Junior Middleweight World Championship Fights & Title Claims

Full junior middleweight fight details from 1962 to September 2016 (plus middle, welter and junior welter) are available in a definitive companion book:

  • For United States click HERE

  • For United Kingdom click HERE

  • For Germany click HERE

  • For Japan click HERE

Full Fight Details from 2000 Onwards:

 

15 September 2018. Jaime Munguia w rsc 3 Brandon Cook.

Venue: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Tony Weeks.

21 July 2018. Jaime Munguia w pts 12 Liam Smith.

Venue: Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Russell Mora.

Scorecards: 116-111, 119-108, 117-110.

9 June 2018. Jermell Charlo w pts 12 Austin Trout.

Venue: Staples Centre, Los Angeles, California, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Jack Reiss.

Scorecards: 118-108, 115-111, 113-113.

12 May 2018. Jaime Munguia w rsc 4 Sadam Ali.

Venue: Turning Stone Resort & Casino, Verona, New York, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Gary Rosato.

7 April 2018. Jarrett Hurd w pts 12 Erislandy Lara.

Venue: Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: IBF/WBA. Referee: Kenny Bayless.

Scorecards: 114-113, 114-113, 133-114.

2 December 2017. Sadam Ali w pts 12 Miguel Cotto.

Venue: Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Charlie Fitch.

Scorecards: 115-113, 115-113, 116-112.

14 October 2017. Erislandy Lara w pts 12 Terrell Gausha.

Venue: Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Charlie Fitch.

Scorecards: 116-111, 117-110, 117-110.

 

Further to Demetrius Andrade vacating his WBA ‘second tier’ title after moving up in weight on 22 October, Brian Carlos Castano took over the latter’s honours eight days later. Castano went on to successfully defend the ‘second tier’ title when stopping Cedric Vitu in the 12th round of their contest at the Seine Music centre, Boulogne-Billancort, Paris, France on 10 March 2018.

14 October 2017. Jarrett Hurd w rtd 10 Austin Trout.

Venue: Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Eddie Claudio.

 

14 October 2017. Jermell Charlo w co 1 Erickson Lubin.

Venue: Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Harvey Dock.

26 August 2017. Miguel Cotto w pts 12 Yoshihiro Kamegai.

Venue: StubHub Centre, Carson, California, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Lou Moret.

Scorecards: 119-109, 118-110, 120-108.

22 April 2017. Jermell Charlo w co 6 Charles Hatley.

Venue: Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Harvey Dock.

25 February 2017. Jarrett Hurd w rsc 9 Tony Harrison.

Venue: Legacy Arena, Birmingham, Alabama, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Jim Korb.

Fight Summary: Vacant title fight.

13 January 2017. Erislandy Lara w co 4 Yuri Foreman.

Venue: Park Racing & Casino, Hialeah, Florida, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Samuel Burgos.

 

Demetrius Andrade took over the WBA ‘second tier’ title when outpointing Jack Culcay over 12 rounds at the Friedrich-Ebert Hall, Ludwigshafen, Germany on 11 March. That was followed by Brian Carlos Castano outscoring Michel Soro over 12 rounds at The Casino, Evian Les Bains, France on 1 July 2017 in a defence of his WBA ‘interim’ title.

10 December 2016, Jermall Charlo w co 5 Julian Williams.

Venue: USC Galen Centre, Los Angeles, California, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Wayne Hedgpeth.

 

Charlo relinquished the IBF title on 17 February 2017 in order to fight at 160lbs.

17 September 2016. Saul Alvarez w co 9 Liam Smith.

Venue: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Luis Pabon.

Fight Summary: This fight proved to be one step too far for the champion who was up against one of the best pound-for-pound fighters around in Alvarez (154). Although Smith (154) made a good start, his accurate blows finding their target, all the while it was Alvarez who was in front, his fast hands inflicting pain. By the sixth an old wound over Smith's right eye had reopened, and in the seventh he was dropped by a right hand that landed behind the left ear. Back in action, Smith saw the round out, only to be dropped again in the eighth by a solid left to the body. Making a valiant effort to get up Smith somehow made it into the ninth before another smashing left to the ribs sent him crashing for the third time, the referee counting him out on the 2.28 mark.

 

Contesting the vacant WBO ‘interim’ title at the former MEN Arena, Manchester, England, on 8 April 2017, Smith forced Liam Williams to retire at the end of the ninth. However, as he had failed to make the weight nothing was decided on the night.

 

Alvarez relinquished his hold on the WBO title on 19 May 2017 to concentrate on making a match with Gennady Golovkin at middleweight. 

4 June 2016. Liam Smith w co 2 Predrag Radosevic.

Venue: Echo Arena, Liverpool, England. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Steve Gray.

Fight Summary: Getting away fast the champion racked Radosevic (153) with several solid body shots in the opener before setting about the latter in the second. Recognising that Radosevic was there for the taking, Smith (154) was quickly at his man with blows from both hands, and following a further left hand to the body the Montenegrin was counted out at 1.34 of the session while trying to get the wind back in his sails.

21 May 2016. Jermell Charlo w co 6 John Jackson.

Venue: The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Tony Weeks.

Fight Summary: Contesting the vacant title following Floyd Mayweather's retirement, it was Jermall's twin brother, Jermell, who also became a world champion when stopping Jackson (153½), the son of former champion, Julian Jackson, after 51 seconds of the eighth round. Jackson made the better start, winning the opening four rounds with his classy boxing and, although dropping the fifth as Charlo hit back, he was well clear coming into the eighth. The fight was then turned on its head after Jackson, stunned by solid lefts and rights to the head, turned away from Charlo before the referee stepped in after the Virgin Islander was sent crashing into the strands.

21 May 2016. Jermall Charlo w pts 12 Austin Trout.

Venue: The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Russell Mora.

Scorecards: 116-112, 116-112, 115-113.

Fight Summary: Up against a former WBA champion in Trout (154) the current IBF title holder once again showed his mettle in what turned out to be a hard-fought, close contest. While Trout boxed mainly on the outside using his southpaw jab to good effect, Charlo (153¼) went looking for the one punch that would end matters there and then. Although outboxed at times, Charlo always hit back hard, and in the penultimate round a left uppercut to the jaw almost had Trout over. There was never that much between them, but ultimately it was Charlo's heavier blows that won the day.

21 May 2016. Erislandy Lara w pts 12 Vanes Martirosyan.

Venue: The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Vic Drakulich.

Scorecards: 116-111, 116-111, 115-112.

Fight Summary: Making the first defence of the full WBA title he inherited on Floyd Mayweather's retirement, Lara (153½) gained revenge over Martirosyan (153¾), having drawn with his opponent nearly four years earlier. Although Martirosyan targeted the body and looked to make a fight of it, Lara scored with southpaw jabs on the outside as he made for an elusive target while doing just enough to deserve the unanimous decision. The points totals would have been closer still had the hard-working Martirosyan not been docked a point in the 11th for going low.

 

Brian Carlos Castano won the vacant WBA ‘interim’ title on 26 November 2016 when stopping Emmanuel De Jesus inside six rounds at the President Peron Sports Arena, Buenos Aires, Argentine.

19 December 2015. Liam Smith w rsc 7 Jimmy Kilrain Kelly.

Venue: The Arena, Manchester, England. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Marcus McDonnell.

Fight Summary: Defending his title for the first time, it was clear from the start that Smith (154) was too good for the game Kelly (153) who was caught and hurt in virtually every round. Under pressure all the way, Kelly had two points deducted in the sixth when charging into Smith head-first before being rescued in the next session. Having gone on the rampage in the seventh, Smith dropped Kelly with a solid left and, although the referee ruled it a slip, on seeing that the latter's corner wanted the fight to end he called a halt on the 2.35 mark.

28 November 2015. Jermall Charlo w rsc 4 Wilky Campfort.

Venue: Bomb Factory, Dallas, Texas, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Mark Colo-Oy.

Fight Summary: Putting his title on the line for the first time, Charlo (154) went through a feeling-out process before dropping Campfort (153¼) with a solid left jab in the second. Even though Campfort gamely continued to come forward he was on borrowed time, and when a left hook followed by a right uppercut smashed him down in the third the end was nigh despite him making it to the bell. The finish came in the fourth when the referee stopped the contest at 1.16 after Campfort went down complaining that his right eye was giving him trouble, having been caught by a left uppercut.

10 October 2015. Liam Smith w rsc 7 John Thompson.

Venue: The Arena, Manchester, England. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Marcus McDonnell.

Fight Summary: Fighting for the title that was vacated after Demetrius Andrade was stripped, Smith (153½) ultimately took full advantage of the opportunity even though Thompson (152¼) won the opening two rounds by dint of his long left jab. Once Smith had found his distance with some powerful body shots he was more than happy to let Thompson burn energy on the back foot prior to opening up in the sixth with bursts of heavy shots. Having gone back to his corner shakily, Thompson came out for the seventh only to be tracked down as Smith looked to finish it. After being wrestled to the canvas, when Thompson got up he was soon in difficulty as Smith went gunning for him. Following two or three heavy rights to the head the American went down before being rescued by the referee on the 1.44 mark halfway through the count.

12 September 2015. Jermall Charlo w co 3 Cornelius Bundrage.

Venue: Foxwoods Resort, Mashantucket, Connecticut, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: John Callas.

Fight Summary: The championship changed hands in this one when Bundrage (153) was dropped in the opening round by a right to the head as Charlo (153) looked to impose himself on his opponent quickly. Although Bundrage got to his feet he was soon in trouble again, another big right flooring him in the second, and while he came back swinging he was no match for the younger, quicker Charlo. It was all over in the third after Bundrage had been knocked over twice by heavy rights, the referee rescuing him at 2.33 of the session.

11 October 2014. Cornelius Bundrage w pts 12 Carlos Molina.

Venue: Oasis Hotel Complex, Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Kenny Chevalier.

Scorecards: 117-106, 117-109, 117-110.

Fight Summary: In a return and a reversal of fortunes, Bundrage (154) regained his old title from the man who took it from him when being awarded the unanimous decision, despite losing a point in the eighth for punching behind the head. Clearly, Bundrage had done his homework this time round, and after getting away fast he dropped Molina (152¾) with a straight right to the head after hurting the latter with a big overarm right. Although Molina came back well he could never fully keep Bundrage at bay, being hurt on several occasions before being floored in the tenth following some heavy rights to the head. From thereon in Molina had little left, while Bundrage, who was worn out from his exertions, kept out of trouble until the final bell.

13 September 2014. Floyd Mayweather Jnr w pts 12 Marcos Maidana.

Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBA/WBC/The Ring. Referee: Kenny Bayless.

Scorecards: 116-111, 116-111, 115-112.

Fight Summary: Having already successfully defended his WBA/WBC and Ring welterweight Championship Belts against Maidana, this return match that was billed for the same titles was also surprisingly seen by the WBC as involving Mayweather's 154lbs crown. Because of that I have also shown the WBA and The Ring under ‘Recognition’ as it could well have affected the rest of Mayweather’s title claims had he lost. Yet again a relatively tough fight, the champion being forced to work at all times, Maidana (146) was always there or thereabouts. Although Mayweather (146½) was by far the better boxer, Maidana was always trying to rough him up even though he was forced to take some heavy shots in return. In the ninth Mayweather complained that Maidana had bitten into his left glove, hurting his fingers and numbing his hand from thereon in. When Mayweather was blatantly pushed over in the tenth a point was deducted from Maidana's total, which only made the latter even wilder. Following a wild right that hurt Mayweather, and with blows being tossed in from all angles, the champion calmly boxed his way through to the final bell without putting himself in the firing line.

 

Erislandy Lara made his first defence of the WBA 'second tier' title when outpointing Ishe Smith over 12 rounds on 12 December at The Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas, USA. He then made further successful defences against Delvin Rodriguez (w pts 12 at the UIC Pavilion, Chicago, Illinois, USA on 12 June 2015) and Jan Zaveck (w rsc 3 at the Park Racing & Casino, Hialeah, Florida, USA on 25 November 2015).

 

At the Festival Hall, Frankfurt, Germany, on 9 May 2015, Jack Culcay outpointed Maurice Weber over 12 rounds to win the vacant WBA 'interim' title.

 

Mayweather forfeited The Ring Championship Belt on 11 August 2015, having not fought at 154lbs since beating Alvarez almost two years earlier, while the WBC eventually accepted his retirement on 4 November 2015 and vacated the title. In January 2016 the WBA finally removed Mayweather as champion, leaving Lara as their top man.

 

Culcay successfully defended the WBA 'interim' title when outpointing Dennis Hogan over 12 rounds at the Island Park Hall, Wilhelmsburg, Hamburg, Germany on 5 December 2015 and then defeated Jean Carlos Prada (w rtd 9 at the MBS Arena, Potsdam, Brandenburg, Germany on 9 April 2016). Following his win over Prada, Culcay was upgraded to second-tier status.

14 June 2014. Demetrius Andrade w rsc 7 Brian Rose.

Venue: Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Michael Griffin.

Fight Summary: Starting on the front foot the champion had Rose (153½) over from a southpaw straight left in the opening round and again in the third when a long right to the temple had the Englishman in dire trouble. Although Rose fought on bravely he was being outclassed by Andrade (153¾), who could have stepped it up had he wished. However, having pushed on in the sixth, Andrade went for Rose in the seventh with a vengeance, and after battering the latter to the ropes and banging in many hurtful punches the referee stopped the contest at 1.19 of the session. This followed Rose's corner intimating that they wanted their man out of it.

 

Andrade was stripped of the WBO title on 31 July 2015, having been inactive for close on 14 months.

9 November 2013. Demetrius Andrade w pts 12 Vanes Martirosyan.

Venue: American Bank Centre, Corpus Christi, Texas, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Jon Schorle.

Scorecards: 114-113, 117-110, 112-115.

Fight Summary: Contested for the title that Zaurbek Baysangurov forfeited, it was Andrade (153¼), a southpaw, who won the title despite being knocked over by a cracking left hook in the opener. Taking a round to recover Andrade came back well as Martirosyan (153¾) stood off while looking to land a finishing blow, but both men were guilty of standing back and not pressing enough throughout. Although the scores were somewhat disparate, the belt was Andrade's when he took the last four sessions on all three cards.

14 September 2013. Floyd Mayweather Jnr w pts 12 Saul Alvarez.

Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBA/WBC/The Ring. Referee: Kenny Bayless.

Scorecards: 116-112, 117-111, 114-114.

Fight Summary: With Mayweather's WBA title and Alvarez's two championship belts on the line it was all to fight for. Although Alvarez (152) did well, the experienced Mayweather (150½) was just too good for him, his jabs and superb movement being too difficult to match. As Mayweather ran up the rounds it was only when he backed off in the latter sessions that Alvarez got into the fight, but even then the latter was forced to take some heavy uppercuts and right hands in return for his pressing. Announced as a majority points win for Mayweather, when it was clearly a hands-down victory, the judge who made it a draw had to ride out the volume of criticism that came his way in the aftermath.

On 7 December, Erislandy Lara, the WBA ‘interim’ champion’, won the vacant WBA 'second tier' title when outpointing Austin Trout over 12 rounds at the Barclays Centre, Brooklyn, NYC, New York.

14 September 2013. Carlos Molina w pts 12 Ishe Smith.

Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Jay Nady.

Scorecards: 116-112, 117-111, 112-116.

Fight Summary: According to CompuBox there were more than 700 punches thrown by both men, the vast majority of them being ineffectual. In what was a contest that will hardly be remembered, the champion was unable to raise his game against Molina (153), who did enough to convince two of the judges that he was the better man. Although Molina scored with measured blows and Smith threw flurries in virtually every round in an effort to impress the judges it was a tough one to score. Following the contest there were many disgruntled fans who thought Smith should have been given the decision as he appeared to land the higher percentage, but at the end of the day there were few shots of note delivered by either man.

20 April 2013. Saul Alvarez w pts 12 Austin Trout.

Venue: The Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas, USA. Recognition: WBC/The Ring. Referee: Laurence Cole.

Scorecards: 115-112, 118-109, 118-111.

Fight Summary: Apart from Trout's WBA 'second tier' title and Alvarez's WBC crown being on the line, The Ring Championship Belt was also up for grabs in this one. With height and reach advantages in his favour Trout (153¼) got away well, his southpaw jab keeping Alvarez (153½) at bay to some degree, but before too long the latter was closing the distance to get his heavier shots off. As far as the cards were concerned Alvarez was always in front, although he had not landed enough on Trout to discourage him. That all changed in the seventh, however, when a straight right to the jaw sent Trout down, and although the latter got up and fought back from thereon in it was all Alvarez.

23 February 2013. Ishe Smith w pts 12 Cornelius Bundrage.

Venue: Masonic Temple, Detroit, Michigan, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Sam Williams.

Scorecards: 116-111, 116-111, 114-114.

Fight Summary: Coming back from a career that had been on the slide, Smith (152½) shocked the champion when winning the majority decision in a fight that was hardly one for the purist. Bundrage (152¾) never really got going, and in the second after knocking Smith down with a blow to the back of the head he was deducted a point for then hitting him while on the floor. The fight really turned in the fourth when Smith smashed in a heavy round-hand counter that hurt Bundrage, who then dropped six of the next seven rounds when going on the back foot. Decidedly messy towards the end, with both men throwing wild blows, Smith picked it up when pushing Bundrage to the ropes and making sure of the win.

6 October 2012. Zaurbek Baysangurov w pts 12 Lukas Konecny.

Venue: Sports Palace, Kiev, Ukraine. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Genaro Rodriguez.

Scorecards: 119-109, 117-111, 118-110.

Fight Summary: Despite starting well and having an especially strong second round, Konecny (153¾) was soon pegged back as the champion began to control matters with the jab and solid uppercuts. Even though Konecny appeared to be landing the cleaner, harder shots throughout it was Baysangurov (152½) who was picking up the points on the judges' scorecards. There were those who though Konecny deserved more from the contest than just two rounds, but ultimately it was not to be.

 

Due to defend the WBO title against Demetrius Andrade, Baysangurov was forced to pull out when injuring his back in training. On 18 June 2013 the WBO announced that Baysangurov had relinquished the title and that Andrade would be meeting Vanes Martirosyan to decide the vacancy. They went on to say that once fully fit Baysangurov would be given the opportunity to win his old title back.

15 September 2012. Saul Alvarez w rsc 5 Josesito Lopez.

Venue:  MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Joe Cortez.

Fight Summary: Too big and too powerful for the challenger, after a feeling-out round Alvarez (154) came back from a heavy shot in the second before dropping his rival with a tremendous left hook to the body towards the end of the session. When Alvarez repeated the exercise with the same blow in the third, Lopez (153) was right up against it. Still on the front foot Alvarez dropped Lopez in the fourth with a cracking right to the jaw and, although the latter got up and fought on spiritedly, when he was driven into a corner in the fifth and was being pounded incessantly the referee rescued him with five seconds of the session remaining.

30 June 2012. Cornelius Bundrage w rsc 7 Cory Spinks.

Venue: Fantasy Springs Casino, Indio, California, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Ray Corona.

Fight Summary: In what was a return fight the 39-year-old champion proved that his previous win over Spinks (153¾) was no fluke when he repeated the exercise, only this time it was inside the distance. Starting strongly, Bundrage (153½) dropped his southpaw challenger with a big right to the head in the first and generally roughed his foe up as the contest continued. Although Spinks came back to pick up rounds with the jab he was never in control, and when he came under fire from Bundrage in the seventh, after going down twice from solid rights to the head, the referee called matters off at 2.32 of the session when he fell down.

12 May 2012. Zaurbek Baysangurov w pts 12 Michel Soro.

Venue: Terminal Ice Palace, Brovari, Ukraine. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Mickey Vann.

Scorecards: 116-111, 117-111, 115-112.

Fight Summary: Making his first defence of the title that was handed to him after Serhiy Dzinziruk was stripped, Baysangurov (153¾) got away quickly before being surprised, hurt and dropped by a big left that seemed to come from nowhere. Despite coming back strongly to take the play away from Soro (154), the Russian was forced to fight off a resurgent opponent in the middle sessions when coming under pressure from solid combinations. Picking it up again in the eighth, when Baysangurov banged in heavy body blows that took away Soro's legs the fight was his as the less experienced challenger tired.

5 May 2012. Saul Alvarez w pts 12 Shane Mosley.

Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Jay Nady.

Scorecards: 119-109, 118-110, 119-109.

Fight Summary: Up against the 40-year-old Mosley (154), the young champion showed off his impressive ability against a man who was a top amateur boxer way before he was born. Although Alvarez (154) won with plenty to spare it was still competitive until the older man tired. Cut by the left eye from an accidental clash of heads in the third Alvarez was never perturbed, and as the fight wore on he was handing out plenty of stick as Mosley tried to stay in the contest. Particularly impressive was Alvarez's work to the body, while his all-round game showed much improvement. According to CompuBox, he landed 348 blows to Mosley's 183 despite the latter throwing more.

5 May 2012. Floyd Mayweather Jnr w pts 12 Miguel Cotto.

Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Tony Weeks.

Scorecards: 117-111, 117-111, 118-111.

Fight Summary: With the champion on the attack from the opening bell, looking to crank up the pressure, the plan was obviously to give the four-weight champion, Mayweather (151), as little room to work in as possible. Showing an exceptional defence, Mayweather avoided much of what was coming his way before hitting back with solid blows as Cotto (154) came forward. Although Mayweather won most of the rounds on the cards he could not relax for one moment, especially in the sixth and eighth when Cotto outscored him. The punch of the contest was a tremendous left uppercut in the final session that Cotto survived, and he was still there at the final bell fighting his heart out.

 

On 2 June, Austin Trout successfully defended his WBA ‘second tier’ title when outpointing Delvin Rodriguez over 12 rounds at the Home Depot Centre, Carson, California. Trout made a further successful defence of the ‘second tier’ title on 1 December when outpointing Cotto over 12 rounds at Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York.

 

The vacant WBA ‘interim’ title was decided when Erislandy Lara stopped Alfredo Angelo in the tenth round of their contest at the Home Depot Centre, Carson, California on 8 June 2013.

3 December 2011. Miguel Cotto w rsc 9 Antonio Margarito.

Venue: Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Steve Smoger.

Fight Summary: Gaining revenge for a 2008 stoppage defeat at the hands of Margarito (152½) in controversial circumstances, the champion was on top most of the way in this one as he marched to a ninth-round stoppage win. With his suspect right eye starting to swell in the third, when Margarito urged Cotto (152¼) to do his worst that is just what the latter did, left hooks and jabs damaging the Mexican's features the more the fight went on. Continuing to miss with much of what he threw, by the ninth the still advancing Margarito was being picked off and blasted by Cotto, and at the end of the session following a long discussion with the ringside doctor the fight was halted by the referee. Although Margarito's corner pleaded for just one more round it was not to be.

26 November 2011. Saul Alvarez w rsc 5 Kermit Cintron.

Venue: Monumental Bullring, Mexico City, Mexico. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Hector Afu.

Fight Summary: Both men made reasonable starts, but by the third it could be seen that the heavy-handed champion was beginning to hurt Cintron (154). Towards the end of the fourth Alvarez (154) finally struck when a big right over the top dropped Cintron heavily, and although the latter got up at 'nine' and tried to fight back the end of the round saw him in trouble on the ropes. The fight ended when the referee stepped in at 2.53 of the fifth to rescue Cintron after he had been wobbled in a session that saw many heavy shots being landed by both fighters.

17 September 2011. Saul Alvarez w rsc 6 Alfonso Gomez.

Venue: Staples Centre, Los Angeles, California, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Wayne Hedgpeth.

Fight Summary: Regardless of all the bad talking beforehand, Alvarez (153¾) quickly got down to work when dropping his challenger in the opening round with a solid left jab. Although Gomez (152¾) came back strongly in the second, Alvarez picked it up in the third when banging in lefts and rights before going on to control the contest. Having hurt Gomez in the sixth with a right uppercut, when Alvarez followed up with some heavy blows from both hands the referee stopped the contest on the 2.15 mark with many feeling that the former should have been given more time.

25 June 2011. Cornelius Bundrage w pts 12 Sechew Powell.

Venue: Family Arena, St Charles, Missouri, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Ernie Sharif.

Scorecards: 119-109, 117-111, 115-113.

Fight Summary: Looking to avenge a stoppage defeat at the hands of Powell (152½) back in 2005, Bundrage (152¼) took the fight to his southpaw challenger from the opening bell and before too long both men were slogging it out with rare abandon. Not only that, but there was such animosity between them that there were hardly any jabs thrown. There were no knockdowns, but plenty of holding made it a fight to forget. Carrying a swelling under his right eye, Bundrage, who always appeared to be in command of this untidy affair, finished the contest moving in-and-out with the jab before closing it with some heavy shots immediately prior to the final bell.

18 June 2011. Saul Alvarez w rsc 12 Ryan Rhodes.

Venue: Vicente Fernandez Garcia Arena, Tlajomulco De Zuniga, Mexico. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Hector Afu.

Fight Summary: The champion started as he meant to carry on against the switch-hitting Rhodes (152½), a southpaw by trade, when looking to bang solid right hands through the middle to bring the latter down. With Rhodes trapped on the ropes in the fourth one such punch following a two-handed battering put him down. Although finding his feet and trying to fight back Rhodes was rarely able to keep Alvarez (153¼) at bay, and in the seventh he was showing signs of battle with damage under both eyes before being pushed over. From thereon in it was one-way traffic. Sensing that he had his man going at the start of the 12th, Alvarez poured in the punches with not much coming back until the referee stepped in after the towel had been thrown in by Rhodes' corner, 48 seconds into the session.

12 March 2011. Miguel Cotto w rsc 12 Ricardo Mayorga.

Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Robert Byrd.

Fight Summary: Getting away well with the jab while Mayorga (154) looked to throw blows from both hands, the champion controlled the fight when outboxing the latter and working for three minutes each round. Mayorga came with a rush in the seventh and ninth when scoring solidly, but Cotto (154) came back hard in the next two sessions to take the play away from the Nicaraguan. The fight came to an end in the 12th after Mayorga was dropped heavily by a left hook to the jaw as he rushed in blindly and, although getting up, he was being battered along the ropes when signalling that he was through for the night. At that point, 53 seconds into the session, the referee came to his aid.

 

On 11 June, at the Miguel Barragan Auditorium, San Luis Potosi, Mexico, Austin Trout retained his WBA ‘second tier’ title when outpointing David Lopez over 12 rounds.

 

Anthony Mundine outpointed Rigoberto Alvarez over 12 rounds to win the WBA ‘interim’ title at the Entertainment Centre, Newcastle, Australia on 19 October.

 

Trout went on to defend the ‘second tier’ title when stopping Frank LoPorto in the sixth round at the Cohen Stadium, El Paso, Texas, USA on 11 November.

 

Mundine forfeited his title in early May 2012 when refusing to take on the WBA ‘second tier’ champion, Trout.

5 March 2011. Saul Alvarez w pts 12 Matthew Hatton.

Venue: Honda Centre, Anaheim, California, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Lou Moret.

Scorecards: 120-108, 120-108, 120-108.

Fight Summary: Contested for the vacant title after Manny Pacquiao handed the belt back without making a defence, Alvarez (151½) had too much of everything for Hatton (149¾). Although the Mexican did not lose a round on the cards despite being docked a point in the seventh when going low, it should not detract from Hatton's performance. Even though Alvarez continually stalked Hatton, throwing solid, accurate bows from both hands, the latter was always ready to engage and was never off his feet. Cut on the left eye in the fourth, Hatton showed his toughness both mentally and physically when remaining in the fight against the odds, his career enhanced.

13 November 2010. Manny Pacquiao w pts 12 Antonio Margarito.

Venue: Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, Texas, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Laurence Cole.

Scorecards: 119-109, 120-108, 118-110.

Fight Summary: This one was contested for the vacant title after Vernon Forrest had been stripped and his successor, Sergio Martinez, who had been handed the belt, decided to move up a division without making a defence. Having won a WBC 112lbs title back in 1997, Pacquiao (144¾) added the 154lbs crown to his collection of five world titles at different weights when winning virtually every round against the tough Margarito (150), his speed around the ring and southpaw stance being too much for the latter. There were no knockdowns, but Margarito, who was cut up and swollen on both eyes at the final bell, looked like he had been in a car crash. The CompuBox stats showed that Pacquiao landed 474 punches to 229 in what was an outstanding output against a seven-inch taller opponent. Pacquiao, who had previously been an undefeated title holder at flyweight (WBC), at junior featherweight (IBF), at junior lightweight (WBC) and at lightweight (WBC), had also been the WBO welterweight champion more recently.

 

With no ambitions to defend the WBC Belt, when Pacquiao was stripped on 8 February 2011 a ready-made fight between Saul Alvarez and the European welterweight champion, Matthew Hatton, was given title status despite the latter not being rated.

7 August 2010. Cornelius Bundrage w rsc 5 Cory Spinks.

Venue: Scot Trade Centre, St Louis, Missouri, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Mark Nelson.

Fight Summary: In something of a surprise, Spinks (153½) was beaten by Bundrage (153½) in a bout that had been twice postponed. It was also a match-up between fighters who had been inactive for well over a year. Starting strongly, Bundrage charged into Spinks from the opening bell, and had the challenger been more accurate with his blows the fight would undoubtedly ended very quickly. Not a shadow of his former self, his southpaw stance making him an easy target, when Spinks was dropped on to the ring apron in the fifth and made it up at 'eight' the referee stopped the contest at 1.28 of the session after he had stumbled.

5 June 2010. Miguel Cotto w rsc 9 Yuri Foreman.

Venue: Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Arthur Mercante Jnr.

Fight Summary: Fairly even for the opening four rounds as both men looked to settle, from the fifth onwards it was clear that the champion's best shots were not making a dent on Cotto (153½) who continued to roll forward. Cut on the right eye in the fifth, Foreman (154) was being pushed around in the sixth and losing track. As a contest it was virtually over in the seventh when Foreman's right leg gave way when attempting a defensive movement, and although he was given time out it became difficult for him to fight on. Fight on he did though, despite falling over on occasion and taking a beating for his pains. He was also cut over the left eye. Having tried to stop the contest in the eighth when throwing the towel in, Foreman's corner was ignored by the referee after the latter said he wanted to fight on. Although Foreman came out for the ninth, when he was dropped by a left hook to the body the referee immediately called the fight off 42 seconds into the session. Cotto became a three-weight world champion on winning, having previously been an undefeated WBO junior welterweight champion and a WBA/WBO welterweight champion.

 

Rigoberto Alvarez won the WBA ‘interim’ crown when outpointing Nobuhiro Ishida, the defending champion, over 12 rounds at the Sports Inn, University Campus, Tepic, Nayarit, Mexico on 9 October. Into 2011, on 5 February, Austin Trout outpointed Alvarez over 12 rounds to win the vacant WBA ‘second tier’ title at the Medrano 67 Coliseum Arena, Guadalajara, Mexico; the loser forfeiting the ‘interim’ belt.

14 May 2010. Serhiy Dzinziruk w rsc 10 Daniel Dawson.

Venue: Chumash Casino, Santa Ynez, California, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Jose Cobain.

Fight Summary: With Dawson (154) the aggressor from the start being held up by the champion's southpaw right jab, even when he managed to break through he was met by hooks and crosses from both hands. Dzinziruk (153) also proved that he had a good chin when required. By the sixth Dawson had run out of ideas, but he continued to push on despite taking a beating as the rounds passed. At 2.12 of the tenth the referee finally halted the action when a badly tiring Dawson was taking a whole string of solid lefts without response and was crumbling fast.

 

Zaurbek Baysangurov knocked out Mike Miranda in the opening round of a contest to decide the vacant WBO 'interim' title at the Sports Palace, Odessa, Ukraine on 30 July 2011.

 

On 5 October 2011, Dzinziruk was stripped of the WBO title after pulling out of a defence against Lukas Konecny, which had been scheduled for 30 September, following a long period of inactivity at the weight. Further to this, Baysangurov was promoted to full championship status. Meanwhile, Konecny won the vacant WBO ‘interim’ title when knocking out Salim Larbi in the seventh round of their contest at the Vodova Arena, Brno, Czech Republic on 5 April 2012.

14 November 2009. Yuri Foreman w pts 12 Daniel Santos.

Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Jay Nady.

Scorecards: 117-109, 117-109, 116-110.

Fight Summary: Losing his title at the first time of asking after suffering weight-making problems, the southpaw champion was knocked down twice, once in the second by a right to the back of the head (when unsuccessfully claiming a foul) before a right to the body in the final round also did the trick. It was reported by some of the press that it was a left hook that did the job. Although both men were cut, Foreman on the left eye in the third and Santos on the right optic in the 11th, it made no difference to the way the contest went, Foreman (154) becoming the first Israeli to win a title when the unanimous decision went in his favour. Nothing to write home about, it was an extremely messy affair that saw Santos (154) doing the chasing and Foreman moving around, popping out scoring blows to make sure of the rounds.

 

Nobuhiro Ishida retained the WBA ‘interim’ crown when outpointing Oney Valdez over 12 rounds at the Prefectural Gym, Osaka, Japan on 29 December.

24 April 2009. Cory Spinks w pts 12 Deandre Latimore.

Venue: Scot Trade Centre, St Louis, Missouri, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Earl Morton.

Scorecards: 114-113, 115-112, 112-115.

Fight Summary: Contested for the vacant crown after Verno Phillips had returned his belt, Spinks (152¾) regained his old title when taking a split decision over Latimore (153½) in an all-southpaw battle. Making the early running, Latimore got off several solid shots while Spinks stood with him instead of moving on. After being cut over the left eye in the fourth, Spinks began working the jab to good effect before going back to punch-for-punch as Latimore started to fade around the ninth and was also cut over the left eye. From thereon in it was first one and then the other who landed the better punches, until Spinks sorted himself out to put the last couple of sessions in the bank.

1 November 2008. Serhiy Dzinziruk w pts 12 Joel Julio.

Venue: Koenig Pilsener Arena, Oberhausen, Germany. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Genaro Rodriguez.

Scorecards: 116-112, 117-111, 116-112.

Fight Summary: There was little between the two men at the halfway stage, the southpaw champion and Julio (154) swapping blows as the action swayed back and forth. It was in the seventh, however, that the tide changed for Dzinziruk (153¼) as he began using his hand and foot speed to take the play away from Julio, who gradually began to fade when getting caught with more punches than before. With two judges giving Dzinziruk the last four sessions the margin of victory was complete.

 

Paul Williams stopped Verno Phillips on the ringside doctor’s advice at the end of the eighth round of their fight for the vacant WBO ‘interim’ title at the Citizens Business Bank Arena, Ontario, California, USA on 29 November. After Williams relinquished the ‘interim’ title, he was succeeded by Alfredo Angulo who knocked out Harry Joe Yorgey inside three rounds at the XL Centre, Hartford, Connecticut, USA on 7 November 2009, and then went on to make a successful defence when stopping Julio in the 11th at the Citizens Business Bank Arena on 24 April 2010. Angulo forfeited the WBO ‘interim’ title on 17 July 2010 after beating Joachim Alcine in a final eliminator for the WBC crown and failing to agree a match against Dzinziruk.

13 September 2008. Vernon Forrest w pts 12 Sergio Mora.

Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Vic Drakulich.

Scorecards: 118-109, 117-110, 119-108.

Fight Summary: In a complete reversal of fortunes, Forrest (154) regained his title from Mora (154), the man he lost it to, when receiving the unanimous decision at the end of a contest he had largely dominated. This time round it was Forrest's left jab that was decisive, and in the fourth he began working the body to good effect. Sent on to the ropes in the seventh from a left hook, the referee counted over Mora after ruling that it was effectively a knockdown. Although Mora landed heavily with a big right in the ninth, Forrest immediately responded when ramming in blows right through to the final bell.

 

On 4 October, at the Pechanga Resort & Casino, Temecula, California, Sergio Martinez forced Alex Bunema to retire at the end of the eighth round of a contest to decide the vacant WBC ‘interim’ title. Martinez then made a successful defence when drawing over 12 rounds against Kermit Cintron at the Bank Atlantic Centre, Sunrise, Florida on 14 February 2009.

 

After being out of the ring since his win over Mora due to a persistent rib injury, Forrest was stripped of the title on 21 May 2009, the WBC announcing that the ‘interim’ champion, Martinez, had been upgraded to full championship status.  

 

Towards the end of June 2010, having won the WBC middleweight title when beating Kelly Pavlik on 17 April 2010, Martinez handed back the junior belt after deciding to continue at 160lbs. Following that, Manny Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito were matched to contest the vacant title.

11 July 2008. Daniel Santos w rsc 6 Joachim Alcine.

Venue: Uniprix Stadium, Montreal, Canada. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Marlon Wright.

Fight Summary: Up against a southpaw in Santos (153), the champion made a cautious start before both men went to work in the third. Having got home with a cracking right to Santos' jaw, Alcine (153) ended the session being pinned on the ropes while taking solid shots to head and body. Following the fourth, which went to Santos, Alcine went after the Puerto Rican in the fifth with long rights finding their mark but in the sixth he suddenly came undone. After Santos banged out a short right hook, just as Alcine was preparing to throw a left hook he was beaten to the punch by a thunderous straight left to the jaw that sent him crashing to the deck. Although the referee began the count, when he saw that Alcine had partially got up before falling down again he stopped the contest on the 2.10 mark.

 

At the Prefectural Gym, Osaka, Japan on 30 August 2009, Nobuhiro Ishida won the vacant WBA ‘interim’ title when outpointing Marco Antonio Avendano over 12 rounds.

7 June 2008. Sergio Mora w pts 12 Vernon Forrest.

Venue: Mohegan Sun Casino, Uncasville, Connecticut, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Dick Flaherty.

Scorecards: 116-112, 115-113, 114-114.

Fight Summary: It was clear from the start that things were not quite right with 37-year-old champion, who appeared to decline by the minute as Mora (154) set about him from the fourth onwards. Having controlled the opening three rounds, Forrest (153¾) had looked a good bet, but now he was being caught from head to body by solid combinations. Although Forrest came back somewhat in the fifth, after taking some heavy shots, and with his right eye swelling fast, his strength began to ebb away as Mora took the bull by the horns right through to the final bell.

26 April 2008. Serhiy Dzinziruk w pts 12 Lukas Konecny.

Venue: Freiberger Arena, Dresden, Germany. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Jose Rivera.

Scorecards: 118-110, 115-113, 114-114.

Fight Summary: A tough fight to score and one that had twice been delayed, there was much dissent after the southpaw champion had been handed the majority decision at the end of 12 well-contested rounds. With Konecny (153) coming forward at all times, although Dzinziruk (153) countered strongly and moved well it appeared that the man from the Czech Republic had done enough on aggression alone. Following the contest calls went out for a return.

27 March 2008. Verno Phillips w pts 12 Cory Spinks.

Venue: Scot Trade Centre, St Louis, Missouri, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Gerald Scott.

Scorecards: 115-113, 116-112, 113-115.

Fight Summary: According to the great majority of scribes and experts outside the ring this appeared to be an easy win for the southpaw champion, one such man saying that he had the 38-year-old Phillips (153) winning two rounds at most. Regardless of that the split decision went to Phillips. Much faster and much younger, Spinks (153) could have made sure had he put more work in, but he stopped dominating in the sixth when allowing Phillips the room to get heavy punches off, something that was highlighted in the seventh. Although Spinks was given the last three rounds, Phillips was seemingly favoured because his blows landed were of the heavier variety.

 

Phillips relinquished the IBF title on 19 November having already signed to meet Paul Williams for the vacant WBO ‘interim’ crown on 29 November. Following that, Spinks was eventually matched against Deandre Latimore with the vacant title at stake. Latimore had earned his right to a title shot after beating the IBF’s top-ranked Sechew Powell (w rsc 7 at the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square, Manhattan, NYC, New York on 11 June).

7 December 2007. Joachim Alcine w rsc 12 Alfonso Mosquera.

Venue: Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Michael Griffin.

Fight Summary: In what was a difficult first defence for Alcine (152¼), he found himself trading with Mosquera (153) right from the off as the latter fired in quick combinations that initially confused him. However, by the fourth Alcine was in control for a few rounds, handing out solid combinations of his own as he pushed Mosquera back. Doing his best work on the inside, Mosquera really made it pay in the ninth when trapping Alcine on the ropes and banging away, but that seemed to be his last throw of the dice as the latter came back with a vengeance when stepping on the gas. Decidedly unsteady at the start of the 12th, Mosquera slipped over moments before being dropped by a right-left hook. Floored for the second time following a big right hook, upon getting up and taking a battering Mosquera was rescued by the referee at 2.17 of the session.

1 December 2007. Vernon Forrest w rsc 11 Michele Piccirillo.

Venue: Foxwoods Casino, Mashantucket, Connecticut, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Arthur Mercante Jnr.

Fight Summary: Defending his title for the first time, the 36-year-old Forrest (153) was nearly always going too well for Piccirillo (152). Although coming back in the third, Piccirillo, hardly making a dent on Forrest, was unable to get into the fight, and in the sixth he was push-punched to the deck for what should have been seen as a slip. It hardly got any better for Piccirillo when he was dropped by a solid right in the ninth, having done reasonably well in the previous session. Eventually, matters came to head in the 11th when another cracking right to the head had Piccirillo down again. Following that, when it was seen that he had injured a leg in the fall, the referee called the fight off on 2.21 mark.

28 July 2007. Vernon Forrest w pts 12 Carlos Baldomir.

Venue: Emerald Queen Casino, Tacoma, Washington, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Jose Rivera.

Scorecards: 118-109, 116-111, 118-109.

Fight Summary: Contested for the vacant title after Floyd Mayweather handed in his belt, it was Forrest (154) who walked off with the prize after widely outscoring the tough Baldomir (154) on two of the cards. Although Baldomir was always on the front foot he found it difficult to reach the taller Forrest, who was landing solid, accurate jabs all night. Carrying a swollen right eye from the third did not deter the former WBC and undefeated IBF welterweight title holder as he speeded up before being caught heavily by Baldomir in the ninth and then losing a point for going low in the same session. Picking it up in the tenth when throwing punches from both hands, Forrest continued in that vein through to the final bell to fully deserve the plaudits that came his way.

7 July 2007. Joachim Alcine w pts 12 Travis Simms.

Venue: Harbor Yard Arena, Bridgeport, Connecticut, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Michael Ortega.

Scorecards: 115-110, 116-109, 114-111.

Fight Summary: Making his first defence in a contest between unbeaten fighters, and one filled with many transgressions, Simms (152½) allowed himself to be outworked by Alcine (152¼) in the latter stages. Having won four of the opening six rounds on two of the judges' cards, Simms should have pulled away at this point, but failed to take advantage of openings when they presented themselves. Both men were deducted points, Alcine in the sixth for a late punch and Simms in the ninth when hitting on the break. In that same round when Simms slipped on the wet canvas after missing with a punch the referee incorrectly scored it a knockdown. Following the fight, Simms, a southpaw, stated that after he had felt his left hand go in the fourth his momentum subsequently waned.

19 May 2007. Serhiy Dzinziruk w rsc 11 Carlos Nascimento.

Venue: Color Line Arena, Hamburg, Germany. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Brian Garry.

Fight Summary: Boxing well within himself the southpaw champion racked up the rounds against the limited Nascimento (151½), who had little on offer than being able to soak up punishment and keep going. It was only in the 11th that Dzinziruk (153¾) opened up with solid rights and lefts to floor Nascimento who, by this time, had little left and was worn out. Although making it to his feet the referee called the action off on the 1.42 mark when realising that Nascimento was through for the night.

5 May 2007. Floyd Mayweather Jnr w pts 12 Oscar De La Hoya.

Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Kenny Bayless.

Scorecards: 116-112, 115-113, 113-115.

Fight Summary: Coming to the ring as the current WBC welterweight title holder, although Mayweather outscored De La Hoya (154), his skill being undeniable, the challenger failed to run off the rounds as he had predicted and won on the back foot rather than making the fight. Having taken three of the opening four rounds, De La Hoya failed to build on that with a smaller output of jabs than were required to push Mayweather back. There was never that much between them, but when De La Hoya tired in the latter rounds it allowed Mayweather more freedom to pick his shots. Had one of the judges agreed with the other two and given a 10-9 round for the 12th De La Hoya would have retained his title on a split draw, it was that close. Becoming a five-weight champion on winning, the undefeated Mayweather added the WBC junior middleweight title to his list of championship successes at junior lightweight (WBC), lightweight (WBC), junior welterweight (WBC) and welterweight (IBF and WBC).  

 

Mayweather vacated the title on 4 July, preferring to hold on to the WBC welterweight crown, and following his decision he was given ‘emeritus’ status. Originally an eliminator, a match between Carlos Baldomir and Vernon Forrest, rated number two and three respectively by the WBC, was eventually given full title status after De La Hoya, the top-rated man, was undecided on his future.

3 February 2007. Cory Spinks w pts 12 Rodney Jones.

Venue: Silver Spurs Arena, Kissimmee, Florida, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Tommy Kimmons.

Scorecards: 120-108, 1180110, 120-108.

Fight Summary: In a meeting between southpaws it was the champion who came out on top when outboxing the 38-year-old Jones (153) for round after round, his speed too much for the latter to handle. With Spinks (153¾) on the outside, Jones lacked the mobility to get in range and was consistently being beaten to the punch in what turned into a boring affair. Following the fight, Spinks stated that he wanted the best men in the division from there on.

6 January 2007. Travis Simms w rsc 9 Jose Antonio Rivera.

Venue: Seminole Hard Rock Live Arena, Hollywood, Florida, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Frank Santore Jnr.

Fight Summary: Coming back after well over two years out of the ring, Simms (153¾) started fast when hurting the current title holder in the first before dropping him with a southpaw straight left in the second. Showing faster hands and heavier punching power than Rivera (153), the 'champion in recess' came back with a bang as he took round after round with heavy counters continually finding their target. Having been floored in the ninth by a straight left to the jaw, Rivera made it to his feet before the referee rescued him at 2.00 of the session when he was being battered from both hands unmercifully as Simms went for the finish.

21 October 2006. Serhiy Dzinziruk w pts 12 Alisultan Nadirbegov.

Venue: Fire in the Mountains Arena, Halle, Germany. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Terry O’Connor.

Scorecards: 120-108, 119-108, 119-109.

Fight Summary: Setting the pace from the opening bell, the southpaw champion was soon peppering Nadirbegov (151½) with solid jabs and combinations that had the latter desperately looking for a punch to turn things around. Occasionally catching Dzinziruk (153) with countering blows was not enough, and as the contest moved into the final stages it was clear that Nadirbegov lacked the know-how and speed to fight his way back into contention. Trying to finish matters Dzinziruk went on the attack in the last couple of sessions, but found Nadirbegov determined to last the course.

8 July 2006. Cory Spinks w pts 12 Roman Karmazin.

Venue: Savvis Centre, St Louis, Missouri, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Mark Nelson.

Scorecards: 115-113, 115-113, 114-114.

Fight Summary: At the start it looked as though the champion would be too strong for Spinks (153), but the former IBF/WBA/WBC welterweight title holder's greater speed and southpaw stance left the Russian flummoxed at times when winning four of the opening five rounds. By the middle stages, however, Karmazin (153) was beginning to come on when working the body and roughing Spinks up in the clinches. Cut under the right eye in the seventh, Karmazin was starting to hurt Spinks with big right hands, and finishing strongly he appeared to have done enough to retain his title as the latter took time out in the 12th. It was not to be though, as Spinks won by a very close decision on the cards.

27 May 2006. Serhiy Dzinziruk w pts 12 Sebastian Andres Lujan.

Venue: Zenith Culture Hall, Munich, Germany. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Joe Cortez.

Scorecards: 118-110, 117-110, 116-111.

Fight Summary: Stepping out for his first defence, the southpaw champion did not get himself going for three rounds as Lujan (153¾) dictated early on, but following a coming together of heads that left him with a cut over the left eye he began to take over. From the fifth through to the final bell Dzinziruk (154) dropped one session at most, his lead being enhanced when Lujan lost a point in the ninth for hitting behind the head. Although the Argentine was always dangerous, once Dzinziruk had got his right-left combinations up to speed there was only one man in it.

6 May 2006. Oscar De La Hoya w rsc 6 Ricardo Mayorga.

Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Jay Nady.

Fight Summary: Coming back from a bad defeat at the hands of Bernard Hopkins, De La Hoya (153½), a champion at six-weights, gave a superb display in battering the dangerous Mayorga (153½) from his title. With both men swinging in blows in the opener it was De La Hoya who struck first when a cracking left hook to the jaw dropped Mayorga heavily. Although Mayorga got to his feet quickly he was soon under pressure from solid combinations as well as being outboxed for round after round. Having been floored in the sixth from another left hook, after Mayorga struggled up and was then battered down by a series of lefts and rights that landed on the jaw the referee stopped the fight. The finish came at 1.25 of the session. This was De La Hoya’s second term as a WBC title holder at the weight.

6 May 2006. Jose Antonio Rivera w pts 12 Alejandro Garcia.

Venue: DCU Centre, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Richard Flaherty.

Scorecards: 116-106, 116-106, 115-107.

Fight Summary: The challenger made an excellent start when dropping Garcia (152½) twice in the opening round, a solid jab and an overarm right to the head doing the trick. Coming back strongly, Garcia put that behind him to get some good punches off in the second and third before flooring Rivera (152½) for the first time in his career with a straight right to the face. With both men punching away in the fifth, by the seventh the former WBA ‘second tier’ champion was pushing on as Garcia tired, and in the ninth he decked the latter with a long right that landed on the jaw. Although knocked down again in the tenth, this time by a left hook, Garcia came back strongly in the 11th before another big overarm right put him over in the final session prior to the bell.

3 December 2005. Serhiy Dzinziruk w pts 12 Daniel Santos.

Venue: Borderland Hall, Magdeburg, Germany. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Genaro Rodriguez.

Scorecards: 115-112, 115-112, 115-112.

Fight Summary: A fast-paced battle of southpaws saw a new champion crowned when the German-based Dzinziruk (154) took the title from Santos (154), beating the latter at his own game. Strong and determined, from the fourth round on the former undefeated European title holder used the jab well to stop Santos from getting into his stride, having lost the opening three or four sessions. Coming on strong, in the eighth Dzinziruk countered superbly with a cracking right to the jaw to drop Santos, and although the Puerto Rican had no difficulty in beating the count the punch would ultimately prove decisive in what was a hard-fought contest. Now fighting with great confidence, Dzinziruk battled on, surviving a tremendous left hook to the head in the 11th as Santos put in a great finish. Despite losing the 12th, Dzinziruk was deemed to have done enough.

13 August 2005. Ricardo Mayorga w pts 12 Michele Piccirillo.

Venue: United Centre, Chicago, Illinois, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Gerald Scott.

Scorecards: 117-108, 117-110, 120-105.

Fight Summary: Contesting the vacant title, Mayorga (154) got himself up for this one despite claiming that he was through with boxing after being beaten by Felix Trinidad some ten months earlier. Making a solid start, the crude, wild punching Mayorga dropped Piccirillo (154) twice in the second round and once in the fourth with heavy rights to the head, and although the latter came back well in the fifth he was never able to do much other than fight in defensive mode. Unable to take the fight to the former WBA/WBC welterweight champion, although Piccirillo was put down again just before the final bell no count was registered.

13 August 2005. Alejandro Garcia w pts 12 Luca Messi.

Venue: United Centre, Chicago, Illinois, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Pete Podgorski.

Scorecards: 117-110, 119-108, 117-110.

Fight Summary: In what was his first defence, Garcia (154) suffered from a slow start when dropping the first two rounds to the hard-working Messi (151) before eventually finding the room to jab and work the body. With the challenger always in the thick of it, in the seventh he hurt Garcia with a solid right only for the latter to come right back with heavy rights of his own to drop him for ‘eight’. Although Garcia was less effective from thereon in, claiming to have broken his left hand in the second, he did more than enough to win the decision.

14 July 2005. Roman Karmazin w pts 12 Kassim Ouma.

Venue: Orleans Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Robert Byrd.

Scorecards: 118-108, 116-110, 117-109.

Fight Summary: Making a slow start, Ouma (154) was under pressure from the opening bell as Karmazin (153½) used his three-and-half-inch-reach advantage and awkward style to take control early before flooring the southpaw champion twice in the third round. Knocked down firstly by a left to the side, Ouma was caught off balance, but the right to the jaw that sent him crashing for the second knockdown took a lot of the stuffing out of him. Subsequently, it was hard going for Ouma, and although he battled back well during the middle of the fight he was never able to close Karmazin down. Working hard, the Russian-born Karmazin came on strongly over last three sessions with jabs and solid rights to walk off with the decision.

29 January 2005. Kassim Ouma w pts 12 Kofi Jantuah.

Venue: Boardwalk Convention Centre, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Randy Neumann.

Scorecards: 117-111, 116-112, 118-110.

Fight Summary: Handing out a steady beating to his challenger, throwing punches from all angles, while it could be argued that Ouma (152) was not punching his weight it was certainly effective. From the first bell to last Ouma never stopped working, and although Jantuah (153) started well, taking the opening two rounds, the fifth was probably the only other session that he showed up in when taking the bull by the horns with some terrific right hands. By the eighth Jantuah was showing his age as he kept walking into prodding blows delivered from a southpaw stance. And even though he hurt Ouma he continued to be outscored until the final bell. The punch stats showed that Ouma threw an incredible 1,000 plus punches, landing with half of them.

20 November 2004. Ronald Wright w pts 12 Shane Mosley.

Venue: Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBA/WBC/The Ring. Referee: Joe Cortez.

Scorecards: 115-113, 114-114, 115-113.

Fight Summary: Defending his belts against the man he took them off, Wright (154) outpointed Mosley (154) yet again, although the margin was not so great this time around. At the start of the ninth Mosley was just ahead according to the cards, but he took so much out of himself in the eighth, as Wright put up a clever defence, that he was not the same afterwards. It was clear that Wright had paced himself well when pumping out the southpaw jab in the ninth to great effect as Mosley failed to get the majority of his punches off. In the tenth there was only one man in it and it was not Mosley, and while he came back in the 11th to nick the session after dragging Wright into a brawl it was the latter who dominated the final round to retain his titles.

 

After Wright forfeited the WBA title on 10 April 2005, having signed to meet Felix Trinidad in an official WBC middleweight eliminator on 14 May 2005, Travis Simms, the ‘second tier’ champion, was handed the belt.

 

The vacant WBA ‘interim’ title was then contested by Rhoshii Wells and Alejandro Garcia at the United Centre, Chicago, Illinois on 21 May 2005, being won by the latter on a ninth-round stoppage.

 

When Simms was stripped by the WBA on 22 June 2005, due to a contractual problem, Garcia was awarded the title.

 

Earlier, on 25 April 2005, after deciding to move up a weight, when Wright relinquished the WBC title the ‘interim’ title holder, Javier Castillejo, was accorded full championship status despite being inactive for a long period.

 

Castillejo was then stripped on 1 June, having signed up for a fight against Fernando Vargas instead of making required defence against Ricardo Mayorga. Following that, Mayorga was matched against Michele Piccirillo to find a new WBC champion.

 

Meanwhile, Wright continued to hold The Ring Championship Belt until handing it back in October 2005.

2 October 2004. Kassim Ouma w pts 12 Verno Phillips.

Venue: Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Joe Cortez.

Scorecards: 114-113, 114-113, 117-110.

Fight Summary: Despite having been outscored over ten rounds by Ouma in 2001, Phillips was more than happy to put his title on the line against the same man in a bid to avenge that defeat. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a poor fight, with the 34-year-old Phillips (152½) growing older by the minute and Ouma (152) merely pushing out southpaw jabs with no real weight behind them. At the end of the tenth Phillips was marginally ahead on the cards, but it was Ouma who found something extra in the 11th, battering away at the champion until he fell before blasting in heavy shots during the final session to impress the judges.

11 September 2004. Daniel Santos w tdec 9 Antonio Margarito.

Venue: Jose Miguel Agrelot Coliseum, Hato Rey, Puerto Rico. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Luis Pabon.

Scorecards: 85-86, 86-85, 87-84.

Fight Summary: Not wishing to fight up close to avoid the possibility of heads coming together as in their previous contest, it was no surprise that the champion went on the move with southpaw jabs and solid left crosses, while Margarito (153) looked to land big rights. However, before too long, with Santos (154) beginning to stand his ground to get his punches off it was he who delivered the more solid blows in the opening three rounds. Margarito, however, came back well in the fourth before rocking Santos in the fifth. In the sixth, just when it looked like Margarito might be getting a foothold in the contest, he led with his head and pulled away with a badly gashed right eye. Knowing that the fight could be stopped at any moment, Margarito slammed into Santos during the next two sessions, but ran into a cracking right hook in the ninth that nearly dropped him. When the cut was deemed to be too serious for Margarito to continue during the interval, Santos was announced as the winner after the referee went to the cards.

5 June 2004. Verno Phillips w rtd 6 Carlos Bojorquez.

Venue: Leggett & Platt Athletic Centre, Joplin, Missouri, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Mark Nelson.

Fight Summary: Fighting for the title that became available when Ronald Wright was stripped, Phillips (153½) was supposed to have met Kassim Ouma, but when he pulled out with a back problem Bojorquez (154) substituted at just four days’ notice. Very much a club fighter, with Bojorquez not in Phillips’ class, he was soon being banged around but as game as a pebble he was always trying to get his punches off. In the fifth, after Bojorquez was almost overwhelmed, at the end of the session the referee told him that if he did not start defending himself better he would have to pull him out. It got worse in the sixth when Bojorquez was sent down for ‘four’ following a smashing right to the head, and having been saved by the bell he was retired by his corner during the interval.

17 April 2004. Daniel Santos w pts 12 Michael Lerma.

Venue: Florida State Fairgrounds Entertainment Hall, Tampa, Florida, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Max Parker Jnr.

Scorecards: 120-107, 120-107, 118-110.

Fight Summary: Although outboxing his fellow southpaw challenger in virtually every round and cutting him over the left eye in the third Santos (153½) was unable to find a finishing blow despite being just one punch away in the eighth. The lanky Lerma (153¼), nicknamed the ‘Body Snatcher’, with eight losses on his record did not really warrant a title shot. Throughout the fight Lerma had great difficulty in pinning Santos down. The one time he did manage it was in the fifth when getting off some solid shots but Santos rode them well and was soon back in control with the jab.

13 March 2004. Ronald Wright w pts 12 Shane Mosley.

Venue: Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: IBF/WBA/WBC/The Ring. Referee: Tony Weeks.

Scorecards: 117-111, 117-111, 116-112.

Fight Summary: In addition to three titles being on the line as well as The Ring Championship Belt, Wright (154) joined the elite when unanimously outscoring Mosley (154), having gone well with his solid southpaw jab throughout allied to a sound defence. From the second round onwards it was clear that Mosley somehow had to find a way through Wright’s tight guard but even with a two-inch-reach advantage he had little success. Wright was also proving the stronger on the inside. Having piled up the points with the jab, backed up with solid left crosses, by the end of the tenth Wright was way in front, and although Mosley won the last two sessions on pure aggression he was unable to turn things around.

 

Following Wright being stripped of the IBF title on 19 April when unable to meet his number one challenger due to contractual commitments, Verno Phillips and Kassim Ouma were contracted to contest the vacancy. Unfortunately for Ouma he damaged his back in training and was replaced by Carlos Bojorquez, who came in at four days’ notice.

 

Travis Simms, the WBA ‘second tier’ champion, made a successful defence against Bronco McKart (w pts 12 at Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York on 2 October).

8 November 2003. Ronald Wright w pts 12 Angel Hernandez.

Venue: Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Tony Weeks.

Scorecards: 119-109, 118-110, 118-111.

Fight Summary: Taking a few rounds to find his rhythm, although the champion eventually got the southpaw jab working he still spent too much time at close quarters with the battle-hardened Hernandez (154), who relished the opportunity given him. Going forward and swinging in the fifth, as Wright (154) tried to switch, Hernandez had his best session to date but unable to maintain any momentum he was soon back on the receiving end. Cut on the right eye in the seventh, Hernandez’s chances were further weakened when he was nailed by several solid left hands as Wright looked for a finish. The final five sessions saw Wright well in control without having to be anywhere near his best.

13 September 2003. Shane Mosley w pts 12 Oscar De La Hoya.

Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBA/WBC/The Ring. Referee: Joe Cortez.

Scorecards: 115-113, 115-113, 115-113.

Fight Summary: Regardless that all three judges went with the challenger it was difficult to see how Mosley (154) outscored De La Hoya (154) when one examines the punch stats; De La Hoya connecting with 106 jabs to Mosley’s 33 and with 115 solid blows to 94. According to the round-by-round punch stats, De La Hoya won the fight 11 to one, landing at the rate of three to one in the third, fourth and seventh. There were no knockdowns, and there was never that much between them on the face of it, but according to all three cards Mosley won the last four rounds. It was during these sessions that he landed with his best punches, a tremendous right to the body in the ninth almost dropping De La Hoya. Having being cut over the right eye in the fourth following a clash of heads, De La Hoya may well have been more protective than usual, but even when on the retreat he scored well with countering jabs and deserved better. Mosley became a three-weight world champion on the result, having previously been an undefeated IBF lightweight champion and a WBC welterweight title holder.

 

On 20 September, at the Mohegun Sun Casino, Uncasville, Connecticut, Alejandro Garcia retained the WBA ‘second tier’ crown when retiring Rhoshii Wells in the tenth round, but was parted from the so-called title when crushed by Travis Simms (l co 5 at the Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey on 13 December).

28 June 2003. Daniel Santos w pts 12 Fulgencio Zuniga.

Venue: Hiram Bithorn Stadium, Bayamon, Puerto Rico. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Luis Pabon.

Scorecards: 118-110, 118-110, 118-110.

Fight Summary: Despite coming out like a train, blasting in punches from both hands, the southpaw champion was unable to drop the ponderous Zuniga (153), who ate the jab all the way to the final bell. Although Zuniga tried hard enough he lacked the class to be able to tie Santos (154) down, being so predictably one-paced that the latter often took time out. Only in the eighth and ninth did Zuniga show, when mounting frenetic attacks to steal the rounds on the cards, and from there to the end of the fight Santos began to land solidly in an effort to finish inside the distance.

3 May 2003. Oscar De La Hoya w rsc 7 Luis Ramon Campas.

Venue: Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBA/WBC/The Ring. Referee: Vic Drakulich.

Fight Summary: Defending his three championship belts against Campas (153½), despite not being able to put the latter down the ‘Golden Boy’ virtually used his challenger as target practice as he flitted through the rounds with jabs and combinations to head and body. The problem for the brave Campas was that he only ever threw one punch at a time, while his lack of defence saw him hit flush again and again as De La Hoya (154) teed up. In the sixth, finding it hard to breathe, Campas was deducted a point for spitting out his gumshield. Finally, in the seventh, with Campas almost being hit at will his chief second stood up on the ring apron to implore the referee to stop the unequal contest, which he did with just ten seconds of the session remaining.

 

At the Cubierta Bullring, Leganes, Spain on 9 May, Javier Castillejo successfully defended the WBC ‘interim’ title when stopping Diego Castillo in the first round.

1 March 2003. Ronald Wright w pts 12 Juan Carlos Candelo.

Venue: Thomas & Mack Centre, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Robert Byrd.

Scorecards: 118-110, 117-111, 117-111.

Fight Summary: Setting off at a fair pace Wright (153½) was expected to have a relatively easy time with Candelo (153), but was made to fight all the way as the challenger stayed in there throwing punches. Countering with rights and lefts as Wright pumped out the southpaw jab, Candelo had a fair amount of success, especially in the fourth and sixth when forcing the champion to fight every inch of the way. While Wright, who finished the contest with a badly swollen right eye, was always in front he could never relax as Candelo matched him, and had the latter packed a punch there might have been a different ending. Having hurt Candelo in the 11th with a right-left to the head, unable to find a finishing punch Wright concentrated on outboxing his man by a wide margin in the final session just in case any of the judges felt there was little in it.

14 September 2002. Oscar De La Hoya w rsc 11 Fernando Vargas.

Venue: Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBA/WBC/The Ring. Referee: Joe Cortez.

Fight Summary: With both men putting up their titles, as well as The Ring Championship Belt being up for grabs, even though it was not one of De La Hoya’s better nights he did more than enough to win. Both men had their successes, but at the end of the tenth De La Hoya (154) was ahead by a couple of rounds, having had Vargas (154) wobbling when sending in solid blows to head and body in the last session. Starting the 11th very much as he had ended the tenth, De La Hoya kept the punches going before finding a cracker of a left hook to the jaw to drop Vargas, and despite the latter getting up he was under so much pressure that the referee stopped it on the 1.48 mark.

 

Now that De La Hoya was recognised by the WBA as their ‘super’ champion, Alejandro Garcia won the vacant WBA ‘second tier’ title when stopping Santiago Samaniego, the WBA ‘interim’ champion, in the third round at the Thomas & Mack Centre, Las Vegas on 1 March 2003.

7 September 2002. Ronald Wright w disq 8 Bronco McKart.

Venue: Rose Garden, Portland, Oregon, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Mike Fischer.

Fight Summary: Having already outpointed the challenger twice, with Wright (153¾) confidently expected to do the hat-trick he made a good start against his fellow southpaw when taking the opening round. Although McKart (153½) came back well in the second, Wright was soon beginning to vary his shots, especially when driving in body blows. Unfortunately, McKart did not have the same accuracy as Wright when going to the body, receiving two point deductions in the sixth, one in the seventh and another in the eighth, before being disqualified at 2.33 of that session. On being outboxed comprehensively, at that stage it was just one warning too many.

17 August 2002. Daniel Santos w pts 12 Mehrdud Takaloo.

Venue: Cardiff Castle, Cardiff, Wales. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Genaro Rodriguez.

Scorecards: 116-112, 117-110, 116-111.

Fight Summary: Cut over the right eye as early as the opening round, although Takaloo (154) bravely stuck to the task he never looked likely to upset the smooth-moving southpaw champion. It was a solid performance from Santos (154), his accurate punching and excellent movement keeping him in control, and although the English-based Iranian did his best he was up against a man who was always one move ahead.

16 March 2002. Daniel Santos w rsc 11 Luis Ramon Campas.

Venue: Bally’s Park Place Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Joe Cortez.

Fight Summary: In a battle to decide the vacant title, Santos (154), who was a former undefeated WBO welterweight champion, made a solid start with the southpaw jab against a man who looked like his best days were behind him. There was no doubt that Campas could still bang a bit, but always on the move Santos gave him too few opportunities. At the end of the seventh Santos had won virtually everything, but in the eighth Campas came on strong for the first time after landing a terrific left hook to the body. It was not to be though, and by the end of the tenth Santos had Campas cut up and disillusioned. After taking an elbow and recovering in the 11th, Santos was soon back cherry picking, and when a big left cross tore into Campas’ already injured right eyebrow, forcing the blood to gush, the referee called a halt at 1.36 of the session.

2 February 2002. Ronald Wright w rsc 5 Jason Papillion.

Venue: American Airlines Arena, Miami, Florida, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Bill Connors.

Fight Summary: Although Papillion (149½) threw nearly as many punches as Wright (153¼) he was far less effective, landing just 55 to the champion’s 157. With Wright’s southpaw jab being the deciding factor he was soon in control, pushing Papillion back around the ring before opening up with lefts and rights in the fifth. The outclassed Papillion was under constant pressure from the moment the round started, as Wright blasted in punches from head to body, and while not going down the referee stopped the contest on the 2.44 mark to save him from taking unnecessary punishment.

12 October 2001. Ronald Wright w pts 12 Robert Frazier.

Venue: Fantasy Springs Casino, Indio, California, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Jon Schorle.

Scorecards: 120-107, 119-108, 119-108.

Fight Summary: Contesting the title vacated by Felix Trinidad, Wright (153¾), who dropped his man in round one, proved far too good for Frazier (153) when winning the unanimous decision by a wide margin. Starting aggressively, although not as smooth as normal due to him being out of the ring for ten months, while Wright tried to get the southpaw jab going he had some difficulty in catching up with Frazier who spent most of his time retreating without even bothering to counter. By the fifth, however, Wright was slotting his right home as Frazier tired, but it was not much of a spectacle. A big loser, despite taking a pounding in the final session Frazier somehow survived to the bell.

22 September 2001. Fernando Vargas w rsc 7 Jose Flores.

Venue: Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Joe Cortez.

Fight Summary: Just two fights earlier Vargas (153½) had lost the WBA title to Felix Trinidad, but when the latter handed his belt back in to move up amongst the 160lbs men ‘The Aztec Warrior’ was matched to meet Flores (153½), his former sparring partner, in order to find a new champion. After making a tentative start and being knocked off balance in the second round, Vargas came back immediately with a cracking left uppercut to the head to drop Flores on one knee. Although Vargas was finding it difficult to get himself up for the fight, being hit more than he would have liked, he eventually found the punches to finish it after lambasting Flores throughout the sixth. Coming out for the seventh, it was clear that Flores, his right eye badly swollen, would not be around much longer, and after Vargas smashed in blows to head and body he sunk to the floor to be rescued by the referee with one second of the session remaining. Despite the WBA calling it a kayo win for Vargas, the referee actually called the fight off before the count was completed.

 

On 10 August 2002, at the Gaston Defere Skate Park, Marseilles, France, Santiago Samaniego stopped Mamadou Thiam in the 12th round to land the vacant WBA ‘interim’ title.

23 June 2001. Oscar De La Hoya w pts 12 Javier Castillejo.

Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Vic Drakulich.

Scorecards: 119-108, 119-108, 119-108.

Fight Summary: Moving up to win the title, De La Hoya (154) had just too much of everything for the upright, pedestrian champion, who was outspeeded throughout. After making a poor start, when Castillejo (154) began to motor in the third although he was unable to get his normal punches off he occasionally hurt De La Hoya, especially with left-rights to the head. It was only in the tenth that all three judges gave Castillejo the round, when he tore into De La Hoya with solid blows from both hands. However, De La Hoya was well on top again thereafter, eventually dropping the Spaniard for the mandatory count immediately prior to the final bell. De La Hoya became a five-weight world champion on winning, having been an undefeated WBO champion at junior lightweight, an undefeated IBF/WBO champion at lightweight, an undefeated WBC champion at junior welterweight and a WBA/WBC champion at welterweight.

 

At the Americas Stadium, Parla, Spain on 12 July 2002, Castillejo won the vacant WBC ‘interim’ title when outpointing Roman Karmazin over 12 rounds.

10 February 2001. Harry Simon w rsc 5 Wayne Alexander.

Venue: Kingsway Leisure Centre, Widnes, England. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Paul Thomas.

Fight Summary: Coming in at 24 hours’ notice for America’s Robert Allen who pulled out following a dispute over his weight, Alexander (154) made a good start before the champion began to get himself going in the second round. Having taken a cracking right from Alexander that shook him right down to his boots, Simon (152¼) started to open the Englishman up with uppercuts and by the fourth he was ripping in solid body shots. In the fifth, after being floored by hits to the body and a left hook to the jaw, Alexander took the mandatory count before facing Simon again, but when not firing back the referee stopped the contest at 2.43 of the session.

 

On winning the WBO middleweight championship on 21 July, it was expected that Simon would give up the junior middleweight title immediately, but when his win over Hacine Cherifi was later declared to have been for the ‘interim’ title it was not until November that the championship was officially vacated. Once that decision was made, Daniel Santos and Luis Ramon Campas were signed up to contest the vacant title.

2 December 2000. Felix Trinidad w rsc 12 Fernando Vargas.

Venue: Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: IBF/WBA. Referee: Jay Nady.

Fight Summary: Meeting to decide two title belts, Vargas (154) had a disastrous opening round when he was twice hammered to the floor by cracking left hooks to the jaw, before fighting back to have Trinidad (154) over from a left hook in the fourth. Trinidad came roaring back to get himself in front again, dropping Vargas with two terrific right hands in the 12th, prior to decking him again almost immediately he had got to his feet. He then forced the stoppage at 1.33 when smashing Vargas down with a long right to the head. Both men had points deducted for low blows, Trinidad in the fourth and seventh and Vargas in the tenth, and many felt that the latter was badly disadvantaged when having to be given time out to recover on the first occasion. It had been a great fight regardless of recriminations and took Trinidad to his 19th world championship victory at the young age of 27.

 

Trinidad relinquished the IBF/WBA versions of the title on 12 May 2001 in order to take part in the middleweight unification tournament. In order to find new champions, the WBA made a match between Vargas and Jose Flores, while the IBF settled on Ronald Wright and Robert Frazier.

21 October 2000. Javier Castillejo w rsc 4 Javier Martinez Rodriguez.

Venue: Salon 21 Nightclub, Mexico City, Mexico. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Lupe Garcia.

Fight Summary: Contested the day before the WBC Convention, as soon as the fight got underway it was apparent that Castillejo (154) was looking to retain his title in the quickest possible fashion. In a battle between Spaniards on foreign soil, Martinez (152¾) was forced to suffer three knockdowns and a badly cut right eye before being rescued by the referee after 1.43 of the fourth round had elapsed.

 

In the aftermath, Castillejo was lined up to defend his title in a big-money match against Oscar De La Hoya.

23 September 2000. Harry Simon w pts 12 Rodney Jones.

Venue: The Casino, Rama, Ontario, Canada. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Mark Nelson.

Scorecards: 117-111, 117-111, 114-114.

Fight Summary: Despite winning clearly on points, Simon (154) disappointed against a journeyman southpaw challenger whom he was expected to deal with in quick fashion, and more often than not was unable to cut the ring down. With Jones (153½) sticking out the jab, occasionally Simon walked straight into one as well as being caught by a number of other punches, but he generally outworked the American to deserve the win. Although two of the judges had Simon winning nine rounds, the third had them dead level, which made you wonder what fight he had been watching.

26 August 2000. Fernando Vargas w rsc 4 Ross Thompson.

Venue: Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Joe Cortez.

Fight Summary: Refusing to touch gloves with Thompson (153½), who had attacked him at the pre-fight press conference, with the champion being too pent up to settle immediately it was not until the third round that he eventually got going with a vengeance. After being messed about early in the session by Thompson and then having a point deducted for hitting behind the head, Vargas (153) got the message. Storming into the attack, Vargas hurt Thompson with a big left and moments later floored him. Back on his feet and attacked by a barrage of blows, Thompson was saved by the bell, having been floored again, and was still badly dazed when a hard left-right decked him early in the fourth. Clearly looking to bring the fight to a conclusion, when Vargas rifled in punch after punch to leave Thompson half sitting on the bottom rope, the referee jumped in quickly to call it off, the finish being timed at 1.07.

22 July 2000. Felix Trinidad w rsc 3 Mamadou Thiam.

Venue: American Airlines Arena, Miami, Florida, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Jorge Alonso.

Fight Summary: Making his first defence, Trinidad (154) hardly gave Thiam (152½) time to settle before he jumped on him and began blasting away with power-laden blows from both hands. How Thiam stayed on his feet as he was blasted around the ring was amazing, but when he finally made it to the bell his right eye was already closed shut with the prospect of more to come. Although Thiam remained upright in the second round, even firing back at Trinidad on occasion, with just 12 seconds remaining in the third the referee called it off. With Thiam staggering about and turning towards his corner, having been knocked sideways by a long left uppercut, the third man’s decision was an easy one.

21 July 2000. Javier Castillejo w pts 12 Tony Marshall.

Venue: Cubierta Bullring, Leganes, Spain. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Daniel Van de Wiele.

Scorecards: 116-114, 117-112, 118-110.

Fight Summary: Stronger than his American-based challenger, Castillejo (153¾) quickly got down to work with the jab, being in the main unconcerned by anything coming his way. There was no doubting that Marshall (154) had a good, tight defence and was especially adept at moving his head to let punches miss, but he lacked the aggression to gain a foothold in the contest to any extent, apart from throwing the odd right uppercut. How one judge made it just two points between them was strange, as Castillejo, throwing sharp combinations and solid right hands to head and body, had won clearly in the eyes of the vast majority.

15 April 2000. Fernando Vargas w pts 12 Ike Quartey.

Venue: Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Joe Cortez.

Scorecards: 116-111, 114-113, 116-111.

Fight Summary: Defending his title against the dangerous Quartey (152) was always going to be a tough one for Vargas (153½), but despite his left eye being badly swollen and losing a point in the fourth round when going low he came through with flying colours to take a unanimous points decision. It was the left lead that won it for Vargas, as it not only scored him points but also stopped Quartey from getting off power punches. The last three sessions saw Vargas pick it up with combinations and left hooks to head and body to make sure of victory.

3 March 2000. Felix Trinidad w pts 12 David Reid.

Venue: Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Mitch Halpern.

Scorecards: 114-107, 114-106, 114-107.

Fight Summary: Having been dropped by a lead right in the third, Trinidad (153) came back to floor the champion, once in the seventh and three times in the 11th, as he pushed on to a well-earned points win after being deducted two points for low blows, in the sixth and 11th. Reid (153) also lost a point in the ninth for going low. Although Reid showed up well, especially when blocking and moving adroitly to avoid punches, it was the harder hitting IBF/WBC welterweight title holder who gradually took over to take every round from the fifth onwards when moving up a gear. How Reid managed to survive the 11th was amazing, and with his right eye closing fast he bravely endured another battering in the 12th to make sure he reached the final bell.

 

Within days, on 9 March, Trinidad relinquished his IBF/WBC welterweight titles to concentrate on the 154lbs weight class, feeling that he had increased his punch power by moving up.

19 February 2000. Harry Simon w rtd 10 Enrique Areco.

Venue: Goresbrook Leisure Centre, Dagenham, England. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Raul Caiz.

Fight Summary: Working well with the southpaw jab and showing plenty of movement, the 37-year-old challenger made life difficult for Simon (153½) despite failing to win a round on the cards. Although Simon was doing his best to take Areco (154) out he was having great difficulty in trapping a man who could work inside or on the back foot equally well, and it was only when the latter began to feel the pace that things changed. By the eighth Simon was beginning to connect heavily, a left hook producing a nasty swelling under Areco’s eye in the ninth as he stepped up a gear. With Simon now looking to finish it after a left uppercut dropped Areco for ‘nine’ towards the end the tenth, leaving the Argentine with a bad swelling on his good eye, he was retired during the interval.

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