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A Look Back at Mayweather-Alvarez: Part One

Thomas Hauser

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Now that the dust has settled and there has been time for reflection, it’s worth taking a look back at the boxing event of 2013: the much-hyped, enormously successful promotion known as “The One.”

Budd Schulberg once wrote, “I’ve always thought of boxing, not as a mirror but as a magnifying glass of our society.”

That certainly was true of the September 14th fight between Floyd Mayweather and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Boxing’s first million-dollar gate was $1,789,238 for the fight between Jack Dempsey and Georges Carpentier on July 2, 1921, at Boyle’s 30 Acres in New Jersey. Adjusted for inflation, that number, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics, is equivalent to $23,377,744 in today’s dollars.

Mayweather-Alvarez came close. The official gate was $20,003,150, which exceeded the previous mark of $18,419,200 set by the May 5, 2007, encounter between Mayweather and Oscar De La Hoya.

The best guess at present is that Mayweather-Alvarez generated 2,200,000 pay-per-view buys in the United States. That would place it second behind De La Hoya vs. Mayweather, which generated 2.45 million buys for a total of $136,000,000 ($153,400,000 in today’s dollars). When all the numbers are in, that $153,400,000 figure is likely to be exceeded by Mayweather-Alvarez.

Mayweather was guaranteed a minimum purse of $41,500,000 to fight Alvarez. That’s more than the entire 2013 player payroll for either the Miami Marlins ($36,341,900) or Houston Astros ($22,062,600). And Floyd’s take is expected to rise significantly once all the pay-per-view buys and other revenue streams are counted.

So let’s take a look at the good and the bad, the fantasy and the reality of Floyd “Money” Mayweather.

It’s starts with Mayweather’s skill as a fighter.

Mayweather seeks to control every aspect of his life. Thus, it’s ironic that his chosen sport is boxing. In baseball, everyone waits for the pitcher. A golfer does what he can do with the laws of physics as his only adversary. Boxing is the hardest sport in the world for an athlete to control.

Over the course of twelve rounds, Mayweather controls the confines of a boxing ring as few men ever have.

The most admirable thing about Floyd is his work ethic and dedication to his craft.

Years ago, Luis Cortes wrote, “A majority of upsets occur when the more naturally-talented fighter forgets that boxing is not just about talent.”

Mayweather doesn’t forget. He gives one hundred percent in preparing for a fight every time out.

“I’m a perfectionist,” Floyd says. “No one works harder than I do. I worked my ass off to get to where I am now. Nobody is perfect, but I strive to be perfect.”

Heywood Broun once wrote of Benny Leonard, “No performer in any art has ever been more correct. His jab could stand without revision in any textbook. The manner in which he feints, ducks, sidesteps, and hooks is unimpeachable. He is always ready to hit with either hand.”

The same can be said of Mayweather. He and Bernard Hopkins have two of the highest “boxing IQs” in the business. Like Hopkins, Floyd shuts down his opponent, taking away what the opponent does best.

“Floyd has man strength and he knows how to use it,” Hopkins says.

When Mayweather is stunned (the last time it appeared to have happened was in round two against Shane Mosley three years ago), he holds on like the seasoned pro that he is. What’s more instructive is what Floyd does when he’s hit solidly but is fully compos mentis. His instinct is to fire back hard rather than let an opponent build confidence.

“Floyd does all things necessary to win a fight,” Mosley notes.

That includes fighting rough and pushing the rules up to, and sometimes beyond, their boundary if the referee allows him to do so.

Against Mosley, Mayweather pushed down hard on the back of Shane’s head and neck as an offensive maneuver seventeen times and used a forearm-elbow to the neck aggressively twenty-three times.

“Winning is the key to everything,” says Leonard Ellerbe (CEO of Mayweather Promotions). “As long as Floyd keeps winning, there’s no limit to the things he can accomplish.”

Mayweather keeps winning. His split-decision victory over Oscar De La Hoya is the only time that a fight went to the scorecards and a judge had Floyd behind. Tom Kaczmarek scored that bout 115-113 for Oscar.

Floyd walks through life with a swagger. He flaunts his lifestyle and wealth. First HBO, and now Showtime, have put tens of millions of dollars worth of time and money into cultivating the Mayweather image. Floyd, for his part, has created and nurtured the “Money Mayweather” persona. “You can’t be a 35-year-old man calling yourself ‘Pretty Boy’,” he said last year, explaining the change in his sobriquet.

When Mayweather speaks of his “loved ones,” one gets the feeling that Floyd holds down the top three or four spots on the list. He lives in ostentatious luxury (a 22,500-square-foot primary residence in Las Vegas and a 12,000-square-foot home in Miami) surrounded by beautiful women and devoted followers who adore him. The money that he puts in their pockets, we’re told, has no bearing on their affection.

Tim Keown has tracked Floyd on two occasions for ESPN: The Magazine and reported, “This is a man who wears his boxer shorts once before throwing them out. This is a man who keeps his head shaved, yet travels on a private jet with his personal barber; who has two sets of nearly identical ultra-luxury cars color-coded by mansion – white in Las Vegas, black in Miami [“roughly two dozen” Rolls Royces, Lamborghinis, Bentleys, Ferraris, Bugattis, and Mercedes].

“Along with gaudy possessions and unlimited subservience comes something far more vital,” Keown continues. “Self-justification. It’s wealth as affirmation. A case filled with more than $5,000,000 in watches is not a mere collection. It is a statement.”

Keown further reported that, on a recent shopping trip to New York, Mayweather spent “close a quarter of a million dollars on earrings and a necklace for his 13-year-old daughter, Iyanna.”

One might question how a gift of that magnitude affects a young adolescent’s values.

Meanwhile, tweets regarding Mayweather’s gambling winnings (he regularly wagers six figures on a single basketball or football game) read like reports of Korean dictator Kim Jong-il’s maiden golf outing, when the Korean state media reported eleven holes-in-one en route to a final score of 38 under par.

Sports Illustrated reported in its March 12, 2012, issue that Mayweather had lost a $990,000 wager on the March 3rd basketball game between Duke and North Carolina. Floyd didn’t tweet that.

Working for Mayweather means being available twenty-four-seven. When Floyd says “jump,” his employees ask “how high?”

“They have to be ready to get up and go at four o’clock in the morning,” Floyd says. “If I call and say ‘I need you now,’ I don’t mean in an hour. I mean now.”

Keown confirms that notion, writing, “His security crew routinely receives calls at two or three a.m. to accompany the nocturnal Mayweather to a local athletic club for weights and basketball. On this day, his regular workout finished, the champ tells one of his helpers to beckon two women from his entourage into his locker room. As he showers, he calls for one of them, a tall, dark-haired woman named Jamie, to soap his back while he continues to carry on an animated conversation with five or six men in the room.”

That leads to another issue. The subservience of women in Mayweather’s world and his treatment of them.

Floyd likes pretty women. No harm in that. He’s on shakier ground when he says, “Beauty is only skin deep. An ugly m——-r made that up.” In late-September 2012, it was reported that Floyd spent $50,000 at a strip club called Diamonds in Atlanta. That’s a lot of money,

More seriously, over the years, Mayweather has had significant issues with women and the criminal justice system. In 2002, he pled guilty to two counts of domestic violence. In 2004, he was found guilty on two counts of misdemeanor battery for assaulting two women in a Las Vegas nightclub. Other incidents were disposed of more quietly.

Then, on December 21, 2011, a Las Vegas judge sentenced Mayweather to ninety days in jail after he pleaded guilty to a reduced battery domestic violence charge and no contest to two harassment charges in conjunction with an assault against Josie Harris (the mother of three of his children). Floyd was also ordered to attend a one-year domestic-violence counseling program and perform one hundred hours of community service.

Was Mayweather chastened by that experience? Did he become more aware of his obligations as a member of society and the responsibilities that come with fame?

Apparently not.

“Martin Luther King went to jail,” Mayweather told Michael Eric Dyson on an HBO program entitled Floyd Mayweather: Speaking Out. “Malcolm X went to jail. Am I guilty? Absolutely not. I took a plea. Sometimes they put us in a no-win situation to where you don’t have no choice but to take a plea. I didn’t want to bring my children to court.”

That theme was echoed by Leonard Ellerbe, who declared on an episode of 24/7, “All you can do is respect the man for not wanting to put his kids through a difficult process. Things are not always what they seem. I have the advantage of actually knowing what the facts are in this particular case. The public doesn’t have this information. I know that he stepped up and did what was needed to do to protect his family.”

Did Mayweather go to jail to protect his children from having to testify at trial? Or did he go to jail to avoid a longer prison term and protect himself from the public spectacle of his children telling the world what they saw?

Either way, Floyd did his children no favors by claiming on national television that they were the reason he went to jail. The children know what they saw on the night that Floyd had an altercation with their mother. If he was taking a bullet for his kids, he should have done so quietly without exposing them to further public spectacle and the taunts of other children telling them in the playground, “You’re the reason your father went to jail.”

One might also ask why Dyson (a professor of sociology at Georgetown University) didn’t confront Mayweather with the fact that Floyd’s confrontation with Josie Harris wasn’t an isolated incident; that there were two previous convictions on his record for physically abusing women.

As for Josie Harris; she was so troubled by Floyd’s denials after his plea of “no contest” to physically assaulting her in front of their children that, in April of this year, she broke a self-imposed silence and told Martin Harris of Yahoo Sports, “Did he beat me to a pulp? No. But I had bruises on my body and contusions and [a] concussion because the hits were to the back of my head.”

Somewhere in the United States tonight, a young man who thinks that Floyd Mayweather is a role model will beat up a woman. Maybe she’ll walk away with nothing more than bruises and emotional scars. Maybe he’ll kill her.

That’s the downside to uncritical glorification of Floyd Mayweather.

Also, as great a fighter as Mayweather is, there’s one flaw on his resume. He has consistently avoided the best available opposition.

A fighter doesn’t have to be bloodied and knocked down and come off the canvas to prove his greatness. A fighter can also prove that he has the heart of a legendary champion by testing himself against the best available competition.

Mayweather has done neither.

Floyd said earlier this month, “I push myself to the limit by fighting the best.”

That has all the sincerity of posturing by a political candidate.

Mayweather has some outstanding victories on his ring record. But his career has been marked by the avoidance of tough opponents in their prime.

There always seems to be someone who Mayweather is ducking. The most notable example was his several-year avoidance of Manny Pacquiao. Bob Arum (Pacquiao’s promoter) might not have wanted the fight. But Manny clearly did. And it appeared as though Floyd didn’t.

Mayweather also steered clear of Paul Williams, Antonio Margarito, and Miguel Cotto in their prime. He waited to fight Cotto until Miguel (like Shane Mosley) was a shell of his former self. Then Floyd made a show of saying that he’d fight Cotto at 154 pounds so Miguel would be at his best. But when Sergio Martinez offered to come down to 154, Floyd said that he’d only fight Martinez at 150 (an impossible weight for Sergio to make).

Thus, Frank Lotierzo writes, “Mayweather has picked his spots in one way or another throughout his career. Floyd got over big time on Juan Manuel Marquez with his weigh-in trickery at the last moment. He fought Oscar De La Hoya and barely won when Oscar was a corpse. Shane Mosley was an empty package when he finally fought him seven years after the fight truly meant anything. As terrific as Mayweather is, he’s not the Bible of boxing the way he projects himself as being. He came along when there were some other outstanding fighters at or near his weight. Yet, aside from the late Diego Corrales, he has never met any of them when the fight would have confirmed his greatness. It would be great to write about Mayweather and laud all that he has accomplished as a fighter without bringing up these inconvenient facts. But it can’t be done if you’re being intellectually honest.”

“Mayweather,” Lotierzo continues, “wouldn’t be the face of boxing today if there was an Ali, Leonard, De La Hoya, or Tyson around. But they’re long gone. Give him credit for being able to make a safety-first counter-puncher who avoided the only fight fans wanted him to deliver [into] the face of what once was the greatest sport in the world.”

Three days prior to Mayweather-Alvarez, Floyd responded to those who have criticized his choice of ring adversaries: “If they say Mayweather has handpicked his opponents; well, then my team has done a f—–g good job.”

Mayweather has a following; those who like him and those who don’t. But whatever side of the fence one is on, it’s clear that Floyd has tapped into something.

“This is a business,” Mayweather says of boxing.

Team Mayweather has played the business game brilliantly. Give manager Al Haymon and the rest of The Money Team credit for maximizing Floyd’s income, making the pie bigger and getting him a larger percentage of it. Through their efforts, Mayweather has become the epitome of what modern fighters strive to be. He has the ability to attract any opponent, determine when they fight, and enjoys the upper hand in any negotiation.

“His ability not only to understand but to capitalize on his value is unrivaled in the sport,” Tim Keown writes. Then Keown references Mayweather’s “singular brand of narcissism, ego and greed,” and notes, “It helps to exhibit an unapologetic brazenness that incites allegiance and disgust in equal measure. Indifference, as any promoter will attest, is hell on sales.”

“Love him or hate him,” Leonard Ellerbe adds, “he’s the bank vault. Love him or hate him, he’s going to make the bank drop.”

Mayweather’s box-office appeal is consistent with other trends in contemporary American culture.

Charles Jay has mused, “There is a constituency that is very attracted to the Mayweather persona. Maybe there is an overlap between that constituency and the one that enjoys the antics of Charlie Sheen.”

Carlos Acevedo opines that Floyd has led “a charmed life inside the ring if a rather charmless one outside it,” and posits, “Being nasty in public under the guise of entertainment is now as American as baseball and serial killers.”

More tellingly, Acevedo argued last year, “Mayweather generates a disproportionate amount of media coverage. Never mind the fact that probably somewhere around six million people in the U.S. saw Mayweather bushwhack Victor Ortiz [and roughly ten million saw him defeat Miguel Cotto]. Compare that, say, to the night Ken Norton faced Duane Bobick on NBC in 1977. That fight, aired on a Wednesday evening in prime-time, earned a 42% audience share, and was estimated to have been viewed by 48 million people. If we want to pretend that more than a few million people care about ‘Money,’ we have to keep listening to penny-click addicts and websites obsessed with celebrity cellulite and tanorexia.”

According to Nevada State Athletic Commission records, all five of Mayweather’s fights between the start of 2009 and mid-2013 (against Juan Manuel Marquez, Shane Mosley, Victor Ortiz, Miguel Cotto, and Robert Guerrero) were contested in front of empty seats. Even with 1,459 complimentary tickets being given away, there were 139 empty seats for Mayweather-Guerrero. More troubling were credible reports that Mayweather-Guerrero registered only 850,000 pay-per-view buys. That’s a healthy number for most fights. But not for a Mayweather fight. And not for Showtime, which had spirited Mayweather away from HBO and entered into a six-fight contract with the fighter that guaranteed him $32,000,000 per fight against the revenue from domestic pay-per-view buys.

Showtime had heavily promoted Mayweather-Guerrero with documentaries, a reality-TV series, an appearance by Floyd at the NCAA men’s basketball Final Four, and numerous promotional spots on CBS Sports television and CBS Sports Radio. Factoring in the cost of production and other outlays, there were estimates that the network had lost between five and ten million dollars on Mayweather-Guerrero. That might have been justified as a “loss leader” to bring Mayweather into the Showtime fold. But it couldn’t be repeated in Floyd’s next fight without speculation that corporate heads would roll.

Mayweather’s fights have been promoted in recent years by Golden Boy, which now has a strategic alliance with Showtime and Al Haymon. The idea that Golden Boy Promotions would crumble once Oscar De La Hoya stopped fighting is now an outdated fantasy. CEO Richard Schaefer has played the promotional game masterfully.

But Golden Boy has little control over Mayweather. According to Leonard Ellerbe, Mayweather Promotions pays Golden Boy to handle logistics on a per-fight basis. “If you run a construction company,” Ellerbe says, “you have to hire someone to pour the cement.”

Schaefer confirms that Golden Boy presents The Money Team with a budget for each fight that includes projected revenue streams and costs (for example, fighter purses, marketing, travel, arena set-up, and its promotional fee).

Showtime could have been forgiven for thinking that guaranteeing Mayweather $32,000,000 a fight for six fights would have entitled it to the most marketable Mayweather fights possible. But there was no such assurance.

After Mayweather beat Guerrero, word spread that the frontrunner in the sweepstakes to become Floyd’s next opponent was Devon Alexander. That raised the likelihood of another sub-one-million-buy Mayweather outing and the loss to the network of another five-to-ten million dollars.

There was little point in Showtime appealing to Mayweather to upgrade the commercial viability of his opponent on grounds that Floyd is a team player. Floyd is a team player as long as it’s Team Mayweather. Thus, Showtime rolled the dice and increased Mayweather’s contractual guarantee to $41,500,000 to entice him to fight Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.

If boxing fans in America have a love-hate relationship with Mayweather, Mexican fans have a love-love relationship with Alvarez. Canelo’s resume is a bit thin. But Mayweather vs. Alvarez on Mexican Independence Day weekend was sure to sell out the MGM Grand Garden Arena and generate a massive number of pay-per-view buys.

Alvarez agreed to a financial guarantee believed to be in the neighborhood of $12,500,000. His purse as reported to the Nevada State Athletic Commission was $5,000,000. But that didn’t include the grant of Mexican television rights and other financial incentives.

The thorniest issue in negotiating the fight contracts was the issue of weight. Mayweather has filled out over the years. He’s now a full-fledged welterweight. But Alvarez fights at 154 pounds.

On May 29th, it was announced that the two men had signed to fight at a catchweight of 152 pounds. Schaefer said that there was a seven-figure penalty should either fighter fail to make weight.

Thereafter, Ellerbe stated publicly that the Alvarez camp had begun the negotiations with an offer to fight at a catchweight and declared, “His management is inept. We take advantage of those kinds of things. They suggested it. Why would we say no and do something different. They put him at a disadvantage, his management did. It wasn’t that Floyd asked for a catchweight because, absolutely, that did not happen. Floyd would have fought him regardless. His management put that out there. So if you have an idiot manager, that’s what it is.”

The Alvarez camp responded by saying that Ellerbe was lying.

“Why would I give up weight?” Canelo asked rhetorically. “I’m the 154-pound champion. When the negotiations started, they wanted me to go down to 147, then 150, then 151, finally 152. I said I’d do it to make the fight. But it’s not right that they’re lying about it. I don’t want to fight two pounds below the weight class, but it was the only way I could get the fight.”

“Being the A-side is about having leverage,” Ellerbe fired back. “We’re always going to put every opponent at a disadvantage if we can.”

Part Two of “A Look Back at Mayweather-Alvarez” will be posted on The Sweet Science tomorrow.

Thomas Hauser can be reached by email at thauser@rcn.com. His most recent book (Straight Writes and Jabs: An Inside Look at Another Year in Boxing) has just been published by the University of Arkansas Press.

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Emerging Heavyweights: Three to Watch

Ted Sares

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Emerging-Heavyweights-Three-To-Watch

Victor Faust (Viktor Vykhryst), a 6’6” 232-pound Ukrainian heavyweight (and long-time amateur) is a product of the great amateur program in the Ukraine–one that has produced the likes of the Klitschko brothers, Oleksandr Usyk, Vasily Lomachenko, and more recently Sergiy Derevyanchenko.

At first glance, his amateur record does not appear stellar, but a closer review indicates several SD’s or MD’s.

Earlier this month, on Sept. 20, he scored a frightening one punch KO when he fought the more experienced Gabriel Enguema (10-9) in the Ukrainian city of Dnipro. It was his third KO victory in three professional fights—all in 2020. The end came as a result of a Doctor Steelhammer-like perfect straight right to knock the Spaniard out cold. It brought back memories of Wladimir’s KO of Calvin Brock in 2006. Faust displayed skills, size, a solid chin, and power in dispatching his opponent.

“…Soon everyone will …see how skillful he is. He’s the complete package and will compete in massive fights sooner rather than later.” Erol Ceylan (Faust’s German promoter)

Oh yes, Faust beat Romanian Mihai Nistor in the amateurs and the talented Nistor in turn halted Anthony Joshua in the amateurs back in 2011. (Nistor also went 1-2 with Filip Hrgovic and lost to Tony Yoka in 2012.) Of course, one must be circumspect when using logic in boxing. Now that Nistor has turned pro, he will be worth following as his style is very much Tysonesque.

There are others who have—at a minimum– the same potential as Faust.

Tony Yoka

tony

Hard-hitting Frenchman 6’7” Tony Yoka (8-0) has beaten far better opposition than Faust and has a far better amateur record. In fact, he beat Filip Hrgovic and Joe Joyce in the 2016 Rio Games on the way to a Gold Medal. Recently, he dismantled veteran and fellow Frenchman Johan Duhaupas, a fringe contender with some notable notches on his belt. The end came in the first round by virtue of a crunching right uppercut.

Yoka perhaps could be slotted above Faust at this point.; he just might be the best of the new guys on the block. However, there are some dicey anti-doping issues that have tainted his reputation, though they do seem to be mostly resolved at this point.

Arslanbek Makhmudov

Arslanbek

This Russian “Lion,” 6’5 ½”, 260 pounds with an imposing muscular frame, is still another hungry prospect ready to break into the next tier. Nicknamed the “Lion,” — he also has been called “Predator” and “Beast — he is 10-0 (10 KOs).

He now lives and fights out of Montreal. The holder of two regional titles, he stopped a shot Samuel Peter in one round this past December.

“I’m confident that with my team, Eye of the Tiger Promotions and Golden Boy Promotions, I will reach my goal of becoming heavyweight champion of the world,” —Makhmudov.

This all said, The Lion needs some work on his technical skills as size can only go so far.

Makhmudov’s next opponent is Canadian heavyweight Dillon “Big Country” Carman (14-5) whose claim to fame is that he KOd comebacking Donovan Ruddock in 2015 in Toronto. This one will end differently for “Big Country.”

Others

Arguably, classy Americans Stephan Shaw (13-0), and Jared Anderson (6-0 with four KOs in the first round) could be added to the above. Filip Hrgovic and Efe Ajagba, both 6’6”, have already moved up.

A good yardstick is 6’5” American Jonathan Rice who lost a 10-round bout to Ajagba, was TKO’d in the seventh round Makhmudov, lost a 6-round decision to Tony Yoka, and a lost 6-round decision to Shaw.

Have I missed any?

Ted Sares can be reached at tedsares@roadrunner.com of on Facebook.

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Jermell Charlo Unifies Super Welterweights Via Solar Plexus Punch

David A. Avila

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WBC super welterweight titlist Jermell Charlo knocked out IBF and WBA titlist Jeison Rosario with a knockout punch delivered to the solar plexus on Saturday to add two more belts to his collection.

“I’m definitely bringing home the straps,” said Charlo.

Shades of Bob Fitzsimmons.

Back in 1897, Fitzsimmons used the same solar plexus punch to dethrone Gentleman James Corbett for the heavyweight title in Carson City, Nevada.

In another casino city Charlo (34-1, 18 KOs) floored Dominican Republic’s Rosario (20-2-1, 14 KOs) three times at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Conn. He and his brother co-headlined a heavy duty pay-per-view card with no fans in attendance on the Premier Boxing Champions card.

Charlo jumped on Rosario quickly in the first round when he charged and clipped him with a left hook to the temple. Down went the two-belt champion for the count. But he got up seemingly unfazed.

For the next several rounds Rosario was the aggressor and put the pressure on Charlo who was content to allow the Dominican to fire away. Occasionally the Houston fighter jabbed but allowed Rosario to pound up and down with both fists.

After allowing Rosario to get comfortable with his attack, suddenly Charlo stopped moving and connected with a short crisp counter left hook and right cross in the sixth round. Down went Rosario again and he got up before the count of 10.

Charlo said it was part of the game plan.

“I’m growing and I realize that the knockout will just come,” he said.

Charlo was in control with a patient style and allowed Rosario to come forward. But the Dominican was more cautious in the seventh.

In the eighth round Charlo jabbed to the head and then jabbed hard to Rosario’s stomach. The Dominican fighter dropped down on his seat as if felled by a gun shot. He could not get up and convulsed while on the floor. The referee Harvey Dock counted him out at 21 seconds of round eight.

“That jab that got to him must have landed in a vital point,” said Charlo after the fight. “I hope he recovers and bounces back.”

Charlo now has three of the four major super welterweight world titles.

WBC Super Bantamweight Title

Luis Nery (31-0, 24 KOs) captured the WBC super bantamweight title by unanimous decision over fellow Mexican Aaron Alameda (25-1, 13 KOs) in a battle between southpaws. The war between border town fighters was intense.

Nery, a former bantamweight world titlist, moved up a weight division and found Alameda to be a slick southpaw with an outstanding jab. At first the Tijuana fighter was a little puzzled how to attack but found his groove in the fourth round.

But Alameda, who fights out of Nogales, Mexico, began using combinations and finding success.  A crafty counter left uppercut caught Nery charging in a few times, but he managed to walk through them.

In the final two rounds Nery picked up the action and increased the pressure against the slick fighting Alameda, He forced the Nogales fighter to fight defensively and that proved enough to give the last two rounds for Nery and the victory by unanimous decision. The scores were 115-113, 116-112 and 118-110 for Nery who now holds the WBC super bantamweight world title. He formerly held the WBC bantamweight title.

Roman Wins

Danny “Baby-Faced Assassin” Roman (28-3-1, 10 KOs) managed to rally from behind and defeat Juan Carlos Payano (21-4, 9 KOs) in a battle between former world champions in a nontitle super bantamweight clash. It wasn’t easy.

Once again Roman fought a talented southpaw and in this fight Payano, a former bantamweight titlist, moved up in weight and kept Roman off balance for the first half of the fight. The jab and movement by the Dominican fighter seemed to keep Roman out of sync.

Roman, who fights out of Los Angeles, used a constant body attack to wear down the 35-year-old Payano and it paid off in the second half. Then the former unified world champion Roman began to pinpoint more blows to the body and head. With seconds left in the 12th and final round, a left hook delivered Payano down and through the ropes. Sadly, the referee missed the knockdown. It didn’t matter as all three judges scored it identical at 116-112 for Roman after 12 rounds.

“I made some adjustments and picked up the pace and got the win,” said Roman who formerly held the WBA and IBF super bantamweight world titles.

Photo credit: Amanda Westcott / SHOWTIME

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Jermall Charlo UD 12 Derevyanchenko; Figueroa and Casimero Also Triumphant

Arne K. Lang

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Jermall Charlo UD 12 Derevyanchenko; Figueroa and Casimero Also Triumphant

The Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut, was the site of the first pay-per-view boxing event in the United States since the Fury-Wilder rematch on Feb. 22. There were six fights in all, five of which were title fights and the other a title-eliminator. They were divided into two tiers but bundled into a package that cost approximately a dollar a round with a facile intermission tossed in at no extra charge.

The headline attraction of the first “three-pack” – and the most anticipated fight of the evening – found WBC world middleweight champion Jermall Charlo defending his title against Sergiy Derevyanchenko. The Ukrainian gave Gennady Golovkin a hard tussle when they fought in November of last year at Madison Square Garden – GGG won a unanimous decision but the scores were tight and many thought Derevyanchenko deserved the decision – and the expectation was that tonight’s match would also be very competitive.  But it really wasn’t although the rugged Derevyanchenko rarely took a backward step.

The fight went the distance and there were no knockdowns, but Charlo buckled his knees at the end of round three and Derevyanchenko ended the fight with cuts above both eyes. The judges had it 118-110, 117-111, and 116-112.

With Canelo Alvarez apparently headed to 168 and GGG showing his age at 38, one can make a strong case that the undefeated 30-year-old Jermall Charlo (31-0, 22 KOs) is now the top middleweight in the world. Derevyanchenko, who was 23-1 in the semi-pro World Series of Boxing before turning pro, saw his pro record decline to 13-3 with all three losses in middleweight title fights.

The middle fight of the first tier was a lusty encounter between Mexican-American super bantamweights Brandon Figueroa and Damien Vazquez. Figueroa, one of two fighting brothers from the Mexican border town of Weslaco, Texas, was a huge favorite over Vazquez, a Colorado native who moved to Las Vegas as a freshman in high school and had fought extensively in Mexico where he made his pro debut at age 16. But Vazquez, the nephew of former three-time world super bantamweight title-holder Israel Vazquez, came to fight and gave a good effort until the fight turned lopsidedly against him.

In the middle rounds, Figueroa’s high-pressure attack began to wear Vazquez down. Vazquez had a few good moments in rounds six and eight, but when his right eye began swelling from the cut above it, he was fighting an uphill battle. He took a lot of punishment before referee Gary Rosato halted it at the 1:18 mark of round 10.

Figueroa, 23, successfully defended his WBA 122-pound title while improving his record to 21-0-1 with his 16th KO. Vazquez declined to 15-2-1.

The lid-lifter was a WBO bantamweight title defense by John Riel Casimero with Duke Micah in the opposite corner. Micah, from Accra, Ghana, came in undefeated at 24-0, but Casimero had faced a far stronger schedule and was a substantial favorite.

A Filipino who was been training in Las Vegas under Bones Adams, Casimero took Micah out in the third round. The Brooklyn-based Micah was somewhat busier in the opening frame, but the tide turned quickly in favor of the Filipino. Casimero hurt Micah with a left hook in round two and went for the kill. He wasn’t able to finish him, but Micah was on a short leash and referee Steve Willis was quick to step in when Casimero resumed his attack after the break. The official time was 0:54.

Casimero (30-4, 21 KOs) was defending the title he won last November with a third-round knockout of favored Zolani Tete in Birmingham, England. He was slated to fight this past April in Las Vegas against Naoya Inoue, but that fight evaporated as a result of the coronavirus. After the bout, Casimero called out Inoue (and others): “I’m the real monster,” he said. “Naoya Inoue is scared of me. You’re next. I would have knocked out anyone today. If Inoue doesn’t fight me, then I’ll fight Guillermo Rigondeaux, Luis Nery, or any of the top fighters.”

Check back shortly for David Avila’s summaries of the remaining fights.

Photo credit: Amanda Westcott / SHOWTIME

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