A roundup of the past week's notable boxing results from around the world:
Saturday at Arlington, Texas
Canelo Alvarez KO9 Liam Smith
Alvarez wins a junior middleweight title
Records: Alvarez (48-1-1, 34 KOs); Smith (23-1-1, 13 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Alvarez, the lineal middleweight world champion, might have drawn the ire of boxing fans around the world when he dodged a showdown with unified titleholder Gennady Golovkin in favor of returning to junior middleweight, where he once unified titles, to challenge the unknown Smith for his belt. However, Alvarez is still a beloved figure, especially among Mexican fight fans, and they turned out for him big-time. Alvarez was a huge favorite in the fight on Mexican Independence Day weekend at Jerry Jones' AT&T Stadium (home of the Dallas Cowboys), but he still drew an announced crowd of 51,240 -- the biggest crowd of any of the three boxing cards that have taken place there (the other two were headlined by a prime Manny Pacquiao in 2010).
Alvarez, 26, put on quite a show in an exciting, albeit one-sided, fight as he beat down the game Smith, 28, of England, in the expected mismatch. Smith was making his third title defense but facing his first significant opponent. Alvarez hammered him to the head and body with both hands throughout the fight (despite hurting a knuckle on his right hand in the second round) and opened a cut over his right eye in the fifth round. In all, Alvarez dropped Smith three times -- with a right hand to the side of the head in the seventh round, with a left hook to the body in the eighth round and, finally, with a fight-ending left hook to the body in the ninth round that sent him to the mat in obvious agony as referee Luis Pabon immediately stopped the fight at 2 minutes, 28 seconds.
Smith gave Alvarez credit for his performance, although he did say that he had stopped sparring in preparation for the fight on Aug. 12 after suffering a cut during a sparring session. Nonetheless, it was another big knockout win for Alvarez, who (if his hand is OK) will be back in action Dec. 10 -- just not against Golovkin. He and his team say that is a fight they want, but not until this time next year. And, so, we will wait for the biggest fight boxing has to offer.
Willie Monroe Jr. W12 Gabriel Rosado
Scores: 118-110, 117-111, 116-112
Records: Monroe (21-2, 6 KOs); Rosado (23-10, 13 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Monroe and Rosado are both solid second-tier contenders and former world title challengers who have always been willing to fight anyone. But their styles simply did not mesh in this mess of a fight that was the co-feature of Golden Boy's atrocious HBO PPV undercard. Golden Boy said before the fight that the Monroe-Rosado winner was essentially auditioning to be on the short list of possible Canelo Alvarez opponents for a tentative Dec. 10 fight -- but no thanks, not after this positively lackluster fight.
Monroe, a 29-year-old southpaw from Rochester, New York, who won the 2014 ESPN Boxcino tournament to make a name for himself, did a good job on defense but also held, grabbed and backed up often against one-dimensional Rosado, 30, of Philadelphia, who never got anything going in a frustrating fight to watch. According to CompuBox punch statistics, Monroe landed 119 of 361 blows (33 percent) and Rosado just 63 of 416 punches (15 percent). Monroe was the clear winner; he controlled the pace and action and landed a lot more punches, but it was a miserable fight to watch and fans deserve to see Alvarez against a better, more crowd-pleasing opponent.
Joseph Diaz Jr. TKO9 Andrew Cancio
Records: Diaz (22-0, 13 KOs); Cancio (17-4-2, 13 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Diaz, a 2012 U.S. Olympian, is probably on his way to a world title fight. He is a fine prospect on the verge of becoming a serious contender, and this fight showcased his skills and ring smarts. The 23-year-old, a southpaw from South El Monte, California, manhandled Cancio, 27, of Blythe, California, with ease. He tagged him repeatedly with left hands and combinations and dominated the fight all the way. In the third round, Diaz opened a bad cut on the bridge of Cancio's nose, and it caused him problems; in the later rounds, it was bleeding so heavily that the blood was going into his mouth.
Finally, in the ninth round, with Cancio taking a beating and the blood flowing, trainer Danny Garcia threw in the towel, causing referee Gregorio Alvarez to stop the fight bout at 2 minutes, 26 seconds. Diaz's advantage in the CompuBox statistics was overwhelming. He landed 230 of 492 punches (47 percent) to Cancio's 52 of 365 (14 percent). Diaz is ready for bigger and better things.
Diego De La Hoya W10 Luis Orlando Del Valle
Scores: 100-90, 99-91 (twice)
Records: De La Hoya (16-0, 9 KOs); Del Valle (22-3, 16 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Mexico's 22-year-old De La Hoya is the first cousin of promoter and Hall of Famer Oscar De La Hoya, which means he has big shoes to fill with that last name. But he looks as if he has real talent and not just a famous name. Del Valle, 29, of Puerto Rico, was by far his most significant opponent, and De La Hoya passed the test with flying colors in a totally dominant performance. He was much faster with his hands and feet, countered very nicely and landed numerous stiff punches that marked up Del Valle's face.
Golden Boy said before the fight that a strong performance would force it to put De La Hoya on the faster track to a world title, and that is probably where he is headed in the next few fights. It was an excellent performance from a quality prospect against a good veteran.
Sadam Ali W10 Saul Corral
Scores: 99-91, 99-90 (twice)
Records: Ali (23-1, 13 KOs); Corral (22-8, 13 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: In March, Ali, a 27-year-old from New York (Brooklyn), suffered his first loss when he got knocked out in the ninth round by Jessie Vargas fighting for a vacant welterweight world title. Making his return, Ali, a 2008 U.S. Olympian, was clicking on all cylinders in a one-sided romp over Corral, 29, of Mexico, whose three-fight winning streak ended. Ali punctuated his victory by scoring a knockdown in the fourth round when he nailed Corral with a left hand and dropped him moments later with a right hand on the chin.
Saturday at Gdansk, Poland
Oleksandr Usyk W12 Krzysztof Glowacki
Usyk wins a cruiserweight title
Scores: 119-109, 117-111 (twice)
Records: Usyk (10-0, 9 KOs); Glowacki (26-1, 16 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Although most expected this to be a hotly contested and outstanding fight, mandatory challenger Usyk, 29, the 2012 Olympic heavyweight gold medalist, made easy work of fellow southpaw Glowacki, 29, on his Polish turf in a surprisingly one-sided fight. By winning the belt, Usyk set a division record by winning a title in the fewest fights, doing so in his 10th bout to surpass the old record of 12, which was set by Evander Holyfield when he beat Hall of Famer Dwight Muhammad Qawi in an epic 15-rounder in 1986.
Usyk's lateral movement, jab and quickness trumped the more stationary Glowacki, who had few answers for him. Usyk, who opened a cut over Glowacki's right eye in the third round, also landed a lot of good right hooks, while Glowacki was reduced to looking for one big shot that he never came close to landing. He lost the belt in his second defense after claiming the title 13 months ago in a dramatic upset by knocking out long-reigning titleholder Marco Huck in the 11th round and then retaining the belt by unanimous decision against former titlist Steve Cunningham in April.
Friday at Osaka, Japan
Hozumi Hasegawa TKO9 Hugo Ruiz
Hasegawa wins a junior featherweight title
Records: Hasegawa (36-5, 16 KOs); Ruiz (36-4, 32 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Hasegawa, a 35-year-old Japanese southpaw and former bantamweight and featherweight world titleholder, won a title in his third weight class as he made Ruiz, 29, of Mexico, retire on his stool after the ninth round. Ruiz won the belt in February by drilling Julio Ceja in the first round of their rematch and was making his first defense. Ruiz bled from his nose beginning in the first round thanks to an accidental head-butt. Under the WBC's poor head-butt rule, Hasegawa was docked one point as the fighter who did not get cut during an accidental head clash. Ruiz, who was diagnosed with a broken nose after the fight, retired because of the pain in his nose and because he was having difficulty breathing.
In the seventh round, another accidental head-butt opened a cut over Hasegawa's left eye, but referee Hector Afu did not call it a head-butt, so there was no point deduction, even though it was clear on television replays. However, after the round, the supervisor, who had seen the replay, told him to take the point, which he did. Open scoring -- another awful rule -- was also being used, so Hasegawa knew after the eighth round that he was ahead 78-72 and 76-74 while Ruiz led 76-74 on one card. After a high-contact ninth round, Ruiz elected not to continue.
Shinsuke Yamanaka TKO7 Anselmo Moreno
Yamanaka retains a bantamweight title
Scores: 115-113 (twice) Yamanaka, 115-113 Moreno
Records: Yamanaka (26-0-2, 18 KOs); Moreno (36-5-1, 12 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: In September 2015, Yamanaka won a razor-close split decision against former longtime titleholder Moreno, 31, of Panama, to keep his title. After the fellow southpaws each won their next fight, they met in a rematch, and this time Yamanaka, 33, of Japan, left no doubt, scoring a knockout and retaining his title for the 11th time in a barn burner in which both men got knocked down, Yamanaka once and Moreno, who has lost three of his past four bouts, four times.
The fight got off to a blazing start, and, as the first round came to a close, Yamanaka clipped Moreno with a left hand to knock him down. Moreno scored a knockdown of his own when he nailed Yamanaka with a right hook in the fourth round. They battled back and forth, and Yamanaka dropped Moreno again in the sixth round with another tremendous left hand. Yamanaka picked up the pace in the seventh round with Moreno ready to go and dropped him twice more, forcing referee Daniel Van de Wiele to wave off the fight after the second knockdown of the round at 1 minute, 9 seconds. This was a very good fight.
Friday at Las Vegas
Ishe Smith W10 Frank Galarza
Scores: 96-93, 95-94, 95-95
Records: Smith (29-8, 12 KOs); Galarza (17-2-2, 11 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Former junior middleweight titlist Smith, 38, of Las Vegas, claimed a close majority decision against Galarza, 31, of Brooklyn, to keep his slim hopes for another title shot alive in the main event of a Premier Boxing Champions card on Bounce TV. It was a close fight, but Smith's edge came courtesy of a knockdown he scored with a right hand to drop Galarza late in the second round. Galarza said he was off balance, but it was a knockdown nonetheless. Galarza tightened the fight thanks to his constant pressure of Smith, but Smith had a big 10th round in which he landed a lot of punches to seal the victory and hand Galarza his second defeat in a row.
Also on the card was junior middleweight Justin DeLoach (16-1, 8 KOs), 22, of Augusta, Georgia, who handed substitute opponent Domonique Dolton (17-1-1, 9 KOs), 26, of Sterling Heights, Michigan, his first loss. Dolton, who bled through the second half of the fight from a large cut on the bridge of his nose, was filling in for injured Chris Pearson (14-1, 10 KOs) and lost 99-91, 98-92 and 96-94.
Thursday at Philadelphia
Dusty Hernandez-Harrison W10 Thomas "Cornflake" LaManna
Scores: 98-92, 97-93 (twice)
Records: Hernandez-Harrison (30-0-1, 16 KOs); LaManna (21-2, 9 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Hernandez-Harrison, 22, of Washington, D.C., followed up his draw with Mike Dallas in May, with a clear-cut decision against LaManna, 24, of Millville, New Jersey, in the CBS Sports Network-televised main event. It was a rough fight that forced both to show heart, but Hernandez-Harrison, whose punches were a bit cleaner, got the well-deserved edge from the judges.
Also on the card was 31-year-old Cincinnati heavyweight Ray Edwards (12-0-1, 7 KOs); the former longtime NFL defensive end for the Minnesota Vikings and Atlanta Falcons plodded his way to a decision against Dan Pasciolla (8-2-1, 0 KOs), 31, of Brick, New Jersey, via scores of 60-54, 59-55 and 58-56.