There were some notable results on Friday night in the boxing world. Here's the round-up from across the globe.
Top Rank Live was pre-empted on basically every regular FSN channel, I'm guessing. This show was the company's appetizer card for tonight's Pacquiao-Clottey PPV in Arlington.
- Samuel Peter TKO-2 Nagy Aguilera. This result really shouldn't surprise anybody, so I hope it doesn't. Aguilera (15-3, 10 KO) got into this IBF eliminator solely on the "strength" of knocking out a cold, old Oleg Maskaev in the first round, which isn't really that amazing. Maskaev is in his 40s and never had a great chin. This win definitely does not mean for sure that Sam Peter (34-3, 27 KO) is "back," but he came in at 237 1/2 pounds, his lowest weigh-in since 2001, which was his debut year in professional boxing. Peter's weights have been very good since signing with Top Rank. I don't know that he's the fighter some people expect him to be, but it's pretty obvious he's legitimately re-focused on being the best he can be, and is deserving of being back in the discussion. Good for him, because at his best he could be a bulldozer in this division. The win does make Peter a mandatory challenger for ... wait for it ... Wladimir Klitschko, unless Klitschko loses to Eddie Chambers next week. Peter has losses to both on his record and I'm betting would love to avenge either.
- Richie Mepranum UD-10 Hernan Marquez. And there goes Marquez's "0." 22-year-old Filipino prospect Mepranum (17-2-1, 3 KO) can't punch a lick but is a solid young fighter anyway, and his two losses aren't anything to be upset about. He was 19 when he lost in Thailand to Panomroonglek Kratingdaenggym, and he was just 20 and hung in fairly well with Denkaosan Kaovichit in 2007. Kaoivchit would go on to win a world title at flyweight. Now at junior bantamweight, Mepranum won by wide scores last night (99-91, 98-92 and a closer 96-94). Marquez (27-1, 20 KO) had a pretty soft record coming in, and now with his first loss, we'll find out what he's really made of.
- Anthony Peterson KO-3 Juan Ramon Cruz. Total stay-busy fight for Peterson (30-0, 20 KO), who's looking on his way to his first major title shot. Cruz (16-8-1, 12 KO) has now lost seven of his last ten fights.
- Omar Henry TKO-1 Francisco Javier Reza. The very promising Henry (8-0, 7 KO) continues to roll early in his career. The Chicago-born Henry fights out of Houston and has been out of the first round just one time.
- Dennis Laurente UD-8 Ben Tackie. Not really an important fight at all, but a couple of veterans getting together for an eight-rounder that leads to better gatekeeping opportunities, hopefully. Also, Philippines versus Ghana. Laurente won on scores of 78-74, 77-75, 77-75, which is sort of exactly what you'd expect out of this fight. 32-year-old Laurente is now 34-3-5 (17 KO), while the 36-year-old Tackie looks close to winding down a damn solid career as he falls to 29-12-1 (17 KO) with his sixth straight loss (all decisions, all at least competitive).
- Jose Benavidez TKO-3 Bobby Hill. Freddie Roach calls the 17-year-old Benavidez his "future," and that's high praise. This kid is one hell of a prospect if everyone is to be believed, a Golden Gloves champion with a very bright future and loads of talent.
(Photo via BBC)
- Paul Smith UD-12 Tony Dodson. Smith retains the British super middleweight title on scores of 117-112, 116-111 and 115-112. Bad Left Hook had it 115-112 for Smith (29-1, 15 KO), who suffered pretty bad cuts in the first and second round on head clashes between the two reckless, messy fighters. Dodson (24-6-1, 12 KO) really gave away a golden opportunity. I had this fight even through eight before Smith took over, made worse by the fact that Dodson was docked a point (and rightly so) in the 10th round for excessive holding. If Dodson had targeted the cuts in the 3rd-5th rounds, he might have been able to get Smith out of there and take home the title in an upset. Instead, he fought like a guy simply waiting for the cut itself to get worse and hand over Smith's title. In the end, Smith out-gutted him and out-fought him, and it's as simple as that. Pretty decent fight with some fine drama and plenty of tension. The star of the fight was Smith's veteran cut man, Mick Williamson, who did a really phenomenal job keeping the blood flow minimized.
- Kell Brook TKO-6 Krzysztof Bienias. Brook (21-0, 14 KO) is ready for the world stage. I don't often suggest a guy skip a domestic level or two (or three) when he's in a system like the UK's, where the domestic levels actually can benefit a career, but Brook is ready to go. He's 23, he's a big, talented welterweight, and he's got the goods. Bienias is nothing more than a journeyman with a fluffed-up record (39-4, 16 KO), but Brook battered him pretty ruthlessly. I'm not suggesting Brook jump right into the fire on this level, but if he signed to fight Andre Berto tomorrow I'd consider it more or less a toss-up fight, and I think he'd dominate the guys the IBF has circling their title.
- Tony Bellew TKO-1 Atoli Moore. The Commonwealth light heavyweight belt goes to Bellew (13-0, 9 KO), who rather predictably crushed Moore (4-1, 2 KO) in a gross physical mismatch. Moore has been fighting around the 175-pound limit, so fair game and everything, but the Ghana-born fighter is 5'6". Bellew is about 6'3", a big light heavy.
- Enzo Maccarinelli TKO-1 Zoltan Czekus. Yep. Zoltan. Macca (31-4, 24 KO) wins his second straight over a scrub, trying to bounce back from the bad losses to David Haye, Ola Afolabi and Denis Lebedev.
- Giovanni Lorenzo KO-2 Wilmer Gonzalez. Former title challenger Lorenzo (28-2, 20 KO) gets back on track after losing in his crack at the IBF middleweight title last year to Sebastian Sylvester. Lorenzo still hasn't proven a whole lot, but the division is really weak and he can be an exciting fighter, so he's likely to get another shot sometime. A rematch with Sylvester would be suitable, but probably unlikely. Gonzalez (17-9-1, 11 KO) never really had much of a chance. This was a total comeback fight.
Felix Diaz UD-6 Orlando Membreno. Former Olympian Diaz (5-0, 3 KO) gets some rounds in after flooring Membreno in the opening round. Nicaraguan Membreno (11-13-1, 10 KO) has been knocked out six times. Insane in the Membreno. Sorry. I'm really sorry.
Prague, Czech Republic
- Lukas Konecny TKO-4 Ionut Trandafir Ilie. Never let it be said that only the major sanctioning bodies pull stunts like this. Konecny (43-3, 21 KO) fought for the vacant Czech middleweight title on December 30 against Attila Kiss, who has a truly standing ovation-worthy name but also a 9-56-3 record coming into that fight. But Konecny didn't make weight. Now Konecny has won the interim Czech middleweight title over Ilie (13-3-1, 1 KO). Konecny is probably best-known for losing a 154-pound title shot against Sergiy Dzinziruk in 2008, if he's known to you at all.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
- Paul Spadafora TKO-8 Ivan Fiorletta. Spadafora, 34, seems pretty realistic about what his career is. After two years of what would have been his prime was spent in prison, he's fought guys like Fiorletta (24-6-2, 7 KO) and beaten them, but really shown little interest in going higher than that. This time his team imported the 30-year-old Italian, who had fought in the States just twice before, both on small cards in Chicago and Hammond, Indiana. It sort of reminds me of the influx of Japanese talent in Major League Baseball from early last decade, after Ichiro really blew the doors open, and these teams would bring in these old, mediocre pitchers, and you'd wonder, "You couldn't find this in Triple-A? You had to import it?" Also dorky noteworthy: this fight was held at one of the consistent tour venues for the original ECW.
Kamphaeng Phet, Thailand
- Wisanu Pornobnum UD-12 Ichal Tobidal. This is the sort of great, 12-round title fight matchup you can only get in Thailand. Pornobnum (34-7-2, 12 KO) successfully staved off the challenge from the definitely qualified and worthy Tobidal (6-5, 5 KO) to retain his PABA junior flyweight title. This comes on the heels of very strong defenses against Deni Timor (5-5-1), Donnie Mabao (12-8-1), Edo Resilay (12-5-2) and some non-title fights against dangerous opponents such as Johan Wahyudi (4-10) and Alwi Alhabsyi (11-15-3).
- Tony Grano UD-10 Mark Brown. Grano (17-1-1, 13 KO) isn't going to be a real heavyweight contender, and neither is Brown (15-3, 7 KO). But I'm glad Grano won so that maybe we can get a Grano-Kauffman rematch.
- Mike Oliver KO-3 Kermin Guardia. Oliver (23-2, 8 KO) looked like a possible American contender at 122 pounds before back-to-back bad losses to Reynaldo Lopez and Antonio Escalante (both TKO-3) in 2008. Now he's on the comeback trail, and at 30, he better get a move on. The knockout shot was to the body. Guardia (37-12, 21 KO) is about as close to done as it's going to get without just retiring. The 40-year-old Colombian hasn't won a fight since 2007. He's lost six in a row now, and 10 of his last 12. We're talking about a guy who challenged the great Finito Lopez for his strawweight title back in 1994.