Scorecard: Holyfield serves Savarese two knockdowns

Evander Holyfield bested Lou Savarese, as he continues his quest to regain the heavyweight title. Check out what Dan Rafael says about that fight and others in this week's scorecard.

Updated: July 10, 2007, 12:26 PM ET
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com


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

Sunday at Tokyo
Flyweight
Takefumi Sakata W12 Roberto Vasquez
Retains flyweight title.
Scores: 116-113, 116-112, 115-113
Records: Sakata, 31-4-1, 15 KOs; Vasquez, 24-2, 17 KOs
Rafael's remark: In December, southpaw Vasquez defeated Sakata via split decision in France. Sakata then went on to win a flyweight belt in March and avenged the loss by defeating Vasquez, the mandatory challenger, in his first defense. Vasquez, of Panama, started aggressively and hurt Sakata, of Japan, during the first three rounds but Sakata, 27, withstood the charge went on to win the close decision. Vasquez, 24, a former junior flyweight beltholder, said afterward he had a headache beginning in the fifth round and felt weak, which kept him from fighting as strongly as he had in the first three rounds.

Saturday at El Paso, Texas
Heavyweight
Evander Holyfield W10 Lou Savarese
Scores: 99-87, 98-90, 96-91
Records: Holyfield, 42-8-2, 27 KOs; Savarese, 46-7, 38 KOs
Rafael's remark: On the same weekend 10 years after Mike Tyson bit off a chunk of Holyfield's ear, the former four-time heavyweight champ continued his run toward another title opportunity with an entertaining decision against Savarese in the main event of a Main Events pay-per-view card. If you missed the fight, and the vast majority of you probably did, ESPN Classic will replay it at 8 p.m. ET Saturday.

Holyfield, 44, won his fourth in a row since returning from a nearly two-year layoff that followed a suspension in New York following a non-competitive loss to Larry Donald and subsequent shoulder surgery. With his shoulder apparently healed, Holyfield has appeared much more explosive in recent fights. He dropped Savarese, 41, with a right hand in the fourth round and again with a huge left hook at the end of the ninth. In between the knockdowns, Holyfield delivered a beating to Savarese, who somehow survived to hear the final bell despite Holyfield being close to a stoppage on a few occasions. Savarese's best moment came in the third round when he hurt Holyfield with an uppercut.

Holyfield says he's going to fight until he regains the heavyweight title. At this point, someone ought to just give him the shot and get it over with. Even at this late stage of Holyfield's 23-year professional career, and when you consider how Holyfield has looked during his latest comeback, it is not impossible to see him winning a title again in this depressed heavyweight era. It's scary to think about, but it's true.

Featherweight
Miguel Roman TKO5 Jose Alonso

Records: Roman, 22-0, 16 KOs; Alonso, 29-14-2, 14 KOs
Rafael's remark: Roman, 21, of Juarez, Mexico, is a prospect and he was getting in some work against Alonso, whom he stopped in a one-sided action fight. Roman dropped Alonso at the end of the third round with a body blow and was beating on him when the referee called off the attack two rounds later.

Heavyweight
David Rodriguez TKO2 Rick Dyer

Records: Rodriguez, 26-0, 25 KOs; Dyer, 13-1, 13 KOs
Rafael's remark: Don't get too excited about Rodriguez and his fancy record, or Dyer for that matter. Their records were built against the weakest competition possible. Rodriguez, 29, is 6-foot-5, 240 pounds and looks the part of heavyweight contender, and as a Mexican-American, could attract a large fan base, but he's still a project. Dyer, 31, is 6-9, 276 pounds and awkward with no discernable talent. None of his previous opponents had even a .500 record. Rodriguez dropped him in the first round and dropped him again in the second round with what was essentially a shoulder shove. Dyer made it to his feet, took a couple of more shots and then turned his back, forcing the referee to stop the bout. Maybe it seemed like an interesting matchup on paper, but not so in the ring.

Saturday at Stuttgart, Germany
Middleweight
Felix Sturm W12 Noe Tulio Gonzalez Alcoba
Retains a middleweight title.
Scores: 120-108, 118-110, 116-112
Records: Sturm, 28-2, 12 KOs; Alcoba, 14-1, 7 KOs
Rafael's remark: Sturm dominated Alcoba to retain his paper title with ease. Alcoba was another in a long line of ludicrous title challengers approved by the WBA. He never previously had been in a scheduled 12-round bout, never fought outside of Argentina (his base) or Uruguay (his birthplace) and never faced a remotely notable opponent. But this is the WBA we are talking about so, of course, that's good enough for a title shot! Alcoba was aggressive and tried to win, but had little success as he was outclassed by Sturm, who regained his paper belt by outpointing Javier Castillejo in April.

Saturday at Moscow
Heavyweight
Alexander Povetkin W10 Larry Donald
Scores: 100-90 (three times)
Records: Povetkin, 13-0, 10 KOs; Donald, 42-5-3, 24 KOs
Rafael's remark: Povetkin, the 2004 Olympic super heavyweight gold medalist from Russia, won every single round on all three official scorecards to rack up another impressive victory. Povetkin, 27, is being moved quickly by his handlers and handling the tests well. The overwhelming victory against the very experienced Donald was the best yet of Povetkin's career and cemented his status as the No. 1 heavyweight prospect in the world. It's probably just a matter of time until Povetkin gets a title shot. Donald, a longtime fringe contender, was fighting for the first time in nearly two years. He fell to 0-2-1 since his easy decision win against Evander Holyfield in November 2004. Povetkin originally was slated to face Monte Barrett, but Barrett fell out and Donald took the fight.

Friday at Staten Island, N.Y.
Cruiserweight
Darnell "Ding-A-Ling Man" Wilson KO11 Emmanuel Nwodo
Records: Wilson, 22-5-3, 19 KOs; Nwodo, 21-4, 17 KOs
Rafael's remark: The "Friday Night Fights" main event figured to be a bruising affair between two good punchers, and that's how it turned out. Both men were cut, Wilson knocked Nwodo down in the third round, Nwodo cut Wilson over his eye and appeared to take command in the middle rounds, and then Wilson, 32, rallied. He scored another knockdown in the 10th round and then finished Nwodo with a spectacular knockout at 2:00 of the 11th round. Wilson might have authored the knockout of the year as he landed a flush left hook that obliterated Nwodo, who fell hard as his legs crumpled underneath him in a frightening scene. Knockouts are no more crushing than when the "Ding-A-Ling Man" rings your bell. Fortunately, Nwodo, 33, was able to leave the ring under his own power and went to the hospital just as a precaution. It was another outstanding victory for Wilson, who has won four fights in a row by knockout, all against quality opponents (Nwodo, former titlist Kelvin Davis, Dale Brown and Daniel Judah), after losing four in a row. Wilson is the hottest cruiserweight around right now and deserves a title shot. He's willing to fight the best, has been on a tear and usually makes his matches exciting. What more could you want?

Friday at Camp Verde, Ariz.
Junior lightweight
Juan Carlos Salgado W10 Ivan Valle
Scores: 96-90, 94-93, 95-92
Records: Salgado, 18-0-1, 13 KOs; Valle, 24-9-1, 21 KOs
Rafael's remark: Hailed as one of Mexico's finest prospects, Salgado passed his most significant test, pounding out a competitive decision in the Telefutura main event. He and Valle lost points for low blows in the fifth round. Valle was fighting for the first time since suffering a brutal fourth-round knockout to Humberto Soto last August.

Welterweight
Victor Ortiz KO1 Maximo Cuevas
Records: Ortiz, 18-1-1, 13 KOs; Cuevas, 9-6-1, 5 KOs
Rafael's remark: Ortiz is just 20, but he's a very mature fighter for his age. He looks like a future world champion, especially after a vicious display against Cuevas. Ortiz was patient and showed an impressive arsenal, unloading uppercuts, body punches and hard blows with both hands. The hardest shot was the last one -- a savage right hand to the chin that knocked Cuevas into la-la land. He was out before he hit the canvas in a corner and was down for several minutes. Ortiz got rid of Cuevas in 2:44. By contract, it took Devon Alexander, another outstanding prospect, four rounds to stop him in January. Ortiz is a little bit of a sleeper, but he has the potential to become a significant force at 140 or 147 pounds. Now it's time for promoter Top Rank to realize it and put him on a bigger platform. The perfect place for him would be on the Oct. 6 Manny Pacquiao-Marco Antonio Barrera II HBO PPV undercard.

Junior middleweight
Vanes Martirosyan TKO7 Alberto Mercedes
Records: Martirosyan, 14-0, 10 KOs; Mercedes, 13-15-1, 9 KOs
Rafael's remark: Martirosyan, the 21-year-old 2004 U.S. Olympian, went the deepest into a fight he's ever been before stopping Mercedes -- now 1-9 in his last 10 -- in a bout that didn't make the Telefutura broadcast. Martirosyan is being brought along slowly by promoter Top Rank, which knows a thing or two about developing prospects. Give Martirosyan time and he might turn out to be a pleasant surprise to all of us.

Friday at Marseille, France
Bantamweight
Wladimir Sidorenko KO7 Jerome Arnould
Retains a bantamweight title.
Records: Sidorenko, 20-0-2, 7 KOs; Arnould, 14-3-1, 9 KOs
Rafael's remark: Sidorenko, a Ukrainian based in Germany, made his fifth title defense, but first outside of Germany as he traveled to Arnould's French turf and scored a rare knockout. Sidorenko's travels were probably a calculated risk since Arnould, 22, was a highly undeserving title challenger. He'd never fought outside of France or Italy, never previously been in a scheduled 12-rounder and never faced even a fringe contender. Sidorenko, 30, dominated, knocking Arnould down in the fifth and again for good in the seventh.

Wednesday at New York
Super middleweight
Yusaf Mack W10 Jose Vasquez
Scores: 97-93 (twice), 95-94
Records: Mack, 23-1-2, 14 KOs; Vasquez, 16-2-1, 9 KOs
Rafael's remark: Thirteen months ago, Mack was a hot contender and on the verge of a title bout if he could defeat Alejandro Berrio in an ESPN2 fight. However, Berrio, after literally kissing him on the head, knocked Mack out in the sixth round. While Berrio would go on to claim a vacant alphabet title, Mack disappeared before making his return to headline "Wednesday Night Fights" against Vasquez, of Puerto Rico. Mack got off to a slow start, but shook off the rust as the fight went on and boxed his way to a solid, if unspectacular, decision victory. He'd like a rematch with Berrio, but that seems unlikely for the time being.

Heavyweight
Michael Grant TKO5 Billy Zumbrun
Records: Grant, 42-3, 32 KOs; Zumbrun, 21-9-1, 11 KOs
Rafael's remark: Fighting on the untelevised "Wednesday Night Fights" undercard, Grant returned to the ring for the first time almost two years to the day since his last bout. Now working with trainer Tommy Gallagher, Grant stopped Zumbrun, who hadn't been knocked out since 2002 and went the distance against a comebacking Riddick Bowe in 2005 only to lose a split decision. Grant, of course, used to be viewed as a top contender, but that changed after Lennox Lewis destroyed him in two rounds in a 2000 championship fight. A first-round knockout loss to Jameel McCline followed and when Grant stepped back up in competition in 2003, Dominick Guinn stopped him in seven rounds, and he was written off. But Grant, 34, has won four in a row since the Guinn loss and says he wants to give boxing another go. Good luck to him.

Wednesday at Broadbeach, Australia
Super middleweight
Anthony Mundine W12 Pablo Nievas
Retains a super middleweight title.
Scores:120-108, 119-108, 119-107
Records: Mundine, 29-3, 22 KOs; Nievas, 17-2-1, 12 KOs
Rafael's remark: Although Mundine injured his right biceps, he won a virtual shutout against his ridiculously unqualified challenger from Argentina. Nievas deserved a title shot about as much as your neighborhood wino. He never previously had been in a scheduled 12-rounder, never had been past six rounds, never had fought outside of Argentina and never before had faced a remotely recognizable opponent. But these days it doesn't take much for the WBA to allow you to have a title opportunity. Of course, Mundine's belt is a joke anyway. He's the WBA's "regular" titlist because undefeated Mikkel Kessler is a unified titleholder and thus has the WBA's designation as a "super" champion. In other words, the WBA sanctions two champions in one division so it can grab a second sanction fee. Anyway, Mundine scored a third-round knockdown and won going away in this so-called title fight. To Nievas' credit, he took a pounding but showed a lot of heart to make it to the final bell. No matter how ridiculous it was that Nievas was allowed to challenge for a title, you have to be impressed by his toughness.

Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.