A roundup of the past week’s notable boxing results from around the world:
Saturday at New York
Sadam Ali W12 Miguel Cotto — Full Recap
Wins a junior middleweight title
Scores: 116-112, 115-113 (twice)
Records: Ali (26-1, 14 KOs); Cotto (41-6, 33 KOs)
Rafael’s remarks: Last December, it was the legendary Bernard Hopkins who hand-picked Joe Smith Jr. for a farewell fight to a distinguished 28-year Hall of Fame-worthy career. Instead of going out with an expected victory, he got punched out of the ring in an eighth-round knockout loss. This time it was the Puerto Rican great Cotto, he of the six world titles in four weight division and a HOF resume, who selected Ali, a welterweight moving up, for what he said would be the final bout of his memorable 17-year career. While Cotto didn’t get ejected from the ring like Hopkins, he nonetheless showed the wear of his 37 years in a close loss before an adoring crowd for his 10 main event at Madison Square Garden. Other than getting buckled in the second round by a right hand, Cotto fought very well through the first half of the fight. But the super determined Ali, 29, of Brooklyn, New York, came on very strong and his relentless pressure, combined with Cotto tearing his left biceps in the seventh round, led to Ali’s huge upset victory to take Cotto’s 154-pound world title in his first defense. The boxing world may have said goodbye to the fan-favorite Cotto but perhaps this is hello to a strong run for Ali, who made himself a significant player with this big-time win.
Rey Vargas W12 Oscar Negrete — Full recap
Retains a junior featherweight title
Scores: 120-108, 119-109 (twice)
Records: Vargas (31-0, 22 KOs); Negrete (17-1, 7 KOs)
Rafael’s remarks: Vargas, 26, of Mexico, retained his 122-pound world title for the second time with a hard-fought but dominant decision over the much shorter Negrete, 30, a Colombia native fighting out of Rosemead, California. Negrete, who was moving up from the bantamweight division, came to brawl and made Vargas work hard for the win despite the lopsided scorecards. Accidental head butts opened bloody cuts over both of Vargas’ eyes and he looked like a mess after the fight, but his constant clean shots, especially his left hook, and long jab and reach advantage kept Vargas in control throughout the bout in which he landed 145 more punches (254-109), according to CompuBox.
Angel Acosta KO10 Juan Alejo
Wins a vacant junior flyweight title
Records: Acosta (17-1, 17 KOs); Alejo (24-5-1, 14 KOs)
Rafael’s remarks: Acosta, 27, a Miguel Cotto protégé from Puerto Rico, looked great taking Alejo apart in a very entertaining but one-sided fight for the belt Japan’s Kosei Tanaka vacated a few days earlier in order to move up in weight. Acosta’s only loss had come by competitive decision challenging Tanaka for the 108-pound belt in Japan in May. But Alejo, 33, of Mexico, who fell to 0-2 in world title bouts, is not nearly as talented as Tanaka and Acosta pounded him. Acosta cut him over the right eye in the fifth round, shook him up with powerful punches throughout the fight and was way head on all three scorecards going into the 10th round when he blasted Alejo flush left hand on the chin. The shot knocked Alejo to all fours and referee Benjy Esteves counted him out at 1 minute, 33 seconds.
Saturday at Guadalajara, Mexico
Ramon Alvarez W10 Johnny Navarrete
Scores: 99-91, 98-92, 97-93
Records: Alvarez (25-6-3, 16 KOs); Navarrete (34-11-2, 15 KOs)
Rafael’s remarks: On Sept. 2, Mexican countrymen Alvarez and Navarrete fought to an eight-round split draw. They met in a rematch and the 31-year-old Alvarez, the older brother of superstar Canelo Alvarez, left no doubt in a strong performance against Navarrete, 29. Navarrete got off to a promising start, but it did not last long as Alvarez, fighting in his hometown, found his footing and began to dominate with his crisper punches to earn the victory in his second bout since getting knocked out in the second round by Omar Chavez – son of Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. – on April 29. Navarette dropped to 0-3-1 in his last four fights.
Saturday at Brentwood, England
David Price W6 Kamil Sokolowski
Records: Price (22-4, 18 KOs); Sokolowski (4-12-2, 1 KO)
Rafael’s remarks: England’s Price, 34, a 2008 Olympic bronze medalist and one-time top prospect before his chin was badly exposed in four KO losses, returned from a seventh-round knockout loss to Christian Hammer in February. Price, the former British and Commonwealth champion, was given the softest touch possible in the Polish 31-year-old Sokolowski, who lost his third fight in a row. Price eased back into things, worked behind his long jab and earned a clear-cut and expected victory (scored only by the referee, as is the case for some fights in the United Kingdom). Price could be back as soon as February and has been mentioned a possible comeback opponent for former heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury.
Saturday at Leicester, England
Anthony Yigit W12 Joe Hughes
Retains European junior welterweight title
Scores: 119-109, 118-112, 118-110
Records: Yigit (21-0-1, 7 KOs); Hughes (15-3-1, 6 KOs)
Rafael’s remarks: Yigit, 26, a southpaw from Sweden who fights out of England, won the vacant European title by unanimous decision against Lenny Daws in February and made his second successful defense against Hughes, 27, of England, by one-sided decision. Yigit boxed and moved against the lesser-skilled Hughes.
Friday at Providence, Rhode Island
Toka Khan Clary TOK7 John Vincent Moralde
Records: Khan Clary (24-1, 17 KOs); Moralde (19-1, 10 KOs)
Rafael’s remarks: In the CBS Sports Net televised main event of promoter Evander Holyfield’s card, Kahn Clary, a 25-year-old southpaw, boxed in his hometown and took it to Moralde, 23, of the Philippines, to win his fourth fight of the year. Kahn Clary applied pressure and dominated the fight, who never got anything going on offense and was a sitting duck on defense. The faster, more skilled Kahn Clary did as he pleased and worked the body until Moralde could take no more and he retired on his stool after the seventh round. Holyfield said he will try to get Kahn Clary a title opportunity in the new year.