A roundup of the past week's notable boxing results from around the world:
Saturday at Las Vegas
Danny Garcia TKO9 Brandon Rios - Full recap
Welterweight - Title eliminator
Records: Garcia (34-1, 20 KOs); Rios (34-4-1, 25 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Eleven months after losing his world title in a unification fight with Keith Thurman, Garcia, 29, of Philadelphia, returned and scored a highlight-reel knockout of former lightweight titlist Rios to move a step closer to a mandatory shot at Thurman. Many thought the match would be an epic mismatch, but though past his best day, Rios, 31, of Oxnard, California, gave a great effort and made Garcia work for the win in an exciting main event. Rios, in his second fight since ending a 19-month retirement in November, pressured Garcia, but the quicker Garcia evaded his biggest shots before ending the fight when he blasted Rios with a right hand to Rios' jaw. Rios got up but was very unsteady, forcing referee Kenny Bayless to stop it at 2 minutes, 25 seconds.
David Benavidez W12 Ronald Gavril - Full recap
Retains a super middleweight title
Scores: 120-108 (twice), 119-109
Records: David Benavidez (20-0, 17 KOs) W12 Ronald Gavril (18-3, 14 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: In their first fight in September, Benavidez survived a 12th-round knockdown to win a split decision and a vacant title in one of the best fights of 2017. The rematch was a one-sided thrashing as Benavidez, 21, of Phoenix, and youngest 168-pound titlist ever, pounded poor Gavril for virtually the entire fight. There were various times it could have been stopped, but Romania's Gavril, 31, of Las Vegas, whose face was bloody and bruised, showed enormous heart to make it to the final bell.
Yordenis Ugas TKO7 Ray Robinson - Full recap
Welterweight - Title eliminator
Records: Ugas (21-3, 10 KOs); Robinson (24-3, 12 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Since moving up to welterweight in 2016, Ugas continues to look like a serious contender and he showed it again by ending Robinson's 13-fight winning streak in dominant fashion. In moving a step closer to a mandatory shot at titlist Errol Spence Jr., Ugas scored first-round knockdown with a right hand, won every round and then blasted Robinson, 32, of Philadelphia, with a huge right hand to the forehead to knock him down in the seventh round. Moments later, as Cuba native Ugas, 31, of Miami, battered Robinson, referee Robert Byrd stopped it at 1 minute, 5 seconds.
Saturday at El Paso, Texas
Devon Alexander D12 Victor Ortiz - Full recap
Scores: 115-113 Ortiz, 114-114 (twice)
Records: Alexander (27-4-1, 14 KOs); Ortiz (32-6-3, 25 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Judges Levi Martinez and Glen Crocker turned in awful scorecards to call this a draw and Don Griffin's scorecard in favor of Ortiz was historically bad. An absurd decision in a fight the rest of the world saw Alexander clearly win. It was a good fight between former world titlists and, for a change, Ortiz, 31, of Ventura, California, showed ample heart. But Alexander, 31, of St. Louis, got jobbed badly as he should have won his second fight in a row since a 25-month layoff caused mainly by a painkiller addiction. He looked as good as he has in years. Ortiz didn't look bad, but in no way, shape or form did he deserve a draw.
Caleb Plant W12 Rogelio "Porky" Medina - Full recap
Super middleweight - Title eliminator
Scores: 120-108, 119-109, 117-111
Records: Plant (17-0, 10 KOs); Medina (38-9, 32 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Plant's cautious boxing style can be frustrating to watch at times but it was highly effective as he scored his biggest win against the battle-tested former title challenger Medina. Plant, 25, of Las Vegas, dominated from start to finish by throwing and landing way more punches as he moved a step closer to a mandatory shot at the belt held by Caleb Truax. Medina, 29, of Mexico, was overweight and ineligible to reap a rankings reward in the eliminator.
Saturday at Manchester, England
George Groves W12 Chris Eubank Jr. - Full recap
retains a super middleweight title - World Boxing Super Series semifinals
Scores: 117-112, 116-112, 115-113
Records: Groves (28-3, 20 KOs); Eubank Jr. (26-2, 20 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: In a bitter all-British rivalry fight, Groves retained his title for the second time and advanced to the June 2 final of the World Boxing Super Series to face the winner of Saturday's Callum Smith-Juergen Braehmer fight -- if Groves, 29, is healthy. He appeared to dislocate his shoulder in the final round of a bloody, exciting fight with Eubank, 28, who fought with a bad cut over his left eye from the third round on. They traded back and forth at times but the more technically sound Groves controlled the combat for the most part and outboxed the incredibly sloppy Eubank, who appeared to have no particular game plan other than to wing wild shots and show heart. Eubank went all out in the final round and hurt Groves but couldn't put him away.
Friday at Reno, Nev.
Raymundo Beltran W12 Paulus Moses - Full recap
Wins a vacant lightweight title
Scores: 117-111 (twice), 116-112
Records: Beltran (35-7-1, 21 KOs); Moses (40-4, 25 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: After 18 years as a pro and in his fourth (and probably last) chance for a world title, Mexico's Beltran, 36, of Phoenix, realized his dream against Moses, 39, a former titlist from Namibia, who was trying to become the oldest fighter ever to win a 135-pound title. It was an action-packed fight as Beltran and Moses let it all hang out from the outset. It was competitive all the way despite the two wide scorecards. Moses buckled Beltran a few times, but Beltran weathered those moments and took over in the second half of the fight to pull away on all three scorecards. Though Beltran suffered a bloody cut over his right eye in the third round, there's a chance he could be back May 12 to defend against pound-for-pound king Vasiliy Lomachenko, the junior lightweight titlist who is moving up in weight.
Egidijus Kavaliauskas TKO6 David Avanesyan - Full recap
Records: Kavaliauskas (19-0, 16 KOs); Avanesyan (23-3-1, 11 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: In his first step-up fight, "Mean Machine" Kavaliauskas, 29, the Oxnard, California-based two-time Olympian for Lithuania, methodically took apart former interim titlist Avanesyan, 29, of Russia, who suffered his first stoppage loss. The heavy-handed Kavaliauskas finally put his punches together in the sixth round when he hammered Avanesyan with a series of hard shots, including a brutal right hand to the head, causing referee Tony Weeks to intervene at 1 minute, 55 seconds. Kavaliauskas then called out the winner of the April 14 fight between titleholder Jeff Horn and Terence Crawford.
Also on the card, 20-year-old featherweight prospect Shakur Stevenson (5-0, 2 KOs), a 2016 U.S. Olympic silver medalist from Newark, New Jersey, cruised to an 80-72 shutout win on all three scorecards against Juan Tapia (8-2, 3 KOs), 24, of Brownsville, Texas.
Friday at London
Joe Joyce KO1 Rudolf Jozic
Records: Joyce (2-0, 2 KOs); Jozic (4-2, 3 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: England's Joyce, 32, the 2016 Olympic super heavyweight silver medalist, turned pro in October and needed eight rounds for a knockout. In pro fight No. 2 he needed a round as he set a quick pace against Croatia native Jozic, 25, of Germany, and had an easy time. Joyce, promoted by Richard Schaefer and former heavyweight titlist David Haye, worked his right hand to the body and head and had Jozic backing up from the outset. Late in the round, he cornered Jozic and nailed him behind the ear with a lopping overhand right that dropped him to all fours. Jozic tried to rise but could not beat the count from referee Lee Cook, who counted him out at 3 minutes, 6 seconds (because the bell could not save Jozic). Joyce plans to move quickly, given his age, and his promoters hope to match him next against former title challenger Dereck Chisora, which would be a massive step up in competition for Joyce.