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Canelo Wins Mexican Style Rematch by Majority Decision

David A. Avila

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Mexican Style

LAS VEGAS-Mexican style erupted and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez proved that it’s not foreign to him as he bested powerful Gennady “GGG” Golovkin to win the middleweight world titles by majority decision on Saturday.

The Mexican redhead Alvarez (50-1-2, 34 KOs) proved in his 50th win superior to Mexican style fighter Golovkin (38-1-1, 34 KOs) of Kazakhstan before a sold-out crowd of 21,965 screaming fans at T-Mobile Arena. Still, it was close.

After months of name calling and accusations of cheating, plus a suspension by the Nevada State Athletic Commission because of illegal use of banned drugs, Alvarez abided by the penalty rendered and was supervised by VADA to be eligible to fight Golovkin in the rematch after their first encounter ended in a majority draw.

This time Alvarez cleaned the slate and won by majority decision after 12 turbulent back and forth rounds. The fans were loud in their support for both throughout.

Youth was in Alvarez’s favor and he took advantage with his speed despite standing in striking distance in every round. It was a matter of machismo for the Guadalajara native who had suffered hearing Golovkin’s team claim he did not fight like a Mexican while the middleweight champion did in the first fight.

Alvarez took it to heart.

Early in the fight Alvarez was quicker to the draw though Golovkin was able to counter with powerful blasts. The exchange of blows was measured in a pace dictated by Golovkins jabs in the first three rounds. It was too early to determine who was the superior fighter.

Golovkin picked up the pace in the fourth round and snapped Alvarez’s head back with vicious right uppercut. Alvarez then blasted a left hook to the body and got a reaction from the blow, but overall Golovkin had his best round.

The quickened pace continued and Alvarez began targeting Golovkin’s body with right uppercuts to the belly and left hooks to the liver and ribs. Though the always strong Golovkin did not show it, Alvarez continued the body assault. In the sixth round both unloaded with tremendous blows that seemingly would knock out anyone. Both remained standing.

Alvarez began to get into a rhythm with rights to the body and lefts to the body mixed in with power shots to the head. Golovkin rallied a bit with a three-punch combination and seemed to regain control of the round overall. It stopped Alvarez’s momentum.

Both fighters engaged in some hellacious shots in the next few rounds though both seemed tired. At one point Alvarez did the sign of the cross and entered in the fray as if prepared to walk into fire. He did.

Golovkin absorbed some tremendous blows to the head and though tired he never wilted. Neither did Alvarez. The final two rounds were hard to determine whose blows were affecting each other. Golovkin must have known the decision was in the balance and erupted in the final round with rights and a right uppercut followed by a left hook and right-left combination. A big right cross from Alvarez stopped the onslaught and then the Mexican redhead began connecting with his own.

A collective exhaling took part when the final bell sounded. Both Golovkin and Alvarez hugged briefly. Both had fought to the full extent of their abilities and both fought Mexican style.

One judge Glenn Feldman scored it a draw 114-114, while Steve Weisfeld and Dave Moretti scored it 115-113 for Alvarez who becomes the new WBC, WBA and IBF middleweight titleholder.

“It was a very exciting and very emotional 12th round,” said Alvarez, 28. “He’s a great fighter. I salute him. He’s a great fighter but I did this for Mexico.”

Golovkin was classy in defeat and knew it was very close and could have been a draw.

“I’m not going to say who won tonight because the victory belongs to Canelo according to the judges,” said Golovkin, 36, who was taken to the hospital for stitches. “I thought the fight was very good for the fans.”

Many felt the fight was superior to the first in terms of pure action.

“If he wants, we can do it again,” said Alvarez. “But let’s enjoy this tonight.”

Munguia

WBO super welterweight titlist Jaime Munguia tried to contain the storm within but once Canada’s Brandon Cook began unleashing wild overhand rights, the chains of restraint were off and both were flailing away like bullies in a street fight. In this street fight Munguia was vastly in his element in winning by third round knockout.

Munguia used his jab and foot movement to keep the fight at a distance in the opening round. Cook looked to land some counter rights every time the taller Mexican fighter fired a jab, but no luck. And when Cook tried to mount an offense with more overhand rights the fight was on and Munguia was like a wild stallion unleashed out of the gates.

At the end of the second round Munguia had Cook cornered in the corner and connected with a blistering right cross from that long arm he possesses. Cook barely survived.

Munguia seemed more intent to close out the fight in the third round as he cornered Cook and dropped a right hand like an anchor and down went Cook. The Canadian bravely got up but Munguia raked him with a blistering four-punch combination and referee Tony Weeks wisely stopped the fight at 1:03 of the round. It was another knockout win for the Tijuana fighter.

“I was a little more composed and concentrated this time around,” Munguia said as fans cheered. “Before, I was always looking first for the knockout and only the knockout, this time I focused a little bit more.”

Talk on his readiness to move up to the middleweight division is already being discussed.

“Little by little you find out what you do well,” said Munguia about what he learned from this win. “I think it’s a process I’m only 21 and I’ll take the fight of the winner. We’ve learned a lot of things. I want to show that I can fight the best to show that I am the best.

Lemieux

A blistering war on social media was ended abruptly in the boxing ring as former middleweight world champion David Lemieux (40-4, 34 KOs) knocked out Ireland’s Spike O’Sullivan (28-3, 20 KOs) with a left hook to the chin in the first round.

Lemieux and O’Sullivan warred like hungry dogs on social media but when it came to the actual fighting the real alpha dog showed when the Canadian beat the handle-bar moustache boxer to the punch with a quick left hook. Down went O’Sullivan in sections at the end of the first round. After delivering a jab O’Sullivan was following up with a right when Lemieux short-circuited him with the blow. The end came at 2:44 of the first round as referee Russell Mora stopped the fight though a wobbly O’Sullivan got up.

Now will Lemieux fight the winner of Golovkin-Alvarez?

“They’re two excellent fighters but there is no middleweight like David Lemieux. I’m not rooting for anybody, I think it’s a 50/50 fight,” said Lemieux before the main event. “I once fought Golovkin at his peak. Perhaps Golovkin will fight Lemieux at his peak.”

Chocolatito

Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (47-2, 39 KOs) answered several questions at once with a single blow as he knocked out Mexico’s Moises Fuentes (25-6-1, 14 KOs) to return with a bang after a year’s absence.

After losing back-to-back fights and the super flyweight world title, many felt Gonzalez no longer possessed the fighting skills that enabled him to capture four division world titles and consideration as the top fighter pound for pound. Others wondered if his political leanings in his native Nicaragua might also be a tug on his ability to concentrate on boxing.

With one punch, Gonzalez answered all those questions with a rocket right cross that deposited Fuentes in his own corner and unconscious at 1:44 of the fifth round as referee Robert Byrd stopped the fight.

“When he hit the floor, I got very worried for him and I panicked,” said Gonzalez who trotted over to the fallen Fuentes. “I asked for him to forgive me because this is the job that we chose and that I didn’t mean to hurt him.”

Up until the fifth round Gonzalez exchanged combinations with fellow multi-division world champion Fuentes and looked faster and sharper than his Mexican counterpart.

“I’m very thankful for this opportunity,” said Gonzalez. “I am a step closer to being a world champion.”

Other Bouts

Heavy-hitting prospect Vergil Ortiz (11-0, 11 KOs) crushed former sparring partner Mexico’s Roberto Ortiz (35-3-2, 26 KOs) and scored two knockdowns before the fight was stopped at 1:00 of the second round. A quick counter right cross delivered Roberto Ortiz to the floor and he rolled around for a few seconds. Though he did beat the count and tried to rally he was blasted out by a three-punch combination and down he went for the final time forcing referee Vic Drakulich to halt the super lightweight fight.

Though both prizefighters are named Ortiz they are not related. But they do know each other from ring sessions earlier in their careers.

“The win is bittersweet because I won against a great name and a record, but “Massa” (Roberto Ortiz) was my first ever sparring partner when I first turned pro,” said Vergil Ortiz, who grew up in Dallas and trains in Riverside, Calif. “Now he’s a win on the next step of my career. During my first sparring session he gave me a swollen lip. Today I knocked him out.”

Santa Ana’s Alexis Rocha (12-0, 8 KOs) won the battle of southpaws versus Carlos Ortiz (10-3, 10 KOs) of Mexico by unanimous decision after six rounds in a super welterweight clash. Rocha was a little quicker and slicker with his punches and nearly had a whitewash. The scores were 80-72 twice and 79-73 for Rocha.

“I wish I could have thrown more punches and more combinations,” said Rocha whose brother is former featherweight contender Ronny Rios. “He was really good at catching shots and countering.”

Philadelphia’s Jaba Khositashvili (4-0) won by decision after six super middleweight rounds against San Bernardino’s Lawrence King (4-1).

“My opponent kept holding me and wouldn’t let me fight him,” said Khositashvili.

New York’s Brian Ceballo (5-0, 3 KOs) won by stoppage in the second round over David Thomas of Texas in a welterweight match set for six rounds. The end came at 30 seconds of round two.

“I figured out beforehand that he always fights the same way,” said Ceballo. “So I knew to keep my distance and keep a fast pace.”

Photo credit: Al Applerose

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HITS and MISSES: Post-Thanksgiving Weekend Edition

Kelsey McCarson

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It was another massive weekend in boxing. There were big fights on pay-per-view that maybe shouldn’t have been so big, and fights surrounded by lesser fanfare that will probably be looked back at as the more meaningful action by future historians.

Here are the biggest HITS and MISSES from another week on the boxing beat.

HIT: Mike Tyson, Roy Jones and the Unifying Power of Boxing

Whatever you think about the boxing exhibition bout between Mike Tyson and Roy Jones, Jr. on Saturday night, the most important aspect of the whole night (to this writer at least) was seeing how easily a big fight in boxing could still unify our culture.

No, it wasn’t a legitimate prizefight, but people still wanted to see the 54-year-old Tyson go a few rounds with the 51-year-old Jones, and that’s exactly what they got. It was a ride built mostly around the power of nostalgia, and it featured all sorts of present-day celebrities, too.

By the end of things, it seemed the general reaction to the event on social media was positive.

Tyson vs. Jones showed how big a reach boxing still has. Tyson retired over 15 years ago, but people from all over the planet were still willing to pay $50 to watch him climb inside the ropes for a sparring session.

Seeing that left me with two exciting questions.

What awesome power will boxing’s next superstar have?

More importantly, where is he (or she) anyway?

MISS: Ring Announcer’s Steve Harvey Moment 

In 2015, comedian Steve Harvey accidentally announced the wrong winner of the Miss Universe pageant. As humiliating as that event was for Harvey, just imagine how the two women felt after having their hearts filled and slashed by his error.

That same thing sort of happened on Friday night when Danny Jacobs beat Gabriel Rosado via split decision in a 168-pound stay-busy fight streamed by DAZN.

Ring announcer Jeremiah Gallegos accidentally said the winner hailed from Philadelphia (where Rosado is from) before quickly changing it back to Brooklyn (where Jacobs is from).

So momentarily, the hard-luck Rosado, who never has been the beneficiary of a close decision in any important fight, thought he had just pulled off the upset of the year.

Instead, Jacobs was corrected as the winner and that had to be an awful experience for both fighters, one that was completely avoidable.

HIT: Joe Joyce: An Actual Juggernaut?

Heavyweight prospect Joe Joyce is a popular fighter on the other side of the ocean because of his long and successful campaign as an amateur boxing star which culminated with Joyce winning the silver medal for Great Britain in the super heavyweight division at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Still, as a professional prospect, there are lots of things not to like about Joyce. First, Joyce didn’t start boxing until he was 22. Late bloomers come around now and then, but they’re still a rarity in the sport. Second, Joyce is already 35, which means he’s already just outside the confines of his theoretical physical prime, something that ends around 33 years old and only gets worse. Finally, Joyce is just plain slow as molasses.

Regardless, Joyce stopped fellow Brit Daniel Dubois on Saturday in London.

Unlike Joyce, Dubois, 23, possesses plenty of attributes one looks for in a future world champion. But none of those things helped Dubois win the fight.

All this to say Joyce just keeps winning fights. Sure, he might appear to be a boulder tumbling slowly down a hill when he fights, but that rock is starting to gain some real momentum.

HIT: 54-1

Thailand’s Wanheng Menayothin finally lost a fight over the weekend, but it should be noted that at least the fighter finally knows his limits.

Menayothin (aka Chayaphon Moonsri) entered his fight against Petchmanee CP Freshmart (aka Panya Pradabsri) with a sterling record of 54-0. He left the contest 54-1 after judges rendered their verdict for the challenger.

Much was made of Menayothin’s glossy win streak last year when he surpassed retired boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather’s 50-0 mark. But a combat sports culture obsessed with suffering no blemishes on a record is only a relatively new phenomenon. Moreover, the very nature of that path through the sport never reveals the true limits of a fighter.

All this to say that Menayothin now gets a better sense of his limits, and the boxing world as a whole gets to know that same thing about him, too. That’s wildly better than the alternative.

MISS: Nate Robinson Challenge

If you missed the Tyson vs. Jones pay-per-view event on Triller over the weekend, you didn’t see social media star Jake Paul’s viral knockout of ex-NBA star Nate Robinson.

It was clear from the start of the fight that Paul and Robinson weren’t evenly matched. That kind of thing happens all the time in boxing, of course, but here was a case of a person (Robinson) who maybe had been so mismatched against Paul that it was too dangerous to have happened at all.

Regardless, Robinson did have the courage to train for the fight and step inside the ropes on fight night.

After he was knocked out, something called the “Nate Robinson Challenge” started trending on Twitter, and it was basically people from all over the world trolling the 3-time NBA dunking champ for getting knocked out in the fight.

Look, Robinson made his own bed by calling for the fight in the first place. But the Internet trolls that rag people for stepping outside their comfort zones probably would never dare to attempt that accomplishment themselves.

Robinson tried and failed. That’s the real challenge.

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Tyson and Jones Box to an Unofficial Draw in a Predictable Stinker

Arne K. Lang

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The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, an American institution, went belly-up in 2017, but a different kind of circus played to an empty house at the Staples Center in Los Angeles tonight. The main attraction wasn’t Jumbo the elephant but Iron Mike Tyson in his first ring appearance in 15 years. In the opposite corner was Roy Jones Jr, who at age 51 was the younger man by three years.

Tyson vs. Jones was the main piece of a 4-hour boxing and music festival live-streamed in the U.S. on the TysononTriller.com app at a list price of $49.95. This was the first live event on “Triller” which allows people to create their own music videos and was designed as a rival to China-owned TikTok, one of the biggest recent success stories in the internet world.

The California State Athletic Commission, which sanctioned the match, insisted that Tyson vs. Jones would be an exhibition. They would fight 8 two-minute rounds with 12-ounce gloves and if there were a knockdown, the referee would not give a count and the bout would or would not continue at his discretion. The rounds would not be scored and no winner would be named.

Of course, the promoter chafed at these restraints and did his best to create the impression that this was a legitimate prizefight. Retired boxers Vinny Pazienza, Chad Dawson, and Christy Martin were lassoed to serve as judges, scoring the fight from a remote location, and the WBC commissioned an honorary belt to present to the winner.

The advance hype was enormous. A clickbait-obsessed media lapped it up including photoshop-enhanced images of Mike Tyson’s physique.

In the second round, Tyson landed a double left hook and that was the only indelible moment in the match. By the third round, both looked and sounded tired and by the sixth round Jones was thoroughly gassed out and took to clinching to make it to the final bell.

For the record, the scores were 79-73 for Tyson (Martin), 80-76 for Jones (Pazienza), and 76-76 (Dawson). On the internet, the clear consensus was that Tyson had the best of it.

Mike Tyson, 50-6, 2 NC (44 KOs) last fought in June of 2005 when he was stopped by third-rater Kevin McBride. Roy Jones (66-9, 47 KOs) was active as recently as 2018 and won his last four, but against hand-picked opponents including a boxer making his pro debut. His last fight of significance came in 2011 when he was brutally KOed by Dennis Lebedev in Moscow.

Jones, who weighed 210 ½ tonight, weighed 157 when he made his pro debut in 1989. In his prime, he was pound-for-pound the best fighter in the world, but that was back in the previous century.

Both fighters were reportedly guaranteed $1 million with Tyson’s take potentially reaching $10 million if certain financial targets were met.

Other Bouts

YouTube sensation Jake Paul, who we reluctantly concede has more than a modicum of talent in the fisticuffing department, knocked out Nate Robinson in the second round and it was a clean knockout with Robinson knocked out cold. The 36-year-old Robinson, the former NBA point guard who was a three-time slam dunk champion during his 11-year NBA career, is a well-rounded athlete, good enough to start as a cornerback in football during his freshman year at the University of Washington, but his athleticism didn’t translate to the squared circle as he looked like a common bar brawler.

Former two-division belt-holder Badou Jack (22-3-4), who said he appeared on the card as a favor to his friend Mike Tyson, was a clear-cut winner over hard-trying but out-classed Blake McKernan in an 8-round cruiserweight match.

At age 37, Jack’s career is winding down. He tipped the scales at 188 ¾, 14 pounds more than in his previous engagement vs. Jean Pascal. McKernan, a natural cruiserweight from Sacramento, was undefeated coming in (13-0), but was in over his head against Jack, a former Olympian and veteran of seven world title fights.

In a good action fight, Worcester, Massachusetts lightweight Jamaine Ortiz, a carpenter by trade, improved to 14-0 (8) with a seventh-round stoppage of Sulaiman Segawa (13-3-1), a Maryland-based Ugandan.

In the first bout on the program, Fort Worth featherweight Edward Vazquez improved to 9-0 (1) with an 8-round split decision over Jamaine Ortiz stablemate Irvin Gonzalez (14-3).

Heavyweight Juiseppe “Joe” Cusumano improved to 19-3 (17) with a sixth-round stoppage of late sub Gregory Corbin (15-4). It was the fourth straight loss for the 40-year-old Corbin who came in at a beefy 291 ¾ pounds.

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Fast Results from London: Joe Joyce Stops Daniel Dubois in the 10th

Arne K. Lang

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The historic Church House which sits in the shadow of Westminster Abbey was the site of tonight’s clash in London between unbeaten heavyweights Daniel Dubois and Joe Joyce. The bout lacked the gloss of a world title fight, but didn’t need it. The oft-postponed match, originally slated for the 02 Arena in London on April 11 with promoter Frank Warren anticipating a sellout, was fairly hyped as the most anticipated fight since Fury-Wilder II which was the last big fight before the coronavirus clampdown.

Dubois, 15-0 with 14 KOs heading in, was a consensus 7/2 favorite in man-to-man betting, He was younger, faster and punched harder, but ultimately it would be his “O” that had to go. Joe Joyce, an inch taller at six-foot-six and 15 pounds heavier at 259, emerged victorious with a 10th-round stoppage in what was a good back-and-forth fight with a divided opinion as to who had the edge through the completed rounds.

Joyce really didn’t do much but throw a jab, but he landed that jab consistently and it was a hard, thudding jab that caused Dubois’s left eye to start swelling during the mid-rounds of the fight. The damaged eye eventually shut and when Joyce reached it with another hard jab in the 10th, Dubois surrendered by taking a knee. The presumption was that he had suffered a broken orbital bone.

The 35-year-old Joyce, nicknamed Juggernaut, is of Scotch-Irish and Nigerian descent. He lost by split decision to Tony Yoka in the semifinals of the 2016 Olympics and had to settle for a silver medal. Prior to turning pro, he was 12-1 in the semi-pro World Series of Boxing with his lone defeat coming at the hands of Oleksandr Usyk. With today’s career-defining win, he upped his pro ledger to 12-0 (11).

Other Bouts

Top-rated WBC super lightweight contender Jack Catterall (26-0) won a predictably one-sided 10-round triumph over 33-year-old Tunisian Abderrazak Houya (14-3). Catterall scored two knockdowns en route to winning by a 99-90 score. This was a stay-busy fight for the Lancashire man who was the mandatory challenger for title-holder Jose Carlos Ramirez and accepted step-aside money with the promise that he would meet the winner of the unification fight between Ramirez and Josh Taylor which is expected to come off in February.

The lead-in fight was a 10-round contest in the super welterweight division between 21-year-old Hamzah Sheeraz and 33-year-old Guido Nicolas Pitto. The fight was monotonous until Sheeraz (12-0, 8 KOs) kicked it into a higher career in the final stanza and brought about the stoppage. Pitto, from Spain by way of Argentina, declined to 26-8-2. The official time was 1:11 of round 10.

In an 8-round cruiserweight bout, Jack Massey improved to 17-1 (8) with a 79-74 referee’s decision over Mohammad Ali Farid (16-2-1). Massey was making his first start since losing a close 12-round decision to Richard Raikporhe in December of 2019 for the vacant BBBofC title. The well-traveled, one-dimensional Farid had scored 16 knockouts in his previous 18 fights while answering the bell for only 33 rounds.

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