A roundup of the past week's notable boxing results from around the world:
Sunday at Winter Park, Fla.
Juan Carlos Payano W12 Rau'shee Warren
Retains a bantamweight title
Scores: 113-111 (twice) Payano, 115-109 Warren
Records: Payano (17-0, 8 KOs); Warren (13-1, 4 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Payano, 31, of the Dominican Republic, was a two-time Olympian (2004 and 2008) and made the first defense of his title against fellow southpaw Warren, 28, of Cincinnati, the only three-time U.S. Olympic boxer (2004, 2008 and 2012). As amateurs, they met with Warren winning a decision. It went the other way in their pro fight -- a grueling, hard-fought and exciting fight -- albeit one that featured three point deductions for fouls -- that headlined the first edition of Premier Boxing Champions on Bounce TV.
Warren, who lost in the opening fight of each Olympic tournament and also came up short in his pro world title shot, looked to be the winner in a close fight. He boxed and was precise with his punches while Payano, as expected, pressured him and often threw caution to the wind with his go-for-broke style and often reckless style.
In the third round, referee Frank Santore Jr. docked a point from Payano for hitting Warren behind the head. A low blow in the fourth round floored Payano, but Santore did not take a point from Warren for the infraction.
The fight was very intense. Payano, who won the belt by big upset by six-round technical decision against long-reigning titleholder Anselmo Moreno 11 months ago, was cut over his right eye during the fifth round, they tackled each other in the sixth round and, in a chaotic eighth round, Payano got cut again (this time over the left eye) on an accidental head butt.
In the ninth round, Payano slipped to the canvas and Warren nailed him with a right hand while he was down. Santore could have disqualified him immediately, but elected to instead take away two points from Warren for the intentional, flagrant foul. Then another accidental head butt did more damage to Payano's face, which had at least three cuts and a swollen right eye.
Warren closed strong by landing a right hand for a knockdown in the 12th round, from which Payano immediately - and very acrobatically - sprung to his feet. In the end, the split decision will be questioned by many, but there were a lot of close, hard-to-score rounds. However, it seemed as though Warren did enough to eke it out. He said he wanted a rematch but Payano said he was not interested.
Jorge Cota W10 Yudel Jhonson
Scores: 96-91 (twice), 95-92
Records: Cota (25-1, 22 KOs); Jhonson (17-2, 9 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: In an excellent action fight, Cota, 27, of Mexico, announced his arrival on the world scene with a big win in his United States debut against Jhonson, a 34-year-old southpaw and 2004 Cuban Olympic silver medalist who defected and now lives in Miami. Cota and Jhonson started fast, taking turns hurting each other in the first round, and never let up through their hard-hitting fight. But it was Cota, who did not begin boxing until age 20, who got the better of the action. Cota was credited with two official knockdowns in the fight but referee Telis Assimenios, who did not have a good night, missed two others.
In the third round, as Cota and Jhonson were exchanging punches, Cora caught him with a left hand on the chin. Jhonson, who had been coming in, lurched forward and fell over the bottom rope onto the apron but Assimenios surprisingly ruled it a slip. In the sixth round, Assimenios, without previous warning, made a ticky-tack call and docked Jhonson a point for what he called "pushing and punching." It was weird and an uncalled for penalty.
As they continued to pound away at each other, Cota appeared to graze Jhonson across the top of the head with a left hand and Jhonson went down to his knees with 30 seconds left. Assimenios ruled it a knockdown but it could have been a slip.
There was no doubt about the knockdown in the ninth round when Cota landed a clean left hand to Jhonson's head and he put his glove down on the mat to steady himself. Then Assimenios blew another call later in the ninth round when Cota, who was all over Jhonson, landed a sharp right hand that dropped him to all fours with 42 seconds left in the round but Assimenios stunningly ruled it a slip. Despite Assimenios' uneven performance, Cota got the decision he deserved in a very good fight. With the win, Cota will move on to face John Jackson, who won the other semifinal of this four-man junior middleweight tournament, on a date to be determined.
John Jackson W10 Dennis Laurente
Scores: 100-89 (three times)
Records: Jackson (20-2, 15 KOs); Laurente (49-6, 30 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Jackson, 26, of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, is one of the fighting sons of former middleweight and junior middleweight titleholder Julian Jackson. Jackson won his second fight in a row since suffering a massive fifth-round knockout 14 months ago against Andy Lee, who rallied in that fight and went on to win a middleweight world title. He had no such issues against Laurente, 38, of the Philippines, who saw a six-fight winning streak come to an end. Taller, longer, quicker and more skillful, Jackson dominated Laurente, whose game plan consisted of nothing more than trying to rush Jackson and hope to get lucky with a big punch. Laurente tried to do that in the third round and got caught with a right hand that put him on the canvas for the only knockdown of the fight.
It was a surprisingly easy victory for Jackson, who advanced to the final (date and site to be determined) of a four-man junior middleweight tournament, where he will take on Mexico's Jorge Cota, who outpointed Yudel Jhonson on the card to win the other semifinal match.
Saturday at New York
Danny Garcia TKO9 Paulie Malignaggi
Records: Garcia (31-0, 18 KOs); Malignaggi (33-7, 7 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Going into the fight, many expected it to be a mismatch and that is exactly what it was, as Garcia, younger, fresher, stronger and bigger -- even though he was moving up in weight -- laid a beating on Malignaggi, who had nothing left but his heart.
Garcia, the junior welterweight world champion, has been troubled by making 140 pounds, which is why his previous two fights were catchweight bouts over the division limit, including his tight majority decision win against fellow titlist Lamont Peterson in April. Following that win, Garcia, 27, of Philadelphia, made it official and moved up in weight as everyone expected and was paired with Malignaggi to headline a Premier Boxing Champions card on ESPN in Malignaggi's hometown. Malignaggi, 34, was made to order for Garcia because the former welterweight and junior welterweight titlist is not a big puncher and considerably faded. Also, Malignaggi has not boxed for 16 months -- since then-welterweight titleholder Shawn Porter laid a beating on him in a one-sided fourth-round knockout.
While Garcia did not hammer Malignaggi as severely as Porter did, he did a number on him nonetheless in a wipeout, after which Malignaggi more or less announced his retirement after a 14-year career as an overachiever.
Garcia looked strong in his new weight class, relying on powerful right hands to do much of his damage. He cut Malignaggi over the right eye in the third round and underneath it in the sixth round. Garcia walked Malignaggi down for most of the fight and Malignaggi had nothing to keep him off. The beating was bad in the eighth round as Garcia landed right hands and left hook basically at will and then was doing more damage in the ninth round. When he wobbled Malignaggi, sent him into the ropes and continued to fire shots, referee Arthur Mercante stepped in for a perfect stoppage at 2 minutes, 22 seconds.
The one-sided nature of the fight was reflected in the CompuBox punch statistics as Garcia, ahead by big margins on all three scorecards, landed 121 of 485 punches (25 percent); Malignaggi landed just 77 of 335 (25 percent). Garcia is now in the mix for major fights at 147 pounds. He'd love to fight champion and pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather but he is more likely looking at possible fights with either titlist Keith Thurman or Porter. A rematch with Amir Khan, whom Garcia rallied to knock out to unify 140-pound belts in 2012, would also be outstanding.
Daniel Jacobs TKO2 Sergio Mora
Retains a middleweight title
Records: Jacobs (30-1, 27 KOs); Mora (28-4-2, 9 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Last August, cancer survivor Jacobs, 28, of Brooklyn, won a vacant secondary title by fifth-round knockout of hopelessly overmatched Jarrod Fletcher in front of his hometown fans at the Barclays Center. Jacobs made his first defense in Chicago, knocking out Caleb Truax in the 12th round in April, before returning to the Barclays Center for a defense against former junior middleweight titlist Mora, 34, of east Los Angeles.
Jacobs was the big favorite and did what he was expected to do, but it was wild getting to that point and ended with an unfortunate injury to Mora that short-circuited an interesting fight. The first round will go down as a round of the year candidate that got the Premier Boxing Champions card on ESPN off to a rousing start, as both fighters got knocked down in an exciting sequence. First, Jacobs landed a clean, short right hand to Mora's chin for a knockdown. As Jacobs went for the knockout when the fight resumed, he left himself wide open and Mora, not a big puncher, cracked him with a clean left hand. Jacobs went down and seemed much more hurt than Mora was when he was dropped. Jacobs closed the round well, however, nailing Mora along in a corner as the bell rang to end the round. There was good action again in the second round as they were letting it all hang out when Jacobs appeared to catch Mora with a right hand on top of the head. Mora lurched backward and went down, but appeared to trip over himself and landed very awkwardly on top of his right ankle. Mora got to his feet but was limping and clearly injured, forcing referee Gary Rosato to stop the fight at 2 minutes, 55 seconds.
Jacobs said before the fight that he wanted to become the first person to stop Mora and he did, even if it was because of an injury on the knockdown. Mora was diagnosed with a fracture in his ankle and is scheduled to see a specialist on Tuesday. He'll be out for a stretch but said he wants a rematch. Jacobs said he had no intention of giving him one, at least not next. He plans to move on to a bigger all-Brooklyn showdown with his pal and former titleholder "Kid Chocolate" Peter Quillin, who was ringside. Quillin has a fight scheduled for Sept. 6 -- opponent to be determined -- that he has to get through, but since he is likely going to face a soft touch, it is probably safe to pencil Jacobs-Quillin in for sometime before the end of the year.
Saturday at Hull, England
Luke Campbell TKO10 Tommy Coyle
Lightweight - Title eliminator
Records: Campbell (12-0, 10 KOs); Coyle (21-3, 10 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: For the past year, British boxing fans looked forward to seeing this all-Hull showdown between Campbell and Coyle, friends since childhood but whose relationship was severely frayed, perhaps irreparably during the buildup to this fight, which was for city bragging rights as well as to become the mandatory challenger for 135-pound world titleholder Jorge Linares.
In the end, it was the favored Campbell, 27, a 2012 Olympic gold medalist, the more skillful and better all-around fighter who took care of Coyle, 25, the brawler who has been in some exciting tear-ups. Campbell did it in fine fashion, scoring four knockdowns in front of a wildly enthusiastic crowd of some 15,000 at Craven Park, a rugby stadium in their city.
Campbell's strength showed early when he floored Coyle with a left hand to the body a minute into the second round. Coyle was hurt but was able to beat the count as he continued to try to pressure Campbell. But Campbell, who went past eight rounds for the first time, was very poised and able to pick Coyle apart with precise punching.
Campbell continued to pile up points with clean punching against the game Coyle before scoring three knockdowns in the 10th round. Early in the round, he dropped the brave Coyle with a left hand to the body. Seconds later, Coyle went down again under, this time to his rear end against one of the ring posts while under heavy pressure. When the fight resumed Campbell cornered him again on the other side of the ring and drove him to the mat with another flurry of punches. Again Coyle got to his feet and was able to continue. But when Campbell launched another series of punches to rock him again along the ropes referee Victor Loughlin properly stepped in to call off the fight at 1 minute, 41 seconds. It was a big win for Campbell and a draining loss for Coyle. Hopefully, they can repair their friendship, having finally done their business in the ring. Their respect they showed each other after the fight with a lot of hugs was a good start.
Ricky Burns TKO5 Prince Ofotsu
Records: Burns (38-5-1, 12 KOs); Ofotsu (15-5, 11 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Scotland's Ricky Burns, 32, a former lightweight and junior lightweight titleholder, traveled to the Texas hometown of former lightweight titlist Omar Figueroa Jr. to face him May 9 and lost a hard-fought decision in a junior welterweight fight. Burns said when he returned he would drop back down and fight at lightweight, however, he wound up being 138 against Ofotsu, who was 137, so he has not yet really gone back down in weight. Nonetheless, he banked a victory against Ofotsu, 31, of Ghana, who lost his second fight in a row by knockout. Burns had little resistance from Ofotsu in what amounted to a one-sided sparring session as Burns tagged him with a lot of body shots and right hands. In the fifth round, Burns was doing his thing but Ofotsu was not taking much fire and nothing notable was happening when Ofotsu's trainer threw a white towel into the ring -- which Ofotsu caught -- to surrender, and referee John Latham agreed to call off the fight at 1 minute, 43 seconds. It was a weird ending to a one-sided fight.
Saturday at Invercargill, New Zealand
Joseph Parker KO1 Bowie Tupou
Records: Parker (15-0, 13 KOs) Tupou (25-4, 17 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: New Zealand's Joseph Parker, boxing's best heavyweight prospect this side of England's Anthony Joshua, scored a very impressive knockout in this one against Tupou, 32, born in Tonga and based in Australia. He saw his three-fight winning streak (since a fifth-round knockout loss to contender Bryant Jennings in 2012) go by the wayside in violent fashion.
Parker, 23, who is 6-foot-4, 237 pounds, absolutely annihilated Tupou in just 63 seconds when he landed a powerful right hand across the top of Tupou's head. Tupou crashed the mat face first and after beginning his count, referee Brad Vocale realized he could have counted to a 100, so called off the fight. Parker, who has won rave reviews from heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko for the sparring work he gave him in a recent training camp, is definitely a heavyweight to watch climb the ladder, although it might be time to look for a little better grade of competition. He is due back in action Oct. 15, once again in New Zealand.
Saturday at Morelia, Mexico
Jhonny Gonzalez TKO2 Kazuki Hashimoto
Records: Gonzalez (58-9, 49 KOs); Hashimoto (11-5, 7 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: On March 28 in Las Vegas, Gonzalez lost his featherweight world title by fourth-round knockout to Gary Russell Jr. Making his return, Gonzalez, also a former bantamweight world titleholder, moved up to the junior lightweight division and took on sacrificial lamb Hashimoto, 26, of Japan.
Gonzalez knocked Hashimoto back with an assortment of power shots in an easy first round and then finished him off in the second round. Gonzalez was doing as he pleased when he nailed Hashimoto with a left hook-straight left combination to the head to knock him down. Hashimoto was glassy eyed and wobbly when he made it to his feet and referee Gary Ritter had no choice but to call off the fight at 2 minutes, 56 seconds. With his junior lightweight debut in the books, Gonzalez hopes to land a title shot against Takashi Miura (29-2-2, 22 KOs), 31, of Japan.
Saturday at Frisco, Texas
Chris Avalos W8 Rey Perez
Scores: 80-72 (twice), 79-73
Records: Avalos (26-3, 19 KOs); Perez (20-7, 5 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Blue-chip junior featherweight prospect Jessie Magdaleno was supposed to headline Top Rank's "Solo Boxeo Tecate" card on UniMas against Perez. However, Magdaleno injured his right hand in sparring and Avalos, 25, of Lancaster, California, stepped in on a week's notice to face him.
Avalos was coming off a fifth-round knockout loss in his last fight when he traveled to Northern Ireland to challenge Carl Frampton for his 122-pound world title in a mandatory fight on Feb. 28. But even though Avalos did not look great -- it was very short notice -- against Perez, 24, of the Philippines, he rolled to a near shutout, getting clean sweep on two scorecards and winning seven of the eight rounds on the third card. It was a workmanlike effort from Avalos, who swelled both of Perez's eyes and won easily.
Also on the card, junior lightweight prospect Casey Ramos (20-0, 5 KOs), 26, of Austin, Texas, routed Daniel Evangelista Jr. (17-6-1, 13 KOs), 25, of Mexico, dishing out a beating and winning a shutout decision, 80-72 on all three scorecards.