Las Vegas, NV, USA: Feather: Jesus M Rojas (26-1-2,1ND) W KO 7 Claudio Marrero (22-2). Light: Ryan Garcia (11-0) W TKO 1 Miguel Carrizoza (10-3). Feather: Horacio Garcia (33-3-1) W TKO 4 Diuhl Olguin (12-7-3).
Rojas vs. Marrero
Marrero loses his interim WBA title as Rojas simply grinds Marrero down and finishes the fight with a spectacular left hook. Rojas tried to press the action early but Marrero showed fast hands and fired home some combinations. The fight was not even a minute old and Marrero was already taunting Rojas and he threw the Puerto Rican to the canvas for good measure. Rojas was warned for a few low punches and Marrero ended the opening round with another array of flashy but light punches-and some more arrogant taunting. Marrero’s combinations were lightning quick but he was sacrificing power for speed and Rojas kept rolling forward taking Marrero to the ropes and roughing him up inside. When he had room Marrero’s hands blurred with speed but as the fight progressed he was spending more and more time trapped on the ropes. Marrero tried to stay on the outside in the fourth. He needed it to be a trial of skill but Rojas was turning it into a trial of strength and soon Marrero was fighting with his backs to the ropes again. Rojas had to walk through a storm of punches in the fifth. They were coming thick and fast and his head was being jarred time and again. However he was now landing some heavy if crude punches of his own. In the sixth Rojas suddenly stepped back from the action complaining about a butt. Marrero saw an opening and then stormed forward driving Rojas across the ring. He was now chasing Rojas and throwing those quick shots then dropping his hands and taunting Rojas who was on the back foot for the rest of the round. Previously Marrero had been throwing burst of punches and then moving. Now in the seventh his arrogance hit its high point. He was standing in front of Rojas throwing punches and leaving himself open to counters. Rojas suckered him into continuing down that track by backing off and inviting Marrero to bring it on. Marrero began showboating and taunting Rojas again. As they came out of some action on the ropes and with only seconds left in the round Rojas landed a thunderous left hook and Marrero went down on his back. He immediately sat up shaking his head looking like he was about to get up but instead just turned and sat on his heels and the referee counted out the ten seconds. Puerto Rican Rojas, 30, won this one on strength and determination. He ground Marrero down with remorseless pressure. There was a Grand Canyon-wide difference in skills but Rojas just keep rolling forward wearing down Marrero and he took his chance with a real power punch. Dominican Marrero, 28, was making the first defence of his title. At times it seemed as though he was putting on an exhibition but in the end he paid the price for not giving the tough Riojas the respect he deserved so lost his title and suffered his first inside the distance defeat.
Garcia vs. Carrizoza
Garcia wipes out Carrizoza in quick time. After a couple of probing jabs Garcia fired a right down the middle and Carrizoza was on the floor just ten seconds into the round. He was up at four and after the eight count the referee actually asked Carrizoza what’s my name? He passed that test and was allowed to fight on. He walked forward a couple of paces and a stunning left hook to the chin put him on his backside and the referee stopped the fight with just 28 seconds gone in the round. Garcia, 19, gets his tenth win by KO/TKO including five first round finishes. He also wins the vacant NABF Junior title. The 5’10 ½” Californian turned pro at 17 reportedly with a 215-15 record and was National Police Athletic League Junior champion. He competed at the 2013 US Junior National Selection Tournament where he lost to Shakur Stevenson in the semi-finals. It is difficult to judge how far he can go but he certainly impressed here. Mexican Carrizoza never knew what hit him as he suffers his first inside the distance loss.
Garcia vs. Olguin
Garcia gains revenge with stoppage of Olguin. When these two clashed in an eight round bout in July Olguin scored an upset victory flooring Garcia twice and winning the unanimous decision. “Violento” Garcia turned the tables completely flooring Olguin twice in the fourth round to force the stoppage. Garcia was loading up on his punches from the start with Olguin on the back foot and looking to counter. Garcia boxed in a more controlled manner in the second but was overreaching himself allowing the smaller Olguin to find gaps. A clash of heads saw Olguin cut over the left eye. Garcia continued to force the fight in the third and was landing some heavy rights but Olguin was sneaking home counters. Early in the fourth a sweeping left hook clipped Olguin on the temple and he tumbled sideward and down on one knee. He was up quickly but looked shaky. When the action resumed a series of hooks to the head from Garcia had Olguin dropping forward to his knees and the referee stopped the fight. Garcia, 27, has 24 wins by KO/TKO. His other two losses before the one to Olguin were against Hozumi Hasegawa and Joseph Diaz. He won his first 29 fights, 21 of them by KO/TKO so he has power but his technical skills let him down when he takes on quality opponents. Third loss by KO/TKO for Olguin.
Mashantucket, CT, USA: Heavy: Niall Kennedy (9-0) W PTS 10 Alexis Santos (18-2). Middle: Ievgen Khytrov (15-1) W PTS 8 Derrick Findley (27-22-1,1ND). Super Light: Ray Moylette (6-0) W PTS 6 Donte Bryant (1-3).
Kennedy vs. Santos
Kennedy gets split verdict over Santos but the decision was not popular with all. Kennedy was upright and using his jab well and scoring with impressive body punches. Santos was quicker and more mobile and preferred short hooks inside. It was a close, quite fast-paced, fight for heavyweights. Neither fighter was seriously shaken and both had good spells. Kennedy seemed to build a lead early only for Santos to up his pace in the middle rounds. Santos was strong early in the seventh then looked to tire as Kennedy finished the round strongly. The eighth could have gone either way but in the ninth Santos paid the price for having gone low once too often and was deducted a point. Santos put in a frantic effort in the last and won that one but in the end it was not enough. Scores 96-93 twice for Kennedy and 96-93 for Santos. Irishman Kennedy, 33, wins the New England title as he moves up to ten rounds for the first time. He was pretty ordinary in his time as an amateur but has made good progress under Paschal Collins. Some of his thoughts must have been of his prematurely-born son who is in hospital. The 28-year-old Santos will feel more than disappointed as this one could have been scored for him as it was that close. He has reversed his only other loss so will be hoping to get in the ring with Kennedy for a return.
Khytrov vs. Findley
Khytrov returns with a win. Khytrov was controlling the early action with a stiff jab and momentarily shook Findley in the first with a short right. Findley landed some good rights when he was able to get on the front foot but Khytrov was busier and more accurate. Findley was always competitive but the stiff jab and the high work rate of the Ukrainian meant Findley was under continuous pressure. Both traded hard punches in the sixth with Findley on top early and then Khytrov taking over and landing a combination of head punches and a right just before the bell that caused Findley’s legs to quiver. Khytrov landed some more thudding rights in the seventh and it looked as though a tiring Findley was ready to go but each time he covered up then punched back. Khytrov tried hard to finish it in the eighth again landing heavy rights but Findley was still there at the bell. Scores 80-72 twice and 79-73 all for Khytrov. The 29-year-old Ukrainian “Lion” was having his first fight since being put down twice and stopped in six rounds by Immanuwel Aleem for the vacant WBC Silver title in January. A former World Championship gold medal winner and Olympian gave a workman-like performance here and got in some useful ring time. Findley,33, has lost to a whole raft of top level boxers but had won his last three fights including a kayo of Donovan George in a fight for bragging rights in Illinois.
Moylette vs. Bryant
Irish prospect Moylette just avoids an embarrassing defeat as he gets off the floor to take split verdict over Michigan novice Bryant. Moylette edged the first but a right to the head put him down in the second. Moylette managed to last to the bell. Bryant probably took the third to build a good lead but Moylette fought back hard over the closing three rounds and just deserved his win. Scores 57-56 twice for Moylette and 58-55 for Bryant. The 27-year-old from County Mayo was the first Irish boxer to win a gold medal at the World Youth Championships and later added both the Irish title and a gold at the World Championships but Bryant gave him a score here. Three losses in a row for luckless Bryant with all three losses being split decisions.
Rosemont, IL, USA: Light Heavy: Mike Lee (20-0) W TKO 1 Aaron Quattrocchi (10-2-1). Too easy for Lee as he dismantles Quattrocchi inside a round. Lee was loading up on his punches and throwing big stuff from the start. A couple of rights landed to the side of Quattrocchi’s head and just on the one minute mark as they traded punches a straight right from Lee put Quattrocchi down heavily. He made it to his feet and after the eight count tried to box and move but Lee was again catching him with head punches. Quattrocchi stood and tried some punches of his own but a series of head punches put him down again. He made it to the vertical and when the action resumed Lee stormed forward throwing punches and with Quattrocchi covering up on the ropes the referee stopped the fight. All over in 2:30 of the round. The 30-year-old Lee moves to 11 wins by KO/TKO. No names on his record yet but he won a majority verdict over 18-1 Justin Thomas in February. He is rated WBO 11/IBF 12(11)/WBA 13. It is time for some stiffer opposition. Two inside the distance losses in a row for Quattrocchi
Panabo City, Philippines: Super Bantam: Glenn Porras (30-6) W RTD 1 Dingdong Quinones (6-19-1). Southpaw Porras floors Quinones twice in the first and at the end of the round Quinones retires. Quinones was much the bigger man but Porras managed to drive him to the ropes and pounded him with hooks from both hands. Quinones tried to escape but each time Porras pushed him back to the ropes and a series of hooks and uppercuts saw Quinones drop to the canvas. He was up at seven but when the action resumed Porras again took him to the ropes and a hail of punches rounded off with left to the body saw Quinones down for the second time. He made it to his feet but the bell rang as the eight count was completed and Quinones wanted no more. Win No 18 by KO/TKO for the 31-year-old “Rock” and much needed after back-to-back losses. Porras climbed into the world ratings after a run of 15 wins but 3 losses in 4 fights has seen him drop to No 14 in the Philippines ratings. Now 17 losses by KO/TKO for Quinones. His real first names are Billy John but Dingdong is much more fun.
Las Vegas, NV, USA: Middle: Gennady Golovkin (37-0-1) DREW 12 Saul Alvarez (49-1-2). Super Bantam: Diego De La Hoya (20-0) W PTS 10 Randy Caballero (24-1). Feather: Joseph Diaz (25-0) W PTS 12 Rafael Rivera (25-1-2). Light: Ryan Martin (20-0) W PTS 10 Francisco Rojo (20-3).
Golovkin vs. Alvarez
Golovkin retains his four world titles with draw against Alvarez in a fight that did not really come alight until the closing rounds. I saw Golovkin as the winner but there were howls of anger in the professional media and the social media over one judge seeing Alvarez the winner by eight points. Alvarez had a guarantee of a return bout clause in his contract and his promoters Golden Boy say they will enforce it.
Golovkin was walking after Alvarez who circled the perimeter of the ring. Golovkin landed a couple of shots but Alvarez was sharper and countered well to take a low action opener.
Score 10-9 Alvarez
Golovkin started the round with some sharp jabs and landed a long right to the head. Alvarez came off the back foot and scored with some stiff jabs and left hooks. He slipped some hard shots from Golovkin and just did enough to edge the round.
Score 10-9 Alvarez 18-20
Golovkin’s round by a long way. He controlled the action with his jab, got through with right crosses and landed left hooks to the body. Alvarez tried to stay in the ring centre and got through with a sharp left uppercut but the jabs from Golovkin had him on the back foot and circling the perimeter again.
Score 10-9 Golovkin 28-29
Once again Golovkin was getting through with his jabs. He was working hard for the three minutes constantly taking the fight to Alvarez and doing the scoring. He had Alvarez trapped on the ropes and landed a hard right with Alvarez shaking his head to show he was not hurt, but that only emphasised how good the punch was. Golovkin dropped in another right later in the round with Alvarez throwing nothing in return.
Score 10-9 Golovkin 38-38
Another round for Golovkin. He was taking the fight to Alvarez who was rarely leading ad instead looking to counter. He spent too much time on the ropes allowing Golovkin to bombard him with punches including a big right that crashed onto the chin of Alvarez. Alvarez was too slow with his counters which Golovkin evaded easily.
Score 10-9 Golovkin 48-47
Alvarez made a more positive start to this round using his jab and vaunted left hooks but then he went onto the back foot handing the initiative to Golovkin who dominated the last two minutes tracking Alvarez around the ring and scoring with jabs and rights.
Score 10-9 Golovkin 58-56
Golovkin’s round. After exchanging punches early without much success Alvarez again went into retreat. Golovkin was consistently getting through with his jabs and landing some long rights with Alvarez throwing too little and mostly missing.
Score 10-9 Golovkin 68-65
Alvarez was more competitive in this round landing some power punches early but he was being outworked. Golovkin continued to find gaps for his jab and cracked home some rights and a peach of an uppercut. It is difficult to understand Alvarez’s tactics of spending so much time on the ropes. If there was a criticism of Golovkin’s work was that he was head hunting and rarely going to the body.
Score 10-9 Golovkin 78-74
This was probably the best round of the fight so far. Alvarez threw more punches. He was loading up with every punch and matching Golovkin. Then he went in retreat again allowing Golovkin to take control. Two rights to the head from Alvarez were the best punches of the round but he was spending too much time on the ropes just covering up and allowing Golovkin to tee-off on him.
Score 10-9 Golovkin 88-83
It was late but the fight had come alive. Alvarez stormed out throwing hooks and uppercuts in his most sustained attack so far momentarily shaking Golovkin with a right to the temple. Over the late part of the round Alvarez went on the back foot again and to the ropes but now he was throwing counters when he was there.
Score 10-9 Alvarez 97-93
Golovkin took this one by working hard for three minutes He was slotting home jabs and overhand rights. Alvarez was throwing some big punches but was on the back foot and only fighting in short bursts.
Score 10-9 Golovkin 107-102
Alvarez had his best round of the fight as he fired hooks and uppercuts, stayed off the ropes and although tiring clearly outpunched Golovkin landing more scoring punches than in any other round.
Score 10-9 Alvarez 117-112
Official scores: 115-113 Golovkin, 118-110 Alvarez and 114-114
Golovkin retains his IBF/WBA/WBC/IBO titles and his unbeaten record and in my view was a clear winner. He pressed the fight from the first bell and Alvarez spent too long on the ropes and did not throw or land enough punches or match the accuracy and work rate of Golovkin. This was an interesting rather than an exciting fight. Both fighters want a return and it is obviously the biggest payday out there for both of them with Miguel Cotto as the only other attractive option. The 118-110 scorecard from Adalaide Byrd has seen her stood down by the Nevada Commission. She has judged over 400 contests including many world title fights. I don’t believe there was any dishonesty involved and it is not the worst scoring I have ever seen. No one is going to endorse computer scoring except as an unofficial record of what occurred so because scoring is totally subjective these blips are always going to turn up.
Caballero vs. De La Hoya
De La Hoya outboxed Caballero in this one and came away with a wide unanimous decision. Caballero was constantly coming forward but De La Hoya was boxing well on the outside and more accurate with his punches. He rocked Caballero with an overhand right in the second and was raking Caballero with combination and getting out again before Caballero could counter. Those combinations were a big factor. De La Hoyas was putting together bunches of punches mainly hooks and uppercuts with Caballero rarely throwing more than two punches at a time. De La Hoya had the much quicker and more accurate jab and was going to the body more than Caballero. Despite that Caballero kept rumbling forward and had some success inside but had trouble with the constant moving and switching of angles by De La Hoya. Past the half way mark De La Hoya was standing and trading more and work the body digging in hooks from both hands and using his superior strength to push Caballero back. Caballero continued to try to keep the fight inside where the brawl at least meant De La Hoya was right in front of him. Caballero was hurt by a low punch in the seventh which saw him bent double and turn away but the referee had been unsighted so De La Hoya got away with it. De La Hoya’s work rate dropped a bit in the eighth which helped Caballero but De La Hoya came back with a vengeance in the ninth bombarding Caballero with left hooks to the body and whole series of rights crosses. De La Hoya was not looking to take any chances in the last. He boxed on the outside. Caballero landed two heavy rights but it was too late to make any difference. Scores 98-92 twice and 100-90 for De La Hoya, The 23-year-old Mexican has been carefully matched and is showing the benefits. He totally dominated Caballero and could be challenging for a title late next year. Poor Caballero, after winning the vacant IBF bantam title in 2014 nothing has gone right for him but he has not helped himself. He failed to make the weight for his defence against Lee Haskins in November 2015 and was stripped off the title. He had just one fight in 2016 in February and then did not fight again until March this year. The lack of activity showed but he is only 26 so hopefully he can find some form again.
Diaz vs. Rivera
After a slow start Diaz outscores late substitute Rivera. A cagey, cautious first round saw both fighters just prodding out their jab. In the only real action Rivera drew Diaz’s southpaw lead and then darted forward scoring with lefts hooks a straight right and did enough to take the round. That was almost as good as it got for Rivera. From there Diaz was spearing Rivera with southpaw jabs and following with straight lefts. He was able to anticipate the lunging attacks of Rivera and step back and then counter. With Rivera waiting to counter and Diaz not wanting to waste a punch It took the fight a while to heat up Diaz stepped up the pace in the fifth both leading and countering with lefts . Rivera was just relying on bursting forward flailing punches with no accuracy. That was the pattern the rest of the way. Diaz had the much superior skill set and had no trouble dealing with the wild attacks of Rivera who was too slow to get out of the way of Diaz’s jabs and straight rights and only having occasional success in close as Diaz boxed his way to an easy victory. Scores 119-109 twice and 120-108 for Diaz. The 24-year-old Californian southpaw is No 1 with the WBO so the mandatory challenger to Oscar Valdez but if that fight can’t be made for any reason then he sits at No 2 behind Carl Frampton in the WBC rankings and is the third highest rated fighter in the IBF list with the No 1 slot vacant and Scott Quigg and Frampton in front of him. One way or another a title fight in 2018 looks certain. Rivera was a late replacement and failed to make the weight. The 23-year-old Mexican had been fighting a good level of opposition with his best win being a points victory over Wilfredo Vazquez Jr.
Martin vs. Rojo
A contrast in styles here splits the judges as Martin struggles to get past the small, aggressive Rojo. The Tall, 5’11” (180cm) quick-stepping Martin used his reach advantage and speed to keep Rojo on the outside. Rojo kept barrelling forward not trying to match jabs but throwing wide rights around Martin’s guard and left hooks to the body. Over the early rounds Martin was spearing Rojo with jabs and then firing straight rights and left hooks to the body. The problem was that although he was doing most of the scoring he did not seem to have the power to keep Rojo out and the tough Mexican was able to get close and bang some crunching left hooks downstairs. Martin’s skills helped him build an lead over the first half of the fight but over the second half Rojo was continually walking through whatever Martin threw and clubbing away with body punches and swings to the head. Martin did have a good seventh but the pressure was building. He was warned twice for low punches in the eighth and when he repeated the offence in the ninth he was finally deducted a point. Martin fired off some impressive combinations and did enough to have won the round so that instead of a 10-8 round for Rojo it was in effect a 9-9 round. They traded punches throughout the last and it was a microcosm of the fight with Martin landing more but lighter punches and Rojo loading up and getting in some heavy licks. Scores 96-93 and 95-94 for Martin and 98-91 for Rojo. A big difference in how the officials viewed the fight something that goes without serious questioning in a less important ten round fight but gets magnified in a huge main event. The 24-year-old “Blue Chip” Martin was making the second defence of his WBC Continental Americas title and wins the vacant WBA International title. He is rated IBF 9(8)/WBO 14. Rojo had won eight in a row going in including a kayo of world rated Dante Jardon.