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MANNY THE MAULER IS BACK: Pacquiao Dominates Algieri in Macau

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Manny Pacquiao, the old Manny Pacquiao, the nasty one, the one who persistently and violently went into search and destroy mode, was present in the main event from the Cotai Arena in Macau, on Saturday night (US time), and on HBO pay-per-view. He took it to Chris Algieri, scoring knockdown in round two, six, nine, ten totaling six of the beatdowns on the Long Islander, and whaddya know, all those times Freddie Roach told us we’d be seeing “the old Manny”….the presence of the concussive Congressman was bad news for Algieri, who had some luck moving and avoiding contact early, but then not so much.

Indeed, it was a Rocky road for the confident hitter who thought and hoped he’d extend his underdog upset streak. Not so; Pacquiao got the W, via scores of 119-103, 119-103, 120-102.

Algieri (age 30; 20-0 entering, with 8 KOs; 155 on fight night) who needed extra time to get from 144.4 to 143.8 at the weigh in on Friday, hails from Long Island, and currently lives in his parents’ basement.

Pacman (age 35; 143.8 to 149 on fight night) splits his time between boxing, and pro hoops and holding a Congressional seat.

The WBO welter crown was up for grabs in this 144 or less catchweight bout.

In the first, Chris moved left, away from the Manny left. A right hook landed on CA. The rangy NY boxer felt quickly Manny’s foot speed. A right lead on replay looked sharp from Algieri.

In the second, a straight left sent Algieri down..or was it a slip, on a watery corner? Algieri wasn’t committing so much to the jab, was more so looking to stay smart defensively. Replay showed slip, for the record.

In the third, Algieri moved incessantly, feinted, used a “stay away from me” jab, and he landed a clean right lead. Trainer Tim Lane said Algieri was “still in round one,” meaning he will stay focused and smartly defensive.

In the fourth, Manny came out firing and Algieri backing up. Chris held a high guard, kept moving his head and torso, but he ate a hard left near the end.

In the fifth, Algieri came out jabbing more. He made Manny miss quite smartly. A right and left hook, and then sliding away was working for Algieri. He won that round, boxing sweetly and smartly.

In the sixth, down went Algieri. He slipped and went down, for the third time, probably from a wet canvas. The left hand hurt him on the first one.

In the seventh, Algieri didn’t throw out the blueprint…but he had to know he was down on the cards and he’d need to power to re-take any momentum. He more so looked to not get clipped in this round.

In the eighth, Algieri kept moving, kept trying to win a round by a slim margin. He probably didn’t…

In the ninth, down went Algieri, off a straight left before an Algieri hook came. He was on bad legs. He took a knee, his fifth knockdown, right after.

In the tenth, down went Algieri again. Left hands, a right hook, and tired legs did it…Trainer Tim Lane told Chris he was now letting him out of the cage.

In the 11th, Manny landed a sharp lead left, and hunted down the American, craving more carnage. Lane brought up “champion lifestyle” and the “Chris Algieri show.”

In the 12th, Algieri did well to stay on his feet, and finish the fight. We went to the cards..

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Results from the Big Apple: Hunter Bombs Out Wilson; Algieri Wins Too

Arne K. Lang

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Results from the Big Apple: Hunter Bombs Out Wilson; Algieri Wins Too

TrillerVerz Fight Club, the new name for Triller, was at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden tonight for what ostensibly was the first installment of a regular monthly series. A Lou DiBella-promoted boxing card was the appetizer for a battle-of-the-bands-type showdown between local rap groups The Lox and Dipsit, legendary groups according to the promotional material colliding in an iconic confrontation.

The first batch of tickets put on sale were reportedly gone in 15 minutes. The gate was reportedly the highest in the 53-year history of the room. But empty seats were visible during the boxing portion of the telecast informing us that the rap battle was the allurement.

The main event was a 10-round heavyweight contest between Michael “The Bounty” Hunter, son of the late heavyweight fringe contender of the same name, and Mike “White Delight” Wilson, the pride of Central Oregon. They were originally slated to fight on June 19 in Miami on the undercard of Teofimo Lopez’’s mandatory title defense against George Kambobos Jr, but that card fell out when Lopez tested positive for Covid-19.

This was a rematch of sorts. They had met 14 years ago in the finals of an Olympic qualifying tournament and Hunter won a narrow decision. There was nothing narrow about tonight’s fight. Hunter was dominant from the get-go and blasted Wilson out in the fourth round.

It didn’t bode well for Wilson that he weighed a career-high 224 ¼. The 38-year-old Oregonian was soft in the belly and Hunter landed some hard shots there in the first two rounds. In Round Four, he snapped Wilson’s head back with a harsh uppercut and followed up with a short overhand right. Wilson went down hard and when he arose, leaking blood from several facial cuts, referee Ricky Gonzalez rightly waived it off.

Hunter, 33, improved to 20-1-1 (14). He has expressed interest in meeting Dillian Whyte, but it appears more likely that his next opponent will be Trevor Bryan who has a seat at the table at the WBA heavyweight title buffet. Wilson, who hadn’t previously been stopped, falls to 21-2.

P.S. – The sojourn back east worked out well for Las Vegas gym operator Bones Adams, the former WBA super bantamweight champion. Adams worked Jonnie Rice’s corner on Saturday night in Newark. With Michael Hunter in attendance, Rice turned his floundering career around with a smashing upset of Michael Coffie. Tonight, Adams was the primary advice-giver in Hunter’s corner.

Algieri – Les Pierre

In the chief undercard bout, Chris Algieri returned to the ring after an absence of more than two years and showed well in a 10-round welterweight contest with Brooklyn’s Mikkel Les Pierre. At age 37, Algieri, the Stony Brook University grad and former 140-pound world title-holder, was superbly conditioned. He was credited with throwing 910 punches, out-landing his 36-year-old opponent while winning a wide decision: 99-91 and 100-90 twice. Algieri had Les Pierre almost out in the eighth round when he threw the kitchen sink at his adversary. But he lacked the power to finish the job.

Now 25-3 (9), Algieri believes that he can once again be a force. That’s doubtful. He just doesn’t punch hard enough. But based on tonight’s showing, he earned the right to meet a more formidable opponent. Les Pierre, who is originally from Trinidad and Tobago, fell to 22-3-1.

Also

In off-TV bouts, welterweight Ivan Golub, a 32-year-old Brooklyn-based Ukrainian, improved to 19-1 with a wide 10-round decision over hard-trying Louisiana native Eric Walker (20-4) and light heavyweight Joe Ward, a highly decorated amateur from Moate, Ireland, won his fourth straight after a fluke loss in his pro debut with a 6-round decision over Louisiana’s Tory Williams (5-1-1). Ward won every round on all three cards.

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Late Sub Jonnie Rice Bursts Michael Coffie’s Bubble on a PBC Card in Newark

Arne K. Lang

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Every thing that could go wrong went wrong as promoter Al Haymon and his associates were patching together tonight’s card at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. But it couldn’t have worked out better for journeyman heavyweight Jonnie Rice who turned his career around with a smashing TKO of heavily favored and previously undefeated Michael Coffie.

Positive Covid tests scuttled two 10-round fights on the undercard. The main event had already been disheveled when Coffie’s original opponent Gerald Washington flunked his Covid test. Enter Rice (pictured on the right) who was on standby and seized the moment.

Rice, a Columbia, South Carolina native who has been living and training in Las Vegas, came in sporting a 13-6-1 record but five of his wins had come against no-hopers in Tijuana and he had yet to defeat an opponent in a match where he was the “B” side. But these facts were misleading as five of his six losses had come against hot prospects with undefeated records and he had honed his craft sparring against the likes of Tyson Fury, Filip Hrgovic, and Michael Hunter.

Based on “strength of schedule,” Rice, 34, had the edge over Coffie, the 35-year-old ex-Marine who brought a 12-0 record but was relatively untested. And Rice, who started fast, took the fight to Coffie and out-landed him. Coffie’s left eye was swelling and he wasn’t firing back when the referee waived it off in the fifth round.

Dirrell-Brooker

Tonight’s PBC fare came in two helpings with appetizers and the main event on FOX preceding a club-level show on FOX’s affiliate FS1. The main event of the nightcap was a 10-round light heavyweight bout between Andre Dirrell and Christopher Brooker.

Dirrell, who previously held an interim version of the IBF 168-pound world title, looked very sharp coming off a 19-month layoff, scoring three knockdowns before the fight was waived off in the third round. The Flint, Michigan native improved to 28-3 (18). Philadelphia’s Brooker fell to 16-8.

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Junior middleweight Joey Spencer (13-0, 9 KOs) scored an 8-round unanimous decision over James Martin (7-3). Spencer won comfortably on the scorecards – 80-72 and 79-73 twice – but was unimpressive.

Local fan favorite Vito “White Magic” Mielnicki Jr (9-1, 5 KOs) rebounded from his first pro loss with an impressive second-round stoppage of Noah Kidd (6-4-2).

Philadelphia welterweight Karl Dargan (20-1, 9 KOs), a former two-time national amateur champion, returned to the ring after a long absence and  stopped LA’s Ivan Delgado (13-4-2) in the third round.

New Jersey heavyweight Norman Neely advanced to 9-0 (7) with a unanimous decision over rugged Texas brawler Juan Torres (6-4-1). Neely won all six rounds on all three cards.

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Leigh Wood’s Big Upset Spangles the Rebirth of Eddie Hearn’s Garden Party

Arne K. Lang

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Last summer, hamstrung by the pandemic, Eddie Hearn hit upon the idea of holding boxing events outdoors in the expansive backyard of the family estate on the outskirts of London (now Matchroom Sport headquarters) where he grew up. Four shows were staged there.

The series has been revived. Today was “episode 1” of Season Two of Matchroom Fight Camp, otherwise known as Eddie Hearn’s Garden Party. Two more shows are penciled in over the next two weekends.

The match-up getting the most buzz was the welterweight contest between fast-rising Conor Benn and battle-tested Adrian Granados. Unfortunately, Benn tested positive for Covid-19. But the main event, a WBA world featherweight title defense by Can Xu (aka Xu Can) against Nottingham’s Leigh Wood stayed intact and produced a memorable upset.

Xu, who is co-promoted by Oscar De La Hoya, was installed a 4/1 favorite. Although he wasn’t a big puncher with only three knockouts to his credit in 20 starts, he rode into Hearn’s backyard riding a 15-fight winning streak for the third defense of his WBA “regular” title. But he started slow, perhaps the result of ring rust — it was his first fight of 2021 after missing all of 2020 – and he never did crank up the volume that had carried him to victory in his three title fights.

Wood, a stablemate of Josh Taylor who has made great gains since hooking up with Ben Davison and Lee Wylie, landed the heavier punches and was ahead on the cards when he took the fight out of the judges’ hands in the final minute of the final round. He decked Xu with a hard right hand and then trapped him on the ropes, forcing the stoppage that came with only 17 seconds remaining.

The 32-year-old Wood improved to 25-2 (15). Xu falls to 18-3. The deposed champion has a rematch clause so we may have a sequel.

Other Bouts

Chris Billam-Smith, trained by Shane McGuigan, won a hard-fought 12-round split decision over Belfast’s Tommy McCarthy in a cruiserweight scrap with three domestic titles at stake. The judges had it 116-112 and 115-114 for Billam-Smith, now 13-1, with the dissenter favoring McCarthy (18-3) by a 115-114 tally.

McCarthy wobbled Billam-Smith late in the first round with on overhand right, but could never land his Sunday punch on the Bournemouth fighter in a see-saw struggle with many close rounds. There were no knockdowns but McCarthy suffered a cut over his right eye near the end of round six from an apparent head butt.

McCarthy had Carl Frampton helping out in his corner which infused the contest with the aura of a grudge match. Frampton was the best man at Shane McGuigan’s wedding, but their friendship dissolved in a bitter court fight. At the end of the grueling fight, Billam-Smith and McCarthy embraced in a show of mutual respect.

Liverpool super-welterweight Anthony Fowler whose lone setback came at the hands of Scott Fitzgerald (a split decision) won his sixth straight with an eighth-round stoppage of Germany’s Rico Mueller whose cornerman was on the ring apron when the slow-acting referee waived it off at the 2:12 mark. Fowler, who is also trained by Shane McGuigan, improved to 15-1 (11). His next bout is expected to come against fellow Scouser Liam Smith in October. This was the second fight this month for the game but out-gunned 33-year-old Mueller (28-4-1) who was subbing for veteran Tex-Mex campaigner Roberto Garcia who pulled out with a back injury.

Also, Jack Cullen (20-2-1, 9 KOs) scored a 10-round unanimous decision over Avni Yildirim (21-4) in a 10-round super middleweight contest. Yildirim, from Turkey, was looking to atone for his hollow performance against Canelo Alvarez this past February. While he had his moments, he was out-worked by the lanky Lancashire man who won by scores of 100-90, 08-92, and 97-93.

Photo credit: Alan Walton / Matchroom Boxing

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