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Floyd Mayweather vs. Andre Berto Final Press Conference Quotes

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FLOYD MAYWEATHER AND ANDRE BERTO FINAL PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES AT MGM GRAND IN LAS VEGAS

“HIGH STAKES: MAYWEATHER VS. BERTO” 

This Saturday, Sept. 12, Live on SHOWTIME PPV®

Photo From Idris Erba/Mayweather Promotions

LAS VEGAS (Sept. 9, 2015)Floyd Mayweather and Andre Berto participatedin the finalpress conference for“HIGH STAKES: Mayweather vs. Berto” on Wednesday at the David Copperfield Theatre at the MGM Grand ahead of their major showdown taking place this Saturday, Sept. 12 live on SHOWTIME PPV(8 p.m. E/5 p.m. PT) from the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

In what is expected to be the final fight of his illustrious 19-year career, boxing superstar and pound-for-pound king Mayweather (48-0, 26 KOs) will put his undefeated record and WBC and WBA Welterweight World Championships on the line when he faces power-punching, two-time welterweight world champion Berto (30-3, 23 KOs). Three days before they meet in the ring, the two fighters and their camps were business-like and confident as they took their turns at the podium.

Here is what the fighters and executives had to say Wednesday:

FLOYD MAYWEATHER

“We’ve been here so many times. I know talking doesn’t win fights. I know trainers don’t win fights. It comes down to the two competitors. I’m always prepared, physically and mentally. We have a remarkable game plan.

“I want to thank everyone that has covered this event and my career over 19 years. Whether it was a good story or a bad story, you guys wrote about me and kept me relevant. That’s how I was able to do record breaking numbers.

“Training camp was unbelievable, like always. I was asked if I’d be able to get in top condition after the Pacquaio fight and I absolutely did. No matter who I chose, the critics would have something to say.

“I know what it takes for a fight at this magnitude. No matter what anyone says, it comes down to the two competitors and I know what I can do. One thing I can do, I can fight.

“When we talk about landing the highest percentage, I’m that guy. When we talk about doing the highest gate or PPV, I’m that guy.

“I can’t say I’m going out 49-0 because you can’t overlook anyone.

“Every fight played a major key. It’s not just the intelligence; it’s the sharp mind, the good chin, the tremendous heart. I never overlooked an opponent. I trained for every fighter the same way, by pushing myself. I believe in my skills and I believe in my talent. I’ve been in there with the best, and the results are always the same.

“You have fighters that may be faster than me, there are fighters that may hit harder than me, you have fighters who are very athletic, but you don’t have a fighter who can make adjustments like me. You don’t have fighters that can be on my level mentally.

“It’s never personal for me, it’s always business. Everyone fights for what they fight for. My thing is this; I keep my eyes on the prize. I don’t focus on things outside the ring. I focus on the guy in front of me.

“You get to where you get to by staying focused. My dream was to be the best. No matter what happens Saturday, when it comes to boxing, I’m the best at this.

“Some guys wanted to rush me, well what’s plan B? Pacquiao could set traps for other fighters, but he couldn’t set traps for Floyd Mayweather. You need a plan A, a plan B and a plan C. I’ve never beaten a fighter with my plan A.

“Berto you’ve had a hell of a career. You’re a tough fighter and competitor. It’s obvious you’ve done something right. My thing is, just put guys in front of me, and we’ll rate him after they face me.

“To be in the sport of boxing and make upwards of $800 million, my team has done their job. I’ve never focused on things on the outside. I’ve never put anything before boxing. At 4:30 in the morning when my opponent is sleeping, I’m working. I don’t want to leave anything in this sport.

“No fighter in history has been in bigger fights than me. No fighter in history has beat more champions than I’ve beat. But it’s not over yet. I’m going to push myself. I can go to places where no fighter can go mentally.

“The sport of boxing needs this. Berto is a tough, young, hungry fighter and that’s what we need to bring the best out of us. I’m going to come forward and be Floyd Mayweather. Trainers and fighters try to find ways to throw fighters off, but I know what to do when it’s all said and done.

“I want my legacy to be of a remarkable fighter inside the ring and a great businessman outside of it.

“We’re going for the knockout. I’m pretty sure he’s going for the knockout. It’s going to be something special.”

ANDRE BERTO

“It’s funny, when it comes to the media and critics. They’re not in that gym working and knowing the feeling of being a fighter. They don’t know the miles we run and the sacrifices that we have to make to become a world champion or come up to this level of fight.

“This camp has been intense. It has definitely taken me up to levels that I’ve never achieved. We’ve left no stone unturned, I’ve busted my ass for the last couple months.

“Anybody that steps in the ring, I have to respect. When it’s time to fight, I’m coming for my respect. Saturday night is going to be a good one I promise you.

“I’ve given my whole life to this sport. I’ve come in and I’ve entertained the people. That’s what I do. That’s why I came into this game. I’ve been counted out from day one coming from where I come from.

“I’m just coming for my respect. I’m coming for everything that I deserve.

“At the end of the day, I have to be able to take my game to a whole other level. Sometimes you need that opponent to get you to that point, and Floyd is the one.

“He has a great IQ, but one shot can change it all.

“You can be smart, you can be fast, but this is boxing.

“Floyd is sharp of course, but I have certain tools that I believe will make it a real difficult Saturday night. We’re going for the knockout. You definitely don’t want to miss it.

“This is huge for Haiti. The country of Haiti is just elated right now and Saturday night they will definitely be in the building. Saturday night will be historical for the country. This is the first time that an individual has been on this level to represent the country.

FLOYD MAYWEATHER SR., Mayweather’s Father & Trainer

“I see a real fight on Saturday. Don’t get me wrong because I don’t know what’s going on but I really think Floyd is coming to fight.

“I know Berto’s coming to fight. One thing I’ve seen from Berto is that he has no defense – and he’s messing with a defensive whiz.

“I definitely think Floyd will trap him somewhere along the way.

“Floyd respects Berto and is not overlooking him, but he might just stop him, it’s very possible.’’

VIRGIL HUNTER, Berto’s Trainer

“There are some things that a lot of people don’t understand. When you have two guys who were born in situations where they try to prove who the king of the school is, you get some real fights.

“I think about Joe Frazier in the “Thrilla in Manila”, when people thought he was done, but he fought over his head. Does Andre Berto have that capability? Yes, of course he does. We see it all the time in sports. There are nights when it just happens. Andre Berto is going to take it over his head and that’s what he intends to do and what he has to do.

“We can’t match his IQ, but there are other elements that make a successful fight. There is something brewing in the air. I’ve been around a long time and I know when something is personal. You better tell your people to tune-in for this fight. Trust me; it’s going to be a rumble.

“I’ve seen Floyd’s Plan B. I’ve seen him go to war. I’ve seen him rumble with guys bigger than him. I’m not going to be swayed by his skill. This fight is going to be fought from way deep down.”

LEONARD ELLERBE, CEO of Mayweather Promotions

“We are thrilled that this fight night will be filled with high stakes matchups all night. We have a tremendous fight card. Of course, the main event has the highest stakes of them all as Andre Berto will be taking on the undefeated Floyd Mayweather.”

STEPHEN ESPINOZA, Executive Vice President and General Manager, SHOWTIME Sports

“Six fights in 30 months. Floyd, they said you wouldn’t do it, they said you couldn’t do it and once again you proved them wrong. The first five fights yielded nearly 10 million PPV buys, $750 million in PPV receipts and it’s all led here to fight number six, fight number 49.

“19 years undefeated, 17 consecutive years as world champion, 16 consecutive opponents who are former or current champions. On Saturday night none of that matters. Andre Berto isn’t fighting a legacy or a record book or history, he’s fighting a man, and men can lose.

“The conventional wisdom is that Floyd is going to win this fight, but conventional wisdom said that the first Maidana fight would be easy for Floyd. It said Canelo would be Floyd’s toughest challenger and it said Pacquiao could beat Mayweather. It didn’t account for Hasim Rahman or Buster Douglas and it certainly won’t account for Andre Berto’s heart or desire to rewrite boxing history on Saturday night.

“Like you, I don’t know what will happen on Saturday night. I do know that Berto is more athletic than any fighter Floyd has fought recently. One thing I do know, it’s not going to be boring. When you have fighters like our entire PPV card has, it’s a night not to be missed.”

RICHARD STURM, President of Entertainment & Sports for MGM Resorts International

“We’re thrilled to be a part of this championship fight between Mayweather and Berto that will kick off a sensational fall lineup of entertainment at MGM. We all look forward to history as Floyd looks to end his career at 49-0 and equal the record of Rocky Marciano that has stood since September 1955.

“We are pleased to welcome back Andre Berto. Berto will take on one of the sport’s greatest champions and there is no doubt he will be prepared for the challenge.”

BOB BENNETT, President of the Nevada State Athletic Comission

“There is no doubt that any commission in the world would be elated to have this fight, just like we are. We’re very appreciative of Floyd Mayweather for having this show in our backyard. The NSAC actually commissioned Floyd’s first fight 19 years ago and to date we have regulated 25 out of 49 of Floyd’s fights come this Saturday night when he tries to tie Rocky Marciano’s record.

“It’s been our honor and privilege to regulate these fights. Our officials spend a lot of time in training and we’re ready to go to work come Saturday night.”

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“—C’mon!” (from the pen of Springs Toledo)

Springs Toledo

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-C'mon

“—C’mon!” said Teofimo Lopez with two seconds left in the 12th round. It was a Brooklyn thing to say on a Brooklyn-type Saturday night, and Lopez timed it well. He’d just crashed two hooks at either side of Vasiliy Lomachenko’s head and ended their saga as it began—with sharp words.

“My son will destroy Lomachenko,” Lopez’s father told EsNews in August 2017. Three months later Lopez was in the gym mimicking his style. “Same side always,” he said as he tapped the bag and dipped to his right. “Nuthin’ different.” “Lomachenko is a diva,” he said last week. “I don’t like him … I’m the type of person, I say something I mean it. If you have a problem with it, come see me.” Lomachenko came to see him all right, and both brought their fathers as if the whole thing was a schoolyard scrap.

Lomachenko’s father is a silent sage. His modern training techniques are part of the “performance revolution” that has transformed every sport, including the sport that’s barely a sport, and not necessarily for the better. Papa Chenko’s futurama theories seem at once scientific and idiosyncratic. Pundits who never heard of Freddie Brown think they’re next-level stuff. There’s Lomachenko holding his breath under water to build lung strength; there he is touching that board with blinking lights to improve hand-eye coordination. When Lomachenko was 9, his father went so far as to enroll him in a Ukrainian folk dance school to expose him to hobak, hutsulka, and the kolomiyka, and you can see it in all the hopping and side-stepping he does around the ring at 32.

Papa Lopez is anything but silent, though he too is a sage—a naysaying sage with street instincts picked up during a few round trips through hell. He takes no one’s word for anything and if he takes a break from a tirade and asks a question, it has about as much tact as a shiv. When Lomachenko is holding his breath in the pool is someone else there too, denting his rib cage with hooks? Those lights blinking on the screen, do they feint? And dancing school? Dancing school? Brooklyn itself rolls its collective eyes.

Papa Lopez laughs without mirth at the consensus opinion, at the so-called experts. But he couldn’t laugh off the indisputable fact that Lomachenko has been knocking off a parade of world-class fighters. So he plopped down in front of YouTube to see for himself what was happening.

And what did he see?

He saw that the so-called Matrix style is a series of tricks; that Lomachenko is pulling fast ones on the gullible in the opposite corner and in press row. He saw opponents cooperating with him as he gauged their strengths and weaknesses in the first round or two and measured the distance between his glove and their chin. He saw them mesmerized by nothing-shots—“pitty pats,” he called them, “patty-cakes,” and wondered if it would have been easier or harder, given the language barrier, if Lomachenko just came out and asked them to throw something so he can find the best route around it to sock them in the chops.

Papa Lopez also saw that Lomachenko is preoccupied with not getting hurt; that he habitually slips, dips, and veers off to his right against the conventional stance. Teofimo, 23, saw the same thing. They both know why he prefers that direction: it’s the safest route.

His offense, which has two prongs and lots of frills, doesn’t contradict his preoccupation. Lomachenko wants to draw out his opponents to counter them. He stands a half-step off the perimeter where they can’t quite reach him and he can’t reach them. Then he baits them. If they take the bait, he hops in with a jab and then hops back out of reach. He’s making calculations, looking for patterns, and once he finds them he exploits them with minimal risk to himself because, like Floyd Mayweather, he already has a pretty good idea of what they’re going to throw. When is he most aggressive? When his opponent is least aggressive—out of position or covering up. He isn’t comfortable with uncalculated risks. Like Floyd, he wants control; and that only happens with an opponent’s cooperation.

Stanley Crouch, the late cultural critic and Brooklynite who was at least as contentious as Papa Lopez, understood the set-up. “What a boxer ideally wants to do is turn the opponent into an assistant in his own ass-whipping,” he said. “That’s really what you want the other guy to do—to assist you in whipping his ass.”

Lomachenko built a reputation on willing assistants.

And defeating him was easier than anyone anticipated. The fighter of the future bowed to all-American unruliness and old-fashioned fundamentals.

Old School’s comeback Saturday night was long, long overdue. Lopez used his strength and length to draw an invisible border with a warning that said “this far and no farther.” Then he enforced it. Instead of letting Lomachenko freely angle around him like he’s some stiff at the prom, he angled with him and threw punches. When Lomachenko slipped and sallied past his invisible border, he adjusted his distance and sent the dogs out. He stopped his momentum. He never let him take control. He never cooperated.

By the 8th round, Lomachenko realized that he had no chance to win unless he let go of his preoccupation with defense. He had to “sell out,” as Andre Ward said, by getting closer and sallying in when it wasn’t safe. Lomachenko won the 8th round—the first of only three that two judges scored his way—but it didn’t matter. His mouth had dropped open as if he was getting ready to admit futurama’s failure. “I heard him huffing and puffing and I knew I had him,” said Lopez.

The 12th round reminds us that Old School remains the gold standard in the sport that’s barely a sport. When Papa Lopez had a nervous moment in the corner and urged caution, Lopez refused. “I’m a fighter, I can’t give him that,” he said, as if to remind us that Old School is more than dust, that it’s a disposition.

Teofimo Lopez now stands in a succession of lightweight kings whose dispositions were the impetus behind achievements that make this succession very possibly the most majestic of them all: Joe Gans. Benny Leonard. Tony Canzoneri. Barney Ross. Henry Armstrong. Ike Williams. Carlos Ortiz. Roberto Duran. Julio Cesar Chavez. Pernell Whitaker.

Floyd Mayweather is in that succession too, but the business model that guided his career was rebuked Saturday night. Lopez pointed to the past, polished it up, and declared its superiority. “We’re bringing back what the Old School was. You fight the best and push on it. I’m not here to pick and choose who I want to fight because I want to defend my title and keep that 0,” he said and shook his head. “No. Nah!”

The lightweight king now beckons chief rivals Devin Haney, Ryan Garcia, and Gervonta Davis to disavow the business model and take up the red flag. He looks north to Josh Taylor and Jose Carlos Ramirez’s battle for the jr. welterweight crown and beckons either of them—or both.

 “—C’mon!”

 

Photo credit: Mikey Williams / Top Rank

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Kelsey McCarson’s HITS and MISSES: Takeover Edition

Kelsey McCarson

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Boxing is back!

Okay, boxing had technically been back for a few months now. But didn’t it seem to be more fully back to normal with the weekend’s lightweight unification battle between Teofimo Lopez and Vasiliy Lomachenko on ESPN?

Make that double the case now that another edition of HITS and MISSES follows the latest big weekend in boxing, the first installment since the global pandemic began. 

HIT: Teofimo Lopez’s Undisputed Takeover

It’s one thing to parade something like “Takeover” around as your nickname while promising to be the next great fighter in the sport. It’s quite another to actually pull that takeover off, and do it at the tender age of 23 against a three-division world champion that’s a massive betting favorite. 

But that’s what Lopez did on Saturday night in Las Vegas, and he accomplished it in a way that almost nobody expected. 

Lopez dominated Lomachenko from the start of the fight. He outboxed the clever southpaw savant in a way few people dreamed possible and took home the unanimous decision win. Even among the few who thought the young lion might somehow usurp the old guard, most of that crew thought it would probably be one big punch that sent Loma down for the count.

By the end of the night, Lopez had solidified his status as boxing’s newest superstar. He also became the first undisputed lightweight champion since Pernell Whitaker. 

But even if the whole WBC Franchise fiasco leaves you in a place that questions that specific designation, Lopez used his post-fight celebration time to call the other WBC belt holder Devin Haney about a possible future showdown. 

So, Lopez is the undisputed best thing to happen to boxing in a long time. 

MISS: Vasiliy Lomachenko’s Slow Start

I like to think Lomachenko is still somewhere out there right now feinting and shuffling his feet around like a dancer. Seriously, though, what was Lomachenko doing for most of Saturday night? He certainly wasn’t attempting to win the fight. 

Much was made by the ESPN announcers about how Lomachenko would start slow in fights because he liked to download his opponents’ movements before settling on his attacks. But Lomachenko didn’t seem all that interested in attacking Lopez until somewhere around the eighth-round. By that time, the 32-year-old was way too far down on the scorecards for anything to matter all that much.

Sure, the last third of the fight was fun to watch. Lomachenko did end up having his moments including a strong 11th round, but it would have been a better fight if Lomachenko had started sooner. 

Instead, the fighter ESPN has long argued deserved to be ranked above everyone else regardless of weight class dispassionately saw his titles ripped away from him with relative ease. 

HIT: Edgar Berlanga’s KO Streak

Last year, I noted that Berlanga’s incredible streak was probably a case of matchmaking gone awry and that Berlanga would likely suffer later in his career because he wasn’t getting any rounds under his belt that mattered. 

My reasoning? Even terrifying power punchers like Deontay Wilder and Gennadiy Golovkin didn’t dispatch their early opponents in such decisively one-sided ways. 

Maybe it was just the lack of boxing around due to the global pandemic, but now I’ve flipped on Berlanga’s knockout streak. The 23-year-old scored his 15th first-round stoppage in a row against Lanell Bellows on Saturday’s Top Rank on ESPN card. 

It’s become one of the most interesting and noteworthy streaks in the sport, and this time Berlanga stopped an opponent who had never suffered that fate before in any round, much less the first. 

Berlanga’s 15 KOs in 15 fights is good television. 

MISS: Boxing Judge’s Viral ‘Social Dilemma’

Lewis Ritson was awarded a split-decision victory over former lightweight titleholder Miguel Vazquez on Saturday in England in a junior welterweight bout dubbed by the Sporting News as the “worst decision of 2020.”

According to CompuBox, Ritson’s “constant forward movement and snappier punches” earned him the nod on two of the judges’ scorecards even though Vazquez had out-landed him in all the important punch stat categories (193-141 overall, 80-75 jabs, 113-66 power).

But the biggest controversy was the viral picture of judge Terry O’Connor apparently looking at his phone during the fight that he scored 117-111 for Ritson. 

That didn’t sit well with anyone who believes judges should be watching the fights they’re tasked with scoring.

But in the wake of Netflix’s documentary film “The Social Dilemma,” that shows just how ingenious today’s artificial intelligence is at boosting user engagement so companies can sell advertising time to the unwitting people on the other end who don’t know why they can’t put their phones down. Maybe O’Connor and others should be mandated to place their phones in a place they can’t be accessed during fights. 

That would keep the social media outrage that’s going on right now over the few seconds O’Connor spent looking away from the action and point it more toward what appears to be boxing’s bigger problem: phones or no phones, too many boxing judges don’t know how to score fights. 

HIT: The Wonder of Complementary Programming 

Boxing counterprograms itself so much these days through the different promotional companies and networks out there that it’s nice to enjoy at least one day in recent history where a big fight happened and there weren’t any other big fights attempting to grab our attention. 

Not only did that happen, but ESPN wisely chose not to split programming between it’s MMA and boxing audiences on Saturday. 

ESPN is the home to Top Rank on ESPN boxing as well as the world’s leading MMA promotional company, UFC.

Like Top Rank, the UFC had a massive fight card on its schedule on Saturday, and the boxing/UFC audiences are fractured enough that both cards could have somewhat reasonably ran against each other. 

Instead, the UFC’s Fight Night card in Abu Dhabi ran early in the evening, and it meant UFC fans who might be somewhat interested in the big fight in boxing could be funneled to the main card featuring Lopez vs. Lomachenko. 

That’s great for both sports, the promoters and ESPN, too. Top Rank’s Bob Arum and UFC’s Dana White might hate each other for personal and political reasons, but the rising tide of complementary programming on ESPN will ultimately have all ships rising. 

Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel 

To comment on this story in the Fight Forum CLICK HERE

Photo credit: Mikey Williams / Top Rank

 

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 Teofimo Takes Over: Upsets Lomachenko

Arne K. Lang

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Teofimo Takes Over: Upsets Lomachenko

Four belts were at stake tonight when Vasiliy Lomachenko locked horns with Teofimo Lopez at the MGM Grand Bubble. There were two stand-alone belts (IBF and WBO), one fractured belt (WBA), and one belt of little provenance contrived especially for this fight. But this was a fight that didn’t need any alphabet baubles to legitimate it. In the history of the 135-pound division, few matchups have been as compelling.

Heading in, Lomachenko had faced eight former or current world title-holders and had won 13 straight. Lopez, nine years younger at age 23, was undefeated (now 16-0) but few thought that he was ready for the likes of the Ukrainian marvel who many considered the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world. But the Brooklyn-born Lopez, who represented Honduras in the 2016 Olympics, started fast and finished with a flourish to win a unanimous decision.

The judges had it 116-112, 117-111, and 119-109, the latter score turned in by Julie Lederman whose tally struck the TV commentators as way too wide. Lomachenko started slow, arguably losing the first six rounds, and when he finally let his hands go more freely he was playing catch-up with too big a deficit to overcome.

Co-Feature

Los Angeles junior welterweight Arnold Barboza Jr., a consensus 13/5 favorite, maintained his unblemished record with a unanimous decision over former world title challenger Alex Saucedo who suffered his second loss in 32 fights. Saucedo scored the bout’s lone knockdown with a straight left hand in round seven (it was initially ruled a slip, but overruled by replay judge Joe Cortez), but Barboza, now 25-0, had the faster hands and routinely beat Saucedo to the punch to win by scores of 96-93, 97-92, 97-92.

Berlanga

Edgar Berlanga, the 23-year-old Brooklyn-based Puerto Rican, continued his spectacular start to his pro career with another first-round knockout, his 15th in as many opportunities. The victim was 34-year-old Lanell Bellows (20-6-3), a Mayweather Gym product who hadn’t previously been stopped.

A super middleweight, Berlanga, the 2019 TSS Prospect of the Year, hurt Bellows with a sweeping left hook and opened a gash over Bellows left eye with an overhand right before referee Robert Hoyle interceded. The official time was 1:19.

Other Bouts

In a bout contested at the catch-weight of 142 pounds, 22-year-old Bronx southpaw Josue Vargas, whose lone setback was by disqualification, improved to 18-1 with a unanimous decision over San Antonio’s Kendo Castaneda (17-3). The judges had it 100-89, 99-90, and 98-91.

Vargas, who was Teofimo’s chief sparring partner, scored a flash knockdown in round two with a straight left hand. Castaneda, who acquitted himself well in defeat in a Bubble bout with Jose Zepeda that he took on 7-days notice, is an honest workman hampered by a lack of punching power.

Featherweight Jose Enrique Vivas (20-1, 11 KOs) wasted no time dismissing John Vincent Moralde (23-4), whacking out the Filipino at the 1:16 mark of the opening round. The Mexico-born Californian, Vivas sent Moralde to the canvas in the opening minute with a cuffing left hook and then went for the kill, felling Moralde for the count with a vicious body punch.

In a 6-round welterweight contest, Houston’s Quinton Randall advanced to 7-0 (2) with a unanimous decision over Jon Carlos Rivera who was 4-0 with 4 KOs (and 1 ND) coming in. The scores were 59-55 and 58-56 twice.

Rivera, from Philadelphia via Vieques, Puerto Rico, was the aggressor, but the 30-year-old Randall, who is backed by a strong team, had height and reach advantages that Rivera couldn’t overcome.

In the TV lid-lifter, 17-year old welterweight Jahi Tucker improved to 2-0 with a unanimous decision over Charles Garner (1-1). All three judges gave Tucker all four rounds, but Garner wasn’t fazed by Tucker’s amateur pedigree – the Deer Park, Long Island teenager, was ranked #1 at 138 pounds while still a sophomore in high school – and acquitted himself very well in defeat.

Photo credit: Mikey Williams / Top Rank

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