It was really the first truly full weekend of boxing in 2011, and it was Nonito Donaire whose star shone brightest on the big stage. Here's a roundup of action from Friday and Saturday.
Las Vegas, Nevada
- Nonito Donaire TKO-2 Fernando Montiel: Donaire established his legitimacy as a top five pound-for-pound guy, or four if you consider Floyd Mayweather Jr. to be essentially a non-entity at this point, which I guess is fair enough. It was a relatively easy night at the office for the Filipino sensation, who wiped out his Mexican foe in the second round on a monster left hook. Read the full recap.
- Mike Jones UD-12 Jesus Soto Karass: Tough as Soto Karass is, he was generally a step behind Jones in this one. Bad Left Hook scored it a wide 118-110, with probably two rounds that I thought could have easily gone the other way. Official scores were a closer 115-113, 116-112 and 117-111.
- Other Results: Mickey Bey Jr. and Jose Hernandez went to an eight-round draw, the first blemish on Bey's record (16-0-1, 8 KO) ... Mark Melligen took home a decision win (99-91 twice, 98-92) over Gabriel Martinez in welterweight action.
Stuggart, Germany and two shows in London
- Felix Sturm TKO-7 Ronald Hearns ... Manuel Charr TKO-5 Jonathan Pasi ... Ashley Theophane UD-12 Lenny Daws ... Craig Watson UD-12 John O'Donnell ... Tyson Fury KO-5 Marcelo Luiz Nascimento ... Frankie Gavin TKO-7 Michael Lomax ... John McDermott TKO-1 Larry Olubamiwo. Read the full recap.
Mississagua, Ontario, Canada
- Victor Lupo MD-10 Junior Witter: That might just about do it for Witter's career as a relevant fighter, which had been waning in recent years and now has really conked out. Lupo (19-1-2, 9 KO) is a 32-year-old Romanian based in Toronto, turning pro in 2004 and fighting in Canada his entire career. He really had no major wins prior to this, and appeared to be basically a rust-removing opponent for Witter, the former junior welterweight titlist and top contender to Ricky Hatton for years. But Witter turns 37 in just a few weeks, and was trying to start a new life, so to speak, at welterweight. It didn't turn out that way, as he lost on scores of 97-92, 96-94 and 95-95. For years he was ranked #2 at 140 behind only Hatton, and their war of words is probably what Witter is truly most famous for. Sadly, they never did get in the ring. I still think had they met prime-for-prime, Witter's style would have given him a tremendous chance at ending Hatton's undefeated streak before Mayweather and Pacquiao had ever come calling. But it didn't happen, and Witter has in recent fights turned into a stepping stone for rising Americans Timothy Bradley (who scored his first title and a breakthrough win over Witter in '08) and Devon Alexander. If he decides to call it a career, he could leave with no real shame. His record as it stands is 37-4-2 (22 KO), with wins over stalwarts like Andriy Kotelnik, Chop Chop Corley, Lovemore N'dou, and plenty of notable domestic foes. His other loss came at the hands of Zab Judah in 2000, which is a fight he wasn't ready for, really. I know Witter didn't make a lot of fans over the years, and it's understandable, but he had a fine career. Not a Hall of Fame career or anything, but a fine career.
Jan Zaveck KO-5 Paul Delgado: This was a disgrace of a fight being called a "world championship bout," and furthers the argument that nobody should give any alphabet belt -- no matter who holds it or how they got it -- any legitimacy whatsoever. You legitimize one, you legitimize them all. I say F the lot of them, because you wind up with crap fights like this one. Delgado (25-10-1, 4 KO) came in having been knocked out four times in his career, with his best win being ... uhhhh, well. You know what? You go to his BoxRec page and pick out your favorite. Is it Roberto Valenzuela? Derrick Samuels? Gundrick King? That any so-called "sanctioning body," anywhere, would call Paul Delgado a legitimate contender for what they allege is a "world championship" is insulting. It's insulting to the Slovenian fans who may have been conned into thinking it was a real fight, it's insulting to fans anywhere else in the world who even got a whiff of this crap, and it's insulting to the legacies of real champions throughout the sport's history. I try not to go on these stupid tangents too often, because I know I'm largely preaching to the choir on a blog that is designed specifically for level-headed, diehard boxing fans, and I doubt I'm reaching much of an audience that might be influenced. But if I don't rage out once in a while over these things, it might smack me in the face how fundamentally stupid the "organization" of the sport of boxing is, and I might start doing things like deciding it's a pain in the ass to try to keep track of what belt is legit and what belt isn't. So that's why I say, straight up, seriously, forget every alphabet title belt in the world of boxing. I don't care if it's held by Manny Pacquiao or Jan Zaveck. They're all the same meaningless, fighter-robbing pieces of junk. I'll accept that they exist, because I'm sure someone will point out that in a roundabout way, the belts often make better fights happen, but I think I'm done ever mentioning these stupid belts again. I'll mention the stupid decisions that the "sanctioning bodies" make, because they deserve whatever minuscule impact the crappy press from this blog might give them, but I'm not going to go so far as to respect their stupid belts anymore. Not as "champions," not as "titlists" or "titleholders," not as anything. Because do any of you really care? I don't care. Does ANYONE really care if they have the slightest clue what they're talking about? These belts are crap, and fights like Zaveck-Delgado should not be dignified with the distinction of being called a "title fight." And for the record, this has nothing to do with Zaveck or Delgado as human beings, and if I happen to have offended one of them or a fan of theirs, then I'm sorry, I guess, but it's just the latest example of see-through matchmaking designed specifically to do the easiest thing to maintain a spot someone never really deserved in the first place. Frankly, I can only wish that Delgado would have pulled off the stunning upset, if only for the sake of comedy. Since all I really care about are the fights themselves and can't remember the last time I had any interest in a belt from the WBC, WBO, WBA, IBF, IBO, IBA, or whatever else, I'm choosing to just ignore them. Honestly, the only titles I really have any respect for are the Ring championships, and the UK and European systems. The fighters may not be as good, but at least most of the time the fights make sense.
Ponce, Puerto Rico
- Carlos Quintana TKO-9 Yoryi Estrella: Quintana (28-3, 22 KO) stepped up to 154 again for his comeback bout, his first fight since last year's whompin' at the hands of Andre Berto. Quintana has said repeatedly he wants to fight at 154 since making 147 drains him too much, but he'd probably go back if there were a money fight available there, and rightly so. I really like Quintana but he's 34 and past his best days. 154 isn't exactly loaded, but it's competitive. He could be a good step-up opponent for someone like Erislandy Lara, to see what Lara really has finally.
- Jonathan Gonzalez KO-1 Chad Greenleaf: Gonzalez (12-0, 12 KO) has been plowing through inferior competition. Greenleaf is another victim of Paul Delgado's, and Gonzalez's fight before this one was against Gundrick King (TKO-2). He also has a win over Estrella (TKO-3).
- Fernando Torres TKO-7 Carlos Claudio: 27-year-old lightweight Torres is now 17-1-1 (10 KO).
- Fernando Guerrero UD-10 Derrick Findley: Pretty much a sideways step for Guerrero (21-0, 16 KO) who is inching into title shot territory and may or may not be ready for it. I like Guerrero a lot, but I don't confuse that with seeing big star potential in him. He's a great local draw in Salisbury and seems like a nice guy who works hard, but at 5'9" he's short for 160 and doesn't really have great power or speed or defense or anything. At 24, he seems like close to a finished product, for better or worse.
- Shawn Porter UD-10 Anges Adjaho: Porter (18-0, 13 KO) is someone I really like watching fight, like Guerrero, and a prospect I'm enjoying see develop. But like Guerrero, he seems a tad short on upside, with a lower ceiling than a true blue chipper. But like Guerrero, he works hard and that might get him farther than pure talent would. After starting his pro career fighting at 165 pounds, the wide-shouldered Porter came in at 144 on the scales for this one. Both Guerrero and Porter will be footnotes in boxing history if nothing else, as the first winning fighters broadcast live in 3D.
- Doel Carrasquillo TKO-3 Denis Douglin: Big upset here, as Douglin (12-1, 8 KO) was the prospect and Carrasquillo (15-17-1, 13 KO) supposedly the stepping stone. But Carrasquillo's power proved out, and handed "Mama's Boy" his first pro loss.
- Alejandro Sanabria UD-12 Rocky Juarez: This is the fourth straight loss for Juarez (28-8-1, 20 KO), and probably all but ends his career. I guess he could fight on, but he's just an opponent now. Juarez was down in the sixth and lost on scores of 117-110, 116-111 and 114-113. Sanabria improves to 27-1-1 (20 KO) with by far the biggest win of his career. As for Juarez, he's 30 years old and though he was always a slow starter, in recent fights he's looked only partially interested. It's really kind of sad to look back on his career at this point, as he had two occasions where he came oh so close to being the fighter he was supposed to be. His first fight with Marco Antonio Barrera was razor thin, and his first fight with Chris John featured a really spirited comeback, though many felt he deserved a loss instead of the draw he got in his hometown. He lost to both in rematches by much wider margins. It's easy to forget now, but Rocky was once a very celebrated prospect who took Zahir Raheem's perfect record before Raheem ever got around to beating Erik Morales. Juarez just never got all the way there, but he came damn close. He's been one of the most frustrating fighters of his generation. That's really his legacy.
San Francisco, California
- Eloy Perez UD-8 Roger Gonzalez
- Mercito Gesta RTD-3 Genaro Trazancos