Scorecard: Pacquiao wins; rematch vs. Morales intact

Dan Rafael recaps last week's notable boxing results from around the world.

Originally Published: July 3, 2006
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com


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

Saturday at Manila
Junior lightweight
Manny Pacquiao W12 Oscar Larios
Scores: 120-106, 118-108, 117-110.
Records: Pacquiao, 42-3-2; Larios, 56-5-1
Rafael's remark: Pacquiao is a national hero in the Philippines and wanted to give his fans a hometown fight, so he put his rubber match with rival Erik Morales at risk by taking on former junior featherweight champ Oscar Larios, who came up two divisions. The fight took place Sunday morning in Manila to accommodate a live pay-per-view telecast Saturday night in the United States.

Fighting at historic Araneta Coliseum, the same venue that hosted the legendary third Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier fight, Pacquiao thrilled the packed house with a tough and exciting victory. Don't let the lopsided scorecards fool you. Although Pacquiao certainly was winning most of the rounds, Larios hung in there and didn't make things easy for him, although Larios was coming off a TKO loss in a junior featherweight championship fight in December and was a big underdog.

Larios had one great opportunity for a possible knockout when he clipped Pacquiao with a huge left hook in the third round. Although Pacquiao was clearly hurt, he quickly gathered himself. He steadily pounded Larios, opening cuts above and below his left eye, and scored knockdowns in the seventh and the 12th rounds, although neither came on a devastating blow.

Pacquiao now moves on to a Nov. 18 HBO PPV fight with Morales. Morales won a close decision in their first blazing battle in March 2005. In the January rematch, Pacquiao scored a 10th-round TKO in another exciting fight.

Bantamweight
Gerry Penalosa W10 Tomas Rojas
Scores: 98-93, 98-82, 97-93.
Records: Penalosa, 50-5-2; Rojas, 22-9
Rafael's remark: This was a war, plain and simple. For 10 rounds, Penalosa and Rojas battled toe-to-toe in an exciting fight that juiced up the crowd for the much-anticipated Pacquiao-Larios main event. The card wasn't worth the $39.95 price tag, but this fight at least took some of the pain out of the price. Penalosa, a 33-year-old southpaw who made three defenses during his 1997-98 junior bantamweight title reign, is giving it a go at bantamweight after long stretches of inactivity. Rojas provided him with a solid test.

Saturday at Manistee, Mich.
Heavyweight
Chazz Witherspoon W10 Mike Alexander
Scores: 100-90, 98-92, 96-94.
Records: Chazz Witherspoon, 13-0; Alexander, 11-1
Rafael's remark: Witherspoon will never be confused with his second cousin, former two-time heavyweight champ Tim Witherspoon, who was at the fight. Chazz is more of a smooth boxer while Tim's calling card was his monster overhand right. Chazz, 24, took a few rounds to get into a rhythm but used his still-improving skills to easily outbox Alexander, who was game to the end in the "ShoBox" main event. Chazz Witherspoon didn't start boxing until 2002, so give him time.
Middleweight
James McGirt Jr. W8 Stephan Pryor
Scores: 79-73 (three times).
Records: McGirt Jr., 12-0; Pryor, 10-2
Rafael's remark: In a battle between the sons former world champions Buddy McGirt and Aaron Pryor, McGirt Jr. easily outboxed Pryor. McGirt, a skilled southpaw riding a five-fight knockout streak, went eight rounds for the first time and made it look pretty easy. With his father in his corner, McGirt, 23, was quicker than Pryor. McGirt also used a strong jab and put his four-inch height advantage to use. Pryor, who at 31 can't really be considered a prospect, attributed his lack of punching power to an aching shoulder.
Middleweight
Ronald Hearns TKO6 Hector Hernandez
Records: Hearns, 9-0, 7 KOs; Hernandez, 8-2-2
Rafael's remark: Hearns, the son of all-time great Thomas Hearns, went past four rounds for the first time as he overpowered Hernandez. Ronald Hearns, 27, didn't start boxing until he was 23 and still has a lot to learn. Right now he is getting by on athleticism and power, but it was enough against a limited opponent such as Hernandez. Hearns, with his father at ringside, used an excellent body attack and dropped Hernandez five times: Once in the first, three times in the fifth (when the fight should have been stopped) and again 12 seconds into the sixth, when it finally was. Will Hearns ever come close to matching his father's accomplishments? Obviously, no. Are we interested in seeing him again? Absolutely.

Friday at Hollywood, Fla.
Junior welterweight
Juan Urango W12 Naoufel Ben Rabah

Scores: 117-111, 116-112, 115-113.
Wins a vacant junior welterweight title.
Records: Urango, 17-0-1; Ben Rabah, 24-2
Rafael's remark: This fight is the new poster child for why so many people consider boxing a joke. There is no way Urango won the fight, and this is by far the worst decision of 2006 so far.

ESPN2's "Friday Night Fights" broadcasters Joe Tessitore and Teddy Atlas had Ben Rabah easily winning. The punch statistics overwhelmingly favored Ben Rabah. Even the fans -- who were mostly pro-Urango, as the fight took place at his home base -- booed the wretched decision.

If you bent over backward to give Urango every possible benefit of the doubt on your scorecard, it seems impossible to give him more than four rounds. Yet, the three blind mice gave him nine, eight and seven rounds, respectively. Ben Rabah, a former Olympian for Tunisia before relocating to Australia, would have been better off staying home and going out alone in a bad neighborhood in the middle of the night to get robbed rather than wasting the time to fly halfway around the world for the same feeling.

Urango, who was fighting for the first time in 10 months because of a hand injury, had no plan. He simply followed the boxer Ben Rabah around the ring looking to land the big shot that never materialized. Ben Rabah controlled every aspect of the fight and landed more punches.

That the fight was called a world title bout is a total joke and only makes matters worse. Ben Rabah and Urango are solid fighters but they had no business fighting for a world title because neither did a single thing to even remotely earn the shot. However, the (fill in your synonym for "disgusting") IBF, with rankings that make less sense than hieroglyphics, mandated that they fight for the vacant title. Why was it vacant, you ask? Because the (fill in your synonym for "revolting") IBF forced world champion Ricky Hatton to vacate because he wanted to fight a more meaningful bout than one against Ben Rabah. What it all boils down to is this: Urango is a fraudulent champion who holds a belt for an even more fraudulent organization.

Cruiserweight
Shane Swartz W-Tech. Dec. 5 (accidental head butt) Dale Brown
Scores: 50-45 (twice), 49-46.
Records: Swartz, 18-4; Dale Brown, 35-5-1
Rafael's remark: Swartz, a journeyman who few gave any chance whatsoever of winning, pulled off a major upset with this victory. He easily outboxed Brown for four-plus rounds until an accidental clash of heads left Swartz a bloody mess and unable to continue. He was well ahead on all three scorecards, dealing Brown a terrible defeat. Last spring, Brown, a top-10 cruiserweight, was robbed of a decision against O'Neil Bell in a fight for a vacant title. Bell would go on to become undisputed champion while Brown was left nowhere. He won two low-level fights after the robbery and was supposed to take care of business in this fight to set up a possible rematch. Now, it probably won't happen. It's just another disappointment for Brown, who lost his three previous title shots.
Heavyweight
Oliver McCall KO1 Kenny Craven
Records: McCall, 47-8, 34 KOs; Craven, 27-18
Rafael's remark: In his first bout since signing with promoter Warriors Boxing, McCall blew out human punching bag Craven in just 69 seconds. McCall is a former heavyweight champion looking to get one more shot. Despite a constant battle against drugs, he has won six in a row (plus a no-contest) since losing a decision to DaVarryl Williamson in November 2004, and you never know what he might be able to do if given a chance. Even at 41, "The Atomic Bull" still has a great chin and a powerful punch.

Friday at Tucson, Ariz.
Junior flyweight
Hugo Cazares KO1 Domingo Guillen
Retains a junior flyweight title.
Records: Cazares, 23-3-1, 17 KOs; Guillen, 36-8-1
Rafael's remark: Cazares made his third defense a quick one, blowing out the 37-year-old Dominican challenger in just 1:53 in the Telefutura main event. Cazares connected with a short left uppercut followed by a left hook that dropped Guillen, who rolled over onto his stomach and didn't look like he was making much of an effort to get up. With Guillen easily dispatched, Cazares is ticketed for the Sept. 16 undercard of the Marco Antonio Barrera-Rocky Juarez rematch in a rematch of his own. Cazares is supposed to face Nelson Dieppa, against whom he claimed the title with a technical decision in April 2005.

Friday at Bangkok
Flyweight
Pongsaklek Wonjongkam TKO3 Everardo Morales
Retains a flyweight title.
Records: Wonjongkam, 62-2, 32 KOs; Morales, 27-11-2
Rafael's remark: Wonjongkam successfully defended his flyweight crown for the 15th time, breaking his tie with Hall of Famer Miguel Canto to set the 112-pound division record. That's the good news. The bad news is that Wonjongkam's record is a hollow one because he has faced such weak opposition. Morales is no exception, as he suffered his third loss in a row and is just 4-4 in his last eight fights. Wonjongkam, a 28-year-old southpaw, simply stays at home in Asia to beat up hopeless challengers. His best victory is probably against Hussein Hussein, which isn't saying much. Nonetheless, Wonjongkam took care of Morales, knocking him down in the first round, opening a cut over his right eye in the second round and battering him in the third until the referee stopped the fight because of the cut.

Friday at Barranquilla, Colombia
Junior welterweight
Ricardo Torres KO2 Carlos Donquiz
Records: Torres, 29-1, 27 KOs; Donquiz, 12-4
Rafael's remark: Torres caught the attention of many with his epic battle in September against Miguel Cotto. Challenging for a junior welterweight title, the unheralded Torres had Cotto in huge trouble before losing via seventh-round TKO on HBO in one of the most electrifying fights of 2005. However, Torres injured his right hand in the fight and hadn't fought since while recovering. In his comeback fight, Torres fought in his home country and stopped Donquiz in a tune-up bout for an Aug. 26 assignment in Puerto Rico against fringe contender Henry Bruseles, who is best known for taking a beatdown from Floyd Mayweather Jr. in January 2005.

Wednesday at San Jose, Calif.
Heavyweight
Tony Thompson W12 Dominick Guinn
Scores: 119-109, 118-109, 117-111.
Records: Thompson, 28-1; Guinn, 26-4-1
Rafael's remark: Goodbye, Guinn. Hello, Thompson. While the continually disappointing Guinn can now pack his bags and leave the heavyweight scene after sleepwalking though yet another fight, Thompson, a late bloomer at 34, set himself up nicely for some future action as he scored his career-best victory in dominant fashion. His only previous loss came on a four-round decision in his fifth pro fight.

Fighting in front of a national TV audience on ESPN2's "Wednesday Night Fights," Thompson, a southpaw, was in great shape and pressed the action in a pleasing performance. He nearly stopped Guinn in the 10th round with a sustained onslaught of unanswered punches.

Guinn, meanwhile, is simply finished as a contender after bursting onto the scene as the hot new face in 2003 by winning back-to-back fights against Michael Grant and Duncan Dokiwari. Now, however, Guinn is in a 2-4-1 downward spiral, during which he has looked horrible. He shows virtually no interest in throwing punches and no desire to win. That means we have no desire to see him on TV again.

Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.

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