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“If There's A Rematch, Bradley Will Dominate Pacquiao”

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PacquiaoBradley Hogan 2 There's no doubting its impact within the boxing fraternity. The recent showdown between Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley is the most talked about boxing event of recent times. “The decision,” as it's been aptly named, is well on its way to becoming the most infamous decision announced by three judges since Pernell Whitaker was declared to have been the equal of Julio Cesar Chavez back in 1993. Heck, it may have even eclipsed that, placing it on a pedestal alongside the decision that was Leonard versus Hagler of 1987…..I think you get the idea.

Having only touched on the subject very briefly in my last two short pieces for TSS, and as a result of many of our regular readers -and some new-taking the time to comment on some of my recent statements -which I feel were not in any way outlandish-I thought I'd take this time to go into a little more detail explaining myself regarding my views on the fight that was, and also in the event of a possible rematch between our two men of the hour.

Allow me to make one thing perfectly clear. In a crowded house on fight night, surrounded by a talkative family and blessed with a Primetime feed that just so happened to glorify everything Pacquiao did {I'm English remember, so no slick HBO for me!} I initially felt Pacquiao won the fight, by a margin of around eight rounds to four. The following day however, with a clear head and no sound to diminish or enhance an opinion, I re-watched the fight and found it to be of a close nature. Eventually, having obtained a high definition version of the fight, I decided to score it for myself.After yet another viewing, again minus the sound, I scored the fight 6 rounds apiece…even… a draw. It's a score that I've now settled on after achieving the same result multiple times after repeated viewings {I must have watched it five or six times now…. I need to get out more, I know}. The point being, at no time did I ever declare that Timothy Bradley won the fight. In all honesty, I don't have a problem with those who think Bradley won the fight, nor do I have a problem with the vast majority of people who felt Pacquiao did. What I do have a problem with though, is those who saw it as a one-sided massacre in Pacquiao's favour. Scores of 119-109 for Pacquiao are, quite frankly, absurd to say the least. To suggest Bradley only won a single round in this fight is ridiculous. It was close and it was competitive.

Here is my round by round breakdown:

Round 1: Bradley
Round 2: Bradley
Round 3: Pacquiao
Round 4: Pacquiao
Round 5: Pacqiuao
Round 6: Pacquiao
Round 7: Bradley
Round 8: Pacquiao
Round 9: Pacquiao
Round 10: Bradley
Round 11: Bradley
Round 12: Bradley

As you can see, I viewed it as an extremely close fight where the decision could have gone one way or the other. Of the twelve rounds I scored, I felt only two of them were decisive. I believe only two rounds out of the twelve could have been scored by a boxing novice, those being round four for Pacquiao and round ten for Bradley.Apart from round seven,which was close and could very well have been reversed, I considerd the rest of the rounds to have been closely contested in which there was a winner, but not by a huge margin.

Now, moving onto the comments that seemed to have ignited hellfire and brimstone, namely Pacquiao being figured out and Bradley being able to dominate the rematch.By looking at my scorecard, you will see a pattern that does not frequently occur -Bradley won the first two rounds on my scorecard, then did not win consecutive rounds until the tenth round of the fight. In my eyes, this is a clear indication of something out of the ordinary that took place during the fight, which was Bradley's early foot injury. Here's why:

Rounds 1-2~

During the first two rounds -unlike some of Pacquiao's more stationary welterweight opponents- we saw Bradley utilising a lot of movement. As Pacquiao was advancing, Bradley clearly made a point of moving to his left. Pacquiao's offense in the first two rounds -his right hand followed by his left straight, or his straight left lead- was met with Bradley sliding off to Manny's right, and away from the left hand. Regardless of what many think {yes I'm talking to “three big booms” Lampley here}Pacquiao only landed his straight left hand once in the first round. At least cleanly. To sum up, I thought Bradley isolated Pacquiao's ambushes in the first two rounds using his feet. The blueprint looked to be set in stone for him -a counterpunching strategy that used Pacquiao's aggression against him.

Rounds 3-9~

Disaster struck for Bradley. With the injury to his foot {or feet} Bradley could no longer replicate what he was able to achieve in rounds one and two. Instead, we saw Bradley having to stand in range with Pacquiao, where he was forced to exchange with some of the fastest hands in all of boxing. Bradley, due to the pain which was evident on his face, was no longer able to use his legs to motor himself out of Pacquiao's range. Apart from the seventh, Pacquiao swept rounds three through nine.

Rounds 10-12:

With the pain seemingly under control, Bradley began neutralizing Pacquiao's lunges again with his feet. Using his jab -which seemed to go completely unnoticed- and his footwork, Bradley kept Pacquiao off balance by pivoting off of his front foot in a clockwise motion, away from Manny's back hand.

Because I felt Bradley won rounds one, two, ten, eleven and twelve -rounds where he was not in pain and could use his footwork- I think barring his injury in the second round, Bradley may have won this fight decisively. I had my doubts over Bernard Hopkins' shoulder injury against Chad Dawson,as did I with David Haye's broken toe and the alleged pain he was under during his twelve rounds with Wladimir Klitschko. There is no doubt in my mind however, as to how legitimate Tim Bradley's injuries were, nor is there any doubt as to how much pain he was in. There he was, in the biggest fight of his life, unable to use his legs for seven rounds against a fighter in which footwork and mobility is the key to unlocking him. Bradley was clearly suffering from the third to the ninth round.However, it was during those seven rounds,where Bradley had to go to plan B and plan C -you could clearly see it, and because of that, we got an idea of just how versatile Bradley is. Something, I believe, that does not bode well for Manny in the rematch.

I'm a firm believer that Bradley is one of boxing's finest technicians, even though many seem to disagree with the notion. Agreed, his punches do not flow like that of Juan Manuel Marquez' nor do his opponent's deflect off of him like Floyd Mayweather. Bradley's best asset in my eyes though, his boxing brain, is vastly underrated. Lets just forget about Bradley's injuries for a moment and ask yourself this. After the fourth round, did Pacquiao's left hand land with any regularity, if at all? I don't think it did. And it's because of the subtle adjustments Bradley made. After the fourth round {a round in which Bradley admitted to being hurt in} Pacquiao's left hand -regardless of what Primetime or HBO said- did not land clean again for the remainder of the fight -that's eight rounds where Pacquiao was unable to land his primary weapon -his only fight ending weapon- and five rounds in which Bradley was a wounded animal yet Pacquiao still couldn't hunt him down to a finish.If you look at the film again, you will see four adjustments Bradley made to negate Pacquiao's left handed attack throughout the fight.

Pre Injury: Initially, Bradley's footwork was his primary evasive action. Moving to his left, thus eliminating any left hand threat.

Foot injury: Unable to move, Bradley went to plan B, which was to use his blocking skills. Pacquiao throws two types of left hands at two different ranges. The first, in close, is swept around the guard and aimed towards the right side of an opponent's head, and the second, thrown at mid-range, is thrown straight down the middle, towards the centre of an opponent's chin. Bradley negated the first by getting inside and covering the side of his head with the outside of his right glove, and the second by bending at the waist and covering his chin with an open glove which he used to parry Pacquiao's left hand. Bradley adjusted his guard depending on Pacquiao's angle and range. Another look at the film, and you will see Bradley continually catching Pacquiao's left hand with an open mitt.

Bradley also negated the left hand through head movement. As Pacquiao lunged in, Bradley simply dipped low enough, so that Pacquiao's momentum would allow him to land on top of Bradley's back, thus forcing the official to call break.

Post foot injury: Moving again, Bradley was able to use a counter left hook as he slid off to his left. This -along with his jab- was Bradley's most effective evasive action. As Pacquiao leaned in with the straight left hand, Bradley was off to the side, throwing a well timed left hook over Manny's right shoulder. Don't be fooled by Bradley's aesthetics, only a technician learns and adapts during a fight.

Within the last batch of comments at the end of my last article, one of our TSS readers made a good analogy when he suggested the rematch could go like Lewis-Rahman. Suggesting that Pacquiao, like Lewis did, may have learned his lesson, and will be able to adapt and win a rematch in spectacular fashion. I have to respectfully disagree with that analogy. And here's why. Lennox Lewis, unlike Pacquiao, was the technician between him and Rahman. In their first fight, an underprepared Lewis was brutally stopped by a heavyweight puncher. In the rematch, Lewis did his home work. He knew that Rahman, a one-dimensional slugger, blocked a jab by flailing his arms out and moving to his left. knowing this, Lewis walked Rahman onto a right hand, and the rest was history. Lewis, an astute student of boxing, knew how to tailor his style to suit an opponent.As I've said before, I consider Pacquiao to have one of the best A games in boxing. His “in and out” offensive attack is usually enough to get the job done against most opponents and in particular, those who opt to stand right in front of him within punching range. Nevertheless, I believe Pacquiao struggles to adapt and adjust if things are not going his way.I question Pacquiaio's -and Freddie Roach's for that matter- ability to come up with a plan B or C during a fight.

In my last piece, I referenced the Lewis-Holyfield scenario {their first fight was a disputed draw, in which Lewis clearly won and the second was closer but Lewis was awarded the decision} as how the Bradley-Pacquiao rematch may go down. Point being, Bradley may actually dominate the rematch, but judges, feeling Pacquiao was harshly treated last time, may actually award Pacquiao the decision {I believe we are in for another twelve rounder, more on that in a moment}.

A better analogy however, is the Jean Pascal-Bernard Hopkins fights. During their first fight, Hopkins, a technician, was stunned and hurt early by Pascal, who is a superior offensive fighter, with better athleticism. Pascal though, can be considered one dimensional. After Hopkins figured him out during the fifth round, he never lost a round for the rest of the fight. This carried into the rematch as Hopkins was able to neutralize Pascal from the get go. Despite the first fight being a draw, Hopkins dominated the rematch. I consider Bradley to be in a similar situation to Bradley. In my eyes, Pacquiao won the first half of the fight, but Bradley, after recuperating from his leg injury and making subtle adjustments, won the second half of the fight. This to me, suggests that Bradley has figured something out -remember,Pacquiao barely landed his left hand after the fourth round.

One of the most common perceptions I've heard and read is that Pacquiao will be able to get the knockout in the rematch. Look, I don't mean to rain on Manny's parade or anything like that, truth is I'm a bigger fan of Pacquiao's than I am of Bradley's, but I just don't see him being able to get the knockout in the rematch. Pacquiao's last six fights, in case you've forgotten, have all gone the full twelve rounds. Pacquiao's vaunted power at welterweight,I'm afraid to say,is vastly overrated. Pacquiao hit Bradley flush in the fourth round. Bradley was able to recover and claim Kendal Holt hit harder. I also don't buy into Shane Mosley saying Pacquiao's power is something else. If Pacquiao's power really was something else, then Mosley wouldn't have been there mythologizing fables. Did Thomas Hearns' opponents stand there at the end of the fight telling the world how hard he hit? No, they were being scraped off the canvas. That's how we knew Hearns was a hitter at welterweight. With Pacquiao not having scored a stoppage in his last half dozen fights and with his primary fight ending weapon not landing with any regularity since the Antonio Margarito fight, I think the Rubik's cube that was Pacquiao, is now something far less complicated, especially since he's started his inevitable decline.

Pacquiao, like Roy Jones, Naseem Hamed and Muhammad Ali did, relies heavily on his physical gifts like speed, athleticism and explosiveness. Look at Pacquiao against Oscar De la Hoya. You will see a fighter who has clearly lost a step in speed, reflexes and most notably, stamina. When was the last time Pacquiao was ever outworked throughout a twelve round fight before Bradley threw more punches than him last time out? Try never. It's obvious to me, that Pacquiao was performing that old Ray Leonard trick of trying to catch the the judges eye by turning it on for the last minute of every round. A clear indication that he is no longer capable of re-producing his frenetic pace of his featherweight days. Without volume, Pacquiao just isn't the same fighter. It's why haven't seen vintage Pacquiao since 2009.

Consequently, I think a rematch with Bradley would be a bad decision for Pacquiao. Bradley, to me, looked to have figured out Pacquiao's attack pattern -namely his side to side head movement, followed by a right hand….right, straight left combination. It became a case of rinse and repeat as the fight went on as Pacquiao seemed to lack any variation in his attack. One thing I did notice during the last fight, was the rare occasions when he threw it, Pacquiao seemed to have some success with the uppercut. Maybe that's something Pacquiao and Roach could pick up on if there's a rematch. On the other hand, it's not hard to imagine Bradley, just as he eventually did with Pacquiao's straight left, to figure the shot out and adjust accordingly. Again, I consider Bradley to be a boxing chameleon. Only a technician can adapt and re-adjust to the situation at hand.

I stand by my belief that if there's to be a rematch, Timothy Bradley will dominate. Pacquiao, who does not seem to be able to adjust during a fight, struggles against moving targets. The direction of Pacquiao's attack becomes lineal against fighters who are not overly aggressive and who counter movement with movement, fire with fire. Look at Pacquiao's attack angles against David Diaz, Oscar De La Hoya, Antonio Margarito and Miguel Cotto, then contrast his angles against Erik Morales, Juan Manuel Marquez, Shane Mosley and Timothy Bradley -you will notice Pacquiao becomes a pressurizing stalker against the latter group, yet against the former, Pacquiao was like a wasp, moving in, out and around his stationary targets.

A fully fit Bradley will be moving off at angles, not allowing Pacquiao to launch his four-five-six punch combinations that we've become accustomed to seeing him throw against his more stationary opponents {whom Pacquiao is a killer against}. I'm of the opinion, just as Bernard Hopkins did with Jean Pascal, that Timothy Bradley has a clear understanding on how to neutralize Manny's best weapons -his left hand, movement and angles-heading into the rematch.

And yet, having said all this,I would not be at all suprised if Pacquiao was given the decision, as a result of how the first fight was deemed a robbery. I hope I'm proved wrong, but the recent re-judging by the WBO has, I feel, only but enhanced my logic.

I look foward to hearing your response, TSS Universe. Thanks for reading.

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Three Punch Combo: Jacobs-Derevyanchenko on HBO, Baranchyk-Yigit and More

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This Saturday, Daniel Jacobs (34-2, 29 KO’s) takes on Sergiy Derevyanchenko (12-0, 10 KO’s) for the vacant IBF middleweight title. The fight, which headlines an HBO World Championship Boxing tripleheader, is highly anticipated in boxing circles as on paper it is an evenly matched contest with a wide range of potential outcomes. The fight also bears an eerie resemblance to another middleweight title fight from more than twenty years ago.

On March 16th, 1996, then IBF middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins (28-2-1, 21 KO’s) faced off against the IBF’s number one ranked contender in Joe Lipsey (25-0, 20 KO’s). Opinions were split as to who would come out as the victor. It was televised live in the United States on ABC in the afternoon and served as a precursor for that evening’s big pay-per-view event between Mike Tyson and Frank Bruno.

Hopkins, 31 at the time, had fought much better opposition and those who favored him thought his experience along with his better athleticism would lead him to victory. Lipsey, who was 29, had a burgeoning reputation in the fight game and was known for his relentless pressure style. In addition, he had displayed devastating one punch knockout power in both hands that had many thinking he had a bright future in the sport.

It was the experience and ring savviness of Hopkins versus the untapped raw potential of Lipsey.

As it played out, Hopkins’ skill proved too much for Lipsey. After effectively out-boxing and neutralizing the aggression of Lipsey for three rounds, Hopkins landed a perfectly placed counter right uppercut using Lipsey’s forward momentum against him that instantly ended matters. It was a statement making performance for Hopkins.

Jacobs, 31, is in a similar spot to that of Hopkins when he faced Lipsey. With two losses on his ledger, Jacobs is in need of a statement making victory. One of those losses was to Gennady Golovkin and, of course, Hopkins entered the Lipsey contest with one of his losses to all-time great Roy Jones Jr.

Jacobs holds a significant experience edge in the pro game compared to that of Derevyanchenko. Jacobs is also the more athletic fighter. Similar to that of Hopkins against Lipsey, Jacobs will look to play the role of the boxer-puncher and use his experience along with athleticism to dictate the tempo of the fight.

Derevyanchenko, 32, comes in highly touted. Similar to Joe Lipsey in 1996, he enters with an undefeated record along with a glossy knockout percentage and many in the sport see a fighter with raw untapped potential.

The similarities between Jacobs-Derevyanchenko and Hopkins-Lipsey are striking. Will history repeat itself or will Derevyanchenko be able to rise to the occasion?

Baranchyk-Yigit

The World Boxing Super Series 140-pound tournament resumes this week with a pair of fights in New Orleans. While the fans will be mostly showing up to watch the main event between hometown rising star Regis Prograis (22-0, 19 KO’s) and Terry Flanagan (33-1, 13 KO’s), it is the other WBSS fight, pitting Ivan Baranchyk against Anthony Yigit for the vacant IBF title that piques my interest.

Baranchyk (18-0, 11 KOs) is well known to US fight fans from his multiple appearances on the ShoBox series on Showtime on which he has scored some highlight reel knockouts. He is an aggressive pressure fighter with heavy handed power. He has been showing signs of improved boxing skills of late and is coming off a career best performance in knocking out former world title challenger Petr Petrov.

Yigit (21-0-1, 7 KOs) is a former decorated amateur who participated in the 2012 Olympic Games in London. A southpaw with quick feet and good hand speed, Yigit is an excellent counterpuncher who is adept at using feints to bait his opponents to throw to set up counter opportunities. He is also very slick and uses good head movement, making him not an easy target to hit.

This is a classic matchup of an aggressive pressure fighter against a skilled slick boxer. Baranchyk has the buzz and will be favored, but Yigit’s style and skill could present a major challenge for him. It’s a very compelling fight,.

The Journey of Yuandale Evans

On April 24th, 2010 I hit the road to attend a club show in a suburb of Cleveland. I wanted to get a firsthand look at a local fighter named Yuandale Evans who was headlining the 6-fight card. The venue was a small indoor soccer complex and tickets were only $20. There was no assigned seating and I had no problem finding a ringside seat for the evening’s festivities.

Evans did not disappoint. Fighting in front of the sparse audience, he dispatched an opponent named Reymundo Hernandez in the first round. I liked what I saw from Evans and thought he had a bright future in boxing.

A year later, Evans found himself on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fight Series in a step-up fight against veteran Emmanuel Lucero. This was a coming out party for Evans as he impressively took apart the former world title challenger. There was speed, athleticism and power in his game and many took notice.

Nine months later, Evans found himself in a significant fight. It was another date on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fight Series but this time against a fellow undefeated fighter in Javier Fortuna. Fortuna had been getting a lot of buzz and if Evans could defeat him then he’d find himself on the brink of a world title opportunity.

But the Fortuna fight did not go well for Evans. As a matter of fact, it was disastrous.  Fortuna scored a vicious, highlight reel first round knockout, the kind of knockout loss that many fighters never recover from.

It appeared for a while that Evans would not get back in the game. Out for three years, he finally returned in 2015 with two wins against less than stellar competition. These wins were needed confidence boosters.

After those bounce back wins, it took another 17 months for Evans to return to the ring. This time, in his first major test since the Fortuna loss, he faced Billel Dib. Brought in as the “B” side, Evans was supposed to be a name on the resume for Dib, but he flipped the script, scoring a clear ten round unanimous decision.

The win against Dib, which took place in the 130-pound division, put Evans back on the radar. But it was his next performance that put him into contention. Dropping down to featherweight and again coming in as the underdog, he scored a rousing split decision win against Louis Rosa in November of 2017 in a fiercely fought contest that received Fight of the Year consideration. Evans fought with passion and determination to secure the best win of his career.

Evans, now 20-1 with 14 KO’s, will challenge undefeated 130-pound world title holder Alberto Machado next week. Evans is once again an underdog. Not many are giving him much of a chance. But if Evans fights like he did against Rosa and can stay inside on Machado, applying constant pressure, we could be in for another surprise.

Evans has come a long way since I first saw him fight at a small indoor soccer venue in Ohio and I for one do not discount his chances to lift Machado’s world title belt.

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel

 

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Andrade Grabs Vacant WBO Middleweight Belt in Boston

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TD GARDEN​​ — It’s a good thing Eddie Hearn didn’t listen to the people who told him not to promote prizefighting in Boston. With all four major American sports in full swing in the city, Matchroom Boxing absolutely rocked the house as an equitable fan attraction in New England.The media was out in full force and so were the fans. At the final fight week press conference, Hearn introduced ESPN’s Dan Rafael before he even barked for his boxers. “You know it’s a big card when Dan Rafael shows up,” he said of the 2013 BWAA Nat Fleischer award winner for career excellence in journalism. Hearn knows it’s about building hype and that’s what he’s doing.

Sugar Ray Leonard was on the mic for DAZN. Paulie Malignaggi was doing the same for Sky Sports. I saw Micky Ward and Conor McGregor seated at ringside. Mike Tyson conqueror Kevin “The Clones Colossus” McBride was also spotted in the mix throughout the night.

“We did about five thousand in Chicago,” Hearn told me of his first Matchoom USA show October 6 on DAZN. Hearn expected about seven thousand for Boston, hoping for a good walk-up crowd. “I’m pleased with ticket sales. I’m pleased with the venue. If the fans are happy and enjoy a great night at the fights and if they want us back, we’d love to return,” he said.

Hearn’s originally scheduled main event fell apart in September when Billy Joe Saunders controversially failed VADA drug testing for the banned stimulant oxilofrine. “Unfortunately Billy Joe failed a drug test. I don’t think the Massachusetts Commission had any choice in denying him a license,” Hearn told me during the final fight week press conference at Fenway Park.

Saunders was to defend the WBO middleweight title against Providence, Rhode Island’s Demetrius Andrade. Instead, Saunders was stripped of his strap and unknown African champ Walter ​Kautondokwa stepped in to face Andrade for the vacant WBO 160 pound title. “I’m too old to fight nobodies now,” said the 30 year-old Andrade without a trace of irony. In fact, Andrade’s whole pro career has been carefully built on soft touches and vacant ABC championships.

Hearn’s undercard also suffered a hit when popular local junior welterweight Danny “BHOY” O’Connor pulled out of his bout against Tommy Coyle, citing injury. According to Hearn, “​O’Connor was working very hard in camp but I don’t think it was going particularly well.”

The live crowd in attendance at the Garden was loud and enthusiastic. In a full sized entertainment venue that seats close to twenty thousand fans and with promotional aspirations optimistically set at half that number (official attendance was listed at 6,874), your best chance to have seen these fights for yourself was on the emerging and effective streaming app DAZN.

For Brits stuck back home it was on Sky Sports.  For everybody else, I’m here to ringside report.

In the Main Event for the vacant WBO middleweight championship, Providence, Rhode Island’s Demetrius “Boo Boo” Andrade, 30, 160, 26-0 (16) dominated Namibian import Walter Kautondokwa, 33, 17-1 (16). ​A stablemate of former super lightweight champ Julius Indongo, Kautondokwa drew inspiration from his countryman’s international accomplishments in boxing. Indongo parlayed the WBO African title into an eventual unification showdown with Terence Crawford in Nebraska. “He’s definitely not stopping this train,” promised Andrade at the weigh-in.

He was right.

In the first round, ​Kautondokwa slipped to the canvas and Andrade hit him on the chin while he was on all fours. Referee Steve Willis ruled it a knockdown, rather than reacting to the foul. Kautondokwa pushed the action in the second but Andrade scored with the cleaner punches. In the third, Andrade scored a clean knockdown with a flush left hand to the chin. The challenger rose and answered the bell for the fourth down by two extra points. Kautondokwa went down again twice more in the fourth leaving Andrade with a look like, “What more do I have to do?”

As the rounds wore on and on, Andrade found the answer to be elusive, even if Kautondokwa wasn’t terribly so. His best power punches were either missing or being blocked, and Kautondokwa was proving durable. By the championship rounds, it was clear that Andrade wouldn’t be able to stop the train that was Kautondokwa. The energy in the live crowd suffered accordingly. Michael Buffer announced what was already known, that Andrade won a virtual shutout on the cards.  Scores were 120-104(2x) and 119-105.

“I did what I had to do. I could see that he was tough. It was good to get those twelve rounds in because I’ve been inactive,” said Andrade at the post-fight press conference. He also spoke of a fight week injury to his left shoulder that affected his performance and prevented a knockout. To be perfectly honest, it sounded like an excuse for not finishing off a badly hurt fighter.

In her de facto Irish Homecoming, Katie Taylor, 32, Bray, 11-0 (5) successfully defended her WBA/IBF female lightweight titles against the very experienced Cindy Serrano, 36, Brooklyn, 27-6-3 (10), over ten two-minute rounds. Serrano was moving up in weight to challenge Taylor, who’s already made two title defenses this year in London and in Brooklyn. Serrano was never in danger of being hurt or knocked out and Taylor was never in any danger of losing the fight.  Taylor won every round on all three cards 100-90.  “Cindy was just in there to survive,” said a disappointed Taylor.  Some fans jeered the “action” but it didn’t bother Serrano. “Eddie Hearn believes in female fighting. Hopefully he can turn it around and we can get a couple more promoters just like him.”

To make the first defense of his newly won IBF super featherweight championship, Philly southpaw Tevin “American Idol” Farmer, 27-4-1 (6), stopped Belfast KRONK’s James Tennyson, 22-3 (18) in five. During promotion for the title bout, it looked for all to see that Farmer was overlooking Tennyson with his focus squarely on a big money grudge match with Gervonta Davis. ​“I’m not overlooking James but I want to fight Tank Davis. I have to have that fight and it’s got to happen. Let’s leave the streets on the streets and fight in the ring. We’ve talked enough.”

In the ring, Farmer looked at his opponent and punched right through him. In the fourth frame, Farmer dropped Tennyson with a solid left hook to the body. It got no better for the Belfast native. The next round, Arthur Mercante stopped it when Tennyson fell again from body shots. ​In accepting the fight, Farmer’s promoter Lou DiBella didn’t want to deny his fighter the opportunity to appear on such a high profile card so he willingly worked with Hearn to make it happen.  Time of the TKO was @1:44 of the round 5.

In an IBF featherweight elimination bout scheduled for twelve, Evander Holyfield’s Toka Kahn Clary, Providence, R.I., 25-3 (17), dropped a pedestrian UD to Ingle Gym’s Kid Galahad, Sheffield, 25-0 (15). At the press conference in August to announce the match-up, there was bad blood in the air. “Toka is a bum,” a chippy Galahad told me at Boston’s Faneuil Hall. “He didn’t want this fight. He was talking trash so I called him a wanker and it got a little out of hand.”

“I’m gonna beat him,” Galahad promised.

At the final press conference, Galahad was demonstrably more peaceful. During the media face-off with Kahn, he offered his hand to shake but Toka just left it hanging there. “I’ve calmed down,” Kid told me. “Nothing personal, just business.” ​Is Toka a bum?​ “You can’t call him a bum.” ​You did Kid.​ “I might have gone over the top. Any fighter that gets in the ring you gotta have some respect for. Toka is gonna show up and my job is to make sure I do a job on him.”  Job well done, Kid.  Final scores were 118-110 twice and 115-113.

In an entertaining ten round junior welterweight scrap, Tommy “Boom Boom” Coyle, Hull, Yorkshire, U.K., 25-4 (12), outpointed Ryan Kielczweski, Quincy, Mass, 29-4 (11) over the distance. Unanimous scores were 99-90, 98-91 and 96-93. The “Polish Prince” substituted for Danny O’Connor against Coyle, a fighter TSS’s own Ted Sares expected Ryan to have had his hands full with in a knockout loss; describing Coyle as a “load” in the ring. In the seventh round, Kielczweski was felled by a massive right hand to the body and a vicious follow up left hook to the head. He took a long nine count but got up to then stalk a fading Coyle down the stretch.  “This is the most ready I’ve been for any fight,” Kielczweski told me before the bout. “I fought in September. A week later I got a call for this one so it’s like I’m on a ten week training camp.”

Coyle is a pressure fighter and an interesting character. Kielczweski struggled to keep him at bay but landed with several quality power shots of his own, many coming in the last three rounds—after the knockdown. Calling this his “American Dream” come true, Coyle grew up in England loving ROCKY movies and Irish Micky Ward fights. Tonight, he was almost in one.

In a super featherweight comeback bout, former super bantamweight and featherweight champion Scott Quigg, 30, Bury, U.K., 35-2-2 (26) made a successful return against journeyman Mexican Mario Briones, 29-8-2 (21), stopping him in two rounds with an unanswered three punch combination along the ropes. Trained by Freddie Roach, Quigg was defeated last March by WBO featherweight champion Oscar Valdez in a bruising non-title bout. Quigg suffered multiple facial laceration and a broken nose in the unanimous decision loss. “I want a rematch with Valdez and with Carl Frampton because I want to avenge my losses. If I’d be happy not fighting them again, I’d be in the wrong game,” a candid Quigg told me. “The work Freddie’s had me doing and the sparring I’m on, I feel like I’m a ten times better fighter now.”

In a junior middleweight rematch, Murphys Boxing U.S. Marine Mark “Bazooka” DeLuca, Whitman, Mass, 22-1 (13) outgunned Walter “2 Guns” Wright 37, Seattle, Washington 17-5 (8) to defeat the only man to have beaten him as a pro, winning 97-93, and 96-94 twice. From ringside I scored it 6-4 in rounds for DeLuca who scored well early with left hooks. Wright did well in the middle rounds on the inside when DeLuca was tiring but it wasn’t enough. Though his promoter Ken Casey questioned the outcome of the first fight last June in N.H., DeLuca told me it was tight. “But he got me,” he admitted. Wright didn’t understand the manufactured controversy. “I won. To come across the country, fight the local guy, and beat him, I should think I’d get my props for winning. My performance should outweigh politics.” On this night, Wright’s good but not good enough performance earned him an appropriately scored unanimous decision loss.

There was no protest from Wright with the verdict.

UNDERCARD RESULTS:

In the show opener, super lightweight southpaw Sean McComb from Belfast improved to 4-0 (3), outclassing 37 year-old Peruvian Carlos Galindo, 1-6. Galindo’s only win came against Maine’s Brandon Berry last June in N.H. This was McComb’s first appearance outside the U.K. Galindo took a body beating and the fight was stopped in the third after a pair of knockdowns.

Accompanied to the ring by middleweight corker Spike O’Sullivan, Murphys Boxing’s Gorey, Ireland heavyweight Niall Kennedy 221.6, 12-0-1 (7) took a few to give a few against New Jersey’s Brendan Barrett 238, 7-1-2 (5), including a hip-toss and a headlock. The 6’3” Kennedy used his good left jab and strong right cross to earn a unanimous six round decision, dropping the stocky Barrett in the fifth with a brutal right hand. Official scores: 60-53 twice and 58-55.

Kazakh Olympic Gold medalist welterweight prospect Daniyar Yeleussinov improved to 4-0 (2) against Salem, Mass “Mantis” Matt Doherty, 8-6-1 (4). Doherty wore a J.D. Martinez Red Sox jersey to the ring but he was outgunned. The 27 year-old southpaw finished Doherty off with a barrage of unanswered punches in the first round and referee Arthur Mercante waved a halt.

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Rob Brant is the New WBA Middleweight Champion

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LAS VEGAS, Nevada- In a major upset that saw a mega fight disappear, Rob Brant took the WBA middleweight title from Japan’s Ryota Murata with a lot of hustle and a heck of a chin to the surprise of many on Saturday.

Murata (14-2,11KOs) was expected to fight Gennady “GGG” Golovkin if he won, but the dress rehearsal turned into a nightmare as Brant (24-1, 16 KOs) attacked and attacked while out-punching the Japanese fighter nearly two to one in front of a stunned audience of more than 2700 at the Park Theater at the MGM.

“This was one of the best moments of my life, said Brant. “I wasn’t thinking of punch output. I was thinking about winning.”

With many planning their trips to Tokyo for an expected showdown between Murata and Golovkin, the Las Vegas based Brant put a stick into the spokes of their travel plans.

Brant started quickly with combination punching and moving in and out of range during the first three rounds of the middleweight bout. Murata smiled throughout the incoming blows from the upstart Brant.

“It’s easy to smile, but his eyes were swollen and he had blood on his mouthpiece,” said Brant.

It wasn’t until the fourth round that Murata found life while attacking the body.

The body punches opened up the lead right cross for Murata, who began targeting Brant’s head. But the Minnesota native was able to absorb the big blows and kept firing back. Though Brant was landing more shots, Murata’s punches were clearly harder and landed with a thud.

The crowd got into the fight early as cheers of “USA! USA!” were shouted sporadically throughout the fight. It probably had an effect on the judges.

It seemed Murata was landing the more effective blows in the middle rounds, especially when he targeted the body, then switched to the head. But though they were hard punches, Brant moved backward and kept returning fire.

The action was measured, but constant, with no slow rounds after round three. At times it looked like Murata was about to score a knockout but it never came. Brant proved resilient. More than that, he convinced the three judges he was the winner 119-109(2x) and 118-110.

Only the widespread scores were surprising. It seemed like a much closer fight.

Dudashev prevails

Maxim Dudashev (12-0, 10 KOs) tried to blast it out with Mexico’s Antonio DeMarco (33-7-1, 24 KOs), but after taking heavy incoming fire, the undefeated super lightweight changed tactics and out-boxed the former world champion to win by unanimous decision.

Dudashev moved around just enough and used quick short combinations to out-score the long-armed Tijuana fighter after the midway point of the 10-round affair. Though DeMarco was able to score with heavy body shots  and lead lefts to the head, Dudashev managed to fire off combinations that kept winning rounds in the second half of the fight. The judges scored the fight 97-93, 96-94, 98-92 for Dudashev. TheSweetScience.com scored it 96-94 for Dudashev, who keeps the NABF super lightweight title.

“This was a great learning experience for me,” said Dudashev. “DeMarco is a true champion, and he fought with great heart and determination.”

Falcao and other bouts

Brazil’s Esquiva Falcao (22-0, 15 KOs) showcased his various boxing skills against Argentina’s Guido Pitto (25-6-2, 8 KOs) who lost by unanimous decision but forced the undefeated fighter into various situations. In the first four rounds, Falcao fought from the outside with impunity as Pitto was unable to touch the Brazilian. But when the Argentine boxer took the fight inside, he found more success and forced Falcao to utilize his inside boxing skills. The fighting was intense but Falcao was just too strong and slightly quicker in winning every round in the 10 round middleweight fight. Pitto’s best moments came during the fifth round when he forced his way inside. All three judges saw it 100-90 for Falcao.

Ireland’s Michael Conlan (9-0, 6 KOs) battered Nicola Cipolletta (14-7-2) every round with rights to the body and head. The Italian boxer rarely fired back and after several unanswered blows by Cipolletta the referee Russell Mora stopped the featherweight fight @1:55 of round seven. Cipolletta protested the stoppage but never truly engaged Conlan, who must have connected on more than 60 percent of his punches thrown. It was a whitewash for the former Irish Olympian.

Vladimir Nikitin (2-0) won by unanimous decision over Louisiana’s Clay Burns (5-5-2) in a featherweight fight that was much closer than the scores given. Burns started out fast and easily won the first two rounds. Then the battle got much closer as Nikitin’s overhand rights began scoring. Burns switched to southpaw and switched back and forth and that gave Nikitin pause. The last two rounds were very close especially the final round. But all three judges scored it 59-55 for Nikitin, thus only giving Burns one round. It was much closer in reality.

A battle between undefeated Puerto Rican lightweights saw Joseph Adorno (10-0, 9 KOs) drop Kevin Cruz (8-1, 5 KOs) twice in winning by unanimous decision. Though Adorno’s knockout streak was snapped, he engaged in a spirited battle against left-handed Cruz who let loose in the sixth and final round. A counter left hook by Adorno floored Cruz the second time during a furious exchange. Cruz beat the count and tried his best to go for the knockout; Adorno scooted away until the final bell. Scores of 59-53(2x) and 58-54 for Adorno.

Adam Lopez (11-1, 5 KOs) won by knockout over Hector Ambriz (12-8-2) in a featherweight match. The end came @1:29 of the eighth and final round of the fight when Lopez fired a four punch combination that forced referee Tony Weeks to halt the fight though Ambriz was still standing.

Uzbekistan’s Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (6-0, 3 KOs) stopped veteran Wilberth Lopez (23-10, 15 KOs) with a series of body blows @2:13 of round two in a super lightweight contest between lefties.

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