Lemieux dominates Reyes but goes distance

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LAS VEGAS — Former middleweight world titleholder David Lemieux, bidding for an eventual showdown with Canelo Alvarez, was forced to go the distance but dominated Marcos Reyes in a decision win on the Alvarez-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. undercard Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena.

The judges all scored the fight for Lemieux 99-90, 99-90 and 98-91. ESPN.com also had it for Lemieux 98-91.

“He is a solid fighter,” Lemieux said. “I give him the respect. He went the full 10 rounds. I could have done better, but I hurt my hand after Round 2.”

Lemieux, one of boxing’s heaviest punchers, was back in the ring quickly after scoring a devastating third-round knockout of former world title challenger Curtis Stevens on March 11. Lemieux, 28, of Montreal, could not resist a chance to strut his stuff on another Alvarez undercard as he did last May when he drilled Glen Tapia in the sixth round on the Alvarez-Amir Khan card.

From the outset, Lemieux targeted Reyes, 29, of Mexico, with heavy blows and quickly put him on the defensive in their bout, which was contracted at 163 pounds.

Lemieux opened a cut over Reyes’ right eye in the second round and the blood streaked down his cheek. In the third round Lemieux continued his assault, rocking Reyes with a right uppercut and then with a right hand to the head.

Lemieux (38-3, 33 KOs) appeared to tire in the middle rounds, and Reyes (35-5, 26 KOs) began to give as good as he was taking, landing to the body as well as a few right hands.

In the seventh round, Lemieux hurt Reyes with a left hand that forced him to take a step back. Reyes, who dropped to 3-4 in his last seven bouts, was breathing heavily and the blood continued to pour down the side of his face.

A right hand bent Reyes over at the start of the eighth round and it was impressive he was still on his feet. Referee Robert Byrd docked one point from Reyes at the end of the eighth for punching Lemieux after the bell.

Reyes, who showed enormous heart to go the distance, forced Lemieux to the ropes in the final round, bringing the largely Mexican crowd to life, but it was too little, too late.

“We obviously came with the best we had,” Reyes said. “In the last rounds, my objective was to throw as many shots as I could because I knew when I lost that point I was going to have to knock him out to win. He’s a great fighter, and there’s a reason why he’s the third-ranked (middleweight) in the world. We’re satisfied with the fight and the performance, and we did our best.”

Matthysse knocks out Taylor

Argentine slugger Lucas “The Machine” Matthysse, moving up to welterweight and returning from a 19-month layoff following a knockout loss to Viktor Postol in a junior welterweight world title fight, destroyed Emanuel Taylor by impressive fifth-round knockout.

“This victory motivates me,” Matthysse said. “This is exactly what I needed to come back where I left off. I felt great inside the ring, and I felt like I dominated the fight at the pace I wanted. I feel great, and I’m ready for what’s next.”

Matthysse (38-4, 35 KOs), 34, a former interim junior welterweight titleholder, looked sharp and powerful as he took Taylor apart. Matthysse showed no ill effects of the broken orbit bone and eye injury he suffered against Postol that was partly responsible for his long layoff.

He flashed his power in the closing moments of the first round when he rocked Taylor with a clean right hand and had him reeling, but the bell sounded before he could do any more damage.

Matthysse had a big second round, picking up where he left off as he punished Taylor along the ropes and had him in trouble. Taylor spent most of the round just trying to get away from Matthysse’s heavy shots.

Matthysse, bleeding from a small cut from an accidental head butt, scored a clean knockdown in a big third round when he clocked Taylor with a right hand and then had him in big trouble on the ropes as the round came to end. By the fourth round, Taylor’s nose was bleeding and his face was getting marked up as Matthysse continued to land big punches.

In the fifth round, Matthysse, in his first fight under trainer Joel Diaz, finished Taylor (20-5, 14 KOs), 26, of Edgewood Arsenal, Maryland, in style. He forced him to the ropes and floored him with two right hands and a left. Taylor beat the count but was in no condition to go on, and referee Jay Nady waved it over at 2 minutes, 21 seconds.

“My plan going in was to win,” Taylor said. “My opponent was a tough guy, but I don’t know why the ref stopped the fight. I could’ve kept going more rounds. After this, it’s back to training hard with my team.”

  • Featherweight Joseph Diaz Jr. (24-0, 13 KOs), a 2012 U.S. Olympian, won a unanimous decision against Manuel “Tino” Avila (22-1, 8 KOs), 24, of Fairfield, California, in a slow-paced and disappointing fight. The judges all had Diaz winning a wide decision 100-90, 99-91 and 99-91.

    “My plan going in was to feel him out and be smart,” Diaz said. “Once I had him figured him out, I knew I could keep digging at him with my jab and do work. In the last few rounds, I kept throwing body shots to hurt him which worked. Next up, I’m looking for a world-title shot.”

    Diaz, 24, a southpaw from South El Monte, California, pressed the action and pushed Avila back with body shots early on, but the fight never really got going as they both generally resorted to throwing one punch at a time. Diaz opened a cut over Avila’s left eye in the sixth round, but his corner did a good job of keeping it from bleeding into his eye. Diaz appeared to hurt Avila with a left hand in the ninth round as he wobbled and grabbed on, but he quickly steadied himself.

    According to CompuBox, Diaz landed 127 of 410 punches (31 percent) and Avila landed just 75 of 299 blows (25 percent).

    “My timing wasn’t there. I felt like this was a learning experience,” Avila said. “I need to learn how to pick up the pace in between rounds. Our styles were off, and I felt like it could have been a better fight.”

  • Blue-chip lightweight prospect Ryan Garcia (9-0, 8 KOs), 18, of Victorville, California, stormed to an easy second-round knockout victory against Tyrone Luckey (8-7-3, 6 KOs), 31, of Long Beach, New Jersey. Garcia got off to a fast start, scoring a knockdown seconds into the fight when he tagged Luckey with a quick left hand that forced him to touch his glove to the canvas. A right hand just before the end of the round hurt Luckey far worse than the knockdown punch. In the second round, Garcia rocked Luckey multiple times with a two-handed attack, and when he nailed him with a pair of right hands to the head that sent him sagging into the ropes, referee Russell Mora waved off the fight at 2 minutes, 20 seconds.

    “The better the competition, the better the fight for me,” Garcia said. “I felt this was a really great chance for me to show off my skills because I usually get the knockout early. This fight was different because I was able to show how quick I can pop my opponent with a hook. People think because I’m small, I don’t have power, but I have explosive power and speed. I’m ready to go make history from here.”

  • Junior middleweight Raul Curiel (1-0), a 2016 Mexican Olympian who signed with Golden Boy Promotions in February, made his professional debut and had a bit of a struggle in a majority decision win against Jesus Ibarra Sanchez (1-2-2, 0 KOs), 27, of San Pablo, California. Two judges had Curiel winning every round 40-36 and one judge had it 38-38, but Sanchez made Curiel, 21, work hard for the win, and he got tagged a bit more than would be expected for a highly-regarded prospect in his debut.

    “I thought I won all four rounds, but I got the win that I needed,” Curiel said. “He was a strong fighter. I’m going to go back to Mexico for vacation and jump back into the ring to get ready for my next fight.”

  • Santa Ana, California, junior featherweight Ronny Rios (28-1, 13 KOs) knocked out Daniel Noriega (30-11-1, 15 KOs), 31, of Mexico, in the fourth round of their scheduled 10-rounder. Rios, 27, who won his fifth bout in a row, dropped Noriega with a right hand in the second round, and when he was beating on him in the fourth round, referee Vic Drakulich stopped it at 2 minutes, 22 seconds.

    “I’m obviously proud of the knockout win, but I think as a fighter we are always critical of our performances,” Rios said. “I need to clean up a lot of my mistakes, including leaning forward too much and loading up my punches. However, I’m ready for a title shot.”

  • In an all-Mexican lightweight fight, Joseph Aguirre (17-0, 9 KOs), 26, cruised to a shutout decision win against Angel Aispuro (8-5-2, 5 KOs), winning 60-54 on all three scorecards.

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