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Easy "Money"
Mayweather returns with dominating victory over Marquez

Ringside by David L. Hudson & Andreas Hale
Photo by Chris Cozzone

Returning to the ring after a two-year layoff to reclaim boxing’s disputed pound-for-pound crown many consider held by Manny Pacquiao, Floyd “Money” Mayweather, Jr. dominated Juan Manuel Marquez before a near-capacity, pro-Mexican crowd at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

The stacked card, promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and Mayweather Promotions, was televised on HBO-PPV, going head to head with UFC 103.

In one of the year’s biggest fights, the question was, could the great little man in Marquez deal with a great bigger man? Or would the old adage favoring the larger fighter prevail as it has through most of boxing history?

In the early rounds, Mayweather showed that the long layoff – he had not fought since defeating Ricky Hatton in December 2007 – did not bother him that much. He still threw a piston-like left jab, a lethal lead left hook, a deadly straight counter right hand and, most of all, had not lost his defense prowess.

Mayweather also appeared to be the much larger man – something that caused mild controversy when Mayweather weighed 146 to Marquez’s 142. The night of the fight, the weight difference was more noticeable. The 37-year-old Marquez fought gamely but, at times, his reflexes appeared slow compared to the talented larger man.

In the second round, Mayweather landed a lead left hook that dropped Marquez. The Mexican warrior rose and gamely cleared the cobwebs. Marquez had his moments in the third through fifth rounds, occasionally catching Mayweather with his patented sharp right hands. At the end of the fifth, the largely pro-Marquez crowd appeared hopeful that their man could pull off the upset.

However, from the sixth round on, Mayweather was – well, simply Floyd Mayweather Jr. – the best fighter in the world. He advanced forward, unleashing his quick jab and firing quick pop shots to his overmatched opponent. He bloodied his nose in the ninth round and, as the fight progressed, it appeared that Marquez’s punching power waned considerably.

Marquez often surprised his foes in the later rounds with a power surge, as he did in his bout with Joel Casamayor, but there was no surprising Mayweather. In the last two rounds, Mayweather stepped up the attack with an intent to finish his opponent. Marquez was too crafty and proud to be stopped. He even landed a few body shots but Mayweather easily won the fight.

Fightnews’ final tally was 118-110 for Mayweather – perhaps a bit too generous for Marquez. The three judges had it even more lopsided for Mayweather with tallies of 118-109, 119-108 and 120-107. Final Punchstat numbers showed a landslide for Mayweather, as he outlanded Marquez 290-69. Mayweather landed nearly 60% of his punches during the bout.

Mayweather did acknowledge the talents and skill of Marquez calling him “very tough” and a “great fighter.” During the post-fight interview Shane Mosley came over and challenged Mayweather, who left the ring angry without providing the fans and photographers a victory shot. –David L. Hudson

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John survives Juarez

The penultimate bout of the evening featured a rematch between longtime WBA featherweight champion Chris John and the tough Rocky Juarez. Last February the two battled to a tough 12-round draw in Juarez’s hometown of Houston, Texas. This time, the two met neutral ground, in Las Vegas.

John, wearing boxing trunks bearing the name of his ring idol, Arturo “Thunder” Gatti, dominated most of the action with superior boxing, while Juarez gamely tried to find the range with his own jab. However, John won the battle of jabs and then frustrated Juarez with good movement.

On Fightnews’ card, John won the first eight rounds with a familiar pattern – good movement backed up by firing punches from different angles. Juarez has always had trouble with good mover/boxers and John certainly fit into that category.

Juarez finally made an impression in the ninth round with some significant body shots and his patented left hook. For his part, John appeared to tire just a bit, allowing the always dangerous Juarez time to make his move. John regained control in the 10th round and appeared ready to cruise into the final rounds with a comfortable lead.

However, Juarez pressed the action, perhaps sensing he was behind on the scorecards. He landed some significant, damaging hooks and appeared buoyed by the energy of the crowd, who apparently are gearing up for the main event. Clearly, John needs to move away from Juarez and not stand in front of him.

Heading into the final round, Juarez needed a “Weaver-Tate” moment. (Note: To new fight fans: “Big” John Tate lost his heavyweight title in 1979 to a devastating final round knockout from Mike Weaver.) Inexplicably, John stood in front of Juarez for the final round and traded punches – a bad idea. Juarez landed a patented right hand bomb that rocked the champion. Alas for Juarez, John held on, surviving until the final bell sounded.

John retained his title unanimously.

Fightnews scored the bout 117-111 for the champion John who makes the 11th successful defense of his title. The judges also had it unanimously it for the champion, though they were in wide disagreement: Judge Glen Hamada had it an inexplicable 114-113, Adalaide Byrd had it 119-109 and Herb Santos had it the most reasonable, at 117-111. Respectfully, Hamada had an off-night.

The Punchstat numbers spelled out the unanimous decision for John, as the champion landed 274 punches to only 119 for Juarez.

“I didn’t get hit as much as I did in the first fight,” Juarez said. “I was beating him on the outside. I’m really frustrated, that’s all I can say.”

What really frustrated Juarez appeared to be the superior boxing ability of the champion who should vault up into people’s pound-for-pound lists.

For his part John said, “It was a very tough fight.” He admitted that in the last round he was hurt, “But I kept on going for my idol Arturo Gatti. Now my home is Nevada because the same fight in Texas would have been different.”

John moves to 43-0-1, while Juarez drops to 28-5. It was John’s 11th successful defense of his title. –David Hudson

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Katsidis mauls Escobedo

Michael Katsidis earned a split decision victory over Vicente Escobedo, taking home the WBO interim lightweight title in a fight that was detrimental to the future of both fighters. Katsidis kept the pressure on Escobedo from the opening bell throughout their 12-round clash as the Ignacio “Nacho” Beristain-trained Escobedo couldn’t put together anything substantial to keep the Australian off of his pupil.

Katsidis (26-2, 21 KOs) entered the ring wearing a Spartan helmet and shield, showing that he was clearly ready to go to war with Escobedo. The Woodland, Calif. fighter simply wasn’t prepared for what Katsidis had in store for him.

Katsidis waded in fearlessly and wailed away at the body and head of Escobedo and was willing to eat a couple of punches in order to get inside and throw hooks to the body and head. The jab was the only weapon that seemed to work early on for Escobedo but it did not have enough pop to make Katsidis think twice about barreling in face first.

If the 2004 Olympian thought that Katsidis would eventually tire, he was in for a rude awakening. Katsidis and his conditioning played a detrimental role throughout the fight. He continuously assaulted the body of Escobedo and by round 6 it appeared that Escobedo was beginning to wilt under the pressure. Katsidis landed 278 of 644 power punches throughout the duration of the fight. Although Escobedo is arguably a better boxer, the smothering would never allow him the distance needed to get off.

The Australian knew that he needed a victory to factor into the lightweight mix. His only two losses came at the hands of Juan Diaz and Joel Casamayor. Escobedo – who falls to 21-2 - had won his last 12 fights before running into Katsidis and his full court press.

The split decision came courtesy of a curiously odd scorecard coming from Mike Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald gave the first five rounds to Escobedo and had it 116-112 in favor of the Mexican fighter. Judges Robert Hoyle and Duane Ford saw it in favor of Katsidis with scores of 118-110 and 115-113 respectively.

“I’m ecstatic,” Katsidis said after his victory. “I’m back. It’s an amazing thing for a fighter to get of the ground and win a title again. I’m a fighter that gives it all and I needed to give it all to win it. I was willing to give it more than he was. If I can get off the ground and win a title again, anyone can.” –Andreas Hale

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Lock has key to victory over Cruz

In the first pay-per-view bout of the evening, Detroit’s Cornelius Lock locked away Orlando Cruz’s undefeated record in an interesting battle of southpaw speedsters. Cruz entered the ring for the first time since January, while Lock returned to the ring after losing a lopsided decision to Antonio Escalante in July 2009.

In this battle of southpaws, Cruz looked good early with definite quickness. However, Lock appeared the more powerful of the two and he proved it early with a strong overhand right that dropped Cruz to the canvas. Cruz rose quickly and then wisely held on until the bell.

In the second round, Lock was unable to press any advantage from the first round. Cruz landed some stiff jabs and appeared to clear the cobwebs. The two played the waiting game, apparently respecting the skills of their opponent. Cruz attacked with a good right hook and carried the round with clever boxing.

In the third round, Lock stepped up his aggressiveness but Cruz avoided damage with good defense. Lock landed a good body shot and Cruz feigned as if struck by low blow, which garnered Lock a warning from referee Robert Byrd. Lock attempted to begin a body attack. Cruz landed a lead right hook and appeared to control the middle part of the round with superior ring generalship. However, Lock pressed the action and landed some wide winging shots. The power advantage cleared belonged to Lock.

Lock appeared to turn the tide in the fourth round with better boxing, while Lock appeared a bit tight. Lock focused too much on trying to land the home run bomb rather than set up his attack. However, Lock’s power proved too much in the fifth round, as Lock landed a devastating right hook that dropped Cruz to the canvas like a sack of potatoes. Referee Robert Byrd stopped the action at 2:08 of the fifth round.

“I felt good but a little tight,” Lock said. “I felt he wasn’t at my level. I was throwing the hook long so I shortened it up a bit and caught him and hurt him. Then, I ended it.”

“It was a good shot,” Cruz acknowledged. “Congratulations to Cornelius but all it was a good shot.”

Final Compubox statistics showed that Cruz landed 72 total punches to Lock’s 53. Cruz also landed at a higher percentage – 42% to 22%. But, in boxing it often matters who lands the harder punches and there was no question that Lock landed the more damaging blows. – David L. Hudson

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OFF-TV RESULTS

Ouali kayos Rios

“Prince” Said Ouali knocked down Francisco Rios with every punch possible to earn a TKO victory in the second round of their scheduled 8 round welterweight match-up. Ouali – another fighter from the Mayweather stable – started the carnage with a straight right hand that dropped Rios midway through the first round. Rios would rise but would find himself on the seat of his pants courtesy of an identical straight left right before the bell.

It was elementary from this point as the second round saw Ouali rock Rios with a searing uppercut that snapped his head back before he stumbled into the ropes and onto the canvas. Rios would rise again only to eat an overhand right hand that sent him sprawling to the mat. Referee Jay Nady had seen enough and called a merciful halt to the bout at 1:27 in the second round. Ouali improves to 26-3 with his 18th KO victory as Rios falls to 17-11. –Andreas Hale

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Lara makes short work of Varela

Cuban import Erislandy Lara made short work of Jose Varela with a looping left hand that put Varela down and out at 2:12 in the first round of the eight round junior middleweight attraction.

The crafty southpaw picked his shots early and often before launching the left hand that found a home right on his opponent’s chin. Varela – who falls to 23-7 - collapsed to the mat and couldn’t find his way to his feet before the ten count to give Lara his 5th knockout victory and kept his record perfect at 8-0. –Andreas Hale

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Vargas still undefeated

Roger Mayweather trained Jessie Vargas kept his perfect record intact with a easy unanimous decision victory over Raul Tovar. Vargas (6-0, 2 KOs) and his impressive hand speed was the deciding factor although Tovar (6-2) proved to be a game opponent for the young fighter.

Vargas dropped Tovar late in the second round with a brilliant combination and opened up the third round with another knockdown courtesy of a slick two punch combination right down the middle. Although Tovar would remain on his feet for the rest of the bout, the damage was already done and Vargas added another victory with scores of 60-52 (twice) and 59-53. –Andreas Hale

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Savage TKOs Myers

The second bout of the evening featured undefeated super middleweight prospect “Neon” Dion Savage from Flint, Michigan, against Fresno, California, trial horse Loren Myers. Savage looked to become only the second fighter to stop Myers who has lost his last two fights by decision. Myers had only been stopped in his pro debut.

In round one, Savage led off with a good jab, while Myers waded in with a left hook. Savage pressed forward with a jab-uppercut combination and then threw a right hand body shot lead and later landed a good left hook. Savage then connected with a savage left uppercut. Myers was proving to be a punching bag – albeit a game one. Myers showed a good chin but appeared simply outmatched in terms of quickness and power – a dangerous combination. Savage clearly took the first round with clean, effective punching.

In the second round, Savage again pressed the attack. Myers responded with some lead right hands of his own and followed it up with some decent body shots. Savage dictated the pace with his jab and moved forward to reestablish control. Savage kept finding a home for his lead uppercuts against his slower opponent. Myers made it more competitive this round but was dealing with a better fighter in Savage.

In the third round, the two boxers throw hooking combinations in the center of the ring – the best action of the bout to this point. Both attempt to impose their will by moving forward. Referee Kenny Bayless was working harder this round, breaking apart the two combatants. Myers was slowing down this round but was very game. For his part, Savage forgot about the jab for much of this round – a punch he landed frequently when he remembered to throw it.

Savage began to unload on Myers but both fighters clearly lost energy at this point in the fight. Savage appeared to do some damage toward the end of the round but Myers stayed on his feet.

Savage closed the show early in the fourth round by landing quick, powerful combinations against his slower opponent. Referee Kenny Bayless stopped the contest 22 seconds into the fourth round.

Savage moves to 6-0, while Myers drops to 7-7.

All three judges had it 30-27 – the same as Fightnews - at the time of the stoppage. –David L. Hudson

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Perez defeats Ellis

In the evening’s opening bout, undefeated prospect Mike Perez utilized a menacing assault of left hooks to remain perfect as he defeated Richard Ellis by unanimous decision in four round junior lightweight action.

Perez (5-0-1, 2 KOs) dropped Ellis (4-3, 2 KOs) with a overhand right late in the first round and knocked him down again in the second before earning the decision with scores of 38-36, 39-35 and 40-34. –Andreas Hale

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2009 by Fightnews.com.