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Cinco de Mayo Fights Have Run the Gamut from Stupendous to Stinky  

Arne K. Lang



Cinco de Mayo fights

Cinco de Mayo, which commemorates  the victory of the Mexican Army over the invading French in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, has actually evolved into a bigger cause for celebration in the United States than in most communities in Mexico. In Las Vegas, casino owners have seized on this development, commercializing the holiday weekend with many events aimed at their Mexican clientele.

In Mexico, boxing is the second most popular sport behind soccer. No one in Las Vegas has yet figured out a way to stage an internationally important soccer match in the city on Cinco de Mayo weekend, but a big boxing match has become a staple on this holiday and again on Mexican Independence Day weekend in September.

The latest iteration goes Saturday, May 4, when Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, the biggest draw in boxing, attempts to add another title belt to his collection at the expense of IBF world middleweight title-holder Daniel Jacobs. But if this fight is to stand out in memory, it will be because Alvarez and Jacobs put on a rousing good show. Years from now, no one will remember what hardware was up for grabs.

Since the advent of big fights on Cinco de Mayo weekend, there have been several spine-tingling thrillers and several big fat yawns. Let’s re-visit a few, starting with the good stuff.



The first meeting between Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo was hands down the best Cinco De Mayo Weekend fight ever and much more. It was the Fight of the Year, the Fight of the Decade, and stands as the Fight of the Century until a better one comes along.

This was a unification fight in the lightweight division. Corrales, the son of a Columbian father and a Mexican-American mother, held the WBO belt. Castillo, who fought out of Mexicali, owned the WBC strap. But a fight this intense, with such dramatic momentum swings, needed no imprimaturs to certify it as an all-time classic.

Here we are in the 10th frame, looking on as Corrales visits the canvas for the second time, disgorging his mouthpiece, both of his eyes swollen nearly shut, looking all the world like a cooked goose. No one would have faulted referee Tony Weeks if he had stopped it right here.

And here we are a few moments later with Corrales crashing home a series of wicked punches with Castillo trapped on the ropes, out on his feet, forcing Weeks to intervene. The crowd, which had given both fighters numerous standing ovations during the course of the bout, was dumbstruck with awe.


This was the first of what would be four meetings, a trilogy plus one. And had the first round gone a few seconds longer, Marquez likely wouldn’t have survived and one of boxing’s greatest rivalries would have never been born.

Manny Pacquiao was moving up in weight. This was his first fight as a featherweight. Juan Manuel Marquez, from the gritty Iztacalco district of Mexico City, was a two-belt featherweight champion.

The younger man by six years, Pacquiao went to post the slightest of favorites in a near “pick-‘em” affair. Those odds looked way out of whack when PacMan knocked Marquez to the canvas three times in the opening round. But the Mexican, who returned to his corner in severe distress, had amazing recuperative powers. By the third round he was battling the Filipino on even terms and he dominated the second half of the fight.

The bout went to the scorecards where there was a great disparity. One judge had Pacquiao up by five points and the other favored Marquez by the same margin. The tie-breaker, as it were, produced a tie, a 113-113 tally. The fight went into the books as a draw.

The 12th round, with the crowd standing throughout, was outstanding. “They’re probably not the final three minutes that Marquez and Pacquiao will see of each other,” said Dan Rafael prophetically.



The jury was still out on Manny Pacquiao following his first fight with Juan Manuel Marquez but he grew into a superstar, cementing his status as one of the all-time greats with back-to-back-to back wins over Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, and Miguel Cotto in 2008/09. His match with Floyd Mayweather was the most anticipated fight since the first meeting between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier in 1971.

To say that Mayweather vs. Pacquiao broke the Nevada record for gate receipts would be a great understatement. It shattered the record by a country mile. A paid attendance of 16,129 produced a gate of $72,198,500. That’s an average of $4,476 per ticket! Those that were comped included some of the biggest gamblers on the planet, men known to risk as much as $10,000 on a single hand of baccarat.

This wasn’t a bad fight if you can appreciate Mayweather’s defensive wizardry. But it was a fight without an indelible moment, all sizzle and no steak, pardon the cliché.

It came out that Pacquiao was damaged goods. Four days after the fight he underwent surgery for a torn rotator cuff. Lawsuits were filed against various parties for fraud because the injury wasn’t disclosed before the fight. In several cities, law firms took out newspaper ads saying that those that purchased the fight on PPV ($99 was the standard rate for high-definition) might be entitled to compensation. There is no record that anyone received so much as a refund.


This all-Mexico showdown found Canelo battling the son of Mexican boxing royalty. It was an attractive pairing as evident by the turnout, 20,510, but it wasn’t much of a battle. The son, who never fought with a sense of urgency, was a pale imitation of his old man and Canelo won every round on all three scorecards without going full bore. The last three rounds were contested amidst a cacophony of boos.

This was the last Cinco de Mayo fight, the 2018 renewal evaporating when the Nevada Athletic Commission suspended Canelo Alvarez for a failed a drug test.

And so what will see on Saturday, a fight reminiscent of the best Cinco de Mayo fights or a fight that falls toward the ugly end of the spectrum? Hopefully the ghost of Diego Corrales will be in the building but that’s asking a lot.

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Looking at the Heavyweight Calendar (Odds Review)

Miguel Iturrate



Joshua vs Ruiz

This past Saturday night saw Deontay Wilder’s WBC world heavyweight title defense against Dominic Breazeale go down on Showtime. The fight lasted just 137 seconds as Wilder floored Breazeale with a cannonball of a right hand to end the night early.

With Wilder out of the way, Anthony Joshua vs Andy Ruiz Jr is up next. They meet June 1st at Madison Square Garden. Two weeks later, on the 15th of June, ESPN+ will deliver Tyson Fury vs Tom Schwarz, so fight fans will get a look at all three members of the “Big Three” all in a month’s time.

Wilder’s erasure of Breazeale this past weekend sent a message to the rest of the division as well as giving him a highlight reel to show during upcoming negotiations. Wilder entered a strong -1000 favorite at the sportsbooks for this fight.

Check out our pre-fight review of the Wilder vs Breazeale odds right here at TSS –

Looking forward, the odds posted for Joshua and Fury’s upcoming tussles are even less competitive. Let’s take a look at what the books are giving us as we await the two big Brits fighting in the USA.

Madison Square Garden – New York City – Saturday, June 1, 2019

Heavyweight 12 rounds –

Andy Ruiz Jr +1500 Over 6½ +100

Anthony Joshua -3000 Under 6½ -130

Ruiz Jr is 32-1 overall with his lone loss coming at the hands of Joseph Parker in a failed WBO world title bid. That same WBO belt is now in the hands of Joshua as are the WBA and IBF belts.

Joshua was a big favorite over Jarrell Miller, his original opponent, who was denied a license in New York after testing positive for a buffet of steroids. Ruiz Jr took the fight with less than a full training camp, but you have to believe that he is going to come in highly motivated. Ruiz Jr has been caught at a different type of buffet, the all-you-can-eat kind, but even when in the best of shape his body type isn’t “poster boy material.” Miller was big and bulky as well, but he was a near 300 pounder whereas Ruiz Jr will come in between 250 and 260 pounds, which is right around Joshua’s size. Rather than slaying a 300-pound giant, he is facing a guy who is shorter and fatter than him, making it very hard for Joshua to look great on paper.

At +1500 will people bite on Ruiz Jr? He is more experienced than Miller and he is probably a better fighter overall and though he is facing a formidable champion, Joshua is not a finished product. Perhaps Joshua will be chasing an early finish, feeling the pressure of Wilder’s performance, and if so will he make a mistake that Ruiz can exploit? We are roughly 10 days from finding out.

MGM Grand Garden – Las Vegas, Nevada – Saturday, June 15, 2019

Heavyweight 12 rounds –

Tom Schwarz +1800 Over 9½ -105

Tyson Fury -3600 Under 9½ -125

Tyson Fury closes out the run of top heavyweights with a very deliberately chosen showcase fight against Tom Schwarz. Schwarz is 24 years old and 24-0 but he is a fighter who has come up on the regional German scene and as the old boxing cliche goes, there are levels to this game.

Former contender David Haye mounted a 2016 comeback, booking fights against Mark De Mori (30-1-2) and Arnold Gjergjaj (29-0). It took Haye precisely 6:42 to dispose of both of them, and though Fury is a completely different beast than Haye, the level difference between he and Schwarz may be even as striking.

Wilder has gotten through his “challenge” and if Fury and Joshua also emerge as winners as expected, it will leave several open questions –

– Will Fury vs Wilder 2 happen first, or will Wilder vs Joshua go down first? Could Joshua and Fury meet and freeze Wilder out?


– Will we see any of these fights take place in 2019?

If Joshua or Fury stumble, it will only add to the chaos in the heavyweight division. But if the professional oddsmakers know anything, it isn’t likely to happen.

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Three Punch Combo: An Early Look at Inoue-Donaire and Under the Radar Fights

Matt Andrzejewski



Inoue vs Donaire

THREE PUNCH COMBO — This past Saturday, Naoya Inoue (18-0, 16 KO’s) punched his ticket to the bantamweight final in the World Boxing Super Series when he impressively knocked out Emmanuel Rodriguez in the second round of their scheduled 12-round fight. The win sets up a showdown with veteran Nonito Donaire (40-5, 26 KO’s) who punched his ticket to the final with an impressive knockout of Stephon Young last month.

As expected, Inoue has opened as a monstrous favorite in the betting markets. While this suggests a one-sided wipeout, I have some other thoughts.

Inoue is pound for pound one of, if not the, hardest puncher in the sport today and put that power on full display in his destruction of Rodriguez in the semi-finals. But having enormous power does not make him indestructible.

In watching that fight against Rodriguez, there were clearly flaws on display on the defensive side of Inoue’s game. For one, Inoue does not move his head at all and as such can be hit. Rodriguez landed several clean punches on Inoue in the first round. And Inoue frequently keeps his hands low looking to bait opponents into throwing to set up counter opportunities. It has worked so far but could be something he pays for down the road.

Donaire is a smart and skilled fighter and though he is 36, his last few fights have shown that he still has plenty left in the tank. Moreover, he possesses one thunderous left hook and has always been at his best when fighting below 122. He has all the capabilities to expose Inoue’s flaws and a left hook that can alter the course of a fight as we have seen him doing plenty of times in the past.

Unlike a lot of people, I do not consider Donaire to be another layup for Inoue. There is real danger in this fight for Inoue if he does not make changes to his game. Donaire has starched big punching rising stars before and I would not discount his chances to expose the significant defensive flaws in Inoue’s game.

 Under The Radar Fight

Boxing returns to ESPN on Saturday with a card from Kissimmee, FL headlined by 130- pound champion Masayuki Ito (25-1-1, 13 KO’s) who is making the second defense of his title against former US Olympian Jamel Herring (19-2, 10 KO’s). While I think this should be an excellent fight, the co-feature, which is flying deep under the radar, should be even better.

In this fight, former two division world champion Jose Pedraza (25-2, 12 KO’s) makes his return to the ring after losing his lightweight title to Vasiliy Lomachenko in December to face Antonio Lozada (40-2-1, 34 KO’s). Given their respective styles, this fight at the very least will provide plenty of sustained action.

Appropriately nicknamed “The Sniper,” Pedraza at his best is a precision puncher. A boxer-puncher by trade, he uses subtle movement inside the ring to create angles that are used to land sharp power shots on his opposition. He is also a very good inside fighter and will shift around on the inside to once again set up just the right angle to land his power shots with maximum efficiency. But despite being a good inside fighter, Pedraza has a tendency to stay in the pocket a bit too long which leaves him open to getting hit.

Lozada is best known for his upset TKO win against one-time blue-chip prospect Felix Verdejo in March of 2018. However, he failed to build momentum off that win and is coming off a lackluster split draw his last time out to 12-7-1 journeyman Hector Ruben Ambriz Suarez.

Lozada certainly does not have the technical proficiency of Pedraza. He is slow and plodding. But what he does bring to the table is relentless pressure combined with a high volume of punches. He will press forward, recklessly at times, winging punches consistently hoping to wear down his opposition through attrition.  As such, he tends to get hit a lot and can be involved in shootouts.

Cleary, Pedraza is the more skilled fighter, but given Lozada’s all-offensive mindset as well as Pedraza’s willingness to stay in the pocket, the leather is all but guaranteed to be flying from the opening bell. Neither are big punchers either so I suspect we see a fight that goes rounds providing many exciting exchanges and one that could certainly steal the show on Saturday.

Another Under The Radar Fight

Also on Saturday, Fox Sports 1 will televise a card from Biloxi, MS featuring a crossroads fight between former 154-pound champion Austin Trout (31-5, 17 KO’s) and former US Olympian Terrell Gausha (21-1, 10 KO’s). But it is another 154-pound fight on the undercard that is receiving almost no coverage that I want to highlight. It pits Chordale Booker (14-0, 7 KO’s) against Wale Omotoso (27-3, 21 KO’s).

Booker turned pro in 2016 after a successful amateur career and has kept up a fairly busy schedule. He is coming off a dominating 8-round unanimous decision over veteran Juan De Angel in January and now is taking a big jump up in his caliber of opposition in facing Omotoso.

Booker, a southpaw, likes to press forward behind a stinging right jab. He possesses elite level hand speed and likes to use that jab to set up quick power punching combinations. Booker is also an excellent counter puncher and possesses a very potent right hook coming from that southpaw stance. He will often hold his left low to bait his opponents into opening up to set up counter opportunities. However, he has also been clipped by his share of left hooks fighting in this manner and this is something he will need to tighten up against Omotoso. So just how will Booker respond to Omotoso’s pressure and heavy handed body attack? Depending on the answer, we will either see Booker step up to the next level or get exposed. And that’s what makes this fight so intriguing to me

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Serhii Bohachuk KOs Mexico’s Freddy Hernandez in Hollywood

David A. Avila



in Hollywood

HOLLYWOOD, Calif.-Super welterweight prospect Serhii Bohachuk got his first taste of upper tier boxing from Mexico’s Freddy Hernandez and gave him his best Sunday punch to win by knockout.

Bohachuk (14-0, 14 KOs) showed the excited Hollywood crowd he’s more than ready for former world title challengers like Hernandez (34-11, 22 KOs) or maybe even the current contenders with an exuberant display of pressure fighting at the Avalon Theater.

The smiling Ukrainian fighter has been steadily attracting fans to the 360 Promotions fight cards.

Trained by Abel Sanchez, the lanky and pale Bohachuk – whose nickname “El Flaco” fits perfectly – always moved forward against Mexico City’s Hernandez who has made a reputation of being crafty despite the strength of competition. With Bohachuk constantly applying pressure the Mexican fighter used the first round to touch and feel his way around the Ukrainian bomber.

In the second round a sharp counter right floored Hernandez who quickly got up and resumed the contest. It looked like the end was near until Hernandez caught Bohachuk with a solid right cross. It was a warning shot well heeded by Bohachuk.

Both fighters exchanged vigorously in the third round with the Ukrainian fighter’s youth a definite advantage. Hernandez was able to display his fighting tools more effectively in the third round but could it be enough?

Bohachuk was clearly the heavier-handed fighter but was finding it difficult to connect solidly against the Mexican veteran. But in the fifth round Bohachuk lowered his gun sights and targeted the body with a left hook that dropped Hernandez.  The fight was stopped by referee Wayne Hedgepeth at 1:40 of the fifth round.

Other Bouts

A battle of super featherweights saw Rialto, California’s Adrian Corona (5-0) rally from behind to defeat Florida’s Canton Miller (3-3-1) by split decision after six rounds.

Corona had problems with Miller’s speed in the first two rounds and was unable to track the moving fighter’s direction. But in the third round Corona began to apply more aggressive measures against Miller and was especially effective with lead rights. The momentum changed quickly.

Miller switched from orthodox to southpaw and it served to pause Corona’s momentum, but he seldom scored with solid blows. Though Miller landed quick soft blows, Corona was landing with strong shots and convinced two of the three judges that he was the winner by 58-56 twice. A third judge saw Miller the victor by the same score 58-56.

“It’s not my job to judge the judges,” said Miller. “It’s my job to just fight.”

Corona was happy with the victory.

“I could have put the pressure on him a little more,” said Corona. “It was a very technical fight and he put on a great fight.”

Other Bouts

George Navarro (6-0-1, 2 KOs) knocked out Cesar Sustaita (3-5) with a perfect overhand right that disabled the senses and forced referee Raul Caiz Jr. to halt the fight at 1:37 of the first round.

“I worked hard to prepare for this fight,” said Navarro.

A super bantamweight clash saw Humberto Rubalcava (10-1, 7 KOs) knock out Daniel Constantino (3-3-2) and win by knockout after a flurry of a dozen blows went unanswered. Referee Angel Mendez stopped the battering at 1:39 of the first round.

Photo credit: Al Applerose

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