Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Adonis Stevenson Wins, Ryota Murata Impressive, Gonzalez Retains


May 21, 2014

From The First Direct Arena, Leeds, Yorkshire, United Kingdom

Josh Warrington won a unanimous decision over Martin Lindsay

Warrington showed off his full skill set against Lindsay. He fought inside, outside, and was able to move to the point where Lindsay couldn’t really settle in and deliver something hard. Warrington’s defense looked stellar, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Lindsay is an okay opponent for the domestic level. Warrington has yet to face world-level opposition and this fight is no indicator of what the future holds for Warrington. I think his lack of power may be what keeps him from a title.

Gavin McDonnell and Josh Wale fought to a split draw

There are times where I think a fighter doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt because he’s too stationary. In other words, he doesn’t move, stays in his guard and only comes out to throw a punch of two before going back in. Joshua Clottey is a good example of this. I think there are rounds where Josh Wale suffered from this same phenomenon. He chose to fight from behind his high guard and while he tagged McDonnell with some clean hard shots, but McDonnell’s activity and the fact that he looked like he was controlling the fight for the most part deceived the judges. I’m okay with the decision, but disappointed neither guy really took over. McDonnell needs work on head movement.

Stephen Smith scored an 8th round stoppage of Mauricio Munoz

All the credit in the world to Munoz. He fought his heart out for 8 rounds and never backed up. Smith hit him with everything he had and Munoz was not backing down. It took corner and referee intervention to end the fight after an 8th round where Smith’s jab began to move Munoz back and his left hook to the body was landing flush. A good win for Smith and he may be on his way to a title shot against Takashi Miura. (I favor Miura if they do meet. What an underrated warrior he is.)

Kal Yafai knocked out Yaqub Kareem in the 3rd round

The indifference on Kareem’s face before the fight began was hilarious. He stood in the corner just staring at Kal probably thinking ‘this dude is all hype, I’m gonna put him down like the dog he is.’ Or maybe he was thinking ‘this guy doesn’t look like Naseem Hamed.’ Either way, Kal showed just how talented he is. Unfortunately, Kareem didn’t throw too much, but we do know that if an opponent isn’t willing to engage, Kal has lightning quick hands that he’s not afraid to throw. The fight ended on a left hook to the body. Down went Kareem and he showed no interest in rising from the canvas. A good win for Kal as a confidence builder, but he still needs proper seasoning.


May 22, 2014

From Shimazu Arena, Kyoto, Japan

Ryota Murata scored a 6th round knockout of Jesus Angel Nerio

I wasn’t too impressed with Murata in his first fight. I thought he was slow and lacked that certain “it” factor that would have him be successful as a middleweight. After watching 4 fights, I’m going to admit I was wrong. Murata’s style doesn’t fit the mold of what we expect with a good prospect, but as he progresses and grows, we’re seeing that he’s got his own style and it just might work. Murata is like a freight train. He’s not particularly quick, but he has a certain quickness to him. He doesn’t exactly throw Golovkin-type bombs, but he’s so physically strong-looking that it’s hard not to imagine those shots don’t add up. The knockout here was more the effect of consistent work, rather than one big punch. Murata and his handlers have said he’s looking to get a title shot by the end of the year. When I head that I thought that was insane, but I see it now. He may not win, but there’s a quality about him that I’m not going to count out. Top Rank’s middleweight pool looks impressive. Spearheaded by Murata and Zurdo Ramirez, they’re set for the future.


May 23, 2014

From Turning Stone Resort & Casino, Verona, New York

Willie Monroe Jr won a unanimous decision over Brandon Adams

Monroe hands Brandon Adams is first loss by staying on the outside and taking advantage of his height, reach, and speed advantage. Adams could not make any adjustments to get past Monroe’s speed, making him a sitting duck for jabs and straight left hands. Not to diminish Adams, but the fight looked like a sparring session. Monroe came in with a deep amateur background and he was able to use his jab and footwork to keep Adams mostly on defense for the duration of the fight, despite Adams walking forward and applying most of the pressure.

Petr Petrov stopped Fernando Carcamo in 8 rounds

Experience was the difference in this fight. Petrov’s offense and defense just looked like what you’d expect from a guy who’s fought 40 professional fights. I’m going to channel a little Teddy Atlas here and say that Petrov looked like a great pitcher in the twilight of his career. He didn’t have the power fastball or devastating break on his pitches like he once did, but what he did have was control. Control over where he put his pitches and he combined it with expert timing changes. That may not fool the best hitters in the league, but a young, inexperienced hitter like Carcamo stood no chance. After 8 rounds of abuse, the referee finally stepped in and stopped the fight. He or the corner should have done it earlier.


May 24, 2014

From Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Adonis Stevenson retained the WBC & lineal light heavyweight title by unanimous decision over Andrzej Fonfara

There’s a lot of criticism of Stevenson which is probably all bias confirmation regarding his performance on Saturday. Stevenson was dropped once and struggled with his conditioning. On the other hand, he had Fonfara on the canvas twice including the first round, he punched himself out trying to finish him in the 6th, and adjusted from power puncher to body puncher. Stevenson easily won despite the shortcomings. I don’t think this fight was a good indicator of how Stevenson will do against the other light heavyweights. Hopkins’s style is… well it’s Hopkins. Enough said. As far as Kovalev goes, Kovalev doesn’t box on the outside, nor does he have Fonfara’s reach. What we do know is that Fonfara has one hell of a heart and chin. He never looked defeated despite being dropped and hurt multiple times. He kept fighting even when the fight looked out of reach. Fonfara should be back on one of the major networks and he’s a welcome addition to the light heavyweight title picture.

David Lemieux knocked out Fernando Guerrero in 3 rounds

Lemieux promised fireworks and was good on his word. To be honest, he didn’t need to promise anything. If you’ve seen Lemieux fight before, you already knew that he was going to come out and swing for the fences in 5th gear. Guerrero appeared to not anticipate the ultra-aggressive start and struggled quickly. Lemieux was too fast and too strong for Guerrero. Lemieux’s win puts him in the title hunt at middleweight and makes him a solid candidate for a shot at Peter Quillin.

Jermell Charlo won a unanimous decision over Charlie Ota

First, the judges should be ashamed of themselves. I saw this is a close fight, though Charlo clearly won. The judges thought it was all but a shutout for Charlo. There’s no way in hell 118-109 is an acceptable score. If you had it that way, we should watch it together. Ota gave Charlo a ton of trouble early on. He was smaller, able to get inside, and had a good enough chin to walk through Charlo’s shots to land his own. A straight right put Charlo on the floor in the 3rd round, though it can be argued the knockdown was more of a balance issue. The mere fact that Ota put Charlo in that position was a bit shocking for a prospect of Charlo’s caliber. Ultimately, swelling above his left eye and a stamina issue caused Ota to slow down immensely over the final half of the fight and Charlo pulled away with his jab, accurate combinations, and evasive movement.

Julian Williams knocked out Michael Medina in the 8th round

Williams is one of the top prospects in the sport and delivered a brutal knockout you should look up on YouTube. He showed a very high ring IQ that enabled him to land clean power shots. Keep an eye on this guy.


From Convention Center, Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico

Jhonny Gonzalez retained the WBC featherweight title by technical decision over Clive Atwell

It wasn’t an encore of the Abner Mares fight, that’s for sure. Atwell was quick, persistent, and had a very strong chin. Gonzalez was unable to land a shot to put him down like he did Mares, instead he showed off sturdy defense and accurate counter-punching. Gonzalez fought exactly like you’d expect a Beristain fighter to fight. Whenever he got hit, he made sure to land at least one good counter. One thing that really impressed me was Gonzalez’s ability to step in and out of range to disrupt Atwell’s timing. An accidental headbutt caused a deep gash over Gonzalez’s left eyebrow in the 10th round causing the fight to go to the scorecards.

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