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RINGSIDE Donaire Closes Stellar 2012 In Fine Fashion

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Arce tried patience, then aggression, nothing worked. Donaire convinced him retirement was the obvious option. (photo by Rachel McCarson)

Houston – The Transnational Boxing Ranking Board’s junior featherweight champion, Nonito Donaire (31-1, 20 KOs), closed his impressive four-fight 2012 campaign in fitting fashion. The “Filipino Flash” battered gallant warrior Jorge Arce (61-7-2-1, 46 KOs) from pillar to post in what could only be described as a one-sided beatdown. With the win, Donaire retained his linear TBRB championship, along with the WBO and Ring Magazine belts.

Over 7,250 fans in attendance rose to their feet to greet the combatants as they entered the arena. Despite losing notable Top Rank stars Mike Lee and Guillermo Rigondeaux on the card earlier in the week, Houston fight fans showed up loud and proud at the Toyota Center Saturday night, home of the NBA’s Houston Rockets.

Arce came to the ring first and was greeted affectionately by the pro-Mexico crowd. Fans adorned their heads with sombreros for crowns and their bodies with Mexican flags for robes as they chanted with vigor – Mexico, Mexico, Mexico. Next up was Donaire, who was booed heavily as he entered the fray while bopping his head up and down to handpicked entrance music seemingly unaware of it. The pre-fight introductions remained consistent, though the small but vocal Donaire contingent in attendance did their best to even things out.

After a somewhat cautious start, a strong right hand from Donaire set the tone in the first round. His crisp punches snapped the courageous Arce’s head back each time they found their mark. It was clear from the beginning to those at ringside what this fight would be: Donaire the stalking predator, Arce the formidable but overmatched prey.

Arce dug a good, deep shot to his opponent’s body in the second, but Donaire followed it up promptly with two clean blows that sent the Mexican down to his knee. He was up quickly, seemingly unfazed, unhurt and ready to brawl. During the rest of the round, Arce employed strategic aggression to try and even things up while the ever confident Donaire remained content to alternate powerful potshots with timely and adept defense.

At the beginning of the third round, the two fighters got tangled together and collapsed in heap to the canvas. After referee Laurence Cole brushed each man’s gloves off, the two continued what began in the preceding round. Arce bullied his way in at times; Donaire countered and jabbed. To his credit, Arce was able to land some clean blows in the round, but Donaire was landing the cleaner, harder ones. Three straight shots from Donaire sent Arce down for the count once again and this time left him reeling and wobbled. Ever the brave warrior, Arce made it to his feet for one more go, but he was knocked out cold seconds later from a brutal left hook. The referee called the fight off immediately when Arce fell flat to the canvas.

“My left hook was my damaging punch tonight,” said Donaire afterward. “I just felt great.”

Head trainer Robert Garcia concurred. He was beaming with pride from what he had just witnessed, perhaps his 30-year-old protégé’s most impressive performance to date.

“His power was unreal, beautiful, perfect,” he said. “Whenever Nonito hits you…it’s gonna hurt real bad.”

Arce announced his retirement immediately following the fight. The fight officially ended at 2:59 of round number three.

Donaire-Arce Undercard Highlights

Houston – Fight fans coming out to support Top Rank’s Donaire-Arce live boxing promotion were treated to a slew of solid undercard fights Saturday night at the Toyota Center in Houston. Here is a recap of the notable action.

Light heavyweight Cedric Agnew (25-0, 13 KOs) of Houston used sharp jabs and crisp right hooks from a high guarded, southpaw stance to defeat Alfredo Contreras (12-15-3, 5 KOs) by unanimous decision. The heavily tattooed Agnew controlled the pace early with clear, crisp shots and never really looked back. Ever durable Contreras had his moments, but he got hit far too often from his opponent’s lead hand bombs along with a handful of well-placed lefts. The three judges at ringside scored it 58-56, 60-54 and 59-55 for the winner, Agnew.

Super featherweight Saul Rodriguez (8-0-1, 5 KOs) had to bulldoze his way over the scrappy Pablo Brates to earn a win. After learning he couldn’t out-quick the crafty Brates in the first, Rodriguez just started mauling him with heavier-handed blows in the second. It worked, and Rodriguez rode that strategy all the way to a unanimous decision victory. Scores read 40-36 across the board at the end of the four-round fight.

Jose Felix, Jr. (22-0-1, 18 KOs) knocked out Meachor Major (20-6-1, 17 KOs) with a clean left hook in round number three of a lightweight contest that had been fairly close up until that point. Major waddled first, and then stumbled down in a delayed reaction all the way to the canvas where the bout ultimately ended for the fighter nicknamed “Major Pain.”

Welterweight Larry Smith (10-14, 7 KOs) came out of his dressing room hooting and hollering to anyone that would listen that he would be the victor. He danced in his corner as his name was read before the bout, and when red corner opponent Daniel Sandoval (30-2, 29 KOs) came to the middle of the ring after the bell sounded to touch his opponent’s glove in a show of sportsmanship, Smith obliged with a quick one-two combination. It all went downhill from there for Smith in the first. Sure, he continued whatever it was he was doing in there up to that point—let’s call it showmanship—but only in-between being on the wrong end of a constant barrage of power punches roving up and down his torso. The pace cooled a bit from there. Smith was just crafty enough to stay in the fight despite being outworked throughout the six-round clash, except possibly the final round where it almost appeared even. In the end, Mexico’s Sandoval took home the unanimous decision victory by scores of 60-54, 59-55 and 60-54.

Featherweight Victor Terrazas (36-2-1, 20 KOs) wanted to keep Juan Ruiz (23-11, 7 KOs) on the end of his jab where he could land his shots as the taller man without taking considerable return fire. When he accomplished this, he found success, but when the dodgy, aggressive Ruiz was able to slip and rip, Terrazas was made uncomfortable. The pattern played itself out fairly consistently through all eight rounds, so what fans in attendance got by arriving early enough to see it was a mini-version of something akin (at least stylistically) to Ali-Frazier. Neither of these men will reach anything close to that level in their careers, but no matter. It was a damn fine scrap between two eager combatants for all eight rounds. In the end, it was Terrazas earning the split decision win by scores of 74-78, 78-74 and 79-73.

Finally, one of Top Rank’s young, impressive uber-prospects, Alex Saucedo (7-0, 5 KO), fought Eddie Cordova (3-4-1, 1 KO) at welterweight in a scheduled four-rounder. How good is Saucedo? Look at it this way: after light heavyweight Mike Lee dropped off the card due to illness, and the co-main event of Guillermo Rigondeaux vs. Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym was called off due the latter being unlicensable in Texas, Saucedo was moved all the way to the top of the undercard, as close to the limelight as possible, in what was only his seventh professional fight. He did not disappoint. Saucedo looked every bit as good as his handlers believe him to be. He dominated the action from start to finish in every way possible. He hurt Cordova in the first with strafing right hands and made him miss wildly as he did it. Cordova was game but overmatched, and he went down in the third from a brutal combination before succumbing again to a brilliant right hand counter. The fight was halted at 2:14 of round number three. Keep your eye on Alex Saucedo.

 

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Fast Results From London: Joshua Takes Out Povetkin in the 7th

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UK sporting

It was a very wet night at Wembley Stadium, but the dampness didn’t diminish the enthusiasm of the crowd which welcomed UK sporting hero Anthony Joshua into the ring with a thunderous ovation. And Joshua didn’t disappoint. After six relatively even rounds, he found his range in the seventh and became the first man to stop Alexander Povetkin. A three punch combo that began with an overhand right sent Povetkin sprawling into the ropes. The Russian beat the count, but Joshua smelled blood and as soon as the ref allowed the proceedings to continue he moved in for the kill. The official time was 1:59.

Povetkin started fast and in the eyes of many observers won the first three rounds. A sharp right hand in the waning seconds of round one reddened Joshua’s nose which leaked blood in the next round. The tide began to turn in round four when Povetkin suffered a cut above his left eye.

Povetkin (now 34-2), was the lighter man by 23 pounds. Joshua had a four inch height advantage and a seven inch reach advantage. And it mattered greatly that AJ was the younger man by 10-plus years. Povetkin wasn’t intimidated by Joshua and had several good moments but, at age 39, his reflexes betrayed him once the fight had crossed the midpoint.

Joshua, who owns three of the four meaningful heavyweight title belts, improved to 22-0 with his 21st stoppage. His next fight is penciled in for April 13 of next year against an opponent to be determined. His promoter Eddie Hearn has reserved that date at Wembley Stadium.

Other Bouts

In a 12-round lightweight bout, Joshua’s Olympic Games teammate and fellow gold medalist Luke Campbell (19-2) avenged the first loss of his career with a unanimous decision (119-109, 118-111,116-112) over France’s Yvan Mendy (40-5-1). This was Campbell’s second start since coming up short in a bid for Jorge Linares’s lightweight title and his first fight under his new trainer Shane McGuigan.

In their first meeting in December of 2015 at London’s O2 Arena, Mendy won a split decision that should have been unanimous. Campbell insisted that he had improved greatly in the interim and tonight’s fight bore witness. However, he needs to develop a harder punch to rank among the top lightweights in the world, a list headed by Mikey Garcia. As this fight was framed as a WBC title eliminator, Campbell is next in line to meet Garcia, but Mikey has indicated that he will pursue bigger game.

Lawrence Okolie, a 2016 Olympian who trains with Anthony Joshua, won a Lonsdale belt in only his 10th pro start with a 12-round decision over defending BBBofC cruiserweight champion Matty Askin in a messy fight. The undefeated Okolie had a point deducted in round five for leading with his head and had two more points deducted for holding, but banked enough rounds to get the nod on all three cards: 116-110, 114-112, and 114-113. Askin, who declined to 23-4-1, had won five straight heading in.

A 10-round heavyweight match between Sergey Kuzmin (13-0, 1 NC) and David Price (22-6) ended suddenly when Price retired on his stool after four relatively even rounds. The six-foot-eight, china-chinned Price claimed to have aggravated a biceps tear.

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Michael Dutchover Remains Undefeated in Ontario, Calif.

Transplanted Texan Michael Dutchover needed a little time to figure out Costa Rican Bergman Aguilar but when he did it was over quickly on Friday.

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Michael Dutchover

ONTARIO-Calif.-Transplanted Texan Michael Dutchover needed a little time to figure out Costa Rican Bergman Aguilar but when he did it was over quickly on Friday.

Lightweight prospect Dutchover (11-0, 8 KOs) knocked out southpaw Aguilera (14-4-1, 4 KOs) in the fifth round with a barrage of body blows that left the Costa Rican limp at the Doubletree Hotel.

For two rounds Aguilar used an awkward counter-punching style that had Dutchover a little tentative. But once he figured out that combination punching was the key, he opened up with barrages and floored Aguilar with body shots at the end of round four.

That signaled doom for Aguilar.

The fifth round saw Dutchover target the body with impunity as Aguilar tried holding, running and covering up with no success. Referee Wayne Hedgepeth signaled the fight over at 2:31 of the fifth round giving Dutchover the win by knockout.

In a bantamweight clash Santa Ana’s Mario Hernandez (7-0-1, 3 KOs) and Mexico City’s Ivan Gonzalez (4-1-2, 1 KO) fought to a majority draw after six back and forth rounds.

Hernandez targeted the body against the taller Gonzalez who relied on long range counters. Both found success but neither could prove superiority after six turbulent rounds.

After six rounds one judge saw it 58-56 for Gonzalez but the two other judges saw it 57-57 for a majority draw.

Other bouts

South Central L.A.’s Ruben Torres (7-0, 6 KOs) extended his undefeated streak with a knockout over Mexico’s Eder “El Koreano” Amaro (6-6, 2 KOs) in a lightweight fight. But it wasn’t easy.

Amaro switched from southpaw to orthodox and was matching Torres for two rounds until the taller local fighter began blasting away to the body and head with precision. Many in the crowd cheered “Koreano” in unison but it couldn’t help once Torres zeroed in.

At the end of the fourth round Amaro could not continue and the fight was stopped giving a knockout for Torres.

Richard Brewart Jr. (2-0) mowed through Edward Aceves (0-5) flooring him with body shots in the first round then overwhelming him in the second. After seven unanswered blows referee Eddie Hernandez stopped the fight at 1:32 of round two giving Rancho Cucamonga’s Brewart the win by knockout in the super welterweight bout.

Southpaw David Ortiz (1-0) won his pro debut by unanimous decision after four rounds in a welterweight match against San Diego’s Mario Angeles (2-11-2). Ortiz lives in Bloomington, Calif. and is trained by Henry Ramirez. No knockdowns were scored.

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Charr-Oquendo Scuttled When Charr Tests Positive; the Odious WBA Saves Face

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Manuel Charr

Manuel Charr and Fres Oquendo were scheduled to fight in Cologne, Germany, later this month (Sept. 29). Charr would be defending his WBA world heavyweight title, the “regular” version of it, not the “super” version which rests in the hands of Anthony Joshua.

The bout was quickly cancelled when it was revealed that Charr had tested positive for two banned anabolic steroids. The test was performed by VADA, the anti-doping agency identified with Las Vegas neurologist Dr. Margaret Goodman.

The 33-year-old Charr, born in Lebanon but a resident of Germany since the age of three, won the belt in his last start with a unanimous decision over 281-pound Russian behemoth Alexander Ustinov in Oberhausen, Germany. The title was vacant. Charr won the right to fight for it with a 10-round decision over Albanian slug Sefer Seferi. The victory over Ustinov elevated his record to 31-4. He has been stopped three times, by Vitali Klitschko, Alexander Povetkin, and Mairis Briedis.

If it wasn’t for bad luck, as the old saying goes, Fres Oquendo wouldn’t have any luck at all. For various reasons, his fights keep falling out. Before long he’ll be drawing social security. Well, not exactly, but he turned 45 in April and hasn’t fought in more than four years.

Oquendo has competed for this belt before. In his last ring appearance in July of 2014, he lost a majority decision to Russia’s Ruslan Chagaev in Grozny, Russia. As a concession for taking the fight on short notice, Team Oquendo negotiated a rematch clause in the contract, but a shoulder injury prevented Fres from activating it. When the injury healed, he had to go to court to compel Chagaev to fulfill his obligation. But then the Russian retired, muddling the water.

The WBA was legally bound to find Oquendo a title fight and in desperation turned to ancient Shannon Briggs. But the Oquendo-Briggs fight, scheduled for June 3 of last year in Hollywood, Florida, fell out when Briggs’ urine specimen showed an abnormally high level of testosterone.

Fres Oquendo was dogged by bad luck even before these recent developments. His professional record, 37-8, is somewhat misleading as six of his eight defeats were razor-thin including his 2003 setback to Chris Byrd and his 2006 setback to Evander Holyfield. However, Oquendo, something of a cutie, was never a crowd-pleaser and in none of his narrow defeats was there a public clamor for a rematch.

The cancellation of Charr-Oquendo cuts the World Boxing Association out of a sanctioning fee, but one would think that the WBA honchos are actually rather pleased by this turn of events. The fight, more precisely the WBA’s world title imprimatur, would have brought more unwanted publicity to the Panama-based organization.

ESPN’s Dan Rafael, who has the largest platform of any boxing writer, has been a persistent critic of the organization which once recognized 41 “champions” in 17 weight classes. In 2009, Rafael wrote, “(The WBA) has become such an absolute farce that even somebody like me, who follows boxing closely, sometimes has a hard time keeping track of all the nonsensical so-called world title belts the WBA has been doling out at an alarming rate. It almost reminds me of the ladies at Costco who hand out various samples on a busy Saturday afternoon.”

Rafael took note when WBA president Gilberto Mendoza promised to cull the herd by eliminating “regular” titles, and then became more caustic when Mendoza didn’t follow through. Recently, in one short, punchy diatribe, Rafael blistered the WBA as wretched, vile, and rancid.

Regardless of your opinion, it’s hard not to feel sorry for Fres Oquendo who keeps getting stranded at the altar. No, he’s not fun to watch and a man of his age shouldn’t be taking any more punches, but he has always been an honest workman and by all accounts he’s a very decent man. Born in Puerto Rico but raised in Chicago, Oquendo pitched right in when the island nation of his birth was ravaged by Hurricane Maria. He was personally responsible for relocating Puerto Rican boxing legend Wilfred Benitez and Benitez’s sister, his caregiver, to Chicago where their lives wouldn’t be as hard.

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