Heavyweight Dominic Breazeale scored a fifth-round knockout of Amir "Hardcore" Mansour but did not do much to impress anyone on Saturday night at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Fighting on the Premier Boxing Champions on Fox undercard of the vacant welterweight world title bout between former junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia and former two-division titlist Robert Guerrero, Mansour manhandled Breazeale for most of the fight and knocked him down in the third round.
However, the 6-foot-7, 253-pound Breazeale, fighting just a few weeks after the death of his mother, Tina, from a heart attack on New Year's Eve, caught Mansour with a hard right hand in the fifth round that fractured his jaw.
Mansour made it to the end of the round but retired on his stool after the round as referee Raul Caiz Sr. waved it off with Mansour unwilling to continue. Until the punch that hurt Mansour's jaw, he had been in control of the fight and was ahead on all three scorecards.
Breazeale was caught off guard by the ending of the fight.
"I didn't know what happened," Breazeale said. "Usually when they wave off a fight, it's over. Shows I have punching power after all."
Mansour began to get to Breazeale, a 2012 U.S. Olympian from Alhambra, California, in the second round when he backed him up with a series of hard shots.
Midway through the third round, he knocked Breazeale to the canvas. Despite giving up six inches in height and 35 pounds, the 6-foot-1, 218-pound Mansour, a southpaw, landed a clean right hook and dropped Breazeale, who was facing the best opponent of his career.
"I've been on the canvas before. I just had my hand in the wrong place," Breazeale said. "I knew I could get back up. I'm in great shape. It happens to the best of us. I'm a fighter at heart and I wanted to just get in there and brawl, but I knew I had to stick to the game plan and box him."
Breazeale (17-0, 15 KOs), 30, a former college football quarterback at the University of Northern Colorado, was hurt but survived the round, even mounting a brief rally as it came to an end.
In the fifth round, Mansour (22-2-1, 16 KOs), 43, of Wilmington, Delaware, who lost 10 years of his career due to being incarcerated, forced Breazeale to the ropes as he landed repeated right hands and body shots, but Breazeale got in the big right hand to Mansour's jaw that turned the fight around.
Breazeale earned $100,000 and Mansour's purse was $55,000.
Vasquez dominates Martinez
Welterweight Sammy Vasquez, who served two tours of duty in Iraq, rolled to an easy sixth-round knockout against Aron Martinez in a snoozer.
Vasquez (21-0, 15 KOs), a 29-year-old southpaw from Monessen, Pennsylvania, toyed with a lethargic Martinez (20-5-1, 4 KOs), 34, of East Los Angeles, for virtually every moment of the fight. Then, after the sixth round, Martinez surprisingly quit on his stool, citing a left elbow injury.
"Of course I won the fight, but Martinez is a tough competitor, a tough Mexican fighter," Vasquez said. "I tried to mix it up with him a little bit, but there was no sense in me trying to do that. I could have easily outboxed him, which I started to do, but I wanted more. I was just starting to warm up.
"A victory feels good of course, but I wanted more. I wanted to go 12 rounds, if it would have lasted that long. I wanted a very decisive win. Unfortunately, he got hurt, but every fight is a learning experience for me. It's on to the next page and I'm ready for all of the guys at the top. Eventually, I'm going to get them."
According to CompuBox punch statistics, Vasquez landed 88 of 309 punches (28 percent) while Martinez landed only 35 of 176 (20 percent).
"I hurt my elbow. I couldn't throw my jab. I started to feel it in the third round. The doctor stopped it," Martinez said. "I was doing OK. Not my best. I tried, but once I hurt my elbow, I knew it was going to be tough to continue."
Martinez had been on a good recent run, having pulled a major upset against former two-division titlist Devon Alexander in October, which came four months after he lost a split decision to Guerrero in a fight most thought Martinez had clearly won.
Martinez's purse was $150,000 and Vasquez earned $125,000.