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Get Ready For Busy Ending for Boxing Year 2014

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High Gear for Boxing

Boxing actually slipped into a rapidly high gear last week with Austin Trout and company leading a massive 12-bout fight card at Pechanga Casino.

It reminded me of Don King’s marathon sessions back in the day when his Las Vegas fight cards would start at 10 a.m. and end around 1 a.m. They would always have four or five world title fights, which would include several European fighters. It was something to watch. By the time it all ended you would be dizzy from watching boxing. But it was memorable.

Felix Trinidad started on one of those marathon cards. Soon, after knocking out Maurice Blocker in 1993, he would be in the big top from there on. They have those kind of marathon sessions in Mexico all of the time.

The big top re-opens in two weeks with the Floyd Mayweather circus. But first, let’s talk about the fight card in San Diego next week.

Kenia

While the rest of the world has caught up with women’s boxing, the U.S. continues to lag behind. Next Thursday on Sept. 4, a female flyweight from Tijuana, Mexico named Kenia Enriquez has the main event at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in San Diego.

Enriquez may be the best female flyweight in the world without a world title. That’s something considering there are about 20 world titles for women despite there being far less female boxers than male boxers. The tall flyweight with an easy smile has the whole package: she can bang, move with grace, take a blow and fight with skill.

Opposing Enriquez (11-0, 6 Kos) will be Mexico’s Mayela Perez (11-15-4). Don’t be fooled by Perez’s record. She recently fought Dorely Valente to a draw in Cancun. That’s difficult to do. Most of Perez’s losses were against world champions. But Enriquez, if I’m any judge, has world champion written all over her. She could be Mexico’s next female superstar.

Broner

On Saturday, Sept. 6, it’s Broner day. Adrien Broner (28-1, 22 Kos) drops down to junior welterweight to try out Emmanuel Taylor (18-2, 12 Kos). He’s getting home cooking at Cincinnati on the main event. I’m curious to see if the crowds will come. Some of the luster has been removed from Broner’s shine. On the same fight card, Argentina’s concrete breaker Lucas Matthysse (35-3, 33 Kos) faces Mexico’s Roberto Ortiz (31-0-1, 24 Kos). Matthysse’s last fight was a war with John Molina at the StubHub. Ortiz, 28, hasn’t fought any recognizable opposition but now it’s the real deal.

Mayweather’s week

The big week begins on Thursday, Sept. 11 with a heavyweight clash between undefeated Luis Ortiz (21-0, 18 Kos) and Lateef Kayode (20-0, 16 Kos). Cuba’s Ortiz is a legitimate heavyweight who walks into the ring at 230 pounds while Kayode has height but usually weighs around 200 pounds. He’s more a cruiserweight but has been sparring with heavyweights for years. The question with Kayode is, does he have the “Power” to deal with the big boys?

Mayweather day. The Las Vegas resident has owned the month that used to be reserved for Mexican fights because of Mexican Independence day falls on Sept. 16. As long as Mayweather remains undefeated it will be his day. He’ll be fighting Marcos Maidana, the Argentine with the windmill punches and a head shaped like a shoeshine box. Their first encounter was pretty interesting as Maidana took the fight inside and was allowed to pin Mayweather on the ropes. This time the referee is Kenny Bayless, who has never seen a body shot he liked and prefers boxers to fight on the outside. Expect Mayweather to roam free in this excursion.

On the semi-main event Leo Santa Cruz defends the WBC junior featherweight title against Manuel Roman. I’m sure they’ve met before in sparring many times at the Maywood Boxing Club where most of the lighter weights get work. It might be an interesting fight.

Miguel “El Titere” Vazquez defends the IBF lightweight title against Mickey Bey. Vazquez has a bouncy kind of style that’s very un-Mexican. Top Rank sent him to Macau in his last fight probably hoping he would lose, but it didn’t happen. Before that he was pitted against Filipino southpaw Mercito Gesta and he thoroughly defeated him. Vazquez has three losses in his career and two of them were against Canelo and one against Tim “Desert Storm” Bradley. It might be an interesting match with the speedy Bey, who’s best remembered for losing by knockout to John Molina. Speed is a great weapon against Vazquez’s style.

Alfredo “Perro” Angulo returns to the ring but this time at middleweight. Angulo has a two-fight losing streak but losing to Canelo and Erislandy Lara is no embarrassment. The Mexican slugger now trains with Virgil Hunter and though he looked bad against Canelo, the defensive work with the NorCal boxing trainer will pay off. Angulo faces James De La Rosa, who’s itching to prove he belongs with the big moneymakers. Angulo’s power may be too much but we’ll see.

John Molina made a lot of fans with his breathtaking performance against Lucas Matthysse. He showed that his power cannot be overlooked by anyone. He faces former champion Humberto Soto of Mexico, who has been in so many wars you wonder if he has anything left. Soto has an experience factor over Molina but you can’t discount Molina’s blockbuster right hand. He will tag Soto, who was destroyed by Matthysse when they met several years ago. The big question: did Molina lose anything after that nuclear war with Matthysse?

SoCal Fighters

Josesito “Riverside Rocky” Lopez was supposed to take part on the fight card against Shawn Gallegos but we’ll see if the fight takes place. Lopez’s last bout was a knockout win over Aron Martinez at AguasCaliente Casino. Lopez needs to stay busy and has a lot of potential big name opponents in the near future.

Speaking of Riverside boxers, heavyweight Chris Arreola was seen in Las Vegas and recently was operated on for an elbow problem. He’ll be back in the gym soon.

Another Riverside boxer, Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera, said he would be fighting in December on the Saul “Canelo” Alvarez card. No opponent has been named.

Gennady “GGG” Golovkin returns to the ring, but this time to the StubHub Center, home of the most memorable fights of the last decade and still counting. Remarkably, it’s the first time GGG fights in California, though he trains at Big Bear Lake-a mere 80 miles from L.A. Golovkin meets Mexico’s Marco Antonio Rubio. Don’t expect a decision win by either guy. It will be bombs away.

Fast-rising Saul Rodriguez, a junior lightweight from Riverside, awaits word for his next fight. He expects to fight two more times before the year ends. Spectacular knockouts are his specialty and his quality of opposition has been steadily increasing. His sparring partner of late has been Mikey Garcia, who has been the center of conversation relating to potential foes ranging from Yuri Gamboa to Floyd Mayweather.

Prepare yourself for a very busy ending for year 2014.

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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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