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Shawn Porter Outworks Adrien Broner for Unanimous Decision Win

Kelsey McCarson

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Shawn Porter wants to be fighter. Anything he does beyond that seems to be of secondary concern to him. He’s a hard worker. He fights with urgency. He does everything he can do to win. Adrien Broner does not want to be a fighter. He wants to be famous. He’s gotten by on talent and athleticism alone, and any hard work he’s done to become an elite-level fighter seems to have taken place years ago.

Barring a significant gap in talent and skill, a guy that wants to be a fighter will almost always beat a fighter who just wants to be famous. Such was the case on Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, as Porter, the fighter, defeated Broner, the celebrity, by unanimous decision.

Judges at ringside score the bout 114-112, 115-111 and 118-108 for Porter.

“That’s how you beat a great fighter intelligently,” said Porter after the fight. He told NBC’s Kenny Rice he established his jab early and proved to be the better boxer. It was an outstanding effort from Porter. It was much less so from Broner as well as referee Tony Weeks, who allowed Broner to foul Porter with holds, forearms and general mauling tactics all throughout the bout until finally taking a point away in Round 11.

In fact, the entire fight might have been a microcosm for Broner’s whole career. Broner, the flashy and talented boxer, came into the fight dancing and smiling. Was he even taking things seriously? The bell rang, and he was mostly interested in posing and fouling. Does he want to be a fighter or just want to look like a fighter? There’s a huge difference.

The worst part wasn’t even Broner. It was Weeks. Here was the man who was supposed to have control of the action. Here was the man given authority to tell the 25-year-old Broner all the things he couldn’t and shouldn’t have been doing. I imagine Broner has lots people like Weeks in his life. Do his managers, his promoters, his family or his friends ever tell him when he’s acting like a buffoon? Or do they just let it slide like Weeks did? Evidence supports the latter.

No matter, Porter, age 27, capitalized on all of Broner’s mistakes and took home the win. Both fighters are from Ohio, Porter from Cleveland and Broner from Cincinnati. Cleveland prevailed.

Both fighters started slow and cautious in Round 1. Porter caught Broner with two left hooks as Broner was moving backwards, causing Broner to hold on for dear life. The two wrestled a bit at the end of the round, pushing and mauling back at each other to see who was the stronger and rougher man. It was Porter.

Broner’s plan from the start of Round 2 seemed to be landing his blazingly fast left hook as Porter advanced toward him. But Porter was patient in his approach and able to duck it or faint the punch out before rushing in to do work. Broner’s other plan was grabbing hold of Porter if he got passed the hook, holding his head down and not letting him get anything but wide and blind shots off. Broner’s faster, shorter punches gave him the edge in Round 2.

Porter was busier in Round 3. He concentrated his efforts on Broner’s body. Broner held anytime Porter got in close, pushing Porter’s head down to the ground or shoving his forearm into Porter’s throat. Weeks allowed it. But Porter used good head movement and fancy footwork to alternate his attack enough to do the meaningful work inside.

Broner slipped off his feet at the begging of Round 4. He wasn’t hurt, but Porter jumped on him anyway. Broner mostly held and mauled with his forearms. Weeks let him do it. But Porter bullied Broner around the ring and to the ropes and landed punches anywhere and everywhere he could.

Broner was the aggressor in Round 5. He showed his talent. He came out throwing sharp left hooks and was the fighter walking forward for the first two minutes of the round. This was how he should have fought the entire fight. But Porter weathered the flashy and clean blows to get back to jousting forward behind his telephone pole jab by the last minute of action. Still, it was Broner’s best round yet.

Porter reasserted himself in Round 6. He used swift head movement to dart his way into punching range. Once there, he let his hands goes. Broner landed single counters here and there, but Porter’s physical strength and assertiveness was clearly winning both the round and the fight.

Broner intentionally fouled Porter with backhands twice in Round 7 while Weeks was breaking the two men up from a hold that Broner initiated. But Weeks did not take a point away from Broner, only offering him a warning for the behavior. Otherwise the three minutes ticked away with Porter intelligently walking Broner down.

Round 8 was beautiful. Both fighters looked haggard, but both threw punches from decent enough space to land clean and often. Despite clearly being tired, both fought at a relatively torrid pace and there was nary a clinch in the three minutes, at least in comparison to the previous seven rounds.

But Broner fouled Porter egregiously again in Round 9. He grappled both arms when Porter bullied him to the ropes, then stuck his open glove in Porter’s face to keep him away. Again, Weeks did not take away a point. Broner landed a few flashy counters in the round, but Porter threw and landed more.

Porter landed a hard overhand right in Round 10. Broner responded with a hook and an illegal forearm. Porter walked him down, though, and landed another vicious right hand again a few seconds afterward. By the end of the round, Porter had stunned him again with the same right hand in the corner. It was the most one-sided three minutes yet.

Broner surprisingly fought with no urgency in Round 11. He was content to hold and dance away from any and all action. Even Weeks, who to this point in the fight could have been mistaken for Broner’s biggest supporter, seemed to have enough of it. He finally took a point away from the hapless Broner much to the delight of the crowd who let out a sarcastic cheer. Broner is a very talented fighter. He could be great. Even if he just wanted to be very good, he could do that easier than most. He dropped Porter like a sack of bricks to start Round 12 with a sharp, hard left hook. But when Porter got up, Broner either didn’t know what to do or didn’t have the fortitude to do it.

Porter, the hurt fighter, bullied and pressured Broner, the famous talent, for the remainder of the round. Again, it was Broner initiating clinches. Again, it was Broner losing the fight. Again, it was Broner being Broner.

Final CompuBox stats showed Porter outlanded Broner 149-88 in the bout and 99-68 in power shots. That’s what a fighter does. He throws and lands punches.

Spence Stops Lo Greco in Three

One of boxing’s best young prospects, Errol Spence Jr., stopped Phil Lo Greco in just three rounds. Lo Greco, the self-proclaimed “Italian Sensation,” was offered the fight this week after Spence’s original opponent could not make weight.

Lo Greco gave it his all. He tried to force the young southpaw back in Round 1, but by Round 2 was taking heavy blows to the head and body. He came out of his corner in Round 3 looking like a beaten man, and Spence made him look it even more by knocking him down with a counter right hook. The brave Lo Greco rose to his feet but was staggered moments later by a straight left hand. Referee Robert Byrd stopped the bout with Lo Greco eating too punches on the ropes.

Spence, age 25, appears to have legitimate superstar potential. In fact, of all the fighters in Al Haymon’s impressive stable, he might just have the most upside.

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Pico Rivera Summer Fights See Cruz, Vega and Flores Win

David A. Avila

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Pico-Rivera-Summer-Fights-See-Cruz-Vega-and-Flores Win

PICO RIVERA, Ca.-Along the San Gabriel River on a soft summer evening, Red Boxing Promotions brought another slew of hot local prospects to the forefront on Saturday.

Chino’s Daniel “Cuetito” Cruz (3-0) burst into the fight like an energy bomb and simply overwhelmed southpaw Phillip Bounds (0-4) with lightning combinations to win by unanimous decision. More than 700 fans saw the Red Boxing fight card.

Though it was only his third pro fight, the high intensity prizefighter Cruz (pictured on the left) exhibited a level of confidence that allowed him to attack with impunity for the first two rounds.

Cruz switched to southpaw and had even more success against the lefty Bounds. The speed of Cruz proved too much to overcome for Bounds who tried different approaches but couldn’t find an antidote for Cruz who won by unanimous decision 40-36 on all three cards in the super lightweight match.

“I’m excited, I wanted to put on a good show,” said Cruz, 20. “I’m coming for all of the big names. Cuetito is here.”

Andre Marquez (2-1) overwhelmed the much taller Alvin Brown (0-8) from Louisiana with a whirlwind style that ended in a knockout in the fourth and final round of their super featherweight match. A left hook caught Brown flush and Marquez followed up with four more blows, forcing Brown to take a knee at 1:41 of the fourth round. Marquez was ruled the winner by knockout by referee Sharon Sands.

“My plan was to work his body,” said Marquez. “It worked out perfectly.”

Welterweights Bradley Pena (0-0-1) and Ed Nunez (0-0-1) blasted each other for four rounds, with Pena starting fast and Nunez ending strong. No knockdowns were scored in the fight that started the night and ended in a draw.

Main Bouts

A light flyweight clash saw Axel Vega (13-2-1, 8 KOs) of Ensenada, Mexico knock out Tijuana’s Giovanni Noriega (2-5-2) with a triple left hook in the second round. Vega, 19, trained out of Compton for this fight.

Welterweight prospect Steven Rodriguez (8-0) suffered a cut on his forehead due to a clash of heads but still managed to out-perform Las Vegas fighter Ryan Picou (3-12-1) after four rounds. All three judges scored the fight 40-36 in favor of Rodriguez. But Picou gave a stubborn defense against the constant rushes of Rodriguez and was able to score on occasion.

Santa Barbara’s Angel Flores (6-0, 4 KOs) defeated Mexico’s Roberto Almazan (9-12) by unanimous decision after six rounds in a super lightweight contest. Flores knocked down Almazan twice in the last round to clinch the win and get the victory by a landslide.

In the audience was former world champion Arturo Frias of East Los Angeles who won the WBA world lightweight title in 1982 and fought numerous times at LA’s  fabled Olympic Auditorium. Also in attendance was current super flyweight contender Adelaida “La Cobra” Ruiz of Los Angeles who is scheduled to fight on October 12 at the same Pico Rivera Sports Arena. Red Boxing Promotions will be staging the event.

Photo credit: Al Applerose

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Fast Results from Russia: Kovalev KOs Yarde in the 11th

Arne K. Lang

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Fast-Results-from-Russia-Kovalev-KOs-Yarde-in-the-11th

The consensus of opinion regarding tonight’s fight at Chelyabinsk between Sergey Kovalev and Anthony Yarde was that….well, there was no consensus, save that it would not bode well for Yarde if both fighters were still standing at the final bell. Fighting in his hometown, and with a monster payday reportedly looming against Canelo Alvarez should he win, “Krusher” was unlikely to get the worst of it if the fight went to the scorecards. But there would be no controversial decision. In a fight that started slowly and then shifted Yarde’s way, Kovalev stemmed the momentum, took charge in the 10th, and then closed the show in the next round with a scorching left hand that left Yarde flat on his back, gasping for air.

In handicapping the fight, Kovalev certainly had more check marks in the plus column. A former three belt champion and the reigning WBO 175-pound title-holder, Kovalev would be appearing in his 16th world title fight, his second with Hall of Fame trainer Buddy McGirt, with whom he had great rapport. By contrast, Yarde, although undefeated (18-0), had answered the bell for only 51 rounds and had defeated only nine fighters with winning records. Moreover, the Englishman had fought only 12 amateur fights before turning pro.

However, at age 36, Kovalev was getting long in the tooth and in some of his more recent fights he had stamina issues. Moreover, there was a school of thought that Yarde was a beast. In his 30 fights, amateur and pro, he had scored 28 knockouts.

Yarde’s first good round was the seventh and he followed that up with a very strong eighth in which he hurt Kovalev and had the Krusher looking tired. But the assumption that he had paced himself brilliantly proved to be a mirage. As the bout moved into the home stretch, it was the younger man that was more fatigued.

Kovalev backed Yarde against the ropes and hurt him in the 10th. The Russian repeatedly had success with his hard left jab (shades of Larry Holmes) and it was a jab that ended it. Yarde was too exhausted to make it to his feet and was counted out.

Kovalev reportedly has already agreed to meet Canelo in November or December. Tonight he may have added an extra zero to his purse.

Kovalev vs. Canelo, likely at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, will be a blockbuster. Let the hype begin.

Co-Feature

The co-feature between knockout artists Aleksei Papin and Ilunga Makabu wasn’t expected to last the distance, but it went the full 12 and was a highly entertaining affair climaxed by a great 12th round. When the smoke cleared, Ilunga, who went to post a slight favorite, improved to 26-2 (24) by dint of winning a majority decision. It was the second straight win on Russian soil for the Congolese southpaw who fights out of Johannesburg. In his previous go, he stopped Dmitry Kudryashov in the fifth round at Ekaterinburg.

Papin was 11-0 going in with 10 knockouts but the 31-year-old Russian, a former kickboxing champion, was moving up in class against Makabu, a former world title challenger. In the 12th, Makabu scored a knockdown with a straight left after buzzing Papin with a left-right combination, but Papin wasn’t badly hurt and came back to rock him in the final seconds. The knockdown seemingly spelled the difference as two judges had it 115-113 with the third scoring it even (113-113).

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Tanaka and Hatanaka Stay Undefeated in Nagoya

Arne K. Lang

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Tanaka-and-Hatanaka-Stay-Undefeated-in-Nagoya

Kiyoshi Hatanaka, the former world super bantamweight champion, now runs a boxing gym and promotes fights in his hometown of Nagoya. The top fighters in his gym are 24-year-old Kosei Tanaka, who has already won world titles in three weight classes, and Kento Hatanaka, Kyoshi’s 21-year-old son. Both were in action today and both were victorious, but not without anxious moments.

Tanaka, the reigning WBO 112-pound champion, improved to 14-0 (8 KOs) with a seventh-round TKO of Jonathan Gonzalez (22-3-1) in an action-packed bout. There were five knockdowns in all, four by Tanaka, before the referee waved it off with merely a second remaining in the seventh stanza.

Gonzalez took a knee after being hurt by a body punch in round three. But he returned the favor, knocking Tanaka down with a counterpunch in the next stanza, and seemingly had the fight in hand when he dominated the fifth. But Tanaka regained the momentum and scored three knockdowns in Round 7 to close the show.

Kosei Tanaka is overshadowed as a sports personality by countryman Naoya “Monster” Inoue, but is carving out quite a legacy. At age 19, in only his fifth pro fight, he defeated WBO minimumweight (105 pound) champion Julian Yadras of Mexico. He then gathered in titles at 108 and 112, accomplishing the hat trick in only his 12th pro fight, tying Vasiliy Lomachenko’s record.

With only a few pounds separating each of the lowest weight classes, Tanaka likely isn’t done jumping up in weight. There’s already talk of a showdown with 115-pound title-holder Kazuto Ioka. But Tanaka has indicated that he wants to expand his opportunities overseas, following the example of Inoue. There are still holes in his defense, but that makes for exciting fights and a match between him and someone like “Chocolatito” Gonzalez would be worth the price of admission.

Jonathan Gonzalez, a southpaw with a good amateur pedigree, had fought his previous three fights in Kissimmee, Florida. When in his native Puerto Rico, he trains in the same gym as former super bantamweight and featherweight champion Juan Manuel Lopez. We certainly haven’t seen the last of him.

The 10-round co-feature between super flyweights Kento Hatanaka and Jaysever Abcede was also a crowd pleaser that saw both combatants score knockdowns. Hatanaka improved to 10-0 but was extended the distance for the first time in his pro career. Abcede, a noted spoiler from the Philippines, saw his winning streak end at four and fell to 19-9. The scores were 95-93, 96-93, and 96-92.

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