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Three Punch Combo: Arboleda-Velez, a Road Map for Demetrius Andrade and More

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THREE PUNCH COMBO — Young power punching prospects carry a lot of intrigue in this sport. Not only are they exciting to watch but many seemingly carry raw talent that sometimes turns into greatness. On Saturday as part of the Showtime televised tripleheader from the PPL Center in Allentown, PA, we get to see such a power punching prospect in Panama’s Jaime Arboleda (15-1, 13 KO’s) who takes on Puerto Rican veteran Jayson Velez (29-5-1, 21 KO’s) in a scheduled twelve round 130-pound contest.

Arboleda, 25, not only possesses natural raw power but has quite a bit of athleticism. He stands 5’11” which often gives him a big height advantage. As such, he has developed a very strong left jab which he likes to work behind to set up his power shots. When he does let the combinations flow, he shows off his quick hands and can let go of several shots in a row before his opponent can react.

Arboleda’s best punch is his left hook and he looks to work that punch to both the head and body. In his last fight against then 26-2 Victor Betancourt, Arboleda landed a crunching left hook to Betancourt’s body in the first round that put Betancourt down in pain and led to an early win by stoppage.

But there are also questions about him, in particular his chin. In Arboleda’s only career defeat, he suffered a devastating one punch knockout loss to journeyman Recky Dulay.

In that fight, Arboleda weighed north of 140 pounds which was easily his career high. So maybe Arboleda didn’t take the fight serious and as such was lackadaisical in his preparation. We have seen prospects suffer early knockout defeats in fights in which they were ill-prepared, only to bounce back and show what they can do when properly motivated. Will this be the case for Arboleda or is he in fact chinny?

I think we will find out the answer when he faces Velez, a durable veteran who has never been stopped. Velez has heavy handed power in both fists and will be willing to press forward and take a few punches to get the opportunity to land his own clean counter shots.

Personally, I have high expectations for Arboleda and think that performance against Dulay was an aberration. On Saturday night we will almost certainly know if he is in fact the real deal or just another promising prospect who couldn’t rise to the occasion.

What I’d Like To See Next For Demetrius Andrade

Making the third defense of his WBO middleweight title, Demetrius Andrade made easy work of an overmatched Luke Keeler, stopping Keeler in the ninth round last Thursday in Miami. Many in boxing have faulted Andrade for building his undefeated record (29-0, 17 KO’s) against suspect opposition and want to see the soon-to-be 32-year-old boxer in a big fight.

Of course, not having had a big fight is not necessarily his fault. He is a slick southpaw with quick hands. He isn’t easy to hit clean and he can be very quick to counter any swings and misses from his opponents. For big name fighters such as Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin, he represents too high a risk with too little a reward.

During the DAZN telecast of Andrade’s defense against Keeler, Jermall Charlo was mentioned as a possible future opponent. Like Andrade, Charlo also holds a middleweight title belt. Also, like Andrade, Charlo is undefeated and seeking a big fight. Sounds like a natural match, but this is not a fight I personally want to see.

As we all know, styles make fights and frankly the styles of Andrade and Charlo would make for one extremely tactical fight. As a matter of fact, I would go as far as saying it would resemble the recent lightweight title fight between Robert Easter Jr. and Rances Barthelemy. That fight offered a cure for insomnia.

Andrade employs a cautious tactical style. He is a natural counter puncher and only takes calculated risks. I am not saying that is a bad thing but that is his style and he is not going to change what has got him to this point in his career. For example, he had Keeler hurt and down in both the first and second rounds but did not get overly aggressive seeking an early stoppage.

Charlo’s style is very similar. He too is a natural counter puncher and can be content to just take what an opponent gives him. He is perhaps a little more aggressive than Andrade but only when the situation presents itself and he is confident his opponent can’t hurt him.

I just can’t see Andrade-Charlo playing out any way other than two cautious safety-first fighters poking and prodding at each for twelve rounds.

Instead of Charlo, I’d like to see Andrade in with an aggressive pressure fighter. As such, the one name that makes the most sense to me is Sergiy Derevyanchenko.

Derevyanchenko is, of course, coming off a hard-fought loss to Golovkin. As a matter of fact, some thought he should have gotten the decision. He is a hard-nosed pressure fighter who is not afraid to move his hands and has plenty of skill. He is going to ask questions of Andrade and force Andrade to fight. It’s a perfect match in my opinion and I hope we see it put together later this year.

Under the Radar Fight

On Saturday at the Sheffield Arena in the United Kingdom, former welterweight champion Kell Brook (38-2, 26 KO’s) returns to the ring after a 14-month absence to face Massachusetts invader Mark DeLuca (24-1, 13 KO’s) in a contest to be broadcast in the United States on DAZN. While this intriguing contest should be fan friendly, at the very least, it is a fight on the undercard that really piques my interest.

Coming off his first career defeat when he dropped a close twelve round decision to featherweight champion Josh Warrington, Kid Galahad (26-1, 15 KO’s) takes on Claudio Marrero (24-3, 17 KO’s) in a crucial featherweight tilt. Given their respective styles, I think we see an all-action fight.

Galahad is an aggressive pressure fighter who is not afraid to mix it up. While he often starts off from a southpaw stance, he will often switch to the orthodox. Regardless, he will press forward behind the jab looking to set up power punching combinations. Galahad may not have the quickest hands but has enough power in both of his fists to garner his opposition’s respect.

Marrero has had quite an up-and-down career but once again finds himself on the verge of a big fight after a mild upset of the up-and-coming Eduardo Ramirez in June. Similar to Galahad, Marrero is an aggressive pressure fighter by trade. He will press forward from the southpaw stance behind the right jab looking to set up his power shots. He possesses decent hand speed and heavy-handed power in both fists.

It should be noted that neither Galahad nor Marrero is noted for their defensive prowess. Given their aggressive styles with lack of attention to defense, I think this fight will end up stealing the show.

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel 

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Johnny Famechon was a Hero in Australia Where Willie Pep Had a Bad Night

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Willie Pep was good at boxing. He wasn’t so good at math. Ah, but hold the phone; we are getting ahead of ourselves. This isn’t a story about Willie Pep, but about former world featherweight champion Johnny Famechon who passed away last Thursday, Aug. 4, in Melbourne, Australia, at age 77.

Famechon was five years old when his parents left his birthplace in Paris and settled in Melbourne. He came to the fore in an era when boxing was still a mainstream sport and home-grown champions were national idols. The locals turned out in droves for the parade in Johnny’s honor when he returned to Melbourne after taking the featherweight crown from the Cuban-born Spaniard Jose Legra in a big upset at London’s Prince Albert Hall.

HeraldSun

Famechon’s Welcome Home Parade

Famechon’s first title defense came against Japan’s Fighting Harada. They met in Sydney, Australia, on July 28, 1969.

At age 26, Harada was a battle-tested veteran. He previously held world titles at flyweight and bantamweight and would be remembered as the only man to defeat the great Brazilian boxer Eder Jofre, a feat he accomplished not once, but twice.

Only two boxers in history – Bob Fitzsimmons and Henry Armstrong – had won world titles in three of the eight classic weight divisions. Harada, who entered the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1995, was bidding to become the third.

Team Harada insisted on a neutral referee. The British promoters chose Willie Pep. A legend in the sport, Pep had previously shared a ring with another Famechon, having out-pointed Johnny’s uncle Ray Famechon in a featherweight title defense at Madison Square Garden in 1950.

Some thought that Pep would favor Fighting Harada. American referees put a higher premium on aggression than did their foreign counterparts and Harada was a little buzzsaw who rarely took a backward step. But others thought that Pep’s selection favored Famechon, an elusive counterpuncher with whom the Connecticut “Will-‘o-Wisp” could identify; their styles were similar.

Pep had been the third man in the ring for four previous title fights, three in Jamaica and one in Brazil. But this fight would be different. He would be the sole arbiter. If the fight went the full 15 rounds, Willie Pep would be the judge and jury.

During the bout, Famechon scored one knockdown, sending Harada to the canvas in round five, but Harada scored three, knocking Famechon down in rounds two, 11, and 14. The last of the three knockdowns was the harshest, but Famechon made it to the final bell.

The fight ended in a clinch. Immediately upon separating the fighters, Pep raised both of their hands, a signal that the fight was a draw.

Fighting Harada’s handlers were outraged and demanded to see the scorecard. A policeman at ringside was empowered to give it a look-over (Australia had no boxing commission). What the policeman found was that there was indeed a discrepancy. However, it was the opposite of what Team Harada anticipated!

The fight was scored on the antiquated system whereby the winner of a round was awarded five points and the loser four points or less. In the case of an even round, both fighters got five points.

After 13 rounds, Fighting Harada had amassed 59 points on Pep’s card. He won the 14th round, giving him an aggregate total of 64 points. But when Pep added up the numbers “59” and “5” in the column where he kept the aggregate total, he came up with “65.”

Oops.

When Pep signaled that the fight was a draw, people stormed the ring from all sides. Newspaper reports said the belligerents were about evenly divided. Famechon, the Aussie, was the crowd favorite, but Fighting Harada was well-backed in the betting markets, a very big industry in Australia. Many were even angrier when Famechon was summoned back to the ring to have his hand raised.

The Famechon-Harada fight aired live on Japanese television. In Japan, there was a great outpouring of outrage. Pep had been instructed to score a round 5-4 if the round was narrow and 5-3 if there was a clear-cut winner. Despite the knockdowns, Pep scored every round 5-4 or 5-5. In the revised tally, he had Famechon winning 6-5-4 in rounds.

“Harada loses to referee” was the headline in Japan’s leading sports daily. Willie Pep made no friends in Australia either. There were shouts of “Yankee go home” as he left the ring.

Famechon and Harada met again five months later in Tokyo. One would assume that Fighting Harada proved superior and got a fair shake, winning the third title denied him in Sydney. But don’t assume.

Harada was well ahead after ten rounds but faded. On the deck in round 10, Famachon returned the favor three rounds later, knocking Harada down hard with a perfectly placed left hook. Harada was in dire straights when he came out for round 14 and Famechon put him away.

Harada never fought again and Famechon left the sport six months later after losing his crown to Vicente Saldivar. Johnny was only 25 years old, but had crammed 67 fights into a nine-year pro career and said enough is enough.

Famechon’s post-boxing life took a tragic turn in 1991 when he was hit by a car while out jogging on a Sydney highway. He spent several weeks in a coma and several years in a wheelchair but eventually recovered most of his motor skills and regained his speech to the point where he could serve as a boxing color commentator on television. In 2018, a larger-than- life statue of Famechon was unveiled at a public park in the Melbourne suburb of Frankston where he was a longtime resident.

For the record, Johnny Famechon finished his career with a record of 56-5-6 with 20 KOs. We here at The Sweet Science send our condolences to his loved ones.

Arne K. Lang’s latest book, titled “George Dixon, Terry McGovern and the Culture of Boxing in America, 1890-1910,” will shortly roll off the press. The book, published by McFarland, can be pre-ordered directly from the publisher (https://mcfarlandbooks.com/product/clashof-the-little-giants) or via Amazon.

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Fast Results from Fort Worth Where Vergil Ortiz Jr Won His 19th Straight by KO

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In a match pushed back from March 19, Vergil Ortiz Jr moved one step closer to a mega-fight with Terence “Bud” Crawford or Errol Spence Jr or Boots Ennis with a ninth-round stoppage of England’s feather-fisted Michael McKinson. The end came 20 seconds into round nine when McKinson appeared to injure his knee as he fell to the canvas, an apparent residue of the body punch that put him on the deck late in the previous stanza. To that point, Ortiz had seemingly won every round.

It was the 19th win inside the distance in as many opportunities for Ortiz who resides in nearby Grand Prairie and was making his first start with new trainer Manny Robles. McKinson was undefeated heading in, but had scored only two knockouts while building his record to 22-0.

Ortiz, ranked #1 at welterweight by the WBA and the WBO, pulled out of the March 19 bout after being diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis, a muscle disorder associated with over-training.

Ortiz’s promoter, Oscar De La Hoya, says that Ortiz will fight the winner of Errol Spence vs Terence Crawford next assuming that the fight gets made, and if doesn’t get made, Ortiz’s next fight will be with one or the other. The WBA, which stamped tonight’s fight an eliminator, may push to have Ortiz fight their secondary title-holder, Eimantas Stanionis.

Co-Feature

Houston’s Marlen Esparza (13-1, 1 KO) successfully defended her WBA/WBC world flyweight title with a unanimous decision over plucky 4’11 ½” Venezuelan southpaw Eva Guzman who had won 14 straight coming in, albeit against soft opposition. The judges had it 98-92 and 99-91 twice.

Guzman (19-2-1) was game, but just didn’t have the physical tools to overcome Esparza whose lone defeat came at the hands of talented Seneisa Estrada.

Other Fights of Note

In a 10-round match contested at the catchweight of 150 pounds, Blair “The Flair” Cobbs rebounded from his first defeat with a career-best performance, a wide decision over former WBO 140-pound world titlist Maurice Hooker. It was the second straight loss for Hooker who returned to the ring after a 17-month hiatus and came out flat. Cobbs put him on the canvas in the opening frame with a combination and decked him twice more with straight lefts in round two.

Things got somewhat dicey for Cobbs in round five when he suffered a bad gash on his forehead from an accidental head butt, but Hooker, who had stablemate Bud Crawford in his corner, hesitated to let his hands go and couldn’t reverse the tide. The judges had it 96-91 and 97-90 twice for the flamboyant Cobbs who improved to 16-1-1 (10). Hooker, a consensus 5/2 favorite, lost for the third time in his last five starts and slumped to 27-3-3.

In the opener to the main portion of the DAZN card, Uzbekistan’s Bektimir Melikuziev (10-1, 8 KOs), a super middleweight growing into a light heavyweight, dominated and stopped overmatched Sladan Janjanin. Melikuziev put Janjanin down with a body punch in the opening minute of the fight and scored two more knockdowns before the bout was halted at the 2:18 mark of round three.

This was Melikuziev’s third fight back after his shocking one-punch annihilation by Gabriel Rosado. Janjanin, a well-traveled Bosnian who fought three weeks ago in Massachusetts, declined to 32-12 and was stopped for the eighth time.

Also

Chicago welterweight Alex Martin (18-4, 6 KOs) overcame a first-round knockdown to win a unanimous decision over 38-year-old Philadelphia journeyman Henry Lundy. The judges had it an unexpectedly wide 98-91, 97-92, 97-92.

Martin was coming off a points loss to McKinson and this bout was his reward for taking that fight on short notice. Lundy (31-11-1) has lost five of his last seven.

Floyd “Austin Kid” Schofield, a lightweight who appears to have a big upside, advanced to 11-0 (9 KOs) at the expense of Mexican trial horse Rodrigo Guerrero whose corner wisely pulled him out after five one-sided rounds. It was the ninth straight loss for Guerrero (26-15).

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Conlan Wins His Belfast Homecoming; Breezes Past Lackadaisical Marriaga

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“The Return of the Mick” was the label attached to tonight’s show at the SSE Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The reference was to local fan favorite Michael “Mick” Conlan who returned to his hometown in hopes of jump-starting his career after suffering his first pro loss in a brutal encounter with Leigh Wood.

In that bout, a strong “Fight of the Year contender, Conlan was narrowly ahead on all three cards heading into the 12th and final round when the roof fell in. Wood, who was making the first defense of his WBA world featherweight title on his home turf in Nottingham, knocked the favored Conlan unconscious and clear out of the ring.

This was the sort of fight that can shorten a man’s career. Hence the intrigue in Conlan’s homecoming fight tonight against Miguel Marriaga. On paper, the Colombian, a three-time world title challenger, was a stern test considering the circumstances.

To the contrary, Marriaga had no fire in his belly until the final round when he hit Conlan with a shot that buckled his knees. But, by then Conlan was so far ahead without overly exerting himself that there was virtually no chance of another meltdown.

While Conlan won lopsidedly, the scores – 99-89 and 99-88 twice – were somewhat misleading. True, “Mick” had Marriaga on the deck in rounds 7, 8, and 9, but the punches that put him there did not look particularly hard.

Conlan, 30, improved to 17-1 (8). Marriaga, 35, declined to 30-6.

After the fight, Conlan expressed the hope that Leigh Wood would give him a rematch.

Other Bouts of Note

In an entertaining 10-round welterweight scrap that could have gone either way, Belfast’s Tyrone McKenna (23-3-1, 6 KOs) rebounded from his defeat in Dubai to Regis Prograis (TKO by 6) with a hard-fought unanimous decision over 33-year-old Welshman Chris Jenkins (23-6-3). The judges favored the local fighter by scores of 97-94 and 96-95 twice.

Jenkins, a former British and Commonwealth title-holder, had the best of the early going, working the body effectively while frequently finding a home for his uppercut, but he could not sustain his advantage.

Thirty-four-year-old Belfast super middleweight Padraig McCrory who got a late start in boxing, scored the most important win of his career with a fifth-round stoppage of Marco Antonio Periban, a former world title challenger. McCrory had Periban on the deck three times – once in the second and twice in the fifth – before the bout was halted at the 2:14 mark of round five.

It was the fourth straight win inside the distance for McCrory who improved to 14-0 (8 KOs). Mexico’s Periban, who returned to the sport in April after missing all of 2020 and 2021, fell to 26-6-1.

Highly-touted welterweight Paddy Donovan improved to 9-0 (6) with an 8-round unanimous decision over Yorkshireman Tom Hall (10-3). The referee scored every round for Donovan, an Irish Traveler trained by Tyson Fury’s bosom buddy Andy Lee, the former world middleweight title-holder.

Photo credit: Mikey Williams / Top Rank via Getty Images

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