WBA bantamweight titlist Anselmo Moreno held off a late rally attempt by Mahyar Monshipour to retain his title via split decision in France. Moreno won on scores off 116-112, 116-113 and 113-115. He reportedly outclassed Monshipour early before the veteran challenger put hard pressure on starting in the eighth round and lasting through the tenth.
Panamanian Moreno (26-1-1, 8 KO) continues a really great streak of going onto someone else's turf and coming away with decision wins. He fought in Haiti once in 2006, but past that never fought outside of Panama in his pro career until his 2008 win over Wladimir Sidorenko in Germany, which he repeated on May 2 of this year. Between the Sidorenko wins, Moreno made two defenses of his title in his home country. Now he has a win over Monshipour in France. With all the goofy scoring decisions we still see in Europe -- which is overstated to some degree, but still a problem -- Moreno just keeps winning over there, even if by razor-thin margins.
I think it'd be interesting to see Moreno unify with the winner of next weekend's bout between Joseph Agbeko and Vic Darchinyan, too. He's a good boxer, he's young (24), and he's a southpaw. Should Darchinyan win, Gary Shaw has talked about him fighting at 122 pounds, as Darchinyan wants to face Israel Vazquez and/or Rafael Marquez, but both of those guys are now campaigning at 126. I suspect Marquez might be able to make 122 still were the money right, but Vazquez has flat-out stated he can't do it any longer. Without those two, the allure of testing 122 pounds might not beat out the chance to clean out 118 to some degree for Darchinyan.
Of course, Darchinyan has to get past "King Kong" Agbeko first, and that won't be easy or anything.
For Monshipour (31-4-2, 21 KO) this could be the end of the line. He's not getting any younger and has taken some punishment in his career. This was the "big fight" of his comeback after already retiring once, and while it sounds like he had some gas left in the tank, he may have been going for one more shot at glory.
In another big fight in Europe, American heavyweight Eddie Chambers looked leaner and meaner in what has been described by most as a dominant performance against 6'7", previously-unbeaten Alexander Dimitrenko. Chambers won a majority decision (117-109, 116-111, 113-113), and the draw card from judge Paul Thomas of England has been harshly criticized.
There's a poll one post down about the subject, and I think Chambers (35-1, 18 KO) has a great argument for being America's best heavyweight. You can argue that he's a natural cruiserweight, but even in an era of deflated heavyweight prominence, there's still more money where he's at than there is at 200. In his four biggest fights, he's really looked pretty good. The win over Dimitrenko is huge for him, as it proves he can beat a credible, tall heavyweight like this, and it also sets him up as the mandatory for the WBO title, currently held by Wladimir Klitschko.
His split decision win over Calvin Brock was a good one, as was his win in March of this year over Samuel Peter, which I thought was fairly dominant and at the least quite clear. His one loss to Alexander Povetkin is still a fight I think he should have won. I do agree that he lost it, but he lost it by doing things he hasn't done since. If they rematched, I'd pick Eddie.
- Humberto Soto says he'd gladly take a fight with Jorge Linares, who recently said he'd like the fight. Soto (48-7-2, 31 KO) has won four in a row since his highly controversial DQ loss to Francisco Lorenzo in 2008, which came as he was beating Lorenzo's face in. Linares (27-0, 18 KO) plans to fight in Japan next, and then there's a chance that Soto-Linares could happen. Both hold alphabet titles at 130 pounds, and it sounds like a dynamite matchup on paper.
- On next weekend's Showtime card, the undercard bout between Antonio DeMarco and Anges Adjaho will be a WBC lightweight eliminator, which would put the winner in line for a crack at Edwin Valero. Keep in mind Valero says he only wants big fights, though as he's currently licensed only in Texas in the United States, someone needs to convince him that he'd be better off staying busy than waiting for some Manny Pacquiao fight to fall apart and give him a window.
- Souleymane M'baye won the vacant EBU junior welterweight title in a closely-scored scrap with Colin Lynes. Scores were 115-113 and 115-112 for M'baye, and 115-113 for Lynes. Lynes was a late replacement for Paul McCloskey.
- Another note for the July 11 Showtime card. The show, to be held in Florida, will double as a tribute to Michael Jackson -- yeah, you're reading that right. King was a big Jackson fan, as billions of people were, and has been close with the entire Jackson family for years, including promoting a Jacksons tour in 1984. And he told the Sun-Sentinel that he's giving tickets away and not trying to make money on the event, really. He also claims he would have sold out the 20,000-seat arena anyway, which I doubt.
- 1995 Ring Magazine Manager of the Year Vinny Vecchione died of a heart attack at his Rockland, MA, home on Thursday.