Boxing – Morilla’s Sunday Report Card

Our resident boxing writer Diego Morilla serves up a full weekend wrap-up of the most relevant boxing events in the worldwide scene. Every fight that matters is right here, in one place, and at one click away.

Corpus Christi, Texas, Saturday, Nov. 9

Miguel Angel “Mikey” Garcia KO 8 Roman “Rocky” Martinez, WBO junior lightweight title

There’s no end in sight for Garcia’s unbeaten run, as he improved to 33-0 (28 KOs) with a gutsy, off-the-canvas rally to beat one of the best young champions in boxing in Martinez (27-1-2, 16 KOs) of Puerto Rico, and grabbing a 130 lbs belt in his very debut in the division. Garcia visited the canvas briefly in the second round, but rose to dominate Martinez in every department until a perfect left hook to Martinez’s body put an end to the proceedings barely a minute into the 8th round. The win put a dramatic exclamation point in the long and illustrious rivalry between Puerto Rico and Mexico, as Garcia (born in the US to Mexican parents) deprived the island state-nation of its last remaining champion. The winner goes on to: terrorizing the rest of the division for a few more years before becoming a full-fledged welterweight.

Nonito Donaire KO 9 Vic Darchinyan, featherweights

FIGHT OF THE WEEK

In 2007, the first episode of this rivalry turned both of these fighters into high-profile TV fighters. They both made the most out of that exposure, parlaying that effort into lucrative careers. But this rematch promises to turn them into legends. Rather than cashing in on their names with a safety-first, speculative fight, Darchinyan and Donaire threw caution to the wind and produced a memorable fight that is a testimony of their true value as fighters. Donaire (32-2, 21 KOs) was being dominated by Darchinyan (39-6-1, 28 KOs) in the first three rounds, but started to rally in an all-action fourth round to serve notice of his intentions. After a brief resurgence by the Armenian-American KO artist, Donaire gave testimony of his vaunted punching power with a numbing left hook that sent Darchinyan to the canvas, and proceeded to smother him with a salvo of punches upon rising to prompt referee Laurence Cole to stop the carnage two minutes into the 9th episode. An emotional Donaire would later dedicate his victory to the people of his native country of The Philippines, currently recovering from a massive storm. The winner goes on to: regaining a foothold in the pound-for-pound lists and delivering on his promise to become as great as his countryman Manny Pacquiao.

Demetrius Andrade vs. Vanes Martirosyan, WBO junior middleweight title

The pushing and shoving contest at the weigh-in promised a spirited effort from two fighters who have been perceived as too methodical to the point of being boring. And there wasn’t anything boring about this classy, workman-like performance by Andrade (20-0-0, 13 KO), who rose from a knockdown in the very first round to outbox fellow former Olympian Martirosyan (33-1-1, 21 KO). Both fighters had been a bit overprotected up to this point, but the time to step up was upon them, and “someone’s 0’s had to go.” In the end, Andrade, hailing from Providence, Rhode Island, got the nod with two cards of 114-113 and 117-110, while the third judge had Martirosyan winning by 115-112. The winner goes on to: parlaying his newly acquired WBO junior middleweight belt into a lucrative bout in a star-studded division.

Nicholas Walters KO 4 Alberto Garza, WBA featherweight title

“Axe Man” Walters (23-0, 19 KOs) heads back to his home in Montego Bay, Jamaica with a new addition to his yet thin highlight reel after flattening Garza (25-6-1, 20 KOs) with a straight right hand, two minutes into the fourth round. It was a showcase for Walters, a former amateur star who was making his American debut after grabbing the vacant title with a one-sided beating of Colombia’s Daulis Prescott back in December in Kingston. The winner goes on to: becoming a welcomed new arrival in a division currently undergoing heavy reconstruction.

Mexico, Saturday, Nov. 9

Juan Carlos Salgado vs. Miguel Roman, 12 rounds, lightweights

Quite the upset, indeed. Salgado (26-3-1, 16 KO) had promised Roman a punishing defeat in this all-Mexican paper title bout, but in the end the joke was on the former two-time super featherweight champion, who looked great during the initial stretch only to be steamrolled in the second half of the fight before being stopped at the 1:46 mark of the 11th round. After visiting the canvas courtesy of a tough combination, Salgado was having trouble surviving the ensuing onslaught by Roman, when a towel came flying in and referee Jay Nady stopped the contest. A scrappy veteran with lots of resilience and great boxing skills, (Roman 44-11, 33 KO) is now a cool 7-1 winning streak since his only KO loss against Antonio De Marco in an early 2012 title bout. The winner goes on to: cashing in on this new achievement with a few more lucrative bouts in a talent-rich division.

Brooklyn, N.Y. Saturday, Nov. 9

Gabriel Bracero UD 10 Dmitriy Salita, welterweights

The much anticipated “subway clash” bout between Brooklyn-born Bracero (23-1, 4 KO) and Salita (35-2-1, 18 KO) was almost as good as advertised, with an engaged crowd enjoying a full distance fight between two beloved local fighters. In the end, Bracero grabbed a unanimous decision (100-89, 99-90, 97-92) after sending Salita to the canvas in the 8th round and finishing the bout with a toe-to-toe, all-action final round. In spite of the lopsided scorecards, Salita survived to fight another day, and Bracero is on his way to better opportunities in the most talented division in boxing. The winner goes on to: becoming a player in the newly reinvigorated Brooklyn boxing scene.

Kempton Park, South Africa, Satuday, Nov. 9

Hekkie Budler TKO 4 Hugo Verchelli, strawweights

The wildly popular Budler put on another show in front of his countrymen as he stopped an inexperienced Argentine in Hugo Verchelli (11-2, 6 KOs) in the fourth round, after sending him to the canvas three times before legendary local referee Stanley Christodoulou had decided he had seen enough at the 2:29 mark. The flashy “Hexecutioner”, with his hair dyed blue and his colorful boxing style, improved to 25-1 entertained his crowd with an emotional performance, grabbing the WBA’s interim minimum weight belt as he improved his ledger to 25-1 (7 KOs). The winner goes on to: becoming a breath of fresh air in a stale division.

Thomas Oosthuizen MD 12 Ezequiel Maderna, super middleweights

Highly touted local prospect Thomas Oosthuizen (22-0-2, 13 KOs) won two battles in two days: the first one against the scale (he had lots of trouble to make the weight limit on Friday) and the other one against a crafty former Olympian in Ezequiel Maderna (20-2, 13 KOs), of Argentina. Maderna, a natural middleweight, had Oosthuizen in lots of trouble in round 3 and opened a nasty gash on his nose in round 8, and seemed to be the harder puncher in spite of the perceived weight advantage. It may have been a pyrrhic victory for Oosthuizen, who is coming off a controversial points win in his last fight and appears to be slipping. The scorecards read 116-112, 114-114 and 117-111. The winner goes on to: having to decide whether to stay at 168 and regain focus, or make the jump at 175 to put his shaky chin to the test against bigger punchers. Not a good scenario at all.

Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday, Nov. 9

Vyacheslav Uzelkov TKO 6 Jaidon Codrington, light heavyweights

The era of the “Chin Checkers” appears to be officially over, as Vyacheslav Uzelkov defeated Jaidon Codrington with a relatively premature but definitive TKO in six rounds after a massive left hook sent Codrington to the canvas and the referee deemed him unfit to continue even though he rose apparently clear-headed and looking well. With Curtis Stevens, his partner in the self-styled duo of KO artists, getting TKO’d by Gennady Golovkin in his last fight, their already unlikely resurgence seems even more unlikely now. It was fun while it lasted. The winner goes on to: attempting to use the non-descript third-rate title he won in this fight to squeeze into the talented European scene.

Tokyo, Sunday, Nov. 10

Shinsuke Yamanaka TKO 9 Alberto Guevara, WBC bantamweight title

Capping a great night of boxing, Mexico´s Alberto Guevara (18-2-1, 6 KO) failed in his second title bid in a tough clash against WBC bantamweight champ Shinsuke Yamanaka (20-0-2, 15 KO). The local fighter was simply too crafty and powerful for the visiting challenger, who bull-rushed the southpaw Yamanaka throughout the bout but had little to show for his efforts.  Guevara visited the canvas twice in round 8, and when he ate two terrific straight lefts that sent him down, referee Hector Afu decided he had seen enough, stopping the bout at the 0:25 mark. The winner goes on to: cementing his place at the top of a division that has many Japanese fighters in the top ten.

Jorge Linares KO 1 Francisco Contreras, lightweights

After his original opponent Richard Abril had to cancel his participation in this event due to an injury, Linares (35-3, 23 KOs) had several changes of opponents. Finally, he ended up taking on Francisco Contreras on short notice, and he made his night even shorter with another brutal TKO in the first round. Linares took a few moments to feel Contreras out, and when he felt ready he simply unleashed devastating straight right hand that flattened his Dominican foe for the entire count at the 2:58 mark of the opening round. The superbly talented “Niño de Oro” did it again, and in great fashion. The winner goes on to: continue working his way back into championship territory to relive his once promising career.

Takahiro Aoh KO 1 Edgar Lomeli, lightweights

A mere glorified workout for former 126 and 130 lb champ Aoh, who is now officially taking the 135 lb division by storm. Lomeli (14-4-2, 8 KO) got the gig at the last minute, and he was unable to make the most of this opportunity, in which Aoh improved to 25-3-1 (12 KOs) with a short but powerful demonstration of his superb boxing skills. In the end, all the ah’s and oh’s of the night belonged to Aoh. The winner goes on to: continue proving himself in a new division, where opportunities should abound.

Roman Gonzalez TKO 2 Oscar Blanquet, flyweights

In what amounts to an unofficial but very clear change of division after three non-title bouts at 108, former junior flyweight champ Gonzalez improved to 37-0 (31 KO) with a TKO of Mexico’s Blanquet (32-7-1, 23 KO), a promising opponent who was simply ran over by the ever-improving pocket rocket from Nicaragua. “Chocolatito” is now officially the man to worry about at flyweight, where fortunately for him there is no shortage of talented opponents. The winner goes on to: becoming the man to worry about at 108. And beyond.

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Diego Morilla is a boxing writer since 1992. His work has been extensively featured in some of the most prestigious boxing media outlets in Latin America and the U.S., including ESPN.com, The Ring, Latino Boxing, MaxBoxing.com, Lo Mejor del Boxeo, PSN.com, etc and newspapers such as El Mundo, Primera Hora and El Vocero, among others.