Saul Alvarez closed his 2010 with a win over Lovemore N'dou in Mexico. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
It wasn't the biggest Saturday of the season -- in fact, it's the lightest Saturday since October -- but it was busy and eventful, too. We saw a Fight of the Year candidate on the Top Rank PPV, and plenty of notable fighters including Saul Alvarez, Daniel Ponce de Leon, and Ricky Burns were in action. Here's a look around the world.
Saul Alvarez UD-12 Lovemore N'dou
Alvarez (35-0-1, 26 KO) won this one going away on scores of 119-109 and 120-108 (twice). Bad Left Hook had it 118-110 for Alvarez. This means that N'dou (48-12-2, 31 KO) has still never been stopped in his career, which was a real risk coming all the way up to this 150-pound catchweight against Alvarez. N'dou looked sturdy at the weight and strong, but Alvarez was just too good for him. N'dou didn't really seem to be there to win, quite frankly, but to survive and say he didn't get knocked out, both of which he accomplished.
Realistically Alvarez probably didn't gain any new fans with this one. It wasn't the sort of performance he's become known for, but not every win is a stunner, and this one was just a solid win to close out 2010. He's making a measured, step-by-step climb against veteran fighters right now, and he really took no punishment in this fight, either. He was never at any risk, never in danger, and he tried to land big shots, but N'dou was good enough defensively to mostly avoid those.
On the Undercard:
Daniel Ponce de Leon TKO-7 Sergio Medina: No word yet if Medina had any trouble with Ponce de Leon's mafia friends. Ponce de Leon (41-2, 34 KO) closes out a very strong 2010 with his third win, following defeats of Orlando Cruz, Cornelius Lock and Antonio Escalante. It was a great comeback year for Ponce, who is firmly entrenched as a contender at 126 now. He probably doesn't fare well against the real top dogs, who will still be too fast for him, but he sure as hell didn't fade away as some might have expected after he lost to Juan Manuel Lopez in 2008. Ponce de Leon put Medina away with body shots.
Humberto Soto UD-12 Urbano Antillon, Nonito Donaire KO-4 Wladimir Sidorenko, Mikey Garcia KO-5 Olivier Lontchi, Pawel Wolak TKO-7 Jose Pinzon: Full results and our recap can be read here. If you missed Soto-Antillon, track it down.
Other Results from Around the World
- Ricky Burns UD-12 Andreas Evensen: Burns' easy first defense went about as expected, as he won a very wide decision on scores of 119-108 (twice) and 118-109. Burns (30-2, 7 KO) still has the WBO super featherweight belt, but he's one of those titlists on borrowed time if he bothers making any serious defenses. He's a good boxer, but that win over Rocky Martinez was probably a 1-in-5 sort of thing. There's a reason it was a big upset, and I can't blame him, boxing being what it is, for fighting a guy like Evensen first.
- Joseph Laryea SD-12 Paul Appleby: Well, so much for that All-Scot showdown between Burns and Appleby. Scores were 117-111 and 116-112 for Laryea, and Appleby won the other card 115-113, which sounds like some home cooking from the fight reports I've read. Laryea (14-4, 11 KO) was a massive underdog against Appleby (16-2, 11 KO), but them's the breaks.
- Alex Arthur PTS-8 Jay Morris: Just a stay-busy fight for former 130-pound titlist Arthur, as Morris came in with a losing record. Arthur is now 29-3 (20 KO).
- Ryan Rhodes TKO-2 Rocky Junior: An absolute nothing win for Rhodes, who was simply getting back in the ring after having to vacate his European junior middleweight title in September. Junior went down twice in the second round, in his first career loss in 12 fights. He's also 39 and has never fought anyone.
- Denton Vassell TKO-3 Welson Alves de Oliveira: Another win for prospect Vassell (16-0, 9 KO), who could be in domestic contention soon at 154.
- Chris Edwards PTS-4 Francis Croes: And so Edwards gets back over .500 (15-14-3, 4 KO) with a four-round win over Croes (1-11, 1 KO). Edwards is still a contender at flyweight in the UK, since there are almost no flyweights.
- Zaurbek Baysangurov TKO-12 Richard Gutierrez: This was for the vacant IBO junior middleweight belt, if you happen to care about that. Baysangurov (25-1, 19 KO) is a good fighter, and his loss to K-9 Bundrage in 2008 doesn't look as alarming now as it did at the time. At this point Gutierrez (26-5-1, 16 KO) is just a gatekeeper, as his last decent win came in February 2008. In fact, that's the last time he beat anyone who'd ever won a pro fight.
Las Heras, Argentina
- Jonathan Victor Barros TKO-7 Irving Berry: Barros (31-1-1, 18 KO) wins the vacant WBA regular featherweight title, which is just the most ridiculous paper title situation in a sport filled to the rafters with ridiculous paper titles. Berry is now 18-2-2 (9 KO).
Atlantic City, New Jersey
Ayi Bruce MD-10 Shamone Alvarez: Alvarez has been a fringe contender sort at 147 for a while now, with notable losses to Joshua Clottey and Devin Rodriguez. In fact, it was Alvarez's loss to Clottey that made me sort of disregard Clottey's offensive abilities. This loss to Bruce (18-3, 12 KO) is fairly damning in that Bruce, a Ghanaian, has never really beaten anyone worth mentioning before. But really it's just that Alvarez (21-3, 12 KO) isn't very good himself. He'll continue to be a gatekeeper or stepping stone type, but that's about it.
- Alexander Dimitrenko v. Albert Sosnowski was called off when Dimitrenko fell ill backstage before the bout.
Juan Carlos Gomez TKO-4 Harold Sconiers: Stay busy win for Gomez (49-2, 37 KO).
Manuel Charr MD-8 Zack Page: Charr stays unbeaten (16-0, 8 KO) with the close win over veteran Page (21-32-2, 7 KO).
Rakhim Chakhiev UD-8 Lukasz Rusiewicz: 27-year-old cruiserweight prospect Chakhiev (8-0, 6 KO) stays undefeated, too.
Taras Bidenko PTS-6 Christian Hammer: Bidenko (27-4, 12 KO) hands Hammer his second straight loss.
- Eduard Trojanovskij TKO-3 Matt Zegan: Veteran Zegan (42-6-2, 21 KO) looks just about done. Trojanovskij improves to 9-0 (7 KO).
Les Sherrington UD-12 Nader Hamdan: Sherrington (27-5, 17 KO) keeps his PABA super middleweight title with a successful defense over veteran Hamdan (42-9-1, 18 KO). Hamdan, 36, is now 0-3-1 in his last four.
- Alex Leapai UD-8 Darnell Wilson: Yes, 'tis the Ding-a-Ling Man, and he lost down under to Leapai (21-3-3, 16 KO). Wilson (23-10-3, 20 KO) had a brief run of fame for his awesome nickname and knockout power, but that pretty much ended as soon as the buzz wore off of his frightening knockout of Emmanuel Nwodo in 2007. Since then he's 1-5, with his only win coming over a guy who was 11-44-3 coming into the fight. This was his first real try at heavyweight, and he beefed all the way up into the 230s. This was also his first fight since July 2009.