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Marcos “El Chino” Madaina wins over Vegas, kayos Cayo; Guzman slows down ‘Rush Hour’ traffic with split win

Ringside report and photos by Chris Cozzone

Fighting like a bull in a china shop, to a crowd of crazy Argentines chanting “CHI-NO! CHI-NO!”, chin-checker Marcos Maidana might’ve given WBA Light Welter Champ Amir Khan one more reason to delay an inevitable confrontation with his interim belt-bearer.

Belting out a kayo over Dominican Victor Cayo, Maidana won over Las Vegas last night at the Hard Rock’s The Joint with a more-than-bargained-for war before a less-than-full house.

Defending the interim version of Khan’s crown, Maidana dropped Cayo at the end of round two, then him finished off the previously unbeaten Cayo halfway through the sixth on a Golden Boy-promoted doubleheader televised on HBO’s Boxing After Dark.

It wasn’t as easy as it sounds, though.

Cayo, fighting for the first time in Vegas, as was Maidana, had promised to outbox the Argentine, but would not shy away from slugging it out should the opportunity present itself.

On that, Cayo delivered, for he not only outboxed Maidana for much of the fight, but gave as he good as he got before he crash-landed into the canvas in round six.

Maidana gave away the first round, taking his time and applying pressure without punching much. Cayo outboxed his way through the first and most of the second. When Maidana decided to pour it on during the second, Cayo met him halfway, slugging it out and outworking the Argentine – that is, until the final second.

As the bell rang, Maidana’s left hook, already launched, sizzled its way to Cayo’s noggin’, dropping the Dominican to the mat for a flash knockdown. Cayo’s corner shouted “Foul!” but Referee Joe Cortez ruled it a legal knockdown.

Most expected the knockdown to spell the beginning of the end for Cayo, but the Dominican came out strong in the third, unexpectedly taking the fight to Maidana. Cayo had Maidana backing up until the end of the round, when the heavier hitter tried to steal the round with a flurry of shots.

The fight went back and forth in the fourth, Maidana more aggressive as ever in the first half, then Cayo landing his best shots yet on the champ.

Cayo continued his momentum well into the fifth, stunning Maidana with head-spinning left hooks and a right hand. After weathering Cayo’s attack, Maidana bounced back, throwing himself at Cayo in an attempt to win back the round.

In the sixth, Maidana made jelly out of “Mermelada” Cayo. Sensing his foe was starting to tire, Maidana tore into Cayo, blasting the body until, halfway into the stanza, a right tore into Cayo’s bread basket, flooring him to the canvas for the count.

Cayo was counted out at 1:38.

“He was very tough and had a lot of movement,” admitted Maidana, now 28-1, 27 KOs. “I was looking for the knockout but my corner told me to settle down.”

Maidana admitted he’d heard the bell in the second when he scored his first knockdown over Cayo.

“I heard it but I threw my punch before that. I was in the moment. It wasn’t intentional.”

Maidana did not put a bullseye on his next opponent, but said he would take on “whoever is at 140.”

With his first loss, Cayo drops to 24-1, 15 KOs.

Guzman heavy traffic for ‘Rush Hour’

Former champ Joan Guzman might’ve come in an astounding nine pounds heavy, forfeiting his chance to win the IBF lightweight belt at stake and losing a huge chunk of his purse in the process. Guzman might also have been the luckiest fighter of ’09, when he escaped his first clash with Ali “Rush Hour” Funeka with a highly-controversial draw.

But, last night, there were very few (one judge included) who could deny that Guzman redeemed himself with a well-earned, clear-cut decision over the luckless South African, Funeka.

Scoring a sixth-round knockdown over Funeka, Guzman outhustled and outbombed his way over the slower, clumsier South African to earn a split decision victory, not to mention a bit of redemption.

Funeka did absolutely nothing in round one, while Guzman outhustled his foe, going to the body. Warmer, Funeka came aggressive in the second and was outworking the chunky-but-shorter Dominican until Guzman figured out just how easy it was to potshot his beanpole adversary.

Guzman might not have conditioned himself to be on target with his weight, but, in all other respects, he had done his homework.

Setting up easy potshots behind verbal jabs, Guzman, goading his man, danced and dropped bombs on the man whose physical advantages no longer seemed to matter.

Funeka started to let his hands go in the fourth, but Guzman’s shots were more precise and harder. In the fifth, Funeka continually walked into his shots, shuffling forward like an automaton instead of the panther we’d seen in the first fight.

It was more of the same in round six until an overhand right cut the giant down to size. Funeka flopped to the canvas and, though beating the count, Guzman tried to seize the opportunity, rushing in for the kill. Funeka weathered the storm and started to throw back by the end of the round.

Funeka won his first definitive round in the seventh, backing up Guzman to the ropes. Round eight was close, Funeka the busier while Guzman continued to land in spots, his bigger, but less frequent, shots.

Implored by his desperate corner, Funeka loaded up on left hooks in the ninth – Guzman still getting off his more precise overhand shots – and, in the tenth, the South African fell victim to body shots.

Funeka edged the eleventh with a higher workrate but Guzman nearly stole it with a flurry of rights at the end of the round. Confident he had the fight in the bank, Guzman avoided warfare in the twelfth, while he was chased by a desperate Funeka.

Somehow, for Guzman’s dominating performance, the judges saw a split verdict, scoring it 116-111 (Robert Hoyle) and 114-113 (Steve Weisfeld), Guzman; while a third judge (Duane Ford) actually had it for Funeka, 114-113.

Fightnews had it eight rounds to four, 116-111 with the knockdown, for Guzman.

Guzman, now 30-0-1, 17 KOs, apologized for not making weight and called out Marcos Maidana after the fight.

“I’m moving up to 140 pounds and will fight anyone at that weight,” said Guzman.

Funeka, $35,000 richer due to Guzman’s failure at the scales, is now one loss poorer, falling to 30-3—3, 25 KOs.

“The weight had a lot do with him winning,” Funeka told the press. “It was like hitting a punching bag made of sand.”

The IBF's lightweight belt will remain vacant.

Boom-boom goes Bam-Bam

Thank God, for Daniel Jacobs.

Capping off an uneventful, long-lasting undercard, the Brooklyn supermiddleweight woke The Joint up with a one round stoppage of Colombian Jose “Bam Bam” Rodriguez Berrio.

Coming out aggressive, Jacobs went right to work, staggering Berrio with a right hand before flooring him with a follow-up. Berrio beat the count, but was dropped again at the end of the round.

In between rounds, on advice from the ringside doc, Ref Jay Nady called a halt to the one-sided fight.

Jacobs, ending a seven-month layoff, ups his record to 19-0, 16 KOs.

Berrio, losing four in a row now, all step-up fights, falls to 20-5, 12 KOs.

Charlo wins unimpressively over Prieto

Impressing no one, including vocal trainer Ronnie Shields, Jermell Charlo (11-0, 5 KOs), of Houston, won a near-shutout, total-sleeper over Mexican Gerardo Prieto (6-9-1, 0 KOs).

Charlo was slow and cautious throughout, reluctantly approaching an unworthy opponent, who’d lost five of his last six. In round three, two rights from Charlo staggered Prieto, but his foe was let off the hook.

After being reamed by Shields in between rounds, Charlo showed minor improvement in the fourth, but, in the fifth, both, Charlo and Prieto, took turns slashing the air between them with unimpressive attacks.

In the sixth, Charlo landed a nice uppercut and a series of body shots, flooring Prieto, who was able to survive. Unable to repeat his success in the seventh and eighth, Charlo threw one shot at a time, unable to connect cleanly.

Scores were 79-72 twice and 80-71.

Figueroa wins battle of Texas welters

In a sixer between Texas welterweights, Weslaco’s Omar Figueroa (9-0, 8 KOs) was forced to go the distance for the first time, after injuring his hand against Midland’s Edgar Portillo (6-4-1, 4 KOs).

Portillo, always game, gave a good fight, but Figueroa’s angles, superior speed and skill, not to mention the ability to switch hit at a moment’s notice, clearly had him at a disadvantage.

The playing field was somewhat leveled, though, in round three, when Figueroa winced aloud after landing a left hand. Though using it hesitantly for the next three rounds, Figueroa’s power play had been broken.

Pawing his jab, Figueroa fought as an orthodox in the fourth, then switched back and forth, careful not to overuse his injured left paw.

After six, all judges favored Figueroa, 60-54 and 58-56 twice.

Chaves opens up show

In the opening bout of the afternoon, Argentinean Diego Chaves 914-0, 12 KOs) made his U.S. debut with an uneventful decision over Brazilian Edvan Dos Santos Barros (10-9-1, 7 KOs).

The fight was so uneventful that, for much of it, trainer Miguel
Diaz went from shouting instructions to the unheeding Chaves, to merely singing.

Chaves’ tune, however, did not change. Though landing bigger shots – mainly rights – Chaves had difficulty with the head-leading, mauling, brawling Barros.

In the third, Barros, bleeding from a cut on his right eyebrow, was hurt from Chaves landing lefts to the body. In the fourth, Chaves had his foe hurt again, this time from rights.

In the final two rounds, Chaves, unable to land another clean shot, cruised to a finish to win with scores of 60-54, 59-55 and 58-56.

Bonus shots

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