Ruslan Chagaev still didn't look too hot in getting past Travis Walker. (Photo by Boris Streubel/Bongarts/Getty Images)
It was a relatively light day of boxing, although tomorrow hopefully will more than make up for it.
Ruslan Chagaev UD8 Travis Walker - Former titlist Chagaev had more trouble with now gatekeeper Travis Walker than he probably should have. In a surprisingly competitive fight, Chagaev was able to score rounds with the straighter shots and cleaner connects. Walker was generally more active, and in several rounds landed the much bigger shots, but frequently he was too wild and just couldn't land clean with his looping shots. Scores of 77-75, 78-75 and 78-74 adequately reflected the fight. But let's face it - Chagaev, the WBA mandatory, probably just punched his ticket into a fight with David Haye. Walker has one of the worst chins of any top level fighter out there, and Chagaev couldn't put a dent in him. Since contracting Hepatitis, Chagaev hasn't been the same fighter, and this one was no different. In the most amusing moment of the night, when Chagaev responded in the post-fight interview that he was ready to face Haye, there was an audible laugh from the crowd. While Chagaev isn't legally allowed to fight in the UK due to his condition, he may be a big enough draw in Germany to make a trip by Haye worthwhile.
Denis Boytsov TKO2 Mike Sheppard - Boytsov came back from a year long layoff due to hand surgery and took out Sheppard in impressive fashion, knocking the journeyman down four times before the referee stopped the bout. Universum seems to be taking their sweet time with the top 10 heavyweight, so expect a couple more lesser fights, at least, before he starts making any noise about a title shot.
Rakhim Chakhkiev KO1 Chris Thomas - 2008 heavyweight gold medalist Chakhkiev took out Thomas quickly and painfully. He's pretty easily the best cruiserweight prospect out there at this point.
Manuel Charr RTD5 Robert Hawkins - In a dirty fight, undefeated Charr forced the normally sturdy Hawkins to quit on his stool. Charr is ranked at the bottom end of the top 15s of a couple of sanctioning bodies, so don't be shocked if his name starts getting thrown around soon.
San Juan, Argentina
Carlos Baldomir SD10 Amilcar Edgardo Funes Melian - Per reports, Baldomir actually outboxed Funes, which is a rare sight. While this was a split decision, nearly everyone, including two of the judges, had this one wide for Tata, the former welterweight champ. Despite being nearly 40 years old and quite faded, it appears that Baldomir will fight on, although because his two greatest assets, his chin and his workrate, have faded, his time as a serious contender is probably over.
Los Angeles, California
No surprises here, but on Fight Night Club, Carlos Molina and Fidel Maldonado Jr. both won.
Also winning on Friday: Ermosele Albert (scorned by Kelly Pavlik, but he's the one who actually ended up fighting), Rances Barthelemy (at 8-0 and doing much better than his more heralded brother as a pro, as two-time Olympic gold medalist Yan Barthelemy has already lost twice), Farah Ennis (now 17-0, who knocked down Victor Lares twice en route to a wide decision victory) and Chazz Witherspoon (who forced his journeyman opponent to quit on his stool at the end of the fourth round.