Manny Pacquiao continues domination
A roundup of the past week's notable boxing results from around the world:
Saturday at Las Vegas
Manny Pacquiao W12 Shane Mosley
Retains a welterweight title
Scores: 120-108, 120-107, 119-108
Records: Pacquiao: 53-3-2, 38 KOs; Shane Mosley: 46-7-1, 39 KOs
Rafael's remark: Even on what was not Pacquiao's best night, the pound-for-pound king still delivered a totally dominant performance against Mosley, winning virtually every second of every round. But it was not an exciting fight, a defect we have come to expect from Pacquiao. In fact, it was his third consecutive fight that lacked excitement. It was just a huge disappointment, especially after the monster buildup.
Pacquiao, the face of boxing and an international phenomenon, did drop Mosley in the third round with a cracking left hand and looked as if he might score a rousing early knockout. His trainer, Freddie Roach, made no secret of the fact that he wanted Pacquiao to become the first man to stop Mosley, who suffered only the third knockdown of his 18-year career. (The other two both came in the same round of his first fight against Vernon Forrest in 2002.) However, Pacquiao never pushed for the knockout and said his left leg cramped up in the fourth round, which hampered him the rest of the way.
Mosley was credited with a knockdown in the 10th round, but referee Kenny Bayless, perhaps the best referee in the world, made a rare error. It was a shove, and, to Bayless' credit, Roach said he apologized after the fight for blowing the call. That so-called knockdown against Pacquiao, of course, had no bearing on the outcome of the fight. Pacquiao came alive after the shove and battered Mosley for the rest of the round, offering some rare excitement in a bout that otherwise left the sold-out crowd of 16,412 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena booing on and off during the proceedings.
Mosley, the former three-division champion, simply could not or would not fight. He was there to survive, it seemed. He never took a chance. Going 12 rounds and getting his $5 million check (to Pacquiao's minimum $20 million) seemed to be satisfaction enough. Who would ever pay to see Mosley fight again? This was his third consecutive horrible performance (all on pay-per-view), coming on the heels of his woeful draw with Sergio Mora and near-shutout loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. The onetime pound-for-pound king is 39 now. He looks nothing like the once-supreme fighter he was. Now, it is downright painful to watch him unable to get shots off and unable to move like he once did. And did it not drive you absolutely crazy that he and Pacquiao continually touched gloves throughout the fight? It's supposed to be a fight, not a sparring session. Touch 'em up before the first bell and hug when it's over. In between, fight. But they like each other and showed way too much respect.
That Mosley could not do anything notable did not come as much of a surprise, however. He was signed for the fight because he was expected to be cannon fodder for boxing's only eight-division titleholder. Mosley has a great name, but his recent performances inside the ring are why the match was so heavily criticized when it was made. All those who lashed out at it were 100 percent right.
Mosley said he would consider retirement. Hopefully, he does call it a day. He's too good of a guy to keep doing this and embarrassing himself. Pacquiao, the 32-year-old Filipino idol/congressman, on the other hand, remains on top of the pound-for-pound list with no letup in sight to his popularity and earning power. Because Mayweather steadfastly refuses to fight him, in what would be the biggest money fight in boxing history, Pacquiao will move on without him. While Mayweather battles his numerous legal charges, Pacquiao is due back Nov. 5 or 12, likely against rival Juan Manuel Marquez -- unless Golden Boy matches Top Rank's offer, as it is contractually allowed to do. If Golden Boy matches, Top Rank's Bob Arum said he will look to match Pacquiao with Zab Judah or Timothy Bradley Jr., both of whom hold junior welterweight titles and would have to move up to challenge Pacquiao.
If you missed the Showtime pay-per-view telecast (and still want to see it even though it was a bad fight), Showtime will replay it at 10 p.m. ET/PT Saturday along with live coverage of the Super Six World Boxing Classic semifinal match between super middleweight titlist Andre Ward and Arthur Abraham from Carson, Calif.
Jorge Arce TKO12 Wilfredo Vazquez Jr.
Wins a junior featherweight title
Records: Arce: 57-6-2, 44 KOs; Vazquez Jr.: 20-1-1, 17 KOs
Rafael's remark: This was by far the best fight on the pay-per-view. It was an intriguing fight when it was made and turned out even better than we could have hoped for as Arce, 31, of Mexico, pulled the mild upset over Vazquez, 26, of Puerto Rico, the son of Wilfredo Vazquez Sr., the former three-division titleholder and one of Puerto Rico's best all-time fighters. Arce had held titles at junior flyweight and junior bantamweight (as well as an interim flyweight title), but he has a lot of mileage on him and has been in tons of hard fights. But Vazquez, who was making his third title defense, is still a bit inexperienced and had a lot of trouble in the action-packed fight. Vazquez was in control early. He knocked Arce down with a solid left hook to the jaw just as the fourth round was coming to an end. However, Vazquez could not follow up in the fifth round as Arce, who was cut over his left eye, rallied to storm back. He badly hurt Vazquez in the 11th round, and it seemed like only a matter of time. Vazquez was backpedaling in the 12th, and Arce was walking him down. When he pinned him against the ropes, Arce rocked him repeatedly. Referee Joe Cortez let the pounding go on too long. There was no point to allowing it continue because Vazquez was basically out on his feet. Finally, Vazquez's corner entered the ring, forcing Cortez to finally call it off 55 seconds into the round. This was not Cortez's finest moment. Vazquez's head was being rocked all over the place, and the bout should have been stopped sooner. Congrats to Arce, one of boxing's most fan-friendly warriors. Tremendous performance from the "Lollipop Cowboy."
Kelly Pavlik W10 Alfonso Lopez
scores: 99-91 (twice), 95-95
Records: Pavlik: 37-2, 32 KOs; Lopez: 21-1, 16 KOs
Rafael's remark: It has been a very tough 13 months for Pavlik, who had not fought since losing the middleweight world championship to Sergio Martinez in April 2010. Besides losing the title, Pavlik made headlines when his long-rumored alcohol problem was made public and he went in to a two-month stay in an alcohol rehabilitation center. Pavlik, 29, of Youngstown, Ohio, was released in January and returned to the gym to begin the road back. It would come at super middleweight. After years of struggling to make 160 pounds, Pavlik moved up in weight. He looked healthy and sounded excited heading into the fight with Lopez, 28, of Cut and Shoot, Texas, who came in with an excellent record against limited opposition. But Lopez gave Pavlik a good fight. Pavlik was clearly rusty after his long layoff and time out of the gym, but this was exactly the kind of fight he needed to shake off the cobwebs. He looked a bit slow and was not as crisp a puncher as he has been, but he gets a pass given the big step it was just for him to get back into the ring. It was a bit of a sloppy fight with a lot of infighting as each man tried to jockey for position. Pavlik, however, landed some hard right hands, even if they did not seem to have the same kind of destructive power his right had when he was fighting 10 pounds south. Pavlik finally came alive in the 10th round when he had Lopez hurt from a right hand and possibly ready to go. But Lopez hung on to make it the final bell despite the majority decision loss. Pavlik's next move is uncertain, but InterBox's Jean Bedard, the promoter of super middleweight titlist Lucian Bute, was in the house because he had a fighter on the undercard and has a growing relationship with Top Rank. There will be discussions about a possible Bute-Pavlik fight, which would be a huge fight in Montreal and certainly a bout that Showtime, where Bute (who is fighting in his native Romania in July) is under contract, should have interest in.
Mike Alvarado TKO3 Ray Narh
Records: Alvarado: 30-0, 22 KOs; Narh: 25-2, 21 KOs
Rafael's remark: Narh, 32, of Ghana, has just two losses in an otherwise good career. Both losses came in the same MGM Grand Garden Arena ring. In 2004, he suffered a first-round knockout loss to then-aspiring prospect "Kid Diamond" Almazbek Raiymkulov. This time around, Narh ran into Alvarado, a physically strong 30-year-old from Denver who is on the cusp of a notable fight in one of boxing's best divisions. Alvarado dominated from the outset, although Narh was never in the sort of trouble that made you think he was going to get knocked down or stopped. So it was a big surprise when Narh refused to come out for the fourth round, instead remaining on his stool much to the surprise of referee Robert Byrd, the crowd and even Alvarado. According to the Narh camp, he had been quite ill Friday as well as Saturday before the fight. He was vomiting, had diarrhea and said he had little strength. He believed his situation was caused by something he ate on Friday. Maybe, maybe not, but he definitely did eat an awful lot of Alvarado jabs and right hands.
Rodel Mayol W10 Javier Gallo
Scores: 98-92 (twice), 95-95
Records: Mayol: 28-5-2, 21 KOs; Gallo: 17-4-1, 9 KOs
Rafael's remark: Mayol, 29, of the Philippines, won a junior flyweight title in 2009 with a bit of an upset against Mexico's Edgar Sosa, whom he stopped in the second round with the help of an accidental head-butt that left Sosa woozy before the stoppage. After a draw in his first title defense, against Omar Nino, Nino claimed the title from Mayol in their rematch this past June. Now, Mayol is on the comeback trail in a heavier weight class. He moved up for his comeback fight in November, stopping Pompetch Twins Gym in the seventh round. Gallo, of Mexico, gave Mayol a tough battle in a bit of an action fight, but Mayol was in control enough to take the majority decision. With Mayol's connections -- he is handled by Manny Pacquiao's promotional company -- he figures to get another opportunity before too long.
Jose Benavidez TKO5 James Hope
Records: Benavidez: 11-0, 10 KOs; Hope: 6-8-1, 4 KOs
Rafael's remark: Benavidez is only 18. He's a prodigy. Usually fighters must be at least 18 to get licensed professionally in the United States, but he had such strong amateur credentials that the Nevada commission gave him a waiver to turn pro at 17. Certainly, had he remained an amateur, he would have been a virtual lock for the 2012 U.S. Olympic team, but he turned professional instead and is rolling. He has great size for his division and a sound overall game that does not appear to have any glaring weaknesses except for the need to gain experience. He had a pretty easy time with Hope, putting together fluid punches and manhandling him from start to finish. Hope took a lot of punishment, and even though he had not been badly hurt by any particular blow, referee Vic Drakulich had seen enough and stepped in to call it off at 1 minute, 43 seconds of the fifth round of a scheduled six-rounder.
Saturday at Neubrandenburg, Germany
Daniel Geale W12 Sebastian Sylvester
Wins a middleweight title
Scores: 118-110, 118-112 Geale, 118-110 Sylvester
Records: Geale: 25-1, 15 KOs; Sylvester: 34-4-1, 16 KOs
Rafael's remark: Geale, 30, of Australia, had earned the title shot by stopping former junior middleweight titlist Roman Karmazin in the 12th round of their elimination fight in October. Karmazin had battled Sylvester to a draw in his previous fight. Fighting for the first time outside of Australia, Geale did what is considered almost impossible: He went to Germany and claimed a decision -- a split decision, no less --to dethrone a native titleholder. Sylvester, 30, of Germany, was making the fourth defense of the 160-pound belt he won when he took a split decision against Giovanni Lorenzo for a vacant title in September 2009, but could not hang on to it in a fight that had wildly divergent scorecards. Whatever you think of the scoring -- an eight-point win for Sylvester seems laughable despite some rounds being quite close -- Geale fought a very good fight. He threw a lot of punches, displayed a solid jab, outboxed Sylvester and was fun to watch. Sylvester, meanwhile, was more measured in his attack and more defensive. That likely was the difference in the scoring. To Sylvester's credit, he did not dispute the decision afterward. Geale won his fourth fight in a row since his lone defeat, a split decision to countryman and former titleholder Anthony Mundine in 2009.
Saturday at Copenhagen, Denmark
Evander Holyfield TKO10 Brian Nielsen
Records: Holyfield: 44-10-2, 29 KOs; Nielsen: 64-3, 43 KOs
Rafael's remark: Believe it or not, this was a big deal in Denmark, where Nielsen is a hero, even if it was viewed as a joke by most other boxing fans. It is, after all, hard to take a fight between two ancient fighters too seriously. Holyfield, of Atlanta, is 48 and continues to fight way, way, way, way beyond his prime, mainly because he needs the money -- although he still insists he will fight until he again becomes the undisputed heavyweight champion. He has a better chance of getting hit by lightning, but good luck to him. Nielsen is 46 (and, with his ample gut, looked as though he belonged more sitting at a bar than standing in a boxing ring) and had not fought since winning an eight-round decision against former cruiserweight titlist Uriah Grant in 2002. In 2001, he was knocked out by Mike Tyson. So, the geezers went at it in a decent scrap, but Holyfield, even in his diminished state, is still far better than Nielsen, who was never very good to begin with despite a glossy record racked up against woeful competition. Although they looked as if they were fighting in slow motion, there were some spirited exchanges. Holyfield landed a nice left hook that dropped Nielsen against the ropes just as the bell ending the third round sounded. Holyfield continued to break down Nielsen, who mugged and clowned because he could do little else, until referee Fabian Guggenheim called it off at 2 minutes, 49 seconds of the 10th round when Nielsen was taking a slew of punches while in a corner -- even though he did not look all that hurt despite blood coming from a cut over his right eye. When it was over, Holyfield continue to spew the same old, same old: "My goal still is to be the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world," he said. Yeah, OK. Good luck with that.
Saturday at Osaka, Japan
Koki Kameda TKO11 Daniel Diaz
Retains a bantamweight title
Records: Kameda: 25-1, 16 KOs; Diaz: 18-3, 13 KOs
Rafael's remark: Japan's Kameda, 24, a former junior flyweight titlist, claimed a vacant bantamweight belt with a decision win against former titlist Alexander Munoz in December and made his first defense against Diaz, 27, of Nicaragua. Diaz suffered a cut over his left eye as a result of an accidental head-butt in the fourth round. Kameda, who is faster, scored a knockdown on a left hand in the eighth round and was cleaning up on him in the 11th round before referee Mark Nelson stopped things at the end of the round. Kameda held a commanding lead on all three scorecards -- 108-100 and 107-101 (twice) -- at the time of the stoppage, so good call.
Although Kameda kept his belt, let's remember what kind of nonsense this really is. He holds one of the crappy WBA "regular" belts. The WBA has the audacity to recognize three fighters as titleholders in the 118-pound division. There is so-called "super champion" Anselmo Moreno, "regular champion" Kameda and even interim titlist Hugo Ruiz. It's the epitome of stupidity, but the WBA can make a buck, so it does it. The fighters and their handlers deserve some of the blame for going along with the shameful racket.
Friday at Las Vegas
Diego Magdaleno KO3 Gilberto Sanchez Leon
Records: Magdaleno: 19-0, 7 KOs; Sanchez Leon: 29-10-2, 11 KOs
Rafael's remark: Magdaleno, 24, of Las Vegas, brought an enthusiastic crowd out to watch him. He is an exciting fighter and a good-looking prospect who did a real number on Sanchez Leon, 31, of Mexico. Magdaleno is a bit wild and has defensive lapses, but he fights in a fun style and became only the second man to stop normally durable Sanchez Leon. Magdaleno badly hurt Sanchez Leon when he dropped him with a left hand in the final minute of the second round. Sanchez Leon perhaps was not entirely recovered from the knockdown when the third round began because Magdaleno quickly floored him again with a counter right hand. Sanchez Leon beat the count but was not in good shape, and Magdaleno immediately attacked. Sanchez Leon went down again under a hail of punches, and referee Vic Drakulich called it off 49 seconds into the third round. This was a very exciting and strong performance for Magdaleno in his debut on ESPN2's "Friday Night Fights." Hopefully, it was only the first of several appearances on the show, although he is due back in July to headline a Top Rank-promoted "ShoBox" card on Showtime.
Juan Carlos Martinez W8 Bernabe Concepcion
Scores: 78-74, 77-75 Martinez, 77-75 Concepcion
Records: Martinez: 17-12-1, 5 KOs; Concepcion: 30-4-1, 17 KOs
Rafael's remark: Count this another upset in a year that has been filled with them. Concepcion, a Manny Pacquiao protégé, challenged for a featherweight title in his most recent previous fight, in July. Juan Manuel Lopez stopped Concepcion in the second round, but it was a wild affair, and Concepcion, 23, of the Philippines, dropped Lopez before being stopped. Making his comeback, Concepcion was not matched with a killer, but Martinez, 29, of Mexico, can fight some despite his poor record. Although one judge scored the fight for Concepcion, Martinez appeared to dominate. He outboxed Concepcion, he outpunched him and he definitely outworked him. Concepcion just was not busy enough. He barely threw anything, although he said after the fight that he had injured his shoulder early in the bout. This is a bad loss for Concepcion, a longtime contender. For Martinez, it is certainly a career booster as he won his second fight in a row.
Mike Lee W4 Gilbert Gastelum
Scores: 40-36, 39-37, 38-38
Records: Lee: 5-0, 3 KOs; Gastelum: 0-2-1
Rafael's remark: Lee, 23, of Chicago, made his ESPN2 debut in a good scrap with limited, but game, Gastelum, 33, of Tucson, Ariz. Lee, who graduated from Notre Dame with a finance degree in 2009 but shunned Wall Street for a career in the ring, is probably the most popular four-round fighters in the world. One look around the giant ballroom at Mandalay Bay, and the first thing you would have noticed was the sea of fans in blue and gold T-shirts that read "Team Lee." Lee brought about 500 fans to the show, which is extraordinary considering he was only in a four-rounder and was fighting nowhere close to home. Lee continues to work on his fundamentals under the guidance of trainer Ronnie Shields, so a solid distance fight gave him plenty of needed experience. He was quicker than Gastelum and a bigger hitter, although Gastelum did land some shots and redden one of Lee's eyes. But Lee was never in any danger and had a huge third round in which he hurt Gastelum with an uppercut and had him reeling. We look forward to seeing more of Lee.
Friday at Indio, Calif.
Aaron Pryor Jr. W10 Librado Andrade
Scores: 96-94 (twice), 95-95
Records: Pryor Jr.: 16-3, 11 KOs; Andrade: 29-4, 22 KOs
Rafael's remark: In what is quickly becoming the year of the upset, we got another one in the main event of Telefutura's "Solo Boxeo Tecate." For years, Andrade, 32, a native of Mexico and longtime La Habra, Calif., resident, has been a top-10 super middleweight contender, although he has lost all three of his world title bouts (to Mikkel Kessler and twice to Lucian Bute). Although Andrade was coming off a quality stoppage victory of former titlist Eric Lucas, it was a year ago. So, he was rusty going into the fight with Pryor, son of former junior welterweight and Hall of Famer Aaron Pryor Sr. (who works in his son's corner). Pryor Jr. is not his father and was brought in as the opponent for Andrade, but nobody told that to Junior, who did an excellent job putting his height and reach advantage to good use. He pumped his jab and mixed in some head-snapping right hands to eke out a tight (but deserved) majority decision win. It is -- by far -- the most significant victory Pryor, 32, of Cincinnati, has had in his career. Andrade was not busy enough and got hit with too many clean shots while Pryor used just enough movement to keep him off balance. This is the kind of victory for Pryor, who was coming off a very competitive decision loss in a January fight with blue-chip prospect Edwin Rodriguez, that could propel him into something more significant. As for Andrade, he's been in many good fights and had plenty of opportunities that he was unable to cash in on. It seems as though he is slipping into opponent status.
Enrique Ornelas W8 Hector Hernandez
Scores: 78-73 (three times)
Records: Ornelas: 31-7, 20 KOs; Hernandez: 10-4-2, 4 KOs
Rafael's remark: In November, Ornelas, 30, of La Habra, Calif. (but born in Mexico), got an unexpected shot at super middleweight titlist Robert Stieglitz in Germany but lost a clear decision. Making his return to the ring, Ornelas opened the Telefutura-televised portion of the "Solo Boxeo Tecate" card that was headlined by his brother, Librado Andrade. Although Ornelas claimed the decision, it was not an easy night. Hernandez, 31, a native of Mexico residing in Arizona, dropped Ornelas with an uppercut in the first round. Ornelas did survive and quickly regained control of the fight. A heavier hitter, Ornelas was doing more damage than Hernandez and putting rounds in the bank. Pretty good fight, especially the fourth round, when they traded plenty of shots. Ornelas is 3-3 in his past six bouts, alternating victories with defeats (including one to Bernard Hopkins). Hernandez dropped his second fight in a row and third in his past five bouts.
Also on the card, 25-year-old heavyweight Deontay Wilder (16-0, 16 KOs) of Tuscaloosa, Ala., whose bronze medal was the only Olympic hardware for the United States boxing team in Beijing in 2008, stopped yet another no-hope opponent, Regino Pena (6-7, 1 KO), in the first round.
Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter @danrafaelespn.
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