A roundup of the past week’s notable boxing results from around the world:
Saturday at Las Vegas
Canelo Alvarez W12 Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
Scores: 120-108 (three times)
Records: Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 KOs); Chavez Jr. (50-3-1, 32 KOs)
Rafael’s remarks: As gargantuan as the hype and anticipation was for the bitter all-Mexican rivalry fight between Alvarez and Chavez on Cinco de Mayo weekend, that is how utterly disappointing the fight turned out to be. But don’t blame Alvarez, the 26-year-old star and former middleweight and two-time junior middleweight world titleholder. He came to fight, was in great shape at a career-heavy 164 pounds (due to the 164.5 catch weight agreed on to accommodate the bigger Chavez) and stalked after Chavez, the son of the legendary Julio Cesar Chavez Sr., (who was ringside). Although Chavez was actually a half pound under the contract weight (surprise!), he did not seem to have any particular game plan unless it was to plod ahead, throw one punch at a time and take a beating.
Chavez, a former middleweight titlist, showed absolutely nothing and appeared largely disinterested as he lost every single round. None of them were close, and by the end of the bout, the sold-out T-Mobile Arena crowd of 20,510, electric for the start of the bout, was booing Chavez, who finished with a badly swollen left eye and very little future in the sport. Alvarez, meanwhile, looked great, and having secured Mexican boxing supremacy over Chavez, quickly turned his attention to his next fight. In the ring, he announced he would challenge unified middleweight world champion Gennady Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs) on Sept. 16 — Mexican Independence Day weekend — at a site to be determined in what will easily be the biggest fight of 2017. Golovkin joined Alvarez in the ring, and the promotion immediately kicked off, with the Chavez bout quickly forgotten.
David Lemieux W10 Marcos Reyes
Scores: 99-90 (twice), 98-91
Records: Lemieux (38-3, 34 KOs); Reyes (35-5, 26 KOs)
Rafael’s remarks: Former middleweight world titleholder Lemieux, one of boxing’s purest punchers, absolutely destroyed former world title challenger Curtis Stevens in the third round on March 11 in a knockout of the year contender and thought he would then take a vacation. But when Golden Boy asked him if he wanted to return quickly to box on the Alvarez-Chavez card, Lemieux, 28, of Montreal, quickly accepted the high-profile slot, especially because he has designs on eventually facing Alvarez. Fighting Reyes, 29, of Mexico, at a contract weight of 163 pounds, Lemieux won easily but did not get the brutal knockout most expected.
It took more than a year to get scheduled, but Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin announced Saturday night that their long-awaited showdown is on, as they’ve signed on to fight Sept. 16.
Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez will face off in September in one of the biggest boxing matches in years. Will this make them household stars?
Lemieux said that he hurt his hand in the second round. Nonetheless, he strafed Reyes with power shots throughout the fight and opened a bad cut over Reyes’ right eye in the second round that bled for most of the fight. Reyes had a few decent moments in the bout, including one in the 10th round, but this was basically all Lemieux blasting away at Reyes, who was penalized a point by referee Robert Byrd for punching Lemieux after the bell ended the eighth round. Reyes dropped to 3-4 in his past seven bouts, while Lemieux remains in prime position for another major middleweight fight.
Lucas Matthysse TKO5 Emmanuel Taylor
Records: Matthysse (38-4, 35 KOs); Taylor (20-5, 14 KOs)
Rafael’s remarks: “The Machine” Matthysse, in his first fight under trainer Joel Diaz, returned in impressive fashion to score a nice knockout of Taylor and put himself back in the conversation for major fights. Former interim junior welterweight titlist Matthysse, 34, of Argentina, long one of boxing’s biggest punchers and most entertaining fighters, ended a 19-month layoff by moving up in weight to face Taylor, 26, of Edgewood Arsenal, Maryland. Taylor has faced several good opponents but can’t seem to get over the hump when he steps up to face top foes. Matthysse, whose layoff was caused in part by a broken orbit bone and eye injury suffered in a knockout loss to Viktor Postol for a vacant junior welterweight belt, looked sharp, especially considering the layoff. Matthysse’s power did damage in the first two rounds, and then he scored a knockdown with a right hand in the third round. In the fifth round, Matthysse, forced a fading Taylor to the ropes and dropped him two right hands and a left. He beat the count but was done, and referee Jay Nady stopped the fight at 2 minutes, 21 seconds.
Joseph Diaz Jr. W10 Manuel “Tino” Avila
Scores: 100-90, 99-91 (twice)
Records: Diaz Jr. (24-0, 13 KOs); Avila (22-1, 8 KOs)
Rafael’s remarks: Diaz, a 24-year-old southpaw from South El Monte, California, was a 2012 U.S. Olympian. He remained undefeated but again failed to impress in a woefully dull fight in which neither man showed much. That said, Diaz, who has designs on a world title opportunity, outclassed Avila, 24, of Fairfield, California. He cut Avila over his left eye in the sixth round and hurt him with a left hand in the ninth round. But otherwise, this was about as forgettable a fight as there is — a real shame considering that on paper it was an interesting match.
Saturday at Manukau, New Zealand
Joseph Parker (23-0, 18 KOs) W12 Razvan Cojanu
Retains a heavyweight title
Scores: 119-108, 117-110 (twice)
Records: Parker (23-0, 18 KOs); Cojanu (16-3, 9 KOs)
Rafael’s remarks: Parker, 25, of New Zealand, won a majority decision over Andy Ruiz Jr. in December to claim one of the world titles vacated by the troubled Tyson Fury. Parker was supposed to make his first defense against mandatory challenger Hughie Fury (20-0, 10 KOs), Tyson’s cousin, but the challenger withdrew two weeks before the fight, claiming a lower back injury. Cojanu, 30, a Romania native fighting out of Los Angeles, was pressed into service as a late replacement. He and Parker are very familiar with each other, having sparred around 100 rounds together. The familiarity made for a very dull, sleep-inducing fight. Parker cruised to the lopsided decision but did not look very good and could never do any damage to Cojanu, who taunted Parker and seemed quite unimpressed with his power despite losing virtually every round. Referee Michael Ortega penalized Cojanu a point for holding Parker’s head down during a clinch in the fourth round.
Friday at Las Vegas
Robinson Castellanos TKO7 Yuriorkis Gamboa
Records: Castellanos (24-12, 14 KOs); Gamboa (26-2, 17 KOs)
Rafael’s remarks: This appears to be the end of Gamboa, 35, a former unified featherweight titleholder who was once one of the most electrifying fighters in boxing but never quit lived up to the hype. Age, apparent disinterest, many long layoffs and the wear and tear of a long amateur career that culminated with a 2004 Olympic gold medal for Cuba (before he defected) have made him a shell of what he once was. Mexico’s Castellanos, 35, a heavy underdog, showed good power and determination and took advantage of Gamboa’s woeful defense as he scored his biggest win in the main event of the Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN card. It was a win that could propel him into a shot at junior lightweight world titlist Jezreel Corrales (21-1, 8 KOs), who recently signed with Golden Boy.
But first Castellanos, coming off a 14-month layoff since a knockout loss to Oscar Escandon in an interim featherweight title bout, had to take care of Gamboa and did so with surprising ease. Castellanos dropped Gamboa, of Miami, with a right hand just before the third round ended and then planted him on the mat with another right hand moments into the fourth round. After continuing to take clean shots, Gamboa quit on his stool after the seventh round, giving Castellanos, who was way ahead on all three scorecards, a huge win.
Jesus Rojas TKO8 Abraham Lopez
Records: Rojas (25-1-2, 18 KOs); (22-1-1, 15 KOs)
Rafael’s remarks: In a mild upset, Rojas, 30, of Puerto Rico, who is unbeaten since 2008, took Lopez apart in an exciting slugfest. Although Lopez showed a big heart and got in some solid shots, Rojas dominated. He dropped Lopez, 29, of La Puente, California, with a left hand in the second round, floored him again with a flurry in the fourth round and dropped him hard with an overhand right in the eighth round. Rojas continued to lay a beating on him in the eighth round until referee Tony Weeks intervened at 1 minute, 47 seconds. The win likely will send Rojas into a world title fight with interim world titleholder Claudio Marrero (22-1, 16 KOs), of the Dominican Republic, who claimed the interim belt by first-round knockout of Carlos Zambrano on April 29.
Friday at Reno, Nevada
Jose Ramirez TKO2 Jake Giuriceo
Records: Ramirez (20-0, 15 KOs); Giuriceo (20-6-1, 5 KOs)
Rafael’s remarks: The 24-year-old Ramirez, a 2012 U.S. Olympian trained by Hall of Famer Freddie Roach, easily blew out Giuriceo, 32, of Youngstown, Ohio, in the main event of Top Rank’s UniMas-televised card. Ramirez cruised through the first round, taking control with his jab, and then landed a right hand that opened a very bad cut over Giuriceo’s left eye in the second round. Referee Vic Drakulich called timeout to have the wound examined by the ringside doctor. The fight was allowed to continue, but not for long. The cut was terrible, and blood was flowing into Giuriceo’s eye, and Drakulich stopped the fight at 2 minutes, 10 seconds. Giuriceo, who had gone the eight-round distance with former junior welterweight titlist Viktor Postol in 2015, saw a three-fight winning streak come to an end.
Gabriel Flores Jr. KO2 Devon Jones
Records: Flores Jr. (1-0, 1 KO); Jones (2-3, 1 KO)
Rafael’s remarks: In November, Flores, then 16, became the youngest fighter to sign with Top Rank in the company’s 51-year history. But because he couldn’t box legally in the United States until he was 17, he had to wait to make his professional debut, which came against Jones, 25, of New Orleans. Flores, a member of the U.S. Junior National team in 2015 and 2016, comes into the pro ranks having gone 91-7 as an amateur and having won the 2016 U.S. Junior National Championships at 138 pounds. With a big cheering section behind him for his debut, Flores, of Stockton, California, scored a flash knockdown with a left hand in the first round and then dropped Jones again in the second round with a right hand. Jones beat the count, but he was in no position to go on, and referee Vic Drakulich stopped the fight at 1 minute, 45 seconds.