A roundup of the past week's notable boxing results from around the world:
Sunday at Mashantucket, Connecticut
Roy Jones Jr. (62-8, 45 KOs) TKO6 Eric Watkins (12-10-2, 5 KOs)
Records: Jones Jr. (62-8, 45 KOs); Watkins (12-10-2, 5 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Jones reigned as the untouchable pound-for-pound king from 1994 to 2004, but those days are long gone even as he continues to fight on at age 46 as just a shell of the once supreme fighting machine he once was. It is sad to see. He is Roy Jones Jr. in name only at this point. The incredible speed and reflexes are gone and so too is the once awesome physique. Gone also is the drawing power, judging by the empty seats on display at the Foxwoods Resort Casino.
Jones, of Pensacola, Florida, fought an obviously low-level opponent in Watkins, yet got tagged a few times and backed into the ropes. All Jones could do was throw one punch at a time. He fought virtually the entire fight with his hands at his side, virtually daring Watkins, 28, of Morgantown, West Virginia, to throw a punch at him. Watkins threw some wild right hands and landed a few in an ugly, pointless fight.
In the sixth round, Jones hurt Watkins with a left hook and later in the round connected with another left hook that dropped Watkins flat on his back alongside the ropes, and referee Danny Schiavone waved off the fight at 2 minutes, 59 seconds. It was the second fight in a row in which Watkins got knocked out.
In March, Jones won two fights against low-level opponents 22 days apart. With Watkins dispatched, Jones, who has won eight bouts in a row against woeful opposition, plans to fight again on a brief turnaround against journeyman Danny Santiago (33-7-1, 19 KOs) on Aug. 29 in Philipsburg, Sint Maarten, a Dutch island in the Caribbean.
What Jones, a former four-division titlist (middleweight, super middleweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight) really wants is a shot at a cruiserweight world title. He saw his hopes of a much-discussed shot at Marco Huck's crown go down the drain on Friday night when he was ringside (two days before his own fight!) to watch as Huck got knocked out in the 11th round by Krzysztof Glowacki. If Jones angles for a fight with Glowacki and gets it that would be cause for great concern. It is a very bad idea for Jones to fight him or anyone else of quality without great worry for his physical well-being.
Saturday at Sao Paulo, Brazil
Acelino "Popo" Freitas KO3 Mateo Veron
Records: Freitas (40-2, 34 KOs); Veron (21-17-2, 4 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Brazilian superstar Freitas, 39, a former junior lightweight and lightweight titleholder, retired in 2007 after being stopped by Juan Diaz in a lightweight world title unification fight. In 2012, Freitas, who had been elected to congress in Brazil, returned for what was supposed to be a one-shot deal in his ninth-round knockout victory of antagonist and countryman Michael Oliveira, who had been calling him out, in a junior middleweight fight.
But Freitas, still with the desire to fight, returned again to face 26-year-old Argentina journeyman Veron -- after talks for a rematch with Oliveira fell apart -- in an easy and explosive victory.
About a minute into the fight Freitas showed the power he is known for, dropping Veron face-first with a flush right hand to the head. Surprisingly, Veron beat the count. Veron went down again from a right hand about 30 seconds into the third round, and as soon as the fight resumed he was down again from another right hand. Moments later, Freitas laid Veron out, crushing him with a right uppercut that sent his mouthpiece flying out of the ring as Veron crashed face-first to the mat as referee Antonio Bernardo Soares immediately waved off the fight with 1 minute, 53 seconds left in the round as Veron was out cold. It was a sensational knockout-of-the-year kind of knockout.
Saturday at Montreal
Lucian Bute TKO4 Andrea Di Luisa
Records: Bute (32-2, 25 KOs); Di Luisa (17-3, 13 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Former super middleweight titlist Bute, 35, the darling of his adopted hometown Montreal, made a triumphant return to the ring after a 19-month layoff. Bute had been out of action since losing a relatively one-sided 12-round unanimous decision to former light heavyweight champion and fellow Montreal rival Jean Pascal in January 2014 in what many heralded as the biggest fight in Quebec history. Bute, a southpaw, was due to return from the loss in December but suffered a back injury during training that kept him out many months longer.
Despite the long layoff, Bute, who had made nine title defenses during his 2007 to 2012 world title reign that ended by knockout to Carl Froch, looked pretty sharp after taking a couple of rounds to get used to the ring again. Of course, after the long layoff, he was going to take a lesser fight to get back into the swing of things. It came against Di Luisa, 33, who had never faced a quality opponent, was fighting outside of his home country of Italy for the first time and lost to Bute in an amateur fight.
So this went just about as most expected -- an easy win for Bute, despite the questions stemming from the layoff and injury. According to CompuBox punch statistics, Bute, fighting at a contract weight of 171 pounds, landed 64 of 158 punches (41 percent) and Di Luisa landed 35 of 205 blows (17 percent).
Even before the first bell rang the Bell Centre crowd was already chanting "Bute! Bute!" and he did not let the fans down. He was very deliberate and poised during the first two rounds, which he won easily. Bute began to let his hands go more and picked up the pace in a big third round as he landed good left hands and uppercuts that rocked Di Luisa, whose four-fight winning streak ended.
Midway through the fourth round, Bute connected with a clean straight left hand to Di Luisa's head and he dropped to all fours. He beat the count, but Bute was all over him. As he rained punches on Di Luisa, who was bleeding from a cut under his right eye, Di Luisa's corner threw in the towel and referee Steve St. Germain waved off the fight at 1 minute, 53 seconds. Bute celebrated, yelling to the television camera "I'm back!"
Eleider "Storm" Alvarez W12 Isidro Ranoni Prieto
Scores: 117-111 (three times)
Records: Alvarez (18-0, 10 KOs); Prieto (24-1-3, 20 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Alvarez, 31, a 2008 Colombian Olympian now living in Montreal, stayed on track for an eventual mandatory title shot against world champion Adonis Stevenson, also of Montreal, who was ringside. Alvarez did not have an easy time with Prieto, 29, who is from Paraguay and based in Argentina, despite the fairly one-sided scorecards. When Alvarez boxed, he did well. When Prieto dragged him into exchanges it was another story.
Prieto stunned Alvarez several times during the fight, including with a right hand at the end of the first round, but was not able to take control of the fight except for brief moments. Prieto had hurt Alvarez with a flurry of shots in the sixth round and also landed some powerful blows in the seventh and ninth. Alvarez showed a lot of grit getting through those difficult moments. But he was the quicker, better boxer and displayed a quality jab, all of which must have counted to the judges. Prieto opened a cut over Alvarez's right eye in the 11th round.
Alvarez's pure aggression was obvious based on the CompuBox punch statistics as he landed 203 of 846 blows (24 percent). Alvarez was more accurate but much more conservative with his pace, landing 195 of 482 punches (40 percent).
Saturday at Guamuchil, Mexico
Carlos Cuadras TKO5 Dixon Flores
Retains a junior bantamweight title
Records: Cuadras (33-0-1, 26 KOs); Flores (11-3-2, 3 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Mexico's Cuadras, 26, fighting in his hometown, made his fourth defense against the hand-picked Flores, 21, who was fighting outside of his home country of Nicaragua for the first time. This was a gimme of all gimmes. Flores' presence in a world title fight is beyond comprehension given his absolutely meaningless résumé.
So it came as zero surprise that Cuadras, who started a tad slow, picked up the pace as the fight wore on and steadily broke down his inexperienced opponent. Cuadras hurt Flores in the third and fourth rounds, although what Flores lacked in ability he showed in the heart department. But bravery will take an overmatched opponent only so far. In the fifth round, Cuadras knocked Flores, whose four-fight winning streak came to an end, down twice. In the opening seconds of the round, Cuadras landed a flurry of shots, including a left hook for a knockdown. About 30 seconds later Cuadras unloaded another flurry, including catching Flores with a left hook to the body, and he went down again. Flores beat the count, but referee Frank Garza had seen enough and waved off the fight at 1 minute, 11 seconds.
Saturday at Krasnodar, Russia
Vyacheslav "Czar" Glazkov KO4 Kertson Manswell
Records: Glazkov (21-0-1, 13 KOs); Manswell (24-12, 18 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Glazkov, 30, a 2008 Ukrainian Olympic bronze medalist, won a very disputed decision against Steve Cunningham on March 14 in Montreal in a title elimination bout to become one of the mandatory challengers to heavyweight world champion Wladimir Klitschko. But with Klitschko having other business to attend to, Glazkov won't get his shot until at least next year. So, promoter Main Events kept him busy with this fight against Manswell, who is nothing more than an opponent with no chance to actually win. Sure enough Manswell, 38, of Trinidad and Tobago, dropped his fourth fight in a row and ninth in his past 10 as Glazkov got in a few rounds in an utterly one-sided fight against an out-of-shape opponent. Glazkov picked him apart and Manswell showed zero desire for combat and was in a defensive survival mode from the outset. Glazkov rocked him with an uppercut in the second round and then dropped him to his knees with the cleanest right hand in the world. However, referee Alexander Kalinkin incredibly ruled it a slip. It was the most obvious and clean head shot you could ever see. It was one of the most pathetic missed calls ever. Nonetheless, Manswell was given time to recover.
Kalinkin seemed to miss another knockdown that was ruled a slip when Glazkov floored Manswell with another right hand in the third round. Later in the third round, Glazkov caught him with another right hand to the head that dropped him to his knees and, finally, Kalinkin ruled a knockdown. In the fourth round Manswell went down to all fours from a half-hearted left hand. He simply didn't want to fight and stayed down until Kalinkin counted him out with 1 minute, 15 seconds left in the round. Glazkov gets the expected win against an opponent who came for the check and a referee who didn't deserve his.
Friday at Newark, New Jersey
Antonio Tarver D12 Steve Cunningham
Scores: 115-113 Tarver, 115-113 Cunningham, 114-114
Records: Tarver (31-6-1, 22 KOs); Cunningham (28-7-1, 13 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Tarver, the 46-year-old former light heavyweight world champion from Tampa, Florida, and Cunningham, 39, a former two-time cruiserweight titleholder from Philadelphia, are near the end of fine careers but still in search of one more title shot, this time at heavyweight. They are on the fringes, make no mistake, and after a draw in which neither looked all that good a title fight will be a hard sell to the public. Tarver barely fights anymore anyway. He has fought only once per year from 2009 on and this will almost surely be his only bout of 2015. Neither man has a prayer of getting a shot at Wladimir Klitschko, the real champion. But a shot at titleholder Deontay Wilder is not out of the realm of possibility because Wilder, Tarver and Cunningham are all with manager Al Haymon. So should Wilder survive a Sept. 26 defense (opponent to be announced) and a mandatory against Alexander Povetkin in early 2016, one might get the chance later next year. If somebody does, it probably should be Tarver, whom many thought deserved the decision in what was no doubt a close fight with occasional bursts of action.
Tarver, a southpaw, clearly did more damage throughout the fight than Cunningham, even though he said he hurt his left hand in the second round. Tarver's punches were heavier, especially his superb left hand, and he swelled Cunningham's right eye in the fourth round. He also had Cunningham in some trouble in the ninth round. Even though Tarver threw far fewer punches, when he landed he shook Cunningham.
According to CompuBox punch statistics, the much busier but less accurate Cunningham landed 154 of 678 punches (23 percent) while Tarver connected on 141 of 450 blows (31 percent). Both men claimed victory after the fight but they did agree on one thing -- no rematch.
Krzysztof Glowacki TKO11 Marco Huck
Wins a cruiserweight title
Records: Glowacki (25-0, 16 KOs); Huck (38-3-1, 26 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: How good was this ferocious fight? It is a very strong candidate for fight of the year, round of the year (the sixth), knockout of the year and upset of the year.
The fight was supposed to be a coronation for Huck, 30, of Germany, who had come to the United States to fight for the first time hoping to set the all-time cruiserweight title defense record at 14, make a big hit with U.S. fans watching the Premier Boxing Champions card on Spike TV and set the stage for an eventual move up to heavyweight. Huck was tied with England's Johnny Nelson with 13 cruiserweight title defenses in the 37-year-old weight class and they are going stay that way after the previously unknown Glowacki, 29, of Poland, got off to a strong start, but then found himself in deep trouble before rebounding for the sensational knockout and upset to end a great fight as the largely Polish crowd of 5,843 went absolutely nuts.
Glowacki, the mandatory challenger, took on Huck, working with new trainer Don House for the first time, from the outset and it took Huck a few rounds to get into the flow of the fight. But Huck, who has been involved in several barnburners, came storming back in an exciting fight. No round was more thrilling than the sixth, in which Huck landed a left hook to the temple one minute in to knock Glowacki down. He beat the count and immediately stormed at Huck, engaging him a wild action round. They continued to trade big shots but Huck, who opened a cut over Glowacki's right eye in the 10th round, had established control of the fight. Going into the 11th round, Huck was ahead on all three scorecards, 96-93, 96-93 and 95-94. But Glowacki, as determined as any fighter one could imagine, was not going to be denied.
He blasted Huck with a left hand and a right to the head to knock Huck down for the first time in his career. He was badly hurt and referee David Fields easily could have stopped the fight, but he gave Huck a chance to continue. Glowacki was all over him. He pummeled Huck with a series of thudding shots that finally drove Huck into the ropes until he slumped between them as Fields waved off the fight at 2 minutes, 39 seconds. It was a spectacular fight with a wickedly violent knockout that will most definitely be in the fight of the year discussion come December.
Artur Szpilka TKO2 Yasmany Consuegra
Records: Szpilka (20-1, 15 KOs); Consuegra (17-2, 14 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Following the Antonio Tarver-Steve Cunningham main event, many from the largely Polish crowd remained to watch Poland's popular Szpilka, a 26-year-old southpaw, easily stop Consuegra, 31, a Cuban defector living in Miami. Szpilka dominated the brief fight. He hurt Consuegra early, dropped him in the second round and then Consuegra complained of a knee injury. After he went back to his corner after the second round -- and looked in rough shape -- referee Harvey Dock waved off the fight. Consuegra did not look like he came to fight as he lost his second bout in a row, having been knocked out in the third round by 2012 U.S. Olympian Dominic Breazeale on June 6.
Szpilka, who earlier this year moved to Houston to train with Ronnie Shields, was victorious in their third fight together. Szpilka won his fourth bout in a row since suffering a 10th-round knockout loss to contender Bryant Jennings in January 2014.
Friday at Melbourne, Australia
Lucas Browne KO9 Julius Long
Records: Browne (23-0, 20 KOs); Long (16-19, 14 KOs)
Rafael's remarks: Australia's Brown, 36, who is 6-foot-4, 255 pounds, is the mandatory challenger for the winner of the rematch between secondary titleholder Ruslan Chagaev and Fres Oquendo. They will meet later this year with Browne getting the next shot. But he wanted to remain busy and took on the 7-1, 274-pound Long, a Detroit native based in New Zealand. Long took the fight on short notice after two other opponents dropped out.
It took Browne a few rounds to adjust to Long's height. Browne also was having problems because he said he injured his right thumb early in the bout and was limited to mostly using his left hand. But Browne worked through his problems. He rocked Long in the sixth round, dropped him with a series of head shots in the eighth round and then knocked him out cold with a brutal left hand at 2 minutes, 59 seconds of the ninth round.
"It wasn't my best performance, but full credit to Julius," Browne said. "He took that fight on one week's notice and he's a warrior. I hit him with some good shots and he soaked them up. It was a bit of a struggle with my thumb. I think I did it literally the first time I threw my right hand. It was definitely in the first round. I hope my thumb heals quickly because looking forward to getting back into training as soon as I can. I need to iron a few things out but I'm ready to work."