Commentary

Adamek wins, sets up fight with Arreola

Originally Published: February 8, 2010
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com


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

Sunday at Kobe, Japan
Flyweight
Daiki Kameda W12 Denkaosan Kaowichit
Wins a flyweight title
Scores: 116-110 (twice), 114-112
Records: Kameda, 16-2, 11 KOs; Kaowichit, 48-2-1, 20 KOs

Rafael's remark: In October, Japan's Kameda challenged Thailand's Kaowichit in Japan for his flyweight belt and dropped a majority decision. Meeting in the immediate rematch, Kameda claimed the unanimous decision to give Japan its version of the heavyweight titleholder Klitschko brothers. Kameda, 21, joined his 23-year-old brother, Koki Kameda, as a fellow flyweight titleholder. In November, Koki Kameda dethroned countryman Daisuke Naito to claim his version of the 112-pound title. Daiki's fight with Kaowichit may have cemented the family's historical feat, but it was a sloppy bout and not much to write home about in the action department. Kameda slipped to the canvas numerous times while Kaowichit was docked two points for excessive clinching, once in the sixth round and again in the 11th round. Kaowichit was sharper in the early going as he appeared to open a small lead, but he began to tire as Kameda came on to claim the decision.

Saturday at Monterrey, Mexico
Lightweight
Edwin Valero TKO9 Antonio DeMarco
Retains a lightweight title
Records: Valero, 27-0, 27 KOs; DeMarco, 23-2-1, 17 KOs

Rafael's remark: Valero may not be the most skillful guy around, but don't you just love watching him? He's relentless, seems to take a pretty good shot, obviously has punching power and showed a big heart. He's the only undefeated titleholder in boxing with a perfect knockout percentage, which he kept intact as he systematically beat down DeMarco, who did not have a good night. Valero, 28, of Venezuela, went to DeMarco's home country and gave the 24-year-old interim beltholder a beating he'll never forget. Maybe DeMarco, who failed to use his height advantage, won two rounds. It was a lopsided fight until DeMarco retired on his stool after the ninth round. It wouldn't have been a bad idea had his corner stopped it a round earlier because he was getting hammered.

It looked like it might be a difficult night for Valero when he got cut on his cheek from a punch in the first round and then suffered a horrible gash on the right side of his forehead in the second round after DeMarco slammed him with an accidental elbow. The blood was pouring out, but Valero never waivered. In many places the fight would have been stopped right then and ruled a no contest (or technical draw, depending on the jurisdiction). But Valero brushed it off like nothing had happened and actually picked up his intensity level. He pressured DeMarco, hit him with both hands and never allowed him to get comfortable, all while racking up round after round in the strongest outing of his career. He led 89-81 on all three scorecards at the time of the stoppage and he knew he was ahead because the WBC's awful open scoring system was in place, in which the official scores were announced after the fourth and eighth rounds.

Valero picked a good time to turn in this kind of exciting performance because it was his first bout televised in the United States besides two previous bouts on small pay-per-view shows that were not widely seen. But with this kind of win on Showtime, Valero is sure to have made a lot of new fans while showing that he is a force to be reckoned with at 135 pounds. He may not stick around in the division for long, however, after making his second title defense. There's a chance he could move up to junior welterweight and challenge titlist Tim Bradley, who is a regular on Showtime and looking for an opponent to create some excitement with.

Welterweight
Luis Carlos Abregu W10 Richard Gutierrez
Scores: 78-72, 77-73 (twice)
Records: Abregu, 29-0, 23 KOs; Gutierrez, 24-4, 14 KOs

Rafael's remark: Argentina's Abregu, 27, finds a way to win. He's not blessed with great talent or speed, but he can bang, he's very determined and he makes good fights. Two fights ago, he stopped Irving Garcia in the fourth round of a sensational shootout on Showtime's "ShoBox." Now, moving into an undercard spot on the network's big show, "Showtime Championship Boxing," Abregu didn't disappoint. He and Gutierrez, 31, a Colombia native based in Miami, put on a good show that had its share of drama, at least early on. Gutierrez dropped Abregu with a left hook early in the second round and looked like he might get the stoppage because Abregu's legs were very shaky when he got to his feet. But Abregu got himself together and rallied to score a knockdown early in the third round, staggering Gutierrez with an overhand right and dumping him a moment later with a left. This time it was Abregu who looked like he might get the knockout because he had Gutierrez reeling for the rest of the round. Gutierrez then staggered Abregu in the fourth round, but it was really his last stand. Abregu, who knew he was ahead 38-36 on all three scorecards after the fourth round and 78-72 and 77-73 (twice) after the eighth because Mexico embraces the miserable concept of open scoring that the WBC had in place for the main event, would steadily take command, despite cuts over both eyes. Afterward, Abregu said he won even though he hurt both of his hands. Gutierrez dropped to 0-3-1 in his last four bouts, but always makes his opponent work for the win.

Saturday at McAllen, Texas
Lightweight
Brandon Rios TKO3 Jorge Teron

Records: Rios, 24-0-1, 18 KOs; Teron, 23-2-1, 15 KOs

Rafael's remark: Rios, a 23-year-old prospect from Oxnard, Calif., has been brought along slowly but surely by Top Rank matchmaker Brad "Abdul" Goodman and manager Cameron Dunkin, and he put it all together in this impressive victory. Rios ran roughshod over Teron in a fight many believed would be quite competitive. Instead, it was a big night for Rios in the headline bout of the new "Top Rank Live" series on Fox Sports Net and Fox Sports en Espanol. He dominated Teron, seemingly hurting him time and again with his accurate shots. He landed an assortment of body shots, uppercuts and left hands and Teron, 24, of New York, had no answers. Rios pursued him around the ring, inflicted a bloody nose and knocked out his mouthpiece in the third round. In the fourth round, he landed a series of shots and the referee stepped in to stop the bout with Teron badly outgunned. Rios is just the kind of up-and-coming fighter we could see headlining regularly on "Top Rank Live" as he works his way up the ladder. He proclaimed this was his greatest win afterward, and he was right. For Teron, it was a debilitating defeat, even though he complained about a quick stoppage. The inactive Teron lost for the second time in his last three fights dating to December 2008.

On the undercard, featherweight Tomas Villa (22-6-4, 13 KOs) was ahead on all three scorecards (87-83, 87-84 and 86-85) when Juan Ruiz (23-6, 7 KOs) was disqualified by referee Rafael Ramos in the 10th and final round for hitting on the break after being warned previously for the infraction; 20-year-old Dallas junior featherweight prospect Roberto Marroquin (12-0, 9 KOs) knocked out Robert Guillen (5-5-3, 1 KO) in the first round; and 21-year-old featherweight prospect Jerry Belmontes (11-0, 3 KOs) of Corpus Christi, Texas, scored a six-round shutout (60-54 on all three scorecards) against Kenya's Morris Chule (7-9-1, 7 KOs) despite suffering a bloody cut on his hairline from an accidental head clash 30 seconds into the fight.

Saturday at Newark, N.J.
Heavyweight
Tomasz Adamek W12 Jason Estrada
Scores: 118-110, 116-112, 115-113
Records: Adamek, 40-1, 27 KOs; Estrada, 16-3, 4 KOs

Rafael's remark: It's time for Adamek to vacate the Ring cruiserweight championship, because he's not going back down to 200 pounds. Weighing a solid 220, Adamek rolled to his second consecutive heavyweight victory by outboxing and outslugging Estrada, and plans are in the works for Adamek's third consecutive heavyweight fight. In his heavyweight debut in October, Adamek returned home to Poland and knocked out countryman and faded contender Andrew Golota in the fifth round of a bout dubbed the "Polish Fight of the Century." Returning to his adopted home of New Jersey, Adamek fought for the fourth time in his last five bouts at the Prudential Center, where his crowds just keep getting bigger and bigger. This time it was a raucous crowd of 10,123 that filled the building. The fans were mostly Polish and there to cheer on their favorite son, and he did his thing. But you know what? Adamek boxed and moved a bit more than usual, which worked well against the skillful Estrada, the 2004 U.S. Olympian from Providence, R.I., who had 17 pounds on his foe. Adamek worked the body while Estrada showed fast hands, but couldn't score enough while Adamek was taking the competitive rounds. Perhaps the 118-110 score was a tad wide, but Adamek certainly deserved the nod, even though Estrada railed against the decision in his postfight comments. He claimed he was robbed. What he really needs to do is go watch the tape. Adamek now will most likely move on to an April 24 HBO fight against Cristobal Arreola, the former title challenger who got beat down by Vitali Klitschko in September. The fight will likely take place in Southern California, so maybe all those Polish fans will travel. A win for Adamek would set up a possible title shot. A win for Arreola will put him back in the hunt. Whatever happens, it figures to be a more explosive fight than Adamek's solid win against Estrada. For those who did not buy the Internet pay-per-view of the bout, the fight is being replayed on SportsNet New York, which is on the various satellite services.

In two of the notable undercard results, New York super middleweight prospect Peter Quillin (21-0, 15 KOs) ended a 17-month layoff caused by various injuries to take a near-shutout decision from Ecuador's Fernando Zuniga (28-10, 20 KOs) on scores of 100-90 (twice) and 98-92, and 2008 U.S. Olympian Sadam Ali (5-0, 2 KOs) scored a shutout decision against Jason Thompson (5-5-1, 4 KOs) in a four-round welterweight bout.

Saturday at Merida, Mexico
Junior lightweight
Jorge Solis KO7 Likar Ramos
Wins an interim junior lightweight title
Records: Solis, 38-2-2, 28 KOs; Ramos, 21-3, 15 KOs

Rafael's remark: Ramos, 24, a southpaw from Colombia, won the WBA's pointless vacant interim trinket via decision over Angel Grandados in November and was making his first defense against Solis, 30, of Mexico, whose only two losses came via decision to featherweight titlist Cristobal Cruz in July and by eighth-round knockout to Manny Pacquiao in a 2007 junior lightweight bout. Ramos scored a third-round knockdown but Solis, the brother of former junior flyweight titlist Ulises Solis, rallied to drop Ramos in the sixth round. In the seventh, Solis scored the knockout courtesy of a well-placed body blow.

Saturday at Montreal
Super middleweight
David Lemieux W10 Jason Naughler
Scores: 100-89 (three times)
Records: Lemieux, 21-0, 20 KOs; Naughler, 18-12-1, 11 KOs

Rafael's remark: Montreal's Lemieux, 21, is Canada's best prospect and was headlining a card for the first time and doing so in front of his hometown fans. But Lemieux was more than up to the task as he routed Naughler, 31, of Nova Scotia, who lost for the fifth time in a row and sixth time in his last seven bouts. Although Lemieux won handily, including notching a knockdown in the second round, he was pushed the distance for the first time in his professional career, so at least he knows he can go 10 rounds, which is always important, at least psychologically, for a young fighter's confidence. Lemieux had never previously been past five rounds. With the victory, by the way, Lemieux claimed the Canadian 168-pound title, a nice achievement for the youngster with his eyes undoubtedly on an eventual world title. Naughler had been preparing to face Sergio Mora on Jan. 30 on the Shane Mosley-Andre Berto undercard, but when the card was canceled, he quickly found this replacement bout.

Junior welterweight
Herman Ngoudjo TKO6 Silverio Ortiz
Records: Ngoudjo, 18-3, 10 KOs; Ortiz, 20-13, 9 KOs

Rafael's remark: Ngoudjo, a former two-time title challenger, ended a 13-month layoff by pounding out Mexico's Ortiz, who was outclassed before quitting during the sixth round, when he turned his back and walked away from the fight after getting nailed with an uppercut. Ngoudjo, 30, who was born in Cameroon but lives in Montreal, improved to 3-3 in his last six bouts, but each of the losses had come against a significant opponent. In 2007, he lost a split decision to former two-time lightweight champ Jose Luis Castillo. In 2008, he lost a tight decision to Paulie Malignaggi challenging for a world title. And in his last fight 13 months ago, Ngoudjo lost a lopsided decision challenging titleholder Juan Urango. Ortiz, 27, lost for the third time in his last four fights, including a second-round knockout loss to future interim titleholder Marcos Maidana in 2008.

Friday at Davie, Fla.
Light heavyweight
Glen Johnson TKO6 Yusaf Mack
Title eliminator
Records: Johnson, 50-13-2, 34 KOs; Mack, 28-3-2, 17 KOs

Rafael's remark: Chalk one up for the old guy. Johnson, the former champion and one of the best guys in the business, didn't look his 41 years as he dispatched the 30-year-old Mack with surprising ease to earn a shot at the 175-pound held by Tavoris Cloud. Miami's Johnson was returning to the ring quickly after losing a clear decision to the division's best fighter, Chad Dawson, in their November rematch. Although Johnson dropped both of his fights to Dawson, he clearly remains one of the best in the division. The fight with Philadelphia's Mack had nearly been called off. It was originally scheduled for Jan. 30 on the untelevised undercard of the Shane Mosley-Andre Berto welterweight unification fight in Las Vegas. However, when the main event was canceled, the whole card was called off, leaving this bout in limbo. Fortunately, it was quickly moved to ESPN2's "Friday Night Fights" and delayed only a week. Great pickup for the network. It turned out to be a solid fight with Johnson doing what he has done so often. He didn't give an inch to Mack as he broke him down and eventually knocked him out. Johnson started a little slowly -- as usual -- but he picked things up by the third round and began to take it to Mack. Mack's two previous losses had come by knockout and it appeared only a matter of time until he would suffer another one after Johnson dropped him with a right hand in the first minute of the sixth round. Another right hand floored him about a minute later and then it was a left hook during the follow-up attack that knocked the shaky Mack to a knee as the referee called it off. Mack's five-fight winning streak since moving up from super middleweight came to an end. Even at his age, Johnson can still fight, is in great shape, and remains motivated. Why else would he take this fight, a tough one on paper, for just $12,000? Because he still wants another title and bigger paydays. He may not get a big check to face Cloud, which could come in the spring, but if Johnson wins that bout, he could find himself in another money fight. How can you not root for him?

Welterweight
Ed Paredes KO2 Joey Hernandez
Records: Paredes, 24-3-1, 15 KOs; Hernandez, 15-1-1, 8 KOs

Rafael's remark: In August, Paredes and Hernandez, South Florida rivals with no love lost between them, fought to an ESPN2-televised foul-filled draw that looked a little like a WWE match than a boxing match. Paredes fought once and won after that fight, while Hernandez hadn't before meeting on "Friday Night Fights" in front of their crowd. Paredes, 24, of Hollywood, Fla., had dropped Miami's Hernandez, 25, in their first fight but was unable to finish him while Hernandez resorted to shoving him almost out of the ring. That was not the case in the rematch, as Paredes scored a spectacular knockout that ought to make the honorable mention list for knockout of the year come December. They were doing good work against each other on the inside when Paredes caught Hernandez with a short left hand to the chin that he never saw. It crumpled Hernandez, who dropped to his knees with his arms and body laying on the canvas. He tried to get up, but fell over onto his back as referee Samuel Burgos counted him out. It was an especially sweet victory for Paredes, considering the cheap shots Hernandez took at him in their first encounter.

Junior featherweight
Guillermo Rigondeaux KO1 Adolfo Landeros
Records: Rigondeaux, 5-0, 4 KOs; Landeros, 19-13-1, 9 KOs).

Rafael's remark: Rigondeaux, a Cuban defector, may have only five pro fights, but he's already a seasoned veteran just based on his extensive amateur background as a two-time Olympic gold medalist (now based in Miami) and one of the greatest amateurs -- if not the greatest amateur -- ever. He's 29, mature and so poised in the ring that this is not your average prospect. The southpaw could very well win a world title within his next three or four fights if given the opportunity. The impressive part wasn't so much that he blew away Landeros in 28 seconds with a crippling left to the body. It was how he went about it. Calm, cool and then … bang! He blinded Landeros with a right to the head and then unleashed the body shot as trainer Freddie Roach looked on. Mexico's Landeros, 30, who took the fight on less than two weeks' notice and lost his third in a row by knockout, was down for several minutes after absorbing the rib-cracking shot. Rigondeaux didn't even break a sweat.

Junior middleweight
Yudel Jhonson TKO1 Dorian Beaupierre
Records: Jhonson, 5-0, 3 KOs; Beaupierre, 12-6-2, 6 KOs

Rafael's remark: Jhonson, 28, a 2004 Cuban Olympic silver medalist who defected, crushed the overmatched Beaupierre. The southpaw Jhonson dropped Beaupierre with a body shot and the fight was called off during the follow-up assault as he was completely outgunned. Beaupierre, 34, of Dominica, was fighting for the first time in four years as he lost his fourth fight in a row and fifth in his last six. He ought to go back into retirement.

Friday at Santa Ynez, Calif.
Welterweight
Freddy Hernandez KO5 DeMarcus "Chop Chop" Corley
Records: Hernandez, 28-1, 19 KOs; Corley, 36-13-1, 21 KOs

Rafael's remark: This was a decent action fight and a sweet knockout for Hernandez, but what in the world was this doing as a "ShoBox" main event? No clue, because it had no business being on the series. Hernandez is 30, has 29 fights, been a pro for nine years and is what he is, which is not a prospect. Corley is a faded former junior welterweight titleholder, who is now 5-9 in his last 14 fights and still hanging on at 35 as a stepping-stone opponent. Nonetheless, it wound up in a coveted main event, which was a joke. In any event, they tussled for four-plus rounds until Hernandez, a native of Mexico living in California, drilled Corley, of Washington, D.C., with a tremendous right hand. Corley fell to his side like a tree being cut down, and referee Pat Russell wisely called it off without a count. Through four rounds, the three judges all had it 38-38, but one big punch erased the need for the scorecards. Although Corley is clearly past his best days, he said he will fight on. Fine. Just better not be on "ShoBox."

Junior welterweight
Francisco Contreras KO1 Juan Castaneda Jr.
Records: Contreras, 13-0, 12 KOs; Castaneda Jr., 16-3, 12 KOs).

Rafael's remark: Contreras, a native of the Dominican Republic living in Livingston, N.J., came up big in his first big spot on television as he wiped out Mexico's Castaneda in 98 seconds. Opening Showtime's "ShoBox" card, Contreras wasted no time. Not much happened in the first minute or so, but then Contreras, 25, unleashed about seven unanswered punches in an impressive flurry, including a damaging left hand that caught Castaneda when he was already on the way down, to score the knockout. Castaneda got to his backside, but took out his mouthpiece as referee Jerry Cantu counted to 10. Castaneda, 26, complained of a severely twisted ankle, which he suffered on the way down, but a knockout is a knockout. Nice win for Contreras, who certainly should have earned himself another television appearance with his performance.

Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.