Weekend scorecard: Slow start cost Hopkins

Bernard Hopkins complained about the scoring in his loss to Jermain Taylor. But Hopkins did virtually nothing in the first half of the fight and gave his titles away.

Updated: July 18, 2005, 4:22 PM ET
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com


A roundup of the weekend's notable boxing results from around the world:

Monday at Osaka, Japan
Junior bantamweight
Masamori Tokuyama W12 Katsushige Kawashima
Regains a junior bantamweight title
Scores: 118-109, 117-110, 115-112
Records: Tokuyama 31-3-1; Kawashima 28-4
Rafael's remark: In a rubber match, Tokuyama moved to 2-1 in his personal rivalry with Kawashima, regaining the title he lost by a shocking first-round knockout in June 2004. Tokuyama, who survived a knockdown in the 12th round, must next face 2000 U.S. Olympian and mandatory Jose Navarro, who lost a highly controversial decision to Kawashima in January.

Saturday at Las Vegas
Middleweight
Jermain Taylor W12 Bernard Hopkins
Wins undisputed middleweight title
Scores: 115-113 (twice) Taylor, 116-112 Hopkins
Records: Taylor 24-0; Hopkins 46-3-1
Rafael's remark: Taylor, the 2000 U.S. Olympic bronze medalist, joined super middleweight Jeff Lacy as the only members of the team to win world titles so far. Hopkins complained about the scoring, saying he won the fight. But he did virtually nothing in the first half of the fight and gave his titles away. Yes, Hopkins dominated the late rounds, but Taylor already had the early rounds in the bank, which count just as much. That left Hopkins in a huge hole he was unable to escape from. So Hopkins' incredible streak of 20 consecutive title defenses (a division record) in a 10-plus year period and a 12-year unbeaten streak came to a crashing halt. There will be a rematch -- it has already been negotiated and was in the contract -- this fall. The exact date will depend on Taylor's health following a concussion and 15 stitches needed to close a deep cut on his scalp from a head butt.
Junior featherweight
Oscar Larios TKO10 Wayne McCullough
Retains junior featherweight title
Records: Larios 56-3, 36 KOs; McCullough 27-6
Rafael's remark: Larios put a pounding on the tough-as-nails McCullough, who was stopped for the first time in his career. All six of his losses have come in title fights and his tour of duty as a top contender finally might have come to an end. He simply takes too many clean, hard punches and has no concept of defense. That leads to problems later in life. Kudos to trainer Freddie Roach and Nevada ringside doctor Margaret Goodman, whose compassion and affinity for McCullough saved him from further brutalization when they stopped the fight in the corner after the 10th round. McCullough is too good of a guy to get destroyed. Larios, meanwhile, continues to pile up wins and make good fights. It might be time for him to move up to featherweight -- or even junior lightweight because he has such good size -- and get into some higher-profile matches. We'd love to see him in with featherweight king Juan Manuel Marquez.
Junior bantamweight
Fernando Montiel W12 Everth Briceno
Retains a junior bantamweight title
Scores: 118-110, 117-111 (twice)
Records: Montiel 31-1-1; Briceno 21-3
Rafael's remark: If this was a 15-round fight, Montiel would be an ex-champion today. Briceno, who took the fight at the last minute when Eric Morel had his license suspended in Nevada because of a sexual assault no contest plea, was strong and was coming on late against a fading Montiel. Montiel, who was making the first defense of his second 115-pound title reign, just does not seem to have the zip he once had when he first burst on the scene a few years ago. Hopefully, a September unification fight with Luis Perez, which is being discussed, can rekindle something in him.
Junior middleweight
Vernon Forrest KO2 Sergio Rios
Records: Forrest 36-2, 27 KOs; Rios 17-2
Rafael's remark: Forrest, the former welterweight champ, returned from a two-year layoff because of left shoulder and elbow injuries to blow out Rios. It was a good win for Forrest, who is trying to build confidence and test his chronically injured arm. Even Forrest admits this fight and his next few are akin to a baseball player on a minor-league rehab assignment. But if Forrest can get healthy and stay healthy, there are fights for him -- Zab Judah, Antonio Margarito, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Winky Wright, even a third fight with Shane Mosley would all be interesting.
Junior lightweight
Vicente Escobedo TKO1 Edgar Vargas
Records: Escobedo 5-0, 5 KOs; Vargas 9-2
Rafael's remark: Escobedo, a 2004 U.S. Olympian, so far has been very impressive in his brief pro career. In fact, we think he has a chance to be one of the best pros from the team. He has great size for a 130-pounder and the kid can punch holes in a wall. Keep an eye on him.
Junior featherweight
Abner Mares TKO3 Elvis Martinez
Records: Mares 5-0, 4 KOs; Martinez 10-11-2
Rafael's remark: Like Escobedo, Mares was also a 2004 Olympian, but for Mexico. He's not quite as polished as Escobedo and he has a lot of defensive flaws, but he is an outstanding prospect. This fight was his first working with defensive-minded trainer Floyd Mayweather Sr., who should round out his game quite a bit.

Saturday at Salvador, Brazil
Lightweight
Acelino "Popo" Freitas KO1 Fabian Salazar
Records: Freitas 37-1, 32 KOs; Salazar 21-13-1
Rafael's remark: A national hero in his native Brazil, "Popo" scored his second win since last summer's TKO loss to Diego Corrales, and did so with ease. He knocked Salazar down with a shot to the head and Salazar was a tick too late in beating the count. With two comeback wins in his pocket, Freitas, the former two-time title holder, will look to a possible fall title shot at Juan Diaz.

Saturday at Kinder, La.
Lightweight
Juan Diaz TKO5 Arthur Cruz
Records: Diaz 28-0, 14 KOs; Cruz 20-16-3
Rafael's remark: Lightweight title holder Diaz needed a round longer to dispose of Cruz than he did when they first met in 2002. This was a nontitle bout, as Diaz was getting back in action after a cut to his eyelid during his last sparring session forced him to pull out of an April defense against Ebo Elder. Diaz, one of the most exciting performers in the game, figures to be back on TV and in a high-profile fight this fall, when he could face Acelino Fretias, who also scored a knockout victory this weekend. That puts them on the same schedule. We hope that fight happens.

Saturday at Bolton, England.
Heavyweight
Matt Skelton TKO7 Mark Krence
Retains British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles
Records: Skelton 17-0, 16 KOs; Krence 21-4
Rafael's remark: Skelton was supposed to fight Mike Tyson conqueror Danny Williams, but Williams claimed he was ill and pulled out a couple of days before the fight. So Skelton stopped late substitute Mark Krence with a body shot.
Lightweight
Amir Khan TKO1 David Bailey
Records: Khan 1-0, 1 KO; Bailey 3-5
Rafael's remark: Making his pro debut in his hometown, Khan won in expected spectacular fashion by scoring three knockdowns. Khan, just 18, rocketed to stardom in Britain last year with his surprising run to an Olympic silver medal, losing only to amateur legend Mario Kindelan (whom Khan defeated this year in an amateur rematch). Khan is as blue chip a prospect as they come.

Saturday at Nuremberg, Germany
Middleweight
Arthur Abraham W12 Howard Eastman
Scores: 119-110, 116-112, 115-113
Records: Abraham 17-0; Eastman 40-3
Rafael's remark: Abraham scored the best win of his young career, easily outpointing Eastman. Eastman was coming off a decision loss to Bernard Hopkins in February but he had challenged for a world title twice and been a top-five middleweight for the past several years.

Friday at Chicago
Featherweight
Hector Velazquez KO5 Trinidad Mendoza
Records: Velazquez 42-10-2; Mendoza 21-9-2
Rafael's remark: Velazquez dropped Mendoza with a body shot in the fourth and out for good in the fifth. The win was important for Velazquez because he is now in line for a nice payday Sept. 10, when he will face Manny Pacquiao on HBO.

Friday at Temecula, Calif.
Junior lightweight
Jason Litzau W10 Johnny Nolasco
Scores: 95-94 (twice) Litzau, 95-94 Nolasco
Records: Litzau 15-0; Nolasco 15-4-4
Rafael's remark: Litzau, pushed the distance for the first time in his career, survived a seventh-round knockdown in a good scrap. Many were high on Litzau, but although he looks like an exciting fighter, we're not sure he'll ever make it to the next level.

Thursday at Las Vegas:
Junior middleweight
Roman Karmazin W12 Kassim Ouma
Wins a junior middleweight title
Scores: 119-117, 118-108, 116-110
Records: Karmazin 34-1-1; Ouma 21-2-1
Rafael's remark: In a major upset, mandatory challenger Karmazin, from Russia, easily outpointed the lethargic Ouma, who was rumored to be ill all week heading into the fight. Ouma was being groomed for stardom and major fights but he showed nothing against Karmazin, who used his awkward style and physical strength to do as he pleased. He dropped Ouma twice in the third round and dominated. With Karmazin's win, promoter Don King now controls all four 154-pound belts. So maybe DK will do us all a favor and put his guys in with each other to produce a division king.
Junior middleweight
Marco Antonio Rubio TKO2 David Toribio
Records: Rubio 29-2-1, 27 KOs; Toribio 13-1
Rafael's remark: Rubio, a terrific puncher, won his fourth in a row since his embarrassing first-round, one-punch destruction at the hands of Kofi Jantuah last September. With promoter Golden Boy behind him, we expect to see Rubio back in a meaningful fight soon.

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