It was the first truly busy weekend of the year, and it was a pretty good one overall with a lot of telling fights, some questions raised, and maybe even a couple actually answered.
San Antonio, Texas
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr UD-12 Marco Antonio Rubio: I said at one point that the fight appeared to be drowning in Ambien but fighting to stay away. I didn't mean that to say it was a terrible fight or anything -- it was doing sort of what was expected, but slower and without the oomph. The last two rounds were very good, and Chavez kept his undefeated record and his WBC title belt. After the fight, Rubio unfortunately threw a PEDs accusation toward Chavez, but I think it's pure bunk even more than just sour grapes, since Chavez freely admitted he was out of shape and it bothered him. [ Chavez vs Rubio Recap ]
Nonito Donaire SD-12 Wilfredo Vazquez Jr: It's certainly not that Donaire was perfect in this fight, but the split decision verdict was shocking. Judge Ruben Garcia has some splainin' to do with his 115-112 Vazquez card. Donaire injured his left hand early in the fight, and word going around the gossips after was that there was a double fracture. [ Donaire vs Vazquez Recap ]
Wale Omotoso TKO-6 Nestor Rosas: Rosas has fought once in six years, so this was a true step back for Omotoso from his last fight against the credible Lanardo Tyner. It wasn't particularly impressive, but Rosas took a good shot and had to be thankfully pulled out by the referee when it became totally pointless.
Yoan Pablo Hernandez UD-12 Steve Cunningham: A very good, very entertaining fight, and the crowning of a new Ring Magazine world champion, though I admit I consider this one a bit dubious as there was no good reason to drop Marco Huck from the rankings, since he may very well be one-and-done at heavyweight. But that's how it is. Cunningham dug a huge hole early, dropping the first four rounds and getting pasted by two knockdowns in the fourth. But Hernandez didn't finish him off, and the American worked his way back into this fight. BLH scored it 114-112, and the judges' scorecards were 114-112, 116-110 and 116-110. [ Hernandez vs Cunningham Recap ]
Alexander Alekseev UD-12 Enad Licina: This win, which was fairly dominant, nets Alekseev the vacant European cruiserweight title, and establishes him as one of the better cruiserweights in the world. It was an exhibition of physical strength -- Alekseev had a lot more of it than did Licina. [ Alekseev vs Licina Recap ]
Eduard Gutknecht UD-12 Vyacheslav Uzelkov: A pretty solid fight here, with Gutknecht retaining his European belt at 175 pounds. Uzelkov definitely was better here than in his Friday Night Fights appearance against Beibut Shumenov in July 2010, but he was a bit too crude. He kept himself in the fight thanks to dogged determination to be in the fight, but when Gutknecht found his rhythm, he was too good. [ Gutknecht vs Uzelkov Recap ]
Scott Quigg TKO-8 Jamie Arthur: Quigg hit the canvas in this one and had his back against it a little bit, but roared back from that to put more heat on Arthur than the British 122-pound title challenger could stand. Quigg's stock may have taken a small dip, but I made the comparison before to Groves vs Anderson, and I think that's definitely what we could be seeing. Quigg is still an excellent prospect. It's not the worst thing in the world for a talented, confident fight to experience adversity. [ Quigg vs Arthur Recap ]
Undercard: Rendall Munroe, Matty Askin and Craig Lyon all won, as they were booked to do.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Isaac Chilemba UD-12 Edison Miranda: Miranda steps further into pure gatekeeper territory, but he's a good gatekeeper, and still comes to fight. He started nicely, but the fight turned in a big way when a bad cut opened due to a hard clash of heads. Miranda lost a lot of blood and that seemed to accelerate his normal stamina issues. He's not a huge puncher at 175, and he's still a crude boxer (though less so than he was some years ago), so Chilemba was able to take control and not look back. Miranda may not have turned out to be championship material, but he's welcome on my TV as a prospect checker any time. [ Miranda vs Chilemba Recap ]
Rances Barthelemy UD-8 Hylon Williams Jr: It's really a shame that Williams can't punch a lick, because he's not lacking for ability. Barthelemy was just too big for Williams, who is going to be severely limited by his total lack of power. Barthelemy is the rare Cuban who didn't stink out the joint on TV. [ Barthelemy vs Williams Recap ]
Magomed Abdusalamov TKO-2 Pedro Rodriguez: I don't care how fat Chris Arreola ever got, and I don't care that Rodriguez in this fight weighed about what the new Slim Arreola weighs these days. Rodriguez was purely fatter than Arreola ever was. This was comedy.
Daisuke Nakagawa captured the vacant Japanese middleweight title with a 10th round TKO of Yosuke Kirima.
Ronny Rios and Alejandro Perez won fights on the increasingly irrelevant Solo Boxeo Tecate.
Dorin Spivey and Chazz Witherspoon won Saturday night bouts in Atlantic City.
Tajikistan-born super bantamweight prospect Sahib Usarov improved to 18-0 (6 KO) with a win over Cuban bust Yan Barthelemy in Albany, New York. Heavyweight prospect Joe Hanks was also victorious, as were Jason Escalera and Kevin Rooney Jr, who keeps fighting even though he doesn't remotely have to keep fighting.
Ovill McKenzie retained the Commonwealth light heavyweight title with a TKO-3 win over Tony Dodson. Welterweight prospect Ronnie Heffron was also successful on the card.