The return of former lightweight champion Richard Commey was a big boom. Commey's blistering right hook nearly knocked Jackson Marinez through the ropes as Commey secured a sixth-round knockout victory Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Commey (30-3, 27 KOs) stalked Marinez (19-2, 7 KOs) in the early rounds, using his strength to bully Marinez around the ring, while Marinez tried to keep Commey away by flashing superior boxing skills. But the 33-year-old Commey was a man on a mission, fighting for his country of Ghana in his first bout in 14 months.
The Commey-Marinez bout was elevated to Top Rank's main event after Joe Smith Jr. vs. Maxim Vlasov was postponed because Vlasov tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday. As a result, Commey took center stage on Saturday.
This was Commey's first fight since losing his IBF lightweight title to Teofimo Lopez by second-round TKO in December 2019. One of the most interesting aspects of Saturday night was Lopez's passionate, in-person support of Commey. Before the fight, Lopez went to Commey's locker room, where they shared an embrace together and the champion gave Commey encouragement. During the fight, Lopez was in Commey's corner, encouraging him and giving in-fight tips.
The 30-year-old Marinez, of the Dominican Republic, was coming off a hotly contested and controversial unanimous decision loss to Rolando Romero in August. With two straight losses, it's time for Marinez to regroup.
For Commey, he is back in the thick of a very hot lightweight division that includes Lopez, Gervonta "Tank" Davis, Ryan Garcia and Devin Haney. Commey hopes this win will help him get back to another big fight.
Lopez edges Sanchez by majority decision
Featherweight Adam Lopez (15-2, 6 KOs) defeated Jason Sanchez (15-2, 8 KOs) by majority decision in a tightly contested fight.
The scorecards read 95-95, 97-93 and 96-94, with the latter two both favoring Lopez.
The 26-year-old Sanchez, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, took early control of the fight looking like the aggressor and more effective puncher. But the 24-year-old Lopez, of Glendale, California, came alive in the second half of the fight. It was a tale of two halves in this fight.
Sanchez thrived in the inside, while Lopez had more success boxing on the outside. Neither fighter looked seriously hurt at any point, and with two tight rounds to close the fight, it wouldn't have been a surprise to see the match go the other way.
With two consecutive strong wins, over Sanchez and Luis Coria, Lopez is back on track in his pursuit of becoming a featherweight contender. His lone losses were to former WBO featherweight champion Oscar Valdez and current WBO junior featherweight champion Stephen Fulton.
Anderson extends KO streak
Exciting heavyweight prospect Jared Anderson (8-0, 8 KOs) delivered a sixth-round knockout of Kingsley Ibeh (5-2-1, KOs) to continue his impressive KO streak.
The 21-year-old Anderson delivered a three-punch combination that culminated with an explosive, short left hook to end Ibeh's night early. Anderson fought some much-needed rounds, with only one of his previous bouts reaching Round 4 before Saturday. The Toledo, Ohio, native came into the fight with five first-round knockouts in his first seven fights, but he was eager to show he is more than just a knockout artist. He did.
Anderson's left jab was precise, his movement was fluid and he showed impressive patience waiting for his spot against an unorthodox, tough Ibeh, who often switched between disciplines and threw from unique angles.
The 27-year-old Ibeh was knocked out cold for a few moments before being carefully helped to his feet a few minutes later. The Phoenix native landed a few hard blows of his own on Anderson. Ultimately, Ibeh couldn't survive the power.
Anderson, who was a training partner for Tyson Fury ahead of the second Deontay Wilder fight, continues his ascension of the heavyweight ranks.
Anderson said after Saturday's bout he plans to keep fighting undefeated prospects and elevating his opponent talent pool. He has done nothing but impress so far.
Puente outpoints Vega in battle of unbeaten fighters
Lightweight prospect Eric Puente (5-0, 0 KOs) scored a unanimous decision victory over Sergio Vega (2-1-1, 2 KOs), of Sacramento, California, in a battle between two previously undefeated counter punchers.
Neither fighter landed blows that significantly hurt the other, but Puente, of San Diego, was more active and effective in earning the victory, which was scored 40-36 by all three judges.
The 21-year-old Puente is trained by Robert Garcia.
Tucker finishes Rodriguez with body punch
Welterweight prospect Jahi Tucker (3-0, 2 KOs) delivered a vicious left hook to the liver, knocking out Eric Rodriguez (1-2, 1 KO) midway through the second round.
The 18-year-old Tucker, of Deer Park, New York, turned pro in September, and he is showing a knack for being active, racking up his first three wins in less than three months. Tucker flashed an impressive jab early in the fight, but it was ultimately his power that forced Rodriguez, of Bradenton, Florida, to a knee, ending the bout early.
Isley shines in decision win
Middleweight Troy Isley won his professional debut with a unanimous decision victory over Bryant Costello (40-36, 40-36 and 40-36), showing confidence and pushing back the taller Costello throughout the fight.
Isley (1-0, 0 KOs), 22, of Alexandria, Virginia, who is trained by Kay Koroma, was able to land his powerful right hand multiple times, and showed off some effective body punches and uppercuts that he's added to his repertoire.
Costello (1-2-1 NC, 0 KOs), 34, of Monticello, New York, couldn't use his height and reach advantages to find the distance he needed, and was unable to land any significant punches over the course of the four-round fight.
Koroma also works with Terence Crawford and Shakur Stevenson.
Diaz makes successful pro debut
Bantamweight prospect Floyd Diaz made his professional debut with a unanimous decision victory over Fernando Macias in the opener of Saturday's Top Rank Boxing card, showing some good combinations and landing his left hook and straight right hands at will.
Diaz (1-0, 0 KOs), 17, a 2019 U.S. National Junior Olympics gold medalist from Las Vegas, had Macias in trouble with a short left hook in Round 2 that sent him stumbling to the ropes.
Macias (1-2, 0 KOs), 21, of Hanford, California, recovered in the third round and was able to back up Diaz with a left hook that landed right on Diaz's chin. But that wasn't enough to swing the fight, and at the end of four rounds, all three judges had the fight for Diaz 40-36.