A roundup of the past week's notable boxing results from around the world:
Sunday at Tokyo
Naoya Inoue W12 David Carmona
retains a junior bantamweight title
Scores: 118-109 (twice), 116-111
Records: Inoue (10-0, 8 KOs); Carmona (20-3-5, 8 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Inoue, 23, of Japan, won a junior flyweight world title in his sixth fight in 2014, made one defense and then jumped up two weight classes to junior bantamweight, where he met long-reigning titleholder Omar Narvaez, of Argentina, later in 2014. Inoue crushed him in two rounds to win a second world title. But a hand injury forced him to sit out for a year before a successful defense in December.
Making his second defense, Inoue faced mandatory challenger Carmona, 25, of Mexico, and won going away. Inoue was well in command when he dropped Carmona with combination in the final round and nearly stopped him. He settled for a one-sided decision win, keeping alive the prospect of a really big little man's fight with flyweight champion Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez next year, a fight Teiken Promotions, which represents both of them, is interested in doing in the future.
Akira Yaegashi W12 Martin Tecuapetla
Retains a junior flyweight title
Scores: 116-113, 115-113 Yaegashi, 115-113 Tecuapetla
Records: Yaegashi (24-5, 12 KOs); Tecuapetla (13-7-3, 10 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Three-division titleholder Yaegashi, 33, of Japan, is best known to most outside of Japan as the man who outpointed Thailand's Pornsawan Porpramook to win a strawweight world title in the ridiculously violent 2011 ESPN.com fight of the year.
In December, Yaegashi outpointed Javier Mendoza to win a junior flyweight belt, which he defended for the first time against Tecuapetla, 26, of Mexico, who a complete joke as a title challenger. His resume is devoid of any meaningful victory. But he mixed it up with Yaegashi, who is usually in good fights. In the end, Yaegashi got the split decision win, a victory he deserved.
Saturday at Las Vegas
Canelo Alvarez KO6 Amir Khan
Retains world middleweight title
Records: Alvarez (47-1-1, 33 KOs); Khan (31-4, 19 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Last May, Alvarez absolutely destroyed James Kirkland with a right hand in a vicious third-round knockout that left Kirkland unconscious and was later named 2015 ESPN.com knockout of the year. Alvarez has inside track on the 2016 KO of the year as well after delivering a similar right hand that knocked Khan into oblivion in a sensational ending of what was a very interesting and good fight, the headliner of the first boxing card at the brand-new T-Mobile Arena.
Alvarez, making the first defense of the lineal world title he won from Miguel Cotto six months ago, is the new face of boxing following the recent retirements of Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, and nothing says that more than his being selected to headline the first card at the arena on the all-important Cinco de Mayo weekend. Alvarez, 25, of Mexico, packed the house to the tune of 16,540 and he and Khan, 29, of England, put on a good show.
Khan had chased Mayweather and Pacquiao for fights over the past three years and came close to getting them but was passed over time and again. So when he was offered the shot at Alvarez on a big HBO PPV card, he could not resist. He moved up two weight classes (really only one full weight class plus one pound) and dared to be great.
Going into the fight (which will be replayed on HBO Saturday at 10 p.m. ET/PT), the conventional wisdom was that it would be Alvarez's power against Khan's speed. Most figured that Khan, the heavy underdog, would be able to use his legs and quick hands to keep Alvarez off balance for awhile but that eventually Alvarez would find a home for a big punch and it would spell the end of the chin-challenged Khan, who had already been knocked out in losses at lightweight and junior welterweight.
It turned out that the fight went exactly as most figured it would. Khan did very early as he boxed circles around Alvarez and kept him off balance. But Alvarez plugged away and landed good shots, especially to the body. Khan took them well but it figured it was only a matter of time. That time came in the sixth round when Alvarez nailed Khan with a huge right hand to the chin. Khan's body contorted, his arms flew in the air and he fell like a rock with his the back of his head pounding off the canvas. It was a spectacular knockout. Khan was out cold and referee Kenny Bayless immediately stopped the fight at 2 minutes, 37 seconds and called for ringside medical personnel. Alvarez immediately knelt at Khan's side to see if he was OK.
Khan was down for a few minutes but eventually got to his feet, did a television interview and went to the hospital just to be checked out for precautionary purposes. Alvarez, meanwhile, celebrated an exciting victory and then all discussion turned to the prospect of a fall fight against unified titleholder Gennady Golovkin, whose interim belt also makes him Alvarez's mandatory challenger. GGG was ringside and it's the fight the world wants. Alvarez and Golden Boy promoter Oscar De La Hoya indicated at the post-fight news conference they would make GGG's camp an offer and negotiate. Let's hope they are genuine and that it happens, and that they don't make everyone wait. After the Mayweather-Pacquiao saga nobody is in the mood for another one.
David Lemieux TKO4 Glen Tapia
Records: Lemieux (35-3, 32 KOs); Tapia (23-3, 15 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: FIn October, Lemieux, 27, of Montreal, met Gennady Golovkin to unify their middleweight world titles and Golovkin bludgeoned him into an eight-round knockout loss. Lemieux was scheduled for a March 12 return in his hometown but was overweight at the weigh- in and the fight was canceled. So he came into the bout against Tapia in a bad place in his career, but turned things around with a very impressive performance.
Lemieux took it to Tapia immediately and never let up. Tapia was a sitting duck for most of his heavy punches. Lemieux buckled him several times and had him in trouble in the second round.
In the fourth round, Lemieux dropped Tapia with a left-right combination, the first time Tapia had ever been down in his career. He had taken a pounding to that point so even though Tapia beat the count and wanted to continue, trainer Freddie Roach threw in the towel, causing referee Russell Mora to wave off the fight at 56 seconds.
It was a bad loss for Tapia, who may have to think about another line of work as he suffered his second consecutive fourth-round knockout loss (and third stoppage of his career). Tapia, 26, of Passaic, New Jersey, had no answers as he took a beating in his first fight in a year as he moved up in weight from junior middleweight.
With the win, Lemieux put himself in position for a possible shot at champion Canelo Alvarez, who won the main event, should Alvarez decline to face mandatory challenger (and unified titleholder) Gennady Golovkin in September.
Frankie Gomez W10 Mauricio Herrera
Scores: 100-90 (three times)
Records: Gomez (21-0, 13 KOs); Herrera (22-6, 7 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Gomez, 24, of East Los Angeles, is a gifted fighter and was an elite amateur, but even though he is undefeated he missed weight so many times and was utterly passionless that everything about his career was frustrating. But he finally put it all together in this one on a big stage. He made weight, looked in shape and fought the best fight of his career against a very respected veteran contender in Herrera, 35, of Riverside, California.
While many expected Gomez to defeat Herrera, who was moving up one division, few expected total domination in a shutout decision.
Herrera had no answers for anything that Gomez threw at him. Gomez had a huge second round that left Herrera with a cut under his left eye and cuts over and under his right eye. Things never got better for Herrera, a former world title challenger, who got beaten every which way possible.
Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach, who trains Gomez, said that Gomez worked hard in training camp and that he believes he can still get down to junior welterweight, where he would like for him to fight for a title. Whether Gomez fights at 140 or 147, if he comes in the kind of condition he was in against Herrera and with the proper attitude, he is going to be a handful for anyone at either weight.
Curtis Stevens TKO2 Patrick Teixeira
Records: Stevens (28-5, 21 KOs); Teixeira (26-1, 22 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Stevens, 31, of Brooklyn, New York, has never quite lived up to the potential he had as a young prospect. He did get a world title shot, however, goading Gennady Golovkin into a fight in 2013 and getting blown away in the eighth round. He came into this fight coming off a decision loss to former world titleholder Hassan N'Dam in a title elimination bout in October 2014. During Stevens' 1½-year layoff he hired trainer John David Jackson and they worked a lot on his powerful right hand, which turned out to be what won him the fight against Brazilian southpaw Patrick Teixeira, 26, who has power also but had never faced a quality opponent. Stevens showed him what it was like to be in a real opponent when he nailed him with a counter right hand down the middle that knocked him down hard. Teixeira beat the count but he was shaky and referee Tony Weeks stopped the fight at 1 minute, 4 seconds. It was the kind of win that probably put Stevens in position for a bigger fight. A good one would be against former titlist David Lemieux -- another Golovkin victim -- who also won on the card. That's the fight Stevens said he wants next.
Saturday at Manchester, England
Anthony Crolla KO7 Ismael Barroso
Retains a lightweight title
Scores: 117-110 (twice), 116-111
Records: Crolla (31-4-3, 13 KOs); Barroso (19-1-2, 18 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Crolla, 29, thrilled his hometown fans at the packed Manchester Arena with a superb performance that culminated in a knockout of the dangerous interim titlist Barroso, 33, a big puncher from Venezuela.
Barroso had come to England in December and knocked out British contender Kevin Mitchell in the fifth round to claim the interim belt, setting the stage for him to return to face Crolla, who was making his first defense. Barroso gave it a great effort in a highly entertaining fight. He threw tons of punches and opened a cut over Crolla's right eye in the fourth round. But Crolla held up despite Barroso's intense pressure. Crolla had a big fifth round, nailing a tiring Barroso with an uppercut. Then he rocked him with a right hand a minute into the sixth round. Barroso, who suffered a cut in the corner of his left eye in the sixth round, was fading badly. In the seventh round, Crolla, still going strong but trailing on all three scorecards (59-55, 59-55 and 58-56), landed a digging right hand to the body that took Barroso's breath and legs away. He dropped to all fours and got to one knee but he was done as referee Howard John Foster counted him out at 1 minute, 31 seconds. This was a tremendous performance for Crolla and gives British fans something to argue about as far as who the country's best 135-pounder is: Crolla or fellow titleholder Terry Flanagan?
Martin Murray TKO2 Cedric Spera
Scores: 117-110 (twice), 116-111
Records: Murray (33-3-1, 16 KOs); Spera (12-5, 2 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Murray, 33, of England, came up short in three shots at middleweight world titles but was held to an unpopular draw against Felix Sturm in 2011, lost a close decision to Sergio Martinez in 2013 and got knocked out in the 11th round by Gennady Golovkin in 2015, after which he moved up to super middleweight, where he also lost a world title shot by split decision to Arthur Abraham in November. Fighting for the first time since losing to Abraham, Murray rebounded with a knockout of Spera, 27, a journeyman from Belgium. Murray strayed low a few times in the first round and was warned by referee Phil Edwards. About 45 seconds into the second round, Murray sunk a hard left hand to the body that dropped Spera to a knee. Later in the round, Murray connected with as left and a right and Spera went down to all fours. He beat the count but he was in no condition to go on and Edwards stopped the fight at 1 minute, 47 seconds as Spera dropped to 1-3 in his last four fights and 2-5 in his last seven. The win set up bigger business for Murray, who took the fight as a tune-up for an all-British showdown with fellow former title challenger George Groves (23-3, 18 KOs). They are scheduled to meet June 25 at the O2 Arena in London on the undercard of heavyweight titlist Anthony Joshua's defense against Dominic Breazeale.
Saturday at Hamburg, Germany
Kubrat Pulev W12 Dereck Chisora
Wins vacant European heavyweight title and world title eliminator
Scores: 118-110, 116-112 Pulev, 115-113 Chisora
Records: Pulev (23-1, 12 KOs); Chisora (25-6, 17 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Pulev, 35, of Bulgaria, and Chisora, 32, of England, are both battle-tested veteran contenders who have fought for world titles. Pulev got laid out by Wladimir Klitschko in the fifth round in the 2014 knockout of the year. In 2012, Chisora lost a lopsided decision to Vitali Klitschko. While the vacant European title was on the line, the fight was an eliminator designed to push the winner a step closer to a mandatory shot at the belt currently held by Anthony Joshua.
A day after they unprofessionally brawled at the weigh-in, Pulev claimed a split decision in an uneven fight in which both men did a lot of holding and wrestling. Both fighters had their moments and showed solid jabs but Pulev's jab was better and he also threw more punches, landed more punches and was more accurate with his shots. According to CompuBox punch statistics, he landed 155 of 511 punches (30 percent) while Chisora landed 93 of 335 (28 percent). Pulev's punches also looked like they more steam on them. He hurt Chisora with a series of right hands in the fifth round and deserved to win a close fight, his third in a row since the loss to Klitschko. But the 118-110 scorecard turned in by Christophe Hembert was very generous.
Saturday at Tokyo
Takashi Miura KO1 Jimmy Borbon
Records: Miura (30-3-2, 23 KOs); Borbon (5-2-2, 3 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Miura, 31, of Japan, held a junior lightweight world title and made four successful defenses before coming to Las Vegas in November and getting knocked out in the ninth round by Francisco Vargas in the incredible 2015 ESPN.com fight of the year. Fighting for the first time since, Miura took out Borbon, 23, a novice fighter from the Philippines, in just 2 minutes, 41 seconds. The point was to get Miura back into the ring, get him a win and set a possible rematch with Vargas. Miura's promoter, Teiken Promotions, said Miura plans to travel to Carson, California, to be ringside when Vargas makes his first defense against Orlando Salido, hoping he wins. If he does, you can probably count on a rematch. And if Salido happens to win, that would make for a good fight as well.
Also on the card, former flyweight world titleholder Toshiyuki Igarashi (22-2-2, 11 KOs) rolled to a near-shutout of Joel Taduran (7-3-1, 1 KO), 21, of the Philippines, winning on scores of 100-90, 99-91 and 99-92.
Friday at Las Vegas
Petr Petrov TKO6 Marvin Quintero
Records: Petrov (37-4-2, 17 KOs); Quintero (28-7, 24 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: In 2014, Petrov, 33, a Russia native fighting out of Spain, won the ESPN Boxcino lightweight tournament. But he has only fought twice since, including this victory against Quintero, 29, a southpaw from Mexico. Fighting outdoors in front of the T-Mobile Arena (the night before Canelo Alvarez-Amir Khan) in the main event of an Estrella TV card that Golden Boy put on for fans to attend for free, Petrov stopped Quintero (who was overweight and lost his regional belt on the scale) in a good scrap. Petrov slammed a lot of right hands into Quintero's left eye, which began to swell in the second round. The fight came to an abrupt halt after the sixth round when the doctor recommended that referee Jay Nady stop the bout because of severe swelling around Quintero's damaged eye.
"This was a great fight for me," Petrov said. "My opponent was a strong fighter and I give my respect to him and his team. I have been off for over a year and half and I did feel sluggish and slow at times, but the win is all that matters."
Quintero was disappointed by the stoppage saying, "I had been fighting like this for two rounds and physically felt strong to continue, but they made the decision and that is something that I cannot control. It's the Mexican blood in me that wills me to continue fighting and never give up. I will not stop fighting for my dream to one day become a world champion."
Also on the card, welterweight Alan Sanchez (18-3-1, 9 KOs), 25, of Fairfield, California, won his sixth fight in a row (since a decision to former welterweight world titleholder Luis Collazo in 2013) in a minor upset of Mexico's 26-year-old Pablo Cesar Cano (29-5-1, 21 KOs). Sanchez outboxed the brawling Cano to win a split decision, getting the nod 97-93 on two scorecards while one judge had it 96-94 for Cano.