HBO Wrapup: Berchelt Tops Miura in Tough As Nails Bout
By: Sean Crose
Joe Smith returned from his conquest of the great Bernard Hopkins on Saturday at the Forum in California to take on skilled former Olympian Sullivan Barrera in a showdown of light heavyweight contenders. It was a quality matchup – perhaps that’s why it was a bit of a surprise to see Barrera hit the mat in the first. The man got up, but Smith once again made people take note of his power. After a relatively uneventful second round, Barrera opened the third round strong and performed effectively throughout.
A Barrera uppercut rocked Smith early in the fourth. The Miami based fighter continued to assert control from there on out. The fifth essentially consisted of more of the same, but the two men exchanged well at the tail end of the sixth. The seventh round clearly alarmed the referee, if few others, for in between the seventh and eighth, Jack Reese asked Smith if he was feeling all right. Smith didn’t impress for the following two rounds.
Then, at the beginning of the tenth, Reese told the two fighters to touch gloves, clearly forgetting that it was a twelve round affair. But wait, he wasn’t mistaken. Reese knew what HBO didn’t, that the promotion had switched from a twelve round bout to a ten rounder without the broadcast team being informed. Needless to say, Barrera wrappedd up the night and earned himself a unanimous decision win.
Next up was the WBA super featherweight title fight between Jezreel Corrales and Robinson Castellanos. It was a close, fairly interesting affair. Corrales was dropped twice in the fourth, but came back and performed well afterwards. Still, Castellanos looked solid when the bout was stopped because of an accidental headbutt in the 10th. Needless to say, Corrales pulled off a majority decision win. A hoped for rematch might possibly be warranted.
It was time for the main event. Miguel Berchelt, the WBC super featherweight champ, stepped into the ring to face Japan’s Takashi Miura in what was clearly an intriguing matchup – at least on paper. It was a close, clinical first round, until Miura was sent to the mat. Looking no worse for wear, the man quickly got to his feet. The second round was also clinical for the most part, but the strength of Berchelt’s punches ultimately told the tale.
Miura started landing clean to the body in the third. Berchelt landed well in the fourth and it began to seem as if Miura would truly have to start working his opponent’s body if he were to keep from eventually being stopped. Sure enough, Berchelt ended the round in strong fashion. Miura fought hard in the fifth, but it wasn’t enough. Same for the sixth. Make no mistake about it, though, the fight wasn’t a foregone conclusion. Miura was there to win and the first half of the bout was an entertaining affair.
In the seventh, it was Berchelt who worked on Miura’s body as he looked to break his man down. The fight was stopped in the eighth for a rabbit punch from Miura. It seemed excessive, but I won’t fault a referee for being extra cautious. In the ninth, Miura whaled away at his opponent’s body in impressive fashion. He continued to do so in the tenth. By the eleventh, both men were tossing crushing shots at each other. It wasn’t a fast paced bout, but it was exciting and extremely rugged.
The twelfth was as grueling as the previous few rounds. Berchelt won a well deserved decision, but hats off to both men. Here’s hoping Miura seriously considers retirement. There’s only so much ring damage one man can take over the course of a career.
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
Vargas-Berchelt, Miura-Roman, Provide Great Night Of Boxing On HBO
By: Sean Crose
Super featherweight Takashi Miura (30-3-2) returned to American television screens on Saturday as he kicked off HBOs first Boxing After Dark broadcast of 2017 by facing Miguel Roman. Although Roman had a record of 56-11, he hadn’t lost a fight since 2012 and would undoubtedly move on to big things should he beat the Japanese action fighter in their scheduled 12 round bout at the Fantasy Springs Casino in California.
Miura moved forward early, cautiously moving in on his prey. Still, round one proved to be a feeling out process for both fighters. No fireworks went off in the second. In the third, the men exchanged heavy blows. The action continued throughout the fourth. Indeed, it looked towards the very end of that round that Roman might actually be in trouble. By the middle of the fifth, however, Roman started coming on strong. It was shaping up to be a truly grinding affair.
By the end of the sixth, a cut Miura looked like he might be in danger. He was back in the seventh, however, and the war continued. Still, it looked like
Roman may have been pulling ahead (albeit slightly). The eighth-round looked more like a brawl than a boxing match and the ninth showed Miura screaming each time he tossed a thunderous shot at his foe. Roman, however, kept swinging. It may not have been a great fight, but there was no doubt the combatants were engaged in a war of attrition.
The grind continued throughout the tenth. With seconds left in the round, however, Roman hit the canvas, courtesy of a stabbing body shot from Miura. Roman, however, was able to beat the count, who knows how. Halfway through the eleventh, however, Miura put Roman down again, this time with a combination of shots. Again, though, Roman got back to his feet. Roman went down for the third time early in the twelfth, though, and this time the game warrior didn’t get up.
It was the epitome of a hard-earned victory for Miura.
A few minutes later, the main event began. Miguel Berchelt (30-1) stepped into the ring to challenge undefeated WBC super featherweight champ Francisco Vargas (23-0-2). The first round was a sharp three minutes, with both men landing crisp, accurate punches. Berchelt landed quite effectively in the second and even appeared to have Vargas hurt. Vargas, however, returned the favor before Berchelt wrapped up the round with hard, clean shots. It was a thrilling chapter.
It continued to be a slugfest throughout the third. It looked like it might come down to which fighter had better stamina. Vargas was being as tough and as game as they come, but Berchelt was cracking more effectively in the fourth. Vargas came back alive in the first half of the fifth, however. Yet Berchelt was determined to make the night his. It continued to be a grueling affair throughout the sixth.
Both men were still landing well in the seventh. Berchelt’s punches were stronger, but Vargas’ landed with more frequency. By the end of that round, however, Berchelt’s output picked up, giving him the edge. By the eighth, it was clear that Berchelt’s superior strength was telling the tale. It was a tough, indeed a brutal, fight, but Berchelt was proving to be the better man.
By the ninth, Vargas was bleeding profusely. A cut that had opened earlier was now flowing horribly. Vargas was also getting banged up bad by his opponent. The referee wisely called time and the doctor allowed the fight to continue. No matter how things turned out, it was clear Vargas was some kind of athlete to keep going as he was. The referee called in the doctor again at the beginning of the tenth. And once again, Vargas was allowed to continue. By the eleventh, the HBO team was openly and very firmly complaining that the fight was being allowed to continue. And, with less than a minute left in the round, the referee put a stop to things.
Berchelt, the new champ, had been brilliant…and Vargas had gone out like a warrior (though the fight could well have been stopped sooner).
HBO Boxing After Dark Preview: Francisco Vargas vs. Miguel Berchelt, Takashi Miura vs. Mickey Roman
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night HBO will present two fights on their Boxing After Dark Series to run against the Showtime card that features a rematch between Leo Santa Cruz and Carl Frampton.
Saturday’s card will feature two bouts in the Super Featherweight Division live from the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California. Golden Boy Promotions will be the lead promoter on this event.
The two bouts on the card will be a WBC Junior Lightweight Title fight between Francisco Vargas and challenger Miguel Berchelt. The co-main event of the evening will be between Takashi Miura and Miguel “Mickey” Roman in a WBC Junior Lightweight Title eliminator.
The following is a preview of both televised bouts.
Takashi Miura (30-3-2) vs. Mickey Roman (56-11); Junior Lightweight
This should be a fan friendly fight and both boxers are known for their power. The winner of this bout will likely face the winner of the main event in the near future.
Miura has twenty three stoppage wins and two stoppage losses. Roman has been on a tear recently and has forty three stoppage wins and only one stoppage loss, including six straight wins by stoppage. However, Roman did not experience a lot of success early on in his career as evident in his eleven total losses.
Miura will be one year older than Roman, and will also be about an inch and a half taller. Miura is a southpaw and Roman fights out of an orthodox stance so we have a fight that will likely feature numerous clashing of heads.
Roman, who hasn’t lost since 2012, has defeated the likes of Edgar Puerta, Daniel Ponce De Leon, and Juan Carlos Salgado. However, he usually loses when he takes a step up in competition and has lost to the likes of Antonio DeMarco, Jonathan Victor Barros, Miguel Beltran, Antonio Escalante, Fernando Beltran, Javier Fortuna and other less descript opponents.
Miura has losses to Francisco Vargas, Takashi Uchiyama, and Yusuke Kobori. He has defeated the likes of Billy Dib, Edgar Puerta, Sergio Thompson, Gamaliel Diaz, and Yoshimitsu Yashiro.
At first glance this looks like a fight that Miura should win easily, but you can’t discount the success that Roman has had recently and his current string of stoppage victories. Miura should still be considered the favorite, but Roman will make it a tough decision for him to win.
Francisco Vargas (23-0) vs. Miguel Berchelt (30-1); WBC Junior Lightweight Title
This has the potential to be a barn burner and an early candidate for fight of the year.
Vargas, the current WBC Junior Lightweight Champion, is coming off of a majority draw in a crowd pleasing fight with the rugged Orlando Salido. Vargas only fought once in 2016 and twice in 2015, but he made his first fight in 2017 a tough one.
Vargas has a deep amateur background and represented Mexico in the 2008 Summer Olympics. Berchelt is a three time Mexican National Boxing Champion as an amateur.
They both have power in their hands. Berchelt has twenty seven stoppage wins and his past four fights have come by stoppage. Vargas has seventeen stoppage victories and three of his past four fights resulted in a stoppage win.
Berchelt will be seven years younger than Vargas on fight night and will also have a one inch height advantage and about a two inch reach advantage. Berchelt has also been more active than Vargas, he fought twice in 2016 and four times in 2015.
The difference between Vargas and Berchelt becomes most evident when comparing their professional resumes. Saturday will only be Berchelt’s second fight outside of Mexico as a professional. His notable victories include Suriya Tatakhun, Sergio Puente, Rene Gonzalez, and Oliver Flores. His lone loss was to Luis Eduardo Florez.
Vargas has defeated the likes of Takashi Miura, Will Tomlinson, Juan Manuel Lopez, Abner Cotto, Jerry Belmontes, and Brandon Bennett.
This is an interesting matchup, especially since Berchelt has some heavy power in his hands and is a three time Mexican National Champion that has very limited exposure to the American audience. But, Vargas is the better tested fighter and is still in the midst of his prime.
It’s possible that Vargas will be overlooking Berchelt and will be looking forward to his rematch with Orlando Salido, but it appears unlikely that Berchelt will walk away with an upset victory.
A Look At Salido-Miura
By: Brandon Bernica
This past week, a knuckle-loaded slugfest between veterans Orlando Salido and Takashi Miura was finalized for December 17th. Instantly, the boxing world rejoiced at the pairing, familiar with the intensity with which each man fights with.
Salido (43-13-4), the grizzled veteran from Mexico, had made a name for himself for being in all-action fights. His mixed draw with Francisco Vargas this year was considered the fight of this year by many ringside observers. The former two-division champion also holds longstanding rivalries with Juan Manuel Lopez and Roman Martinez, engaging in crowd-pleasing affairs with each man.
Salido’s biggest win came against one of the greatest amateurs of all-time, Vasyl Lomachenko, in a controversial bout. In Lomachenko’s second pro outing, Salido edged the fight on the cards despite weighing in overweight and firing a string of low blows.
Meanwhile Miura (30-3-2) shares a common opponent with Salido in Vargas. Miura led much of that fight until Vargas turned the tables and knocked him out in an entertaining finish. Wins over Gamaliel Diaz, Billy Dib, and Sergio Thompson punctuate the Japanese fighter’s solid career. His only other loss came at the hands of his native rival Takashi Uchiyama in Japan.
Salido-Miura promises nothing but non-stop action. Both fighters thrive on wearing their opponents out in grueling wars of attrition. The caveat here is that each man has also shown vulnerability in past fights. Both men are open to be hit and have been knocked out in the past. You can all but guarantee the fight will either be a long, taxing battle or a quick, explosive fight.
One angle of the promotion I would love to see uncovered is the budding rivalry between Japan and Mexico. Both countries sport fighting cultures that celebrate fighting with guts and gusto, pressing forward until your opponent calls mercy. With classic fights between the two countries in recent years such as Arakawa-Figueroa, Kamegai-Soto Karass and Miura-Vargas, the evidence begs the question: why don’t we explore this rivalry more? Clearly, it works, and it can expose U.S. fans to a rich boxing scene in Japan that often flies under the radar.
2016 has been rough for boxing, to say the least. Fighters continue to rot in the throes of inactivity, pining for an opportunity to advance their careers. Just as we’re about to lose all the hope attached to our boxing fandom, we get fights like this one that restore our faith in the sport. We recall those earliest of fights in our memories that drew us to the action in the ring, a grotesque display of fisticuffs that, for some reason, we can’t take our eyes off of. If Salido-Miura fails to meet our expectations, boxing in 2016 will end much like how it played out throughout the year: disappointingly.