Commentary

Urbano's "O" goes against Acosta

Originally Published: July 27, 2009
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com


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

Saturday at Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico
Lightweight
Miguel Acosta TKO9 Urbano Antillon
Wins a vacant interim lightweight title
Records: Acosta, 25-9-2, 19 KOs; Antillon, 26-1, 19 KOs

Rafael's remark: Top Rank's "Latin Fury 10" pay-per-view was supposed to feature Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in the main event with featherweight titlist Yuriorkis Gamboa in the co-feature. When they both fell out for different reasons, Antillon's fight with the unheralded Acosta was pushed up to main event status. It figured to be a terrific showcase for Antillon, 26, of Maywood, Calif., an exciting and rising lightweight contender. Instead, it turned out to be the worst night of his career. Acosta, 31, of Venezuela, gave him fits. He moved around the ring trying to avoid Antillon, who pressured him constantly. Acosta also did a lot of holding to avoid the big shots, which seemed to frustrate Antillon and elicited multiple warnings from referee Russell Mora. But going into the ninth round, it appeared to be a tight fight. Then Acosta, whose only win of note had come via split decision against Anges Adjaho in 2007, unleashed an out-of-nowhere left uppercut while fighting out of a corner. Antillon never saw the shot coming. It clipped him flush on the chin and sent him to the canvas in bad shape. Antillon rose on unsteady legs at Mora's nine count but Mora didn't like what he saw and called off the fight at 1 minute, 47 seconds. Acosta won his 17th fight in a row since a three-fight losing streak in 2002 and 2003.

With the win, Acosta picked up the WBA's pointless interim 135-pound belt. The WBA, which has been handing out belts with abandon, now has three so-called champions in the lightweight division. The real champion is lineal champ Juan Manuel Marquez, whom the WBA calls its "super champion." The so-called "regular champion" is Paulus Moses, who happened to defend his title on the same night in his home country of Namibia. Why an interim title was sanctioned is anyone's guess, but it probably has to do with the WBA trying to line its pocketbook with as many sanctioning fees as it can possibly extort.

Junior flyweight
Giovani Segura TKO6 Juanito Rubillar
Retains a junior flyweight title
Records: Segura, 21-1-1, 16 KOs; Rubillar, 46-13-7, 22 KOs

Rafael's remark: Segura thought he would be fighting Sonny Boy Jaro, a right-handed challenger from the Philippines in his first defense. However, Jaro had visa issues and was scratched from the fight on Wednesday. So at the last minute, Rubillar, a left-handed fighter from the Philippines, was brought in on extremely short notice. He didn't arrive in Mexico until Friday after a 15-hour-plus flight to Los Angeles followed by another flight to Mexico. It took Segura, who was born in Mexico but lives in Bell Gardens, Calif., outside of Los Angeles, a couple of rounds to adjust to a style he hadn't trained for, but he adjusted well. Segura, faster and a harder puncher, dominated Rubillar, nailing him with right hands and uppercuts. Referee Luis Pabon appeared to miss a knockdown in the third round when Segura landed a shot that caused Rubillar to touch his glove to the canvas while he was getting pounded. Segura was unloading with relative ease when Rubillar's corner threw in the towel in the sixth round. Rubillar didn't appear in serious trouble at the time, but he was clearly not going to win the fight unless something dramatic happened to change the way the fight was going. Making an appearance with Segura in his corner was disgraced trainer Javier Capetillo, who had his license revoked in the United States earlier this year for trying to load the hand wraps of Antonio Margarito (who was also on hand) for his January knockout loss to Shane Mosley. It was Rubillar's sixth unsuccessful shot at a world title, having also lost a strawweight title fight to Zolani Petelo in 1999 and four other junior flyweight title bouts to Jorge Arce (twice, in 2001 and 2004), Wandee Singwancha in 2006 and Edgar Sosa in November.

Flyweight
Juan Alberto Rosas W10 Alejandro Martinez
Scores: 100-87, 99-92, 99-91
Records: Rosas, 29-5, 24 KOs; Martinez, 13-2-1, 10 KOs

Rafael's remark: In a grueling inside fight, Rosas, 24, of Mexico, did more than enough to win the lopsided decision against Costa Rica's Martinez, 23. But judge Jose Gutierrez's 100-87 scorecard was completely out of line. His score means that he rendered three 10-8 rounds, which is just wrong. There were no knockdowns and no point deductions and no round that was that overwhelming to give Rosas an extra point. Nonetheless, Rosas, who was fighting in his hometown, dominated Martinez, whose awkward style and tendency to lean in with his head made this one a bit ugly and caused some accidental head butts. Rosas was cut on his scalp from an accidental butt in the first round, but it didn't seem to cause any issues for him. Rosas seemed to hurt Martinez in the fifth round of the fast-paced fight but never came close to the knockout, just the clear-cut decision. It was Rosas' second win in a row after a two-fight losing streak, including in a nontitle bout to bantamweight titlist Fernando Montiel in November. Martinez has lost two of three bouts.

Junior flyweight
Hernan "Tyson" Marquez W10 Juan Esquer
Scores: 100-91, 99-91, 98-92
Records: Marquez, 23-0, 16 KOs; Esquer, 24-6-1, 18 KOs

Rafael's remark: Marquez, just 20, took his first notable step up in competition and passed with flying colors as he easily turned back a spirited effort from his Mexican countryman. Although the scores were wide, Marquez was given a good test by Esquer, 22, who gave his best but was outgunned and outskilled in the "Latin Fury 10" pay-per-view opener. There was solid action throughout the bout but it was pretty much all Marquez, with the exception of a few brief moments in the seventh and ninth rounds, when Esquer, a former strawweight title challenger, appeared to shake Marquez.

Heavyweight
Samuel Peter KO3 Marcus McGee
Records: Peter, 31-3, 24 KOs; McGee, 22-17-1, 11 KOs

Rafael's remark: In his first fight since signing with Top Rank last week, Peter, a former heavyweight titleholder, shook off two losses in a row with an easy blowout victory against journeyman McGee. Peter, 28, a native of Nigeria living in Las Vegas, had lost his past two fights, a lopsided title-losing eighth-round knockout to Vitali Klitschko in October followed by a decision loss to Eddie Chambers in March. Peter was in poor condition for both fights and didn't seem all that motivated for either. After the Chambers fight, he split with promoter Dino Duva and fired trainers Pops Anderson and Stacey McKinley. He began training with Abel Sanchez and later signed with Top Rank. The losses may have humbled Peter a bit. He certainly came to fight McGee in much better shape than recent fights, weighing 243 pounds. He was 265 against Chambers and 253 against Klitschko. Against McGee, Peter scored knockdowns in the first, second and third rounds, finishing McGee with a left hook in the third. Peter had a point deducted in the first round for a blow behind the head. Peter may fight again on the Miguel Cotto-Manny Pacquiao undercard on Nov. 14. Top Rank plans to give him two or three fights and then will look to put him into as significant a fight as it can make for him.

Saturday at Windhoek, Namibia
Lightweight
Paulus Moses W12 Takehiro Shimada
Retains a lightweight title
Scores: 119-109, 119-108, 118-110
Records: Moses, 25-0, 17 KOs; Shimada, 23-5-1, 16 KOs

Rafael's remark: Moses is one of the more obscure titleholders in boxing, perhaps because he holds the low-rent WBA "regular" title when the real champion is Juan Manuel Marquez. Moses, 31, won it via lopsided decision in Japan against Yusuke Kobori on Jan. 3. Making his first defense, Moses returned home to Namibia and won the lopsided decision against Shimada, 37, another Japanese fighter. Shimada is now 0-2 in world title bouts, having been knocked out in the seventh round in Tokyo by then-junior lightweight beltholder Edwin Valero in June 2008. Shimada rebounded to knock out fringe contender Ameth Diaz in March to set up the fight with Moses. Shimada appeared to favor his left knee against Moses after a slip to the canvas in the first round.

Friday at El Paso, Texas
Featherweight
Antonio Escalante W10 Cornelius Lock
Scores: 100-88 (twice), 98-90
Records: Escalante, 20-2, 13 KOs; Lock, 18-4-1, 11 KOs

Rafael's remark: Lock talked a lot of trash before the "Friday Night Fights" main event, which looked like it would be competitive on paper. Instead, Escalante pitched the near-shutout in a terrific performance to give his hometown fans a thrill. Escalante, who was born in Mexico but lives in El Paso, knocked Lock, 32, of Detroit, down twice in the third round. It was all Lock could do to make it out of the round in which he had been knocked down by a body shot and then a flurry of head blows. Escalante never really let up on him. He almost had Lock out again in the fourth round. He was pounding him at the end of the round, but the bell rang to save him. Escalante completely outgunned him and Lock's corner, headed by former champion Cornelius Boza Edwards, really should have stopped the fight. Lock had nothing left in the 10th round and it was surprising that he made it to the final bell without his corner or referee Rocky Burke stopping the fight. Escalante is on a nice run right now. He's won seven fights in a row and generally done it in exciting style. Why not a title shot? A fight with titlist Juan Manuel Lopez would certainly be exciting. Lock's three-fight winning streak ended.

Junior featherweight
Jose Angel Beranza W6 Juan Velasquez
Scores: 58-54 (twice), 57-55
Records: Beranza, 32-15-2, 25 KOs; Velasquez, 9-1, 5 KOs

Rafael's remark: Brought in strictly as an opponent who figured to go rounds, Mexico's Beranza, 33, instead pulled the upset by handily beating the touted 24-year-old prospect from Puerto Rico. Beranza entered the fight having lost six of his past seven fights, all decisions to good opponents (Wilfredo Vazquez Jr., Jonathan Oquendo, Nestor Rocha, Antonio Escalante, Jhonny Gonzalez and Diosdado Gabi). Velasquez was certainly expected to add his name to that list as one of Golden Boy's rising prospects. It didn't quite turn out that way. Velasquez was doing just fine through the first two rounds, but then the wheels came off. Beranza knocked him down twice in the third round, one that was a flash knockdown but the second on a hard uppercut. In the fifth round, Beranza hurt Velasquez with a straight right hand that sent him reeling backward and his mouthpiece flying out. Velasquez had feasted on soft opponents through his first nine fights and could not deal with things when presented with a solid pro. You have to question the matchmaking at least a little if only because Velasquez was coming off a one-year layoff. Beranza was too tough an opponent for a guy with very little pro experience coming off such a long layoff.

Junior lightweight
Carlos Velasquez W6 Juan Nazario
Scores: 60-53 (three times)
Records: Velasquez, 11-0, 9 KOs; Nazario, 6-2-1, 4 KOs

Rafael's remark: Considered the better of the twin Velasquez brothers from Puerto Rico, Carlos, 24, rolled to a shutout decision against Nazario, 29, on a night in which his twin brother was upset. Carlos fought first and cruised against Nazario, who was never really in the fight. Velasquez appeared to be robbed of a second-round knockdown when he landed a shot that sent Nazario reeling backward and he looked like he touched his glove to the canvas. However, it was not ruled a knockdown by referee Rocky Burke. Nazario, who dropped to 0-2-1 in his past three bouts, had a point deducted in the fifth round for excessive holding as he seemed to be looking only for a way to survive until the final bell.

Friday at Chicago
Heavyweight
Fres Oquendo KO9 Bruce Seldon

Records: Oquendo, 31-5, 20 KOs; Seldon, 40-8, 36 KOs

Rafael's remark: Former two-time title challenger Oquendo, 36, had his hands full with faded former titleholder Seldon, 42, but eventually got the knockout. Fighting in his hometown, Oquendo, who lost title shots against then-beltholders Chris Byrd (2003) and John Ruiz (2004), won his second in a row since a controversial split-decision loss to James Toney in December. There was plenty of two-way action, but the slicker and quicker Oquendo hurt Seldon just before the end of the seventh round and scored a knockdown in the eighth when Seldon took a knee to get away from the punishment. In the ninth, Oquendo knocked Seldon to a knee, where he took the full count. Seldon sure put up a better fight than he did in the fight he is best known for. That was when he yielded his heavyweight title via first-round knockout to Mike Tyson in 1996 in a fight in which Seldon was stopped seemingly without being hit by a solid shot. An eight-year layoff followed, before a comeback -- starting in 2004 -- in which he is now 7-4.

Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.