With the boxing world gearing up for the PPV return match between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Marcos Maidana, now less than a week away. Knockout Nation is here to bring you up to speed on the week that was, and get you ready for the week to come:
On Thursday, WBO Middleweight Champion Peter Quillin announced that he would be vacating the title. By doing so, the unbeaten fighter is walking away from a $1.4 million purse that would’ve been the largest of his career. It is not immediately apparent why the Brooklyn native chose to vacate his title, rather than facing Matt Korobov in a match where he would’ve been a considerable favorite. Two things are for certain, however, with Quillin vacating the championship the road to having a unified middleweight champion just gotten trickier, and his reputation has taken a hit, presumably with fans and promoters alike. In light of the curious decision by Quillin rumors have been flying, the most popular of which seems to be that Quillin is looking for a bout against Danny Jacobs. We’ll have to wait and see what “big plans” Quillin’s team have for him. Gennady Golovkin had expressed interest in a fight with Quillin, but his promoter Tom Loeffler of K2 has not been shy, stating, “…Quillin’s value to us was as a champion. Without a belt there’s not a lot of value there for us.”
Roman Reigns Supreme
Friday morning, before most of us in the States rolled out of bed, Roman Gonzalez was in Tokyo, making history. The 27 year old flyweight became only the second Nicaraguan to win world titles in three different weight classes, the other is Alexis Arguello. He did so by defeating a top shelf opponent on his home soil. Akira Yaegashi lost his WBC flyweight title by way of a 9th round TKO. It was a fight that showed exactly why Roman Gonzalez is the best fighter you’ve never heard of. He is equally adept with both hands and has devastating punching power in both. This fight was a tribute to the action that takes place in the smaller weight divisions. There is boxing below 135lbs and its really good.
Broner Impresses, Berto is back & The Ref robs Ortiz
Showtime aired an interesting night of fights on Saturday. It was a card that featured two headlining stars who should probably have been fighting each other in Adrien Broner and Lucas Matthysse. This has been a recurring theme with Showtime as of late, particularly in the stacked 140lb and 147lb divisions (The August 9th card co-headlined by Lamont Peterson and Danny Garcia immediately comes to mind). Fortunately for fight fans, both weight classes currently have enough talent to keep us entertained while the top dogs figure out the politics of making the mega-fights happen.
Opening up the show was Andre Berto making his return to the ring for the first time since suffering a shoulder injury, in a defeat to Jesus Soto Karass. That injury required surgery to repair, and led to a lengthy, 14 month layoff for the former welterweight champ. In total it was only Berto’s third fight in the last three years, both prior resulting in losses. He took on Steve Upsher, and was able to outclass him without much difficulty. Berto looked sharp throughout, working behind his jab and landing good power shots, even his trademark uppercuts were on display. It wasn’t all good for Andre however, despite being in control throughout, the glaring holes in his defense are still present, and surely would’ve been exposed against a better class of fighter. Before Upsher basically stopped working in the second half of the fight he was having success getting off first and landing some combinations against the shorter Berto. Most importantly, Berto looked healthy and didn’t seem to have any issues with the surgically repaired shoulder. He may not be ready to take on the top guns at 147lbs, but he did enough last night to remind them of who he is.
Lucas Matthysse took on Roberto Ortiz next in a 140lb contest. Ortiz, a relatively unknown, undefeated Mexican fighter, entered the match with the WBC Silver Light Welterweight title and a reputation for being quite the knockout puncher himself. Many were predicting this fight to be a slugfest between two hard hitting fighters who aren’t afraid to come forward. Instead we got one of the most anti-climatic finishes in recent memory as Matthysse won in the second round via “knockout”. With :15 left in the second round Matthysse caught Ortiz with a beautiful body shot that sent the Mexican to the canvas. What happened next is really anybody’s guess. Ortiz was counted out, despite clearly reaching his feet prior to the 10 count. At first it was believed that the referee had stopped the fight, but afterwards, while refusing to comment on camera, the referee claimed that he counted him out and he did not answer the 10 count. Cool story bro.
Headlining the card, in front of his hometown crowd in Cincinnati, was Adrien “The Problem” Broner. Broner entered the bout looking to regain the momentum he had prior to his loss to Marcos Maidana at the end of 2013. Although he defeated Carlos Molina earlier this year to win the vacant WBA Light Welterweight Championship, he looked less than stellar in that bout to say the least. Broner knew that he couldn’t just win, he had to impress, and he did just that. His opponent Emmanuel Taylor was more than game, giving Broner all that he could handle throughout the fight. To his credit, this seemed to drive Broner, who put forth an inspired performance, displaying the technical brilliance he’s been praised for in the past but had seemed to get away from as of late. The fight was fought almost entirely on the inside with both fighters exhibiting a myriad of skills, neither ever getting sloppy, despite the nature of the fight. Ultimately the style of fight would prove to benefit Broner who was able to get off first and land effective combinations. Although Broner scored a knockdown in the 12th round — His first at any weight above 135lbs — that may have proven to be the difference maker on the scorecards, it was his performance in the 10th round that really told the story of the fight. After being rocked by Taylor early in the round Broner seemed to flip a switch in the last minute, unleashing a flurry of punches and aggression that showed that he was truly in it to win it. And win it he did, taking home a unanimous decision victory on the judges cards.
All three of the victorious fighters spoke towards their future goals in the ring during post-fight interviews and it was a telling story to say the least. Matthysse wants Danny Garcia, Broner wants Matthysse and Berto wants revenge (Robert Guerrero, Victor Ortiz). We’ll see who gets what they want.
Next Saturday the world will stand still for a moment. It always does when Floyd Mayweather has a fight. Across the ring will once again be Marcos Maidana, the first (and only) fighter since Jose Luis Castillo to earn a rematch with the undefeated Mayweather. Floyd however, will be facing more than Marcos Maidana, he will be taking on history, as he has ever since he publicly declared his desire to retire 50-0 and lay claim to the title of The Best Ever. It will be must see TV and Knockout Nation will be right here Monday morning to bring you the aftermath.