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Canelo Wins Strategic Battle Over Daniel Jacobs in Las Vegas

David A. Avila

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Canelo vs Jacobs

LAS VEGAS-Mexico’s Saul “Canelo” Alvarez won a tactical battle by unanimous decision over Brooklyn’s Daniel Jacobs that saw several changes over 12 rounds. But now the red head adds the IBF title to his collection of middleweight belts on Saturday.

WBA and WBC titlist Alvarez (52-1-2, 35 KOs) showed the sold out crowd of 20,203 at T-Mobile Arena that the smaller guy can indeed beat the bigger guy Jacobs (35-3, 29 KOs) even though he weighed four pounds more than the contracted weight. It really didn’t matter.

Despite the extra pounds it didn’t prove an advantage for Jacobs who was tentative in the beginning as was Alvarez. But in the second round both began to target the body and the fight slipped into a more aggressive round.

The speed of Alvarez began to tell as he connected with shots to the body and head. And when he felt even more comfortable in the fourth round, the Mexican middleweight began to show off his defensive skills by slipping various combinations fired by Jacobs. The crowd of predominantly Latino fans cheered the exhibition of defensive skill.

“It took me a couple of rounds to get my wits about me. Because he is a pot shotter. He’s a fast guy,” explained Jacobs.

Jacobs changed the strategy of the fight in the fifth round by changing into a southpaw. The move stalled Alvarez’s rhythm and the fight slowed to a crawl. A wicked left cross connected by Jacobs flush to Alvarez’s jaw. It was the Brooklyn fighter’s best punch of the night.

“It was a hard shot, no big deal I continued with my fight,” said Alvarez of the Jacob’s left cross.

Whenever Jacobs used a southpaw stance Alvarez found success with a ramrod left jab. It was his best response to the Jacob tactic. However the crowd did not like the tactic because of the lack of action in produced.

From the 10th round on Alvarez used his quicker hand speed to fire off combinations that kept Jacobs from returning fire. Though the Mexican middleweight was landing combinations whenever Jacobs fought from an orthodox stance, he had problems with the lefty stance by the New Yorker.

Jacobs never surrendered and managed to land shots, but never was he able to hurt Alvarez whose jaw had already been tested twice against the powerful Gennady “GGG” Golovkin in two prior fights. Canelo’s chin was intact and unbreakable against Jacobs. That proved to be a major difference.

Alvarez was able to take chances knowing he could handle Jacobs power. He also knew he could slip Jacobs if necessary. After 12 rounds all three judges agreed that Alvarez was the winner 115-113 twice and 116-112. It was a clear and decisive verdict not bemoaned by Jacobs.

“I have to go back and see exactly what the judges saw. He’s a tremendous champion and I take my hat off for him,” said Jacobs.

The crowd departed the arena satisfied but not exactly ecstatic. Most expected a knockout by either fighter, not a decision.

“It was a thinking fight. He’s a little heavier, it was the right style to fight him,” said Alvarez. “For sure it was a strategic fight. I had to think what to do but it was a matter of switching from left to right.”

Sitting in the audience was former middleweight champion Golovkin. Alvarez was asked if Golovkin would be next on his list.

“For me no, but if the people want it, we can do it again,” said Alvarez. “If the fight is right I’ll fight anyone.”

Vergil Ortiz

Young firebrand Vergil Ortiz (13-0, 13 KOs) lowered the boom on veteran world title challenger Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera (24-9, 7 KOs) to win by knockout in a fight held in the welterweight division. But only for this fight.

Herrera had fought for the super lightweight world title before and many felt he won against Puerto Rico’s Danny Garcia back in 2014. But against the lean punching machine Ortiz it was a different matter.

After a round of Herrera setting the pace with peppering shots to the body, Ortiz began opening up in the latter half of the second round. A sizzling right hand followed by several blows sent Herrera down at the end of the round. Herrera got up but looked slightly woozy.

In the third round Ortiz was in full stalking mode and Herrera seemed a little groggy. Normally Herrera, who lives in trains in Riverside, Calif. like Ortiz, has shown an uncanny ability to slip punches. But Ortiz cornered Herrera and sent a right cross missile that connected solidly. Herrera was out before a left hook follow-up blow from Ortiz grazed the unconscious fighter. Referee Russell Mora stopped the fight at 29 seconds of round three.

“I’m very satisfied with my performance. I spar world champions all the time,” said Ortiz after the win. “He was keeping his left hand down all the time. I had the fight figured out.”

Despite the success at 147-pounds, Ortiz prefers to drop back to the 140 pound super lightweight limit.

“I want to go back at 140 and get that world title,” said Ortiz who is from Texas but is trained in Riverside, CA, by Robert Garcia. “If they ask me to fight for a world title in two weeks I’ll take it right now.”

Jojo Diaz

Southern California’s Jojo Diaz (29-1, 15 KOs) opened up with a steady battering of Costa Rica’s Freddie Fonseca (26-3-1, 17 KOs) to prove he belongs at the 130-pound super featherweight division.

“I’m able to take more chances and take more risks. At 126 my body would fatigue in the later rounds,” said Diaz a former 2012 USA Olympian. “I’m ready right away for a world title my next fight.”

Diaz had twice fought for world titles in the featherweight division. In his last attempt he failed to make the required weight limit of 126 pounds last August 2018 against Puerto Rico’s Jesus Rojas. Though he won the fight he was unable to win the title.

Lamont Roach Jr. (19-0-1, 7 KOs) took a beating early in the fight but slowly turned things around with distance, counter shots and a point deduction against Puerto Rico’s Jonathan Oquendo (30-6, 19 KOs) late in the fight. But after 10 grueling rounds Roach was given the unanimous decision 96-93 twice and 97-92 and keeps the NABO featherweight title.

From the first round on Roach’s nose was bloodied by an Oquendo blow and was then hurt by body shots. Somehow he shrugged it off and began turning things around with smart fighting on the outside. Oquendo was deducted a point in the eighth round by referee Russell Mora for repeated head butts.

Roach earned the win the hard way.

“He is as tough as they come,” said Roach. “I’ve been hit in the face a lot of times. He hit me with a clean body shot.”

New Jersey’s Anthony Young (21-2, 8 KOs) started fast and finished former world champion Sadam Ali (27-3, 14 KOs) to win a vacant regional welterweight title. Young pummeled former super welterweight world titlist Ali with a barrage of blows in the third round. More than 20 unanswered blows including a left hook to the temple forced referee Robert Byrd to end the fight by technical knockout at 2:38 of round three.

“I saw his fight against (Mauricio) Herrera and he couldn’t pull the trigger,” said Young of Ali’s fight against Southern California’s Herrera in New York. “So when they offered the fight I jumped on it.”

England’s John Ryder (28-4, 16 KOs) floored Australia’s Bilal Akkawy (21-1-1, 16 KOs) twice before referee Jay Nady stopped the fight giving the interim WBA super middleweight title to the British fighter. A left cross floored Akkawy in the third round and he beat the count. Then Ryder cornered the Aussie and fired a four-punch combination that sent Akkawy to the floor once again. The fight resumed and Ryder snapped Akkawy’s head back with a left uppercut forcing referee Jay Nady to halt the fight at 2:12 of round three.

“I  picked my shots and put him away,” said Ryder who fights out of London. “To fight in Las Vegas was amazing. To put on a performance like that, possibly the best of my career, makes it all the sweeter.”

Russia’s Aram Avagyan (9-0-1) out-hustled Francisco Esparza (9-1-1) of Las Vegas over 10 rounds to win by unanimous decision in a featherweight fight. Both fighters engaged mostly on the inside with neither fighter hurting the other much. Avagyan won by scores 97-92, 96-93 twice to keep the title.

“I executed the game plan,” said Avagyan.

Photo credit: Al Applerose

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Looking at the Heavyweight Calendar (Odds Review)

Miguel Iturrate

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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 –

http://tss.ib.tv/boxing/featured-articles/57588-wilder-vs-breazeale-odds-review

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?

And….

– 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

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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

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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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