This past weekend was filled with great fights. Miss any of it? Here's what you need to know:
Saturday at London:
Middleweight Gennady Golovkin (36-0, 33 KOs) TKO5 Kell Brook (36-1, 25 KOs). Golovkin retains unified middleweight titles
Golovkin, the feared middleweight knockout machine, and Brook, the dangerous welterweight titleholder, both had the same problem of being unable to lure the best fighters in their division to face them. Credit Brook for having the bravery to move up to weight divisions to fight Golovkin in a match that came about after so many others had fled from GGG, and Brook's own unification fight with Jessie Vargas fell apart at the last minute.
The move, however, did not go well for Brook, who showed plenty of heart and skills. He got in his licks on a night in which GGG did not look at his best, but the result was the same as usual: a Golovkin knockout victory (his 23rd in a row) and 17th successful title defense (only three away from tying Bernard Hopkins' division-record 20). Golovkin, 34, a Kazakhstan native living in Santa Monica, California, was simply too big and strong for the man moving up in weight. Despite how fit Brook, 30, looked at the weight, he could not deal with the power and Golovkin rocked him repeatedly. Golovkin did get hit quite a bit, and was marked up, but never flinched because there was not much steam on Brook's shots.
Golovkin rocked Brook, bidding for a historic upset, in the opening minute of the fight with a left hook, broke the orbital bone around his right eye in the second or third round, and then was battering him in the fifth round when Dominic Ingle, Brook's trainer, threw in the towel, causing referee Marlon Wright to wave off the fight at 1 minute, 57 seconds. It was an abrupt end to what had been a very exciting fight. Golovkin will most likely move on to a Nov. 26 fight, possibly against mandatory challenger (and secondary titlist) Daniel Jacobs or a unification fight with Billy Joe Saunders (who has already ducked him). One thing we know: GGG's next foe won't be Canelo Alvarez, who seems to want no part of him either. As for Brook, he likely will vacate his 147-pound title and return at junior middleweight, where he should figure in the world title hunt right away.
Bantamweight Lee Haskins (34-3, 14 KOs) W12 Stuart Hall (20-5-2, 7 KOs). Haskins retains a bantamweight title (Scores: 117-111, 116-112, 115-113)
The storyline heading into the fight was repeat or revenge, and it was repeat as Haskins, 32, outpointed British countryman and former world titleholder Hall, 36, for the second time, having also beaten him in a 2012 bout for the vacant European title. Haskins looked like he might make it an easy night as he easily outboxed the slower Hall for much of the first half of the fight, but Hall came roaring back over the second half of the fight and began to get to Haskins with his heavier punches more and more. Despite getting nailed with powerful shots, Haskins stayed on his feet and boxed and moved enough to take the decision, even though the 117-111 scorecard was surprisingly wide. There was no controversy over the outcome as even Hall, despite the late-round success, admitted that he gave away too many early rounds to catch up without getting the knockout.
Flyweight Johnriel Casimero (23-3, 15 KOs) TKO10 Charlie Edwards (8-1, 3 KOs). Casimero retains a flyweight title
Edwards, 23, was a good amateur, but after only 18 months as a pro and having never faced a quality opponent, was in over his head against the battle-tested two-time titleholder Casimero, 26, of the Philippines.
Casimero, making his first title defense since regaining the belt by fourth-round knockout of Thailand's Amnat Ruenroeng in May, was much too experienced and a much bigger hitter for Edwards to deal with. While Edwards was short with so many punches, and resorted to running at times, Casimero stalked him and landed many clean shots when he got inside. He shook up Edwards with an uppercut in the fourth round and a right hand in the seventh. By the 10th round, Edwards was running out of gas and Casimero knocked him down with a hard left hand. The fight probably should have been stopped right then, but referee Steve Gray gave a groggy Edwards another chance. That chance ended at 1 minute, 57 seconds as Gray ended the bout as Casimero nailed Edwards with two right hands.
Saturday at Inglewood, California:
Junior bantamweight Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez (46-0, 39 KOs) W12 Carlos Cuadras (35-1-1, 27 KOs). Gonzalez wins a junior bantamweight title (Scores: 117-111, 116-112, 115-113)
In a terrific fight fought a very high skill level, pound-for-pound king Gonzalez, 29, of Nicaragua, made boxing history as the first fighter from his country to win titles in four weight classes, something his hero and mentor, the late Hall of Famer Alexis Arguello, failed to do in two attempts against Aaron Pryor.
Gonzalez did not cherry pick a belt either. Already a champion at strawweight, junior bantamweight and flyweight, he moved up in weight and edged Mexico's excellent Cuadras, 28, who was no worse than No. 2 in the world at 115 pounds and making his seventh title defense. Gonzalez earned the belt in an exciting, intense battle worthy of its stature as an HBO main event. They traded a lot of powerful punches, although Gonzalez's knockout power does seem a bit diminished as he moves up the scale. Nonetheless, he is so precise with both hands, his footwork is so outstanding and his chin so dependable that he got the better of Cuadras. In fact, Gonzalez dominated early before Cuadras, who raised swelling under Gonzalez's left eye in the fourth round courtesy of a right hand, came roaring back and tested Gonzalez like he has never been tested before.
Gonzalez had gotten the better of Cuadras overall and was a worthy victor in a fight in which he outpunched and outlanded Cuadras, according to CompuBox statistics (Gonzalez landed 323 of 905 blows to Cuadras' 258 of 893. With another title secured, the big fight for Gonzalez is a unification against Japanese prodigy Naoya Inoue (11-0, 9 KOs), already a two-division titleholder at age 23. Inoue was ringside on a scouting mission and the fight, a dream match in the lower weight divisions, could happen next year.
Junior middleweight Yoshihiro Kamegai (27-3-2, 24 KOs) TKO8 Jesus Soto Karass (28-11-4, 18 KOs)
On April 15, on a small card in Los Angeles, Soto Karass, 33, of Mexico, and Kamegai, 33, of Japan, both known for their penchant for all-action fights, waged a hellacious fight of year candidate that ended in a split draw, 97-93 for Kamegai, 96-94 for Soto Karass and 95-95. The fight was so good that HBO picked up the rematch and, once again, they delivered the expected action. The difference, however, was that this time Kamegai, a bit quicker and more accurate, dominated.
Although this one won't be in the fight of the year discussion, it was still exciting and hard-hitting. It was essentially as though they were picking up in round 11. They both opened the fight by going full blast to the body. Kamegai hurt Soto Karass with one of the many left hands to the body, forcing him to take a step back and then grab on. Kamegai never relented, hammering downstairs throughout the fight. A body shot in the seventh round also visibly hurt Soto Karass, but he rallied to bang Kamegai with hard right hands to the head. In the eighth round, Kamegai landed a clean right uppercut that Soto Karass leaned into. It hurt him badly and he grabbed on to Kamegai to stay on his feet, but later in the round a left hand and a right sent him into the ropes and down to all fours. Soto Karass barely beat the count from referee Jack Reiss and took a beating for the final minute of the round.
Soto Karass' corner then did the right thing and stopped the fight in the corner after the eighth round. According to CompuBox punch statistics, Kamegai landed 325 of 653 punches (50 percent) and Soto Karass connected with 237 of 704 (34 percent).
Also on the card in California, lightweight prospect Ryan Martin (16-0, 9 KOs), 23, of Cleveland, cruised to a unanimous decision over late replacement Cesar Villaraga (9-2, 4 KOs), 31, a 2012 Olympian from Colombia, who took the fight on a few days' notice. Martin won 79-72, 79-72 and 78-7. Martin scored the only knockdown of the bout, sending Villaraga to the canvas with a right hand in the fourth round.
Saturday at Lemoore, California:
Heavyweight Andy Ruiz (29-0, 19 KOs) W10 Franklin Lawrence (21-3-2, 16 KOs). Scores: 100-90, 99-91 (twice)
Ruiz, 27, went into the televised main event knowing there were big things to come with a victory and he secured his next fight with near-shutout decision against Lawrence, 40, of Indianapolis, whose nine-fight winning streak came to an end.
Ruiz, a Mexico native fighting out of Imperial, California, hurt Lawrence in the second round and proceeded to dominate the remainder of the fight in a methodical performance. With the win, Ruiz set himself up for a world title elimination fight with Hughie Fury (20-0, 10 KOs), the 21-year-old first cousin of heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury. Assuming the remaining details are finalized, the bout will take place in Fury's hometown of Manchester, England, on Oct. 29 on the undercard of the Tyson Fury-Wladimir Klitschko rematch.
Also on the card, lightweight contender Raymundo Beltran (31-7-1, 19 KOs), 35, of Mexico, seeking another world title opportunity, scored a fifth-round knockout of 32-year-old countryman Miguel Angel Mendoza (23-9-2, 22 KOs), who lost for the third time in his last four fights.
Saturday at Stockholm:
Sweden heavyweight Dereck Chisora (26-6, 18 KOs) KO2 Drazan Janjanin
On May 7, Chisora, 32, of England, lost a split decision to fellow former world title challenger Kubrat Pulev in a fight for the vacant European title. Making his return, Chisora got a gimme against Drazan Janjanin (13-8, 12 KOs), 27, of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Chisora did not appear to take the fight very seriously, coming in at a career-heavy 262 pounds. He still overwhelmed his low-level opponent, putting him away for the 10-count with a left hand to the body in the second round.
Friday at Reading, Pennsylvania:
Middleweight Daniel Jacobs (32-1, 29 KOs) TKO7 Sergio Mora (28-5-2, 9 KOs). Jacobs retains a middleweight title
Jacobs, 29, of Brooklyn, New York, stopped former junior middleweight titlist Mora, 35, of East Los Angeles, in August 2015 to retain his secondary title in a shootout. In that fight, both competitors were down in the opening round, then the fight ended in the second round when Mora went down again (with a broken ankle). Jacobs wanted to move on to a bigger fight, but none were doable. Mora, barking about how their first fight was not a real knockout , enticed Jacobs to accept in the main event of Premier Boxing Champions card on Spike. This time around, Jacobs erased any remote lingering doubts about the veracity of the first result, including to Mora, as Jacobs floored him five times in a dominant knockout victory.
Jacobs was relentless against Mora, who tried to box and move, but was eventually enveloped in Jacobs' onslaught. He dropped Mora with a left to the head in the fourth round and again in the fifth round. In the seventh, Jacobs dropped him three more times, first on a left-right combination, then on a body shot and, finally, under another withering assault, which forced referee Gary Rosato to wave it off at 2 minutes, 8 seconds. Jacobs clearly proved his point that he is the better fighter and the win could propel him to a major fight against unified titleholder Gennady Golovkin in November.
Lightweight Robert Easter (18-0, 14 KOs) W12 Richard Commey (24-1, 22 KOs). Easter wins a vacant lightweight title (Scores: 115-112, 114-113 Easter, 114-113 Commey)
Fighting for the belt Rances Barthelemy vacated to move up in weight, Easter, 25, of Toledo, Ohio, and Commey, 29, of Ghana, put on a sensational battle that should be an honorable mention fight of the year contender as Easter pulled out the win in a very close, brutal confrontation. Both fighters had their moments in a highly entertaining back-and-forth fight in which both fighters showed their toughness and skills.
Commey's biggest moment came in the eighth round when he landed a right hand that badly buckled Easter. Referee Benjy Esteves Jr. awarded Commey a knockdown when he ruled that Easter's right glove touched the canvas. However, television replays showed that Easter's glove absolutely did not touch the canvas. Fortunately, the blown call did not impact the eventual outcome. They went toe to toe in the ninth round and continued to both go for it in the final rounds of the blazing fight. Easter closed out the fight by hurting and wobbling Commey with a massive overhand right seconds into the 12th round. It was impressive that Commey stayed on his feet and made it to the final bell.
Friday at Moscow:
Junior welterweight Eduard Troyanovsky (25-0, 22 KOs) TKO2 Keita Obara (16-2-1, 15 KOs). Troyanovsky retains a junior welterweight title
In a mandatory defense, Troyanovsky, 36, of Russia, easily took care of the overmatched Obara, 29, of Japan, who really had no business in a world title match. In the second round, Troyanovsky knocked Obara clean through the ropes and to the arena floor with a flurry of shots. Thinking the fight was over, Troyanovsky did a back flip and began to celebrate. But the fight not over as Obara collected himself, climbed the stairs and re-entered the ring having beaten the 20-count allowed in this sort of situation.
As soon as the fight resumed, Troyanovsky was all over him. He landed a ferocious right hand and several other shots, forcing referee Mike Ortega to wave off the fight at 1 minute, 35 seconds.
Also on the card, cruiserweight contender Rakhim Chakhkiev (26-2, 19 KOs), 33, a 2008 Russian Olympic gold medalist and former world title challenger, won his second fight in a row as he put away Alejandro Emilio Valori (21-11, 15 KOs), 33, of Argentina, 30 seconds into the second round of their scheduled 10-round bout.