Miguel Berchelt is Looking to Take Over the Junior Lightweight Division
By Rich Lopez
Who is the best junior lightweight today? Many considered Vasyl Lomachenko the best junior lightweight at one time but he has now settled in the lightweight division. Right now the division is up for grabs and there are many good fighters in the division. Today, the man considered the number one junior lightweight is Miguel Berchelt, and yes I do have to agree with this.
Miguel “El Alacran” Berchelt from Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico has a record of 37-1, 33 KO’s and he is the current WBC Junior Lightweight Champion. He is considered a boxer puncher that throws good combinations with power. Berchelt only has one blemish on his record, which was a technical knockout to Luis Eduardo Florez in the 1st round back in 2014. Berchelt was caught cold with a left hook and went down but got up, prompting the referee to stop the fight. Many thought the fight was stopped too quickly. Ever since then, Berchelt has been on a roll. He has had 16 straight victories with only one of those victories going to distance.
Berchelt was introduced to American audiences in 2017 on HBO and he made a huge statement. He won the WBC World Junior Lightweight title against the durable Francisco Vargas from Mexico. The fight took place in early of 2017. Berchelt beat and cut up Vargas, which prompted the referee to stop the fight in the 11th round in an entertaining bout. He made his first defense of the title when he faced off with Japan’s Takashi Mirura in the summer of 2017. Berchelt dominated the rugged Japanese to earn a unanimous decision in 12 rounds. In 2018, Berchelt scored stoppages against Maxwell Awuku, Jonathan Barros, and Miguel Roman. So far in 2019, Berchelt has continued to stay busy as an active champion. Berchelt stopped Francisco Vargas again in a rematch in May of 2019. About two weeks ago, Berchelt scored another stoppage over Jason Sosa in an exciting matchup.
Right now, Berchelt has the chance to unify titles with the other belt holders such as: Jamel Herring, Andrew Cancio, and Tevin Farmer. To make things more interesting, featherweights Leo Santa Cruz and Oscar Diaz will be moving up to junior lightweight division as well. Berchelt has also gone on record and stated he will fight anyone including moving up in weight to fight Vasyl Lomachenko. Even though the Lineal championship is up for grabs in the junior lightweight division, Berchelt is the number one guy in the division. There is no question about it. Berchelt is an active champion and has already made six title defenses of his title. This is far more than what any other champion has done in the division. On top of that, Berchelt is a must see TV fighter. All of his fights are action packed and he always goes for the knockout.
Berchelt is close to reaching the top of the pound for pound rankings. Another win against one of the current champions at junior lightweight could land him there. Also like Canelo Alvarez, Berchelt would like to be recognized as one of the best fighters from Mexico today.
Miguel Berchelt Forces Jason Sosa’s Corner to Throw in the Towel
By Robert Aaron Contreras
Again in violent fashion, Miguel Berchelt (37-1, 33 KO) overpowered his opposition in defense of his super featherweight crown, bruising and bashing Jason Sosa (23-4-4, 16 KO) to a fourth-round TKO victory Saturday night at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
Sosa, though, was the first one on the move. He chugged forward in that swarming, squared manner. Both fists oscillating. While the title challenger did force Berchelt backwards, the Mexican champion scored with harpoon jabs. Fighting in reverse, the WBC title holder remained composed.
In the second period, Sosa again brushed Berchelt to the ropes. But returning his way were left hooks. A coupled clinked off Sosa’s dome and he went down. He made it back to his feet, somehow surviving not only the rest of the frame but also a ruckus third round.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Promotions Twitter Account
Berchelt’s momentum grew with the intensity of his attack. Despite Sosa’s being in the center of the ring, Berchelt ripped right and left hooks to the body and head. The formula was simple: right, left hook upstairs followed by a shoveling left to the midsection. Again and again, the combo reeled off.
The fight clearly belonged to the champion. Berchelt, who has held firm of the WBC strap since another bludgeoning performance over Francisco Vargas in 2017, geared up in between the third and fourth rounds to reclaim his green belt for the fifth time.
Sosa did not get the memo. He walked out for the fateful execution with confidence. Soon he met Berchelt with colliding power punches: both men lowering their weight into overhand rights. Berchelt’s blow made Sosa freeze up and drew blood from his left eye.
The two-handed attack continued. Their sequences changing form. Berchelt fired a lead right uppercut to Sosa’s jaw and then shoe-shined curling right and left hands to the head. Just under the one-minute mark, more punches to the face had Sosa’s attention and Berchelt zipped a left dig to the crumbling man’s belly. Sosa collapsed to a knee—eating a quick one-two on the way down for good measure.
Referee Jack Reiss assessed the fallen boxer. After barely beating the count, Sosa was quickly under attack and his corner signaled for the end of the abuse.
The dominant win affirmed Berchelt’s place atop the 130-pound division. Despite calls from fellow super featherweight champions—not in the least being IBF envoy Tevin Farmer—the WBC’s man does not seem to have any unifications on his mind but continually picking off notable names, and delivering crushing knockouts, can still line your pockets in this sport.
The successful title defense extended Berchelt’s 16-fight win streak since a shocking stoppage loss early in the regional ranks. The WBC champion has also knocked out his previous five opponents.
Next up for Berchelt is no secret, after the fight naming countryman Oscar Valdez, who is scheduled for the end of the month.
“I will wait until the Valdez fight, Berchelt said. “If he wants to fight, I’m right here.”
Miguel Berchelt-Francisco Vargas Rematch Set, 3/23 on ESPN; Winner Could Get Lomachenko
By Jake Donovan
Miguel Berchelt and Francisco Vargas are prepared to do it all again—and this time, with even more at stake than just the 130-pound title.
A rematch to their Jan. ’17 thriller—which Berchelt won by 11th round knockout to dethrone the previously unbeaten Vargas—is set for March 23 at The Forum in Inglewood, California. The bout will air live on ESPN, with the event to be presented by Berchelt’s U.S. promoter Top Rank, who’ve already teased a loftier prize for the winner.
“It’s very possible that the winner of this terrific rematch will go on to face lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko later this year,” promoter Bob Arum said of the bout.
Berchelt (35-1, 30KOs) has exploded onto the 130-pound scene, beginning with his systematic dismantling of Vargas in their first meet. The bout was competitive early and befitting their all-action styles, but with Berchelt eventually wearing down his battered countryman in lifting the title.
Four defenses have since followed, most recently scoring a 9th round knockout of countryman Miguel Roman in an entertaining—if not one-sided—ESPN+ streamed bout this past November in El Paso, Texas.
With the historic Forum playing host to the rematch, Merida, Mexico’s Berchelt plays the California circuit for the third time in his two-plus year title reign. His title win over Vargas took place in Indio, Calif., while The Forum itself played host to his first defense, a points win over former titlist Takashi Miura in July ’17.
Miura was responsible for the all-action title reign of Vargas (25-1-2, 18KOs), who overcame a 4th round knockdown to drop and stop the reigning champ from Japan in the 9th round of their unforgettable Nov. ’15 war.
The savagely brutal war not only stole the show from the evening’s far more prolific headliner—Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez’s historic World middleweight championship win over Miguel Cotto—but would go on to gain universal recognition as 2015 Fight of the Year.
It also appeared to take quite a bit out of Mexico City’s Vargas, who was sidelined for much of the first part of 2016 to allow several cuts to heal.
His ring return was hardly a let-up in competition, once again thrown the wolves in fighting former two-division titlist Orlando Salido to a 12-round draw in June. Once again, Vargas managed to produce a Fight of the Year-level performance, but the back-to-back wars showed its effect by the time he got to Berchelt.
Two wins have followed for the 34-year old slugger, scoring a technical decision win over veteran contender Stephen Smith in Dec. ’17 and—in his lone ring action of 2018—slaughtering overmatched Rod Salka in six rounds last April.
Given his lofty ranking among the World Boxing Council—whom recognizes Berchelt as its 130-pound champ—it was a matter of time before Vargas found himself back in the title picture. Still, it took for rival promoters to put aside their differences for the sake of reaching a deal as Top Rank (Berchelt’s co-promoter), with whom Vargas began his career before eventually moving onto Golden Boy Promotions in 2011.
“Look what’s happening in boxing. All the other promoters are cooperating with each other, Arum said of doing business with Golden Boy, while also taking a shot at another rival in adviser Al Haymon. “This show, we have our kid, Miguel Berchelt against Oscar de la Hoya’s fighter, Francisco Vargas.
“To survive at this level and in today’s market, you have to work with other promoters. We have a commitment to deliver the best fights in the world to ESPN and that’s what we’re doing here. The winner will have another big fight to look forward to, as we’d love to match (whomever is victorious) with our lightweight champion, the great Vasiliy Lomachenko.”
Boxing Insider Interview with Miguel Beltran Jr.: Ready For War
By: Henry Deleon
Leading up to his upcoming bout against Olympic gold medalist Yuriokis Gamboa (28-2 17kos), I had the honor of interviewing over the phone Miguel Beltran Jr. (33-6 22kos) of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico. He’s a two-time world champion challenger. Here’s what he had to say:
Photo Credit: David Martin Warr
Boxing Insider – Miguel, how do you feel about your fight with Gamboa this Saturday?
Miguel Beltran Jr. – I feel ready, I feel good. We had a great preparation, a great training camp. Now we’re just waiting for the day of the fight. We’re ready to go!
Boxing Insider – In this training camp, what did you find difficult in preparation for this fight?
Miguel Beltran Jr. – We had a lot of rounds of sparring. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays we had tough and intense sparring. But we are ready and in good rhythm come fight night this Saturday.
Boxing Insider – with Gamboa’s previous experience of being a gold medalist in the Olympics, being an ex-world champion. How difficult do you feel this encounter will be?
Miguel Beltran Jr. – I feel it’s going to be a great fight because of our styles of fighting. And to tell you the truth it motivates me to fight someone like Yuriokis Gamboa because of the name and trajectory he has built himself. He doesn’t intimidate me though and come Saturday we will leave it all in the ring so we can come out victorious that night.
Boxing Insider – Many feel that Gamboa’s chin can be questionable, will you be going for the Knock out?
Miguel Beltran Jr. – Yes, but more than anything we prepared in camp for an intense 10 round fight. If we’re able to finish the fight early than great, we welcome that. If not then just know we are well prepared to give a great fight from the opening of the 1st to the end of the 10th round.
Boxing Insider – What is your plan to get Gamboa to fight your kind of fight?
Miguel Beltran Jr. – To keep closing the distance on him and keep constant pressure because we know we have everything against us in this fight, that we basically need a knock out to win the fight.
Boxing Insider – Looking past this fight a bit. Do you feel that with a victory over Gamboa, would that put you on a level to compete with the other big names in that division?
Miguel Beltran Jr. – Yeah for sure! In fact, I’m willing to fight with whoever. I’ve never turned away from anyone nor am I afraid of anyone. But above all I don’t really like to talk a lot. My focus is on Yuriokis Gamboa and if all goes well and we get the victory then we’ll talk about what rival we want next.
Boxing Insider – Gamboa has been inactive for nearly a year now, you have had one fight this year against Misael Munoz who you stopped. Do you feel that Gamboa’s inactivity is going to work in your favor come Saturday night?
Miguel Beltran Jr. – Inactivity tends to have an effect on all fighters. I prepared to win this fight. My team and I are aware of his inactivity and it could have an effect on him, but either way we had a great training camp and we’re ready for war.
Boxing Insider – Any final words you’d like to say to your fans and all those that support you?
Miguel Beltran Jr. – Thank you for supporting and to continue supporting us. I’d like to give a big shout out to all the Mexican people that are going to be with us that night and most of all a huge shout out to my family.
Miguel Beltran Jr. will be going head to head with Yuriokis Gamboa in a 10-rounder lightweight bout live on PPV Saturday Nov 10, 2019. Also on the card will be Juan Manuel Lopez(35-6 32kos) taking on Cristian Mino (19-2 17 kos) in another 10-rounder bout. Tune in for another exciting night of boxing.
Top Rank Boxing Results: Berchelt Steamrolls Over Roman
By: Sean Crose
The Don Haskins Center in El Paso, Texas hosted an evening of Top Rank Promotion’s boxing on Saturday, featuring WBC superfeatherweight champ Miguel Berchelt. The 34-1 titlist put his strap on the line against the popular and hardened vet Miguel Roman, 60-13, in a scheduled twelve round affair. In a fight that was expected to excite audiences, the main even certainly lived up to it’s billing. Although one sided, Berchelt-Roman certainly had its’ share of notable moments. Berchelt may have emerged victorious, but his grizzled opponent showed a ton of heart and refused to go out without battling until the final second of the match.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account
Things began with Berchelt being the more active of the two in round one, peppering his man with straight one-two combinations. Roman came on in the second, rocking the champion and perhaps setting the high intensity tone of the rest of the matchup. Berchelt’s power, it the moment at least, didn’t seem up to par with Roman’s. If things were entertaining in the second, they became absolutely explosive in the third, as Berchelt’s power rose to the occasion and Roman found himself wobbling about the ring. Amazingly, the challenger ended the round on his feet.
Berchelt went on to dominate rounds four and five, yet Roman continued to show great heart. In the sixth, Berchelt sent his man to the canvas. Roman got up, then got sent down again before the bell. Once more, however, Roman survived the round. The seventh through ninth rounds saw Roman continue to be dominated. Yet even in the ninth, the challenger was still coming forward. He wouldn’t make it to the tenth. For Berchelt put Roman back on the mat again before sealing the deal with a blistering combination. At that point, the referee wisely stepped in and halted the proceedings.
Earlier in the night, the 26-3 Miguel Marriaga faced the 20-14-1 Jose Estrella in a scheduled ten round featherweight affair. Marriaga showed a sharp jab in the first. The second round was close, with Estrella controlling the speed and tempo. Things quickly took a turn, though. In the third, Marriaga sent his man down. Estrella got up, but in the fourth he was sent down and out with a piercing body shot. It was Marriaga’s second win in a row since losing to Vasyl Lomachenko via stoppage in 2017. The entire card was aired live on ESPN+, ESPNs streaming service.
Top Rank Boxing on ESPN+ Preview: Miguel Berchelt vs. Miguel “Mickey” Roman
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night the Don Haskins Center in El Paso, Texas will be the host site for Top Rank Promotions latest offering on the streaming network, ESPN+.
WBC Junior Lightweight Champion Miguel Berchelt will defend his title against Miguel “Mickey” Roman in a fight that most think will be an action packed bout.
The co-main event of the evening will be between Miguel Marriaga and Jose Estrella in the featherweight division.
Other boxers on the undercard include Saul Rodriguez, Robson Conceicao, Sagadat Rakhmankul, Jose Estrella, Claudio Tapia, Joey Laviolette, and Vaughn Alexander.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account
The following is a preview of the main event of the evening.
Miguel Berchelt (34-1) vs. Miguel Roman (60-12) WBC Super Featherweight Title
Allegedly, this is a fight that’s been wanted by both fighters for a very long time. At an earlier pres conference, Berchelt told the media,” Roman and I have wanted this fight for a very, very long time. He asked for this opportunity, and I am happy to give it to him. This is going to be a great fight, but I know it will end with my hands raised. I am young and hungry. It doesn’t matter that we’re fighting in his backyard. El Paso and Juarez are going to be my towns when it’s over.”
However, Mickey Roman feels comfortable since the fight is taking place near his home town. Roman told the media, “He’s talking all of this stuff, that he’s going to take my head off and things like that. El paso is my town. If he thinks he’s going to come in here and be talking like that, he’s got another thing coming.”
Berchelt should be considered by many to be a strong favorite. He only has one loss while Roman has twelve, and he’s six years younger than Roman. He will also have about a two inch height advantage and about a four and a half inch reach advantage.
Both boxers have good power. Berchelt has stopped thirty of his opponents while Roman has stopped forty seven. Berchelt has been stopped once early in his career while Roman has only been stopped twice.
Berchelt and Roman are both pretty active. Roman already has over 72 professional fights. He fought twice in 2018, three times in 2017, and three times in 2016. Berchelt fought twice in 2018, twice in 2017, and twice in 2016.
Berchelt has an edge in amateur experience. He’s a three time Mexican National Boxing Champion in the elite category while Roman doesn’t have any notable amateur accomplishments.
Berchelt lone loss was to Luis Eduardo Florez. He has defeated the likes of Jonathan Victor Barros, Maxwell Awuku, Takashi Miura, Francisco Vargas, Suriya Tatakhun, and Rene Gonzalez.
Roman has defeated the likes of Michel Marcano, Orlando Salido, Nery Saguilan, Juli Giner, and Daniel Ponce DeLeon. His wins against Orlando Salido and Daniel Ponce DeLeon are his most impressive and occurred recently.
However, Roman has a history of losing when he steps up in competition, and he does have a large number of losses. He has losses to Genaro Garcia, Jorge Solis, Miguel Beltran Jr., Antonio Escalante, Jonathan Victor Barros, Javier Fortuna, Antonio DeMarco, Dante Jardon (lost the rematch), and Takashi Miura.
Roman is a dangerous opponent for Berchelt in that he’s an experience rugged fighter who has already been in the ring with some of the best. But Berchelt is a top rated prospects with a high ceiling, and he’ll have a significant size advantage and age advantage on Saturday night.
This fight will feature some fireworks, but at the end Berchelt will likely be holding his hand up high.
Miguel Cotto the King from Caguas
By: Kirk Jackson
Although technically from Providence, RI, Miguel Cotto represented the nation of Puerto Rico at the sport of boxing with pristine dignity and grace.
It just so happens another one of boxing’s greatest fighters joins the list of former pugilists entering the retirement home this year.
A star studded list, featuring the likes of Floyd Mayweather, Shane Mosley, Juan Manuel Marquez, Andre Ward, Wladmir Klitschko, Robert Guerrero, Timothy Bradley and now Miguel Cotto.
The first weekend of December marked the end of a great career for the boxing legend, as he bid farewell to the fans and treated spectators to one more exhilarating action-packed bout.
"Thank you fans for supporting me at every moment. I am so glad to call Madison Square Garden my home." — @RealMiguelCotto
— HBOboxing (@HBOboxing) December 3, 2017
Although his last appearance did not go as anticipated, losing a unanimous decision to Sadam Ali, the Puerto Rican star’s legacy still shines bright as he searches for other endeavors to occupy his time post boxing career.
When I think of Miguel Cotto and his contributions to the sport along with his style of boxing and persona, I envision a silent, cerebral, destructive assassin.
It’s interesting analyzing Cotto as a fighter because based off interviews and brief interactions, the general consensus is he quiet, serious and obviously dedicated towards his family and craft.
It’s suggested, Cotto’s stone-cold ring persona matched his artistic exploits on the canvas known as the squared circle.
Traits reflecting in the ring – whether it was his comprehensive, clinical beat-downs of eventual two-division world champion Paulie Malignaggi or another two-division champion from Brooklyn Zab Judah.
Or even the graphic, demoralizing thrashing like the one administered to Carlos Quintana.
One of the weapons of choice highlighted in the fight against Quintana was actually a staple in many of Cotto’s fights. His patented left hook to the body.
The gut-crushing, rib-cracking left hooks to the body; with the occasional shot to the groin (ask Zab Judah) was the bread and butter for Cotto throughout his career.
While as a fan it was aesthetically pleasing to watch, as an opponent it probably gave them nightmares and painful flashbacks.
But Cotto’s soul snatching left hooks were all set up by arguably his greatest physical tool; his left jab. As a natural southpaw, he converted to the orthodox stance, thus allowing his potent left jab to serve as a power jab.
Oscar De La Hoya and Andre Ward are converted orthodox fighters like Cotto, while Marvin Hagler and Manny Pacquiao are converted southpaws; go figure.
Not only is Cotto’s jab strong and precise, but his ability to place his jab on opponents at the right time and place is because of great instincts and timing.
Superior timing allows a fighter to be effective despite physical speed disadvantages when pitted against a quicker opponent.
The instinctive rhythm, the instinct itself is an equalizer against speed demons. This equalizer enabled Cotto to remain competitive against Mayweather when they fought in 2012. Cotto jab and innate level of timing assisted his efforts against Malignaggi, Judah and Shane Mosley as well.
Aside from Cotto’s technical prowess – highlighted by the aforementioned left hook to the body, potent jab and combination punching, his vulnerability as a fighter endeared him to fans.
Several times throughout the course of his career he was rocked, visibly stunned with birds chirpin, yet he managed to not only survive the onslaught but dished out his get-back in return.
Check his fights against Ricardo Torres, DeMarcus Corley, Joshua Clottey, Mosley, Judah and most recently against Ali if you want to view examples of determination and courage.
Along with being one of the icons of boxing along with Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao during the 2000’s and extending into the 2010’s, Cotto in particular carried Puerto Rico on his back. Much like another Hall of Famer, Felix “Tito” Trinidad.
Not easy foot steps to follow and while not possessing the same level of national admiration amongst the Puerto Rican population, Cotto still carried the country on his back with the departure of Trinidad and did so with class. He also represented well for the Nuyoricans; fighting in New York thirteen times.
“Thank you for supporting me at every opportunity,” Cotto told his fans. “I’m so glad to call Madison Square Garden my home.”
Cotto finishes with a record of 41-6 (33 KO’s) and is a six time world champion across four weight classes. He holds the distinction as the only Puerto Rican fighter with world titles across four weight divisions.
Cotto has a record of 19-5 (16 KO’s) in world title fights, along with a record of 16-5 (12 KO’s) against world titlists.
Cotto defeated the likes of Carlos Maussa, Lovemore N’dou, Randall Bailey, DeMarcus Corley, Ricardo Torres, Paul Malignaggi, Carlos Quintana, Zab Judah, Shane Mosley, Joshua Clottey, Yuri Foreman, Ricardo Mayorga, Antonio Margarito, Sergio Gabriel Martinez and Daniel Geale.
He suffered defeats against Antonio Margarito, Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Austin Trout, Saul Alvarez and Sadam Ali. (There could be an asterisk with some of the listed defeats).
Against Margarito, his opponent may have used illegal “Plaster of Paris,” hand wraps which harden when wet and turns into a hard brick-like substance.
Against Pacquiao, Cotto endured the turmoil of a tumultuous relationship with his trainer/uncle and was forced to engage Pacquiao at a catch-weight of 145 lbs. to even enter the fight with the distinction as a champion. Who know what mental and physical effects that had on the fight?
Those two encounters alone showcase the future Hall of Famer battling a cheater (Margarito) and combating preferential treatment from his own promoter at the time Bob Arum.
It should be noted Freddie Roach, Nacho Beristain, among other trainers believe Cotto prevailed over Alvarez.
“Cotto, from two years ago began to become a rare phenomenon, a Mexican boxing idol. Many people spoke very well of him, after he won the fight against Canelo Alvarez and [the judges] gave it to Canelo. He’s an idol in Mexican boxing, I’m going to miss him, as I miss all the great boxers, he’s an excellent boxer, with a very refined style,” Beristain said.
Win or loss, Cotto defined what the sport should be about and his contributions will not be forgotten. Enjoy retirement.
Peace to the King representing Caguas, Puerto Rico.
Miguel Cotto Built a Legacy of Tough Fights and Few Words
By: Eric Lunger
Miguel Cotto, a man of few words and larger-than-life deeds in the ring, retired from boxing this weekend. At age 37, Cotto dropped a unanimous decision to Saddam Ali in a tough and hard-hitting bout, bowing out on arguably the sport’s greatest stage, Madison Square Garden in New York City. Gracious in defeat, Cotto thanked his fans and summarized his boxing career with characteristic brevity: “thank you [to] all the fans. I am proud to call MSG my second home. I had the opportunity to provide the best for my family because of the sport.” In an age of unrelenting celebrity narcissism, Miguel Cotto spent 17 years in the hurt business for his family; the boxing glory was incidental.
Photo Credit: HBO Boxing Twitter
Turning pro in 2001, Miguel captured his first world title in 2004, the WBO World super lightweight belt. He then reeled off six successful defenses, the last against Paulie Malignaggi in 2006, a twelve-round unanimous win. Cotto then went up to 147, winning the vacant WBA World welterweight belt against then-undefeated Carlos Quintana in Atlantic City, in December of 2006.
After four successful defenses — including back-to-back wins over Zab Judah and Shane Mosley — Cotto relinquished the WBA belt in July 2008, suffering his first loss against Antonio Margarito (TKO 11th) in a bloody and controversial bout. But in February of 2009, Cotto bounced back, winning the WBO welterweight belt from Michael Jennings (at MSG). In his third defense, Cotto took on the great Manny Pacquiao, then at the height of his talent. Pacquiao won by TKO in the 12th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in an incredible, action-filled thriller.
Cotto then went up to super welterweight, winning the WBA title by stopping Yuri Foreman in nine rounds at Yankee Stadium in June 2010. After a successful defense against Ricardo Mayorga, Cotto faced Margarito for a second time, battering the Mexican fighter into a ninth-round retirement. After Margarito had been exposed with doctored hand-wraps against Shane Mosley, Cotto’s revenge victory was all the sweeter, and called into question the outcome of the first fight.
In May of 2012, Miguel faced undefeated Floyd Mayweather at the 154-pound limit, and lost a unanimous twelve round decision at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, in one of Mayweather’s most coldly efficient exhibitions of defense and counter punching. After a consecutive loss to Austin Trout, Cotto sought new challenges in the middleweight division, defeating Sergio Martinez for the WBC title in June of 2014. This set up a great crossroads battle with rising Mexican superstar Saul Canelo Alvarez, in Las Vegas in November of 2015. Alvarez took the twelve-round decision and the belt.
This time, it would be a nineteen-month layoff before Cotto returned to the ring, as he faced Yoshihiro Kamegai for the vacant WBO super welterweight belt in August of 2017. Kamegai put in a game effort, but Cotto gave his fans one of his finest performances to date. Not content, however, to retire on that note, Cotto decided to finish his career with one more fight, this time at MSG against a top opponent.
That Cotto choose a tough, competitive fight for his last bout, when by all rights he could have taken a victory lap, speaks volumes about who he is as an athlete and a person. As a fighter, he could duck and slip like a bantamweight, his right hand was held high to protect his chin, and he came forward like a dancing bulldog. With his left hook as his best punch, he could throw it as a lead, or from inside. Cotto fought hard, always gave the fans his best, and he took on all the big names of the sport. He summed up his approach to boxing in one of the final press conferences: “I have always dedicated myself fully and worked hard; now [I am] finishing my career on my own terms.” A four weight-class champion, Miguel Cotto leaves behind a legacy of great achievement as a boxer and genuine integrity as a person.
HBO World Championship Boxing Results: Cotto Closes Career with Loss to Ali, Vargas Defeats Negrete
By: William Holmes
A champion in four divisions and a lock for the boxing hall of fame, the legendary Miguel Cotto fought the last fight of his career in the building that helped make him famous, Madison Square Garden.
Surprisingly, despite campaigning in the middleweight division, Miguel Cotto weighted in at 151.6lbs while Sadam Ali, who has fought in the welterweight division and is bumping up a weight class to face Cotto, weighed in at 153lbs. Many, including this writer, expected Cotto to weigh in at a heavier weight than Ali
Photo Credit: HBO Boxing Twitter
The opening bout of the night was between Rey Vargas (30-0) and Oscar Negrete (17-0) for the WBC Junior Featherweight Title.
Vargas, the taller fighter, was able to use his height to his advantage in the opening round and landed a high volume of punches to the body and head of Negrete. He was able to get a full extension on his shots in the second round and had Negrete taking some hard shots.
Vargas connected with three straight uppercuts followed by a right hook in the opening seconds of the third round. At one point in the third Negrete stepped on the foot of Vargas and knocked him over, but the referee correctly ruled it a push. Vargas’ sharp shots continued into the fourth round and fifth rounds but Negrete, to his credit, never stopped coming forward.
Negrete snuck in a few good shots of his own, especially when he was in tight, but Vargas’ combinations were numerous.
Negrete took some heavy body shots by Vargas in the sixth round, but did land his best punch of the night, a left hook, in the ninth round.
The eighth round was also tight as Negrete surprisingly landed some combinations, and Vargas had a cuts over both of his eyes. The referee checked it in the eighth and before the ninth rounds but let Vargas continue.
Negrete was out matched and out gunned, but continued to press the pace in the final rounds but took a barrage of punches in the process.
Vargas’ cut over his left eye looked pretty bad, but he was never in danger of being hurt.
The judges scored it 119-109, 119-109, and 120-108 for Rey Vargas.
Miguel Cotto (41-5) and Sadam Ali (25-1) met in the main event of the night for the WBO Junior Middleweight Title.
Cotto walked out to no walk out music so that he could hear the crowd.
The crowd loudly chanted for Cotto in the opening round, but Ali established he had the superior hand speed early on and connected with some surprising punches. Cotto was able to land his patented left hook to the body, but Ali looked like he was landing at a higher connect rate.
Cotto was badly hurt in the second round from a right cross by Ali. Cotto’s legs were wobbly, but Ali did not press the action to try and finish the fight. Ali slipped in the second round, but he definitely had Cotto hurt.
Ali’s length gave Cotto trouble in the third round but Cotto was pressing the action. Cotto was hurt once again in the fourth round by Ali, but was able to recover and come forward behind his jab.
Cotto’s attack to the body appeared to be effective in the fifth and sixth rounds, especially when he had Ali backed into a corner. Ali’s right eye began to swell in the seventh round but he was landing good shots to the head of Cotto.
Cotto had Ali backed into the ropes several times in the eighth and did his best work there, but Ali retook control in the ninth round as Cotto looked like he was tiring.
Ali landed a vicious left hook on Cotto in the tenth round that had Cotto on wobbly legs again and his mouth wide open. Cotto was on full retreat in the tenth and appeared to be close to going down.
Ali came out aggressively in the eleventh round and looked like he was going for the knockout. His corner had previously urged him to be more aggressive. Cotto survived and circled away from the attacking Ali.
Cotto came out aggressive in the final round but looked tired and slow. Ali was the fresher fighter and closed out the fight well.
The final scores were 115-113, 116-112, 115-113 for Sadam Ali.
In the post fight interview Cotto confirmed it was his last fight, and revealed he hurt his left bicep in the seventh round.
Cotto stated, “Feeling good. Feeling good with the performance. Something happened to my left bicep, seventh round. I don’t want to make excuses, Sadam won the fight. It is my last fight. I am good, and I want to be happy in my home with my family.
“Thank you for all the fans, I am proud to call MSG my second home. I had the opportunity to provide the best for my family because of the sport.”
I worked hard for it.” Said Sadam Ali. “I took advantage of this fight, and I made sure to make it count. I want to Thank God, and also thank team Cotto, They could have taken an easier fight if they wanted too. ”
“I had him hurt here or there in the first couple of rounds. I knew I had to do something, or he would have dug in. By the 11th, I thought the fight was close. Whatever GBP has next, I’ll take it. Good things happen to good people. I have been training since I was 8 years old, and I am glad I got this win at MSG, in my hometown.”
HBO World Championship Boxing Preview: Miguel Cotto vs. Sadam Ali, Rey Vargas vs. Oscar Negrete
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Golden Boy Promotions will promote the last professional fight of Miguel Cotto’s illustrious career. He’ll be facing Sadam Ali at the famed Madison Square Garden on HBO’s World Championship Boxing telecast.
Photo Credit: Tom Hogan/Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions
A WBC Junior featherweight bout between Rey Vargas and Oscar Negrete will also be televised. Other undercard bouts include a WBO Junior Flyweight Title bout between Angel Acosta and Juan Alejo, a featherweight bout between Ronny Rios and Deivis Julio, and a junior welterweight bout between Zachary Ochoa and Erik Martinez.
Cotto, who was a world champion in four different weight classes, has insisted this will be his last fight. The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the night.
Rey Vargas (30-0) vs. Oscar Negrete (17-0); WBC Junior Featherweight Title
The opening bout of the night will be between Rey Vargas and Oscar Negrete for the WBC Junior Featherweight Title.
Both boxers had a successful amateur career. Negrete was a Gold Medalist at the 2010 South American Games in the Light Flyweight Division and Vargas was a 2009 Panamerican Gold Medalist.
Vargas, at the age of 27, is three years younger than Negrete. He will also have a two inch height advantage and a three inch reach advantage. Both boxers have been fairly active in the past two years. They both fought two times in 2017 and three times in 2016.
Vargas is the boxer with more power in his hands. He has stopped twenty two of his opponents and five of his last ten opponents did not make it to the final bell. Negrete only has seven stoppage wins and two of his past five fights were victories by KO/TKO.
Vargas has the better professional resume of the two and Negrete appears to be aware that this is the toughest test of his career.
He stated at a recent press conference, “”I’m so excited for this opportunity. This is everything that I have worked for so far in my career. Being undefeated doesn’t make him [Rey Vargas] invincible. I’m a forced to be reckoned with. People may underestimate me, but I know what I’ve done to make sure I walk away with the victory.”
Vargas has defeated the likes of Ronny Rios, Gavin McDonnell, Alexander Munoz, and Alexis kabore. Negrete has defeated the likes of Sergio Frias, Victor Ruiz, and Neftali Campos.
Vargas is the naturally bigger man with an edge in power. He has been generating some buzz recently and this should be a showcase fight for him. Negrete has the amateur background to make this fight interesting, but it’s a fight that Vargas should win.
Miguel Cotto (41-5) vs. Sadam Ali (25-1); WBO Junior Middleweight Title
The legendary Miguel Cotto has decided to end his career.
He stated at a recent media conference call, “Like Oscar and people have said, it’s my final fight, and I’m working hard for making the final fight really good for everybody. All we have to do is wait until the day of the fight. We are ready for the fight.”
Many boxers have been known to claim that they’re going to retire only to change their mind later on, however with Cotto he appears to be sincere in his desires to stop fighting.
Cotto, at thirty seven years old, will be eight years older than his opponent Sadam Ali. Ali will also have a two inch height advantage and a six inch reach advantage.
That advantages for Ali stop there. Cotto is actually the naturally bigger man and has competed as high as the middleweight division while Ali usually campaigns in the welterweight division. The step up in weight is something that is not lost on Ali. He stated, “Yeah, it’s a huge challenge, a big step up. The biggest opponent in my career, and I’m also moving up to another weight class. But I love the challenge, and I’m ready to do whatever I have to do”.
Cotto has thirty three stoppage victories in his resume and has stopped three of his past five opponents. Ali only has fourteen stoppage victories and has only stopped one of his past five opponents.
Ali has been more active than Cotto and fought twice in 2017 and twice in 2016. Cotto did not fight at all in 2016 and only fought once in 2017.
Both boxers had successful amateur backgrounds. Cotto represented Puerto Rico in the 2000 Summer Olympics and Ali represented the United States in the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Cotto clearly has the better resume as a professional. He has defeated the likes of Yoshihiro Kamegai, Daniel Geale, Sergio Martinez, Delvin Rodriguez, Antonio Margarito, Ricardo Mayorga, Joshua Clottey, Alfonso Gomez, Shane Mosley, Zab Judah, Paul Malignaggi, Carlos Quintana, and DeMarcus Corley. His losses were to Antonio Margarito, Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Austin Trout, and Canelo Alvarez.
Ali has defeated the likes of Johan Perez, Francisco Santana, and Luis Carlos Abregu. His lone loss was a TKO loss to Jessie Vargas.
Ali is a good boxer and surprisingly longer and taller, but Cotto’s depth of experience and size advantage will be too much for him.
Cotto seems confident going into this fight and has no regrets. He stated, “I enjoyed my whole career, and I can’t point at one fight, you know. I enjoyed my whole career. Every moment made me be the boxer I am right now, the person I am right now. I would have to say my whole career has been amazing for me”.
It’s a career boxing fans have thoroughly enjoyed. It’s a career that should end with a victory.
Could The Canelo-GGG Winner Actually Face Cotto In December?
By: Sean Crose
There’s little doubt that Miguel Cotto has had a Hall of Fame worthy career. Now that his life inside the ring is winding down, though, Cotto wants to go out with a bang. For the former lineal middleweight champ has made it clear he wants the winner of this Saturday’s Canelo Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin middleweight superfight. “I will have the last fight of my career in December,” ESPN quotes Cotto as saying, “and fighting the winner would be a good way to go out.”
This may strike some as a bit strange, since Cotto had previously made it clear that he never saw himself as a real middleweight – even when he was middleweight champion of the world.
Indeed, Canelo fought Cotto at a catchweight when they met in 2015 (in a fight Cotto lost by decision). Now that Canelo is fighting as a full middleweight this Saturday, however, it’s doubtful he’ll be willing to drop weight again for Cotto. What’s more, Cotto never seemed too keen on facing Golovkin when he wore the middleweight crown. Despite paying lip service to the possibility, team Cotto never did agree to face the feared Kazakh in the ring.
With that in mind, there’s little doubt that a fight featuring the 41-5 Cotto against either Canelo or Golovkin would be a notable event. Cotto’s fight with Canelo was certainly competitive and past glory alone would draw eyeballs to a bout with the fighter known as GGG. Still, at thirty-six years of age, Cotto is widely viewed as a fighter on the downslide.
Golovkin, at thirty-five, may be just a year younger, but the general consensus, should a fight between the two be made, would surely be that Golovkin hasn’t aged as Cotto has (provided, of course, that Golovkin looks sharp against Canelo this weekend).
For fans, the more appealing of the two options for Cotto might be Golovkin. A second Canelo fight would bring with it a sense of been there/done that, especially when one considers that the first fight, although entertaining, was far from a classic. Yet Golovkin, with his frightening knockout power, would make for an intriguing – or frightening – matchup. Even after a very sharp performance last month against the heroic Yoshihiro Kamegai, Cotto would no doubt enter the ring a heavy underdog. Would Cotto truly be willing to face Golovkin, however, or is he simply keeping his name in the media during fight week?
Furthermore, would a December fight with either man be a real possibility when one considers such things as recuperation and contract clauses?
Time may well provide the answers.
Miguel Cotto Cruises to Landslide Decision Victory
By: Jake Donovan
The manner in which Miguel Cotto stormed out of the ring following his last ring appearance would leave one to believe that the Puerto Rican superstar would do anything possible to avoid once again leavings fate in the hands of the judges.
Photo Credit: Golden Boy Promotions
However, the 36-year old version of the Puerto Rican superstar coming off of a 21-month layoff will have to take a win any way he can get it. Tried as he might, Cotto was unable to put away a determined Yoshihiro Kamegai, instead settling for a landslide points win in their HBO headliner Saturday evening in front of a sold-out crowd of 7,689 at StubHub Center in Carson, California.
Scores were 120-108, 119-108 and 118-110 for Cotto, who returned for the first time since a World middleweight championship conceding defeat to Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in Nov. ’15.
That he was extended the distance by Japan’s Kamegai certainly wasn’t for a lack of trying. Cotto wisely rode out the early bullrush from his 34-year old challenger, who did his best to back up the former four-division world champion in the early rounds but only able to land the occasional big blow.
Cotto enjoyed a huge momentum swing in round three and never really looked back. Kamegai—himself coming off of a near-year long layoff following a knockout win over Jesus Soto Karass in their rematch last September—would have to settle for being valiant in defeat, just as he famously offered in his 12-round war with Robert Guerrero in 2014, the first performance to put him on the stateside boxing map.
On this night, he’d just become known as the boxer who stood opposite corner the night Cotto became a six-time champion and claim his second super welterweight title. Kamegai was barely standing by the end of a vicious round seven that saw Puerto Rico’s only ever male four-division World champion offer shades of his former self—but in the end would turn out to be the only glimpse that boxing fans would get.
The final five rounds or so saw the future Hall of Famer box from the outside, no longer gung-ho on delivering a knockout win. Instead, he seemed content with going the distance and settling for his first decision victory since a June ‘09 split nod over Joshua Clottey. He’d scored six knockout wins mixed in with four losses over that stretch, but in the end saw his hand raised in what he insists is the second-to-last fight of his incredible career.
“I tried to do my best, and I think I did that tonight,” said Cotto, who improved to 41-5 (33KOs) with the win, his first since a 4th round knockout of Daniel Geale last June. “I am happy with my performance. Kamegai is a tough fighter and opponent. It was during round five or six that I knew he was going to make it to the 12 rounds.”
In hindsight, it probably shouldn’t have been much of a surprise that Kamegai saw the final bell. He’d never been stopped in 33 pro bouts. His loss to Guerrero was the most completive of his career defeats, dropping lopsided decisions to Johan Perez, Alfonso Gomez and now Cotto.
“I felt so much frustration not being able to land any of my punches,” said Kamegai, now 27-4-2 (24KOs). “I could not catch him at all. I couldn’t catch him at all. He is such a talented legend, and I am so glad I got the opportunity to fight him.”
With the farewell tour now halfway through, the burning question remains: who will man the opposite corner for last call?
“I will fight once more in December,” Cotto once again insisted, but—as he’s done through 17 years as a pro—left it in the hands of those who guides his career to decide his next opponent. “I’ll let Freddie [Roach] tell you who I want.”
To that, we turn to the Hall of Fame trainer who’s manned his corner for the past four years.
”We want the winner of Canelo-GGG (Gennady Golovkin),” said Roach.
Of course, with that particular fight not set to take place for another three weeks, it’s highly unlikely the winner turns around to fight in less than three months time for a targeted December 2 date. Even less likely is the scenario of either dropping down a full weight class to accommodate Cotto, who’s made it clear even after wresting the World middleweight crown from Sergio Martinez three years ago that 154 is in fact his preferred weight class.
Still, whether one final shot at a second middleweight crown or whomever else simply accepts his offer, this December will in fact mark the last time we see the proud boxer ply his trade.
“Come December 31, I will retire,” Cotto once again promised afterward. “I’ve done it all. I’m 36 going on 37, and I think I’ve come to the end of my career.”
In the HBO-televised co-feature, unbeaten Rey Vargas made the first successful defense of his suer bantamweight title with a 12-round win over local favorite Ronny Rios (28-2, 13KOs).
Scores were 118-110 (twice) and 115-113 in favor of Mexico’s Vargas (27-0, 22KOs), who won his portion of the 122-pound crown with a majority decision over Gavin McDonnell this past February on the road in Hull, England.
Rios, who hails from Santa Ana, Calif., had won five straight heading into the first world title fight of his career.
Top Rank on ESPN Results: Lomachenko Breaks Down Marriaga, Beltran Decisions Vasquez
By: William Holmes
Top Rank Promotions continued their relationship with ESPN tonight by placing one of boxing’s pound for pound superstars, Vasyl Lomachenko, on the main event in a WBO Junior Lightweight Title Bout.
The Microsoft theater in Los Angeles, California was the host site for tonight’s card with an announced attendance of 4,102. The NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame ended late and the first undercard fight was shown on ESPN2.
Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank
Arnold Barboza Jr. (16-0) and Jonathan Chicas (15-2) started off the telecast halfway through the bout and both boxers scored a knockdown by the sixth round.
The crowd responded well to this bout as Chicas was going for an upset and had Barboza hurt several times throughout the bout.
The final scores were 76-74, 77-73, and 78-72 for Arnold Barboza Jr,
The next bout of the night was between Raymundo Beltran (33-7-1) and Bryan Vasquez (36-2) in the lightweight division.
Vasquez came in overweight and was unable to fight for Beltran’s titles. However, Beltran looked significantly bigger than Vasquez inside the ring.
Both boxers started off in the orthodox stance in the first round and Beltran was showing good head movement while landing his straight right hands and counter lefts. Vasquez switched stances during the first round, but was not effective with it.
Beltran went to the body more I the second round and landed several hard shots in the last thirty seconds. Vasquez tripped Beltran at the end of the round.
Vasquez started off the third round strong but Beltran took over in the second half of the round. Beltran’s best combination of this round started off with two hooks to the body followed by a left hook to the head.
Vasquez was able to land an impressive wind up right uppercut on Beltran in the fourth round, but Beltran walked right through it and seemed unaffected. Beltran had Vasquez backing up with jabs to the body and head in the fifth round but may have been out landed by Vasquez during their exchanges.
Vasquez appeared to be more willing to exchange in the sixth round, but Beltran’s punches were noticeably more effective and had more pop behind them. Beltran landed an impressive right hook around the high guard of Vasquez in the seventh and looked to be establishing firm control of the fight.
Vasquez had a decent eighth round and proved to be elusive for Beltran and at the start of the ninth round Beltran had a cut by his right eye.
Vasquez and Beltran clashed heads in the tenth and Vasquez probably needed a knockout to win. The blood was obscuring the vision of Beltran but he was able to avoid succumbing to a last round knockdown.
Beltran was bloodied but walked away with a close win. The final scores were 95-95, 96-94, and 96-94.
The main event of the evening was between WBO Junior Lightweight Champion Vasyl Lomachenko (8-1) and Miguel Marriaga (25-2).
Both boxers showed a lot of upper body movement in the opening round but Lomachenko was the boxer that was applying the pressure. Marriaga was able to land the early punches but Lomachenko began to land some good combinations as the round came to an end.
The pressure by Lomachenko continued in the second round and he was able to land hard left uppercuts and punches from all angles.
Marriaga was tagged with hard lefts to the head and body in the third round as Lomachenko was starting to settle into his grove. Lomachenko landed two consecutive straight left hands on Marriaga that sent him to the mat. Marriaga was able to get back to his feet and Lomachenko willingly backed into a corner and waived Marriaga forward. Marriaga came forward and threw several punches at Lomachenko, but was not able to land anything of significance.
Lomachenko’s pressure continued into the fifth round but he suffered a cut near his left eye due to a clash of heads.
Lomachenko’s pressure and hand speed had Marriaga back pedaling while getting peppered from all angles in the sixth and seventh rounds. Marriaga looked like he was hurt in the sixth round from a consistent body attack by Lomachenko.
Lomachenko looked like he was going for the stoppage in the seventh round as he was landing heavy shots and taking a lot of risks. Lomachenko was able to score a late round knockdown and Marriaga looked mentally defeated as he went back to his corner.
Marriaga’s corner told the referee their fighter was unable to continue before the start of the eighth round.
Vasyl Lomachenko dazzles once again with a 7th round TKO.
No, Vasyl Lomachenko Is “Not Already the Greatest Ever”
By: Sean Crose
No, Vasyl Lomachenko is not, as some are saying “already the greatest ever.” At least the scant evidence available doesn’t indicate as much. If Lomachenko is, in fact, the best in history, it will be some time before any of us find out, anyway. For Lomachenko is still basically somewhat new at his job as a professional prizefighter. Oh, he’s made his mark, both in the amateurs and in the pro set, but a great boxer generally needs great challenges in order to be recognized as a legend, much less be recognized as the best who ever lived.
To date, Loma, as he’s called, has had one major pro challenge in the guise of rugged Orlando Salido. And Loma lost that one. While it’s true Salido played dirty before and during the match, a loss is still a loss. Besides, had Loma been more established as a pro fighter – it was only his second pro bout – he might have emerged the victor, regardless. After all, experienced fighters are more apt to know how to deal with the likes of Salido after a certain point in their development. The case of Salido, then, was nothing if not a case of biting off more than one could figuratively chew. An understandable mistake regarding the hype surrounding Loma, sure, but a mistake, nonetheless.
Even if that’s all in the past, though, Loma still has a ways to go before knocking, say, Ray Robinson, off his perch as the widely regarded all time best (or even Roy Jones Junior, for that matter). What Loma is at this point in his career, almost four years after his first pro fight, is a very established professional. And a very good one. He’s not, however, a guaranteed Hall of Famer, at least not as a professional ring tactician. Far from it. What Loma is – what he truly is – is an insanely promising fighter. Perhaps the most promising in history. Keep in mind, though, that many insanely promising fighters have fallen short of expectations. Adrien Broner is, in fact, only the most recent example of this.
To be fair, though, Loma is no Broner. This guys works hard. Incredibly hard. It even appears he views his craft like a mathematician views an equation. His training deals with both the physical as well as the cerebral aspects of the sport. That’s something worth noting. He’s also shown himself to be amazing in the ring. Just amazing. His angles. His footwork. His aggressiveness and finishing power. There’s a reason the 8-1 super featherweight titlist is so well regarded – because he deserves to be. Just don’t call him the greatest to ever lace up a pair of gloves. Not yet.
At least let him get by the 25-2 Miguel Marriaga this weekend in Las Angeles first.
Hard-punching 50-50 Match-ups Featured at the Forum
Hard-punching 50-50 Match-ups Featured at the Forum
By Adam J. Pollack
On Saturday July 15, the Forum in Los Angeles will feature several highly entertaining matchups. The main event features WBC World Super Featherweight Champion Miguel Berchelt, 31-1, 28 KOs, vs. Takashi Miura, 31-3-2, 24 KOs, two punchers who love to fight. Although Berchelt likely will win, for he has the superior talent and skill, this is one of those fights that you watch simply because you know that regardless of the result, both guys will fight hard, in entertaining fashion. Miura forces the fight with hard punches and can take some big ones, and both of these guys can hit.
Photo Credit: Kyte Monroe/BoxStats
If you are looking for a really hard-punching intriguing 50-50 type match-up, in which the outcome truly is in doubt, Joe Smith, Jr., 23-1, 19 KOs, vs. Sullivan Barrera, 19-1, 14 KOs is the fight for you. The very heavy-handed Smith, Jr. has freakish power, such that regardless of what the score is in a fight, if hits his opponent, the fight can be over in the blink of an eye. Remember, he knocked out Bernard Hopkins, who although old, had never been stopped before, and was a guy who knew every trick and artifice of the game. He also knocked out Andrej Fonfara in the very 1st round, and Fonfara had gone the distance with Adonis Stevenson, knocked out Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr., and beaten Glen Johnson and Byron Mitchell.
Smith Jr. is going up a very tough man in Sullivan Barrera, a guy whose only loss was a decision to Andre Ward. Barrera knocked out Jeff Lacy in 4, Karo Murat in 5, and handed the hard-punching then 17-0, 14 KOs Ukrainian Vyacheslav Shabranskyy his only loss, stopping him in the 7th round. Like Smith Jr., Barrera can punch. So this is likely to be another hard-punching bang-‘em-out war. The likely winner is unclear.
Also on the card, undefeated WBA Super Featherweight Champion Jezreel “El Invisible” Corrales (21-0, 8 KOs) takes on Robinson “Robin Hood” Castellanos, 24-12, 14 KOs, who recently stopped former champion Yuriorkis Gamboa in his last fight. Castellanos has managed to score several upset victories, defeating Rocky Juarez and then-undefeated Ronny Rios, in addition to Gamboa, so he seems to thrive on his underestimated underdog status. The undefeated Corrales won the championship by handing then undefeated Takashi Uchiyama his first losses, both by knocking him out and winning the rematch by decision. This is a really solid, competitive contest.
Other quality match-ups on the card include:
Mercito Gesta, 30-1-2 vs. Martin Honorio, 33-10-1
Manny Robles, Jr. 12-0 vs. Christian Esquivel, 30-11
Horacio Garcia, 32-2-1 vs. Diuhl Olguin, 11-16-3
Ryan Garcia, 9-0, vs. Mario Antonio Macias, 28-21