MARES LIFTS CROWN FROM CUELLAR

Abner Mares floored defending champion Jesus Cuellar and won a split decision to earn the WBA featherweight title Saturday night in Los Angeles. Mares (30-2-1, 15 KO’s) had the upper hand in a fast-paced fight that thrilled the fans at the Galen Center on the USC campus.

Cuellar (28-2, 21 KO’s) put together a good stretch in the middle rounds where he was able to back Mares up at times and make it a close fight. But, the game-changer came in the 11th when Mares caught Cuellar on the way in with a big right hand the scored a knockdown.

Official scores were 117-110 and 116-111 for Mares while one judge scored it 115-112 for Cuellar. The Mares scores correctly reflected who won the fight and by how much.

SHOWTIME ANNOUNCES 2016/2017 TELECASTS

showtime-logo

The Showtime boxing telecasts have all but dried up recently, but this week the media outlet announced five shows that will run from the end of 2016 into March of 2017. Many familiar names are involved in some nice matchups:

December 10:
Jesus Cuellar (28-1, 21 KOs) vs. Abner Mares (29-2-1, 15 KOs)*
Jermall Charlo (24-0, 18 KOs) vs. Julian Williams (22-0-1, 14 KOs)*

January 14:
Badou Jack (20-1-2, 12 KOs) vs. James DeGale (23-1, 14 KOs)**

January 28:
Carl Frampton (23-0, 14 KOs) vs. Leo Santa Cruz (32-1-1, 18 KOs)*
Dejan Zlaticanin (18-0, 11 KOs) vs. Mikey Garcia (35-0, 29 KOs)*

February 11:
Adrien Broner (32-2, 24 KOs) vs. Adrian Granados (18-4-2, 12 KOs)

March 4:
Danny Garcia (32-0, 18 KOs) vs. Keith Thurman (27-0, 22 KOs)**

*World title bout
**World title unification bout

The announcement was accompanied by a one-minute video on the Showtime website.

PORTER, THURMAN MAKE WEIGHT

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Official weights for Saturday night’s WBA welterweight title fight in Brooklyn, NY:

KEITH THURMAN – 146
SHAWN PORTER – 147

Undercard weights:

JAERRETT HURD – 153.8
OSCAR MOLINA – 154.8

ADAM KOWNACKI – 264.2
JESSE BARBOZA – 242.8

HEATER HARDY – 123.2
KIRSTIE SIMMONS – 122.8

DAVID BENAVIDEZ – 168.6
FRANCY NTETU – 170

JONATHAN ALONSO – 141.6
BRIAN JONES – 142

REGIS PROGRAIS – 139.8
LUIS FLOREZ – 140

JOSUE VARGAS – 140.8
RYAN PICOU 140.8

NICKLAUS FLAZ – 150.6
MACK BABB – 150.8

Weights courtesy of  Fightnews.com, Photo courtesy of Esther Lin/Showtime

ANDRE WARD RETURNS WITH ONE-SIDED DECISION

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Andre Ward returned to the ring on Saturday night and earned a 12-round unanimous decision win over Sullivan Barrera in front of Ward’s hometown crowd in Oakland, CA. Ward (29-0, 15 KO’s) dropped Barrera in the third round of the IBF light heavyweight title eliminator with a left hook and had a point deducted for a low blow, finishing ahead on the scorecards by wide margins: 119-109, 117-109 and 117-108.

Barrera (17-1, 12 KO’s) lost for the first time and really didn’t present Ward with too much in the way of offense. The bigger Barrera did land some solid shots on Ward, but no damage was done and Ward was able to mount an offense throughout the fight.

It wasn’t vintage Ward and there was definitely rust. The HBO commentary said otherwise, but if you watched the fight objectively, Andre Ward took a long time to get going and didn’t finish strong over the final rounds. It was a good exercise for Ward, but a fight with Sergey Kovalev should be a couple of fights away, at least.

CRAWFORD, SANTA CRUZ STAY UNBEATEN

HBO and Showtime went head-to-head tonight with a pair of undefeated champions defending their titles in the respective main events. Terence “Bud” Crawford and Leo Santa Cruz both passed their tests with stoppage wins.

Crawford (28-0, 20 KO’s), had a live challenger in Hank Lundy to deal with and the Omaha, NE native thrilled the fans at Madison Square Garden with a TKO5 to retain the WBO super lightweight title.

Likewise, Santa Cruz (32-0-1, 18 KO’s), sent his Southern California fans home happy with a fifth-round knockout of Kiko Martinez (35-7, 26 KO’s) to keep the WBA super title at featherweight.

Crawford got a stiff test from Lundy (26-6-1, 13 KO’s) in the first round as the challenger threw heavy shots, sometimes from wild angles and postures. Crawford quickly switched to a southpaw stance and fought that way till the end. Lundy got some solid power shots in during that first round, but the fight changed at the start of round two.

The pace slowed to a more measured battle and Crawford gained the upper hand due to his precise boxing skills.

In the final round, Crawford hurt Lundy with a flush right hand to the  jaw and he followed up to score a brutal knockdown. Lundy was able to continue but the fight was waved off moments later with Crawford landing at will and Lundy covering up against the ropes.

Official time of the stoppage was 2:09 of round five.

Out west, Santa Cruz started very quickly and dropped the hard-charging Martinez twice in the first round. It was pinpoint punching from Santa Cruz landing flush on the challenger, who came in willing to take a few shots.

He got them, as Santa Cruz nearly ended the fight in the first round.

But Martinez rebounded and fought well over the next few rounds, backing the champion up and landing solid shots of his own. It was a spirited fight until the fifth round when Santa Cruz got his man in trouble again with power shots and closed the show with a lethal barrage of unanswered shots. This fight also ended at the 2:09 mark of round five.

ARUM: PACQUIAO-BRADLEY III SET FOR APRIL 9

Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley will have a rubber match on April 9, according to Top Rank boss Bob Arum. Bradley won a disputed split-decision in 2012, then Pacquiao notched a more convincing unanimous decision in the 2014 rematch.

Pacquiao (57-6-2, 38 KO’s) is coming off of his disappointing performance against Floyd Mayweather and may be appearing for the last time. Bradley (33-1-1, 13 KO’s) stopped Brandon Rios in his last fight in November.

IBEABUCHI LOOKS TO RETURN

Possibly appearing on the undercard is long-ago heavyweight contender Ike Ibeabuchi, recently freed from a prison sentence for sexual assault. Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports has a full story on the fighter once known as “The President.”

In the late 1990’s, Ibeabuchi built up a record of 20-1 with 15 KO’s and was one of the division’s most spectacular power punchers. His last fight was a brutal TKO5 over Chris Byrd in March of 1999.

RAMIREZ GETS UP FROM KNOCKDOWN, EARNS UD

Unbeaten super lightweight Jose Ramirez (16-0, 12 KO’s) got up from a second-round knockdown and earned a unanimous decision over Johnny Garcia (19-4-1, 11 KO’s) Saturday night in Fresno, CA. The U.S. Olympian, fighting in front of a hometown crowd of 13,120 at the SaveMart Center, won comfortably by scores of 79-73, 79-73 and 77-74.

Ramirez was busy from the opening bell, but he turned it up a notch after taking a short right hand that sent him to the canvas in round two. The elite skills of Ramirez proved to be too much for the tough and willing Garcia.

Top Rank tweeted the following from boss Bob Arum:

UNDERCARD

Andy Vences KO2 over Manuel Rojas
Joe Louie Lopez KO3 over Dave Courchaine
Guy Robb UD8 over Juan Ruiz
Alex Rios KO2 over Emilio Hernandez
Saul Lomas KO1 over Eduardo Dominguez
Eric Altimirano KO4 over Ricardo Maldonado

 

FIGHT FOR WATER V WEIGHTS

Photo: Carl Klingenberg

Photo: Carl Klingenberg

Unbeaten super lightweight Jose Ramirez (15-0, 12 KO’s) made weight for his Saturday clash with Johnny Garcia (19-3-1, 11 KO’s) in Fresno, CA. The “Solo Boxeo Tecate” card will air at 12AM ET/11PM PT on Unimas. Here are the results of today’s weigh-in, from FightNews.com:

JOSE RAMIREZ – 140
JOHNNY GARCIA – 139.8

ANDY VENCES – 131.4
MANUEL ROJAS – 132

GUY ROBB – 126.6
JUAN RUIZ – 127

JOE LOUIE LOPEZ – 163
DAVE COURCHAINE – 158.8

ALEX ROJAS – 140.8
EMILIO HERNANDEZ – 136.6

SAUL LOMAS – 144.2
EDUARDO DOMINGUEZ – 144.8

ERIC ALTAMIRANO – 136
RICARDO MALDONADO – 136

ALVAREZ OUTPOINTS COTTO

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez defeated Miguel Cotto by unanimous decision Saturday night, further staking his claim to be the best fighter in the post-Mayweather world. Alvarez (46-1-1, 32 KO’s) turned back a strong attack from Cotto (40-5-0, 33 KO’s) and won by comfortable margins of 119-109, 118-110 and 117-111.

InTheCorner.net had it a little closer at 116-112 for Alvarez.

It was a very interesting fight, worthy of the pay-per-view buildup, with Cotto attacking and moving, at time controlling the fight, while Alvarez countered well. Neither fighter was in serious trouble but it was an action fight throughout.

Down the stretch, Cotto’s attack was unable to sustain any effectiveness and Alvarez finished well.

Both fighters’ resumes feature some of the biggest names in the sport. While Cotto has lost three of his last six fights, all against big-name opposition, Alvarez continues his run that was only slowed down by a decision loss to Mayweather in 2013. This was a fight where Alvarez was too young and strong for the aging Cotto, who did nothing to embarrass himself.

COTTO – ALVAREZ WEIGHTS

Miguel Cotto and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez both weighed in successfully today for Saturday night’s middleweight title fight. The stage is now set for a compelling Puerto Rico vs. Mexico superfight.

MIGUEL COTTO – 153.5
CANELO ALVAREZ – 155
(WBC Middleweight title)

TAKASHI MIURA – 130
FRANCISCO VARGAS – 129.5
(WBC Super Featherweight title)

GUILLERMO RIGONDEAUX – 121.5
DRIAN FRANCIS – 121

JAYSON VELEZ – 125.5
RONNY RIOS – 125.5