Travis Kauffman, Gerald Washington, and Michael Hunter Win on Sunday
By: Ken Hissner
At the Pioneer Event Center, Lancaster, CA, Tom Brown’s TG Promotions and Premier Champion Boxing put on three ten round heavyweight fights plus ten more bouts Sunday night over FS-1.
In the main event Travis “My Time” Kauffman, 32-2 (23), of Reading, PA, pulled out a majority decision over late sub Scott Alexander, 14-3-2 (8), of L.A., CA, over 10 rounds.
Photo Credit: Travis Kauffman Twitter Account
In the opening round Kauffman dropped Alexander with short right to the chin. Referee Wayne Hedgpeth administered the 8 count. Shortly afterwards it was Alexander landing a left hook to the head knocking Kauffman to the canvas for an 8 count by Referee Hedgpeth.
Kauffman came in at one of his highest weights at 242 ½ compared to one of Alexander’s lowest weights at 224 last fighting in March. Kauffman was returning to the ring after fifteen months.
In rounds two thru five were all close with Alexander taking three of the four rounds after an even first round. In round six Kauffman used his jab to edge out Alexander.
In the seventh round Kauffman landed a right to the chin of Kauffman. He would box the rest of the way as Alexander seemed to “take the round off”. Kauffman landed a left hook to the chin of Alexander at the bell.
In the eighth round Alexander came out using his jab and a left uppercut to the body of Kauffman. Kauffman walked into a right to the chin from Alexander. Kauffman landed a right to the body as Alexander countered with a body shot of his own. Kauffman turned southpaw landing a left to the body and a right to the chin of Alexander. Good round for Alexander who had been yelled at by his corner after not doing much if anything in the seventh round. Alexander took the fight on a week’s notice and had only gone the ten round distance once in his career.
the ninth round Kauffman came out southpaw landing a right hook to the chin of Alexander. Alexander came back with a chopping right to the head followed by a right upper cut to the chin of Kauffman. Kauffman landed a right to the chin at the bell. Kauffman seemed to take the round.
In the tenth and final round both fighters came out landing body shots for the first minute. Kauffman landed a double right to the head of Alexander. Alexander came back with a left hook to the chin of Kauffman knocking out his mouthpiece. For some reason it was over a minute before Referee Hedgpeth stopping the action to retrieve the mouthpiece. Both fighters went at it the last thirty seconds punching until the final bell sounded.
Judge Fernando Villarreal scored it 95-95 while both judge’s Sergio Caiz and Ralph McNight scored it 96-94 as did this writer.
In the other two heavyweight matches Gerald “El Gallo Negro” Washington, 19-2-1 (12), of Vallejo, CA, defeated John Wesley Nofire, 20-2 (16), of Miami, FL, by scores of 97-93 and 98-92 twice.
Michael Hunter II, 14-1 (9), of Las Vegas, NV, knocked out Georgian Iago Kiladze, 26-3 (18), of Brooklyn, NY, at 2:52 of the fifth round.
Showtime Boxing Preview: Cruz vs. Mares, Charlo vs. Trout
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares will rematch from a 2015 fight that featured more than 2000 total punches thrown. This rematch will take place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles and will be televised live on Showtime. Santa Cruz and Mares will be fighting for Santa Cruz’s WBA “Super” Featherweight Title.
The co-main event of the night will be an intriguing bout between the rising Jermell Charlo and Austin Trout, who is best known for defeating Miguel Cotto. This bout will be for Charlo’s WBC Junior Middleweight Title.
Photo Credit: Premier Boxing Champions Twitter Account
The undercard is packed with fights such as Karlos Balderas and Pedo Lopez in the junior lightweight division, Arnold Alejandro and Elliot Brown in the Featherweight Division, Jose Balderas and Luis Montellano in the Junior Featherweight division, and Ivan Redkach and Brian Jones in the welterweight division.
The following is a preview of both planned televised bouts.
Jermell Charlo (30-0) vs. Austin Trout (31-4); WBC Junior Middleweight Title
The opening bout will be for the WBC Junior Middleweight Title between Jermell Charlo and Austin Trout.
Trout had previously faced Jermell’s twin brother, Jermall Charlo, and came up short. Charlo is four years younger than Trout and will have about an inch and a half height advantage and a one inch reach advantage.
They both have decent power, Charlo has stopped fifteen of his opponents while Trout has stopped seventeen. Trout has only fought once in 2016, 2017, and 2018 while Charlo fought twice in 2017, once in 2016. Trout has struggled recently and went 2-2 the past four fights, Charlo has been on a tear and has never tasted defeated and is currently riding a four fight win streak.
Both boxers had a pretty good amateur career. Charlo was a Junior Olympics Bronze Medalist and Trout was a US Amateur Gold Medalist.
Charlo has defeated the likes of Erickson Lubin, Charles Hatley, John Jackson, Vanes Martirosyan, and Gabriel Rosado. Trout has defeated the likes of Joey Hernandez, Daniel Dawson, Miguel Cotto, and Delvin Rodriguez. He has losses to Canelo Alvarez, Erislandy Lara, Jermall Charlo, and Jarrett Hurd.
Unfortunately for Trout the Charlo brothers are very close and will likely be talking about how to defeat Austin Trout. Trout’s biggest victory of his career was against Miguel Cotto and a win against Charlo might be considered an even bigger upset, but his lack of activity the past three years plus his recent struggles against high level competition makes those prospects unlikely.
Leo Santa Cruz (34-1-1) vs. Abner Mares (31-2-1); WBA “Super” Featherweight Title
The first bout between Santa Cruz and Mares was an action packed bout with an abnormally high number of punches. Santa Cruz won a close decision when they first fought and Mares has been itching for a rematch ever since.
Santa Cruz is three years younger than Mares. He also has a three inch height and a three inch reach advantage. He will be the obvious bigger man inside the ring.
Both boxers are known for their ability to throw a high volume of punches and swarm their opponents. But Santa Cruz has been the more active boxer. He fought twice in 2017 and twice in 2016, while Mares only fought once in 2016 and once in 2017.
Both boxers come from a successful amateur career. Santa Cruz won a gold medal in the Junior Olympics and Mares competed in the 2004 Summer Olympics. Santa Cruz has a slight edge in power. He has nineteen stoppage victories while Mares only has fifteen.
Mares has two losses, but was stopped in one of those losses, a mild upset to Jhonny Gonzalez.
Santa Cruz has defeated the likes of Chris Avalos, Carl Frampton, Kiko Martinez, Abner Mares, Cesar Seda, Eric Morel, and Cristian Mijares. His lone loss was to Carl Frampton, and it was a loss he later avenged.
Mares has defeated the likes of Andres Gutierrez, Jesus Cuellar, Jonathan Oquendo, Daniel Ponce De Leon, Anselmo Moreno, Eric Morel, Joseph Agbeko, and Vic Darchinyan. His losses were to Jhonny Gonzalez and Leo Santa Cruz, and he hopes to avenge his loss to Santa Cruz on Saturday.
Unfortuntely for Mares he’s still fighting a bigger man who’s in the middle of his athletic prime, while Mares is hitting the age that boxers tend to show signs of slipping.
It seems likely that Santa Cruz will get a more convincing victory on Saturday night.
Lopez vs. Cruz Headlines a Full PBC Card Saturday Night
By: Eric Lunger
Saturday night on Fox, Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) presents a triple-header from the Don Haskins Center in El Paso, TX. In a classic crossroads matchup, veteran Josesito Lopez takes on undefeated prospect Miguel Cruz in a ten-round welterweight clash, while Anthony Dirrell and Abraham Han are set for ten rounds at super middleweight. The televised card opens with featherweights Jorge Lara and Claudio Marrero.
Photo Credit: Premier Boxing Champions Twitter Account
Lopez (35-7, 19 KOs) has been in the ring with quality opposition, including a losing world title effort against Canelo Alvarez in 2012. In that same year, however, Lopez stopped Victor Ortiz in nine rounds, his most notable win. Since then, the Riverside, CA, native has posted mixed results, with losses to Marcos Maidana and Andre Berto, but he comes into Saturday night’s looking to continue his two-win streak. Lopez is an aggressive and fan-friendly fighter who is willing to take risks. Confident and relaxed, Josesito just finished a solid camp with renowned trainer Roberto Garcia: “this is the kind of fight I can really display my skills,” Lopez said at the pre-fight press conference, “I am prepared for anything Saturday night.”
For Miguel Cruz (17-0, 11 KOs), Saturday night is a huge opportunity. With only three ten-rounders under his belt, Cruz is relatively untested. His last two outings were unanimous decision wins, over Alex Martin last June and David Grayton in November. At five-foot-eleven, Cruz will have a two-inch height advantage over Lopez and a five-inch reach surplus. “I have to be smart and execute my game plan round after round,” Cruz said, “my jab will be key, and if I can use that and wear him down to the body, I think I’ll have a great chance to stop him.”
In the co-feature, former middleweight Champion Anthony Dirrell (31-1-1, 24 KOs) looks to continue his climb back into contention after a gritty sixth-round stoppage of Denis Douglin in November of last year. Two years ago, Dirrell lost his belt by majority-decision to Badou Jack, and he later stopped future IBF champion Caleb Truax in round one of their 2016 bout, so Dirrell knows what he can do, and he knows he belongs in the mix at the top of the 168 weight class. “Everybody knows I am a championship caliber fighter, and I’ll prove it again on Saturday. After this fight I’m ready to take on any of the super middleweight champions,” Dirrell said.
Abraham Han (26-3-1, 16 KOs) is an El Paso native, and is excited to fight in front of his hometown fans. Han’s most notable win was over Marcos Reyes in November of 2014, a ten-round majority decision. Han comes into Saturday night’s bout riding a three-fight win streak, with two recent knockouts and one no-contest due to a head butt. “I hope the sport fans of El Paso come out and watch me put on a great performance,” said Han in the press conference this week. “I know the type of challenge I have in front of me, but I also know I have the skills to pull this off.”
The action will start with a televised undercard feature, pitting heavy-handed Mexican Jorge Lara (29-0, 21 KOs) against Claudio Marrero (22-2, 16 KOs) of the Dominican Republic. With a combined seventy-percent knockout rate, this bout is unlikely to go the full distance.
The action begins live on FOX and FOX streaming 8:30 ET/5:30 PT.
Jamal James Edges Abel Ramos in Minneapolis
By: Andrew Johnson
Jamal “Shango” James outlasted a sturdy and persistent Abel Ramos last Friday night in front of a loud, partisan crowd at the Armory in snowy Minneapolis. He won by the slimmest of margins, splitting the judges 95-95, 96-94, 96-94.
Clearly enthused to be fighting at home, James came storming out of the gate throwing flurries of punches behind sharp double and triple jabs. He appeared intent on scoring another early knockdown, building on the third-round KO he registered in December against Diego Chaves.
Photo Credit: Brian Schroeder / Premier Boxing Champions
Abel Ramos looked very comfortable at 147 lbs. and weathered the first-round storm. He steadied himself in his corner and launched his own offensive in the 2nd round, catching James with a left hook that nearly flattened the hometown fighter.
“I caught him with some tough shots and he was shaking them off,” James told the Boxing Insider immediately after the fight, “so I knew I had to keep boxing him.”
James’ strategy to use his length and quickness to outbox the shorter, slower Ramos proved to be a winning formula, but the victory wasn’t as easy or as decisive as Shango had hoped. In the first half of the fight, Ramos absorbed combination after combination from James, but he never flinched. In fact, Ramos kept pursuing the quicker fighter and by the middle of the fight he was starting to land with more success.
Solidifying his reputation as a difficult target, James ducked, dodged and leaned away from Ramos’ power shots. “I got slick on the inside because I knew he was going to keep pressuring me.” James said about his mid-fight strategy.
James was also aided by the 3,500 fans who braved the weather to back one of the best prospects Minneapolis has produced in the last two decades. Chants of “Shango! Shango! Shango!” started in the third round and were repeated throughout the fight. James appeared to draw energy from the supporting crowd in the late rounds when he was cut over his ear and losing steam.
The Armory felt like it was made for the sweet science and is poised to host future fights. It was a reminder that live boxing is best when the crowd has skin in the game and is emotionally invested in the main event. The vocal fans may have nudged a round or two on the judges’ scorecards towards James, as a number of rounds could have gone either way.
The WBA was already on board with Jamal James as a top contender at welterweight and it will be interesting to see if this fight will improve his standing with the other sanctioning bodies.
In the locker room after the victory, Shango was both elated and palpably relieved. He came through in the biggest fight of his life and defeated a tough opponent in front of his friends, family and a national audience.
Showtime Boxing Results: Hurd Wins Thriller Over Lara, Williams and DeGale Victorious
By: William Holmes
Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions put on a triple header on the Showtime networks live from the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The main event of the evening was between Erislandy Lara and Jarrett Hurd and the co-main event of the evening was between James DeGale and Caleb Truax which was a rematch of a mammoth upset in 2017.
The opening bout of the night was between Julian Williams (24-1-1) and Nathaniel Gallimore (20-1) in the junior middleweight division. The winner of this bout will likely be looking at a title shot in the near future.
Julian Williams was a big step up in competition for Nathaniel Gallimore and he stayed behind a strong jab and good side to side movement in the opening three rounds. Gallimore was able to land some shots on the inside, and landed and received some heavy shots in the fourth round.
Williams had a small mouse under his right eye in the fifth round that opened up from an unintentional headbutt. Williams began to focus on the body more in the middle rounds, though he looked a little tired in the fifth and sixth rounds.
Williams body work continued into the seventh, eight, and ninth rounds and it was visibly sapping the energy of Gallimore. Gallimore’s punches didn’t have much snap in the tenth round and Williams had Gallimore badly hurt in the eleventh round and looked close to stopping him.
It was an entertaining fight, with only one questionable scorecard at the end.
The final scores were 114-114, 116-112, and 117-110 in favor of Julian Williams.
After this bout Floyd Mayweather Jr. was interviewed by Showtime and indicated that if he was going to unretire he would fight in the octagon.
The co-main event of the night was between Caleb Truax (29-3-2) and James DeGale (23-2-1) for the IBF Super Middleweight Title.
Photo Credit: Showtime Twitter Account
DeGale showed the quicker hand speed and more accurate in the opening two rounds, but it featured many headbutts that often happen when a southpaw faces an orthodox fighter.
Truax applied heavy pressure in the third round which featured a hard-right hand to the chin of DeGale that sent him falling backwards into the ropes. DeGale had a cut by his right eye that the referee ruled was caused by a punch, but the video replay showed it was caused by a head-butt.
The Nevada commission informed the announce team in the fourth round that the ruling on the cut being caused by a punch still stood despite the video evidence.
Truax continued to come forward in the fourth through sixth rounds while DeGale badly bled. Truax however wasn’t able to land many effective combinations but he was pressing the action.
DeGale started to land some good counters in the seventh round and land some good short shots on the inside. DeGale had a very strong eighth and ninth rounds and often switched to an orthodox stance from his traditional southpaw stance.
Truax had cuts under both of his eyes by the ninth round and appeared to be tiring. DeGale lost a point in the tenth round for a deliberate shoulder strike.
The final two rounds were close and featured some tight action, but DeGale looked like he was landing the better punches.
The final scores were 117-110, 114-113, and 114-113 for James DeGale.
The main event of the night was between Jarrett Hurd (21-0) and Erislandy Lara (25-2-2) for the IBF and WBA Junior Middleweight Titles .
Photo Credit: Showtime Twitter Account
Hurd looked like he was two weight classes bigger than Lara, but Lara was able to find a home with his straight left hand early on and land some quick combinations in the second.
Hurd didn’t appear to be too bothered with Lara’s power and was able to land some good short shots on the inside and was making Lara back away from him in the fourth rounds.
Hurd showed he had a granite chin in the fifth round and was able to take the shots of Lara and answer with his own shots to the body. Lara appeared to tire in the sixth rounds as his back was against the ropes again, and he took a hard right hook at the end of the seventh round.
Hurd was able to land some very hard shots in the eighth round and had Lara’s eye puffed up badly in the ninth.
Lara was able to slow Hurd’s momentum in the 10th round with quick counters and being the first on the attack, and he was able to finish the eleventh round strong and maybe steal the round.
The twelfth round featured both boxers going for the knockout, but it was Hurd who landed a shot that sent his opponent to the mat. Lara looked badly hurt and face was swollen, but he was able to survive the round.
The scores were 114-113 Lara, 114-113 Hurd, and 114-113 Hurd.
PBC on Showtime Results: Danny Garcia Knocks Out Rios, Benavidez and Ugas Victorious
By: Ken Hissner
Saturday February 17th USA Showtime featured three bouts all worthy of main event status with former champions Garcia and Rios in the main event. The event was held at the Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino Event Center in Las Vegas, NV.
Former 2-Division Champion Philadelphia’s Danny “Swift” Garcia, 34-1 (20), stopped former WBA World Lightweight Champion Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios, 34-4-1 (24), of Oxnard, CA, at 2:25 of the ninth round in an exciting fight from start to finish. Garcia’s stoppage was the highlight of the night of three great fights!
In the first round Garcia had his way for the most part with the quicker punches and foot work with Rios coming forward as always. In the second round it was Rios pressing and landing more than Garcia through the first half of the round. Garcia started using his jab and throwing combinations to offset the fast start by Rios. In the third round Garcia landed a double left hook to the body of Rios. As Rios pushed Garcia to the ropes Garcia landed half a dozen punches. Rios came back driving Garcia to the ropes with Garcia jabbing his way out of trouble. Rios landed a hard right hand to the chin of Garcia. Just under a minute Rios landed a hard overhand right to the side of the head of Garcia. Garcia came back with a hard right to the chin of Rios. The fans really got into the action.
In the fourth round the boxer-puncher Garcia countered well but the aggressive Rios was backing Garcia up. Garcia landed a good right uppercut to the body but Rios came back with a good right to the chin. With last than half a minute left Garcia rocked Rios. In the final 20 seconds Garcia hurt Rios with a right to the chin. The action was fast and furious. In the fifth round Garcia rocked Rios with a right hand only to have Rios come back with a right uppercut to the chin of Garcia. Garcia landed a 3-punch combination to the head of Rios. In the final minute of the round Garcia gave Rios a wicked body beating. Garcia rocked Rios with a left uppercut to the chin at the bell.
In the sixth round Rios landed a solid short right to the chin of Garcia. At the halfway point Rios had Garcia on the defense. Rios countered a Garcia right with a right to the chin of his own. It was a big round for Rios. At the halfway point of the fight it looked even. In the seventh round Rios was driving Garcia around the ring with Garcia doing his best to keep him off with a jab and landed a good right to the chin with a minute left in the round. With half a minute left in the round Garcia was moving well and landing well. Garcia may have stolen the round at the end.
In the eighth round Garcia landed a 3-punch combination. Rios came back with good body work. At the halfway mark Garcia landed quick left hooks to the body of Rios. Rios pinned Garcia to the ropes but was countered well by Garcia. There was action right up to the end of the round. In the ninth round Garcia boxed well and at the halfway point Garcia rocked Rios with right hands. Out of nowhere came a powerful right cross by Garcia dropping Rios hard to the canvas. As Rios beat the count he was asked by referee Kenny Bayless to step forward and it was obvious Rios was finished making Bayless to wisely call a halt.
“I first want to thank God and Al Haymon and my dad when of the best trainers in the world. I want to thank my family. I noticed he was open in the middle of the ring when I landed that punch to drop him. I would like to have a rematch with Keith Thurman but that’s up to him (has a fight in May),” said Garcia. Unfortunately Shawn Porter got into the ring while Garcia was being interviewed by Jim Gray causing a shouting match back and forth. Garcia got the best of that shouting match.
The judges had Garcia in front 78-74 from Dave Moretti and 77-73 by Steve Weisfeld and Glenn Trowbridge. This writer had Garcia in front 77-75 taking the last two rounds big. Garcia’s power proved to be the difference. He and Thurman are on a collision course for a rematch in what is possibly the most talented division in boxing today.
Philadelphia southpaw “The New” Ray Robinson, 24-3 (12), was knocked down twice losing in an upset to Cuban Yordenis Ugas, 21-3 (10), out of Miami, FL, at 1:05 of the seventh round with Ugas becoming No. 2 in the IBF rankings.
In the first round Robinson’s jab keeps Ugas on the defense though coming forward. A right from Ugas to the chin of Robinson drops him. Whether he stepped on Robinson’s foot it wasn’t clear. Both boxers landed solid exchanges bringing the fans cheering. In the second round Ugas kept stalking Robinson landing a lead right to the chin of Robinson. Robinson came back using a good jab keeping Ugas honest. In the third round Robinson missed with a right hook and got countered to the body by Ugas. Ugas landed an overhand right followed by a left jab keeping Robinson from countering.
In the fourth round Ugas lands right leads to the head of Robinson. Ugas landed a combination to the mid-section of Robinson. Ugas landed at the bell with a right while Robinson landed a punch after losing a point after dropping Ugas. In the fifth round Robinson is not doing well with the left hand keeping the jab on the most part to score points. Ugas is landing well with the rights to the head of Robinson.
In the sixth round Robinson started landing the left more but Ugas seemed to get the better with his right hand. Just prior to the bell Ugas landed a hard right to the chin of Robinson causing Robinson to complain to referee Robert Byrd. In the seventh round a powerful wide right hand to the chin dropped Robinson. He got up but on shaky legs. Ugas jumped on him landing a flurry of punches causing referee Byrd to stop the fight with Robinson throwing the last two punches. Robinson complained to the stoppage by Byrd. Ugas was ahead at the end on all the judges scorecards.
In the co-feature WBC World Super Middleweight Champion David “El Bandera Roja” Benavidez, 20-0 (17), of Phoenix, AZ, in a rematch with Romanian Ronald Gavril, 18-3-1 (14), out of Las Vegas, NV, pitched a shut out in what was an exciting brawl over 12 rounds.
In the opening round it only took Benavidez 10 seconds to land a right after a jab to the head of Gavril. This was a rematch from Benavidez winning a split decision over Gavril. Benavidez was landing right hands to the head of Gavril. With a minute left in the round Gavril landed a 3-punch combination to the head of Benavidez. Benavidez using a good jab and a follow-up right had a good round. In the second round Benavidez controlled with his jab. It took Gavril a minute into the round to land a solid right to the head of Benavidez. Gavril was pressing forward but getting countered well by Benavidez. Benavidez is landing a hard right almost at will in the last 20 seconds of the round.
In the third round it took 20 seconds when Benavidez hurt Gavril with a powerful right hand to the chin. Benavidez landed a good left uppercut to the chin of Gavril. Gavril out of frustration pushed Benavidez back without warning from referee Russell Mora. Benavidez landed a 3-punch combination having his way with Gavril. In the fourth round Gavril came out aggressively and got caught with a right hand and left hook that had him almost out on his feet as he was driven into the ropes. Gavril at the halfway point of the round fought back but Benavidez answered with rights to the head. Benavidez landed half a dozen punches without return from Gavril. Benavidez ended the round bouncing right hands off the head of Gavril.
In the fifth round halfway through the first minute of the round Benavidez landed a solid right to the head of Gavril. Not only was Benavidez quicker but punched harder. With 20 seconds left in the round it was Gavril landing a combination with the right to the head of Benavidez rocking him. In the sixth round Benavidez continued to dominate Gavril up to the final minute before Gavril came back on solid punches of his own. Benavidez came back near the end of the round as the fight started to heat up even more.
In the seventh round it turned into a battle with Benavidez still getting the best of it though Gavril got in some right hands to the head. In the eighth round Gavril comes out throwing more punches through the first minute of the round but got caught with several uppercuts from Benavidez. It turned into a war in this round. For the first time in the fight Benavidez backed into the ropes allowing Gavril to throw punches. Benavidez smiled and started punching Gavril backwards with solid combinations highlighted by a left uppercut to the chin. The fans loved the action.
In the ninth round Benavidez came out with triple jabs followed by a right to the head of Gavril. Gavril’s corner is yelling “show us something Ron.” He has been taking a beating in this round from Benavidez. With less than a minute left in the round Gavril tries landing punches but Benavidez answers with more fire power. Gavril’s nose was bleeding at the end of the round. In the tenth round Benavidez was having his way up until the halfway point when a game Gavril flurried until a solid right from Benavidez to the chin stopped Gavril’s offense. It looked like Benavidez was wondering how Gavril is still standing at the end of the round. The ring physician checked Gavril between rounds.
In the eleventh round Gavril continues to come forward looking for that one punch knowing he is way behind on points. Benavidez has kept his hands to his side the entire fight but his quickness of hand he still beats Gavril to the punch. He ends the final 20 seconds painting the face of Gavril with his jab. In the twelfth and final round Benavidez keeps ahead backing up landing his jab. At the halfway point it was Gavril rocking Benavidez with a solid right to the head. Just under a minute left in the fight Gavril backs up Benavidez into the ropes with a flurry of punches. Gavril knows he needs a knockout and he is doing his best to land that punch. The fans loved this one with both fighters giving them their monies worth. Gavril was marked up at the end but what a gallant effort on his part taking twice as many punches than he landed.
Judge Julie Lederman had it 119-109 while Robert Hoyle and Glenn Feldman had it 120-108 as did this writer.
“I kept punching (questioned about hand injuries) for I am a warrior. I want to thank Al Haymon and my team (then went into Spanish thanking the Mexican fans for their support),” said Benavidez.
PBC on Fox Results: Alexander and Ortiz fight to a Draw.
by Eric Lunger
Tonight, on PBC on Fox, the talented but enigmatic Victor Ortiz (32-6-2, 25 KOs) took on former world champion Devon Alexander (27-4, 14 KOs) in a twelve-round welterweight clash. No belt was on the line, but both fighters knew what was at stake: the winner would have a meaningful claim in the deep welterweight division, while the loser very well might mark the end of his career.
In a close, professional first round, both men boxed from range, and Alexander just nipped the round, landing one clean shot. Ortiz was looking to land a lead hook in the second round, feinting his way in. Alexander’s hand speed was noticeable, however, and Ortiz suffered a cut on his forehead. It was another extremely close round. Alexander looked the better fighter in the third round, showing world-class accuracy and speed.
In the fourth, Alexander continued to land precise shots, with Ortiz’s left eye noticeably swelling. The pattern continued in the middle rounds, with Ortiz trying to feint his way in, but Alexander timing him with precise, short shots. Ortiz did get inside at the end of the fifth, but could not do any significant damage. In the seventh, Ortiz bulled his way in, and there was a lot of leather exchanged at close range. The eighth was an exciting round, two professionals exhibiting a high level of skill and courage. It might have been Ortiz’s best round, but Alexander seemed none daunted.
The ninth was full of action, but Alexander’s footwork allowed him to dictate the range (most of the time), and thus Ortiz could not make it an inside brawl. In the eleventh, Ortiz was looking to land some wide hooks, while Alexander remained sharp and accurate. In the final frame, Ortiz fought with urgency but he seemed unable to summon enough energy after a tough and exhausting effort. For a fighter who has taken a lot of criticism regarding his heart, Ortiz fought like a lion.
The scorecards came a stunner. Inexplicably, a majority draw with two cards 114-114, and one card 115-113 for Ortiz.
In the co-feature, undefeated prospect Caleb “Sweet Hands” Plant (16-0, 10 KOs) took on rugged and experienced Rogelio “Porky” Medina (38-8, 32 KOs) in a twelve-round world title eliminator at 168 pounds. Sold as America vs. Mexico, the storyline was more interesting as undefeated prospect against tested and tough veteran. Medina failed to make weight, however, and appeared in the ring with a brace on his left knee.
Plant showed a strong left jab in the first round, taking no risks. In the second, Plant dropped his left hand, and allowed Medina to come forward and dictate the action. Plant spent a significant portion of the round back-peddling, earning a Bronx cheer from the crowd. But in the third round, Plant appeared looser and more confident, bouncing on the balls of his feet and landing some clean counters. Medina had no answers and began to take real punishment.
Medina had some success in the fourth, but Plant landed more jabs and used his footwork to frustrate the Mexican veteran. In the middle rounds, Medina could not negate Plant’s advantage in reach and Plant’s jab. Plant was winning rounds jabbing and countering, but he never seemed like he wanted to get Medina out of there.
In the late rounds, Plant remained in control, always boxing, always safe. Medina showed a ton of heart and desire, but could not make inroads against Plant’s defensive footwork. Going twelve rounds for the first time in his career, Caleb Plant earned the decision 120-108, 119-109, 117-111, running his record to a perfect 17-0.
In earlier action, US Olympian Carlos Balderas (3-0, 3 KOs) showcased his elite-level skills, outpointing Jorge Rojas (4-2-1, 2 KOs) in a four-round lightweight bout. Prior to the televised bouts, Detroit’s Tony Harrison (25-2, 20 KOs) stopped George Sosa (15-12, 15 KOs) in the fifth round, for Harrison’s second win since losing to Jarrett “Swift” Hurd in February of 2017.
PBC on Fox Preview: Devon Alexander vs. Victor Ortiz
By: Eric Lunger
Former welterweight world champions Victor Ortiz and Devon Alexander look to climb back into the top echelons of the division, as they face off on Saturday night in a twelve-round welterweight bout, live on Fox at 8:00 p.m. ET.
Photo Credit: Alen Mena/PBC
Ortiz (32-6-2, 25 KOs) held the WBC title in 2011, losing it to Floyd Mayweather on a bizarre knock out, after Ortiz had inexplicably head-butted Mayweather and was still attempting to apologize. Ortiz, 31, has been erratic since then, winning three and losing three over a five-year span, but he is coming off a fourth-round knockout of Saul Corral in July of last year. A southpaw with a fluid and entertaining style, Ortiz is a pressure fighter who can leave himself open to being countered.
“I’m ready to give all I have to get my crown back,” Ortiz said via PBC press release. “My priority is to make a strong comeback and put myself in position to have my straps once more. I’m facing a great fighter in Devon Alexander and someone I have known since we were kids. I don’t hate him, but I won’t be his friend on fight night.”
Alexander, also 31, won the IBF welterweight title in November 2012, but lost it a year later, in his second defense of the belt, to Shawn Porter. Alexander held the IBF and WBC super lightweight titles in 2010-2011. The St. Louis native is a southpaw as well, and he brings to the ring a well-rounded style with solid defense and potent offense. Alexander has a strong jab and a dangerous straight left, but he can also bang the body with the left hook.
After battling some on-and-off health issues over the last three years, Alexander is eager to get back on track. Coming off a UD victory over Walter Castillo in November, a big win Saturday night could jump start his career. “I’m excited to get back in there against a fighter like Victor Ortiz,” Alexander told PBC. “My speed, quickness, and smarts will win me this fight. Victor checks out sometimes when he can’t hit you, so my skills will be the difference.”
With fights against Amir Khan, Marcos Maidana, and Timothy Bradley on his resume, Alexander is no stranger to the big stage. Both he and Ortiz have a lot of hard-earned experience between them; both of them are very talented. The fight should come down to which fighter can impose his game plan on the other.
In the co-main event, undefeated prospect Caleb “Sweet Hands” Plant (16-0, 10 KOs) will take on tough veteran Rogelio Medina (38-8, 32 KOs) in a twelve-round world title eliminator at 168 pounds. At super welterweight, Detroit’s Tony Harrison (25-2, 20 KOs) will face off against Jorge Cota (27-2, 24 KOs) of Mexico in a ten rounder. Harrison, a real technician of the sport, was stopped by Jarrett Hurd in February of last year in an IBF title fight. In addition, 2016 US Olympian Carlos Balderas will appear in a lightweight special attraction.
PBC on Showtime Preview: Garcia vs. Rios, Benavidez vs. Gavril, Ugas vs. Robinson
By: B.A. Cass
On Saturday, February 17, Premier Boxing Champions brings us a tripleheader that includes an IBF eliminator fight and the title shot for WBC Super Middleweight belt. The SHOWTIME coverage is set to begin at 10 PM EST.
The main event will be between the matched Danny Garcia and Brian Rios. The co-main event will the rematch between David Benavidez and Ronald Gavril. And the first televised fight will be between Yordenis Ugas and Ray Robinson.
Photo Credit: Stephanie Trapp/Showtime
Yordenis Ugas (20-3) vs. Ray Robinson (24-2); Welterweight
After losing to Shawn Porter in 2010, Robinson has stacked up 13 consecutive wins. The talent he has faced has not been exceptional. Nevertheless, he will step into the ring on Saturday night feeling supremely confident. “I’m an old-school fighter,” he said on Wednesday at the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. “I love fighting guys that look good on paper and nobody knows who’s going to win and it’s up to his camp and my camp. I haven’t been this excited for a fight in a long time.” Robinson expects Ugas to give him hell, and he expects to give him hell back.
The Cuban-born Ugas, who fights out of Miami, rose to some prominence after winning bronze at the 2008 Olympics. As a professional, he has suffered three losses. “I know what’s at stake,” he said on Wednesday. “It is the biggest fight of my career.”
This is about as even as boxing fights get. Robinson is 32; Ugas is 31. And neither fighter can claim a significant height or reach advantage.
However, the prize for winning is essentially an opportunity to meet defeat: this is an IBF 147-pound eliminator, and the victor will face Errol Spence Jr.
David Benavidez (19-0) vs. Ronald Gavril (18-2); Super Middleweight
When Benavidez defeated Gavril last September by split decision, he won the WBC Super Middleweight title and became the youngest ever world champion in the super middleweight division. “Winning the title changed my confidence but it changed my work too,” he said on Wednesday at the press conference for the fight. “Now I know everybody is gunning for my title and I don’t want to let it go. All the work and sacrifice it took for me to get this – I’m not going to let it go.”
One of only two men who has gone the distance with Benavidez, the older Gavril (he’s got ten years on Benavidez) surprised a lot of fight fans last time around. It was a close fight. Gavril got rocked in the eleventh round but came back the twelfth round with a blow that knocked Benavidez on his ass. As a late replacement, Gavril had only four weeks to prepare for his first fight with Benavidez. He had a full ten-week training camp this time around. If he wins, he’ll be able to bring WBC belt back to his home country of Romania. “I’m not looking for a knockout,” he said on Wednesday. “I’m looking to win every round.”
Benavidez doesn’t intend to give up his championship belt. “I don’t think Gavril can do any better than he did in the last fight. He’s a one trick pony and he doesn’t have many tricks left. He’s getting old.”
The WBC did not mandate this fight, which means Benavidez took it willingly. There can be only one reason for that: he wants to put all doubts about his supremacy to rest. “I’m thinking it will be a knockout around Round 5,” he said. “It’s going to be a combination of the body and chin.”
Danny Garcia (33-1) vs. Brandon Rios (34-3-1); Welterweight
Garcia is still talking about Keith Thurman, who delivered Garcia his only professional loss. “I don’t blame Keith Thurman for not wanting to fight me again,” he said at the press conference Wednesday. “I wouldn’t want to fight me two times in a row.” Garcia hasn’t fought since losing to Garcia, which means when he steps into the ring he’ll be coming off an 11-month hiatus. He has an opportunity to impress, and he doesn’t intend to lose.
After being by dominated by Timothy Bradley Jr. in 2015, Rios retired from the sport. However, he came back 19 months later to defeat Aaron Herrera. Rios took a lot of shots before he finally KO’d Herrera. If he’s smart, Garcia will look to exploit this vulnerability.
Although Garcia is the clear favorite, Rios isn’t coming for just a paycheck. He a pressure fighter and knows how to make necessary adjustments. He’s ready to fight, and he’s excited to face Garcia. “One thing I like is he doesn’t move or run,” Rios said of Garcia. “He likes to bang it out, and that suits my style better. But if he does run, we’ll be ready for that too.”
Follow B.A. Cass on Twitter @WiththePunch
Showtime And PBC Announce Huge Lineup
By: Sean Crose
Showtime and the PBC rolled out their boxing schedule from now until late spring in glossy fashion Wednesday at Brooklyn’s Barclay’s Center, with a line up that runs nine broadcasts deep and offers some high level matches. After pointing out that younger viewers are tuning to boxing rather than other sports, Showtime’s Stephen Espinoza, who has just been promoted to President, Sports and Event Programming for the network, did a bit of boasting. “We see that boxing delivers a strong, young, multicultural audience,” Espinoza claimed as he stood before a board full of data. “We can retire the myth,” he added, “that boxing has an older audience.”
It was then time to introduce the fighters in question and the fights they would be engaging in. Jimmy Lennon Junior announced the fights while radio star Charlemagne the God spoke to the fighters. The broadcasts will air as follows:
On February 17th , Danny Garcia (33-1) will face Brandon Rios (34-3-1) in a Las Vegas hosted WBC welterweight title eliminator. David Benavidez (19-0) will also be facing Ronald Gravil (18-2) for the WBC super middleweight title on that same card.
On March 3d, WBC heavyweight champ Deontay Wilder (39-0) will finally face Luis Ortiz (28-0) for Wilder’s title strap at the Barclay’s Center. Jermall Charlo (26-0) will also be fighting Hugo Centeno (26-1) for the interim WBC middleweight title. “As I see it, Wilder said, “I’m 39-0 with 38 KOs. Every time I promise I’m going to knock somebody out, I’ve done that. Come March 3, I promise I’m going to knock him (Ortiz) out too.”
On March 10th, Mikey Garcia (37-0) will battle Sergey Lipinets (13-0) for the IBF super lightweight title in San Antonio, Texas. Rances Barthelemy (26-0) will square off against Kiryl Relikh (21-2) for the WBA super lightweight title that same evening. “It’s an honor to be included on such a short list,” said Garcia. “This only opens up the doors to bigger fights and bigger things for my career.” Lipinents was also clearly excited for the upcoming fight. “I will give my best before I get in the ring and when I get in the ring,” he said. “I guarantee it will be a war and a great fight and you won’t be disappointed.”
On April 7th, Erislandy Lara (25-2-2) will fight Jarett Hurd (21-0) in an IBF and WBA super welterweight title unifier to be held at a site yet to be mentioned. “It’s time to put everyone on notice who the best 154-pounder is,” said Hurd. “I know a win over Erislandy Lara will put me there so I’m coming for that number one spot.”
On April 21’st, Adrien Broner (33-3) will face Omar Figueroa (27-0-1) in a WBC super lightweight title eliminator at a yet to be disclosed location. Lightweight Gervonta Davis (19-0) will also be on the card against an opponent to be named. “I’m trying to outshine everybody,” Broner stated. “I have to go crazy. I have to rematch Mikey. I have to fight Shawn Porter. This fight is the start of the turn-up. I’m ready. Let’s get it on. He’s undefeated, I’m trying to give him his first loss.”
On May 19th, Keith Thurman (28-0) will defend his WBA welterweight title at the Barclay’s Center against an opponent who has yet to be officially named (though many believe it will be 28-2 former titlist Jessie Vargas). “I’m truly looking forward to being back in the ring May 19,” said Thurman. “After that, I’m going to bring a more exciting fight later on this year.” On that same date, Adonis Stevenson (29-1) will battle Badu Jack (22-1-2) for Stevenson’s WBC light heavyweight title in Canada.
Lastly, on June 9th, Leo Santa Cruz (34-1-1) will rematch Abner Mares (31-2-1) for the WBA super featherweight title. Jermell Charlo (30-0) will also be facing a yet to be named opponent in defense of his WBC super welterweight title on that same Staples Center card. “It’s been two years since I fought Leo Santa Cruz,” claimed Mares, “and all I’ve been thinking about is redemption.” Charlo had a few unique words of his own to add. “I’m going to stay fly, get my body count up and let that lion roar,” he said.
All of the PBC fights mentioned will be aired live on the Showtime pay cable network.
How Good is Errol Spence, Jr.?
By Eric Lunger
Errol Spence, Jr. is a three-time amateur national champion. He was a 2012 Olympian reaching the quarter finals in the welterweight division. Turning professional seven years ago, he is undefeated in twenty-two fights and has scored nineteen KOs. He is ranked number eight in the world in Ring Magazine’s pound-for-pound list, and number two at welterweight.
Photo Credit: Premier Boxing Champions
These are impressive facts, but to gauge how good Errol Spence, Jr. is, we have to go back to May of last year, when he traveled to Sheffield, England, to face the experienced IBF welterweight champion, Kell Brook (36-1, 25 KOs). Spence took home the belt, stopping the British champion in the eleventh round, and showed a mature mastery of all areas of the sweet science.
Despite a thunderous home crowd and massive stage, Spence was calm and poised, relaxed even. His ring IQ is so high that he always seems to anticipate what his opponent is going to do. No movement wasted, everything under control – Errol looked at times like he was sparring in his home gym, not facing one of the best welterweights in a hostile stadium.
Here are some of his strengths. Spence has quick and precise footwork, which in turn means he can control the distance from which he fights and the style in which he fights. He is a southpaw with an excellent jab, and behind that jab is world-class hand speed and punching accuracy. Spence’s defense is also highly technical, utilizing a high guard from which he can counter punch effectively.
Spence is rightly known for being one of the best body punchers in the division, and it showed in the Brook fight. He was also able to switch styles at ease, sometimes fighting on his back foot and countering, sometimes walking Brook down, and sometimes getting inside and fighting in the phone booth. Spence also showed excellent conditioning and pacing in the Brook fight, hitting a new and higher gear in the ninth, tenth, and eleventh rounds, a gear that the Sheffield fighter could not match.
Of course, there is no such thing as a perfect fighter. Where is Spence vulnerable? Maybe against a more athletic puncher – like Thurman, or even Peterson – Spence’s technical skills could be nullified. Peterson might need to get inside, lean on Spence, muscle him, in order to get the younger man off his game. Brook had some success leaning on Spence, holding and wearing him out, and working the body. In short, turning the fight into a brawl rather than a boxing match might be one way (the only way?) to negate Spence’s skill level.
Spence has never been in real trouble and had to fight his way out. He has never been on the canvas as a professional. The flipside of Spence’s poise and calm in the ring is that he can get casual and too comfortable, as he did in the sixth round of the Brook fight, where Brook caught the American and put him in momentary difficulty.
Then there are the intangibles: focus, resilience, drive, mental preparation, late-round confidence. Nothing in Spence’s career so far has shown that he has anything less than the highest ability in all these categories. Errol Spence, Jr. is an elite-level boxer and a world champion. How good can he be? He will take another step toward that answer this Saturday night against Lamont Peterson, live on Showtime starting at 9:00 PM.
PBC on FS1 Results: Pascal Defeats Elbiali and Retires
By: Ken Hissner
At the Hialeah Park Racing & Casino in Hialeah, FL, on Friday night, promoter Leon Margules of Warrior Boxing over USA Fox Sports 1 presented a triple header.
In the main event light heavyweight Egyptian Ahmed Elbiali, 16-1 (13), of Miami, FL, suffered his first loss as former world champion Haitian Jean Pascal, 32-5-1 (19), of Quebec, CAN, ended his career with a win at 2:06 of the sixth round.
Photo Credit: Douglas DeFelice / Premier Boxing Champions
In the first round after twenty seconds Elbiali landed a left hook to the chin of Pascal rocking him. He went after Pascal who countered with a left hook to the head of Elbiali. Pascal finished the final minute strong with left hooks to the head of Elbiali. In the second round Pascal was swinging wildly mostly with left hooks. Elbiali landed his share of rights to the head. Pascal ended the round with a flurry of punches to the head of Elbiali.
In the third round both fighters mixed it up well taking turns getting the better of it. Pascal would throw and land punches then hold too much. In the fourth round just under a minute into the round the slugfest continued with both fighters landing bombs. Referee Tellis Ashimentos warned Pascal to stop holding. A big left hook by Pascal to the chin of Elbiali was the highlight of the round.
In the fifth round both fighters landed right hands to the head at the same time. With a minute remaining in the round Pascal was overwhelming Elbiali. Both fighters looked exhausted at the end of the round. In the sixth round Pascal turned up the heat over the much younger Elbiali driving him into a corner landing a dozen punches causing Elbiali’s corner to throw in the towel forcing referee Telis Assimenios ending the fight.
Returning after a fourteen month layoff welterweight southpaw Bryant “Goodfella” Perrella, 15-1 (13), of Ft. Myers, FL, wona lopsided decision over southpaw Alex “Chi-Town Heat” Martin, 13-3 (5), over 8 rounds with a first round knockdown.
In round one Perella was the aggressor outworking Martin. With less than half a minute left in the round a vicious right hook from Perella on the chin of Martin dropped him. Referee Andrew Glen gave him the 8 count. Martin held on to get through the round. In the second round Perella continued to walk through Martin who was on the defense for the most part.
In the third round Perella continued to push Martin around the ring. Martin waited until the final ten seconds to land a combination to the head of Perella. In the fourth round Martin worked his way back into the fight with right hooks to the head and body.
In the fifth round Perella was on the offense backing up Martin. With less than a minute left in the round a Perella right hook to the head stunned Martin. In the sixth round Perella continued to outwork Martin. Halfway thru the round Perella landed half a dozen punches that were unanswered by Martin.
In the seventh round Perella continued to dominate Martin. With a minute left in the round Martin landed a rare combination to the head of Perella. In the eighth and final round Perella dominated the first half of the round while Martin came back landing well but too little too late.
Judges scores Green and Ray 79-72 with Ross 77-74, this writer 78-73.
In the co-main event returning after a year off heavyweight Cuban southpaw Louis “King Kong” Ortiz, 28-0 (24), of Miami, FL, knocked out Daniel “The Mountain” Martz, 16-6-1 (13), of Clarksburg, WV, at 0:43 of the second round.
From ringside WBC champion Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder got into the ring telling Ortiz “you better be in shape because I am going to knock you out!”
In the first round it was all Ortiz. With less than twenty seconds left several body shots while inside dropped a defensive Martz. In the second round a crushing left on the chin of Martz and down he went and out. Referee Sam Burgos didn’t count but just waved it off.
Featherweight Stephen ”Cool Boy Steph” Fulton, 12-0 (5), of West Philadelphia, PA, scored a majority decision over Adam “Blunose” Lopez, 8-1 (3), of Glendale, CA, over 8 rounds.
In the first round both were trading jabs until Lopez landed a 3-punch combination. Lopez gets Fulton in a corner and lands half a dozen punches before Fulton spun out and landed several punches of his own. With half a minute left in the round Fulton landed his best punch of the round a lead right hand to the chin of Lopez. In the second round half a minute in Lopez landed a power punch right to the head of Fulton. With a minute left in the round Fulton landed a big right to the chin of Lopez. Lopez would come back and rock Fulton with seconds to go in the round with a big right to the head.
In the third round Lopez landed several good shots driving a countering Fulton into the ropes. Lopez landed over a half dozen punches to a hands held high Fulton who was against the ropes. With under a minute left in the round Fulton landed a solid left hook to the head of Lopez drawing blood from the nose of Lopez. In the fourth round the blood from the nose of Lopez is flowing. Fulton countered much better in the round outworking Lopez for the most part. Lopez seemed to have some trouble breathing due to the nose bleed.
In the fifth round in the middle of the ring after Fulton becoming the aggressor for the first half of the round Lopez landed several good uppercuts with both hands to the chin of Fulton. Under a minute left in the round Fulton landed a good right to the chin of Lopez. The jab of Fulton is giving Lopez trouble. In the sixth round Lopez turned to southpaw again becoming the aggressor. With a minute to go in the round Fulton takes the lead landing straight rights to the head of Lopez making him go back to orthodox. In the final twenty seconds Fulton drops his hands scoring well but at the bell he got his second warning from the referee Assimenios for a low blow.
In the seventh round both boxers are slugging it out. Halfway through the round Fulton continues to show his better hand speed while Lopez works on the body when inside. In a close round Fulton seemed to have a slight edge. In the eighth and final round Lopez lands a double left hook to the chin of Fulton. Lopez got a warning for a low blow. Lopez was scoring well but walked into a Fulton left hook to the head. Just under a minute Lopez landed a good right to the head of Fulton. Lopez’s trainer former champion Buddy McGirt was screaming to let his hands go. The corner of Fulton was Hamaz Muhammad and assistant Naziim Richardson.
Judges scores were Rupert 76-76, Ross 78-74 and Young 77-75 with this writer having it 76-76.
PCB on FS1 Preview: Devon Alexander vs. Walter Castillo; Miguel Cruz vs. David Grayton
by B.A. Cass
Tomorrow, Tuesday, Nov 21, Premier Boxing Champions brings us another Toe-to -Toe Tuesday on FS1. The fights will take place at The Coliseum in St. Petersburg, Florida. The TV coverage is set to begin at 8 PM EST.
The main event will be between the evenly matched Devon Alexander and Walter Castillo. The co-main event will be between Miguel Cruz and David Grayton.
Miguel Cruz (16-0) vs. David Grayton (15-1-1); Welterweight
In his most recent fight, the twenty-seven-year-old Cruz dropped his opponent, Alex Martin, multiple times. The first of these knockdowns came by way of a sharp left. Cruz and Martin had fought previously. Cruz won their first fight by split decision. His second victory over Martin was more decisive; he did not KO Martin, but at least won by unanimous decision.
As for Grayton, he last fought seven months ago against Kermit Cintron. Grayton failed to defeat a much older Cintron. It could be argued that Grayton was on his way to winning before the referee called off the fight due to a headbutt in the fifth round. After all, Gray had already dropped Cintron in that round. However, this knockdown came only after only after a severe shot to the back of the head.
Cruz employs an effective power jab and knows how to land powerful hooks to the body. Grayton will have to be fast on his feet if he hopes to avoid the fate of Alex Martin.
Expect at least one major headbutt from the southpaw Grayton, who is seems to employ the “accidental” headbutt almost as often as he employs his jab.
Devon Alexander (26-4) vs. Walter Castillo (26-4-1); Welterweight
When Alexander and Castillo step into the ring to face each other tomorrow night, it will be the first time either man has fought for over a year and a half.
Alexander, the former two-division champion, was once thought of one of the up-and-coming boxers of his generation. His first career loss came when he faced William Bradley Jr., but rebounded from that defeat to score a unanimous decision win over Marcos Maidana. However, he soon lost his IBF title to Shawn Porter. The Porter fight was close, but Alexander has not been able to regain his career momentum. He fought Amir Khan, and though he was undamaged during that fight, Alexander was unable to contend with his opponent’s speed.
Alexander’s last fight was against Aaron Martinez. Going into the fight, he was thought to have a decent shot at winning, but he lost because he fought on Martinez’s terms. Instead of boxing, he decided to brawl with Martinez. Alexander rarely employed the jab and Martinez repeatedly went to the body, tiring out Alexander, before landing well-timed jabs and rights to the face in later rounds.
Castillo is coming off a loss at the hands of Sergey Lipinets. In the third round against Lipinets, Castillo seemed to have Lipinets in trouble. Landing fast combinations, he cornered Lipinets against the ropes. But Lipinets remained unfazed and undamaged. Lipinets, clearly the stronger man, scored a seventh round TKO win.
Castillo is a year younger than Alexander, which gives him, at least in theory, a slight advantage. But he’s moving up seven pounds to fight Alexander, and it remains to be seen if he can be as powerful and effective in a higher weight class.
The odds for this fight, to my mind, are fifty-fifty. Only the winner will have a chance to get their career back on track. They both know that and will fight accordingly.
Follow B.A. Cass on Twitter @WiththePunch
PBC on Fox Sports Preview: Dirrell vs. Douglin on a Friday Edition of Toe to Toe
By: Eric Lunger
Premier Boxing Champions presents a special edition of Toe-to-Toe Tuesdays this Friday on Fox Sports One. Headlining the card from the Dort Federal Event Center in Flint, Michigan, is former 168-pound world champion Anthony Dirrell (30-1-1, 24 KOs), who takes on Denis Douglin (20-5, 13 KOs) in a ten round super middleweight clash. Dirrell, 33, is a Flint native, and Friday night will mark his third appearance in his hometown.
Photo Credit: Anthony Dirrell Twitter Page
Dirrell, six-foot-two with an orthodox stance, is a serious professional who held the WBC super-middleweight belt for two years until relinquishing it in a tough majority decision to Badou Jack in April of 2015. Since then, Dirrell has reeled off three wins, including a ten-round unanimous decision over tough Mexican veteran Marco Antonio Rubio.
Denis Douglin, a five-foot-eight southpaw from Marlboro, NJ, has been in the ring with some elite level competition, including George Groves, Jermell Charlo, and David Benavidez, to whom Douglin lost in his last outing by way of a tenth round TKO.
“Douglin has fought a lot of good fighters and I respect him, but he’s standing in the way of my title shot,” said Dirrell via press release. “This is a chance for me to showcase my skills. I’m going for a stoppage, and I think I’m going to get it in the middle rounds. I want to put on a great performance and give the fans something to see.”
For his part, Douglin is not intimidated by the venue or by his opponent: “I’ve taken a lot of fights on short notice and that’s hurt me in the past, but I’ve had ample time and a great training camp to prepare for this fight,” said Douglin. “I think Dirrell has a problem with guys who aren’t afraid of him and who will actually give him a fight. With my style and determination, I’m going to bring a lot more than he’s expecting.”
On the televised undercard, undefeated welterweight prospect Jamontay “the Quiet Assassin” Clark (12-0, 7 KOs) takes on Ukrainian born Ivan Golub (13-1, 11 KOs) in a rematch of their June bout, which Clark won on unanimous cards. The first tilt was an action fight, to be sure, with Golub bringing a sustained body attack, and Clark countering and boxing. Golub will be looking for payback, as he felt the decision by the judges in June was an incorrect one. Having scored seven knockouts prior to the Clark fight, the Ukrainian will be extra motivated to see to it that the fight doesn’t go the distance.
Opening the televised coverage is an eight-round junior welterweight clash between Houston-based Ryan “Cowboy” Karl (14-1, 9 KOs) and Kareem Martin (9-1-1, 3 KOs) of Washington, DC. Karl, 25, was stopped in the ninth round by Eddie Ramirez last February, but since then won an unanimous decision against Carlos Winston Velasquez. Martin, 22, is in a similar position, having lost once and coming off a recent win against Evincil Dixon in August.
Deontay Wilder: “If Bermane Stiverne Beats Me, I Will Retire.”
By: Sean Crose
“That’s the thing about it,” WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder said on a recent conference call to promote his upcoming rematch with Bermane Stiverne. “You take it in the first place, and you make up excuses, and then the blame is pointed at me. It’s starting to sicken me.” The 38-0 Alabama native was referring to the failed drug tests which have ruined numerous planned matches for him. For both Alexander Povetkin and Luis Ortiz, two high level opponents, have tested dirty and ruined their chances to lift Wilder’s title. Infuriating as it may be, accusations that he hasn’t fought top level opposition have clearly taken their toll on Wilder, as well.
“I don’t want to feel this way about boxing,” Wilder claimed, “because I was once in love with it and it’s starting to make me rethink my career.” Wilder went on to present some of the questions that have been running through his mind. “Am I better out of this sport than in this sport because of this stuff that’s going on?” he asked. “Am I that dangerous to other fighters’ careers that they feel they have to do certain things when it comes to Deontay Wilder?”
The 25-2-1 Stiverne, on the other hand, made it clear he’s simply eager to rematch the man who won the title from him back in 2015, via unanimous decision. “I always thought that the fight was never going to happen with Deontay and Ortiz,” he said. “If you asked me from the moment they announced the fight. The first thing I said is, ‘This fight is not going to happen. And I’ve got to get ready for Deontay.’” Stiverne, who has only fought once since losing to Wilder, presented himself as the picture of confidence. “I’m 110% ready mentally and physically,” he stated. “I’m really happy that it happened the way it happened. There was just something there that I knew this was going to happen.”
Whereas Stiverne now has a prime chance at redemption, Wilder has to deal with the fact that the types of new, highly ranked opponents fans have longed to see him face have repeatedly kept themselves from fighting him due to failed drug tests. “This is just another obstacle that I had to deal with,” he said, “that I had to face. I put so much into it. Ortiz had been wanting it; he wanted this fight to happen. I never thought in a million years that he would do what he did.” The 32 year old Wilder showed little patience for those who make excuses for his would-be foes.
“No matter what they say,” Wilder stated, “it was done; it was a banned substance. You can’t get around that. You all make mistakes in there because they tried to get their leverage.” Wilder went on to claim “there are a lot of guys that are doing it though. I know each and every last one of them. There’s a lot of them doing it.” If Wilder is telling the truth, it’s nothing but bad news for the sport of boxing. Regardless, the titlist made it clear that he’s looking forward. “The ultimate goal is to get (Anthony) Joshua,” he said, referring to the reigning heavyweight king. “We’re not just going to be sitting up here and doing this and doing that. I don’t see what’s the difference between me and any other guy.”
“Joshua say he need more time,” Wilder continued, “he ain’t ready. He wants to put himself in a better position. But you already fought a guy that got way more experience than I.” Once again, Wilder’s frustration became clear. “I don’t understand this sport when it comes to me. It feels like I’m better off not being in this sport than being in it. I don’t understand it.”
As for Stiverne, the Wilder rematch, which will go down at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn (and aired on Showtime) on November 4th, represents nothing but good news. “I feel better,” the Vegas (by way of Haiti) fighter said when comparing this training camp to the one before his first fight with Wilder. “Just the workouts and the people we decided to deal with. Everything is so different, man. I feel better. Obviously there’s a couple of mistakes that we made for the first fight. One thing I’m good at man, is not to repeat my mistakes.”
“This is a different Bermane Stiverne,” he claimed.
Of course, if Stiverne is right, if he’s a new man who somehow beats Wilder, the world will clearly be shocked. Wilder himself went so far as to say an upset would lead to him stepping out of the ring entirely. “The way I’m feeling about boxing right now,” he said, “if Bermane Stiverne beats me, I will retire. You can put that down. I will be out of the way.”