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Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN Recap: Abreu Stops Soto Karass, Garcia Defeats Valenzuela


by.B.A. Cass

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

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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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HBO World Championship Boxing Preview: Chocolatito vs. Cuadras, Golovkin vs. Brook


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.

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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.

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