Sunday, 26 May 2013

Omar Andres Narvaez v Felipe Orucuta

WBO Super Flyweight champion Omar Andres Narvaez (39-1-2, 20) may still be amongst the worlds best at Super Flyweight but the legendary Argentinian will know that he doesn't have long at the top and following his very tough bout with Mexican youngster Felipe Orucuta (27-2, 23) he may well be thinking about walking away whilst still at the top.

The two men put on a genuinely great fight for the title that Narvaez has held for 3 years and it really did show two very different styles. For Orucuta his wild but extremely heavy blows were eye catching, many of them missed but they were certainly the shots being thrown with bad intentions as if he knew he'd need to take out Narvaez to claim the belt. On the opposite side of the spectrum was Narvaez, a relatively soft puncher who's accuracy was much better than his much taller rival. It wasn't just the offensive work of both men that was polar opposite but also the defensive side with Narvaez showing off his trademark slipperiness which seemed to be his saving grace at times.

The fight really was a case of what do you like. If you're a type of person who loves a lot of action and a fighter forcing the issue then it was easy to see you scoring the bout for Orucuta who was relentless in his pursuit and assault of Narvaez. At times it appeared the Mexican was going to grind down, and stop Narvaez though his somewhat crude style did allow the Argentinian to get away when he needed to create space. If you were the type of guy who rates effective aggression and impressive defensive work then Narvaez was your guy with after round being hard to score and it was little wonder than the scorecards were split.

Narvaez, a genuine tough guy who went 12 rounds with Nonito Donaire despite being made to look 3 divisions smaller, seemed really fearful of Orucuta's power at times and it was little wonder that he refused to get dragged in to a tear up. It was this mindset that helped the Argentinian veteran hear the final bell and retain his title, though it's obvious that father time is catching up with him. A win here by split decision has allowed him a chance to walk away whilst still a world champion, leaving on his own terms, one more fight however could see that change.

For Orucuta the loss may be a set back but he's really put himself on the map and it's only a matter of time before he gets another chance at a world title, it wouldn't be a surprise at all if he took that chance with both hands and held a title for a very long time, though it'll probably be at Bantamweight as opposed to Super Flyweight (he must be killing himself to make the weight).

Carl Froch v Mikkel Kessler II

When we get a rematch of an excellent bout they rarely live up to the original though for Carl Froch (31-2, 22) his rematch with Mikkel Kessler (46-3, 35) will have been sweeter than the original.

When the two men first met back in 2010 it was Kessler who came out on top in an enthralling brawl for the WBC Super Middleweight title. That loss was Froch's first as a professional and one that he seemed to genuinely resent having against his name. The rematch was his chance to avenge the loss and unify both the WBA and IBF titles and claim himself as one of the sports genuine stand out fighters.

The fight started as "round 1" as opposed to the expected round 13 and it was a slow paced affair with both men looking to use their jabs and straights. Through the round it was Froch who seemed more at ease with the style of the bout though there was little to separate them as they had a feeling out round.

After the slow opening round the bout did start to warm up with both men unloading more as the fight started to catch light. Kessler seemed, throughout the fight, to be the more cautious fighter throwing significantly less through he was also the most effective landing at a notably higher connect rate, despite this he couldn't keep Froch away as the English men was relentless.

Although Froch was much more active Kessler was doing enough to take a number of the rounds and keep the bout competitive, especially through the middle and later rounds though in round 12 Froch had a huge round and appeared to hurt the Dane with a flurry just before the bell that could have forced a stoppage had it come earlier in the fight.

Despite the fact the fighters are now 1-1 against each other I'd really doubt we'd be seeing a rubber bout between the two as Kessler has faded, notably, since their first bout whilst Froch has become a more confident and much better fighter. A third bout between the two would likely see Froch come out a clearer winner than he did here where the scorecards, although all in his favour, were close (especially the 115-113 card of Jean-Francois Toupin).

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Denis Lebedev v Guillermo Jones

In a thoroughly enjoyable though highly controversial bout Panamanian veteran Guillermo Jones (39-3-2, 31) unexpectedly overcame Denis Lebedev (25-2, 19)

The fight started well for Lebedev who was coming forward with his accurate and sharp left jab which forced the much bigger Jones to box on the back foot. Despite the impressive jab of Lebedev it was the right hands form Jones that really caught the attention as he cut Lebedev's right eye after lading several crisps shots.

Lebedev came out fighting to start the second round and landed several hurtful looking shots early in the round to both the head and body. Although Jones rode out much of the storm well he wax seemingly hurt late in the round as Lebedev started to connect with some real success.

The aggression early in round 3 was again from Lebedev who was landing with both hands though once again Jones came back well with his own offense in the middle of the round which included some lovely uppercuts. Sadly for Jones, Lebedev took the shots well and came back with his own crisp offensive work as the two men took it in turns to land heavy looking artillery.

To start round 4 Lebedev again turned up the head and landed several stunning shots that Jones took extremely well before coming back himself as the fight continued to to-and-fro at an excellent pace. Uppercuts from both men landed with Jones's head snapping back in eye catching fashion before he connected with a major body shot of his own. Both men were proving their genuinely toughness and whilst Lebedev's eye was looking like a mess he never really looked hurt.

Jones started round 5 well, targeting the badly swollen eye of Lebedev though was himself showing the results of Lebedev's hard shots. The work rate of Jones was stepped up notably whilst Lebedev was visibly slowing as if he had shot his load early on. Jones was not only looking the busier fighter through the round but also the classier fighter landing some beautiful shots on the Russian.

By the start of round 6 Lebedev's eye was swollen shut and he was genuine starting to struggle  to see shots heading his way. It was obviously that Jones was targeting the eye more and more and whilst his work was a lot more limited than the previous round it started to seem like a matter of time before Lebedev's eye would force a stoppage. Despite the really messed up eye Lebedev had an excellent round landing a number of left hand howitzers that could well have taken out 90% of the fighters in the division.

Lebedev's success from 6 continued in to round 7 with a fantastic flurry early in the round. Despite the power of Lebedev his eye always seemed to threaten to stop the fight despite that it was Jones who was starting to look like a tired and old man in there. Lebedev seemed to realise that Jones was tiring and he landed a series of body shots as Jones seemed to slowly be unraveling. Jones' arms and legs were now starting to look heavy an weak, the shots lacked snap and his defensive movements seemed a lot less effective than they had early on.

Both men were proving their toughness round after round and yet their desire to win was also showing as neither man backed down from a fight. The pace had clearly slowed and Jones was looking both predictable and tired but it was still a tough mans fight with every punch being thrown with genuine bad intentions. How both men were still standing was a genuine mystery but the bout seemed to be clearly swinging in the favour of the injured Lebedev who was clearly out working the Panamanian.

Lebedev started the 9th round well and landed several hard looking shots with Jones really showing his toughness but landing very little of note in return as Lebedev came forward. Despite being clearly dominated for several rounds Jones switched to southpaw and had some genuine success, when he let his hands go. Late in the round Lebedev landed 3 or 4 monster right hooks that Jones took without blinking before coming back and probably just doing enough to take the round.

To start round 10 Jones began as a southpaw though both men were showing genuine tiredness in a close round that saw Jones try to raise the pace. Despite Lebedev showing his toughness he was cut over the left eye as his face became a real mess on both sides of his face. The round however ended in odd fashion as the two men fell to the canvas with Jones taking the brunt of the tumble. By the end of the round Lebedev really was looking like a victim of a knife attack.

Going in to the championship rounds it really was a mystery as to how the fight was still going. Lebedev's face could have seen the bout stopped for the damage on either side and Jones went out looking to try and force the stoppage. It wasn't until a minute in to the round that Jones's face got looked at in the corner with the fight being allowed to continue (unsurprisingly considering how long it had taken for the cuts to even be looked at). It was now starting to look like Jones was the fresher guy as he landed shot after shot, notably his hard accurate uppercut as a tired Lebedev went down. 

With Lebedev on his knees the referee waved off the bout stopping a very exhausted looking Russian whilst also awarding the title to the veteran Panamanian who has proven that despite his age he is still one of the very best Cruiserweights on the planet.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Alexander Povetkin v Andrzej Wawrzyk

WBA "regular" Heavyweight champion Alexander Povetkin (26-0, 18) successfully retained his title thanks to an easy looking stoppage of Polish challenger Andrzej Wawrzyk (27-1, 13) who suffered his first professional loss.

The opening round was a very typical feeling out round with both guys utilising their jab well but landing little else of note as they tried to figure each other out. It was the much busier jab of Povetkin that seemed to steal the round with the Russian throwing, and landing, several times more than the challenger.

Povetkin put his foot on the gas in round two as he started to unload on  Wawrzyk who was dropped midway through the round from a right hand.  Wawrzyk got to his feet quickly after the knockdown but Povetkin then went on a seek and destroy mission hurting the Pole several more times before the round was over with Wawrzyk bloodied and visibly outclassed.

Wawrzyk managed to come out for round 3 and whilst he managed to land a number of weak looking jabs it started to look like Povetkin could finish him off any time with the Polish fighter wobbling after every right hand that landed. Rather surprisingly Povetkin would drop Wawrzyk with a left in round 3 before dropping him again and forcing the referee to wave the bout off.

Next for Povetkin is a bout with Wladimir Klitschko, a bout that sees both men receiving a major pay day, we expect that that will be a much more competitive bout than this one.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Adrian Hernandez v Yader Cardoza

WBC Light Flyweight Adrian Hernandez (27-2-1, 16) successfully defended his world title this past weekend as he over-came Nicaraguan challenger Yader Cardoza (15-5, 5) who put up a tougher than expected bout.

The highly regarded Mexican challenger was expected to destroy his unheralded Nicaraguan challenger, in fact the odds offered in various places were between 1/20 and 1/25 though it was a huge surprise that Nicaraguan came to fight.

Hernandez's class and experience did shine through at times though he certainly didn't look at his best and this wasn't helped by the fact he had a grotesque swelling around his left eye that really did swell shut through the fight. It's certainly this swelling that will be the lasting impression of the bout and it could well see him kept out of the ring for some time.

Hernandez, although looking a long way from his best probably got a wake up call of sorts and should feel very lucky he wasn't in there with Roman Gonzalez or Kazuto Ioka who would likely both have forced a stoppage against him.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Ricky Burns v Jose A Gonzalez

In a surprisingly tougher than expected bout Scotland's Ricky Burns (36-2, 10) successfully defended his WBO Lightweight title as Puerto Rico's Jose A Gonzalez (22-1, 17) retired on his stool at the end of the 9th round.

The bout started badly for Burn's who genuinely struggled to hit his tricky opponent clean and although the opening round was close it was Gonzalez who looked like the man who had the skills edge as well as the power edge.

Gonzalez managed to quickly grow in to the bout and appeared to clearly take rounds 2 and 3 with his superior work both offensively and defensively. Not only was Gonzalez slipping almost everything Burns was throwing at him but he was also landing his own heavy shots from either hand with genuine ease. It was looking like Gonzalez wasn't the challenger stepping up a level but was the champion proving his status as one of the best.

It wasn't until round 4 that Burns managed to have any sort of sustained offense as he managed to land some of his own firepower, though the challenger once again seemed to claim the round whilst looking supremely relaxed and incredibly confident. Burns built on his success of round 4 and seemed to just eek out round 5  as he finally managed to have some continued success, despite a spirited assault by Gonzalez late that may have stole him the round on the score cards.

Burns' momentum was short lived as Gonzalez stormed round 6 and seemed to rock Burns as the Scottish fighter continued to struggle with the Puerto Rican who had been able to out jab Burns at a distance and out slug with him up close. In all honesty it appeared as if Gonzalez could win the bout by either boxing with his sharp jab or by stopping Burns with his devastating uppercuts up close.

By the start of round 7 things were looking awful for Burns but the Scot refused to quit and really took the fight to Gonzalez as the two men traded major shots throughout the round. It seemed there were several times in which Burns was about to go down but he just refused and fired back in what was one of the round's of the year. Neither man seemed willing to give up the round as Burns finally started to have some major success (though was forced to eat heavy shots in return).

Although both men had survived round 7 it appeared to be the start of the end and Gonzalez looked notably slower and less active in round 8. Originally it seemed as if he had needed a breather and took the round off though with round 9 going the same way it was obvious that there was something wrong with Gonzalez. it later turned out that Gonzalez had a suspected broken wrist which sadly forced him to retire in prior to the start of round 10.

Although some have said that Gonzalez "quit" (comments which have been made by British fighters Paul Smith and Tony Bellew amongst others) the injury seems to have been legit and I'm sorry to say those questioning Gonzalez really should hang their heads in shame. The guy had made Burns look like an amateur for the better part of 7 rounds and will certainly come again. For Ricky Burns this was certainly a lucky escape.

Jamie McDonnell v Julio Ceja

In the first of this weekend's world title fights Englishman Jamie McDonnell (21-2-1, 9) became the first man from Doncaster to claim a world title as he claimed the IBF Bantamweight title and over came a spirited Julio Ceja (24-1, 22) of Mexico.

With the vacant title up for grabs many felt this could be the fight of the weekend and it certainly lived up to those expectations with a wonderful clash of styles and the expectation of a dramatic ending by either man.

The bout started slowly with the opening round being a pretty typical "feeling out round" with neither man doing too much other than seeing what the other had. Following that it was Ceja who took the initiative upped his work rate as he clearly took the following few rounds and forced the Englishman on to the back foot. Ceja had not just upped the pressure on McDonnell but had shown a determined body attack using his left hook to the body to to really make McDonnell pay for holding his feet and not moving.

After the slow start it appeared as if the Englishman was on his way to losing until he finally started to show the lateral movement that essentially helped make Ceja look like a limited fighter. The movement of McDonnell forced Ceja to chase him and almost completely neutralised the dangerous left hand of the Mexican who began to look lost in the middle rounds.

With Ceja starting to struggle to connect McDonnell really grew in confidence and you could see it in the way he was fighting, he was not only making Ceja look clumsy and lost but landing with his own fast combinations as well as his jab which pierced the defense of the hard hitting Mexican time and time again. Though it was the right hand of McDonnell's that really looked the pick of his offensive work.

Despite looking comfortable McDonnell did have a nightmare round 11 as Ceja put it on the line and appeared to wobble the Doncaster man late with a wonderful flurry of hard and explosive shots, though the Mexican couldn't put  his man down as he had been able to with many of his previous opponents.

Whilst he had been rocked in round 11 McDonnell recovered well and took round 12 comfortable, even appearing to rock Ceja with his hard straight hands late in the round as he clearly dominated the round and did enough to secure the decision.

To the fans in attendances and those watching at home it appeared McDonnell, who had started slowly, had done more than enough to secure a clear decision but the scorecards said otherwise as the announcer read out a majority decision (114-114, 115-113 and 118-110) to McDonnell, the rightful winner despite 2 awful scorecards.

The fight, whilst a good win for McDonnell was a disappointment for Dennis Hobson, the promoter who saw the Keepmoat Stadium in Doncaster almost empty in fact from the televised images the stadium looked about 20% full, a really disappointing turn out for McDonnell who is a cracking chap and deserves more support. Hopefully for McDonnell's first defense their will be a better crowd than this as he really does deserve a better following than he's been getting.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Kazuto Ioka v Wisanu Kokietgym

Rising Japanese star Kazuto Ioka (12-0, 8) made the first successful defense of his WBA Light Flyweight title as he further enhanced his reputation as one of the best body punchers in the sport today.

Although Thai challenger Wisanu Kokietgym (43-9-2, 13) managed to give Ioka some problems it often appeared as if he lacked the power to really trouble the champion who slowly worked his way in to the bout behind his jab.

Sadly the fight started really slowly with Ioka using his jab mainly to control the distance with little real action of note in the early rounds. Although Ioka did try to up the pace a little in round 3 it appeared that he was more than happy to do things at a leisurely pace against a game Thai who simply couldn't cope with Ioka's movement or hand speed.

Despite looking in control Ioka was put under a little bit of pressure in round 4 as Kokietgym forced him on to the back foot and tried to come back at the champion. Sadly for the challenger Ioka still seemed to do just enough to keep a whitewash on the score cards. What little success the challenger had in round 4 was seriously over-shadowed by Ioka have a fantastic round 5 in which he managed to walk Kokietgym to the ropes and landed numerous shots, though failed to ever stagger the challenger who was looking a lot tougher than his record would have you believe (he had suffered 6 stoppages in his previous 8 losses).

Round 6 was closer than many of the others and round 7 was certainly one of, if not the, stand out round for the challenger who managed to give just as good as he got, unfortunately though it still appeared as if Ioka was boxing well within himself. This same restrained mindset of the champion was evident in round 8 as neither fighter did much at all for the opening minute, though Ioka seemed to unshackle himself and went looking for the challenger later in the round.

Having managed to get some rounds under his belt Ioka put his foot on the gas in round 9 and started to land bigger shots on a challenger who, whilst still throwing back, looked to be taking more and more shots. It was whilst Ioka was forcing the pressure that he managed to land a beautiful 3 punch combination that started and ended with right hands to the body, the second of which sent Kokietgym down for the count and with a glassy eyed look in his eyes.

With a prospective super fight against Roman Gonzalez on the horizon it makes sense that Ioka wanted to get some rounds under his belt, especially at Light Flyweight where his previous bout went just 6 rounds. At this stage however it's hard to see Ioka defeating the Nicaraguan wrecking ball.

Ryo Miyazaki v Carlos Velarde

Japanese youngster Ryo Miyazaki (19-0-3, 11) made the first successful defense of his WBA Minimumweight title in explosive fashion as he stopped Mexican challenger Carlos Velarde (23-3-1, 13) in the 5th round with an eye catching combination.

The fight started in excellent fashion and the opening round was thoroughly enjoyable as neither man felt the need to feel out the other. This really did warm the fight up in wonderful style with neither man feeling the need to try and figure the other out and the action merely got better as both men ramped up the action in rounds 2 and 3 as it appeared we were on the verge of a real war. In fact round 3 was a genuine contender for round of the year as both men stood toe to toe and dug shots to the head and body.

In round 4 the bout started to change slightly with Miyazaki beginning to use his superior boxing skills to avoid the war and catch the challenger with counters. It appeared as if Miyazaki, who rocked at the end of round 3, had decided that a war wasn't in his best interest and that he had the ability to jab and move to take the round. Whilst Velarde's constant pressure was making the fight the Mexican simply wasn't able to cut the ring off enough to really force Miyazaki's hand.

Miyazaki continued to box rather than brawl in round 5 though landed several eye catching shots through Velarde appeared to take them very well until out of nowhere the champion landed a straight right and a crisp left hook that sent Velarde to the canvas out cold for the count in a KO of the year contender.

Thankfully Velarde appeared to be fine by the time that Miyazaki had been interviewed and although Miyazaki himself had a small cut over his left eye we'd not expect him to be out for long.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Takashi Uchiyama v Jaider Parra

WBA Super Featherweight champion Takashi Uchiyama (20-0-1, 17) showed why his is considered the man at Super Featherweight as he stopped the previously unbeaten challenger Jaider Parra (20-1-1, 10) in eye catching fashion.

The bout started well for the Venezuelan challenger who moved well and used his fast jab to score repeatedly on the champion who although never really troubled was struggling at times to cut the distance. In fact were it not for a nice flash of style from Uchiyama late in the round he could well have lost the opener.

The second round again saw Parra being the busier man with his jab and movement once again being a problem for Uchiyama who took most shots on the guard though was being outworked. Unfortunately for the challenger every puncher Uchiyama landed got major cheers and it seemed that whilst he was being out worked he was landing the better shots including an excellent hook and a cracking right cross. Parra, whilst looking like a feather fisted puncher managed to take everything from Uchiyama with out too many problems, but the power difference was notable.

Round 3 was much like the previous rounds though Uchiyama was starting to get more and more successes when he was attacking and landed several hard and clean shots late in the round. Once again Parra took everything very well though it was obvious that Uchiyama was just starting to move through the gears.

It was in round 4 that Uchiyama managed to hurt Parra for the first time as he landed a body shot late that really bothered the challenger. Although Uchiyama went for the finish straight after the shot Parra did well and managed to see his way to the bell. Despite surviving the round it was obvious that although he could take a shot to the head from Uchiyama his body wasn't so tough and Uchiyama went straight back to the mid section in round 5.

Although Uchiyama had eyed the body of his opponent it took him several opportunities to land just right and one of the misses was a painful looking low blow that had Parra visibly wincing. Parra never really recovered from the shot and just moments after being ordered to fight Uchiyama managed to land a legal blow to the midsection that sent the challenger down to the canvas where he remained writing in agony.

After the fight Uchiyama put on a T-shirt with the slogan "Who's next?" the answer it seems could be Takashi Miura in what would be a highly welcomed rematch after their fantastic bout in 2011. If the two men meet again we could well see the WBA and WBC titles unified and have another great bout on our hands.

Kohei Kono v Liborio Solis

In a thoroughly engrossing bout Venezuelan Liborio Solis (15-3-1, 7) managed to upset Kohei Kono (28-8, 11) and claim the WBA Super Flyweight title, upgrading his status from the "interim" champion in the process.

The bout, held in Kono's home country was fought at a frantic pace and was action packed through out despite a slow opening round. In all honesty the only round was the bouts only genuinely slow round as the two men traded bombs through out a very hard fought and very exciting contest.

In round 2 Kono managed to score a flash knockdown of the challenger who's knees buckled and he touched down after an excellent connect by the champion in what was one of 2 knockdown with Solis scoring one himself later in the bout.

Solis bounced back from the knockdown and appeared to win rounds 3 and 4, both of which could be on a shortlist for Round of the Year as both men cracked the other with bombs during long trading sequences. It was the was those rounds that saw the pace step up and the battling up close continued in rounds 5 and 6 as neither man wanted to give up more ground than they absolutely had to. For Kono however round 6 was a key round as he landed umpteen noteworthy body shots that looked like they were having an effect on Solis.

Kono's body attack continued through out round 7, a round that he clearly won after a number of close and debatable rounds. It appeared in that round that not only were the body shots taking their toll on Solis but so too was the hectic pace of the early rounds. Just a round later however Solis had his key moment of success dropping Kono and then bringing a lot of offense as he tried to take out the champion. Despite being visibly hurt Kono fired back at the end of the round and appeared to rock Solis very late in the round.

Round 9 was an intriguing round as Solis dominated the first 2 minutes of it with his jab and movement showing off his excellent boxing ability to keep the champion chasing him and looking wild. Late in the round however things turned around and Kono managed to detonate on him several times in an attempt to steal the round.

With both men having put in a lot of work it wasn't a shock when the pace of the bout dropped in round 10 with Solis holding repeatedly and the referee was forced to pull them apart. This round also played a big part in the eventual outcome as Kono was deducted a point which appeared to undo his good work from through out the round.

The bout ended on the same high as much of it was fought with Kono bringing heavy pressure and forcing Solis to to move or fight. Solis however was just a tad too slippery for Kono and used his feet excellently to make Kono look a little bit reckless coming in. Despite the movement of Solis, Kono really went for the finish in round 12 as he appeared to feel he was behind, sadly for the defending champion however he couldn't quite finish off Solis who had to take some shots before the bell.

To much shock the decision was read out as majority decision (115-111, 114-112, 113-113) in favour of Solis who perhaps could feel himself lucky considering he was the challenger and fighting in the champions homeland.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Daniel Ponce De Leon v Abner Mares

Mexican-American Abner Mares (26-0-1, 14) successfully became a 3-weight world champion as he stopped Daniel Ponce De Leon (44-5, 34) for the WBC Featherweight title, in what could well be the best victory of Mares' career so far, and that's actually saying a lot.

Despite having only moved to Super Bantamweight 13 months ago Mares was now starting his campaign at Featherweight and the impressive Mexican seemed to have filled out to 126lbs excellently as he looked the same size as the genuinely big, and strong Ponce De Leon.

With both men looking equal in size the difference it was never going to be a case of who was the bigger man in the ring but who could determine the style of fight. Could Ponce De Leon hurt Mares with his explosive left hand? Could Mares force his fight on to Ponce De Leon?

In the first round the answer to who could dictate the style of the fight became obvious as Mares came forward and forced Ponce De Leon on to the back foot. Although the action wasn't anything notable it was worrying for Ponce De Leon that he was effectively being forced backwards by the smaller man. Things got more worrying just a round later as Mares dropped the champion thanks to his sharp and fast shots that appeared to have more sting on them than they had had at either 118lbs or 122lbs.

Mares continued to force Ponce De Leon on to the back foot though started to mix up what he was doing. For large portions of the following rounds he was fighting as a pure boxer using his jab and movement to keep a controlled distance at other points he was brawling with the champion and landing 3 or 4 punch combinations in little bursts before Ponce De Leon could land much of note. It was this switching between styles and Mares' speed with both hands and feet that really helped to confuse De Leon who landed several left hands but did very little to discourage Mares.

Ponce De Leon, who was, in his defense, forcing the action in several rounds, looked very one dimensional and it didn't take long for Mares to see everything that was coming his way as he became incredibly comfortable in the ring. In fact there was only really one blow that Ponce De Leon landed that really got Mares' attention and that was a major low blow in round 7 that would have seen many fans saying "karma" for the numerous low blows that Mares himself has landed. Aside from that one shot however Mares looked like he could do whatever he want with out taking anything of note.

Having completely dominated the bout with his hand speed it seemed that the challenger could have cruised to a decision victory. Instead however, Mares dropped Ponce De Leon in round 9 before moving in for the finish and forcing the referee to step in and wave the bout off with Ponce De Leon taking major shots with little being fired back.

With the WBC Featherweight title now around his waist Mares has got plenty of options to call out, though he may struggle to get the biggest match ups as the current champions are unlikely to be facing him. The likes of Mikey Garcia, Evgeny Gradovich and Orlando Salido are all Top Rank fighters with the other name of note in the division, Chris John being very comfortable with fighting in the East. It may well be that Mares will have to face someone like the unheralded Robinson Castellanos or a fighter who he could persuade up from 122.

For Ponce De Leon this loss may well spell the end of his hopes at the title level, though the hard hitting Mexican will always be a fighter that fans will want to see in the ring.

Floyd Mayweather v Robert Guerrero

Pound-for-Pound king Floyd Mayweather (44-0, 26) showed many why he is classed as one of the greatest as he put on a total 1-sided masterclass over challenger Robert Guerrero (31-2-1-1, 18) in a defense of the WBC Welterweight title.

The fight started slowly as both men traded jabs and although Guerrero tried to force the action he really struggled to land anything clean as Mayweather's masterful defense made Guerrero look incredibly clumsy. Not only was Mayweather defensively excellent as always but Mayweather himself was landing clean, accurate right hands.

The right hands of Mayweather became central to the fight as he started to land them with alarming regularity as the fight started to get going. It was worrying for Guerrero that he seemed unable to avoid them as they connected time and time again.

Although the fight never really became exciting Guerrero did try to force the pace and action of the bout by coming forward. Unfortunately for "The Ghost" it appeared that Mayweather was always one step ahead and on the few occasions where Guerrero did manage to unload a few shots they regularly whizzed past the champion who never once looked flustered.

At the midway point of the bout Mayweather was sweeping the bout and then seemed to take round 7 off as Guerrero out worked him with his mauling finally having some effectiveness. Although Guerrero did have success it was certainly down to Mayweather taking the round off as opposed to Guerrero really turning the fight around. This was shown significantly in round 8 when Mayweather had a very dominant round and easily the best of the fight as he unloaded anything and everything on Guerrero.

It appeared at the end of round 8 it appeared that Guerrero was there for the taking and he was cut and tiring. Instead of taking him out however Mayweather took his foot off the gas and allowed Guerrero to claim round 9.

Having effectively tossed away round 9 Mayweather just dominated round 10 with his jab and then made Guerrero look clumsy in round 11 as he boxed cleverly and bagged the rounds and made sure he was a mile up on the cards.

Having all but claimed the fight Mayweather again took a round off in round 12 as the crowd started to boo the lack of activity. Despite the boos Mayweather was clearly the better fighter and had effectively put on a masterclass with just his right hand. He had made Guerrero look like a sparring partner.

With "up to" 5 bouts left on Mayweather's Showtime contact it seems he may well fight again this year, though he did appear to damage his right hand which may keep him out of the ring for a bit longer than he'd wish. For Guerrero it's fair to say that he'll remain in and around the top 10 at Welterweight though Mayweather genuinely stands out as he showed here.

Wladimir Klitschko v Francesco Pianeta

Heavyweight kingpin Wladimir Klitschko (60-3, 52) again showed the world why he is widely regarded as the best Heavyweight on the planet as he stopped the previously unbeaten Italian Francesco Pianeta (28-1-1, 15).

The bout, as is typical for a Klitschko bout, started very slowly with very little activity in the opening round with Klitschko's jab being the most notable weapon, despite the fact the champion landed several straight rights.

Round 2 was the only round where Pianeta had any success at all as he appeared to tag Klitschko with a left hand though that was easily forgotten thanks to the number of jabs that Klitschko landed throughout the round.

The jab of Klitschko continued to be the key punch as he repeatedly landed it through the thir round before sending Pianeta to the canvas in round 4 with a solid looking right hand. Whilst Pianeta managed to get up from the knock down he appeared to have had his confidence shook and he really didn't throw much afterwards.

Pianeta was decked again in round 5 from a left hand and although he once again got up it appeared that the writing was on the wall. The challenger was visibly melting and in round 6 after Klitschko started a little quicker it really was a matter of time. After a more aggressive start to the round Klitschko dropped Pianeta for the 3rd time and this time the referee waved the bout off.

With the WBA "Super", WBO, IBF and Ring magazine titles still around his waist there really is little case to be made against Wladimir Klitschko being the #1 in the division. It now appears that he will look to further prove that point when he takes on WBA "regular" champion Alexander Povetkin later this year.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Yota Sato v Srisaket Sor Rungvisai

The history books prior to today had shown that no Japanese fighter had ever successfully defended a world title in Thailand. It was expected that Yota Sato (26-3-1, 12) had a good chance of changing that as he faced the hard hitting but untested Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (19-3-1, 18) in a defense of the WBC Super Flyweight belt, Srisaket however refused to let Sato have his place in history.

The bout opened fairly evenly with a close opening round, though for Sato the opening round was pretty much the only one he managed to hold his head up high at the end of as Srisaket managed to grow in to the bout very quickly.

In round 2 it appeared that the challenger put his foot on the gas and really upped the tempo of the bout as he tried to turn it in to a war landing flurries to both the head and body. The success in the second round only grew more success for the challenger who gave Sato a real shellacking in round 3 and really established himself in the bout as the boss. The offensive barrage of the challenger continued further through round 4 as he started to really force the champion under a lot of continued pressure  and made Sato very uncomfortable.

With the WBC's open scoring in effect it was made public that Srisaket was clearly in the lead with scores of 39-37 (twice) and 40-35 (scoring a 10-8 round at some point, likely round 3). Although Srisaket's dominance was unexpected it was pretty well assumed that the challenger would set a fantastic pace early on trying to blast out Sato early. It was thought however that if Sato could last out the opening storm he could turn the bout around the bout against a tiring Srisaket.

Sato seemed to have ridden out the storm with Srisaket slowing down in rounds 5 and 6. Although the challenger was slowing he was still doing enough to claim both rounds against a champion who was struggling to get any real success against a very determined opponent.

Having slowed the pace for 2 rounds Srisaket turned up the heat again in round 7 and forced Sato to take a genuinely sustained beating in the corner with pretty much nothing coming back at him. There would have no complaints from anyone had the referee stepped in and waved off the bout as Sato was forced to eat shot after shot, but the referee decided to give the champion a chance.

Although Sato was given a "chance" to start the 8th round it didn't take long for Srisaket to back him in to a corner an wail away with another continued assault that forced the referee to wave the bout off and Save Sato who had become drowned in the sea of punches coming at him.

This was not only the first stoppage loss of Sato's career but it was also the first time that Srisaket had won a bout that went beyond the start of round 6. The victory, a hard one for Sato to take, has genuinely announced Srisaket on the world stage and helped make him a number of new fans including myself.

A bout between Sato and any of the top guys at 115 or even 118 would be great to watch and this hard hitting, energetic and teak tough champion could well become one of the must watch fighters over the next few years.