Cologne, Germany (Full Recap)
- Vitali Klitschko TKO-1 Odlanier Solis: A massive disappointment in all respects, as Solis basically withdraws at the end of the first round with a leg injury following his pins going out on him after a grazing blow above the left temple. Since we've talked about the fight and you can only say so much about a TKO-1 no matter how it occurs, let's talk Epix. This is a company that bought this as its first fight in the boxing world, thinking, apparently, that it had some big-time heavyweight title fight, but it's hard to feel bad for them. For one thing, the company was clearly not ready for the spike in traffic that their free trial offer was going to bring for watching this fight, as many were shut out of watching on the web site and many others had trouble with the service before the main event even started. Their stream quality was only average in the short time I got to watch before it froze and wouldn't let me back in. I went in worried that they wouldn't be ready to handle the server load, and that turned out to be a valid concern. I also can't feel bad for them getting all but duped here. There is a very, very good reason that HBO and Showtime aren't buying these fights. There IS still interest in the heavyweight division out there -- casual fans are most likely to randomly watch a "heavyweight title" fight, and then you have the heavyweight fetishists who cling dearly to their favorite division even when they can admit it's a laughingstock these days. But it just sort of feels like Epix went into this whole thing blindly, like Kendra Wilkinson going, "Ooh! I met a football player!" and she thinks she's with some star athlete, but it turns out it's just Hank Baskett. It also must be said, and again I only saw their presentation for a short time, that their commentary team was atrocious. Lennox Lewis is every bit the Capt. Obvious he's always been. But I hope Epix does stay in the boxing game -- it never hurts to have a TV network in the fold, and things like server issues can be learned from and corrected. I do hope they have second thoughts about that commentary squad.
- Ola Afolabi TKO-5 Lubos Suda: Afolabi (16-2-3, 7 KO) is one of the strangest good fighters out there to analyze. For one thing, he's 31 so we've likely seen him at his peak, even if this is still his peak. And he still doesn't fight enough. But he is a good, awkward fighter, and on any given night could be a handful and then some for anyone at cruiserweight. This was more a get-busy win than anything, but at least he didn't wind up sitting around for a full year again.
- Nuri Seferi UD-8 Jozsef Nagy: Nagy is a familiar gatekeeper name in Euro cruiser circles, but wasn't really keeping any gates against the 34-year-old Albanian Seferi (30-6, 18 KO). Nagy (24-10, 15 KO) at least lasted the eight rounds, after having been recently blasted early in a lot of fights. Both fought a bit over the cruiser limit.
- Michael Sprott PTS-4 Serdar Uysal: Sprott (36-15, 17 KO) staying busy at 36 with a win over Uysal (13-13-2, 6 KO), who had been knocked out 11 times coming into this one. Kind of a strange step back from Sprott, who lost on a home run left hand to Audley Harrison in April 2010, then won a Prizefighter tournament in October.
Montreal, Quebec, Canada (Full Recap)
- Lucian Bute TKO-10 Brian Magee: Magee, the scrappy southpaw from Belfast, gave his all and made it a competitive blowout most of the way. Bute was up big and had dropped Magee three times (one erroneously ruled a low blow) before stopping him on an uppercut to the head in the 10th. Bute-Kessler looks to be next.
- Vanes Martirosyan KO-2 Bladimir Hernandez: Martirosyan (29-0, 18 KO) steps back a bit from 2010 opponents Kassim Ouma and "Mean" Joe Greene, who gave him too much and too little trouble, respectively, but he's scheduled to be back on April 23 against veteran Saul Roman, which will be an FSN card. Hernandez falls to 18-5 (16 KO) by losing his fourth straight, all by stoppage.
- Pier Olivier Cote TKO-1 Michael Lozada: Cote (15-0, 10 KO) gets the best win of his young career over Lozada, a young veteran out of Mexico, and a decent fighter but with a rotten chin. Lozada has fought as low as 130 pounds, but this one was at 154. It'd be easier to cut him some slack based on that, and easier to cut him some slack for his chin given that many of those who have knocked him out are good punchers, but he was stopped by Paulie Malignaggi in December, so...yeah.
- Viorel Simion SD-8 Pedro Navarrete: Simion (13-0, 5 KO) is a 29-year-old Romanian featherweight, but don't be looking for the next Bute or even the next Adrian Diaconu. It's not likely.
- Benoit Gaudet TD-6 Adrian Verdugo and Sebastien Gauthier KO-2 Jovanny Soto: Both Gaudet and Gauthier will continue to win the right matchups in Quebec. Otherwise they're not much to worry about.
Dublin, Ireland (Full Recap)
- Guillermo Rigondeaux TKO-1 Willie Casey: This was what they call a shellacking. Poor Casey was just nowhere close to Rigondeaux's level, and Rigondeaux fought almost like he was offended that he had to fight him. It was a ferocious performance.
San Pedro Cholula, Mexico
- Roman Gonzalez UD-12 Manuel Vargas: Gonzalez (28-0, 23 KO) gets another win to remain one of the elite sub-112 guys in the sport, while Vargas (29-8-1, 14 KO) hangs in better than expected, losing on scores of 116-112 (twice) and 119-109. Sooner or later, Vargas is going to be so beaten up that he stops being entertaining, but for now he's one of the most reliable TV fighters in the sport. I really hope we'll get to see Gonzalez face the winner of Segura-Calderon II, but I wouldn't expect it. And I'd still love to see Nkosinathi Joyi join the ranks at 108 and take on anyone, as I feel like Joyi-Gonzalez at 105 was a missed opportunity.
- Ricardo Dominguez SD-10 Luis Antonio Arceo: In the past year, Dominguez (33-7-2, 20 KO) has gotten two patsy trinket shots against Humberto Soto and Miguel Vazquez, and after both he's come back with a win over a mediocre opponent. Arceo (23-11-3, 15 KO) has served a stepping stone for many.
- David Lopez MD-12 Michel Rosales: Stepping down to 154 in search of a bigger fight (hopefully), Lopez (40-12, 23 KO) just keeps winning, and this was a WBA eliminator, so maybe he'll fight Miguel Cotto next. Hahahahahaha. Scores were 117-110, 116-112 and 114-114. Rosales is now 30-4 (25 KO). Lopez hasn't lost since 2005 (16-0 in that time), and has beaten mostly decent fighters. I don't know if he just doesn't have the connections or if he's too tricky and not worth enough money.
Sergio Torres UD-11 Marlon Aguilar: Yes, 11 rounds. That's a WBA thing. Torres is now 16-2-1 (14 KO), while Aguilar drops to 25-10-1 (18 KO).
- Paulus Moses KO-1 Miguel Dario Lombardo: Moses gets another win at home, upping his mark to 27-1 (19 KO). What I've seen of Moses has never impressed me, and I wasn't surprised at all that Miguel Acosta knocked him out last year. I don't expect he'll ever really be back in the hunt.
Cebu City, Philippines
- AJ Banal TKO-2 Francis Miyeyusho ... Milan Melindo KO-1 Rosendo Vega ... Rocky Fuentes UD-8 Jemmy Gobel ... Kenichi Yamaguchi UD-8 Marjohn Yap
- All of these were showcase fights for Filipino contenders, except that last one, and there isn't much to say about them other than everyone did their job.
Liam Walsh KO-10 Jon Kays: This was expected to be a thorough outclassing, but Kays wound up giving Walsh (11-0, 8 KO) far more trouble than anticipated, and Kays' performance and improvement was given props on Sky Sports from Barry McGuigan. Our friend Tyler Curtis from Kissing the Canvas had live updates through the fight, so go check out his thoughts, as I only caught the very end of this one.