A lot went down this weekend in boxing, and you probably missed at least some of it. So here’s a quick-and-dirty recap of the fights we saw the past few days.
If your time is super limited when it comes to watching boxing, here are a few recommendations.
- Artur Beterbiev vs Radivoje Kalajdzic (Entertaining while it lasted, Kalajdzic just couldn’t quite deal with Beterbiev, but he tried)
- Sadam Ali vs Anthony Young (The biggest upset of the weekend, hungry fighter totally smashes former titleholder)
- Yamaguchi Falcao vs Christopher Pearson (Another upset from Golden Boy’s Thursday night Facebook show, which basically nobody watched)
Being honest, if you don’t have a lot of time, none of these are worth moving heaven and earth to see, but they were the best of the weekend, in my view.
DAZN, Las Vegas, NV (Saturday)
- Obviously the biggest show of the weekend was the one we couldn’t shut up about all week. In the main event from T-Mobile Arena, Canelo Alvarez beat Daniel Jacobs by decision, no controversy this time. The fight was far from a classic, but I wouldn’t call it dull; a solid B- of a fight for me, I appreciated some of the chess match aspects but like anyone, yes, I would have liked to have seen more fire. Jacobs started a little slow by his own admission and in the end that may have cost him more than anything, as he lost 7-5 on two cards and 8-4 on the third. You can check out the highlights from the fight if you missed it.
- 140-pound prospect Vergil Ortiz took a fight at 147 to face Mauricio Herrera in the co-feature. Herrera, 38, had never been stopped, a crafty old vet who figured to give 21-year-old Ortiz his first test. He did not. Ortiz thrashed him and brutally knocked him out in three.
- Joseph Diaz Jr beat the crap out of an overmatched Freddy Fonseca and then called for a world title fight at 130. I’m fine with him getting a world title fight at 130, but this wound up a super ugly mismatch.
- There was one fight on the show with some questionable judging, and it was Lamont Roach Jr outpointing Jonathan Oquendo. I wouldn’t call it a robbery; I had it 95-94 Oquendo, Wil had it 95-94 for Roach, and I think those are fair scores. Roach got a couple 97-92 cards that I think were really stretching it.
- The big upset of the night — and the biggest of the weekend — came from Anthony Young, who just flat-out bulldozed Sadam Ali and stopped the former titleholder in the third round. Young came into this fight with an unproven record but a win streak, said he was going to surprise people, and he did. DAZN’s Sergio Mora called the upset, too, credit to “The Latin Snake.” It was a really impressive performance by Young. Congrats to him on a huge win for his career.
- I really expected John Ryder vs Bilal Akkawy to be a potential show-stealer, but it didn’t turn out that way. The first round was tepid, shall we say, and the second round wasn’t much better. Then in the third, Ryder drilled Akkawy with a right hook and the fight was effectively over there. Akkawy went down twice and got up, but Ryder overwhelmed him and forced the stoppage to win the interim WBA super middleweight title. I don’t throw “exposed” around often, but Akkawy got exposed here.
- Aram Avagyan and Alexis Espino picked up wins in fun fights that kicked off the show, streaming free on Facebook.
ESPN & ESPN+, Stockton, CA (Saturday)
- We didn’t get to talk about this show much at all while it was happening, since all the focus was on Canelo-Jacobs, but I got to sit down and watch the title fights here in the middle of the night, so let’s dive deeper than the earlier results and highlights.
- Artur Beterbiev retained his IBF light heavyweight title with a fifth round stoppage of Radivoje “Hot Rod” Kalajdzic. Many of us were happy to see Kalajdzic get his shot at a belt, as he hadn’t had a “real” fight since his 2016 robbery loss to Marcus Browne, a night where he became a hardcore fan favorite. But in the staff picks we all doubted he could deal with Beterbiev, and he just couldn’t do it. Not for lack of effort — he gave it a real go, but he got into the exchanges with the powerful Russian and got dropped in the third and finished in the fifth. You might argue the hook was a little early, but he took a lot of hard shots and his legs weren’t great.
- Prospect Gabriel Flores Jr was the reason for the big crowd in Stockton, his hometown, and man did he deliver. Credit to opponent Eduardo Reis of Brazil, too; the underdog came to fight, gave it his best, and then got flat GOOMED with a left hook in the third round. Pure one punch KO magic, and the crowd — which for once was genuinely enthusiastic at a boxing show — went wild.
- Jerwin Ancajas beat the hell out of Ryuichi Funai over six rounds, and then the doctor stopped it right after the start of the seventh. Ancajas had looked a little pedestrian in his last two, but they found the right sort of style matchup for him to shine here. Funai was just straight up, very basic, offered nothing for Ancajas to figure out, so Ancajas just attacked and laid into him the whole fight. Ancajas retained his IBF super flyweight title with the win.
- The prelims weren’t much, but new Top Rank signing Brian Mendoza scored a thunderous KO of Carlos Rodriguez in what was probably the highlight. Felix Valera, Vislan Dalkhaev, Quilisto Madera, Blake McKernan, and Jesus Godinez got their hands raised.
Golden Boy, Las Vegas, NV (Thursday)
- Christopher Pearson kicked off the weekend with an upset win over Yamaguchi Falcao in an entertaining 10-round main event on Facebook. Pearson, once a prospect for Golden Boy and Mayweather Promotions, came into this one having lost a couple fights, the clear B-side, doesn’t even have a promoter. But he ran Falcao out of gas and capitalized down the stretch to take the decision win, which he deserved. I’d suspect Golden Boy might give Pearson another look.
- Steven Butler got off the canvas to take a decision over Vitalii Kopylenko. Butler is 23 and still a prospect, but he has been stopped once (by Brandon Cook) and showed vulnerability here. But he was fun to watch, too. Not everyone is gonna be elite, but I’ll watch this guy fight.
- Erik Bazinyan, another Canadian prospect like Butler, stayed undefeated with a solid decision win over tough Alan Campa. Alexis Salazar, a middleweight undercard fighter, took an eight-round points win over Abraham Cordero.