Scorecard: Freitas dominated in the Bull's ring

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

Updated: April 30, 2007, 4:47 PM ET
By Dan Rafael |

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

Saturday at Mashantucket, Conn.
Juan Diaz TKO8 Acelino "Popo" Freitas
Unifies lightweight titles.
Records: Diaz, 32-0, 16 KOs; Freitas, 38-2
Rafael's remark: The Baby Bull lived up to his nickname with a career-best performance. Diaz bulled Freitas around the ring, smacking him upside the head with a ton of left hands and wearing him down until he quit on his stool after the eighth round.

Although Diaz was making his sixth title defense (and adding Freitas' alphabet belt to his own in the process), he had yet to face a truly serious opponent until now. But like he does in his college classes, the 23-year-old prelaw student passed with flying colors. He was just too young, too hungry and too determined to let Freitas have his way. It was close and competitive for the first several rounds, but while Diaz got stronger and stronger, Freitas began to wilt under the relentless pressure. It reminded us a bit of Ricky Hatton's conquest of Kostya Tszyu -- another young stud breaking the will of an older fighter unwilling to take any more punishment.

Diaz would love to someday fight Hatton by moving up to junior welterweight or welcome Manny Pacquiao up from junior lightweight. He'd also like to win the other 135-pound belts and to face the legitimate champion, Joel Casamayor. Bottom line: There are lots of good fights for Don King's new meal ticket.

As for Freitas, his trainer, Oscar Suarez, took full responsibility for ending the fight, but it wasn't like Freitas argued with the call for even a millisecond. What bothered us more than seeing Freitas quit for the second time -- he also said "no mas" during a 2004 title fight against Diego Corrales -- was seeing him pound his heart as he was carried around the ring smiling afterward like he was some kind of conquering hero. Are you kidding? That was ridiculous and uncalled for. You don't do that when you quit. Then Freitas refused to even answer for his actions. Instead of consenting to an HBO interview, he left the ring.

Freitas' heart just doesn't seem to be in it anymore, which is no surprise. He briefly retired last fall only to announce his intention to return a few weeks later, so you know bowing out has been on his mind. Now, Freitas, 31, might be done for good. He's wealthy, healthy and he and his wife, Eliana, have a beautiful 18-month-old son. So why fight on, especially when you refuse to fight when the going gets tough?

If this is the end for Popo, it's been an electrifying ride. He was once one of the most feared knockout artists in the sport when he was terrorizing the junior lightweight division. His knockout of Anatoly Alexandrov to win his first belt remains one of the most brutal knockouts we have ever seen. He scored a great victory to unify 130-pound belts against Casamayor and showed huge heart in rallying to stop Jorge Barrios in a title defense in one of the best action fights you will ever see. That is how we want to remember Popo, not as the fighter who checked out when it was crunch time.

Junior lightweight
Agnaldo Nunes W12 Carlos Navarro
Scores: 115-113 (twice), 114-114
Records: Nunes, 18-1-1; Navarro, 27-5-1
Rafael's remark: Nunes continued a solid run with a tight decision against Navarro, the older brother of 2000 U.S. Olympian and junior bantamweight contender Jose Navarro. Nunes, a good friend of Acelino Freitas and a two-time Brazilian Olympian, is 12-0-1 since a 2003 six-round decision loss to Eric Aiken, who went on to claim a featherweight title. Nunes was a little quicker and a little busier than Navarro, doing just enough to edge him in a semi-exciting fight.
Bermane Stiverne KO3 Earl Ladson
Records: Stiverne, 12-0, 12 KOs; Ladson, 12-16-1
Rafael's remark: Whether Stiverne can really fight or not is unknown because he hasn't yet faced anyone threatening. However, one thing is obvious about Stiverne after seeing his last several fights -- he has destructive power that leaves opponents in a heap. Promoter Don King's top heavyweight prospect destroyed Ladson with one chilling uppercut that left the journeyman about to roll out of the ring until he was pushed back in. The referee could have counted to 100. Ladson's record is obviously poor, and he's in an 0-8-1 slide, but he was selected as the opponent to give Stiverne rounds because he is normally durable. This was only the second time in that recent span that Ladson was stopped. He was also only the second opponent to reach the third round with Stiverne.

Saturday at Oberhausen, Germany
Felix Sturm W12 Javier Castillejo
Wins a middleweight title.
Scores: 116-112 (twice), 115-114
Records: Sturm, 27-2; Castillejo, 61-7
Rafael's remark: Sturm avenged a 10th-round TKO loss suffered against Castillejo last summer to regain a paper title. Believe it or not, Sturm is actually now a three-time paper titleholder. Castillejo, of Spain, had been knocked out by Mariano Carrera in December, but the belt was given back to him when Carrera tested positive for a banned substance after the fight and the result changed to a no contest. That set up the rematch with Sturm, who was too fast and skilled. Sturm, who lost a controversial decision to Oscar De La Hoya in 2004, used his jab effectively throughout the fight. Castillejo did a lot of chasing, but could never quite catch Sturm with the knockout punch he found in their first meeting.

Light heavyweight
Stipe Drews W12 Silvio Branco
Wins a light heavyweight title.
Scores: 116-113, 116-112, 115-113
Records: Drews, 32-1; Branco, 55-9-2
Rafael's remark: Drews is going to be a tough fight for anyone. He's 6-foot-5, very skilled and hard to hit, as Branco found out again. In 2003, Drews won a unanimous decision against Branco to win the vacant European title. Meeting again for Branco's paper world title, Drews swept the late rounds to secure the decision and become the first titleholder from Croatia since it became an independent republic. For Branco, of Italy, it marked the end of his second title reign. It was also the second time he lost the belt in his first defense.

Saturday at Barranquilla, Colombia
Junior welterweight
Ricardo Torres W12 Arturo Morua
Retains a junior welterweight title.
Scores: 120-109, 120-108, 118-110
Records: Torres, 31-1; Morua, 24-9-1
Rafael's remark: Last fall, Torres won a vacant 140-pound belt via controversial decision against Mike Arnaoutis. This was his first defense and Torres did what so many titleholders do -- he took an easy fight in front of his hometown fans. Although Torres is known for his concussive power, he had to settle for a near-shutout victory against Morua, who was a joke of a challenger. He was coming off a ninth-round knockout loss to Junior Witter in a January title bout that was not competitive, nor deserved. So how did he land another title fight so soon? Next up for Torres will be a mandatory defense this summer against Kendall Holt, who outpointed Arnaoutis in an April 20 elimination bout.
Ivan "Iron Boy" Calderon W12 Ronald Barrera
Retains a strawweight title.
Scores: 115-113 (twice) Calderon, 115-113 Barrera.
Records: Calderon, 28-0; Barrera, 20-3-1
Rafael's remark: The mere fact that Barrera lost via split decision is something of an upset. Calderon, the slick Puerto Rican, rarely loses a single round, much less the fight on one scorecard. Still, he made his 11th title defense and is expected to finally move up to junior flyweight to challenge for a title this summer, probably against Ulises Solis. The bout could be in August on the undercard of the proposed David Diaz-Erik Morales lightweight title bout. For Barrera, this was his second unsuccessful attempt to win a 105-pound title. In March 2006, he lost a unanimous decision challenging Yutaka Niida in Tokyo.
Junior featherweight
Juan Manuel Lopez TKO7 Jorge Otero
Records: Lopez, 17-0, 15 KOs; Otero, 17-9-2
Rafael's remark: Puerto Rico's most heralded rising star continued to rack up knockouts, this time stopping Otero, an experienced journeyman and reasonable opponent for the 23-year-old southpaw at this stage of his career. Otero, who was fighting at home, has lost six of his last seven fights.

Friday at Houston
Junior middleweight
Sergio Martinez KO4 Saul Roman
Title eliminator
Records: Martinez, 39-1-1, 20 KOs; Roman, 23-3
Rafael's remark: Martinez, of Argentina, stopped Roman with a thudding straight left to the pit of the stomach. It hurt just watching it on the Telefutura main event. Roman fell immediately to his knees before rolling over on his back, where he was counted out. It was an important victory for the obscure Martinez, who moved one step closer to becoming the mandatory challenger for the winner of the Oscar De La Hoya-Floyd Mayweather Jr. 154-pound title fight on May 5. Don't count on Martinez ever actually facing the winner, however. More likely, he will have to fight another eliminator first, and even if he wins that one, he'd probably box for a vacant title. Why would De La Hoya or Mayweather waste his time with an opponent who is completely unknown and brings no excitement or money to the table?

Junior lightweight
Jose Aguiniga W8 Joe Morales
Scores: 79-73, 77-75, 76-76
Records: Aguiniga, 31-0; Morales, 19-11
Rafael's remark: Aguiniga slogged -- not slugged -- his way to an unimpressive majority decision against trial horse Morales, giving him a bloody nose and notching yet another win against a second-tier opponent. A 122-pounder by trade, Aguiniga was 131¾ pounds and didn't look in the best condition for his first fight in 364 days.

Junior middleweight
Vanes Martirosyan TKO2 Nelson Estupinan
Records: Martirosyan, 13-0, 9 KOs; Estupinan, 12-5
Rafael's remark: Martirosyan, a 2004 U.S. Olympian and one of Top Rank's top prospects, might look back someday to this fight as an important milestone in his career. It was the first time that he faced real adversity as a pro, suffering his first knockdown in the second round. But Martirosyan rallied to score a knockdown of his own and then win the fight when Estupinan couldn't continue because of a leg injury he suffered on the knockdown.

Friday at Washington, D.C.

Darling Jimenez KO3 Mike Anchondo
Records: Jimenez, 23-2-2, 14 KOs; Anchondo, 27-2
Rafael's remark: Jimenez won his sixth in a row with a sensational knockout in the "Friday Night Fights" main event, crushing former junior lightweight titlist Anchondo with a perfect left hook that knocked him into the ropes and then face-first to the canvas. Jimenez, 27, looked like he might score a second-round knockout. He had dropped Anchondo, but the round was accidentally stopped after only two minutes had elapsed instead of three. It turned out not to matter. Anchondo, 25, who had so much promise after winning a title in 2004, looks finished as a serious contender after going 2-2 in his last four, and being beaten down in the two defeats.
Super middleweight
William Joppy TKO1 Virgil McClendon
Records: Joppy, 38-4-1, 29 KOs; McClendon, 22-11
Rafael's remark: Joppy, the 36-year-old former middleweight titlist, won his fourth in a row since suffering back-to-back losses to Jermain Taylor and Bernard Hopkins. But don't read too much into this quick win. He was fighting a 42-year-old who lost his eighth in a row and hasn't won a fight since 2002. An accidental head butt opened a cut near McClendon's left eye and he quit on his stool after the first round, complaining that he couldn't see. The Washington commission didn't buy it and fined McClendon $1,000 for not fighting on, according to The Washington Post.

Friday at London
David Haye TKO1 Tomasz Bonin
Records: Haye, 19-1, 18 KOs; Bonin, 37-2
Rafael's remark: In a word: Wow! Haye, the British cruiserweight slugger, packed on 17 pounds in bulking up to 217 to try to his hand at heavyweight and obliterated a legitimate opponent in Bonin of Poland. Bonin's only previous loss was a ninth-round knockout to Audley Harrison in 2004, but Haye took him out in short order, dropping him three times in the opening round with an assortment of accurate, destructive shots. Haye is the mandatory challenger for cruiserweight world champion Jean-Marc Mormeck and will come back down in weight to challenge him this fall. If Haye, 26, is successful -- and he's got an excellent shot to defeat Mormeck -- there is no doubt he will eventually go back to heavyweight, where he could be a factor. At worst, he'll make for some exciting fights with the big men.

Wednesday at St. Paul, Minn.
Junior lightweight
Jason Litzau W10 Aldo Valtierra
Scores: 99-90 (twice), 98-92.
Records: Litzau, 21-1; Valtierra, 24-8
Rafael's remark: Fighting in front of his hometown fans, Litzau rebounded nicely from his first pro loss in December. In that fight against Jose Hernandez, Litzau was leading by a wide margin when Hernandez rallied for a stunning eighth-round knockout in the upset on HBO. Litzau, headlining on "Wednesday Night Fights," seemed to put the knockout behind him. He didn't appear gun-shy against Valtierra, 36, stalking him all night. Although Litzau won handily, aided by an eighth-round knockdown, this was an exciting action fight. That's the only kind of fight Litzau knows how to make. It was a good win on the comeback trail, but if Litzau, 23, wants to take his game to the next level he is going to have to learn some of the finer points of defense or he'll be on the wrong end of another Hernandez fight in the future.

Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for