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RINGSIDE REPORT McCarson on the Maidana-Broner Card

Kelsey McCarson

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Welterweight Marcos Maidana solved “The Problem” in fine fashion Saturday night at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. Maidana defeated Broner by unanimous decision 115-110, 116-109 and 117-109.

The problem with Adrien Broner is that he believes he is Floyd Mayweather. The issue with that, of course, is Broner doesn’t really understand who or what Mayweather really is. Mayweather is the consummate professional. His work ethic is unparalleled in the sport, and for all the glitz and glamour of his Money Team persona, Mayweather is as blue-collar as it gets in the places it counts most. He shows up on fight night of sound body and mind. He talks to the media, smiles for the cameras and takes pictures with fans. He signs autographs for hours and hours and hours.

Broner just wants the lifestyle. He’s brash, loud and arrogant. He wants to be celebrated for things he’s never done, and he acts as if he is already a living legend. At the weigh-in on Friday, he admonished fans who wanted autographs and rudely declined those in the media seeking quotes. He was too busy being so important, after all.

Maidana stunned Broner with a left hand early in Round 1. Broner waved him in and Maidana obliged. Maidana landed flush shots in a one-sided round. Broner was hurt but tried to play it off with showmanship and guile. A left hook sent Broner down to the canvas and set the tone for the rest of the night.

Maidana used a mixture of hard and wild punches. He hurt Broner badly in the second round. He was stumbling around the ring like a baby deer on ice at times. Broner gathered his wits about him by the end of the round but mostly got pummeled.

Both fighters got rough as the night wore on, but Broner consistently got the worse of things when it was all said and done. Sure, the gifted athlete had his moments. He was precise at times and made Maidana miss wide enough to earn some rounds, but Maidana was just too much grit, gumption and firepower. Broner was hurt in Round 3 by a hard left hook. Round 4 was fought at more a measured pace. Both did work from more of a distance than previous rounds. Broner landed jabs upstairs and down. Maidana kept the pressure on with unorthodox punching patterns.

In Round 5, Broner landed a nice uppercut to start out well, but Maidana erased it with a hard hook at the end of a three-punch combo. Back and forth it went. They were both landing punishing blows. Broner had his best round. Sure, he was still getting hit, but he also landed clean shots and dictated the pace of the round. Still, an undeterred Maidana threw the kitchen sink at him for good measure.

Broner did some fine work in Round 6. He took the fight to Maidana for most of the set, but again the hard-throwing Maidana landed heavy shots toward the end of the round.

Maidana threw punches in bunches in Round 7, and many of them landed. In Round 8, a booming left hook sent Broner down to the canvas again. The crowd cheered wildly. Broner did his best to hold Maidana and catch his breath. It worked, and Maidana lost his head a bit when he gave Broner a headbutt. Referee Laurence Cole immediately separated the men, taking a point away from the offender. Broner overly played up the foul, flailing around on the ground like a helpless child. Was he hurt as bad as he seemed? Or was he looking for a way out of the fight? Or maybe just a rest? Cole gave him a few minutes of respite, then ordered the men to continue.

Broner had a real problem now. He was still slowed from the Round 8 beating as Round 9 began. Maidana sensed it and came hard at him with thunderous blows. Broner tied him up, but Maidana landed a big left anyway. Then a right. Broner was hurt again. He moved quickly in retreat back and around the ring, but could not keep Maidana off of him. Another hard left was Broner’s punishment now. And another. Broner got his wits back when Maidana ran out of gas from all the punching, but it was a one-sided round for Maidana. Round 10 was back and forth. Broner was brave and proud. He would not suffer his first loss easily.

Maidana buzzed Broner to open Round 11, then Broner roared back with quick hooks and uppercuts. Then it was all Maidana again. He was a dominant force tonight. Broner hit Maidana after the bell. No point taken by Cole, but he called time and let Maidana rest an extra minute before the last round.

Round 12 was all Broner at the beginning, who must have known he needed a knockout to win. But Maidana, ever the willing warrior, spent the last minutes getting the better of some fantastically wild exchanges. When the final bell tolled, the pro-Maidana crowd cheered wildly for their man. He was the clear victor in perhaps the biggest upset of the year.

Thurman Takes Care of Soto Karass

Before the main event, welterweight Keith Thurman handed the brave Jesus Soto Karass a savage nine-round beating to remain undefeated and on the rise.

“I’m here to entertain!” exclaimed Thurman afterwards, and he certainly did.

An overhand right from Soto Karass in Round 1 stunned Thurman who recovered and knocked Soto Karass silly by the end with an overhand of his own as well as a left hook to the temple. He was the stronger puncher and it showed throughout the fight.

Soto Karass stood his ground in Round 2, ripping hooks to Thurman’s torso. Both landed meaningful blows in a torrid three minutes of action. Soto Karass was warned for a low blow.

Soto Karass was relentless in Round 3, coming forward with punches high in both power and volume. He strafed Soto Karass around his midsection and ripped him up top with a hard right hand. Round 4 was similar. Soto Karass was content to grind forward while Thurman circled to his left. Thurman is a smart fighter. He loaded up on punches likes hooks and uppercuts for counters to try and deter Soto Karass as much as possible.

After making Soto Karass miss more than any previous round, Thurman did real damage in Round 5. Thurman knocked Soto Karass down to his bottom, backwards into a neutral corner after a jab, cross, left hook combination. Thurman helped his adversary hit the deck with a slight forearm push on the way down after the hook had done it’s damage.

Thurman fought smart in Round 6, moving around and timing thunderous single punches from distance. Soto Karass was still pressing forward, but appeared tired and with less steam on his punches than before. Thurman’s jab and footwork was key to him taking Round 7, and a hard right hand didn’t hurt things either. Soto Karass did have a bit of success when pinning Thurman against the ropes, but it wasn’t enough to make traction.

Round 8 was close. While Soto Karass was pressing forward with constant pressure, Thurman’s counters seemed to lose their zip. Soto Karass landed a nice hook and right hand in the round that might have given him the edge, though Thurman connected with some missiles before the bell rang.

A hard right hand from Thurman in Round 9 sent Soto Karass reeling to start it, but the brave, tough warrior pressed on. Tired, hurt, and a little befuddled now, he stayed with his approach of sliding forward with small steps to close the distance on his opponent, an increasingly dangerous proposition. The end was near. Thurman stopped Soto Karass in his tracks with a tremendously powerful left hook, a right hand, then another, then a hook and another. The referee jumped in to stop it at 2:21 as poor Soto Karass fell down to his bottom in defeat.

Other Action

Light heavyweight Beibut Shumenov defeated Tomas Kovacs by Round 3 knockout. After the bout, Shumenov said he expected a bout with Bernard Hopkins in 2014.

Shumenov was the stalker against Kovacs. He worked his way into the fray behind a long jab, then opened up with a quick three-punch combo which ended with a left hook to knock Kovacs down near the end of Round 1. Kovacs took a count, but made it to his feet before 10. The bell sounded and he was free to continue. Shumenov played it safe in Round 2, working carefully but with enough aggression to keep Kovacs in danger. Kovacs took a knee from a left uppercut but got up to take several hard right hands.

Shumenov ate some right hands in the third, but used a stinging jab to keep Kovacs off balance enough until he could land a hard right hand to end things. Kovacs went down and the referee halted the bout at 2:55 of Round 3.

Super bantamweight Leo Santa Cruz outworked Cesar Seda over 12 rounds. It was a workmanlike effort from the universally loved volume puncher. Seda gave Santa Cruz various angles to keep his opponent from steamrolling over him, but couldn’t do enough to win many rounds. Judges at ringside scored it 116-11, 115-112 and 117-110 for Santa Cruz.

Bantamweight prospect Rau’Shee Warren defeated Jose Silveira by unanimous decision. Judges at ringside scored the bout 80-72 all three ways. Warren used fast and busy hands to befuddle his outclassed opponent over all eight rounds. The three-time Olympian said speed was a critical part of his arsenal as he moves forward in his transition from amateur to professional.

Former middleweight champion Jermain Taylor dominated J.C. Candelo on Saturday night. Taylor ended things with a jab-cross combo at 2:08 of Round 7. He was winning every round with a stiff jab and thunderous right hand, something he said he worked on rigorously during training camp. Taylor said he felt sharp in the bout, and that he expects a world title shot in 2014.

Lightweight prospect Robert Easter, Jr. looked the part of a future world champion in his short bout. The Cincinnati-based fighter used a hard left hook to double over Hardy Paredes of Chile in the very first round. The bout was called at :30 of Round 1.

Lightweight Jamel Herring dissected Lance Williams in just two rounds to continue his undefeated career. Herring scored two quick knockdowns in Round 2, then one more to finish him. Herring was a 2012 Olympian for the United States.

Finally, junior welterweight Ricardo Alvarez defeated Rod Salka by unanimous decision. Alvarez is one of Canelo’s older brothers, and does not appear as gifted.

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Jaron Ennis KOs Sergey Lipinets and Other Results from the Mohegan Sun

David A. Avila

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Jaron Ennis KOs Sergey Lipinets and Other Results from the Mohegan Sun

Philly is on the up. Again.

Jaron “Boots” Ennis kicked his stature into another gear with an impressive knockout of former world champion Sergey Lipinets on Saturday.

“It’s on the up now for bigger and better fights,” said Ennis.

Those Philly fighters know how to do it.

Before a small audience Philadelphia’s Ennis (27-0, 25 KOs) showed that he’s ready for the elite level class by dominating the always tough Lipinets (16-2-1, 12 KOs) at Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Conn.

Is there any other American welter looking for action?

Ennis walked into the arena with all of the physical advantages, but experience can be a tricky matter in the fight game. Lipinets was ready to provide the lesson.

For the first two rounds Ennis used his superior reach, height and speed to keep the former super lightweight world titlist from entering his domain. The Philly fighter wacked at the Russian fighter’s body and head while taking minimal return fire.

Lipinets finally found his way inside and both fighters traded big blows. A wicked right uppercut by Ennis connected and Lipinets bounced a right cross on the Philly fighter. Both absorbed the big blows with little effect.

Still, Ennis was winning all of the rounds and Lipinets realized that maintaining the status quo was not doing him any good. He increased his attack and slipped on Ennis foot and went down. It was incorrectly ruled a knockdown by the referee but it was the least of the Russian fighter’s problems.

Both fighters attacked the body but Lipinets shot one far below the belt and the fight was stopped for a moment. Lipinets was warned. Both went into attack inside and it seemed to be Lipinets best round. He seemed to find his way back into a groove.

“I saw he wasn’t as skilled on the inside as I was so that’s when I started getting a little closer,” Ennis said.

Ennis may have realized that Lipinets had a good round and he wasn’t about to allow another. As the two fighters re-engaged in their war inside, Ennis connected with a right hook to the chin and a left uppercut finished the job. Down went Lipinets and referee Arthur Mercante waved off the fight at 2:11 of the sixth round without a count.

“We worked on a lot of power shots and a lot of speed. That’s what we did,” said Ennis. “Everything is all natural.”

The impressive knockout of Lipinets proved that Ennis has more than enough ability to hang with the best welterweights around.

“Maybe one of the guys will want to fight me. Who knows?”, said Ennis.

Other Bouts

IBF super flyweight titlist Jerwin Ancajas (33-1-2, 22 KOs) floored Mexico’s Jonathan Rodriquez (22-2, 16 KOs) and hammered out a win by unanimous decision. But it wasn’t an easy fight. It never is when you put the Philippines versus Mexico.

Ancajas needed the win to keep his name handy for a possible match in the now heated super flyweight division that features Juan Francisco Estrada, Roman Gonzalez, and Carlos Cuadras.

A battle between welterweight contenders saw Eimantis Stanionis (13-0) power his way to a unanimous decision win after 12 rounds versus Thomas Dulorme (25-5-1).

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Fast Results from Tulsa: Joe Smith Jr Nips Vlasov, Wins WBO Title

Arne K. Lang

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Joe Smith Jr had to dig down deep to upend Russian veteran Maxim Vlasov, but pulled the fight out of the fire with a late rally to capture the vacant WBO light heavyweight title before a sold-out crowd of 500 masked-up fight fans at Tulsa’s Osage Casino. Smith prevailed by a majority decision. One of the judges had it a draw (114-114), but he was overruled by his cohorts who each turned in tallies of 115-113.

Smith, the quintessential blue-collar fighter, suffered a cut above his left eye in the first round and it troubled him throughout. Vlasov fought a smart fight, out-working the more one-dimensional Smith in most of the rounds, but a cut inside his mouth and Smith’s body punches eventually took their toll. Smith had a strong seventh round but Vlasov recaptured the lead only to let it slip away in a good action fight. There were no knockdowns, but Vlasov went down in the 11th from a punch that landed behind his head, an illegal punch, hence no knockdown.

Smith Jr improved to 27-3 and earned a date with WBC/IBF champion Artur Beterbiev. Vlasov, whose effort commanded a rematch that won’t happen — at least not any time soon — falls to 45-4. All four of the Russian’s losses have come on U.S. soil, two right here in Tulsa where Vlasov was out-pointed by future world title challenger Isaac Chilemba way back in 2011.

The were nine bouts in all the card, the majority of which were intended to showcase up-and-coming heavyweights. The result was a predictable slew of quick stoppages, resulting in plenty of dead time between bouts.

The match between Efe Ajagba and Brian Howard was packaged as the co-feature. Ajagba had been less than impressive in some of his recent starts, but tonight the 6-foot-6 former Olympian for Nigeria scored a devastating one-punch knockout to restore whatever luster he may have lost. The lightning bolt came at the 1:29 mark of round three. Howard was unconscious before he hit the canvas. Ajagba advanced to 15-0 with his 12th knockout. Howard declined to 15-5.

Other Bouts

In the last of the seven preliminary fights on ESPN’s subscription channel, Jared Anderson improved to 9-0 (9) with a second-round stoppage of West Virginia southpaw Jeremiah Karpency. The gifted 21-year-old Anderson, from Toledo, Ohio, scored two knockdowns with hard body shots before the bout was halted after only 38 seconds of the second round. The grossly overmatched Karpency was 16-2-1 heading in.

Local fan favorite Trey Lippe Morrison advanced his record to 17-0 with his 17th knockout, stopping 36-year-old Alabama journeyman Jason Bergman (27-20-2) in the third frame. Bergman came to fight and actually scored a knockdown in the opening round that the ref erroneously called a push. Fighting with his back against the ropes, Bergman landed a left that knocked Morrison off his pins.

It was a quirky knockout, coming at the 1:27 mark of round three when Bergman rolled his ankle while throwing an errant punch. He fell to the canvas in obvious pain and the bout was stopped. Bergman had lost seven of his last nine coming in, but was meeting an undefeated opponent for the fifth straight time.

Tulsa native Jeremiah Milton (3-0, 3 KOs) had a successful homecoming, bombing out Mississippi’s Jayvone Dafney in the first round. An overhand right by Milton left Dafney out on his feet with his back pinned against the ropes. Milton, realizing that his opponent was seriously hurt, held back, waiting for the referee to intervene. The time was 1:19.

In the ESPN+ opener, Philadelphia’s Sonny Conto (7-0, 6 KOs) returned after a 15-month absence and dismissed paunchy Waldo Cortes in the opening round. Conto put Cortes (6-4) down for the 10-count with a perfectly placed right hand. The official time was 1:41.

Photo credit: Mikey Williams / Top Rank via Getty Images

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Conor Benn Embarrasses His Detractors, Demolishes Vargas in 80 Seconds

Arne K. Lang

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Conor Benn fought Samuel Vargas in London today (Saturday, April 10). Although Benn was a solid favorite, he was stepping up in class. Vargas, a 31-year-old Canadian via Columbia, brought a 31-6-2 record. He had been in with the likes of Errol Spence Jr and Danny Garcia and had extended Amir Khan 12 rounds on Khan’s turf in Manchester.

Vargas’s best days were behind him , but the prevailing sentiment was that he would make it interesting, likely taking the fight into the late rounds and perhaps lasting the distance. So much for prevailing sentiment. Benn walked right through him. Vargas couldn’t cope with Benn’s superior speed. He was being battered against the ropes and offering nothing in return when referee Michael Alexander stepped in and waived it off. It was all over in 80 seconds. Benn improved to 18-0 with his 12th win inside the distance.

Benn, 24, is the son of Nigel Benn, a former two-division world champion who was one of England’s most celebrated fighters. Conor had a brief amateur career in Australia before turning pro at age 19 in London, the city of his birth. While his record is unblemished, it would be incorrect to say that he passed every test as he was climbing the ladder. His first fight with Cedric Peynaud, a marginally skilled Frenchman, has haunted him.

Benn was knocked down twice in the opening round, but scored two knockdowns of his own late in the 6-round fight and was awarded the decision. Peynaud brought a 5-4-3 record and to say that Conor’s performance was underwhelming would be an understatement. At the finish, his right eye was badly swollen.

Scott Gilfoid offered up the most damning criticism: “To say that Benn looked poor tonight is being kind. He was absolutely horrible….The flaws that I saw in Benn’s game tonight are ones that likely won’t go away anytime soon….His performance has to be viewed as a warning sign that he’s not destined to go far in the sport like his famous father.”

Benn and Peynaud fought on Dec. 13, 2017. This was Benn’s 12th pro fight. He had one more bout under his belt before he and the Frenchman had another go at it. The rematch, scheduled for 10 rounds, took place on July 28, 2018, on a show headlined by the heavyweight match between Dillian Whyte and Joseph Parker.

Benn knocked Peynaud down three times but couldn’t finish him. However, the outcome was never in doubt. He won by scores of 98-90 and 98-91 twice.

Trevor McIntyre, a stablemate of the aforementioned Scott Gilfoid (rumor has it that Gilfoid and McIntyre are the same person, and that both are aliases of the owner of the web site where their bylines appear) conceded that Benn showed improvement, but was otherwise unimpressed: “(He) still looked like someone that would be blown away by a halfway decent journeyman fighter….Benn’s defense was leaky, his hand speed slow, and his movements looked uncoordinated throughout.”

Benn’s most recent fight before tonight came against Sebastian Formella, a sturdy but feather-fisted German who was coming off a 12-round defeat to Shawn Porter, a bout in which he showed great heart but won nary a round. Benn won lopsidedly. The scorecards read 100-91, 99-91, and 98-92.

The mysterious Barry Holbrook, whose byline appears at the same web site as Gilfoid and McIntyre, acknowledged that Benn proved some of his doubters wrong, but wrote that “a top welterweight like Errol Spence, Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia, Terence Crawford, or Vergil Ortiz Jr would have knocked him out. If they didn’t score a knockout, they would have battered him to the point where the referee would have needed to stop it.”

The respected British scribe Ron Lewis offered a different take: “(Conor) looked a completely changed fighter from the wild youngster of his early professional career, switching well from head to body, being patient, and picking his spots well.” Lewis did not speculate how Benn would have fared against some of the division’s top guns, but certainly hinted that Nigel’s son could become a factor in what is currently a very strong welterweight division.

As today’s showing proved, Mr. Lewis is a more perceptive observer than his counterpart(s) at the web site where Benn has been repeatedly ‘dissed. Nigel’s son has made enormous strides in the last few years. He’s also an interesting character. Having spent much of his formative years living on the Spanish island of Majorca, he’s fluent in Spanish which is always a useful attribute from a marketing standpoint. But as for how good he is, let’s not jump to conclusions, mindful that Samuel Vargas was on the wrong side of the curve, having lost three of his last five heading in.

The question doesn’t yet have a definitive answer, but tonight in London, Conor Benn was very good, very very good.

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