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RINGSIDE REPORT Mexico’s Juan Manuel Marquez Delights Fans at Forum



INGLEWOOD, CALIF.—Mexico’s master boxer Juan Manuel Marquez showed that despite being smaller, not as fast and not as strong as he once was, he is still a master of the sweet science and used it in beating Mike Alvarado by unanimous decision on Saturday.

A large crowd of 12,090 returned to the boxing jewel known as the Inglewood Forum and saw one of its favorite sons Marquez (56-7-1, 40 Kos) out-box and defeat former champion Alvarado (34-3, 23 Kos). The crowd was boisterous and excited about the fight and the return of boxing.

For 12 rounds the crowd was in awe of Marquez’s performance, who was nearly flawless until a mistake almost derailed him.

Marquez’s reputation preceded him so Alvarado seemed to allow the Mexican legend to take the initiative in the early rounds. He was probably thinking it would be better to make the counter-puncher lead. Marquez took that lead and put on a boxing display for the first five rounds with jabs, combos and shots to the body. In one stretch he fired a four-punch combination all with the left hand that included an uppercut, left hook, jab and uppercut.

Alvarado put on the pressure after round five and the distance close suddenly. Marquez took advantage of the pressure and floored Alvarado at the end of round eight with a perfect one-two and down he went. Alvarado looked upset at himself.

Marquez had looked carefully at Alvarado when he went down so when round nine started he leaped into attack mode. During a furious exchange Alvarado caught Marquez with a perfect left hook and down went the legend. He got up and instead of moving he went back into attack mode and it turned out to be the best round of the fight. Both fired dangerous combinations until the end of the round.

“I thought I could land a right hand but he caught me real good when my hand was down,” said Marquez about the knockdown. “I tried to finish him but he was not ready.”

Alvarado had a look of extreme focus and seemed intent on knocking out Marquez. He was probably told he had fallen far behind and needed a knockout. Despite a swollen left eye the Denver slugger was looking for the right opening. It never came.

The Mexican boxer Marquez never allowed Alvarado to get a bead on him as he slipped punches, moved outside the firing zone or stepped outside of the danger zone altogether. Alvarado tried his best to use his reach but was unable to catch Marquez. When he went inside it was just as puzzling, as Marquez avoided the big blows and landed his own. It was a boxing clinic put on by a master of the boxing science.

Alvarado was able to connect here and there, especially with the left hook, but Marquez never allowed the taller fighter to get his footing. At the end of round 11 a right uppercut from Marquez served as a reminder that he could still score a knockout.

In the final round both were careful and looked for each other to make a mistake. As usual it was the veteran Marquez who opened up the round with a right hand and then a three-punch combination. Another uppercut from the Mexican boxer landed and Alvarado seemed to be looking for that opening to land the big bomb. In the last 30 seconds both exchanged furiously again. Alvarado scored but not with the zinger he needed. Marquez looked to score a knockout too.

“I wanted to reward the public,” said Marquez when asked why he risked going for the knockout.

All three judges scored it for Marquez 117-109 twice and 119-108.

“He was very strong and very difficult,” said Marquez. “It’s a fight for all of the Mexicans. It was a great fight. I fight for them.”

Alvarado was gracious in defeat.

“He’s a great boxer,” Alvarado said. “He has great experience.”

Other bouts

In a very unexciting junior welterweight bout Ukraine’s Viktor Postal (26-0, 11 Kos) putted along for 11 rounds until he lowered the boom against Turkey’s Selcuk Aydin (26-3, 19 Kos) with a right uppercut at 2:52 of round 12 for a knockout win. The crowd suddenly woke up just in time for the main event.

Diego Magdaleno (26-1, 10 Kos) was just too quick and too accurate for Oscar Bravo (21-4, 9 Kos) in a battle between Las Vegas lightweights. Magdaleno dropped Bravo early in the fight but was unable to press for a knockout win over the durable fighter. All three judges scored it for Magdaleno.

Mexico’s Oscar Valdez (11-0, 10 Kos) tore into Puerto Rico’s Noel “Shutup” Echevarria (11-3, 6 Kos) like he was responsible for all of his personal woes. Valdez battered the left-handed Boricua mercilessly until the fight was stopped at the end of the seventh round. Echevarria had one great chin but was rocked repeatedly like a punching bag. Apparently Echevarria’s jaw was broken.

Mexico’s Raul Hirales (22-2-1, 11 Kos) knocked out Ernesto Guerrero (17-10, 10 Kos) at 2:31 of round three in a junior featherweight bout. A short right uppercut and left hook sent Guerrero for the final time. Guerrero was floored twice earlier.

Brad Soloman (22-0, 6 Kos) used speed and movement to out-point Arven Ovsepyan (14-4, 11 Kos) after eight rounds of a welterweight contest. It was a very low punching contest that saw the fans boo heartily because of the inaction. All three judges scored it for Soloman.

Zach Wohlman (8-1-1) of L.A. won a four round welterweight contest over Utah’s Eddie Cordova (4-8-1) by unanimous decision.


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



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.



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



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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