Posts Tagged ‘HBO Boxing After Dark’

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VERONA, NY — We’re only in March, but it’s unlikely David Lemieux’s knockout of Curtis Stevens will be topped for the rest of the year.

The two powerful sluggers did what they do best — go for the kill. Lemieux came out throwing right-hand bombs through Stevens’s guard, while the Brooklynite tried to catch and counter with hard left hooks. Lemieux’s chopping right hand hurt Stevens twice over the final minute and allowed the Canadian to abuse him on the ropes with digging body shots.

Lemieux controlled the second round with the same aggression and higher punch output. As the pace slowed in the third, Lemieux came in with a right hand and beat Stevens to the punch with a short left for the fight-ending knockout.


The high-profile KO puts the Golden Boy promoted in contention to face Canelo Alvarez should the Mexican star emerge victorious against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in May and not be able to make a Gennady Golovkin super fight in September.

GAMBOA RETURNS WITH DECISION WIN: Yuriorkis Gamboa ended a year-plus sabbatical with a unanimous decision win over Rene Alvarado.  Scores read 97-93 and 97-92 twice.

 

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Photo Credit: Tom Hogan/Golden Boy Promotions

VERONA, NY — Knockout artists David Lemieux and Curtis Stevens both made the middleweight limit comfortably today for Saturday’s Boxing After Dark main event from the Turning Stone Resort Casino.

Since losing the IBF middleweight title to Gennady Golovkin in November 2015, Lemieux has reeled off two straight victories. He knocked off Glen Tapia in four rounds last May, and scored a unanimous decision over Cristian Fabian Rios in October. Lemieux weighed in at 159 pounds.

Curtis Stevens has gone 4-1 since being stopped in eight rounds in 2013. The other loss was a wide decision to Hassan N’Dam in October 2014. Since then, Curtis has scored a second round TKO over Patrick Teixeira, and hard-fought 10-round decision over James De La Rosa last November. Stevens weighed in at 158 pounds.

PREDICTION: If any fight could be dubbed bombs away, it’s this one. Both guys have massive power and can hurt each other. When looking at intangibles, Lemieux is the bigger man and a bit more versatile with his offense. Expect both guys to get hurt and possibly dropped with the more aggressive Lemieux taking a late stoppage.

GAMBOA VS. ALVARADO: Yuriorkis Gamboa will make his first ring appearance since December 2015 tomorrow night. Gamboa tipped the scales at 131 pounds for this lightweight contest. He has only fought twice since losing by TKO to Terence Crawford in June 2014, defeating Joel Montes de Oca (TKO6) and Hylon Williams Jr. (UD10).

Rene Alvarado comes into tomorrow night 2-2 over his last 4 fights. Alvarado bounced back from consecutive losses to Andrew Cancio (KO8) and Manuel Avila (UD10) to win a split decision over Jayson Velez (SD10) last July.

The HBO Boxing After Dark card airs tomorrow night at 11 p.m. ET.

 

Tonight, HBO’s latest edition of its Boxing After Dark series reminded us that boxing is a blood sport. The stars of the card, Takashi Miura and Francisco Vargas, shared the ring in 2015 and delivered a consensus Fight of the Year. This time, they were engaged in battle with younger, less accomplished foes. But instead of delivering showcase performances, both veterans gave the sport a pound of their flesh in savage, bloody affairs.

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MIURA KO12 ROMAN: This was 12 rounds of PAIN. Miura did great work to the body but was still hurt badly several times in the early rounds. Defense wasn’t a priority for either fighter and the fight started to favor Roman in the middle rounds. Miura looked exhausted and close to being stopped as Roman increased his combinations. But showing his heart, Miura hung tough and kept pounding away at the body.

The body assault’s effectiveness manifested in the late rounds. Roman was visibly slowed by the shots in the ninth and put on his knees in the 10th by a slashing left hook. He beat the count, but for the remaining roounds Roman was simply outgunned by the surging former champion. A barrage of punches on the ropes put Roman down again in the 11th, and two southpaw lefts floored Roman for good in the 12th.

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BERCHELT UPSETS VARGAS: There’s a good chance tonight was the end of Francisco Vargas as a top fighter. On the surface, that might sound strange when talking about a fighter who just suffered his first defeat. But the brutality of the 32-year-old Vargas’ last three fights against Miura, Salido and now Berchelt is more punishment than most fighters endure of their entire careers.

Against Berchelt, a fighter who was unproven at the elite level, Vargas looked slow. He couldn’t keep his head away from Berchelt’s straight right nor his left hook, which produced constant images of Vargas’ head getting snapped back.

To Vargas’ credit, he bravely battled and even hurt Berchelt with an overhand right in the second, and in the middle rounds with a sneaky body shot. But by the seventh, the contest ceased being competitive and turned into a bloodbath. Cuts were opened above both of Vargas’ eyes with the left being a ghastly injury leaving a flap of skin affecting the champion’s vision.

Based on Vargas’ pedigree as a comeback fighter, referee Raul Caiz gave him every opportunity to turn things around being finally calling it off in the 11th.

WHAT’S NEXT: Last night’s developments have shaken up the 130-pound division. Vargas will spend the rest of the year convalescing, eliminating the possibility of a quick rematch with Berchelt. Miura remains the #1 contender and will likely face Berchelt next in what promises to be another brutal shootout. Despite Roy Jones saying he favored Miura because of his punching power, I view Berchelt-Miura as 50/50 due to Berchelt’s speed, Miura’s lack of head movement and the tough fights he’s endured (including tonight).

This leaves Orlando Salido out in the cold. He was in attendance and no doubt hoping to get a rematch with Vargas, the man he battled to a draw in 2016’s Fight of Year. It’s still possible he can entice Berchelt to fight him since it would be a more lucrative contest than the Miura defense.

Also looming in the distance is WBO champion Vasyl Lomachenko, an HBO staple and the division’s most talented fighter. Then there’s Jason Sosa, who has a version of the WBA strap and has fought on HBO before. Don’t forget Jezreel Corrales, who holds the other version and scored another victory over former lineal champ Takashi Uchiyama last month. And finally young gun Gervonta Davis, who picked up the IBF strap earlier this month. Mix and match any of these fighters together and you have a compelling matchup.

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BROOKLYN, NY — All fighters were on weight for tomorrow’s HBO triple-header featuring David Lemieux vs. Gabe Rosado. Despite not getting much fanfare, this is essentially a card where all the televised fights are close to 50/50. But realizing that no one appreciates a writer that sits on the fence, I’m onto the predictions for Saturday night.

Saturday’s HBO Boxing After Dark tripleheader telecast airs at 10:00 p.m. (ET/PT).

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LEMIEUX: 160

ROSADO: 159.5

PREDICTION: I’ve done lots of flip-flopping on this matchup. Initially, I like Rossado’s chances considering how he looked against Peter Quillin last year. The Bare Knuckle boxing KO over Bryan Vera was also impressive even considering the unconventional circumstances. Then I started leaning towards Lemieux due to his youth, power and Rosado’s tendency to get into unnecessary exchanges.

I see two potential scenarios. First, Rosado could use the counter-punching strategy we saw against Golovkin and Love early on before later turning on the aggression we saw in the Quillin fight. If his chin holds, Rosado will exploit Lemieux’s tendency to be a frontrunner and takes a close but clear decision. Second scenario is that Lemieux’s power becomes the equalizer and Rosado’s tendency to cut assists in leading to a late stoppage.

In the end, more can go wrong on Rosado’s side than Lemieux’s. I’m picking the Canadian to score a late stoppage that puts his name in the GGG sweepstakes.

 

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CENTENO: 159.4

DE LA ROSA: 159.8

PREDICTION: Despite some late scares, James De La Rosa performed well in defeating Alfredo Angulo earlier this year. However, the fight is also an indicator of how far Angulo has slid as a fighter. De La Rosa is a fringe contender. Centeno, although essentially still a prospect, is the more accurate puncher and should get the better of most exchanges tomorrow night. CENTENO UD

 

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DULORME: 139

LUNDY: 140

PREDICTION: This is the sleeper fight. Hank Lundy has been screaming for another big opportunity since losing a decision to Viktor Postol last year. His main target in recent months has been fellow Philadelphia native Danny Garcia. Beating Dulorme would go a long way to raising Lundy’s rep above the “ESPN” level where most rate him. Lundy has an edge in the smarts department. However, the height disparity (5’10 to 5’7) will be problematic for Lundy if Dulorme can keep the bout at mid-range. In addition, Dulorme should have a strength advantage and showed in his ugly Mayfield win that he can clinch and nullify inside fighting, where Lundy would do his best work. Expect a lot of close rounds where Dulorme gets favored because of his slightly higher punch output and harder shots. DULORME MD

Sergey Kovalev vs Blake Caparello

Photo Credit: Will Hart/HBO

Tonight’s HBO Boxing After Dark telecast now has immense importance with the news Bernard Hopkins will face Sergey Kovalev this fall should the latter defeat Blake Caparello. Yesterday’s weigh-in took without incident. The card airs at 9:45 p.m. live from Ovation Hall at Revel Casino Hotel in Atlantic City.

Sergey Kovalev: 174 lbs.

Blake Caparello: 174 lbs.

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HBO Boxing After Dark returns tomorrow with three bouts headlined by Guillermo Rigondeaux, fresh off his big win over Nonito Donaire, facing Joseph Agbeko. Rounding out the card is the return of James Kirkland against Glen Tapia, and Matthew Macklin taking on Lamar Russ. The weigh-in stream opens at 2:45 p.m. ET with the weigh-ins beginning at 3 p.m. ET. You can access the stream HERE.

The card airs live tomorrow night in Atlantic City at 9:45 p.m. ET.

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ATLANTIC CITY, NJ –“All I could think about was my brother [decesaed] Gary and my daughter.” These were the post-fight words of newly crowned IBF middleweight champion Darren Barker, recalling last night’s amazing sixth round against Daniel Geale that saw him dropped and badly hurt by a body shot. Barker barely beat the count and was summarily battered for a good minute and on the verge of being stopped. However, Barker proved his warrior heart and mental toughness in fighting off Geale in the round’s waning seconds, and outworking the Aussie champion over the fight’s second half to take a narrow split decision win (113-114, 116-111 and 114-113).

ROUND OF THE YEAR CONTENDER: For the first five rounds, the bout was evenly contested with the more athletic Geale being able to get off his punches first and in more varied fashion, while Barker was the stronger fighter in-close and tended to make his foe retreat or clinch in exchanges. Geale hit gold with a wicked body shot that took all the air, and at first glance also the will, out of Barker as he lolled on the canvas. He barely got upright and was summarily bounced around the ring like a pinball courtesy of Geale’s power shots and intentions to finish the fight.

There was a moment where Barker looked defenseless on the ropes and referee Eddie Cotton yelled “Show me something!” as Barker appeared ready to turn away in submission from the assault. Instead, he began winging haymakers in Geale’s direction — most didn’t land, but those that did knocked Geale back on his heels and drove the crowd into a frenzy. Barker never ran away to buy time and in the final minute was once again coming forward into Geale’s chest.

It was an amazing round and perhaps the quintessential example this year of why boxing, despite its taxing toll on the body, is a “mind over matter” sport. Everything in Barker’s body told him to quit, but the memory of his heartbreaking loss to Sergio Martinez, his deceased brother Gary (a former Olympic boxing champion who died tragically in a 2006 car accident), and daughter overcame the pain. Kudos also should be given to Cotton, who wouldn’t have gotten much criticism if he had stopped it before Barker came roaring back. Letting Barker work through a near-minute of punishment without retaliation is rarely seen from refs.

CLOSE FIGHT: A point or two swing for either man was conceivable, but this is boxing so we had at least one score that was completely left-field (judge Barbara Perez had it 116-111 for Barker).I thought Geale took the 12th and with the knockdown had done enough to edge it, but Barker’s aggression and overall harder shots appeared to hold enough sway ringside among the three observers that mattered most.

FOOD FOR GGG?: Barker didn’t talk much about future opponents, but it makes logical sense that his first defense should be a unification matchup against WBA-titleholder Gennady Golovkin. Yes, Golovkin likely runs Barker over, but it’s another HBO payday got Barker in early 2014, since GGG has business first on November 2 against Curtis Stevens.

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MARTINEZ TKO6 ROMERO: There was a major upset on the undercard with Kiko Martinez lifting the IBF super bantamweight title from Jhonatan Romero. It was Romero’s first loss and he took a massive beating from a fighter who came out with the mindset that he would never take a step backward. The smaller Martinez used his compact frame and reach to make himself a crouching, difficult target. When he got inside, he smashed home hooks to the body and when Romero sought to exchange, the challenger came upstairs with head-snapping left hooks that had Romero swollen and bleeding after a few rounds. It would be a left hook on the ropes that Romero couldn’t recover from in round six.

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As you can see from the photos, Martinez fought like a rabid pitbull. He was very humble in victory but did state he wants a shot at Nonito Donaire next. With Nonito likely done with the 122 pound division, I hope HBO looks into getting Martinez paired up against unified WBO and WBA champ Guillermo Rigondeaux

FULL FIGHT LINK