On Saturday, April 27, 2013, the many Cable TV and Satellite companies from around the world were busy adjusting their dishes to broadcast or retrieve the host of boxing shows being streamed live around the world. For what some have called a struggling sport, on Saturday there were multi-millions of viewers tuned-in to watch the action.
As of Monday, accountants were still in the early stages of totaling up the profits from the weekend’s success stories. Perhaps the talk about the sport being on life support has been greatly exaggerated. After all, boxing has always been a never-ending drama with its constant clashing of story lines. How could it ever lose its appeal?
At the Barclays Center, borough of Brooklyn, New York, N. Y., U. S. A., North Amercia
At the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the lines had been drawn. Surely the promoter would have a rapper ringside to shout, “Hey, what up! Is Philly in the house?” An immediate follow-up question would be directed to the Brooklyn faithful. “What up, Brooklyn?”
The New York money knew they had a smash hit on their hands – a Philadelphia homeboy, Danny “Swift” Garcia, waving the Puerto Rican flag in the face of Zab “Super” Judah, a local Black, born and raised. Are you kidding! You didn’t need any hype for this match.
Angel Garcia, Danny’s father, didn’t get the memo and kept stoking the flames. Anything to rile up the opposition was fair game. The two hour sequestering of Judah and his entourage in a room at the Barclays Center while Garcia spoke at the final Press Conference was the final provocation.
While Garcia was expected to retain his belts, the WBC and WBA junior welterweight titles, what wasn’t forecast was Judah’s ability to hold himself together and put up a good fight. Sure Garcia built up an early lead and floored Judah in the eighth, but a determined Judah never caved in. Instead, he finished strong, stunning Garcia a few times with left and right hooks to provide the pivotal drama in the late rounds. With both boxers marked up, the final scores favored Garcia.
In the co-feature, the well schooled but undersized southpaw Fernando Guerrero (25-2-1, 19 KOs) was no match for Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin (29-0, 21 KOs) who was defending his WBO middleweight title in his hometown.
Guerrero went down twice in the second round, twice more in the seventh before referee Harvey Dock finally stopped the bout.
At the Citizens Business Bank Arena, Ontario, California, U. S. A., North America
Months back, Cristobal “The Nightmare” Arreola (35-3-0, 30 KOs) from nearby Escondido, CA accepted the challenge of Bermane “B. Ware” Stiverne (23-1-1, 20 KOs), for a 12 round, WBC heavyweight title eliminator.
At first, you might be asking: What’s the significance of a WBC title eliminator? When a bout bears the distinction of being a title eliminator, it’s supposed to mean the winner becomes the mandatory challenger for the champion’s belt – that champ being Vitali Klitschko. In reality, it means absolutely nothing.
Back on June 25, 2011, Stiverne fought Ray Austin for the same vacant WBC Silver Heavyweight title. Stiverne won the fight by TKO in the 10th round to make him the mandatory opponent for Klitschko. Since that date, the 41 year-old Klitschko has fought three times, an undersized Tomasz Adamek, Dereck Chisora and 27 year-old Manuel Charr.
Saturday’s outcome was a major surprise. Surprise in the fact that nobody gave the 34 year-old Stiverne much of a chance. After all who was this guy whose first name sounds like “Vermin,” the nuisance animals that threaten society by spreading disease or destroying crops.
Well the Vermin went on to break Arreola’s nose and show him who has the quicker hands and more power. Stiverne generally outboxed Arreola for nine of the 12 rounds and knocked him on his keister in round three.
Also on the fight card were other local fighters: welterweight Oscar Molina (5-0) of Norwalk, CA who knocked Jose Martell (2-8-1) out in the first round and super featherweight Charles Huerta of Paramount, CA (18-3-0, 11 KOs) who defeated Jonathan Alcantara (6-10-2).
Over the past two years, Huerta has reduced his fight schedule to just one fight a year and his last two opponents, Alcantara and Eduardo Arcos, have a combined record of 2-15 over that period. Molina’s opponent, Martell, has now lost his last seven.
Club Atlético Vélez Sarsfield, Buenos Aires, Argentina, South America
Going into Saturday’s contest with the 30 year-old Martin Murray (25-0-1, 11 KOs) from St Helens, Merseyside, United Kingdom, the 38 year-old Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez (50-2-2, 28 KOs) appeared to be overly optimistic: “My team and I are extremely confident going into this fight, and the expectations are high. For that reason, I know this is going to be a great event, a great night for my compatriots.
I have respect for Martin, but there is no doubt this fight will end by knockout. My training for this fight has been the best ever. My confidence is at the absolute highest.”
As usual, Murray was more subdued: “I didn’t come here to lose. I have had a great training camp and feel this is my time. Whatever Sergio brings, I will be ready for it.”
Cutting to the chase – the match was held outside in the rain. Reports stated the attendance was close to 50,000. In reality it was closer to 40,000.
Round #1 – Murray gave the round away by not throwing any punches. Martinez wasted little time and began showboating by dropping his hands.
Round #2 and #3 – Murray gave away two more rounds – throwing less than ten punches per round.
Round #4 – after Murray landed a low blow, he picked up the pace – ever so slightly. Still the round went in the Martinez column.
Round #5 – the rugged Murray took the round after landing the straight rights – more than once. At times he had Martinez backing peddling and only fighting in spurts.
Round #6, back came the busier Martinez. This round featured a head butt and an elbow shiv.
You could say Murray took Round #7 by his body of work, but Martinez did finish strong.
Round #8 – Murray finally landed that flush punch and back went Martinez to take a seat on the canvas. The proud champion got up quickly and treated the mishap as a flash in the pan.
In Round #9, Murray was busier and landed more of the power punches.
Plus he scored another knockdown in round #10 but referee Massimo Barrovecchio (from Italy) ruled the knockdown a slip and inexplicably there was no reversal by the judges after viewing the knockdown on instant replay.
Round #11 was very close, with Martinez getting the better of the first half with his solid jab keeping Murray at bay. Even though Murray ended the round strong, you have to figure any “even” round would go in the champion’s coffer.
In the 12th round, it was clear Murray had more pop in his punches and landed more blows to take the final round.
After the bell sounded to end the contest, Martinez went straightaway to jump up onto the ropes to celebrate. Again, the more subdued Murray never even considered working the crowd for their support. So, you had one boxer acting like he won, the other looking like he’d been defeated.
The official scoring: judge: Nicholas Hidalgo 115-112, judge: Alejandro Rochin 115-112, judge: Rey Danseco 115-112 all for the winner Martinez. If the 10th round knockdown had been scored properly, the match would have ended in a draw.
Simply put, there wasn’t nearly enough urgency from Murray or his trainer, Oliver Harrison, in the early going nor in the later stages of the fight. His corner never seemed to grasp the fact that they were never going to win any of the close rounds.
They say trainers don’t lose fights but come on. You’re right there, watching your fighter hand the fight over on a silver platter. A good trainer would be haranguing his fighter with expletives. The stars were aligned for Murray to win this match. He was facing a guy who had broken his left hand in Round #8. At times, Martinez’s legs were unsteady. Murray had the momentum. Unmarked and in no way tiring, Murray simply let Martinez off the hook.
It was Harrison’s job to be more demonstrative and tell Murray: “We have a fading fighter in front of us and most likely you’re behind on all three scorecards. I want you to go out there and finish him off!” Harrison’s exact words to Murray before the start of the final round: “Be careful.”
As far as Martinez, he’s still a cagy veteran who finds a way to win. Detractors will say, he’s more like a classic motor car, which will now spend more and more time in the garage. You can no longer rely on Martinez to go on those long, extended trips.
On the undercard, Russian heavyweight Magomed Abdusalamov (18-0-0, 18 KOs) made quick work of Sebastian Ignacio Ceballos (33-8-2, 25 KOs) when he stopped Ceballos in the first round of their scheduled 10 rounder. Without a doubt, Abdusalamov is a promising heavyweight.
Across the pond at the Motorpoint Arena, Sheffield, Yorkshire, United Kingdom, Europe
Post fight comments from Amir “King” Khan (28-3-0, 19 KOs) of Bolton, Lancashire, UK and Julio “The Kidd” Diaz (40-8-1) from Coachella, CA:
Khan: “Julio caught me with a good left hook and put me down in the fourth round but this fight is what I needed. (Diaz also had him in trouble in the 11th round) We did 12 hard rounds and we know my fitness is good. This was only my second fight with Virgil (Virgil Hunter is his 4th trainer in the past 5 years). I’m still learning. I still don’t think I’m a complete fighter yet. I want more time in the ring (between his amateur and pro careers he’s had over 500 rounds), this is my job. It’s never easy at the top level. But this was a brilliant fight for me to get my feet wet.”
What is he, part duck?
“There are four great fighters out there – Danny Garcia, Zab Judah, Lamont Peterson and Lucas Matthysse. (Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado might take issue with that claim). I would love to fight the eventual winner of those guys. I’d really love to fight Garcia. There’s a lot of unfinished business there.”
We need to get Garcia to answer that insinuation.
Diaz: “I’m very happy and proud to have given you a great fight. I think it was the best fight we could’ve given. Khan is a warrior, anyone else would’ve taken a knee or quit – he fought through it. His hand and foot speed made it difficult for me to finish him.
“He became more dangerous when he was hurt. I think it was a fair decision, I let too many rounds go by. Every time I hit him, I hurt him, but he was the busier guy. I think we were both winners tonight.
I wanted to prove that I’m still at the top level, that’s why I took this fight with Khan in his hometown.”
On the undercard, heavyweight Deontay Wilder (28-0-0, 28 KOs) got himself another quickie first round TKO. Audley Harrison (31-7-0, 23 KOs) was the victim. Harrison never knew what hit him. After coming to his senses, he upbraided the referee for stopping the fight.
Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Early Sunday, Pacific Coast Time, Australian heavyweight Lucas “Big Daddy” Browne (16-0, 14 KOs) won a 12 round unanimous decision over James “Lights Out” Toney (74-8-3, 45 KOs) at the Convention Centre in Melbourne. With the win, Browne became the World Boxing Foundation’s World heavyweight champ. If you had looked up their names in the various world rankings prior to the fight, you would have discovered Toney was ranked #53 while Browne was up in the high sixties.
Browne, who just turned 34, stands 6’4” tall and weighs 257 pounds, controlled the action from the git-go. The 44 year-old Toney, a former five division world champ, stood 5’10” tall and weighed 250½ pounds. He began his career as a middleweight weighing between 157 to 160 pounds. Of course that was 93½ pounds and 25 years ago.
In the co-feature, 33 year-old, former world heavyweight challenger Kevin “Kingpin” Johnson (29-3-1, 14 KOs) of Atlanta, Georgia, finished off 37 year-old Solomon Haumono (20-2-2, 18 KOs) of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, in the 10th round of a scheduled 12 rounder.
Even though Haumono had been the aggressor, it was Johnson who landed the harder shots until Haumono finally went to the canvas at 2:53 of round 10. At that time, referee Tony Maretta called a halt to their match.
So there you have it – a regular smorgasbord of exciting boxing and you saved yourself all that airfare by watching the whole shebang in the comfort of your own living room.