Proksa.
Golovkin has to be very careful to not overlook Kell Brook. Brook is a very good, technical boxer and is considered by many to be a top 10 pound for pound fighter. Golovkin’s power should be able to lead him to victory, but don’t be surprised if he knockout streak ends on Saturday night.
PBC on CBS Preview: Thurman vs. Porter, Hurd vs. Molina
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions will put on one of their best cards on network television of the year as Keith Thurman defends his WBA Welterweight Title against Shawn Porter in the main event of the evening.
Abner Mares was originally scheduled to face Jesus Cuellar in the co-main event of the evening, but an injury to Abner Mares forced him to withdraw. Instead, fight fans will be get to see two prospects battle it out in the junior middleweight division when Jarret Hurd takes on Oscar Molina.
The Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York has been a boxing hotspot since the Barclays Center inception and it will be the host site for Saturday’s fight card.
Jarrett Hurd (17-0) vs. Oscar Molina (13-0-1); Junior Middleweights
Jarrett “Swift” Hurd first burst into the national spotlight when he scored an upset stoppage victory over Frank Galarza, and win over Molina could lead to a big fight in the junior middleweight division.
His opponent, Oscar Molina, will be the third straight undefeated opponent he has faced in a row and is also known for his power. Hurd has stopped eleven of his opponents and four of his past five fights failed to go the distance. Molina has ten stoppage wins, and three of his past five fights failed to go the distance.
Hurd is twenty five years old and Molina is twenty six, but Hurd will have a four inch height advantage and a six and a half inch reach advantage. They both have been very active the past two years. Hurd fought three times in 2015 and four times in 2014 while Molina fought twice in 2014 and four times in 2015.
Hurd has the better professional record so far. He has beaten the likes of Jeff Lentz, Frank Galarza, and Eric Mitchell. He’s also never been knocked down during his professional career. Molina has not beaten many names of note, but has defeated the likes of Adrien Torres and drew with Domonique Dolton.
The only noteworthy advantage Molina has over Hurd is that he fought in the 2012 Olympics for Mexico. However, Hurd is in the middle of an impressive winning streak and his height, reach, and power will be too much for Molina to handle over the course of ten rounds.
Keith Thurman (26-0) vs. Shawn Porter (26-1-1); WBA Welterweight Title
The main event of the evening is the best fight the PBC can put on in the welterweight division.
Keith Thurman, the current WBA Welterweight Champion, is considered by many to be the best boxer in the welterweight division now that Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. have retired. However, Shawn Porter recently beat Adrien Broner, the man many people felt would replace Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Porter is twenty nine years old and two years older than Thurman. Thurman will have a slight half an inch height advantage on Porter and Porter will have a slight half an inch reach advantage on Thurman.
They both fought twice in 2015 and in 2014. Thurman has the heavier hands, as he has stopped twenty two of his opponents while Porter has only stopped sixteen. However, as the level of competition that Thurman faces continues to get better his knockouts seems to be happening less often. Two of the past three opponents that Thurman has faced went the distance.
Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter both experienced success as an amateur. Porter was a US National Golden Gloves Champion and Thurman was an Olympic Trials Runner Up.
They both have an impressive resume as a professional. Thurman has defeated the likes of Luiz Collazo, Robert Guerrero, Leonard Bundu, Jesus Soto Karass, Diego Chavez, and Jan Zaveck. Porter has defeated Adrien Broner, Paul Malignaggi, Devon Alexander, Phil Lo Greco, and Alfonso Gomez. Porter’s lone loss was to Kell Brook.
This should be an excellent fight and could go either way. Thurman has to be considered the favorite based on his undefeated record and power. Porter is a physical and in your face type of boxer, but he can get sloppy at times and Thurman is the type of boxer that will eat up your mistakes.
Boxing Insider Interview With Jesus Cuellar
By: Francisco Martinez
Plot thickens heading into Jesus Cuellar vs Abner Mares as not too long ago 2012 trainer of the year Robert Garcia was in Cuellar’s corner. Now, things have changed and along the way Robert Garcia has been extremely outspoken about the way things ended with Jesus Cuellar. BoxingInsider had the opportunity to ask Robert Garcia if things where personal and Robert stated “No, nothing personal. I have nothing against Team Cuellar. Donald is apart of it, Henry, I’ve known him since we where kids. It’s just business, you know, it just happened. It’s not like I went out looking for revenge or looking for Cuellar. Mares and his people are the ones that approached me. At that time I was free you know, not working with Cuellar anymore so I took advantage of it. First we where suppose to fight (Fernando) Montiel. It’s not like I went out looking for the fight against Cuellar. This just happened to be a good fight that Abner wanted. If I’m not mistaken Al Haymon asked him and he preferred that fight so he took it”
BoxingInsider managed to get in a few questions with Jesus Cuellar and get his side of the story and how he feels about facing his former trainer Robert Garcia in his upcoming bout versus Abner Mares for his WBA world featherweight title.
BoxingInsider: I’ve gotten the chance to ask Robert if he’s taking the fight with you personal being the way that you guys left things. How do you feel about this fight? Robert says it’s not personal but how are you taking this fight?
Jesus Cuellar: The same, it’s business. Me and Mares are both professionals and we’re going to demonstrate our best in the fight.
As Abner Mares took his turn on the podium to speak his mind he opened up by saying “I’m a level fighter and I’m going to show him there’s a deferences…” Mares went on to say “I’m working with Robert Garcia now and we’re taking this fight really serious. It’s a fight that we’re going to gain so much (from) and Robert to as he once worked with Jesus Cuellar. We’re just going to show, with me, as in example, it was a big mistake leaving him”
Jesus Cuellar took exception to those remarks and said “If I’m a lower level fighter than why are they throwing me in there with him? Why did he take the fight? (Laughs) He wants to be champion (I’m the champion)”
BoxingInsider: Is there any pressure there to have success being that Sergio Martinez is long retired. (Marcos) Maidana looks like he’s not coming back anytime soon. Is there any pressure to carry the torch for the Argentinian boxing scene?
Jesus Cuellar: No, no, for me there’s no pressure. I train in the gym with my team and the flag is always risen. In the ring or in the gym.
BoxingInsider: Just as he’s facing Abner Mares, (Leo) Santa Cruz is facing (Carl) Frampton. It’s kind of a tournament to see who’s the best 126lbs. How does he feel about that fight, Santa Cruz vs Frampton?
Jesus Cuellar: It’s a great fight and Leo (Santa Cruz) is a great fighter. He’s going to be victorious but I will show to each and everyone of them who’s the best fighter in the division.
BoxingInsider: Not looking past Mares but in the future if, Santa Cruz beats Frampton would you like a showdown with Santa Cruz to prove who’s the real WBA champion?
Jesus Cuellar: Yes but first we have our fights and if I get past Mares than yes, I would love a fight against Santa Cruz.
Jesus Cuellar vs Abner Mares is apart of the Keith Thurman vs Shawn Porter card a “hybrid” broadcast dubbed Showtime championship boxing on CBS. Basically brings Showtime programmed boxing to “free” television around the world. Feeding off the “free boxing 4 all” vision Premier Boxing Champions has brought to millions of fans all over the world since its inception.
With a win Jesus Cuellar looks to set up a mega showdown with Current WBA Super World featherweight champion in Leo Santa Cruz who he, himself has the heavy task of vanquishing Carl Frampton who’s making the move up in weight from 122lbs (Super Bantamweight) to 126lbs (Featherweight) in the process giving up his WBA & IBF 122lbs titles for the lucrative opportunity to face Santa Cruz.
As for Abner Mares, he’s aiming to become a 4 time world champion and avoiding what many critics feels could be his last opportunity to prove he’s still a “A level” fighter, his words, not ours. Abner Mares also used the same punchline when he fought Leo Santa Cruz at the Staples Center in front of 13k fans, stating, “Leo Santa Cruz is a fighter who has fought nothing but C-level fighters. Now he’s fighting an A-level fighter…” In his fight against Santa Cruz Mares didn’t stick to the game plan but feels with Robert Garcia in his corner things will play out much more different. If Abner Mares wants the opportunity to make things right with Santa Cruz he has to get past Cuellar, the “mini Marcos Maidana” according to Showtime executive vice president Stephen Espinoza.
So tune in this June 25th for an action packed card at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. make sure to use hashtags #PBCONCBS #CUELLARMARES on social media to follow all coverage on fight.