Rafael's remarks: When undisputed champion Terence Crawford gave up his four belts to move up in weight, it left Lipinets, 28, a Kazakhstan native fighting out of Los Angeles, and Kondo, 32, fighting outside of Japan for the first time, to vie for one of them. Despite the scorecards, it was a very competitive fight, not to mention very physically grueling and bloody. But Lipinets, with a more sustained and accurate attack, emerged as the clear winner and even Kondo, whose eyes were swollen and whose nose was bloody, didn't dispute the result. Lipinets looked the worse of the two at the end of the fight, however, because he had suffered a bloody cut on his forehead from an accidental head butt in the sixth round and it bled the rest of the fight.
Dominic Breazeale TKO8 Eric Molina -- Full recap
Heavyweight - Title eliminator
Records: Breazeale (19-1, 17 KOs); Molina (26-5, 19 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: The former heavyweight title challengers met in an eliminator to get a step closer to a shot at main event winner Deontay Wilder, who has already beaten Molina. It was a slow-paced fight but one Breazeale, 32, of Eastvale, California, dominated. In the eighth round, he dropped Molina, 35, of Weslaco, Texas, with a right hand and laid a beating on him for the rest of the round. Then the fight was called off in the corner on advice of the ringside doctor. Breazeale could be Wilder's next opponent in what would be an old-fashioned grudge match given their personal issues with each other.
Saturday at Monte Carlo
Dmitry Bivol KO1 Trent Broadhurst
Retains a light heavyweight title
Records: Bivol (12-0, 10 KOs); Broadhurst (20-2, 12 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Bivol, 26, of Russia, made his first title defense since being elevated from an interim titlist, and he did so easily. He barely broke a sweat against the ridiculously overmatched and undeserving Broadhurst, 29, who was fighting a legitimate opponent for the first time and also boxing outside of Australia for the first time. Making his HBO debut, Bivol was credited with a knockdown that referee Howard John Foster botched because it was a shoulder push with no punch. However, later in the round, Bivol landed a right hand down the middle and Broadhurst collapsed to the mat, and Foster frantically waved off the fight at 2 minutes, 59 seconds. It was an explosive performance from the fighter many see as the future of the division. Next up is likely a mandatory defense against Sullivan Barrera as long as Barrera win a Nov. 25 fight against previous Bivol victim Felix Valera.
Jamie McDonnell No Decision 3 Liborio Solis
Retains a bantamweight title
Records: McDonnell (29-2-1, 13 KOs); Solis (25-5-1, 11 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: McDonnell, 31, of England, retained his secondary 118-pound title for the sixth time in a rematch with Solis that ended at 2 minutes, 45 seconds of the third round because of a bad cut McDonnell suffered over his left eye after a clash of heads seconds into the round. They were trading toe to toe, but with blood pouring down McDonnell's face and chest from the terrible cut, referee Luis Pabon called timeout for the ringside doctor to examine the wound, and he told Pabon to stop the fight. Because it had not gone at least four rounds, it was declared a no decision. McDonnell won a controversial decision against former junior bantamweight titlist Solis, 35, of Venezuela, last November in the previous bout for both men, and they were meeting in a mandatory rematch. But don't count on a third fight as McDonnell said afterward that he plans to move up to junior featherweight.
Scott Quigg TKO6 Oleg Yefimovich
Featherweight - Title eliminator
Records: Quigg (34-1-2, 25 KOs); Yefimovich (29-3-1, 16 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Former junior featherweight world titlist Quigg, 29, of England, battered Yefimovich, 36, of Ukraine, who had never previously been stopped. When he landed a series of hard shots that backed Yefimovich into the ropes in the sixth round, referee Luis Pabon had seen enough punishment and waved it off at 50 seconds. With the victory, Quigg earned a mandatory title shot against the winner of the expected March rematch between titleholder Leo Santa Cruz and secondary titlist Abner Mares.
Also on the card, Agit Kabayel (17-0, 12 KOs), 25, of Germany, made his first defense of the European heavyweight title and claimed a majority decision over former European champion and former world title challenger Dereck Chisora (27-8, 19 KOs), 33, of England, who dropped to 2-3 in his last five fights. Kabayel was awarded scores of 115-114 and 115-113 while one judge had it 114-114.
Saturday at Tijuana, Mexico
Luis Nery TKO6 Artur Villanueva
Records: Nery (25-0, 19 KOs); Villanueva (31-3, 17 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: In August, Nery, a 22-year-old southpaw from Mexico, traveled to Japan and knocked out long-reigning bantamweight world titleholder Shinsuke Yamanaka in the fourth round to claim the belt. But Nery tested positive for a banned substance and while awaiting the WBC's ruling on the situation had this nontitle bout with former title challenger Villanueva arranged. A week before the fight, the WBC cleared Nery, saying it believed the bad test was due to contaminated food but ordered him to give Yamanaka a rematch. So Nery, in front of his hometown crowd, went into the fight with Villanueva, 28, of the Philippines, with clear mind and took care of business. Nery won the first three rounds of the fan-friendly fight but with 20 seconds left in the fourth, Villanueva cracked him with a right hand that forced him to touch his knee to the mat for a knockdown. In the sixth round, Nery forced Villanueva to the ropes and landed a series of punches, including one that violently snapped his head back, prompting referee Christian Curiel to stop it at 1 minute, 19 seconds. Next up Nery will face Yamanaka in the rematch in early 2018. Villanueva has lost two of his last three fights but suffered his first knockout loss.
Jose Zepeda TKO6 Abner Lopez
Records: Zepeda (28-1, 23 KO); Lopez (25-8, 21 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Zepeda, 28, of La Puente, California, suffered his only loss because of a shoulder injury in a second-round stoppage, challenging then-lightweight titleholder Terry Flanagan in England in 2015. Since then, Zepeda, a southpaw, has won five fights in a row (plus a head butt-induced no decision, including this good showing against Lopez, 27, of Mexico. In the sixth round, Zepeda backed Lopez into the ropes and landed a series of shots that had him defenseless, forcing referee Christian Curiel to wave off the fight at 1 minute, 17 seconds. Lopez dropped his second fight in a row and is 2-4 in his last six.
Saturday at Ciudad Juarez, Mexico
Jhonny Gonzalez W12 Irving Berry
Scores: 120-105 (three times)
Records: Gonzalez (65-10, 54 KOs); Berry (23-7-2, 10 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Mexico's Gonzalez, 36, a former bantamweight and featherweight titleholder, scored three knockdowns and cruised to a shutout decision against Berry, 31, of Panama, who lost for the fourth time in his past five fights. Gonzalez won his seventh fight in a row and could get a world title shot, though he passed on a final eliminator against Miguel Roman that would have been on HBO on Dec. 9.
Friday at Nizhny Novgorod, Russia
Andrey Sirotkin TKO9 Ricardo Mayorga
Records: Sirotkin (14-0, 4 KOs); Mayorga (32-10-1, 26 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Sadly, Mayorga, 44, of Nicaragua, continues to fight despite being a more than a decade past his better days. He was once the unified welterweight world champion and also won a junior middleweight belt, but then he became a steppingstone name for stars to fight and got knocked out by Oscar De La Hoya, Felix Trinidad, Shane Mosley and Miguel Cotto. Fighting way above his best weight, Mayorga went to Russia to face Sirotkin, a 32-year-old southpaw, for only Mayorga's fifth fight since Cotto KO'd him in 2011. Mayorga was ineffectively aggressive as Sirotkin boxed circles around him and won every moment of the fight. Finally, after the ninth round, Mayorga quit, citing a right wrist injury that seemed legitimate as he struggled and winced as his glove was being taken off. Hopefully, he'll never put the gloves back on.