Jorge Linares decisions Anthony Crolla, looks towards Mikey Garcia

World lightweight champion Jorge Linares (42-3, 27 KOs) defended his status as the world’s premier lightweight with a clear unanimous decision over Anthony Crolla (31-6-3, 13 KOs) earlier this morning in Manchester. The fight was a rematch of a clash last September where Linares again won via unanimous decision, although that was a much closer affair. Linares left no doubt as to who the better man was today, dropping Crolla in the seventh and thoroughly out-boxing the former WBA title holder, winning by scores of 118-109 on all three cards.

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Early on it appeared as though the bout could be another close fight with Crolla applying pressure and attempting to cut the ring off and Linares using fast feet and lots of feints to keep the Manchurian at bay while scoring with explosive combinations on the inside. Linares did the better work in the opening round but the harder punches came from Crolla, mainly with a hard left hook to the body midway through the round. It was the last success Crolla would have for a while.

Rounds two through five saw Linares dictating the pace and landing with hard two handed assaults to the body all the while evading Crolla with fast feet and not allowing him to get set to throw many punches. The times when Crolla closed the distance Linares scored to the body and with uppercuts and moved away. Linares also controlled the distance with a hard left jab, something that he didn’t use much of during the first encounter and this seemed to be the difference in the bout. In round six Linares controlled the distance and pace once more but also stunned Crolla with a right hand.

The seventh was Linares’ best round of the fight. He dropped Crolla with a left uppercut and looked like he could finish his man off but Crolla gamely saw his way through the round. Round eight, however, was Crolla’s best round of the fight. He attacked the Venezuelan born three weight division title holder along the ropes and landed his best shots of the contest. Crolla continued to rally in a much closer ninth round but Linares regained control in the tenth and punished Crolla in the eleventh.

Crolla’s trainer Joe Gallagher wanted to stop the bout before the 12th round and referee Howard Foster examined Crolla but they both allowed Crolla to finish on his feet. While the twelfth was a clear Linares round, Crolla finished strong and no one can criticise his heart. In the end Linares was the clear winner and he had a case for winning every round (I scored it 119-108). Even in round 8 (the only round I scored for Crolla) Linares landed his fair share of hard punches.

Linares will likely meet Mikey Garcia in an attempt to win back his WBC title that he won in 2014 and never lost in the ring. Linares is the premier lightweight in the world based off his victories over Crolla and while Terry Flanagan and Rances Barthelemy also hold titles, both won vacant titles over men who weren’t legitimate contenders. The Linares-Crolla bouts were the first involving two of the best lightweights against one another since Terence Crawford, the last Ring lightweight champion, stopped Yuri Gamboa in 2014. Garcia, until he defeats Linares, is a paper champion at this weight and while I would make him the favourite in a bout between these two, if he wants to be in the pound for pound mix he needs to fight Linares.

Golovkin scrapes past Jacobs

WBC, WBA and IBF middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin scraped past WBA “regular” middleweight champion Daniel Jacobs on Sunday afternoon (Sydney time) with a razor thin unanimous decision in a bout between the world’s two top middleweights. Golovkin scored a knockdown in the fourth round but found catching the elusive Jacobs golovkin-vs-jacobs-2-960x540difficult and was extended the 12 round distance for the first time in his career, ending his 23 fight knockout streak.

The feeling out process lasted the opening three rounds as Golovkin tried to cut the ring off and find range with his jab while Jacobs switched from orthodox to southpaw and moved both directions to avoid standing in front of GGG. I felt Golovkin had the edge in rounds one while Jacobs took rounds two and three. Round two was the only clear round out of the three, which I scored for Jacobs on the back of a few clean left hands. Jacobs was surprising many early with his ability to shut down the much feared assault of GGG.

In round four things went back to script as Golovkin backed Jacobs towards the ropes and caught him with a pair of right hands that sent Jacobs to the canvas. It was a clean knockdown however Jacobs went on the defensive and while he took some good punches, he never allowed Golovkin to come close to finishing him. Golovkin kept the pressure on Jacobs in the fifth round and landed some punishing shots along the ropes while making the New York native miss many of his counters and seemed to be in control at the end of five.

Jacobs showed that he wasn’t going to go the route of GGG’s previous opponents and had his best round of the fight in round six. A hard overhand right midway through the round and a pair of assaults to the head and body later in the round as well as his slick defence saw Jcobs clearly outpunch (despite what official CompuBox stats show, Jacobs clearly outlanded Golovkin in this round, more on this later) Golovkin and turn the tide. The seventh was more of the same and Golovkin was having trouble, perhaps for the first time in his career, pulling the trigger and while Jacobs confused him with his switching of stances and effective volleys of punches from both stances.

Rounds eight and nine were difficult to score. Jacobs did the better work throughout much of both rounds. I would go as far as to say he won close to five of the six minutes in these rounds however Golovkin landed the better punches in both rounds, a right hand to the chin in the eighth which Jacobs took well and two right uppercuts towards the end of the ninth followed by a series of shots in the final minute that gave GGG the round on my card. Jacobs took control again in the tenth and eleventh with his workrate and his ability to make GGG miss and the fight was anyone’s going into the final round.

gggjacobscardGolovkin went to work early in round 12 and used his jab effectively, nailing Jacobs and setting up a couple of right hands that Jacobs partially deflected. Jacobs came back and made GGG miss and landed a solid right-left-right combination midway through the round. Jacobs let his hands go again scoring to the head and body but ate a clean right hand in return. Jacobs continued to do the better work in the final minute but Golovkin landed the cleaner punches which made the final round difficult to score.

At the end of 12 I had Jacobs up 115-112, however I felt rounds 1, 3, 8, 9 and 12 all could have gone either way and I favoured Jacobs in three of those. The judges cards (115-112 twice and 114-113) were within the acceptable range I felt. I preferred Jacobs’ defence and his workrate but Golovkin was effective with his aggression and he often controlled where the fight took place.

One thing I will bring up is the punchstats. I believe these are incorrect. I have sat down and counted the punches in rounds two and six, both clearly Jacobs rounds but rounds which CompuBox said GGG outlanded Jacobs in one of them (the 2nd) and threw and landed exactly the same amount as Jacobs in the sixth, arguably Jacobs’ best round of the fight. Jacobs threw at least 15 more punches than GGG in round six and significantly outlanded him, including the more eye catching shots and outlanded GGG at almost 2-1 in round two. These are the only two rounds I have sat down and calculated my own punchstats but this wouldn’t be the first time HBO has used incorrect stats. Round four or five of the first Pacquiao fight, if you watch the HBO telecast, has Pacquiao outlanding Bradley at one point during that round despite not even throwing the amount of punches they said he had landed at that time.

There are a lot of arguments that will come out of this fight regarding the scoring and who these two should fight next but I hope this puts a temporary halt to the “GGG is an all-time great middleweight” story line. He still has a long way to go. He is no where near Monzon’s record for defences (I still rate Monzon’s record as he was the lineal champion while Hopkins didn’t unify until towards the end of his career) as he still isn’t the lineal champion. The majority of his titles were of paper titles and Jacobs makes three top five contenders who he has beaten (Geale, Lemieux, who was debatable, and Jacobs). Not to mention this is a very weak middleweight division. Off his performance last night I wouldn’t giove GGG much of a chance against a top contender of the 1950-70’s middleweight divisions like George Benton, let alone have him up there with Carlos Monzon, Gene Fullmer, Emile Griffith, Nino Benvenuti or Dick Tiger.

The one thing this fight does for the division is lightens it up. Golovkin-Canelo is the big fight in boxing right now but Jacobs against either man is big as well. Jacobs-Lemieux or Jacobs-Saunders are both great matchups that could slot in on that undercard. Even Canelo-Lemieux and GGG-Jacobs II makes sense, if it were a double header. The judging of the Gonzalez fight aside, this was a good day for boxing.

 

Gonzalez loses controversial decision in New York

Listed as a 10-1 underdog, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (42-4-1 (although he was reportedly 8-3 before his first recorded bout) 38 KO) wasn’t expected to give Gonzalez (46-1, 38 KO) more than a few rounds resistance before he was dispatched by Gonzalez. Gonzalez started fast, scoring clean punches with both hands while making Sor Rungvisai miss, until a right body shot dropped him late in the first round. It seemed more of the force of the blow knocked Gonzalez down than the placement of the body shot, however Gonzalez didn’t rise until the count of nine.
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Gonzalez hit back in the second round, clearly outworking Sor Rungvisai although Sor Rungvisai stood in the pocket and threw back heavy leather. The third round seemed to change everything as both men clashed heads and a gash opened on the outside of the left eye of Gonzalez. The wound bled profusely throughout the contest and was re-opened by numerous headbutts. The blood, as well as Sor Rungvisai’s wild swinging style, seeminly influenced the judges decision. Gonzalez thoroughly outworked Sor Rungvisai in rounds 3-6 before Sor Rungvisai, who lost a point in the sixth for a headbutt, had his best round since the opener in the seventh.

Gonzales dominated the 8th and the 12th however rounds 9 and 10 were nip and tuck with both men landing great shots, and Sor Rungvisai won the 11th clearly. Gonzalez battered Sor Rungvisai in the 12th to the point where Sor Rungvisai actually ran away at one point to avoid the blows. The Thai fighter was desperate in the 12th and did well to survive, although his punch and grab tactics had a lot to do with that. The fight, in a nutshell, was Gonzalez scoring with both hands to the head and body while Sor Rungvisai took the shots and fired back with hard punches. Many of these punches were blocked, slipped or rolled with by Gonzalez however the blood made the fight seem more even than it was.

Judge Waleska Roldan’s 113-113 card was overruled by judges Julie Lederman and Glenn Feldmann’s 114-112 cards for Sor Rungvisai. I scored the bout 116-110. I favour clean punching, effective aggression, defence and ring generalship (which are the four criteria of boxing judging), all four of which were in favour of Gonzalez ,over throwing lots of hard punches and missing most of them. I was flabbergasted by the result. People complained about the first Bradley-Pacquiao card, this was much, much worse.

The one thing to take out of this fight is that Gonzalez is too small for 115lbs. He won his first bout at 105lbs and wasn’t a big flyweight. Against Cuadras and Sor Rungvisai he looks like he is a clear one or two divisions below them. Gonzalez will likely rematch both men (although a bout between Naoya Inoue and Sor Rungvisai in Japan would be huge money) but I think he is shortening his career by fighting in this division.

Eubank stops Quinlan

Renold Quinlan was defeated earlier today by Chris Eubank jnr via 10th round stoppage in London, losing the IBO super middleweight title he won with a 2nd round stoppage over Daniel Geale last year. Quinlan put up a brave performance but was ultimately outmatched as Eubank was simply too quick.

Quinlan scored early on with his left jab and also with a solid counter right hand and was happy to stay in the pocket with Eubank, often surprising him with counter shots. As the rounds went on though Eubank took less and less counters and scored with heavier blows. A left hook hurt Quinlan in seventh round and from there he could only show his toughness as Eubank continued to apply the pressure. The stoppage finally came in the tenth round as referee Howard Foster was protecting Quinlan from himself. Quinlan mildly protested the stoppage but it was justified, Eubank was landing with serious leather from the seventh round onwards.

After the fight Eubank (24-1, 19 KOs) called out everyone from Golovkin to Billy Joe Saunders, the only may to defeat him, and didn’t state which weight division he would continue campaigning in. A lot of the media are underplaying this win for him but Quinlan can fight and Eubank thoroughly dominated him. As for Quinlan, I really think he just needs to be more active. He’s got nothing to be ashamed with this loss and hopefully he is back in the ring soon. Fights with either Zac Dunn, Blake Caparello or Rohan Murdock would all be excellent matchups.

Why does Australian Boxing keep doing this?

First of all, I didn’t watch last nights card. The reasons were simple; the main event was a farce, there were numerous mismatches on the undercard and even in the better bouts of the undercard, the winners were all obvious before the bouts even took place. There was nothing I was going to miss by staying up to watch that card last night except for sleep.

The reason boxing will not grow out of being a niche sport in Australia is because it is marketed for the lowest common denominator rather than showcasing what’s good about our sport. By that I mean we don’t get to see the good, even match-ups on television that you can see on non-televised cards in Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney throughout the year. That’s because everyone is so afraid to take a loss on their record that the TV slots on the big shows like this are wasted with safe matches. This leaves the casual fan bored because they aren’t getting what they came to see; a fight!
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The promoters and matchmakers make up for this by appealing to something these casual fans know; footy players. Instead of seeing a great domestic matchup like George Kambosos vs Brandon Ogilvie, Zac Dunn vs Les Sherrington, Wes Capper vs Wade Ryan or Dennis Hogan vs Samuel Colomban (all fights that headlined shows that were not shown live on nationwide TV in the last 12 months), we get safe match-ups with only one possible outcome (and no punter enjoys watching a contest they already know the outcome of) or we get the worst our country has to offer in the pro ranks, lower level professionals who box for some extra money as well as working full-time and they’re matched up against an in shape, athletic man who has the financial backing to hire the best coaches and the luxury of training full time. These men don’t stay in our sport, they just take the TV slots (and the money that could go to one of our prospects) and go back to playing footy, where they make more money than nearly all boxers in Australia do.

Another issue is that young professional fighters don’t get the chance to learn their trade because there’s a drought of smaller professional shows around Australia. There used to be fight clubs where guys could get even matchups anywhere throughout the country on a weekly basis and some of the profits would be split among the fighters for their purses. The boxers wouldn’t make much but they would stay active, they would learn their trade and work towards big money fights. But now every promoter needs to make thousands of dollars on every show and a fighter can’t get matched unless they sell five times their pay worth of tickets. If they can sell that much, they get matched against opponents who won’t beat them so they end up building a career out of not fighting anyone tough and again, don’t learn their trade and eventually they get exposed. The Catch 22 for the less popular fighters is that a fighter can’t sell that many tickets every time they fight if they can’t get the experience to become good at their craft. There are exceptions to this rule but it seems that the nice looking record and the potential for a huge fight down the track are more important than putting on good fights NOW.

The other problem is the boxing media won’t tell it like it is and call a spade a spade. Tonight’s card was shit. It’s good that the Moloney brothers and Trent Broadhurst got some TV time but not many are going to remember them or want to see them again because they weren’t tested in 50-50 match-ups. If this sort of thing was going on in the NRL, AFL or A-League there would be a riot but it’s boxing and no one cares about boxing.

If you’re disappointed with last nights fights then go to bed early tonight and wake up early tomorrow morning to catch Renold Quinlan’s IBO title fight with Chris Eubank jnr. Quinlan has been fighting the best guys throughout his 12 fight career (11-1, 7 KOs) and has appeared on a couple of Mundine’s undercards. He knocked Daniel Geale out in his last fight and isn’t the 12-1 underdog that he is being made out to be. Renold Quinlan won’t disappoint.

If you’re a casual fan and you were let down by tonight’s show, get to one of your local professional shows (there’s usually at least one a month in every major city) and check out some real boxing. The fights are much more evenly matched which makes for better boxing. It’s not as convenient as watching it on TV or at the local pub but watching a fight live in person beats watching it on TV. If you consider yourself more than a casual fan then get out and support your local shows and even bring some mates along. The more shows on out there the better our product will be when it’s on the big stage and the more likely it will be when it’s on the big stage.

Our sport is better than this.

All Retch and No Vomit; Previewing the Green-Mundine II card

While the focus of Australian boxing this weekend should be on the Renold Quinlan vs Chris Eubank jnr IBO super middleweight title fight in London on Sunday morning (a fight that neither Main Event or Fox Sports thought was worth televising) casual fans will be treated to the farce that is the Danny Green vs Anthony Mundine rematch. While there are some good names on the undercard, including the Moloney brothers (Commonwealth Games Gold medalist Andrew and his twin brother Jason), Trent Broadhurst and David Aloua, any legitimacy was taken out of the show when Quade Cooper was deemed worthy to take up a spot on the show.
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Anyway, this is an Australian boxing site and this is, apparently, one of the biggest cards in Australian history so I guess I’m obligated to preview it so from bottom to top, here’s how the card looks:

Shane Tuck vs Ivan Kolar
Kolar (1-5, 1 KO) is one of two South Australian’s fighting on the card so this could be an attempt to boost ticket sales. I’ve not seen him or his opponent Shane Tuck (0-1) and it’s unclear whether this fight will be televised or not.

David Aloua vs Filipi Fonoti Masoe
Aloua (11-2, 8 KOs) previously lost a national cruiserweight challenge to Daniel Ammann on the undercard of the Geale vs Mundine rematch in a competitive fight before scoring a huge upset win over Brad Pitt on the Mundine-Clottey undercard, handing the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games Gold Medalist his only professional defeat. He was then upset by Anthony McCracken in New Zealand in a bout for the OPBF cruiserweight title and hasn’t fought since. That was almost two and a half years ago so the lack of ring time means that this is a mere tuneup fight. Aloua’s opponent Masoe (3-11, 1 KO) will have a bit of a size advantage having campaigned at heavyweight in recent bouts. It’s unclear whether this is a cruiserweight contest or a heavyweight contest but Aloua shouldn’t have too much trouble in his comeback bout.

Quade Cooper vs Jack McInnes
The one good thing about this match-up is that it decided my plans for Friday night. I was unsure whether or not to brave the local pub to watch this card or if I should stay home and insert razor blades underneath my fingernails but this fight taking place on what will be one of the most watched domestic boxing cards in recent memory will make the latter a less painful experience. This fight has no right to be on this card or any televised boxing card anywhere in the world. This fight shows that the promoters do not care about Australian boxing or the future of the sport in this country. Instead of showcasing some good domestic fights like ones you might find on the non televised shows in Sydney or Melbourne, we get to see a Rugby player box.

His opponent, Jack McInnes (0-2) has lost both of his professional boxing bouts against much harder opposition than Cooper (Ammann and Mark Flannagan) both by first round stoppage (something that mainstream media haven’t included when they talk about Cooper’s fight). I’m hoping this bout isn’t televised but I dare say it will be the feature undercard bout. If this is the case it would be an ideal time in the evening to either stock up on drinks before the main fight or empty your bladder so you don’t have to rush it between rounds of a later fight.

Tim Tszyu vs Mark Dalby
This is a fight that I hope makes the televised card because Tim Tszyu (1-0), son of Kostya, could be a real prospect. His opponent Mark Dalby (4-12, 1 KO) has been in with some good fighters like Anthony Buttigiedg, Gunnar Jackson and Ben Capps so this is a good test for the 22 year old Tszyu. Tszyu looked good in his pro debut in December, winning every round against Zoran Cassady in front of a good crown at Moore Park. He was very patient and used an active left hand to disrupt his opponent’s defence, much like his father, but at this stage doesn’t show the murderous punching power that his former undisputed junior welterweight champion father showed.

Jason Moloney vs Marco Demecillo
The larger of the Moloney twins Jason (11-0, 10 KOs) continues to gradually step up in competition, facing Filipino Demecillo (22-6-1, 17 KOs). There is no regional title or anything on the line so it is unclear how many rounds this bout will be contested over. Demecillo has lost the three bouts he has contested outside of his native Philippines, including a 12 round decision to TJ Doheny in Sydney in 2015. Importing the opponents is a trait that is often criticised in Australian boxing circles but with the talent pool so shallow in the lower weight classes it should be forgiven with the Moloney brothers as long as they step up in class, as Jason is doing here.

Andrew Moloney vs Renoel Pael
Andrew’s (11-0, 7 KOs) opponent Pael (21-4-1, 11 KOs) is also a good step up. Pael is the reigning Filipino Junior Bantamweight champion so despite giving up a slight size advantage (Moloney competes at bantamweight) he will come to fight. Pael has also lost three of the four bouts he has fought overseas but has challenged for the OPBF title and has never been stopped.

Trent Broadhurst vs Nader Hamdan
While I favour the younger, bigger man in Broadhurst in this fight, this is the best domestic matchup on the card (including the main event). Hamdan, who at his best was a junior middleweight or a middleweight, showed his chin is solid even in the higher weight classes with points losses to Jayde Mitchell and Damien Hooper in his last two bouts. The one stoppage loss in his career came against Arthur Abraham, who has held world titles in two weight divisions. Broadhurst has won his last 12 bouts, including seven stoppages, since his lone loss to Kiwi Robert Berridge in 2011. He has served as the main sparring partner for Mundine in this contest so you know he’s going to be sharp against Hamdan. Broadhust should have too much firepower for Hamdan but Nader always comes to fight and he will likely see the final bell with his endurance and experience.

Danny Green vs Anthony Mundine
This fight is just strange and wouldn’t be taking place if either man could make any money fighting anyone else. While both men have been charging ridiculous amounts for pay per view over the years for what were essentially mismatches (Main Event, Australia’s only pay per view channel, is charging $59.95 for this fight, they charged $39.95 for the recent Andre Ward vs Sergey Kovalev bout), their drawing power has decreased as they have aged.

A rematch could have taken place sometime in the last ten years but Mundine went down to middleweight (to avoid facing Mikkel Kessler) before then going to junior middleweight (to avoid facing a young Gennady Golovkin) before going back to middleweight (to avoid facing Austin Trout) before heading back to junior middleweight after losing a one sided decision to Daniel Geale. Since then he defeated an over the hill Shane Mosley before bring battered over 12 rounds by Joshua Clottey. A win over little known Sergey Rabchenko (who was dubbed by the promoters as the new GGG despite never having defeated a world class fighter) revived his career before Charles Hatley put an end to Mundine as a contender for any world title in November 2015.

Green went up in weight after his one sided loss to Mundine in 2006, winning the WBA light heavyweight title before retiring and coming back to win the IBO cruiserweight title. Green defended his “cruiserweight” title at the catchweight of 84kg (the cruiserweight limit is 91kg) against inactive former contenders all the while his team claimed that he could knock out the Klitschko brothers and verbalising other ridiculous ideas like when he challenged Brock Lesnar to a caged fight where the amateur wrestling, UFC and WWE star wasn’t going to be allowed to wrestle him. He finally moved up to the full cruiserweight limit where he scored probably the most credible win of his career over BJ Flores before an aging Antonio Tarver and Krzysztof Wlodarczyk knocked him out in consecutive fights. A win over Shane Cameron in 2012 was his last bout before coming back for the chance to even the score with Mundine. He has won two bouts by ten round decision in two years, the last over Australian fringe contender Kane Watts.

The big obstacle in making this fight was of course the weight. They’ve agreed on 83kg, which Green may struggle to make but Mundine will come in well under. The weight difference on fight night could be over 10kgs in favour of Green. The year off will do Mundine some good as he has had time to recover from the beatings he took in his last three contests. Whether he has enough speed to overcome the massive size advantage is the story of this fight. The only real question that will be answered by Friday’s fight is whether Danny Green could ever beat Mundine. If he loses on Friday with the weight advantage that he has then it’s safe to say he couldn’t.

There have been numerous attempts to up the hype and the sales of this fight as this will be the last attempt at a payday for both men. Mundine has stated that he won’t stand for the national anthem. In every other country I’ve seen boxing televised from the national anthems are played before the fighters enter the ring and there are usually clips of the fighters warming up while the anthem is played so this is just another ridiculous attempt to add hype where there isn’t any.

Whatever other tricks are used between now and Friday night to increase sales are irrelevant because on Friday night the shells of these two men are going to get into the ring and we will see how old and faded both of them are which SHOULD signal the end of either man’s drawing power. I don’t really care who wins this contest, it’s a meaningless contest between two men, neither of who is rightfully rated among Australia’s greatest fighters and anyone who says that they are is insulting Australia’s boxing history. The bout means nothing and the real winner of this contest will be Australian Boxing as our sport has been held under the thumb of these two for long enough.

Santa Cruz defeats Frampton, Garcia wins WBC title

The rematch wasn’t the fight of the year candidate that their July 2016 bout was but Leo Santa Cruz avenged his only career loss and regained the WBA featherweight title from undefeated Carl Frampton earlier today with a majority decision victory. On the undercard, Mikey Garcia scored an early candidate for knockout of the year with a 3rd round knockout over previously unbeaten WBC lightweight title holder Dejan Zlaticanin.
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Santa Cruz MD12 Frampton
The fight wasn’t the classic that last years bout was but Santa Cruz boxed a much smarter bout to reclaim his title. Working behind a left jab that wasn’t used much in the first meeting, Santa Cruz didn’t allow Frampton to dictate the pace as he did last July. This resulted in a slower fight but Santa Cruz utilised his 7″ reach advantage and was able to score with jabs and long right hands which showed signs of swelling the Irishmen’s left eye early in the contest.

Frampton battled back in the third round and was able to have success when he caught Santa Cruz on the ropes. Both men exchanged heavily at times during the contest with Santa Cruz throwing more punches but Frampton landing the harder blows. The bout was fairly even through rounds three to five with Frampton effectively forcing the action. Santa Cruz landed six or seven hard left rips to the body in the sixth round, one of which seemed to momentarily take the wind out of Frampton. The defending champion Frampton though came back in the seventh round with his best round of the fight.

Round eight was nip and tuck but Santa Cruz pulled away in the later rounds, landing frequently with long right hands while Frampton had no answer how to get inside on the taller man. Santa Cruz’ long jab made Frampton forget his own, a weapon that he used effectively in his victories last year over Scott Quigg and Santa Cruz and despite good head movement, Santa Cruz’ was scoring as the shorter man came inside. Frampton fought desperately in the twelfth round but it was too little too late. Judge Burt Clements somehow came out with an even scorecard but was overruled by Dave Moretti and Glen Feldman’s 115-113 cards. I scored the bout 116-112 for Santa Cruz.

Santa Cruz rejoins Garry Russell jnr, Lee Selby and Oscar Valdez as one of the title holders in the division however a third fight is likely before any unification fights take place with the WBA title at stake. Abner Mares, whom Santa Cruz defeated in 2015, is also in the mix with the WBA regular title. Russell is considered by many, including myself, as the top fighter in the division based on his victory over Jhonny Gonzalez who defeated Mares. Santa Cruz is now number two for me with Frampton close behind in third then Selby then mares then Valdez. If any combination of these six men fight each other it should make for excellent viewing.

Garcia KO3 Zlatincanin
Mikey Garcia won his third title in as many weight classes with a huge third round KO over Dejan Zlaticanin for the WBC title that Dejan won in June last year. It was the first defence of the title that was stripped from Jorge Linares for unifying with Anthony Crolla, a bout that Linares won. Dejan never looked in Garcia’s class and was controlled by a stiff jab throughout the first two rounds.

Garcia opened up in the third and landed with an overhand right and a left rip midway through the round. Dejan attempted to come in low and walked into an uppercut that landed flush and a grazing left hook from the former WBO featherweight and junior lightweight champion. Dejan was hurt and wile he regained his balance Garcia landed a right hand as hardly thrown and as flush as he probably could have landed and Zlaticanin was out before he hit the floor.

Dejan seemed fine after being administered oxygen by the ringside doctors and both Garcia and his trainer Robert Garcia showed excellent sportsmanship by checking on him. Garcia claims his third title in as many weight classes however he is yet to clean out a division and I would love to see him in with Linares for lightweight supremacy. A bout wit Terry Flanagan would also be excellent. In my opinion Garcia needs to stay at lightweight and clean out the division if he wants to be mentioned in the pound for pound stakes however there is already talk of him moving up by the years end.

I would love to see Garcia face Lomachenko should Vasyl move up to the lightweight limit and personally I think Garcia wins that contest but I can see Garcia moving up, likely fighting Ricky Burns or whoever is the weaker out of the junior welterweight champions at the time. Boxing needs more of the top guys fighting each other rather than everyone chasing as many paper titles in as many divisions as they can. Garcia is a three division title holder now however Henry Armstrong would be turning in his grave every time someone mentioned this as an achievement.

Other Results
In a fight that wasn’t televised on Australian TV, Francisco Vargas lost his WBC junior lightweight title and perhaps a chance to meet Lomachenko in a decent money fight with an (apparently) one sided eleventh round TKO loss to Mexican Miguel Berchelt. There will be a report on this site if I’m able to see the fight in the next few days. Takashi Miura scored a 12th round knockout over Mickey Roman on the undercard in what was apparently a rival to DeGale-Jack for fight of the month/year.