A roundup of the past week's notable boxing results from around the world:
Saturday at Las Vegas
Gennady Golovkin D12 Canelo Alvarez - Full recap
Golovkin retains unified middleweight title
Scores: 115-113 Golovkin, 118-110 Alvarez, 114-114
Records: Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KOs); Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: The good news is we got the outstanding action fight that Alvarez and Golovkin promised, and that we expected. The bad news is that we got a questionable decision -- most had Golovkin winning -- and one horrific scorecard from judge Adalaide Byrd, whose card was so far from reality that even Alvarez himself didn't think he won 10 of the 12 rounds as she scored. Nonetheless, the year's most important fight goes down as a draw and that means we'll likely see a rematch.
In the huge fight he had been seeking for years, Golovkin, 35, a Kazakhstan native fighting out of Santa Monica, California, retained his title for the 19th consecutive time to move to within one of tying legend Bernard Hopkins' division record. Alvarez, 27, of Mexico, seemed to be in trouble in the mid rounds as Golovkin stalked forward and fired bombs but Alvarez rallied late to make the terrific fight a close one. They both showed great chins and put on a show that was partially marred by Byrd's indefensible scorecard. HBO will replay the fight on Saturday night (10 ET/PT).
Joseph Diaz Jr. W12 Rafael "Big Bang" Rivera - Full recap
Featherweight - Title eliminator
Scores: 120-108, 119-109 (twice)
Records: Diaz (25-0, 13 KOs); Rivera (25-1-2, 16 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Diaz, 24, a 2012 U.S. Olympian from South El Monte, California, rolled to a one-sided rout of Rivera, 23, of Mexico, who had been training for a fight when he took this one on Tuesday of fight week after Jorge Lara withdrew. Rivera put up a solid effort but was outclassed by Diaz, a southpaw, who earned a mandatory world title shot against Gary Russell Jr. (28-1, 17 KOs). Diaz hit the slower Rivera from all angles as pasted him throughout the slow-paced fight. Diaz has skills and some charisma but he lacks that big punch, which could cause him problems when he faces better opponents.
Diego De La Hoya W10 Randy Caballero - Full recap
Scores: 100-90, 98-92 (twice)
Records: De La Hoya (20-0, 9 KOs); Caballero (24-1, 14 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: De La Hoya, 23, of Mexico, a first cousin of Hall of Famer and Golden Boy Promotions CEO Oscar De La Hoya, scored his biggest victory as a pro as he took apart Caballero, 26, of Coachella, California. Many figured the fight would be somewhat competitive but De La Hoya pounded Caballero, a former bantamweight world titleholder, throughout. De La Hoya's left hook could barely miss, he landed combinations practically at will and he swelled Caballero's left eye. The fight could have been stopped at any point alter the seventh round because of all the punishment Caballero was taking.
Ryan Martin W10 Francisco Rojo - Full recap
Scores: 96-93, 95-94 Martin, 98-91 Rojo
Records: Martin (20-0, 11 KOs); Rojo (20-3, 13 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Martin, 24, of Chattanooga, Tennessee, was an outstanding amateur and remains unbeaten as a pro but just barely alter this very tough fight, one much tougher than expected. Rojo, 26, of Mexico, was in his face throughout the bout. Martin said he didn't feel at his best in the fight but that surely had something to do with Rojo landing punches. Martin also lost a point for a low blow in the eighth round. Rojo's eight-fight winning streak ended.
Saturday at London
Billy Joe Saunders W12 Willie Monroe Jr. - Full recap
Retains a middleweight title
Scores: 117-112, 117-111, 115-114
Records: Saunders (25-0, 12 KOs); Monroe (21-3, 6, KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Saunders, a 28-year-old southpaw from England, retained his title for the second time in one of his typically dreadful fights. Saunders and Monroe put the crowd to sleep with a tactical bout that Saunders won because he threw more punches against Monroe, who barely threw any at all and took no chances. Monroe looked better in the final couple of rounds by that time it was far too little, far too late. Monroe, 30, of Rochester, New York, fighting for the first time in one year, dropped to 2-2 in his last four bouts, the other defeat coming by way of sixth-round knockout challenging world champion Gennady Golovkin in 2015.
Saturday at Liverpool, England
Callum Smith W12 Erik Skoglund
Super middleweight - World Boxing Super Series quarterfinals
Scores: 117-111, 117-110, 116-112
Records: Smith (23-0, 17 KOs); Skoglund (26-1, 12 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Smith, 27, fighting in his hometown, had been a mandatory challenger for a vacant world title but when that deal became a headache to close, he elected to take the opportunity offered to enter the World Boxing Super Series and squared off with Skoglund, 26, of Sweden. The fight was a bit closer than the scores seemed to indicate but Smith closed the show by dropping Skoglund to a knee with a clean left hook to the jaw in the 11th round. With the victory, No. 2 seeded Smith advanced to the semifinals early in 2018 to face the winner of the Oct. 27 quarterfinal between No. 4 Juergen Braehmer (48-3, 35 KOs) and unseeded Rob Brant (22-0, 15 KOs).
Also on the card, super middleweight Martin Murray (36-4-1, 17 KOs), 34, of England, who has unsuccessfully challenged for world titles four times between middleweight and super middleweight, knocked out Arman Torosyan (18-4-1, 15 KOs), 34, of Germany, with a body shot in the fourth round.
Saturday at Cebu City, Philippines
Milan Melindo W12 Hekkie Budler
Retains a junior flyweight title
Scores: 117-110, 115-112 Melindo, 115-113 Budler
Records: Melindo (37-2, 13 KOs); Budler (31-3, 10 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: The Philippines' Melindo, 29, knocked out Akira Yaegashi in the first round on May 21 in Tokyo to win a 108-pound world title and made his first defense against former strawweight titlist Budler, 29, of South Africa, who moved up one weight division for the opportunity. It was a bloody battle in which Melindo had to overcome a pair of nasty cuts inflicted by accidental head butts to pull out the split decision, in which he dropped an off-balance Budler with a left hand to the body as he was finishing a combination in the 12th round, though Budler did not appear hurt.
In an all-Philippines clash on the undercard, Jonas Sultan (14-3, 9 KOs), 25, outpointed former flyweight and junior flyweight world titleholder Johnriel Casimero (24-4, 15 KOs), 27, in an upset in their junior bantamweight title elimination bout. Sultan won by scores of 117-111, 116-112 and 115-113 to earn a mandatory shot at 115-pound titleholder and fellow Filipino Jerwin Ancajas (27-1-1, 18 KOs), who is promoted by Manny Pacquiao's MP Promotions.
Saturday at Kiev, Ukraine
Viktor Postol W10 Jamshidbek Najmiddinov
Scores: 98-92, 97-92 (twice)
Records: Postol (29-1, 12 KOs); Najmiddinov (14-1, 9 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Former junior welterweight titlist Postol, 33, of Ukraine, ended a 14-month layoff since his one-sided decision loss to Terence Crawford in their title unification fight. Fighting at 143 pounds, Postol returned to face Uzbekistan prospect Najmiddinov and pounded out a decision win although Najmiddinov had a big moment in the fifth round when he knocked Postol down with a clean left hand as Postol was backing up. Postol was wobbly when he got up, but was able to continue and roll on to the decision.
Friday at Las Vegas
Jesus Rojas KO7 Claudio Marrero - Full recap
Wins an interim featherweight title
Records: Rojas (26-1-2, 19 KOs); Marrero (22-2, 16 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: In the main event of the "Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN card," Rojas, 30, of Puerto Rico, scored a mild upset as he drilled the awkward Marrero, a 28-year-old southpaw from the Dominican Republic, with a powerful left hook in the seventh round of an entertaining fight. Making his first defense, Marrero, who showboated and stuck his tongue out at Rojas, dropped to his knees and was counted by referee Russell Mora at 2 minutes, 59 seconds. Rojas won despite complaints that Marrero twice bit his ears.