A roundup of the past week's notable boxing results from around the world:
Saturday at New York
Keith Thurman W12 Danny Garcia -- Full recap
Unifies welterweight titles
Scores: 116-112, 115-113 Thurman, 115-113 Garcia
Records: Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs); Garcia (33-1, 19 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: In one of the most anticipated fights of the year -- and only the 10th unification fight in welterweight history -- Thurman made his fourth defense by adding Garcia's title his to own in a good fight but one that never quite got into second gear. With a national TV audience of more than 2 million viewers watching on CBS in primetime and a Barclays Center boxing record crowd of 16,533 going wild, Thurman, 28, of Clearwater, Florida, and Garcia, 28, of Philadelphia, the former unified junior welterweight champion, came out swinging. But the fight soon settled into a more tactical battle with Thurman firing shots but moving a lot and Garcia, making his first defense, coming forward but going through long stretches of inactivity.
Thurman appeared to have the fight under control but backed off in the later rounds strongly believing he had the fight in the bag. He spent long stretches just circling and not doing much in the final rounds. The way fights are scored it was a very risky strategy but it wound up paying off as he won the split decision.
Erickson Lubin TKO4 Jorge Cota -- Full recap
Junior middleweight - Title eliminator
Records: Lubin (18-0, 13 KOs); Cota (25-2, 22 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Lubin, a 21-year-old southpaw and the 2016 ESPN.com prospect of the year from Orlando, Florida, continued to impress as he earned a title shot with a one-sided destruction of Cota, 29, of Mexico, who got a rude awakening coming off an 18-month layoff. He had zero business being approved to be in a final elimination fight, but "Hammer" Lubin doesn't pick his opponents. He was in total control when, in the fourth round, he blasted Cota with an overhand left on the chin for a knockdown. Cota was unsteady when he got up and referee Earl Brown stopped the mismatch at 1 minute, 25 seconds. Lubin, if he wins a title when he gets his shot later this year, would become boxing's youngest active titlist.
Andrzej Fonfara TKO10 Chad Dawson -- Full recap
Records: Fonfara (29-4, 17 KOs); Dawson (34-5, 19 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Fonfara, 29, a Poland native living in Chicago, had a hard time with faded former world champion Dawson, 34, of New Haven, Connecticut. Dawson, a southpaw, was leading on the scorecards when they got to the ninth round, when Fonfara nailed him with a left hand near the top of the head for a knockdown. Then, after badly staggering him with a right hand in the 10th round, Fonfara continued to connect with clean, unanswered punches, forcing referee David Fields to stop the fight at 38 seconds. It was a good comeback victory for Fonfara and probably spelled the end for Dawson, who dropped to 3-4 in his last seven fights and said after the fight he was "leaning toward retirement."
Saturday at London
Tony Bellew TKO11 David Haye -- Full recap
Records: Bellew (29-2-1, 19 KOs); Haye (28-3, 26 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: In a bitter all-British rivalry fight that had Bellew, 34, and Haye, 36, trashing each other throughout a wild buildup, they turned in a memorable fight with an entirely unexpected outcome as Bellew, a reigning cruiserweight world titleholder, moved up to heavyweight for a huge upset of Haye, a former cruiserweight and heavyweight titleholder. Since a knockout of Dereck Chisora in 2012, Haye had fought only two walkover opponents but still was heavily favored. He and Bellew let it all hang out in an exciting fight in which Bellew broke his right hand in the second or third round and Haye tore his right Achilles tendon in the sixth round (after the fight he had surgery) that left him a one-legged fighter the rest of the way. With no balance and no ability to get leverage on his shots, Haye was a sitting duck but showed tons of heart. Bellew dropped him later in the sixth (mainly because of the injury) and again in the 11th when he knocked him between the ropes onto the ring apron and Haye trainer Shane McGuigan rightly threw in the towel.
Sam Eggington KO8 Paulie Malignaggi
Records: Eggington (20-3, 12 KOs); Malignaggi (36-8, 7 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Malignaggi, 36, of New York, a former welterweight and junior welterweight world titleholder, has toyed with retirement in recent years and now is probably the time to call it a career in the ring and focus on his excellent broadcasting career. He had won three fights in a row against lesser opposition but took a mild step up against Eggington, 23, the former British and Commonwealth champion from England, and couldn't come through. It was a very close fight and Malignaggi was ahead on two scorecards, but in the end Eggington landed a sweet left hook to the body and Malignaggi crumbled and was counted out by referee Victor Loughlin at 1 minute, 50 seconds of the eighth round as he dropped to 4-4 in his last eight fights, including three knockout losses. If this is the end, Malignaggi, ever the overachiever, had a good career, made a lot of money and a lot of fans.
Ohara Davies TKO3 Derry Mathews
Records: Davies (15-0, 12 KOs); Mathews (38-12-2, 20 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Up-and-coming Davies, 25, of England, sent Mathews, a former interim lightweight world titleholder and British fight scene fixture since his 2003 pro debut, into retirement with this tremendous performance. Davies dropped Mathews, 33, of England, twice in the third round, first with a crunching four-punch combination and then again right away with a quick onslaught. When Davies landed two more shots after the second knockdown, referee Victor Loughlin waved it off at 2 minutes, 55 seconds. While Matthews, who lost his third fight in a row, announced his retirement after the fight, the future looks very bright for Davies.
Also on the card, featherweight world titleholder Lee Selby (24-1, 9 KOs), 30, of Wales, knocked out Andoni Gago (16-3-2, 5 KOs), 31, of Spain, in a nontitle junior lightweight bout. Selby, fighting for the first time in 11 months, was a late addition to the card following the cancellation of his January mandatory title defense against Jonathan Victor Barros, who was forced out of the fight at the weigh-in Las Vegas because of a positive hepatitis test.
Saturday at Bangkok, Thailand
Juan "Churritos" Hernandez Navarrete TKO3 Nawaphon Sor Rungvisai
Wins a vacant flyweight title
Records: Hernandez Navarrete (34-2, 25 KOs); Sor Rungvisai (36-1, 28 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Hernandez Navarrete, 30, of Mexico, and Sor Rungvisai, 31, of Thailand, met for the 112-pound world title that pound-for-pound king Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez vacated late last year for his move up in weight to junior bantamweight. Both fighters came out blazing to begin the fight but it was Hernandez who got the better of the action against the very raw Sor Rungvisai, who was wild. He landed a few decent shots but this was all Hernandez, who eventually dropped Sor Rungvisai with a series of punches, including an overhand left that sent him to his knees. Sor Rungvisai quickly beat the count but Hernandez was all over him blasting away until referee Tom Taylor intervened at 2 minutes, 29 seconds to rescue the defenseless Sor Rungvisai, who taking a beating.
Thursday at Tokyo
Shinsuke Yamanaka TKO7 Carlos Carlson
Retains a bantamweight title
Records: Yamanaka (27-0-2, 19 KOs); Carlson (22-2, 13 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Yamanaka, a 34-year-old Japanese southpaw, retained his title for the 12th time in a dominant performance against Carlson, 26, of Mexico, who had not lost since a four-round decision in his pro debut but was taking a massive step up in his competition level and got knocked down five times, twice in the fifth round, once in the sixth and twice more in the seventh. Yamanaka, ahead 60-51, 60-51 and 59-52 going into the seventh round, dropped Carlson for the final time with a clean straight left hand and referee Ian John Lewis waved it off at 57 seconds. With one more successful defense Yamanaka can tie the Japanese record for world title defenses with Hall of Fame former junior flyweight titleholder Yoko Gushiken.
Brian Viloria W8 Ruben Montoya
Scores: 78-75 (twice), 77-75
Records: Viloria (37-5, 22 KOs); Montoya (14-5-1, 9 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Filipino-American Viloria, 36, a former flyweight and junior flyweight titleholder, had not fought since a ninth-round knockout loss to pound-for-pound king and then-flyweight champion Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez in October 2015. But Viloria wanted to give it another go and shook off the ring rust in his return against Montoya, 31, of Mexico. Montoya gave Viloria a tougher than expected fight but Viloria prevailed in a close one.
Also on the card, Japan's Ryosuke Iwasa (23-2, 15 KOs), 27, the mandatory challenger for junior featherweight titlist and countryman Yukinori Oguni (19-1-1, 7 KOs), stayed busy with a third-round, right-hook knockout of Glenn Medura (8-2-1, 5 KOs), 21, of the Philippines, in a featherweight bout. Iwasa will challenge Oguni later this year.
Wednesday at Chonburi, Thailand
Knockout CP Freshmart KO5 Go Odaira
Records: CP Freshmart (15-0, 7 KOs); Odaira (13-6-3, 1 KO)
Rafael's remarks: CP Freshmart, 26, of Thailand, made his second title defense in dominant fashion against Odaira, 32, of Japan, who has lost two of his last three bouts with both defeats coming in strawweight world title fights. CP Freshmart dropped Odaira in the fourth round and was leading 40-36, 39-37 and 39-37 on the scorecards going into the fifth. That's when he took Odaira, a southpaw, out with a left-right combination as referee Jean Robert counted him out at 1 minute, 7 seconds.