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Saturday Roundup: Mijares unifies WBC and WBA super flyweight straps

Bad Left Hook Unofficial Scorecard
 Round 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Total
 Yuriorkis Gamboa 10 10 10 8 10 9 10 10 10 10 97
 Darling Jimenez 9 9 9 10 9 10 9 9 9 8 91
Bad Left Hook Unofficial Scorecard
 Round 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Total
 Alfredo Angulo 9 10 10 10 TKO            
 Richar Gutierrez 10 9 9 9              
Bad Left Hook Unofficial Scorecard
 Round 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Total
 James Kirkland TKO                    
 Eromosele Albert                      
Photo © Omar Torres/AFP/Getty Images

The HBO Boxing After Dark card produced the three favorites as the three winners, even though the main eventer struggled (relatively, anyway), and the two budget-priced PPVs went off largely as planned.

The night's biggest fight saw Cristian Mijares unify the WBC and WBA super flyweight titles with a split decision win over Alexander Munoz. Most observers thought Mijares clearly won the bout, and found themselves scratching their heads at the card from judge Burt Clements, who scored it 116-111 for Munoz (32-3, 27 KO), who has spent much of his career in Japan.

The two other cards favored Mijares (35-3-2, 14 KO) by tallies of 115-113 and 116-112. Boxing Scene's Cliff Rold called Mijares' performance "a masterpiece," and said that any P4P list should now have Mijares. It's hard to disagree; though some of his post-Arce opposition has been a little light, to say the least, the guy is on a major roll right now.

In other pay-per-view action south of the border, Jorge Arce defeated Devid Lookmahanak via majority decision (115-114, 115-113, 114-114) to earn a shot at the WBC super flyweight belt, a title he lost convincingly to Mijares in a brutal 12-round decision last April. It would seem unlikely that he'll exercise his right at a shot to Mijares, who would undoubtedly be ready to tear Arce apart once more. The first fight wasn't even close; a rematch between the two would be somewhat equivalent to the coming rematch between junior welterweight titleholder Paulie Malignaggi and ex-titlist Lovemore N'dou.

There has been plenty of talk of Arce, who has always been big for his weight, moving all the way up to 122 pounds to fight Israel Vazquez late this year or early next year. While it would no doubt be a hell of a war, most would expect Vazquez to outgun Arce and knock him out. I know I would.

Undercard action from the PPVs

The "other" Chavez kid, Omar, knocked out Juan de Dios Castillo in the first round ... Brian Viloria dropped tomato can Fred Heberto Valdez in the third in a fight that had no business happening ... Jorge Solis won a 10-round unanimous decision over Miguel Roman ... Julio Cesar Miranda upset previously undefeated Omar Salado via brutal fifth round TKO.

Boxing After Dark

James Kirkland stunningly destroyed Eromosele Albert at 1:06 of the first round, knocking Albert down once on a couple of short left hands, and finishing him off moments later after another strong flurry. Much is being made of Kirkland's unorthodox, "old school," boot camp-style training regiment, led by great female boxer Ann Wolfe, who is his chief trainer. I don't know that the methods would work for most fighters, but clearly it's the right gear for Kirkland, who has the killer instinct that could make a legend. He lacks some technique and his defense isn't so great, but his offensive style is just astonishing to watch. He punches in bunches and lands hard. He's a fighter, no doubt about it, and I think he could drop anyone at 154 right now. That's not to say he wouldn't be beaten if the fight could be drawn out by a tough, savvy veteran, but his power is lethal, and he's like a shark in the ring.

Alfredo Angulo knocked out a tough Richar Gutierrez in the fifth round -- sort of. Referee Tony Weeks jumped in to stop the fight before Gutierrez went down, as Gutierrez was taking a massive amount of punishment. Angulo was staggered early in the fifth, but recovered quickly and had taken firm control of the action. The first round was great back-and-forth fighting, and Gutierrez never backed down from Angulo. But Angulo showed better technique as the fight went on, giving him the big advantage when all was said and done. Gutierrez is still one of my favorite unheralded TV fighters, but he's so lax defensively that it's going to kill him against guys on Angulo's level.

How great would an Angulo-Kirkland fight sound to you right now? It won't happen, since there's not enough money in it and the two can continue to make their names bigger for the time being, but I'd love to see it. And I'd love to see either of them take on Joel Julio, too. These three guys are a strong foundation for what is a very weak division right now. In short order, they could all contribute to turning the division over in a big way.

In the third fight of the night, Cuban sensation Yuriorkis Gamboa was stretched out a full ten rounds against a double tough Darling Jimenez, who knocked Gamboa down in the fourth round and occasionally threatened to make a fight of it. Gamboa's hands down philosophy is going to get him tagged by a harder puncher at some point, and though he showed a good chin and was barely hurt on the perfect counter shot that floored him, that could spell trouble. At the same time, he's 10 fights into his pro career. Offensively, his lightning hand speed allows him to do the Roy Jones hands down thing. But Jones had such amazing agility and upper body/head movement that he was also able to get away with it defensively most of the time. Gamboa doesn't have that yet. It'd be very hard to teach him to keep his hands up since he's 26 years old, has great amateur experience, and that's just the way he fights, but improving head movement would likely be more manageable. And given the type of athlete he is, there's no reason that can't be done.

Quote of the Weekend

"I couldn't keep up with (Shaun George). He took me to school." -- Chris Byrd

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