By Robert Aaron Contreras
Often on boxing, a giant upset lends itself to an immediate rematch. And Friday’s return match between Andrew Cancio and Alberto Machado is no different, going down on DAZN from the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in California.
The broadcast will featured a championship doubleheader as Angel Acosta looks to extend his knockout streak. The preliminary action gets started at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Cancio and Machado should make their way to the ring at about 11 p.m. ET.
Andrew Cancio (20-4-2, 15 KO) vs. Alberto Machado (21-1, 17 KO)
In February, Machado rolled into California from Puerto Rico with gold around his waist and nearly -2000 betting favorite odds behind him. But three knockdowns in the fateful, fourth round from Cancio would make the native the new WBA super featherweight champion.
Cancio, never tabbed for a future champ, seemed destined to continually fall short against the blue-chip talent of the division. He lost to both JoJo Diaz and Ronny Rios on their ways to fighting or winning world titles. Alas, the California native officially signed with Golden Boy Promotions after upsetting the previously undefeated Aidar Sharibayev, who was billed as one of Kazakstan’s premier prospects.
Then Cancio outboxed Dardan Zenunaj. Or better yet fought off Zenunaj, who never stopped moving forward, culminating in a blistering tenth period. Still Cancio’s cleaner punching took nearly every round off his man, winning across the board.
After opening as an underdog (again) against Machado, Cancio is now sitting at -200. Machado now knows what dog odds feels like, currently as low as two-to-one. Machado has been undervalued before, namely by the World Boxing Association (WBA)—a sanctioning body already known for malfeasance and somehow continues to outdo themselves.
After ringing up an undefeated record, including nine consecutive first- or second-round knockouts, Machado faced Jezzrel Corrales for the WBA’s 130-pound “super” belt. Both men hit the deck before Machado sparked Corrales in Round 8 and this is where the snafu unfolds.
Corrales had earned the distinction (“super” champ, instead of regular) by beating longtime belt holder Takashi Uchiyama. But he missed weight opposite Machado, leaving the gold only available to Machado. But the powers that be went ahead and made Gervonta Davis their “super” champion before Machado could even get back into the ring for his first title defense.
Machado carried on and defended his ambiguous title twice. Last July, he decisioned Don King’s warrior Rafael Mensah. And followed that up with a first-round destruction of former Golden Gloves champion Yuandale Evans.
Before battling Cancio, anticipation was building for a unification between Machado and Davis. Then a few flinging left hands and right hands to the body from Cancio flipped the script. Now Cancio has a chance to secure those kind superfights for himself.
Angel Acosta (20-1, 20 KO) vs. Elwin Soto (14-1, 10 KO)
Still on the right side of 30, Acosta has his fourth title defense lined up this weekend as he takes on Soto, of Mexico.
Puerto Rico’s Acosta orchestrated another knockout in his previous fight, where made easy work of divisional immortal Ganigan Lopez. It was the defending champion’s first start on DAZN.
All Acosta had to do to find himself fighting on mainstream airwaves was record every one of his wins by knockout—every single one. In March, at Ganigan’s expense, he continued the endeavor, stopped the hardened contender in eight rounds after having before that been relegated to defending his crown on Facebook.
Acosta’s terrorizing left hook resembles a converted orthodox. In lieu of a real jab, he repeatedly rams the shot up and down the side of his victims, complimenting it here and there with curling right uppercuts and overhands. As he demonstrated in his tenth-round finish of Juan Alejo, Acosta is also adept at cutting off the ring.
He’s been defeated just once, losing to Kosei Tanaka but rattled the Japanese virtuoso in the latter stages. Acosta has since rebounded to lift the WBO belt amid four straight victories.
Soto, 22, has never faced a top-level opponent—just two men on his record had more than just 5 professional wins. In his second year as a pro, he suffered his lone loss, a four-round decision, to a novice by name of Danny Andujo. The Mexican-born challenger has yet to lose again, rattling off 12 consecutive wins—mostly by knockout, to his credit.
Naturally, Soto is heading into the weekend as a hefty underdog (+600). He is 2-0 in 2019 (including one victory over a winless palooka) and this unexpected opportunity will be his first time training for 12 championship rounds.
By: Michael Kane
Humberto Soto kept his career alive when he outpointed Brandon Rios in Tijuana, Mexico on Saturday.
The 38 year old former two weight world champion won in what was a minor upset in his home city. Rios was the younger fighter and the bookmakers favourite however he struggled with conditioning as the fight went on.
Going into the bout, Soto had won his last three fights since a loss to Antonio Orozco in 2015. Rios was coming off of a win against Ricardo Alvarez in November last year however he was 4 wins and 4 losses in his last 8 fights.
Soto started the better, landing the more effective combinations and a couple of uppercut and hooks.
— DAZN USA (@DAZN_USA) February 24, 2019
Rios came back into the fight, pushing forward and throwing plenty of shots at Soto. Soto was tiring as the fight moved into the middle rounds however he showed his experience by being busy at the end of the rounds.
Moving into the final rounds and Soto was again the most effective in any exchanges they had. It was starting to become clear that Rios was behind and would need a KO.
Scores were 118-112, 118-112, and 119-111 for Soto, who now has a record of 69-9-2 (37 knockouts).
Rios, record stands at 35-5-1 (26 KOs).
Tanajara remains unbeaten
Undefeated lightweight Hector Tanajara beat Ivan Delgado by technical decision after the end of the fourth round.
Delgado started aggressively but Tanajara (17-0, 5 KOs) used his height and reach to take control, working his jab well.
In the third round, Tanajara suffered a cut from an accidental clash of heads, due to tge fight being for a WBC regional title a point was deducted drom Delgado (13-2-2, 6KOs)
The fight was stopped in the 4th due to the cut above Tanajara’s eye, all three judges had the fight scored 40-36 to Tanajara at the time of the stoppage.
In a local rematch bantamweight Joel Cordoba won a split devision over Jose Quirino, the first bout ended in a draw. This time the decision went in favour of Cordoba with two judges giving him scores of 97-93 and the other judge scoring it in favour of Quirino 96-94.
Former Mexican Olympian Joselito Velasquez stopped Kevin Villanueva in the 5th round having had Villanueva down in the third also. The tow me was thrown in by Villanueva’s corner.
Diego Pacheco won his four rounder against Alberto Aguillar 40-36.
Sulem Urbina defeated Judith Rodriguez 60-54, 60-54 and 59-55 in the flyweight division.
Alexis Espino won on his pro debut at super middleweight by knocking out Victor Abrego in the 2nd round.
By: Sean Crose
“It feels nice to fight back in Mexico,” Brandon Rios exclaims. “Especially right now with everything that’s going on, all the politics. Not only that, but it’s good to give the Mexican fans a great show, they get (to) see me live which is awesome.” Rios will be facing Humberto Soto this Saturday night at the Auditorio Municipal Fausto Gutierrez in Tijuana, highlighting a card that will be aired live on the DAZN streaming service. “I’m fighting a guy that lives in Tijuana,” Rios says of Soto. “He’s from Mexico, so I’m pretty sure the crowd’s going to be on his side, 100 per cent, but it feels good to be back out in front of Mexican fans. I’m ready to go and show the world that I’m ready to get back to the top again.”
Rios, 35-4-1 is perhaps best known for a three fight trilogy with Mike Alvarado. Through no fault of Rios’ own, Alvarado phoned in his performance in the final match. The first two fights, however, were highly entertaining affairs. Although he went through a retirement roughly a year and a half long, Rios has won two out of three bouts since returning to the ring in 2017. An action fighter, Rios has exclusively lost to high level competition. Alvarez, Manny Pacquiao, Tim Bradley, and Danny Garcia have been the only men to best Rios so far.
In Soto, however, Rios will be facing a popular and hardened warrior who, at 38, would love nothing more than to surprise a name opponent. “I have some fans from LA going over the border to watch the fight,” Rios says of the leadup to his showdown with the 68-9-2 Soto, “but I’m pretty sure he’s going to have more support. Anything can happen though, at the end of the day it’s not about who has what, it’s about me and him in the ring.” Rios, of course, is hoping this Saturday’s fight in another step on the road back to big things.
“The main decision for me to come back,” says Rios, “was when I was watching a fight on TV and I told my wife ‘Baby, that can still be me. I can still do that shit. I know I can still do that shit.’ I just had bad camp, bad habits. She told me ‘I’m going to let you do what you want to do, you’re a grown man. But if you come back, you’ve got to promise me you do it right.’ None of the half-assed shit, with the dieting, and all that. So, I thought about it for about a day or two, and I had the urge for it.” Now that he’s back to garnering some attention in the fight world, one thing Rios isn’t interested in doing is underestimating his opponent.
“Soto is a veteran,” Rios says, “he’s 30 years old. he knows some tricks, he’s a former three-time World champion, so we’ve got to be ready for whatever he brings. That’s why I’m working so hard to correct the mistakes.” Needless to say, Rios is essentially promising fireworks. “It’s going to be a great fight,” he says. “You’ve got a three-division former champion Soto comes to fight, very talented and very skillful, he’s a big counter puncher. Then you’ve got myself, Bam Bam, who comes to brawl and always gives the fans a good show, but what always makes a perfect fight is a counter and brawler. There’s always going to be punches thrown, always something going to happen.”
The Rios-Soto match is scheduled for 12 rounds and will be fought in the welterweight division.
By: Michael Kane
Brandon Rios travels to Tijuana to take on local favourite Humberto Soto on Saturday live on DAZN in the U.S and SKY Sports in the UK.
Both are former world champions, Soto a former multi weight champion will be looking to role back the years. The fight is taking place in the junior middleweight division which is some way out from where both fighters had there best days.
Soto (68-9-2, 37 KOs) won an interim featherweight title as well as world super featherweight and lightweight titles, while Rios is a former lightweight champion too.
Soto is on a three fight win streak after losing unanimous decision to Antonio Orozco in 2015. He last fought in August last year beating Edgar Puerta by unanimous decision.
Rios (35-4-1, 26 KOs) has won 4 and lost 4 from his last eight fights. Most recently he defeated Ramon Alvarez by TKO in the 9th in November last year.
The event at the Auditorio Municipal Fausto Gutierrez will be the first show Matchroom have put on on Mexico.
“It feels nice to fight back in Mexico,” said Rios to Matchroom Boxing website. “Especially right now with everything that’s going on, all the politics. Not only that, but it’s good to give the Mexican fans a great show, they get to see me live which is awesome.
“I’m fighting a guy that lives in Tijuana. He’s from Mexico, so I’m pretty sure the crowd’s going to be on his side, 100 per cent, but it feels good to be back out in front of Mexican fans. I’m ready to go and show the world that I’m ready to get back to the top again.
“The main decision for me to come back was when I was watching a fight on TV and j told my wife ‘baby, that can still be me. I can still do that shit. I know I can still do that shit.’ I just had bad camp, bad habits. She told me, ‘I’m going to let you do what you want to do, you’re a grown man but if you come back, you’ve got to promise me to do it right.’ None of the half assed shit with dieting, and all that. So I thought about it for about a day or two, and I had the urge for it.”
Rios has signed a three fight deal with Matchroom, this being the second of that deal and he is looking ahead to being in the mix for a title shot after promising his daughter.
“Nobody was really paying attention to me anymore, and Eddie gave me an opportunity, and I really appreciate that. I’m fighting my second fight with him, and I can’t wait to go again.
“My main target is to get a title shot. I promised my little girl. She does karate. I told her, if you become a black belt you give me that title. When I become a champion again, I give you my belt.
“We made that promise, and I don’t want to break her heart, so that’s why I want to be a champion again before I retire. I keep my word. Every day, I kid you not, she says ‘dad, remember you promised me?’ Every day. I come to the gym today, she’s asking me if I’m bringing back a title. That’s 100 per cent my drive.”
Rios feels with a win over Soto he will be back in title contention soon.
“You know what, it could be soon. It could be my next fight, who knows with Eddie Hearn. For now I’m just concentrating on this guy. I’m ready for whatever falls next.
“Soto is a veteran he’s 38 years old, he knows some tricks, he’s a former three time world champion, so we’ve got to be ready for whatever he brings. That’s why I’m working so hard to correct the mistakes.
“Working with Matchroom Boxing and being on DAZN, they’ve given me fights back to back which is great. I haven’t got that wasted time, rested time, there giving me fights right away. I’m grateful and happy to be a part of the team. I’m ready to get back to the top.
“Its going to be a great fight. You’ve got a three division former champion, Soto comes to fight, very talented and very skillful, he’s a big counter punched. Then you’ve got myself, Bam Bam, who comes to brawl and always gives the fans a good show, but what always makes a perfect fight is a counter and brawler. There’s always going to be punches thrown, always something going to happen.”
Soto said in the press conference “I’m excited to get into the ring once again. I’m really thankful to all my fans, and I’m really happy for the chance to be the main event once again.”
The card, as to be expected is stacked with Mexican fighters. Highlight of which will be the rematch between Jose ‘Gallito’ Quiniro (20-2-3, 9KOs) and Joel Cordoba (7-4-2, 1KO). Both fighters fought in December in an entertaining fight at the same venue that ended in a draw.
Decorated amateur Alexis Espino from Las Vegas makes his professional debut against Diego Pacheco (1-0, 1KO)
2016 former Olympian Joselito Velasquez (7-0, 6KOs), Omar Aguillar (11-0, 10KOs) and Sulem Urbina (8-0, 1KO) will all be looking to continue their unbeaten runs.
By: Sean Crose
Matchroom Boxing will be promoting its first major card in Mexico when Brandon Rios fights Humberto Soto in Tijuana’s Municipal Auditorium Fausto Gutierrez Moreno on the 23’d of February. The fight will be aired live on the DAZN streaming service. With a record of 35-4-1, Rios, who has held the WBA World Lightweight title, and who has faced such huge names as Manny Pacquiao and Tim Bradley, is looking to get back into contender status. Soto, 68-9-2, who himself has held the WBC World Lightweight Title (as well as the WBC World Super Featherweight Title), is no doubt looking to reestablish himself, as well.
“Man,” says Rios, “I’m excited to fight in Mexico, I haven’t fought there in ten years. The Mexican fanbase has supported me since day one and everything I give in the ring is for my family and my fans, who have never let me down.” Rios makes it clear that he’ll be well prepared on the 23’d of February. “I’ve been staying busy in the gym,” he says, “so I’m ready to give the fans a great fight. The fights the fans love to see!” Veteran warrior Soto, on the other hand, is under no illusions that he must beat Rios if he hopes to have a successful career at this point.
“I cannot wait,” Soto says, “for February 23’d. I am so excited for this great opportunity in a city that feels like my second home.” Still, the popular Mexican fighter states that: “I know that this fight is a ‘do or die,’ that is why I am very motivated and training really hard. We know that we have a tough opponent in Brandon Rios, a true warrior, but so am I. This will be a war and I will be ready to win!” Soto, who has fought ten times in the past five years, has won all but one of his bouts within that time frame.
“I’m excited,” promoter Eddie Hearn says, “to be in Tijuana on March 23 for our first Mexican show with a real old school shoot-out between Brandon Rios and Humberto Soto. Brandon stole the show in Kansas recently on DAZN against Ramon Alvarez and there should be real fireworks in this one.” Hearn, who is aligned with DAZN, has been gobbling up name fighters of late. With names such as Anthony Joshua, Daniel Jacobs, Demetrius Andrade, and Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, the Englishman is helping DAZN in it’s plight to counterbalance boxing broadcasts on Pay Per View and Cable
By: Ken Hissner
Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions put on a card at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California televised live on ESPN2. Neeco “Rooster” Macias lost for the first time to 37 year-old veteran Jesus Karass in his career ending fight setting a record over three thousand punches thrown!
In the Main Event previously unbeaten Super Welterweight southpaw Neeco “Rooster” Macias, 17-1 (10), of Lancaster, CA, suffered his first loss to veteran Mexican Jesus “Renuente” Soto Karass, 29-13-4 (18), out of N. Hollywood, CA, in the winners career ending fight over 10 rounds of non-stop action.
Photo Credit: Golden Boy Promotions Twitter Page
In the first round Macias ran across the ring landing like a buzzsaw pinning Karass in his own corner. Karass gets in one to three of punches from Macias. The 37 year-old Karass in the final fight of his career can’t get off the ropes. Karass was returning as many punches as Macias. Both fighters were landing uppercuts galore.
In the second round Macias picked up where he left off pinning Karass against the ropes. The face and head of Karass was already red. An accidental head butt caused a cut over the right eye of Macias. Referee Thomas Taylor halted the action to take a look at the cut. A right hook from the southpaw Macias rocked the veteran Karass. Karass slides across the ropes trying to get away from Macias but couldn’t get away from the attack from Macias.
In the third round once again Macias has Karass against the ropes. Both are mostly landing wicked body shots. This one could have been held in a phone booth. Karass landed a good right hand to the chin of Macias who has no defense. The slugged it out right up to the bell. In the fourth round the “human buzzsaw” Macias had Karass against the ropes in the latter’s corner. Karass backs Macias up several steps until Macias backs Karass back into the corner. The trunks of Karass are covered with blood from the cuts from Macias. Both are throwing leather at a non-stop pace.
In the fifth round it body work from both continued with Karass sliding along the ropes into a neutral corner as hundreds of punches being thrown by both fighters. In the sixth round Macias finally went to the head with a left hook. Macias got warned for hitting Karass behind the back from referee Taylor. Karass was out landing the younger Macias. Karass walked back to his corner slowly looking exhausted.
In the seventh round head’s clashing and punches flying. Karass is out punching the 10 year younger Macias off the ropes. Well over a thousand punches landed with Macias closing in on the two-thousand mark. In the eighth round Karass tried to push Macias back with little success. The punches from Karass started getting wider being out landed two to one. Right up to the bell they were throwing punches.
In the ninth round Macias continues to start the round rushing over backing Karass against the ropes. It’s Karass landing more than Macias in this round. Fortunately for Karass the ropes are covered with leather or his back would be raw. Karass is out landing the younger Macias two to one.
In the tenth and final round of the career of Karass it was the only round Macias couldn’t rush across the ring since both fighters had to touch gloves. Within seconds Karass was backed against the ropes and still out landing the younger Macias. Karass continues to land the harder punches. It was non-stop punching from both fighters with blood coming from the cut over the right eye of Macias. It was a record setting amount of punches thrown and landed by both fighters. What a fight! Over three thousand punches thrown!
Scores were 95-95, 97-93 and 96-94 for Karass. This writer had it 95-95.
“I want to thank God being able to be in the ring with Karass,” said Macias.
Unbeaten NABF Featherweight Champion Manny “Chato” Robles lll, 17-0 (8), out of L.A., CA, won a split decision over Jose “El Torito” Gonzalez, 23-7 (13), out of Guadalajara, MEX, over 10 rounds.
In the first round Gonzalez came out firing punches off the jab while Robles was slipping and blocking punches with hand’s held high. In the final minute Robles goes on the offense backing up Gonzalez. A right from Robles on the chin buckled the knees of Gonzalez. In the second round Gonzalez countered with left hooks to the head of Robles who had his hands high. Robles got in a left hook to the chin of Gonzalez. Gonzalez switched to southpaw for a matter of seconds before returning to orthodox. It was a close round.
In the third round Gonzalez landed a solid combination to the chin of Robles. Both boxers went to the body of one another. Robles is wearing down Gonzalez. In the fourth round Gonzalez held his own but fell behind losing every round. Switching back and forth has not confused Robles who keeps looking for the knockout.
In the fifth round Robles missed a right and got countered by a left hook from Gonzalez to the chin. Robles landed a 3-punch combination to the body of Gonzalez. Robles missed a pair of right’s. Gonzalez backed Robles against the ropes landing a solid left hook to the nose drawing blood from Robles.
In the sixth round Gonzalez with hands to his side coming forward landed a left hook to the head of Robles. Referee Ray Corona allowed Gonzalez to hold a straight arm in the face until Gonzalez landed a right on the chin of Robles. Gonzalez countered with a right to the chin of Robles. Robles came back hurting Gonzales with a flurry of punches with a right doubling Gonzalez over. Robles landed punches right up until the bell.
In the seventh round Robles came out looking angry while it was Gonzalez landing left hooks while Robles went back to hands held high blocking punches best he could missing countering chopping right’s. Robles countered a Gonzalez left hook with a right cross to the chin. Gonzalez landed a solid right to the chin of Robles. It was the best round so far.
In the eighth round Gonzalez landed a pair of left hooks but got countered by a Robles right to the chin. Gonzales was pushed to the ropes then landed a right cross to the chin of Robles. Gonzalez had Robles turning southpaw on the defense. In the ninth round Gonzalez continues landed the left hook that doesn’t seem to have much power on it but is landing counting as points. Gonzalez had a right blocked but landed a double left hook to the body of Robles.
In the tenth and final round Gonzalez went on the attack until he ran into a right from Robles. Gonzalez knew he needed a knockout to pull the fight out landed a solid left to the chin of Robles. Robles continued to miss a chopping right to the head of Gonzalez. Robles finally got warned for holding down the head of Gonzalez. Robles won but didn’t impress.
Scores were 96-94 Robles, 96-94 Gonzalez and 97-93 for Robles as did this writer score it.
In addition, unbeaten Super Middleweight D’mitrus “Big Meech” Ballard, 19-0 (12), out of Temple Hills, MD, easily defeated Alan “Amenaza” Campa, 17-4 (11), out of Sonora, MEX, by scores of 80-72, 79-73 and 78-74 over 8 rounds.
Live from the Casino del Sol in Tucson, Arizona, Golden Boy Promotions presented a handful of fights that were aired on ESPN2 and ESPN3.
Photo Credit: Tom Hogan-Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions
In the fourth round of the first televised fight, Cesar Diaz (5-0) forced Pedro Melo (17-18-2) to his knees with a body shot. Melo, however, complained of a shot to the back of the head and the referee did not give him a count. It was at this point that the excuses began for Melo. In the fifth round, he was knocked down again and before he got up started rotating his shoulder. The referee gave him his count. Melo got up and started walking around, still making a theatrical show of his injured shoulder. He had found his “out.” The referee asked if he wanted to continue. Melo shook his head. And so Diaz won by an uneventful TKO.
Up next Rafael Gramajo (9-1-1) fought German Meraz (58-45-2), who was a last-minute replacement for Sergio Najera. A veteran of over a hundred fights, Meraz made this fight fun to watch. He wasn’t there just to collect a paycheck. He was there to win and to entertain the crowd while doing it. The more experienced Meraz may not have dominated, but he did control the fight. Jerky, and a bit hyperactive, Meraz even slipped once, but that did not stop the crowd from rooting for him. The fight was ruled a draw, by majority decision, but one judge had Gramajo winning. Who knows what that judge was thinking.
The Hector Tanajara vs. Jesus Serrano fight was mostly uneventfully, except for an exciting fifth round exchange. Tanajara won, but not as decisively as the judges thought. Serrano was a last-minute replacement and gave Tanajara more trouble than he expected. Tanajara initially prepared to face Oscar Eduardo Quezada, and perhaps he was a bit unprepared to deal with a southpaw.
The co-main event was Ryan Garcia (11-0) vs. Cesar Valenzuela (14-5-1). Garcia’s power was on full display in the first round when he knocked Valenzuela down with a sharp left hook to the head. Garcia calls himself a boxing historian and his short shorts are certainly something from another era. Garcia knocked Valenzuela down two more times before the referee stopped the fight. Garcia has the potential to become a star. He’s veritable force of nature, a kid with enviable speed and power.
The main event was Jesus Soto Karass (28-12-4) vs. Juan Carlos Abreu (19-3-1). The 35-year-old Soto Karass started out slow, spending much of the first-round walking into Abreu’s hardest shots. Abreu ended the 1st round with a shot to the head that landed after the bell. In the 3rd round, there was a great exchange between both men, and Soto Karass landed a solid left hand to the head. Over the next two rounds, the flat-footed Soto Karass kept coming forward as Abreu kept skipping around. The younger Abreu looked fresh and more alive. Soto Karass slowed in the fifth. His punch count was down from previous fights. But he began to open up with his hands by the end of the sixth. Soto Karass kept up the pace into the seventh, but he continued to take punishment. Then, in the seventh round, Abreu knocked him down. Soto Karass staggered to his feet. The referee should have called off the fight then, but he let it continue. Moments later, he jumped in and called the fight off when Abreu caught Soto Karass on the ropes.
Follow B.A. Cass on Twitter @WiththePunch
by: Sean Crose
The Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California hosted Friday night’s Golden Boy ESPN card featuring veteran welterweights Jesus Soto Karass and Mauricio Herrera. First, though, light heavyweight Vyacheslav Shabranskyy, 18-1, faced Todd Unthank May, 10-0-1, in a ten rounder. Shabranskyy, who lost an important fight to Sullivan Barrera last December, employed a powerful, methodical game plan, one which was clearly taking its toll on the undefeated Unthank May in the fifth. By the end of the seventh, it was obvious Unthank May’s corner should stop the fight. He was simply taking too much damage. And indeed, the fight didn’t reach the eight round.
Photo Credit: Tom Hogan-Hogan photos/Golden Boy Promotions
Next up was a six round super middleweight throwdown between Jaime Solorio, 10-1-2, and Niko Valdes, 5-0. Solorio was able to land a few good shots early on, but Valdes was clearly able to control the tempo with steady aggression and sound footwork. By the middle of the fight it was obvious that Valdes was stronger and more skilled, but that his patience made his style lack excitement. Not to be outdone, however, Solorio ended the fourth whaling away at Valdes, paying particular attention to his opponent’s body. Still, Valdes was able to reassert control as the fight progressed further and walked away with an easy UD win.
It was time for the main event. Both Soto Karass, 28-11-4, and Herrera, 23-7, had their notable moments throughout their careers. Soto Karass had fought a who’s who of opposition throughout the years while Herrera was still best known for his controversial loss to Danny Garcia in Puerto Rico back in 2014. Friday night was, in a sense, a last ditch effort for each fighter to attain late career glory. Both men remained somewhat patient early on, though Herrera was going effectively to the body. He was also finding a regular home for his jab by the middle of the second. Soto Karass, however, ended the round moving forward and using his reach to good effect.
Indeed it was Soto Karass who began to look stronger in the third and then actually started taking control of the fight early in the fourth. Herrera, though, was there to win and the two men nailed each other repeatedly in the middle of that chapter. Still, it was Soto Karass who was walking his man down and looking to dominate as the fight entered the middle rounds. Yet, Herrera’s jab returned to him in the fifth and he was able to land hard and clean. Soto Karass, however, finished the round strong. It was a solid affair.
As the fight worked its way through the middle rounds, it became clear that these were indeed two aging fighters plying their trade. The action was in bursts and the tempo was rather slow at times. Slow but steady. In this, the bout seemed to actually resemble an MMA match, where the action is often punctuated by notable pauses. By round eight however, the action became somewhat explosive, with Soto Karass ripping into Herrera’s body and Herrera landing in kind. It was a see-saw affair, to be sure. Herrera was more accurate, but Sotto Karass seemed to perhaps have a bit more power.
By the end of the ninth, things had gotten bloody. Herrera’s face was an absolute mess as Soto Karass finished the round battering the man’s head around the the ring. It was now worth wondering how much more Herrera could take – and how much more Soto Karass could give. The tenth and final round was a doozy, with both men firing away and showing tremendous heart. That was no surprise, but it was impressive to watch nonetheless. These were two admirable adversaries.
In the end, I gave it to Soto Karass due to the power of his punches. The judges apparently saw it differently, giving the nod to Herrera. Huge credit goes to both men. What a fight.
HBO World Championship Boxing Preview: Chocolatito vs. Cuadras, Golovkin vs. Brook
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night HBO will broadcast two world championship fights from two different venues. Pound for pound king Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez will be bumping up to the junior bantamweight division to chase after another world title when he faces off against Carlos Cuadras. If he is successful he will have won titles in four different weight classes. Earlier in the day knockout artist Gennady Golovkin will be defending his middleweight titles when he faces welterweight world champion Kell Brook.
The Gonzalez vs. Cuadras bout will take place at the Forum in Inglewood, California and the Golovkin vs. Brook bout will take place at the O2 Arena in London, England on Brook’s home turf. HBO will also be televising a rematch between Yoshihiro Kamegai and Jesus Soto-Karass in the junior middleweight division. Their previous fight was considered by many to be a fight of the year candidate.
The following is a preview of both world title fights.
Carlos Cuadras (35-0-1) vs. Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (45-0); WBC Junior Bantamweight Title
Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez is a three division world champion and considered by many to be the best pound for pound boxer in the world today. However, there are limits to how many weight classes an individual can be a champion in and he’s facing a legitimate junior bantamweight world champion.
Gonzalez will be giving up five inches in height and two inches in reach to Cuadras. Cuadras is also one year younger than Gonzalez, but both are in their physical primes.
They both have been fairly active in the past two years. Cuadras fought three times in 2014 and in 2015, and already fought once in 2016. Gonzalez fought four times in 2014, three times in 2015, and once so far in 2016.
They both had experienced success as an amateur. Cuadras is a Pan American gold medalist and a gold medalist in the International Junior Olympics. Chocolatito has an alleged record of 88-0 as an amateur, but does not have any notable international amateur tournament victories.
Chocolatito has beaten the likes of Yutaka Niida, Juan Francisco Estrada, Rocky Fuentes, Akiri Yaegashi, Edgar Sosa, Brian Viloria, and McWilliams Arroyo. Cuadras has defeated the likes of Marvin Mabait, Luis Concepcion, Dixon Flores, Koki Eto, and Richie Mepranum.
Gonzalez has more world title fight experience and has a record of 14-0 in world title fights. Cuadras has a record of 6-0 in world title fights.
Both boxers have considerable power. Cuadras has twenty seven stoppage victories, and three of his past five fights were by stoppage victory. Gonzalez has thirty eight stoppage victories.
It will be interesting to see how Gonzalez handles the length and reach of Cuadras. Gonzalez, who was a world champion in the minimumweight division, will likely be unable to jump additional weight classes if he’s victorious on Saturday and he has a very tough test ahead of him. This should be an entertaining and technical bout, but Gonzalez should be able to pull off the decision victory, but may have his chin tested in the process.
Gennady Golovkin (35-0) vs. Kell Brook (36-0); WBA/WBC/IBF Middleweight Titles
Don’t let the fact that Kell Brook is jumping up two weight classes to fight Gennady Golovkin fool you. Brook is a large welterweight and Golovkin is a smaller middleweight. In fact, Brook has been weighing in heavier than Golovkin in the weeks leading up to the fight.
One of the biggest question marks about Golovkin is his age. He’s thirty four years old and doesn’t have many years left in his prime. His opponent is four years younger than him. Golovkin, however, will have a slight one and a half inch height advantage and a one inch reach advantage.
Despite the fact he’s a major star in boxing, Golovkin has kept a fairly active schedule. He has fought once in 2016, three times in 2015, and three times in 2014. Brook has been having trouble finding a big fight in the welterweight division and fought twice in 2014 and in 2015, and once in 2016.
Golovkin’s power is well known and can be considered legendary. He has thirty two knockouts on his resume and is in the midst of an incredible streak that consists of twenty two wins by knockout in a row. Brook’s power can’t be overlooked, he has stopped twenty five opponents and has one four of his past five fights by stoppage.
Brook will be fighting in front of his home crowd at the O2 arena and that will be a big advantage for him. He has defeated the likes of Kevin Bizier, Frankie Gavin, Ionut Dan Ion, Shawn Porter, Vyacheslav Senchenko, Matthew Hatton, and Luis Galarza.
The last person to go the distance against Golovkin was Amar Amari in 2008. He has steamrolled every boxer he’s faced since then. He has defead the likes of Dominic Wade, David Lemieux, Willie Monroe Jr., Martin Murray, Marco Antonio Rubio, Daniel Geale, Curtis Stevens, Matthew Macklin, Nobuhiro Ishida, Gabriel Rosado, Kassim Ouma, and Grzegorz Proksa.
Golovkin has to be very careful to not overlook Kell Brook. Brook is a very good, technical boxer and is considered by many to be a top 10 pound for pound fighter. Golovkin’s power should be able to lead him to victory, but don’t be surprised if he knockout streak ends on Saturday night.